This will be an Appealshipping (Hikari/Nozomi) shoujo-ai/yuri fic that MIGHT become a lemon if I feel it to be dictated as such. For now, this fic will be entirely in the first person of Nozomi, who at initial points of the story will write entries in a journal talking about the progressing relationship she has with the new coordinator. The fic will begin sometime after the 12th episode of Diamond/Pearl after which Nozomi won the contest ribbon. The story is somewhat Alternate Universe, but follows portions of the Diamond/Pearl timeline. No flames, please.

NOTE: The dates in the journal entries are here to show story progression.

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Pokemon, a creation of one Satoshi Tajiri, and is produced domestically (in the United States) by Pokemon USA/TAJ/The Pokemon Company, and internationally by Shogakukan and OLM. I personally own nothing and make nothing by writing this.

(Chapter 1- The Mark of the Consistent Overachiever)

June 19, 2006

To Anyone Who Cares to Read,

Yesterday, I competed in a Pokemon Contest in Jubilife City in the hopes of winning my second contest ribbon and moving one step closer to the Sinnoh Grand Festival. The road to the contest finals was long and difficult, but I ended up taking home the contest ribbon in an easy finals victory. The most notable points to make of this contest involved one trainer who for the most part wants to dabble and flirt with the idea of converting to coordinating, and a rookie coordinator with her Buneary by the name of Hikari. I have seen the trainer named Satoshi make great headway in the world of Pokemon training winning the Orange islands league trophy and Battle Frontier championship, progressing mightily through the Indigo League, Silver and Evergrande Conference, along with numerous other competitions over the years.

I believed that while he has an incredible heart and desire for all things pokemon, and not to mention an Aipom that begged to be a part of it all, I found it to be a counterproductive step back for him. If he wants to truly do both, it is a matter of is willingness, because he will have to learn and master new tactics, strategies and battling techniques to achieve the level of success he desires to become a top coordinator, if that's what he wants. His ambition is comparable to that of a young child dipping his hand into the cookie jar; always wanting to grab onto something exciting and seeking new and different endeavors in his career. Satoshi might have a great desire or even a need in his mind to learn all he can about Pokemon, but excess is never a good thing when you're well on your way to setting your own goals in training.

Satoshi and Hikari traveled to the contest together along with their companion the former Pewter City gym leader, Rock/Water Pokemon specialist and breeder in training Takeshi. My thoughts about Satoshi and Takeshi aside, I believe that I have found a formidable rival in Hikari, who I got to know a little more about while preparing for the aforementioned contest. I first saw her as my Glameow found a choker on the floor that somebody likely lost as they prepared their outfit for the opening appeals to the judges. Hikari, who told me that she was a second generation coordinator, was very excited and nervous about the prospect of being in her very first contest. Consider it a right of passage amongst competitors in the pokemon league or contests, as not quite three months ago; I suffered the same feelings of jitters and nervousness as I proceeded onward with my matriculation process leading towards becoming a top coordinator. It never hurts to get your feet wet in any endeavor, and even the best of the best experience nervousness, but once the 'green' is knocked off of any person just entering their vocation that has the potential and is willing to put in the work, watch out.

I was around Hikari for much of the day of the contest, and I found out a fact about the young coordinator that made me want to know so much more about the girl. Hikari's mother video phoned her daughter prior to and after the contest. Her mother happens to be my idol from grammar school days of dreaming and wanting so badly to become a world class coordinator. Her name is Ayako and what hooked me to Ayako was more than just the competitions she staged against pokemon of other coordinators and the bond she shared with hers. It was a combination of the grace and resolve that she showed, even in situations of great pressure that inspired me to follow in those same footsteps, yet tread in a slightly different pathway to success in the contests. While Ayako represented traditionalists ideas and ideals of womanhood, beauty and class to a capital "T," I knew that my attitude on life and my feelings on what I wanted to represent in the form of an appeal and battling simply would not correlate to Ayako's and quite frankly would not be me. Besides, to exactly copy someone would be a desperate and sorry attempt at fanaticism that I had no need to attempt.

My appeals had to represent me and as such had to be real, otherwise my entire presentation would suffer. By 'suffer,' I mean that the judges would see right through my falsity. Other coordinators I've met in this, the first few months of my journey would probably tell you that I have a cool, at times cheerful, yet always reserved attitude about me. Few know about the meaning beyond my outer appeal to the world, much less the pokemon contest judges. My goal is to display a sense of confusion to the audience, where things do not appear to be what they actually are. I always want to keep people guessing, and by keeping them guessing, I've captivated and drawn them to me to the point where they will continue to want to see me contest after contest. Fellow coordinators that have seen me in action will tell you that I train a Glameow, which some will argue is a pokemon more appropriate for a girl, yet I've never particularly cared for the rigid criterion the world shoves in my face concerning what it means to be a woman, or in my case, girl.

Being a woman is about what you are inside, not outside. The role that confusion plays is most prevalent in the fact that I wear a tuxedo in most appeals and, quite frankly, appear to the naked eye to look just like a flamboyant young boy. Confused yet? Well, that's the idea, but I want the people to see things the way I see them. I am someone who is very hard to explain in 25 words or less. In my life, I always try to find a meaning in everything, because if I learn of that meaning now, it is a lesson that I'm not forced to learn later. It would only be natural for me to want people to think long and hard about me, so that I stay in their minds long after they leave the contest. To place meaning and substance in my everyday life practices and contest appeals are no exception.

Despite Ayako following the 'girl next door' stereotype for the most part, she was one of the greatest inspirations for me outside of my own parents because despite being a symbol of beauty, she was also a symbol of strength and love, which she showed for both the sport of coordinating and for her pokemon. The reason I train a Glameow is simply because she did. Just because I'm not a fanatic doesn't mean I didn't (and don't) want to be just like her.

To get back on topic, I had mentioned that Hikari was nervous and jittery about participating in her very first contest, so being a caring individual and a good friend, I did things to help her calm down and be clear headed for her upcoming appeal. She had to be or she would come off the blocks stumbling, and I didn't want that for her. I assisted in helping to get her ready by brushing her hair to get her ready for the judges and as another ice breaker; I let her see the very first contest ribbon I ever won about two months ago. Her excitement about this contest; her, for lack of a better term, coming out party to the coordinating scene was at times over the top and naive, but I thoroughly enjoyed her company throughout the contest and saw it as a welcome change compared to the tense atmospheres I've entered into during other contests. If I recall correctly, I responded to Hikari's 'kid at Christmas Eve' demeanor as being cute.

Allow me, if you will, to clarify my vocabulary. To say that something is cute can also mean that something is innocent. Much in the vein of a newborn baby, a dog dressed in doll-like clothes, and someone that lives life with absolutely no worries (I refer to this as a daijobu life) Hikari, as it pertains to coordinating is innocent. This is not meant as an insult in her direction. As a matter of fact, although I've only known her for less than two days, I envy her ability to make the best of any situation and keep a smile on her face. The way she handled her defeat at my hands was nothing short of classy and a real throwback to the demeanor of her mother some years ago. She was able to brush herself off after a tough battle in a losing effort, and help me celebrate in winning contest ribbon number two. I admire that type of confidence and wish that I could say the same for myself. I'll admit that I, Nozomi am indeed envious of Hikari.

Now, why in the world would I envy this so-called 'Daijobu' girl? Well, there were times in my life where the idea of keeping a smile on my face and not having worries in this world even as a young child was a downright laughable proposition. Not due to any estrangements in the family or a history of abuse, but because although I am only ten going on eleven years old, I've had a history of depression due to the events that have occurred in my young life. When I was five years old, one of my close male schoolmates, in fact, he was my best friend from age two up until kindergarten passed away due to leukemia, exposing me to the reality of lost life at a young age.

In the second grade, I was an accomplished gymnast with the goal of being a part of my country's Olympic national team in six to eight years. Coordinating was a goal of mine at the time as well, but the time and energy that is required of an Olympic-caliber athlete would require my full and undivided attention. Even the greatest of coordinators hit their career peaks in their late 20's, so starting at an older age would not be a great disadvantage. I was ranked number one in my development group (the sign of a consistent overachiever) and thought to be a lock for captain of any Olympic training squad in the world. Everything appeared to be going my way, as with continued hard work, an Olympic gold medal would soon be upon my horizon.

All such hopes and dreams were derailed however after an botched dismount off the balance beam caused me to land awkwardly on my right foot with such force that I suffered a double compound fracture on both my fibula and tibia bones, thus abruptly ending any hopes of my Olympic gold medal winning career quicker than a hiccup. For nearly two years after this major injury, I had to rehabilitate my right leg, maneuver to most places with a wheelchair and then walk with crutches to prevent further injury, which would have lead to the last resort of an ankle fusion surgery. Not long after my leg break, my father passed away due to unfortunate situations. Such tragic incidences in the life of a youth might drive that person to the lowest of depths later in life. Those overachievers like me, however, simply brush themselves off and move on to bigger and better endeavors. We are the people that don't dwell, but never forget, either.

This attitude has been both a blessing and a curse in my life. My introversion has left a sour taste in the mouths of some who believe that because I don't share my feelings, that I am a haughty individual. Nothing could possibly be further from the truth in my mind. I have cried and mourned the aforementioned problems and tragedies in my life, but always live to fight another day. Everyone in this world should experience great emotions every day of their lives, but it is not necessary to shout out to the world your sorrows and shortcomings and expect affection and care in return. It would be better if we could all grieve of our problems in private settings away from the watchful and critical eyes, who honestly could care less of you and more of your life story for purposes of idle and petty gossip. My business will forever remain my business, never to be shared with any other human being. The bottom line is I don't share.

Getting back on topic, again, if the world were made of people more like Hikari, (I say 'more like' because from what little I've seen, there can only be one Hikari) I believe that there would be little reason for anyone to complain or sulk in disappointments of goals left unaccomplished, like a marriage left in shambles. I don't know if she has experienced any such calamities or misfortunes in her life as I have, but if she has, she is blessed to be able to exude the confidence that she does. This young girl has already had me admiring her from afar, and wanting to know her secret to how she lives life. She in a way reminds me of the smiling motivational speakers in terms of her confidence, with the lone exception being that her sugary sweet disposition never abandons her. It contrasts quite nicely with my 'cooler than the other side of the pillow' approach to life. If she wants to become a world class coordinator, however a change is necessary for anyone to take her seriously, like they will do for me in about one year's time.

No matter what her contest resume will include in the coming years, she will certainly make a great attempt to follow in her mother's footsteps of the girl next door archetype. That career path can lend respect to the coordinator, but it will be much more difficult for her to gain that respect and become a serious threat to the world's top coordinators. Just keep in mind that the one thing that gains the most respect of your peers and your superiors in this business is winning ribbons and lots of them. Despite my concern, I am confident that Hikari is a strong coordinator deep inside and is just waiting to come out and show the world her capability. But, I just can't shake the idea that something may very well be holding her back from becoming the best that Sinnoh has to offer of this new generation of coordinators.

Whether it is her inert belief that nothing short of flawless appeals in all contests will be the only thing that impresses Ayako, or some other deep-rooted meaning and method to her madness, I can tell that something is holding the girl back. And it would be nothing short of a damn shame to have your career suffer because the bar was set to a ridiculously high level. Ayako set a very high, some might say impossible standard by winning the Grand Festival. Hikari has a chance to become big, but Hikari must run her own race to the top of the Pokemon contest mountain. If you were to ask Robert and Saori of their strategies for winning the Hoenn and Kanto Grand Festivals respectively, I'd almost guarantee you that they would both be different. After all, there is more than one way to skin a Skitty.

Switching gears for a moment, I need to get something off my chest about my pokemon coordinating experience so far. Although I am grateful to have this opportunity to perform as a top level coordinator, I must admit that the road to success in the world of pokemon coordinating has become far too monotonous. Either we as coordinators will win or we'll lose, but the tradition of good sportsmanship and humility is what has kept contests popular with longtime fans for so many years. But somewhere along the line, the promoters of these contests and other various exhibitions lost focus of the fact that they had to, well, appeal to a new generation of fans and supporters to keep this great sport alive. Nothing over the last half century or so has changed, so how do you expect most youth to buy into it and want to become coordinators themselves?

As for me, I have always been one to break tradition on a personal level and believe that it would be pointless to hold back me- the whole me, on a professional level, as well. Right now, all I have is a mission; a plan to change what has been accepted for decades as proper behavior in the pokemon world. This plan is designed to bring down, one would argue destroy, every foundation that has been built over the many centuries of recorded pokemon battling and coordinating. If I succeed, not only will I be a winner, so will Hikari.

Our names will be written together as being the catalysts in the resurrection of the sport that my idol Ayako helped to build. Every sporting channel will list us as the measuring stick through which all other future coordinators will be measured, and grandparents made up of this generation's new coordinators will speak of the golden era of coordinating to their future grandchildren. And perhaps most important of all, we will be able to provide for our future families and elder parents without the stress and worry that other adult children have with this similar situation. Again, it sounds complicated and arrogant on my part to think I can shake up the entire coordinating world single handedly, but again this is the mark of the consistent overachiever. Besides, who says you can't fight City Hall? Not me.

Unlike the hopes and wishes of some kids my age, fame and fortune were not the vices that drew me into the contest halls region wide, but they come with seniority in the territory. Just going out and being a top coordinator in Sinnoh will never get the casual fan to care about me. I can not settle with mediocrity if I want the fans to care. I have to shake everything and everyone up and create an atmosphere that will draw people to contest houses region wide. The underground scenes of fans has viewed my appeals and battles several times on internet video sites and have debated my pure abilities as a coordinator, but I have to be able to crossover to the mainstream in order to have any sort of success beyond ribbons and trophies, however important they are to me. Internet buzz about a short-haired, fiery, redheaded tomboy who's won two ribbons in less than three months can only do so much as the internet fans of coordinating only represent a trace amount of our otherwise large fan base.

My plan will have to touch every single fan of pokemon coordinating in some form or fashion, be it positive or negative. The plan is simply to make Hikari believe that she could defeat any coordinator, yet still maintain her incomparable confidence while gaining a newfound swagger in her step. Should this plan work, Hikari will never fear speaking her mind or letting the world know how she feels about her appeals. She will be a psychological dynamo that will rattle the nerves of her opponents and achieve victory with her pokemon without even having to break a sweat. Though I sound like a coordinator's coach, which is a luxury only afforded by the very well off, I've learned enough about the sport and know people enough to be confident in my plan. To put things in very simple terms, I wrap up this journal entry with my personal credo for my aforementioned outlined goal:

"I Nozomi, fully dedicate my mind, body and spirit to becoming the full fledged rival of Hikari, elevating both of us to the status we deserve to be as top notch Pokemon Coordinators, and to overall become legendary names in the incredible world of pokemon."

To put it simply, I am going to find a way— some way to formulate a heated rivalry between Twinleaf Town's Hikari and myself.

Wish me luck. After all, I have to combat cute on this journey, which is arguably more dangerous than flashing strobe lights on a television screen.

Girl on a Mission,

A/N: And so ends Chapter 1 of what I hope to be an exciting and challenging project to create a basis for shipping what I believe to be a great future dynamic between Hikari and Nozomi. This story is designed to view the origins of a romantic relationship and cover the many dimensions of two people who are in love, as well. I 'hope' this fic brightens a 'light' in your eyes the same way it has mine. Read and Review with your constructive criticism and check my author's page for progress on updates and more information.