A/N: This is the prologue, taking place before the main events of the story. Chapter one is soon to come.

This story's main pairing is Shishi, or "Shigeru x Satoshi", Gary and Ash respectively. I prefer their Japanese names. I will, however, be using English pokemon names to avoid TOO much confusion. Enjoy the fic, and be sure to keep an eye out for the next chapter and the upcoming Shishi goodness.

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Through the mess of tangled wires she appeared beside her imprisoned son, her long tail swishing, eyes glittering maliciously. Sakaki did not look up from his work on Mewtwo, did not even pause to think the creature a threat. She sometimes appeared and vanished again, watching over his progress with obvious hate, and yet so far she hadn't done a thing. Sakaki assumed it was because she was powerless.

He was wrong.

"Human." Mew breathed at last. "I have given you chance after chance to change your ways, and yet you continue to disrupt our flow."

Sakaki looked up at last, startled, his eyes narrowing. . .

"You have taken the freedom of my son." She said darkly. "And now, I shall take the freedom of yours. . ."

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Satoshi had been obedient for as far back as he could remember.

As far as he knew, his mother was the only one who was fully aware of it. He had his thoughts that the people of the village knew something was wrong with him, perhaps unable to pinpoint exactly what, but knowing somehow that it was there. Satoshi liked to think that his father didn't know. He didn't remember much of his father, except for his hands – large hands. Boss hands. He didn't remember his eyes, if they were kind or not, but on lonely nights it was best to convince himself they were kind, even if deep inside he had serious doubts.

He liked to think his father didn't know. . .because of he did, that meant that he had left them well aware of what responsibilities he was neglecting. That would make him a bad person. Satoshi didn't want to admit his father might be a bad person.

He never asked his mother about him, about his work, about what he did and said or why his face was never in focus in their photo albums. He had an idea, way in the back of his mind, that if he did, she would fix him with a hard stare and order something – "Go to your room" or "Go to sleep" or even worse, "Don't ever mention your father again." And then Satoshi would feel himself unwillingly doing her bidding.

It was a curse.

He didn't know how it began, the spell of obedience. He didn't know if he was born with it or if he had been damned for some horrible wrongdoing he couldn't remember. But if someone ordered him to do something – anything – even without his mind's consent, his body would obey.

He never told anyone. He was afraid to tell anyone, to think of what they might do if they knew, how they might abuse their power over him. He was young, but he knew things, terrible things that might happen if the wrong person found out. Terrible things he would be forced to do.

He never even told Shigeru, though he knew Shigeru was suspicious.

The incident of the pokeball started just a few years back. Shigeru and Satoshi had been fishing together, both their hands on the rod, and Satoshi remembered with an odd twisting sensation in his stomach exactly how his hands had felt – so warm, and soft, but strong, even for his age. He had been a little in awe of him, of how different they were – so drawn into thought by it that he didn't even realize when something caught their hook.

Excited, the two of them drew it in. It wasn't a normal fish, or magikarp or even a goldeen. It was a pokeball.

Both Shigeru and Satoshi had been long since fascinated with pokemon, and in no time at all they were fighting over it.

"I should keep it! I reeled it in!"

"We both did!" Satoshi countered hotly. "And you know it, Shigeru!"

"You're just being immature – "

"Am not! Look – just find another one, then we can both – "

"Where are we going to find another one!?" Shigeru snatched it out of their hands. "I'm keeping it!"

"No!" He reached forward and took the pokeball off him forcefully. "You're being unfair, Shigeru!"

"Am not! Give it to me!"

And automatically Satoshi felt his hands jerk forward, as if pulled by an invisible string, holding the pokeball out for him to take. The curse of obedience never failed. He turned his head away in disgust and shame, closing his eyes so he wouldn't have to see Shigeru snatching the pokeball out of his hands. There was silence, and for a moment, Satoshi thought Shigeru wouldn't take it. But then those soft, warm hands that he had so admired brushed against his open palm and the weight of the pokeball was gone.

"Satoshi. . ."

"Shut up, Shigeru. Just shut up." Satoshi hissed, getting to his feet, and the next thing he knew he was running away, running back home, feeling foolish and betrayed and useless. He brushed past his startled mother and into his bedroom and threw himself down on the bed, burying his face into his pillow. "Stupid Shigeru." he chanted. "Stupid Shigeru, Stupid Shigeru. . ." And eventually sleep overtook him, making his eyelids heavy and his thoughts blurry, and he dreamed of a voice, a high, echoing voice. . .

"You have taken the freedom of my son. . . and now, I shall take the freedom of yours. . ."

After what seemed like an eternity of blackness he woke with a feeling of déjà vu, the dream forgotten, his eyes adjusting to the darkness of his room. A quick glance outside told him it was the middle of the night already. He looked around stupidly, half expecting Shigeru to be standing by the foot of his bed with the pokeball in his hands, leering at him.

And then something caught his attention.

A white half-globe something was sitting on his bedside table, something he couldn't at first identify. Then he realized it was half a pokeball – half of the very same pokeball they had fought over at the lake.

Satoshi slowly reached for it, turning it over in his small hands. The piece glittered in the starlight. Shigeru. . .Shigeru had broken it in half for him. Shigeru. . .

Satoshi cradled to pokeball to his chest, laying back down against the coolness of his bed sheets. He stayed there all night, blinking slowly up at the ceiling, all sleepiness gone, the piece of the pokeball warm in his hands. Thinking.