Changing Face

A Pokemon fanfic by Stormy

Rating: G

Pairings: None

Notes: Just a little blurb of a fic from Gary's POV, taking place after the third movie. No continuation is planned – I actually wrote this almost 2 years ago and just recently found it in one of my old binders. I typed it up, changed it a bit and here you go.

Additional: NO SEQUEL IS PLANNED AT THIS TIME. ^^ Please don't ask me for one.

27-Nov-02
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I'm lonely.

Heh. Never thought I'd say that one out loud. I mean, I have my pokemon with me, right? But as good a friend as Umbreon and Arcanine are, they can't actually hold an in-depth conversation with me. If you're wondering about those ditzy cheerleaders I had when I was younger, well...let's just say, that got old really fast. Brainless bleach heads the lot of them, crying and sobbing as though their hearts were broken every time I lost a match. It didn't even happen that often but around them, I wasn't allowed to lose that aura of invincibility I had cultivated.

Who needs 'em anyway...

It occurs to me that I've been sitting here for the last hour and I have absolutely nothing to show for it. I've spent the last few days here at the Misura Pokemon Centre trying to put my thoughts into some kind of order. I know Umbreon, Arcanine, Nidoking and the rest appreciate the break but 'Bre keeps giving me these little knowing looks. She knows something's on my mind, but luckily, she also knows I'll tell her when I'm ready.

The Johto League has been an interesting experience. I placed well into the finals, Umbreon pretty much supporting my team near the end. I came in the top ten, better then what I did at the Indigo Plateau two years ago.

Has it really been two years?

I bet you're wondering who won the Johto League, huh? Take a wild guess. Of everyone you would possibly come up with, who is the least likely to succeed? Or most likely, depending on whether or not you're a friend of his.

Then again, you're most likely a friend because everyone is. Yeah, little Ash Ketchum, the loser-boy who slept in late and got a second-rate pokemon as his starter won the Johto League championship. He set a record for the youngest trainer ever to win - the previous record had been held by a fifteen year old. Ash is twelve this year - or he will be in about a week. Mine is two days before it. I'll be thirteen.

Another thirty minutes has gone by and I still haven't moved. Arcanine is now sitting by my feet, giving me a worried growl every few minutes and Umbreon is curled up in my lap. Her fur is short but silky smooth and I scratch her lightly behind the ears. That's her one weakness and I laugh silently as she melts into a boneless pile under my hands. If any of my opponents told them to do a scratch attack in just the right spot behind her ears, she'd be finished.

I was there when Ash won. Call it a hidden masochistic side of me but I wanted to see if he would do better then me. I don't understand it. Half of his team are base pokemon - Ash doesn't have the heart to force them to evolve if they don't want to. The end result is that his base pokemon have power levels nearly unheard of. Even involuntarily, they should have evolved. But they don't, because they know they don't have to.

I mentally review some of the pokemon I've seen him with. Squirtle, well over level sixty-five with a hydro pump attack that's on par with any Wartortle easily. Bulbasaur, the toughest of his type I've ever seen, with agility matching nearly that of what Evee's used to be. Tauros, the same one that won the Tauros battle a few months back with one move, during a Pokemon swap meet. He even tamed a Muk, one of the most dangerous of wild poison pokemon, making it a friendly creature that lived to hug people. Can you believe it?

Then there's Charizard. To be honest, I never tried to capture a Charmander because I knew the day would come when eventually he would evolve into the dangerous lizard and quite frankly, the sheer instability and ferociousness housed inside the fire-breather was something I didn't ever want to handle. Charizard's are notoriously vicious and prefer to be by themselves or with their kind. When I first saw Charizard battle - or should I say, NOT battle - at the Indigo Plateau, I figured Ash would get rid of it and sure enough, he began showing up at gyms without it. Shows what I know.

I saw a clip on the news the other day. Ash was flung from a crystal turret and caught by Charizard who appeared out of nowhere. He then rode that damn lizard like a pro while battling one of the strangest looking pokemon I've ever seen, something called an Entei. As far as I know, Charizard stayed with him after that.

Those two gym leaders were with him again. The redhead Misty and squinty- eyed Brock. Those two are never far behind Ash Ketchum, serving as impromptu coaches, advisors and moral support.

They're a damn sight more useful then any of those air headed cheerleaders I had.

It's funny how it ends up that they became Ash's new best buds in the world when I was the one who actually had a history with Ash. We used to be best friends, back in the days before pokemon swallowed up both of our lives. I let my ego inflate and take over, causing me to drive Ash away with hurtful words. I called him a loser, a pitiful trainer that would never amount to anything. Call it my own insecurities - when I put him down, it made me feel good.

For a minute or so.

The look on his face after I insult him always reminds me of a kicked Growlithe. I couldn't even tell you why I kept up the act except I wanted to be the best. I was determined to be the best and deep in my heart I have always known that Ash is the better trainer. By insulting him, I made him doubt himself, and only someone who believes in his or her own strength has what it takes to ascend through the League to be called a true Master.

I'm sick of it.

What has my attitude gotten me? A few accolades from my peers and a couple of praises from my grandfather. But Ash...

It seems everywhere I go, Ash has left his mark. Every Nurse Joy makes a comment about whether or not I know Ash when I mention where I'm from. The same goes for every Officer Jenny. Gym Leaders remember Ash as a rising new star with a heart as big as a Snorelax and even people I meet on the road tell me of times Ash and company helped them out of a jam of some kind. I met the world famous photographer Todd and the first thing he did was show me the picture he took of Ash being carried away by an Aerodactyl. That shot made history. I remember that time - I had thought that was a dream.

I guess you're wondering what I'm leading up to, huh?

Like I said, I'm sick of being alone. I'm tired of having no one to talk to besides my pokemon. I have no one to cheer me up when I'm feeling depressed after a loss, and there's no one to laugh with when I see something amusing. I miss having friends, real friends that stick with you whether you're down and out or on top of the world.

I miss Ash.

That's why I'm waiting here.

Ash and his friends are heading this way after the Johto festivities die down. By my calculations they should be here sometime tomorrow morning. It's a long trip back to Pallet town, and I know before they even decide to go back, there's another League to the West that Ash will want to try, and they require eight badges, like Indigo did. It's another chance for adventure and I know Ash - there's no way he won't go. Brock and Misty will be right there by his side.

I want to go with them.

Umbreon nuzzles me as I tense up a little. What if they won't want me to go with them? What if they push me away? I wouldn't blame them if they did - Kami knows I deserve it.

But I won't know until I try. Dawn's just a few hours away and then I'll know if there's anything left to salvage from what remains of me and Ash's friendship.

Here's hoping.

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OWARI