Chapter 1: The Trip
Ahh, I've been working on this since August and am I glad I managed to finish my way through it. :D It was originally going to be just a oneshot, but uh, I wrote it a little too long to be one, so I decided to chunk it up into three chapters. c:
It's good to be trying to write again.
Once upon a time in a past not so long ago, the American government grew fascinated with a certain type of creature that was said to have mysterious powers. These creatures, called pokemon, were similar to animals in appearance and often battled for the natives' personal reasons. Seeing those pokemon as a means to the ultimate war weapon, the American government decided to send out a squad of the most macho military men.
However, the government quickly forgot about the pokemon as its feeble mind turned to UFO sightings, and the squad on duty decided to take leisure upon travelling on foreign soil. After all, the pokemon were easy to train and the women even easier. The young army men spent three years having casual flings with various babes among the four leading regions, many of the babes being young Nurse Joys or Officer Jennies.
One of the Nurse Joys, who had a fling with the only army man who came back to the regions to live, became pregnant and moved to Sinnoh in order to escape the American ties. She would give birth a handsome boy named Volkner, who would gain support from many girls and boys over his childhood years. Though barely aware of his father's identity, young Volkner didn't need any male influences to become quite successful, though his machoness was lacking. He'd establish his own identity in the world of pokemon, meeting many friends and admirers along the way. Young Volkner, the best gym leader in the entire Sinnoh region.
About twenty years later, the young man would decide to pursue a different dream with his friends. And so they were on an airplane headed for Kanto...
"Naaa, these hamburgers aren't fast-food fried like in the brochure. Volk, grab me those ketchup packets, would ya ?"
Volkner sighed and shifted his mp3 player out of place as he grabbed the few ketchup packets from the cup holder. He didn't understand why his friend couldn't just lean forward and grab the packets himself, but most of his friends were losers. Girls thought Flint was that lovable scamp with a bushy red afro, and at times he did have a brotherly influence on Volkner...but losers were still losers, for Arceus's sake. If the expenses weren't already paid for, Flint probably would've pushed his share on someone else. Probably on good ol' Volk.
He handed his friend the packets, grimacing as he fast-forwarded a song. That electronica beat was not suitable for Flint's lazy antics. "Here you go, loser. I hope the ketchup tastes wetter with my hard work tainting it."
"Haha, aren't you in a good mood, Volk. Thanks, bud."
Flint proceeded to douse his hamburger with many squirts of the red condiment. It was amazing how much dignity could be lost with dinner alone. Volkner watched his friend stuff his ketchup-drenched packets into the spaces of his mouth. The sight was rather disgusting, seeing as chewing food with a closed mouth was a foreign concept, but the confidence made the man look the part of older brother, attractive and unruly. (Well, maybe attractive wasn't the best term.)
But it was still disgusting.
"Can't you chew with your mouth closed ? I invite you - no, you invite yourself - to come on this all-expense paid trip with me to what could be the best experience of my life, and you're acting like a caveman before we even get there. What can you say for yourself ?"
"Pfft, and what about the other two ?"
Volkner groaned. He hated to admit it, but his loser caveman friend had a point. Across from them sat their other companions, Lucian and Aaron. They were a couple of nice guys, but they weren't exactly the kind of people Volkner wanted to be associated with on a friendly basis. Lucian was one of those pretty-boy metrosexuals who flirted with all of the ladies. His fancy for martinis, suede suits, and dark-tinted glasses advertised class and superiority. But Volkner knew that was just a face for Lucian's possible alcohol problems. Every time. Every time they had a poker game or a soccer match to watch, the classy metrosexual would have some kind of drink in his water bottle. Sometimes it was water. Most of the time it was not. And Lucian wasn't a cool drunk.
On the other hand, Aaron acted like himself. That was the problem. He was scrawny, inconfident, and wore shorts all four seasons. Every weekend he would hang out with middle schoolers to catch frogs and bug pokemon, and all of the college frat boys would laugh at him. Although Volkner wasn't a college guy, he would often join Aaron's predators. That guy was just begging to get pranked. Every time his undies were pulled over his head or he sat in paint, Aaron would spend an hour flailing and crying. The only reason Volkner picked him over Roark was that Roark was on a family vacation or something.
Flint was right. He was the best guy of the three.
Across from them Aaron shook his DS. "Aww, Mario fell into the alligator pit again ! Now he'll never be able to save Princess Peach !" he said, groaning.
Lucian scoffed. "Why would you want to save a blonde bimbo like Peach ? Everyone knows Luigi and that fat dude are also being led on by her. Now Princess Zelda, my friend, is a worthy apple to be picked."
He swished his water bottle around and smirked. Aaron pouted, his pasty cheeks turning a rosy red as he shook the DS again. "No one understands my adoration for Princess Peach ! Her flowing blonde hair and gorgeous gowns are a part of every man's dream. And sometimes I wish I could be a girl for a day just so I could cosplay as Princess Peach. Then all of the warriors would fall for me, and-"
"Wait a minute," Flint interrupted. "Aaron, why do you have to be such a pansy ? If you dressed like a chick for a day, I'll betcha a million bucks that no one would see you as any different. But hey, maybe you could get those middle schoolers to roll over your dress, bro. You could be the princess of all the pansies in the world. That'd be the most exciting thing you've done in your life, wouldn't it ?"
"Yeah, putting on makeup and dresses while you talk to your dozen boyfriends and play with your crown so you can go up to the club, huh ? And then you'll dance around with those dozen boyfriends and they'll offer you drinks, and you'll get so stone-cold hammered that they'll lock you up in the castle for good. Okay, Princess Aaron, I see how it is. Heh. I s'pose I'll be one of those boyfriends you'll be hangin' out with."
"And everyone knows that pink dresses are out of season," Lucian added haughtily, pushing up his glasses.
"Nnn, waaah. Waaaaaah..."
Lucian took a long swig from his water bottle. Flint snickered and went back to eating his hamburger, ignoring the weeping man who suddenly clung to Volkner's legs. As Aaron's wailing was as loud as a Screech attack, Volkner tried to console him, but there was no use. They were always doing this to him, those two, and Volkner was always the one to handle the mess. Actually, wasn't that the case with any mess they made ? Whenever a bill went unpaid, a liquor cabinet demolished, or the peace shattered, wasn't it always his problem ? Wasn't he always the one to bail them out or save them from Cynthia's wrath or...or...
"Volkner, you believe in my dreams, don't you ?"
The Pokemon League did not pay him enough for this crap.
Early on the next morning, Volkner was awakened by the low drone of the pilot's voice telling everyone that their flight had landed safe and sound in Vermilion City. Caring less about the details, he yawned and checked the time on the digital clock. 4:30. Great, even time was against him, mocking his two pitiful hours of sleep. For being the cool and composed one, he had never wanted to push Flint out of the plane like he did last night. His jokes and macho masculinity were not interesting. No one wanted to hear about his afro. And Volkner swore to Arceus if that guy didn't stop talking about Candice...
Volkner sighed. It was too damn early to get agitated. He got up from his seat and shuffled into the aisle, careful not to step too hard on Aaron, who had made himself comfortable on the floor after his crying fit. Most of the passengers had reluctantly awakened and were already off the plane. As he was about to make his own departure, he thought about waking his buddies. And that thought exploded like a Geodude. Let them give him some peace before their rockstar debuts.
Some peace, that is. While he was slowly waking up in the airport, he had that unmistakable feeling that he was being watched. Not unusual, except that most people were still asleep. Then again, he read in the brochure that Kantonians were notorious for doting over tourists, even stalking them sometimes. And he was a handsome fella...but he did have a girlfriend. That feeling had to go away.
It wasn't until he was outside that he decided to call out his Luxray to investigate. The feline pokemon was annoyed and growled at his trainer, but Volkner ignored him. "C'mon, Lux, I'll let you sleep in all day if you do this for me," he murmured. "Just use a quick Spark in the bushes."
A faint line of electricity whizzed past Volkner and into the bushes, sending a pink-faced Aaron in the air. He cried out in pain as he clutched his rear. Satisfied at his target, Luxray grinned and went back into his poke ball. Volkner also couldn't help but crack a small smile, but he knew this situation called for seriousness. "Hey, what are you doing following me around like a stalker, buddy ?"
Aaron's cheeks turned pinker, and he promptly took his hands off his rear. "Ahh-d-well, the travel book says that when entering into a foreign land, you should always have a travel buddy." He shook his head. "I wanted to make up for yesterday, so I wanted to be your super-dependable travel buddy. That is...if you'll have me."
"Were you being followed ?"
"N-No. I think the stewardess was just trying to wake the others up. It wasn't working."
"Good. Let's walk."
And so they walked. Neither of them was familiar with the Kanto region, so they decided to stick to the main streets of Vermilion. Kanto wasn't that different from Sinnoh. It had a peaceful atmosphere as the first flock of Pidgey searched for bread crumbs. The city appeared to be as clean as Sunyshore, although there were no solar panels in sight. This would be an ideal place to become a wannabe rockstar.
Volkner felt smug. It was about a month ago that he had received those invitations in the mail. Four crudely-made passes, decorated with skulls and lightning bolts, inviting Volkner and three of his guests to rock out at a rock-and-roll fantasy camp. All-expense paid, with instruments and a wild experience guaranteed. The invitation had Volkner wired up like a giddy schoolboy in puberty. He had even made Roark and Candice check his prizes to make sure they weren't frauds. The details seemed legitimate, although Candice was still a little skeptical. But Volkner was fine with a few sketchy details. Only problem now was his company.
An awkward silence loomed above the two of them. To be honest Volkner didn't know Aaron very well. They were always grouped together in their adventures, but there was never much of a real conversation. Well, Aaron was always crying and being set on fire. It was kind of hard to keep a straight face around that guy. He didn't know much about Aaron...not even his last name, really. But it was worth a try.
He stretched out his arms and smacked Aaron on the back. The man winced but gave a sheepish smile in reply. Volkner knew communication would be hard. "Hey, so look at us. We're the two studs who will grab everyone's attention."
"Hmm ? Oh, yeah. I'm very glad you decided to invite me, Volkner. I didn't think we were that close."
"Sure we're close. You have a little sister, don't you ?"
" A little brother," Aaron corrected. "He's the leader of the Azalea Gym in Johto. I'm so proud of him."
"Johto, huh ? That's nice."
Silence. Volkner couldn't help but feel a small bout of embarrassment. From the photos Aaron had shown him, he could've swore that that kid was a girl. Looked like femininity ran in the family. At least he knew Aaron had a brother now. A brother that ran a gym. That could strike up plenty of conversations...maybe...
They continued to walk around for what seemed like forever. Volkner was still transfixed on the gender details. So Aaron was a guy who wanted to dress up as a chick and had a brother who apparently was already doing that. Ridiculous. He shouldn't have agreed to be a so-called travel buddy to Aaron. Why did they even need to be paired together like children ? Aaron was older than him. It didn't make any sense. And why was that guy flailing and jumping now ?
"Aaron, would you please stop jumping up and down like a psycho ?" Volkner snapped.
Aaron blushed and lowered one of his hands. With his raised hand, he scratched his head, then pointed to an old, moldy building. Volkner wrinkled his nose and wondered why Aaron would point at something so...old. Its gutters were dripping leaves and wet stuff. The paint was a puke-like green and peeling. The Rattata even had no problem making their family pack alongside the trash cans. Most buildings in Sunyshore were in better-quality condition than this. Most buildings didn't have barb-wired fences surrounding them, either.
Sure enough, however, the sign above the building read, "B and B Fantasy Camp." Volkner chuckled and smacked Aaron on the back again. "Well, lookie here, Aaron. You found it."
"Hehe. Well, we did it. Why don't we go in and get a headstart on those other two...Mr. Travel Buddy ?"
"Sure, okay !"
They approached the building. Volkner opened the door to greet his nose with a foul odor, a gross mixture of meat and sweat. As they walked into the dim building, there seemed to be no one else there. Maybe the rockstars were using the surprise tactic to greet them. That was always being done on TV. Volkner cupped his hands over his mouth and cried, "Hello, Vermilion ! Are you out there ?"
Nothing. Volkner bit his lip. Those rockstars were playing their roles really well. He cupped his hands again. "Hello ?"
"Maybe no one's home, Volkner."
"Quiet, you. Hello ? Hello ?"
That voice. But more importantly a flurry of rocks and thumbtacks began to pelt the two men. They cringed and attempted to shield themselves by using their arms. Volkner grunted, grabbing his travel buddy by the shirt collar and making them dunk behind two trash cans. The rocks and tacks continued to beat against the cans, piercing and denting the metal objects. A few of the pins managed to whiz over the cans and prick Aaron in the forehead, causing him to cry out in pain.
Volkner ran a hand through his spiked hair. Either this was an extreme greeting or an attempt to seriously injure them. When two Electabuzz began to throw their electric powers around, the blonde figured it was the latter. He grimaced, watching the yellow streaks bounce around the room, threatening them. Well, if the so-called rockstars wanted to use electricity, he could...but no, Luxray was his only pokemon on hand, and he wasn't about to come out of his poke ball again. Something had to be done. Someone could help them...someone...
"Hey, Aaron, call out any pokemon you have ! We need back-up !"
"I have one, but-"
"DO IT !"
He yanked Aaron's belt off of his shorts and flung it in the air. A Cascoon sank to the ground. The Electabuzz paused and snickered, pointing at the flailing bug pokemon. Volkner smacked his forehead as the enemies were drawing near. Maybe it would've been better if he would've just stayed on the plane with the others, or even if he had paid closer attention to Candice's skepticism. He turned to Aaron, who was full-on piggy-faced. They were about to be knocked out by Electabuzz, and he had to be a wimpy, useless geek. It was tough.
"Yeah, Volkner ?"
"You're the worst travel buddy ever !"