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[personal profile] icelilly posting in [community profile] nordipalooza
Title: Rivalries
Author/Artist: [personal profile] icelilly /scarlettlillies/dreaming-pearl
Prompt: Sweden, Denmark - Acceptance
Other characters: Russia (Finland, Estonia, Norway, and Iceland are mentioned but not seen)
Rating: T (PG at best)
Content notes: Poketalia human AU. This is based on the Poketalia AU I've been working on for several years now. Teams are based on the photosets I've posted on Tumblr. You can read more about the AU here (link includes the photosets too). SuFin is established but none of it is present in this. Names: Christian - Denmark, Björn - Sweden, Timo - Finland, Einar - Norway, Eiríkur - Iceland, Eduard - Estonia, Ivan - Russia. Apologizes for messing up the accents.
Summary: Christian and Björn have been both life-time friends and rivals. They meet again today for a battle that will decide who goes to the semi-final round. They're on better terms now but it wasn't always like that.


A violent explosion erupted on the battlefield when the attacks meet head on. Everyone is left anxiously awaiting the turnout while sweat could be seen beating down on Christian's neck. When the smoke clears, an Electivire is laying on its back while a Hydreigon was flying in the air. That signalled the end of the battle and the referee raised his red flag to his right, announcing Ivan Braginsky as the winner and a contestant in the semi-final round. Christian stared intensely at him as he celebrated. If he were to win his next match against Björn, there was a good chance he'd face Ivan in the next round and he's not sure how he'll take out his powerhouse team. But one battle at a time, he pondered as Ivan made his way back in the corridor. When their eyes meet, Ivan places his hand on Christian's shoulder and smiles. “Good luck. I expect to see you in the semi-finals.” Before Christian can say anything however, Ivan walks away and turns around the corner, leaving him at a loss for words.

“Thanks, I guess.”

Christian turns his attention back to the battlefield and watches crews of people and their partnered Pokemon clear the way of broken rocks and do quick patch ups. To say he was nervous was an understatement. But he tried to keep his cool by giving himself a gentle slap to the cheeks to keep him alert and grounded. “You can do this! You’ve got the best team in the world.” He told himself out loud. But truthfully though, he wished he had gotten his friends to stay with him for more moral support. Timo and Eduard were nice enough to stay a little longer after Einar and Eiríkur went to grab food and find their seats. But they too had eventually left to check on Björn.

So who are ya cheering for?

Christian, you know we don’t pick favourites! Me and Eduard are happy if either you win!

He chuckles. He knows Timo always picks Björn, regardless of what he says. They were engaged after all. Eduard is the true neutral of the group. He doesn’t beat around the bush when he talks. His words are believable.

Several minutes pass and it was Christian's turn to make it onto the battlefield. He waits for the announcer to make the introductions and when he hears his cue, he slowly makes his way out from the corridor. Not long after, Björn makes his way out as well. Both men waved to the cheering crowds but their styles of waving were drastically different. Christian was all over the place, using both his arms and laughing as it appeared he was feeding off the energy of the crowd. Björn however was more reserved and kept his arm close to his body. When the two men met face-to-face in the middle of the field, Christian tried not to let his nerves show and kept his smile as he held out his hand to Björn.

“You gonna me all ya got?”

He nods, “... Always do.”

The air between them becomes tense as the two men shake hands and walk back to their respective spots on the battlefield. The referee takes over and announces the rules. One on one, no switching, no time limit, first one down loses the match and the victor goes to the semi-finals. Christian clutches a Pokeball in his right hand as he stares intensely at his competition. He wants to use his trusty Typhlosion for the match but he knows Björn will use Luxray. He also knows Pyroar has a score to settle with his rival’s long-time partner, so he will give him that chance.

The referee raises his flags and yells “Begin!” in a heavy Swedish accent. True to Björn’s nature, he never udders a word when he releases his Pokemon. Because of this, it’s always a surprise as to who he chooses to most trainers but not him. He’s come to read and study him well. His guess was correct as Luxray emerges on the battlefield. A loud roar erupts as a sign of strength and eagerness and the crowds' cheers soon follows as the predominately Swedish spectators chant and wave flags in support.

“This battle is ours. Show them what you can do Pyroar!” Christian called out as he tossed the Pokeball in the air. Pyroar soon appeared on the field and let out a loud roar of its own as the Danes in the stands made their voices heard over the Swedes. Nearly everyone was on their feet and that's how Christian loved his battles. Looking at the Pokemon in question, it was clear both trainers raised them with love and care. Pyroar's brown coat was sleek while its large mane, coloured in red and gold streaks, shined in the bright sunlight. Luxray's black fur was also well-groomed. Not a single hair was out of place, even on its large mane, as the occasional sparks emerge from around its body, a signal to its trainer that it was ready to go and awaiting his commands. Björn wasted no time in getting the battle started. “Use Thunderbolt!” He ordered and Luxray's body released a powerful current of yellow electricity, directing it straight at Pyroar. Christian didn't miss a beat as his expression showed confidence.

“Counter that with yer Flamethrower!”

Pyroar responded to Christian's command and a powerful stream of fire was released from its mouth, heading in the direction of Luxray. The two attacks collided in the center of the field, causing a mini explosion as a cloud of dust and dirt went up in all directions. The crowd couldn't get enough as the cheers got even louder than before. Many spectators were now on their feet in the stands, chanting the trainers' names.

“You've been doing some training without me haven't ya?” Christian laughed.

For possibly the first time that day, he saw Björn crack a smile, “Maybe...”

Both Christian and Björn were determined to win but were all smiles to one another. But it wasn't always this way. Their friendship went back to when they were just children, both being new trainers and all. Christian remembered when he first met Björn at a tournament in Malmö. His first impression of him was shy and that he barely spoke above a whisper but Christian didn't seem to mind. He was eager to make new friendships while he was at his first international tournament and Björn looked like the perfect person. Christian had done most of the talking but they came to discover they had a lot in common– similar backgrounds, similar interests, and mostly importantly, similar goals. Both of them made the finals that tournament and after a long battle, Christian had won by a mere few seconds when Björn's then-Shinx had fainted before his then-Litleo. At the end of all, they were set to part ways, but not before exchanging contact information.

From this day on, we’re friends but rivals! Let’s do our best and work hard together! Promise?

Promise...

That would be beginning of their long but turbulent friendship.



The battle between Pyroar and Luxray had gotten more physical. With the continued use of physical attacks such as Crunch and Fire Fang, the damage taken on both sides was apparent, especially on Luxray who was struggling from the burning effects of the latter attack. Their rivalry ran deep, just like their trainers'. Christian’s mind became pre-occupied when past memories flasheed through his mind. As the boys got older, they grew stronger and their profile was raised. No longer were they the budding trainers with a little bit of battle experience. They were trainers with tremendous skill and star power. But both of them took the spotlight different. Björn was more private. He rarely spoke to the press, kept his person life under wraps, and focused more on his training. Christian however loved the attention, so much so it went to his head and his training took a back seat. He was still winning countless battles, securing his title as one of the best in Denmark, but no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't win against Björn. Each time they met on the battlefield, he always lost– and it angered him than he ever wanted to admit. But unknown to him at the time, Björn felt the same way. He knew Christian was capable of so much more and to see him throw it away for fame infuriated but hurt him as well.

As time progressed, their relationship became more strained. When Christian thought he was two steps ahead of Björn, he was actually two steps behind him. When they were eighteen, their friendship hit a boiling point when Christian lost an important match against him. Not only did he lose his chance to enter a major international tournament, he lost his spot in both the Danish and global standings, a blow to his pride. Christian remembers that day well, how he was on his knees when he had saw Björn staring him down. He had never felt more humiliated in his life.

“It's not fair! How can ya be so strong when I started before you did. I'm supposed to be better than you!”

But Björn walked away.

It was at that moment when something in him snapped and pool of anger overtook him. He lifted himself up and raised his fist to Björn's face. “Don't walk away when I'm talkin’ to you!”

Björn however had enough of Christian's antics and he was the one to launch a punch of his own. His was much faster and Christian had no time to dodge when it him in the face, knocking him down hard. His whole mouth was aching in pain and blood had begun to trickle down from his nose. But when he turned back to face Björn, he had something he had never seen before.

He was crying.

“I looked up to ya. 'nd y’threw it all 'way.”

“I don't un-”

“Look at yourself! Where’s that kid who had passion for battlin’? For training? Y’promised we’d work hard together. ‘nstead you’re livin’ like a celebrity. Yer a fraud and a liar.”

Christian looked at him with wide eyes. This was the most he’d have ever heard him talk in a long time but Björn spoke the truth. “Have I really strayed that far?” He hadn't noticed the trainer he had become. But it hits him harder than that punch ever did. When was the last time he did any proper training? He doesn’t remember it. The only thing he’s done for the last several years was pump up his Pokemon with vitamins and rare candies. Sure he’d done some training here and there but never the gruelling process of working late into the night, making sure his team was in tip-top shape. That’s what he’s told everyone for years. That’s what he’s told everyone that was the key to his success. “Work hard everyday like me and you can become strong too!”

But it was a lie. Everything was a lie and he believed it.

Christian’s voice is shaky when he speaks up. He can’t look at Björn when he does, he’s too embarrassed for that. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry I let you and my Pokemon down.”

He tries his best not to cry but can’t hold back the tears any longer. Björn goes down to his level and hands him a tissue from his pocket. Christian finally looks up at him. Björn wasn’t crying as much as before but his face still bared the marks of where they fell.

“‘m sorry too. Didn’t mean to hurt ya like that. But t’see ya actin’ like y’did... it wasn’t right. Yer better than that.”

--

Christian returns to reality when the thump in his throat becomes painful. The memories are still raw for him and as much as he didn’t like to admit it, it still makes him cry. He can’t think about that though, not at a time like this when he can taste victory in his grasp. He commanded Pyroar to continue his barrage of Fire Fang attacks. When it hit a particular spot on Luxray’s neck, it howled in pain and used Discharge on Pyroar in retaliation, and without Björn’s command, much to everyone’s surprise. Pyroar took heavy damage from the attack and it became partially paralyzed as it struggled to stay standing. When Luxray jumped away to be closer to Björn, it landed harder than it should have and the burn it was obtained earlier in the match caused a tremendous amount of pain in its right leg. With both afflicted with status conditions and damaged after a round of heavy physical attacks, it was clear they weren’t going to last much longer. Worried for the health of their Pokemon, they decided this was their cue to end it with as much force as possible.

This is it. This is our chance, Christian thought. “Sunny Day Pyroar!”

“’lectric Terrain!”

Both Pokemon obeyed their trainer’s calls. Pyroar made a loud roar to the sky above and the sun’s rays became more intense, causing the open stadium to heat up quickly. The change in temperature was noticeable in the stands where the crowds’ cheers began to die down slightly and many resorted to removing some articles of clothing and using whatever they had as fans. Luxray meanwhile had created a kind of yellow-coloured misty terrain where bolts of electricity can be seen coming from the ground. With that completed, both trainers stared intensely at one another before making their final call at the same time.

“Solar Beam!”

“Thunderbolt!”

With Sunny Day in effect, it only took Pyroar seconds to form a powerful ball of energy from its mouth and launched it straight for its opponent. Luxray in turn released a fierce current of electricity, this one much more powerful than before thanks to the effects of Electric Terrain. They met with sheer force and a ferocious explosion took place, sending a huge cloud of smoke, dust, and dirt in the air. The smell burnt the senses of both trainers and they quickly shielded their eyes from the debris. Christian feels as if his heart has completely stopped as he anxiously awaits on what has taken place on the battlefield. Björn on the other hand swears he can hear his heart beat in his ringing ears. It takes several seconds (though it felt like an eternity for the two of them) when the cloud of smoke clears, they notice both Pokemon are still standing, albeit badly bruised and beaten. But it only takes two seconds before Pyroar collapses to the ground, Luxray following suit soon after. Christian shuts his eyes with a somber smile. It’s over.

“Pyroar is unable to battle! Luxray is the winner! Björn Oxenstjärna of Sweden will move ahead to the semi-final round!”

Christian breathed a sigh of relief and smiled. He raised his Pokeball and calls Pyroar back inside. He’s disappointed but in high spirits. It was a good battle– it always was with him. As the crowd loudly cheers for Björn’s victory, the two men are all smiles as they walk up to one another to shake hands. Christian takes it up a notch and pulls him in for a hug. He is the first to break away but before he leaves the field, he holds onto Björn's hand tightly and raises it up for the two of them to give a final wave.

--

The sun had just finished setting and Björn was sitting on a bench on the side of a battlefield. The field was located behind the stadium, complete with a park and bike path nearby, and was commonly used for practice. He was surprised to see this place so dead at this hour. Normally there'd be trainers battling it out or perfecting new moves but not a single person could be found– only the sounds of a few bird Pokemon chirping away in the background. Björn is not really paying attention to his surroundings however and is instead engrossed in his phone. After his big win, his phone blew up with messages from friends and family sending their congratulations and best wishes for the next round. He keeps returning to Timo’s texts, rereading them the umpteenth time. Those were the ones that mattered most to him.

“Yo!” a voice called from above him. “You just gonna stare at yer phone all night?” Christian smiled as he offered a cool bottle of cola. Björn chuckled as he took the drink but didn’t open it, even after Christian sat down next to him and started drinking his. “Good battle today!”

Björn nodded, “’t was a close one. Ya had m’nervous there fer a moment.”

“Yeah but I’ll get ya next time, for sure!”

The two share some brief laughter but the conversation quickly went silent as they enjoyed each other’s company. Björn took this moment to enjoy his drink and the nice breeze that had picked up. After a minute had passed, Christian was the first to speak up again.

“Hey Björn?”

He looked at Christian curiously.

“I was thinking a lot during our battle– about how things used to be.”

There was a brief pause.

“I’m sorry.”

His expression turns to one of confusion, “Fer what?”

“For everything Björn. For actin’ all high and mighty for all those years. For treatin’ ya like shit.”

“Ya say this every time we battle now.”

“Just hear me out ’kay? I got caught up in everything you know? I blamed you when I should have blamed myself. I let you and my Pokemon down. I-”

“Enough,” Björn interrupts. He placed his hand on Christian’s shoulder for reassurance.

“’m not mad anymore. We were kids then. ’m happy we’re friends again.” He paused, “Just keep being yourself. S’all I ask.”

Björn was a man of few words but it always seem to do the trick as it sent Christian into an emotional mess. He pulled him in a tight hug and cried onto his shoulder. “You’re the best! I swear I don't deserve ya!”

“Y’talk too much.”

Christian laughed as he pulled away and wiped the tears from his eyes. “Yeah. I do, don’t I?”

As much as it was easy to make Christian cry, it was just as easy for him to pull out of one. He was back to his old self when he stood up and reached into his pocket, pulling out a Pokeball. Björn had recognized that look of determination he had come to love from him.

“Ya know, Typhlosion never got a chance to battle today, and this park is lookin’ a little dead.” He winks at him, “You up for a rematch?”

Björn smiled. There was no way he was saying no to that.

At their age, there were no more hard feelings. He’s done a lot of growing up since then. He is not the sore loser he once was. Björn is better than him− and he’s come to accept that.

Date: 2015-07-04 09:08 pm (UTC)
yuuago: (Default)
From: [personal profile] yuuago
:D I like the way their relationship changed/developed over the course of this. It's sweet that they could come to a good end, in the end.