Indigo Plateau (Steven's Quarters) | Morning (1)
Last night hadn't happened. It couldn't have; for him to let himself get dragged down so low was... impossible. Or so he'd thought.
The night had been long, dark and cold, plagued by restless dreams of snakes, chains, white flower fields... and that giggle.
But Steven arose that morning as though nothing had happened. He showered for perhaps a little too long but other than that, this was a normal day. He dried off, got dressed, stared at himself in the mirror for ten minutes and then wandered back into his quarters and released his Skarmory, just like he did most mornings.
Austentitic observed his trainer's face worriedly; his shadowed eyes and pale face. He was used to seeing his Steven looking like this on occasion, but this morning something seemed... different. There was something there that wasn't there before. And it definitely wasn't good.
Nonetheless, Austentitic settled down on his cushion in the corner of the room and quietly watched Steven get himself ready. He ranged from moving erratically - dropping things and muttering to himelf - to moving barely any faster than a Slowpoke, his eyes distant and unfocused. The Steel-type bird couldn't carry on watching much longer. He arose from his resting place, walked up to Steven and gently nipped at his hand.
Steven turned to look at him slowly, before giving him the falsest smile he'd ever seen and patting him on the head. He knew exactly what his Pokemon was feeling. "Just had a rough night, that's all."
"Skaaaar," Austentitic nodded, but wasn't convinced. He tailed Steven as he slowly got himself ready. The Champion seemed as though he was deliberately going as slowly as he possibly could.
What could have happened last night? Nightmares? He watched him closely, hoping to glean a clue. Any clue. Steven had no time for an actual discussion this morning, so that would have to wait until tonight. He knew that if he prodded him enough, he would put in his universal communicator to speak with him. They might be so connected that actual words were not always necessary, but for a talk like this, they would be.
Now whether or not Steven actually owned up to whatever awful thing happened or not... that would be the issue.
Steven gathered his necessary papers into a folder. He took out a couple of headache pills and gulped them down with a cup of water. He straightened out his tie, combed his hair and slipped into his shoes. Yes, he looked quite normal. No one would guess.
But he wasn't the only one who knew about what had happened last night. I'll have no choice but to see her today.
For a mad moment, Steven considered sticking two fingers down his throat and making himself sick. At least then it wouldn't be a complete lie when he told everyone that he was unwell.
But you are unwell. Steven's head whirled with turmoil, his thoughts stuck together in a congealed mess of self-loathing, confusion, fear, and grief. Just because nobody could see it didn't mean it wasn't there.
What would she say to him, if she even said anything at all? For all he knew she'd already gone around to everyone she knew and blabbed. Maybe not... Even if she has she can't have told Wallace; he'd have been round here tearing chunks out of me before now.
Skarmory curled back up onto his cushion as Steven approached the door, watching him as hesitated. He'd find out what was troubling his trainer eventually. He had to, for he feared the consequences otherwise. He observed Steven stare at the door handle for a good couple of minutes. "Kaaar," he called softly.
Steven blinked slowly and turned to him. "Are you staying here today, then?"
In answer, Austentitic yawned and rested his head.
"All right then. I'll be back in a few hours. There's some food in the cupboards if you want it."
Austentitic sighed softly as he watched his human finally manage to get the door open. He closed both eyes, but pulled one open just enough to watch Steven disappear into the corridor. He heard the click of the lock and was left in silence, pondering why Steven hadn't made his bed that morning.
(If one of the moderators or admins could make this topic into a Sticky, I would be grateful. I don't seem to have that authority. Thank you.