Firethroat: We no own, you no sue. Gettit? Gottit? Good.

Me: *Glares at Firethroat.* You know what to do. So do it.

Firethroat: *Grumbles as he lays down in front of my computer, in the place where my favorite chair used to be. It now resides in chair-heaven.*

Me: *Sits on his back as I start to type.* It's your own fault for breaking my chair. It wasn't designed to hold a dragon.

Firethroat: If I knew that, I wouldn't have sat in it. My tail's still sore from that fall.

Vurso: *Pokes his head in, and cracks up.* What did you do this time to make her mad, buddy?

Firethroat: Shut up.

Vurso: Make me.

Firethroat: *Sends a flamethrower at his partner, which misses and sets the wall on fire.*

Me: *Whacks him on the head.* The house is flammable, you know! Vurso, would you be so kind as to put the fire out?

Vurso: *Nods and uses a water gun to put out the flames.*

Me: Thanks big guy. *To Firethroat.* And for that, you have to be my chair for the rest of the week.

Firethroat: *Whimpers.* My poor back.

Me: *Growls.* WHAT WAS THAT?

Firethroat: Nothing. nothing at all.

Vurso: *Walks out, snickering.* On with the fic.


Hope whimpered softly as she buried her face further into the soft skin on the back of Pyro's neck, as well as getting a tighter grip on the Charizard.

"Hope, I know that you don't like heights, but can you let me breathe?" The fire type rasped. Hope let up by a couple millimeters.

"Why did we have to take the mountain path through Mt. Moon again?" Hope asked, not opening her eyes.

"Because it's the only one." Pyro replied as he walked on. "Vurso's lucky. He doesn't have to carry a terrified teenager on his back all the way over a mountain."

"He offered to fly me over." Hope replied with a shudder.

"Why are you so afraid of heights, anyways?" Pyro asked as he trudged onwards.

"Bad incident with a Pidgeot when I was a little kid." Hope said, shaking.

"What happened?" Pyro asked, concerned.

"My. father. put me on his Pidgeot's back, and a pokemon startled it, and it took off. I fell from thirty feet up."

"Ouch." He winced at the thought.

"No kidding. I spent a month in the hospital."

Pyro decided to let it drop. She was getting more and more nervous as it was.

Hope sighed as she released one of her arms from the death grip on her Charizard's neck, and dropped her hand to the two new poke balls on her belt. Blade. Shockwave. just what did you two go through at the hands of that. that. beast?

After healing the Pikachu and the Scyther, they had been so grateful that they had begged to come along. Well, at least the Scyther had. It turned out that Shockwave was actually deaf. And poor Blade, which was the name she had given the new bug type member of the team, had a severe case of arthritis, even though he was actually relatively young.

Hope was jolted out of her thoughts by Pyro's voice. "There's a hot springs up ahead. Want to stop there to camp for the night?"

"Uh. yeah, sure, why not? But aren't you afraid of water?"

"Nope. Love it." The Charizard said with a grin.

Hope's jaw dropped, and she stared at him in disbelief. "You're kidding me, aren't you?"


"Why is it that I get the weird Pokemon? A Dragonite with a phobia of humans, a Charizard that loves water, a Scyther that wants to be a college professor and that claims to have been a barber in another life (LONG story), and a Pikachu with an obsession with mustard (another long story)." Hope groaned and hit her head against Pyro's back. "Why me?"

"So I take it we're stopping at the hot springs."

"Go ahead." She sighed.

"Woo-hoo!" Pyro dashed ahead, nearly throwing Hope to the ground, and dove into one of the pools, completely drenching himself and his trainer. He surfaced and leaned against the side with a sigh, making sure to keep the end of his tail out of the water. With a soft growl, Hope released Pyro from the rest of her death grip, and climbed out of the water, dripping wet. She wrung her hair out with a glare at the happy dragon, and gathered the three poke balls that held the rest of the team in one hand. Enlarging and tossing them out one by one, Vurso, Blade, and Shockwave made their appearance.

"We're gonna camp at these hot springs tonight, guys. That okay with all of you?" Vurso and Blade nodded, while Shockwave just started rooting around in Hope's backpack for the mustard. Thankfully, it was waterproof, and everything inside was dry.

Hope sat down beside the Pikachu, grabbed the mustard bottle, and handed it to him to keep him out of the way while she set up camp. Half an hour later, she had a small tent set up, her sleeping bag rolled out, and a small amount of firewood, provided by a thoughtful (and aching) Blade.

"Hey, Pyro, the fire needs a little lovin' here!" Blade shouted at the relaxing Charizard. He had to move out of the way to avoid the fireball Pyro threw at him for interrupting his nap.

Hope sweat dropped. "Well, at least we have the fire going." Deciding not to press her luck, she got out the large, collapsible pot that she used to make their meals with. It was a lot easier to just make one huge meal, instead of several small ones. Blade took care of slicing up the vegetables and meat, while Hope made multiple trips to a cold, fresh spring about a hundred yards away. After everything was in the pot and cooking, Hope sighed and decided to take a dip herself. The momentary dip she had had earlier, courtesy of Pyro, had been heaven (though she would never admit it.)

Not even bothering to change, she slowly slipped in the water in between Vurso and Pyro. A soft sigh came from her as she lay back against the stone. Shockwave trotted over, finally having had his fill of the mustard, and nudged his head under her chin. Hope raised her hand to lazily scratch his useless ears, and he gave a soft sigh of contentment as he lay down next to the edge.

Hope closed her eyes and leaned against Vurso, using him as a pillow as she dozed. She was exhausted. She had walked for all but the last hour in traveling, and the rest of the time, she was holding on so tightly to Pyro that her muscles didn't even get a rest then.

Without even opening her eyes, Hope muttered. "Don't even THINK about it."

An amazed Blade pulled his scythe away from her hair, and muttered, "How does she DO that?" before going to sit on the other side of the pool they were all sharing and sulk.

After about ten minutes of silence, Vurso yawned and said sleepily, "How is it that you're able to be in the water, Pyro?"

The Charizard shifted to a more comfortable position before answering. "That's a common misconception about fire types. We can be in water, but it's harder for those of us that actually have flames. As long as our flames don't touch the water, we're fine." And then he launched into a long lecture about how the sulfur-whatever and the carbon-thingy had a negative reaction to the hydrogen bonds in the water. At least, that's what they managed to piece together.

Hope raised an eyebrow. "Uh. we'll just take your word for it."

Vurso, Pyro, and Blade burst out laughing, while Shockwave looked on, confused. Seeing his new trainer's hurt expression, he crawled into her arms, gently nudged his head under her chin, and growled at the other pokemon. His expression clearly said 'You should be ashamed of yourselves.'

That brought Hope to remembering something that she had picked up for the Pikachu back in Pewter City. She wasn't really expecting it to work, but she had to try.

Hope climbed out of the warm water, shivering in the cool mountain air before she grabbed the only towel she had with her and dried herself off. She hung it up to dry, in a place that the pokemon could easily reach (no matter what they said, all three of them smelled like wet dogs when they were wet).

After checking the stew, Hope grabbed a book from her pack, picked up Shockwave, and set him down in front of her. She opened the book, and Shockwave got a good look at the title.

Sign Language for Dummies

Oh lord. the Pikachu thought to himself. This is not going to be pretty.

And it wasn't. Despite the fact that Shockwave could read, that in itself a rarity, progress was still slow. Hope proved to be nearly hopeless at learning sign language, and it didn't help that Shockwave picked them up easily. Soon, it was the other way around. Shockwave was teaching Hope.

Pyro found this highly amusing, and soon laughter could be heard all the way down the mountain.

"I wouldn't be laughing if I were you. You'll be learning this, too." Hope growled at him. Pyro was the only other one that could reasonably learn to do it. Blade couldn't, for obvious reasons, and Vurso wouldn't be able to see them.

"Eep." The Charizard said, putting his head close to the water.

"Darn straight." Hope muttered as she went back to her lessons.

After an hour, Hope had managed to learn ten of the simplest signs, and by that time, the food was ready. The pokemon reluctantly climbed out of the water, and Hope noticed that Blade was moving much easier by now.

Hmm. hot springs equals relief for Blade. I should pick up some mineral rocks in Cerulean City for him.

Hope was jolted out of her thoughts by the Pokemon all diving at their dinner, and she had to scramble to get some for herself. Eating times were free for alls, and if you weren't quick enough, you didn't get much.

Hope didn't pretend to be a cook, and Pyro often teased her on her lack of cooking skills, but the stew was edible, and filling. Besides, Hope had to eat it, too, and that was a comfort to the hungry pokemon. Though Vurso was seriously considering selling some of Hope's cooking to the government, to help them develop a powerful poison to use in warfare.

After the last of the stew was eaten (The pokemon were all still trying to figure out how you could mess up something so SIMPLE), Hope recalled all of them except Shockwave into their Poke balls, and crawled, tired, into her tent. She slowly slipped into her sleeping bag, and Shockwave curled up at her back. A couple yawns later, and they were asleep.

Outside, the stars glimmered silently as a cool wind picked up. A light purple, cat-like pokemon silently floated down from his hiding place to land on a pile of rocks about ten feet high. His amethyst eyes glittered as he silently observed the quiet campsite.

Interesting. very. interesting. he thought to himself before lifting into the air and flying off.


Me: Phew. this took a while.

Firethroat: Can you get off my back now, Sera?

Me: *Sighs.* Fine. *Climbs off my Muse's back.*

Firethroat: *Tries to straighten, and cries out in pain.* OH MY ACHING BACK!!!!

Vurso: *Runs in because of the screaming.* Who died?


Vurso: *Sweat drops.* Firethroat, it's your fault that you broke her favorite chair, you know.

Firethroat: *Sobs.* Everyone's against me.

Me: *Hits him upside the head.* Stop being such a big baby. Go lay down, and use a heating pad on your back.

Firethroat: *Sniffles as he goes to his room.* Meanie.

Vurso: *Blinks.* Whoa. I never thought I'd see the day that Firethroat called someone a meanie.

Me: *Shrugs.* Anyways, finished with the chapter.

Vurso: Cool. *Reads it.* Hey, why did you bring *I suddenly throw my hand over his mouth.*

Me: Don't give it away. He's gonna be the main love interest of Hope in the story, if I have my way.

Vurso: *Shakes my hand off.* Oh, come on, it's obvious that it's Mewtwo.

Me: *Glares at the Dragonite.*

Vurso: Uh. I'll just go. and. help Firethroat with his back, yeah. *He goes into Firethroat's room, and suddenly a loud whack is heard.*

Firethroat: OWWWWW! WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO THAT FO. hey, my back feels much better now! Thanks buddy!

Me: *Sweat drops and sighs.* Muses. can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. *Uploads the chapter.* Firethroat: Please review, people, or Sera will extend my sentence to a month!


Firethroat: Uh, gotta go. *Dashes out the window, his exit followed by the angry curses of his assigned author.*