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Thread: All It Takes Is A Fall

  1. #1
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    Default All It Takes Is A Fall

    Hello! I'm glad to finally present my first published oneshot. This one is centered around the aftermath of the event that made Anabel a Faller, specifically through the eyes of a distraught Greta.

    Due to the subject matter, I'd like to place a gigantic Content Warning on this one -- it deals with survivor's guilt and suicidal urges, which very nearly succeed, but ultimately don't. Hopefully, fics I write in the future will be less depressing, but for now...

    All It Takes Is A Fall

    It had been a month since the sky ripped open above the Battle Tower, and a huge black beast came out of it and wreaked havoc. Nobody was sure what it was; not even Noland, the one Frontier Brain that actually held a Pokédex, nor anyone that the various picture-taking bystanders at the base of the tower brought the photographs to for identification.

    But it really didn't matter. It came, it caused massive damage, and it left, right back through the wormhole in the sky.

    And now Anabel was gone because of it.

    Greta had been waiting in the lobby when it happened, watching Anabel's latest Gold Symbol challenge on a big screen. For dramatic effect, she had just recently decided to start moving all such challenges to the roof of the building. And of course, that put her right in the way of the alien creature's destruction, when it came. Her and her challenger both.

    Anabel had been on the losing side of her challenge, and as per Battle Frontier regulations, she had only brought three Pokémon up with her. She hadn't planned on using two of them anyway -- she called on the favor of Raikou and a Latios for the sake of a battle, but Legendary Pokémon rarely allowed themselves to be legitimately caught by humans, instead simply coming as called as a temporary ally. And by the time the strange black creature appeared, the two Legendary Pokémon had already come to fight and left in defeat, leaving Anabel with a wounded Snorlax, an Alakazam, and her starter, an Espeon who rarely battled anymore. Greta knew Anabel was in no shape to face a creature like that, especially one that -- at least based on its appearance -- seemed to be Dark-type.

    Truth be told, Greta doubted she stood a chance against whatever it was either. But it didn't matter. She had to be there to help her childhood friend, her rival, her girlfriend, in this crisis. So, as soon as she possibly could, she made her way through the panicking crowd and toward the first elevator to the top.

    She didn't make it in time.

    They were gone.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    A month since that happened, right down to the day. The Battle Tower was closed to everyone except Scott, the remaining Frontier Brains, and anyone who had volunteered to help clean up the damage and maintain the building, which had become a memorial to Anabel. Greta had unrestricted access to it.

    So now she was on the roof, standing on the edge, looking down.

    The events of that awful day kept playing in her head, over and over and over. Seeing the beast come out of the sky, rushing to the elevator, watching in agonizing pain as the floor number sloooooowly rose to the top, the doors opening to a wrecked roof.

    Too slow. Too slow. TOO SLOW.

    It was her fault, she thought. She insisted. She should have been there, she was so close, but it didn't matter. Her girlfriend was presumed dead. Even if she wasn't, Greta would never get to see her again.

    They'd been together since the beginning. Her Umbreon was from the same litter of Eevee as Anabel's Espeon; Greta could have gotten a starter Pokémon two years earlier, but wanted to wait until her first friend, her best friend, her favorite person, got hers. They'd traveled all across Kanto, Johto, Sinnoh, and Hoenn together, and been there for each other's worst points -- and Greta, having depression and borderline personality disorder, had a lot of worst points. Somehow, Anabel had always managed to keep her going strong without even trying -- whether it was words of encouragement, or sending pictures of Umbreon plushies captioned "saw this and thought of you!" on bad days, or sharing a laugh poking fun at Lucy's obsession with snakes. Somehow, Anabel always had a way of making her happy when it mattered.

    Until now. She was gone.

    It should have taken me! She kept insisting to herself. They can all live without me! They all deserve better than someone who can't save someone who actually matters, then keeps obsessing over her when she's gone. Real useful, aren't I?

    She inches closer to the edge, clinging with one hand to the railing. All it takes is a fall, she tells herself. All it takes is a fall, and then if Anabel's dead, I can see her again. And if she's not… the others deserve better anyway. Scott deserves better! Nobody would even remember me -- who talks about Greta anyway? Nobody, nobody does, nobody cares, nobody would care if I--

    "Pretty night tonight, huh?"

    Greta yelps and whips around, almost toppling off the edge before catching herself instinctively. Behind her is a very short girl, with black hair cut into a bob not unlike her own, and wearing a cape and an ankle brace with a strange marble-like stone embedded in it.

    "Wh-who are you?! H-how did you get up here?" Greta's voice trembles. Nobody was supposed to know she was here!

    The mysterious girl smiles and hops up onto the railing beside Greta, sitting down and kicking her feet over the side. "They don't have a Battle Tower where I'm from. There's plans, sure, but they haven't actually started building it yet. Gotta say, it's pretty darn impressive!"

    Greta just gives her a confused look. Not only did the girl avoid both of her questions, she didn't even seem to acknowledge the fact that she was about to jump off!

    "...L-listen, whoever you are… I, uh, y-you shouldn't be here. It's off limits. Frontier Brains and authorized personnel only, g-got it?"

    The mystery girl just shrugs. "You left the doors unlocked behind you. Thought it was safe to follow you. I like high places, y'know?"

    Well, that answered one question. Next time, lock the doors to the stairwell.

    "Well, um… it… it's not safe here. L-listen, just leave!" Greta shouts.

    The girl sighs. "You can't climb up here specifically because it's dangerous and then tell someone else not to, that's just hypocritical. Nope, I'm staying riiiight here, so you're just gonna have to get used to the company!"

    Greta groans. It wasn't supposed to be like this! She can't do it now that someone's watching her! She climbs back over to a safer position, only now realizing just how badly she's shaking. "O-okay, I'm… I'm safe. You happy now?"

    The girl smiles again. "Better! But I'm still staying."

    Greta sighs, trying to calm herself. "...I-if you say so. Can I… at least get your name?"

    The girl kicks her feet idly. "I'm Zinnia! You're Greta, right? The Arena Tycoon?"

    Greta nods. "Th-that's me, yes." Calm down. Just. Calm. Breathe. Breathe…

    "Nice to meet you!" Zinnia spins around and hops back off the railing, leaning against it. "Soooooo… what's on your mind? I'm gonna play therapist for a bit, if that's okay."

    Somehow, Greta doubted it mattered if she said it wasn't okay.

    "I… lost someone. Really close to me. You might have heard about it on the news, it was… it was the girl who ran this building before."

    "Mmmmm… can't say I really keep up with the news." Zinnia shrugs again. "But still, sucks that someone died. It'd suck even more if someone else did, y'know?"

    "I…" Greta starts to say something, but realizes she doesn't actually have a response. This whole situation was catching her incredibly off-guard. She fumbles for words. "I… I… don't think therapists usually say stuff like that…?"

    "Well, guess we know why I don't have a license, then! But whatever, that's not the point. I… well, I know how you feel, Greta. I lost someone close to me too. But you know how she would have wanted me to respond to it? She'd want me to keep fighting! For the people we haven't lost yet!"

    Greta spends several seconds in silence. When she speaks again, she's very quiet, almost whispering. "I… guess so. And… she might not actually be dead either…"

    Zinnia beams. "Well, that's even better! Keep fighting until you find her, just like I'm gonna keep fighting until I find my Aster again! And if I don't… well, wherever she is, I'm gonna do everything I can to protect her. You do that too, okay?"

    Greta pauses. After a moment, she slowly nods her head. "I… okay. I will. For Anabel."

    "For Anabel!" Zinnia smiles. She extends her arms in an invitation for a hug. Greta hesitantly accepts, but when she does, it's an eternity before she lets go.

    "Hey… I'll keep a look out for her, okay?" Zinnia whispers. "For Anabel, I mean. I travel a lot. If I see her, I'll tell her someone's looking forward to seeing her again. Got it?"

    "Thank you… thank you, Zinnia."

    They finally break the hug. Greta gazes out over the Battle Frontier one last time, then turns back around to start climbing back downstairs. Astonishingly, Zinnia is already gone, as stealthily as she came.

    Greta promised herself she wouldn't disappoint her.
    Last edited by Eskay64; 30th April 2017 at 6:00 PM. Reason: Added an extra thing to the content warning

  2. #2
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    Heya! Since this is your first fic posted here, lemme be the one to welcome you to the forum! ^^ And man, this is a hell of a entry piece! Hit me pretty hard in the feels, like...immediately. Plus you don't see a lot of Frontier Brain-centric stories! (Digging that dual meaning in the title, btw)
    Quote Originally Posted by Eskay64 View Post
    Somehow, Anabel had always managed to keep her going strong without even trying -- whether it was words of encouragement, or sending pictures of Umbreon plushies captioned "saw this and thought of you!" on bad days, or sharing a laugh poking fun at Lucy's obsession with snakes. Somehow, Anabel always had a way of making her happy when it mattered.
    ;-; I immediately ship this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Eskay64 View Post
    She inches closer to the edge, clinging with one hand to the railing. All it takes is a fall, she tells herself. All it takes is a fall, and then if Anabel's dead, I can see her again. And if she's not… the others deserve better anyway. Scott deserves better! Nobody would even remember me -- who talks about Greta anyway? Nobody, nobody does, nobody cares, nobody would care if I--
    Aaaaa, this is some strong stuff, really like how you did this bit here.
    Quote Originally Posted by Eskay64 View Post
    The mysterious girl smiles and hops up onto the railing beside Greta, sitting down and kicking her feet over the side. "They don't have a Battle Tower where I'm from. There's plans, sure, but they haven't actually started building it yet. Gotta say, it's pretty darn impressive!"
    Huh...isn't Zinnia from Hoenn too?
    Quote Originally Posted by Eskay64 View Post
    "Well, guess we know why I don't have a license, then! But whatever, that's not the point. I… well, I know how you feel, Greta. I lost someone close to me too. But you know how she would have wanted me to respond to it? She'd want me to keep fighting! For the people we haven't lost yet!"
    Since this line (which is pretty great) spans a wide range of emotions, I think it'd have worked better having some accompanying descriptions of her actions while she was saying it (cause I really like all the actions you've had Zinna doing in her dialogue until now.) I've got nothing against dialogue with no tags attached, but this one feels like it needs something.
    Quote Originally Posted by Eskay64 View Post
    They finally break the hug. Greta gazes out over the Battle Frontier one last time, then turns back around to start climbing back downstairs. Astonishingly, Zinnia is already gone, as stealthily as she came.

    Greta promised herself she wouldn't disappoint her.
    Overall this was short but sweet. A long of strong emotions in this one, and I think they came across pretty well! I like your style--I hope to see you around here more often!

    ~Chibi~



    "Everyone wishes they could catch a Legendary, deep down, whether they’ll admit it or not.
    If you knew you could use one to change the world, something you’d been dreaming about for years, are you telling me you wouldn’t take that chance?"

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    May 24 Update: CHAPTER 23: “Betrayal” POSTED!!!
    Chapter 24 progress: 5/12 pages


  3. #3
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    Hey! Thank you so much for the review and the warm welcome, it means a lot to me! I'm really glad you liked this!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chibi Pika View Post
    ;-; I immediately ship this.
    Haha, I'm always glad to get more people to ship the same ships I do, especially Anabel x Greta (which I don't think even has a ship name yet, it's so uncommon)!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chibi Pika View Post
    Huh...isn't Zinnia from Hoenn too?
    Yeah, she's from Hoenn, but what I was attempting to imply here (perhaps unsuccesfully) was that she wasn't from the same Hoenn -- this story takes place in the RSE-timeline version of Hoenn, while Zinnia is visiting from the ORAS version, where the Battle Resort is, and the Battle Tower is reduced to a model being showcased in the middle of the island. Sorry if that wasn't clear!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chibi Pika View Post
    Since this line (which is pretty great) spans a wide range of emotions, I think it'd have worked better having some accompanying descriptions of her actions while she was saying it (cause I really like all the actions you've had Zinna doing in her dialogue until now.) I've got nothing against dialogue with no tags attached, but this one feels like it needs something.
    Okay, thank you, I'll keep that in mind. Thank you for the advice!

    I'm really looking forward to seeing your input on future fics of mine! A lot of them will probably be centered around the Frontier Brains just because I love them so much ;P

  4. #4
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    I like the contrast between what we know of Greta from having played the game – blunt, chirpy, and so on – and what we see here. You lean into the reader's previous knowledge of the character to obliquely show the gap between the face Greta presents her challengers and her actual self, which I always think is pretty great. A lot is done there with very little, and because it's so neat it's actually very effective.

    You also nail Zinnia's voice, which is great because Zinnia is far and away my favourite Pokémon character canon characters have pretty specific voices that are sometimes hard to translate well from the snippets of game dialogue into full conversation. Bringing her in is also a great way of like broadening your concern and gesturing towards the wider issue of the parallel universes with very few words; what I think I mean by that is that this is a one-shot, and it's very short, and bringing Zinnia into Annabel and Greta's reality – which the reader already knows is not Zinnia's reality – is a really tight and effective way to establish a lot about the timelines without sacrificing much space to exposition that might slow the story down.

    I think that probably sums up my response to this in a technical sense – that you've done an excellent job making very few words do an awful lot – which just leaves my response as a reader, I guess, and that response is way less coherent and much more along the lines of this was great! What a fantastic illustration of a side to this event I don't think I've seen anyone thinking about before! I really liked this, in other words; it appeals to me in tone, subject and construction, and honestly I don't have a lot critical to say about it. There is a sudden shift in tense early in the second section from past to present – first, Greta 'kept insisting to herself', and then, in the next paragraph, she 'yelps and whips around' – but other than that I didn't see anything I particularly wanted to take issue with. It's smart, subtle, and sweet. I look forward to seeing what you come up with next!
    GO HOME
    Some people just won't see reason.

    ARBITRARY EXECUTION
    If the cover-up is real, it isn't a conspiracy theory. It's a conspiracy fact.

    TIME AND TIDE | A LEASH OF FOXES
    IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cutlerine View Post
    I like the contrast between what we know of Greta from having played the game – blunt, chirpy, and so on – and what we see here. You lean into the reader's previous knowledge of the character to obliquely show the gap between the face Greta presents her challengers and her actual self, which I always think is pretty great. A lot is done there with very little, and because it's so neat it's actually very effective.
    Oh, phew, I was kinda worried that I was straying too far from Greta's usual Frontier Brain bravado in showing a much more insecure side of her, so I'm really glad that was well-received!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cutlerine View Post
    which just leaves my response as a reader, I guess, and that response is way less coherent and much more along the lines of this was great! What a fantastic illustration of a side to this event I don't think I've seen anyone thinking about before!
    Haha, that was my goal! I'm particularly fond of seeing familiar events through new perspectives, so I'm probably gonna keep with that theme for future pieces!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cutlerine View Post
    There is a sudden shift in tense early in the second section from past to present – first, Greta 'kept insisting to herself', and then, in the next paragraph, she 'yelps and whips around'
    Oh, my bad, I must have missed that in proofreading. But good to know everything else seems good!

    Once again, thank you for the input, and I hope to come up with something new soon to keep you guys interested!

  6. #6
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    As the first story i've read here, i very much enjoyed the bittersweet yet comforting atmosphere it had. Although, i did notice that there wasn't a lot of description to detail. There isn't an indication for the time of day it was when Greta was at the rooftop for instance, but that's just a minor nitpick. Regardless, this was a good start and you should definitely write more in the future.

  7. #7
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    Tbqh, Zinnia makes the best therapist.

    No, but forreal, this was an adorable fic. I mean, okay, yeah, there was Greta suffering through immense pain at the beginning and Greta straight-up contemplating jumping off a blinking tower, but I liked the note of hopefulness at the end. Or, well, where you went with the whole Zinnia angle.

    I mean, first off, you nailed Zinnia. You captured her frantic breed of optimism, her streak of determination, her air of mystery whenever she casually references her home world, her seeming incapability of understanding the gravity of immediate situations ... it was Zinnia through-and-through. And, you know, seeing her urge someone to keep fighting ... that was pretty adorable. Like, she's a far cry from the sympathetic, altruistic, therapist-esque ear one would expect from this kind of situation (the whole "it sucks that someone died, but you know, it'd suck even more if someone else did" line was one of those moments where I laughed and also knew I probably shouldn't have), but it's that off-beat yet still somehow grounded viewpoint that allows her to relate to Greta—and, in turn, allows her to be relatable to us. Talking someone down is always awkward and difficult, so I envy Zinnia's reach out in such a cheery, level-headed manner.

    And of course, the actual message—especially that ending line, where Greta decides she doesn't want to disappoint Zinnia ... yes, "bittersweet" seems like a good way to describe it. But more importantly, this is 100% about Greta, which is great. As in ... hurt/comfort fics in which canon characters contemplate suicide over a loss often ends up uncomfortably shippy because the person being talked down leans so far into the person talking them down that, well, things happen. (Or, well, this used to be a common theme. I admit I haven't seen too much of this very specific situation as of late.) That's honestly what I like most about Zinnia's departure and the sparks of determination reigniting in Greta. Sure, Greta says she doesn't want to disappoint, but on the other hand, there's a definite sense that the encounter is wholly platonic and that Greta might just be talking about not disappointing herself. I mean, she's not left wondering who Zinnia was, and she's not dwelling on Zinnia's story. Rather, she's done exactly what she honestly should be doing: applying Zinnia's story to herself and realizing that, yeah, jumping off the tower's not going to solve much (especially if she doesn't know whether or not Anabel is still alive). So consequently, because you back away from that option, Greta seems almost more hopeful because it's very clear that she can and will heal.

    In short, this was an excellent introduction to the forum, and I hope you'll stick around to contribute more!

    The Fifth Gate
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    Works In Progress:
    Anima Ex Machina | Electric Sheep
    (Sci-fi shenanigans in one convenient signature!)

  8. #8
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    I'm not that knowledgable about the frontier brains besides Anabel, but the concept of someone grieving over her drew me in. And I actually really like it! Zinnia feels perfectly in character and I love her playing the therapist role (give me this therapist I need her right now), and despite knowing barely anything about Greta I sympathised with her a lot. Overall it's a short but sweet one shot that I think is rather cute!

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