I guess it was fate that I was up at that hour. The kids were sound asleep, but between Ash's snoring like a buzzsaw, May's talking in her sleep, and Max's...my closest guess is he was dreaming about throwing something, because he kept hitting his fist against the wall...Anyway between all that, I couldn't get to sleep myself. So I got up and walked around the Center for a little bit.
It was raining outside, and a taxi stopped outside the double doors. A woman got out, her upper body covered by a rain coat. But even sight unseen, I ran a hand through my hair and checked my reflection, prepairing to greet her when she entered.
The motion sensors kicked in and the doors opened. She was asking the driver something, and I heard her voice.
She was the last person I expected to see here.
I seized up, almost ready to run. For a brief moment I thought she had followed me, but that was insane.
That's when I noticed she was looking at me.
"Brock? Is that you?" Her tone was cheerful, as if greeting an old friend.
"...Felenia..." I managed, bowing slightly.
"Oh my! It's been ages! How have you been!" She rested a hand on my arm, squeezing slightly.
I stepped back. Maybe I was going to bolt for the door, but I didn't. "I've been fine," I replied, emotionless.
"Come on, sit with me! I'm heading to Sootopolis to give a talk. It's a ways away, so I have to make a lot of stops..." She hung her coat on a hook on the wall, and dragged me to a couch set up along the wall, sitting and patting the cushion next to her. I remained standing. "Brock, come on and sit."
It's like she didn't remember what happened.
I was silent long enough and she started talking again. "You know, we got another assistant, female this time. She's very sweet, I think you'd like her."
Oh sure, make me fall in love on Valencia again.
"She reminds me of you, she's very outgoing and energetic. She even has a Zubat..."
"...mine's a Crobat now," I told her.
"Oh, I'd love to have the chance to study it. We hardly ever see Crobats."
I shook my head. "I don't have it with me."
"Oh, that's a shame." She smiled in that hypnotic way of hers, and I had to turn my head so I wasn't drawn in like I was before.
She could do that to a person. I knew that all too well.
"Brock, come sit with me." It was the same tone she had used all the time I'd been with her, only this time I could ignore it. "Brock, what's wrong?"
She didn't know. This whole time she didn't know.
I shuddered, stifling a growl in my throat. I had gone through hell, and she didn't know.
"Brock..." She said my name with a calculated slowness. "You never did tell me why you left."
It's like she can read my mind sometimes. It wouldn't be unheard of, there's reports on the books about people who work with Psychic types taking on a limited telepathy. But somehow I doubt that was it. I think it's just a part of her, and it always has been.
She looked up at me expectantly, and I knew I owed her an answer, if nothing else.
"...Felenia..." I started, then shook my head. "Professor Ivy." It was the first time since I left that I was able to say her name, the one that, in my mind, was her. When I called her by her first name, I could delude myself that I was talking about someone else, but 'Ivy' could mean only her. Rather backwards, I know, but she had turned my world upside down, after all.
"Yes?" Again, her hand rested on my arm, and this time I let it remain there.
"...You never knew, did you?" I turned to face her. "You never knew what I felt..."
"Brock...? What are you talking about?"
"Why I left. Do you remember our last conversation?"
She looked thoughtful for a moment. "...you told me you wanted to stay forever. And then you left."
"Because of you. Do you remember what else I said?"
Of course she didn't. I knew she wouldn't. "I said that for the first time in my life, I felt right with someone."
Her grasp lowered, sliding down my arm until she took my hand in hers. "...me?"
How could she not have known? I wanted to scream 'YES you!' at the top of my voice, I wanted to shake her, I wanted to beg her but I didn't know for what. But my reply only came out as a slow nod.
"...I thought you meant you felt right with the lab, with the whole place..."
My hand tightened around hers for just a moment. "You never did understand, did you?" I muttered before standing, heading back to my room.
I'm not sure why I did, but I stopped, letting her catch up with me. She ran in front of me, blocking me from the hallway.
"Brock...would it help if I said I was sorry?" She took my face in her hands and leaned in, lips brushing against mine, and for just a moment I wanted to lose myself to her again.
But I pulled away. "...goodbye...Felenia," I said, pushing past her and heading down the hall.
I don't know what I would have done if she had tried to follow me.
She was gone when I woke up.