Rated PG-13 for het, some yaoi and yuri, crossbreeding, and a bit of language
Disclaimer: I don't own Pokémon… But I do own Abika, Rani, Hiroshi, and a few others.
Author's notes: Like I needed another chaptered fic… Especially when it builds upon an unfinished fic. Oh well. Yes, these are the same OCs as in Project G, but it takes place about a year later, and it focuses on Abika. The others will make cameos, but don't expect them too much. After all, I don't want it to be mandatory that you read P-G too. I should tell you everything you need to know as you get to it. Right now I'm leaving things vague, because, well, you shouldn't know yet. Also, be aware that this chapter is just a prologue, so expect it to be shorter and more disconnected than future chapters will be. I also don't want to spend paragraphs describing the characters, so just go to my DeviantArt account and look at my scraps if you want to know what they look like. Also, feel free to PM me or whatever if you're lost… I'll answer any questions that I don't plan on answering in future chapters.
Flames do nothing but make me laugh, although I'll listen to any CC you have. Please read, review, and enjoy! Finished 02-06-07
"And the winner is Rani by a knockout!" The crowd cheered at the blond boy ran up and hugged his Eifie, praising it for a job well done. His opponent, a blonde girl his age hung her head and held out her monster ball.
"Return Booster…" Once the fainted fire pokémon was back in its monster ball, she turned around and walked off the stage, wondering for the umpteenth time why she was doing this.
'I was better at gym battles than I'll ever be at contests… I can never beat Rani. Maybe I should just give up…'
"Abika." The girl looked up and saw a familiar face standing in the otherwise deserted hallway. She put on a smile for him, but it failed to reach her eyes.
"Hey Hiroshi. Shouldn't you be congratulating your boyfriend?" He frowned and placed his hand on her shoulder. Though it was meant to be comforting, she couldn't help but flinch.
"He'll be fine without me for a few minutes. Look… I know you're having a hard time with this, and after how well you've done in the leagues you've entered, changing your style is difficult. Have you considered catching a new pokémon and raising it just for contests? Maybe that would help… You do have one slot left on your team after all." She bit her lip softly, considering his words. She'd had her current team for so long… But after she'd given her Absol to her sister, it was true that she had an opening. Maybe he was onto something…
"All right… I'll go see what I can find. I don't have any pokémon from Shinou yet anyway. Tell Rani I said congrats, then I'll meet you two back at the Pokémon Center before dinner, all right?" He nodded and removed his hand, giving her a kind smile.
"Of course… Good luck." She returned the sentiment and quickly left the contest hall, her new goal in mind. Find a new pokémon, raise it for contests, finally get good enough to beat her childhood friend… Didn't sound too hard.
"This is too damn hard!"
It wasn't that she couldn't catch any of the pokémon she saw, or even that she wasn't finding enough. She just didn't know what to get! Which one learned good contest moves? What were their evolutions—if they even had any—like? She wished she had her pokédex with her, but alas, it was with her other things back at the Pokémon Center… After all, this was all rather impromptu.
'I can't even tell what type some of these damn things are… I already have fire, dark, psychic, water, ground, and electric covered… Grass maybe? Flying? Bug? What else can I find in the Hakutai Forest…?'
"Muu!" She resisted the urge to yelp as a pokémon suddenly floated in front of her face. But as she pulled back a few feet and realized what it was, she broke out into a grin.
"Hey, you're a Muuma! I didn't know there were ghost pokémon in this forest…" She thought back to when her group had traveled through Jouto—when she was still challenging gyms. Rani had almost caught a Muuma, but it had gotten away at the last second. He'd obviously thought they'd be a good contest choice, so… "Blacky, come on out!"
But before she could call out an attack, Muuma darted over to her and…plopped down on her head with a content "Muu."
"What are you doing? Get off my head so I can capture you already!" Muuma replied with an obstinate "Muuma!" "No?! Well, why not? If you don't want me to capture you, why don't you just run away?" She could honestly say this had never happened to her… With the exception of receiving the Eievui that eventually evolved into Blacky as her starter pokémon and her Upaa, which had made her chase it before she could catch it, all of the others had just battled with her…
"Muuma! Muumuu ma, Muuma!" She was hardly fluent in poké-speak, but maybe…
"…Do you just want to come with me without battling?" The ghost pokémon finally floated off her head and nodded happily at her understanding. Hey, whatever worked she supposed. "Okay… If you insist. I suppose I shouldn't hurt such a cute little pokémon anyway, huh?" Muuma cooed its assent, floating alongside Abika as she recalled Blacky and headed out of the forest. Though it was rather odd, it worked out for the best…
Because she just realized that she didn't have any spare monster balls with her anyway.
"So that Muuma is yours?" Abika dug through her bag, knowing that she must have a monster ball somewhere…
"It will be as soon as I find something to put it in…" Rani giggled at her frenzied searching, merely glad that she wasn't upset about losing to him. Hiroshi rolled his eyes and ducked from a Pokéblock case that was tossed his way.
"Abika, honestly, why don't you just use your Friend Ball?" She stopped her frantic search and shot him a look that clearly said she had no idea what he was talking about. He had to wonder about his choice of friends sometimes… "The custom monster ball you got from Gantetsu in Hiwada Town the last time we went through Jouto…?"
"Oh! That Friend Ball! It's right in the front pocket…" With a smile, she unzipped the compartment, and sure enough, there it was. Hiroshi resisted the urge to throw the Pokéblock case back at her. "Okay Muuma, ready to be mine?"
"Muuma, muu!" Taking that as its consent, she tossed the ball towards the floating pokémon. In a flash of red light, Muuma was sucked into it, and it fell to the ground with a clatter. One shake, two shakes, three shakes…
"Yes, Muuma is mine!" Abika rushed to the Friend Ball and held it up in victory, much to her friends' embarrassment. After all, they were in the Pokémon Center, and she was attracting quite an audience… She paid them no mind though as she wasted no time in letting her newest pokémon back out. The ghost immediately floated over to her side, allowing her to grab it in a hug. "Oh Muuma, we'll be great, just you see. I'll start training you for contests tomorrow, and we'll win the Grand Festival! We'll be an unstoppable team!"
As Abika and Muuma bonded—rather loudly—Hiroshi and Rani shared a look. They couldn't help but think that their friend's sudden interest in winning the Grand Festival had something to do with her…
The next day, Abika did just as she'd said, and they were back in the forest to train. Her other pokémon were used to gym battles and the like, where endurance counted. Now she had to teach Muuma to battle effectively in only five minutes. Luckily, she had Rani as a training partner.
"If I'd have known how hard this was, I never would have given you trouble back then…" Rani laughed, remembering all too well how upset she used to get when he'd complain that five-minute battles were difficult.
"It's in the past now… Are you and Muuma still all right to battle? She looks kinda worn out…" Abika opened her mouth to reply, when his words hit her…
"She? Muuma is a boy you dolt!" Over on the sidelines, acting as referee, Hiroshi sighed. It was always something with those two…
"No, that's definitely a girl pokémon. Just look at her!"
"He's a boy."
"She's a girl."
"Bo—" Abika was effectively cut off when Hiroshi stalked over, grabbed Muuma, and flipped the unsuspecting pokémon upside-down in the air. If he wasn't a researcher in training, and qualified to do such things, she probably would have punched him for violating her poor pokémon. "Well? Who's right?" Hiroshi nodded to himself and flipped Muuma back around, apologizing to it softly for the sudden jolt.
"You were. Muuma is a male. And," he added before she could launch into an 'I told you so,' "you need to get back to training him." She sighed, but nodded nonetheless and turned her attention to her pokémon.
"Okay Muuma, ready for another round?"
"Muu!" Rani, though a bit miffed that he'd been wrong, realized that his boyfriend knew what he was talking about. He withdrew Doble and sent out Kireihana instead. Whether or not Abika's newfound love of contests was brought on by what he thought it was brought on by, he'd help her get better… No matter what.
"Are you sure this is the only way?" Rani nodded, not happy about it himself, but knowing that it had to be done.
"Yes, I'm sure. We've been training together for two weeks now, and we're only a few days away from the next contest hall. You go there, and Hiroshi and I will go the opposite way. You need the ribbon more than I do anyway." It was true. Rani already had three ribbons, while she only had one, and that was because Rani had been sick that day. If she wanted to get into the Grand Festival, she needed to win more, and she couldn't win easily if she kept being pitted against her more experienced travel partner… But she'd never traveled alone before!
"I guess you're right… I'll miss you two." Rani smiled and hugged her, struggling to keep his voice steady.
"It's not like we'll never see each other again. We've been best friends forever… And we'll see each other at the Grand Festival, right? Then once you get contest battling down, we can travel together again." She returned the hug, wondering what she'd do without them…
"Right, I'll make it to the Grand Festival, I promise…" Rani let go and quickly turned away, knowing that this goodbye was much harder than he'd made it sound. Nineteen years… And now it wouldn't be the three of them anymore. Hiroshi saw the conflict in his lover's eyes and quickly gave Abika his own farewell. Though he didn't look it, the whole situation was getting to him too.
Abika stood on the dirt road and watched her best friends walk away until they were out of sight. Maybe this wasn't the right choice after all… Maybe contests just weren't for her. She'd never lost to Rani in normal pokémon battles. She'd gone nine years of regular battling, and maybe that's what she was meant to do…
'No, I need to prove that I can change. That's exactly why my life keeps getting screwed up… Well, by god, I'll show them, I'll show them all! Abika Palazzo is perfectly capable of changing her life around, and she's gonna start right now!'
"Muuma, come on out!" He popped out of the ball, a bit confused when he found them alone… Where was that loud kid his mistress allows had him battle? "From now on, it's just me and my pokémon. But since we need to train the most… Wanna stay out and travel with me? I could use the company…" Muuma replied by nuzzling her cheek, pleased with himself when she laughed and look far happier than she had just seconds before. "Great. Then let's get going, huh? We have a Grand Festival to win!"
And thus, their journey began.