Greetings, and welcome to "Walking Among the Dead." I shall not bore you with a bunch of nonsense, so let me just say that Pokemon belongs to Nintendo and Game Freak, and that not all original characters are mine, but I have been given permission to use them.

---

Ambulando Cum Mortuis: by runia24

Chapter 1: And So They Meet

---

There's a certain vibe one can get from a person, even a stranger, which gives one a strong indication that they are out of their element. Usually, this is an indication of weakness, since a fish out of water is not liable to do anything but splash, and I'm sure we all know how useful that is, but under certain circumstances, the odd feeling can mean something quite different. Not strength, quite, but an odd sort of idea that if they were in their proper place, things would be very grave indeed.

A tall man was walking through a large, sunny field, and there could be no mistake that he was very much out of place in his surroundings. Beside him was a hint at why he was so uncomfortable- a pale, very translucent Haunter that looked downright disturbed by the sunny climate in which he found himself. Oddly enough, the haunter and his trainer looked remarkably alike. The trainer had sharp features and a thin, almost spectral build, and his hair was quite unusual - dark purple and spiked so it almost mimicked the shape of a Haunter's head. He couldn't have been a day over thirty, but there was something about him that seemed terribly old, with the emphasis placed upon the term "terror."

Well, perhaps I exaggerate a little - he was not quite as frightening as he could have been, given the accuracy of the above description. It was, after all, a beautiful spring day, and the ghost trainer seemed more than a little lost, which somewhat deterred from any fear he may have caused.

Meanwhile, a slender young woman was lying on her back on the plush grass, admiring the brilliant blue sky with its scattered clouds drifting silently across the wide expanse. She stretched and sat up, brushing the bothersome, dark bangs out of her amber eyes. "Beautiful day…isn't it, Ginger?" she said slowly, glancing over at the Absol sprawled out lazily beside her.

Ginger lifted her furry head, blinking wearily at the trainer, before beaming. "But how long have we been sitting out here? Certainly someone would've come by now." The Pokemon blinked again, then rose onto all fours, sniffing the ground in case a passersby or two had slipped by them during their lethargic phase. "I see you're itching for a battle too." She laughed. "Don't worry. Someone will come…eventually."

She was right, as there were two trainers coming her way. One was the ghost trainer mentioned earlier, and the other was a young male with spiky blond hair, his outfit making him look like he had just left boot camp.

The kid saw something in the distance, something curious enough for him to increase his pace to a run, and eventually to a sprint. Apparently ignoring the ground below him, he then tripped over a rock and landed flat on his face. Mumbling something incoherent on his misfortune, he quickly got up was about to run, when he looked to his left to find out he was already at his destination.

The mysterious girl scanned the area. "Maybe I spoke too soon. Ginger?" Her friend was missing. "Ginger?! Where are you?!"

The Absol had run off, approaching the wandering trainer who looked like he had taken a bad tumble. She sat down beside him, tilting her head in speculation, and then gave him a look that said, quite plainly, "What an idiot."

The girl got up and walked over towards her Pokemon and the other trainer, helping him back on his feet.

"Thank you," he said, dusting himself off and making sure he didn't break any bones.

"Oh no, it's quite alright. Glad you're not hurt."

"Aw, I've been through worse."

The ghost trainer soon noticed the pair of trainers not far ahead. He sighed a little. He hated asking for directions, especially from humans, but it really couldn't be helped. He was supposed to be in Fortree City in less than a week, and it wouldn't help any if he got stuck wandering around these blasted fields for the rest of the day.

"Pandora, why don't you go on ahead and ask about directions?" he asked. From such a frightening figure, it would have seemed like a command to most, but the Haunter at his side just snickered. He knew full well his trainer was just nervous. Still, he had some sympathy, and so he did as he was asked.

Pandora, the Haunter, zipped quickly off, doing a few quick tumbles in the air as he headed over to the trainers and the pokemon.

"Well since you saved my life, the least I can do is introduce myself. The name's Michael," he smiled, his arm reaching over for a handshake.

The action was returned, and she smiled. "My name is Sidney, and this is my friend, Ginger," Sidney gestured to the white Pokemon still watching Michael carefully with those big, black eyes.

"Well it's nice to meet you, but I guess I should be on my…" he stopped, finally noticing the Absol. From the looks of it, Sidney was a Pokemon trainer, and since he was a Pokemon trainer, the logical thing to do was challenge her to a battle, right?

"Wanna battle?"

"A battle?" Today must've been her lucky day. "Sure, why not? I'm warning you though. She's a tough one." The Absol brandished the blade on her head, appearing very proud.

Pandora stopped short of the group, a little wary of the Absol. "Haunt haunter (excuse me)" he said, speaking in the Pokemon language, "Haunt haunter haunt haunt haunter, haunt haunter haunt haunter? (But before you two beat each other up, could I get some directions over here?)"

Cassius, the ghost trainer, was a fair distance away from his pokemon, walking quickly to catch up. He was a little worried about what his Haunter friend might say, but reasonably confident that even Pandora wouldn't try and start something in broad daylight between two trainers.

"Oh, what a cute Pokemon!" Sidney exclaimed. Cute was probably not the best word to describe a ghost Pokemon.

Ginger, who tore her gaze away from Michael, saw the Haunter hovering just above her and panicked. She Slashed at the other Pokemon, missing on purpose, then proceeded to rear up on her hind legs, attempting to appear threatening.

"Ginger! Stop it!" Sidney pulled her Pokemon back. "I'm really sorry," she said to the approaching trainer, holding the Absol. "She doesn't like ghosts."

"You don't say?" Michael mused.

"So I see," said Cassius, glaring at the Absol. He was almost as wary of the dark pokemon as Pandora was, and seemed to take Ginger's dislike of ghosts as a personal offense. Pandora, happy to have his trainer nearby again, backed off away from the Absol, just out of slashing distance, then stuck his tongue out at her cheekily.

"I'm sorry to bother you two," said Cassius, ignoring his Pokemon's antics, "but would you happen to know which way it is to the nearest city? I seem to be a bit...lost."

Ginger was purring. But it wasn't a contented purr, it was a purr of loathing. She was glaring at the trainer now, and she struggled to free herself from Sidney's grasp. "Ginger! Hold...ugh...still!" But she wasn't listening. "Do you really want to return to your Pokeball?!"

Surprisingly, the Absol stopped. She hated her Pokeball. She had always been free, and when she was captured she was kept as the family pet. But she still looked at Cassius with extreme dislike. "The nearest city? In all honesty, I haven't set foot inside a city in days. I have a base out here."

Cassius was a little surprised by the trainer's response, and a fair bit disappointed. "Do you know the general direction, perhaps? I've been completely turned around, I'm afraid, and I think I've been running in circles," he admitted, trying to ignore the instinct to try and drop kick the growling Absol. Pandora was doing his best to draw the dark pokemon away from his trainer, doing a few back flips and making faces at Ginger.

The Haunter's taunts enraged the dark Pokemon, but she continued to obey her trainer and refrain from doing anything rash...like grabbing that Haunter's tongue and removing it with her blade.

Before Michael could tell him that he was on his way to Fortree and would be happy to give directions, the young lady spoke up. "I might," Sidney gave Cassius a wry smile. "I could probably show you where the nearest town is, but my memory is a bit foggy. Perhaps a battle would refresh it."

She released her Pokemon, who still wouldn't take her eyes off the mysterious trainer. He had a strange aura about him, one that made the tiny hairs all over her body stand on end. "You are a trainer, aren't you? Our Pokemon both look restless. A battle would more than likely do them some good."

Michael, feeling all but ignored, frowned. He had challenged Sidney to a battle first, but it seemed she had already forgotten about that.

Cassius hesitated for a moment, then nodded. Pandora's eyes widened as he saw his trainer accept, in a sort of "You can't be serious!" expression. It was mid day, and he was weak to dark types! Cassius murmured something under his breath, "Haunt haunter haunter, haunt. (You were asking for it, Pan.)" and Pandora really couldn't argue with that.

The ghost trainer backed up several paces, making room for a battlefield. Pandora floated over to his trainer's side, sulking.

Sidney did the same, leaving a few yards of space between her and Cassius. Ginger took her place between her trainer and the enemy, acting like Christmas had come early. "Are you sure you just want to use your Haunter? He has a type disadvantage." She thought hard for a moment, lifting her hand to scratch her head. "Wouldn't you rather do two-on-two…or maybe one-on-one with two or more Pokemon?"

The yin-yang colored Pokemon glanced back at her trainer, fixing her with an impatient stare.

"I'm afraid bringing in more of my pokemon wouldn't help me much," admitted Cassius, "all of my pokemon are ghost types. I'm sure Pandora will do fine, though, he has one or two tricks up his sleeves… figuratively speaking."

Pandora grinned a little, spinning around his disembodied hands to illustrate his trainer's point.

"A double battle would be just fine, though," he added, glancing at the other trainer. "If two of us use one pokemon each, and the other uses two, it should end up a fair fight."

Michael nodded. "I certainly don't mind. Sidney and I were about to battle anyway, right?"

"Oh, I'm sorry! I was supposed to battle you, wasn't I?" Sidney slapped her forehead.

"No, it's no big deal. Technically we're still battling each other, right?"

Sidney nodded. "Alright then." Deciding not to waste anymore time, she reached for a Pokeball at her waist. "Silvien, come out!"

Tossing the ball into the air, it burst open with a brilliant flash of light, releasing the serpent-like Pokemon contained inside. The Milotic released an extended battle cry, sounding more like a sweet song than an actual bellow. "My Absol and Milotic versus your Pokemon. Choose now."

Pandora sighed a little, annoyed at having to work with another pokemon, but Cassius had trained him a little in two-on-two fights, for the occasional double gym battle, and maybe with a teammate he could show that stupid Absol who was boss. Preferably a teammate who could use Rain Dance or something, and get that blasted sunlight out of his face.

Michael pondered which Pokemon he would chose for a moment, then made his move. "Proton, I choose you!" he threw his Pokeball out into the open field.

Like Silvien, the Manectric appeared on the field in a blast of red light. The electric type looked quite calm, though.

"Ready to battle, Proton?" Michael asked his Pokemon, who nodded in response, gearing into battle position.

"We're ready when you are" said Cassius. He idly fingered one of his other pokeballs, wondering if Pandora was really the best choice for the match, but if his partner had an electric type... perhaps they could win after all.

---

And so that ends the first chapter of this little tale. Who will be victorious? Why can Cassius speak Pokemon? And who won the 1998 Heisman Trophy? Some of these questions and more will be answered in the next chapter!