The city of Vermillion never quite sparkled as beautifully in its reflection on the sea as it did in this particular spring. Every plant was in bloom, and the sun shown at least five days a week. However lovely it may be, a special cloud always seemed to float over a certain cottage on a private road on the east side of town.
Cozy and simple it was, with white paint exterior and small yellow shutters, and a couple ill-tended gardens on either side of the path. The roof needed to be fixed, but it kept the rain out. It was perfect for Kasumi and her two daughters. They've been living there for ten years, after all. Why move if it had all the accommodations, and not to mention, a wonderful view of the ocean?
Nozomi and Makoto were twins with pitch-black hair. They were identical, except for their eye color. Nozomi had a coffee brown, while Makoto, mysteriously, held an azure tone. They loved their mother dearly and with great respect for raising them by herself. Of course, they loved their father as well, however, they had never met him.
Satoshi Tajiri was a legend across Kanto, and everyone still spoke of him often. A brilliant trainer with unbelievable skill; his style of battle was unique and impeccable and quite impossible to copy. A father to definitely be proud of. Unfortunately, he hasn't been seen for almost eleven years, and all that Nozomi and Makoto know of him are the stories. Those, and a small picture by the door. It was a younger Satoshi. Gentle eyes and soft features; he didn't look a day older than eighteen.
Whenever Kasumi would leave the house, which was indeed rare, she'd smile at the photo and say, "I'll be back soon". She had a strong heart and always believed Satoshi would return, even though he was thought of by most all to be dead. In the afternoon, Kasumi would sit in an old chair by the largest window, overlooking the sea, staring off into the horizon. Everyone thought her hope in her lost love's return was pointless, yet she waited, and still does.
"Kasumi, you'll give yourself wrinkles! You're young; only 29," they say. "Branch out a little and explore other opportunities."
"Never," Kasumi would reply. "Satoshi will come back. I promised him I will always be there, and I don't intend to break it."
True, the scenario lacked understanding for most of the people who knew the Tajiri family. Others believed strange stories that started with small rumors. One such tale stated that Kasumi, in her over-protective motherly rage, murdered Satoshi and buried him under the floor of their cottage. That is why she refuses to leave. Another simply said that Kasumi was insane, mental, out of her mind. Possibly, Satoshi was never her lover and the twins were product of a fling or rape. Yet, the girls' appearance subdued that rumor rather quickly.
On a happier note, it was Nozomi and Makoto's tenth birthday in a couple days. Their spirits were chipper and they couldn't wait! Your tenth birthday is an important one, for it is the official age to become a pokemon trainer. Nozomi and Makoto had their eyes on the profession, ever since they could completely understand how legendary and successful their father was.
On the day before their birthday, the girls looked upon their mother sitting in her old chair by the window in pity from a safe distance. Kasumi was such a wonderful mother, caring and kind, and didn't let her sorrow over Satoshi get in the way of raising her daughters right. Yet, Nozomi and Makoto wanted to do something for her in return. They always have, but this year, they could take action. They were, after all, allowed to leave the house and go on their journey. It was the perfect chance.
That afternoon, once lunch had been finished, the two girls went out back by the ocean. A small area by the shore was penned off to keep their mother's pokemon in, as well as the ones they each had. It wasn't much, but it let them roam free and get some fresh air and exercise.
Nozomi hoists herself up to sit on top of the wooden fence and sighs.
"What are you thinking about?" asks Makoto.
"Nothing," replies Nozomi. "I wish I were thinking of something, though. Kaa-chan seems to be getting wearier by the day."
"I know," Makoto nods. "I'm starting to think that leaving to be pokemon trainers isn't the best idea. Shouldn't we stay home with her?"
"She wouldn't want that, Makoto."
"Something tells me she doesn't want us to leave as well! I guess I'm forced to think that we're all she has right now."
Nozomi sighs again. "I'm not crazy about leaving Kaa-chan either, but don't you want to be a pokemon trainer? If we work real hard, we can become masters, just like Tou-san!"
Makoto smiles. "Traveling all over together sure will be fun!"
"We'll meet tons of new people," Nozomi says. "I've always wanted to go to Fuchsia City, and battle against the dojo trainers."
She then flexes one of her arms and squeezes the muscle with her other hand.
Makoto's eyes light up. "Or how about Celadon? All of those flower boutiques and that huge department store!"
"Don't you want to fight?" Nozomi looks at her sister strangely.
Makoto tries to put on a rough face. "Of course I do!"
"Sure, you and Oddish will go a long way," Nozomi sneers.
"Your Meowth isn't the greatest either, Nozomi," Makoto says defensively. "All it does is clean itself."
A bit of color paints Nozomi's cheeks. "Anyways, what are we going to do about Kaa-chan, since we're leaving tomorrow?"
Makoto sits down on the lush grass, takes her ponytail holder out, letting her long satin-like hair flow down, and starts to braid it. "I don't know…"
"Come on!" Nozomi hops down from the fence and sits next to Makoto. "We need to think of something, and soon."
"I want to make Kaa-chan happy," Makoto says. "Will becoming great trainers like Tou-san be enough to make her proud? She puts on a joyful face whenever we're around, but when she's alone, she always looks so forlorn."
Nozomi and Makoto sit in the grass for a while in silence, listening to the petite waves crash onto the sandy beach only a few meters away.
"Makoto," Nozomi starts to say slowly. "What if…"
"What if what?" Makoto leans forward.
"What if, on our journey, we use our time not only to train, but to search for Tou-san?"
"Look for Tou-san?" Makoto repeats.
Nozomi nods her head to clarify. "Do you think it's crazy?"
"Yes, I do," Makoto replies honestly. "The chances are against us even if he was believed to be alive."
"Yes, I gathered that much on my own," Nozomi says. "But what about people who knew Tou-san other than Kaa-chan? We haven't been outside Vermillion a lot. There are bound to be relatives of some sort. Tou-san is legendary! Someone's sure to know something."
"Nozomi, this idea will be futile," Makoto sighs.
"It's worth a try! I know it sounds impossible, and it probably is, but I at least want to give it a shot. For Kaa-chan?"
Makoto looks away from her sister to gaze at the ocean, beautiful and blue. What were the odds of finding their father in such a large world, when they were so little? Plus, he was assumed dead. There was no point in looking for something that wasn't there. It was like chasing the horizon. Not matter how fast and how far you ran, it was always the same distance from you. It was as untouchable as the stars.
Shaking her head to clear her thoughts, Makoto looks straight into Nozomi's deep, brown eyes. "Kaa-chan has a little address book in the drawer by the phone. It should have Tajiri Obaa-chan's number and address in it, as well as a couple others that might come in handy."
"Kaa-chan's sisters too!" Nozomi grins.
"It'll be close to unattainable," Makoto says.
"But with your brains and my brawn," Nozomi says.
"We'll be one stop closer!" They finish together.
"We can't tell Kaa-chan about this, though," Nozomi adds.
"Why not?" asks Makoto.
"Do you think she'll actually approve?" questions Nozomi. "All these years and she hasn't even gone to look for him herself. I don't know what's holding her back, but she'll probably make us do the same."
Makoto silently agrees. "So all we have to do before we set out tomorrow is grab that little address book."
Nozomi nods her head vigorously and gets to her feet. "I can't quite explain how excited I am for this, Makoto. Our very own adventure! We might even be able to find out where Tou-san is, or what happened to him."
"I'm looking forward to it, as well, Nozomi."
"I hear his voice in my dreams once in a while," Nozomi says, getting lost in thought. "I hope it matches perfectly."
Makoto stands as well. "We mustn't set our hopes too high, Nozomi."
"Yes," Nozomi agrees. "But we must have some hope."
A gentle breeze passes, sending either their long or short hair each into a small frenzy. It caused the sea to sparkle like diamonds and the grass to glitter as if miniscule jade slivers were lost in its mass. Such a welcoming day, until the twins looked back at their cottage to see their cloud hovering over top of it. Silent determination filled them both, as if what they discussed earlier were simply an every-day challenge. This wasn't going to be a joke on them. They were going to prove, once and for all, that their renowned father was still out there, and still wanted them.
After some lazier lounging in silence by the sumptuous seaside, Nozomi and Makoto head inside. Peeking around the corner wall into the living room, they see that Kasumi is no longer in her chair.
"Kaa-chan?" Makoto calls.
"I'm in the kitchen, girls!" Kasumi answers.
They walk down the hallway and enter the kitchen too see the odd sight of their mother in an apron.
"What are you doing?" Nozomi asks.
"Well," Kasumi ponders for a second. "I thought I would get a head-start on your birthday cakes. Since you like vanilla with lemon, Nozomi, and you like chocolate with strawberry, Makoto, I thought it would simply be easier to make two cakes! That way, you both get your favorite."
"Wow, thanks, Kaa-chan," Makoto says.
"Would you like us to help you?" Nozomi asks.
"No!" Kasumi hastily said back. "This is your birthday cake, you shouldn't have to work for it."
"Well, um, we'll be in our room, if you need us," Makoto informs.
"That's fine. I'll call you when dinner is ready."
Nozomi and Makoto retreat to the main hallway once more and instantly head to the small cabinet on which the phone sat. Digging through the main drawer, they eventually unearth a small, pocket size, evergreen colored address book. It wasn't very worn, for Kasumi made few calls. Another one of her idiosyncrasies.
The girls rush up to their room on the second floor as if expecting something grand to be waiting for them. The door slams open and the plain room is exposed, displaying the common twin beds by either wall and a nightstand in between. The only feature that stood out prominently was the bay window, which gave a stupendous view of the front drive, which wound it's way down the large hill towards the town, and the wonderful landscape of rural Vermillion. Nozomi and Makoto each flop down on their own beds and Nozomi opens up the address book to read off names.
"Jigii?" Nozomi recites. "First time I've heard that name."
"Do we even know him? Can't be an uncle; Kaa-chan has all sisters," Makoto says.
"Is he in Tou-san's family then?"
"No idea. Where does he live?"
"Orange Islands?" Nozomi replies, not sure where they were.
"Oh!" Makoto sighs. "The tropics! How lovely!"
"We won't have the time to visit this guy, Makoto," Nozomi says.
"Why not? Possibly on a break? A mini vacation?" Makoto pouts. "It's so beautiful in the Orange Archipelago."
"We have a beach in our backyard."
"You're no fun, Nozomi," Makoto sticks out her tongue.
Nozomi raises her eyebrows. "We'll see…"
Makoto claps her hands. "Ha-ha! Okay, who's next?"
"No idea," Makoto shakes her head. "Residence?"
"It's not too far. There's a gym in that city, so it will be even more convenient to stop by. Next."
Nozomi flips the page over. "Sakura, Ayame, and Botan. Aren't those Kaa-chan's sisters?"
"Yes, they are," Makoto agrees. "Cerulean City, right?"
"Yup. Next entry is Hanako Tajiri. That's Obaa-chan!"
"Where does she live?" Makoto asks.
"Pallet town," Nozomi replies. "Do you think she'll be excited to actually meet us?"
"I hope so," Makoto says. "Kaa-chan sends her pictures every once in a while."
"What about Kenji Egamatsu?" Nozomi points to a name. "He lives in the Orange Islands, too."
"Even better chance, Nozomi! Killing two birds with one stone."
"Makoto," Nozomi exasperates. "Will you take money into account? We'd need to buy ferry tickets, and find a place to stay once we're there. Plus, there are food expenses and supplies."
"We'll worry about that later, okay? Knowing you, you'd probably swim over for fun!"
Nozomi ignores that comment and turns the page. A small envelope falls out and gently glides to the floor. Makoto snatches it like candy and opens it. She takes out another flat piece of paper. A photo.
"What is it?" Nozomi asks, quickly getting up and sitting next to Makoto.
"A picture. I recognize Kaa-chan and that has to be Tou-san. There's a third guy, but I don't know who he is."
The picture must have been taken in summer, with bright sun and blue skies. Kasumi was sitting on a Lapras, with Satoshi next to her, both looking adolescent. Standing, balancing with a hand on Lapras' neck was another boy with black hair and a red sweatband. They were all waving and smiling, completely carefree.
"Look at Kaa-chan's outfit!" Makoto giggles. "Her shorts are so… short!"
"Not that short," Nozomi says quietly, tugging on her own shorts.
"Nozomi, take a closer look at Tou-san," Makoto requests.
Nozomi puts the photo closer to her face and takes in every feature. "What's so special about him?"
"That hat!" Makoto points.
Nozomi gives the picture back to her sister and heads straight for the closet. Getting on hands and knees, she starts to dig through the many boxes that were pilled up on the bottom. Dragging out a small box from the back and opening it, the excavating continues. After a couple of old pairs of jeans were tossed out, some worn-out shirts, and a small, green backpack; Nozomi find what she was looking for and holds it out triumphantly.
She held out a cap. Red in the back, white in the front, and an old black symbol behind the brim. Nozomi blows off a thin layer of dusk and places the hat on her head. It fit impeccably, as if it were molded for her head only. Walking over to the mirror above the dresser, she strikes a pose, flashing a peace sign.
"Makes you look like a tomboy," Makoto snickers.
"I am not!"
Nozomi takes hold of the brim and twists it, so the hat was backwards.
"Now, this is more like a tomboy."
The girls laugh as Nozomi resumes posing in front of the mirror.
A knock issues from outside the door and Kasumi enters.
"Dinner is ready, girls."
Her eyes fall on Nozomi and she freezes, hand still clutching the doorknob. Nozomi grins and gives her mother a peace sign. Kasumi's other hand begins to clench her apron. Makoto looks from Nozomi to her mother and lifts an eyebrow.
"Kaa-chan? What's the matter?" She asks.
a couple times. "Where did you find that? That hat?"
"This?" Nozomi taps the brim. "For some reason, I remembered seeing it in a box in the closet, so I dug it out."
Kasumi walks up to her daughter and removes the cap from her head, looking it over. She smiles to herself.
"I completely forgot that I had this," She says, lifting it to her face and sniffing it. "Pity—it smells like the house now."
Makoto and Nozomi stare at Kasumi, confused.
Noticing, Kasumi puts the hat down at her side and laughs shortly. "Anyway, are you hungry yet? I can always heat things up later."
"Kaa-chan, may I keep the hat?" Nozomi asks, hesitantly. "Maybe I can take it with me on Makoto and my journey? It fit so nicely, and it's not too shabby."
Kasumi glances down at the hat, and then places it on her daughter's head. Her eyes began to sparkle in a strange light, as if she might cry at any moment.
"With your short hair, Nozomi, you look so much like your Tou-san when he wore that hat. I swear he never took it off, except when he slept. Take good care if it."
"I sure will, Kaa-chan!" Nozomi nods her head, vigorously.
Makoto rushes over to Nozomi and grabs the hat, putting it on her own head and pulling her ponytail through the back. "What about me, Kaa-chan? Do I look like Tou-san?"
"Makoto! She said that I could have it! Not you!"
"We'll share it," Makoto replies and dodges Nozomi's attempt to seize the hat from her head.
"Girls…girls, calm down," Kasumi tried to interrupt.
Makoto starts to run around the room, jumping on the beds, trying to stay away from Nozomi. Even through her attempt to escape, Nozomi manages to tackle Makoto and begins to tickle her.
"Hand it over, Makoto!" She says, teasingly.
"Nozomi, get off Makoto," Kasumi insists, but the girls don't listen.
They roll around on their bedroom floor, laughing their heads off.
Kasumi sighs. "As long as there's not blood shed."
"Stop it, stop it!" Makoto pleads as Nozomi sits on her back and tickles her underneath the ribs.
"Nozomi! Makoto!" Kasumi shouts over the fits of laughter.
The girls instantly snap their attention to their mother.
"Dinner is ready, are you going to come down to the table?"
"Yes, Kaa-chan, we're coming!" Nozomi and Makoto reply in unison.
Kasumi leads downstairs and Nozomi tosses the hat behind her, letting it lightly land on her bed, next to the address book.
Both would be put to good use, once the girls left on their pokemon journey tomorrow: on their tenth birthday.
A couple footnotes for you
First, thanks for reading the first chapter of my new story! I hope you enjoyed it, because I can feel that I'll have fun writing it.
Okay! There will be no Japanese phrases in this story, but I will be using the names of the people. Using the Japanese names of the pokemon would be a waste of time, since I need to keep checking my translation list , not memorized yet. Anyways, here is some information on the names to help you out, if you need it.
Kasumi – Misty in the English series… couldn't find out her last name.
Nozomi – Daughter number one! Nozomi actually is a Japanese word for "Hope"
Makoto – Daughter number two! Makoto actually is a Japanese word for "Faith" or "Trust"
Satoshi Tajiri – Ash Ketchum in the English series.
Kaa-chan – Kaa is the word for mother in Japanese, and the "chan" part makes it more like "mommy" or "mum"
Tou-san – Tou is the word for father in Japanese, and the "san" just adds a little bit of respect towards that person.
Tajiri Obaa-chan – Well, Baa is the word for grandmother, and the "O" adds honor and respect, but the "chan" makes it more like "grandma". Tajiri is just her last name, signifying she's from Satoshi's side. Her name is also Hanako in Japanese.
Jigii – This has to be one of the funniest Japanese names I've ever heard! Whenever I say it, I replace the 'g' for another 'j' so it turns out as "jiji", which is the word for grandpa … anyways, this is the Japanese name for Rudy, the gym leader on Trovita.
Takeshi Yura – Takeshi is Brock's Japanese name. I added the Yura for his last name myself, because I couldn't find his last name. Yura means Rock, so I thought it fit.
Sakura, Ayame, and Botan – These are Kasumi's sisters from oldest to youngest, so you can put faces with names . They're all names of flowers, except Kasumi, I find that interesting…
Kenji Egamatsu – Kenji is Tracey's Japanese name. Again, I added the Egamatsu for a last name myself. 'Ega' means drawing or painting, and 'matsu' is a typical ending for a lot of Japanese sir-names. I thought it fit.
Again, thanks for reading!
Disclaimer: I do not own Pocket Monsters/Pokemon or any other related characters or items.