Underwater
#1
The strong rains drowned every single inch of Galen's body, and eventually, his mind.

Galen laid flat on the ground, all muddy and specked with grass. His body had no more energy to move away from the forest clearing into the shelters of the trees. The heavy raindrops seeped all of the warmth in his body. These fell down without prejudice, especially as it went straight down Galen's tear-ridden eyes. But he did not do anything about it.

He had given up.

---

Clouds started to form on Galen once he started on his work.

Galen was on the well-known line of Audinos in the forest. They were healers, experts in nursing other Pokemon back to health. In addition, they worked on foot, rushing towards the injured or sick, instead of staying in one place. Their most remarkable tool are the feelers on their tuft-like ears, able to read upon the health status of the patient.

Audinos were easily identified with their pink and cream coloring, the former color seemingly painting them in the shape of a jacket on their abdomen and a cap on their heads. In the forest, where everyone else was the color of leaves or bark, their color had become one with a promise of health.

Galen was different. His fur was gray, like the clouds that hint a storm, and not the pink that had been the symbol of blooming life. In addition, his eyes were a deep blue, as if enriched by nighttime, in contrast to the usual red color of Audino eyes. Even with his irregularities, Galen proved to be an excellent healer, besting those who were older than him.

Galen's future was about to be bright.

But the clouds decided to tease with a sprinkle of rain.

Galen was sent to the southern part of the forest. Rouge bugs, those who were not willing to keep the peace of the forest, had decided to pay a visit by attacking the forest's denizens. On their departure was most of the Bug-type residents inflicted with foreign poison.

It was no hard work for Galen, and the other Audino.

Galen tended to a Caterpie's wounds, a youngling green bug hoping to be a Butterfree, when the other Audino went beside him to heal the Caterpie's sibling. He looked to his right, and the other did so, too.

Galen's eyes met the other's, whose red eyes was a shade as vibrant as the autumn leaves of the forest. "I don't seem to see you around," Galen said.

"Well, you focus too much on your work that you never notice anyone who isn't your patient. And that's when you have someone with you, you loner," the other Audino replied, a twinge of laughter in her voice. "Name's Serena, by the way, Galen."

It was true, Galen thought. He was so independent, and had little to no problem working as is that he was often assigned to far-flung sections of the forest. He was also aware of his lack of social interaction with the other Audinos, he never found the need to do so.

"Nice meeting you then." Galen hoped that was courteous enough. He added a smile, to be sure.

As they continued helping the other residents, Serena was just as dedicated in talking to Galen. Galen was challenged to keep up with her energy, due to his taciturn personality, but he managed to.

With each second, Galen's heart started to bloom like a flower in springtime.

But the rain had started to pour.

Months had passed, each week was full of healers' emergencies, which was a ripe opportunity for Galen and Serena to interact. Both enjoyed the company of each other, as professionals who aimed towards the same goal.

It was the late part of autumntime, where plants and trees start to hide away from the winter cold, but Galen's heart was as warm and blooming as ever. It was as if he wanted to protect Serena from all the wounds and the pains of the world, and heal her existing ones.

Galen and Serena were in the middle of the forest clearing, enjoying the warm glow of the fall sunset as they sat down on the ground.

"Serena," Galen said, maintaining his calm.

"Yes, Galen?" Serena faced her companion. "You seem a bit shaken. Is there anything wrong?"

It's now or never, Galen thought. "Far from it. I just thought of the times when I had nothing on my mind but work and the health of my patients. Being a healer is a fulfilling task, everytime I see people smile, knowing they will live for longer, my heart glows.

"But my heart is now glowing even brighter. I feel like I could breathe even deeper. There is a sense of happiness that I get every single moment now, and it feels so new. And all I could trace this feeling is from the time our eyes met.

"Your passion was in your eyes then, and I felt it so much that I wanted to improve myself. And so I did, in every single moment we are together. I wish that I could continue to be better, but now as we hold our hands and our fate together.

"I hope that my future shall be with you, until the end of our lives." Galen's heart started to tremble, as it filled with waiting for Serena's reaction.

Tears started to form in Serena's eyes, which glistened in the autumn sun. "When I first saw you, you were so focused on your work that I couldn't get the chance to speak to you. You were so excellent in your healing that I looked up to you, and wanted to learn under your wing. But everything in you back then intimidated me so much that I couldn't do anything.

"But when we first truly met, I realized that what you, and in hindsight, we needed was a friend. And after that I started to see you as someone like any other. You needed something, too. You needed someone who is always by your side. Nobody ever realized that you were not completely independent.

"As time passed, we melded together. Not just as co-workers who helped each other, but as someone who needed support on the inside. We were holding on to each other without us knowing about it.

"Now, that I know you share the same feelings as mine, I couldn't be happier. Especially that we have grown together, and I will look forward to doing so in our future." Serena sealed her words with a hug towards Galen.

Their moment of love was carried by the wind, along with the leaves and the warmth of the breeze.

But the rain was joined by the roar of thunder and spikes of lightning.

The southern forest was attacked again, but now by a horde of Shiinotic, humanoid mushrooms with an enigmatic power. Their spores terrorized the forest's inhabitants and Galen and Serena, who were not expecting a fight. Audinos were primarily healers, but they were armed with skills to defend themselves. But the two had to be extra careful against inhaling the spores.

"Ahh!" The scream came from Serena's direction.

Galen turned around as he finished dealing with one, as it hurried away from him, and saw Serena pinned into a tree. The Shiinotic had murder in its eyes, and it released a new cloud of spores against the helpless Audino. The spore was foreign to Galen's knowledge, it shimmered pink, but its shade seemed malicious.

"Now we'll see if you'll ever try healing again!" the Shiinotic said, as it freed Serena and ran.

But Galen was faster, fueled with fury. From his arm he sent out a punch that grew green needles, a product of his Secret Power. It was a helpful move among Audinos who needed to defend themselves. The Shiinotic was hit, but did not stagger at all.

"Ha! I'd stay and fight you, but I'd rather enjoy the thought of having inflicted someone with my new toxic spores," the enemy said, as it released another set of spores, white this time. It was safe, Galen knew, but was dense enough to hinder sight. The last Shiinotic had escaped.

Galen went towards Serena and held her hand for support. "Are you okay?"

"Yes," she replied. "What was that spore? I don't feel anything weird."

"I don't know either. Perhaps it was nothing, he was just saying nonsense."

Ignorance was bliss, indeed.

And the rain finally turned itself into a full-fledged storm.

Serena fell down, breathing deeply but seemed not to be refreshed at all.

The rouge Shiinotics attacked again, this time they had the nerve to inavde the central section of the forest, where Galen and Serena resided. The two missed the enemies, they worked somewhere else before arriving, and they quickly went into work mode.

But something was amiss this time around.

The night sky brough cold winds, which did not help Serena's breathing. A while ago, Galen swore she was okay, perhaps the exhaustion from having to deal with a larger population took a toll on her. Serena had breathing problems lately and neither the two of them could trace its source. Galen's power did nothing, but rest was enough for Serena.

"Are you okay?" Galen asked, worry seeping on his voice. "You're having those fits of breathlessness again!"

Serena wheezed. "Can't. Breathe." Her breathing was more laborious than before.

"Just lie down and breathe, okay?"

"No. Throat's... getting tighter."

Galen tried to stay calm. With his hands, he tried to summon his healing powers. It glowed white, as it always had been, but he had forgotten that it was not effective on Serena's condition. His own heart was struck with grief over his own stupidity.

Serena's coughing worsened. In each cough, Galen could see pink specks coming out of her mouth. His mind was too busy trying to save Serena.

Serena's coughing worsened even more. With each sound, Galen's hand started to shake and his mind started to blur. He could not think. He could only hold her hand.

Serena seemed to say something, but her coughs came out in rapid succession. More pink powder went out of her every cough. Until it stopped suddenly.

And so did her breathing.

Galen's mind was both a blur, a mess, and a tranquil sea all at once. He knew what had happened. With his shaking hands, he laid down Serena and closed her eyes.

The storm unleashed its all. And Galen could only do nothing but run.

He ran, the strong pelts of raindrops against his, in no particular direction. But he found himself in a familiar location.

The forest's clearing.

The strong rains drowned every single inch of Galen's body, and eventually, his mind.

Galen laid flat on the ground, all muddy and specked with grass. His body had no more energy to move away from the forest clearing into the shelters of the trees. The heavy raindrops seeped all of the warmth in his body. These fell down without prejudice, especially as it went straight down Galen's tear-ridden eyes. But he did not do anything about it.

After all, he could not do anything to save Serena. He could no longer have the future he wanted to have with her. He could no longer be a better person. He could no longer dedicate his work for her.

But he could drown himself in his emotions and by the pouring waters. He no longer saw the need to breathe.

He had given up.

----------------------

VOLTAIRE USED A STORY PASS!
Target: Audino (Hard > MEDIUM)
CC: 10,509(-ish)
Grade: In-depth

Author's note: As per Voltaire-ic tradition, this is inspired by this song.
[Image: g86xo9E.gif]
MORPHIC:
DANIEL [SCRAFTY] X GALEN [WIP]
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