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Thread: Elegantly Wasted (Multishipping, R)

  1. #51
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    I found a new chapter. One of decent length, too. Could this be the start of a terrifying bout of prolific posting? I don't know. I really shouldn't have said that at all.

    If no-one else is going to vote on trilogy title I'm going to go ahead with:

    We are Thrown Together

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

    Chapter Thirteen
    All Tomorrow’s Parties


    February 4, 9:00PM
    MAY


    All the preparations were made and everything was ready. Dad had left the Gym and the house in my care for the next 48 hours. All I had to do was keep it from burning down. Again.

    It was lonely, just me by myself there. I wanted someone to talk to, someone to be with. But I didn’t know who.

    I knew it wasn’t Drew or Ash. The sun has definitely set on those two. Drew because he’s got Dawn now, and Ash because of what he’s done. You might be thinking that Dante’s done just as many bad things as Ash, but there’s a difference there. Dante committed his crimes out of love. Ash committed his out of hatred. It makes all the difference in the world.

    Nobody here but me.

    But of course that’s nonsense. I’ve got my Pokémon here.

    I grabbed a handful of Pokeballs out of the drawer but stopped short of releasing them. I didn’t really want to be around Pokémon. I wanted to be around people.

    Dante or Falkner, to be specific. Which one? I guess I’ll find out tomorrow.

    February 4, 11:00PM
    FALKNER


    ‘We’ve been over this and over this and over it a couple more times. We’ve analysed and analysed and broken it down and every time it’s come back to this- there’s nothing going on between May and me.’

    ‘You went to rescue her from Ash,’ Flannery barked.

    ‘No, I went to rescue Holly from Ash. You remember Holly, my goddaughter?’

    ‘Pretty convenient, wasn’t it? That May was there.’

    ‘Convenient for May, not for me. It caused a lot more trouble having to deal with her all night. She’s a woefully inept mother.’

    ‘Don’t try and deflect this with cute remarks, Falkner. I know what’s going on.’

    ‘If you “know” that I’m having an affair then you really don’t know anything at all.’

    ‘So what’s wrong with her then?’

    Trick question. Try not to answer.

    ‘What’s wrong with her that you don’t like her?’ Flannery persisted.

    ‘I never said I didn’t like her.’

    God damn, I’m stupid. Wrong answer, Falkner.

    ‘So you do like her?’

    ‘I don’t dislike her. She’s a neutrality.’

    ‘So she was just in the right place at the right time, then?’

    I snapped.

    ‘Alright, I’ve had enough of this. It’s pretty obvious now that no matter what I say, nothing’s going to convince you that there’s nothing going on. Nothing’s going to convince you that you’re the only one. You know what? May’s propositioned me a couple of times and I’ve knocked her back every time. You know why?’

    ‘Because of that damned code!’ Flannery shrieked. ‘Don’t pretend it’s because of me, it’s because you’re afraid to betray Dante, you selfish coward.’

    ‘That’s it!’ My voice rose to her level and blasted over the top. ‘That’s just it. I want you to leave, and don’t come back. There’s no reason to stay anymore. There’s nothing for you here.’

    ‘You took the words right out of my mouth,’ she screamed, and stormed from the room. I followed her at a slight distance, making sure she didn’t do anything stupid on her way out.

    Dante came out of a side door.

    ‘What the hell is going on here? I’m trying to get Holly to sleep and you two are raging warfare down the hall.’

    Flannery charged right past him without a word. When I caught up to him he held out his hand.

    ‘I really don’t think you should be following her,’ he said evenly. ‘You both need to cool off. Go to the bar and get a drink.’

    ‘You’re right,’ I mumbled. ‘I need to relax a bit.’

    I turned and walked towards the lounge room, but in the silver door handle, I saw Dante slip out the front door after Flannery.

    February 4, 11:30PM
    DANTE


    ‘Hey.’

    I couldn’t think of anything better to say off the bat.

    Flannery was sitting on the Gym sign, just waiting. It was obvious she had been crying.

    ‘Hi,’ she whimpered as I sat down next to her.

    ‘What are you doing?’ I asked.

    ‘I don’t know,’ Flannery muttered. ‘Trying to work out how I’m going to get home.’

    ‘You don’t have Charizard with you?’

    ‘I don’t have any Pokémon with me at the moment. Probably a dumb thing to do, especially for a Gym Leader. But it’s not the only dumb thing I’ve done tonight.’

    ‘Falkner.’

    ‘If he would just admit it, I would forgive him. But he keeps lying to me.’

    ‘About what?’

    Flannery suddenly got that look of somebody who had said more than they meant to. Obviously she was trying to keep something from me. But that look was soon replaced by the malicious look that comes with revenge.

    ‘Falkner and May are having an affair.’

    ‘No they aren’t,’ I said in a surprisingly deep voice. ‘Falkner wouldn’t break the code.’

    ‘This code again!’ Flannery stood up angrily. ‘Is that all you men care about? You’re so loyal to each other, but never to us!’

    ‘I don’t think you’re giving us enough credit, Flannery,’ I replied. ‘And I don’t think Falkner would cheat on you.’

    ‘Because of the code,’ she pressed.

    ‘No, because he loves you.’

    ‘Then why doesn’t he want to have a baby?’

    Now we’re at the root of the problem – a root I should have nothing to do with. Should I tell her the truth? No, that would be a breach of the code.

    ‘He’s got a very good reason, but you have to hear it from him. It’s not my place to tell you.’

    ‘Yeah, give him time to make one up.’

    She sat down again, looking defeated.

    ‘I see him with Holly, and he loves her. And I just can’t understand why he doesn’t want to be a father himself.’

    ‘Again, he’s got a good reason. You need to have this conversation with him.’

    ‘No. I’m done with him. He keeps lying to me. It’s time for me to move on.’

    She looked at me strangely.

    ‘Don’t even think about it,’ I said. ‘You know how I feel, you know what I’m going to do.’

    She knew both of those things, but she didn’t care. She kissed me anyway. I pulled away as soon as I could, but not soon enough to miss seeing somebody turn around and walk back into the Gym.

    And everything seemed to be going so well.


    February 5, 8:00PM
    ASH


    I walked into breakfast the next morning bursting to tell somebody what I’d seen the night before. There was only one other person in the room, in the pantry, looking for something breakfast related. They would have to do.

    ‘You’ll never guess who saw Dante and Flannery kissing last night,’ I burst out. ‘Wait a minute, I didn’t do that right, did I?’

    ‘No, you didn’t,’ replied the chef. ‘First of all, you told me what you saw straight away. I don't care who saw it, just what was seen. Secondly, I’m Dante.’

    Crap.

    He turned around, having found what he had been searching for. A bottle of chloroform.

    ‘I think we need to have another chat.’


    February 5, 7:08PM
    MAY


    Misty and Brock arrived first, together, so the night got off to an expectedly awkward start.

    Misty and I had barely spoken since Tracey’s funeral…which turned out to be a farce, by the way, in case nobody told you Tracey is still alive. But anyway, that’s not really relevant right now.

    Our friendship was always a little patchy, but on several occasions Misty went to great lengths for me, and I in turn repaid her with hostility or ingratitude. Like when she led an ill-advised rescue mission after I eloped with Dante. She had meant well, but it had only made things worse for everyone. I didn’t consciously blame her for everything that happened, but I guess there was something lurking beneath the surface. Losing a baby will do that to you, even a baby you didn’t want to begin with.

    I hoped that Dante would bring Holly. I had asked him not to on the invitation, but that was before I met her. Now I can hardly think of anything worse than not having her around. It’s weird, isn’t it?

    Drew and Dawn were the next to arrive. I knew he would want to talk to me about Christina’s book. I had to avoid that all night. Mentally I began making a list of excuses.

    Then for a long time nobody came.

    I knew that Dante, Holly, Max, Falkner, Richie, Ash and Tania would all be arriving together, but I was still slightly surprised at the low numbers. I thought I had invited more people than this. I guess I’m running low on friends.

    The doorbell buzzed and I let in a crowd of girls from the competition circuit and the atmosphere shifted noticeably. Now it was more of a party than a cluster of people milling around in a Gym.

    But where were the others? It wasn’t that I was worried about them; it was more the fact that they were the ones I actually wanted to see. The others were just here for the sake of getting us all together again.

    Come on guys, don’t be much later.

    February 5, 8:40PM
    MAX


    We were an hour and a half late. Not very impressive.

    It’s all Ash’s fault, apparently. He got really stubborn and refused to come. Dante spent at least an hour trying to convince him, but Ash wouldn’t even come out of his room. He didn’t even say goodbye. I think he’s having a tantrum, personally. Dante says he’s just being a sook.

    I thought it was funny how when we arrived from Point Noir we effectively doubled the number of party guests. Looks like May’s lost a few friends over the years. But it doesn’t really matter. Everyone who counted was here. Everyone except Ash.

    February 5, 10:20PM
    MAY


    ‘Which one do you want to do?’ Richie asked, getting his guitar out of its case.

    I’d asked him and Dante to perform for us a bit – drinking was losing its novelty and someone had put their foot through one of the speakers, which now spat out clouds of sparks any time we tried to use it. We agreed on live music.

    ‘Can we do “Breathless”?’ Dante asked quietly.

    ‘What about “Nature Boy”?’ Richie whispered back.

    ‘Nah, that’s a full band number. We’re unplugged here.’

    ‘Good point,’ Richie said, and sat down next to Dante on the bench. The rest of us gathered around as Richie settled into a simple, undulating guitar riff and Dante started to sing:

    ‘It’s up in the morning, it’s on the downs
    Those little white clouds like gambolling lambs
    And I am breathless over you

    And the red-breasted robin beats his wings
    His throat, it trembles when he sings
    For he is a-helpless before you

    The happy-hooded bluebells bow
    And bend their heads all a-down
    Heavied by the early morning dew

    At the whispering stream, at the bubbling brook
    The fishes leapt up to take a look
    For they are breathless over you

    Still your hands, and still your heart
    For still your face comes shining through
    And all the morning glows anew
    Still your mind, and still your soul
    For still the fire of love is true
    And I am breathless without you

    The wind circles among the trees
    And it bangs about the new-made leaves
    For it is breathless without you

    The fox chases the rabbit around
    And the rabbit hides beneath the ground
    For he is defenceless without you

    The sky of daytime dies away
    And all the earthly things, they stop to play
    For we are all breathless without you

    I listen to my juddering bones
    And the blood in my veins, the wind in my lungs
    And I am breathless without you

    Still your hands, and still your heart
    For still your face comes shining through
    And all the morning glows anew
    Still your mind, and still your soul
    For still the fire of love is true
    And I am breathless without you.’


    Everyone applauded – everyone but me. I got the sudden, unshakeable feeling that he was up to something – and what’s more he was losing his game. He should know by now that he can’t seduce me without INXS. Or was this his subtle way of telling me that things were truly over between us?

    I made a mental note never to get involved with anyone as complex and ambiguous ever again, and went about my business at my birthday party.

    February 5, 11:45PM
    ASH


    I was hanging. That was the first thing I noticed when I regained consciousness. My body was vertical, but my feet were not touching the ground. That only left one option – I was suspended by something from something. I couldn’t see my hands either, so I tried to move them. They felt slightly rusted metal. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I got an idea of where I was.

    I was hanging from a water pipe in the basement of the Point Noir Gym. Dante had cuffed my hands together and hung me over the water main.

    He has a lot to learn about keeping hostages.

    Depending on the strength of the handcuffs I was hanging by, getting out might be incredibly easy. If the structural resonance frequency of the handcuffs was less than the force of water rushing through that pipe, the locking mechanism inside the cuffs would collapse, allowing me to escape.

    Was there anyone left in the Gym to use the water? Yes, Dante’s two protégés. They’ll still be here. Eventually one of them will shower, and that is sure to produce the force I need to get out of here.

    Oh, Dante. You’ve really done it this time. This story doesn’t need two Fausts. I think it’ll do fine with just me.

  2. #52
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    I'm glad I have something new to feed on ^^'

    Quote Originally Posted by Zubeon View Post
    I found a new chapter. One of decent length, too. Could this be the start of a terrifying bout of prolific posting? I don't know.
    sure hope so...

    Quote Originally Posted by Zubeon View Post
    ‘If you “know” that I’m having an affair then you really don’t know anything at all.’

    ‘So what’s wrong with her then?’

    Trick question. Try not to answer.

    ‘What’s wrong with her that you don’t like her?’ Flannery persisted.

    ‘I never said I didn’t like her.’

    God damn, I’m stupid. Wrong answer, Falkner.
    It's a game you can't win.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zubeon View Post
    ‘You’ll never guess who saw Dante and Flannery kissing last night,’ I burst out. ‘Wait a minute, I didn’t do that right, did I?’

    ‘No, you didn’t,’ replied the chef. ‘First of all, you told me what you saw straight away. I don't care who saw it, just what was seen. Secondly, I’m Dante.’

    Crap.
    Oh sweet irony...

    Quote Originally Posted by Zubeon View Post
    Everyone applauded – everyone but me. I got the sudden, unshakeable feeling that he was up to something – and what’s more he was losing his game. He should know by now that he can’t seduce me without INXS. Or was this his subtle way of telling me that things were truly over between us?

    I made a mental note never to get involved with anyone as complex and ambiguous ever again, and went about my business at my birthday party.
    Go find Ash then, he's pretty flat actually...

    Quote Originally Posted by Zubeon View Post
    February 5, 11:45PM
    ASH


    I was hanging. That was the first thing I noticed when I regained consciousness. My body was vertical, but my feet were not touching the ground. That only left one option – I was suspended by something from something. I couldn’t see my hands either, so I tried to move them. They felt slightly rusted metal. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I got an idea of where I was.

    I was hanging from a water pipe in the basement of the Point Noir Gym. Dante had cuffed my hands together and hung me over the water main.

    He has a lot to learn about keeping hostages.

    Depending on the strength of the handcuffs I was hanging by, getting out might be incredibly easy. If the structural resonance frequency of the handcuffs was less than the force of water rushing through that pipe, the locking mechanism inside the cuffs would collapse, allowing me to escape.

    Was there anyone left in the Gym to use the water? Yes, Dante’s two protégés. They’ll still be here. Eventually one of them will shower, and that is sure to produce the force I need to get out of here.

    Oh, Dante. You’ve really done it this time. This story doesn’t need two Fausts. I think it’ll do fine with just me.
    This part made me wonder...
    Didn't he forget everything when he recieved that knock ?
    Since well, I assume he learned how to escape from wearing handcuffs attached to a water pipe when he was on his vindicative rampage...didn't he ?
    Or did he know this stuff even before ?

    Makes me wonder...

    Definately worth the wait, you got me back into this, cause I admit, I was beginning to forget what happened the last few times ^^'
    Because of serebiiforums, my Life has been put on hold...

    ...wait, that sounds wrong...
    ...yeah, it's the other way around.

    My Works : A, B, C, D, E

  3. #53
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    For some strange, strange reason, I was grinning like a maniac the whole time I read this chapter. I guess it's because they're all so much fun to watch.

  4. #54
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    Wow, Ash loses his memory -- turns good -- is told how Pikachu died -- makes Dante mad -- becomes bad again

    I swear, there will never be a time when I get bored of this fanfic, each and every chapter brings something great.

    And yeah, if no one's said this before, Dante is like the BEST oc there ever existed. Seriously, he fits in to your fanfic so well. X3
    ~*Uza-chan's Good bye*~

    IS SUPAH FIIIINE

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uzamaki Hinata View Post
    I swear, there will never be a time when I get bored of this fanfic, each and every chapter brings something great.
    I wish I felt that way about it...

    Quote Originally Posted by Uzamaki Hinata View Post
    And yeah, if no one's said this before, Dante is like the BEST oc there ever existed.
    Actually, people tend to say the exact opposite of that. Though he is apparently up for a Shipping Oscar, which is interesting, given the overwhelmingly negative response to him in "Perfect Strangers". Oh well, we can only learn as much and live.

    Z

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

    Chapter Fourteen
    More News From Nowhere

    February 6, 12:15AM
    MAY


    Dante and Richie played a couple more songs and then Dante got up to get a drink. After selecting a beer (imported) he made a beeline for me. I tried to get out of his way but it didn’t work. He still caught up with me.

    ‘I put Holly down to sleep in the Accuracy Room. I hope that’s okay,’ he said.

    ‘Yeah, fine. Are there enough doors between here and there so that we don’t disturb her?’

    ‘She’ll be fine,’ he replied. ‘She slept through Falkner and Flannery’s major blow-out last night.’

    ‘What happened?’ this was the first I was hearing of any fight.

    ‘They broke up. She didn’t trust him, he got sick of it. It’s all pretty simple.’

    ‘That’s too bad,’ I tried to sound neutral.

    ‘Well, it’s life. There’s nothing we can do except listen to them.’

    ‘Mmm.’

    Neither of us said anything for a minute, until finally Dante spoke again.

    ‘You wanna get out of here?’ he asked abruptly.

    ‘What, right now?’

    ‘If you like,’ he replied, fumbling in his jacket pocket, ‘but the flight isn’t until the eighth.’

    He passed me three plane tickets. Return trip, Point Noir to Perth and back again.

    ‘I’ve been offered a new Gym, in Fremantle. It’s in Australia.’

    ‘I know where Fremantle is,’ I said through gritted teeth. I actually didn’t, but that wasn’t the point.

    ‘The commissioner of the league is flying me out there to inspect the Gym and see if I want to take it. I asked for an extra two tickets. One for Holly, and one for you.’

    I blinked at him.

    ‘Come with me,’ he said in a low voice. ‘The three of us, together, away from all these distractions and detractors. It’ll be just the way we wanted it.’

    ‘The way you wanted it,’ I corrected him.

    ‘You wanted it too,’ he pressed, his eyes narrowing. ‘Think about it – we can just disappear. Start a new life, just like we tried to in Sinnoh. But this time we’ll be far enough away that we won’t be disturbed. You and me, and baby makes three. What do you say?’

    It was a winning move on his part. He had all the power here, and nothing to lose. He was just gambling to increase his profit. He owed nothing.

    ‘Well… I suppose I could come and look at the Gym with you. No commitment.’

    ‘Of course not,’ he said, his eyes returning to normal. ‘No commitment.’

    ‘Alright, I’ll come with you. But I’m not happy about this.’

    ‘Why not?’ he said, startled.

    ‘I specifically said “no presents” on the invitation.’

    February 6, 6:45AM
    ASH


    It seems people in Point Noir don’t use the water much. That, or Dante anticipated this move and shut the water off at the main. Unnecessarily cruel to his house-sitters, but I wouldn’t put it past him.

    Light is starting to filter in through the cracks in the floor above me. I can make out my surrounding a bit better.

    There are some words written on the wall, in large letters. In paint. Wow, he’s gone to a lot of effort here. But it’s still too dark to read them.

    The memories have been creeping back all night, starting with the whack on the head Falkner gave me. It seemed reasonable, given the danger I was putting the baby in. Why had I kidnapped Dante’s baby? That memory hadn’t come back yet.

    It may sound like a cliché, but it really was like putting a jigsaw puzzle together. I’d get a few in a row, and then something completely unrelated from a year ago. It was quite annoying, really. I’d rather have them return in a steady stream. But I suppose I should be thankful they’re returning at all. Or should I? I can hardly say they’re nice memories.

    It’s a bit lighter now, but I still can’t read the words clearly. I can pick out a few letters here and there, but no words yet. It’s a pretty long message to have painted on the wall, whatever it is.

    You know what the strange thing is? After the initial shock of being imprisoned in what is for all intents and purposes, a dungeon, I’m finding that I don’t want revenge on Dante. Yet. I’m prepared to bide my time, and let him help me sort out this Pikachu business.

    And then I’ll kill him. And then I’ll be done. No more killing.

    I can read the message now. What did Dante want me to know?

    ‘and the mercy seat is waiting
    and I think my head is burning
    and in a way I’m yearning to be done
    with all this measuring of proof
    an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth
    and anyway I told the truth
    and I’m not afraid to die’

    And that’s when I realised.

    He wasn’t coming back.

    February 6, 10:00AM
    MAY


    I was woken up by the unmistakable sound of Houndoom rubbing his horns against the foot of the bed. He did this whenever we overslept. If he was trying to wake me up now, it meant he was here, and if he was here then Dante was here, and I didn’t remember inviting him to say.

    That’s not to say it didn’t happen, but I certainly don’t remember it.

    I sat up and looked around. My room didn’t seem any different, apart from the presence of Houndoom.

    Put the pieces together, May.

    He asked me to inspect a new Gym with him. I agreed. That was at about midnight, I think. The party went until three – so somewhere between three and now I left the Gym, and came home, apparently with Houndoom, if not Dante.

    There are too many gaps in that memory for my liking. The only thing for it was to get up and see if he was in the house.

    He wasn’t.

    Houndoom followed me at a distance as I went from room to room looking for some indication of what had happened. The house was as pristine as ever. The only mess was my unmade bed. So I was pretty sure I hadn’t brought anyone home with me.

    ‘Max?’

    No answer. His room looked untouched. That’s weird. I was sure he was coming back here to stay until the Gym Heroes contest.

    I went outside. Still no sign of anybody. There was just one place left to check.

    He was in the greenhouse, just looking around, his hands deep in his jacket pockets.

    ‘Good morning,’ he said as I walked up to him. He didn’t even turn around.

    ‘Morning,’ I replied. ‘Where’s Holly?’

    ‘With Falkner. He collected her about half an hour ago. They’re going to the zoo.’

    ‘Sounds like fun.’

    ‘I slept out here last night,’ he said abruptly.

    ‘So we didn’t…?’

    ‘No.’ He turned around. ‘No.’

    ‘Oh good,’ I said, relieved.

    He raised one eyebrow.

    ‘I mean-’

    ‘I know. Everything is as it should be.’

    ‘I’m getting mixed messages from you, Dante,’ I blurted out suddenly. ‘You invite me on an overseas trip, to make a new life in another country neither of us have ever even visited, and then you sleep out on the lawn and claim that everything is fine. What’s going on?’

    ‘Nothing’s going on,’ he replied amiably.

    ‘What is in your head?’ I yelled. ‘What is in your heart? I have no idea where I stand with you!’

    ‘Neither do I,’ he didn’t raise his voice. I felt suddenly stupid and lowered mine.

    ‘Do you love me?’ I asked quietly.

    ‘Always, and never.’

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

    A prize to whoever can tell me what source Dante's message comes from.

    Z

  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zubeon View Post
    Actually, people tend to say the exact opposite of that. Though he is apparently up for a Shipping Oscar, which is interesting, given the overwhelmingly negative response to him in "Perfect Strangers". Oh well, we can only learn as much and live.
    Perhaps he has been getting negative reactions, but as a character, he has more depth in him than most of others...
    Plus...every story needs it's Faust...and imo, Ash can't be it ^^

    Quote Originally Posted by Zubeon View Post
    I can read the message now. What did Dante want me to know?

    ‘and the mercy seat is waiting
    and I think my head is burning
    and in a way I’m yearning to be done
    with all this measuring of proof
    an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth
    and anyway I told the truth
    and I’m not afraid to die’

    And that’s when I realised.

    He wasn’t coming back.
    Ah...

    Quote Originally Posted by Zubeon View Post
    A prize to whoever can tell me what source Dante's message comes from.
    A song by Nick Cave, with the eponymous title in the first line of the text...
    Of course, the song takes its source in the Bible, from the Old Testament

    (The later, I googled...)
    Because of serebiiforums, my Life has been put on hold...

    ...wait, that sounds wrong...
    ...yeah, it's the other way around.

    My Works : A, B, C, D, E

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zubeon
    I wish I felt that way about it...
    Really? I think you have a great fic on your hands and you should like it too, I mean, wow, this is the only fanfic that I've ever came back to after leaving it for so long.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zubeon
    And that’s when I realised.

    He wasn’t coming back.
    Wow... just.... wow. I mean, that has totally got to suck. And it seemed like Ash was really getting his plan together, not to mention his memory. Wow, bummer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zubeon
    ‘Do you love me?’ I asked quietly.

    ‘Always, and never.’
    Hmm, seems like we're hitting in to a roadblock here, does this mean that Dante and May will never be truly happy together....?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zubeon
    A prize to whoever can tell me what source Dante's message comes from.
    hah, I was going to ask you. ^__^

    Well, another awesome chapter, Zubeon, can't wait for more.
    ~*Uza-chan's Good bye*~

    IS SUPAH FIIIINE

  8. #58
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    I didn’t remember inviting him to say.
    stay

    ....I can't really think of anything else to say....

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    Chapter Fifteen
    Land of Hope and Glory

    February 7, 2:00PM
    ASH


    Based on the movement of light and shadows over the tiny cracks in the floorboards that make the ceiling, I think I’ve been trapped down here for two days.

    I’m hungry, and I’m thirsty, and I’m angry. Angry at Dante for doing this to me, and angry at myself for letting him.

    It’s become abundantly clear during the time I’ve spent down here that Dante and I cannot co-exist. We’ve tried being friends, it didn’t work. We’ve tried being enemies, it didn’t work. We’ve tried living on different continents, and it still didn’t work. So one of us has to die, and I’m determined it will be him.

    All I have to do is get off this water pipe.

    My phone starts ringing. It’s been doing this on and off for two days. The first time I assumed it was May trying to find out why I wasn’t at her birthday party, but the persistence with which the caller calls suggests that it’s something much more important. I want to answer it.

    I start swinging side to side on the pipe, trying to wrench it loose. It’s bolted at both ends to the roof, but it’s not thick enough to really support my weight. I’ve tried this a couple of times and had some encouraging creaks, but nothing more. But I’ve finally had enough – this time I’m not stopping until it breaks, I don’t care how hungry and exhausted I am, this pipe is coming down.

    And it does.

    I fall, pipe and all to the ground and stagger across to my phone. I have to do this carefully because my hands are still cuffed and I haven’t bothered to ditch the pipe yet. I get a hand on the phone and raise it to my ear.

    ‘Hello?’

    ‘Prepare for trouble! And make it double!’

    Oh God. And I thought it was going to be important.

    ‘What do you want?’ I snarled into the phone.

    ‘We want you to stop interrupting the motto. It’s very important.’

    ‘Just get to the point, I don’t have time for the motto today.’

    ‘Fine,’ Jessie’s voice took over after a muffled squawk from James. ‘We’ve found silver.’

    I froze.

    ‘Repeat that.’

    ‘We found Silver. He’s hiding out at the Viridian City Gym.’

    ‘I’ve already checked there.’

    ‘When?’

    ‘About two years ago.’

    ‘Do you think it’s possible that he’s moved in the past twenty-four months?’

    I bit back the retort that sprung to mind.

    ‘Does he know that you know where he is?’

    ‘No, but I think-’

    But what Jessie thought I didn’t find out, because at that moment I heard a rumbling, and a torrent of water gushed from the length of pipe on the ceiling, knocking the phone out of my hand and soaking me from head to toe.

    Great timing.

    February 7, 5:00PM
    DREW


    I sat with May outside a café in Petalburg, drinking the foamiest monstrosity of a coffee that I have ever encountered. She was relating to me Dante’s proposal, and a great deal of stream-of-consciousness thought about it. It would be a lie to say I was bored, but just as much of a lie to say I found this interesting.

    ‘So now I’ve agreed to go and visit the other Gym with him, but I’m not entirely sure that I want to go.’

    ‘Why do you think that is?’

    ‘I don’t know.’

    ‘You know as well as I do,’ I said impatiently. ‘If you go to Fremantle with Dante, you won’t come back. And the reason that you’re having second thoughts about leaving is because you know that deep down, you can’t say no to him, and nor can he say no to you.’

    ‘That’s not true,’ May protested. ‘I’ve said no to him before, and he’s said no to me dozens of times.’

    ‘On trivial, insignificant things, never on anything important. Think about it, May. You requested his services as an escort at the Gym Heroes competition because you were afraid of Ash, and he agreed. You confess to him that you’re using him, and he still agrees to help you. Then he falls for you for real, takes you hostage, burns down part of your house, shoots your father, and ends up in jail. You go to visit him, end up bailing him out and then you move to Point Noir with him. You get engaged, you’re only sixteen years old. You live in peace and harmony before Ash and co show up to rescue you. You refuse to leave him. There’s an earthquake. He is injured, but manages to cripple a bounty hunter before taking off to murder his father. You go after him again. Giovanni gets killed, so do Tracey and Pikachu. At the funeral, you agree to stay with him. You get pregnant with a baby you don’t want. You miscarry. One would think you would be relieved but you get pregnant again. You have the baby and leave him. Then you go back to him and the baby, agree to move overseas with him, and start a new life. Where in that story did anybody say no?’

    ‘I can’t begin to point out all the things that are wrong with that story,’ May said, slamming down the rest of her black coffee. ‘It’s a gross oversimplification of-’

    ‘No it’s not,’ I cut in. ‘That’s exactly what’s happened, from what you’ve told me anyway. The point is that Dante is a violent, deformed, disturbed sociopath, and yet you still can’t keep yourself from his side. Why?’

    She thought for a moment.

    ‘His voice.’

    ‘His voice?’ I was completely taken aback. ‘His voice is the redeeming feature that continually puts you into this sado-masochistic existence?’

    ‘You don’t understand, Drew. You’ve never been in love.’

    ‘I am so sick of that argument. It doesn’t hold any worth at all.’

    ‘And that’s how you feel about love too, isn’t it?’ She pressed, deftly snatching the upper hand. ‘It doesn’t hold any value to you. Well for some of us, it’s the most precious thing in the world.’

    ‘It’s not real!’ I bellowed, getting to my feet and incidentally knocking the table over. ‘Love isn’t real! It’s just an excuse used by the weak to justify the stupid decision they make! I had never thought of you as weak, May, but I am rapidly reconsidering that assessment!’

    ‘Nobody lives without love,’ she whispered.

    ‘You can trot out as many hoary old clichés as you like, it doesn’t change anything. Love is not a real thing.’

    ‘If you believe love is real, than it’s more real than anything else. If you don’t believe in it, what the hell do you expect?’ She was standing and yelling now too. ‘Are you that badly damaged that you can’t understand that? Or is this all because of Tracey?’

    ‘This has nothing to do with him,’ I replied furiously. I snatched my coat from the back of my chair. ‘Have a good time in Fremantle. I’ll see you in a few years.’

    I stormed away.

    February 7, 9:00PM
    ASH


    I have to get out without being seen. Dante can’t know that I’ve escaped. I need to have the drop on him for this to work at all.

    The biggest threat to my continued existence is the possibility of the basement flooding. Obviously I couldn’t weld the pipe back together, so instead, I used it to bash a hole through the floor and dig a pit in the soil beneath the foundations. Hopefully the water would soak in there and not cause any problems. It’s the best I can do.

    As I run low to the ground away from the Point Noir Gym in the dark, I hastily make my plans in my head. First, go to Viridian City and kill Silver.

    I’ll catch up with Dante at Gym Heroes.

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    Heh, it's like you've been waiting for me to come back to post lol

    Quote Originally Posted by Zubeon View Post
    As I run low to the ground away from the Point Noir Gym in the dark, I hastily make my plans in my head. First, go to Viridian City and kill Silver.

    I’ll catch up with Dante at Gym Heroes.
    So I take it he's completely back on track with his past goals ?
    Anyway, not much to say, except that it's still captivating !
    Because of serebiiforums, my Life has been put on hold...

    ...wait, that sounds wrong...
    ...yeah, it's the other way around.

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    'You can’t say no to him, and nor can he say no to you.’

    ‘That’s not true,’ May protested. ‘I’ve said no to him before, and he’s said no to me dozens of times.’

    ‘On trivial, insignificant things, never on anything important. Think about it, May. You requested his services as an escort at the Gym Heroes competition because you were afraid of Ash, and he agreed. You confess to him that you’re using him, and he still agrees to help you. Then he falls for you for real, takes you hostage, burns down part of your house, shoots your father, and ends up in jail. You go to visit him, end up bailing him out and then you move to Point Noir with him. You get engaged, you’re only sixteen years old. You live in peace and harmony before Ash and co show up to rescue you. You refuse to leave him. There’s an earthquake. He is injured, but manages to cripple a bounty hunter before taking off to murder his father. You go after him again. Giovanni gets killed, so do Tracey and Pikachu. At the funeral, you agree to stay with him. You get pregnant with a baby you don’t want. You miscarry. One would think you would be relieved but you get pregnant again. You have the baby and leave him. Then you go back to him and the baby, agree to move overseas with him, and start a new life. Where in that story did anybody say no?’
    That is so, so true!

    ‘His voice is the redeeming feature that continually puts you into this sado-masochistic existence?’
    Ah, but of course. What else explains it?

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    I'm sad the chapters already over. I feel like saying I want more. XD

    Quote Originally Posted by Zubeon
    ‘It’s not real!’ I bellowed, getting to my feet and incidentally knocking the table over. ‘Love isn’t real! It’s just an excuse used by the weak to justify the stupid decision they make! I had never thought of you as weak, May, but I am rapidly reconsidering that assessment!
    I love this quote because I don't think I've ever come across a fanfic where Drew has been shown like this. Someone who doesn't understand love.

    In this chapter especially, I am just amazed at your writing. My eyes are always glued to the screen every time I read a chapter and I never go "I'll come back to it later."

    Other then that, I'm still very interested in this fanfic and cannot wait until your next installment.
    ~*Uza-chan's Good bye*~

    IS SUPAH FIIIINE

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    Chapter Sixteen
    Paradise Down Under

    February 8, 10:00AM
    MAY


    It was with mixed feelings that I walked into the Point Noir airport, wearing a long white coat and a backpack I had stolen from my brother. Inside were some clothes and Pokémon, but not much else. I was travelling light, because I was going to come back. Drew doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I can’t wait to see the look on his face when I meet him for coffee next week. He’ll have to order up a slice of humble pie.

    Dante was waiting in the foyer with Holly. He was dressed in a black overcoat and had perched a wide-brimmed fedora on his head. If he was trying to make this feel like a film noir, he was succeeding. I half expected the plane to be started by men spinning the propellers by hand.

    ‘Good to see you made it,’ he said as I walked up to them.

    ‘I said I would,’ I replied. ‘No commitment.’

    Dante smiled slightly, but didn’t say anything.

    After we had battled our way through security we took seats in the waiting lounge while the clock ticked away. The plane wasn’t ready for boarding yet, it would be about half an hour still.

    ‘Are we going to be staying in the Gym?’ I asked.

    ‘No, not this time,’ he replied. ‘The Gym hasn’t finished being built yet.’

    I was confused. ‘What exactly are we inspecting then?’

    ‘The Gym,’ he said simply. ‘It’s not insulated or furnished, or even fully designed yet. It has to be customised for the leader. So I’m going to see the basic structure and make my demands.’

    ‘It sounds like you’ve already decided to take this offer,’ I replied.

    ‘Well, it’s pretty cold in Point Noir.’

    He wasn’t wrong about that.

    ‘So who’s running the Point Noir Gym while we’re away?’

    ‘Max is.’

    ‘My brother Max?’

    ‘No, Max Rebo, the Ortolan keyboard player.’

    I didn’t get this reference, and he seemed disappointed.

    ‘Don’t you have apprentices that are supposed to fill in for you? Those guys I met at the Gym.’

    ‘Arthur and Tony? They’re far too incompetent to run the Gym by themselves. I keep them around because they’re good musicians, and they appreciate the Steel type. But Max actually defeated me in battle. He won the Foundry Badge. He’s taking over the Gym for the Heroes weekend. I thought I’d give him the practice.’

    ‘How sweet.’

    Again, Dante didn’t answer, but the corners of his mouth twitched slightly.

    The announcement was made to start boarding. We were sitting over the wing, in the emergency exit aisle. Dante needed to because his legs were too long for regular seats. He took the window seat, put Holly in the middle, and I took the aisle.

    Twenty minutes later we were in the air, heading for Australia. It was the first trip I had ever made on an aeroplane – I usually flew on Pokémon when necessary. Apparently Perth was quite a lot further from Point Noir than Petalburg. I was all set to enjoy the experience.

    Too bad I was sitting next to a baby.

    February 8, 3:00PM
    MISTY


    It was just under a month until the Gym Heroes competition opening ceremony and I wasn’t nearly as ready as I would have liked to be. When I woke up this morning I promised myself that by the end of the day I would have chosen my squad of six because, as you know, you can’t substitute after the opening ceremony.

    I had locked in Starmie and Mantine straight away, and Gyarados was a near certainty. But the others were still being inconsistent at best. Golduck was a strong front runner, as were Vaporeon, Lanturn, and Seadra. The other schmos had failed to impress and were pretty well out of contention. I have about three hours before the day ends and night begins, so I’d really like to wrap this up now, but unfortunately, somebody’s at the door.

    As soon as I open the door Drew is in the Gym and already in the middle of a sentence.

    ‘She’s gone to the airport to meet him and I know this is only going to lead to worse trouble.’

    ‘You’re probably right,’ I said. I had no idea what he was talking about but it sounded about right. Airports are always trouble. ‘Just to be safe though, do you want to tell me what you’re talking about?’

    ‘May,’ he said. I groaned.

    ‘I know you don’t like her and you’re probably sick of hearing things like this, but she’s making a very serious mistake and needs help.’

    ‘It’s two years ago,’ I said. ‘My time machine works.’

    ‘This isn’t funny.’

    ‘It’s a little funny,’ I argued. ‘Do you remember what happened the last time we tried to “rescue” May?’

    ‘No.’

    ‘No, you don’t, because you weren’t there. But let me tell you, it was chaos. It was bedlam. It caused a lot of damage and a lot of people were badly hurt. Whatever mistake she’s making, just let her make it. If there are consequences they will be hers alone.’

    Drew opened his mouth to say something but I cut him off.

    ‘Sit down, Drew. Let’s rap.’

    He threw himself down on a nearby chair and folded his arms. I took my time settling down opposite him.

    ‘Have you noticed,’ I began slowly, ‘how much our lives have come to resemble The Bold and the Beautiful since Dante walked into them?’

    ‘I don’t watch The Bold and the Beautiful,’ he said immediately.

    ‘Don’t lie to me Drew.’

    ‘Fine.’

    ‘Have you noticed how similar we are to the characters?’

    ‘This ought to be good,’ Drew said, the faintest trace of his trademark smirk appearing on his face.

    ‘Well, we have Ash starring as Ridge Forrester, Dante as Nick Marone, May as Brooke Logan, and myself as Taylor Hayes.’

    ‘Who am I then?’

    ‘I think you must be Rick Forrester, because you’re so concerned with May’s wellbeing without wanting to be with her. It could only be because she’s your mother.’

    ‘And Dawn?’

    ‘Ashley Abbott.’

    ‘Max?’

    ‘Storm Logan.’

    ‘Brock?’

    ‘He doesn’t really fit. Maybe Stephen Logan.’

    ‘This is all very fascinating, Misty, but what does it mean?’

    ‘You even have to ask? You’ve seen enough episodes of Bold to know the formula. Everyone always wants Brooke, and Brooke always wants whoever she isn’t with. Weddings and illegitimate children abound.’

    ‘This is ridiculous,’ he muttered.

    ‘Ridiculously perceptive. Just think about it. We’re always creating problems out of nothing that just make matters worse for everyone. If we just stepped back and let things happen every once and a while, perhaps we’d live in harmony.’

    ‘Do you realise how many times you said “just” in that sentence?’

    ‘Does it matter? You’re evading again, because you know I’m right. Now do you want to tell me about this airport thing?’

    ‘At May’s birthday Dante invited her to go and inspect a Gym with her in Austria or somewhere.’

    ‘Austria? Where’s that?’

    ‘I don’t know, but it’s too far to fly on a Pokémon, so they’re taking an aeroplane there, with the baby.’

    ‘And what’s the problem there?’

    He paused. I had him stumped.

    ‘Those two are a bad mix. They can’t say no to each other. They will destroy one another if they stay together.’

    ‘Then let them self-destruct. There’s no need to throw ourselves on a live grenade.’

    ‘What about the baby?’

    ‘I hear Falkner is a good godfather. He’ll take care of her if anything goes seriously wrong. Things at their worst will cease, or else climb upward to what they were before.’

    Drew smiled in spite of himself.

    ‘There you go. Now get out of my Gym, I have work to do.’

    February 9, 6:45AM
    MAY


    I feel terrible. I’m lying in something dark and sticky, but it’s not light enough to see what it is. I can hear crackling noises and the occasional pop and crunch. I try to open my eyes but it makes no difference. I can’t see anything except the broadest of shapes, differentiated by slight gradations of light.

    ‘Hello?’ my voice is hoarse and croaky. What’s going on?

    ‘May!’ It’s Dante. He sounds just as bad as I do, but also relieved.

    ‘What’s happening?’ I mumble.

    ‘Lots of things,’ he replied, ‘stay awake. Don’t go back to sleep.’

    ‘Why not?’ as soon as he said that I felt instantly tired.

    ‘Because if you go to sleep with a concussion you can suffer serious brain damage.’

    ‘I have a concussion? How did that happen?’

    ‘Look around you,’ he replied.

    ‘I can’t see anything.’

    ‘Oh,’ his voice softened a bit. ‘Then this will come as a bit of a shock.’

    I took a deep breath, ignoring the stabbing pain in my ribs.

    ‘The plane went down, May. It’s completely totalled. A lot of people are dead,’ his voice broke here.

    ‘Where’s Holly?’

    He didn’t answer.

    ‘Where are we?’

    I could almost hear the tears that were running down his face.

    ‘I have no idea.’

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    ‘The plane went down, May. It’s completely totalled. A lot of people are dead,’ his voice broke here.
    Oh God. As soon as this 'episode' started I knew something like this would happen. Knew.
    ‘Well, we have Ash starring as Ridge Forrester, Dante as Nick Marone, May as Brooke Logan, and myself as Taylor Hayes.’

    ‘Who am I then?’

    ‘I think you must be Rick Forrester, because you’re so concerned with May’s wellbeing without wanting to be with her. It could only be because she’s your mother.’

    ‘And Dawn?’

    ‘Ashley Abbott.’

    ‘Max?’

    ‘Storm Logan.’

    ‘Brock?’

    ‘He doesn’t really fit. Maybe Stephen Logan.’
    Ah. Never actually seen a full episode myself, but... I can totally imagine.
    Last edited by Ariel_Anderson; 12th July 2008 at 5:46 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zubeon View Post
    ‘The plane went down, May. It’s completely totalled. A lot of people are dead,’ his voice broke here.

    ‘Where’s Holly?’

    He didn’t answer.

    ‘Where are we?’

    I could almost hear the tears that were running down his face.

    ‘I have no idea.’
    omigod, I did not expect this at all. The plane crashed down. Holly may be dead, and they don't know what's going to happen to them.

    All of this is just, omg, I can't wait to see what's going to happen in the next chapter... how will it all go from here?
    ~*Uza-chan's Good bye*~

    IS SUPAH FIIIINE

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    Misty is pretty determined to avoid anymore damage to herself and others.
    lol, she's forcing Drew to admit he's watching the bold and the beautiful...

    Of course, plane crashed...and it was May's first too :/
    And here begins the first season of Lost

    Let's see how this will affect the Gym Heroes among other things !
    Because of serebiiforums, my Life has been put on hold...

    ...wait, that sounds wrong...
    ...yeah, it's the other way around.

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    Chapter Seventeen
    Thieves in the Temple

    February 8, 5:00PM
    MAY


    I woke up in a cold sweat and was surprised to find myself sitting reasonably comfortably in the still-intact plane, with Holly next to me.

    ‘Good morning, sunshine,’ Dante said from behind his stave paper.

    ‘Is it morning?’ I mumbled, feeling dizzy.

    ‘No, it’s about five o’clock. We’ll be touching down in just under an hour. That’s what the pilot just said anyway.’

    ‘But we crashed.’

    ‘I don’t think so. Seems to me I’d have noticed if we had.’

    I looked around. There didn’t seem to be anything wrong with the plane at all. So I guess we hadn’t crashed. It was a dream? I hate dreams. They ruin the continuity.

    ‘Why did you think we crashed?’ he asked.

    ‘Just a dream,’ I said, still feeling uneasy. ‘I think we need to tell the others the truth about Holly.’

    He looked up from his writing for the first time since I woke up. ‘Why?’

    ‘Surely they’ll figure it out soon.’

    ‘I don’t know that they will,’ he said slowly. ‘After all, your super-genius brother believed me when I told him she was two, even though she can’t walk or talk and is clearly much smaller than a two-year old.’

    ‘He was probably just in shock. You did spring it on him, after all.’

    ‘No, I think it’s because people consider Maggie Simpson the archetypal two-year-old. They accept that Maggie is two, so why not Holly? They’re on about the same developmental plane.’

    ‘Where do you find the time to come up with this stuff?’

    ‘Well, if you want to tell them I suppose that’s your choice. I don’t stand to lose anything from them knowing the truth. But you do, don’t you?’

    I could feel Lecter coming to the surface of his mind. I had to shut this down quickly.

    ‘I don’t suppose it matters,’ I said. ‘They’ll either figure it out or they won’t.’

    ‘Good girl.’

    He went back to his work and I breathed again. An hour until landing.

    February 8, 5:30PM
    MAX


    There isn’t much to do at a Gym you don’t own when nobody is coming to challenge you. Dante had left most of the rooms locked, and all of his Pokémon in Pokeballs so that they could be quickly transferred if he needed them in Australia. So there wasn’t much to do except listen to the band jam without a vocalist. I didn’t feel very comfortable around Falkner, Arthur, or Tony, or even Richie for that matter, so I just lurked in my room most of the time.

    But even I can’t lurk for eight hours straight.

    I left my room and wandered around the gym, past locked door after locked door, until I spotted something incongruous.

    An unlocked door.

    I went in, what else could I do?

    I was in a kind of office, or a study to be more precise. There was a big wooden desk in the middle of the room, some soft chairs, and many bookshelves. I walked up to the desk, behaving just like a white guy in a horror movie. I had to investigate. The first piece of paper I picked up was the set-list for the Gym Heroes concert. Like I hadn’t already memorised that. Then I came to some sheet music that seemed to be original compositions. At least it looked like Dante’s handwriting. Again, fairly uninteresting, since I can’t read music.

    Underneath the music was the interesting thing. A large book with a black cover. I opened it. It was a journal.

    At this point I knew I was about to get jumped and murdered. My only shot at redemption was to put the book down without reading it and leave the room, not looking at any shadows on the way, not turning to face any noise. Just get out. You’re in too deep, Max. Get out of there.

    The lights went out.

    February 8, 10:00PM
    ASH


    I had put together my siege squadron carefully. I had everyone I needed with me, and nothing to hold me back.

    The Point Noir Gym loomed in front of me like a bird of doom but I wasn’t the slightest bit intimidated. Not this time. The castellan was gone, and I held the gargoyles in low esteem. Falkner was barely worth mentioning. Richie had bested me once, but couldn’t hope to deal with the oncoming storm. As for Dante’s cronies, I doubt they have any merit if they were defeated by Max.

    Max is not as enthusiastic as I had hoped. Sure, he stands at my side, his Pokémon under my command, but he seems almost opposed to the idea. I’m sure it’s only because he was left in charge and will get the blame for it. But it doesn’t really matter who was left in charge, or even if Dante had remained here himself.

    The Gym must fall, and its armies rally under my banner. For the good of the world. For revenge. For justice.

    ‘Ready Max?’ I asked without caring for the answer.

    ‘I’m not doing this, Ash.’

    ‘You most certainly are.’

    ‘You can’t make me do anything,’ he replied, surprisingly bravely. I barely had the heart to crush his confidence.

    ‘I don’t have to. I have complete control. All I need is your key-code to withdraw your other Pokémon from the network.’

    ‘Never.’

    ‘Don’t you understand?’ I growled, ‘if you give me your code, you will never be bound by the law of six again!’

    ‘I don’t have a problem with the law of six,’ he replied. ‘In fact, I think it’s a good idea. It stops exactly this from happening. After all of this is over, I’m going to find Tracey and make him undo this.’

    ‘And why would he agree to that?’

    ‘When he sees the carnage you are about to cause, he won’t say no.’

    I smiled.

    ‘Why is it that captives think it’s a good idea to challenge their captors?’ I asked, semi-rhetorically. ‘Did you behave this way when Richie kidnapped you?’

    He didn’t answer. I didn’t really need him to. I just needed him to accept his place, and remember what I had. Unlimited power.

    We walked towards the Gym. As we did, I released sixty fully-evolved Pokémon from their Pokeballs. Each one knew their role, knew their part, and was totally obedient. I didn’t even need Max’s Pokémon.

    I gave the orders to my lieutenant. He gnashed his teeth and roared. He’d been wanting this opportunity ever since his first clash with Aerodactyl.

    Good things come to those who wait.

    February 9, 6:00AM
    MAY


    We had entered the new time zone, and were now over Australian soil, approaching from the north heading south-west towards Perth. According to the pilot.

    Dante and Holly were both asleep, but I had never been good at sleeping on planes. I’d done it, but I had never been good at it. I always just wanted to get there. Something about being in a thin metal tube thousands of feet above the ground never quite sat well with me. I much prefer travelling on Pokémon.

    Slam! Turbulence. Just turbulence.

    Another crash. Still perfectly normal aircraft noises (apparently) but not the kind of noises you get flying on the back of a bird. The dream still had me rattled. I never thought a fear of plane crashes was irrational, but Dante assured me the plane was sound.

    And when have I ever had reason to doubt him?

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

    Just 12 chapters to go

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    No f*cking way o_o
    The day I finish my exams, you actually update this...

    Huh...a dream. Well that was easy lol

    Max finding the journal was priceless. It's a very adequate feeling he had I guess...
    Ash's lieutenant = Charizard, no ?


    Well, it's been a long awaited update, and I can say I missed it, so it's good that you're back
    Because of serebiiforums, my Life has been put on hold...

    ...wait, that sounds wrong...
    ...yeah, it's the other way around.

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    Now here's a chapter that's going to be unpopular.

    P.S, I finished my exams today :208:

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

    Chapter Eighteen
    Stars of Warburton


    February 9, 6:45AM
    MAY


    A few people have died. A journalist woman and a merchant banker who were sitting at the front when the nose dipped. The pilot is also dead. Everyone else seems mostly fine, apart from a few broken bones and many, many cuts and bruises.

    Dante sits on a smashed-up seat with Holly on his knee. She stopped fussing when we put the fire out, and looks pretty close to sleep.

    Someone tries to call somebody else, but the phones aren’t working. We seem to be in a communications black spot, but nobody seems to know where we are. There aren’t any locals in the group. Besides which, I’ve heard Australia is too big to traverse on foot the way I did in Hoenn when I was younger.

    I take a seat next to Dante. He gives me a look of complete blankness. His poker face.

    ‘I don’t suppose you have any idea where we are?’ I ask hopefully, but not expectantly.

    ‘I do not,’ he replied immediately. ‘But if your Pokenav is working, we should be able to access the world maps. That would be a start.’

    The Pokenav had been clipped onto my belt, so it had survived the crash relatively undamaged. Good news. I flipped it open and selected Map. I couldn’t work it out, so I traded it to Dante for the baby. He shifted his attention to it immediately.

    ‘Are there any Australians here?’ he asked the group at large, not looking up. One man jogged over and looked over his shoulder at the screen. I heard a mumbled expletive.

    ‘So where are we?’ another passenger asked.

    ‘A place called the Gunbarrel Highway,’ said the man.

    ‘Highway?’ that sounded promising. A highway suggested traffic, which meant rescue. But from the faces of the two men reading the map I could tell that my enthusiasm was misplaced.

    We all sat around silently for a while.

    ‘So what now?’ I finally asked.

    ‘We walk.’

    ‘Are we close to Fremantle?’

    ‘No. Not at all. We’re very far north of it. Several months walk, I would imagine.’

    ‘So where are we heading?’

    ‘Warburton. It’s a big enough centre that we should be able to at least get a car and drive down.’

    ‘Hold on,’ said one of the other passengers, ‘I’m not walking anywhere. I’m staying right here until rescue comes.’

    ‘That’s your prerogative,’ Dante said amiably, ‘I was only referring to my family, but all are welcome, of course, providing they don’t slow me down.’

    While the crowd mumbled their decisions I took Dante aside.

    ‘Don’t you have someone who can fly us with you?’

    ‘Only Skarmory, and she’s not strong enough to carry the three of us.’

    ‘We could go one at a time.’

    ‘Oh no we couldn’t. You should never separate when you’re this lost. Especially when you’re lost in the desert.’

    ‘Who else do you have with you?’

    He told me. They were not a particularly useful bunch for this exercise.

    ‘It’s a shame you don’t have Suicune anymore, isn’t it?’ I joked.

    His eyes flashed as we started away.

    February 8, 10:20PM
    RICHIE


    It’s been pretty good, actually. I worked myself into a state of worry that was completely unnecessary. Not unfounded, but thankfully unnecessary this time. We’ve gotten quite a bit done, even without Dante here. Since he’s just the singer, he’s really the last piece to fit in anyway. We’re now playing together like we’ve been doing it for years. I wouldn’t be half surprised if we got a contract offer out of this.

    But how did Dante get this gig? It seems too high-profile for a band he hadn’t even formed yet. I wonder what the Commission is getting in return?

    ‘How did Dante get this gig? It seems too high-profile for a band he hadn’t even formed yet. What’s the Commission is getting in return?’

    ‘They want him in the Stralis Elite Four,’ Falkner replied casually, focusing far more attention on repositioning a forelock of his hair than on answering the question.

    ‘As if he wouldn’t want that job anyway.’ I found it difficult to believe that Dante would extort the Commission for something he wanted so badly.

    ‘He doesn’t, not really,’ Falkner replied. ‘Think about it. This Gym is also his home. He’s got it just the way he likes it. He’s got the kid. Why would he trade all of this for a dorm room at the Cadmium Tower? If there’s one thing we know about this man, it’s that he is fiercely independent.’

    ‘I guess.’

    ‘There’s no guessing about it. With the exception of his daughter, all human interaction has created pain and suffering for him. He doesn’t like humans. Look at his relationship with May – mutually assured destruction to rival the Cold War. The only positive from all that was Holly, and even then it didn’t happen in the way they wanted.’

    Falkner stopped abruptly, realising he had said too much. If I was closer to any of the concerned parties, I would have pressed the nerve, but frankly, I didn’t want to know. Me knowing more things about Dante would only put me in more danger. I was content to stay here, enjoying my relative safety.

    Or so I thought.

    February 8, 11:30PM
    MISTY


    I had a feeling I knew who was at the door long before I opened it, and I wasn’t wrong.

    ‘Drew, it’s half eleven at night. What are you doing in my Gym?’

    ‘Waiting to be offered coffee,’ he replied. I glowered at him and stalked off to the kitchen. He followed me.

    ‘This is going to take a few minutes,’ I said as I started the kettle and threw some powder into the plunger. ‘You may as well start now, so I can give my rebuttal while you’re drinking.’

    ‘Their plane crashed.’

    ‘How could you possibly know that?’

    ‘It should have arrived by now, and hasn’t.’

    ‘Delayed.’

    ‘By six hours?’

    ‘It could happen. There’s no reason to think they’ve crashed.’

    ‘Airlines don’t just lose planes, Misty. They have strict timelines and operating protocol. Checkpoints. Their plane missed the second to last checkpoint, and hasn’t landed.’

    ‘How do you know?’

    ‘I’ve checked online.’

    ‘So you memorised her flight details? Who’s creepy now?’

    ‘I was worried,’ he snapped, ‘and justifiably so by the looks of things. See what happens when she’s with him?’

    ‘Now hold on a minute,’ I said, growing angry, ‘you can’t possibly be inferring that Dante brought the plane down while he was on it.’

    ‘It could happen,’ Drew replied, out of breath.

    ‘Not when his daughter is on the plane with him,’ I replied. ‘He may not care about you or I or himself, but we know he loves May, and we know categorically that his daughter is the most important thing in his life.’

    ‘How do we know this?’ Drew asked. ‘This is the first I’ve heard. You’ve been keeping contact with him, haven’t you?’

    I poured the boiling water into the plunger, and enjoyed the smell.

    ‘Regardless of what I’ve been doing, you’ve got to get over this. Either move on or tell her how you feel. I’m sick of you turning up at my house and rabbiting on. You know how this works, Ridge. It’s Nick’s turn.’

    That was a ridiculous comparison, and I knew it. Whilst Brooke and Nick do share a child, they haven’t been together in many years.

    ‘Now you listen to me,’ Drew said, getting to his feet with a threatening finger in my face, ‘not one word of our conversations goes to May, do you understand me?’

    The fury boiled over.

    ‘You listen to me, Drew,’ I replied, drawing myself up to my full height, staring down into his beady eyes. ‘The time has passed when you can storm into my world and call the shots. We’ve never been close enough for you to believe you have that kind of authority over me. Now get out of my gym, and don’t bother me with this crap again. I’ve said all I’m prepared to say on this ridiculous triangle.’

    Neither of us moved or spoke for almost five minutes. Finally Drew drank the coffee down in one from the plunger, and swept out the front door into the night.

    February 9, 12:05AM
    FALKNER


    The first strike hit the side of the Gym like a meteor, but there was no time to recover before the next blast rocked the house to its foundations as Charizard came screaming through the window, torching everything in his path. Tony Harrison didn’t move in time.

    Richie and I leapt through the door into the hallway as Charizard landed and headbutted his way into the kitchen. Richie grabs at a Pokeball and I knock it from his hand. Our best bet is to escape.

    A Raticate comes bounding up the stairs but we slip into the bathroom and it rambles past. I don’t think it sees us as we rush along the gantry towards the rear window.

    I get to the window first and throw it up but I’m blinded by a solar flare – it seems that Charizard moved faster than we expected. I wait to be toasted.

    No toasting comes.

    Because it’s not Charizard.

    It’s Flannery.

    Riding on Moltres.

  20. #70
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    Dante truly is an Alpha male, a born leader. Which comes in handy in these dire situations...

    That was a long time since I read a decent Drew-esque line. You've delivered, many thanks. And a Misty one as well.

    Deus ex-machina.
    Because of serebiiforums, my Life has been put on hold...

    ...wait, that sounds wrong...
    ...yeah, it's the other way around.

    My Works : A, B, C, D, E

  21. #71
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    Nov 2008
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    "Max Rebo, the Ortolan keyboard player."

    I wondered if there was anyone else here who follows STAR WARS as much as I do, or at least to a similar extent. Tell me, are you obsessed with STAR WARS?

    LOL that was kind of random.

    But anyway, more plot twists than you can shake a Stick (the item) at. Since when did Flannery catch Moltres? Or is it something like Noland, only befriended it? How did Ash suddenly get all his memories back? And where does Max fit in with Ash's delusions? Can't wait for the next chapter!
    Last edited by MiniBob; 5th August 2009 at 11:27 PM.
    The pen is mightier than the sword...which is good, because I don't have a sword! XD

    95% of teens would cry if they saw the Jonas Brothers at the top of a skyscraper about to jump. Copy and paste this if you are in the 5%? that would shout 'Jump'!
    Copy the second bit too if you would push them off as well.

    NERDS RULE FOREVER. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.

    Live long and prosper, and I'll see you on the battlefield.

    -Super Nerd Ben

  22. #72
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    Chapter 19
    The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game


    February 9, 10:00AM
    MAY

    ‘Do you ever think about the child we might have had if…’ I trailed off.

    ‘If?’ Dante asked, not looking across as we led the small group across the red sand.

    ‘If I hadn’t miscarried. If everything had worked out the first time. If your first born had been a son instead of a daughter.’

    ‘Yes. I do think about him, all the time,’ he replied. ‘Do you?’

    The truth was that I did, although until recently, until I met Holly, I thought about both children. A classic ‘what if?’ scenario. But for some reason I couldn’t say this to Dante, not while we were trudging across a huge flat desert, leading a group of strangers like it was an episode of that awful TV show Lost. All I could say was ‘Yes.’

    ‘It’s probably my second most common dream,’ Dante continued, still without having made eye contact.

    ‘So you’re still dreaming about being the Doctor, then?’ I asked slyly.

    ‘Moving effortlessly through time and space in a pine box with a snazzy scarf? What’s not to love about that life?’ he replied with that ice-melting grin of his. ‘If I had the TARDIS we wouldn’t be in this predicament, that’s for sure.’

    ‘I can’t argue with that,’ I laughed, amused both at the joke and his effortless deflection of my maudlin question. That was what I loved him for. That was what I hated him for.

    ‘Being able to regenerate would be nice too,’ he continued. ‘It would have made a lot of situations far less sticky over the years. Like that whole earthquake business.’

    ‘But if you kept changing bodies you wouldn’t have such a way with the ladies.’

    ‘You’re so shallow,’ he said in exasperation. ‘We had this same argument when Matt Smith took over.’

    ‘I preferred David Tenant.’

    ‘And I preferred Christopher Eccleston.’

    ‘You would.’

    ‘What does that mean?’

    ‘He hated human kind and wandered around in a raggedy leather jacket. If he had a ponytail he would have just been you.’

    ‘You say that like it’s a bad thing.’

    We smiled at each other.

    We kept walking.

    February 9, 12:10AM
    RICHIE

    It’s an interesting experience, climbing onto something that’s flaming and finding that it doesn’t burn you at all. Had I ever ridden a Rapidash before, I might have been better prepared.

    ‘When did you capture Moltres?’ Falkner bellowed, not angrily, and not to be heard, but out of sheer surprise.

    ‘I didn’t capture her,’ Flannery said in a noticeably lower voice, ‘she’s just helping me out.’

    ‘Helping you win the Gym Heroes?’ Falkner returned, still too loudly.

    ‘How can you possibly be thinking about that right now? Look!’ She pointed at the crumbling Point Noir Gym as Charizard and his legions tore it apart.

    Who could be doing this? It couldn’t be the work of renegade Pokémon. This has the stink of humanity all over it. I can see two humans now, moving towards the Gym. One tall, the other short. Neither familiar from this range. The Gym leaders are still arguing about Moltres.

    ‘Maybe next time I won’t rescue you, then,’ Flannery snapped.

    ‘I’m a flying type trainer!’ Falkner yelled back, ‘do you really think I had no further plan than “reach the window”?’

    ‘Given your history with planning, I have no doubt you had no further plan.’

    ‘Excuse me,’ I cut in, ‘but this bickering trivializes the seriousness of our situation here. Are we going to stand and fight, or are we going to run?’

    ‘There’s got to be fifty Pokémon down there,’ Flannery said, ignoring Falkner’s continued piercing gaze. ‘Between us we can only muster eighteen.’

    ‘Seventeen,’ I corrected. ‘I left one in the Gym.’

    ‘But we have Moltres,’ Falkner mumbled, more to himself than either of us.

    Suddenly it hit me like that first strike on the Gym. We didn’t necessarily have seventeen Pokémon. We might have as many as twenty-three.

    If Tania is still alive inside the Gym.

    February 9, 12:15AM
    ASH

    The Gym fell almost instantly. Raticate reports no resistance has been encountered yet. I need to meet with Charizard, but he is still wreaking havoc on the top floor.

    Max stares in horror. He has been a true disappointment. His Pokémon have not assisted, and have been dealt with accordingly. He himself has been to stunned to resist. But that may be useful. All he has to do is continue carrying his back pack. Once I’ve loaded it up of course.

    I head for the armoury, scooping up a Pokeball as I go. I don’t know whose it is, but it hardly matters. The worst it can do is be less effective than the others.

    The armoury is well-stocked. One thousand places, one for every known Pokémon. Dante has about one-hundred and twenty filled with Pokeballs, spaced out fairly evenly. I pick one up. Ninetails. Likely to be useful. Into the bag. I grab another. Primeape. I’ve already got one, but that doesn’t matter. This is as much about weight of numbers as anything else.

    I should have thanked Tania for interrupting me, otherwise I could have spent hours sifting through Dante’s Pokémon.

    ‘What are you doing, Ash?’ she asked.

    ‘I’m stealing, what does it look like?’

    ‘Fair enough, I suppose I should have asked why instead of what.’

    ‘“Why are you doing?” isn’t a real sentence.’ I felt like playing around with her for a while. See if I could prod her into some kind of action, for once. As I prod I head towards space number 132.

    ‘Come on Ash, this isn’t you.’

    ‘I think you’ll find it is me. I’d offer you DNA for testing, but that’s hardly necessary.’

    ‘This isn’t who you are,’ she persisted, ‘this is just who you’ve become.’

    ‘I’ll pay that,’ I said. ‘Certainly I wasn’t always like this. But this is what happens when you lose a loved one.’

    ‘That’s ******** and you know it!’ she yelled. ‘There are countless people out there who have lost loved ones, but manage to get through the days without destroying society, or property, or other lives. This is what you’ve become, but you were the architect. Giovanni didn’t make you into this, you did that yourself.’

    ‘It wasn’t instantaneous, you know,’ I replied, scooping number 132 into my pocket, and taking 135 in my hand. ‘It took a few months for me to get to this level of determination. Years even. Years of being strung along on false hope by your pal, Dante.’

    ‘Dante isn’t my pal, and I don’t care what false hope he gave you. We all know he’s unstable. Why you would listen to him is beyond me.’

    ‘Because he’s a genius,’ I snapped, losing my detachment from the situation. ‘He’s a maniac but he knows a lot about everything. And he has access to many things that I don’t. In fact, this is the first stage of a plan he himself devised.’

    ‘He didn’t devise this,’ she replied blindly. ‘He wouldn’t come up with an idea that would endanger his Pokémon, even if he sees all of us as expendable.’

    ‘Ah, of course. His history with Magmar, Weezing, Suicune and whatever else he feels like revealing this week. I’ve had it with his dark past. If he wants to brood, he can do so in this dark present.’

    I hurled 135 against the side of her head and heard the two cracks – one of the ball hitting her and the second of it landing on the ground and opening. The thud of Tania collapsing was masked by the noise of Jolteon’s emergence.

    ‘Make me a blackout, we’re leaving.’

    ‘Oh no you’re not.’

    It was Falkner, returned with Flannery and Richie.

    ‘I will destroy you all if need be,’ I said as calmly as I could muster, given this parade of annoyance.

    ‘No you won’t. This ends here.’ It was Flannery speaking. The wind was deafening through the hole in the roof I had created. ‘And I am prepared to destroy you, if need be.’

    ‘You don’t have it in you. You’re a coward. You could barely run the Gym when we met.’

    ‘We met many years ago, Ashley. I’ve grown up a lot. And I’ve got a big-*** gun.’

    There was a horrendous screech and the wind picked up to gale force. I couldn’t see exactly what was going on, but I felt talons closing around me as I was lifted off of the ground and dragged into the night, the Point Noir Gym fading to a speck, and the Pokeballs I had stolen shrinking into nothing as they fell from my pockets to the ground below.

  23. #73
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    Dec 2006
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    I still admire your ability to portray Dante as...something of a human apart from the human race. His traits are so unmasked compared to others.

    Sweet, more epic battles in store !
    Because of serebiiforums, my Life has been put on hold...

    ...wait, that sounds wrong...
    ...yeah, it's the other way around.

    My Works : A, B, C, D, E

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