(A/N) A story in snapshots.

Scum and Cream

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The Starter

It takes her until lunch to ask about his starter, so it takes her until lunch to realize he doesn't have one.

They've come far enough down the road to Viridian that she can't be bothered to turn back. Instead she picks a rock off the ground, digs a pokeball from the boy's bag and tramps into the grass to find a pokemon.

The pidgey she spots first eludes her with just a few beats of its wings. The spearow she finds second flies right at her face and nearly claws her eyes out. She drops the rock sometime between swearing at the spearow and swearing at the boy for not helping, but he's well interested in keeping his eyeballs intact.

"Can you blame me?" he asks her.

She gives him a venomous glare that says yes.

So while the girl sits cleaning out her battle wounds on a hollow log, the boy treks into the brush alone in search of something with fewer sharp edges than her avian friends.

He finds a rattata, which bites deep into his hand before scurrying away. Then he finds another spearow and runs like hell until he's lost in a tangle of trees. He shouts for the girl a couple times before he steps on the caterpie, which looks like an open invitation after all the claws and teeth and sharp beaks.

So he steps on it again, and again, stomping it unconscious, maybe more viciously than necessary. But his legs are sore and his hand is bleeding, so he smashes his heel into the caterpie's head until the squirming stops, then drops a pokeball on the still body.

Some red light and a few chimes later he has his all-important starter.

He does not tell the girl that they don't need that caterpie to get to Viridian. He forgets to mention that the route's been cleared long ago of anything really dangerous and that the remaining pokemon don't venture onto human pathways anyway. The two of them could've made it to Viridian without setting eyes on anything fanged or clawed, but the girl had decided they needed a pokemon and the boy had decided to beat that pokemon half to death to catch it.

Years later he can't remember when he began to regret it all. Only that the girl clapped when he came back and presented the almost corpse, smiling like the sun on Christmas morning.

And that he was proud.

He remembers that he was proud.