Uh, hi! I haven't been around here much, but I've been posting my fanfic to other sites, so I thought I might try putting it up here and seeing what kind of feedback I get. I really appreciate any comments or criticism you have to offer, so let me know what you like and/or dislike about the story so far.

Summary: Teenage trainers Sienna Brown and Lemon Chiffon get more than they bargained for when they rescue a strange girl during a thunderstorm on Route 45 and are sucked into an adventure that leads them all the way to faraway Sinnoh.

Rating: PG-13 for language and thematic elements.

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Chapter One

"Doctor Orange?"

"Yes, Aubergine?"

The head lab tech sighed and ran a hand through her brown hair. "She's... the subject's shut herself in her room again. She won't come out to eat or let anyone in, and is ignoring all attempts at communication. It seems she’s also barricaded the door with some of the furnishings."

Doctor Orange groaned. "Not again. You've got her on camera, right? What's she doing?"

Aubergine shifted uneasily on her feet, the soles of her sneakers shuffling with an awkward squeaking noise across the sterile metal floor. "Well, Doctor... she's... reading.” She laughed nervously—a bit unsettled. Not uncommon among the staff, with their subject... “That’s... that’s about all, just reading the books we gave her to teach her. She seems very focused on them. I wouldn’t be concerned, but she's been sitting on her bed reading them for the last six hours without ceasing. Uh, I think she’s looking at an annotated atlas right now, as of the last report. I’ve issued orders for her to be left alone for now, since I didn’t want to risk upsetting her by forcing the door, but I wanted your opinion."

"Well, at least that's fairly innocuous," said Orange, leaning back in her desk chair. "Let me know if the situation changes at all—she may not need to eat often, but she's got to want food sometime. Let me know, and I'll interview her personally when she does; we need to know as much as possible about her mental state. I've read the reports from the Mewtwo project..."

A crease formed in the Aubergine's forehead. "Understood, ma'am," she said, nodding slightly, though looking rather worried.

Orange laughed. "Well, don't be too worried. Her personality seems considerably less violent; I doubt we'll have the same outcome as those idiots on the... previous venture in our area. Anyway, anything else to report?"

"Not much," said Aubergine. "She seems to be progressing mostly normally in terms of regular development, aside from the initial growth-enhancement. She might be called precocious among others... seems to be interested in her lessons. Very quiet, though."

The doctor nodded, thoughtfully. "Seems about right," she said, finally. "At least within normal variation of the projections. We didn't design her to be an extrovert, anyway. Is that all?"

Aubergine frowned. "Well, there was one more thing."

"Yes?"

"Her sleep has started becoming regularly restless. She murmurs things in her sleep, and occasionally sleepwalks. Just the last few days, but enough to form a pattern."

"Have you managed to record anything she said?"

"The mic on the security camera wasn't quite good enough to pick up exactly what was being said, so we placed a separate one in a different location after the first occurrence. I... uh..." She patted down her sides, and flipped through the pages on her clipboard. "I'm sorry, ma'am. I don't seem to have the transcript with me. It was mainly a lot of nonsense, though. I know I couldn't make any sense of it, and none of the others could either."

Orange brushed a stray lock of ginger hair behind her ear. "That's all right. Just make sure to get it to me as soon as you can. I can put it into this month's report to headquarters—maybe one of the high-ups will have some interest in it. If that's all, you can go now."

"Thank you, ma'am," said the tech, and walked out the door, closing it behind herself.

Doctor Orange propped herself up on her desk by her elbows, leaning forward, and dialed the computer to bring up the security camera from the subject's room. As chief of the project team, she ought to see the odd behavior the tech had mentioned for herself. The computer brought up the window—

—and Orange sat upright. She hastily punched the comm for the tech who had just left moments earlier. "Aubergine!" she said. "Check security camera S-5. What do you see?"

There was a brief moment of lag, and then a crackle of static. "Hear you, Doctor. Just a second..." A pause, and then: "Oh, crap. Ma'am—"

"I checked it myself, too. I'm overriding the door lock code. Get a team for backup, stat!"

"Right!" A long pause, presumably as Aubergine dialed the security team and waited for them to come. Then: "We're in place. Go ahead, Doctor—"

"Opening the door."

The door swung open on Orange's screen, and she watched as the black-clad security team push their way in through the makeshift furniture barricade, followed by Aubergine, who made her way through the crowd over to the gaping hole in the wall.

"Camera, zoom in," said Orange, and watched as the computer's view came closer to the hole. Around the edges... it looked like the wall had been burned clear through—right through the paint and plaster, and even through the solid rock on the other side of the wall. She saw Aubergine lift her communicator.

"Doctor, I think we have a problem," said Aubergine.

"Yes," said Orange. "Yes, I think we do."

# # #


"Come on! I'm tired!"

"Five more minutes!" Sienna Brown shouted over her shoulder, as she jogged down the hill, through the tall grasses that covered most of Route 45. "We're almost done for the night, I swear!"

"That's what you said an hour ago—and now it's ten o' clock," said the taller blonde girl, leaning back against a tree and gesturing up at the clear night sky. "Seriously, Sienna, this is not how sane people train. If you really want to have even a chance this time, you ought to get some rest so that your pokémon don't faint from exhaustion in the middle of battle! Or you, for that matter!"

Sienna scowled. "Just because you won the badge on your first try doesn't mean I have to listen to you, Lemon," she grumbled. "You can go back to the pokémon center if you really want to. In the meantime, we will continue training. Isn't that right, guys?" There was a pause. "Guys?"

She turned. Behind her, her graveler and vileplume were snoozing on the hillside, while ninetales had gotten into her backpack and was pulling out all the food containers and opening them with her claws. Sighing, she recalled all three of them into their pokéballs, and flopped down on the grass, hooking the red and white balls to her belt. "All right, so maybe I'd better wrap up," she admitted, as she started to clean up the mess around her backpack. "Still, though..." Her nose wrinkled. "I really, really need this badge."

Lemon sat down next to her and leaned back on her elbows. "It isn't bad, really. I mean, you've already got seven badges, and you could have an eighth if you'd just swallow your pride and try another gym that doesn't specialize in Dragon-types. That's something to be proud of. It's not like you have to go for the Blackthorn gym."

Pulling a face, Sienna folded her hands neatly behind her head, brushing her brunette pigtails out of the way and onto the grass. "Well, yes, but the thing is, you are right. It's a matter of pride for me, I guess," she said. "And besides..." She scowled. "Smug wossname told me I didn't have a chance," she muttered under her breath, grumpily.

Her friend laughed. "Oh, Sienna," she said, crossing her legs neatly. "Do grow up, will you?"

"Oh, come on," said Sienna, waving her arms wildly above her head and shooting Lemon a burning glare. "I'm sixteen, can't I be allowed my moments of childishness every once in a while? Saying something like that was practically tempting destiny. I have to win, now, don't you see? And then I will take on the League, and win, and be Sienna Brown, Pokémon Master!" She struck a dramatic half-pose with her arms as if she'd just won the League tournament.

"You watch far too much television," Lemon said. "You’re always destiny this, destiny that–real life doesn't work like that, you know."

"Who says?" Sienna retorted. "Maybe someday I’ll be one of the Elite Four. You never know. Or maybe we'll stumble into the middle of an earth-shattering plot and have to save the world! Didn't you ever dream of that kind of thing as a girl? Becoming the greatest trainer ever, saving the world from evil, being adored by everyone from Kanto to Sinnoh for your great and courageous deeds?" She paused. "Oh, right, you were never a little girl. Silly me."

Lemon stuck out her tongue. "I had dreams of my own. I just have my feet firmly planted on the ground, that's all," she said.

"Oh really? What fantastic adventures did you dream up when you were a kid?" Sienna challenged her.

"Hmph," said Lemon. "For your information, I indulged some very vivid daydreams about becoming a very famous professional writer known all across every region and being interviewed on DJ Mary's Pokémon Talk every week."

Sienna stifled a laugh, clapping her hands over her mouth, though she couldn't help but snort through her fingers. "Tha—that was your most exciting daydream?"

"Ha ha," said Lemon. "You'll excuse me if I didn't daydream about the apocalypse, all right?"

"Touché," Sienna said, drily. "Each to her own, I suppose."

"Indeed," agreed Lemon. "Anyway, we should head in. So you can actually get some sleep for once, I mean, not stay up until one fiddling with your pokénav."

"All right," said Sienna, reluctantly. "Let's—oh, damn."

"What?"

"Felt a raindrop," said Sienna, frowning up at the now-ominously overcast sky. "Looks like a big one. We'd better run for it."

"Agreed," said Lemon, and the both took off, Sienna grabbing her backpack hastily as they dashed for the path.

Sienna was soon proven right as the clouds opened up overhead, starting a downpour and quickly turning the path into a river of mud. Both girls jumped as a flash of lightning lit the sky, as well.

"We'll have to stop!" yelled Lemon, above the crash of thunder, frantically trying to use her vest and backpack as a makeshift umbrella. "Let's try to get to that stand of trees over there! There'll be some shorter ones to hide under!"

"Got it!" Sienna called back, pulling the hood of her sweatshirt over her head as she followed her friend into the trees, darting quickly past the outer ones and into the middle of the grove, where more of the rainfall was caught by the trees and the rumbling of the thunder sounded more distant. There was a clearing there, big enough to be away from the bases of the trees and thus safe from the lightning, and the two halted there.

"Phew," said Lemon, shaking water out of her wavy hair as she squatted down, unrolling a tarp from her backpack and setting it on the ground. "Guess we won't be heading back to the Center after all. At least not until the storm passes."

"I'll sign on to that. There's no way I'm going back out there in that kind of weather," Sienna muttered, setting herself down on the tarp. She immediately began stripping off her wet outerclothes, replacing them with a raincoat from inside her backpack and sealing the soaked clothing in a compression pouch.

Lemon was busy fiddling with her pokénav. "Can't get a signal—must be interference from the storm," she said, before switching it off. "Funny, though. I checked the weather this morning, and it was a pretty low chance of rain. No thunderstorms even on the radar." She shivered; she hadn't brought any warmer clothes with her as the day had been fairly warm up until that point.

"Goes to show how bloody useless the weather forecasters are," said Sienna, and tossed her friend a slightly worn but well cared-for emergency blanket. "Here, put it on," she said.

"Thanks."

"Don't mention it." Sienna shook her head, sending droplets of water flying in the process. "Man, I've got to get me a castform one of these days. It could come in handy at times like this."

Lemon smiled weakly. "Well, at least you're prepared. Shame on me."

"Meh, once out of a hundred times." Sienna shrugged. "How many times have you saved me when I've been out for something? Can't count them." She looked down at her feet. "It's what friends do for friends, right?"

"Heh. Well, let me tell you, right now there's no one I'd rather be stuck out here with than you."

Sienna grinned. "And, you know, maybe I won't even start talking about—"

Lightning lit up the clearing, suddenly much closer than it had been before, and thunder rumbled. And in the flash of lightning, a human figure was briefly silhouetted, before it buckled at the knees and fell limply forward into the wet grass.

"—destiny?" Sienna whispered.