The night sky welcomed me with cold hands when I woke on a bridge over the Viridian River. I sat on my haunches and closed my eyes against the night sky. My vision had swum for a second and I didn't need to revisit the unconsciousness I'd just left.
Why was my head aching and my vision spinning? I opened one eye, to test myself and sighed when I felt no waves of vertigo.
It's cold, I mused silently. It was also dark, which filled me with some concern. He said he'd be here at sunset. He should be here by now. Why wasn't he? It had started to rain about a half an hour ago, but that didn't deter me from keeping a vigilant look out for Tommy.
He's my whole life. Everything that I am and everything that I do is both by and for him. He shaped me into the being that I am today. I used to be weak, picked on, but Tommy…He changed me. Changed me even more than evolution, or life, could.
A woman walked by me but took no notice of me. It didn't surprise me since I fit in well with the near pitch black protection that both the rain and the night provided.
I am, after all, an Umbreon.
So what was I doing on this bridge on this cold, dark, and rainy night? I was waiting for Tommy. He promised he'd meet me here at sunset. Said he had to get something in Pallet. What could be taking so long?
It doesn't take very long to go from Viridian to Pallet and back to Viridian. He has a very fast bike and he is a strong young man. Of course, there was that slight argument that I'd had earlier with him. It happened this morning before he left and it was over something so stupid that I don't even remember now what we fought over. Two of his other Pokemon had joined in and even though I know I was right about whatever it is I can't remember, they (Tommy included) were set to rights that they were correct and that I was wrong.
Foolish of me, perhaps.
It was nearing the middle of December and it was not consistently warm in Viridian. Especially when one is waiting on a wooden bridge over a wide river. Even when one is wearing a most sensible fur coat. Mine came complete with gold accessories.
Another set of footsteps were caught in my sensitive ears and I stood tall to see if it was him, but no, it was just a girl, maybe all of seventeen. She spared me a long look, but didn't stop. I was secretly surprised she even noticed me. Maybe my bands were glowing…
I checked quickly, but no, they weren't glowing. It's awfully embarrassing to be caught with your rings glowing. Bad enough a lot of people think we Umbreons are an evil lot. No, why not get the rings glowing to cement their fears. Might as well let the red eyes glow. They do reflect light, but it comes with the whole night vision package.
But Tommy…maybe he was waiting for me somewhere else. Maybe he'd said the pub by the bridge and not the bridge itself. Couldn't hurt to go looking.
It was easy enough for me to slip inside the pub, even though it was nearing midnight; the joint was still in full swing. The good-natured laughing, music, and dancing filtered out into the relative quiet of the night.
Not only was the pub noisy and full of humans and even a few Pokemon, but it was also smoky. Cigarette smoky and whatever else humans managed to find to smoke. I coughed once, and kept on looking out for Tommy or his distinctively bright yellow backpack. He usually placed it on the ground whenever we went inside a human eating establishment.
Winding a path through and under tables, I found no sign of Tommy or his backpack. Not even any sign of Briar the Ivysaur or Talon the Jolteon. I was longing for even a brief sighting of one of their smug muzzles.
A flash of panic flared through me. Could Tommy have…abandoned me?
No, I thought stubbornly. That's simply not possible. Not with all the training Tommy and I did. Even if he was mad enough to spit bricks, Tommy wouldn't just abandon me. He'd at least ship me off to one of his three sisters. I think Eva likes dark Pokemon.
Not finding Tommy in a pub made some sort of sense. He really only walked into one when really desperate for something to eat or drink. Even though he was of drinking age, at 20, he rarely drank anything humans termed al-ko-holic.
Fear mingled with apprehension, two very unwelcome guests, and I darted out of the pub, right under the feet of an entering human. I heard a startled, "Hey!" but ignored it and resumed walking in the rain.
My breath flared out in twin jets of white. It was really getting cold now. I spared a look towards the bridge, spotting how empty it was. No Tommy, Briar, or Talon. No bright yellow backpack. Nothing.
I couldn't believe that no one was trying to find me.
Wait a tic My vision swam. Maybe I hadn't been waiting for Tommy. The argument…The disagreement had ended with me running off and Tommy calling for me.
The truth took a second to sink in. I hadn't been abandoned; I'd abandoned him.
My eyes squeezed shut, against the truth and the cold. Harsh reality stung like the rain that was turning to sleet. I'd left Tommy. He had no reason to come looking for me.
But what to do? If I had no Trainer, then I was on my own until another took it upon himself, or herself to be p.c., to catch me. I stifled a whimper. I didn't want to be caught by another Trainer. I wanted Tommy.
Yet, for the moment I needed to set those thoughts aside. Shelter was one thing I needed to find, especially against such cold. The only Pokemon to stand against this mess would be one who would love it and –
– Misstep…I almost fell. With a sigh, I stood still and shook my head, feeling my long black ears hit on my back. I definitely needed to be more careful. To be unconscious out here would mean a lot of things that were not good.
I took a look around, to rejudge where I was. It seems I'd walked beyond the bridge and pub and was further into the city. The winds were still blowing, but not the gusting that had gone on around the bridge.
There were people here too. Some walking with others, and some alone, but none of them were Tommy. For a second, I thought I'd seen a bright yellow backpack, but it turned out to be a Pikachu on its Trainer's shoulder.
Where to go? I growled softly in frustration, unable to concentrate on the thought at paw. Focus…just focus. The one place where Trainers really gathered would be…
A Pokécenter! Of course! The idea came so swiftly, it was almost like being hit with an attack. A Trainer would go to the Pokécenter first thing. Not only did a Pokécenter provide healing for injured or sick Pokemon, but it also provided rooms to traveling Trainers.
Of course Tommy would go there. He's a smart boy.
The doors to the Viridian City Pokecenter hissed open, spilling out some of the warmth before I stepped in. I didn't dawdle in the entrance but walked up to the front desk, which was specially designed with shorter Pokemon in mind, and got the attention of the nurse on duty.
She peered down at me and said, "Oh my! Where is your Trainer?"
Naturally I began to tell her my plight, but she waved me into silence.
"Follow me," she said, getting up and leaving a Chansey in charge, "I forgot my translator in the back room."
All Nurses and Officers had translators; it was part of their job equipment. Translators were usually in the form of earrings or necklaces, and they could translate any language into the most common form used. Pokespeach into Humanspeach, or even one dialect of Humanspeach into another. Like French to English.
The translators were very handy, but still very expensive. Only those that got them for free or with a discount (like Nurses and Officers), or wealthy humans and Trainers who could afford them would have a Translator. It made life easier for Pokemon in general.
Tommy has a translator.
The nurse searched on a slightly messy desk, ruffling several papers, before finding a set of gold hoop earrings. The topaz gem gleamed in the dim light of the room. That gem was part of the Translator system.
She stared down at me kindly, the earrings swinging on her earlobes. "Okay, do you want to talk here or in the common room?"
I chose the common room and she led me back out front. Quick thinking decided that if she hadn't heard of Tommy or his other Pokemon, then maybe I'd be able to either see him or get a hold of someone who might have.
Ten minutes into my story the nurse shook her head. "Tommy Holmesby? I'm sorry, but I haven't seen your Trainer. I could check to see if he's registered for a room or if he'd dropped off his Pokemon."
Naturally I agreed to that and I followed her to the desk. I wasn't allowed behind it, but I waited patiently in front of it. I shivered as a wayward bit of melted snow trickled through my thick coat to the skin.
"Well…it looks as if he had been here earlier today," the nurse said, frowning at the screen. "But he's only got two Pokemon registered to him. Are you sure this is the right Trainer?"
Full of fear, I bounded around the desk to see her computer monitor. There on the screen was Tommy's Trainer photo, along with a photo of Briar and Talon. There was no mention of me at all.
Why is everything so confusing? I thought to myself. It made no sense. No sense at all. Why would Tommy not have me listed in his Trainers notes? I wasn't even on his 'Dex anymore. There hadn't been a mention of an Umbreon at all. Could he have decided I left him for good?
How did I know I wasn't in his 'Dex, you might be wondering? Well, when a Trainer drops off his or her Pokemon for healing, the Trainers Pokedex is scanned. Just to be certain that the Pokemon the Trainer has is really their Pokemon.
A lot of stolen or illegally gotten Pokemon had been returned to their rightful owners that way.
But me…I wasn't in Tommy's 'Dex at all. Could my info been wiped out? Could Tommy do that? I hadn't asked the nurse that. For one thing it was too embarrassing and for another she was suddenly busy with a Vaporeon that had a bit of frostbite.
The wind gusted around me suddenly, reminding me that I wasn't in the Pokécenter anymore. Where was I now? I was sitting on a cliff overlooking Viridian. It had a very good view of the city, but offered nothing more.
The full moon was hidden and then revealed as thin clouds raced across the night sky. An oak tree, its limbs bare and skeletal, rose above me. Thick evergreen shrubs were directly behind me.
From Viridian, the cliff reminded me of a banana. I had a banana once, with Tommy, when we went to the Orange Islands. It was nice and warm there. Tommy had defeated two of the four gym leaders, but stopped battling because it was just too nice in the Islands. He had decided to vacation instead of battling. Adding to his quality time, instead of his Training time.
Great sorrow welled up inside me. Maybe I'm just out of my mind.
I threw back my head and wailed my sorrows and fears with yodeling howls.
A half-hour later, I stiffly made my way back down to Viridian. It had crossed my mind to just end it all on the top of that cliff, but what would that prove? That I could fly? The landing wouldn't have been pretty.
Sharp pain laced through my front right paw and I yelped in surprise. I'd walked right into a puddle that apparently had a broken bottle in it. One I hadn't seen. Oh heck, I was so deep in thought that I didn't even see the puddle.
With a wince of pain, I gently put my injured paw down on cold, but dry, ground. I bit back another outburst and settled for a small growl. Stupid, really stupid. I chastised myself. Get yourself injured when no one can care for you.
It was true. I was out so late at night that no one was walking around. They'd be stupid to be walking around. Not only was it late, a look to a small shop with a clock in the window told me it was nearly one in the morning, but it was cold. Bitter cold.
Of course, most Pokemon could deal with the cold. It was all a matter of how you holed up for the night. Smart Pokemon would burrow in a hole or in a shrub. But here in the civilized streets of Viridian, with decorative potted trees and concrete walkways and streets, there was no place to do that.
I limped to an alley and was surprised to see just how clean it was. Viridian was not a city to take refuge in. Even Vermilion City had some shady alleys that could provide some shelter. Not that Vermilion was prone to sharp winters like this.
It was surprising to see such cold weather in Viridian, though I'd never been here in the winter. Usually, we'd winter in a warmer climate. Being with a Trainer had advantages I apparently took for granted.
Just for a little while, I thought to myself as I curled up beside a dumpster. Gently, I tucked my wet, bleeding paw under my chest. I knew it would be important to keep what was wet as warm as I could. I'll rest for a little while, build up my strength, and get back to the Pokécenter. Luckily they're open day and night. It's just too far to walk to now. Three blocks too far.
Using my not injured and not wet left front leg as a pillow, I rested my head on it and shut my eyes. My thick tail wrapped around my legs and over my nose. I wouldn't sleep for long, just a little while. I yawned, and the bitter cold air I breathed in almost woke me.
Just a little sleep.
A jostling under me woke me and I growled softly. The hands, as they were hands of some human, paused in their mission. I huffed a small breath and after a short time began to fall asleep.
And again someone tried to pick me up. This time one hand grabbed the ruff of my neck and the other went under my belly. I was so tired I couldn't even whimper. There was a brief nauseating feeling and suddenly I could hear a heart beating and there was sudden warmth around me.
My own heart began to beat fast. Could it…could it be Tommy?
Desperately, I tried to open my eyes, but found I couldn't. I whimpered at that and I heard the person talk and I grew confused.
"Shh, little one. It'll be okay." A pause. "The Pokecenter is in sight. It'll all be over soon."
Something in that wording worried me. The person wasn't Tommy. For one thing, this human sounded female. For another, Tommy wouldn't have called me 'little one' and he'd have used my Pokeball to keep me in stasis until reaching the Pokecenter. I tried to whimper but was surprised when it came out a whine.
Then there came a great burst of heat, human noises, and bright light.
In all the commotion, I fainted.
"That's not my Pokemon."
The words had been spoken with simplistic authority. Tommy's authority. They'd also been spoken twenty minutes ago. Twenty-five minutes ago was when Tommy had lain eyes on me for the first time in, what I knew of, for twenty-four hours.
And he denied me.
He denied our bond and he denied that I'd ever been in his care. Oh he'd had an Umbreon, once, but he'd given that Pokemon to his sister three years ago.
I'd tried to talk with Briar and Talon, but they would have nothing to do with me, other than a vine whip from Briar. Talon had said I was a nutcase, and the two stayed close to Tommy's side, guarding him from this new threat.
As for me, myself, and I, my place was at the side of one of Nurse Joy's assistants. It turned out that Tava, the assistant, had been the one to find me and to carry me back to the Pokecenter.
Only Nurse Joy, who had an identical relative Nurse in every possible Pokecenter or health establishment world wide, was the lead nurse in this center. There were about twenty other nurses or doctors, plus assistants, who worked in the Viridian Pokecenter alone.
Tava's fingers gripped the ruff of my neck, as she was crouched down by my side momentarily. I looked up at her and she smiled reassuringly, a look that said, "Everything will be fine."
But would it? What was so wrong, what had gone so terribly wrong, that Tommy would disclaim me? Had I been so horrible to him? Maybe I needed a complete attitude adjustment or something. I tried to catch Tommy's gaze, but he was looking at Nurse Joy.
Nurse Joy sighed patiently. She was overseeing everything and was very much unruffled by the situation at hand. The very picture of calm and serenity. Everything I was currently not feeling.
"The Umbreon says that she is yours," Nurse Joy said, "and with the heartfelt sincerity of her words, I find it difficult to believe that she isn't."
Tommy sighed as well, a sound so familiar to me that my heart wrenched, and said, "But I keep telling you…She's not mine! I only had one Umbreon and I gave her to my sister three years ago!"
Tava stood up. "Are you sure this one isn't yours? Maybe she left your sister to find you."
Fully encouraging of such a suggestion, I nodded enthusiastically.
Tommy looked from Tava to me. "Well, there's only one way to prove that."
And there was. It only took a quick Vid-Phone call to Eva, the sister in question, to prove that.
"Sorry, brother, but Dark is right here with me," Eva said, looking quite apologetic. A dark head popped up…an Umbreon. Its red eyes bore into mine for a second, then it vanished, ducking out of view.
"There you go," Tommy shrugged. "That's my Umbreon, which is now my sister's. This one simply isn't mine."
My world spun. Impossible…Simply impossible.
Things went in a most bizarre way after that. Nurse Joy came to the conclusion that I must've been separated from my real Trainer, gotten hurt, suffered head trauma of some sort (apparently there'd been a lump on the right side of my head that I somehow hadn't noticed), and then been injured and suffered from exposure to cold temperatures.
Tommy Holmesby, a legendary Trainer in his own right, was as popular and widely known as most singing sensations. He'd even been approached to star in a movie, as he had the right sort of look. He was nearly as famous as Ash Ketchum, and that was pretty darned famous.
Nurse Joy also came to the conclusion that my real Trainer must've followed Tommy to a near fanatical state and that when I was injured, that the hit to my head sparked some sort of delusion in which I believed that I was one of Tommy's Pokemon.
But what they didn't know was that they were wrong. Dead wrong. Tommy is my Trainer and if he can't realize that, then I'll have to force him to.
Tommy Holmesby left the Pokecenter later that night, stepping out of the Pokecenter to catch a cab. Two Pokeballs were lashed to his belt, containing Briar and Talon, and he hefted his bright yellow backpack over his shoulder.
A low whine made him turn around and look down. He sighed when he saw the rejected Umbreon, submissively coming up to him. With his translator, in the form of a gold Pokeball charm necklace, hanging around his neck, he heard every pitiful word from the creature.
"Please, just…remember me!" Her tone was whining and very nearly pathetic to him. "I know you must. Don't you remember all the good times we had?"
"I'm sorry, but really, you're not mine!" Tommy's eyebrows knit together in sympathy. "I wish there were some way for me to help you out, but I can't. Nurse Joy will."
"You can help by taking me back!" She whined. "I'm sorry, for whatever I did to make you hate me so much."
She advanced down the snow cleared stairs. "Take me back!"
Tommy opened his mouth to say no, when two popping sounds filled the air. Briar and Talon formed from white energy beams into two very advanced and confident Pokemon.
"Can't you take a hint?" Talon sneered. "Go away, runt!"
"Your real Trainer will come for you," Briar said, her tone softer. "Wait for him or her."
The Umbreon's eyes widened and she took a step back. "You two…we trained together! Don't you remember me? At all?"
Talon cocked his head. "Why would we remember you? You don't belong with us! You're not even in the same league as we are!"
"Steady down, Talon!" Tommy said, his tone stern. The Jolteon complied sulkily. "What they're trying to say is what I'm trying to say! Please, Umbreon, just–"
"My name is Imaya," The Umbreon said with thinly veiled shock. "I can't believe you don't remember that. What kind of a Trainer are you?"
"Obviously not yours!" Talon shouted, electricity sparkling around his powerful form. "How thick is your skull that you can't comprehend that?"
The doors to the Pokecenter hissed open and Tava stood there in her leather coat. "What's going on?"
The taxi pulled up then, a black four door sedan, and waited for Tommy.
"This Umbreon wants me to take it back." Tommy said, walking towards the taxi. "Can you please deal with it?"
"It?" Imaya sounded dismayed. "I'm not an it!"
"Whatever," the Jolteon said dismissively. "We're leaving and you're staying. Catch you later, runt."
Tava, not understanding the words but understanding the tone, said, "Come on, Umbreon, we'll find your Trainer…"
But Imaya obviously had other ideas. She ran towards Tommy with a cry of, "Don't leave me!"
Briar had just been recalled, but Talon was still standing and still very protective of his Trainer. Without hesitating, the electric pokemon that was a much higher level than the Umbreon launched a lightshow of an attack, throwing the dark Pokemon back against the brick wall of the Pokecenter.
Tommy recalled the Jolteon, reattaching the Pokeball to its slot on the belt, and said, "Please…make sure it doesn't follow."
Then he slipped into the taxi, closed the door, and the sedan drove off. The red taillights disappeared around a corner and Tommy Holmesby was gone.
Tava, who was aware of the stares of people walking by and those in the Pokecenter, bent down to the Umbreon. The Pokemon was conscious and whined softly, closing her red eyes in defeat. If her body hadn't been rigid from the force of the electric shock, Tava knew the Pokemon would've sagged in defeat, right along with her spirits.
The girl sighed. "I can't promise you that you'll have a life in the spotlight, but I can promise that I'll take good care of you."
One red eye opened and locked its steady gaze on Tava. Feeling a bit on the spot, Tava reddened, but continued. "What I mean is that if we can't find your real Trainer, would you like to be my Pokemon?"
Tava heard the doors hiss open, felt a sudden gust of warm air, and felt a hand on her shoulder. She looked up to see her boss, Nurse Joy, holding out a necklace. "For you to hear her reply."
Gratefully, Tava slipped it on. "Well? Would you?"
"Take me somewhere new," Imaya held out a paw. "I don't know who you are but I…I'm with you."
This is a rewrite of I'm With You and I made a few changes. I changed two of Tommy's Pokemon's names. Bria is now Briar and Talon used to be...um...bad me, I can't remember!And the biggest change was the Finis at the end to TBC, which of course, is to be continued.
I hope you enjoy this new version!