An author's foreword note:
ORIGINAL / PG-13
Betaed by Pink Parka Girl
This story will be updated at the rate of a chapter a month if all goes according to plan, you have been forewarned.
It all started with this line of questions:
In the Pokémon world, if you don't go on a journey at age ten, then what? Better yet, what happens to twentysomethings and older in the Pokémon world?
My answers to these questions, although a bit unorthodox, I hope will entertain you and make you think a little bit as well.
A usually short narrative making an edifying or cautionary point and often employing as characters animals that speak and act like humans.
I. A nurses confession, the beginning of a fable.
My name is Yvonne, which is not pronounced like "A-von"( that product annoying salespeople dressed up as Delibird advertise
by talking about someone named Mark all the time), but "Ee-von".
I stopped typing on my laptop slowly after this bold statement, wondering if I had come across in too snooty a tone with which to began a memoir.
No, no, it's fine, I decided. After all, if I can't be high and mighty in my own writing, where else can I ?
The rest of the details of my birth ("May 16th, 9:45 am") and hometown ("The secluded water city of Cerulean") followed soon after, and poured so swiftly from my typing fingers that I could have sworn I was writing with an ink pen by candlelight like all the great master writers...
I felt my brow pull down in effort and my blue eyes squint into a driven glaze as I wrote on, my own personal inner cheerleading squad shouting me on.
Headed for future glory! Bound to be written about in the history books! Others will look at the place in which I sit today and speak "Lo'! This is where the famous one penned her greatest wor...!
"Nurse Joy! N.U..R.S..E...JOOOY!" A pitiful, whimpering, and somewhat whiny voice hollered out of the blue.
"Ack!" I replied, spilling over backward from the bar stool like perch I had been sitting on. I fell with a crash, the white titles on the ceiling of the room appearing blurry before my eyes for a couple uneasy moments before rearranging themselves back into line.
Funny, I had never noticed what a fine remodeling job the work crew had done on the building before. Granted, I had never viewed it from an upside down ground level position before, ether.
Ours was a small pokemon center after all, situated in between the outskirts of Viridian Forest and Pewter City.
Everyone (myself and a handful of my peers who also hate working here) was rightfully surprised that a "middle of nowhere" center like this one would be approved for the funding to get repairs and other much needed maintenance done. Yet, here it was in all its "work environment" glory; with new black and white title floors so clean you could eat off their glossy surface, sky blue and baby yellow sunflower print wallpaper, and glossy red counter tops with matching red cushioned stools that gave the illusion we were running a 50's malt shop rather than a pokemon healing facility. All of this was meant, in essence, to energize we "workers" and provide a safe, happy place for all.
Oh, how I it hated so.
I got up slowly, rubbing my head at the point of its impact with the shiny linoleum and wondering why new pokemon trainers always happened to be so loud and energetic in the middle of the afternoon.
Then I saw who it was.
"Oh, hello Billy, how nice to see you again. How are you?" I spoke in the false sweet happy tone that was company policy.
If ever there was a legend around this pokemon center it was Billy. This ten year beginner had been coming to my center for the better part of a month, at least twice a day, seven days a week. His light hair was always dirty and sometimes it was difficult to tell whether the large collection of band aids covering areas of his face and knees in situated clumps were barely holding his small preadolescent body together; or if he was only pretending to get in the bloody battles with lone Pidgey he often talked about. Ether way, his only pokemon, a tiny Weedle, always ended up getting the business end of whatever they came across and was, as a result, battled well beyond its limit.
Every. Single. Day.
It was more than enough to make any pokemon caretaker sick, and one reason of many why I hated this job. My cheerfulness at helping trainers like Billy may have been pretend, but my love for pokémon certainly was not.
"Stupid Weedle fainted again! He's so weak, ya know." Billy said briskly, reaching a hand into his pocket and digging out a pokéball.
Beaten and dented, the once bright red and white pokemon container was now a half dark brown and tan mess from the ingrained dirt on its surface. I poked it inquisitively with a fingernail, wincing as a half inch deep section of sediment crumbled off the sphere.
I knew from experience the pokemon inside couldn't be much better.
"Okay then, well, we'll just give Weedle a few moments on the pokéball energizer and send him back to be looked at by the type specialty nurses." I said oh-too-cheerfully, my smile masking the inner dialogue that was running though my head as I took the ball.
This is a pokemon center, not a quickie mart! Shame on you for battling your pokemon so recklessly! They are living things just like you or me and..
"Thanks Nurse Joy, but could you hurry up? Just healin' it on the table thingie should be good enough." Billy said, wiping his nose with a band-aid covered hand.
My. Name. Is. Not. JOY! My inner voice of truth yelled. It's Yvonne! How many times do I have to tell you before you get in though your head!
And, um, I'm not really a nurse ether..
My last thought stopped me from correcting the little boy about my name for what seemed like the hundredth time. If he knew that I was still just a student at Kanto Nurse Joy University there was no telling what might spill forth from his brace lined teeth, and I could really do without that today.
School. Phh. It wasn't as if I really loved what I was being taught there...
I placed the pokéball in the round indentation and watched the life force of the pokemon glow for a moment inside the ball with a studious concentration.
A second later, much to Billy's disapproval, I had whisked the ball, pokemon and all, into the back hallway and handed it off to our center's resident bug type P.P.D.
He flashed me a look of "oh, this again," and began to go to work like a well oiled, if a little old, machine.
I returned to the front desk, nimbly getting down on my hands and knees to avoid being detected by the boy, and snatched up my trusty laptop from the floor where it had fallen.
And now it's time for this little intern to get back to her life's story, I remarked gleefully to myself, making a speedy, crawling retreat to the quiet recovery room.
The recovery room was a cozy and inviting place. It was heated in the early evening with a tried and true small kerosene heater, lit by lamps and night lights.
The new sky blue wallpaper reflected the light in a soft manner, making the room appear a light gold color that bathed every form within it. Pokemon, small and large alike, lay here, some tucked inbetween lacy blankets like foundling babies. Overall it felt like a nursery, and at this time of day, was the most perfect place to write I could hope for.
In this peaceful silence that seemed to hang in the air, broken only by the soft sleeping sounds of the pokemon, I had been putting myself in a mental psychologist's chair for the better part of four hours,
far away in my own "writers world".
When had it started? When had I began to hate this job?
Well, from the very beginning, I answered myself. Since when I was little and wanted to be a pokemon trainer.
My parents had said it was too dangerous and put me into school. Into something nice and safe that would give me a career "fit for a young lady."
Now, all I knew of any use was the beginning courses of being a "pokéball technical nurse", a fancy title for the nurse whose only job is to run a pokemon center's pokéball energizer day and night, and can say "would you like to rest your pokemon?" and "we hope to see you again! " in five different Kanto, Johto, and Hoenn dialects.
It all comes down to wanting to make my parents happy, I suppose.
Despite my hidden temper all I had every wanted was to make everyone in my life happy with me.
It sounded so pitiful now that I thought of it that way.
After all, I was nineteen, going on twenty in a month or so. Almost an official adult. Who knew if my father might get it into his head to arrange a marriage for me or something, all for my "own good?"
I felt my eyes widen in horror at the thought.
What if he already had and just hadn't told me yet? What would I do then to please everyone?
A shiver ran down my spine and I shook it off, going back to typing more notes on my computer, only much slower this time.
My parents would be shocked if they knew that since my dreams of being a Pokémon trainer had been crushed, I had set my sights on being a best selling author. It was a job that, to them, ranked somewhere between someone who cleans out cages at the zoo and a homeless bird woman.
I typed the next words with vigor:
But never the less, as a proud bookworm for years, I continue on under their noses.
My cheeks suddenly flushed as I remembered the other thing I had been keeping from them.
The one reason why had I taken the Saturday shift in the first place... HIM.
The single line of text in his usual stately Times New Roman sent my heart into nervous flip-flops in my stomach. They were the words every person in an internet relationship both hopes for and dreads.
My eyes, scanning over and reading the declaration for what seemed like the tenth time, were the only part of my body I could feel moving as my mouth went dry and my thoughts started playing emotional maracas. The words began with an innocent every day "I want.." and ended with the ever popular earth shattering, "...to meet you."
The logical side of my mind was the first to speak
Of course he would want to meet you in real life, you've been talking online for almost six months now.
"Yvonne? Are you still there? " The stately black text appeared slowly, almost shyly in the empty white space of the private chat room.
I blinked, startled out of my misty daze and typed in reply hurriedly.
"Yes, I'm here."
I could almost hear his laugh, or what I had always thought of as his laugh come across the endless silence of the internet.
"Thank goodness for that, I thought for a moment you had fainted."
I smiled, chicken pecking a reply cheerfully with a lone four fingers like in my high school days.
""Well, you did floor me, that is for sure."
My spirits began to lighten slightly. This was not a stranger I was speaking to after all, it was Nathan. Nathan, the same person I had spent months confiding in, who always was so understanding of how maddening work could be, who seemed to be the only one to really see the world like I did...
"So, should I take that pause as a 'no?' I wouldn't want to make you do anything you do not want to, you know that."
"Yes...I mean, no, no! I would love to meet you, really I would." I typed, flustered and tripping over my own virtual tongue quite nicely.
" 8:30 pm then, next Saturday. At the edge of forest in back of your Center...I wouldn't want you to get scolded for meeting a boyfriend on your employer's time, after all."
I let out a giggle at the word boyfriend, a term as rare in the world of a pokemon nurse as a noon time sighting of a flying Doduo over Pewter City.
Taking in a deep breathe, I replied at that very moment while my mind was still numbed with happiness.
A fine mess you've gotten yourself into, Yvonne, my logical side chimed in now, seeing that the coast was clear as my faded happiness from days before had been replaced by the chill of being outside for the last ten minutes.
Having paid the price of the customary sacrificial apple filled bear claw to my chubby overseer for an hour of "I don't know where she went or when she will be back" time, I sat scot-free...and waiting. The waiting was the hardest part.
The appointed meeting spot was a serene grove of fir and oak just outside the line of sight of anyone who might happen to glance out of the rear windows of the building.
The seat upon which I was nervously resting now also happened to be the edge of the honorable center's guest room heating and air conditioner.
I dug the toe of my shoe into the earth that rimmed the surrounding concrete of the large grey metal box with a choppy kick.
A nineteen girl old girl was found dead today, an emotionless news reporter rattled in my minds eye. Rumor has it she had taken up the obsessive desperate practice of online dating, and was planning to meet the man she had been conversing with soon after she disappeared. Film at ten.
No, No! I shook my head with a rough forward jerk, clearing my fears. You've got to think positive! Think of the nice times with Nathan, think of the things he's told you, think of what his face will be like...
A chill wind whipped pass the tall grass between the trees just then as if to aid my troubled mind. The air, which seemed moments ago to still be heavy with the memory of the muggy summer day, now danced across my bare arms, leaving goose bumps.
I breathed it in, slowly filling my chest, the weight of work forgotten as I busied myself with smoothing out the hem of the white pinafore on my pink uniform dress.
Would he be tall or short? Perhaps he is a different nationally than me? I never thought to ask!
Well that didn't matter much; he did say that he lived somewhere near here, and was only a few months older than myself...
Hand in hand with the mellow wind and my now acquired need for a coat, my imagination painted a picture of a man with long dark hair and eyes of an undescribable mixed color worthy of a best selling romance novel. My eyes glazed over jubilantly, and my bottom ached from being pressed against my metal perch somewhere far away, as I daydreamed...
The warm soil and clear night had welcomed the cheery sounds of chirping crickets and humming Venomoth from among the shadows by the time I saw a figure in the near distance and sat up like a shot.
It was plain to see the person was a man, and that he had been approaching all this time. I cursed myself for dozing off.
He was a figure of above average height warped in a light brown coat and brimmed hat that brought to mind the adventures of an underpaid daredevil rune explorer.
I remembered plainly now from our months of chatting Nathan's job..
"So, what do you do?"
"Nothing worth speaking of, just capturing and selling common pokemon from the wild in small numbers to good breeders."
"Oh, that sounds wonderful, you must have such freedom.."
"It pays the bills..."
Surprisingly, his frame was small for an outdoorsman; his upper arms even appearing a bit scrawny under layers of fabric as he reached up to pull off his hat, wiping his brow with long gloved fingers.
I couldn't tell for sure if the cause for this pause was mainly because he had walked a long distance already today or if it was purely nerves at our meeting each other.
I was completely sure of the later source when one of his green eyes locked upon my own under his newly reveled untidy mop of short sandalwood brown hair.
He had noticed I was no longer asleep!
Whether he was a bit slow at making observations of details, or had just been avoiding my curious gaze up until this moment, it didn't seem to matter.
I stood up slowly, rooted to the spot. My shoes came into contact with a strong pull of self-conscious shyness.
His smile was a slow, leisurely gesture that caught me off guard, like the welcome of a long lost childhood friend. His first words were not.
"Did you invite me here of your own free will?" He asked, his tone strangely serious, melting away his first reaction to me.
What sort of question is that?
My mind flashed back to our easy going discussions on the internet. These weighted, business like words did not match the sort of man who had told me in serous confidence his most embarrassing secrets..his favorite novels..his small, funny habits...
"Yes, um, of course. What is it, Nathan? Is somethi..." My question fell sort as I saw a shiver quake his frame a moment after my saying his name, and slowly, like a worker suddenly relieved of a heavy weight, he fell to his knees.
My god! He's sick! Howlonghashebeenwalking!
I gasped, my 'nursing drive' kicking in as I raced quickly to bridge the small distance between us.
"So.. you fully.. comprehend..the significance of this meeting?" He nearly croaked now.
Dehydration. I forgave most of his words to this natural demon he had gotten while coming to see me...just me...
Of course, he wanted to make sure I wasn't one of those girls who acted like they cared online but never followed though on anything. This meeting was important. Maybe I'd end up his girlfriend...
The whole world seemed to slow down to a crawl as he rased his head upward and my breath caught in my chest.
His eyes shone an unmistakable violet sheen with the fleeting intensity of a ripple on water.
Silencing my scream and my thoughts in one fluid movement..as he rose up with the speed of a soundless wind, latching on to my thorat...
Kicking and pounding my fists against his hold, what began as two heavy shots of pain throughout my body soon numbed into a slow pulsing lightheadedness, laced with the sound of someone screaming far away.
like a cloud,