Saving Shard

By Maia's Pen

Authors Note: At times this story will be violent, passionate, despairing and flooded with angst. But it is my hope that it will also make you smile or laugh. In a nutshell: this story will be emotional. You have been warned.

Disclaimer: I do not own Pokemon or any of its characters . . . and it is probably a good thing for I sometimes subject them to nightmare-ish situations.

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There was no suicide note. But, then again, a note wasn't really necessary. It was obvious that Gary Oak's death was not accidental.

Before plunging sixteen meters into a rock-infested river, Gary . . . did something. Something that proved he intended to die: he removed all of his Pokeballs from his belt and knapsack. There, beneath a tree by the cliffs edge, Gary stacked his Pokeballs. He stacked them very neatly and with thought -- each of the six Pokeballs arranged in the order by which he had acquired its monster. Had he accidentally tumbled to his doom the balls would have tumbled with him. The Pokemon would have either perished or released themselves and saved him . . . neither a risk that Gary was willing to take. His actions spoke volumes beyond what a note ever could.

There were several theories about what happened to Gary after he jumped. The most popular: his body was immediately shred by the jagged rocks and his remains washed away by the current. Another likely theory: he died upon impact with the water and his body devoured by the Croconaw population. A Croconaw would not eat a living human, but a dead one was an entirely different matter. Some speculated that -- even had Gary miraculously survived the fall – he would most undoubtedly have drowned. The river is a violent one, over three meters deep and flushes out into the South Sea.

The police discovered Gary's left boot twelve kilometers downstream from the Pokeballs; several kilometers further: the remains of his knapsack. Police scoured the river for five days. Professor Oak hired a private investigation team to search for six weeks after that. The story blazed through the media making every national headline. The promising young researcher, grandson to the world renowned Professor Oak, was gone. Everyone knew that there was zero chance of survival and zero hope; and everyone was sure to tell the old professor. It was not right to give him hope. But the professor could not believe that his grandson was dead; he refused to hold a funeral or a memorial service. He wanted closure. He needed it.

Finally, after a full year had passed, a funeral was held in Pallet Town. It was held on the date which would have been Gary's Sweet Sixteenth birthday. Over five hundred people and Pokemon attended.

The cloud of love which had blinded the grandfather gave way to the realistic reasoning of the scientist: Gary could not have survived that fall. It had been a year. Gary was truly dead. Professor Oak finally accepted the fact that his beloved grandson was never coming home.

Just a teenager and dead.

It was a catastrophic loss . . .

No one, not even Professor Oak, had suspected how depressed Gary was. No one saw his suicide coming. He had the world at his feet and yet he chose death.

They buried a picture of Gary in a small coffin . . . it was all that they could do.

They never found his body.

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Authors Note: Well, I'm back. Hi! I have been working on this story for (honestly) over a year. I have been spinning it around in my head for months upon months . . . and, finally, I've found the time to bang it out. I already have the entire fic roughly drafted, and it is my hope that you will review if you enjoyed the prologue -- or even if you did not. Feedback is highly appreciated. I will gladly respond to all comments. Thank you for taking the time to read this far, Maia's Pen