A/N: Last installment. It took me awhile, as heavy action scenes are a pain for me, as I have trouble writing and editing them. Hopefully it's okay. There's probably typos, and I'll kill 'em as I see them. I usually don't go out and say this, but if you like listening to music while reading, 3 Doors Down's two songs, "Dangerous Game" and "Going Down in Flames" were the songs that I wrote this to, and fit the coming scenes perfectly. '
I'm rather said to see this story finished, but all stories must, eventually. Any critique, reviews, comments, etc. are welcomed and greatly appreciated. Perhaps they'll be another short story with these guys in the near future. Who knows?
Disclaimer: Don't own pokémon. I do finally own pokémon Diamond, though.
Part IV: Flight
Somehow, the man that had shot Riley manages scramble upright, fleeing fast in the other direction. Everyone lets him run. Many, like you, were in shock. Like you, they couldn't believe it. Others who had more wits about them – tried and hardened from countless years on the force – were too occupied with keeping the other pokémon and men under control to give chase. Lab coats continued to fight police, pokémon fought pokémon.
It was as if nothing had changed at all.
Chance is already at Riley's side. The small kitten's eyes are wide, full of bewilderment and confusion, his paws immersed in a pool of dark blood – her blood - seeping out from her side.
Slowly, you begin to breathe again. Even more slowly you became aware of your suddenly heightened senses. Now that shock has worn off, you're finally finding your legs again. A low, rumbling roar comes up from deep in your throat, fire makes it burn.
He shot Riley!
He shot Riley. He shot Riley. He shot Riley!
Your once warm eyes turn cold. He'll pay – he'll pay a thousand times over.
"Cal…" comes Chance's worried voice, looking up from his place besides Riley's prone form. A male human has also come to her side now, trying vainly to stem the blood flowing from her side with his left hand, while trying to tear pieces of material from his shirt with the other. "What happened to Riley? What did he do to her? There was this big noise…like lightning. I don't understand…"
He shot her, that's what.
He'll pay. You're going to royally cremate him.
"I'll kill him," you whisper. "I'll kill him."
With a startling Roar, you bolt down the hallway.
"Cal! What are you doing?" Chance hesitates, before running after you, surprisingly swift. "Cal! What about Riley?"
You don't hear him. Your mantra is singing a glorious warsong in your head, driving you onwards, towards your final destination.
Just behind you, Chance follows, dark-red footprints leaving their mark on the white tile.
You're barely watching where you're running, concentrating only on that foul man's scent. You don't care who you pass, who you have to go through. You will find your target. And when you do, you're going to make sure he regrets even thinking of harming Riley.
His scent leads you through a pair of double doors. There's an expensive spiral staircase there, obviously not used by the main public, surrounded on all sides by large of glass, currently showing the city nightlife. You run up it, Chance panting behind you.
"Cal, stop this! Please. We need to go back to Riley. We can't just leave her there. What if she wakes up?" But she's not going to wake up. "We should go back."
"No!" you snarl back, making the Meowth cringe. Your voice goes quiet as you reach the end of the staircase, hearing sounds of heavy breathing coming from just ahead. Your ears twitching, you begin to call up fire. A dangerous glint is in your eyes.
You slowly slink across the tile. Your head barely peeks around the corner. Your eyes narrow and fill with rage. The fire you were summoning flares in your throat. The human is at the far end of the hallway, leaning against the wall, trying to catch his breath and slow down his frantic heart…
(You intend to stop it for good.)
You spring into action, sliding into plain view, smoke and tongues of held-in flame curling around your opening muzzle. The man looks at you in terror, and begins to run. Out of your mouth, you release the burning stream of flames. They fly down the hallway and the man yells, jumping to the left around a corner. The Flamethrower harmlessly hits the opposite wall, leavening a blackened singe-mark. The man used the corner to dodge. Still, you're not going to let him get away, following quickly at his heels. He darts like the coward he is into one of the metal cubicles that line the room. You almost run past it in your rage, skidding to a stop, before lunging into the room with a mad yowl. Behind you, Chance is yowling loudly, begging you to stop. The man steps on a glowing white tile, it blinks a few times and phases out before you can even attack.
You hesitate, but only for a few seconds – but more than enough time for Chance to run in front of you. His fur is standing on end, while his pupils are wide and dilated. "Cal," he says, looking behind his shoulder, "I think something's following us."
You snort. "It doesn't matter."
You'll tear him to pieces, too.
Chance's ears whisk back against his head. "Let's go back, Cal. Back with Riley." His robin's egg eyes are pleading. "I want to go back. Let's go back. You're starting to scare me."
"Then go," you say, looking behind you as the Meowth finally stumbles into the room.
"I can't leave you," he protests. "Riley wouldn't–"
"Then keep quiet!" you hiss and step onto the glowing tile. Your fur stands on ends as the transporter tile emits odd mechanical clicks and hums. You feel oddly lightheaded, while your body tingles with a strange sensation that you can't place. Soon, the whirring becomes faster, with Chance's form turning into nothing but a flake of white against a splattered paint background. Then, you're gone.
You arrive, rather unceremoniously, on another tile somewhere in the Silph co. building, though you don't know where. Feeling more than a bit nauseated from the teleportation, with your mind spinning like a carousel, you stand up, stumbling over yourself as you try to regain equilibrium. Something white catches your eye, and on wobbly limbs you pursue. Chance probably won't be far behind.
Your chase leads you through another hallway that leads into a white room, looking to be only decorated a table, chairs, and an odd machine, with a thick wall running through the middle of the room. Distantly, you can also see a glowing tile like the one you just stepped on. The stupid human is running to it, making good use of the wall in between to separate you from him, making your aim useless. The tile's in plain view though – just diagonal from you.
Flames surge out of your throat, so hot that it even makes your throat burn with the heat. The attack's not aimed at the man, but the glowing tile. The conflagration of flames hit the tile-- it sparks with paper-thin whisks of electricity and embers, letting out a shrill whine, like it's screaming. Once the Flamethrower finishes, the light the tile once had dies out into a lifeless shade of blue-white. You hear the man swear and you can't help yourself from grinning.
He won't escape this time.
Not wanting to postpone this man's Judgment Day any longer, you run towards the white room.
Red and white colors blur along the large glass that run across the hallway's left side. It's probably close to ten now. It's almost the New Year. Fireworks will be ushering in the New Year any time now. The Rat's probably at home, watching the TV with those nervous brown eyes of his, unaware of what just transpired. He probably won't find out about anything until the morning breaks.
A new day, a new dawn, just not the way anyone imagined it.
Behind you, you can hear Chance's ragged pants. He's still following you. The fool. He shouldn't be here – it's not his place. Birds are not supposed to learn how to fly over a pond full of hungry Carvanha.
Your breath becomes hot with summoned fire. You're keeping it in check…for now. Always, always, you've been taught to hold back, to contain the raging blaze that is yours to carry and use, but there's no Riley to hold you back now. No, not this time.
You slow down ever-so-slightly. You can't afford to miss. You finally bound around the corner, muzzle fixed in a permanent snarl. You lunge –
"Cal! Stop! He still has that thing he hurt Riley with!"
Chance's frantic cries are cut short by another loud gunblast. By then, though, it's too late to fully get out of the way. Chance was seconds too slow. No – you just refused to listen.
The bullet collides with your left shoulder, cracking and crunching as fragile bone yields to hardened lead, soon shattering. You yelp, fire expelling harmlessly past the man's head. You skid, landing on your good shoulder. Pain. Not like knives, not like needles. It burns. Your life-blood begins to flow profusely out of the wound, and for a moment you can barely see anything past the pain – past the white haze that clouds your vision.
Is this how Riley felt?
Another click, the man is trying to shoot again. You try to stand, but the pain is too great. You can hear the trigger click.
Nothing happens. No bellow, no sting of pain. The gun's dead, he ran out of bullets.
You growl, focusing only on the man before you as your vision clears. You cannot afford to do anything less.
Somehow, you manage to stand, your hurt leg hovering just above the ground. Perhaps it is the adrenaline that is madly gushing through your veins or perhaps it is your rage. Whatever it is, it's alleviating the pain, clearing your head and sharpening your focus.
"Asmodeus!" you hear the man yell angrily. "Asmodeus, you stupid mutt. I know you can hear me. Anytime now would be great."
The man is still sitting there on the floor where he was crouched, fiddling with that stupid gun of his and muttering that nonsense name. He stands up. You muster the strength to lunge.
Your sharp teeth sink into his right arm — the one that's holding the gun — between the wrist and elbow. You're not going to let go. You breathe in air, you exhale fire.
The man screams in agony. You hang on, grimly satisfied with your results.
No, you're not going to kill him, like you thought you would. He's going to rot for years in prison until he dies. He's going to suffer for all the eternities for what he did. The man tries to throw you off, but you don't let go. Instead, you tighten your grip. Bones crack and the man whimpers because he no longer has a voice to scream.
The fire disperses, and your throat burns. It's almost completely raw.
"Asmodeus," you hear the man hiss, eyes clouded with pain.
A black cloud of smoke suddenly appears at the side of the room, arriving with a bang. You hang on grimly as a Houndoom emerges. The devil-dog snarls, its teeth bathed in blood. You snarl back. Chance is yowling.
A Take Down rips you away from the man's arm – but not before it snaps in half. The man howls in pain, while you land hard on your hurt shoulder, the pain the only thing keeping you from crying out. It hurts, but you must stand.
You have to!
"Leave Cal alone!"
Chance lunges at the dark-type, though he is clearly no match for the fully evolved Houndoom. Asmodeus evades the cat's lunge, snatching Chance by the nape of his neck as his run slows, jerking him roughly back. Chance freezes, looking absolutely terrified.
He couldn't move if he wanted to.
Slowly, on quacking limbs, you manage to pull yourself to your feet. You don't know how long you'll be able to hold this position, but you know you have to get up.
"Don't waste time. We have to… get out... before they catch us," the man gasps, voice full of bottled pain. His arm is poking out at an unnatural angle, with a piece of bone jutting out through his ghost-pale skin like a deadly white spire, covered in spurts of blood. "Smog. Now."
The Houndoom's eyes, already fueled by a cold fire, plunge into an even deeper chill. The hound growls in disappointment, and wantonly tosses Chance aside, letting him skid across the ground and crash into a shelf, covered in a shower of books. The room is then plunged into a thick cloud of poison. It obstructs your vision until you can no longer see two feet in front of you, and the chemicals in the air is making your eyes, nose, and throat burn.
They're trying to use Smog to get away. The cowards.
You can't let them get away. You won't.
Smiling grimly, you know exactly what to do. Whatever happens afterwards – well, it doesn't matter. You don't have much of a home to come back to. Not anymore.
"Chance," you say levelly, as the fire flares inside your body for, perhaps, the last time.
"Run. Now. I don't care where. Just move away from my voice."
Perhaps he does, perhaps he doesn't. That's not any of your concern now. For years, Smog has been used against the Police, using the thick cloud to flee from the scene and escape. It is the tool of the craven men and pokémon who do not stand and fight when the time comes. Instead, they scurry away like mice, trying to save their worthless hides.
But not this time – this time it is your judgment flame. Inside the thick cloud are chemicals. They are extremely flammable, sparked at the slightest hint of fire. It is a tool of the spineless, but it is also a weapon of destruction for all those with the will to use it. You don't know what will happen once you spark it. The amount of smog is small, but thick.
But whatever happens, happens. As long as they don't get away, you don't care.
Slowly, you breathe in, filling your lungs with whatever air you can gather from the deadly smog. Out of your gaping maw comes the hot flame. It will soon form an ancient Kanji symbol and fly through the Smog and set it all off.
The very first flickers of flame hit the deadly substance. Chain-reactions start off like a pack of dominoes. Low roars turn into big, dragon-like rumbles of fury. The sounds of the explosion rocket all around you, and you are seared with a blast of powerful energy beyond your comprehension. Black dots copiously fill your vision.
You smile grimly as you welcome oblivion. You've been a pyro ever since you were born. Perhaps it's fitting you end as one, if that is your fate.
Your mind wanders towards the voice. It's pitiful.
"Cal! Wake up, please!"
Slowly, the light becomes more prominent. It's no longer just black. You also are starting to feel again, and with that feeling comes the pain. You just want to sink back into that dreamless sleep.
"Cal, you gotta get up. I'm scared, Cal."
Your eyes flutter open, only for a moment. "Go 'way."
"Cal!" the Meowth yowls happily, looking worn, but alive. He's covered in black marks, ash, and dirt, and is bleeding from many few places all over his body – especially his paws.
You look around. Fire is everywhere, burning everything it can touch. The Smog has faded away, though you can still smell the poison in the air. Smoke seems to have taken the place of the Smog, though, and it takes you only a few moments to realize all the windows are gone, shattered. Most of their remnants lie scattered about the blackened floor. The old passageway you had come through is blocked by debris. You won't be able to get through there, and there's no other way out.
But that doesn't matter to you. There's nothing that does – save one thing.
But… amongst all the chaos, you can't see them. The devil-dog and his human.
"Where?" you demand.
He knows what you're talking about. He looks around nervously.
"I tried to stop them, I really did… but they got away. The Houndoom did this trick with smoke and got away. The human was hurt real bad though. He needs a lot of help, or they probably won't be able to fix him."
You failed then?
You sigh, closing your eyes. You'll welcome sleep, to get away from the everything. The pain, the anger, all of it. Gone – everything's gone.
"Don't go to sleep! We need to get away. "
You open one blood-shot eye. "Then go. I'm not going to stop you."
Chance bites his lip, shaking his head stubbornly. "Come on."
You grunt, though it's more of a groan. "Go. Fire can't hurt me."
"Fire might not, but the smoke will," the little cat spits out insistently, but you ignore him.
Your eyes close. 'That's really none of your business."
"Cal!" Suddenly, a sharp, quick pain comes from your tail. You snarl and jerk upward, half-lunging, half-falling as you try to retaliate. You miss and Chance darts away, spitting out a wad of your tail fur, while pulling out a small shard of glass from his bleeding right paw.
He bit you – he bit you, the little jerk!
It's only then that you suddenly become aware of the blood pooling around you, coming from your shoulder at a slow, but steady, trickle. You grimace.
"We can get out," Chance continues, coughing and gagging as the smoke fills his lungs. He's looking quite pale. "Everywhere else is blocked, but the glass in the windows are all gone now, we can jump –"
"Jump?" You laugh, a deep melancholy laugh. Your eyes sparkle like black diamonds. "What are you going to do? Fly us? You can't fly, Chance."
The Meowth looks at the floor, frowning, moving around a shard of bloody glass. "I'm not talkin' about that. You're too heavy. I saw what the Houndoom did with that human. I think I can do it, too. But not in here – it's hard to concentrate on anything with all this stuff in the air; it's making me feel sick. I tried, but it didn't work. If we jump with me on your back… I think I can get it to the pokémon Center…" He meets your eyes. "I know I can do it."
You laugh again. So he wants you to jump out the window. They'll probably have to scrape the two of you off the cement, just like Morana described. Chance is looking at you pleadingly, dead-set and determined to get you through that window. You reckon that if he had the strength in him, he'd throw you out himself.
You sigh. "Fine," you say, shaking your head. Perhaps the fumes are affecting your decision-making skills too. If he wants to go and throw his life away, you'll suppose you'll let him.
You don't know quite how you did it, dragging your broken and bruised body through the road of shattered glass and fire, all the time feeling you were about to collapse from the blood loss, exhaustion, and pain. Still, somehow, you managed to limp over to the window ledge, unpolluted night air awaiting you, favoring your broken forepaw.
You can't help but think, as much as your tired mind can, about how stupid you are. Jumping off a building from as high up as you are… absurd.
Chance might think that even if his plan fails, that he'll fly away on those wings of his, and that you'll magically grow wings, too. Or perhaps he thinks the ground will suitably cushion your fall, if something goes wrong.
You know better though. You know once you hit ground, there's no coming back.
Jumping, you think, what a wonderful way to die. Perhaps you should call it flying, just to please the small Meowth whose dreams are far too big for his body. If anything, it's more like a fancy suicide that depressed radicals dream about.
You find yourself mimicking Chance's take-off maneuvers, paying little heed to the roaring nightlife below you. The Meowth is securely clinging to your fur with his claws. You hope that perhaps your doubt is misplaced – that Chance actually knows what he's doing. You're only doing this because you have nothing left.
It's one of those 'oh heck, why not?' kind of things.
Part of you finds it funny – oh-so-amusingly funny. It's absurd, this little act. The final hurrah. Oh, what a noble death!
You jump. There's no moment of hesitation – no second thoughts. Just you flinging yourself into the open, starblown sky like the fool you are.
It's cold, jumping into the frigid night air. You and Chance are falling fast. Everything below and above you keeps moving. Cars fly to their destinations below, voices drift through the night air, and the lights still shine.
(Though nothing as of yet has drowned out Chance's mad laughter. You think he's finally lost it.)
Still, everything serves to prove a single point: even if you die, everything else will go on living.
Strangely enough, you don't care.
You don't feel so bad. It's weird, and goes against your expectations. You're not screaming in terror or anything, like you would've imagined yourself doing. It's an odd feeling – the wind brushing against your striped fur as you fall. It feels like it's trying to support you – push you upwards. To carry you, maybe. And perhaps it would if it could.
It…almost feels as if you're flying.
How very odd indeed.
Black curls of evanescent smoke suddenly whisk around yours and Chance's falling bodies. It blots out your vision and plunges you into a deep, unfathomable darkness. Then, your body starts to fade away, until it disappears leaving nothing but a pool of black smoke. All that you can feel anymore is the touch of Chance's claws.
It's almost as nauseating as the tile. No, worse. Every particle in your body protests at the use of this move – this unnatural existence it's pulling you into. It's like your body is not in your own anymore, and you warp through a dark place that is neither of the living nor the dead. You can't really see this, but you can feel it. It's like the inside of a casket not yet buried beneath the earth. It's fast making you sick and cold.
You phase out, cold and trembling, back into the sky.
Except you're not that high up anymore.
In fact, there's a building just about ten feet from you – a red roof. You and Chance both crash into it at the same time. His relinquishes his grip and tumbles off the roof, with you unwillingly following suite. You crash into a mattress of trashcans, with your shoulder and ribs crying in pitiful protest. You can do little to soothe those cries; the impact took a lot out of you. Everything in your vision is messed up, and black, red, and blue dots are flying across your eyelids and you can fast feel the impending unconsciousness. Chance is a few feet away from you, in his own bed of trash, completely still.
You slowly regain consciousness, becoming slowly and suddenly aware that there are lights around you. The air is clean, there's no poison here, and it feels like you're on a real bed. You can't feel much of anything besides that though, and you can barely move. It's like you've just been paralyzed by a Thunderwave – that odd, numb feeling.
Your eyes open, focusing and unfocusing at a rapid rate. You breathe in deeply, hissing as your ribs suddenly jolt in protest. The pain fades immediately, and you allow your eyes to start to wander around. You feel considerably better than before.
"Ah, you're awake. It's about freakin' time."
No, now you're awake.
Morana's perched herself on a comfy looking seat "I have my orders to check on a suicidal mutt and one deranged cat who thinks 'e's a freakin' canary. You two fit the bill perfectly. Seriously, jumping out a window then Faint Attacking over to the pokémon center… you both need your freakin' heads examined. Seriously."
"So, how're you feeling, Watchdog?"
Somehow, you manage to get your mouth to work. "…Don't feel like anything."
"Good, 'cause you're not supposed to. They've pumped you so full of stuff, if you could feel much of anythin' I'd be worried. You should be singin' praises like a bird – ah the wonders of morphine. One of Human's most useful inventions, don't ya think? You can't, by chance, let me in on the deta-"
Chance. You almost bolt upright, feeling the needle from the nearby IV strain as they're lightly pulled, but you don't have the strength to and slump back into the mattress. "Chance. Where is he?"
"The canary?" Her head jerks to the left, to the bed right beside you. A white, prone form is on it, breathing peacefully. "He's currently enjoying the benefits of Chansey-induced dreamland. Has been for 'bout an hour 'n a half now. Shouldn't last too much longer though. The Chansey can't sing that well t'night. New Years, y'know. The fireworks are about to go off. They love that. Almost the end of the Christmas Season, and it makes the Chansey go wild. Speaking of which" –She picks a small, tall rimmed bowl off the table by her chair. It's full of a milky, yolk substance—"want some eggnog?"
Morana shrugs. "The Chansey gave me explicit instructions to shove this stuff down your freakin' throat if you don't take it willingly. They made it themselves, see. They always make too freakin' much of it 'cause "'tis the season", after all. But it heals ya like a charm. Heck, they put it in feeding tubes during Christmas. It's insane." She stands up, offering you the bowl. You turn your nose up at it.
"It doesn't taste that bad. Quite good, when it freakin' comes down to it." You still don't take it. The dark-type feline sighs. "It's totally nonalcoholic, I freakin' promise on my dearly departed daddy's dead body. Happy?" You eye her suspiciously as she sets it down in front of your face. Your body is so sluggish you can barely move to take a few sips. It's really not bad, this eggnog stuff. A rather thick sweet and creamy flavor.
"Just between you and me, the Chansey horde all the alcoholic stuff for themselves and the really special people. You ain't that." She notices your hugely disbelieving look. "I'm not kidding! Okay, why d'you think they're so freakin' happy – over the flippin' rainbow happy – all the dang time? Sheesh, seriously. Can't you hear them yelling outside?"
You shake your head, draining more of the eggnog from the bowl. It sends a strange, flowing warmth throughout your entire body. You almost feel alive again.
"Riley… she's –"
"Oh, about her" — the Sneasel's face turns grim— "she's just currently chilling in the local morgue right now." You pale. "You can go and see her corpse whenever you --"
She pauses, seeing your face, and laughs. "'m kiddin', sheesh. Seriously though, you should've seen your face. The only thing currently in the morgue is your freakin' sense of humor apparently. I'm supposed to tell you she's all fine and dandy – well as dandy as you can get when you've been freakin' shot in the side."
"But she was shot twice," you say, wincing painfully at the memory. Still, you can't help but feel hope.
"You don't much have a brain either, d'you, Watchdog? She may 'ave got shot in the chest, but that's what bullet proof vests are for." She sighs. "Moron."
You breathe out a sigh of relief. You close your eyes, breathing deeply. You close your eyes savoring the thought: alive. You feel as if a great burden has been lifted, a great chain that's been unlocked and now has fallen from you. Still, there are a few links that have not been unlocked yet.
"Was there a man?" you ask, as the Sneasel looks confused. "One with a Houndoom. They got away after the explosion –"
"A guy and a Houndoom… Oh! you must mean the Picasso guy? We caught 'em lurking in some alley a couple hours ago. Anyways, they were both a mess, and that freak of a man was uglier than any human I've had the pleasure of capturing. Mmm… I believe he's getting 'is face treated at the hospital right now. Scratches and burns were all over it, not to mention it looked kinda melted." She smiles. "Oh! And I think he's getting his right arm amputated, too – it was rather mangled, like a door swinging off a broken hinge. Couldn't save it." The Sneasel grinned, rattling on in an amused tone that seemed unlikely to fade. "Now his Houndoom was a little better off. But we caught him. He's here, actually, getting his wounds treated. Haven't seen 'im though. They'll get him rehabilitated, then neuter him, and ship him off to live with a nice, loving family of whom will teach him the value of life."
You snarl. Morana face faults.
"Sheesh - I was kiddin' about the family. He'll probably rot in jail with what's left of his master."
A beeping coming from outside goes off, and Morana's eyes dart to the room door. "Well, that's my cue. I have some other rounds to make."
She phases out of sight in a cloud of dark energy, and you're left alone. You look around the bleakly white room, gulping down more of the Chansey's mixture with relish. It will all be back to normal soon – well, give or take a few weeks in recovery. You'll probably be able to go home in the near future. You start to feel drowsy, yawning.
Sinking down in your cushion, your eyes begin to close. But a noise catches your attention. Chance is stirring, his whole white body is twitching as he attempts to wake up. Slowly, he raises his head, blinking back the haze from his eyes. Both of them are dilated, and even though he appears to be conscious, he seems a bit out of it.
"Cal?" the kitten says, smiling a broad smile that reaches his eyes.
"Did you see it? We were flying."
You laugh, head sinking back into the pillow. Through half-lidded eyes, you answer, for once absolutely content: "Yeah… we did, didn't we?