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Short Story - Defog (Winona x Wallace)

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Winona was starting to lose track of how long she’d been draped across the couch.

A glance towards the window confirmed it was late into the night, and she’d long since tuned out whatever was on the television. Even when she was paying attention, it was merely an attempt to distract herself from the horror movie playing on repeat in her mind - a futile one.

Every time she thought back to the weather crisis, it was as if she was being transported back in time. She could still feel the intense heat radiating off Groudon’s titanic frame, as well as the torrential downpour brought by Kyogre wherever it went. Then... there was that Tentacruel, its venomous tentacles squeezing the life out of her. The pain throughout her body still lingered, and it felt as if it would never vanish.

She failed. That was the worst part. She gave everything she could to defend her home... and she still ended up broken and defeated.

“...I’d probably be dead if he hadn’t stepped in,” she mused aloud, nobody save for one of her Swablu around to hear. “Can’t even take on a pair of eco-terrorist lunatics without becoming the princess he has to save... gods, he couldn’t even do that.”

Winona heaved a sigh, falling back into silent contemplation... that is, until she heard a knock at her door. She looked towards it, then to the clock on the wall - 4:22 in the morning. Why anyone would visit her at that time escaped her, but feeling as if she had no other option, the gym leader slowly rose from her sofa and trudged towards the door.

Her worst fears were confirmed once she peered through the peephole. Of course it had to be him.

She wasn’t exactly sure why, then, she proceeded to open the door for him; he was the last person she wanted to see right then. Despite that, though... it felt like the right thing to do. “Why are you here, Wallace?”

“I’ve been trying to call you. I was starting to get worried, so... decided I’d come out and see if you were alright.” He reached his hand out, seemingly intending to rest it upon Winona’s shoulder; she jerked away before he got the chance, though a surge of pain shot through her body as she did. “Winona, dear... why are you acting like this?”

“Why haven’t you learned to take a hint?” she snapped back. As she glared up at him, she couldn’t help but notice the beauty-tarnishing scars on his face, likely as harrowing a reminder of the crisis as possible for someone like him. “Wallace, you need to stop with this ‘knight in shining armor’ charade. The crisis is over, and I think I’ve made it clear I don’t want to talk about... us... right now. I haven’t wanted to talk about us in a while.”

Wallace frowned, folding his arms. “You really should refrain from assuming. All I wanted is to see how your recovery is coming along.”

“Bullshit. We both know there’s more to it than that.” He was only making her angry now, evidenced by her harshening tone; her Swablu flew off, fearful of the argument becoming explosive. “Don’t you remember why I broke it off? Haven’t you learned anything? I’m sick of you trying to help me do everything like you’re my goddamn babysitter. That stunt you pulled, dropping down to become Sootopolis’ gym leader... gods, it’s like you thought I couldn’t handle being supervisor myself.”

“No. That’s what you thought.”

Winona’s expression softened to one of puzzlement. “What are... what are you talking about?” The way she saw it, he was all set to spew some half-baked pseudo-philosophy at her in a desperate hope she’d fall for it - and him. Yeah, that was probably it. Maybe.

“You’re the one accusing me of thinking a way I don’t. At no point, Winona, was I trying to help you with anything because I thought you weren’t capable... in fact, you’re potentially the most capable person I’ve ever met.”

He reached out to rest his hand on Winona’s shoulder again... and this time, she made no move to stop him. “You’ve been like this ever since you became supervisor. I admit, I may have been a tad clingy in the past... but that has nothing to do with your performance. You’ve been doing a great job. The stress is just getting to you.”

Before responding, Winona took a deep breath... the confrontation seemed to be calming down, and the last thing she wanted was to blow up at him. “You... have a point. Injury leave’s given me time to reflect on it, and... I really was overworking myself... even before the crisis.” She shook her head. “I’m... I’m sorry for how I’ve been acting towards you... but I still don’t know if-”

“You don’t need to decide now,” Wallace interrupted. “And if you wish to move on, that’s fine. I just... can’t bear to see you beating yourself up so much. I care about you... a lot. I hope you know that.”

“...I care about you, too.”

A smile crossed the Champion’s face, and he briefly brought Winona in for a hug before turning back towards the door. “Well, if that’s all, then I guess I should-”

“Wallace... wait.” Winona’s call got him to stop before he could leave... while giving herself Beautiflies in her stomach. “This, erm... may seem a bit out of the blue... but since you came all the way out here, you can stay for a little while. If you want.”

A few moments passed before she got her answer, coming in the form of Wallace turning back around and taking her hands in his. “If you’re sure... I’d love that.”
 
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