A/N: (Updated/Rewritten 3/22) So, a few things to point out before you read... Most importantly, the majority of this fic follows R/S/E and not OR/AS, though I do include a lot of references to them later (this is because I started writing a good portion around November of 2013 before the remakes were even announced orz).
Two, this is an adaptation/slight AU so there are some changes. I've tried to flesh out Team Aqua/Magma more as a villain team under the cover of an activist group, and May, Brendan, and Wally are all slightly older (May/Brendan I wrote as late teens-ish, Wally slightly younger), and Hoenn is more like the anime as far as size (larger and takes longer to traverse). Since this follows R/S (not like it makes that big a difference) it was written with the old designs in mind, and characters like Lisia don't show up. If it means anything now, there's implied daiharu, too.
Anyway, Pokemon obviously belongs to Gamefreak/Nintendo/Masuda/Tajiri, etc., not me.
Chapter 1 – Arrival at Littleroot, "A Town That Can't be Shaded Any Hue!"
Hoenn. A tropical island, located some great distance south of Johto and Kanto. Despite its recent invasion by tourists, the region retained much of its rich culture and tradition, from exotic cuisines to beautiful natural scenery to a noticeably lazy accent. All kinds of bizarre legends apparently existed there, too, and of course, the Pokemon living in Hoenn were nothing like anything I'd seen before. I had to prepare for the worst. Typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, unbearable heat, sandstorms, falling meteors, you name it – apparently those kinds of things occurred in Hoenn. I sighed – a Pokemon journey would have been much easier in a place like Johto. No jungles, no crazy beaches, no traversing the ocean to get three badges. Was it three? I started counting off on my fingers, despite not being able to see more than a yard ahead of me in the darkness. Sootopolis, Mossdeep… Mauville… Verdanturf?... Oldale – and Littleroot. Littleroot was the town I was headed to. My father told me it was a little bit like New Bark Town, but more humid and less developed.
I sighed and leaned my head back against a box. I wanted to be anywhere but here, right now. A mix of nervous tension and excitement was swirling within my chest. Not only was it a new house I was moving to, but there'd be new people, Pokemon, a totally different culture I knew nothing about... And worst of all, I remembered, gritting my teeth, there wasn't a single promise of me being able to get a Pokemon of my own any time soon. Thanks, Dad... As if I wasn't already unhappy enough home in Johto...
I had just begun to doze when the large truck started to break, rousing a low squealing from the wheel directly below me. With a yelp, I flew forwards into what felt like the sofa with a crash.
"Urgh…" I groaned, rolling back over onto my knees. The floor of the truck bed was cold, and the air stank of mothballs. "How much longer is this gonna taaaake…?"
After a few more turns, and what felt like the smooth ups and downs of some hills, the vehicle finally came to a complete stop. I smiled in anticipation. This must be it…!
The back door was swung open and my hands flew upwards in an attempt to shield my eyes from the sudden light. As soon as they'd adjusted, I jumped out of the truck, stretched, and took in my surroundings.
I was greeted with the sight of rolling plains of a soft green hue, speckled modestly with color here and there. The road, a small, dirt path that hardly stood out within the earthy landscape, weaved freely through the hills; there were more neighborhoods and buildings further down the slope, to the south, bathing in the midday sunlight.
So, this is Littleroot Town… It was quaint, just like my father had described it. And small. Our house – a traditional-style cottage, was tucked in with a group of similar-looking homes. It had a little porch and worn, terracotta roofing of an olive shade. The foundation sat on a grassy knoll, with vibrant, native Hoenn flowers blooming around it. They seemed to be dancing in glee at our arrival. Further back, almost like a boundary around this section of the town, was a thick wall of coniferous trees. A breeze blew by, rustling the tips of the branches and rolling across the fields. It's warm, I thought, pulling a few strands of hair behind my ear. And... pleasant. I huffed - what a change this was from the salty, cool winds of Olivine City. Everything was. The roads, the buildings, the weather. And as much as I hated to admit it, it wasn't even that bad.
"May, we're here, honey!" came a voice off to the left, snapping me out of my daze. I turned to find my mother rushing up to me, overflowing with joy, as usual. She was short, but never lacking in energy. Her face had, in the past few weeks, seemed so worn from the stresses from moving, but now the signs of that were gone. "Oh, it must be tiring riding with our things in the moving truck. I'm sorry! Anyways, isn't Littleroot nice?"
I sighed halfheartedly. "I guess." Despite everything, it didn't seem like there was much going on in the town - a bad thing, if I was going to be cooped up here from now on. At least in Johto we had the harbor and the farms. And the fishermen, and our neighbors, and my friends...
She scoffed, playfully replying, "Oh, don't give me that. Your dad picked this place out for us, so be a little grateful, alright? Anyways, let's head inside and see the house."
I lingered outside for a moment more to take in the view and then followed her through the squeaky front door, dragging my feet with each step.
The house's shanty exterior certainly didn't hide anything from you. On the inside, it was compact and humble - much different from our larger place in Olivine, where buildings were built sturdy to withstand the powerful storms. I glanced around the ground floor; most of our stuff was already unpacked, thanks to my father's Vigoroth which were currently marching around the house with more boxes. They were strange Pokemon – I'd only seen pictures of them before, pictures my father had sent me from the many trips he'd made to Hoenn while trying to become an official Gym Leader. They looked like something straight out of the jungle. Seeing them in a domestic setting like this was… bizarre. One lumbered past me holding an enormous box as if it were nothing. I raised my eyebrows.
"Well, isn't this convenient? Now we don't have to worry about carrying all the furniture!" My mom laughed, pouring herself a glass of water - the kitchen seems operational, at least, I thought skeptically, but I'm not feeling too great about this heat. I fanned myself with one hand and wondered absently if the house had air conditioning. Geez… When did I become so fussy?
My mother spoke up again. "Why don't you head upstairs and check out your room, May?"
Hesitantly, I nodded and hurried up to the second floor. Thankfully, the Vigoroth had already finished unloading boxes on the second floor.
The room itself was simple, rectangular, and, more importantly, cozy. A red rug was tossed across the wood flooring, and next to the room's only window was my bed, already all set up. The blanket wasn't spread out yet, but compared to the cold floor of the truck, it was inviting and I plopped down next to the windowsill. Warm sunlight was pouring in from the window and left a big streak across the mattress and part of my leg. Most of my stuff looks like it's here, I thought as my eyes flicked across the walls – a small television, a Gamecube, a shelf of books including journals, Pokemon guides, games, and novels, my PC, and my bed... That was it. I also noticed a map and a clock, both already posted up on my wall. It was a map of Hoenn. Of course. Dad must've put it there.
Little sparks of excitement jumped around in my chest as my thoughts turned to the region itself. Hoenn was immense. Bigger, even, than Johto, if you counted the large half of it that was all literally in the ocean. It was hard to believe living on the water was even possible – where I came from, you would have been washed away by the rainstorms and choppy, freezing-cold waves within a week. I wondered what kinds of Pokemon lived in warm water, sitting back and resting in the small patch of sunlight. Corsola? Tentacool?
"May! May, come down here, quickly!" came my mother's urgent voice through the doorway, and I straightened in alarm before racing back to the bottom of the staircase, nearly slipping over the uneven steps.
"What is it?!" I called, only to find her comfortably settled in a chair at the kitchen table, eyes trained on the television.
"Petalburg's on TV! Maybe they'll show Dad!" she told me in an excited tone, eyes shining. "Oh, where is he, where is he?"
I sighed and sauntered over to the TV, but I was too late; it had cut to commercials. My mother pouted. "Well, he was probably on earlier. He's still a pretty new Gym Leader, so he must be getting a lot of attention. Good for him!" As always, Mom is his biggest fan.
I played with the ends of my hair absently. "I guess so."
She gazed at me for a minute, trying to figure out what was on my mind to no avail, before grinning. "That's right! Our friend, Professor Birch, lives next door! You remember him, right, sweetie?"
"Um… No," I muttered. All I remembered was him being faintly mentioned in my parents' conversations over the years.
She waved it off and rested her hands on her hips. "Well, either way, you should head over there and say hi to him and his family, honey! I'm sure they'll all be happy to finally meet you formally."
"But… they don't even know who I am," I objected.
"That's the point! Birch has a son around your age, too, so why not buddy up with him?"
There was no arguing with her now, I thought, knowing that behind that cheery smile was the impatience and fury of a thousand Granbulls. I exited the new house and made my way over to the one adjacent to it.
"H-hello? This is May, daughter of Norman, the Petalburg Gym Leader…? I just moved in next door..." Fumbling over my own words, I lightly knocked on the screen door to the house next door, and, after a few seconds, pulled it open. "I'm coming in."
"Oh, hiya!" came a cheery voice from the kitchen, and a brown-haired woman with two big, friendly chestnut eyes approached me. "Norman's told us all about you! You know, I think my son is home right now – he was excited about making a new friend, so you should go see him!"
I nodded, feeling a little overwhelmed by the woman's hospitality, and headed right for the stairs, noticing in the corner of my eye a toddler in the main room playing with Pokedolls. So, he's got a little brother?
Anxiousness welled up in my gut as I made my way up the creaky staircase. After knocking on what I assumed was the door to the younger Birch's room a few times and giving the hallway a nervous glance, I sauntered inside. It was empty, and sort of a mess – what you'd expect a teenager's room to look like. There was some sort of item lying in the middle of the mess that was fairly conspicuous, and I made my way towards it. Is that… a Pokeball?
I spun around, eyes wide.
"Hey, you! Wait, who're you?!" A boy – older than the one downstairs, and around my height, wearing a weird black headband – barged into the room. He had slightly tan skin, a wide jaw, and wide, dark eyes that nearly glowed with suspicion.
"I-uh…" I stuttered, trying to explain myself. "I'm Norman's dau-"
"Oh, you're, ah… Dad's friend's kid, right? Norman's kid. You guys just moved in next door, I think." He made a questionable expression that I definitely wouldn't call 'excited about making a new friend', and ran a hand through his hair – no, now that I had a closer look, it was a hat. Like a sock. The white fabric, wool, maybe extended from the headband he wore; a few thin, unkempt strands of black hair poked out from below the headband, around his face and neck, indicating that the sock was not, in fact, his hair.
I was about to introduce myself – again – when he added, "I didn't know you were a chick. Dad – he's Professor Birch, in case you didn't know – said our new neighbor was the kid of a Gym Leader… so… I sorta thought you'd be a guy! Hahaha!"
His tone was cheery, like his mom's, and he didn't seem to mean any harm, but something about him bothered me nonetheless. Was it the attitude, or the weird-sounding dialect he spoke in? I wasn't sure. Maybe it was everything. I awkwardly laughed along.
"Well, I'm Brendan. Nice ta meet ya, neighbor!" Brendan held out his hand, grinning, and I reluctantly accepted it.
His dark eyes moved downward, and in turn, his eyebrows shot up. "Huh? Don't tell me you don't have a Pokemon yet, May!"
The somewhat good mood I'd been in was immediately crushed. "I… No, not yet, at least. I mean, I've been around plenty of Pokemon, but I haven't actually had one of my own, n-no…" I prayed he wouldn't ask why – I wasn't in the mood for talking about how overprotective Dad was to some kid whose father clearly let him romp freely.
Brendan kept that cheeky smile on his face, saying, "Well, I can catch ya one, if you want!" I was about to turn him down, as politely as I could – Dad would surely have the boy's head on a pike if he found out – when suddenly he exclaimed, "Oh, dang it, hold up, I forgot my dad asked me to go help him catch some wild Pokemon earlier." Before I knew it, he was running out the door and down the stairs. "Some other time, 'kay?"
And then Brendan Birch was gone, leaving me with many unspoken words and a sour taste in my mouth. It's almost like that guy was bragging about being a better trainer than me, I thought, that proud grin of his flashing in my mind. No.. I'm probably just imagining it.
"H-hey, miss! Miss trainer!" I paused on the pathway back to my house and looked around. "Excuse me!" The source of the voice was a very young girl in a yellow sundress. She was standing near a footpath that I assumed lead out of the town, as there were no more buildings in the distance, waving her arms and shouting. "Hey!"
I jogged over. "Umm… Can I help you?"
She pointed further down the path, face crinkled up in urgency. "There's some scary Pokemon over there! Can't you hear them?"
Sure enough, I could make out three dark, four-legged creatures about fifty yards out, circling around a tree. And the snarls – they were horrible! It was like that of a Growlithe or Arcanine, but much more feral. I shivered and then looked back over to the girl.
"I-I wanna go see what's wrong, but I'm not a trainer and I don't have Pokemon. Could you go check it out for me, miss?" the girl asked, voiced full of worry. I smiled gingerly and decided not to let her know she was mistaken.
However, only a few steps onto the path, I was regretting my decision. Sure, I was older than the little girl and had play-fought with Pokemon before, but I wasn't actually a trainer and I certainly couldn't fight three rabid canine Pokemon on my own. The sun beat down on my head, and the sound of growling picked up. I didn't recognize the Pokemon at all, of course – they must've been native to Hoenn. I had no idea whether they'd run away if I tried to stand my ground, or attack.
"H-hey! H-help meee~!" came a pitiful cry from the tree the Pokemon were posted around. I gulped and searched the landscape, then realized that there was a person – a man around my father's age, I would say, wearing a dirty, white lab coat – clinging to a branch like a frightened Meowth.
"Oh, y-you! Over there! Please, help me out here!" he shouted, glancing down at the hostile Pokemon every few seconds with two big round eyes. "Eek!"
I took a step forward. One of the Pokemon lowered its head at me and growled, shaking with agitation and lashing its tail back and forth. Yikes! ...But, I can't just run away... I've gotta help, somehow...
The man seemed to notice that I didn't have any Pokemon, and hollered, "M-my bag! There's some Pokeballs in there! Hurry!"
Frantically, I looked around. A few feet away, there was a canvas satchel lying in the tall grass – was that it? I slowly moved towards the objects so as to not agitate the Pokemon further, which were watching my every move with hostile, yellow eyes and bared teeth coated in slobber.
Holding my breath, I reached for the bag…
And they dashed forwards. "'Chyaaa!"
"Quick! Send one out, hurry!" Squeaked the man, nearly falling from the tree he was straddling.
Panicking, I fumbled around in the bag, all sorts of papers and equipment dropping to the ground, and grabbed one of the three visible Pokeballs. The feeling of the object in the palm of my hand sparked a strange emotion in my chest. Alright, May, y-you're doing good, now just...! Facing the snarling Pokemon, I awkwardly tossed the Pokeball forwards. It clicked open, and bounced to the dirt with a thud. The wild Pokemon paused, momentarily blinded by the Pokeball's light, and then, standing between us was some sort of… chicken.
I-it doesn't look very strong! I immediately thought, sweating.
A few seconds passed, feeling like hours. I became aware of the situation I was in. A real Pokemon battle, not one staged by Dad, not one broadcasted on the television... It was happening. A rush of adrenaline hit me so hard I nearly swooned, and, taking in a breath of the hot summer air, I called out, "Attack! Use Scratch!" – assuming the Pokemon even had that ability – the only semi-dangerous part of it seemed to be its talons, two tiny twigs that stuck out from its plump, feathery body.
The Pokemon, much to my surprise, responded, running towards the wolf-Pokemon and raking its claws across its snout. It wasn't over yet, though; suddenly the wild Pokemon's jaws were tightened around the orange one's body. I gasped. Think, May. It doesn't have the looks to know Leer, but maybe…
"Use… Growl?" I shouted with less confidence than before. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the man in the tree scratch his head and then shrug. To my surprise, the chicken Pokemon let out a cry. It wasn't exactly threatening (heck, it was cute, almost) but it still worked; the wild Pokemon released mine from its jaws and jumped backwards, shaking out its fur. "Now, Scratch again, before it recovers…!"
The Pokemon again acted quickly, scratching its foe twice and rolling back onto its feet. Its attacks were clumsy and weak – nothing like anything I'd seen on TV – but they worked nonetheless. And the chick... wow! Some pep that thing had. There was a cry of pain from the gray Pokemon, and then it hesitated, cast a look at its two companions, and fled into the underbrush. The remaining two gave each other a nervous look, lashing their fluffy tails back and forth, and then did the same.
The little orange chicken let out a wicked battlecry and started bouncing around in the grass.
I blinked, eyes trained on the spot where the wild Pokemon had disappeared. Did… did I just…?
"Aha, nice job! You won," came the man's voice again, sounding much less wimpy. He climbed down from the branch – what a scene that was, as it was a pretty tall tree – and walked back over retrieve his bag like nothing had happened. "Whew… I'd been studying some of the Pokemon on this route when those three came out of nowhere! Scared the daylights out of me, heheh…" he rubbed the back of his neck, looking embarrassed. He should be, I thought, what with not fighting back at all when he had three Pokemon on hand… "Ahaha, well, thanks a bunch for saving me- wait, you're…"
I looked again at the disaster of a lab coat he was wearing, and I realized this must be Professor Birch.
"You're Norman's daughter – err, May! Of course!" he gathered the rest of his disheveled belongings and then knelt down and made some weird noise while looking at the orange chicken. It glanced back in our direction and then hopped over into his arms. "I'm Professor Birch, Norman's friend! Welcome! Oh! Let's do the whole formal introduction thing later, back at my lab. My wife's probably going to kill me if I'm late for dinner."
Slowly, I gave him a nod. "Um, okay. And it was no problem."
We said our goodbyes and he hurried off, limping as he ran. Dad has some weird friends. I glanced at the sky; it was getting fairly late, now, and the sun was beginning its retreat into the west. I should head back too, I guess. Out of curiosity, I gazed further down the pathway, into the darkening landscape of trees and ferns. There was a pang in my chest of a million different emotions. It was like I was being called into the heart of Hoenn, exotic, ever-changing, weird Hoenn, and this path right here was where the journey started. Dad said he'd let me get a Pokemon and become a trainer, eventually... Maybe now that we're moved, he'll have a change of heart, and decide it's finally time... Just a little while longer, now, I thought with renewed excitement. Not being familiar with the region at all – especially the Pokemon – was obviously a downside, but I wouldn't let that keep me from my Pokemon journey. Not even Dad would, if he randomly decided to change his mind and keep me home. That rush I felt while battling those wild Pokemon… I'll definitely become a trainer...!
?, Hoenn Region
"Reporting in, sir." It was a young woman's voice, loud and confident, but at the same time level - she must have been a rowdy person, when not around her superiors.
There was a grumble from the other side of the room. "...And the others?"
As if on cue, there was a click behind the two, and the door swung open. "Reporting in, sir!" "Reporting in, sir."
There was a moment of awkward silence, followed by the shifting of the three subordinates.
One of the males finally broke the silence: "Sir, I checked out a number of museums across the region. The Oceanic Museum in Slateport seems like an ideal place to begin. Vehicles pertaining to deep-sea transportation are all planned and built there... Though, it is in the heart of the city, which could be problematic..." It was a thin wisp of a voice, yet held a certain maliciousness behind it that would answer any questions one might have about how someone of his physique would make the rank of Admin.
The other male continued as soon as the first stopped. His voice was gruffer, deeper, and held weight behind it. "An' I checked back up near Fallarbor - sure 'nough, there is a scientist there working on a meteorite of some sort."
"And from what I've read, he's made progress with it recently. It seems like something worth checking out, sir." The girl was sure of herself. She knew she was of use to her boss, and she was proud of that fact. "My intel team has informed me that the Weather Institute has information that's... more than just research on Hoenn's weather patterns. Relating to Pokemon."
"What's next, sir?" came the ruffian's voice again.
The silence returned, and for a moment the only sound was the distant crashing of waves. Then his voice reemerged, emanating a sense of both control and confidence that brought life to the hearts of his dedicated subordinates. "Good. We're getting closer."
A chair wheeled around, and the three stiffened as the eyes of their superior met their own. He let out a satisfied puff of air through his teeth as he grinned. "Soon, we'll have our way. Kyogre... will soon be within our grasp."
A/N: I hope May doesn't seem too snobby here or anything. It's hard writing a silent protagonist into a character, and especially in first person! I'm trying to integrate in anime-May's character with Sapphire's (the manga) trait of being tough/tomboyish, along with Norman's hardcore personality, while keeping the same cool/quiet feeling of a Pokemon protagonist like Red.
Thanks for reading!