It was 23:30 by the time Dusk and Dawn had reached the same clearing in Eterna Forest that they had slept in before. Not a single thing had changed from the last visit--it was still as tranquil as it had been.

"Ugh, what a day..." Dusk moaned

"Hey...Umbreon?" Dawn itched the back of her head. "I hope you don't mind if I ask the same question twice, but...How are we going to sleep?"

Instinctively, Dusk reached for his backpack. It wasn't long at all until he realized that he no longer carried a blanket with him. "...Uhh..."

Dawn giggled. "Well, I guess we'll just have to cuddle together to stay warm..." She batted her eyelashes cutely, which Dusk barely noticed through the light of the moon. "Unless, of course, you don't feel comfortable with that...?"

"...Uhh..." Dusk blankly repeated. Dawn's laugh broke him out of his surprised stupor.

He laid down on the grass and instantly realized how much less comfortable this was than when he had his blanket. He tried to ignore it, instead welcoming Dawn as she laid down close to him. They quickly wrapped one another in their arms.

"Neither of us are getting a minute of sleep tonight," Dusk warned, looking up at the stars above.

"Yeah, I know..." Dawn sighed, also turning her head to the sky.

"So, Torchic's really coming with us, huh?"

"Excuse me!" Dawn yelled, "Her name is Ionu!"

Dusk couldn't help but laugh at his mistake. "All right, my bad."

The girl turned away from the stars. She found Dusk's chest more interesting and felt compelled to snuggle into it. She closed her eyes upon feeling comfortable. "I feel really bad for taking May's Pokémon, but at the same time--"

"You didn't want me to give Wizard to them," Dusk finished.

"Well...yeah..."

"You know something?" Dusk changed the subject. "I vaguely remember you promising me that if I 'patiently waited until today,' you were going to tell me what that note was about."

"...Note?" Dawn echoed curiously.

"The one that reminded you about having to tell me something," Dusk clarified. He sounded annoyed, though the emotion was somewhat restricted.

"Oh, that. Actually, I've already told you it." Dawn turned her seductive, innocent voice back on. "Do you want me to repeat it?"

Dusk blushed. He was thankful it was dark enough so Dawn couldn't see it--he found it embarrassing to blush just because of her tone. "Uhm...If you want to."

"...I love you, Umbreon."

"Mm...Now I need a good night kiss," he hinted at quietly.

She heard the request and happily complied, kissing him softly on his mouth.

The two returned to their previous positions. Dawn kept her right arm laying across Dusk's stomach, while her head stayed on his chest. Umbreon put a hand underneath his head for comfort, while the other one wrapped around Dawn's side so he could hold her closer. "I love you too."

Dawn seemed to ignore his statement. Her voice turned serious again. "Umbreon...I promise you that..."

"...Huh?" Dusk was confused why she had stopped there.

"Ah...Nevermind." Dawn yawned. "Good night, Umbreon..."

"No, what do you promise me?" Dusk asked impatiently, determined not to let Dawn fall asleep before he got an answer.

Dawn sat up, breaking the hold that the two had on each other. She kept her head low. "I promise you that...If you still want to, I will help you search for Nuclear, and Monkey, and I won't stop until they're found."

Dusk smirked. "You still remember Nuclear?" He paused while tilting his head up. The loose Pokémon, though upside-down from his current view, were enjoying one another's company. "Thanks, Dawn, but you know something? I think Wizard makes a really great substitution for a first Pokémon."

"But Monkey was you're--"

"Yeah, I know that, technically, Monkey was my first Pokémon, but I only got to see him once. I'll never forgive Team Galactic for taking the opportunity to bond with him away from me, but I'm sort of forced to just deal with it. Wizard, on the other hand..." Dusk was forced to stop talking, unable to contain laughter. "I mean, c'mon. I've barely known him for a week, and I couldn't have asked for a better Pokémon. Naturally, it's all thanks to you, too."

"No, Umbreon." Dawn smiled. "I'll revise something that somebody told me once. You and Wizard were meant to be together. I can't claim much credit for fate."

Dusk also grinned.

Though true, the dramatic statement killed the conversation. Time passed, and even though she settled back down into her human pillow, neither Dawn nor Dusk was able to get to sleep.

"So now what?" the boy wondered.

"Don't know..." Dawn replied, rather bored. "Tomorrow we'll try to make it to Sandgem. After we throw the Pokédexs in Rowan's face, I just want to stay at our place for awhile. Is that okay?"

"'Our' place, hm?"

"...Good night, Umbreon."

"Good night, Dawn."

They rolled their backs to each other in hopes it'd help them get to sleep. In a soothing voice, however, Dawn began singing, this time finishing a song she had previously started.

"...And all we wanna do...is have a good time...having lots of fun with all these friends of mine..." She curled up into a ball and smiled. Nothing except the thought of her hugging May back on Route 210 was flushing through her mind.

The night continued, and Dusk was finally lulled to sleep by Dawn's singing. Dawn eventually was, too.

Wizard abruptly ended his conversation with his Torchic friend and looked at the two humans. With his night-piercing vision, he easily saw that the two had drifted off into the land of dreams.

He smiled, then turned to Ionu. "Pikachu, pi," he solicited.

Ionu nodded and followed Wizard to the ground. She laid her head on the Pikachu's body, gratefully accepting Wizard's silent offer of being a pillow.

Together, the two Pokémon fell asleep. Wizard was the only one aware that he and Ionu were in identical positions with their respective Trainers. A firm smile marked his satisfaction with the fact.

---------------------------

Morning rose, and with it, weren't Dawn's eyes.

She had woken up, but instead of opening her eyes, Dawn kept them shut. "Wizard," she called out. "If you're drinking water from that pond over there, Umbreon is somewhere in the forest without me, and there's an injured Pokémon behind me, I will hold myself underwater until I drown."

However, she finally opened her eyes when she didn't get a response. She looked around until she spotted Dusk next to Wizard, showing him how to do something. She sat up, but as a chilly wind blew through, she quickly dove for the grass again.

The wincing Trainer blindly picked through her bag, searching for her brush, but stopped when she felt a piece of paper. She poked her eyes open and looked at it. "Oh! This is what May wrote her phone number on. Maybe I'll call her when we get to Jubilife and see if she made it to Hoenn safely!" Dawn opened up the paper. A second upon observing it, however, a scream escaped from her mouth. "What?!"

Dusk heard this, dropped what he was doing, and ran over to his sitting companion. "Dawn? What is it?"

"Look at this!" She handed Dusk the paper, a confused, yet excited expression on her face.

He started reading the words slowly.

"Two months from the Saturday that I gave you this note, is the 36th Annual Hoenn Contest...and we expect you to be there! Friends forever, -May."

Two separate, dried water droplets dotted the area around the closing of the note, which Dusk assumed to be tears.

"What do you think, Umbreon? Can we go?"

"Of course we will, Dawn," he responded promptly. A sly grin covered his face. "By that time, we'll need to remind those two why you don't mess with the Sinnoh branch."

Dawn immediately jumped off of the ground, ignored the air that she found freezing, and hugged Dusk. "Thank you, Umbreon!"

"Guess we're really going to have to buckle down on our Coordinating skills..."

"I know that we can do it!" Dawn yelled in an excited attempt to increase both of their morales. "Two months..."

"All right, now. We got to get going. Make sure you're ready, and I'll beckon our slaves." Dusk walked over to the two Pokémon and explained that they had to leave soon.

Dawn closed her eyes and smiled, enjoying her hair getting picked up by another cool breeze. "...Two months..." she ran through her mind again.

After dusting herself off, Dawn only checked her holdall to make sure that she hadn't been pillaged during the night. Seeing that everything was in place, she gave a quick nod to Umbreon, and the team headed off on their way through Eterna Forest again.

The female giggled. "This is kinda weird. Last time, we had walked most of the forest by the time we went to sleep. Now we have to walk through the forest after we got up..."

Ionu rubbed her face against her new Trainer's cheek. "Torchic, Torchic!"

"Pika, Pika pi!" Wizard agreed from Dusk's shoulder.

Dawn laughed at the feathers as they tickled her face. "What were you three doing before I got up?"

"Oh, that? I was trying to teach Wizard how to start a campfire." Dusk shrugged. "I know that he shouldn't always rely on Ionu, but I can't believe how dense he is..." The comment earned him a fatal glare, along with sparks of electricity coming from the creature dangerously close to Dusk's face. "Honestly," the boy continued, "if he doesn't have anyone to rely on, he's just about screwed, anyway."

The forest become quiet to an unsettling degree. Dawn never stopped enjoying seeing Dusk and Wizard's unusual, yet never-ending friendship. Dusk was waiting for Wizard to make a move, but ended up doing nothing but smirking at the leer that his Pikachu kept up.

Dawn soon had enough silence. She lifted her numb hand, looked at it, and blinked. "I...I'm sorry, Umbreon. I...don't know why I still have this..."

He looked to see what she was talking about. Once he saw his own black glove still covering her hand, he began to laugh. "I guess I even forgot that I gave it to you."

"Well, it's not like I need it anymore." Dawn unstrapped the Velcro, then slid it off of her hand and offered it back to Dusk.

"...Still can't feel anything, huh?" he asked, afraid of the answer, as he accepted the glove back.

"It's fine, Umbreon! Really!"

"Dawn, I don't want you to start completely turning into May on me," he begged sternly. "A Cyndaquil burned my hand the first time; I don't really want a Typhlosion to do it the second."

"I...I know. It's just...so weird. When I think about how I could cover up with a warm blanket, or get nailed by a sledge hammer, and I wouldn't know the difference between the two, it just makes me wonder why...Mew..." Her voice trailed away. "...Celebi! Umbreon, we forgot to bring Celebi back into Eterna Forest!"

"I'm sure Celebi can find its way back fine. If it made it to the top of Coronet and back, it'll get here safely. Now finish your last sentence."

Dawn was slightly off-put by the lack of emotion in his demand, but she forgot about it and obeyed. "I'm just thankful that Mew gave me back most of my feeling, anyway..."

Dusk kept silent, as did the rest of the forest. Three minutes in, Dawn heaved a sigh.

"Misdreavus..."

"Pika..." Dusk looked at her curiously. "Pika pi?"

Dawn froze, blushing. "You weren't supposed to understand me!"

Dusk kissed her on the cheek to help with the embarrassment. "Sorry. I was just saying that if you're bored, there's got to be something we can talk about."

It was a struggle, but the Sinnoh-based half of Team Missile managed to keep casual conversation for the next couple of hours. They had also succeeded in making their way through Eterna Forest faster than they had last time. It was shortly after 10:00 when Dawn turned from her Pokétch to the cave in front of her.

"Just head through this, and we'll be at Jubilife," Dusk reminded her, taking a desired break from his walking.

She remained quiet, instead cycling through all of her Pokétch's apps.

"Pika?"

Dawn lifted her head up. She saw that Wizard's curious look was shared with his Trainer. Her eyes turned to the side, where Ionu was still perched on her shoulder. She also seemed to be wondering why Dawn was acting so silent. "Sorry...I'm just a little nervous about seeing Rowan again. In a way, I was hoping we would get lost in here for awhile, so we wouldn't be able to make it to Sandgem by tonight..."

Dusk took a quick glance back into the forest, then back on Dawn. "Well, we can give it another shot, if you want."

"No, that's quite all right," the girl laughed. "Besides, I don't even know why I'm nervous. I mean, you'll be right there..." Her voice trailed off, as did her eyes.

Umbreon trudged forward a few small paces. He was hoping he would be able to grab Dawn's attention, but it didn't work. "Dawn, do you think Rowan's going to...do something to you?"

"No!" she replied quickly, considering she was seemingly inattentive. "The thing is...Maybe I can't stand the guy, but he was the only one that put a roof over my head. Of course, I had to become his slave in the process, but still...And, besides, I hate quitting things once I started them. I just don't want to disappoint Rowan...That doesn't sound odd, does it?"

"...No," Dusk finally said after a long pause. "I have to admit, if it wasn't for him, I would have never got Chimchar, and...basically none of this would have happened. I suppose I owe something to him, too." The boy raised his head to the sky, but turned his eyes to Dawn. "So...what do you want to do?"

"Don't know..." Dawn ran forward and hugged her boyfriend. The sudden movement shook Ionu from her perch.

She landed on the ground hard, then looked up to see that her Trainer had barely noticed. Ionu muttered curses under her breath, which was stopped only when Wizard gently hopped down from Dusk's shoulder and ran over to help her.

"I guess...it wouldn't be a terrible thing to keep the Pokédexs," Dawn continued, rubbing the side of her head on Dusk's shoulder. "We'll just tell him that we won't be in contact until he's almost ready to leave Sinnoh...That way, we can keep doing our jobs and not have to deal with Rowan along the way. It should make all of us happy."

"Sounds good to me...So, any particular reason that you moved from my neck to my shoulder?"

Dawn giggled, but left it at that.

As much as they didn't want to, Dusk and Dawn forcefully interrupted the moment for the sake of pressing onward. It took nearly five minutes for Ionu to listen to Dawn's apology, and double that to accept it. The bird still wasn't pleased, but ended up riding on Dawn's shoulder again anyway.

Once past the forgettable cavern, the group headed south until they reached Jubilife City for the third time during their journey. The Town was active, buzzing with crowds everywhere, but neither Dusk nor Dawn minded much. At first, they were going to head straight through the city. The plans changed when they came across the Italian restaurant. The boy's impatient belly growled, demanding that they stop for a brunch.

"Ah! Madam, fine sir! I believe you have partaken here before, no?"

"Weegie!" Dusk exclaimed, smiling at the familiar host. "What's up?"

"Ceiling, yes?" he chuckled. "I am afraid that there was a minor misunderstanding at the last meal, sir."

"Uhm...Misunderstanding?" Dusk blinked.

"It seems as though you had forgotten to pay for your meals."

Dawn quickly turned to Dusk and slapped him. "You forgot to pay for the food?!" she screamed.

Ionu, being on her shoulder, was somewhat dazed by the shout.

"Uhm...Si?" Dusk cringed.

"Ho ho ho!" Luigi laughed. "I normally angry at customers who no pay for food, yes? But for you two, I make exception."

Dawn calmed back down. "...What? Why?"

"Oh! Surely you mustn't be so modest! You are the two who has caught the criminal, 'Giovanni,' no?"

Luigi's strong accent as he pronounced Giovanni's name almost made Dusk laugh, but he managed to stop himself. "Uh, yeah. If 'caught' is the word that you want to use." He looked at Dawn in confusion, but got nothing except his own expression back at him. He faced Luigi again. "How do you know about that?"

"You sit where you like, and I shall come get your order in a minuto, yes? I also bring TV box and show you."

The Sinnoh Trainers looked at each other a second time. "O...kay," Dawn finally spoke out.

As they walked into the restaurant, everybody saw them and began clapping and cheering for them.

Dawn, slightly frightened by the sudden uproar, grabbed a tighter hold of Dusk's hand. "What's...uhm..."

"Geez, was Giovanni really that big of a criminal?"

They finally sat down at a table for four. Dusk and Wizard sat on one side, with Dawn and Ionu on the other. Since the tablecloth was blocking their view of each other while they were sitting, the Pokémon laid down in the chairs and started communicating with each other under the table.

The dramatic welcome finally died down a bit. Luigi entered into the room, wheeling a large tray. He walked over to the two heroes and turned the tray sideways, allowing them to see the biggest, roasted fried chicken seemingly possible. Lettuce surrounded the rest of the plate for cosmetics, along with just a hint of Italian salad dressing on the side. "Complements of the chef..." He chuckled. "...Me."

Dawn and Dusk stared wide-eyed at the massive feast. "You're...giving that to us?" Dawn blinked.

Luigi set the two heavy plates in front of both of the Trainers, then gave a very large glass of lemonade to each of them as well. "And finally, the television box." Luigi bent down to the lower-level tray and lifted up a portable television, turning it on to Jubilife TV.

"...And, as we've brought you at 5, 5:30, 6, 8, 8:45, and 9, here's the same exact story again!" the news lady introduced, "Redford Giovanni, the leader of many different criminal syndicates, has been found and pronounced dead. Apparently, two teenagers tracked him down to the very top of Mount Coronet, demanded a Pokémon battle, and quite obviously, they must have won. One of the two people that brought this story to us, known only as 'the Hoenn Trainers,' has a remark on this. He insisted that we didn't mention his name, nor show his face."

The screen went black, spare a blue bar on the bottom. 'The Hoenn Trainer' was written in white font inside of the bar. "Yeah, them two, uh..."

A wide smile came to Dawn's face. She looked at Dusk, making sure he knew who that voice was. He was too busy blinking at the screen to take notice of her.

"We met up with these two when Thing Two and I were crossing the bottom of Mount Coronet ourselves. They told us that they had beaten Giovanni in a barbaric battling game, so hey, why not? They deserve a bit 'a spotlight, don't they?"

The news lady came back on the TV. "Indeed they do." The camera, once again, cut to a different screen. This time, it was one that had two pictures on it--one with Wizard and Dusk, the other, Ionu and Dawn. "These are the two heroes that finally ended Giovanni's reign of terror. Make sure to give them a nice pat on the back if you see them, huh? We'll be back in a minute." The news cut to a commercial break.

Luigi wheeled the TV away, leaving the Trainers by themselves.

"Wow..." Dawn chuckled. "I don't really know what's scarier. That Brendan did it, how Brendan did it, or why Brendan did it."

"...Or how he got a picture of both of us without us even knowing?" Dusk suggested.

"...Yeah, that probably takes it." Dawn pierced a few pieces of lettuce with her fork. "I feel kinda bad, though...I mean, we're taking alot of the credit for this when that's really not true. I mean, look how much help we had."

Only a moment passed, and Dusk sighed. "This will be fun to explain to Mom..."

Dawn took her eyes away from the meat, instead looking up to her friend. "What do you mean?"

"That lady just told Sinnoh to pat me on the shoulder because I killed somebody."

"Oh..." Dawn tried so hard, but wasn't able to mask a couple giggles. Umbreon dealt her a death glare, to which she did nothing but laugh harder at. "I'm sorry, Umbreon!" she defended, wiping off her mouth with a neatly-folded napkin. "C'mon, you have to admit that when you put it in the perspective that you did, it's a little funny."

Dusk rubbed his eyes. "Yeah, my side's splitting."

The afternoon continued. Luigi returned to the table to ask if they'd like anything else, but they declined and left, thanking him for forgiving the previous bill. They began walking towards Sandgem Town yet again.

"So...I guess we're super heroes now?" Dawn smirked.

Dusk wrapped his arm around Dawn's back. "Only if we get our own merchandise."

For the first time in what seemed like eons, they reached Route 201. Dawn, once more, carried a sly grin around with her. That always worried Dusk.

She set Ionu on the ground. "Wizard, do you want to go on the ground too?"

"...Pika?" He blinked at her, then looked down at Ionu. Still confused, he climbed down Dusk's back and stood next to the Torchic.

"What's the differ--"

Dawn slapped Umbreon on the back of the head, knocking his beret to the ground. "Tag." She quickly bolted away.

"Urghh..." Dusk growled, picking his beret back up. "Don't you start with this, Dawn!" He chased after her.

Wizard beamed. Brendan was gone, but the mouse knew that it was his time to shine. He pointed his jagged tail up to the air and got down on all fours, then looked at Ionu. "Pi PiPikachu?"

"Chic!" She jumped on Wizard's back and grabbed on to his tail with her beak, gaining some balance on him in the process.

He darted off after the Trainers. "Pika Pika!" he warned the remaining racers.

Dawn jumped over a brown-furred Pokémon which was laying in the grass. "Watch for the Bidoof!"

"What Bidoo--" Despite the warning, Dusk tripped over the same object that he had last time. His face was the first thing that hit the ground.

Dawn stopped running and laughed. "Atleast if you piss off a couple more Starly, we're a bit more prepared than last time."

In agony, Dusk sluggishly rose to his feet. He didn't mind as the Bidoof he had tripped over scampered away, terrified of the event. "You can always find the silver lining, can't you?"

As Dawn was about to retaliate, the two were interrupted when a Pikachu blazed by them.

Both Trainers looked at each other and blinked. Soon, they smiled, agreeing to a truce until they beat Wizard. Dusk scurried onto his feet and the race continued.

-------------------------

It was dark out by the time they reached the entrance to Sandgem Town. Dusk and Wizard were out of breath; Dawn was, too, but she showed no signs of caring. She was too anxious about meeting Rowan again to think about a detail like that. "So...we'll be in and out, right?"

Dusk looked at her. "...Dawn? Why are you so worried?"

Dawn cradled Ionu with one arm and petted her with the other. "I just have something like a premonition..."

"Oh..." Dusk coughed. For once, he wasn't sure how to cheer her up. "Well, I hear that girls get them a lot."

"Umbreon!!" Dawn screeched. She tried pushing him with her numb arm, but the result didn't have much strength. "It's not a girl thing! A premonition is a..." Her loud, angered voice backed off in favor of an insecure, quiet one. "...It's a feeling. Like, somehow you know that something's going to happen. And...my premonition isn't really good right now..." She sighed, then forced Umbreon to watch as she began walking away. "I'm sorry. It probably all seems stupid to you. Let's just get this done."

Dusk and Wizard shared a glance. With neither overflowing with confidence, they gave a slow chase after Dawn. Wizard gave himself permission to rest on Umbreon's shoulder.

The bell attached to the laboratory's door rang as Dawn pushed it open. She looked back, waiting for her friend to catch up. When he did, she gave the door to him and walked into the building. There was a lone soul inside, standing as usual in the back of the room, turned away from the door.

The bell going off didn't interest the professor very much. He didn't turn around until the footsteps stopped behind him. "Dawn? Umbreon?" he questioned once he saw the familiar figures, "What are you doing back in Sandgem? There's not many different kinds of Pokémon here. If you're going to fill those Pokédexs, you must travel and look in different places."

Dawn gulped. She hated how fast her heart rate was, but tried not to let her fear show. "Actually, we just came to give you an update..."

"Is that right." Appearing disinterested, Rowan turned back around and continued eyeing a book that was on his desk. "Leave the Pokédexs on the table, then. I'll take a look through them tomorrow. Umbreon, it's getting late, so you may stay here if--"

"A-actually..." the girl repeated, her eyes on the floor and her thumb stroking Ionu. "That's...not quite the update I meant. We're...um..."

"We want to learn things for ourselves," Dusk covered, taking a single step forward. "As Trainers, we shouldn't have the feeling of security that you give us. We need to be on our own. Besides, you're a busy man, and for us to call all the time and interrupt you would be ludi--"

"You know, you could just say that you don't want to talk to me anymore," Rowan interrupted, turning back around. "That would have been much quicker than whatever you were trying to get across was."

"Uh..." Dusk blinked. "Okay. It works too."

The Pokémon Professor looked at his apprentice. Her head still wasn't tilted any higher than the floor. "Dawn, you look disappointed. You came all this way to tell me that I get in your way, and now you're unsure of it?"

Ionu looked up to her Trainer. She cheeped, but it was ignored. "I...I don't know. Umbreon, I never told you this, but Professor Rowan found me in Snowpoint City..."

Dusk jerked to her. "You were up north?"

Biting her lip, Dawn nodded her head. She still couldn't peel her eyes away from the floor. "I don't think I really could have survived for much longer. The Professor saved my life. To hear him put words like those in our mouths...It hurts."

"...Hmph." The doctor turned around once again. Unlike before, his head didn't bow as he read a book. "I was simply doing what any decent father would do."

Dusk froze. Wizard gasped. Dawn remained blank. She did succeed in lifting her head to look at Rowan, though.

"Oh...You never told me that you had kids," she said innocently.

Wizard rolled off of Dusk's shoulder, landing painfully on the ground. The only thing that hurt more was his Co-Trainer's denseness. "Piikaaa..." he moaned due to the latter.

Rowan itched the back of his head while Dusk slapped himself in the face. Dawn curiously looked back and forth between the two. "What?"

"Erm..." Rowan coughed.

"Dawn, May was supposed to be the blond one in the team...We don't need two."

As Dawn turned to counter the unnecessary comment, Rowan spoke up to fill in the missing piece. He faced the two once more, deeming it important to do so. "Dawn, you had no way to know this, but I am your father."

Tears came to Dawn's eyes. She had trouble saying much of anything. "...What?" she whispered hoarsely.

"Yes..." he said gruffly, lacking most kinds of emotion. "At first, I didn't even recognize it was you." He smiled a little. Dusk shuddered, but Dawn was too frozen to recognize the creepy smirk. "But, after you told me your name, I only needed to take a quick look at your hair color to realize who I had just employed."

Dawn slowly blinked twice. Tears accompanied them both times. "Do you think this is some kind of sick joke?" she wondered, still unable to increase the volume of her voice. "You can't be my father...My last name isn't Rowan..."

"You're correct. It's not." Rowan turned around and shut the book he had been reading, then walked over to a bookshelf to pull out another one. "Your mother had your name changed to Walker after we decided that we couldn't save our marriage, which was soon after you were born."

"Dawn Walker?" Dusk thought, though he didn't dare to say anything.

"She then supposedly remarried to somebody, who gave you a sister," Rowan went on. "I can't say that I know much more about that. Understandably, I began to lose interest in the family after I was forced to leave."

"Ashley...was only...a half-sister?" Dawn stepped back. After her mind became slightly less paralyzed, she pounded a foot on the ground. "No...This...It can't be true. Why don't I remember any of this? I don't remember my mother ever getting married again, and I certainly don't remember her telling me any stories about you..."

"Then did you know that you've known Umbreon since you were a baby?" Rowan asked.

Dawn and Dusk looked at each other. "Wh...What?" Dawn replied, just as nervously as everything else was coming out.

"Mm...Your mother kept everything from you, didn't she..." Rowan turned again to the book shelf, where he reinserted the book he had just taken out. Once finished, he shifted back to the Sinnoh Trainers. "We've known Johanne's family for an incredibly long time. I used to work with that boy's father."

"You know my father?!" Dusk finally spoke up.

"Oh, yes, quite well. Until the day he decided to up and leave, of course," Rowan corrected himself. His words turned back to Dawn. "If memory serves, you, your mother and I went to an outdoor picnic that Johanne had arranged, specifically for you two, newborns at the time, to meet one another. After that, I don't believe that we have seen them since. I confess to playing coy with you when we first met, Umbreon--I assure you that I knew much about you before I interviewed you, and I was most definitely aware of where your name comes from."

Dusk remained silent. He had questions, but knew that Dawn deserved the spotlight to herself right now.

"If you're all finished, I was about to turn in for the night," Rowan stated. He walked forward, refusing to stop until he reached Dawn's winded body. He set a hand on her shoulder. "Forgive me for not playing a bigger role in your life, Dawn. If you--"

Dawn pushed Rowan's arm off of her with her own. "Don't talk to me..." She turned around and instantly assaulted Dusk with a hug. Constant tears and sobs were the only things that followed.

Though stunned at first, Umbreon wrapped his arms around Dawn's body and pulled her in close. He looked to Rowan with an unknowing expression.

"...Very well," the Professor finally spoke, "Umbreon. Be good to my girl. Never let her forget that if she ever feels like talking to me again, she knows my number. Likewise, my door shall remain open for the both of you. You may keep the Pokédexs. I would appreciate them back before my trip to Kanto, though I would understand if that doesn't come to pass."

Rowan glanced at a clock that was conveniently on the wall that he was facing. His eyes returned to Dusk's. "You may stay here as long as you need to. Don't worry about locking the door." He began walking off, toward the opposite direction of the front door. "You might be surprised by how few criminals try to break in here. In any case, I bid you good night."

Dusk watched as the Professor slipped behind a door that the boy hadn't noticed beforehand. He wasn't able to comprehend how someone could relay a message like that and have almost no emotion doing it, but he understood that he had other things to worry about.

Returning his head forward, Dusk tried placing his eyes on Dawn's shoulder, though he landed instead on her vest. "Dawn, I--"

"Just hold me..." she mumbled out through the crying.

Dusk quieted and did as he was told.

Ionu, who had basically been forgotten about in favor of Dawn and Dusk's embrace, scampered over to Wizard. The understanding mouse held her in a hug. "Torchic, chic..." she stated quietly.

"Pika..." Wizard replied in the same volume, slowly patting Ionu's back.

Half an hour passed. Dusk couldn't believe how bored he was, having to hold a physically shaking Dawn but being silenced while doing so. He understood that many things were running through Dawn's head, and his voice would only make it worse.

The two Pokémon were sitting on the floor. Wizard, though deeply concerned about his Co-Trainer's well-being, was starting to doze off. She was tempted to shout that she was just as bored as Dusk was, but for the first time, Ionu silenced her feelings and let her new owner weep in peace.

"...U-Umbre-reon..." the girl finally muttered. Crying had removed nearly all sound to her voice. "Please...get me out of here..."

"Okay," he swiftly replied. He whistled, catching the attention of the Pokémon, and started heading for the door. "C'mon...Let's go home for awhile." Still holding Dawn tightly, Umbreon started walking towards the exit of the building. Ionu popped up and chased after them. A sleepy Wizard rounded up the rear.

Though Dawn was still attached, Dusk pushed the door open and walked out into the fresh, nighttime air. He made sure the Pokémon had made it through before shutting it and, taking Rowan's advice, not locking it. He headed toward the western exit to Sandgem Town, knowing that their final destination of their first adventure was the same Town that it had started in.

--

A/N: Did you enjoy the story? Though, if you made it this far, there's a good chance that you don't hate the story, at least.

Providing you did enjoy reading this, please feel free to check out "Only A Madman," the sequel to It Takes a Genius. Only A Madman is a bit darker in nature than this story was, but if you're a fan of Team Missile, I think you'll still like it. So, will I see you there?