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A Second Glance Extras

Discussion in 'Literature Library' started by shinyumbreon, Mar 3, 2015.

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  1. shinyumbreon

    Dec 31, 2014
    Extras 1: A Belated Valentine's Gift is Better

    A/N: So, this is late. This was suppose to be up a long time ago but technical problems and college and all that fun shit. But hey, it goes along with the theme of this one-shot, right?

    Paul Shinji Zuckerman hated Valentine's Day. Why? Well, he had a few reasons:

    1. It reminded him he was single. Not that he wanted a girlfriend. He didn't even want a friend. People weren't to be trusted. Respected, maybe, but not trusted. Despite that, he still hated being reminded that he was alone.

    2. It was pointless. Why was there a specific day to tell your loved one you loved them? Must there be a specific day where couples go to fancy places to do whatever, may it be eating or watching a movie or...other things.

    3. It made walking through cities impossible. People were walking hand-in-hand and in the process taking up two spaces on the sidewalk, running along it to get last-minute gifts, or not remembering that they have something called a room. And all three of those activities irritated Paul, especially the third one. Usually, when he yelled out "Get a room!" to a couple making out on the street, he would get thankful glances. But on Valentine's Day, if he did that, many people would give him angry glares. Veilstone City was like that.

    And so was Goldenrod.

    All he wanted to do was get his third badge. Of course that wouldn't be happening. Whitney was off God-knows-where apparently with a boyfriend. "I'll be back tomorrow, I promise!" she had shouted as she ran off. Paul growled. He had just caught a Sneasel, and he wanted it to fight now.

    "Curse Valentine's Day," he muttered under his breath.

    Deciding to not waste the day sitting in front of the Gym door like a lost Growlithe, he went to the Goldenrod Department Store (unfortunately the only place to get supplies). He weaved his way through the Valentine's Day crowds, annoyed. When he finally got to the Poké Mart he was literally a volcano ready to erupt, and the clerk noticed that. He helped Paul out as quickly and as un-intruding as possible. Thanks to him Paul cooled down a bit and, taking the clerk's advice, stayed next to the windows instead of the center. It was crowded, true, but Paul realized the center was worse. As he walked by the stores, something caught his eye. He blinked, and then looked up. A jewelry store. But why had something in a jewelry store caught his eye? Still, he was curious, and he walked in. Through the counter glass he noticed what had drawn him in: a bracelet. It looked too plain to be in a department jewelry store. It was a simple silver chain-linked bracelet where one end had an emerald and the other had a ruby. Maybe it was because it was his birthstone was a ruby that he had been drawn to it. "Did you find something that interests you?" Paul looked up to find a woman with long blonde hair tied back in a ponytail. She was wearing the store uniform: a white collared long sleeve shirt with a black skirt, black leggings, and black heels.

    Paul looked at the bracelet. "This...kind of interests me," he admitted.

    "Is it for your girlfriend?" she asked.

    The Trainer glared. "I don't have a girlfriend," he hissed.

    She flinched. "I-I'm sorry," she apologized quickly. "It's just that it's Valentine's Day, so I assumed...never mind, that was my fault." Paul scoffed. "Then who is it for?"

    "It just interested me," he retorted harshly. "I have no friends to give this to. Sorry for wasting your time." He turned to leave.

    "You don't trust many people, do you?" she asked quietly. Paul whipped his head towards her. "I could tell." She pulled up her left sleeve, and Paul's eyes grew as she revealed a long scar that just seemed to keep going and going. She only went up to her elbow, but he knew it went farther than that. "I've gone through it, too. It's hard to trust after that, isn't it?"

    Paul adverted his eyes, not wanting to look at the scar anymore. "It is," he agreed. He heard her sleeve go back down, and when he looked back at her, she nodded.

    "But it gets easier, if you let it happen," she added. "That's why I'm here now." She smiled and showed a charm bracelet. "And because of a belated Valentine's Day present."

    "A...belated?" Paul repeated.

    "My best friend doesn't believe in Valentine's Day," she explained. "He says it's pointless."

    "Tell him he's a smart guy," Paul stated.

    The woman giggled. "I actually use to think he was crazy. My...ex-boyfriend..." Her eyes darted to her arm, and Paul felt a rage boil in his stomach. He hated hearing stories of abusive boyfriends. "He always said if you didn't get a present on Valentine's Day, it was worthless. It was one of...many reasons why we broke off, because I gave him a present after Valentine's Day. And then one day in March, a few weeks after...he...left, my best friend gave me this. I asked him what it was for. He said 'No reason. Besides, what's wrong with a present? Everyone loves presents, especially surprise presents'. Now I get what some people mean by Valentine's Day being pointless."

    Not once did Paul stop paying attention. He took in her words, and then he looked at the bracelet again. "How much?" he asked, pointing at it.

    "That's been here for three months, and since no one wants it, it's gone down to 10,000 Poké." Paul was about to walk out, but then she winked. "And I'll throw in the employee discount, because when — not if, when, I promise — you find a friend to give that to, it will be priceless."

    And they'll look as happy as you did, he thought, remembering her wide smile when she showed off and talk about her bracelet. He figured this trinket would be sitting in his bag for a very, very long time, possibly never seeing the light of day again, but he decided to take it anyway. Besides, 7,000 Poké? That was practically stealing for what he thought was a very nice bracelet. "Thank you...um..."

    "Tanya," she introduced. "And no problem."

    "Paul," he stated.

    She tapped her finger on the counter. "Are you from Veilstone City?" He was shocked, but nodded. "My niece has told me about you. You probably don't know her. Samantha Ortiz?" He swore he that last name before; it sounded eerily familiar, yet nothing came to mind. He shook his head. "Thought so. I know this doesn't help, but she wishes she could have done something, but her brother is...well...intimidating."

    Intimidating...Ortiz...yes, he knew who her brother was. He didn't know who had it worse when it came to him, this Samantha girl or Paul himself. "Tell her she doesn't need to be sorry," he replied as he put the present in his bag.

    "You don't know how much those words would mean to her," Tanya stated. "Well, goodbye Paul. And good luck at your Gym Battle." He raised an eyebrow. "Whitney came in here, stating she had a battle tomorrow, and that he better bring his A-game, especially since, and I'm quoting here so don't shoot the messenger, 'he was so grumpy and angry about me going on a date, and that makes me grumpy and angry, so he better be prepared'."

    That meant training was called for. "Thank you," he said. He walked out.

    "Have a good day," she called after him. Paul gave off a tiny smirk at how she hadn't included 'Valentine's'.
    It was that time of year again, and as usual Paul didn't give a Raticate's ass, so much so he forgot it was that day. Right now he was in a Poké Mart on the side of the road. Haley was off training somewhere, and they needed supplies, so he went to get some. Of course, trouble seemed to be magnetized to him in Sinnoh, and while he was going through the store he ran into Dawn. "Oh, hello Paul!" she said cheerfully.

    Paul huffed. "What do you want, Troublesome?" he grumbled.

    "It's Dawn!" she shouted. "D-A-W-N! It's not that hard! And can't I just say hi? It's not going to kill you!"

    "With your shouting, it just might."

    "What was that?!"

    "Look, I have things to buy, so it would be nice if you just left me alone." He walked past her.

    "Are you buying Haley something for Valentine's Day?" Dawn asked.

    Paul stopped and turned to her. "Why would I do that?" he stated.

    "Because Valentine's Day is today," Dawn replied, rolling her eyes. It is? Paul asked. "And you like her, so I thought you would be getting her something."

    Great, even she knows, Paul thought. He felt his face grow hotter and her turned his head. "I don't like her like that," he lied, hoping she would fall for it. Judging by her snort, she didn't, but he pretended like she did. "And even if I did, I don't give Valentine's Day presents."

    Dawn sighed harshly. "Should have know," she mumbled. Paul thought he wouldn't see her again, but fate wasn't so kind, because apparently she was done shopping around the same time he was, and unbeknownst to him, she was walking up to the register while he was paying. When he was putting his bought supplies in his bag, she tripped over her own two feet, causing them both to crash to the floor. Some of Paul's things tumbled out of his bag as they fell.

    "Damn it, Troublesome," Paul swore. "Do you have two left feet or something?"

    "Well, sorry, Sir Rudeness," she stated, sounding annoyed. She watched as he picked everything up, slipped his bag on, and walked out the door. She grumbled and then scanned the floor. Her eye caught something. Paul hadn't picked up everything. "Um, excuse me, can you hold my seals for a bit?" she asked the cashier. "I need to return something to that Trainer." He nodded. "I'll be right back!" she promised. Hopefully Barry doesn't have a fit for me taking so long. "Paul, wait up!" Dawn called out.

    The teen growled. "What?" he snapped.

    "You forgot this," she said, unfazed, and held out a blue velvet box.

    The box did seem familiar, but he couldn't put his finger on it. "Troublesome, why would-" He opened it and shut up. He remembered.

    "Wow, that's a pretty bracelet!" Dawn squealed. "And you said you weren't getting her something."

    "This wasn't intended for Haley specifically," he explained. "It's for whoever I feel like giving it to. And I already stated, Troublesome, that I don't give Valentine's Day presents." Dawn looked disappointed as he turned and began walking. But then he stopped and turned his head. She was surprised to see him smirking. "But I do give belated Valentine's Day presents." Dawn smiled as he walked off.
    A few days later, Paul and Haley finally made it back to Jubilife City. Haley shuddered. "If those TV producers jump me again I will kill someone," she mumbled.

    Paul chuckled. "Hey, do you know what today's date is?" he asked despite knowing.

    "Hold on." Haley dug through her backpack and pulled out her Pokégear. "It's...oh no! I totally forgot!"


    "Valentine's Day was four days ago!" she whined. "I forgot to send something for Mom and Dad! I do it every year! How did I forget?" She sighed. "Maybe because for once I wasn't in a city. Hell holes on V-Day, I swear."

    Paul chuckled again. "I'm sure they wouldn't mind a belated Valentine's Day present," he stated. "The fact that you sent something to them will mean a lot to them, especially if it's not on February 14th." She looked at him. "I like to think that means they're more special to you if you just send it to them randomly. Why do it because everyone else is? Why on this one specific day when it can be any day you chose?"

    Haley thought about it, and then she smiled. "Yeah, I think you're right," she said. "Can we stay here a little while so I find something for them? Maybe even Austin, though the little devil doesn't really deserve it."

    "Austin?" he asked, a very small hint of jealousy in his voice.

    "My little brother," Haley explained. Oh. Whoops. "And maybe Ray, too. Argh, brothers! Hmm...I wonder if Tyra got him something...that's his girlfriend. Maybe I should get her something, too." Then she started mumbling other names. "What about Ashley? Brendan...no, I haven't seen him in years...actually that might still be a good idea. Brandi, maybe...hmm, anyone else, I wonder..."

    "Sorry to cut you short," Paul piped up. Haley snapped her head to look at him. He felt Butterfrees in his stomach, so he "coughed". Then he dug into his pocket, and pulled out the velvet box, a small smile on his face. She stared at it, as if it were a foreign object. She took it carefully and then tentatively opened it. Her mouth flew open, making Paul get a small blush on his face but have a little bit of a bigger smile. "I got that while I was traveling through Johto," he explained. "Someone told me to give it to a friend, if I ever got one, since that was around the time I didn't believe in friends."

    Haley picked it up and held it up, studying it. "It has my birthstone on it," she said. "An emerald. It's really pretty. And I love this ruby." Paul's heart fluttered. It was all one big coincidence, and she had no way of knowing his birthstone, but it still felt nice. "Paul...this must have costed a fortune. Are you really sure you want to give it to me?"

    "I do. And besides, it was only 7,000 Poké," he revealed.

    "How is something this beautiful that cheap?!" she cried.

    "No one wanted it," Paul answered. Haley looked at him like he was crazy. "And the lady gave me an employee discount. She and I are the same."

    Now Haley looked at him sympathetically. But that look quickly disappeared as she put on the bracelet with a look of wonder. "Paul, this is the nicest thing anyone has ever given me," she said as she studied the trinket that was around her right wrist. That made his blush even redder and his smile even wider. She was blushing a little bit as well, and then she suddenly hugged him. "I love my Valentine's Day present."

    "Hey, if you call it a Valentine's Day present, I'm taking it back," he told her. She lifted her head from his chest so she could look at him.

    "Uh...oh, right." She giggled. "Well then, can I call it a belated Valentine's Day present?"

    "I would prefer either a surprise present or just a present, but that works too," Paul stated.

    She giggled again. "No matter. I love it, whatever it is." And she looked into his eyes with a smile on her face.

    Now, if this were a cliché and perfect story, Paul knew it would end with a confession and a kiss that she would return. Of course, this isn't a cliché and perfect story, and fate still hates our purple-haired Trainer, so what happened next was someone yelling, "Get a room!" Paul turned to see a group of kids who either had disgusted looks on their faces or were laughing. His smile transformed into a scowl but his blush grew even worse. He stormed off.

    "Paul, where are you going?" Haley called after him.

    "Training! Go buy your stupid presents!" he angrily replied. But as he walked away, his smile slowly grew back. He just couldn't stay mad for long.

    After all, Tanya had been right; Haley's face was priceless. And he had been right as well; a belated Valentine's Day present was better.
    8542Madness likes this.
  2. 8542Madness

    Apr 6, 2014
    I really like this. It's short, simple, sweet, and well-written. Well done!
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    shinyumbreon likes this.
  3. shinyumbreon

    Dec 31, 2014
    Extras 2: No Matter What

    "Thank you, Professor Rowan!" another happy new Trainer exclaimed. His chosen starter Pokémon, Chimchar, grinned widely as he was held in his Trainer's arms.

    The professor nodded. "Of course," he replied. He waved goodbye as the Trainer left. Then he turned to us, the two starters who hadn't been chosen...again. Piplup, who had been here for two months and had five Trainers pass him by, and me, who had been here for half a year.

    I had lost count of all of the Trainers I had seen.

    "Don't worry, you two, someone will come by eventually," Rowan assured us. Piplup nodded, but I did nothing. It wasn't that I had given up on the prospect of being owned, but I was tired of hearing him reassure that someone would come by. The professor meant well. He was a nice guy, albeit a little gruff, but still nice. But him saying that all of the time...those words had kind of lost meaning for me.

    "Do you really think someone will pick us?" Piplup asked later that day while we were eating.

    I lifted my head from my bowl and looked at him. "I guarantee someone will pick you next time," I told him.

    Piplup frowned. "You don't believe they'll pick you?"

    "Piplup, I've been here for half a year," I explained. "The professor and the researchers keep saying no Pokémon has ever stayed that long."

    "But there are people out there who like Turtwigs," Piplup stated.

    "Just as long as it isn't me," I sighed.

    "Why? You're calm and gentle like every other Turtwig."

    "I'm also more aggressive. I like to fight. People who are looking for a Turtwig don't want that."

    The penguin looked down, then back up. "Maybe there's someone who would prefer that," he voiced.

    I ate some of my food. "Maybe," I agreed.

    Truth be told, that was the longest time between when I met a starter Pokémon and when I explained to them why I was never picked. Usually the others would ask after the second Trainer, but Piplup seemed to be a bit less curious. He was a little different for a Piplup, just as how I was a little different. He was a little less proud and more levelheaded, though he was still a Piplup. I chuckled at his proud moments, probably because they were rare, but they got him into more trouble than the Piplups I had know before. "When do you think they'll get the new Chimchar?" Piplup asked. Speak of meeting new starters...

    I tilted my head, thinking. "Hmm...I don't know," I answered. "The professor hasn't said anything about it, so I know just as much as you." Piplup nodded.

    It turns out that the new Chimchar arrived at the end of the week. And this one was a female. "Hello," she chirped when she met us. She sounded young.

    "Hello," we greeted.

    "I hope we can become really great friends!" she exclaimed.

    Of course, I wasn't so sure about that. Chimchar would probably get picked up rather quickly like many of the Chimchars before her. "I hope so, too," Piplup agreed. "But there's no way to grantee, since Chimchars are popular."

    The new chimp smiled. "Oh don't worry, I'm not going anywhere for a while," she stated.

    "How do you know for sure?" I asked.

    "The professor said so," Chimchar explained. "I'm too young, and usually the professor wouldn't take someone as young as me. But the ranch I was at was getting too crowded with too many different types of Pokémon, so he took me to clear up space." We stared at her, not believing this. That meant Piplup and I would technically be the only starters until whenever Professor Rowan said Chimchar was old enough. We actually had a chance.

    Unfortunately, fate had a funny way of toying with us. For an entire month not a single new Trainer walked through those automatic doors. On one hand, that was beyond aggravating. Here Piplup and I were, with an actual shot for once, and no one wanted to be a Trainer. A very small part of me also thought that if a Trainer did walk into the lab, they would choose Piplup over me anyway. But those two thoughts were massively outweighed by the time I spent with the other starters. I mean, I had made friends with the other Piplups and Chimchars before, but not like this. It was fun, and we actually learned about where each of us came from. Piplup was the most normal out of all of us, coming from a breeding ground designed to breed starters. Chimchar was from a ranch that bred all sorts of Pokémon and even held Pokémon for certain Trainers. But I was very different. "My parents were actually owned by Nick," I explained.

    "You mean one of the professor's assistants?" Chimchar clarified. "That Nick?"

    I nodded, and their mouths flew open. "He was finishing up his journey and wanted to become the professor's assistant, but before he did I was hatched. He wanted to train me a bit, and so he did, but just a little. We traveled from outside the Oreburgh Gate, through Jubilife City, and then here to Sandgem Town. And when we got here, Professor Rowan was in need of a Turtwig, so Nick offered that I could be an option."

    They breathed out in awe. "So that's why you like to battle?" Piplup asked. I nodded.

    "Turtwig!" Chimchar exclaimed. "Can you battle me?"

    I looked at her. "I...um...I don't know if we're allowed," I answered. Her face fell.

    "Hey, you three," Nick called out. We turned to the young blond-haired researcher. "How are you guys doing today?" We cheered in response, and then Chimchar started chattering at him, miming a fight between her and I. "You want to battle Turtwig?" Chimchar nodded enthusiastically. Nick looked at me. "Do you want to battle?" I shrugged. "Very well." He smiled. "Then are you ready to begin?"

    We went into position. Nick and Piplup sat in the grass, watching us. Chimchar smiled. "May I go first?" I nodded. "Okay then, I'll start with Leer!" Her eyes glowed red and she glared, and I knew my defense dropped. To counter I used Withdraw, and my defense was back to the way it was. I then charged, using Tackle, and Chimchar went flying back. Then I followed up with a Razor Leaf, keeping her up in the air. Once the leaves subsided she flopped onto the grass. She picked herself up slowly. "Heh heh, you're good," she complimented. "But I'm not going to give up that easily!" She jumped to me and started using Scratch. I dodged, and she did get one swipe on me, but to that I countered with Tackle, and she flew back again.

    "Chimchar, I think it's time to take a break," I told her as she slowly picked herself up. Chimchar looked at me, and then Nick said the same exact thing. So she gave in and nodded in agreement. Then she smiled.

    "Wow, Turtwig, that was amazing!" she exclaimed.

    "Yeah, Turtwig, you were really good," Piplup agreed as he ran over to us.

    "You've been practicing, haven't you, buddy?" Nick asked with a smile. I chuckled and nodded.

    Two weeks flew by, and finally a Trainer came. When she was told there wasn't a Chimchar available, she looked really sad. But then she saw Piplup and her eyes lit up. "I want the Piplup!" she exclaimed.

    Her older sister and traveling partner chuckled. "So that's the Pokémon you want?" the older girl inquired.

    "Yeah!" the girl shouted. Piplup looked very excited, but just before his new Trainer picked him up, he held out a fin to stop her. He walked over to me and gave me a hug.

    "I'm really going to miss you," he said.

    "Me too," I agreed. I could hear Chimchar whimper at Piplup's departure.

    "Don't worry, Turtwig, someone will come, I promise," Piplup assured.

    I smiled. "Don't worry about me," I told him.

    Chimchar ran up to Piplup and hugged him. "B-bye Piplup," she sniffled.

    Piplup chuckled. "Maybe we'll see each other again," he offered.

    I nodded. "I would like that," Chimchar voiced. The two girls enjoyed the scene and let us have the time we needed. And when we were done, Piplup's Trainer picked him up, smiled as the two of us, and the girls left. "Is this...what it's like every time?" the young chimp asked.

    "...A little," I answered honestly.

    A few weeks passed once more where no Trainers showed up and, strangely enough, no new Piplups either. It was just Chimchar and I for weeks on end. And then, after my tenth month at the lab began, a new Trainer appeared. It was a boy once more, and of course he want Chimchar. I wasn't surprised, but she was. And she protested against it. "No, no!" she cried. She pointed to me. "Take Turtwig, take Turtwig!" She kept chanting that over and over frantically.

    The boy blinked. "You...want me to take Turtwig?" he asked.

    "YES!" she shouted.

    Professor Rowan looked at the boy. "That Turtwig has been here for a while," he explained. The new Trainer made eye contact with the older male. "It's quite the fighter."

    Now the boy made eye contact with me. "Wow, that's pretty cool," he stated. "But I just don't want a Turtwig."

    Chimchar looked crushed. "Chimchar, it's fine, really," I assured her.

    "No it's not!" she argued. "You've been here for ten months! That's not fair! Not to mention you'll be all alone!"

    "Chimchar," I stated, "he wants you as a partner. I know you're upset, but do you want to force something on him that he doesn't want?" I smiled. "And I know you want to travel as well. So don't give up your chance just so I can be happy, and possibly be the only one. I'll be fine, I promise."

    My friend seemed to feel better but she was still upset. "Don't give up, Turtwig," she advised. "There's someone out there who wants you and needs you, I can feel it. So don't lose hope. Promise me?"

    I nodded. "I promise."

    The Trainer picked up the chimp. "I'm sorry, Turtwig," he apologized. "But I'm sure there's a Trainer out there who will come to pick you up in no time." I smiled, and he seemed less guilty. He walked towards the doors, but stopped right before so he and Chimchar could look at me one more time. With one last smile between the three of us, the Trainer walked out the door.

    Now I was all alone.

    No other starters came to the lab, and for a while neither did any Trainers. I tried to not think about giving up like I had promised, but it was hard. It was as if fate didn't want me to have a Trainer. One night Nick picked me up and brought me outside. We looked at the night sky together. There were plenty of stars but it was a new moon. We watched the celestial objects twinkle in silence for a long time until Nick sighed. "Turtwig, do you think it was a bad idea to offer you as a starter?" he asked. I shook my head. "It's just...this isn't right. I thought it would be a good idea, but if you're going to be passed up every time, that's not fair to you." He didn't say anything for a while. "If...no Trainers...end up taking you...would you like to be a lab Pokémon?" Not really. I wanted to travel. But if what Nick said actually happened I really would have no choice, so his offer was really more of a "this is the only other option you have". I nodded slowly. "I hope that doesn't come true, Turtwig," he said. "I really, really do."
    It was getting towards the middle of July. In two weeks I would have been at the lab for a full year. If no Trainer came before then, I would be forced to become a lab Pokémon. I was holding on to very thin hope, and I thought about my situation as I sadly ate my food. The doors opened, and I thought nothing of it. Then I heard Professor Rowan talking to someone, but they were too far away so I still paid no mind. Footsteps filled the room, and that was when I looked up. Professor Rowan had entered with a very familiar-looking Trainer: Reggie. I had seen him from time to time, since he was also a part-time Breeder, and he would occasionally pick up and drop Pokémon off. His visits had let me learn his name but other than that I didn't know much about him. "So this is the only starter available?" Reggie asked.

    The professor nodded. "No one wants to take it since it's a little more aggressive than most Turtwig," he explained.

    "Really?" Reggie stated, sounding interested. He smiled at me. "Well, my brother did want a Chimchar, but I'm sure he wouldn't mind having a Turtwig." My eyes widened. I was being taken? Then they went back to normal and I looked down. I was thinking of something, and I wondered if Reggie would consider that option as well. But he didn't seem to. "Do you have its Poké Ball?" he asked. "And everything else my brother needs?"

    "Yes, of course," the professor replied. "Yuzo, would you get all of the supplies?"

    His long-time assistant hurried into the room. In his hand he had a tray, with my Poké Ball, a few empty ones, a badge case, a Pokédex, and a Trainer's ID. "Right here, sir," Yuzo answered.

    Reggie took the tray. "Thank you," he said. Then he looked at me. "You ready to go, Turtwig?" I was still kind of surprised by all of this, so my nod was a little shaky. I stood up and jumped off of the table I had been on while I was eating. "I'll see you later, Professor," Reggie called out as we walked out the door. I turned. The two men had followed us and were smiling at me. Nick ran in and saw me walking off. He grinned and waved goodbye. I nodded in response before I jumped into Reggie's van. He closed the door, got in himself, started the vehicle up, and we took off.

    I honestly couldn't believe this was happening. I was really going to have a Trainer. And yet I couldn't help but be sad at Reggie's comment. If his brother wanted a Chimchar, he probably wouldn't accept me. I frowned thinking about that. "I'll probably be sent back," I muttered. Like I said, I had little hope left in me, and unlike all of the times before, I was beginning to have pessimistic thoughts.

    The Trainer seemed to notice my downcast state, because he suddenly asked, "What wrong, Turtwig? Why do you look so upset?" I lifted my head to look at him, and then rest it back on my feet. "Was it about what I said about my brother wanting a Chimchar?" I nodded slowly. Reggie chuckled. "I'm sorry about distressing you like that, Turtwig. What I meant to say was that my brother will definitely not mind." My head snapped back up. "He goes back and forth all of the time. One month he'll want a Chimchar and the next he'll want a Turtwig. But even if it were in the month he wanted a Chimchar, like he's in now, he wouldn't care. The fact is one or the other is completely fine by him." Then he laughed. "As long as it's not a Piplup. Then he would out right refuse." I chuckled at that. "I think you're perfect for him, Turtwig," Reggie continued. "You're gentle but you're also a fighter. He needs a fighter by his side, someone to help boost his confidence."

    I smiled very big. Chimchar had been right; there was someone out there who definitely wanted and needed me.
    "What do you mean you got me a Piplup?!" my new Trainer cried. I had to hold back laughter as I hid in the kitchen. Currently Reggie and I were playing a prank on him. On the ride to Veilstone City I had learned I was actually a birthday present, so we decided to surprise him.

    "I'm sorry, Paul," Reggie stated, "but that was the only Pokémon the lab had available."

    Paul huffed and I heard him plop onto the couch. "It was the only Pokémon?" he clarified in an annoyed tone.

    "The only one." There was a groan. "But I have to tell you, this one looks and behaves a little different than most."

    Somehow I could imagine the younger boy rolling his eyes and crossing his arms. "Whatever, where is it?" he asked unenthusiastically.

    "First I need you to close your eyes."

    "Why? I already know what it is."

    "Just do it, Paul. Come on, have some fun." My Trainer grunted, and then Reggie walked into the kitchen. He winked, and I smiled back at him before walking out into the living room and hopping onto the coffee table. He grunted when he heard my feet tap the wood, most likely imagining a Piplup jumping up and maybe being a lighter blue or a teal color. "Alright, Paul, open them," Reggie instructed. He did so, and the frown that was on his face quickly melted away, replaced by a thin line. His eyes were filled with surprise, and he stared at me, not moving. It was like his brain had shut down and stopped functioning, which now would be a very rare sight. I figured I had to get his gears moving again, so I smiled even bigger than I already was before.

    "Hiya," I greeted, though to him it sounded like a "Tur, twig". He stared at me a little bit longer before his eyes lit up like I've never seen before. They were practically stars. And that thin line grew into one of the biggest grins I had ever seen and has yet to be topped. He scooped me up and hugged me tightly, but not tight enough to where I couldn't breathe. The hug was warm and loving. Not a single one of the other starters I had been with could say that they received a hug like this when they were chosen.

    "You lying jerk!" Paul shouted, but he didn't sound angry.

    Reggie laughed. "Happy birthday!" he exclaimed.

    "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" my Trainer chanted. He held me out so we were looking at each other, allowing me to see those sparkling eyes and that giant grin. "Hi, Turtwig. My name is Paul. It's nice to meet you."

    "Yeah!" I agreed. He pulled me into another hug.

    Reggie joined his brother on the couch and explained the real situation. "A whole year?!" Paul asked. "How could no one want a Turtwig for an entire year?!" My heart swelled with happiness at that.

    "Because the Turtwig that you hold in your arms is a fighter," Reggie stated.

    Paul looked at me with even more amazement. "You...like to fight?" I nodded, and he smiled. "Well, what are we waiting for? Let's-"

    "Hold up, Eager Beaver," Reggie chuckled. "I told you, you aren't leaving until tomorrow, understand?"

    The younger sibling sighed. "Right, sorry," he apologized. "Can I at least take Turtwig out to explore the city?"

    "Please?" I voiced, not being able to help it.

    The part-time Breeder laughed. "Alright, I guess you two can," he said. "Just make sure to be home before dark, and be careful."

    "Of course," Paul replied. "Turtwig, do you want to walk?"

    As much as I loved the warmth of his embrace, I did want to stretch my legs, so I wiggled to his knees, hoping he would understand what I meant. He did, and with a smile he put me on the floor. Then he stood up and we ran for the door. "See you two later!" Reggie called after us.

    "Bye!" we called back and ran out of the house. We ran for a while, and when we got to a bridge, we stopped. Paul picked me up and set me onto the railing so that both of us could look at the river below.

    "I guess I know a little bit about you, Turtwig," Paul said. "Would you like to know about me?"

    "Yeah," I replied as I nodded, smiling.

    He smiled along with me. "Well, you already know I'm ten years old and that today's my birthday," he stated. "My dream is to become a Pokémon Champion." He eyed me, which I noticed in our reflections. "Do you want to help me make that happen?" I nodded with determination, and he looked back at the water, that smile of his never leaving. "You and I, we'll get stronger, and we'll make it to the top." Then I saw him frown for the first time as he whispered harshly, "We'll show them." I looked at him, confused, and he turned his head to meet my eyes. "Oh...sorry, Turtwig," he apologized. "There are these four bullies, and I just want to show them that I'm stronger than they think I am." He looked back at our reflections, and I copied his action. "Though, I guess I'm not," he admitted. "I tend to cry a bit, and I can't really fight back. They're physically stronger than me, and I can't find the heart to bad mouth them."

    To me, that made Paul seem stronger, that he wasn't willing to stoop to their level. I walked over to him and nuzzled his arm. "We'll show them," I assured, more to myself since Paul couldn't understand what I had said.

    Paul petted my head with his other arm. "Thank you, Turtwig," he said. "Come on, I want to show you the city. We won't be back here for a while."

    "Right," I agreed. I hopped off of the railing and followed him to wherever he wanted to take me.

    We walked past a big dojo halfway on our way to the city. "That's the Gym," Paul explained. "It's going to be our fourth gym." I nodded, and we continued walking until we got to the actual city. My mouth was open in awe and I lifted my head. There were so many huge buildings, just like Jubilife, but Veilstone also had so many trees. I didn't understand how all of this could be in one big city. "It is a little overwhelming," Paul stated, noticing my shock. "But you get use to it. There will be plenty of cities just like this." He looked down at me and smiled, and I smiled back. My Trainer then proceeded to show me the city's landmarks: the Game Corner, the Department Store, and a group of meteorites. We walked through the streets, and at one point Paul broke into a run. "Come on, Turtwig, I want to show you my favorite place to get lunch!" he called over his shoulder. I ran after him, and Paul was about to turn down a corner when he ran into someone and fell down.

    "Paul!" I exclaimed and ran to his side. He groaned a little but he was fine, until he opened his eyes to see who he had run into. Then his face began to twist in fear and he started trembling. I looked and was met with four boys. These must have been the people he was talking about.

    "What the heck is your problem, Polly, running into me like that?" the tallest and biggest of the four asked.

    "I-I-I'm sorry," Paul stuttered. He tried backing up, but the boy violently grabbed the collar of his shirt and yanked him up.

    "You know sorry doesn't cut it," the boy sneered. Paul gulped, and that was when I couldn't take it.

    "Let go of him!" I shouted. The boys looked down, and the bully smirked wickedly. I didn't like where this was going, but I never adverted my glare.

    "Is that your Turtwig?" the bigger boy asked.

    Paul tried to string a sentence together, but he was stuttering so bad it was pretty much impossible. "I think there's a slight chance this is his," a boy with dirty blond hair stated sarcastically.

    "Works for me, Braxton." The boy threw Paul onto the ground, right in front of me. "You want us to accept your apology, Polly, then I suggest you give a nice, big kick to that Turtwig of yours."

    My Trainer's head flew up and he looked at me with big, scared eyes. "N-No," he responded quietly.

    "Hmm? What's this? Am I hearing...a rejection?"

    The other three laughed. "Jason, I think we need to get our hearing checked," a kid with brown hair joked.

    "Or maybe Polly just needs to speak up, Chase," Jason answered. "Zach, what do you think?"

    "Speak up, Polly!" the last boy cheered. He almost seemed too happy and innocent to be in this group.

    Jason snickered and placed his foot onto Paul's ankle lightly, which I thought was a little strange. I thought he would try to put more pressure on it, seeing at how he had treated Paul up to this point. "Come on, you heard the boy, speak up for us," he encouraged.

    Paul gulped again. "I...I...s-said...n-no," he replied, a bit louder this time.

    "Really?" The foot moved up to Paul's backside, and his breath hitched.

    "I...won't..." Paul insisted.

    "I suggest you do as I say, or else," Jason threatened.

    The bully's voice sent a shiver down my spine. I looked at Paul. "It's okay," I told him, swinging my front right leg in a kicking motion.

    His eyes widened. "Please don't make me!" he suddenly exclaimed. "Don't make me hurt it!"

    "Well, tough, kid," Jason hissed. "That's what you get for crossing us." That accursed foot moved again, this time towards the waistband of Paul's pants, as if he was going to pull them down. And judging from the panic that quickly grew on Paul's face, he believed Jason would.

    "It's. Okay," I said again, more forcefully. I kicked my leg a little more forcefully, too.

    Paul looked crushed, but he acted anyway. "Alright, I'll do it!" he cried.

    There were snickers. "See, was that so hard?" Jason asked condescendingly as he took his foot off. Paul stood up, visibly shaking. He didn't move at first. "Well, get to it!" The bully pushed Paul forward, and he stumbled, making me take a few steps back.

    Truth be told, I was scared. I didn't really want to get kicked, but I figured whatever they were going to do to Paul would be at least 20 times worse than a simple kick. That's why I think Paul ended up agreeing with me; he had realized the same thing. It didn't mean he definitely did not want to do this, and his eyes screamed that. "I'm so sorry!" he whispered. "Please don't hate me! I didn't want this!" He took a shaky breath and kicked my stomach. I flew back. His kick had hurt, but it really wasn't all that bad. What hurt more was listening to Paul's heart break while the four boys laughed. "Why..." I heard Paul breathe out. I lifted my head to see him face the gang. "Why did you make me?" It sounded like he wanted to shout that, but he was too scared to raise his voice to that volume.

    "I told you," Jason began, "that's the price you pay."

    "But it didn't deserve it!" Paul's voice was getting louder.

    "No." I was surprised Jason agreed. Then I noticed the wicked smile that grew. "But you did." Before either of us knew it, Jason grabbed him and threw Paul on the floor again. This time he practically sat on him, his left hand pressing down on Paul's right shoulder and his left knee jabbed into Paul's torso.

    Paul screamed and squirmed. "It hurts!" he shouted. "Get off, it hurts!" The boys laughed again. Then Braxton and Chase walked towards Paul and then a little past him. "Stay away from my Turtwig!"

    The boys stopped and turned around. Now the four surrounded him. "Are you going to try and stop us?" Jason taunted.

    "Stay away from Turtwig!" Paul repeated.

    "In order to do that, you need to fight back," Jason stated. He offered his cheek, smirking. Nothing happened for a while except Paul squirming under Jason's grip. "Come on, throw a punch," Jason egged on. "It's not that hard." Then he chuckled darkly. "Oh wait. I forgot who I was talking to." As quick as lightning the older boy punched him in the chest, and Paul screamed.

    That was it.

    I couldn't take any more.

    "Leave him alone!" I shouted right before firing a Razor Leaf. The sharp leaves bombarded the bullies and sent them flying back in a heap. Meanwhile I ran up next to Paul, ready to defend him again. The gang was back up on their feet, angry. But so was I. And when they began to walk towards us, I fired another Razor Leaf, this time not as strong. It was more of a warning this time.

    "What is going on here?" a voice rang through the air. It sounded like a woman, a rich woman at that. I can say that because the first Trainer I ever met had one of those as their mother, and it will be a tone of voice I will never forget. I turned to see a lady who had long peach-colored hair wearing a blue tank top, a belt of gold loops, a white skirt, and white boots. And she had shiny accessories: multiple bracelets, an expensive-looking necklace, and earrings. She was practically shining, and not in a good way.

    Paul picked himself up and then grabbed me, holding me close to his chest. "I...I'm sorry, Mrs. Conlen," he said, bowing his head. What was he apologizing for?

    The woman snorted. "You should be sorry," she snapped. Huh? "How dare you let your Turtwig attack those nice boys." WHAT?!

    I tried to protest, but Paul pulled me closer as a signal to stop. "I'm sorry," he repeated. "We'll go home now."

    Mrs. Conlen grabbed the sleeve of his jacket. "Not by yourself," she informed a little harshly. "I will come with you. I don't want to see you cause any more trouble than you already have." She then yanked on his sleeve, pulling him along with her as she walked. I was enraged with this woman. Did she not see what those four were doing to Paul? And why didn't he protest? He was innocent! We moved fast out of the city and soon we were back at Paul's house. Mrs. Conlen knocked briskly on the door. "Reggie Liam, open the door!" she demanded. I heard Reggie walk to the door, mumbling in annoyance. But when he opened the door he certain did not look annoyed.

    "Gabriella, how nice it is to see you," Reggie greeted. Oh, he was good. I almost missed how Reggie was forcing himself to say that sentence. Then the older sibling noticed his brother. "Paul?"

    "Your brother was causing trouble again," Mrs. Conlen explained. "But this time, he had help from his Turtwig."

    Reggie looked at the two of us. "I'll make sure to talk to them," he promised.

    "Actually, I was hoping to be apart of this as well," the woman stated. "This is getting ridiculous."

    I saw Reggie's left hand twitch slightly. "Really, I can handle this," he assured.

    "You are a good boy, Reggie, but what Paul needs is parental discipline."

    The older male sighed in defeat. "Very well." He motioned the other two humans to come in. The three of them went into the living room. Paul sat in a chair while the two older ones sat on the couch. "So Paul, what happened?" Reggie asked in a matter-of-fact tone.

    Paul shuffled. "Well..." he began quietly. "Turtwig and I were exploring the city, and it was showing me some of its moves. It used Razor Leaf, and just then Jason and his friends came around the corner. Of course they were angry, and we tried apologizing. They began to walk away, and...maybe they said somethings Turtwig didn't like, because he fired intentionally that time. It wasn't too strong, they shouldn't be hurt that bad. But that was when you came in, Mrs. Conlen, so nothing happened after that."

    I was left flabbergasted. That was as far from the truth as he could get! Why did he just straight up lie like that?! "Then am I to assume that Turtwig is hard to control?" Mrs. Conlen inquired.

    "No, it listens to me," Paul replied. "It just happened so fast, and if they did say anything, I didn't hear it."

    The woman hummed in thought. "Still, it is quite possible," she said. "Maybe you should take Turtwig back and get an easier Pokémon to handle."

    Paul and I were left speechless. "Gabriella, I don't think we need to go that far," Reggie reasoned. "It was one mistake, and I know Paul didn't mean it. And I know for a fact this Turtwig is easy to handle. A friend of mine has known this Turtwig since the day it hatched, and he can guarantee it."

    "You are the Breeder here, Reggie," Mrs. Conlen stated. "Very well. But I propose that Paul wait another week or two before he actually leaves."

    I could tell Reggie didn't agree. "I suppose you had a point," he lied. "What do you think, Paul?"

    "Reggie, when you are giving punishment, you do not ask if your punishment is okay. You take action, whether he likes it or not."


    Mrs. Conlen stood up. "Then it is settled. Paul, you are not leaving Veilstone for another two weeks, understand?"

    "Yes, ma'am," he responded.

    "Good." She walked to the door, and Reggie followed her. Paul stayed where he was. "I'll see you, later, Reggie."

    Reggie nodded. He opened the door for her and stepped outside after she did. I saw him stand there for a very long time until he walked back inside, quickly closed the door, and practically ran back to us. "Okay, Paul, tell me the real story, now," he said sternly and urgently.

    "We didn't do it on purpose!" Paul exclaimed. "We really were exploring, and I was about to show Turtwig my favorite place for lunch, but I was so excited I wasn't watching where I was going and when I went to round the corner, I accidentally ran into Jason!"

    His brother sighed. "Paul..."

    "I didn't mean to!"

    "How many times to I have to tell you to calm down? This is how you get into these situations."

    "I couldn't help it!"

    "...I suppose not. Continue."

    "They told me I had to pay the price, and they were probably going to beat me up again, but then they saw Turtwig. A-and then...t-then they ordered me to kick him as punishment."

    Reggie narrowed his eyes. "Don't you dare tell me you did what I think you did," he threatened.

    Paul pulled me closer. "...I did," he answered meekly, sounding ashamed.

    "Why?!" Reggie exclaimed. "What possessed you to even think that was a good idea?!"


    "Honestly, Paul, I can't believe this. This has to be the worst thing you have ever done! Do you know how disappointed I am with you right now? I should-"

    "Aniki, please listen!" Paul shouted. It seemed that "Aniki" was the magic word, because Reggie calmed down a tad and sat on the couch. "I didn't want to! You know I would never want to! But they gave me no choice! And if I didn't comply Jason was going to...g-going to...do that...that t-thing like he almost did l-last year..." Reggie's face softened. He looked worried, a tad scared, and I thought I saw guilt in there, too. "Then Turtwig jumped in, saying it was okay. I tried to refuse, but Turtwig insisted."

    Reggie looked at me. "Really?" he asked. I nodded. He looked at Paul. "So, after you did that, what happened?"

    "They proceeded to beat me up, anyway," Paul admitted. "Turtwig couldn't take it, so it used Razor Leaf on them to get them off of me. They tried coming at me again, and Turtwig attacked them again. That was when Mrs. Conlen showed up and scolded me."

    "I don't get it," Reggie sighed. "I just don't get how those four have managed to fool almost everyone in the city."

    Paul shuffled again. "It's not like anyone here cares for me, anyway," he mumbled sadly.

    "Hey, hold up," Reggie said with a smile. "I'm here. I care for you."

    "But you're my brother. You're suppose to care."

    "There are siblings out there who don't."

    "You mean...there are siblings who hate each other?"

    "Yeah." Reggie stood up and came over to us and pulled Paul into a hug. "But I don't. I love you. I couldn't ask for a better younger brother."

    I was shifted as Paul drew closer. "Thank you," he whispered. I smiled. I could feel the love as I was in Paul's arms, somewhat squeezed between the brothers (not that I minded; after all, I could still breathe, and that's what counted).

    "And you have Turtwig as well," Reggie assured. Paul looked down at me, and I met his gaze. I smiled and nuzzled his stomach, and he petted my head. "Forget everyone else here, Paul, they aren't worth it."

    "Okay." There was silence as we just stood there for quite a while. "I don't actually have to wait two weeks, do I?"

    "Of course not," Reggie answered. "But you'll have to wake up a bit earlier than we thought."

    "That's fine," Paul replied. "I don't want to stay here any longer."

    Reggie chuckled. "You and me both," he said. "Which is why I'm heading off to Kanto tomorrow."

    Paul looked up at him. "You're going to finish the Battle Frontier?"

    "That's right!" Reggie ruffled his hair. "So wish me luck, okay?"

    "You won't need luck," Paul argued. "You're one of the best."

    After that we watched two of Paul's favorite movies. The first one was a comedy called Pocket Monsters, which starred a Trainer named Red, his rude Clefairy, and his capable Pikachu. Right after we watched his second favorite, The Titanic Tyranitar, which was a movie about a defense force fighting off a giant mecha Tyranitar. It was actually pretty cool, and when that movie was finished, it was time for dinner. Reggie had made him his favorite - noodles in peanut sauce with stir fried vegetables - seeing as he was the birthday boy. Right after we had chocolate cake, with ten candles on it that Paul quickly blew out, and Reggie gave his younger brother his presents; his gray one-shouldered bag, his belt, and a bunch of empty Poké Balls. "And, of course, Turtwig," he finished, smiling at me.

    Paul smiled as well. "Yeah, and Turtwig's the best present of them all," he stated. I smiled along with them.

    A little while later it was time to go to bed. We had to wake up early, after all. I jumped onto Paul's bed and curled up by his pillows. Paul had to finish getting ready, and I heard him walk down the hall to the bathroom. On the way, though, Reggie stopped him. I heard the brothers talk about the incident earlier that day, and Reggie was saying that he understood and forgave Paul, but he was still disappointed. Paul agreed and apologized, and then Reggie told him good night. A few minutes later Paul walked in and climbed into bed. He seemed sad, so I uncurled and walked over to him, then I nuzzled his chest. "It's okay," I told him.

    He looked at me. "You aren't mad at me, are you?" he asked. I shook my head. "So then...will you stay with me? Will you be my...friend?" I nodded, and he smiled. He pulled me in closer. "Thanks Turtwig," he mumbled sleepily. "I needed someone like you." I beamed mentally and closed my eyes along with my new Trainer.

    No matter what, I would stay by Paul's side. That's what I promised myself that night.
    "Piplup, don't take Turtwig's food!" I heard Haley scold. "If you really want more, I'll give you more! Monferno, stop picking on Shinx! Ugh, why are the two of you being such a pain today?!"

    "Maybe if you were just as strict as when you battled," Paul advised in a monotone voice, "you wouldn't be having this problem."

    "Pokémon need breaks just as much as people!" Haley defended. "And while I shouldn't be handing out praise to either of them at this moment, they did earn a break for their work at the Oreburgh Gym Battle."

    "You bet we did!" the two troublemakers exclaimed. I could just imagine them puffing their chests out at that. I could also hear and feel Haley fuming. It took me by surprise a bit. She hadn't gotten this angry before. Then I heard Paul snort.

    "Ursaring, teach these two a lesson with Hammer Arm," he ordered.

    I heard my newest teammate chuckle darkly and crack his knuckles. "With pleasure," he growled. The two younger Pokémon screamed in fear and began to run, with Ursaring chasing after them. "Oh come on, where's all that bravado you two had?" he taunted.

    "Hey, you can't do that to my Pokémon!" Haley shouted.

    "You weren't doing anything, lazy bum," Paul commented.

    That day we learned why it's never a good idea to make Haley angry when she was already annoyed. We also learned to never call her a lazy bum. Especially when she's making lunch and happens to be using a knife to do so.

    "What the fuck, are you crazy?!" Paul exclaimed as he ran away from our traveling partner, who was swinging that knife at him as she chased him.

    Despite his situation, I chuckled, for two reasons. One, it wasn't as if she would actually hurt him, so the whole thing was just amusing. Two...well... "Seriously," Umbreon sighed as she sat down next to me.

    "It's his own fault," I pointed out.

    "Well...yeah," she agreed. "But Haley doesn't have to be swinging that knife around. Kind of overboard, if you ask me."

    "I find this amusing."

    "Your Trainer is about to get butchered and you find it amusing?" Umbreon asked in a disbelieving way.

    "She's not going to kill him," I answered. "And he needs this. He needs to relax, have some fun, even if some wouldn't see it as fun if they were watching from the outside in."

    Umbreon watched as the five finally came into our view. I had been staring at a big grassy field, which was in the direction of Floaroma Town, a little ways away from the clearing we had stopped at for lunch. The calming breeze completely contradicted the hectic yet hilarious scene that was taking place. "I guess you have a point," the Moonlight Pokémon stated after a while. "Actually, there's something I've been thinking about for a while." Our eyes met. "Why do you follow Paul? You seem too nice and gentle to be with someone like him."

    I smiled. "I like to think that if I wasn't here, he would be cold-blooded, cold-hearted, and soulless," I replied. "He'd be this machine with the skin of a human but other than that, there'd be nothing."

    "When you put it that way...but how does that benefit you? That makes it sound like you're only a tool for his happiness...if such an emotion exists for him."

    Once upon a time I couldn't even imagine a sentence like that being used to describe Paul. "It benefits me because I feel like I'm making a difference, even if it's small," I told her. "Because Paul was the only Trainer who wanted a Turtwig, even if he's a little more aggressive than most." She chuckled, and so did I. Our eyes met again, and I wondered if she could tell my last reason.

    Because I knew that someone needed me.

    And I was going to be there for him no matter what.

    A/N: So a few things. First, if none of you know what the Pocket Monsters manga is...I don't blame you, but it was featured in the anime in one of the Hoenn episodes. It's actually one of Ash's favorites movies as well. Yes, that was intentional. Second, the Mecha Tyranitar movie is the movie you can make in Black and White 2, but without any Unova Pokémon. And lastly, I can't believe I forgot to say this in the last one-shot, but for this series I will take suggestions for one-shot ideas. As long as it doesn't have to deal with backstory, since I have everyone's planned out. But comedy-based ones, non-canonical ones, anything non-backstory based is fair game.
  4. shinyumbreon

    Dec 31, 2014
    Extras 3: Bad Influence

    There was suddenly less weight on my torso as Paul was pushed off. I opened one eye and saw him lying on the ground, moaning a little in pain. "What was that for?" he groaned.

    "For using my Pokémon as your pillow," Haley responded dully.

    I chuckled. "Haley, it's fine," I assured. "If he's tired and he needs a pillow, I'm fine offering my torso."

    Haley knelt down so she was at eye level with me. "Aw, Luxray, that's so sweet," she said in a very sugary voice. Oh boy, she was pissed. "But you know, maybe he wouldn't be so tired if he hadn't TRAINED LATE LAST NIGHT!"

    "It's not like any of them are tired," Paul argued, finally sitting up.

    "No, but you are!" Haley snapped, standing back up. "And as I said earlier, it's the principle of the thing! And maybe I should stop complaining about this since they're your Pokémon, but you don't do that to mine! At least not without my permission!"

    Okay, I guess she did have a point, even if we didn't really care about staying up a little later. That late night session had felt really good, and Infernape was actually calm by the end for once. "Alright, I'm sorry," Paul apologized. Then he let out a yawn.

    My Trainer huffed. "Wasn't it you who wanted us to not stay in Pastoria because you wanted to get to Hearthome City quicker?" she pointed out.

    "Yes, and then you made lunch, and I fell asleep while you did," Paul replied. I chuckled again and rested my head on my paws, closing my eyes as I did. I wasn't tired, but I did like to rest my head and just feel the breeze as the two Trainers talked.

    "Oh, so I'm your maid now?" Haley questioned. I heard her turn. "Maybe I should just keep walking. See how you do then."

    My eyes flew open and I could feel them enlarge. I scrambled up and ran in front of Haley. "Please, please don't do that!" I begged.

    Haley looked shocked and then went down to my eye level again. "Luxray, I was joking," she said soothingly.

    I took a sigh of relief. "Please don't even joke like that," I requested.

    She proceeded to scratch behind my left ear. "I won't," she replied. "I'm sorry, Luxray. I didn't realize that scared you this badly."

    I purred in response as she continued scratching and petting me. I love when someone runs their fingers through my fur and along my skin; it makes me feel relaxed, makes me feel safe. Of course, tongues would suffice if they didn't have fingers, like Mom and Dad use to do.

    Mom and Dad.

    Thinking about them always made me think of... I looked over at Paul. Seeing him reminded me of... I walked over to him and nuzzled my cheek to his. Paul was surprised by my sudden action, but he didn't back away. He just hugged me and stammered out, "L-Luxray?" I laid down, my cheek now nuzzling his stomach. I felt tears roll down my face as my head sunk into his lap.

    Apparently I'm more tired than I thought, I realized as I heard the confused words of the two Trainers and the other Pokémon as I drifted off to sleep. And I began to dream.

    I dreamed about my past. And everything was so vividly clear; it was as if everything had only happened the day before.
    My family was just a normal, happy family of four. Dad didn't seem to mind that he was the only Mightyena while Mom was a Luxray and my brother and I were Shinxs. In fact, he was proud of us, especially me. I hate to say it, but I was a Daddy's Little Girl. He loved teaching me about how to fight and other things, and he loved just being with me. Not to say I didn't get any time with my mom, oh no. She loved me like no one else could, but I'll be damned if she wasn't strict.

    Then there was...him...my older brother.

    It's odd to say that, though. Most days I felt like I was the older sibling. He always came to me, asking for advice or when he had confidence issues or anything usually a younger sibling would go to their eldest for. Despite me not quite understanding why our dynamic wasn't the other way around, I did a pretty good job at being the "older" sister. Under my advice and boosts to his confidence, Shinx was able to make a few friends in the forest where we grew up. Life was pretty much picture perfect.

    Of course, pictures can easily burn and leave nothing but ashes.

    I will never forget the day that Trainer walked into our forest, looking for strong Pokémon. And I will never forget the Trainer himself. He had short blue hair with blue eyes, and he wore an orange-and-white elbow-length jacket with a black long sleeve underneath. He wore dark gray trousers and brown hiking boots. And apparently he was looking for an Electric type. How I would have loved to run up to him and offer to be apart of his team, but even when I first saw him from my hiding place in the bushes something about him rubbed me the wrong way. He and his team of Electric types stayed in the forest for four days and three nights, and during my time studying him, not only did I learn his name was Sho, but I finally figured out what bugged me about him.

    He was an arrogant tool.

    When he would search our forest for Electric types, he acted as if he owned the place, rummaging through bushes and trees as if Pokémon didn't have homes there. It didn't help that his arrogance had rubbed off onto his Raichu and Pichu, with the evolved Pokémon being the worse of the two. He kept boast that he was the greatest, and that if any wild Pokémon approached him, they would be wiped out in a heartbeat. HA! My dad could have beaten that asshole in five seconds flat with his eyes closed. And Mom would have whipped him so bad he'd be begging for mercy without her firing a single attack.

    All the while, my brother admired them.

    He kept approaching the group, asking them for a battle, and each time he would lose. But apparently Sho liked his determination, so he kept battling him. I caught this on Shinx's third battle with him, and after Shinx lost I followed him when he went to the Oran Berry tree. "What do you think you're doing?" I asked in a motherly sort of way after he had climbed back down. He looked at me, surprised.

    "G-getting an Oran Berry," he answered shakily.

    I narrowed my eyes. "I saw your battle with that Trainer, doofus," I stated. "When I asked what you're doing, I didn't mean at this moment, I meant what are you thinking doing something so stupid."

    "It's not stupid!" he snapped. I jumped a little. My brother never raised his voice ever. "Sho is helping me get stronger!"

    "He's an arrogant jerk!" I shot back, recovering from my surprise. "He's walking through our home like he owns the place! And did you ever think that maybe he's toying with you? That maybe he likes watching you lose?!"

    "No he doesn't!" Shinx shouted. "He wants me to become stronger and join his team! That's why he's let me fight Raichu three times today!"

    "THREE TIMES?!" I shrieked. "Are you crazy?! That's overworking yourself way too much!"

    "You and Dad do it all the time!"

    "We spread it out, just like meals!" I defended. "How long has it been in between each battle you've had today?"

    Shinx opened his mouth and then immediately closed it. "...Ten minutes at most," he answered.

    "See?! He's overworking you until you can't stand, and then he'll kick you while you're down and laugh!" He looked down at his Oran Berry, and I sighed. "Look, Shinx, I'm sorry if I sound mean, but it's only because I care," I told him, lowering my voice. I walked over to him and nuzzled our cheeks. "I mean for Pete's sake, you're my brother! I worry about you. So please, don't do anything stupid, okay?"

    He returned my nuzzling. "Okay," he replied.

    That day, my brother, for the first time, lied through his teeth.

    It's a wonder why I don't claw Paul's eyes out for training late at night. Because that was when Shinx would. And none of us were aware. Well, sure, he slept later, but it was also that time of year where everyone tended to be lazy, so that didn't raise any red flags. What did, at least for me, was that Shinx suddenly wanted to fight me.

    Not Mom.

    Not Dad.


    I didn't mind but I also didn't understand. Why did he want to fight me? We were just learners, not experts. There wouldn't be anything he could learn from me that he couldn't learn from our parents and even more. And stranger still was that he was getting stronger and stronger all three days we fought. I had no idea how he was getting this strong without doing anything; during the day he would just wander around like usual. Still, it raised no flags.

    Not until the fourth day, the last day Sho was in the forest.

    I woke up to discover Shinx wasn't in his usual spot. In fact, he wasn't anywhere. "Shinx?" I whispered since my parents were still asleep. I looked around, and after realizing my brother was missing, I quietly slipped out of our home and began to search for him. I searched between the trees as I ran along the path. And then, completely out of nowhere, I was hit with a Volt Tackle and flung into the trees. I skidded along the ground and finally stopped thanks to a tree at the edge of a clearing. I stood up and shook myself out and looked up. There I was meant with that stupid Raichu and Pichu. They had these stupid smirks on their stupid faces, and I growled. "What do you want, outsiders?" I asked.

    "Harsh," Raichu sneered. "Of course, I shouldn't be surprised."

    Pichu snickered. "Shouldn't be surprised," he repeated, sounding too cute to be with assholes like his Trainer and his evolved counterpart.

    "And how would you know that?" I growled. My answer was to suddenly be head butted into the tree next to the first one I had hit. Once more I stood up and shook myself out, and when I looked at who attacked me I was met with a horrible sight.

    "Because I told them," he said, his voice deeper and definitely more threatening than I had ever heard before, and it made me freeze in fear.

    But that's only natural, right? I mean, when a Shinx evolves into a Luxio, they naturally sound a bit deeper and scarier.

    Maybe it was because my brother was doing things he had never done before. He was glaring and smirking, taking a liking to how I was frozen in place, a look of horror carved on my face.

    "Aw, is my little sister scared?" Luxio taunted as he slowly stalked towards me.

    Looking at my brother, my mind was practically frozen in fear and shock. How? Why? Those two words were all that could circle through my head. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Raichu. My mind began to thaw and I tore my eyes away from Luxio to glare at him. "You," I hissed. Then I roared, "What did you do to my brother?!"

    "We helped him get stronger," Raichu sneered, as if it was no big deal that my brother had done a 180.

    "Stronger!" Pichu cheered. Seriously, why must that thing be so evilly cute?

    "Unlike you," Luxio growled, snapping my attention back to him. "You held me back, made me think I was too fragile to help myself," he continued, stalking towards me again with that smirk still on his face. I started moving back, trying to get away, but that only seemed to egg him in moving forward. "Well I'm done. Tired of being seen as the younger brother. It's time for me to take my place, time for me to finally get noticed by our parents."

    Wrong choice of words.

    Had he kept his mouth shut, he would have had his way with me, because I would have been too scared to do anything. These three could have done whatever and been on their way and no one would have known until they were long gone because I knew I wouldn't have screamed, kicked, fought back, or done anything of the sort. But he had to run his mouth a little, and as a result my mind unfroze and I stopped backing up. He noticed this and stopped himself, slightly confused. I curled my lips and snarled. "That's seriously what you think?" I asked. "You honestly believe Mom and Dad didn't notice you? Please. They would do anything for you! But you always went to me, remember?! The only one who thought you were too fragile was yourself! And you have the nerve to say we thought of you that way?! Fine, whatever, leave with your stupid group of friends! I could care less!"

    He blinked, and then his lips curled into a snarl. That day was just full of news. "Call them stupid one more time, and I will murder you," he threatened.

    "I'd like to see you try!" I challenged.

    He pounced.

    I had never felt so stupid in my life.

    My brother, who could never beat me if he tried, was suddenly tossing me left, right, and sideways. I felt like a used toy a domesticated Growlithe would play with. As our fight (yeah right; it was more like I was a punching bag rather than an opponent) dragged on, I saw his mouth grow back into that stupid smirk. He knew me. I was too prideful to call for help; I would have rather died than call for help. Luxio knew he could do whatever he wanted and no one would be wiser.

    But like I said, that day was full of news.

    That day was the first day I called for help.

    It was also the first day I swore.

    Fuck pride! I shouted in my head. I took a deep breath.

    "DAAAADYYYY!" I screamed at the top of my lungs, my voice filled with fear and panic.

    Luxio stopped in his tracks, clearly not believing what he had just heard. To be honest, I didn't believe it either, but at that moment, I didn't care. Especially when he sprang out of the bush and right in front of me, a snarl aimed at the three Electric types. Luxio shrunk back, knowing just as much as I did at what happened when Dad was really, really angry. Pichu ran behind Raichu for protection. And as for Raichu himself...

    All that bravado he had been boasting washed away like footprints on a beach.

    "Leave my daughter alone," Dad snarled.

    The boys were visibly shaking. "D-Dad," Luxio managed. "I...we-"

    "I'm extremely disappointed in you," Dad spat. He growled. "You're coming home right now so your mother and I can have a very long talk with you."

    That seemed to give the nerve my brother needed. "What if I don't want to come home?" he retorted, giving off his own growl.

    "Then leave," Dad demanded. "All of you leave this instant. Go back to your Trainer and get out NOW!"

    Raichu got his own nerve back at his demand. "Make us," he offered smugly.

    Luxio whipped his head to look at him. "Idiot, what are you doing?" he hissed.

    Because it's never a good idea to give my parents a reason to attack.

    Dad sprung and charged with Giga Impact. Meanwhile, Mom suddenly came out of nowhere and used Superpower on the Mouse Pokémon. He flew back far into the bushes, and from the sound of it, he hit his Trainer, who I guess was coming to get the three. Sho asked what was going on, and Raichu began telling him they needed to leave, sounding extremely panicked. Pichu ran after his evolved counterpart and voiced the same thing. Luxio stayed behind an extra couple of seconds as our glaring, snarling parents stared him down. He spun and jumped after the two, tail between his legs. "We need to leave!" I heard him shout.

    "Jeez, I don't see what's got y'all so panicked," the Trainer stated, confused. "Come on, there's still explorin-"

    Bad move.

    Furious, Dad jumped into the bushes, snarling. There was screaming, and I think Dad chased them all the way to the edge of the forest. Meanwhile, Mom walked over to me. My legs gave way and I slumped to the ground, exhausted. The pain from Luxio's beating finally registered in my brain, and I whimpered. "Baby, I'm so sorry," she soothed, nuzzling me gently. Then she began to lick behind my left ear.

    I lifted my head to look at her. Tears began to form in my eyes. "M-Mom," I croaked. And then I began to cry in pain, not only from my injuries but also the loss of my brother. "Mother, I don't understand! Didn't I do everything right?" I cried. "Where did I go wrong?"

    Mom nuzzled my cheek as she whispered, "You didn't do anything wrong." She let me cry for a while before saying, "He'll understand his faults one day, and when you two you see each other again, he'll apologize. You'll see. Everything's okay."

    My ears picked up what said, but my mind refused to acknowledge the meaning. I didn't believe her, refused to believe her. My own brother, the Pokémon I considered my best friend, had betrayed me; how could everything be okay?

    As the days passed, and as they turned into weeks, I began to become wary of everyone, except my parents. I became paranoid, thinking that others would betray me as well. And as for Trainers, I had very little trust for them, and I became scared of them as well. By the time two months had passed, I was almost completely terrified and untrustworthy of them.

    If another group of three hadn't mad dashed through our forest.
    My stomach rumbled, and I growled at it. "Yes, I'm going to get food, damn it," I told it. "So shut up."

    "GRRRR..." was the response. I sighed.

    The path curved through the trees, and after a while I finally reached the Kelpsy Berry bush. I just love the sour taste of it, not to mention it fills me up after about two or three, and this bush had ten at a time. I pulled one off of the bush and began to grind it up in my jaw when I heard the buzzing of Beedrill and the tramping of feet, along with a lot of shouting. I sighed. I figured that, once more, another team had camped in the Beedrill's territory and were now running for the hills. Deciding to watch the show, I yanked another Kelpsy Berry off of the bush and walked over to the bushes that divided my path from the other one. And when I sat down, that was when I learned something.

    The team of three wasn't running away from the Beedrill.

    The Beedrill were running away from them.

    "Yeah, that's right!" the Chimchar shouted. "Keep running!"

    "Mess with us while we're eating, will you!" the Umbreon called out.

    "In your territory my ass!" the girl yelled.

    My jaw was open as I watched the Beedrill fly by. This group was known for scaring Pokémon in the forest by claiming that wherever they were sitting was part of their territory. They also did this to Trainers and their Pokémon. Of course, since Trainers who traveled through this forest were usually new, they were too weak and scared to fight back. Clearly, this Trainer and her team were not. They had even figured out that the place they had been wasn't part of their territory like they claimed. Then it hit me: how did the Trainer know that the Beedrill were "angry" over territory anyway? Well, how she knew wasn't really important. What I felt was vastly more important was how hilarious this was. Those Beedrill had it coming for a long time. So I chuckled at their expense. But I immediately stopped when I noticed Chimchar had looked in my direction. His teammates were a bit ahead of him before they stopped and turned in confusion. "Hmm? Something wrong?" Umbreon asked as the Beedrill flew off into the distance.

    Chimchar stared at the bushes with a curious face, and I prayed he couldn't see me and would just move on, thinking he made a mistake. But after a while he gave this extremely goofy smile and turned back to the two girls. "There's a scaredy cat watching us," he stated as he pointed at me.

    Scaredy cat?! Who did he think he was?! I pounced out of the bushes without thinking. "I'll show you a scaredy cat!" I threatened.

    He screamed and jumped back, and then his Trainer whacked him upside the head. I was surprised. "Chimchar, don't insult Pokémon you don't know!" she scolded. Hold on...

    "But Haley," Chimchar whined. "She was. She was crouched on the ground and shaking a bit, too."

    The girl narrowed her eyes. "I would be scared too if people I didn't know were running through my home as they shouted," she defended. Was she... Eh, who cares?! I shouted. I growled at her.

    "I don't need defending," I told her with teeth bared.

    She looked down me, and then she knelt down, smiling. "Sorry," she said. "This one just needs lecturing on certain things. I'm sure you could handle yourself, no problem."

    I backed up a bit. "You...understand me?" I asked hesitantly.

    The Trainer smiled even more. "That's right," she confirmed. "My name is Haley. This is my best friend and long time partner Umbreon, and you've already had...interaction with Chimchar. He's newly acquired, so excuse his behavior."

    "Hey, I am well behaved!" the chimp defended.

    Haley rolled her eyes, though she was still smiling. "Anyway, Umbreon and I just got to Sinnoh a week or two ago," she stated. "So I've never seen a Pokémon like you before."

    "I'm a Shinx," I informed.

    "Nice to meet you, Shinx," Haley greeted. She reached out a hand, most likely to pet my head, but I ducked away. She snapped it back. "Oh, sorry. I shouldn't have done that without asking."

    I blinked. She...cared about how I felt? "Yeah, well, just don't do it again," I told her.

    "Right," she agreed, nodding. Then she stood up. "Come on, you two, we should get moving."

    Her Pokémon looked at her curiously but nodded anyway. Then they began walking the way they had come from. "Hold on!" I shouted. Instantly I wanted to hit myself for opening my mouth. Why did I just do that?! I cried as they turned. Okay...okay, calm down, Shinx. Just tell them you made a mistake. "I want a battle!" Wait, what?!

    "You do?" Haley asked.

    I bit my lip. "W-well..." I stuttered.

    Chimchar ran up a bit. "I'll battle you if you want," he offered, a grin on his face. "Come on, it'll be fun." Then his grin turned mischievous. "Unless you really are a scaredy cat."

    "In your dreams!" I snapped. I promised myself he would not get away with calling me that twice.

    "Well, Chimchar, you're on your own," Haley said.

    He looked at her in disbelief, but then he looked back at me with another grin. "Fine by me," he replied.

    My mind was telling me to call this off, that this was a bad idea. But I hadn't had a battle since my encounter with my brother, and he was a Chimchar. We were the same size and relatively the same age, so there wouldn't be much of a power difference. That logic made me agree to this battle completely. "You're going to regret calling me names," I growled. Then I used Charge and pounced at him with Spark. He didn't expect me to be so fast, so I landed a direct hit. He skidded back, and once he was down he put his hands behind him and jumped back up.

    "Wow, that's some serious power," he complimented. "But I'm just getting warmed up." He lunged at me with Scratch, and I dodged the swipes. Chimchar was persistent, though, and he finally caught me off guard. I felt the sting of the swipes along my body, but despite that I wasn't going to give up. I snapped my jaw around one of his arms, and he stopped and screamed in pain. That quickly stopped in favor of punching me in the face. I lost my grip and staggered back a bit, but I quickly recovered and charged with Spark again. He jumped out of the way and fired a round of Ember. I dodged, and he jumped for me, most likely to use Scratch. But halfway through his jump, a giant black-and-gray blur slammed into him and pinned him to the ground. Chimchar looked up at his attacker, terrified. Behind me, I heard Haley and Umbreon cower, and I looked as an angry feline cornered them against a tree.

    My parents had come, and they were definitely not happy.

    "What do you think you're doing to my daughter?" Dad snarled. Chimchar was so frightened he couldn't even form a sound, and instead looked at Dad with big, terrified eyes.

    "If you did anything to her," Mom growled as she began her threat. But before she could continue on, I jumped in front of her.

    "Mom, wait, they didn't do anything!" I defended. Her face turned from menacing to surprised and she backed up a bit. "Dad, get off of him! This is a complete misunderstanding!"

    "Then why was he firing an Ember attack at you?" Dad questioned.

    "We were having a sparring match!" I answered.

    "Sir, she's telling the truth!" Chimchar agreed, finding his voice quicker than I expected. "I would never attack someone without warning like that, I promise! My Trainer would never allow that!"

    "That's right, please believe us!" Umbreon voiced.

    Dad looked at the chimp, his face growing softer. Mom eyed the other feline, her face going soft as well. Then my parents looked at each other and nodded. Dad got off of Chimchar, letting the Fire type stand up. "Shinx, you have some explaining to do," Dad stated calmly.

    I nodded. "Right." So I explained to my parents what I had been doing and what I had gathered from the yells of frustration from the team. I told them about watching them run down the path, and how Chimchar found me, and how the two of us ended up sparring. "This was my idea, not theirs," I finished. "They were actually going to leave."

    "Really," Mom noted curiously as she looked at Haley. "But I would figure a Trainer would come into this forest to look for Pokémon to collect."

    "That was my intention," Haley replied (I had already told my parents she could understand us). "We stopped for lunch in a clearing not too far from here after about thirty minutes of exploring. But, from what I can gather, humans and their Pokémon aren't exactly welcomed here."

    "To make things less complicated, yes, that's what it boils down to," Dad confirmed.

    Haley nodded in understanding. The three were going to turn to leave again, I could tell. And I had a slight problem with that. I mean, it was fine if they left, but that wasn't the problem I had.

    I didn't want them leave without me.

    "Hold on!" I shouted, this time in complete control. "I...I want to go with you!"

    Everyone gave me curious stares, especially my parents. "Are you sure, Shinx?" Haley asked.

    "Yes," I answered. "But only if Chimchar and I can keep battling until you think it's time to throw the Poké Ball. We got interrupted, after all."

    "So, if you lose, you won't mind leaving the forest behind?" Haley confirmed.

    "I..." I looked down at my paws. I hadn't really thought about that. All I had thought about was how Haley and her Pokémon seemed really cool. But if I really did leave then...then what about my parents? I looked at them and noticed that they were...smiling.

    "Don't worry about us, Shinx," Dad assured. "Just do your best, alright?"

    "Yes, sir," I replied, nodding.

    "Okay then," Haley piped up. I turned to see her directly behind Chimchar, both of them looking very determined. It looked like she had decided to take her place as Trainer. "Ready, Shinx?" I nodded, and I was about to start with Charge once more, but Haley anticipated that. "Taunt!"

    She wouldn't even need to order that. It's something he unfortunately does naturally.

    But there's a difference between when Chimchar runs his mouth normally and when he's ordered to use the move Taunt. When it's the actual move, it's impossible to use moves like Charge, no matter how much you want to. And that made me angry, so I attacked with Spark. "Jump onto the branches!" Haley ordered. Before I connected with the chimp he jumped. I stopped in my tracks and looked up, noticing that he had clung onto a branch with one hand. Then, quick as a flash and without an order, he fired Ember. It was definitely much faster than last time, and as the bullets of fire hit me I realized most likely the reason was because he had used it as a distraction. I was struggling to my feet when I heard Haley shout, "Go, Poké Ball!" I felt something hit my forehead, and then I was sucked inside.

    It's hard to describe how the inside of a Poké Ball feels like. It's like...you're there, and you're not. Everything is dark; it's as if you're sleeping. You can hear the noises outside, but it's all fuzzy; it's as if you're slipping into unconsciousness. And when you aren't caught yet, you are allowed to wiggle out and break free. You almost still feel free. But I didn't want to be. I wanted to be apart of this team, to try and trust others once more. So I gave in willingly and heard the Poké Ball finally clicked. Then I heard Haley and my new teammates cheer, though, like I said, it was slightly muffled and fuzzy. Suddenly I was back outside, and I smiled at my new Trainer. Then I looked to my parents, walked up to them, and nuzzled their legs. "I'll miss you," I spoke into Dad's fur.

    "We'll miss you too, Shinx," he replied. Mom gave my left ear one last lick.

    "We can always come back and see them," Haley stated. I looked at her and nodded. "And I'll make sure to take care of her."

    I growled. "I can handle myself just fine," I told her.

    Haley smiled. "I know," she agreed. "But as your Trainer, it's my job to make sure you're okay and that you don't push yourself too hard." Just like Mom and Dad, I realized. When I did, I smiled again and nodded once more. For the third time, Haley and the other two Pokémon turned to leave. I looked at my parents one more time.

    "Bye," I said. "And thank you. We'll come back and see you some day, I promise."

    "Don't worry about it," Dad assured. "Right now, focus on your journey."

    "He's right," Mom voiced.

    "I will, then," I told them. I began to follow my new Trainer back down the path, and right before we turned into the trees I looked back at my parents. They beamed, making me do so as well. The trees finally blocked my view, and after a while of walking down that path, we left my forest home behind.

    But I hadn't left my memories of the bad influence.
    The smell of pasta sauce filled my nostrils, and I slowly opened my eyes. Haley was crouching down, stirring the contents in the pot over the open flame. Paul seemed lost in thought as he looked up at the night sky. I hadn't noticed I slept that long, so I tilted my head back to look at the black curtain as well. I should have been paying attention, though, because the next thing I knew Infernape and Weavile were hugging me and they cried, "Luxray, you're awake!" I heard our Trainers and most of the Pokémon jump at their cry, and then Haley stomped over and smacked them.

    "Which is why you two shouldn't be shouting!" she scolded.

    "Sorry," they both said. Infernape most likely had that stupid grin on his face - because God forbid he takes something 100% seriously for once in his life - while Weavile actually sounded genuine. Like, really genuine. I quickly thought back to a few days before when Umbreon speculated Weavile like liked me. Damn that cat, because I start feeling this slight heat whenever I think about this. Haley snapped me out of my thoughts when she crouched in front of me.

    "Luxray, is everything all right?" she whispered. I blinked, and then looked at my paws. "Is it about your parents?"

    I flexed my paws so that the claw poked out and then retracted again. "Sort of," I replied. "That's part of it. But there's a little bit more."

    "Do you want to talk about it?" she asked. I looked up at her and shook my head slowly. "Okay. But if you ever want to, all you have to do is ask."

    "I know," I told her.

    Haley reached out and scratched behind my left ear. "Are you hungry?"

    "Not really."

    "Alright." She scratched for a bit longer. "Paul, can you-"

    "Just focus on what you're doing," he interrupted. "Don't worry about anything else."

    So she did. She crawled to my left side, sat down, and continued her motions. "Haley," I whispered. "Thanks for being a good influence."

    "On who?" she questioned. "Paul?"

    "Yeah," I answered. "I wish I was able to do this as good as you do it for someone I know."

    "It's only because I've failed once before that I'm able to do as good as you say."

    I perked up and turned my head to see her melancholy. "You've...done this before...and failed?" I asked, unable to believe it.

    She nodded slowly. "I won't get a second chance with him," she said sadly. "What about you?"

    I looked up at the starry sky. "I'm not so sure," I answered. "I don't even know if I'll see him again. And even if I do, his bad influence will still be there like a cement wall."

    "At least there's a chance at seeing him," she argued so softly I almost didn't catch it. "But don't sell yourself short, Luxray," she continued, a little louder than before. "If you ever run into him again, I think you'll be able to help him."

    My head lowered itself to my paws. "Thanks for believing in me," I told her.

    "Always." I smiled and closed my eyes, but just to rest them.

    A little while later, I heard Paul huff. I opened one eye to see him with a bowl in his hand and a slightly annoyed look on his face. "So I'm not allowed to use Luxray as a pillow, but she is?" he mumbled. "And she's asleep, too. She's probably going to wake up tomorrow complaining she's hungry." I chuckled, and Paul took notice. He smirked. "Some influence she makes, huh?" I snickered, and he huffed again, this time in amusement.

    Because, all joking aside, we knew she wasn't a bad one.

    A/N: So I have no idea how the inside of a Poké Ball works and just made it up. Shrugs. Hopefully it made some amount of sense.
    Anyway, someone asked for a one-shot about Paul and Luxray's relationship since I stated they were very close. Don't worry, my friend, that will definitely come. But I wanted to get Luxray's backstory out first so that you guys could understand her character. You will have your fluff about these two one day, trust me.
    Another request I got was a one-shot about Paul's sweet tooth. I will totally do that, but it'll be a while. I already have an idea forming about it, so look forward to something like that in the future.
    As I have stated, requests are definitely welcomed here, so request away.
  5. shinyumbreon

    Dec 31, 2014
    Extras 4: Pink Camellias


    "Uuuugggghhhh...but it's sooo early..." Reggie groaned, pulling the covers over his head. But the annoying beeping of the alarm clock wouldn't stop. Groaning again, the eight-year-old bot slowly sat up and turned to his clock, pressing the off button. He was about to fall back onto his oh-so comfy bed when he noticed a yellow sticky note. Since his eyes were still groggy, it was hard to make out the black scribbles on the paper. That made him curious, so he slowly rubbed his eyes as he picked up the small piece of paper.

    He finally snapped awake.

    "Oh my gosh!" he exclaimed. He tried climbing out of bed but got tangled in his sheets and ended up falling out of bed. That didn't stop the young boy, though. He quickly untangled himself and scrambled towards the door, flinging it open and running right past a red haired maid.

    "Master Reggie, where are you going?" the woman called out.

    Reggie stopped and looked back. Seeing who it was, he ran back up to her. "Elsa, you know what day it is!" he exclaimed. "I have to go downstairs and get everything ready!" He turned around once more but was stopped when Elsa grabbed the collar of his pajama shirt.

    "Hold up!" Elsa told him. "First off, your mother isn't going to wake up for another two hours; we have plenty of time. Second off," she smiled and chuckled, "are you telling me you want to go downstairs in your pajamas and that hair?"

    He looked down at his pale blue pajamas and then went back into his bedroom to see his dark purple hair all over the place. Reggie poked his head out of the doorway to look at the maid. "I'll get ready," he said before going to close the door.

    "Make your bed, too," the maid instructed with a smile.

    Reggie poked his head back out and smiled as well. "Yes ma'am."

    The boy emerged a little later, wearing a button up collar light blue shirt and gray pants. He chose to only wear white socks at the moment, to which the red haired maid sighed good-naturally at. The two went down into the kitchen and began making a very special breakfast. Elsa watched as Reggie busied his hands with all of the different ingredients and foods.

    Something any other rich boy wouldn't even think of doing.

    "What's wrong, Elsa?" Reggie asked, noticing the woman had stopped for a few moments.

    Elsa gave him a smile and chuckled. "You're a natural at this," she complimented, noting how easily he flowed from one step to the next. "You might just get us all out of the job."

    Reggie laughed. "I wouldn't say that," he humbled. "I only do what you and Mom taught me."

    "Then you listened well," Elsa stated. Reggie laughed again.

    After an hour the breakfast was done, but Elizabeth wasn't going to wake up for another one. So the two placed the food in the oven to keep it warm, and Reggie retreated his room to finish up the second half of this very special day. He hummed happily to himself as he finished up his small project. By the time he was done, it was ten till eight, and he smiled. Just then a knock came at his door, and he cracked it open. Elsa was standing across from him, the tray of breakfast in her hands. He matched her smile and allowed her to enter his room. They made room for his project and went back into the hall to walk to Elizabeth's bedroom. Reggie was kind of glad his dad was on a business trip; he wanted to do this on his own for once. But he smiled to himself, knowing his father would be home later that night.

    Fredrick wouldn't miss the entire special day, at least.

    "Miss Elizabeth?" Elsa called out softly as she gently knocked on the door.

    There was rustling. "Oh, good morning, Elsa," the woman's voice floated through the wood.

    "I'm sorry, did I wake you?" the maid asked.

    "Oh, no, I've been awake for a few minutes," Elizabeth assured.

    Elsa smiled. "Would you like me to prop you up?" she offered.

    "That would be lovely," came the reply.

    The maid smiled bigger and motioned for Reggie to stay out of sight. He nodded, and Elsa went inside. The young boy listened hard as he heard muttering and rustling. Then he heard his mother sigh. "Feel better?" There was a pause. "Good." Then he heard footsteps. "By the way, Master Reggie wanted to see you," Elsa informed, sounding louder since she was closer to the door.

    Reggie heard his mother giggle. "He knows he doesn't need permission," she stated.

    "Ah, but your boy is very well mannered," Elsa countered as she exited. She looked at her son and winked. Reggie beamed and walked next to the maid but only poked his head in so that the tray was still hidden.

    "Good morning, Mom," he greeted.

    Elizabeth was lying up in bed still under the covers with the pillows against the backboard. She smiled when seeing his head. "Good morning, Reggie," she giggled. "What did you need to see me for? You can come in, you know."

    The two cookers looked at each other, and then Reggie swung in, presenting the silver tray. "HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!" he exclaimed so loudly he was sure anyone who was asleep had been startled awake.

    Well, whatever. They needed to get up anyway, the day had started. Besides, it was totally worth it for the look on his mom's face.

    "Oh- Reggie!" she gasped as she looked at the breakfast with wonder. "Did you make this for me? All by yourself?"

    "Not by myself," her son answered as he walked up to the bed. "Elsa helped me, but this is for you." He held out the tray. "It's been what you've wanted lately because of...cravings, was it?"

    Elizabeth gasped again, this time not in joy. "Reggie, where did you hear that?" she questioned.

    "I think some of the workers were talking about it," Reggie answered. "Why? Is it...something bad? I'm sorry, Mom, I didn't know."

    But she wasn't angry. She simply smiled and rubbed his head. "It's not something bad, dear," she told him. "But at the same time, it's something you shouldn't go around saying."

    "Is it one of those 'when you're older' moments?" Elizabeth smiled bigger and nodded, making Reggie sigh. He hated waiting until he was older. "Anyway, I hope you like it."

    "It looks and smells delicious," Elizabeth commented. "And I'm sure the taste is even better."

    Of course, Reggie had not been wrong in saying it was because of cravings. The breakfast was...strange, to say the least. Mushroom omelets with cheese, spinach, and...chocolate chips with...chocolate sauce and whipped cream topping it. Next to the main plate was a Grepa Berry and orange juice - the most normal food items on the tray - and toast smeared in Razz Berry jam and...relish. The idea of the entire breakfast sounded so disgusting to the young boy, but to his mom it was paradise. She looked like she was there when she dug in. "So, is it good?" Reggie asked. His mom nodded happily. He sighed in relief internally. For some reason -which was another "when you're older" - Elizabeth would get very cranky every now and then, especially if something wasn't to her "satisfaction". He wasn't about to mention how he almost puked at the thought of making the toast.

    "Would you like to sit next to me, dear?" his mom asked as she patted the space on the right.

    Reggie grinned and ran to the other side before jumping onto the queen-sized bed. "Mom, can I say good morning to him?"

    "I'm sure he'd love it, Reggie," Elizabeth told him.

    He grinned even wider and then leaned down, hand on the stomach. "Good morning, little brother," he whispered. In response, his brother kicked, making Reggie jump back. "Mom, he kicked me!" he exclaimed in slight anger.

    Elizabeth laughed. "That's just his way of replying to you," she explained. "He can't talk just yet."

    The young boy giggled. "That's because he's still in here," he replied, pointing to his mother's enlarged stomach. His mother smiled, and then Reggie crawled right next to her and leaned his head softly against her shoulder. "Mom, when's he going to be here?"

    "Soon, dear," she informed. "He'll come when he's ready."

    Reggie nodded. "I can't wait to be an older brother," he muttered happily. "Do you have a name for him?"

    "Paul Shinji," she responded without hesitation.

    "Why that name?" her son questioned.

    "I've always liked the name Paul," Elizabeth revealed, "and Shinji is your grandfather's middle name."

    "Grandpa Keigo?" His mom nodded, and Reggie felt a little grim. The man had passed away last year, and how his daughter missed him. Then he smiled. "I think he'd love it," he stated. And he meant both of them.

    Elizabeth nodded, and then she looked at the silver tray on her lap. She noticed something she hadn't before. "Reggie...is this a new vase?" she asked.

    He looked at the small-multicolored striped vase filled with pink camellias and smiled. "Yeah, I made it," he replied. She looked at him and blinked. "Well, I mean, I colored it. I tried to make the stripes as straight as possible and keep the colors out of one another but...is it okay?"

    His mom giggled. "Of course it is, Reggie," she assured. "It's beautiful." He beamed. "But there's something I must teach you." She gently touched the light pink petal. "Did you know each flower has a meaning?"

    "They do?"

    "Yes," she answered softly. "For example, a dandelion means faithfulness and happiness. A lavender heather means admiration and solitude. And pink camellias mean 'longing for you'."

    Reggie gasped. "I'm sorry, I didn't know!" he exclaimed.

    Elizabeth laughed. "I know you didn't, dear," she said. "To you, they looked beautiful and you wanted to give them to me." She kissed his forehead. "Don't worry, okay? I love them all the same."

    He hugged her and grinned.

    Of course it had to be cloudy and windy. A day like this couldn't be with sunshine, oh no. Reggie grumbled at fate but didn't let it stop him from taking his almost one-year-old brother to their destination. "Hey Mom," he greeted when they got their. Paul made a weird noise. Babies. "I know it was stupid to bring Paul, but we both wanted to wish you a happy Mother's Day." His younger brother giggled, and Reggie smiled. "I brought you a present. I hope you like them." He went to give her the present but then noticed something.

    Dead leaves had surrounded the vase.

    He frowned. "Mock me more, will you, fate?" he sighed. He knelt, placed the present gently on the ground, and brushed away the brown dried up foliage. He then grabbed the vase and checked if any leaves had gotten in there. They had, along with some rainwater, meaning he couldn't dump it out. How would his present last longer without it? He grumbled again, set the vase down, and gently placed the flowers in. Then the nine-year-old looked at his work. He realized the vase was in the wrong place. So he moved it to where it belonged:

    Right next to the tombstone.

    "Happy Mother's Day," he whispered. Paul made a noise, which at this point Reggie had realized meant "brother". He looked at the small boy, and only then did he notice that Reggie had been silently crying. Looking at his younger brother, he only let the tears fall harder.

    The pink camellias swimming along with the dead leaves as he did.

    A/N: Hopefully you all wish your moms a wonderful Mother's Day.
  6. shinyumbreon

    Dec 31, 2014
    Extras 5: Love Is Serious

    Well aren't I just the biggest idiot?

    I say this because I don't even understand how this all came about. Why did I even like him, because he looks hot? Because he's good at battling? Because if I just look really closely I can see the remnants of a good person?

    ...You know, that third reason might be why.

    Through all of my screaming, all the times I called him a jerk in some form or fashion, all the times I had scoffed and stuck up my nose and just finding him unpleasant...I think I fell in love with him.

    Or, at least, I thought it was love.

    But let's be honest, it was nothing more than an infatuation that had no reason behind it. And, when we really get down to it, it never would have been something, anyway. I'm a ten-year-old, just-starting-out, girly-girl Coordinator. He's a teenage veteran Trainer. I'm not saying something can't happen with that set-up, but for us, it would never be anything.

    Yet, up until that day, I kept living in this stupid fantasy that maybe it could be possible.

    Have you ever heard of the phrase "opposites attract"? That was my reason of thinking about why it would work out. But there also has to be some common ground. What do we have in common? We train Pokémon. Okay, any thing else?

    ...Take a wild guess.

    Heck, he has more in common with Zoey than he does with me!

    Though, side note, that would be even less likely in my opinion.

    And it all became clearer that something would never happen when I saw Paul and Haley interact after she stormed off. Yes, I actually did follow them. And the two were flirting so much I couldn't believe they weren't together!

    Or that I had actually believed in my little fantasy to begin with.

    Despite being only ten, I'm in tune with people's love lives...except, apparently, my own.

    As I watched them walk away, I noticed Haley lean her head on his shoulder. I half expected Paul to wrap his arm around her waist, and admittedly I almost yelled at them to kiss. But I kept my mouth shut; after all, Haley was already mad at me, and the fact that I had been secretly observing would have just made things worse.

    I thought if I were to be heartbroken, it would have been at his indirect, nonverbal rejection. What really broke my heart was that I probably just lost a good friend all because I didn't come out with the truth.

    I walked back to the Pokémon Center in melancholy as I thought about that. Then another equally saddening thought struck me: how was I supposed to tell Ash and Brock? They probably wouldn't want to be friends with me either if I told them...not that Ash would understand anything about love, anyways. Still, the fact that I liked Paul at all would probably disgust him. "Dawn?" I tore my eyes away from the oh-so interesting ground when I heard Ash say my name. It was then that I had noticed I had already made it back to the Pokémon Center field. I had hoped for more time. "Is everything okay?"

    Not really. I tried not to show that, but my shoulders must have slumped, because Brock walked over and placed a hand on my shoulder, which did startle me. "We're here for you," he assured. "What's on your mind?"

    "A lot of things," I admitted in a small voice. The looks in their eyes told me they wanted all of those thoughts to be poured out. So I did. I told them why I had battled, and why I had realized I had been so stupid. "I didn't even realize Haley could understand Pokémon," I stated. "That's why I thought the secret was best kept with Piplup." He looked down and chirped out an apology. I smiled apologetically. "It's okay, Piplup, you didn't know. I didn't know." My shoulders slumped again. "Like I didn't know a lot of things."

    "Dawn, love is a complicated, serious thing," Brock pointed out. "But don't ever let it knock you down, no matter how many times it throws you off!"

    "You're one to talk," I replied with a smile, and in that instant I realized he had only said that comment to make me feel better; he might have been a little serious, but overall it was a way to cheer me up. Then I looked at Ash and noticed something very unusual:

    He looked dead serious.

    "Dawn," he said in a voice I never thought I would hear from him, "can I talk to you privately?" All of us were understandably confused - including Brock and especially Pikachu - but I decided to comply without question and followed him a little ways away. Then my dark blue eyes met with his very serious chocolate brown ones. In a way I felt as if I was looking at a different person. But I wasn't. "Brock was right in saying love is complicated and serious," he began, "but if I'm going to be honest, you shouldn't be falling in love in the first place." I braced myself for what I thought his next sentence would be. "You're too young. You shouldn't be falling in love right now. You have your whole life to look forward to."

    ...Okay, who was this, and where did he put Ash? "I thought you would say I'm an idiot for 'falling in love' with Paul," I responded in surprise.

    "Not an idiot," he debunked, and then he laughed. There was the Ash I knew...sort of. "Heck, maybe a girlfriend would mellow him out." Then he went back to looking serious. "But that brings me to my two points. One, don't judge on appearances. That's pretty much true in everything, but especially love. I...I don't want to see you hurt by some guy who you thought would be great just because he put on a good front." Why...why did it look like he was talking from personal experience? "Second...if you're ever in danger...please, do whatever you can to get out of there. Talk to us. Brock and I will listen no matter what. Please." If his first point wasn't from personal experience, this definitely was. I could just see it in his eyes and hear it in his voice. He was talking to me...

    But it was as if he was also talking to someone else. Someone who had gone through something much more heartbreaking than what I thought was heartbreak from rejection.

    I nodded. "I'll remember that," I promised. He smiled. "But Ash, I don't understand where this side of you came from."

    All he did was smile bigger and tip his hat. "Shall we get going?" he asked in his usual cheery way. This was just getting weird. But at the same time, as he walked past me, I was really grateful for his advice.

    Love isn't something to toy around with; it's something that needs great time and care. Ash was right, I'm only ten. Infatuation is what happens right now.

    Actually falling in love can wait.

    A/N: As much as I do like Ikarishipping, there are way too many problems with it. They have absolutely zero chemistry, how would it even happen?!
    I take suggestions, so suggest away.
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