Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Chapter 5 contains a sexually explicit scene between two male Pokemon. All other chapters are PG.
Chapter 4: The Monsoons that Drench the Self, Dried by Another.
The pair began to move away from the flowing water where they had first met, utilizing the illuminating warmth of the sun to simultaneously energize and guide them around through the trees, over sprawling, exposed roots, past stray twigs, fallen leaves, and stones of a vast variety. The Zangoose got to showing each and every landmark in the landscape comprised of hues that were primarily auburn and sage.
A miniscule bridge composed of now petrified planks, extending over a divot of eroded soil where a stream once existed, the depression in the land being the only indicator of what its purpose once was. Slimly visible footprints pressed into the flattest stretch of land that simply could not classify itself as a clear path to travel through this forest anymore. The vegetation rising out of the ground in an attempt to siphon as much sunlight that trickled down in the cracks of the canopy as it could, painted with splotches of vibrance created by the flowering and production of berries. The two Pokémon chose to harvest from such a plant, not withholding their appetites, as the abundance of successful vegetation was quite apparent as they went on their way, the area being dotted with the hue of their products as if nature itself wished for it to be composed with as many facets of color as it could.
There were scarce words exchanged between the Floatzel and the Zangoose as they visited all that was remarkable in between the looming trees. Here and there they spoke of the apparent past of which the land was still showing artifacts of, but ultimately it was withheld from Franz, as Hisoka would already be moving ahead on to what remained for him to show to the Floatzel.
After they had finished consuming the fruits of the land, the duo stood themselves up and began to walk again, the hooded Zangoose once more taking the lead, wordlessly walking to the next destination. As he followed along with identical silence, the Floatzel's gaze caught on to a set of grooves carved into the bark of a tree adjacent to him, and staying there as if his eyes wished to occupy the empty spaces in the wood.
Logically, since his companion's species possessed claws capable of making such a deep mark, Franz assumed it was produced by him. Though, the purpose of such a carving evaded him to the point where he grew restless enough pondering to outright ask him what it was. "Hey, Hisoka, come back here," he called out, observing he was responded to by the Zangoose first by the twitch of his ears, seconded by the rotation of his head.
A simple "Hmm?" was the third response, the Zangoose not fully aware of why he was heading backwards, though, he was quick to step over to the Floatzel's side and shift his focus to whatever had captured his.
"This mark here," he began, raising a paw and extending a digit towards it, "what's it for?"
Hisoka's eyes seemed to be suspended in a single state of time. Whether or not it was the present, Franz could not tell, turning his head to see that stare which showed naught but the fact the carving had been recognized as hesitation once again had claimed the Zangoose.
Hisoka finally responded with the only word he knew was represented by that marking. "...family." Then, bringing a foot forwards, he pressed the pad of his paw to the grooves in the wood, running his digits over every inch. Franz stood away, yet could not turn to look anywhere as if his head were physically restrained. Rolling down and dampening the white fur of Hisoka's face were tears, streaming down in tandem with a barrages of tiny droplets signifying the start of a rainstorm.
The final landmark Hisoka had in mind for them to visit during the day would end up being the exact location they were presently at to avoid being drenched in rain, with Franz opting to stay at the Zangoose's side even if he had no need to escape rainfall given his affinity for water. They did not speak once on their journey towards this cavern, nor had they opened their mouths once they'd reached the dry interior. Hisoka could only lead himself en route to this place, the Floatzel followed along regardless of whatever was occupying the Zangoose's head.
Hisoka knew the Floatzel was sitting across from him, back pressed against the opposite wall as his was. That fact didn't halt the immediate burial of his face into his arms, knees rising up to hold them at a height where he could sink his hollow expression into their midst.
Franz felt his own mind muted by the sight for minutes on end. He saw a reflection of himself in the other male as if looking into the surface of a clear pond. The way his internal voice was communicating to him a message with a purpose to bring him into a state where the disarray within him would become external, and how he accepted and carried out the instructions to those directions despite the hole it produced in his heart... he understood the sensation down to the very last detail, and such was the reason why Franz could not fathom a method to help him, as he could never help himself.
The Floatzel remained still, pressing further back into the wall, emotions welling, blending, churning all at once in every fiber of his being, until at last his tongue could be stilled no longer. His tone carrying the inflection of a matching sorrow, crying out after being forced to remain within him and him alone for so long, he made his plea.
"Hisoka... whatever you want me to do, whether that's listening to what's on your mind, leaving you be, or anything else at all... you need to let me know. I can't stand seeing you in the state I've been occupying for so long, I'm so weary of not having an idea on what I can do, I'm exhausted of always having no answers... please..."
Seconds passed by as if extended by days of silence. Hisoka's head did not rise, though, in stark contrast to all that he had no responses too, this time, Franz received a response. Naturally, it was muffled, near silent, barely being received by the ears. It may not have been what he had been suspecting, but, it truly was an answer.
"...go outside for a bit, Franz... and... and bring some sticks in here... it's so cold..."
The Floatzel stood up wordlessly, stepping out into the pouring rain, racing away to gather twigs until they were falling from his arms as he carried them, always returning the stragglers to the pile, regardless of if they'd fell and brought others down to the damp ground beneath him or did not do so. Stepping back into the cavern and setting them all down around the center, Franz stepped into the corner farthest from Hisoka and shook dry before turning to look at the Zangoose, whose head was pulled out of his arms once again.
"...stand right back there."
Franz obliged, watching as Hisoka uncrossed his arms and shifted his position until he was standing on his knees in front of the mass of branches, stretching himself out and letting off long exhalations. Raising a paw up in front of his face, the Zangoose trained his vision directly on it. Suddenly, a flash of light emanated from it, and all at once it was engulfed in flame. The burning hand was lowered into the kindling beneath him until it too caught fire, the light filling the cave along with warmth, Hisoka's paw extinguishing itself right afterwards.
Eyes enlarged, the Floatzel settled back down into his earlier seated position, on the opposite side of the cave from the Zangoose, his mind occupied with a single question he didn't waste any time asking. "How did you do that..?"
"I can do that because I can use Fire Punch," he replied, now sitting much more openly than before, with his head up and eyes focused on Franz, knees raised and paws resting atop them, his expression currently laying blank. "I come in here and make one every time it rains."
Franz tapped at the ground for a few moments, mind doing nothing but wondering what was the reasoning behind what the Zangoose had told him. He decided that he would ask about it while the other Pokémon was opening up. "How do you know that move? It can't be natural... and why do you come in here and set a fire whenever it rains..?"
Hisoka required another extended exhalation in order to form his response to the first of the questions. "The... the... this," he started, pulling at a cuff of his sleeve to remind himself of the name of what he was wearing again, "the hoodie, when I first wore it. It let me use Fire Punch when I am in this state..."
The Zangoose began to have the scarlet tinge to his fur darken along with his eyes, the color on his clothing following along with it, gradually brightening until all colors affected became a vibrant shade of blue. Raising a paw off his knee, Hisoka revealed that his claws were a different hue as well, a mix of brown and orange rather than a sleek black. Cold air surrounded the raised appendage, crystals of ice clumped together on his fur. "...and Ice Punch when I am in this one."
After restoring himself to the state he was originally in, Hisoka lowered his claws then quickly ignited his paw and put it back out to clear the frost on his fur, moving it over the fire in the center of the room to get rid of the wetness left over from his display. Franz was significantly more awestruck than he was before. "You... you can become a shiny Pokémon at will, and use two special moves all because of that hoodie... that you just... found... I wonder what sorts of powers it has..."
Hisoka spoke out after a sigh. "I wouldn't know. All I did was find it, wear it... and now I have the ability to do that..."
Franz gently nodded. "I see. Well... I want to ask again, why do you set a fire in here every time it rains..?"
The Zangoose took time to gain enough breath to speak. He needed as much as he could obtain, as answering the question would require him to explain at last just what had been so detrimental to him all this time. "Franz... I do that because my family, they... used to come in here with me whenever it rained. We didn't need any fire to warm us up... we stayed with each other, that was our warmth... I don't ever want this cave to be cold in the rain, even if... even if I'm the only one left and have to bring that warmth myself... I have to do it... just like... just like how I have to watch over this forest now, all by myself, in my clan's absence... I can't let their caves go cold, I have to warm them. I can't let their marks fade, I have to be certain they stay carved into the trees... and if there's a chance to one day have just one other Zangoose occupy these woods... maybe more... I've... I've given my family the fate they deserve... each one, each one of them that I loved, slain by Seviper..! My parents, elders... my... my mate, him too... gone..."
The Floatzel was speechless. The breath was sucked from him and had no sign of returning. Hisoka had spilled out every last detail of the trauma lingering in his mind, buried himself back into his arms, and Franz once more was left without any clue, no matter how slight, of how to proceed. The exact opposite of his mind, his limbs knew exactly what motions to make, stepping over to seat himself by the Zangoose's side. Once he had finish moving, words began to flow out of his heart and into his mouth. "Hisoka... I may not ever understand exactly how that feels, but, you... you know... I never got to know my parents... I'm out here travelling because I have nowhere to go, nowhere I want to stay. Unlike you, I have no purpose. All I do is keep pushing myself forwards, hoping I'll find something, and yet nothing I want to settle with ever comes... we have different problems, but the same emotions associated with them... and that's what makes me want to strive to help you right now, because... because, I suppose... help is what I've been seeking myself..."
Hisoka brought his head back up again, turning it right away with one gradual motion to look at the Floatzel's expression, knowing their faces were the same without a mirror or reflection to prove it. Weary, widened eyes, strained by the mind possessing them, mouths posing into frail frowns. "...we... we could... help each other..?"
Franz shattered the brittle frown on the end of his muzzle and upturned it into a gentle smile directed at the Zangoose. "Yeah... just... having someone to listen to me here... I don't know about you, but that's already been help enough, help in getting the things stressing me out to an audience other than myself... that might understand me."
Hisoka had his lips match the smile he was viewing on Franz, nodding once. "I can tell... I can tell you understand me, Franz... and... and I know I understand you, too..." Though both pairs of eyes appeared to still be weary, a warmth became present to each other, not brought out by the fire adjacent to them, but by the person now staring right into their eyes.
There was nothing more to be said at the moment. Their lips became soothed by their talk, and now, as their eyes lidded, and heads were brought forwards, those lips pressed against one another, arms extending out to embrace each other.