Chapter Nine

[To Fall and Lose It All]



Hi! My name is Satoshi…er…but I suppose you already knew that, right? What gave it away? Was it the hat? Kasumi says I should get rid of it, but I worked really hard to get it! And Takeshi says I should just not listen to her because she's a girl and because of that she's difficult to understand.

Personally I agree with him, but I'd never tell Kasumi that. She'd just about kill me on the spot.

So yesterday Natsume tried getting Shigeru's memory back and somehow failed. I was so surprised about that! Now she's in the kitchen again trying the same thing. This time she's using Shigeru's Alakazam to help her out. I don't know why she didn't try using it before, there's no shame in having a helping hand.

Though to be honest, and this is just between you and me, I was pretty uneasy about Shigeru getting his memory back at all. He's been a lot nicer this way and more approachable. This way he's not calling me a loser every five minutes and I can actually talk to him. I mean, not like I'd usually even want to talk to him, but Shigeru's not all that bad once his attitude is gone.

Once again I was in the living room, with Kasumi and Takeshi, and wondering why I wasn't outside training my Pokemon. The television show wasn't even that good. Something called, Through The Days of Our Restless Lives. Even though Kasumi was cooing over every other scene, I couldn't see the point in it all. The characters were either kissing or trying to kill each other.

Hiroshi walked in the living room, waving a tentative hello. "Hey guys, how's things going…"

"SHHH!!!!" Evil Kasumibot hissed. "DO NOT INTERRUPT MY SOAP OPERA!!!"

Hiroshi blanched and took a step back. I took that as my cue to leave and as I passed him, I beckoned Hiroshi to follow me. We left Takeshi behind, who was oblivious to anything but the women on the screen.

"Do you want to watch Natsume try again?" I asked Hiroshi.

"No," Hiroshi shook his head. "I'd rather not. I'm going to go to town and get some things for dinner. Want to come?"

"Naah, this will be fun."

"I'll see you later, then," Hiroshi walked quietly back through the living room, under the watchful glare of Evil Kasumibot.

Twenty minutes later...

It was quiet. So quiet. I could almost hear myself thinking. I was thinking...thinking...how great it would be to get a slice of that pie mom made last night. Uhg, not a nice thing to do, I know! But I'm in the kitchen for Pete's sake! Gimmie some credit. At least I'm not a remote control hog like Kasumi is.

Pikachu yawned (she was sleeping in my lap), looked up at me sleepily and fell back asleep. I looked over my shoulder, into the living room and Kasumi looked up just in time to see me looking at her. Feeling brave, I stuck my tongue out at her and made a face. It was amusing to see her tentative smile fall into a red-faced angry expression. I could almost hear her threatening my life and therefore those of my unborn children.

"Satoshi," Mom whispered into my ear. "If you don't behave, Pikachu will be sleeping many nights outside this week."

It was torture to not whine back at her, but I had promised to be on my best behaviour. It surely wasn't my fault that Kasumi was close enough to make faces at. I nodded my reply and smiled angelically at her.

Mom smiled back, falling for the sweet expression, and walked back to stand near an anxious Ookido-Hakase. They whispered in adult tones, surely something about Shigeru.

Speaking of my annoying rival...

Shigeru was currently seated at our kitchenette table, sitting opposite of Natsume. His hands were gripped within hers, right on top of the tiled surface. Where our dinners sat. That was so gross. Shigeru's Alakazam was standing nearby, its eyes closed and one of its spoons in each pawed hand thing appendage hicky hoosit.

Yesterday Natusme had tried to get Shigeru's memory back and completely, flat out, falling on her face, failed. It would've been funny if not for the fact that Natsume could be completely evil when she chose to. I'm talking so evil that she made Shigeru look like some innocent monk or something. And Shigeru being innocent anything was enough to make your mind spin.

I was sitting, how rude of me to have you assume I was sitting at the table as well, on the counter near Mom and Ookido-Hakase. A glass of water sat next to me. Water, can you believe it? Mom won't let me have soda or anything sugary in the morning cause she says I'm hyper enough. Water can be so...boring.

When I get out on my own I'm gonna have soda whenever I want to, and that will be morning, noon, and night. I mean, I don't get hyper. The very idea was laughable. Me. Hyper. Haah!!

Suddenly I saw Shigeru's shoulders tense, cause I was behind him so I could see his wimpy shoulders tense, and Natsume gasped. Her violet eyes opened slowly and a grin spread across her face.

"Were you successful?" Ookido-Hakase anxiously asked. He walked a few steps away from Mom.

"I believe I was, yes," Natsume said calmly, the grin fading into her more normal expressionless features. "Shigeru...you can wake up now."

My stomach churned at the thought of Shigeru being whole. Okay, so the very thought of Shigeru anything made my stomach churn, but the point was that he stood up suddenly, almost knocking over the chair.

"I...I feel so free!" Shigeru's nasally voice took on that arrogant quality that he's practically trademarked. "It feels so good!"

"Shigeru, my boy!" Ookido-Hakase walked to his grandson and enveloped him in a big hug. "It's good to have you back to normal."

"Thanks, Jii-chan," Shigeru smirked. "But I have two things to do right now."

"What are they?" Ookido-Hakase looked confused.

"First, I'm going to take a long shower," Shigeru opened the back door. "And then I'm going out."

"Why?"

"I'm going to kill Hiroshi."

\+\/+/\+\/+/\+/

Now, why would an ignorant jerk like Shigeru want to kill a nice guy like Hiroshi? Darned if I knew. If I was psychic, I'd be torn between wiping Shigeru's memory clean and overcharging people for personal information. That goes for Shigeru's information or their own. Shigeru is about as well talked about as any celebrity.

But to be serious, I can't tell you for sure why Shigeru is so angry with Hiroshi. I can only guess.

My guess would have to be two little, yet life changing words: That Kiss.

Uh-huh. See, a few weeks ago Hiroshi had gone out walking one night. Like in the middle of the night, insane. It wasn't cold out, or grossly hot, but just one of those early summer nights when you just can't sleep. So Hiroshi, who was staying at my house, went out.

I followed.

Give the boy some privacy, you might be thinking. But it wasn't like that at all. I wasn't following him like stalking wise, I just wanted to make sure he'd be okay and, being a stranger to Masara, get lost or fall off a cliff into the ocean. It has happened before.

No, it wasn't me. *sigh* Honestly, I'm not stupid!

I shall ignore your laughing to continue with my story. I followed Hiroshi to some meadow, after a bit of a trippy walk through one of the many small wood patches that surround Masara. Luckily there were not a lot of nocturnal Pokemon,and those that were out were either too afraid to deal with us or comfortable with not eating us. Which was most fortunate for us. Even though Hiroshi didn't know I was following him.

That was fortunate for me.

The kiss, the kiss, you're so demanding! Sure, you can lay a little sugar on my cheek...What? Oh, you just want to talk about Hiroshi kissing Shigeru? Fiiiine.

Hiroshi kissed Shigeru.

...

Oh come on! You want me to elaborate? Okay, okay, don't leave! I'll elaborate!

Hiroshi and Shigeru sort of fell from a rock and Shigeru landed on Hiroshi and Hiroshi kissed Shigeru full on the lips and they practically played tonsil hockey.

Better? Well good because the thought makes me nautious. No not the thought of you feeling better. Anyway, it wasn't Shigeru that did any of the kissing, it was Hiroshi. Hiroshi had grabbed onto Shigeru as if nothing else in the world mattered. Personally, I never knew Hiroshi went that way.

So Shigeru had just shoved Hiroshi away and scuttled back to the boulder in a perfect imitation of a Krabby. Then he'd stood up and almost run right back to his grandfather's home. A Rapidash would've been outrun by kissed Shigeru.

You want to know the worst part? The stricken look on Hiroshi's face as he stood up and watched Shigeru run back in the house. The moon had been full and illuminated each expression on his face. It went from dismay to heartbreak to fear...I could go on and on, but I've run out of descriptive words. You're lucky.

What do you mean, what's the real reason I followed Hiroshi? There was no reason.

None at all.

\+\/+/\+\/+/\+/

Hiroshi was really lucky in that he didn't bump into Shigeru until the next day. Hiroshi and I had just come back from doing a little shopping for my mom at the market and on walking in the back door, heard Shigeru's nasally voice in the living room.

"I can't even remember a thing from when I'd lost my memory," He said, his voice spilling over into the kitchen.

Hiroshi placed his brown bag on the center island, "Satoshi...Do you mind if I go on upstairs? My head is aching and I think I'll lie down for a little bit."

"Sure," I said, munching on a chocolate covered doughnut, "I'll cover for you."

An odd look passed over Hiroshi's face, but he smiled, "Thank you."

I shrugged, finishing the doughnut. "No problem."

He slunk up the backset of stairs and I heard the floorboards creak twice. Then the sound of the door closing. I wondered if he should be sharing a room with Brock. I know what it's like to room with Brock, and he snores like no one's business.

Quickly I tossed out the evidence of my sugar inducement, hiding the wax papers in the garbage can under a broccoli wrapper, and finished putting away the groceries. It wasn't long before Shigeru sauntered into the kitchen.

"Hey loser," He said, grabbing a Coke from the fridge.

"Good to see you've got your ego back," I said, walking past him. He grabbed my shoulder, holding me back. "Did you want something? A glass? Ice? A new personality?"

"I want you to tell me where Hiroshi's hiding." He narrowed his eyes. "I know you know where he's at."

"Oh, good to see that some of Natsume's talent rubbed off on you," I glared back at him, annoyed by his attitude. "Too bad none of her personality rubbed off. Oh but that's right, she's got as much personality as she does emotions...None."

He just stared at me.

"So, how much did your Ojii-chan pay Natsume for rescuing your inner self?" The question was more stupid than daring, but Shigeru's only reaction was to sneer.

"She said she already got what she wanted," He shrugged. "Whatever that means."

"Why do you want to see Hiroshi so badly?" I asked softly.

"None of your business, loser," He said just as softly. "Just some unfinished business. It's personal."

"Well then, Hiroshi's in his room. He's got a headache." I said. "Don't bother going up to bother him."

"I think I will anyway, but thanks for the warning." He went to the back staircase, but Pikachu blocked his way.

She sat on the fifth stair, her cheeks sparking ominously. "Piiika..."

"I really wouldn't try, Shigeru." I grinned. "Pikachu's had a bad day; she's tired, and grumpy. If you try to get past her, I won't be held responsible for her actions."

Shigeru glared at Pikachu, then turned to leave. "Fine, I have other things to do anyway."

The screen door shut noisily behind him and I turned to Pikachu, "Thanks, sweetheart, you are just the best."

"Pi, Pikapi!" She chirped as I scratched under her chin, her mood lighter than before.

\+\/+/\+\/+/\+/

"Thanks again, Satoshi," Hiroshi said as he neatly pulled down the edge of the blankets.

"Don't worry about it," I said, rolling out the sleeping bag onto the floor. I had strategically placed it in the center of the room, directly under the ceiling fan. "I mean, it's the least I could do for you."

"Shigeru really worries me," He said, getting into bed and pulling the sheets up. "Do you think he'd really do something?"

"I wouldn't worry about Shigeru," A pillow quickly joined the sleeping bag, my personal favorite, and I walked over to the door. Clicking the light off, I opened the door, "I mean, all you did was kiss him, right?"

Not waiting for an answer, Hiroshi's shocked expression was both enough and illuminated by the hallway light, I stepped out and closed the door. I walked quickly to the bathroom, hoping to get it before Kasumi. Lucky for me, the water wench was already snoring away.

Actually, so was Brock. I looked down at my watch, startled to see that it was midnight. I hadn't realized it had gotten so late. All I did was...Oh right, I had been playing on my new PS3. My how time flies.

The bathroom visit was rather quick, since my eyes were burning for an intense desire to have me view the insides of my eyelids, and after a quick brush, floss, and gloss, I walked back to my room.

The room I was currently sharing with Hiroshi.

Hiroshi, who was in my bed, while I would be enjoying a stiff back in the morning that only a slumber on a wooden floor, could provide. I didn't exactly want to go back to my room after such a bold statement, so I went downstairs.

The kitchen was just as I remembered it from twenty minutes ago. Empty.

I got a glass of water and sat down at the center island. There were two bar stool chairs on one side of the island, and I was just so glad that mom decided to take my winnings from defeating the Orange League to remodel the kitchen.

Hmm, what to do, what to do. I drummed my fingers on the counter top, an obscure little pop beat, and thought back on today's activities. Shigeru could be such an ass. I mean, honestly here, how many guys want to kill someone for a little kiss. Okay, so it's a big deal, but no one saw.

Except me. Or that Weedle I'd tripped over. But it's not like Pokemon could talk. Well, they can, obviously, but not to a point where any human could understand. Drum, drummdy, drum...

Why did my drumming sound like footsteps?

"Hey, Satoshi..." It was Hiroshi. "Can we talk?"

\+\/+/\+\/+/\+/

Can we talk? I almost needed to talk to a paramedic! My heart just took up a permanent rapid beat and I swear I was whiter than...than...vanilla ice cream. No, wait, that's kinda yellow-y, isn't it?

Before I could say anything, Hiroshi grabbed a soda from the fridge and walked up to me. "Is this stool taken?" He joked, pointing to the other bar chair next to me.

"Uh...no," I said, fretting inside. Why did I have to ask such a smart ass question like, all you did was kiss him, right? Stupid, Satoshi! You'd have to face him eventually, smart guy.

He sat next to me, opening the soda and taking a sip. "Nice and cold."

The night was decidedly unopressively hot, nor was it humid. It was earlier, but not now. Um...Why is he staring at me like that? I decided to ask Hiroshi as well as my brain.

"Well, to be honest," He looked down at the soda can, then looked up at me timidly. "I wanted to know why you would ask me such a question."

"About...?" I tried to skirt around the whole kiss thing, but Hiroshi was more determined than a Snubble biting down on an...anything.

"You asked if all I did was kiss Shigeru," He sighed. "Because I did and somehow you know about it. So, I guess what I really want to know is," He looked back up at me, his eyes full of some emotion. "How do you know about it?"

"Intuition?" I offered.

Hiroshi speared me with a dry look. "I think not. Just...just tell me the truth. Were you spying on me?"

"Spying?!" The question took me by surprise. "No, not at all! I'd seen you leave the house and followed you so you wouldn't get hurt."

"It's not like I'd stumble blindly around Masara and fall off a cliff and into the ocean."

Why do people keep bringing that up?

"I was six, okay!" I burst out, standing up and pounding machop-like on the counter. "Six!! Geeze, suddenly the whole world seems to know about it."

Hiroshi blinked. "Satoshi...what are you talking about?"

"What were you talking about?"

"Obviously not what you were." Hiroshi smiled. "Dear Satoshi."

"Whaaa?"

"So innocent," He murmured. "Was there something you had to tell me? I've got the answer I wanted."

"Tell you? No...no not at all. There's nothing."

"Really?"

"Yeah," I said defensively, sitting back on the stool. "Okay, why are you allowed soda whenever you want?"

"That's your serious question?"

"What's wrong with that?"

"Nothing, just a bit silly sounding, I suppose." Hiroshi sipped his soda. I stared jealously. "I guess I can have soda whenever I want because I can."

"Oooh." I blinked. "That makes no sense at all, but I'll go with it."

"So you were there that night," Hiroshi sipped again. "Are you sure you followed me just to protect me from wayward cliffs?"

"I did want to talk to you about..." I paused, thinking. "...Um, about your Butterfree stratedgy. Yeah, that's it."

Hiroshi gave me a Look.

"Honestly!" I protested. "Look, fine, if you don't want to talk then I'll just leave you to your illegal soda consumption."

"Whatever you say, Satoshi." Hiroshi giggled.

"You are so very strange, Hiroshi." I said, before climbing the stairs. I really need some sleep.

\+\/+/\+\/+/\+/

The next morning dawned bright and sunny. Birdsong filled the air, the scent of breakfast cooking wafted up the stairs and into my room, and the sound of Kasumi's singing in the shower...Okay, that made me want to shove my pillow over my head and then release my Snorlax and let that sit on the pillow.

Yeah, she's that bad.

"Hiroshi, throw me another pillow, will ya?" I asked, flinging up a hand for a tossed pillow.

Nothing happened.

"Hiroshi?" I sat up, looking around. The bed was neatly made, the vertical blinds on my windows were raised half way, and nary a pile of dirty laundry was in sight.

"Okay, just where did my dirty clothes go?" I stood up, stretching. "I had that pile in front of my closet for three months. I was hoping to set a record."

So what did I do next? Pushy, aren't you? I got dressed and visited the bathroom (a soaking wet floor courtesy of Kasumi the Singing Red Gyarados). Then I went downstairs, my wet socks squishing on the stairs. I grimaced, pulled them off, and balled them up.

SMACK! They went as I tossed them in the laundry chute.

I love laundry chutes.

Then I had a nice big breakfast. Kasumi-dos made a rude comment about how I ate more than three Snorlaxes, but I hushed her with a comment on her mating call. Er...singing. She got quieter just about as fast as she got red in the face. That was fast.

The remains of the breakfast (thought I was gonna say day, didn't ya?) was cleaned by the crew of Hiroshi and Bariyard, cleaners at large, and it was just amazing how sparkling clean the kitchen got.

"Oh, I am going to have to treat you two in town today!" Mom beamed at the cleanliness of her kitchen. "Hiroshi, are you free for parties?"

"Absolutely!" Hiroshi smiled politely. "I can also..."

"...Slice, dice, and make julianne fries!" A snide voice broke in.

"Shigeru!" I swear Hiroshi got so pale I thought he'd faint. "What are you doing here?"

"Moro...Morning, my dear sweet Hanako!" Shigeru inclined his head towards my mom, noticing her presence just before an insult to Hiroshi could fly. "How pleasant to see you!"

"Shigeru! Morning to you too!" Mom swept through the kitchen, her small purse over one shoulder. "I was just about to take Hiroshi and Bari-chan out to town."

"Darn, I was here to let Hiroshi know that Ojii-chan wanted to talk to Hiroshi." His gaze narrowed. "Now."

"Oh my, whatever for?" Mom asked.

"Yeah, what for?" I added.

"You'll see," He said, turning for the door. "Coming, Hiroshi?"

I looked to Hiroshi, saw the desperate look he threw me, and decided to take advantage of Mom being around. "I'll go with you two!"

"WHAT?!" Shigeru shouted out, then choked back a glare. "I..I mean, you can't. Jii-chan doesn't want you."

"Moooom, do you mind if Hiroshi and I go with Shigeru to see his Grandfather?" I even put on an innocent angel look.

"Well sure you can sweetie!" Mom ruffled my hair as she walked past, Bariyard at her side. "I'll pick up some things for dinner. Don't stay over too late, because we're having deep dish chili pot pies!"

Deep dish chili pot pies….AAAAHHH!!! YES!! IT'S MY LUCKY DAAAAY!! I cheered inwardly, coughed, and said, "Thank you, mommy!"

Shigeru rolled his eyes and walked out the back door. "Come on, I haven't got all day," He called behind him.

The screen door slammed shut behind him, bouncing twice before being fully closed. "Let's go, Hiroshi!"

We followed Shigeru the best we could. The long legged Ookido boy's stride was so long, that it took two steps for me and Hiroshi to match one of Shigeru's. I glared at Shigeru's retreating back. "Hold on! We can't run as fast as you walk!"

Shigeru froze, standing with his arms crossed. We caught up and I saw the dark look on Shigeru's face, and then saw that he'd led us though the 'short cut' to his Grandfather's place. It happened to be the one that I took when I followed Hiroshi on That Night. You know, when Hiroshi KISSED Shigeru. Just in case you forgot.

The dark look on his face startled me and I looked to see if he had any Pokeballs or knives. I didn't see any, so I figured we were okay. I was so wrong.

"I don't know who you think you are, Hiroshi," Shigeru glared at Hiroshi. "But I want you out of Masara. In fact, I want you out of Kanto. Head over to the Orange Archipelago or to Johto."

Hiroshi looked stricken. "I…I can't just do that! My family is in Kanto!"

"I don't care. No one makes a fool out of me when I'm not fully with it!"

"Then it must be tough for you, Shigeru," My anger at Shigeru put heat in my words and my foot in my mouth. "Since you've never been fully with it."

"Satoshi! Shut up!!" He spun around to face Hiroshi completely. "The fact that you did what you did, and when you did it, sickens me. That you put your hands on me, and kissed me, makes me want to vomit. You are the sickest bastard I've ever met in my life and if I could put you through what you did to me, I'd do it in a heartbeat."

Hiroshi looked distressed, "I can't believe you didn't feel something for me."

Shigeru looked incredulous. "Feel…something for you? I feel something for you, but it's not what you want. I feel the most incredible loathing towards you."

"So I guess we weren't going to see your Grandfather," I ventured.

"You're such a brainless idiot, Satoshi," Shigeru snapped at me, "And you can't even see this trash for what he is."

"So that's still a no?"

"Yes, you imbecile! It's a no!" Shigeru threw his hands in the air. "I wasn't going to take Hiroshi to see Jii-chan at all! Jii-chan doesn't give a ratatta's ass about Hiroshi."

"Then what were you going to do?" Hiroshi looked pale. The anger from Shigeru was so palpable, you could cut it with a knife.

"Do, do, what to do," Shigeru tapped his chin. "Oh, I know! I was going to have you beaten to within an inch of your life! Doesn't that sound fun!"

No matter what Shigeru thinks of me, or says to or about me, I am not an idiot. I might not be the smartest guy in Kanto, but I can see a threat for what it is. I stepped between Hiroshi and Shigeru. "You don't want to do that."

"Yes I do."

Shigeru's blunt response took me by surprise. "Shigeru, you can't go around beating up other Trainers! It's against League rules."

"I wasn't going to," Shigeru said snidely. "I was going to let my Burakki have some fun."

"That can get you disbarred!" Hiroshi grasped at straws with these remarks. "You'll have your Pokemon taken away, you'll never be able to Train ever again, you won't be able to take over your Grandfather's lab…"

"Don't talk about my Jii-chan, you freak!" Shigeru shouted, causing a few Pidgey to flee from the trees above us. "Don't ever speak of my family members."

I wonder if I can contact Pikachu telepathically, I mused, then tried it. Nothing happened, other than Shigeru shouting more threats and Hiroshi trying to get away.

Satoshi, keep him with you.

Pikachu?! IT WORKED!! I'M PSYCHO!!!

No, Satoshi, The voice sounded suddenly very patient. It's Natsume. I can feel Shigeru's hate and I'm sending over some help. Takeshi and Kasumi are coming to help you.

Footsteps and shouting came closer soon after Natsume finished talking, and I realized that the voices were familiar. "Takeshi and Kasumi!"

"Kasumi…" Shigeru gulped, stepping back a step. Then he decided to launch an attack of his own. "You won't pass on your freak germs to me! Take this!"

Shigeru had swung out with all his might, his fist clenched in a tight mass, and aimed it right at Hiroshi. Unfortunately for me, I was still in between the two.

I felt a sickening crack, stars of all sorts swam in my vision, and I dropped like a stone, suddenly unable to stay conscious.

\+\/+/\+\/+/\+/

"Satoshi? Satoshi, are you okay?" The echoing voice broke into my deep sleep and I shoved up a hand to ward off the speaker.

"Just a few more minutes, Mommy."

"He's okay," The voice said dryly. "Let's get him home."

I felt people picking me up and I wanted to know why they'd drag me out of bed. My eyes wanted to stay shut, but I opened them anyway…only to be welcome by a world of pain. "Oooooow!" I cried out, feeling nothing but pain from my left eye.

"Satoshi, don't try to open your left eye!" It was Hiroshi. "You've been hurt and your eye is swollen shut."

"Argh, I can feel that," I whined, then groaned. I felt really ill and the world was spinning behind my closed eyes. "Put me down, please!"

The world stopped moving as they gently lowered me to the ground, leaning me against a tree trunk, and I heard Takeshi and Kasumi talking.

"We need to get him back to his house but there's only the three of us." Kasumi complained. "And Satoshi is no feather!"

"We can't just leave him here either," Takeshi said. "Even if Shigeru is being taken off by the Junsa…Oooh the lead officer was really pretty…It's just not safe to leave Satoshi alone and injured!"

Despite their warnings, I managed to crack open my right (and unaffected, alright!) eye. The two picked me up again, one grabbing hold under one arm. They walked along a dirt road, on of the main roads, with Hiroshi trailing them. I was shorter than both of them by an inch or two so that when they held me up, my feet didn't touch the ground.

Kasumi was looking at Takeshi, but she looked at me. "Satoshi! You should close your eyes!"

"I can't, I need to be part of this conversation too," I said firmly. Then I thought for a second and proposed an idea. "Leave me here with Hiroshi."

The two froze, Hiroshi looking over at the three of us.

"What?!" Kasumi squealed out. "Why would we do that?"

"Because I asked you…"

Takeshi leaned close to me, "Satoshi, you do realize that Hiroshi is.."

"So Hiroshi likes guys the way you like Junsa and Joi," I shrugged. "It doesn't matter to me. He's my friend first and foremost."

"If you want," Takeshi looked at me dubiously. "Junsa took Shigeru away and they were radioing his Grandfather when they did. He didn't sound pleased."

"I can only imagine." I said. "Now, go, okay? If you walk anymore with me I'm going to be physically ill over the ground and whoever gets in my way. I need a jeep or a car, preferably a teleporting Pokemon."

"You just want your Mommy, don't you?" Kasumi said in a teasing tone.

"Actually…I do." I said, not embarrassed to say so.

\+\/+/\+\/+/\+/

So they eventually left me with Hiroshi. The two had run off, raising little pats of dust on the hard packed dirt road, and vanished over the crest of a small hill. I knew that Masara was right over that hill, but my home was on the other side of town, towards the back of the town. It was remote and private, one of the reasons mom chose it.

"Satoshi, how long with they be?"

Hiroshi's question puzzles me for a second. "Probably close to an hour, unless someone passing by in a jeep or something takes pity on them."

We sat there, in silence, and watched the clouds drift past. I spotted a Wobuffet, Ratatta, Pidgey, and even a Sentret. "Hiroshi...why didn't you ever say that you...liked...guys?"

"Well, it's not something I'd post on the evening news!" Hiroshi laughed nervously. "You aren't going to punch me, are you?"

"Of course not," I said, "I'm not Shigeru."

"No," Hiroshi murmured. "You're not."

I stared at Hiroshi for a second and, ignoring all pain in my eye, bent over and kissed him.


End Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten due in ten billion days. Please enjoy some Hanson in the meanwhile.
MmmBop...begins to play
People are seen running and screaming