*SPRINTS LIKE HELL INTO THE ROOM*

HI...HELLO...I SURVIVED MIDTERMS...AND FINALS...AND MY OWN OVERTHINKING...OK I'M HERE LET'S GO


"Already?"

I nodded. "Last time, Galactic bombed Pastoria around Monday. I need to be there a little earlier to be safe. I'm sorry I can't stay."

"That's all right," said Megan. "Thanks for coming home."

Something in me softened, and then reflexively tightened. "Yeah, of course."

Megan and Thomas looked at each other. "It was nice meeting you," Megan said to him.

"You too," said Thomas. "I was wondering, could I get your number?"

I blinked. "Could you what?"

"Not like that! Not like… You know, just in case something happens. Emergency contact," he explained.

Megan laughed. "Sure."

"Hmph," I said grumpily. "I see you trust me a lot."

"Just in case," Thomas said, letting Megan type a number into his poketch. "I'll message you so you'll have mine too."

"Thank you for watching out for her," Megan said seriously.

"It's no problem," Thomas replied, equally seriously.

"All right, all right. Come on, chaperone, let's go. I need constant supervision at all times."

Megan laughed. "See you later!"

"See ya," I said, waving and turning away.

It had been an interesting morning. I woke up and couldn't get out of bed until ten, which was unusual for me. I figured it was because I'd been out late.

Thomas had recovered significantly from the night before, although I wasn't sure how to approach that subject. "So… where are you off to next?" he eventually asked.

"I'm going back to Pastoria. Need to get the badge still."

"Ah. Right."

He didn't say anything else. I remembered that he didn't know where to go from here.

"Want to come with me?"

Thomas considered it briefly before saying, "Yeah."

The other interesting thing that happened that morning was that Looker wanted to meet up with us both. I suggested Pastoria. I could teleport there, but Looker was coming to give Thomas a natu.

Looker appeared near Megan's house. He waved and walked over. "Hello, Evelyn. Thomas."

"Hello," Thomas said. They'd met a few times before – once in Jubilife, once in… also Jubilife.

"Let's go," I said, letting Def out of his pokeball.

"Wait a minute," Looker said, frowning. "We're all here already…"

"Def, go, go, go–"

Def and I teleported to the Pastoria City Pokemon Center. Looker and Thomas appeared a few seconds later, Looker looking half bemused, half annoyed.

"Evelyn…" he said.

"Wow, how convenient that we're meeting in Pastoria," I said.

"Evelyn, it's strictly against IP policy–"

"Look, it was either this or I wait for Thomas to fly back again," I said. "That or I ask Def to teleport cross-region a total of four times, and he takes several hours to recover from each trip. The IP doesn't need to know."

Looker shook his head. "I'll let it slide this time. Don't get used to it."

It was a casual meeting. The purpose was effectively to bring Thomas up to speed on what we'd learned from Cynthia about Lake Trio soulmates. We also had to explain a bit of basic Sinnoh mythology to him, because he'd never learned it.

"So, hold up," Thomas said, frowning. "It sounds like I'm stuck here."

"Well, not technically."

"But I can't just leave the region that's picked me to try and save it."

"…preferably, no," Looker agreed.

"Thomas–" I began.

He shook his head. "No, it's okay. It's made the decision easier."

"It won't be forever," Looker said. "Just until things are resolved."


The rest of Saturday was devoted to training and trying not to think about Megan… Um, let's talk about training. It mostly boiled down to agility training for both Prom and Hope. Def could teleport, so I wasn't terribly concerned about him.

I'd fleshed out my plans a little more. The idea was to set Hope against Gyarados (electric double advantage), Def against Quagsire (grass double advantage), and Prom against Floatzel. I just needed Hope to dodge, since shockwave would hit no matter what and Gyarados was a heavy hitter. Prom, meanwhile, would be left against his evolved form. This could go either extremely well or extremely poorly, depending on training. Ultimately, Prom needed to be faster than the floatzel.

We trained in the marsh until five, at which point we headed back to Pastoria. Thomas was sticking around, largely because I'd been attacked last time I was in Pastoria. Thanks, chaperone.

…well, okay. I know the other reason he stuck around.

Sunday was… odd. I think Thomas was in the showers when I woke up and found myself unable to move. Or, more accurately, found myself fully awake and mobile but… still unable to move. That's not really clear. I couldn't move, and it had nothing to do with sleep paralysis. Is that better? I don't know.

I just lay in bed staring at the bunk above me, knowing I should get up but unable to do so. There was a line stuck in my head – a melody, a song lyric – but I couldn't make out the words or identify the song.

Thomas came back in. "Morning," he said.

"Morning," I mumbled.

His face came into view. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah."

"Okay."

He moved about the room, putting away his toiletries, folding the clothes he'd washed.

"Thomas?" I said a few minutes later.

"Hm?"

"I'm stuck."

"You're what?"

"I'm stuck. I can't move."

His concerned face came back into view. "Do you need a doctor?"

"I don't… think so?"

He reached out a hand. I took it, and he pulled me up. I was still unable to move, but now sitting upright.

"You seem fine," he said.

"No, yeah," I said. "I can move. I just… can't move."

Thomas looked at me for a minute, then went over to my bag. He tossed a pokeball, releasing Courage on my lap.

"Oops, I meant to let out Hope… Wait, she's too big now…"

Coeur nudged my arm. My hand moved up to her face, so she could nuzzle up against it. "Vee," she purred.

"Hey, Coeur," I said, stroking her fur.

I guess all I needed was an eevee in my lap? Because I petted her for maybe ten minutes, and when she got up to stretch, I did too.

We did some lighter training that day, since I didn't want to wear them out before the gym battle. They seemed to be in good shape anyways.


Monday, gym battle day.

It was like déjà vu, except I knew that this had happened 24 hours ago, and this time I knew the song lyric circling my head.

"Tell me, what am I fighting for?" I sang under my breath.

Like yesterday, Thomas came back in to find me staring at the top bunk. "This again? Should I let out Courage?"

"No."

A hand reached out above me. I didn't move to take it. "Come on," he said. "Gym battle today."

I'm not feeling it, I thought, closing my eyes. I'm not in the mood. I don't want to.

Eventually he took his hand back. "Well… Let me know if you need anything," he said, sounding like he didn't know what to do.

I didn't either. I didn't like this. There was a weight in my chest that came from nowhere in particular – I mean, it could have been vaguely Megan-related? Lucas-related? – that made everything in me lack the desire to move.

I drifted back to sleep. When I woke up it was two in the afternoon, and instead of feeling refreshed, I felt sweaty and gross from sleeping too much. And still I didn't want to move.

Thomas walked in half an hour later (I didn't move within this half hour). "Are you sure you're okay?"

"I dunno."

"Have you ever had depression?"

"No."

"Does depression… is it a PMS side effect?"

I turned my head to glare at him. "Why are you so focused on PMS? I've never gotten depression before, much less from PMS. And I'm not on my period."

"I get that you're proving a point, but you always say you're not on your period and it's a little fishy."

"I'm really not…"

I frowned. When was the last time I'd gotten my period?

"Arceus," I said, finally sitting up in bed. "I figured it was irregular still, but… I haven't gotten it since… February?"

Three months, but more importantly, that's before I traveled in time.

As this was sinking in, a thunderous roll of sound shook the room. "Oh no," I said, propelling myself out of bed too fast. I felt part of me remain in the bed as I dragged myself out.

"What was that?" Thomas asked.

"Close your eyes."

"Wh–"

"Look away. I need to change now," I said, yanking clean clothes from my bag.

He turned away. I shoved on a shirt and shorts. "What's happening?" he asked again.

"Galactic tested their bomb. Great Marsh. It's literally the same day as last time. We need to go."

We grabbed our pokeballs and ran. The Pokemon Center is about halfway between the gym and the marsh, so we weren't far. Thomas and I sprinted – well, I sprinted. He lost steam quickly – towards the marsh.

I skidded to a halt at the door to the visitors' center, the only way into the marsh by foot. The door burst open, and a man almost crashed into me.

"Sorry," heaved the disheveled Galactic grunt.

Then he realized who I was. He evaded my grab at him and bolted past.

"Get back here," I shouted, pursuing him.

I released Promise and Faith. He kept running, but Prom raced around in front of him, blocking his path. The grunt released a glameow and zubat.

I smirked. Easy.

I kept an eye on the grunt as we battled, in case he meant to run. But we made short work of his pokemon.

"Prom, block his route," I said quickly through Def.

Prom stationed himself between the grunt and the road to Lake Valor. Faith took the other side.

"So," I said, approaching the man. He glanced around nervously, looking for an escape. "I see you've tested the bomb. How are other things going? What other progress has Galactic made?"

"I don't… I don't know…" He looked quite frightened. I wasn't going to hurt him, but he didn't need to know that.

"Well, okay, let's be specific. The Red Chain? Tell me about your progress there."

"I don't know about the Red Chain!"

I gave him a tired look. "Look. I might just let you go if you give me something useful. Otherwise, I imagine you'll be locked up for a while."

The grunt looked around shiftily. "I don't know anything. I'm just a grunt."

"You were trusted with a mission like this, though," I said.

"Yeah, but…"

"Is there anything you do know?" I asked. "Where is Galactic creating the Red Chain? How are you capturing the Lake Trio? Do you know where the Spear Key is?"

"Spear Key?"

Fuck.

A humming sound approached from above. Looking up, I found a group of Galactic grunts on hoverscooters, headed by Mars.

"Oh," she said. "You. I would stay and fight... but our objective has already been achieved. Golbat, supersonic!"

She released a pokemon. Prom knocked the golbat out of the air before anything happened, but it was enough time for one grunt to swoop down and grab the grunt on the ground. The group zoomed off.

I groaned. So much for that.

Trying not to think about the information Galactic had gotten from me (if the grunt figured it out and told them), I called Looker. "Where are you? We've had an explosion."

"I know. I'm in the marsh. Come join us."

I wondered who "us" meant for a second, before realizing Thomas was nowhere to be found.

Prom and Faith and I headed back into the marsh. When I realized what Looker and Thomas were doing, I started to run.

"Everyone out!" I said, throwing the other four pokeballs. "Spread out and get everyone to the visitor center!"

There were a few tourists – they'd already been taken care of, since the boardwalk didn't go too far into the marsh – but more importantly, the marsh pokemon were in trouble. We spent the next few hours combing the marsh for injured, displaced, and aggravated pokemon. There weren't too many of the latter, although Prom had to subdue a croagunk before he poison-jabbed me in the stomach.

Eventually all the hurt pokemon we could find had been carted off to the Pokemon Center. Exhausted and muddy, we (Thomas, Looker, my pokemon and I) returned to the Center to clean up.

I returned to the room with three cups of hot cocoa. "Thought this was appropriate," I said, handing one to Looker. Thomas was still in the shower.

"Oh. Thanks," he said, taking a sip.

I sat on the bed across from him. "Looker?"

"Yes?"

"I… might have told Galactic something they didn't know."

"Hm?"

I told him about my failed interrogation, and about the Spear Key. Looker didn't seem fazed.

"They opened Spear Pillar last time," he said. "They must have figured it out independently of you."

"Oh. Guess so." That made me feel better. I sipped my drink.

"How goes the gym battling?" Looker asked.

I grimaced. "The plan was to battle Crasher Wake today," I said. "It… I wasn't feeling well, and then the bomb test happened…"

Looker tilted his head to the side. "You're unwell?"

"More so earlier. Yesterday too."

"Are you still?"

"A bit," I admitted. "When the bomb test happened, I just had to ignore it. It's been there all day still."

Looker nodded thoughtfully. "Something is telling me that Crasher Wake may have answers for you."

"Crasher Wake?"

"The gym leader, yes?"

"Yeah, I just… I wouldn't expect him to have answers…?"

"It might not be answers about this," he said. "Just some sort of answer. Maybe something else. I've just got the same sense about this that I had about Cynthia and her grandmother."

"Hm. All right. I'll ask him about… something."


Ayyyyy 40 chapters if you count the prologue as a chapter which I don't but fanfic dot net makes me anyways so ayyy 40 chapters I guess

Here's where I'm at rn: A Prom in Paris is super close to the end, and I'm either going to be alternating publishing or get lots of that out all at once. I've also had like five story ideas combined into one mess over the last few weeks, and I'm trying to comb through that because I really like where it could go? Idk. This isn't to say I'm losing interest in Chance. Far from it.

In case I miss the anniversary, we're at two years of Chance! Go team!