Hello everyone. What follows is the latest version of my very first piece of Pokémon fanfiction. The original version was written between the summers of '03 and '04.
CONTENT ADVISORY, A.K.A. FAIR WARNING: This story is rated PG-13 for violence, brief mild language, and other things that are just not very cheerful.
This story does not strictly or entirely adhere to any form of the established Pokémon canon.
I choose to use a variant of the common noun method when it comes to capitalizing things such as the names of pokémon species.
Discretion is advised.
SEEMINGLY OBLIGATORY DISCLAIMER: This really goes without saying, but I do not own Pokémon. Opinions and statements expressed in this story do not necessarily reflect my own. Views expressed by one or more members of any given species within the context of this story are not intended to represent the views of all members of that species within the context of this story or any other context.
Chapter 1 – The Haven
Chapter 2 – Just a Little Favor
Chapter 3 – In Review
Chapter 4 – The Messenger
Chapter 5 – The Fire and the Air
Chapter 6 – Hope
Chapter 7 – One on One
Chapter 8 – Phasing Forward, Looking Back
Chapter 9 – Altered States
Chapter 10 – Embracing the Predator
Chapter 11 – The Vault
Chapter 12 – Hunter of the Shadows
Chapter 13 – X
Chapter 14 – Chasing a Rumor
Chapter 15 – The Swarm
Chapter 16 – Balance
Chapter 17 – Lifeforce
Chapter 1 – The Haven
He lay down upon a cold, wet patch of grass, though it may as well have been a bed fit for a queen. It was soft and enveloping, like the sudden drowse that was pleasantly consuming him. He yawned, covering his mouth with his hand—her hand, pale-skinned and branching out into five separate fingers.
This was not his hand. This was not his point of view.
Something sky-blue appeared over the pale hand—his own, much simpler, fused hand, surrounded by a soft, multicolored glow. He looked into her eyes, though he knew he didn’t have to do so. He knew that they were closed, that their owner slept. He felt a sense of being asleep, too, yet remained awake. After all, it was only her sleep, which he happened to be experiencing vicariously, not his own. A second-hand sensation.
He recoiled from the sudden, stark vacuum where her lifeforce had been and from the pain around the edges of the part of him that had been erased with the entirety of her being. Disarray exploded in his mind—his cumbersome nervous system had not unsynched in time, and now he couldn’t tell for certain whether he was living or dead, whether he was himself or the lifeless figure lying before him. Overwhelmed by these sensations, he staggered backward until something caught under one of his pods and nearly tripped him.
His perception, all of his many senses, abruptly froze. For a moment, reality returned. Then he saw the object on which he had just stepped—something round in shape, red and white in color—and the distinction between him and the one whom he’d just lost was at last entirely swallowed by chaos, for this pokéball was his—but also hers…
The pokéball rattled as it was lifted up in his shaking hands. The vestigial joints at his knuckles constricted around it, and with a final, caterwauling scream tearing its way through his throat, his psyche shattered as the pokéball he clutched did likewise…
* * *
The harsh sound of the pokéball’s implosion blasted him once again out of his brain’s unique perversion of the sleeping mind: two dreams, two perspectives, experienced at the same time.
But now, as he reminded himself, they truly were only dreams, no matter how twisted, and nothing more. The pain was not really present, just a shadow of the feeling that was somewhere between remembered and imagined, and it was now confined to those dreams. It no longer besieged his conscious mind, no longer burned and frayed his nerves.
Peace had been hard-won, however, through the efforts of many over years in the Haven. Lazily, still yet to fully awaken, his eyes opened and their inner membranes slid back to reveal a final view of his room there. It was a simple, small space, shut away from the outside world and its rude sun, perpetually shadowed in his preferred darkness. He flexed his spine and his limbs and detached his jaws in a massive yawn. There was a series of faint snaps as his joints relocated, followed by another sound: the trilling of the door alarm.
As he got to his feet, he saw light blossom gradually in the space around him, a feature of the room for which he was quite grateful. It allowed eyes like his, accustomed to near-total darkness, to more gracefully adjust to the illumination on the other side of the door, which would not open until the light-adjustment process was finished.
He would have personally preferred for the lights to not come on at all, and perhaps they wouldn’t have to save for the fact that the Haven’s staff were almost exclusively chansey. Their kind did not possess anything like the night-vision of his own and thus required light to be active and able to perform their sometimes critical work (though he’d often wondered why they didn’t just employ some nocturnal species to tend to the dark-sighted).
At any rate, he was able to tolerate light to a degree, for he was used to it. Living with humans (and the hours that those humans kept) for part of his life had caused him to develop diurnal habits.
He suspected that he’d probably end up half-blind before his first century and wholly so halfway through his second, but it would be worth it in his opinion. He had loved those years that he’d spent with humans, and outside of the occasional nightmare, he could now recall them with more joy than sorrow.
The door slid open, and in stepped a chansey. A nametag clipped to her fur identified her as Teresa, at which Esaax smiled; she was his favorite among the staff at the Haven. She carried a form attached to a clipboard; beaming proudly, she turned it around so that the paper faced him.
Wobbuffet, male, the paper read in unown-script. Designation: Esaax Evergray. He’d been denying that name and the history that came with it ever since his new life among the humans had begun, but now, in his “second new life”, he embraced it once more.
After all, once one gets over a thing like a spontaneous extinction, a little adolescent heartbreak is nothing…
He shook his head clear of such thoughts, determined to stay in the present, and returned his attention to the form. His eyes scanned its surface quickly, skimming over several more lines of personal data until he found he was looking for: 4/15/14…
“Well, this is it!” Teresa said cheerfully, matching Esaax’s thoughts at the moment almost word-for-word. Today, he would leave. Today, at last, he could. “Are you ready for your final tests?” the chansey asked.
“Yes, ma’am,” Esaax answered, careful as always to prevent the automatic door from closing on his tail as he followed the chansey out of the room.
“Now, you do realize this means you’ll have to go see Adn just one last time.”
“I’m not scared of Adn,” the wobbuffet said, and for the most part he wasn’t. Nonetheless, his tone did suggest some sort of dread.
“Never said you were, but still, I know his method isn’t the most comfortable…”
“…But it’s what it takes and you’re gonna do it anyway, so…” Esaax shrugged in mock surrender.
“Right. Anyway,” Teresa said as she led Esaax down the hall, “we’ll be saving him for last, which is fine since we have other things to take care of anyway. We’ll just get you in when he’s finished; he’s with another patient at the moment.”
“Is he, now.”
“Yes, a relicanth.”
“Oh yes, he’s been at it for three days. But he is almost done with him; I made sure.”
Another door opened to admit the two of them. Therein were all the necessary resources for a basic physical exam, including a living resource, a pokémon who served as Teresa’s assistant—or, more precisely, as her hands. Specifically, this was a mr. mime by the name of Madeline. Her large and agile hands were well-suited for tools and equipment made for the very similar hands of humans, the sort of things for which the tiny, nearly-featureless paws of a chansey tended to be inadequate.
“Why, look at you!” Madeline said. “We don’t really need to look him over, do we, Terry? He’s the very incarnation of health right here, I’d say.”
She came up to stand before him and studied him with an eyebrow raised and a finger resting on her lips in a way that one might gaze at a work of art. Then she smiled and said, “Still working out, I see. Bet we’ll fill this place twice over after you get out with all the women you’ll drive crazy, you handsome blue devil.”
Flirting and teasing from Madeline—that wasn’t new. She hadn’t given him a break in that department even once since soon after she’d first met him. Esaax sincerely hoped that she was just joking around, but if she wasn’t… Esaax tried very, very hard not to think about that possibility.
At any rate, her observation was correct—or the part about him working out was, anyway. Esaax had indeed been on a devout physical training regimen for quite some time now. Though Madeline liked to make him out to be some kind of beefcake, such was not the case at all. The effects of his training, though visible, were not dramatic. Esaax was no bodybuilder; the point of his training was simply to help him harness and become aware of strength that he already possessed.
The idea to start him on such a program had originally arisen from the pokéball incident—that had actually happened, not just in his dreams. As was common among his kind, Esaax hadn’t known the full magnitude of his own physical strength on account of not really being able to bring it to bear against another living creature; as such, it had been suggested to Esaax that it might do him good to become conscious of his “idle power” lest anything else fall victim to it.
He’d agreed to this instantly. All his life, he’d broken things by accident; the chance to learn how to leave his klutzy side in the past was irresistible to him. Soon after he’d begun this training, he’d discovered that the exercise also had the benefit of keeping his mind as well as his body busy and strong and had thus come to appreciate it all the more.
While he no longer needed it in the therapeutic sense, he still enjoyed it as a hobby. He’d often wondered where he might train once he was released and had ultimately decided on the old human gym down the street, which fighting-types frequented.
He imagined that if he did go there, some machamp or maybe a hitmon of some kind would likely pick a fight with him—he figured that they’d be unable to resist the allure of a psychic that they could whale on without fear of eating psybeam. One or another of them would just let loose with the mega punches and seismic tosses, only to have those attacks thrown right back in their face, doubled in power…
The thought of such a thing was just too funny to Esaax. He might never have stopped laughing if his internal comedy weren’t interrupted then by something cold attaching itself to his chest. He looked at the stethoscope for a moment, and then his gaze traveled up to meet that of the mr. mime who’d put it there.
“Aw, come on, Teresa. That’s just lazy,” Esaax said, though he did so lightheartedly. “You’ve never had to have her do this part before.”
“She insisted,” said the chansey.
Madeline just stood there with a smile that suggested that she had far more on her mind than anything Esaax’s heart was doing.
“In fact,” Teresa went on, “Madeline asked if she could handle the entire examination herself. And I told her she could.”
Esaax could do nothing but groan.
* * *
Minutes later, Esaax left the room alongside Teresa, who was failing miserably to stifle her laughter.
“I’m sorry,” she said between giggles, half-breathless and on the verge of tears, “but you should have seen your face!”
Esaax just scowled, his face flushed in the deep blue shade of his humiliation.
“She just wanted to give you something to remember her by, that’s all,” Teresa said.
“How very thoughtful of her.” Esaax’s voice hinted at a desire to vomit. “So now what?”
“Well, you could have your retaliatory empathy test now, or would you rather have something to eat first?”
“Heh. That is such a ridiculous question.”
“I know,” Teresa said with a chuckle.
The two stopped in their tracks as another chansey stepped into their path from around the corner. “He’s here,” the newcomer said.
“Oh good,” Teresa responded. “Tell him to wait in the cafeteria, okay?” She turned to Esaax. “I forgot to tell you, Esaax. A friend of yours has come to pick you up. You can chat with him over breakfast.”
“A friend? Who?” Esaax asked.
“Go and find out for yourself! I’m going to check up on Adn again and see if he’s anywhere near ready. See you later!”
Esaax watched Teresa waddle off, then made his way to the cafeteria, feeling awfully puzzled for someone who was supposed to have achieved clarity at last.
Next time: Just who is this “friend” who’s come to pay Esaax a visit? Find out in the next chapter! See you then!
- Sike Saner