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Fanfiction A Different Way

Discussion in 'Literature Library' started by Gazi, Mar 3, 2020.

  1. Gazi

    (Litleo ♀)
    Level 9
    May 27, 2018
    Dawn Stone ★★★★Legendary Triforce ★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Sequel to Changing the Plan and Off the Path
    Chapter 1
    It hadn't been that long since Ash had left Pallet Town and started his pokémon journey. Still, coming back here felt strange. It all looked so similar, but it didn't feel the same, not really.

    Ash sat under a tree behind Professor Oak's lab, watching his pokémon play with each other and the other pokémon that Professor Oak kept around. They seemed to be having fun, and Ash was happy for them. They'd had a stressful couple of weeks, and the pokémon deserved a break just as much as the rest of them did. Ash just couldn't bring himself to fully relax.

    He didn't even know what he was so unnerved about. They'd been able to help Mewtwo and get him to calm down, as well as kept him out of Team Rocket's hands. They'd saved another pokémon, one that Blaine and Professor Oak had figured out was called Lugia. Sure, Team Rocket was probably up to a lot of trouble, and they couldn't really let their guard down, because Giovanni and the rest of Team Rocket would still want to get their hands on Mewtwo and Lugia.

    "Rai?" Ash frowned and turned towards his newly evolved Raichu. It had been a few weeks since his Pikachu had evolved into a Raichu, and Ash still wasn't used to it. Raichu wasn't quite used to it either. He had a lot of excess electricity that he was still trying to control.

    "I'm fine, Raichu," Ash assured him. He stroked Raichu's fur, grinning when his pokémon let out a quiet screech in amusement. "Just getting a little antsy, I guess." Ash had never enjoyed sitting around doing nothing. When he was younger, before going on his adventure, Ash had run around to overcome boredom. Now though he just didn't like to sit around because he felt like he should be doing something useful with himself.

    "Do you want to go see what everyone else is doing?" Ash asked as he got to his feet. "Maybe Lt. Surge is up for some training," They'd all been really busy since coming to Pallet Town. Even though they were all at Professor Oak's labs, Ash felt like he barely ever saw his friends, which wasn't true at all. He saw Blaine, Lt. Surge, and Koga every day. Maybe he was just missing seeing them all at the same time, because it really had been awhile since that had happened.

    Before leaving Ash walked to the other side of the tree where Lt. Surge's Electabuzz was sleeping. Ash nudged it. "Hey, Electabuzz, we were going to go see Lt. Surge. Do you want to come?" The question wasn't necessary. Ash knew that Electabuzz wouldn't leave his side. Lt. Surge had given his pokémon the task of keeping him safe. Ash didn't really like that Electabuzz was basically babysitting him, but he didn't try to fight it. Lt. Surge had a lot on his mind, and Ash didn't want to do anything to make him feel worse.

    Ash had been scared when he'd seen Lt. Surge completely break down at Team Rocket's island base. Maybe if it was just a one time thing, Ash would feel better about it, but he knew that something similar had happened to Lt. Surge a couple of times since they'd come to Pallet Town. Koga said that Lt. Surge was in a vulnerable state of mind because of Lugia.

    Ash understood it, but it still confused him. He didn't say anything about it, but Ash thought that if Lt. Surge was so anxious about being around Lugia, maybe he shouldn't spend all his time with the pokémon.

    Electabuzz grunted and stood up. It seemed really tired, but Electabuzz was dedicated to doing its job. It yawned and let a couple of sparks loose. Ash watched in fascination as Raichu seemed to draw in the small amount of electricity. Ash had noticed that Raichu seemed more sensitive to electricity. He was more drawn to it, and naturally gave off more electrical energy. Ash didn't know if this was a good thing or not.

    "Let's go," Ash said. With the two pokémon following him he made his way towards the large pond behind Professor Oak's lab. He knew that was where he would find Lugia, which meant it would be where he would find Lt. Surge.

    Ash didn't understand it. Lt. Surge didn't like Lugia, and he was afraid of him, and yet ever since they'd gotten here Lt. Surge rarely let the legendary pokémon out of his sight. The man didn't trust Lugia at all. He was making himself more anxious to make sure that Lugia didn't do anything that might hurt any of them. Ash was concerned, but Koga had convinced him to leave it alone. Lt. Surge was really protective. Keeping them safe was how he coped.

    As they got closer to the pond Ash could see Charizard flying in the air. Ash was happy to see him. Just like how Lt. Surge had Electabuzz keep an eye on Ash for him, Ash had asked Charizard to make sure that Lt. Surge was safe.

    It wasn't long before Ash saw Lt. Surge sitting on a rock near, but not too close to, the pond. His Jolteon and Raichu were sunbathing right next to him. Lugia was swimming contently on the surface of the water, even though he normally just stayed underwater. Ash was relieved to see that the two of them seemed to be having a good day.

    "Hey, Lt. Surge," Ash sat down next to him. Lt. Surge gave him a small smile. He seemed to be having a fantastic day.

    "Hey, kiddo," Lt. Surge took Ash's hat and set it down on Jolteon's head. Jolteon opened one eye to look at Lt. Surge before it relaxed again and tried to go back to sleep.

    "How's Lugia doing today?" Ash asked. Lugia had stopped moving and was staring at him. Ash waved, and Lugia raised a wing in a type of wave in response. It seemed like Lugia was interested in coming over to say 'hi', but he kept his distance. It had taken some time, but Lugia was beginning to respect that Lt. Surge didn't want to be really close to him.

    "It's not sulking or causing trouble," Lt. Surge said. "And it's not trying to cuddle with me, so I guess it's doing okay." Ash couldn't help but grin slightly in amusement. Lugia was so cautious around people in general, but that reluctance didn't seem to apply when it came to Ash and Lt. Surge for some reason. Ash didn't mind it, as he really liked Lugia and wouldn't mind being his friend, but he knew that Lt. Surge didn't like it. The man didn't want Lugia to get so friendly with him.

    Ash looked at Lugia and grinned as he saw that the pokémon seemed to be playing with one of Lt. Surge's Magneton. When Lt. Surge had joined them again, they'd been in such a hurry that he'd left his Magneton on the island base. A few days later though Sabrina had transferred them back to him. Ash was glad that Lt. Surge's pokémon were all safe, even though he didn't actually know his Magneton all that well.

    Since they'd gotten here though Ash had noticed that at least one Magneton was always with Lugia, even more often than Lt. Surge was. At first Ash had thought that the Magneton were just taking turns in guarding over Lugia at Lt. Surge's command, but now he thought that it was just the same Magneton, and that Lt. Surge didn't approve of it at all.

    "They look like they're having fun," Ash commented. Lt. Surge frowned slightly.

    "I can't drag that Magneton away from that monster,' Lt. Surge said. Ash didn't like that he called Lugia a monster, but he didn't say anything.

    "It looks happy though," Ash said, and it was true. He didn't think he'd ever seen so much emotion from one Magneton. "And it's not hurting anybody,"

    "Yeah, I guess it's fine," Lt. Surge said reluctantly. He stood up and stretched. He looked at Ash and the boy's Raichu. He didn't seem to be looking for anything in particular, but then Lt. Surge frowned and focused his gaze on Raichu. "Have you two been keeping up with those exercises that I showed you?"

    "Uh, no," Ash admitted shamefully. "We tried to, at first, but Raichu's not used to his powers and he, well…" Raichu's ears lowered and he slouched as he let out a low whine. Lt. Surge's expression softened.

    "It shocked you," Lt. Surge commented. Ash hunched his shoulders slightly and nodded.

    "It wasn't that bad," Ash said quietly. "But Raichu refuses to train. I don't think he wants to risk hurting me again,"

    Lt. Surge put his hands on his hips. "If if doesn't get its powers under control, Raichu's just going to end up hurting you again anyways," Raichu growled at Lt. Surge, who fixed him with an unimpressed stare. Lt. Surge didn't accept nonsense and rebelion like this from the pokémon he helped train. "You know what, we were planning on waiting a little bit, but I think you two need these things now," Lt. Surge brought two fingers to his mouth and let out a shrill whistle. Charizard flew down, ready to receive a command.

    "Me and Ash have to see Blaine for a few minutes," Lt. Surge said to Charizard. "Stay here with Jolteon and my Raichu. Make sure that pokémon doesn't do anything." Ash didn't understand why Lt. Surge refused to refer to Lugia by his name. It was also 'that pokémon', 'monster', or 'creature'. Lt. Surge didn't seem to want to acknowledge that Lugia was a living, breathing creature with feelings. Despite himself, Ash couldn't help but remember when Blaine had accused Lt. Surge of not having empathy, and how Koga had said that he did this as a defense mechanism.

    Charizard didn't look happy and he looked to Ash for confirmation. The boy nodded. He had told Charizarrd to keep an eye on Lt. Surge, but that didn't have to apply for all times of the day. Ash would be with Lt. Surge, and so would Electabuzz, who had already shown that it could handle Lt. Surge when he was having a really hard time. Besides, Lt. Surge would probably be more relaxed if he knew that Lugia was being supervised.

    Lt. Surge began to lead the way into the labs with Ash following quickly behind him. "Why are we seeing Blaine?"

    "We've been working on something together," Lt. Surge said, and Ash couldn't help but grin when he heard that. Lt. Surge and Blaine hadn't been able to get along with each other at all at first, but all of a sudden they had figured out how to put aside their differences. Ash didn't know what had changed, but he was too relieved to really care

    "What is it?" Ash asked curiously. Lt. Surge smirked.

    "A gift that should hopefully help you to not hurt yourself as much," Lt. Surge looked pointedly at Ash's hands. He'd burned one of them pretty badly when he was trying to convince Mewtwo to join them, and shortly after that Ash's arm had gotten burned with electricity, and it still hadn't healed completely. His arm looked a lot better, it barely even looked hurt, but there was still a lot of damage beneath the surface.

    Sometimes Ash's arm would go numb. Sometimes it would start tingling, similar to how his foot might if it was asleep. What scared Ash the most though was when his arm and hand would start shaking, and nothing he could do would stop it. The only thing he could do was wait. Sometimes these things would last for just a few seconds, usually it was a few minutes. Once though Ash's arm had shook for nearly an hour. It had terrified him.

    When they got to the lab Lt. Surge headed straight to the back labs where all of Professor Oak's most important work was kept. The Professor didn't usually allow anybody else back there, but there were exceptions to everything. Blaine was a talented scientist, he was smart enough to not mess with things that Professor Oak didn't want him to touch.

    When they got to the back labs, Lt. Surge knocked on the door. They waited for a moment before they heard a response. "Come in," It was Blaine. Lt. Surge opened the door and led the way inside. Blaine didn't seem surprised to see the man, probably because they had been working together on whatever their project had been, but he raised an eyebrow when he saw Ash.

    "Well, this is a pleasant surprise," Blaine opened the door wider, letting them see inside. This was his way of being completely open with them. He didn't have any secrets. "Did you need something?"

    "What, you think I'd only come here because I wanted something from you?" Lt. Surge put a hand to his chest. "I'm wounded, Blaine, really I am," Lt. Surge's joking manner didn't last for long before he broke down and started chuckling. "But yeah, I wanted something." Lt. Surge gestured to Ash's Raichu. "This slacker has gotten lazy with its training because it doesn't want to hurt its trainer."

    "And you thought that our little surprise would be the solution," Blaine frowned thoughtfully. "We haven't properly tested them,"

    "Of course we haven't," Lt. Surge crossed his arms. "We know they hold their own when exposed to electricity or fire, but neither of us have small enough hands to test how well they worked. They were made for Ash, they will only fit Ash, so Ash is the only one that we can actually test them on."

    Blaine didn't look happy, and for a second Ash was worried that they would begin arguing, but then the scientist sighed. "Why are you only ever right about things that are incredibly dangerous?" Blaine asked. Lt. Surge just smirked at him and made his way to a desk. He opened one of the drawers and pulled some cloth out of it.

    "Here, kid," Lt. Surge held them out to Ash. The boy took them and examined them. It looked like a pair of black, fingerless gloves with a dark green base. Ash looked at them curiously. They felt different from the gloves that he used to wear, the ones that were too ruined and cut up for him to wear anymore.

    "What are these?" Ash asked. He took one of the gloves and tried it on. While Ash's old gloves had only gone up to his wrists, these ones went halfway towards his elbow. It completely covered the burn he'd gotten on his arm, and Ash was surprised to notice that it actually felt good against his arm. It wasn't irritating his sensitive skin.

    "They're similar to mine," Lt. Surge pulled on his own gloves. "Lined with a rubber-like substance. It's a nice protection from electricity."

    "They don't look like rubber," Ash commented. The inside definitely felt smooth and somewhat stretchy, like rubber, but the outside looked like normal thick fabric.

    "That was my doing," Blaine said. "While your gloves are lined with the rubber, the rest is made from synthetic fabric that I created to be fire resistant."

    "We figured if you were going to go out of your way to burn yourself, we might as well make it as hard for you as we could," Lt. Surge said, grinning as Ash pulled on the other glove and looked at them. "Why don't you give them a try?" Lt. Surge nodded to Raichu, who was staring at the gloves cautiously.

    "What do you think, buddy?" Ash crouched and held his hand out to Raichu, who sniffed them curiously. Raichu looked at his paws. Ash couldn't see any electricity sparking from them, but he knew that it was still there. Since evolving, Raichu always seemed to have too much electricity. Because of this, they weren't able to be as physically close to each other as they wanted. Raichu was too big to sit on Ash's shoulders, but if they figured this electricity thing out, maybe they would be able to be physically close again.

    Raichu was hesitant, but he finally leaned forward and slightly leaned his head against Ash's hand. Ash's fingers felt a slight spark, nothing painful, but it was definitely there. The rest of Ash's hands felt absolutely no electricity. The gloves worked, and the way that Raichu's eyes widened, he seemed to be able to tell.

    "That's awesome," Ash said with a grin. He looked at Blaine and Lt. Surge, who were watching him curiously and proudly. "They work!"

    "That's great," Blaine let out a sigh of relief. "Are they comfortable? Neither of us have any experience making gloves, but your mother was a great help in that aspect."

    "My mom?" Ash looked at the two of them. Lt. Surge smirked at him and nodded. Ash felt a small smile slip onto his face. He really had the best mom. Since coming back, he probably hadn't spent nearly as much time with her as he would have wanted. Ash just didn't know what to say to his mom. He knew she wanted to know how his journey was going, but he couldn't tell her about most of the stuff he'd seen or heard. He didn't want her to know about all the danger that he'd dealt with.

    Though, his mom probably knew a lot more than Ash would like. She knew his arms were bugging him, and she had to know what Blaine and Lt. Surge had wanted the gloves for. His mom also knew that they had come here with some legendary pokémon that they'd had to keep a secret. His mom also wasn't stupid, she had to know that it was dangerous. He just didn't want her to know just how dangerous it was. He didn't want to worry her.

    Though, just because he didn't want to talk to his mom about everything didn't mean that he shouldn't talk to her at all. She was still his mom, and she was definitely his biggest supporter. He didn't want to let her down.

    "How's Mewtwo doing?" Ash asked. Blaine's face lit up.

    "He's doing well," Blaine said. "He's not in perfect condition yet, but I've finally figured out how to fix up the Master Ball so he'll be able to stabilize while in there." Mewtwo is currently in the Masterball. I'm going to keep him there for a few hours so I can observe how he handles it, both physically and mentally."

    Ash grinned. That was exciting news. "That's great!" It sounded like Mewtwo was really starting to trust Blaine. "When Mewtwo's okay, we would want to go somewhere else, right?" Blaine had mentioned once that he didn't think it was safe for them to stay here for too long. The longer they were here, the more likely it was that they would be found.

    "Yes, that might be smart," Blaine said. "Where we'd go and what we'd be doing, that much still must be figured out." Blaine's goal had been to keep Mewtwo safe from Giovanni and Team Rocket. Ash wasn't sure what else the man wanted, but he knew what he wanted.

    "Can we help Lugia?" Ash asked. As he thought, Lt. Surge scowled at the mention of the pokémon.

    "We took it away from Team Rocket and are helping it to hide out away from them. What else does it need from us?" Lt. Surge asked sharply. Ash could now tell why Lt. Surge was considered an intimidating man. If he didn't know Lt. Surge, he would probably be a little scared.

    "He's not happy," Ash said with a slight frown. "Can't you feel it?" Ash had heard Lugia's voice a couple of times since they'd gotten here. He never had a lot to say, but Ash could tell from his tone that Lugia wasn't happy. Lt. Surge couldn't hear Lugia's voice, but Ash knew that he felt emotional impressions from Lugia. And the man was also around Lugia a lot more than Ash was. If Ash could still hear things from Lugia, then Lt. Surge should be able to feel things, and from the way that the man grimaced and shifted uncomfortably, Ash could tell that was the case.

    "I don't know," Lt. Surge huffed. "And I don't care,"

    Ash crossed his arms, though even he didn't know if it was because he was trying to make himself seem more stern, or if he just wanted to reassure himself. "Do you think that this Lugia, our Lugia, is the same one that hurt Silver?"

    Lt. Surge frowned slightly. He looked conflicted. "...No," He said honestly. "It's too small, and sure, it's strong, but no way is it strong enough to cause a storm like the one we got caught in,"

    "If it's not the same Lugia, is it really fair to treat it like it is?" Ash asked quietly. Lt. Surge let out a shaky breath and shook his head.

    "It's not," Lt. Surge clenched his fists. "I know it's not, but whenever I see that thing, all I can see is...that."

    "You're making yourself sick," Blaine said. He sounded genuinely concerned for Lt. Surge. "I know you want to keep us safe, but I'm going to tell you something that I've told Koga. You can't help anybody if you don't make sure you're in a good place yourself."

    Mentioning Koga really seemed to hit Lt. Surge. He wanted Koga to recover and get better, and Koga was finally starting to actually do things to make that happen. He must be following Blaine's advice, and Lt. Surge probably really appreciated it. He probably thought that if it was working so well for Koga, he might be hypocritical if he didn't give it a try himself. Lt. Surge was still reluctant though, and Ash had an idea of how to push him over the edge.

    "What if your pokémon keep watching over Lugia, and Blaine watches him too," Ash looked to the scientist, asking for permission even as he offered the suggestion. Blaine nodded.

    "I do not think that Lugia is a threat, but if watching him is what it takes for you to take care of yourself, I am more than happy to do that," Blaine said, and now that he had finished his work with the Master Ball and Mewtwo, he had the time to do so.

    Lt. Surge took a deep breath. "Yeah, I guess we can give that a try," Ash let out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. He had expected some resistance from Lt. Surge. For him to give in so easily, it was a relief, but also a little concerning. Lt. Surge was a stubborn man, especially when it came to things that he was passionate about. For him to agree to this plan so easily when he was so worried about what Lugia could do, things must have been harder for Lt. Surge than Ash had thought.

    "Really?" Ash asked," Lt. Surge nodded.

    "Really," The man sighed and let his shoulders fall. He seemed half defeated, and half relaxed and relieved. He wasn't completely on board with this plan, but he was giving it a try, because he was too tired to put up a big fight. "I think I need a break," And he did, he really did. Lt. Surge smirked at Ash. "Besides, someone has to whip you and Raichu back into shape."

    Ash grinned in excitement. He loved training with Lt. Surge, but especially now. He and Raichu had a lot of things to work through and adjust to, and it might do Lt. Surge a lot of good to lead their training. He needed to feel like he was in control, and that he was doing something to keep Ash safe. Training could be the best thing for all three of them.

    "We're ready to get started,"
  2. Gazi

    (Litleo ♀)
    Level 9
    May 27, 2018
    Dawn Stone ★★★★Legendary Triforce ★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 2
    Training with Lt. Surge again felt really nice. Not only did Ash have something to do with himself, which helped to distract him from everything terrible that had and still could happen, but he was actually improving his skills as a trainer. Ash knew he couldn't avoid trouble forever, and training meant that he would be better prepared to face whatever came his way.

    And it was a lot of fun.

    Ash's Raichu didn't have nearly as much fun with training as he might have before. Lt. Surge and his own Raichu were putting Ash and his pokémon to the test. Lt. Surge was even tougher on them than before. As he pointed out, Ash's pokémon weren't just his friends anymore, they also had incredible power, and if he and his pokémon didn't know what to do with that power, somebody was going to end up getting hurt.

    When Ash's Raichu was a Pikachu, the focus of their training had been on focusing and refining his electricity. Now they had to basically start over from the beginning as Lt. Surge's Raichu showed Ash's how to do something as simple as access his powers, and they were struggling with just that.

    It took time, but finally Ash was able to finally see some improvement, and so could Lt. Surge. "Now you're getting it!" Lt. Surge exclaimed when Ash's Raichu was able to show that he could gather electricity, and then let it go through his tail without actually using an attack. "Now you guys just have to keep practicing. Consistency is what's most important. If you don't continue working at this, any progress you've made will just go right out the window."

    Ash nodded. He understood that. Lt. Surge wasn't done with talking to him though. "Here's the thing, Ash, when your pokémon evolve they go through lots of changes really quickly. They get more power, and usually a larger body to accommodate that power. It's a lot to adjust to. Even if you think your pokémon are doing okay, you should still work with them one-on-one and get a feel for their new way of working."

    Ash hadn't really thought about it that way. He knew that evolution involved a lot more power, which was why Lt. Surge had been pushing him to evolve his pokémon, but raw power wasn't all they needed. Ash frowned slightly. "I haven't really worked with Charizard or Wartortle,"

    "I've been working with Charizard. It knows what it's capable of." Lt. Surge said. "But now you need to know what it can do, and it's a lot more than just breathing fire and flying."

    Ash nodded. "I'll start working with them tomorrow," Ash was more than willing to put in the effort, he just didn't always know what he was supposed to do. He just needed someone to guide him.

    "Ash, Lt. Surge," Ash jumped slightly when he heard his mom's voice. He turned to see her coming to them. She looked so excited to see them. Ash felt his cheeks heat up slightly. He loved his mom, but he always felt a little embarrassed by her doting. He wasn't a little kid. "How's training going?"

    "It's going great," Lt. Surge ruffled Ash's hair. "This kid's a natural," Ash grinned and chuckled.

    "Raichu looks a lot happier," Ash's mom knelt and pet his Raichu, causing him to whine happily. She looked up at Ash. "How are the gloves working? Do they fit? Are they comfortable?"

    "Yeah, they're awesome," Ash rubbed one of his gloves. "I can't believe you guys made these."

    "I just want you to be okay," Ash's mom said. She stood up. "I hope you two are hungry, because I've made dinner,"

    "Oh, I'm starving," Ash said. He was always ready for food.

    "I could eat," Lt. Surge stretched. The two of them followed Ash's mom back to the labs. Ever since they'd come to Pallet Town she came over to the lab every morning and night to make sure they all ate something. Ash knew that his mom always felt at her best when she could take care of other people. Usually it was just him, but with Blaine, Lt. Surge, Koga, as well as all of their pokémon here, she had lots of people she could dote on.

    As they made their way inside Ash saw all his other pokémon and most of Lt. Surge's already there, eating food. Ash's mom didn't know a lot about what pokémon ate, but Professor Oak did, and he took responsibility for that.

    Ash frowned slightly when he saw that the only person waiting for them was Professor Oak. "Where's Blaine?"

    "He wanted to keep an eye on that pokémon friend of yours," Ash's mom said. "I was going to bring him some food later," Ash's mom got some food and put them on a plate. She made her way to a door that would lead further into the labs, with Mimey following her, holding some bowls of pokémon food.

    "Oh, is that for Koga?" Ash asked. He knew that Koga had been spending most of his time on his own to recover as best he could. For the first day or two Koga had spent most of his time around Lt. Surge, but when Lt. Surge had one of his really hard times, when he didn't know how to separate reality from what was going on in his head, he had accidently hit Koga. No permanent damage had been done, but both men had agreed that it would probably be for the best if they didn't spend as much time with each other. They didn't want to tempt fate.

    "Yes," Ash's mom said. Ash went up to her and held out his hands.

    "Can I take it to him?" Ash asked. He wanted to see how Koga was doing. Ash's mom smiled at him as she handed the plate to him.

    "Of course," As Mimey handed the pokémon food to Raichu, Ash's mom started filling another plate with food and grabbing another bowl of pokémon food. She handed the bowl to Raichu and gave the second plate to Ash. "Make sure you eat something for yourself."

    Ash nodded. "I will," He and Raichu went on their way to the back to find Koga. When they got to the door, Raichu put his bowls down, opened the door, and picked them up again. Ash used his food to nudge the door open the rest of the way. "Koga! We have dinner!"

    "Ash," Koga gave him a small smile and took the food. He looked curiously at the two plates and raised an eyebrow. "I suppose you'll be joining me?"

    "If you don't mind," Ash said. Koga sat down cross legged on the ground and put one of the plates down in front of him and the other down across from him.

    "Please," Koga gestured to the other plate. "I would love the company," Ash grinned and sat down across from him. Raichu set down the bowls of pokémon food for Koga's Arbok, Venomoth, and Grimer. Ash blinked in surprise when he saw his Butterfree hanging out at Venomoth's side. Those two really spent a lot of time with each other.

    Raichu took the last bowl of pokémon food for himself as he curled up next to Ash. For awhile they ate in complete silence, which Ash normally didn't like, but he found that he didn't mind it. The quiet was comfortable, nice.

    After a few minutes they both finished eating. Ash watched Koga curiously. He looked a lot more comfortable now. "Are you feeling okay?"

    "I'm actually doing a lot better," Koga said, and Ash saw no reason to doubt him.

    Ash grinned. "I guess not traveling is helping a lot,"

    "I'm sure that's part of it," Koga agreed. "Though not having to worry about danger around every corner certainly doesn't hurt either."

    Raichu, who had been lying next to Ash resting, sat up suddenly, his ears twitching. Ash looked at his pokémon. "Is something wrong?"

    "Rai," Raichu ran towards the open window and pulled himself up to look out. He didn't seem worried, but certainly alert. Ash frowned and stood up. He joined Raichu at the window to see what he was looking at. He saw it immediately.

    "Oh, it's Golbat," Ash leaned forward and squinted slightly. "I think it's holding something,"

    Koga grinned and slowly got to his feet. He gestured for Ash and Raichu to step away and make room for Golbat to come in. A moment later Koga's pokémon flew through the window and landed on Koga's outstretched arm. Ash was able to get a better look at what Golbat was carrying. It looked like a scroll or a rolled up piece of paper. It was tied to Golbat's foot. Koga quickly untied the scroll.

    "You've had a long journey," Koga rubbed Golbat's head appreciatively. "Get some food and rest," Golbat screeched in response and left Koga's arm to join the other pokémon, where Venomoth and Arbok were offering their remaining food to them. Ash would have been more than happy to get Golbat some food of his own, but they seemed content to do it this way.

    "Where did Golbat go?" Ash asked as Koga unrolled the paper and looked it over, that small smile never leaving his face. "What's the note say?"

    "It is from an old friend of mine," Koga said as he read the note, which looked pretty long. "Lt. Surge and Blaine have suggested I visit him. He can help me to train and better recover. I couldn't send a note to him earlier, because we were in the middle of the ocean and my pokémon, while flyers, aren't strong enough to fly over an ocean. And we were always on the move, I wouldn't have wanted to stress them out about trying to find us again. We're in one place now though, and much closer to where Bruno lives, so I thought I would get in touch with him."

    "So you sent Golbat with a note to Bruno, and this is his response," Ash realized. "What's it say?" He asked again.

    "He's just looking forward to seeing me," Koga said as he rolled up the note.

    "It's kinda long for just one sentence," Ash slightly. He hadn't read the note for himself, but even he knew that there was way more on there than just that.

    Koga sighed slightly. "Yes, you're right," He tucked the note into his shirt. "I had also asked for some advice,"

    "About what?" Ash asked. If something was bothering Koga, he wanted to help him too. Koga eyed him for a moment, like he was trying to think of what to say. Finally Koga gave him a small smile that looked a little sad.

    "About my work," Koga said. "I don't mind the work itself, but these past few years I've started to become the type of person that really doesn't suit this particular career. I could tolerate it before, but when coupled with how I've been disagreeing with my boss more and more lately, I'm wondering if it's about time that I retire."

    "So...what's the problem?" Ash asked. If Koga didn't want to do something, why didn't he just stop?

    "The problem is that I've been doing this job for a long time," Koga said. "And my boss doesn't really let people leave that easily. Especially not people who are as good as I am at what I do," Koga looked out the window. "Bruno was never happy about my work in the first place, so I thought I'd ask what he thought I should do." Ash got the feeling that Koga was being really vague on purpose, but he thought nothing of it. Jobs were adult business, and while Ash didn't like being left in the dark, when it came to work he understood why grown-ups wouldn't tell him everything. He probably wouldn't understand a lot of it anyways.

    "If Bruno doesn't like your job, wouldn't he just tell you to leave?" Ash asked. He was a little confused as to why Koga would ask his friend about this when he already knew what his opinion was.

    "I asked him more about what I should do with myself if I leave," Koga said. "Ninjas, they serve a master. If I don't have a master to serve, I'm just a martial artist. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just…"

    "It's not what you feel you are," Ash said quietly. He thought he understood, at least a little bit. He was trying to become a great pokémon trainer. If he was told he couldn't battle people anymore, even if he could still continue to train his pokémon the same as he ever did, he would feel devastated. It just wouldn't be the same.

    "I would lose my purpose," Koga said. "Bruno is a master fighter and martial artist. He had to find his own purpose, so I thought he would be able to help me find mine,"

    Ash frowned slightly. "That doesn't sound like something you can do during a quick visit."

    Koga eyed Ash for a moment before he nodded. "Yes, my staying with Bruno is going to be a longer-term thing," Koga said.

    Ash hunched his shoulders slightly. He felt his stomach twist up slightly. "You...you're going to leave?" Raichu looked up at Ash and leaned close against his leg. Ash rested his hand on his pokémon's head, looking for comfort. He hadn't been with his friends for very long, but he was used to them being around. He was still trying to get used to Sabrina being gone, he wasn't ready for Koga to leave too.

    "Ash," Koga sighed and put his hands on Ash's shoulders. Look at me," Ash hesitated. He was scared and upset, but Koga's tone was hard to argue with. He raised his head and met Koga's gaze. The man's eyes were gentle and friendly. "Right now, I'm not going anywhere. I will leave, but not yet."

    Ash let out a shaky breath. He nodded. At least he had time to mentally prepare himself. Koga wasn't just disappearing on him. And they could always go to visit each other later. They didn't have to say goodbye for good, just see you later. "Can, uh, can you help me work with Wartortle and Charizard? When he was helping me with Raichu, Lt. Surge said that I had to work with my evolved pokémon."

    Koga raised an eyebrow at Ash. "You convinced Surge to step away from Lugia for long enough to train with you?"

    Ash grinned. "We did one better. Me and Blaine got Lt. Surge to agree to leave Lugia alone. He's going to back off, because he knows that being with Lugia isn't good for either of them,"

    Koga looked shocked, and if Ash hadn't heard Lt. Surge agree to it himself, he would be really surprised as well. It took a moment, but finally Koga's shocked expression turned to one of fond wonder. "If you told me six months ago that the best way to help Lt. Surge move past his trauma was by having him get to know a stubborn child and a scientist that he seems to disagree with at every turn, I wouldn't believe it."

    "Well, when you say it like that," Ash laughed and Koga chuckled along with him.

    "I'm serious, Ash," Koga said. "You've been an incredible help to Surge, in ways I don't think any of us could ever understand."

    Ash rubbed his neck awkwardly. He felt weird about this. He wasn't really trying to be anything special for Lt. Surge, he just wanted his friends to be happy, and he was doing whatever it took to help do that.

    "I'm not even trying to do anything," Ash said honestly. "I'm just trying to be a good friend,"

    "I know," Koga said. "But that's all he needed, and it's something that I wouldn't know how to give him,"

    Ash shifted slightly. "Well, that's something I can keep doing," At least he didn't have to worry about doing something wrong that would mess things up for Lt. Surge. He really didn't mind doing what he's always done.

    Koga gave Ash's shoulders a squeeze before he let his hands fall. "It's a little late to do extensive training, but we still have some time before it gets dark if you wanted to begin now,"

    Ash perked up. "I would love to train," Ash may have just finished working with Lt. Surge, but he was always ready to do more. Training was great.

    "Charizard or Wartortle?" Koga asked.

    "Wartortle," Ash said. He knew that Charizard had adjusted to his larger size, but he didn't know if the same was true about Wartortle.

    "Let's go get it so we can get some work done before dark," Koga said. Ash nodded and quickly gathered up the dishes from their dinner. Koga returned all of his pokémon to their pokéballs. The two of them then left the room to put the dishes up and get Wartortle.

    When Lt. Surge saw them he smirked. "Ninja boy, feels like forever since I've seen you."

    "I've certainly enjoyed the peace and quiet," Koga said, though his tone wasn't mean. He was just teasing. "I hear you've finally decided to look out for yourself,"

    "Oh, look who's talking," Lt. Surge crossed his arms. "How long did it take you to swallow your pride and decide that you didn't want to have broken ribs anymore?"

    Koga didn't answer Lt. Surge's question. He looked towards Wartortle, who was running around and playing with Bulbasaur. "Play time's over, Wartortle. Come to the pond, we have training to do,"

    Lt. Surge frowned. "The pond?" He grew tense. "Lugia's still there,"

    "So is Blaine," Ash said, and he didn't doubt that at all. Blaine had said that he would keep an eye on Lugia, and Ash knew he would keep true to his word. "And Koga's going to be there too, and so are my pokémon." Ash understood that Lt. Surge was worried, and he didn't want to do anything to upset him, but he couldn't focus everything he did around the man. He wanted to be friends with Lt. Surge, but also with Lugia. He wanted to find a balance between pleasing the two of them.

    Lt. Surge didn't look convinced, but Ash was determined. "You want me to train and get stronger. Wartortle's a water pokémon. The best way to train him is in the water, at the pond."

    "We won't let anything happen to him," Koga said. "But I need you to trust me on this,"

    Lt. Surge eyed them for a moment before he sighed. "Yeah, alright," Ash grinned. He embraced Lt. Surge really quickly.

    "We'll be back soon," Ash said. They really were just going to be training until it got dark out. "But we'll be careful,"

    "You'd better be," Lt. Surge muttered. "I really don't want to have to tell you I told you so,"

    "That's the last thing we would want," Koga said. He put a hand on Ash's shoulder and pulled him back. "Come on,"

    "Okay," Ash said. He gestured for Wartortle to follow them. Koga was right, they had to get started if they wanted to get anything done this evening. Before going outside Ash saw a clean plate sitting in front of the remaining food. He remembered that his mom had said that she would take food to Blaine later. They were going to the pond anyways, so Ash figured he might as well bring it to him. He filled a plate fairly quickly, probably with far more food than was needed, but Ash thought it was better to have too much than to go hungry.

    Koga watched as Ash went, though at one point he finally took the plate from him. "I think that's enough. We're feeding a man, not an army,"

    Ash chuckled and rubbed his nose. "Yeah, I guess so," With Koga carrying the plate they headed outside, with Wartortle and Raichu following just behind them.

    As they walked, Ash watched Wartortle. "It looks like you move easily enough. Do you feel okay? Are you uncomfortable at all? Is it weird to be bigger so quickly?"

    "War, wartortle," Ash's pokémon grinned up at him. He seemed to be just fine.

    "Wartortle's been able to get used to walking and normal movement," Koga said. "It's his attacking and battle movement that I'd be worried about." Ash remembered how that was the very thing he had worked with Raichu on.

    Ash looked at Wartortle. It was really interesting, the way that his tail moved from side to side as he walked. Curious, Ash put his hand on Wartortle's tail. He blinked and stared in awe at the tail. It was soft...it was super soft, like fur. "Wow," Ash grinned and stroked the tail for a bit. Wartortle made a noise that sounded a little like a laugh. Ash didn't know if he was tickling him, or if Wartortle thought Ash's amusement was funny.

    "You are amused so easily," Koga said with a slight laugh. "You've felt fur before,"

    "Yeah, but not on a water pokémon," Ash said. "Wouldn't the fur get heavy in the water?"

    "Keep in mind, Wartortle is a water pokémon. This is part of their biology." Koga pointed out. "I'm sure the fur doesn't hold it back in the water."

    "Yeah, Wartortle's a really strong swimmer," Ash said. He remembered how his pokémon had pulled him up out of the water. "But I didn't notice the fur earlier. I want to know if it's still soft when it comes out of the water," By this time they had arrived at the pond. Koga made his way towards the other side of the water where Blaine was. Ash stayed where he was. He knew what he wanted to do.

    "Why don't we swim and warm up for a bit?" Ash suggested. Wartortle happily agreed and dove into the water. Ash kicked off his shoes and went in right after him. The water was colder than he had expected, but Ash pushed past the cold and went to join Wartortle. His pokémon put his tail in the water and lifted it back out. It didn't look any different, but what Ash wanted to know was if it felt different.

    Ash reached out and put his hand on Wartortle's tail again, and it was, in fact, still very fluffy and soft. If anything, it was even softer than before. "That's so weird," Ash said with a grin.

    "Ash, stop playing around," Koga called out to him. Ash looked up to see Koga and Blaine watching him. "We came out here to train, remember?"

    "Right," Ash looked back to Wartortle. "You're comfortable walking, let's see if you're just as okay with swimming. Wartortle nodded and dove underwater. Ash took a deep breath and followed Wartortle. He could see his pokémon swimming around with ease. He was fast, and could turn sharply. Wartortle looked more than comfortable in the water. Ash hadn't seen his pokémon swimming all that much as a Squirtle, but he thought that Wartortle was even more of a natural at swimming than he had as a Squirtle.

    Ash couldn't stay underwater for too long. He needed to get some more air. Ash stayed under for as long as he could before he had to go to the surface and take a breath. Wartortle came up to join him. "Wartortle you're awesome," Ash said. "You can move around just fine, so let's see how your attacks work," Ash began to swim to the shore, but then he felt pressure around his foot. It wasn't enough to pull him underwater, but it was definitely strong enough to keep him from moving forward.

    Ash frowned and took another deep breath. He went back underwater to see what was holding his foot. The second Ash was underwater he found himself face to face with Lugia. Ash barely kept himself from letting out a cry of shock. What was Lugia doing there?

    'You're here,' The voice of a boy rang in Ash's head. Lugia. 'Where were you?'

    Ash wanted to answer Lugia, but he couldn't really have a conversation underwater. He went back up to the surface. "Lugia," Ash said. He looked into the water and saw Lugia swimming around him. "Can you come up so we can talk?"

    Lugia stilled for a moment before he poked his head out of the water. He looked around cautiously. 'Where's the electric man?'

    "You mean Lt. Surge?" Ash asked. "He's inside. We thought it would be good for him to not be around you so much,"

    Lugia seemed displeased about something. 'He doesn't like me,'

    "It's not that he doesn't like you, he's just...kinda afraid of you," Ash said slowly. He realized as he was saying it that it probably wouldn't be all that reassuring.

    'Afraid?' Lugia seemed to scoff. 'That man's not afraid of anything,'

    Ash frowned slightly. There was something off about Lugia's tone. It almost sounded like Lugia actually knew what he was talking about. Ash remembered how fond Lugia was of Lt. Surge. He always wanted to be around Lt. Surge, even back when they'd first saved Lugia. It was something none of them completely understood.

    "Do...do you know Lt. Surge?" Ash asked. Lugia blinked.

    'I...don't know.' Lugia said. 'He seems familiar,' Lugia looked and sounded a little upset that he couldn't quite figure out how he felt or why. Lugia growled and flapped his wings in agitation. Ash drew back slightly, though his foot was still caught by the pressure. Ash wondered if Lugia's psychic powers were responsible for holding him there.

    Wartortle tried to put himself between Lugia and Ash, but Lugia roared and used his wing to knock Wartortle aside. Ash's eyes widened. "Wartortle!" Ash tried to swim towards his pokémon, but the pressure around his foot pulled him back. Ash yelped in alarm when he was pulled deeper into the water. Before, the pressure had just kept him in place, but now Ash's head was the only thing remaining above the water.

    "Lugia, what are you doing?" Ash tried to ask calmly, but Lugia wasn't relaxing. He was really upset. Ash wanted to help Lugia, but he didn't know what to do. Ash could talk to Lugia, except the pokémon was already upsetting the water, causing slight waves. It wouldn't be too bad if Ash could swim or adjust to the water, but he couldn't move and the water was getting closer and closer to his head.

    "Koga!" Ash called out as a wave got a little too close to covering his head. A moment later the pressure around his leg increased so much that it was somewhat painful. Ash winced. "Lugia, stop!"

    "Ash!" He heard Koga's voice nearby. Ash felt Koga swim up next to him and pull him up slightly. Meanwhile, Koga's Golbat flew to Lugia and began to fly around him and screech. Ash didn't know what Golbat was going to accomplish besides annoying Lugia, but incredibly it seemed to work. Lugia calmed down slightly and looked at Golbat in shock. Lugia shrieked and Golbat stopped flying around frantically as well. They were just staring at each other. Ash was so confused he didn't notice that the pressure around his foot had gone away completely until Koga started to pull him towards the shore.

    "Are you okay?" Koga pulled Ash out of the water and looked him over in concern. "Did it hurt you?"

    "I-I'm fine," Ash said. He felt a little confused. "I don't think Lugia tried to do anything. He's just a little freaked out,"

    "What happened?" Blaine asked. He had been waiting anxiously for them.

    "I think Lugia knows Lt. Surge, but he doesn't know how, and he's scared," Ash said. Blaine looked slightly sympathetic, but Koga didn't.

    "That pokémon is far too powerful to lose control like this," Koga said, his eyes darkening.

    "But he's just a kid," Ash objected. He didn't know for sure that Lugia was actually young, but he was so sure of it. Lugia just seemed really small and he acted and sounded really young.

    "That doesn't matter," Koga said. "Youth and inexperience doesn't excuse reckless behavior that endangers others," Koga glared towards Lugia, but then his expression shifted to one of confusion. "Golbat, what are you doing?"

    Ash frowned and looked towards where Lugia and Golbat were. They both seemed to get over their shock about each other and now Golbat was flying around Lugia again, looking really happy. Even Lugia looked pleased, or at least really content. Their behavior actually looked really familiar.

    "One of Lt. Surge's Magneton has been acting like that around Lugia too," Ash said. "I don't know why."

    Koga crossed his arms, looking thoughtful. "Golbat has always been friendly around strangers, but it's not often that I see it behave quite like this. It's usually more subdued and respectful."

    "And I thought that Lugia was usually more cautious around people or pokémon he doesn't know," Ash wished he understood Lugia more. He felt like anytime he was closer to knowing him, he had something else thrown at him.

    Blaine frowned slightly and knelt down next to the water. He reached out and picked something up out of the water. Blaine studied it for a moment before he stood up. "I don't know what's going on with the pokémon, but I have an idea as to why Lugia seems so drawn to Lt. Surge," Blaine turned and held up what he had found. It looked like a feather. It took Ash a moment before he realized that he recognized it.

    "Is that…" Ash's eyes widened.

    "Lt. Surge's necklace," Koga said quietly. Blaine shook his head.

    "Except this isn't a necklace," Blaine said. "I saw Lt. Surge wearing his feather earlier, and this feather is smaller than his. No, I think this is a feather from our strange friend over there," Blaine gestured towards Lugia.

    "Does that mean that Lt. Surge's necklace came from a Lugia too?" Ash asked. Blaine nodded.

    "Lugia may be drawn to the feather," Blaine said. "Similar to how it's said that Ho-Oh is drawn to the Rainbow Feather," Ash supposed it made sense. He automatically glanced up towards the feather on the brim of Blaine's hat, only to find that the feather wasn't there.

    "Uh, where'd the Rainbow Feather go?" Ash asked. Blaine looked at him curiously before his eyes widened in alarm. Blaine took the hat off and immediately noticed the feather's absence. He began to search the ground desperately, but the feather wasn't there. Ash tried to remember the last time he could actually remember seeing it.

    Koga watched Blaine carefully before he sighed. "Sabrina took it," Blaine froze and looked at Koga in alarm.

    "You let her take it?" Blaine asked.

    "She let us go," Koga said. "I thought it would be a fair trade, and at the time I thought that there was more to be worried about than a feather,"

    "Why would Sabrina steal the Rainbow Feather?" Ash asked. Koga stiffened every so slightly and Blaine looked at him in barely noticeable alarm. They both knew something. After a tense moment Koga sighed.

    "Honestly, I don't know," Koga said. Ash frowned at him. Koga was lying to him, but why?

    "I don't have a good feeling about it," Blaine said. Ash shouldn't be glad to hear Blaine's words, but at least the man was being honest. Blaine looked at the feather in his hands and turned it over, examining it. "I need to speak with Koga and Blaine, but I think I may have an idea of where to go from here," Ash was surprised. Blaine could look at two feathers and suddenly know what they should do.

    Ash didn't understand what Blaine was thinking, and he wished that he knew what Blaine and Koga weren't telling him. Maybe then he would realize what Blaine had realized. Ash trusted Blaine to tell him what was going on though, eventually, he just had to be patient.

    Ash was willing to go along with whatever Blaine thought was best. All he asked was that he was involved with it.
  3. Gazi

    (Litleo ♀)
    Level 9
    May 27, 2018
    Dawn Stone ★★★★Legendary Triforce ★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 3:
    "You know, you just asked me to stay away from Lugia," Lt. Surge pointed out as he sat down on a rock as far away from the pond as he could while still being in the general area. His own pokémon, including Charizard but not with Electabuzz, were out of their pokéballs and staying alert at his side. The only pokémon of his that wasn't close to him was his one Magneton who was floating over the water, probably looking for Lugia. Lt. Surge was confused to see Koga's Golbat doing pretty much the same thing.

    "I know," Blaine said apologetically. "There is something that I needed to discuss with the two of you, and I thought it would be best if we didn't leave Lugia on its own."

    "Yeah, no, I get that," Lt. Surge was the last person who wanted to leave Lugia unsupervised. "What's so important anyways?"

    "Team Rocket," Blaine said simply. Now Lt. Surge understood why it was urgent and why Blaine had insisted that Ash not even know they were discussing anything without him. Ash may be much more involved with Team Rocket than any child his age should be, but none of them wanted Ash to know somethings about Team Rocket, like that Lt. Surge and Koga had worked for them.

    "We may also know why Lugia is so interested in you," Koga said. Blaine nodded and pulled something out of his pocket. It was a small feather that looked nearly identical to the one that Lt. Surge wore around his neck. He instinctively brought a hand to his necklace. "Your necklace came from a Lugia, didn't it?"

    "Yeah, I think it did," Lt. Surge had found this feather left behind from the pokémon that had been there the day that Silver had...gone missing. "What's that got to do with anything?"

    "I believe that my Rainbow Wing was similar," Blaine said. "I don't know just how strong the connection the feather is to the pokémon, but there is a very good possibility that someone could use these feathers to find the pokémon,"

    "What's that got to do with Team Rocket?" Lt. Surge asked. "I've got Lugia's feather, you've got the Rainbow Wing, so it's not like they can use them to find some legendary pokémon."

    "About that," Blaine sighed and looked at Koga in slight irritation. "It has come to my attention that your friend, Sabrina, has stolen my Rainbow Wing. Team Rocket may not have Lugia anymore, but I think they may try to find Ho-Oh, and I for one can't let that happen."

    Lt. Surge groaned and leaned his head back. He knew that Blaine couldn't really blame him for not wanting to be part of all this. He had signed up to leave Team Rocket, not try to stop them, but he knew he'd end up helping out anyways. If he saw enough problems with Team Rocket to not want to work with them anymore, then he saw enough problems to want to stop them from becoming any stronger than they already were.

    "What do you want to do, steal the Rainbow Wing back from them?" Lt. Surge asked. "Sabrina won't just hand it over, and she probably doesn't even have it anymore. Who knows where it could be?"

    "No, trying to get the Rainbow Wing back would be useless," Blaine must have seen all the problems that Lt. Surge had, as well as maybe a few dozen more. "But if we can get to Ho-Oh before Team Rocket, we may be able to protect it."

    Koga crossed his arms and gave Blaine a cold look. "If it was that simple to find a legendary pokémon, Team Rocket wouldn't have to rely on the Rainbow Wing themselves," Koga said.

    "And they wouldn't spend all their resources to create their own Mew clone," Lt. Surge smirked. "They would just catch Mew."

    There must be strategies to finding these pokémon," Blaine said. "You two worked for Team Rocket. Have you heard any strategies for finding either Lugia or Ho-Oh?"

    "Giovanni's not a fool," Koga said. "He only gave agents the specific information that they might need."

    Lt. Surge shifted slightly as he remembered something. "I think...Giovanni said something about wanting to use Zapdos to draw out another pokémon. He never said it was Lugia, but he had Zapdos sent to the remote island base, and just a little later you guys show up and find a Lugia there."

    Koga frowned slightly. He looked very interested. "Giovanni doesn't usually like to keep more than one legendary pokémon at the same base at once,"

    "And I don't know about Koga, but I definitely heard rumors that by the time I helped them with Zapdos, Team Rocket already had Articuno and Moltres." Lt. Surge said. "Zapdos completed the set."

    "Perhaps it wasn't that Giovanni was going to use just Zapdos to draw out another pokémon," Blaine said. "But all three of them,"

    "It's really just a wild guess that them catching Lugia had anything to do with the legendary birds," Koga said.

    "That's true," Blaine said. "But there seem to be a lot of similarities between Lugia and Ho-Oh, and when I got the Rainbow Wing, I heard a number of stories about Ho-Oh. One of those stories was that there are three legendary dogs who are connected to Ho-Oh. Some people believe that the three dogs can lead to Ho-Oh's location."

    "Great, so now we have a plan," Lt. Surge said sarcastically. "We might be able to find Ho-Oh. All we have to do is find three other legendary pokémon and hope they'll be kind enough to draw it out."

    "It's the best plan I could think of," Blaine said defensively. "And there is a lot more information about the legendary dogs than about Ho-Oh."

    "If there's so much information about them, how come I've barely heard of them?" Lt. Surge asked. Blaine fixed him with an even stare.

    "When was the last time you were in the Johto region?" Blaine asked. Neither Koga nor Lt. Surge said a word. "Unlike Ho-Oh, the legendary dogs are not known to travel far from their home."

    "So we'd have to go to the Johto region to find them," Lt. Surge actually wouldn't have any complaints about that.

    "I was planning on going to the Johto region soon anyways," Koga said with a look towards Lt. Surge. "I'm going to meet up with Bruno,"

    Lt. Surge grinned. "About time,"

    "What I've yet to figure out is if we're planning on taking Ash with us," Blaine said.

    "We may need him," Koga said. "Sabrina believes that Ash has an aura about him that attracts legendary pokémon," Blaine nodded. He remembered that. It was what had originally caught Giovanni's attention.

    "If we're wanting to find three legendary pokémon so we can find an even more legendary pokémon, having Ash around might really help," Lt. Surge said. "And though I hate to say it, we might especially need him if we're planning on taking Lugia with us, and I assume that's what we're doing." Blaine nodded. "Lugia always seemed in a much better mood after it saw Ash."

    "I've seen how powerful this Lugia can be," Koga said. "I've seen how dangerous that power can be when Lugia is just a little scared or annoyed. I don't want to see how it gets when it feels the need to truly defend itself." Koga's expression darkened. "But we need to come up with other ways to help Lugia calm down and control itself, because it may not always listen to Ash."

    "Or it may be too dangerous for him," Blaine said with a regretful frown. Lt. Surge really didn't like his or Koga's tone right now. Lt. Surge knew why he was cautious around Lugia, but what had happened to get these two on their guard? "Some of your pokémon seem quite comfortable around Lugia, and Golbat at least is able to calm it, so they may be able to help."

    Lt. Surge frowned as he looked at their pokémon. Something really weird was going on. "I don't like Magneton being over there,"

    "But you can't force it to do anything," Koga said. "If you try, you may just push Magneton away and cause Lugia to get angry." That wasn't what they wanted at all. "Golbat and Magneton can take care of themselves, and if they can keep Lugia in check, I think we should take advantage of that." Koga had always been the type of person to find a way to take advantage of a less than ideal situation.

    "Yeah, whatever," Lt. Surge stretched. "So, all of us, including Ash and Lugia, are going to Johto to find a bunch of legendary pokémon. When are we wanting to leave, and how are we getting there?"

    "I want to leave as soon as possible," Blaine said. "As for how we're getting there, I thought about taking the newly completed Magnet Train." When Blaine said newly completed, he wasn't kidding. The Magnet Train had only been opened for a couple of weeks. It had been a really big deal for the whole region, as before the only way to travel to another region was by boat, or walking past the Indigo Plateau. The Magnet Train was opening the locals of Kanto to the rest of the world.

    "The people in Saffron City know that me and Koga are close to Sabrina," Lt. Surge said. There were perks to being gym leaders, especially in your respective city. "We can get us on that train."

    "Let's plan on leaving first thing in the morning," Blaine suggested. "Using Arcanine, Rapidash, and Charizard, it shouldn't take us too long to get to Saffron City."

    There was one more thing that Lt. Surge was a little unsure about. He remembered Sabrina telling him awhile ago about a rule that the Magnet Train had been thinking of setting up. Lt. Surge didn't know for sure if this particular rule was actually in place, but if it was, he knew it would be better for them to be ready for it. They had to be prepared.

    "You guys go inside and tell Ash the plan," Lt. Surge said. "Tell him to make sure he's ready to leave," Lt. Surge looked towards the pond. "I've got something I need to do,"

    Blaine frowned. "I thought you agreed to not concern yourself with Lugia anymore than was necessary,"

    "Well, this is necessary," Lt. Surge said. "Trust me, I'm not just looking to punish myself. I know what I'm doing."

    Koga looked at Blaine and nodded. "I'll inform the others of our plan." He turned and headed back inside the lab. Blaine stayed right where he was.

    "Whatever you're planning, whatever you have in mind with Lugia, you're going to have to do it with me here," Blaine sat on the rock next to Lt. Surge and crossed his arms, making himself comfortable. "I said I would watch Lugia because it was the only way you would agree to leave it alone. It was my way of looking out for you. Now, whatever you need to do, I'll be here as well, to make sure you're safe."

    "You don't think that Lugia's a threat," Lt. Surge accused.

    "No, I don't," Blaine said. "But you do." Blaine looked at Lt. Surge. "I don't know if Lugia will be a danger to you, or if you will be a danger to yourself, but either way I'm going to be here, just in case."

    Lt. Surge rolled his eyes. "That's not necessary," He glanced at Blaine out of the corner of his eye. "But thanks," Lt. Surge stood up and went closer to the pond. He knelt next to the water and put his hand in the water. "Hey, Lugia, I know you're in there. I gotta talk to you." A moment later Lugia swam up out of the water. Lt. Surge didn't talk to Lugia very often, but when he did, the pokémon was quick to come to him.

    "Look, we've got to leave Pallet Town," Lt. Surge said. "We need to go to the Johto region, and we were going to take a train to get there. The thing is, the train doesn't allow pokémon to wander around the train. Unless they're, like, service pokémon or something, they need to be in their pokéballs."

    "I didn't know that," Blaine said, and Lt. Surge could hear the frown in his voice.

    "Even if they are allowed, you're not exactly a normal pokémon," Lt. Surge said to Lugia. "We don't want other people to know you're around, especially Giovanni and Team Rocket," Lugia's expression darkened. It was getting upset.

    "Could Lugia meet us in Johto?" Blaine asked. Lt. Surge shook his head.

    "Lugia flying around is going to attract attention too," Lt. Surge said. "Team Rocket has got to be looking for it, so we've gotta keep a close eye on it." Lt. Surge reached into his pocket and pulled out an empty pokéball. He held it out towards Lugia, who flinched and drew back. "I don't like it any more than you do, but this is the only way I know to do this."

    Lugia growled slightly, but at least it wasn't attacking him. "I'll release you as soon as we get there, but at least for right now, this is what we've gotta do." Lugia eyed him cautiously. "I may be worried about you hurting someone, but believe it or not I don't really want you to get hurt either."

    Lugia didn't look completely convinced, but Lt. Surge needed it to be on board with this. "Please, I need you to trust me," Lugia's expression immediately changed. All sign of conflict and caution seemed to disappear at Lt. Surge's words. Lugia leaned forward and pressed its nose against Lt. Surge's pokéball, causing it to be caught.

    Just before Lugia went into Lt. Surge's pokéball he swore he heard a voice ring in his head. A voice he hadn't heard in years, and just hearing it knocked the air right out of him.

    'Of course I trust you,' Silver's voice echoed in Lt. Surge's ears. He looked around in alarm. It wasn't all that uncommon for him to see things that weren't there, but hearing hallucinations didn't really happen all that often to him. It was unnerving and really threw him off. It felt so real. Logically, Lt. Surge knew that he couldn't have actually heard Silver's voice, but it was really hard to shake the thought that the boy was right there, somehow.

    Lt. Surge stiffened when he felt Blaine touch his arm. "Are you alright?"

    "I...I don't know," Lt. Surge admitted. He clutched Lugia's pokéball tightly. "I could've sworn I heard…" He looked desperately to Blaine. "Did you hear anything? Like, a kid?"

    "Ash?" Blaine asked. Lt. Surge shook his head. "I'm sorry, I didn't hear anything," Blaine's expression softened. "What did you hear?"

    "A ghost," Lt. Surge took in a shaky breath. He put his pokéball away, ignoring Magneton and Golbat, who were sniffing around the pokéball. "That's all it was, that's all it will ever be," Lt. Surge knew that Silver was gone, and he wasn't coming back, but he wished that his head would already understand that. How was he supposed to get over everything when his head wouldn't stop throwing it back in his face.

    Lt. Surge just wanted to forget about Silver, but he didn't know how.
  4. Gazi

    (Litleo ♀)
    Level 9
    May 27, 2018
    Dawn Stone ★★★★Legendary Triforce ★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 4:

    At dawn's first light, Koga, Ash, Blaine, and Lt. Surge left Professor Oak's lab. Ash's mother had woken up early so she could make them a good breakfast. She also packed a large lunch for all of them and doted on Ash even more than she usually did. Ash was clearly embarrassed, but Koga was more impressed at how much restraint his mother was showing. Koga was a parent too, and if his daughter came home with a bunch of strangers and injuries that she refused to explain, Koga would refuse to let her out of her sight for at least a month. The fact that Ash's mother was letting him leave, trusting three men she barely knew to keep him safe, it was quite admirable of her.

    Saffron City was a fair distance from Pallet Town, especially when someone stayed on the paths and travelled from one town to another. However, they weren't planning on going the conventional route. With all the skill and experience between Koga, Blaine, and Lt. Surge, there was no doubt that they'd be able to handle whatever wild pokémon they came across in the forests. They also had some pokémon who were large and fast enough to transport them rather quickly to Saffron City.

    The four of them returned all of their pokémon except for Ash's Charizard and Blaine's Arcanine and Rapidash. Koga had thought that the riding arrangements would be that he would be on Rapidash, Blaine would ride with Ash on Arcanine, to better watch the boy, and Lt. Surge, who was the best at getting the occasionally rebellious Charizard to behave himself, would fly.

    As they were getting ready to go though, Blaine surprised Koga and announced that Ash should ride his Charizard and get to know him better, while Lt. Surge would ride on Arcanine with him. Koga knew that if Blaine said that his Arcanine was strong enough to carry two grown adults on his back for a few hours, then it likely was completely capable, but Koga didn't know why they were taking the risk. What if Arcanine gave out, or Charizard got in one of his moods and decided to disobey Ash.

    When Koga had asked Blaine what he was up to, the scientist had looked pointedly at Lt. Surge. "Just in case," He had said quietly, not letting Lt. Surge hear. "If something were to happen and he were to get...confused, I wouldn't want him to be in the air or riding his own pokémon." Koga's first instinct was to be upset on his friend's behalf. Lt. Surge was one of the toughest men that he knew, he didn't deserve to be treated like a fragile child, but...Lt. Surge still needed help sometimes, and Koga did appreciate that Blaine recognized he could do something to help.

    So Koga hadn't said another word on the matter. He'd just got on the Rapidash as they began their journey to Saffron City. They four of them travelled all morning before they finally stopped for a quick lunch. They probably could have stopped for longer, except there was a train leaving Saffron City that night, and they wanted to be sure that they made it, otherwise they would have to wait until tomorrow morning.

    Blaine had estimated that at the speed they were going, they would reach Saffron City with nearly two hours to spare, so they did technically have time to have a battle, but it was better to be safe than sorry. Once they reached Saffron City, they could do whatever they wanted until the train left.

    After lunch they started up again. Their pace was slightly slower than it had been that morning, as Arcanine was starting to get tired, but they still made decent time. When they got to Saffron City and made the arrangements to be aboard the next train, they still had more than an hour before departure.

    Ash wanted to explore Saffron City. Blaine decided to stay at the Magnet Train station. With Mewtwo in the Master ball, Blaine couldn't afford to let it out of his sight or risk it getting stolen. Lt. Surge said that nobody should be on their own, so somebody would stay with Blaine, and someone would go with Ash. Koga was sure that Lt. Surge, who was so protective of Ash, would want to go with the boy, but then Lt. Surge paused and brought a pokéball out of his pocket.

    "I've gotta stay here," Lt. Surge said. "This guy's not happy about being in a pokéball. If he decides to come out, the pokéball won't contain it, and I don't think we want a Lugia running around the city."

    "Lugia?" Koga's eyes widened as his breath got caught in his throat. "You...you caught that thing?" Even Ash was looking at Lt. Surge in concern now.

    "Just until we get off the train in Johto," Lt. Surge said. "Then he's coming right out,"

    Koga knew that Lt. Surge still didn't want Lugia anywhere near Ash, even, or maybe especially when Lugia was in a pokéball. However, this did not mean that Lt. Surge should have to be the one to watch over Lugia's pokéball. Of all of them, Koga thought that Lt. Surge should be the last one to handle that job.

    Koga stepped towards Lt. Surge and extended his hand towards him. "Please, let me handle the pokéball, you go with Ash,"

    Lt. Surge flinched and scowled at the pokéball. "Would you knock that off, I said I'd keep an eye on you, and I will," Lt. Surge tightened his grip on the pokéball before turning to Koga. "Lugia's barely tolerating this situation. There's no way he'll be okay with someone handling his pokéball."

    Koga seethed. If Lugia liked Lt. Surge so much, why was it so determined to be at his side, even though it should know that Lt. Surge was anxious around it. Lugia was not only childish and powerful, it was incredibly selfish.

    "Don't worry so much," Blaine said. He looked at Koga, sending an unspoken message of 'I'll keep an eye on him'.

    Koga wasn't happy, but Lt. Surge seemed to have made up his mind, and he was an incredibly stubborn man. If he said he was going to keep an eye on Lugia, there would be no convincing him otherwise. So against his better judgement, Koga let Ash pull him away.

    "I'm sure they'll be fine," Ash said as the two of them began to walk down the streets of Saffron City. Lugia wouldn't hurt Lt. Surge," At Koga's harsh look Ash gave him a sheepish grin. "I mean, he wouldn't do it on purpose,"

    "We'll just have to agree to disagree about that," Koga muttered. He didn't know Lugia as well as Ash claimed to. Koga was willing to admit that he hadn't seen many signs of malicious behavior from Lugia, but that didn't mean that there weren't any.

    The two of them walked around the streets for a bit before they came across a crowd in the square. Ash brightened immediately. "I think there's a pokémon battle going on over there," Ash ran towards the crowd and pushed his way through so he could get to the front and see what was going on for himself.

    Koga made his way through the crowd just in time to see the end of what seemed to have been a fairly one-sided battle. A boy who seemed to be about Ash's age was dominating the battle, using just an Eevee. Looking at the pokémon, Koga could tell that this Eevee wasn't just unnaturally powerful, but well trained. However, when Eevee knocked out its opponent, its trainer smirked and began to boast loudly.

    "Ha! It'll take more than that to take me on," The winner grinned proudly. His eevee jumped onto his shoulder as the two of them looked out over the crowd. "Does anyone else want to take a shot?" The trainer watched smugly as the previously eager crowd began to shake their heads almost nervously. It seemed this wasn't the only battle this young trainer had won. From what little Koga had seen, it was clear the boy had talent, but it took more than raw skill to be a good trainer. This boy's attitude was out of hand.

    The proud boy wasn't discouraged by his lack of challengers. If anything it seemed to stroke his ego even more. "Yeah, I thought so," The boy was about to leave, but he stopped when he laid eyes on Ash. "No way, is that you, Ashy-boy?" Everybody around Ash backed away.

    Ash scowled, seething angrily. "Gary, what are you doing here?" Koga frowned at Ash's tone. This Gary boy seemed to really get under his skin. Their interaction had only just begun, and Ash had already begun to lose his temper. It wasn't like him, to have so little control of himself.

    "Calm down," Koga muttered as he stepped closer to Ash and put a hand on his shoulder. Ash looked at Koga and took a deep breath.

    "Sorry, he just gets to me," Ash said before he looked back to Gary. "Your Eevee's really strong," There was still angry reluctance in Ash's tone as he tried to address Gary more civilly, but at least an attempt was made.

    "Yeah it's strong," Gary scratched behind Eevee's ears. He still looked proud, though it was more proud of his pokémon than proud of himself. "All of my pokémon are. You should see them in a real battle,"

    Ash flinched and reached for his pokéballs, but stopped himself when Koga gave his shoulder a slight squeeze.

    "Don't rise to it," Koga said. "You're better than this." Koga didn't have a problem with Ash wanting to have a friendly battle, but the boy really shouldn't battle in an attempt to prove himself, especially not to this child.

    "Yeah, Ashy-boy, don't even bother trying," Gary said smugly. "We both know you'll just end up losing,"

    "You don't know how strong I've gotten," Ash growled.

    "I know you've been back at Pallet Town for a while," Gary smirked, making Ash freeze. "Gramps told me so. He asked me if I had any idea what had happened since you left. I told him I haven't seen you since we left Pallet Town."

    "I've been busy," Ash deflected. "I thought it was weird that Professor Oak didn't really ask me that much. I guess he decided to ask you instead," Koga looked at Gary in slight shock. This arrogant child was the grandson of Professor Oak? Koga couldn't see the resemblance at all.

    "What have you been up to anyways?" Gary frowned, looking genuinely curious. It was the first time Koga had seen him show any emotion other than pride. "I haven't seen you around, and nobody I ask has either." Gary looked at Koga. "And who's this guy?"

    "I am Koga," He introduced himself.

    "He's the gym leader at the Fuchsia City gym." Ash said. Koga nodded to confirm. Gary's look of confusion and slight suspicion became one of slight awe and respect.

    "I wondered where the real gym leader was," Gary reached into his pocket and pulled out a case. He opened it to show an impressive number of gym badges. Koga's eyes were brought to the small heart shaped badge. It was definitely from Fuchsia City. "The girl I fought, she was the easiest gym battle I've had. It was almost pathetic,"

    Koga's gaze darkened. It was one thing to be pleased with one's accomplishments, and yet another to belittle those that you may have bested. Arrogance was not an appealing trait on anybody. Especially not people who talked badly about either Koga's daughter or his younger sister.

    "If it was that simple, then it couldn't have been much of a challenge for you," Koga said darkly. Ash paused and looked at him cautiously. Ash knew him well enough to recognize this type of look from him. Over the years Koga had gotten good at keeping a hold of his emotions and remaining calm, it was something he'd had to learn when he'd started raising Janine. He hadn't wanted his Team Rocket agent persona to scare her, so he'd tucked it away. Sometimes though, it slipped out, like now.

    "It wasn't," Gary shrugged like it was no big deal.

    "If the gym challenge wasn't challenging for you, do you honestly think you deserve that badge?" Koga grabbed the soul badge from Gary's collection and pulled it out. Gary shouted in protest and reached for it, but Koga held it out of his reach.

    "Hey, that's mine!" Gary glared at him.

    "No, it's not," Koga said sternly. He held up the soul badge. "This is a symbol of a gym leader's acknowledgement in your skill and strength. Skill, I can see plenty of, but strength, from what I've seen, you're lacking a lot."

    "I was given that," Gary reached for it again, but Koga held it away from him.

    "And as the gym leader, the true gym leader of Fuchsia City, I'm revoking the recognition you earned from my gym, and thus, taking back the badge." Koga said as he pocketed the badge. The crowd stiffened around them. Ash let out a small gasp.

    "Koga?" Ash grabbed Koga's arm, but he ignored him.

    "I earned that," Gary almost pleaded. He held out a hand, asking. Seeing a little humility was nice, but it certainly wasn't enough.

    "Not in my eyes you haven't," Koga said.

    Gary stiffened, a new look of determination coming into his eyes. "Let me battle you then. Let me prove myself to you,"

    "A pokémon battle, then," Koga pulled out one of his pokéballs and tossed it, letting out Golbat. It may not be his strongest pokémon, but it was one of his most trustworthy. For what Koga wanted to do, for what he wanted to prove, Golbat was his best choice. "You look like you've been battling for awhile now. Do your pokémon need to be healed?"

    "Nah, they're fine," Gary pet Eevee before grabbing a pokéball of his own and letting out a Rhydon. The boy looked so confident, so he probably was well aware that he had the type advantage. The boy wasn't just a skilled battler, he was smart, but that still wasn't enough, in Koga's opinion, and he intended to teach him so.

    "Golbat, use haze," Koga said. The actual effect of haze was useless at this point in a battle, but attacks were more than just their literal effects. He filled the air with an icy cold wind, which could slow Rhydon down and possibly distract Gary.

    "Counter with sandstorm," Gary said immediately. It wasn't a bad plan, but having a plan wasn't always enough.

    "Fly under the cover of the haze and sand." Koga said. Golbat screeched and obeyed his words, disappearing into its surroundings.

    Gary clenched his teeth. He couldn't see or hear his opponent, and Gary seemed to be too impatient and desperate to win to properly come up with a solution. "Get in there and chase golbat out!"

    Koga kept his face neutral, but internally he was smirking. Gary had just sealed his fate. You really shouldn't run into an unknown situation where your opponent had the advantage. Rhydon couldn't see a thing, but Golbat still had its supersonic to help it navigate.

    Neither Koga nor Gary could see their pokémon, so they couldn't give proper commands, but the battle continued anyways. They could hear Rhydon roaring and growling, but not a sound came from Golbat. Gary seemed to take this as a good sign, but Koga knew that the boy would be disappointed. When your sight is blocked, you must rely on your other senses, such as hearing. Rhydon's roars of frustration were just making it more vulnerable of a target.

    After a few moments, Rhydon's roar changed from one of frustration to one of pain. Koga grinned triumphantly. Gary didn't know it, but the battle was over. "Golbat, blow the haze and sand away," Koga said simply. Gary looked at him in confusion.

    "If you could do that this whole time, why are they fighting like this?" Gary asked irritably. Koga smirked.

    "Because you commanded your pokémon to battle in the haze," Koga said simply. Golbat used his wings to use a variant of razor wind to clear the field. They were able to see Golbat, completely unharmed, and Rhydon on the ground. Rhydon wasn't knocked out, and it was struggling really hard to get back to its feet, but they all knew that it was no good. The battle was over.

    Koga held out his arm and Golbat flew back to his side. Gary glared at Koga before running to Rhydon's side and looking his pokémon over.

    "What happened?" Gary asked. Rhydon growled weakly before collapsing. Koga could see Gary's hands shaking as he returned his pokémon.

    "Leech life," Koga said. "You led your Rhydon into a battle that it couldn't win. Rhydon couldn't find my pokémon, but it was all too easy for Golbat to get close to Rhydon and attack." The crowd around them began muttering to themselves. There were a couple of snickers and mocking comments aimed towards Gary, but Koga paid them no mind. He hadn't defeated Gary to humiliate him, but to humble him. He was a skilled trainer, but Gary needed to learn that he wasn't the strongest, and the only way to do that was by making him suffer a one-sided loss.

    Gary was seething quietly as he glared out towards the crowd, his eyes moving quickly from one person to another as he heard new comments. Koga walked up to Gary and put a hand on his shoulder. He waited until Gary looked up at him.

    "You have passion and power," Koga said quietly. This was just for Gary's ears, not their audience. "I can easily see you becoming a great trainer, someday,"

    "Yeah, right," Gary muttered under his breath.

    "You still have a lot to learn," Koga said. "But that does not make you weak. It means you have the potential to become even stronger."

    "How?" Gary asked. "How do I get strong enough for you to acknowledge I'm a good enough trainer to deserve the soul badge?"

    Koga didn't think this boy should be so determined just to impress him, but if this was what it took to motivate the boy to improve himself as well as his pokémon, then Koga would allow it, for now.

    "You need to recognize your limitations, and then figure out how to overcome them," Koga said. "The limitations of your pokémon, and your own."

    Gary was quiet for a moment as he glanced towards Ash, who was watching them almost cautiously. Gary grimaced and turned back to Koga. "Have you been teaching that to Ash?"

    "I've been teaching him how to recognize what his pokémon are capable of," Koga said. Ash loved his pokémon, but he didn't completely understand how strong they could be. Koga thought that Gary knew exactly how strong his pokémon were, but he refused to see their flaws, or his own.

    "Can you teach me?" Gary asked earnestly, almost desperately. Koga usually enjoyed teaching youth and other people he saw strong potential in, but right now may not be the best time.

    "Me and my friends are leaving Kanto tonight," Koga said. "They have work to do in Johto, and I have personal training to do."

    "When you get to Johto, will your training begin right away?" Gary asked. Koga eyed him curiously. This boy was determined, he'll give him that.

    "Not necessarily," Koga said slowly.

    "Teach me," Gary said. "Let me come with you guys to Johto and train under you until you start your own training,"

    "What? Gary, you can't come!" Ash said loudly. Koga held up his free hand to quiet the boy.

    "That's not just your decision, Ash," Koga said. He looked at Gary, who stared at him with fierce determination. This boy was strong, not just in raw power, and it would be a shame for that to go to waste because he wasn't properly taught. "We're traveling with two other people. If they both agree to it, you can come,"

    Gary's eyes brightened in an excitement that could almost have rivaled the look that Ash commonly got. Before Gary could get his hopes up too much, Koga continued. "If you join us, there are a few guidelines that you'll have to follow, no argument." Koga looked towards Ash, because at least this first one applied to him as well. "I will not tolerate fighting between the two of you. If you come, the two of you will put your differences aside."

    The two boys glared at each other in almost a challenging way before they nodded in agreement. There was still tension between the two of them, but it would have to do for now. "Second, Ash and our companions have an important task to do. If they tell you what it is, that's their decision, but if they don't, you will respect that and stay out of their business, regardless of how curious you may be,"

    "I can do that," Gary said.

    "Finally," Koga lowered his voice even more, so Gary had to lean in to hear him. "We're traveling with some uncommon and powerful pokémon, and you will stay away from them. You will respect their privacy, and not tell anybody else about them."

    Gary looked curious and intrigued, but he didn't hesitate to agree. "I'll mind my own business. I'm just there for my own training."

    Koga nodded. "If you keep your word and follow these terms, I will be happy to teach you, at least for a time," Koga said. He looked up in the sky. It was still early evening, but it would get late quite quickly. "We should return to the train station soon, if we want to bring this up with Lt. Surge and Blaine," As well as have enough time to get a ticket for Gary, should the others agree, and Koga suspected they would.

    "Come," Koga led the boys past the crowd, who parted to make way for them. "We don't want to be late,"
  5. Gazi

    (Litleo ♀)
    Level 9
    May 27, 2018
    Dawn Stone ★★★★Legendary Triforce ★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 5:
    Ash was excited, but also a little nervous to be on the Magnet Train. He'd never been on a train before. The others said that it would bring them from Kanto to Johto in just a few hours, which Ash had a hard time believing. It took all day to get from Pallet Town to Saffron City, and that wasn't nearly as much of a distance. Riding on a train sounded like a lot of fun, but going that fast was also a little scary.

    The second they boarded the train, Lt. Surge, Koga, and Gary went off to do their own thing. Lt. Surge was able to talk his way into going up front and taking a look at the controls. Apparently his interest in electricity went beyond just the typing of his pokémon. Koga pulled Gary aside, possibly to do some of that weird training that they had agreed on.

    Ash didn't completely understand why Koga had decided to help Gary, but the ninja had made it clear that he would do it, regardless of what Ash thought of it. He'd also told them that they weren't allowed to fight. Ash was really annoyed with Gary, but the other boy seemed to really care about training with Koga. Gary was going to behave himself just for that, and Ash refused to be the bad guy in this situation.

    While the others were gone, Blaine sat down next to Ash. "It's been a long day, hasn't it?"

    "Lots of things have been happening so quickly," Ash agreed. Yesterday, he hadn't even known when they would be leaving Pallet Town, and now they were on the way to Johto. It was so weird. Ash looked at Blaine, who seemed a little distracted. "Are you okay?"

    "I'm fine," Blaine said. He looked around nervously and pulled the Master Ball out of his coat pocket. "Mewtwo is a little...uncomfortable. Being in the Master Ball is making him anxious, but he can't be out for too long, or else his body begins to destabilize and he has to rely more on our connection to keep him well."

    "That doesn't sound fun," Ash put a hand on the Master Ball. "I'm sure things will get better." He looked at Blaine. "I thought you were wanting to seperate from Mewtwo. How are you going to do that if he relies on you?"

    "I haven't figured that much out yet," Blaine said. "But I won't stop looking for an answer." Blaine shifted the Master Ball around and lowered it. He looked at Ash in concern. "You've been up all day. Once we arrive in Goldenrod City, we may need to make our way straight to Ecruteak City. It may be smart to sleep now while you can."

    "I'm not tired," Ash protested. Blaine chuckled slightly.

    "Give it a try anyways," Blaine said. "Trust me, you'll feel better tomorrow if you get some rest."

    Ash sighed. He hated being treated like a little kid, and he hated it even more that he knew that Blaine was right. "Yeah, alright," Ash leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes. Ash's mind was racing. He was sure he wouldn't be able to get some sleep, but he would at least give it a try. Ash didn't know how long he sat there, just trying to doze off, but finally he fell asleep.

    It was cold, and wet, and he felt like he was falling. The wind whipped at his hair as he fell. He heard screaming. It felt like his own voice, but it still didn't sound like a voice that he recognized at all. His chest and stomach felt both really empty and full of things that were moving around and twisting all over the place.

    Among his screaming and the sound of the wind, he heard another sound, one that felt like it was tugging at his heart. Someone was out there, and they were terrified, and angry. At first he couldn't tell what they were saying, but then one word stuck out to him.


    "Kid," Ash woke up with a start. Lt. Surge was kneeling right in front of him, shaking his shoulder. "Come on, we're here,"

    "O-okay," Ash yawned. Lt. Surge stood up and pulled Ash to his feet. Ash staggered a bit, as he was still really tired. He thought he might be more tired now than he was when he'd first started. Ash might have fallen over if Lt. Surge hadn't kept him on his feet.

    "Watch yourself, Ashy-boy." Gary taunted with a laugh. He stopped when he saw Koga's stern gaze. "Right, sorry,"

    "You're walking on thin ice," Koga warned as he led the way off the train. Ash and Gary glared challengingly at each other, but remained silent as they followed Koga to look at a map on the wall. It was a map of the Johto region.

    "We're here," Koga pointed to where Goldenrod City was. "Blaine believes we can find the information that we're looking for at the Burned Tower in Ecruteak City." Koga moved his hand up to show their destination.

    "It doesn't look that far," Ash commented. It looked like all there was between Goldenrod City and Ecruteak City was some plains and cliffs.

    "We should get there by noon," Blaine commented as he looked at the map with them. Lt. Surge didn't want to crowd with them, and instead grabbed a smaller version of the map that was lying around on a table. "We can grab some food before visiting the tower,"

    "Food sounds good," Ash said. His stomach grumbled. He hadn't realized how hungry he was until Blaine mentioned food. Lt. Surge chuckled and pulled a snack bar out of his pocket. He handed it to Ash, and then grabbed another one for Gary.

    "We'll eat some breakfast in an hour or two," Lt. Surge said. "It's going to be a hot day today, and there won't be a lot of trees to provide cover. We'll want to cover some distance before the sun rises."

    "Then let's get going," Ash said. As far as he was concerned, the sooner they started the sooner they could stop for some food. All of them went outside the station and began to make their way out of town and onto the roads. Ash had thought that they would ride their pokémon again, but Blaine thought it was best to let them rest. Charizard, Arcanine, and Rapidash had worked really hard yesterday. They didn't want to push them too much. They deserved a break.

    Though Ash had woken up slightly after a few minutes of walking, his mind felt really muddled. He was glad that they were just walking, and his friends would stop him before he walked into any dangerous situation, because he didn't think he would be able to focus on doing anything else. All he could think about was the dream he'd had.

    He couldn't fully understand why he was so bothered about this. He didn't even really remember his dream, he just remembered the feeling of fear he'd felt, and it was fear that he couldn't shake even now.

    Ash was only pulled away from his distracted thoughts when he was hit over the head by someone. Ash grunted and turned to see Gary frowning at him. "Head out of the clouds, Ashy-boy, we're stopping for some food," Gary pushed some canteens and water bottles into Ash's arms. "Why don't you make yourself useful and refill these?"

    "You didn't have to hit me," Ash muttered. He glared at Gary. "And why don't you do it yourself?"

    "I'm helping make the food," Gary said, making Ash seeth. Gary just had a way of speaking that made it sound like he thought he was better than everyone else, even when he wasn't doing anything special. Ash wanted to fight Gary on this, but then he continued. "And Koga said he would start training me." Gary just sounded so excited about this that Ash felt all the fight leave him. He may not always like Gary, but he didn't want to take this from him.

    "Yeah, alright," Ash grumbled. "There a river or something around here?"

    "Koga says there's a lake just past those trees," Gary gestured. Ash nodded and adjusted his grip on the water bottles so he could carry them better. He made his way off the path and into the trees. He walked for a few minutes, still not seeing a lake anywhere. All he saw was that the trees were getting closer and closer together until he could barely make his way between them. He was just starting to believe that this was all just an elaborate trick on Gary's part when he pushed his way past the line of trees and found himself at a clearing with a serene lake.

    Ash found himself in complete awe. There were pokémon all around the secluded lake, swimming in it, running around it, sleeping on its shores. Ash always loved seeing pokémon, but many of these were ones that he'd never seen before. Ash was so excited to see them.

    "Why don't you guys come say hello?" Ash dropped the water bottles. He brought out his pokéballs and let out all his pokémon. Wartortle excitedly jumped into the water and started swimming around. Bulbasaur found a sunny patch of grass and started to doze off. Pidgeotto and Butterfree flew around with some of the other pokémon, glad for the chance to stretch their wings. Charizard followed Bulbasaur's example and curled up on the ground, growling at anybody who came too close.

    Raichu went up close to the water and started sniffing at the water, curious about all the new pokémon. Ash sat down on the ground next to Raichu and leaned closer to the water. "This is so cool," Ash said quietly. "Look at all these new pokémon!"

    "Rai!" Raichu agreed cheerfully. He dipped his tail into the water and made a sound like a laugh when a fish-like pokémon began to nibble at it.

    Ash leaned forward to get a better look at the pokémon, but he leaned too far and ended up falling into the water. Normally Ash would stand up and shake it off with a laugh, but his dream from earlier was still at the back of his mind. He'd barely remembered it, but once he hit the water it all came back to him in an instant. The falling, the fear, and something else now too. Anger.

    Ash was pulled harshly out of the water by Raichu, who started to fuss over him. The water wasn't deep right next to the shore, just barely deep enough for his head to be submerged, so all Ash had to do was sit up and he'd be just fine, but Raichu insisted on pulling him completely out of the water.

    "I'm fine," Ash said. "I'm fine," Raichu continued to look him over. Ash grinned and pet Raichu to reassure him. "I'm just a little jumpy, I guess. But I'm not hurt, see." Ash moved his arms to demonstrate. "Everything's fine,"

    Raichu whined and leaned into Ash's hand. The boy sighed and sat back, a little farther away from the water. "I don't know what's wrong with me. I just can't get this dream out of my head." Ash took his hat off and set it down on Raichu's head. He ran a hand through his hair.

    Suddenly all of the chittering and noise of the pokémon in the area quieted down. There was a shift in the air. Ash frowned in confusion and looked around. None of the pokémon seemed scared or nervous, they were just quiet and respectful. All of the pokémon were looking towards the middle of the lake. Ash followed their gaze and felt his breath get caught in his throat when he saw a pokémon standing on the surface of the water.

    The pokémon was blue and had a really flowy purple mane. Ash knew that it could be just a regular pokémon that he'd never seen before, like all of the other Johto pokémon, but something felt different about it.

    Ash stood up slowly, not taking his eyes off the pokémon. He froze when the pokémon lifted its head and looked up at him. The pokémon didn't move, and neither did Ash. They just looked at each other.

    After a few minutes Ash smiled at the pokémon. "Hi," He said. The pokémon closed its eyes and nodded slightly at him. The pokémon took a few steps towards Ash, approaching him. Suddenly the pokémon stopped and looked towards the trees behind Ash. It was still for a moment before it turned and ran off in the other direction. "Wait," Ash called out, but the pokémon was already gone. "Where are you going?"

    "Hey, Ashy-boy," Gary. Of course it was him. Ash scowled and turned towards the other boy.

    "You scared it off," Ash complained. Gary pushed past the last line of trees.

    "Scared what off?" Gary frowned. He looked around. "This is a cool place,"

    "There was a weird pokémon here," Ash said. "It was going to come say hi, but you scared it off,"

    "It's not like I did it on purpose," Gary said. He looked at Ash in confusion. "Why are you so wet?"

    Ash self-consciously brushed his wet hair out of his face. "I...no reason,"

    Gary laughed. "No reason? Hah, more like you fell in." Ash's face reddened with embarrassment, which just made Gary laugh louder. "Seriously?"

    "Shut up," Ash muttered. Gary didn't stop laughing though. Ash was about to make him stop laughing at him when a small jet of water came out of the lake and hit Gary in the face, making him sputter.

    "Wha-hey!" Gary glared at the source of the water. It was one of the Johto pokémon, and it was laughing at both of them. Gary's angry look turned to one of confusion and curiosity. "What pokémon is that?" He took out his pokédex and opened it, pointing it to the new pokémon.

    "Totodile, the Big Jaw Pokémon." Gary's pokédex said. Ash was taken aback at first. He'd completely forgotten about the pokédex he'd gotten from Professor Oak. "Its highly developed jaw is so powerful, it can crush practically anything. Trainers beware: this Pokémon loves to use its teeth."

    "Totodile, huh?" Gary lowered his pokédex. He walked past Ash, closer to the water. He didn't seem all that angry about being squirted with water anymore. He looked as excited about meeting a new pokémon as Ash was. "Do you have fun squirting humans?" Totodile's response was to squirt Ash with water, just like he'd done to Gary.

    "Very funny," Ash tried to say dryly, but he couldn't keep the smile off his face. Totodile just laughed at them again and came out of the water. Ash knelt down and started to hold out his hand, but Gary grabbed his arm and pulled him back.

    "Are you crazy? We were told that thing bites." Gary said sharply. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a pokéball. "This pokémon looks like it can be really strong."

    "What? You can't catch it." Ash objected as he pulled out a pokéball of his own. "Totodile's mine,"

    "Not if I catch it first," Gary grinned. "Totodile, I hope you're ready to be caught."

    "Raichu, use thunderbolt," Ash said. "Try to remember what you've learned." As a Pikachu, he'd been able to adjust his aim. As a Raichu, they were still trying to figure out how to use his electricity at all, but hopefully instinct took over.

    Raichu aimed an attack at Totodile, but it jumped out of the way of the thunderbolt. While totodile was distracted, Gary threw his pokéball at it. Totodile was just barely able to skip out of the way. Ash glared at Gary.

    "That's not how you catch pokémon," Ash said. "You need to get them at lower health first."

    "Not if you're able to catch them off guard," Gary smirked.

    "You can't use me like that," Ash growled as he clutched at his own empty pokéball. "Raichu, focus, try to surround Totodile with your thunderbolt." Ash wanted to ask Raichu to also keep Gary from butting in, but he'd seen and felt just how harmful pokémon attacks could be. He didn't want to hurt Gary, or anybody, like that. He would just have to make sure to throw his own pokéball before Gary could.

    Raichu did really good at keeping the Totodile from running off on them. Though Raichu was so focused on trapping Totodile, it's bolt wasn't as concentrated as they would usually hope for. Just this once, Ash would let it slide, because the stray electricity seemed to be affecting Totodile, possibly paralyzing him a little. This would make it easier for him to catch it.

    Ash waited anxiously, looking for the perfect opportunity. He hadn't actually caught a pokémon in the traditional way since he'd caught Pidgeotto, and he'd only been able to do that with Giovanni's coaching. He knew he could do this on his own though, it shouldn't be that hard.

    Ash didn't know exactly what he was waiting for, but when he saw Gary throw his pokéball he reacted instinctively and did the same. Their balls knocked into each other in the air and they both fell on top of Totodile. Ash was surprised and thrilled when he saw the light that pulled Totodile into the pokéball. Raichu's electricity kept them from really getting a good look at just which pokéball Totodile went into.

    "Yes!" Gary ran towards the pokéball. Raichu flinched and pulled back its electricity just before Gary ran right into it. He went to pick it up, but Ash grabbed it at the same time as he did. "Hey, what are you doing?" Gary pulled at the pokéball. "That was my pokéball,"

    "It could have been mine," Ash insisted as he gave it a pull for himself. "Raichu's the one who kept Totodile from getting away."

    "You wouldn't have even wanted Totodile if I hadn't wanted it first," Gary glared at him. "Just catch a different pokémon."

    "You catch a different one," Ash said. They both pulled at the pokéball, tugging at it and claiming that it was theirs. Suddenly Gary froze and just stared at the pokéball. He just looked at it for a moment before he released the pokéball and started laughing.

    "Wha-what? Ash frowned. He may have the pokéball now, but he couldn't help but feel like Gary was up to something. "What's so funny?"

    "Us," Gary chuckled. "We've done this before, remember?" Gary reached into his pocket and pulled out a broken half of a pokéball. Ash looked at it before he grinned sheepishly and grabbed his own half.

    "Oh yeah," Ash held his broken half against Gary's. "I guess we have." Before either of them had started their pokémon journey, they'd both been fishing, but were so focused on competing with each other that neither of them had gotten anywhere. They hadn't gotten along with each other before that, but when they ran into each other on the day of their journey, Gary had acted like even more of a jerk than usual, and his attitude didn't seem to have improved since then.

    Ash tightened his grip on Totodile's pokéball. Thinking about how Gary was now, it frustrated him, and made him feel really sad. "We used to get along so well when we were little." He looked at Gary. "What happened?"

    Gary crossed his arms defensively. "What happened? You started acting like a jerk, that's what happened."

    "Me?" Ash's eyes widened. "You're the one who started acting like you're better than everyone."

    "You're one to talk, Mr. 'greatest pokémon master in the world'." Gary was starting to look angry. "The closer we got to our pokémon journeys, the more you would talk about how great a trainer you would be, that you would be the greatest pokémon trainer that Pallet Town had ever seen."

    Ash vaguely remembered that. He'd been so excited to start his journey, and Gary had been the main person that he had shared that excitement with. Now that Ash thought about it, that was about the time that Gary started to get all cocky. Ash hadn't actually considered that Gary had started all of this because of him.

    "Oh," Ash frowned. "I..I made it sound like I wanted to be better than you?" He hadn't even noticed.

    "Well...a little bit," Gary knelt and scratched behind Raichu's ears. "I probably got a little out of hand too."

    "So we've been fighting over nothing this whole time?" Ash frowned.

    "It didn't feel like nothing," Gary said, and he had a point. Ash's frustration with Gary may have been for no reason, but the feelings had definitely been real.

    "Yeah, it didn't," Ash put away his half of the broken pokéball and knelt down on the ground next to Gary and Raichu. Ash wanted to get over these feelings, but he had a hard time fully trusting Gary. Old habits die hard, and it was possible that Gary could just keep on acting like a jerk, and then Ash would keep getting frustrated with him. He hated getting angry. It made him feel horrible.

    At least Koga was making them get along with each other. Maybe acting like they got along could help them to really be friends like they were when they were younger. Although, thinking of Koga… "Hey, I thought you were going to train with Koga,"

    "Oh, that," Gary grimaced. "He said my training would start with me helping you with the water."

    Ash couldn't help but let out a short laugh. He covered his mouth when Gary glared at him. "Sorry, it's just, well, that definitely sounds like Koga. You never know how he's helping you until much later. I think it's a ninja thing."

    "It's an annoying thing is what it is," Gary said. Ash nodded and laughed.

    "Maybe he'll do some real training once we get back." Ash gathered up some of the water bottles. Gary leaned closer to the lake and grabbed a water bottle that must've fallen in earlier. They refilled the water bottles and stood up. Ash looked towards his pokémon. "Guys, let's head back." His pokémon quickly gathered close. Ash looked at Gary. "I don't know about you, but I'm ready for some food."

    "Well, some things never change," Gary chuckled. "I always used to think that you thought with your stomach instead of your head."

    Ash pouted. It seemed even when they were working together, Gary was still teasing him. Sure, this one wasn't as mean, but it still wasn't fun for Ash. "Hey, you like food as much as I do...I think." For some reason, this just made Gary laugh more.

    "Come on," Gary grabbed all of the water bottles from Ash with a smirk. Ash smirked right back and took back some of the water bottles until they were carrying the same amount. He then looked at the pokéball still in his hand.

    "What are we going to do about Totodile?" Ash asked. They hadn't figured out whose pokémon it should be.

    Gary frowned and looked at the Totodile's pokéball. "We can't really split Totodile in half like we did that old pokéball."

    Ash brightened as he came up with an idea. "Why not?" He asked. Gary looked at him in confusion and slight judgement. "We can split trainership over it."

    "Oh, I think I get it," Gary brightened. "We'll share Totodile. You get it for a day, and then I do,"

    "And then back to me," Ash grinned. "Yes!"

    "I think I can do that," Gary said. "With both of us training it, it'll be the strongest Totodile ever."

    "Yeah," Ash agreed. He couldn't wait to get started.
  6. Gazi

    (Litleo ♀)
    Level 9
    May 27, 2018
    Dawn Stone ★★★★Legendary Triforce ★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 6:
    Gary knew that there were conditions to him traveling with Ashy-boy and getting trained by Koga, and he'd agreed to those conditions, but that didn't mean that he had to be completely happy with it. He knew that Ash's friends were up to important things, he'd been told that from the start, but he was still curious. That curiosity just got worse when they got to Ecruteak City and Blaine insisted that they had to go to the Burned Tower.

    Gary had been excited to check out the Burned Tower. It had been years since it had caught on fire, and despite, or maybe because of, the importance of the tower, the people of Ecruteak City had made no effort to repair it. It was still an important landmark, but it was also in ruins now and incredibly dangerous, so Gary had heard. He would love to see it for himself, and he wouldn't even get in trouble for it, because Blaine, Lt. Surge, and Koga were the ones who were starting it.

    However, Blaine insisted that Gary not join them. Apparently he wanted to let out some of those uncommon and powerful pokémon that Koga had told them about. Gary understood that all pokémon deserved the chance to stretch their legs, but he didn't get why it had to happen at the Burned Tower. It wasn't fair.

    Koga wouldn't hear any arguments or complaints from him. He just said that they would meet back up later in the day, and he'd dragged Gary off to the nearby paths outside the city. Gary had been reluctant to go, but then Koga had assured him that they would get in some training, real training, just like he'd promised. Gary still wasn't happy about not being able to explore the Burned Tower, but training was nice too.

    "What are we going to do?" Gary asked eagerly as he followed Koga off of the treaden path. "And why are we doing it all the way out here?"

    "Many people wouldn't approve of my methods," Koga said. "I don't want people to get the wrong idea and interrupt." He gave Gary a stern look. "I especially don't want you to tell Ash the details of our training. I know for a fact that he wouldn't like it."

    Gary found himself getting eager. Training was exciting, but secret training? Having a secret of his own made it easier to deal with not knowing just what the other's were keeping hidden. "I won't say a word."

    "See that you don't," Koga looked around. "Tell me, what pokémon do you have with you right now?"

    "Uh, I've got Eevee, Blastoise, Scyther, Rhydon, and Exeggutor," Gary had caught a lot more pokémon, but these were the only ones that he thought were deserving of his training. All of the others he'd sent to his grandfather.

    "Bring out your Eevee," Koga said quickly. He reached for his own pokéball and let out a Golbat. As Gary let out his pokémon, Koga cleared the area and sat down on the ground. He gestured for Gary to join him. "Now, this exercise that I'm going to bring you through, I'm going to keep you safe, but I insist that you don't do this unsupervised, as it can be easy to take it too far."

    Gary was beginning to feel slightly nervous, but not enough to back out of this. "What are we doing?"

    "An exercise of trust between you and your pokémon." Koga said. He held out his arm and his Golbat rested on it. "And remember what I said about you needing to recognize the limitations of both you and your pokémon?" Gary nodded. "Well, you can't know your limits unless they're put to the test,"

    Koga smirked and nodded at his Golbat. Without even the smallest bit of hesitance, Golbat leaned down and bit his arm. Gary flinched and lurched forward slightly. "Wha-hey! Are you nuts?"

    "Calm down," Koga said. "Everything is under control." After a long moment, Golbat pulled away, leaving two disturbingly deep holes from the fangs. Gary felt a little ill. It wasn't bleeding all that much, but the bite looked really deep. It had to hurt terribly.

    "How does it show you your limits?" Gary asked.

    "It allows me to know just how strong Golbat's attack is," Koga said. "And experiencing an attack from a pokémon can be humbling." Golbat flew off of Koga's arm. He pulled some wrapping out of his bag and began to bind up the bite. "Humans weren't made to handle an attack the same way a pokémon can. It's why we rely on pokémon to battle for us." Koga looked at Gary. "If you can recognize your own limitations, it may help you to consider the physical limits of your pokémon."

    "You...you want me to have Eevee bite me?" Gary frowned and looked at his pokémon. Eevee met his gaze and whimpered slightly when it saw the apologetic look in Gary's eyes. They looked at each other for a moment before Gary looked up at Koga. "How is this an exercise of trust?"

    "It shows Eevee that you trust it completely." Koga said. "If your pokémon know that you trust them, they'll be more likely to trust you completely in return." Gary thought that there were easier ways to build trust between pokémon and trainer, but Koga really seemed to know what he was talking about, and he did seem to be cautious about this.

    Gary took a deep breath and nodded. Eevee growled slightly at him in warning. "Hey, buddy, it's okay." Gary gave Eevee a reassuring smile. "I promise, I'll be just fine. Just look at Koga, he's okay, and Golbat's teeth are a lot bigger than yours are."

    Eevee's growl became a whine as it drew back. Gary gave it a small pet. "Come on, just one small bite, and then me and you can cuddle the way that you really like, okay?" He could see Eevee's resolve weakening. It stopped whining and leaned into Gary's touch. Gary grinned. "There we go. Come on, bud, it'll be just fine."

    Eevee drew back ever so slightly before it closed its eyes and struck. Gary cringed and had to bite his lip to keep himself from crying out in pain, because he knew that would scare Eevee. He could feel Eevee shaking, and he began to pet it again to calm both of them down. "I'm okay. Just a little longer, alright? I promise." Eevee nodded and bit down a little harder, possibly because it was worried that if it didn't then it would loosen its grip or let go completely.

    Koga watched them for a moment before he nodded at Gary. "That's enough," Eevee immediately let go of Gary's hand and licked at the bleeding bite. Gary took a deep breath and drew Eevee close.

    "Hey, I'm okay." Gary held Eevee tightly. "You did such a great job."

    "You both did well," Koga came closer to Gary, holding more bandages. "Let me see it." Gary held out his hand and let Koga wrap it up and stop the small amount of bleeding. "It looks fine. Should heal up without issue,"

    "That's good to hear," Gary pet Eevee. "Is that the only training we were going to do?"

    Koga smirked slightly. "I wouldn't leave you hanging like that. No, I have something else in mind." Koga pulled Gary to his feet. "We're near the Ruins of Alph."

    "Where?" Gary asked. This was the first time in the Johto region, and he wasn't familiar with all the locations. The Burned Tower was famous, even people in the Kanto region heard of it, but old ruins? Not a chance.

    "The Ruins of Alph," Koga said. "They used to be sacred and mysterious runes that people avoided, but recently a scientist found some old fossils there. It's open to the public and people are encouraged to come look for some fossils for themselves." Koga gave Gary a stern look. "And I do mean just people. The ruins are rather fragile, so pokémon aren't allowed on the premises at all."

    "So what?" Gary asked. Eevee whined and burrowed closer to him, not liking the thought of having to leave his side.

    "So digging for fossils can be physically trying without pokémon assistance," Koga said. "You need to experience what it's like to do things on your own, without relying on your pokémon." So this was still about Gary realizing just how weak he was or something like that. It was weird, and Gary didn't exactly see the point of it, but he wasn't one to back off from a challenge.

    "Let's do it," Gary said determinedly. He would do anything Koga wanted him to. The ninja nodded and led Gary back onto the main path. The two of them then walked further away from the town. They didn't end up going very far. For ruins that were supposed to be really sacred, they were sure really close to a large city.

    It wasn't too long before they got to the Ruins of Alph. There were only a handful of people around. Gary looked around curiously. He had expected more of a crowd if fossils had been just recently discovered here. Koga chuckled slightly at his expression.

    "These ruins are rumored to be haunted by mysterious pokémon," Koga said. "Locals don't like to come here."

    Gary scoffed slightly. Haunted. Sure, ghost pokémon were a thing, but real ghosts and hauntings, it was all just superstition, and he wasn't going to let that stop him from doing anything.

    "This is something I want you to do on your own," Koga held out his hands. "I'll watch over your pokémon while you're in there."

    "Yeah, sure," Gary set down his Eevee and handed over his remaining four pokéballs. "You'd better not run off with them, or I'll make you regret it."

    "I would like to see you try that without your pokémon," Koga raised an eyebrow at him.

    "Hey, that's why I'm digging for some fossils, isn't it?" Gary retorted. If he knew his limitations, he could get stronger and better know how to use his strengths to his advantage without hurting himself.

    "Indeed," Koga nodded. He pocketed Gary's pokéballs and gestured to the entrance of the ruins. "Good luck,"

    "I won't need it," Gary said proudly. Digging wasn't an overly complicated thing. Tedious and physically trying, but not all that complicated. He could handle it, even without his pokémon.

    "Watch your step," Blaine said, even as Ash tripped over some rubble. He would have fallen into a hole in the floor if Lt. Surge hadn't pulled him back. Blaine was oblivious to any of this. He just kept on trudging his way through the remains of the Burned Tower, trying to find a way to get to the top when the stairs had burned down and the ceiling creaked above them.

    "What are we doing here, Blaine?" Lt. Surge asked moodily. Ash saw his eyes dart all around, as though he was trying to find any potential problem.

    "I told you about the three legendary dogs that were connected to Ho-Oh, didn't I?" Blaine asked. He didn't even wait for a response before continuing. "It is rumored that this tower used to be where Ho-Oh roosted. More than that though, it's said that it was also the birthplace of the very pokémon we're looking for."

    "So, what, you think they're hanging around here?" Lt. Surge raised an eyebrow at Blaine. Ash could tell it wasn't a serious question. The tower may be burned down, but it was clear that people still explored it fairly regularly. No legendary pokémon came here regularly."

    "No," Blaine said honestly. "But considering how important this tower is to the people, I wouldn't be surprised if there was a monument to the pokémon we're looking for, which may provide some information as to where they might have gone,"

    So they weren't looking for the pokémon, they were looking for clues. "What if there's nothing here?" Ash asked.

    "Then we'll have to think of a new lead," Blaine said, and he almost sounded excited at the idea. He seemed to like a good challenge. Blaine climbed up onto an unsteady, fallen pillar. He reached for a whole in the ceiling, which would bring them up to the next floor, but all of a sudden something shot past Ash and blocked their path. It came so quickly that Blaine lost his balance and fell off the pillar. He landed on the ground harshly, but not harmfully. He seemed alright.

    Lt. Surge didn't pause for even a moment to help Blaine to his feet. Instead he strode up to the pillar that Blaine had fallen from, his eyes filled with anger and just a touch of fear.

    "Hey!" Lt. Surge glared at Lugia, who had come out of his pokéball and was sitting on the ground of the level above them. Lugia looked at them coldly, almost patronizingly. He hated that look from Lugia. Something felt really wrong about it. Ash felt even more uneasy when Lugia shifted his gaze and met his eyes. Ash felt shivers go down his spine.

    'You don't deserve to be here,' Lugia's voice said in his head, except it sounded different. Ash had only ever heard another child's voice from Lugia, but this time there was something more to it. Something deeper, darker, more powerful.

    "Take your eyes off of him!" Lt. Surge roared as he reached towards his pokéballs. He didn't let out any of them. He seemed to just be preparing. "I'm talking to you right now," Lugia's attention focused on Lt. Surge, and almost immediately the chill that Ash was feeling went away. He wasn't relieved though, not when he noticed the way that Lt. Surge froze, similar to the way he had back when they'd first found Lugia at the Team Rocket island base. He might have another flashback, and Ash was terrified. He didn't want his friend to be hurt like that, but he had no idea what he could do to stop it.

    Ash twitched like he wanted to move, though even he didn't know if it was to go towards Lt. Surge or away from Lugia. He desperately wanted to do both. He didn't have to decide though, as Blaine reacted quicker than he could.

    Blaine let out his arcanine, who ran towards Ash and curled up behind him, holding him back with a paw. At the same time, Blaine stood up and released another pokémon, this time from the Master ball. Mewtwo.

    Lugia growled at Mewtwo, but froze when Mewtwo gave him a cold stare. Ash didn't know if he was using his psychic Ash to keep Lugia where he was, or if Lugia was just intimidated by this new pokémon, but Ash found himself appreciating it anyways. Ash was a little worried about Lugia and what had made him so angry, but at that moment he was more concerned about Lt. Surge.

    "Buddy, I need you to try to help Lt. Surge," Ash muttered as he grabbed Raichu's pokéball and let him out. He didn't know if his Raichu would even be able to do something, but Ash felt better just knowing that he was trying. It was better than nothing.

    Raichu nodded and hurried to put himself between Lt. Surge and Lugia, growling protectively. Ash had meant for Raichu to ground Lt. Surge, but it looked like Blaine was handling that part just fine. The scientist was holding Lt. Surge, keeping him from doing anything that could hurt himself or anyone else. Blaine was muttering fiercely to Lt. Surge, though Ash was too far away to hear it.

    'You will not harm these humans,' Mewtwo said telepathically. Ash found a small smile slipping onto his face at the sound of the protectiveness in Mewtwo's tone. He was really warming up to them, which Ash was relieved about. He'd been worried that Mewtwo would be scared or resentful about being confined to the Master ball so much.

    "Everyone just calm down," Blaine said, calmly but forcefully. He looked up at Lugia, though kept his hands on Lt. Surge's shoulders. "If we've offended you, that wasn't our intention."

    'I'm not offended,' Lugia's tone was nearly a scoff. Ash would have found it funny that Lugia seemed to be offended about being accused of being offended if he wasn't a little afraid at the moment. Ash liked Lugia, but not when he was like this. 'This tower is not yours, and neither are the pokémon who were here.'

    "We're not trying to claim the pokémon," Ash said. "We're looking for them, but only so that we can help them," Ash gave Mewtwo and Lugia apologetic looks. "We're trying to stop Team Rocket before they can get them."

    A wave of anger washed over Ash at that, but he didn't know just who it came from, Lugia or Mewtwo. It might have been both.

    'That man doesn't know what he's dealing with,' Lugia growled. He still sounded angry, but Ash found himself relaxing anyways, because at least Lugia was back to sounding a little more like himself. 'He can't control this kind of power,'

    "We're not here to cause trouble," Blaine insisted. "We're just looking for information, and then we'll leave."

    Lugia eyed them cautiously. 'You've already lied to me once. Why should I believe you?'

    "Lie?" Ash furrowed his brow in thought. "When did we lie to you?"

    Lt. Surge shook his head and pushed Blaine away from him. His hands were shaking slightly, but he seemed to be trying really hard to hide it. "If that thing's talking about the pokéball thing, I couldn't exactly let it out before now." Lt. Surge glared at Lugia. "Trust me, if I thought I could let you out and have Blaine babysit you for a few minutes, I would have."

    Lugia seethed at Lt. Surge's words of him needing a babysitter. Ash cut in before Lugia could express his anger. "An old friend of mine is travelling with us, another kid. We didn't think it would be a good idea for him to know about you."

    Lugia jumped down from the floor above and landed in front of Ash. Lt. Surge lurched towards them, but Blaine and Raichu held him back. Ash met Lugia's cold gaze, unafraid. 'A child isn't a threat to me. But I won't be kept in a pokéball like any other pokémon. I'm not some common tool or pet.'

    Ash frowned. He didn't like how Lugia talked about his fellow pokémon, but he didn't want to argue with him right now. "No more pokéball then," Ash said. "I promise."

    Lugia eyed him carefully before he nodded slowly. Lugia looked around the tower almost cautiously. 'I don't like this place. It feels weird.'

    "We won't stay here for long," Ash assured him quickly. He looked at Blaine for confirmation. The man nodded.

    "As soon as we find a monument to the legendary dogs." Blaine said. Lugia looked up towards the hole in the ceiling.

    'I think I saw something up there.' Lugia said as he stretched his wings out and flew back up through the hole. Ash grinned and made his way to the pillar that the other's had stood on before. He looked at Mewtwo and without even having to ask the pokémon used his psychic powers to levitate Ash up through the hole. Blaine, Lt. Surge, and Raichu all came up behind him.

    Ash saw a stone tablet on the other side of the room. This might be what they were looking for, and then they might be able to find the legendary dogs, and then Ho-Oh. While they still had a long way to go until they could even find Ho-Oh, Ash found himself getting excited. Him seeing Ho-Oh was what had started this whole thing, and it just felt right that this was where his adventure seemed to be leading him.
  7. Gazi

    (Litleo ♀)
    Level 9
    May 27, 2018
    Dawn Stone ★★★★Legendary Triforce ★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 7:
    Visiting the Burned Tower and the monument to the legendary dogs had been useful to inform the others about just who the pokémon they were looking for were, but that was about all. As far as Blaine could see, there wasn't any clue about where they could find the legendary pokémon, which was the whole reason why they had come here in the first place.

    Lt. Surge had returned to Ecruteak City to talk to the people there and see if any of them knew something about Raikou, Suicune, or Entei. He had thought about taking Lugia with him, but Ash and Blaine had convinced him to go on his own. He had yet to get some real space from Lugia, and they all knew that the young rare pokémon would not tolerate going back into the pokéball so soon.

    While Lt. Surge was gone and they waited for Koga and Gary to return, Blaine returned to the first floor of the Burned Tower with Mewtwo. They could properly keep an eye out for the others, and he hoped that if he gave Lugia some space with just Ash, it would calm down a little bit. Blaine's main motivation though was to do some meditation with Mewtwo. Despite their work together, Mewtwo was still much less physically stable than Blaine would like. He could handle being out of his pokéball, and Mewtwo had gotten used to walking rather than floating everywhere.

    The problem was that Mewtwo still relied on Blaine far too much. Neither of them had noticed it when Mewtwo was running off on his own, but their connection could be detrimental at times. For Mewtwo to be able to accomplish as much as he had, he needed to pull from Blaine's energy. Whenever Mewtwo was out of the Master ball for too long, or if he used too much of his powers at once, Blaine would feel faint and slightly ill. They didn't know how to solve this issue. Blaine hoped that by strengthening their bond through meditation, Mewtwo wouldn't drain nearly as much power from Blaine.

    Even though meditation had been his idea, Blaine wasn't very good at it. He always had a lot of ideas running around his head. He had never been able to figure out how to quiet his thoughts, aside from chasing them. Mewtwo seemed to thrive in quiet meditation though, and he used their connection and his psychic powers to help guide Blaine through the meditation. It wasn't perfect, but it went better than it probably would have if Blaine had attempted it on his own.

    As they sat in silence, Blaine couldn't quite clear his mind completely. He had to content himself with not thinking about his problem in a scientific way. As a scientist, Blaine had done everything he could to look at things logically rather than emotionally, but he wasn't arrogant enough to believe that he could solve everything with facts. He suspected that the whole problem between him and Mewtwo came from their connection, which was based on feelings and emotions, even if it had been formed from science.

    As they meditated, Mewtwo calmed down and seemed to put himself in a trance-like state. It was similar to how he was when he was in the stabilizing formula. Blaine only seemed to feel worse the more they sat there. They were doing this to try to strengthen their connection, but was that really what they needed?

    They were connected, and that wasn't going to go away, but Blaine couldn't help but think that it would be better if it did. He may have created Mewtwo, but he was still a living creature. As much as Blaine didn't like Mewtwo feeding off of him, it was just as unfair for Mewtwo that he had to rely on Blaine as much as he did. The longer Blaine sat there, the more sure he was that their current solution couldn't be a permanent one. Neither of them could survive like this for long, but what else were they supposed to do?

    "What are you doing?" Blaine opened his eyes and looked towards the entrance. He could see Koga leaning against a pillar, but who he was more concerned about was Gary. Maybe meditating while waiting for the others to return hadn't been the best plan, because Mewtwo was right there in the open. He had already decided to tell Gary about Mewtwo, because if they were going to tell the boy about Lugia, he might as well know everything. He had just hoped to ease Gary into it, rather than have him literally walk right into it.

    "I'm trying to focus," Blaine said. He took a good look at Gary and was taken aback. The boy was incredibly dirty, like he'd been crawling around in the dirt. That by itself wasn't a bad thing, but Gary also looked really scratched up, and there was a slightly bloody bandage on his arm. What kind of training had Koga been doing with Gary?

    Gary didn't seem to care that Blaine hadn't truly answered his question, his attention was completely on Mewtwo, who was watching him curiously. "Who are you?" Gary asked. He sounded curious, but not as in awe as Blaine had first expected. Perhaps Gary was under the impression that Mewtwo was just another pokémon native to the Johto region.

    "I am Mewtwo," Gary jumped when he got a response. He clearly hadn't expected it.

    "You...you can talk?" He looked at Blaine and Koga in shock. "It can talk,"

    "Yes, he can," Koga smiled, looking amused. "Mewtwo is not a regular pokémon." Koga looked at Blaine, giving him the chance to explain from there. It was up to Blaine to decide how much or how little to tell the boy.

    "Mewtwo is actually my creation," Blaine said. Mewtwo gave him an annoyed look, but he didn't say anything. Mewtwo may not like the reminder, but they both knew that he was his creation.

    Gary's eyes went wide with awe and disbelief. "You made a pokémon? How did you do that?"

    "It was a complicated process," Blaine said. He wasn't so sure if he could replicate his work again, even if he wanted to. "Put simply, I combined my DNA with the fossilized DNA of a pokémon named Mew."

    "A fossil?" Gary reached into his pocket and pulled out a rock. He looked at it like he was seeing it for the first time. "Can someone make a pokémon from any fossil?" He held out how rock for Blaine to see. He took the rock and carefully examined it. Blaine wasn't exactly a fossil expert, but he recognized one when he saw it, even if he didn't know exactly what pokémon it was a fossil of.

    "Possibly," Blaine looked at Gary's fossil for another minute before he handed it back to the boy. "We may not be able to do anything with your fossil now, but after we finish what we've come here to do, I can help you find a way to revive your fossil, if you want."

    "That would be awesome," Gary looked proudly at his fossil. "Where's Ashy-boy."

    "He's just above us," Blaine pointed up. "He's with another pokémon who is, well, quite temperamental."

    Koga's eyes narrowed. "Did something happen? Where's Surge?"

    "He's in town, looking for more information," Blaine said. "As for our little friend, he's not too pleased with having been in his pokéball for so long."

    "Once he can figure out how to control himself, he wouldn't have to be in his pokéball," Koga scowled. "Is Ash on his own then?" Blaine barely nodded before Koga climbed onto the pillar to get closer to the hole in the ceiling. Blaine sighed and nodded at Mewtwo, who used levitation to lift Koga up through the hole. Gary grinned and climbed onto the piller too. Before Blaine could think about whether it truly was a good idea to introduce Gary to Lugia so soon, Mewtwo levitated him up as well.

    Blaine sighed. He didn't know whether it would be preferable for Lugia to be as fond of Gary as he was of Ash, or for Lugia to despise or resent him. He trusted Koga to keep an eye on the boys.

    "You're unhappy," Mewtwo commented.

    "No, I'm nervous and a little confused," Blaine turned towards Mewtwo.

    "And unhappy," Mewtwo gave him a knowing look. It was almost a scolding, in a way, like Mewtwo was disappointed that Blaine denied how he truly felt, even though to Blaine's knowledge, he was doing no such thing. Mewtwo seemed so sure though, like he somehow knew more about how Blaine was feeling than he did. "It was stronger before,"

    Before? It took Blaine a moment to recognize that Mewtwo meant before Gary and Koga returned. "I'm not exactly unhappy," Blaine insisted. "I just don't know what to do. More important than that though, I don't know how to learn what I should do, and I've never known how to deal with that."

    Blaine frowned and began pacing. Mewtwo just watched him for a moment. "I am way out of my depth here. We all are." Blaine sighed. He was feeling crowded. This was another reason why he wasn't overly attached to his and Mewtwo's connection. Blaine's head felt crowded enough when it was just him in there. Having somebody who could so easily read his every thought and emotion, sometimes even better than he could himself, was overwhelming.

    "I need some space," Blaine gave Mewtwo a look that was part apologetic and part pleading. "I shouldn't be gone long. Please, stay here and keep an eye on the others." Mewtwo looked at him dubiously, but he didn't say anything as Blaine left the Burned Tower.

    Blaine didn't know just where he was going, he just knew that he needed to get away from there, away from everything and everybody else. Blaine didn't especially want to walk around town that much, as that would entail interacting with other people. He just needed somewhere quiet he could gather his thoughts for five minutes.

    Blaine left Ecruteak City and made his way into the forest. He had no destination in mind, he just walked. Trying to empty his mind for meditation was backfiring on him. Blaine's mind was racing, and he couldn't focus on just a single thing. He thought about the lack of information about the legendary dogs, and possible ways they could figure out more. He thought about the fossil that Gary had found and wondered just what kind of pokémon it might be revived into. He thought about old research projects he hadn't touched since he'd started his work on Mewtwo.

    Blaine's thoughts always returned to the problem that he just couldn't figure out. His connection with Mewtwo. The connection that sometimes felt slightly parasitic on both ends. He had thought that catching Mewtwo had been the best idea, because Mewtwo had been physically unstable and he'd thought that he was far too powerful to be left on his own. Now though, he thought that Mewtwo was too powerful, and his emotions far too real, to be under the control of anybody, not even him. Maybe especially not him.

    Blaine sat down on a nearby log and rubbed his arm. Since they'd caught Mewtwo, and he'd started to calm down, Blaine's arm had started to heal. It still looked far from normal, but it certainly wasn't as unnatural as it had been before. There was no rippling of his skin. It almost looked like a burn, except the color resembled a fading bruise. Most noticeably though, Blaine's arm didn't hurt anymore. It didn't even tingle. It felt completely normal. This should be a good thing, so why did Blaine get such a bad feeling from it?

    He didn't know why he was so bothered by this. Their situation may not be ideal, but at the moment, there wasn't truly anything wrong with it. There was no reason for him to be in such a hurry to fix things. Especially not when the situation was so unstable at the moment, and they were nowhere near ready to let go of it completely.

    Blaine sighed. He had to let this go. If he got too transfixed on fixing this problem, he would begin to completely ignore more urgent matters, such as finding the legendary dogs and making sure that the others were all safe. As much as Blaine didn't like to ignore a problem, he had to put this issue aside, at least for now.

    The sound of a stick breaking brought Blaine out of his musings. Immediately alert, he stood up and looked around the forest. Everything was quiet...too quiet. These woods should be full of grass and bug type pokémon, but Blaine could not hear or see any sign of any pokémon. Blaine took a deep breath. Perhaps it was time that he returned to the city.

    Just as Blaine was about to begin the journey back, he felt a heat at the back of his neck. Blaine stiffened and froze. The heat felt like a cross between the sun on his skin on a particularly warm day, and the heat that came when he got too close to fire. This heat was soothing and comfortable, but also warning that it could be rather dangerous.

    Blaine slowly turned around and found himself face to face with a pokémon that he had never seen before, but still instantly recognized. He had seen an image of this pokémon just a short while ago at the Burned Tower. This was one of the very legendary dogs that they were looking for.

    "Entei," Blaine said breathlessly. The pokémon's power was absolutely incredible. He could feel it even when Entei was just standing there. Was this the power of natural, fully-grown pokémon? He could see why people like Giovanni wanted to control it. A few months ago, this power would appeal to him as well. Now though, Blaine wanted nothing to do with it.

    Blaine took a step back from Entei, momentarily forgetting that they had been trying to get Entei and the other legendary pokémon to help them. Entei gave a low growl and took a step forward. Blaine stopped where he was and stood very still, even as Entei came up to him and began to sniff him. Blaine stiffened slightly when Entei began to sniff at his arm. Entei growled lowly again. It seemed cautious about the unnatural arm.

    "It's alright," Blaine reassured the legendary pokémon. "I'm not sure how to feel about it either," He didn't mind being Mewtwo's brother, but his arm symbolized to Blaine how unnatural and dangerous their connection was. "At times it's nice, but other times it feels like I have a weight on my shoulders that I just can't bare,"

    Entei watched him curiously. It almost seemed to be looking for something, though Blaine had no idea what it was. A long, tense moment passed between them before Entei began to back up. Before Blaine could say anything or move, Entei was bounding away from him.

    Blaine stood quietly for a moment before he recovered from his shock of what had happened. He'd met Entei. One of the legendary dogs that he'd been trying to figure out how to find had just walked up to him, simple as that. He had to tell the others about this.

    Blaine stumbled back for a few moments, his legs shaking so much he was surprised that he could move at all. Finally his legs began to cooperate enough that he was able to run without having to worry about tripping over his own feet.

    Blaine moved on autopilot, and he was almost surprised when he reached the town so quickly. He hadn't even been paying attention to where he was going. Blaine hurried back to the Burned Tower. He was immediately greeted by a concerned and nervous Mewtwo.

    "Something happened," Mewtwo said knowingly. Mewtwo's tone was calm, but Blaine could feel just how anxious he was. Mewtwo had probably felt how nervous he was during his encounter with Entei. For a moment Blaine wondered why Mewtwo hadn't come to his side, if he'd been so worried, but then he'd remembered the request he'd made of Mewtwo. Blaine had wanted to be alone, and for the others to be kept safe, and Mewtwo had done just that.

    "I think I met Entei," Blaine said quietly.

    "Entei?" Ash leaned over the hole in the ceiling and looked down at Blaine curiously. Koga was right behind the boy, probably to make sure he didn't fall. "Are you sure?"

    Blaine nodded. There was no mistaking the power he had felt. If it hadn't been Entei, it had at the very least been a very powerful and likely legendary pokémon. "It just came up to me, and then it left just as suddenly.

    Ash frowned slightly. "Actually, I think I saw one of the legendary pokémon too,"

    "What?" Blaine looked at the boy in shock. "When did this happen?"

    "This morning when we were on our way here," Ash said. "I didn't know what it was when I saw it, but it looked a lot like one of the legendary dogs on the monument thing." So that was why Ash had insisted on staying up there and examining the monument. He thought he recognized one of them. "I think it was Suicune,"

    Blaine had been sure that it would be difficult to find the legendary dogs in Johto, but they'd been here for not even a day, and already two of them had met two of the pokémon. They may not be any closer to getting the legendary pokémon to help them find Ho-Oh, but Blaine thought that this was still a lot more progress than he had expected so soon. He couldn't shake the feeling that this couldn't be a coincidence, and perhaps one that they could use to their advantage.

    Blaine looked at Mewtwo. "You felt it when I met Entei," It wasn't exactly a question, but Mewtwo nodded anyway. "I felt so much power from Entei. Did you feel that as well?" Mewtwo was still for a moment as he carefully thought it through. Finally though, he nodded. "If you know what Entei's power feels like, could you find it again?"

    Mewtwo closed his eyes and Blaine could feel the power flowing off of him. After a long moment Mewtwo opened his eyes and looked at him. "I can feel it,"

    "So we can find Entei?" Ash grinned. "That's so cool,"

    "We should get going before Entei gets too far," Blaine said. Mewtwo nodded and lowered Ash and Koga back down to the main floor. Lugia came down just behind them, with Gary on his back. It seemed that Lugia had accepted Gary. Blaine didn't know how he felt about that. "Let's go find Lt. Surge, before it gets too late." They still had a few hours before sundown. They had time to make at least a little progress before setting up camp for the night.

    Blaine may feel conflicted about the bond between him and Mewtwo, but as long as they had it, he might as well put it to some use.
  8. Gazi

    (Litleo ♀)
    Level 9
    May 27, 2018
    Dawn Stone ★★★★Legendary Triforce ★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 8:

    Lugia ducked his head under his wing and closed his eyes. He was so tired, not like he wanted to sleep, but like he wanted to just get away from the world for a little bit. Lugia was tempted to just take off and fly wherever the wind led him, but it was too dangerous. He knew he hadn't always been by himself, as he had the occasional vague memory of being around others, but as far back as his clear memory went, he had always been on his own, but he hadn't been left alone.

    Team Rocket hadn't been the first ones who had tried to claim him for themselves. It seemed that everybody wanted control of the power that Lugia had. He couldn't exactly blame them, as Lugia liked the power he had as well, but he didn't appreciate being hunted like a common pokémon. He especially didn't appreciate being found by Team Rocket, and that man.

    Lugia seethed and felt like attacking something or someone at just the thought of that man. Lugia hated him, he hated that man with a passion that he couldn't control. What was most frustrating though was that he didn't even understand why he despised the man so much, which just made him even more furious.

    Lugia tried really hard to not think about that man, but his mind kept on coming back to him. Even before Lugia had been captured by Team Rocket, he'd felt like there was something in the back of his mind that made him feel anxious and angry, but he could never tell what it was. The first time Lugia laid eyes on that man, the feeling intensified and he knew that even if he didn't remember the man, he knew him well, and really didn't like him. Ever since he'd gotten away from Team Rocket, he couldn't get the man out of his head.

    That man was part of the reason why Lugia desperately wanted to stay with Ash. They didn't talk to him about everything, but Lugia had overheard enough to know that they were planning on stopping that man's plans, and Lugia wanted to help them achieve that. Lugia felt like it would be perfect poetic justice for that man to be taken down by the very power that he'd been trying to control.

    Lugia just wished that the humans would take their own quest seriously. Everything that Lugia heard, it seemed the companions were working with a lot of maybes, and those weren't good enough for Lugia. As far as he was concerned, working with possibilities was as useless as working with dreams. It was a nice thought, but it never worked as well as definites.

    Lugia could tolerate the humans doing things a little bit differently if they were actually doing something. At the moment though, the humans were wasting their time and training. Lugia usually admired the drive to be stronger, but the reason to have power was to use it to get something that you wanted.

    The boys, Ash and Gary, may be lacking in their abilities, but they weren't useless, and their companions were some impressive trainers, not just in raw power, but in strategy. Between all of them, Lugia thought that they had enough power to accomplish what they'd come out here to do. Especially if they were going to be finding some more powerful pokémon to help them. The training wasn't necessary, and it was just a waste of time. Especially this particular training.

    "Watch out!" Gary called out. Lugia looked up just in time to be hit in the face with a stray water gun attack. The water gun had come from Ash's Wartortle, who Gary was training with. Lugia didn't blame Wartortle for the stray attack though, he blamed the boy. If a trainer wasn't strong enough to keep a pokémon under complete control, then they shouldn't train that particular pokémon.

    Lugia sent a water attack of his own towards Gary. It was a lot stronger than Wartortle's had been, and it would have knocked Gary to the ground and possibly hurt him if Koga's Golbat hadn't flown in and knocked Gary to the side, helping him dodge the attack.

    Koga stepped protectively in front of Gary and glared at Lugia. The ninja seemed to always be angry at Lugia for one reason or another. Lugia didn't even find him intimidating at this point, it was just annoying. "That wasn't necessary,"

    'He started it,' Lugia responded, though he knew that Koga couldn't understand or feel him the way that Ash or the electric man, Lt. Surge, could.

    Koga's Golbat flew up to Lugia and screeched at him. 'Don't blame the child. It was an accident.' Golbat's near scolding tone irritated Lugia.

    'That shouldn't matter,' Lugia growled at Golbat. 'The child should have more control,'

    'So should you,' Golbat said plainly. Lugia scowled and ducked his head back under his wing. He didn't have a retort to that, because Golbat was right. Lugia hadn't meant for his water attack to be as powerful as it had been. He really hadn't wanted to hurt the boy, he just wanted to teach him a lesson.

    Golbat nipped lightly at Lugia's wing to get his attention. 'The boy just needs time to get used to working with other pokémon,'

    'But why?' Lugia peeked out from behind his wing before he looked towards Gary, who was having some stern words with Wartortle. Around them were the rest of Ash's pokémon. Raichu was glancing anxiously towards the trees, where his true trainer was. It didn't like to be separated from its trainer, and was having a difficult time working. Butterfree worked fine with Gary, but kept on getting distracted by Koga's Venomoth. Bulbasaur was too busy watching Lugia suspiciously to really pay attention to Gary's instructions. Charizard didn't even pretend to listen until Koga was the one who gave an order. Of Ash's pokémon, only Pidgeotto was consistently willing to work with the other boy.

    For reasons that Lugia didn't understand, Koga and Lt. Surge had decided that not only would they break for the whole day to do training with Gary and Ash, but they would also do it with swapped pokémon. Lugia had no idea what they were hoping to accomplish. Koga had mentioned something about Gary needing to be willing to adjust training styles to accommodate the needs of individual pokémon, but he didn't understand it. If a pokémon refused to work with you, and you couldn't figure out how to make them listen, Lugia just didn't think that it was a combination worth putting in the effort for.

    Golbat hummed and nestled close to Lugia. This wasn't the first time that Golbat had acted overly friendly with Lugia. He'd tried to push Koga's pokémon away, but it wasn't to be dissuaded. Golbat insisted on showing its affection, and Lugia had given up on convincing it otherwise.

    'It makes them better trainers,' Golbat gave Lugia an interesting look. 'You know that.'

    Golbat sounded so convinced, but Lugia didn't know how he could. He wanted to brush Golbat's words off, except something about them did ring a bell. He couldn't remember anything that would attribute to him knowing that working with other people's pokémon could make people better trainers. If he couldn't remember, how could Golbat? It didn't make any sense, and trying to figure it out just irritated him, same as thinking about that man did.

    Lugia needed to get his mind off of everything. Golbat clearly wasn't very good at distracting him, but Lugia knew of some humans who could help. Lugia stretched his wings out and began to leave to find Ash and Lt. Surge. He had barely moved before Koga stopped him in his tracks.

    "Where do you think you're going?" Koga asked sharply. Lugia didn't even bother answering. What was the point if he knew he wouldn't be heard? He just glared at Koga, who met his glare easily. Koga was probably the only one of these humans who hadn't once shown any fear in him. Frustration and suspicion, yes, and definitely mistrust, but Koga wasn't afraid of him.

    Koga watched him for a moment before he sighed. "Don't pick any fights with the others," Koga looked at Golbat. "And you, make sure you keep this one out of trouble." Golbat shrieked in agreement and flew around Lugia, who seethed. He didn't need Golbat to babysit him. Koga always did this, always acted like Lugia needed constant supervision.

    Lugia paused. Always? He hadn't known Koga nearly long enough to believe that the man always did something. Lugia growled to himself. Of course he would find something else to get confused by just as he was trying to avoid this kind of thing.

    As Lugia was leaving he heard Koga return to teaching Gary. "Ash's pokémon have faced training from me, Lt. Surge, and other powerful trainers. You won't be able to demand respect through intimidating as well as we could, so you'll have to find something else to do," Lugia felt like rolling his eyes at the advice. This seemed like common knowledge. Why was Koga speaking like this was the first that Gary was hearing of it.

    Lugia pushed his way past the trees and went to find Ash and Lt. Surge. He tried to ignore Golbat following close behind him. When Lugia entered the clearing that the others were in, an Eevee immediately ran behind him. Ash had been chasing after the eevee, but when Lt. Surge saw Lugia, he pulled the boy back.

    "Eevee, that's cheating," Ash complained as he let Lt. Surge pull him back. "Come on, can't we just be friends?" Eevee just hissed at Ash and turned its back to him.

    "Alright, that's enough," Lt. Surge pushed Ash back and approached Lugia. He gave him a cautious, warning look, daring him to cause any trouble. Lugia didn't move a muscle. He still had lingering anger from his underlying uncertainty and confusion, but Lt. Surge never willingly came so close to him. Lugia had no desire to pick a fight and scare the man away.

    Lugia didn't normally care a lot about the feelings of others, but he didn't like seeing Lt. Surge so vulnerable and scared. It just felt wrong.

    When Lt. Surge was confident that Lugia wasn't going to attack suddenly, he reached behind Lugia's wing and grabbed Eevee by its scruff. Lt. Surge carefully backed away from Lugia and held the struggling Eevee out to Ash. The boy wrapped his arms around Eevee and tried to keep a firm hold on it, but Eevee clearly wasn't wanting to behave.

    "What's wrong?" Ash asked Eevee, his voice full of sympathy.

    "It's just throwing a tantrum because it wants its trainer," Lt. Surge gave Eevee an unimpressed look. "I wouldn't be surprised if your Raichu was doing something similar,"

    "Is this really such a good idea?" Ash asked as he pet Eevee's fur, trying to calm it down. "If Eevee hates it this much, maybe we should just call it a day and come back to this later,"

    "No," Lt. Surge said sternly. "If we back off now, you'll just be giving in to its demands, and Eevee will think that it can get away with this kind of thing. You need to show Eevee, and the rest of Gary's pokémon, that just because you're nice doesn't mean you're a pushover."

    "Why's this so important though?" Ash asked, and Lugia was wondering the same thing.

    "There's no guarantee that you'll always have your own pokémon with you," Lt. Surge said. "If something happens and you get separated from your pokémon, but maybe you have some of Gary's with you, you'll be able to work with them."

    Ash sighed. "Okay," He set Eevee on the ground and knelt to put himself closer to its level. "Eevee, I need you to listen to me," Lugia was taken aback. He didn't often hear that tone from Ash. It was stern and left little room for argument, but it wasn't unkind. "I know I'm not Gary, and you miss him right now, but you need to get over it right now. I need you to work with me, just for today, and then you can go back to your trainer, I promise."

    Eevee huffed and glared at Ash, but it nodded stiffly and joined Gary's other pokémon. Ash grinned. "Great. Let's get to work," Ash ran over to join them. He looked at them in slight awe. "You're all so big. You must be pretty strong,"

    "Are they agile and flexible though?" Lt. Surge asked. Ash looked at Gary's pokémon thoughtfully.

    "I guess we'll have to see," Ash said. He began to jog in place. "Come on, guys, let's do a few laps around the clearing," Ash started running. Gary's pokémon looked at each other in confusion. "Don't tell me you're afraid of being beat by a kid," Ash's taunt was enough to get them going. Eevee and scyther started chasing after Ash. Rhydon, Exxegutor, and Blastoise were too big to run all that fast, but they certainly tried.

    Lt. Surge watched Ash and the pokémon for a bit before he looked back towards Lugia. "What are you doing here?"

    Lugia thought about the thoughts that he was trying to avoid. Lt. Surge winced and nodded in understanding. "If that attack of emotions was anything to go by, you're looking for a distraction. I can relate to that. My thoughts are always attacking me." Lt. Surge scoffed and crossed his arms. "Look at me, talking about my feelings with you, of all pokémon. I've been spending too much time with Ash,"

    As weird as it was for Lugia to hear Lt. Surge be even this open with his emotions, he appreciated it. At least it was better than Lt. Surge jumping and nearly cowering at first sight of him.

    Lt. Surge looked at Lugia for a bit before he had to turn away. "Look, I understand the need to escape your thoughts, but I really don't think I'm the best guy to do that for you." The man reached into his pocket and pulled out a pokéball. He let out his Magneton. "I have no idea what this guy likes so much about you, but it can keep you calm, so knock yourselves out."

    When Magneton saw Lugia it screeched happily. Lugia honestly didn't know just what Magneton and Golbat liked so much about him, but it was nice to have some friends, even if they could get really clingy sometimes.

    "No offense, but I've really gotta focus on Ash, and I can't really do that with you around," Lt. Surge said. Lugia knew that he was right. Whenever Lugia was nearby, Lt. Surge seemed to forget about everything else. Once or twice he had somehow even forgotten that Lugia was right there, even when he'd been looking straight at him. It was a little frightening.

    Lugia was disappointed, but he understood. He wondered what that other human, Blaine, was doing. Maybe the mysterious scientist would be willing to distract him, especially since it would keep him away from Lt. Surge. Blaine really didn't seem to care much about Lugia, but he certainly cared about Lt. Surge, and was willing to go out of his way to keep Lugia away from Lt. Surge.

    Lugia hadn't known for sure exactly where Blaine was, but he was still able to find him easily. Lugia suspected it was because of that odd pokémon that Blaine frequently had by his side. Lugia could feel its psychic energy latching onto his own and pulling him in.

    Lugia found Blaine pacing along a path, with his powerful pokémon, Mewtwo, walking behind him. Blaine seemed completely focused on his thoughts, Lugia wondered if the man even knew he was there. Mewtwo also looked focused, but on its walking. Mewtwo seemed uncomfortable on its own two feet. It was odd to watch.

    Lugia watched Mewtwo for a moment before Mewtwo stiffened and turned to look at him. Mewtwo stared into Lugia's eyes. It seemed to be looking directly into his soul. After a long moment, Mewtwo relaxed.

    "You are lost," Mewtwo said in Lugia's mind.

    'No, I'm not,' Lugia said stubbornly. He thought he would know if he was lost.

    "Your mind is lost," Mewtwo completely ignored Lugia's disagreement. Blaine frowned and looked at Mewtwo in confusion before he noticed Lugia standing there.

    "Oh, hello," Blaine said casually. Unlike Lt. Surge and Koga, Blaine didn't seem to have any inherent suspicion about Lugia. He was just cautious about Lugia being near Ash and Lt. Surge. "I guess you're the one Mewtwo was talking to," Lugia curled slightly inward. So Mewtwo had been speaking in both of their heads. Lugia didn't know why, but that really bothered him.

    Blaine looked at Mewtwo. "You shouldn't read people's minds without their permission. It can be invading,"

    "I didn't look willingly," Mewtwo tilted its head at Lugia. "His psychic energy pulled me in. I would have to try to not notice it,"

    "Well then, try," Blaine crossed his arms.

    Mewtwo hummed slightly. "It might be better if I teach him how to defend his mind from other psychics,"

    Lugia glared at Mewtwo. 'I don't have anything to learn from you,' Lugia hadn't worked a lot with his psychic powers, as it usually meant concentrating on his thoughts, but he would rather confront the thoughts that he was trying to avoid than let someone else go poking around in there. 'Just stay out of my head,'

    "Very well," Mewtwo said, though he didn't look away from Lugia. A flash of anger came into his eyes. "Giovanni's in your thoughts,"

    Lugia would have been furious about Mewtwo looking into his mind again, but the mentioning of that man's name threw him off. Giovanni...yes, of course that was the man's name. How could he have forgotten? An even more concerning question came to Lugia's mind; how did he know Giovanni's name in the first place? How did he know him, and why was it bothering him so much?

    "You are lost again," Mewtwo sounded curious. Blaine gave Mewtwo an unimpressed look. Lugia drew back. His thoughts were all over the place, and his emotions were even more of a mess. He was scared, he was angry, he was oh so confused, and he barely knew which emotion went with which thought. Maybe Mewtwo was right, because he was certainly feeling incredibly lost at the moment.

    Lugia had come looking for the humans' company so he could be distracted from his thoughts, but he felt even worse than he had before. Lugia thought about just giving up on the humans for now and returning to their camp to be on his own. It couldn't backfire on him as much as being around the humans had.

    Lugia left Blaine and Mewtwo to their walk. He had to get away from them. Lugia flew back to camp so quickly that Magneton and Golbat could barely keep up with him, but he didn't care. Lugia didn't stop until he got to the sloppily set up tents. He landed behind one of them and curled his head under his wing. He wished he was calm and tired enough to get some sleep, because he didn't know how else to quiet his thoughts.

    'Little boss?' Magneton nudged him. Lugia looked at Lt. Surge's pokémon in shock.

    'Why did you call me that?' Lugia asked.

    "It's who you are,' Golbat landed on Lugia's back and made itself comfortable there.

    Lugia sighed and ducked his head again. He closed his eyes and hoped for sleep. He didn't know how Golbat and Magneton could sound so sure about who they thought he was when Lugia didn't even know it. He had been fine without all of his memories, but now it really bothered him. It seemed that everybody he saw knew more about who he was than he did, and he hated it.

    This...this was exactly why Lugia had been trying to distract himself. Anything would be better than this sudden uncertainty that just wouldn't leave him alone.
  9. Gazi

    (Litleo ♀)
    Level 9
    May 27, 2018
    Dawn Stone ★★★★Legendary Triforce ★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 9:

    The boy leaned against the deck railing and glared out over the sea. He was vaguely aware of his partner pokémon curling up against his leg affectionately, but he wasn't in the mood to be comforted by it at the moment. He was angry, and he felt justified in his anger. He didn't want to calm down. He didn't want to forgive that man.

    "Hey, kiddo," He looked over his shoulder to see Lt. Surge approaching him. One of the man's Magnemite flew up to the boy and nuzzled him, shocking him slightly. It wasn't bad enough to hurt, but it wasn't a comfortable feeling. He nudged the Magnemite away from him, but it just returned to his side. Lt. Surge crossed his arms and smirked in amusement. "It likes you,"

    "It's annoying," He looked at the pokémon in annoyance. It just hummed happily, completely unbothered by his opinion of it.

    "Just let go of your pride," Lt. Surge said. "I know you want to catch and train your own pokémon, but you're being handed an experienced and loyal pokémon, taking away the hardest part of training. Don't look a gift Ponyta in the mouth."

    "Why are you giving me one of your pokémon?" he asked.

    "Because Giovanni told me to," Lt. Surge said. "Same with Koga and Sabrina."

    The boy put a hand on his pokémon partner's head. "So four of my pokémon are chosen for me,"

    "If you don't want to train them, don't, but they've been given orders to protect you," Lt. Surge said.

    "I don't need protection," The boy scowled. He turned his back on Lt. Surge again.

    "Giovanni has a lot of enemies, you know," Lt. Surge approached the railing and leaned his back against it.

    "That's his own fault," He felt his anger build. He hated being associated with Giovanni, and he hated that there was nothing that he could do about it. "He's a fool,"

    "Don't let him hear you say that," Lt. Surge's tone was playful, but they both knew that he wasn't joking. Giovanni accepted criticism from very few people, and the boy wasn't one of them. Lt. Surge sighed. "What did the old man do this time?"

    "Nothing to me," The boy said honestly. "He just...I don't understand him,"

    "I'm pretty sure he doesn't understand you either," Lt. Surge said honestly.

    "He says that he wants to control powerful pokémon, but he spends half his time and resources on common, weak pokémon, and the other half of his resources trying to convince untrustworthy agents to be loyal to him." Lt. Surge hummed and nodded his head. He probably knew even better than the boy did just how little Team Rocket did the things they claimed to be dedicated to.

    "Well, when you get older, you can run things your own way," Lt. Surge said. He was trying to be comforting, but it just made the boy even more irritated.

    "I don't want to run Team Rocket," The boy said. "I want to be strong, not spend all my time babysitting others and constantly watching my back,"

    "Whatever you say kiddo," Lt. Surge said. He clearly didn't believe him, but he didn't try to convince him otherwise like Giovanni would, and often had.

    The boy's pokémon partner stiffened and its ears twitched. It climbed onto the railing and leaned so far over it that it nearly fell over the edge. It was staring intently over the ocean. The boy frowned and looked into the water beneath them. The waves were rough, though the boy didn't understand why when the weather was calm. There wasn't even a breeze.

    The boy saw a large shadow pass beneath them. He leaned forward more. "Something's down there," Lt. Surge frowned and stepped forward. Before he could get a look for himself, the ship lurched suddenly. They were knocked forward before they stumbled back from another hit. The boy grabbed onto his partner to keep it from falling over the edge.

    Lt. Surge grabbed his shoulder and pulled him back. "Get away from there," Lt. Surge practically threw him back away from the railing. Lt. Surge then ran back to the helm. "We've gotta go," Lt. Surge made to turn the ship around, full speed ahead, but then the ship was ran into again.

    The boy cringed and held tightly to the first thing he could grab, which just so happened to be his partner, who was clinging tightly to him. "What is that?"

    "I don't know, and right now I don't care to find out," Lt. Surge quickly tossed Magnemite's pokéball to the boy. "Get those pokémon in their balls. The last thing we need right now is to worry about them."

    The boy did as he was told. Once the pokémon were returned he stumbled towards Lt. Surge. This boat was just a little too large for one man to steer on his own. "What can I do?"

    "Stay out of my way," Lt. Surge growled. He was able to get the boat moving away from whatever had attacked them, but then things went wrong. They heard a sound almost like a song. It was pretty, but the boy felt nothing but dread when he heard it. The song got louder and the boy noticed that the previously clear weather had gotten worse in the blink of an eye. The sky was completely overcast with clouds so dark that it almost looked like night. Wind was blowing through the boy's hair, whipping it in his face.

    "Lt. Surge…" The boy stared in shock and ever growing terror. The waves had gotten so large that some of them were nearly as large as their ship was.

    "Kid, get down and hold onto something," Lt. Surge fought to keep the ship upright despite the tugging of the wind and waves. "Now!" The boy hesitated for just a second, because he hated being ordered around, even if he knew the others were right, but that second was disastrous. Before he could take cover, a whirlwind blew just in front of them and down into the water. Water shot up in front of them, like an ocean barrier.

    Lt. Surge cried out in alarm and tried to steer away, but they were stuck. The boy stared up at the swirling water in front of them, which was blown away with a powerful spread of massive wings. The water barrier fell, revealing a pokémon that the boy had never seen before, and couldn't bring himself to tear his gaze away from.

    The song had gotten so loud that it drowned out even the deafening sound of the elements around them. If the boy had been cautious about the song before, he was terrified of it now. The song got louder and louder until the boy had to cover his ears with his hands. Without the help of his hands, he lost his balance and stumbled. At that exact moment a wave crashed down onto the ship, making it lean towards one side so much that the boy would have fallen off if he wasn't caught by the railing.

    "Kid!" Lt. Surge stared at him in alarm, but he kept his hands firmly on the helm. If he stepped away from it, they both knew that the ship would go down in a second. The boy met Lt. Surge's gaze and for a long moment they just looked at each other with wide, terrified eyes. The moment ended when the railing behind him creaked. The boy barely had time to consider what that might mean before the railing broke off and fell into the sea. The boy cried out as he fell backwards, and all of a sudden he was falling.

    "Kid...kid!" Lt. Surge screamed. The boy didn't even realize that he was screaming until he hit the sea and water filled his mouth. He tried to swim to the surface, but his limbs refused to do anything but flail as he fell deeper into the sea. Everything got darker, and he didn't know if it was just his eyes playing tricks on him from a lack of oxygen, or if it was because of the depth he had fallen.

    Far too soon, the boy's vision went completely dark, and suddenly not only could he not see anything, but he couldn't feel anything either. No pain, no fear, no hope in getting out of there. There was nothing.

    Ash woke up with a start, breathing harshly and gasping for breath. He could feel rain falling on his skin, and after the dream he'd had the wetness scared him. Ash wrapped his arms around himself and looked around rapidly. He could feel Pikachu curling up close to him, trying to comfort him even though he was still asleep. Gradually Ash began to calm down enough to realize that he wasn't in danger. He was safe.

    Ash heard a quiet whimper. He turned to see Lugia curled up next to him, shifting uncomfortably. It had been a nice night out when Ash had gone to bed, so he'd decided to sleep outside and enjoy his surroundings. He'd also wanted to give Lugia a little company, because he'd looked a little lonely. Now, even though he didn't appreciate getting wet, Ash was glad he'd joined Lugia, because the pokémon really looked like he needed some company right now.

    "Hey, it's okay," Ash cautiously touched Lugia. The pokémon jerked and shot up. He looked around wildly. Ash retracted his hand, but he kept close, in case Lugia wanted him there. "You're just fine, right?" Lugia still looked far too alarmed. "What's wrong?"

    'I...nightmare,' Lugia said slowly.

    "You had a bad dream too?" Ash frowned sympathetically. He still felt his heart beating wildly from his own nightmare. "What was it about?"

    Lugia closed his eyes. 'Wind and rain...I was falling,'

    Ash shivered for reasons that he didn't think had anything to do with the slight chill. It was only a vague description, but Ash couldn't help but think of his own dream. He couldn't help but wonder just how similar their nightmares were. "Was Lt. Surge in your dream?"

    Lugia looked at Ash in alarm. 'How did you know?'

    "Because he was in mine," Ash said quietly. "We were on a boat, and then there was a storm and another Lugia." During his dream, he hadn't recognized that the large pokémon had been a Lugia, but no Ash knew it without a shadow of a doubt. "And then I fell,"

    Lugia's shocked look turned to one of suspicion. 'That was my dream,'

    "Exactly?" Ash blinked. Lugia nodded.

    'Exactly.' Lugia said. 'You had my dream,'

    "Or you had my dream," Ash said. He thought that Lugia's powers might have been responsible for them sharing a dream, but he didn't know just who the dream came from. Maybe it wasn't a big deal, but Ash felt like it was really important somehow. The dream had felt so different from what he was used to. He hadn't felt like himself, and yet the dream had felt so vivid and real.

    Ash also couldn't help but remember that he'd had a dream when they'd been on their way to Johto. He couldn't remember the details of the dream, but thinking about it now, he got a sense of deja vu. His old dream was connected to his nightmare, he just knew it. Had Lugia had that dream too?

    "Kid?" Ash and Lugia both looked up when they heard Lt. Surge's voice. The man frowned when he saw Ash sitting right next to Lugia, but he didn't say anything. "What are you doing awake?"

    "We had a bad dream," Ash said, speaking for him and Lugia.

    Lt. Surge rubbed the back of his neck. "I kinda figured it was something like that. I could feel Lugia panic while I was patroling,"

    Ash frowned. "I thought we all agreed that we wouldn't need someone keeping watch," Lt. Surge had argued passionately about it, but Blaine, Lt. Surge, and Ash had insisted that a good night's sleep so they would have the energy to travel was more important than keeping an eye out for potential danger.

    "I couldn't sleep," Lt. Surge said. "Too much on my mind. I figured if I wasn't going to sleep anyways, I might as well do something useful." He gave the two of them a cautious look. "How bad was the nightmare?"

    "So bad that when I woke up from my nightmare about drowning, I kinda panicked when I felt the rain." Ash said. Lugia nodded.

    "Yeah, that's happened to me a few times," Lt. Surge said. "I know how hard it is to sleep when that's the last thing you feel like doing." He looked around the camp. "We've got a few hours until morning. You wanna join me for some patrol?"

    "Both of us?" Ash asked.

    "Well, if Lugia is freaked out, I'm not going to leave it alone," Lt. Surge said. "And if it causes trouble, I still have its pokéball."

    'I'd like to see you try,' Lugia said irritably. The two of them followed Lt. Surge as he left the camp to walk around.

    As they walked, Ash's thoughts returned to the dream that he'd shared with Lugia. Had it actually been a normal dream, or did Lugia's powers have something more to do with it than just share the dream?

    "Hey, you've spent a lot of time around Sabrina, right?" Ash asked. "Have you leaned a lot about how psychic powers work?"

    "I don't know as much as she does, but I've learned a thing or two," Lt. Surge looked at Ash. "What do you wanna know?"

    How do psychic dreams work?" Ash asked. He had seen Sabrina have a psychic vision of sorts in the form of a nightmare. He hadn't thought to ask her about how she could tell the difference between a normal dream and one influenced by her powers.

    "I don't really know," Lt. Surge said. "I know that Sabrina couldn't really protect herself or hold back her powers when she slept, so she was always vulnerable to visions while she slept. The thing is, she was also always vulnerable to just plain old nightmares. I've never understood how she could tell the difference,"

    "Do you know how I might ask her?" Ash asked. "I feel like there's more to this than just a normal dream,"

    "Must've been one heck of a nightmare you had," Lt. Surge said. He stopped at a tree and leaned against it. "I'm not a psychic expert, but if you want to talk about it…" That small prompting was all Ash needed. He began to open up about his dream. He told Lt. Surge every detail about the dream, starting with the frustration he'd felt towards Giovanni, and ending with falling into the sea. With every word he said, Lt. Surge grew paler and paler. By the time he was finished, the man looked like he had seen a ghost.

    Ash looked at Lt. Surge in concern. "What's wrong?"

    "That's...how could you…" Lt Surge's gaze became unfocused, like it did when he was getting lost in his own thoughts. Ash didn't know how to deal with Lt. Surge when he freaked out. He needed to get help from Lt. Surge's pokémon, or even Koga or Blaine.

    "Let's go back to camp," Ash said quickly. He grabbed Lt. Surge's arm and gave it a pull. "The others can help,"

    "No," Lt. Surge said with a surprising amount of conviction and determination, though his eyes were still unsteady. "We gotta call Sabrina." Ash wouldn't mind getting her input on this dream, but that wasn't his priority right now.

    "It can wait," Ash insisted.

    "No, it really can't," Lt. Surge said. He suddenly began to run back towards the camp. Ash and Lugia had to rush to keep up with him. "I gotta know why you saw that,"

    "You recognized our dream," Ash said as they ran. Any suspicion he'd had that this dream had been influenced by psychic energy went out the window. It seemed that he hadn't just had a nightmare, or even had a vision. He'd seen a memory, but whose? "Who was the boy?" The man didn't answer. He just ran faster. "Lt. Surge!"

    "Silver," Lt. Surge said so quietly that Ash barely heard him. "Your dream was exactly like the last time I ever saw him." Ash's breath got caught in his throat. He didn't know a lot about Silver, he just knew that he was Giovanni's son and Lt. Surge blamed himself for what happened to him.

    Ash just didn't understand why the dream that he and Lugia had shared had been not just about Silver, but a direct memory of his. Something really weird was going on here. Maybe Lt. Surge was right and they should talk to Sabrina about this. She would probably know more than anyone else.

    A/N: I've recently realized that while I have a lot of individual chapters and elements in this story figured out, and I know just what I want to do with these characters, I feel like it's getting a little out of my control, which I don't understand at all. I've been planning this chapter for a long time, and it turned out just how I wanted, and yet I feel like I've derailed.

    When I read what I've written so far in this story, it feels decently coherent to me, so I don't know where my doubt is coming from. I just need to not second guess what I write. It's worked out fine so far, it'll continue to work out, I just need to trust that.
  10. Gazi

    (Litleo ♀)
    Level 9
    May 27, 2018
    Dawn Stone ★★★★Legendary Triforce ★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 10:

    With Koga and Lt. Surge leaving Team Rocket, Sabrina's workload increased. She didn't mind it so much. Before, she'd had to divide her attention between Team Rocket and her work as a gym leader. When she wasn't at the gym, there were many psychic focused trainers who could take up her responsibilities temporarily. Because she was so busy with Team Rocket, her temporary replacements were a little more permanent, but she had at least a few more weeks before people began to bother her about it

    A big part of the work that Sabrina had to do was keep Giovanni happy. He didn't even know that Koga and Lt. Surge had quit, and Sabrina was going to keep it that way for as long as she could. This meant doing enough work for all three of them. If Giovanni needed anything, Sabrina would do it.

    Because Sabrina had so much to do, when her communications started to go off, and it wasn't an extremely urgent message from Giovanni, she ignored it. She had things to focus on. If someone really wanted to talk with her, they would just have to wait until later. Whoever was calling her was incredibly persistent. She tried to ignore it, but then she started to get messages from random, lower agents, saying that someone was trying to reach her.

    Yes, she knew that much, and Sabrina couldn't help but take her frustration out on the poor agent who delivered the message. It seemed this wasn't something that she could just ignore. Sabrina reluctantly accepted the call.

    "What?" Sabrina snapped as she finally accepted the call from the communicator.

    "Hey, girl," Lt. Surge said unevenly. There was a dark, uncomfortable look in his eyes. He seemed to barely be keeping it together. "I need your help,"

    Sabrina took a deep breath. Lt. Surge knew better than to call her up when she was working just because he wanted to have a casual conversation. "What do you want?"

    "I really need your help with something," Lt. Surge said.

    "Do you need it now?" Sabrina asked. "Is it important?"

    "Important, yes," Lt. Surge said quickly. "It doesn't have to be now, I guess,"

    "Is that Sabrina?" Ash's voice came through the communicator. Lt. Surge grinned stiffly and stepped aside to let Ash say hi. "How are you?"

    "I'm doing well," Sabrina said. "Keeping busy," She could see Koga and Blaine in the background. They both looked nervous and a little anxious. "What's going on over there?"

    "It's...complicated," Lt. Surge clutched at his necklace. "You can't do your psychic mambo-jumbo reading over a communicator, can you?"

    "Not if you want my observation to be accurate," Sabrina frowned. She didn't appreciate Lt. Surge's way of talking about her abilities, but she'd long since given up trying to convince him to be more respectful.

    "Well, can you come over here?" Lt. Surge asked. "We...I really need your help right now,"

    "Is it a personal matter or a professional one?" Sabrina asked. In other words, did Lt. Surge want her to help him, or for her to help them in their goal to oppose Team Rocket?

    "It's personal," Lt. Surge said. He didn't even look embarrassed about asking for help, which wasn't like him. Lt. Surge was an extremely proud man. If he was asking for help, it was a serious matter. "Something really weird happened with Ash and Lugia. They shared this...dream…" Lt. Surge's voice broke slightly and his eyes became more unfocused. He closed his eyes and ran a hand through his hair. "This shouldn't take too long, I just...I really need you right now, girl." Sabrina got the feeling that this wasn't just because he needed her powers.

    Sabrina sighed. "One night, and then I need to get back to work,"

    Lt. Surge let out a shaky breath. "Thanks,"

    "I'll be there soon," Sabrina said. She didn't need to know their exact location. She could feel her friend's connection, and she would teleport there with the aid of her pokémon. It would take a lot of energy, which was why Sabrina didn't teleport everywhere she went. She was doing Lt. Surge a big favor here, and she hoped that he understood that.

    Sabrina grabbed her Abra and made sure she had her other pokémon with her. She didn't know what to expect, but she wanted to be prepared. Borrowing and lending to Abra's power, Sabrina teleported all the way to the Johto region. She found herself at a pokémon center.

    Sabrina had a bit of a headache, but she pushed it back and looked around for the others. She had barely started searching before Abra opened its eyes and squirmed out of her grip. Abra had an air of excitement around it, and an energy that Sabrina wasn't used to seeing from it.

    Abra hurried to a closed door and, despite its exhaustion, teleported inside. Sabrina rushed in to find the very people she had been looking for. Abra had made its way over to the Lugia that they had taken from the Team Rocket base. Sabrina was surprised to see Abra practically nuzzling up against Lugia.

    "What is going on with you?" Sabrina bent to pick up Abra, but it teleported out of her grip again.

    "Abra's not the only one," Lt. Surge said from where he was sitting on a couch. His Raichu and Jolteon were curled up against him, possibly for comfort, possibly to hold him down if he had one of his moments. Lt. Surge pulled a pokéball out of his pocket and let out one of his Magneton. The pokémon immediately rushed over to Lugia with clear fondness. Suddenly Golbat let itself out of Koga's pokéball and joined them.

    "They've been like this the whole time," Koga said. "None of us understand why,"

    Sabrina eyed the three pokémon. She quickly noticed something interesting. "That Magneton, which one is it?" Lt. Surge had multiple Magneton, and Sabrina couldn't tell the differences between them, but if this Magneton was the one that she was thinking of, that would be too much of a coincidence.

    "It's...it's-" Lt. Surge paled. He stared at Lugia like he was seeing a ghost. Jolteon and Raichu both stiffened and looked at him in concern. Lt. Surge swallowed thickly. "It's his."

    Ash frowned slightly. "His...you mean Silver?" Lt. Surge flinched slightly. "In our dream, you gave him a Magnemite, and you said that Koga and Sabrina gave him pokémon too. Was that Golbat and Abra?"

    "What dream?" Sabrina asked. How in the world did Ash know that the three of them were supposed to give some of their own pokémon to Silver? "What happened in it?"

    "That thing and the kid had the same dream," Lt. Surge said. "We thought it was just because of its psychic powers, but what they saw…" Lt. Surge trailed off.

    "We saw the storm," Ash said. "Lt. Surge says what we saw was exactly what happened,"

    "Like I could ever forget it," Lt. Surge muttered.

    Koga frowned and approached Lt. Surge. "So that's what all of this is about," Lt. Surge glared at him. He had probably heard the tone that was nearly pitying, and he didn't appreciate it.

    "I just want to know what's going on," Lt. Surge looked at Sabrina. "I wanna know why Lugia or Ash is dreaming about that,"

    Sabrina looked at Lugia curiously, searching. She approached it. She tried to reach for Lugia's mind, but it was extremely closed off. What little she could sense was overwhelming and very jumbled up. Sabrina knew this wasn't because Lugia was resisting her, because she would be able to feel that. This was just how Lugia's mind was.

    "Who are you?" Sabrina muttered. Why was Lugia so confused?

    'Little boss,' Sabrina heard from her Abra. 'New master,'

    "New Master?" Sabrina frowned and looked at Abra in confusion. She looked at Golbat and Magneton and put a hand against each of them so she could better get a sense of their emotions. She couldn't hear complete words from them like she could from Abra, but she sensed strong loyalty and extremely intense happiness and surprise from them, just like how Abra felt.

    Sabrina looked at the four pokémon in front of her. She knew she had come here for a reason, to look into the dream that Lt. Surge had mentioned, but she wanted to know what was going on with their pokémon. She had a suspicion in the back of her mind, but it seemed so impossible that she didn't even consider it long enough to allow herself to fully understand what it was.

    Sabrina knelt next to Lugia and put her hands on the side of its head. She closed her eyes and reached in. She felt Lugia push back a little bit, not enough to kick her out, but enough to serve as a warning. Sabrina kept herself at just the very surface of Lugia's mind, but she immediately noticed something. Lugia's mind didn't feel like that of a pokémon, not even a legendary one. It was too complicated, too intelligent. Sabrina also thought that there was something familiar about Lugia. It felt as though this was a mind that she had already connected to.

    "Do we know each other?" Sabrina asked. Lugia tilted its head at her.

    'I don't know,' Sabrina jumped when she heard what had to be Lugia's voice in her head. Lugia's mind had been familiar to her, but its voice, his voice, she would know it anywhere. 'I can't remember a lot of things.' Sabrina shuddered when she heard the anger in Lugia's voice. She wasn't intimidated by Lugia, but that angry irritation that she heard clarified for her something that she already knew.

    Sabrina's breath got caught in her throat and she pulled back harshly. Sabrina stared at Lugia in shock, and it, he, stared right back at her.

    "Sabrina!" Lt. Surge ran up to Sabrina and supported her slightly. He glared at Lugia. "What did you do to her?"

    "Nothing," Sabrina said breathlessly. "He...he didn't do anything,"

    "Are you sure?" Koga put himself between Lugia and the two of them. He had that look of concern in his eyes that Sabrina had always hated. She didn't need her teammates' pity. She wasn't his daughter. She was too distressed to truly be insulted though. "You look like you've seen a ghost."

    "I...I think I have," Sabrina said. "You said that Lugia and Ash had a dream about Silver?"

    "It wasn't just about him," Ash said. "What I saw, it was like I was Silver. It was his memory."

    "In that case, I have a pretty good idea what happened," Sabrina said quietly. She looked at Lt. Surge. Despite how much she hated being looked at in pity, she couldn't help but look at him in that exact way. The very thing that had been torturing him for way too long, the thing that had caused him to lose control of his mind at times, was right in front of him.

    "Matis," Sabrina said quietly. "I don't think Silver died that night," They all froze. Lt. Surge looked shocked and a little horrified for a moment before his gaze hardened. He looked so angry that Sabrina felt a little bit scared, but her sympathy was stronger.

    "What are you talking about?" Lt. Surge growled almost threateningly.

    "I think that this Lugia," Sabrina looked at the pokémon. It was watching her curiously. "I think that he is Silver."

    "Sabrina," Koga put a hand on Sabrina's arm. There was a warning look in his eyes. "Don't do this, not here, not now," Sabrina brushed off Koga's hold. This wasn't the kind of thing that she would back off about just because it was a difficult truth to face right now. She was past the point of trying to spare Lt. Surge's feelings.

    "Matis, just think about it," Sabrina said, not unkindly, but not overly gentle either. She'd been handling her friend with kid gloves for far too long, and she was tired of it. "Why else would he have had a dream about something that he really couldn't know anything about?"

    "He's a psychic freak that read my mind," Lt. Surge said too loudly, almost desperately. "I don't know."

    "But...it was from Silver's point of view," Ash said quietly. He looked at Lugia. "The hate towards Giovanni was way too real," Sabrina nodded. That was a very good point. They had all been aware of how frustrated Silver got with his father, but it was one thing to be aware of symbols, and another thing to know it so strongly that you could feel it for yourself. There was no way that Lugia had sensed emotions that Lt. Surge had imagined from Silver.

    Sabrina didn't know when her life had gotten so messed up and confusing that the most logical explanation was that Silver had somehow been turned into a young legendary pokémon.

    "Whatever joke you guys are playing, it's not funny," Lt. Surge clenched his hand around his pendent. He sounded furious, but the shaking in his hands and dull look in his eyes revealed his true feelings.

    Lugia hummed a quiet song, and somehow this was Lt. Surge's breaking point. He let out a low growl and looked ready to attack the next person or pokémon that said anything to say to him. The man's Jolteon bit his pants and tried to pull him back. Both Lt. Surge's and Ash's Raichus were tense and on edge, ready in case something happened. Ash, looking very upset on Lt. Surge's behalf, pulled out one of his pokéballs and let out Charizard.

    "Please, get him out of here and keep an eye on him," Ash said. Charizard obeyed without hesitation. It grabbed Lt. Surge's arm and gave him a pull. Lt. Surge resisted Charizard, but Ash's pokémon wasn't going to give up. It growled and pulled on Lt. Surge until the man gave in.

    "I can't be here anymore," Lt. Surge said shakily. He was clenching his fists and refused to look at any of them. Charizard roared and they hurried out of the room, with Jolteon and Raichu right behind them. Magneton looked from the door to Lugia a couple of times before it came to a decision and dashed after its trainer.

    Koga glared darkly at Sabrina. "What in the world was that all about?"

    "I wasn't going to lie to him," Sabrina said sternly. "It's better for him to be told sooner rather than later,"

    "You could have been gentler about it," Koga said, even though they both knew that wasn't her style.

    Sabrina was worried about Lt. Surge, but not enough to go after him. Lt. Surge needed some space, and she wasn't going to take that from him. She had something else to focus on. Sabrina knelt in front of Lugia and reached into his mind again. She pushed further than she had before. Lugia's jumbled mind, as well as the fact that he hadn't told the others who he really was, even though he could speak to Ash, told Sabrina that Lugia didn't know who he was.

    Sabrina didn't have a lot of practice in bringing out repressed memories, but she'd done it once or twice, even to herself, so she wasn't going in completely blind. "This isn't going to be pleasant," Sabrina said. Often when memories were repressed and pushed to the very back of the mind, it was for a reason. It could be the mind's way of protecting itself. What Sabrina was essentially planning on doing was pulling down mental barriers, and she knew that Lugia would fight her on this.

    While Lugia had a lot of raw psychic power, Sabrina was more experienced. Even with Lugia resisting her, Sabrina was able to get into Lugia's mind. She followed the mental signature that she had recognized as Silver's, and this brought her to the very barrier that she was looking to tear down.

    Sabrina sent out a quiet, soothing apology before she grabbed onto the wall before her and pulled it down. Lugia screamed and lashed out, trying to push her out, but Sabrina's work was done. The barrier was down.

    Sabrina retreated from Lugia's mind and watched as he shook and whined. Sabrina could see that Ash was concerned, but she pulled him back before he could interfere. Lugia was in a sensitive place right now, and they had to let him overcome it on his own.

    It took a few minutes, but eventually Lugia's eyes snapped open. There had been intelligence and human-like awareness in his eyes before, but they were even more knowing now. They didn't resemble the eyes of a pokémon at all. Lugia looked at her and Sabrina grinned when she saw the recognition in his eyes.

    "There you are," Sabrina said quietly.

    'Sabrina,' Lugia, no, Silver's voice rang in her head. The boy that they'd all thought had been dead for years was back.
  11. Gazi

    (Litleo ♀)
    Level 9
    May 27, 2018
    Dawn Stone ★★★★Legendary Triforce ★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 11:
    Ash didn't completely understand the whole 'Lugia is Silver' business, but he knew that it seemed to screw with everybody's heads. Lt. Surge had run off, and he hadn't come back. Blaine had gone off after Lt. Surge, with the promise to keep him from hurting himself and to bring him back to join them for too long. Sabrina had left them almost immediately, muttering something about how she didn't know what they were up to, and she really didn't want to know. Sabrina had, however, left her Abra with them, telling it to keep an eye on Silver for her.

    Koga wasn't in as complete denial as Lt. Surge was, but he seemed to be having a difficult time coming to terms with what was going on. Koga started rushing them towards the mountains where he would find that friend of his. Koga said it was because this topic was too sensitive to talk about in the open, but Ash, and Gary agreed, thought that he just wanted time to process all of this before properly talking about it.

    As for Lugia, or Silver, as Ash had to keep reminding himself, he was in a terrible mood. Even Koga's Golbat, who had been really clingy with Silver, kept its distance from him. Ash and Koga had both tried to approach Silver, but he had lashed out at them and they'd eventually agreed to give it some space.

    They'd been traveling for a few hours though, and Silver's mood had only gotten worse. Eventually, Gary had had enough of Silver's attitude, and he'd snapped at him to stop having such a temper tantrum. Silver hadn't been amused, and it had tried to attack Gary, who looked only too ready for a battle. Gary may be a strong trainer, but Silver had strong powers. Ash had no doubt that Gary would have gotten seriously hurt if Koga hadn't stepped in and broken things up before it got started.

    Koga had not been amused with Gary's little stunt. The man had grabbed Gary by the arm and dragged him off, possibly to scold him, possibly to train him. Ash honestly thought that when it came to the two of them, training and lecturing were the exact same thing. It was enough that Ash didn't feel jealous of the one-on-one training that Gary was getting. Ash may want to get stronger, but not in such a formal way.

    After Gary had been pulled off, Silver had huffed and flown off. Ash was willing to acknowledge that Lugia needed space, and maybe he would calm down himself, but he didn't want Silver to just fly off to who knows where. The only reason he wasn't as worried about Lt. Surge was because he was a grown man, he had his pokémon with him, and Ash trusted Blaine and Charizard to keep an eye on him. Silver was just a kid, like him, he really shouldn't be off on his own.

    Ash frowned and pulled out Pidgeotto's pokéball. He was well aware that Pidgeotto wasn't quite big enough to fly with him, it had barely been able to handle it when it had gone after Ash and Mewtwo, but Ash didn't have a lot of options.

    "Buddy, I'm going to need your help here," Ash let out Pidgeotto. "Silver flew off. We have to make sure he's okay." Pidgeotto cawed and ducked back slightly. It looked really nervous. Ash sympathetically and knelt to be closer to Pidgeotto's level. "Are you worried about hurting me again?"

    Pidgeotto screeched and rubbed its wing against Ash's shoulder. The cuts left from when Pidgeotto's wings had accidentally scratched his shoulders had healed really well. There wasn't even any sign of a scratch, but Pidgeotto was still worried.

    "It's going to be okay," Ash assured Pidgeotto. "I trust you." Pidgeotto flapped its wings and shrieked at the air. A blinding light covered Pidgeotto. Ash took a step back in shock. He recognized this light, but he really hadn't been expecting it.

    "Are you...evolving?" Ash asked quietly. The light faded, and Ash was surprised to see that his Pidgeotto stood just in front of him, unchanged. Pidgeotto made a sound almost like a growl and scrunched its eyes shut tight. The light came back. Ash thought he had an idea of what was going on. He rushed towards Pidgeotto and wrapped his arms around it.

    "Please, stop," Ash said. "It's okay. You don't have to evolve," Ash didn't mind his pokémon evolving if it was what they really wanted, but it seemed like Pidgeotto was trying to force it. Even if it was what Pidgeotto wanted, it wasn't ready for it. "Please,"

    Pidgeotto grew tense and began to glow again. This time, when the light began to fade, it lit up with a vengeance. Ash could feel Pidgeotto get larger beneath him. Ash let go of his pokémon and stepped back to give it a little more room. Pidgeotto got a lot bigger than he was expecting it to. It didn't stop growing in size until it was about as tall as he was. When the light faded, Ash could see that his pokémon looked similar to the way it had been before, but it wasn't the exact same. The most obvious change, other than its size, were the yellow feathers on its head.

    "You're a Pidgeot," Ash said in awe. He remembered the name from the pokémon battles he used to watch on television. Pidgeot nodded, looking very proud and pleased with itself. It turned so its back was to Ash and held its wings out. The invitation was clear. "You...you evolved just to help me find Silver?" Pidgeot nodded. Ash felt a small smile creep onto his face and his eyes got a little wet.

    "You're the best," Ash said. He didn't know what he had done to deserve such incredible pokémon. Ash climbed onto Pidgeot's back and held on tight as it quickly took off into the air. Pidgeot flew up above the trees. Ash hadn't seen what direction Silver had gone off in, but Pidgeot really seemed to know where it was going. Ash trusted it.

    "Silver!" Ash called out as they flew. "Silver, come on, where'd you go?"

    'Go away!' Ash heard Silver's voice in his head. He had thought that he'd gotten used to hearing Lugia's voice in his head, but now that he knew that Silver was a human, a kid, it was a little unnerving.

    "I'm not going anywhere," Ash shouted. He didn't know if Silver could hear him, but he would try to communicate with him anyways. Pidgeot continued to fly for a few minutes, right towards a large cliff overlooking a river. Ash could see what looked like a bird looking pokémon sitting at the edge of the cliff. As they got closer, Ash could see that it was actually Silver.

    Ash pat Pidgeot's head. "Land a little away from Silver," He didn't want Silver to lash out and attack Pidgeot. He would keep Pidgeot nearby, just in case he needed some help, but Ash was sure that Silver would be more receptive if he didn't try to drag someone else with him.

    Pidgeot landed and Ash hopped off. He slowly approached Silver. The boy-turned-pokémon turned to glare at him, but he didn't attack, so Ash continued forward. "Are you alright?"

    'I hate feeling like this,' Silver huffed. 'This is all his fault,'

    Ash frowned. "Whose?" He desperately hoped that Silver wasn't talking about Lt. Surge. The man dealt with far too much guilt already. The last thing he needed was for Silver to blame him as well.

    'Giovanni's,' Silver said, like it was obvious. 'I despise that man,'

    Ash knew he shouldn't be surprised, because he'd felt that anger when he and Silver had shared a dream, but he was still a little thrown off. "I thought Giovanni was your dad?"

    'He is,' Silver said, though he sounded extremely unhappy about it. 'Doesn't mean I can't hate him.'

    "I guess not," Ash said, though he still wasn't completely sure. He wasn't all that familiar with hating people. Even now he didn't exactly hate Giovanni, he just hated that he had been hurt by the man that he had trusted. Ash couldn't imagine hating someone so intensely, especially someone he was related to. Just thinking about what could possibly make him hate his mom so much made him feel a little sick and really guilty.

    "You know, I really don't know how you're feeling," Ash admitted. He sat down on the ground next to Lugia. "But I kinda understand why. I mean, Giovanni's not exactly the nicest man."

    Lugia turned and looked at him in confusion and slight suspicion. "You know Giovanni?"

    Ash nodded. "I ran into him right after I started my journey. He introduced me to Lt. Surge, Sabrina, and Koga." Ash sighed and brought his knees up close to his chest. He'd been dedicating all of his time into foiling Team Rocket's plans, but he hadn't really talked about it a lot. Not since he had first met Blaine and really let everything out. It felt nice to talk about what had happened, especially with someone who he knew could understand. "Giovanni trained me, he taught me. He was kinda like a mentor, but he...he was just using me to lure out Mewtwo. He used me,"

    'He uses everybody,' Silver huffed. 'He never learns that when you screw over people, that's how you make enemies.' Silver looked at him. 'Just look at you guys. I don't think any of you would be trying so hard to take him down if he hadn't hurt you first.'

    Ash found that he couldn't help but agree. Because he'd been hurt by Giovanni, he didn't want anybody else to be hurt by Team Rocket. If Giovanni hadn't treated Mewtwo so badly, Blaine probably would have continued looking past everything horrible that Team Rocket did. Koga had been attacked by Giovanni. As for Lt. Surge, Ash knew that he was protective of him the same way he had been of Silver. Lt. Surge had been willing to move past Giovanni's involvement of what had happened to Silver, but when Ash had gotten hurt by him too, that was one step too far for him.

    "You're probably right," Ash said. "I don't know if I'll ever understand people like Giovanni...I don't think I want to." How could somebody see everybody, people and pokémon alike, as nothing more than tools to be used? Not only was it extremely cruel and unfair, Ash thought that it also sounded really lonely.

    'I don't want to understand him,' Silver growled. 'I don't want anything to do with that man,'

    Ash really didn't know what to say to Silver. How was he supposed to make him feel better? Ash was quiet for a few minutes as he tried to figure out if there was something he could do. After a while one of Ash's pokéballs shifted all on it's own. The pokéball opened up and Totodile jumped out.

    "Wha-Totodile!" Ash grabbed for the pokémon, but Totodile danced away from him. It had been a bit since he and Gary had caught Totodile. Just like they'd agreed, they took turns working with Totodile, trying to train it, but nothing seemed to work. Totodile seemed to like them, but it didn't seem like it was going to listen to them any time soon.

    Silver looked at Totodile in amusement. 'You need to figure out how to get your pokémon to respect you,'

    "It's harder than it looks," Ash nearly whined.

    'I can show you how it's done,' Silver said. He sounded almost smug.

    "Uh, yeah, sure," Ash said. Before he could even begin to wonder what Silver meant, he knocked his wing harshly against Totodile's back, sending the pokémon tumbling off the side of the cliff. "No!" Ash scrambled to the cliffside just in time to see Totodile plummet into the river. Ash turned towards Silver, unable to decide if he was panicked or furious. "What are you-hey!" Silver dove off the cliff, avoiding Ash's accusation or questioning. "Silver!"

    Ash groaned and looked behind him towards Pidgeot, who was already making its way towards him. Ash hopped back onto Pidgeot's. "I swear, if Totodile's hurt I'm going to...I'm gonna…" Ash didn't know what he would do. Maybe he would ask Gary. After all, Totodile was Gary's pokémon too, and the other boy just seemed better suited for this kind of thing.

    Pidgeot dove towards the water so quickly that it felt more like they were falling then flying. Pidgeot barely leveled out in time to keep them from diving straight into the water. Ash was relieved that he could immediately find Totodile. His pokémon was swimming around, happy as anything, occasionally sending squirts of water into Silver's face. Silver quickly returned the squirt with a blast of his own, which sent Totodile flying right towards the cliffside. He would have hit the hard cliff if it wasn't for Pidgeot's quick flying. Ash was able to catch Totodile before it got hurt.

    "Silver, be careful," Ash scolded. He tried to hold Totodile close, but his pokémon squirmed out of his grip and returned to Silver's side, squirting him playfully all over again. It was like Totodile didn't even care that Silver could have seriously hurt it. Totodile was just excited to have someone to play with.

    Ash instinctively gripped Pidgeot tightly as he watched Totodile play with Silver. He was glad that Silver seemed a little more relaxed. He almost seemed to be enjoying himself. And Ash was happy for Totodile, as the playful pokémon had so much energy that not just anybody could keep up with him. Ash couldn't help but worry though. He didn't want Totodile to irritate Silver and push him away again, and he really didn't want Silver to hurt Totodile.

    "You know, it doesn't really look like Totodile respects you very much," Ash said. He tried to sound more casual than he felt. "He's just playing,"

    'You wouldn't know respect if it bit you in the nose,' Lugia said. 'A pokémon won't respect you if it doesn't think you're strong. If your Totodile doesn't recognize my superior strength, it's a fool,'

    "Anybody would be a fool for not recognizing how strong you are," Ash said. He had no idea how strong Silver was as a trainer, but there was no denying that he was a powerful Lugia. "But I don't think that respect and power are the same thing,"

    'Of course they are,' Silver gave him an unimpressed look.

    "Well, Giovanni's strong," Ash pointed out. Silver froze. "I don't really respect him anymore though. Do you?" Silver didn't say anything, which Ash took as an indication that he won this particular argument. Silver just didn't seem like the kind of guy who would back down from a fight just to keep the piece, especially not when it was such a sensitive topic.

    Silver looked really unhappy and conflicted. He didn't look nearly as upset as he had when they were travelling, so maybe Ash hadn't completely screwed everything up. He decided to not say more about the topic though. He thought it was good to push Silver a little bit, to help him along, but Ash thought if he pushed any more he might end up pushing Silver away.

    Totodile seemed completely oblivious to the slight tension between Silver and Ash. It just kept on swimming and splashing around, trying to get Silver to play with him again. Silver was moody and reluctant, but Totodile's persistence paid off. Silver gave in and agreed to a swimming race upstream, swimming against the current. Ash was nowhere near as strong a swimmer as the two water pokémon were, but he knew someone who was.

    "Come on out, Wartortle," Ash let out his pokémon. Wartortle looked ecstatic to be out and in the water again, like he always did. "Those guys are going to have a race. Why don't you show them what a real swimmer can do?"

    Wartortle nodded and flicked its tail proudly. It was ready for this race, and Ash couldn't ask for a better pokémon to represent him. Silver looked determined to not lose to two common pokémon. And Totodile, it just looked excited to have somebody else to play with.

    The three of them got into a starting position as Ash and Pidgeot flew above them, ready to start, watch, and referee the match. "Are you guys ready?" Ash asked. He got positive responses from all three of them. "Go!"

    'Go. Just go, run, and don't look back.' Lt. Surge ran, like there was nothing else he could do. He knew that Jolteon and his Raichu were at his side, and he knew that if he went too far or wandered too close to danger, they would pull him back. He knew this, but he didn't think a lot about it. He didn't think about anything. He just ran. 'You've been looking back for years, but you can't anymore. If you do, none of this will have mattered.'

    "Lt' Surge," He heard someone say. Lt. Surge didn't listen, he just continued running. "Lt. Surge!" He couldn't stop. He almost felt like he was physically incapable of stopping. His legs just kept pushing him forward. Lt. Surge could have kept going for hours if his arm hadn't been grabbed. Lt. Surge was pulled to a stop. Now that he was no longer running, his legs, which had wanted nothing more than to run, suddenly began to shake so much that he didn't think he could take another step.

    "Matis," Lt. Surge turned to see Blaine. The man was watching him cautiously, like he expected Lt. Surge to fall to pieces at any moment. Lt. Surge would be furious and defensive if it weren't for the fact that he felt like he was going to fall to pieces.

    "Just leave me alone," Lt. Surge growled. He tried to pull his arm free, but Blaine tightened his grip.

    "I think that's the last thing you need right now," Blaine said. He sat on the ground and pulled Lt. Surge to sit next to him. "I understand that you might be upset, but-"

    "You don't understand anything about how I'm feeling," Lt. Surge said.

    "I understand that you're scared," Blaine said. "Anybody can see as much. What I want to know is why. I thought you'd be relieved to learn that the boy is alive,"

    "He's not," Lt. Surge said sharply. "He just...he can't be." Lt. Surge tapped his toes against the ground. He couldn't bring himself to stop. "Or else...or else…" Lt. Surge felt all of his fight fade out of him. For years, he had dealt with many moments where he would lose control of himself, not know what was real and what wasn't, and he couldn't calm himself down. Whenever this happened, it was like there was a darkness inside of him that he couldn't get rid of. Now, it felt like all of the darkness that he'd ever felt up to that moment was hitting him all at once.

    "Or else what?" Blaine asked. Lt. Surge didn't say anything for a long moment. "Matis,"

    "Or else all of this would have been for nothing," Lt. Surge ran a hand through his hair. "All of this stupid...everything I've gone through, everything I've dealt with, it would all mean nothing."

    "It doesn't mean nothing," Blaine said.

    "Yes, it does!" Lt. Surge punched the ground, not caring at all that his knuckle hit a rock. "My head has been screwed up for all this time because Silver died, and I didn't do anything about it. If he's been fine, if he never died, what was it all for?"

    "..Nothing," Blaine sighed. "It wasn't for anything. But I don't think that things like this, feelings like this, ever have any purpose."

    Lt. Surge groaned and pulled at his hair. "You're not very good at making me feel any better."

    "I'm not trying to make you feel better," Blaine said honestly. Lt. Surge frowned and narrowed his eyes at him. Blaine met his stare. "I'm not going to ignore your emotions, or force you to change them. Whether Silver died or not, it doesn't change what you've been through. It doesn't change how you've felt, or how you're feeling now. Even if what happened wasn't real, how you felt about it certainly was."

    "I just feel like such an idiot," Lt. Surge said. He still didn't want to believe all of this was actually happening, and then he felt guilty for wishing that nothing had changed.

    "Now, that's one way you're feeling that I just won't tolerate," Blaine nudged his arm. "Get mad at your luck, at those around you. Hat the world, but don't you go hating yourself,"

    "I don't hate myself," Lt. Surge said. "I just...really wish that I was anybody but me right now,"

    "We all get like that sometimes," Blaine said. "I wish I could tell you how to make it stop, but the only way I know how to deal with it is by pretending that I really am someone else until the feeling goes away." Blaine chuckled. "It's not the healthiest method,"

    "Just ask Sabrina and Koga, I'm the master of using unhealthy methods to ignore my issues," Lt. Surge laughed as well, because he felt like if he did anything else, he would just break down completely and lose the last grip of control that he had been clinging to. "But I can't...I can't do this right now,"

    "That's fine," Blaine said. He shifted his position to make himself more comfortable. "Take all the time you need. I told Koga we might be a while. We can meet up with them at the mountains."

    "And I'm guessing there's no chance of convincing you that I'll be fine, and you don't have to stay here with me," Lt. Surge said.

    "Absolutely not," Blaine said. "You're stuck with me,"

    Lt. Surge glared at him without any real heat behind it. He sighed and leaned his head back. "Well, there are worse people I could be stuck with," He didn't want to be babysat, but deep down Lt. Surge appreciated the company. He didn't think he could trust himself to be on his own right now.
  12. Gazi

    (Litleo ♀)
    Level 9
    May 27, 2018
    Dawn Stone ★★★★Legendary Triforce ★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 12:

    It took a surprisingly short amount of time for them to get to the mountain where Bruno had said he was training. They passed by a couple of trainers at the base of the mountain, which was how Koga knew that Bruno had to be closer to the top. Bruno's training methods were really excessive and destructive of the terrain. Bruno would never risk someone else getting hurt because they were a little too close.

    Koga would have loved to get to Bruno as soon as possible, but he took his time more than he would have if he was on his own. Ash wanted to challenge every single trainer he ran into. With all the time and effort Ash put into training his pokémon, he actually had very little experience in a real battle against another trainer. This would be a good learning experience for him, help teach him how to be adaptable in the heat of battle.

    Koga also took his time for Gary's sake. The boy was fully aware that Koga was leaving soon for his own personal training, and Gary was taking advantage of every second with him he could get. Whenever Ash stopped to battle, Koga and Gary would stand to the side and Koga would point out the subtle signs of a pokémon's weakness or strength. He hoped that if Gary could come to recognize others flaws, he would begin to be more aware of his own. Gary had made a lot of progress, but he still had a long way to go.

    It took them a whole day to get to the top of the mountain. While there were lots of pokémon trainers towards the base, the higher up they went, the fewer people they saw. By the time they were approaching the top, Koga could see signs that Bruno was nearby. He was curious to know if Ash and Gary could see what he could.

    Koga stopped and gestured to the rocks and caves around them. "Where do you think Bruno is?"

    "I think he went to the very top!" Ash exclaimed quickly. The boy probably wanted to go as high up the mountain as he possibly could. He likely wanted to see if he could see the entire Johto region beneath him.

    Gary didn't answer as quickly as Ash did. He looked around carefully and even examined a cluster of rocks that looked like they could have been there naturally, but Koga knew that it was the result of a rock smash attack.

    "You said Bruno's training," Gary looked at Koga. "What types does he use?"

    "Primarily fighting types," Koga said approvingly. "Though he also has a rock type."

    "Then I don't think they'd go any higher than this," Gary said. "Fighting and rock types are usually pretty big. They would need a lot of room to train, and the higher we go, the less room there is," Gary looked towards the caves. "What if he went in there?"

    "There's even less room in a cave than there is at the top of a freaking mountain," Ash said, a little moodily. The boys had been doing better at getting along with each other, but they still got on each other's nerves.

    Koga chuckled and put himself between the boys before they truly began to start fighting. "Come on," He led them past the caves and followed the path of destruction that Bruno and his pokémon had left in their wake. They ended up having to walk partially down the mountain, but Koga knew that they were going in the right direction. Bruno had to be around here somewhere.

    All of a sudden Silver, who had been hiding in his pokéball, which Ash had been carrying, burst out and started stretching his wings. They'd put him in the pokéball while in public and among other trainers, but now they were alone, so it was fine for him to be out and about. Silver looked around curiously before his gaze froze at something behind them. Ash turned to look at what had caught his interest, but a moment later he quickly turned back, biting his lip and looking like he was trying to keep himself from laughing.

    "Is something amusing?" Koga began to look back, but Ash leapt at him.

    "No!" The boy said too loudly. There was most certainly something, or more likely, someone behind them. Koga looked behind him to see Blaine, who looked embarrassed as he sloppily tried to sneak up behind them.

    "What are you doing?" Koga asked. "And where's…" He trailed off as he realized just what was about to happen. Koga whipped around, expecting to see Lt. Surge behind him, but he just saw Ash laughing and Gary looking at him curiously. Strange. He had been so sure that this had been another attempt of Lt. Surge's to sneak up on him, just because he could.

    Suddenly Koga felt a hand rustle his hair. He looked up to see Lt. Surge grinning proudly, dangling from Charizard.

    "Really?" Koga raised an eyebrow at his friend. "Is that really necessary?"

    Lt. Surge laughed as Charizard lowered him down to the ground. "Of course it is. You'll be expecting anything else," Koga wanted to be irritated, but he was too relieved that Lt. Surge seemed to be doing better than he had before. Lt. Surge's grin was still a little forced, and he was specifically avoiding looking at Silver, but it was progress.

    "You find Bruno yet?" Lt. Surge asked.

    "Not quite yet," Koga said. "We're close, though,"

    "Where are we, anyways?" Blaine asked. "You just told us to join you at the mountain. It took us awhile to actually find which one,"

    Koga stiffened. This mountain had a name, but he'd specifically avoided telling them, because it was still a sensitive topic. "This is Mt. Silver," Just as Koga had expected, Lt. Surge grimaced and glanced slightly at Silver before he looked away quickly.

    "Of course it is," Lt. Surge muttered. "Let's just find your friend." Lt. Surge walked ahead. Silver growled slightly and seemed to want to get to him, but Ash wrapped his arms around Silver's neck and held him back.

    "Just give him a little space," Koga said. "He needs time," Silver huffed impatiently, but he behaved himself. It was a little odd to see. The Silver that Koga knew had never been willing to wait patiently and give someone space. He'd matured.

    A few minutes later they heard the sounds of grunts and thumps. When they rounded the corner, they saw Bruno going through a series of punches and kicks along with his Hitmonlee. "You're working hard," Koga said. Bruno immediately paused in his training. He turned to Koga and grinned broadly.

    "Koga, my old friend," Bruno approached. "How are you?" He grasped at Koga's wrist, and Koga took his. He knew that Bruno would normally go in for an embrace, but he was holding back, likely because he was mindful of Koga's injury. His chest was healing, and it mostly just hurt when he pushed himself, but he was far from fully recovered. One wrong move and he would set himself back a few weeks.

    "I'm doing as well as can be expected," Koga said. "I'm not in constant pain,"

    "And how do you feel about leaving?" Bruno raised an eyebrow at him. Koga knew he wasn't just talking about leaving the Kanto region, or his family. Koga shared a look with Lt. Surge, who immediately understood the unspoken question.

    "Hey, there are a lot of interesting pokémon that can be found in mountains," Lt. Surge put his arms around Ash and Gary's shoulders. "Why don't we go check it out?" Ash looked excited at the thought of meeting new pokémon that he's never seen before. Gary didn't seem nearly as enthusiastic. Koga knew what was holding him back.

    "Go enjoy yourself," Koga said. "I'm not going to leave you quite yet. We will have one more training session, just the two of us." Gary still didn't look completely happy, but he was appeased enough to go off with Ash and Lt. Surge.

    "I thought you said you were travelling with just one child," Bruno said as the others left.

    "We picked the other up just a few days ago," Koga said. "He's a talented trainer, but he lacks humility and care. I've been helping him."

    "He seems to admire you," Bruno said.

    "Too much, I feel," Koga frowned. "He's desperate for my approval,"

    "He might get better once you're no longer with him," Blaine said. "Separation can do wonders sometimes."

    "Or he could go back to how he was before," Koga said. It was a large concern of his, when it came to Gary. The boy might take him leaving so badly that he would forget about or even intentionally ignore everything he'd been taught.

    "I'll keep an eye on him for a bit," Blaine said. "Make sure that doesn't happen,"

    Koga looked at the scientist. Blaine was so determined to find the legendary dogs and stop Team Rocket, but he was willing to help with Lt. Surge, and now he was volunteering to set aside additional time to help train a boy he barely knew. That was to say nothing of all the time that Blaine had to dedicate to Mewtwo. Blaine had said that Koga focused too much on others and didn't look out for himself enough, but Koga thought that it was even more true about Blaine.

    "You don't have to do that," Koga said.

    "I know, but I want to," Blaine said. "Gary's a good kid,"

    Koga smiled slightly. "If you'll be taking up his training, I'm going to trust you to give this to him when you think he has earned it," Koga pulled the Soul Badge out of his pocket and handed it to Blaine.

    "Of course," Blaine said. He looked at Bruno, who was waiting patiently. "I'll leave the two of you to talk," Blaine pocketed the Soul Badge and pulled out the Master Ball. "I have some training of my own to do,"

    "So, you're quitting Team Rocket," Bruno said once Blaine had left.

    "Well, I'm not exactly turning in a resignation," Koga said. That would mean telling Giovanni that he was leaving, and that could be very dangerous. "I'm not returning though,"

    "Because of Ash?" Bruno asked. "When you didn't quit after Janine was born, I was sure that no child could convince you to leave,"

    "I'm not leaving for him," Koga said honestly. "I'm leaving for me. Being around Ash just helped me to realize that," Seeing how Giovanni treated Ash, as well as the way that Lt. Surge treated the boy, helped Koga finally realize that he didn't approve of Team Rocket's methods, and he couldn't keep quiet about it anymore.

    "I'll have to thank him anyways," Bruno said. "I'm been trying to convince you to leave for years,"

    Koga chuckled. It seemed that half of their letters had been about that. "I'm not sure what to do with myself now," Koga said. "It doesn't feel right to return to the gym now, but what else am I supposed to do?"

    "Well, that's what you've come here for," Bruno said. "Maybe I can finally convince you to learn my style of martial arts,"

    "I'll be happy to learn," Koga said honestly. Just because he specialized in ninjutsu didn't mean he was unwilling to learn other styles. The more diverse his knowledge was, the stronger he would be. "There's a lot you could learn from me as well,"

    Bruno laughed, a loud, deep laugh that came from his belly. "I'm sure there is," Bruno stretched and returned Hitmonlee to its pokéball. "You don't think you'll regret leaving?"

    "Absolutely not," Koga said. He may not be sure what he would be doing with himself in the future, but one thing he was sure of was his departure from Team Rocket. It just wasn't for him.

    "I'll be holding you to that," Bruno said. "Team Rocket won't be getting their hands on you again if I can help it," Koga knew that Bruno meant it. Koga didn't know what he was doing, but having someone who fully supported him anyways made it a lot easier.

    "I should probably let you return to Gary, before he comes looking for you," Bruno said. They'd only been talking for a minute, but Koga knew that Bruno was right. Gary could sometimes be just as impatient as Ash was. They were still just boys, it was to be expected.

    It was easy to find the others. When Lt. Surge said they wanted to go into the caves, he meant just in the entrance, where they saw the occasional curious Larvitar or Teddiursa. Koga was relieved to see that they weren't playing with, battling, or trying to catch the pokémon. The last thing they needed was for them to irritate any parental Tyranitars or Ursarings.

    The moment that Koga entered the cave, Gary turned his attention away from the pokémon and turned to him, an eager question in his eyes. Koga gave him a small smile. "We can train now, if you want,"

    "Yes!" Gary ran towards him. "What are we going to do?"

    "There's something I want to experiment with," Koga said. "If this works, we will have evidence that you have improved." Gary looked excited at the prospect, but also incredibly nervous. "However, if this doesn't work, there will be no shame in it. It won't mean that you haven't made progress. This would just be one way to see how you've improved, but it is far from the only way."

    Gary nodded and followed Koga out of the cave. "Bring Eevee out of its pokéball," Koga said. Gary was quick to obey him.

    "Are we going to train with it?" Gary asked.

    "Not exactly," Koga brought Gary a fair distance from the cave and the others, to a place where they could have some privacy. "Do you remember what I had you do with Eevee before?"

    Eevee whined and buried its face in Gary's neck. Gary shushed his pokémon and pet it. "You mean where I had it bite me? Of course I remember,"

    "You made a promise to your Eevee then," Koga said. "Did you keep that promise?"

    Gary frowned slightly as he tried to recall. He looked at Eevee, who was still snuggling against him. A look of recognition came to Gary's eyes. "Oh, yeah, I gave Eevee all the cuddles it wanted, which was a lot," Gary stroked Eevee, who still seemed to be cashing in on Gary's promise to it.

    "Your Eevee seems really fond of you," Koga said. "Are you this close to all of your pokémon?"

    "Not really," Gary said. "I don't really try to be mean to any of my pokémon, but Eevee just demands so much more attention and affection than the others do."

    "And you give it to it?" Koga asked, though he already knew the answer.

    "Yeah, it's what makes it happy," Gary said. "I want all of my pokémon to be happy. They're much more willing to listen to me if they like me," Koga knew that to be true. When training pokémon, the best way to go about doing it was to find a balance between making a pokémon happy, and being strict with them and gaining their respect. Koga knew that Gary had no issue getting his pokémon to respect him, so it was good that he was working on affection. That was actually what Koga was curious about.

    Koga reached into his pocket. "I know you pet your Eevee, but have you ever groomed it before?"

    "Not really," Gary said. "My sister has shown me how to do it though,"

    "You have a sister?" Koga frowned.

    "Daisy," Gary said. "She helps with Gramps' research sometimes, but she mostly likes to groom pokémon and do work as a pokémon breeder." It was a good sign that Gary had learned something about pokémon care from his sister.

    "Let's see what you've learned from her." Koga handed a small comb to Gary. The boy sat down on the ground and began to use the comb to gently brush through Eevee's fur. When he reached a tangle, Gary didn't just yank on it. He worked at it with the comb until straightened out.

    Koga watched Gary work silently. He hadn't done anything that resembled classic training with Gary, but the boy still obeyed him without question. He didn't even seem frustrated about not understanding just what Koga's reasons were, he just did what he was told. It was quite strange, to have a boy who was so independent and stubborn be so obedient and patient as well.

    Eevee began to relax as Gary brushed it and talked quietly to it. Eevee seemed to doze off. When Gary started, the sky had just been starting to darken. When the sky was completely dark and the moon and stars were out, Koga was ready to move onto the second part of this little experiment of his.

    "Most of your other pokémon are evolved," Koga said. He suspected that the only reason why Gary hadn't evolved his Scyther was because in the Kanto region, they didn't have the means of evolving it like they had in the Johto region. "Why haven't you evolved Eevee?" Despite Gary's close relationship with Eevee, Koga didn't think that he had a similar philosophy to Ash about evolution.

    "We've thought about it," Gary said. "None of the evolutions felt right,"

    "Did you know that Eevee has two additional evolutions in the Johto region?" Koga asked. Gary shook his head. "Espeon and Umbreon, a psychic type and a dark type. They don't evolve with an evolutionary stone, but through high friendship,"

    "You...you think I'd be able to evolve Eevee like that?" Gary asked.

    "I think it's very possible," Koga said. "You don't have to, of course. Only evolve it if it's really what you want,"

    Gary lifted Eevee and looked at it. "What do you think? Do you want to be an Espeon or an Umbreon?" Eevee yipped excitedly and wagged its tail. Gary beamed. "Great, let's do it,"

    "Which evolution do you want?" Koga asked. It was a rather important question. Gary and Eevee looked at each other for a moment before Gary grinned.

    "Psychic types are really strong, but I don't know of any dark types in Kanto." Gary said. He pet Eevee. "It's special. I think it would suit you."

    "Eivui!" Eevee hopped around happily. It seemed to agree with Gary. That was a good sign. Eevee ran up to Koga and snuggled against him. Suddenly there was a glowing light and Eevee grew in size. When the light faded, Umbreon was still snuggling against Gary, who laughed and wrapped his arms around his pokémon.

    "Look at you, Umbreon," Gary admired his newly evolved pokémon. "You look great."

    "You've done well," Koga said. "Both of you," He believed that Eevee had already been fond of Gary before Koga had met them, but he thought that he'd helped the boy to allow himself to show his vulnerable, more caring side, which had encouraged Eevee to be more affectionate as well. They likely would have reached this evolution eventually, but it happened a lot sooner than it might have before.

    Gary continued to pet Umbreon for another minute before he looked up at Koga. "Do you really have to go?"

    "It's what's best for me right now," Koga said. "If you're interested in continuing with your training, Blaine has agreed to mentor you." Gary looked hesitant and upset, but he nodded.

    "You know, I'm going to get stronger," Gary said. "Someday, I'll come find you and show you just how much better I am. I'm going to challenge you to a battle, and I'm going to beat you this time,"

    "I'm counting on it," Koga held out a hand. Gary took it and Koga pulled him to his feet. "You are going to be an extraordinary trainer someday,"

    "Tch, yeah I am," Gary grinned, that pride and arrogance of his showing up again. Koga noticed that while Gary didn't hesitate to agree that he would be a great trainer, he didn't try to claim that he already was one. They most definitely had made progress, and Koga hoped that Gary would only get better from here.
  13. Gazi

    (Litleo ♀)
    Level 9
    May 27, 2018
    Dawn Stone ★★★★Legendary Triforce ★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 13:

    Blaine wanted to get back to their work as soon as possible, but none of his companions were eager to say goodbye to Koga. Even Lt. Surge, who was way too good at putting his work over his own personal feelings, seemed interested in putting off leaving Mt. Silver for as long as possible. Blaine gave them the night to rest before going off to find the legendary dogs first thing in the morning. He knew that none of them would be resting during the night, but Blaine was sure the others understood what he meant.

    By the time the sun was just beginning to rise, Lt. Surge was ready to go and Silver was anxious to leave. Blaine had thought that the boy turned pokémon would want to avoid looking for the legendary beasts, because the closer they got to their goal, the closer they would be to Team Rocket. Blaine didn't know Silver the way the others did, but he knew that he'd been captured by Team Rocket, which couldn't have been a pleasant experience, and he was Giovanni's son who wasn't too fond of his father. If anybody had a reason to want to avoid Team Rocket, it would be Silver, and yet he was completely on board with stopping them.

    Ash and Gary were a little more reluctant, but they were willing to go. In fact, there seemed to be just one of them who didn't want to say goodbye, and it was someone that Blaine hadn't even considered would be a problem.

    "Butterfree, we have to go," Ash reached for his pokémon, but it flew out of his reach and ducked behind Koga. Blaine couldn't imagine why, but then one of Koga's pokéballs opened by itself and Venomoth came out. Butterfree flew up to Venomoth and the two began to nuzzle. Ash frowned, looking nearly heartbroken. "He doesn't want to leave his friend,"

    Ash had always been really sentimental when it came to his pokémon, sometimes seeing emotions that just weren't there, but this time Blaine was prone to agree. He'd noticed the fondness that Butterfree had for Venomoth, and the two really did spend a lot of time around each other. Blaine had thought that it was just because they were similar typings and could relate to each other better, but now he could see that it was something more.

    "It seems they want to stay together," Koga frowned as he watched the two of them.

    "But we're leaving," Ash said desperately. "And you're staying here."

    Lt. Surge crossed his arms. "Pokémon don't exactly have to stay with their trainers all the time," Blaine nodded and Koga looked thoughtful.

    Ash frowned and lowered his head. "Then...Butterfree should stay here,"

    "Ash, no," Koga said. "If anything, Venomoth should go with you. It can come in handy,"

    "Last time Venomoth came with us, it got hurt," Ash said. "I don't want that to happen again," Butterfree whined and came up to Ash, nudging him. Ash smiled and pet Butterfree's head. "Besides, Butterfree has gotten a lot stronger training with Venomoth, and if they come with us they won't be able to train that much. They'll be better off with you."

    "Ash is probably right," Lt. Surge said. He looked at Koga. "If you're training here, you really should have as many of your pokémon here with you to help, and we both know that you're not going to have Golbat,"

    "Wait, you're not?" Ash said. "Why not?"

    "Because Golbat was meant to be Silver's pokémon," Koga said. "It should stay with him. I already gave Gary Golbat's pokéball," Gary nodded and put his hand in his pocket, probably to double check that he did have the pokéball. Blaine thought that Koga must have chosen Gary rather than Lt. Surge as an additional part of his training. Blaine didn't know what Gary having Golbat's pokéball would do, but he'd learned to not question Koga's strange methods.

    "Ash, you really should keep your pokémon with you," Koga said.

    "He'll be fine," Lt. Surge said. "If Ash really needs more power, he can always borrow one of our pokémon."

    "I already know how to work with Electabuzz," Ash said proudly. "I'll be just fine. If Butterfree wants to stay with his friend, I'm not going to take him away," Ash gave Butterfree a gentle push towards Venomoth. "Go on, It'll be fine," Butterfree looked sadly at Ash before it nodded and rejoined Venomoth, who happily fluttered around him. Ash's smile dimmed slightly, but he tried to put on a brave face for Butterfree's sake.

    Blane put a hand on Ash's shoulder. "Come on, we should get going."

    "If at any time you want Butterfree back with you, just send a message with Golbat or Pidgeot," Koga said. " I'll send it right back,"

    "Yeah, okay," Ash said.

    Finally, it was time for them to leave. Because they were on a mountain, it would take time for them to get down, but that was what pokémon were for. Lt. Surge hopped onto Ash's Charizard, who had gotten quite good at carrying him. Ash let out his newly evolved Pidgeot and got on its back. They didn't have any more flying pokémon that were large enough to carry riders, and Charizard and Pidgeot couldn't take more riders, but Blaine had another method. He let out Arcanine, who was really good at traversing rouge and steep terrain. Blaine got onto his pokémon's back and pulled Gary up to sit in front of him.

    Finally, they were on their way. Blaine even thought he had an idea of where they should begin their search. It is said that the legendary dogs Entei and Raikou carried fire and lightning with them everywhere they went. The key to finding them might be to find any unnatural fires or lightning without storms. Suicune, though, was drawn to pure water sources. If they found a serene lake or pond, they might just find Suicune there, if they were lucky.

    They had a couple of possible lakes they could check out, with one not too far from Mt. Silver. That was where they were headed. As Arcanine bounded down the mountain, Gary kept on looking back over his shoulder to where they had been.

    "I'm not sure if Koga told you, but we've arranged for me to continue your training, if you want," Blaine said. Gary stiffened slightly in surprise and tried to look back at Blaine, but looking straight behind him was a little difficult and he nearly ended up falling off Arcanine's back. Blaine helped to steady him.

    "You'd teach me?" Gary asked hopefully.

    "I'll certainly try," Blaine said. "I'm not a ninja, and my methods are much different from Koga's, but I do think there is a lot you can learn from me, if you're interested."

    Gary was quiet for a minute. He was actually carefully considering his options, not just rushing in one way or another. Finally Gary took a deep breath. "You're a researcher, right?"

    "I'm a scientist," Blaine said. "Not exactly like your grandfather."

    "What's the difference?" Gary asked.

    "Pokémon researchers specialize in studying pokémon," Blaine said. "I sometimes work with pokémon, like my work on Mewtwo, but I usually focus on other scientific topics."

    "Like what?" Gary asked, and he sounded genuinely interested. Blaine felt himself smile. He loved his work, and it wasn't often that he found someone who actually wanted to hear about the specifics.

    "Are you interested in science?" Blaine asked.

    "I don't know," Gary shrugged. "I practically grew up at gramps' lab. My sister spent all her time with the pokémon, but I liked exploring the labs. I always kinda dozed off when he started talking about the relationships between people and pokémon, but I never stopped asking about the tools he had lying around. I probably drove him nuts."

    "You have a curious mind," Blaine admired that in anybody, but curiosity was nothing if there wasn't the drive to find answers. "Well, I've dabbled in a lot of things, but I'm mostly interested in ecology."

    "Eco…" Gary hummed to himself. "That has to do with environment, right? Like an ecosystem?"

    Blaine raised an eyebrow. "Yes, exactly. Ecology is the study of how different organisms interact with each other, and to their environments. The reason why I came to Johto in the past was to look at why there are some Pokémon and plants that thrive in Johto that aren't found in Kanto, even though the regions are right next to each other and incredibly similar,"

    "What did you find?" Gary asked.

    Blaine chuckled slightly. "I didn't get very far. It was around that time that I started working as a gym leader, so I didn't have nearly as much time to focus on my own work."

    "Well, you're in Johto now," Gary pointed out. "You could try it again,"

    "I could," Blaine said. "After our work here is done, of course."

    Gary nodded. "I still don't really get what you guys are doing here, but I'll try to help," He was quiet for a moment before he continued. "And if you're going to study the ecology here I could, you know, help out. Like a research assistant."

    "I've never had an assistant before," Blaine said with a small smile. Even when he'd been working for Team Rocket and had other scientists to help him, none of them had truly been his assistant. They'd just worked under him. "It would be a good experiment, if nothing else," Gary laughed. "I would appreciate any help you want to give, but maybe we should refrain from making any commitments right now." Gary may decide that he didn't like Blaine's methods and wanted nothing to do with him.

    "Yeah, probably," Gary said. "But, yeah, I wouldn't mind training with you,"

    "Great," Blaine said. Working with young trainers and helping them to improve had always been his favorite part of being a gym leader. It would be nice to work with the boy one-on-one.

    It wasn't too long before they reached the bottom of the mountain, and just a short while after that when they reached the pure like that Blaine and Lt. Surge had found earlier. Because flying was faster than running, Lt. Surge and Ash were waiting for them. Ash had even already let out all of his pokémon to stretch their legs and go for a swim in the water.

    "Took you long enough," Lt. Surge teased, though it was clear that he and Ash hadn't been there for too long themselves.

    "It wasn't a race," Blaine reminded him. "And considering our best plan right now is to sit here and wait for Suicune to possibly show up, we're not exactly in a hurry either,"

    "Our plan is really just to sit here?" Gary asked.

    "At least for a bit," Blaine said. They wouldn't stay here for too long. If there wasn't even a sign that Suicune might come around, they would try something else. At the moment though, waiting was all they could do.

    "Hey, Gary," Ash came over, carrying a squirming Totodile in his arms. "It's your turn," When Blaine had heard that Ash and Gary would be taking turns training Totodile, he'd had his doubts. It could be really difficult for any pokémon to respect multiple trainers the same amount, especially a pokémon that was as rambunctious and easily excited as this particular Totodile. Gary and Ash were also both rather young and had completely different ways of raising their pokémon. They seemed to be handling it rather well though.

    "Someone's excited," Gary took Totodile from Ash. He put a hand on Totodile's head and held him tight in an attempt to get it to calm down.

    "Totodile likes swimming," Ash said. "It's been playing a lot with Silver."

    "Well, I don't want the fun to stop on my account," Gary rubbed Totodile's head. "There's tons of training we can do in the water," He went to the edge of the water, where some of Ash's pokémon were playing with the local wild pokémon.

    Ash would normally be playing with his pokémon, but today he lingered back with Blaine and just watched them. Ash looked a little upset and slightly confused.

    "Is something wrong?" Blaine asked.

    "I don't know," Ash said. "Bulbasaur's acting weird," Blaine frowned in confusion. He hadn't noticed anything strange about Bulbasaur, but he also hadn't been paying particular attention to it. After Ash had pointed it out, Blaine saw that Bulbasaur was a little more stiff than usual. It also seemed slightly grumpy. It kept on looking towards Pidgeot.

    "It might just be having a bad day," Blaine said. "It happens sometimes,"

    "I know," Ash frowned. "I just want to be sure." He walked over to his Bulbasaur and crouched at its side. Blaine followed him, because he was curious too. "Hey, what's up?"

    Bulbasaur looked around almost nervously before it leaned closer to Ash. "Saur, saur bulba." It was quiet, like it didn't want to be overheard.

    Ash frowned. "Is something wrong?" Bulbasaur shrunk back slightly and nodded. "Is it something I can help with?" Bulbasaur tilted its head slightly. "I'm going to take that to mean 'maybe'."

    "If you want to help Bulbasaur, you'll need to learn exactly what's wrong," Blaine said. Guesswork could only take them so far.

    "Yeah, you're right," Ash frowned thoughtfully. He turned towards the water. "Hey, Silver, can you come translate for us?" Silver didn't look too happy, but he swam towards them anyways.

    "Saur, saur bulba," Bulbasaur repeated for Silver, who nodded. Silver looked at Ash. A moment later Ash's eyes widened in alarm.

    "Wait, really?" Ash asked. Silver must have communicated to him what Bulbasaur had said. Ash put a hand on Bulbasaur's bulb. "You really don't feel like you can protect the others?" Bulbasaur nodded. "Why not?"

    Bulbasaur answered, going on for a bit longer this time. Once again, Lugia translated. Whatever was said, Ash looked even more upset. "What are you talking about? You're super strong. You don't have to evolve for that," Bulbasaur looked around again, quickly turning back to Ash when it saw Charizard looking towards it.

    "Perhaps this is a discussion that should be had in a more private setting?" Blaine suggested. Ash nodded and picked up Bulbasaur.

    "Come on, let's talk," Ash looked at Blaine. "Will you help?" Blaine wasn't sure what he could contribute to this particular conversation, but if Ash wanted help, he wasn't about to turn him away. Blaine followed Ash away from the lake and into the trees. They probably could have used Silver to continue acting as a translator, but he didn't even give them the chance to ask. He just went right back to swimming.

    "Bulbasaur, you're great at looking out for the others," Ash set Bulbasaur on the ground and sat down next to it. "I don't get why you feel so bad,"

    "I think I might," Blaine said. Ash looked at him desperately. "Do you feel like you would be very good at protecting me or Lt. Surge?"

    "Well...no," Ash admitted.

    "Why not?" Blaine asked.

    "Well, you guys are stronger than me," Ash said. "You have so much more experience," Ash's eyes widened in realization and he looked at Bulbasaur, who nodded.

    "Evolution isn't necessary for a pokémon to evolve to be strong," Blaine said. "But it certainly makes it a lot easier.

    "I'm fine with you evolving, if that's what you want," Ash said quietly. "But you've never really been interested before. Actually, I thought you specifically didn't want to evolve," Bulbasaur nodded again. "I don't want you to do something you don't really want to do."

    Bulbasaur grimaced and looked away, not meeting Ash's gaze.

    "You know, when I feel conflicted about what I want to do, I weigh the pros and cons," Blaine said. "We know why Bulbasaur might want to evolve, because it would get bigger and stronger, and be more capable of protecting its friends. But what are the reasons why it doesn't want to evolve?"

    Bulbasaur puffed itself out and brought out its vines to mime something really large. "Saur!" It roared in as low a voice as it could manage.

    "You...don't want to be really big?" Ash frowned when Bulbasaur nodded. "But you want to be big and strong enough to protect the others?" Another nod. "I don't get it.

    "I think I might," Blaine said. The size that Bulbasaur had indicated with its vines really helped. "You don't want to be a Venusaur." Bulbasaur nodded enthusiastically. It tried to roar again, mimicking the growl of a Venusaur. It then whined slightly, almost in fear.

    "Are you afraid of Venusaurs?" Ash asked. Bulbasaur ducked its head almost shamefully. "Hey, that's nothing to be ashamed of. Venusaurs are really big. They can be pretty intimidating. I totally get why you wouldn't want to be one." Ash looked thoughtful. He looked at Blaine. "But there's another, right? An evolution between Bulbasaur and Venusaur?"

    "Ivysaur," Blaine said. He looked at Bulbasaur. "Are you afraid of Ivysaurs as well?" Bulbasaur frowned and thought carefully before it shook its head. Ash grinned.

    "Well, you can evolve into an Ivysaur, and then just stop there," Ash said. "There's no rule that says if you evolve at all, you have to go all the way,"

    "He has a point," Blaine said. "Do you have any issue with Ivysaurs?" Bulbasaur shook its head, looking a little more eager and almost hopeful.

    "I still don't think you have to evolve," Ash said. "You're fine the way you are, but if this is what you want, I'm all for it. This is your choice," Bulbasaur nodded, looking much more comfortable with himself than before. There was no immediate evolution. Maybe it had decided it was fine as it was, maybe it wanted a little more time to think it through. With all the training that Ash did with his pokémon, Blaine doubted that Bulbasaur wasn't at a strong enough level yet.

    "Whatever you decide to do, you're going to be great," Ash gathered Bulbasaur into his arms and embraced him tightly. Bulbasaur nuzzled close to him.

    "Are we ready to rejoin the others?" Blaine asked.

    "You can go," Ash said. "I think we'll stay here for a bit. It's been awhile since I've been able to have some alone time with any of my pokémon," Ash didn't necessarily have a lot of pokémon, but six pokémon could be a little overwhelming for a beginning trainer.

    "Take your time," Blaine said. He put a hand on the rim of Ash's hat and tilted it down in a way that Lt. Surge might do. "I'll make sure Lt. Surge doesn't try to drag you back,"

    "He'll probably be too busy watching Silver to even know that I'm gone at all," Ash said with a slight laugh. Blaine chuckled.

    "Yes, well, some things never change, do they?" Blaine said. "You two have fun out here."

    "See you later," Ash said. Blaine nodded and made his way back to the clearing. Lt. Surge gave him a strange look when he returned, but he didn't say anything. Lt. Surge just leaned against a rock and closed his eyes, trying to relax.

    Blaine found a place a bit away from the others and sat cross-legged on the ground. He pulled out the Master Ball and let out Mewtwo. "We may be here awhile. I thought we could give meditation another try,"

    "You don't like meditation," Mewtwo said.

    "No, but you do," Blaine said. "This is a small sacrifice I'm willing to make for your sake," Mewtwo eyed him almost suspiciously for a moment before his gaze softened in appreciation. Mewtwo nodded and closed his eyes. Blaine followed his lead. The two of them sat there, losing themselves to the calm quiet of the lake.
  14. Gazi

    (Litleo ♀)
    Level 9
    May 27, 2018
    Dawn Stone ★★★★Legendary Triforce ★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 14:
    Ash could usually sleep until midmorning, no matter how early he got to sleep. Ash was a little confused when he woke up to find that the sun was just barely peeking through the trees. He rubbed his eyes and looked around, wondering what had woken him up. Everything was still and quiet.

    Ash's Raichu curled up close to him, muttering tiredly. All of Ash's other pokémon were fast asleep. Even Totodile, who Ash had never seen rest for longer than a minute, was sleeping soundly, curled up next to Silver. Gary, Blaine, and even Lt. Surge, who was always up first thing in the morning for training, were asleep.

    Ash closed his eyes to go back to sleep, but then he heard a quiet rustling. Ash jolted awake and looked towards the water. He was sure this was what had woken him up in the first place. Something was out there.

    "Hello?" Ash said quietly, so to not bother his sleeping friends. He stood up and approached the water's edge. Nothing moved or responded. Ash knew he had no reason to think that anything weird was going on. The rustling he had heard could just be the breeze against the leaves. He could feel there was something more, he just couldn't explain what it was or why he felt it. He wanted to figure it out though.

    Ash tipped his toes into the water and just watched the lake. There was a lot of mist across the lake, he couldn't even see across to the other shore. In some places, it was hard to see even the water surface. Ash knew that this was just something that happened sometimes in the early morning, but the thickness of the mist didn't feel normal. Ash couldn't shake the feeling that something was out there.

    Ash stared for a moment before he felt a ripple in the water. Shivers went down Ash's spine. He felt nervous for reasons that he couldn't explain, but he was also excited. Ash rolled his pants up past the ankles and stepped into the water. Suddenly some of the mist drew away just enough for Ash to make out a figure standing on the other shore.

    It was a large, four-legged pokémon with a really flowy mane. Ash remembered the pokémon he had seen on the water that first morning they had come to Johto. He may not be able to see exactly what this pokémon looked like, but this slightly nervous, awe-inspiring feeling in his chest told him that this couldn't be just any pokémon. This was someone special.

    "Suicune?" Ash called out, a little louder. He took another step out into the lake. The pokémon in the mist turned towards him and then slowly began to approach. Ash continued walking until he was waist deep in the water. He only stopped because when he tested his foot another step forward, he couldn't feel the ground immediately beneath him. He didn't know how deep the water was, and he didn't want to actually go for a swim so early.

    Even when Ash stopped moving forward, Suicune continued on, stepping closer and closer until Ash was looking up at it. When Ash had looked at a picture of the legendary dog at the Burned Tower, he had recognized it as the pokémon he'd seen at the lake. Now though, after seeing Suicune so close up, Ash could tell that the picture didn't do Suicune justice.

    "You're incredible," Ash muttered. Suicune lowered its head and sniffed at Ash. The boy held perfectly still before he brought his hand up and put it on Suicune's face. He expected the pokémon to pull back, but Suicune leaned into his touch.

    "You're amazing," Ash smiled at Suicune. It whined slightly and knelt on the surface of the water, bringing it closer to Ash's level. Suicune gestured with its head to its back. It looked at Ash meaningfully. "You...want me to get on?" Ash asked. Suicune nodded. "Are we going somewhere?" Another nod.

    Ash looked over his shoulder back towards the others. "I should probably tell the others before I-Hey!" Ash jumped when Suicune growled and stepped forward, blocking his path back. "Come on, I can't just leave them." Suicune's look was stern and unwavering. Ash bit his inner lip. "Will you bring me back after?" Suicune's expression softened and it nodded.

    Ash sighed. "Alright," He climbed onto Suicune's back. It was only when he was on top of it did he really realize just how large it was. "Whoa. He held on as tight as he could to Suicune's mane. The pokémon roared and bounded forward. Ash expected it to be a rough ride, a little like riding on Arcanine was, but it was actually incredibly smooth. Ash was barely justled at all as Suicune ran leapt across the lake, out of the forest, and through the plains

    Suicune ran for a few minutes before Ash began to worry about just where they were going. "Are we going to be there soon?" Suicune nodded and ran straight towards some cliffs. Finally Suicune stopped when they reached the top of the cliff that overlooked the region. Ash could see a couple of cities from up here, but they were so far away that he could only identify Ecruteak City because he could see the Tin Tower, even from all the out here.

    Suicune lowered itself so Ash could hop down from its back. "It looks so cool, but why did you bring me here?" Ash asked. Suicune growled lowly and seemed to be looking straight at the Tin Tower. It looked back at Ash, a questioning look in its eyes. It was almost like Suicune was asking him 'why were you there?'

    Ash had never been to the Tin Tower, he just knew that it was located right next to the Burned Tower. Ash wondered for a second how Suicune might know that he'd been there, but then he remembered that Suicune, as well as the other legendary beasts, had a connection to that place. For all Ash knew, they could sense exactly what happened there.

    "Do you want to know why we were at the Burned Tower?" Ash asked. Suicune nodded. Ash suddenly felt a little awkward. "Well, we were looking for you and your friends."

    Suicune's eyes narrowed. It wasn't quite angry, but it was definitely suspicious. 'Why?'

    "We're looking for Ho-Oh," Ash said. He could see the protectiveness in Suicune's eyes, and he rushed on. "We think some bad people are looking for it. They have a rainbow feather." Suicune looked alarmed. It seemed to know that a rainbow feather could bring someone straight to Ho-Oh.

    "Blaine thought that you and your friends could lead us to Ho-Oh before Giovanni gets to it," Ash said. "We want to help protect it."

    Suicune's expression softened. It tilted its head at Ash and considered him carefully. It didn't look nearly convinced.

    "I know you don't really trust us," Ash said. Suicune didn't know him or his friends. It didn't have any reason to believe what Ash said. "I promise, we just want to help Ho-Oh and stop the man trying to catch it." Ash gave Suicune a strained smile. "I've been hurt by Giovanni before, so have my friends. I don't want the same thing to happen to anybody else."

    Suicune was quiet for a moment before it closed its eyes and bent its head, bumping it against Ash. The boy felt a rush of calm serenity come over him. He felt like everything was going to be okay, and it would all work out in the end. Suicune pulled back from Ash and nodded at him. Ash felt his breath get caught in his throat.

    "You...you'll help us?" Ash asked. Suicune gave him a look almost like a smile. Ash put his hand on Suicune's nose and pet it gently. "Thank you."

    Lt. Surge groaned as he felt somebody trying to shake his shoulders. He rolled over away from them. He didn't have a problem waking up earlier than his body may want, but he didn't see any reason to right now. He didn't have work or training to do, there was no danger, so he thought he might as well sleep.

    A moment later his shoulders were being shaken again. Lt. Surge swatted them away. He heard a growl and suddenly he was shocked with a thunderbolt. Lt. Surge shot up. He glared at Ash's Raichu. He knew it wasn't his own, because his Raichu had long since learned to not shock people.

    "What?!" Lt. Surge growled. He didn't appreciate being woken up. Ash's Raichu looked at him with wide, scared eyes. It gestured to an empty spot of grass near the water. Because Lt. Surge had only just woken up, it took him a long moment to realize what he was supposed to be looking at. There was nothing on the grass, but that was the whole point.

    "Where's Ash?" Lt. Surge asked. He looked around nervously. He saw Silver, who Lt. Surge still had a difficult time accepting as the kid that he'd lost years ago, sleeping soundly and safely. Gary was curled up with his Umbreon. Blaine was resting peacefully too. Lt. Surge was alarmed to see that all of Ash's pokémon were here, not just Raichu. Wherever that boy was, he didn't even have his pokémon there to keep him safe.

    "I'm going to kill that kid," Lt. Surge moved towards Charizard and whacked it over the top of the head. Charizard opened one eye and looked at him in mild annoyance. "Ash is missing. We've got to find him." That woke Charizard up. Ash's pokémon roared and stood up. Lt. Surge hopped onto its back and they immediately took off. Lt. Surge knew they should probably tell the others what was going on, but they didn't have time. They had to find the kid.

    Neither Lt. Surge nor Charizard knew where to begin looking for Ash. Before they could pick a direction and just go for it, a lightning strike appeared just in front of them. Charizard growled and reared back, almost making Lt. Surge fall off. Lt. Surge eyed the sky warily. There were only a few clouds out, and none of them were the kind that could cause a bolt like that.

    "It's just a little bolt," Lt. Surge said, even as he kept an eye out for whatever had caused the lightning. "We have to keep going," A pokémon was probably responsible for the bolt. If they landed, they would probably just be attacked again, and Lt. Surge knew better than to mess around with a wild pokémon who could summon a bolt so large and so high up.

    Charizard roared and nodded. Charizard was bold and willing to brave whatever lightning might come their way. Everything seemed incredibly calm, and Lt. Surge was starting to calm down when another bolt came down, narrowly missing Charizard's wing. In Charizard's attempt to dodge the attack, and its panic at almost being hit, it dove sharply. Lt. Surge hadn't been holding on as tightly as he should have, so when Charizard dove he jerked too far forward and fell off.

    Lt. Surge heard Charizard roar in alarm, but there was another roar too, one that Lt. Surge had never heard before. It made the small hairs on his arms stand up on end. Lt. Surge barely had time to register that he was even falling when he hit something so hard that the air was knocked right out of him. Lt. Surge was still falling, but nowhere near as fast as he had before, and he was moving at more of an angle than a straight plummet.

    "Wha'..." Lt. Surge blinked, not quite believing what he was seeing. Large, yellow legs. He was draped across the back of a large pokémon, and now they were both falling, but in a more controlled way. Lt. Surge lifted himself as much as he could and adjusted his position so he was no longer lying precariously across its back, but sitting upright instead. He got a better look at the pokémon, and he thought he recognized one of the legendary dogs. The electricity that Lt. Surge could feel in the air told him exactly which one it was. "Raikou?"

    The beast turned its head and looked at him. It let out a roar that sounded like thunder. It shook Lt. Surge to the core. A moment later Raikou landed on the ground so gently that if Lt. Surge didn't know any better, he wouldn't think that they'd fallen from the sky at all.

    Lt. Surge got off of Raikou's back, stumbling slightly because his legs were shaking so much. Raikou moved to support him, but Lt. Surge pushed it away. Raikou had to be responsible for the bolt that had almost struck them out of the sky. Lt. Surge was glad that he hadn't fallen to his death, but he wasn't going to thank Raikou for catching him when the pokémon was the one responsible for him falling in the first place.

    Charizard landed just after them and put itself between Lt. Surge and Raikou. Charizard roared at it. Raikou hissed, making sparks fly from it. Lt. Surge put a hand on Charizards arm to calm it and approached Raikou, though he was careful to not get too close. "Any reason why you wanted to blast us out of the sky, or were you just bored?"

    Raikou tilted a head at Lt. Surge curiously and sniffed at him. Lt. Surge felt little sparks where Raikou made contact with him. "Alright, you're curious, I get it. I admit, I'm curious about you too," These were supposed to be elusive legendary pokémon, but not only had it come right at Lt. Surge, it made no sign of wanting to flee. This would be the perfect time to try to catch Raikou or get its help, since that was the whole reason why they had come to Johto in the first place. Lt. Surge had something more important to do right now.

    "I really don't have time to mess with you right now," Lt. Surge pushed Raikou away slightly and got onto Charizard's back. "I've got a friend I need to find."

    A strange look came into Raikou's eyes. It pounced and knocked Lt. Surge off of Charizard's back. It pinned him to the ground. Lt. Surge grunted and glared at the pokémon. "What are you doing?" Raikou growled and used thunder wave. It was a lot stronger than any other thunder waves he was used to. Lt. Surge was completely immobilized, and so was Charizard.

    "What's your deal?" Lt. Surge tried in vain to resist the paralyzation. Raikou wasn't even attacking him, so Lt. Surge didn't think that it was looking for a fight, it just didn't want him to leave, for reasons that Lt. Surge didn't understand. "What do you want from me?"

    Raikou sniffed at Lt. Surge's pockets and used its nose to nudge his pokéballs out of it. Raikou nudged the ball that had Lt. Surge's Jolteon in it towards one hand, and an empty pokéball towards the other hand. Raikou then got off of Lt. Surge and walked a few feet away. It got into a battle ready position. Apparently Raikou wanted a fight.

    Lt. Surge scowled. He tried to force himself to get up, but he couldn't get past the paralyzation. "Normally I'd jump at the chance to fight with you, but I already told you, I'm busy. Find someone else to challenge you."

    Raikou tilted its head at Lt. Surge for a moment before it nodded and made the thunder wave disappear. Lt. Surge got to his feet and shook his arms to get rid of the lingering numbness. Raikou stepped a little away from them and gestured for them to follow it.

    "This thing is weird," Lt. Surge picked up the pokéballs that Raikou had knocked out and pocketed them. He went to Charizard, who didn't look very happy. It was glaring at Suicune. "Yeah, I don't really trust it either," Lt. Surge said. "It might know where Ash is though, and it's not like we've got a better plan to find him. Let's just give this a try." Lt. Surge got onto Charizard's back and once again they were in the air. They followed Raichu, hoping that it wasn't leading them on.

    Blaine woke up because of his discolored arm acting up again. The pain was too much to sleep through. Blaine used to be used to his arm keeping him up, but it had calmed down since he and Mewtwo had started to form an understanding. For it to be hurting now, something must be wrong with Mewtwo.

    Blaine pulled the Master Ball out of his pocket and let out Mewtwo. "Is something wrong, brother?"

    "That pokémon you wanted me to find, it's nearby," Mewtwo said. He sounded nervous, which seemed so unlike him.

    "The pokémon I wanted you to find?" Blaine frowned. It took him a long moment to realize just what Mewtwo was talking about. "Do you mean Entei?" Mewtwo nodded. Blaine suddenly felt wide awake. "Where is it?"

    Mewtwo scowled at him. "You were scared last time you saw Entei." At times like this, Blaine wasn't too fond of their connection.

    "I wasn't afraid of Entei," Blaine said. "I was uneasy about something else. I just happened to run into Entei."

    Mewtwo didn't look reassured. "What were you afraid of?"

    "I wasn't afraid," Blaine insisted. Nervous and a little anxious, yes, but not afraid. The differences were subtle, but important. "Entei's a powerful pokémon, but when I saw it last time, I wasn't even a little worried that it would attack me." Entei had seemed more curious than anything.

    "Why do you want Entei?" Mewtwo asked.

    "We think the legendary beasts might bring us to Ho-Oh, before Giovanni can get to it." Blaine knew that Mewtwo knew all this, but if Mewtwo needed assurances, he could do that for him.

    Mewtwo's expression darkened and Blaine felt his arm flare up again. It seemed extremely sensitive to Mewtwo's mood. "That man must be stopped." Mewtwo sighed. "I'm coming with you." Mewtwo's tone made it clear that this wasn't up for debate.

    "Alright, but we must hurry," Blaine grabbed Rapidash's pokéball and let his pokémon out. Blaine took a quick look around and frowned when he saw just Gary and Silver there. Perhaps Lt. Surge and Ash had gone off to do some early morning training. Blaine didn't want to leave Gary and Silver on their own, but he couldn't wait for the others to return. He had to get to Entei before it ran off.

    Blaine let Arcanine out of its pokéball. "Keep an eye on the others. We'll be back as soon as we can," Arcanine nodded and went to curl up on the ground next to Gary. Blaine got onto Rapidash's back and looked to Mewtwo. "Lead the way."

    They travelled for just a few minutes before Blaine began to feel a noticeable increase in the temperature. He thought for half a second that it was just the sun rising and warming things up, but the air was too stifling and thick for so early in the morning. The heat reminded him of what he had felt when he'd met Entei before. The legendary beast was nearby.

    They left the trees and ran into some plains. Blaine pulled Rapidash to a stop when he laid eyes on Entei. The legendary pokémon was lying in the middle of the field, looking like it was just waiting for them. Blaine swallowed thickly and gently kicked Rapidash to urge it slowly forward. Entei didn't run away or look ready to attack, it just watched them.

    They finally stopped when they were just feet in front of Entei. It got to its feet and gave them a small nod of acknowledgement. Entei seemed to frown when it looked at Blaine's bad arm, which was pulsing slightly. Entei whined slightly, stood up, and approached Blaine. It sniffed his arm again and looked at Mewtwo almost suspiciously.

    "Yes, this arm connects me to Mewtwo," Blaine said. "It's not his fault, it's just the way that things go." Entei brushed just a little too harshly at Blaine's arm, making it hurt. Blaine hissed in pain and drew back. Mewtwo growled and used a psychic blast to knock Entei back.

    "Do not harm him," Mewtwo threatened.

    "That's enough." Blaine said sharply. He put himself between Mewtwo and Entei. Blaine gave Mewtwo a stern look. "It was just an accident. There's no reason to lash out like this." Mewtwo eyed Entei cautiously, clearly not liking it, but he backed down. Entei got up from where it had been knocked down and walked towards them. Entei looked at Blaine in approval and slight admiration.

    Entei bowed its head in a clear sign of submission. Blaine stood shell-shocked for a moment. Entei seemed pleased with him, but Blaine didn't know what he had done to deserve it. "You...you like me," Entei nodded. "Why?"

    Entei lifted it's head and looked pointedly from him to Mewtwo. Mewtwo frowned, though it was more in confusion this time. Mewtwo relaxed a little and didn't look like he wanted to attack Entei. "It admires your strength," Mewtwo said. "You're strong enough to control me," Mewtwo scowled slightly when he said this. "But also strong enough to not want to control me."

    "Oh," Blaine couldn't help but feel relieved. They were going after Ho-Oh for a similar reason why Blaine had wanted to catch Mewtwo, to keep the powerful pokémon from falling into the hands of a man like Giovanni. It was very validating that a legendary pokémon recognized what Blaine was trying to do.

    Entei growled, though not in a threatening way. Once again, Mewtwo translated. "Entei knows what you're trying to do, and it wants to help,"

    "You...you want to help us?" This was far more than Blaine could hope for. He'd thought that it would take a lot of convincing and persuasion to get the held of a legendary beast. He'd also thought that it would take them a long time to track down the beasts. And yet Entei had come to him for itself, and happily volunteered to join them.

    Entei nodded and nudged Blaine in a friendly way. Blaine chuckled and pet it. "We'll appreciate all the help we can get." They were one step closer to finding Ho-Oh and stopping Giovanni, hopefully for good.

    A/N: In Pokémon Adventure, it never really says why Suicune, Raikou, and Entei originally chose Misty, Lt. Surge, and Blaine, which was just a little disappointing, since Suicune spends so much time challenging the gym leaders and testing them. In the end, they just choose the gym leaders who specialized in their typings. If that was all they wanted, why bother testing all the gym leaders in the first place? So I tried to come up with legit reasons as to why Suicune, Raikou, and Entei would choose Ash, Lt. Surge, and Blaine.

    It was a little difficult to portray the reasons for Suicune and Raikou, because I decided to have them not talk. In case it wasn't clear, Suicune chose Ash because of his pure-heartedness and kindness. Raikou chooses Lt. Surge because of his fierce loyalty. That was the best thing I could come up with from the manga.
  15. Gazi

    (Litleo ♀)
    Level 9
    May 27, 2018
    Dawn Stone ★★★★Legendary Triforce ★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 15
    Silver woke up and took him a long moment to realize where he was and why he was floating on the surface of the water. Silver looked around and scowled to himself when he saw his wings. Right, he was still a Lugia. Silver had been a pokémon for several years, and he'd long since gotten used to it, but ever since he'd gotten his memory back he'd been struggling with what he remembered conflicting with what he knew.

    Silver stretched his wings out and swam back to shore. He hadn't even remembered going into the water in the first place. He wondered if Totodile had anything to do with that, because as soon as he stepped out of the water, Totodile, who he'd thought had been sound asleep, hopped out of the water and joined him.

    Magneton, Golbat, and Abra all came to join him almost immediately. Silver appreciated that he had his pokémon at his side, but having them around him constantly was exhausting and a little bit frustrating. He appreciated them, but he needed some space sometimes.

    Gary, sitting on the ground and petting his Umbreon, who demanded his attention, looked at Silver. "Don't ask me where the others are. They were gone when I woke up." Silver hadn't even noticed that Ash, Blaine, and Lt. Surge weren't around. "I don't think they're in trouble though." Gary said confidently. "If someone came around causing trouble, they would have probably taken you too, and Blaine wouldn't have just left his Arcanine here."

    Silver thought the same thing. Knowing Lt. Surge, he might just be training. Ash had probably just seen a new pokémon and had run off after it. As for Blaine, Silver didn't know and he honestly didn't care.

    Gary was quiet for a moment. "But...I mean, I don't think they're in trouble, because they would have woken us up if something is seriously wrong, but...well, Ash is really clingy with his pokémon, and look at who woke me up." Gary nudged Umbreon aside to show Ash's Raichu curled up on the ground, looking really distressed. Silver didn't know if Umbreon was on top of Raichu because it was jealous of Raichu being so close to its trainer, or if this was Umbreon's way of trying to comfort Raichu. Silver had never been very good at understanding the motivation of pokémon. Especially the pokémon that belonged to trainers.

    "Ash likes to have his pokémon with him all the time," Gary said quietly. Silver groaned and lowered his head slightly as he mentally prepared himself for what was coming. Gary was spending too much time with Ash. He was getting sentimental. Just because Ash wasn't in arms reach of his pokémon didn't mean that there was a problem.

    "All of Ash's pokéballs are here," Gary said in what he probably thought was a very casual tone, but Silver knew that he had to be feeling anything but casual. Gary wouldn't still be talking about Ash if he felt completely comfortable with this. "Do you think we should bring them to him?"

    Silver glared at Gary and shook his head. Pokémon may make a trainer stronger, but the best trainers weren't completely defenseless without their pokémon at their side. Just look at Silver. He'd been separated from his pokémon for several years, and he'd done just fine for himself. Sure, he'd also been a pokémon himself, with powers of his own, but he'd still survived on his own devices. He hadn't needed anybody else, and he didn't need them now.

    Needing people or pokémon meant relying on them. That required opening one up to vulnerability, and that wasn't what Silver needed in his life. He was strong on his own.

    Magneton whirred unhappily and nudged Silver. Golbat turned its head away stubbornly, trying to look like it wasn't as hurt and upset as it clearly was. Abra opened its eyes slightly and gave Silver an unimpressed look. Abra looked towards Gary and its eyes began to glow. Gary blinked and frowned in slight confusion.

    "What...what pokémon was that?" Gary asked. Silver tilted his head at Gary. There were no odd pokémon around. Gary pulled out his pokédex and began to go through the images of pokémon. He searched for a few minutes before he seemed to find what he was looking for. Gary looked at the image he had pulled up. "What's a Sneasel?"

    Silver stiffened. He growled at Abra, who didn't even look ashamed. Had his pokémon sent Gary an impression of a Sneazel? Why in the world would it do that? Abra looked at Silver and he really didn't like the mischievous look in its eyes. An instant later an image flashed through Silver's head. He saw an old, run-down mansion. It was gone in just a moment, but the quick image was enough for Silver to recognize.

    It was his old vacation summer home. To be accurate, it was Giovanni's 'summer home' that just served as a temporary Johto headquarters for Team Rocket. For Silver, it was where he lived the majority of the time. Between being a gym leader and leading Team Rocket, Giovanni never had a lot of time to dedicate to raising his son.

    Silver spent most of his time in Johto, being watched by old, retired agents, and that was just the way Silver liked it. Silver preferred the Johto region to Kanto. He thought the pokémon in Johto were stronger, and as long as he wasn't living in the same region as his father, he wasn't in his shadow nearly as much.

    As much as Silver liked the pokémon of Johto, he had only ever trained one of them, and it wasn't even a pokémon he had chosen for himself. The first time Silver had been left in Johto without his dad, he had been embarrassingly clingy and upset. Giovanni had scolded him for being so emotional, but when young Silver had sworn to hop on the soonest boat going back to Johto, his father had gone out and caught a Sneasel for him.

    The pokémon had been tasked with keeping Silver in Johto, and also to keep the boy company. Silver had resented the Sneasel at first, and always used to run off to try to lose it. Sneasel was resilient and stubborn though, and no matter how hard Silver tried, he couldn't figure out how to get Sneasel off his back. After a few days Silver had started to respect Sneasel's dedication, and his Sneasel had started to at least look like he was respecting Silver's space. It almost became a bit of a game for them. Silver would do his best to get away from Sneasel, and the pokémon would try to avoid being seen by Silver.

    Sneasel had become Silver's partner. He still believed that pokémon were a means to an end, but it was possible for pokémon to be close companions without being friends. Silver hadn't been happy that his father was choosing his pokémon for him, but he had to admit that Sneasel was interesting enough to be fun sometimes, and strong enough to be of use. It was also loyal.

    Silver hadn't seen Sneasel since he'd fallen into the ocean and became a Lugia. For all he knew, Sneasel had drowned, which would be a shame. Sneasel was such a useful, loyal pokémon, and Silver had spent years training it to behave the way he wanted it to.

    Then again, Abra must have shown Gary an image of a Sneasel for a reason, and then it had shown Silver the old house. Was this Abra's way of saying that his Sneasel was still at the house? It seemed like a long shot, but Silver knew that nothing was impossible. There was no reason to not ask.

    'Is Sneasel back at home?' Silver asked Abra. It gave him a very small grin in response. Golbat turned its head and looked at Silver. Its curiosity was stronger than its hurt. 'Show me,' Silver ordered. Abra and Golbat looked at each other. After a moment Golbat opened its mouth wide and used its special supersonic to make its mouth reflective.

    Silver didn't know how Koga did it, but the ninja had taught the Golbat how to not only use its supersonic to find things, but also visually show an image of what it sensed. With a lot of training years ago, Silver had managed to get Golbat, who had just been a Zubat back then, to project an image that Abra put into its head. They hadn't been very good at it back then, but Silver expected the two of them to be better after so long.

    Abra's eyes glowed and in Golbat's mouth Silver saw an image of the old mansion. Gary exclaimed in shock and came closer to get a better look for himself. After a moment the image wavered and came back into focus inside the house itself. Silver instantly recognized his dad's office. It was the one room in the house that he hadn't been allowed to go, so of course it was the room he spent the most time in. Whenever Silver couldn't manage to leave the house but he needed to get away from the Team Rocket agents, he would go into the office, because it was the one room that the agents were too afraid to enter.

    The image zoomed in on the desk, and then wavered again. When it focused, Silver saw a pokéball sitting in a drawer. Sneasel was in there, it had to be. Silver growled and felt his psychic powers build up within him. He had thought it would be a shame and a waste for Sneasel to drown, but it was even more so if Sneasel had spent all of these years trapped in a pokéball.

    Giovanni was a fool. He had a loyal Sneasel at his dispense, and he just tossed it aside, and for what? Silver couldn't remember the last time he had liked his dad, but at times like this he actively hated him.

    'We're getting Sneasel out of there,' Silver spread his wings. He ignored Golbat and Magneton's pleased expressions. He wasn't doing this because of stupid sentimentality. Sneasel was a useful pokémon, and Giovanni didn't deserve to have access to it. Especially if Giovanni was just going to be wasting and ignoring all that potential.

    "Whoa, hey, what are you doing?" Gary asked. "Where is that place?"

    Golbat looked at Gary. 'You can't just leave the boy. He should come with us!'

    Silver didn't want to deal with Gary, but he didn't want to waste time debating about it. 'Do what you want, let's just go.' Silver flapped his wings and took off into the air. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Golbat clinging to Gary's arm and trying to drag him towards Arcanine, who was reluctantly getting to his feet. Abra used telepathy to lift Ash's Raichu into Gary's arms. After some quick communication between Magneton and Umbreon, Gary's pokémon picked up Ash's bag.

    Gary looked confused about just what they were doing, but he didn't ask questions. He just got onto Arcanine and let the pokémon all lead him. Silver flew off, keeping himself lower to the ground than he normally would. If the others were going to follow him, there was no reason for Silver to make it really hard for them.

    Silver had explored a lot of the Johto region when he was younger. A lot had changed these past few years, but the large landmarks still remained. Silver knew where the old house was in relation to the Burned Tower and Mt. Silver. It wasn't exactly nearby, but Silver was a fast flyer, and Arcanine could run a lot faster and longer than humans normally could.

    When they got to the old house, Silver didn't have the patience to find a delicate way to enter the building. He just sent a blast of water into the door and burst it down. Gary hopped off of Arcanine's back and followed Silver inside. He was still holding Ash's sleeping Raichu in his arms. The rest of the pokémon stayed outside, possibly to give them some space, possibly to make sure nobody trespassed. Silver didn't care either way. He was just there to find his pokémon.

    Silver made his way straight to the study. The desk was sitting there, looking the exact same as Silver had ever seen it. He moved to the drawer and tried to pull it open, but it was difficult to do without hands. Silver growled in frustration. He might have tried to blast apart the desk the same way as he had the door, but Gary stepped in.

    "Hang on," Gary pulled the drawer open. "Don't be rash." Gary reached into the drawer and pulled out a dusty pokéball. He held it out to Silver. "Is this what we're looking for?"

    All pokéballs looked identical, but Silver could tell that this was Sneasel's ball. He nudged the button with his beak. The button didn't press as easily as most pokéballs did, and for a second nothing seemed to happen. Silver worried for a second that it had been so long that the pokéball had rusted over, but then it opened up with a flash of light. Silver waited tensely as the light took the shape of a pokémon. When the light faded, it left a very confused looking Sneasel in its place.

    Sneasel looked around anxiously before its gaze landed on Silver. Its eyes widened. Sneasel crept towards Silver, eyeing him cautiously. Sneasel sniffed Silver before a look of recognition came to its eyes.

    "Snea?" Sneasel tilted its head. 'Master?'

    Silver smirked. It was a relief to know that his partner recognized him. He knew that Abra, Magneton, and Golbat had all known who he was fairly quickly, but Silver had never been as close to them as he'd been to Sneasel.

    'Sometimes I think that man is going out of his way to make me hate him,' Silver said. Sneasel growled and nodded. Even though Giovanni had been the one to catch Sneasel in the first place, Sneasel had no love for Giovanni. After so many years of being confined to its pokéball, Sneasel's disinterest had developed into hatred almost as strong as Silver's.

    "Is this your Sneasel?" Gary asked. Sneasel stiffened and turned towards Gary. It raised its claws and looked ready to attack at a moment's notice. Silver appreciated Sneasel's quick instinct, but it wasn't necessary at this instant.

    'Don't attack him,' Silver said almost reluctantly. 'He's...not an enemy.' That was the extent of their relationship. If Gary was one of the others, Silver would have called him an ally, because they had the same goal, but Gary didn't have any personal interest in taking down Team Rocket. He was just along for the ride.

    Someone not being an enemy may not be high praise from anybody else, but Sneasel was familiar with Silver, it knew that he didn't get close to people easily. Sneasel didn't completely relax, but it lowered its claws.

    Silver nodded at Gary in answer to his question. Gary was strangely accepting of the thought that someone who looked like a pokémon themself could have pokémon of their own.

    "That's cool," Gary said. "But...what's it doing here?"

    Silver scowled and nudged one of the other drawers. Gary set Raichu down and approached the dresser. Gary opened up the drawer and pulled out a framed picture. Silver hadn't been sure that his father still had it. He really didn't understand that man sometimes. Giovanni was sentimental enough to have a picture of him and a young Silver together, but cold enough to keep the picture out of sight in a drawer of a desk in a region that he rarely visited.

    Gary looked at the picture. He pointed to the young, somewhat annoyed looking boy in the picture. "Is that you?" Silver hesitated for a moment before nodding. It wasn't exactly a secret, but when Silver looked at that picture, he almost didn't recognize himself. It felt like a lifetime ago that he was the little boy whose biggest source of distress was his father making him hold still for ten seconds to pose for a picture.

    As much as Silver didn't recognize himself, he thought he recognized Giovanni even less. Silver remembered being young, but he couldn't ever remember Giovanni as proud and gentle looking as he looked in the photograph. He actually looked like there was nothing he wanted more than to be a father, and Silver doubted that Giovanni had ever felt that way even for an instant.

    "Is this guy your dad?" Gary asked in a slightly more guarded tone. Silver sighed and nodded. Gary grimaced and gave the picture another look. "He looks just as fake as Ash says he is." Silver agreed. That was one of the things that he hated most about Giovanni. The man cared far too much about his image and how others might perceive him. If Silver was running Team Rocket, he wouldn't dedicate so much time to pretending that he was doing something else.

    Silver scowled and used his psychic powers to lift the picture out of Gary's hands. He tossed the picture against the wall and felt incredibly satisfied when he heard the sound of breaking glass. If Giovanni hadn't wanted to look at a reminder of Silver, then he didn't want a reminder of Giovanni.

    "I guess you've got some pretty complicated feelings about your dad," Gary sat on top of the desk. "I get that. I never really knew either of my parents, and I never really wanted to. They ran off, leaving me and my sister to be raised by Gramps. If they don't want anything to do with me, then I don't want anything to do with them either, you know?"

    Silver nodded. Parents weren't entitled to love and respect from their children. Just like anything else in life, it had to be earned.

    "Is it because of your anger that you're helping Ash and the others do whatever they're doing?" Gary asked. "I get that they're being super noble and stuff, but that doesn't seem quite your style." Silver nodded again. He definitely wasn't helping them get Ho-Oh before Giovanni did because it was the right thing to do. He just wanted to beat Giovanni. Silver was doing this out of spite, and he wasn't ashamed to admit it.

    "Hey, I can respect that," Gary said. "If you want any help with that, just say the word. I don't know who this guy is or what he's doing, but I'm always ready to knock someone down a few pegs." Gary smirked, showing off that arrogance that Koga had been trying to discourage. Silver didn't mind Gary's pride. From what he had seen, Gary was quite a skilled trainer for someone who had just started. Silver thought that he had every right to be proud of that.

    Then again, Silver had never battled Gary, and he couldn't know for sure how good a trainer was unless he'd battled them himself.

    'Let's have a battle,' Silver said to his Sneasel. It had been a long time since he and Sneasel had battled together, and they needed to make sure they weren't rusty. Sneasel nodded and got into a battle ready position. Gary blinked before he smirked.

    "A battle, huh?" Gary stood up straight, looking proud and cocky. "You know what? Sure, you're on. Hey, Umbreon!" Gary shouted out. An instant later his Umbreon dashed into the room. He was so quick that Silver was sure that Umbreon hadn't been waiting outside, but it had been right outside the room, just waiting for if Gary needed it. Umbreon stood at Gary's side. "Let's show these freaks what we can do."

    Silver admired Gary's pride, but he was going to put this kid in his place.
  16. Gazi

    (Litleo ♀)
    Level 9
    May 27, 2018
    Dawn Stone ★★★★Legendary Triforce ★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 16
    Almost immediately after starting to follow Raikou, Lt. Surge realized that this was probably an incredibly stupid idea. Everywhere Raikou went, lightning followed in its wake. This was the worst time to fly, but Lt. Surge didn't even consider turning around. Raikou wanted him to follow it, and there wasn't a lot he could lose from it.

    And while it was a horrible idea, it wasn't the worst one he'd ever had.

    After several minutes the air got more humid, thicker, and colder. Lt. Surge felt water droplets land on his skin. There wasn't just lightning around them, but a full storm. The farther they went, the wetter the air got, and the less lightning there was. Raikou picked up speed, and they had no choice but to follow its lead. Charizard roared and flapped its wings harder. Charizard wasn't used to flying at this speed, let alone in the rain, but it showed no signs of slowing down. Charizard may not be the strongest pokémon that Lt. Surge had ever met, but it was stubborn and determined, and he admired it for that.

    The rain made it a little difficult to see, but eventually Lt. Surge noticed a figure in the distance, running towards Raikou. Lt. Surge couldn't tell what pokémon it was, but as it got closer he saw that there was a person sitting on its back...a small person with dark hair.

    "Ash!" Lt. Surge put some pressure on Charizard's neck. He just wanted to get it to go down and see the kid that he'd come out here looking for. He probably got a little too eager and harsh, but Charizard didn't begrudge him for it. It dove down towards the ground, just as eager to see its trainer as Lt. Surge was.

    As soon as Lt. Surge was close enough to the ground he hopped off of Charizard's back. Raikou huffed at him, but Lt. Surge ignored it. He ignored the somewhat familiar looking pokémon that was coming to greet Raikou. His eyes were only on the soaking wet boy on its back.

    "Kid, what are you doing out here?" Lt. Surge asked harshly. Charizard growled in what sounded like a scolding tone.

    "Sorry, Suicune wanted me to follow it." Ash stroked the mane of the pokémon he was riding on. Lt. Surge scowled and glanced back at Raikou.

    "That sounds familiar." Raikou made a sound incredibly similar to a purr as it nudged Lt. Surge. Suicune knelt down so that As could slide off of its back. It then walked over to Raikou and nuzzled it slightly. Raikou growled in annoyance, but it didn't push Suicune away.

    Ash looked past Lt Surge and his eyes widened when he saw Raikou. "Whoa, is that…" He ran towards Raikou, who stepped cautiously away from him. "You found Raikou!"

    "It found me," Lt. Surge looked at Raikou in annoyance.

    "Are you going to help us find Ho-Oh too?" Ash asked. Raikou gave Suicune a harsh look, and Suicune just nodded. Raikou glanced at Lt. Surge and growled slightly, not threateningly, but just to communicate. The two of them were talking to each other, and Lt. Surge had never wished more that he understood the language of pokémon, or at least sense their feelings the way that Sabrina could.

    "Is that what you wanted?" Lt. Surge raised an eyebrow at them. "Is there really no better way you could have said that?" Suicune had lured Ash off without telling anybody else, and Raikou had nearly blasted Lt. Surge and Charizard out of the sky. Lt. Surge knew that he really shouldn't look a gift Raikou in the mouth, but these pokémon really seemed to be causing a lot of problems for beings that were supposedly volunteering to help them.

    "We can find Ho-Oh now." Ash said excitedly.

    "We should probably find the others first." Lt. Surge said. He'd left the others at the lake, but Blaine had been there to keep an eye out. Raikou and Suicune were here, and Lt. Surge had the feeling that Entei couldn't be far behind. Entei had already shown an interest in Blaine, so for all Lt. Surge knew it had lured him out the way that Suicune and Raikou had done with Ash and Lt. Surge.

    He liked to think that Blaine wouldn't just wander off and leave Gary and that Lugia by themselves, but Lt. Surge wasn't completely confident. Blaine could be a little absent-minded sometimes, and if Entei was as stubborn as Raikou was, it wouldn't be taking no for an answer.

    Raikou and Suicune looked at each other before Suicune lowered its legs for Ash to get back on. Lt. Surge didn't know if he trusted these legendary dogs with Ash's safety, but the only other fast way of traveling was on Charizard's back, and he thought that Ash was safer on Suicune's back than Charizard's when there might be more lightning in the air.

    "Keep close to them," Lt. Surge stroked Charizard's neck and climbed back onto its back. Charizard huffed and flapped its wings. It didn't go too high. Charizard wanted to stay within reach of its trainer.

    Suicune bounded off, with Raikou and Charizard close behind it. They didn't seem to be going in the same direction as they'd come from, but Suicune seemed to know where it was going, and Lt. Surge wasn't about to argue with it.

    Though the skies around them looked completely clear, the storm followed them. Lt. Surge knew that the lightning came from Raikou. He wondered if the rain was from Suicune.

    They travelled for far longer than Lt. Surge was completely comfortable with. They definitely weren't being taken to the pond. Lt. Surge was about to pull Ash off of Suicune and leave these pokémon on their own when he spotted the house in the distance. It was Giovanni's Johto house and Team Rocket base.

    Lt. Surge frowned and led Charizard to fly ahead of the others and cut Suicune off. He didn't know what they were doing there, but he doubted it could be anything good. To Lt. Surge's knowledge, Giovanni hadn't touched this place in years, but that didn't mean that it was completely abandoned and safe.

    "Hang on a second," Lt' Surge said. "You guys stay here, I'll go in and check things out." Lt. Surge got off of Charizard. "And you, make sure Ash doesn't go running off again." If Suicune had just brought them here to distract Lt. Surge so it could take off with Ash, he would destroy these pokémon, legendary beasts or not.

    As Lt. Surge got closer to the house he saw Blaine's Arcanine as well as Silver's Golbat, Magneton, and Abra sleeping on the front porch. It seemed that Suicune and Raikou knew what they were doing. For reasons that Lt. Surge didn't understand, the others were here. That didn't make it any safer for Ash though. For all Lt. Surge knew, there was an ambush waiting for them inside.

    Lt. Surge made his way past the door that looked like it had been blasted in. He was almost immediately greeted with a stray icy wind attack. His eyes widened and he raised his arms to take the brunt of the attack. It was cold, but better his arms than his face or chest.

    "Whoa, whoa, pause," Gary said urgently. The icy wind quickly died down, but Lt. Surge's arms were still painfully cold. Gary came up to Lt. Surge with Umbreon right at his side. "What are you doing here? You got in the middle of our battle."

    "I could ask you the same thing," Lt. Surge rubbed his arms. "This isn't a good place to have a battle. Who are you battling anyways?"

    "Lugia," Gary said. "He wanted to practice with his Sneasel."

    "He...what?" Lt. Surge looked on the other side of the entry hall where the Lugia who claimed to be Silver stood watching them curiously and in slight annoyance. For a moment Lt. Surge actually saw Silver in Lugia. That kid always hated it when his battles or training was interrupted with something as trivial as human or pokémon safety.

    Lt. Surge tore his gaze away from Lugia to the Sneasel standing next to him. Lt. Surge's breath got caught in his throat when he saw that Sneasel. He recognized that Sneasel well. It was without a doubt Silver's pokémon. Lt. Surge hadn't seen it in years. He knew that Giovanni had done something with it, but he hadn't known what. He must have just left it in this house, and Gary and Lugia had found it.

    That could just be a coincidence. It might not mean anything at all, but Lt. Surge wasn't stubborn enough to think the same thing about Sneasel's mood. Giovanni and Silver had both trained that pokémon to be loyal to nobody but its trainer. Giovanni was too used to stealing other trainer's pokémon to want to risk the same thing happening to his son's pokémon. Sneasel didn't listen to anybody that wasn't Silver, and yet it had happily been battling at Lugia's side.

    It was impossible to deny now. The fact that Lugia had come here, that Sneasel had warmed up to him so quickly, it could only be because he was Silver.

    Lt. Surge groaned and ran a hand through his hair. This was too much, and he really didn't know if he could deal with it right now. "...Silver?" The Lugia, Silver, tilted his head at him. "It's really you, isn't it?" He felt a rush of irritation and slight hope that hit him so suddenly that he knew it wasn't his own emotions. He was, once again, getting a sense of how Lugia...Silver, was feeling.

    "What happened to you?" Lt. Surge asked. His tone was just a touch too emotional and weak for his liking. He felt confusion and an increased sense of irritation from Silver. He seemed to know just as much about what had happened as Lt. Surge did. The man sighed and approached Silver. He knelt in front of him. Silver's eyes were much too harsh and knowledgeable for a normal pokémon. Lt. Surge probably should have realized that something was up a lot sooner.

    They needed to find out exactly what had happened, because they needed to figure out how to fix it. Silver couldn't just stay as a Lugia for the rest of his life. First though, they had to deal with the whole Ho-Oh situation.

    "Where's Blaine?" Lt. Surge looked over his shoulder towards Gary.

    "No idea," Gary frowned. "He was gone when I woke up." Lt. Surge rolled his eyes. Entei had shown up after all. At least the scientist had been smart enough to leave his Arcanine to watch out for the others. "Is Ashy-boy with you?"

    "He's outside," Lt. Surge gestured towards the door.

    "Rai?" Ash's Raichu, who had been sitting moodily in the corner, perked up immediately. It quickly dashed outside to find its trainer. Gary shouldered his bag, grabbed Ash's as well, and followed Raichu outside, with Umbreon just behind him. Lt. Surge was left alone with Silver.

    The man took a deep breath and sat down next to Silver. "I can't help but wonder how your dad would react if he found out you were not only alive, but somehow got turned into a legendary pokémon." He felt a flash of hatred from Silver when he mentioned Giovanni. At least he now understood where that hate was coming from. "Would he see you as his long lost son, or a normal Lugia just like any other?" He felt a little bit of panic and a lot of uncertainty from Silver. It seemed the kid didn't know which instance would be more likely.

    Just in case, maybe it would be best to keep Silver away from Giovanni.

    "You have no idea how weird Giovanni's been since you went missing." Lt. Surge said. Silver gave him an annoyed look. The boy didn't seem to appreciate the talk about his father, but Lt. Surge couldn't bring himself to stop talking about it. "Koga thinks that at least part of the reason why he was so interested in Ash was because he reminded him of you." Silver rolled his eyes. Lt. Surge chuckled slightly. "Yeah, I had a hard time believing that kind of sentimentality coming from Giovanni too."

    Lt. Surge was quiet for a moment. "This is a stupid question, but do you blame me for what happened to you?" Silver narrowed his eyes at him. Lt. Surge felt a strong rush of confusion and annoyance from Silver. It seemed that not only did Silver not blame him, but he was irritated with just the suggestion that someone might think the incident was Lt. Surge's fault. After so many years of blaming himself, and getting blamed by Giovanni, it was refreshing and a big relief that Silver didn't feel the same way.

    Lt. Surge put a hand on Silver's head, like he might have when he was really little. Silver had hated getting his hair ruffled, he didn't like being treated like a kid, which was exactly why Lt. Surge had done it. The kid didn't have hair to ruffle anymore, but the sentiment was the same. Lugia huffed in irritation, but it didn't shove Lt. Surge away or try to duck away. Silver was humoring him, which was weird, but greatly appreciated.

    The two of them just sat there for a few minutes before Ash came stumbling through the broken entrance. "Hey, Blaine's here." Ash was holding his slightly grumpy Raichu in his arms. Raichu was just a little too big to be held by Ash, but from the way that it was clinging to his chest, Lt. Surge didn't think that it cared. Raichu clearly didn't appreciate having been left behind, and it probably wasn't going to be letting go of Ash at least for the rest of the day. Ash, for his part, didn't look bothered by Raichu's clinginess.

    "He bring anyone with him?" Lt. Surge asked.

    "Uh, yeah," Ash grinned broadly. "Entei's out there. We found all three legendary dogs."

    "I think they're the ones that found us." Lt. Surge stood up and stretched. If the beasts hadn't wanted to help them find Ho-Oh, they wouldn't have been able to just stumble upon them all so soon after arriving in Johto. "Now we just have to figure out how to make Blaine's stupid theory work."

    Lt. Surge wasn't entirely convinced that these three pokémon could lead them to Ho-Oh, but it wasn't like they had a better plan right now. He just hoped that finding the bird would be as easy as 'finding' the beasts had been.
  17. Gazi

    (Litleo ♀)
    Level 9
    May 27, 2018
    Dawn Stone ★★★★Legendary Triforce ★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 17
    All while growing up, Gary had been fascinated with legendary and rare pokémon. They just seemed so powerful and awe-inspiring, they were almost the stuff of myth. Magical, unbelievable creatures that couldn't really exist in real life. He'd always wanted to meet one, but now that he had he was left really confused and just a little disappointed.

    Silver was a Lugia, but he wasn't a real one. He may be in the body of a powerful pokémon, but he was just a kid, like Gary was. Then there was Raikou, Suicune, and Entei, the legendary dogs known throughout the Johto region. They were supposed to be the stuff of legend, but now that Gary had met them he couldn't help but be reminded of his Umbreon.

    They were all really clingy, to each other and to Ash, Blaine, and Lt. Surge, but they desperately tried to pretend like they couldn't care less. The legendary dogs also seemed to be trying really hard to act like they knew what they were doing, but the more Gary watched them the more he was sure that they were just as clueless as they were.

    He was starting to think that finding the legendary dogs had been a waste of time. They'd come looking for these pokémon in hopes that they would lead them to a bird called Ho-Oh, but Gary thought that the beasts were hoping that they would lead them to Ho-Oh. They were going in circles, while everybody pretended that everything was going according to plan.

    Gary knew that these beasts were strong, there was no denying that much, but they didn't inspire the awe and terror that he had expected. Still, he wasn't stupid enough to mess with them. They may act weird, but they could probably tear him to pieces if he upset them

    As weird and kinda intimidating as the legendary beasts and Silver were, the pokémon that confused Gary the most was Mewtwo. The pokémon that was part revived Mew fossil and part human, or more specifically part Blaine. Mewtwo had power just flowing off of him, but that power wasn't limitless. Gary had seen Mewtwo and Blaine work together enough to figure out that they needed to be at each other's side. They made each other stronger, but at the same time they brought out some vulnerability.

    Gary had watched all of the pokémon with uncertainty, and when he saw Blaine and Mewtwo walk slightly aside to meditate. It was far from the first time that they had done something like this, but Gary found his curiosity too strong to resist.

    Gary quickly glanced around their temporary camp. Lt. Surge was training with Ash, trying to teach his Raichu a new skill or something. Suicune was sleeping, Entei watched Blaine and Mewtwo curiously, and Raikou prowled the perimeter to keep an eye out for trouble. Silver was chasing Totodile around. Silver was probably irritated with the pokémon, and was chasing it to get back at it for splashing him, but Gary knew that Totodile just saw this as a big game.

    Everybody was busy. Gary didn't think that anybody would mind if he took a moment to see just what Blaine was doing. Gary sat down on the ground a few feet away from Blaine and Mewtwo. He just watched them for a few minutes. Mewtwo looked completely calm and content. Blaine, on the other hand, seemed a little nervous and even anxious.

    "Why do you keep doing this?" Gary asked. It was clear that Blaine didn't like meditating. The scientist opened his eyes and looked back towards Gary. "It's obvious you don't like it."

    "Mewtwo finds it calming," Blaine said.

    "Yeah, but why does that mean that you have to do this?" Gary asked. Even if Blaine and Mewtwo were connected, that didn't mean that they had to do everything together, did it?

    "It strengthens our connection," Blaine said. "Taking a moment like this, it may be difficult, but it allows me to be more in tune with how Mewtwo is feeling. And because Mewtwo knows how much I struggle with meditation, he appreciates the effort, and that builds up trust between us."

    Gary didn't entirely understand it, but who was he to tell Blaine how to bond with the pokémon that he created?

    "You're free to join us if you like," Blaine said. "Meditating isn't for everybody, but it might surprise you."

    Gary scooted closer. "What am I supposed to do?"

    "Meditation is just about quiet reflection," Blaine said. "There's no single way to achieve that."

    Quiet reflection wasn't really the kind of thing that Gary did regularly. He liked to think that he was nowhere near as reckless as Ash was, but he had his moments where he acted without properly thinking things through. He wasn't incapable of quiet thinking though. When one was raised at a lab by a grandfather who frequently needed complete, undisturbed silence, one got used to being still and quiet for long periods of time.

    It actually felt really nice, to just have a moment to breath. Gary had loved every moment since he had joined these guys. He liked the adventure of it all, he'd learned a lot from Koga in the short period of time that he'd been able to train him, and it had been nice to become friends with Ash again. Gary picked on the other boy, but he really had missed their friendship.

    Gary was able to focus for several minutes, but then he felt Blaine shifting even more than usual next to him. The boy turned to look at the scientist, whose eyes were squeezed shut. He looked anxious about something.

    "Hey, are you okay?" Gary asked. It was one thing for Blaine to push himself out of his comfort zone, but he really shouldn't do it if it made him this upset.

    Blaine held up a hand to quiet him. "It's not me, it's Mewtwo." Gary looked towards the pokémon. At first glance it looked perfectly at peace, but Gary eventually noticed how tense Mewtwo was. Power was flowing off of him, and Gary couldn't help but think that the only reason that power wasn't lashing out was because Blaine was holding it back.

    "What's wrong?" Gary asked.

    "He's here," Mewtwo growled. The anger in his tone sent shivers down Gary's spine. Mewtwo shot up, looking ready for an attack, but Blaine was faster. The scientist scrambled to his feet, pulled out his Master Ball, and returned Mewtwo before he could do anything.

    "Giovanni's nearby," Blaine said quietly. He rubbed his arm, looking in pain. "I must warn the others. Gary, I have a very, very important task for you."

    "What do you need?" Gary asked. He didn't completely understand just who Giovanni was, but he knew enough to know this was a serious situation. Blaine and Mewtwo were certainly nervous, and it wasn't like them to get worked up over nothing.

    "Take Mewtwo and get out of here," Blaine pushed the Master Ball into Gary's hands. "We can't afford to let Giovanni get his hands on him.

    "You want me to run?" Gary frowned. That wasn't exactly what he had in mind. He knew that sometimes a tactical retreat was the best thing to do, but it didn't feel right to run while Blaine and the others faced trouble. "What about you guys?"

    "The more of us there are, the more obvious we'll be if we try to leave," Blaine said. "And if Giovanni is here because of Ho-Oh, we have to stop him."

    "Alright, I get it," Gary said reluctantly. He didn't like it, but he understood. They wanted to stop Giovanni, but Mewtwo being here added too much of a risk. "I'll take care of it." Gary was about to leave when he remembered one more thing that he'd heard about Giovanni. "Wait a second, what about Silver?"

    Blaine grimaced. "Ideally, we would get him away too, but I don't know if we have time." The others didn't know that Giovanni was around.

    "Then you'd better warn them," Gary pocketed the Master Ball and ran towards the nearest set of trees while Blaine rejoined the others.. He didn't plan on going far. He just couldn't bring himself to leave the others alone. He would stay out of sight, but keep himself available just in case.

    Gary found a large, bushy tree. He scampered up it as quickly as he could. He wasn't nearly as good at climbing as Ash was, but he could hold his own. He'd had no choice but to become good at climbing, because there was no other way to keep up with such an energetic Ash when they were younger.

    Gary climbed until he was high enough up to see the others, but low enough that the branch he was on was stable and provided plenty of cover for him. Gary could see Raikou, Suicune, and Entei running away and they were soon out of sight. So much for getting help from the legendary beasts.

    Gary could tell that Blaine must have only just explained the situation. Ash looked a little nervous, but mostly incredibly concerned. He was looking at Silver, who was completely freaking out in clear anger. Ash looked like he wanted to try to calm Silver down, but Blaine held him back. Lt. Surge dealt with Silver, pinning him down to the ground. He was saying something, not to Silver, but to Ash, who looked incredibly reluctant.

    Lt. Surge and Ash argued for about a minute before they all heard the sound of a helicopter. Gary clung tightly to his branch to steady himself as the helicopter approached and the wind picked up. Ash looked up anxiously before he nodded and said something to his Raichu. The pokémon looked about as happy as Ash seemed to be, but it nodded and let loose a powerful thunder wave aimed right towards Lt. Surge and Silver.

    Gary suddenly realized that Lt. Surge had told Ash to paralyze Silver, because there was no other way to keep him from causing trouble. Silver was fighting the paralyzation, but it was too strong for him. Lt. Surge looked fairly paralyzed too, and he was only able to fight it off enough to pull a pokéball out of his pocket. He returned Silver.

    Just as the helicopter landed, Lt. Surge dropped Silver's pokéball. It looked like he just couldn't keep his grip on it, but when Blaine came over and helped Lt. Surge up to his feet, the larger man kicked Silver's pokéball behind him. Totodile picked it up and scurried off, with Sneasel, Golbat, Abra, and Magneton behind it. Lt. Surge was keeping Silver safe from Giovanni.

    Gary reached into his pocket and pulled out one of his own pokéballs. He opened it and let out Scyther. "Try to stay out of sight, but go get Totodile, and make sure it doesn't let go of that pokéball it's holding." Gary was sure that Scyther didn't understand the importance of what was going on, but it nodded and immediately left to do as he said. Gary's pokémon may not be as clingy as Ash's pokémon were, but they were obedient.

    Gary only had to wait for a long moment before Scyther returned, holding Totodile and Sneazel. The ice pokémon was struggling furiously. It seemed just as angry with Giovanni as Silver was. Gary grabbed onto Sneasel and held onto it firmly.

    "You're definitely Silver's pokémon," Gary muttered. He flinched when Sneasel's claws scratched at him, but he just tightened his grip. "You both hate Giovanni, and that's fine and all, but we have to stay put."

    Totodile muttered happily and climbed onto Gary's shoulders. It dropped Silver's pokéball onto his lap.

    "Yeah, good job," Gary said. Sneasel growled and grabbed onto Silver's pokéball, holding onto it protectively. "Look, I know I said that I would help you get back at your dad," Gary didn't know if Silver could actually hear him while he was in the pokéball, but he felt the need to say it anyways. "But now really isn't the best time."

    Gary watched as a man who must be Giovanni stepped off the helicopter. Blaine and Lt. Surge both stepped protectively in front of Ash. There didn't seem to be any sign of violence, but even at this distance Gary could feel the tension. He desperately wanted to go down there and help them out, and he would if it weren't for the job that Blaine had given him. Gary had been trusted to keep Mewtwo away from Giovanni, and that was what he would do.

    Gary had thought that even if he was too far away to really hear what was going on he would still be able to tell if they needed help. He would definitely be able to see if any attacking was going on, but Gary wished he'd thought things through. It looked like something was going on, but he had no idea what. The only thing he could see for sure was that Giovanni was talking to Lt. Surge, who looked like he wanted to hit the man.

    A minute or so passed, and then something changed. Ash became very tense and took a step away from Lt. Surge with a shake of his head. The others were all looking at him. Giovanni was still talking, though his words were directed at Ash this time. Lt. Surge tried to say something to Ash, but the boy shook his head, looking rapidly from Giovanni to Lt. Surge in disbelief and desperation. Something was bothering him.

    Blaine put a hand on Ash's shoulders and stepped in front of him, putting himself between Ash and the others. Gary didn't think it was very smart of Blaine to have his back to Giovanni, because if Giovanni was going to attack at all it would be now, but that seemed to be the last thing on the scientist's mind. Blaine's biggest concern right now was with calming down Ash.

    Gary couldn't hear what was said, but whatever it was it didn't seem to be good enough for Ash. He yanked himself away from Blaine and ran towards the trees that Gary had taken refuge in. Giovanni scowled and reached for something, possibly a pokéball, but Lt. Surge shouted in frustration and lunged at him, stopping him before he could even begin to go after Ash or strike an attack.

    Blaine glanced towards Ash in worry, but then he lifted his gaze right towards the tree that Gary was hiding in. Gary was sure that he couldn't see him, but he doubtless knew that he was there anyways. Blaine must sense Mewtwo's presence. The scientist nodded and then turned to help Lt. Surge with Giovanni.

    Gary quickly shoved Sneasel back into Scyther's grip. "Don't let go of it." Gary quickly climbed down the tree, keeping an eye on Ash. His friend looked incredibly distracted. Ash didn't even notice him until Gary jumped down the last few feet and tackled him down, stopping him in his tracks.

    "Ow...ow…" Ash groaned and tried to shove Gary off of him, but he didn't budge. "What are you doing?"

    "That's what I'm wondering." Gary frowned. "What happened back there? What did Giovanni say to you, and more importantly, why did you listen to him?"

    Ash hit his arm harshly. It wasn't like him. He looked towards Raichu, who had followed him, for help, but his pokémon just whined sadly and nuzzled Ash. "It doesn't matter."

    "Yeah, why don't you try saying that again, and maybe you'll believe it yourself this time." Gary sat up, but continued to sit on Ash's chest just in case he wanted to run off again. Ash scowled and refused to meet his gaze. Ash looked like he was on the fence between breaking into tears and screaming furiously.

    "Lt. Surge was working for him," Ash growled. "He was part of Team Rocket this whole time."

    "...So?" Gary didn't understand what the big deal was.

    "So? So they're bad guys!" Ash squeezed his eyes shut tight. Gary looked to the side. He really hoped that Ash didn't start crying, because he didn't want to deal with that level of emotion.

    "I don't think Lt. Surge is a bad guy," Gary said. "Isn't he doing a whole bunch of stuff specifically to stop Giovanni? How can he be working for him if he's trying to stop him?"

    "I...I don't know," Ash grimaced. He looked incredibly conflicted, like he believed one thing, but was trying to convince himself that it wasn't true. "Maybe...maybe it's a trick?"

    "That's way too elaborate of a trick," Gary said.

    "I know." Ash sighed. "Maybe he quit, like Blaine did."

    Gary frowned slightly. "Blaine used to work for this guy?"

    "It's where he created Mewtwo," Ash said.

    "Okay, but you still trust Blaine." Gary said. "Because you know he quit. Why are you getting so worked up about Lt. Surge doing the same thing?"

    "I don't even know. It's just...it's a lot." Ash groaned and put a hand over his eyes. "Koga and Sabrina said they used to work with Lt. Surge, and they seemed to know Giovanni really well, so they probably worked for him too." Ash sighed. "And Silver's Giovanni's kid. Why is everybody I know so connected to Giovanni? I don't want anything to do with him, but I can't escape it."

    "Well...I have absolutely nothing to do with him or Team Rocket," Gary said. He thought it was safe to get off of Ash. The other boy sat up and gave him a slight push.

    "Yeah, that makes me feel much better." Ash said. He rubbed his eyes, and he really did look much better than before. "I'm fine, really, I just wasn't expecting it, and it felt like too much all at once." Ash sighed. "I wish Lt. Surge would have just told me."

    "With the way you freaked out, I don't blame him for wanting to keep it a secret."

    "Ah, man," Ash groaned and pet his Raichu. "He probably thinks I hate him."

    "I think his feelings will be fine," Gary raised an eyebrow at Ash. He may not have known Lt. Surge as long as Ash had, but even he could tell that the man wasn't so sensitive that he would take a child's hasty, hurt feelings personally. He was a grown man, he would be just fine. "He's kinda busy fighting with Giovanni right now to worry about what you said."

    Ash's eyes widened in slight concern. "We should help him." He scrambled to his feet.

    "But Lt. Surge is so strong," Gary said. He couldn't imagine a man who looked like he belonged behind a desk posing too much of a threat, but Ash was so concerned.

    "Giovanni's one of the strongest trainers I've ever seen," Ash said. "And he's not afraid of hurting people. He's the one that broke Koga's ribs." Gary flinched. Maybe Ash was right to be nervous.

    "I can't help," Gary said. He pulled the Master Ball out of his pocket and showed it to Ash. "Blaine told me to keep an eye on this guy."

    "Mewtwo," Ash said. "We need to keep him away from Giovanni."

    "And Silver too, yeah?" Gary said.

    "Yeah," Ash nodded. He looked around for a moment. "Uh...where is Silver?"

    "Sneasel has him, and my Scyther has Sneasel." Gary pointed up towards where he had been waiting in the tree. Ash looked up and paled.

    "Uh, you mean the Scyther that has been frozen to the tree and the Sneasel that is about to let someone out of a pokéball?" Ash asked.

    "What?" Gary looked up just in time to see Sneasel let Silver out. "No!" Silver didn't spare them a glance. It shook off the paralyzation and quickly flew off towards the others. It seemed that Silver didn't want to have patience. He was furious with his father, and he didn't want to sit back and let someone else fight him.

    "Who are we more worried about here?" Gary asked. The angry boy who probably wasn't thinking clear enough to deal with a man who hunted legendary pokémon for a living, or the man who had no idea that this young Lugia was his son, and hated him with an intense passion.

    "I don't know." Ash said. He sounded scared. "But I can't just sit here." He stood up and ran back towards the others. Gary sat there, holding the Master Ball in his hands and wondering what he was supposed to do. He hadn't signed up for any of this.
  18. Gazi

    (Litleo ♀)
    Level 9
    May 27, 2018
    Dawn Stone ★★★★Legendary Triforce ★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 18
    Silver's thoughts were completely clouded and unfocused. He barely remembered that he used to be human, and he really didn't care about that right now. The only thing that mattered was that that man was here, and Silver finally had the power to overcome him. He'd been waiting for years for this very opportunity, and he wasn't about to pass it up.

    Silver flew so swiftly that he was sure that nobody would see him coming or be able to stop him, but he kept on forgetting how much Lt. Surge behaved in an unexpected way. Silver didn't know what exactly the nature of their relationship was at the moment. He knew that Lt. Surge didn't exactly understand him the way that Ash did, but he always seemed to know just how Silver was feeling. Silver wasn't surprised that Lt. Surge could somehow sense him coming, but he didn't expect for the man to have a fast enough reaction to tack him and hold him back.

    "Kid, no!" Lt. Surge grunted. Silver squirmed and tried to roar, but the sound he made resembled more of a strangled scream. He was so close to getting that man. He was right there, looking at Silver with a greedy look in his eyes. He couldn't have known that Silver had been there, but his expression suggested otherwise. He had always been really good at acting like he was in control even when he had no idea what was going on.

    "Is that my young Lugia?" Giovanni smirked and took a step towards him. Silver's squirming increased and got more desperate. Lt. Surge had to struggle to hold him down. Silver would probably be able to get away if he focused enough, but he couldn't concentrate on anything. Silver was completely blinded by his rage, and Lt. Surge was taking advantage of that.

    Lugia growled threateningly at Giovanni. He didn't want that man anywhere near him. How dare he say such a thing. Silver wasn't Giovanni's anything. He wasn't his son, at least not in the way that it truly mattered, and he certainly wasn't his property or pokémon.

    Even though Lt. Surge couldn't literally understand him, he seemed to sense just enough. "He doesn't belong to you."

    Giovanni was unimpressed. "Please don't tell me you've adopted the mindset that pokémon shouldn't be 'enslaved' by humans."

    "Of course not," Lt. Surge couldn't seem to help but scoff at the suggestion, and despite his fury Lugia couldn't help but roll his eyes. He hated that mindset, that humans were enslaving pokémon and forcing them to do their bidding. Even Silver, who didn't become really close friends with his pokémon, saw them as partners. Pokémon had abilities that humans didn't have, but humans were able to think creatively and strategically in ways that pokémon couldn't. They worked together, with humans taking the natural lead. That was the way that things were.

    "Then why have you stolen my little Lugia from me?" Giovanni asked.

    "Because it's what he wanted." Lt. Surge said. Silver knew that when they'd first saved him from Team Rocket that Lt. Surge hadn't been of the right mindset to have any say in what they did with Silver, but he didn't think that was what he was talking about. Silver relaxed ever so slightly as he remembered the dozens of times when Lt. Surge would help him sneak out of the house or get away from his father. No matter how many times Giovanni told Lt. Surge to stop involving himself with Silver more than he was directly told to, he just kept on doing it. Whenever Silver needed to rant about what his father did, Lt. Surge would be right there to listen to him, even if he was in the middle of a mission.

    "Who cares what a pokémon wants?" Giovanni asked. Normally, Silver would agree, except he was the pokémon in question right now. What he wanted definitely mattered.

    "When it comes to this guy, I do," Lt. Surge flinched as Silver whipped his head back and tried to hit him. The man held onto Silver's wings and pulled them back in a way that was just shy of painful. "Except when what this guy wants is something he'll come to regret, in which case it's my job to keep him from doing something stupid."

    Silver was furious. This wasn't just a brash decision that he was making out of anger. He'd wanted to get back at that man for years, and Lt. Surge knew it. How dare he try to hold Silver back just because of some senseless familial obligation that he thought he should have.

    Silver tried to pull himself out of Lt. Surge's grip, but his hold was like iron. He wasn't letting up on this. That was fine. It took a long moment, but Silver eventually remembered that his attacks were more ranged than physical. There was nothing stopping him from getting his revenge on Giovanni even from a distance.

    Silver became tense as he prepared a water attack, with just a bit of psychic energy behind it to add some additional force. Giovanni was right in his line of fire. Blaine was a little in the way, standing nearby to keep Giovanni from moving any closer, but Silver couldn't care less at that moment. If Blaine got hit by his attack, that was his own fault. He shouldn't be in his way.

    Just before Silver let his attack go Lt. Surge realized what he was doing. "Wait, kid, don't!" Silver ignored the man's protests. He unleashed his attack just as another plea reached his ears.

    "Stop!" Ash jumped in front of Silver, putting himself between him and Giovanni, and right in the way of the attack. Ash held his arms out, as though hoping to stop the attack from getting past him, and closed his eyes tight, bracing himself for impact. The attack never hit him. Gary's Umbreon ran in front of Ash and used shadow ball to push back the psychic energy and break apart the jet stream of water. Silver knew that he was strong enough to overpower this Umbreon, even if it did have the type advantage, but he didn't try to attack again. Silver just stared in shock at Ash, who still stood almost protectively in front of Giovanni, who was just standing there watching them, studying them.

    Why would Ash put himself at risk to protect this man? Why would Lt. Surge try to hold Silver back when he'd only ever encouraged him? Silver knew that neither of them had any love for Giovanni. They knew that he was a manipulative liar who only cared about himself and blamed others for his own inadequacies, and yet they were defending him? Why?

    Silver projected this part without meaning to. Ash's gaze was sad and sympathetic, but still firm and determined. He wasn't going to back down.

    "I'm not doing this for Giovanni," Ash said. "I'm doing this for you."

    "You might think that you want this, kid," Lt. Surge took advantage of Silver's confusion and pulled him down to the ground. He pinned him there in a firm but gentle hold. "But trust me, you don't. Doing something like this, hurting people, I'm not going to deny that it can feel great at the time, but once you start doing it it just gets easier and easier to justify. This kind of thing gets under your skin, and it's hard to shake off."

    "Giovanni does horrible things without regret," Ash said. "And I really don't think that you want to end up like him."

    Silver fumed. Ash was just a cheerful, oblivious kid who didn't know anything. Lt. Surge had been a soldier, gym leader, and member of Team Rocket, which were jobs that were all about hurting people, beating them, and showing off your strength. Who were they to tell him what he should or shouldn't do?

    The worst part was, Silver knew that they were right. He couldn't care less about using people to achieve his goals, and he didn't see any issue with taking things a step further, but Ash had a point. That was exactly the type of thing that Giovanni did, and if there was one thing that Silver wanted most in the world it was to not be like his father. He wanted to be better than him, but he wasn't foolish enough to think that he'd be able to accomplish that by doing the exact same things that he did. If Silver wanted to be better than his father, he had to be different than him, which meant that he couldn't just attack anybody who angered him, no matter how much they may deserve it.

    It took every bit of control that Silver had to hold back his attacks. He growled furiously. 'I hate him.'

    "I know," Ash gave him a sad smile. "I get it. I don't really like him very much either. But just because you don't like somebody doesn't mean you have to attack them. You're better than that. You're better than him."

    Silver finally allowed himself to relax, even if it was only just a little bit. Lt. Surge kept his grip firm for another minute before he finally let up a little bit. He was still restraining Silver, he just wasn't holding his wings back anymore.

    As touching as this is, it is a waste of my time." Giovanni said as he put his hands in his pockets. Silver and Lt. Surge both tensed. If there was one thing that Giovanni didn't stand for, it was somebody or something wasting his time. He was also not the kind of person to casually put his hands in his pockets. He had to be reaching for something, and it couldn't be anything good.

    Lt. Surge let go of Silver and ran towards Giovanni to stop him, but he had barely made it halfway there before Giovanni pulled a metal sphere about the size of a pokéball out. He tossed it over Lt. Surge and Ash, sending it straight towards Silver. It would have hit him, but it was knocked to the side with an ice attack. Silver didn't know exactly what the sphere did, but when he saw the way that it sparked when it hit the ground he was relieved that it hadn't hit him.

    'Good work,' Silver looked gratefully at his Sneasel, who had put itself protectively, almost possessively, in front of Silver. Normally Giovanni wouldn't be put off from just a single pokémon, and certainly not a small Sneasel, but the man didn't move in to attack again. He stared in frozen fury at Sneasel. It was clear that Giovanni recognized this particular Sneasel.

    "What do you think you're doing?" Giovanni glared at Sneasel in a way that would make most people or pokémon tremble and hurry to obey. Silver's pokémon was far too loyal to its proper trainer to even consider returning to Giovanni's side. Silver smirked proudly. Giovanni was a fool if he thought that Silver's pokémon would betray him.

    'Is it time to destroy him yet?' Sneasel asked eagerly. It knew all too well about Silver's feelings about his father, and it was completely supportive of it.

    'Unfortunately, no.' Silver said reluctantly. 'We'll get back at him, we'll just have to figure out a more creative way to do it.'

    Lt. Surge knocked Giovanni back. "Trust me, boss, you don't want to try to capture him."

    "Or you'll do what?" Giovanni didn't look the least bit amused.

    "I won't have to do anything." Lt. Surge said. "The kid's always been able to take care of himself." Silver nodded. He didn't need somebody to fight his battles for him.

    "Being with Ash has made you soft," Giovanni said. "You're talking about the young one like he's a human."

    "That's 'cause he is." Ash said. Lt. Surge and Silver both gave him a sharp look. They didn't exactly want to reveal to Giovanni the exact nature of Silver's fate. Their warning was too late. Giovanni had heard him, and the damage had been done.

    "A human?" Giovanni eyed Silver with even more dark fascination than before. The look made Silver feel sick. Most people would wave off Ash's claim that Silver was human as just a child's imagination, but Giovanni looked far too intrigued. Silver knew that, while it really didn't happen very often, he wasn't exactly the first person to be transformed into a pokémon. It wasn't something that was well understood.

    Giovanni normally loved to explore concepts that others waved off as being mere fabrications and exaggerations, but he'd never seriously looked into turning people into pokémon. Giovanni had no interest in being a pokémon himself, and he didn't want to hand power to somebody else. Still, he wasn't about to let an opportunity like this pass him by.

    "I was wondering why we had found a Lugia so young but not accompanied by a parent," The look in Giovanni's eyes almost made Silver shudder. He didn't want anybody to look at him like that, but especially not his father. "You're clearly young. What is a child doing walking around as a pokémon?" Giovanni's gaze wandered to Sneasel, who stood right at Silver's side. He then glanced at Lt. Surge. "These two don't give respect to just anybody."

    Silver growled to himself. Giovanni knew who he was, or if he didn't, then it wouldn't be long before he figured it out.

    Fortunately, before Giovanni could put the pieces together, storm clouds suddenly appeared above them. One seconds the skies were clear, the next it was so dark and gloomy it looked like it hadn't been sunny for several days. Silver felt a few drops of rain fall on him. Moments later a bolt of lightning came down and struck the ground. A small wall of flames came up from where the lightning had struck. The fire surrounded Silver. His Sneasel whined and leaned close to him.

    Silver was just about to use his water to get free from the fire, but then he heard a roar that made him pause. Somehow, he recognized it to be Entei. The roar was angry and powerful, but he somehow found some comfort in it. He felt like the roar chased away any concern he was feeling about Giovanni.

    All three of the legendary beasts came running to join them. Silver didn't know where they had been, why they had left, or why they had come back, but he didn't really care. He watched as Suicune dashed to Ash and stepped protectively in front of him. Raikou grabbed at Lt. Surge's shirt and pulled him away from Giovanni. Silver expected Entei to go to Blaine's side, so he was surprised when the fire beast calmly approached Silver instead. It walked right through the wall of fire and just looked at him for a long moment.

    'What do you want?' Silver didn't like this kind of attention. Did Entei want or expect something from him? Whatever it was waiting for, it wasn't going to get it.

    'This isn't your form.' Entei looked incredibly displeased. 'I don't have the power to fix it on my own.'

    'I never asked you to.' Silver scowled. It took him a long moment to realize just what Entei had said. 'Wait, do you mean that you can fix it with help?'

    Entei made a sound almost like a purr. It looked up to the sky, so did Suicune and Raikou. The clouds remained dark, but Silver saw a rainbow appear. It was pale and small, but it contrasted so much with the clouds that it was hard to miss. Something high up sparkled, and then seemed to disappear. A long moment later Silver saw the sparkle again, larger and closer this time. Something was up there, so small and falling so slowly that Silver could only see it when the light caught it just right.

    Silver watched in quiet awe as the object fell. Eventually it was low enough that he could identify it as a feather. It fell slowly until it passed through Entei's fire. Somehow the rainbow feather didn't burn up. It lit on fire, but the fire was more of a golden glow than the red of Entei's fire.

    The feather fell gently onto Silver's head, tingling and burning slightly at once. It felt weird. Not exactly bad or uncomfortable, just odd, like this was something that wasn't supposed to happen. Silver was blinded by a glowing light. When the light faded Silver felt drained, and yet full of so much energy he didn't really know what to do with it.

    "Snea, Sneasel." Silver flinched ever so slightly as he felt Sneasel's claws on his arm, not because it hurt, but because it was his arm. Not a wing, not a talon, but an arm.

    Silver held his breath for a tense moment as he looked at his hands. He was back to normal. The feather fell away from his hair. He bent down and picked up the rainbow colored feather. He looked at it in awe before looking up into the sky. The rainbow was gone, but he knew what had caused it, where the feather had come from, what had turned him back to normal.

    "Ho-Oh." Silver smirked. He clutched at the feather tightly. "What power."

    "...Silver?" The fire surrounding him died down to no more than embers. Silver groaned and glanced towards Giovanni. The way that the man was looking at him hadn't changed. It was like he only cared about just what use Silver could be to him.

    "Father," Silver said with as much animosity as he could. That was as much acknowledgement as he was going to give the man. It was more than he deserved. Silver turned his attention back to the feather and twirled it slightly in his hand. He wondered just what else Ho-Oh was capable of. He couldn't wait to figure it out.

    "Snea," Silver's partner looked up at him. After so many years, it was weird to not be able to understand pokémon. Still, Silver didn't miss it too much. He'd done just fine before this whole Lugia mess without understanding his pokémon, he had no doubt that he could manage it again.

    "Silver?" Ash looked at him in confusion and slight caution. Silver didn't know what was bothering him.

    "Nice to meet you properly." Silver gave him a small smile. Ash returned it shyly. "I suppose I should thank you for helping me." It had been nice to have an actual person around who understood him. He thought that Ash was incredibly immature and too soft, but he was kind, and still young. Sooner or later, life would teach him.

    "I wasn't about to just leave you alone." Ash said. He looked at the feather almost nervously. He looked like he had a pretty good idea of what was on Silver's mind. "What are you going to do now?"

    "Find a different way to get back at my father." Silver looked towards the trees where his other pokémon were. He could see them quickly coming towards him. All of them, even Magneton, were visibly excited. Gary and Ash's Totodile was skipping just behind them. It probably didn't know just what had happened, but everything seemed to excite that pokémon.

    "You're going to go after Ho-Oh." Ash frowned in disapproval.

    "I'm definitely going to try." Silver said. He'd spent the past few years as a Lugia, and for a large amount of that time he hadn't even known who he was. He needed to figure out who he was and what he wanted, and if he could manage that by taking something that his father wanted, that would be even better.

    "You know how it feels to be captured for your power, and you want to do that to somebody else?" Ash asked.

    "Pokémon are meant to be under human control." Silver said. "Why should legendary pokémon be an exception?"

    Ash looked like he still disagreed, but he didn't know how to word a decent argument. Silver wasn't going to give him the time to figure it out. Silver's pokémon joined him and started nuzzling close to him. He would normally discourage such blatant affection, but it would make things easier.

    Totodile cheerfully clung to his leg. Silver looked at Ash and raised an eyebrow. "Do you want your pokémon back?"

    Ash rubbed the back of his neck. "Actually, I think Totodile would be happier with you. It really likes you."

    "You think Gary would be fine with it? Silver asked.

    "I'll deal with it." Ash said.

    "If you insist." Silver looked at Totodile, who looked far too cheerful. He would have to work with Totodile, make sure it knew that he wouldn't tolerate any foolish behavior from his pokémon. "Tell Gary I look forward to seeing him again. We need to finish that battle of ours."

    "Yeah, I'll do that." Ash chuckled. "I'll see you around.

    Silver nodded and picked up Abra. "Let's get outta here." Abra opened its eyes. Silver felt some familiar psychic energy surround him and the pokémon around him. A moment later Abra's teleportation powers made them flicker and they were gone.
  19. Gazi

    (Litleo ♀)
    Level 9
    May 27, 2018
    Dawn Stone ★★★★Legendary Triforce ★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 19
    Blaine could still feel Mewtwo's anger. He half expected his brother to burst out of the Master Ball and attack, which could ruin everything. Sabrina had implied to Giovanni that the Master Ball, and Mewtwo inside, had sunk to the bottom of the ocean, and that was the only thing that was keeping Giovanni from pursuing Mewtwo more. If he thought that the legendary pokémon was free and available, he wouldn't rest until he had control of Mewtwo.

    Blaine was surprised and relieved that Gary seemed to be keeping his word. He was clearly nearby, evident by the appearance of his Umbreon, but he was out of sight and out of trouble, and was making sure that the same was true for Mewtwo, and that was all that Blaine could ask for.

    While they confronted Giovanni, Blaine couldn't do anything much to help. He could feel Mewtwo's anger flow through him, and it was agonizing. His arm felt like it was burning up from the inside out. Every movement he made caused it to flare up even more, and Blaine could feel a cold fury deep inside of him. Despite the pain, Blaine did his best to focus on that rather than his anger, which was Mewtwo's lingering fury leaking into him. He was worried that if he gave in to the anger, he would end up letting it control him. Blaine may not like Giovanni, and he was desperate to stop him, but he didn't want to harm the man the way that Mewtwo did.

    While they had wanted to get Silver away from Giovanni, Blaine was actually relieved that the boy turned Lugia had shown up. It would have been horrible if Giovanni had hurt or captured Silver, but the boy was safe. Ho-Oh's brief, distant appearance and Silver returning to his normal self distracted Giovanni enough that he didn't pay any attention to Lt. Surge, Ash, Blaine, or even the legendary beasts. He had larger priorities to worry about.

    Even after Ho-Oh had flown away and Silver had teleported away, Giovanni didn't seem very interested in those that remained, which Blaine was grateful for. Giovanni had a hungry look in his eyes that sent shivers down Blaine's spine. He'd had that look aimed towards him before, and he didn't want a repeat of the experience.

    Lt. Surge kept himself between Ash and Giovanni, just in case the man tried something, but Blaine didn't think he had anything to worry about. As far as Lt. Surge could tell, Giovanni had been interested in Ash for two reasons, to treat him as a bit of a replacement for his son, and to help him find the legendary bird Ho-Oh. Giovanni still had that feather that should lead him to Ho-Oh, and he now knew that his son was alive and well. He didn't need Ash anymore.

    "As fun as it has been to see you all again, I have bigger things to worry about." Giovanni pulled a very familiar looking rainbow ring out of his pocket. Blaine didn't know whether Giovanni was talking about looking for Ho-Oh or looking for his son, but Blaine didn't really care. Either way, it meant that Giovanni would leave them alone, and Blaine wasn't about to complain about that.

    Giovanni turned and made his way back to the helicopter. Ash looked like he wanted to say something, but Lt. Surge held him back. The legendary beasts were on guard, but Giovanni completely ignored them. It seemed that when somebody was as obsessed with powerful and legendary pokémon as Giovanni was, they learned how to prioritize the pokémon they caught and went after. Giovanni must see Ho-Oh as a greater prize than the three legendary beasts were.

    Blaine watched anxiously as Giovanni left. He didn't feel himself calm down until the helicopter had flown out of sight. Blaine hoped that this meant that they could stop and take a breath before returning to what they'd come here for in the first place, to stop Giovanni from catching Ho-Oh, but then the pain in his arm got even worse. While Blaine was glad that Giovanni had left, Mewtwo clearly didn't share his feelings.

    Blaine clutched at his arm as the pain increased. His hand was shaking, and yet it felt numb. Blaine hissed in pain and brought his arm close to his chest. He automatically hunched forward.

    "Blaine?" Ash sounded extremely alarmed. The boy approached him and grabbed his arm, only to be pulled back so that Lt. Surge could get close to Blaine.

    "What's wrong?" Lt. Surge wrapped his arms firmly but gently on Blaine's hurt arm. He pulled it away from Blaine's chest so he could look at it for himself. Ash's eyes widened when he saw the way that Blaine's skin was flaring and rippling.

    "It's Mewtwo, isn't it?" Ash sounded concerned.

    "He's angry." Blaine said breathlessly. Ash looked around rapidly, looking uncertain about something. He seemed conflicted, but after a moment a determined look came into his eyes and he ran off towards the trees. A moment later Ash returned with Gary right behind him. The other boy was holding the Master Ball so tightly that his fingers looked pale.

    Blaine's breath caught in his throat. His brother was so close, and he was in pain. He reached out for the Master Ball and Gary immediately handed it to him. The moment that Blaine had the Master Ball in his hands he let out a breath of relief. His pain weakened, and the overwhelming fury eased a little bit. Mewtwo found at least a little bit of comfort from Blaine.

    He wanted to let Mewtwo out of the Master Ball, but he refrained. He was worried that the moment that he let Mewtwo out, he would fly off to go after Giovanni. As much pain as Blaine was feeling through their connection, he knew that he would feel even more once Mewtwo was out, because the Master Ball dulled things quite a bit. Mewtwo probably wouldn't be able to hold himself back, and Blaine wouldn't have the energy to do his job and keep Mewtwo from going too far.

    Blaine closed his eyes and held the Master Ball close to his chest. He was Mewtwo's creator, and their connection let him have influence over the pokémon that nobody else had. Mewtwo was his responsibility, and Blaine wasn't helping him nearly as much as he should. Blaine couldn't help but feel that if he had done more to help Mewtwo, they wouldn't be having this problem. Mewtwo wouldn't feel so strong a need to get revenge on Giovanni.

    Blaine stiffened slightly when he felt a large pokémon nuzzle him. He opened his eyes to see Entei looking at him almost softly. It sniffed at him before it pushed its nose against the Master Ball, pushing the release and opening it. Blaine felt panicked for a moment as Mewtwo came out, but he didn't fly off or flee. Mewtwo stood just in front of him. There was still a strong sense of anger from Mewtwo, but it was buried by concern.

    "I'm hurting you." Blaine could hear the anger in Mewtwo's voice, but it sounded like it was aimed at himself. Blaine wanted to assure him that he was fine, but he couldn't. Their connection wouldn't let him lie.

    Entei growled lowly, and Mewtwo looked at it in alarm. Blaine looked between the two of them. "What did it say?" At times like this Blaine wished that he could understand what pokémon were saying.

    Mewtwo was quiet for a moment. There was awe, hope, and slight sadness coming through their connection. "Entei has an ability called Flames of Life."

    Blaine didn't know a lot about the legendary beasts, but he had done a little bit of research about them, because it was how he coped with his uncertainty and curiosity. He had read something about the Flames of Life, but he hadn't had enough time to really look into what that meant.

    Mewtwo seemed to tell that he didn't understand. "It is a powerful fire that is so strong that it burns away disease and can heal illness." Mewtwo looked meaningfully at Blaine's arm. The sadness and hope increased through their connection, and Blaine understood.

    "Our connection." Blaine clenched his fist. "Entei can break it." The beast nodded. Blaine felt a rush go through him. He felt some hope and sadness of his own. He'd known from the beginning that the nature of their connection couldn't be permanent. Blaine couldn't expect Mewtwo to have to restrain himself because of Blaine's own failings. Mewtwo deserved to be free, and Blaine needed to be at full physical capacity. They couldn't continue to feed off of each other. Blaine knew this, but he hadn't thought that the end would come so soon or suddenly.

    However, Blaine didn't want to back out. This was what he wanted, it was what they both needed. Whether he was ready for it or not, Blaine had to take this opportunity that was presented in front of them.

    Blaine held his arm out towards Entei. "Please, help us." He could feel reluctance from Mewtwo, but the pokémon didn't try to argue or disagree. Mewtwo seemed to feel the same way about this as Blaine did.

    Entei backed up slightly to give itself room. Blaine was vaguely aware of Lt. Surge pulling Ash and Gary back to give them space, but his main focus was on the pokémon in front of him. Entei prepared a fire attack in the back of its throat, and it let the attack go. Blaine flinched when the flames touched his arm, and Mewtwo cringed back in pain as well. The burning pain lasted for a long moment, but eventually it was replaced with a different kind of pain.

    For months Blaine had lived with the constant presence of Mewtwo within him. Even when he wasn't thinking about it, Mewtwo was always there. Now it felt like a part of him was slipping right out, and it left him feeling incredibly empty and lonely. After a long minute Blaine could feel absolutely nothing of Mewtwo remaining inside of him.

    Mewtwo looked physically ill, and yet stronger than he'd ever been before. His time in the Master Ball had stabilized his body, and now that Mewtwo was no longer held down by Blaine, he was in his prime. Blaine was sure that Mewtwo only looked uncomfortable because he'd gone his whole life being connected to Blaine. It was the only thing that Mewtwo had ever known, and it would take him time to adjust to it. Blaine was sure that once Mewtwo got used to it, he would be just fine on his own.

    Blaine and Mewtwo looked at each other for a moment, and the scientist was relieved to find that even though he may not be physically and psychically connected to Mewtwo, he still felt a fondness for him. They were still brothers, just in a different way than before.

    "You're free," Blaine said quietly. He almost didn't believe it. "The world is yours." Blaine swallowed thickly. He was excited for Mewtwo, but he would be sad to see him go. This was a bittersweet moment. "I just ask one thing of you. Don't go after Giovanni."

    Mewtwo glowered angrily. It was odd to not feel the fury for himself. Blaine hurried on to explain further. This was incredibly important to him. "He doesn't know you're still around, and nobody else knows that you exist at all. You won't have to worry about anybody coming after you, but that will change if Giovanni knew the truth. You will be in danger, and you don't deserve that."

    Mewtwo still looked angry. It took him a long moment, but Mewtwo sighed and tensed slightly. "I promise nothing, but I shall try." It was far from a sure thing, but Blaine was sure it was the best that he could ask for. He nodded. Mewtwo gave him a small, bitter smile, and that was all he did. Mewtwo floated into the air and a moment later he shot off. In a moment Mewtwo was out of sight, and Blaine felt a little lost.

    Everything was still and quiet for a moment. Gary was the first to break the silence. "Are you okay?"

    Blaine had to take a moment to consider it. Was he okay? He didn't even know. Blaine felt far too empty to think about how he was feeling. It took Blaine far too long for him to realize that perhaps feeling empty would qualify as not okay.

    "No, I don't think I am." Blaine said. He automatically moved to rub his arm, but cringed and immediately pulled back. Entei's fire had healed him, but it had still burned. As a fire-type expert, and a scientist who was a little too careless sometimes, he had far too much experience with burns, and this one was worse than any other burn that he had lived with. Blaine wasn't sure if his arm would fully recover from this. He didn't know if he would recover from his separation mentally.

    "You don't look like you're in any state to go chasing after Giovanni." Lt. Surge crossed his arms. "But I don't think that we can afford to sit around and wait for you to get better. We came here to stop Giovanni from getting Ho-Oh, and now he's one step ahead of us."

    "I'm not asking you to wait," Blaine said. As confused and lost as he was feeling, this was something that he was completely sure of. "Giovanni must be stopped, and if that means that you do it without me then that's how it needs to be done."

    Ash frowned. He looked devastated. "You're not coming with us?

    "I'm afraid that I would be more of a hindrance than a help." Blaine said. Between his arm and the difficulty he had with focusing on anything that wasn't his overwhelming loneliness, he didn't think he could do anything to help anybody, not even himself.

    Ash sighed. He was obviously still upset, but he looked resigned. Ash had been saying goodbye to friends a lot in a short period of time. He didn't like it, but Ash was starting to understand that this wasn't something he could control. "Where are you going to go?"

    "Probably back home to Cinnabar Island." Blaine said. He felt responsible for the explosions that had occured on the island when Mewtwo had escaped the labs. The island would need a lot of repairs, and in times of crisis people tended to look to gym leaders as authority figures and guides. It wasn't any official position, but Blaine didn't feel like he could abandon the people who would be looking up to him.

    "Will you be okay on your own?" Ash asked.

    "He probably won't be," Gary said. He knelt down next to Umbreon and pet him. "I'm not part of this whole Giovanni Team Rocket thing. I came to train with Koga, and then with Blaine." The boy looked at the scientist, fierce determination in his eyes. "If you're going back to Cinnabar Island, I'm going with you. You look like you need some help for yourself, and I'm not about to give up on training now. I've only just started."

    Blaine stared at Gary for a moment. A part of him wanted to refuse the offer, because he was a proud man and he didn't want to admit that he needed help, but it was far too tempting of an offer. He did want to continue to train Gary. He wanted to teach him, and help him, possibly show him around the labs. Gary had shown a bit of an interest in science, and Blaine wanted to encourage that.

    Blaine also felt lonely, and the thought of being completely alone was terrifying and overwhelming.

    Blaine gave Gary a small smile. "If that's what you want, I would love the company." Gary brightened, which was a look that Blaine didn't see very often. Gary wasn't nearly as enthusiastic as Ash frequently was. Ash shined like the sun, and Gary was much more subdued than that, but it was still pleasant to see.

    "So... this is it?" Ash asked. Lt. Surge gave Ash a really small smile and tilted his head down in affectionate teasing.

    "For now," Lt. Surge said. "We can always call them up if we need help, or if you're feeling particularly clingy." Ash pouted, and tried to give Lt. Surge a push, but the man was left unmoved. He just chuckled.

    "Yeah, I know," Ash frowned. "It's just hard."

    "This may not be forever," Blaine said. He still wanted to stop Giovanni from causing further damage. He just needed some time to recover. "After all, Lt. Surge returned, didn't he?" Ash cheered up at those words.

    "Yeah, he did." Ash looked far more accepting of this idea. He took a deep breath and smiled at Blaine. "I really hope you get better. And don't worry about Mewtwo. I'm sure he'll be fine."

    "I know." Blaine nodded. His creation, his brother, was strong.

    "Don't worry about this guy, Ashy-boy." Gary said. His smirk bordered the line between teasing and malicious. "I'll watch his back."

    Ash laughed. "Of course you will." Ash held his hand out. Gary stood up and grasped his hand in firm comradery. "See you around,"

    "Later," Gary said. When they released hands Ash gave one more sad smile to Blaine before he went to Lt. Surge's side. Suicune and Raikou walked up to them, looking ready to go. Suicune knelt to allow Ash to climb onto its back, and Raikou stood perfectly still while Lt. Surge got on. Ash waved at Blaine and Gary before Suicune and Raikou ran off in the direction where Ho-Oh and Giovanni had flown off. Entei nodded at Blaine before it ran off after the others.

    Blaine took in a shaky breath as he watched the others go. He felt alone again. It wasn't as intense as his separation from Mewtwo had been, but it was definitely noticeable. The feeling of loss took his breath away, and it would have been very overwhelming if Gary hadn't been right there. He wasn't on his own. Gary had made it clear that he wasn't going to leave, and Blaine hadn't realized how much he needed the company.

    Blaine sighed and reached into his pocket to pull out a pokéball. He let Arcanine out. "Are you ready to get going?"

    "Yeah," Gary returned Umbreon to its pokéball. He hopped Arcanine's back and did what he could to help Blaine get on with his bad arm. Gary couldn't do a lot, since Blaine was larger than he was, but the man appreciated the attempt.

    Blaine lightly kicked Arcanine's side and urged his pokémon on. Arcanine growled and bounded forward. Blaine still felt lost, but hopefully returning to a familiar place could help him to overcome this. Once he felt more like himself, he could find and help Lt. Surge and Ash, or possibly reunite with Mewtwo. For now though he had to take the advice that he had given to Koga and think about himself.

    "So, back to Kanto?" Gary looked back at him.

    Blaine nodded. "Back home."

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