Joey was laid on the roof of the Team Yami's Rescue Base, looking up at the stars, having awoken from a sleep that had been restless, and now there were so many thoughts running around the young Charmander's mind, that she wasn't sure she'd ever get back to sleep.
Gardevoir had answered all her questions, and now she wasn't certain if she'd wanted to know.
Tomorrow she and her Pokemon partner, Aqua, the Mudkip, would journey to Sky Pillar, to beseech Rayquaza for assistance in stopping the meteor that would crash into the World.
Tomorrow was also Joey's last Rescue Mission as a Pokemon.
Joey closed her eyes. So much had happened in the weeks since she'd awoken as a Charmander; that Joey was finding it difficult to believe that she'd be going home soon. That her role as a Pokemon would be fulfilled the moment the meteor was no longer a threat to Pokemon around the world, that when she became human again, she'd probably never see Aqua again.
To her, this place seemed like home.
Even if the Charmander head Rescue Base was a bit much.
When she'd woken up, she'd wondered what the hell was going on, after all, one didn't normally go to sleep as a human and wake up as a Charmander. But instead of thinking that Joey was crazy for thinking she had been human once, Aqua had gone with it, becoming friends with the weird Charmander almost instantly.
They'd saved Caterpie from where it had fallen, in the Tiny Woods, and that had only been the start of their adventures. All of which had been great fun, even if they had been in danger most of the way. She'd had a friend by her side to help her.
Even when Gengar had spread those rumours about Joey, causing the Charmander to have to flee the base, and the security of the city, Aqua had willingly gone into exile with her, running from Rescue Teams and Mobs alike, all of whom had thought that Joey becoming a Pokemon was the cause of the natural disasters around here, and were trying to kill her.
They'd fled through lava spouting Volcanoes, freezing forests and up icy mountains, fought with Moltres and Articuno… and finally met with Ninetales, supposedly the one who'd cursed Joey to become a Pokemon in revenge for pulling one of her tails and then running off when Gardevoir had stepped between the Ninetales and her trainer and protected the human from most of the curse.
By the time Joey had reached this point, the rumours were even getting to her.
If she hadn't done the terrible things people thought she had, why did she dream of Gardevoir? And why had she become a Charmander? Had she really been turned into a Pokemon as punishment for her crimes? Had she been transformed to teach her a lesson in respect and caring for Pokemon?
Her head had never been as messed up as when she'd met Ninetales.
But still Aqua had stood firm, helping her when Alakazam's Rescue Team had attacked them, thinking that it was for the best to protect the world.
They would've died there and then had Ninetales not broken up the fight and given a piece of news that while reassuring, just left more questions as to why.
Joey was not the human from the Ninetales legend.
On her and Aqua's return to the Team Yami Rescue Base, Gengar and his cronies were chased out of town.
It hadn't been long after that, that someone, a Wynant and a Wobbuffet, had asked Team Yami to 'stop bad Mankey,' which, with assistance from Strike, a Scyther, Joey and Aqua had quickly done.
On returning to town, Wynant had handed over a peeled chestnut as the only thing they could give as a reward. Aqua had said he would've preferred money but Joey had nodded.
It was at this point the Mankeys came back. But they'd quickly been able to placate the Pokemon with the peeled chestnut and, using the lure of more, the Mankey had created the Rescue Base that she was now led on.
Then just a week ago the Earthquakes had gotten horrendously bad, and a Team formed from some of the best Rescue Teams around had gone underground to face down Groudon.
They never stood a chance.
So when Aqua had volunteered Team Yami to attempt it, naturally the fully evolved Pokemon of the other teams had given them odd looks to start with and Joey had decided that Aqua possibly had a death wish.
How could a Charmander, a Mudkip, and whoever they decided to bring with them, possibly Strike, though Joey had been certain that the bug/flying type wouldn't have lasted in an area so full of fire type Pokemon, or possibly Shade, the Absol who had teamed up with them after they had defeated Articuno in battle, how could they expect to triumph where Alakazam, Blastoise and Golem had failed?
However, Aqua had given a speech that had stirred the petrified Rescue Teams into action, and enmass the Teams had braved the Magma Cavern, and attempted to reach Groudon. Alakazam and his true team had re-entered the cave, and while they had fought with Groudon, it was Aqua, Joey and Shade that had quelled the Legendary Pokemon and returned to the surface triumphant.
However, their victory had been short lived, as Xatu, a psychic/flying Pokemon with the ability to see the future, predicted the crash of the meteor that would wipe out life on the planet and had been causing the natural disasters.
The only way to stop it, would be for someone to bravely go to the Sky Pillar to beseech Rayquaza for assistance, for none of the Rescue Teams would be able to stop it, even if they'd joined forces like they had to fight Groudon.
Team Yami had stepped up to the plate.
But instead of the ridicule that they had received on saying they'd fight Groudon, the only thing that Joey had been able to see in the eyes of the other Rescue Teams, had been respect.
Team Yami had more then earned its right to their title as a Rescue Team and were no longer classed as a bunch of baby Pokemon playing games. Everyone knew that the members of Team Yami, while they might not be as evolved or as old, or not even together as long as the other Teams, they were serious when there was a job at hand.
Especially one as important as the one they were to undertake.
There had been no complaints, as Alakazam and Xatu teamed up to find a way to get the members of Team Yami who were to go to Sky Pillar to Sky Pillar, and Joey had spent the last few hours before their departure, stocking up on Apples, and Oran Berries, and Revivseeds for the long battle ahead of them.
She and Aqua had journeyed out to the Darkness Ridge, where Shade lived, and he'd agreed to come with them on this journey, luckily with very little prompting.
Then she and Aqua had returned to their homes, for the calm before the storm.
Joey had dreamed, but it had started off painful, like something was being drained from her, the moment Gardevoir had arrived in her dream though, the pain had stopped. As Gardevoir had promised, she had told Joey everything, and that someone had been watching her dreams but had run away crying.
Gardevoir had told Joey that her role as a Pokemon was nearly over, and would end the moment the world was safe from the meteor, that Joey would become a human being again, and when Joey had brought up the fact she'd never see Aqua again, the Gardevoir had tossed it aside lightly, saying that there were encounters in life, just so there could be partings.
Once Gardevoir had left Joey's dream, the human turned Charmander, had awoken, unable to process everything the psychic type had said while asleep. She had come up here, on the roof to think things through.
She didn't want to never see Aqua again, but she wasn't sure she wanted to remain a Pokemon forever either. After all, she had family and friends in the human world who would miss her terribly, and were probably already wondering where she was, and hoping beyond hope that nothing had happened to her.
After all, she'd promised when she'd left home to ring on her Pokegear, once a week, and she was already seven weeks late phoning them.
Running around the world as a fugitive had cost her three weeks.
"Poke for your thoughts?" A familiar voice asked. Joey opened her eyes, Charizard, of Rescue Team Alakazam, had landed next to her home, and she hadn't even batted an eyelid. "I saw someone fleeing your house, thought I'd take a look, they vanished into the night. Are you alright, Joey?"
Joey nodded, "Just thinking, tomorrow is a big day."
The Charizard nodded in agreement, "Your Rescue Team, Team Yami, you've become a legend around these parts, everyone for miles knows your names, and the fact that you are not a Pokemon."
"I am now." Joey replied quickly.
"You were not a Pokemon." Charizard corrected as Joey slipped down to the ground. "You seem nervous."
"Can you blame me?" Joey asked with a bitter laugh, "Tomorrow the fate of the world rests on the shoulders of the Team that I have picked, hoping I have made the right choices. Tomorrow, its do or die, and I don't want to die."
"Nobody ever does." Charizard replied. "But if you can take on Groudon, convincing Rayquaza should be in your power."
"I hope so." Joey sighed.
"After tomorrow, what will you do?" Charizard asked, as Joey leant against the Rescue Base that had become her home, "When all this is over."
"I was a human, I am now a Pokemon, who knows what the future will bring." Joey replied, staring at Charizard, "Bar Xatu and Alakazam that is. And they won't tell me." Charizard laughed.
"Well Joey, I suggest that you go back to bed, when the dawn arrives, Aqua will want to leave, and I have seen you at daybreak, you will need your sleep to keep up with your partner." Charizard spread his wings, "I will make sure there are no more disturbances tonight."
"I will… and thank you."
"Talking to me, Pokemon to Pokemon, and for helping me."
"Not a problem, now, off to bed, young Charmander, you maybe the right level, but you haven't become a Charmeleon yet."
"Do you think I might then?" Joey asked with a laugh.
"Whether or not evolution is capable in this part of the world, we have never seen anyone evolve around here."
"Huh. That's odd." Charizard nodded. "If the worst comes to the worst, I'll go somewhere where I can evolve." Joey said, thinking.
"You don't need to anymore," Charizard replied and he held open the house door for her, "Team Yami have gained the respect of the community, and of the Rescue Teams, without needing the extra fire power of evolution."
"And yet someone is still unhappy, or they would not have broken into my house…" Joey sighed, "I will see you in the morning."
"Don't let one idiot get you down, everyone trusts you, and I have faith that you will do well tomorrow."
"Thank you." Joey said with a small smile as she entered her home. "Good night Charizard." The door shut behind her.