A Brand New Chapter
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"There haven't been any changes yet, Satoshi."
Satoshi sighed. It was the same thing every time he called Ookido-hakase. He was starting to doubt if Shigeru would ever wake up. But he had hope. It was pretty much all he had, now. Pikachu was gone. Shigeru was in the hospital, asleep. Even Kasumi and Takeshi were out of his life, back in their hometowns, tending their gyms.
He was more alone than he had ever been in his life. But, he couldn't let Ookido-hakase and his mother see that. He gave the old man the warmest smile he could muster. "Thanks, Ookido-hakase. Let me know if something happens."
"You know I will." The screen went blank after that, and Satoshi responded with a large sigh. Ookido-hakase and his mother were the only people he really talked to, anymore. And then, only every few days when he managed to come across a Pokémon Center.
It had been over six months since the attack on the mountainside. Six months of being on his own. It was amazing how different he seemed, even to himself. He had more than doubled his training regiment. And he could see the results—his Pokémon had grown quite a bit more powerful, and the open slot in his team from losing Pikachu was hardly missed. But the friend … that was a bit harder to come to grips on.
But he had managed. It was rough. At first, he thought it impossible. But as long as he kept up the hope that Shigeru would wake up soon, there was always a reason to keep going. And he had made a promise. The Johto Pokémon League would be starting in just two weeks. He was going to do everything possible to win. That's why he had trained so hard. At least, that's what he told himself. But he knew it wasn't the truth.
The reason he had trained so hard was so he wouldn't have the time to think of how lonely he was. Wouldn't have the time to think of the fact that it was possible Shigeru would never wake up. Never come back to him. And he didn't want to think of that. So he had trained. And trained. And did absolutely everything he could to keep his mind away from those thoughts. It had worked, but it still hurt, when nighttime fell, and he could do nothing to stop his mind from going where it wanted, but he didn't.
And now, especially, when all he could do was spend the next two weeks training at the League village, it was extra hard. Only his team of six Pokémon as company. And so much free time. He couldn't train twenty-four/seven, and with no where to go, he had lots of time to think. Which was exactly what he didn't want.
But at least when the two weeks were done, he could go back. Go back to Shigeru's bedside and wait for him to return. He would have tried his best, and that was all there was to it. And that's what he had promised he'd do. Try his best to make both their dreams come true.
And then, he could go back.
Not again. No, don't let it happen again. I can't stand it.
But it did happen. As it had a million times since the real thing. Climbing down the mountain with Satoshi. The huge balloon. An earth shattering explosion…
He had tried so hard to make sure Satoshi had survived. Had even been about to give up his own life. But at the last second, Satoshi had come to his rescue. Everything after that was blank. Only the sound of Satoshi's voice, floating in through a sea of darkness. Threats to Rocketto Dan for what they had done. Desperate pleas for him to wake. Admissions of the love they had shared for each other since they were children. And, the last thing, a promise to do what he had said he would. He would go on and try to make Shigeru proud of him.
Shigeru couldn't take it anymore. The darkness. The images. The loneliness. He had to go back, and it had to happen now, or else it may be too late.
"Doctor! DOCTOR! Come quickly! Something's going on with Ookido Shigeru!"
Within seconds, a score of doctors and nurses had surrounded the bed containing the form of the young boy. The monitors showing his life signs had gone haywire. Beeping rapidly, alarmingly, as the body on the bed visibly shook and convulsed. Nothing like this had happened in the six months he had been in the hospital, so it was cause for great alarm.
They were trying to hold him to the bed to issue a sedative, when Shigeru's eyes snapped open, and he sprang forward with such force that many of the people holding him were send sprawling to the floor. A chorus of gasps arose from the small crowd, as the boy looked around frantically. By some miracle, he had woken up. And it took only a few seconds to find out why he was so worked up.
"There's only a little over a week left, Shigeru," Ookido-hakase said to the picture on the screen. His grandson was awake, and seemed to be as healthy as ever, if not more so. It was amazing how much energy the lad had when he woke up. It was only a few hours before he was on the road again.
And by some means, he had managed to collect all of the remaining badges from Johto gyms, enabling him to enter the Pokémon League. If he could get there. But the oddest thing was that he had asked him not to tell Satoshi he was up. And Satoshi had been expressing a great deal of interest. Every time the younger boy called, his first question was always about Shigeru.
"Thanks, Ojiisan. Will you be at the tournament?" It truly was amazing. Shigeru was smiling in a way the old man hadn't seen in several years. It made him wonder a bit about what was going on. Especially with the two boys' sudden concern with one another. But if that were the case, why on earth wouldn't Shigeru want Satoshi to know he was up?
Ah, well, young love is so confusing."Yes, I'll be there, Shigeru. Are you positive you can make it? You did just wake up from a coma…"
A laugh from the other end of the line. "Don't worry Ojiisan, nothing is going to keep me away. And I want to thank you for taking such good care of my Pokémon. There's no way they would be ready if it weren't for you."
"It was no trouble at all. It seems as if those guys are happy as long as they have food and can exercise, and they got plenty of both," he replied with a bit of a chuckle. It was a bit more work than that, but he wasn't going to make it seem as if it had been a burden, especially after everything that had happened. "I guess I'll be seeing you at the competition, you need to get moving if you're going to be there on time."
"Alright, Ojiisan. Thanks again! For everything." And then, the screen went blank.
The old professor sat back in his chair, smiling a bit. He was fairly certain something had happened between Satoshi and Shigeru. If not, they had both received pretty hard knocks of the head. But, it was a short-lived trip into possibilities. He had things to do. And the first thing was making plane reservations to Johto.
"Alright, Ookido-san, you're all signed up. The first matches begin tomorrow, so make sure to be here bright an early. You're cabin assignment is number … one-nineteen," the smiling desk attendant at the League office told Shigeru as she handed him a key.
"Thanks a lot. I'll be here right on time," and with that, he turned and headed back out the door.
He wasn't sure how he had done it, but in less than two weeks, he had gathered the rest of his badges, and had even gotten to the League headquarters on time for the competition. Now came the hard part. Deciding whether to go find Satoshi now, or wait until after the tournament. Could he really avoid Satoshi for that long? It would be days of being this close, always within walking distance, always the chance that he would see him battling, or bump into him on the sidewalk.
But, yes, he would wait. It would be a nice surprise, to say the least.
With a small smile, Shigeru made his way to the cabin he had been assigned.
"Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the first day of Pokémon League competition! I think you're in for a real treat with this first battle! On the red podium, coming all the way from Masara Town, we have Satoshi!"
Satoshi offered the crowd a smile. It wouldn't do to be rude, even if he didn't feel up to smiling at the moment. But when the smile was done, his face turned to a grim blank, as he plucked a PokéBall from the belt around his waist. Across the field, his opponent was doing the same. It was the very first battle of the tournament. But Satoshi knew not to take even the first battle for granted. He lucked out in the Kanto League and he knew it.
But this would be different. Much different. He was going to work for what he got. And he was going to make Shigeru proud when he woke up.
He pulled his arm back and launched the PokéBall into the field. "Bakufun, I choose you!"
"Burak!" The Burakki seemed to appear out of nowhere in front of the Okutan that was opposing it. A swift swipe with extended claws. And the Jet Pokémon collapsed in a tangle of tentacles.
The crowd burst into applause as the announcer blared to life on the P.A. system. "That's it! Ookido Shigeru has claimed another astounding victory! This forth round match is over!"
The stands full of people continued cheering as the Burakki calmly trotted back to its master. Shigeru was quickly becoming a favorite, as he seemed to easily defeat his opponents, one after another. He and his Pokémon looked like they were easily going to make the finals. Especially if they kept up the same pace they had so far.
The cheering didn't lessen until the trainer, his Burakki at his heels, headed through the small tunnel and out of the stadium.
"Oi … good work, Burakki… Keep this up, and we're assured to make the finals," Shigeru said as he flopped into the armchair in his cabin, smiling down at his little buddy who seemed to have the same idea as his trainer—rest. The Ivui evolution was lying, curled into a black and gold ball, on the couch.
He let off a small sigh as he closed his eyes, leaning back in his seat. The tournament was half over. Only sixteen contestants were left at this point. And only another four rounds of battling. After that, the winner would be declared.
But it was getting harder. Not the actual battles, no, they were all fairly easy, especially with Burakki at his side. But avoiding Satoshi was becoming nearly impossible. With the number of names of the roster slimming down, it wouldn't be long before he heard the name "Ookido Shigeru." And he had seen Satoshi around the village more than once, and it was very hard to force himself to move away. Years of acting stubborn and arrogant helped. He would never allow himself to appear weak. Never allow himself to fail at what he set out to do.
That didn't mean he had to like avoiding Satoshi. It was the hardest thing he had ever done, with the possible exception of pushing the other boy away in the first place.
But it was only for four more days, at the most. And after that, everything could be the way it was supposed to.
"Satoshi-san, the finals are about to begin. You need to get the stadium right away," the secretary on the other end of the line said with a curt, though polite voice.
"Alright. I'll be there in just a few minutes," he responded, resting the phone back on the cradle.
It had been a very strenuous week. Seven rounds of battles, followed by lonely nights. It nearly drove him insane, but he had hung on, and it would appear that it was paying off. He had actually made it to the final round. And he was fairly certain that whoever his last opponent may be couldn't be too much harder than the rest of the contestants, but he would not allow himself to underestimate.
Whoever it was, he was extremely good. Or else he wouldn't have made it this far. But, Satoshi hoped the match would be fast, even with both of them using six Pokémon. He wanted to go back to Shigeru. And that couldn't happen until after the match.
He headed for the door, grabbing the belt covered with PokéBalls he had draped over the chair earlier and snapping it on as he went.
"Ojiisan, do you know who the other trainer is?" Shigeru asked his grandfather, as he got ready to head for the stadium. He was in the middle of spiking his hair.
"Of course I know, Shigeru," the old man replied, as he sat in the living room of Shigeru's cabin, watching the pre-battle show on the television. This was a huge event. At the moment, the hosts were going over how each of the trainers had done in previous matches.
"Who is it?"
"Why don't you come see for yourself?"
Shigeru let out a small growl, but he made his way into the living room, and stopped as soon as he saw what was on the screen. A video clip of Satoshi after he had won his seventh round match and was advanced to the final around. To face him.
A smile flittered across his lips. This was perfect! Not only would he be reunited with Satoshi, but he would have another chance to battle him, as well.
He turned on his heels and darted into his room.
"What on earth are you doing, Shigeru?" his grandfather asked, more than a bit puzzled at the boy's sudden burst of energy. He got up from the chair, and followed the boy back into the bedroom, where he was digging through a duffel bag.
"This is a special battle, Ojiisan," Shigeru replied, pulling out what looked like a long piece of brown fabric. "It wouldn't be right if I didn't treat it as such." And with that, he twirled around, in the process, fastening the cape into place. And then, as he adjusted the pad on his left shoulder, he headed for the door.
With a small shake of his head and a smile, the professor followed in his grandson's footsteps, making their way to the stadium.
"Ladies and gentlemen, it's been a long week, but we're finally here!" the announcer called out through the speakers, as the crowd started cheering and clapping their approval. "The Pokémon League finals are going to begin in just a matter of moments!"
Satoshi walked up to the red podium slowly. He may be in a hurry, but this was the final match, and he had to make it look good. The League attendants had been very specific of how he should walk and act while making his way toward the field.
Don't worry. Play around for another hour at most, and then you can finally go back to him.
"And, here we go! Making his way towards the field, coming all the way from Masara Town, we have Satoshi!" He waved to the people in the crowds once he reached the top of his podium. He could already see his opponent walking forwards. The form was completely in shadow, and appeared to be wearing a kimono of some kind. But it wouldn't be too long before he was able to see who it was. But concentrating through the noise was hard. It was so loud because of the cheering, and the stadium's amplifier effect didn't help much.
At least the crowd would calm down for the battle. And speaking of battles, Satoshi's opponent had just stepped into the light—
And his heart was suddenly in his throat. There was no way the person with the brown cape around his shoulders could be who it looked like. No way at all.
"And, Satoshi's opponent, also coming from Masara Town, coming up on the blue podium, is Ookido Shigeru!" Another thundering round of applause. But Satoshi didn't hear it. He couldn't hear anything. The crowd was also nothing but a blur. The only thing in Satoshi's world was the figure stepping up to the blue podium.
The same figure he had left behind in the hospital…
He saw the other boy smile. A warm smile he hadn't seen since they were children. Since the day Shigeru had started to push him away. And then, he said something. It was impossible to hear, but he could read what was on the other's lips. One, simple little message. And, slowly, the world started to come back into focus and he nodded. A smile formed to rival that of Shigeru's. The message was one that was going to be taken to heart.
"Never give up."
(Author's note: I hope you all understand why I am not going to write a full, six-on-six battle. You saw previously how even one-on-one can take a long time with me. So I'm going to spare us both and just give little action clips. Imagine, say … five minutes between each clip, and each clip will last right around five real life seconds. Sort of like a better version of Ritchie's sixth round battle in the Pokémon League.)
Fire billowing from the mouths of a Bakufun and a Lizardon, Flamethrowers fighting for supremacy over one another. The end result a huge, smoking explosion.
A huge, roaring Gyaradosu coiling its body around a Kamekkusu, squeezing it tightly even as it took a huge, blue fist to the jaw.
A towering Saidon charging forward, smashing its drill-like horn into the styled, X-horn of a Herakurosu, a stalemate of strength arising.
Two different Pijyotto circling in the sky, raking and stabbing with talons and beaks, trying to best each other in displays of aerial maneuverability and speed.
A collection of Razor Leafs flying towards a Nattsuu, though being intercepted by a Solar Beam aimed at the Leaves' source, a large Meganiumu.
"Ladies and gentlemen, this is spectacular! Never in Pokémon League history has there ever been a battle as intense and close as this one! Both Satoshi and Shigeru are tied, with only one Pokémon left! We have certainly been given a treat this year, and let's hope the remainder of the battle holds up to the rest!"
The crowd started cheering again. Shigeru was really impressed by how far Satoshi had come. He could honestly say this was the toughest battle he had ever had. Very different from back in Masara Town…
He flashed a small grin across the field. This is what he lived for—a grand battle, taken to the extremist of extremes. And for once, he could settle for a loss, because he could feel happy for Satoshi. This was as good as life got.
Satoshi could see Shigeru grinning on the other end of the field. And he knew why. It was the same reason he was grinning himself.
The thrill of battle. The feeling of giving it all—and the possibility that it may not have been enough. This battle was far better than his final battle in the Orange Archipelago. It was amazing. He had never felt like this before. He felt … complete. It was the only work that fit the moment.
The Shigeru-sized hole he had carried since he was nine years old had been filled. And he was doing what he loved most. No wonder Shigeru trained so hard. It was the only way to reach this level.
And it felt great.
It was a standoff. Shigeru's Burakki and Satoshi's Heruga were neck and neck, claw to claw. There was no telling who would win, as both Pokémon were starting to tire after several minutes of battle.
It would come down to this last attack. That was all that really mattered at this point. They both realized it. The crowd could see it. The stadium, for once, eerily quiet, as the spectators waited for the conclusion of the greatest battle they had ever seen in their lives.
The two Pokémon lunged at each other simultaneously, heads lowered and feet digging into the ground, giving them as much momentum as possible. They collided with a near sickening crunch, and both fell, unconscious, to the ground. They were both out cold.
The referee stepped out onto the field and examined both Pokémon. He then scratched his head, saying a few words into a small microphone on his collar. A few moments later, the announcer was alive and kicking on the speaker system.
"Well, ladies and gentlemen, it seems we've got a Pokémon first! This year's Pokémon League competition ends in a tie between Satoshi and Shigeru!"
The crowd seemed stunned at first. It took several seconds for the news to register. But slowly, one person at a time, a loud roar of applause and cheers started. The two Pokémon on the field disappeared, having been recalled back to their PokéBalls.
Slowly, the two trainers from Masara made their way down their podiums and towards the center of the field for the customary after-match handshake. But something happened that was far from customary.
Satoshi suddenly wasn't walking forward. He was running, as fast as he possibly could. And when he reached Shigeru, his arms found their way around the older boy's waist, beneath the cape. Shigeru's arms were should wrapped around the shoulders of the boy whose face was buried in his shoulder. Satoshi could feel something odd—the embrace wasn't as strong as it was the first time. The time in bed must have really worn Shigeru down.
But neither of them cared right then. The only thing that mattered was that they were back in each other's arms. They continued hugging, getting odd looks and more than a few rude gestures from the crowd. But they ignored it. Their worlds had considerably shrunk to include only each other.
Well, that's all. I hope you enjoyed the story, but it was time to bring it to an end. I must admit … finding a way to get the story to end was very hard. It was as if the story didn't want to die. But, we all know it had to happen sooner or later. I just hope I managed to make a few of you readers happy with it.
For those of you who like my writing and wish to see more of it, give me a bit of time, and soon, my next story will begin trickling into FanFiction.net. I will warn you now, this story will not be as sweet. It's going to be Rated R, but for those who want it, in a few weeks, look for a story entitled:
I wish you all good futures, and lives full of dreams that come true. And by the way… Please give a review. It really helps when I know what people think of my stories.