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Thread: Deadlines & Commitments (Chapter 1)

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    Default Deadlines & Commitments (Chapter 1)

    Hi friends! I started writing this fan fiction over this summer when I was bored. I've never written fan fiction before, this is my first time even posting something. I decided to eventually post what I've been working off/on in my spare time! The goal is to become a better writer and maybe get over some insecurities as a writer... I hope you enjoy the story and come to love these characters as much as I have! Feedback & constructive criticism would be sorely appreciated. I'll update when I can! (I've also posted this on my Ao3 account, suckanucka, if you would prefer to read it there)

    No warnings. Rated PG.

    Summary:

    Raegan Saffron has been on her Pokémon journey for over a year now. She has made friends of intrinsic value along the way, both human and Pokémon alike. But now their paths separate and she must go it alone again. Now journeying alone to Johto, Raegan is farther away from her close companions than she has ever been. And now is when they need her most. Can she and her new friends save them in time or will she miss the deadline?


    Chapter 1: Crossroads

    Chapter Text

    >>Prologue<<

    It’s been a difficult and trying season in the Indigo League for Sam Thatch, Elijah Thomas, and Raegan Saffron. Starting their journeys from different points and with different personalities, the stars have crossed to bring each of them together. Over the last year, these three trainers have slowly grafted together like the branches of a tree. Working together, (Usually, but not always,) they’ve learned from and loved each other. Pushing and pulling each other to the top of the pile, they’ve just finished competing in the Indigo Plateau Conference. Raegan and her friends feel like they could take on the world now. But due to the nature of the stars, they will cross again and these 3 friends will find themselves at crossroads.

    >>Chapter 1 - Crossroads<<

    One evening in late spring, 3 trainers stumbled into their camp late at night. Sore and exhausted for all the right reasons, Sam Thatch, Elijah Thomas, and Raegan Saffron’s stomach ached from laughter.

    “Can you believe tonight?” Raegan collapsed on her sleeping bag.

    “I know”! Sam said running a hand through his blond hair. He and Elijah took seats on their respective sleeping bags. Elijah poked at the long since abandoned coals, trying to resurrect a flame. Used to using Pokémon to get a fire going, Elijah’s fire-starting technique was a bit rusty. After a long several days at the Pokémon League, he figured their Pokémon could use a rest. While he fiddled with the fire he listened to his younger companions talk amongst themselves.

    “That after party was crazy! And those fireworks! Though, I know you two weren’t watching…” Sam smirked.

    “Shutup!” The pixie-haired girl said in almost one syllable, her cheeks nearly turning the same color as her hair. Elijah laughed.

    The girl in question being Raegan Saffron. She had originally started her journey through Kanto alone. Obtaining her starter Pokémon through less orthodox means and starting from her hometown of Lavender, Raegan set off at 17 with only her Squirtle, Julian, for companionship. While she enjoyed the time to think, she often felt the loneliness setting in. While Raegan loved her Pokémon deeply, she craved human companionship as well. Raegan had been milling about, training and exploring, for at least a few weeks when she stumbled across this boy and his charmander. He was headed toward the Power plant just like her. He had beautiful blond hair and gorgeous blue eyes and perfect ski-slope nose. But despite his level of attractiveness, Raegan had other intentions than romance. Raegan badly wanted a traveling partner, but when she made the suggestion that they travel together, he neither accepted nor declined, but rather merely shrugged somewhat indifferently. Stubborn as ever, Raegan decided to travel with him whether he wanted her to or not, damn the consequences! This boy turned out to be Sam Thatch. She quickly realized, however, that she had mistaken his shy disposition for being aloof. As they traveled more together, Reagan came to recognize him as a formidable beginning trainer with great potential. As their journey continued the two developed a strange bond.

    “I call it how I see it,” Sam lay back on his sleeping bag, placing his hands behind his head. “But really, how awesome has tonight been?”

    “Yeah, I am pretty proud of you two. 20th and 18th place in your first Pokémon league is nothing to be ashamed of!” Elijah piped up having gotten a decent fire started.

    “Speak for yourself, Mr.10th place!” Raegan leaned over and ruffled Elijah’s light brown hair, messing its somehow effortless neatness. He smiled and flinched away, smoothing it back into place with his fingers.

    “Yeah, I guess that’s true.” Elijah said modestly. “But,” he said straightening his usually bad posture, “You guys have both come really far as trainers…and as people. Which is why I think you’re ready to go it alone; go without me.”

    Sam turned his head and Raegan blinked a few times. “Explain?” Raegan asked. The smirk on Sam’s face had been wiped clean with a rag of sobriety.

    Elijah looked at the fire and inhaled deeply. “I’m saying I got an offer for an internship in Hoenn—A research internship.”

    Sam and Raegan both knew what this meant. Every trainer has a dream. Every single one of them, otherwise, why would they venture alone into the wild? Pokémon trainers are by nature dream chasers. And Elijah’s dream was to become a Pokémon Researcher. Elijah didn’t even know what he wanted to research specifically; he just knew that was all he wanted to do. And now here was his opportunity staring him dead in the eye like an angry arbok. All-expense paid, internship in the career of his choice, in an entirely new region he had never explored: He’d be a fool not to take it.

    “You guys know what this means to me,” Sam and Raegan nodded. “The future is calling and I’m gonna answer!” Elijah gave an excited smile looking all around to his companions hopefully, trying to get a pulse on their reactions.

    “So, this is it?” Sam asked. “The real deal?”

    “The real deal.” Elijah answered.

    “Wow, Elijah, that’s really exciting. I bet you’re gonna be famous!” Raegan smiled a bit more than she had been.

    “So, when do you leave?” Sam finally confronted the donphan in the room.

    Elijah heaved a little sigh. “That’s the catch…They’ve given me a 2 week period to wrap up here and take care of things…”

    “…You mean say goodbye, don’t you.” Raegan said quietly.

    “Yeah. And I need to be in Hoenn at the end of the 2 weeks…So if I’m going to make it there in time, I need to be in Vermillion City as soon as possible to catch the S.S. Anne.”

    Sam and Raegan were silent. The fire crackled.

    “Which means I need to leave tomorrow morning.”

    No one said anything for a few minutes. Raegan felt her throat clench and her eyes sting. Elijah was going very far away. He was going where Raegan couldn’t follow.

    “I need to go for a walk--.” Raegan’s voice cracked and her knees quaked as she stood and walked away swiftly.

    “Raegan! You shouldn’t go out alone at night, you dummy!” Sam piped up. Raegan made a crude gesture and Sam scoffed.

    “She’ll be fine, Sam. After all she was doing well all on her own before she met us.”

    “We all were,” Sam mumbled. “Now I’m afraid we’re all a little codependent.”

    “I’ll go talk to her in a minute. She just needs to think. Maybe burn some things.” Elijah joked weakly.

    “Okay.” Sam climbed into his sleeping bag. “When did you find out about the internship, anyway?”

    “This morning at the Pokémon center. I got an e-mail from a guy named Dylan J. Auffenhammer.”

    “Huh. Sound like a snob to me.” Sam smiled cheekily and rolled over in his sleeping bag. “Congratulations.”

    Elijah chuckled. Sam had strange ways of showing he cared, but he was a true friend. Elijah would do anything for him. The two had always been like brothers, not in blood, but in bond. Elijah remembered how happy he was to run into Sam in Cerulean City after so many years. Sam and Elijah had picked up like they never left off. It’s true, Elijah thought, some things never change.

    ***

    Raegan fumbled on the dark and thickly wooded rocky trail for a few minutes before finally pulling out her raichu. “Harvey, help me out,” she said reaching for his pokeball on her belt. “Use flash.”

    The golden Pokémon released from its ball in a bright light. Eagerly he looked to his trainer for approval as his cheeks began to glow, giving enough light to see the pathway before them.

    “Good job,” Raegan bent down and scratched his furry head. Excited, the Pokémon hopped onto Raegan’s shoulders. She grunted. “Harv, you are really too big to do this anymore.” But she did nothing to remove him from herself and kept on walking down the dimly lit path.

    She talked to her Pokémon and he listened intently. “Harvey, you know Elijah and I go way back. I’ve known him almost as long as I’ve known you…And now all of a sudden he’s leaving.”

    Raegan remembers the first time she saw Elijah. She and Sam had just gotten to Cerulean City. They were staying in the city for a few days to see the sights and enjoy a festival that would be happening over the weekend. They were walking around in the evening looking at all the pretty festival lights. The sun was beginning to set when Sam suddenly ran off into the crowd, exclaiming “I can’t believe it!”

    Raegan ran after him and found herself third-wheeling on a reunion of long-lost bros. Sam grabbed this random guy in a green canvas jacket by the shoulders and shook him. The man was stunned at first but quickly recognized his old friend. They embraced excitedly and talked a mile a minute.

    Raegan could barely get a word in edgewise, or she would have if she had anything to say. Instead she found herself at a loss for words other than “Hello,” and “Nice to meet you.” Here was this guy about 6 feet tall, 2 or 3 years older than Raegan. His appearance wasn’t something you’d likely see on the front of a magazine, yet Raegan couldn’t help but find him stunning. His skin was ruddy and already tanned from the long days of travel under the sun. His nose was a little big and his posture was poor. But his voice was calming and he had the most beautiful dark blue eyes that Raegan had ever seen. Something seemed so familiar and comforting about him.

    Both Raegan and her Pokémon had taken to Elijah right away. She was eager to impress him and make a good impression, so she invited him to watch her and Sam battle at the Cerulean gym.

    It was Raegan’s first gym battle and she had been pretty nervous, but ambitious and eager to impress. Not only did she want to impress Elijah, but she wanted to gain the respect of Sam and the Cerulean City Gym Leader, Misty, both trainers she looked up to.

    At the start of the challenge Raegan had flashed Elijah a flirty smile, whom was sitting in the bleachers with Sam. He awkwardly smiled back and Sam rolled his eyes. Raegan had run onto the wet concrete platform on one end of the gym that was designated for the trainer to command their Pokémon from. Clearly disregarding the ‘No Running’ signs neatly placed around the pool, Raegan’s feet flew up in front of her face as she slipped off the platform and into the pool.

    Raegan remembered wishing she were dead as she sunk. She grabbed the ledge of the pool and climbed out with whatever shred of dignity she had left dripping off of her and into the pool. Nevertheless, Raegan fought the battle with great courage despite her rough beginning which had left even Sam strangled with secondhand embarrassment. Sopping wet and unable to look anyone in the eye, Raegan gained her Cascade badge, but not without some difficulty.

    So Raegan wasn’t exactly psyched when after their battles Sam told her that he had invited Elijah to travel with them. Sam teased her about it for ages, but a few jokes aside, it didn’t seem to horridly affect Elijah’s opinion of her. In fact it broke the ice in a way.

    Eventually, Raegan and Elijah fell into each other’s groove of training and became an admirable team. They grew close as partners and even closer as friends; Elijah even kissed her once. But neither made a big deal of it. It was something special between the two of them that no one else needed to know. First and foremost, they were a team.

    Among other things, that was something Raegan admired about Elijah. She was thankful for all the times he had let her see him cry. It showed a rather juxtapositional strength of being able to share your feelings, no matter how embarrassing or terrifying it may be. She admired that he was both willing to talk and willing to listen. But most of all she admired how honest he was. True, he could be emotional and dramatic at times, but he was honest with his emotions and his drama. Which was something Raegan found refreshing in a world where emotions were increasingly looked down upon.

    Raegan ventured off the trail and climbed up onto a boulder of considerable size lying randomly in a field of aspens. Harvey dimmed his flash. Holding her raichu in her lap, Raegan stroked his soft fur as she gazed at the stars. It never ceased to amaze her how many there were, especially out in the wilderness. When she was young, someone had once told her that there were as many Pokémon in the world as there were stars; they just haven’t all been discovered yet.

    Raegan’s mind wandered around this thought for a while, distracting her mind from its current upset. A pale light flashed over her rock and Raegan looked behind her to see Elijah attempting to climb up the large boulder with a flashlight in his mouth. Raegan giggled, “Would you like some help?” Elijah nodded. Raegan helped her struggling friend onto the mass of granite, pulling him up by the belt.

    Elijah and Raegan sat and giggled about how absolutely awkward and graceless the whole situation had been until it finally died down into an uneasy silence.

    “Haha…hmm, what am I gonna do without you, Raegan?” Elijah chuckled.

    “Oh, just become the most brilliant Pokémon Researcher this side of Kanto…Or, ya know, die in a tragic freak accident which we all knew was coming.” Raegan deadpanned.

    “Whichever comes first,” Elijah conceded.

    “Hopefully the former…” Raegan sighed. Another uneasy silence. “I’m sorry.” Elijah said quietly. “I guess I just got used to everyone being here all the time. I just somehow thought every single person I would meet and cherish on my journey would stay with me forever.”

    “Life doesn’t stop for anybody, Raegan…” Elijah stroked Harvey’s fur. Both were quiet for a moment.

    “No, I suppose not,” Raegan paused. “I guess I’ll just have to go to Johto without you.” It was the first time she said it out loud. Now it was real and there was no way to grab the words and pull them back into her mouth. She loved Elijah more than words, but her dream to travel Johto was about to fulfill itself. She couldn’t hold herself back, especially if Elijah wasn’t holding himself back from following his own dreams. Her eyes began to sting again, the good and the bad of the past year overflowing her eyes and spilling down her cheeks.

    “I guess you will.” Elijah spoke quietly. Hot and fast, tears began to streak down both of their cheeks. Raegan pulled him close and their bodies shook together, wracked with both sorrow and excitement. “I love you, ‘Lij, you know I do, but I think that this is what is right. This is where we need to go.” Elijah nodded. Slowly the tide of emotions ebbed and they came to rest their heads on each other’s shoulders.

    “Gosh, we’re such a mess,” Elijah laughed and pulled close the poor electric Pokémon that had been putting up with all of this. “Indeed, we are,” Raegan agreed. Raegan returned Harvey to his pokeball to rest. The two helped each other off the rock and walked back to their camp together.

    “Julian is gonna be pissed about you leaving, by the way,” Raegan said squeezing Elijah’s shoulder.

  2. #2
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    Alright, I'mma give this story some reviewing love.

    The clear positive I see here is your characterization is pretty solid so far - you've got the feeling of a close- knit group of friends down fairly well. Also, Harvey is adorable.

    On the other hand, you do a bit too much telling and not showing with your exposition - the prologue is the worst case of this. (Though you at least posted such a short prologue with your first chapter unlike my first attempt at fanfic XD). There's also a bit at the end where I had a hard time separating the exposition from the actual story.

    But overall not bad for your first attempt. Looking forward to seeing more.
    Author's Profile

    Want your fic reviewed? Send me a PM asking! I'll see if I can make time.

    (Keep in mind I'm not usually partial to really dark fics, so I may take longer to get to those.)

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