I am still reading! Just waiting for an update... Anyway, Ash is going to steal Wes' machine thing. Man, he really gone insane without Pikachu and May.... Well, her love life isn't the best here. And more Tracey mysteries. Great chapter so far.
I am still reading! Just waiting for an update... Anyway, Ash is going to steal Wes' machine thing. Man, he really gone insane without Pikachu and May.... Well, her love life isn't the best here. And more Tracey mysteries. Great chapter so far.
I've been wondering for some time now. Is Dante your own creation or is he from some other tv show?
Technically he's an original character, but like all writers I built him up as a composite of other characters and people I've encountered. There are two notable influences on Dante that are referred to by the other characters at various times.
January 30, 4:50PM
It was as if the entire restaurant knew the significance of the situation, because they all quieted down as Misty wound her way through the chairs towards me. Brock hadn’t moved, hadn’t even turned his chair around, he just turned his head and watched over his shoulder. Meanwhile, Misty had reached me. She leapt forward and threw her arms around me.
That I didn’t deserve.
After a few moments she broke away and slapped me hard in the face.
That I did deserve.
She wasn’t exactly crying – her face was stained with tears and she was shaking with fury.
‘Letting somebody believe that someone they love is dead, when they’re not, is very cruel,’ she said in an angry whisper.
‘I know,’ I said quietly, feeling the eyes of every restaurateur on me. ‘I’m sorry.’
‘You’re sorry?’ she shrieked, ‘why would you do such a terrible thing?’
‘Haven’t you ever wanted to shed your skin and start all over again? I just had the guts to follow through with it.’ I didn’t know why I was being such a jerk, it was just happening.
‘Guts?’ she repeated, ‘you think it was a brave thing you did?’
‘Listen,’ I said, lifting a finger threateningly, ‘there was nothing for me. For once in my life, I put myself first. Maybe it wasn’t the right decision, but it was what I had to do.’
She didn’t say anything at first, just furrowed her brow and looked at me.
‘That doesn’t sound like you. That’s Dante talking. That’s Dante talking when he’s trying to push people away. You’ve been working with Dante, haven’t you?’
‘Working at what? Do you realise how ridiculous you sound right now?’
‘So you’ve been working with Ash.’
I didn’t answer quickly enough. Now she would just assume she was right. The worst part about it – she was. There was no point trying to avoid it now. I was already down, but it wasn’t too late to drag Ash down with me.
‘I’ve seen Ash since the plane crash, yes.’
‘He knew you were alive and didn’t tell me?’
Shift the blame. I nodded seriously.
‘Then he is in for a world of pain.’
She turned and stormed out of the restaurant to the applause of the other diners, and the chagrin of Brock, who now had to wheel himself home.
January 31, 8:30AM
Against my better judgement, I had agreed to spend the night at my parents’ house. I could hear something sizzling in the kitchen downstairs. Guilt breakfast.
I got dressed and headed down to the dining room, where Dad was already sitting with a dirty, tattered old notebook.
‘Morning sunshine,’ he said, gesturing at the seat opposite his. ‘Sleep okay?’
‘Fine. It’s my bed, so I’m used to sleeping in it.’
‘Of course. Are you ready for today’s lesson?’
I didn’t say anything. It was starting to become apparent where Dante had acquired his “sinister gentleman” characteristics.
‘When we left Dante last he was defeated and embarrassed. I had saved his life, but he still regarded me with a great deal of suspicion and harboured great resentment for my interference with Heatran. Long story short, he hated me.’
‘Did he ever tell you that?’ I asked in spite of myself.
‘No. Although passionate, Dante was always a gentleman. He never spoke of his hatred to me. But I could tell my the change in his training patterns that he longed to defeat me. It was by sheer luck that we didn’t face each other, because it was precisely the kind of situation that would lead Dante to another meltdown.’
‘Yes, just luck. Regardless, I decided on a peace offering.’
‘Me,’ I said gloomily.
‘No, not you,’ Dad replied. ‘Permission to be with you. You know as well as I do that I didn’t set the two of you up together. In fact, I think you’ll remember that it was you who sought him out so as not to lose face with Ash. The only difference was that instead of chasing him away, like I normally would your boyfriends, I left the two of you alone.’
‘How sweet of you,’ I said sarcastically. ‘Do you have any more secrets to tell me? Maybe about the time you went hang-gliding with Richie?’
‘No, because you obviously know about that already.’
I gave him a slight smile.
‘Why did you keep all of this secret? Why didn’t you tell me Didn’t you think I could handle it?’
‘Honestly? No. I thought you were too young to deal with it. But now you’ve grown up a lot. You’ve become a very confident young woman. You’ve become a mother.’
‘The internet is a very powerful tool, May. It has just about everything you could ever want to find, as well as everything you wished you’d never seen.’
‘You were checking up on me?’
‘No, on Dante. You’re listed as the mother of his child. I put two and two together.’
‘Only biologically,’ I said swiftly. ‘I have nothing to do with her. She lives with Dante at the Gym. That’s what we agreed on.’
‘Will Dante be bringing her to your birthday celebrations?’ He was being remarkably calm about the whole thing.
‘I asked him not to, but he almost certainly will.’
‘I’d like to meet my granddaughter,’ Dad said, ‘even if she was conceived, born and raised out of wedlock.’
‘Get lost, I’ve seen mum’s wedding dress. I can’t have come any later than a month after you were married.’
The sizzling was replaced by the scraping of a spatula on a frying pan. Mum walked in, carrying two plates of fried eggs and bacon.
‘What are you two so smiley about?’
January 31, 3:30PM
We made it through our first full rehearsal today, and I think we did pretty well, though I did drop my guitar during “Do You See What I See?” The most amazing part was that nobody got hit by Dante’s microphone stand today. That’s a first for us. Everything was going great, until…
‘Are you sure we can’t open with “All Around”?’ Tony asked.
‘What?’ Dante said, dropping his microphone and turning around incredulously.
‘That song was built to open. It’s a first class opener.’
‘It didn’t even open the album it was written for,’ Dante snapped. Then he seemed to soften slightly. ‘We can change the order of the set list, but the opener and closer aren’t negotiable.’
‘Says who?’ Tony challenged.
‘Says the Commissioner of the League,’ Dante replied. ‘She chose more of the songs than I did.’
‘Okay boys, lunch time,’ Flannery had entered the studio with Holly in her arms. ‘There are sandwiches a plenty.’
We shuffled past her but she caught Dante’s arm.
‘There’s a challenger in the arena,’ she said, ‘and he won’t go. He said he wouldn’t tolerate any delays. There’s something familiar about him, but I don’t quite know what.’
‘I’ll handle it,’ Dante said. He slung Holly over his shoulder, grabbed a sandwich and disappeared through the door. It didn’t seem at all suspicious, so I didn’t follow him. I just helped myself to a few rolls and tightened my guitar strings.
January 31, 3:45PM
Dante came out with the baby. Brave of him. But then again, he didn’t expect to see me here.
‘What the hell are you doing here?’ he hissed, moving in close. ‘You know Max is staying here, what are you trying to pull?’
‘You know why I’m here,’ I replied in my silkiest voice. ‘Have you found one yet?’
‘I haven’t been looking, and you know that,’ he said. ‘How did you get here so quickly, anyway?’
‘A little bird flew me,’ I said, and released Pidgeot from his Pokeball.
‘So what, you’re here to battle because I haven’t helped you as much as you wanted?’
‘No, Dante, no. I’m here to make a demonstration.’
I released Charizard from his Pokeball. Then Primeape. Then Butterfree. Then Gengar. Then Lapras.
‘Great, you’ve got new Pokémon, congratulations. What does this have to do with…’ he trailed off when Blastoise, Feraligatr and Torterra appeared. ‘You’ve got nine Pokémon,’ he finished blankly.
‘Forty-five, actually,’ I said with a smile. ‘I’m no longer restricted by the Law of Six.’
‘How did you manage that?’ There was a glint of greed in his eye as he looked over my Pokémon. Evil Dante was coming back to the surface. Just pull the right triggers.
‘Tracey did it for me,’ I said. ‘You’d be amazed what people are willing to do for you if you blackmail them. It’s just like how you gave me Houndoom.’
‘I never gave – I’ll never give you Houndoom!’
‘It’s not like you have a choice here,’ I removed my jacket, revealing the snag ball converter.
‘Ash,’ Dante said in a low voice, ‘if you steal Pokémon, you’re no better than Team Rocket. Remember what they did to Pikachu.’
‘And here we are at the one million dollar question,’ I said evenly. ‘I’ve been trying to remember what they did to Pikachu for a long time and I think I’ve finally figured it out, or at least, I’ve boiled it down to just one question. If it was Team Rocket Boss Giovanni’s armed son Silver who shot Pikachu, why was the bullet wound in the back of his head?’ Dante tried to speak but I cut him off. ‘Maybe, just maybe, it’s because standing behind Pikachu was Team Rocket Boss Giovanni’s other armed son, Dante.’
‘Ash, this is insane,’ he said, backing towards the door and tightening his grip on the baby. ‘You don’t really think I-’
Pidgeot responded to my command immediately, unleashing a powerful whirlwind attack. Dante flew back and slammed hard into the wall. Torterra rumbled forwards, catching the falling baby in his leafy canopy. She was crying loudly. But I suppose I would be too if my father, the undefeatable Point Noir Gym Leader lay bloody and broken on the floor.
wow, an update, tempted to say finally
Now, let's find out what the item is. Spoiler:- Guess:
Heh, Tracey shifted the blame to Ash. And Ash just went Dante on Dante. Expect without the fire. He also stole the snag thing that fast? New Ash is really awesome. And Dante shot Pikachu? Cause he thought that Ash would destroy Team Rocket? Man, lots of revelation here.
Chapter seven was shorter than usual. That's because the first draft was far too long. Here's the second half of the original chapter seven, which for convenience's sake, will be known henceforth as "chapter eight"
January 31, 4:00PM
Thought I was dead, didn’t you?
I should have been, that’s for sure. But as I slid along the floor, bloodying my lovingly restored Gym arena, there were two thoughts on my mind.
Holly. He’s got Holly. I’ve got to get her back.
Ash. Ash must be punished.
I had helped Ash out of pity, and he had spun around and tried to kill me. The double-cross wasn’t entirely unreasonable, but taking my daughter was. As I crawled, I made a mental list of things to do.
Number one – find Tracey, get him to break the Law of Six on my account too.
Number two – find Ash, rescue Holly. Escort Holly to a safe place.
Number three – murder Ash.
It may seem unreasonable to you that I now pledged to destroy my one time rival and one time friend, but the fact of the matter is that he turned against me. Once stung, twice as deadly.
Now… where do I find Tracey?
I had barely dragged my failing body out of the main doors when I found myself staring at a pair of gaudy red cowboy boots.
‘G’day Dante. Boy, you look like hell.’
‘It’s nice to see you too, Tania,’ I croaked, dribbling blood out from between my teeth. ‘Richie’s inside.’ I made to crawl past her but she stepped into my way.
‘You’re not going anywhere in this condition,’ she said, bending down and helping me up onto my useless feet. ‘Now I’m going to get you inside, get you cleaned up and bandaged, and then tomorrow morning I’ll call Ash and arrange a meeting. We’ll get her back.’
‘How do you know-’
‘Call it women’s intuition.’
Nobody was letting my finish a sentence today.
‘I can’t wait overnight, leaving my daughter with that monster,’ I said. ‘We have to go right now.’
Tania looked thoughtful for a moment. ‘Does your Gym have security cameras.’
January 31, 7:00PM
It was good to be back in the thick of the action again. I sat cloistered in the surveillance room, watching Ash leave the Gym, baby in arms. Despite his obvious insanity, he was carrying Holly very carefully. I could tell from the way he held her that he wasn’t planning to hurt her. Still, that wasn’t the point. We had to get her back.
A flash of white near his hand.
Zoom in. Isolate.
It was a piece of paper, with a few words in big, tidy handwriting on it.
Ash’s hand enters the frame, draws a thick line over the first word. The force of the pen on the paper turns it slightly, so I can just make out what’s written on there. He’s crossing off Dante’s name. What’s the next name on the list? I can’t tell, bend the paper more.
There it is! And just as I suspected.
January 31, 7:10PM
I had just left my parents’ house on foot, heading nowhere in particular when I felt the buzzing of my phone in my pocket. It was Dante. I didn’t answer it.
He called again. And again. I answered on his fourth try.
‘I don’t want to talk to you right now,’ I said in place of a greeting.
‘Good, then just listen. Ash has kidnapped our daughter and he’s coming for you.’
‘Thanks Dante, but I’m a big girl, I can take care of myself. He won’t be able to kidnap me as easily.’
‘He’s not going to kidnap you, he’s going to kill you.’
‘What?’ the whole situation was absurd in its role reversal.
‘He’s coming to kill you.’
‘How do you know?’
‘Because he’s just left here, and he broke me up something bad. It was only my fantastic acting skills that allowed me to survive.’
‘How does that relate to him trying to kill me?’
‘Your name was right under mine on his death list five.’
‘Death list five? That is such a cliché.’
‘Does that really matter right now? He’s coming to kill you. Stay where you are and stall him. Someone will be along to help you soon.’
He hung up.
‘That’s just ridiculous,’ I said out loud as I replaced the phone in my pocket.
‘It certainly is.’
I spun around to see Ash standing behind me, and baby in his arms, greasy, long black hair hanging from his head like curtains. He wasn’t in a good way at all.
‘Wow Ash, it’s been a long time. Who’s the kid?’
‘This is your daughter, Holly.’
‘Uh-huh,’ I closed my eyes. Dante was right, again. ‘Why are you holding my daughter, Ash?’
‘She’s very nearly an orphan. Someone has to look out for her.’
‘Ash, you can’t just steal a child like that.’
‘Seems to me I already did. It was just a matter of killing her guardian.’
‘You can’t do it.’
‘You don’t care that Dante’s dead?’ he pounced quickly. ‘It doesn’t bother you that the love of your life is painting the Gym floor red as we speak?’ He moved closer to me. ‘Maybe you don’t believe me? But then how did I get the baby?’
‘Give her to me,’ I said automatically. Ash smiled creepily.
‘Now you want her? She’s two years old, and you’ve only just developed an interest in her welfare?’
‘Give her to me now!’ My voice was quavering. I had worked so hard to stay detached from Holly, but I couldn’t stand seeing her held by Ash while he spoke so callously about murdering Dante. Even if it wasn’t true.
Ash bounced her up and down in his arms. ‘She’s not very heavy, why don’t I pass her to you like a football? You know how to catch, right?’
Ash keeled over forwards, and instinctively I lurched forwards and snatched Holly out of the air before she hit the ground. As I held her in my arms, I looked up and saw Falkner, holding a branch severed from a nearby tree.
‘My Pidgeot flies at mach four too, ****er,’ he kicked Ash hard in the ribs. ‘Is she alright?’ he stepped over Ash and held his arms out for the baby.
But I couldn’t hand her over. I don’t know why exactly, but I felt as though handing her over would be a terrible, terrible mistake.
‘Come on May, give me the baby.’
‘I can’t,’ I said, not looking at him.
‘It’s okay, I’m her godfather.’
‘I’m her mother.’
‘Then you’ll just have to come with us to the Gym. She has to get home straight away, to the people and environment she knows.’
‘I can’t leave her.’
‘You don’t have to,’ Falkner put his arm around my shoulders and steered me towards his Pidgeot, ‘just come to the Gym for a couple of days.’
I was completely transfixed by her eyes. Pale blue eyes, like mine. I wondered if Dante had sung that song to her as a lullaby. It seemed likely. I wasn’t even listening to Falkner. I just nodded absently and let him steer me away.
January 31, 9:00PM
Two years she had to enter Holly’s life, and May chooses to do it at the most inconvenient time. But since we used May’s phone cell to find Holly, I couldn’t be too cruel about it.
Oh right, you’ll be wondering why I’m still stuck outside with May an hour and a half after the successful rescue mission. Two words. Lightning storm.
Of all the natural phenomena to ever strike the Earth, nothing annoys me more than lightning storms. Volcano? I can fly over it. Earthquake? I can fly over it. Fire, flood, tornado? Careful and skilful flight solves all. But I can’t fly in lightning. It’s too dangerous.
We’ve got a fire going and we’ve set up a small camp in a cave I found. Dante’s been informed, but he’s still not happy about the situation. But that’s just too bad, there’s nothing I can do. I’m not flying in a lightning storm.
Watching May and Holly made me think about Flannery. She wants kids. She’s great with Holly, there’s no denying that. One day she’ll be a great mother. But I’m not ready to be a father. I love spending time with the kid, but the big difference is that I get to go home.
Flannery thinks that it’s because I don’t love her. Some days she’s right, some days she’s wrong. I’m stuck in a cave watching May. Today she’s right.
Death list or just a list of people where Dante is the only one that is needed to be killed? Dante is going to break the Law of Six as well? And FalknerXFlannery... Wonder what's Ash going to do next.
That was fast, I like it !
I've noticed that you've stopped putting in bold when the POV changes and the dates, I think you should keep bolding then, it kind of makes an easier transition.
This is going to be interessting indeed :P
Keep it up it's getting more intense by the chapter !
January 31, 10:00PM
Why is my telephone ringing at this time of night? If it’s anyone other than Falkner, calling to say that he’s going to make it back after all, I’m going to be very annoyed. I relent and answer my phone.
‘Hello, this is Charlotte Hatfield of the World Pokémon League. Am I speaking to Dante Caroso?’
‘Thank you. Are you available to speak with the Commissioner of the League at this point?’
‘Why on earth would the Commissioner of the League want to speak with me at this time of night? It can’t wait until tomorrow?’
‘Tomorrow’s a Sunday, League Headquarters will be closed.’
‘All right, put her on then.’
Charlotte disappeared and the hold music came on for a moment or two. I twirled the phone by the cord while I waited.
‘Call me Joanne.’
‘I understand that an offer was put to you recently to join the Sinnoh Elite Four?’
‘That’s right, Joanne, and I still haven’t made up my mind about it.’
‘The decision is no longer in your hands, I’m afraid. I’m ringing to tell you that the position has been filled.’
‘Great.’ I hadn’t really wanted the job anyway, but it seemed too good an opportunity to not consider.
‘We have a new offer for you.’
I sighed into the phone so that she would hear my exasperation.
‘Let’s hear it then.’
‘Well, as you know, the Pokémon League has presence in fourteen locations at present.’
‘If you say so.’
‘We are planning an expansion into a fifteenth region for mid year. Construction is underway on eight permanent Gyms, with a further four to follow, and they should be ready to occupy from early July. We would very much like you to occupy one of them.’
‘Where is it?’
‘The position we would like you to fill is in Fremantle.’
‘Where the hell is Fremantle City?’
‘The west coast of Australia. And there they don’t feel the need to qualify their city names.’
‘You want me to move halfway across the world and take up an unfinished Gym in Australia? It’s probably hot there.’
‘Oh my, yes. But think of the opportunity. You would be the first and only Gym Leader of Fremantle. The Gym would carry no stigma that wasn’t brought to it by you.’
‘Listen Joanne, I’ve spent a lot of time and money customising the Point Noir Gym to suit me. You’re asking me to move into a new Gym without even seeing it first?’
‘Nobody said that, Dante. We want you to go over there as soon as possible to oversee the final stages of construction. So that you can customise it as you see fit before the finishing touches are put on and it becomes too difficult.’
I said nothing for a few moments.
‘How long do I have to think about it?’
‘I need an answer within 72 hours. If you accept, we will relocate you two days after the conclusion of the Gym Heroes competition.’
‘Alright then, I’ll call you on Tuesday night.’
‘Please take this offer seriously, Dante. We need someone of your calibre over there to make sure it runs efficiently.’
‘Uh-huh.’ I hung up.
As if things weren’t complicated enough. I could just refuse, of course, but the unfortunate thing was – I wanted the new Gym. I wanted it badly.
I’ll have to think about it.
January 31, 10:30PM
So… Tania was here.
She wasn’t mad about me skipping town to come and jam with Dante. After all, I’d left a note saying where I was going. And she’d used it to find me. No problem there.
Arthur and Tony had already turned in, and Flannery had headed back to Hoenn, so it was just the two of us and Max left up at the Gym. Dante hadn’t re-emerged from his bed since he got the call from Falkner. Knowing him, he’d probably gone through the window and was halfway to Pallet Town by now. It was exactly that suspicion that kept me from opening the door to his room. If he was going to take matters into his own hands, I didn’t want to know about it until he got back. That way I couldn’t be tricked into helping like I always am.
‘So Max,’ Tania said, ‘has Dante been up to old tricks?’
‘Not really, no,’ Max said, pouring himself a glass of water from the jug on the coffee table. ‘Though I did overhear part of a suspicious phone call a couple of days ago. It was happening just as you arrived, Richie.’
‘What was he saying?’
‘He was talking about Agate Village and Celestic Town, and how Ash wasn’t following his advice.’
‘He was talking to Ash?’ I cut in.
‘Yeah, and Ash wasn’t doing as Dante said. Maybe that’s why he came here and went all Dante on Dante.’
‘Try and use the word “Dante” more often,’ Tania said.
‘It’s not a word, it’s a name.’
‘Why would Ash need to go to Agate Village and Celestic Town?’ I asked.
‘Well, there’s nothing much about Agate Village,’ Max said, vault of information as always, ‘the only special thing about it is that it’s basically the only living area in all of Orre. It’s got water and even has a forest. It’s basically an oasis turned into a retirement village.’
‘There’s nothing special at all there?’ Tania asked.
‘Well, there’s the Forest Shrine, but I don’t see what that has to do with Ash. It’s basically just a tribute to Celebi, and he’s met Celebi before anyway.’
‘What about Celestic Town?’ I pressed.
‘Well that’s more interesting. It’s in Sinnoh, and there’s an old couple there who are experts on Dialga and Palkia, the time and space Pokémon. That’s always good for a visit.’
‘Can you think of a reason why Ash would want to learn about time and space?’
‘Well,’ Max said, which was followed by nothing, for a long time, until he seemed to snap with idea. ‘If he wants to create a special rend, with which he could alter time… it’s an attempt to get Pikachu back! Just like what Dante was doing a couple of years ago, but marginally less insane.’
‘He has been pretty nuts without Pikachu,’ Tania said reasonably. I couldn’t see a reason to argue.
‘It’s pretty stupid though,’ Max said matter-of-factly. ‘If he wants to bring Pikachu back to life, all he needs to do is find a Time Flute.’
January 31, 11:06PM
‘Why won’t she stop crying?’
For all her new-found maternal instincts, May was absolutely abysmal with Holly. Refusing to hand her over to me, she insisted on trying to calm her when she started crying. That was almost two hours ago. Holly’s going to have a sore throat tomorrow, which will just lead to more crying.
‘If you’ll just let me hold the baby, I’ll get her to sleep,’ I said tiredly. ‘I’ve done this plenty of times. I’m one of the standby babysitters, you know. And godfather.’
‘You’ve said that four times already.’
‘Well, I’m just reminding you, because you obviously don’t trust me at all.’
‘It’s not that I don’t trust you, it’s just that… I’m her mother. I should be able to make her sleep.’
‘You’re not really her mother, May,’ I said.
‘What? I remember giving birth to her.’
‘Maybe so, but that was also the last time you saw her. She doesn’t know you. She doesn’t feel safe with you. You’re a stranger to her. She knows me. She likes me. Let me put her to sleep.’
‘You’re not perfect either,’ she snapped. ‘You went with Dante on his mission to kill Giovanni.’
‘I’ve made some errors in judgement,’ I agreed. ‘I’m not judging you, though. I’m just stating a fact. You can’t expect to be a ready-made mother just because you gave birth. It takes time to get good with kids. You need practice. But we also need sleep, and to that end, you need to give the baby to me.’
‘Fine,’ May said, passing her over. ‘But you have to tell me exactly how you do it, so that I can learn.’
‘You’re planning to be a part of her life, then?’ I said with a smile as I lay back and settled Holly next to me, using my jacket as a blanket. She was still bawling her eyes out and waving her tiny hands around, until I pinned them to her sides by zipping the jacket around her. May came and looked over my shoulder.
‘Isn’t that uncomfortable?’
‘Babies can’t have loose covers, or they can turn over and suffocate. They have to be wrapped up so they can’t move.’
‘She’s still crying,’ May pointed out, sounding a little bit smug that I hadn’t managed to instantly quell the screaming.
‘She needs her lullaby,’ I said, pushing my irritating hair out of my eyes and ramming it behind my ears. ‘Sorry kid, my voice isn’t as good as your old man’s. That’s why I play bass.’
No reaction, just more screaming. Tough cave. Better get on with it.
‘When you’re down, and confused
Nothing seems right
And it’s you, who decides
What’s gonna make it right.’
‘Of course,’ May whispered, leaning back against the wall of the cave. ‘It had to be.’
‘Well life ain’t no joke
But it’s good when you smile
Do you know where you are?
You steal everything
But you won’t get far.’
She’d calmed down a bit. Normally after two verses she was smiling, but her little face was still contorted. Then I realised.
‘Hey May, you wanted mothering lessons?’
‘Yeah?’ she said eagerly, crawling over to us.
‘Lesson one: changing.’
February 1, 12:01AM
Why am I lying face down in a pile of leaves?
I sat up and looked at my watch. It was February. How’s that?
As I got to my feet I noticed a dull ache in my sides as if I’d been kicked in the ribs. I lifted up my shirt and sure enough, there were the beginnings of a bruise.
All of a sudden my head exploded with a blinding pain and I fell back to the ground, clutching my skull. But I was getting handfuls of lank, greasy hair. Why was my hair so long?
Where was I?
Where was my hat?
Where was Pikachu?
ah, thanks for the bolded parts !
But may I ask you ? what's up with you ? You operating in your own world ? No word for God knows how long, and then, three chapters in two days...
Which reminds me : You said we'd learn why "The Stairs" is Houndoom's favourite song. When is that going to happen ?
Keep it up !
I wrote the first two chapters as one and then split them, so really, it's only two chapters. Also, the first two I wrote about a week ago while in Sydney, but couldn't post them until I got back. It's not as impressive as you think.But may I ask you ? what's up with you ? You operating in your own world ? No word for God knows how long, and then, three chapters in two days...
When I find the bit of paper where I wrote the reason.You said we'd learn why "The Stairs" is Houndoom's favourite song. When is that going to happen ?
Seriously, don't panic. It's February. Gym Heroes starts in March. There's still a month of stuff to happen before we even get to the exciting part of the story. It's going to be a long ride. Have patience, and all will be revealed.
Like there's anything wrong with that?You operating in your own world?
Hmm, smells like amnesia! Or maybe something more sinister... maybe he was under some sorta spell or something that turned him evil! LOLWhy was my hair so long?
Where was I?
Where was my hat?
Where was Pikachu?
Y'know, there's this thing that bugs me about Holly... 2-year-olds do have some basic language skills! I mean, I babysit for this little girl and her big sister a lot. She was a late talker (she didn't need to talk. Her kindergarten taught sign language), but by the time she was 2, she was speaking in basic sentences. What is Holly? Retarded?
If there's one thing I know about Fremantle, it is this. It is not hot. It is summer there right now and they are having maximum temperatures of 18 degrees celsius. That is not hot. That is cold.
Possibly, there is a history of mental illness in her family.Y'know, there's this thing that bugs me about Holly... What is Holly? Retarded?
More likely though, she's not actually two years old.
Yikes!If there's one thing I know about Fremantle, it is this. It is not hot. It is summer there right now and they are having maximum temperatures of 18degrees celsius. That is not hot. That is cold.
1.When you jump down the throat of a fictional character for making a snap judgement about the weather of a place they've never been to before, you may be taking the story a little too seriously.
2. There hasn't been any comprehensive survey undertaken on Fremantle weather patterns since 1989 (20 years before the present in this fic). Those statistics show an average summer temperature in the mid 20s. Since the climate of Australia has only been rising in the past twenty years, I'm willing to bet the average is somewhere in the high 20s now.
3. The relatively low maximums are due mostly to the prevalance of the Fremantle Doctor. Who's to say it will still exist in 2009?
4. It's only been summer for three days. It's a little too soon to say it's a cold summer.
5. Dante lives in the far north of the world, and we know from Perfect Strangers that Point Noir is a cold, constantly raining place. Even 18 would seem hot to him because he has no tolerance for higher temperatures.
6. Australia is the driest continent on Earth. Dryness and heat are usually found together. As Dante didn't know where Fremantle was until it was explained to him, he was making an assumption based on his knowledge of Australia. Not an unreasonable one, either.
So now Dante wants a new gym... That is going to be interesting to see Dante struggle with his decision. And Max is so smart, why didn't Ash go for him instead. May going to actually take care of Holly, going to go back to Dante? Ash has amnesia, did he get hit on the head before he saw Pikachu die? I forgot. And now this hit to the head causes the good Ash to return! Oh boy, he is going to be so sad when he knows what he done...
That and his father burned him when he was young. You pretty much have a phobia of heat after that, I guess.5. Dante lives in the far north of the world, and we know from Perfect Strangers that Point Noir is a cold, constantly raining place. Even 18 would seem hot to him because he has no tolerance for higher temperatures.
Nope. Antarctica is.Australia is the driest continent on Earth.?More likely though, she's not actually two years old.
Nah, just bored. Nothing ever happens here (hence my location status)When you jump down the throat of a fictional character for making a snap judgement about the weather of a place they've never been to before, you may be taking the story a little too seriously.
But y'know... despite everything and anything I say, of all fics I'm reading at the moment, I'm enjoying this one the most. It just works for me I guess. Maybe it's slight OOC-ness eg, May's not the idiot she's usually portrayed as, they'e all much more adult. Which is good, because no-one stays young forever.
Quite right about Antarctica... I always forget that one because I'm only thinking of the ones inhabited by humans. Funnily enough, I'm a Midnight Oil fan...
Company of Strangers
February 1, 10:00am
I walked out of the barber’s feeling better about one thing, but no closer to figuring out where I was or how I got there. Or why I was carrying forty-five Pokeballs when I should only be allowed to carry six.
I spent about an hour weighing up the different possibilities and probabilities and came to the conclusion that there was only one person who could be responsible for this.
I called him.
‘Ash,’ he said, sounding surprised.
‘Yeah, it’s me. Listen, I was wondering if you could tell me why I woke up this morning in the forest with a splitting headache and forty-five Pokeballs? Also my hair looked like yours.’
‘Well, I sent somebody out to murder you – which would explain the forest and the headache – but evidently they didn’t succeed.’
‘Okay, what about the Pokeballs?’
‘Why do I have so many Pokeballs? Is the computer system down or something?’
‘What the hell are you talking about?’ Dante snapped. ‘You had Tracey break the law of six on your account so that you could carry more Pokémon.’
‘Isn’t Tracey dead?’
‘Ash, if this is some sort of scam, I don’t get it. You’ve already broken my legs and stolen my daughter.’
‘Don’t play dumb with me, Ash. I’ve already tried to have you killed once in the past twenty-four hours, I’m not beyond doing it again.’
‘I’m not playing, I can’t remember.’
‘Oh yeah?’ He still didn’t sound like he believed me, but at least he hadn’t hung up yet. ‘What’s the last memory you do have, Ash?’
‘Waiting at the train station in Saffron City, talking to Tania on the phone. She was with you on the train to Goldenrod. You were going to kill Giovanni.’
‘Ash, that was two years ago. You really don’t remember anything between then and now?’
‘When is now?’ I couldn’t keep the panic from my voice now. I’d lost two years of my life?
‘It’s February 2009.’
‘Shit,’ I swore under my breath. ‘Can you come and meet me and fill me in on what’s been happening?’
‘No I can’t,’ Dante said angrily. ‘As I mentioned before, you smashed up my legs and kidnapped my daughter. I’m in no position to leave the Gym.’
‘Point Noir. You can come here if you want.’
‘Great, I’ll be there as soon as I can. See if any of these Pokémon are flying types.’
He had already hung up. It was only after I climbed onto Pidgeot and started the trip to the Gym that I realised he was probably going to try and murder me when I arrived. Still, from what he told me in our ten minute phone call, it wouldn’t be entirely undeserved.
February 1, 12:00PM
Dante swaggered into the kitchen as I was preparing lunch.
‘Good morning everyone,’ he said brightly, reaching into the refrigerator for a can of Coke.’
‘Wow, your leg healed quickly,’ I said, watching him limp purposefully around to sit at the bar next to Richie. His leg seemed to be back to the way it was before Ash attacked – but still damaged from the earthquake.
‘Chimecho’s heal bell does wonders,’ Dante said, jabbing a hole in the can with a letter opener.
‘So what are you so happy about?’ Richie asked.
‘Ash is coming here.’
‘That can’t be good,’ Richie said. ‘Is he coming back to finish you off?’
‘Nope,’ Dante replied with a sinister smile. ‘He called before claiming to have no memory from the past two years. I guess Falkner hit him pretty hard. I told him to come here. This way, if Falkner brings Holly back and she’s worse off than when she left, I can murder Ash on the spot and be done with it.’
‘I really wish you’d use the word “murder” less frequently,’ Richie said.
‘And if Holly’s alright… we can rehabilitate Ash and rid the world of a homicidal maniac without killing anybody.’
‘How do we do that?’ I asked, shifting a sandwich onto Richie’s plate with the knife.
‘Easy. We tell him Pikachu died a natural death. Come up with something that doesn’t leave blame with anyone Ash can take revenge on.’
‘But how can we tell if he’s lying?’ Richie asked.
‘That’s going to be less easy,’ Dante said, crunching the now empty can in his hand.
I had a brainwave.
‘We use Gallade. He should still have empathetic abilities from when he was a Ralts and a Kirlia.’
‘I knew I was keeping you here for a reason,’ Dante said with a smile. ‘Now, how about them sandwiches?’
The doorbell rang.
‘I’ll get it,’ Dante said, springing to his feet.
Odd. Normally he would make Arthur or Tony answer the door. But I suppose he wanted to intercept Ash first. After all, Arthur and Tony don’t know the amnesia story. They’d probably launch straight into an attack out of misguided loyalty.
But when Dante came back to the kitchen he had Holly in his arms and was followed by Falkner and my sister.
‘Hey Max, I didn’t know you were here!’ she hugged me and then punched Falkner in the arm. ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’
‘I did, at least nine times,’ Falkner turned and sat down at the bar. Wow. I guess he really doesn’t like my sister.
‘Wow, I love what you’ve done with the Gym,’ May said, looking around. ‘It’s like a house now.’
‘It is our house,’ Dante said distractedly. ‘Did she sleep last night?’
‘Eventually,’ Falkner grunted. ‘Your lady’s not too good with the kid.’
Unnecessarily rude, I would have thought.
‘Well, she doesn’t have any experience yet. She’ll get there,’ Dante said. May smiled at him, but at the same time she looked confused. ‘I’m going to go and put her down for a few hours. Talk amongst yourselves.’
And he left.
We sat and talked for about an hour and a half before Tania and Flannery arrived.
‘Everyone’s here,’ May said. ‘This is really going to take the novelty off of my birthday party.’
‘Oh yeah, that’s in a couple of days, isn’t it?’ Tania said as she sat down.
‘Yeah. So everyone’s met up here and we’ve got to go all the way to Petalburg.’
‘Why not just have the party here?’ Flannery asked, weighing in despite the fact that she hadn’t been formally invited.
‘Dante would never go for it,’ Falkner said immediately from the depths of his sunken chair. ‘We all know how he feels about people.’
‘But he was going to go anyway, right?’ Tania asked. ‘So he was prepared to see people. I say just ask him, May.’
‘Ask me what?’ Dante came back into the room. ‘I don’t think it was just you, May. She didn’t go down very easily today either.’
‘Ask him,’ Tania hissed into May’s ear.
‘Fine!’ she turned to Dante, who had perched on the arm of my chair. ‘Tania wants me to ask if it would be okay to have my birthday party here instead of at Petalburg. I told her it was a stupid idea, but-’
‘No, it’s a good idea,’ Dante said, sounding far away. I could almost hear his brain cogs working – the sound of a Dante plan being formed. ‘It would give the band a chance to rehearse to a real audience.’
Both Flannery and I were visibly offended by this comment.
‘Uh… the band?’ May asked, raising one eyebrow.
‘Your dad didn’t tell you? We’re playing the opening ceremony of the Gym Heroes.’
‘If you want to do it here, it’s fine with me,’ Dante said, getting up. ‘Just make sure you tell the other guests. And invite Tracey, now that he’s alive. I have to talk to him about something anyway.’
‘Where would we get his number, though?’ Tania asked the room at large.
‘From this guy,’ Dante had opened the door and Ash had come through. ‘Now everybody calm down,’ he said pre-emptively. ‘Max, come with me. We’ve got to run some tests on our friend Ash.’
February 1, 4:00PM
We were hanging out at my place, and now that all of my sisters had moved out, I found myself very lonely and therefore spending more time with Brock.
‘I got a text from May just before. Apparently, her party’s now being held at the Point Noir Gym. Do we want to bet on why?’
‘I don’t know, Brock,’ I said sarcastically. ‘Do you think they’re back on again?’
‘Possibly,’ Brock replied, ‘but it doesn’t quite sit right. Those two can never get their act together. I’m surprised they tried again after the miscarriage.’
‘Surprising considering May didn’t want the baby to begin with,’ I agreed. ‘Those two are like a Greek tragedy, or a soap opera. They go all over the place but always end up together again – at least for a while.’
‘Hey, did you ever think Ash and May would really get together?’
‘Well, I always hoped they wouldn’t,’ I said in a restrained voice. ‘You may recall I was a fan of Ash before he went insane.’
‘Oh yeah… sorry. Let’s stop talking about May for a while.’
Consequently we sat in silence for a few minutes, both trying to think of a new topic that didn’t involve Ash, Dante or May.
‘Do you want to talk about Tracey?’ Brock asked.
‘Definitely not,’ I replied.
‘I don’t think either of us know enough about him to hold a conversation,’ I replied.
‘I know that he’s been seeing Dawn rather steadily since Tracey’s funeral.’
‘I don’t get that guy,’ I said. ‘Is he gay or straight?’
‘I think he’s straight,’ Brock said slowly. ‘One boy-crush doesn’t automatically make you gay, does it?’
‘What have you been hiding?’ I asked immediately. ‘Don’t tell me you were in love with Ash too?’
‘No, no way. I’m just saying – he always had a way with the ladies.’
‘Maybe that’s because he is the ladies.’
‘Ask him yourself, I imagine we’ll be seeing him at Point Noir.’
‘And now we’re back to May again.’
February 1, 8:30PM
Flannery and I left the Gym for the night, since we both have Gyms to run, and we have to get back to them ready for the morning. Spending all my weekends here, it’s like I don’t even own myself anymore.
We weren’t halfway to Lavaridge when Flannery suddenly said:
‘Pidgeot, land here.’
Pidgeot complied. I should never have told him to listen to anyone else’s voice. But I did, and now I stood opposite from my cross-armed girlfriend.
‘You want to tell me what happened last night?’ she demanded.
‘You won’t believe me.’
‘I don’t believe you.’
‘There’s a tension between you and May. Did you spend the night together?’
‘Obviously, I wasn’t going to make her sleep outside of the cave. It was a lightning storm, for crying out loud.’
‘Alright fine, you just go on and make your little jokes. But don’t think you’re fooling me. I’ll find out one way or another.’
And we flew in silence back to Lavaridge. I dropped her off – she didn’t even say goodnight – and headed back to Violet City, wondering how in the hell I’d managed to get myself into this mess, and what excuse I could come up with that might keep Flannery satisfied.
God I’m screwed.
I'm not making promises on when chapters will be posted anymore. But we're getting there. Stay tuned!
Very enjoyable, and yet, I'm still curious to what Dante will do with Ash. Seeing as obviously, we see his POV, and know he's not telling a lie, if Dante does follow his plan, I wonder whether or not Ash will find out one way or the other that Pikachu didn't die a natural death...and after all, whether Dante really did shoot or not.
I know. Patience.
But I do have some, so no problem
Wow, I wonder what going to happened to Ash, I really hope that psycho Ash wouldn't resurface. And more Flannery and Falkner trouble.
Oohhhhhh, now I get it!I’m surprised they tried again after the miscarriage.’
Hey guys, I've been trying to post this for a while but for some reason the forums haven't been loading on my computer.
I’ve decided it’s time to give this trilogy a title, and I want your help in choosing.
Obviously the title MUST be an INXS song, and I’ve cut down their catalogue to ten songs that for various reasons I feel are appropriate. They are listed below in my order of preference, current as of this post. I want your opinions on the candidates, and feel free to suggest any other INXS song title you think may be suitable. But if you are suggesting something new, please give a detailed reason. That’s all for now, here’s the list:
Full Moon, Dirty Hearts
We Are Thrown Together
Calling All Nations
Burn For You
And one more honorary title – Possibilities, from Michael Hutchence’s solo album.
But enough about that for now, here's the new chapter.
February 2, 8:30AM
I’ve got to go back to Petalburg, and I’ve got three days to do it.
It had seemed like a good idea to have the party here last night, but after sleeping on it I realised just how much work it would be to relocate everything. No, I couldn’t do it here.
I went to tell Dante.
He was already in the rehearsal room, warming up his voice, even though the schedule didn’t say for rehearsals to start until nine. Everyone else was still having breakfast – since most of them had only gotten up about twenty minutes ago – and Falkner hadn’t even arrived yet.
He had his back to the door so I listened for a while. He was singing “Heroes” by David Bowie. I hoped that the entire set list wouldn’t be comprised of songs like that, songs that spoke about the trials and tribulations of being a Gym Leader. Dante was only ever as pretentious as he had to be, and hopefully the situation didn’t warrant a full-blown series of expository songs.
‘Sounds good,’ I said after he had finished.
‘It’s too low,’ he mumbled distractedly, shuffling through pages of sheet music I could never hope to understand. ‘Technically I need to be a tenor to pull this show off properly.’
‘You’re not a tenor?’
‘Baritone. What can I do for you this morning?’
‘Well,’ I began, ‘as much as I appreciate the offer, I-’
‘No, I had second thoughts too,’ he cut me off. ‘It seemed logical but then I thought about all the work you’d have to do to relocate everything here. I’m sure you don’t need that.’
‘No, not really. I reckon it’s better if we just do it as planned, at Petalburg. And I can take Max out of your hair for a while.’
‘I like having Max around,’ Dante said, finally turning to face me. ‘He’s pretty good with Holly, and I’ve tricked him into running the Gym while I’m at the Heroes competition.’
‘Max? Run your Gym?’
‘Well he is the only person to win the Foundry Badge from me.’
‘He beat you?’ I didn’t even try to hide my surprise. The whole concept was ludicrously absurd.
‘Down to the wire, but he pulled it out of nowhere.’
‘Anyway, we’re getting sidetracked. I reckon I’ll head off later today and get everything set up, and you guys follow when you need to.’
‘Sounds good to me,’ Dante said, for the first time giving me his full attention and one of his looks that I couldn’t read. ‘We don’t really want to be living together again anyway, do we?’
A double-ended question. I hesitated, probably for too long.
‘Well, we had some good times,’ I stammered.
‘Oh, we were like glory’s gate, my darling,’ he turned back to his papers. ‘But there was no place in the world for what we had.’
‘That’s what you always say!’ I snapped, suddenly angry. ‘All the time, whenever something goes wrong, you blame it on the world, saying there’s nowhere for you. That’s a load of bull, Dante. If there’s no place for you in the world, you need to make one for yourself, because like it or not, you’re here.’
I was furious, but I could have kissed him at any moment, and he knew it. From his smile I could tell that I had been led into a trap. I didn’t say anything else. I just turned and stormed out of the room.
February 2, 10:00AM
Pikachu was dead. He died over two years ago.
How could that have happened?
Dante and Max told me that he had a degenerative liver disease that was slowly eating away his insides, so I had him euthanatized. But that doesn’t sound like something I would do. No, I would be more likely to go out hunting for Celebi or Mew or somebody, anybody who could help me. I wouldn’t give in so easily. They were lying to me.
So then what was the truth?
I quickly came to the realisation that nobody was going to tell me. They must have agreed to fabricate this story and stick to it.
But I wasn’t licked yet.
I may not remember much, but I do remember that Dante kept journals. Chances are he still does. They’ll be around here somewhere, and if I find them, they’re bound to explain what’s been happening in the past two years. Surely he’s not that out of date.
Dante had quarantined me in a spare room pending further examination. Clearly he still wasn’t convinced that my amnesia was real. He was probably also trying to stop me from doing exactly what I’m about to do.
I found Torkoal’s Pokeball and released him into the room.
‘Good to see a familiar face,’ I said. ‘Can you melt that door lock for me?’
Torkoal blasted at it with his flamethrower attack. I was amazed at the power – at times it looked as if the door was going to go up in flames. He certainly wasn’t this powerful before. I must have worked him hard in the past two years.
Finally the lock fell away and I returned Torkoal to his Pokeball. It was at about this time that I realised there was no way I could keep my wanderings a secret now, not with the collateral damage I had just inflicted on Dante’s Gym. Oh well.
I snuck out into the hall and rounded the corner and found myself face to face with an Aggron that had evidently been guarding my room. I didn’t even try to slip past it – I just returned to my room.
To find the information I required without causing an uproar was going to be difficult. As it was, the Aggron was sure to call the broken lock to Dante’s attention. He would almost certainly fit a newer, stronger lock to keep me in the dark. So do I wait here for that to happen, or do I take down this Aggron and risk it all?
February 2, 2:00PM
‘What are you calling me for? Are you trying to get me into even more trouble?’
‘What do you mean more trouble?’ she asked. ‘What trouble are you in now?’
‘Flannery suspects something.’
‘Yes. She says she’s going to find out the truth.’
‘What is the truth, Falkner?’
‘That we spent the night in a cave, watching over a baby. But you can’t expect a woman to believe that. They’ve all got this sixth sense just for jealousy.’
‘Do you think I’m someone else?’ she was clearly offended by this comment. I didn’t particularly care.
‘My point is that you calling me isn’t going to help matters for me.’
‘So you’ve chosen her then?’
‘Chosen? When was I even choosing? When was there ever a question? This is exactly why I hate women.’
‘You wouldn’t be getting so mad if there wasn’t something in your mind saying you might be wrong.’
‘So maybe that night I felt something for an hour or two. It doesn’t change anything. And even if there was more than that, nothing would ever happen because-’
‘Because of Dante?’ she asked wearily.
‘Yes. Because of Dante, and the code,’ I replied sharply.
‘What’s this code I keep hearing so much about?’ she demanded, her voice rising.
‘One simple rule with three classes. Number one – no relationships with family members. Number two, no relationships with old flames. Number three, no relationships with potential girlfriends. And you, my friend, would arguably be a violation of all three classes.’
‘How do you get family member?’
‘You’re the mother of his child. That’s a pretty close family connection.’
‘So that’s it? You’re going to suffer yourself to keep him happy?’
‘Bros before hoes. Besides, who says I’m suffering?’
‘Your voice,’ she replied, and hung up.
What the hell is going on? Why does this need to be happening? It doesn’t matter, she’s completely wrong anyway. I love Flannery.
Well, today I do.
February 2, 2:30PM
What the hell is going on? Why does this need to be happening?
Ever since I started dating Drew all those years ago I’ve had a reputation. A reputation that for the most part is completely unfounded, although from that little exchange you wouldn’t know it.
I don’t know what’s come over me lately. Normally a child is a grounding influence, a wake-up call that tells you to slow down. But for some reason, when I met Holly, it had the opposite effect. She made me feel…old, and it’s like I don’t want to waste any time. I’ve been acting on every little impulse that’s come over me. This has got to stop.
I can’t even tell if I’m actually interested in Falkner, or if it’s just the possibility. Maybe I just want to feel wanted, I don’t know. If I keep going the way I am, I’ll probably destroy his relationship with Flannery, and with Dante, and even Holly. I can see that now, but ten minutes ago I wouldn’t have cared. What’s going on?
If it’s an age crisis then I’m well and truly screwed, since it’s my birthday in a few days. Hooray, I’ll be even older! Maybe I should cancel the party. No, I shouldn’t do that.
It’s important to stick to your plans.
February 2, 5:00PM
The Gym is rife with treachery. I’m not entirely sure where to look.
Just a few weeks ago things were good. Training, rehearsing, remaining undefeated. Then Max arrived, took the badge, and from there everything seems to have gone to chaos. I’m not saying that there’s a correlation, but that’s certainly about the time things went weird.
I’m sitting on the rear balcony with Houndoom, who’s shown his face for the first time in a couple of days. He tends to just roam the forest behind the Gym during the days, since he’s not needed here for the actual battles. It’s not uncommon for him to stay out for days at a time. The more paranoid part of me wonders if he’s been with another trainer on the side. That’s all I need.
May’s arrival had stirred up a few things in a few people. Falkner seems to be acting the most different. I must find out what went on the night he spent rescuing Holly. I certainly hope he hasn’t broken the code.
I’d hate to have to murder my best friend.
Another shorter chapter, but if they're shorter, you'll get more of them, so it still works out in the end.
Well this is a nice surprise, a new chapter ^^
As for the song, I'd say first "Never tear us Apart"...
It's pretty much an anthom anyway, and since the characters come back into each other's lives anyway eventually, or sometimes get torn apart by (tragic) events...so it would suit this nicely.
Then again, I remember that you used it for a chapter title sometime ago, so I'll just pick one from the list...
Well, if they're shorter, I'll settle for more of them, which remains all the same imo...
Thanks again for the update !
Hey, this chapter's a bit shorter and a bit different to the norm, and you probably won't like it, but...too bad. It's important plot information.
The Boys Light Up
February 2, 11:00PM
I was undertaking some private research in my study when Ash charged in completely unannounced, and truth be told unexpectedly.
‘How did you get past Aggron?’ I demanded, spinning my chair around to face him.
‘Torkoal. You really should have taken my Pokémon away from me.’
‘But you’re not in jail, Ash.’
‘Then what’s with the guards?’
He had me there.
‘Tell me what’s been going on for the past two years,’ he said sternly. ‘What’s happened that you need to keep me locked up?’
It was at that moment that I decided to tell him. There was no point trying to keep it from him, really. Sooner or later, the truth will out. I may as well make it on my terms and eliminate the element of surprise.
‘You’d better sit down, Ash.’
He threw himself down on the two-seater I kept next to the door. ‘What’s been happening?’
‘Have you ever heard the theory of Two Characters, Ash?’
‘No. I’ve never heard of it.’
‘It’s a theory that suggests that there are only really two different types of people – two characters. Christ and Faust. Christ was tempted by the Devil and said no, and later was killed. Faust was tempted by the Devil and said yes, and later was killed. Every situation can be broken down to this level – those who fight temptation, and those who surrender to it.’
‘Okay, fine,’ Ash said impatiently. ‘Go on.’
‘When we first met, I was Christ and you were Faust. By the end of the week, we had switched places. When you came on your ill-advised rescue mission some months later, we temporarily switched places once again. The arrival of the bounty hunter, and your actions above the hole switched us a fourth time. By this point, I was Faust, and you were Christ. And then somebody had the idea to leave Sinnoh, head for Kanto to try and distract me. I bested you once again, and continued in my quest to kill my father. And this is more or less where your memory ends, is it not?’
‘Pretty much,’ Ash agreed. ‘The very last thing I remember is talking to Tania on the phone. She was on the train with you.’
‘Certainly. We reached Goldenrod and I confronted Giovanni, assisted by Richie, Falkner, and Tania. However Giovanni had outnumbered me, using Christina, Silver, Jessie, James, and that bizarre talking Meowth of his. But then all of you arrived. I well and truly had the upper hand now. Then James sent out his Weezing, and used smokescreen. Nobody could see anything. Shots were fired. You brought out Swellow to blow the smoke away and reveal the effect of the skirmish. My brother shot Pikachu. Once, in the head. If it wasn’t instantaneous, it took less than ten seconds. He was already gone when the smoke cleared.’
Ash went very white. He looked like he was about to throw up.
‘Silver murdered Pikachu?’
‘And then what happened?’
‘You became Faust. You took my gun, and you shot Giovanni dead. There was a melee. Jessie and James turned on Silver but he got away. They followed him. May dragged us away. At the funeral you revealed your plan to Brock. You planned to track down and kill every member of Team Rocket. And you very nearly succeeded.’
‘Many people. Not undeserving, but yes. You killed a number of people. I believe you also killed at least one member of Team Snagem in Orre.’
‘What was I doing in Orre?’
‘Working on an oil platform, and hunting down Team Rocket members. You’ve been tracking and killing non-stop for the past two years. And that’s the truth. You’re Faust, and I’m Christ. But this is a chance for you to change – abandon your revenge quest and be Christ again.’
‘But… Pikachu,’ Ash murmured. I could tell that all his initial lust for revenge was being re-ignited, and I had to smother it quickly.
‘Ash, you and I have been working on a plan to bring Pikachu back. Have you ever heard of a Time Flute?’
Ash shook his head.
‘It’s a flute that summons Celebi. I know you know who Celebi is.’
‘Do we have one of these flutes?’ he asked immediately.
‘No. You’ve been searching, but you haven’t yet found one.’
‘Then I should keep looking.’
‘No, because I have an even better idea. One far easier and more thorough.’
‘Let’s have it then.’
I tossed him the book I had been scanning before he had barged in.
‘Have you ever been to the Spear Pillar, Ash?’
‘Yes,’ he replied.
‘Did you see Dialga there?’
‘And you know what Dialga can do, don’t you? A special technique only Dialga has?’
‘The Roar of Time,’ Ash read from the book.
I leant in close. This was the clincher, where I would get his agreement or spin him off the rails again.
‘If we can work out the exact space-time coordinates of the moment Pikachu was killed, and concentrate very hard on them, we may be able to open a temporary rift. If you’re quick enough, you could leap through, grab Pikachu, and return to this time.’
‘But wouldn’t that screw things up really badly, time-wise? What about the Butterfly Effect?’
‘A load of science fiction mumbo-jumbo,’ I replied. ‘Back to the Future got it right. Time is a branching thing. An alternate reality splits from the central timeline every time there is a disturbance. We will be unaffected, but Pikachu will be here. It will royally **** things up for the other timelines, but who cares about them?’
‘But what about all the fading photographs?’
‘Those only happened in the past, remember? The newspaper article Doc brought back from the next day. The tombstone in the cemetery. None of those changed in the future, only in the past.’
‘What you’re suggesting is the most insane, half-baked, unlikely, and potentially dangerous thing I have ever heard,’ Ash said slowly, not looking up from the book. ‘Even if Back to the Future was right, which I doubt it is, since it’s an almost thirty year old movie, how could we possibly tell when Dialga would use Roar of Time, and how could we avoid being sucked in and destroyed?’
‘We don’t need to wake Dialga, just get close enough for my Ditto to get a good look at him. Then we find an isolated area, and conduct the experiment ourselves, with considerably less danger. I’ve thought this through, Ash.’
‘How do we go about finding the space-time coordinates of the moment Pikachu was killed?’
‘You leave that to me, and Metagross.’
‘Thank God you said Metagross, I thought you were about to say Mewtwo.’
‘No, that would be insane, even by my standards.’
We sat in silence for a few moments.
‘So are you up for it then?’ I finally asked.
‘If you can sort out the coordinates, copy Dialga and run the trials…yes.’ Ash cracked a grin – the first smile I’d seen from him in years. ‘Let’s do it.’
Well, really a tad shorter, but I'll leave a review as usual, it's always pleasant to read.
The bizarre thing in this one, besides the things written in the chapter, is that I seriously am beginning to write a fic, involving of course Dialga and Palkia...So I'll see where and what you decide to do...
Besides that, we get a clear sight of what Dante is planning, so let's see what happens next !