1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Welcome to Lake Valor!
    Catch, train, and evolve Pokémon while you explore our community. Make friends, and grow your collection.

    Login or Sign Up


Discussion in 'Literature Library' started by MoonFoxJ, Oct 26, 2015.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. MoonFoxJ

    MoonFoxJ Swimmer

    Apr 8, 2015
    A.N.: New readers, keep in mind that this is a one-shot based on a character of my main story, Homeward. Currently, I am busy writing Homeward's sequel, Astray, so I suggest you read up until chapter 8 of Astray if you want to get the full effect. But if not, then just read for fun and see if you like my writing style. Anyway, your choice, enjoy! As for my old readers, I hope you enjoy because a story this long was a nightmare to write out.
    Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon, but I do own Backtrack-Claire and its characters.
    May 6
    Wilderness Cliffside
    "Mommy! Daddy!"
    The young Eevee felt dread wash over her as she was stuck in the middle of an impossible dilemma. To her left, her Sylveon mom hung just under a death-drop cliff. And at her right, her Leafeon dad held onto the edge of the cliff by the tips of his claws, too tired and beaten to pull himself up.
    "Maple!" she heard both her mom and dad call.
    The Eevee, Maple, didn't know who to look too, afraid that if she took her eyes off any one of them for too long, they'd fall. She didn't know what to do, and her feet scampered to the left, then right, then left, and then right again.
    "Mommy, daddy, what do I do?!" Maple cried.
    "Go help your mommy!" she heard dad order.
    "Go help your daddy!" mom shouted at the same time.
    Maple looked back and forth even faster. She wanted to do something right now, she had to! But what?
    Maple fell to the ground and wailed, "I don't know what to do!" She began to cry.
    Dad's voice brought her back to the present. "Maple, listen to me. Daddy's a big, strong man, right? He can take care of himself, right?"
    Maple choked between crying and talking, "Yeah... "
    "So listen to daddy, and go help mommy. Can you do that for me, Maple?"
    "O-Okay... " she sniffled out.
    Picking herself off the ground, Maple ran to her mom like her dad told her to. She saw her. Mom was just barely hanging onto a root that poked out of the burnt ground, which had been scorched by the Gabite's attack just a minute ago. Did dad call it a Dragon Rage? Maple wasn't sure, she was just so terrified at the time.
    "Mommy, I'm here! Grab my paw!" Maple said.
    "Honey, stay back, it's not safe here!" her mom yelled at her.
    "But daddy said-"
    "Damn it, Tulip! We're wasting time! Just take her paw already!" they heard the Leafeon roar. Maple winced, she'd never heard dad so angry before.
    "Mommy, here!" Maple cried as she reached down.
    A mix of emotions spread over the Sylveon's face. Disgust. Fear. Shame. They were all there, but she eventually reached her paw up to meet her daughter's. But try as they could, they just couldn't reach, couldn't connect. Suddenly, the root gave way.
    The root fell for a second, but stopped moving as soon as it began. As for the Sylveon, she'd managed to hold her grip, despite the jolt from the root's sudden drop and stop. Maple didn't think, she just moved. Filled with fear-fueled courage, Maple climbed down the loose dirt, hurrying to help mom. Mom was now farther down than before, but this time Maple didn't hesitate, and reached as far as she could.
    "Mommy, grab on!"
    The Sylveon gritted her teeth in frustration, and praying that nothing would happen to her daughter, she reached up once again.
    "Maple, did you grab her?! Did you grab mommy!" she distantly heard her dad ask.
    Maple clenched her teeth. "Alllmooost theeere," she groaned.
    They were only an inch away.
    The dirt around the root began to crumble.
    The Sylveon desperately reached for her daughter's paw.
    "I-I got her!" Maple cried happily. "Daddy, I got mo-AH!!"
    Right then, the dirt encasing the root completely crumbled away. The Sylveon's brief smile dropped instantly, and her eyes stared back at her daughter in shock. With their paws now locked together, both mother and daughter fell off the cliff side to their waiting watery graves.
    "Glade, I'm sorry!" the Sylveon cried in despair. She held her daughter close, knowing it would be the last time ever, and then threw the little Eevee with surprising strength, back up to safety.
    "MOMMY NOOO!!"
    Maple ran back over to the cliff side to see her mom's fall.
    "Maple, honey, don't look!" the Leafeon yelled. "Come here, look at daddy!"
    But Maple ignored dad, and continued to watch as mom neared the water below. She couldn't look away. All was silent. The drop was so high, and mom kept shrinking and shrinking. Then, five painful seconds later, they heard a quiet splash...
    Maple's eyes scrunched close, and began to water anew. Losing the strength to hold up her own weight, the nine-years old Eevee dropped to her knees, and cried again.
    "... ... ... Damn it!!" she heard dad shout in heated rage. A thud was also heard, as he must've released a paw to punch what little dirt he had left. Consequently, the grip on his one remaining paw slackened, but he didn't care.
    Maple stopped crying immediately. "Daddy!" she cried as she ran over to help him.
    The dirt around the Leafeon's last paw sagged.
    The Leafeon laughed at his actions. "Heh, I guess I'm not only a failure as a husband, but a father too," he scolded himself for being selfish, selfish for leaving Maple alone in this world.
    "Daddy wait, I'm coming!" Maple cried in desperation. Her young legs carried her as fast as she could, but it she wished they were faster.
    "Maple, mommy and daddy, we'll always love you. Promise daddy you'll never forget that," the Leafeon said. His claws trembled with the effort to hold his weight.
    "Just wait, I'm coming!!"
    "I love you Maple honey," the Leafeon said, fighting back the tears. "I love-"
    That day, because a Gabite was desperate for food, a little girl lost everything.
    May 7
    Wilderness Cliffside
    The next day, Maple awoke alone and scared in the same spot she passed out from, right by the cliff side. She'd spent the whole day yesterday crying until she fell asleep, but now it was morning. She was hungry, thirsty, cold, and lost, absolutely lost. She had no idea what to do next now that she was alone, but her rumbling stomach and dry throat told her that she had to move. So she did the only sensible thing, and put her back to the cliff. She started the walk back down to her den, which was found in a grove of trees. Reaching a familiar flowerbed, she walked mindlessly back to the hole in the ground she called home. Her legs moved on autopilot. She barely registered the scorched flowers and torn trees where the battle between the Gabite and her parents took place. One moment, they were all enjoying lunch together, and then the next, he was suddenly in their home, demanding all they had, or else...
    She played the scene, from the Gabite's entrance to her parents' fall, over and over again as she made the journey back to home. There wasn't anything else to do anyway.
    Soon enough, Maple reached her den, a hole dug inside a bed of beautiful flowers and towering trees. She slid down the slanted hole as usual and emerged into a dome-shaped room that was dug out of the dirt, but when she got to the bottom, everything was dark and broken up. That was good. It would've been too painful if she came back to her usual warm, candle-lit, furniture-filled home. This cold, darker setting was much better; it gave her something to do next, to move on and survive. But first, she had to grab a few things.
    Obviously, she found no food. The Gabite must've come back and taken it all; there wasn't even a single Pecha Berry. Dad's dining table, which he crafted on his own with materials that he scavenged around the forest, was in pieces, and those pieces were also in pieces. The other furniture he crafted over the years fared no better. The baskets that mom wove were shredded, so were her handmade blankets. Everything was gone. Maple made her way to her room, a basic sub-dome dug right next to the main room. Her small bed was overturned as if it was searched (probably for hidden food). Her collection of beautiful flowers, rocks, and herbs were discarded everywhere. But thankfully, she found it, the Leafeon doll her mother made for her to help her sleep when she was a baby. She looked for a bit longer until she found the Sylveon doll as well underneath her blanket. She hugged them both close to her.
    "Maple, mommy and daddy, we'll always love you. Promise daddy you'll never forget that."
    "I promise daddy," Maple mumbled. "I promise I'll never forget, and I'll love you both forever and ever." She'd already spent a whole day shedding tears, but as she spoke those words, more threatened to spill.
    Shaking her head defiantly, Maple placed both dolls of her parents on her blanket, wrapped them up, and tied the blanket onto her back as a makeshift pack. As a hobby, she learned a little about weaving from her mom as she grew up. Securing the strap, she gave a satisfied nod, and left her room. She had one last room to check.
    Maple returned to the main room, and entered her parents' room.
    It was a larger version of her room, yet smaller still than the main room. The bed was split in half, the blanket was torn to shreds, and dad's storage chest lay in pieces, scattered across the room. She found many keepsakes of both mom and dad's, mainly the square, paper-like things that they had called "pictures". They had told her that before they lived here, they met in a huge place called a "city" where Pokémon and "humans" lived in tall, hollow, square rocks, or "buildings". There were a few humans in the background of some pictures, so Maple already had an idea of how they looked, but she'd never met one up close before. That would soon change. Taking a few more minutes to look at the pictures of mom and dad, Maple then added the pictures into her blanket, refolded it into a pack, and slung it over her back.
    "I'll be back. I promise," Maple said before leaving the room.
    She then returned to the main room, climbed out of the hole, eventually found a boulder, and spent the next two hours pushing it all the way back to her den. Dropping down the hole, she made sure that no one had entered while she was gone, climbed back out, and pushed the boulder onto the hole, sealing her old home until her return one day.
    With the deed done, Maple began her search for food and water. She would need some for the long journey ahead of her.
    July 5, Four years later
    Red Oak City
    "Ooh, keep doing that. Ahhh yeaaahhh that feels sooo good, baby."
    Embarrassed, Maple quickly walked away from the muffled moans of pleasure coming from behind the closed door. Working at a strip club for four years now, the thirteen-years old Eevee should've been used to these kinds of things by now. At least it wasn't as bad as it was in the beginning when she was still new to all of ... this.
    Back then, when she had just made it to Red Oak City, she found it extremely difficult to survive. Her food had run out during the first three days here, and she barely managed to scrape by through dumpster-diving. One day, Manny, the human who owned this strip club, found her on the streets and took her in. At first, she accepted his help wholeheartedly, as she was still so young, and he took very good care of her at first. But later, when she wanted to leave, she learned that he had provided her with food and warm bedding, just to make her dependent on him. Unfortunately, he had succeeded. Having grown too scared to leave on her own, she became more and more anchored to Manny's strip club, Hot Touch, and remained here ever since.
    As Maple rounded the corner to the bathrooms, she bumped into a familiar human. "Hey Claire," Maple gladly greeted.
    The human was a woman in her mid-twenties, with long, curled, brown hair with white highlights. Her skin was fair and flawless, and her eyes were a warm shade of green. She was of average height, and her "assets" were well-proportioned as well. The most distinguishing about her though, was that she only wore a bra, panties, and high heels, all in matching white. In a public setting, this would've been considered very indecent, but as they were in a strip club, some would've considered it as gorgeous.
    Stopping abruptly, the woman Maple referred to as "Claire" looked down and gave a warm smile. "Hi Maple," Claire said happily as she bent down to Maple's level.
    The first time the two girls had met could've gone a lot smoother for both parties. When she was sill nine, Manny had told Maple not to wander around during work hours, but her young and curious mind just couldn't help but rebel. One day, she snuck out during the afternoon and soon found herself in the regular old club room, which she was tasked of cleaning after closing time, except this time it was filled with vibrant lights, pounding music, and men, so many men. They were all cheering for Claire who was dancing onstage in rhythm to the music. Maple grew astounded at everything she saw, and as she ventured further, she came upon weird repeating noises and pleasured moans behind a closed door.
    Curious, she tried to enter the room, but as soon as she started to turn the doorknob, a couple of humans yelled at her. A man had told her something like "Whoa what the f***?! Shut the damn door!" and she heard a woman pleading "I'm so sorry, I swear I thought I locked it!" Scared out of her mind, Maple had quickly resealed the door, and ran all the way back to her room, even though she hadn't seen anything. At closing time, Manny had angrily confronted her about it and told her to not do it again. After that day, Maple never disobeyed Manny again.
    But Claire was the one who actually talked with her in the aftermath. She was also the first human Maple had befriended. Still, between a nine-years old Pokémon and a human woman, Claire had a hell of a time giving Maple the "for kids" version of the talk. As the years went by, Maple learned bit by bit about "the business" and Claire eventually gave her the complete version of the talk when Maple turned twelve. A little too early in most eyes, but Claire decided that it was better for Maple that she learn quicker so as to be more aware to her surroundings.
    Now thirteen, Maple had over a year of conscious knowledge within the strip club, along with its more "intimate" activities, but she still retained that timid nature the whole time. At the very least, she was no longer innocent to the process of reproduction.
    "Long shift today?" Maple asked. Knowing that Claire, as a human, wouldn't understand her, she added a sympathetic look.
    "Yeah, I'm here all day today too," Claire sighed. Then she shrugged, "Oh well, just means more money for me, right?"
    Maple nodded in encouragement. "Should I save a snow cone for you again?" she asked while tracing the shape of a snow cone in the air with her claws.
    This was something Maple did for Claire when she was wiped. Claire and Maple had grown to be fast friends, and Claire would sometimes bring back treats for Maple, like pastries, chocolates, pizza, stuff like that. Wanting to pay her back, Maple learned that at the bar section of the strip club, ice was kept to be served with the alcohol, so she tried mixing some shaved ice with a bottle of Razz Berry juice that Claire had bought her. When Maple tasted it, she found that she loved it, and was so proud, thinking that she had created a new food, one that the world had never seen before. She was so disappointed when Claire revealed the truth, but happy again when Claire tasted it and told her that it was great.
    Claire grinned at her and said, "Cheri, please."
    "You got it," Maple said while grinning back.
    With that, Claire rose to full height and walked past the Eevee, who made her way to the restrooms. Over the years, Manny made Maple take care of more responsibilities around the "house" (as he put it, probably to anchor her further to Hot Touch). One of the things she had to take care of was keeping the restrooms clean.
    Reaching the door to the women's restrooms, Maple knocked to announce her entry, found the cleaning supplies right where she left them earlier, and began to clean. It was easy to clean the women's side as the majority of customers mainly consisted of men. It still took her some extra time though since she was still an Eevee, and a young one at that.
    After a quick wipe and sweep, Maple exited the women's room fifteen minutes later, knocked on the men's room, and entered after hearing no response. Since it was obviously used more often, the men's room was much more disgusting, and when Maple cleaned the toilets, she sometimes wondered if males liked to pee blindfolded. When she finished cleaning the men's room, she would always make sure to wash her paws at least three times.
    In the middle of scrubbing the sinks, Maple suddenly heard the door open. A human entered, walking in an unbalanced manner, and made his way into one of the stalls before falling to his knees.
    Agghh, come on, I just cleaned that, she thought at the sounds of heaving and retching.
    The Poké Ball at the man's belt suddenly popped open by itself, releasing a Leafeon. The Leafeon viewed the human with skeptical eyes, and muttered "Seriously Anthony, you have got to learn moderation... "
    The Leafeon turned and met Maple's stare with his own.
    He blushed lightly and looked away. "Sorry about this, ma'am," he said awkwardly.
    Maple's eye arched. "Ma'am"? Really? What's with this guy? She thought. "It's fine... " she eventually dismissed.
    When the Leafeon didn't say anything back to her, Maple shrugged and decided to get back to work. The man in the stall was still vomiting, but she just tuned it out and focused at the task at hand.
    "So uhh... " the Leafeon finally said. Maple turned to him again, but when she did, he began to fumble with his words. "H-H-How today are you? I-I mean, w-what I meant to say was... how are you today?"
    Not knowing where the Leafeon was going with this, Maple hesitantly said, "Fine, thanks."
    At her answer, the Leafeon replied with "Good, good" and focused his attention back on the man in the stall, who had gone quiet (maybe he passed out?). Maple watched the strange Leafeon from the corner of her eye. His legs were locked, and his back was straight. He looked tense. She also noticed he was fidgeting the tiniest bit, probably trying to find a way to revive the conversation. To her, it was a bit sad.
    Deciding to give the guy a chance, she said back, "How are you tonight, sir?"
    The Leafeon looked back at her, a bit surprised, and he laughed wholeheartedly. For some reason, the sound made her smile. It was a nice laugh. "I'm doing fine now, thank you for asking, ma'am," he answered.
    Maple frowned a little at that word again, "ma'am". "Why do you keep calling me "ma'am"?" she asked humorously.
    Somehow, the Leafeon's back got straighter than it already was. "I'm sorry ma'am," he said, wincing as he realized he called her "ma'am" again. "It's just that I don't know your name, and I didn't want to offend."
    Maple hesitated for a second. "It's Claire," she eventually said. As nice as this guy seemed, you could never really know how people truly were at first, so she decided to be cautious.
    The Leafeon gave her a smile. "Good evening, Ms. Claire. My name is Lance."
    "Ew, now it's "Ms."?" Maple complained while chuckling. "Enough with the formal talk, Lance. You can just call me Claire."
    Lance looked like he was struggling for a while, before he said, "Hello, Claire."
    "Hey, Lance."
    Lance's posture visibly loosened a little, and he said, "So, what're you doing right now, Claire?"
    Remembering her job, Maple went back to wiping. "Just cleaning the sinks, that's all," she plainly said. After a while, she thought "why not" and added, "I also have to take care of other stuff too, like the couches, tables, countertops, things like that."
    "Sounds like a lot of work. How old are you anyway? You look too young to be in a place like this."
    "Fifteen," she lied. She didn't really care, but Manny told her to say that when asked that particular question, so it was just a reflex now.
    "Wow. Fifteen, really?"
    "Well how old are you, huh?"
    "And what's a guy like you doing with a guy like him?" Maple asked, motioning to the man kneeling in the stall.
    "Oh, Anthony? He's my partner, but also my superior since I'm still kind of new to this type of relationship."
    Maple's mind went blank. Wait... "partner"? "Relationship"? Did I read the signals that badly? Shaking her head, Maple said, "So then... what're you guys doing in a strip club?"
    "Oh, Anthony and I pulled a twenty-four hours shift over the holiday, and he wanted to relax afterwards so we ended up coming here, except I'm only tagging along to make sure he doesn't do anything stupid."
    Maple gulped. These were uncharted waters she was treading through right now. "... Okaaay, but wouldn't you be happier in a... I don't know, is there even such a thing as gay strip clubs or is that like a strip club for women or...?" she asked, hoping no offense or disrespect was taken.
    Lance's eyes popped. "Gay?! Where did you get the idea that we... Ohh!" And then he laughed without restraint. "Sorry, I should've introduced myself earlier," he said in between laughs. For some strange reason, Maple found herself laughing too. They laughed like that for a few, carefree seconds before Lance sighed and resumed speaking, "Let me start again; I'm Lance, and I'm a police officer of ROPD."
    Surprised, Maple gasped.
    "Oh no, don't worry, we're not undercover or anything. Really, all we're here for, or at least what this guy's here for, is to relax," Lance tried to assure her.
    Regardless, Maple was suddenly glad she lied about her name and age. But she was still the one and only Eevee who worked here, and that could've been a problem. "I thought only Manectric were allowed to be Pokémon police officers. And they accept sixteen-year old police officers?" she said, trying to elude the truth about this Leafeon.
    "That's just a popular misconception. Any Pokémon, just like how any human, may apply to be in law enforcement. It's just that the long history of consistent Manectric police officers, along with social pressure, discourages change and variability towards the community of Pokémon police officers. Also, the minimum age requirement for Pokémon is lower than humans," Lance told her confidently. Maple shook her head to try to recall what he just said. The guy used big words, but his smile was so nice.
    "Then, what're you doing in law enforcement?" Maple asked, still unsure of Lance.
    "I guess... I'm here to break the cycle," Lance said casually, still that easy smile.
    Surprisingly, Maple found herself calming down already. It was weird. She didn't know if Lance used some kind of talk technique on her to calm her down, or something else he must've learned at "police school" or whatever, but she felt very relaxed around him. She almost forgot about the three-year gap between them.
    "So how long have you been an officer?" she asked.
    "Still my first week."
    "Ah," she merely replied. Now it was her turn to find a conversation starter. Eventually, she settled with, "... Is it dangerous?"
    "I guess. I've only had two major calls where it got really dangerous. One was to stop a liquor store robbery that went south, but turned into a hostage situation. The other was civilian control yesterday, but that was to be expected since it was a holiday, so I don't think it counts. Plus, there wasn't anything major that I had to get a handle on that day, just a couple of drunks in a melee, that's all."
    "Is it scary? Not knowing what exactly will happen or when? Or when you're called to go stop a bad guy?"
    Lance hesitated this time. "It is scary, yeah. But I'm not allowed to let that fear control me when a situation arrives, and I don't want it to either, not when it's my duty to protect and serve the citizens of Red Oak City," he said. He said it so plainly, but somehow it sounded so cool to Maple. She couldn't believe this guy was three years older than her.
    "... If you ever get into a fight, do you think you'd... run away?" Maple suddenly asked, unsure of who exactly she was asking.
    Lance looked into her eyes for a second before he said, "I-"
    Maple and Lance turned to the door. The noise had come from the main club room, along with several colorful swears. Lance turned to the man in the stall and shouted, "Anthony, we've got a situation. We have to go!" He also tried to shake his partner awake, but the man merely groaned and waved Lance off.
    Lance made to try again, but a woman's scream forced him to abandon his backup, and charge out the door.
    Maple also ran out the door, but for a more definitive reason. That scream, it was Claire's.
    Most of the dancers and guests had already fled the room, so when the Leafeon and Eevee reached the main room, they immediately spotted the source of the chaos. Two men clad in black attire stood onstage, one wearing a hockey mask, and the other wearing a hood and bandit scarf. Beside them, an Infernape and Garchomp just finished taking down the bouncers, humans and Machoke alike. Among the mass of bleeding bodies, Manny's was found as well.
    And at the criminals' feet was...
    "Claire!" Maple cried.
    Everyone turned to Maple.
    "Hold it right there!" Lance shouted, stepping into his combat stance in front of Maple. It looked practiced. "You four, hands where I can see them! Don't make me ask twice!"
    Hockey-mask man, scarf man, the Infernape, and the Garchomp, all looked at Lance, then at each other. Suddenly, they all laughed. "Kid, if you don't want to get seriously f***ed up, then get the hell out of here and go back to school. Don't be a hero," the Infernape said.
    Maple saw that the four wouldn't back down, so she unconsciously stepped closer to Lance.
    The leaf on Lance's head grew and charged with shimmering, white energy. Maple gaped at it, she'd never seen something like this before. "I'm Officer Lance of the ROPD. I'm giving you to the count of three to put your hands up, and get on your knees," Lance barked. "One!"
    The Infernape stood back a bit. "Holy shit, this little brat's a cop!" he said while making hand signals to the men.
    Apparently, the message got across. "That puny Leafeon's a f***cking cop? What the f***?!" scarf man exclaimed.
    "You told me that this was going to be an easy, quiet job! Edge of the city! Get in and get out!" hockey-mask man yelled at scarf man.
    Claire saw Lance crouch down. "Two!"
    The Garchomp spoke up, "Guys what the hell do we do now?!"
    Maple's mind left the present and went back in time. That voice, where have I heard it before?
    The four traded glances, and a sort of understanding was exchanged between them. Before Lance could announce "three", several things happened all at once. Hockey-mask man kicked Claire hard in the gut, knocking the woman off the stage. Maple jumped at Claire's pained scream. Scarf man pulled out something from his back pocket, a Molotov cocktail, lighted it, and threw it at the unconscious (or possibly dead) bouncers and Manny. The Infernape shot a spiral of flames from his mouth, using it to cover their escape. The Garchomp shot some kind of purple beam from his mouth, directly at Lance.
    "Watch out!" Lance barked at Maple as he pulled her behind him. When the purple beam approached, he slashed it straight down the middle with his white-glowing leaf, splitting the beam in two.
    When the attack ended, Lance could only catch a glimpse of the Garchomp as the criminals retreated towards the back of the strip club. "Go, go, go!" the Garchomp yelled.
    "Damn it," Lance growled as he was already on the move, but not after the four. He rushed over to the small section on the wall where emergency supplies were kept, yanked out a fire blanket, and began smothering the flames that crawled over Manny and his bouncers.
    However, Maple stood rooted to the floor. "It's him," she hissed to herself. "The one who got mom and dad killed."
    Maple had no control of what she did next. Clenching her teeth, she took off after the escaping Garchomp with only one thing in mind, revenge. She faintly heard Lance telling her to stop before she got hurt, but she didn't care. She was just one Eevee, and she was about to face four experienced criminals who successfully took down a whole staff of bouncers on their own. She'd never fought a battle in all her life but right now, she didn't give a damn. This was her one, and possibly last, chance, and she wouldn't have traded it for anything else in the world. Her hatred boiled so hot, her vision began to tinge a furious orange. She felt invincible.
    Then, a crashing sound was followed by the sound of her friend's scream.
    Maple turned back and saw Claire on the floor, behind a wall of fire. She wondered why Claire was just lying there until she saw that her legs were pinned under a support beam that had fallen from the roof. That's when Maple made sense of her "orange vision". The entire strip club was on fire. The spiral of fire that the Infernape had used earlier had spread throughout the strip club. Flames clung to the walls and ceiling, smoke flooded the air and hazed her vision, and everything felt too hot.
    She immediately rushed to help Claire, but hesitated. If she helped her now, she'd lose the Garchomp and never see him again. But, if she went after him, then Claire would die. She looked at Claire, then down the hall where the Garchomp gone, then at Claire again, and back and forth.
    "Help! Someone please help me!!" Claire pleaded.
    "Damn it, I'll lose them at this rate!" Lance growled, pulling one of the unconscious bouncers towards the exit.
    Maple couldn't believe this was happening. She had to choose! Claire or the Garchomp? Friendship or vengeance? She didn't know what to do, and at this rate, she'd lose both an enemy and a friend.
    Tightening her paw, Maple pulled back and punched herself in the face. Blinded from the pain, Maple stumbled and held her cheek, but stayed on her feet.
    This is just like when I was a kid, Maple thought, recovering the incident from four years ago. I didn't choose, I let my fear consume me, and because of that, not only did I drop mom, but dad fell too. Starting now, I won't be a coward anymore, I won't stand by and do nothing, I'll choose, and I'll choose right!
    Maple ran to Claire as fast as she could, despite the wall of fire that grew closer and closer. She could feel the heat now, and although no flames touched her yet, her skin burned like nothing she ever felt before. But she didn't dare slow down.
    "Haaaaa!!!" Maple roared as she leapt over the flames; however, they managed to lick her feet.
    Landing on the floor, Maple clutched her feet in pain, giving them a brief blow to hopefully alleviate the burns. It didn't help much.
    "Maple?" she heard Claire say. "What're you doing here? Get out and call someone, it's not safe here!"
    Pushing through the pain, Maple climbed to her feet and limped over to the support beam. So as to avoid crushing Claire, she got under the side where the beam angled upward, and pushed up with all her might. For a long time, the beam refused to even budge, and when Maple finally lifted it a hair off of Claire, she dropped it, as the strain proved to be too much for her.
    Claire groaned in pain from the drop. "Just go, Maple. You're going to end up hurting yourself," Claire told her.
    Maple went right back to her second try. "Sh-sh-shut... up! I'm... try... ing... t-to... save... you!"
    Releasing a bellowing yell, Maple pushed with everything she had, and this time, the beam lifted three-quarters of an inch.
    Maple groaned with clenched teeth, "Gogogogogo!"
    Claire crawled out quickly enough, but now Maple found herself stuck under the immense weight. She didn't have the strength to push it off her, and if she let go, she'd be crushed for sure. She began thinking that it was the end, until Claire grabbed hold of the beam and helped her push it off her.
    Maple looked at her paws, they were bleeding. The burns combined with the heavy pressure had caused her skin to rip, and her own blood now left her in rivers.
    "Thanks," Maple said with a nod. Her paws refused to stop shaking.
    Instead of replying, Claire wrapped Maple in a hug, holding the little Eevee close to her.
    "I should be the one thanking you," Claire said shakily. Was she crying? "Thank you. Thank you so much, Maple. But please, don't ever scare me like that again, okay?"
    Still in Claire's hug, Maple nodded against her chest.
    The crackling of the flames reminded them of the danger around them, so they stood up to leave. Claire rose halfway to her feet but fell down, hissing in pain as she gripped her ankle. Her legs were bleeding. Maple got under Claire's arm, while Claire crawled with the other, and together they carefully dragged their way to the front door. Maple couldn't see anybody left in the building so she guessed that Lance must've already carried everyone out.
    Speak of the devil.
    Maple saw Lance running back into the burning strip club through the front door. "Claire! Is she alright? Did you see anyone else come in?" he asked her, shouting over the flames.
    "I've got her, and no I didn't see anyone else in here," Maple shouted back.
    "Good, that means you're the last ones. I've already got my partner out of here, and the exit is right there. Here, I'll help you carry her," he said while getting under Claire's other arm.
    "We're fine. You just make sure those four don't get away with this. Go get 'em!" she said fiercely.
    Lance hesitated for a second, but after looking into Maple's fiery eyes, he agreed to chase after the criminals. With that, the grass-type sprinted into the flaming hall in pursuit of the escapees.
    Meanwhile, Maple and Claire resumed making their way out of the building. They weren't too far now, just about twenty more feet. Claire still had to crawl though.
    "... My name? Really?" Claire said teasingly, breaking the awkward (and ironic, as the fire was so loud) silence.
    Maple chuckled, "Shut up."
    "... So, who is he? Your boyfriend?"
    Her cheeks were already flushed from the heat, but Maple's cheeks somehow burned hotter. "Wh-What?! Where did that come from? Of course he isn't, we just met today!"
    "I dunno, you two seemed pretty close back there, even for a little bit. And what was that all about? You were being all badass in front of him. And what did you say to him, "don't let them get away" or something cheesy like that?" Claire said.
    "N-No... I didn't ... at least, I don't think so..." Maple said nervously, surprised at her friend's intuition.
    "Hey, don't think too much about it. If anything," Claire said before snickering. "You probably impressed lover boy."
    Claire laughed, "Kidding! I'm kidding!"
    Suddenly, a crackling sound was heard directly above them, and they looked up to see the ceiling falling down on them. Maple froze. There was no time to move.
    "Look out!"
    Maple gasped as Claire threw herself over her, shielding the little Eevee from the debris. She heard Claire cry out as the pieces crashed into her back, but all she could do was lie still and wait for her friend to finish taking the pain for her. When it was clear, Maple looked up to see Claire's tight expression, before she rolled to her side, unconscious.
    Maple gaped. "No... no, no, no... Claire! Claire, wake up! Come on, you've got to wake up, we're almost there! Claire, wake up! Please, wake up! Claire!!"
    She was exhausted, but Maple crawled under Claire's back and pushed with all she had. The door was right there, and they were going to make it, they had to! They'd come too far for anything else!
    Then, a man suddenly ran in. It was Lance's partner!
    "Officer! Officer, please help me!" Maple cried, relief washing over her.
    But the man didn't stop. Instead, when it was impossible to miss her, he ignored her calls, and didn't even look back. He ran right past her and continued into the strip club until he reached the corner where Lance and the criminals had gone.
    While she was happy about the fact that he was going to assist Lance, Maple's jaw dropped, and she couldn't help but think negatively towards the police man. Damn you! We were right here, it would've only taken a second to carry Claire out of here, and you just-Damn you!
    Maple tried to carry Claire out on her own. It wasn't working. She had no strength left. The smoke was getting thicker by the second, making it a battle just to breathe. Her legs felt like lead, and eventually, they dropped.
    Maple couldn't believe it. As she lay on the floor under Claire, her thoughts began to drift. She had failed. She told Lance that they were going to be fine, and now both she and Claire were going to die. She couldn't blame anyone else, not Lance's partner, not even the criminals who started the fire. It was all her fault. She didn't have the strength to pull through, and she refused help when it was handed to her. And because of her incompetence and stupidity, she'd gotten her friend, her only friend, killed. She didn't want to die either, but she doubted whether she had the right to live.
    "M... Ma-ple," she heard Claire moan.
    Maple got out from under Claire and met her eyes with her own. Why was Claire smiling at a time like this, especially when she looked so weak?
    Maple couldn't smile back. "Can you move? We're almost there. Here, I'll help you crawl like before."
    But Claire didn't move. "I think my arm is broken, and I can't feel my legs..."
    Maple felt like she was just stabbed in the gut. "... Just hang on, I'm going to go and get help. I'll be back as soo-"
    Claire had grabbed her leg, stopping Maple from leaving, and shook her head. "It's okay, I won't need any help."
    "What are you-What are you talking about? You're too heavy for me to carry on my own, and we don't have much time before this whole place comes down!"
    Claire cupped Maple's cheek. "... Maple, I want you to go. Please, just go..."
    Maple had a feeling she would say that. "No," she said, shaking her head. "We're going to get out of here, together. I'll find a way to carry you and then I'll-"
    "Maple, plea-"
    "NO! STOP IT! I'm not going to lose you too, you understand?! I swear on my life that you'll get out of here, or I'll die trying!"
    "... You're a good friend, Maple. Better than I thought possible. Thank you so much for being my friend, I've never met anyone like you in my entire life. I love you," Claire said, and she rubbed Maple's tears away.
    Maple couldn't hold it back anymore, and began to cry in full. She didn't want to lose Claire, especially not now of all times. She didn't think she'd find love like this ever again. She felt... it was too much to describe in words.
    Maple cried out as pure white light emanated from within her body. She felt weird and uncomfortable as the light spread over her skin until it covered her completely. Then she felt a stretching sensation, as her legs grew longer and filled with more muscle. So did her ears, body, and tail. Even her face prickled as she felt it change shape, but the weirdest sensation was when she felt something grow on her left ear and neck. Also, she felt all of this happening at once.
    Finally, the light died away, revealing a clean, full health Sylveon.
    Maple looked down and took in her new, stronger body. Her new new ribbon feelers were definitely the weirdest though. "I'm a... Sylveon?!"
    "Maple, you evolved!" Claire said sleepily. "You look beautiful..."
    At that moment, the door burst open, allowing a troop of firefighters inside. Two of them immediately grabbed Claire, placed her onto a stretcher, and rushed out of the building. Meanwhile, the rest, and their Wartortle partners, stayed inside, and fought the flames back. One of the Wartorle approached Maple and questioned if she was okay. She said that she was just fine, and the Wartortle directed her out of the building and into the safe light of day. But as soon as his back had turned, Maple went back inside. Now that she had power, she had some unfinished business to take care of.
    "Lance, watch out!"
    That was what Maple said, as soon as she found an injured Lance, his partner, and the gang of criminals facing each other off in an alleyway. She wondered why Lance's partner stood by the criminals, but that didn't matter when she saw what was happening. Although the Infernape looked down for the count, the Garchomp was charging straight at Lance with what looked like a devastating attack. Lance on the other hand, stared at the ground. He wasn't even in a proper combat stance like before.
    Maple had a powerful urge to stop the Garchomp, and with that instinct alone, she felt an intense energy swell inside her chest. She'd never used an attack in all her life, but decided to just go with the flow for her first time.
    "Leave him ALOOONE!" she shrieked, releasing the energy from her mouth in the form of heart shaped rays.
    The Garchomp didn't notice her enter the scene, so her attack hit him directly, sending him flying back and reeling from what looked like immense pain.
    "Argh! That burns! Damn it, who shot that Disarming Voice?" he growled.
    Maple recoiled when everyone finally noticed her, but she chose to be brave and stepped in front of Lance. "You're going to pay for what you've done!" she said.
    "Hah! It's just a little girl?" the Garchomp laughed. "I'm gonna make you regret you ever met me!"
    Maple gritted her teeth. I already have met you, but this time, you're the one who's going down!
    The Garchomp jumped into the air, erupted in a terrifying, blue aura that resembled a dragon, and flew straight at Maple. Intimidated by the monstrous energy of the attack, Maple stumbled back and braced herself for the hit. But instead, she felt Lance pull her back and saw him jump straight at the Garchomp, doing something that she knew even with her short experience of battle, wasn't normal.
    Lance's left ear, head leaf, and right ear, had grown longer and sharper, and glowed with a light blue, green, and white light. A loud clanging noise filled the alleyway as Lance collided with the Garchomp, and pushed him back. The Garchomp crashed into the ground, injured, but not beaten.
    "What the hell? That Leafeon can use three moves at once now?" hockey mask man said. "Anthony, I thought you said he could only use two!"
    Lance's partner looked surprised as well. "Just, I don't know... take him out! He's just a rookie cop, he should be a pushover!"
    Hockey mask man cursed and commanded, "Garchomp, use Dig!"
    Maple saw the Garchomp leap into the air and disappear as he dug underground. Nothing happened for a while. She was confused. What was supposed to happen now?
    "Maple!" Lance suddenly shouted, and he quickly pushed her aside.
    The ground underneath Lance, where Maple stood a split second ago, erupted as the Garchomp shot out of the ground. He threw an uppercut at Lance, but the Leafeon was ready and managed to defend successfully with his tail, which glowed with a silver light. Both Lance and the Garchomp flew into the air from the force of the Garchomp's attack, and Maple saw her chance. Willing herself to get angry, she felt the same energy from before fill her chest, and she fired Disarming Voice a second time, hoping she wouldn't hit Lance.
    She counted herself lucky that the attack hit the Garchomp like before, as she was still new to fighting. Lance landed on the ground easy, next to her. The Garchomp on the other hand, cried out as the hearts hit him again, and smashed into the ground below. He didn't get up.
    Maple couldn't believe it, she won! Well, her and Lance, but she won her first Pokémon battle, and against her parents' killer too! She felt so strong and exhilarated. It was her first fight ever, and against an experience criminal too, and she won!!
    "We-We did it!" she cried.
    Lance still kept his sharp eyes on the humans. "Give it up, Anthony. You three aren't getting away with any of this. Put your hands up and get against the wall!" he ordered, stomping his foot as he did so.
    His partner, Anthony, must've understood him, because he said, "You think you've won, Lance? You think this is over? No, you're dead wrong." And then, he pulled out his baton, pointing it straight at Lance. "You stand down now son, because you know something? You don't have any power. It doesn't matter what you say, it doesn't matter what you do, you won't be able to lock us up, and you know why? Because I have seniority, I am above you in the chain of command, and no one is going to take you, a rookie cop, seriously, especially when he "exercised excessive force on surrendering suspects"."
    Maple didn't fully understand everything, but she got the gist of it. Lance's partner was doing everything in his power to make sure that he and the criminals wouldn't end up behind bars, and Lance was doing his best to make sure that didn't happened. She saw Lance look down in self-doubt, and grew worried if he was actually going to let the five of them go. He looked ready to give up. Then, his eyes shot up to something above the door where they all came from, and he smirked. What did he see?
    "No, you're the one who's wrong, Anthony. I may be just a rookie, and no one may take my word over yours, but at the very least, I'll make sure I put you five behind bars," Lance said before pointing to what he saw.
    Now that he was pointing to it, Maple saw it, but just barely.
    "A camera! Shit, it's still on, it recorded everything!" scarf man shouted.
    Lance stared his partner down. "You'll lose your badge for this, Anthony. And then, you'll go to jail."
    Anthony glared at Lance, and then Maple. He looked at the other four, ran down the other end of the alley, and barked, "Come on! Let's get the hell out of-"
    Both his sentence and escape were cut short as a police car blocked their exit. "Freeze!" an Officer Jenny said as she and her Manectric got out of the car.
    Maple thanked the nurse for allowing her into Claire's room. She'd asked Lance if he could tell her which hospital Claire was admitted to, and after a few minutes of hunting, he had told her. Not wanting to waste her five minutes, Maple entered Claire's room, but quietly.
    Maple saw breathing tubes inserted into Claire's nose and mouth. She was dressed in a hospital patient's gown and covered with a blanket from the waist down. Electrodes were attached to her right arm and chest, and the leads connected to them ran to a heart monitor, where a steady beep repeated too slowly to Maple's liking. Her left arm to her left hand was wrapped in a cast.
    She wasn't awake, so Maple slowly crept further in until she reached the bedside table, and climbed it.
    "Claire, I'm sorry," she whispered. "You got hurt from protecting me. I should've been the one to protect you."
    Claire's eyes slowly fluttered open. She let out a tired moan and whispered back, "Maple?"
    Maple smiled. "Hey you."
    "Mmm, hey."
    Maple looked Claire's body over and tilted her head up questioningly to ask, "How are you feeling?" She scolded herself for asking such a stupid question.
    Claire smiled back and replied, "Fantastic."
    Maple didn't know how to break this gently, so she decided to just say it. "Claire, listen. I'm sorry, but the doctor said that..." Maple looked to Claire's lower back, and made a snapping motion with her feelers. It wasn't the best of translations, but she'd get the idea. "... You suffered severe injury to your lumbar spine, and that you won't be able to walk anymore. They've even got a wheelchair ready for you, see?" Maple said, and looked behind her to said-wheelchair.
    Claire's eyes widened from slits to half open for a second. Then, she sighed. "Well, at least I'll be able to sit down whenever I want, right?" she said in an upbeat manner.
    "I'm sorry; you're like this because of me."
    "Hey, don't be like that. It's not your fault. This was my choice, okay?" Claire laughed gently. "So don't waste it by doing something stupid like drowning yourself in guilt or-*cough cough cough*"
    "Take it easy. Don't push yourself," Maple said worriedly.
    When Claire's breathing returned to normal, she continued, "Just promise me one thing."
    "What is it?"
    "Live your life. Don't worry about me, I don't want that. I don't want you to feel responsible for me, and take care of me for the rest of your life. I'll be fine, so go live your own life and make new friends, like that Leafeon. Give everyone a chance to meet the great Pokémon you are."
    "... I'll let you rest now," Maple said, for once appreciative of the one-sided language barrier.
    She began to walk away, but stopped when Claire called to her, "Maple, promise me."
    "... Okay," she said without turning back. But when she reached the door, she looked back at a sleeping Claire and said, "We'll meet again one day though, alright?"
    As Maple walked out of the hospital and into the mild evening air, she bumped into Lance at the entrance. The Leafeon immediately apologized for not watching where he was going, but she apologized too for the same reason.
    "What're you doing here?" she asked.
    His eyes went to the side. "I uh... came to... see you..."
    "Oh. But why? My body did a full recovery when I evolved, so I'm feeling fine if that's what you're asking."
    "N-No, it's just... I never got to thank you before... for, you know, helping me out."
    "Ahaha, it was no problem, really. Actually, I enjoyed the battle. It was... well, that part's personal... But to fight my first battle and win, it feels really good!"
    Lance nodded. "Good, good," he said. Just like before, they were left in that awkward silence. "So, I-I didn't have the chance to say it before, but... Y-You look, rea-really... pretty, now," he said, still not looking at her.
    Maple felt her fur rise, along with her heartbeat.
    Lance suddenly looked at her in the eyes. "I mean, it's not that you didn't look pretty before! You were pretty even as an Eevee! But now that you're a Sylveon, you look prettier, you know? I mean, not pretty per se, but a more mature version of it, like... I don't know, beautiful? No, not beautiful! I mean yes beautiful! Sorry, beautiful is too strong a word, it's just that I don't want to creep you out or anything. What I'm trying to say is-"
    Maple quieted the Leafeon with a kiss on the cheek.
    She pulled back a second later, but it was enough for her to make her blush. She only met this guy today, and she just gave him her first kiss! It felt surreal, like something out of a fairy tale, but she had no regrets about it. Her cheeks and chest felt really hot now, and she was glad that the night air helped to cool her off, although not by much as they were in the middle of summer. And she just couldn't stop smiling!
    "Thanks hero boy."
    Lance wore a happy expression but when he finally replied, he got serious, "That was way too soon."
    "I think it was just right."
    "No. What I'm saying is..." for some reason Lance drew closer. "You're not fifteen, are you?" he said in a hushed tone.
    It was Claire's turn to look surprised. "Wha? How did you-"
    "Oh please, you look way too young to be fifteen. And being an Eevee when you told me you were fifteen, and a small one at that, didn't help. Just how old are you really?"
    "Ehehe, thirteen, sorry," Maple said poking her feelers together nervously.
    "Oh, Arceus," he sighed. "I hope I don't go to hell for this."
    "So you're really sixteen?"
    He gave her a look. "Of course I'm "really sixteen"! You think I lied about my age? I was an officer of the law! Look at me; just how old did you think I was?"
    "Umm... eight... teen... maybe?"
    "Augh, I reaaally don't want to go to hell..." he said, raising his tired eyes to the sky. "What's your real name by the way?"
    "If you lied about your age, why not your name too, am I right?"
    Maple wore a guilty expression on her face. "Yeah... but... I think I'll stick with Claire for now."
    He studied her for a second before shrugging. "... Okay, if that's what you want, Claire."
    "... Hey wait," Claire said, finally catching on. "You said that you "were" an officer? Aren't you still one?"
    Lance looked at the ground. "I quit being a police officer a few hours ago. I didn't care; I just signed the resignation form and walked out of the station."
    "After today, I learned something: the law is flawed. Anthony, my partner, they took away his badge and his trial will be held in nineteen hours, but I heard that they're letting him go. Not anytime soon, but for what he's done, too soon to be called justice in my opinion."
    "So what'll you do now?" Claire inquired.
    Lance shrugged. "I don't know. My father always encouraged me to pursue law enforcement, so that's just what I've devoted my whole life to. Now that I quit," Lance said before laughing. "And on my first week too, I don't know where to go or what to do. For sure, I can't go home..."
    "... I don't know what to do next either. That strip club owner, Manny, he found me on the streets and took me in, but only to keep me under his thumb. I don't know what he would've done with me once I got old enough for... "other stuff", but I'm glad I don't have to deal with him anymore. What happened to him by the way?"
    "He and the other bouncers were admitted to this or other hospitals, since they just don't have enough room here for everyone at the moment. My guess is that he isn't at this one, and that he was the only one who was aware of your existence. I doubt he'd recognize you now as a Sylveon, and as far as he knows, you died in that fire. For you, this is your chance to start over, a fresh start."
    Claire huffed, "What use is a fresh start when I don't even know what to do next?"
    "Heh, looks like we're both just a couple of lost idiots, huh?"
    "Heheh, yeah, guess we are."
    For a while, they just watched the last of the sun fall over the horizon. Eventually though, they had to move aside when a group headed to enter the hospital; it looked like a family visit. A couple of Pidove chirped as they flew overhead. The wind was nice too.
    Claire pointed absently behind her and smiled. "Well, I'm gonna go this way. You wanna come with?" she said freely.
    Lance smiled back. "... Sounds like a plan."
    And with that, the Sylveon and Leafeon walked side-by-side, unknowing and uncaring of where their feet would take them.
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page