Minor Alterations
Prologue

By: Bell
Fandom: Pokémon
Pairings: Honorshipping (MortyxFalkner).
Rating: M
Warnings: Slash relationships, non-explicit sexual content, coarse language, mpreg.

Summary: Two Gym Leaders come to crossroads in their lives, and are unwittingly forced onto the same path.

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Pokémon or any of the characters. I am merely borrowing them for the purposes of this FanFiction.

Author's Note: Well, here we are. My first fic posted here! All I ask is that you read the warnings above, (don't like, don't read and all that, there's probably stuff more suited to your tastes elsewhere). Thank you! XD


"Another year!" Whitney raised her glass, grinning widely. Admittedly it was only lemonade, but the teenager was crazy enough without being under the influence of anything stronger than sugar. Lucky for her, she had Morty with her; at least she wouldn't be getting lost and wandering the streets after dark again. Morty knew Goldenrod better than she did, and it wasn't even his town.

"Another year," he echoed obediently, and the sound of clinking glasses rang across the bar as a number of random drunks also took up on the toast; most probably as an excuse to quickly down what was in their glasses and order another beer. One guy got confused and thought it was January already, before mumbling something about his wife and staggering out of the door. Morty smiled - the start of the new gym calendar always put him in a great mood. "It'll be the best one yet. Now stop confusing the locals and drink your lemonade."

Everyone was in good spirits. The annual meeting for the Johto Gym Leaders had been hosted in Goldenrod that year, and as far as just about everyone was concerned, that was a very good thing indeed. The meeting itself had been as mundane as usual; just a bunch of smart-looking officials reeling off any new information about the League, and then everyone's stock of badges had been replenished before they were dismissed. The whole thing had taken roughly just over an hour, and then there had been plenty of time afterwards to relax and soak up the atmosphere.

Being Goldenrod, that had meant getting lost in the nightlife. It wasn't Johto's biggest city without reason; it was a real hub for entertainment and general goings-on. Whitney had chosen this place as somewhere to wind down - or, at least, that had been the idea. It was more raucous than relaxing.

"I thought you said it was usually quiet in here?" Morty asked loudly, having to raise his voice to be heard over the noise.

Whitney shrugged. "I guess having a bunch of Gym Leaders walking through must have attracted the crowds." She didn't seem bothered in the slightest - still smiling cheerfully and sipping her drink. Either she was completely oblivious or she was just having too good a time to care; thankfully for her and Bugsy, a quick word with the manager had given them underhanded permission to remain on the premises even when it got dark - usually, minors would have been kicked out by now.

"Um, so…" Jasmine, Olivine's Gym Leader, piped up from the other side of Whitney, "It isn't always this… uh…" she trailed off, stuck for words.

"Rowdy?" suggested Morty. "Loud? Potentially dangerous?"

"Ah… I was going to say 'lively'…" Jasmine finished and fell silent, looking nervously about her. She seemed jumpy, but a nice girl all the same; they had all been having professional contact as Gym Leaders since the beginning, but the only one Morty was on personal terms with was Whitney, he didn't know the others very well. It was sometimes difficult to judge a person solely on their conduct on one night out of the entire year.

He'd got the guy sitting a few tables down from them down quite well, though.

Falkner. Bird Trainer. Violet City. That was just about all he knew officially, but the way he hadn't moved from his seat for the last two hours and had been nursing the same glass ever since he got there… that said a lot. He hadn't even spoken to anyone, and he had Pryce and Clair chatting to his left; it wouldn't have been too hard to involve himself in a little polite conversation at least.

Morty frowned. Maybe he should go over and talk to him-

"What's with that Hawkner guy?" Whitney wondered out loud, following Morty's line of sight. She couldn't get Falkner's name right no matter how many times she'd been corrected, so Morty just left her to it. She cocked her head to the side in thought. "He's either shy or just plain rude."

Morty glanced at the empty seat across the table from them. "We could ask him over," he suggested after a moment of thought.

Whitney frowned. "Are you kidding? To be honest," she winced and twirled a strand of red hair through her fingers, "he kinda freaks me out."

He poked her in the side and stuck out his tongue. "You kinda freaked me out when we first met. And you turned out to be okay when you want to be."

"'When I want to be'?" she demanded in mock-anger, and he patted her on the head. She was just like the little sister he'd never had. Whitney gave in, leaning back in her seat and bringing the brightly-coloured drinking straw to her mouth again. "Fine. Go on then - see if he wants to join us. Might turn out to be pretty cool, I guess."

"You never know," Morty replied, before standing up and approaching the bar again; walking past Falkner's table in the process. He noticed the blue-haired man's empty glass, and had an idea. He stopped next to Falkner and cleared his throat.

"Hey, uh - Falkner."

Falkner flinched and looked up at him, surprised. "…Oh," he said, after regaining his composure. "Hi." He didn't sound incredibly enthusiastic.

"You, erm…" Morty made a vague gesture with hands as he tried to get his words out; Falkner's eyes were fixed questioningly on his own, and it made him feel a little uneasy somehow. "You want another drink?"

"No, I'm fine, thank you," Falkner replied politely, and Morty resisted the urge to smack himself on the forehead. He decided to go with honesty.

"Look, me and Whit over there," he gestured to where Whitney was cheekily waggling her fingers at the two of them, watching them intently over her lemonade, "we were just wondering whether you'd wanna come and sit with us." He thought for a moment, and then added, "It's probably gonna be another year before we all run into each other like this again, so might as well make the most of it."

Falkner looked at him again - just looked at him - and Morty could practically see the cogs turning inside his head. He wasn't a mind reader, (far from it - his 'gift' extended to being able to sense the presence of others, even when they couldn't be physically seen), but he knew how this must look. Like they were taking pity on him.

"I'm sorry," Falkner murmured, turning back to the puddle of liquid left in the bottom of his glass. "You must have misunderstood me - I'm not like that."

"…Not like what?" Morty asked, confused. Then - oh. Right. It seemed that his relationship with Eusine was common knowledge. "Not like me, you mean?" he tried, his tone edging on disbelief, and Falkner gave a slow nod. Morty held up his hands, hurrying to correct himself, "I wasn't asking you - no, not like that, I have a boyfriend -you just looked like you could use some company, and me and Whitney were thinking that maybe-"

"Morty." Falkner cut him off, one palm raised. He gave a small, barely-there smile. "It's alright. It doesn't matter." Morty shut his mouth, looking down at his feet. He hated it when things like this happened - he was forever making an idiot of himself. Usually he could just shrug it off with a joke, but there was something about Falkner that put him on edge. No wonder no one else bothered to try and talk to the guy.

Falkner cleared his throat when Morty didn't say anything else. "I'd like to be left alone, if that's okay?"

Morty blinked. "Um, yeah…" he said slowly, humiliated and a little taken aback, "of course it is… I'll see you around."

He felt oddly numb as he turned back to the bar, walking over and squeezing himself in between a woman who looked like she had fallen asleep where she sat, and a guy who was loudly trying to start a fight with someone else. He waited for the bartender to get round to him, and stared resolutely forwards.

"-orty!" he heard, barely audible over the din. He turned, to see Whitney shooting him confused looks, and blatantly mouthing 'what happened?' at him. Morty shook his head, shrugging his shoulder to indicate that he didn't know, and turned back to the bar.

"What can I get you, sweetie?" the girl behind the bar asked, a little flushed from the heat and all the running around she had had to do. She seemed upbeat, though - Morty imagined the profits from that night would be huge for the 'quiet little bar on the corner' Whitney had insisted they go to.

"Ah…" Morty shrugged noncommittally, "you decide. Something strong."

The girl smiled sympathetically. "Rough night? Don't worry - we all have them from time to time. Coming right up…"

That night was the first time Morty had spoken to Falkner, and things hadn't gotten off to what could be called a brilliant start. Little were either of them aware of the changes that the next time would bring; even if they would have to wait another year before their paths crossed again.

In the meantime, Morty handed over the money and swallowed a mouthful of the drink pushed in front of him - wincing at the bitter taste as it slid down his throat - and tried to think nothing more of ungrateful jerks or what Whitney would say once he returned to the table.