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Unrequited Love (one-shot for FFQ Edition 1 challenge; PG)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by AmericanPi, Nov 13, 2016.

  1. AmericanPi

    AmericanPi Write on

    "Unrequited Love"
    A one-shot for the Fan Fiction Quarterly Edition 1 (February 2015) Challenge
    by American--Pi​

    This one-shot was originally going to be written for the 2016 Collaborative, an event I proposed that hilariously never took off. The theme of the Collaborative was Trainer Class, which meant that the works that went towards the Collaborative should explore different Trainer Classes. I always wanted to write a Bird Keeper one-shot, but unfortunately the Collaborative wasn't quite successful. Because of the serious lack of interest in that event, I postponed working on this and posting this until now, where I'm working on it as part of my NaNoWriMo 2016 challenge.

    Now, I'm considering this one-shot to be my response to the Quarterly Challenge from the very first Edition of the Fan Fiction Quarterly. The challenge was to write a fic about a friendship, with bonus points going to those who wrote fics where the members of the friendship are of opposite genders. I want to write a response for every FFQ challenge, but I never got around to fulfilling Edition 1's prompt, so I'm doing it now. XD

    Without further ado, please enjoy what I hope is a nice, lighthearted story.



    Abe knew that he wasn't supposed to be spying on his mentor. Especially because his mentor was Falkner Crane, Flying-type enthusiast and Violet City Gym Leader. It was a strange, childish, and borderline creepy thing to do. But something inside him kept his feet firmly planted on the ground, his hands gripping the metal display shelf and his dark eyes peering past the colorful goods.

    Abe was in the Celadon Department Store. Falkner was there too, with none other than Janine Kyoto, Gym Leader of Fuchsia City. The two sixteen-year-olds were talking and laughing, and Abe, who was the same age as them, felt a twinge of jealousy. Were they on a date? So this is what Falkner did during his Thursday morning breaks from the gym. Well, at least Abe knew now. He just wished that the guy he had a massive crush on - the elegant master of bird Pokemon - did something other than fly all the way to Kanto to hang out with a pretty girl.

    Most likely they're on a date, but I gotta make sure, Abe thought, tiptoeing through the adjacent aisle towards the arrangement of couches and tables in the center of the floor. I'll just kind of accidentally and coincidentally spot Falkner and start talking to him. I'll pretend to be shopping, not stalking. Yeah, that'll work.

    Abe reached the aisle where Falkner and Janine were and took a deep breath. Okay, here goes, he thought, hoping that he wouldn't screw up.

    But before Abe could even set foot in the aisle, Janine turned towards him.

    "Hey, Falkner," she said, glancing at Abe as he stood foolishly at the end of the aisle. "Someone's here. I think he wants to talk to you."

    Dang! Abe thought in annoyance. Forgot about Janine's ninja skills.

    "Hm?" Falkner said, turning to Abe and widening his eyes slightly with surprise. "Hey, Abe! Whatcha doing here?"

    "Shopping, naturally," Abe said as calmly as he could. "Fancy meeting you here. What are you up to?"

    "Well," Falkner said, chuckling, "this is kinda awkward, because me and Janine were, well, having a private moment of sorts."

    "Oh! I'm sorry, I didn't know," Abe exclaimed, blushing. "Er, congrats. I had no idea that you were in a relationship." Abe cringed at what he said, cursing his awkwardness.

    "Yeah, thanks," Falkner said, giving an awkward smile.

    "I'd appreciate it if you could keep it to yourself, though," Janine cut in, taking Falkner's hand. "Er, I don't think I'm ready for the whole region to know about this."

    "Right," Abe said, his heart sinking. "Got it, Janine. So, Falkner, hypothetically, if there was a guy who really liked you, you, uh, wouldn't be interested at this moment?"

    "I'm not into guys," Falkner said, shrugging, "so nah." He laughed a little. "Wait, what kind of question is that?"

    "No idea," Abe said, wanting desperately to hide in a corner and cry. He put on his best "okay, whatever" face and said, "Well, I guess I'll go and do some training now. See you tomorrow." The words were barely out of Abe's mouth when he dashed away from Falkner and Janine, his cheeks burning with embarrassment.

    Abe ran up some stairs to the roof of the department store, wanting nothing more than to run away from this ridiculously embarrassing moment. He grabbed a Poke Ball from his belt as he reached the roof and tossed it into the air as he slowed to a stop.

    With a flash of white light, Abe's best friend and trusty Pokemon, Fearow, appeared. The Sharp Beak Pokemon screeched and landed in front of his trainer.

    "Hey, buddy," Abe said, stroking Fearow's crest. "Let's go home."

    Fearow nodded and turned around, letting Abe climb on his back. With a whir of wings, the Pokemon took to the air, flying towards Violet City.

    ~~~​

    "Abe, hi!"

    Abe looked up from his PokeGear and smiled at his friend, who was approaching the bench where he was sitting with a Jumpluff following closely behind her.

    "Hey, Michelle," Abe said as the young woman sat down on the bench next to him, smoothing her black dress and picking a fluffy spore from her bobbed brown hair.

    "I got here as soon as I could," Michelle said, patting her Jumpluff, who was settled down onto the bench next to her. "Can I see the Hoothoot you caught?"

    "Actually, I didn't catch a Hoothoot, not yet, at least," Abe said sheepishly. He sighed, looking down. "I wanted to talk to you because something happened. Something bad."

    "Oh no!" Michelle exclaimed. "Sorry, I thought you wanted to tell me about something good that happened to you! Oh oops, forgive my cheerfulness." She tapped Abe on the shoulder. When she spoke again, her voice was quieter. "Really, though, if you need anyone to talk to I'm willing to listen. Is everything going okay?"

    "Not really," Abe mumbled. "Falkner has a girlfriend."

    Michelle looked confused. "And the problem is…?"

    "It's a problem because I liked him," Abe said truthfully, hoping that his friend would not judge him for liking a boy. "Like, like liked. I've had a huge crush on Falkner for awhile now."

    "Oh my gosh, Abe," Michelle said, her voice sympathetic. "I'm so sorry it happened. Does Falkner know you know?"

    Abe nodded. "The worst part about this thing is that I talked to Falkner, and he said that he isn't into guys," he said, still looking down. "Which means that even if he were single I wouldn't have a chance."

    "Incompatible orientations, huh," Michelle said softly, stroking her Jumpluff and turning away. "That's the worst."

    "Who are you to judge?" Abe asked, looking at his friend in confusion. "I don't mean this as an insult, but you've never had to deal with liking someone who didn't like you back because they couldn't."

    Michelle stared at Abe with a funny expression on her face. "Wait," she said, her voice intrigued but not disrespectful, "You seriously don't know what happened with me and Erika?"

    "Erika, the Gym Leader of Celadon City?" Abe asked, surprised that someone entirely new was being brought into the picture. "What does she have to do with everything?"

    "Wait," Michelle said dramatically, putting her hands on her head, "I never told you that I used to have this huge crush on her??"

    "Um, no?" Abe said, chuckling to hide his confusion. "I didn't even know that you were into girls!" He coughed. "Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course. Is there anything wrong with liking someone who's the same gender as you?"

    "Abe, Abe, Abe," Michelle exclaimed, putting her hands on her lap, "Dude, how is it even possible that I've known you for so long and it's only now you're learning that I'm a lesbian?"

    "You didn't know until now that I had a crush on Falkner," Abe pointed out, slightly amused by his friend's exaggerated mannerisms.

    "Good point," Michelle said briskly, straightening her dress. "I mean, I knew you were gay, but not the whole Falkner thing." She laughed. "Isn't it amazing how a lot of times you think you know your friends but turns out there are a million things you don't know?"

    "I dunno," Abe said, smiling, "because to be honest I haven't had that many friends. It's okay though," he said quickly as Michelle's smile faltered. "I'm just more of an introvert."

    "I see," Michelle said, nodding in understanding. She gazed towards the lake that stretched in front of them.

    "Wait," Abe piped up after a moment of silence, "So you're saying that you have experience with a situation where you liked someone but she didn't like you back because she wasn't into girls the way you were?"

    "Well, kind of," Michelle said. "You know that - Jumpluff, don't wander too far, okay?"

    Michelle's Pokemon trilled and nodded in understanding before floating upwards into the sky.

    "Anyways," Michelle said, turning her attention back to Abe, "You know how I used to train in the Celadon Gym?" She smiled, her eyes full of nostalgia. "I used to have a crush on Erika. A huge one."

    "Whoa, really?" Abe asked, amazed at the fact that he was learning more and more about his friend."

    "Yep. It was a lot like your situation, liking someone who didn't like you back. I was even the same age as you."

    "So it happened a year ago."

    "Yeah."

    "Wow, I'm sorry," Abe said, knowing the feeling of unrequited love. "I didn't know."

    "It's fine," Michelle said, shrugging. "I got over it alright. I just thought I'd bring that up because maybe, I dunno, you can learn something from it?"

    "Well, maybe you can give me some advice on how to move on and what to do now," Abe mused. "I mean, you had the experience of being rejected and all, but you seem like a pretty happy person now." He looked at Michelle intently. "Would you mind if I asked how you, well, got over it?"

    "Yeah!" Michelle exclaimed enthusiastically. Realizing her mistake, she added, "I mean, no! Darn it, I always get mixed up when people ask me 'would you mind'." She laughed, before focusing her gaze on Abe again and speaking with a tender voice. "Really, though, Abe, you know how I got over Erika not liking me the way I liked her? Several ways, but the first thing I realized was that she was too old for me."

    "Falkner's not too old for me, though," Abe said.

    "But he's not right for you in a way that you can't control," Michelle said, glancing at her Jumpluff to make sure that her Pokemon was okay. "What I mean is, Erika is much older than me, which meant that we would never be right for each other. In your case, since Falkner isn't into guys, there's just no way that the two of you can be in a relationship."

    Abe sighed. "I know, I know," he said. He giggled along with Michelle as Jumpluff dodged to the side to avoid a passing Murkrow.

    "I know it won't make much sense to win over Falkner because he just isn't into guys," Abe said, turning back to Michelle. "The thing is, I know that Falkner and I can't be together, not just because of Janine, but also because I'm gay and he's not. I just wish I could find a way for it to not hurt so much."

    "Yeah, that's the hard part," Michelle said, placing a reassuring hand on Abe's shoulder. "Erika was really nice to me, but it was still a really tough decision for me to leave Celadon. But I know it was the right choice, because staying in the gym would just hold me back from discovering what I really want to do with my life."

    "You left Celadon because Erika rejected you?" Abe asked. When Michelle nodded, he added, "But I don't get it. Wouldn't it have been a better idea to stay in the gym so that you could become a better trainer?"

    "That's the thing, I didn't exactly want to become a better trainer," Michelle said, folding her hands together. "Let's just say that I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, whether to be a Trainer or a Coordinator or something else. The problem was that because I was staying in Celadon Gym, I wasn't able to explore my interests or discover what I really wanted to do. I was literally only training in the gym in the first place because I was attracted to Erika." She chuckled, twiddling her thumbs. "Thank goodness Erika was nice enough to encourage me to leave the gym to pursue what I really wanted, and maybe in the process find someone who would love me for who I am."

    "Wow," Abe murmured, looking at his friend in awe as all of what she said sank in. "Michelle… you've really been through a lot."

    "I know," Michelle said, shrugging. "And I'm still learning. To be honest, I'm still not completely sure what I want to do with my life. But so what? I'm having quite a bit of fun exploring, and, most importantly, I'm not being held back by any ties to someone who can't love me for who I am. I came to terms with the fact that Erika just would never be able to love me, and got on with my life and figuring out what I wanted to do."

    "So you're saying that I should accept that me and Falkner were never meant to be," Abe said, slowly and thoughtfully.

    "Eeexactly," Michelle said, patting Abe encouragingly on the shoulder. "That way, you'll be able to really discover who you're really meant to be."

    "I already know what I want to do, though," Abe said. "I want to raise and train bird Pokemon. That's why I got into Violet Gym in the first place."

    "Really?" Michelle asked. Abe nodded. "Dang it, Abe," Michelle sighed. "You're so lucky that you already know what you want to do. And your reason for being a Gym Trainer makes so much more sense than mine, haha! So, let me make sure of this, you're Falkner's apprentice mostly because you want to become a better Bird Keeper?"

    "Definitely," Abe said, nodding. "I've always loved bird Pokemon and wanted to do something with them. When I entered Violet Gym, it wasn't because I had any kind of crush on Falkner. It was because I wanted to learn as much as I could about raising and training bird Pokemon."

    "Man, Abe," Michelle said, placing her hands down hard onto her thighs, "You got this. You actually know what you want to do, lucky you! You have a dream, so just come to terms with the whole Falkner thing and follow your passion." She smiled. "I know, it's going to be hard to get over Falkner, but as long as you focus on your goal you can't go wrong."

    "Yeah," Abe murmured. He nodded, slowly at first, but then with more conviction. "Yeah, Michelle, you're right. It would be a great idea to focus on my goals, because that would help me realize that Falkner and I were just never meant to be."

    "Go ahead and do just that," Michelle said encouragingly, squeezing Abe's shoulder gently. "Go ahead and strive to become the best Bird Keeper you can possibly be. And who knows? Some time down the line you might encounter someone who loves you for who you are."

    "Thanks for all the advice, Michelle," Abe said warmly, giving his friend a quick hug. "I'll definitely try my best to look forward from here."

    "Yeah, no problem," Michelle said, grinning.

    Abe stretched and smiled as he observed Jumpluff, who was now resting soundly in Michelle's lap. "Tomorrow morning I'm going to have a chat with Falkner and let him know that I want to leave Violet Gym," he said. He chuckled. "I don't think I would feel too great staying that close to him. It would make me feel sadder than I have to be because I would be reminded all the time of my feelings for him. Not that Falkner isn't a cool guy, of course. I just think I need some time away from him, to sort my own things out."

    "That definitely makes sense," Michelle said, nodding slowly. "The same thing happened with me and Erika. Yeah, it wouldn't be fair to you to be in a situation that prevents you from looking forward. From what I know, Falkner is a nice guy. He'll understand if one of his apprentices wants to develop his skills elsewhere."

    "Definitely," Abe said. "I'm considering taking the gym circuit, but I'll be talking it over with my folks before doing anything big."

    "Yeah, that's a good idea," Michelle said, and Abe nodded.

    The two teenagers were silent for a while before Abe pulled his PokeGear out of his pocket and glanced at it. "Well, it's getting late," he said, pocketing his device, "so I'll be heading home now. Thanks again for everything."

    "You're welcome," Michelle said, recalling Jumpluff to a Poke Ball and standing up. "Good luck with everything, Abe. And if you ever need anything or want to talk, feel free to call me."

    "I will, thanks," Abe said, standing up as well. He turned and began walking away, but not before waving at his friend. "See you, Michelle."

    "Bye!" Michelle called cheerfully.

    Abe smiled to himself as he walked away from the bench and through Violet City, which was quiet at this hour. He stopped by Violet Gym, gazed upwards at the towering structure, and sighed.

    "Thanks for all the memories," he murmured as a Hoothoot called nearby. "It's been fun, but Michelle's right. It's time to move on."

    Abe was surprised at how much at peace he was with himself, and wondered if Michelle felt this way when she decided to leave Celadon Gym. She was a good friend. Privately he thanked the girl again before heading home.

    -END-



    Michelle and her situation are taken from this one-shot, which is from a long time ago but remains one of my favorite stories on this forum, partially because it single-handedly taught me to not be homophobic.
     
  2. Bay

    Bay YEAHHHHHHH

    I actually have read this some weeks ago, but forgot to reply oops.

    Anyways, I enjoyed reading this a lot and the interactions between Abe and Michelle is cute, and thought it fits the prompt nicely. I like that it's not just romance talk but also their plans for the future and such. Nice work!
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2016
  3. Before anything else:

    HOLY MUDKIPS THIS BROUGHT BACK MEMORIES. A Day in the Life of a Gym Leader was such a joy to read, and I have to thank you for reminding me of its existence. I know what I'll be reading next when I want to procrastinate at work!

    I thought this fic carried the same light-heartedness as the "Erika" one-shot, and that's a very good thing! It fit in well with the Quarterly's prompt, and I thought you did a great job portraying just how comfortable Abe and Michelle are with each other as friends.

    One thing I think you could improve, though, are the last few lines. While I get why they're important and I don't think you should change how you end it, I felt that this was a bit more unnatural than what you have for the rest of the story. I dunno, it felt odd reading "She was a good friend" after already seeing how good of a friend Michelle was pretty extensively.

    But overall it's a nice, calm one-shot, and it's always nice to see trainers talk to each other. ;) Good job with it!
     
  4. AmericanPi

    AmericanPi Write on

    Thank you! I modeled their conversation after some of the conversations I have had with my friends IRL - we never talk about just one thing. Glad to see that you found it realistic. :)

    IKR? Those one-shots were amazing, and I'm super sad that the project fell through. And nuuu don't procrastinate, get to work DM XD

    Thank you! I'm actually super relieved that you liked Abe and Michelle's interactions, because I have (or used to have, at least) a tendency to write awkward dialogue.

    Thanks for the constructive criticism! Violating the "show, don't tell" rule is also one of my weaknesses, so next time I'll make sure to not include any redundancy.

    Thank you! I'm glad you liked this. :)
     
  5. JX Valentine

    JX Valentine Ever-Discordant

    Welp, better late than never when it comes to Quarterly-related mod reviews, amirite? \o/

    In all seriousness, though, I've been meaning to review this for quite some time—and not because it handles one perfectly mundane but hilariously common part of being gay or lesbian incredibly well. (Man, being really into someone for a while, only to find out they're 100% straight? There's a relatable struggle.) It's also because, let's face it, it's incredibly sweet. It's very easy to see Michelle is a fantastic friend to Abe, what with her patience and how carefully she chooses her words and tells her story to help Abe move past Falkner. I loved also how she helped Abe figure out why he wanted to stay in Violet Gym (and why he doesn't need to) by way of comparing her own reasons for leaving Celadon Gym to his situation. There's a definite balance between Michelle's experiences and Abe's trouble here. You still have Michelle trying to relate to Abe, but she never overpowers him, downplays his situation, or leads him to believe that his experiences are invalid by showing him that she's already gone through what he has. Instead, she uses her experiences to help clarify his situation and figure out how best to use her advice.

    That and their conversation feels natural. I loved the part especially where Michelle expresses her surprise over the fact that Abe didn't know about what happened between her and Erika. Not only is it a great way to segue into her experiences, but it's also adorable because who hasn't been in this situation where two close friends are like, "Holy crap, how did I not tell you this? Okay, hold onto your hat because this is a story"? And this is just an example, too. The entire conversation is full of these moments that are a combination of recognizable and sweet, the kinds of moments I remember having in late-night conversations with my own friends.

    Still, there are a couple of things that I think could be tweaked. For starters, while by and large, the conversations in this fic felt natural, there were a few moments where the dialogue turned a little stilted or overly awkward. Example: when Abe figured out that, yes, Falkner and Janine were on a date, why would he suddenly pop the question about whether or not Falkner would date a guy? Given that Janine has ninja skills and is right there, I'd imagine that'd be a pretty bad time to ask. That and, well, there was the ending of the conversation, where it just sort of petered out and led into an abrupt "well, gotta go, bye." If Michelle's visit wasn't seemingly just about Abe's relationship with Falkner, it'd be fine, but because the conversation is framed that way (as in, it seems like she visits, has a conversation about just one thing with Abe, and then parts ways with him again), it almost feels like her visit was convenient for the story, rather than a natural occurrence, you know?

    Which leads me to the other point. While we get a sense that Abe and Michelle are friends (in that Michelle tells us they've known each other for a long while), we don't really get a sense of that through their actions. We don't know how they met (not just in the first place but also where they are or what they were doing before Michelle shows up), and so much time is spent on helping Abe through relationship troubles that we don't really see them do anything else. Sure, it's a mark of a great friend to offer a helping hand when someone in your circle is in trouble, but ... I don't know. It just feels like their relationship and general portrayal could be made somewhat deeper if we got to see them interacting beyond the boundaries of this conversation.

    But! Those points aside, this is still a cute fic and enjoyable read. :)
     
  6. AmericanPi

    AmericanPi Write on

    Agreed. Thanks a million for your review! :D

    Thank you! Abe and Falkner's Incompatible Orientation situation mostly arose out of me being a FatherlyShipper, haha. But I'm glad that Abe's situation was, for the most part, realistic. To be honest, I struggled a bit with this fic because dialogue is one of my weaker points. I'm glad that, despite me struggling with dialogue, Michelle came across as a great friend. Because that was the whole point of this fic, to portray a great friendship.

    Haha, unnatural dialogue is something that I struggled with a TON in the past, so I'm glad that for the most part Abe and Michelle's conversation felt natural. I agree, one of the funnest parts of a friendship is when you get to learn new things about the other person. :D

    Hmm, good point. The thing is, I felt that Abe needed to know for sure that he had no hope with Falkner, simply because of Incompatible Orientations. I felt that if Abe hadn't popped the question about whether or not Falkner would date a guy, Abe would cling onto the hope that maybe Falkner is bi and this Janine thing is just a one-time thing. I dunno, I felt that some more confirmation was needed. But then again, maybe not. I think this story could still totally work if Abe learned that Falkner and Janine were on a date, figured out by himself that Falkner didn't reciprocate his crush, became super confused and indecisive, and then had his conversation with Michelle about his future.

    I definitely agree that Michelle's visit could've been expanded. As DM pointed out above, the ending does feel a little awkward, so I think it could be changed to the two of them just hanging out and being friends beyond Michelle helping Abe with the Falkner situation. I mean, when friends come to visit, most of the time they do a lot more than just talk about one thing. So yeah, I definitely agree that Abe and Michelle's friendship could use some more development.

    Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it, and thanks a million for the review! :D
     

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