Lily stuck her bottom lip out and glared at her mother and older sister. Violet was curled up in their mother's lap, who was reading one of Violet's stories. Neither paid her any attention. Squeals drew the pretty, pink haired little girl's eyes around to see her younger sister Misty catfighting with their older sister Daisy. Daisy was trying to curl Misty's hair again. Honestly, Lily didn't know why her lil' sis' kept it in that weird lopsided ponytail. At age 9, Lily already was very fashion conscious.

And she was also the middle child. 'The middle child of four?' her teacher had laughed. 'Lily...don't be silly.'

Lily turned back to her mother and Violet, a scowl darkening her face and she twisted a ringlet of her hair around her finger angrily. She had been talking to Mama…or at she had been until Vi appeared going 'ooh Mama, Mama, will you like, read my new story! I like, wrote it just for you Mama!' Rose Waterflower stroked her daughter's silky blue hair absentmindedly as she read. Lily burned with jealousy, and whirled around, slamming the door as she left the room. No one took any notice.

David Waterflower was in the Gym…as usual.

"Daddy!" she called, as she ran down the blue marble steps. But it was Daddy's Seel that turned around, not her father. The little girl walked right up and put her small hand in her father's large one. He looked down in surprise.

"Lily!" Lily smiled at the attention, and snuggled closer. David rubbed the smooth skin on his daughter's chin with the course skin on his thumb. "Take a break guys!" he called to his Pokémon, and Lily waved to the Goldeen that would become hers next year as it dived under the arena water. David lifted his daughter onto his knee as he sat on the steps. "So what can I do for you little lady?" Lily looked up at him with big blue eyes.

"Daddy, who do you like best; me, Vi, Daisy or Misty?" David blinked at the question.

"I love you all the same princess! Daddy can't choose!"

"Well who does Mama like the most? I know she likes Daisy cos Daisy's like, really pretty and like clever, and she likes Violet cos Violet writes pretty stories and like, goes to ballet classes and plays like, the piano, and she likes Misty cos she says Misty reminds her of Grandma and Misty loves Water Pokémon, like her…but I don't like, think Mama likes me very much Daddy." David flinched at the sadness on his daughter's face, and squeezed her into a hug.

"She loves you too Lily! You do great things as well! Look at how well you can paint! And you're Goal Shooter in the Netball team!"

"But Mama doesn't care about those things as much as she like, cares about the others…" Lily persisted. "When I got 8/10 on this like, really hard maths test at school, I came like, running home to tell her about it, and she just asked me if that was like, it…only eight…and I tried to tell her that Lucie only got like, 3, and it was really hard, but she like, walked off before I could to go brush Daisy's hair…"

"Lily…" David began, trying to place his arm around the girl again, but she jumped up.

"No! Mama hates me!" she yelled, crying. "Nothing I like, ever do is good enough for her! When I came second in the skipping race on Sports Day, it wasn't like, worth telling her about it, because I didn't come first! And she like, never yells at the others like she yells at me! Well if Mama hates me, I'm gonna hate her too!" Crying her eyes out, Lily wriggled away from her father's outstretched arms and ran from the Gym, bumping into her mother on the way up to her room. Rose sighed deeply.

"Lily! Stop making that noise please! Go and blow your nose, you're not a baby." Suddenly there was a screech from the other room.


"Daisy? What's wrong sweetie?" Rose called in alarm as she ran down the stairs. Daisy ran into the room, crying even worse than Lily had been, clutching an arm. Misty sheepishly peered around the doorframe.

"Mama! Misty like, BIT me!" Daisy sobbed, holding out an unmarked arm.

"Aw poor baby!" Rose cooed, kissing her daughter's arm. "Let's go have some ice-cream and then get to work on your Science project okay?" Daisy sniffled happily and bounded into the kitchen.

"Mama, I have a History project," Lily's voice quietly sounded from the stairs. Rose turned around absently.

"Oh do you? Make sure you do a good job now sweetie." Rose walked into the kitchen, and wearily, Lily dragged herself up the stairs, to find Misty in their room.

"You know if it was me who bit her Highness, like, two things would have been different," she said sardonically as she flopped down on her bad and her sister turned to face her. "Number one, I would have like, been grounded till like, who knows when, and number two, I would have aimed for the face and left a bigger mark. Why'd you bite her anyway?"

"She was trying to dye my hair blonde!" the seven year old exclaimed, rolling her large teal eyes. Lily giggled.

"Daisy thinks she's like, such a big shot!" she murmured. "But she's had her Goldeen for over a year, and she hasn't caught any other Pokémon and it hasn't even like, evolved!" Misty nodded.

"It's a good thing she'll be the next GymLeader," she said, rolling over onto her back and staring at her mural on the ceiling. "I love Water Pokémon but I think it would be a bit boring to stay here.

"Oh, so what do you wanna do instead of help us run the Gym when Daddy can't anymore?" Misty smiled.

"Oh I wanna be on adventures, seeing lots of Pokémon, and then-"

"-getting a boyfriend?" Lily finished wistfully. Misty looked surprised, then thoughtful.

"Well yeah. But I have to wait till I'm taller and prettier and stuff. It's ages away."

"Oh, it will be sooner than you think," observed Lily. "Hey Misty…do you think that Mama might like, hate me?" Misty looked at her sister shocked.

"Of course not! Lily…don't be silly!"

[= Eight years later=]

Lily Waterflower lingered in the tunnel as she watched her two older sisters tag-teaming a challenger for the CascadeBadge. As her arms went to cross over her chest, she absentmindedly yanked her short green skirt down. Mama had been dead six years today.

Daisy could be a model. Violet could be a writer. Misty was making something of herself at that moment, out there with her own makeshift family who cared about her. Lily…well Lily wasn't anything.

She was old enough now to know that her mother had never hated her, and the way she had been treated was not done on purpose, rather on the oversight that her personality and that of her mother's hadn't seemed to fit together so well.

But even though she knew this, Lily Botan Waterflower still berated herself for not being perfect enough for her mother's affections.

Sometimes, it's never quite enough

If you're flawless, then you win my love

Don't forget to win first place

Don't forget to keep that, smile on your face

Be a good girl

Try a little harder

You've got to measure up

Make me prouder

How long, before you screw it up

And how many times do I have to tell you

To hurry up?

With everything I do for you

The least you could do

Is keep quiet

Be a good girl

You've gotta try a little harder

That simply wasn't good enough

To make me proud

Be a good girl

Push a little farther now

That wasn't fast enough

To make me happy

I'll love you

Just the way you are

If you're perfect

Lily smiled amicably at her two elder sisters as they returned victorious.

"Hey guys, do you think I could become a like, famous artist?" she asked excitedly. Violet and Daisy looked at each other and giggled.

"Lily…don't be silly."