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Thread: Roots // PG-13

  1. #26
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    What a great story, nothing like I suspected. I thought Rowan was going to be some goody two-shoes kid who loved pokemon. Insted he could care less about them.

    And the situation between him and his mom... very exciting. I wonder if he's going to run away? Maybe to his friend's house? I also wonder what happened in the past that caused their relationship to be hanging by a thread. What happened to his family? Where's his dad and brothers?

    And the turtwig and stunky... I was half expecting the turtwig to have experiments tried on because of it's color. I feel bad for the poor stunky...

    Very good! I can't wait for the next chapter.
    ^^This is about the time when you should be reading my post^^

  2. #27
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    Another great chapter, with more meaningless harm to that poor Stunky . Oh well, I'm sure Mr. Stunky'll be grand. More on the Space Race and some shmad tension between Micko and his mum. Looking forward for more, add me to the PM list if you can.
    It appears I cannot think of a good signature.

  3. #28
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    Piekid 11: Thanks, and I appreciate your comment!

    Horizon: Most of the answers will come in the next chapter. As for the family issues, that'll be more spaced out.

    Paddypower: All right, PM list updated.

    Thanks for the reviews everyone! See you next chapter.


    The story of Professor Rowan - Chapter 42 is up!

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  4. #29
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    I almost forgot, can you add me to the PM list?
    ^^This is about the time when you should be reading my post^^

  5. #30
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    Lol, I joined just so I could comment on this fic.

    You've portrayed rowan in a very different manner. Yes, you have the troublesome kid, but he really seems more than that. Maybe stemming from those unknown family issues...? His treatment of Pokemon also struck me. Much like Horizon said, I assumed he'd be the nerdy kid who absolutely adored Pokemon and the like, but he really couldn't care less. Perhaps another family issue? Meh, prolly way off.

    As far as grammar goes, I think I saw Stunky spelt "Sunky" somewhere, but I don't have the initative to go find it >.< Everything seemsneat and easy on the eyes, and the description okay.

    Anyways, a great read, and I can't wait for more. If you be so kind as to place me on your Pm list, I would love it ^_^
    Poliwhirl is an awesome pokemon. So there. Think aout that long and hard. That's what she said.

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Isosceles View Post
    Lol, I joined just so I could comment on this fic.

    You've portrayed rowan in a very different manner. Yes, you have the troublesome kid, but he really seems more than that. Maybe stemming from those unknown family issues...? His treatment of Pokemon also struck me. Much like Horizon said, I assumed he'd be the nerdy kid who absolutely adored Pokemon and the like, but he really couldn't care less. Perhaps another family issue? Meh, prolly way off.

    As far as grammar goes, I think I saw Stunky spelt "Sunky" somewhere, but I don't have the initative to go find it >.< Everything seemsneat and easy on the eyes, and the description okay.

    Anyways, a great read, and I can't wait for more. If you be so kind as to place me on your Pm list, I would love it ^_^
    If that's the case then, welcome to the forums

    Oh, and the typo was here:
    With the rest of its length in hand, Michael pushed open his window and threw it out. The rope unraveled noisily, extending all the way to the ground. He then went over to his closet and took out the Sunky's...
    Thanks for pointing it out! I've been trying to fix it, but it won't let me edit my post... oh well, I'll keep trying.

    I'm glad you liked my fic! PM List updated. (Oh, and Horizon, I placed you on the PM list as well. I just didn't have time to tell you so.)
    Last edited by Mrs. Lovett; 26th July 2010 at 5:38 PM.


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  7. #32
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    Sorry it's taken me so long to review Chapter Three, I've been really busy. >.<

    Anyways, yet again, another wonderful chapter Mrs. Lovett. :P The only mistake I saw was that you accidentally called the Stunky Sunky once, but I see another reviewer already informed you of that.

    It's so weird seeing Michael act so horribly towards Pokemon! I always feel so horrible every time I hear him doing stuff to that poor Stunky... xD I feel so bad for that poor little thing. I can't wait for the day he finally turns over a new leaf lol. For some reason, I just can't get enough of Patricia, too. That poor mom.... D: Blah. I'm rambling. Anyways! I couldn't spot any mistakes and it was a great read, so all in all, excellent job! Can't wait to read Chapter Four.
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  8. #33
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    Original take on an established character--I love how nothing about this is what we expected to see. I like the way you're slowly hinting at why Rowan's so messed up, and I really like Emerson--or, the fact that not ALL professors are kindly and inhumanly cheery.

    As for the shiny, yeah it's garystuish, a little, but I don't mind that. They way he reacts to it is just too funny.

  9. #34
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    Two new reviews!

    Dawn Hero: Thanks! And yes, I've been trying to edit that wretched typo, but I keep getting a 500 Server Error. It's probably the thing with those 'error words', but I'll just have to keep trying.

    And yes, it'll be quite fun to see Professor Tree turn over a new leaf. Haha. Get it? Get it?

    Yeah, I'm rambling too. Thanks for the review!

    Super Nerd: I'm glad you liked it, and I'm really glad you liked Emerson. His behavior is funny to read and even more funny to write.

    Next chapter will give us more insight into Michael's behavior... but I'm gonna work through it to make sure it's at the right pace. It'll be posted on Friday, maybe Thursday evening if I have the time. See you all then!
    Last edited by Mrs. Lovett; 27th July 2010 at 11:42 PM.


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  10. #35
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    Oh gosh, is it Friday already? All right, here's four for you all! This one took me a while, mostly because I had to organize a ton of information and events. After this, the story starts getting interesting

    Enjoy.

    0.4

    The next few days dragged on in silence. Michael spent most of his time in his room, only now, for a change, it was by choice. As the hours went by, he lay spread-eagled on his bed, watching the window light dance across the ceiling.

    So this is my summer... Michael thought. It's one thing to be suspended, but stuck in my own house? I hate this... I hate my life.

    Occasionally, his gaze trailed over to the pokéball that lay on the windowsill. He had moved it there so it wouldn't bother him, but now it had been caught again by a patch of light, and glinted mockingly.

    Michael welled with loathing. That thing would be better off at the bottom of a lake.

    There were no noises coming from any of the other rooms, and the only mark of passing time was the ticking clock on the wall. Michael had thought of filling the hole by calling his friends, but he found out much too late that Patricia had disconnected the phone cord, leaving a bare plastic deadweight on the table. She had done the same for the TV, so he couldn't watch the Space Race either.

    By the looks of it, the wounds from their conversation were still oozing, as Michael saw from the empty take-out containers littering the dining table, and half-finished bowls of leftovers in the refrigerator. His mother did not call him for meals, nor announce when she bought something new, so he had to come down and assess the inventory himself every day. In a way, this relieved him. With Patricia no longer breathing down his neck, he was free to eat all the sweets he wanted. Every night he snuck up to his room with handfuls of gummy worms, lollipops, and snack bars.

    Other than the traces she left behind, Michael never saw his mother around the house. She never came to his room to continue her reprimands or check what he was up to. Heck, she didn't even ask him if he was hungry or maybe even bored of being shut up all day. Patricia had just... vanished.

    Days passed. The sun came and went. His garbage can filled to the brink of overflow, and his supply of fresh clothes dwindled.

    One day, out of sheer boredom, Michael began searching through his shelves, which to his surprise, were filled with things he didn’t need. He found three empty packs of gum and a first-grade math workbook sandwiched behind some paperback novels, where they had been collecting dust all these years. He tossed them aside. Most of the space in the higher shelves was taken up by action figures, ones he hadn't played with in years. He left those alone, since they could at least serve as decorations. His piggy bank, due to his frequent spending, contained only five pokédollars.

    Michael cleared out the shelves slowly, often pausing on books or boxes that interested him and searching through their contents. He pushed what he didn’t need to the center of the room, and arranged everything else in a new way.

    The next day, he moved on to his drawers. Michael had never troubled himself with organization, no matter how many times Patricia tried to force it onto him. Instead, he rolled up his shirts and pants into balls and threw them in, compressing the lumpy layers when he needed more room. Now, he took them out and smoothed them, placing them back in small stacks.

    He found some of Richard's old shirts buried in the depths of the bottom drawer, since this had once been his room. Michael folded these carefully, then placed them in a corner to themselves. The only things he did toss aside were an old jacket, a pair of pants that didn't fit him, and a single red sock.

    By the end of the third day, Michael had managed to turn his den into a semi-orderly space, one that even his mother might have been proud of. On top of that, he had done it without any sort of spite or impatience. He found this rather funny, since it would usually take a good few bucks from his father to bribe him into cleaning.

    But there was still one place he hadn’t touched. The closet.

    Michael’s gaze trailed over to it now, and he felt a wave of reluctance. The closet was an enigmatic cave, one whose front was light and orderly, and whose back was a stomach of junk that sucked in objects to make itself grow. He had tried to sort through it in the past, but found it to be so vast and unintelligible that he decided it was better to leave it alone. So for four years, he confined his activities to the front, leaving the back to its own devices.

    But the more he looked at it, the more it seemed to pull him in, flooding him with curiosity. Finally, he went to open the doors, ignoring the Stunky's squeals of protest. His eyes ran over eleven years' worth of junk that was piled inside: books, sweaters, bags, toys… all of it lay in mounds on the floor, and peeked out from the depths of shelves.

    Slowly, Michael reached into the pile on the floor and pulled out a random object. It turned out to be an old notebook. He flipped through it, and saw large, pointless sentences that were written by a kindergartener's hand. Stupid. He threw it into the trash pile.

    The next object he pulled out was an empty tissue box. Why haven't I thrown this out yet? He tossed this as well.

    Michael got down to his knees and began to comb through the pile with his hands, dealing with it in manageable chunks. He took out an assortment of clothes and toys, some of which he recognized, others which could have come from another kid’s closet in a different dimension. At one point, Michael felt his hand close around the corner of a thick, heavy book, which felt nothing like the lightweight fictions or the glossy workbooks he had gotten so far. He stood up and began to wriggle it out. After a considerable amount of pulling, he managed to get it loose, and stepped back into the light to see what it was. It was an old family photo album.

    When did I ever have this? Michael wondered. He ran his fingers over the cloth binding and opened it to the inside cover. There was a name penned on the line: 'RICHARD ROWAN'. Michael’s eyes widened in recognition. This had been his brother's.

    After a pause, he turned the page.

    The first thing that greeted him was black-and-white photograph, showing a fat baby wrapped in blankets. He couldn't tell who it was, but by the faded image and the worn edges, it was most likely Brian. He had been born first. Michael’s eyes trailed down the page and found a line of text beneath it.

    "September 26th, 1946. Our son, Brian Rowan, one year old!!!" It was Patricia's handwriting.

    The second photograph was of his parents, Patricia and Andrew. Their faces were pressed together against a grassy background, and they wore toothy grins. The caption read: "A day at the park!"

    Michael chuckled, and he sat down on the floor, placing the album into his lap. He saw several more pictures of Brian on his later birthdays, then Richard's pictures, and finally his own. Michael's eyes lingered on a particular photograph that was too long to be placed vertically. It showed him at about eight years old, sitting on a swing, his head ducked down as he stared at the sand. Behind him was a spectacular sunset, a splattered canvas of red and orange, framed by the crowns of trees. The memory of the day returned to him in hazy fragments — he had been mad for some reason, and someone had taken the picture anyway. There was no caption.

    The next one was a full family shot: him, Richard, Brian, and his parents. As he looked at their faces all bunched together, it suddenly struck Michael how different they were. He, Richard, and his father all had similar features, and though the color was faded in places, he knew that their hair held the same shade of black. Patricia and Brian, on the other hand, had caramel-colored hair and softer faces. They were different from the rest, and not just by their appearance.

    For one thing, Brian had never shared any hobbies or interests with his brothers. When Michael went to play outside with Richard, Brian never went along. There were only photos of Michael and Richard by the basketball pole, Michael and Richard running in a meadow, or them and Andrew cheering at school events. The captions were always done by Richard’s hand.

    In contrast, photos of Brian showed him at honor roll assemblies, standing beside science projects, or holding awards. Patricia was nearly always present, smiling next to her star student of a son. The rest of the family appeared infrequently, and later, was altogether absent. And Michael knew why.

    It was because, for as long as he could remember, they had led separate lives. But at the time he hadn't felt it, because it hadn't mattered. His brother and father were the best companions he ever had, and so long as they were around, he was whole. They helped him with school, joined him on excursions, and pulled him through difficult times. The three of them were always the first ones out the door in the morning and the last ones to come in before dinner. When Richard became old enough to join the school soccer team, it had been a celebration. Michael and Andrew accompanied him to every practice and reserved the highest bleacher seats at games, which became the seeds of countless traditions.

    But for some reason, Patricia was never really a part of their picture. She preferred to stay at home when they went out, sitting with Brian and helping him with his homework. Like her, Brian was always orderly and in control. If Richard and Michael were the leaves, then to her, he was the fruit — the family's success. Patricia often talked of raising her other sons to Brian’s standard, but never went out of her way to fulfill it. Rather, she always disciplined them from afar, pacing up and down a boundary that she never crossed. Likewise, Andrew recognized Brian’s talents and praised his studiousness, but he never did it quite like Patricia did.

    The more photos Michael saw, the more clearly he sensed their division. It seemed almost like a game, one that could have gone on forever, had it not been for one thing that made everything come to a screeching halt.

    That had been Andrew.

    As Michael turned the page, he felt his breath catch as he saw familiar places: wide hallways, padded chairs, and a sunny, white hospital room. His father’s. This was one of the few times in the album where the whole family was gathered together.

    He remembered those months perfectly. He and his brothers would spend long hours in the room during visits, taking turns with Patricia, sometimes starting a game or conversation to lighten the mood. One particular photo stood out the most. It depicted eight-year-old Michael sitting in a chair on a night shift, his eyelids drooping and his lips chapped. It was the last hospital picture, because the next morning, the news would come. And there were no pictures for that day.

    On the surface, everyone had been the same, raw and tear-stained. But Richard seemed to crash the hardest, and his transformation resounded in every corner of Michael’s heart. While Andrew had been a father to Brian, he had been Richard's and Michael's best friend. And the loss of a best friend took a bit of someone along with it.

    Left as the head of the family, Patricia was revved from her temperance and turned into a restless, glitching machine. She tried to include Michael and Richard in her plans as much as she could, but their needs never corresponded with her abilities. When Brian's meetings and Richard's game dates clashed, her instincts told her to drive Brian first, which ignited arguments in the car, and resulted in Richard shutting himself up in the house, or staying in school until his events ended. Michael tried to stay with Richard on such occasions, but more and more frequently, Patricia made him tag along with her.

    "You can’t sit around like this,” she would say. “You have to start doing something.”

    “I want to be there for Richard,” Michael responded.

    “Richard has his own ways of coping that don’t involve those around him,” Patricia said. “You, on the other hand, have to get things going.”

    And so it had happened. Over the years, while Richard drifted away, Patricia began to make Michael her second favorite. She commended his good papers and forced him to correct bad ones, and took input from his teachers to pinpoint his skills. She did everything she had done with Brian, as if she’d seen the gleam of some hidden talent deep within him, and was now in a frenzy to dig it up. Michael had never been able to understand it. He only saw how Richard plummeted, how their walks grew rarer, and their conversations shorter. There was hardly a day when his brother didn’t seem sad or resentful, but whatever he was thinking, he had ceased to share it.

    Michael turned the page of the album, anticipating more pictures, but instead he found a bare page filled with frantic handwriting. Richard had written a letter to their father.

    Way to go, dad. Ever since you left, I've been stuck with an idiotic older brother and a mom who couldn't care less about me. Nothing’s the same without you. I don't know about them, but Michael and I miss you more than you can imagine. Fuck it, you were the best guy in the world. If you're watching me right now dad, I'm sorry. But I can't take it anymore. My entire life has been hell, and it's all because of mom and Brian. I've been trying to stick around for Michael’s sake (he reminds me of you sometimes, you know) but I don’t think I can handle much more. Mom's trying to turn both of us into Brian-clones, and she’s acting like the people we were when you were there should never have existed. So I'm gonna leave. I don't know if it’s right or wrong in her eyes and honestly I don't care. I just want things to be back to the way they were. Just you, me, and the little guy. I'll miss him too.

    Hope to see you soon,

    Richard.


    Michael’s heart quickened. There was no date on the letter, but from the content, he approximated it to be sometime after the fight.

    It had happened in the autumn of the following year. Patricia had gone to work full-time, and Brian was focusing his energies on getting into a good high school. Both of them were fighting the turbulence and moving forward. But through it all, Michael and Richard had roamed in a daze, still trying to find their way back to their stronghold of good and security. Even to each other they seemed blurred, and their gazes no longer struck together like they used to.

    That evening, he, Patricia, Brian, and Richard had been seated at dinner, at the same four-person table that now stood in the kitchen. Out of the blue, Patricia announced that Brian had been accepted at Cobblers Academy, an elite boarding school in Canalave City. From the way she had said it, Michael knew it was something they should have been very proud of. But all he had done was nod, and Richard did nothing at all.

    Patricia noticed, and questioned Richard.

    "Shouldn't you be happy for your brother?" she had said.

    To this day, Michael remembered how Richard had replied. Calmly lowering his fork, he said, "And when was the last time you were happy for either of us?" Then, he got up and left the room.

    Michael went to bed, hoping the tension would blow over like it had always done. But when he got up the next morning, he found that Richard's room was empty. No angry note. No farewell. Nothing. Patricia acted like she didn't notice. Brian made no comment either, but his gaze followed Michael throughout the entire day. When the time came for spring cleaning, Patricia hauled out the clutter from Richard’s loft and allowed Michael to move in from his bedroom downstairs, but under an unspoken condition. Michael was prohibited from mentioning his brother's name, or bringing up the subject of his disappearance. From now on, he only had one brother. Brian.

    But in the back of his mind, Michael did question it. He thought it over and over at night, sometimes to the point where he got a headache. Turns out, the answer had been in his closet the whole time. Richard had been sick of his home life too. Only he had actually gotten the guts to do something about it.

    Michael slammed the album shut and tossed it back into the closet.

    You never appreciate what you have until it's gone... He repeated the phrase several times in his mind, staring into the cluttered pit.

    Eventually, his gaze trailed off towards the window again, for the hundredth time that day. It was much dimmer outside now, and the clouds that had been red earlier had faded to purple. Michael's eyes ran over the same trees and the same houses that he had been looking at for his entire life.

    He knew Patricia couldn't stay mad at him forever. But when she did forgive him, what would happen next? He'd probably be forced to raise the Turtwig, and let the Stunky go. Patricia would detach him from his best friends, then proceed to sign him up for science club once summer was out. A Brian-in-the-making. She'd fill all his college applications before they would even get to him, and he'd be shipped off to some distant college, studying something he didn't even care about.

    And then what? Michael scowled at the window. With her, my life is a void. She wants to control me like a fucking puppet. What if I don't want that? Just because Brian liked it doesn't mean I have to!

    Michael's eyes shifted towards his desk, then almost by accident, found his school backpack slumped on the floor beside it. He sat up. The zipper was partially open, with torn notebooks peeking out of the pocket. As he stared at it, Michael felt an idea dawning upon him. It did so in stages, like the gradual pull of the tides, which crept further after every retreat till they came back to sweep the whole shore.

    I don't have to follow her orders. I can make my own future. Just like Richard. He felt himself smile.

    Michael crawled over to the backpack and turned it over, emptying its contents onto the carpet. Then he stood and went around his room, refilling it bit by bit. He packed a change of clothes, and a pair of socks. He broke open his piggy bank, folding the last of the money into his wallet, and zipped it up into an inner pocket. Then he scooped the pile of candy on his desk and dropped it in as well. Lastly, he packed a notebook and pencils, figuring he might want to write to his friends.

    With his backpack full, Michael rose to his feet and gave his room a final once-over. It was by no means empty. His shelves looked chock-full even after the cleaning, and the lump of junk was still there at the center of the room, practically on the verge of collapse. Not so long ago, Michael would brag to his friends about how much his posters meant to him, and how his records were of top-notch quality. But now, he never wanted to see any of it again. What had once been his pride and joy now only reminded him of his pathetic state.

    Just as he began to turn for the door, a faint squeal cut him off. The Stunky was whining again. Michael dropped the backpack and rushed to open the closet. The pokémon was there as expected, with its tail drooping and its eyes narrowed from the sudden light. Michael scowled down at it.

    "What do you want now, Skanky? I'm leaving, you got what you wanted. No more nasty, good-for-nothing hooligan on your back."

    He stepped away, but the Stunky squealed again, making him turn back.

    "What, what is it?"

    The Stunky eyed him unblinkingly.

    Michael narrowed his eyes. "You pokémon have given me nothing but trouble. All you do is freaking look at me. You think you’re so intelligent, you think you deserve some kind of special treatment, but you just run around everywhere like pests. You get in the way and you whine and you... what? Stop staring at me!"

    He got no response. Michael groaned.

    "Do you want a playmate or something? Here!" He pulled the pokéball from the windowsill and twisted it open, releasing a burst of light. When the Turtwig had emerged, he unlatched the Stunky's cage and set his starter beside it. "Your new friend. Happy together? Go play or something." Michael backed away.

    He realized what he had done a second too late.

    The Stunky let out a screech of freedom, and tore across the room towards the door.

    "NO!" Michael exclaimed. "Get back!"

    He dove after it, but his hands gripped empty air, and he fell to his stomach. The puffy purple tail bounced as the pokémon raced down the stairs into the living room. He scrambled to his feet, but before he could stand up, something else rammed into his leg and knocked him down again. A second cry rushed past him.

    "TURTURTUR!"

    "Get back, you cretins!" Michael shouted.

    The Turtwig ignored him. As he watched it hop down the stairs, Michael's hands flew to his head. "Argh! I'm such a fucking ditz!"

    He grabbed the cage and the pokéball and ran for the stairs, forgetting all about Patricia, feeling only the storm of anger churning inside of him.

    He stomped down to the bottom floor and swept his gaze over the living room, and his eyes locked on a dark, moving projectile. The Stunky was scurrying around the couch, and the Turtwig was snapping at its heels, barking madly. They scampered all over the furniture, displacing pillows and bumping tables.

    Michael tried to run after them, but compared to their speed, he was a lumbering giant. The moving bodies zipped around and between his feet, but no matter how quickly he turned, all he could assess was the trail of damage they left behind. The Stunky’s claws tore gashes in the rugs, and feathers spilled from the pillows of the armchair, whipping up in flurries when the pokémon zipped past. Finally, Michael caught sight of the Stunky as it fled the sitting area, running in the direction of the kitchen and front door. But instead of going all the way, it turned into a corner and dove between the legs of a tall metal table, which held Patricia’s favorite vase. At the same time, the Turtwig skid to a stop and rounded on its cornered prey.

    Michael stopped cold.

    The Turtwig began to creep forward slow steps, his chin lowered to the carpet like a canine’s. Meanwhile, the twitching Stunky tried to push itself even farther against the wall. The vase gave a slight wobble, and Michael clenched his fist.

    If that thing breaks... I'll kill both of them.

    The Turtwig continued to advance on the table, pointing forward with the branch on its head, which was sprouting with leaves. Instead of going for the kill, however, the pokémon stopped a couple feet away and stood there, growling. Michael approached, and when he had reached its side, the Turtwig looked up at him with shining eyes.

    It took Michael a few seconds to realize what he was seeing. The Turtwig had cornered the Stunky. It had helped him.

    Michael stood there for a moment, the pokéball and cage hanging limp at his sides. "Well... cool."

    With a smile, he unlatched the cage door and kneeled down in front of the table. "Here, Stunky Stunky. Back to your home."

    He snapped his fingers, but the Stunky didn’t move.

    Damn it, smart Stunky! Michael gritted his teeth.

    He scooted closer, pushing himself and the cage as carefully as he could. “Come on, get in the cage.” He continued to crawl forward, till he felt his head bump against the glass table, and saw the legs sway.

    No... please no...

    The more his fear mounted, the more he grimaced. "Come on, you good-for-nothing buttface! Get in!" Michael placed the cage down at an angle, and reached from the other side to grab the Stunky’s tail. Its body remained still as his fingers inched towards it, but right as he felt them graze its fur, the Stunky snarled and jumped away. It pushed past the cage and went for the kitchen.

    "No, you skag! Argh!" Michael turned around and started to rise to his knees. But midway, he felt his shoulder bump against something hard, which gave way beneath it moments later. He looked over, but it was too late — the vase and table were tipping to the side, and in a matter of seconds there was a loud bang and crack as the vase split in three against the floor.

    The Turtwig took off like a bomb, racing after the Stunky, barking as loud as a siren. Michael rushed after them, forgetting about the mess, wanting only to stop the damage before it could spread. He burst into the kitchen and saw the Stunky running circles around the room, bumping and scratching at the appliances. The Turtwig chased after it, blocking it whenever it tried to escape the room, and gradually forced it into a corner. Then the Turtwig lowered its chin, brandishing the branch on its head, and began to whip it from side to side. With each swipe, a leaf dislodged from the branch and sliced through the air like a razor, striking Stunky’s skin and bouncing off. The Stunky screeched and backed away towards the sink, where the Turtwig made a daring leap and tackled it to the ground.

    Michael acted immediately. He opened the cage all the way and slammed it over the Stunky, letting the Turtwig wriggle free. He lifted the cage, scooping the Stunky up along with it, and locked the door. When everything was secure, he let out a breath, and twirled the cage so that the pokémon’s face was directly in front of his.

    "There. And you're never coming out again. Hear me?" Michael banged the cage with his hand, and the Stunky growled.

    "Tur-tur!"

    Michael looked down. The Turtwig was looking up at the cage as well, rather proudly. Michael rolled his eyes.

    "Yeah, yeah, you helped, all right? But you're going in too." He twisted open the silver pokéball and aimed it at the Turtwig. A bolt of light escaped the capsule and struck the pokémon, turning its body into a white silhouette. Moments later, it was sucked away and vanished.

    Michael was just about to put it into his backpack when he heard a clatter from an upstairs room.

    "Michael?" came a voice. "Michael!"

    Patricia had stirred. Her footsteps were growing louder.

    Shit! There was no time to put the pokéball away. Michael rushed to the front door and unlocked it. From somewhere behind him, he heard a gasp. Patricia had seen the vase.

    "Michael, where are you? What happened in here?"

    Hope you like living alone! Michael smiled. He slipped through the door and closed it quietly, then hobbled away as fast as his load would allow.

    Once he had cleared the driveway and made it to the sidewalk, he slid behind a large bush and sat there for a moment, catching his breath. Through the leaves and branches, Michael could see patches of his house. The door was still closed, which meant that Patricia either hadn’t heard him leave, or didn't care. Either way, she definitely couldn't see him here.

    Michael waited for a few more minutes, and when he was certain the door wouldn’t open, he removed a candy bar from his backpack to settle his growling stomach.

    Beside him, the Stunky pawed at the wall of cage. "Stu stu!"

    "Shut it!" Michael hissed. "I didn't eat dinner. And no, you can't have any. This has to last me for the entire night, maybe even breakfast tomorrow."

    The Stunky fell silent. Michael turned his head to face the street, following its path with his eyes. It went down, down, down, all the way to the beginnings of the city. In that distant strip of land, Jubilife shone with nighttime activity.

    Once he had finished eating, Michael got up and continued to walk at a casual pace, eying the rows of houses he passed. Some glowed from inside like jack-o-lanterns, and others were completely dark, meaning that their owners had left for the summer. Michael knew the community's every curve and bump, after years of running and playing in it. It was the place he loved, but it was also the place he had to get away from.

    His footsteps thumped soft and alone against the sidewalk, in tune with the beat of his heart.

    The neighborhood wasn't gated, nor did it have an official name. Its exit was marked by a sign that read 'JUBILIFE CITY - 0.5 MILES'. When Michael reached it, he paused, and looked out at the dark, quiet road.

    Am I really doing this? Am I really about to run away? The absurdity of his actions unsettled him. After all, where would he go? What chance did he stand at thirteen, with five dollars in his wallet?

    Michael looked back. Somewhere among the sea of houses was his. Patricia had probably realized the house was empty, and was having a hysterical fit. Or, she might have gone back to her room, too lazy to investigate.

    Either way, he thought, I'm sick of that place. And whatever my future is, I want to build it myself.

    Michael exhaled. His decision was made. He hoisted his backpack onto both shoulders, tightened his grip on the cage, and started forward.

    Both his brothers had left the house when they could, setting off on their own to start a new life. Now it was his turn.
    Last edited by Mrs. Lovett; 10th July 2014 at 12:09 AM.

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    Awww, Michael ran away? D: Poor Patricia... Yet again, another wonderful chapter Mrs. Lovett. There were only two errors I saw when I read through.

    He slid into a patch of untamed land near their house, where sat for a moment, breathing heavily.
    Small, next to nothing mistake. You just forgot the 'he' before the 'where.'

    Somewhere among the rows houses was his.
    Well, I don't know if this is a mistake or not. It's phrased really awkwardly to me. "Somewhere among the row of houses was his" may be a better fix, but that's really all up to you if you want to swap it out or not.

    Hmm. So Patricia like, totally stopped caring for him? D: That's so sad. She's gonna be so depressed when she sees Michael ran away too. The whole photo album with Richard was an excellent addition to the story. I dunno why, but Richard's letter gave me Deja vu for some reason. xD It'll be interesting to see what happens to Michael now that he's on his own with his Stunky and Turtwig.

    Great chapter, Mrs. Lovett. Can't wait for the next one!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dawn_Hero View Post
    Awww, Michael ran away? D: Poor Patricia... Yet again, another wonderful chapter Mrs. Lovett. There were only two errors I saw when I read through.

    He slid into a patch of untamed land near their house, where sat for a moment, breathing heavily.
    Small, next to nothing mistake. You just forgot the 'he' before the 'where.'

    Somewhere among the rows houses was his.
    Well, I don't know if this is a mistake or not. It's phrased really awkwardly to me. "Somewhere among the row of houses was his" may be a better fix, but that's really all up to you if you want to swap it out or not.
    EDIT: I just understood what you meant. I read your post wrong the first time around. And yeah, that sentnece does seem a bit awkward, so I replaced 'among' with 'along'. Thanks!

    So, I'm glad you liked the chapter. See you next time!
    Last edited by Mrs. Lovett; 31st July 2010 at 1:16 AM.


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    Yay, new chapter ^_^

    I was surprised at Micheal running away, but it gives the story some different plot branches to choose from, so I like it. The discoloured (I refuse to use the term "shiny") Turtwig helped Michael with the Stunky, so perhaps it will respect Michael. I can't see Michael caring thouggh, but I hope that soon he will open his heart. Turtwig was always my favourite starter from the 4th gen

    Quick question: Why doesn't Michael just release the Stunky? It's been causing him no end of problems, but he hasn't yet even thought of getting it away from him. Will it maybe become a party member?

    Anyways, great chapter, revealed some past information, and advanced the plot along very nicely. Can't wait for next week
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    Quote Originally Posted by Isosceles View Post
    Quick question: Why doesn't Michael just release the Stunky? It's been causing him no end of problems, but he hasn't yet even thought of getting it away from him. Will it maybe become a party member?
    Michael doesn't release the Stunky because he went through a lot of work to get it and wants to keep it as a prize. I'll explain more of this later, but he wants to keep it with him so he can exact his revenge on it for causing him that many problems. Releasing it would be giving up, in a way.

    As for the Stunky's future, I have something very good in store for it, but I won't reveal that yet.

    Thanks for reviewing, and see you next chapter!


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    Its not to say that both of these chapters weren't good, they were. It's not that the plot wasn't good, as it was. I throughly enjoyed them both, but they were too short. Let's focus on chapter four.

    You depicted the death of Michael's father and the ensuing emotional strife and turmoil it caused. I think you captured that emotion of that disaster perfectly, and for that you should be commended.

    I also like the fact that Michael ran away and kept the Stunky. I just would have preferred that both chapters were longer, that way we would have had some better description of Sinnoh back in the day, and perhaps advance further in Rowan's journey.

    Keep up the good work, but maybe tweak your length and description a bit. I want to see a little more of your Sinnoh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Manaphyman View Post
    Its not to say that both of these chapters weren't good, they were. It's not that the plot wasn't good, as it was. I throughly enjoyed them both, but they were too short. Let's focus on chapter four.

    You depicted the death of Michael's father and the ensuing emotional strife and turmoil it caused. I think you captured that emotion of that disaster perfectly, and for that you should be commended.

    I also like the fact that Michael ran away and kept the Stunky. I just would have preferred that both chapters were longer, that way we would have had some better description of Sinnoh back in the day, and perhaps advance further in Rowan's journey.

    Keep up the good work, but maybe tweak your length and description a bit. I want to see a little more of your Sinnoh.
    All right, I understand what you mean. It's just that these two cover a time when Michael is stationary, and all he really sees is his house and the places closest to it. The next chapter will see him in the city, so I'll have more things to work with.

    So, thanks for the honesty, and I'll definitely try to do more in the chapters to come. See you next time!


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    So Micheal ran away... because he wanted to follow in his brother's footsteps. I didn't think Micheal would do something like that, especially for that reason. Nice twist.

    I like how in the rush with the Stunky escaping, caused him to bring his pokemon with him during his run-away. Also how the Turtwig helped him corner the Stunky shows that even though how cruel Micheal acts towards pokemon Turtwig will respect him. Maybe Stunky will too someday?

    As for Patricia... I don't feel bad for her. She should've learn from Richard that she can't force her children to do things in her own interests and neglect theirs. I'm not saying that Micheal should keep hating pokemon, but she shouldn't force him to do things that aren't his interests all the time.

    And there's my opinion so far. If anything it would be nice if you made the chapters longer. But besides that, keep up the good work!
    ^^This is about the time when you should be reading my post^^

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    Quote Originally Posted by Horizon View Post
    So Micheal ran away... because he wanted to follow in his brother's footsteps. I didn't think Micheal would do something like that, especially for that reason. Nice twist.

    I like how in the rush with the Stunky escaping, caused him to bring his pokemon with him during his run-away. Also how the Turtwig helped him corner the Stunky shows that even though how cruel Micheal acts towards pokemon Turtwig will respect him. Maybe Stunky will too someday?

    As for Patricia... I don't feel bad for her. She should've learn from Richard that she can't force her children to do things in her own interests and neglect theirs. I'm not saying that Micheal should keep hating pokemon, but she shouldn't force him to do things that aren't his interests all the time.

    And there's my opinion so far. If anything it would be nice if you made the chapters longer. But besides that, keep up the good work!
    Funny, because I was just editing chapter five...

    Like I said before, from here on the story will start lengthening. It's just that I had to get past this period in Michael's life where he was waiting to move on to better things. There will be more to show in the upcoming chapters, anyway, so I do hope it'll be better for everyone.

    Originally, Michael's escape went very differently, and then I came up with a better idea. I'm glad I did too :P

    Thanks for the review!


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    PM list plz


    Also, this fic is awesome. I never thought that a story going in depth to Rowan's background could be so entertaining. I wonder what character change he goes through that makes him become a Professor? It would also be a bit interesting if he met some of his older brothers that ran away, like he meets one and they team up, but he finds out that the other one died or something?

    Anyway, keep it up. Looking forward to chapter 5.
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    I saw it coming that Micko would run away, but still, you handled it great. I enjoyed the little delve into his family's past which sort of shows why his mother is so protective of him. I'm curious to see what he'll be doing now, if he hates Pok&#233;mon he can hardly go off on a journey without some brilliant reason can he? But he can't really hang around Jubilife without getting recognised or found by the police soon enough. Your move, Michael.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LudicoloGuy View Post
    PM list plz


    Also, this fic is awesome. I never thought that a story going in depth to Rowan's background could be so entertaining. I wonder what character change he goes through that makes him become a Professor? It would also be a bit interesting if he met some of his older brothers that ran away, like he meets one and they team up, but he finds out that the other one died or something?

    Anyway, keep it up. Looking forward to chapter 5.
    PM list updated. Thanks so much! As for his brothers, it won quite happen that way but don't worry, you'll get to find out what happens to everyone.


    Quote Originally Posted by Paddypower View Post
    I saw it coming that Micko would run away, but still, you handled it great. I enjoyed the little delve into his family's past which sort of shows why his mother is so protective of him. I'm curious to see what he'll be doing now, if he hates Pokémon he can hardly go off on a journey without some brilliant reason can he? But he can't really hang around Jubilife without getting recognised or found by the police soon enough. Your move, Michael.
    Yeah he's in a bit of a pickle now, isn't he? Hehe. Don't worry, he'll get what's coming to him... Not saying anything else, though.

    Glad you all enjoyed this, and see you next chapter.


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    All right, this little chapter sees Michael in the big city. I posted it a day early because I won't be on tomorrow.

    This chapter's been through the grinder and back; that's all I have to say. Hope you like it!

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    0.5

    Jubilife City appeared in stages.

    First came the famous ledge, the natural hill that the city stood upon. It raised the downtown above everything else, like a princely estate among cornfields, and as Michael followed the upward slope, he soon found himself a good few meters higher than the land behind him. The structures here were small and plain, things like family-owned businesses and gas stations. The houses were all propped up on stilts that made sure they stood horizontally, but the effect was a drab, rickety look that made it seem like they could collapse at any moment. Few cars lingered here, and the ones that did reflected the washed-out state of everything else. Michael watched as a rusty Oldsmobile passed by, spewing brown exhaust from its tailpipe.

    No show, no go... he thought with a snicker.

    As he continued farther up, the city grew cleaner, and the roadways smooth. Now he saw billboards with smiling people and pokémon, warmly welcoming him to the downtown and urging him to stop and get a cool haircut. The sidewalk widened, making room for dozens of little stands and booths, where street vendors displayed racks of souvenirs, food, and novelties. The items were all horribly overpriced, yet people gathered around in droves to buy them.

    Michael had spent his fair share of time in the downtown, from weekend outings to forced shopping journeys, and countless adventures with his friends. He knew West Jubilife like the back of his hand, but the farther east he went, the more his sense of direction faltered, and the more the buildings and crowds seemed to compress together, forming rivers of congestion.

    Most of the people around him were high-school students going wild on their summer break, strolling about the streets while the night was still young. They walked in cliques amid puffs of cigarette smoke and clinking glasses, crowding out the businesspeople to the sides of walkways. Across the street, Michael caught sight of a tall blonde in a knee-length miniskirt. Her arm was draped over the shoulder of an older, muscular guy, but it was safe to look from a distance. She was prettier than most of the girls at his school, who preferred to keep their hair tied and their faces unpainted, or did their makeup to such an extent that their faces seemed like porcelain masks. But this girl was the perfect middle boundary. He could detect a bit of eyeshadow and lipstick, but other than that, she was a natural beauty. Michael's gaze lingered on her as the couple walked, finally turning to enter a pub.

    Nice, he thought with a smile. Just ditch Big Nose over there and you'll be swell.

    A few minutes later, Michael’s gaze found a different girl — a brunette with unbelievably curly hair standing in front of an opened doorway. She was somewhat bigger than the blonde and wore thick-rimmed glasses. He wasn’t the type to judge a girl on the fact that she wore glasses (his previous girlfriend had worn them and looked mighty fine) so at first the brunette seemed all right, until he was close enough to read the sign she was holding: "Join the National Science League! Donations accepted inside!"

    Michael was instantly reminded of school, and quickened his pace. From then on, he kept his wandering eyes fixed ahead. The cool kids drove cars, anyway.

    As he progressed, the cars on the road became shinier and more exquisite, to the point where Michael had to stop to admire them. They glimmered in the light like candy wrappers, their bumpers bearing names like 'Chevrolet' and 'Pontiac'. He must have looked pretty idiotic, standing there with his lips parted, but Michael didn't care.

    I'll have one of those someday. The best car there is, and I'll have it.

    He made his pledge while eying a red Ford Galaxie. The model was a tribute to the Team Galactic rocket of the same name, and featured a bulky frame with shiny stripes along the side. A man was sitting in the driver's seat, his eyes hidden behind sunglasses and one arm carelessly dangling out over the door. For a moment, Michael imagined himself in his place. It felt good, even though he knew he might never get that much.

    No one around him seemed to care that he was carrying a Stunky with him, though on one occasion he thought he heard someone coo, "Aw, look at the cute little trainer!" Michael couldn't see the face behind the voice, so he kept going, his cheeks stinging. The Stunky, meanwhile, was exploring the city in its own mammalian way. It scurried around, eyes blinking, probably also transfixed by the city's beauty. For a brief moment, Michael wondered what it must feel like to be a pokémon, to leave your home and be surrounded by so many unfamiliar things. From inside the cage, the world must have seemed bigger than life. In that sense, they were alike.

    After a few more minutes of walking, Michael reached the heart of Central Jubilife. He knew it when he saw the fountain — a magnificent bowl that stood in an open square, shooting out tall plumes of water. The lights around it flashed all sorts of colors, dyeing the streams green, blue, red, and everything else imaginable. The fountain was surrounded by a garden, with vines that reached up to embrace the stone bowl. People sat in benches around it, talking, playfully rocking their feet.

    For a moment, Michael listened to the rushing streams.

    So this is what freedom feels like. He inhaled, and could almost taste the water through the air. What would Cory and Brendan say?

    He stood on the sidewalk for a long while, then gathered his thoughts and pressed on. He crossed another street, keeping himself occupied by glancing at the windows he passed. Among the hair salons, candy shops, and clothing boutiques, his eyes found a bookstore. Its door was bright and new, to his almost comic observation, as if not many people had used it. The store was called Fran's Books. For some reason or another, he saw himself enter.

    Inside, the store was clean and quiet, with walls of shelves that reached all the way up to the ceiling. Once the door closed behind him, the sounds of the city vanished, replaced by the buzzing of ceiling lamps.

    The only person there was a female clerk, who sat behind a semicircular counter, reading a newspaper. Her area was a little island of light, while in the back room, the bookcases were masked in shadow. When the woman saw Michael, her eyebrows perked in greeting. Her name tag read, simply, 'Fran'.

    "Hello," she said. "Sorry, I wasn't expecting anyone this late. I try to save energy this time of year, since not a lot of people come in." She flipped a light switch behind her, and the other room lit up.

    "Why not?" asked Michael.

    The woman shrugged. "I don't know. Summer, I guess. Everyone's out having fun, going to dances, and I'm the only one sitting inside reading."

    "I like books," Michael said. It was true, actually. When he was younger, he sometimes stole Brian's books to keep himself entertained during boring class sessions. But for some reason, his interest had dwindled over the years. Stepping into a bookstore was like stepping back into childhood.

    Meanwhile, the clerk smiled. "Good for you. You know, I've been noticing that people who read are less likely to get into trouble."

    Michael stifled a laugh. Well that can't be true.

    "And they also end up leading better lives," she continued. "These young people... all they care about is self-indulgence. Most of my friends wouldn't take a book into their hands if they were forced to. It's a choice you have to make early on, you know. Pay now, play later, or play now and pay later." She chuckled.

    Michael didn’t know what to say, so he just nodded.

    "Sorry, I'm rambling," the woman said. "I work by myself most of the time, so my mind tends to run." She leaned back and took the newspaper back into her hands. "So you wanna have a look around?"

    "I guess," Michael said.

    The clerk nodded. Her eyes went to the cage. "But be careful with that Stunky of yours. Some of these books are really old."

    "Okay."

    "Just holler if you need me."

    Michael went to the back room and began to pace around, reading the titles that surrounded him. Most of the spines were tattered, their text faded. It occurred to him that this might have been secondhand shop.

    Beside him, he felt the Stunky shift around. Michael picked a book from the shelf and turned it over to read the cover. It was a history book of some sort, and its binding was worn from years of being passed along. On the back, Michael saw the price tag — ten P. His eyes bulged. Even in school book fairs, he had never seen one more expensive than four.

    "That's a really old book," said the woman from up front. "It's about ancient pokémon."

    "It's expensive," Michael said.

    "Like I said, it's old! And it's a special edition that is rarely reprinted nowadays. I actually got it off a—" Her sentence was cut short by a loud rrip. By the time Michael realized what it was, it was too late.

    He had lowered his arm without realizing it, letting the bottom corner of the book dip into the cage. The Stunky had locked its jaws around it, soaking the pages with saliva.

    "No, no! Bad Stunky!" Michael tried to yank the book loose, but the Stunky's grip was iron. The clerk nearly fell out of her chair. She was at Michael's side in seconds.

    "It'll ruin the binding!" she screeched. "Get it off, quick!"

    "I'm trying, I'm trying!" Michael shook the cage violently, bumping it against his knee and the shelves, causing two books to fall to the floor. But the harder he tugged, the stronger the Stunky held.

    "Get it off, get it off!" The woman’s voice reached a hysterical high. Her hands moved frantically around the cage, fingers poking through the gaps in the bars. Somehow, she managed to reach inside with her thumb and gripped the Stunky’s tail.

    "No, don’t!" Michael began, but before he could finish, a jet of green gas shot out at the woman's face. She let out a yelp and fell backwards, arms flying up. The cloud of stink rose and spread, and Michael backed away with a cringe, eyes watering.

    The woman slid down against the shelf and plopped to the floor. Her cheeks were wet with tears, and her mouth was hanging open.

    "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry!" With one final exertion, Michael pulled the book out of the Stunky's mouth. He held it up to inspect it, but the damage had already been done. The entire bottom half was in ruins, and a page jutted out like a hanging tongue. Teeth marks stood out from where the Stunky had been holding.

    The store was silent for a few moments.

    "Oh no..." The woman rose slowly to her feet. A muscle beneath her left eye twitched.

    In his mind, Michael kicked himself. He hadn't been in the store for five minutes, and already something had gone wrong.

    "I'm sorry! It was an accident!" he said. "Here, take your book." He placed it in her shaking hands.

    "This... do you know how much this meant to me? Ten entire dollars, wasted..." The woman’s eyes were bloodshot from the chemical reaction made by the musk.

    "It was the Stunky's fault, not mine!" Michael said.

    The clerk cleared her throat and ran her fingers through her hair. "It's okay, I guess it's not your fault. That book was about to fall apart anyway." To his surprise, she began laughing. "Heh! It's sure gonna need some repair."

    She opened her mouth to say something else, but whatever it was didn't come out. Instead, her eyes fell on the cage. Her expression softened a little as she kneeled down beside it.

    "Oh, you poor thing. You're probably hungry. Is that why you bit my book? Huh, little fella?" The woman placed a hand on the cage, and the Stunky shrank back from it. All of a sudden, she seemed to forget that her favorite book was in ruins and that she smelled like vomit.

    "Uh... so, do I have to pay for the book?" Michael asked.

    The woman looked back up at him, arching her eyebrows. "Your pokémon looks awfully hungry, kid."

    "I... well, yeah, I know, but that's not the—”

    The woman rose to her full height, her face towering well above his. "That thing is all skin and bones. Are you sure it's okay?"

    Michael nodded. "It's fine."

    "It doesn't look too good. Were you gonna take it to a vet?"

    Michael shook his head. "No, it's fine, really. So do you want me to pay? I mean, I can if you want me to, whatever."

    The woman didn't seem to be hearing him. She looked at the Stunky, frowning.

    "Look, I can pay for the book! If you want me to." Michael repeated. The intensity of her gaze was unsettling him.

    "Why are you keeping it in a cage like this? Most people just let their pokémon walk on a leash."

    Michael exhaled. Why did she keep switching the subject? "I don't know. Okay? This is all I have."

    "Where did you get it anyway? Are you a trainer?"

    "It's none of your business! And no, I'm not a trainer!" Michael retorted. "If you don't want me to pay, then I'll go." He began to back away, but the woman advanced towards him.

    "You know, trainers are the only minors permitted to carry pokémon with them. So if you don't have a trainer card, having that Stunky with you is illegal. Plus, it doesn't appear to be in very good health."

    "It's perfectly fine!"

    The woman shook her head. "You know, if you're not a trainer and you're not with an adult, I can assume that it's not yours and you're abusing it. That poor pokémon is shaking. Look at it! Does that mean anything to you?"

    Michael took a quick peek at the Stunky. Yes it was shaking, but he always thought it was from fright, not hunger. Didn't he feed it earlier? What more could it want?

    "I don't care! I mean, just..." Michael groaned, but for some reason the words weren’t coming out the way he wanted them to.

    The woman's eyes widened. "You don't care?"

    Michael pressed his palm to his forehead. "I can pay for the book," he said. "Then I'll leave, okay? I know I'm not a trainer, but I swear, this is my Stunky. I caught him myself and I put him in the cage because if I don't, he’ll run away! Okay?"

    The woman didn’t answer. Her expression was clouded, and she looked down at Michael as if he were some sort of maniac.

    "No... just get out of my store," she said slowly.

    Michael raised an eyebrow. "Are you sure? Because—"

    "Just get out! You little monster." The woman stepped past him and went back to her desk. Then she did something that surprised him. She threw the book into the trash can, letting it fall into the scrap like a worthless piece of paper.

    Michael narrowed his eyes. "Fine," he murmured. "Buy another one."

    By the time he left the store and resumed his walk, the Stunky was growing restless. Michael could feel the vibrations it made as it circled around, and he shook the cage up and down to make it stop.

    "Shut up, shut up!" Michael said. "It's all your fault anyway, Skanky. You should be happy if I decide to feed you by next week." The Stunky made no reply. Michael continued down the sidewalk, dodging anyone who got in his way. His mind was churning.

    What a moron... How am I a monster? She was the one who tried to butt into my business. Now she can spend her own money to buy another book. What do I care?

    But for some reason, he did. What the clerk said had displaced something within him. And no matter how he turned the conversation in his mind, he could wring no other meaning from of her words. Her intention had been very clear — you, Michael Rowan, are a monster for starving the Stunky.

    He had been called worse before. So why did this accusation bother him?

    Michael kept replaying the previous few minutes in his mind as he walked. He had stopped reading the street signs, and was now wandering aimlessly, with no idea where he even was. He drove himself to such extent that the sounds of the city began echoing strangely in his ears, and some of the signs became blurry to him. On top of it all, he was feeling a painful rumbling at the pit of his stomach. The candy bar from earlier had done nothing to chase away his hunger.

    I need some real food... Michael pursed his lips thoughtfully. Looking around, he saw that there were a few restaurants around him, but they were all bars and nightclubs that looked as if they'd offer him a fight before they'd offer him food. He kept walking, till he came across a sign that read 'Joe's Supreme Sandwiches'. Without hesitation, Michael went inside.

    The store consisted of a single room, furnished with a few round tables and a row of booths along the walls. The wallpaper was a dingy yellow, and elevator music crackled over the chatter of seated customers. A glass display beside the front counter showed rows of colorful sandwiches, piled with meat, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, and countless other things. Michael's stomach rumbled again.

    He approached the counter, where a man stood, assembling a sub with gloved hands. When Michael stopped by the register, he looked up.

    "No pokémon allowed in the restaurant.”

    Michael tore his eyes from the display and looked down at the Stunky. It was still a bit shaky from the bookstore, and looked ready to pounce. "Sorry. I can't really get rid of it right now."

    The clerk sighed. "Whatever. As long as that thing doesn't urinate on my floor. If it does, you're cleaning it up. Understood?"

    Michael nodded.

    "All right. What will you be having?"

    "Can I have the sandwich you're making?"

    The clerk shook his head. "Nope. This one's for me. My genius of a manager doesn't give me much time for lunch breaks." He bit off a corner of the sandwich and began to chew. "Don't tell anyone I said that."

    "Okay... how much is a beef?”

    "Fifty cents."

    Michael nodded and dropped his backpack to the floor. He squatted down and began a very long, very awkward search for his money. The clerk didn’t complain. He waited for Michael to hand him a dollar bill, then reached into the display to pull out a large sandwich. He slapped it onto a tray and pushed it towards Michael, along with his change.

    "Anything to drink?"

    "Water."

    Michael handed over his change in return for a water bottle, and went to look for an empty table. The café was considerably full for its size. He looked around the room, then suddenly, his eyes locked on a single face, and he recognized the blonde girl he had seen before. She was sitting alone at a booth, absently stirring a cup of tea. Their gazes met for a moment. Before he pulled away, Michael noticed that her eyes were a deep amber.

    He turned in the opposite direction and found an empty booth, and slid into the corner until he was well out of sight. He placed the Stunky beneath the table and took a long drink of water. But just as he lifted the sandwich to his mouth, he heard a loud peep from beneath the table.

    Some people turned their heads. Michael quickly looked down, and saw that the Stunky had begun to pace around again. He glared at it for a few moments. It gave another squeal. Feeling sorry for it, Michael tore off a bit of his sandwich and tossed it into the cage. The Stunky threw itself upon it, and backed away with it into the darkness. Quiet at last.

    He finished his sandwich without any further interruptions, and left the café with a satisfied stomach. He strolled up the sidewalk at a leisurely pace, looking around at the buildings with renewed interest. A large slip of the sky was visible overhead, completely black against the glare of light.

    Michael was watching the cars go by when he felt a tap on his shoulder.

    "Excuse me," said a mellow voice. Female.

    He turned, and at first he couldn't believe his eyes. The blonde was standing three feet away from him. He could see her features in detail now — thin waist, long nose, pink lips. Freckles. She was definitely older than him, probably by about four years. The oldest girl he had flirted with was one grade above him, but that was nothing compared to this.

    The blonde's eyes were narrowed, and she seemed to be in deep thought.

    "Uh... hello," Michael said. Oh God, do I have crumbs on my mouth? He casually reached up and wiped it with the back of his hand. It was a stupid move, something a class nerd would have done, but the girl didn't seem to notice.

    "Do I know you from somewhere?" she said. "I'm sorry, but you look really familiar."

    "I saw you... walk into a pub earlier today."

    Whatever she was about to say she bit back, giggling. "Uh, no. I don't mean that. From a distance, you looked exactly like someone I know. What's your name?"

    "Michael."

    The girl’s face lit up for a moment, but then the smile vanished. "No, no, I made a mistake. Sorry about that. For a second, you two looked really similar..."

    "Who's the guy?"

    The girl shook her head dismissively. "Just a friend from Slateport."

    "Oh, so you're not from here?"

    "No. I live in Hoenn. I'm visiting my cousin for the summer." She crossed her arms. "But he's more interested in the beer quality than the landmarks. He didn't even give me a map."

    "Do you need directions or anything?" Michael said immediately. "I'm pretty familiar with this place, so..."

    "Oh no, you don't have to do that. I'll only slow you down." Her eyes fell on the cage. "And it looks like you have enough to carry already."

    In his mind, Michael winced. "It's okay, I mean, it's not really that heavy."

    But the girl shook her head. "It's okay. Honestly, I'll be fine. At any rate, I should be getting back to the pub. My cousin's probably wondering where I am." She gave a smile, and waved. "It was nice meeting you, Michael."

    "Nice meeting you too," he began, but stopped. He hadn't even gotten the girl's name. All he could do was watch as her form grew smaller and smaller in the distance, till it was finally swallowed by the crowd.

    Michael swallowed. Well don't I have the best luck in the world. He could almost picture his friends laughing at him for passing up such an opportunity.

    He continued up the sidewalk sourly, no longer paying attention to where he was going. As the Stunky began to move about again, he felt spite bubble up inside of him.

    This thing has cost me my summer, it’s cost me my friends, it’s cost me my freedom, and now it’s cost me a chick. Shit, I hate pokémon!

    Michael crossed a few more streets, rounded a few more corners. By the time he reached East Jubilife, his legs were aching and he had to stop at a bench to rest. He heaved himself and his backpack onto the seat and took several deep breaths.

    The city had long lost its magic. The lights were giving him a headache, and the car horns blared painfully in his ears. It felt like he had walked a hundred miles. Looking out, Michael could see nothing but buildings, roads, and cars. The city was endless. He would be trapped in here forever, doomed to an eternity of walking, walking, and getting nowhere. He would starve, and his carcass would wash away into the gutters.

    Michael took his head into his hands. I'm crazy. I've completely wigged out.

    He leaned back into the bench and took a look around. Maybe I can find a hotel or something... I can beg them to let me stay for free... I don't know how, but I'll do it.

    Beside him, the Stunky shifted. Michael frowned. I wonder how much someone would pay for a wild Stunky...

    The pokémon cocked its head, probably not even aware of its own nose. Michael rolled his eyes.

    He could see nothing around him that indicated an inn or hotel of any kind. All he could see were shops, stands, and diners that now seemed to serve no purpose other than taking up space.

    He was about to close his eyes in resignation when, at the edge of his vision, he saw something flash. A sign. It was covered in black letters that spelled out something, but he couldn't tell what.

    Michael sat up and turned his head around towards the building. It was tall and square, with a giant satellite dish perched on top. The flashing board hung right above the entrance, the text illuminated by a backlight, with dozens of tiny bulbs flashing along its perimeter:

    "WELCOME TO THE CITY OF DREAMS! JUBILIFE TELEVISION STATION IS YOUR NUMBER ONE SOURCE FOR ALL THINGS NEW AND CURRENT! TUNE IN EVERY DAY AT 12:00 TO RECEIVE THE LATEST UPDATES ON YOUR FAVORITES... JUKEBOX, THE SPACE RACE, AND MORE!"

    Beneath the sign, crowds were pouring in and out of three rotating doors, revealing brief slips of a thriving lobby.

    The TV Station! Michael’s heart fluttered. I can catch up on The Space Race! Yes!

    Without a second to spare, he gathered his things and scrambled to his feet.

    "Excuse me, excuse me!" He dodged the passersby and ran up to the street. Taking a brief look both ways, Michael ran across it, eliciting a chorus of angry beeps. Still without stopping, he pushed through one of the doors and stumbled into the lobby.

    Inside was a world of noise and lights. The entering crowd trailed off in separate directions, attaching itself to various groups that gathered along the walls, watching stacks of flashing televisions, examining racks of newspapers, or displays of the latest radio models. At the center of the room was a tall, round counter, where three clerks jabbered into telephones. At the very back was a row of elevators, and two staircases that spiraled up to the higher floors.

    Michael paused to look around with every step he took, eyes widened, wanting to take as much of it in as possible. His gaze lingered on the TV screens, which came in various sizes, and seemed to be positioned at every corner of the room. They were all showing different channels, but over the cloud of noise the programs were indecipherable. He didn’t know which one to go to first.

    He searched in earnest for a few moments, before his gaze locked on the biggest group in the entire lobby. It wasn’t gathered around a television, however, but in front of a billboard. Michael couldn’t see what the people were looking at, but as he approached, he caught bits of their conversation:

    "... knew this would happen one day..."

    "... Rockets are getting us good, that's for sure..."

    Michael stopped short. He tried to wheedle his way through, but before he could get to the billboard, his view became blocked by a man’s head.

    "Excuse me.” Michael tapped his shoulder. "I can't see."

    The man turned around and scowled. "What's there to see? Haven't you been watching the news?"

    "Not really," Michael snapped. "That's why I want to see what this is!"

    "Have a good look at it then." The man walked off, shoving his hands in the pockets of his jacket.

    Michael stepped in to take his space, and the crowd closed in around him. The billboard was covered with newspapers and city announcements, but one issue was positioned in the center, the square page unfurled to its full size. Its heading was bigger than all the others, and its ink shone with pride as it boldly declared:


    ROCKETS TELL ALL ABOUT NEW SPACE POKÉMON!

    Earlier last month, Hoenn's Team Rocket launched an expedition to the moon. And on May 22nd, pictures were released of a new pokémon said to reside in space. It was first discovered in flight around the planet. The pokémon as been named 'Deoxys' by the scientists and, since its discovery, has undergone intensive testing. The Sinnoh Inquirer now brings you the updates directly from Team Rocket's laboratories at the Mossdeep Space Center.

    "It's structure is different from anything we've ever seen before," says a spokesperson for Team Rocket. "We don't know a lot about it yet, but if we can find out then it might hold wonders for us."

    Deoxys is equipped with many special adaptations that allow it to survive in the harsh environment of space. Current data has shown that it is capable of living entirely without oxygen, instead getting its energy from outside sources, among them cosmic radiation. Deoxys's unique body structure appears to mimic the mechanics of a spacecraft, enabling it to propel itself and change its course of flight. Where exactly this pokémon originated, and whether indeed space is its primary place of dwelling, are questions that still remain to be answered. More pictures will be released during the course of the next few weeks.


    The rest of the page was taken up by articles and commentaries on the same topic, and at the bottom was a black-and-white image of the pokémon. Its body was thin and sleek. One of its arms was missing, and instead, two long wires protruded from its shoulder. Its face was round, and two knobs grew on either side of its head.

    Michael reeled forward, pressing his hands to the surface of the billboard. "That's it?"

    "Hey, move it kid! We can't see!" said someone from behind.

    But Michael was too angry to pay attention. He had missed one week of updates, only to see that Sinnoh was behind. And not only behind, but trampled in the dirt. His heart began to pound.

    "It's just a stupid pokémon!" he blurted. "It's not that hard to discover; why didn't Team Galactic do it first?"

    "They're lazy, that's why!" said a teenage girl beside him. "I swear if, they make us lose..."

    "This sucks," Michael said. He let his hands slip from the paper and stepped back.

    All around him, the people wore similar bleak expressions. They had likely known for days. Still, some of them were reading the text, their disappointment burnt out and replaced by a resigned sort of interest. But for Michael, the former was just kicking in.

    “I can’t believe this,” said another boy. “The Rockets were always the ones who said that nothing could survive outside the atmosphere. But they made the discovery. If the President said we’d be investigating space, then why are we watching other people do it?”

    The girl from before shook her head. “Team Galactic is just full of itself. They’re all secretive and glamorous, but apparently they see it as an excuse to sit there and do nothing. If you ask me, we need a company that can keep its promises.” With that, she walked away, arms crossed. A few other people broke off from the group, and eventually, Michael did the same.

    He walked to the exit in a stupor, gaze lowered to the floor.

    Freaking dipsticks... all of them.

    He barely noticed when he stepped out onto the street, and when the path ahead of him began to slope downwards. But he saw the buildings become sparser and lower, and the roadways veer off into highway exits, gradually separating the cars from the pedestrians. Soon the swarm of billboards returned, this time with mouths turned down and headings that read: 'LEAVING SO SOON?'.

    But to Michael, it was all too easy to ignore. His mind was buzzing.

    Team Rocket's a bunch of know-it-alls... Team Galactic sucks. Can’t believe I ever rooted for them…

    His footsteps were hollow and heavy. As the sounds of the city grew fainter, an iron fence in the distance grew bigger.

    Behind it, Route 203 lay in darkness. Michael wondered how comfortable a tree would be. He cringed at the thought, but realized that there was no other choice. Until he found a way to make more money, it would have to do.



    //////



    There was no guard or gate at the city limit, just a wide, dirt path leading into the wilderness. For a city like Jubilife, such an abrupt exit was both silly and unsettling. But Michael didn’t care to ponder it. He stepped through, passing the route sign, letting the lights and sounds fade for the silence.

    His field of vision was covered in splotches from where the lights had been, and it took a while to adjust to the darkness. Now that the sky was no longer blocked by skyscrapers, it suddenly unraveled and rolled off into the infinity, laying out a carpet of stars.

    As he walked, Michael stared up at them, lost in thought.

    Deoxys is out there somewhere ... and God knows what else.

    Stupid Team Rocket... gonna beat Sinnoh...

    You're a monster, Michael. Monster...


    The trees and shrubs around him formed pockets of shadows, and stood out like ghosts on either side of the path. Michael walked for a few minutes, battling his exhaustion, till it grew so strong that it started to weigh down his limbs. He abandoned all reserve, forgetting that he had never set foot in Route 203 and had no idea what lived there, or how big it even was.

    Michael veered from the path and sank into the softest-looking grass he saw, right beside a tree. He lowered the cage and backpack beside him and curled up into a comfortable position. Gradually, the lights and sounds rushed away from his memory, the sea of faces blurred, and the sting of his disappointments faded as sleep overtook him.
    Last edited by Mrs. Lovett; 29th July 2014 at 2:44 AM.

  23. #48
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    Good chapter. Seems Michael is on his way to becoming a bit less of a delinquent.
    Can you add me to the pm list?



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  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Col. Torterra View Post
    Good chapter. Seems Michael is on his way to becoming a bit less of a delinquent.
    Can you add me to the pm list?
    Hey, thanks for stopping by. Glad you liked the chapter!

    PM List updated.


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  25. #50
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    Sorry for not reviewing for a while. I won’t do a grammar check (I don’t think I saw anything) to save space.

    Chapter 0.3

    Not much happening besides a little development between Michael and Patricia’s bond but that’s alright. I genuinely do feel bad for his mother since (it seems) she’s trying very hard to get through to her son and getting nowhere. I was secretly hoping you’d give her the win in the argument just to put a smile on her face. :P And it hurt to read that the bond Michael had broken “would never mend again.” I have no hope for their shared happiness now. XD

    Poor Stunky. I’m writing this directly after reading Chapter 3 so I still don’t know exactly where he’s going to end up but he seems to be getting a pretty bad deal so far. And plant fertilizer? I thought Rowan would be smarter than that. >:(

    And oh my. I wonder how that poor three years-trapped Pokémon is doing. And nice touch with the Rocket-Galactic Space Race. I enjoyed that.

    Chapter 0.4

    I know I said I wouldn’t do grammar checks but this was bothering me and I figured you’d want to know:

    "Get back, you cretins!"
    I added the comma. Ah, screw it, I found another one. XP

    Michael made his way down the street casually, eyeing the rows of houses and trees as he passed them.
    Another step in Michael’s journey. It could have been a little longer but I like these non-actiony chapters so I won’t complain. I’m going to make my preference for Patricia’s side official now. I got a sick feeling in my stomach when I imagined her realizing that she’s really all alone now and in a way, it’s all her fault (even though Michael did plenty of wrongs too). I’m afraid she’s going to end up a character that I’m told is evil and gets what she deserves but I always sympathize with anyway.

    Really not much to comment on that hasn’t been said already. A good jumping off point, I suppose, but I still wish it would’ve had just a little more.

    Chapter 0.5

    Haha, I’m afraid I didn’t have Funky Town in my library (that is the song, right? I don’t load videos well with dial-up ;_;) but I always listen to the Gaslight Anthem when I read this fic anyway. They’ve got sort of an old-fashioned sound that I thought went well with the setting.

    I’m loving the classic feel you’re giving Jubilife. Michael thinking “swell” was just icing on the cake. :) (Also, “Nice.” seems to be becoming his catch phrase of sorts.)

    I’m a little surprised he didn’t ask Cory and Brendan to come along. I’m assuming they have starter Pokémon (at least one of them does) and they don’t seem like the types to be bound to their homes.

    Michael’s feeling guilty about his Stunky? Haha, go Fran. I also found it kind of funny that as soon as Michael finishes telling the blonde how he knows the area pretty well he realizes he doesn’t know where a hotel is. XD

    The reaction to the Deoxys discovery bothers me a little bit. I mean, this is an alien they’ve found and everyone seems more upset that they were beaten. Plus, those must be some highly intelligent scientists to find out what they did about the creature with the technology (I assume) they had during that time in the Pokémon world.



    Sorry if this sounded like rambling. I was writing my thoughts as I read so it’s probably not totally organized or anything. I’m liking this story more and more so kudos on that. Can’t wait for the next chapter. :)

    EDIT: I put the comma in the wrong place. I know you said you didn't need it but I felt stupid with the comma where it was. XD
    Last edited by Umbreon Ruler; 7th August 2010 at 7:34 PM.
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