Date: 24th April.
The whisper of a breeze breathed throughout Nacrene; upon it sailed the faint messages of those long departed, carried forth in the cracked remnants of dead leafs which spiralled from building to building carelessly, but with a silent eagerness to remain unanswered and admired by those clever enough to see their nature. Their path was traced by the hazel eyes of a young teenager, who sat by a mahogany table upon the long decking by the delicate Coffee Shop of his hometown; an accordion player played his unusual music close by but out of sight; the familiar chirping of local Pidove was faint, but constantly present in the pearl of a town.
Jet gulped down another cup of blisteringly hot, tragically weak tea; in his fourteen years he'd developed an unhealthy addiction to the stuff, an addiction he thoroughly placed on his father. He taught history in the local museum to passing tourists, although in his day he was once an excellent lecturer on the nature of fossils and their importance to science in the modern day. The two spoons of sugar in that tea, however? That was his mother's influence through and through. She was a baker with one serious sweet tooth, curvy, but in a fantastic motherly way. But Jet sat there alone, simply taking in the town in all its afternoon glory. His mind was wrought with questions, troubles, dreams and, most dangerously, the hormones of every teenage lad out there.
'You and Skye must come to me at dusk, Jet. I have a new mission for you two to complete! Dusk, dusk! Dusk stone? No! The Time!' His grandfather's words played and played through his head incessantly, and with each repeat came the same sliver of excitement, panic, even the occasional adrenaline rush as he contemplated just what his Gramps's words could mean! It had been almost four whole years since his last 'mission' (which was to fetch the newspaper from the shop), yet back then even such a small job seemed so vivid, so alive with danger. Yet Jet and Skye (his cousin, his best friend) were young adults now, right? They had responsibilities, duties! They had lives to be lived, lives that were being wasted away in further education. Was it not time to finally, finally, begin their journeys as Pokémon trainers?
The beautiful azure of the day gave way to the transience of sunset, cool blue replaced by bold, blazing tangerine that night was sure to follow. Clouds speckled the setting sun, their dream dust bathed in gorgeous mulberry shades. Grandpa always argued that the day belonged to the light gods and the night to the dark gods, that the sky was simply their battlefield and that the world was simply a plateau, a little something cooked up from incomparable magic to keep the sky up there, forever circular, forever beautiful - forever a warzone for the higher powers.
Jet checked his Xtranceiver for the time; 18:59. With a tired sigh he rose from his wooden chair and grimaced; he'd whiled the hours away in that chair, which pretty much guaranteed that horrid pins'n'needles feeling to rack his ass for the next few minutes or so. Pretty annoying. He dusted himself off: Jet wore your standard stygian black jeans, an alabaster white t-shirt underneath an ultramarine blue jacket, and a garnet red and white baseball cap tucking away his shaggy brown hair. His feet were adorned by black trainers; he was a runner, and shoes like converse just weren't practical enough to keep up with him. He learned that the hard way, but a foot-full of blisters later Jet felt twice as clever for it. He set off for his cousin's house at a jog.
Nacrene was such a strange city: besides the Pokémon Centre, there weren't many 'normal' buildings; almost every single standard home was a renovated warehouse, as Nacrene was once nothing more than a storage facility for the once-mighty Train Station. Nothing but a few stray railroad tracks were left to commemorate the ancient system; the highway had long since made the trains entirely obsolete. Most houses were filled with artists, musicians, historians … the artsy type, really. Yes, Nacrene was quietly loud, and it definitely kept to the beat of its own drum. It was amongst the strangest to hold a Pokémon Gym.
Jet jogged along to the houses closer to Nacrene's entrance, which led out to Route 2 and all the wonders of cultivated wilderness. Each 'house' was about twenty feet tall, with huge encroaching alabaster walls and ultramarine roofs that melted off into the sky, each with a teeny tiny patch of grass that begged the dream of being a garden, stripped off by standard white picket fences. The brown-haired teenager didn't even bother to knock before entering No.9, closing the door tight behind him as he stepped into the living room.
"What-ho? Who yonder plunders mine cabin!" someone voiced suddenly, before a huge wooden stick smacked into the door; Jet just managed to duck in time. "Aye, you're a slippery devil!" cried the strange voice, before a moustached old man grabbed Jet by the collar. Jet wasn't scared, but admittedly a little caught off guard. Someone had given the old man sugar in his tea, hadn't they? Grampa was doolaly!
"Gramps? You gonna let go?" the young runner asked with eternal patience. Took the old coot a few seconds, but he let him go all the same. Jet rubbed his neck; he needed to remember just how strong the eighty-seven year old still was! Gramps ripped his walking stick from the wall and hobbled on back to his chair, grumbling to himself. Something about spacemen, the economy, and how fish back in his day were a lot bigger. He was hard to keep up with. "Where's Skye? Well, as if I have to ask," the fourteen year old answered himself; his cousin was hopeless with time keeping. He wished he could say she liked to be fashionably late, but … well, she was just late in general. Wreaked havoc with his schedule, she did.
Jet plonked down on the ground in front of his grandfather, looking at the old man with an expectant gaze. But Gramps gave away nothing; he'd suddenly become quite still, much less jittery than usual. Jet thought he was pretty mad, but Grandma Willis had always maintained that Grandpa Edgar was born that crazy. She'd loved him for it, too.
The front door slammed shut behind them after a few minutes, a bedraggled Skye entering her home. . Her chocolate brown hair hung with two bangs down the left and right side of her face, the rest flowing in a bushy pony tail. She wore a white vest top and a black overcoat that ended just above her hips, and sky blue shorts with white tufts at the edge. She also wore black boots with dark pink laces and soles, as well as, on her wrists, black and pink wristbands and her Xtransciever. She seemed flustered, too.
"Well, look at what the Purrloin dragged in," Jet said with a grin, tapping the floor by his side.
"Shut it, you. This is my house. I'll kick you out," she bit back with her ferocious grin; the cousins both smiled like a Cheshire cat, everyone said so!
"Thems fightin' words!" Gramps suddenly declared, waving his walking stick around like a lunatic. The kids blanked him.
"Yeah, thank God it's your house. Personally I wouldn't want to live in such a shabby place-" he caught himself nervously, glancing at Grandpa. Luckily the old man was distracted by his moustache.
"It's better than the dump you live in. Last time I checked you were living in a dustbin out the back of some rubbish restaurant," she replied, sitting beside her favourite cousin; she seemed kind for a moment, before she punched his shoulder – Jet bruised like soft fruit. Skye called him peaches because of it.
"Awwh, jealousy is a terrible thing, isn't it?" he replied a little dryly, before shoving Skye back. "So Gramps, you were just saying. Skye's real family were hillbillies?"
"Hillbillies my arse. More like rich millionaires who left me in the care of these people, else I'd explode of awesome!" she said, bursting out laughing.
"Come on, listen-"
"So you admit it, you're adopted! I knew you were different. Everyone always told me you were different."
"Right, that's it. Losing patience, Skye suddenly rammed into Jet's side, attempting to pick him up onto her shoulder. "God, you're bloody heavy," she grimaced, but somehow … yes, she was lifting him! While sitting down to boot!
" Must be all this muscle. It's heavier than fat y'know. Well, you would know all about fat with those legs ..." he replied, simply letting his companion have her way; she'd been the same since they were kids anyways. Although this time her hands pressed against his ribs quite painfully.
"Kids, kids, family shouldn't-"
"Ha! Hmm, you're right. Maybe I should take a look at that fat..." she said lethally before dropping Jet to the ground; he landed with a thud and could barely repress a swear from surprise. Grandpa had had enough; he jumped from his seat angrily.
"SO IT'S EASTER, HUH?" he exclaimed, completely sure that this would grab his grandchildren's' attentions. It didn't really.
Jet sat up straight again, fixing his hat nonchalantly. "Did I hear Easter? Couldn't hear too well, Skye's fat was blocking my ears."
"That doesn't even-" she began.
"So, Easter?" he asked with a grin, finally giving the old veteran the attention he so desired.
"Yup! And I got you both Easter Eggs. Oho, kids, take your pick," he said happily, sharing in the Cheshire cat smiles of his family. From under his seat he carefully retrieved two large eggs of identical size, but physically couldn't be more different. The first was a pale egg with a strange yellow film shielding the top half, which was as hard as rock. The second had a crimson top and an incredibly dark grey bottom … it seemed angry, which was pretty impossible.
"I want that one!" Skye almost screamed, lunging dramatically for the honeycomb-shaded Easter Egg. She grabbed it up excitedly, sat back down by Jet, who more calmly picked up the remaining egg. The colour surely didn't matter … right? Gramps was hiding something up his sleeve, Jet just knew it.
"Hey, I don't see any wrapping paper ..." he asked, feeling troubled; he flipped the egg over a few times, trying to find the crease he could pull back to reveal the fantastical chocolatey goodness within. "Hey, it's warm. I don't want lukewarm chocolate, that sounds really terrible! What is this I don't even …"
"Oh well, I'll still eat it!" Skye tapped her egg experimentally before opening her mouth wide, preparing to take a massive chomp out've her little gift.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING! GODDAMIT WOMAN, IT'S NOT REALLY AN EASTER EGG," the old man yelped, aghast at the apparent stupidity of his two grandchildren. "Kids these days, you've got no brains!"
"Oooohh..." the young girl answered, her brain slowly but surely tuning into the situation. She knew something Jet didn't, but what could it be?
"What are these if they aren't chocolate? Useless, that's what!" Jet argued grumpily, folding his arms. He was a real pain in the ass when it came to people coming between him and his glorious sweet tooth!
"I'll have it if you don't want it!" Skye called, itching towards the dark egg which lay abandoned by her cousin's feet. Grandpa was at his edge now, which said a lot.
"You two are idiots! Can you not tell a Pokémon egg when you see one? Fools!"
Jet was about to hurl his egg at Skye before his head snapped round, his eyes wide with shock. "Wait, Pokémon egg!"
"Yes! Working at a museum, you'd think a boy your age could recognise a Pokémon Egg." He trailed back off into his traditional incoherency, although Jet wasn't paying much attention anymore. He sat there, transfixed by the object that rested on his lap. His mind was pretty blown, it had to be said. In his hands he held … life. A little, tiny life that was his and his alone to care for, to raise … to love.
"Ah, come on Gramps, I was just pulling your leg. I knew all along it was a Pokémon Egg!" she bragged, pulling Jet back from the depths of his thoughts. He looked at her nervously; he gulped, looking back to his grandfather. Skye couldn't stop beaming. Jet just sat there, dumbfounded. He felt foolish.
"Oh yeah, me too, I definitely knew it was a Pokémon egg." It was the world's least convincing lie, and coming from Jet, that was a real doozy.
"Shut up, Jet, you liar," Skye said with a pout. She didn't fancy her cousin stealing her glory.
"OI! BOTH OF YOU. QUIT IT," Gramps yelled in his usual raised voice. He did enjoy speaking with all the authority of a capslock. "Now, this ol' man used to be a great Pokémon trainer and even better with the ladies, I'll have you know. Now, I travelled this whole region with some very special Pokémon, and I know what your parents are like, so I'm giving you both a mission. Take those eggs and hatch them, then get out of here and get out there! I'll cover your backs better than I covered Jimmy O'Tooles in 'Nam-"
Jet suddenly cut in. "Jimmy ... the guy who got shot in the nose?" he frowned.
"Nam? Where the heck?"
"Quiet, you," the pensioner replied instantly. At this, with their 'missions' in mind and eggs in hand, Skye and Jet looked to one another and rose to their feet in unison.
"Right, we'll just leave now. Later Gramps!" she said eagerly, giving the old coot a one-armed hug; she clutched her unknowing partner-to-be in the other.
"See ya, Gramps! Bet you fifty bucks that mine hatches first!" The two teens escaped the building as fast as their legs could carry them as Gramps chuckled madly, babbling another stream of incoherent shite that no one could hear.
"I love Gramps. He's battier than a Woobat," Jet said with a grin, the two cousins standing on Skye's porch with their eggs wrapped surely in their arms. The night sky rained a thousand stars upon them; amber streetlights flickered in the darkness, illuminating Nacrene with a charming tangerine hue.
"Haha! Couldn't agree more, but you still top the crazy list. Oh, and by the way, there's no way your egg is hatching before mine, loser," she mocked, sticking her tongue out impetulantly.
"We both know I'll hatch my egg first. But let's make this interesting, will we?" he asked, his catty grin suddenly becoming much more … devilish.
"Interesting? You mean you're going to sit on it like a bird and hope it'll hatch quicker, because you know mine's gonna hatch first?"
"Interesting, not as in how you somehow fit into short shorts, but as in ... a bet."
Skye cast him a warning look. "Hey! Don't make me tackle you again! I will – you know I will. So... what kind of bet?"
"Alright, here it is. Let's see, although we all know it'll be me, who can hatch their egg first? The loser has to fork over all their money!" The words hung over them like a bright shadow: always obvious, but never truly noticed until now.
"Haha, yes! I'm running low, so taking all your money will be great! Let's go, runner-boy."
"I'll be running a clear mile ahead of you at any rate. Catch you later, thunder thighs!" He burned, his energy spilling around him like a fiery aura; without waiting for Skye's reply (he was sure there'd be one) he ran off into the night, nearly tripping as he did so. His cheeks became rosy with shame, though he blamed the cold.
Grandpa Edgar sat upon his armchair in the corner of Skye's sitting room, the lamp on the table by his side the only source of light in the room. He stared at his hands, enticed by them. A tiny golden light flickered into life upon his fingertips, illuminating the crevices of his old face. "Jet, remember back to when you were ten! The key to your memories has become undone, go forth and uncover what we had to lock you away from."