Chapter 6: Flying High

An elevator ride was required in order to reach the battleground on the very top floor of the Violet City gym. Both Jocelyn and Darren willingly took the ride upwards in the metal rectangular box, and awaited their arrival. Jocelyn was quick to run out with her Misdreavus on her tail. With his Murkrow, Ace, following, Darren walked out in his ordinarily calm fashion.

Pace aside, they made it to the room where the gym leader held battles at the same time. Darren pulled the door open and quickly moved out of the way as Jocelyn raced inside. The battleground was a spread out arena, surrounded by stacked seats and lit up by the absence of a real ceiling. The dusty battle field was in the middle of the room, and decorated with tall poles and hoops that hung from the wall's crisscross beams.

At the moment, one silver haired boy was seated, watching the gym battle in session. It was between the gym leader, a slender teen with spiky hair, and his Pidgeotto and a girl with a Growlithe. It was obvious that the battle was coming to a close, but it was hard to say who the predicted victor would be. Both Pokémon appeared to be worn out, but both were also still going strong with moves and speed.

"Pyro, use a double Ember combo! Hurry!" The opposing girl trainer commanded while the Pidgeotto charged forward with Peck. Pushing her long black hair back, the girl narrowed her dark onyx eyes at the gym leader. Jocelyn gasped when she recognized the girl to be Michayla, and was surprised to see her friend act so fierce while battling. "Come on!"

Her Growlithe looked ready to take a nap right there on the battle field, so he surprised everyone when he released flaming balls from his fluffy snout. "Growl!" He cried in a slight squeak of a growling voice. With his tail wagging furiously, he sent another Ember for good measure.

Pidgeotto flew with grace and used Agility to dodge all the fireballs by swaying to the right and the left. This caused Michayla to stamp her foot out of fury. Her Growlithe, Pyro, looked angered as well, and began charging forward with streaks of flame erupting from his feet. He looked beyond exhausted, but he delivered Flame Wheel onto Pidgeotto. With a clash, Growlithe was sent flying back to Michayla's side, but landed squarely on his paws. Pidgeotto, however, crash landed and sent dust flying.

"Pid…" As the whiffs of dust cleared away over the course of two seconds, Pidgeotto was revealed to be knocked out.

"Wow!" Jocelyn whispered loudly, as she and Darren seated themselves. A few chairs away, the silver haired onlooker was gazing interestedly at Michayla, and looked impressed.

The gym leader gave in to a small grin, and willingly returned his last Pokémon to its Pokeball. "Excellent work, Pidgeotto. Take a nice rest, kay?" He clutched the Pokeball in his fist and strode over to Michayla, who was through being energetic and was now inspecting Pyro for injuries. "Thank you for the great battle, Michayla. You're pretty tough for a beginner."

"Thanks!" Michayla replied in a pleased tone. She scooped up Pyro in her arms, and looked at the leader with serious eyes. "This means that I won, right?"

"Of course."

Michayla's eager hand clasped the Zephyr Badge tightly as it was dropped into her palm. She gazed down at it with a pleased, excited look whilst balancing an exhausted Pyro in the other arm. She whispered thanks rather quietly again before dashing out of the gym in a joyful mood. Raven-black hair streamed in the air as Michayla Silverfeather disappeared out the blue doors, never to return for a rematch.

"Nice!" The silver haired boy who sat far away from Jocelyn and Darren grinned and remarked loudly. "Looks like this year's Johto League will provide me with some decent opponents." He must've felt Darren and Jocelyn's eyes on him, since he looked right in their direction curiously. "Are the two of you planning on battling Falkner?"

While Darren calmly nodded, Jocelyn grinned energetically in contrast and said, "You bet!" Out of nowhere though, her confident smile faded and she narrowed her eyes as she studied the fellow trainer. "Say, aren't you that kid from New Bark Town? You took Cyndaquil."

"Yeah, Vergil Hawkins; upcoming elite trainer," he flashed a cocky half grin, before flicking his long silver hair over his shoulder. "Better hurry and challenge Falkner. He's probably eager to take a break, especially after facing five trainers in one day. No one's left much of an impression, but that Michayla girl was at least decent."

'What a hotshot,' Darren thought quietly to himself as Jocelyn tugged him by the arm over to the gym leader. He allowed Jocelyn the chance to introduce them both, and he also decided to let her go first. She was practically jumping up and down like a Raticate in a cheese frenzy. Darren took a seat in the bleachers, awaiting a nice first gym battle.

"Okay, I'll gladly permit a two on two battle." Falkner marched to take a stand at the far side of the battleground, where he politely nodded to the excited Jocelyn. His hands were practically flying as he flung a Pokeball out onto the field. A one-legged owl Pokémon appeared, hopping all about.

Jocelyn, with a permanent grin, sent her choice Pokémon out for the first round. Pearl, her Marill, came out on her side. Pearl tottered ever so slightly upon being sent out, but she managed a perfect balance as well as a cheerful, "Rill!"

"As the challenger, you may have the first command." Falkner offered.

"Great! Pearl, attack first with a Water Gun at full force!"

"For the third time, Kuro, your Pidgey's female!" Rosie dramatically stamped the grass with the heel of her tennis shoes, and crossed her arms. She glanced crossly at Kuro who was having a rather difficult time processing what she said. "Understand? Stop calling her 'he'!"

"Pid!" Kuro's Pidgey nodded a feathery head in agreement from her resting spot in a nestle of tall grass.

Kuro scratched his head and gave a drawn out sigh. "Okay, okay. I get it. What about Totodile and Abra?"

Rosie stared down at her pale pink Pokédex. "Both male."

"Well, I was half right, calling her he!" Kuro insisted, leaning against a tree.

Rosie narrowed her eyes at him haughtily, and prepared to open her mouth to reply. Kuro cut her off almost instantly.

"Could you please skip the lecture, and check the map? I'd like to get to Violet City before the day ends."

"We're not even in Cherrygrove yet!" Rosie cried. She bent down and slung her knapsack over her shoulder, before stomping off in a general direction. "Now, get your lazy butt up so we can move forward! Do you hear me, Kururugi?"

Kuro groaned. "Sure, sure."

"Pidgey!" his declared female Pidgey flew forward and settled herself on his shoulder, and the newbie trainer hurried after his hasty traveling companion.

They passed on final field of tall grass before coming upon a nice open clearing, lined with scraggly bushes. A trio of Sentret eyed the two trainers wearily from a tail-perch position, while several Rattata gave them curious looks as they chased each other playfully.

"We come in peace." Kuro told them, raising his hands at the watchful Normal types.

The Sentret continued to stare at him, appearing unsure and sheepish. A split second later, all three of them tensed and scurried away into the bushes. The Rattata perked up and stiffened in their playing too, eventually opting for an escape into the bushes.

"You scared them away!" Rosie hissed, clutching the digital camera that hung around her neck. "Now I won't have any good pictures to send to my sister."

"I didn't do nothing!" Kuro declared adamantly.

Rosie rolled her eyes. "Whatever."

"Honest! All I did was be friendly. It's not my fault that they're a timid species."

"I guess." Rosie admitted, sighing. "Sentret are timid and all, but aren't Rattata supposed to be tenacious? It's kind of strange that you're 'being friendly' gesture frightened them off. They seemed pretty spooked. I wonder…" her voice trailed off, and her green eyes stared up at sky questioningly.

Out of nowhere, Kuro's Pidgey zipped off his shoulder and flew into the air. She hovered above them, her keen eyes scanning the surrounding sky, and her wings flapping vigorously. She tensed, and flew higher still.

"Pidgey!" she cried, looking down at Kuro.

Kuro stared at her, puzzled. "What's up?"

One long, ominous shadow casted itself onto the sunny grass, answering his question. Kuro got one good look at it, taking in the shadow's long, fierce beak and huge gaping wings.

"Kuro, get down!" Rosie suddenly tackled him to the ground, holding him down with a surprisingly strong hold. "Look!"

Somehow, Kuro managed to look up, his eyes widening at the large Flying type now entering combat with his Pidgey, in the air. With that long, piercing red beak, and the shaggy feathers, it couldn't have been anything other than one furious Fearow.

"Fear!" it shrieked, charging into Pidgey.

"Pid!" Pidgey swerved around him in one fantastic arc, and recovered from the blow. She hovered a foot above him, and waved her wing, sending a small Gust blow.

The attack smacked into the Fearow, but it remained unfazed. It charge again, and bulldozed into Pidgey with a mighty Peck. It then barreled a triple attack with its beak, sending Pidgey pummeling to the grass.

"No!" Kuro tore out of Rosie's grasp, and caught the weakened bird Pokémon in his arms. "Pidgey! You okay?" he asked with obvious concern.

Rosie hurried over to him, her eyes on the glaring Fearow. "It used Drill Peck!" She fished her one Pokeball from her pocket, and tossed it onto the field. "Petals! Razor Leaf!"

Petals appeared from the Pokeball, and appeared happy to carry out an order. "Chika!" she twisted her big leaf, and unleashed a volley of sharp leaves onto the Fearow.

"Row!" the Fearow was caught in the attack, its wings flailing. But, aside from the faint scratches on its beak and wings, it was unharmed by the move. "Fearow!"

Kuro cradled Pidgey in one supportive arm, and sent a Pokémon of his own out. "This is a job for my mega powerful Abra! Hidden Power, go!"

Levitating an inch off the ground in a lotus position, Kuro's new Abra stared at his surroundings with squinty eyes. After taking one look at the fierce Fearow, he shook his head quicky and snapped his gold fingers. He teleported away, leaving two ten year olds, an injured Pidgey, and one perky Chikorita to fend for themselves.

Rosie stared at where the Abra had once been, deeply surprised. "I think your mega powerful Abra just ditched us."

Kuro was outraged. "I don't believe him!"

"Chika!" Petals cried, agreeably.

Fearow flapped its wings furiously, unleashing harsh winds upon them. Grass was torn out of the ground, and the bushes began shaking wildly as a powerful air move commenced. Rattata and Sentret were soon flying through the air, while Kuro and Rosie grabbed their Pokémon quickly.

"This is nuts!" Rosie cried, her mouth dry from the winds.

Despite the gusts and blows, Kuro managed a response. "I know!"

They grabbed at the ground as the winds continued, while their Pokémon were held close. With the fears of being blown away, the kids kept their grips firm.

"Mareep!" A shrill cry ended the winds, complete with a flash of bright yellow light.

The winds gone, Kuro and Rosie glanced up upwards, their eyes wide with shock at the spectacle occurring.

A fluffy furred Mareep stood sturdily on the ground, and glared up at the Fearow. Its wool was crackling with intense electricity, and its eyes appeared furious. The Fearow, in response, looked just as irritated, and was now recovered from the attack.

The Mareep, sent a final strike of electricity in the Fearow's direction. "Mareep!"

The Fearow flew out of the way, and charged. "Fearow!"

Rosie tucked Chikorita under one arm, and hurriedly pulled Mareep with the other. With both Pokémon safe in her arms she ran in the direction of Cherrygrove City.

"Kuro, come on!"

Kuro obeyed, zipping after her with Pidgey in his arms.

"Psywave, go!"

Mildred obeyed, sending the ray attack out at Falkner's final Pokémon. In response to being smacked by the attack, the opponent's Pidgeotto crash landed slowly to the gym floor, knocked out.

"Pid…" it uttered weakly.

Falkner returned it to its Pokeball immediately. "Good work, Pidgeotto! Get a good rest."

"I won! I won!" Jocelyn hugged her Misdreavus close, and waved to Darren. "Did you see me? I won!"

Darren grinned. "Good work!"

Jocelyn eagerly accepted her gym badge and zipped out of the gym room. She wanted to show it off to Jake, and for the moment, the idea of watching Darren's own gym battle was forgotten.

Her departure left a lightly puzzled Falkner and a prepared Darren.

"Are you still willing to battle me?" Darren asked.

Falkner recovered from the shock of the disappeared challenger, and replied. "Uh, well, not really. I mean, yeah, I can definitely battle you. Just, not today. I'm going to give my Pokémon a much needed rest. Could you wait out until tomorrow at noon?"

Darren nodded. "Of course."

"Great! I'll see you then."

With Ace perched on his shoulder, Darren hurried out after Jocelyn.

Kuro leaned against the exterior wall of the Pokémon Center, his arms crossed and his blue eyes narrowed. He frowned at the grass, and was unsurprised by the sudden teleportation of his Abra. The Psychic type Pokémon stood up from his lotus position, and appeared sheepish in a squinty eyed expression.

"Nice of you to show up." Kuro said, moodily. "You know, especially after ditching us like that."

His Abra shrugged. "Abra."

Kuro sighed, and turned away from the Pokémon. "Pidgey'll be okay, but did you really need to be all cowardly?"

"Abra…" Head down, Abra crossed his golden arms and sighed. "Abra."

Kuro looked back at the creature, not knowing what to do or say to his third Pokémon.

Meanwhile, within the Pokémon Center lobby, Rosie was trying her best to reason with the Mareep from earlier. Being supportive, Petals did her very best to reason along with her.

"Come on! I wouldn't be all that bad of a trainer!" Rosie insisted. "I did save you back there, didn't I?"

Mareep shrugged. "Reep."

"Chika!" Petals cried.

Rosie clasped her hands pleadingly. "Please? You showed a valiant spirit out there, Mareep. I'd love to have you on the team. You'd be an exceptionally awesome friend to have along on the journey!"

Mareep remained indifferent, and showed it by trotting off. "Mareep."

Her arms hanging limply at her sides, Rosie sighed. "What's the use?"

"Chik…" Petals patted her leg consolingly.

"I'd hate to be in your position, that's for sure." A voice remarked.

Rosie looked up at the redheaded girl standing before her. A Mime Jr stood loyally by her shoes, grinning cheerfully.

Puzzled, Rosie searched the girl's expression for a trace of snobbery, but saw nothing more than a friendly smile. "Uh, hi." Rosie ventured, tentatively.

"I'm Layla." The girl said, her hand outstretched towards Rosie. "Layla Charlotte Summers."

'Long name.' Rosie thought, absently. She smiled back, and shook the girl's hand. "I'm Rosalie Marie Greene, but I go by Rosie. Pleased to meet you!"

"Likewise." Layla adjusted the purple and blue wristbands circling her wrists, and stared over her shoulder at the indifferent Mareep. "So, you're trying to win it over for capture, huh?"

Rosie nodded. "Yeah, but it's no use. I'm not about to get violent, so I'll just have to look elsewhere."

Layla shook her head. "I wouldn't say all that." She fished a pink circular tube from her dark blue jeans, and held it out to Rosie. "This is Pokémon food, created with care by yours truly. Try using it as a gift or peace offering."

Rosie accepted the tube, and felt grateful. "Okay, thanks!"

"No problem." Layla placed her hands on her hips, and her Mime Jr. mimicked her actions to a T.

Carefully, Rosie approached Mareep, the tube in hand. The Wool Pokémon stood by a green bookcase, and appeared to be staring out an open window. Once in front of Mareep, Rosie knelt down beside it and dropped a few kibbles of food into the palm of her hand.

"Hi, Mareep!" she said, perkily. She held out the kibbles as an offering. "Would you like some?"

Mareep eyed the food hesitantly. "Reep?"

Petals was helpful, gulping down two kibbles. "Chika!" She smiled, and looked at the tube of Pokémon food almost longingly. "Chi?"

"Not now, Petals." Rosie whispered with her eyes on Mareep.

Mareep stared at both Petals and Rosie suspiciously before gulping down the entire handful of kibble. The Pokémon munched eagerly on it before swallowing the food. It stared down at Rosie's empty hand, and appeared satisfied.

"Did you like it?" Rosie asked.

Mareep forgot its indifference, and smiled. "Mareep!"

"Great." Rosie shook the tube in Mareep's face. "If you came along with me, you'd get all the homemade Pokémon food that you could eat. Honest!"

Mareep seemed to consider this offer before finally nodding, albeit slowly. "Mareep."

Rosie couldn't contain her enthusiasm at the idea. "Awesome!" Retrieving a Pokeball quickly from her pack, Rosie held it out to Mareep. "Welcome to the team, Mareep."

Mareep willingly nudged the Pokeball button, and a scarlet beam pulled the Electricity-type in. The Pokeball wiggled in Rosie's hand before pausing. Her second Pokémon was officially caught.

"A first capture." Rosie whispered, looking down at the Pokeball brightly. "We did it, Petals!"

"Chikorita." Petals smiled, and grabbed at the tube of Pokémon food with her leaf.

She was unable to, since Layla's Mime Jr. chose that moment to retrieve it for his trainer. Layla pushed the tube into her pocket, and surveyed Rosie with bright green eyes.

"I guess it worked." She said. "You mentioned that you would provide it with homemade Pokémon food always. Do you know how to prepare some?"

Rosie froze, and sheepishly shook her head. "Well, no…How long does it usually take to make it?"

"For total newbies, about two days." Layla replied. "I, on the other hand, know how to acquire a perfect state of Pokémon food in the matter of an hour."

There was snobbery in her tone, but Rosie chose to ignore it. "Would you be willing to travel with us, then? My friend, Kuro, and I are going to need a chef."

"Is that really all I'm good for?" Layla asked, jokingly.

"Well, duh!" Rosie teased. "Are you from New Bark Town? You seem familiar."

"Uh-huh." Layla nodded. "I'm originally from Kanto, but I moved to New Bark with my family just last month."

Rosie nodded. "Huh, okay. So, want to come along? If you're a gym challenger, we're headed to Violet City. Kuro's got to battle Falkner."

Layla shrugged. "Sure. I was just there less than an hour ago."

"How's that possible? I heard that Violet City's a day away."

Layla grinned, haughtily. "Let's just say, that I discovered a neat little shortcut."

Inside the Violet City Pokémon Center, Jocelyn booked a room for the night while Jake and Darren entered a small discussion.

"So, you're gym battle's scheduled for tomorrow?" Jake asked.

Darren nodded. "Yep. Around noon."

"Okay, then. I can help you train with my new Sentret. We can go to Sprout Tower to do just that first thing tomorrow morning, if you want."

"Sounds like a plan."

Jake opened his mouth to say more, but he was cut off by the loud sound of Jocelyn's voice. "Rosie! Hey! You're here!"

Both boys turned to see Jocelyn dashing over to greet the three newcomers to the Pokémon Center, in the form of Kuro, Rosie, and a girl whom Jake vaguely recognized.

"We're here for the gym!" Kuro said enthusiastically to Jake and Darren. "Did either of you guys get badges?"

"I'm not challenging Falkner, but DB is tomorrow." Jake said, tossing his Munchlax's Pokeball into the air. "Oh, and Jocelyn's got a badge."

"Really?" Surprised, Kuro looked over his shoulder at the spritely girl, who was busy jabbering away to Rosie and Layla. "Huh, who knew? Anyway, what do you guys have scheduled for tomorrow?"

Jake grinned. "Training in Sprout Tower, of course."

I'm so very pleased for this update, and I'm sincerely apologetic for its lateness. I hope that everyone found their OCs to be in character. And, I hope that everyone found this chapter to be entertaining.

I'll probably get the next chapter in this Thursday, since I'll have time on Thanksgiving. If I can't find time, I'll update Saturday. Either way, I'm going to update.

Next chapter will be fun, with training and OCs appearing. I'm still accepting OCs, but mainly for rivals and possible Team Rocket members. Just PM me the info if you're interested!

Please review!