Disclaimer: I don't own Pokemon, Reese's Pieces, or Chevrolet. You're kidding yourself if you think I do.


Cole Delaney was not a particularly fit teen, he knew. Sure, he played sports with his friends and did well enough in P.E., but that hadn't prepared him for this.

He gasped for breath, his chest tight, lungs and legs burning. Foliage brushed past his face in a multi-colored blur, the thin, flexible branches whipping his face, arms, and legs. Early autumn was just setting in, but the air was still muggy and hot, and that would not aid him against his pursuers. His uniform, once the pristine white of a sacrifice, was stained with mud. His wavy brown hair was full of twigs and leaves. He wanted to stop, but the pounding footsteps behind him convinced him otherwise.

Bile worked its way up his throat, a combination of sorrow, desperation, and the prolonged sprint for life and freedom he was in now; he swallowed it back down, ignoring the sour mustiness it left in his mouth. Tears blurred his vision, but he blinked them away and kept his feet moving. He kept his eyes on the ground, counted his steps, and pushed aside the memories in his head. And eventually, to his intense relief, his body found its rhythm, and he felt like he could go forever—or at least for a lot longer than he originally thought. It helped that his legs had started to numb up.

But then life and the universe decided to kick him in the ass. This wasn't a really new occurrence—it had been doing so for the last few years—but this was the first time it had decided he needed to fall off a small cliff.

He didn't even have time to feel anything but numb shock before he hit the ground, body somehow remaining limp. He landed butt first, his head slamming against the cliff behind him. He gratefully accepted the darkness it offered.


He knew he was dreaming, because this event had happened almost a decade ago.

He was sitting at the top of the stairs, his legs pressed to his chest. He sniffled and rubbed at his eyes with one grubby hand while the other clutched his Teddiursa doll. Dimly, he remembered throwing that doll in the trash a year later, when he turned six—it was so dirty and full of holes it could almost be called a Banette—but his dream-self cuddled it anyway. He knew—remembered—it was raining outside, but he currently couldn't hear it.

Downstairs, Mommy and Daddy were screaming at each other again. Daddy had a suitcase at the bottom of the stairs, the one he took when he went on business trips with Miss Ellen. Mommy had colored her hair a few weeks ago so it was blonde like Miss Ellen's; Cole had thought it was weird, but he hadn't said anything because Mommy had gotten into the locked cabinet and he was supposed to be in bed. He hadn't wanted to be spanked again for being a bad boy. Or to make her cry, because sometimes she did that instead.

Mommy told Daddy she didn't care if he ran off with some two-faced jailbait whore, as long as she never saw him again. Well, she screamed it from the kitchen entryway. Then Daddy yelled that Miss Ellen was better than a conniving bitch like Mommy, so Mommy threw something at him. He flinched as it hit the wall at the bottom of the stairs, the candy dish now an unrecognizable mess of glass and Reese's Pieces.

"You could have killed me!" Daddy screeched.

"Good! Then the world wouldn't have to put up with a cheating bastard like you!"

That was Daddy's last straw, because he grabbed the suitcase and stomped out the door. Mommy retreated into the kitchen; Cole could hear other things breaking. He could also hear the car starting.

Cole's eyes widened. Why was Daddy leaving without saying goodbye? He rushed down the stairs out the door in time to see the car pull out of the driveway. The tires squealed as it accelerated away, partly from the driver and partly from the rain.

He ran across the yard, bare feet squelching in the mud and sliding across slick tufts of grass. He almost fell face-first into it, dropping the Teddiursa doll in a mud puddle in order to keep his balance and run faster. His feet slapped against concrete; he chased the rapidly receding form of his family's Chevy.

Even when he couldn't see it anymore he kept going, the vibrations of his feet on sidewalk making his legs feel shaky and weird. Finally he reached the far end of the street and stopped.

It was hours before he finally turned around and went back home. The rain had stopped and it was already dark; he had picked up his Teddiursa from the yard and brought it inside with him. But none of that—the late hour, the water he dripped on the floor, the muddy doll—caught his mother's attention. She was slumped over the kitchen table, one hand loosely wrapped around what his older self recognized as tequila.

It was impossible, because she was across their tiny house from him, but the smell of it hit him and made his stomach roll. He gagged, turned away, and—

—heaved, bile once more crawling up his throat as his eyes fluttered open.

"All I can see are 'is legs," a voice whined somewhere above him. "Can't see if 'e's dead or not."

Cole held his breath, fighting the urge to pant now that he had stopped moving. No telling how long he had been unconscious, but his pursuers had apparently only just gotten there. He fought to keep still, despite the desire to movemovemove! Dried sweat itched; fresh rolled across his skin to settle in the welts and cuts, making them burn. His whole body ached steadily, though not as badly as he had expected. His dirty uniform stuck to his body in the most uncomfortable places.

A rock crumbled from the cliff above and landed squarely between his legs, startling him. With adrenaline still pouring through him, it was all he could do not to curl up in a ball and cry. Then he heard an unmistakable sound that made his lip curl in disgust as something wet landed in a glob on his knee.

A different man snorted. "'e's dead a'ight. No one could keep that still."

He heard them walk away, crashing through the woods, but still he lay there. Partly to make sure they had really gone—he was afraid if they had tiptoed back to see if he had done anything—and partly because his head hurt so badly it made him want to puke.

He stayed there long enough for the moon to start rising, and for his eyes to start sliding shut. Then, despite knowing how bad an idea it was, he allowed himself to relax to the sound of singing Kricketots and Kricketunes and fell asleep.


AN: Short but hopefully worth it. This is going to be about twenty percent planned and eighty percent flying by the seat of my pants, but I'm going to try to keep this updated consistently and frequently. Feedback is always welcome, and I hope you enjoyed it :)