Pygmalion, or My Fair Trainer (eventual Eldershipping, PG-13 for language)

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    Default Pygmalion, or My Fair Trainer (eventual Eldershipping, PG-13 for language)

    Pygmalion, or My Fair Trainer
    Being a Romance by Latonya Wright

    Table of Contents:
    Prologue: In Which The Scene Is Set
    Act 1, Scene 1: The Bet Suggested
    Act 1, Scene 2: The Bet Remembered
    Act 1, Scene 3: The Bet Made
    Act 1, Scene 4:The Going Price for a Daughter
    (And that's it for a while, folks--maybe more to come--)

    (Disclaimer included not only for your amusement, but also so I won't get sued.)

    A Firm Avowal of the Lack of Authorial Rights: The Author of this delightful and charming work wishes that her faithful Readers will acknowledge her Lack of Ownership of Anything contained within this work of fiction. The Characters, which she has seen fit to adopt to this tale, belong to Mister Tajiri and the Corporations who have paid him well to use them. The Story, which she has seen fit to use in her fashion, is based upon the play Pygmalion, by the Delightful Mister George Bernard Shaw, and the musical My Fair Lady, by Messrs. Lerner and Loewe. Please, gentle Holders of Copyright, do not sue the fair Author, as she is forced to live in Abject Poverty.

    Gentle Reader: You, fair Readers, will no doubt note the change in Tone that your fair Author has undertaken. It is the Author's desire to write this portion of her tale in a high style, suitably befitting a work of its character. Such a style pays tribute to Miss Jane Austen, and to the inimitable Mister George Bernard Shaw, whose Story has been adapted to fit the Tale of Doctor Samuel Oak and Mrs. Delia Ketchum. (The Author wishes to acknowledge other versions of this tale within the Pokemon fandom, by Trish and by Gobshite McNally, both available at fanfiction.net.)

    In Modern English: Basically, I take the plot of the musical My Fair Lady and inflict it upon Pokeverse. It's an OT fic (but it's a trainer you know as another person!) and eventually an Eldershipping fic (that's to describe the possible relationship between Professor Oak and Ash's mom.) I began this story for Llyxius, who likes Audrey Hepburn as much as I do. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I'm enjoying writing it. (And Apologies to all Brits and Bostonians--I know I'm getting your accents wrong!) Please do send the Author your comments on this odd piece of Fiction.

    Cast of Characters:
    --Dr. R. Samuel Oak, 45, Pokemon researcher of Pallet Town.
    --Spencer Hale, 23. doctoral student at the University of Johto-Ecruteak.
    --Delia Ketchum, 19, street vendor of flowers in Viridian City.
    --Drake Ketchum, 37, wandering Pokemon trainer.
    --Agatha Oak Hemingway, 50, Ghost Mistress and Elite Four Member.
    --Giovanni Lawson, 24, Viridian City Assistant Gym Leader.
    --Lydia Lawson, (a lady of such high standing never reveals her age), Viridian City Gym Leader.
    --Mrs. Pearce, 60-ish, Professor Oak's housekeeper.

    And more to come as they appear in the story!

    On to the Prologue, Gentle Reader...
    Last edited by Revolutionary Girl; 10th January 2003 at 02:11 AM.

    "Ol' Flying Fingers Sammy jumped the gun."

    Pokemaniacs Anonymous: Growing old =/= growing up.

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    Default My Fair Trainer 1.1

    Pygmalion, or My Fair Trainer
    Being a Romance by Latonya Wright
    The Prologue, In Which the Scene Is Set

    Viridian City and surrounding areas, 1987

    Viridian City.

    A large bustling metropolis, ablaze with noise and light and culture. An oasis in the midst of the Viridian Forest. A necessary stop in the journeys of the hundreds of Pokemon trainers of Kanto.

    In the forest, a solitary traveler stopped on a nearby hill to gaze at the bright lights and big city in the distance. He had been on his feet, on the road, for several weeks now. The journey had been difficult, even downright grueling and unpleasant at times, and his faithful companions were damn near exhausted. And because he had been a bit too confident one too many times on the road, he had no money and almost no food.

    But finally, after so terribly long, he was home, back home at last--and he was finally on the last leg of his journey to become a Pokemon Master.

    He momentarily thought of his daughter. She had been extraordinarily pretty the last time he'd seen her... almost seven months ago. Perhaps she had found a nice guy and settled down... Well, then again, probably not. More likely that she'd gotten a pretty good job working in a flower shop or something.

    Whatever the case, an improvement in her situation meant she had a lot more income, and that meant that he might have a chance of getting some money. If nothing had changed, he could at least stop at her apartment for a couple of days and get a nice, warm bed, with a nice shower and a nice meal.

    But he had to get to Viridian first. With his last reserve of strength, he began the long walk to the City, and the long search for his little girl/ meal ticket.


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    Viridian City.

    A large bustling metropolis, known as one of the intellectual hubs of Kanto. A city full of knowledge and experience. A nice place for an up-and-coming doctoral candidate to find an internship.

    At Viridian's Grand Central Station, a young man stepped off the 8:55 train, direct from Ecruteak. He fought his way through the crowd of passengers, using his backpack and his battered-but-still-fashionable suitcase as a clearing mechanism. When he cleared the platform and reached the station proper, he sank onto a nearby bench, pulled his long black hair into a ponytail, and breathed a sigh of relief.

    It had taken forever, but he had finally made it to Viridian. For any other graduate student, that would be the end of a journey; the many universities in the city limits--Bradford University, Emerson College, the University of Kanto-Viridian, among others--had some of the best research facilities for scientists this side of Kanto. Yet he wanted the highest quality education he could get, so he had to keep going. He had to go to a small township called Pallet Town, where he could meet one of his heroes, and hopefully study with him.

    At that thought, his hand strayed to the front pocket of his backpack--the safe place where he'd put Professor Westwood's letter of recommendation. Hopefully, his mentor's words would convince the Professor to take him on.

    Of course, it was just the matter of figuring out how to get to Pallet Town.

    First things first. He pulled twenty pence from his pocket (to call Laurel and his parents), picked up his suitcase, and headed for the information booth. Maybe the transit workers weren't as surly as they looked, so they wouldn't mind helping him...


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    Viridian City.

    A large bustling metropolis, celebrated for its nightlife, for the numerous clubs and restaurants and movie theaters. Good times for those who could afford it; a nice means of relaxation for those who needed it.

    At Callahan's, a reputable jazz/ blues/ swing club in Gloucester Square, a silver-haired, fortyish woman sipped her brandy, watched the young and fashionably dressed couples on the dance floor, and thanked her lucky Gengars that she didn't have to battle anyone this evening.

    She liked her job. It brought her into contact with some of the most exciting, glamorous, and gutsy people on the planet. She enjoyed seeing the faces of the young trainers, coming to challenge her for their own personal glory. She enjoyed having access to many of the Pokemon League's secrets. She enjoyed her lavish lifestyle, and she enjoyed being around all the cute young men. (At that, she grabbed her date Raoul's hand and winked at him.)

    But goodness, being a member of the Elite Four took so much out of her. Constant strategy, constant battling, constant requests... why, she should be in her office, working on the report the League President wanted by Tuesday!

    Oh, just listen to me! she sighed inwardly. She was starting to sound like her workaholic brother!

    At that thought, she gazed wistfully at the two empty seats across the table. Her brother hadn't been here since Audrey died two years ago. He hadn't taken a break in his work since then, either.

    The answer was clear. He needed to relax. Of course, it was... she glanced at her watch... Friday. He was probably down at the National Theatre, watching some infernally pretentious play about the nature of life and death. She never did understand his "intellectualism."

    She shook her head. Whatever happened, her brother would be fine. If he ever needed her help in enjoying life, he knew where to find her. In the meantime, she was going to have fun.

    "Come on, Raoul," she said, pulling the young Spaniard to his feet. "I'm in the mood to meringue."


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    Viridian City.

    A large bustling metropolis, celebrated for its cultural activities, for the high quality of its museums, musical groups, ballet companies, and theatre troupes. Supported generously by the state, and by the affluent season ticket holders.

    And in one of the box seats at the Eynsford Theatre, an older man wondered if he was getting his money's worth.

    What was all this? People dressed up in Meowth costumes, bouncing around, singing about memories and living in garbage cans? Bunch of insufferable gits, the lot of them. Audrey might have liked it--she was always so sentimental--but by God, he was a scientist, and he had no tolerance for stupidity.

    He leaned back in the box seat's cushions and sighed. This bored the bloody devil out of him. What else should it do for the world's greatest Pokemon researcher?

    This would be somewhat tolerable if he had someone amusing and witty here to take his mind off this tedious thing. Back in the old days, he would have had someone along: an inquisitive graduate student (arrogant bastards, all of them), his foolishly flirty sister (silly old wench), his entirely silly but tolerable children (dunderheads), or his beloved Audrey (adorable hellion). His wife had been particularly good company for him: she could match his wicked wit word for word--she could even outthink him on occasion. All while looking as feminine and dainty as a powder puff. By God, they didn't make women like that anymore.

    Bloody hell, they didn't make anyone like that anymore. Especially not those insufferable bastard trainers. Fools, the lot of them.

    The Meowths were still caterwauling. He hated them all. And he was bored.

    It would be over soon, and then he could go back home to his nice, comfortable den of intellectualism. Until then, he could amuse himself with his favorite game... What the hell kind of trainer are you?

    He pulled out his notepad and searched for a person who looked like a challenge.


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    Viridian City.

    A large bustling metropolis, with enough entertainment to amuse the elite. A glittering city of pleasure, made more delightful for the rich and influential citizens who controlled the society.

    In another box seat at the Eynsford Theatre, a middle aged woman gazed at the stage through tiny, expensive opera glasses. Her twenty-ish, handsome son sat next to her, scanning the crowd for any single and attractive women.

    They were the Viridian City Gym Leaders, and everyone knew it.

    The woman leaned towards her son and whispered, "Isn't this ever so much better than dealing with those nasty, filthy trainers all day?"

    The son idly picked at some lint on his jacket. "Yes, Mother."

    "Of course it is. These people..." She waved an arm to indicate the elegantly coiffed and dressed people below. "These are the ones who count. They count because they have two things that those ignorant trainers we see every day don't have."

    "Money and power, Mother." The son made a point of examining his nails.

    "Exactly, my dear." She sat back for a moment and congratulated herself on having a fine and morally upright son. Then she leaned forward again and whispered, "By the way, Wyatt wanted to know if you were coming along with him on the heist tonight."

    "Maybe. If I get to drive the car this time."

    The woman settled back and smiled. "We'll ask him." And she congratulated herself again on her fine, morally upright, socially acceptable son.


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    Viridian City.

    A large bustling metropolis, with high, ramshackle apartment buildings and a few unswept and dark streets. A city of hard work and little reward, made more challenging for the often-ignored impoverished and homeless citizens who struggled to survive.

    In front of a small, poorly constructed but standing shack, a teenaged girl pushed a large flower cart into the front yard and frowned. She brushed a stray lock of hair from her slightly sweaty forehead as she anchored the cart against the wall.

    Another long, hard day selling flowers in the Theatre District, from eight this morning to eight tonight. And what did she have to show for it? About forty pounds, or sixty US dollars. In Boston that wouldn't be enough to have dinner--in Viridian it would do even less.

    She leaned against the wall and sighed. She really should stop thinking of America. She was a citizen of Kanto now. Not by her choice. By her stupid father's choice.

    "Damn him," she snapped, kicking the ground. What kind of guy would leave a nice, comfortable American life for a place where you had to have several hundred pets that could fight? What was he thinking?

    She didn't get what was so hot about training the ugly little things anyway. You run around, catch more of these little monsters than you knew what to do with, and then fight people for money and pretty little trinkets that made you look cool. It was all pretty damn stupid, and she just didn't get it. She'd never train or even touch the things if she could help it. Lots of times people gave her flack about it, or even refused to buy from her because of it--"You should train, you should use their fertilizer in your flowers, something"--but she didn't care about that. Really.

    Still... it might be nice to get the perks of being an official Pokemon trainer. Getting the extra money for winning battles; getting to see and meet more of the world; getting people to like you because you actually cared about the little monsters... getting out of this hellhole... all that sounded pretty nice...

    Oh, who was she kidding? She liked her life. She had a home, even if it was a bit shoddy. She made enough to keep the house in shape. And she had her flowers. At that, she grinned at the rows of flowers growing in her garden. Yeah, the shack was worth it all for the big (for the city) yard.

    And even if she hated the country, she could take it. It was all in looking at things the way her mother had. "Anytime you run into something difficult, Delia, raise your chin and tell yourself, 'Bostonians can tolerate anything.'"

    "Bostonians can tolerate anything," she repeated, and felt better already.

    But enough self-pity and affirmation. She had to think of a way to get some more money. A girl still had to eat, after all.

    She checked her watch. Nine-forty-five. Hmmm... if she hurried, she might be able to get back to the Theatre District. Maybe people would want to buy flowers after the show. But she didn't feel like wheeling that damn cart back.

    After a moment, she grabbed an empty basket on the cart, then filled it with a few leftover bouquets. With a final toss of her head and lift of her chin, she headed towards the Theatre District, towards the Eynsford Theatre.


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    Viridian City.

    A large bustling metropolis, like many others in the Kanto region, filled with similar characters and similar stories. And, like all regions, completely subject to the whims of Mother Nature.

    Ordinarily these people would be content to remain in their private worlds, to cling to their usual mindsets, to ignore everything and everyone around them. However, thanks to a seemingly ludicrous boast, all these lives would soon be completely intertwined.

    What sort of claim could possibly bring them together?

    A very simple one: that a man could take an ordinary, common flower girl and form her into an extraordinary Pokemon trainer.

    But for the moment, the only thing that could possibly bring them together was the thunderstorm, conveniently timed to begin as the patrons were leaving the Eynsford Theatre, that effectively trapped some of them under the columns at St.-Martin-in-the Fields.

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    *nods rapidly* You must post further. That is certain. So...this means you've actually WRITTEN more, right? Have you gotten to where Jiri shows up?

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    Default My Fair Trainer 1.1

    Pygmalion, or My Fair Trainer
    Being a Romance by Latonya Wright
    Act I, Scene 1: The Bet Suggested

    Theatre District, Viridian City, 1987

    Damn and blast it all! Of all the nights for a torrential downpour!

    Samuel Oak stood under the awnings of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. Raindrops fell from the brim of his wool fedora, splashed onto his nose.

    How absolutely irritating!

    He'd never wanted the damnable theater tickets anyway. That was a concession to dear, sweet Audrey, God be good to her soul. His lovely little wife had loved going out to plays and concerts--though, granted, back when they went to the theater there were no foolish ninnies jumping around on stage in Meowth costumes, singing... or perhaps the word was caterwauling...

    However, that was neither here nor there. What was here or there was the fact that he had bothered to keep the box at the Eynsford, and for all that money and trouble, his reward was a night stuck in the rain after a terrible show. Preposterous!

    Now he was a scientist. To be more precise, he was a Pokemon researcher. And any man worth his salt knew that scientists did not go to the theater. No, they stayed in their laboratories all day, as he should have.

    Oh, well. As soon as the rain let up, he could catch a taxi and get back to his lab in Pallet Town. It would be damn near impossible to get a cab while this infernal downpour was still raging. It was just the matter of how to best pass the time...

    He decided to play a game with himself again, a little game that his years of training and research had developed for him. If that ridiculous show hadn't numbed his brain to the point of insanity, he could play What the hell kind of trainer are you?

    He pulled out his notepad and ducked behind one of the massive pillars to better examine the people milling about.


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    Lydia Lawson glanced around at the small throng of people underneath the awnings. A particularly dirty and scruffy trainer stood next to her. His sleeve brushed lightly against her mink stole.

    She sniffed and moved closer to her son, Giovanni. "My goodness. Where on earth is Wyatt with the car?"

    Giovanni pulled his coat tightly and shrugged. "There's probably a huge traffic jam, with the taxis and the buses and all."

    "Well, I wish he'd hurry up. I want to get back to the Gym... where we belong." Lydia shivered. "Honestly, a respectable person of quality shouldn't have to stand around with the lower classes. As if we don't get enough of them every day!"

    "Yes, Mother," Giovanni said, because he had learned that that was what his mother wanted to hear.

    They stood there for a moment, gazing at the street longingly, hoping to see the official Cadillac. Still no sign--just more taxis and carriages and buses and chaos.

    Lydia eventually gave Giovanni a little shove. "Giovanni, darling, go and see if you can find Wyatt and the car."

    "Oh, Mother, you honestly don't think sending me out in the rain is going to make Wyatt show up any faster!"

    "Well, it might help in some way..."

    Giovanni rolled his eyes. "Mother, really."

    "Now don't argue with me, Giovanni. You don't want me to catch pneumonia from the rain..." She carefully moved away from another trainer who appeared to have a bad case of lice. "... or any other infectious disease that could possibly find me. Be a good boy and find the car."

    "All right, all right." The young man raised the collar of his coat, then dashed out into the maelstrom of cars and people.

    At first, he moved gracefully--dodging a car here, a bike there, sidestepping a careless pedestrian. But he paused a bit too long after avoiding a Corvette... and ran smack into a young woman. She tumbled into the street, dropping her basket of flowers all over the street.

    "Oh, goodness!" Giovanni hurried to help the girl up, but she waved him away.

    "Oh, dammit, my basket!" She saved it from being crushed by stampeding feet.

    He bent to salvage a bouquet of daffodils. "Here, let me help you."

    "For crying out loud!" The girl tossed another bouquet down and stomped. "Two bunches of violets, in the mud, practically broken!" She whirled on him. "Why don't you watch where you're going, huh?"

    Giovanni gazed at her. She was a young woman, not more than twenty, he guessed, though she wore her hair in two pigtails that made her seem a lot younger. Strange... he'd never really paid much attention to redheads before... but this one had big, bright brown eyes. If she looked like a proper lady and not like a wet, bedraggled cat, she would almost be pretty...

    Then he heard his mother's voice behind him. "Giovanni, find the car before I catch my death!"

    "Yes, Mother," he called over his shoulder before handing the daffodils to the young woman. "Sorry about that. I managed to save these." And he gave her his patented "lady-killer" smile.

    Strangely enough, the flower girl didn't seem impressed at all. "Thanks. Next time, though, just be more careful, okay?"

    Women were strange creatures. Any other woman would have practically fainted. Oh, well. "Okay." And he ran off to find Wyatt and the car.

    Under the awnings, Lydia watched the whole exchange and frowned. Who was this brazen hussy flirting with her perfect son? Did this girl really think that the Viridian City Gym Leader would be interested in a common flower girl? But here came the little wench now, running up the church stairs.

    "Hey, is that your son?" The girl had the most atrocious accent. Lydia cringed to hear it. "If you'd raised him to have any kind of manners, you wouldn't let him ruin a girl's flowers without paying for 'em."

    "Oh, go about your business, girl, and don't bother me." With a dramatic sweep of her skirts and lift of her head, Lydia moved away to another pillar.

    She pretended not to hear the girl's last words. "And if you'd had any manners, you wouldn't run away without paying either. Sheesh." Dirty commoners, backtalking to their betters...


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    "Taxi! Taxi!"

    But the cabs all bypassed the tall, darkly handsome young man with the luggage at his side.

    As he stood in the pouring rain, Spencer Hale decided that he should never have left Ecruteak.

    First the long train ride. Then the getting pushed around in the train station. Now the sudden rainstorm. And he was stuck out in it, and totally unable to find any means of getting to Pallet Town. And if he stood here one more minute, he was going to be a puddle.

    Fortunately there was a church nearby. He could see people standing under the awnings there. That would be a nice place to wait out the rainstorm... Spencer grabbed his suitcase and hurried over.

    A woman wearing a long black dress and a mink stole stopped him as he raced up the stairs. "Excuse me, young man," she asked. "Does the storm seem to be ending now?"

    "I'm afraid not, ma'am." He tossed his long, black hair from his face. "If anything, it seems to be getting worse. I'm very sorry."

    She sighed. "Thank you, young man." She ambled back toward the edge of the pillar.

    Hmm. That was odd. That woman almost looked like the Viridian City Gym Leader. He would think that someone that important could get a cab anytime. Guess not...

    "Hey!" A bright, young voice came from right beside him. He turned and gazed at a slightly wet but still pretty young woman. She was giving him a huge grin. "Don't worry! If it's getting worse, that just means it's almost over. So cheer up!"

    Strange. Now that he thought about it, this girl was the first person to smile at him here. Heck, she was the only person who seemed genuinely happy. He couldn't help smiling back at her.

    "I know just the thing to cheer you up!" The little redhead reached into her basket and pulled out a bouquet of bright yellow daffodils. "How about a nice bunch of daffodils? They're on sale for only two pounds! Sounds expensive, I know, but these flowers come right from my own garden."

    Spencer wanted to buy them, really he did, but he only had a twenty pound note, at least until the banks opened tomorrow. "I wish I could, but I don't have any change. I'm sorry."

    "Don't worry about that! I can change up to five pounds!"

    The girl had such a sunny disposition. Her youthful optimism reminded him of Laurel... Impulsively he began searching his pockets. "I don't think I can... oh, wait, here's a pound." Spencer tossed the coin to her. "Hopefully that'll help you a little."

    If she was dismayed, she gave no sign. "Thanks a lot, mister!"

    He decided to step a little closer to the center, so he could avoid the rain and the noise. With a polite nod at the flower girl, he moved away to wait.


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    Hmmph. He had looked young and rich and handsome, and she had turned on the charm just for him. And what had she gotten out of it? One crummy pound.

    Oh, well. It was better than nothing. Delia Ketchum put the pound in the pocket of her overalls, then glanced around to see who she could charm next.

    "Psst!"

    What was that? Was someone whispering to her?

    "Hey! Flower girl! Over here!"

    A trainer touched her left shoulder, then leaned down to whisper in her ear. "You'd better give him a flower for that money. I think you're being watched."

    "Being watched?" Who would keep tabs on her?

    "Yeah. There's a guy right behind this pillar, taking notes on you. I think he might be working for the cops."

    "Taking notes on me?!?" Delia sprang up, dropping her basket. "What the hell is he taking notes on me for? I haven't done anything at all by speaking to that guy! I can sell flowers out here! I've been selling here for almost a year now. And that's all I'm doing, too, is selling flowers!"

    Several people turned to look at her, but she could care less. No way was some cop going to arrest her for something perfectly legal and respectable. In fact--

    Delia marched up to the young man who gave her a pound. "Hey, mister!" she yelled, making him jump. "Don't let them make false charges against me! Tell them what I said to you! I won't have anyone ruining my reputation for some silly false charge. Do you know what'll happen to me if I get arrested?"

    The crowd around her was talking about her. "What's wrong?" "What's that girl talking about?" "Some cop's out here trying to arrest her."

    She didn't care. In fact, she stomped her foot at the young man and screamed, "Go on, mister, tell them!" He stood there, looking like a deer caught in someone's headlights. Damned if she wasn't going to get an answer from him, though.

    Suddenly she heard another voice. An older male voice, with an English accent. "There, there, now, you silly girl! Who's hurting you? What do you take me for?"

    She whirled around. Her gaze fell upon an older man with a book in his hand. He was just coming around the pillar. So this was the guy taking notes on her, huh? She stormed up to him. "Look, I don't know what you're doing, but I swear I haven't said or done anything illegal--"

    The man waved her words away. "Oh, shut up, shut up. Do I look like Officer Jenny to you?"

    Well, clearly he didn't. He looked like a crazy old guy with a tweed fetish. But if he wasn't a dectective... "Well, if you're not with the cops, why are you taking notes on me? What are you writing about me? Show me what you wrote about me!"

    "With pleasure." As the crowd pressed closer, he held the book open under her nose.

    Delia squinted. He had terrible handwriting. "You expect me to read this chicken scratch? I can't read that."

    "Chicken scratch? Impudent hussy! I'll have you know that this is perfectly acceptable handwriting!" But he pulled the book away from her and began to read. " 'I have just been presented with a challenge this evening. Young woman, perhaps two months into nineteen years of age, auburn-red hair, brown eyes, about five-five. American accent--I would guess from the Northeastern United States. I cannot tell what kind of trainer she is, simply because I can see no distinguishing characteristics of any type on her person. To be precise, I would guess that she has never trained a pokemon. I wonder if she's even touched one. Most extraordinary that our so-called rigid training system could turn out a person such as this.' " He snapped the book shut and smiled.

    Oh. So he wants to discriminate. "I see. You're one of those."

    "Those what? What are you going on about?"

    "One of those detectives who discriminate against non-trainers! I've heard about you guys!" Delia glanced around and found the young man from earlier. He would help her--he seemed like a good guy. "Please, mister, don't let this guy talk to me that way. It's not fair to pick on a girl who doesn't train just because she doesn't."

    "I quite agree!" The young man came to stand beside her. She felt an inward thrill when she noticed that she came to the young man's shoulder. Yeah! This guy can kick this geezer's ass! "Really, sir, you shouldn't discriminate against this young woman. Just because she isn't a trainer is no reason to make up slanderous charges against her. Why, she can report you for this..."

    "Bloody hell!" The older man threw his hands in the air. "Can't anyone see I'm not with the police!"

    A random bystander pointed. "Anybody can tell this one's not a dectective. Look at his shoes. They don't look like they've been pounding the pavement."

    The older man quickly opened his book and began taking notes. "Ah, young man, how long have you trained under Karate King Bruce at Saffron's Fighting Dojo?"

    The bystander's mouth flew open. "Who told you I trained there?"

    "Never mind that. You did." He made another note before turning back to Delia. "And you, my girl... what the devil are you doing in Kanto if you don't train Pokemon at all?"

    See, now look! That bastard was picking on her again! Delia felt tears spring to her eyes. "It's not like I wanted to come to this stupid country! My dad made me move here! If I had my choice..."

    "Well, actually," and now the older man's voice held a note of scorn, "I couldn't care less. Go back to your bloody country. Just stop that awful screaming." Then he began perusing a number of bystanders.

    Why... that... she had never been... She wanted to wring his snotty little neck!

    In the end, though, she sank to her knees and began to cry.

    She felt the gentle pressure of a hand on her shoulder. "Please don't cry," her protector murmured.

    Who cared? She was tired of all of them! They all could go straight to hell!


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    "Sir!" And now that long-haired boy who looked as if he were an Eton reject was trying to break his concentration. "I really must insist that you apologize! You've made her cry!"

    "Oh, dash the chit," he answered shortly. "She'll be fine after she's had a good cry." Of course she would. He couldn't be bothered by a stupid woman, not when he was on a roll...

    But here came another blasted woman, hell bent on worrying him. "Excuse me, sir, do you think you could find me a taxi?"

    Ah. Lydia Lawson. Samuel knew her quite well, even without the little clues that gave her occupation away. How could someone not know a painted bird such as that? "Well, madam, I don't know if you've noticed with all the commotion, but it stopped raining about five minutes ago. You should have quite an easy time finding your car and getting back to the Viridian Gym."

    At that remark, the crowd buzzed with excited murmurs, and Lydia raised her head and gave him a proud smile. She looked like a puffed-up pidgey, and he couldn't resist knocking her down a peg or two. "Of course, if I were you, madam, I would stop training whatever type gives off the gunpowder smell. You wouldn't want anything to backfire on you, now would you?"

    Yes. It was worth it all to see the shocked expression on her face. "Why, I never!" As she stalked off, leaving a confused crowd in her wake, he wondered how the devil she got away with being the Team Rocket leader when it was as plain as day that she was. That just proved how ignorant all these silly twits were.

    "Say, if you can tell where people have trained, where did I train?" A younger boy, covered lightly in boulder dust. Easy enough.

    "You've got Rock types. Pewter City."

    "Well, who said I didn't?" The boy seemed more impressed than he should have been. "You know everything!"

    The silly flower girl was mumbling to herself. Something about being a good girl caught in a bad scene. He promptly ignored her.

    "You can't guess where I trained!" A girl in her twenties, with crystalized remnants of Nightshade around her and that otherworldly look in her eyes.

    "Lavender Town. You've got the wee ghosties all over you, my dear. My sister trains with them, so I should definitely know that. You all are going to have to do better than that if you want to trick me."

    "Well, since you know so much, where and what does he train?" The ghost trainer was pointing to the Eton reject.

    Hm. Difficult, but not challenging if you knew what to look for. "You're not from around here. I'm guessing Johto. Trained around Grass types when you were younger... gave it up because you weren't particularly good at it. Decided to go into research and attend university instead. Wait a moment and I'll tell you what type you study." Carefully kept hands, as if he needed to watch his hands... or touch things with them... things like old documents... "You study the Legendaries."

    "Why... that's right. You're completely right." The boy flipped his hair back--what sort of man would willingly let his hair grow long?--and gaped at him. "How did you know? Do you do this for a living?"

    The flower girl was calling him a no-good busybody. He promptly ignored her.

    "Of a sort. I've trained and researched and taught for many years. I've been around Pokemon and seen their attack aftereffects for so long that I've learned what to look for. It's actually just simple training methodology. I'm pleased to say that it's my profession and my hobby."

    "Oughta be ashamed of himself, the coward," the flower girl continued, growing ever louder. Why the devil didn't she shut up?

    "Is there a living in training methodology?" the student of Legendaries asked. "It seems that most people want the hands-on approach to training."

    "Not as much of one as there used to be, and that's a shame, because we need it now--"

    "He should mind his own damn business," the flower girl continued, oblivious to the fact that she was ruining his concentration, "and leave a poor girl alone--"

    "Woman!" Samuel roared at her, using the voice previously reserved for wayward trainers. "Cease your detestable chatter, or ruin the nerves of people at some other house of worship!"

    She was quick to respond. "I've got just as much right to run my mouth here as you do!"

    The insufferable wench needed a good shaking. "A woman who's as ignorant of the wonders of Pokemon training as you are doesn't have the right to interrupt those who know something. Remember, Pokemon training is the divine spark for us, the fire that inspires us and drives us, just as it has inspired and driven generations of Kantians for ages. So don't sit there berating us just because your native land has no divine spark of equal value."

    "Are you kidding?!?" She was having a veritable fit now, but he could ignore that. He could feel a lecture coming on. "I'll have you know that America is--"

    "Look at this woman!" he cried, pointing an accusing finger at the silly wench. "She's never trained a day in her life, yet she has the gall to call me a busybody and a coward because I've merely told the truth--that she knows nothing. She cries out for vengeance in oppression of non-trainers, but she insults me because I believe that training is essential! I ask you--who is the real criminal here?"

    Good, the stupid girl was ripping her hair out. "You started all this! You were taking notes on me!" But the crowd was on his side, and the Muse was giving him the proper words, so he continued.

    "But I am a patient and forgiving man." Samuel placed a hand on his chest, gazed into the distance. "I don't blame her for her ignorance in training. What should she think of trainers when she has such poor examples of proper training around her? I'm speaking, of course, of all of you." He pointed toward the crowd, now murmuring angrily. "No, no, think about it. How many of you train daily? How many of you know and understand all the potential powers of your monsters? How many of you really understand anything about Pokemon beyond whatever it takes to beat the next opponent or get the next badge?"

    They were silent then. Samuel smirked. What could they say? He was absolutely correct. "You see, you all have lost the divine spark of training. You don't realize just how wonderful these creatures are and all the things they can do. You simply don't have the fundamentals of the monsters down yet." A dramatic pause, then, "And yet I don't blame you either. You all only know what the Gym Leaders and trainers around you tell you. And what do they tell you? 'Go out and just catch as many as you can. Just learn their attacks as you go. Who cares how you win, so long as you get those badges and win lots of money?' Those people, those who just do it for money and power and fame and a convenient way to skip school... those are the people I blame for such shoddy training today." He leaned against another pillar.

    The long-haired whippersnapper gazed at him with a fascinated look. "Are your own methods of training different, then?"

    "Well..." Samuel looked at the little flower girl. She was still mumbling to herself. "Let's consider our little non-training guttersnipe here."

    "I'm not a guttersnipe!"

    "Any other trainer her age might know a few things about their monsters by this point in their career. However, in six months, I can take this ignorant wretch and teach her more than the average trainer her age would know. Why, I'd wager that I can even pass her off as... as a Gym Leader, or at least a highly experienced and respected trainer. At the very least, as a person who can get along with trainers, which I think she'll find beneficial."

    For once, she was quiet. "Really?"

    He ambled over to her. "Yes, you squashed cabbage leaf, you disgrace to the hallowed halls of this cathedral, you incarnate insult to humanity, I could pass you off as the President of the Pokemon League."

    And he knew he could, by God.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This old guy was clearly off his rocker, and from the look of things, he had taken her protector down with him.

    And if she weren't careful, she'd fall off the rocker too. Imagine! She had almost thought that she might want to train someday... just for a little while...

    How stupid! And how stupid of him to make her think he could turn her into a trainer overnight!

    Delia shook her head. "Oh, come on. You don't expect me to believe that." She turned to her protector, hoping to snap him out of his thoughtful reverie. "Hey, mister, you don't believe he can do that, do you?"

    Much to her surprise, the younger man laughed. "I don't know. Anything's possible. I've come to Kanto to study stuff like this from a man with similar ideas. Tell me, sir," he said, addressing the old guy, "have you ever met Professor Samuel Oak?"

    "Met him? My boy, I am Professor Samuel Oak."

    A gun could have fired with less commotion. The crowd murmured excitedly again--"Well, how about that?" "I thought he would be taller"-- but Delia was hopelessly confused. Was this guy actually important?

    "Who the devil are you?" he asked the young man.

    "I'm Spencer Hale, third year doctoral at the University of Johto-Ecruteak. I'm currently under the direction of James Westwood, and he suggested that I come to Pallet Town to study with you--"

    "James Westwood! Why, you're the marvelous boy he keeps threatening to send me! He's been carrying on about you and how brilliant you are. I was just about to come out to Ecruteak and get you!"

    Oh. So they were both important people...

    "Tell me, my boy, where are you staying?" And suddenly the men were walking off together.

    "Well, I thought I'd find a little apartment in the city, or perhaps a little cottage in Pallet--"

    "No, you won't. You'll stay right at my lab in Pallet Town. No one's there now except for myself and my housekeeper, so we have plenty of space."

    Wait a minute! No way was this guy going to wreck her nerves and walk away without her getting something out of the deal! She grabbed her basket and ran after them. "Wait a minute!" They turned to look at her. "Buy a bouquet of flowers? Come on, I'm short on dinner money."

    The older man smirked. "Little liar. You said you had five pounds in change--that ought to be enough."

    If she hadn't been so furious with him, she might have noticed that he had a point. But she didn't. Instead, she got royally pissed off. Why, the nerve of... Oooooh! I could just kill him! Delia hurled the basket at the man, hoping to knock that smirk right off his face. "You oughta be dragged into the street and shot! Take the whole damn basket for two pounds!"

    "Why, you hellion--"

    The chimes of St. Martin's carillion sounded then, marking midnight.

    He glanced up at the steeple and smiled. "You're right as usual, Audrey. 'Be charitable.' All right, then." He dropped her basket, reached into his pocket, and poured a heap of change upon the badly beaten daffodils. The clink, clink of the coins echoed off the concrete pillars.

    Delia's eyes grew large. She looked at the older man. He smirked, raised his hat in a mocking salute, and resumed his conversation with her protector. "So... Spencer, is it? How long have you studied with that bloody fool Westwood?"

    "Well, a year and a half. I'd originally thought I wanted to study the Legendaries, but recently I've been wondering if I should go on the training track..."

    They faded into the night.

    Delia ran to her basket and knelt next to it. One pound--another two pound coin--no, two two pound coins!--five one pound coins!... Why, there must be at least twenty pounds worth of change here!

    "Hey, check it out!" A saxophone player she knew from the area laughed as he came up to her. "Looks like Delia's come into the family millions!"

    "Aw, shut up and use that hot air to make that saxophone work, Wes." She punched his arm lightly before beginning the long walk home.

    He followed her anyway, his street quartet in tow. "Say, what are you gonna do with all that money?"

    "Maybe go out to Valentino's and have the escargot?" the bass player asked.

    "Take a trip to Puerta Vista for the weekend?" the clarinetist teased.

    "Hell, I don't know." She shrugged. "I do know that I'm going to at least think about paying the phone bill... and I'm definitely going to buy a really huge Cadbury bar! I think I've earned it!"

    "Just think, Delia," the drummer said, "if you'd only go off and train somewhere, you could rake in dough like that every five seconds."

    She blew a raspberry at him. "Come on, Chuck, you know better than that. Look at Pop. He's out there training and he's poor as dirt."

    "Sure you don't want to go out and train, ever?"

    "Nah. I'd like to live the high life like all those guys up in the gym there. Who wouldn't? But all I need is a roof over my head, with working heat and lights, enough food to eat, and enough space to grow my flowers."

    However, later that night, after she'd comfortably settled in bed, she'd gazed up at the cracked ceiling and wondered.

    Could that professor person really make her a good trainer?

    Because if she actually were a trainer, she might be good enough to get the life she really wanted. A nice big house like the ones out at the Vineyard. Lots of money to use however she wanted--for pigging out or five telephone lines or tons of chocolate... Godiva chocolate. A huge yard to have four or five different gardens. Perhaps a really nice boy who would adore her... and all the respect in the world.

    Boy, I'm really being stupid tonight. Training's not going to bring me the life I want. It's not going to bring me instant money and fame and respect. The only things that can do that are hard work, perseverance, and a lucky break. The only thing I need for the moment is a lucky break. Not a lesson on some stupid house pets.

    With that thought, she lulled herself into a peaceful sleep.

  5. #5
    Goronda Type Vice-Webmaster Evil Figment's Avatar Vice-Webmaster
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    Pretty cool fic. The writing style is great, and though I can't claim to know much about Pygmalion and My Fair Lady, I can certainly say I rather like the twist this is taking :).

    Rather original, too. And it's great to have someone writing a story inspired by some less "mass market" writings (IE, not Harry Pottermon or The Poke-Lord of the Rings).

    I should go back to my idea of a Three Muskeeters(The actual 2-part novel by Dumas, not the BS-ish movies that are at best vague attempts at building a new story from a few book elements)/Pokemon cross one of these days...
    Last edited by Evil Figment; 6th January 2003 at 06:09 AM.
    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.

  6. #6
    A black and white world Blackjack Gabbiani's Avatar
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    *laughs out loud* This is one of my favorite stories...

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    Manga Sam Fangirl Revolutionary Girl's Avatar
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    Default aww, ty folks :)

    Well, thanks much for the lovely review, Damian! *blushes* Golly, I didn't expect anybody to actually read it, LOL...

    Pygmalion/ My Fair Lady is a comedy of manners more than anything else, so it might be a bit slow for the action fans out there. Still, Shaw's wit is just priceless, and that makes it worth the read alone. :) Priceless enough that you'll probably notice just how much I've ripped him off in my dialogue... maybe you better not read him yet, then ^^;;;

    Ooo, thanks for the writing style compliment. I tend to think that my style is more rambling than anything else. Here's hoping I can a) keep everyone up to character/ voice and b) avoid the immediate descent into rabid romance territory. ^^;;;

    And yes, you SHOULD write that Dumas/ Pokemon cross. That would OWN. Three Musketeers is my favorite, followed by Count of Monte Cristo. (But you better finish your magnum opus on here first! I'm finding your story fabulous... hm, I better leave you a long and intelligent review too next time another part comes out...)

    Ah, dear Blackjack. I don't need to say a word to you; you already know how much I rely on your valuable wisdom. ;)

    Hm. Suddenly I want to inflict scene 2 on everyone, LOL. Okay, stay tuned...

    "Ol' Flying Fingers Sammy jumped the gun."

    Pokemaniacs Anonymous: Growing old =/= growing up.

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    Goronda Type Vice-Webmaster Evil Figment's Avatar Vice-Webmaster
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    Don't worry, I'm not planning to give up on The Greater Evil. That one's just too much of a critical project for me to let it drop. The Dumas/Poke crossover is definitely going to wait, anyway I want to think that one through completely before writing it down.

    And who said there was anything that bad about rabid romance?
    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.

  9. #9
    Manga Sam Fangirl Revolutionary Girl's Avatar
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    Default My Fair Trainer 1.2

    Pygmalion, or My Fair Trainer
    Being a Romance by Latonya Wright
    Act 1, Scene 2: The Bet Remembered

    Viridian City, 1987

    Okay. So he'd gotten caught in the rain right outside Viridian City last night, and had been forced to camp out in the wet wilderness.

    He didn't mind that too much. It hadn't been the first time such a thing had happened to him, and it probably wouldn't be the last time. Still, Drake Ketchum welcomed the opportunity to get to his apartment for fresh and dry clothes, a hot shower, a warm bowl of oatmeal, and a little bit of money to treat himself to a beer. After he dropped his Pokemon off at the Pokemon center for some much needed healing, he headed straight for the apartments at Wimpole Street.

    It was a good morning for walking through Viridian anyway. Wall to wall people, of all ages and sizes, walking with monsters and packages and suitcases and bookbags; cars and carts and bikes and animals and walkers and joggers; street vendors and big corporate chains; and the brilliant sunlight sparkling off the windows from the towers of the skyscrapers, the sides of the Pokemon center, the gilt edges of the Gym, and the ratty protective fences of the little corner shops.

    Drake knew his kid hated it here, but damned if he knew why, because on mornings like this it looked just like Boston. Damned if he knew why his kid was always so upset with him, too. Hadn't he given her a good life? First off, he'd had the decency to give her life in the greatest city in the world. Then, after Melina had died, he'd had the good sense to bring Delia to another part of the world--to "expand her horizions," as the brains in Cambridge would put it. Next, he'd had the good sense to come to a wicked city like this that was almost as good as home. And he'd turned her loose in this city to do whatever the hell she wanted, and he'd had the grace enough to leave her alone and let her do it! Any other kid would have been grateful... he just didn't get it.

    Drake finally made it to Wimpole Street and put his key in the lock at 27-A, fully set to face his kid's shock and fury. Instead, he came face to face with a young woman who was absolutely not his daughter. If he squinted a bit and ignored the woman's dirty face and ludicrous hat, she might have been a bit like Delia, but...

    "Here now, Charlie!" the woman squawked. "Who are you, tryin' to come into my house as if you own the place?"

    "What're ya talkin' about? This is my house! Who the hell are you?"

    "I'm Eliza, and I tell ya this is my house, make no mistake! I've lived here for nigh on six months now!"

    Drake blinked. "Well, what happened to Delia Ketchum? The girl who used to live here?"

    "How should I know? All I know is, the apartment was empty when they rented it to me, and so here I am. And now, if you don't mind, I should like to go about my business!" She practically shoved him out of the apartment.

    So his kid had moved away, huh? Wow, she must be doing better on her own than he thought! Maybe she'd finally gotten a nice job in a flower shop, or gone off to one of these colleges. Maybe she'd actually found a nice boy and gotten married or something. Whatever happened, her change in fortune meant better living and more money for him! At least, until he earned his Pokemon Master fortune...

    Of course, he had to find Delia first. Drake vaguely remembered that she used to sell flowers over in the Theatre District. If she still worked there, he might see her; if she didn't, perhaps someone there would know where she went. And there was a good chance he'd run into someone he knew who might be open to letting him have a little dough...

    Hey, speaking of which, here came this trainer he knew right now. He put on his best smile and used his most jovial tone. "Hey, Allen, how are ya?"

    "Not a pound, Drake," Allen said, not even slowing down as they passed each other.

    Okay, maybe Allen was still pissed off about not being paid back for the last loan. Well, he saw another trainer he knew standing at the crosswalk on the corner. He remembered Sally--she was a good kid... "Hey, Sally. How's it goin'?"

    She didn't even turn to look at him. "Not a pound, Drake," she snapped before crossing the street.

    Hm. Maybe he shouldn't have made her a hit-and-run... Hey! Out there in front of St. George's Tavern! It was good ol' Alfie sweeping the street! "Good morning, Alfie! How's life over there at St. George's?"

    Alfie stopped sweeping long enough to glare at Drake. "Not a brass farthing, Drake. And don't bring yourself in here unless you got some money for your beer. I ain't runnin' a charity, you know." Alfie went back to sweeping, leaving Drake momentarily dumbfounded.

    Is this how they reward hard work and perseverance around here? What kind of a place is this? Still, he was feeling lucky this morning. Certainly his kid was doing well enough to spare some money for her dear old man.

    To his surprise and dismay, when he got to the Theatre District, he saw a familiar redhead with long pigtails behind a cart full of flowers. Great, so his kid hadn't gotten a better job! Well, maybe she did it for love of the game. Or, maybe her husband just let her do it as a way to give her something to do every day. Either way, she had more money than he did.

    He tiptoed up to her, then announced joyously, "Delia! Look who's back in town, huh?"

    She didn't even turn around. "Not a dime, Pop."

    "Hey! Is that any way to welcome your old man back home? Then again, is movin' out to another place and not tellin' me a proper thing to do, either?"

    She glared at him over her shoulder. "Is comin' back to town and stealin' your kid's food and rent money a proper thing to do?"

    "Can't be too hard livin'. Ya moved!" He took control of the nearby stool. "Tell me, kid, ya got married yet?"

    "Have you lost your mind? Who the hell wants to marry me?"

    "Dammit. Well, how'd you get enough money to move?"

    "Took all my savings for the down. You oughta see it. Nice yard for flowers. House has plenty of charm and character."

    "Ya sound like one of those Barnyard realtors there... wait, so you got a house? And you got enough money to get those flowers the kinda fertilizer you like? So that means you've got enough to slip me a fiver, huh?"

    Well, apparently she didn't think he sounded desperate enough, because she looked highly pissed. "Come on, Pop! I'm tired of you comin' by long enough to take my money!"

    "Aw, take pity on your old man, Delia! I've been on the road, I'm hungry, I'm tired, I'm wet... surely I've earned a little reward for all that!" And he gave her the whipped puppy look that had always worked on Melina.

    She sighed. "Jeez, Pop... Well, it's your lucky day, 'cause I've got some extra cash. I had a little bit of luck myself last night." She pulled a ten-pound note from her pocket and handed it to him. "Ran into a guy who left me a really nice tip."

    Drake whistled as he took the money. "No sir!"

    "Ya-huh! He was a wicked quayre guy, though. One of those faker Brahmins, you know? Talked real funny and looked down his nose." She giggled. "He was talkin' about how wonderful Pokemon were, and how I had to be ignorant for never trainin' 'em. Tellin' ya what, though, I cracked on 'em a coupla times."

    "Didn't you find out who he was?"

    "Said his name was Oak. Professor Oak."

    "Oh, Gawd. No kiddin'? That guy's wicked famous and wicked smart. Everybody thinks he's some kinda god. You're soft to crack on him."

    She blew a raspberry. "Aw, wicked smart my ass. At heart he's frickin' hoopie just like everyone else over here. Anyway, where ya goin' now?"

    "Figured I might go down to the bar for a beer--"

    "Come on, Pop, you aren't gonna spend my good luck money on a beer! And it's only ten in the morning anyway!"

    "Nah, you come on. You can't expect me to go on without celebratin' my successful journey through Kanto somehow, huh?"

    "Did you get all the Boy Scout badges, then?"

    "Yep. Well, all except the Viridian one, and I'm gonna get that one tomorrow, after I've gotten all rested up. Hey, lemme tell ya about all the people I met on the way--"

    Delia nodded her head towards the people walking by. "I'm on the job, Pop. Tell me later tonight. Here, lemme give ya the key..." She pulled her keychain from the pocket of her overalls and handed it to him. "It's 240 Silas Lane, think you can remember that?"

    "I wasn't born yesterday, ya know."

    "Whatever. Just don't lose my frickin' keys, ya chowdahead."

    As he sauntered off, Drake called over his shoulder, "Thanks, kid. You're a good daughter!" Because she was, even if she didn't fully appreciate all he'd done for her.

    On the way to the center of town, Drake passed by St. George's again. He paused for just a moment outside the door. His kid had made some pretty good points: it was kinda early for a beer, and he shouldn't waste his money on beer, and he really should find home and change...

    Then again, who was he to tempt Fate? Fate had found him his kid and some money, and the least he could do was thank the gods accordingly, right?

    He walked into the bar, holding the ten above his head. "Hey, Alfie! We friends again with the arrival of this little baby? How about a Bud, huh?"


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well, all things considered, he was a pretty piss poor Pop, but he was hers. Besides, it was good to speak Bostonian again. Delia shook her head and went back to flower selling. She had to make some extra money to cover the expenses of having a big, burly deer drinker in the house, after all.

    As the day passed, however, Delia wondered if her father's arrival had brought bad luck too. She saw her profits dwindle and her merchandise's value, well...

    One woman had come up to her with an armful of packages. "Good day, young lady. I've got a fabulous dinner party this evening, and I'd like a few flower arrangements for the table, you know. Something very pretty and elegant, with big, gorgeous flowers, yes?"

    She had put on her best smile and her most pleasing manners. "Wonderful. I've got just the arrangement for you. Have a look at this! Lovely little pansies--purple and yellow here, but I can get them in any color you want, in case you want to accessorize. Nice size, so the guests can see them and the people across the table."

    The woman had frowned at the delicate petals. "Oh, my... these are awfully small, aren't they?"

    "They're the same size as any others."

    The woman shook her head. "No, I've got a friend who grows flowers. She's got a marvelous garden up in the Village, you know, just past her gates... and her pansies are much larger than this. In fact, all your flowers look a little smaller than hers. Tell me, what fertilizer do you use?"

    "The 10-10-10 standard--ten parts nitrogen, ten parts phosphate, ten parts pot ash. Same as they use on the lawns of the White House!" she added with a giggle.

    "Ah... tell me, what Pokemon do you use to enhance that formula? Because my friend has a lovely Sunflora she uses to add some sort of chemical to her soil, too."

    Come on, lady, if your friend's so good at this, why don't you get her damn flowers? But Delia lifted her chin and gave the woman the most winning smile she could muster. "I'm happy to say that I don't use any monsters at all to enhance my flowers. What you see comes straight from my own garden, and grown just the way we do it in America--the all-natural way."

    "Oh, dear." The woman shook her head again. "Well, young lady, it might help a bit if you got a monster to help out. I'd like to buy some of your flowers, but... well, forgive my bluntness, dear, and don't take it as an insult, but they're simply not big and bright and beautiful enough for my dinner party."

    Why... my flowers are the best and most beautiful in the whole city! But she couldn't say that, because the woman might decide that she liked her flowers better later! So she kept smiling and said, "That's all right. I hope you find what you're looking for. Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for the advice--I'll try it."

    Yeah, Delia snapped inwardly at the woman's retreating, tottering form, I'll try it when Hell freezes.

    Half an hour later, better luck struck, but...

    A cute young man came up to her cart, whistling a happy tune. He'd looked around for a few moments before pausing before her favorite bouquet--a rainbow of colorful crysanthemums. "Oh, yes," he'd muttered, "this is perfect. Just perfect."

    "Yeah," she answered. "That's one of my favorite arrangements there. Getting some flowers for your sweetheart?"

    His shy smile and faint blush were really, really adorable. "Well... I guess. Not really a sweetheart, but a really good friend."

    Aw. Too bad. Sounded like he was trying to make her more than friends. Oh, well. "Well, she'll like those a lot."

    "Yeah, I think she will. I'll get two bouquets. That should be enough for her."

    He'd paid for them, and Delia thrilled to see the money in her hand. Imagine that--he'd thought her flowers were good enough for the woman he wanted! And he was willing to pay for them!

    The boy stepped back, pulled a small red ball from his pocket. "Pokeball, go!" he cried, tossing the ball into the air. A flash of light... and suddenly an ugly, fat, pink animal with a horrendously long tongue was standing next to Delia.

    "Licki!" the thing yelled, causing Delia to jump backwards.

    The boy knelt next to the thing. "Look, Asuka! I've got the perfect gourmet treat for you today! How do you like these flowers?" He held them out to the animal.

    Delia stood in stunned silence. You mean... he bought my beautiful flowers... for that?

    The animal unfurled its tongue and grabbed the bouquets in one scoop. The trainer grinned; the thing chewed; and Delia stared with huge eyes.

    Then the thing coughed, turned towards Delia's loafers, and spit the chewed flowers right on her. "Licki tung!" it announced, folding its fat piggy arms over its chest.

    "Sorry," the boy said sheepishly. "She's a really picky eater."

    My flowers are only good for Pokemon food?! I oughta knock this guy into the stratosphere! But the kid wouldn't take his money back, despite her attempts to give him a refund for flawed goods, so Delia smiled and carried on.

    At about five-thirty, the evening's theatre crowd began arriving for dinner before the shows. She usually did pretty well, but tonight...

    Delia had smiled, been her most charming. She'd had a few customers--mostly people around her age, college kids, the grungy types, who bought the cheapest arrangements because they were just as poor as she was. She couldn't land the rich people though, and she couldn't understand why!

    Two people passed her, dressed in lavish dresses of silk and chiffon. She grinned at them, hoping that these would be the ones to make a big purchase. At first they passed her. She frowned and returned to clipping the thorns from the single roses.

    After taking a few more paces away from her cart, however, one woman stopped and looked back. "Oh, look, Virginia, flowers! I want to get some to throw at Luciano when he's taking his bows."

    Delia smiled to herself, but she didn't look up.

    The other woman spoke then. "No, Margie, you mustn't buy from that girl. I've heard the most dreadful things about her."

    Heard about me? Who's talking about me? She didn't look at them. If they thought she couldn't hear them, she might learn more...

    "Goodness. She looks like such a sweet thing. What could she possibly do that's so bad?"

    "She's been known to brag about not using Pokemon to make those ratty little flowers!"

    Delia stiffened. These are the people I should watch out for. She continued to clip the thorns carefully.

    "Not use Pokemon? How can she get by... I wonder why she doesn't?"

    "I suppose she thinks she's better than the rest of us. All hoity-toity because she does things all on her own, without our 'horrid critters.'"

    No! That's not why! I don't do it because I'm arrogant... do I? I just wanted to prove that people could get by just fine without having to train... I wanted to prove that there was more to life than that, that people can be satisfied in life with no monsters--

    "As if the way she does things is any better!" The second woman's insults grew louder, more hateful to her ears. "If her way of life were so great, she would be doing more than selling flowers on the street! Just look at her! Drooping flowers, ragged cart... and what in Heaven's name is all over her shoes? I know Andrew doesn't look much better when he's out on the road, but at least I know he's coming by his looks honestly!"

    The scissors in her hand still cut the thorns, even as her teeth drew blood from her lip.

    "The poor girl," the first woman was saying. "Her life can't be so easy without Pokemon. I should buy from her just to help her."

    No! I don't want your damn pity!

    "Don't you dare! Your husband got that money through all his Pokemon victories. I'll not have you spending it on a girl who doesn't respect his way of life. No, if she wants to be arrogant and foolish towards us, let her, but she'll never profit by it. There's a girl the next street over who I've seen with a Bellsprout--let's go to her flower cart."

    Yeah, but who respects my way of life? Doesn't anybody ever think of that, just once?

    The scissor's blade sliced into her finger, and she yelped. She could feel the hurt and angry tears welling in her eyes. It wasn't fair, it wasn't fair--

    She leapt up, placed her stool underneath the cart, and grabbed the cart's handles. "Hey, Delia, where ya goin'?" the Italian ice vendor near her called. "This is the time we start making money! You can't leave now!"

    "Screw it," she yelled back, pushing her way through the crowd. "I'm not in the mood to deal with people tonight. I'll make it up tomorrow." The truth was, if she stayed she'd hear more of the same. Your flowers aren't good enough for anyone. You're just a fool for refusing to train. You'll never amount to anything around here without a monster. She didn't feel like dealing with Pop and with pushy, stupid people today. She could at least tune Pop out.

    The walk through the District didn't do a damn thing to calm her nerves. If anything, it made her even jumpier. Finally, when she heard the chimes of a church over her head, Delia dropped the cart's handles, picked up a bouquet of crysanthemums, and slammed it on the street. "Here's what I think of your stupid bells and your stupid country!" she yelled at the columns.

    Then she blinked. Oh... it's the church from last night. How could she have forgotten that place? It was a good tipping spot, even if the people hanging out there were really rude and obnoxious.

    Instantly the crazy old guy's words floated through her mind. "A woman who's as ignorant of the wonders of Pokemon training as you are doesn't have the right to interrupt those who know something."

    Hmmph. Yeah, that guy wasn't any better than the women earlier. The last thing she needed was a mental catalogue of all the ways she'd been pissed upon in the last twenty-four hours. She picked up the handles... and paused again.

    "I don't blame her for her ignorance in training."

    ... Well, maybe he should. Maybe the women had a point too. When it came right down to it, she really didn't know a lot about the house pets that were so important around here. And hadn't she been a little bit arrogant about it? Hadn't she thought that running around to get all the trinkets was pretty damn stupid? How could she say and think such things when she'd never done it herself? Yeah, that was arrogant and ignorant, and she had a lot of nerve.

    But how could she possibly learn about them? Getting a book didn't seem like the right way to do it. Most people didn't use books anyway. At least Pop hadn't. He'd just gone down to the Gym, picked up a little blue thing with a horn on its head, and gone on his way. She could do that... but dammit, she didn't want to leave town and go playing in the woods for months. Besides, the guy last night had said that wasn't the way to do it, either. "You all only know what the Gym Leaders and trainers around you tell you. And what do they tell you? 'Go out and just catch as many as you can. Just learn their attacks as you go. Who cares how you win, so long as you get those badges and win lots of money?'"

    Did that guy know a way to do it without leaving town and without having to run around and pick up trinkets? Well, clearly he must have. "In six months, I can take this ignorant wretch and teach her more than the average trainer her age would know. I can even pass her off as... as a Gym Leader, or at least a highly experienced and respected trainer. At the very least, as a person who can get along with trainers, which I think she'll find beneficial."

    And that was the important thing--learning how to get along with these people, so she could earn their respect. Maybe so she could even have a little bit of respect for them, too.

    Wonder if this guy would be willing to teach me about Pokemon and training and all that stuff?

    His name was Professor Oak. He apparently had a lab over in Pallet Town. If she went there tomorrow and asked him for training lessons, he might take her on... if she offered him the right amount for his services. She hated to spend money on that, but it was a necessary evil. Or, funding for her lucky break. Thinking of it like that made it a lot easier to tolerate.

    Delia felt a lot better, now that she'd decided on a plan of action. She felt good enough to stop in a bookstore and pick up a book on Pokemon. After all, she couldn't go to the Professor looking like a total fool, could she?


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Oh, yeah. She'd wasted her money on this place? What a joke.

    Drake cracked open a Bud and sank back on the couch. Oh, well. It was home. At least he had beer--though right now he thought he'd sell his soul for a Sam Adams.

    His kid came through the door. "Hey, Pop, how'd ya--" She wrinkled her nose. "Phew! Gawd, Pop, you smell! Take a bath, ya frickin' Soap!"

    "In a quality house like this one, there's no hot water, kid. Wanna beer?" Because he had to offer, but he was secretly hoping that she'd refuse.

    "Hello, light dawns over Marblehead! Boil the water!" To his dismay, she took another can out of the twelve pack. Damn, less for him. "I think I need this today, Pop."

    "Bad day, kid?" he asked while she plopped down next to him.

    "Kind of. Stupid friggin' people. Stupid friggin' me." She opened up the beer can and set it down before pulling out a slick-looking magazine. "Plus, I need a drop of liquid courage, so I won't chicken out tomorrow."

    "Chicken out? Whatcha gonna do?"

    "I think I'm gonna go ask about training lessons in the morning."

    Had he heard her right? Did Delia actually say she was going to training lessons? "Ya mean ya wanna train, kid? You serious about that?"

    "Yeah, I'm serious. Look, I went and bought a book and everything." She held up the book, and he squinted at the cover. A Beginner's Guide to Pokemon. "That guy who left me the tip last night--the wicked crazy one, who you said was wicked smart--he said he could teach me how to do it in six months. So I'm gonna ask him if I can take lessons from him tomorrow."

    "Well! Hell of a surprise. You got money to do that?"

    "Not really. But it's a worthwhile investment around here, so I'll spend it."

    How about that? She even seemed hell-bent on training. Hell of a turnaround for the girl who had proclaimed, "I'd rather die than train these things!" Drake idly wondered what caused that change... Aw, it didn't matter. "Well, good luck to ya, kid."

    "Thanks, Pop. Hey, ya never know. I might end up being as good as you are!"

    "Sure ya will. Remember, Bostonians can do anything if they put their minds to it."

    Father and daughter sat there in a comfortable silence, drinking beer (though she only sipped from her can). Drake watched Delia as she read her training book; from her furrowed brow, he could tell that she was reading even though she was confused.

    Dammit. He hated moments like this. Watching her was giving him an attack of parental feeling. He didn't necessarily hate that, but he hated worrying about his kid.

    Because on one level he was glad she'd finally given in and decided to learn about Pokemon. On another level, however, he didn't want his little girl running around in the wild. She wasn't suited for that kind of life anyway. He was, but she wasn't. Melina's kid should have gold and diamonds and mansions and gardens, not tempermental monsters and cold nights on the ground.

    Whatever. She wanted to do it, and if it helped her get by around here, it was fine by him. With any luck, she'd get bored with it and go back to a more normal life, like college or something. Or maybe she'd meet a rich trainer along the way and get married and not worry about working at all. Those options were better. Anything that made them money with little or no effort was good.

    Drake nodded, crushed the empty beer can against his head, and reached for another one.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Delia frowned at the book.

    These things didn't go by normal classes, like mammal or reptile or amphibian--they had types.

    These things didn't grow up--they evolved, and they changed their names when they did it, too.

    They didn't just scratch or bite--they attacked, with powders and arms and whatever the hell else they had or made on their bodies.

    When they lost energy, they couldn't just rest to get it back--you had to take them to a special place or feed them special stuff or give them haircuts. (How the hell did that help?)

    It all looked really confusing and really stupid.

    Well, she'd tried. No sense in going to the guy if she understood it all right away, anyhow. Wasn't she going to pay him to teach her all about it? She'd worry about learning it all tomorrow.

    Delia tossed the book behind the couch and grinned at her father. "Well, enough of that for right now. We gotta worry about dinner. Come on, chowdahead, let's see if we can't find some cheap eats."
    Last edited by Revolutionary Girl; 6th January 2003 at 10:28 PM.

  10. #10
    A black and white world Blackjack Gabbiani's Avatar
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    I think my fave part here is the cameos from Elizaand Alfie...*g* pure brilliance.

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    Manga Sam Fangirl Revolutionary Girl's Avatar
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    And, don't forget the address of the old apartment: 27-A Wimpole Street. That's Higgins' address. So what we have is Eliza living in Higgins' house... but Delia and Drake lived there once too... and it's probably a dump... *wicked cackle*

    Random Interesting Fact: St. George's is a real tavern in London. It's just down the street, perhaps even just the next block, from the Victoria station. It's a nice little pub. Except people would go in there and pay 5 pounds for a Bud, and we went in and paid a pound fifty for Guiness. We were like, "come on, fellas, you want to pay that much for nasty American beer instead of paying less for your own better beer?"

    ...but you all are mostly underage, and so you don't need to worry about those things yet, now do you. Still, putting in random facts from real life makes a story richer, or something...

    "Ol' Flying Fingers Sammy jumped the gun."

    Pokemaniacs Anonymous: Growing old =/= growing up.

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    A black and white world Blackjack Gabbiani's Avatar
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    Hell with it, *I'M* of legal age!

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    Manga Sam Fangirl Revolutionary Girl's Avatar
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    Default My Fair Trainer 1.3

    Pygmalion, or My Fair Trainer
    Being a Romance by Latonya Wright
    Act 1, Scene 3: The Bet Made

    Pallet Town, May 1987

    Spencer Hale had been in Kanto for a little over a day and a half now.

    When he'd first considered coming here, he had thought that he wouldn't mind Kanto so much. Leaving his university's halls had been bittersweet, but he knew he could come back if he found his work in Kanto displeasing. Leaving his parents, who had wanted to keep their only child close to home, had been hard, but he had convinced them that this move would make him more marketable back home. Leaving Laurel had been downright difficult, but he knew he could always call and write her, perhaps even take the train or a flight home for a weekend if being away from her became impossible to bear. All these things had challenged him, but he'd always thought that it would be nice to be away from home, to get a change of scenery and a new angle on his studies. Being away from Johto for six months, maybe even a year, would be good for him.

    Now, however, after only a day and a half--a day and a half!--he was ready to get away from Kanto and back to the relative safety and ease of life in Johto.

    Professor Westwood had warned him. "Studying with Samuel Oak is not for the faint of heart." Spencer didn't think that his mentor knew just how hardcore studying with Samuel Oak would be.

    The first night, they had gotten to Pallet Town at one in the morning. Though Spencer had yawned, had tried to excuse himself politely, the Professor had insisted upon showing him around the whole area--both the laboratory and preserve--right then. He hadn't gotten to bed until three-thirty.

    The next morning, he had been awakened by a voice roaring, "Mrs. Pearce!" Apparently the Professor was leading his housekeeper on a merry chase to make properly toasted bread--toasted only on one side, covered with proper rhubarb jam thereafter. Spencer had staggered into the hallway and come face to face with the Professor, who had responded to his "good morning" by flinging a thick, heavy book at him. "We'll begin the day by discussing Beech's Compendium on Training Methodology, Volume 1. Well, why are you standing there like a gaping idiot? Get to work!"

    The rest of the day had gone downhill from there. Someone had called the Professor--some woman who answered to his repeated epithet of "silly old bat"--and angered him. "What the devil do I care about a blasted Trainers' Invitational? First, that's six months away, and I care only about those things I can control right now. Second, I'll not have a trainer good enough to compete anyway, so why should I care?" She had laughed and called him a senseless imbecile. He had hung up on her and come to Spencer with a tirade on the incompetence and foolishness of the Elite Four. Being not well-versed in Kantian politics, Spencer failed to see how this quickly became an order for him to go outside and clean up Pokemon droppings.

    This morning, he and the Professor were down in the lab, poring over a number of printouts analyzing the DNA of various Grass-types. They had moved up to Grass-types at ten, having spent the hours of nine, eight, and seven analyzing Bug, Rock, Ground, and Water respectively.

    "Now, Spencer, tell me how many differences you see in these two samples."

    "Erm..." Spencer squinted. They both looked the same to his eyes. Still, perhaps if he turned the page upside down... "Fifteen?"

    "Off by thirty."

    "You mean..." Spencer's eyes were now tiny slits as he peered at the paper. "How?"

    "Well, first, look at the fifteenth sector here. Do you see how the sequences in the code there vary? This is the primary difference between a normal Chikorita, level fifteen and a Chikorita who's been taught Cut."

    "Oh." Spencer nibbled his lip, then asked, "What does that have to do with training?"

    "Plenty! The attacks you teach a Pokemon have a drastic effect on what they'll learn later. Granted, this is only a theory I'm testing, but I believe that--"

    And then he went into a convoluted explanation of DNA mutations and chemical babble, ending with "The answer is clear. Know your Pokemon and what they are capable of doing." With a satisfied nod, as if that explained everything.

    Spencer considered himself fairly intelligent and fairly clever. Therefore, he didn't understand why he couldn't see the leaps in logic. Well, he hadn't gotten much rest lately. His brains must be mush by now. "This is all very fascinating, Professor, really. But I'm quite worn out. I don't suppose we could take a break?"

    "Nonsense. We'll take a break for tea at four. Now, let's have a look at these samples--" He waved around a stack of printouts.

    Spencer closed his eyes and prayed for a diversion.

    Apparently the gods heard him, because it came a few moments later, with the arrival of Mrs. Pearce, the housekeeper. She was a middle-aged, pudgy woman, who carried the years of dealing with the Oak household eccentricities on her face. At times she could be polite and even friendly, but most of the time she was mostly snappish and severe. (That might be why the Professor kept her around.) Spencer thanked his lucky stars--but then again, from her expression, Spencer could tell that the reason for her interruption was not a happy one.

    "Yes, Mrs. Pearce?" the Professor snapped over his shoulder.

    "There is a young woman here to see you, sir."

    "Young woman?" He tossed the papers down on his desk. "What the devil does she want?"

    "She won't tell me. She says it's 'business of a personal nature.'"

    Spencer glanced at the older man. That line sounded questionable, and Spencer wondered just what the nature of this "business" was. But the Professor looked completely baffled. "Well, does she look like a trainer?"

    "She doesn't look like one. I thought she might be one of the new trainers this season."

    "How peculiar." The older man frowned. Spencer must have seemed confused, for he explained, "I don't see too many young women here--I've left too many of their mothers close to tears in the past. Since she's here... Send her down, Mrs. Pearce."

    "All right, sir, but don't come complaining to me if the girl vexes you." She left, and the Professor grinned at him as he strode over to a nearby cabinet.

    "Well, this is rather a bit of luck for us, isn't it? You'll get to see how I train these foolish children. And I have a new means of monitoring everyone's progress--I can't believe I've never done this before." He unpacked a videocamera from a nearby bag and began setting it up on a tripod. "We'll video her lessons, and I'll give you the tapes when we've finished. Anytime you need to remind yourself of the proper way to do things, you can put this in your player. Sort of a guide, hey?"

    "Sure, that sounds very useful." Spencer wanted the monotonous but infinitely easier task of running the videocamera. However, knowing his luck lately, it seemed highly unlikely. He sank into a nearby chair and waited for the next command.

    After a moment, Mrs. Pearce entered, with a familiar face in tow. "This is the young woman, sir."

    "One moment--where is the blasted recording light--Aha! All right, proceed."

    The young woman stepped forward, head held high, red hair braided in two neat pigtails, brilliant smile shining from her face. Why, it was the flower girl from his first night here! She was still a cute little thing, and despite his firm belief in the sanctity of engagement, Spencer found himself straightening his hair, tucking in his shirt, trying to arrange his lab jacket so it wouldn't look quite so bulky on his thin frame.

    "Good morning, Professor Oak, how are you today? I know you must be busy, but I'll try not to take up much of your time--"

    "Oh, no. Not you again, you common wretch."

    Spencer whirled around to glare at the Professor. Was that any way to treat a lady, especially one as well-mannered and as neat as this girl? But the Professor was giving her the same glare. "Mrs. Pearce, this isn't a young woman, this is a reckless hellion who sells flowers on Viridian's streets. No, absolutely not," he told the girl, "I know what you've come here for, you despicable little beggar. You've come to weasel more charity out of me, and I won't have it. Perhaps if you hadn't shied those flowers at me, I could tolerate you. But you did, so I can't. Be off with you. Now," he went on smoothly, perusing the camera, "where's the bloody record button, I've lost it again--"

    "Hey! Wait just a minute!" For her part, the girl had a fairly hateful stare of her own for him. "Accusing me of stuff and then throwing me out, and you haven't even heard what I want yet!" She turned to Mrs. Pearce and asked, "Didn't you tell him that thing I said about 'business'? Can't you deliver a message right?"

    Big mistake. Mrs. Pearce looked ready to grab a ruler from the Professor's desk and beat the girl with it. "Don't be foolish, girl. What concern would the Professor have with... whatever [i]your{/i} business may be?"

    "For crying out loud, you guys are all so snotty around here! But this guy's not above teaching people. I heard him say it myself. Now I'm not here looking for handouts, I'm trying to practically give handouts, and if my money's not good enough, I'll just go somewhere else!"

    "Good enough for what?" The Professor was too engrossed in the technological confusion of the camera's labels to pay attention to her.

    "Good enough for you!" she declared, with another toss of her head.

    The Professor paused in his search for the record button, pulled himself to his full height, and gave her a look of fury, confusion, surprise, and shock.

    The girl's smile became positively feline. "Yeah, now you know, don'tcha, buddy? I'm here to ask you about training lessons, and to give you cold, hard cash for 'em."

    In the silence that followed, the girl tapped her foot impatiently, while the Professor's expression slowly became the typical smirk. "Well!" he finally responded. "What do you expect me to say?"

    She blinked but rallied quickly. "Well, if you'd been raised to have any manners, you'd ask me to sit down. Come on, pal, I'm trying to give you some business. The least you could do is act professional."

    Quite right! Spencer mentally cheered. Not only was the girl cute, she could also probably set the Professor in his place. He should behave as a gentleman would; you'd think an Englishman would know that.

    Of course, the academic's next words reminded Spencer that Professor Oak was not your average English gentleman. "What do you think, Spencer? Shall we ask the baggage to sit down, or shall we toss her out the window?"

    The girl cringed and stepped back, as she should--after all, Doctor Oak was probably perfectly capable of doing such a thing. "Hey! I'm not a suitcase, I'm a human being! And because I'm a human being, you can't just throw me out a window! Not when I've done my part and offered to pay you like any other human being would!"

    Spencer decided to show the girl that not all Pokemon researchers were rude bastards. "How may Doctor Oak and I help you, young lady?"

    He could feel the Professor's glare burning into his back. However, whatever inevitable punishments he could devise were worth it all for the shy smile she gave him at first, then the bright grin as she recognized him. "Well, mister, after hearing him talk about Pokemon training the other night, and after seeing just how important it is to everybody around here, I started thinking." She paused. "I like my life as it is--growing flowers, selling them, and just living. But the bottom line is, around here that doesn't work. If I want people to take me seriously and respect me around here, I've got to learn something about Pokemon and training and all that. Now the Professor there says he can teach me about them. I'm willing to learn something now, even if it is just the basics. I know what lessons for me ought to cost, and I'm ready to pay for them."

    The little speech, so carefully rendered, so full of pragmatism beyond her years, placed Spencer firmly on the young woman's side. He was ready to kill, maim, cajole, anything to make the Professor take her on.

    Doctor Oak, meanwhile, had begun pacing around the room. He paused near his desk, picked a piece of candy from a box, ate it slowly. Eventually he leaned against his desk, picked another piece from the box, and asked, "How much?"

    "All [i]right[/i!" Her feline grin was back. "There ya go! See, I knew you wouldn't mind teaching me if you saw a chance to get some of that tip you left back."

    The Professor pointed toward another chair. "Sit down," he ordered. Spencer wanted to kill him for his uncouth manners.

    "Well, since you're offering--" she began.

    "Sit down!"

    Spencer and the girl both jumped at the roar.

    Mrs. Pearce added to the commotion. "Sit down, girl. Do as you're told."

    She seemed positively terrified. How unfair of them to intimidate the poor girl! Impulsively Spencer rose from his chair. "What's your name?" he asked.

    When she spoke, her voice held a note of fear. "I'm Delia. Delia Ketchum."

    He smiled, gallantly gestured toward the chair he'd vacated. "Please have a seat and make yourself comfortable, Miss Ketchum."

    The smile he received was even prettier than Laurel's. See, being a gentleman does have its perks. "Thanks, mister, don't mind if I do." She sat down, daintily tucking one leg underneath her, letting the other leg swing idly.

    The Professor rolled his eyes, but he took a seat behind his desk. After propping his feet up on the corner of the desk, and picking out another chocolate, he asked, "All right, how much do you propose to pay me for these lessons?"

    She became all business then. "Okay. I've thought about this. I figure that most of the training expenses come from getting the critter itself, you know? But I don't want to get one to keep. I just want to learn what they do and how they can be useful. Now, I think that since you're one of those bookworms, you can just show me what to read and explain all the stuff to me, and if I need to see how it works, we can use the Pokemon here. I don't think just explaining and letting me read will take lots of time, and I don't think it should cost a lot to do. So, I propose to have two one-hour lessons at fifteen pounds per hour--twice a week, or however you like. Comes to thirty pounds a week. Take it or leave it." She sat back in the chair, continued to swing her leg.

    The Professor picked out another chocolate, bit into it, frowned, and tossed it into the wastebasket. He gazed at Spencer. "You know, Spencer, thirty pounds is a sizable portion of this ragged urchin's income. And she's describing a program that I've certainly done before."

    Oh, good, then he's going to take the offer.

    "However."

    Spencer did not like the tone of that "however."

    "I am the Kenan Professor of Pokemonology at Celadon University and the Catalan Fellow for the University of Kanto at Viridian. I have won the prestigious Michaelson Award not once, but twice. People come from all over the world to read the very same course she's describing with me. And they usually don't do it for less than three thousand pounds." Spencer gazed, openmouthed, as he tossed the now-empty box into the wastebasket, opened a drawer on his desk, and pulled out another box wrapped in gold paper.

    Delia had sprung from her chair to lean over the front of his desk. "Three thousand pounds? Where the hell do you expect me to get three thousand pounds?"

    "Hold your tongue, you silly girl, I never said you needed--"

    "I haven't got three thousand pounds! I've barely got thirty!" She slammed a hand on his desk, then turned her head. From where he stood, Spencer saw that her big brown eyes were brighter than normal. Why, she was crying!

    "Don't cry, girl, and sit down," Mrs. Pearce snapped. "Nobody's going to touch your money."

    Doctor Oak rose from his desk. "Somebody's going to touch you with a broomstick if you don't stop that snivelling. Sit down." As she slowly sank back into the chair, he pulled a bright red handkerchief from his pocket.

    "Sheesh," Delia sniffled. "You yell at me like you're my dad or something."

    "If I decide to teach you, I'll be worse than three fathers to you." He thrust the handkerchief at her. "Here."

    "I don't want your charity." A weak but still incredibly defiant voice.

    "Nonsense, you stupid twit. Take it." Under the Professor's intense glare, the girl obeyed. "If you're going to be a trainer worth anything, you mustn't go to pieces over every mishap. You must face every problem with rational action, not hysterics. Remember that."

    He sounded different... almost sympathetic. It was so unlike anything Spencer had heard from him in the past thirty-six hours that Spencer was shocked into stillness. In that stillness, Spencer's analytic side sprang to life. All right. He sounds somewhat willing to teach her right now. We just have to give him a reason to want to do it. No... we have to make it seem as if he can't do it...

    Suddenly, the plan became crystal clear. Spencer smiled, cleared his throat. "Professor?"

    "What?"

    "Do you remember your boast the other night? That you could pass this young lady off as a highly experienced trainer in six months? If you really could do such a thing, why, you'd be the world's greatest Pokemon instructor. But... no, no. You can't possibly be the world's greatest. Never mind."

    "You insufferable git! I am the world's greatest Pokemon instructor!"

    Now he's falling for it! "All right. If you really are, then you should be able to pass her off as an experienced trainer in the Trainers' Invitational." He paused, then added with a wink at Delia, "I'll bet you all the expenses of the experiment that you can't do it. Including the lessons."

    The Professor frowned thoughtfully; Delia rewarded him with another brilliant smile and a "Wow, thanks a lot, mister!"; Spencer merely crossed his arms, smirked, and basked in the glow of her praise.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This was intriguing. Quite a challenge, indeed.

    Samuel had been vaguely interested in the girl from the moment she'd walked into the room. He was surprised the silly little thing could remember who and where he was. He'd been slightly intrigued when he'd heard her motivations for wanting to learn. So she had realized just how vital Pokemon were--and how stupid she'd been for not learning about them before. But he'd been downright impressed with the plan of study she'd laid out. Not necessarily a training track... more of a "how can I make them useful for my purposes" track. Not bad for an ignorant girl.

    He might have done it of his own free will. It seemed quite an amusing way to make thirty pounds a week (if she wanted to pay him to do it, he'd not complain). Another perk: he would only have to deal with her twice a week for one hour, unlike the usual five times a week for three hours a day. The less he had to deal with any annoying trainer, the more tolerable it was.

    The mad Etonian boy had thrown a wrench into the plan, however.

    Samuel remembered his boast well: I'd wager that I can even pass her off as... as a Gym Leader, or at least a highly experienced and respected trainer. And he knew he could do it, if presented with the chance. Damned if the boy hadn't dropped the chance in his lap.

    And what a challenge, too! The girl knew nothing. Nothing. Yet Spencer had dared him to make this girl a trainer suitable for the Invitational in October. It would be like trying to teach a newborn a Shakespeare soliloquy.

    He rubbed his chin for a moment. "It's almost irresistible," he said thoughtfully. "She's so deliciously low. So horribly ignorant..."

    "Hey!" The chit lifted her face from his handkerchief and scowled. "I tried to read about Pokemon before I came! Really I did! But it all looked like Greek to me."

    Teach this foolish girl all the knowledge of a Gym Leader in only six months? Pass her off as an experienced trainer, experienced enough to compete against others with more years behind them? Make her a worthy opponent in the fiercest exhibition competition in the land?

    It was devilishly difficult. Most would say that it was damn near impossible. Samuel knew what he must do.

    "I'll take it!" he cried, grabbing a handful of papers from his desk and tossing them into the air. "I'll take it! I'll make a Pokemon Master out of this ignorant guttersnipe!"

    Nearly impossible causes were his favorite kind, after all.

    "How many times do I have to tell you, I'm not a guttersnipe!"

    But the Muse was pouring the plans for the experiment into his head, so he had no time for her jabber. "We'll start today! Right now! This very moment! We have enough room around here--she can stay here! Better for her to stay here, so she can be fully immersed in the culture! And she won't pick up any nasty habits from those lazy bastard trainers around her! That sounds like a lovely plan, doesn't it, Mrs. Pearce?"

    The woman was completely flummoxed. "I suppose so, sir, but--"

    "Wait a minute! You want me to come live here? With you?"

    "Of course it's a marvelous plan. Quite right. Mrs. Pearce, take the girl upstairs and show her around her new home. Show her the grounds, the rest of the lab, the library, the upstairs... I suppose you can show her my room and Spencer's room, she'll probably spend a lot of time there--"

    The girl leapt from the chair again. "What the hell is wrong with you? You expect me to stay here by myself with two grown men? No, thank you! I'm a good girl, and I know when I'm going to be stuck in a bad situation!"

    "No, no, we want none of your Yank prudery here. You've got to learn to think like a trainer. Trainers will take any room and board that's free to them. Take her away, Mrs. Pearce, and if she gives you any trouble, wallop her." He swung his arm to emphasize his point, then reached for the chocolates.

    "Oh! Threatening me, whipping me, putting me out here in orgies--no way! I'm gonna call the cops!"

    "But where should I put her, sir? Master Charles and Miss Anne still use their rooms when they're here on holiday, and Mr. Hale is already in the guest suite!"

    That was the problem with women. They were always bothering him with inane questions and threats. "How the devil should I know? Put her... put her in Audrey's rooms. Yes, that's quite good, right next to mine so I can monitor her progress every hour of the day."

    Mrs. Pearce looked like a bulbous pidgey when she stared at him like that. It was most unbecoming.

    "Next thing you know, you'll want to chain me to a bed!" the girl cried.

    Samuel gazed at her for a moment. He'd never tried teaching someone like that before. "That's not a bad idea. I'll think about it. Now, if you're to train, you'll need a monster of some sort..."

    A moment of silence, and good thing, because it would take him a while to think of a suitable monster for the girl.

    "Professor," Spencer began, "be reasonable--"

    Mrs. Pearce cut him off. "Yes, you must be reasonable, Professor, really you must! You can't just walk over everyone!"

    The girl just gave him a wild-eyed, frightened stare.

    Was he really walking over everyone? Nonsense. "I, walk over everyone? My dear Mrs. Pearce, my dear Spencer, even you, my dear guttersnipe--"

    The girl clapped a hand to her forehead and sank back into the chair without a word.

    "--I never intended to walk over anyone. I am merely proposing that we help the poor girl. She came to us for training lessons. Should we not give them to her in the most convenient and beneficial manner possible? If that involves keeping her here, under our watchful, protective eyes, then so be it."

    "But, but, sir," Mrs. Pearce stammered, "letting a complete stranger into the house... we don't know anything about her! Does she have parents? Heaven forbid, does she have a husband?"

    The girl answered that query by sticking her tongue out and blowing a huge raspberry.

    Samuel pointed to her. "You see, Mrs. Pearce? As the girl very properly says, pppppbbbbbbbbttt." Spencer chuckled at that, and he couldn't help grinning.

    "Come on, lady. My mom's dead, and my dad's always out on the road, so I may as well not have parents. And nobody'd want to marry somebody like me."

    Well, of course they wouldn't, not in her present state. After he was finished with her... "By George... Delia, is it? By George, Delia, when I'm done with you, the streets will be filled with men throwing themselves at your feet. Everyone in Kanto will willingly shoot themselves for a moment with you."

    Delia blinked. Then she sprang from the chair again and hurried towards the French doors in the rear of the lab. "Uh-uh, no way, buddy! I don't want to know whatever it is you've got to teach me! This guy's off his rocker, he's frickin' hoopie! What the hell does he want to teach people such dangerous stuff for..."

    Why, that presumptuous insect! He raced after her and snatched his handkerchief from her hands. "So you think I'm mad, hey? Very well, Mrs. Pearce, don't show this intolerable wench around, throw her out!" And he went back to his box of chocolates, knowing that she would turn around and beg soon.

    "I won't allow it, Professor! Go home to your family, girl."

    "I just told you, I haven't got anybody at home!"

    "Exactly!" Samuel added around a mouthful of cream. "Then what's all the fuss about? She doesn't belong to anyone. She's no use to anyone except me. So, for heaven's sake, take her around the house."

    "But sir... what about her personal effects? What about her clothes? Who will be paying whom for what? Think the plan through, Professor!"

    "Personal effects? Clothes?" He hadn't thought of that. He filed the problem away for future concern; after all, he still had the question of the proper monster for the girl. "Bloody hell, Mrs. Pearce, I don't know. Anything she has can't be worth very much... and if her clothes look anything like this rag she's wearing, she'll do better without them."

    "Hey! You've got a lot of nerve, pal! My clothes look just fine! And my stuff may not be worth much, but it's mine!" She looked towards Spencer. "Please, mister, you're a gentleman, please don't let him insult me that way!"

    Ha. Turning to the young man for sympathy. But it worked, for Spencer answered, "I quite agree with Delia, Professor, you shouldn't speak ill of her. Don't you think you're hurting the girl's feelings?"

    "Rubbish, Spencer. I don't believe she has any feelings that we need to worry about. Have you, Delia?"

    "Why, I've got feelings just like any other human being!"

    "Professor," Mrs. Pearce interrupted, "what about after the experiment? Would you feel comfortable turning the poor girl loose on her own after spending six months with all of us?"

    "Hasn't she survived the streets of Viridian without us? Answer me that, Mrs. Pearce."

    Ha! She looked flummoxed again. "Well, I... that is... that's her own business, not yours, Professor. You weren't responsible for her then."

    "So when I'm done with her, we'll throw her back into Viridian's streets and let her be responsible for herself again. Then we won't have to worry about it. That's all right, isn't it?" He chuckled a bit as he reached for the chocolate box, pleased to see that the whole experiment could be easily resolved at its conclusion.

    Meanwhile, the girl--Delia, he probably should call her that instead--was giving him a hateful stare, full of immense fury. "What--you selfish--you've got the worst heart I've ever seen, you selfish bastard! You don't care what happens to anyone except yourself!" She stormed toward the staircase. "I've had enough of your insults and enough of your craziness. I'm outta here!"

    You mean she's still going to leave? Oh, no. Not his project. What could he possibly do to keep her here?

    Samuel gazed at the box of chocolate in his hand. Hmm. If it worked for Audrey...

    He cut off Delia's dash for the door. "All right, then, but before you go--" And he carefully waved the box under her nose. "Have some chocolate, Delia."


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    Okay. This guy was just a lowdown, dirty bastard. She wanted to knock him into next week!

    After all the insults he'd thrown at her, after all his bullying, after his blatant disregard for her feelings, after his weird plot to chain her to a bed for whatever the hell reason, he had the nerve to try and lure her with her one fatal weakness: chocolate. And he had pulled out all the stops to get her to take it: fake politeness, a voice dripping with honey, and a hand that was holding the box so close that she could taste it.

    Well, she'd show him. She wouldn't fall for that. No way.

    Delia glanced down at the box. Gorgeous truffles, lathered in rich chocolate, all surrounded with a gold-wrapped box. She knew that packaging--she knew those truffles--

    Oh, my God, it's Godiva!!!

    No, Delia, ya gotta fight this. Remember, this is a wicked sick guy. He might have put some kinda poison in them.


    "Not a chance, Doc," she gasped, trying not to look at the tempting treats. "For all I know, you might've drugged 'em. I wouldn't put it past you..."

    "Then let's make it a pledge of good faith." He picked one from the box, placed the box on a nearby bookshelf, and broke the truffle into two gooey parts. "I'll eat one half--" Shoving half into his mouth. "And you eat the other half." Before she could respond, he popped the other half into her mouth.

    Why, that dirty old... Oh, God, cream, chocolate... heaven!

    "I practically live off these," she heard him say. "I have so many boxes of them... boxes and boxes. If you stay here and let me teach you, you can have barrels of them all to yourself..."

    I would be really stupid to leave this place... the man has Godiva chocolate... Of course, she couldn't let him know just how much she liked them. "Oh, they're all right. I don't really like chocolate. I just ate it because you practically shoved it in my mouth--ack! Hey, wait a minute! What're you tryin' to do, break my arm?"

    He had paid no attention to her. Instead, he'd grabbed her arm and started dragging her up the staircase. "Think of it, Delia. What a wonderful life here... chocolate, excellent living quarters, lots of open space, all sorts of lovely things to see and learn and do, and the company of two intelligent men..."

    "Hold on, Doc!" Delia snatched her arm away, ignoring the throbbing pains. Yeah, despite the fact that the guy in charge was insane, the place as he described it sounded awesome. But she wouldn't let his descriptions and promises lure her into something bad, like orgies with him and the younger guy. "I'm sure your place is a thousand times better than my shack in the city, and I'm sure it's got a lot more perks. But I'm a good girl, and I won't be roped in by promises of learning things only to end up as some kind of... well, you know," she hastily finished, unable to think of a nice way to say hooker. "What's my purpose for staying here to learn? What is your plan for me?"

    Her protector hurried over to the rail. "I agree with Delia, Professor. If she's going to put herself in our hands for six months, I think we had better tell her exactly what our plans for her are."

    The old guy nodded slowly. "Quite right." He folded his hands behind his back, stood up straight, and sneered down at her from two stairs above her. Then he cleared his throat and began. Delia became so hopelessly confused by his words that she didn't notice him edging toward her and herself edging away.

    "Delia. You are to stay here for the next six months, intensively learning the art of Pokemon training, as countless others in Kanto have done before you. If you're good and do whatever you're told, you shall sleep in a beautiful bedroom, have all the food you could possibly eat, lots of pocket money to do whatever you like, and trays of chocolates every day. However, if you are naughty and idle, you shall sleep out in the dung heap with the Caterpies and the Weedles, and I shall order Mrs. Pearce to hang you from one of the windmill's arms. At the end of six months, we shall carry you out to Viridian City to see if you have learned everything we have taught you. If the Pokemon League finds out that you aren't a real trainer, they shall take you out to Cinnabar Island and push you into an active volcano as a warning to other presumptuous Yanks. But if you are not found out, I shall personally give you a reward of... three thousand pounds to assist you in your new life, whether it is a life devoted to Pokemon or pansies. If you accept this wonderful offer, you will be blessed among women, and God shall come down from Heaven to sing hosannas for you. However, if you refuse this generous offer, you will be the most naughty, ungrateful, wicked girl in Christendom, and the angels, from the Archangel Gabriel to the smallest cherubim, will weep tears of blood for you."

    Delia blinked. The Professor's face was about two inches from hers, while she had backed down the staircase and gotten smushed against the bookshelf. She imagined herself getting away from him by disappearing through the books.

    He turned his face toward her protector. "Now, are you satisfied, Spencer?"

    "Well, sir," the man said hesitantly, "I don't think I would have described it quite like that--"

    "Could I have put it more plainly or fairly, Mrs. Pearce?"

    The old woman sighed and grabbed Delia's arm. "Come with me, Delia," as she practically pulled her up the stairs.

    Who did these people think they were? Dragging her around, ordering her around, threating to push her into volcanoes and hang her from windmills... "You're nothing but a big bully, that's all!" she yelled over her shoulder. "That's all all of you are, just big bullies picking on a little girl! Well, I'll show you! I won't let you people push me around and hang me off stuff! I'll leave when I feel like it! You harm one hair on my head and I'm gone--"

    "Oh, don't answer back, girl," the old woman snapped as they went.

    Her protector looked absolutely horrified, but that bastard was smirking at her! "Oh, yes," he said, "I'll make a Master of that barbarous wretch, Spencer."

    That selfish bully needed a good kick in the pants! Since Delia couldn't reach him, she settled for more angry words. "If I'd known how you really are, I never would've come! I don't know how you people make your women act around here, but I can tell you that in America women are independent and free thinkers and can do whatever they like! You won't force me to stay if I don't want to! And what about my stuff?!?"

    The old lady closed the door to the lab's entrance behind them, only to open it seconds later when she heard a shout: "Mrs. Pearce!"

    "Yes, Professor?"

    "See if you can find that Bulbasaur I received from the Humane Society. I think that one will be perfect for our flower wench: they can both grow and learn together."

    "Yes, sir." She closed the door again, then turned to Delia. "All right, then. Here you are at the Pallet Town Pokemon Preserve. I am Mrs. Pearce, the housekeeper. I do everything around here that the Professor can't be bothered to do, such as cook and clean. The young man is the Professor's research assistant, Spencer Hale. I assume you are well acquainted with the Professor by now. I suppose I should show you around the lower levels of the house on the way to the grounds."

    The house was huge: a big kitchen, a dining room, a den, a massive library (with two levels and a spiral staircase!), an art room, a music room. Each area was decorated with all sorts of antiques and paintings and pictures, and every decoration seemed elegant and just right for the room. Except for the animals hanging out on chairs, walking through the hallways, snoozing in the light patches beneath the windows, the house could have easily been a museum.

    One portrait in the library caught Delia's eye: a younger Professor with a woman. He didn't have a smirk: he looked happy. And the woman was just beautiful: long auburn-brown hair, big brown eyes, a gorgeous smile, and an hourglass figure. Despite her model looks, she looked so friendly and natural that Delia liked her anyway. "Who's that?" she asked.

    "That's the Professor and his wife, Audrey. She passed on two years ago. She was such a sweet woman."

    "She's really pretty... wait, his wife? You mean somebody actually fell in love with and married him?"

    "Yes, and they also had children. Is that so surprising?"

    "Well," Delia answered, "if someone can love a guy like that, then there's definitely someone out there for me." Funny; Mrs. Pearce didn't seem so bad when she laughed.

    The view from the back door looked like a painting too--mountains in the background, a large, clear lake, huge green fields as far as she could see. "This is the Preserve proper, where the Pokemon should live, though as you can see sometimes they get into the house. Come along, I'll show you each section."

    Delia saw all kinds of creatures during their walk, and to her surprise, a lot of them looked normal. She saw some sheep, some pink cows, bigger versions of sparrows and pigeons, a larger than normal butterfly, fish and seahorses and even something that looked like a seal or a manatee. Some of them were really cute too: a teddy bear, a round pink ball with big eyes, the pretty little fox that rubbed against her leg. "They're not so bad, are they?" Mrs. Pearce asked, and Delia had to agree at first.

    Some of the stuff she saw was just weird. A bunch of eggs? No, something called an... Execute? Big walking trees with three heads? No, an Executor or something like that, and the eggs would grow up... no, evolve to be that. A unicorn with fire coming out of its neck? No, a Rapidash, no horn. She mistook a Jinky (she thought that's what Mrs. Pearce said) for a little old woman.

    A lot of the stuff she saw scared her to death. Tall ones with four arms and muscles like bodybuilders. Big things that looked like massive worms but were made entirely out of rock, and other talking boulders nearby. Big, colorful bugs that resembled spiders and caterpillars--but others that had boxing gloves and blades for arms. A real, live fire-breathing dragon that swooped right over their heads. And the great big sea monster that growled at them as they went past. These guys were more than just house pets--they were dangerous and scary.

    Maybe I should just get out of here, Delia told herself. I'm too little to control big, bad critters. Plus, I could get killed by one of these monsters, and none of these people would care.

    "So, you grow flowers, do you? I've saved the garden for last. I think you'll like it."

    "The garden" turned out to be a large, showy affair too, an English-style garden that was... beautiful. It was slightly overrun with weeds, but the flowers seemed to flourish anyway. Delia gazed, open-mouthed, at all the vegetation: roses and crysanthemums, pansies and posies, ivies and bushes, and all sorts of vegetables. Imagine what I could do with all this!

    "It's Audrey's garden," Mrs. Pearce explained. "She arranged it and supervised it personally. Much prettier and more growth when she tended it. I've tried to do what I can, but I haven't a green thumb at all. And the Pokemon are starting to get into it, too."

    But what wonderful Pokemon! Walking sunflowers, weeds that could talk... dancing flowers, wearing petal dresses. And all of them smiled at her, waved at her, came up to her to dance and chatter and be petted. She knelt to greet them, to let them climb all over her.

    "If I stay here, can I... do you think I could take care of the garden?"

    Delia had said it without thinking. Almost as soon as she heard the words, she inwardly cringed, expecting the older woman to yell at her. But Mrs. Pearce only smiled and said, "I don't see why not. Certainly you'll know more about it than the rest of us."

    Just then they heard a slight rustling in the rhododendrons. A few seconds later, a very small creature, no larger than a kitten, wriggled out of the tangled roots. Blue, with big red eyes and a big bulb growing out of its back, with a shape like a rhinoceros? No... like some dinosaur she'd seen in a book long ago, whose name she couldn't remember.

    "Ah, there you are, little one." Mrs. Pearce walked to the monster, knelt, and scooped it up in her arms. "How convenient. You're here in time to meet your new owner."

    "What is it?"

    "This is a Bulbasaur. It's a grass and poison type. She's very young."

    "Oh. It's just a baby, then. Wow, these things are really tiny when they're babies."

    "Well, this one is smaller than usual. She was the runt of her litter. Her previous owner dropped her off at the Humane Society. No one would take her, and they were about to put her under. Thank goodness the Professor saw her the day before. He brought her home so she could live in a lovely place... or perhaps be adopted by another trainer. Like you."

    "Oh... good thing he saved her... wait a minute. You mean it--I mean, she's mine?"

    "That's right. She'll be your first Pokemon to train. Would you like to hold her?"

    "Oh... wow... I... okay." She held out her arms, and Mrs. Pearce carefully deposited the wriggling animal into them. It shuffled, wriggled, eventually nestled against Delia's chest. "Hey there, um, little Bulbasaur," she began, not quite sure what to say or do to it--her.

    The Bulbasaur sniffed her chin for a moment, then gave her a gentle lick. "Bulba," she announced before snuggling into the crook of her elbow and falling into a light doze. Awww! How sweet! It's a sweet little baby...

    Aw, man. This wasn't supposed to happen.
    She usually hated schlocky stuff like this in the movies. Like a boy and his dog. Boy finds stray puppy, finds it too endearing to leave, runs around and has adventures with cutely named puppy. Well... hell. The Bulbasaur was a cute little critter. And, like Delia, no one seemed to be too fond of her just because she was different. We'll show them, won't we, kiddo? Nobody's going to write us off that easily.

    "Looks like it's you and me in this together, kiddo," she murmured. "No, I can't call you kiddo all the time. You've got to have a name. You've got flowers on your back. Flower? Petal? Gardenia? No. You came out of the rhododendrons... How about Rhoda?"

    The Bulbasaur squirmed in agreement, and Delia smiled. She stood up, gazed at the garden, the house, Rhoda, thought of the boxes of Godiva chocolate. Everything she'd ever wanted, right here, and all she had to do was learn about the critters. What a wicked lucky break...

    "Come along, and I'll show you your room," Mrs. Pearce said, and they headed back to the house to see the rooms upstairs.

    Wow. Delia gasped when she saw the bedroom: French provincial furiniture, a chandelier, a huge bed, wall to wall carpeting... not a single crack in the ceiling. She carefully placed Rhoda on the bed, then raced around the room to try each chair, look at every picture, check every drawer. "Wicked frickin' pissa," she whispered. "I think this room is too good for me. I'm afraid I'll break something." She stretched out on the carpet, determined to see just how soft it was.

    "Oh, I'd not worry about breaking anything, my girl. Though I do hope I got all the Pokemon out earlier..."

    Delia lifted the bedskirt to see how much space was under the bed. Then she saw something... lots of somethings... moving under the bed. She narrowed her eyes... and came face to face with the things she hated most.

    Oh, my God, I knew it, I knew this place was too good to be true...

    She jumped up and ran to the other side of the room, because she had to get the hell away from them. Now.

    "What is it? What's the matter?"

    "Rats," Delia hissed, clutching the wall. "P-p-purple rats. Under the bed. Get them out of here. Get me out of here. Now."

    "Oh, dear. They did come back, the naughty things. Don't worry, they're only Rattata, they're perfectly safe--"

    But they were coming out now, tons and tons of them (okay, more like ten, but that was still too many). And they were all looking at her. Delia could not breathe. No, stay away from me, stay back there or I'll scream--

    To her horror, an enormous brown rat toddled out. It blinked, then showed its huge rat teeth at her. "Raticate!" it yelled, then started running toward her. Inspired by their leader, the purple rats moved toward her too.

    Delia screamed.


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    Samuel had almost come to a theory on the restorative properties of chocolate truffles when the feminine yells from upstairs broke his concentration.

    "Help! Someone help! This goddamn rat is trying to eat me! Oh, my God, get it off me! Help!"

    "Nonsense, girl! Calm down! They're just saying hello!"

    "I don't give a shit--I hate rats! Get them away from me! What kind of a hellhole is this?!"

    Bloody hell. Why did women always have to break his concentration? Even Audrey had done so on occasion at first, but eventually, with the proper guidance, she had learned not to do it. However, no other woman had seemed willing or able to learn the lesson. Clearly this one, this Delia Ketchum the Yankee guttersnipe, would be just like the others. Ah, well, at least that made her easy to ignore until he absolutely had to deal with her. So he ignored her screams.

    Spencer had instantly winced at her pitiful wailing, however. "I hope she's okay up there."

    "Oh, dash the chit," he responded, not even bothering to look up from his notes. "She'll be tolerably good fun once she's gotten used to us and everything around here."

    Now what was the boy staring at him for? What had he said?

    But the impudent fop had walked over to his desk and looked him right in the eye. "Professor. Forgive the bluntness, but... well, now that I've gotten into all this, I feel completely responsible for Delia. I hope... I hope you won't take advantage of her in any of the ways she, ah, mentioned."

    What? Did Spencer actually think he was going to sleep with the girl or some other nonsense? "That thing? Sacred, I assure you."

    "Really, Professor, I'm being completely serious. Are you..." The young man was blushing now. "Are you an honorable man when it comes to dealing with women?"

    Most irritating. Still, Samuel knew he wouldn't have any peace until he answered the boy. "Spencer, have you ever met a man who has behaved honorably toward a woman?"

    "What? Yes, of course. I happen to be one."

    He propped his feet up on the desk again. "Well, I haven't, because I happen not to be one. Most of the time, I am an honorable and decent man. However, when I get close to a woman, I find that my honor disappears, and I become a heartless and cruel bastard. It's not completely my own fault. Most of the women I've known have driven me fair mad with their silly ways."

    "What do you mean?"

    Aha! He felt his lecturing spirit coming upon him. "Let me give you examples of the women currently in my life. My mother is a mad old wench who delights in screaming at me for silly things, such as not sitting up straight and grinding my teeth and speaking my mind in polite company. My sister is a silly old bat who delights in bossing me around, not because she has any more sense than I, but simply because she had the unfortunate blessing of being born first. My daughter is a dunderhead who has fits of fatherly love when she needs money for the newest fashion or the most enchanting little trinket that she absolutely must have. My granddaughter is only three years old, but I can already see from the way she knows how to charm me into buying her things that she's going to be as manipulative and silly as the rest of her sex. I pay Mrs. Pearce to nag and annoy me, but damned if she isn't good at it. From these examples, I think the answer is evident. Women are foolish and conniving and selfish and shallow, and when they are around me, I become all of those things too. So, here I am, a confirmed old celibate widower, and likely to remain so."

    Spencer leaned on the desk, head resting in his hands. "If all women are so terrible, how did you manage to get married?"

    "To answer that, let me tell you what I look for in a perfect woman. I freely admit it, she must be pleasing to look at, or I should be quite ashamed to be seen with her. Next, she must have all the social graces and elegant tastes of a well-bred lady, or I would never take her anywhere. She must be intelligent and have some sort of talent, or we'll never have anything to talk about. She should be clever and quick-witted, or she'll bore me. She should be independent, or she'll get on my nerves. She should feel passion, or she'll chill me. Most importantly, she should be plain-speaking to a fault, or she'll never tolerate me. My Audrey was all those things to me, and many more, and for that I loved her and married her. She's gone now, God bless her, and I'm fairly certain that there will never be another woman like her."

    At Spencer's nod, Samuel smirked. "Therefore, my boy, you needn't worry about my behavior toward our fair trainer upstairs. I won't let any woman who doesn't have every trait I've listed into my personal life. Though I should be quite worried about your intentions."

    "Mine? I'll have you know that I'm a very happily engaged man, sir! I would never dream of being with another woman!"

    Ha. That's what they all said--until the pretty faces, beguiling smiles, and sweet words drew them in. "We shall see. In the meantime," he continued, returning to his notes, "if we have exhausted all talk of our love affairs, we should get back to work. You and I have a lot to do, after all."

    The snotty boy sighed. "Yes, sir. Where should I start?"

    "First, look into having Delia's items brought from her house. By the time that's arranged, I'll have my reading lists for both of you ready, and you can run up to the library and begin pulling all the books from the shelves. Then I should be ready to discuss Beech's Compendium 1 with you over tea. I hope you've read it thoroughly, for after that we'll immediately turn to Compendium 2, which you should have read for tomorrow. Next, we'll have to go down and look after the Pokemon. After dinner, we'll discuss some strategies for teaching our guttersnipe..."

    Now why was the senseless git banging his head against his desk? Sometimes men were as foolish and selfish as women. He didn't think he was making incredible demands upon the boy.

    Samuel shook his head and reached for another chocolate before returning to his booklist.
    Last edited by Revolutionary Girl; 8th January 2003 at 12:16 AM.

  14. #14
    A black and white world Blackjack Gabbiani's Avatar
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    *bweehee!* Although there is one thing...when she's looking in the garden, there's a line about a Rapidash not having a horn...that's a strange Rapidash, because most of them do!

  15. #15
    Manga Sam Fangirl Revolutionary Girl's Avatar
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    *frowns*

    SOB. I thought that was part of its mane.

    *makes note to change it*

    *sighs* Yeah, see, this is why I try to avoid writing about the critters if possible. I'm with Delia. I don't get them, and I probably never will.

    *sticks to the standard shoddy romance novel type stuff*

    "Ol' Flying Fingers Sammy jumped the gun."

    Pokemaniacs Anonymous: Growing old =/= growing up.

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