It had taken the better part of a month to Fly, Surf, Rock Climb, fish, hike up and down mountains, various paths, back into creepy old dilapidated buildings and haul her way all the way back up Victory Road, but she had done it. And then she'd flown back home to Vaniville, released her Delphox's kit from its Pokéball, and gone to sleep for about three days, leaving her room only when her stomach and the call of nature demanded it.

Meanwhile outside, winter howled and the boiler in the basement of their old house huffed and puffed and blew all the heat into the upper levels of the residence that it could, but it was still not enough. The warm cocoon of blankets and a fluffy Fire-type kit were, though, and every time she had to leave her bed, she cringed at the cooler air outside her tidy nest.

Halfway through her third day spent in bed, the howling stopped and the skies cleared, revealing Vaniville –and doubtlessly Aquacorde as well- buried just enough to keep people home from work and school, but not enough to keep the younger children from plunging into the windswept snowbanks where once front yards had been.

It was also around this time that her HoloDeck began to chime insistently. Spitfire stood and stretched before plucking the device off her nightstand and handing it to her. She hit the answer button and buried her face in her pillow again.

"Mmnghugh… Hello?"

"Salut, ma championne~"

She stiffened. Oh HELL no. Of all the times he had to call…

"Enfin, you have picked up my call. Are you well? It looks like you are still in bed."

She bolted upright, her duvet flying back and knocking a statuette off the windowsill. Wide-eyed, she flailed and tried to catch it, nearly falling face-first off the bed and pulling a muscles in her shoulder in the process. The holo-call continued, unphased.

"Is this a bad time? In the wake of that storm, I felt it prudent to check on my friends and partners, you see. Many are without power and others are trapped."

The statuette was caught most ungracefully, and she prayed her rear wasn't smack-dab in front of the HoloDeck's camera. Spitfire diligently picked up the gadget, hopped of the bed, and came around to the foot, where she was struggling to regain cranial altitude over her rear and place the statuette back on her windowsill. Spitfire sat in front of her, giving her caller a strangely-angled view of her disheveled and halfway upside-down countenance.

"Professor Sycamore! Hi! No, I'm fine and mom is fine, too. I've been catching up on rest since the blizzard hit and I guess I lost track of time?"

"Ah, c'est correct. I thought as much, since Calem and Shauna have reported they are fine as well, but nothing compares to hearing the truth directly from the source."

"Oh, uh, yeah, definitely!"

With an awkward laugh, she gave a great shove against the floor and tumbled backwards into her bed again. She waved at the Fennekin and hissed, "Spitfire, up here –atta girl~"

The fire fox Pokémon returned to the bed, and she took the HoloDeck from her jaws, giving the huge, tufted ears a scratch. Spitfire had been the brightest of her mother's litter, and the most eager to please, so she'd stayed while the other kits had been traded away. She was a dedicated assistant and a fair opponent at checkers.

"I haven't had word from you for nearly two months," the Professor continued. "Forgive me, I was worried you had gotten stranded in the wild during that storm." At this, he heaved a sigh of relief. "It is good to know you and your family are well. But I am afraid I must ask a favor of you."

"A favor?" She was alert and focused in an instant if she wasn't until then.

"Oui. I am afraid the capital has been snowed in. Her citizens can move about the city herself, but access to any of the surrounding routes is blocked. We are mobilizing search parties for those who have not returned home along those routes, but we must clear the way for them first."

"Really? Normally Lumiose doesn't get that much snow…" She got off her bed and brushed the drapes aside. Snow piled nearly two feet high along the sill, forcing her onto her toes to squint over the shimmering edge into the yard below. "Wow, it sure did come down. I'd be glad to help, Professor. Give me a chance to get myself together and I'll Fly right over."

"Be careful, cheri, there are still pockets of ill weather around the skies, even if they are not shedding their wares. I will wait for you at my lab, yes?"

"You got it!"

"Excellent. À bientôt."

The hologram faded and the display on her HoloDeck returned to the current time: 1:44pm. A tiny icon in the corner blinked that she had 4 missed calls. She had no doubt now who they were from. The light was already waning and she'd need time to pack and Fly over. But she remained by the window, her heart thudding loudly.

It had been two months since she had last seen Augustine Sycamore, two months since she'd beaten the League and retreated to follow her own personal quests. Her last visit to Lumiose had been merely a week ago, but she'd dashed into the Pokéball Shop to resupply and flown off again without a word to anyone she knew in the city. It seemed like forever since she'd spoken to her mentor.

Glancing at the HoloDeck, she thumbed through it for the photos app and paused on a shot of them taken right after her championship victory. The medal around her neck was the only tidy or clean thing about her appearance; she looked haggard and sweaty, smears of mud punctuating blisters from errant Electric attacks and her hair frizzed and dampened from being on the wrong side of her Pokémon being Water Pulsed.

He had his arms around her, and was smiling and laughing louder than she. She looked like shit, but she looked happy; victoriously, delusionally happy. And he looked so, so proud of her.

She smiled to herself.

"Alright, Spitfire, we've got a mission. Lumiose City needs us to help clear their routes so they can run rescue missions. Can you round up some of our Fire teammates?"

A whine and a yip-yip were her reply.

"You're right, a Psychic or two would be handy."

A growl-yip and a whimper.

"Uh… I don't know." She lifted her arm and gave a sniff. "Yeesh! When did I last shower? Gross!"