22nd November 2010, 12:09 AM
Page two, huzzah.
HasidicShipping // Barlow & Crawford // G
Usually the Ranger Base was a fairly calm location. Oh, there were the odd scuffles, to be sure: whatever little drama happened in Vientown was sure to seep into the Base before long, and the Rangers themselves were only human. But Rangers were also Rangers, and it was only once in a blue moon that they wouldn't have the problem all taken care of before the day was out.
But today was different. Today Barlow had returned, ready to take charge of the Base again – and Crawford, who'd watched over it in his absence, seemed to be of the opinion that it benefited more under his own leadership. And naturally, Barlow had a rather different opinion. Not that Crawford seemed to care.
"Anything you can do, I can do better~" Crawford said in a sing-song voice, skipping around the older Ranger, half mocking and half playful. "I can do anything better than you!"
Barlow huffed. "No you can't."
"Yes I can!"
"No you can't."
"Yes I can!"
He glared daggers at Crawford, whose afro was bobbing up and down slightly. "No, you can't!"
"Yes I can, yes I can!" Crawford came to a stop in front of him, placing his hands on his hips. "I'm just better at leading than you are. And anything you can be, I can be greater. Sooner or later—" He leapt onto his hands, performing a sudden handstand. "I'm greater than you!"
Barlow was unimpressed. "No you're not."
"Yes I am."
"No you're not."
"Yes I am."
"No, you're NOT."
"Yes I am, yes I am!" He flipped effortlessly onto his feet again.
"Look here," Kate said hastily, stepping up and taking them both by the elbow. "You're not getting anywhere by arguing like this. Why don't you two actually prove that you're better at leading than the other?"
The other Rangers, watching from a safe distance, nodded in agreement.
"Oh, all right," Crawford said, sighing in an overdramatic manner. Barlow just glared at him.
They made their way north towards Vien Forest, where they stood in a well-lit glade. Bird Pokemon flitted about above them, chirping to one another. Kate folded her arms, waiting for them to do something.
"Hmm," Barlow muttered, noticing a lithe orange form scuttling among the trees. "I can get a Buizel with a single noodle." He withdrew a container from his bag and opened it – and the aquatic weasel leapt at him, stuck its head into the food within, devoured it all and scampered back into the woods before he'd had a chance to register that it'd even noticed him.
"Sure," Crawford said, smirking. "But I can get a Spearow with a bow and arrow."
He grabbed some sticks off the ground. Nobody was quite sure what he did next – his hands were just a blur – but soon he was holding a crude makeshift bow and arrow. He fitted the arrow to the bowstring, waited until a Spearow was fluttering by overhead, and let it fly with a twang.
The bird squawked in surprise: a few long flight feathers had been torn from its wing, skewered by Crawford's arrow. Rather than fall at his feet, however, the Spearow flapped its other wing sharply downwards, creating a mighty gust that carried it over the treetops and out of sight.
Somebody shifted in the ranks of watching Rangers. "Why can't they just use the Capture Stylers like normal people?"
Trying to shake off his embarrassment, Barlow brought out the rest of his lunch, a carefully wrapped sandwich. "I can live on bread and cheese," he said, before taking a bite out of it.
Crawford raised an eyebrow. "And only on that?"
Barlow nodded. At that moment, however, a small yellow mouse darted out of the undergrowth, jumped up, snatched his sandwich, and scurried away, giggling as only a Pichu can.
Crawford exploded with laughter. "So can a rat!"
By the time the sun had started to set, the Rangers were heading back to the Base, tramping up in groups of two or three. Barlow followed, feeling dejected. Crawford had proved that he was the better bargainer, the better drinker, and the more practical dresser. Surely the others preferred him as the Base leader. After all, what could he do that Crawford couldn't do better?
"Hey, Barlow." Crawford was leaning on the doorframe of the Base, waiting for him. "Anything you can sing, I can sing sweeter."
Barlow groaned. He had to sing on top of everything else?
"I can sing anything sweeter than you."
"You already said that," he growled.
"Just try." Crawford was smirking again.
Barlow sighed. "No you can't," he tried, forcing his voice to be flowing rather than choppy.
"Yes I can," Crawford replied, his tenor sounding light against the rumble of Barlow's bass.
"No you can't." Barlow found himself leaning forward slightly, toward the door. He just wanted to get into the Base and get some sleep. His eyelids started to droop. He was so tired …
"Yes I can." Crawford's voice was almost a trill. Was he leaning forward too? Well, they had been going through the same trials …
"No you can't."
"Yes I can."
"No you can't."
"Yes I can."
Something brushed against Barlow's nose. His eyes flew open, and to his horror he saw Crawford drawing back from his face, lips puckered slightly, smirking like the cat that caught the canary. "No you can't, can't, can't!" he said in a growling gasp, stepping away hastily.
Crawford gave him a sly, superior look. "Yes I can, can, can!"
Barlow couldn't take it anymore. He hurdled through the door with a resounding crash.
"Let's be partners!" Crawford called after him. "Yes, we can~!"
Coming up next: WristShipping.
27th November 2010, 1:51 AM
WristShipping // female!Blue & Sabrina // PG-13
Sabrina wasn't a lesbian. At least, that's what she kept reminding herself.
"Idiotic little girl," she muttered, catching herself thinking about that incident again and furious about it. "Flaunting herself like that. And at that age, too … how old was she again? Twelve? Thirteen?" She shook her head in disgust. "What a little whore."
Kadabra listened to her grumbling, half annoyed, half amused. On the one hand, it was difficult to meditate when his trainer was talking to herself. Twice he'd almost lost concentration, and had to hastily lift himself again with his psychic power. If there was anything he didn't want, it was looking like a fool and falling on his rump because he hadn't been paying attention.
On the other hand, his trainer was talking to herself. And that was always interesting.
She was still sitting cross-legged on the floor; her distraction seemed to be preventing her from floating like Kadabra. The walls of the gym cast weird shadows about them, though the ceiling above had been partially opened, allowing the sunlight to creep in. Not that either of them cared.
"She provoked me," Sabrina mumbled venomously, eyes half-open and glaring. "She taunted me. Of course I was going to rip her dress open."
Kadabra rolled his eyes. She'd done no such thing; she'd ordered him to slash at the girl's chest. Not that it had affected him in any way. Human anatomy was far less interesting to him than human psychology, after all. But it had certainly affected Sabrina.
"I wasn't expecting Poke Balls," she was saying. "I was expecting boobs. You can't blame me for being surprised not to see boobs."
Perhaps her mind had been addled by the subsequent onslaught of Growl and Sing? Or possibly just the surprise of seeing a Clefairy and Jigglypuff bursting out of her chest? He knew he'd been surprised. Humans were strange creatures, but not strange enough to do that.
"I'm not interested in girls," she told herself. "Everyone knows that. But when I see that little whore again, I'll actually grope her and beat her to the punch. I have to. Knowing her, she'll pull the same trick again next time. I can't let that happen …"
Kadabra highly doubted that. The young girl had been sneaky, and lightning never strikes the same place twice. Though perhaps hands do.
Sabrina wasn't a lesbian. She just wanted to grope Blue's chest.
Human psychology was strange indeed.
Coming up next: NeoShipping.
1st December 2010, 1:43 AM
NeoShipping // Butch & Cassidy // PG
It was a dark and stormy night.
"Um, what? No it isn't. It's eleven o'clock in the morning!"
"Don't you get it, Botch?"
"It's supposed to be so dark and evil here that it's always night! Which doesn't make any sense, actually, since there's no place on the world's surface that's dark all the time. Except for the poles during winter, I guess."
"... There was a tumbleweed rolling by the last window. Oh, and there's NO SNOW."
"Well, excuse me for trying to come up with a reasonable explanation!"
It's a story, you two. It doesn't need a reasonable explanation.
"... Um, who said that?"
The narrator. Duh.
"Wait, we have a narrator on our hands?"
Well, yes. That's why I said narrator.
"You know, this is really freaky. We can't even see you!"
Why should you see me? I'm a narrator.
"... Okay then. Whatever. So tell me, oh great narrator, what are we doing here again?"
Well, the two of you are part of an epic tale. To be exact, it's a story of how the two of you travel across the dreary wastelands of the land of Darkmort, defeat the minions of the Evil One Whose Name Is Never Mentioned, and climb the Tower of Shadowy Horror and Inner Turmoil, all in order to get to the Bracelet of Destiny, the source of ultimate power for the Evil One Whose Name Is Never Mentioned. And the only way to destroy the Evil One Whose Name Is Never Mentioned is for one of the two of you to put it on, and deal with the power struggle that comes afterwards. Oh, and the two of you are in love. That was a given, though.
"What the hell? That was just ridiculous! It's like some random idiot wanted to rip off Lord of the Rings and just pulled stuff out of his butt. And you said 'the two of you' four times. And 'the Evil One Whose Name Is Never Mentioned' is mentioned three times. Seriously, are you trying to be annoying? You could've at least shortened it to Eowninm or whatever. And Darkmort is the most contrived name for a country I've ever heard of. Period. End of story."
Not end of story. I'm the narrator, I get to decide what happens. And what happens is that the story doesn't end. You and Buffy are in the Tower of Shadowy Horror and Inner Turmoil, and an evil Zubat is jumping at you in an attempt to eat you alive—
"Zubat can't jump!"
—but just when it's about to latch its fangs onto you, Bluff leaps in front of you and takes the bite! And he collapses in your arms while you kick that Zubat to hell.
"It's Butch. And I wouldn't just collapse! I'm not that pathetic."
"How am I supposed to hold Beach and kick it without falling over? Or are you just relying on anime physics like everyone else?"
Oh, that one's easy. You were trained in the art of the ninja at the age of three. Which is part of what Buck finds so attractive about you.
"Okay, this is going too far. Look here, pal. Just because we're anime characters doesn't mean we're automatically ninjas. In fact, I couldn't care less about ninjas. Go write about that poison gym leader if you really want to. Or better yet, drop Pokemon fanfiction altogether. Go watch Naruto or something. Because, believe it or not, we have a little something called canon. Heard of it? No? Ever watched Pokemon before? That's canon. That's who we are. Not this ninjas-in-Dorkfart thing you've got going on. Just two normal Rockets looking to put down those weirdos with the rat and those other weirdos with the cat. And if I fall in love with Beverly here, it's not because he's a uber-hot bishie with abs to put that idiot wolf kid to shame, or because he's talented and athletic. He's not either of those. It's because he's my friend and I've got to know him really well, and we just have really compatible personalities."
"... We're compatible?"
"Figuratively. Don't get any funny ideas, Baywatch."
Ah, Cassidy, Cassidy, Cassidy. Don't you understand? Nobody wants to read about plots and relationships developing naturally! It all has to fit to how I, the narrator, want it to be!
"What kind of rock are you living under? Everyone with an IQ over twenty wants to read those sorts of stories. What nobody wants is a random mix of stuff that only makes sense to total imbeciles. Like why you started in the middle of the story, after all the generic traveling and minions, when Beefy and I are climbing the Tower of Sh—"
Stop acting like a baby. You're hurting my imagination.
"Well put, Birthday."
I am extremely creative! It's only to haters like you and Bob that my stories look like crap. J.K. Rowling first wrote parts of Harry Potter on dirty napkins!
"J.K. Rowling also had a college degree, years of experience to draw upon, and an actual original idea. Whereas you are probably just some fourteen-year-old girl who plays Final Fantasy every waking minute. Or Dungeons and Dragons. At least you can actually write coherently, without any lolspeak or whatever they're calling it now."
Lolspeak? No. Mom doesn't let me talk to strangers online.
"... Well, from what we've seen, you don't seem to know us too well."
"Where'd she go?"
"Who knows? Or rather, who cares. She's not bugging us anymore, that's all that matters. Wise observation there, Birch."
"I mean Butch! Butch! Get out of here, Brendan, I wasn't referring to you!"
"You said 'Birch' pretty clearly. And look, I'm all dressed up for it and everything! I even have a Robin Hood outfit!"
"Urgh. Tell you what, how about you stay in here in La-La Land while me and Bumpkin go our own way."
"Sure, I guess. Oh no! ZUBAAAAT!"
"Whatever. Where to, Bit—?"
"It's Butch. Look, I'm sick of all this sinister-ness and stuff. Why not go out for ice cream or something?"
"Don't play lovey-dovey with me, mister. What I said earlier was to back up my realism argument."
"Sure. If you say so. Let's start a story of our own, shall we? 'It was a bright and sunny day ...'"
Coming up next: BreederShipping.
4th December 2010, 3:50 AM
BreederShipping // Brock & Suzy // G
There comes a point in every young Casanova's life when the many women he claims to love begin to look the same. In Brock's case, it was literal.
"Ah, these clerics," he lamented, wandering down the stony corridor while gesturing in a dramatic fashion. "For the lovely pink and white of each sweet Genevieve who passes through these hallowed halls ... 'tis as the light of heaven's moon reborn! Yet," he added hastily, noticing his companion's sudden movement, "one can, in spite of sighs and swoons, tire of the moon given sufficient time. For my heart yearns for the light and warmth of an unseen sun."
The bucktoothed frog, just a pace behind his master, withdrew his glowing fingers sulkily.
A trumpet fanfare suddenly rang outside, though it was largely muffled by the stones in the walls. Surprised, Brock rushed to the window and looked out into the courtyard, Croagunk lurching up behind him. A procession of people on horseback was streaming in through the main gates, while people were starting to flock towards them from several castle doors, waving handkerchiefs and cheering.
"Pray tell, grinning friend," Brock asked, not taking his eyes off the scene below, "who comes hither? And what sparks the joy of these my fellows?"
"Are you deaf, fool?" a voice snapped at him. "They praise the name of the king himself! 'Tis he and his procession of noble knights and servants that graces us with its presence."
Turning toward the speaker, he groaned to see that approaching him was none other than that red-haired, hot-tempered duchess, looking rather annoyed by the trailing gown she had to wear for their arrival. In fact, Brock thought it safe to say that the dress, temporarily replacing her unladylike tunic and leggings, was making her even madder than usual.
"Come hither, slime," she snarled, seizing his ear as she passed, so that the poor groomer was painfully dragged along. "Stop mooning about and look alive. If there is one thing I shall refuse to tolerate, it is your behavior tarnishing this castle's reputation! Not to mention my own ..."
But by the time they had descended several flights of stairs and crossed through multiple hallways, the crowd in the courtyard had already partially dispersed. The raven-haired king was dismounting from his heaving Rapidash, discussing some subject with a few of his consorts, while one of his servants attended to the weary steed.
"Your majesty," the duchess cried, curtsying deeply. She fluttered her fingers almost imperceptibly, but the signal was not lost on Brock and Croagunk, who knelt awkwardly behind her. "A thousand pardons for my late arrival. I was delayed in our many preparations."
"'Tis of no concern," the king replied, laughing. "I myself should have arrived here three hours ago. But who is this you have brought?"
"Ah." The duchess sighed, straightening up again. "'Tis the court groomer. He has much prowess in the brush and the lute, but none else. Your horses have traveled a long way in a short while, and so I offer his services in attending to them for the duration of your stay."
"A fine proposal! I have brought my own groomer, yet I am sure that another to help will be much appreciated."
"It would indeed, majesty," the servant agreed, smiling.
"Splendid. Now, Madame Misty, concerning the state of affairs ..."
The entourage of nobles made their way towards the castle, though the duchess cast Brock another sharp warning glance. He failed to catch it, however, for his eyes were full of the sight of the servant before him.
"Is this some apparition?" he exclaimed, staring at the dark-haired girl before him. "Or perhaps a phantom of my own fading intelligence? If so, I wish my mind to never set itself right! Suzette!" He leapt forward and grasped her hand.
"Ah, Brock!" she laughed. "What a sight for sore eyes! But your memory can yet improve. I asked before that you call me Suzy."
He grinned, then abruptly doubled over, moaning loud enough that several passersby shook their heads knowingly – a disgruntled-looking Gardevoir even snickered at him as she passed. Croagunk chuckled, withdrawing his hand from his master's stomach.
"Oh!" she cried, as he painstakingly tried to straighten up again. "He attacked you!"
"'Tis nothing," he replied, wincing. "He has a terrible habit. But worry not, I have become accustomed to it. In any case, what of you? What of traveling with the Scissor Troupe?"
"They are well," she said. "Particularly because favor of our performance reached the ears of the palace court, and the king requested that we entertain him. He was pleased with what he saw and heard of our antics, and of the glowing condition of our animals – so much with the latter, in fact, that he asked that I care for his own Pokemon. And thus you find me: groomer to the king's own steed. But come, the horses are yet weary, and we may continue to speak as we fulfil our duties."
Taking hold of the sweaty animals' reins, they led them across the cobbled courtyard, past the straw-strewn stables, and towards the water trough. A fox sat waiting for them there, twitching her nose expectantly as they approached.
"Ah, Vulpix, my sly friend!" Suzy exclaimed, smiling. "How well you knew we would come this way. I am sure Brock would be pleased to feed you his delicious food again."
"For such a lovely creature, I would be honored," Brock agreed. Vulpix sniffed at him as he passed, wagged her six tails, and trotted along behind them.
The sweaty Rapidash lowered their heads to drink, snorting at each other; their flames flickered fleetingly with every gulp. Loosening the saddles and harnesses, Brock and Suzy patted their necks and murmured words of calming praise, while Croagunk watched them work with his usual lazy grin, and Vulpix watched the lavish show of attention with a hint of jealousy in her eyes.
"Will you be staying for long?" Brock asked, shooing away a buzzing fly.
"I hope so," Suzy said. "For this is a lovely castle, and I may grow used to it. But more importantly, and to speak plainly, I have wanted to see you again. For few display such skills in grooming as to rival my own, and of those, you are the only one whose company I enjoy."
He smiled happily at her, and when she beamed back, he felt as though he were glimpsing the sun for the first time.
Coming up next: 99Shipping.
8th December 2010, 1:37 AM
99Shipping // Arcanine & Ninetales // PG
In a rush of unnatural wind, time seemed to slow. An eerie calm followed, weighing heavily on the souls of all present. The feel of fur in his mouth jerked him to reality, and a flash of horror came him; he realized too late that he had made a grave mistake. Heart racing, he hastily spat the furry objects from his mouth, hoping against hope that by some miracle she hadn't noticed.
"To seize one of my tails," she said slowly, locking piercing ruby eyes onto his widening black ones, "is to elicit a curse to last a thousand years. And you have seized three."
It was a mistake! he tried to say. I was just trying to Bite what was closest! Yet the words never came. His jaw remained stiffly open, frozen by terror and exhaustion and perhaps something else.
"You shall live," she continued imperiously, "for three thousand years. Age shall not affect your flesh, but you shall wander the wilderness, regretting your error, while friends age and wither and pass into the dust in your wake."
Though only half his height, she seemed to loom over him, all creamy fur that billowed without the touch of earthly wind. He felt himself cowering, felt moisture starting to form in his eyes. He was still little more than a puppy.
"Learn your lesson well," she commanded. She paused, as if deciding whether to say something else, and then turned and dashed away over the rocky hills, her tails streaming behind her.
He whimpered, then realized that he could move again. Ears still pinned against his skull, he turned toward his master, who stared after the ghostly fox long after she had vanished.
His master comforted him, assured him that near-immortality was hardly a curse at all. Yet he could not shake off the heavy feeling that had settled in his bones and in his gut. He was cursed. A marked dog, something to be avoided. The other dogs could sense some change in him, something transcending sight or smell. It made them uneasy, though they couldn't decide how or why. They saw his despair and pitied him in their way, but they were careful to keep their distance all the same.
He never could say afterward when he realized his master had gone well into adulthood. He only knew suddenly, without warning, the human was bent almost double, smelling of prunes and dust and rot. And he knew that on one gray afternoon he heard the wailing in his master's house, grief-calls of his master's children and grandchildren and servants, and it was followed by a procession through the village, an upheaval of earth, and then silence.
He glanced around the kennel, wondering what the other dogs thought of this, and realized belatedly that they had all been dead for decades.
There was some scuffle or other as to who would claim the land afterwards, and the conflict snowballed into a war that ultimately destroyed the castle. There was a day when, roused from his lethargy by the acrid scent of fire, he realized that the kennel wall had been completely torn away. Initially the chance of escape did not appeal to him, and he wished only that some of the falling rubble might crush him and end his misery. Then he remembered the words of the fox, clearly as if she stood beside him, reminding him that he would live for three thousand years. She had not specified whether anything would be able to kill him. The implications were chilling.
He left the castle altogether – there was nothing there for him anymore – and bounded away from the pointless wars and the soldiers whose deaths he envied.
He watched the near-destroyed village for a while from his den on a nearby mountain, falling asleep for months or years at a time. At odd intervals he would awaken to notice that something below had changed. A farmer had tilled the soil again. Buildings had been rebuilt. The village square would ring with shouts. The village would be in ruins. And the cycle repeated itself.
He couldn't understand why it mattered. The land would last. They would not.
Sometimes he would hunt the prey that roamed on the mountainside. Sometimes he would unleash a bloodcurdling howl that would send every creature within miles scampering.
All times felt empty.
He returned one day to his den, a fresh-caught deer in his jaws, to find the fox waiting for him. She watched him, ruby eyes glittering, but it didn't seem to matter to him. The dull ache within him left no room for fear. She'd already cursed him; there was little she could do to make his plight more unbearable. So he said nothing, as did she.
He ate his fill, licked his chops without enthusiasm, and noticed her staring at what meat remained. He felt a brief surge of defensiveness – he had captured his prey himself, and surely she could do the same. Then he caught himself and brushed it aside. There would be more deer when he was hungry again. He met her eyes, gave her a slight nod, and padded to the den's shadowy edge to give her space.
She accepted his offering, and when she had finished, she swept her tails across the floor, almost wagging. "Thank you."
"Arcanine," she said, in a voice with a note of something he couldn't identify, "the curse of my tails is not a voluntary reaction. The energy shifts to the offender whether I wish it to or not."
He didn't look at her. But her voice reached his ears all the same.
"You did not deserve this fate," she said. "I can think of no one, no matter how vile, who does. But my kind do not appreciate those who invoke it, for with every millenium we cast upon a mortal is also another thousand years we must endure. I did not tell you of this before because I was sorely angered when you damned me to live another three millenia. It took me these last two centuries to come to understand and forgive you."
He grunted again. But her words struck a chord in him. Somehow he saw the truth in them, the most honest words he had ever heard.
"It may be longer before you will do the same for me, if at all." She got to her feet. Was that a hint of regret in her tone? "If so, know that it is a great comfort to be in the company of those who bear the same burdens you do. Search for me, and I will be found."
And then she was gone.
He remembered that day clearly. He heard the memory of her words whispering to him as he watched the village grow into a town, then a bustling city. His lucid thoughts wrestled against his despair. And as he slowly came to accept her apology, the lucid thoughts increased. There was someone out there who would share his pain, if he would let her.
He was no longer alone in the world.
When he left the den behind for good, he set off after her, putting the echoes of agonized howls behind him. Off he went, following the ghost of a vulpine scent that he had once tracked for a long-dead master.
The hunt would finally end.
Coming up next: DecadeShipping.
12th December 2010, 12:58 AM
DecadeShipping // Froslass & Scizor // PG
"The vote of the elders is unanimous. The youngling must be exiled."
The clan's mocking hisses ring in the thin wintry air. "Unnatural," some call. "Monster," say others. I even hear one that mutters, "Witch-child."
I see my parents staring back at me from the crowd, as if illuminated among all the mingled expressions of horror and suspicion. They're impassive, emotionless, as if I'm just a stranger to them. Yet when finally meet their gazes, they hastily look away. They don't want to be associated with me.
"It may wander the plains with the criminals," the speaker says. I cannot see his face. I'm not sure I want to. "It may drown itself in the sea if it wishes. But never shall it linger with us again, on pain of death. And it will leave immediately."
It. I am an it to them now.
I am escorted from the valley, heavily guarded. Everyone we pass watches me warily, murmuring amongst themselves. The spirits tell me it's partly due to jealousy. A Snorunt is not supposed to be capable of learning the Forbidden Technique. Even the Glalie have only a tenuous grasp of it, and the few times it is demonstrated at the festival, their aim makes it unlikely that the target will be frozen at all. But the spirits have taught me to overcome such mundane difficulties.
They stop at the edge of the valley, watching me intently and waiting for me to leave. I could freeze them solid, right here, right now – I've done it before, that's how they know my power. The spirits are pleased with this idea. They whisper to me, urging me to encase them all in that ice that even now creeps in my veins. I can see myself pushing them down the rocky slope, letting them fall and shatter. No one would know.
But I don't. I have nothing more to do with the clan. I turn and walk into the vast expanse of ice beyond.
My place is with the spirits now.
I don't encounter any criminals. The spirits are displeased with this.
On the fourth day since exile, I encounter a peculiar crevice in the ice. The spirits remind me of tales the elders told, tales of small expedition groups in the Burning Lands, exploring mysterious places called dungeons in search of something of value. Treasures, I believe. Stones that sparkle more beautifully than ice.
The spirits don't need to tell me to venture inside.
I enter the dim cave, lit only by what cold light streams through the opening behind me. A shriek assaults my ears, followed closely by the swooping shape of a Swablu. I backpedal a few steps, reflexively releasing a shimmering icy beam. It hits, and the bird drops out of the air, hitting the floor with a faint crunch. I step over its shivering body without giving it a second glance.
There are a few more Pokemon on this floor, and I dispatch them with equal ease. Finding the shadowy stairway at the opposite end of the room, I climb down to the next level. I find myself growing annoyed at my opponents' relative weakness. True, the spirits add to my strength, yet one would imagine that living in conditions such as these would toughen them to some degree.
The challenge is slight, but as I continue my descent, I feel myself tiring ever so gradually. It has been a long while since I have eaten or rested, and it is only the spirits' whispering that keeps my eyes open. I lose count around the seventh floor, or perhaps the eighth. The spirits don't remind me; they're unconcerned with such a trivial matter.
The final floor is inhabited by an almost troublesome Empoleon, whom I manage to defeat with the spirits' own spectral energy. Stepping past him, I marvel at the sight before me: a ring of glowing crystals of ice, encircling a particularly large and dazzling crystal, which scatters pearly-white light across the floor. There are no stones, but that does not matter. The spirits are content, as am I.
This is our queendom now, they decide, as I gaze at my unearthly prize.
I am not sure how much time has passed before he arrives. Some of the spirits say it has been a year or so. Some say it is a century, though my body does not betray such age.
It is while I stare into the depths of the main crystal that I first hear the sounds of conflict. There is a crunch of metal bashing against ice, followed immediately with a shattering sound. I look towards the exit, puzzled. Only I have managed to defeat this dungeon. Who else could have the strength?
My question is soon answered: a lanky red shape steps into view, wings humming softly. He raises a pair of pincher-claws reflexively as a Weavile bursts out of the shadows, baring her own claws to strike. Her ambush startles him, but he only needs to bring down a single claw, sharply and decisively, against her crested head. A yowl of pain escapes her as she crumples to the ground at his feet.
I cannot help but stare. What is this creature that so easily intrudes? He is glaringly out of place in my icy domain. Perhaps he is from the Burning Lands.
He glances around warily, waiting for another attack that I know will not come. The Pokemon of this dungeon are well aware of my residence here. I am respected and, more importantly, feared. Few dare to descend to my floor, and fewer still linger. The spirits are pleased with this arrangement.
When he is satisfied that there is no immediate danger, he lowers his claws and strides in my direction. A faint cling resounds every time his feet strike the ice. His body is metallic? I find myself marveling at this alien creature. Perhaps it has been constructed ... a complex machine? No. His golden eyes, locked onto the main crystal, are too alive and determined.
The spirits chatter to themselves in confusion. For once, I ignore them.
It is not until he stands before the crystal that he notices my presence. His eyes widen ever so slightly. I cannot blame him. Why would he expect to see a little one such as myself, after encounting a horde of monstrous creatures?
I meet his gaze. He is powerful, but he fails to intimidate me.
"Snorunt," he says finally.
Something unfamiliar flutters in the pit of my stomach. I frown slightly, confused. I cannot remember feeling anything without the influence of the spirits. Neither can they. They are murmuring to each other.
"I do not wish to harm you," he says. His voice is raspy from exertion, but kind. He has an accent I cannot place. "I'm called Scizor. I am only seeking an elusive treasure."
"You knew of the crystals?" I am surprised, as much at the possibility as the sound of my own voice. It is dry from disuse.
He smiles and shakes his head. "No, though I've never seen a Dawn Stone of such odd formation. It is quite lovely."
Dawn Stone? I glance at the crystal. "It does not look like a stone."
"The Stones I refer to are a peculiar type of crystal. Many consider a Dawn Stone such as this to be the most beautiful, as it generates its own light." He shifts his gaze back to me, a knowing look in his eyes as he gently places a claw on the top of my head. "They can also evolve a few select Pokemon. You've never heard of Stone evolution? The Pokemon simply needs to touch the Stone in order to take on its new form. And the Dawn Stone is notable for evolving Snorunt."
I blink, startled. "But Snorunt will evolve to Glalie naturally," I say, trying to ignore the excited chatter of the spirits. The excited motion of my heart is what I feel instead. What is this creature, who can create such strange things within me through just a look or a touch?
"Yes. However, a female Snorunt – particularly one with a supernatural affiliation – could use a Dawn Stone instead."
The idea is staggering. I stare at the crystal, wondering what I will become if I touch it. The spirits urge me, more strongly than before. They understand what will happen. They wish for an increase in their own ghostly power.
I seize it with a stubby hand without a second thought – a hand that stretches into something like a narrow wing as I find myself shooting upward. I cringe initially, wondering if I might hit the ceiling, but the sensation halts as abruptly as it starts. Suddenly I am larger, something greater, floating effortlessly above the icy floor. Though Scizor is remains taller, it is not by much; the crystal itself, whose pearly light winks out, is suddenly remarkably small.
I gaze at my slender new form, then smile at him in wonder. He smiles back.
Abruptly my mind is overwhelmed. The spirits are ecstatic, immersing themselves in the newfound well of power within my soul. For a moment, my limbs are no longer my own: bursts of ice and pulses of shadow emanate from my outstretched wing-hands. I am not alarmed. It has happened before.
But Scizor is alarmed.
"Froslass!" he calls, eyes wide. He leaps forward, buzzing in alarm, and seizes me to hold me steady. His claws pin my arms to my sides.
The spirits do not like this. They retaliate.
My vision turns blue as the spirits yank my arms free, throwing Scizor to the side as if he were a mere pest. He staggers backward as my body swivels to meet him, and he barely has the chance to blink before the spirits summon a wave of terrible chill. In my detached state, it seems as if the thick layer of ice is only crawling up his feet, his legs, his torso. He struggles, wings beating and arms flailing furiously in a futile attempt to free himself.
He is frozen.
The spirits' glee is powerful, but my horror is more powerful still. I hardly notice that my body is mine again, floating swiftly over to the terrible ice cube that has captured his last terrified movements. Only his eyes indicate that he is still alive, and they follow me, pleading for help.
But I cannot reverse the Forbidden Technique.
Abruptly I am stricken with a painful wave of loss. Only now do I realize that I consider him a friend, he who gave me my new name as my body turned on him. Never will he return to the Burning Lands, or find the treasure he seeks. What he could have told me of his world will eternally remain a mystery.
Would he have been a mere friend? That feeling he instilled in my heart ...
But it no longer matters: he lives, yet he is dead. And I have killed him.
I throw my head backwards and wail while the spirits triumph.
Coming up next: VatonageShipping.
Last edited by SugarPesticide; 12th December 2010 at 1:04 AM.
16th December 2010, 2:40 AM
VatonageShipping // Keith & Kate // G
"And over there are the grounds," Keith said, gesturing toward the pasture to the building's left. "Now, as for the school itself—"
"What was the problem with just telling us where things are?" The new guy tapped his foot impatiently, and the Starly on his shoulder shifted slightly. "Why are you showing us? I'm pretty sure I can find everything for myself in, oh, three seconds."
Keith tried to ignore him. He would have vastly preferred pummeling him to a pulp and shoving him off the dock, but considering the third member of their party, it simply wouldn't be proper.
Kate was the aforementioned member of the party, and in spite of the excitement twinkling in her bright blue eyes, she glanced about nervously. "Are there really only two classrooms?" she asked, ignoring the white-and-blue squirrel bouncing around her feet.
"Three, actually. But the teachers are pretty cool. And anyway, Mr. Lamont always says that the missions are the important part of our education." He gazed up at the school dramatically, trying and failing to smooth back his hair. He hoped Kate was watching.
"'Mr. Lamont always says …'" The new guy scoffed in disbelief. "Wow. Are you for real? I thought suck-ups of that magnitude only existed in cheesy B-movies."
"Kellyn!" Kate hissed, elbowing him. "Be polite!"
"We'll see how good you are when you drop out," Keith snapped back. "So you'd better pay attention."
Kellyn fumed. Kate just sweatdropped.
"Now, this is the ground floor," Keith continued, throwing open the main door to reveal a hallway with walls practically covered with notices and bulletin boards. "When we're not on missions, we're usually doing something in here. This classroom is Ms. April's, she's great." He rapped on a classroom door with his knuckles.
"Yes?" a voice called from within.
"Ms. April?" Keith opened the door partway, revealing his companions. "Hi. These are the new students, Kate and Karen."
"Mm. I'm just showing them around." He beamed angelically at the teacher.
"All right, Keith," she said, smiling back as she shuffled her papers. "Just don't get into any trouble."
"Trouble?" Kate glanced at him.
"Nothing serious!" he said hastily. "Just the usual little mishaps. Well, we really must be going, Ms. April. Have a nice day."
"I'll bet," Kellyn said the second Keith had shut the door, "you're the worst student here, and that includes the drooling kid on the bench outside."
"Kellyn," Kate muttered warningly.
"I am not!" Keith fumed. "I'm a model student! Just ask any staff member here! Like Mr. Kincaid, for one!" He strode over to the door opposite Ms. April's room and yanked it open, furious.
Then he blinked.
Twenty-five seated students and one standing teacher blinked back at him.
"Uh …" He flushed in embarrassment, slammed the door quickly, and darted away. Kate and Kellyn followed, confused.
"NO RUNNING IN THE HALLWAYS!" Mr. Kincaid bellowed from within his classroom.
Kate and Kellyn skidded to a halt. Keith, on the other hand, failed to look where he was going, and smashed into an inconveniently placed door.
"You didn't look stupid," Kate assured him later. "It was just a little mishap."
Keith groaned and gripped the ice pack tighter. "I'm never going to live it down."
Pachi, Kate's energetic Pachirisu, sniffed his free hand. He smiled and scratched behind her ears. She chattered happily at his touch.
"Wow." Kate blinked. "He usually shocks people who pat him."
"Good to know." He forced a smile. "Where's what's-his-face?"
"Kellyn? Probably chasing the local Pokemon with his silly Starly." She sighed. "He's a great person, really. I think you two just rubbed each other the wrong way."
"I guess. At least I managed to make one friend – make that two," he amended, tickling Pachi's chin. "So, there's this great place down by the dock. They make the best burgers you've ever eaten. Care to join me for a bite?"
"Sure!" She beamed at him, and his grimace morphed into a sincere smile.
Coming up next: BrightMindShipping.
Last edited by SugarPesticide; 4th January 2012 at 5:06 AM.
20th December 2010, 4:06 AM
BrightMindShipping // Kate & Isaac // G
It was the most difficult decision of his life: Pakulski had unbelievable kicking power, but Grzeskiewicz had significantly more speed. He wondered whether or not the accuracy and focus stats would cause definite differences in performance in this case. If Pakulski were in defense, he could send the ball to his offensive teammates in a heartbeat. Swap him for Grzeskiewicz, though, and the opposition wouldn't even get close to the goalie before he'd apprehend them.
Isaac sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. Online soccer RPGs were serious business.
A door slammed open, sending a terrible barrage of blinding light into the basement. Isaac threw a hand over his face, squinting up at the dark shape marching towards him.
"All right, Isaac," Kate said, seizing his arm. "Let's go."
He tried to yank free, but failed miserably. "Not right now, Kate. I've got a serious international tournament coming on, and I need to get my players in position before it starts."
"What a pity. C'mon, daylight's wasting."
"W-what?" He gripped the edge of his desk. "You want me to go … out there?"
She grinned wickedly. "Yep. I'm taking you … outside."
The sun was shining gently on the grassy park. Nobody was enjoying themselves much, however.
"Isaac!" Kate hissed, elbowing him. "Pipe down already, please! Everyone's staring at us!"
"But Kate!" he whispered fearfully, glancing around at the glaring passerby. "The tournament's starting in maybe five minutes! I've just got to go back and sign in before it starts! Please, Kate, it's the crucial point of my entire life!"
Kate sighed, idly pulling up a few blades of emerald-green grass. "I know, Isaac. That's the problem. You spend so much time in that dark hole of yours that the internet becomes your god. And you're sacrificing your life to it. I'm putting a stop to that, because I can't stand watching you live solely on microwave pizza and Mountain Dew."
"I'm the god," Isaac replied defiantly. "I get to tell people what to do. Now let me go!"
He tried to get to his feet, but Kate had a firm grip on his arm. After several rather embarrassing moments of him whining and pleading, he caught a look at his watch and slumped in defeat.
"It's no good," he said in a melancholy tone. "The deadline's past."
"Good." She loosened her hold on him. "Now, why don't you just sit out here and relax in the real world … Take off that hoodie, for starters. You must be sweating bullets!"
"I'll burn!" he protested fearfully, drawing his oversized sweater tighter around himself.
"I brought sunscreen." She lifted a bottle to prove her point. "C'mon, Isaac, just stay out here with me for a while. The real world's even more exciting than your little online fantasies."
His eyes roved over the puffy clouds on the horizon, the man playing fetch with his Houndour, the kids giggling on the swings, and a group of young women laughing together over fresh picnic food. Then he looked over at Kate again. She was smiling at him, looking expectant.
"… Okay," he muttered finally, trying not to feel annoyed at the flicker of triumph on her face. "But I'm heading back at three. Got it?"
She wanted him to stay for longer, of course, but she didn't press the matter further. He was only going to do this one step at a time, and as long as it was some amount of progress, she was fine with it. Still, she sighed inwardly as he struggled to free himself from his sweater.
Why couldn't he understand that she was only trying to help?
Coming up next: OuchShipping.
Last edited by SugarPesticide; 4th January 2012 at 5:04 AM.
24th December 2010, 1:22 AM
The perfect pairing for Christmas. Or not ...
OuchShipping // Skitty & Wailord // PG-13
"We've been hit! We've been hit!"
Panic swept through the passengers as another great shudder rippled down Jack's large body. His eyes screwed shut against the pain as the object dug deeper into his flesh, releasing a murky cloud of blood into the numbingly cold water.
Straining to keep his head despite the growing panic, he heard the crew shout amongst themselves.
"Go keep everyone calm—"
"Women and children first! Women and children—"
"—and send out an SOS, we need backup—"
"What'd we hit, crewman? For the love of Mew, tell me it's not an iceberg."
"N-no, sir, it's not an iceberg."
"It's a UFO, sir."
A shrill scream was suddenly silenced by the sound of a spectacular splash.
"… A UFO."
"You're telling me that a UFO just happened to be floating in the Atlantic, right in the path of our whale."
"You're fired. Jones, take the helm. I need to find myself a change of pants."
Jack's eyes fluttered. He could feel the strength starting to drain away. He felt himself sinking as his once-frantic fin movements slowed to a weary, feeble effort. So … tired …
"Jack!" cried a familiar voice.
His heart leapt at the sound.
"I'm coming, Jack! Move, you—"
"Lady, we need you to get into a lifeboat with the rest of the passengers—"
"Let me through!" Soft, tiny paws padded over towards the very tip of his head, in spite of the captain's shouts. "Jack, oh Jack! Stay with us, please, Jack! Say something!"
"Ow," he moaned.
"Jack! Don't give up, Jack. Even if you sink and die, I'll go down with you. Because without you, my heart won't go on!"
"Thanks, Rose," he rumbled weakly.
"But really, Jack. I want you to live. I want to travel with you back and forth across the Atlantic, or wherever else you'd want to go. I want to get married to you and maybe even raise a family of our own. And don't worry, we'd work the physical technicalities out."
"Rose," he said, amidst the shouts and screams and swearing, "I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I love you with all my hundreds of pounds of heart. And I would never, ever crush you, especially if you'd decide to be on top of it for once." He sighed. "But alas, our lives aren't going to continue much longer. It would take a miracle otherwise."
"Oh, Jack," she sobbed, burying her fuzzy face into his blubbery skin.
At the opposite end of Jack's body – that is, the portion farthest from his head that hadn't yet been swallowed up in water – a Gardevoir's eyes snapped open. "Finally!" she muttered, starting to glow. "All this dramatic noise was ruining my concentration …"
And everything within the nearest five acres vanished into thin air.
Kansas had seen everything. Its landscape, or rather what passes for a landscape, has been ravaged by countless tornados. It has seen entire towns disappear from its dusty surface. It watches civilizations of wheat wither and die, although nobody cares because wheat civilizations, like their human counterparts, are incredibly uninteresting.
Kansas had, in fact, been of the opinion that it would no longer be surprised by anything, barring the sudden midair appearance of a bleeding Wailord, a damaged UFO, hundreds of passenger and crew Pokemon, and millions of gallons of salt water.
"Yes, I'm alright," Jack repeated, although the bustling Chansey medics cheerfully ignored him.
Something small nuzzled against his side. Twisting ever so slightly, he looked downwards and smiled to see Rose beaming back up at him.
"Rose," he asked, "will you marry me?"
The Skitty burst into tears again, though they were tears of joy this time. "Yes, Jack," she cried, "oh yes, I will!"
And they kissed as well as they could, there among the flashing lights of ambulances and news broadcasts and the protests of a disgruntled Clefable being led from the wreckage by government officials.
And they all lived happily ever after.
Coming up next: GaiaShipping.
28th December 2010, 3:48 AM
GaiaShipping // Gardenia & Cheryl // G
"Aaaaand welcome back to A Trainer's Day! Today, Dodge and I will be interviewing two of the most prominent members of the environmentalist community, not to mention two of the strongest trainers in Sinnoh: Gardenia and Cheryl!"
The two young women looked up from their ice cream cones, startled at the sudden appearance of the two reporters and their obnoxious-looking cameraman. Why was it that whenever they were going out, people started bothering them? It must be another writer at work.
"So tell us, you two: what are you planning to do for the day?" Run the reporter asked, shoving a microphone in front of their faces.
They exchanged incredulous glances for a brief moment. Then, clearing her throat, Cheryl spoke up. "Well, we were thinking about just walking around here in Eterna Park for a while …"
"Great!" Run exclaimed. "We'll just follow you around for a while, okay?"
"Sure," said Gardenia, because there was no polite way of refusing.
The two got to their feet and began to walk along the long, winding trails of the new park, licking their ice cream as they passed picnickers and kids playing soccer. It was all very beautiful to watch, but it was impossible to fully experience it while Dodge and Run asked inane questions about their training methods. How were they supposed to enjoy themselves on their date when these people were tagging along?
Authors ruined everything.
Suddenly, the mighty rumble of a distant engine caused the air to start trembling. They paused, looking in the direction of the sound. Cheryl's brow creased in worry.
"Is there some sort of excavation going on?" Dodge asked in an effort to fill the relative silence.
"Not that I know of …" Gardenia frowned. She wondered vaguely whether she should be worried by a threat, or pleased by a distraction.
"Hey, look!" Cheryl exclaimed, and they followed her gaze to see a figure sprinting towards them from the shadows of the trees at the other end of the park. "It's an obligatory masculine appearance!"
"Indeed." Gardenia took a bite out of her cone as the young man skidded to a stop in front of him. "Because you obviously just can't write femslash without one. But seriously, Roark, what are you doing here?"
"Sorry," he said, trying to get his breath back, "but you need to come with me, quickly! My dad's trying to flatten part of the forest for his mining operations!"
"We'll see about that!" she declared, lifting her half-eaten cone to the sky dramatically. Unfortunately, the remainder of her ice cream cascaded out of it and splashed all over Roark's helmet.
"Ooh!" Run squealed. "Drama and ecological struggling! I love it!"
"Wait." Cheryl frowned in confusion. "Why would he do that? Eterna Forest has absolutely nothing to tempt the mining industry."
"Cheryl," he said patiently, trying and failing to wipe off the ice cream, "we're in a shipping one-shot. Common sense isn't supposed to apply."
"Very well." She lifted her own cone to match Gardenia's pose, sending more ice cream dripping all over him. "Lead on!"
After much hurrying through the forest, filled with curious Pokemon watching them dart past, the three teens finally reached a wide clearing, wherein a massive bulldozer could be seen steadily rolling towards the trees. As it approached, they soon recognized the bearded features of Byron.
"I LOVE this machine!" he was hollering to himself over the tremendous noise. "It's just like a gigantic shovel … but with WHEELS!"
Gardenia and Cheryl stepped forward, placing themselves directly in the bulldozer's path. "Time to end this," Gardenia declared, placing her hands on her hips.
Cheryl smiled at her girlfriend. "Protect the forest!"
They high-fived, ignoring Dodge and Run as they burst out of the woods behind them.
"What's this?" Byron asked, slowing the bulldozer to a gradual halt barely five yards away. "Roark, I specifically told you not to bring resistance! It's FUTILE … Why do you have ice cream all over your head?"
"Dad," he called back, ignoring that embarrassing observation, "I'm pretty sure people like the forest as a forest. And don't you need a license to drive that thing?"
"Oh, forget the law," his father laughed back. "I have money!"
"Sir," Gardenia cut in, "with all due respect, you will get out of this forest and never come back ... in a bulldozer, I mean ... or else."
Byron just chuckled at her.
"It looks like a standoff!" Dodge was saying, smiling into the camera. "Who will win?"
"Why are you asking rhetorical questions?" Cheryl asked. "They're not getting anybody anywhere ..."
Still laughing, Byron decided to simply circumvent the girls by throwing the bulldozer a few feet in reverse. It backed up a few feet, then halted. Apparently it was designed to go forward, the whole forward, and nothing but the forward.
"See?" Gardenia called. "Not even your shovel with wheels wants to cooperate."
He clenched his teeth, shaking his fist at the sky. "CURSE YOU, PLOT-INDUCED MALFUNCTION!"
Cheryl giggled, then turned to Gardenia. "What do you say we spend our date saving the forest?" she asked.
Gardenia grinned. "Can't think of anything I'd rather do."
They sat down cross-legged on the grassy earth, holding hands and smirking as the miner fumed about his foiled plan. And this time, Dodge and Run couldn't ruin their happiness. Not unless they wanted to risk getting close to that bulldozer.
All in all, it was a relatively happy and peaceful ending, so the author grew bored and decided to turn her attention to writing something exciting and scary. Because, you know, nonviolent protests are boring. Even for news crews.
"They're not boring!"
Whatever you say, Gardenia. Whatever you say.
Coming up next: BlueVelvetShipping.
3rd January 2011, 10:46 PM
BlueVelvetShipping // Cynthia & Hunter J // PG
"So this is the famed Jaybird, is it?"
A less experienced bandit might have dropped the sack of money. But not the Jaybird. Instead she swiveled around, straightening up from her crouching stance, and fired in the general direction of the speaker; the bullet slammed into a wall several feet away, sending nearby men scattering off with alarmed exclamations. It was an intentional misaim, a warning for the other to walk away while it was still possible.
But the stranger didn't look as if she were going anywhere.
The Jaybird's eyes, hidden beneath the tilted red hat, narrowed – the sight of the woman's pristine, squeaky-clean vest, chaps, boots and hat, all as black as night during the monsoon, looked glaringly out of place in the dusty little town. Her long hair was braided into a single blond braid, held together with black-and-gold fastenings that brought to mind the ears of those moon-dogs that sometimes went after the cattle. Sunlight glinted off of the star-shaped badge on her vest.
"A city girl?" The Jaybird couldn't help but smirk. "They went and requested a city girl to be sheriff this time? Didn't think they'd've given up so pathetically." She laughed, a sound that left little doubt as to the inspiration for her name. "Next thing you know they'll be dressing up any little girl for the job."
The sheriff's calm demeanor remained unruffled. "True," she admitted smoothly, "I'm not from around here. But I've got two dozen bullets made and refined in city factories, and they'll work just the same here—"
The Jaybird wordlessly shot at her and bolted for the door. Rather than hear a pained cry, however, she heard an echoing bang of gunfire, and a gaping hole was torn through the base of the sack. As she darted down the deserted street, money – crisp, forest-green bills, practically fresh from the mint – poured out behind her, leaving a trail of wealth in her wake.
Though she wondered vaguely about her prize's decreasing weight, she failed to notice this until she had at last returned to her hidden lair, at which point she was feeling foolish and furious at the same time for having practically led the law right to her doorstep.
Truly this new sheriff was far cleverer than she'd thought. How intriguing.
At the feel of cold metal bands snapping shut around wrists, a less experienced bandit might have panicked or vowed revenge. But not the Jaybird.
She was considering the blond sheriff more seriously this time, even to the point of grudging admiration, as she planned her next escape.
Coming up next: NightlightShipping.
7th January 2011, 6:29 AM
NightlightShipping // Umbreon & Espeon // PG
Izzy loved Eddie. She really, honestly did. The problem was that he tried too hard to reciprocate the affection. At best the romantic pile-on was interesting, at least from a psychiatrist's point of view. At worst it was mind-bogglingly infuriating.
Eddie tried again, stepping out into the sunlight and puffing out his chest. "This is the pelt of a killer, Izzy!" the Espeon declared as the gem on his forehead sparkled.
Izzy twitched her tail, feeling it slap lightly against the ground. "Okay then. What's the punch line?"
"Punch line?" He deflated visibly. "Don't girls find that predatory angsting attractive?"
"Not really, no."
"Well, you know what I find attractive about you? The fact that I can't read your mind." He squinted at her, as if watching for words to come crawling out her ears. "You could be thinking anything, and I wouldn't even know."
"Because, you know, my being a dark type has nothing to do with it."
He leaned in close, a deranged expression creeping onto his face as he sniffed her heartily. "You're like my personal brand of heroin," he rasped.
Now he's just reaching, the Umbreon thought, getting to her feet.
"Izzy?" he asked, his faux addiction morphing into honest confusion. His ears and tail drooped, making him look almost like a hurt puppy.
She looked back at him, immediately feeling regret for her initial disgust. "I'm sorry, Eddie," she said, shaking her head. "It's just … those things you're saying aren't really romantic. Actually, they're not really close to romantic. What kind of girl wants to be compared to heroin?"
"Well, there's that Ste—"
Her impatient sigh cut him off. "I'm just getting really sick of it. Nothing against you, you're a great boyfriend. It's your sense of romance that needs fixing."
And she stalked off, leaving a dejected Eddie behind her.
Izzy watched the sun set from her position on the mossy boulder, rethinking what she'd told Eddie. She had been a bit blunt with him, she told herself. And he really was just trying to be nice. She couldn't blame him for that. He didn't know better, anyway, considering the large amount of females who found all sorts of odd things attractive, including males who inexplicably glittered. Was it his fault that she wasn't one of those females?
She bit her lip. Hopefully she hadn't shaken him up too badly.
Twilight grew dimmer, and her rings seemed to shine yellow in the shadows. A couple of curious bugs fluttered around them, but she shooed them away.
By the time she finally decided to go back and find him, the stars had begun to glimmer in the navy blue sky. She stretched her back, yawned magnificently, and began to backtrack through the woods, scarlet eyes recognizing places she'd passed on her way to the boulder – her sense of smell was perfectly fine, but her superb night vision rendered using said sense unnecessary.
Eventually, after several minutes of trotting through the trees, she came upon the meadow where they had last spoken. He seemed to have run off, however, so she put her nose to the ground and followed his scent, which was tinged with despair and embarrassment.
Closer to the road, she noticed a decrepit old truck sitting in the long grass, reeking of gasoline and rust. She disliked the idea of approaching it, but Eddie's scent seemed to continue in that direction, so she drew near, wrinkling her nose.
Curled up near one of the flat tires on the other side was Eddie, gazing off towards the stars. He was shivering in the oncoming breeze. Izzy felt another pang of guilt at his sad expression. She had to make it right.
She padded over to him, sitting down at his side without saying a word. Eddie jolted slightly, startled at her sudden appearance. He opened his mouth, paused for a long moment, and shut it again.
"I just wanted to say I was sorry," Izzy told him. "You didn't mean to be annoying. And I could've told you more gently, so I'm more at fault here than you are."
A Hoothoot called out eerily somewhere.
"Actually, you were right," Eddie admitted after a pause. "I was spouting off contrived nonsense that crazed gothic teens would want to hear. Just because you're dark doesn't mean you're goth, so there's no reason that you'd agree with them about those 'sweet' nothings."
"Thanks for noticing," Izzy said with a hint of dryness.
"Maybe we could put this behind us?" he suggested. "I don't want to jeopardize our relationship. And to be honest, I'm pretty sure neither of us wants to act like the stars of some over-publicized cheesy romance novel." He looked up at her, blue eyes meeting red ones. "If the feel is more genuine, I think our feelings will be, too."
She nodded, smiling. "I'd like that."
They sat there in the dark for a while, not saying anything. Izzy silently thanked whatever legendary was watching over her, pleased beyond reason that their love hadn't dissolved over something incredibly trivial.
"Huh," Eddie remarked at length, looking at his girlfriend's yellow rings. "It's getting really, really black out there. Ah, well. I guess you'll do for a sun."
He squeaked in surprise when she glomped him savagely.
"Awww, Eddie!" she squealed happily, nuzzling him. "That was so sweet!"
"It was?" Eddie replayed what he'd said in his head. He wasn't quite sure what made his statement sweet. Maybe it was because she was a girl. Whatever it was, he wasn't going to complain about it.
She rolled off of him, grinning. "It was."
He couldn't help but sigh in relief. Now all he had to do was analyze his words, isolate whatever it was that turned her on, and reuse it in a way that wasn't immediately obvious.
Coming up next: BatorangerShipping.
11th January 2011, 3:34 AM
BatorangerShipping // Kellyn & Solana // PG
"I don't know, Starly," Kellyn admitted, staring up at his bedroom ceiling with his arms crossed beneath his head. "It's going to be an awfully big step."
The black-and-gray bird, perched at the end of his master's bed, fluttered his wings slightly. "Arly?" he asked, tilting his comparatively large head to the side.
"Oh, you know what I mean." Kellyn glanced at the digital clock on his desk, which displayed the late hour in glowing red numbers. So late, and he still couldn't fall asleep! "We're going to a new region tomorrow. Not a new town, a new region. It's practically light-years away. We might not see Mom and Dad for years. Kate'll be coming, but she's crazy. And there're probably even more weirdoes there than you can shake a stick at." He sighed. "It's all just so foreign."
"Ta." Starly shrugged.
He looked at the clock again, trying to suppress the impatience rising within him as excitement and nervousness battled fervently. Why couldn't there be a Ranger School here in Fiore? What was so special about boring old Almia, anyway? Besides the low exchange rate, obviously. And now that he thought about it, how were his parents going to dig up enough money to pay for his whole education? They weren't expecting him to come up with the cash, were they?
He wasn't sure exactly when his troubled musings dissolved into uneasy slumber. But then, one never can tell …
"Is this real life? Or is this fantasy~"
Kellyn glanced around nervously. He was standing in the midst of a pink fog, with Starly perched on his shoulder, without any pants. "I hope this is a dream," he told nobody in particular.
"Of course it is," declared a voice to his left. He spun towards it, but saw only more fog in that direction. "But why should that mean it's not real?"
"… Because they're mutually exclusive."
"Touché. But in all seriousness, this isn't your usual running-in-place-while-the-monster-closes-in dream. I need your help, Kellyn. On a mission, I ran into an extraordinarily powerful Pokemon, and it's trapping me in a cycle of endless nightmares. I'm worried that if I try to escape alone, I'll fail miserably."
Kellyn put a hand to his chin, thinking. That voice sounded familiar … "Solana?" he asked nervously.
A young woman materialized out of the fog, relief apparent, teal hair askew, the Plusle on her shoulder peering curiously at him. Kellyn jumped backwards, startled and suddenly extremely aware of the faint breeze rustling his boxers.
"Thank heavens," she said. "I couldn't show myself until you named me … how are you, anyway? It's been quite a while since we last saw each other, huh?"
Kellyn nodded. Solana had left Fiore for the Ranger School over a year ago. She must have graduated, then. She also seemed to have developed considerably. He slapped himself mentally at the perverted thought. "Yeah," he managed to say.
She raised an eyebrow. "You're 'yeah'?"
He blushed. "I—"
A deep, icy howl cut him off. They all stared into the fog, the hair on the back of their necks standing on end.
"It's annoyed," Solana muttered. "The sooner we can defeat it, the better." She took a few steps into the fog, then glanced back at him, grinning mischievously. "Coming?"
He nodded again, and they set out into the mysterious beyond.
They traversed a plain filled with clowns and a river made of fish, while the fog grew steadily darker around them until they were surrounded by deep maroon. Solana held up a hand, halting her companion. "It's over there," she whispered. "I can feel it. You ready?"
Kellyn glanced at Starly, who seemed to have morphed into a sparkling golden Staraptor on the journey. Considering the setting, he didn't even try to figure out how a massive Staraptor could still sit on his shoulder. He wouldn't have been surprised to see himself in a Robin Hood outfit, actually.
A massive shadow loomed at them from the darkness, eying them with a cold blue stare. Its white hair streamed behind it dramatically as it raised its claws.
"Charge!" Solana yelled, pulling a sword out of nowhere. Staraptor and Plusle lunged at the shadowy fiend; the former beat his broad wings furiously against its form, while the latter, who seemed to have developed feathery wings, pelted it with her crackling spheres of light. Solana followed them, slashing at it with her blade, but it didn't even faze the creature, which was beginning to summon a massive wave of darkness.
Kellyn watched them, feeling both nervous and envious. What was he going to do? He didn't think he'd be able to use a sword as deftly as Solana, who was incidentally doing it with such style that it would have intimidated him anyway. Arrows would feel like some cliché. What else …?
His fingers brushed against something, though nothing could be seen there. Curious, he grasped the unseen object and pulled it out of thin air, revealing it to be a metallic object that made him grin slightly. He could use this. He'd seen it on TV all the time.
Taking careful aim at the fiend, which was attempting to choke the three attackers with its darkness, he squeezed the trigger, pouring out an onslaught of bullets that caught it by surprise. The shadowy assault halted, and it screeched horrifically, glaring at him with murderous intent – he shrank back slightly, nearly dropping the weapon – but it simply exploded into slivers of darkness that withered away in the foggy air.
The others stared at him.
"Sorry," he said, grinning sheepishly. "I guess an AK-47 isn't as dramatic."
Solana swooped towards him and caught him in a massive hug, beaming at him. "Are you kidding? It was genius! The way we were going, it might've taken ages to bring it down. But you found a shortcut! Never overlook the simple ways, huh?"
He blushed a vivid crimson. Staraptor and Plusle smirked at him.
The lightening fog grew thicker, starting to obscure their vision further. Kellyn glanced around; he could barely see five feet in front of him. "Is it ending?" he asked.
"Yes." Solana gazed at him proudly. "Thank you, Kellyn. You've been an incredible help; I really don't think we'd manage to escape without you. I guess you're my knight in shining armor."
Or no armor, he thought, remembering again that he wasn't wearing any pants.
Quick as a flash, she leaned forward and pecked him on the cheek. "I'll see you in Almia!" she called to him, as the fog swallowed everything up and he fell out of dreaming through the other side.
The alarm buzzed shrilly. He slapped at the snooze button, missing it several times before unintentionally knocking it to the floor. Groaning, he reached over the side of the side of his bed, felt around for the annoying clock, grabbed it, and savagely stabbed the button. It finally fell silent, and he breathed a sigh of relief.
"Wow," he grunted, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. He looked over at Starly, who also seemed pleased that the alarm clock of doom had been conquered. "That was a really, really weird dream. You were in it, you know."
Starly rolled his eyes.
"Wouldn't it have been weird if it were actually real?" He glanced out the window, squinting in the sunlight. "If Solana really did run into some nightmare-inducing monster? Maybe it's just because I've been looking forward to seeing her. No, wait, I wasn't before …"
Shrugging to himself, he stepped out of bed, stretching his cramped limbs. Several seconds passed before he realized that something was off with this situation. He looked down.
The grinning duck faces on his underwear looked back at him.
He stared at Starly, who met his shocked gaze with a smirk. After all, underwear never lies.
Coming up next: EtherealShipping.
15th January 2011, 7:04 AM
EtherealShipping // Gardevoir & Froslass // PG-13
Gira wasn't sure why Steve was just gaping idiotically at the weird floating white thing instead of pointing the Pokedex and being useful once. Then again, she wasn't sure how or when he'd collected enough brain cells to form complete words. There wasn't a lot of point in expecting much from Steve, unless said expectations concerned eating, sleeping, farting, and generally making an ass out of himself.
"What seems to be its body is actually hollow," the Pokedex was saying anyway, because even the Pokedex was more useful than Steve, and Gira had already memorized every last 'dex entry from the internet.
The creature was watching them curiously, head tilted to the side, wing-arms swaying slightly in the chilly breeze. "Ooh," she was crooning to herself.
"Ai!" Chia called to her, smiling and waving her own ear.
"What the heck is she doing out here in the middle of an abandoned theme park?" Keba asked, glancing around nervously.
"What are we doing out here in the middle of an abandoned theme park?" Gira corrected her Leafeon friend, glaring in the direction of a rickety old roller coaster. "At least it's not perpetual night, but seriously, come on. What are we supposed to find, a monster clown?"
"This used to be a funhouse~!" Steve shrilled in a voice so horribly off-key that it approached goodness from the other side. "But now it's full of evil clowns~"
"Shut up, you fool," Gira snapped, hands to her ears.
"Oooh!" the strange Pokemon squealed suddenly, floating swiftly over towards Gira and catching her in a surprise hug around her middle.
"… the hell?" Gira finally managed. "She's not supposed to do that, is she?"
"Don't ask me, I'm just a Pokedex," declared said piece of machinery.
"Ignoring the fact that it's your function?"
"I hadn't taken into account the mind screw-iness that follows you guys like bad luck."
"Oooooooh~!" the Froslass sang, squeezing Gira more tightly and burrowing her icy face into the slender shoulder.
"I feel pretty," Steve told everyone matter-of-factly. "Very, very, oh so pretty pretty flower. I feel pretty and kinda smart-ish, and G—"
"YES, WE KNOW!" Gira snapped, making everyone besides the Froslass jump. "I KNOW THIS LOOKS GAY! STOP RUBBING IT IN, YOU RUBBER-HEADED MINION!"
Froslass just nuzzled Gira's chest.
"… Why am I here?" Keba asked plainitively.
After a couple more hours of doing virtually nothing in the abandoned theme park, Steve at last decided to depart, prompting a concerted sigh of relief from his Pokemon. Gira, however, found a perfectly valid reason not to relax just yet.
"If anyone comments on this," she growled, noticing the expressions of those they passed, "I will cut out your innards with a spoon. A sharp spoon."
They didn't doubt it, but it was hard not to snicker behind her back. After all, what else could a person do upon catching sight of a severely pissed-off Gardevoir carrying around a giggling Froslass, piggyback style?
"And now for something completely different!" Steve laughed, shoving a thumb deep up each nostril.
"Why do you put up with it?" Keba asked, eyebrow raised at the ludicrous sight of his friend's clingy friend. "You could just blast her off, right?"
"Yes, I could." Gira sighed. "But I glanced through her mind, and she's been wandering that place all alone for a long time. And even though she's annoying as all hell, she's really very sweet. Can't blame her for going stir-crazy in the park of doom, now, can I?"
"Guess not," he conceded, still staring incredulously at the icy Pokemon gripping her shoulders.
"Geh lab?" Chia wondered, tilting her head to the side.
Gira shrugged. The Froslass just squealed happily at the movement.
You know, the Gardevoir decided, when they said hell freezes over, they really weren't kidding …
Another wave of Froslass's glee and admiration swept over her.
But it's a lovable hell, damn it.
So she carried her ghostly passenger without complaint, ignoring comments from passerby and Steve's increasingly retarded antics.
Coming up next: SexistShipping.
19th January 2011, 4:18 AM
SexistShipping // Gallade & Froslass // PG-13
Sir Galantree stared at his surroundings in astonishment. He stood on some type of dark, stony lane, the likes of which he'd never seen. He noticed that a white line traced each edge, and a double yellow line, most likely the most important of the three, ran down the path's middle. Remarkable! He had never seen such order in a road. It was truly alien.
Ahead of him a huge object turned a corner and started towards him, narrowed eyes glowing madly, metallic hide gleaming in the fading light. It slunk swiftly toward him on strange, circular paws, its growl deepening to a rumbling roar as it drew ever closer. It was truly a terrifying beast, but Sir Galantree stood his ground. A true knight never backed down from a challenge. And who knew? Perhaps this monster was terrifying the town. He would be doing everyone a service by annihilating it. He tensed, unsheathing his arm-blades, ready for combat.
As the beast neared, he noticed that a wide section above its eyes was transparent, revealing that a distressed-looking human was sitting inside. Sir Galantree tried to ignore the horrific implications, but they barraged his mind anyway. By simply looking at the monster, one would be capable of seeing the victim it was currently digesting! He forced himself to swallow his revulsion. He must free the human before digestion had fully occurred.
The human appeared to be shouting something, though little could be heard over the sound of the monster's snarl. Sir Galantree understood. The victim was simply worried that he, too, would be devoured by the monster, and was attempting to warn him off. He smiled and shook his head. He was too noble to leave the human to his fate.
The monster was barely ten feet away when it emitted a horrible screeching sound. The knight gritted his teeth. He would not let this terrible beast glory in his death! He raised his blades before him, screamed a noble war cry, and charged.
Gira wasn't the only one to stare. Everyone within watching distance wore the same expression of incredulity as they witnessed the Gallade slice into the car's hood with a horrible SCREEEEEEEEE! Everyone aside from Froslass, that was. The icy ghost, hanging onto her Gardevoir companion's arm, instead looked curious, interested, and almost amused.
The driver, whose prolific swears were now mostly the products of panic, attempted to swerve around the knight, yanking the wheel around as hot air blossomed from the ruined hood.
But Sir Galantree would not be deterred.
"DIE, FOUL BEAST!" he shouted, swiveling around and slashing at a rear tire in a single fluid motion. Off-balanced, the car appeared to slump backward slightly as the driver decelerated sharply, coming to a shrieking stop.
Sir Galantree looked proud and pleased at his seeming victory, in spite of the burn on his blade.
"WHAT THE HELL, YOU BASTARD?" the driver roared, leaping out of his sorry-looking car and storming towards the surprised Gallade. "WHAT THE F—"
An icy gust of wind cut him off, pushing him off his feet and sending him sprawling on the asphalt. Gira did a double take: Froslass was floating before Sir Galantree, wing-arms folded protectively. She sure hadn't expected the ghost to leave, especially after she'd been hanging onto her arm for the past several days.
Then Froslass turned to the knight, and her expression melted into one of admiration. "Oooooh~!" she exclaimed, leaning forward and nuzzling him affectionately.
"… Are you well, madam?" he asked finally, looking awkward.
Gira sighed and floated over towards them, circumnavigating the steaming wreck and the fuming driver. "Do I want to know why you're here?" she said, exasperated.
"Ah, mage!" he exclaimed. "Is this where you live? I find myself in awe at all of this. I was questing when I ran afoul of a mighty dragon, who banished me here in his wondrous spell. But your monsters are even more terrifying, truth be told."
"That wasn't a – actually, never mind, his lawyers will spell it out for you when they show up. Are you okay? Your blade looked like it got pretty banged up."
"'Tis all well," he said, for Froslass was running her chilly hands over the burn, presumably cooling it with her own chilly powers. "Methinks I have won myself a lady of the snow. Perhaps she is a princess."
"She's a stalker with a crush, at any rate." Gira shrugged the matter off. This wasn't the weirdest thing she'd ever seen. "I hope you know what you're doing here, Galantree. There's not a lot of room for knights in shining armor here."
"Not outwardly, no," Sir Galantree agreed, smiling back at Froslass. "But I believe that there is plenty of room for me in this maiden's heart."
Froslass giggled, blushing purple.
"Heh." Gira smirked. "You know, before you said 'heart', it sounded like you were going to try and get into her—"
It was at that point that a convenient firetruck came careening down the road, sirens wailing and horn honking.
"Behold!" Sir Galantree gasped. "'Tis a foul bloody dragon! Hear the sound pouring from its terrible unseen maw! Prepare to taste death, fiend!" He brandished his blades again, then glanced at his admirer. "Lady, if you can stand against this danger with me, I shall forever honor your courage."
Froslass floated at his side, forming a ball of icy energy between her hands as she glared heroically at the truck, daring it to keep rushing closer.
Gira sweatdropped. "I don't even know why I'm here," she muttered, and teleported away before the real violence could occur.
Coming up next: PiketShipping.
23rd January 2011, 1:17 AM
PiketShipping // Pikachu & ketchup // PG
"My master's eyes are nothing like the sun;
In fact, I find him on the whole quite dim,
For though he is a kind and loving one
He chases after danger on a whim.
Now, if I may adhere to something else
Of shape so sleek and liquid sweet and pure,
Then I would gladly sigh as my heart melts
Rather than roll my eyes while I endure.
Oh ketchup! I am sky and you are sun,
For you provide my life with joy and light,
And I give you a place to sleep, in turn,
Within my belly as day turns to night.
How do I love you! Sugars nutritious
With redness forms into what's delicious!"
Pikachu looked up from her sonnet, bowing as the other Pokemon clapped politely. A sense of pride swelled within her. It hadn't been easy for her to write, that was for sure. Getting the rhythm and rhyming right was hard. But if it meant honoring her beloved ketchup, it was worth it.
"Oh, Pikachu!" Togekiss gushed, her sweet voice piping over the fading applause. "Your happiness and adoration is wondrous indeed … I can truly tell your love for ketchup is strong and sincere." She wiped a joyful tear from her eye with a quivering white wing.
"It was pretty cool," Buizel agreed, nodding. "I especially liked the first part. Ash is a cool guy and all, but he can be a real idiot sometimes."
"Meh," Croagunk said, shrugging. "Who am I to know good poetry? Still, the part about the sleek shape and sweet liquid made me feel all tingly." His face stretched into a creepy grin.
"Well, hey," Pikachu said, spreading her arms. "The point is that it wasn't terrible, right?"
"B-but … b-b-but …" Buneary stammered, her eyes wide and bright as she stared up at her not-so-secret crush, "b-but it wouldn't be serious, w-would it? I mean …" She blushed furiously. "You're not really in love with ketchup, are you?"
"Well …" Pikachu began, shifting slightly.
"Oh, get real, peasant," Piplup scoffed, folding his flippers. "Even you should know that Pikachu's not weird enough for that sort of thing. Or does your head have more fluff in it than the rest of your puny little body?"
Buneary's eyes welled up with shining tears. Before Pikachu could compose herself enough to assure her with an adequate lie, the bunny dashed away, sobbing obnoxiously.
"… But Buneary's as tall as you are," Happiny put in matter-of-factly, completely missing the point.
"Pluppy-kun," Pachirisu said just a little sharply, "why can't you be a little less of a weirdo and start accepting people for who they are? It isn't Pikachu-san's fault that she's romantically involved with bottles of ketchup. Love in any form is love, so stop being intolerant. OR I WILL KILL YOU."
There was a moment of awkward silence.
"Hi," Pachirisu added, grinning cheekily.
Everyone aside from the loudly snoring Mamoswine turned towards Pikachu.
"Is this true?" Buizel asked quietly, so that he was almost unheard over Mamoswine's next snore.
Pikachu's mind worked rapidly. What was she supposed to tell them? That she relished every lick of ketchup she'd ever had? That she sometimes snuck a bottle from a restaurant and murmured things to it while everyone else was asleep? That she sometimes pictured herself mothering little half-Pichus dripping with ketchup and even worried that she might eat them? Of course not. Why would they be able to take it? Heck, it even freaked her out a little.
"Of course not," she managed to laugh. "It's ketchup. It's, like, the least romantic thing on the planet." Unless her passion for it was channeled through a sonnet, of course. But she kept that little gem of an addition to herself.
"Yeah, but you're still in love with it, Pikachu-san," Pachirisu insisted, still grinning.
Piplup snorted. "I guess Buneary's not the only bubblehead in the kingdom. Keep saying that, squirrely, you might get yourself to believe it."
"Kingdom, huh? And whose kingdom would that be again?" Buizel asked sharply, bristling.
Pikachu couldn't help but sigh in relief as everyone's attention turned toward the two feuding water-types, who had begun to exchange blows again. They'd almost found her out. She'd need to be more careful about concealing her passion for ketchup in the future. If only Pachirisu hadn't put the idea out there …
Guess I shouldn't have written the silly sonnet in the first place, she thought sheepishly, wincing along with everyone else as Buizel smashed Piplup's face with a nasty Ice Punch. Bringing it up like that, and in public, too. Must be my own fault.
Still, she couldn't help hoping for night to come quickly, so she could smother her dinner with the delicious condiment. And maybe even mutter sweet nothings into the cap afterwards, before falling asleep. She couldn't help but smile a little in anticipation. When it came to love ...
What fools we mortals be.
Coming up next: SoulsilverShipping.
28th January 2011, 1:53 AM
Fun fact: I somehow managed to convert myself to this ship while writing this. o_0
SoulsilverShipping // Silver & Lyra // PG
Two newborn babies slept in neighboring cradles in Cherrygrove Hospital's maternity ward. One bore the start of chocolate-brown locks; the other had tufts of crimson.
Mrs. Sakaki smiled. "See?" she crooned, dabbing at her little boy's face with a linen napkin. "It wasn't really icky at all, was it?"
He smacked against the tray of his high chair. "Yech," he spat, scrunching up his face.
She sighed to herself as he helped him get out. If only the boy's father were here, she told herself. If only there was more to my husband's life than his organization. Taking care of little Silver would be so much easier with his help. She shrugged, kneeling and setting her son down on the living room floor beside his many toys. Still, I suppose he feels obligated to—
A series of frantic knocks jolted her out of her thoughts. Frowning slightly, she straightened up again, striding out of the room. "I'll be right back, sweetie," she promised, throwing a reassuring glance over her shoulder.
The knocking continued to pound relentlessly on the front door; in fact, she noticed vaguely that it increased in frequency as the seconds passed. "Very well, very well, I'm coming," she muttered to no one in particular, grasping the silvery handle and turning it.
She started in surprise: a young woman stood there on the front porch, attempting to keep a hold on the convulsing toddler in her arms. The woman's dark hair was disheveled, her clothes dirty, her face tear-streaked and pleading. Mrs. Sakaki had heard rumors of common people living in huts in the nearby forest, but she had always brushed them off. Apparently there was some basis to them after all.
All this passed through her mind in a second; in another, the strange woman stumbled forward, just managing to keep her choking daughter from tumbling from her grasp.
"You have to let me use your phone!" she begged, eyes wide with anxiety. "She's choking, I don't want her to die, please help, just let me dial, please …"
Well, common people or not, Mrs. Sakaki knew a desperate situation when she saw one, so she nodded and hastily ushered the tearful woman indoors, through the lengthy entry hall and into the living room. Little Silver glanced up curiously from his toys as his mother snatched up the phone, punched in 911, and waved at her visitor to sit. The woman did so, sinking weakly into a sofa and releasing a pent-up sigh.
Half an hour later, the medics gave their last assurances to the women that the toddler would be just fine, leapt back into their ambulance, and rolled out of the driveway again, lights no longer flashing. Mrs. Sakaki couldn't help but smile as her visitor embraced her daughter, crying silently.
"Thank you," the woman whispered.
"Please, it was no worry," she replied, stooping down to kiss little Silver's forehead. "As a favor from one mother to another. I am Ariana Sakaki." She extended a slender hand, wedding ring sparkling slightly in the light. "I believe I missed your name. After all, I can hardly expect to keep in contact with you otherwise, now, can I?"
The woman's face lit up. "I'm Talia," she said, shaking the offered hand. "Talia Hart. And this …" She smiled down at her bleary-eyed daughter. "Is my lucky little Lyra."
"Now, what comes after two?" Talia asked again, seated before the two toddlers. Her clothes were in much better repair now; in spite of repeated attempts to decline Ariana's offers, the redheaded woman had insisted that she help her friend in making her financial struggles a little easier, dropping in a good word or two for every potential employer. She was grateful for the help, but was still feeling quite overwhelmed by the turn of affairs. It was so hard to believe that she now owned a phone!
"Tree!" Silver exclaimed.
"Fwee!" Lyra said, half a second later.
"That's right!" She lifted up a couple of fingers, counting as she did so. "One – two – three! Aren't you both so smart?"
"Yeah!" they chirruped, smiling at each other.
"Macaroni's ready!" Ariana called from the kitchen.
Squealing in anticipation, the two struggled onto their little feet, anticipation lighting up their fingers. Talia smiled. Little children seemed to prefer simple foods to the rather costly gourmet baby mush Ariana had bought prior to their friendship. At least now she was giving something in return.
"I don' wanna go!" Lyra wailed, tears streaming down her face as she plopped down on her bed. "I don' wanna leave Silvoh fohevoh! Mommy, no …"
"Oh, sweetie," Talia crooned, sitting down next to her and pulling her close. "Is that what you were worrying about? New Bark Town is interesting Silver's mommy, too." She lowered her mouth to her daughter's ear, as if imparting a deep secret. "In fact, I think they're going to move there, too."
Lyra looked up, still sniffling. "Weally?"
"Really. And you and I can live in a great big house next to Silver and his mommy, and we can have parties and sleepovers with Silver and with all the other kids in the neighborhood!"
She wiped her face with a sleeve. "Silvoh'll be dere?"
"I'm betting on it."
"Good." She nestled against her mother's side. "Den I'll come."
"Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you …"
The light of eight candles brought the faces of the people surrounding the cake into dim focus; the back porch light remained uncontested as the main source of light, washing gently over the yard. Children giggled and shrieked, excited to finally get to dessert, while smiling parent chaperones kept an eye on them in case things got too out of hand. Silver bounced around on his stool, eager to blow out the candles, birthday hat sitting atop scruffy red hair. Lyra waited only slightly more patiently, leaning so far forward that Talia had to keep reaching over her shoulder and pull her braid behind her back again, away from the flickering flame.
Lyra was still surprised, and immensely pleased, that her best friend shared her birthday. There was something special about that, she thought, eyes glinting in candlelight. Something unique, a kind of magic that linked them together. Her world was small; how many other four-year-olds could have the same birthday?
"Happy birthday, Silver-and-Lyraaa … happy birthday to you!"
Everyone cheered; some put in that obligatory addition, "And many more~" while other called for the birthday kids to make their wishes already. She glanced at Silver, who seemed to be thinking about his wish. They were special, birthday wishes were. Maybe, when two kids made their wishes at the same time, they were extra powerful. It made sense.
I wish me and Silver'll always be bestest friends, she thought. Forever 'n' ever 'n' ever.
She puffed out her cheeks, and the two of them extinguished their candles.
"But Silver!" she protested, trotting behind him, "they're just kiddin'! There's no such thing as cooties!"
"I guess," he said sheepishly, glancing around as if worried other boys were going to mock him. "I've been pals with you forever, and I'm not dead yet … but they'll pick on me, like callin' me a girl!" He looked disgusted at the thought.
"What's wrong with girls?" Lyra asked, arms folded.
"Oh, you're okay," he added hastily. "You're fun, you get into trouble, you're not scared of bugs. You're more like a boy. I mean ones like them." He pointed at a few figures in dresses skipping rope in the far-off playground. "They're all cootified."
Lyra made a face. "Yeah, you're right. I guess I'm really a boy. Girls are gross."
"Really gross," he agreed.
"Like, super-ugly-snot-nosed gross."
And from that day on, Lyra was the local tomboy.
"I want to catch this Pokemon on my journey," Lyra said matter-of-factly, showing off a book she'd found at the library. She pointed at the colorful pictures on the page, while Silver looked over her shoulder. "And this one, and that one too. But especially this one. It's called …" She squinted, trying to figure out the pronunciation over a drawing of an elegant blue wolf. "Soo … suey … coon? Suey-coon. It's the most powerful water Pokemon ever."
"I thought they weren't real," Silver said, frowning slightly.
"They're legendary. But they're still real. I heard something from somebody about how this one guy is going all over the place looking for Suey-coon, and he wants to catch it and be the greatest thingy ever. Or something. I dunno."
"Huh." He looked thoughtful. "Wouldn't you need normal Pokemon first, though?"
"Yeah. I still can't decide what Pokemon I'll pick, though. They were giving away these flyers at the new lab, and they had stuff on the starters on them. I'm gonna take either the fuzzy one or the blue toothy one. The green one is too girly." She stuck her tongue out.
Silver nodded. "I know I'm not taking it! Don't worry, there's still, like, a million years until we start our journeys. Lots of time to decide."
"I guess." She gave the blue creature a final glance before shutting the book. "I'm hungry. Are we going to your house for lunch?"
"Mom and Dad are getting together again," Silver finally revealed, scowling.
Lyra smiled. "Isn't that good news? I thought you wanted that to happen."
"I don't get it."
He didn't say anything for a while, just kicking his legs slightly as they dangled out of the tree house. She just sat beside him, waiting patiently.
At length, he sighed moodily. "Dad wants Mom to move to Kanto," he said. "Something going on over there or whatever. She's going to drag me along." He scoffed. "It's stupid."
Lyra felt something drop out of the bottom of her stomach. "But you're my best friend!" she blurted. "We're supposed to be together all the time! You can't just go, it's all crazy!"
"I know," he grunted. "But there's no arguing with Mom."
She folded her arms. "Hmph. It's no fair."
"Really no fair," he agreed, glaring at the forested landscape below and beyond. "It's a billion times funner here with you than over in stupid old Kanto." He shifted, withdrawing something from his pocket. "Here, I want you to have these."
Lyra stared at the little cutting of flowers grasped between his fingers. "Flowers? Ew, you better not be turning into a girl, Silver."
"They're not just any old flowers," he insisted. "They're forget-me-nots. To help you remember me. And they're blue, so they're not really girly." He looked away again. "I don't want to forget you, Lyra."
She nodded, understanding. "Okay," she said, taking them gently. They were kind of pretty, but not exactly in a girly way. "I'll keep 'em. And every time I see them, I'll think of you." She smiled at him. "Forever 'n' ever."
He managed a smile. "Forever 'n' ever."
Lyra pulled the letters from the mailbox, leafing through them half-heartedly. She hadn't heard from her old friend for a long time … two months, was it? Three? She reached the last one, and her heart sank: there was her own letter, returned to sender. Again. She'd never reach him at this rate.
She sighed, turning and heading towards the front door. Maybe the new kid would be willing to play. Ethan, Talia had said. She shrugged mentally. It couldn't hurt.
In the tiny little vase on her windowsill, the forget-me-nots were wilting.
"Our organization is in ruins," the man muttered, stalking about the room tensely. "All of them defeated by a mere boy. Even I have lost to him. I see no point in continuing it."
Ariana tried to reach out to him again. "Giovanni, we can still—"
"I will not be arrested like a common criminal!" he shouted suddenly, smashing his fists against a table.
"Maybe if you felt like running, I—"
"When I want to hear your opinion," he growled through gritted teeth, "I will ask for it. In the meantime, be silent!"
Seated outside the room, back to the wall, Silver gritted his teeth. That man – he could hardly think of him as father – had no right to talk to his mother that way. But he couldn't do a thing about it. Harsh lessons at Giovanni's hands had taught him that much.
"Purr?" his father's Pokemon asked, padding up to him.
"Hush!" he hissed. The sleek Persian fell silent.
He couldn't decide what he was supposed to do. Giovanni had promised him many things, each more outlandish than the next, for the day when Team Rocket at last conquered … but it had never happened. A couple of rookie trainers had seen to that. Now they had nothing.
Trainers … his eyes roved towards his Persian, standing still and watching him plainitively. He could become a trainer. Travel the land without a care for what happened here in this stinking place. Get a Pokemon with some power to it, one that could help him. One of Oak's starters … no. They were too close to Pallet Town. Word of the thievery would get out, and Giovanni would connect the dots, deduce his location, and swoop in to punish him.
He shuddered at the thought, quickly casting about for another solution. Johto, perhaps? Yes, of course. Considering all the hassle it would take to get to a region … sure, Giovanni would never think to look for him there. And they had a lab there, too, with its own starter Pokemon. Not to mention that, for whatever reason, he felt a grudging surge of excitement at the thought of going to Johto. He couldn't see why – the region meant nothing to him, nothing – but he still felt inexplicably drawn to the place. He decided to trust his gut on this one. It was all or nothing.
"Purr?" Persian meowed quietly as the boy got to his feet, determination etched onto his features.
"See you, Persian," he murmured, patting the big cat's head absently as he slunk towards the vast entry hall. "I'll be celebrating my tenth birthday as a trainer."
And he headed off for freedom.
"I mean, the whole coming-of-age thing is exciting and all, but training isn't everything!" Ethan was saying. "Breeding's got the whole range of possibilities! There's grooming, and feeding, and breeding too, obviously—"
Lyra suppressed a sigh, keeping her eyes fixed on the lab up ahead. Ethan meant well, but he just didn't understand that breeding held as much interest for her as wading in a cutesy cotton candy cloud. Give me a tough road over a cushy thing like breeding any day.
"I can still save a place for you in the program if you're interested!" he called after her as she stepped off the road and onto the walkway leading up to the lab.
She just rolled her eyes.
Inside, the nerdy-looking professor guided her around for a bit, droning on about Pokemon and whatever else he could think of, before he finally and mercifully led her towards a tray holding three Poke Balls, each with an elemental symbol over it to distinguish the Pokemon within. He started to tell her about said Pokemon, but she cut him off hastily, explaining that she'd already studied the three starters and knew a fair amount about them, at which point he just gave up.
Chikorita was definitely out – way, way too cutesy. As for the other two … she rubbed her chin, thinking over it. Something flitted across her memory, the color red. It was only momentary, but somehow she felt herself drawn to that scarlet shade. Red. Right now she wanted red.
"I'll take Cyndaquil," she said, and the professor exhaled in a badly-disguised sigh of relief.
She hadn't gone twenty steps from the lab when a loud crash and a cry of alarm brought her swiveling around, dashing in the direction of the unexpected commotion. Near the back of the lab, where window glass lay scattered across the grass, she noticed a red-haired boy her age attempting to scramble up the fence. It didn't take a genius to see what happened.
"Hey, you!" she shouted, causing the boy to topple off the fence in surprise. "Yeah, you, with the guilty conscience! What d'you think you're doing?"
"What does it look like I'm doing?" the boy replied coolly, brushing himself off slightly before attempting to pull himself over the fence again.
"Oh, no you don't!" she exclaimed. "Cynthie, take him down!"
The boy sighed, dropping to the ground again and removing his own stolen Poke Ball. A second later, a blue crocodile materialized, glancing about curiously for a moment before getting pummeled by the fiery rodent's flying tackle.
"Get up and Scratch it!" he barked, turning and finding handholds on the fence for the third time. When he reached the top, however, he saw to his dismay that the Cyndaquil had been relentless in her barrage, resulting in a thoroughly unconscious Totodile.
"Nice job, Cynthie!" Lyra cheered. Then she turned to the boy again, as he wordlessly recalled his Pokemon. She frowned slightly, thinking. Something about him was intriguing her, though she couldn't put her finger on the reason why. "And where're you going?"
"Away from you, girl," he replied, swinging his legs over the top of the fence.
"The name is Lyra!" she clarified, before indignation was replaced again by curiosity. "And you are …?"
The boy, who'd been about to jump to the other side, paused. He was staring at her, though not in a way that made her feel angry or embarrassed. He seemed instead to be somewhat confused, looking as though he were trying to memorize her face. She wouldn't have been surprised if his expression mirrored her own.
The sound of wailing sirens seemed to snap his mind back to reality.
"Silver," he said shortly. "My name's Silver."
And he was gone.
Silver peered suspiciously into the darkness. There was definitely somebody coming this way. Idiots. Couldn't anyone let him train in peace?
He swung the flashlight beam into the other's face. He was rewarded with an angry shriek and a sharp smack.
"What was that for?" Lyra demanded, rubbing her eyes in an attempt to clear them.
"Why do you keep following me?" he asked, ignoring her question. He placed a hand on his injured cheek, gritting his teeth. She always agitated him.
"I don't follow you," she said, rolling her eyes. "I'm just exploring."
"So your little anti-Rocket campaign can be put on hold?" He scoffed. "Typical."
"They're not a problem," she snickered. "With that leadership …"
The memory of Giovanni's leering face floated to the surface of his mind. He pushed it away.
"Haven't you tried opening this door?" she asked, moving around him and standing before an imposing-looking iron door. She pushed at the deadbolt, but if it was moving, it wasn't being obvious about it.
"Old basements …" He waved a hand dismissively. "The only interesting things in here are wild Pokemon. And even then, a lot of them aren't up to par. In fact—"
The deadbolt slid free with an abrupt screeching sound, prompting the two to jump practically to the ceiling. Heart racing wildly, Silver turned to glare at Lyra, but she was already pulling the rusty old door open. Taking a deep breath to calm himself, he joined her, and the two peeked into the room beyond.
Three enormous beasts gazed back at them.
The door flew open of its own accord; the beasts leapt, easily clearing their heads in a rush of wind, soaring through the air for several feet, hitting the ground running, going, going, gone, until even the sound of their mighty footfalls faded into echoing nothingness.
They stared after the creatures, eyes wide.
"Suicune …" Lyra whispered almost reverently.
The name of the beast stirred Silver's memory again, tantalizingly. In the midst of his stunned astonishment, he felt a twinge of annoyance. What was with this girl?
"Can you stop showing off?" Silver growled, tapping his foot impatiently. "It's unbelievably annoying."
"So are you," Lyra retorted, but put her badge case away all the same. "Been a while, huh?"
"Sure." He shrugged. "Hard to remember."
She blinked. "What?"
"You know, with you popping up all the time, I tend to lose track." He strode away nonchalantly. "I have places to be. See you later, girl."
She glared after him until he'd turned a corner and left her sight, though the word remember lingered in her brain for far longer.
"Urk!" she gasped as a hand snagged her by the back of her shirt, pulling her into the broom closet nearby. She managed to get in a punch to the jaw before the door completely closed, plunging everything into blackness.
A red beam flashed, releasing the slender, fiery form of Cynthie the Quilava. In the light of her flame, Lyra's angry expression and Silver's fresh new bruise were both plainly visible.
"What the hell was that for?" she growled, taking a step towards him.
"I didn't know it was you!" he exclaimed hastily, holding up both hands as if to protect himself. "I was just going to knock out the first Rocket I saw, I swear!"
"And you manage to nab the only fake one in the middle of a hundred real thieves," she huffed. "Nice going. Probably blew my cover—"
"Look, if it makes you feel better, I'm sorry, okay? Now, I guess you were going to get to the Tower—"
"Wait, wait, wait. Did you just say you were sorry?" She ogled him as though he were some fascinating creature in a zoo. "Silver the Snooty, saying sorry? Pinch me, Cynthie, I'm dreaming."
"I already said it," he said tersely.
She rolled her eyes. "Great. If you'll excuse me, I need to go find another way to get into that Tower." And she was out the door before he could get in another word.
He sighed, slumping to the floor. With Cynthie gone, everything had been swallowed in shadow again.
Not that he cared. He was considering what would happen when Lyra made it to the top of the Tower. Ariana would be there – his mother, the infamous Rocket Executive. He didn't know what exactly had occurred there since he'd fled, but he knew that, villain or not, she was still the closest thing he had to family.
He wondered vaguely how the confrontation would go and found himself surprised that he was putting his faith in Lyra to win it.
"Silver Sakaki~" she sang, skipping over to him.
He shook his head to himself. She could be so disgustingly cheery at times. And she was showing off again. Typical.
"Where have you been hiding?" she asked in an almost accusatory tone, putting her hands on her hips. "I thought you were going to cheer me on against the Elite Four. I didn't hear you yelling for me."
"I don't yell for anyone," he replied, half incredulous that he was repeating such a silly statement. "Isn't it enough that I was there … Champion?"
She grinned. "Well, at least you called me that."
"You're gloating again, you know."
"Are—" He caught himself. "I can't believe I'm arguing about this. You are gloating, girl. Word to the wise: people'll appreciate your achievements more if you don't shove them in their faces."
"I came here to talk to Silver, not some Zen dude," she said, rolling her eyes. "How're things?"
He remembered a time when he would have simply sneered at that question. Now he simply nodded thoughtfully. "Fine."
The two glanced up from their conversation to see a weathered-looking youngish man approach their bench, a blue frog striding through the grass alongside him.
"Oh, business and whatever. I can go—" Lyra said, starting to get up.
"You will not," Silver interjected, pulling her back down. "We haven't finished talking. Yes, I'm Silver, what seems to be the problem?"
"Silver," the man repeated with a nod. "I'm Looker Handsome, private investigator. I've been following a rather macabre case, and we ended up making a … distressing discovery." He shifted uncomfortably. "We found your father, Giovanni Sakaki, at the bottom of Tohjo Falls. Evidence suggests suicide."
He said several other things, but Silver didn't appear to have heard. By the time Looker had given his condolences again and departed with Croagunk, his head was buried in his hands, fingers clenching hair like a lifeline.
Lyra still didn't know a lot about his past, but she did know that Silver's relationship with his father hadn't been a particularly smooth one. With that in mind, it was hard to understand why he appeared to be grieving for him. If Giovanni was really as cruel as she'd heard, why would Silver bother mourning?
Still, she sat beside him as the sun crossed to the lower western sky and sank beyond the horizon, respectfully silent in the midst of chirping Kricketot, then the somber call of Hoothoot, then the soft fluttering of Zubat wings. Hours passed, and neither moved or spoke.
It was very late, or else very early, when Silver finally sat up straight again and sighed. "Thanks for sticking around," he muttered. If he had cried at all, the darkness masked his tears.
She squeezed his shoulder. "What are friends for?"
Friends? He mulled over her words, attempting to pull himself out of his despair. Friends were for weaklings. He didn't need one, he assured himself.
And yet, sitting there in the darkness, he found that he did.
They stood atop a mighty cliff, gazing down at Tohjo Falls. The mighty waters gushed earthward, throwing the light into misty rainbows that shimmered and sparkled.
Lyra hoped Silver wasn't thinking morbidly about this. He seemed to have gotten over the news of his father's death, but it had to be difficult standing just feet from where the man had plummeted the year before. Sometimes she wondered if Silver blamed himself for the tragedy. She hoped not. It wasn't his fault.
"You know," he said after a long moment, "as far as dying goes, he didn't have such a bad one. Might've even been exciting, with all the shrieking air and pounding water flying past." He smirked slightly. "Power to the end, huh, Dad?"
He shook his head, almost chuckling as he touched Lyra's shoulder and turned away.
Silver drummed the edge of the fence impatiently. Shouldn't she have come home by now? It was almost ten. He glared into the darkness, counting every second that flitted by as he waited for the first sign of approaching headlights. That date of hers had better watch his step.
Soon he was watching the car pull up in front of the house, belching gasoline, as Lyra emerged from the passenger's seat. She waved goodnight to the driver, and Silver couldn't help but feel a sense of relief. Everything was fine. She was okay.
"Silver?" she asked, walking onto the porch as the car drove away. "What're you doing here?"
"Making sure you got home safely," he replied.
She scoffed. "My mom's just inside waiting. I'm pretty sure I don't need two people watching the clock for me."
"You never know."
"Oh, come on, Silver. Ethan Solo's not a bad guy. It was just a date, nothing serious." She stared at him shrewdly. "Kind of weird that you should be worried about me."
"I wasn't worried!" he said defensively. "I was just …" He glanced around, fishing for a word. "Concerned."
"Concerned," she repeated, smirking.
"Whatever." He shook his head, stalking quickly away before she could needle him about it anymore.
"And then Arceus summoned this enormous blast of windy shadow, or something, and there was the egg!" Lyra gestured wildly for emphasis, almost knocking over her soda. "Can you believe it, Silver? Cynthia doesn't think something like that's going to happen again in, I dunno, a couple hundred years. It was utterly incredible, Silver." She took a deep breath, then sighed. "I wish you could've seen it."
He nodded, not mentioning that her happiness at the memory easily made up for it.
He swallowed, hearing the doorbell echo within the house. Shuffling his feet slightly, he glanced at the purplish tulip to make sure it was still snug and secure in the flower box. He knew Lyra would have brained him if he'd brought roses instead.
Talia opened the door. "Yes?" she asked, smiling.
"Ms. Hart, I've, uh …" He held up the box, then realized she might misinterpret his gesture and instead continued speaking. "I've come for Lyra. I mean, to take her out. For the evening. For a date." He cursed himself silently, wishing he could be more coherent.
Her smile grew wider. "I know. She's mentioned it to me."
He sighed. Girls …
Then Lyra appeared beside her mother, and the thought vanished.
"There's something about sunsets," Lyra mused, staring at the colorful sky with wondering eyes. "It's like, there are all these colors, in the sky, that logically shouldn't go together at all. Except they do. And it's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen."
"But not the most beautiful thing I've ever seen."
She squeezed his hand tighter. "Oh, you," she giggled.
"No, I mean it!"
"I know, I know ..."
Grass and flowers brushed against their ankles as they waded through the meadow together, hand in hand, watching Pidgeotto soar above them, chasing each other on the breeze. Trees stretched towards the sky, branches thick with leaves. Lyra took a deep breath of crisp, cool air. What could make the scene more perfect?
A patch of color appeared in the corner of her vision. Turning her head, she noticed a patch of little blue flowers standing out from the surrounding grass. Silver, noticing her distraction, looked over as well.
"What do you know," he said, reaching down and plucking a few out of the ground. "Forget-me-nots. I didn't think they'd start blooming this early." He offered them to her, a miniature blue bouquet. "Don't forget to remember me, milady." He smirked, giving a mocking bow for good measure.
She snorted with laughter, pinching the flowers from his grip. "You're too kind, good sir," she said, playing his little game. "But surely you know blue is no color for—"
She froze, staring at the flowers. He shot her a surprised look, somehow understanding.
"No color for a girl," she breathed.
And suddenly a montage of memories flashed behind her eyes: opening presents, scampering about playfully, getting mud all over little clothes as she tossed dirt at shrieking girls nearby – all with a scarlet-haired little boy. Sitting in a tree house, taking a small flower much like these from the boy. And then long years of cold boredom, waiting to find herself.
Not realizing she'd lost it already.
"Don't forget me." Silver swallowed hard.
Lyra raised her eyes to meet his. "It was you," she breathed, a wondering smile playing at the corners of her mouth. "It was always you."
"Lyra …" he murmured.
She threw arms around neck, standing on tiptoes to plant her mouth on his, tears forming in the corners of her eyes at the joy of finally remembering. "I won't let you leave me again," she gasped, breaking away to pause for breath. She stared into his amazed face, and he simply grinned back at her. "No more forgetting. I'll keep you in my heart forever."
"Forever and ever," he echoed, drawing her close to him and resuming their kiss.
Two newborn babies slept in neighboring cradles in New Bark Hospital's maternity ward. One bore the start of crimson locks; the other had tufts of chocolate-brown.
Coming up next: FranticShipping.
Last edited by SugarPesticide; 2nd February 2011 at 5:10 AM.
2nd February 2011, 5:26 AM
Le minor warning: semi-crack coming up. And mockery of one of the worst series ever written. Yeah ... you can tell I had way too much fun with it.
FranticShipping // Ruby & Sapphire // PG-13
Ruby had been dreaming about the strange girl on and off for the past few weeks. There was something extremely alluring about her, even though she appeared to be all malnourished from her torment within the darkened cell. Or perhaps it was because of it. He tried not to dwell on that too much, but he did anyway, little pervert that he was.
The last time he'd dreamt about her, she'd actually looked up and glared in his direction. Almost as if she knew he was there. It was kind of hot, actually.
But that weird Norman person was trying to babble on about something else, so he pushed his perverted thoughts away and tried to listen for once.
Their pursuers caught up to them, of course. No trouble, no hassle, no contest. But he still hated the fact that they were trying to drug him up and prevent him from using magic that he couldn't really do anyway. He knew he'd just end up with a major crash later on. Not that he'd actually tried drugs at home. Of course not. That would just be silly.
"You're really stupid," he managed to slur.
"Stupid?" the Gardevoir hissed angrily, kicking him with a slender leg. Or maybe it was a skirt. As far as he knew, there wasn't a lot of difference there as far as women were concerned. "You're being stereotypical, d'you know that? I'd say that makes me angry, but it's too cliché. So go to sleep and then go to hell. Please. Honestly."
"I didn't mean anything by that," he droned sleepily. "I just meant to say that women of all species are stupid. No harm done."
Gira's face turned a dangerous shade of red.
"Don't kill him yet!" her companion yelled hastily, keeping the chains tight around Zuzu's muzzle and the horses' necks. "The Authoress wants him alive!"
She clenched her fists. "You're. Right. Keba," she forced herself to say through gritted teeth.
"Zuzu," Ruby called out obliviously, "get out of those chains already. You're being dumb."
"Me?" his Pokemon snapped incredulously, struggling against his chains. "Me? I'm just a giant Mudkip with stupid wings! You're the one with the supposed magic, you fool."
"I don't care." He glanced blearily over at Norman, who was slumped against a tree. "Is he dead? He's lucky, he doesn't have to deal on that floating chick that found her way out of the kitchen."
"And look what I brought with me from that kitchen, asshole!" Gira exploded, grabbing a knife out of nowhere and hurling it towards him.
"Who's there?" Keba called out into the woods, completely ignoring the drama around him.
Norman inexplicably threw himself into the knife's path, where it sliced through his ribs like a good little knife. He slumped to the ground uselessly, because respawning doesn't work outside of roleplaying games.
"Oh dear," a stranger commented, stepping out of the woods. "I seem to have arrived too late. Well, I guess I'll kill you two anyway."
"Dammit!" Gira snarled, seizing Keba's paw and teleporting the two of them away.
"Hi," Ruby said, smiling at the stranger. "We're okay, thanks. Except for the knife thing, but it didn't stick me." He looked back at Norman. "Oh wait. Damn."
"Ruby," Norman rasped, slumping further down against the cave wall, "I'm going to take a ridiculously long time to finally die off, but I just thought I'd let you know that I used to be a Pokemon trainer, too. And you're the most lovable idiot I've ever seen. Now go off after that hopeless cause I've been leading you towards, yeah?"
And he closed his eyes.
Ruby watched him for a moment, realized that people wouldn't be able to actually help him anymore, and threw his head towards where the sky would be were the cave ceiling not in the way.
Later, after Zuzu turned Norman's grave into a massive lump of pressurized coal, the stranger who had "saved" them finally spoke up.
"Some people call me handsome," he said in a very angsty tone. "But my actual name is—"
"Looker?" Ruby asked.
"Red," Red said tensely. "I'm the tall, dark and handsome one with a mysterious past that I can't believe I just mentioned, so if you bug me too much I reserve the right to skewer you on my overly-described sword."
"Hey, I have an overly-described sword too!" Ruby said excitedly. "Let's see whose is the most awesome."
Red shrugged. "Whatever."
After ignoring several long, boring paragraphs concerning the length, shape, color, balance, hilt, blade, and pummel of each sword, Red and Ruby realized they'd accidentally skipped over the actual sparring and found themselves sitting on the ground, facing each other and panting hard.
"I think," Red managed to say once he'd gotten enough breath back, "that either being a Pokemon trainer can somehow replace years and years of fencing experience, or you're the biggest Gary Stu I've ever seen."
"But his name's Gary Oak," Ruby corrected, and then wondered why Red was smacking himself on the forehead.
They journeyed across the land for an inordinately long amount of time, heading towards an unfriendly military stronghold for no reason in particular. Ruby and Red sparred some more on the way, possibly because Freud was right and a sword is never just a sword, and Zuzu kept flapping around, feeling utterly useless because there was no way even a giant winged Mudkip could hope to carry around two teenagers and two horses all at once.
Ruby dreamed more about the mysterious girl. She appeared to be bleeding several times, or bruised, or worse yet, badly groomed. Yet she always managed to glare at something. He liked the way she still looked proud even after all the presumed torture. It was pretty hot, and the torture stuff made it all deliciously kinky. Zuzu, who could read his trainer's thoughts, mocked the boy relentlessly for it, snickering whenever he found him dwelling on the matter.
At long last, the group managed to arrive on the outskirts of the stronghold. Unfortunately, a group of dark Pokemon ambushed them the next day, possibly because a plot is a plot and something needs to happen.
"Dammit!" Ruby shouted before one of them knocked him over the head, making him black out uselessly.
When he awoke, he noticed he was lying in a cell. After spending several pages taking in his surroundings, the cell door clanged open and an evil redhead strolled inside.
"Who are you?" Ruby asked dully.
"Your worst nightmare," the evil redhead replied evilly.
"A Shade?" he gasped, shifting moods as the drama demanded.
"Of course not." The evil redhead suddenly leapt about the room, bouncing off the walls and ceiling rapidly before landing in his original position. "I am … a ninja!"
"OH NOES!" Ruby screamed.
"Oh yes," the evil redhead laughed evilly. "A ninja. Because you see, years of hard work really will make you more powerful than randomly becoming the last Pokemon trainer. What is your name, by the way?"
"Ruby," Ruby whimpered.
"No, your other, more powerful name!"
"… Brendan?" Ruby tried.
The evil redhead facepalmed. "You know what, never mind, this isn't worth it. We put you on drugs again, by the way. We know you're useless with magic, but I really needed an excuse to piss you off, so have fun with that." And he turned and left, cackling evilly to himself.
"YOU FIEND!" bellowed Ruby.
He sulked for a while after that, and afterwards, when he decided that he wasn't getting anything done and needed to find a way out of that place, the strain of too much thinking proved to be extremely tiring, and he blacked out again.
When he awoke, he realized that he could use magic again. "Oh yays!" he squealed, and promptly decided to take his sweet time at opening the cell door instead of blasting it open, because he didn't think to sense whether there were guards outside the cell.
There were guards there, actually, until Red swooped in out of nowhere and killed them to the brink of deadest deadness. "You useless twit," he muttered casually.
"Thanks!" Ruby cheered, and promptly ran through the jail, magically throwing open doors. "Hey, you know, this is a jail!"
"No duh, Sherlock."
Then he reached the cell he'd been looking for.
The girl was beautiful, dressed in a lovely greenish-brown tunic and pants that flaunted all of her womanly charms. Her brown hair glinted in the moonlight. She was even more beautiful than Zuzu, and he was the prettiest Mudkip in the history of all Mudkip!
"You know," Ruby drooled, "if you washed all that dirt off, I would totally tap you."
There was indeed dirt streaked all over her face, but nothing nearly as dirty as the glare she was shooting at him. Naturally, she fainted half a second later.
"You smell like a forest," Ruby told her anyway, dragging her along after them. "And there's a leafy bra under your shirt. So it's obvious that you must be … an ELF!"
"Where do you think you're running off to?" the evil redhead asked evilly, dropping down from the ceiling to land in front of them. "Attempting to ruin the world with your Gary Stu abilities? The Authoress is desperate to have you neutralized. Come with us, and I promise not to rip your head off."
"His name is Gary Oak!" Ruby shouted, while everyone else sweatdropped. "And Pokemon trainers have one thing ninjas don't!"
"Oh really? What is it, then?"
At that moment, something crashed through the ceiling.
"Pokemon!" Ruby exclaimed, making the evil redhead facefault. "Take us out of here, Zuzu!"
"What, no comment about how I evolved?" the giant flying Marshtomp said sulkily, but nevertheless scooped them up and carried them away, much to the evil redhead's chagrin.
"You see, going through the treacherous desert that no one in living memory has ever survived navigating is the perfect way to escape the Authoress!" Ruby said, grinning stupidly.
Red didn't even try to point out the obvious flaws in the plan.
They spurred their horses on over the course of the next couple of days, covering an inordinately large stretch of land, because obviously horses are like cars and can easily travel forty miles per hour. Of course, the fact that they were traveling through a desert might have had something to do with it, considering that they were fire-types, but the logical problem of exertion was simply overlooked altogether.
"Yays!" Ruby squealed on the third day, when they at last saw mountains so ridiculously tall that they had banished the laws of physics to some dank room, where they cried quietly in the corner. "See the mountains, Red? We'll make it to the rebellion in no time at this rate!"
"I don't care about your bloody rebellion," the other growled, but since there was nowhere else to go, he mainly tried to pretend he was the one in charge.
Later that evening, when they decided to make camp and show the horses a bit of mercy by letting them sleep, it dawned on Ruby that people normally didn't sleep as long as the girl was. Usually they either woke up or died. This being a quasi-medieval setting, the possibility of a coma didn't even occur to him. He decided to look into her mind and see what the problem was, because partially decent doctoring was one of his Gary Stu abilities.
Her mind seized his the second he made contact, leaving him squeaking in mental pain.
So you're the one, she muttered.
The one for you, I hope.
Shut the hell up, trainer.
Anything for you, my dearest elf.
Um, what? I'm not an elf, moron. Did you even look at my ears?
I've looked at all of you. You're the hottest elf I ever saw, and I've seen one, and she's you, so I know.
Who are you?
… Sapphire. And should I call you Pervert?
Does pervert mean boyfriend?
N— actually, considering some romances, sure it does.
Then yes, I am Ruby the proud pervert. We're searching for the rebellion.
Probably the only smart thing you've ever done.
Glad you approve!
Ugh. Look, when you come to the mountains, take a left at the valley, then right at the bigger mountain you see, then straight towards a lake thingy. Piece of cake.
I like cake.
Good for you.
Did that evil redhead hurt you?
The ninja, Maxie? Of course he did. Duh. He wanted to get key information from me in order to help crush the rebellion in the name of the Authoress and wipe out all opposing Gary Stus.
He's Gary Oak!
She ignored him. He thinks they're bloody annoying. Can't say I blame him, actually.
Then … why didn't you just tell him what he wanted?
Sapphire was quiet for a moment, considering the question. At last she said, I guess it's because the world's just not right without any heroes, even though you're a complete idiot.
No problem. Now hurry up and get to the rebellion.
Sure, but can I grope you first?
The mental equivalent of bared nails was brandished at him. If you want your ass kicked into the next century when I wake up, then sure, go right ahead.
Thanks! He broke the connection, ready for more misadventures.
Within her own mind, Sapphire sighed to herself. Stupid hero, now he's got me blushing.
Coming up next: GracefulShipping.
7th February 2011, 12:25 AM
GracefulShipping // Wallace & Winona // G
Winona raised an eyebrow at the red-and-white sphere in his hand. "You're giving me a Pokemon?"
"Consider it a token of our friendship," he replied, failing to suppress a hopeful look.
She scoffed and turned away. "'Friendship', is it? You just want us to pick up where we left off. We've been over this before, Wallace. It's ended. Over. Done with. History. And so on. Please don't insult my intelligence by saying this is about friendship. I'm not sixteen anymore." Shaking her head, she started to walk away.
"Wait!" he cried, and she did, wondering dryly what he wanted to say. "Just … just see what it is first. I think you'll like it, I really do."
She was more than a bit skeptical, but nevertheless she turned and walked back towards him, accepting the offered Poke Ball. In a beam of light, its occupant emerged– a broad, rather flat Pokemon with floppy antennae, flapping its wide flippers casually to keep itself floating a few feet. "Taaaaaiiiii~" it chirruped, smiling up at her.
"Awwww, he's so cute!" she gushed, unable to resist kneeling down and catching the Mantyke in a hug. "I absolutely adore him! Thank you so much!"
"Glad you like him," Wallace said with a smile, tossing her Mantyke's Poke Ball.
"He is so sweet." She scratched behind her new Pokemon's antennae. "How did you get him, Wallace? Aren't Mantyke next to impossible to catch?"
"They are rather difficult to capture, yes," Wallace admitted. "But I persevered. It was well worth the search to see your face light up like that."
She smirked up at him. "I'm not going to fall right in your arms just because you brought me a Mantyke," she said, hoping that was true. After such a great gift, it was hard to be sure.
"I wasn't really expecting you to," he said sadly. "Still, a man can dream." He turned to leave, then paused, glancing over his caped shoulder. "Ah, when you'd like to evolve Mantyke, come over to Sootopolis. I know a place where Remoraid show up in the hundreds. It's the easiest way to find one." With a flutter of his cape, he vanished.
She watched him go, then smiled down at her new Pokemon as it nuzzled her affectionately. She could already see herself raising it to its full potential, playing with it, riding on its back over Fortree City. She knew it would want to become a Mantine someday, powerful and beautiful and graceful. Perhaps this could be her gift to him in return. It would please him to no end to see a mighty Mantine in her possession. It was the least she could do, really.
"Maybe we could even give him a magic carpet ride," she mused, and then mentally kicked herself for saying it so sincerely.
Coming up next: KantoContestShipping.
12th February 2011, 1:46 AM
KantoContestShipping // Harley & Solidad // PG
"This will not do!" Harley shrieked. "They WILL love my cookies!"
He paced back and forth in his enormous secret underground rainbow-colored lair, fuming as he still waited for results to pop up. Various mechanisms sprouted from the walls, ceiling, and floor, and several times he nearly tripped over something. The enormous screen dominating one wall, stretching almost from floor to ceiling, displayed a number of brightly-colored graphs. None of said graphs were telling him what he wanted to hear. It was oh-so-stressful being a supervillain, especially when the current evil plan was not moving along as planned.
His secretary, completely unfazed by his frustration, opted to read a generic cowboy novel rather than pay attention to him. She was well used to his tantrums by now.
"They have always laughed at my gorgeous planning!" the Cacturne-suited man exclaimed, throwing his arms about dramatically. "They never take the pretty person seriously. Well, I plan to change their itty-bitty brains to love me and everything I do. When they become my adoring slaves, we will certainly see who's laughing!" He shook his fist at nothing in particular.
"Excellent idea," the other commented, not listening to him in the slightest. She turned a page of her novel, biting her thumbnail in boredom.
He paused in the center of the room, gazing up at the shimmering ceiling and rubbing his chin thoughtfully. "Take note, Solidad. This latest scheme will have more than my delicious cookies, although they will certainly be there, and be delicious too. A cookie simply isn't a cookie if it isn't delicious~! But right now, a cookie is not enough. There must be something else, another precious thing I can use to enslave the whole world … something to dazzle them out of their puny little minds … like SPARKLES~!"
And to demonstrate, the air around him glittered as he winked.
"..." Solidad turned another page.
Harley paused, then looked over at her. "Solidad, dearie," he simpered, skipping over to her like a unicorn high on sugar, "I asked you to take note of my evil plan. Either you're the fastest secretary I've ever had, or the slowest. And slow secretaries aren't very darling."
She finally looked up from her book, deciding to take pity on him. "Harley," she said patiently, "I'm the only secretary you've ever had."
"Fair point," he sniffed sulkily.
"But in any case," she went on, striding over to a control panel and pressing a few buttons, "the sparkle attraction plan has already been tried. A female supervillain once used it in an attempt to subdue women with imaginary fairies, siphon numerous monstrous abominations from her mind into those who received her work, stifle all intelligent thought, win over willing slaves, undermine the entirety of society, and receive millions of dollars for it."
The graphs on the screen disappeared, only to be replaced by a series of disturbing pictures. A horde of pasty-white teenagers wearing black. A wedding between two people who could hardly be adults at all. A smirking woman with no other distinctive features. A dead-looking, young-looking man with terribly oily hair and a pouty face.
"Ooh, that guy!" Harley tsked his disapproval at that last image. "Terrible hygiene, terrible attitude. Where's the smile? That silly boy. He's just a makeover waiting to happen~!" He squealed to himself gleefully, then calmed down again in a blink. "I'm guessing she succeeded? I mean, sparkles are pretty, right?"
"Society is more cynical about her than she would have expected, so for now her losses and gains are fairly balanced. But you see what I mean." She tapped another button, and a drawing of the dead-looking man lay on the ground, actually dead, with several happy looking people dancing nearby in celebration. "Sparkles have a negative connotation now. If there was anyone in the entire world who would have taken sparkles seriously, the supervillain's plot changed their minds in a hurry. People will scoff if you use sparkles, Harley. They'll make jokes about your skin—"
"My skin is fabulous!" he retorted, stroking one hand with the other gently. "Smooth as a baby's tushie, pale as the dazzling moon, and not a wrinkle in sight! It's far too lovely and delicate to be mocked by those fools, darling though they might be."
"I'm sure it is. But my point remains. Don't use sparkles, Harley. You'll be risking your reputation if you do."
He rubbed his chin diabolically. "True," he said. "After all, not everyone is fabulous enough to appreciate sparkles the way I do."
"Thank you so much, Solidaddy-o dearie~" he sang, seizing her hands. "Without your advice, I would've gone ahead and embarrassed myself in front of all those wriggling little darlings. But thanks to you—"
"Don't mention it," she said, smiling at him. "It's my job."
"Oh, you're such a tease," he laughed. "Plenty of secretaries just blindly follow orders like little fuzzy lambies, and then their silly bosses fail on a hilarious scale. But you're kinder than them, Soli-sweetie. I simply adore you."
She returned the screen to normal, blushing slightly. "So what will you do now?" she asked, trying to conceal her embarrassment.
"Why, the original plan, of course," he replied, eyes twinkling evilly.
"Yes." He threw his head backwards, towards the ceiling. "RELEASE THE COOKIES~!" he screamed, and immediately broke into giggles that made Solidad sweatdrop.
"Drew, you pig," May scolded, swiping the package from his fingers, "I told you not to pig out before dinner! Now you'll be all irregular again."
"Better me than you," he replied smoothly, wiping the crumbs from his mouth.
May scowled. "You ate nine of them."
"And you had three. For a girl, that's obscene overeating."
"Oh, you are so going to get it!" she snarled, chasing after him out the Pokemon Center and through a street full of bemused onlookers.
Suddenly there was a soft popping sound; May suddenly found that her eye level had just dropped by about four feet. Her stomach rumbled tellingly, and her heart sank.
"What …?" Drew asked, while passerby snickered at them.
"Those cookies," she told him, looking at him and noticing that he too had transformed into a spotty little Spinda. "We ate them … and they ate our shapes."
They thought about that for a moment.
"HARLEY!" they shouted.
Coming up next: PreciousMetalShipping.