Warnings: OCs. That's the big one. Also: references to drugs and other naughty things. Minor language. Tiny bits of crack humour.

This will be a long story. No promises for updates but quite a bit is written already. Please review. Constructive criticism but remember this is sort of a joke between friends. :)

Uuhhh... And two of us are writing. Tam and Chibi. We'll try to let you know which one is replying...

And... We disclaim?

1. Ode to Cyndaquil. How I do adore thee!

Chikorita, Cyndaquil, or Totodile? The choice was obvious for Kaida. She had wanted a Cyndaquil ever since she could remember. She had watched Professor Elm hand out Pokémon year after year and she knew that she had to have a Cyndaquil. She would get up extra early to ensure that she was near the front of the queue and could obtain her desired Pokémon at all costs. Nila had already dashed her thoughts of camping outside the lab that night. Ah, Cyndaquil. So sweet and fiery and cute… She just couldn't wait! She paced up and down her bedroom. How could she bide the time?

Kaida glanced out of the window. It was an easy clamber down the side of the house and then she only had to jump over the garden fence before she was in her next door neighbour's garden. From there she could climb up to Nila's bedroom and keep her company. After all, Nila was also receiving her first Pokémon the next day and would doubtless be in the same nervous state as Kaida. She would be glad that Kaida visited!

With that in mind Kaida opened her window and shimmied down the building. She hopped over the low fence and climbed into her next door neighbour's shed. That required getting onto the bins and then pulling herself up onto the top of the wooden building. From there, Kaida tapped the window to let Nila know she was there so she could be let in.

There was no response.

Kaida was now cold – she was in her pyjamas after all and it was night time – and she grew bored and impatient quickly. She tapped on the window harder. There was still no reply. She hit it again. Finally, she thought she heard movement and, sure enough, Nila pushed back the curtains, yanked the window open, and stuck her head out the window. Her dark hair was sticking up like she had been badly electrocuted. Kaida stifled a laugh.

"What?" Nila asked grumpily.

"I've come to keep you company," Kaida informed her, nudging her friend out of the way and climbing through the window. "I know you must be a nervous like me so I thought we could wait together."

Kaida crossed Nila's room and flopped on her bed. She saw Nila close the window, pull back across the curtains, and then the girl turned around and folded her arms across her chest, looking quite irritable.

"Phew, I'm glad we can wait together," Kaida said. "I can't wait until tomorrow! Cyndaquil! This whole thing must be giving everyone insomnia!"

"Actually," Nila said crossly, "I was asleep."

"Ah," Kaida said.

There wasn't much to add to that.

"Well," she attempted lamely, "now you're up you may as well stay up. We can play a game. Monopoly? Keep ourselves entertained!"

Nila's eye twitched. She walked over to the bed, pushed Kaida off, then curled under the covers and put a pillow under head. Kaida got off the floor, huffing, and sat back down on the bed.

"OK, maybe not monopoly. Scrabble? We could even do Pokemon scrabble. Wait, that might be a bit difficult. We could play Pokémon hangman though. Or Pictionary. Or Charades. That would be so fun! I bet you can't guess what I'm being."

"Cyndaquil," Nila said. Her voice was muffled through the pillow.

"How did you guess?" Kaida joked, delighted. "Aah," she squealed. "I cannot wait for tomorrow. I have to have Cyndaquil. Fire and power and cuteness combined. It's gonna be great!"

"Yeah," Nila said. Her voice still sounded strange.

Kaida sighed and stared off into space. She daydreamed about her little cute Cyndaquil who would be a fierce and strong battler but sweet and shy afterwards. Most importantly, her Cyndaquil would always be ready to snuggle.

"Ah Cyndaquil," Kaida said aloud. She rubbed her hands together gleefully. "Tomorrow you and I will finally meet!" Her eyes glazed over. "It is going to be so much fun. We'll be best friends forever and capture loads of cool Pokémon, especially lots of fire Pokémon… I want to catch every fire Pokémon there is and we can go on cool adventures and–"

She was cut off abruptly by a pillow whacking down on her head. She put her hands up to defend herself as Nila beat her with the pillow three more times.

"Aah!" Kaida protested. "What's your problem?!"

Nila shoved her face into Kaida's, scowling furiously. Her eyes were red and her hair in an even more of a disarray than before. Grating out every word, Nila hissed, "I. Need. Sleep."

"Eek," Kaida said.

Frankly, Nila looked terrifying.

"Go back home or be quiet," Nila snapped.

Kaida didn't want to go back home. She didn't want to be quiet either, but didn't think she had much of a choice if she valued her life. Huffing, she lay down on the bed and closed her eyes. Perhaps if she counted lots of Cyndaquil then she would drift off to sleep eventually…

The plan didn't work very well. Kaida got a few hours rest, where she drifted in and out of sleep while glancing anxiously at the clock, before Nila's alarm clock finally went off. However, to Kaida's horror, Nila slapped it onto snooze. That meant another ten minutes before Nila would get up and this was even if she got up then… What if she hit snooze again? Kaida couldn't allow that to happen. Kaida had to make a sacrifice for the greater good for her and Cyndaquil. She had to brave Nila's wrath and make her get up.

Nila was not a morning person.

Gathering her nerve, Kaida inched forward towards her friend and then, suddenly so she wouldn't lose her nerve, she shoved her out of the bed. Nila grunted as she fell to the ground and Kaida closed her eyes and braced herself for any explosion. There was silence. Kaida tentatively opened her eyes and peered over the bed. She couldn't believe it. Nila had simply gone back to sleep.

Kaida tried talking loudly and stomping around the room but nothing seemed to have much effect. Nila did tell her to go away but Nila was known to sleep talk. Kaida sighed and wondered what to do next. She grabbed the alarm clock and held it against Nila's ear. However, when it went off Nila's hand shot up and she grabbed it from Kaida and threw it across the room. It smashed against the wall and broke into about four pieces. Kaida gaped.

It was time for the last resort. Short of banging pots and pans – which probably would have little effect except for annoying Nila's family – there was only one other thing that Kaida could think to do. She went to bathroom and filled a jug up with icy cold water. She took it back to Nila's room and…


Nila sat up in a shot. Her soaked face swung from side to side as she looked for a culprit. Kaida had already retreated. She hid around the corner and watched Nila emerge from her room, muttering darkly as she headed for the bathroom.

"Well, you always like a shower in the morning. How was I to know you preferred the water to be hot?" Kaida muttered, looking down at the jug that she was still clutching.

Nila's head whipped around the bathroom door. Damn it, Kaida thought, she had the ears of a freaking bat. She didn't dare to speak that though, in case she angered the beast again.

A minute later and Kaida heard the shower turn on. Oh. Great. Nila was going to shower. Couldn't she have done that the previous night? Cyndaquil was waiting! They had to go.

Nila also insisted on eating breakfast but Kaida didn't let Nila finish before she dragged her out of the door. They rushed to Professor Elm's lab and, to Kaida's horror, there was a long queue trailing out the front. Her jaw dropped.

"Nila!" she yelled. "This is all your fault! If you had just got up… What if all the Cyndaquil are gone?!"

She punched Nila's arm. Hard.

"Ow," Nila said, rubbing her arm. She scowled darkly at Kaida. "It would serve you right for waking me up like that."

Kaida hit her again.

"If you had got up then I wouldn't have had to! And it seems like it was a waste of time… All the Cyndaquil are gonna be gone!"

Kaida pulled at her red hair. Cyndaquil… Her dreams were shattered and it was all the fault of that stupid Nila. She was supposed to be Kaida's friend! Now Kaida wouldn't have the cutest Pokémon to exist as a companion… She wouldn't have her first – of many – beloved fire Pokémon. Suddenly life didn't seem worth living. She sank to the ground in devastation.

"Get up," Nila said impatiently, with no sympathy at all for Kaida's plight. "You're blocking the queue."

"But… my Cyndaquil!" Kaida wailed.

"You don't even know there aren't any left," Nila pointed out. "Besides, if you don't get it now you can always catch it later…"

"But… what if this is my only chance?!" Kaida cried. "My poor, poor Cyndaquil, taken by someone else who will never love you as much as I would."

Nila rolled her eyes. "Oh, come on. Get out of the emo corner. Pull yourself together."

She started to drag Kaida towards the door.

"I'm sure there are some left," Nila said. "So stop being stupid."

"Like you aren't exactly the same about Pokémon you like," Kaida complained.

It was true. Nila was completely obsessed with Umbreon. Kaida, on the other hand, was more partial to the beautiful, bushy, flame wielding Flareon. Ah, Flareon. It was so cute with its fluffiness and cuteness and sweetness and Kaida wanted it so, so much…

Kaida's fantasy land full of Flareon was interrupted by a harsh poke in the shoulder by Nila, who was once again pushing Kaida forwards.

"You really think they have some left?" Kaida asked. She fretted, "But what if they're all gone?"

She stood on tiptoes in an attempt to see over the small crowd in front of them. This didn't help much as she was so much shorter than everyone else there. She elbowed her taller friend in the side.

"Can you see anything?" she demanded.

"They're in Pokéballs," Nila replied dryly, "and I don't have x-ray vision."

Kaida muttered furiously under her breath. She had to have the Cyndaquil. She loved it so much. Its cute little face, its back that erupted into those gorgeous flames, its killer moves like Flamethrower… It was perfect. And, since Kaida had decided she wanted to catch all the fire Pokémon and maybe become a fire gym leader someday, there was no better place to get started.


There were murmurs in front. Professor Elm was, for some inexplicable reason, running out of Pokémon. Kaida's breath caught in her throat. No, that couldn't happen. She had put her name down for one of his Pokémon and he had guaranteed that he had enough for everyone on the list. She would have to receive something. But if it wasn't Cyndaquil…?

There was nothing wrong with Chikorita and Totodile of course, but Kaida needed Cyndaquil. What was more, what if there weren't even any Chikorita or Totodile left? Would she have to have something else? Would it be good? If it was a fire Pokémon then maybe she wouldn't mind but really… Cyndaquil… It wasn't asking for that much.

Also, knowing Kaida's luck, the other Pokémon would probably be a Magikarp who would just splash around uselessly all day, refusing to evolve. She could see the next ten years of her life consisting of taking Magikarp to the pond to strength it up and perhaps even become a little bit decent… Her dreams would be ruined. No fire Pokémon… No fire gym… No Cyndaquil!

"Kaida," Nila said, cutting through her thoughts. "Remember breathing is essential."

There were only a few Pokéballs when Kaida and Nila reached the front. Kaida elbowed Nila out of the way and launched herself at the table.

"Um, hello, Kaida," Professor Elm said, blinking. "Which one would you like then…? I must warn you…"

"Cyndaquil!" Kaida erupted.

She looked desperately between the two small piles of Pokéballs. One pile had to be for Cyndaquil, didn't it? It just had to be… She looked up at Professor Elm with wide, frantic eyes.

Professor Elm scratched the back of his head. "Well," he said, "I was just about to say… I've run out of Cyndaquil…"

Kaida stared.

Her world came crashing down.



"I'm very sorry, Kaida, but someone broke into the lab last night and stole some of the Pokémon. Luckily my assistant walked in on the perpetrator before he could take any more than a few… but they were all Cyndaquil."

"But," Kaida spluttered. "But… Cyndaquil."

"I'm very sorry, but you'll have to pick one of the other Pokémon," Professor Elm said, gesturing towards the two piles. "This pile is Totodile and this pile is Chikorita."

"There are a lot less of Totodile," Nila observed. "Did you say the person only stole Cyndaquil?"

"Actually, yes," Professor Elm said. "People just don't like to pick Chikorita."

"Why?" Nila asked.

"Well, a lot of people want to take up the challenge of the Pokémon gyms and most of the gyms do not match up favourably for Chikorita. A water Pokémon tends to be a better option. A fire Pokémon would be even better but there are no Cyndaquil left…"

Nila glanced at Kaida. The smaller girl was frozen. Nila considered poking her to see whether she was still responsive to the outside world but decided against it. First things first…

"I'd like Chikorita then," she said.

Professor Elm smiled. "You aren't the first person looking for a challenge. Here you go."

He handed Nila the Pokéball. Nila turned back to Kaida and poked her in the cheek. Failing that she tickled Kaida's side. That snapped Kaida back to life with a jolt.

"Would you like another Pokémon then, Kaida?" Professor Elm said.

"But…" Kaida said. "Can't you find the person who did it? You could take the Cyndaquil back…"

"We're looking," Professor Elm said. "According to my assistant the culprit was a youngster a little older than you with a torn black cape and dark hair. They couldn't see his face because he was wearing a strange steel mask." He sighed. "But who knows if we will ever catch him? It could be almost anyone. And even if we did find him eventually, who knows how long it would take? No, I don't think there is a good chance of you being able to get your Cyndaquil now. Unless you would like to wait until next year?"

"I… I can't wait that long."

Thoughts of fire Pokémon like Growlithe, Ponyta, and Vulpix danced through Kaida's head. A year longer before she could start the adventure to find and capture them? No. She couldn't wait that long.

"So what is it going to be?" Professor Elm asked.

"I… I suppose, Totodile?" Kaida said weakly.

Totodile was water. Fire's weakness. It could help her capture fire Pokémon. She accepted the Pokémon with a dazed expression. She just… It wasn't right! It was supposed to be a joyous occasion for her. She was supposed to have obtained a Cyndaquil, which was one of her most favourite Pokémon ever. And now…

If she ever found the person who stole those Cyndaquil she was going to make them pay dearly. They would rue the day they ruined her dreams!

"Come on," Nila said, tugging on Kaida's arm. "We have to go. We're holding up the queue."

Kaida's head drooped as she walked out of the lab. She looked dully down at the Pokéball in her hand. Totodile. Not Cyndaquil.

"Look, it's going to be fine," Nila said. "You'll find other Cyndaquil and catch one."

"I will find Cyndaquil," Kaida said.

"Yeah, so we can look for it in the wild…"

"No," Kaida said firmly. "We're going to go and get those stolen Pokémon! That idiot can't have gone far! We can find them and I'll return the Pokémon and then Professor Elm can give me one of the Cyndaquil! It is only fair!"

Nila blinked.

"Come on," Kaida said. "Let's go! Now!"

"But… our stuff!"

"No time for that! We'll go back for it. Come on!"

Kaida seized Nila's arm and started to run. They had to find this criminal. It was her chance to get a Cyndaquil. She wouldn't let anything stop her.

"But… our Pokédex?"

Kaida paused. OK. They could get them. Then they had to go.


"I'm hungry," Nila complained. "Can we stop?!"

Kaida ignored her and continued to march towards Cherrygrove City.

"Seriously. Starving."

"You just had breakfast."

"You didn't let me finish it!" Nila objected.

Kaida whirled around. Nila took a step backwards.

"Stop moaning," Kaida said crossly. "It is your fault that I didn't get Cyndaquil! I waited for you and you were taking so long and… Urgh! All of them were gone! It's not fair."

"Um," Nila said, blinking. "Sorry?"

Nila wanted to protest that Kaida could have gone without her, or that it was the robber's fault just as much as hers, but she decided that would not be wise when faced with the midget death glare of doom™. Instead she took another step backwards.

"Come on," Kaida said, turning back around. "The Cyndaquil need me! We have to be quick."

Nila raised her eyebrows but followed. She was feeling uncertain about Kaida's "mission" because, after all, they were venturing out into the wild by themselves and they had never tried out their Pokémon before. Not to mention that if they did catch up with the criminal who had stolen the Cyndaquil it was possible he had better trained Pokémon than them – anything was likely to be better than the new Pokémon they had received.

But Kaida was not stopping for anything. She wanted her Cyndaquil and she wanted it right that instant.

Something chirped in the bushes. Nila spotted the sight of something balancing on an enormous tail. A Sentret. Then there was another one… Wait… Nila looked back. It looked like they were dancing. Blinking furiously, Nila slowed down and turned. She wanted to see this.

"Nila!" Kaida snapped.

On second thoughts, perhaps it was better that Nila kept up with the angry Kaida. It was better for her health.

The twirp of a Pidgey sounded. Kaida stomped loudly on and Nila followed. Kaida pushed roughly through a bush that was blocking the path and then, she was thrown backwards into Nila. They both went crashing to the ground. Kaida's elbow impacted very unpleasantly into Nila's stomach. The taller girl groaned.

A Pidgey erupted from the bush, flapping its short wings angrily. Nila and Kaida's eyes widened as they saw a gust attack forming. Kaida yelped and rolled off Nila, covering her head with her hands. Nila rolled in the other direction, avoiding the worst of the second attack.

"Kaida!" Nila yelped. "Grass against flying is bad!"

"But… it's…" Kaida protested.

She touched the Pokéball containing Totodile. She hadn't wanted to use it. Somehow it would be accepting the fact that she hadn't got the Pokémon she desired. Instead of the cute fiery Cyndaquil she would have something she really hadn't wanted at all. Still, Nila was right… She didn't have much choice.

"Go, Totodile…"

Nila rolled her eyes. "Could you be any more enthusiastic?"

Kaida shot Nila a dirty look. They both scrambled to their feet as Totodile exploded from the Pokéball, immediately crying out and dancing on its stumpy legs. Pidgey immediately turned its attention on the new threat, flapping its wings and creating another dust attack. Totodile was caught off guard and was thrown backwards.

"Umm…" Kaida said.

"Come on," Nila urged.

"But…" Kaida said.

She didn't want to use Totodile. They just didn't fit. It wasn't what she had wanted.

"Kaida," Nila said urgently.

Pidgey was gearing itself for another attack. Kaida gave into her instincts.

"Totodile, use scratch!"

Totodile flew into action with a bizarre cackle. Neither Kaida nor Nila thought they had seen anything move so fast with such enthusiasm. Pidgey didn't know what had hit it. It was brought to the ground by an over enthused water reptile.

Kaida and Nila now watched with widened eyes. Kaida turned to look at her friend, a dark cloud crossing her face.

"I wanted a cute, fire Cyndaquil…" she trailed off, her voice dark. "Instead… Instead, I get a Totodile on crack."

Nila tried not to laugh. She turned back to the Totodile. The Pidgey was now knocked out but the Totodile had not stopped.

"Um, Kaida…"

Kaida looked down. She huffed. An out of control Totodile on crack.

"Totodile, come back!"

Totodile let out another manic cackle that sort of reminded Kaida of a quack. It didn't seem to hear Kaida.

"Totodile!!" Kaida snapped.

Totodile pulled back and looked at Kaida, confused. Kaida huffed again loudly and returned the Pokémon to its Pokéball. She glared at Nila.

"If I don't get Cyndaquil… I will kill you…"

"Um, let's go then?"

They trudged on.

A while later and Kaida was on the verge of giving up. She didn't think that she could possibly catch up with the person who had stolen the Cyndaquil. She was ready to break down into furious, frustrated tears. This was supposed to be one of the happiest, most important days of her entire life and it had all gone wrong from the start. Was this a signal of things to come? She couldn't help but think so.

Then it all changed.

They walked across grassy fields and past small crops of woodland until eventually they found themselves next to a gently meandering river. Nila was tempted to take off her shoes and stick her feet in the river to cool them but decided that Kaida, still intent on pursuing the thief, would not be happy about any delay. She sighed and walked on to a faster, deeper part of the river. Normally the river was gentle enough but the recent heavy rain had caused it to overflow slightly and it was flowing at a much faster rate that normal. Nila wasn't sure that it would be wise to swim in it at that time, although it was normally safe enough.


Nila paused. She looked around but didn't locate the source of the noise.

"Kaida," she called.

"What?" Kaida snapped. She turned and glared at Nila.


A second later the voice sounded again.


The voice was coming from down the river. Nila and Kaida sped up until they found a boy, in full clothes, in the river, clinging to a tree root. His fingers were slipping millimetre by millimetre as he lost his grip. The fast current was threatening to sweep him away and under.

"Careful!" the boy called as they came closer. "I slipped near the edge."

Nila and Kaida proceeded cautiously to the edge of the river bank. There were several wet stones and a lot of sliding mud and it was very slippery. At one point Kaida stumbled but Nila grabbed her arm and steadied her so she stayed upright. Finally Nila managed to reach the edge on her hands and knees and she grabbed the boy's wrists just as his hand slipped and lost its grasp on the branch.

Kaida's heart was pounding furiously in her chest. What should she do? Her fingers curled around the Pokéball. There was nothing else for it.

"Totodile, go!" she cried, releasing the Pokémon.

Totodile burst out of the ball and commenced its strange dancing.

"Totodile," Kaida said, "you have to help us get this boy out of the river! He might drown! Either get in, or if the current is too fast, then try and pull him out.

Totodile plunged straight into the river and disappeared for a moment. Kaida's breath caught in her throat. Totodile was a young Pokémon with little experience. Had it underestimated the strength of the water and been swept into some undercurrent? Then, to her immense relief, it emerged again, kicking its short legs and arms furiously as it pushed the boy towards Nila so she could grab his other hand. Totodile pushed the boy further towards the bank and helped him scramble out. Nila and the boy fell backwards away from the river and Totodile jumped out the water and proceeded to clamber all over them.

"Good work, Totodile," Kaida praised, the words sounding strange and foreign on her tongue. "Well done." She returned it to its Pokéball.

The boy rolled over onto his front and spluttered up an impressive amount of water. Then his hand went to his waist and he sighed in relief. The Pokéball was still attached. It was OK. It was safe.

"Are you OK?" Nila asked.

"Yeah, thanks to you," the boy said, "and you." He looked to Kaida. "And your amazing Pokémon of course."

Kaida gave him a strained smile.

"I'm John," the boy said.

He was a tall brown haired boy of a similar age to them.

"Nila… and this is Kaida."

"Cool," John said. "Thank you so much for rescuing me. I don't know what would have happened if you hadn't come along. I could have died!"

"It's no problem," Kaida said.

She couldn't even be elated that she had helped to save someone's life. It had been Totodile that had done the saving. Cyndaquil wouldn't have been able to help so efficiently and she felt guilty and miserable for still wishing she had a Cyndaquil instead.

"Anyway, thanks. I can't lose this Pokémon," John said. "It's not even mine. I don't have a Pokémon. Well, not yet. Hopefully I will soon though."

"What do you mean?" Nila asked.

"Well last night I was looking out of my window and I saw a strange person run by. He was a bit older than us, he had dark hair, and he seemed to be wearing a cape or maybe a weird steel mask…"

Kaida was over there in a flash. She grabbed the boy by his jacket and pulled him down to her level as she demanded rapidly, "Where did you see him? Where was he going? How long ago did he leave? Tell me everything!"

"Um, I actually saw him last night. He ran through Cherrygrove by my house and he was heading towards the route to Violet City. It was weird."

Kaida let out a huff. He was too far ahead then. If he had reached there the previous night then there was no hope that they would catch up to him. Her chance of recovering the Cyndaquil was gone.

"How do you know him?" the boy asked.

"He stole some Cyndaquil from Professor Elm in New Bark," Nila replied, "and my friend Kaida was really looking forward to having a Cyndaquil. She wanted to try and catch him and get them back."

"Oh," the boy said. "Well…" He looked hesitant. "He actually dropped a Pokéball."

"What?!" Kaida screeched, tugging the boy's jacket again. "Seriously?! Where is it?!" She glanced down at the sole Pokéball by his waist. "Is that it?"

"Yeah, it is!" the boy said, trying to extract himself from Nila's grasp. "I opened it and it was a Cyndaquil. I couldn't really catch up to him but I heard Professor Elm was handing out Cyndaquil, Chikorita, and Totodile and so I thought maybe he gave the boy it and then he would know who it was and give it back."

"You have to give it to me," Kaida said desperately.

"I don't know. You have a Totodile already. That must mean you already have a starter. He gave it to you, right? If I have this one I can take it back to Professor Elm. Maybe he'll give it to me as a starter. I've been looking for a Pokémon and it is a good one to have."

Kaida's hopes were once again being crushed. A Cyndaquil was in her grasp, yet she could not have it. She needed to give up on her dream. Clearly nothing was ever going to go well. She should quit before it got worse.

"How about trading with her," Nila said suddenly.

"Huh?" the boy said.

"Yeah, I mean, look at her. She's desperate for a Cyndaquil. She's wanted one ever since she can remember. She wants to be a fire gym leader and capture all of the fire Pokémon she can."

"I don't know…"

"Look, we can go to Professor Elm if you like," Nila said. "But please, you can have the Totodile. It is a pretty fierce battler already. A little enthusiastic but, hey, that's a good thing, right?"

The boy looked like he was seriously contemplating the matter. Kaida was seriously contemplating throwing herself at his feet and swearing to do whatever he wanted in return for a trade for the Cyndaquil.


"Well, OK, as long as it is all right with Professor Elm," the boy said. "I don't mind which Pokémon I have really." He smiled. "And you did save me from drowning."

"THANK YOU!" Kaida exploded, throwing her arms around him.

The boy was almost throw off balance with a sudden weight thrown at him and his arms pinned to his side by Kaida's vice like grip. She clung to him like a limpet before Nila resorted to tugging on her hair to get her off.

"This means so much to me," Kaida gushed. "Please… Can I just… Hold…?"

The boy sighed and pulled out the Pokéball. He handed it to Kaida. She held it gently, like the most valuable treasure in the world. Then, abruptly, she yelled out and clutched the Pokéball to her chest.


Nila raised an eyebrow as Kaida began to rub the Pokéball against her cheek. The boy also looked a bit concerned by Kaida's behaviour. Nila reached over and tugged Totodile's Pokéball free. She handed it to the boy.

"Come on," she said. "Let her hold it while we go back. Let's go make the trade official." She rolled her eyes at the boy. "Try to ignore the craziness."

"Um OK," the boy said, still shooting Kaida worried looks as they turned back towards New Bark.

He looked like he was worried Kaida would attack him if he turned his back for even a second. Nila tried to give him a reassuring look. She wasn't very good at it.

"Hey," Kaida said suddenly, when they were almost back in New Bark, "you should come along with us! Then we will have one of each! That would be cool!"

"It would be," Nila agreed in a whisper. "If you hadn't completely freaked him out by rubbing that Pokéball against your cheek. Idiot."

Kaida ignored her. Nothing else seemed significant now she had her Cyndaquil. Finally. Her fire baby. She bounced into Professor Elm's lab and they finalised the trade. John received his Totodile starter and Cyndaquil was Kaida's. Finally she could say those words she had dreamt about for years!

"Go, Cyndaquil!"

Cyndaquil burst out from the Pokéball. Kaida squealed and grabbed it immediately. She squeezed it tightly. So cute, so sweet, so powerful, so fiery…

"Um…" Nila said. "Breathing is just as important to Pokémon…"

Kaida lessened her grip a bit but she was going to need at least another ten minutes of snuggling before she let go completely. Cyndaquil was hers and the Cheshire Cat could not out smile her at that moment.