Hoenn League: A Brendan and May Adventure

Summary: A novelization of the Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald games with a few twists here and there.

Rating: K+ for mild language and violence (non-graphic)

Disclaimer: Pokemon and all related characters do not belong to the author.

Yes, I realize this story has horrible ... everything. I'm currently trying to edit it/add in detail, but there's only so much I can do to improve on writing that is well over seven years old. It's never going to be perfect, and there are things that I wish I could change (but can't/won't because it would require revising plot points), but overall, I am proud of this story and all it has gone through. I'm too personally connected to it to make any changes stupid thirteen year old me created just so it seems more logical. I even kept in most of the stupid author notes. Lulz. I hope that you'll find some sort of joy reading this piece much like the joy I found writing it.

A few notes: Yes, I am aware Brendan has black hair and is hiding it under a white hat. When I was thirteen, I based his looks on that Ruby artwork, which made his hat look, well, more like hair than a hat. Pretty much, I'm too immature/lazy to go back and fix it. :P

Yes, pokemon talk in this story. Why? Various reasons that I can't keep track of. I threw in a few reasons through the story. Try to find them all! Pretty much, thirteen year old me thought talking pokemon were a cool way to characterize pokemon. :P Older me tried to give it a proper reason but failed to.

Overall, this story was never meant to be serious; I took the writing seriously but never wanted the story to be read as serious fiction. It's just a fun, light read.


The New Girl

There was something strange about this place. For one, it smelled horribly like mothballs – no, wet mothballs wrapped in wet trash. Another, it was dark. Cracks of sunlight peeped their way in from the corners of the small, cold room, but it wasn't bright enough for the girl to see her gloved hand a few inches away from her face.

Darn that mother of hers. Darn her and her, "It'll be an adventure, May! You'll love riding in the back of a moving truck!"

Her mother was wrong.

There was no use complaining about it though. She had bigger things to worry about. For example, one thing would be not emptying her digested breakfast all over the cardboard boxes that contained her family's items.

Wobbling a bit like a drunk at a party, the poor mess of a girl stumbled toward a wooden crate pushed up against the cold, metal wall and plopped down on top of it, doubling over to hold her head, hoping it would help alleviate the queasiness in her stomach. And it did, she supposed, until the moving truck sharply turned, and she, along with several boxes, careened roughly into the wall opposite of her. She then groaned, twitching in pain.

Luckily, the moving truck shuddered to a stop, the motor coughing and sputtering before turning off. She could hear heavy footsteps outside as her ears were still pressed up against the wall. She peeled herself off, rubbing the side of her face as the back door of the moving truck rattled open, and she hissed from the sudden bombardment of sunlight, shielding her eyes.

"Oh, sweet suicune! The light! It burns!" she cried, exaggerating of course. Climbing over some boxes, almost stumbling in the process, the girl managed to make her way down the ramp of the truck where a sweet, warm wind greeted her. She then looked down at the machoke, its gray muscles bulging as it lifted several boxes in its hand, its snout blowing out air from all the weight.

"So this is Hoenn, huh?" she asked more to herself, though the being next to her nodded. "I guess it's not ... too bad. Definitely no Goldenrod that's for sure."

The girl's epiphany was interrupted when a lady opened the oak door of the home the moving truck was parked next to. Her bright, blue eyes, the same color as the flustered girl's, shone brighter as she ran toward the girl, her arms open wide, her dark brown, curly hair flying behind her. "May!" the older woman greeted warmly, hugging the bewildered girl, her yellow, summer dress floating around her.

"Um ... hi, Mom," muttered the girl known as May, patting the older woman awkwardly on the back before releasing herself from her vice-like grasp.

May's mom, Caroline, didn't release the girl from her grasp though. She held onto her forearms and stepped back, evaluating her daughter's appearance. "You look ... dirty. And I just got you these clothes too," she remarked with disdain, releasing the girl's arms to clean her up. She pulled down on May's red and black collared t-shirt layered with a white undershirt to rid it of wrinkles before lightly slapping the black material of the girl's shorts to rid them of dust. "Your hair is such a mess too. What kind of fourteen year old girl are you?" Using her fingers as a comb, Caroline brushed the shoulder length brown locks of her daughter, trying to rid them of her tangles before the girl pulled away, frustrated.

"Mom!" May whined, running her own hands through her hair. Her fingers then made her way to the red and white bandanna that covered the top of her hair, adjusting it so it was centered on her head. "I'm fine!"

"Oh, don't get so flustered, May. I'm just trying to make you look presentable, that's all. First impressions mean everything!" Caroline crossed her arms and looked up a bit to admire the modest two story home. The light brown paint of the house made it seem welcoming and warm. Large, clear windows filtered sunlight, making them gleam. Each home on the quaint street had a red shingle roof complete with a tall chimney and a well manicured lawn, the grass as green as it could be. It was every couple's dream home. "It's nice, isn't it?"

May also looked up and sighed. "Couldn't we live in, like, a city or something? What exactly is there to do around here?"

Caroline either didn't hear her daughter or chose to ignore her, too enthralled with the beauty of her new home. That and the poor woman had answered May's questions several times already. May's father recently had been offered a job to be gym leader at Petalburg City in the small island region of Hoenn, and the only homes that were in their price range was in the sleepy town of Littleroot. "Let's go inside!" she remarked perkily as she pushed May lightly into the house with her hand.

May staggered over the threshold of the door, her black and red sneakers squeaking across the wood floorboards, but she quickly regained balance. The house her mom bought came furnished, so a black leather sofa sat on a plushy, red rug. The television pushed up against the wall was blaring the Hoenn news. May turned her head a bit to where the kitchen was, noticing that a couple of machokes were moving the refrigerator so another could set up the polished kitchen table complete with four chairs.

"You know you get your own room this time," Caroline said tauntingly, nudging May in the arm while smiling sneakily. "An actual room too. Not that cramped up washing machine room that we had back in our apartment that you so 'desperately needed.'" She shook her head fondly, remembering the day her daughter crossed the threshold from innocent child to grumpy teenager.

The girl merely shrugged, not entirely convinced that she liked her new home. "I guess that's cool," she murmured, crossing her arms.

Caroline nudged her daughter further into the home. "Well, go check it out and make sure everything is there. I made sure the machokes furnished your room first so you could take a nap if you wanted. Dad also gave you a clock. I'm not too sure why as your old one was fine ..." She trailed off, smiling a bit. "It was still thoughtful though."

"I guess ..." May shrugged and sidestepped past a machoke carrying a heavy crate, walking toward the carpeted stairs. Upstairs was a narrow hallway, also carpeted with the same red carpet from the staircase, and the girl peeked her head into each individual room, trying to find her own. Seeing her familiar bed complete with fluffy white pillow and a baby pink blanket decorated with dancing baby pokémon in the room at the end of the hallway, May entered, greeted by sunlight pouring into the open window. She took a deep breath, whiffing in the sweet wind as she walked further in. She turned around slowly, doing as her mother said. Her small television was setup in the corner, its screen dusty. She then noticed her computer sat on a desk, just as dusty as the television screen. She then let out a small squeal, noticing her yellow fanny pack on the table. She was afraid she left it back in Johto, but surely enough, it had someway found its way here (she supposed her mother had something to do with it). She zipped it open and checked its contents. Ribbons, hairbrushes, and combs. Everything was neatly in place.

Grabbing it off the table and swinging the bag to clip it around her hips, she noticed she knocked a half-empty bottle of pokémon potion to the floor. She sighed; it was yet another attempt by her father to find some interest in traveling as a pokémon trainer. While May absolutely adored pokémon, being the daughter of a newly appointed gym leader and all, she had no desire to travel. Getting dirty and lost sounded disgusting. Her complaints didn't stop her father from trying to persuade her to travel anyway, and he often left random pokéballs and other items around for May to find ever since the day she turned ten, the official age a trainer could own a pokémon. Annoyed a bit, May nevertheless took the bait and quickly bagged the potion into her bag. She suppose it could have some use if she encountered an injured pokémon.

May turned toward the open door of her room, noticing that everything was in place, when she noticed the shiny, round clock on the wall. Again, heeding her mother's advice, she adjusted the time so it matched up with Hoenn's. She then ran down the hallway and down the stairs, her footsteps rattling the railing. She quickly emerged downstairs and turned her head toward the television, hearing the end of a newscast and noticing her dad's picture fade from the screen.

"Dad was on T.V.?" she asked as the next show came on.

"Yeah, but we missed it," Caroline answered sadly from her position on the couch, but she smiled all the same as if her face were always pulled by hooks like a fish. "I suppose it doesn't really matter; we know all about your father. Anyway, that somehow reminds me that our neighbors are friends of Dad's! The Birch's, or something like that. You might remember them when they visited Johto a long time ago, though you were about four or five. Ah, you and their little adorable son played so nicely together."

May raised an eyebrow. "Son? As in a boy?"

Caroline smirked a bit. "Yes, son as in a boy. There are boys outside of Johto, you know. Why don't you meet them? I'd go with you, but I want to make sure the machoke don't break anything ... Anything valuable anyway." She gave the side eye to a couple of machokes that were fighting over a boxes of rattling dishes, sighing.

"Well, okay, Mom," May replied. "I guess I'll see you later." Brushing past a couple of boxes stacked near the front door, she walked outside, flattening the clover green grass underneath her feet. Since her house was on the corner, the only house that the Birch's home could be was the one directly to the right. She shrugged, walking past the fence of her home and toward the concrete sidewalk and the home next door. Surely enough, May bent over a bit to examine her neighbor's mailbox that was etched with "The Birch's" in silver. She then looked up to examine their home. It was an exact replica of her own except the paint job was a darker brown and a rose garden was underneath the windows of the first floor.

May walked down the dirt path and toward the door of the Birch's home, the door painted a dark green. She rapped her knuckles hard against the door, not once, not twice, but three times. No answer. Her hand found its way toward the brass doorknob of the front door to see if it was unlocked, finding that it was. She hesitated, blinking a few times. People in her apartment complex back in Johto never locked their doors during the day since they all knew each other well, but this was Hoenn, and Hoenn might be completely different. But her mother would be mad if she returned without meeting them.

With a strange logic that decided that her fear of her mother's wrath trumped her fear of strangers, May opened the door and peeked her head inside. "Heeellllooo?" she greeted, her voice echoing. She then pushed the door open wider though decided against entering the home until someone greeted her back.

May heard thumping like someone was racing down the stairs, and sure enough, a lady wearing a pair of faded denims and a red tee-shirt ran down and greeted May, gasping for breath. Her hair was tied up in a high ponytail, her warm, brown eyes looking at May as she placed her hands on her hips. "Hello," she replied with a smile. "I'm sorry about not answering the door. I was just helping my son pack for his journey." Her eyes swept over May's appearance. "You remind me of someone ... You wouldn't happen to be Caroline's daughter, would you?"

"Er, yeah," May answered slowly, smiling back to be polite, extending her hand. "My name is May."

"That's it. I remember when you were a cute little toddler back in Johto. You grew up to look like a younger version of your mother." The lady laughed lightly, shaking May's hand. "I doubt you remember me though. I'm Professor Birch's wife, Mrs. Birch." She moved a bit and welcomed May in with a gesture of her hand. "Come on in!"

May nodded and entered as Mrs. Birch closed the door behind her, darting over toward the table to tidy up the papers that were littered over it. "I apologize for the mess. My husband likes to come home and just throw all his work wherever he can!" She laughed again as May looked around. "Anyway, you must meet my son. He's about your age. He's been a bit lonely since there aren't many kid around his age, so he spend much of his time helping his dad with research. I'm sure he could use a friend. Though I suppose it doesn't really matter now since he's leaving for his journey like I said. His father finally convinced him that he didn't need his help researching around here anymore and to start his own adventure." She absentmindedly motioned her hand toward the staircase. "Anyway, he's upstairs."

There was something awkward about bursting into a room to greet some guy, but May did as Mrs. Birch suggested anyway, climbing the long passage to the second story. How sad, she thought, shaking her head, trying to find Mrs. Birch's son's room. This guy doesn't have friends! She noticed a boy no older than her hunched over a backpack, shoving items into it, and she pushed the door open, walking in slowly, the boy unaware of her presence. She peered over his shoulder.

"Bag full, pokémon healed," May heard him mutter to himself. The boy then turned around, feeling someone breathe against the nape of his neck. He jumped a bit, startled, though not afraid. "What the – hi! Who are you?" the mysterious boy asked, holding out his hand for a handshake.

"Oh! Um, hi! I'm May, your new next door neighbor." May shook his hand in return. She inspected this strange boy while exchanging greetings. He was a few inches taller than she was, making him around five foot eight. His eyes were a ruby red which you could melt into – if you liked him of course – and his somewhat tousled snow-white hair was covered in a black and red bandanna – Hoenn Colors. Also exclaiming his Hoenn Pride was his outfit, a black tee-shirt with red stripes at the sleeves. His pants were also black but the ends were red and yellow. One pokéball was clipped on his belt.

"So you're the gym leader's kid, huh?" he remarked thoughtfully, turning around a bit to zip up his one-strap yellow backpack. He swung it around his shoulder and smiled smugly. "My dad told me that some gym leader's kid would be moving in soon, though I thought you would be a boy. Boys do make better trainers after all."

May gaped. "Are you saying girls can't train pokémon?" she asked crossly.

The boy shrugged, amused. "Hmm ... Yeah, I suppose. It's true, isn't it? I mean, look at you." His eyes swept over her appearance, noticing that her fanny pack had no pokéballs clipped to it. "You're the gym leader's kid and my age, yet you have no pokémon?" He pointed toward the pokéball on his belt. "At least I have one. What's your excuse?

"And I wondered why you didn't have friends!" May frowned, crossing her arms. "You know what? I am so getting a pokémon, and when I do, I'm gonna beat you soooo bad that–"

"Okay, okay. I'm sorry! I was just messing with you!" He put his arms up in surrender sort of way, smiling innocently. "I can even catch you a pokémon now if you want – oh, wait." He snapped his fingers like he were disappointed. "Sorry, but I can't right now. I have to help my dad with his research. See you later!" He brushed past her and headed out of the room. He then returned, peeping his head around the corner to add, "And I doubt you could beat me."

May huffed, blowing up her bangs, flustered. "He's a weird, weird boy," she thought out loud. "But what the hell is his name? He never did tell me ..."

Since May no longer has a reason to stay, she went downstairs, said goodbye to Mrs. Birch, and left, observing the rest of the town, walking along the sidewalk. For awhile there was nothing by row upon row of houses, but soon she noticed a taller, more extravagant building with tall windows, solar panels on the roof and satellites pointing in all directions. She could only assume this was the lab of Professor Birch, husband of Mrs. Birch and father to that sexist boy she just met. With a slight shrug, she made her way to the lab and stepped on the mat, the automated glass doors opening for her. She was surrounded by the whirring of machines and the buzzing of computers, but no one seemed to be inside except for some lonely scientist hunched over his desk, his hair greasy and the frames of his glasses slipping off the bridge of his nose.

May walked over toward the scientist and said, "Excuse me, sir? Are you the professor?"

The scientist looked up from his paperwork and let out a hardy laugh. "Me? The professor? No, I'm just his assistant. Professor Birch went to do some field work. He was never the type to sit down and do paperwork. He should be back later if you need to speak to him."

"Okay, thanks." May waved good-bye to the assistant and jogged out the door, the wind greeting her again. "Fieldwork?" she mumbled to herself, walking further down the sidewalk. She soon reached the edge of town where civilization seemed to end, the concrete sidewalk merging with the dusty road. She heard birds chirp and creatures in trees rustle. "Well, I guess I should turn back –"

A loud scream interrupted her as she saw a little boy flail his arms in the air, panicking. "Help!" he squeaked, his voice dry. "The professor's in trouble!"

"So you just ditched him? Nice," May muttered sarcastically to herself. "Wait ... Dammit! I need to find the professor!" With that statement said, May ran down the route, passing by an old, worn down sign that said "Route 101." She huffed for breath, the long grass tangling up around her bare legs, but she managed to find a middle-aged man running around in circles not too far away from the entrance to Littleroot. His long, white lab coat flapped behind him as he was being chased by a small, wolf-like pokémon with crimson red eyes and a dark black and gray fur coat. There was something funny about this picture. The man was sturdy built and muscular, yet he was afraid of some puny puppy that probably was all bark with no bite.

"Help!" the man yelled, continuing to in circles to avoid the pokémon.

"Aw, but it's so cute," she cooed, noticing that the pokémon was a mere puppy. She shook her head to rid herself of her "cutesy wutsey" thoughts and looked at the professor. "How?" she asked.

"See that bag over there?" The man pointed toward a yellow backpack. "It contains two pokéballs! USE ONE OF THEM!" he shouted as he backed into a tree slowly, the wolf pokémon advancing on him.

"Oh, all right then." May shrugged and ran over to the bag, bending over a bit to open it. The bag then toppled over from all the weight, spilling out two glossy pokéballs. She ran a fingertip across the shiny surface of both balls before plucking one from the ground. She then enlarged the ball in her hand by pressing the button in the middle, reeling her arm back and releasing the ball from her grasp. "Go ... whoever you are!"

The red and white ball broke as soon as it hit the ground, and a small, delicate little chick pokémon popped out. She ruffled her reddish-orange and yellow feathers, one of her sharp talons digging into the ground. The yellow feathers that stuck out on the top of her head swayed in the delicate wind. She glared at the barking poochyena who turned around to face her, but her threatening look only upped her cute factor.

"Torchic!" the chick pokémon cried, her eyes narrowing.

May had learned a lot from her dad: Attacks, type advantage, and other things, but all her knowledge seemed to drain away now that she was in an actual battle. "Use your Scratch attack!" May half commanded, half guessed, noticing that the chick had sharp claws.

Torchic ran and hopped into the air, using one of her claws on the poochyena, scratching at its face. The poochyena howled in pain and snarled, angry. Torchic stepped back a bit, her feathers ruffling in a nervous manner.

"You can do it, Torchic!" May called out, assuming that was what the chick's name was. "Use another Scratch attack!

"Chic!" Torchic chirped cheekily and ran a bit, clawing into poochyena's flesh. The poor poochyena howled in pain and ran away quickly, its howls fading the further it ran.

Wiping at his brow, the professor sighed in relief, stepping away from the tree to thank May. "Thank you ... uh –"

"May," May finished for him as she returned the Torchic in a beam of red light. She then gathered up all the contents that spilled out of the professor's bag and handed it back to him.

"May?" the professor said her name slowly and thoughtfully as he took the bag and swung it over his shoulder. "Oh, yes. You're Norman's daughter, aren't you? Hi, I'm Professor Birch. Nice to meet you!" He shook her hand

"Likewise." May smiled cheerfully while shaking his hand back.

"Anyway, let's go back to my lab to talk. We don't want to be attacked by another random pokémon, now do we?"

May laughed again. "All right. Let's go."

Back in the lab, both professor and girl had a discussion. The professor sat at his desk, spilling out the contents of his backpack before catching the two pokéballs in them with his free hand. He then looked up to where May stood on the opposite of his desk.

"May, I think you have what it takes to be a great pokémon trainer," the professor said as put one of the balls down and fiddled with the other between two of his fingers. He couldn't contain his grin, almost like he were planning something. "I saw you battle that poochyena with ease. Amazing ... just like your dad."

"I just kept using Scratch attack. No biggie," May pointed out, smiling while rubbing the back of her neck nervously

"Still ..." the professor trailed off. "I notice that my torchic liked you from the start. She's pretty stubborn and doesn't always like to listen, yet she seemed to take your orders without a second thought. I feel that she will continue to grow and like you even more if you had her as a starter pokémon." He stared down at the pokéball in his hand before handing it over to May.

May, bewildered, looked at the pokéball in Professor Birch's hand, the ball shining in the florescent light. She then sighed. "My dad set you up to this, didn't he?"

Professor Birch raised an eyebrow and smirked. "What do you mean by that?"

"Ever since I turned ten, he's been trying to get me a pokémon and travel, but I told him I didn't want to. It just doesn't sound ... appealing to me, especially if I have to travel alone. It's not like I can't or anything. I passed the tests and even have my license. It's just ... I don't know. I guess I'm kind of afraid of doing it alone."

"I can honestly say that your dad and I didn't plan on anything, though he does call me to ask how he can persuade you to travel." He laughed a bit, his arm still outstretched to give her the ball. "That being said though, I'm not saying you have to travel if you don't want to. Torchic obviously likes you, and I think she'd be happy with you. The other trainer I was suppose to give her too found her too difficult to handle."

May sighed again, taking the ball in her hand reluctantly. "So I don't have to travel? I can just keep her as a pet kind of?"

"Yeah, of course."

The girl enlarged the ball in her hand. "Then I would love to have her. Thanks!" May smiled wider and pressed the button again, releasing the creature within. The torchic landed on the floor and ruffled her feathers again, looking up and blinking her wide, brown eyes at May, cheeping.

The professor smiled as May bent down to pick up the torchic, hugging her and nuzzling the top of the torchic's head with her chin. "Yes, well, my son, Brendan – "

May interrupted him. "Is your son that white-haired kid with the Hoenn color pride going on?"

"Why, yes. Yes it is."

"Oh, I met him! Never told me his name though."

"Yes, he can be rather ... ignorant sometimes. But he will and can teach you the ropes of pokémon training if you ask him –" He held up a finger to stop May from arguing with him. "I know, you have no interesting in being a trainer. It's still a good skill to learn though just in case you do need encounter another wild pokémon that is tougher than that poochyena. He told me he was heading toward Route 103, looking for pokémon right now, getting their data. That's why he traveling in the first place. That and the fact that he wants to be pokémon champion."

"Isn't that almost every boy's dream?" May rolled her eyes but then smiled as she heard her torchic chirp cheerfully. "All right, Professor. I'll go ask him for some pointers. See you later!" She exited the lab with Torchic happily flapping her wings as she carried her. "Route 103 ... That's only a few minutes from here I figure," she said to herself as her torchic peeped again. She began to walk past Oldale Town, another quaint town much like Littleroot, and started walking up toward the route where Brendan was at. She then found Brendan staring at a tree, watching him scribbling in a notebook, his reddish-brown eyes wide. "I knew he was weird," she murmured.

"I heard that!" Brendan turned around to face her, an angry look plastered on his face, making May freeze in her spot. "So, what do you want?" he asked cheekily. May knew that this boy has a cocky side.

"Your dad told me to ask you to teach me the ropes of pokémon training," May answered as she placed Torchic on the ground. The chick pokémon began to jump up and down in one spot, full of energy.

"Haha, funny." Brendan laughed, shoving his notepad into his backpack and crossing his arms. "Let's see if you were telling the truth!" Reaching down to his belt, he picked up the lone pokéball and enlarged it to the size of an orange. He released the pokémon that was with held in it. "Go, Mudkip!"

In a blaze of white light and dark blue sparkles, a pokémon popped out and growled excitedly as he slapped his blue tail against his small, blue body. His face has two orange spots where his face cheeks were and an orange thing (which is the only way May could describe it) stuck out from the top of his head like Torchic's yellow feathers. His four paws dug at the ground as he lowered his head, ready to pulverize the chick pokémon.

May scratched her head, confused. "Whatcha doing?" she asked idiotically seeing as she never was in a pokémon battle before.

Brendan slapped his head in frustration. "It's a pokémon battle, stupid!"

May glared at the white-haired boy. "Stupid? I'm not stupid! But they say it is contagious. Go, Torchic, but stay as far away as you can from Brendan over there! You might catch his stupid!" Torchic nodded and chirped cheekily as she jumped out and took a battle stance.

"Mudkip, start off with Mudslap attack!" Brendan ordered, flustered by May's taunt. The mudkip dipped his tail into some dirt and flung it at the torchic, growling.

"Careful, Torchic! Ground attack are super effective on fire types," May warned the pokémon, her knowledge of pokemon kicking in. Torchic heeded her warning and easily evaded the attack by jumping up into the air, flapping her short wings.

"Good!" May cheered. "Try using your Growl attack!"

"Counter it with Tail Wag, Mudkip!"

Torchic chirped cutely and Mudkip wagged his tail cutely. May awed at the cute, playful face that danced across the mudkip's face as he wagged his tail while Brendan smiled at the high-pitched little peeps that the torchic squeaked when she jumped up and down. The attacks seemed to be useless as both trainers seemed to be under the spell of both pokemons' cuteness.

"Tackle it, Torchic!" May commanded, pointing a finger at Mudkip. Torchic cheered, jumping in the air a few times and ramming Mudkip full on with her head, sending them both skidding on the ground. Torchic hopped off and landed gracefully on both feet.

"Hey! A torchic can't learn tackle!" Brendan shouted angrily. He then turned toward his mudkip and looked at him worriedly as he groggily got back on all fours. "Are you all right, Mudkip?" Brendan asked with concern.

"Kip!" Mudkip cried, nodding, angry.

"What's there to learn? Tackle is just ramming your opponent with your head!" May retorted smartly, crossing her arms while blowing up her bangs.

Brendan only huffed. "Let's show 'em who's boss! Tackle right back!"

Mudkip charged at Torchic and rammed her with his own head, this time the mudkip on top and the torchic on the bottom. Torchic's head collided sickeningly into the base of a tree. Mudkip got up, cheering triumphantly while Torchic laid still on the outer roots of the tree, breathing heavily.

"Hang in there, Torchic! Finish him with Scratch!" May commanded, smirking, getting more enthralled with the battle, her hands balled up into fists.

"Chic!" Torchic ran toward Mudkip and scratched it hard with her claws. Mudkip roared – despite the fact that it did sound adorable – in agony falling over and fainting, swirls in his eyes.

"Mudkip!" Brendan cried, concerned, picking up his fallen pokémon and cradling the being in his arms. The mudkip sighed a bit, going limp in his trainer's arms as fatigue overcame him.

"Sorry, Brendan," May apologized, picking up her pokémon too. She then mentally slapped herself; she didn't have to apologize for winning!

"It's all right. I just need to go to a pokémon center to heal him up ..." Brendan replied, down-fallen by his defeat. He began to trudge slowly to Oldale Town, scratching his mudkip's head comfortingly. "You better get back to the lab ... Tell my dad that you won."

"Wait up!" May shouted, but he still kept walking forward, hopping down the ledge toward the quaint town. "Do we think we hurt his ego?" May asked the torchic on the ground, sighing. "He did tell me that boys made better trainers, even though it's obviously not true." The two began their descent toward Oldale as well, the torchic flapping her wings happily.

The torchic merely flapped her wings again and chirped her name in response. "Maybe, but that's boy for ya!" May's pokémon replied cheekily, blinking her eyes twice to look innocent.

"Hold up." May stopped in her tracks, her eyes wide, and picked up the torchic and eyed it inquisitively. "Wait, you can talk?"

"Depends what you mean by that," the torchic giggled. "It's a special bond between trainer and pokémon. While I'm not speaking in um ... whatever language you humans speak in, we can still understand each other!"

"Oh, right. My dad told me about that. Then how come some trainers don't understand their pokemon? I read it in a journal once.

Torchic chirped again as if she didn't know, and May laughed, walking back toward Littleroot, kind of perturbed by the fact that she understood her pokémon. On the way there, they found Brendan by the entrance of Oldale Town, an eccentric Mudkip playfully snarling and biting at his heels.

"Finally, slowpoke!" Brendan yelled, smirking at his joke.

May shook her head but smiled sweetly. "I've known you for an hour, but it feels like that I've known you for years with all this name calling."

Brendan ran his fingers through his hair. "I'm not the shy type if you can tell."

"Yeah, you're more of the smart-aleck type huh?"

"Whatever, girl."

"The name is May!"

"Does it look like I care? I have to meet my dad."

"Okay, okay. No need to get your whitey tidies in a twist!"

"I don't wear whitey tidies! I wear –"

"Big boy undies?"

"Haha, funny. Hysterical really," Brendan replied back sarcastically, rolling his eyes, unaware that they made it past the "wild" of the path between Oldale and Littleroot. "Hey, we're here already. That was fast." Brendan walked toward his dad's lab, scooping up his mudkip in the process while May followed quickly at his heels, still hugging her torchic close to her chest. The automated doors of the laboratory opened for them again, and the two were greeted by the buzzing of machinery and the typing of a computer's keyboard.

"Hey, Dad!" Brendan shouted, his voice rebounding throughout the room as the two crossed the tile flooring of the lab. "I'm back!"

"Hey, Brendan and May! Did you two have a battle?" Professor Birch asked curiously as he threw the paperwork he was working on over his shoulder. The papers were sucked in by the fan, but he merely shrugged, not fazed by it, like he wanted it to happen.

"Yeah," Brendan grumbled, rolling his eyes and scowling.

"He's just mad 'cause he lost," May added happily, squeezing Torchic a bit, making the chick chirp

The professor chuckled. "I told you that you would make a great trainer, May."

May smiled. "I guess battling wasn't that bad ..."

Professor Birch stood up from his chair and pressed his hands against the cold metal of his desk, leaning into it so he could peer at the two young trainers. "You know, Brendan, I know you wanted to make a new friend so he or she could travel with you on your journey."

Brendan raised an eyebrow. "So?"

"So May is your age, isn't she?"

"What?" Brendan looked back and forth between the girl hugging her torchic and his smirking dad. "Dad, you can't be serious! You want me to travel with ... her?"

May looked at the bewildered Brendan and scoffed. "Oh no, no, no, Professor! You told me I wouldn't have to travel! You told me I could just keep this torchic as a pet!"

Professor Birch tried to calm down the rioting Brendan and the disgruntled May. "Let's think about it," he began as May huffed and Brendan avoided his eye contact. "May, you told me that what put you off from starting your own journey was you being alone. Obviously traveling with Brendan would alleviate that problem. And Brendan, she's your friend, isn't she? She can travel with you!"

"She's not my friend," Brendan murmured, causing the girl next to him glare at his turned head.

"I'd think it would be good if you two traveled together throughout the Hoenn region. In fact, I asked both your moms and they think it's a great idea."

"No! You're lying!" Brendan and May exclaimed in unison.

"The pokémon world is vast and dangerous," the professor added, rubbing his chin. "You never know when you two might need to bail each other out of situations. I wish I got to travel with someone early like you two but ..." he trailed off as he went down a trip on memory lane.

"But –" the two trainers argued, interrupting Professor Birch's thoughts.

"No ifs, ands, or buts," the professor cut them off firmly. "You two better pack up and start your journey!"

Last Revised: 2/22/09