Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon. I do not own any of these characters. That is probably a good thing.

Chapter 1: Forgotten… again.

On the twenty fourth of December, late in the night, Professor Juniper walked out of her lab carrying a small, rectangular box. This box contained three Pokémon, which would be given to the children in town that had recently all turned at least fifteen. The timing of the Pokémon was intentional – she wanted to give the helpful and cheerful teens a gift for Christmas, to thank them for the work they volunteered to do around the lab. Especially Touya…

Professor Juniper smiled, remembering the gentle way he had fed and put to sleep a baby Emolga just that evening. He would make a good trainer, even if he was a bit on the impulsive side. Still, he seemed to be particularly in tune with Pokémon, perhaps because of his habit of treating each one like it was an equal. He didn't talk down to the Pokémon, instead including them in his conversations with his friends and the Professor. She liked that about Touya.

Shaking her head to snap out of her reverie, Professor Juniper knocked on the front door to Touya's house. A rather confused looking Mrs. Grey answered the door, her expression changing to one of delight as she recognized her longtime friend.

"Why, hello, Professor Juniper! To what do I have the honor of a visit from such a busy woman?"

"Actually, I came to deliver a gift for Touya and his friends. As you know, they are all at least fifteen, meaning they will want to go on their Trainer journeys sometime soon." Mrs. Grey nodded. "Of course," She said. "I imagine poor Cheren's going out of his mind with impatience. But… what does that have to do with anything?"

Numeva Town's Pokémon professor held out the box she had been carrying for her longtime friend to examine. "This box has the Pokémon inside it that have grown up enough over the last year to embark on their own journey, once they have a trainer," Professor Juniper explained. "With your permission, I would like to leave them here as a gift for the children. They can choose who gets which Pokémon between themselves when they wake up, and can leave whenever they'd like for their journey, with their parent's permission, of course."

Mrs. Grey nodded. "Of course you have my permission! I'm sure the kids will love it!"

"Really? Thank you so much!"

Mrs. Grey nodded. "Of course," she smiled. "Just be ready to give out some Pokédexes tomorrow."

Touya awoke early the next day, far too early for anyone else to be up. Touya smiled. Nobody else was ever awake as early as he was, but then, no one else in their little town woke up this early to go running like he did. Slipping on his shoes, he slipped out of the bedroom that he and Touko, his twin sister, shared. As he walked out of the house, a gift that had definitely not been there last night rested on the kitchen counter, away from the presents that "Santa" had brought. He stopped to read the label. From Juniper, he read, smiling. There was only one gift the professor might've left a couple of sixteen year old children. He would look forward to opening it later. For now, he wanted to go running. He snuck out the door, doing his best to avoid waking his mom or his sister.

Several hours later, having run all over the paths that crisscrossed the woods to the east of Numeva, he turned for home, jogging at a decent pace.

One would've figured that that would've kept him from running into the other boy, but he somehow managed to crash right into him without seeing him coming. Somehow, though, the normally graceful Touya managed to do it anyways.

"Huh?" Touya said, surprised that anyone else was up as early as he was on Christmas morning. He looked up, getting a good look at the other boy. He looked to be about fifteen or sixteen, but was rather tall to be that young. Still, something told Touya that he was about his age.

That wasn't the main thing he noticed, though. The main thing he noticed was the other boy's hair. It was a forest green, running halfway down his back, as though it had not been cut once in his whole life.

Oh well. At least now he knew how he hadn't seen him coming.

"Could you please get off me now?" Touya jumped, realizing he was indeed sprawled over the other teen. Blushing, he jumped to his feet. "Sorry," he squeaked, embarrassed.

The other boy smiled. "It's quite alright," he said. "I'm N," he said, extending his hand. Touya just stared at it. "N?" He asked. "Just N?"

"Yes. N is my name," the other boy said, keeping his hand extended. "Are you going to shake my hand or not?" N asked, his voice strangely devoid of sarcasm or hostility. Instead he sounded almost like Professor Juniper when she was observing the patterns of interactions between two Pokémon – curious as to what they would do.

Touya suddenly felt uncomfortable around this N person. Still, he shook the boy's hand, to be polite. "Touya, " he said after a minute.

"Touya," N murmured. "That name… I've heard it somewhere…"

Touya was confused. "People talk about me?" He asked.

N shook his head. "Not people… Pokémon."

"Pokémon?" Touya asked, trying to be respectful. "I didn't know any spoke English."

"They don't."

"Then how can you hear them?"

N looked over at him, a flash of anger appearing in his eyes briefly. "They would speak to you too, if only you would listen. Now if you'll excuse me, I am afraid I am expected somewhere." And with that, he was gone.

Touya watched the way he went for a moment, then remembered that he still had to get home. He started jogging again, but had to stop and walk because the soles had finally almost worn through.

At last he arrived at his home. Inside, he found Touko, Cheren, and Bianca all in the living room with their new Pokémon. Bianca was snuggling on the couch with Tepig, Touko was getting food for her Oshawott, and Cheren seemed to be only staring at his Snivy, not doing anything in particular.

"Hey guys!" Touya exclaimed as he walked in the room. All eyes were on him immediately.

"Uh, hey Touya." Bianca said, sounding a bit guilty. Touya was confused by this, and said as much. "Why the long face, Bianca? You've got a Pokémon!"

"Eh… well… yeah…"

"Then cheer up! You can finally leave on your journey!" Touya exclaimed. "Hey, speaking of which sis, where's the other Pokémon?" His attention firmly focused on Touko, she shifted uncomfortably and rubbed her arm. "Touya… there isn't a fourth one."