A/N: Unless you know me, or know of me, or have curiosity as to my other work, no need to read the next paragraph.
This next story is meant to fit into the larger, overall picture of my interpretation of a logical pokemon universe, while incorporating transformation at the same time. I do not own pokemon, nor any of those creatures depicted herein, only the human characters with which they are interacting.
Faber quisque fortunae suae.
Focus... focus... it's just metal. It's structural integrity is limited by the tensile strength exerted by the metallic bonds of its atoms... another electron's all I need... Logan's eyes fixed upon the quarter-inch steel rebar resting upon the desk in front of him, as though the intensity of his stare itself would be enough to twist the metal into anything other than a straight line. Had anyone walked in on him in this moment, he probably would've looked rather ridiculous, laying down on the top of his bunk-bed, dangling over just enough to stare down at a piece of corroded scrap with the intensity of one who had just spoken a series of insults with regards to his immediate family. If, however, one took the time to open the top drawer of Logan's desk, one would realize why he acted as he did. The drawer was filled nearly to bursting with twisted metal and other objects of all shapes and sizes, all bent or torn in unusual and seemingly impossible ways. Still, none were anywhere near as thick as the bar upon his desk. The boy was obviously stepping things up.
For hours, it seemed, Logan remained, his eyes unblinkingly fixed upon the steel support meant for concrete, his mind perfecting the exact force and application of that force required to twist the metal into a pretzel. He was scarcely sixteen, yet utterly focused, perfectly disciplined. Then, without any indication of activity, the bar burned blue, twisting around itself several times as though molded by the hands of an invisible giant.
As swiftly as it had come, the blue glow of the steel subsided, the desk slightly scorched where the metal had made contact, and Logan limp, breathing heavily. I knew I could do it! His mind raved, triumphant, even considering the time it had taken him to accomplish this feat. But if he could do it now... that meant he could do it again later, and it would only be easier the second time.
Logan was a rare breed, the trained telepath, and even rarer at his age. The current theories of mental development made it quite clear that it was impossible for anyone not born psychic to become that way... but Logan, and the others like him, made it quite clear such beliefs were untrue. Using sheer willpower and time, and beginning with the smallest of objects, Logan had been training himself at an early age to be what so many around him were by nature. School, pokemon training, friends... nothing seemed as important.
Saffron City had its way of doing that to you, particularly when you were a blood relative (cousin or not) of the legendary gym leader, Sabrina. Even if he didn't share her last name, there were high standards in this family. Every uncle was reading his every thought, and every aunt seemed to appear and disappear at will. Logan was the dud of the family; he no sooner read emotions by birth than he did fly.
Poor little Logan... He imagined his parents telling each other, in those conversations that seemed plain in their eyes, but made no sound the boy could hear. Oh how well he remembered them, and he could feel them changing to spoken words every time he walked into the room. He doesn't belong... he's not one of us... maybe it would be better if we let go of him... give him to a foster home run by ordinary people... for his own good! His face flushed with wave after wave of vibrant anger at the mere thought of it. He's so young! I'm sure he won't ever remember us... and he won't have to feel this way!
Even in his younger days, Logan had known scorn and hatred for being the only "normal" kid at a special school for gifted students, a school he had begged for weeks to be able to attend because all of his older brothers did. Not until he arrived there on the first day of kindergarten did he realize why his parents had been so steadfast in their insistence that he attend the regular school.
He had returned from the first day of kindergarten with scorched skin, pink hair, and three inches off of his height. Despite his parents best efforts, that height he had never recovered, even as the other "practical jokes" were healed. From that day on, Logan was forced to walk within tight escort of his older brothers, who despite being uncomfortable with the only "non" on the small campus, loved their brother, and wished him no harm. The rest of his lower schooling yielded no shocks like its first day, but occasionally disappearing clothes and homework were common. His siblings could only protect him so much.
Which was why, at seven years old, Logan had decided arbitrarily that he was, in fact, the most gifted of his family, but that his brain needed "more training" to coax it out. From that day on, every spare minute, every hour of free time not spent at the kind of mandatory social gatherings it took to maintain a small network of friends had been expended much like this one, in a deep meditative trance, or staring at some random scrap of metal. It had taken several months or more to be able to do anything other than stare, but, amazingly, he seemed to have been correct. Before long he was moving more and more quickly, until such action became almost effortless and second nature to him. After moving objects Logan began working on the art of destroying them, which proved far more difficult to learn. More than a year passed without a single successes... but just as before Logan proved that one could develop abilities not granted by genetics.
All the while, Logan's family seemed to hardly notice he was gone, not paying him any mind or really asking why he had chosen to disappear... but that did change. For as the youth opened those pathways required for telekinesis, he inadvertently activated those that were required for telepathy and his home changed from one of almost dead silence to the constant voices of his siblings and parents, some of which he scarcely heard twice during one day. Most telepaths start hearing transmissions by the time they are three, but Logan was twelve before he began hearing his siblings transmissions, and fourteen before he could reply the same way.
By the time he was fourteen, all Logan's teasing had stopped, his abilities now too strong to permit any but the most powerfully gifted to cause him any trouble. It was a commonly accepted within the faculty of his school that his little body had absorbed so much energy from being teased and bullied that he had activated "dormant" pathways that had already been present because he was a member of a prominently gifted family. His parents, too, suddenly began to notice him, praising his development and proclaiming him a miracle. It was all Logan had ever dreamed of. Training and the new abilities had made him welcome where before he was an outcast, even within his own family. If only his parents had ascribed his development to the hard work that had truly caused it, rather than some latent power present in his bloodline, he might've been perfectly happy with what had happened... but alas, in order to preserve their worldview that the gifted were an elite and exclusive crowd of humans, they ascribed his newfound powers to his birth, and didn't say a word about the thousands of hours he had spent perfecting them, and that he continued to spend whenever he had the time.
Logan, Michelle, Rob, come down for dinner! He heard his parents yell from downstairs, a soft smile playing across his face. Even a year after it had began, it felt so good to be included, felt so good to hear his own name silently spoken like those of his siblings. It had been a long a difficult process, one that was still incomplete, but Logan knew it was worth it. His grades and friends reflected that effort, hovering just on the border of average and above average. The boy was quite bright, but he had dedicated his gift to other pursuits. While his older brothers went off to join the pokemon training league, leaving only him and his younger siblings, Logan had remained in school, and didn't really have any path for his career in mind. Other than what he did from day to day, he didn't know that he ever would. He wasn't yet up to the high standard of those who could be accepted into careers requiring experience with the gift, but he would be, and that's where he spent his time. Nothing else seemed to matter.
I'll be right there, mom! Logan called, rolling off the top bunk and landing on his feet, sliding the door easily open with the wave of a hand and darting down the stairs. He passed the wall where his parents had marked the height of himself and his siblings every six months since the day he could stand, pausing to reflect for a moment at the little section of wall covered in permanent marker. There was his space in the middle, following the unusually tall growth patterns of the rest of his family... right up until he was eight, where his line dipped again to his size at six, and didn't return for another two years of growth. As a result, he was only 5' 3" tall at sixteen, and skinny as a twig.
Dinner was, as always, a rather awkward affair, though things had greatly improved over those same discussions of two years prior, where he had sat in the corner of the silent table, wondering what his family was saying, or if they were at all. Now... now he was at least part of the conversation, and didn't have to use his physical hands nearly as much. Part of the circle, even if he was on the outer rim.
School starts next week. His mother began, speaking mainly to his two younger siblings. Training is going to have to go on hold again, and you know what that means. Kadabra and Espeon have to go into Bill's PC.
Logan phased out the rest of the conversation, fiddling with his mashed potatoes. At that point, he was quite sure he was not the meant recipient of those words. While his younger brother and sister were avid trainers in their spare time, Logan had never really had enough free time to spend wandering the countryside. He didn't dislike pokemon, and he wasn't completely unknowledgeable. He knew the basics about the pokemon that lived in this area, and he knew how not to be attacked on his daily walk to school. That had always been enough. What he didn't know was the difference between an ultra ball and a great ball, or how to teach a pokemon TMs. It had never been required, so why bother?
He spent several minutes longer than he needed with the salmon, savoring every bite. Perhaps he was in an odd mood... but it was a fine cut of meat, so much so it warranted eating slow. He would've taken longer, were it an option. Sadly, as conversations resumed and became more heated, Logan soon forgot about his plate.
Logan, your father and I have been talking... and we've decided not to enroll you in school again this year. Dad talked to the boss, and he says he can get you a job right away... you'll start in two days.
His mother said it like a passing gesture, but it nearly knocked Logan from his chair. Fortunately, his fork was the only thing to hit the floor. Excuse me? He asked, struggling to keep his tone flat. I'm not done with my education! I need to learn more, I'm not ready for the real world! Not that he had any particular priorities in mind, but school allowed him ample opportunity to practice his gift during the evening, and time to relax in his rather standard assortment of classes during the day. More than that, he was assured of several holidays, unusually short school days, and most importantly, a whole summer off from working where he could do as he pleased. He was only sixteen! What were his parents thinking, and why could they possibly want to throw him so helplessly into the job market now?
The answer was as simple as it was obvious. His parents wanted to get rid of him, and by law, they could only do that after he was stable economically. Sixteen was the minimum age... even if he had managed to get some of those abilities they so took for granted working for him, he was still a smudge on the record of his family. His mind swelled with anger, so that his plate began to vibrate in front of him, but he didn't seem to notice. He knew his parents loved him; what mother and father didn't? But apparently that love didn't matter as much as their station or position in those inner circles he'd never been privy to.
But, mom... I want to say in school. He said, as matter-of-factly as possible. Maybe a year or two I'll be ready to get a job somewhere, but not now... school isn't finished! There is so much left to do!
His mother had a reply ready at once, as though he knew exactly what Logan was thinking, which was probably the case. No, honey... the family could really use the money, and we think you're ready. It isn't up for discussion... you're done with school.
The plate cracked loudly, sending globs of food in every direction. "May I be excused?" He asked out loud, his voice so laden with spite it was hard to make out the words. Then, without pausing long enough to hear the reply, Logan stormed off, nearly singeing the banister in his haste to get up to his room, slamming the door behind him. He began to gather as many of his things as could be effectively moved, cramming as much of his camping supplies into his backpack as hadn't been lost into the bag, as well as clothes, dried food, his entire savings, and a pad of paper. He then changed out of what he was wearing, swapping out city clothes for multi-layered synthetic materials.
The entire process took all of ten minutes to complete, by the end of which, Logan was fully dressed in thick, camouflage pattern wilderness clothes, fully loaded with as much as his backpack would carry, and had only reached for the handle of his door, when it swung ajar of its own accord, slamming all the way around on its hinges and into the thin drywall with awful force, a large chunk of the wall exploding as the metal and powder collided, and the metal won.
His father was standing in the doorway looking livid, his belt already off and in his hands.
Logan knew what was coming. He had disrespected his parents, left the table without permission, and damaged a great portion of the valuable china. His father was a very, sometimes overly strict man with a military background, so corporal punishment was always the first and only consequence for any offense. It was painful, and Logan considered it cruel... but it was effective. The boy had had enough. Instead of standing submissively in the middle of the room waiting for the blows, Logan didn't move from the entrance until his father pushed him, standing straight and defiant.
The older man's anger seemed to increase tenfold as he saw what Logan had done, tearing apart his room looking for his belongings, and how he was dressed, in direct defiance to what his parents had said. "No!" He shouted, not bothering to make use of any telepathic sense this time "You will stay, and you will not dishonor us with your disrespect!" The very room seemed to shake with the force of his voice, or perhaps it was something more.
Logan remained where his father had pushed him upon the ground for several long seconds, looking up with complete defiance. He could feel his father's anger rising, but this time, he wasn't going to take it. As far as he was concerned, parents that didn't have his best interest at heart didn't deserve his respect. Logan focused on the rear porch of their home, generating an image in his mind as accurate as possible, imagining every detail, every facet. He next focused on the space between himself and the porch, twisting the coordinates of space directly behind him. With a rush of cool air from behind, he knew the way was open... all he had to do now was use it. "No, dad! Not this time!" He stood up, ignoring his father's advance. "Give my regards to my siblings..." He said, stepping back.
He felt the conduit he had made wrap itself around him, closing as his mass destabilized it from behind. He felt nothing, spinning through the blackness, until, with a loud crack of displaced air, he reached the other side, his head still spinning from his brief time in the void.
Still wearing the backpack, Logan got to his feet and sprinted off into the night as fast as his legs could carry him, smiling softly to himself as he heard his father's scream of fury. His parents had never known he had learned point-to-point transport, even if the distances he had yet managed were quite small. There was much his parents had never learned about him...
He wasn't safe just yet. His younger sister, he knew, was quite proficient when it came to locating and transporting. If his parents asked her to find him at his distance, she would, and she would be able to bring him back. He had to find a train... and ride it as far away as possible, somewhere his parents would not be able to find him. Then he could get started on the rest of his plan, which was to either get to another continent and start acting as old as he looked, so that with luck he would be transferred to a foster home as a ward of the state and get the additional time for schooling he desired. Or, and far more likely, he would just stay away long enough for his parents to forget about their extra-social situations and remember their son. Either way, he would have to get far far away from his parents first, somewhere where neither them nor their powerful friends could locate him.
It wound seem luck was with Logan that night, for he didn't encounter anyone of consequence until he had walked miles through suburbs and into the city. There was Michelle, just as he had expected, waiting for him at the entrance to the train station. She seemed to be trying to conceal herself in the shadows of the archway that lead into the train station, but was doing so poor a job at it that Logan could've picked her out for miles, had the curve of the streets and height of the buildings prevented it. He stopped ten feet away from her, frowning. "Michelle... what are you doing? Dad asked you to bring me back, didn't he?"
She seemed taken aback for a moment that he could see her, then she nodded grimly, stepping forward, reaching out toward Logan with a single hand, as though she were going to pat him on the shoulder.
Logan stepped back as she stepped forward, raising a hand that caused her to stop in her tracks. "No." He said flatly. "I'm not that stupid, I know what you're trying to do... get away from me. I don't have anything against you, or any of the family, but I'm going to leave for awhile. Mom and dad want me gone... so that's where I'll go."
Michelle nodded again, looking none-too pleased. "What do I tell dad? He'll know if I'm lying!"
Logan began walking forward, raising his hand as he did so. His eyes seemed to glow with internal light... or perhaps that was just the light of the full moon. As he walked, his sister was forced by a gigantic, invisible hand, to walk backwards or fall, until he had walked her right up to the wall, still several feet away. "Tell them I'm not as weak as I used to be... tell them I overpowered you... and tell them that I'll do the same to the next person they send after me, if they can find me..." Logan lowered his hand, releasing the hold on Michelle, and walked away through the archway and onto one of the waiting trains, where he found a seat near the rear of one of the almost completely deserted cars. His sister had not followed: he was alone.
Five minutes later, he heard the whir from the generators somewhere within the train as the electromagnets below him powered up, the doors closed by themselves, and the train took off at amazing speed, the faint lights of the city around him blurring into yellow and white streaks. Glancing once around him just to be sure he was alone, Logan stretched out on three of the flat seats, pushing up their armrests and laying down, his back resting against one of the side walls of the car. He reached down to the place he had dropped his backpack, and fumbling around in a top pocket for a moment, he pulled out a small, leather-bound book, opened to a page somewhere in the middle, and began to write.
I've had enough of the crap they pile on at home. I work so hard not to be a gimp, and mom and dad still treat me like scum. I've had enough... I'm on a train, now, bound for as far away as I can go. Maybe if I come back in a few weeks, they'll appreciate me more... and if not, well... I guess I won't come home. Perhaps my younger looks will do more than just make it hard to get a date for the winter formal, this time...
The entry went on and on, largely the ranting of a hormonal teenage mind, much principal in fact without any real backing beyond that. As the train whirred on, passing miles and miles of suburbia, the land began to decline into much more rural standing. By the train passed the first farmland, Logan was asleep, cramned into the space between two chairs and the wall.
His sleep was uneasy, punctuated frequently with brief, confusing dreams, most of which he would not remember when he awoke. He was lying on his back in the darkness, hardly able to feel whatever it was upon which he was taking rest, looking up at a sky with more stars out than he had ever seen.
It's beautiful, isn't it? He head a quiet voice ask beside him, its tone light. It has been so long since I've shared this view with new blood... I was afraid your kin had lost their way. What with that, and that copy made by dark men several years ago. He almost caused disaster, as members of your kin have nearly done before and after him... The voice faded, and Logan looked to see who was speaking... but could only make out a faint outline, an outline that seemed to be resting on a dark, amorphous shape that stretched out endlessly around him. You are nearly ready, human. Drink light with an open palm, and you will be prepared for the next step in the journey. Your kind is holding itself prisoner... you can't let them all free, but you can yourself escape. I'll be waiting for you...
Logan tossed and turned as this dream repeated over and over in his head... or perhaps it was just once, and his mind merely repeated the memory. Whatever the case, his rest ended abruptly, when the first dawn lights abstrewed the eastern sky, casting a pale luminescence across his pale skin. His eyes twitched, then opened, his head still spinning with the final echoes of his nighttime confusion I'll be waiting for you. The words seemed to reverberate inside head for several seconds, the final remnants of a dream that had just ended.
The youth sat up slowly, climbing into the seat nearest the window and glancing outside. Blank, seemingly featureless wilderness was still blurring by, broken occasionally by a few seconds of exposure to a road or a building or two. Dimly, Logan became aware of a slight reduction in velocity, as the train began to slow. The air brakes engaged, squeaking loudly as the train slowly drew to a halt. Logan moved slowly toward the exit door, passing in the rear of the slight crowd of businessmen and those dressed for more wilderness settings. A few saw Logan's clothes, waving him over with a friendly smile, taking him for one of their own. He shook his head, frowning. Not that Logan had anything against the sport, but he hated to disappoint. What they were looking for, he could not provide.
Silver Town was a small town, with only the smallest area of downtown possessing any buildings taller than a few stories. Logan stayed well away from the growing crowds of trainers and early-rising businessmen, keeping to himself as much as possible during his day of travel. Best not to be seen, so as to make tracking him down much more difficult.
Logan's strategy worked. He encountered no resistance or opposition of any kind during a full day of travel, and reached well outside the city. It was deep in a small forest glade that he pitched his tent and gear a few hours after nightfall, concealing his camp as best he could with branches and leaves, and wiring the single solar-battery-charger he had brought along to a place well into the trees, where it would not be seen by any common passerby on the road a few miles away. When Logan was done, a ring of bushes and other life surrounded a thirty-square-foot camp area, complete with his tent, a camp chair, a large stack of firewood (most of it smaller stuff, in order to light tiny, cooking fires), a log to sit on beside the fire, and a little stream that passed through the corner of his camp. The rest of his gear was inside the tent, including three sets of clothes, a sleeping bag, a pillow, a camp stove with two little tanks of fuel, several weeks worth of dried rations, a journal, his MP3 player, several sets of rechargeable batteries, a pocketknife, and an empty pokeball he had stolen from his younger sister several years ago "just in case".
It wasn't a luxury hotel by any stretch of the imagination, but it would be home for the next few weeks or months, and it felt safe. Besides... he was only a train away from home, if living out here got too hard. Not that it would, in this area. Pokemon here were known to be pretty friendly, so long as you didn't mess with their young or steal their food. That, and you stayed away from the caves. The sandstone formations had been there for thousands of years, and it was rumored, powerful pokemon dwelled inside. Logan did not subscribe to those beliefs, but all the same... it felt much safer well away. He had no intention of ever nearing the caves, particularly with no means to defend himself other than his mind, a knife, and a pokeball.
Sleep came easy for Logan after a full day of hard labor and travel. His sleeping bag felt a little small, considering it had been purchased for him several years earlier, but the youth hardly noticed as he curled up inside it. Sleep took only a matter of seconds.
Whether that sleep would be peaceful, however, was another story altogether. As they had been the before, Logan's dreams were filled with images that were obviously orchestrated and non-random. In many ways, it was precisely the same dream as he had felt the previous night, himself, lying seemingly alone on his back, facing a sea of stars as large before as he had never seen. Were he in more control, Logan might've guessed at being somewhere in the upper atmosphere, for there seemed to be no clouds, and the twinkling of the stars was almost nonexistent.
"Why am I here?" He asked instinctively, his words quiet and passive in his own mind.
At first, there was no answer, and he continued to watch the stars. Then, in that same high, almost childish voice. You are here because of who you are... you are here because you came to be here. You grew from nothing into what you are... is this not so?
Like most dreams, Logan felt slave to dream logic, and just then, everything made perfect sense. He had trained his gift from nothing, that much was true... did the voice refer to that? "Why me? There are many others like me... why me?"
Again, the voice did not answer for some time. You are ideal. Your mind is nearly ready for this next step... and the others will not long remember your passing. You are not essential to the function of the whole. Your light is not touched by the darkness of your kind.
Even in a dream, Logan couldn't help but feel a stab of pain at that. Yes, he had been ostracized largely from the community of those around him, and his parents, for whatever reason, had seen fit to eliminate him from their lives. Still... when he spoke again, it was with a twinge of anger, and less of a passive voice. "What do you want with me? If I am not essential to the function of the whole, what can I have that you want?"
The voice answered immediately this time, perhaps responding to the forcefulness of Logan's protests. It is not what I offer you, it is what you can become of yourself. We are not far apart... many of us were once as you are... but your kin have hunted us in order to expand your puny understanding, and we have lost many. There are very few of us now, and the few that are left are either too old or unwilling to expand our number... The voice trailed off, showing its first signs of emotion. I believe you would not disagree with the consequences, in the long term.
"And who are you?" Logan asked, his voice returning gradually to that passive, almost playful curiosity.
Again, the voice answered quickly I am eldest. It is for me to aid lower life on the path to light. I have not assisted a member of your kind for hundreds of solar cycles... I had hoped to wait until one was more ready, but I am left with no alternative... you are not quite ready for this next step, but the only other close is busy with other tasks, and we cannot interfere. The voice paused, and seemed to be closer when it spoke again, or at least, louder. Your kind is on the verge of... great and drastic change. For thousands of cycles, it has been the greatest of your kin that have joined mine, supplementing those who lose their lives to save yours... but I fear... if your kind does not survive... we may have no way to propagate the species long enough for another race to reach your level of mental development.
Selfish interests, then? This... thing... wanted him to help... breed? It made enough organic sense, but still seemed as though something was missing, something he wasn't being told. To begin, how did he not know this entire sequence of events was not the creation of his own mind? This was, after all, a dream. As it progressed, his mind had become more and more aware, but dream was still just that.
Whatever the voice was, it appeared to be capable of penetrating his thoughts. You are not dreaming, Logan... at least, not the way you think. I am using your regenerative cycle to communicate with you, but this is not fantasy. This is merely a means of communication through which we are both in no danger. Like all of your kind, you are very young. This way, there can be no long term consequences if you reject me. You can resume your life... but I ask you, what goals have you for your future? Where will you go with yourself?
This was a question Logan could easily answer, though his mind was brimming with several strong inquiries still to ask of this voice. "I'll stay away from my family until... until my parents want me back... love is supposed to be unconditional, isn't it?"
Correct. The voice answered. Love is supposed to be unconditional. This is why so many of my kind have died for yours, and for many pokemon also. The child is the future of the parent, to replace and move forward our estate after we are gone. But what will you do after? Worse, what will you do if you parents never heal old wounds? What if their dislike of you is not so much personal, but subconscious? What will you do then?
"I guess I'll..." Logan began, sounding less sure of himself "Pretend to be younger and go live on the street somewhere far away... they won't be able to tell the difference." His words ended forcefully this time, and bitter, as before.
There was a pause, and a shooting star flashing overhead, disappearing in a brilliant flash of light as it became little more than vapor and trickling dust. Yes. And then? What will you do when much time has passed? What do you intend to do with your existence?
Logan had no answer. He had never considered anything beyond the goal of improving his abilities, and that objective presented by the coming day.
This is why you are ideal. You would gain much more to live away from your kin. You can attain your desires there, and remain in safety you would not otherwise posses in these coming times of turmoil and tragedy. You may even be able to save some of those you love from their fate... it will not be difficult, but it will not be easy. You will endure the greatest your mind permits, particularly since you are not quite ready... nevertheless, you will become so, regardless of the initial difficulty...
The voice had Logan's interest now. "Become what, and how, exactly?" He asked, trying to conceal a bit of excitement in his voice. It was only a bit, but ever-present nonetheless.
There was no hesitation in the speech of the other. Become what your kind once was, long ago... what we all were. If you do accept my offer, your change will be natural, but I will assist you. As I said, you are not ready... you cannot make the next step alone, but I will walk with you. Find me in a place feared by those you would reject, and I will assist you... you know where to look. I'll be there as long as I can wait... but I will need to find another in soon discourse if this not be your will. It is against the nature of my species to force anything of this nature, as it does not directly benefit you or your kind. Nevertheless... find me if you desire it. If not, forget about me. Go back to your family, and think no more of this. You shall not hear of me further once you relocate, if it is not me you seek... it may also be required for me to remove this encounter from your memory, but fear not. You shall not be harmed.
For some time, Logan lay in silence, looking up at the stars, and thinking about what the voice had said. He sat up again, suddenly, looking around for any sign of a speaker. He saw only a flicker of something, a vaguely feline outline in the medium upon which he now sat, then, nothing.
Logan tossed and turned in his sleep, waking early, just as the sun cast its first light onto the fabric of the tent. As always, his first thoughts were for the remnants of his dreams, holding onto them as one holds water in cupped hands, and about as effectively. Still, while his memory lacked any impression for the words, he did know he needed to go somewhere nearby, and had to find someone. Someone was waiting for him... that much he remembered.
After slipping back into his clothes and out of the sleeping bag, Logan began his daily affairs, heating breakfast on his portable stove, boiling water to drink, and patrolling the edge of his camp to be sure its camouflage had not broken during the night. After breakfast, Logan wrote in his diary, then spent much of the balance of the day in his tent, manipulating metal with complete patience of mind. He was not disturbed, and didn't hear so much as a whisper in English during the course of the entire day.
When night came, he briefly enjoyed a small campfire, spending an hour or so watching the stars before heating a quick meal and returning to bed. His mind was again plagued by dreams of quiet conversations with that unseen voice beneath the stars, with only the smallest fragments enduring long enough to be committed to memory when he awoke. Most of those conversations, he would never remember, lost forever to the swirling ether of his own mind. Nevertheless, when he awoke the next morning, and begun his dull routine, he was again struck with a strong desire to journey to the nearby caves, a desire that was overcome by a stronger impression of superstitious fear. He washed himself as best he could with water collected from the stream, dressed, and begun his dreary routine again, putting all thought of the dreams from his head.
And so it went, day after day, week after week, the same repetitive monotony, stretching on with no sign of stopping. Logan felt no such dreariness, however, perfectly comfortable and happy with the current progression of events. He rarely encountered any type of outside interference, and when he did, it was usually a pokemon he could scare off with a shout, or someone passing on a nearby trail. His camp was as close to perfectly camouflaged as could be, and as such, he had no problems for some time... at least until his food ran out.
Unlike problems of daily water shortage, or brief difficulties with wild Pokemon, this issue was not one that Logan was qualified to solve. Sure, there was fruit here and there, but the young man was no survivalist. How was he to tell the difference between something that could be eaten and something that would just as easily take his life? It was not something that he intended to leave to chance. When the food ran out, it was time to go home.
It was late afternoon on the fourth week of Logan's absence that, at long last, the camp was all packed and folded into his backpack once again, the fire dismantled, and the camouflage scattered. Unlike the previous nights, his dreams had been much less subtle, bludgeoning him with concepts rather than making him think about them.
Unlike many of the previous nights, he was now quite sure it was in his best interests to journey to the caves, and that doing so would put him in no danger. This impression was so strong that, after packing up his camp and filling his canteen for the last time, Logan managed to convince himself that the three-mile detour would be worth the walk. Logan had a map, and he knew the way. The journey would only add a few hours to the trip, which could only reinforce his point when he returned... or so he had convinced himself.
Most with sense were not out traveling in the heat of midday, and Logan encountered next to no one on the trail to the caves. His bag seemed heavy, but a month of living without the comforts and pleasures of a modernized society made the load seem much lighter on his shoulders.
The last quarter mile was the most difficult part, however. It stretched up a winding, criss-crossing path up the side of what was almost a sheer cliff, and was made all the more difficult by the heavy, unbalancing load on Logan's back. He slipped more than once, but the path was speckled with plant life, and these provided a handhold or foothold when he needed it. It was this portion of the journey that was most difficult, taking a full half hour from the base of the slope to the top.
Logan dropped his bag at the entrance to the cave he had chosen to investigate first, this particular rock formation being largest, deepest, and presumably, most dangerous. Even so, he had to crane his neck a bit to avoid a particularly nasty outcropping of rock as he ventured deeper into the cave. Flipping the switch of his flashlight, the cave in front of him immediately illuminated. Several Golbat above took off immediately, soaring away towards the exit, throughly spooked. "Hello? Is anyone there?" The boy called, venturing forward with slow, meaningful steps, as though each one might reveal the face of a hostile, cave-dwelling pokemon. He still had the pokeball he had stolen from his younger sister, but doubted very much it would be of any use in this case. If any of the legends were true, whatever Logan would find in these caves would be far more dangerous than could be dealt with using so weak a weapon as a pokeball, let alone with such an inexperienced user.
Just as Logan began to feel doubt, and the size of the chambers of the cave began to increase again, making him feel still more exposed and vulnerable, he saw something moving above him, saw the reflection of artificial light in catlike pupils somewhere ahead.
It is good to see you. He head the voice from in front of him, that same tone that had frequented his dreams many times before in recent weeks, with a noticeable sense of desperation and relief in the tone of the words. Sit... there is much for you to know before we can begin...
Trouble was, Logan scarcely knew where he was going, never mind why! The dreams had been so confusing, so cryptic, and worst of all, he couldn't remember his dreams! Surely the voice wouldn't ask that much of him! Did he even want what this thing was offering?
The voice seemed to sense these thoughts, for as it bid for Logan to sit (an order he obeyed immediately, without thinking otherwise), the speaker moved forward, and Logan could now fully see exactly what it was that he had been guided and controlled by. Mew... the catlike pokemon stood somewhere under his eye level, even when he was sitting down, but its cool blue eyes met his with a fire he had seen in no animal before.
You are less ready than I had hoped... He heard the mew say as it reached out and up, pushing lightly off the ground as it made brief contact with one of its forepaws on Logan's forehead. Still, I see no other choice. You are unique among those humans ready enough to move this far that are not busy in matters of greater importance, in that you do not seek personal gain. You wish for the acceptance of your peers. You think about the future, but only in passing, and do not obsess about it. These traits are unusual among humans, for better or worse I cannot say... nevertheless, it makes you perfect for this prospect: The creature settled lightly down upon the ground again, waving one paw. Immediately, memory of every conversation he had ever shared with this creature came flooding back into his memory. He knew who he was, why he was here, and how Logan himself would progress. He now knew why the prospect of the caves had been so appealing. I blocked many of your memories, but planted curiosity... I hoped you would attempt to overcome those blockades, and therefore gain from them... but instead, your subconscious brought you here, manipulating your desires to reach a desired outcome it knew, but you did not... Perhaps your kind are better off than I first guessed... or perhaps you are unique. Whatever the case may be, your path from here is split. You will either accept my help in ascension, or turn, walk away, and forget you ever met me. I'm sure your strategy to gain your parents favor worked brilliantly... or, perhaps, they detest your presence even more than before... There was a measure of assuirty in the tone of this voice, now, and Logan knew in hearing it, that if he did return, his parents would be even more objecting of him than they had been when he left. He knew it, without knowing how he knew it.
"Ascension?" Logan repeated, unfamiliar with the term, speaking for the first time since the Mew had begun its explanation.
The voice of the Mew explained: Your kind were once like us, the remnants of the genes split to form the rest of the pokemon. Humans did not possess a stunning array of elemental and self-defensive techniques... but what you did have was self-awareness, and intelligence. Call the races of this world an unwilling experiment of evolution, in your terms. Each race has something different, and the goal of advancement leads back to us... But then, many of my kin envied the ignorant lives of some of those they accidentally created when manipulating their own genes, and joined them, and still others died in accidents or defending their creations. Those select few spilt into many more naturally, and in many thousands of cycles, you see the result. You are part of that... when I say ascend, I mean to possess enough knowledge and focus of mind to join my species. The first ones to gain an understanding of the universe not possible during your short lifespan, and to be able to manipulate matter in ways humans will not conceive until long after you would be gone otherwise. This is your choice, just as my kin chose in the opposite. Were you but a little farther, you would be able to make this journey on your own... but you are not quite ready. There are no rules to break... if you choose, I can help you forward in a way you could never possibly know on your own.. Think carefully... if you chose to join me, you will be entering a life quite different from that you have been born to. We don't work quite the same way humans do, and our current lack of population would provide you with certain obligations... but aside from those, your time would be your own, and if you desired it, there is much I could teach you about the universe and the mysteries of life. With practice, you could culture new power to help or to harm, and could assist me protect the life of this world from the impending storm. Make your choice now... but understand that, if you do choose this life, your ability to return to your family will be severely limited, and though altering their minds may be possible, it may be you personally no longer wish to see them, for the attached emotions...
The Mew was becoming vague again, another sign that something unpleasant was about to follow. Nevertheless, how could anyone possibly refuse an offer like that? Even Logan, who was next to illiterate in the ways of pokemon, had heard the legends of Mew, had heard of their power, their nature, and had seen signs of their presence throughout human history. His life in humanity had been neither pleasant nor imprinting, leaving him with a bitter taste that was largely the fault of his parents as well as his own. Logan knew exactly what he was going to say next, and he gritted his teeth for the consequences. "As long as I have the time to visit my friends and siblings every so often... I accept your offer. I can't imagine what it must be like to be a pokemon... but I'm sure it's pretty cool to be able to fly! Besides, I'll still be me, right? So long as my mind is intact, I guess I could deal with a little change on the outside." Logan slowly stood, looking determinedly down at the pink-furred feline.
He could see the creature's expression lift, even with the barrier of species between them. Excellent! Just hold still, and concentrate. It will be painful, but it should pass quickly. The animal's body began to glow vibrantly blue, drowning out the glow of Logan's dying flashlight. It advanced again, reaching up slowly, pushing off the ground and touching the boy on the head.
Pain immediately shot through Logan's head, white hot and searing, causing him to crumple to his knees in pain, screaming in the agony of the moment. It felt as though his head was ready to split, the mass of his brain turning to fluid inside it. As the pain spread, a pinkish glow spread with it, to every corner of his body. It felt as though he were becoming soft, malleable, every bone and every organ as pliable as warm clay. He curled into a fetal position on the ground, straining to ignore the pain, to force it from his mind. It was too late, however; the worst had yet to come. He felt his body shrinking, twisting, and contorting, swelling in places while other areas withdrew completely. He wasn't screaming anymore, his voice had gone.
Then, as suddenly as it had started, that scalding, burning pain became a lightly pleasant warmth, spreading the last of the changes throughout his body, performing final adjustments on the size and shape of his organs, and replacing bare skin with a light pink fur. The glow faded, than died completely, leaving Logan lying somewhere inside his shirt, covered in a light layer of some sticky substance. It hurt, everywhere, some places worse than others.
The instant the transformation was complete, Logan heard the voice of the other mew, vocal for the first time, no longer echoing within his own brain... and no longer English. Nevertheless, every word made perfect sense to him, every word was perfectly understandable. "Let me help you!" The Mew called, darting over to Logan and helping the new Mew climb free of the pile of clothes, helping Logan to two legs.
Logan looked up, slightly frightened by the older, larger, and stronger looking creature. Nevertheless, the touch of the other was warm and comforting, so that all fear and worry seemed to drain away when he felt it... at least, until he took a better look at himself. Standing up, it was easier by far to look over this new body. At first, everything was as expected, however embarrassing without clothing... at least until his eyes found the place between his legs. There was nothing male there. At all. The rest of Logan's body seemed to have mimicked that example, and looked very female in shape, easy to spot now even if Logan had become considerably less human.
"I'm... I'm..."Logan stuttered, tones of worry, fear, and embarrassment melding together to make most of her words unintelligible.
The other mew answered, placing his reassuring hand on Logan's shoulder again. "Yes... it's part of the aging process of our species. Only the eldest are as you once were... don't worry about it now... would you like to rest? Your mind may be confused for a time..."
That was gross understatement. Logan's every motion, every breath felt strained, difficult, and uneven. Gravity worst of all, crushing so cruelly on weak muscles only designed to take a small amount of her physical weight, even this young and small. She was a great deal smaller than the eldest, who dwarfed her in every way it seemed. If it wasn't for his touch, which seemed to temporarily drain pain and confusion, she would've crumpled to the ground again. "Yes... I think I'll rest for awhile... could you hide my things somewhere, so I can find them later if I need to?" The larger feline nodded. "What about... can I ever look human again?"
This time, the eldest took several seconds to answer, vice tentative. "Y-Yes... but it is difficult, and hard to maintain... the bodies of other pokemon can be mimicked more easily... but with practice, you may be able to seem human for short periods... though you will be then as you are now, as you will be as a member of any species. It is one of the more difficult things to learn... but I can teach you. You are young... younger than I expected you to be... how can you humans possibly learn as much as you do in such short lifetimes? Nevermind... I will change your belongings to better suit you, and modify the memories of those who knew you... our kind are prized and hunted by some humans, and we can never risk word of who or what you are to falling into the hands of any of them. It may be years before you are ready to see your family again..."
To this, Logan immediately shook her head. "No. Don't mess with their minds any more than necessary... I would feel guilty if something happened to them because of me." She swayed for a moment more before falling to the ground, looking up with watery eyes, struggling to ignore the pain and resist the urge to cry. "I'll be safe while you're gone, won't I? I don't understand how to do anything that might help me..." She had already tried to fly, but in jumping, couldn't even get off the ground. This body was obviously not designed for physical strength.
"Yes." The mew said flatly. "Other pokemon do not harm our kind, no matter how big or small. Why not speak with some of them, if you see any. Most don't have much to say, but many have interesting perspectives on life. Just don't leave the cave. When I get back, I'll take us both somewhere else, somewhere far away from here."
The eldest vanished in a flash of light, lighting the cave brilliantly for a handful of seconds. Logan sat there for a long time, alone as the sun began to set outside, eyes quickly adjusting to the reduced light reflected down the twisting passages of the cave. All around her, she was dimly aware of many voices, conversing in simple sentences, and in some cases, single words. It seemed almost to sing to her as she slowly closed her eyes, curling up to sleep in the folds of her shirt. It was then, for the first time in many months, Logan's mind was completely free, devoid of all concerns about her family's sometimes unsteady monetary situation, empty of the fear of abuse at her relatively weak and undeveloped gift. For the first time in a long time, Logan's mind was blank as sleep at last came upon her, and she thought no more.
Missing Person Report, 9/6/07 2:05 PM
Cpt. Jenny, Police, Recording
Subject: Logan Avery, 16; 5'3";Female;Brown hair, blue eyes. Shoe Ladies 4, Suspected basic telepathic mastery.
Missing as of 8/4/07, Possible runaway
Last seen in men's hunting clothes exiting the magrail at Silver Town station.
Home life appears normal, though school staff report Logan as a lonely individual, without many friends.
K-9 search of surrounding wilderness yielded Logan's scent near Mt. Silver, and evidence (174419-98-A) recovered in the area suggests one or two individuals, including Logan, dwelled there for an extended period. Extreme effort appears to have been taken in the concealment of this former campsite.
Official Search Compete as of 9/5/07
Night came surprisingly quickly, and with it the sky began to fill with stars as it always did. Logan lay awake on her back, the ground far below her. The clouds stretched out endlessly all around her, and directly beside was the eldest, helping her focus as she struggled to hold herself there.
"Relax..." He said, and immediately, Logan felt all her weight evaporate once more, and the struggle against gravity halted. She was no longer fighting to keep herself from sinking through the clouds. "That's plenty for now... you've been working very hard. Relax... many cycles have passed since I have shared the sky with another... there are two others of our species, but both are either too busy or simply refuse to join me anymore..."
"It's beautiful..." Logan cut in, smiling toothily as she took in the stars for the first time with new sight. "I've never seen so many stars!"
The eldest glanced over at Logan, smiling. "It is, isn't it? It's almost amusing... every night of our lives we see the same stars, but rarely do we stop to appreciate them. Their sheer number can be intimidating to some, and can outplace the beauty, if one isn't careful." The mew paused, gesturing through the clouds upon which they appeared to be resting. "It's peaceful now, quiet... but times will soon change. We may not be able to return to the clouds like this someday, as difficult as protecting them below will become."
Logan's eyes were wide, still awed by the awesome spectacle that space provided, as the full depth of its light and glory became apparent to her. She seemed hardly to notice the words of the eldest, expression unfazed.
"For now..." The mew said softly, smiling in a way he had not for many hundreds of years "enjoy it, and sleep. The stars will still be here tomorrow, as well as the moon."
A sudden gust of air began to slowly push their cloud along, and Logan moved unconsciously closer to the Eldest, huddling to the warmth he provided. There could be no doubt in Logan's mind that she had found her home at long last, weak and feeble as she was. Still, the prospect of the coming day and its renewed difficulties did not frighten her. There was still so much to learn.
A/N: If it isn't too much trouble, would you consider dropping a review or comment about this? Wether you liked the story or hated it, I would love to hear your input on the writing (or the content), so I can get better with my bigger stuff.
Till we meet again...