I've decided long ago that I was tired of that inevitable chain of events, so I've decided to neglect showing fondness towards anyone. A rather cold decision, I will admit, but when you've lived for more than a few centuries and your lifespan's natural end is nowhere in sight, you realize that the best outcome you could possibly hope for in any relationship is to watch your loved one die in front of you, while you yourself show no signs of ceasing. Rather tiring, I'd say. very tiring. After the first few times, I decided that they would also be the last few times. I've gone a hundred years or so like this, and I've wondered more than once if I made the right decision. I always feel justified in the end, though. Their end, that is, not mine. When I see them reach the end of their existence and their life goes out like a pitiful candle, I am thankful to have spared myself any meaningful connection with them. I still wonder though, from time to time, even to this day, if I am being wise to do this.
He looked up from his book at her. "Hm? What is it?"
Zaru thought for a moment. It had been quite some time since she had initially met him out in the rain, in the darkness. She thought herself a meal at the beginning, but he quickly proved himself benevolent. Towards her, at least. He had offered to teach her how to read, and he had kept his word so far. Day in and day out for the last four months she had been listening to and following his instructions, and she was now able to read most anything she saw in the village. (She still had difficulties with writing though, and suspected she would continue to have them until such a time came when she could reliably hold a pen.) Some, well, most of Callahan's books still reduced her rate of reading to a crawl, but he insisted that at her level, a crawl was much more than he had hoped for out of her for the amount of time she'd been reading. She believed him. She wouldn't say he never lied to her, but he was never malicious or downright mean about it. He always just seemed to be attempting to get a reaction out of her when he did, and would never fail to laugh and playfully chide her for being so gullible. When it came to her studies though, he never masked or so much as thought of altering the truth. She liked him for that.
She liked him, but didn't know if he liked her. She thought so, maybe. Hoped so, at least. Why else would someone spend so many hours of their life on someone else only to ask for nothing in return? She asked him this once, but in simpler terms, and he simply told her that he liked to read. Pressing the issue didn't net her any more answers, he simply shrugged and said he was above doing things for secret reasons. While she did not doubt that, she still felt as if he was purposely withholding something.
"Do you want to go out after I finish my studies for the day? I know you don't like berries, so maybe we could go down to the Cafe and get something else."Would he take her up on the offer? They had never really been out in public together before, mainly on account of him never really going out in public in the first place. Bad things usually happened when he did, whether it be the temperature rising to dangerous degrees, flash fires breaking out.. the only time he really went out was at night, and that was to make the hour or so run (not walk) back to his house, which lay deep within the woods.
"Sure. I've been meaning to see how they've been doing, especially since they're missing a good deal of their staff! Why don't we go now? It's about the busiest time of night for them, and I would love to see how they're handling it!" He chuckled and closed his book, looking absolutely delighted with himself, and he was.
She turned away and frowned a bit. She wanted him to want to go because she asked him to, not because he wanted to laugh at or antagonize the pretty friendly volunteer staff. Probably antagonize, she thought. He thought anyone working for free was either a sucker or a fool. That was partly the reason she suspected he wasn’t being entirely honest about teaching her for free, he was no sucker, and he was no fool. She hoped not, at least.
"I was hoping you would go there with me instead of just to poke fun at the Pokemon there. Would you?" She thought she detected silence for a moment, but wasn't sure if it was just her imagination.
"But I will be going with you. Were you not going as well?" Another frown on her part, this time visible to him. Either he didn't get it, or he was being difficult again. Whichever one it was, she was tired of not knowing.
"I was imagining something like a date. I-"
"Your imagination will have to suffice, I don't date. Not interested. I'm sure you could find someone else who would be more than happy to share some romantic moments with you."He resumed writing in his book after he had said that, and the moments went on by with no further reply from him, leaving her to contemplate that sudden rejection.
"You don't date? Do you mean you'd just like to-"
He paused his writing and looked up from his book at her, causing her to falter. "I'm sorry if I was a bit unclear, but I meant I'm not interested in pursuing any kind of relationship with you. Romantic, passionate, platonic, no strings attached, friends with benefits, you name it. Not interested in you." He returned to his book. "If you want to head to the Cafe still, I'm more than certain you can find someone who will be interested. If you wait too long though, their rush will be over and you'll be left with pretty slim pickings, I'd say." He chuckled again, as if he found that idea funny. She was at a loss for words.
No matter, though. No more words were needed here. She left without saying anything.
He didn’t look up.