,,*/ Adopted Love \*,,
,,*/ PART 1 ~ Running Away \*,,
,,*/ By Seabeast \*,,
DISCLAIMER: I still don't own 'em. For the love of Nesbit, I can't even think of a title, do you honestly believe I could create all that stuff in the series!?!
WARNING: There really doesn't need to be much of a warning here, just a bit PG-13ish because. . .I dunno. I forget. Oh, give me a break, here, it's a quarter to 3 in the morning! I think it might be. . .um. . .it might deal with some stuff later. . .maybe. . .I dunno. Ignore me. I'll go now.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I'm back! Now it's 14 minutes to 3. I'm writing this after a typed up the fic, thank Mew. Yup. I finally named it! Be proud, people! Oh, a HUGE thanks to Psionic1 for giving me the title 'Adopted Love'. Without him it'd still be 'Currently Unnamed', so THANK YOU!
AUTHOR'S NOTE II: Now it's 12 minutes to 3. Anywho, this fic is based on something that happened to me a while back. Lesse, I think it was Christmas of 2001. . .yeah, that's right. I think. If you wanna know more about it ask in your Review (and you WILL review) or e-mail me, my address firstname.lastname@example.org. . .It's not a very thrilling story, mind you, so don't get all excited or anything. I just decided to make it PokéShippy, 'cause I'm PokéShippy, so I did. Yup. Any questions? Yes, you with the haircut that looks like my mother's. Why aren't I in bed? Well, I dunno I guess I'll go to bed now. BAI!!
-waves hand mysteriously as she imitates a Jedi- (Ewan!! ^_~)
you will review. . .you will review. . .you will review. . .you will review. . .you will review. . .you will review. . .
Misty shivered in the crisp wind as it rushed past her, threatening to shove her over as she struggled to keep her bike steady on the empty road. Strong gusts managed to cling to her thin red jacket and pack, two of the few items she had managed to grab in her great haste to leave, and whipped them about furiously in an attempt to rip them away from her forever.
She pushed her way through town, using every deserted street and backalley she knew as she struggled to put as much distance between her and the Cerulean City Gym as possible. Usually Officer Jenny picked her up within a few blocks of the Gym, and Misty returned with very little argument, if any. But not this time. She never wanted to go back there again. Better she live out on her own than with her sisters in that nightmare they called a home.
The words of their last argument still reverberated in her head, making her pedal harder and harder as she tried in vain to shove them to the back of her mind. It was not her fault that her parents had died. She had had absolutely no control over it, just like everyone else. But then, why was Officer Jenny the only one to even speak to her about it? Even Nurse Joy, one of the sweetest, most forgiving people Misty knew, had been avoiding her eyes more and more recently. Everyone treated her like a convict, like someone that had gone to trial for something horrible and had managed to be acquitted, even though the townspeople knew she had committed the awful crime anyway. Whispers followed her wherever she went, from the Pokémon Center to the local grocery store. How could she ever live in a town like that? How could anyone?
Misty skimmed around a tight corner leading to an abandoned street she knew was rarely used and suddenly found herself shielding her eyes from someone's headlights. She quickly skidded to a halt and maneuvered her bike to one side to let the car pass. It wasn't until the unexpected car had turned back onto the larger road that Misty allowed herself a sigh of relief. It wasn't Jenny. She wasn't caught quite yet. And maybe, just maybe, she could make it out of town and continue her life as she had always wanted—alone.
She took the time to zip up her jacket a bit more before continuing down the narrow alley, and had only just started when she found herself bathed in headlights yet again. She frowned. She had chosen this alley because it was usually empty. What was with all this late night traffic? Then she noticed the blue and red display of lights reflecting off of the faded brick walls and groaned. Why was she always found out? Loads of kids must run away all the time and they never got caught.
The squad car slowly sidled up alongside Misty's stopped bike. She watched in silence as the driver's window descended and Officer Jenny's face appeared, one eyebrow crooked as if she were saying, Again? When Misty didn't move Jenny jabbed a finger at the backseat. Rolling her eyes and grumbling, Misty climbed into the car, leaving her bike propped up against the brick wall. She crossed her arms and stared out the window as Officer Jenny backed out of the alley, trying not to show that she was at least a little grateful for the warmth of the car as opposed to the bone-chilling wind howling wildly outside. Neither made a move to say anything. Both knew the procedure well enough by now.
But it wasn't part of the procedure when Jenny drove opposite the direction of the police station. Misty frowned, the confusion showing in her aqua eyes every time the light of a street lamp flashed across her face. Jenny watched the girl's reflection in the rearview mirror as she wondered, not for the first time, if picking her up was the right thing to do. Maybe she really would be better off out on her own.
"Where are we going?" asked Misty suddenly, eyes narrowed as she watched the farewell sign of Cerulean City dart by.
"A drive," was the simple answer.
For a long while nothing more was said. Misty knew they were headed in the direction of Saffron, but that was all she could decipher from Jenny's abrupt actions. The girl let her mind wander, painting pictures of faraway places she had never seen before and yet knew existed somewhere beyond the borders of Cerulean. She had never really left the large city, save a small copse of trees she had found, hidden from the prying eyes of tourists. It was her secret spot, the one place she could go to calm herself after a fight with her sisters. A small stream ran through one side, just out of reach of the trees, and one particularly old birch had fallen over it and broken long before Misty was born, providing her the perfect place to lay and run a hand through the cold, gentle waters, soothing her nerves quite effectively. The water wasn't deep enough to house many Pokémon, maybe three feet deep in the largest of pools, but Misty often found small fish and minnows jetting quickly along the rocky bed. They reminded her of the small fish found in tanks onboard the cruise ships her parents used to take her on for long voyages over the sea. Those were the only times she had really left Cerulean. She longed to just leave one day and sightsee among the barely visible mountains in the distance, or the Great Plains covering the southern portion of the country. But as long as she lived with her sisters, she knew it would never happen. So why wouldn't Jenny just let her be?
"Not planning to go back this time?" asked Officer Jenny, eyeing the full PokéBelt hanging loosely at Misty's waist.
"No," said Misty stubbornly, returning her eyes once more to the uneventful dark rural road. They were now a few miles away from the city's edge.
Misty looked up at Jenny sharply. "What's that supposed to mean?"
Jenny sighed heavily, flipping on the turn signal with a small flick of her hand. She directed the squad car down a small gravel road and pulled up next to a dark green Jeep Cherokee in front of a large log cabin. Misty watched with interest; she had never seen Officer Jenny's home before.
Jenny cut the engine and opened the door for Misty, then led her to the cabin's door. The only sound was the crunch of gravel beneath their feet for a moment. Then Jenny swung the door open, flicked on a light, and crossed the room to collapse heavily into a thick armchair beside an empty fireplace, tossing her police cap carelessly onto a low-set coffee table.
Misty was a bit more hesitant. She surveyed the cabin from her uneasy position just inside the front door. All she could see was the dining room/kitchen and the spacious living room containing a weary Jenny, but the cleanliness of the place did not go unnoticed. The cabin was orderly and clean, with everything resting in its proper place. Misty stepped cautiously into the living room and saw pictures lining the wall above the fireplace and a few resting on the mantel. Most displayed Jenny posing with her relatives, but a few were taken while she was training in the police academy. Another was a plaque stating some degree, and one or two were taken of her posing with a woman with auburn hair and a little boy. One picture was only of the boy, who couldn't have been but seven or eight, playing outside with a Pichu as Jenny, who looked a bit odd out of uniform, sat and watched, an enormous smile on her face.
"Pretty big place for a cop," commented Misty quietly, eyeing the long hall rattled with doors and a staircase.
"I used to be a detective. Sit down, Misty." She indicated the couch across from her and Misty obeyed rather quickly, still nervous about why she was here.
"So. . ." Jenny trailed off, watching Misty closely. "What was it about this time?"
Misty looked down at her hands to avoid Jenny's eyes and said slowly, "I was Battling a Trainer and I let Lily's boyfriend's rice dry out."
"And. . .?"
"And that's it. She went ballistic. Started throwing things and yelling and stuff."
There was a pause. "So let me get this straight," said Jenny slowly. "You ran away because. . .you ruined your dinner."
"No," said Misty angrily, meeting the officer's gaze. "It wasn't for me. It was just supposed to be Lily and Joey—alone. But then a Trainer challenged me to a Battle and—"
"And you forgot about the rice," Jenny finished. Misty nodded and let her eyes drift down to her lap once again. Jenny sighed and rubbed her forehead roughly. "Misty, this is the third time this month—"
"—and it's got to stop." Misty lowered her head. "Misty, this isn't normal. Not every sixteen-year-old runs away from home every week."
"And not every sixteen-year-old has been accused of killing their parents," Misty muttered almost incoherently.
Jenny shifted on her chair and watched Misty closely. "Is that why you left?" she asked quietly, concerned. "Did they say you. . .that it was your fault again?" Misty didn't answer. Instead, she locked her eyes on a picture featuring the boy and what must have been his mother, desperate for something to look at.
"Misty, it's not your fault," said Jenny soothingly. She reached over and laid a light hand on Misty's. "You had absolutely no control over anything, just like everyone else."
"I know that," said Misty bitterly. "But I can't help but think—"
"That your sisters are too self-centered to raise a teenager on their own?" Misty stared at the policewoman in surprise. She had known Officer Jenny since the accident and not once had she heard the officer voice any type of opinion concerning her sisters aloud.
"Daisy, Violet, and Lily are excellent actresses," Jenny went on. "They're beautiful and talented. But they're not very good parental figures. Which is why I've decided to place you in a home—"
"—a very good one in Goldenrod—"
"Goldenrod? You want to send me to an orphanage in Johto?"
"Only for a little while, just until I can find a family to take you in—"
"Are you crazy? I don't want to go to the middle of Johto!"
"Then what do you want me to do? What am I supposed to do? You can't go on living with those girls, you're too young to live by yourself, you don't want to go to an orphanage. . .What do you want me to do?"
Misty was hesitant, but eventually she said, "Let me travel."
She met Jenny's eyes and held them, voicing her ultimate goal aloud for the first time.
"Let me become a Pokémon Trainer. Let me go out on my own and Train and sightsee and whatever else I can think of. I could join the Indigo League, I could—"
Misty stared at her. "Why not?"
"Number one; you don't have a legal license to Train outside of Leveling Up for Gym matches. Number two; you haven't taken any of the necessary classes."
"No buts. Do you know how long Trainers train themselves to be able to leave? Without the proper knowledge, you could die in a matter of days. It's very dangerous business."
Misty didn't respond. She didn't know what to say. She knew the older woman was right, but what other options were there?
For a long while there was silence, broken rythmatically by the soft ticking of a Meowth clock on the kitchen wall. Jenny blinked at the young girl sitting before her and sighed.
"Misty, you're a good person. You're pretty, you're a talented Trainer, and you're intelligent. But it's impossible for you to do anything positive with your life if you keep letting yourself be downtrodden by your sisters all the time. Who knows what you could be? You could set up your own Gym, you could discover the cure for cancer, you could marry the Pokémon Master—hell, you could be the next Pokémon Master if you really wanted to. But now, while you're still growing and forming new talents, now's the time for you to be free and discover new things. You're sisters aren't allowing that, and I can see how much you're suffering from it."
She paused, waiting to see Misty's reaction. After a few moments of silence the teenager lifted her head to eye Jenny cautiously and said, in a small voice, "I guess maybe you could find me a new home. I—It's just. . .that would be so weird. Living with new people from now on? Having a new family? It's. . .it's kind of scary."
Jenny smiled reassuringly and squeezed Misty's hand. "I know, honey. It's just that, well, these things take time. If not a temporary orphanage, where will you stay?
"Well. . .how long does it take?"
Jenny sighed and removed her hand to lean back in her chair and rub her eyes. "It depends," she sighed. "Sometimes a week, other times a month or two. Some people never find homes."
Misty hesitated before asking her next question. "Can I. ..stay here with you?"
Jenny stared at the young girl, flattered, and blinked away a tear. She had never had children, her police work prevented her from getting involved in many serious relationships, and she found that reaching out to troubled young people was more rewarding than any other activity imaginable. That this girl trusted her enough to ask to live with her made her both joyous and troubled at the same time. The only person Misty could trust enough to talk to was the police officer that picked her up off the streets from time to time. It made her wonder just how bad Misty really felt at home.
"Misty, look at me." She waited until Misty met her eyes before continuing. "I would love for you to stay here with me for a while. I truly would. But my job, well, it calls for most of my time. It wouldn't be healthy or fair to leave you at home alone all day."
"I can take care of myself," Misty mumbled.
"Yes, you've proved that, but I still can't do it. Not if you're not legally my child."
They both fell silent for a moment, trying to think of another solution. Jenny sighed heavily and asked if Misty was sure she didn't want to go back to her sisters, to which she got a hurried affirmation. She sighed again and once more the pair was lapsed into silence.
"How about this," said Jenny suddenly, and Misty perked up to listen. "You can stay here for the night," she continued, "that's why I brought you here in the first place. I'm off tomorrow, so we can try to find someone to take you in while I find you an adoptive family. Is that all right?"
"I guess so. . ." Misty trailed off. "I just. ..I don't like the thought of living with strangers. What if they're just as bad as my sisters?"
"Hmm. Maybe we can fix that. . ."
"What do you mean?" Misty asked. She didn't have close enough friends in Cerulean to take her in for a few days, unless you included the man that came to clean the pools every other week. He was nice, but he was old enough to be her grandfather.
"I have an acquaintance that I'm sure would be happy to support you for a while. Her husband passed away a few years before your parents, and the welfare money is enough to support her and a family without working."
Misty frowned, an image of an old widow presenting her with a tray of stale cookies appearing in her mind.
"Don't look at me like that," said Jenny, a small smile tugging at her lips. "Her son, Ash, is your age, and a Pokémon Trainer at that. You might actually enjoy yourself."
"How do you know them?" Misty asked, curious.
"I was one of the investigators stationed on her husband's murder case."
Misty looked alarmed. "Her husband was murdered?" she exclaimed.
"Well," explained Jenny, looking rather flustered, "I guess that's what I get for shooting my mouth off. No, it was never officially proven that he was murdered, I'm just one of the few people that believe so. Most people believe it was an accident. Apparently, Cypress Ketchum had been hot on the leader of Team Rocket for some time. In a Battle to defend his Title years ago, his opponent's Rhydon went haywire and killed him. By the time authorities got the Pokémon under control the Rhydon's Trainer was gone."
Misty stared at the older woman in disbelief. "Are you saying that you investigated the assassination of the Pokémon Master?" she said slowly.
"Yes, but it was my last case," said Jenny sadly. "I left the investigative field after that and became an ordinary policewoman instead. Although nothing could be proven at the time, I believe that the Rhydon was owned and Trained by a member of Team Rocket."
"Really?" Now Misty was interested.
"Yes, but you can't go around telling people that," warned Jenny, a stern expression on her face. "Especially not Ash. Technically, I shouldn't even be telling you."
"Why not?" Misty asked curiously. The assassination of history's greatest ever Pokémon Master nine years ago had been a huge issue, even though that was all she could remember of it.
"Because that is merely my belief and opinion," said Jenny evenly, as if she had rehearsed it more than once.
"If you're still close friends with Ash, why doesn't he know?"
Jenny sighed and adjusted her legs underneath her for comfort. "There was never enough physical evidence to prove that Cypress was deliberately killed by someone, so the case was abandoned. I fear that if Ash ever discovers that Team Rocket killed his father, he'll take it upon himself to go after them."
Misty blinked at the officer. "He'll what? No one would be that stupid—"
"Not stupid," corrected Jenny. "He's stubborn and prideful, like you. What would you do if you suddenly discovered that your parents' death was planned? Wouldn't you want to confront their killers?"
Misty looked down at her hands, knowing full well what she would do if she found out her parents had died under someone else's hands.
"You see?" said Jenny gently, watching her reaction. "We'll call Delia in a few minutes, but you've got to promise me that you won't mention anything about Cypress's death to Ash, all right?" Misty nodded. "Good. Now go get the phone; their number's on speed dial."
Misty looked up at her sharply, alarmed. "You don't want me to call—"
"Yes, I do."
"Misty. . ." The girl was silenced by Jenny's arched eyebrow. "I'm doing something most police officers wouldn't do—"
"—but I'm not doing it alone. You're going to call her up and you're going to ask if you can stay for a few days."
Misty sighed heavily, accepting her instructions. Anything was better than returning to her sisters right now.
Jenny pointed her into the open kitchen and Misty saw the Vid-Phone resting peacefully on a counter opposite the living room. She dragged her feet slowly over and ran a finger down the speed dial numbers taped to the back of the receiver until she found Ketchum, starting slightly when she realized it was a Pallet number. That town wasn't even a quarter the size of Cerulean. This was going to be different, but she was up to a challenge. Or so she hoped.
Something, somewhere, was making a loud noise. A loud, obnoxious, beeping noise.
Groaning, Ash rolled over and out of bed, glancing at the glowing red digital numbers of his alarm clock as he threw off his covers and shivered in the chilly night air. Someone had left a window open. He remembered he had had to sleep on the top bunk a second too late and ended up sprawled out on the bedroom floor, one leg hooked up in the sheets like a cast. And still the phone rang. Cursing, he disentangled himself from the fabric and managed to stand, although a bit wobbly from sleep. Only his mother would call at two o'clock in the morning, he concluded.
Grumbling about Pikachu's bladder problem, he stumbled down the stairs and over to the Vid-Phone in the kitchen. Rubbing sleep dust from his eyes, he grabbed the receiver and pressed the flashing picture button at the same time.
"Hullo?" he yawned as the picture appeared.
"Officer Jenny, I don't think they're—"
Misty spun around in mid-sentence, staring openly at the boy before her. His mussed kuroi hair was sticking out all over the place as if he had just rolled out of bed. He was busy rubbing something out of his closed eyes with both hands, the phone receiver balanced loosely between his ear and his bare shoulder. Misty couldn't help but notice his tanned, lightly muscled chest as he wasn't wearing a shirt, and she blushed when she heard a giggle from behind her.
The boy must have heard the giggle, too, as Officer Jenny had ironically purchased a speaker phone, and he stopped rubbing his face to blink at her, awaiting his golden brown eyes to adjust to the bright, self-illuminating screen. When he saw her his eyes widened slightly and he blushed. Misty blushed, too, when she realized he was clad only in a pair of blue-striped boxers.
"Erm—I'm looking for a Mrs. Ketchum," said Misty nervously, trying to keep her eyes on his as they suddenly seemed to have a perverse mind of their own.
"She's uh, she's not home right now," the boy said uneasily. He looked like he really wanted some pants. "I'm her son, Ash. Can I uh, can I help you?"
"Um, well. . ." Misty glanced back at Officer Jenny, who looked thoroughly entertained by the scenario. "Officer Jenny. . ." she pleaded.
"Wait a minute," said Ash suddenly, "are you the owner of that Ponyta we fainted?"
Misty turned back around and frowned at him. "What?"
"Because me and Pikachu are really, really sorry. We didn't know it belonged to anyone and my mom refuses to buy me a car, and I thought I could really use the fast means of transportation, and I honestly didn't know it was just a foal—it looked like an adult—and I would really appreciate it if you didn't get the police involved because I have zero money to pay off a sue thingy, and I—"
He stopped when he heard someone laughing. Officer Jenny stood grinning behind Misty, deciding to take over as she sensed the scene to be getting a little out of hand.
"Ash, why aren't you wearing any pants?" she giggled. Ash blushed, avoiding her eyes and crossing his arms over his bare chest, balancing the receiver on his shoulder. His blush deepened when he recognized the Jenny as that of Cerulean, a close friend.
"Well, you see, it's kind of a long story. . ." he trailed off, hoping she'd drop it, but she merely crooked an eyebrow. Ash sighed. "Pikachu had an accident, again, and she got it all over the sheets and a little on my pants, so I just threw them off and climbed to the top bed. I thought you and uh, her, were going to be Mom, so I didn't bother getting out a clean pair. Satisfied?"
Jenny smiled. "Where is your mother, Ash? I need to speak with her."
"She's staying at Uncle Drake's until the morning. Why? Who's that girl with you?"
Jenny grabbed Misty's retreating shoulders and pulled her back to face Ash, ruining her only chance of escape. "You two may as well get acquainted now," she said. "Misty, this is Ash Ketchum. Ash, meet Misty Waterflower. She might be staying with you for a few days."
"Why?" Ash asked, avoiding Misty's eyes. He didn't want to be rude, but why would Officer Jenny call at two in the morning to ask if someone could come over?
"Family issues," said Jenny simply. "Sorry to wake you up, Ash, I forgot about the time difference. Just tell your mom to call me when she gets home tomorrow, okay?"
"All right. Um. . ." Ash didn't know what else to say. Jenny grinned at him, glanced down at Misty, who looked like she really wanted to leave, and then back at him, and winked. Ash's blush continued to creep up his cheeks even after the screen had fizzled out.
"Pika pikachu, Pikapi?"
Ash jumped, spinning around to see Pikachu sitting calmly at the foot of the stairs with one eye and one ear crooked. "Pikachu pika pi kachu—" She was cut off by her own laughter at Ash's blush as the human glared at the mouse.
"You'd do yourself good to watch your mouth," he said evenly. "As if you aren't in a deep enough hole for making me answer the phone without any pants—"
"Pi KAAA!" Pikachu flopped over in laughter, her small paw clutching her belly in an attempt to breathe as her body was wracked with uncontrollable giggles.
Ash stomped over to her, his face thoroughly reddened. "It's not funny, Pikachu!" he said, grabbing her off the floor and dragging her up to his room.
"Pikapi piKA Pikachupi," Pikachu giggled. Ash dropped her gently on the lower bunk before climbing up to the top.
"I do not," he said stubbornly. "She's just an ordinary girl. I've met and Battled tons of girls before, why are you teasing me about this one?"
"Pika pikachu kachu," said Pikachu simply. "Pika pikachu pikachu chu." Ash stared at her as she curled into a tiny ball on the bed below him. "Pikachu, Pikapi."
"Goodnight. And I don't think she's pretty."
Pikachu smiled and mumbled something incoherent before wrapping her jagged yellow tail around her body and promptly falling asleep.
AUTHOR'S NOTE III: First chapter done!! And now I should go to bed! REVIEW IT!!!! NOW!!! (or e-mail me: my addy is at the top) Please? I don't even care if it's a flame, as I tend to find them quite humorous. You know what's NOT humorous? What's NOT humorous is coming home from a vacation in Colorado with your dad to find a 2½ foot pile of textbooks sitting on your bed for your sophomore year of high school starting in 3 days. That's not funny. That's not funny at all. . .
AUTHOR'S NOTE IIII: No, I don't have anything else to say, I just wanted to put in four ANs. There. I outdid Star Wars. No, wait, there were 6. . .Dangit!
,,*/ a very tired Seabeast \*,,