It seems like all of us end up writing a journey fic at some point, don't we? Well, whether we do or not, this one's mine. It's the first decent fic I've ever written; it was first posted on SPPf way back in March 2008. Unlike some other people, I'm actually planning on finishing this (le gasp!). As it is, I already have 22 chapters written, though I'll probably end up splitting some of the longer ones before putting them here. Unless you want to have chapters as long the infamous chapter 17, which was 55 pages. =P
The earlier ones are noobishly ugly, though, so I'm not going to add them until I'm done revamping them. What with summer, I should get that bit done relatively quickly. :D
The genre listed on the description, plain old "Adventure", is actually not the sole genre into which this story falls. It runs almost the entire spectrum, including drama, humor, horror, parody, family, friendship, fantasy, supernatural, angst, hurt/comfort, romance ... but through it all, the adventure continues. Thus, adventure is the main course in this smorgasbord, but it's got a fun collection of flavors too. ^_^
*Disclaimer*: I do not own Pokemon. Well, duh; this is a fan fiction. And really, why would I want to own the company that created something as butt-ugly as Magmortar? No thanks.
There are a few Fakemon appearing here, however, which I do claim as my own creations. In case you were wondering, they aren't part of any project or fake game; rather, they're the products of me thinking, "Hey, this would make a fun Pokemon concept!" and incorporating it into the Pokemon universe. Knowing fully well that the chances of anyone wanting to use them are roughly nil, I'd still like to ask anyone who wants to use these fakes to get my permission first, please and thanks.
Rated T for language, bloodshed, gore, crude humor, drug references, thematic elements, and some suggestive content.
Chapter One: Start Your Engines (Pokemon, I Choose Who? Events Set in Motion!)
This is fate: something strange and warped, dealing kindness one moment, cruelty the next, forcing complete strangers to face one another in conflict which, in some other branch of time, may never have existed ...
"Come … you cannot resist my power …"
Conflicts in which only one contender can walk out alive.
"I'll never follow you! I'll die first if that's what it takes!"
But what is fate? The desire to prove oneself, to show society one's true potential? The power, the motivation, the innate drive to shape the world for better or worse? Or, perhaps, some combination of arcane factors no mere mortal can understand, in spite of their quests for self-knowledge: Their inner search spanning from the moment they first open their eyes to a new world of light, to the final flutter as they slip into the void ... though in the end, some things are better left undiscovered ...
"Very well, if that's what you wish …"
Darkness. Pain gripped him — horrific pain, physical as well as spiritual. The young man's head jerked back as blood spurted from the wound, the creature's scythes slicing easily through soft flesh as they punctured his chest, stabbing his heart ... his soul burned, twisting as the evil one's own self leapt—
The irony is, of course, that events never merely begin — there is always something which happened before. Credit it to fate's circular nature. A story never truly begins, and to find the exact point from which to begin a tale such as this — a tale which fate had a greater hand in than usual — would be a pointless exercise.
Then again, one has to start somewhere...
"Oh shut the hell UP!" she moaned, reaching up to beat the alarm clock until she finally managed to hit the snooze button, silencing its annoying whine. She squinted from the sunlight streaming from the window as she slowly sat up in bed, glancing at the clock, which read eleven AM. Today … what was today? It was important, she knew, but how? She frowned, trying to solve the mystery. Dentist appointment? No. I always dream about Beedrill before one of those. School starts? Now I'm being stupid. Or maybe—
"Oh, dear Arceus!" she shrieked, leaping out of bed before throwing on the clothes she had carefully selected the night before: a pale blue sleeveless shirt to complement a red miniskirt and her trusty yellow handbag. It was a smart choice for an outfit: cute, but surprisingly durable enough for long, hard travel. She turned to the mirror hanging on her door, scowling in frustration at the sight of her frazzled brown hair.
This is what you get for watching so many late-night reruns of Suicune Safari, you know, her conscience remarked. Naturally it was right, a fact which bothered her even more as she hastily brushed her hair straight, or at least as straight as three seconds' brushing would allow.
She noisily bolted down the stairs five at a time, often tripping, her long hair trailing behind her as if she were some sort of comet. Her mother, reading through some sort of file on her personal computer, glanced up at the noise. "Leaf? Honey, eat breakfast before you go—"
"SorrymombutIcantstickaround," Leaf called over her shoulder before dashing out the front door, leaving it wide open.
"… She does know she's not going to actually leave until tomorrow, right?" she asked a vaguely humanoid Pokemon as it shuffled down the hallway to close the door.
The Pokemon shrugged its furry yellow shoulders. "Lec," it guessed, not sounding very optimistic.
The mother sighed. "Oh, Leaf," she sighed, returning her gaze to the picture onscreen.
Somewhere, in a place cloaked in darkness, shadowy figures watched the scene flash before them in comparatively blinding light. "There," one murmured in satisfaction, gesturing his equine head toward the running figure of the girl. "That's the one."
A second being, this one of avian shape, cawed in annoyance. "Oh, bloody hell. Another chosen one? How many can the world possibly need? This is retarded. You know what? This is about the thousandth time you've done this sort of thing. What do you think this is, an RPG?"
"It's an amusing Game, Fystor." The third figure, a feline being, twitched her tail in spite of the calmness lacing her voice. "And amusing things are supposed to amuse, are they not? I do love this opening, anyhow. Watching them scramble into their destinies. I find it very … amusing."
"It's not amusing if it happens for the billionth freaking time." Fystor clacked her beak impatiently.
"Hey, chill," the equine said soothingly. "It's necessary. She wouldn't get the right partner if she managed to get there on time."
"Keep telling yourself that."
"Events will take an interesting turn," the feline purred. "It will be necessary for the good of the world that certain things happen."
"Pfft." Fystor shifted uncomfortably. "You say that every time …"
Pallet Town: an average town which had a habit of turning out some of the greatest trainers in Kanto. Normally, someone observing from above would see a motley collection of houses, stores, and the famous lab. However, on this particular morning, the view was blocked by a small cloud of dust rising from the midst of the town, kicked up by a girl eager to leave this place. Leaf sprinted down the long, dirty road, panting heavily. She knew she had to get there first, since she was not going to be stuck with a starter; she hated it when she didn't have a choice.
"Aw, crap!" she snarled as she neared Professor Oak's lab, a pristine white building situated on the edge of Pallet. The famous building was well known as one of the top researching facilities in Kanto, which had always seemed somewhat ironic to Leaf – Pallet Town was about as secluded as a Kantoan town could get, and few visitors deemed it worthy of visit, aside of course from the frequent hopefuls seeking to begin their journey's with the rare reptilian Kanto starters. She remembered the Pokemon from a pamphlet she'd picked up when she'd gone down to sign up for the chance to receive one: Bulbasaur, a freckled blue toad that seemed rather ugly in her opinion; Charmander, a lizard doubling as a living fire hazard; and Squirtle, a turtle whose shiny blue skin made her think of slimy things lurking in a pond.
What had drawn her displeasure at this moment, however, was the sight of the front door flung wide open, which could only mean one thing: at least one of the boys had gotten there first. Her options were going to be drastically cut. Damn!
Sourly she gritted her teeth as she raced into the building, skidding to a stop in the relative coolness before three surprised people. One was Professor Oak, of course, who was emerging from a back room. He glanced up at her in bemusement from the tray in his hands, whose contents were concealed by a cover. The sun-darkened skin around his eyes crinkled in a familiar smile, speaking of a liveliness both confirmed and spited by the mop of untidy gray hair nestled on his head.
Fire, the second, was a tall brown-haired boy who was moodily staring at nothing, leaning against a wall in spite of the musty furniture scattered about the fairly large room. His arms were crossed, the short black sleeves of his sharp-looking red shirt covering his chest. The bored look in his storm-gray eyes suggested to Leaf that he'd arrived first.
Last but not least was Ocean, a dirty blond, spiky-haired teen who wore a dark gray shirt and, oddly, vivid purple jeans. At another time, Leaf might have wondered where he bought his clothes, but at this point she was too irritated to care, and scowled slightly in defeat as he beamed and waved at her. He glanced sideways at Fire, rolling his eyes at the other boy's apathy; the three young teens had been friends for years, which wasn't something unexpected in such a small town, but Fire had been growing distant lately, annoying both of the other two. But Leaf couldn't share Ocean's exasperation at this moment: they had all been players in an unspoken competition, and now, here in the lab, she was forced to face her loss in it.
"Hello, Leaf," the Professor said cheerfully, his white lab coat billowing slightly as he approached. They knew each other fairly well already, due to him conveniently being Ocean's grandfather and therefore giving her an advantage when the time came to sign up. Whoever said scientists never play favorites was a liar.
"Eh, whatever," Leaf muttered, turning to leave. A sour taste formed in her mouth as she thought of the opportunities she was leaving behind. "Since I'm last, I'll just wait 'til next month. You know how I feel about being stuck with something."
"What? Leaf, this month I'm giving out four starter Pokemon," Oak said.
Leaf halted suddenly and swiveled around. "Say what?"
"Another young person arrived in town a couple of days ago, and he badly wants to on a journey," the Professor explained, placing the tray on a nearby table; removing the cover from it, he revealed four shining, pristine Poke Balls, their red and white halves contrasting each other. "Since he turned thirteen recently, I decided to make an exception and let out four new trainers instead of three: he had a rather convincing argument for it. And he's not here yet, so …"
Leaf grinned broadly, the blackness vanishing from her mood at once. "Well, in that case, I'm game for getting a Pokemon now," she said merrily, retracing her steps and joining the two boys as they gathered around the table. No way will I get stuck here now! she rejoiced silently.
"Eh … that's good." He sweatdropped at her sudden mood swing. "Fire, since you arrived here earliest, you get first choice."
"I'll take Squirtle," the serious-looking boy said in his cool, collected voice. With a nod, Oak grabbed a Poke Ball from the tray. Fire gazed at the sphere in the man's hand for a moment, then accepted it, a steely glint flashing in his eye. He wasted no time in letting his new Pokemon out: a toss of the ball and a flash of neon light later, a small bipedal turtle materialized on the floor. Blue skin gleamed in the daylight streaming from the high windows, its color broken only by the tough brown shell and the cream-colored, plated torso. With bright scarlet eyes she looked up and smiled broadly at her new trainer, who did not return her friendly wave. Instead, he pulled his red cap slightly lower over his face, scowling as he looked away.
"Looks like she's taken a shine to you," Oak said happily, pretending not to notice Fire's reaction as Squirtle's large head and curly tail drooped in disappointment. "Alright, Ocean, your turn to pick."
"Well, it's not a difficult decision," his grandson said eagerly, running a hand through his spiky hair. "I'm not about to let Hothead here beat me with his Squirtle, so I choose Bulbasaur!" He grinned cheekily at the other boy as he recalled the Squirtle.
"…'Hothead'? What kind of a crack was that?" Fire growled, placing Squirtle's Poke Ball on his belt. "Bubblebrain."
"I beg your pardon, Firebrand?"
"Shut it, you Waterlogged Wonder."
"Now, boys, settle down," Oak said hastily. "There will be no catfights in my lab. Ocean, here's your Bulbasaur."
"Thanks, Gramps!" Ocean said, gleefully grabbing the offered sphere and unleashing the beam of red light. In a flash, a squat turquoise toad-like creature materialized before him, his hide dotted with a dark jade. His back boasted a verdant green bulb, which opened slightly as the sun's rays fell upon it. Like Squirtle, his eyes, large and red, blinked up at the human. "You wanna come with me, pal?"
"Bulba," the Pokemon agreed, nodding lazily and waddling over to his new trainer's feet, plopping down into a snoozing position with a soft thud.
"Oof! Gosh, you're strong! Or maybe just heavy, but that might not be a bad thing, for you. Hmm … I'll call you Hideki."
"Good choice for a name," the Professor remarked as he glanced at Hideki, whose eyes were fluttering sleepily. "Especially since it doesn't incorporate 'bulb' or 'saur' in any way. Okay, Leaf, it's your turn. Do you want Charmander, or Pichu?"
The sound of the latter triggered a sneer; her choice was made for her. "Professor, you know me better than to ask."
"Good point. You despise Pikachu, don't you? Here …" He handed her one of the remaining Poke Balls.
Her heart thudded in anticipation as she accepted it. Something's beginning, she realized, gazing at it for a moment in wonder. Right here, right now … Reveling in the realization, she took a deep breath before releasing her new Pokemon, hoping it wouldn't explode with flame as soon as it set foot on the lab's shabby rug. A beam of light brought forth another bipedal Pokemon, this one a soft orange with a pale underbelly. The claws on his feet dug slightly into the rug as he glanced around, puzzled, before he realized where he was. Squinting from the sudden light, he looked up at his new trainer.
She returned his large-eyed gaze with a smile. He's a lot cuter than the pamphlet made the Charmander look, she realized, watching the small lizard's open, trusting face. "Hey, buddy. Do you want to travel around with me?"
Charmander thought for a moment before wagging his fiery tail, grinning shyly.
Great. A shy Charmander. Exactly what I want, she thought, sarcasm staining her happiness. She pushed the thought out of her head and smiled again, picking her starter up and placing him onto her shoulder.
"Let me get two things straight," she said, in a gentle but firm voice. "First, no digging into my shoulder suddenly. That would hurt." She winced, imagining his claws tearing involuntarily into her collar. "And second, keep your tail far, far away from my hair, or I will be very, very angry. And you do not want to see me when I'm angry."
The Pokemon nodded cautiously, taking care that he was waving his tail as far as possible from the rest of his body.
"Excellent," Leaf said, scratching underneath Charmander's chin; he purred contentedly in response.
A sudden pattering of small footsteps gained their attention. Turning toward the front door, everyone was just in time to see an unfamiliar boy jog in through the front door. Although he was thirteen, he was noticeably shorter than any of his peers. The bright sunlight shining through the door made his light blond hair and white hoodie seem to glow.
"Sorry I'm late, Professor," he panted, wiping his sweaty hands on his baggy shorts as he joined the group, cringing for some reason. "Which starter's left?"
"Hello, Lightning, I was wondering where you were. Well, there's a—"
The remaining Poke Ball in Oak's tray burst open, sending a tiny, yellow mouse Pokemon flying through the air before attaching herself to Lightning's head, baring her teeth in a grin. Blue sparks of electricity flew from her short fur.
"AAAAAAAUUUUUUUGGHH! GETITOFFGETITOFFGETITOFFGETITOFF!" Lightning screamed, wildly running around the lab like a headless chicken. The Pichu giggled despite hanging onto Lightning's head for dear life; her black-edged triangular ears and short tail flew behind her with the boy's jerky movements.
"She's a bit feisty," Oak called after Lightning, as if the boy were at a fancy dinner party instead of being attacked by an overly affectionate baby mouse. "But she's really quite sweet if you can train her up right. Of course, no one's stuck around long enough to actually do that, so you'll have to go on faith … do you want her?"
"ANYTHING! ANYTHING AT ALL! I'LL DO WHATEVER YOU WANT, JUST GET IT OFF ME!"
"As if he had a choice," Fire sneered, folding his pale arms in a rather superior way. "We took all the good starters. 'Lightning', indeed. Like you could guess from how late he got here."
"Shut it, Fire," Ocean cut in, making an annoyed face. "You shouldn't talk, anyway. You got the first choice."
Rolling his eyes, Fire haughtily stuck out a foot, tripping Lightning and sending him flying across the air before smashing into the wall. Groaning, the blonde pulled himself back into an upright position, holding his head and looking rather dazed. "Ow," he muttered, warily glancing at the Pichu, who had miraculously avoided getting injured herself; she was now attempting to look innocent and failing miserably.
"Now that we've got that out of the way," Oak continued airily, as the boy wiped the sweat from his brow while the mouse giggled again, "let me give you a couple of things. Here's five more Poke Balls for each of you – there we go—" With a flourish, he pulled several of the familiar spheres from his pockets, tossing them to the newbie trainers, who hastily scrambled to catch them. Beaming at the bemused looks on their faces, he then brought forth four identical orange contraptions, small enough to fit in a shirt pocket … assuming, of course, that the shirt belonged to a hillbilly with little common sense and no fashion sense; it's incredible how baggy their clothing can be. "—And here are your Pokedexes. Okay, now scat! We can't have wild mice around here! Shoo!"
"Thanks, Prof!" Leaf grinned as she placed the Balls on her belt, before heading back for the door and the world beyond; Ocean and Lightning soon followed her example. Fire rolled his eyes in contempt before following them, leaving Oak waving after them, alone with his work once more.
Fystor turned away from the scene, rolling her eyes. "Okay, so they're all buddies, blah blah blah. Nothing particularly special."
"It fell into place perfectly," the feline purred. "Fortune and misfortune are set up for them."
"The short kid's an added bonus to the whole deal, if you know what I mean." The equine craned his neck to get a better view. "Even though he ended up with the mouse, which is unoriginal. But considering the two, they should add to the fun. And we've planned for some other people to meet up with them later – the thing about crashes is, you've got to time them perfectly if you want the maximum boom."
"… Maximum boom," Fystor repeated tonelessly.
"You two honestly have nothing better to do than screw up mortals' lives?"
"It's what we do." He stuck his tongue out at her.
"In any case, events will come to a head," the feline said. "And it's essential that the heroes are able to defeat him when he's getting stronger."
Fystor froze. "He who?"
"The biggest evil of all time," the equine replied, rolling his eyes. "Geez, Fystor. Who do you think? It's not like we're setting them up to defeat a president or something."
"Although, the latest American president has not been performing admirably," the feline commented thoughtfully. "Perhaps he should be pulled off of his pedestal, too."
Fystor was silent. Possibilities of the future blossomed in her mind, each more horrific than the next. She glanced at the other two, carefully keeping her emotions under control. "That's … news to me," she remarked finally. "Well, I'll just … go see how Mom's doing, I guess … behave yourselves while I'm gone, or else—"
"Or else what? You'll lecture us?" The equine snickered.
She scowled at him. A blink later, she had abruptly dematerialized, fading swiftly into the air as if turning invisible.
The equine looked at his companion. "You'd think she'd remember that fate effects everyone," he said, smirking. "I love how she's going to set up everyone's destinies and doesn't even know it. Irony is fun, isn't it, sis?"
She nodded. "Indeed. I can't imagine why she would think otherwise …"
(Yes, I know this looks like the generic noob trainer story we all know and hate. Believe me, it will start to deviate from the games' plot soon enough. This chapter is vastly improved from the original, in which the opening sequence was two italicized lines that didn't serve any purpose besides looking "cool". The bits with Fystor are also new, and I think they help tie into the later chapters nicely.)
Chapter 2's revampage is close to being done, so it should be up fairly soon. ^_^;