(anime, pre-series adventure) Status: Before Elitism (multi-parter; PG)

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Thread: (anime, pre-series adventure) Status: Before Elitism (multi-parter; PG)

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    Default (anime, pre-series adventure) Status: Before Elitism (multi-parter; PG)

    Current Chapter: 01.2 (3 parts; 8/22)


    Disclaimer: I want the Johto Leaders! But due to the Serious Copyright Infringement Act of 254 BC dash 9.neener~!, I cannot have them unless I pay mega-moolah. Instead, I can only say, 'I don't own them' and cry as I write fics on them.

    But I do own the parents, the trainers, and everyone else who obviously aren't mine. Like various TR members, the Jennies and Joys', and younger versions of canon folk.

    Summary: The story of three future Johto Gym Leaders (with their two future Leader/Elite babysitters in tow) from the beginning of their journey at the age of ten. Takes place six years before RBY, nine before GSC.

    ~*~ 8 ~*~ 8 ~*~ 8 ~*~ 8 ~*~

    Status: Before Elitism
    Part Zero-One-point-Zero



    "Mama? Do I have to?"

    The woman being addressed was combing down his hair with her fingers. "You're going to be doing a lot of things on your own for a while. This'll get you used to the experience. Now be a good boy, and take your papers to Nurse Joy."

    The boy pouted, but his mother would have none of it, and gently pushed her son toward the Pokécenter's doors. He looked up at her, scared, silently pleading her to come with him, but she smiled and didn't move. She was right, after all. In a couple of days, he'd be on his own to travel the roads of his homeland. To prove himself to Father.

    He reluctantly took the steps needed to start that journey.

    Today was May 29th. For a week, fresh trainers who met the age requirement were allowed to register for the PokéLeague. But only from the rest of the continent. Those living in NewBark Town had to wait until June 1st, before they could get their pokémon and start their trip around Johto. The first of June was also the day children were allowed to begin, so law enforcers could rap up whatever post-Conference business they'd been handling to fully put their attention on the safety of beginners.

    Inside the building, the atmosphere was presumably friendly; the bright colors warded away anything negative all by itself, and everything else was for kicks. Despite this atmosphere, the boy swallowed nervously and hesitantly approached the counter. No Nurse Joy. She's probably out, he thought. I'll just tell Mama she's not here, and we can go find her together.

    "Can I help you?"

    He froze. He had turned around to leave, when the voice spoke out behind him. The boy turned back to the counter, to see Nurse Joy smiling much like his mother did, emerging from the back room. Oh god... The boy fidgeted.

    But she must've seen the same situation so many times before, because she didn't ask if anything was wrong. Instead, "Oh, are you here to register for the League?"

    Petrified, the boy managed a shaky nod.

    Like all was well, and he wasn't frightened as a deer in the headlights, Joy beckoned him closer. "Do you have your papers?"

    He surrendered them wordlessly, and she looked them over, and began making idle conversation. "So, are you excited?"

    He frowned. "...Not...really."

    "Oh?" She looked back to him, encouraging. "Why not?"

    The boy looked down at the floor. "I like pokémon," he murmured, "but I'm not very happy about leaving home."

    "Then why?"

    "Because Mama says I have to. That it's important to her and Father."

    Joy flipped faster over the pages. Too fast to actually read them. "Ah, I see." She pointed to the folder. "You're Wren and Oriole's son. I take it you already have your first pokémon then."

    The boy brought out the tiny ball, but didn't enlarge it. "It's a Pidgey."

    She nodded and took with her the file over to the computer. "Wait one moment, and your temporary license will be ready shortly."

    Nurse Joy didn't lie about the wait. It was a relatively short one, and he wound up with a couple things he wasn't quite expecting. The license, yes, the customary starter kit for all new trainers (ten pokéballs and two potions), yes, but the-- "Ma'am, is this really for me?"

    And like a child holding something they might be deathly afraid of, the boy produced the Pokégear. Joy beamed like sunshine, and nodded in affirmation. "It's in the order form. Didn't your parents tell you?"

    "Ah, no, they didn't." The boy was mentally reasoning it must've been his father that slipped that one in. Mother's methods of traditionalism didn't include more technology than one needed; Father just liked the gadgets. He talked endlessly about all the 'cool things' trainers could get these days. Pokédex, Pokégear, free samples, free gifts, free help. His list went on and on.

    "It must've been a surprise then. Would you like a tutorial on how it works?"

    The boy wasn't quite sure what a 'tutorial' was, but it sounded helpful, so he readily agreed.


    -n-o-




    His mother was waiting patiently for his return, across the road under the lone tree, her Togetic in her lap. The boy made sure that his paternal expense was tucked deep into his knapsack, because most likely Mother would make him return it if she knew his father spent money on a 'undisciplined device'. And after learning all that it could do, he very much wanted to hang onto it.

    "They aren't sold in Kanto," Joy had explained. "One-of-a-kind, exclusive tools for this region only. I know it sounds rather divergent from the more traditional roots I'm sure you're accustomed to, but the Silver League seems to think it's important to have both our heritage values and an eye for the future."

    As he drew closer to the woman, the boy couldn't help but glance around expectantly. She shouldn't have been alone by now. In fact, the first words out of his mouth to her was, "Mama, where's Clair?"

    "She /was/ here," she explained, absently petting the space behind the Togetic's head, "but a flock of Butterfree came drifting by several minutes ago, and she went after them."

    "To catch?"

    "I assume so."

    The boy's face scrunched up, confused. Clair was nothing short of obsessed with Dragon pokémon, to the point where she was constantly showing off her Dratini and Gyarados. Being a year older than him, Clair had already journeyed around Johto once before; she'd been barred from entering the League Cup, however, due to the theft of several of her badges. She returned to Violet to earn her Zephyr Badge once more, and wound up with both a badge and a proposition. She had to earn another three to compete this year, and so was asked to journey with him, as a 'babysitter', his father had called it.

    All the teasing aside, he readily agreed after she had given the okay on her part. She was a friend, after all, and she wouldn't really think of the trip as babysitting. Right?

    "She likes dragons though. Why is she going after a bug?"

    "Not all trainers are loyal to one type," she said, and stared straight at him with a burning gaze. "You may feel inclined to capture a pokémon that technically would not belong in your team. It is always a choice to capture them, but I advise against it."

    She advised against him capturing a type-class that did not match with the ancient lineage of their clan. And she made her word law. The boy nodded sadly. "Thank you, Mama."

    Whatever dark look she had on was replace with a caring, motherly smile, and cupped his cheek with her hand. "That's my boy.

    "You're going to make us all proud, Falkner."


    -b-r-o-k-e-n-




    "Dratini! One more time, Headbutt!"

    The wyrm went charging forward as per its master's command, and collided into the Butterfree head-on. With a strangled cry, the insect dropped to the ground, too exhausted to continue, but still trying valiantly to save face and get back up. Clair wasn't going to have any of the sort, as she chucked a pokéball at the fallen creature, and rightfully captured it as her reward.

    This'll help, she mused, before getting giggly and holding the pokéball to her chest. "Oh yes, yes, you're going to do me a lot of good this time around. Yes you are, oh yes yes yes you are."

    "Nice catch," drawled a feminine, sardonic voice. "You're not usually so gushy."

    Clair froze, grimacing, and whipped around to confront her observer, though all traces of confusion left upon seeing just who had approached her. Then she grinned. "And you're not usually so pointed. Hey Karen."

    "Yo." The girl smiled in appreciation, and took a moment to push back a lock of pale, pale hair behind her ear. "So what brings you out this way? You already started, there's no need to come back to New Bark Town."

    "I'm going to journey with a family friend," she explained. "Now, I can ask the same of you. You're done with yours too, so why-- oh."

    See, some distance back, on the path across the small field, was a child and his father. And the child was running around, back and forth, and expending as much energy as he could in long, continuous bursts.

    "Yep." Karen sounded rather bitter. "He turned ten back in March. Granna asked me to go with him, which translates into, 'Karen, you're a lousy trainer like your father. Escort Morty around Johto and on the way, fix your lousiness.'"

    Clair smiled uneasily. "You're not a bad trainer. You made it to the preliminary-finals, didn't you?"

    Karen shrugged nonchalant, though Clair was sure she was put off more by this 'sentiment' of her grandmother than she showed. "Granna likes to remind people that she, and the rest of the bloody tree, made it to the finals their first time. It's something she likes to hold over our heads.

    "Anyway, you'll be starting from here, yes?"

    Clair nodded, but held her peace. Karen didn't need to know any more than that much. Because there were some forces one didn't mess with. And suddenly, Clair realized she might have stepped into a particularly hazardous crossfire. Oh yeah, this journey was looking as bright as ever.


    -b-r-o-k-e-n-




    She was practically peeing in excitement, and her father was laughing to himself about it. Regulus couldn't help but keep a sharp eye on his daughter as she ran around the small, placent town, followed ever so closely by her brand new Cleffa, popping out her Pokégear to play with its multi-functions, and he could see clearly how much she wanted to cry out one of Cleffa's attacks, but was stopped by the warning he'd given her the moment she'd gotten her hands on Cleffa.

    "It's not allowed for children to use attacks until they're officially recognized as trainers. You'll be getting your license in a couple months, so hold off until June, okay honey? Just play with it for now, but no attacks. Daddy doesn't want you getting in trouble with the police."

    They'd been here since yesterday, and she'd been even more stir-crazy the moment she stepped outside of the Pokécenter with everything in hand. The stars hadn't quite left her eyes, even now.

    What a trainer she'll make one day, with all that enthusiasm. He only hoped she wouldn't be distraught by all the times she will inevitably lose on her journey.

    Though, while his daughter's antics were enough to distract him, something else was getting in the way. A pair, walking through the heart of the town, a child and mother. Regulus knew the mother, met her on few occasions, read about her in the paper in most cases. He wondered...

    With an insane idea in mind, Regulus left his seat at the picnic table and trotted over, calling her name out politely. "Miss Oriole?"

    The woman gazed at him for several quick moments, then asked softly, "Regulus Kusahara, correct?"

    He smiled genuinely and rubbed the back of his head. "Yeah, that's right. I'm honored you remember me."

    "I do remember meeting you once." She bowed in polite apology. "Forgive me, but I only recalled your name due to an article on you in the newspaper."

    That would make more sense, he thought with a mental grimace. His eviction from the Leader status by some tree-hugger seemed to be the story of the week. "Ah, no worries." Regulus looked down to the boy, who'd take to hiding behind of skirt of his mother's robe. He smiled roguishly. "Your son, I take it."

    She made a noise of confirmation, then gently guiding him to face Regulus directly. "Say hello, dear."

    The boy was a second hesitant, but just like his mother must have refined in him, he bowed. "Hello Mr. Kusahara," he whispered shyly. "M'Falkner."

    "Call me Julus, kid, it's less formal." Regulus held back his bigger grin as he watched this 'less formal' idea turn Falkner's face pink. Nothing like his father. Wren was loud and ugly and devil-happy, and knew when to kick up the good times something fierce. Falkner looked like him-- a splitting image, no doubt about his parentage-- but may never be like him without a reality check. Perhaps a good thing; the world only needed one Wren Hayabusan. He turned back to Oriole. "Heading out on Monday?"

    "Mmm, just him and a friend."

    That was an interesting tidbit; it showed in the way Regulus' eyes lit up, and crouched down to address Wren's mini-clone. "Is that a fact now? My, you are a very lucky kid. Lots of brand new trainers start off alone. My daughter is, actually." And he indicated to the pink-haired child not so clear from that fair distance away. "She's going to leave all on her own, and no one's going to watch her. With your friend around, you can watch each other's backs, yeah? You're definitely lucky. Count your stars, kid, they're on your side."

    Falkner nodded mutely, yet Regulus could see his line of sight straying from him to the general direction of his daughter. Ten years old...boys weren't afraid of girl-cooties by then, were they? Bah, let the kid think. It was no use pulling over his little 'monster' to make an introduction if much of the point to roam free was to make connections with people based on one's own desire to do so.

    "Anyway," he stated, tone coated with courteous remorse as he straightened himself out. "I should probably leave you two to your own devices. It was a pleasure talking."

    "The pleasure was ours." Oriole spoke for the both of them, yet Regulus couldn't help but get the feeling she couldn't wait to get out of his company. And a stray thought crossed his mind as she took Falkner by the hand and began heading off: What sort of family did Wren marry into?

    Much to his delight, however, Falkner was still staring in his daughter's direction, and Regulus hoped the boy had more backbone dealing with people his own age than adults. We'll just have to se in the morning.

    Without another thought to the pair, Regulus whistled, sharp and loud, and waved to get the girl's attention. "Yo, Whitney! Too far, sweetheart! Daddy told you he didn't want you in the woods!"


    -b-r-o-k-e-n-




    Clair excused herself pretty close to the border of the town and Karen let her go, not at all misplaced by her leaving. It wasn't as if they were best friends or anything, but they no less had so much in common. It was...pleasant having someone like that near you.

    Morty was noisy, and her uncle Casper had to remind her how much of the outside world he'd seen before now, and could you blame a kid to being excited when said kid's favorite activity was playing in the burnt Tower (especially when he wasn't allowed in there)? Karen only hoped he'd be less wild once the beginning of June hit. Johto was a big area, after all; things could happen if one was too careless.

    New Bark Town was as quaint as she remembered it. A homey, earthen place walled in by forest trees, with spacious areas between each side of the town, like camping grounds almost. Except small cabins were permanent residences, and everyone knew each other versus total strangers sharing the same land.

    And the Pokécenter was easily spotted among the generic houses of green and brown and black, standing tall and inviting to all trainers. On the inside of it, Morty insisted his father be by his side when he talked to Nurse Joy, but didn't 'want him to talk or anything; just stand there'.

    Moral support, Karen assumed.

    Morty had the same starter she did two years ago, a Gastly, a tradition that spanned back in the Matsuri family for as long as family history could recall. Karen thought it was a ridiculous practice; not every family member had a liking to the Ghost-types. She certainly didn't, not when an Eevee and Houndoom were clipped in her belt. Not when the Silver League Champion was a Dark trainer...

    But Granna admonished her dreams of becoming part of the Elite. Granna felt that whatever line Karen was destined to bear would produce the same family 'failures' like herself and her father. Though, lucky enough it started with her father, and he bore the brunt of his mother's Disappointment.

    And when Agatha Matsuri was Disappointed, the whole clan shuddered in sympathy. She was not a woman you wanted mad at you. She made sure you were made an example of to the rest of the sect. She took every opening possible to remind -everyone- you did not live up to her expectations, especially if you were blood related. And as her position as head of the Elite Four, she was a legend whose shadow you must follow.

    The holy matriarch from Hell, she was. The most revered matron Ecruteak ever saw, they said. An iron-fisted leader, others claimed.

    "Karen!"

    Morty's face was bright, and holding the temporary license up proudly before her. At the same time, he was pushing back the over-sized headband to his forehead. He was sparkling with an accomplished afterglow and Karen had to stifle the action to rub her temple. "I'mma trainer now! Just like you!"

    Hard to imagine Granna placed so much faith in this boy's future? Karen quirked a smile and nodded approvingly. No...no, it wasn't too hard.


    -b-r-o-k-e-n-




    A mother's duty was to keep her children up in appearances. Her son long stopped complaining when Oriole took to wiping away whatever smudge on his face she spotted, but he still wore a grimace every time she did. Like it was painful to stay clean.

    "Now," she murmured, polishing off his nose, "I'm going to leave you here. You'll be staying in the Pokécenter for a couple of days, then you and Clair can start on your journey. Understand?"

    "But Mama," he protested, almost whined, "why can't we go back to Violet City and come back here on the first?"

    "Hush now, I've told you why." Gentle soothing masked impatience. "You need to get used to the idea that you're on your own, figuratively speaking. Your father will come by on the thirty-first to check up on you, but I want you getting used to not having him or I around to care for you. You're a big boy now; so many children can't wait for this day. Try to remember that, okay sweetie?"

    Falkner pouted, but Oriole had a resolve made of a Skarmory's hide. She would have none of his doe eyes. This was how it was to be, if he was to succeed at the life chosen for him.

    She kissed him the forehead, intending to leave him with only that, but she hadn't taken three steps before he latched onto her waist, arms locked and-- hugging. He was hugging her.

    Oriole was so perplexed by it; hugging was so inappropriate at this age, she'd tried to hard to break him of the habit, and she thought she had but--

    Falkner looked up at her, with a mixed expression, and extracted himself from the one-sided embrace. "I'm sorry Mama," he said, "but since I'm not about to see you for a while, I thought it was appropriate. Just this once, I mean."

    It took a moment to digest, but she finally allowed herself a smile and nodded. Maybe this time, it was okay to let him have a little comfort. Right? "Just this once," she repeated. "Like I said, your father will be here in a couple of days. And I know you'll be in good hands here until you leave."

    "I know."

    "Be good then." She had never needed to leave him so finally before. For all that she tried, she couldn't remember how her parents had parted when she'd turn ten those few decades ago, and now didn't know how to leave her son for this milestone adventure. But, she supposed it started with the first step out.

    Once the doors swooshed closed behind her, and the safety of the Pokécenter's light wasn't upon her anymore, she cast a glance over her shoulder, to see Falkner's blurry form walking toward the main desk. And she knew he'd be alright.

    She rode Noctowl home that night.


    -e-n-d-i-n-g-




    A/N: The image described of New Bark Town is taken predominately from the game, but with an anime element in relation to Elm's lab. In fact, my ideal Johto is taken mostly from the games, but with definite pinches of the show. Keep that in mind?
    Last edited by Luna Tiger; 22nd August 2005 at 08:13 AM.
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    A black and white world Blackjack Gabbiani's Avatar
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    Very nice! I certainly enjoyed reading that.

    Heh. Wren and Oriole...

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    Formerly MagmaChar Crimson Flames's Avatar
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    Wow, that was amazingly fun to read.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackjack Gabbiani
    Very nice! I certainly enjoyed reading that.

    Heh. Wren and Oriole...
    *lol* If I have to stick with the puns, they might as well be good ones and not something predictable like 'Birdy' or 'Hawkins' or god help the world, 'Jay'. How many people know what an 'oriole' is anyway? *quirk*


    Quote Originally Posted by MagmaCharizard
    Wow, that was amazingly fun to read.
    Thank you. To the both of you, really. =3 Nya, you likes it, you really really likes it.
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    I STILL aten't dead
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    "How many people know what an 'oriole' is anyway? *quirk*"

    -is from Baltimore- -quirk- :P

    Hmm. Quite interesting so far- I loooove Whitney's Dad. For what seems to be a side-character- though it seems like he's got room to become part of a side-quest- he's quite three-dimensional. Mme. Oriole doesn't seem to be, so far, but for one chapter, she's got time to grow. I love what you've done with the "midget gym leaders" (and Karin) and am looking forward to the next installment!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kveran
    "How many people know what an 'oriole' is anyway? *quirk*"

    -is from Baltimore- -quirk- :P
    ^_^;;; Okay, point taken.


    Hmm. Quite interesting so far- I loooove Whitney's Dad. For what seems to be a side-character- though it seems like he's got room to become part of a side-quest- he's quite three-dimensional. Mme. Oriole doesn't seem to be, so far, but for one chapter, she's got time to grow. I love what you've done with the "midget gym leaders" (and Karin) and am looking forward to the next installment!
    XD Someone hit the nail on the head, and I'm assuming you didn't read the intermission floating around somewhere on the next thread page. Yeah, Regulus get's some real special attention. Not as a side-quest per se, but...yes.
    Last edited by Luna Tiger; 5th June 2005 at 09:47 PM.
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    Very good start ^_^ A little rough around the edges(sometimes I have trouble keeping track of what's going on and who's been introduced now and who's talking and such, which may or may not be my own fault because it does tend to take me a while to take in several characters) but I still really like it.

    *also knows what an oriole is* ^_~
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timarelay
    Very good start ^_^ A little rough around the edges(sometimes I have trouble keeping track of what's going on and who's been introduced now and who's talking and such, which may or may not be my own fault because it does tend to take me a while to take in several characters) but I still really like it.

    *also knows what an oriole is* ^_~
    Okay, I'm a big enough woman to admit when I'm beaten: the oriole has totally pwned me. =X

    ^^; Will it reassure you if I said it won't be much longer until it's just the five of them without the constant OC interference? But I'll definitely try to keep that in mind. :3 Danke danke~
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    There's nothing wrong with OCs ^_^ It's just hard when there's a bunch all of a sudden ^^

    Ooh, you like slash.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timarelay
    There's nothing wrong with OCs ^_^ It's just hard when there's a bunch all of a sudden ^^

    Ooh, you like slash.
    ^^ I have the same problem, but I figured three making an appearance, and only two getting speaking roles, would be less of a 'whaaaaa? Whoooo?' factor.

    *LOL* Yes, I like slash. Is that a good thing or a 'is my purity safe reading this?' thing?
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    Goronda Type Vice-Webmaster Evil Figment's Avatar Vice-Webmaster
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    In HER case, it's definitely "Ohhhh, I like it"

    Haven't read the fic yet, though it's on my to-do list. Shall get to it later ^^;

    Edit : Have read now. Solid start, though as Tim-tim said, lots of characters thrown our way at once sort of make this whole chapter feel...I don't know. Solid start all the same, though.

    Nice to have Claire and Karen there, dark and dragon are my favorite types .
    Last edited by Evil Figment; 15th June 2005 at 04:50 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mintaka and Hurristat
    He's an evil director / He'll give out infractions / Do something wrong / And he takes direct actions
    Then what'll he do?/ He'll permaban you / You find your name slashed / With a message, 'Adieu'
    Sooooo...watch out!
    "It is said that the federal government, if it was in charge of the Sahara, would run out of sand in five years. Private enterprise, being more efficient, would do it in half the time - and they'd make money off the bridges." - me.
    "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." - Jack Layton's last letter. Rest in peace, Jack.

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    Disclaimer: I want the Johto Leaders! But due to the Serious Copyright Infringement Act of 254 BC dash 9.neener~!, I cannot have them unless I pay mega-moolah. Instead, I can only say, 'I don't own them' and cry as I write fics on them.

    A/N: The last chapter generated Falkner, Clair, Regulus, Karen, and Oriole's third person POVs. So guess who's due for their POVs this time?

    ~*~ 8 ~*~ 8 ~*~ 8 ~*~ 8 ~*~

    Status: Before Elitism
    Part Zero-One-point-One



    It took him the better part of an hour to fall asleep on a real mattress that night, and woke up not so wonderfully at the same time he was forced to get up every day before now, which was a bother since he'd planned to sleep in for the first time he could recall.

    But the sun was peaking weakly over the tips of the trees, Morty was up, and the snores of his father, masking the snores of his cousin, were too loud to try and fall back asleep under. Even if he could, nature was calling, and that took precedent over sleep.

    With a meager yawn, he climbed-- actually climbed!-- out of his bed and waddled out the door. What he wasn't aware of was how rumpled he looked, with his headband lost under his pillow and his hair going everywhere, as he wandered vaguely in the direction he knew the bathrooms were.

    By all luck, there wasn't even a period to wait, when someone else was just exiting the single-stall men's room as he approached it.

    The man, he noted, was about the same height of his own father, maybe an inch or two taller, with an odd, half-style of black hair. Bangs arching up, forward, and over, with nothing but an expanse of incredibly short strands not even a fourth of an inch long backing them. And he was scratching idly at it as he wandered the way Morty had just come from, with a yawned, unfocused, "mornin'" as the only sound he made when he drifted past. Watching him for a moment longer, Morty spotted a tail of violet-red growing from the base of his neck, at the end of his hairline.

    Morty didn't think twice about him as he took up occupancy in the restroom.


    -b-r-o-k-e-n-



    "Dad~dyyyy!" cried Whitney, like a spontaneous firecracker going off. "I'm bored!"

    Her Cleffa, Startime, agreed with a wholehearted, 'pipi!' from the cradle of Whitney's arms.

    Her father sighed and shook his head, but Whitney saw the smile dancing on the corners of his mouth. He was so easy to read. "Honey, it's because you're not taking your time. Look, maybe you should go find a couple of kids to play with. I know you'll find at least one kid like yourself holed up somewhere."

    Whitney frowned at the suggestion, not very eager to comply. He -knew- she had a problem making friends, as her undesirable personality went hand-in-hand with the assumption that being the daughter of a Gym Leader made her an outcast. And with Regulus' story the hit article of the week (again), she'd seen her face in the paper more times than she'd seen Letters to the Editor claiming to have seen a Legendary Beast in their backyard....well, it wasn't a difficult equation. Most likely someone around here would recognize her.

    But then her father winked, which startled her, and he continued. "And I don't mean someone with that shining disposition of yours."

    "Pi?" Startime's ears wiggled, vexed, as it responded to the riddle that mimicked Whitney mentally. And Regulus laughed out loud, his newspaper crinkling in his clenched hands.

    And it made Whitney feel better.

    She beamed at him, hoping to assure her father she understood what he meant, and left him to his brunch. Outside was nicer anyway. The weather had been so pleasant for the last week, and Whitney had no complaints.

    With the care of a mother-in-making, she set the Cleffa down and let it walk beside her. Whitney was determined to spend all the time she had with Startime before her actual journey; the baby pokémon wasn't built for cross-country trekking, and Whitney wasn't so sure of herself as a trainer to keep it outside of its pokéball when out in the wilds.

    So they walked, trying to hunt out somewhere they hadn't been. Though Whitney mused there may not be such a place. She'd already been here for the last few days, and New Bark Town wasn't a huge place to begin with.

    Taking the main dirtpath the town provided, Whitney felt just a little put out watching the residents stop whatever they were doing and stare, discreet or otherwise, at her passing.

    Regulus explained that first day, almost bitingly toward those watching them take a stroll, the villagers weren't too keen on the idea of their town being overrun with strangers and their kids. Tradition or not, they like to think it was a violation against them, League members invading their hometown for a week or less. And he assured her it wasn't because of his dismissal in Goldenrod City.

    Whitney liked thinking her father was right about everything, but it didn't make her feel better this time. She felt relieved when the last of the houses were behind her, and the pathway to Professor Elm's lab on her left.

    A flash of genius struck her; she hadn't been around the absent-minded professor's place before. By George, it was the perfect place to pick up her exploration. Then again, it was a -lab-.... "Hey Starry, what do you think? What's the chance that Elm won't let us look around?"

    "Pi'pii~!" Startime bounced in place excitedly. Whitney took this as a sign of encouragement, and started to jog up the inclined path, her starter keeping up in leaps and bounds.

    The lab soon came into sight, its west wall peaking out from around the corner of a bend, and the rest of its body flickered through the trees. Whitney felt overjoyed, one last place to play before New Bark Town became defunct to her curiosity.

    Except the air took on a sudden chill, and Whitney skid to a halt, the echo of her feet on dirt echoing loudly of the now silent woods. The temperature was steadily dropping and she could see her breath as clearly as if it were the coldest winter day. This wasn't normal, and she was left hugging bare arms across her body and squeezing her legs together desperately to conserve warmth. She dropped to her knees. "St-Starry! What's going on??"

    "Pipi pipi!" The baby wasn't any better off, concerned for her trainer as it tried rubbing its tiny arms over her skin, but shivering violently as well. It looked at helpless at it felt.

    The ground crunched under the introduction of a new weight, and Whitney looked up to find a dark-robed stranger, his face shrouded by a heavy hood, stalking toward her. Fear held her paralyzed, and it stopped a few short feet from her. And a hand of bone and cobwebs protruded out from an overly long sleeve, reaching for her--

    She screamed.

    A healthy, piercing scream that rattled the very forest with its rebounding echo. Her lungs were built for these moments, holding it long, loud, and unforgiving to her surroundings. The stranger backed off, flailing comically, and what Whitney didn't see, Startime did.

    It knew it wasn't suppose to perform attacks, but its trainer was in danger. With a rage not very threatening, Startime planted itself in front of Whitney and danced the dance world-renowned by the more evolved stages of its line.

    Metronome. The ability to produce any and all known attacks world-round.

    It hoped for a good one. It hoped for one to save Whitney. The stranger had a big, obvious sweatdrop falling from the side of its head at the sight of its dance. And Metronome finally sparked an attack from deep within Startime's subconscious.

    Suddenly, Startime was rushing forward, a huge set of teeth wide and open, and latching painfully onto the stranger's ankle.

    Bite.

    The stranger's howl of agony knocked Whitney out of her own screaming fit, and watched just in time as the stranger began to dissolve into black smoke, and Startime's grip evaporated until the stranger became nothing more than a Gastly, with an exaggerated bandaid on its side, and tears welling up in its eyes. The cold was suddenly gone, the noise came back, and the Gastly began crying like a baby.

    Whitney, for all the life of her, could not understand what was going on, and climbed back to her feet. Her knees and socks were soiled in a thin sheen of dirt, but the bawling ghost distracted her from noticing. It was so awkward; what was she supposed to do--

    "Hey!" From out of the brush came charging a kid her age, with several leaves caught in his blond hair and his clothes all rumpled. "Why'dju hurt my Gastly like that?!"

    Whitney facefaulted, hunching over and completely bewildered by the sudden entrance and the accusation. "But--"

    "You should be ashamed of yourself!" The boy was frantically checking the pokémon over, and even poked at the bandaid. The Gastly cried even louder. He glared, but for some reason, Whitney didn't believe the face. "Hurting a poor ghost like that! We should have you arrested for battery!"

    "Wha-- waitaminute!" She shrieked, her intelligence being insulted. This was -not- her fault! "If your little friend here hadn't scared the wits out of us, this never would have happened in the first place! Why was it casting an illusion to look like an undead person??"

    The boy stared, faltering, and Whitney felt better. "Hey--hey! Your Cleffa still attacked him. My Gastly wasn't doing anything to harm you, and it attacks him without a command to do so and viciously might I add! Your pokémon's rabid and unruly!"

    "Are you claiming you aren't responsible for your pokémon's action to scare me?" She glared dangerously, and when pink-haired girls are mad, they are Scary. "If so, then your Gastly's also unruly and should be eufanized!"{1}

    She was sure that was the right word; Dad once used it when they had to put their old Persian to sleep and she'd asked what it meant. "It means you have to kill a pokémon in its sleep, to spare them the pain of dying while they're awake. Don't worry honey, Fisky won't feel a thing. He'll be in a better place." And big words, after all, tended to intimidate others her own age.

    The boy choked, and the Gastly's eyes went as round as saucers and buried its whole face into the boy's chest. "Hey, hey, hold on there!" He was trying to turn the tide again. "Gastly isn't unruly! He's very sweet and obedient and would never act without my command! Your Cleffa's just a little beast who acts on its own!"

    Cleffa looked as though it were about to cry too, its little arms to its mouth and it's brown ears dropping. "Pipiiiii!"

    "Does that mean you ordered Gastly to create a scary illusion?"

    "No!"

    "You just said it was loyal! And only does as you command! Which is it? Is Gastly unruly and attacked us without your word, or does it listen to you and -you- made it scare us?!"

    Verbally trapped, the boy started looking around as he stuttered and fought for a reply. But he didn't have one, until he finally sighed and hide himself partially behind Gastly's tangible body. "Okay, okay, we saw you coming up the path," he admitted. "I told Gastly to scare you, so that I could come and save you from him. It was just a joke..."

    A boy prank. How uncivilized. Whitney picked her Cleffa up and held it close, glaring with all the potency a ten year old girl who loved to smile could muster. "You -frightened- my pokémon into attacking!" she accused. "Daddy told me she shouldn't do that until I started my journey! And you don't even say, 'I'm sorry'??" She fumed, and felt tears starting to burn her eyes.

    Suddenly, going up to the lab was the farthest thing from her mind, and she was storming back down the hill, calling out as she did so, "You're just so rude!"

    "He--hey!" Dirt-crunches got louder as the boy hurried to catch up, and slid in front of her. "Wait a second! I'm sorry, okay?? Just..er, don't be upset. I'm really really sorry!"

    "I'm not upset!" Contradicted by her face scrunching up and her eyes and mouth closed tightly together. Trying not to cry, not to sob, not to let her nose run, not to look like such a big baby in front of an immature child. "I'm...I'm just--"

    "--crying like a girl," the boy inserted, except he was running his hands into every pocket he had, until he pulled out a pre-packet of tissues. His face was red with embarrassment as he offered her a couple. "Here. Just...please stop?"

    She took them, somewhat grateful, and cleaned herself off; Startime tried to help in all its own distress, but all it did was smear the tear water further across her face. Whitney felt so awkward when she was done, stuffing the used tissues into her shorts' pocket, that she couldn't quite met his eyes. "..mmm, thanks," she mumbled.

    The boy was also blushing, not quite looking at here either. "Sorry though. I guess it was a stupid idea."

    Despite herself, Whitney giggled a tiny noise, rubbing one eye and looking at him through the other. "Yeah, it was pretty stupid."

    "Wanna play?"

    It was certainly out of the blue, considering what had just happened, and Whitney asked, "Why?"

    The boy grinned sheepishly. "Because scaring the local population isn't worth it if I'm just gonna make people cry; I'd run out of tissues. And obviously I'm not from around here, so it's not like I know anyone. And my cousin's too old to have fun with, sooooo....that's why."

    What her father said earlier to her resonated back into her conscience. Was this what he meant? "Alright." She paused, then added, "I'm Whitney, by the way."

    "Morty. Nice to meet you."

    "Same."


    -b-r-o-k-e-n-



    He'd never spent so much time in normal clothes since he was a baby. Falkner picked at the hem of his shorts idly, wishing his mother had let him pack more than one pair of pants. At least they covered his legs, something more reminding of the hakama and dress pants he wore back home.

    He never knew he was so pasty-looking either.

    With a nasal exhale, he closed the book in his lap with a loud snap and grabbed at the pokéball on him belt. With a careless toss, the red light produced the little avian he'd been gifted with. It chirped, looking around expectantly, but found no enemy, no purpose, and only its master rummaging around in his knapsack.

    The Pidgey cocked its head sideways and hopped closer, watching Falkner pull out a handheld, canvas pouch. "C'mere."

    It peeped, acknowledged the command, but gave another visual sweep of the small clearing before following it. Falkner sighed loudly, feeding his starter the seed mix both him and his father prepared before Falkner left yesterday.

    This Pidgey was born to fight, bred to be able to handle any type of opponent. Even as tranquil as it appeared, harmlessly eating from his own hand, it was on alert. Falkner adored it, coddled it when his mother wasn't looking, and tried to overall subdue its need to fight when there was none to have. Trying to teach it the difference between friend and foe was difficult, but he was sure it could be done.

    His mother didn't see the aggression as a problem. They bred their pokémon for its strength and will to be on top. This Pidgey was simply the result of that hard work.

    "You're going to be trouble for my team, aren't you." Falkner's groan sighed in escape, and idly began stroking the top of the bird's head. Right behind where those high-crown feathers would be once it evolved. He honestly couldn't wait until it was a Pidgeot; his father's was the most majestic pokémon he'd ever seen, and it was one of the fewest things he was looking forward to on the road.

    Falkner let the barest crumbs fall from his hand, and wiped the rest off on his shorts. The Pidgey hopped up and down, fluttering its wings and making a quiet racket. Falkner snorted and place it in his lap, and opened his book again. "I don't think I've shown you this yet, have I?"

    It cooed, and Falkner flipped his book open to a double-paged rendition painting, and pointed to it. "Look at this. These are who your ancestors and their human partners have been worshipping for almost four hundred years. The Great God, and his three angry children of thunder, ice, and flame. You'll be just as great someday. I mean, you won't be spitting fire or blasting anyone with lightning, but I can teach you to be better than what you are. What do you say to that?"

    Pidgey craned its neck backwards as Falkner talked, then it fell forward to inspect the large creature Falkner was pointing to.

    Lugia was staring back at it.


    -b-r-o-k-e-n-



    "Family's doing good, right?"

    "As well as ever, though Mom's gone right batty on Gus again. She's convinced he's the start of a bad breed."

    Regulus' eyebrow rose. "It doesn't have to do with what happened to Karen, does it?"

    Casper sent him a grim look. "'Course it does. She's so used to perfection that she's overlooking her children and grandchildren as what they are. Anyway, she's angling for me to take her place in the Elite."

    "As the Fourth?"

    "No other position is worth being in, she says." Casper shook his head, looking down into the teacup. An ugly reflection looked back. "Mom's got another twenty years left in her, if her spirit's got anything to say. She'll live just to spite us."

    The ex-Leader laughed loudly, his knees hitting the underside of the table; Casper made a strangled noise as he barely managed to save his tea. "Hooo god, that's a riot."

    Casper's eyes nearly crossed. "Glad you think so, Julus," he mumbled bitterly. "I hate thinking of her like she's the wicked witch of the west--"

    "But she is!"

    "--she's my mother!" With it, the backside of Casper's fork smacked Regulus' hand. He cried out, but didn't do much for his laughter. Casper glanced around, and mentally noted how others were staring and glaring at from their sparse tables, with those looks of contempt that never seemed to leave the people of the town. He bristled silently, and turned back to his companion. "You're horrible."

    Regulus merely recycled his smile. "Remember, I've met your mother. And believe you me, I would not want to stand in her presence any longer than I have to. She gave me the worse wallop when I just started out, and scared me out of my mind so badly, that I never willingly stepped foot in Ecruteak again until Mona replaced her."

    Casper shook his head. "What side-Gym did you go to to get your eigth then?"

    "One on the edge of the Whirl Islands. Opposite Cianwood's coast."

    "Mulberry?"

    "Sounds right."

    Casper chuckled absently and turned to stare out the floor-to-ceiling windows, noting the evening was setting, and the pair frolicking ever closer to the Pokécenter. "Yo, Julus. That one your's?"

    "Eh?" For an instant, he was staring blankly at Casper, then looked where his thumb was pointing and his face broke into something akin to pride and happiness. "Yep, that's Whitney. My pink-haired monster."

    "She's with my son."

    "Morty?" Regulus' face scrunched, squinting. "...Yeah, he looks like you. Got rounder cheeks though." He shrugged, approving if anything. "Not exactly who I was expecting her to find company in, but never-the-less."

    It took Casper back slightly, placing the small weight of confusion on one shoulder and a matching weight of curiosity. "What's that mean?"

    Regulus stared him in the eye, thoughtful if Casper had ever seen it, then smiled a stricken smile a fair few moments later. "Nothing," he admitted softly. "No offense meant."

    Casper felt like frowning, but didn't. Instead, he watched them race to the doors, and couldn't help himself. Casper had to say it. "She looks a lot like your wife."

    "Doesn't she?" he asked rhetorically, with the trademark enthusiasm Casper related to him. "Spirited like a Rapidash, and more trouble than a Murkrow. It's a miracle I'm still alive after handling her alone."

    "...I guess we both have our little family problems."

    Regulus agreed.


    -b-r-o-k-e-n-



    It was far passed sundown, and lights were going out on the ground as more celestial lights lit up in the sky. Karen absently scratched the top of Houndoom's head, which rested on her stomach, staring upward with muted awe.

    New Bark Town had the same sky that Ecruteak did, the rural areas unhindered with the same impeding lights of major cities. But unlike Ecruteak, this area was covered in rolling hills. And one hill, she'd found in her exploring some years back, she liked best. It wasn't too steep, but definitely not a gentle slope, and it gave the sky a panoramic display.

    All those stars. That waning moon. The darkness. A time when ghosts danced their mischievous undead hearts out, when dark creatures made from nightmares stepped into the night and hunted, howled, and harvested their empathy of fear and fright.

    Karen smiled. "I'll have a team of dark-types," she promised, a ritual she never broke from when she star-gazed. "You'll see, Houndoom. We'll be just like Selene. Only better. Much much better. I'll sweep through the Elites, and I'll crush Granna. And then I'll show Selene how to /really/ raise dark-types. Whatcha think, boy?"

    Houndoom scuffed, and twisted its head to lick a her arm. It liked that idea, even after such a long time since she made her promise. Karen had never failed to make anything she said not come true; time was not an issue. She would be Champion. A much better Champion.

    She'd feel bad about having to take out Lance. He was an okay guy, and she liked the relationship Clair had with him. Even though Karen and Morty were closer in space and age, she didn't feel the same way about him like Clair felt for Lance. But Clair and Karen were in different roles when it came to their cousins. Clair was the baby, Karen the idolized sibling, but...

    Karen would have no trouble taking her Granna and tearing through the woman she respected and loathed. Anything to prove she and her father were the trainers Agatha wanted them to be.

    The remaining Elites, Cye and Rune, Karen had nothing against, but she would not go easy on them. They would fall, and it didn't matter if they fell hard or pillowed, so long as they got out of her way.

    Then Selene would be all her's.

    "Hey, Houndoom," she murmured. "Think we should spend the night out here? Tomorrow's the thirtieth, so it's not like we won't be on a bed before we leave, right?"

    The hellhound didn't voice its opinion though and didn't move either. It was good enough a vote as any. Uncle Casper wouldn't be worried, she figured. And Karen dozed, dreaming of her triumph over Selene, before falling to the erratic dreams of slumber.


    -e-n-d-i-n-g-




    {1} - it should be 'euthanized', but you know kids. It's never guarantee that they'll hear a 'big' word and then say it right on the first try.

    Erm, I 'pologize for the OCs suddenly dropping in, but it'll just be the five of them in part four (chapter after next). Scout's honor.
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  13. #13
    Goronda Type Vice-Webmaster Evil Figment's Avatar Vice-Webmaster
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    It's not nearly this bad in this chapter - sure, there were a few OCs, but it was far easier to take than last chapter, especially as they were mostly OCs we're familiar with from last time.

    One mistake, "and it was one of the fewest things he was looking forward to on the road", should be few.

    Beyond that, this story's flowing just right, and the characters are interesting.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mintaka and Hurristat
    He's an evil director / He'll give out infractions / Do something wrong / And he takes direct actions
    Then what'll he do?/ He'll permaban you / You find your name slashed / With a message, 'Adieu'
    Sooooo...watch out!
    "It is said that the federal government, if it was in charge of the Sahara, would run out of sand in five years. Private enterprise, being more efficient, would do it in half the time - and they'd make money off the bridges." - me.
    "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." - Jack Layton's last letter. Rest in peace, Jack.

  14. #14
    Cheers to the Freeze Luna Tiger's Avatar Bulbapedia Staff
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    Quote Originally Posted by Damian Silverblade
    One mistake, "and it was one of the fewest things he was looking forward to on the road", should be few.
    ...I was hoping I could get away with that usage. I know it should be 'few', but I chose 'fewest' to emphasized the reluctance to travel, and the bleak state of things he actually is looking forward to, which in his mind, underweigh everything he isn't by 100x.
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  15. #15
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    Good chapter ^_^ No particular complaints, really. Liked the meeting between Morty and Whitney. There's a few places where I stumble because I've only played Yellow (just started emerald), I don't watch the series, and I only kinda know these characters through a few fics ^^ My own fault, though.
    Riding Fire
    A (very short and completed) original character fanfic about Rapidash Racing.

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