Chapter 6: Bonds

Brett shoveled the food into his mouth, hardly ever coming up for air. The food was gone almost within two to three minutes. He finally looked up, content with himself, and watched his Pokémon. Drillbur and Lillipup were happily eating their food, but Pansear hasn't touched his at all. Brett couldn't imagine what Pansear is going through. The way Charles treated him was ridiculous. How could someone just abandon their Pokémon like that? People like him don't deserve Pokémon. Brett got up and walked to Pansear. "hey buddy, you doing okay?"

Pansear didn't even look up at him. Brett got down lower and looked into his eyes.

"Pansear, I know it sucks. I can't imagine how you feel. But I know you're not the Pokémon that Charles thinks you are. You ARE strong. And with training you'll get even stronger." Pansear looked up at Brett, and Brett saw sorrow in his eyes. Pansear looked down, and slowly started to eat. Brett smiled and rubbed Pansear's head. "That's the spirit. Hey guys, how about we get some training done before the Gym battle?"

Both Drillbur and Lillipup jumped and cried with joy, but Pansear said nothing. Brett looked and him, but said nothing. He knew it was going to take a while for Pansear to get over Charles leaving him, and Brett was going to give him all the time he needed.

"Drillbur, Mud Slap!"

Drillbur swiped at the log and sent it flying. They'd been training most of the day, taking some well-deserved breaks, and just having fun. Lillipup was doing great with training. Brett had full confidence that he'll handle himself well in the Striaton Gym. Brett looked at Drillbur's handiwork and smiled. "Great job Drillbur, go ahead and take a break." Drillbur smiled and went and sat underneath a tree. Brett looked back at Pansear. He was farther off than either of his pokemon, with his head down and leaning dejectedly against a tree. Brett decided he was going to break through Pansear's wall.

"Pansear! Ready to train?" Pansear's head shot up and looked at Brett. Brett looked genuinely interested in Pansear. Pansear couldn't remember a time that Charles looked at him like that. All Charles ever did was yell commands and the occasional compliment at Pansear. He thought a moment, got up from the tree, and walked deliberately over to Brett. Brett smiled. He knew that he would. Brett set up another log, and walked back behind Pansear.

"Alright, ready Pansear?" Pansear said nothing. Just stared straight ahead. Brett looked at him. Pansear had a glazed look in his eye, like he was off in his own world. Brett walked in front of him, and the glazed look disappeared. Pansear looke up at Brett.

"Are you sure you're ready?" Pansear just stared at him. Finally, after a long pause, Pansear nodded and looked at the log. Brett stepped out of his way, and before he could even shout out a command, Pansear already started battling. He lurched forward and led off with Scratch, taking a giant chunk out of the log. He then used his momentum to push back and crisped the log with Incinerate. It crumbled into a pile of ash. Brett was startled. He didn't give Pansear any commands, and he just completely destroyed that log.

Brett walked over to Pansear. Pansear looked at Brett, and he could see the rage flaring in Pansear's eyes. "Pansear, you did great," Pansear smiled, "But you have to work with me. We'll never win unless we work together." Pansear's smile was wiped away as fast as it was put there. The rage that flowed through him taking down that log flowed through him once more, and Pansear turned away from Brett defiantly.

"Don't be mad, I just need some cooperation. Okay?" Pansear didn't look back. Brett frowned. Pansear wouldn't listen to him now, so how could they train? Brett tried to think, but nothing came to mind. Finally, Pansear just walked back to where he was before, but now with anger, not sadness. Brett trained a little more with Lillipup and Drillbur, but he left Pansear to his thoughts. Pansear looked at Brett with Drillbur and Lillipup with jealousy. Their trainer was a nice trainer. His was mean. Charles was a nice guy when he first caught Pansear, he was confident but collected. But the farther he went with Charles, the more he saw that Charles wanted to be the best he could, and Pansear wanted to help with that. But Pansear couldn't meet his standards. Pretty soon, most of what Charles did was yell at Pansear. Pansear saw this as constructive to make him better. Sometimes he wouldn't take Pansear out of his pokéball. He saw this as a punishment. Pansear didn't understand Charles sometimes, but he loved him all the same. When he left Pansear with Brett, Pansear was devastated. All that training, all that hard work and bonding, and Charles left him with a stranger. Why did Charles hate him? Why did Charles leave him with Brett? Pansear was lost in thought, and didn't see Brett come and sit next to him. He only knew when Brett nudged him. Brett had a look of genuine concern on his face.

"You know you can't shut me out forever, right? Look, I'm so sorry for what happened. Your probably sick of hearing it. But I am. I want to help you. I want to make you stronger, to show Charles how wrong he was. To show him how strong you really are." Brett looked into Pansear's eyes, and Pansear looked into his. Pansear has never seen such kind eyes. They were eyes that were genuinely concerned about his wellbeing. These were the eyes of a trainer who cared. Pansear jumped up and hugged Brett, and he cried. He cried hard. Brett just held him and comforted him. He was happy that Pansear finally was opening up to him. Pansear smiled through his tears, because he knew he was going to be alright. He knew everything was going to be alright.

"Pansear, Incinerate!" Pansear blew the cone of flames at the log and burnt it to ashes. Brett made tremendous progress with Pansear. Ever since that night they talked, Pansear has been tirelessly working to become the best he could. He wanted to make Brett proud of him, and he knew he would.

"Great job Pansear! That was a great move!" Brett scooped Pansear up and hugged him, and Pansear hugged back. "Welcome to the team, buddy." Pansear smiled and hugged Brett a little tighter.