Disclaimer: I don't own Pokemon.

Summary: Corrine just wanted to start her Pokemon journey with her reluctant Houndour partner. Maybe win a few badges, and all. But something sinister is lurking in the shadows of Sinnoh, and nothing is as innocent as it seems.

Here's a rather long AN. I rarely explain my reasons for doing a fic, but yeah. I've read a bunch of fics with original trainers as the focus and there are several ones out there that are magnificent. I decided to have a little fun of my own and write one myself. After working my butt off in college, and heading into my next year at a new school in the fall, I thought I'd take a break during the summer and have some fun with this. A little release of creativity. This fic will take place in Sinnoh, and will involve all the Pokemon from Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh itself. Unova will be mentioned, but not extensively detailed since I'm not as familiar with those Pokemon (even though Pokemon Black is my current obsession.) I'm probably making a big deal about this, but I just wanted to get everything clear before I get started. I'm sure no one is even paying attention to this anyway. And this might not get many reviews, but it's okay. It's a little pet project of mine, and I am very excited to start. Anyway, I'm running a bit long with this note. So, enjoy! That's all I can ask haha.

Another note: I've changed just a bit of the things on here. Updated a little bit. I've gave the character a bit more backstory and changed the age. It has to do with the plot, and everything, so it wasn't just a random thing. It just felt right to me to have the character be a bit older, but not by too much. Anyway, I will stop babbling. Please enjoy!


Spotlight
Chapter One: The Floaroma Folly


I guess every story starts somewhere. Gym Leaders, Elite Four, Ace Trainers and the like… they all have a story to tell. They all have moments that shape and form their lives and make them who they are. Whether it's good or bad, they have those things to call their own. Those things to be proud of. Those things to regret. It's even valid for nobodies like me. Those that have yet to be graced with a Pokemon partner of their own.

Of course, people make the claim that there is more to life than Pokemon - those people usually go off to make a boring life for themselves. Boring in my opinion, since I could never imagine a life without at least one Pokemon in my life - even though I have never truly had one that I could call mine alone.

My mother does, though. She and my dad own a farm in the center of Floaroma Town, where they use the aid of grass type Pokemon to help make medicine and various other things. They also have a Ponyta, a Rapidash, and a few Miltank. I go out and play with them as often as I can, despite my parents telling me not to because, "You'll stress them out and the product will suffer."

At that point, I usually roll my eyes and continue dancing with the various Gloom.

We have two Pokemon that we keep in the house. Kind of like pets, since they do no battling. One for my mother, after she begged my father to at least have one Pokemon for her own. She received a very small Growlithe - the runt of the litter, actually - who we affectionately call Burter.

While Burter is kind to me, my dad's choice Pokemon is definitely not. He has a cranky old Purugly named Primrose that Dad has had since he was a little boy and she was a tiny Glameow. Primrose absolutely loathes me, and has attacked me on many an occasion. No one else, just me. Not a lovely Pokemon by any means, and I typically held an adoration for them all.

My life has been surrounded by Pokemon since I was little, with all the Miltank and the Ponyta and the house pets, so it was natural that I decided to be a trainer when I wasn't even old enough to know what the term meant.

I have been saying I want a Pokemon for the longest time, but there is one problem - my indecisiveness.

My parents had no trouble with getting me a Pokemon, as long as it was in price range. Nothing rare like a Dratini or Gible, of course. But I didn't want those kinds anyway. Dratini were cute, and Gible were cool enough, but it seemed like cheating if I started out with a dragon type from the get go. Especially ones that evolved into such powerhouses like Dragonite and Garchomp.

Even though I couldn't decide on which Pokemon I wanted to start with, they kept up with me, offering option after option. My mom offered up suggestions I thought would scare her - like Heracross. But my mother had always been a wild one. My dad was the more collected one, offering more subdued and girlish options like Skitty or Meowth. I was beginning to think he had a cat fetish.

Heracross had sounded cool, but I couldn't jump on board with the whole cat scenario. Primrose had ruined cats for me, as far as I was concerned.

Still, there wasn't anything that could help me make a decision. However, my notorious indecisiveness wasn't the only problem. You see, my family was short of hands at the farm. My little brother Alec was five years younger than me, and unable to help much around the farm when I was ten and of age to leave the house and go on my adventure. Not to mention my parents weren't keen on letting a ten year old out in the world. Even though I was disappointed that I couldn't go on my adventure, I stayed and helped. It seemed bad to leave them without an extra pair of hands, especially when they didn't have the money to hire anyone. They promised me, though, that if I helped, when my brother was capable, they wouldn't complain about me going on my journey. I was eager to help my mother and father around the farm while they taught my brother the ropes, though I never got that particular advantage. I waited and waited, until they finally said my brother was ready to take my place to help.

A few days before my fourteenth birthday, though, something happened.

Something that would change my life in many ways. Something that would kick start a chain of events that there was no coming back from. From the way I'm talking, you'd think I murdered someone. Or someone killed me. Or something of that magnitude, but it was nothing as extreme as that.

I found a Pokemon.

It was dark and I was walking back from my friend's house. I could faintly hear the sound of the windmill churning away at the air from halfway across town. It was quiet. I figure that's why the noise drew my attention. As quiet as it was, I didn't expect a piercing howl to rise just across from where I stood.

I jolted, frantically looking around. There was no mistaking that sound. It wasn't human, but the sound of pain was universal, and I felt a shiver go down my spine.

I looked around for a moment as everything settled down again. The quiet returned like a thick blanket, and I wondered if I had even heard the sound in the first place. No one else was reacting, so maybe…

Again, the shrill howl pierced the air, chilling me to my bones. This second sound helped me find the general direction of where to go.

I turned to my left, and walked a few steps in that direction. There was a break in the trees and a little pool of blood at the opening. I stifled a gasp as I moved forward. My own safety didn't even come into play - I was just worried about whoever it was in the forest surrounding my normally peaceful little town.

I must have gone pretty far into the woods, since I could only just make out the slight lighting from the town.

I wasn't sure if there was anything else there other than trees and the occasional hooting of a Noctowl, until I saw it.

No wonder I hadn't seen it at first. Its fur was as black as the surrounding night, made even darker under the cover of the trees, the only thing that made the creature recognizable was the little skull cap placed on its head, the white cuffs around its paws, and the splashes of orange on the otherwise unmarked fur…

I took a look, and recanted my statement.

There were wounds marking the creature, deep puncture wounds, slight scratches. The ground around the Houndour was a bloody mess from where they had bled.

First I was shocked at the wounds, and I wondered how to help. But underneath that, I was secretly in awe. I'd never seen a Houndour in person before. I wondered how it got here, in a town known mostly for bug and grass types.

Bug… the thought hit me like a ton of bricks. Those puncture wounds looked like they could be the work of a bug type. Beedrill or Ariados, maybe. I shuddered - Ariados slightly creeped me out.

But no, there was something rattling just to the left of me. I moved my eyes from the wounded Pokemon to where the rustling sound was coming from.

I froze.

Looking at me with cold, reptilian eyes was a Seviper.

Grotesquely, its fangs were coated in blood, and a bit of the dried stuff was clinging to the scales around its face. I gulped as the predator assessed me.

That's odd, too. Seviper are mostly native to Hoenn. How could it be here anyway?

I didn't have time to think more on it because the snake looked to be gaining confidence. I was just one girl. And a gangly one at that. The Seviper could probably take me out in no time, and it would be a while before anyone found me…

I launched myself forward.

Crazy, right? But the only thing I could think of at that moment was saving that Houndour. The Seviper shot back a bit, leveling its gaze as if something had interested him, and I tried to ignore the way its tongue flicked out of its mouth. My arms shot around the body of the black dog, and there was a sharp pain in my upper arm. I ignored it, turning and running out of the forest, not caring to look to see if the Seviper was following. I scrambled out of the woods, surprised that I hadn't fallen yet.

I didn't think the Pokemon Center was open, so I didn't even consider that option. I ran straight for my house.

Before I even got to the door, I tripped on the steps, flinging myself and the Houndour across the porch like we were a sack of laundry. I slid, and my head knocked against the door, echoing throughout the house. I would have laughed if I hadn't been trembling with fright.

My parent were at the door in a matter of seconds, expecting me. I saw my mother's slipper-clad feet come to a stop in front of my face, and I looked up, keeping my arms firmly wrapped around the Houndour.

She gasped, "Sweetie! What happened?"

"Long story…" I told her, rising shakily to my feet. My father wrapped his firm hand around my upper arm and I winced.

"It bit you," he stated, almost like he was commenting on the weather. My mother was by my side, helping me into the house, and she squealed at the sight of it.

"We need to dress that wound of yours." Mom said, and I looked at her skeptically.

"And the Houndour…fix it, too."

"Him." my father said. "The Houndour's a him."

"Him. Right." I said, not really caring at the moment, as long as he would be okay.

Dad took the Houndour from my arms and carried him into the living room, laying him down on the coffee table. My little brother Alec peered down the stairs and gave a little yelp.

"Alec, hon, go back upstairs."

"What happened?" he asked, his large blue eyes wary, his dark hair mussed with sleep. He reached out and rubbed the back of his hand across his eyes before he focused them on the scene. He looked at me worriedly, "Why is sis bleeding? What's that…black dog doing here…?"

"Houndour." I corrected automatically, I felt my dad look at me like I'd gone insane.

My mom started to work on bandaging the Houndour, cleaning his wounds and wiping off the dried blood from his skull cap and fur. He was unconscious, so he wasn't able to take a bite at her like he did me.

Dad brought me over to the couch and made me sit down. "What were you thinking?"

"There was a Seviper…I just stumbled upon it in the woods…"

"Oh, I need to go get some Antidote from the PokeMart, then." my mother said, scurrying around me. I looked over to the Houndour on the table and saw that he was bandaged and clean. Mom was surprisingly efficient at those kinds of things. Before I knew it, she had grabbed her coat and was gone.

Dad stared at me, disapproving, "So you just…saved this Houndour?"

Primrose chose that moment to jump up on the couch where I sat, and I cringed. She gave a look in my direction before looking at the Houndour. The superiority in her eyes was enough to make me groan.

"I did. I heard him howling, and I just…dove into the woods to get him. I didn't see the Seviper until I was too close."

"Strange…Seviper and Houndour aren't usually around here, unless in very rare cases." Dad mused as he started to clean my wound. The job didn't take long. Though there was a lot of blood, the wounds weren't deep, just a row of punctures wrapped around my arm like some kind of gory tattoo. He brought out the bandages and wrapped them around and around my arm until it was tightly in place.

"I guess this is one of those rare cases…" I told him, and at that moment Mom decided to return, a bag of Antidotes in one hand and some Pokemon food in the other.

"I assume he's a wild Pokemon…not sure if he'll like this type of Pokemon food, but you can't say I didn't try."

I smiled at Mom as Dad tied the last bit of bandage around my arm.

Alec had ignored Mom's advice and was now at the base of the stairs, Burter in his arms, looking tiny in comparison to the other doglike Pokemon on the table. He looked excited though, the puff of his tail waggling here and there, brushing against Alec's puny arms.

"Are they going to be alright?"

Mom nodded. She'd learned a lot from Nurse Joy - when Burter was smaller, she had to take him to the vet often. Not to mention the various other ailments that would pop up, afflicting our other Pokemon. So while she was at the Pokemon Center, Nurse Joy would teach her many things about medicine and whatnot. How to tie a bandage. What things could be used to cure infection. Things like that. My mother was a natural, surprisingly, considering her ditzy nature.

I gazed at the Houndour, watching to see the slow rise and fall of his side to check if he was breathing. He was, and it made me feel that much better.

"I'm going to sleep down here tonight, if you don't mind."

"Not at all." Mom replied, "Someone needs to keep an eye on him."

I nodded, my gaze never leaving the black animal.

"I'll get you some blankets…" Mom said, making her way upstairs. "Alec, bring Burter and go to sleep."

"Fine, Mom…" I could hear the reluctance in Alec's voice, but he followed Mom anyway. I watched them retreat up the stairs.

Dad leaned down and kissed my forehead, "I'm going to bed. Sleep good. Wake us up if anything changes."

I nodded, and my dad left. Mom came back down later, blankets in hand. She spread them out along the couch, and threw a pillow at one end. Mom gave me a tight hug before kissing my cheek and leaving me, "Goodnight."

"'Night."


I slept surprisingly well on our raggedy little couch, and woke to the early morning light.

The Houndour wasn't awake - for one, chilling moment, I had thought he had died during the night. But I saw the telltale movement of his back and heard light snores coming from his nose, and I relaxed. He was knocked out. Maybe this would be a good time to take him to the Pokemon Center. After all, it would surely be open now. And the Center was free, so more reason to go. There could be something more wrong with him that Mom didn't notice.

So, I rose from the couch and made my way up the stairs, feeling rather stiff since I slept in my jeans and t-shirt from last night. Gross, too. I decided on taking a quick shower and changing, which I accomplished in record time. My hair was still damp when I slid down the banister and into the living room.

The Houndour was still sleeping, and I moved toward him slowly, like he could wake at any second. I scribbled a hasty note to my parents, who were surely out and working with the Miltank, Ponyta, and Rapidash. Afterwards, I cradled the black bundle in my arms and moved out the door.

I moved swiftly to the Pokemon Center. It wasn't that far across town, and I made it just as Nurse Joy was powering up the place.

"Oh, good morning," she chimed, and then looked at the Pokemon that I held so carefully. "My, what happened?"

I quickly relayed the story of last night to her, and she nodded, gasping at the appropriate times. Seviper, with their long, dagger-like fangs, obviously gave her the chills.

"You could have brought him in last night, though. I'm always here. Pokemon Centers are required to take any Pokemon at any time."

I mentally slapped myself.

"Oh. Right." I said, feeling myself blush furiously. "Sorry."

"No problem. A common mistake with new trainers."

"I'm not a trainer yet…" I said, trailing off.

Nurse Joy smiled at me, warm and inviting and reminding me so much of my mother, "Maybe you will be soon." She looked at the Houndour and back at me.

I smiled at her, but didn't know if she was right. I didn't know if I could ask that much of the Houndour, after all he had been through. He probably wouldn't want to travel with me at all. He'd probably end up biting me again…

I followed Nurse Joy into the Center and she took the Houndour carefully from my arms. I watched as she took him into the back room and slumped in one of the uncomfortable chairs they had decked the Center out with.

I couldn't help but think about what Nurse Joy had said. Or implied, really. That Houndour could be my partner - my starter Pokemon. It filled me with joy, but then I was suddenly sad, wondering if he wouldn't want to. It felt wrong to force him, but I wasn't sure why. Wasn't that what trainers did every day? Force Pokemon into Pokeballs and…

But that was different, surely. The case with the Houndour was completely different. I'd saved him, not weakened him with my own Pokemon. And, despite whatever anyone else said, it would feel wrong taking him away into my world without his permission. Silly, I know, but I found myself caring for the Houndour more than I thought I would when I saved him just last night from that Seviper. It was crazy, how attached I was in such a short amount of time.

It didn't take long for Nurse Joy to check out the Houndour. She appeared in front of me with a smile, holding the Houndour in her arms. He had woken up since then, probably from the examination. He was eyeing me warily. But he looked healthy, the bloodied bandages removed, the flesh beneath them healed of the ugly puncture wounds and scratches from last night. I was amazed. Whatever they had in the water here was certainly working.

The Houndour looked tired, though, watching me with dark, dark eyes. I gave him a grin, and he scowled. I let out a loud breath, downtrodden.

"He's going to be fine," Nurse Joy said cheerfully, "He's just tired, with good reason. You can take him home now."

I winced. I didn't know if he actually wanted to come home with me.

The Houndour twisted in Nurse Joy's arms, and for once I could see just how malnourished he was. I could see his ribs poking out against his skin, and I inhaled sharply.

I held out my arms, and the Houndour bit.

"Ow!" I exclaimed, clutching the side of my hand where two of his razor sharp teeth had gotten through. The wound was bleeding only slightly though, and I fixed my gaze onto him, lips pursed.

Nurse Joy smiled gently, "You know, for some Pokemon, that means they like you."

"Some sadistic Pokemon, no doubt."

The Houndour growled at me. I reached out for him again, and he tried to snap this time, but seemed to miss on purpose, as if he was just putting up a front.

"Thank you, Nurse Joy. I appreciate it."

"No problem. Anytime. Oh, and tell your father that Primrose is due for a checkup soon. I'd love to see Burter as well."

I smiled at her and nodded before I left the Center, hearing the bell jingle as I left. Maybe I would tell Dad about Primrose's checkup, maybe not… I smirked, but then sighed. I knew that I'd have to tell them or the guilt would eat at me. Stupid emotions…

I felt the Houndour look up at me, so I focused my gaze on him. He was looking at me with barely concealed curiosity as I took him back to my house.

"I know you probably hate me," I told him, "but I'm just taking you to the house to get you something to eat."

He blinked and shifted, and I felt the outline of his ribs against my palm.

"But, I do have something to tell you, or ask, or whatever."

The Houndour wrinkled his nose at me and I took in a deep breath.

Better now than never…

"My name is Corrine, and I was wondering if you'd travel with me."


End Chapter One.