Chapter 7: Rise
Mewtwos hammock rocked softly in the breeze, fresh salty sea air mixed with the incoming winds made the air crisp and clean as it blew through the apple orchard near Bill's light house. The wind left the trees and caressed the grass, making it rustle in soft waves. Mewtwo stretched, allowing his toes to seek the far edge of the hammock, and the wind to blow through his fur. He was determined to enjoy a much deserved day off. For the past two months Oak, Sabrina and Bill ran him ragged with training and research work.
In one hand he held a mostly eaten apple, and with eyes closed listening to the wind, the whole world ceased to exist. The Pokemon lazily threw the apple core away, and picked another off the nearest branch. Mewtwo took a bite, feeling the warm clean juice run over his tongue and down his throat, even the rind was sweet and sun-warmed.
Bill and Sabrina had been married yesterday on the nearby cliffs, and held their reception in the orchard. Sabrina had been a vision, dressed in light green, and Bill in dark blue, like a pair of sea nymphs on the edge of the ocean. Through the night they had changed into more casual wear for the reception, and the party had lasted until well after the sun had set. A few balloons and streamers still fluttered around the property, being made fair game by the other Pokemon out to enjoy a good day. Sabrina's Bulbasaur lounged in the sun, while her Kadabra enjoyed practicing his skills on a random balloon. Today was a day of rest.
With training, a few of Mewtwos skills had returned, the important ones at least. He could fly for small amounts of time, and levitate objects. Even more importantly, he could use Recover again for small cuts and bruises. Sabrina had gone back to spoon bending contests around the kitchen table. The contest consisted of spilling a bunch of spoons on the table and mentally fighting over them. The one who had the biggest pile of bent spoons, won. The contest had been between himself, Sabrina, Kadabra, Haunter, and Bill. Bill didn't do much, but surprised Sabrina when he picked a spoon up and bent it just by looking at it. He complained of a headache afterward, but Mewtwo had the suspicion that Kadabra or Haunter had something to do with it.
Games like that were good. Everyday a new skill returned. For attacks he had recently regained Barrier and Swift, plus his other fighting skills. Life was getting back to normal. Even those creepy dreams of the tomb under the mountain had stopped.
"Hello?" Footsteps trudged up the hill to the orchard. "Hello?"
And there goes my attempts at resting. Mewtwo cracked an eye open and finished off the apple.
"Is someone there?"
Professor Oak... Mewtwo rolled over and looked up though the tree branches at the blue sky. seemingly calling and mocking him at the same time. Days like this were meant for flying, and his patience with the Professor was wearing thin after the last few rounds of testing.
"Two, is that you up there?"
I better go, or the fool might break his arm climbing the hill. Mewtwo rolled out of the hammock, his feet hit the ground with a heavy thud.
"Ah, I thought so." Professor Oak waved aside any attempts from the Pokemon to help him up, then finished the climb and sat to catch his breath on a fallen apple tree. "A nice relaxing perch you have here. Are Bill and Sabrina busy?"
"It's their Honey Moon. You honestly want my answer?" Mewtwo couldn't help but tease the man.
"Heh he..No...Can we go to the light house? I have something important for you," he made no effort to rise, instead taking a moment to enjoy the view and fresh air. "I never stopped to see how nice Bill has it here."
Mewtwo waited for the Professor to recover at his own pace, then started down the hill with him toward the light house. He could smell coffee brewing and the sounds of breakfast being made. They made small talk as they waded through tall grasses, each of them moving slowly in case they scared up some wild Pokemon. Mewtwo already knew there were none to be found here, even the flocks of Pidgey and Zubat that usually roosted in the light house tower seemed to had vanished.
Mewtwo announced their guest as they entered through the front door, and escorted him to the kitchen where Sabrina stood at the stove wearing casual clothing and Bill was at the coffee pot, pouring a round for everyone.
"First off, my congratulations to the newlyweds," Professor Oak set his briefcase on a nearby bench, opened it, and pulled out a small gift and card.
"You didn't have to Professor!" Sabrina sat at the table. Bill set her coffee down in front of her, along with a kiss. "I must admit I was a little worried when I heard you wouldn't make it for the ceremony."
"And I feel horrible for it," Oak watched as Mewtwo sat down with his cup of coffee. "But I have great news for all three of you. First, for Two," He reached into his briefcase and pulled out a strange device. "Here, we finally have a working prototype. Try it on Two."
"Looks like something out of a cartoon." Sabrina examined it, then passed it Mewtwo. The device resembled clumsy stereo headphones commonly used in recording studios, but instead of the bulbous speakers on the ears, the sides were flat and complimented the curve of the skull. "How is it used?"
"Two? If I may?" Professor Oak stood up from his chair and walked over to Mewtwo. He lifted the headset from the Pokemon's paws, then fit it around the back of his head, the flat sides resting against his temples. "We designed it for your fingers. The large button over the right temple activates it, and the dial on the left side adjusts the power level," Oak explained.
Mewtwo put it on. It felt comfortable, as if it wasn't there. He pushed the right button. His vision briefly blurred, then returned to normal. I don't feel any different,
Professor Oak, Sabrina, and Bill suddenly put their hands over their ears.
"Turn it down a bit," Oak gestured to the dial on the side.
Huh? This one?
"Ow..." Sabrina leaned over and turned the dial down. "There, now try."
Better? Mewtwo asked.
"Much." Oak rubbed his temples and sat back down. "Please try to keep a journal of usage, and discontinue use if you begin to feel uncomfortable or disoriented."
"What exactly does it do?" Bill asked.
"The headset magnifies psychic powers and aids them. It helps the electric current in the brain channel over the damaged areas to prevent self-injury. It also has a suppression option for times when using psychic abilities might not be wise. However I don't suggest the suppression switch until Mewtwo is sure of his recovery."
"Amazing, thanks Professor Oak." Sabrina watched Mewtwo telekentically play with pieces of fruit. He suddenly let them fall, then went to the screen door and pushed it open.
"Where are you going?"
Mewtwo looked over his shoulder and smiled. "Test Drive."
"Mew?" Mew woke up and yawned. He sensed a disturbance, something that hadn't been there moments ago. The breeze was still strong, and the woods were still quiet, what had awoken him?
Mew. Mewtwo called, then felt a chuckle come on when a pink bolt shot from a tree in front of him and slam into his chest.
"Man oh man I missed you!"
Missed you too.
"I thought you were a goner! You looked like crap last I saw you."
I know, Its been a long time.
"Good, you're flying again, now you can help me save them."
I can't help you right now. Mewtwo placed Mew back on a tree branch.
"Huh?" He blinked as if surprised. "Still not better?"
There are still a lot of things I need to relearn. I don't think I will be much use to you against these kind of odds. Sabrina and Bill have a child on the way. I want to be there to protect them.
"Aw man, Two. Don't you get it? I need your help. You're like our ace in the hole. They got Moltres and Articuno the other night." Mew followed Mewtwo through the trees.
I don't want to pull Bill and Sabrina any further into this conflict. Mewtwo insisted. You will need to find another champion. I can't do it. I've been trying, and been on deaths door ever since.
Mew floated back a little. "Alright, so take a little break. So do what you have to. I know you won't let us down."
Mew, no. Mewtwo shook his head. Please. I'm not fighting anymore, unless its in a Gym.
"You know, its gonna suck, but I will change your mind big guy. I'm comin' with ya. And I will pester, and hound you, and piss you off until you come to your senses," He floated after Mewtwo, matching him turn for turn through the trees. Mewtwo had to allow the little pink fur ball to follow him, not that he was in any condition to fight back in the first place. Mew pulled even with him."Hey, what's this?" Mew pulled the headset off Mewtwo's head.
Hey! Mewtwo immediately lost altitude and fell, slamming into a tree.
"Uh..." Mew floated over and sheepishly gave the headset back. "Oops..."
"Oh he's such a cute little thing!" Sabrina cooed as she scratched behind Mew's ears.
"You should feel fortunate to have both of the Mews in you home. I would feel truly blessed." Professor Oak said with a smile after finishing off his last cup of coffee.
"Meeeww..." Mew sighed contently, then curled up in Sabrina's lap.
You're starting to like him more than me. Mewtwo thought mumbled.
"Stop getting jealous Two. It's a rare that any body gets to observe Mew this closely." Bill sat across the table with a sketch pad and about five pencils. One he was drawing with, one he had clenched between his teeth, and the others he alternated erasers to smooth and fix the drawing. "This will be a nice picture when I'm done."
Mewtwo sighed and picked up his plate again. He had arrived just as Bill had finished making pancakes. You're enjoying this too much He sent to Mew.
Mew lifted his head and stuck his tongue out, then laid back down. "First I take your woman, and then you fight for me. She has no defense against the power of 'cute'."
Brat. Mewtwo stabbed his pancake. Thank you Bill.
Bill was too lost in his drawing to respond. Sabrina smirked. "I understood him plainly, I belong to Bill sweetie," She looked down at Mew and continued smoothing his fur. "Are you hungry?"
"Oh, I almost forgot the most important reason I came here today." Oak started up. "The finals at Indigo Plateau."
"We're still a long way from being ready." Sabrina sighted. "Might even be a few more years before we can even consider competing."
"Well I have good news for you then." Professor Oak pulled out a few colorful folders from his briefcase. "I have been speaking to the League Council about my recent work with Mewtwo, and they think it would be wonderful if the three of you came to the games this year as guests of honor. Very few people have seen Mewtwo before, and his recovery is quite remarkable and inspiring. They have even offered to arrange for a few battles to showcase his talents."
"Huh...what do you think Two?" Sabrina asked.
I'm not sure. I would like to go, and having a chance to battle again, especially near peak condition is a welcome thought, but who wants to see a crippled Pokemon take the field?
"You're not crippled. And even now you're stronger than most Pokemon you would find at the games," Sabrina countered.
"It wasn't that funny Haunter." Bill flipped one of the many pencils from his hand and erased a stray line. "Don't move Mew, I'm almost done."
Sabrina glanced down at the snoozing bundle in her arms. "I don't think you need to worry about that. Its all up to you if you want to go Two."
"Just let me know within the week and I can arrange your passes and hotel rooms," Oak set a brochure in the middle of the table.
Mewtwo picked it up and studied it. It had been a goal of theirs for over a year. All of the humiliation, the training, every day constantly reaching for this one event. He had given up on obtaining it, content to slip into the role of family Pokemon. Yet now here it was, offered to them, and with the headset he would be almost back to his peak condition. I will need some time to think on it.
The night sky was so immense, so beautiful. It wasn't dark like the sky as seen from town, it was a deep shade of blue with small pin points of light, numerous and gorgeous-and with Mew darting between the few silver clouds, it made it seem even more magical. The little fart meant it when he said he wasn't giving up on Mewtwo.
"Two," Sabrina came the side of the hill. She was wearing a thin white nightgown, wraith-like in the warm summer night. "Are you awake?"
"Have you thought about what Professor Oak had said about the finals?" she approached his hammock, keeping a lookout for discarded apple cores.
"And what is your choice?"
A huge purple eye rolled toward her, then went back to the sky. I think it would be good for us.
"I think so too." Sabrina sat down at the other end of his hammock, pulling her legs up and tucking them into the fabric of her gown. "We can have the stuff packed up-including a hammock for you. It would be a week of hell, but I'm sure you'll enjoy it to the last minute."
Did you go to the Finals when you were a Gym Leader?
"I still am buster," she smiled, and absently stroked his tail. "No, to become a Gym Leader you had to fight the Elite Four. Then they judged your rank on how well you did," she leaned back, deciding to take in the view. "Bill was overjoyed when I told him about the baby. I can't believe it myself. But then I think about the headache it will be. Diapers, crying, drooling, psychic powers in my case."
"It will be a little you," Mewtwo said with a smile in his voice. The wind picked up and the hammock swayed. He reached up and turned off the headset, then put it aside.
"Good idea, I have no idea what kind of batteries that thing takes," she ran her hand along his tail, smoothing his short fur. "Bill would know," Sabrina sighed and closed her eyes. "I think being invited as guests of honor at the Finals is a good thing. We can get out there and show our support for responsible Pokemon training. And hopefully ease some fears about your origin."
"I had been thinking about that too." Mewtwo sighed, his tail curling around her protectively. His origin was known to those that chose to seek it. He was created as a clone. Yet as Joy and Professor Oak had discovered, he wasn't just a clone, but had elements of other Pokemon and abilities in his nature. His abilities went well above the needs for a simple game. If he had stayed with Giovanni and never worked to attain his freedom, there was no telling what he would be made to do.
Sabrina smiled almost nostalgically. "I love you Two. I will do everything I can to keep you happy."
"And I love you," Mewtwo said, and found it surprising that it came from the heart.
"Goodnight." Sabrina slipped out of the hammock, the night gown fell to her ankles in a smooth cascade of white from her shoulders. A bit of her stomach was starting to show, the gossamer white covered it just barely. She was still the most beautiful vision he had ever laid eyes on. The first time Mewtwo had seen her had been across a small stream. She had been wearing hiking boots, blue jeans, a t-shirt, and a bulky backpack.
But that had been long ago.
"Say goodnight to Bill for me." Mewtwo watched as she started down the hill. She wouldn't want help, but he kept an eye on her all the same.
"I will," she called and waved.
Mewtwo knew that she was happy, and that was all that really mattered to him. Yet at the same time, he had never felt so lonely.
The morning air was fresh and clean, the salt of the sea kept back by low tide and a strong wind. Oak had said farewell a few minutes ago and flown back to Pallet on his Pidgeot. Bill and Sabrina had finished packing, and gave Mewtwo a gift. A black backpack with his name embossed on a strap in silver thread. Mewtwo filled it with a few of his belongings, the headset and its charge unit along with some snacks for the trip to the train station. The finals at Indigo Plateau would begin in a week, and they had some business to finish in Saffron before then.
"Ah, such a nice morning for a walk!" Bill led the way. Sabrina followed with Haunter, and Mewtwo took one last look at the lighthouse. It was once again silent, yet it seemed as if a new chapter in his life had been reached, a new purpose. Mew skittered along the clouds in the back ground.
I can't help but wonder what awaits me the next time I come here. Bill, Sabrina, their child...What must my purpose be after the League games?
Sabrina turned around. Don't worry about those things yet, we have plenty of time.
The following week passed quickly, with time split between training and helping Bill prepare the nursery in one of the spare rooms of the home. They chose to stay in Saffron until the baby was born due to closer proximity to hospitals and other emergency services. The light house would be an occasional treat until the child was older. Mewtwo was finding himself thinking of ways to child-proof the garden, but there was only so much that could be done when faced with rocks and plants.
Late Thursday night, they boarded a train for Indigo and arrived early Friday morning. Bill had called ahead to secure their hotel room, and tell the officials they had arrived safely. Friday afternoon after a short nap, they set out to collect their event badges and check out the roster for the weeks events.
Mewtwo walked through the great halls and hotels feeling like a tourist. Everything was so big, a testament to humans engineering abilities. Indigo itself was a large city, with the event park set to the west, nestled against gentle foothills and a wide expanse of forests. A wide lazy river filled with boat traffic cut through the city with attractions and boardwalks on either side for travelers.
And Pokemon were everywhere.
Pokemon of all sizes, colors, stripes and types walked alongside their trainers, swam in the river, or flew overhead. The numerous city parks had become campgrounds filled with trainers from all over Kanto, Johto, and beyond. Friendly matches and battles were taking place regularly, and performing Pokemon were on almost every street corner, displaying a dazzling array of tricks and abilities.
For the first time in his life Mewtwo was welcome among them. He had seen festivities like these from afar, hidden in the shadow of the moon, but now he was involved as an active participant. Trainers old and young called out to Sabrina and Bill on the street. Before now he hadn't realized what celebrities of the Pokemon world that his friends were considered. They posed for pictures or gave advice on different techniques to use on certain types. Mewtwo wasn't sure of how to handle all the extra attention.
When they finally reached the registration booths, it was late afternoon. Bill and Sabrina received clip-on badges with ribbons that marked them as VIPs, and Mewtwo was even given a badge with his name on it that he clipped on the strap of his backpack. He was also given a bracelet with a green jewel set into the top.
"This is your Pokemon identification band," the clerk explained. "In the event that you are separated from your trainers, other trainers cannot challenge you to battle, or capture you with League approved equipment. Conversely, if the security officers approach you, they are permitted to capture and contain you until your trainers can be found, but that is only in the event that trouble gets started."
Mewtwo studied the band for a moment and agreed that it was a necessary if unfortunate measure.
Sabrina opened the events handbook. "The march is tomorrow morning beginning at nine. Huh? No Pokemon allowed in the march?" she asked the clerk.
"That is a change that had to be made for the events this year. Last year we had a couple of trainers lose control of their Pokemon during the march and several people were hurt and the trainers were disqualified."
Bill nodded. "Thank you, can Pokemon can still watch?"
"Yes, in approved areas on the sidelines."
"Approved areas?" Sabrina asked. "Look, I know that safety is top priority, but this is getting a little extreme."
The clerk looked left then right. Satisfied that they were alone she leaned in closer. "Miss Sabrina, I can tell you that we had invited a lot of high-ranking trainers here this year in an effort to drum up more support for Pokemon Conservation in the wild. However that also makes us a target for outside organizations that would take the chance to make off with as many Pokemon as they can. The Pokemon approved areas are places with higher security to protect our participants. As are the identification bracelets."
"I see," Sabrina nodded. "Well, in that case, are the opening ceremonies still on for tonight, and are Pokemon allowed in them?"
"Yes, and yes," the clerks smile returned. "We hope you enjoy your time at Indigo Plateau Pokemon Finals!"
The opening ceremonies were held in the main arena of the League complex. There were five main arenas in all, each one tailored to a certain element, allowing the competitors to display their skills in natural environments. The main arena had a large flat open field with manicured grass and chalk lines marking the borders and zones. A stage had been erected in the center of the field where the guests of honor would make speeches or Pokemon performers would have their routines.
Bill and Sabrina had been asked to speak, but had turned it down due to lack of preparation, but they did give Professor Oak permission to announce their marriage and that they were expecting. The ceremonies started with music and a dance number. Mewtwo along with his friends were seated almost on field level and got the full effect of the music and high emotions.
Mewtwo normally enjoyed music, but this was too much. So many humans and Pokemon, more than he had ever seen in one place in his life. The crowds suddenly became too heavy. Their Pokemon too alien, the sounds and lights were disorienting, his headache combined with his returning psychic powers created a perfect storm of confusion. At least he could recognize the growing panic for what it was. He was in an unfamiliar place surrounded by strangers with only their good will as defense.
"Whats wrong?" Sabrina asked when she saw Mewtwo pull his headset from his backpack.
This is getting to be a bit much. I'm going higher where I can get some air and calm down. Mewtwo activated the headset, and navigated the crowds and stadium halls until he was greeted by cool late summer night air. Now all I need is a nice spot to sit...or float. Mewtwo landed on one of the flag poles that were mounted to the top of the arena. Part of his weight settled on the pole, the rest supported by his powers. The spectators at his feet looked up in surprise at the Pokemon, a few kids laughed, thinking it was part of the show.
The remainder of the opening ceremonies were beyond boring. He almost fell off his perch when he dozed off a little. To keep himself occupied he studied his battle log. His first engagement/performance was supposed to be the following morning at ten, just after the march ended. Despite the press of people, he couldn't wait.
"Hey mom! Look!" a little girl exclaimed as she jumped up and down below him.
She looks like...Ai... His mind went blank, then images of the lab filled his thoughts, memories fell on him like a cascade of leaves. "And this is your hand, see, one two three,"
Mewtwo shook his head, he suddenly noticed that all the people below him were staring up at him partly in fear, partly in fascination. The mother was holding back her little girl like a Kangaskahn protecting it's young. What did I do? He started floating again. I projected the memory didn't I? The people at his feet watched in awe as Mewtwo lifted into the air and scanned the crowd for Sabrina and Bill. He found them, then landed next to them and sat down.
"Careful when you do that, you're scaring the locals," Sabrina smirked.
"Are you all right?" Bill asked as he passed a drink to Sabrina. "You look a little shaken."
I'm fine. He took off the headset and put it back inside his backpack, he didn't want to alarm his friends by telling them he was having panic attacks already. Absently his fingers ran over the silver lettering of his name.
Like he always spelled it. It set him apart, even though there was nothing to set himself apart from. Ai...where did those memories come from? I know that you never forget childhood friends, at least the ones that mean so much to you but-
"Two, you're floating." Sabrina gave the drink back to Bill.
You didn't hear what I was thinking, did you?
Just something about friendship.
Wonderful, now I have to concentrate not to use my powers.
"Never happy are you?" Bill yawned. "The show's over anyway."
"About time, my butt fell asleep," Sabrina stood up and picked up her backpack. "And remember, we're all here to have fun...or else."
It will take me a day or so to get my bearings.
I don't think it will be that long. Sabrina fell into step behind Bill as they shuffled their way out of the exits. "When we get back to the hotel room, I'm the first in the shower, and I'm going to be the first in the bed."
You might have competition, I need to rest up for tomorrow.
"Win or lose, we're here to have fun," Bill smiled.
The Ice Field was the location of Mewtwos first battle. As the name suggested, it was a large sheet of ice dotted with large chunks of ice that resembled crumbled glaciers. It would have been convincing, except instead of arctic tundra extending to the horizon, there were cheering faces all around. Mewtwo thought he had his anxiety reasoned with when he went to sleep the night before, but now it returned in full force. Every viable excuse he could come up with to avoid the fight had been exhausted now that he stood here.
"Think you're ready Two?" Sabrina put his headset on him, and turned it on. "I believe in you, Me and Bill are behind you all the way."
I hate cold. Mewtwo looked out on the sheet of ice awaiting him
"And fire and water," Bill said with a smile.
I don't how I'm going to stand without slipping.
"Use your nails for grip."
What nails? I've got little worn down nubs on my feet that would be more useful if removed!
"Stop complaining and get out there, we've come too far to get cold feet now." Sabrina stood on the red platform with Bill as it rose into the air. Much to Bill's protests.
"Dear, you're too high up, what about the baby?"
"The kid is fine Bill!" she steadied herself in a corner of the platform. Mewtwo stepped on to the ice.
Grin and bear it! Sabrina snapped.
"Haunt haunt haunt!"
"Shut-up Haunter." Sabrina leaned on the rail. "It's my turn to play."
Bill prudently took a step back.
I wonder if I should entrust my life to a pregnant woman whose hormones are going out of control right now?
Mewtwos opponents were selected from a lottery of trainers that had obtained certain credentials in both Pokemon training and care. His fights were considered extra credit and did not affect the eventual outcome of Finals. If anything, his matches served as entertainment for the overflow of visitors this year. The trainer in the green corner threw a Pokeball. A Starmie hopped out, performing a little spin maneuver in the air before taking its place on the ice.
"Easy...Too easy." Sabrina had flames in her eyes.
I repeat, should I be more worried about my trainer or my opponent?
"Alright Two! Lets show 'em what ya got!"
"Starmie! Water Gun!" the opposite trainer shouted.
"Two! agility, then Tail Strike!"
Mewtwo jumped to the side, and went sliding across the ice. Starmie lowered the water gun then shot. Mewtwo slid out of the way, then brought his tail around. The Starmie went rolling and skidding across the ice from his hit.
"Starmie! Tackle!" the trainer shouted excitedly.
"Two! You know what to do!"
Mewtwo gained his feet, then jumped and landed on top of the spinning water Pokemon. His weight threw it off-balance and brought it crashing to the ice. The ice cracked as the two Pokemon landed. Starmie was out.
"Starmie! Return!" green chose another ball. "Go Hypno!"
"Hypno?" Sabrina leaned forward. "Two! Be careful!"
I know how to handle Hypnos.
"Don't get cocky with me!" Sabrina snapped back.
Hypno raised his charm and started chanting. "Hypno...Hypno..."
"Two! don't look at him! Just get in there and kick his ass!" she leaned over the railing.
"Love, your tongue..." Bill said softly.
Mewtwo stared at the charm. He he...Kinda tickles...
"Love, its a performance match, take it easy on him." Bill tried to calm his wife, then turned his full attention to the match when he heard Mewtwo chuckle.
"He he heh..." Mewtwo walked over to the Hypno, laughed, then put his hand on the confused Hypno's shoulder.
Why yes, I'm fine. Mewtwo reared up and kicked. The Hypno went rolling and slammed into an ice pillar. The Pokemon was down for the count.
"That was a dirty move! Who taught you that?" Sabrina asked.
"One more Pokemon to go!" Bill shouted as the ghost Pokemon suddenly vanished.
Dewgong? Mewtwo narrowed his eyes at the Pokemon, this one had a little more spunk in it.
Without any command from their respective trainers, Mewtwo and Dewgong opened up on each other. Dewgong erupted with a strong Ice Beam that Mewtwo countered with a Psybeam. The attacks met in mid air, creating a dazzling show of crackling rainbow tinted ice spires. The crowd cheered as the two Pokemon kept up their attacks, neither wanting to be the first to back down. Slowly Mewtwo began to gain an advantage, pushing Dewgong backward across the ice. He sensed a waver in the intensity of the Ice Beam, then stopped his own attack altogether.
The Dewgong had held up for as long as it could, but now needed a moment to recharge. Mewtwo heard his headset make a low whirring noise as it recalibrated from the attack. The time buzzer sounded, and the crowd cheered.
"The winner is Mewtwo in the Red Corner!" The announcer shouted.
Mewtwo stood still, unable to process for the moment that they were cheering for him, chanting his name. He had never known such a positive reception at the end of a battle. A battle had always been a personal thing, between two trainers and their Pokemon, but this was something else. This was praise, more intense than he had ever gotten from Sabrina and Bill, and filled with more joy and elation than he had ever known.
Do something! Sabrina said. Don't just stand there, show your appreciation!
I dunno, take a lap around the field, or complement your opponent. Be sportsmanlike!
Mewtwo slid forward and bowed respectively to the trainer in the green corner. He went to the sidelines and hopped/ran a lap around the outside of the field, touching hands as he passed before stopping back at the red corner where Sabrina and Bill waited
"You are eating this up," Bill helped Sabrina down from the platform. "Lets go, you have two more battles today!"
"Are you okay?" Sabrina wiped some of the sweat from Mewtwo's head then gave him a water bottle once they reached their hotel room.
"Yes...that Onyx really had me for a moment. My back hurts." Mewtwo drank the water, and sat down as Sabrina began rubbing Superpotion on his injured arm. "Thank you."
"Just let me know if you need to go to a Center," Sabrina sprayed some potion on his back, then rubbed it into his fur. Mewtwo leaned into her touch, feeling better already.
"He just needs some rest," Bill came in with a towel around his shoulders. "I think we all do," he looked over the program again and sat down on one of the beds.
"Sabrina, stand back a bit," Mewtwo closed his eyes, and concentrated. His body glowed blue, then faded. His recover ability was getting stronger now, he had been using it enough in the last few matches. "I am getting hungry though."
"You said it," Sabrina put the potions away, then grabbed a pamphlet and began flipping through the pages. "Let me see if I can find some place then...ah, here's one. Its a buffet-type place nearby. Will probably be swarming with trainers, but at least it has something to satisfy all of us." She looped arms with both Bill and Mewtwo. "Besides, all that screaming has made me thirsty!"
Bill put his towel back in his bag and left alongside his wife and Mewtwo. The day was hot, with the promise of an overnight storm on the horizon. They found the restaurant quickly enough, and sat down at one of the tables. The restaurant had both a human and Pokemon buffet, with meals that could be ordered from the kitchen. They ate quickly, going back for more as conversation and their moods allowed.
They had all just settled in to enjoy dessert when Sabrina gasped. "Oh!" she grabbed Bills hand. "It kicked!"
"Really?" Bill put his hand on her stomach, trying to find a place to feel the baby. "Where Love?"
"Right here," she moved his hand. "No, a little to the left, right there."
Mewtwo's eyes darted back and forth between them. Feeling a bit awkward and left out.
"Oh I felt it!" Bills said happily.
Mewtwo watched in silence as Bill tenderly kissed Sabrina. Why do I feel so excluded? I care for both of them, yet...
Their kiss deepened.
Even though I have their friendship, I still feel lonely. I suppose that's just my burden. Being 'rare' and the only one of my kind, the only one still living...There are even other Mews, but just one Mewtwo. Me.
They pulled away from their kiss, and embraced.
Humans are very close creatures, pack animals that cling to one another. Is it because they feel a need to be close, or is it something more? I am alone. What if I was to take a wife? What would she be? A Pokemon or Human? What if I declared my unending love for a human? What would happen then?
"Sabrina, Bill." Mewtwo stood up. He loved them both, but there was a limit to how much of their affection for each other that he could stomach. "I'm going for a walk to collect my thoughts. You two go ahead to the hotel. I'll be in later."
"Will you be okay?"
"Yes, In have my headset and ID bracelet."
"Hmmmm...hold on," Sabrina upended her purse. "Here's some money in case you see something you want."
"Thanks. See you in a few hours."
"Hey Two," she studied him for a moment. Mewtwo couldn't read her expression or her mind. "Be careful."
Gray smoke from numerous stands and grills curled into the night sky. It was a great night. All around were people and Pokemon talking and having fun, eating and playing. Occasionally trainers would stop to take a picture of Mewtwo or ask about his backpack. A parade rolled by on the street behind him in a frenzy of light hearted music, somehow hollow-sounding, but adding to the atmosphere all the same. Mewtwo took a random path, traveling through the camp grounds and evening bazaars. No one questioned the whereabouts of his trainers or even what he was doing. He felt alone in the presence of so many.
His journey eventually took him to the riverside boardwalk, where diners and restaurants had spilled over onto the wooden boards, singing and having a great time. Mewtwo paused near a clear patch of railing and turned to look at Indigo city across the water, lit up in tones of amber and green. Humans really were amazing creatures.
"Hey mom! Look! It's Mewtwo!"
Hmm? He turned away form his view of the city to see a little boy running up to him.
"John! Don't go over there. His trainers might get angry," the boys mother called after him, walking quickly to catch up to her son.
"It's all right," Mewtwo spoke gently. That was one thing he had learned, humans didn't respond well to loud voices, at least not at first.
The boy looked up wide-eyed. "Wow...he can talk! Mom! Mom! He can talk!"
"Come away, don't bother him," Johns mother tried to grab his arm, but like most children, he was fearless.
"Mom! Let go!" John slipped out of her grip. "You're the greatest Mewtwo!"
The greatest? I have a fan?
"Can I have your autograph?" John held up a small autograph book. His mother held back, critical yet for the moment humoring her son.
"Sure, do you have a pen?" Mewtwo asked the boy. He knelt to be on eye-level with his fan. The rest of the crowd didn't exist anymore, John had Mewtwos undivided attention.
"Right here." John held up a pen with the small plastic Jigglypuff on top.
Mewtwo pulled the pen cap off and wondered what he should write in the book. Should he give some advice or encouragement? Or would just his name suffice? He began writing before he had come to a conscious decision, as if he knew what to say all along. "To John. Remember, the circumstances of ones birth are irrelevant. It is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are. Signed, Mewtwo."
For a moment he caught Johns mothers eye, and in that moment he knew that he belonged to neither the Pokemon nor the Human world. He was too intelligent to be a Pokemon, but too alien in appearance to be accepted as Human. Mewtwo could see that this frightened her on a very primal level.
Mewtwo closed the book and gave it back to John, resisting the urge to see the names and signatures of others that had signed the book.
"Wow! Thank you!" John jumped up and hugged Mewtwo. Mewtwo weakly hugged him back, partly to not disappoint his fan, and mostly to not alarm his mother. It was the first time a kid had ever lept into his arms at all. John jumped down and ran to his mom who was all to happy to leave and put this strange moment of revelation behind her.
Mewtwo smiled despite himself as Johns mother dragged him away. I have a fan. Wait till Bill and Sabrina hear about this!
"You handled that very well." Came a voice behind him. "The great and almighty Mewtwo signs autographs for adoring fans."
Mewtwo stood from crouching on the ground. He turned around, and all his senses flared. He knew that voice from dark moments in his past. She was the last person that he expected to find here.
A woman with long red hair stood before him, small tight severe curls framed her fiercely intelligent blue eyes. She wore a short black skirt, summer blouse and boots. He remembered her, and while she probably wasn't the most dangerous member of Team Rocket he could encounter, where she was, more were waiting in the shadows.
"Do you remember me?" she asked.
How could I forget? Mewtwo growled. The infamous Jesse of Team Rocket.
"I am not part of Team Rocket anymore," she said softly, casting a nervous glance behind Mewtwo, further up the riverwalk.
You expect me to believe you? After everything you have done?
"We can talk later if you like, but right now I need you to trust me," Jesse leaned against the railing, trying to appear casual, but Mewtwo could tell that she was more tightly wound than a spring. "Agents have been following you. If you expand your mind and lightly touch theirs, you will see that I am telling you the truth. Heck, even read mine for all I care. Please believe me when I say that I am here to help you," she glanced over Mewtwos shoulder once more.
Cautiously, Mewtwo searched the minds around him. The humans were mostly oblivious, too caught up in their individual tasks and enjoyment. All save for a group of five, their minds were sharp and dark. They could conceal their presence, but not their intent. They were here for him. He had made Team Rocket forget his identity years ago, and now since he had stepped into the public eye they remembered and wanted him back.
He turned his mental eye on Jesse, and saw that she was sincere, high-strung and nervous, but sincere. It seemed that she had just as much to lose as he did by coming out of hiding. Their eyes met for a moment, and Mewtwo gave the slightest of nods.
As one, he and Jesse stepped away from the rail and began walking as if they were Trainer and Pokemon. Why help me? Mewtwo asked.
"I can explain all of that later, but for now we need to put some distance between ourselves and them." Jesse quickened her pace, flagging down a water taxi that was about to leave. She and Mewtwo quickly boarded and sat down. As the boat pulled away from the dock, Mewtwo saw five men dressed in dark blue business suits come to a stop at the dock and watch as the water taxi headed for the opposite shore. "That was close," Jesse sighed. "Would you like me to escort you back to the hotel?"
Mewtwo was torn between keeping Bill and Sabrina safe, and the reputation of his companion. He had read her intentions already, and true to her word she had remained open to him. Other than that there was no real reason to trust her. She was Team Rocket, a foe from years gone by. A foe that knew him. There was no easy way to go about this. Then again, if Jesse proved to be untrustworthy, he could notify Sabrina and she would have an entire squad of Jennys ready to apprehend her.
Yes, but first I need a lot of answers. Because I have a lot of questions.
They kept to the arena grounds and surrounding campus. There was more light and people here, which would discourage anything other than spying or eavesdropping. Jesse kept her pace brisk yet relaxed, easily matching Mewtwo's stride. The story she had told him on the way was compelling, slowly erasing his doubts the more she spoke.
"Why did you marry him Jesse?" Mewtwo asked after a pause.
"It was a power thing I suppose." She took a drag off a cigarette she had lit up. "I really did love him. I honestly did, and for a while I was in heaven. He was so passionate. James and I had never been really serious, I suppose I was looking for someone older. Giovanni was my knight in shining armor."
They sat down on the grass next to a small park area that was off limits to camping. A couple of trainers walked by with their nocturnal Pokemon, off to an after midnight match or two.
"It completely destroyed James," she continued. "He resigned from Team Rocket, and I married Giovanni. I did love him, I loved both of them with all my heart. In a fit of rage one night Gio hit me. I was willing to let it go the first time. Then the beatings became more frequent. I still loved him, so I let him go on with it. After all I had survived worse. Until one night. He just crossed the line. I realized what I had become and refused to let it go any farther. So I took a poker form the fireplace and beat him senseless with it. But I didn't kill him. So while he was unconscious, I made my escape." She took another drag and exhaled the bitter smoke into the night. Mewtwo watched both fascinated and horrified at her accounts. "But thats not everything." She snubbed out the cigarette.
Mewtwo then asked the burning question on his mind. "So why all the Pokemon? What does he need them for?"
"You were able to erase his memories, but not the remaining files of your creation. He found them and set his scientists to recreating the experiment. I can't tell you how angry he was when he realized that he had been fooled and didn't know it. He needed a wide variety of Pokemon DNA to perform the experiment. The more powerful the better." Jesse said carefully.
Mewtwo felt a vice close around his heart. "There are others? More...mewtwos? How many? Where? Are they all alive?"
"That part I'm afraid I can't answer," she lit another cigarette. "I left while the project was still in a transition stage. But at that time, I know that he had over eighty-five live mewtwos, both male and female. That lab was a horrible place, and I want nothing more than to see it burn."
Mewtwo felt faint, the pain in his heart growing stronger and more intense. "Why didn't Mew tell me this? Take me there, I cannot allow this horror to continue!"
Jesse lit a cigarette and passed it to him. "Here, it will make you feel better. I can't make a move just yet. The law can't touch the place without good reason, and I'm waiting to hear from a contact on the inside for the right time to strike. I'm supposed to meet him tomorrow night."
Mewtwo looked at the burning roll of paper, then accepted it. "I'm going with you."
"We need to get you away from your trainers first. Besides, there is a reason that I'm here at the Finals, and its not just to make contact with you."
Mewtwo drew a shallow drag off the cigarette, and to his relief, the headache that had been a constant part of his life for the past year faded. His lungs tickled, threatening to make him cough, but the headache was gone. "Why are you here then?"
"There is another Mewtwo at this competition, and I'm determined to find her."