Hello and welcome to Embrace. After much pre-production, school and general laziness, I have finally started writing this thing. Expect slow chapter-posting. I'd like to thank Bay, my beta, for looking over my writing. If you find any errors, have questions/speculations, or want to discuss plot/characters please comment. Reviews are much appreciated as well.
Summary: A breeder joyously hatches a riolu for a client. To the dismay of the hatchling, the client never returns to claim him. Faced with an abandoned pokémon, the breeder vows to find the riolu's trainer and family.
Rating: Rated PG-15 for some language and sexual references. It can and will sometimes spike to an R rating for strongly implied sexy sex and sailor-approved language.
Crisp air hung in the early morning hours of the Sinnoh mountain range.
At the foot of one mount, rested a small town, barely stirring as the sun began to surface. The few early-risers went about their business as usual, oblivious to the strange sight barreling down the tawny mountain side towards them.
A lone lucario, eyes wide, pulled Maylene down the mountainside at full speed. Unable to keep up, Maylene tripped on a head-sized boulder. The instant she lost her footing, the lucario wheeled around and caught her. His crimson eyes darting to the mountain's peak, he licked his dry lips and lifted her to her bare feet before resuming their frantic pace.
“I broke some toes, Teoxi,” she huffed between strides. The adrenaline in her system was numbing the pain, she knew.
A clear whisper registered in Maylene’s mind, dripping with echo and hollow resonance.
<You slipped in more ways than one; You´ve stopped cloaking your aura.>
“Damn it!” She placed a hand in her pink hair and glanced back. The invisible energy that all living things emanated, the aura, was working against her now. Very few beings could detect aura, those who could control it, even less. Despite all the training she had received, she was failing, and it was frustrating. She was angry at herself, and her aura announced that fact to her partner.
<Stop. You're making it worse. Concentrate and find balance.>
Knowing it was likely too late, she focused on her heavy breathing and the rhythm of her feet thumping the ground. Their pursuers were expert aura readers, and without her unique aura hidden, she was broadcasting their location like a lighthouse. She molded her aura to resemble one of a fat happy pidgey. The air surrounding her grew cooler and pleasant.
That will throw them off, she thought to herself, hoping it was true.
<That's better,> agreed Teoxi with a grin.
She grinned back at Teoxi. She ignored her throbbing foot, and continued down the mountain alongside her partner.
Behind their brown dust trail a dozen or so blue forms appeared over the crest of the mountain's peak. Both she and the lucario saw them over their shoulders, way after they were supposed to be able to sense their aura signatures. Their pursuers were able to completely hide their auras, as opposed to just disguising them.
For an instant, she felt Teoxi´s aura twinge with panic.
“You know them?” she asked him in huffs.
Teoxi nodded gravely as he vaulted over a boulder with a paw.
“If we fought, could w--”
<Never. Not against so many,> he marqueed to her.
They fell into grim silence, concentrating solely on putting distance between them and the group of lucario who thought them traitors.
Teoxi turned to check on the hunters. <They´ve split and started down the mountain!> snarled Teoxi as he turned back downhill. Stacks of smoke and starry lights shone up from the valley's base. This town's edge was their only salvation now. The group would never enter a human settlement willingly, it was tribe law.
“Why are they splitting up?” asked Maylene as she gasped for air.
<They mean to cut us off.>
Teoxi had been disguising his aura with one of a caterpie, but now, he unmasked it, letting it flare unimpeded. <Hiding ourselves won't help anymore, Itzel. They know where we are.>
Maylene unbound her aura as well. “We'll make it, and stop calling me Itzel,” she blurted out. She had slowed considerably.
Both of them continued down the mountain path, aided by fear and the mountain’s inclination. Maylene noticed her partner slowly leaving her behind. Then, she realized he wasn’t accelerating; she was lagging. Teoxi was gazing back at her with a concerned frown.
<We won't make it, not like this.>
Maylene felt Teoxi’s heavy smear-like despair emanating in his aura. “Hey, stop that! I hate it when you feel like that,” she yells at him bitterly before pointing at the approaching town, “look how close we are.” When she felt her partner’s aura swell, she fell silent. Teoxi’s aura was a maelstrom of emotions, and his eyes half-closed in shame.
Maylene, in her outburst, had forgotten that scolding Teoxi always made it worse. I shouldn’t have yelled at him like that. Having this bond between us aura users, it’s hard for both of us.
Her voice now softened, Maylene continued, “listen, we’ll make it, don’t worry… How’re your legs doing?”
Teoxi remained silent for a moment. < They tingle the way they do right before they cramp. I’ll keep for now. > A moment later his huffing and puffing grew louder.
Damn it, his legs are about to cramp.
“Ok, Teoxi, lets deal with them. Back to back. Let’s get ready to beat in their asses.”
<No. I won’t risk it,> said the pokémon through gritting teeth.
Maylene felt a new surge of energy coursing through the lucario’s body. Teoxi swept Maylene up in his arms and recklessly sprinted towards the town, nearly dropping her before balancing his new top-heavy load.
“Wha--!” Maylene’s long pink hair waved in the air behind them. She opened her mouth to retort but decided to save her energy.
He´s afraid, thought Maylene. She could sense it now, the lucario´s aura was raw. She wanted to comfort him, but couldn’t think of what to say. Hopefully we won't need to fight. She shifted her position so the lucario's chest spike wouldn't drill into her side with each bouncing footfall.
The town sped towards them at a break-neck speed. Maylene smiled. We're going to make it. Just as the fleeing pair reached the road side they both stopped and looked uphill. The lucario had stopped and were arguing amongst themselves.
The pair looked up tensely, hoping they would flee. The group of lucario turned and slowly retreated back up the mountain. Maylene and Teoxi could feel the retreating pokémon seething, their aura blazed unchecked.
Relief came to Maylene so fast, she laughed out loud. The sound startled Teoxi. Annoyed, he kept his gaze on the shrinking group of lucario. She slapped his back in loud satisfaction.
<It’s not funny.>
“What’s wrong? Aren’t you glad th--”
<I have just left my tribe, my parents, and my duty. I have deviated from my path, to be with you. To be your partner. I’m pathless, and the gods will turn their gaze from me. Just… promise me it will be worth It.> Teoxi’s fur was bristled, and his gaze intense.
Maylene laid her hand on her pokémon’s shoulder. “Teoxi… I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you.”
Teoxi clutched her hand in his and squeezed. She gasped in pain and surprise.
<Promise me. Do it,> he marqueed fiercely.
“You’re hurting me, Teoxi.”
At that, the lucario released her hand with a far off stare. <I’m sorry, I just don’t know what I’m doing, nor what I should feel. I want to laugh like you, but it’s hard when I feel so guilty. Yet the thought of laughing seems so wrong it angers me.> Teoxi held his head with both hands.
Maylene knew exactly what he needed but was too ashamed to ask. She reached out and pulled him to her chest. Instantly she could feel his warm tears through the fabric of her training suit. Teoxi shuddered as he sobbed silently against his partner.
He’s mourning the life he’s left behind, she realized.
“I’ve got you, I’m here. You’re not alone. You did what you thought was right, don’t question it now, Teoxi. Everything is going to be perfect, remember? Just like we planned. I’m sure the tribe elders will forgive desertion, let’s just give it some time.”
<Don’t call it that,> he marqueed miserably.
A while later, when the lucario had calmed, he turned away as he wiped straggling tears away. Maylene knew crying publicly embarrassed him to no end, but she was glad he got it out of his system.
Teoxi managed a weak smile and marquee, <I’m going to cramp now.> He let himself drop on the ground and writhe in pain as he waited for the spasm to end. Maylene waited beside him, marveling at his pain-affected aura bubbling furiously. When it was over, Teoxi laid on his back and looked up at his partner.
Teoxi tried to rise to his feet, but only managed to get on his knees. His face was haggard, emotional and physical exhaustion clung to his eye-lids.
“Better?” asked Maylene.
The pokémon managed a weak smile. <Yes. Except I’m too tired to move. I must have damaged my legs.>
Maylene walked over to her pokémon, smiled warmly and lifted the lucario by the underarms. Rigid toned muscles worked under her skin, as she brought him to face level.
<What are y-->
She ducked, grabbed a leg and heaved the lucario over her shoulders, making sure his chest spike cleared. She held the leg and an arm over her front, while the other leg dangled to the side. When she was satisfied with the fireman's carry, she slowly continued into town.
<Wait. Wait! I'm still cramping!> he said, alarmed.
“No you're not. You're just afraid of looking like a dork.”
With the threat of additional cramps, struggling wasn't an option for him and she knew it. Maylene felt his leg throb painfully under her hand.
She sighed. “I wish I had a ball to put you in, it’s more comfortable I hear.”
<Yes, so you wouldn't need to carry me like fresh game. I'm glad you also feel like a fool,> he replied, a scowl cemented on his brow.
“I don't feel like that at all. ‘Fresh game’ might be appropriate though; I’ve come back to civilization with my catch.” She laughed loudly now at the edge of town. “Now quit complaining or I'll pinch your ***-cheek.”
Teoxi gasped lightly. <You wouldn't dare.>
With a playful grin she slid her hand up his leg.
<Fine! Do what you want!>
Teoxi never received much respect from his fellow lucario. Mostly due to his leg’s unfortunate habit of cramping at the worst possible moment. It kept him from being a sentinel lookout, and was shamefully placed as a riolu instructor. Teoxi couldn’t believe teaching was a respectable profession to humans. For him, and his tribe, it was the position of the weak, fit only to show newborns the basics of self-defense. She was sure he wanted a fresh start, one where he would earn respect.
His cramping didn’t slow him down none this time. He did well, and I’m proud.
Teoxi sighed heavily and leaned his head against her shoulder. She thought it was amusing how easy Teoxi's aura betrayed him, as if almost on purpose. She couldn't see his face, but his aura, oozed warmth; it enveloped her. It felt nice.
“We're going to eat; Oh god, breakfast sausages, you're going to love breakfast sausages I just know it. But before that I'm going to get you healed then I'm going to introduce you to my good friends Mr. Soap and Mrs. Shampoo.”
<Friends, now? I'm not sure I'm ready to meet 'friends' right now, Itzel. I'm too tired, and thirsty.>
“Believe me,” she said as she took a confirmatory sniff, “you're ready.” After a moment she added, “And I've told you before, I'm NOT Itzel. You know my name is Maylene.”
The sun, now up, quickly warmed the air. To her side, Teoxi's tail bobbed stiffly with her footfalls. With the adrenaline quickly diluting, the pain from her broken toes intensified. Maylene made her way across the road into town, a grimaced smile pulling her lips.