Sunyshore city's limits shone wetly in the glow of the sun that spring. Its waves lapped gently against the concrete walls elevating the streets, their steel bars lined stoically in the shadows of panels reflecting a brilliant green. They absorbed energy from the sun. In his youth, he would have admired the progressive and intelligent design of such inventions. He was concerned with bigger things now than the things he found in his grandparent's town. Things much, much bigger.

He found her on the boardwalk. She wore Mary-Janes that clacked against the hot paneled street. He had needed to purchase bread and writing paper at the local Pokémart and decided to take a longcut, his path weaving from the hillside where he lived and drank quietly in a small house, out toward the tantalizingly fresh and beautiful eastern ocean. The name of the city itself suggested much to the flamboyant visitor; it was always that way. His gaze moved habitually toward the endless and perfectly even horizon line in the far distance; an aesthetic memory precluding the very moment he had first lain eyes upon the entity. That pure, lonely girl.

Her locks were long, loose. Lovely. They matched the simple brown color of his khaki pants and were just as straight. Subconsciously, he ran a hand through his own spiky blue hair, paying his own features little heed as he watched her head rise and dip subtly, carefully, as she walked. Her little twin bobs atop her head implied quirk; perhaps it was those that prematurely captured her being inside his plotting mind, preparing himself for a rare flutter in the slow beating of his little heart. Blinking, he thawed his frozen step and attempted to pull himself away, finding much difficulty in doing so. She came out to watch the ocean crash against itself. It was a slow motion scene.

On the way to the store, he decided to buy brown sugar too.

---

By chance, she appeared again. This time she was lingering among the sand, bathing in the sun, clothed, upon a little olive-colored blanket that fit her body perfectly and that matched her barrettes. A longcut hopeful come true.

"I was just passing by and admiring the wonderful weather," he had told her when he sat down nearby, after wrestling with himself for quite some time over the morality of his possible actions and current wants. It had actually been she who initiated the conversation; it was an action directed toward a stranger that would, later in her life, present itself as an absolute impossibility, for reasons that will eventually become apparent; noticing the ruggedly handsome yet gauntly-faced man sitting with his shoulders high and tense, she was just wondering how he was doing because it didn't seem as though he was dressed for a day at the shore nor did it seem that he was particularly enjoying himself either.

He smiled at her coy comments. In his increased comfort he began to lose awareness of exactly what he was doing. Speaking smoothly and with ballooning confidence, he introduced himself as Cyrus.

She smiled back. Her cheekbones were high and red against her fair skin; freckles adorned them, and they were light, promising to disappear in the duration of further maturity. He was fixated. As she lifted a skinny, naked arm to adjust a barrette, her lips twitched to speak.

"I'm Jasmine."

Her bathing suit was modest, which didn't matter. She said she had an Onyx and she called it Rusty. They had been training earlier that very same day. Her toes curled up toward the sky as she flipped lazily onto her stomach; legs rotating, elbows dirty. She spoke through clenched teeth, her jaw pressed against the palm of her hand.

Cyrus did what he often did when he spoke to people -- which for him, wasn't often.

"Where are you from?" he inquired, playing investigator.

Some place called Olivine City, in a region that he knew little about. It was to the west; everything was. She was a traveling trainer who came to Sunyshore to challenge the Gym Leader she had heard about.

"I heard he was handsome," she said blushingly.

But she was told that he was a difficult contender, so she decided to wait.

"I like it here," she went on, her blue eyes reflecting the depths of the crashing waves mingling with the cloud-peppered sky beyond. "It reminds me of my home."

Cyrus, undershirted and scarred, narrowed his eyes against the sun the to see the things that she did.

"Well my dear, it appears as though you've made it to the end of the world."

---

He wasn't normally so friendly to anyone. He wasn't interested in what any of them had to say.

He spent nights researching mythology and the stars. In the days, he slept late and recovered by the seaside, fitting in time to exercise a body that he had hated in his adolescence. He drank cheap Poffin liquor and scribbled wildly by the light of a bulb hanging low from his ceiling. He was a radical thinker then, a dramatically different kind of intellectual, and somewhere inside that dark abyss of brain he personally held a vague sense of self-awareness and concern with common things. Often he found himself too busy to be consciously preoccupied by such things, however; he had plans, and they were big.

He supposed one could even say, with a chuckle, that they were out of this world.

And still, every mastermind houses a weakness. For weeks he would awaken from his dreams laced with the girl, the lone female youth, whose unrelenting existence in the city led his mind further and further from the path he had chosen for himself. It didn't matter. He would lie in a stretch upon his cot, big healthy biceps curled across his eyes still closed in an early daze of fantasy that lingered inside his head. It must have been the booze from the night before. His brain was a machine. He would stumble out of his house while buttoning his dress shirt that he had worn the previous day, before stuffing it hastily into his pants, having neglected to shave and eat altogether. They ran into one another often -- sometimes daily -- because he looked for her. Unsuspecting and ever-smiling, she chose to stay longer in Sunyshore perhaps because of this intriguing, handsome man.

On especially dreamy mornings, he toyed with the idea of making her into a queen.

"Would you ever like to be a queen?" he had asked her once. She giggled, and told him he was strange. Oh, and how different it was to hear it from such a lovely being; royalty could never match an angel, anyhow.

They often found each other inside the lighthouse on the southeastern corner of town. Despite their growing friendship, they never planned any single rendezvous; often Cyrus was concerned with being too forward, or too obvious, or too strange. She was much younger than he; a child, at an emotional and bewildering stage in her life in which she would rapidly change in several ways and it was alienating for her and she was delicate. It was important to ease himself into his situation and, above all other things, to be subtle. Experience with the matter wasn't a necessary component in his plans, for he was confident enough. He always had been. And when he wasn't, he was smart.

There was an occasion in the lighthouse balcony, on the second floor. It was a room covered in concrete and encased in sturdy glass. She was gazing outward into the powerfully open sea as she normally did -- as far as he could tell it was her favorite thing to do in the world. Today she wore a simple orange frock over a pair of tan capri shorts, and she looked pensive.

"Have I told you about the lighthouse that we have back in Olivine City?"

"Yes." He avoided her gaze.

"And Amphy?"

He nodded. She sighed. "Sometimes I miss it."

"What keeps you from returning?" Cyrus ventured daringly. Sweat formed on his brow.

She shrugged, her golden tanned, bare shoulders hunched almost to her ears as she leaned forward against the guardrail.

"I just...kind of need to prove myself, you know? I left Olivine not only to show that I could travel on my own all by myself, but that I wanted to. And I do. It's just kinda lonely sometimes after a while."

"You're quite a mature one, for your age," Cyrus said. She only smiled, and continued looking out at the ocean.

At that moment, his nerves no longer restricted him from turning around and leaning against the railing, and taking a chance that he had not dared to take in all those weeks.

"Where did you say you were staying?"

---

At the Pokémon Center, she had said. And he simply wouldn't stand for that, now, would he.

She now found herself in his little shack, hair falling down behind her back and little legs crossed over his only other chair; her Mary-Janes nearly reached the ground, but not quite. She peered curiously at the bound novel on the corner of the table that he seemed to have been writing, before he snatched it away and stuffed it hastily into a bookshelf, saying, "It isn't relevant right now."

He was in the other room and he was preparing tea. The afternoon sun had been obscured slightly by a rolling cloud; a typical high fog. She had never been in a home like this before and she thought it looked very interesting; maps of the galaxies and stars were plastered everywhere like wallpaper and sticking out from atop the shelf she found half-developed designs for a costume and mysterious vehicles. He had told her before of his interest in astronomy and other things.

"Cool," she mused.

It was on a tray. The tray shone silver and shot scattered reflections against the walls which were kind of bland, but not in a bad way, they just were, and upon the tray sat two cups of a steaming liquid that was colored mildly. She got the nicer cup and she smiled and said wow and thank you so much. She wondered aloud why he hadn't brought her over sooner.

"Do you like my humble abode?"

She laughed and said that it was quite nice and cute and the view of the sea was just so perfect here it reminded her even further of her own little home by the Johto sea.

"Would you like brown sugar?"

"No, thank you."

As they sipped tea he asked her about organizational syndicates and if there were any where she lived. For the first time, she frowned.

"You mean crime syndicates, like Team Rocket?"

He already knew about Team Rocket. He secretly already knew many things that he inquired her about; volumes he had read about the history of these sorts of things and as he was telling her this, she asked him why that was because it seemed a bit strange, and he said that he merely thought it was all very fascinating and continued to bring up the point that if we don't know our enemies then how are we supposed to prevail against them in the future and--

"Whoa," she gasped suddenly, her speech turning into a sort of slowing drawl. "All of a sudden I'm feeling really sleepy..."

"But it's still so early," he said, moving a muscled hand toward her forehead in a fatherly fashion. "Did you not sleep well last night?"

She didn't really remember, but she thought she did. She grasped his hand affectionately.

"Oh, Cyrus..."

His cot. She was thanking him for letting her sleep in his house and in his bed.

"Are you sure...that you...don't...need..."

"Oh," he said softly.

His hand moved from the back of her head to her chin, brushing along her warm cheeks along the way. As he leaned forward, he continued.

"The only thing I'll need from you now is a little cooperation."

His hand remained there, cupping her face, and as his grip tightened his other hand began to explore upward and sweep slowly across her leg. She felt it and she was confused. He kissed her and it was rough, the stubble on his face smashing itself sharply against her fair skin. In another instance, she would have kissed him back. But she couldn't.

Her vision began to blur.

Her body was weak; his hands were strong, and before she could understand what what happening it was too late. In her sudden panic, she reached weakly for the Pokéball at her side; he smacked it away. It rolled across the hardwood floor; she heard it clink faintly against the shelf. His body was pressed against her now. It was heavy and she could not breathe. His fingers jabbed her hard in the pelvis as he undid his pants. His arms were curled around her throat as he whispered into her ear sweet nothings. Her lids were pushing themselves shut. There was no cry; no objection; no consent. There was no time. A foreign touch had invaded her body, and in that moment, stolen her mind.

Black.

---

"You're awake."

The room was bright. Its ceiling was snaked with steel bars and electrical equipment, its stinging noises buzzing quietly in the dawn of her conscious recovery. Her eyes were bare but the sockets, kaleidoscopes, the light seeping into them via magnetic pull. She could feel it.

She almost sat up, but didn't. Her ears were perked. The realization struck her like a boot against the tile floor. As she mustered the strength to move her body, she was frozen by the sound of a stranger's voice.

"Shh shh shh, it's okay. Don't freak out; you're safe now."

His hair was blonde and spread shockingly outward from the top of his head. Young. Handsome. His eyes were tired, and he smiled. She hurt. There was something about his presence, their current location, that seemed familiar to her. She was about to ask if she was still in Sunyshore, but didn't. It didn't seem to matter anymore. As she gazed into his narrowed, lonely eyes, she felt his personal ordeals and inner demons ring inside her like a wind; his kindliness an uncommon privilege, though a willingly given one.

"The nearest Pokémon Center doesn't do services for people, so I brought you back here. But you seem to be fine. Sleeping Powder never killed anybody."

She blinked. His smile faded, blue buttoned shirt rustling slightly as he turned.

He said, "I know who did this to you."

She lay upon something soft, and cool. She thought dazedly that it was an unexpectedly comfortable thing to feel, inside a room of twisted metal and low-frequency voltage.

"I'd introduce myself, but..."

She heard his booted feet clack against the tile floor.

"I'll assume that the first thing you'll do hereafter is leave this place and never come back. Wipe this place from your memory, start anew somewhere else. I don't blame you. But I want you to know that he will get the punishment that he deserves -- somehow, some way."

Her head remained still; his hand was in his pocket.

"...And if you ever do return, I'll be here."

Her vision faded once more, the face of her mysterious guardian stained inside her mind. She awoke next in a pink room, sheets spread across her body and a Chansey's lullaby ringing in her head.

---

The silver fog rolled over the shore of Olivine City like a blustery blanket, creeping softly upon the clear and windy space that lingered dutifully over the sandy ground. The waves crashed against the shore, a deep shade of nightly gray mixed with the foamy white of impact. She observed it with narrowed eyes. Her blouse rippled in the breeze. She wore orange. She felt her teeth gnash gently against her tongue; she had not eaten that morning, and was not sure when she would. The Wingulls blew away from the buildings above her, gliding along twitchingly in a normally messy formation as they carried themselves to another seaside haunt...perhaps to a jumbled pile of rocks and boulders upon which to stand and peck between for crustacean Pokémon. The people had been building new homes in Olivine recently; she wished they wouldn't.

She enjoyed the fog. Its promises were filled with something deep, something different than the simple days of sun that imposed themselves brazenly against the hot pavement, against her skin. The western ocean was, for the most part, a colder one; further to the south was where the people jumped onto ferries and sponsored boats to smash themselves into the warmest sands on the island city of Cianwood. It was fine with her. She didn't want to have anything to do with any of them.

Recently in her spare moments she had been reading the international newspapers. Their articles did not seem to be split into categories so much as placed in order of shock value and distorted importance, and she didn't particularly like any of it, except when one day atop the lighthouse she noticed the printed introduction of a new band of organized rebels, of crime spooks, of Pokéterrorists. Scanning the grayscale snapshots inked hastily into the paper, she imagined for only a moment the sideswept half-covered face of somebody she strangely knew; the spiked hair that she positively recognized; the piercing little eyes that she remembered.

They called themselves Team Galactic.

Her Ampharos was fed. It honked happily as her bobbed hair disappeared down the narrow steps. Her Mary-Janes moved in front of one another carefully and quietly. As she reached the outside entrance of the tall and spiraling building, keeping close behind the battered door, her eyes scanned the smooth expanse of dirt-swept streets that separated her and her only other destination. The gray clouds persisted. People seemed to be indoors. She breathed in relief, and began the journey to her gym on the other end of town.

"Jasmine!"

She froze. Panic fluttered in her lungs as she turned to discover who was approaching her.

"Just passin' by and saw ya, thought I'd let ya know: I got a few sailor boys in m' shop who are interested in gettin' ahold of that Mineral Badge."

It was the barista from the local café. Still, her eyes darted around her anxiously.

"Think you could make time for a battle or two sometime today? Just so's I can tell 'em whether or not they should stick around..."

Her little jaws trembled, opening slowly to emit her first spoken words of the day.

"They can...um..."

She tried again.

"Um...I guess, if they...th-they want..."

The barista smiled, resting his fatherly hand upon her short shoulder. "Oh, little Jasmine."

She flinched, peering up at him in a tremendous effort to remain polite.

"They'll be happy t' hear it; I'll go and tell them right away. Say..."

Her blue eyes gasped deeply the expanse of emotion that harbored silently inside her head. His grasp tightened slightly, and as his kind grin persisted, he continued.

"...why don't you put a smile on that li'l face, huh? You look like you'd just seen somethin' horrible."

She looked to the ground. The sky brushed against her hair; her twin bobs floating slowly in the wind. Her narrowed gaze returned to him as she gathered the strength to respond.

"I guess...you could say..."

He listened intently; an understanding old man. Her fingers pulled themselves into a ball, uselessly. As she pondered her words pensively, her eyes darted away from him, shaking her head. A weak smile curled upon her lips.

"...N-never mind."

The Wingulls continued to cry in the distance. The clouds tumbled through the electrifying waves of air, their limbs scraping past the tip of the lighthouse and into the small groves of trees and pastures that lay in the spread of land beyond. As her feet led her off into the side of the sand as they so often did, she looked out toward the ocean once more, her eyes pressing against the wind. Somewhere, out there in that great big abyss of stoic water and the crashing waves, there lay a past for her; a land of small children and a sea of sunny shores; a multitude of friendly strangers and a scatter of quiet crowds.

A sky of gentle-handed saviors and of bastards in the stars.