Hey there. This is just a little one-shot I came up with while reading about the Battle Frontier arc of the manga. This takes place between FRLG and the Emerald arc. If people enjoy it, I'll make it a two-shot.

Warning: There might be hints of Preciousmetalshipping. Unsure on that. Oh, and OOC.

Disclaimer: I don't own Pokemon.


Partnership

'What happened here? Why are they like this? It just…it just isn't right!'

A thirteen year old, black-haired teen watched in silence as men lifted statues, one by one, into the air and carried them off. He knew perfectly well who, not what, they were.

They were petrified humans, five of the currently nine Pokedex owners. More importantly to him, they were the petrified bodies of his friends.

Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, Silver…what had happened to cause this?

Gold felt as though something had been ripped from his heart, leaving it torn and bleeding.

His seniors, the four of them, he respected and looked up to, even without showing it. They showed what it meant to have true power and were a real example of the bond between the Pokedex Holders.

One hadn't been moved yet. He walked over to it and stared into the frozen eyes. They stared back, no choice in the matter.

Silver…his buddy, his rival, as close to a brother as he could have. Seeing the fierce, determined warrior that the teen was turned into stone was nearly unbearable.

Gold felt more than heard Crys come up and take his hand. She squeezed it reassuringly.

"We'll get them back," she whispered. Empty words they were, both knew, but it was what he wanted to hear. Crystal gently led him into the Professor's lab, where he plopped down into a chair. Professor Oak was typing into a computer.

"So what's the plan Professor Oak?" If he sounded rude, he didn't care. He wanted answers and he wanted them now. Anything to get those betraying thoughts out of his mind. Crystal shot him a look, which he ignored pointedly and locked eyes with the professor, who had whirled around in his chair to look at them.

The old man sighed wearily, age reflecting in his eyes. "I'm afraid I don't know how to answer. Science cannot restore a living being from stone. I don't even know why they were petrified."

Gold couldn't keep his voice from rising with each word, amber eyes dark with anger. "You…don't…know?"

Inside his Pokeball, Explotaro was struggling to break free, worried for his incensed trainer.

Gold's yell burst from his chest with a roar, standing up. "What do you mean you don't know? Why not?" Oak tried to reply but Gold cut him off. "You don't even seem to care that five humans have just been turned to stone!"

This angered the professor, sending fire into his eyes. "How dare you try and say I don't care? How dare you! One of those statues is my grandson!"

Gold didn't miss a beat, replying harshly, "Then shouldn't you be working harder to solve this?"

Crystal snapped before she could think. "Then what are you doing besides standing here and screaming at Professor Oak? Why don't you think of something? Most likely you can't because you expect people to solve their own problems just like you so yours!"

Both males in the room stare at the teen, who ignores them and plows on, "You can't do anything because you're so used to not thinking that the very idea of having to come up with something on your own is terrifying."

Suddenly she seemed to remember who she was and covered her mouth. It was too late, however. The damage had been done.

Oak turned away and went back to the computer, typing furiously. Gold just continued to stare, his rage turned to a new target: himself.

'She's right. What have I done? So what if I stopped Pryce? I couldn't help my partner when he needed it the most.'

Crys left the room.

………………

Gold stared at the moon silently, his thoughts ricocheting through his head like a wayward bullet while his face remained emotionless. His Pokemon gathered around him with worried gazes. He couldn't bear to put up a mask of stupidity, goofiness, and impatience that was usually genuine. It hurt too much. Besides it wouldn't be real, not like before.

Crystal came up behind him and sat down at his side. "The moon's pretty, isn't it?"

"Mm." They didn't talk about the shouting earlier. In their minds, it was already forgiven.

Gold looked down at his feet. "I feel like we've failed."

"Why's that?"

"We're supposed to be partners, Silver and I. Well, he never said it, but…"

Crys gave him a confused look. "What are you talking about? He's said it."

He glared at the ground. "I've never heard him say it."

She blinked before punching her fist on her open palm. "It must have been after you took of with Red. I heard him talking to Blue…"

(Flashback)

Blue spun on her heel toward Silver, her black dress flowing around her legs. He gave her a curious look, but stopped obediently. The girl's eyes held a strangely distant look in them. Crystal, Green, and Yellow stared at them both with inquisitive gazes.

"What is it?"

The girl stared up at the moon. Her answer came out in a dreamy manner. "I just realized… we're really free now, huh? He's really gone, so…"

The realization sunk in, and Silver's knees gave out. He caught himself just before doing a face-plant in the earth. His bright colored eyes seemed to turn nearly white. Sneasel burst from her Pokeball, smiling brightly. Silver still had a shocked expression as he reached out and stroked Sneasel's head. The Pokemon cooed in utter delight.

"Thank you," mumbled the boy. "I suppose that's fitting, isn't it? I should tell him thank you when I see him next. Thank you…for being my partner." Blue looped her arms around Silver's neck and smiled genuinely.

(Present)

Gold was staring. "Why didn't he tell me?"

Crystal couldn't help but smile. "First of all, you kind of touched his sister's butt. Second, you fled before he could."

He grinned sheepishly, feeling some of himself returning. "Misunderstandings happen all the time."

Crys laughed. "I suppose."

His previous train of thought returned to his head full blast and his expression darkened. "Still, I really feel like I failed. We, the three of us I mean, are partners and I feel useless. He, whether consciously or otherwise, was always watching my back. Yours as well. We fought and protected each other. Now, though…"

"Now?" she probed.

The wave of despair rose up and engulfed him and he cried out, "They've all become stone. If I was watching his back, it wouldn't have happened."

Crystal sighed, watching sadly as her friend beat himself up. That sadness engulfed her as she stared at the moon.

Suddenly, an alien feeling of irritation rushed through her. Also, a whisper, so faint she could have imagined it.

"I thought you were stronger."

Crystal glanced around, wondering who that was.

The whisper came again, slightly louder. "I thought you were stronger. It doesn't look like that now, does it?"

Both of them looked around wildly. A soft chuckle sang through the air.

"It doesn't matter where I am. What matters is that you guys are giving up. Why are you doing this?"

Gold flared up at once. "What are we supposed to do? We can't reverse this! They're going to be stuck like that until they disappear forever into dust!"

"They'll only disappear if you let them…" The whisper faded once more and only the wind remained.

They both gazed at the stars. Gold clenched his fist, muttering under his breath.

"If we let them..." Gold felt a sudden surge of determination flow his heart. "We won't let them then."

…………………

The mission began five days ago. Emerald began his quest to capture Jirachi on that day. He did not know the reason like they did. They had trained for this day. Today the Pokedex Owners would be all together for the first time.

"We won't fail," said Gold to himself, clenching his fist. Crystal nodded in agreement, tightening her hand around the Pokegear looped around her neck.

Professor Oak gazed at them with a mixture of pride and sadness. "Good luck. Come back safely."

Gold nodded. "We will. All of us will."

The rash teen knew that they would come back. During the battle, the three of them would look after one another, gaining strength from their bond as well as from the Pokemon and other Pokedex owners.

The Pokedex Holders were a fine example of partnership, selflessly supporting one another in the heat of battle and the cool of everyday life. It may have taken an electronic device to give their partnership a name, but there was nothing but one another that kept the bond whole and unbroken.


Guess the mystery voice and you win a cyber-brownie!

R&R!

-Yukira Hakumei