Welcome all ye, to a random little side-project I cooked up in my attempts to overcome some difficulties I've been experiencing during my attempts to continue my main fic. And I felt like posting it, so...here goes.
What we have here is something that will most likely become a series of (short) one-shots. There's really nothing else I can say...honestly, this fic can probably speak for itself. Now, without further ado, let's dive in.
Break It Down
It was just another day for Professor Aurea Juniper.
As the lab coat-wearing brunette paged through a book of her findings, she could not help but reflect on her position as a Pokemon Professor and what it meant to her. Every day, she dedicated herself to the purpose of research, specifically the origin of the mystical creatures known as Pokemon. At the same time, however, she was in charge of greeting young men and women who wished to receive a partner Pokemon with which to begin a journey.
She leaned back with a sigh. The world in which she lived had dedicated itself towards competitions in which Pokemon trainers—those who befriended and battled alongside their Pokemon—took advantage of each individual Pokemon’s unique skills and powers in a championship to determine the ultimate trainer. Professor Juniper’s work made her realize just how much of a keystone Pokemon were, as if they had never existed, such a thing would also have never existed. And neither would the work she loved so much.
A quick tap at her door indicated a visitor. Juniper smiled, assuming it to be yet another aspiring trainer who sought a starting Pokemon. Knowing that her assistant, Bianca, was currently out in the field, Juniper stood up and opened the door herself.
No one was there.
“Er…hello?” Juniper blinked. Someone had to be there, and they could not have simply vanished. There had to be a logical explanation.
Then she heard faint music.
She looked around, following her ears as she tried to track down the source of the music. The source quickly became visible: a young man of about thirteen leaning on the lab’s wall, nodding his head in time with the electronic rhythms that leaked from his rather large silver headphones. With a tiny red-and-white music player in hand, he continued nodding to the music, allowing his orange hair to fall over his eyes in the process.
“Uh, excuse me,” Juniper coughed. The boy seemed to not hear her, likely due to the music pumping into his ears. “Excuse me!”
“Huh?” the boy grunted, putting his music on pause and lifting a speaker off one ear. “Oh, ‘sup. You Prof Juniper?”
“Er…yes, that’s right,” Juniper blinked. “And who might you be?”
“Name’s DJ,” the young man shrugged. “You give out starters, right? To people who want to do the whole training thing?”
“That’s right,” Juniper nodded. “Are you here for one?”
“If that’s how this training gets rolling, sure,” DJ shrugged.
“Well, uh…come on in, then,” Juniper said, giving a polite smile despite her being caught off-guard by DJ’s unusual response. “I’ll give you a look at the Pokemon.”
DJ adjusted his brown hoodie as he followed the Professor inside, his baggy jeans swishing slightly as he walked. Juniper fiddled with a briefcase for a moment before she pulled out three red-and-white spheres, holding one up above her desk.
“Okay, ready? Here’s the first starter,” Juniper said, the sphere in her hand splitting in half and releasing a flood of white light. The light flowed onto the desk, where it took the shape of an orange-and-black pig with a red orb on its black corkscrew tail. “This is Tepig. It’s a Fire-type Pokemon, and gains an additional Fighting-type as it evolves.”
“Mm-hmm,” DJ grunted, as if responding to knowledge that he had already heard. He was about to click the ‘play’ button on his music player when Tepig, catching sight of someone who could potentially be his new trainer, blew a wisp of flame out of its nostrils. DJ’s jaw dropped when he saw this. “Whoa, hang on. Tepig? Do that again.”
“Tep?” Tepig blinked. It then took a deep breath, and released another wisp of flame. “Teehhh-PIIIG!”
“…it shoots FIRE…out of its NOSE,” DJ said slowly. “You know what? I don’t care what else you have. I want this guy, because he shoots FIRE out of his NOSE.”
“Are you sure?” Juniper asked. “There’s still the Water-type and Grass-type to look at…”
“Can they shoot FIRE out of their NOSES?” DJ asked. “Yeah, thought not. Totally taking this guy.”
“Well…okay, if that’s what you want,” Juniper said slowly, a red beam firing from the sphere in her hand and, as it transformed Tepig itself into energy, withdrew the Fire-type inside it. “In this Pokeball is your new starter Pokemon.”
“Sweeeeeet,” DJ grinned, taking the offered Pokeball. “Thanks a ton, Prof!”
“You’re welcome,” Juniper nodded, trying not to show her befuddlement at his odd behavior. “And, one last thing before you go…”
She handed DJ a small black device that vaguely resembled a cellular phone. The young man looked at it oddly, randomly fiddling with the device until a part of it slid upward and began displaying various bits of information. DJ seemed to briefly skim the information before sliding the device back into its original shape with an indifferent shrug.
“What you have in your hand there is a Pokedex,” Juniper explained. “It’s an invaluable tool for any trainer. If there’s a Pokemon you’ve never seen before, you can scan it in your Pokedex and it will tell just what you need to know.”
“Cool,” DJ said rather flatly, stuffing the Pokedex into his pocket. “Listen, thanks for the gear and all, but I gotta bounce. Got spots to be, y’know? Ciao.”
And with that, DJ turned and left the lab, Tepig’s Pokeball on his belt and a Pokedex in his pocket. Juniper blinked for a moment, scratching her head.
“…what in the world does ‘gotta bounce’ mean?” she asked of no one in particular.
Unlike most new trainers, DJ did not begin his journey with a walk to the nearest town. With his music pumping into his ears, he danced along the path out of town, bewildered eyes of people following him as he went. His feet hopped and shuffled along the path, carrying his bouncing body along without a care in the world.
“Brain wave, main wave, psycho got a high kick! Collect, select, show me your best set!” DJ sang as he danced along. “Crystal blisters, it’s all over now! Psycho keen, you’re so keen, I need more candy canes!”
His continued movements, however, were beginning to jostle the lone Pokeball on his belt. Eventually, the ball burst open and released Tepig in a flash of light. The pig stumbled for a moment, clearly disoriented, before giving its head a shake and turning to its trainer.
“Tep!” Tepig cried. “Tep, tepig!”
“Huh?” DJ blinked, fiddling with his music player and pausing his music. “How’d you get out, little guy? Need something?”
“Tehh pig, tehh pig, tepig pig teh tepig!” Tepig cried, waddling about in what seemed to be a poor imitation of DJ’s dance. It stopped for a moment and looked at him with an inquisitive gaze.
“Wait…you tellin’ me that you want to know what the deal is with my dancing? That it?” DJ asked.
“Teh-pig!” the Fire-type nodded.
“Okay, let’s see…you know what, why are we stopping?” DJ asked. “How ‘bout we just walk our way up, ‘kay?”
Tepig nodded, and the two set off at a much calmer pace.
“So, I’m gonna guess that all the moving I was doing knocked you out of your ball, right?” DJ asked.
“Tep?” Tepig blinked, looking at its trainer in surprise.
“What?” DJ snorted. “Just ‘cause I got my tunes in my ears all the time doesn’t mean I don’t know what’s going on around me. Trust me, I’m not that much of a loser. Anyway…you wanted to know why I do my whole dancing thing, right?”
“Okay, here’s the deal,” DJ began. “The dancing is part of me, y’know? Like…uh…hang on, I need to check something.”
He stopped to rummage in his pocket for a moment, pulling out his Pokedex. He fiddled with it for a moment, eventually pointing it at Tepig.
“Tepig,” the Pokedex said in what seemed to be a computerized man’s voice,” the Fire Pig Pokemon. Type is Fire. It can deftly dodge its foes attacks while shooting fireballs from its nose. It loves to eat roasted berries, but sometimes it gets too excited and burns them to a crisp. When it catches a cold, the fire from its nose becomes pitch black smoke instead.”
“Sweet,” DJ said, leaning on a tree. “Okay, like I was saying before, my music and my dancing are a part of me. Your whole thing about roasting berries and shooting fire from your nose is part of you, get what I’m saying? Heck, the things we do are just as much a part of us as bark on this tree here.”
To illustrate, he casually knocked on the tree with his hand. This, however, had an unintended side-effect: a small grey bird-like Pokemon fell out of the tree and landed hard on DJ’s head. The force from the blow was enough to make him drop his Pokedex. The device fell into the grass, where a dark purple cat-like Pokemon promptly snatched it.
“Aw, crap, no!” DJ cried, lunging for the Dex. Unfortunately, he failed to retrieve it due to the cat Pokemon vanishing into the bushes. “S-son of a…nrrgh.”
DJ’s demeanor suddenly changed. His breathing became ragged and heavy, and his fists clenched so hard that his knuckles turned white. He ground his teeth viciously, sweat pouring from his forehead.
“Tehhh…?” Tepig ventured, taking a single step toward its trainer.
And then the powder keg exploded.
DJ suddenly grabbed the nearest branch and snapped it off with one swift movement. With the branch in hand, he began swinging it about wildly, slamming it into the ground, rocks, trees, and whatever else was in range. Tepig shrank back in terror as DJ began grunting and roaring like an injured animal, attacking everything in range. The Pidove that landed on DJ’s head scrambled to its feet and took flight in a panic
DJ continued thrashing about until, exhausted by his maddened fit, he dropped the branch and collapsed against a tree. His breathing still heavy, he hit the “play” button on his PokePod and released his music into his ears. As he increased the volume, his breathing slowly returned to normal. He closed his eyes for a moment, allowing the music to seep into his being, before eventually taking a deep breath and hitting “pause” again.
“Okay…okay, it’s over,” DJ sighed. “Don’t worry, I’m done.”
Tepig, having taken cover behind a rock by this point, cautiously treaded back out into the open.
“Tep…pig?” the Fire-type said slowly.
“Guess you’re, uh…gonna want to know what that was all about, huh?” DJ sighed. “All right…I was gonna get to this later, but…here goes.”
He took another sigh before he continued.
“See…here’s the deal,” DJ began. “My full name’s Dennis James Walker, but I really prefer ‘DJ’, since that sounds halfway cooler. I’m from…actually, I’m not sure where I can say I’m from. Because of my…well, what you saw earlier…my family kinda moved around a lot. We kept going to doctor after doctor, tried med after med, but nothing really ‘worked’ for sure. When I get put under stress…well, you saw what happens. So I didn’t really go out much, otherwise I might have a public breakdown. And that would’ve really sucked.”
“Tepig,” nodded his starter.
“So…eventually, we settled for a while in Striaton City,” DJ continued. “My folks signed me up for this trainer school, told me that even though I couldn’t have an actual journey, I could still have the Pokemon training experience. Except there was one problem: I already knew everything that they could teach me there.”
“Teh-pig?” blinked the Fire Pig Pokemon.
“Well, come on, what did you expect?” DJ snorted. “If I was stuck inside my house forever, all I could do was read and watch Pokemon stuff on TV. And, you know…everything I learned back then still sticks with me. Here’s what my folks never knew: I’m a little something called a prodigy.”
Tepig tilted its head to one side, trying to understand what that meant.
“Okay, how do I explain it?” DJ asked himself as he thought on that subject. “It’s like this: my brain holds more info than most people’s brains do, okay? All I have to do is read, and I know all about all sorts of stuff: type matchups, attacks, abilities, items…that sort of stuff. So…when I went to the trainer’s school, I already knew the stuff they were trying to teach. I mean, come on, I even fixed the teachers’ mistakes a couple of times! But…that turned out to be a bad idea.”
DJ sighed. This next part of his tale was going to be difficult to say.
“I…didn’t make a lot of friends…if any at all,” he said sadly. “The other students thought I was a snob because I knew so much…the teachers thought I was trying to do their jobs for them…and all I wanted was to share what I knew with people. So…days went by, and little by little, people stopped wanting anything to do with me. I started getting detentions if I so much as raised my hand in class. After a while, I just couldn’t take it, so…I dropped out. Of course, my folks didn’t take it so well.”
“Piiiggg,” Tepig moaned sadly, an expression of utmost sympathy on its face.
“They didn’t know that I was such a brainiac,” DJ sighed, “but even then…I was just a sick kid to them. So, they started yelling when they found out I’d dropped out, and naturally…my stress went through the roof. And you know what happens when I get stressed.”
“Tep,” Tepig nodded, but looked upon its trainer with concern.
“I didn’t hurt them or anything,” DJ sighed, “it’s just…they normally wouldn’t have put me in a stressful situation like that. Guess they were just too mad at me to remember…which probably made it harder for them to take it when I went berserk. Smashed up about half the stuff in the house…and then I just left. If that was how it was going to be, I didn’t see any reason to stay there. Never went back since.”
Tepig silently listened, taking in as much as it could.
“I left home a couple of years back,” DJ said solemnly. “I drifted in and out of clubs, parties, concerts…anywhere I could hear my tunes. It’s just…I don’t know, anything along the lines of techno or hip-hop-ish music just cools me down when I go nuts. No idea why, but…it works. So I downloaded as many songs as possible onto my PokePod and decided to see what I’ve been missing about this whole ‘journey’ thing. Guess it’s over before it even started…you probably want to head back to the Professor’s by now.”
“Tepig?!” blinked the Fire Pig.
“I mean, come on, why would you want to hang around a freak like me?” DJ continued. “I flip out if I so much as miss a bus, I’m too smart for my own good…and I lost my Pokedex on my first day as a real trainer. Might not be cut out for this, after all.”
And then a fire lit within Tepig’s soul.
With a determined gaze, Tepig shook its head violently. Before DJ could make any kind of response, the Fire Pig Pokemon charged headlong into the bushes that the Pokedex had been taken into. After a short moment, a startled meow was heard as jets of flame erupted out of the grass. DJ could not see into the grass, but heard many violent sounds that resembled one’s body being viciously flung into another. He made to investigate, but the dark-colored cat that stole his Pokedex rocketed out into the open with scorch marks covering its heavily-injured body.
“Wha…?” DJ’s jaw dropped.
“Teh-PIG!” declared the Fire-type as it triumphantly emerged from the bushes, with none other than DJ’s Pokedex placed upon its back.
“Whoa, whoa, back up,” DJ said. “You…seriously did that for me? Even after learning about my…issues?”
“Tep!” Tepig nodded. A stunned DJ stared for a moment…
…and then his lips cracked into a smile.
“Heh, you know something?” he laughed, kneeling down and rubbing Tepig’s head. “You are one serious bro! I mean it, man, you’re just awesome!”
Tepig could only chuckle at the affectionate gesture it received, allowing DJ to take back the Pokedex once he was done petting his starter. He looked back at the barely-conscious feline thief, however, and went over to it.
“Hey, what about this Purrloin?” DJ asked, kneeling down to the feline. “Pretty sure we can’t just leave it here, all burnt up like this.”
“Pig,” Tepig snorted, a small jet of fire bursting from its nose and indicating its disgust at the idea of helping the Purrloin.
“Whoa, slow down, bro,” DJ said. “I don’t think Purrloin’s gonna be messing with us after the lesson you just taught it. C’mon, let’s take it to the nearest Pokemon Center. Then you and I are gonna beat all the Gyms in the world.”
“Tep?” Tepig blinked.
“Hey, we’re a team now, right?” DJ smirked. “Two bros lookin’ out for each other and whoever else we pick up along the way…we’re gonna show what the world what a freaky kid and an epic pig can do.”
“Tehh-pig!” Tepig nodded, an enthusiastic flame bursting from its nostrils.
“So, man, I gotta ask you something,” DJ said as the two began their trek to the nearest Pokemon Center, the fainted Purrloin in the young trainer’s arms. “You seen Elesa, the Gym Leader from Nimbasa City? She is seriously friggin’ hot, man! And those legs, bro…those hot legs.”
“Tehhhh,” Tepig shook its head in exasperation.
“Hey, come on, bro, I’m just messin’ with ya,” DJ laughed. “I don’t have half a chance with her, anyway. She’s a model, and I’m…well, you get the idea, right? Besides, people aren’t really my thing after the whole ‘trainer school’ fiasco. I’ll take music over those snobs any day.”
Trainer and Pokemon continued on to the next town, whatever it may be. Although neither could anticipate what the future would bring, both knew one thing: a great bond had been forged today. Like steel, this bond—once forged—will last through all trials...
…no matter how challenging they may be.