I shouldn't be allowed to think.

No, really, I shouldn't. There I was, reading Wiseabsol's Guardian Demon, which is just so totally awesome and I recommend it highly (Ha ha, free plug for Abby) when I found myself thinking that the story reminded me of something Mewtwo told Flame in the ToF/Anomaly crossover... that no matter how he tried to not hate humanity any more, something always happened...

Fearful of coming up with another one-shot, I tried to think of something, anything to take my train of though away from the fledgling idea being birthed in my mind. And what did my mind settle on? Mewtwo's cloak. Where did he get that thing, anyway?

It was, obviously, the wrong train of thought to get on. I seem to be getting just as bad as Abby. I blame her for this. Her, Buwaro, and that damn cloak. They get the blame on this one. All of it. Yep. It has nothing to do with my fangirl side wanting to see Mewtwo be the hero for once at all...

Yeah, I really shouldn't be allowed to think.

So let's go!

Sometimes, bad things happen to people who don't deserve them. It happens every day; someone innocent gets caught in the middle of something horrible, and all anyone can do is shake their heads and wonder why. Life is unfair that way, cruel and cold. Light and warmth get snuffed out all the time, and all the 'good' people of the world can do is ask why. What if you could do more, though? What if you could save that light, that warmth? Would it be worth it? Would it be worth it to save just a little bit of the light?
Humans were a tiring species.

Mewtwo sighed almost imperceptibly to himself as he watched the streets below him. At first, the small city had seemed a welcome change to the massive metropolises he usually resided near. The tallest buildings only scaled four or five stories here, the diner with the twenty-four hour sign was only open for eighteen at a time, and the sheriff drove by the high school every night just as the bells on the church rang out ten o'clock, the last chiming before they fell silent for the night. It had seemed like a sleepy little town in the mountains.

The sheriff beat his wife, the owner of the diner was a drunk, and the kid who rang the bell at the church had taken five different girls up there in the last month alone. The whole town ranked right up there with Mew on Mewtwo's list of things that were not what they seemed to be. Even the last city he had dwelt near, a scornful place with loose women and drug lords on every corner, had been more honest than this settlement of barely five thousand. There were too many sins here for so few people, too many secrets that everyone knew. People here were just as cruel and abusive as they had been there; they only hid it better in such an enclosed setting.

It did not give him hope for the human race.

Still, there were one or two worthwhile souls in the small town. The old lady at the grocery store, for example, liked to buy food with money from her own pocket and set it out back for the wild Pokémon to eat. The strays seemed grateful for this; he had once observed a lone Pidgey scratching the weeds out of her tiny vegetable garden for her when she was ill. The principal of the elementary school genuinely loved children, and was never against reaching a hand to one in need. And then there was the mountain girl...

The first time he had ever seen the mountain girl, he had been picking his way 'home' from a night of observing his new place of residence. He had scarcely been there a week, and already he had been starting to see that the peaceful town was not as quiet as he had imagined it to be. Mewtwo was very nearly to his new den when he felt the faint pulse of human energy nearby. Frowning, Mewtwo had followed the mental signature to it's source, dismayed that he might have to leave his new home so soon, until he finally reached a spot from which he could safely observe the intruder. He was not prepared for what he saw.

She had not fit any standards of human beauty he had seen on billboards or in books. Her hair, while thick, was a dull, flat brown and her mouth sat just a little too high on her face. Her eyebrows were not trimmed thin as other girl's were; they fell low over her eyes and gave her a permanent worried look. Her wrists seemed like they could be thinner than his, not a healthy look for a girl of seventeen or eighteen. Physically there had been nothing remarkable about her at all.

Her clothing, too, was uninteresting. Faded jeans, worn out sneakers, an old brown coat over a green plaid shirt, flannel by the looks of it. It all looked like it could have belonged to someone else before her. She was thoroughly unremarkable.

And yet the Rattata resting against her thigh had been looking up at her as though she was the most beautiful creature on Earth.

Mewtwo had felt a deep suspicion rising in him as he watched the girl from the shadows. He had come back from the city at only midnight, carrying the books he had found in an unlocked car. It had surely been closing in on one in the morning, and his den was far from the town. What was this human doing here? There were no dwellings in the area, no houses or farms, and a trainer would have had supplies of some sort. This girl had possessed nothing as she sat in the grass, staring quietly at the stars. Who was she? Why was she here so late at night? Mewtwo had watched her from his vantage point in the darkness, violet eyes primed to detect any motion at all. Finally, the girl had patted the Rattata on the head and stood up. Her voice was soft and low as she murmured a goodbye to the Pokémon. It had seemed sad to see her go. She headed down a non-existent path and back to the town below.

Over the next few weeks, Mewtwo had started to see that the pale brunette, whom he dubbed the 'mountain girl,' was a normal fixture in these woods. She came almost every night, arriving at about nine or ten and leaving at about two or three in the morning. She always had some but of bread or fruit for the wild Pokémon, and she spoke to each one as if to an old friend. They, in turn, gathered around to listen to her speak or occasionally read from books by the light of an old lantern she often brought. The habit caught Mewtwo's interest early on. Sometimes he even stopped, hidden by rocks and trees and things, to listen to her voice. The other Pokémon seemed to know he was there, but not one said a word. The girl, too, seemed to know he was nearby; often in the course of her reading she would pause, her eyes rising from the page to scan the trees around her. But not once did she see him there.

After the first few weeks, Mewtwo had found himself venturing towards town less and less. Books were hard to come by there, and without this luxury there seemed no point in visiting. The humans there had little interest for him, being much the same as the humans anywhere else. The realization of his own boredom did not unsettle the clone as much as the fact of how easily he was drawn in when he heard the mountain girl reading. Even when she did not read, even when she did nothing but gossip she was far kinder than the other youths in her tiny city, a flock of which liked to loiter around the diner at night and speak ill of just about everyone. The mountain girl was not only kinder, but she was gentle and patient, traits he seldom saw in humans. While he could not say he liked her in any way, he could not say that she posed a threat to him, either.

He was not sure what had driven him to leave the book. It was a thick volume of poems he had found left on a park bench near the school. Mewtwo had tried reading it himself, but he had never been very patient with sorting out the more iambic qualities of poetry. Finally he had gone to set it aside when another idea occurred to him. He had slipped out of the cave he had built for himself, heading for the field where the mountain girl always sat, and left the book there. And then he had secured himself in his usual hiding place and waited.

The mountain girl had seemed a bit sad as she trudged up the mountain with her lamp, the wild forest Pokémon vying for spots around her feet. The Rattata ran to her right, as faithful as a trained pet, and two Pidgeys teased a Furret and a Meowth as they swooped and dove right over their heads. Only the Meowth was nocturnal, but there they were gathered around the girl, who stopped when she saw the book. She questioned the Pokémon around her, but none of them could tell her from whence the book had come. Finally the girl had sat down and read. Her voice was well suited for poetry, lulling him into a near-trance. The mountain girl had taken the book with her when she had left, leaving it behind a week later when the last poem was read. He had left another book then, short stories about Pokémon. She had laughed and read that, too. A pattern had been set.

Mewtwo glanced down at the book resting on the roof beside him. He had never heard the mountain girl read a mystery before, so the short stories would be an interesting break from the usual light-hearted fare. At the very least, the girl would laugh and read one or two stories before setting it aside. It was strange how he had come to look forward to hearing the human voice. He almost enjoyed it.

He took off then, gliding over the rooftops towards the edge of town. There was a roadway there, one he would discreetly follow for a distance before turning into the trees. Perhaps he would arrive in time to hear the mountain girl finish a story...

Suddenly, Mewtwo felt his every sense take alarm. Out here, where there should be no humans save for the mountain girl, two strange energy signatures were wandering. Mewtwo took cover in the trees, watching as the two youths passed. Human males, both of them stinking of alcohol, fear... and blood. The clone's eyes widened as one of them hurled a knife into the trees, his mind still fresh with the images of the robbery gone wrong. No...

It only took Mewtwo a few moments to find the scene of the crime. The poor mountain girl had picked the wrong time to come home, as evidenced by the way her body lay broken at the side of the road. The wild Pokémon she so loved sat gathered around her, and Mewtwo was certain she was dead as he came to a stop. But no, her fingers fluttered up to caress the Rattata crying by her side. Mewtwo hesitated. She was still alive, but she had not seen him yet. He could still leave.

But if he did, she would die.

The other Pokémon began to notice him as he took a step forwards, towards the girl. He did not have to do it this way. She did not have to see him, to know he was there. But... he wanted her to. If she did die, he wanted her to at least know who had left the stories in the last weeks of her life. Mewtwo took another step, and the girl's eyes drifted over, following the gazes of her stunned companions. He could see the blood soaking her shirt, the way the damp fabric clung to her thin frame. The drunken men had only stabbed her once in the stomach, it seemed, before they had turned coward and fled. The mountain girl smiled weakly as her eyes fell on the book in his hands. "It's you. I knew I'd get to see you, sooner or later."

He nodded, but said nothing, instead choosing to study her eyes for the first time. Even in her pain, her eyes were gentle and kind. The tears only served to further soften the warm brown orbs. Mewtwo felt his stomach clench. No, he could not let this girl die. He stepped towards her again, allowing her eyes to meet his as he knelt down beside her. This girl was good and pure, undeserving of such a cruel fate, and were she to die right here the whole world would mourn the loss of her light and warmth. He had to save her. He was the only one here who could even try.

Mewtwo's hands were almost trembling as he picked the girl up, cradling her in his arms. He knew he did not have to touch her, but somehow it did not matter. The mountain girl was used to Pokémon nuzzling up to her to be petted, vying for constant physical contact. It seemed like it would be cruel if he did not touch her in some way. She stirred weakly, resting against him. He could feel the heat of her blood soaking into his fur. Too much blood. He rose to his feet.

There was a cry from his feet as the Rattata leapt up. "Take me with you, please! I don't want her to be alone!" Mewtwo stared down into the rodent's eyes before nodding once. He knew where he had to go. There was a building across from the hospital in town where he would be able to see the emergency room doors. They would notice if she was left there...

Mewtwo was startled by his thoughts by a soft brushing against his cheek. With painstaking effort, the girl had reached up and touched his face. Mewtwo allowed her to run her fingers over his fur, the foreignness of the soft touch making him shiver- or was it the injustice of the situation? She had done nothing to deserve this... He closed his eyes, feeling the familiar wrenching in his stomach as he teleported, taking rat and girl with him. There. He could see the emergency doors to the hospital. Focusing his power once more, he teleported the mountain girl to lie outside the doors, the Rattata by her side, just as her eyes drifted shut. It was only moments before the humans on duty spotted her, the paramedics rushing her inside...

At two in the morning one day in early September, Analise Gordon was found lying outside the doors of the Oakridge General Hospital. Surveillance videos showed that the girl had appeared there suddenly, out of nowhere. She was bleeding profusely from a single stab wound to her stomach. Doctors rushed her into emergency surgery, where they spent over six hours cleaning and closing the wound, both from the inside and out, and administering blood transfusions to replace the over two pints she had lost. Finally, at nearly eight in the morning, the doctors took off their masks. However the girl had come to rest in front of the hospital, it had happened with moments to spare. They had managed, just barely, to call the teen back from death's door. Analise would live.

Analise, upon awakening, maintained that she did not know how she had gotten to the hospital- but she did know who put her there in the first place. She was able to name both of her attackers, local men who had been at a party in the next town that night. They were reported to have left the party highly intoxicated at approximately one in the morning. Their car was found crushed into a tree on the road between the two towns. DNA evidence collected from under Analise's fingernails implicated one man, who sported wide scratches on his face to further substantiate the evidence, but it seemed like the other man, against whom there was no evidence, would get off free.

And then a knife, crusted with dried blood, appeared on the steps of the police station. The blood was Analise's. The fingerprints on the handle belonged to her second attacker.

When confronted with the evidence against them, both men pleaded guilty to all charges. They were sentenced to six years in jail apiece, popular opinion being that they would get out in three. They never lasted a week. Two days after they had been locked away, both men were found huddled in the corners of their cells, babbling away incoherently and cowering from terrors unseen. Somehow, the coherent minds of both men had been snapped. They were deemed clinically insane and committed to an asylum, where they both sit in padded rooms babbling about the 'white demon.'

Analise was released from the hospital three weeks after the attack that nearly ended her life. The seventeen-year-old returned to her home above her father's bookstore, accompanied by the Rattata that had hovered outside her hospital window the entire time she healed. She stood by her story- she had passed out beside the road and woke up at the hospital. Finally, the town had to accept that Analise did not know what had saved her. Analise applied for a licence to keep the Rattata as a pet, and from that point on it followed her everywhere. It was another two weeks before she went into the forest again at night...

It was almost time for the first snow. Analise tugged her coat tighter around her, holding the precious bundle close to her chest. Please, God, she prayed silently, let it still be there. I have to say thank you...

The girl suppressed a shudder as she came to the place in the road where her own blood still stained the pavement. The Rattata, too, stepped back a bit, refusing to cross the stain. It was here that the white Pokémon had found her, picked her up. She could still remember, crystal clear, the hesitance in its stance. It was a Pokémon unused to interacting with others, and it's own actions had seemed to startle it. And yet, it's eyes...

Turning off of the main road, Analise trudged through the trees. One by one, the forest Pokémon she knew so well joined her as she headed for her favorite clearing. Just over three months ago she had noticed her furred and feathered friends starting to become unsettled. In time even she had started to become aware that something else was out there. She had done her best to shrug it off, passing off her fear as paranoia, and then the books had started appearing. The books hard startled her, yes, but they had also given her a motive- the strange presence had seemed to want to hear her read. Perhaps it had saved her life to thank her...

There was a soft rustling in the trees behind her. Analise turned, only to find nothing there. She frowned. Too many times at night had she thought she'd seen movement out her window; the white Pokémon was still here, it had to be. After what had happened to... to the people who had attacked her, it had to be. Analise ignored the branches tugging at her clothes as she pushed through the trees, finally breaking through to open air. Hugging her parcel close, she looked around. There was nothing there- that she could see. Analise stepped into the open. "Hello?"

There was no reply, but Rattata and the little Meowth both tensed. Their eyes darted about wildly. It was here! Analise stepped into the heart of the clearing. "I know you're there! Please come out! I have something for you..." Furret hid it's face against her leg, trembling. The furry Pokémon's tail had fluffed up like a bottlebrush. Analise glanced at it once before looking to the trees again. "Please..."

There was a powerful gust of wind then, and Analise flinched, closing her eyes against the prickling sands and dirt it kicked up. When she opened her eyes again, the white Pokémon was standing before her.

Analise couldn't stop a small gasp as the white Pokémon nodded to her. Its body was lean, powerful looking, and it's eyes shone with intelligence. It studied her quietly for a moment before examining the bundle in it's... hands? Paws? Analise wasn't sure what to call them until it unfolded the fabric, running the hem between its fingers. Hands. She had sewn the heavy brown cloak by hand, taking care to keep her stitches tiny and even and hiding it when anyone else entered the room. When she had touched the Pokémon... no, when it had allowed her to touch it, she'd seen the difference in it's eyes... she had noticed even in her hazy state how fine it's fur had been. It seemed to her that a creature like this could brave the winter on it's own, but if she could help it just a little...

If it was holding the cloak, then what did she have in her arms?

The smaller Pokémon all jumped as Analise yelped slightly. She was still cradling something against her chest! Pulling it away, she was startled to see that it was the book of poems she had first found in the clearing. She looked up. The Pokémon was watching her expression carefully. "For me?" It nodded, it's tail sweeping behind it, and she noticed for the first time that it was purple as well as white. "Thank you."

It nodded again, turning its attention back to the cloak. With one sweeping motion it unfurled the brown fabric, watching it trail to the ground. Oh, she hoped she had gotten the length right... the Pokémon let the fabric fall through it's fingers again before swirling the cloak upwards, sweeping it over it's shoulders and tying it about it's neck, tucking the ends in carefully. Analise groaned. It was too short! The cloak hung almost a full foot off the ground! The white Pokémon did not seem to mind, though, as it examined the way the cape fell over its body. Finally it nodded to her once more, satisfied. It had accepted her gift. Analise hugged the book. "What's your name?"

The Pokémon shook its head.

She frowned. "Please tell me. I promise, I won't tell a soul."

The Pokémon shook its head again regarding her with heavy eyes. It seemed... uncomfortable. Analise had always been good at reading Pokémon, even when she was small, and this one didn't want to be around here with her or the other Pokémon. And yet it had left those books. It had been coming close to her all along...

With a start, Analise realized that the Pokémon was gone. She frowned and whispered to the trees one more time. "Goodbye... and thank you."

Somehow, she knew she would never see it again.

There had really been no need for him to accept her 'gift.' Mewtwo ran his hand along the edge of the cape again. He was perfectly able to care for himself, but it had seemed wrong to turn down the gentle human's offering. It also went against every principle he had... still, leaving the book in return had made the gifting into a trade, and he thought he could accept that. He rather liked the warm shade of brown of the heavy fabric. Had she realized it matched her brown eyes?

Letting the cloak fall around him, Mewtwo wondered if the girl knew he had really saved her twice; once as she lay bleeding at the side of the road and again as the men who attacked her made a pact to seek revenge once they were released. It sickened him that they had felt the right to play the victims, wrongfully indignant over the few years to be 'taken' from them by the girl they almost killed. Was the harmless mountain girl any less deserving of the freedom to live out her days as she pleased, one pure human amongst thousands of corrupted souls? What right did those two humans have to threaten the life of an innocent?

It reminded him of his own sins.

Mewtwo closed his eyes, fighting off an overwhelming surge of bitterness towards the human race... and towards himself. The agonizing self-loathing was nothing new, and he knew how to deal with it accordingly. But when paired with that dangerous hatred of humanity... Mewtwo could almost taste his own anger as he remembered the way those two men had tried to scream. He had not allowed them to scream, no, screaming was a luxury they did not deserve, and so he had forced them into silence as his psychic attacks ravaged their minds. It had been grim work, but strangely satisfying to know that they could not harm anyone else. He had taken no pleasure from the act, yet the cold satisfaction had lingered...

Clenching the cloak between his fingers, Mewtwo shook his head briskly, He could not let himself fall into that mindset again, his anger was just too dangerous! Think of the kind human, not the wicked ones, think of the girl and not the men. Gritting his teeth, he stole through the trees, the cape fluttering around his legs in a manner that he rather liked. Looking around, Mewtwo decided that it was time to leave this town. True, he had not stayed here as often as he usually did, but the place had already lost it's appeal for him. It was time to move on.

The mountain girl could take care of herself now.