Author's Note: The end of this chapter might be a little flunky, but I couldn't think of another way to do it, so I'm sorry. The next chapter will be the first with Gary's Team Rocket in it, and I'm bringing back a few friends of Jessie and James for it :). The next chapter will come from Pewter City. :D
Chapter Eight: A Watery Friend in Need!
The ground was cool underneath the pads of Eevee's paws, but the sun was bright and the air was warm – so warm that neither the Pokemon nor the two trainers travelling behind it escaped from the sweat. Gary's jacket was tucked inside his backpack, the black shirt that he wore sticking to his back as the sweat slicked it down to his skin. Matt wasn't fairing much better in the heat, shirt was undone until it revealed the top of his chest and the sleeves were rolled up as fair as they would go on his biceps. The backpack that he wore was slung over one of his shoulders constantly bumping into his back as the two boys walked onwards.
Peering at the map again for the third time the grandson of Professor Oak checked the compass before diverting off the beaten track in search of something else – something that might help them escape the heat of the day for a little while.
"Hey!" Matt called out loudly running to catch up with the mahogany brown haired boy, when his feet hit the ground hard both boys were able to hear the sounds of leaves crunching under the weight of the older boy, "Where you going?"
"The map says there is a lake around here somewhere," The brunette replied, shrugging his shoulders, "I thought we might go check it out, in this heat there are bound to be Pokemon."
The raven haired teen thought for a moment before he nodded and shrugged his shoulders, "And if there isn't then at the very least we-" he said pointing first to himself and then to the brunette "Get to cool off a little."
"My thoughts exactly," Gary smirked, "According to the map and where I think we are we should just keep heading in this direction to hit the lake, it's not on the path because it takes you away from the direction of Pewter City if you're heading from Viridian, but what the heck, it's hot and I think we all could do with some relief."
"I think you're right." Matt laughed loudly, his voice reverberating throughout the air around the two boys, "I don't even want to think about what we smell like by now!"
Gary took one look at the little fox Pokemon in front of him, who was making sure to keep itself upwind of the two boys. He watched as the fox turned it's nose up at Matt when he spoke and grinned before replying, "I think Eevee knows, and doesn't like it."
"Yeah yeah, there's always someone." Matt joked, a grin spreading across his lips.
Matthew had been travelling with Gary since their fight three days before, and now they were approaching Pewter City – within a day they would be there, and Gary had his heart set on challenging the Pewter City gym leader as soon as he got there. Matthew had been watching the boy whenever he battled – whether that be with trainers that he meets up with along the way, or with wild Pokemon – the raven haired boy watched the way that Gary battled with his Pokemon and was impressed with what he saw. However Gary didn't have to impress him to get the Boulder Badge, he had to beat Brock, the Gym Leader, in a Pokemon Battle.
The two trainers plodded onwards for another little while, their feet making crunching noises as they set them down on the crumbly soil underneath their feet. Eevee darted around, sometimes between the boys, and sometimes ahead of them as if it were checking out the area before they reached it.
Sweat trickled down the back of Gary's neck, pooling at the top of his shirt before streaming down his back and soaking through the material, "Yuck," The boy moaned softly feeling the shirt get even wetter and stick to his skin all the easier, "Disgusting."
"I take it that you never had to experience the delights of travelling while in Pallet?" Matt remarked, a boyish splattered onto his lips as he spoke.
"Not this kind of travelling." Gary replied, eyeing the direction in which Eevee had just run off.
The little fox had darted into the under-bush as if it had seen something, it's tail flicking from side to side quickly and excitedly in a fashion that Gary had only seen before when he was waiting to battle, before it scampered back out of the bushes looking over in the two boy's direction. "Eevee!" The little fox cried out loudly, nodding it's head backwards and darting into the bushes again.
"I think Eevee's found something," Gary grinned widely, "Now all I can hope is that it is the lake that I was wanting to take a dip in!"
Matthew didn't have time to reply before Gary was tearing off down the slight slope down towards the bushes and trees that Eevee had disappeared under moments before. The raven haired teen stood for a couple of minutes, chuckling at the boy's expense before he followed the brunette, at a slightly calmer pace than the other boy had gone.
Breaking through the trees hadn't been at all difficult for the little fox Pokemon, but the difficulty had come when Gary was forced to contort his body into shapes that it wasn't designed to be in to manage to get through the trees the same way that Eevee had. The boy had leaves poking out in all directions in his hair by the time that he had managed to climb through the wall of trees, but his discomfort was eclipsed by the happiness that filled him on the other side. There in front of his eyes was a large pool of cerulean blue water that must have been the size of three or more swimming pools. The brunette had been right when he said that there would be Pokemon around the lake, but that wasn't the only thing that was there – dotted around the banks of the lake there were Pokemon trainers, stripped to their undergarments and bathing themselves in the cool water.
"Looks like you lead me to the right place," Gary whispered to the small fox, scratching it affectionately behind the ears before taking off to find himself a spot on the side of the lake. He knew that Matt would be somewhere behind him so didn't worry about losing the boy, he'd be more than happy to see all the Pokemon when he burst through the trees.
The banks next to the lake were grassy and moist, the water licked at the edges of the banks, almost trying to draw the trainers in to take a swim the moment that they got there. Looking out across the water the brunette tried to count the number of Pokemon that were at the water's edge, but he stopped counting when he reached ten types. Idly the brunette wondered if all the Pokemon here belonged to trainers, or if some of them were wild.
A loud chortling sound erupted behind the brunette, and then a moment later both he and Eevee were dripping wet with water.
Slowly the boy turned around, wiping the long locks of brown hair that had had become stuck to his forehead behind his ear. His dark chocolate brown eyes focused in on the culprit behind his soaking, before growing wide with excitement. There behind him on the bank of the lake was stood a small blue Pokemon, it's shell was a light brown and the rings that protruded it were a softer colour. "A Squirtle..." Gary whispered happily.
The water Pokemon continued to laugh at the drenched boy and his little fox for a couple more minutes before it turned and raced off towards the other end of the lake, diving into the water and swimming to the little island in the middle. "I bet that is why there are so many trainer here..." The boy murmured softly to himself. "I've gotta be the one to catch it!"
"You're not going to catch that Squirtle." A young girl's voice called out from behind the soaked trainer.
The brunette turned around slowly, taking the girl in from her toes – up the toned legs that had been perfected from many days swimming to the trim waist and then up to her face. The girl's hair was a soft dirty blonde, hanging around her shoulders in loose damp waves. "Why aren't I?" The brown haired trainer asked challengingly – the brunette didn't like being told what he could and couldn't do.
"No offence meant." The girl quickly added, a smile crossing her lips as she approached Gary, "I'm Aqua – my parents named me after they're love of water, go figure."
Gary was forced to smile at that, his opinion of the girl changing as she talked to him, "I'm Gary Oak."
"Nice to meet cha." The girl held out her hand and grasped Gary's in a tight grip. "Lots of trainers come here wanting to catch that Squirtle, but none ever manage it and eventually they all walk off annoyed with their inability to catch it."
For a moment the brunette boy watched the little water Pokemon frolicking with the other water Pokemon that were bathing in the lake. It didn't seem to be any different from the other Pokemon around the lake – or the other Squirtle that he had seen helping out his grandfather. "I don't see anything different about him."
"You wouldn't," Aqua replied, sitting down on the grass beside where the brunette was standing.
Following her the boy placed his backpack down on the bank above where Aqua was sat and fell down so that he was sitting next to her. Gripping the edge of his shirt he took one look towards Aqua, silently asking if it was alright watching for her nod before he pulled the sweat soaked material up and over his head revealing the tanned and toned chest that he had acquired from helping his grandfather. The boy removed his boots at the same time, placing them with his shirt and his backpack before sitting down properly next to the blonde girl.
"So why can't he be caught?" Gary asked after a couple of moments looking out across the water.
"Something about his mentality, he wants a good fight and he just doesn't quit – even when everything seems like its over and he should just roll over and give up he doesn't. Reminds me of my brother sometimes..." The girl trailed off there and stopped speaking.
"Well, I don't give up either, I'll give that Squirtle the fight that it wants." Gary grinned widely, "And I'm going to catch it too."
"Good luck," Aqua smiled softly. "If you can I want to be there and see."
"Alright," Gary smiled, "Squirtle you're as good as mine."
The next morning the sun clawed it's way over the horizon soundly, making the surface of the lake shine and shimmer as the rays of light bounced off the surface. "Beautiful," Gary whispered softly, peering out over the water. Sitting up in his sleeping bag the boy ran his hand through his sleep tousled hair, yawning and stretching his arms above his head feeling his shoulders pop and crack before he relaxed.
The brunette smirked as he looked at the water, "Today is the day Squirtle." He whispered softly, looking down at the little brown fox that was curled up in a ball at the end of the sleeping bag.
"You ready Eevee?" He asked softly, scratching the Pokemon behind the ears softly, smiling as it purred loudly and stretched it's body out in a feline manner. "Yup, you're ready... just not happy at me for waking you up."
"Eve." The fox replied stiffly, running it's nose up and running towards the edge of the lake, taking a couple of licks experimentally before thinking that the water was fine to drink and slurping it down happily.
The brunette fished out his shorts from the black backpack he carried and changed quickly before going down to the edge to join Eevee, cupping water in his hands the young trainer drank quickly. "I want to get this started before any of the other trainers wake up."
Placing one hand on his belt, he quickly unhooked one of the Pokeballs and opened it. The red light shot out and came away back to the ball quickly, leaving the small yellow mouse next to Eevee on the side of the lake. The mouse yawned loudly and stretched it's body out, rolling it's head from side to side for a moment before it turned and looked at Gary. "Pika." The mouse cried, leaping up into Gary's arms and nuzzling it's face against his neck.
"I've got a job for you today Pikachu," The young trainer spoke gently, stroking the mouse's head softly, "There's a water Pokemon in that lake that I want to catch – it's going to be a hard battle but I believe that you can do it."
Pikachu looked out across the water and nodded it's head, "Pika!" It cried loudly, beaming up at Gary and then leaping down beside Eevee and standing next to the fox. "We'll have to get across to that island – so there is going to be some swimming if you both are alright with that?"
Shortly after he spoke both the young trainer and the two Pokemon were in the water and swimming over towards the island that was in the middle of the lake. "Just a little further," Gary encouraged the two little Pokemon, though if he was honest with himself it was more for him than for them as they didn't seem to be having a problem with the swimming even though he had expected that they would.
Dragging himself up onto the shore the trainer shook his head, spraying droplets of water around himself, the brown locks slicked to the side of his head and forehead. A slightly tanned hand reached up and wiped the locks off his forehead, but a moment later they fell back there again anyway. "Annoying." The brunette muttered glaring at one of the strands before shrugging his shoulders and turning to the little mouse and fox. "Come on."
"Eve!" Eevee cried out, bounding forward and taking its place beside Gary, Pikachu walked more slowly, shaking itself every few moments.
It took the trio about half an hour to find the hiding place of the Squirtle, and when they did they were surprised by what they saw. Little water Pokemon were scattered around the small pool in the middle of the clearing; some looked as if they were hurt but most of them were perfectly fine and Squirtle was stood over them, looking out for all of them.
Gary held his hands up as he walked into the middle of the clearing, showing that he didn't want to catch any of the Pokemon there – they were all hurt, he rationalised, they weren't strong enough to battle properly and he wasn't going to hurt something even worse than they already were.
"Squirtle!" He called out loudly, "There is only one Pokemon here that I want to fight."
"Squirtle, Squirt." The blue turtle seemed to understand what Gary had said and jumped down from the small rock out cropping that it had been stood upon previously. The turtle looked over Gary and the two Pokemon stood beside him, as if appraising him for the his worth in a battle before nodding slowly and walking away, motioning for Gary to follow him.
The two travelled a little distance away from the other Pokemon before Squirtle stopped and motioned to the brunette that this was going to be their battle ground. The site that the turtle had chosen was on the edge of the lake facing where the brunette had swam from – the boy could see Aqua and Matt on the side of the lake, looking out across the water at him. Around Aqua's neck there looked to be a set of binoculars, which every few minutes she would lift to her eyes and peer around the lake, probably looking for where the brunette had disappeared off to. Once she spotted him standing across from the Squirtle she waved enthusiastically before going quiet and concentrating on the Gary and the Squirtle.
"You ready Pikachu?" Gary asked softly, "You're an electric type so you should have no problem taking on this water type. You've just got to give it your all."
Squirtle eyed the little electric mouse, a smirk forming on its face as it did so, almost as if it thought that the little mouse wasn't going to be a problem to it. "He thinks your weak Pikachu," Gary murmured softly to the little mouse, clenching his fists tight, "Lets prove him wrong."
"Pika!" The mouse cried out loudly, a fierce look coming into it's eyes as it stared down at the water Pokemon.
"Pikachu, agility!" Gary commanded loudly, watching as the little mouse started running quickly, almost disappearing for seconds at a time it moved so fast across the sandy beach, "Quick attack."
The direction of the footprints changed suddenly, veering off towards the turtle – for a moment they left the ground and disappeared as Pikachu reappeared, slamming it's head into Squirtle's side hard, knocking it back a few paces before jumping away from the Pokemon.
"Quick before it recovers, thundershock!" Gary yelled out loudly, hoping that the electric mouse would have enough time to get the attack off before Squirtle could recover from the previous hit.
However the blue turtle seemed to have other ideas because it withdrew back into it's shell quickly, drawing it's limbs back inside the protective embrace of the shell, waiting for the attack to be over. Gary gritted his teeth, thinking quickly about what he could do to get the turtle into a vulnerable situation.
"Pikachu, ease off on the thunderbolt." He called out, giving the electric mouse a rest. The brunette's keen eyes could see the way that the little mouse was panting from exertion, cursing silently the boy thought over his options quickly. The boy's mind raced through combinations for attacks before he finally thought that he had hit the right option.
Squirtle on the other hand didn't feel like waiting for his opponent to make the next move, flinging it's limbs and head out of the shell it directed a powerful water gun straight at Pikachu barely giving the mouse enough time to dodge the blast. "Pikachu wait for the attack to come and then thunderbolt right at the water!"
The mouse stood it's ground, digging it's hind legs into the soft sand as it waited for the blast of cold water to come. Squirtle shot the water out of it's mouth a moment later, sending the gurgling flow straight towards Pikachu, still the little Pokemon didn't move, waiting for exactly the right moment.
Gary bit down on his bottom lip, watching in slow motion as the water approached before calling out loudly, "NOW!"
Pikachu scrunched it's face up for a moment, collecting the energy needed to give off the thunderbolt before he sprang up into the air, opening out it's body and sending a massive electrical charge directly at the Squirtle's water gun. The brunette trainer could hear cheering coming from the lake's bank and glanced over there, looking at Aqua as she jumped up and down and eyeing Matt as he yelled loudly.
Squirtle cried out loudly as the water conducted the electrical charge all the way back to it, the little turtle didn't have enough time to withdraw into it's shell. The Pokemon's eyes widened slightly before Gary watched as it's teeth gritted against the pain of the electricity.
The brunette watched as Squirtle fell backwards, thumping down onto the soft sandy ground beneath it. The turtle twitched for a couple of moments before it lay still. Gary held his breath for a moment before he sighed loudly, exhaling loudly in pure relief. "Pokeball go!" He called out confidently throwing the ball straight at the downed water Pokemon.
It rolled on the ground of a couple of moments; the light in the centre of the ball glowing before it faded and a clicking noise was heard throughout the entire island.
The ball glowed white for a moment before it disappeared the transportation to Professor Oak's laboratory complete.