Author's Notes: This story got started by a line in Line Inspiration (I think). I'm still not sure what brought this thing on; most likely, I was having a lousy day. Regardless, this is my first fic actually posted up on the Internet. I would appreciate any feedback/suggestions you may have on how to improve this story. Enjoy!
"Too bad you missed your chance."
That's the last thing I heard before I blacked out. It wasn't the words that frightened me, it was the way they were said. Like... like he expected my defeat to be the catalyst for some greater evil. I still have no idea what that *thing* he attacked me with was. Somehow I think it's safer not to really know.
I suppose it was irony that I lost in a fight that I didn't even need to pick in the first place. The entire thing seems like a fever dream or some nightmare dredged up from my deepest memories. And somehow it reminds me of when Gramps used to read me a story, way back when I was a little kid. It was about a man named Nick whose only failing point was his pride. I didn't understand what was so bad about that; I mean, shouldn't Nick have been proud of what he accomplished? But Gramps would only shake his head and say, "Too much pride is just as fatal as too little." I guess he knew what he was talking about. And I suppose I fell prey to the same thing Nick did: arrogance.
I only heard Gramps refer to the gym leader once. It was when I was about seven or eight, after his assistant Erik showed him the newspaper. I don't clearly remember what the article said that got Gramps so upset. It was probably Team Rocket wrecking havoc again; they seem to be awfully good at doing that. Gramps stared out the window and clenched a fist. I'd never really seen him do that before; Gramps is a mellow sort of guy, you know?
Gramps said one thing and then was silent for a half-hour. It was, "You've sunk lower than I ever dared to think, Sakaki." Now that I think about it, Gramps's tone echoed the gym leader's: bitter, almost angry-sounding. Maybe one day I'll ask why Gramps hates this Sakaki guy so much.
And maybe one day I'll go back to Viridan City and claim the badge I deserve. I'll walk into the gym, head held high like I used to. I'll look up at that cocky, arrogant jerk and say, "I underestimated you once, but that won't happen again!"
Come hell or high water, he'll regret the day he ever dared to humiliate an Oak. Not even Team Rocket can keep me from this promise. I will get my confidence back, and I will get that symbol that eluded me so long ago.
Because when you crushed me, you missed your chance for mercy. Gary Oak always wins out in the end.