Payapa walked through the perhaps Alley Number 12, looking around every bend, into every hole, every crack. This was like advanced hide and seek, and she wasn’t the one hiding. She blinked heavily, feeling like some sort of fleck had gotten into her eyes. Perhaps that was why she was doing so poorly at the moment. “Come on... Charles! Are you over here? Charles!” She was heavily counting on having to scour the whole city, and twice had run into someone else named Charles along the way (the same fellow twice, to be clear), when she finally happened upon the correct Charles, sprawled out on the ground, looking to be asleep. That could very well just have been because his eyes were always closed, but it really did seem like he was sleeping this time. She ran up to him. “Charles!”
He didn’t respond, so she shook him, trying to stir him awake. All sorts of horrid scenarios ran through her mind, each ending with the realization that he had somehow died, and she was nearly driven to tears. It had only been maybe three weeks since she had met him, but they had become really good friends in the short span of time. Every day she would walk along the alleys, trying to find him, and within a few minutes he would appear. He had a good intuition for when she was out looking for him.
The possibility that the first Pokemon she could actually relate to and befriend... that he was going to just flicker out like that... especially when she’d known him for so little time...
“Charles! Wake up!
” She shook him harder, and finally he was snapped out of that deep, deathlike slumber.
“Oh, hello, Miss. How are you feeling today?” he groggily asked. She hated that the first thing he did was address her
wellbeing, not his own. He was obviously not doing well, and he was just going to... ignore it like that?
“Charles, stop it! What’s wrong? Are you just hungry? I can get you something to eat. Just tell me what!”
“No... I’m actually fine on food, Miss. I think I zonked out while eating some noodles out here, but I can’t quite remember. I’m just really tired.”
She didn’t think he was lying... exactly. Something seemed wrong. The previous week he had acted a little less energetic than usual, though she had just attributed that to... what had she attributed it to? Had she been so enthralled with the idea of making a friend that she’d ignored any sign of declining health? And now she was sure he wasn’t telling the whole truth. Something was up, and he wasn’t telling her the whole truth. He always had before, but wasn’t now. This panicked her.
“Charles! Stop it, just stop it! What’s wrong? I’ll take you to a doctor! Please, just tell me what’s wrong?” she pleaded. She was probably sounding a little crazed.
“I just feel a little under the weather, that’s all.” Something about the way he ended it... the inflection sounded insincere. This bothered her tremendously. It just wasn’t like him.
“I’m going to find someone to make you better. I’ll do it! I’ll make you better,” she mumbled, if not with a hint of frenzy in her voice. She slowly lifted him up and positioned him so he’d be easy to carry around. She didn’t have much of a shoulder, so bridal style it was. She didn’t really know where to take him (she wasn’t particularly knowledgeable about doctors or their whereabouts), so she headed home.
It wasn’t a very long trip from that particular alleyway to her house, but it was long enough that she started to feel very tired from her burden midway through the journey. Both her parents were out, selling things or whatever they did anymore, so she brought Charles straight to her bedroom. She placed him under the sheets, and used a pillow to block his head and body from the line of sight if anyone were to peek in. It would simply look like she had neglected to make the bed, which wouldn’t have been a first.
He had no objections, which worried her more. He hardly had the energy to speak, it seemed. She felt so stupid and foolish for not having noticed sooner. All the past week, she’d done most of the talking. She’d been venting about her family situation, something never before a topic to leave her lips. She and Anana had simply accepted the situation as a fact of life, the way things were, to basically Shut Up And Deal With It. Charles had let her know that it was okay to talk, to find things unfair, to be upset about situations, and to just complain about unjust happenings. In all this self-absorbed talk, she had failed to notice he was getting quieter and more lethargic. She really thought her observational skills were getting better, that she was getting more adept at noticing things going on with others... but Charles, having worked his way too close to her heart, had found his way into her blind spot. It was all too likely she had simply wanted to ignore that he could become unwell, and this thought made her burn with hatred for her selfishness.
It just wasn’t okay to talk about yourself; bad things happened.
She rubbed her eyes (that annoying fleck was back, messing with her vision), then left the house quickly to go find her father. Maybe he’d know what to do.
Part 16 of "Complementaries"