Touko heaved a sigh and dropped into her bed, snuggling with her cool pillow in relief that the day had finally ended. She couldn't deny how good it felt to be home and how amazing it had been to catch up with everybody, but they had run her more ragged than her hardest training session with nothing more than questions and concerns and all other vocalized worries.
'Tomorrow probably won't be much different.' Touko thought with the softest of grins as she attempted to sink her face deeper into the pillow. It would also be the first time in a long time that she could engage in a Pokemon battle without her status and reputation getting in the way of the sheer fun of it all. Here, in her hometown, Cheren and Bianca still thought of her as nothing more than a great friend while her mom continued to show maternal concern for her well being. Professor Juniper was the only one who still pestered her about research of Pokemon evolution, but even that seemed relaxed and nothing more than she could have expected. All in all, it was a relaxation that she needed.
"Good night, sweetie!" Touko's mom called up from downstairs. Touko could picture her mom curling up on the couch with a book and the TV turned down low enough for background noise.
"Night, Mom!" Touko called back as she tunneled her way under the blankets, letting the calm of being home sink into her bones before falling asleep.
. . .
Touko rose from her bed and blinked at the shift from her room to that of a pale emerald landscape. She had no idea where she was and flinched as a bolt of lightning struck the ground before shifting into a column of fire that caught in the wind and vanished. It happened again and again and Touko ran, trying to find some kind of shelter from the freak weather.
A crystal tree stood alone to her right and she rushed there, catching her breath as she watched the storm tear into the grass. She couldn't deny how beautiful it was to watch, despite the fear that one strike from the lightning-fire would probably kill her in an instant.
"Touko…" The sound of her name on the wind made her turn her head suddenly. She hoped to catch the person who called to her, but there was no one else in sight. As she opened her mouth to reply and possibly glean the location of the person, an arc of lightning struck the tree. The blast knocked her to the ground and the inferno that followed swallowed her whole.
A scream tore itself from her throat even after the realization that she was not burned or dead. It continued when she saw green clouds flying past her and realized that she was falling from an undetermined height. Touko quickly struggled to reach for her Poke Balls, only to find out that she didn't have a single one on her.
The fall ended as quickly as it had started when she landed relatively safe into outstretched arms. She said nothing, shaking as she clung to her savior with unrestrained joy. She thought she heard the person laugh once in a deep voice that sounded the same as the one that called her name, but she couldn't be sure of anything at the moment.
"Th-thank you." Touko's voice was soft and uneven when she finally managed to speak. She looked up at the person to try to see who it was, but their face was covered by a white hood that revealed nothing. She reached up to try and pull the hood back, but a pale hand caught her gently by the wrist and halted her movement. They then set her on the ground with great care before sitting a few feet from her.
"Not yet, Touko." His voice, for it could only have been attached to a male, only made her more curious, but she said nothing more. She pulled her legs to her chest and perched her chin on her knees as she kept a careful eye on the person before her. The person laughed and she narrowed her eyes.
"Where are we?"
"We are here." The answer didn't solve any of the growing questions in her head. None of this made any sense. It wouldn't even have made sense in her dreams…
"Am I…dreaming?" Her eyes widened at her own proclamation, but there was nothing else that could have explained all of this.
"In a sense, yes. This place is a Dream Dust effect made possible by Musharna." His voice was cool and sounded strangely distant for being so close to her.
"Are you close to me in real life then? If I wake up-"
"I have been close to you for a long time, Touko." He extended his hand and lightly brushed the back of his fingers across her cheek, causing her face to redden almost instantly. "We are two halves of a whole and they wish to join through us."
"They? What are you talking about?" Touko rose as the beginnings of true frustration and anger began to boil under her skin. As she rose, the effects of the Dream Dust seemed to lessen and the real world began to shimmer back into sight.
"Our adventures may not have started on the same day, but they entwined the first time we met and led us down the same path, though neither of us were aware at the time. Start at Karakusa." Touko reached for the fading figure, struggling as though neck deep in honey. She called out to the figure but her voice quickly vanished with the illusion…
. . .
Touko woke with a jolt, struggling to free herself from the constricting blankets before rolling clean off her bed and crashing onto the ground with a loud thump. She quickly regained her bearings and rubbed the slight pain from her shoulder as she sat up.
"Kara…kusa?" Touko's voice was quiet as she tried to remember every detail of her dream and blend it with memories from her journey. "That was the first town I traveled to after I got Azhure." She kneaded her temples as she tried to think harder with her sleep-addled brain.
AN/Hope you all enjoyed the beginning of my story! Just wanted to get a few possibly confusing facts outta the way. The first one is the town of Karakusa. It's the Japanese name for Accumula Town in the game. Azhure is the name I gave to my female Oshawott while I actually played White.