Chapter 49: We Are Family

"So, I think we've seen just about everything there is to see in Celadon City," Chris said as he looked up from the map, pretty sure he was reading it correctly.

"Already?" Ken asked, an obvious look of surprise on his face. "It took us days to get through Saffron, and even then I don't think we covered everything!"

"Well, we were pretty busy then, Ken," Chris pointed out, giving the map another once over. "There really isn't much else to see…although I did hear some people at the restaurant talking about a new Game Corner…and I guess there's always the Celadon Mansion. I hear they're always happy to have visitors, and even give out tea to guests on occasion."

"Sounds boring," Marik replied, kicking a pebble that happened to be in his path with obvious disinterest. "What's this Game Corner thing about?"

"Well, judging by what the people at the restaurant had to say, it's basically a casino that offers Pokemon related prizes in exchange for coins. I heard a guy at the restaurant say that they had some pretty rare stuff, too. TM's, rare items, and even Pokemon."

"Pokemon?" Ken asked, unable to believe that he had heard his friend correctly.

"Yeah, they're giving out Pokémon as slot prizes like they're some kind of objects to be bought and sold," Chris explained with obvious distaste. "A lot of the town's citizen's have been complaining that it's bad for the city's image and, quite frankly, I'd have to agree with them."

There was an awkward silence as the information hung in the air, all three Trainers looking rather uncomfortable. It was Marik who finally broke the tension.

"So…who's up for tea?"

The Celadon Mansion turned out to be a fairly large building, nearly rivaling that of the Celadon Department Store. Ken and the others stared in awe at the structure, not having expected to see so many tall buildings so soon after leaving Saffron City.

Still, it seemed welcoming enough, and the trio wasted no time in heading inside.

An old woman surrounded by many Pokemon sat at a table as they entered the first room, her startled expression quickly evaporating into a smile.

"Welcome," she said, patting her Meowth on the head before standing to address the group properly. "I'm the manager of the Celadon Mansion. May I offer you some tea?"

"That would be wonderful, thank you," Chris said, before Marik had the chance to voice his distaste.

"Not a problem at all!" the woman laughed, as she went to prepare the tea. "I don't get many visitors anymore, so it's always nice to see new faces. There are only two guests staying here right now, actually… Oh, don't worry, I have my Pokemon here to keep me company!" the woman explained with a warm smile when she caught sight of the trio's troubled expressions. "Meowth even brings money home on occasion, so it's not as though the business is suffering!"

The Pokemon purred in agreement, rubbing up against his owner's legs as she handed out the tea to everyone. Her eyes widened when she caught sight of Ken, but she only smiled at him and told him to enjoy his tea, for which he was grateful.

Soon, a light conversation opened up, the old woman asking them a few things about themselves, smiling and listening politely as they each told their stories, never once interrupting, even when they got to a few of the more unusual parts of their journey.

Ken and the others soon let their Pokemon out to play with the woman's Pokemon, and before long, the group of Pokemon was running around the room engaged in a rather large game of tag, though Arch chose to sit quietly watching and Xellos was still nowhere to be found. Ken wished he could have let Shade out to join in the fun as well, but due to the sea serpents enormous size, knew that was probably a bad idea.

"Since you're here," the woman said after about an hour, "why don't I take you on a tour of the building? You know, I really don't get many visitors!"

"That would be great!" Chris replied, as Ken nodded in agreement and Marik decided to take the opportunity as an excuse for not finishing his tea.

The woman smiled and led them to a staircase they hadn't noticed before, taking care not to step on her Meowth's tail as he trailed behind her.

"This room serves as a library," she announced as the reached the second floor, motioning with one arm towards the pair of bookshelves. "I know it's not much, but I try to keep it stocked with the more popular books and magazines like Pokemon Journal."

Ken briefly skimmed the selves, resisting the urge to face palm as he spotted Marik reading an article discussing the top five prettiest women out of the Kanto and Johto Gym Leaders and Elite Four.

As the group continued on to the third floor, Ken, Chris, and Marik stared in stunned silence as they became aware of the other presence in the room.

A lone figure sat at a nearby desk typing away at a keyboard, their gaze never shifting from the computer screen. A Mew costume covered every inch of their body, the artificial tail draped over the back of the chair like an old sock. Briefly, the figure turned in their direction, the sewn on blue eyes of the Mew mask seeming to study them for a moment, before they turned back to the computer screen, the sound of the keys clicking even more furiously resonating throughout the room.

Noticing their shocked expressions, the old woman laughed and said, "Oh don't worry, that's only The Author!"

"The Author?" Ken, Chris, and Marik echoed, still completely confused.

"Well, that's the name they gave me when they checked in a few days ago," the woman explained, gaze shifting to the figure at the computer. "Said they needed some inspiration, and just sat down and began typing away, just like that. Haven't said a word since."

"And the Mew costume…?" Ken prompted, feeling more than a little unsettled by the whole thing.

"Something about it being their favorite Pokemon and not wanting to disrupt continuity by showing up as the real thing," the woman replied with a shrug. "A little odd, but completely harmless, I assure you."

The trio exchanged glances before shrugging, slowly making their way towards the stairs as the woman continued their tour.

As the group of people ascended the staircase, The Author paused long enough to watch them go, before getting back to work.

"Well, this is it! The rooftop!" the woman explained, pausing to catch her breath.

As the group looked out over the edge of the building, the sun could just be seen setting in the distance, bathing the town below them in an orange glow.

Oooh! It's so pretty! Mew Ken giggled from inside Ken's head, causing the Mew hybrid to smile and nod in agreement. Getting to see all sorts of sights and meet all sorts of people…for Ken, that was one of the greatest experiences in the world, and one of the main reasons he'd set out on his journey. Sora and Zoey sat on his shoulders, their expressions equally full of delight.

"Now this," Arch said with a slight smile as he stared out at the city, "I like."

"Why? They have sunsets just like this all over the place!" Kyo pointed out from his position on Chris's shoulder, causing the Ralts to roll his eyes. "What's the big deal?"

"I like it," Jerry said softly, a small shy smile on his face.

"Thank goodness!" Arch sighed in relief. "Someone who appreciates some of the simpler things in life—"

"Reminds me of fire!" the Quilava laughed, his flames igniting.

"…Never mind."

"What's this?" Marik asked, pointing to the door behind them.

Ken frowned, his tail twitching curiously. He hadn't noticed that before…

"Oh, that's where my other guest is staying," the woman explained with a smile, looking as though she were trying not to laugh. "Very interesting man! He…oh, well just read the nameplate he had me put on the door! That'll explain it rather nicely!"

"'I know everything!'" Marik read from the piece of paper stuck to the door, an amused look on his face. "Huh. Sounds like my uncle."

"You mean the one that told you what tuna is?" Chris asked, recalling his earlier conversations with Marik.

"And the one who told you that their was no Hair Fairy?" Ken added, looking like he was also trying not to laugh.

"Yep, that's the one!" Marik replied with a nod, Sapphire looking like she felt she had the most embarrassing Trainer on the planet.

"Ah, visitors!" came the sound of a man's voice from behind the door, followed by footsteps. "Come to hear what my infinite knowledge has to say, have you? Don't worry, I know everything!"

"Still sounds like my uncle!" Marik chimed in, Sapphire seriously beginning to wonder if she should just Water Gun him and get it over with.

"Its always good to gain knowledge!" the man continued, opening the door. "Why, I traveled far and wide in order to learn all that I have toda—Marik?"

"UNCLE?" the Manaphy hybrid asked, eyes widening in surprise as his antenna stood straight up, for once not even bothering to smooth them back down again.

Sapphire stared at the man with her mouth hanging open in disbelief before toppling off her Trainers shoulder and landing at his feet with a small thump.

Ken stared in shock at the scene, not expecting to run into any of Marik's relatives all the way in Kanto. The Manaphy hybrid appeared to be in a similar state of confusion, his mouth hanging open as he struggled to find something to say, succeeding only in making a bunch of incoherent noises that made absolutely no sense.

Finally, Marik seemed to regain his composure enough to form a rather intelligent sounding sentence. "Huh?"

"Well, surprise, surprise!" the man laughed, a huge grin finding its way to his face. "Didn't expect to see you here, Marik! Come in, come in! We've got some catching up to do!" the man laughed, ushering the group inside, Marik looking as though he were being led right into the clutches of Team Rocket.

Marik's uncle wasn't exactly how Ken had pictured him when he'd first heard of the man. Yes, Marik had described him as a loud and annoying killer of dreams, but somehow he'd expected all of Marik's relatives to have blue hair. As it was, this man was fairly tall and currently dressed in a white karate uniform, the matching white headband doing little to contain the man's wild and unruly blond hair that stuck out in all directions. The only thing that even remotely seemed to resemble Marik was the pair of startlingly familiar green eyes that seemed to twinkle above the man's massive superior looking grin. This guy was full of himself, something that they already knew his nephew shared to some degree.

"So…you're Marik's uncle?" Chris asked from his position on the couch, hoping to break the tension in the room.

"That's right!" the man replied with a laugh, his grin growing. "His mother is my older sister!" Reaching out, he wrapped an arm around Marik's shoulder, causing the Manaphy hybrid to groan. "Can't you just see the resemblance?"

"Uh, sure!" Chris replied, though he really couldn't. "Its…uh, in the eyes!"

The man snorted, quickly consumed in uncontrollable laughter. "Here, maybe this'll help!" Taking out his wallet, he pulled out a photo and handed it to Chris. "See, that's me and his mother when we were around your age."

Chris stared at the photo, Ken leaning over to see as well. The image depicted a pair of teenagers standing side by side. The boy, Marik's uncle, appeared to be around fourteen while the girl, Marik's mother evidently, looked to be about sixteen. The two teens regarded the picture for a moment, eyes slowly widening as the similarities began to take shape. The girl stood there with her arms crossed, a small smile playing on her lips as she looked towards the camera, her green eyes sparkling with amusement. She was dressed in jeans and a simple black t-shirt, her long blonde hair stopping around her waist. Ken and Chris did a double take; she looked like a blonde female Marik.

The man chuckled. "See? What'd I tell you?" Putting the photo back in his wallet he said, "Runs in the family!"

"Blonde hair and green eyes?" Chris questioned, to which the man nodded. Casting a quick glance in Marik's direction, Chris prepared to ask Ken's unspoken question. "How—"

"I was born blonde," Marik replied, before Chris could even finish his sentence. "And then I died, Manaphy brought me back to life, I grew gills and antenna, and my hair turned blue. I thought we'd been over this already," he sighed, looking more than a little irritated that they were discussing his past with his uncle, who he apparently had a dislike for.

"Oh," Ken said, not sure what else to say. Somehow, he just couldn't picture Marik with blonde hair and no antenna.

"Yes, scared us all that day," Marik's uncle acknowledged, immediately turning serious. "We…we thought we'd lost you," he said quietly as he glanced over at Marik, who appeared surprised to hear that from his uncle. "But then, a miracle happened!" the man announced, his huge grin back in place. "Manaphy—the fabled Prince of the Sea—actually showed up right outside the hospital window, and jumped—Oh, I should mention, we come from Slateport, so the ocean is right there next to, well, everything! Anyway, and jumped in through the window! Isn't that something? Anyway, it did this thing with these lights—"

"Heart Swap," Marik groaned, not really appreciating that his uncle was making such a terrible event as his death sound like something heroic. "It was a variation of the move Heart Swap."

"Right!" the man laughed, not the least bit deterred. "Anyway, it used Heart Swap on Marik, or something like it, and then, a miracle happened! My nephew, my poor, innocent nephew who had not even begun to live, came back to life! "

"Just kill me again now," Marik muttered, clearly miserable, though his uncle didn't appear to notice.

"Granted, his hair turned blue and he grew these weird gills and antenna," the man laughed, gently lifting up one of the Manaphy hybrid's antenna as if to demonstrate, "but even if he looks a little strange, he's still our Marik!"

"Thank you, Uncle," Marik sighed, obviously insulted. Honestly, Ken and Chris were surprised he hadn't Heart Swapped the man. Clearly, Marik had a great deal of patience when it came to his uncle.

"So, you're probably wondering what I'm doing here, am I right?" the man asked Marik with a huge grin.

"Well I was, but now I just wish you'd go away," Marik replied, not really expecting his uncle to hear him.

"Well, I came out here to Kanto in order to expand my vast amount of knowledge," the man explained excitedly to his nephew, who only appeared to be pretending to listen. "Now I know karate!" In order to demonstrate, he stood and fired off a kick, nearly knocking over a lamp and taking out a potted plant in the process.

"Yay," Marik replied unenthusiastically, resting his head in his hand as his uncle continued to chatter on and on about his experiences.

"Anyway, I'd tell you more, but that's really best done over a nice dinner!" the man laughed, turning his attention to Ken and Chris. "I hope you all like tuna caesural!"

Marik visibly paled, and Chris quickly scrambled for an excuse to get them out of there without offending the man.

"Actually, we're…kind of meeting someone for dinner already," Chris quickly explained, Marik letting out a sigh of relief. "Maybe some other time?"

"Of course!" the man laughed, a huge smile on his face. "I really shouldn't drop a dinner invitation on you out of the blue considering how busy you must be!" Wrapping one arm around Marik, he said, "Don't worry, I know how hectic life is for young people when they first set out on a journey! After all, I know everything!"

Marik managed to force a smile at this, returning the partial hug. "Well, thank you very much Uncle, we really had a fun time listening to all your great stories!" the Manaphy hybrid chuckled, though it looked like it pained him to use the word 'fun' to describe their experience. "We should do it again some time!"

The man smiled. "Of course! And don't worry; by then, I'll have even more stories to tell you!"

Smiling and bidding farewell to his uncle, Marik and the others left the Celadon Mansion, pausing briefly in order to thank the nice old lady for her hospitality.

"Gee Marik," Ken chuckled, as they made their way through the streets of Celadon, a small grin on his face. "You sure have an interesting uncle!"

"That's one word for him I suppose," Marik replied with a grimace, clearly thankful to have gotten out of there. "By the way, thanks for the save back there Chris. I really don't think I could've handled eating tuna."

Ken nodded sympathetically at the expression on the Manaphy hybrid's face at the thought of eating fish. Honestly, it reminded him of the way he felt after Teleportation.

After enjoying a nice, thankfully fish free, meal at the town restaurant, Ken, Chris, and Marik made their way towards the Pokemon Center to turn in for the night.

"We'll set out for Fuchsia first thing in the morning," Chris yawned, Kyo already snoring away atop his shoulder. "We should be there around noon tomorrow."

"Sounds like a plan," Ken agreed, pushing open the double doors as they made their way inside the Pokemon Center.

"Welcome to the Pokemon Center!" Nurse Joy cheerily announced from behind the counter. "Would you like a room for the ni…ahh…ACHOO! Oh, I'm terribly sorry about that!" the woman laughed, pausing and grabbing a Kleenex and smiling apologetically. "I'll get your room ke…ahh…ugh…ACHOO!"

Ken and the others watched in bewilderment as the woman began to go into a sneezing fit, unable to stop for several minutes.

"Um…Nurse Joy?" Chris asked, as the woman's eyes began to water. "Are you feeling all right?"

"Fine," the nurse replied, blowing her nose, her eyes already beginning to look a little red. "Oh, you don't happen to have any…ahh…ACHOO! Ugh…any cat Pokemon, do you?"

"Cat Pokemon?" Ken, Chris, and Marik asked, confused.

The woman nodded, dabbing at her still watering eyes with the Kleenex. "I'm terribly allergic to them!"

The three teens exchanged glances before Chris and Marik's eyes slowly widened in understanding and they turned to stare at Ken.

The Mew hybrid regarded his two friends with confusion for a moment, before it finally dawned on him. "Why are you looking at me for?" the Mew hybrid demanded, tail twitching in irritation. "I'm not a cat!"

"Actually, Mew are cats Ken," Chris nervously chuckled, having a pretty good idea of how his friend was going to react to that.

"For the last time, I'M NOT A POKEMON!" Ken shouted, throwing his arms up in the air in frustration, his tail lighting up and whipping about wildly behind him.

"Lets just try something, shall we?" Marik said with a sly grin, gently leading Ken towards the door. "You stand out there for a few minutes, and then we'll call you to come in, ok?"

Ken stared at the Manaphy hybrid, not sure what he was getting at, before shrugging and heading outside.

Just as expected, Nurse Joy's allergy symptoms soon began to calm down, vanishing completely after only a few minutes of Ken's absence.

"Ok Ken!" Marik called out. "You can come back inside now!"

Still not sure what was going on, Ken then made his way back inside, tail flicking irritably. Mere moments after the Mew hybrid had entered, Nurse Joy relapsed once more into a fit of sneezing, her eyes red and watery.

"Oh, I'm t…terribly sorry," the woman said as she held back a sneeze, "but it seems as though I'm aller…ahh…ahh…ACHOO! Ugh…Allergic to you!"

"Is Mew even possible?" Ken asked, unable to believe that he could be the reason Nurse Joy was in such poor condition.

"Well, your fur is Mew fur, Ken," Chris pointed out, as the poor nurse sneezed harshly into the tissue she was holding.

Ken ran his fingers through his fur self-consciously, unable to believe that this was actually happening to him. "Are Pokemon allergies common?"

"Just about as common as allergies to cats and dogs, I'm afraid," Nurse Joy sniffed, looking downright miserable. "Some people are allergic to a certain type, or a certain kind of Pokemon, and some are allergic to just a certain species. I'm allergic to ca…ahh…ACHOO! Cat-like Pokemon…"

"So, how do you treat cat Pokemon, then?" Chris asked, as Ken's ears and tail drooped in despair.

Nurse Joy gave a small smile. "Oh, I usually manage just fine! Cat-like Pokemon aren't very common in Kanto, aside from the occasional Meowth or Persian, and as long as they stay inside their Pokéballs, I'm just fi…ACHOO! Just fine!" Nurse Joy assured them, then covered her mouth in embarrassment as she realized what she'd just said. "But of course I'd never think of asking your friend to go inside a Pokéball!"

"I know, Nurse Joy," Ken said, as he slowly inched his way towards the door. "I'll just Mew somewhere else. Mew wouldn't want you to be miserable all night."

Nodding thankfully, though at the same time wishing she could stop him, Nurse Joy watched sadly as the Mew hybrid and his friends left the Pokemon Center, hoping with all her heart that they found a place to stay the night.

"Don't worry Ken," Chris said as they made their way once more through the streets of Celadon, "it says on the map that there's a hotel not too far from here!"

"Oooh! Room service!" Marik squealed, picturing a pretty girl with a tray of food standing outside his room, causing his friends to sigh.

"As long as it doesn't cause any problems, I'm happy to sleep anywhere," Ken sighed, Chris regarding his friend sympathetically.

"I'm terribly sorry," the woman at the front desk said, shaking her head, "but I'm afraid I can't offer you a room."

"Why not?" Marik whined, not wanting his dream of a beautiful room service girl bringing food to him to get away.

"I'm really very sorry," the woman replied, a bit off put by the blue haired teen clinging to the counter like it was a life preserver. "But there are no Pokemon allowed in the rooms."

Ken's ears perked up as he heard this, his fur bristling as he let out an angry hiss. "FOR THE LAST TIME, I AM NOT A POKEMON!"

"Actually, I was referring to your Bulbasaur," the woman explained, not the least bit disturbed by Ken's outburst. "You're all Trainers, aren't you? Why not go stay at the Pokemon Center?"

"Because Mew poor nurse is ALLERGIC TO ME!" Ken shouted, tears springing to his eyes.

As Chris attempted to comfort the very upset Mew hybrid, the trio left the hotel in search of yet another place to sleep.

"Why don't we just go stay with your uncle at the Celadon Mansion?" Chris said to Marik, once Ken was reasonably calm again.

"Trust me, you don't want to!" Marik explained with a shudder, antenna standing on end. "The man feeds on the souls of the young!"

Chris rolled his eyes. "Just because he ruined a few of your childhood beliefs—"

"A few? Try all of them!" Marik huffed, crossing his arms stubbornly. "There is no way I'm going back there tonight!"

"I know a place," Ken muttered, causing his friends to turn to him in surprise, "but it might be just as bad."

It was fairly dark out as Ken, Chris, and Marik made their way through Celadon, the streets lit only by the glow of buildings such as the Celadon Department Store and the ever-running Game Corner.

Chris and Marik's eyes widened as they followed Ken to the front of the large building, more than a little uneasy. Ken still hadn't told them where they were going, and wherever it was, it didn't sound like a place he wanted to be.

Though Ken had never been there himself, he'd heard his mother describe it to him many times, so had managed to find the building with little difficulty. Now came the hard part. Slowly raising his hand to the old fashioned looking brass knocker, he rapped heavily on the door.

"Honestly, who could that be at this time of night?" a woman's voice asked, sounding almost insulted. Slowly, footsteps could be heard, and the door opened.

A woman stood at the door, her curly hair faded to a shade of gray underneath her purple flowering hat. She wore a matching dress, the deep lavender color giving off an air of sophistication. Delicate white gloves went up to her elbows, as if touching anything with her bare hands was somehow beneath her. She stared out at the trio of teenagers with a scrutinizing expression before her gaze settled on Ken and she slammed the door.

"Grandma, its Ken!" the teen sighed, banging his fist on the door. "Let Mew in!"

Slowly the door opened a crack, the woman pausing to stare at the Mew hybrid as if she couldn't believe her eyes. "Ken? No, that's impossible, he lives in Pallet Town with my daughter Rika, and most certainly doesn't look like that."

"I love Mew too, Grandma," Ken groaned, ears flattening against his skull in annoyance. "Look, I promise I'll explain everything, but for now, could Mew please just let us in?"

The woman hesitated for a moment before sighing, allowing Ken and the others to enter. As Ken walked passed his grandmother and into the large spacious living room, he didn't miss the way she looked at him.

"Ken, look at you," the woman sighed, as the three teens settled onto the large expensive looking sectional in the living room. "You look—"

"Like a Pokemon," Ken interrupted, his tail twitching irritatedly. "Yeah, I know."

Silence followed the exchange, a nervous tension filling the air. Chris and Marik shifted uncomfortably, getting the feeling that Ken and his grandmother didn't really get along that well.

"Well, yes," the woman replied at last, regarding her grandson with obvious distaste. "Much more so than the last time I saw you, I'm afraid. Perhaps you'd care to explain that?"

Ken sighed and proceeded to fill his grandmother in on his journey so far, though he couldn't help but notice that she frowned at him whenever he said something in Pokéspeak as opposed to English.

"And that's Mew we need a place to stay the night," Ken explained at last, watching his grandmother's expression carefully. "Please," he added, looking up at her almost pleadingly. "We have nowhere else Mew go."

The woman regarded him for a moment, during witch time Ken feared she might actually say no, before nodding. "Ken, you are my grandson, and are always welcome here."

"Which is why she slammed the door in his face when we got here," Marik whispered to Chris, who wanted to face palm at the Manaphy hybrid's lack of manners.

The woman frowned and turned to Marik, a look of disapproval on her face. "For your information, young man, I didn't recognize Ken earlier with all that…that…"

"Fur?" Ken finished knowingly, to which the woman coughed and nodded, looking rather uncomfortable. "You can say it, Mew know," the Mew hybrid sighed, the awkwardness in the room seeming to intensify. "That's what it is, after all. You're not going to offend Mew or anything."

"With all that…hair," the woman finished at last, taking a seat in the large plush chair in front of them.

"Fur," Ken repeated, tail giving an annoyed twitch. "Say it."

"Ken, you're my grandson," his grandmother began with a smile, looking increasingly uncomfortable. "You're…human. You most certainly do not have…fur."

"Grandma, Mew nurse is allergic to me," Ken pointed out, looking rather frustrated.

The woman snorted. "Please, she probably contracted some sort of illness. No doubt due to hanging around all those filthy creatures all day, I'm sure!"

Sora whimpered and snuggled deeper into Ken's shoulder, not really sure that she liked this woman.

"My father was a 'filthy creature,'" Ken replied angrily, his fur beginning to bristle. "How about me? Am I Mew 'filthy creature' too then?" Ken demanded, right ear twitching like crazy as he let out an angry growl.

"Ok, I think this whole thing is just a big misunderstanding!" Chris chuckled nervously, stepping between Ken and his grandmother in hopes of avoiding a fight.

"All Mew ever did was either deny that I was part Pokemon or look at Mew like I was some kind of freak!" Ken spat, tail poofing out to double its usual size. "Just admit it! Mew hate Pokemon! You hate Pokemon, and Mew can't stand the sight of me!"

Silence followed the Mew hybrid's outburst, Chris taking a seat next to Marik as the both of them regarded the scene with a mixture of shock and confusion. Suddenly, a lot of the Mew hybrid's self-loathing made a lot of sense. How can you feel good about who you are if someone from your own family doesn't accept you?

"I'm only half human," Ken said at last, looking downright tired of the whole thing. "If Mew can't accept that, then we'll leave right now. Mew sure Marik's uncle would be happy to have us over."

Another awkward silence followed, during which time the woman stared at her grandson in shock before finally sighing and getting to her feet. Ken flinched, fully expecting to be turned away for the third time that night, only to blink in confusion as his grandmother walked over and pulled him into a hug.

"Mew?" Ken asked, too stunned to say anything else.

"Ken, you don't really believe that I hate you, do you?" the woman asked softly, gently running a hand over the long fur that used to be Ken's hair.

"Mew," Ken replied with an affirmative nod, still refusing to use anything other than Pokéspeak.

"Well, I don't," the woman continued, as Ken remained rather unresponsive. "Please Ken," she sighed, hugging him tighter. "Won't you talk to me?"

"Mew," Ken replied, turning his head away, a hurt and angry look on his face.

A small smile found its way to the woman's face. "Now Ken," she said in a mock scolding voice, "I know you can say more than that!"

Ken's ears twitched in acknowledgement at this, memories of his grandmother's early visits coming back to him. How she had been very insistent that he learn to speak properly, and how she always rewarded him with a piece of candy for his efforts.

"Maybe…" he said at last, finally turning to face his grandmother.

The woman smiled and pulled out a piece of chocolate from her purse. "Very good Ken! I knew you could do it! Now, who do you love?"

"Chocolate!" Ken replied with a laugh, imitating his response from years ago. Rolling the tiny foil wrapped treat between his fingers, he asked, "You still keep these?"

"In case I ever came to visit," his grandmother replied with a nod. "Although, I suppose you've grown quite a bit since then."

"Mew still like chocolate," Ken replied, causing both of them to laugh.

"I'll be honest Ken," his grandmother sighed, serious once more. "Your Pokemon traits do bother me a little…and I know I put a lot of pressure on you to act human." Pausing, she turned to look Ken in the eye, a small sad smile on her face. "But that doesn't mean that I don't love you. You're my grandson Ken. I could never not love you."

Ken smiled at this and hugged his grandmother, a purr of gratitude rumbling in his throat. "I love Mew too, Grandma."

Though clearly a little unnerved by the fact that her grandson was now purring like a cat, the woman smiled and nodded. "Now, you said something about needing a room for the night?"

Ken's grandmother gladly agreed to let the Mew hybrid and his friends stay the night, and even allowed them to each have separate rooms, claiming that there were plenty to spare.

Opening the door and glancing around the room, Ken couldn't help but be a little bit unnerved by the fancy interior, but simply shrugged it off before setting his bag down on the large canopy bead. Kicking off his shoes, the Mew hybrid climbed into bed and pulled the covers over him, Sora snuggling up next to him with a smile.

Good job today Ken! Mew Ken giggled, his image appearing in the mirror built into the large dresser overlooking the bed. You finally admit you're part Pokemon!

Yeah well, part Pokemon isn't so bad I guess, as long as I don't have to be all Pokemon, Ken admitted with a slight smile. Though I could do with a bit less fur…

Ken wants to be BALD! Mew Ken giggled, toppling over onto the reflected image of the bed in the mirror, consumed in a bought of laughter.

Ken jumped as he felt the bed shake, then glanced at the foot of the bed, eyes widening in shock as a spot of it caved in. Like someone was laying in it… Glancing at the mirror, he spotted his reflection, as usual, as well as the image of Mew Ken laying on the foot of the bed, consumed in playful laughter.

"Mew Ken?" Ken asked, slowly reaching out his hand towards the spot where his Pokemon half was apparently sitting. "How are you doing that?"

Dunno, Mew Ken replied with a shrug, the bed rippling as he rolled over to address Ken more properly. I can feel the bed and everything, its really neat Ken!

"Well, stop it!" Ken replied, his head beginning to feel a little funny. It almost felt like it was…pulling apart… "Seriously Mew Ken, I'm starting to feel weird."

The image in the mirror vanished along with the strange indentation in the bed, Ken sighing in relief as the weird feeling in his head went away.

Sorry Ken, I didn't mean to…It just gets boring hanging around inside your head all the time is all…

Ken's tail gave a sudden nervous jump, the events of Saffron City coming to mind. Mew Ken?


We…we're not going to end up like Sabrina, are we?

Not if we pull ourselves together in time! Mew Ken giggled, his playful laughter echoing eerily throughout Ken's head. Otherwise…yep!

Great…Ken sighed, flopping onto his back in frustration.

Hey, don't worry, Ken! Mew Ken cheerfully replied, the image of his smiling face flickering briefly across Ken's mind. We'll just take it one step at a time! There's no reason to worry about it yet!

Yeah, I guess you're right, the Mew hybrid agreed, snuggling underneath the covers, his body curling into a ball automatically. Mind explaining why I've been sleeping like a cat sense I left Vermillion? I certainly don't mean to!

Ken, we are a cat! Mew Ken giggled, much to his human half's annoyance.

Whatever, Ken replied, choosing to ignore it like he had been. Good night.

Nighty-night, Ken! Don't let the bedbugs bite!

Yeah, Ken chuckled, his eyes closing.

A few minutes passed before Mew Ken spoke up again. You should call Mommy tomorrow, Ken. I'm sure she misses you!

You're right, the Mew hybrid agreed, immediately feeling guilty. I've been so wrapped up in my own problems lately, I keep forgetting…

A few more minutes passed, and then, Ken, can we sleep with the new Poké Doll? Please?

Sure, Ken replied with a yawn, digging the plush toy out of his bag and hugging it in his arms.

Thanks Ken.

Several more minutes passed, before Mew Ken spoke yet again. Ken, I'm thirsty.

All right, Ken groaned tiredly, though he had to admit, he was thirsty too.

Climbing out of bed, Ken headed into the large in room bathroom, filled the cup there with water, and took a drink before climbing back into bed.


WHAT? the Mew hybrid growled, just wanting to get some sleep.

We have to go to the bathroom.

…I know, Ken sighed, getting up and making his way reluctantly towards the bathroom for the second time that night, his Pokemon half giggling in his ear.

Chris opened the door to one of the many guestrooms and gently set his bag down before letting out a long whistle. The Regigigas hybrid had been wondering how Ken's mother had managed to support him while still remaining a stay at home mom, and now, glancing at the overly extravagant bedroom, he was beginning to understand how she did it.

Taking a step towards the large bed, Chris paused, eyes widening when he caught sight of the ceiling. A chandelier. There was a chandelier in the bedroom! Glancing around, Chris took in the sight of the fancy wardrobe, the fancy bathroom, and the fancy fireplace, before chuckling and shaking his head.

"Ken, I think your grandmother cares more about you than you'll ever know!"

As Marik tossed his bag onto the bedroom floor, the zipper came open a bit and a Pokéball rolled out, a note attached to it with tape. Tilting his head to the side in confusion and curiosity, Marik picked up the Pokéball and note and began reading.

Dear Marik,

I know that you don't really have anyone to meet and that you just don't feel like hanging around your crazy old uncle when you could be spending time with your friends. Don't worry, I'm not upset, I know how things were at your age. After all, I know everything! I also hope you realize that I was only kidding about the tuna casserole, but since you take everything so seriously, I thought I'd tell you that it was just a joke!

At this point, you're probably wondering about the Pokéball I sent you. Of course you are! I know I would be! Well, let's just say that it's a Pokémon you've been wanting for a long time now.

Marik, I know that we don't always get along that well, but I'd like to believe that it's because we are so very much alike. Never forget that the people who love us are the ones who annoy us the most, and I'm no exception!

Take care Marik, and wherever life takes you, always remember that I love you.

Uncle Marty

Marik stared at the letter in surprise for a moment before turning to the Pokéball in his hand. Tossing the red and white sphere, his eyes widened in surprise when an Eevee materialized in front of him, tilting her head to the side curiously.

Climbing into bed, his new Eevee settling in next to him, Marik picked up his Pokénav and began writing up a text, a warm smile finding its way to his face. Moments later, the text was sent, and the Manaphy hybrid rolled over to go to sleep.

Back in the Celadon Mansion, a man sat up in bed in order to read an incoming text from his Pokénav, a small genuine smile coming to his face as he saw what it said.

Thank you Uncle, I love you too.


"Come see what I got! Come see what I got! Come see what I goooot!" Marik announced in a sing-song voice the next morning, holding his confused looking Eevee above his head for everyone to see.

"An Eevee?" Chris asked, eyes widening in surprise. Eevee were really rare, and here Marik was with one out of seemingly nowhere.

The Manaphy hybrid nodded, still grinning ear to ear. "I named her Aqua! My uncle gave her to me! Isn't she ADORABLE?"

Chris nodded, though it looked like the tiny Pokemon was a little unnerved about being held so high up, her hind legs peddling the air nervously. However, before he could even voice his opinion, Marik had already dashed down the hall towards Ken's room.

"Ken, look what I got!" Marik announced cheerfully, bursting into the Mew hybrid's room and holding up his new Eevee triumphantly.

Ken turned in his friend's direction, an irritated frown on his face, before turning once more to the Pokégear in his hand. "Ok I gotta go now. I'll talk to you again soon, I promise. Love you too, Mom. Bye." The Pokégear beeped and he clicked it shut before turning back to Marik, eyes widening when he saw what it was the Manaphy hybrid was so excited about. "You got an Eevee?"

The teen nodded, a huge smile on his face. "My uncle gave her to me! Her name is Aqua, and she's super cute and fluffy, and I'm going to take really good care of her, and—"

"Scare her to death?" Ken asked dryly.

"And scare her to death—wait, what?" Marik asked, glancing down at the little Pokemon in his arms, only to notice that she was now squirming desperately in his hands, eyes wide with fright. "Oh Aqua, I'm so sorry!" the Manaphy hybrid cried, cradling her in his arms and finally giving her some proper support instead of dangling her in the air like a rag doll. "I promise to be more careful from now on!"

"And now you're screaming in her ears," Ken sighed, shaking his head.

The teen blinked and glanced down at Aqua, the tiny Eevee folding her sensitive ears back in response to her Trainer shouting inches from her head.

"…Better?" Marik asked, voice barely above a whisper.

The Eevee nodded, reaching up and licking him lightly on the cheek.

Ken shook his head at this, trying not to laugh. Sometimes, the Manaphy hybrid could be a bit too enthusiastic. "Well, I guess we'd better get a move on," the Mew hybrid said, picking up his bag and swinging it over his shoulder. "Chris said we should be able to make it to Fuchsia City by noon, and the sooner I forget the move Transform, the better."

"I still think you're making a big mistake," Marik sighed as he followed after his friend, Aqua seating herself on his shoulder. "Transform is such a useful move!"

"A move that makes me more like a Pokemon every time I use it, yeah, that's useful all right," Ken sarcastically replied, rolling his eyes. "If Heart Swap was making you more like a Manaphy, would you want to use it?"

"…How much more like a Manaphy?" Marik asked after a moments thought, looking rather nervous.

"Blue skin," Ken replied, taking note of his friends displeased expression.

"Blue skin?" Marik echoed, looking increasingly uncomfortable.

"And bald."

"BALD?!" Marik screamed, reaching his hands up to grab his hair. "Oh, heck no! That is where I draw the line! And how do you know I'd be bald anyway?"

"Do Manaphy have hair?" Ken asked, a knowing look on his face.


The Mew hybrid grinned. "My point exactly."

"Ok, so I wouldn't like it," Marik admitted, not missing Ken's triumphant grin, "but this is completely different! Mew is one of only two Pokemon species in the entire world that can learn Transform!"

"And how many Pokemon can learn Heart Swap?" Ken countered.

"One," Marik replied, finally sighing in defeat. "I don't know Ken, it just seems like one of those moves you shouldn't forget, you know?" Marik explained, a thoughtful look on his face. "If Heart Swap was turning me into a Pokemon, I wouldn't like it, but I'd still keep it. After all, you never know when something like that'll come in handy!" Marik replied with a grin.

"I guess. It did help me out on the SS Anne and in Mt. Moon," Ken admitted. "I guess it could be useful in an emergency."

"That's the spirit, Ken!" Marik laughed, giving his friend a friendly thump on the back. "After all, sometimes its better to be blue than to be black and blue!"

"Have you used that move to get out of trouble before?" Ken asked knowingly, recalling his first meeting with the Manaphy hybrid.

"Lots of times! Hey, what can I say? It's a defense mechanism!" Marik replied with a shrug.

"Did any of these instances involve a girl?" Ken sighed, having a feeling he knew what the answer would be.

"…A few of them," Marik admitted, looking rather embarrassed. "Hey, in my defense, I didn't know she had a boyfriend!"

Shaking his head, Ken continued down the stairs, the things Marik had said still playing on his mind. Would he really be making a terrible mistake by choosing to forget Transform? And even more importantly, would he even be able to?

"Morning Ken," Chris said, as the Mew hybrid made his way down the stairs. "You sleep well?"

"Fantastic," Ken purred, stretching his arms above his head. After sleeping on the ground for the past few days, it was wonderful to be able to sleep in a real bed once more.

The Regigigas hybrid smiled. "I'll bet. Anyway, according to the map, we should be able to get to Fuchsia City around noon if we leave early enough."

"Provided he read the map right this time," Marik whispered to Ken, causing them both to laugh.

"Ha ha, very funny guys," Chris sighed, shaking his head good-naturedly. "I'm not really that bad, am I?"

"Yes," Ken and Marik replied in unison, without the slightest hesitation.

"Ok, ok, point taken!" Chris laughed, folding up the map and shoving it into his backpack. "Good news is, it's pretty much a straight shot from here to Fuchsia, so I don't think we're in any danger of getting too lost!"

"We hope," Marik whispered, causing Ken to laugh and Chris to roll his eyes.

"You're leaving already?" Ken's grandmother asked, a look of surprise on her face.

"I'm sorry Grandma," Ken sighed, feeling rather guilty, "but Mew need to get to Fuchsia as soon as possible. There's Mew man there who can help me forget the move Transform—"

"Which I still say is a mistake," Marik interrupted, earning a glare from Ken.

"-which is what's causing Mew to turn into a Pokemon," Ken finished, hoping that his grandmother would understand.

The woman was silent for a moment before a small smile came to her face. "Well, at least stay for breakfast. I've already prepared a lovely meal for you and your friends, and there's no sense in letting it go to waste!"

"Sure thing Grandma," Ken replied with a grateful smile. "Thank you!"

"You're very welcome, Ken," the woman replied warmly. Turning to address the group of teenagers, she said, "Please follow me to the dinning hall."

"Dinning hall?" Ken, Chris, and Marik echoed, exchanging glances.

"Yes, dinning hall," the woman repeated, completely unaware of why the three teens looked so surprised. "Hurry now, before it gets cold!"

Somehow, Ken had a feeling that he wasn't in for a nice normal meal…

The dinning hall truly lived up to its name. No sooner had the three of them entered, Marik immediately took a seat at the abnormally long table, exclaiming gleefully that he'd always wanted to sit at "One of those really big tables rich people own where you have to yell!" and, quite honestly, Ken could see his point. The table looked long enough to comfortably sit at least thirty people and was decorated with various candles and a white tablecloth. Glancing down at his silver wear, which included at least four different forks alone, certainly wasn't making the Mew hybrid feel any more at ease.

"Chris," Ken whispered, "which fork do you use for omelets?"

"Beats me," the Regigigas hybrid replied with a shrug, looking equally lost. "This isn't exactly my strong suit…"

"This looks GREAT!" Marik exclaimed, grabbing a fork at random and shoveling the food into his mouth.

"Oh, you seem to have gotten your forks confused," Ken's grandmother explained with a smile. "That's the salad fork. The fork you're looking for is over there."

Marik paused mid chew to glance at the fork the woman was pointing at, then back at the fork he was using before shrugging and announcing, "Looks the same to me!" scattering bits of egg from his mouth in the process, causing the woman to regard him with apparent disgust at his lack of table manners.

Shrugging and trying not to laugh, Ken and Chris grabbed a fork, deciding that, at the very least, they had better table manners than a certain Manaphy hybrid.

After breakfast, Ken and the others said their goodbyes and thanks to Ken's grandmother, who smiled and replied that they were always welcome anytime, before setting off once more.


"Just what I said kid," the guard sighed, shaking his head as if he had dealt with this whole thing a hundred times before. "This is Cycling Road. No pedestrians aloud. So either find a different route or come back with a bike."

"I'm sure it's for our own safety, Ken," Chris explained as the three friends left the gatehouse that led to Cycling Road.

"I guess," the Mew hybrid grumbled, looking understandably disappointed.

"Hey, don't worry!" Chris laughed, giving his friend a friendly pat on the shoulder. "The Chairman of the Pokemon Fan Club gave you a Bike Voucher back in Vermillion City, remember? Arch and I can just Teleport over to Cerulean and redeem it for you, and then we'll have a free bike! One of us just has to cycle to Fuchsia, then Arch or Xellos can Teleport the rest of us over! See? No problem!"

"That's a great idea Chris," Ken sighed, unable to believe his bad luck, "except I don't have the Bike Voucher anymore. I mailed it to Misty since Zoey wreaked her bike."

"Oh…" Chris muttered, recalling Ken's sudden unexplained visit to the post office back in Vermillion City. "That's…unfortunate."

"Unfortunate? Chris, this means that we have to find another route to get to Fuchsia City!"

"No we don't!" Marik announced happily, holding up a poster with a triumphant grin on his face. "It says right here that they're holding a Pokemon Race down Cycling Road one week from now, and the winner gets a set of Elemental Stones!"

Ken and Chris exchanged glances. This did seem to be just what they were looking for…

"So it goes all the way to Fuchsia?" Chris asked, trying to make sure they ended up where they wanted to be.

The Manaphy hybrid grinned. "Yep! The finish line is right outside the gate!"

Hearing this, Ken's ears perked up, but he didn't want to get his hopes up just yet. "Just what is a 'Pokemon Race' anyway?"

"Oh, its easy!" Marik replied, barely able to contain his excitement. "The contestants ride a Pokemon from here to Fuchsia, either on their own or in teams of two, and the first Pokemon to make it to the finish line wins! Isn't this great? I'll be able to evolve Aqua into a Vaporeon!" The little Eevee's ears perked up at this, and she glanced warily at her Trainer. "Oh! Don't worry Aqua, I didn't mean right away! Its just nice to have the option open, that's all!" Aqua visibly relaxed, but still looked a little uncertain. "Anyway, that's about it! See? Easy as pie!"

"I think you're forgetting something Marik," Ken sighed, noticing the obvious flaw in the plan.

Marik blinked in confusion. "Really? What's that?"

"We have Sora, a Bulbasaur; Shade, a Gyarados; Zoey, a Clefairy; Xellos, an Abra; Kyo, a Larvitar; Arch, a Ralts; Jerry, a Quilava; Sapphire, a Mudkip; and Aqua, an Eevee. Now think about it for a minute; How many of those Pokemon I just listed are capable of carrying a human?"

Marik stood in stunned silence, the information finally sinking in. "One?"

"Exactly. And how many of us are there?"


"We can't all ride on Shade," Ken pointed out, causing the Manaphy hybrid to frown.

"Well, we've got a week," Chris pointed out, an equally concerned look on his face. "I'm sure we'll figure something out. In the mean time, where are we going to stay?"

Ken's grandmother was just sitting down for tea, when she heard a knock on the door. "Now who in the world could that be?" she sighed, putting down her cup and making her way to the door. "I swear, people have the worst sense of timing!" Opening the door, her eyes widened in shock as she caught sight of Ken and his friends standing there, looking rather embarrassed.

"Hey Grandma! Mew said we welcome here anytime…right?" the Mew hybrid asked cheerily, smiling so broadly that it showed off his fangs.

Having spent the last several days training, and after a brief mix-up involving the Fighting Dojo, Red now found himself standing outside the Saffron Gym, a determined look on his face.

"Ready Pika?" Red asked, glancing down at the small yellow Pokemon beside him.

"Chu Pika!" the mouse replied, his cheeks sparking eagerly.

The boy laughed, and together, the two of them made their way inside the Saffron City Gym.

"Welcome," Sabrina said as the boy entered, standing up from her seat, a small smile on her face. "I've been awaiting your arrival."

"Same here!" Red replied, Pika already adopting a battle stance.

The woman smiled at the Pikachu's eagerness, a small chuckle escaping her lips. "If you're anything like your friend Blue, I'm sure that it will be a wonderful match!"

"Blue was here?" Red asked, Pika's ears drooping in obvious disappointment.

"About two days ago. I did extend the battle invitation to both of you, you know," Sabrina replied with an amused smile.

"Well, we'll just have to win that badge too then!" the boy announced, Pika jumping up and down in agreement.

"As I'd hoped. However, there is something else that needs attending to…"

Footsteps approached, and Red and Pika watched as a young man of around seventeen entered the battlefield, an eager smile on his face. "Hello Red, its good to see you again. I don't know if you remember me, but my name is Will, and I'm honored to be your opponent," the purple haired teen explained, pausing briefly to adjust his mask. "Sabrina has a lot of faith in you, you know."

"Of course we remember you!" Red laughed, causing Will to blush. "Right Pika?"

"The masks kinda hard to forget!" the Electric Mouse replied with a nod, causing Will to chuckle.

"It certainly makes an impression!" Will agreed, smiling as he ran his fingers across the item in question. "Honestly, I kinda like it!" Turning to Red, he pulled out a Pokéball. "Well, whenever you're ready!"

"The battle will be one Pokemon each, with both sides being healed afterwards," Sabrina explained, as the two Trainers got into position. "If you beat Will, I want to make sure that I face you at your best," the woman explained, the boy nodding his unspoken appreciation.

"Let's go, Elizabeth!" Will announced, tossing the Pokéball and releasing his Natu.

"Ready to go Pika?" Red asked his friend.

"Heck yeah!" Pika laughed, dashing onto the field without hesitation, his cheeks sparking eagerly.

"Begin," Sabrina said simply, sitting back down in order to watch the battle.

Pika took off like a rocket the moment the signal was given, slamming into Elizabeth with a powerful Quick Attack and leaving Will momentarily stunned by the unexpected move. His Natu rolled across the ground before righting herself, looking more determined than ever.

"Great job Pika!" Red laughed, his Pokemon looking eager for more. "Now try Thunderbolt!"

"Psychic," Will instructed calmly, his Pokemon already beginning to glow.

Pika's body tensed as he let off a large bolt of electricity, the air crackling as the beam of energy sped towards the tiny bird, only to spin around at the last second and fly back at him.

"What the heck?!" Pika demanded, jumping out of the way just in time to avoid getting hit by his own attack.

"I guess a full on attack isn't going to work here," Red sighed, slightly disappointed that his first move didn't go as smoothly as he'd hoped. "Ok then, battle it with speed!"

Pika dashed off once more, a stream of light trailing behind him, and began running circles around Elizabeth, the Natu not looking the least bit concerned by the pair's efforts. Will continued to regard the scene with a calm smile. Putting on an extra burst of speed, Pika leaped high into the air and prepared to deliver a Slam attack.

"Psychic," Will said, barely audible enough for Red to hear him.

The rodent's tail came down, only to stop inches from his intended target. Pika's eyes widened in surprise as he was lifted up into the air and spun around like some sort of puppet on strings.

"Fight back Pika!" Red called out desperately, not sure what to do.

"Don't you think I'm trying?" the Pikachu spat, growing dizzy from all the spinning.

Although things weren't going well for Red, Will appeared ecstatic, eager to finally show Sabrina that he had what it took to be a great Psychic Trainer. "Now, Macarena!"

"Huh?" Red asked, not sure how in the world that was meant to be a battle command.

The glow around Elizabeth intensified as she slammed Pika forcefully into the stadium, causing Red to cry out in concern. Slowly, the mouse got back up again…and began to do the Macarena?

"Uh, Pika, this isn't time to dance!" Red called out, utterly confused by what was going on.

"He isn't dancing, Elizabeth is controlling his body with Psychic," Will explained with a smile, as he too began to dance. "Won't you join us Red? Everybody Macarena!"

Well Will, you certainly have a…unique battling style, Sabrina thought to herself in amusement, as the teen continued to dance. Still, that's not necessarily a bad thing…

"Come on, snap out of it Pika!" Red called out, as his Pokemon continued to dance helplessly, his body no longer under his control.

"You know what they say Red," Will laughed as he continued to show off his dance moves, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!"

The boy gritted his teeth, knowing that Pika would eventually tire from repeated dancing, yet not sure how to get out of the situation. The Pokemon couldn't move…

"Red, do something!" Pika cried, his face red with embarrassment. "We can't lose like this!

Wait a minute! If Pika can still speak, then that means that not everything is under Will's control. "Pika, use Discharge!" Red cried out triumphantly, causing Will to pause in his dancing and regard his opponent with surprise.

Pika grinned, his body dancing with millions of sparks before releasing them all in an enormous flare of electricity, the Trainers on both sides having to jump aside to avoid being hit. Too preoccupied with making the rodent dance, Elizabeth was struck hard by Pika's Discharge attack, her body lighting up like a Christmas tree.

"Oh no!" Will cried, as the tiny bird flopped to the ground before slowly struggling to her feet, her body sparking with residual electricity. "Elizabeth, are you ok?"

"Will…I can't move…" Elizabeth replied, hundreds of sparks dancing across her feathers.

"All right! Paralysis!" Red cheered, thankful that something was finally going their way, only to turn in surprise as Pika let out a cry, his body too having come alive with sparks.

"Synchronize," Will explained in answer to the boy's startled expression. "Looks like your lucky break wasn't so lucky."

"Maybe," Red replied with a smile, causing Will's eyes to widen in surprise, "but you know what they say, right Will? If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!"

"Huh?" Will asked, tilting his head to the side in confusion, Elizabeth and Pika looking equally puzzled.

"Pika, dance with Elizabeth!"

Pausing long enough to give his Trainer a confused stare, the rodent dashed forward, using Quick Attack to gather speed, before grabbing the bird's wings and making her his dance partner. It was little more than a slow waltz due to the paralysis of the two participants, and both Pokemon found themselves unable to move several times, but, oddly, it was beautiful.

Or maybe it's just the younger generation that has weird ideas? Sabrina wondered, at a complete loss for what was going on.

The two Pokemon continued to dance for several minutes, before Red gave a triumphant grin. "Now Pika! Thunderbolt!"

Elizabeth can't avoid that, not at this close range! Will noted, eyes widening in realization. So that's what he's been planning! To overcome the paralysis by getting in close and delivering the finishing blow!

An enormous bolt of electricity rose up from the bodies of the two dancers, the energy crackling as if to signal the finale of some great duet. Finally, the attack ceased, Elizabeth falling like the drop of a curtain.

Will was silent for a moment before recalling his fallen friend to her Pokéball, a small smile on his face. "Well done Red! You've not only made this battle highly enjoyable, but beautiful as well! Now I know I'm a bit eccentric, but I can't be the only one who thought that Pika and Elizabeth's waltz was poetry in motion! …Although I can't say I enjoyed the outcome…"

"Uh…thank you?" Red replied uncertainly, unsure of why Will was making such a big deal about their rather unorthodox battle.

"Please, the pleasure's all mine!" Will replied with a wave of his hand, big smile still on his face. "Thank you so much for letting me experience such a wonderful battle! Hmmm…maybe I should design a gym in the form of a dance floor? A music studio? Hmm…something music themed. Anyway, the possibilities are endless!"

"Will is rather…passionate," Sabrina chuckled, as she began to use her psychic powers to heal the two exhausted Pokemon. "Anyway, I hope you're ready for our battle. I have already foreseen the outcome, but in the end, the result is really up to you."

"I'm ready!" Red replied, eyes shinning with determination.

"Heck yeah!" Pika agreed, cheeks sparking eagerly.

Sabrina smiled, her eyes beginning to glow with psychic energy. "Well then, time for us to play."

Author's Note: Well, that's chapter forty-nine, sorry about it taking so long for me to update. Also, I know a lot of you have been hoping for Ken to get an Eevee, specifically a female one, but hopefully everybody's ok with Marik getting one instead. :)

For those of you who've played Red/Blue/Yellow or Fire Red/Leaf Green, you may recall visiting the Celadon Mansion to get the Eevee that Aqua is based on, only to run into Gamefreak, and listening to them to talk about the very game you were playing. It was this event that inspired this chapters little creator cameo.

Anyway, big things happening next chapter, so I hope you're all looking forward to that! Thanks for your patience and support, everybody! :)