The heavens leaked seemingly infinite amounts of the water like a broken Bidoof dam. The occasional daunting thunderclap followed the equally menacing nearby lightning strike. Jeff, who was steeped with water, remained barely standing, facing off against the diminutive, dark-lime green reptile.
The brash Treecko leered boldly into Jeff’s green eyes, focused only on them and not the cuts and bruises burning his entire body. The other pokemon waited impatiently, all for different reasons.
The unspoken showdown was finally broken by Jeff. He asserted the smallest of grins and said, “Hey there, Treecko.”
The wood gecko remained still and silent. All he did was continue to glare callously into the human’s eyes. Jeff reversed a step, taken aback, a little intimidated even, by Treecko’s less than warm reply. The standoff of eyes began once more, a battle Jeff was fated to lose.
Atlas winced from the rain and looked down, seriously considering digging down into the subterranean for shelter. Corphish snapped his claw, the anticipation killing him. The seemingly infuriated Daedalus seemed to struggle to keep himself in one spot.
“<If you want me… you’re going to have to catch me… and then fight me,>” Treecko said without a hint of mirth or fun in his voice.
Jeff looked to Corphish, the resident charades expert. The ruffian pokemon pointed at him and then began to run on the spot. After that he pointed at Treecko and then back to Jeff before raising his claws in a Rocky-esque fashion.
“You…want me to… FIGHT you?”
Without even a shrug, Treecko stared hard into Jeff’s eyes, signifying the answer.
“Erm…I… Corphish…do you want to-”
“CKO!” the grass lizard replied in either a curse or a sharp ‘no’. He crossed his arms in disagreement. Treecko then pointed at Jeff and then brought his finger towards him.
“<You and me… one on one.>”
Jeff began to understand.
Daedalus drew his line. “<This is ridiculous. That’s it!>”
The tiny swallow pokemon lunged at Treecko, knocking him to the ground. Daedalus began bashing at him with his wings and the rare beak strike.
“<You selfish – b*stard – think about – someone - other than – your sorry – green hide – for once – you have – virtually – nothing – to prove!>” Daedalus yelled between each batter.
Treecko took the beating – he didn’t even defend himself; he took it in what can either be interpreted as ‘taking it like a male’ or ‘taking it like someone who knew he deserved it’. Jeff ran over to them and held back Daedalus. The increasingly bloodied Treecko looked up at the enraged bird who was starting to settle down. He defiantly stared at his attacker and then spat blood into Dae’s face – some of the sputtered blood fell back onto his own torn-up mug, though it was quickly washed away by the rain.
Daedalus went into a frenzy and pecked his way from Jeff’s barring hands. He then began to go at the wood gecko again, who remained calm and collected even through the beating.
“DAEDALUS!” Jeff roared. He pulled a pokeball from his pocket and pointed it at the Taillow, who was barely visible in the night. “RETURN!” Daedalus disappeared in the beam of red.
Unexpectedly, Jeff pulled out two more pokeballs and shot them at Atlas and Corphish, who also were recalled to those strange, spherical devices. Treecko’s eyes showed minor shock at Jeff’s drastic actions, but he then blinked it away and stood up. The two locked eyes in a brief minor showdown. Treecko nodded and, like a secret code, Jeff replied with a nod.
The grass starter turned and went down on all fours. He looked back, hit his tailed rear, taunting Jeff, and shot out his tongue at him before darting off into the rainy, dark forest. His physical pain hastened his run instead of hindering it. With a moment lost to comprehension, Jeff immediately took off after him. He, of course, didn’t run in a straight line since that concussion to the head was compromising his balance for the time being. As fast as he possible could without falling, Jeff raced after Treecko. The rebel wood gecko quickly disappeared into the overgrowth and foliage. This didn’t keep the determined human from pursuing.
Jeff ran blindly into the forest, stopping only on occasion to listen for rustling over the loud slaps of rain hitting leaves. The downpour created a proximity barrier so that it was nearly impossible to see what was past the thousands of droplets. He sprinted with all of his strength through the woodland. He was so focused on running that he didn’t bother to think that this would be futile. His vision and orientation was impaired enough from the rain and concussion without Treecko being able to climb trees and blend in with the plants and trees. Jeff looked up and around before sprinting over logs and branches some more. He wasn’t sure if Treecko was watching him or not, but he was oblivious to the fact that he was going in distorted circles.
The veins above his eyebrow bulged from exertion. His forced hurtles were leaving him sucking in every conceivable molecule of oxygen for breath. He kept running through every inch of the forest that he could, even with his backpack on. Jeff’s nostrils were flaring, his hair dripping wet, his teeth clenched, and his lungs and leg muscles were in overdrive. During his bewildered sprint his foot caught a root and he went flying onto the limbs of a split branch which appeared to be struck by lighting, apparent by the charred end of it. He fell on his left shoulder with a grunt. Jeff didn’t instantly get up, instead he rolled onto his back and lifted up his t-shirt sleeve. He looked at his bicep and watched water trickle down to meet fresh blood brought on by four small, crude scratches which were complimented by small broken piece of bark.
The scratches were very close to an old scar that he had never forgotten. The scar from the Scyther went from his shoulder, and it almost curved around his arm down to above his elbow. How he obtained it was the memory that traveled with him wherever he went. The scar was a large white line with red tinting the edges; it was clear Jeff was too proud to get stitched following the event…either too proud or he didn’t want the scar to ever heal. He poked the bumpy, old wound and remembered when Treecko saved him for no reason. It baffled him why he did that then and why he was doing this now.
Was it because he chose to be stubborn and purposely a handful upon being assigned a trainer so Jeff wouldn’t want him anymore? Was it because of that tree he cared so much for or did he just hate the idea of being tied down with someone? Why would a bad-*ss like Treecko ever save him when he really didn’t care about him in the first place? Chivalry, perhaps?
Jeff threw away the mental questions and stood back up. He took off through the forest but found himself tripping again, falling into moss and foliage. He got to his hands and knees, spitting out a green leaf from his mouth. Jeff took the rucksack from his back and placed it beside him, still looking down. He reached into the outer most pocket of it and felt two twigs in his hand: his own, which he hadn’t used for so long that he had forgotten when the last time was, and Treecko’s, which was given to him the night he left.
“Damned rain… damned forest… damned Treecko.”
He heard nothing but he saw two green feet appear in his downward field of view. Jeff looked up and found himself at eye level with Treecko. Jeff expected him to have a hand outreached to help him up, but there was no such thing. The pokemon simply stood, staring out of the corner of his eye with his arms folded.
Treecko probably decided to stop the pathetic chase due to the realization that running was the coward’s way out. He decided to face the challenge with courage and collected confidence. He didn’t seem worried about losing mainly because he was positive he’d win if Jeff even had the psychological guts to fight.
“Have you decided to stop this and come with me, Treecko?” Jeff asked hopefully.
Although Treecko’s eyes remained still, Jeff guessed that he was probably insulted by the idea that he would abandon all pride and cave to the suggestion.
Treecko began to walk away from him until he stopped, a good four meters away.
He suddenly turned and, with the battle-loving grin that Jeff had suddenly come to fear, dashed towards him. He jumped right before he would have hit Jeff’s face and went into a backwards flip. His tail flew up and hit Jeff in the face with such power that he was sent from on his hands and knees to on his back.
Stunned, Jeff merely looked up at the rainy night sky and spat out saliva and dark red blood, which formed in his mouth, and the two trickled pathetically down his cheek. Treecko had landed with such grace, but Jeff, for once, could not enjoy it. The entire lower portion of his face was numb. He looked down his chest at Treecko, who stood at his feet.
“…Why?” Jeff asked, obviously in response to his hostile actions and not the order, itself since he still couldn’t understand. “What’s wrong with you?”
Treecko answered just as coldly. “<Get up.>”
Jeff did get to his feet, but at his own will.
“I don’t want to fight you… I won’t,” he said, earnestly.
Treecko ran towards him again and lunged. He hit Jeff with his hand, right below where the human’s ribs ended, dead-center. He had evidently aimed for the winding-effect. It worked. Jeff recoiled two steps and half-doubled over, but quickly straightened himself.
“<The weakness of the trainer reflects the pokemon.>”
Treecko jumped up and whipped his tail across Jeff’s face. A mixture of more blood and saliva shot from his mouth and landed on a nearby plant. The force sent Jeff instinctively stumbling in almost a circle just to keep his head from spinning all the way around. Before Jeff could react further, Treecko lunged at him similar to the first time, except higher up on his chest. The hit sent Jeff falling backwards. He crashed to the ground, his head hitting the trunk of a tree. And that hit was the last straw.
With overwhelming anger and adrenaline storming in his eyes, making them a sharper green than usual, he hissed, “You want a fight… you got it.”
Jeff stood to his feet and clenched his fists. Treecko grinned, amused at his old friend’s anger. The calm gecko brought his finger once more towards him, egging Jeff on. The human walked towards Treecko in the rain, careful not to get ahead of himself, but he found himself speeding up, eager to get a hit in. Treecko took advantage of this and flanked Jeff’s left and jumped up, whacking his tail into his shoulder.
Jeff grunted as it felt like a stone hit him, but he remained standing. He turned and spat.
“I’m proud of you, Treecko. You’re not sinking so low as to use your pathetic bullet seed on me!”
Treecko grinned in competition. Even Jeff’s taunts wouldn’t be able to get under his green skin. With apt speed, he lunged at the human. Much to both of their surprise, Jeff got the drop on him. He brought his hand across in a curved punch and, in what seemed to be like slow motion, hit Treecko across the face. The impact of his knuckle bones hitting Treecko’s snout was, to Jeff, sadistically satisfying. The last time he hit Treecko, he felt it was his biggest mistake of his life. But this time… he was loving it.
The impact noise of the two bodies sounded exactly like the ridiculous, stock punch noises in TV shows, but Jeff didn’t complain. He felt his love for the fight return as he felt like just like he did when training with Tyrogue in preparation for leaving. The speed seemed to return to normal in Jeff’s eyes and Treecko was sent sprawling to the human’s left.
Treecko was stunned in mid-air at the unexpected hit, but he quickly righted himself before hitting the ground. He bent his legs to absorb the shock from the log he was headed towards, and in turn, reversed the force to bound off the wet log and back at Jeff. He saw the body, silhouetted by the night and rain, maneuvering in the air to hit him, but he let his primal instincts overtake all other senses. He ran towards Treecko head on and grabbed the mace-like tail with both of his hands, ignoring the slapping brunt it had with them.
Jeff used Treecko’s momentum as well as his own to swing him around in circles by the tail. Instead of letting go and throwing him, Jeff edged towards the tree beside him and slammed the wood gecko into the trunk. Jeff let go on collision; Treecko’s face was the first to hit the bark and the rest of his body wrapped around the trunk. He slid to the ground.
The determined Treecko, with astounding effort, managed to pull himself to a sitting position. Refusing to admit defeat, Treeck began to stand up and shakily walked towards Jeff. The grass starter was on the brink of collapse. The human, who was still in his bloodlust-mode, clenched his fist and arched it towards the ground, so it barely hit the wet dirt. His hand went from down to up, catching Treecko in the jaw. The lizard went flying up and back, and, still in a standing position, he hit the trunk with a blunt ‘BIFFT’. He then slid to the base of the tree, head slumped forwards and unconscious.
The fight was over.
Jeff’s anger began to cool down as he looked at Treecko. He then began to realize what he had done. The comprehension sunk in.
“I… Treecko. Oh, Arceus! I didn’t mean to do that. Oh damnit! Are you alright?!”
He knelt down in front of the knocked out pokemon, checked his pulse and held him in his arms. Treecko’s breaths were labored and very light. Jeff completely forgot about all of Treecko’s wounds. He was sure he was hurting him just by touching him, even if he was unconscious.
“I’m so sorry…” Jeff took out Treecko’s pokeball, and after a moment of hesitation, tapped his head gently with it. Before dematerializing into the orb, Treecko’s left eye winced.
And then he was gone.
The ball shook…
Then it locked.
Jeff shakily stood and looked around in the rain. There was nothing but torrents of water, trees, and the night behind them.
“Where the hell is the pokemon center?!”
The aggravated human took out another pokeball and shot the beam straight upwards.
“TAIII-” the pokemon began to say in a hassle as he appeared in the air.
“Yeah, yeah. Now go find the pokemon center and HURRY! …GO! THANK YOU!” Jeff angrily ordered Daedalus, who flew off.
Several pain-staking minutes later, the soaked flyer returned and urged Jeff to follow. Jeff thanked him and complied. His strength allowed him only to jog at full force. He followed the Taillow, only able to see him using the white underside of his tail as a guide.
“What the hell is wrong with you?! You don’t FIGHT your own pokemon in anger! You don’t KNOCK OUT your own pokemon!!” Jeff mentally scolded himself.
As he ran, he remembered how much he enjoyed punching Treecko.
“Was that because you were mad at him? Was it an anger release for everything that has happened? Or are you really a horrible person, like Daggerback?”
Jeff tripped over two more roots before catching up to Daedalus.
“TaaaiLOW,” he chirped, hovering in one place.
Jeff slowed down beside him and saw him looking at a white light through the trees as well as the muffled tone of human and pokemon voices which seemed to amplify with the sound of the familiar sliding door. It seemed the forest finally ended! He let out a relieved half grunt, half laugh and walked out of the woodland.
There it was, the rectangle shaped structure which was the answer to all of their questions. Fluorescent lights shot out of the windows and the door of the white building. The red, flat roof of the building housed a sign, saying “Pokemon Center”. The quaint building was surrounded by no more than ten buildings – nine houses and one pokemart.
Jeff slowly trudged towards the entrance while Daedalus flew ahead. He landed near the exterior of the center and began to hop beside the left side. Much to his shock, he saw the brown wire of an extension cord plugged into an exterior outlet which was hidden behind a bush and it led into the forest. The wire was barely sheltered by the rain.
“<… Oh, Corphish,>” Daedalus chuckled.
“Come on, Daedalus! Get your feathery butt over here!” Jeff pried, almost too rudely. He reluctantly complied and flew through the night and onto his shoulder.
The automatic door swung open for Jeff and he was stunned by the overflow of trainers and their pokemon. The cries of hurt pokemon and the like snivels or comforting words of their trainers drowned out the torrent outside.
“This had better not be a bunch of wimps who are afraid to get wet,” Jeff scoffed, squeezing between pokemon and human alike. On his way to the crowded front counter, he almost stepped on a terrified purple rodent, known as a Rattata, who had run off from its young trainer. Jeff basically shoved the three guys in front of him to the ground before finally getting to the counter. He withdrew Treecko’s pokeball and placed it with his hands on the counter.
“My Treecko needs help, right now!” Jeff pleaded, preparing to release the wounded pokemon from the capture device.
“I’m sorry, you’re going to have to take a number,” the pink haired nurse apologized.
Jeff looked at the roll of numbers beside his hand and saw that twenty-three would have been his. He then looked up at the ticker on the wall which said, “Now attending to 8.”
“Pick a number?! My Treecko doesn’t have time to wait for that many pokemon to come and go! He could die at any minute…I think. It’s HARDLY fair that a Spearow with a… twisted ankle gets to go before me while my pokemon is holding on for his life!”
“I’m sorry, but we are taking all of the patients from the Petalburg City center after some disaster a few nights ago. So we’re taking all of the pokemon who have fought in the gym plus our normal amount of patients. We have four pokemon who are probably worse than your Treecko since they were too badly off to even have the strength to go IN their pokeballs.” Nurse Joy explained, calmly.
“Right… sorry,” Jeff apologized, guiltily looking downwards.
“We’ll try to accommodate you the best that we can but we only have four beds and the pokemon using them should be in the ER at Petalburg right now and they won’t be able to leave, let alone move, for many hours as we still have to stabilize them. The best I can tell you is ‘help your Treecko hang on and wait, please’.”
Jeff turned around somberly and looked up to see a guy his age with a blue track suit on make eye contact with him. It was Blane, the jerk with the Piplup. Jeff quickly pulled out Daedalus’ pokeball and returned him to its confines as Blane walked towards them.
“Hey! I remember you. You’re that guy with the Taillow who attacked me.”
“Jeff’s the name. How’s that Piplup of yours?” he asked cynically.
“He’s a little beaten up right now. He just needs some rest,” Blane answered.
“Ohh, is that so?! Well, don’t worry; I’m sure he has a GREAT, GRATEFUL trainer who will take care of him instead of sending him into more battles,” Jeff replied with heavy sarcasm which flew straight over Blane’s head. “I hope they pick your number soon,” he told him, this time with seriousness.
“How’s…Da…eee…daday? Daydal…os…THE TAILLOW! Did he pick a fight with an angrier trainer?” Blane asked with his own derision.
“No… he hasn’t,” answered Jeff, becoming irritated, but then an idea struck him. “Sayyy…do you still have your bike?”
“Yea, it’s out front. Why?”
“No reason…” he lied. Jeff quickly darted his head to the side and pointed at Nurse Joy. In excitement, he yelled, “HEY! IS THAT A POKEMON BATTLE?!”
“WHERE?!” Blane instantly asked, turning, like when one feigns throwing a ball to a Growlithe.
Like a Rhyhorn, Jeff plowed through the crowd and to the door, which slid open upon his approach. He craned his head around before spotting the blue bike in the night across the path, tied by a tree to avoid the rain. Jeff ran towards it and threw Corphish’s pokeball beside the bike. The orange water type appeared and looked at Jeff.
“CORP, USE VICEGRIP ON THAT LOCK, AND HURRY!”
“<Rushy, rushy!>” Corphish exclaimed, clamping through the cord with ease.
Jeff had gotten on the bike and he looked back to see Blane walking out the front door. No time to get Corphish’s pokeball from his pocket, after placing it back, he picked up the pokemon and literally squeezed him into the handlebar basket.
“HEY! THAT’S MY BIKE!” Blane yelled, beginning to run towards them.
“<Ooo! It’s like Grand Theft Bike! Can I do bubblebeam drive-bys?>”
Without a word, Jeff pedaled as fast as he could down the wet dirt path.
“BASTARRR…” Blane yelled but his voice was cut out by the rain as well as the Doppler Effect coming into play.
The ride was smooth, for Jeff, anyways. Corphish was lodged in the basket in such a way that his tail came up the meet his eyes, and his feet were pointing upwards.
“<Jeff, I know you had to get me in here quickly, but I’m getting discouraged looking at my own ass… It’s not as cute up close, I’m afraid.>”
He didn’t hear him. He didn’t even realize Corphish was speaking. Jeff was too busy lost in thought about Treecko and the pokeball. He wondered how he would take it and whether he would even be ok.
They rode up to the gate of Petalburg City and went in. Jeff turned left but found himself stopped by police tape. Where there was usually a pokemon center there was a crowd of police and investigators inside the yellow tape, looking at the damaged building. The front right corner of the red and white, double story center had appeared to have been destroyed as rubble had caved in.
Jeff dismounted his bike and returned the lodged Corphish to his pokeball. He then walked over to the closest police officer who was talking to Nurse Joy.
“Excuse me, what happened here?” Jeff asked, surprised and confused.
“Huh? Oh,” the officer said, looking at Jeff. “A few days ago, in the night some pokemon… an Onix, went wild near the outskirts of town. It eventually made its way to the pokemon center. The damned thing wildly attacked the center before continuing its path of destruction back into the forest.”
Jeff’s mouth opened in shock. He reached into his backpack pocket and fondled Atlas’s pokeball in worry.
“Luckily no one was hurt. If you see an Onix with a scar on its face… or ANY Onix in particular… don’t try to be a hero. Run to the authorities and tell them where you saw it. Got it, kid? And if you needed the pokemon center, go to the one in Oldale. You clearly can’t use this one.”
Jeff barely nodded as his every muscle clenched. Blood began to drain from his face and he suddenly began to become very afraid of his backpack.
“Was Onix the cause of this destruction? No way would a gentle guy like him never attack a pokemon center for no reason! Besides, Onixes have fights all the time; it’s not unlikely for one to have a scar on its face!”
Jeff kept telling himself that and got back onto his bike. Nurse Joy walked up to him.
“Jeff? Is that you?”
“Hey, Nurse Joy… Yeah, it is,” he responded. “I have another weird question for you…”
“Of course, Jeff,” she said soothingly.
“Well…” He took in a deep breath. “Me and my Treecko had a fight… a bad one. After it I couldn’t understand him… or any pokemon anymore. Did I break the bond we had by being an awful friend?”
Nurse Joy paused and looked down uncomfortably. Her look said it all. “I’m sorry to say it, Jeff, but that is highly possible…not that you were a bad friend but the fight. It must have been pretty hurtful to both of you to make that switch in your head flick back off. Although, it’s not unheard of.”
“Oh… I understand. Is it possible for it to… come back?”
“Jeff, it’s not going to be permanent. Of course it will come back, eventually, especially with a gifted individual like yourself. Just give it time and care… like a new tree.”
“Yeah… ok… thanks,” he answered. “That’s easier said than done,” he pondered to himself.
“Well, I’ve got to get going right now!” Jeff explained. “I’ll see you later and under less pressing circunstances.”
“Goodbye, Jeff. Remember what I said.”
“Ok! Bye!” he replied, turning Blane’s bike around.
Jeff biked to the top of the street across from him and looked down the daunting slope.
“Here goes nothing,” he whispered, gulping. He then rode down the incredibly steep street, parallel to the ravaged pokemon center. Jeff was headed for the docks.
He was accelerating at a dramatic rate. Luckily for him, with the rain and the night, the street was barren of traffic. “Ok, now is probably a good time to use the brakes,” he thought, becoming worried. He lightly squeezed the handlebar brakes. Of course, he did not decelerate. He burned the very asphalt he was going so fast on.
“If I brake suddenly, I’m going to flip. All I can do is keep going…”
Jeff did exactly that. He neared the water, but luckily for him it was a clear path to it. The rain made it impossible for him to know for sure, but he recalled there being a pier at the end of the street. Sure enough, there was a planked walkway which was a few feet off the water. Jeff braced himself for the inevitable plunge into the water.
Through the rain, he saw a rock on the pier, moving about wildly. He neared it rapidly and his heart sunk. He tried to maneuver he bike’s course as much as he could without falling. It was no good. The front wheel hit the rock and everything seemed to slow down.
Just as they hit, before flying into the air, he managed to yell out a panicked, “F*CK ROCKS!”
The rear of the tandem lifted off the ground and Jeff found himself no longer on the bike. The bicycle flipped and went soaring over the edge of the pier, but not before the wheel hit his face. Jeff was not so lucky. In a mess of flailing limbs he landed on the wooden dock and sprawled until his right leg was awkwardly hanging over the side.
“Geo… geo… geo…” a hoarse voice said along with the thuds of something big coming towards Jeff. The beaten human groaned and attempted to move. Suddenly a rock with arms and eyed appeared in his field of view.
“Dude?!” the rock pokemon asked with worry.
“I’m terrific… and you?” he replied with sarcasm, trying to straighten out his aching limbs.
The Geodude pulled him so that he wouldn’t have to. After a minute, Jeff wobbly stood. He noticed that the Geodude was cringing from the torrents, as well as the waves brought on by the storm.
“You need some shelter?” Jeff asked him, who nodded.
Jeff gestured him to follow. They walked down two piers over and onto the dock. He encouraged Geodude to go onto the familiar boat, which swayed to and fro. Jeff knocked on the door three distinct times.
“Mr. Briney?! Are you there?!” he called.
The door opened and the old sea captain’s eyes widened.
“Jeff! I was wondering when you’d get back!” he greeted.
“Is everything fixed?” eagerly asked Jeff.
“Yes, they just finished the repairs yesterday afternoon.”
“Can we come in? Geodude needs to get out of the rain,” he explained.
They followed Mr. Briney down to the small but homey boat cabin. There was a large steering wheel at the center of it. Jeff saw Peeko perched on a desk next to an oil lamp and some cartography maps.
“Do you think we could go to Dewford now? Please?!” the teen urged. “It’s a one way trip for me, but not for Geodude here.”
“Are you crazy? In THIS weather? Sure, I’ve been through worse, but still!” protested Mr. Briney.
“Please. It’s an emergency! My… this Treecko is really hurt and I couldn’t use any of the other pokemon centers. If we wait it might be too late!” pleaded Jeff, unsure about Treecko’s condition.
The captain sighed. “Very well. I can’t say no to a hurt pokemon. Why don’t you get some rest and I’ll start up the engine?”
Jeff thanked him and complied, turning to lie on a cot on the right side of the cabin. He thought about Treecko but he instantaneously fell asleep.
A bell tolled, waking Jeff up. He arose from the cot and groggily looked around.
“We’re here, Jeff. Just barely made it, too! I can’t believe you slept through that whole thing,” Mr. Briney stated.
“Thanks for the ride!” he answered, still half-asleep. He picked up his bag and began to ascend the stairs, topside.
“No problem. Going through that storm made me feel like I did when I was your age! I’m going to be docked here for awhile, though. If you need to go anywhere else, you know where I am,” the captain chuckled.
“See you around, Geodude.” Jeff opened the hatch and his face was pelted with rain. It was no longer night, the sky was gray, but it was still raining. He reluctantly pulled himself back into the element. Almost slipping on the deck, he stumbled onto the pier.
Jeff closely examined the small island town. He would have said it was the size of Oldale Town, except coastal and it had one landmark building: the gym. The large building was huge compared to the other, smaller houses. Directly at the end of the pier was the pokemon center. Without a second guess, Jeff dashed towards it. While he ran, something caught the attention of the corner of his eye: three destroyed beach houses, to his right on the beach. He quickly dismissed it and charged towards the only salvation for his pokemon.
He burst through the automatic doors, almost tearing one off the track. He ran through the empty pokemon center and up to Nurse Joy, who was waiting happily at the desk next to the plump, pink body of a Chansey.
“My Treecko is hurt! He needs some help. I don’t know how serious it is.”
“Of course. If you could release him from his pokeball…” she asked, sweetly.
Jeff swung around his backpack and dug out the pokeball. He was reluctant to open it, afraid Treecko might be DOA. He closed his eyes and pointed it onto the desk. The still wood gecko materialized on the counter. His eye was barely open and his breathing was much worse than before.
Incredibly weakly, he heaved, “<You… put me in a… pokeball… and took me… from my… home? You… you…>”
Even though all Jeff could hear was, “Cko… tree ckotree… treecko cko… cko cko tree…treecko… cko? Cko… cko…” By the very look and tone of voice, he knew that he had made a huge mistake… even though he only wanted to help him. Treecko gave him a final betrayed leer before Nurse Joy took him to the ICU, with the Chansey following.
“He just needs a lot of rest,” she replied with the obligatory answer of reassurance.
“If you’d like to wait, there are some magazines that you can read. Then I’d like to ask you about what happened.”
Jeff really didn’t want to talk about what happened so he said, “I’ll be back soon. There’s something I need to do.”
Feeling awful and particularly angry at himself, Jeff burst out the door and, without a second thought, stormed towards the Dewford gym. He was waterlogged from the continuous downpour, but he still tramped towards the gym in determination. Jeff approached the beige painted building and opened the front doors. He walked in and drew near the front desk, which had a lanky, bored security guard behind it.
“I’m here for a battle,” Jeff explained.
“Go on in,” he replied monotonously. “Brawly is training his pokemon.”
He entered the door to the left of the broad desk and walked in. He found himself on the perimeter of a green, hardwood-floored gym. The set up had reminded Jeff of the room where he and Hitmonlee had practiced fighting back before Hit had evolved. Surrounding the battlefield were bleachers running five feet above the floor. On the other side of the gym, Jeff made out three figures doing stretches. One was a man with blue hair like the ocean. The green floor heavily contrasted with his orange T-shirt and blue shorts. The other two figures appeared to be pokemon. Both were the size of children but they differed heavily in appearance. The one to the gym leader’s left was a plump-looking yellow pokemon reminiscent of a sumo wrestler. On the human’s other side was a skinnier pokemon with a gray skin tone and a small tail.
Jeff took off his wet shoes and walked towards the three. On closer inspection, the yellow pokemon had red blotches on its cheeks as well as black, glove-like hands and the gray pokemon had three crests on its head. He stopped in front of the three and they stopped the routine stretching.
“Hey, I’m here for a battle,” Jeff stated.
“Woah, slow down, little dude,” the twenty-something year old said in a heavy surfer accent. Jeff had to chuckle under his breath; the accent instantly reminded him of Keanu, his brother. “My name’s Brawly, and this the gym for fighting pokemon, in case ya’ didn’t know.” He outstretched a hand, to which Jeff shook it.
“I’m Jeff, from Littleroot Town.”
“Ohhhh yeaaah, three dudes from Littleroot Town and one other chick came by here a day or two ago.”
“Four?” responded Jeff, confused.
“Two sets of two. Both at different times,” he explained serenely.
“Well, anyways, I’d like to battle you.”
“Radical! We were in the mood for a battle, seeing as y’can’t surf in this weather. Rules are… two on two. First one to have both pokemon wiped out loses. Go to your side and choose your dude!”
Jeff nodded and walked to his side of the field, in front of the door. He stood firm and reached for his pokeball.
“Machop, you’re up, dude,” Brawly said, sending the gray pokemon forwards.
“Ok… Corphish! Let’s go!” Jeff stated, pointing the pokeball at the floor.
The shimmering orange body of Corphish appeared on the green gym floor. He looked around, confused, but soon got into the groove of things and prepared himself for a fight.
“<About time!>” Corphish crowed.
“Let’s keep it ranged, Corp!” Jeff advised, quietly.
“<Bring it on, you…ugly…dinosaur…human…thing…ummm…err…B*STARD-*SS!>” Corphish struggled to taunt. “<Wow, I haven’t made any battle insults in such a long time I think I forgot how!>”
“<I’ll take you down no problem. I could beat a crustacean like you surfing blindfolded!>” the Machop haughtily replied.
“Ok, dude! Use a karate chop!”
The gray figure began to run towards Corphish, determined and with his hand straightened out.
Corphish opened both of his pincers and precisely shot bubbles at the Machop like a machinegun. The waving blue orbs quickly hit the fighting type, bursting painfully on contact with his gray skin. Although the volley slowed the Machop’s charge, he was a determined pokemon. He ran straight through the bubbles, but was hurt in the process.
“Corppy! Ready for close quarters!”
Corphish nodded and put one claw forward to defend and brought one claw back to retaliate. The superpower pokemon brought a chop down, but the water type blocked the cut with his defending claw and brought his other pincer up the Machop’s jaw in a vengeful uppercut. He fell back and landed on his tail. The fighting type tried to get up but Corphish already ran towards him and he felt the cold wet pincer hit his face. Machop fell backwards, with his nose and mouth bleeding. Corppy was preparing to attempt another crabhammer attack, but Brawly recalled his pokemon first.
“Good try, dude… Hey little dude! That’s a pretty tough Corphish you got there! We’ll see how he flows against Makuhita here, though,” yelled Brawly, sending the yellow fighting pokemon onto the green floor. It began to walk towards Corphish.
“Ok Corp, nice work. Do the same thi-” Jeff was cut off by Brawly giving his order.
“Dude, use fake out!”
The guts pokemon sped up in a way that Jeff didn’t think was possible. Without time to react, Makuhita brought his black fist into Corphish’s face, sending him stumbling backwards, utterly stunned.
“Nice hit, Makuhita! Now do vital throw!” Brawly called, confidently.
The yellow fighting type grabbed Corphish by the horns and began to swing him around in circles. All Jeff could think about was when he did that to Treecko, knocking him out. Makuhita, now with enough momentum to do some serious damage, let go of Corphish and sent him careening towards Jeff. He was forced to duck to avoid his pokemon from hitting his head; poor Corppy hit the wall behind him and fell to the floor, unconscious.
“Damnit… sorry, Corp,” Jeff apologized, recalling Corphish to the pokeball. He looked around at the gym. Jeff noticed that the roof was only about twenty five feet high, not nearly enough room for Onix to battle. Even if he could, Jeff was still nervous about whether Onix really DID destroy that pokemon center.
He took out Daedalus’s pokeball. Jeff was beginning to realize that he went into this battle without thinking everything through. Daedalus still didn’t know about the last gym battle and he despised these fights. With merely a hope that Dae would battle, he released him to the field.
“Daedalus, please, I need your help.”
He materialized and looked around the field. There two humans facing off, one adrenaline filled pokemon; it didn’t take long for him to comprehend the situation. As soon as he did he turned to Jeff with an extremely betrayed look.
“Oh great, that’s two for four now,” he mumbled. “Please Daedalus… just this once,” he begged, louder.
The offended Taillow folded his wings and shook his head with a bold, “LOWW”.
“Please… I’m beggin-“
“LOW,” he replied again, cutting Jeff off. He then indignantly marched towards his pokeball, clicked the button, and turned into the red energy.
“Errr…dude? Do you have any more pokemon?” Brawly asked with some awkwardness in his voice.
“Well… I have an Onix…but he wouldn’t fit in here,” said Jeff with sudden insecurity.
“This town has had enough trouble with Onixes, anyways! We don’t need one tearing up the gym, too.”
There it was again. Onix and destruction. Was it his Onix? That couldn’t be; he found it near Petalburg. Was it the species as a whole?
Jeff’s train of thought was broken with Brawly’s voice. “I’m sorry, dude, but if you don’t have another pokemon, you’re going to have to forfeit and try again later.”
His voice shaky from frustration and embarrassment at the disgraceful loss, he said, “I…guess I…have no choice. I… give…u-”
Jeff’s lips froze in their very place and he turned around, little by little. He found his entire body slowly turning to the noise. He saw a body silhouetted by the brightness outside. Its arms were folded and the tail as well as the overall stance was unmistakable.
It was Treecko.
The soaking, cut-up, smug Treecko.
“Is that little dude gonna battle with you?” Brawly asked.
“No, he’s not. He should be rest-” Jeff was interrupted by Treecko’s tail hitting his face. The lizard then walked onto the field, his point proven. The bewildered Makuhita looked at the equally confused Brawly.
“Man, this dude has some serious relationship problems with his pokemon,” thought the gym leader to himself.
“Treecko, are you sure you want to ba…” This time, Jeff cut himself off upon seeing Treecko glare into him, more offended than Daedalus. “Right, sorry. I’m not supposed to ask you that.”
“So… it’s your badass Treecko against my tubular Makuhita, dude?” Brawly asked.
“I… guess it is,” Jeff replied, giving in.
“Righteous! Makuhita, start off with an arm thrust!”
The yellow pokemon began to run towards Treecko.
“Keep it ranged, Treecko!” Jeff advised.
The wood gecko, of course, moved in for a physical attack.
“…Or not. It’s your call,” he mumbled, irately.
Treecko awaited the first punch, which he knew was aimed for his face. Gracefully, he moved his head to the side, avoiding the punch, before slinking around behind Makuhita. Treecko pivoted in preparation to take out his legs with his tail. Makuhita sensed this and thrust his leg backwards to catch Treecko in the chest. The guts pokemon then whirled around and began to rapidly punch him, mostly in the face.
Treecko kept his neck firm and after multiple blows, spat out blood and jumped backwards. He then tried to use bullet seed. Much to his utter contempt, it didn’t work. He scowled and tried again. It was still to no avail.
“Treeeeeee CKO!” he roared in frustration.
He tried again and it finally worked. Bright yellow seeds shot from his throat. With aim directed in front of Makuhita’s path, he spat out the seeds with every ounce of strength that he possibly could. A cloud of smoke burst around the fighting type from the blow.
“Dude! Prepare to use force palm!” Brawly called out.
Treecko ran towards the shroud and rammed into Makuhita. He hit his tail into Makuhita’s chest, then pounded it across his face, and then finally hammered it into the back of his head as a result of an adept jumping maneuver.
Treecko turned to hit him again but Makuhita drove his hand into Treecko’s ribs. Neither human could see what happened but both heard a definite snap. The agony-surged lizard fell heavily to his knees, doubled over through gasps and grunts. Sweat dripped off of his snout. Rage and adrenaline poured into Treecko’s eyes.
“Treecko?! Are you ok?!” Jeff called through the smoke.
He got up just as quickly as he fell, determined not to lose.
“TREEECKO!!!” he yelled, doing a back flip. The tail, as a product from the graceful move, pounded up Makuhita’s chin. While flipping in the air, he propelled himself from the back flip into a frontward somersault. This brought his heavy tail onto the guts pokemon’s head. Makuhita fell onto his back. Treecko landed and the smoke began to clear. As soon as it did, he unleashed a volley of bullet seeds onto the already unconscious fighting type, causing bits of the floor to fly up all around him.
“Dude, not cool!” Brawly mumbled, returning Makuhita to a pokeball. “Nice job, Jeff. I wasn’t expecting that!”
Treecko began to walk towards Jeff. He stumbled in his place a bit as he walked.
“You were awesome, Treecko. Thank you, but you should really be-”
Treecko collapsed on the floor beside Jeff. The human immediately dropped to his knees and held him. Treecko coughed up some blood, which tricked down his chin and onto his chest. As Jeff quickly followed the sharp red liquid’s trail, he noticed that Treecko’s upper chest was very purple and indented inwards. He was gasping for air and heaving at a disturbingly irregular rate.
The frantic Jeff instantaneously picked Treecko up and as quickly and gently as he could, began to run with him in his arms.
“Dude! What about your badge?!” Brawly called, oblivious to the situation.
Jeff ignored him and ran through the doors. He sprinted past the sleeping guard and into the burdening downpour.
“Arceus, you should have stopped him, you should have put him before the badge and ignored his stubbornness. Arceus! You f*cking idiot, Jeff! Look what happened to him!” The soul-stabbing thoughts rushed around his head, which subsequently began to lose color.
“Come on Treeck, hang on. Hang on. Hang on!”
The large drops of water hit both him and Treecko, despite his efforts to cover him. The blood from the wounded pokemon’s chin began to wash away, accompanying the rain to the ground.
“Oh good, you found him h-”
“HIS LUNG COLLAPSED!”
Her face suddenly went from relief to seriousness. Nurse Joy carefully made the transport of Treecko from Jeff to her and led them through a white door to the right of the counter which led to a bright hallway.
“Chansey, ER! Stat! Pneumothorax!” she ordered to the egg-bearing pokemon standing in the lobby. The Chansey nodded and followed her, her face also growing serious. Jeff immediately followed the pink pokemon.
Once in the room, Joy placed Treecko on a stretcher. She took out many instruments and placed the stretcher’s belt ceremoniously over the pokemon, to hold him down incase he woke up, presumably. Jeff kneeled down to Treecko’s right, holding his hand firmly with his right and cupping both with his left. The Chansey stood beside Nurse Joy and placed an IV line filled with morphine into Treecko’s left arm.
Nurse Joy picked up a sharp metal rod in her right hand and in her left was the end of a small hose, which led to a suction machine. In the Chansey’s hand was another hose which was hooked up to a machine which appeared to be for pumping oxygen. Also attached to Treecko was an ECG monitor, for his heart rate.
“Ok, Chansey? Three – two – one – now.”
To Jeff’s horror, she stabbed the metal rod into a precise position in Treecko’s chest.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” Jeff’s father was a doctor; he knew what they were doing, but he still felt obliged to ask.
The pokemon’s pupils constricted and he gasped.
A single spurt of blood shot from the hole, which was now sealed by the rod. Droplets of blood landed on Treecko’s chest and one on Jeff’s cheek.
“Ready, Chansey? Now.”
Nurse Joy took the rod from his chest. More blood seeped from the hole.
Joy stuck her hose into the wound and blood began to fill the hose and suck towards the machine containing a blood bag. Just as quickly, Chansey put her hose into the leaking hole and oxygen began to pump into the lungs.
Treecko turned his head to Chansey.
Through labored heaves, he said, “<Tell… Jeff… I’m… proud… of… him…>”
And then he closed his eyes.
The monitor went wild.
BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP
“Prepare the defibrillator and up the oxygen output!”
BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP
Jeff squeezed Treecko’s still hand tighter.
“Oh Arceus, hang on, Treecko!”
“260 BPM. His BPs still plummeting! Bring that defibrillator over here.”
BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP
Nurse Joy took the gel accompanying the defibrillator and rubbed it on Treecko’s chest. She then readied the paddles.
There it was... the single sound that made both doctor's and visitor's hearts stop, themselves. Jeff's eyes widened and his grip on Treecko's hand tightened. He went into a state of frantic shock.
Jeff held Treecko’s limp hand with resolute zeal.
Tears began to form in his eyes.
“Clear! …Sir, please remove your hand!”
“NO!” Jeff shouted.
“Trainers…” she muttered. “Sir, remove your hand! I need to defibrillate your Treecko!”
Jeff’s hand didn’t move a muscle.
“Sir! Let go!”
“I’M NOT LETTING GO!” Jeff cried, still kneeling over Treecko.
“I’m NOT losing this patient because you’re too stubborn to let go of that Treecko! I’m giving you three seconds before I defibrillate!” she said, rubbing the paddles together. “One – two – three – clear!”
She pressed the paddles to Treecko’s gelled chest and zapped them. The shock went through Treeck, causing him to jump, and went from his hand into Jeff, causing him to twitch and fall to the ground. But he still held onto the lifeless, green hand. Jeff crawled back up, biting his lip and growling in raw emotion. Thoughts shot about Jeff’s bursting mind.
“Treecko… wake up… Arceus, buddy, please wake up! Come on! Please!”
The surge went through the two again. Jeff writhed in agony on his knees but was determined to hang on. Tears soaked his face and torrents of blood here rushing to his head from the voltage. Beads of sweat fell from his forehead.
“It’s not looking good. Chansey, raise the voltage!”
“This can’t happen. This wasn’t supposed to happen! We were supposed to battle from continent to continent, side by side. We were supposed to be just like my brother and his Treecko. We were supposed to be best friends. YOU WEREN’T SUPPOSED TO DIE!!”
Jeff kneeled over Treecko, glowering from agony and pain. He was a mess. His hair was ruffled and on end, his nose was now bleeding from the liters of blood that rushed to his face from his increasingly speeding heart. A mixture of the rivers of tears, sweat, saliva, and blood met at Jeff’s chin. The solution dripped off, onto Treecko’s face. He couldn’t see straight and he flinched from the electricity flowing through him.
He examined the peaceful, calm Treecko and let out a final sob.
“I didn’t mean to hit you! I didn’t mean to make you hate me! I didn’t mean to take you from your home and I didn’t mean to meet you and drag you into this shitty mess! Friends aren’t supposed to hurt friends! ...I failed you… and now you’re gone.”
“Treecko… I’m sor-”
And before Jeff lost consciousness, he felt his hand slip away.