Part One: Meet the Humans
Chapter One: Aqua
Boreas yawned as he stared off at the passing riverbanks, bored out of his skull. There was absolutely nothing to do on the small motorboat except being bored. Earlier that day, the excitement of the chase had left no time for boredom, but now that Team Plasma had escaped, Boreas really noticed how long the way back to Driftveil was. He couldn't even play with Black, his trainer, as he was too busy steering the boat. Maybe I should just ask him to return me to my pokéball, thought Boreas, at least I'll be out of the direct sunlight in there.
Boreas sighed and stared at the riverbanks again, but this time something caught his eye. They were passing by a small rock in the river, and on the rock was a very cute Vaporeon, sunning. Her shapely body was covered in blue fur that sparkled in the Sun, her finned tail was about as long as the rest of her body, and when she looked up as the boat passed Boreas saw she had a lovely face. She smiled and winked at him, and Boreas felt as if his heart had stopped and his blood was boiling, and blushed under his fur. He tried to greet her back in some way, but only managed an awkward nod and something that was supposed to be a charming smile but probably looked more like two fishermen had caught their hooks in the corners of his mouth and were now trying to reel him in. It had been a long time since he had last seen another Eevee, let alone one as pretty as this Vaporeon, so Boreas yearned to go talk to her. Unfortunately the boat had already passed and they were moving away.
"Black, stop the boat; I want to talk to that Vaporeon," Boreas said to his trainer, who didn't understand a word of it, as usual.
"Not now, Boreas," he said, "Let me just focus on steering, or we'll end up on a rock."
"C'mon, just look over there, and you'll get it!" Boreas said, pointing to the Vaporeon.
Unfortunately, Black's back was turned to him while he steered. "If you're hungry just get some berries from my backpack."
Boreas sighed, looked at the shapely Vaporeon again, and jumped off the boat. The water was cold, but that was quite a relief after sitting in the unseasonably warm Sun. He managed to resurface and began swimming to the rock clumsily. Though his swimming was bad, he managed to keep himself afloat and slowly made progress against the river's gentle current. After a few minutes of unhandy swimming while the Vaporeon watched him with amusement, he finally arrived at the rock and held on to it with his front paws to keep afloat. He looked up into a pair of gorgeous black eyes looking at him expectantly, and realised he had no idea what to say.
"Uh... Hi," he said.
"Hi there," said the Vaporeon, "my name's Aqua."
"Hi Aqua," Boreas said awkwardly.
"So..." she asked. "Do you have a name?"
"Uh... Y-yes, it's Bors. No, Boreas!" He kicked himself underwater for making a complete mess of this. Though he had planned to be really charming and witty, he realised he was currently displaying all the charm and wit of a spoilt carrot.
After a very awkward pause of a few seconds, she said: "So um... Can I help you, Boreas?"
"Uh, well... Y'see... I just wanted to tell you that though my Blizzard is usually powerful enough to freeze a Heatran, with someone as hot as you nearby I couldn't even manage a cooling breeze."
It was silent for a second or two, and Boreas felt incredibly awkward and was about to apologise for wasting her time and try to swim back to the boat. Then she started laughing, a sound more wonderful than the sound of a newly-sprung brook in the mountains to Boreas. "Thanks. I've never heard that one before. Come, join me, the rock is big enough for two and I've seen minerals who were better swimmers than you."
Boreas gladly joined Aqua on the rock. It was just large enough for two to sit on while maintaining a somewhat respectable distance. Boreas tried to think of what to say next, but Aqua saved him the trouble as she asked:
"I saw you with a human on that boat. Is he your captor? Will he come after you for escaping?"
"Captor?" Boreas asked in surprise. "No, he's my trainer; his name's Black."
"Yeah, that's what I meant. So you're a captive pokémon?"
"No, I'm not. He's my trainer, not my captor."
"You say Arseus, I say Arkeus. It's the same thing, really," Aqua said smugly.
Boreas was getting annoyed. "No, it's not! Black is not my captor, he's my trainer and what's more, he's my friend. And I don't like it when you call him my captor."
Aqua gave him a sceptical look. "He keeps you locked up in a little plastic ball, doesn't he?"
"No he doesn't: he only returns me to my pokéball for my own protection, like when we crossed the Route 4 desert."
"Okay, but he makes you fight his fights for him, and orders you around during those fights, doesn't he?"
Boreas tried to think of some clever rebuttal, but she wasn't completely wrong and he found it hard to think while her deep black eyes looked into his, so he just said: "Well... I suppose you're partly right there, but the way you phrase it makes it sound a lot different then what it's actually like."
"Different in what way?"
"Well, for one thing he doesn't give that many orders during fights, because they go too quickly for that; trained pokémon too make most of their own decisions in battle. But even more importantly, he doesn't "make" me fight, I choose to fight for him because he's my friend." Aqua snorted sceptically. "No, really. Besides, I want to become the Champion as much as he does. And I'm even more motivated than him to stop Team Plasma after all they've done to me."
"Team Plasma? Are those the humans you were chasing when you came by earlier?"
"Yes, that's them. They got away from us this time, unfortunately. They're a bunch of pokémon thieves who want to separate humans and pokémon."
"Sounds like a good idea to me. What have humans ever done for us?"
"Sure, maybe it sounds like a good idea to you now, but they do wicked things to achieve that goal, and they don't just want to liberate pokémon from bad people, but they want to separate pokémon like me from trainers who are their friends as well."
"Perhaps they're right. Maybe a pokémon and a human can't be friends."
Boreas found it difficult to argue with those pretty eyes, but couldn't let that go. "What about Black and me, then? I can assure you we are friends."
"Maybe you aren't. Not really."
"No, hear me out. I once knew a Lanturn who had been captured by a Gyarados when she was a Chinchou. That particular Gyarados had a habit of hoarding his food, so he would sweep the sea for food daily and throw what he couldn't eat into a big enclosed cave and eat them later. After several weeks in the cave she managed to escape. You'd expect her to hate her captor, but she never spoke ill of him. When she would speak of him, she would talk about how he never treated her or his other prey unkindly and how he would always make sure there was enough food for them. When someone is held captive for a long time, they will actually convince themselves their captor is a friend, because it feels a lot better than being a captive."
Boreas hesitated. He had heard of this before, but had never considered it might apply to him. "No. Black and I really are friends, I'm sure of it, and if you knew all that we've been through together and all the evil things that Team Plasma does, you wouldn't agree with them."
"Maybe I wouldn't. Why don't you tell me about it?"
"I dunno, it's kind of a long story..."
"Hey, I've got time and I could use the company. And as for you, your "friend" seems not to care that you're gone, so I guess you have time too."
With a start, Boreas realised she was right. "Oh no, you're right! He's gone! I have to swim after him, or I may not find him again!"
"You'd never catch up. I saw your swimming and it's pretty bad, while he's in a boat. Why don't you wait here with me until he returns to look for you? Or, if he doesn't come back for you, I can swim you to Driftveil and you'd just have to hold on."
Though the prospect of talking to Aqua for much longer and then getting to hold her while she swam him to safety sounded very appealing, Boreas was worried about not finding Black again. "Uh... I don't know. I think I should-"
"Please?" Aqua blinked rapidly a few times, and Boreas' desire to go find Black disappeared like snow before the Sun.
"Alright, I'll tell you. It all began when I was just a little cub, eight weeks old..."
REWRITE NOTES: When I finished the final chapter of this story, a few weeks ago, I said I would go back to the story's beginning and rewrite the entire thing to bring it up to my modern writing standards. Well, some stuff happened that made me delay that, but now I'm on vacation in Greece and have all the time I need, so I just began. First of all, I should note that these 'rerun notes' which I'll put on some chapters will contain spoilers, so newcomers to the story should skip them. I'll try not to give away too major stuff in them, but you've been warned.
It's been weirdly sentimental for me to read this first chapter again and improve it; seeing Boreas and Aqua meet for the first time so close to the spot where the final chapter ends. I mainly fleshed out the narrative and their dialogue a little better in the rewrite, but this chapter was overall already quite good, despite being the first and shortest chapter of the story.