koyuki: (pokemon 」 with only strangers watching)
/人◕‿‿◕人\ ([personal profile] koyuki) wrote in [community profile] southofreality2011-09-10 05:05 pm

Never Did Say I Do (Green/Red, one-shot)

Title: Never Did Say I Do
Rating: PG-13
Word count: 3792
Genre: Humor, Romance
Series: Pokémon
Characters/Pairings: Green/Red, Leaf
Warnings: me not letting Green have any dignity. Or letting myself have any dignity, for that matter.
Summary: University!AU. Green has answered a lot of difficult questions before, but it's the hardest one he's ever had to ask.
A/N: for [livejournal.com profile] lark! Because I can. Things to know about this story: game-verse AU, in which Green is a new prof at a university, and Leaf and Red are biology and anthropology postdocs. There are no Pokemon in the story because they mysteriously all became extinct about 500 years prior... Which I will get around to explaining if/when I finally finish the story connected to this verse.


Never Did Say I Do


Green pushes up his glasses and gathers up his notes, watching as all his students file out of the lecture hall. A few stragglers remain behind, however - his usual crowd - and wander up to him with their questions.

After a year and a half of teaching, Green thinks he can finally distinguish between the kids with real questions and the suck-ups or the ones with crushes or the ones with crushes but at least had legitimate interest in his work. Still, he’s not always sure.

“Ida,” Green acknowledges the last student standing in the room with him. “What can I do for you?” Ida smiles and scurries up to him, almost literally with hearts in her eyes.

“Professor Oak,” she says, “I heard about the university offering you a professorship position.” Ida slowly and steadily turns redder and her voice higher as the sentence progresses. “Congratulations.”

Green nods at her. Ida is one of the few he’s not completely sure about still, straddling the thin line between crushing and crushing but at least interested in history. She’s been in every class of his since he started teaching, and has even switched her major over. That had to count for something, right? “Thank you, but Professor Oak is my grandfather.” He laughs. “Was there anything else…?”

“Ah! I wanted to ask you about the Battle at Vermillion Port. I’m still not sure how the soldiers from Johto managed to sneak around…”

Green sighs. And there it is. He knows Ida is quite smart and a good student since he’s read her papers, but she also has this inane habit of making sure she’s the last person left after his lectures so she can ask him questions he knows she already knew the answer to.

Green glances down at his watch. “Sorry, Ida, I actually have a meeting I’m going to be late to. You should look over chapter thirteen again if you’re unclear.” When he looks back up at her, Ida’s expression borders crestfallen. “…But, if you’re still unclear, I have office hours from 3 to 5 today,” he amends.

“Thank you, Professor,” she chirps and hovers around until he finally takes his leave, trailing after him out the door. He’s pretty sure she would’ve trailed him all the way to the cafeteria if he hadn’t gotten stopped by another professor in the hall.

“Green!” Elm exclaims when he sees him, and comes up to pat Green on the back. “I heard the good news! Congratulations.” Elm holds out his hand.

“In no small part thanks to you, I’m sure.” Green smiles and shakes it, nodding off at Ida to go ahead with him. Ida bristles a little at being brushed aside but clearly understands when to make her retreat, and leaves. “Thanks for putting in a good word for me.”

“Oh, it was nothing at all, for an old colleague’s grandson, and definitely nothing at all for a new colleague who’s definitely worthy of the title,” Elm says, earnest. Green glows a little at his affirmation. “Say,” he continues, “it’s not really my field, but I know it’s yours – have you heard about how they’re starting to excavate Sinjoh…?”

“Professor Elm,” Jared - Elm’s doctoral research assistant - interrupts. It’s not entirely hostile, but it’s nowhere near polite either. “The library’s still holding the books for us, and the staff already yelled at us last time for interrupting their lunch. We probably shouldn’t keep them waiting.”

“Oh, right,” Elm hums and pats Green on the shoulder once more for good measure. “Another time then. Congratulations again.” He waves good-naturedly as he walks off.

“Yeah, congratulations, Professor,” Jared murmurs after him, and Green scowls. Jared had started working on his dissertation at the same time as Green, and is now a few weeks away from defending his thesis. Green, on the other hand, has already finished three rounds of lectures at the university. The animosity isn’t just from him, though - one doesn’t become a doctorate with a lauded research dissertation in three and a half years and get offered assistant professorship less than two years later without making a few enemies, deserved or not.

Mostly it’s not. For all people think he’s riding his grandfather’s coattails, Green couldn’t care less and lets his work speak for itself.

Still, it doesn’t mean he’ll take that kind of crap to his face. “Thanks,” he says. “Hope your research is going well. Looking forward to hearing you defend your theories on agrarian societies in 16th century Unova.”

Jared opens his mouth, then closes it. He glares at Green before stomping off after Elm. Green can’t help but smirk to himself.

So maybe it’s not totally undeserved. But if there’s anything Green has learned over the last seven years, it’s that what doesn’t kill him only makes him stronger. Two all-nighters, sixteen cups of coffee, and thirty-five consecutive hours at the library hadn’t killed him, and a little academic jealousy and undue malignment hasn’t and won’t kill him either.

What will kill him is Leaf if he doesn’t show up to lunch in the next two minutes.

“Crap,” Green mutters under his breath and rushes towards the cafeteria.

“You’re late,” Leaf snips when he finds her standing outside the university cafeteria waiting for him.

“By like two minutes,” he says, inhaling heavily and puffing out short breaths.

“You know,” Leaf says, pushing open the doors to the cafeteria, “I know you think you’re this new big-deal hotshot professor on campus now, but cell cultures aren’t going to wait for you. Some bacteria have reproductive cycles of two minutes.”

Green picks up a grey plastic tray before turning to stare at her for a long moment, expression somewhere between annoyance and thoroughly grossed out.

“...Right, no bacteria sex when we’re eating. That’s a little too digusting for lunchtime conversation, even for me.”

Green grabs a plate a fries and puts it down on the tray next to his sandwich, heading towards the cash register. “How come you always yell at me, but never at Red. He’s not even here yet.”

“Well, one,” Leaf says, setting her tray down next to his and ticking off the points on her fingers, “Red can be an absent-minded academic all he wants since he sits in the library looking at files all day while you have a schedule to keep you on your toes; two, he’s rarely late anyway; and three, I told him to meet us at 12:30 so we had time to go over the plan.” Leaf turns to the cashier and smiles. “He’s paying for mine, too,” she says.

Green rolls his eyes and fumbles for his wallet. The plan, right. The plan to create the perfect moment so he can finally drop the question. The reason he’s going to pay for Leaf’s lunch - again - so he can listen to her lecture and coach him on how not to make a fool of himself.

“He won’t say no,” Leaf had assured him when he’d asked her for her help, “but I’m also not going to say no to a month worth of free meals.” Green had scowled uncooperatively then, but it’s not like he had any leverage against the conditions.

“Have you heard the big news?” Leaf asks offhandedly, plopping down into the seat across from him and stealing one of his fries. Green tries to bat her hand away.

“News? There’s big news other than that I’m a professor now?”

Assistant professor,” Leaf scoffs. “And don’t be a dick, you know the world doesn’t revolve around you. I meant about Sinjoh,” she says.

“Only briefly.”

“Well, they’ve stabilized the grounds around the Sinjoh Ruins, and apparently excavation is going to start in two months. And,” she pauses to emphasize her point, “there’s a rumor going around that they’re going to invite Red to join the dig.” She looks at him meaningfully as she says the last part.

Green blinks. “That’s… good, right?” Leaf raises an eyebrow, staring like he’s so stupid he doesn’t her time. “I mean, it would be a fantastic opportunity for his career.”

“Yes,” Leaf says slowly, “it would be great for his career. But unless if I’m wrong, I don’t see you being so willing to give up that professorship you were just offered…”

Green pauses. Leaf waits patiently for him to process this. Then it clicks.

“Oh fuck.” Green buries his head in his heads and tries not to hyperventilate. “He’s going to say no. He’s going to say no and join the dig, and I’m going to become one of those weird old professors who sit in their offices all day—“

“Green,” Leaf hisses. “Shut up.”

Green does, for a moment. Then – “I’m can’t compete with that,” he whines.

Red chooses that moment to walk into the cafeteria.

Real panic begins to well up in Green’s chest. “Oh fuck, oh fuck,” he says, stuffing his hand into his pocket to reach for the box. “Leaf, fuck, what do I do?”

Leaf ignores him, waving her hands wildly to get Red’s attention. Red spots her and returns a small wave before pointing in the direction of the line.

When Leaf turns back to Green, he’s already taken the box out of this jacket. “Oh my God,” he says, his hand shaking slightly. “I can’t – I have to do it now or I’m never—”

“Green!” Leaf yells and covers the box with both of her hands before turning back to the serving area and looking to make sure Red wasn’t watching. “What the hell, are you carrying that around with you? What if you got pick-pocketed?”

Green chokes back something suspiciously close to a whimper. He tries to pry the box out from under Leaf’s hands.

“Green,” Leaf hisses, “if you propose to Red in a university cafeteria, I swear to God, I don’t care if you don’t invite me to your wedding but I will find you, and I will interrupt you in the middle of your service and tell everyone about what you did and every other reason why you don’t deserve to marry Red.”

Green really does whimper this time. “Okay,” he says. He supposes he should be grateful for Leaf’s faith that Red is still going to say yes, would’ve ever said yes at all.

Leaf’s eyes soften. “He’s not going to say no,” she says as if she could read his mind. “I just mentioned it because now you have more to consider than just you.”

Green breathes in slowly through his nose to calm himself down and stuffs the box back into his pocket. “Do you think Red…? –er, that is, I know the anthropology department’s been looking to hire recently.”

Leaf snorts. “God, can you imagine Red giving a whole lecture?”

The corners of Green’s lips twitch, his composure finally settling back in. “We taught a seminar together once, remember?”

“Yes, and if I hadn’t graded the papers, no one would’ve received grades that semester,” Red interrupts, walking up to their table and sliding right into the seat next to Green.

“My better half,” Green acknowledges. “What would I do without you.” He presses a quick peck to his cheek, and moves to cover Red’s hand on the seat between them with his own.

Leaf flicks a piece of napkin at them. “Stop being gross, guys. Some of us are trying to eat,” she says, but she’s smiling.

Red hums and steals a fry off of Green’s plate with his free hand.

“You have your own fries.” Green gestures to his plate.

“Yours are better,” Red says.

“Scientifically proven,” Leaf adds, and takes another one for herself.

“Abuse,” Green accuses and shoves at Red playfully. Red’s shoulder bumps his back, and suddenly with Red there and next to him, all of Green’s nervousness is welling back up and his fingers twitch slightly over Red’s hands. Red turns and looks at him curiously.

‘Stick to the plan,’ Leaf mouths at him as discretely as she can.

He smiles at Red. “Nothing.” He forces himself to quash that sudden bout of anxiety. Red looks at him for a moment longer, soft, unguarded affection that causes Green’s heart to jump to his throat, before turning back to steal more of Green’s fries.

Green doesn’t let go, and Red doesn’t say anything, his hand warm and comforting under Green’s own. The ring’s box rests heavy in his pocket.


*


Green’s not entirely sure how he ended up together with Red, but if he has to recount the story to anyone, it would go something like this:

Once upon a time, he’d hated Red. He actually hated Red quite viciously if he were honest, that snooty, stuck-up, pretentious little bitch who was such a teacher’s pet even though he never ever said a damn word in discussion except to contradict anything Green had said. Despite the size of the university and different majors, somehow they’d ended in a handful of the same classes together their freshman year, and Green had hated him with violence throughout all of first semester and almost all the way up until the end of the second.

Then he slept with him.

“Oh, thank God,” Leaf had said when he’d told her with a scowl. “I thought you two were going to explode from all that unresolved sexual tension.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” he’d snapped. “It was a one night stand.” And that was all it was: a stupid, drunken fumble at a party. Leaf had rolled her eyes but let the subject drop.

After that, Green had proceeded to have what he mistakenly thought were a series of one-night stands all with Red throughout sophomore year, until which he discovered Red’s toothbrush in his own dorm bathroom one morning, his roommate pulled him over to tell him, awkwardly, that it wasn’t so cool to kick him out when he was already in the room first and would be really nice if he could find privacy with his boyfriend somewhere else, and he found himself touring potential apartment buildings near campus with Red so they could board together junior year.

Only then did it occur to him.

He might or might not have had a minor breakdown.

Leaf might or might not have accused him of being too stupid to live.

The thing is, even now, he’s not completely convinced the whole thing didn’t just sneak up on him, and Green doesn’t like being caught unawares. If nothing else, he always learns from his mistakes.

That’s why, a little less than seven years later, he makes sure that he’s the one who’s going to pop the question, before he finds himself married to Red for four years without a clue with Leaf deciding that he’s actually too stupid to live and helping him remedy that situation.

He’s pretty sure that hasn’t happened already. Yet.


*


The Sinnohese restaurant is elegant, busy yet giving off the illusion of not being packed, and had taken Green a month to score a reservation for.

Personally, he’d thought it was a bit gratuitous, but Leaf had insisted that this was the only acceptable place. He’d only given in since she threatened to stop helping him if he didn’t, and he’d already invested half a month’s worth of lunches into it at that point.

Now, looking around the restaurant, he has to admit that the atmosphere itself might even be worth the price tag. It is also, unfortunately, way fancier than they type of place they usually go on dates which not only sets off Red’s suspicions, but also Green’s nervousness.

Once the maître d’ seats them, Red glances around at the décor and other tables full of patrons. “If you told me we were going to go somewhere this fancy, I would’ve dressed nicer.”

Red looks good. Actually, Red looks fantastic. Okay, so maybe he is a little underdressed compared to some of the other patrons, but Red looks so good that Green would kiss him on the spot if he weren’t sure that it would lead to them getting kicked out of the restaurant and ruin his plans for the evening.

The proposal plan, that is.

Green licks his bottom lip nervously. “I did tell you to dress nicely.”

Red raises an eyebrow. What he’s wearing is probably considered nice for him, but Green probably should’ve been more specific. He just didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. It wasn’t a big deal. It’s not going to be a big deal unless Red turns him down, in which case it would be traumatic and therefore a big deal. Or if he says yes, in which they would be getting married and therefore also a big deal.

…Okay so it kind of is a big deal.

He’s just trying not to freak out about it.

Before Green can dissolve further into a state of panic, their waiter comes to take their orders.

“The steak special sounds interesting,” Red says conversationally after the waiter rattles off the specials and leaves to give them some time.

“Mm,” Green says. The silence between them dissolves into uncomfortable, and Red casts him a weird glance once before their waiter comes back.

Sometimes, Green is more than half convinced that their relationship is built on him not knowing when to shut the hell up, and Red needing someone to fill the silence. Green always seems to have something to say, and Red seems more than happy to just let him talk until he finds his own things to say. It’s worked out well for them for ten years, but Green’s still not sure it’s something to build a marriage on.

“You’re quiet today,” Red says, snapping Green out of his thoughts. Red’s playing with his drink straw absent-mindedly.

“Yeah, sorry,” Green says. “Just have a lot on my mind.”

“Share?” Red asks.

Green pauses. “Well I was just thinking about the Sinjoh excavation…”

Red nods at him to continue, like it’s something that’s relevant to his work and he should be thinking about.

He takes a deep breath. “I heard you got an invitation. To go. And… I was just thinking about my professorship and…” Green trails off. He doesn’t know if he wants to finish.

Red is looking at him with something hesitant in his eyes.

“Are you going to take it?” Green asks.

“Do you want me to?” Red replies, voice surprisingly small.

Green stares. That… is not a response he expected.

“What?”

“We haven’t talked a lot lately and you’re always with Leaf so I thought… maybe you might want…” Red chews on his bottom lip and is pointedly not meeting Green’s eyes.

Green gapes. He wants to smack himself. He was trying so hard to keep it all a secret and make it perfect that he hadn’t even considered what it might look like to Red.

“Green?” Red says, quiet.

Leaf had said: wait till after dinner, but before dessert, as if there was only a small window of time for a proposal to be romantic. But, Green thinks, if he waits any longer, there isn’t going to be any proposal to be had.

He digs for the small box in his jacket pocket and gets down on one knee, briefly considering kneeling on both to crawl over and beg Red to marry him instead of going off and doing things that were clearly better for his career even though Green is an idiot and Red is not and should probably do the latter.

“R-re-r-r-red,” Green stutters, somehow managing to draw out Red’s name into four and a half syllables like it’s the most difficult thing he’s ever said. “Will you— will you—”

Red’s blinking at him with something like awe, like he’s found a puzzle piece he didn’t realize he was missing, but Green doesn’t have any time to process it. He fumbles with the box, trying desperately to pry it open before he finishes his sentence because he has enough sense to do that and—

“Yes.”

Green’s head snaps up. The box pops open and the ring clatters to the floor. “What? Uh…” he says. Then he processes it. “You wi—really?!”

Red hesitates. “You’re asking me to marry you, right?” he says, like he’s afraid he misinterpreted. “Yes, Green, I want to marry you.”

Green’s smiling so hard his cheeks are hurting and is possibly going blind with happiness. “Jesus, yes, marry me, Red.” He picks the ring off the floor and scoots forward on his knees towards Red. Red smiles at him with fond exasperation as Green slides the gold band onto his finger.

Briefly, Green realizes there’s cheering and applause as he presses a chaste kiss to the corner of Red’s smile. Their waiter clears his throat.

“Congratulations,” he says with a smile as he sets their orders down. Green flushes, only suddenly realizing what a complete fool he made of himself. Red’s still smiling like the cat who got the cream though.

“That was the least romantic proposal I have ever given.” Green sighs, shaking off his nerves.

Red rolls his eyes as he cuts his steak. “I hope that was the only proposal you’ve given.”

Green amends, “That was the least romantic proposal you’ve ever gotten.”

“Mm, it was the only and best proposal I’ve ever received,” he says, twisting the new ring on his finger. “And I said yes.”

Green smiles. “You did.” He pauses. “But Leaf’s still going to kill me.”

Red looks at him curiously in between a bite.

“Leaf was… helping me out,” he explains. “The fancy restaurant and everything was pretty much her idea,” he admits.

“I would’ve said yes even if you proposed to me at the cafeteria today.”

Green snorts. “Leaf said if I proposed to you at the cafeteria, she would crash our wedding and let everyone know why I don’t deserve you. I can’t believe you thought I’d take you to a fancy restaurant just to break up with you.”

“Stranger things have happened. Let’s not tell Leaf yet,” Red says. Then his voice drops a pitch and notch. “But don’t think that just because you proposed and I said yes that I’m the girl in the relationship, Dr. Oak,” he says, voice hushed and breathy.

Green smirks. “Wouldn’t dream of it,” he says. “And I’ll start by letting you pay for dinner.”

“Ah, but what’s mine is yours.” Red smiles genuinely back at him, and moves so the tips of his left hand are covering Green’s pinky and ring fingers. His ring reflects in the light. What’s yours is mine, is left hanging in between them.

Ours, Green thinks. “Yes.”

And he wouldn’t have it any other way.

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