Fidgeting with and turning the small, lettered tile in his hand, Mewtwo sighed. The word-composing board game was a lot more dull without Alisha's company.
He regarded the board of words for a little while longer, before finally placing the tile back upon the table, tail flicking in frustration. He contemplated the tile, for a moment - and then, tail flicking even more - slowly scooted the tile over the edge and onto the floor, chuckling to himself as the little tile made a satisfying clacking sound on the wooden flooring. It never got old.
Stepping to his feet, he paced towards the kitchen and glanced at the clock, reading the time ticking upon it but not really taking it in at first. Checking the device again to fully perceive it, he hummed in thought. It would still yet be a couple hours until lunch time, but he didn't have much else to do at the moment. Certainly, nobody was currently around to tease him about his "crippling bagel addiction". So be it, then.
As he reached for the container of butter within the fridge, his eyes wandered towards the lone pack of corned beef. It was still unopened, yet alarmingly had its expiry date within the next few days. Hmm. Well, hopefully Alisha would be home soon, to consume the foul-tasting substance before it became even more foul. He instead picked up the pack of honey-glazed ham slices, which was clearly an objectively superior meat.
(Too bad she wasn't here to disagree with him, even if her opinion was the wrong one.)
Idly slicing the bagels and carefully buttering them, his mind drifted towards the last time he saw her. Her tears as she received the phone call, the swell of sad emotions emanating from her mind. The things he tried to say to help her, and the feeling of helplessness of not really knowing just how to help. It... was difficult. Even when utilising the strategies he had been taught by his therapist, it didn't seem like the kind of thing that someone could actually meaningfully help with, or solve in any way. Were his attempted words of comfort enough?
He had just about finished preparing his bagel, when a familiar presence emerged next to him, with a signature blip of teleportation. He sighed overdramatically, earning a giggle from his house guest.
"Oh! Good timing by me," Mew said, drifting toward the bagel with their paw outstretched.
"You know, it's rude to come in without any notice," said Mewtwo, resignedly beginning to prepare another bagel.
"You say that, but still do not enact a teleportation barrier," they replied, taking small bites out of the doughy treat. "Is the human here today?"
"Not yet," replied Mewtwo, a hand on his temple. "Is this... normal?"
"Well," Mew hummed, tail flicking in thought. "Every human is different. Sometimes they need a while to cope with their emotions." They paused, licking a stray glob of butter off their paw. "It is a shame that they lead such short lives."
"Mmm," Mewtwo agreed, slathering the new bagel with butter. "It just... confuses me, in a way. She does not often speak highly of her family."
"It can be complicated," Mew said, taking more bites of the bagel and tilting their head. "Sometimes humans still love their family, even if the family have hurt them."
"The same way I've hurt you, before?" asked Mewtwo, frowning.
"Ha! It is different for us." Mew giggled, twirling in the air. "We can fight and have fun. I like it when we battle."
"You know that isn't what I meant," grumbled Mewtwo, tail flicking in irritation.
Mew paused for a moment, before gliding over and placing a paw on Mewtwo's arm. "I know you, and I know you have been hurting. Any things you have said to me are because you were hurt, and I forgive you." They tilted their head, eyes looking deep into their son's. "You were not malicious towards me, but you were lost. And now you are finding yourself. I hope you know that I am proud of you, Mewtwo."
Flustered, Mewtwo couldn't help but glance away from Mew, a swell of emotion causing distinct feelings at the edges of his eyes. "Damn it, Mew."
They burst into giggles, gleefully flying around Mewtwo in a circle. He tactically batted their encroaching tail away, not wishing for their sneaky attempts at an embrace.
"Of course, sometimes a family hurts you so much that it is better to never see them again," said Mew, munching away the last of their bagel. "And that is okay. It is better for humans to spend their life enjoying the time they have."
Mewtwo nodded slowly, eyeing Mew warily as he finally took a bite of his own bagel.
Sensing that they would not be able to pilfer yet another snack, Mew lazily drifted around the kitchen. "I do hope I can watch you both play the word game again soon," they said, peeking into the living room area. "I like seeing you have fun."
"I hope so, too," he replied, thinking of their last game. It was difficult to compete against a psychic, so him and Alisha would simply work together to attain as many points as possible, quietly chatting and joking along the way.
Mew hummed to theirself, seemingly growing bored. "Well, I shall see you soon. Do look after yourself."
He nodded to them in farewell, and they blipped away to another place. Yet again, the house was empty, and his meal somehow didn't do much to ease the emptiness he felt.
Stepping back towards his favourite armchair, he contemplated the framed photos upon the countertop. One of them was taken just a week after they had moved in together - they had met at anxiety support groups and had got along pretty well, and she mentioned that she needed a new roommate. He was very surprised that she asked him, of all people, and even when he did move in, he definitely didn't want to leave his new room for the first few days. And then... reflected in that photograph, both of them smiling shyly but happily, was Alisha, Mewtwo, and the first meal they had worked together on. He had smelled the tantalising onions that were beginning to sizzle, and had investigated out of curiosity and hunger. They learned that while Alisha was adept at cutting vegetables, Mewtwo found stirring the pan to be far more entertaining. They had helped each other with the task that they found least fun. It was a good day.
As they both became less and less shy over time, he began to truly appreciate how good it was to have someone he could be comfortable around, someone he could trust and work together with. His therapist was thrilled, of course, but it also made him feel... happy. They both had bad days at times, of course, but there were also a lot more good days. He considered Alisha a friend, and that in itself felt like a huge step.
Settling into his chair, he regarded the photos and the memories within them fondly. It was too quiet without her here.
The day drifted past in a warm haze, with but brief snapshots of the sunlight's journey across the floor interrupting his dreams. It was comfortable to think about nothing, to simply rest within the chair and-
He bolted upright, eyes wide with alarm. Heart pounding, it took a moment for him to adjust back to reality, dispelling the psychic energy forming around his hands. It was merely the door, and not anything to be threatened by. He kept forgetting, sometimes.
-wait, the door? That means...!
He wanted to rush out to meet her, but reconsidered, thinking that perhaps such would be too overwhelming. Hearing her mind approach the living room, he stared firmly at the switched-off tv, anticipating her arrival yet not wanting to seem too eager, too concerned.
"Hey, Mewtwo," Alisha said quietly, her familiar form pulling a suitcase into one corner. "It's, uh, been a while, huh?"
Mewtwo got to his feet, beginning to walk towards her but then stopping, awkwardly. "How did, it... go?" he asked, feeling like an absolute buffoon.
"I mean.. it was okay, I guess," she replied, crumpling onto the sofa with a sigh and brushing her coiled dark hair away from her face. "The funeral was nice. Everyone kept forgetting to use my, uh, real name." He felt the pangs of emotional pain from her mind, and frowned in sympathy. "I kind of wanted to come home the whole time, to be honest, but my, uh, mother said I should stay a while. And, you know... I felt bad, because I didn't get to see Uncle Tom before he... yeah."
Mewtwo... stepped closer, feeling uncomfortable and unsure, but yearning to help his closest friend. "Is... is there anything I can do for you, Alisha?" His tail had drawn close to him in his uncertainty, with him feeling yet again that powerlessness of not knowing what to do, the powerlessness of seeing someone you care about go through such anguish.
"I think... I'll be ok," she said, wiping the beginnings of tears away. "It's hard, you know? But... I'm really glad to be home again." Alisha sniffled a little, digging through her jacket pockets for a tissue. "Thank you, Mewtwo."
He stood there uneasily, trying to think of something to say. Anything to say. And, he remembered another time, in which Alisha had dispelled his anxieties by saying something of humour.
"You know," he started, carefully sitting down next to her. "That foul lunchmeat is still waiting for you. I made sure not to touch any."
Alisha burst into giggles, wiping tears from her face in-between sniffles and hiccups. "God, I don't know how I'd get through this without my corned beef. Good thinking, Mewtwo."
The sniffles slowly faded away, and her tears began to dry. As her breathing returned to normal, she looked at Mewtwo and smiled, warmth gleaming in her brown eyes.
"I really missed you," she said, fidgeting with the ball of tissue in her hand. "I was thinking about it the whole time, like..." she paused, glancing away awkwardly. "I hope you know that... I really appreciate you. And I'm really grateful that you're here, you know?"
"I'm... I'm grateful you're here, too," replied Mewtwo, similarly glancing away.
Alisha giggled again, clasping her hands in glee. "We really are no good at the social thing, huh?"
"Hmm. Nope," said Mewtwo, smiling back at her.
"Do you mind if I...?" Alisha questioned, opening her arms wide and turning towards him.
He... considered it. He had never really given anyone a hug before. But, ever so slowly, he moved towards her and allowed Alisha to embrace him, his arms resting upon her in return. It was... warm, and nice. He didn't realise that hugs were actually this great, nor that he would find himself completely unwilling to let go, grasping his friend yet more tightly instead. A strange feeling bubbled up in his throat, something he didn't yet recognise.
"...Oh my god, are you purring?" Alisha pulled back in surprise, eyes wide at Mewtwo.
He flinched, feeling a sharp pang of shame. He was purring!?
"I... I apologise," he stammered, tail curling around him defensively.
She reached towards Mewtwo, holding his pale hand gently with her darker ones. "You don't have to be sorry for anything. I think... if you're purring, that's a really good thing."
"I didn't even know I could do that," he muttered, unable to meet her eyes in his embarrassment. "I... well... that was... that was a nice hug."
"Well, hey," she said, patting his hand. "I don't usually like hugs either, but, uh, if you ever want more, I'm right here."
"Mmm." He was starting to feel a bit better about it. The purring was actually a pretty comforting experience. The hug... even moreso. Yes. This was good.
"...heh, Mew's gonna be so excited when we tell them that you purred."
"Don't you dare, Alisha!"
She cackled gleefully, ducking behind a corner as Mewtwo gently tossed a cushion at her. He acted annoyed, but he was also chuckling to himself. He was glad that she was home.
She returned a moment later, holding a small bag and with her mind bubbling in excitement. He could do little but stare at her in confusion, as she offered the small bag to him.
"It was your birthday a couple days ago, right? Sorry I'm late for it," she said, sheepishly.
"I... what?" he frowned, even more confused.
"Your birthday is the 6th, right? I, um... I hope it's not weird that I looked it up, one time."
And then, he realised. He remembered. Humans didn't just mourn the deaths of their loved ones en masse, but they also celebrated each year that their loved ones spent with them. And Alisha... had chosen to celebrate Mewtwo's life, and the fact he was here.
"Alisha... thank you so much," he said, overwhelmed in his sea of emotions. It was the first birthday present he had ever received. He didn't know what to say, but he didn't have to.
As they celebrated the evening together, enjoying some delicious birthday chocolates and cobbling together elaborate words on the board game, Mewtwo felt a deep sense of gratitude. Despite everything, he had made it to a happy place in his life, a stable place, and he finally had a friend. He was comfortable in his new life, and that was everything he ever needed.
...All that was left was to win the Great Sandwich Meat Debate. Perhaps one day, Alisha would gain some taste.
Page originally published on 8th March 2022 at 21:37 UTC.