A 14 year-old boy was perched on the sofa, TV remote in hand. It seemed that not even somebody knocking on their door would get him up. "SOME CREEPY OLD DUDE'S AT THE DOOR!!" he continued. He had peeked through the window, allowing him the somewhat accurate description.
The five-foot tall young man hadn't received much motivation to do much today. He was still in his blue nightclothes that he had worn to bed last night. His hair was messed up, and he most certainly wasn't ready for company.
"Young man! Watch who you're talking to!" A middle-aged woman dashed down the stairs one at a time, while also fumbling with her left earring. Unlike her son, she was quite ready for the day. She was clothed in a loose-fitting pink shirt with amber shorts. Her long, slender, brown hair was dangling over her right shoulder, tied in a ponytail. She walked to the door and opened it. "Professor Rowan, hi. I'm glad you could make it."
"Professor Rowan? From Sandgem Town?" The unexpected professional coming to his home was enough to make the lazy boy get up.
"Ah yes," the doctor replied. "Unfortunately, however, my time is short, so let's get started, hm?"
The TV was shut off as soon as the controller of it heard footsteps. Luckily, the doors in between the entryway and living room blocked the professor from ever seeing what was on.
As the doors swung open, the boy, still standing up, observed their guest. His grey hair was slightly unkempt, but it was too short to make a difference. His face was an expression of sternness and seriousness, causing the on-looker to cringe slightly. Continuing looking him over, the boy paid much attention to the Professor's labcoat, which reached almost all the way down to his heels. The coat was open, revealing an auburn sweater with brown, comfortable kackies that you wouldn't expect to see on a man at his status.
"I should leave you two alone," his mother stated before eagerly taking her leave.
The boy tried to stop his mother from leaving, but couldn't yell out in time. He knew what this man was like, and didn't want to be around him alone right now.
The guest looked around the room. The walls were painted white, the only thing breaking the colors up being a brick fireplace that wasn't lit. On the mantle were multiple pictures, all of which being of the mother, son, or a Growlithe, for some reason. In the center of the room lay a glass coffee table, surrounded by three chairs and a couch, the latter having a boy standing in front of it.
"Hello, young man. I hear that you're looking to become a Pokémon Trainer." Professor Rowan started the conversation.
"Wait, what!?" His heart began racing at the thought of having his own Pokémon, considering the subject hasn't been brought up in months.
Rowan impolitely gave himself a chair and sat down, resting the briefcase he was carrying on the floor beside him. "Your mother called me last week and explained that you've been 'bugging' her all the time to get a Pokémon," the Professor chuckled slightly at the use of the non-scientific term. "and she told me that you were of age, and asked if I could drop by."
"Y-Y-You're going to give me a Pokémon!?" the boy managed to mutter out. His excitement blinded him from seeing how childish that statement really was.
"First thing's first, m'boy," he said in a gruffer-than-usual voice. "I don't believe we've been properly introduced. I'm Professor Rowan of Sandgem Town, which is just northeast of here."
"I-I'm Dusk..." The boy was still recovering from the sudden shock.
"I'm sorry, son, I'd like your actual name, if you would." Given the odd title, nobody could blame Rowan for his suspicion.
Dusk finally snapped out of it and began to explain his unusual name. "Er, well, my actual name is Umbreon."
"Mm. After the Pokémon?" the old man quizzed.
"Well, kinda, but probably not what you're thinking..." Dusk decided to begin the tale of his origins. "While walking one day, my great grandfather got attacked by some thugs, and if they didn't hand over everything he had, they were going to kill him and take it anyway..."
"Mm-hm..." Rowan was only half paying attention to the story. The other half went to a notebook that he had pulled out of his pocket.
"Luckily," he continued. "it was night. Usually night gives the enemies an advantage, but not when you have Umbreon to protect you!" the boy shouted with more energy then usual, causing him a bit of embarrassment after he realized it. "...A-Anyway, the generic villains didn't know he had the Umbreon, so while he stood still, the Pokémon took out the enemies, allowing my relative to continue on as if nothing had happened. I was named after that Umbreon, which had the nickname Dusk...so, I guess I just got it too!" he rubbed the back of his head, hoping he didn't screw anything in the story up.
"Ah. Interesting." Despite his words, Dusk couldn't help but feel that Rowan didn't care much about what he had just explained to him. "So, 'Dusk," Rowan began with obvious sarcasm on the use of Umbreon's unusual nickname. "Have you ever thought of what it might be like to be a Trainer?" Before Dusk could respond, the Professor continued. "I don't mean how 'cool' it'd be or anything like that. I mean the responsibilities necessary, like caring for your Pokémon, and making sure they're not hurt in battle."
Dusk moaned to himself, wishing the Professor wasn't so serious all the time. "Well, of course I have. I know that being a Trainer isn't all about fun."
Rowan shifted in his chair. "Mm. I must admit that I'm pleasantly surprised to hear that from you. Very well. What is your personal stance on this? Do you feel that you're ready to take on this responsibility?"
"Oh, um...I really do think I'm ready to raise my own Pokémon. I probably only need a month or something, and I'll be out of this house!"
It wasn't long after that when they both heard knocking on the door. "Now who?" Dusk whined to himself.
"Ah, it's about time she showed up," the Professor remarked.
"Who's 'she'?" the curious boy asked.
Rowan got up and answered the door himself. A moment after leaving the room, he came back with his hand on a girl's shoulder. They only partially entered the room. "Umbreon," the Pokémon Professor called out. "This is Dawn. She's my assistant. I told her to drop by when she was finished with other things. She'll be helping you prepare from now on. I must get back to work."
Dusk looked at the ceiling and smiled, realizing his prayers were answered, and the awkwardness was over.
"Dawn, this is...Dusk." Rowan cleared his throat after realizing the terrible pun he accidentally said. He looked at his helper and saw the girl biting her lip. "You'll do fine." Professor Rowan assured her. "Umbreon. It's been a pleasure. Stop by my laboratory tomorrow, and we'll...see what we can do." He smiled, which was admittedly creepy, and finally let himself out.
Dusk was lost, daydreaming about his first Pokémon. The sound of Dawn's shoes clacking against the floor was the only thing to snap him back to reality, causing him to realize there's a beautiful girl in the room. She was about his age and height, perhaps a few inches shorter. She was wearing a plain, yet lively white T-shirt with an unzipped black vest draped over it. As she sat down, she pushed her black and pink skirt off to the side, making it slightly more comfortable to sit. She was wearing pink boots, which accented her skirt further. Lastly, her snow white bandana covered most of her elegant midnight-blue hair.
"Um...hi..." Despite the Professor's words, nervousness could still be felt in Dawn's voice. She cleared her throat and shook it off, taking a notepad that the previous guest left on the table. "So, is your name Dusk, or Umbreon?"
A moment of silence passed. It took Dawn to forgo her notepad for a minute and look up at the boy, which broke him out of his stupor. "I'm sorry, what?" He rubbed his eyes, realizing he was blushing.
"Nevermind. We'll stick with Dusk for now. OK..." she checked something off on the paper. "Have you ever personally encounted--er, encountered a...Pokémon...?" Her voice trailed, leading to nowhere.
Dusk noticed she wasn't exhaling all the way. "Are you...okay?"
Dawn let out a sigh, finally returning her breathing to normal. "I'm sorry...I'm just so nervous. This is the first time the Professor's relied on me this much."
"Really? How long have you been working with him?" Dusk somehow managed to get the subject off of himself. He got off the couch and walked over to the fridge.
"This is just my second week. I try my hardest, but I just can't live up to his expectations..." Dawn was interrupted by a can of soda being held near her face. She could feel the icy temperature emitting from it.
"Well, with all due respect, he isn't exactly an easy person to please..." After his guest took the drink from his hand, Dusk sat back down and popped his own open.
"Have you met him before?" Dawn started tapping the top of the can.
"Nah, but I've read about him." He took a sip of the cola. "And from what I hear, he can be..." Dusk chose his words carefully, not knowing Dawn's and Rowan's relationship. "...A bit hard to get a compliment from."
"If that ain't the truth," Dawn confirmed with spunk, taking a drink. Dusk was surprised at the sudden comment, but didn't say anything. "Hey, Dusk, can I ask you something?"
"Sure, go ahead," he confirmed casually, taking another drink before setting the can on the coffee table.
"Where did you get names like 'Dusk' and 'Umbreon'?"
"Well, it'd probably bore you. I know it did the Professor. But if you really want to know..."
He repeated the story he had told earlier, this time, making sure he didn't embarrass himself.
"Wow, that's fascinating..." Dawn commented.
Dusk was relieved he finally found someone that atleast marginally cared. Or pretended to, at the very least.
"Er...maybe we could...take a walk?"
Dusk perked up, surprised by the sudden request. He stared at Dawn curiously.
"I mean, uhm...! To discuss you getting a Pokémon...! ...and that..." She hoped taking a large drink of soda would help the red color on her face that she got from embarrassment go away.
"Uh, sure, no problem. Let me go change." Dusk took one last sip and shot the empty can into the sink. After making sure he hit his target, he ran upstairs.
"That was smooth, you freaking idiot!" she thought, beating herself up inside.
A few moments later, footsteps could be heard running down the stairway. Dawn looked up to see Dusk had completely changed his outfit. He was in a black T-shirt. It looked like a small Pokéball icon was in the bottom corner, but the thin, maroon vest he had on blocked it from view. His legs were equipped with long and wrinkled black pants, extending all the way down to his feet. They were so long, the bottoms of them actually rested on his new-looking white running shoes that covered his previously bare feet. On the top of his head, however, was his defining feature; a red beret. He looked slightly awkward wearing it, but Dawn couldn't bring herself to mention anything. Lastly, a bright yellow backpack was slung over one arm, though it didn't look like there were many contents inside of it.
"Are you ready?" Umbreon asked, climbing down the last step.
"Oh, yeah! Sure." Dawn ignored the half-full can of soda she had left on the table and followed Umbreon out the door.
There was a moment of silence between the two after they had stepped outside. Dusk ended that. "So where do we go?"
"Huh?" Dusk took note that Dawn's mind was lost in space again. "Oh, um...Let's go to the lab. I want to show you something."
"...A-Alright..." he agreed slowly, beginning to get worried.
The grass in their path began to thicken as they continued. Dusk looked down at it. "This is where wild Pokémon are, right?"
Dawn completely ignored Dusk's question. "Is this the first time you've been out of Twinleaf?"
"No," was the reply. He didn't seem to mind his question being lost. "I've gone on a few picnics in Lake Verity. Other than that, yes."
"Ah..." Once more, the sound of her voice trailed off.
"Dawn, I...I really don't want to sound rude, but is something wrong?" Dusk's curiosity got the best of him.
"N-No, of course not." Dawn replied in a rather unconvincing tone.
"You just keep spacing out, and I was worried it was something that I said."
"No, you didn't say anything wrong to me..."
They continued walking in silence. That is, except the cries of multiple forest Pokémon that weren't bothering them. When he wasn't looking, Dawn glanced over at Dusk and smiled shyly, feeling her face flush red every time she did it. "...So cute, the way he wears that hat..." she thought to herself constantly.
Soon, they reached Sandgem Town and walked into the first building they came to. It was the infamous laboratory. Upon entering, Dusk was awe-struck at the sheer size of the building. He estimated the ceiling was atleast twenty feet from the floor. On the ground was two bookshelves on either side of the room, the books almost falling out, since the container was brimming with them. A few scientists were scattered across the building conducting various tests. In the back of the room was Professor Rowan, with his back turned to them.
"Professor!" Dawn left Dusk at the door and dashed over to her partner.
"Dawn?" The professor turned around. "What are you and Umbreon doing here? Are you done interviewing him already?"
"Well, not exactly..." Dawn turned her head and looked at the ground. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Dusk walking up to them. "I was hoping I could have permission to show Dusk the Pokédex you've been working on." She bowed in respect.
The professor turned his back to them again. "While you're both here, I might as well tell you," he started out. Dusk knew a long story was in tow, so attempted to get as comfortable as possible while standing up. "Are either of you familiar with Professor Oak?"
Dawn looked at Dusk, who remained quiet, then back at Rowan. "Of course."
"We've known each other since college," Rowan explained anyway. "And we've become good colleagues in the process. At any rate, when I returned to my lab after you got to Umbreon's house, I received a call from Professor Oak. In six months from today, I am to go to Kanto and help Professor Oak in his studies."
"What? You're leaving!?" Dawn yelled, unwilling to believe that Rowan would leave his hometown.
"I am. But first, I must request a favor...for both of you. Dawn," the professor walked up to his apprentice and looked her in the eyes. "you haven't had much time to learn from me, but at the same time, I know that you can complete my quest. You've shown me much courage."
Dawn stared blankly, forcing herself to pay attention. "Where...Where will I..."
"Umbreon..." The Professor turned to him next, but didn't move. "You are a train wreck waiting to happen. You're much too new at training Pokémon for me to expect you to take this seriously..." He paused for a second. "Yet, your spirit of determination tells me that you won't deny yourself a chance to learn new things."
Dusk's mood changed from anger to curiosity.
"Pro-Professor..." Dawn's eyes began to water.
The elder man reached deep in his coat pocket and pulled out two devices, one pink, and the other blue. He fanned them out, letting each of his listeners take one. Dusk looked at it, not having a clue what it was. Dawn, on the other hand, knew exactly what she was holding, and she was positive she knew where the doctor was going with this. She clenched the fist that wasn't holding onto the gift, soon before the water in her eyes began to flow. "Dawn, Umbreon. What I just gave you are compact machines known simply as Pokédexs. Their job is to record data on any and all Pokémon you find."
"Cool," Dusk chimed in, trying to open his Pokédex by force.
Without turning her head, Dawn lifted her hand up and hit a button on the side, causing Dusk's Pokédex to open, revealing multiple buttons in a complex pattern.
"I knew that," he said quickly, hoping to cover up his ignorance.
"Dawn...Umbreon," the professor repeated, once more turning his back to them. "I want you to travel across Sinnoh, recording every Pokémon you come across."
Dusk gasped, not ready to hear a huge a favor that big. Dawn's head was low, denying anybody who wanted to see what her emotion was.
The professor continued. "Normally, I'd ask you two to split up, in order to cover more ground. However, you're both very new at this, and traveling together could possibly be the only way to survive."
"Wait, you're new?" Dusk turned to his new partner. "How long have you been raising Pokémon?"
She didn't answer, so Rowan did for her. Dusk jerked his head back to the scientist at the sound of his voice. "She got her first Pokémon from me...two weeks ago, was it?"
"Oh...The way you were talking, I thought you'd been all over this stuff by now..." Dusk mentioned lowly.
"There's only one thing left to do. Umbreon, about face." At the call of the professor's voice, Dusk stood up straight and watched him walk over to a counter. He picked up a tray and walked back over to Dusk, holding the piece of metal in front of himself. "There is a single Pokéball left. It's time for you to have it."
Without a word, slowly, nervously, Dusk reached his hand on top of a red and white ball. After a second of hesitation, a firm hand was placed on it. It wasn't long before the passion flared, giving Umbreon the strength to lift the ball out of its silver container.
Professor Rowan smirked at the boy's energy. "Maybe I was wrong about him..." he wondered, refusing to let his true expectations show.
Dusk marveled in awe at the glimmer of the Pokéball.
"Oh, and Umbreon, one last thing. You told me that you'd be ready to leave in a month. I can't wait that long. I want you to start your journey by the end of the day."
Dusk squealed at the abrupt announcement. "Today!?"
Rowan quickly replied with his rough voice. "We have a strict time limit to follow. Wasting a month isn't a good way to start."
Before anybody could continue, Dawn stepped away to a side room and shut the door behind her, lacking a single word.
Dusk saw the professor look at him, then glance at the door she walked in, and back to Dusk. The new Trainer nodded at the professor's silent request and stepped over to the door. Rowan's frown remained firm as he returned to work.
Dusk heard sobbing on the other side of the door. He stood outside for a few seconds, gathering his words, then finally knocked. After she didn't reply, he let himself in. Inside was a room painted a somewhat fresh coat of pink paint. A large bed laid in one corner with a single, over-fluffed pillow on top of it. Across from it was a useful dresser. Between the two was a window, which created a beautiful view of various Pokémon playing in the back yard. Turning to his right was a full length mirror with a single sticker of a flower on one of its corners. In the middle of the room was a table. Dawn was standing in front of it, her back turned to Dusk. She had placed a beautiful scarlet scarf around her neck, though Dusk couldn't see much of it at the moment. "Con..." she paused and sobbed. "...gratulations..."
"For what?" Dusk questioned.
"You...You got your first Pokémon." She wiped away a tear running down her cheek.
"Oh, yeah, I guess I did. But that's not what I'm really worried about right now..."
Dawn took two steps back, then turned around and ran into Dusk, tieing her arms around him tightly, letting her head rest on his stomach. After given a moment to make out the sudden attack, Dusk put his arms around her too. He felt an endless stream of tears flow into his shirt. "I...I can't do this..." Water began rolling down her face even faster. Dusk continued patting her back, trying to comfort her. "I-I mean, I...I've only had two weeks with the pr-professor! And now that he's leaving, I...I don't know anything..." She bit her lip, forcefully blocking her next sentence from having any sound to it. "Not to mention that I'll have nowhere to live..."
After she choked a few times, Dusk decided he needed to calm her down. "Maybe you can't do this," was a very strange start. Dusk ended the hug, grabbed Dawn by the arms, and pulled her off of himself. She looked up at him with bloodshot eyes. He returned the look with a smile. "...But we can."
At those words, her tears stopped. She stepped away from Dusk quickly, even though she was weak from crying, which caused her to almost fall once or twice.
"We're partners now, even if it's just for a little while. But that's all you'll need! Just a little push."
Dawn was shaking, along with staring at the boy with a confused, winded look.
"...Maybe you don't know everything, but we'll eventually get it! C'mon. You'll be my teammate, right?"
Dawn blushed and almost tripped over a chair while she continued stumbling backwards. "H-How can you...trust me? We just met a-an hour ago..."
Dusk closed his eyes. "Because I know that you trust me."
After a brief moment of nothingness, the girl turned around and unzipped something. She took a tissue out and wiped the remaining tears on it, then put it back. Dawn equipped a yellow bag on her arm and spun back around, smiling; the tears, and her attitude, completely changed. "Oh, fine. Let's go already!" Dawn actually surprised herself how perky that sounded. She tightened her bandana and opened the door back up, letting Dusk walk through first. After he did, she took one last glance around the room, and finally exited behind her teammate.
Hearing the door open, Rowan looked back to see Umbreon watching Dawn close the door. He couldn't stop from smiling, seeing Umbreon had cheered his assistant back up. "Remember! I need you both back here before the year is up!" With that, he returned to his work once more.
"Maybe...something good will come out of this," Dawn assured herself.
"C'mon!" Dusk commanded, taking off.
"Wait up!" she trailed behind him.
It had been quite some time since Rowan felt the way that he currently did. Listening to their youthfulness caused a single drop of water to fall on Rowan's studies. He wiped it off and continued.
"So where do we go now?" Dusk asked, holding the door for his partner to escape from the laboratory.
"We should probably go back to your place so you can tell your folks that you're going to be gone for awhile," Dawn suggested.
"Right. If you want, you can tell your family you're leaving too, and I'll meet you back here in about an hour."
With Dusk's words, Dawn gazed at her scarf compassionately. She remained silent.
"...Er, you can come back to my place! It's no problem!"
Dawn looked back up, the afternoon sun forcing her to squint slightly. "I'd like that..." she agreed quietly.
"Great! Race you there." Dusk said it way too quickly for her to react fast enough. He took off, gaining an unfair lead.
"Hey! No fair!" Dawn complained, trying to catch up.
"There won't be a dull day for awhile," the boy decided.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed the first chapter.
I just wanted to make a quick note. You may have guessed it already, but the character named Dusk is based on Lucas. There's a reason I changed it, but I believe that's another story altogether. With that out of the way, please enjoy the rest of It Takes a Genius at your leisure!