Here I am with another one-shot. A little shorter than the earlier ones, I think, but that's because this, in all honesty, is the earlier one. The original thread at PC, where I posted it, says May 23rd, 2009, meaning this is over two years old. Please direct any complaints towards my fourteen-year-old self. Any praise you may have can, er, come directly to me.

Haha, that aside, I've gone through this and given it a bit of a once-over in the last twenty minutes or so. I think it's up to my level now, though it's still far too happy for my taste there may be something I've missed. Don't be afraid to point these things out.

The reason I'm posting this now, you ask? Why, because I'm working on another one-shot right now which serves as . . . well, it's not exactly a sequel, but it kind of is. Perhaps more like a spiritual successor.

In any case, this fic is harmless, unlike some of my others. Nobody dies or even friggin'
moves, for crying out loud. It's a little look at . . . friendship, that most mysterious of forces. Oh hey look, this was when I was using MS Word and had the Autocorrect set to 'Pokemon -> Pokémon'. :D

Something Will Be Born

The verdant greenness of the lush treeline contrasted sharply with the cool blue sky as Amity Square basked in another day of beautiful Sinnoh sunlight. A popular location with people and Pokémon alike, the park was – as was usual on a Sunday afternoon – filled with a large percentage of Hearthome City’s population. Picnic blankets were spread, ice-cream stalls set up, and one had to be careful not to step on anyone.

Children happily played tag through the trees or football on the grass while excited Pokémon tried their best to join in. On the diamond at the west end of the park, the weekly junior baseball tournament was in full swing, drawing a large crowd of interested bystanders. The park was a riot of colour and noise, happily chaotic, yet exuding a general aura of contentment.

One person, however, was not here for the sun, the picnicking, or the baseball. A tall, blonde woman in a long black coat – despite the heat – was silently picking her way through the festive crowds, heading for the crumbling stone ruins in the very deepest part of the park. Cynthia, the reigning Champion of the Sinnoh League, felt as if she was being drawn to this place, called by a voice that she couldn’t hear. She had been there many times before, and each time, she could hardly bear to leave.

One particular occasion, on a day much like this one, she had been challenged by a brash young Trainer named Paul. He had had potential; he could have become a great Trainer, but his battling style wouldn’t allow it. He saw his Pokémon as tools, not equals. He had thrown them recklessly at her Garchomp, eventually losing four of his team without even leaving a mark on the ferocious Dragon-type. Wisely, though, he had thrown in the towel at that point. Perhaps there was hope for him after all. Knowing when to quit was an important skill for any Trainer.

Shaking her head, Cynthia tried to bring herself back to the here and now. The ruins were just ahead. Slowly, reverently, she ascended the steps toward the carving on the crumbling stone wall. As she stood before the arcane writing, she felt again the sense of powerlessness. Cynthia realised that she wasn’t really here of her own volition. As with every time she stood at this spot, she knew that even though she had made the choice to come, she was not the instigator of the event. Who was? That was the greatest mystery of all. Was it the very beings that she had spent so much time trying to unravel the mysteries of? Were Dialga and Palkia trying to tell her something?

Hesitantly, Cynthia reached out a finger to touch the first letter. The cool stone sent a shiver down her spine as she traced her fingertip around the groove. Then the next, and the next, until she had finished the first word. Friend. Dropping her hand from the stone, Cynthia wondered. That one word, that solitary word, held so much meaning, so many lessons, combined in just six letters. It was a warning to everyone, telling the whole world to keep their loved ones close. It was a lesson, emphasising the frailty of life. It was a reassuring reminder that no matter how empty the world seemed, you were never alone. It was an island of warmth and familiarity in a cold, strange world.

Yet no matter how comforting the word normally was, standing unchanged on its rock for hundreds of years, maybe even more, at that moment Cynthia felt as if she was truly alone. This wasn’t like her at all. She had wonderful friends, she knew that. She was grateful for them every day of her life. Normally, she was perfectly cheerful and in control. Now, however, she felt she was losing it all. Was it because her search for Dialga and Palkia was yielding no answers? Even though the Lustrous Orb had been found, no further clues had presented themselves.

Pull yourself together, girl, she told herself sharply. This isn’t who you are! You’re the Sinnoh League Champion, and with that office comes responsibility. You can’t go off chasing moonbeams all the time!

Taking a deep breath, Cynthia gathered herself together and continued reading the inscription. She knew it off by heart by now, of course, but it was reassuring to see them written in front of her, as ageless and unchanging as the rock they were carved upon.

When every life
Meets another life
Something will be born.

Again, worlds of meaning in such a small package. It was true. Every day, Cynthia met plenty of new people. With each new contact, they added something to her life, and she felt sure she added something to theirs too. It was a never-ending cycle, and she realised suddenly that she didn’t want it to end at all. There were so many people and Pokémon out there, just waiting to touch her life with theirs.

Keep your friends close, Cynthia.” Whirling on the spot, the Champion pressed a hand to her suddenly pounding heart, taking a deep breath as she recognised the newcomer: Lucian, the strongest of the Elite Four. Standing somewhat awkwardly amongst the trees in his expensive burgundy suit, a slim book tucked beneath his arm, Lucian looked just as out of place as he always did outside. Adjusting his glasses and brushing a strand of long, wavy purple hair out of his face, he smiled reassuringly.

Lucian,” Cynthia admonished him gently. “You startled me. Was I speaking out loud? Or did you just . . . read my mind?” she asked.

Lucian laughed gently. “No, Cynthia, I can’t read minds. I can, however, read you. Like a book.” He pulled the book out from under his arm and flicked through it as if to demonstrate his point, his thin fingers dancing lightly across the pages. “You came out here to ponder the meaning of those words again, didn’t you?”

I suppose . . .” she murmured. Lucian nodded as if he had expected nothing less.

I worry about you, Cynthia, you know that?” he said, his voice losing its light, playful tone and taking on a note of concern. “You’re different lately. It’s like you’re somebody else. What happened to your passion, Cynthia? You used to be so full of fervour, taking on everything headfirst. You had more fire than Flint did! But now, I don’t know what’s happened. You seem more like me now, prone to wandering off and wondering about things beyond your grasp. For me, that’s just who I am. But you . . . This isn’t you, Cynthia. Do you see what I’m trying to say?”

The truth was, she did. But . . . something inside her didn’t want to accept it.

Returning to my original point,” Lucian continued, “you have many wonderful people in your life. You have something to live for! You are the Champion. You have the power to change people’s lives for the better. All you have to do is come out of your shell!”

Come out of your shell.

But what if she didn’t want to? What if all she wanted to do was stand here, in front of this wall, for the rest of her life? She could see herself doing it, too.

Come out of your shell.

He was right. She was being stupid. She had to realise what she’d done wrong. She had to turn herself around and face the world. Faintly, she realised that Lucian was talking again.

But, that’s not what I came here to tell you,” he said, a slight flicker of amusement dancing in his eyes. “A kid with purple hair turned up at the League this morning, demanding to battle you. I take it he’s challenged you before? Said his name was Pat or something . . .” He had got the name wrong on purpose, she knew. He was testing her, trying to make her react. Clenching her fists decisively, Cynthia looked straight into Lucian's eyes.

His name’s Paul,” she said.

Lucian smiled. “That’s it, Cynthia. Now come, you have a battle to win.”


EDIT: Oh my God, I still remember the name of the episode where Paul battles Cynthia - Top-Down Training. Goodness! I haven't seen that episode for over two years, and I haven't even seen the name or anything since.