Jason was abandoned at a very young age, so he spent most of his life on the streets

Author's Notes: I hope you didn't think that this series was dead, 'cause it's not. It just took me a long time to get into Angel's mindset. A special thanks goes out to Darkelf for his help with getting this vignette started. By the way, he's an author here, so you might want to check his stuff out. I really do recommend it.

Disclaimer: I don't own pokemon, but I damn well should! I don't own Jason Erevan AKA Angel. He belongs to Darkelf.

The Beginning of the Road: Shadow of a Memory

Everywhere I look, there is darkness. It is not yet sunset, but here, so many stories underground, one does not see much of the sun. One does not see much of anything but the cold steel bars and cement walls, or the occasional guard passing by. It has been so very quiet lately...but to tell the truth, it is times like this that I hate most of all. Times when I have nothing better to do than think of how my life once was. Back when there was actually a reason to life, when there was a reason to keep fighting no matter what the circumstances. Those times are long gone, now, but I can't seem to shake the memories. They haunt me like some spectral being, always there but not really tangible. I was forced to take a different path, one filled with only pain and sorrow. My memories almost seem to belong to someone else. Was I ever really Jason Erevan, the Eevee Trainer?

I can recall my early years. I am pretty sure that I was abandoned, since I have no memories of my parents. All that there was in the beginning was life on the street. The only law was every person for himself. There were no friends, no companions, and certainly no compassion. Somehow, I managed to keep myself alive during those lonely years. In fact, I'm not quite sure how I survived before I met Cainin.

Cainin is—was—my first pokemon, an Eevee. I found him one night while I was trying to sleep in an alley. He woke me up when he knocked over a trashcan. The noise startled me and I thought it might be a street bully. I tiptoed over to the sound, preparing for a fight. To my surprise, all that I found was an Eevee rooting through the trashcan it had just knocked over. The little guy looked half-starved and he was shivering in the cold air. He acted scared of me, and it made me wonder if he had been abandoned just like I had. I knew right then and there that I had to adopt him, though it turned out to be a bit more difficult than I thought to get him to trust me at first. I spent all night coaxing the little pokemon with pieces of food that I had until finally, just as the sun was rising, the Eevee dared to take the food from my hand and even let me pet him.

From that point on, we were inseparable. Sure, my life was hard enough without having to take care of a pokemon, but it made little difference to me. Cainin and I were friends and we would do anything it took to get a better life for ourselves. All the years we were together, enduring the hardships of living on the street with no one but each other, we never doubted that things would get better. We were always optimistic. There was nothing in this world that could stop us from improving our life, and we didn't need help from anyone else to achieve our goal.

Cainin and I grew close, much closer than most other pokemon trainers. It was not long before my gift kicked in with my constant companion. My gift was empathy. It connected me with the Eevee so I felt all his emotions. I always knew his moods, always felt his joys and sorrows, pleasures and pains. With that ability, I was able to train him to be as strong as possible. We cheered together when we won minor scuffles with anyone who messed with us, and we both winced in pain when our opponent's attack struck home. Still, my bond with Cainin was worth it. We were an unbeatable team.

That was why, when I turned eleven, I decided to go out on a pokemon journey. Though I had no backing like those kids who started in Pallet Town or New Bark Town, I was still determined to prove my worth in the Pokemon League. Of course, I needed to catch some more pokemon. No matter how good Cainin was, it would be foolish to attempt to enter the League with only one pokemon. So I spent the next several years travelling through both Kanto and Johto, battling trainers, gym leaders, and catching new pokemon. Eventually, I obtained one of every kind of Eevee evolution. Jolteon, Vaporeon, Flareon, Espeon, Umbreon, and Cainin became my main team for battles. They helped my earn my badges from the gyms in Kanto and Johto, and I even acquired the nickname "The Eevee Trainer" because of them. My name soon came to be recognized by just about everyone in the pokemon training community. It was at that time that I decided to take my Eevee team and become a true member of the Pokemon League. All I had to do was win the last badge in Viridian City, then it was off to the Indigo Plateau for the ceremony. It was simple as that, and I was dying to join the League.

If only I had waited.

I remember that fateful night better than any of my other memories. If only I had waited, if only I had not passed through Viridian Forest, if only I had not traveled in the dark. If only…if only…if only…

But I didn't wait. I went as fast as I could through the forest, even though the sun had set hours ago. Cainin walked at my side. I had wanted him to accompany me outside his pokeball as we entered the final city of our pokemon journey that had started so long ago. And we weren't going to stop waling until we had reached the pokemon center in Viridian City.

At least, that had been our original plan. At one point, I became aware of dark shapes all around us. They seemed to be shadows flitting through the trees, each one hidden just enough that I wasn't sure if they were real or not. However, my time spent living in the streets had taught me that those kinds of things were often trouble, so I stopped in my tracks. Cainin also halted, looking up at me curiously. Then his ears twitched as if he had heard something. His hackles raised and he growled at something hiding in the dark.

The shadows must have realized that they'd been spotted and revealed themselves. They were actually seven adults and, judging by their black uniforms, they were all members of Team Rocket. Three of the Rockets had guns, all of which were aimed at me. One of them, I guess he was the leader of the group, snapped his fingers. It was a signal and I was suddenly grabbed from behind by two of the pokemon thieves. Fortunately for me, they neglected to do anything to Cainin. The little pokemon screeched with rage and charged, barreling into one of the men that held me with more strength than one would expect from such a lightweight creature. The blow sent the man sprawling to the ground, obviously injured, and he cursed loudly. One of the gunmen raised his gun and aimed it at Cainin, a glint of vengeance in his eye. I managed to wrench free of the Rocket that still held me and recalled Cainin to his pokeball just as gunfire tore up the ground where he had just been standing.

After rescuing my friend, I ran. It would be foolish for me to attempt to take on all seven of them, especially since three of them were armed. However, I could not outrun the criminals. They were faster than me and, as I would learn later, they were on their home turf. The Rockets surrounded me quickly and I was left with no other choice but to fight. I could have released my pokemon to fight for me, but I didn't because this wasn't their fight. They only battled in actual pokemon matches, not against thugs like these. I hadn't done any fist-fighting since my time on the street, but I remembered the basics. I knew enough to give me a chance if they weren't intending on shooting me on the spot.

With skill and more than a little luck, I took down three of the Rockets. The one Cainin had injured fell first. The attack from my pokemon had done more damage than the guy cared to admit, so a few punches to his jaw had him down for the count. The next one attacked from behind, but I grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and flipped him over my back. He fell on his head, knocking him out. The third Rocket was a woman, which threw off my fighting a bit. I never wanted to hit a girl, but it appeared that I had no choice. She was quicker and more agile than the other two, and she wore me down quite a bit. It was only by the grace of whatever deity happened to be watching that she collapsed before I did.

But deities are fickle things.

Just as the woman collapsed, one of the other Rockets hit me in the back of the head with the butt of his gun. The blow stunned me, allowing the remaining Rockets to beat me to within an inch of my life. As I blacked out, I hoped that they wouldn't kill me.

I was such a fool. I should have been praying for death at that time, not life. Anything, anything, would have been better than what I'm going through now.

They dragged me back to their headquarters, the Viridian Gym. There, I was locked up and all of my pokemon were taken, even my best friend, Cainin. It was later that I was forced to go on missions for Team Rocket. Of course I refused. I wasn't that kind of person, and I certainly wouldn't hurt anyone else, no matter what they did to me. I told the boss of the criminal organization that I would never work for him, not even if they threatened to kill me. Strangely, he just smiled at me, then ordered me dragged off to the dungeon, and that was where I met him. The one person to become the bane of my existence from that day forth.

I remember that first meeting clearly. Of all the damn memories of my old life I have, that one is crystal clear. Perhaps I remember it so well because it was what truly forced me to divorce the life of Jason Erevan.

When I first saw him, he didn't look threatening at all. Sure, he was much taller than me, but with his blond hair, brown eyes, and obvious youth, he certainly did not look like the keeper of the torture chamber. His smile, however, allowed me the briefest glance at his twisted soul and heartless nature.

"Hello, boy. Never seen you here before. You new?"

"Why the hell should you care?"

"Funny you should mention hell…Anyway, what's your name, boy?"

"Jason Erevan. No matter what you do to me, I'll never work for Team Rocket!"

"Hmm…You've got quite an attitude, don't you? Well, let's see just how long it takes to get you to recant that statement, shall we?"

"You don't scare me!"

"I will."

He always talked like that. Every other sentence out of his mouth was some sort of threat. Unfortunately, none of them were ever empty threats. That time, the first time I was thrown to that demon's mercy—as if he had any—was bad enough to make me go on a few missions for Team Rocket. I soon refused again, though, when I was ordered to beat up some members of a rival gang. I was taken to him again, but I was not afraid. I had endured the punishment before, I could do it again.

"Back again? So soon?"

"Go to hell, bastard! I've been through your torture, and this time it won't break me down!"

"Well, we shall have to step it up then, won't we?"

It was worse that time. It was worse every subsequent time. It seemed that he always had something new to torment me with. The pain, the agony, the humiliation was harder and harder to take. I found that I could never get used to it, no matter how much I tried to resist. I tried to be as stoic as possible, tried not to give him the joy of seeing me writhe, but it didn't matter to him. He knew I was suffering and he was loving every minute of it.

His tortures escalated to unbearable levels. For a while, I believed I could hold my own against him. That was before Nine Circles, a punishment so severe, I cannot even talk about it. He even found out about my empathetic link with Cainin, and soon my poor little pokemon became just another tool to inflict pain upon me. It was worse for me, though, because now an innocent was agonizing because of me. Cainin's pain was my fault.

Sometimes, when there are no guards patrolling the cells, and no sounds in the darkness, I wonder if that Eevee wished that he had never met me.

I am forced to serve Team Rocket loyally now. But even if I have done nothing wrong, he will still show up at my prison cell and drag me back to his dark hell. He enjoys torturing me just for the sake of torture. It doesn't matter if it is physical or psychological torture, just so long as I'm in agony by his own actions. I bear hundreds of scars from the physical torment, and my soul is all but broken from the psychological pain he has put me through. I remember everything, no matter how hard I try to forget.

"Well, Jason, which is it going to be? You want me to kill this little girl here, or should I do away with your pet Eevee? It's all up to you."

"Pwease, mister! Help me!"

"Veeee! Vee!"

"No…Don't make me choose…"

"Is that how you're going to be? If you do not choose, I'll kill them both."

"Pwease, don't hurt me! I want my mommy!"

"No, don't kill them both!"

"Then choose, boy. The girl you've never met or the pokemon you've known all your life? Your fellow human or your loyal pet?"

"Save…save Cainin."

"Nooo! Mister, don't let him—"

He killed her right there, right in front of me. It was his hand that carried out the action, but it was my decision that cursed her. She couldn't have been more than three years old.

I hated it. I hated everything about Team Rocket. I refused to yield to their leader's sick demands of murder, no matter how many times I was thrown to that soulless hellspawn. It was because of my kind nature that I became known as "The angel of Team Rocket." I was the only noble person among them, though they did everything they could to bring me down to their level.

No matter how low much I struggled, Team Rocket always found some way to pull me down further. When they began their genetic experimenting, I was one of the first subjects. Those scientists knew of my nickname. It was probably the reason they gave me the DNA of a Dragonite. That DNA gave me a Dragonite's expansive, leathery wings—the wings of a demon. The irony did not escape me. However, Team Rocket's geneticists weren't happy with just the hideous wings they had given me. They also gave me curved, metallic blades on my forearms from steel pokemon DNA. Now I cannot even stand to look at myself. They made me a freak, a monster.

Of course, he delighted in mocking my appearance. He even gave me a permanent reminder of my pokemon genetics.

"Nice wings, Angel. Say, are those blades on your arm from a steel pokemon? You know, I hear that type is notoriously weak against fire. Would you care to put that to the test?"

He held his knife in the fire until the blade was glowing red-hot. Then he dragged it down the right side of my face, right through my eye, in a jagged line. I fainted from the amplified pain. Now, even if I were to cut off my wings and break the blades from my arms, the scar will always remind me of the unnatural blood that flows through my veins.

But those are all the memories of Jason Erevan. That boy died a long time ago. Now, there is only Angel, the mockery of nature that is forced to serve Team Rocket until the end of his miserable life. But there is one thing no one, not even he, can take away from me. I still have my dream. My dream that perhaps, someday, I will be free of this curse, as will my pokemon. My dream that we will be able to compete in the Pokemon League.

My hope of escaping my have been long since destroyed, but I will never let go of my dream.

Author's End Notes: *Sniff* Aww, that makes me sad. Poor Angel. Well, I hope you enjoyed it, and feel free to leave a lovely review. Next is going to be Kyle's vignette, followed closely by Lani's, then it's REAPER!!! Speaking of which, it seems that there has been another mention of Nine Circles. What could it possibly be?…