Metamorphosis

Chapter 1

Disclaimer (won't post on following chapters): I don't own Pokemon and I don't profit from this story.


Emma rolled over in the sagging couch and squinted at the clock. 2AM. She would never sleep at this rate. Pulling the threadbare blanket over her shoulders only uncovered her feet. She shivered, even though it was warm.

She had to get out of here.

She wanted to be a Pokemon trainer and take on the gym challenge. Not that her mom would let her go willingly. Emma had steadily collected traveling gear, and she worked at a Pokemon center in the evenings. Her mom was growing suspicious. And destructive, as the shredded tent left outside her door as a warning indicated.

She had to be quick.

A neatly packed bag sat on the floor, containing a few changes of clothes, the most useful Pokemon book she'd ever read (a gift from Nurse Joy), simple toiletries swiped from a hotel, and a train ticket to Kanto. She'd have to walk from Viridian City to Professor Oak's research facility to pick up a Pokemon, but it would definitely be worth it.

Her mom would be furious, of course. The rest of Emma's belongings sat in a box she planned to leave at Justin's when she left. Her mom would trash everything in this room once Emma left and she realized what was going on. She was into that kind of petty vengeance. And senseless violence.

Emma sat up and shook her head. She had to get out of here now. With the box tucked safely under her arm, and the bag over her shoulder, she snuck out the front door. Dim street lamps lit the way to Justin's.

She rang the doorbell and sat on her box. A few minutes later, Justin's bleary eyed mother opened the door.

"Emma? What's going on? Come on inside," she yawned.

Deirdre was the only reason Emma ever felt like a normal person. Stable. She took Emma under her wing and into her home. She had a section of the attic furnished for Emma's frequent stays, and had even given Emma her own Pokegear when she confided her desire to train Pokemon.

"Emma dear, are you alright?" She glanced at the box. "Is this the big day, or was it a particularly bad night?"

Emma slumped on the couch. "It's not supposed to be the big day for a few more days, but I couldn't sleep. I think she knows and I wanted to get away from there."

Justin peeked around the corner, then moved to Emma's side when he caught her eye. He ruffled her hair and tried to smile.

"Are you okay? What happened?" He surveyed her for any fresh bruises. "You look alright." A questioning note hung in his voice.

She explained the situation to him and he visibly relaxed. He carried her box up to the attic. As soon as he closed the door, she collapsed on the bed, falling asleep immediately.

...

Emma awoke to her Pokegear's phone ringing. She glanced at the screen, wincing when she recognized her home phone number. Would she never escape?

The phone beeped with a new message. Lovely.

Sun filtered through the dusty window. Emma stared at the ceiling, then the neatly stacked boxes, then the old lace curtains Deirdre had hung to give this little room improvised walls. Downstairs, Deirdre and her husband Mitchell readied themselves for work.

Someone pounded on the front door.

Emma sat bolt upright, terrified.

Her mom's voice drifted up the stairs. She was talking to Deirdre and Mitchell, steadily rising in volume. Soon she was yelling, and it quickly degraded into incoherent screams. Then, it stopped - and the door slammed shut.

Carefully, Emma got out of bed and tiptoed to her door. As she reached for the handle, it swung open and she jumped back nearly a yard. Justin grabbed her hand and ran down the stairs to the bathroom. Deirdre and Mandy, Justin's sister, waited there for her.

"Emma, your mom is looking for you," Deirdre sighed, "and she seems particularly unpleasant this time. I think she'll be worse than usual."

Emma ducked her head and mumbled an apology. Deirdre leaned over and patted her shoulder, then wound some of Emma's long blond hair around her fingers.

"You need to travel in disguise, and we're going to help you."

They cut her hair short. They dyed it red-brown. Mandy gave her some of her old clothes and a different satchel - stylish and modern, and not falling apart at the seams - and spend a solid half hour testing different kinds of makeup to find the best compromise between looking good and looking like a completely different person. She gave her the makeup and taught her how to use it herself. The entire family was so thoroughly adamant that Emma remain hidden, they gave her a different colored case for her Pokegear and a counterfeit trainer card to use until Professor Oak gave her a real one. Justin, aspiring baker, stocked her satchel with fresh bread and muffins, and a wide assortment of berries from his bushes.

And as the family all hugged her and looked at her with such hope, Emma could hardly hold back the tears. They all said their goodbyes, and for a brief moment Emma contemplated just how permanent those goodbyes would be if her mom ever found her. She winced.

An hour after her mom invaded their house, Emma left it. She snuck out the back door and along the houses towards Goldenrod's main square and the train station.

And there was her mom.

Emma found herself trembling and barely able to keep it together as she followed the masses into the train cars. But all of Mandy's efforts must have worked, because even though her mom looked directly at her, she didn't recognize her. As the train pulled away, she still stood on the platform, scowling at everything.

Three hours later, Emma hopped onto the local train from Saffron to Viridian city. Now she could relax; with the train schedules, this put a solid day between herself and her mom.

Once at the Viridian station, Emma picked up a Kanto map and swiftly made her way south. The road to Pallet town was largely dirt but it took her through an absolutely beautiful forest. It was also far longer than it looked on the map, and by late afternoon, Emma was exhausted. And not even halfway there. She nearly collapsed on a rock, sprawling there until she heard a car stop.

"Hey, are you alright?"

Emma jumped as the young man put his hand on her shoulder. She wheeled around, ready to strike - oh! It was only Tracey. She introduced herself and apologized for her reaction.

Tracey happily drove her back to the lab with him.

"Seriously Emma, were you crazy trying to walk that far with only a map? No tent or anything?"

"I don't have a tent," she mumbled. "Would the Professor mind me staying a while?"

"Oh, he'll be fine. He loves visitors. You'll probably get to meet his grandson, too." Tracey told Emma all about the lab and research, and Emma nodded along. Tracey gave her an odd look. "Emma?"

"Yes?"

"You have a Johto accent."

"Yeah."

"Do you live in Johto?" Emma shrugged, making Tracey's brow crease. "Why didn't you pick up a Pokemon from Elm? He's a fine professor, and much more convenient for you."

"Wanted to go somewhere new." The silky, sulky tone of her voice clearly ended and further foray into her personal affairs. Tracey took the hint, focusing on the road and falling into silence the rest of the way.

The car slowed to a crawl as Tracey pulled it behind a large, tan building. "We're going in the side door," he explained, smiling. He parked and jumped out, opening the building's door and calling, "Professor! Emma's here early. Is there a guest room available?"

A young man with short brown hair came to the door. He sized up Emma.

"This is the new trainer? A little older than usual. Come with me."

Emma only moved once Tracey smiled reassuringly at her. She swung her bag over her shoulder and followed the young man into the house.

"So, what's your name?"

"Emma."

"Emma what?"

"Just Emma."

He gave her a quizzical look before turning down a hallway. "I'm Gary Oak, the Professor's grandson. I'm a researcher studying ancient, prehistoric Pokemon."

"What did you mean when you said I'm older than usual?"

He stopped walking and sized her up. "Well, how old are you?"

"I'm fifteen."

He glanced away quickly. "You look a bit older, with the makeup and all. Still, most of the kids who come by here are thirteen or fourteen." He opened the closest door and gestured inside.

The room looked fit for a king, with a large bed, a fancy chest of drawers, a fireplace, and massive etched glass doors leading out to a terrace. Emma walked inside, looking in a door to the left to see a luxurious bathroom all clad in marble. What was this for?

"How do you like your room?" Gary leaned in the doorway, almost smiling.

"What?" Emma spun around, gaping at him. "This can't be mine, it's far too nice!"

He shrugged. "Gramps always keeps a few rooms ready for visitors. It's usually important scientists or researchers, but preparing a more modest room for you would be more work." He cocked his head to the side. "Would you wait a few minutes? I'll be back soon. Make yourself at home."

Home? This was far better than home. This bed was the size of her old room! She dropped her bag and fell onto the bed. Oh, it was so soft….


Author's Note

Please, read and review.

I haven't been on for the longest time. It's odd to start posting my writing again. I probably won't update very often, what with being a senior in college and looking for internships and working on final projects that will be part of my portfolio and - Pokemon is a great escape.