The Battle Frontier: A Brendan and May Adventure
Who Are You?
Rated: T (PG-13) for explicit language, violence, and sexual innuendo
Verse: Generation III/IV, Games (RuSaEm/DP)
First off, everyone say happy eighth birthday to HLBMA! It was eight long years ago that HLBMA graced/cursed ff.net. I couldn't think of any better day to start its sequel while honoring the prequel. Anyway, welcome to ... whatever that long-as-hell-title says up there or BFBMA for short. It doesn't have the same acronym fun that HLBMA does, but it does have the letters BAMF in it, so it must automatically make it good. Hopefully this sequel will be cleaner than the first, which I'm still in the process of editing ... slowly ... painfully.
Like its predecessor and maybe even more so for the latter category, BFBMA is still an adventure ‘fic with slight twinges of humor and parody and is, overall, “lighthearted.” It is continuous from the last story; you might need to know what happened at the end of HLBMA to know what’s going on here, like why Brendan is in his current position along with his Team Magma past (oh, and the OT Chris), but for the most part, I feel like this is relatively standalone. What’s important to know is that Brendan done-goofed and is trying to start over. I also realize I dropped the ball when it came to May at the end (the story literally became Hoenn League: A Brendan Whining Fiesta in the league arc) so I will be giving both characters their own separate issues to work out and their own screen time like I used to do.
(Last update: 01 November 2011)
A Moment of Melancholy-- Hot Chicks!
1) Brendan Birch: Boyfriend Extraordinaire
2) Letters in the Mail
3) An Offer Pt 1 | Pt 2
4) A Moment of Melancholy-- Hot Chicks!
5) The Grass is Greener
Links of Interest:
HLBMA, the prequel | Character Bios | BFBMA on ff.net
Legend of Lucario
- - - - - - - -
Brendan Birch: Boyfriend Extraordinaire
- - - - - - - -
It wasn't his fault. Let's start with that.
It wasn't his fault he got seasick. It wasn't his fault he had paperwork up the wah-hoo. And it definitely wasn't his fault that he was on lock down. But as Brendan stood there, cringing at the livid look his neighbor gave him, he couldn't help but feel like it was.
“What do you mean you're not going?” the girl demanded to know. There was no vocal answer; Brendan smiled innocently and shrugged his shoulders, red eyes gleaming in the sun. It made her all the more furious, her right eye twitching, her hands balled into fists. “Brendan Robert Birch, you answer me right now!”
The boy tilted his head to the left and shrugged his left shoulder, pressing his ear against it. His brow furrowed. “The word 'go,' a verb, often defined as 'to move or travel,'” he began, brow relaxing the further he spoke. He straightened his head. “‘You're,’ the contraction of ‘you are’ with ‘you are’ being ‘I am’ in this case. ‘Not,’ an adverb, used to express negation, denial, refusal. Therefore with my powers combined I, Brendan Birch, am not going.”
His saucy remark was answered with a punch in the arm that made him step back. “Be serious!” she yelled. She put her hands on her hips, her fingers pressing against the band of her dark denim shorts, her sneaker tapping the dirt trail impatiently. “What do you mean you're not going?”
“Well, he told you before a few days ago. I'm not sure why you don't believe him–”
The girl quickly snapped her head to the left and glared at the boy standing behind her, making him jump back. “You stay out of this,” she grumbled.
“Yes, ma'am.” The other boy meekly saluted her.
Her head snapped back toward the nervous white-haired trainer in front of her who was currently staring at his untied shoelaces, arms limp by his side. “Well? Are you going to answer me?”
He looked at her for a few seconds, contemplating, his tongue rolling around in his mouth. He crossed his arms in front of him, pressing his thumbs in the crooks of his arms. “May, I am ...” How could he phrase it politely? He smacked his lips together. “My dad's on my ass, May. The pokédex data I collected over our journey is so messed up right now. I gotta revise it and all that fun stuff. I just don't have the time for it.”
This caught the attention of the boy standing behind the fuming May. “You have a pokédex? I didn't know you were under a pokémon researcher apprenticeship,” he commented, curious, raising an eyebrow.
Brendan dug around in the pocket of his shorts and pulled out the red, square device, the plastic covering flashing before the other boy's eyes. “Sorta. Right now it's like I'm under internship for an apprenticeship. I'm applying for the real deal now. It’s something I wanted to do since I was in school. They prefer if you have traveling experience.” He sighed, pocketing the 'dex.
“Really? You have one?” the other boy repeated. He blinked rapidly a few times and scratched his head. “It's not like I've seen you pull it out a lot. How do you even have data in the first–”
“Wally!” May whined, interrupting him.
“I'm just sayin'.” Wally pointed his head up, staring at the Hoenn sky. Gray clouds merged with white in huge, shapeless puffs. The wind teased his bangs, lifting them from his forehead. “Have you seen him pull it out? I mean, you've been traveling with him for a year, and he pulled it out, like, once? Like at the beginning of the adventure? Like when he thought it was important to do that sort of thing but realized how redundant that action would be? I mean, who really pays attention to that?”
“How do you know that?” Brendan muttered, eyes shifting to the side.
May brushed off the green-haired trainer's ramble. “Look, that's not what's important.”
“Tell that to my dad,” argued Brendan, crossing his arms, the bottom of his black shirt flapping in the breeze. He stared off into the distance, eyes resting on the street corner where the dirt path and concrete sidewalk merged. A metal street sign was planted there with two blue metal slates pointing south and east, indicating the name of the dusty lane or the more refined concrete walkway. “He's been on me to apply for months now. I managed to hold off on it because we were busy with the Hoenn League, but since I have virtually been doing nothing for a couple weeks, I'm stuck.”
“C'mon, Brendan.” May took a few steps forward and grabbed for Brendan's hand. She swung their entwined hands back and forth. “It'll be so much fun, and it's only for a week. You know you want to go.” She looked up at him through her eyelashes, eyes glimmering in the sunlight. “Please?”
“May ...” Brendan leaned over and pressed his forehead against the girl's, the cloth of his bandanna soft against her skin. “You know you're my only kind-of-sort-of-not-really girlfriend, right?” he asked, red eyes staring into her blues ones.
“Yes,” she replied softly, rubbing her lips together.
He gently made their bodies sway from side to side. “And you know I'd do anything for you, right?” He let go of her hand and placed it on the small of her back, gently massaging it.
“You two realize this sort of talk induces vomiting in others, right?” asked Wally with an eye roll.
“Yes,” said May with a smile.
“Was that to my question or to Brendan's?”
“Sooo ...” Brendan let the word drag on. By now, both of his arms were wrapped lightly around May's waist. “If I would do anything for you, you should let me slide on this one,” he murmured, “because I can't go.”
May immediately released herself from Brendan's grip and stomped the ground, kicking up dust. “You're so ... ugh! Annoying!” was her declaration. “I don't have time for this! I’ve got to get my luggage!” With another loud stomp, she swiveled on the balls of her feet, twisted around, and walked away, back stiff and fists straight at her side. Classic pissy march. Both boys watched as May's form descended down the dirt trail and back onto the concrete as she headed toward the rows of nearly identical homes. The twittering of taillow replaced the echoing of her stomps.
Wally, an amused spectator throughout this, hooked his thumbs on his belt loops and turned his head, looking at the rolling green hills that bordered the south side of the small city. “You know, Brendan,” he began, “you knew about this trip for a while, but you waited until now to work on your apprenticeship?”
Brendan sighed, looked around, and nudged his head in the direction of a wooden fence that bordered a field with grass that hadn't been trimmed in weeks. (He kept meaning to get on that, but he had more important tasks to keep up on, like sleeping in and playing with the newly hatched starter pokémon.) He walked over toward it and swung his legs over the fence, holding onto it to keep himself balanced and ignoring the wood splinters that dug into his palms. Wally followed him but didn't bother sitting, opting to lean against it instead, one leg crossed in front of the other.
“Things have been ... tough lately,” Brendan replied, staring at the dandelions that grew along the fence posts. He kicked at one, and the white seeds exploded from the stem, twirling around his ankles before taking off into the air. “I've been trying to mend things.”
Wally picked at his fingernails, head lowered. “Why?”
“I told you about that letter, right?”
Brendan readjusted the bandanna on his head before reaching for his belt and unclipping his red and black pokénav from it. He opened and closed the covering, listening to the satisfying clicks each movement produced. “I guess the idea behind it was starting with a clean slate. No more trying to hide what I had done on my journey, or why Muddy is wearing that silly bandanna on his tail”–he motioned toward his swampert a few yards away who was lounging at the edge of the makeshift pond his dad had created for pokémon–“or ... anything. The first person I had to get that through to was me. The second was my dad.”
Wally lowered the stuffed backpack from his shoulders and nestled it between his sneakers. “Okay, but what does that have to do with the letter?”
“I thought a letter would be a bit more ... personal–”
“Meaning you were too chicken to do it in person.”
“Yeah.” Brendan narrowed his eyes and looked at the windmills, tall, white pillars that kept a soft but constant breeze blowing through town. “I wrote him a letter – that letter was so ... bad fan fiction now that I think about it. Like the 'end to all endings' sort of thing. Like a cheap gimmick where the author had no idea what to do and tried to sum up everything in a few pages. Like rain on your wedding day. Like the good advice you just didn't take. Where was I going with this?”
“You wrote him a letter,” Wally muttered. “Then you started describing cheap endings in fan fiction. Then you suddenly transitioned to that song 'Ironic.'”
“Right. Anyway, I wrote him a letter explaining what I had learned during my journey and what I had done.”
“Okay,” his friend replied airily.
“What I had done, Wally,” he said with more stress.
“Okay,” Wally replied in the same tone from before, flicking something off his thumb.
“What I had done–”
“Yeah, yeah,” his friend grumbled. “I heard you the first time. No need to sound like a broken record. Does anyone still listen to those? Is that simile still applicable in today's time?”
Brendan sighed again, looking out toward the field, watching a flock of taillow fly from the tops of one tree to another. He was still fiddling with his pokénav, rolling the device in his hand like a bar of soap. “Needless to say, it did not go well.”
“Which part?” asked Wally.
Brendan paused, throwing his pokénav between his hands. “Um, most of it?” he replied lightly but questionably, rolling his eyes. “Probably the Team Magma thing. Oh, it could have been the lying about the Team Magma thing. Probably that. Forget that you willingly volunteered to take a part in one of the most diabolical plans in the entire region that almost got your friends killed–”
“Don't forget the friend betraying,” Wally added in cheerfully.
“Right. But lying about it? Hell no.” Brendan snorted and flicked his eyes over to the suburbs of the city, staring at the houses with identical red roof shingles with paint jobs roughly in the same brown color scheme. “I mean ... yeah, he voiced his 'disappointment,' whatever that means, but other than that, he hasn't really done much to me. Talked to me for that matter. He just seems ... distant, I guess. All he does is ask me to do things, and because I know things are awkward, I do them. This apprenticeship is just one of those things. I know he has really wanted me to do it ever since I got my trainer's license. And I wanted to do it, too.”
Wally plucked a strand of green hair from his head (it was an odd nervous habit the boy picked up, Brendan realized. Probably from the days when he was dating May) and released it, watching as the wind picked it up and swept it away. “Wanted? Do you still want to do the apprenticeship? I hear it's a tough program to get into. You pretty much have to be the chosen one to get into those things.”
“If you don't have connections.” Brendan winked, tapping his pokénav lightly against his forehead. “Not like that would help me; relatives aren’t allowed to give recommendations. That’s why they recommend you travel for a couple of years so you can build your network. I’m sure there’s someone out there who has a good opinion about me.” He looked suspiciously at Wally, an eyebrow raised. “Why? You interested? I'm sure Norman, or even my dad, could give you a good recommendation.”
“I don't know. Maybe. I've been trying to figure out what I wanted to do with pokémon. I mean, I know it's early to start thinking about that stuff, but ... I guess ... I don't know ...” Wally trailed off thoughtfully, staring at the clouds. He dragged his foot back and forth, letting grains of sand roll under it. “Uh, anyway, what's your dissertation? You need one of those, right?”
“No idea.” He grinned. “Like most of my life, I'll just bullshit something fancy.”
“It's worked for you so far,” Wally snorted, rubbing his hands up and down his arms, trying to rid them of goosebumps.
“I know, right?” Brendan hopped off the fence and looked down toward Wally's heavily packed bag, lightly kicking it with his dirty, black sneaker. “When does the bus leave?”
Brendan looked at his pokénav before pocketing it. “Five minutes ‘til two.”
“Then in about an hour and a half or so. Hear from Chris yet?”
“No texts in a while. Must mean he's flying here. The bus departs from Littleroot?”
“Yep,” Wally said. “Why I'm here now instead of home, who knows? Guess I needed the walk. Mom has been rather clingy lately. Love her to bits, but ...” He bent over and picked up his backpack, swinging it over his shoulders and putting his arms through the straps. Wally looked past Brendan and admired the field behind him. Something glinted in the corner of his eye, so he turned his head to find the source. It was sunlight reflecting from one of the wide window of Professor Birch's laboratory, a dome-shaped building that rested nearby. “I guess that doesn't matter now. So you're really not going?”
“I can't. I'd like to, but I can't. Or I shouldn't. It's not like you guys will miss me, and May will get over it once she's able to jump into a bikini and lounge and – dammit, I'm going to miss seeing May in a bikini? Eff me.” His hands went up to his bandanna and pulled the black cloth over his eyes, messing up his hair. “Why was I such a stupid kid on my journey, Wally? Why?”
“What do you mean 'was?'” his friend joked back, shoving his hands inside the pockets of his khaki shorts.
Brendan pulled his bandana up and swung his head toward the green-haired boy, staring dully at him as Wally innocently smiled back. He pulled off his bandanna and stared at it as it lightly flapped in the wind. The Hoenn symbol, the top half of a pokéball broken up in thick, basic curves, looked back at him with a dark green gaze. He noticed that the flapping was getting stronger and more erratic and, with his eyebrows furrowed, he looked up. Chris landed next to him – rather, he hung next to him, his right hand gripping the lowered claw of his charizard that was flapping his wings above the boys.
“Latios,” Chris muttered, staring at his pokénav clutched in his other hand. He threw it toward Brendan who fumbled with the device before getting a grasp on it. “You lot need to lay off the text messages. In my days, we used letters. Emails even.” Chris released himself from the orange beast and looked up, smiling at his charizard's toothy grin. “Thanks for the ride, Charcoal. Think you can drop my bag?”
Charcoal nodded and twisted his body slightly. Chris's black backpack slowly slid off from between the fire-type's wings and down onto the unaware Wally's head. He let out a loud, “Oof!” before grabbing the bag and throwing it at a laughing Chris. “Thanks for that,” muttered Wally dryly as Chris returned his charizard in a beam of red light.
“Thanks for the ride, Charcoal. Promise we won’t do any long flights for a while.” Chris smiled at the ball gripped in his hand before clipping it next to the other five pokéballs on his belt. He looked toward Wally. “I thought you enjoyed random objects falling on your head. My mistake.”
Chris swung his backpack over his shoulder. “Ah, Littleroot, you runt of a town. I missed ye.” He raised his arms in the air and spun around a few times, taking in a deep breath and exhaling loudly. He stopped, facing Brendan, his arms still in the air. “And Brendan! My comrade! My brother! My sweet little champion-in-the-making! I haven't seen you in so long!” Chris skipped over in slow, wide leaps and grabbed the bewildered white-haired boy, pulling him into an awkward hug. “Did you miss me?” he whispered, blowing air into Brendan's ear.
Brendan squirmed out of Chris's hug and stood next to Wally, eye twitching. “I think you filled my weirdness quota of the day with that,” he murmured, thrusting Chris's pokénav into his chest. He retied the bandanna around his head, hiding his mussy hair.
Chris laughed, pocketing the device. “I'll take that as a yes, then.” His eyes shifted toward Wally. “Wally, my comrade! My brother!” He took a step toward Wally who immediately took two steps back. “My sweet little champion-in-the-making who made it even closer!” He nudged Brendan in the arm with his elbow as Brendan glared at him. “Come here and give me a hug!”
“No, I'm good!” he proclaimed, hands reaching up toward his hair and grasping the strands tightly.
“Oh, you two are so ... boring. Why aren't you both excited for this little trip May planned out? And you!” Chris looked Brendan up and down before walking over to the fence and sitting on the top post, an eyebrow raised. “Why do you look like such crap?”
Brendan stared down at his clothes. His jeans were caked with mud at the knees (he had played with the baby mudkip outside earlier) and his shirt had remnants of the toasted sandwich he had for lunch. If he raised his arms, he could distinctly see old sweat stains that rested at the corners of the sleeves. “Been busy,” was his simple reply as he sat next to Chris, Wally leaning next to him once more, fiddling with the bottom buttons of his white button-up shirt. “Trying to get on my dad's good side again.”
“Ah, right. Your dad read that letter you were too chicken to tell him in person.” Chris rolled his eyes, tucking the end of his leather belt into a belt loop of his denim shorts. “If you weren't such a chump and talked to him in person, maybe he wouldn't be so upset about it. Did you ever really talk about it?”
“Not really,” replied Brendan with shifty eyes. “I told him that it was no fault of my own that I joined–”
“Technically,” Chris interrupted, “it was. You joined out of free will; it was only weeks later you realized what you got into, and that required, like, me and May to slap the eff out of you, and you were like, ‘Oh noes! What have I done?! Whineeeee.’ All for the sake of 'world saving' or whatever you thought Maxie was doing. Or was it the cool uniforms?”
“A little of both. I told him that I regretted joining and I couldn't just 'leave.' I'm not sure if he believes me but ... Well, I'm not in jail, am I?”
“Yes, that is quite an accomplishment.” Chris nodded. “Millions of people on the planet manage the same thing every day.”
“Either way”–he rolled his eyes at Chris who reciprocated the gesture–“it's not worth the time to tell you what's been going on around here, but I will tell you I can't go on May's trip. I gotta work on my apprenticeship application.”
“Oh, right, to kiss up to your dad. Nice.”
“I try.” Brendan raised his head when he heard the distant sound of pebbles being crunched underneath wheels. Down the streets where homes resided, he noticed the girl wheeling a heavy case of floral-printed luggage behind her. She had tied her brown hair in a low ponytail so it wouldn't stick to the sides of her sweaty face.
Chris noticed the girl as well. “Who's the hot chick coming up this way?” he asked, his eyes squinting as he grinned.
“May, moron,” muttered Brendan.
“Oh. She's a hottie.”
“Fine, she's ugly.”
“She is not.”
“You can't have it both ways.”
“She is ugly to everyone else but me.”
“Good luck telling her that.”
The three boys watched as May made her way toward them, half-carrying, half-dragging her rolling luggage with one hand, her other hand positioned above her brow to protect her eyes from the glaring sun. She had kicked up dirt from the trail with her sneakers, letting the dust twirl around her bare legs and dilute the air space near her in a transparent brown tint. As she approached, she yelled, “For the love of latias! Are none of you going to help me?”
“She needs helping wheeling luggage? That has wheels?” murmured Chris, smirking, red eyes flashing with amusement as May stomped the ground, grumbled something incoherent, and continued her trudge toward them, her backpack straps slipping past her shoulders and uncomfortably resting in the grooves of her elbows. He leaned forward and clasped his hands together, pressing them against his stomach.
“She needs help with everything,” muttered Brendan, scratching the side of his nose with a dirty fingernail.
“I heard that, you jerk!” screeched May, eyes furious.
Wally pushed himself up from the fence and walked ahead toward May, helping her remove her awkwardly placed backpack from her arms.
“Thank you, Wally. You always were such a sweetheart,” said May with a smile. Brendan held his hands out and Wally dropped the bag into his friend’s arms.
May lowered the handle of her luggage back into its holder. She sat on top of it, arms crossed, balled hands tucked under her armpits. “I can't believe you're not going, B Boy,” she whined, scratching the back of her left ankle with her sandalled right foot. She pulled her bandanna from her back pocket and used it to wipe at the back of her neck. “I've been planning this cruise for weeks now. You told me you were going!”
“I seriously don't remember,” he lied.
Brendan hugged May's bag against his chest and gave the girl a weary look, eyes squinting and mouth tugged down into a frown. “You'll have fun without me. Trust me.”
“Well, duh! Not the point!” She snatched her bag from the boy's hold and slipped the straps over her shoulder, pushing up the short sleeves of her red polo. She shoved her bandanna into an open side pocket. “The point is that you totally have been blowing me off whenever I asked if you were excited about the trip, or if you were getting ready for the trip, or whatever. You lied!” She angrily zipped up the open pocket.
Brendan rolled his eyes in Wally’s direction and smirked as Wally smiled back, amused.
“Well, what do you want me to say?” he asked as he looked back at May.
“Um ... I’m sorry?”
“Fine. I’m sorry.”
“For not going on your trip?”
“No!” she huffed. She wrinkled her nose. “Not that!”
Brendan scratched the side of his head. “I’m sorry I didn’t plan ahead?”
“I’m sorry I have other things to do?”
“I’m sorry you suck ass at apologizing,” Chris muttered under his breath.
“No! Were you not listening to me ... again?” Her eyes narrowed.
Brendan made sweeping motions with his right hand, his palm skyward and fingers slightly curled. “To be fair,” he began, his head tilting to the right, “you say a lot of things.” He tilted his head to the left. “I mean, some things are going to slip by, don’t you think?”
“Ooh, bad, Brendan.” Chris shook his head as Wally gave him a sympathetic sigh. “Very bad.”
May hopped off her luggage, putting her hands on her hips. She shook her head, her ponytail sweeping against her back, while pointing at Brendan who stepped back, startled. “You,” she began, “you ... I have nothing to say to you.”
“Technically that was something,” he muttered.
She let out a screech like she was a bird of prey and pulled up the handle of her luggage, kicking the bottom of it so it leaned at an angle. She started to walk down the dirt path, pebbles grinding underneath the wheels of her suitcase. Her arms were stiff; there was a stomp in her step. The three boys watched as she walked further away. She was heading for the bus station, Littleroot’s pathetic runt of a business district stretched out before her, the windows of its buildings gleaming, the buildings towering above the asphalt streets in their concrete structures.
“You’re such a shitty boyfriend,” Chris said, head still turned.
“A shitty kind-of-sort-of-not-really boyfriend,” he corrected.
The sound of wheels grinding stopped. “Are you two coming or not?!” May had both hands cupped around her mouth, her posture bent slightly forward. Even from here, Brendan could see the anger flash dangerously in her usually calm eyes. “HURRY UP!”
Chris hopped off the fence. “Well,” he started, hands flying up and lacing themselves together on top of his spiky, black hair, “thanks for unleashing the beast on us and all, but we better head out. She’ll probably eat us if we don’t hurry ... which, in retrospect, might not be bad.” He winked at Brendan and let out a laugh as Brendan swiped at him. He turned toward Wally with a grimace. “Hope you have your bag of hair ready.”
Wally wrapped his finger around the strap of his backpack with his right hand while patting the front left pocket of his shorts with the other. “Always,” he said with a grin.
“And you two think I'm the freak.” Chris snapped his fingers in Brendan’s direction and pointed. “See ya in a week, sweet child o’ mine. Let’s mooooove it out, Wally.” He turned on the balls of his feet and started to walk in May’s direction, Wally following after him.
Wally walked backward, waving his right hand in the air. “Bye, Brendan! Have fun!”
Brendan raised his hand and dropped it, letting his palm smack against his thigh through his dirty jeans and wiping away the balls of dirt and crumbs that managed to stick. His friends jogged a bit to catch up with the girl, who was impatiently tapping her foot. As soon as they caught up with her, she spun around, ponytail swirling from the right to the left of her head. The three were off. He watched them, red eyes wide, hooking his thumbs on the outside corners of his pockets, leaning his weight on his left leg. The sun was hot on his head, bleeding into his bandanna. He reached up and rubbed his left shoulder, dispersing the heat his shirt absorbed.
Extending his right leg, Brendan jumped, shifted his weight to his right foot, and swiveled, moving in the opposite direction of his friends and walking parallel to the crooked wooden fence bordering the laboratory’s green, unkempt pastures.
Originally Posted: 29 July 2011
Last Revised: 17 September 2011 for grammatical/syntax errors