One more gym!

Just one more gym leader to beat before I become one myself!

I walked through the gates of Sunyshore City, smiling as the cool ocean breeze blew past (that's something I don't feel often, you know). It was kind of intimidating - looking up, all I could see was a vast, complicated system of walkways, supported by strong pillars and delicious chunks of the surrounding small mountains. I figured the gym must be up there, and decided to let it go until tomorrow. Such an important battle - I didn't want to be sleepy.

The Pokemon Center wasn't far from the gates heading into town, but standing next to it I could see the ocean in the distance. It was getting dark, and a lighthouse perched precariously on a nearby hunk of lovely rock had just started beaming out over the sea. Almost reluctant to leave the scene behind, I walked into the Center.

"Roark!" sang a sweet voice. Nurse Joy! She bustled over and gave me a sugary-sweet smile. "Nice to meet you! We've been expecting you. We have a room set up just for you, just as your father asked."

"Oh, thanks, but..." I winced, nervously scratching at the back of my neck. "The Underground Club offered to let me stay at their HQ..."

"Your father specifically requested that you stay here at the Pokemon Center!" Joy replied, sweet as they always are. "Right this way!"

I opened my mouth in protest... but then again, it wasn't her fault. She probably thinks I'm 15 and what my father says, goes. In fact, I'm 19, but I guess what my father says still goes. I decided I'd at least sneak out to apologize to the folks at the club for not taking them up on their offer, although to be honest I'd rather be up late playing with Rock Pokemon and trading stories and items, instead of being alone at the Pokemon Center with my Dad calling every half an hour.

"Oh, you have an incoming call from your father!" Nurse Joy pipes up, right on time. Sighing, I sat down at the phone booth, my father's hairy image staring at me from the screen. "Hi, Dad."

"Roark, my boy! Have a good trip? Get to bed, I expect you'll need your rest before you get dirty and sweaty digging in the mountainside!"

"Oh yeah, I will." He doesn't know I'm here for a Gym battle.

"I know you'd rather stay with your buddies from underground, but you get your own room at the Pokemon Center, I can call you, and you can even have your girlfriend fly over to stay with you if you want to. Joy doesn't mind."

The girlfriend is a story I made up after I got tired of blind dates Dad set me up on.

"I'll give her a call."

"That's my boy. Get some rest now, before she arrives!"

"Oh, you bet I will. Night."

I hung up and Joy led me to my room, where I placed my glasses on the side table and fell asleep dreaming of all the ways my Rock Pokemon can destroy this city's Gym, no problem. When I win, I'll have beaten each gym leader in Sinnoh and the surrounding regions. I've never lost. That's one reason why my mentor back in Oreburgh City, who's retiring to museum work next week, wants me to take his place as Oreburgh's Gym Leader. These thoughts kept me so excited that I opted to just stare at the ceiling grinning, unable to sleep.


It was harder than I thought to sneak out of a 24/7 Pokemon Center, so in the end I just walked out the front doors claiming I'd dropped my watch somewhere. What watch? I don't wear a watch.

All the lights were off at the Underground Club, so I decided instead to go sit on the beach for a while and think over my strategy. To be honest, the sound of the waves is a lot more peaceful when there isn't a hoard of mostly naked girls screaming and running around and flopping drunkenly into the water every five minutes while laughing and drinking. I rolled my eyes. Why do people think they need to drink to have a good time? All you need is a shovel and a pick.

Eventually the party seemed to die down, and I laid my head in the sand, the ebb and flow of the sea and the gently crackling of their bonfire reminding me how sleepy I was. Images of Onix tearing into some little Pikachu danced through my head, until suddenly Pikachu was growing a beard and glaring down at me, telling me to invite my girlfriend over to dinner...

I woke up rather suddenly at the feeling of a hand tugging my arm.

"Wake up... it' in the morning. Go to a shelter or something."

I blinked and rubbed my eyes, then yelped out in pain as my hands were covered in sand. I shook my head like a dog, and then opened my watering eyes to see a blond guy staring at me.

"I'm not homeless; I just fell asleep accidentally..."

He smiled. "Well, a cute girl like you could get in trouble lying alone on a beach at night."

My eyes widened and my jaw dropped a bit. I started to stutter. Wow, it's been a while since someone called me a girl. Is it that dark out? Were my hips looking exceptionally round?

"Don't be nervous, I won't hurt you. Come on, want me to escort you back to wherever you are staying?"

"Pokemon Center," I squeaked, taking his hand and allowing him to help me up. "Thanks." I paused, knowing somehow I'd regret it if I didn't just set him straight. "By the way, I-"

"No need to be embarrassed. Sorry I called you cute right off the bat, but I…cannot tell a lie." He grinned wider, then swayed slightly. I realized he was probably a drunk guy from the party earlier. Even drunk, he was a very handsome man, tall and thin, with his short blond hair spiked up, wearing tight jeans and a black shirt. I blushed as he leaned in, the better to survey me closer. God, he was pretty cute himself (why do I think things like this?).

"Are you here with a boyfriend, or maybe you'd rather stay at my place rather than the Center. I have... could make us some drinks." He swayed again, leaning closer.

"I think you've had enough to drink, actually," I smiled nervously, waving and backing up a step. "I know the way, you should get back to your party."

"You've got such a cute face..." And before I knew it, he'd pushed his lips against mine clumsily, and one hand pressed against my chest, and the smell of beer was strong, but he was just so handsome... ack!

I pushed him away with all my might, and he looked shocked. I could only guess it was a combination of my flat chest and being shoved that did it.

"Sorry." I turned and ran with all my might back to the Pokemon Center. Cute or not, I didn't need to have my womanly virginity taken by a drunk guy in Sunyshore City. I thanked my lucky stars I could leave soon, at least once I was finished my battle at the gym.


I wasn't up until two PM the next day, at which time I was so excited for my upcoming battle that I wolfed down my eggs and headed outdoors to let my Pokemon stretch. I watched Cranidos head-butting into a boulder, and pondered, as I often have, when he might evolve. I found Cranidos in the Oreburgh mines long ago, when he was just a fossil and I was only a small boy. I have always been excited and happy about how he's grown! Yet, I was still only researching his species, and wasn't sure exactly how long it would take for him to evolve. Nothing is more fun to me than unraveling the mysteries of fossil Pokemon. That's what Dad thinks I'm here for - to dig for more fossils by the sea.

It was time to go!!

I was surprised to see some girls hanging around the gym, giggling like maniacs. When I tried the door, it was locked.

"Volkner isn't here right now. He's hung-over," one of the girls giggled to me. "Do you want to battle him?"

"Yeah, I do," I said, feeling depressed. "Will he be back today?" Please, don't make me stay here longer than I must.

"He's in the lighthouse. We're planning to go and harass him soon. We're his fan club, see." All the girls giggled in unison, creeping me the hell out.

"Great... I'll go harass him for you, okay?" I looked out, noting the lighthouse across town. Sighing, I headed in the general direction, moving in a quick hop-step. When I finally arrived, incredibly out of breath, I despaired to see it was very high up, and I'd have to climb a billion stairs up to a walkway to get there.

Another horrible ten minutes later, I finally pushed open the door, out of breath and sweating horribly. He's going to think I'm really desperate to battle him and get home, I thought. Oh, wait, I am.

"Welcome welcome! Enjoy your stay at the historical Sunyshore Lighthouse! Built over 100 years ago..." A guy in a uniform is talking to me. Aaaah.

"Is Volkner, the gym leader, here?" I say, cutting the guy off and causing him to look shocked and saddened I don't care how many stones make up the base of the lighthouse.

"Yes, he's in the viewing room. From the viewing room you can see the Elite Four Building across the ocean. Quite a beautiful sight..."

I was already heading up the stairs two at a time. At the top, I was winded again, and leaned against the wall for a moment to catch my breath. I glanced over towards the window.


Oh, god.

It was him. The guy who'd kissed and groped me on the beach. He was sitting by the window, his head in his arms as he gazed over the water. Maybe he was asleep? I looked around.

Only he was up here. Absolutely nobody else was here. Was he... was he the gym leader? He had to be. Somewhere in my distant memory, I had a vague memory of seeing a picture of him in a magazine. It must have been too dark for his face to stir the memory back up. It WAS him, though.

Maybe he didn't remember. Maybe he was so drunk he forgot it all. Please god, let him have forgotten it all.

Sending my prayers to the heavens in droves, I approached him.

"Are you Volkner?"

He grunted. "Yes, look..." A groan, the kind I associated with migraines. "I know those girls are looking for me, just tell them I'm dying."

Wouldn't that just make them want to rush here faster, to sit at his deathbed? "No, it's not about the girls... I... er..." I thought about how he sounded so sick and tired. Maybe I should wait until tomorrow. "Look, sorry. I'll go."

Volkner turned, his mouth half open to say something, but he froze instantly upon seeing me. I pictured his headache hurting a hundred times more in just this one small instant. I backed off a step, knowing that he remembered everything clear as day.


"Look." His voice went from tired and sick to fierce and...scared? "I don't know how old you are, but before you consider pressing charges, let me explain myself."


"I never get that drunk, my fan club was having a party and I just got carried away... I never act like that otherwise, and I am truly and deeply sorry."

Now what do I say?

"I understand about being drunk." I waved my arm, suddenly feeling the need to fight back an insane fit of giggling. He'd spent all night worrying he'd molested a young girl! Wait, that's not funny. "Volkner, sir, the reason I'm so flat isn't because I'm twelve years old, it's because I'm a man. And I'm 19, so you aren't a pedophile either way."

He didn't reply, just staring at me for a long time. I started to feel really uncomfortable, but then he stood up and slapped a hand on my shoulder. I was terrified, but then I realized he was laughing.

"You're just a boy!" More laughing. "That's all it was! I don't know why I didn't see it before!!" Still laughing. "I was so scared you were a kid and if you called the cops I'd be arrested for child molestation. I was REALLY drunk last night."

"I know," I said with a weak smile. "I could still go to the news and tell them you were gay, though, eh?"

Volkner laughed again. "You could, but they wouldn't believe you, ahahaha. You could try though. They'd have a good laugh." He paused, and stared at me. "Uh... not that I have a problem with gay people, I mean, I don't mean to insult you."

I grimaced. "Who said I was gay?" I barked. "Don't you know who I am? I'm Roark. I'm the son of your fellow Gym leader, Byron! I spend all day digging in the dirt looking for rocks. Does that sound gay to you?"

Volkner smiled coolly. "I think a gay person can dig in the dirt just as well as a straight person, don't you? I don't care who your father is or what you do in the dirt, I'm going on the fact that you sure took your time pushing me away last night."

"I did NOT!" I yelled, my face flushed red with embarrassment now. "How can you say that? You kissed ME! You sure have a sharp memory for having been so dead drunk! You sexually harassed me. You felt up my nipples while kissing me! I broke away from YOU! YOU'RE GAY!!" I pointed an accusing finger, annoyed at how the cool smile never left his face.

"People often make mistakes like that, even a real man can be fooled by a very good cross dresser like yourself."

"I'M NOT A CROSSDRESSER!" I cried. "I'm wearing pants and a shirt and just because I have fabulous hair, doesn't mean I'm a cross dresser!"

"Do you want to battle me, kid? If you lose, you have to teach me how to make my hair just as fabulous as yours." His grin spread wider across his smug face.

"I'm leaving!" I stamped my foot on the floor. "I'll be a Gym Leader whether I battle you or not, I only wanted your stupid Badge to complete my collection! That's all! Who cares? I could beat all your Pokemon in my sleep! I'm a Rock Type trainer! You train electric types!"

Volkner slowly reached down to his belt, fingering out of the pokeballs hanging at his waist before selecting it and sending the Pokemon inside out. An Octillery stared up at me before squishing around the room curiously. Volkner's face only grew smugger at my look of shock.

"Don't assume all my Pokemon are Electric. If you do, when we do battle, I'll have Octillery wash away anything you send out. You only have Rock Type Pokemon? Your dream of becoming a Gym Leader will be nothing but a fantasy if you think that's the way to win."

I regained my composure, although he must know I'd taken a blow to my pride. He was right. I wasn't prepared at all for a water type to come out. My strategy would be all wrong... I would have lost.

"Then I'll just have to train so I'll be prepared to take down a water type, even when I don't expect it, even though all my Pokemon are rock type." I turned to leave, feeling that terrible mixture of damaged ego and anger. "And I'm not just dreaming that I'll be a Gym Leader. I take over Oreburgh City Gym next week. See you never." I dashed down the stairs, but only after stealing a split second glace to see the smug look replaced with one of surprise.