Hi guys! I was fooling around on Serebii as Irin, and, among other things, posted this to see what they'd make of it. Not very much, it turns out, though some reviews were fun in their own special way. Also, faith-in-humanity killing, which is where you guys come in! They couldn't figure out what pokemon the main character was after three chapters. See how fast you get it.

Please? I promise to go champion FFN reviewers as the most awesome ever if any of you can give reviews that suggest you understood this story beyond figuring out it involves a trainer.

(A Pokemon Journey)

Beyond the outer wall of the room the minds of the birds shifted, first songs of the day approaching half over and the beginnings of fatigue mixed with accomplishment seeping through the wrinkles of their minds like a drop of water spreading through the fibers of a scrap of paper bit by bit. This he woke to, pulling in and processing his dream by habit, but he remained lying there on his stomach until the alarm rang.

He flicked it off and opened his eyes to see the blue numbers. Dawn shifted with each new day, and the thoughts of birds shifted with it. The clock was mindless but exact. That was why they kept them.

He pushed his body upright as his mind stretched out, shaking and fluffing itself out like a fledgling chick, the feathery edges of his thoughts brushing against the round, self-contained walls of Dama's mind below and leftward. That was the kitchen. Dama was cooking, then. There was the first true thought of the day: Oh. I hope I won't have to stay and eat breakfast. Not today.

The last vestiges of his dream consumed, he stood, then hopped over to his dresser in a single motion, pulling on clothes and smoothing down fur ruffled in the process. He was outwardly placid by the standards of the birds outside or most of the others on the ground, in the normal way of his kind, though anyone familiar with them would have seen the suppressed excitement in his slightly too abrupt motions, the impatience that showed in how he had to twice pause and backtrack to complete the prior task, a final button left undone, a pantsleg not quite pulled down. The naturally flighty birds would never have noticed such small things, nor would another of his kind, not with the swirling core of emotion in the center of his mind so obvious to see instead. It was the first day of the month.

He bounded across the hallway, then trotted down the stairs one by one, resisting the urge to skip over some. The door was near the bottom of the stairwell.

Mada was there as well in the kitchen, his mind the same rounded impenetrable and immovable feel, like anchors or guideposts.

"I am not that hungry today. I want to leave now," he told them, heading for the door.

A feeling like a heavy blanket dropped over his mind, morphing on the instant of contact into a vicelike steel clamp. He spun on one foot and marched neatly down the lower hallway and into the kitchen, where one arm pulled out a chair and he sat down.

Dama put a plate of grilled fish in front of him. "Breakfast."

"I hate it when you do that," he said, sulking.

"Breakfast," said Mada. A second later a fork thunked meaningfully down next to his plate. "And using that. Do not eat like a pokemon."

He set the fish back down on the plate and obediently wrapped one hand around the fork and began pulling the fish apart with it. "I am going to be an adult soon and you won't be able to move me around any longer," he told them, stuffing flaky bits of fish into his mouth.

"Adults eat their breakfast without needing people to make them," he was reminded.

He scowled, the expression faint on his face and his mind radiating the emotion with the indignant force of a child's crocodile tears, and shoveled more marinated fish into his mouth. "Done now." His fork clattered down again.


"Done now," he said, swallowing. "I want to leave. Really."

"Impatience will get you nowhere," Mada said. A heavy blanket feeling brushed his mind again, in jest. "Is that how you want to act on the first day of becoming an adult, childishly?"

"I am not impatient," he protested instantly. "I just want to go. When are we leaving then?"

"When all of us finish eating."

He scowled again.

"Have a grapefruit half."

For all the implacability of the two adults, they finished eating more quickly than on a normal morning, a fact entirely lost on him as he finished off the grapefruit and then sat bouncing the balls of his feet against the floor until the others were done. He jumped up immediately and started for the door, mindful not to run. Impatience will get you nowhere.

They could have gone there almost instantly, of course. But like the rest of their kind the three avoided teleportation under most circumstances, preferring to move physically from one place to another, and so they walked instead through the quiet streets of Fuchsia.

Starting points were not officially restricted to any particular city, any more than the slow pace of their walk was mandated. It was simply the way things were done that journeys began in Fuchsia, Pallet or Cinnabar, with only the rarest of exceptions. Had they lived in one of the other cities, they'd have traveled more quickly, but as it was their home was perhaps a half hour's walk away from the school, a perfectly manageable distance.

As they approached he could feel another boy heading away, in the direction of the edge of the city, and the dissolving traces of others who had done similarly not long before. Impatience burst through his mind and the tip of his tail flexed, causing the cloth over it to slide down a bit, uncomfortably ruffling his fur the wrong way in the process. All three things earned him a pair of mildly disapproving glances from the adults, and, impatience bleeding into embarrassment, he fixed his clothing and clamped down on his thoughts of hurrying and the sense that the other children were ahead of him.

He did take just slightly longer steps, and, indulging him, this went unmentioned by both adults. Within five minutes they had arrived, and he headed through the doors and up to the adult behind the counter.

Much of registering was simply a ritualized formality. There was no true reason why he had to come and stand there to be handed the black pokeball for his starter, or why he needed an official ID card when he was known to any adult. It was simply the way things were done. He was asked his name.