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View Full Version : [Pokémon] Spring's Revenge


Psychic*Absol
February 14th, 2009, 10:02 AM
*authoress bows again* Happy St. Valentine's Day, everyone. No, no coincidence that I post it today. 0=)

Disclaimer: Any possible way to buy ‘Pokémon ™’ on ebay™? No? Then me not owns it. XD

Genre: x-chaptered fic

Summary: “It’s not hard to get a boyfriend. The hard thing is to keep him.” While the league struggles with its own problems- the arrival of two of the most prominent trainers of Sinnoh and a series of mysterious thefts, Sabrina is confronted with how true Erica’s advise rings....

Rating: PG-13, minor swearing, minor adult themes, minor violence

Pairings: Psychicshipping, Blackthornshipping, Snazzyshipping (Cynthia x Lucian)

Eliteshipping/Masakudoshipping (Karen x Will), MindScrewShipping (Will x Janine), BlueVelvetshipping *named by Zammy&Me* (Cynthia x Hunter J), WikiErrorShipping (Lance x Cynthia) *included just for having this WTF name*

A/N: Sequel to “A Winter’s Love” aka “Love’s best Friend is Hate”. No translation anymore, the original fic had no sequel. Probably because it took me weeks to get a decent plot and the current one is killing me. x.x

Timeline: A few days after Chapter 4 “Casualties&Confessions”

Spring's Revenge

1. Chapter Occassions&Orders

A world thirsty for scandals and unveilings normally adapts quite well to unexpected events. Normally, people pounce onto everything that might satisfy their hunger for gossip, and speculation. For they want to see that it’s not only them who suffer from break-ups, unrequited love, money problems and lethal sicknesses. They want to see that beneath the shell of power, money and prestige they have, VIPS are still as human as they, the readers, the normal towns- and cityfolk are.

But, as life itself proves, this doesn’t apply to anyone.

And so, sometimes, public is shaken out of its literal hibernation when something happens, something, so unbelievingly, so awkward and unsuspected, that there must be magic behind. Magic or psychic powers.

This time, it was clearly the latter.

For how else could a couple come off that was as different as night and day?
Clearly, everyone who opened his individual Yellow Press paper on the morning of the 19th April either read about the bankrupt of a small, unimportant computer company, yet another interview with one of the recently kidnapped gym leaders- Whitney this time, who babbled on and on for hours yet could not even describe the forest they had been in, or the presentation of a new league couple. It took the average reader five seconds to skim over the headline, get the facts straight into his mind and let them settle down and then drop the paper in shock.

Something unbelievable had happened.

Their league’s freak, the unfeeling, callous banshee, had found love.

For the more romantic feeling folks, it was reassuring, calming, pleasing. They had a weak spot for these tear breaker stories, for these sappy endings. Almost sacrificing herself for the league, Sabrina was saved by the new psychic elite trainer and fell in love with him. How sweet.

How bitter for the masses of fangirls spread around Kanto and Johto, who had been dreaming of such happenings only in the deepest of the nights, only with themselves in the shoes of the damsel in distress. Not one of them realized that it was exactly this kind of girly girl Will didn’t like, didn’t want to love. Many, if not all of them felt jealousy and the gnawing of their unbelieving consciousness asking itself why, oh why he had chosen her and not you. Never mind the physical distance, the psychical difference and strangeness, and every other little factor that played into this as well as fate. Life’s not fair, at least not for everyone and it never tries to explain itself.

Only humans try to find the reasons for things as love, for things that no rational mind can take, things one has to experience and to feel, not to analyze.

Sabrina had only started to realize that.

Just as millions of other citizens, she was sitting in front of a breakfast table. But unlike them, she was staring into space, her eyes not really flickering, not noticing the glass door in front of her, the garden behind, filled with various flowers, trees and other plants the league used to give off the expression of environmentally friendly and yet stylish, modern and exclusive. Neither did she notice her fellow gym leaders Misty and Erica, the former silently reading one of the aforementioned newspapers, her eyes darting from line to line, the latter taking a bite of her toast, enjoying it greatly.

“Goodness, they act as if the world’s going to end…” Misty closed her eyes, shaking her head at the stupidity of some members of society and the ruthlessness and gossip addiction of Yellow Press journalists. “You really should have tried to take things slower, Sabrina, not exactly kissing him in public, ya know…I think that was a bit too much of a change.” Instead of answering, the psychic gym leader continued to sigh and stare, not even reacting. Erica grinned, suspecting how fruitless Misty’s attempts at conversation were. “Really, I’m serious. I know you have trouble with the public; of course one doesn’t get along so good with it when they only printed bad news, all the stuff with the dolls and your split personality…but you don’t help anybody, least yourself, when you let them go their way. Let them rip you and your newfound boyfriend apart. It was predictable that Lance would run to the reporters as soon as we had found the way out of the spring, he tries to make money out of every piece of rubbish. That was his perfect chance...” Misty stopped, realizing that she had probably been better off talking to the wall next to her, as the wall would at least not show openly that its mind was elsewhere, just not in this dining room.

“Oh, come on, stop playing the love dove! That’s ridiculous!” Misty exclaimed, honestly irritated and banged the newspaper onto the desk. Erica put a hand on her shoulder, trying to calm her down. “Don’t waste your energy, Misty. Try to think of how she feels right now. How everything’s new for her. For the moment, she has lost the ability to think rationally, as shocking as that may sound, considering that we’re speaking about Sabrina here.” The grass gym leader smiled at the older girl, who had sighed and closed her eyes, not taking any notice of the conversation right in front of her. “Just let her have her time. She’ll come back from the clouds soon enough. And then, the press will be very sorry that they ever dared to publish such nasty stories about her and her boy.” Erica winked. “Guess that spring will become wide-known soon.” “I hope you’re right…” Misty sighed. “It’s just so awkward seeing her so…different. Cheerful. And daydreaming. That’s just not Sabrina!“ Misty helplessly gesticulated with her hands, her arms over her head now. Erica sighed. Both didn’t seem to mind that Sabrina was sitting not even a metre away from them, theoretically hearing everything they said. Theoretically. Because, to be able to hear, one does not only need ears, but also attention and Sabrina was missing one of these things.

“Like I said, she’ll get normal over the next days, I assure you. Reality will get to her again, I know. It does to all lovers. Sad, but true. Let her enjoy this time as long as she can get. Life will get boring soon enough.” Erica smiled. It was actually cute to see Sabrina in love; she should keep these pictures in mind, for it was never sure that they would ever return.

Out of the corner of her eye, the grass type gym leader could see the door being opened, but as she still hadn’t finished her toast, she didn’t pay it any mind. Misty let herself fall back onto her chair again with a feeble sigh, picking up the papers again, in the hope of finding something that wouldn’t infuriate her and wasn’t too hilarious to read.

Sabrina sighed again. True, she had heard every word of the conversation and she wasn’t too absent-minded to let the meaning flow beside her, but for some awkward reason, she didn’t feel like caring. It didn’t matter. Why should it? Had she ever cared about others’ opinions? Maybe, maybe not. She didn’t feel like thinking too much about it. She had other things on her mind.

With an almost inaudible growl, she turned to the clock. Will was such a late riser! Okay, he had every reason to do so- it was his first ‘real’ week as an elite trainer and the work was almost killing him, not to mention that he didn’t get much sleep during her time in the hospital. Sabrina chuckled. She hadn’t noticed him staying by her side almost every day for a whole month, but now that she did, she found it unbelievably cute. She had been unconscious and still, he had stayed with her…

Suddenly, something white clapped over her eyes. Sabrina backed away in surprise, before noticing the structure of the white, it was leather. White leather gloves. She had to giggle. “Guess who I am!" A voice behind her said, a voice well known to her. “Will! You’re finally up!” She removed the hands from her eyes, taking them in her own while turning around in her chair, smiling widely at him. “Morning, dear.” Will bent down, kissing her on the lips. Misty rolled her eyes, smashing the newspaper down again and standing up fiercely. “Okay, that’s enough! I’m going! You can have my seat, Will!“ She exclaimed, muttering something about, retarded sweethearts‘ while walking down the hall in the search of another seat, one where you didn’t have to bear newfound couples. Erica laughed. Nobody had tested so far how Misty was around her boyfriend...

~~~~~~~

In the far corner of the league’s ground floor dining room, a small group, consisting of seven madly jealous girls, sat around a round desk, plotting and dropping ideas every minute. Plots to bomb the young love. Anger was deep inside them, mixed with frustration. The feelings that many young school girls had when they found out that their unreachable secret star had found a girlfriend that was probably ten times richer and prettier than them, the measure of IQ not counted in yet. It was foolish love, but fools make the gravest mistakes and these girls didn’t even value the consequences of what they were plotting. They couldn’t yet and the only one of them who was wasn’t willing to voice her thoughts, for she was going to enjoy the suffering.

One of the girls hit the desk’s smooth surface with her delicate, tanned fist, the long, dark blue fingernails crossing over. “Come on, girls! We have to do something. It doesn’t help us if we keep on sitting here and come up with nothing! We have to act soon! So we need some ideas that are actually manageable!” She glared at her side, where another girl was staring at her own fingernails, shining and perfectly polished. “And no, kidnapping the witch and dumping her over a cliff is not one.” Whitney shrugged. “Well, it almost worked once, didn’t it?” She asked nonchalantly. “But it did not!” Claire screamed. She was angry, her own boyfriend had logged himself into his bureau again, trying to make as much money out of this unexpected event as possible. He wanted to do the organization behind by himself, as he assumed only he know what was the best, how the best marketing worked, which newspapers and talk shows paid the most for news and pictures. Lance had his minions, his secretaries and underlings, to do all the dirty work for him, but apparently, this wasn’t any dirty work for him. He loved his work so much he was neglecting his girlfriend, the exact reason why Claire was now sitting here with some of the female gym leaders, trying to find a useful way to get the two psychics to break up again.

That a break-up might get her boyfriend into an even deeper working state did not occur to her mind.

Janine, silent until now, suddenly looked up and spoke, her eyes dashing only seemingly from girl to girl, when in reality, they were searching for her father.

“I have an idea...”

~~~~~~~

“Come, sit down and eat breakfast with us!” Erica invited Will, knowing that Sabrina was too joyful to think about words. “Misty hasn’t left her seat for nothing!” Will shook his head. “No, thanks, but I’m just here to fetch my dear.” Sabrina blinked, turning around again. “Hm? What for?“ She asked, playing with the forks, unnoticed by the others. “Lance. He wants to meet us in his office. And before you ask…no, he did not say why.” Will put his hands behind his head, staring into space. Sabrina glanced at Erica, who shrugged. “No idea. But you know how much of an eccentric Lance is. I bet he has some peculiar jobs for you.” Erica smiled helplessly.

Sabrina stood up, shoving the chair aside with her head lowered. “Let’s hope it’s nothing about our relationship…” She grumbled grimly. Then she followed Will out of the room, keeping her path close to him.

“It won’t be…” Erica reassured her, even though she was out of hearing range. “Lance isn’t suicidal.”

~~~~~~~

Lance’s office was at the top floor of the league’s headquarters. Well, that was not completely right; one of his offices was at the top floor. He had many more, too many to count, but that was more because Lance liked to call every storeroom his office as long as it was luxurious enough.

The office the two psychic trainers were called to was kept in a pastel blue, with an at least two inches high carpet that made you feel like walking on clouds, large curtains falling to the ground, hiding the huge glass windows and the view behind from the eyes of every visitor. An office desk made out of dark wood completed the atmosphere, along with equally dark cupboards that easily reached the ceiling and were probably filled with all kinds of important prints and contracts. And probably a few of Lance’s dark secrets, but that was something Sabrina didn’t want to find out, even though she easily had the power to do so. She had the psychic power, Lance the political and economical power and he wouldn’t refrain from denouncing one of his own gym leaders if it was necessary in order to keep his own reputation from fading. No need for her to get into trouble anyway. She had been in enough trouble for the last two months.

Silently, the two psychics stood in front of the office desk, waiting for Lance to speak to them. He was looking over some white, narrowly printed paper, the words so small and upside down so that she couldn’t read them. It might have been interesting to know what Lance was brooding over every day, but she had other things on her mind right now. Lance couldn’t have called them in her just for watching him work; that would be even too odd for their boss.

Finally, he looked up, taking off his reading glasses and cautiously sucking on its frame. “Sabrina…Will…” He started, not looking them into the eyes. “I have a little mission for you.” Now he finally looked up, but glanced sideways, still not daring to cross their eyes. Sabrina started to wonder if Lance was afraid of them. For whatever reason. Either he got to know about Will’s newfound psychic powers- in the middle of the hype about their relationship, everyone had neglected that fact, or the mission he was about to send them on was risky and unpleasant. Normally, Sabrina wasn’t an adventurous person and would have denied any offer to get on an adventure trip. After the rescue mission, nothing had changed. She still wouldn’t throw herself into danger again. Of course, she had experienced that some good could come out of it, but now, all she wanted was to have some time to relax and enjoy her time with Will as long as she could.

On the other hand…how big were the chances that Lance would actually be willing to shove them into life-threatening events again? Not while he had still contracts with three talk show directors running.

“As you may know, the meeting- as it was interrupted in a most unfortunate way will continue for a few weeks. Originally, the champion of the Sinnoh region, Cynthia Monde, and her fellow elite four member and boyfriend,” He paused to look at the two and Sabrina suppressed a blush as fiercely as possible which took her so much effort she didn’t even manage to glimpse at Will to check if he was trying the same,” Lucian Livre, were going to visit us on the last day of the conference, as some kind of ending event, but since Team Rocket attacked the day before, this was of course canceled as the league couldn’t risk the safety of these two.” Sabrina shortly glanced at Will. Both had an idea what their mission was about now, but that didn’t make them feeling any easier. “Now, the league wants to make up for the last time and has invited the two again for next Wednesday.” Lance took a breath now. Sabrina noticed some sweat falling down his temples. It wasn’t warm at all in his office. So he was really nervous. Most certainly it wasn’t them upsetting him- he had never been comfortable around other champions and this Cynthia was rumored to be the strongest- not to mention that she was a woman.

Sabrina snorted inwardly. Lance was so pathetic, the big, energetic champion being afraid of a woman. Noticing Will gulping, though, Sabrina banished these thoughts quickly, grinning awkwardly.

“Though this has caused problems I did not think off before.” Lance let his head rest in his left hand, looking quite tired actually. “I can’t give you details, but the original welcoming gift I had wanted to give the two isn’t…available anymore.” Sabrina blinked, glancing again at Will who was returning her confused look. Something not available? For the head of their state? The man who could get everything and more with a snap of his finger? Was this some kind of one of a kind thing? But even then, Lance would have made it a two of a kind thing and if he had to spent a year’s budget on it.

“Well, anyway…I had to find a replacement and thankfully, I did.” He paused, his mouth staying open. He was thinking about how to continue. Certainly, he was hiding something from them, but Sabrina wouldn’t press him on this matter nor read his mind. Never. That wasn’t in her interest anyway and she wouldn’t benefit. “I just don’t have the time to get it, I’m busy with re-organization, and I’m afraid I can’t even present it to them personally. So I choose you two to do the duty for me.” He smiled cautiously, a formal, artificial smile to get their trust and sympathy. “Right now, I think you two are the best representatives the league has, with all you’ve done for us, you being the new elite, William, and Sabrina being one of the best gym leaders…and, of course, your peculiar relationship.” Lance smiled, both Sabrina and Will blushed even though they were trying hard to hold it back in front of the dragon trainer. It was just demolishing the formal attitude they had to keep, something they had agreed on since the very first day after their confession. Love was all nice and good, but it wasn’t optional to live it up everywhere. Sabrina had already cursed herself for daring to kiss him in front of the hotel a few days ago, a slip simply happening out of happiness, but bacon for the hungry masses of reporters.

“So, what is it that you want us to do?” Sabrina was almost glad that Will was speaking for her, but only almost. Closing her eye, she sent him a telepathic warning not to dare to try to dominate her. She was not lowering her position just because of him, never. And she had just as much authority to speak to Lance as he had, even though their positions said otherwise. To some extent, she still couldn’t get over the humiliation she had experienced merely a month ago, expelling it from her heart seemed impossible, but she would never openly show it. Not now.

She didn’t want to drive the one man away that had fallen in love with her.

Lance started to rummage through his desk, not paying them any attention. Still, Will was very sure that had they tried to use this moment of thoughtlessness, Lance would have had knocked them over by his hiding bodyguards faster than they could ever access their powers. Well, faster than he could react anyway. He was still training with Sabrina- as much as their feelings allowed any serious training, but he had much to learn and was far away from accomplishing anything even near her level. He was happy if he even managed to teleport anything, much less teleporting to any specific direction or even more than one thing at once.

“Not much, actually. Just get to the post office down the south street and give the main operator there this letter.” Of course, the letter was still in its envelope, no address written down, not a single word actually. Also, it had been glued together heavily, lowering any chance of seeing what was inside. Judging from its width, it couldn’t be any more than a single sheet of paper. “That should tell him everything. If not, just call me and I’ll settle the rest.” Lance smiled mysteriously, making Sabrina wonder if he was just going to ‘settle’ things or blackmail the poor workmen there. “Be careful with the gift he’s going to give you.” Suddenly, the man’s mimics had changed from mocking nice to daring serious. A look that told both psychics everything. If they screwed up, some heads were going to roll, even if that meant Lance decapitating the ones that had saved him from the Rocket’s grasp. “Break it, and you’re going to get broken, too. I won’t be there to check for at least a week, I have own matters to attend, but when I come back, I will talk to Cynthia. And I will make sure that everything went well, got that?” His façade dropped. Apparently, the effort to keep looking unmoved had strained his face muscles.

“But I am sure that you two won’t fail me.” He smiled, leaning back in his black leather chef chair, camouflaged by his black cape. “You didn’t fail us once, you won’t fail us twice.” He presented Will with the envelope when suddenly, his phone rang. For a moment, everyone was quiet in the room, then Lance cursed. “Sorry, excuse me.” He shushed them off with a simple gesture and the two didn’t waste any time in waiting. Interesting as it might be to hear who Lance was talking to and about what, that was a definite invasion of privacy and even without the danger of being escorted outside not too nicely by the bodyguards, Sabrina and Will wouldn’t stay to hear him.

“Clair? Yes, I *know* that I have been working late…yes, I*will* come home today…yes, I still got the tickets for tonight…” He scribbled down something, probably a note to his secretary to buy said tickets. “And then, we’ll have the week for ourselves…”

Especially if half a minute of listening was enough to tell them anything.

~~~~~~~

The young, blue haired woman looked down on her list again, not paying any attention to what the stewardess was saying. ‘One egg, one pokemon..’ She thought, shoving the note again into a pocket of her business dress. She shook her head. ‘That’s what I have been sent to Kanto for. Pathetic. ‘ Of course, it was all a matter of money. And her client had a lot of it. So much he paid for the plane ticket as well as the hotel room and any costs she might face in Kanto.

Looking out of the window, already planning her next actions, she just took a moment to wonder about her customer’s motivations. This was unlike herself, as she usually never questioned any order and just did as she was told, but this mission was special.

End 1. Chapter

Crazy Packers Fan
February 14th, 2009, 12:53 PM
I had been concerned that Sabrina and Will would have been broken up by the time of this sequel, but fortunately that was not the case. It's so cute to see them in love... and pretty funny to see Misty jealous of them. I love that you support the Lucian x Cynthia pairing as well, I can't wait to see them arrive in the story. It'll be interesting to see a Cynthia who isn't so... evil. And I'm assuming that last character in the chapter is a Rocket member, perhaps sent to crack an egg? We'll see. Anyway, good first chapter, I'll be looking forward to seeing the rest.

Psychic*Absol
February 22nd, 2009, 12:25 PM
Why should they? because it took me so long to post this?
^^ I suppose I supported it for a long time without knowing, but it kinda fits the story line as well. But you'll see...there's more to their relationship than meets the eye.

2. Chapter: Equivalence & Electioneering

Once they were out of the room, Sabrina leaned against the colourless, cold wall, breathing heavily. Though she did not show it openly, every meeting with Lance was a challenge, even for her. The pressure to stay calm and reserved weighed heavily on her. Mostly because it was dangerous for her to succumb too much to it, her mind wasn’t as stable as it appeared to be. She had to fight falling back into her old ways again, fighting the emotionless state that could always come back. Lance’s orders didn’t help much there.

Secondly...she had never thought it would be so hard to stay still when you’re in love and all you want is to embrace and kiss your boyfriend again and again.

She sighed and threw a fleeting look at Will who had also taken a break to relax. “You’re alright?” She asked, knowing that this job was harder for him, as he still wasn’t used to the atmosphere at the league headquarters. Not that she was, but Saffron’s high society wasn’t much different and that was a group she often came across. Blinking, she realized that she knew nothing about Will’s family structure. It must have missed her mind to ask him about it. No surprise, seeing as all she had had on her mind recently were...more shallow things. “I think so.” Will turned his head to her, revealing a smile that wasn’t as honest as he wanted it to be. Sabrina shook her head, disproving of her boyfriend’s false attitude. He did not have to play the strong, never faltering hero for her, she wasn’t in need of a prince to save her. At least most of the time. And theoretically, if Team Rocket didn’t try to intervene again, all he had to save her from were dangerously high stacked piles of documents, the possibly poisoned coffee which she didn’t drink anyway and which wasn’t much of a life threat to her as a psychic’s body absorbed poison, well, and of course, Lance’s mood. That might be something to really be cautious of, but it wasn’t as lethal as, say, a Crunch attack by a wild Mightyena…

Graciously, she took his hand in her own. Granted, she felt a bit childish doing that, as the only persons she had seen holding hands so far were all below her age and their love wasn’t near as serious as hers, but she felt better doing that, warmer. And Will didn’t mind, continuing his uneasy smile. She wondered what was going through his head. “Trust me, Lance can get angry, but he would never get so angry that he would willingly throw us out of the league. We’re worth more than his pitiful little present, I’m sure.” Her smile was somehow mockingly, subtly degrading Lance. Now that they were out of his seeing and hearing range, she could dare to do so. For even her, the mighty psychic leader had to bow before the politic power that presented her the daily money for bread and water. Only did her ego not allow that to sink in.

Will might have been more aware of that fact; for he had only recently seen his working contract and the conditions under which Lance let him resident here. But just as much as he felt Lance to be superior, he had started to acknowledge Sabrina’s authority over him as her psychic pupil. He might be the better trainer, but she was definitely the better psychic and for as long as he was studying under her, there was a certain order between them. Once they were back to the Pokemon trainer’s routine, though...

“I hope you’re right.” Will sighed, running his free hand through his slightly out of form hair. “I know rumours about what Lance did to former subordinates and these weren’t nice at all.” Sabrina glanced angrily at him. “You heard the rumours about me as well and yet you don’t seem to be troubled by my presence…” “Hm…” Will smiled innocently. “Who says I’m not troubled by you?” He played with her fingers, stroking them and running them through his own. He liked the smooth feeling of her skin, pale and shimmering as it was. “It’s just the definition of ‘trouble’ that needs to be amplified.” Sabrina started to smile, and though she was not looking down, she felt the sensation and liked it. “Hm, emotion trouble rather.” She turned away, but didn’t pull her hand away. “We should head to the post office now. We don’t want to let the operator wait there, do we?” “You’re right.“ He nodded and followed her to the stairs, one hand still in Sabrina’s, the other keeping close to his trouser’s pocket, where he had put the highly important envelope.

~~~~~~~

Far away from them, in the sky above the sea, a plane slowly made its way through the cold, hazy clouds, its metallic skin shining in the unhidden sunlight. In it, a delegation of about twenty people sat, chatting silently, sleeping or reading. The atmosphere was different than in the one where the blue haired woman had sat, more formal and reserved here. For this delegation didn’t consist of tourists, not one of them was going to visit Kanto, more exactly, Indigo City, for fun. All of them knew how much work and strain they were heading towards, even expecting to be thinking about and hanging over papers and organization through the few hours of free time they were officially given. For most of these people were used to this, high positioned managers, advisers and secretaries of Sinnoh’s elite.

In the middle row, placed strategically between seven bodyguards, sitting straight and diagonally next to them, two of their most important people were leaned back in their comfortable seats. The kidnapping of the Indigo leaders had alerted not only the public, but also the similar situated neighbour leagues. Now, in the attempt to look more professional, they had stocked up their security staff. Just like Lance and his subordinates, the Sinnoh Elite knew how to make money, but unlike the dragon trainer from Blackthorn, they also knew what to spend it on and what not. Better physical fighting and mental training for their bodyguards, the best equipment in their planes, bullet-proof clothing for everyone important enough and an emergency system most cities could only dream off, and no fancy gothic clothing that makes girls in the middle of their puberty squeak. Certainly, if anyone dared to threaten Cynthia Monde and Lucian Livre, he or she would be unveiled and removed long before they had any chance to even get a glimpse of the two celebrities.

Lucian was slightly bored, resting his head on his left hand and glancing around the plain place. All of his books were in his luggage; he had not been allowed to take anything with him. Without reading, he did not know what to do with himself. Cynthia wasn’t helping in any way. She had told him before that she had to transact a phone call on the flight to Kanto and surprisingly, she had been allowed to keep her mobile phone, but she had just as much money as power. He glanced at her, trying to see if she was finished yet. To his dismay, she wasn’t, still talking quietly, nicely but formal enough to her unknown phone partner. Noticing her boyfriend, the league trainer shot him a quick, innocent smile. Lucian looked at her indifferently. She had told him that this phone call was important, almost as, if not even more important than their visit. Lucian kept his eyes on her, admiring her beauty unconsciously, yet thinking sharply about his role in the national theatre act that was soon to come.

~~~~~~~

Will admitted that downtown Indigo was much different than the glittering mansion streets he had been used to, since that was where he lived now, having been given an apartment in the attic of one of the few multi-storey houses here in Indigo. League-paid, of course. Now that he had gotten his first cheque from Lance, he might have been able to pay for it himself without getting in debt for years, though he did not know for sure how much his apartment was worth. Technically, he had earned money for doing nothing at all, since there had been no official event he had had to attend save for his inauguration, and certainly no battle save for the one with Team Rocket. But Lance wasn’t one to look for these details and besides, Will assumed that a great deal of this money was exactly the thanks for being saved.

But now, this part of Indigo City reminded him more of his home in the suburbs of Teak City, being more...casual, a cautious tongue would say. A not so nice one would say dirty and filthy. He wondered if said impolite remark would come from Sabrina, but she stayed quiet, not even glancing around like he did. Of course, these narrow streets, filled with slush, rubbish and god knows what else, weren’t the best view, and he assumed that Saffron had even more of them, being known as a bipolar city as well with its ghettos on the one hand and the big, rich companies like Silph Co. on the other. For him, it was something new, not the concept itself, but the fact that Lance allowed it to exist. Had he not claimed to bring wealth and attractiveness to Indigo? Hadn’t he already achieved too much of that with the area around the headquarters, the fancy restaurants and huge hotels, the different brands of jewellery displayed in more than a dozen shops proving him true? He suddenly felt very confused.

“Be careful Will, people might recognize us.” Sabrina whispered to him, actually sounding afraid. This new emotion in her voice surprised him, as he had never before heard her speaking with so much anxiety. Even when she had been laying in his arms, bleeding from the wound the Mightyena had caused, there hadn’t been any fear. Neither in the moment where she had almost lost her life for the first time, dangling above spiky rocks, anything but fear for her life there, even the exact opposite! But now, while walking through a simple street in the middle of the day, when the sun was out and shining, on the way to a post office, which was certainly nothing disturbing...now she seemed to be frightened. Of what?

Will mused if their love had started to soften Sabrina in a bad way, making her rather vulnerable. If that was the case, he hadn’t wanted to cause it. A strong woman attracted him more and before, Sabrina had been the definite definition of emancipation.

“No, I’m not softening up.” She almost growled at him and Will had to chuckle. She had read his mind... “It’s just that his part of Indigo is dangerous, no matter how peaceful it appears now.” She peered a bit out of her coat’s collar, checking their surroundings. “Especially for people that seem to have money.” Sabrina glanced at him. Without words, both knew now what they had to be careful about, though Will couldn’t help but feel a bit sad. To some extent, he could feel empathy for the people living here. There had been times when he had been...

“I suppose if things get dirty, I could teleport us out of here, but I wouldn’t be feeling too safe. If anyone notices that I am- we are psychic”, she corrected herself with a well placed, friendly smile”, they’re going to pull out the dark Pokemon for sure. If one doesn’t have one, his brother or father-in-law has one. Family bonds are strong here.” Will nodded and Sabrina noticed with a surprised look that this didn’t seem to be all new to him. Again, she assumed it must have been connected with his own family, but she didn’t get the chance to ask him about it. Both suddenly felt it and both froze. A lone, empty metal can was kicked through an alley to their left, banging against the stone wall of a shabby house. At first, Sabrina knew that she shouldn’t even look, rather walk away quietly and pretend she hadn’t noticed, for that may be a way to get out safely, but then she didn’t know how Will would act. Before he could do anything stupid, she would rather even dare to take control of his body with her powers, but that wasn’t necessary. Even if they had acted as if they were just innocent bypassers- which they were, technically, the scum living around here would have noticed them anyway, longing for any worthy possessions they might have. Sabrina suddenly regretted accepting this mission and started to think she knew why Lance had rather taken a few days off with his girlfriend instead of walking to the post office himself. Not that he was any more helpless than them, but he didn’t want to put himself under any stress and avoid unnecessary performances or damages.

“Well, see what we got there....” A young boy, who couldn’t be any older than fifteen, with yet black, short hair, scars all over his slightly tanned face and his clothes partly ripped, was standing with a Pokeball in his hand. Sabrina could already feel his comrades hiding behind the bins behind him in the shadows of the alley. They hadn’t shown themselves yet to keep Will and her in the false feeling of safety of only having one opponent. She was ready to take Will’s hand and get them out immediately, but he surprised her by stepping in front with his left hand outstretched, appearing as calm as one could be in this situation. “I know you want to cause trouble, boy, but I think this is a step too high for you.” Sabrina blinked. His voice had changed a bit- not as much that she couldn’t actually recognize it anymore, but it was darker, rougher, actually falling into some slang now and then. It sounded exactly like the words from someone you would expect to see in these ghettos, not like a young gentleman who had just been promoted to elite trainer.

“I hope for you two that you’re not together with that b**** that keeps on hanging around here...nasty s***, stealing our Pokemon and money.” The boy snarled. “No, we’re surely not. Though I would think stealing is the most common criminal act happening here, you shouldn’t be too surprised that it occurs to you, too....” Will answered, his dark eyes still focussed on the boy and the background.

Sabrina kept staring at him, completely stunned, which caused her not to notice Will’s still unsteady telepathic message at first. <Teleport us out, now.> She blinked. It was hard to understand the telepathy of an untrained psychic, as the vital information was interfered and blended with unconscious unwanted nonsense and thoughts that weren’t meant to surface at all, for their owner rather wanted to keep them private. Sabrina had to concentrate hard not to catch too much of this junk. She didn’t want to investigate Will’s mind too much, not only because of the privacy problems, but also because she didn’t simply want to know everything he thought. Some things a man might come up with might just be too embarrassing for someone like her...

However, as soon as she was sure she had clearly made out the central words and cut out everything that wasn’t addressed at her; she concentrated, trying to keep her powers from showing themselves. Normally, a psychic preparing for a teleport was easy to spot, as the glow a dead giveaway, but she wasn’t one of the best for nothing. Only a second later, they left the scene, leaving the boy and his comrades alone.



Crouched next to an empty oil barrel, silent and still whispering into her mobile phone in a way only the best trained agents could, the blue haired woman bit her lip. Something had gone wrong in the plan. It wasn’t her fault, but she was the one who had to try to fix it all now, as her client surely had not chance to interfere. “I’m sorry to tell you that the cargo ship with the targets has not arrived yet, though the one with the required equipment has. The boss doesn’t know anything about it, he still beliefs that it arrived yesterday. And yet two of them are on their way. What should I do?” She waited for a response. It didn’t take much time for her client to come up with an adequate solution.

~~~~~~~

The blue-haired woman nodded. “Okay, I got it. The same cargo number, you say? It will be easy to find it, don’t worry. I’ll be on my way now.” She pushed the off button and stood up. Unfortunately for the teenage boy, he found her first. “It’s you!“ He growled. She looked at him, no emotion crossed her face, not even a smirk crawling for victory. “Come out, Drapion!” The boy only had seconds before darkness engulfed his senses completely.

~~~~~~~

Will tried to shake off the involuntary shudder that came down his spine as they arrived in front of the small, ochre-coloured building with the trashy yellow plastic sign reading four dark letters. He didn’t even know why he was trembling so much. It couldn’t be the teleport itself, he had been teleported quite a few times now with Sabrina and it had never caused any fear in his psyche. If this teleport hadn’t been any different today, then it couldn’t be the reason.

He glanced at Sabrina, who was already walking up to the door. She wasn’t addressing him, keeping her back consequently to him. Will gulped. Maybe it was something about his behaviour that, hopefully only for a short time, drove her away from him. Shaking his head, he tried to convince himself that it had been necessary for him to step in, to go out of his usual new adapted way, regardless of what Sabrina might think about him now. He regretted telling her not everything, keeping her in the dark about many things, but he feared she wouldn’t want him around her anymore if she knew the truth.

Was that the true reason for his fear? Losing her?

“Sabrina, dear, wait...!” He called to her. She shot him a fast glance, one that was so white, so colourless, so devoid of all emotions that he backed away. It only lasted for a second, and then, her eyes were back to the dark, calming mix of blue and purple that attracted him.

“Come on, Will, we have to hand over the letter.” He faltered, but started to follow her not much later. For a moment, he knew he had been ready, had found the courage to talk to her, but a second later, his nerves had already been lost again. It was not the right atmosphere, everyone could hear them here, and secondly, she had been right, they had an important job to do.

The air in the office was dry and filled with too many perfumes and different scents coming from the air conditioning. Will was bewildered, why would anybody need air conditioning in the earliest spring? What artificial winds could be better than the blossomy breeze outside? Noticing the tonnes of letter and packages of all different sizes behind the reception desk, though, he assumed that special air and temperatures were needed to keep the paper in good condition.

Sabrina turned her head to the left and the right, looking for the main officer. All operators were wearing the same, dark blue costumes, the only thing that told them apart were the little name tags that did not only give each person an identity behind the identical masks, but also a special rang inside this office. For any normal person, the only way to find the one they were searching for would be to read each tag long-windedly until they discovered the right one more or less by accident, an irritating try and error game. But she wasn’t any normal, she was psychic and as alike as all these persons looked, their minds were quite different. Without hesitation, she chose a young man with platinum-blond, straight and short hair, though his haircut was unbelievable ugly and his face only increased that feeling. Sabrina didn’t notice, she had never sorted humans into beauty categories and even though she knew for sure that she wasn’t the only one finding Will to be handsome, she wouldn’t start the same with other men.

“You there.” “Hm?” The young boy turned around. Will was dumbfounded; he had never thought that someone so young would be found in such a big position. But then…how old was Lance again? And when had he promoted to elite four? At least four years ago, because he had already been there when Karen had won the tournament.

Sabrina couldn’t care less about the guy’s age, she already felt irritated by the cloud of synthetic scents that kept swirling around her head and causing headaches psychics were so susceptible to.

“We’ve got a message from Lance.” She turned her head to glance at Will, who had been staring around the room, not listening in. He blinked when he noticed her stare, then smiled nervously. Sabrina glared at him with an almost unnoticeable growl. “Oh, sorry.” He rummaged through his pockets, awkwardly searching for the envelope. Sabrina gazed over him with slight amusement, thoughts fogged up by the different oils and fragrances. <I swear, if you have to take off your pants, I’m never gonna look at you again...> Will blinked. “Worse if I lost the letter...” The young boy blinked, not understanding what was going on between the two psychics. Sabrina grinned. It was getting harder to concentrate; she wanted to get out of this room as soon as possible. “Here we go!” Will flashed Sabrina a cute smile as he handed her the crumpled envelope, which she answered with a helpless, but not exactly angry sigh. “Good for you.” She turned to the boy, still as clueless as before and not exactly grasping what was going on. He knew how to lead an office, how to command and organize, as that’s what he had been taught for years and years, but the little well-meaning clashes between lovers were new territory for him. Theoretically, for Will and Sabrina, they were, too, but the two psychic trainers did not think too much about how they acted, they just continued their daily life and the small changes in their behaviour were only noticeable for an outsider. Though the way Sabrina changed was more apparent...

With one hand around the edge of the envelope, the other searching blindly for a paper knife or anything else suitable for the job, the boy stared at the letter. Finally, Sabrina got annoyed enough to teleport a small pocket knife into his hand. The way her left hand was clutched at her side, Will wondered if she would have liked to cut the envelope open by herself. But then, she was known to restrain herself in official situations as much as possible and Sabrina, the ‘psychotic witch’, seen with a knife wouldn’t be the best way to make the public feel safe. “Let’s see what we got here...” Sabrina rolled her eyes and Will felt the impulse to put a hand on her shoulder, just to keep her from snapping. She smiled generously at him, leaning back into his arms. “I see, the cargo transporter that just arrived this morning...” Not taking his eyes from the letter, the boy started to walk to the backdoor, probably leading to the storeroom. Will blinked, amazed that someone could even do that without taking wrong directions or bumping into one of the several other persons working here. Seeing as Sabrina, though, was already following the young boy, he shrugged and followed her as well.

Sabrina couldn’t deny her curiosity, for she tried several times to peer around the main officer, trying to catch a glimpse of what he was reading so carefully, the contents of the letter. But the words were too small for her to read and the boy was moving too fast for her to be able to read much. All she could catch were a few numbers, bold, in the middle of the whole text, and emphasized by being separated from the other columns. Snorting, as these numbers didn’t tell her much, she put her mind off trying to find out anything.

There were other things she had to think of. Whatever the present they would be given now was, they had to be very careful with it, not damaging it in the last, or else Lance would do something to them. She was certain he wouldn’t kill them, neither strap them of their positions, but to tell the truth, she did not want to know what he would do in the end. So it was better to do as they were told.

The boy lead them through several shelves, full of different sized packages in different shades of brown and yellow, with strings or without, with white address notes been seen or not. While Will looked around again, surprised by the huge mass of post that was stored here, Sabrina didn’t spend everything a second look. The annoying smell wasn’t gone and her headache was kicking in again.

“Here we are.” The boy stopped in front of a big grey container and opened it with a grey key. The door squealed metallically, the riffled metal bending under the pressure. “Number 986 968 should be somewhere in there.” He smiled widely at the couple, who felt indeed a bit confused. “Ehm...what?” Will’s question summarized quite well a couple of issues that had just come up. Like what the number was supposed to mean, why they were standing in front of this oversized corrugated iron hut, and where the gift was supposed to be.

The boy smiled uneasily. “Well, 986 968 is the registration number of the subject mentioned in the letter. According to my checking list and the shipping documents, it should be in container nine, which we’re standing in front of.” He closed his eyes, still continuing his smile as if the world would end if he didn’t. “We haven’t had the time to unload the container yet, but the letter tells me it’s urgent, so I thought it would be better and faster if you two search for it.”

Will glanced at Sabrina, wondering when would be the right moment to put his hand on her- unhurt! shoulder again- that seemed to calm her down quite well, and keep the poor boy from getting psychically strangled. <Come on Brina, you know better than to take it out on him. There’s still Lance for this.> He tried to get her lightened up a bit with a grin, but she countered with a smile that was so frosty it relieved him of all spring warmness. He knew he should be used to the behaviour of his beloved winter lady, however, she often managed to scare him. <You’re right. We have to get this job straight, and after that...> She paused and Will- who shuddered from the cold tone even her telepathy possessed, continued after a meaningful pause. <Lance’s going to have some explanations ready.> She walked past the boy, into the unlit, uncomfortable container, still fresh with ocean’s air and the fragrance of fish. The elite trainer followed her, shrugging. It wasn’t as if they had much better things to do and at least they were together.

“Some lighter wouldn’t be so bad, you know...” Will almost cursed when he hit his feet against something metallic and hard. He bit his tongue, cursing wasn’t usual for him and especially not in the presence of a woman. “Use your powers, stupid.” If there hadn’t been the teasing edge in her scolding, he would have started being angry with her. He wasn’t as used to these powers as her yet and it still took him much concentration and energy to activate them. “It would be easier if we knew what we’re looking for...” He mumbled. Everything was stacked up to the ceiling, and though he remembered the number- or at least tried to remember it, he wasn’t sure he could even read in this darkness. How to read ink with psychic powers? Was that even possible? He was just about to ask Sabrina when his foot again hit something and he tripped over without support. To his surprise, though, he didn’t hit the hard, metallic ground, but something soft...and warm.

“Ouch...” Will shook his head, trying to get rid of this small dizziness, yet his eyes were fixed on Sabrina under him. Hopefully, he hadn’t hit her shoulder too hard. She growled. “I know what you want, boy, and I know it’s dark and we’re alone, but this is neither the right moment nor the right time and if you try to advance on me, you’re getting double the pain I’m feeling in my shoulder right now!” For a moment, he wondered what she was talking about, but suddenly, he jumped up, almost falling down again because he hadn’t found his balance yet and chuckled nervously. “Sorry...” Sabrina’s sigh didn’t hide her smile- and her redness, even in the dark. “Thankfully, at least one of us is concentrating on finishing this job.” She pointed up to a huge, quadratic package, on top of a wooden shelf. “Could you get it for me, please? You’re taller.” Will blinked. He had actually not noticed this until now, but it was true, she was noticeably smaller than him. And, for the fact, smaller than most women he had come across. Of course, even if that hadn’t been the case, he wouldn’t have denied her that favour. He was a gentleman after all.

Sabrina stepped back, still uneasy in her movements and feeling not completely well herself, too. She had understood the subtle hints, the unconscious thoughts snapping in that moment they had been so close. In a way, it had been similar to the moment back at the spring, where had caught her and held her close to his body. But then, they hadn’t been an official couple, both official to the public and their minds. Now they were and the scene had changed. It was true that she liked his warmth, having him close to her, but there was a step ahead that she wasn’t willing to tackle yet. She crossed her arms defensibly. She hoped she wasn’t overreacting, but Will didn’t seem to have noticed at all. He was just as relaxed as usual. Sighing, she tried to fight the butterflies in her stomach and not think too much.

“Goodness, that thing is heavy...” Will stumbled back a bit, with the box in his arms; he had no chance to support himself anywhere. He was just about to crash backwards when he felt an invisible force paralysing him completely. To his own astonishment, he wasn’t shocked, but had rather felt this coming. He knew too much about Sabrina and her powers, and psychic powers in general, now not to have the slight hope of being helped this way. The trainer smiled inwardly. His life had changed drastically, but he didn’t mind in any way. After all, it had changed to good.

“What is it?” Sabrina asked, leaning forward and slowly levitating the package downwards. “I don’t know.” Will let himself fall back, taking a deep breath and wiping away some sweat from his forehead. “I just know for sure that it’s not lightweight construction.” Curious, and brave as she was, Sabrina rubbed a bit off the brown package paper, peering beneath it. To her dismay, she only saw her own reflection, pale and framed by her black hair, darkness beneath it. At least that told her something about the present’s nature. “Glass....” She whispered, tilting her head. „Hm?“ Will looked up, he hadn’t listened in. „It’s made out of glass.” Sabrina repeated, walking around the present to sit down next to her boyfriend. “That explains why we’re supposed to be so damn careful with it.” Will glanced past her. “And why it’s so heavy.” Sabrina sighed, blowing a lose strand of hair out of her face, cooling Will’s at the same time and started to lean against him. “I’ll help you with carrying...” Throwing a short, sharp look at him, she put her finger on his lips just as he was about to say something, then silenced him completely with a kiss. “You don’t have to be the gentlemen every time. Let me play the gentlewoman for once, too.”

~~~~~~~

Minutes later, the couple walked slowly out of the office, carefully carrying the huge glass object between them. Will had to walk backwards and more often than once, he was about to trip and Sabrina had to stabilize him, causing laughter.

The blue-haired woman watched them with a seemingly unmoved expression, yet her eyes widened the smallest bit when she saw them. ‘It can’t be!’ She realized. ‘Something went wrong, they weren’t supposed to find anything!’ With a movement that could almost be called frantically in her case, she reached for her mobile phone, not bothering with the number, just picking the automatic re-deal button. “Client M?” She asked, nervous yet still keeping her voice down, scraping at the necklace she was wearing. It was supposed to dimmer psychic powers, but who knew for sure? She never trusted anything supernatural; she was more familiar with her own technical devices that worked on the laws of physics. “We have a problem.”

End Chapter 2
As you can see, the chapter went a bit slow. >.< Chapter 3 will probably not up for a while (= at least a week) as I only recently started to write it.

Crazy Packers Fan
February 22nd, 2009, 12:45 PM
So Lucian and Cynthia showed up, but not as long as I'd hoped... I love how Lucian was just staring at her beauty, that was cute.

And the object is made of... glass? That's surprising, because I thought it was going to be an egg, actually. And it's big and heavy too, what could it possibly be? It's for the Sinnoh couple, right? I wonder what they want with it.

Sorry, I'm not the best at reviewing. I enjoyed the chapter, I like all the cute little portions of Sabrina and Will's relationship. I just am not so skilled at being able to comment on it, after all, I'm too much of a minimalist. Just know that I enjoyed it and am looking forward to more, especially to seeing the Sinnoh couple talk. (Speaking of which, Cynthia's English voice is awful... awful! Oh, I want to wash out my ears after hearing how awful it was...)

Psychic*Absol
February 22nd, 2009, 12:49 PM
^^;;; Sorry, I know I should have warned you...but their next appearence will be much, much larger and you'll get to know a little more about them...if you catch the subtle hints in the next chapter, that is. 0=)

0=) No telling here, as that's a plot point.

Really, no problem there, CPF. ^^ I'm happy that someone at least reviews *pokes Zammy*, so the review can be that short.
And the two will talk. Or at least Cynthia will talk *snickers*.
I haven't heard it yet *goes to youtube*, but I assure you that her German voice is...okay. Not good, but not bad either.

Psychic*Absol
March 1st, 2009, 11:57 AM
Next chapter. Hints of a new pairing, action slowly starting, etc, ... Just read it. XD

3. Chapter: Lies& Lures

The next morning, miles away from downtown, the small, private airport of Indigo City was in uproar. More than double the usual security men framed the glass house and the related runway. The usual staff had been raised as well, almost tripping over each others’ feet now in the chaos of the incoming plane containing the elite. Without Lance’s leading hand- which was probably now on Clair’s more delicate body parts, they were free, but lost as well. Without his loud, commanding voice, the hallways were peacefully quite, until frantic screaming of the employees entered them. “They’re coming! They’re coming!“

The next second, last second preparations were taking place at several different offices at the same time, all coordinating the small airport into a gigantic, almost living fortress, ready for everything, even an atomic war if necessary. They couldn’t allow a second fiasco to happen, a second kidnapping or anything even near that. They would all be doomed if that happened, Lance not only stripping them of every meaningful position they had, but also erasing their very existence from the books of this world. Not to mention that Sinnoh’s citizens would laugh their heads off, pointing with their filthy, bony fingers at them for being the useless puppets they always had been in their eyes.

Cynthia started to wonder if Sinnoh’s people were any better than Indigo’s.

Reflecting the morning sun, appearing to be dipped into pure white, not a single colour visible, the plane materialized on the sky, the few clouds that were left almost seemed to be parting for the high visitors they got. Slowly, it dived down, taking all the time it got. It was a nice day; they weren’t in a hurry to land. The official welcoming ceremony was going to take place in a few hours, still giving the two celebrities all time to relax and prepare themselves. For their delegation, the time was to be used for several official meetings and, of course, the organization taking place here, everything that couldn’t have been planned back home in Sinnoh.

Then, finally, the plane was down. As soon as its wheels touched the ground, a swarm of security men crawled nearer, shielding it from any influence from the outside. It took the door an seemingly endless moment to open, but then, the pride of Sinnoh stepped out, her blonde hair flying in the fresh air, paralleled by her long black coat that hid her silky, long legs, stuck in long, fur-coated boots. With a smooth movement, she put on some pitch-black sunglasses, tilting her neck and looking all over the place. Curiously, some shadow crept up behind her. It was Lucian, today dressed in a black and grey suit, with a grey jacket loosely worn over it. Cynthia glanced back at him, her lips slightly open, shining with the new, pale pink lipstick. “It’s a wonder you’re so tanned when you rarely go outside.” Lucian raised an eyebrow, walking past his girlfriend and down the plane stairs with an unreadable expression, his hands in his pockets. “They have windows in libraries, you know.” His voice was so casual one could have thought he was talking to his neighbour, but not Sinnoh’s champion. But then again, she was his girlfriend and he could talk to her in any way he wanted to.

Cynthia turned up her nose and pressed her lips together strongly, but didn’t say anything. Everyone could see her now; there was no chance to scold him.

“Champion Cynthia Monde, Elite Four Lucian Livre, it’s such a pleasure to have you here.” “Yeah, sure it is.” Lucian smiled generously, though no one could tell if his smile was real or not. No one, except for maybe Cynthia. She glanced at him before smiling at the head of the airport, shaking his hand happily.”The same could be said on our side, mister, it’s so nice to be finally able to visit Kanto, after all they trouble you’ve been through.” She lowered her head as if in shame, but it was all tactical. Sinnoh had enough problems; she couldn’t care less for Kanto’s. Team Galactic, Team Rocket…they were all nasty flies in the golden soup of triumph.

The little man nodded, his fake hair almost falling down, not to mention that the strong breeze was a killer for it, anyway. “You’re going to meet two representatives, William Bender and Sabrina Bennett, in a few hours. I would recommend you to rest until then.” Cynthia nodded. “Then we’ll do that, won’t we, dear Lucian?” He blinked openly in her direction, but then nodded without word.

~~~~~~~

One hour later, in a small hotel room near the league headquarters, a young man was fiddling with his bow tie. “Argh, Karen, can’t you help me?” The young blonde, raising an eyebrow as she watched her roommate close to strangling himself, had crossed her legs in a way that compensated for her daringly short dress. She stood up, Will wondering briefly how someone could even walk on high heels that high, before lack of oxygen took his consciousness. “Really, Will boy, normally you’re able to do this on your own, aren’t you?” She slapped him on the back and ripped the cloth from his neck harshly, but in a fashion one could almost call erotic. “I’m nervous.” He whispered, throat sore. Karen grinned evilly, playing with the tie between her long fingernails. “I see.” She again took the two ends of the bow tie and leaned forward to place it. “You’re sure your little girlfriend won’t mind if I do this?” She asked, breathing next to his cheek, her lips almost touching his. Will gulped. He had wondered if Sabrina could help him, too, since she was only a room away, but now, it was really hard to think at all.

“Karen, please...” She smiled, then, suddenly, pulled the knot together so strongly he had to yelp. “You should be more careful with certain things.” She said before walking out of the room.

~~~~~~~

Cynthia was sitting in a luxurious armchair, head resting gently on her bare left arm, gazing out of the ceiling reaching window. She was only wearing a black bathrobe, the belt so loose it wouldn’t hang in if she stood up. One of her furry, equally black slippers was gliding down, revealing a delicate, slim foot with black painted nails. A slight shudder should have gone down Lucian’s spine, seeing his girlfriend so attracting, yet he was absorbed in a book about Kanto’s culture.

He looked up. “You should get dressed.” He commanded. Cynthia slowly turned her head around, gazing over him. “Yes, you’re right.” She answered.

~~~~~~~

Yet another half an hour later, both Sabrina and Will were standing in the big entrance hall of the league headquarters. Will was fiddling with his bow tie again and again, walking around in half circles around a potted palm, while Sabrina was leaning against a wall with half closed eyes.

Will’s shoes caused a rhythmic, dull clacking on the marble ground. Sabrina took a deep breath. “Will?” “Hm?” “Please stop it.” Her sudden glare caused him to froze. “Okay.” Uneasily, he put his hand behind his head and leaned next to her. “I’m nervous...” Sabrina smiled. “Really?” Her voice was teasing him and to his own surprise, he felt more relaxed, just because of her. Not only her presence, but also having her talk to him. “Just think that you’re going to meet people like me and you. Ordinary people.” Will raised an eyebrow, thinking the teasing game could be played by two. “Oh, we’re ordinary?” “You’ve got nothing- what?” Sabrina paused, realising what Will had said just now. She chuckled. “No, of course not.” For a moment, she faltered, her formal image shattering, as she took his chin in her hand and kissed him. Deep in the back of her mind, she knew she shouldn’t do that, shouldn’t show her affection so openly, as that could only cause pain and harm to their still fresh and young relationship, but it was so hard resisting your feelings when they were overthrowing you, overthrowing you after years of their absence, now stronger than ever and...

“Ahem.” Sabrina broke the kiss abruptly, startling both Will and herself, staring at the two Sinnoh trainers in shock. She hadn’t noticed anyone coming in. Again. Her powers seemed to have dimmed down since she had met Will. Or at least they were dimmed down each time they came closer. Or kissed. It was a curse, as if she could only have either her powers or Will, almost as if fate didn’t allow her to be completely happy.

Sabrina coughed, shaking away any troublesome thoughts and instead concentrating on her job again. She had to gather enough concentration to teleport the gift once they were ready to. Or she should just leave the job to Will...

“Welcome to Indigo Headquarters, Ms. Monde, Mr. Livre”, Sabrina walked up to them, lowering her head and taking Cynthia’s hand first, then switching with Will who had welcomed Lucian first. A small smile was shared between the two psychics, Lucian and Cynthia mirroring their expressions lifelessly. “I hope you had a good flight.” “Oh, yes, we did.” Cynthia’s voice was high, songlike and pleasant, almost too pleasant. “Yeah, sorta.” Lucian rolled his eyes, not appearing to be bothered at all. “Do you like Indigo so far?” Cynthia shrugged, glancing at her side for help, but her boyfriend was already inspecting the architecture. “It is nice. We haven’t seen much of it so far. Only the airport, the hotel and parts of the headquarters. The airport seemed to be really security-loaded, the hotel as well.” Cynthia stopped, and even though her powers were staggering a bit, Sabrina’s instincts told her that Cynthia was just about to mention the awful case of the kidnapped trainers now. “But I supposed with these dreadful things happening recently, it’s needed.” The smile returned onto the blonde’s face. “I heard what happened to you, Sabrina- we may use first names, won’t we? You’re feeling alright, hopefully?” Sabrina nodded. She didn’t know so far if she should like Cynthia or not, but the champion hadn’t given her any reason to mistrust her so far. It was her instinctual hate for champions, persons in an unbelievable powerful position that made her cautious. “I am alright. I got out of the hospital a few days ago.” Cynthia clapped one hand over her mouth, while Lucian didn’t show any reaction. “Only a few days ago? Oh, my God, and you’re already taking jobs for the league again! My, what a stamina!” Sabrina smiled slightly, amused and embarrassed at the same time. “I was there for a whole month until I regained consciousness; it took me quite some time to recover...” Will interrupted her, defending his girlfriend. “She is strong. She was quite close to death, but she survived.” He put his arm around her waist, pulling her a bit closer to him. At first, Sabrina gave in and leaned in his direction, but then her consciousness kicked in again; she coughed in an awkward way and steadied herself again. “I don’t think we should keep discussing this.” Sinnoh’s champ nodded sincerely. “I know that it left scars on your soul.” Sabrina wondered how right she was...

It had certainly left something on her soul, but that wasn’t exactly a scar...

Cynthia’s face changed again to a cheerful smile. It was amazing how emotional she was, in contrast to her boyfriend, whose only expression was the visible sigh now and then. “I don’t think standing around here is the right atmosphere for a friendly welcome, now is it? This hall is all too lifeless and bare for my taste!” Sabrina chuckled inwardly, noticing that this was Lance’s style of formality. Realizing this, she wondered how Sinnoh’s league headquarters were designed and what kind of style Cynthia preferred. Anyone that thought metal and white were overused here couldn’t be emotionally cold and Cynthia certainly wasn’t. Lucian, on the other hand...

“What do you mean?” Lucian blinked, but even the movement of his eye lids seemed to be robotic. “The view around the hall is fantastic, the interior is modern and stylish and the room’s division is just perfect.” He raised his arm, the sleeve of his chestnut-coloured suit falling back a bit. “See that pillar over there? Just p...” „Lucian.” Cynthia pushed his arm down again, shaking her head in his direction.

Sabrina was taken aback a bit. If this were how relationships usually worked...then, well, she was quite glad not to be the normal kind of girl. Judging from the look on Will’s face, he was agreeing with her.

“Well, we could go to the cafeteria...” Will suggested. For a moment, Sabrina wanted to step on his feet on purpose, as she thought this was barely the right location for this well-known couple. They had to be careful, not only because of Team Rocket, but who knew if they had blackmailed or bribed someone there into poisoning the food? And no, she was certainly not paranoid, just...careful.

“Oh, of course!” Cynthia clapped her hands together, a little bit too enthusiastic for someone who was made champion, but then, characters were different. “I would like to go there! Don’t you think so too, Lucian sweety?” “Yeah, right...” If he had even heard her question, his real answer would have been miles away from what he had just said, it didn’t take Sabrina psychic powers to know that. The next thing, though, wasn’t foreseen by her...“You’re leading, handsome?” Will gulped and yet couldn’t stop himself from nodding. His intuition told him Sabrina was just millimetres away from committing double murder, possibly sparing Lucian, but then, this seemed to be Cynthia’s kind of speaking- after all, Sinnoh had a different language, hadn’t it?, only did Sabrina not realize that consciously.

“He will.” Sabrina growled, grabbing Will’s collar and pushing him in front of the group. <So Cynthia doesn’t even get the chance to get near you!> Will winced. Even her telepathic voice sounded angry. <Dear, it’s not my fault.> He whined, trying hard to keep in path with her and not trip over his own feet. <I...oh...yes, you’re right, it’s not. I’m sorry.> She apologized, a sad smile placed over her face. Will quickly forgave her, kissing her cheek. Cynthia smiled at this, while Lucian just continued to roll his eyes, his hands in his pockets.

Minutes later, the group consisting of four trainers was sitting at a round, white plastic table in the league’s cafeteria. Lucian had ordered for the group, seemingly happy to get away from the convention for a moment and was now just returning with the tablet. “The waiters must have gotten the day off...” He mumbled, his voice quite low and almost inaudible. Cynthia took her chocolate without commenting his manners, staying rather cheerful. “Quite an unusual meeting so far, isn’t it?” “Sure is.” Will said, leaning back, linking his hands behind his head. Sabrina sighed, forgiving him his behaviour only because he was new to this and had never met any officials from other countries. She hadn’t either, but she was in contact with enough people in powerful positions. Cynthia grinned. “Let’s lay off the formalities, shall we?” ‚If we haven’t already‘, Sabrina thought dimly. “So, you two’re a couple?” Sabrina coughed and almost choked on her tea, while Will was just surprised. Almost instinctually, both were ready to fight a blush, but to their surprise, there was no reason to do so. They had become used to being called a couple by now and it was...an unusual, but not bad feeling.

“Yeah, for...some weeks now...” Will hesitated, glancing at Sabrina first to get her agreement. She didn’t mind. There was no real reason to postpone the date, since it had taken both of them some time to realize their love and there was no real, fixed day that had started it all...after all, Sabrina had confessed much later than Will, due to her condition.

Cynthia nodded at this. “Lucian and I have been together for almost five years now.” She didn’t notice Will and Sabrina’s coordinated shudder. ‘So this is how we’ll end up in a few years?!?’ ”Love is magical at its beginning, but it gets...” She stopped. Sabrina wondered in what fashion she had wanted to end that sentence, but she had a good feeling. Something like shallow, boring, dull or just an annoying reminder that there’s still someone who hangs around with you yet you’ve realized that you actually can’t stand that guy and just don’t have the courage to tell him.

Really, the future looked bright for her and Will, didn’t it?

Sabrina shook her head, fighting back any sad thoughts that darkly clouded her mind. The false cheerfulness of Cynthia only increased the nagging feeling.

The female champion, noticing this, decided to try to cheer her up. “Lance told us he got us some kind of gift.” “Yeah, he surely did.” Will sighed, causing Sabrina to chuckle. That had been some story.... “I’m not sure what it’s about.” Sabrina stopped herself before she could say any more. “Of course we didn’t look at it, or tried to find out what it is, or...” “Sabrina, stop it, you already gave it away.” Will laughed, Cynthia and even Lucian joining in. “No problem. We don’t mind.” Sabrina nodded at her boyfriend and he concentrated. It was the first time that he tried to teleport anything that big and heavy on his own, but he had trained a lot.

And he managed it.

Cynthia’s eyes widened the smallest bit when she saw the almost two feet high statue, but the change in Lucian was more obvious and more unexpected. He stood up, his chair almost falling back, and his dull eyes started to shine with an excitement one could rarely have expected from him.

“Oh, goodness, this architecture!” He clapped his hands together. “Fabulous! Wonderful!” He clapped his hands around the sides of the glass cube, to see the interior more detailed. “That’s Alamos Town, isn’t it? And the tower....wonderful, just wonderful!” Lucian smiled, Cynthia rolled her eyes with a well-meaning smile, while Sabrina and Will were quite confused. They didn’t really know what Lucian was talking about. And the other psychic elite trainer didn’t seem to want to explain it to them either, too caught up in his eulogy. “The small little driving mechanisms, do they work? I hope they do...oh my god, this is just fantastic!” Cynthia sighed and decided to finally give an explanation to the two very confused psychics. “Alamos Town is quite famous in Sinnoh for its architectural structure, especially for the tower you see in the middle.” Letting her head rest on her hands, she smiled at Lucian and his new ‘plaything’. “It’s actually the biggest music instrument of the world, but I should leave explaining the whole technology behind to Lucian. He knows more about it than I, more than many professional architects as well, I suppose. It’s his little ‘hobby’.” “Quirk is more the right word...” Will muttered, pressing his lips together to hold down a smile. Lucian, noticing this though, glared at the other psychic trainer darkly, finally cutting off his attention off the model.

“Well, anyway...you’re still new to the elite four, aren’t you, Will?” The young man nodded, quite happy that Cynthia had called him by his name and not by some adjective. He didn’t know- and didn’t want to know either, how Sabrina would react to this. Her jealousy was understandable, as their love was still young and she probably hadn’t forgotten how the other girls of the league had swarmed around him. It was her right to be on alert, but if she at least wouldn’t show it so openly...she was psychic after all, she could easily read Cynthia’s mind if she wanted to. “I’ve been officially appointed roughly a month ago. No official fights yet.” Lucian took a casual sip of his black coffee. “The first days are the easiest. It just gets harder as soon as the trainers find out about your little habits, your tricks, your strategies...being an elite is not an end to your career. It just means that you train and train and still stay at the same spot forever if you don’t manage to beat your comrades.” Lucian’s look was disapproving, almost contemptuous. “You should at least be able to fight that muscle-head, whatshisnameagain, Bruni? And that ninja fighter, Coca, right? Judging from your element...” Sabrina took a deep breath. She didn’t know how Will would react to criticism; he wasn’t used to it yet. Cynthia just stared at Lucian blankly and Will…Will looked as if someone had thrown a wet towel directly into his face. “I....” He looked away. He didn’t know what to say. He didn’t know what to say at all. He was completely beaten. “Of course, one could think that it’s your background that made you only go for the least favourable position, after all, coming from...” “SHUT UP!!!”

In a matter of seconds, the situation had changed again. Will had stood up from his chair with force, knocking it away. Mildly, Sabrina was reminded of the way she had reacted to the news of not being promoted to elite and was surprised how similar she and Will acted. But then she saw the tears.

“Shut up! This is nothing that should concern you!” His eyes were blazing, but the way they were shining told Sabrina that Will really had to fight more tears from pouring. She gulped. “It’s...” Will’s voice quavered. He stopped to take a breath. „One more word about it and you’ll regret coming here, guy.” With that, Will stormed away. Sabrina looked after him. She felt the need to run after him, to calm him down, to keep him from crying- even before asking him what the heck this had been about, and she was surprised about these feelings. She had never felt the need to comfort somebody, nor had she ever thought that she was suitable for this job. But judging the alternatives...she was the only one she herself would trust having around Will now. So she made her decision, which would probably cause Lance to discipline her deeply, but she couldn’t care less about the air balloon head right now.

“You two don’t mind if I take care of him, first, now, do you?” She directed this at Cynthia, getting the feeling that Lucian’s reply would infuriate her more than it would be useful. The Sinnoh champ nodded, not looking at Lucian either. “Of course.” Sabrina hesitated. “I wish we could have continued this conversation, but for now, it has to end. Maybe we can continue it later?” Cynthia shook her head. “Lance has planned a city tour for us for the rest of the day, so I fear that will be impossible.” Sabrina nodded, glancing back. “I’m sorry about that, too. But I have to go now.” With that, she dashed off, hoping to find Will soon.

Silence fell over the cafeteria, before Cynthia, taking the last slip of her chocolate, turned her small grey eyes to Lucian, her face now stony and serious. “We’ve got a problem, honey. They got the wrong one.”

~~~~~~~

Sabrina only realized after turning around a few corners in a speed that was unusual even for her that she did not know where Will had gone. She had blindly started to run, not thinking about detecting him with her powers first. Now she wanted to curse herself for making this stupid mistake, but her luck kicked in. Will was just standing a hallway away, still in sight, his head down, leaned against the staircase’s wall, half hidden behind a potted plant.

“Will!” She stopped herself from running to him, though her legs almost hurt walking so slowly, not to mention how much her heart was aching, seeing him so sad and her having to take her time to calm down herself. All she wanted to do was touch him again, feel him, and it confused her so much she was close to tripping. On a perfectly smooth marble ground. Unwanted miracles happening...

“Hi.” He looked up after he had noticed her. Sabrina froze for a second. If he was trying to smile...he was failing. Failing miserably. One part of her wanted to ask him the millions of questions that swirled around her mind, all at once. The other part didn’t care about information at all, only wanting to console him. In the end, that other part won and she put her arms around him, leaning her head against his body. “Sabrina...“ She didn’t answer, having closed her eyes and calmed down her troubled breathing. For a minute, they just stood there in silence, in this embrace, soothing them both. Yet at the same time, it hurt Sabrina to be so close to him now and know, or at least fear, that one day, they would be a mirror of the couple Cynthia and Lucian, just living their lives parallel to each other, having lost all the love and empathy.

She cried.

“Sabrina, what’s wrong?” Will asked gently. Sabrina sniffed, she hated herself for being so emotional, yet she liked her new emotions, the ones that didn’t make her look like a crybaby anyway. In a way, Will had softened her up, but she hoped that phase would pass over. “I...” She swallowed, fighting back the unwanted tears. Originally, she had come to comfort him, and now it was her who was crying. How ironic. “I...you’ve seen how they are...Will, I never want us to be like them.” She stared into his violet eyes, tightening her grip on him at the same time. “Never. Not....not...this isn’t love anymore. It’s just a joke. It’s as if they’re just together because they have to, because they don’t know anymore how life without each other is, yet everything they do is...artificial. Acting. Acting as if they’re in love.” She shook her head. “I’d rather...” The psychic gym leader was close to biting her tongue, because the next words hurt. It hurt only to even think about them, yet they had to be said, if she didn’t want to be hurt even more some time in the future. Hopefully in a time that would never come. “I’d rather have us break up then end up like this...” Again, she buried her face in his clothes, crying.

Will was confused. Not because he didn’t get what Sabrina was saying- no, not at all. He understood her perfectly. He was rather surprised that she, the cold, unfeeling girl, had noticed the wrongness of what they had just witnessed. Of course, it could be because his definition of love had changed since the moment he had finally found his girlfriend, but it didn’t mean that he had to accept everything other people thought to be ‘love’. The way these two talked to each other...there couldn’t be much they had to talk about anymore.

And yet, he felt so good knowing that Sabrina agreed with him. And nothing, nothing in the world would keep him from giving her that promise.

“Never, Sabrina.” He slowly raised her chin to his face, smiling at her graciously. He was actually glad she hadn’t brought up the topic of his unwanted disappearance from the meeting, because he had expected her to interrogate him on it. Maybe that would come later. Then he could at least prepare.

“I promise you that will never happen.” With that, the two sealed their promise with a kiss, the longest they had so far, and no one watching them in the lonely hallway.

~~~~~~~

That evening, in the darkness of a hotel room, a young woman was watching the moon, her body only covered by a silky, transparent blouse. Her eyes, appearing to be grey in the pale moonlight, were unmoving, yet their blaze was intense.

The door was opened by a second figure, a young man, his wavy hair still wet from washing. He only wore a towel around his waist and watched the young woman with interest. He didn’t have to ask the question.

“I was already informed beforehand, but I didn’t want to believe it until I saw it with my own eyes.” The woman turned around. Through the small crack of light the open bathroom door left, it could be seen that her blouse was open, no cloth beneath it. She was truly beautiful, like a goddess coming from heaven. “It was the wrong one.” “Then our plan is ruined?” The man questioned, standing still. The woman shook her head, her hair falling around her delicate, pale face. “It is not. The right gift is coming tomorrow.” She stood up, in a way that made her blouse almost fall down from her shoulders, yet it kept hanging in to hide at least parts of her arms and her back. Slowly, she put an arm around the man’s muscular neck and kissed it, her long, blonde hair falling over his bare chest. “I’ve already arranged everything. You need to get the girl, Sabrina, tomorrow to the post office. Then, the right container will arrive and you just need to get her near it. You think you can manage that?” He nodded, closing his eyes. “Good.” Breaking the kiss, she stared into his eyes. “Then we can have our fun now.”

~~~~~~

The next morning, an unusual silence was over the league headquarters. The dinner room used for breakfast was filled with people, yet if someone had been walking down the hall in front of it, he would have thought it had been left empty, for there was not a single conversation going on, every word was whispered, whispered so quietly Blaine and Pryce wished they had taken their hearing aids with them. It was the sound of apprehension.

Today, the two most celebrated Sinnoh trainers would eat with them.

Sabrina rolled her eyes. Again, she was sitting at a table with Erica and Misty, the latter one ready to jump away any moment. Any moment would be the moment Will came around. Apparently, the water type gym leader couldn’t stand the love cooing of the two. Sabrina couldn’t understand her. She couldn’t understand many of her fellow gym leaders, neither did she know why they were so anxious about Lucian’s and Cynthia’s approaching presence. As she had experienced yesterday- not to mention that she knew that before, too, these two were as human as everybody else here, with the possible exception of being a bit more powerful as trainers and influences on their country’s policy.

Sighing, she shook her head. She, especially she, should know that people’s emotions were unpredictable and that strong persons- no matter what field they were strong in, had them cover in fear. Fear of reprisals, fear of being oppressed, fear of...being hurt. Sabrina gulped and looked down at the table, her appetite disappearing quickly. She had given her colleagues reasons to fear her, hadn’t she?

“Good morning, dear.” Sabrina was startled when someone touched her hair, only to realize it was Will, who hadn’t actually sneaked up on her, much to her surprise and dismay. He had come through the front door, clearly visible even to her, yet she had been too caught up in her thoughts to notice him. Had she? She sure hoped it wasn’t her powers loosening intensity. That would really be the worst case scenario, and the lesser evil of that would be that she wouldn’t be able to train Will properly anymore.

“Hm, good morning to you, too.” Will raised an eyebrow. “You don’t sound that happy. Something wrong?” He smiled. „Or you’re just not a morning person?“ He was teasing her, she knew, yet she wasn’t in a mood to be teased. “It’s nothing.” Will shrugged, when suddenly, the silence of the room switched to a nervous squeaking and giggling, close to that of a herd of Rattatas who had just found the larder. Cynthia and Lucian had arrived.

Cynthia came into the room first, beaming with happiness. She wore a loose, black blouse underneath her black coat. Sabrina blinked. She hadn’t noticed this yesterday but....now she was close to asking herself...were all champions colour blind and fashionable unbearable? She could see the reason behind Lance’s fetish- he wanted to impress the fangirls who did not know yet that black capes did not equal complete coolness and supernatural powers, but Cynthia... if she wanted to have the same effects with her clothes, then Sabrina would seriously think about declaring war on Sinnoh for pure stupidness. A country led by such a person could only be easy to defeat.

Or maybe she was a true gothic. Considering how all the clothes she had seen on Cynthia so far were indeed black, that was the more realistic motive. Though Cynthia’s mood surely did not fit into the gothic category...

“Good morning, everyone!” She shouted, catching everyone’s attention and interest, if she hadn’t gotten it yet. The reactions of Kanto’s and Johto’s gym leaders were different. Some just nodded in her direction, not that interested in getting in contact with her. To her dismay, Sabrina noticed the group around Clair actually greeting her with delight. It wasn’t as if they really wanted to be friendly...they just thought that hanging around the more powerful would give them a piece of the cake of influence. Or at least that’s what their thoughts projected to the young psychic. She shook her head, slightly disgusted with all these false emotions. She was happy enough she had real emotions now, why faking them then?

“By you two, I’m going.” Misty declared, taking her plate with her. Sabrina followed her with her eyes, wondering just what was wrong with the younger girl. Will watched her too, before sighing and shrugging, sitting down on the seat the water type gym leader had just left for him. Erica just continued smiling. “She’s just jealous. Ash has been ignoring her for some time now. She fears he has gotten another girlfriend in that new girl that travels with him and Brock, Dawn.” Will frowned. „Cheating on her? How rude!“ Sabrina took a sip of her green tea, just watching her boyfriend and Erica silently. If Misty was truly jealous...it was no reason to act this way. Will and she had nothing to do with Misty’s personal problems.

“Ahem.” Sabrina blinked. She knew that voice…but hearing it so close to her somehow scared her. “Lucian...what are you doing here?” She looked up, studying his face but founding it to be as rough and unemotional as ever. His smile, following her question, wasn’t flattening that illustration. “Cynthia’s talking with the girls, so I thought it would be better for me to leave her alone for the time being. Besides, we didn’t get to talk much yesterday, did we?” Sabrina raised an eyebrow. ‘It was you who didn’t talk much, boy.’

Lucian grabbed the coffeepot, not bothering with milk or sugar at all. “Actually, would you mind if I lend your girlfriend for some while, dear William? I would like to talk with her...you know, psychic trainers sharing their knowledge.” The tension in the room was almost visible and this time, it wasn’t just the simple arrival of someone. Sabrina actually had to take a breath to swallow a rude comment that desperately wanted to escape her. How...what....what arrogance had this Lucian just displayed! Not only that he openly tried to take her away from Will- in itself a reason for her to smack him hard, he had also openly cut Will out of the psychic trainer category, without any attempt to hide his offensiveness. How could someone that had no respect for a trainer that was probably just as skilled as him be an elite trainer? They were public figures; too, the press watched every one of their steps and speeches, too. Of course, in this dining hall, the atmosphere was calmer, more casual, but that gave him no right to threat Will as if he was just air. Lucian was a guest, nothing more.

“Sure, why not?” Sabrina stared at Will, her eyes wide awake. Had she just heard him right? He had actually agreed? Was he that naive or just plain stupid? Or...did he not care as much for her as she assumed, to let her get taken by another man that easily? Sabrina was confused about her boyfriend’s behaviour, yet she did not get to ask him. Lucian nodded, taking the last sip of his coffee- he had drunk it in a rate of time that shouldn’t be possible for any human to accomplish without burning his tongue, yet there weren’t any signs of pain on his face. It was as unmoved as ever. But even with all the indifference, he didn’t remind her of her old self, the one split with the doll. She had been emotionless, but in every meaning of the word. She couldn’t even be rude. Not that she could be now; it was just against her personality, but Lucian...it was as if he hid his true character somewhere outside of his body, as if he was just a shell that spoke without caring about anything, or anyone. How could Cynthia just continue living with someone like him?

“We can go, Sabrina?” He asked, his voice smooth, uneven, but without any real emotion. “I suppose so...” She threw one last glance at Will, but he looked as confused as her, glancing at Erica at his side, who blinked. Apparently, she was of the same opinion as Sabrina concerning Lucian’s actions, but as Erica was quite polite, too, she didn’t interrupt. Sabrina sighed inwardly. Apparently, she was lost with Lucian for the moment. Not really the way she had pictured spending the morning, but she had to get along with it for now, for a certain someone didn’t seem to have the guts to chase away a rival courting his girlfriend...

As Lucian dragged the rather miserable Sabrina away, two sets of eyes watched them out of the corners. The ninja girl Janine allowed an almost invisible smile to appear on her face before giving Clair a knowing nod. It was time to start their plan.

The second person watching Lucian and Sabrina was thinking exactly the same...

~~~~~~~

Sabrina was watching Lucian with mistrust. She didn’t know why he had dragged her outside and yet, now that they were on the main street and alone, he was silent. She supposed it was in his character to be so...incomprehensible and odd, yet that didn’t mean she had to put up with him. If he wanted to steal her time, the few time she had left with Will...well, she could always teleport away. There was nothing keeping her.

Then, suddenly, he did start talking.

“Sabrina...what do you know about the league?” She blinked. Now this was a question she wouldn’t, couldn’t answer honestly. If Lucian had wanted to made it any more bluntly that he was here to spy on Kanto’s league...well, he should have been wearing a tissue around his neck with the big, red word ‘spy’ on it. Although that might blend in with his red suit...

Lucian noticed her bewildered expression and started to laugh. His laugh was mocking, like the laugh of someone who was amused at a person that had just made a fool out of itself. “Oh, no, no, I’m not talking about this league. I’m talking about all leagues, the leagues in general. What do you know about them?” Sabrina stopped. “What are you getting at?” She asked, her voice sharp. She would never be threatened by him. He might be a more powerful trainer, but she was a psychic, that was an advantage he did not have.

Lucian stopped and turned around to face her. Sabrina noticed only now where they had been walking to. It was the area around the post office. Coincidence or not? Should she start being worried now? “I see you do not know much. I am not surprised. Lance is embarrassed by the...social background, so to say, of the league, so he kept that well hidden.” One hand in his pocket, the other gesticulating around, Lucian sure looked confident. And weird. But since no one was watching, he couldn’t care less. “Our league, the Sinnoh league, handled it in a quite different way. We stand by our history, we do not try to hide it shamefully and cover up the hints by allowing any scum into our league.” Sabrina bit her lip. What was he talking about? Lucian opened his eyes. “You don’t get it, do you?” Well, he was speaking the truth, but Sabrina wouldn’t dare to confirm his theory. “I should have known...after all, he hasn’t told you anything. Coward. He should just stand by it as much as we do... well...” Lucian sighed, a clear disappointment with whatever this male person hadn’t done. “Do you know who formed the league? Who started it, who the first members were?” Sabrina blinked. Of course she did not know...to her shame, she had never asked. Lucian smiled. “The king. The king of the region. The elite trainers were the strongest princes, the gym leaders the different rulers of the bigger towns. That’s how the league system we have today came to be. One king, four ‘elite’ princes, then the dozens of smaller ones ruling their own area. No chance that a simple worker, craftsman or farmer would ever, ever get that far, may they be as talented or even more talented than the king himself. Or the queen, for the matter.” Lucian waved with his hand, shrugging. “That system survived for quite some time. Of course not with kings and the likes, no, we don’t have such anymore. But the people in the most popular positions were declared elite four and champion...not the strongest trainers.” He smiled uncaringly. “Even now...look the league trainers. Lance is a descendant of a family of dragon trainers that have ruled Blackthorn and the mountain region of Johto for hundreds of years. Loreley’s family probably has more influence on the Orange Islands than its government, reason why she retired now. More chance to play out the cards there than here. Agatha...wasn’t she in a relationship with Prof. Oak, the most intelligent authority in the field of Pokemon research?” He laughed. “Our Bertha’s actually a close relative of her. Coincidence? I believe not. Even Cynthia…her grandmother’s a well-known Pokemon professor in Sinnoh...everyone knew of her before they got to know her celebrated granddaughter.” He chuckled. “And I can’t say that my family is unknown in Sinnoh....Fantina, one of our gym leaders, is distinctly related to me, too...hence my French family name.” He pushed his glassed farther up his nose. “I doubt it’s any different in Hoenn, I heard Steven’s the youngest son of an influencing big company in Hoenn.” “Devon Corporation.” Sabrina blurted out, knowing of the rivalry between Devon and Silph. Lucian shrugged, putting his other hand in the other pocket, too. “See? All places filled by persons that were strong and well-known even before their joining.” “Now why are you telling me this?” She had the distinct, unpleasant feeling that she knew why, that he would mention her own family’s wealth and the influence it had on Saffron, especially about her father... But he surprised her once more.

“Well, what do you think Lance searched for when Loreley and Agatha retired? Again a prominent figure? Someone that would bring his publicity and agents with him?” Lucian stared out at the horizon, face unreadable. “No. He went for something different. He chose normal trainers. Normal trainers no one had seen before so far, except for the fact that they had been outstanding in the tournament they had won.” Sabrina remembered back, both Will and Karen had won an Indigo Tournament. “Lance wanted to state an example with this. He wanted to break with the old ways.” Lucian turned to her. “And he did, didn’t he? Will and Karen are more celebrated than many of the older elite trainers, more than Koga, because they’re as fresh and new as a blossom. No one knows anything about their background...” Sabrina’s eyes widened, yet she couldn’t form a question. Both of them heard the scream and without thinking, both of them went into the post office.


End Chapter 3
CPF, you'll see how much you influenced me...yet I'm quite happy I manage to keep my Cynthia and Lucian different from yours. Very different right now. XD!

Crazy Packers Fan
March 1st, 2009, 12:41 PM
Wow, excellent. I loved Lucian's character, he really seems like he fits that mold perfectly, an aloof, distant character who's more interested in intellectual things. Cynthia? I love her gothic style, that's of course like her, but she's too cheerful for me.

I notice how the Elite are from "royal" backgrounds... though they're not exactly kings and queens, like in my story.

The best parts came when Sabrina took Will aside for their talk, and of course your descriptions of Cynthia's beauty. After all, she is really beautiful, so I like how you captured that (and then at the one point where Lucian hardly cared).

I hope that Lucian and Cynthia's love warms up more, at least in public... or do they only show their love to each other in private?

Anyway, very good chapter, I enjoyed every bit of it. Obviously I'm not a very detailed reviewer, but just know that I really liked it and I'll be looking forward to the next chapter.

delongbi
March 1st, 2009, 05:08 PM
I've never read one of your stories, but have always been curious. I guess this is a sequal to a story I never read. I'll have to go back and read that when I have time.

I've only read the first chapter, but I like it a lot. Your chapters are long so it may be a bit before I have time to read and review another one.

Here are a few grammar errors I found:

They couldn’t yet and the only one of them who was wasn’t willing to voice her thoughts, for she was going to enjoy the suffering

I think you can drop the "for".

and boyfriend,” He paused to look at the two

The comma should be a period because paused is not describing how he talked.

problems I did not think off before.

off should be of

Other than that, it looked great. The plot seems extremely interesting, as do the characters. Sabrina seems a bit paranoid, though.

My only suggestion for now is to consider breaking up paragraphs a bit more just to make it easier to read. You have very interesting content so it's not horrible that some paragraphs are often long, but it's sometimes tough on the eyes.

I really cannot wait to read more. I only wish I had less homework and more time...

Psychic*Absol
March 2nd, 2009, 09:55 AM
*celebrates* A new reviewer! For anyone who writes about crackparings rare pairings, that's great!

So far, I have written only a few (around four) English fanfics, and most of them are not published.

The 'prequel', so to say, is "Love's best friend is Hate". Haven't got the link handy, but it should be around here somewhere.

(I'm actually surprised there are so few grammar mistakes, since my beta...quit. lol)

I'll think about that. I don't like breaking apart a paragraph that closely belongs together, but you're right, it's easier to read.
(Semester break is fun, isn't it? g*)

@CPF: o,o You like that Lucian...that surprises me. I thought you wouldn't like him, because he's, in my eyes, unlikeable, like I said. XD
And Cynthia...well, pay attention to little clues if you want to know more about her character. It's like the relationship she has...

They aren't kings and queen, though they have the same power.

^.^ That part was fun to write, too. After all, this is a romance story (with a lot of action going on next chapter...).
You know an author really loves a character when he spends too much time on describing the beauty of said character. *ggg*

Already explained this in the other thread, so...yeah. *sweatdrops*
The next chapter is started, but I'm not sure how long it will be. If I can keep writing, it could be finished this weekend, not sure yet.

Edit: Link to the 'prequel' (over a month old, so no posting there anymore) http://www.pokecommunity.com/showthread.php?t=159037

Crazy Packers Fan
March 2nd, 2009, 10:13 AM
I'll look for any of these clues next chapter, because I want to understand her character more. She can't possibly be just the super-sweet, nearly naive woman from the anime... she has to be more than that. (Because obviously your characters are developed more than any of those static anime characters.)

Psychic*Absol
March 2nd, 2009, 10:17 AM
There is already a clue in this chapter, CPF, and theoretically, it's obvious.
Of course, I'm the writer, everything is obvious for me...
lol, more developed is the right word...again, I ask, has Will ANY character in the game? >>;;;;

delongbi
March 3rd, 2009, 07:41 PM
First off, I read your other story (the prequel) and liked it a lot. I really like Sabrina's character. Anyway, this review is supposed to be about this story, so...

Grammar things for Chapter 2:

Lance let him resident

resident should be reside, I believe

cheque

I think it is spelled check.

smile”, they’re

Switch the comma and the quotes.

“Some lighter wouldn’t

Lighter should be light.

And that's about it for grammar errors in chapter 2. Nice.

Another technical grammar thing... Technically when a new person speaks, a new paragraph is supposed to be made.

I like the mystery of this chapter, and you really have great character development. Well done.

Ahh, I can't wait to read more. Hehe, and I will because chapter 3 is already posted! :P

On to chapter 3!

Also, random question. Is Will actually in the games? I can't seem to remember him...

delongbi
March 3rd, 2009, 09:15 PM
Yay, I'm finally caught up. Alright... nitpicky grammar things first.

I would recommend you to rest until then.

to should be two

A slight shudder should have gone down Lucian’s spine, seeing his girlfriend so attracting, yet he was absorbed in a book about Kanto’s culture.

He looked up. “You should get dressed.” He commanded. Cynthia slowly turned her head around, gazing over him. “Yes, you’re right.” She answered.

Attracting should be attractive.

Also, you need a comma, not a period after dressed. It should be:

"You should get dressed," he commanded.

Same goes for the you're right. If you use words like said (describing how you say something), you need the comma, not the period.

Her sudden glare caused him to froze.

Froze should be freeze.

But I supposed

Supposed should be suppose. It makes the sentance less weird.

Just p...” „Lucian.” Cynthia

„Or you’re

Typos... That's not all of them; you do that a couple of times.

“By you two, I’m going.”

By should be Bye.

if I lend your girlfriend for some while, dear William? I

Perhaps use the word "borrow" instead of "lend". Or maybe wrie, "Would you mind lending me your girlfriend..."

Anyway, I loved this chapter! I can't really find anything to criticize about your actual story. The plot is interesting, as are the characters. You have great description, and just the right amount of it.

Oh, and I really like Lucian! His relationship with Cynthia is strange in an intriguing way...

Can't wait to see what happens next and find out about Will's past!

Psychic*Absol
March 4th, 2009, 09:42 AM
Another technical grammar thing... Technically when a new person speaks, a new paragraph is supposed to be made ...and I wondered why we never learned anything in English...didn't know that. Now it's the question if I'll remember it. >.<

Also, random question. Is Will actually in the games? I can't seem to remember him... XD He is. G/S/C, the first elite four.
Goodness, that guy needs love, too, now people don't even hate, just forget him. XD!!!!

Two questions: Where is that 'Or you're' typo, I tried to find it, yet I'm too blind to see it, I suppose. >>;;;;;
Edit: *Now* I noticed why these typos occur...you have to know, in German, you use the „“ and not "". XD!!!
Second question, since you like to nitpick about grammar (lol): General feeling, have the typos increased from Chapter 1 to Chapter 2 and 3? Because the last two chapters were written without a beta, just me 're-reading' it a few times, and I'm unsure if I should convince force my first beta to get to work again.

delongbi
March 4th, 2009, 04:17 PM
XD He is. G/S/C, the first elite four.
Goodness, that guy needs love, too, now people don't even hate, just forget him. XD!!!!

lol. Wow, I even played crystal and gold... you would think I would remember...

Second question, since you like to nitpick about grammar (lol): General feeling, have the typos increased from Chapter 1 to Chapter 2 and 3? Because the last two chapters were written without a beta, just me 're-reading' it a few times, and I'm unsure if I should convince force my first beta to get to work again.

Haha. The grammar errors increased a very little bit, but, honestly, if you didn't bring it up, I would not have noticed. You really lost your beta?! Wow, I'm impressed there aren't more errors!

Psychic*Absol
March 5th, 2009, 09:31 AM
XD!!!! See, see?!?! Everyone forgot that poor guy, never got an anime appearence, too....now, tricky question...do you remember Karen and Janine? *g*

Hm, in that case, I'll talk with him as soon as he gets online...I didn't really lose him, it's just that he quit beta-reading in the middle of the first chapter and I decided to try and post it without. Hehe, it worked. XD

Regarding Chapter 4: Probably won't be up this weekend, I'm sorry. >.< I didn't write for three days and so, I'm still at the beginning of it. >.<

Alakazam17
March 5th, 2009, 09:47 AM
XD!!!! See, see?!?! Everyone forgot that poor guy, never got an anime appearence, too....now, tricky question...do you remember Karen and Janine? *g*

Hm, in that case, I'll talk with him as soon as he gets online...I didn't really lose him, it's just that he quit beta-reading in the middle of the first chapter and I decided to try and post it without. Hehe, it worked. XD

Regarding Chapter 4: Probably won't be up this weekend, I'm sorry. >.< I didn't write for three days and so, I'm still at the beginning of it. >.< Since when did I 'quit?' Haha, I just had midterms to worry about, XD.

Psychic*Absol
March 12th, 2009, 02:28 PM
*bows to readers* Next Chapter. My beta returned. *thanks, Zammy* You won't like that chapter, CPF. Zammy kinda liked it, so yes, you won't like it.
Two new shippings in here. And a warning.
Warning: This chapter contains hints of f/f, yuri, shojo-ai, homosexual love, whatever you want to call it. Do not like, do not read. It's the last paragraph. ^^

4. Chapter:Thefts & Tension

The whole office was in chaos. Stamps, envelopes, ink, paper, glue, strings, everything was mixed onto the ground, forming a slippery mass of structures. Sabrina stopped herself from falling by holding onto a nearby cupboard, while Lucian was not so fortunate, falling down. “What’s going on?” he asked, his eyes closed as he was rubbing his back. Sabrina didn’t bother with helping him up, and rather scanned the area. The people working at the office couldn’t be seen anywhere, yet there was a not so quiet murmur in the storeroom. Narrowing her eyes to a sharp glance, the psychic gym leader started to wonder if this had something to do with their own presence there yesterday. The connection was just too obvious.

Without hesitating, she levitated over the mess, landing in front of the door to the storeroom. First, Lucian tried to follow her by walking, but this prooved to be impossible. Unwavering, he pulled a Pokeball out of his pocket. “Come out, Bronzong!” The giant metal Pokemon appeared, and Lucian clung to it, having it levitate over the ground. Sabrina couldn’t help but snicker. “Interesting way, dear Lucian.” She commented, not caring to make the amusement in her voice disappear. So far, she had only assumed this, but now she was pretty sure that Lucian was no psychic. Of course, psychics were rare, and there weren’t that many trainers that developed supernatural powers just because of the closeness they may share with their Pokemon- otherwise, her gym might be flooded with amateurs. Lucian didn’t say anything. Instead, he studied the door and, without hesitating, ripped it open.

Sabrina blinked, stunned. It might have been more careful to listen for a while to what was happening behind, but if he thought this reckless action was more useful...
She let her Kadabra out as a precaution before following Lucian into the storeroom. The same chaos that had been in the front room awaited her there, too. Packages had been thrown down, ripped apart or..burned? She leaned down, observing one of the parcels. It was no burn; it rather looked as if the paper had been melted away. “Be careful.” She coughed when Lucian roughly pulled her away. “That’s acid. It’s vitriolic. I would put my hand away if I were you.” Sabrina snorted, of course she knew that...even for a psychic like her, who could withstand poison easily, the effect of acid was harmful.

“Drapion, Poison Sting!” Sabrina jumped up, right out of the way of the attack, but only in the last second. Lucian let himself fall to the side, avoiding the attack as well. Both of them looked up to see a young woman in the back part of the storeroom. She had- again, black, stiff, form fitting clothes. The most interesting thing on her, though, was a metallic device on her left arm. Sabrina tensed. Whatever this was supposed to mean, she had to be very careful. Lucian straightened himself, sitting up and facing the woman. “Hunter J,” he growled. Sabrina glanced at him from out of the corners of her eyes. He knew this woman? “What are you doing here in Kanto?” he asked, glaring at her hatefully. The woman did not react much. Behind her, Sabrina could see the dozens of office workers, all tied up and pieces of cloth in their mouths.

“I’ve got an order. Sadly, you two had to interrupt me.” Opening two other Pokeballs, Lucian and Sabrina suddenly found themselves confronted with an Ariados and a Salamence, too. “Keep them occupied while I keep on searching,” Hunter J instructed her two Pokemon, including the Drapion that had shot the Poison Sting. Then, she turned around, leaving Sabrina and Lucian to deal with them.

Lucian glanced back at Sabrina, his Bronzong already at his side. “You follow her and keep her from whatever she tries. I’m the better trainer so I’ll take care of the Pokemon.” Sabrina nodded while pressing her lips together strongly and biting her tongue, recalling Kadabra at the same time. As painful as it was, she had to admit Lucian was right. He obviously was the better trainer, after all, even Will had beat her and he was the first elite, while Lucian was the last and strongest one- behind Cynthia, of course.

Not looking back at him, as she knew he could take of himself quite well- and yet at the same time not caring about him either, Sabrina ran behind the group of captives where this woman had disappeared. She took a breath, looking around. Hunter J was nowhere to be seen, but if she was this much of a threat that even the Sinnoh Elite cared about her, she was a professional, no doubt. Hiding was not a difficult discipline for her. Sabrina smirked. Hunter J may have thought that she had the advantage here, dealing with a gym leader who knew nothing about her, and surrounded by high stacks of boxes and paper, she was well hidden too. But there was something that gave Sabrina the clear upper hand. Her powers.

Closing her eyes, she concentrated, blocking out the sound of the Pokemon battle going on in the other part of the room. It was a bit more complicated than usual, searching for someone she hadn’t met, hadn’t even touched yet, but she was one of the strongest psychics, and there wasn’t much she hadn’t accomplished by then. Unconsciously, she shuddered, even more while looking for the dark mind of this woman, because in a way, they were so similar...

Opening her eyes suddenly, Sabrina smirked again. ‘Found you.’ Slowly, she walked around the locker filled with uniforms where the other woman was hiding. She didn’t want to give off the impression that she had felt her, for the element of surprise might be essential there. Unlike Lucian, she knew nothing about Hunter J, and that device on her arm made Sabrina cautious. Though, in the end, she could always trust her powers, and a quick teleport was more useful that maybe being shot. Lucian could save his own a**.

In the end, it was not really apparent who of them had the power of a surprise attack on her side, because, to tell the truth, both women were quite startled when the locker door burst open with the power of a Psybeam, as clothes, now partly ripped apart, as well as other accessories that landed onto the nearby cupboards flew out and blinded Sabrina. She fell onto her back, and only managed to push some dark blue cloth out of her view in time to see something lavender coloured jumping through the storeroom window. Then, something hit her and she rolled to the side, biting her lip in pain. Her shoulder wasn’t exactly able to take the strain...

“Damn it!” Sabrina tried standing up, yet her shoulder was aching so much she wanted to scream. ‘What a stamina...yeah, right, Cynthia...right now, it’s rather the question of how masochistic I am...’ Through half closed eyes, she could see Hunter J trying to jump after the...thing, but the window proved to be too high for her to just jump through it, leading Sabrina to the question of how the fugitive had managed to reach it. At least, it gave her the chance to catch up with the hunter, even with her wound. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed something cream-coloured rolling into view, but she did not care. “Wait there!” She growled, causing Hunter J to look back at her. “Oh, you’re still up. I thought that kick would have put you out of commission.” Sabrina smiled weakly. “It takes more than someone’s boots to knock me out.” ‘Let’s hope she had no dark Pokemon...’ Lashing out with her powers, Hunter J was thrown against the wall, not so much that she was seriously injured, but it was definitely supposed to hurt. Just the amount of revenge Sabrina allowed herself to take. She couldn’t allow herself to become too cruel again.

Grunting, the older woman sat up, glaring at the gym leader. “So you’re the psychic...I should have known.” Slowly, she started to smirk. “But thankfully, I’m prepared for this kind of interruption.” She pushed a little button on her arm device, causing Sabrina to yelp only seconds later. She had completely blocked her powers.

“See you later..not.” With an elegant jump one could not have expect from a woman wearing those stiff clothes, Hunter J used a bag filled with letters to raise herself to the level of the window, climbing out easily while Sabrina was left disoriented.

~~~~~~~

Hunter J looked around the plain street. The Pokemon she had been looking for was nowhere in sight. Angrily, she kicked a stone away, hitting the wall of the post office. It had gotten away. Snarling, she reached into her cape, just to notice that the package she had found and carried with her had disappeared as well. She growled in deep anger, close to screaming out in frustration.

Both of her targets were lost.

And her side hurt.

And her Pokemon were still inside with that Elite Trainer.

Today was just not her day.

~~~~~~~

Today was her day.

Janine had thought it would be hard to get Will off the breakfast table and get him for a small-talk walk through the league headquarters, but it was the exact opposite. Without his girlfriend, he seemed to be kind of lost, not knowing what to do. And of course, she, Janine, would take his hand and lead him to the right, shining path again.

Out of the darkness this wicked girl had bewitched him on.

No matter that it had been only coincidence she had been chosen to sneak him away, and to get his mind off the psychic gym leader, Janine now felt as if it had been fate. Written into the stones of history years and years ago. She was the perfect girl for him. She had already known this when he had first appeared there, as she had been the one he had given his roses to, as he would now give her his love. It was all so perfect.

“Now, Janine, I don’t think you’re really searching for the restroom.”

Okay, maybe her excuse hadn’t been perfect. So what? She was alone with him now and nothing could stop her from confessing her true, everlasting love to him.

“Will, there’s something I need to tell you.” She coughed. It wasn’t hard for her to form a blush, an artistically perfect blush, just like the attractive actresses in cinema. After all, they always got their mister perfect, and there was always a happy end in movies, wasn’t there? And just like the screenplay heroes, Will would find his true love in her, and not in the manipulating witch that tried to scheme behind the scenes.

“Hm?” Will raised an eyebrow, arm behind his head. Janine giggled. He was so cute! She couldn’t believe her luck to have been chosen by fate. Unexpectedly, she threw her arms around his neck, hugging him and rubbing her cheek against his. “I love you! I love you so much and that’s the truth! There is no other man for me on earth anymore! You and me, we were made for each other!” She cried, her eyes closed and her heart beating in a speed not thought to be possible for a human being.

“What?!”

~~~~~~~

Sabrina stumbled while trying to get onto her feet, steadying herself with one hand, the other rubbing the side of her aching head. She should have been prepared for an assault on her powers, yet she hadn’t had the time to react. Without her powers, she was simply helpless, like a newborn baby, without any way to defend herself, even without a real way of orienteering herself. She was so used to these powers, since she had been born with them, had trained them her whole life, that even a few minutes without them were like being reborn into a completely new body, having a new existence.

Coming to the conclusion that her legs just weren’t ready to carry her yet, she let herself fall again onto the pile of ruined clothes that had formed around the locker. Sighing, she looked around her surroundings. There was no way she could catch Hunter J anymore, but whether she had prevented her from fulfilling her mission, the psychic gym leader wasn’t sure. After all, she didn’t even know what the woman had been there for; it could be anything, even just causing havoc. Though that would be waste of force. Hunter J was no amateur, even her name- an alias, most likely, proved this.

If her boss wanted someone to cause havoc, he- or she, could have simply employed more dumb villains. These often managed to turn everything upside down and back again.

Leaning against the locker and wincing when her shoulder touched the cold metal, Sabrina noticed something to her left. It was the cream-coloured ball-like object that had already almost managed to catch her attention back when she was still fighting with Hunter J. Only now she realized that it was no ball, but, in fact, something entirely different. Something that may even, or may not anymore, live.

“A Pokemon egg?” She wondered out loud, reaching out with her hand. Indeed, it was no copy, it was a real egg. But it had turned cold, having been out of its container for more than ten minutes already. Sabrina knew if the Pokemon inside should get a chance at living anymore, she would have to act soon. Looking around, she searched for anything she could wrap around the egg to keep it warm. She almost slapped herself when she realized that, after all, she had been sitting on the perfect material, the pile of pieces of cloth. Carefully picking up the half of a post uniform, she hid the egg in it. Still, that wouldn’t do it. The egg itself had no warmth to keep; it needed to be warmed from the outside. Standing up and sighing futilely at the same time, Sabrina already regretted deciding to take care of the egg. The only one that could warm it right now was her, and the only way to do that was...awkward.

“I swear, any reporter that sees me now is getting his head ripped off. After his camera says goodbye.“ Carefully, she stretched her pullover over the egg and even more carefully, tiptoed to the backdoor of the post office, in the hopes of avoiding Lucian and the chance of him seeing her like this. She would have rather teleported, but thanks to Hunter J, her powers were blocked out for a while. She had to walk.

It was going to be a dreadful afternoon for the paparazzi. And for Sabrina, but she did not know that yet.

~~~~~~~

“Eh, Janine, I don’t think...” It was useless. Any Pokemon trainer knew how hard it was to detach a stray bur from his Pokemon’s fur and Janine, even though she certainly was not a plant, didn’t differ from these small brown appendages. It would certainly be painful to remove her, as she had dug her long fingernails, not fit for ninja antics at all, into his back, and wasn’t planning on letting him go any time soon. Worse, it didn’t look as if she wanted to let him go at all. She, caught in her dreams, wanted to melt into him, to become a part of him and stay at his side, or rather, as his side forever. It was the best moment her young life had offered her so far and she didn’t want to end it, to ever end it.

Sadly, it takes two to begin a relationship and the essential second part of her dream love wasn’t that interested in riding on pink clouds. At least not with her.

“Eh, Janine, please, could you let me go? ...this is a bit awkward.” Sadly, he lacked the confidence and rudeness to just shove her away. Will was a gentleman and while it was a clear rule for all gentlemen to stay faithful and prove it with their actions, he couldn’t just bluntly tell Janine that he simply didn’t love her. He knew, and now regretted it deeply, that he himself had fuelled the girl’s hopes with his playful flirting just a bit over a month ago. It was his own fault. And he didn’t know how to sneak out of it now. He didn’t want to hurt Janine, he really didn’t. After all, the girl had confessed to him and that proved, at least in his interpretation, that she was honest, and that he really meant something for her.

The truth would hurt her. To lie to her would hurt her even more. Not to mention that it would hurt his own heart and, goodness, Sabrina’s, too. Nervously, he bit his lip. He didn’t know what to do...

And in his confusion, he made a mistake.

“Janine, could we talk about this somewhere...privately?” He whispered, head hanging. He hoped he could talk her out of this nonsense, talk to her like any sane human being could, yet he was severely mistaken. Lovers couldn’t think like normal persons and Janine was more than a victim of hormones.

“Of course, my sweetheart!” she giggled and clung to him once again, walking out of the league hallway yet not letting him go at all, which made walking a lot more difficult. Will sighed. Just what kind of mess had he gotten himself into again?

~~~~~~~

Sabrina almost tripped when she felt a small, electric like shock going through her mind. Pausing and concentrating, she soon relaxed again. The blockade of her powers was over, so she could finally use them again.

With a slightly annoyed grin, she noticed that she was already pretty close to the Pokecenter and that it wouldn’t make sense to teleport now. She could walk the few metres; after all, it wasn’t her legs that were hurting. It was only getting harder to hold the egg beneath her clothes, as her right arm was getting numb and her left one was just useless after she had managed to get her shoulder hurt again.

Glancing around, Sabrina decided to check first if she wasn’t wasting her time and energy already. For all she knew, the Pokemon inside could already be dead now, having frozen to death. But to her surprise, that wasn’t the case. There still was some life left inside, or at least her powers detected a weak life source. Having an existent incentive now, she didn’t waste any time with identifying the kind of Pokemon she was caring for, as that was the last thing on her mind now. Instead, she immediately teleported away into the Pokecenter.

Where Will and Janine where sitting at a table and drinking coffee together.

~~~~~~~

Will sadly sipped his white coffee, trying to keep his half closed eyes from Janine. This wasn’t easy at all, as Janine had chosen to sit next to him, despite them having the whole table with two couches for themselves. Well, she was not even strictly sitting next to him, rather shoving herself onto his lap, ignoring his weak, futile protests. He had come here to talk her out of this, to convince her that their love had no future at all, yet now his tongue was frozen in place and it was not the coffee’s fault. If there had been one thing proved true in life he had learned, it was that women did not like to be rejected and a woman full of hate was the worst thing you could come across.

Yet, it looked as if he had no other choice. Either he turned down Janine and would have the vengeance of a ninja on his head or he...no, there was no ‘or’. He loved Sabrina and he would never betray her. Never, as long as he lived.

He would just have to convince Janine of this, too.

“Janine, I don’t want to hurt you with this, but we have to be straightforward. I’m not exactly on the market anymore...” To his surprise, and slight horror, she snuggled closer to him, so close he had trouble keeping his hot coffee from pouring all over her chest. “Of course you aren’t”, she grinned. “I already bought you...” And before he could react, she had placed her lips on his, forcing her tongue into his mouth.

He had never French-kissed so far and from Janine’s struggling, she never had either. Just what had messed up that girl’s mind?!

“Wh...WHAT?!?!”

Will stared at the ceiling and started to pray. ‘Dear Arceus in heaven above, please...I’m too young to die...’

Sabrina felt as if she wanted to die, too.

“What...just...” She stared at the two, Janine still sitting on Will’s lap, facing him, her arms around his neck and just breaking the kiss now, so slow, so slow that it was almost in time with her heart beat. She wanted to fall on her knees, to block everything out and for a second, she felt herself loose the grab on the egg, yet the psychic gym leader managed to steady herself, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath. It hurt. It hurt to breath. To think. To be. Everything hurt.

“Sabrina, please, it’s not what it looks like...” Will knew it was useless to try to save the moment, but what else could he do? He couldn’t just pretend he had actually wanted this to happen, though it was his own fault his girlfriend had ended up seeing him this close with the unwanted appendage. He should have tossed Janine off earlier.

“Of course.“ Sabrina’s snarl cut into his soul. She was hurt, deeply hurt, not to mention how angry she probably was at him. “It’s always not what it looks like, right?” She glared at him, but her eyes weren’t cold, weren’t stony and lifeless. They were shining. Will gulped. She was close to crying…

“It’s always not what it looks like...it’s always not a lie...” She started to sob and for the first time in his whole life, Will felt the impulse to slap a girl. Janine. She had caused this pain and strangely enough, he wanted to make her pay. This was not like him at all.

Sabrina looked up again and it became clear that she had started to cry. “I should have known...” Her words were almost inaudible over her sobs. It was the only sound that reached Will’s ears. The rest of the Pokecenter was still talking, yet it didn’t matter to him anymore. All he was aware of were Sabrina and Janine. Janine snickered, clinging even closer to him. Every inch she came closer seemed to drive Sabrina the same distance away from him. And yet, it was impossible for Will to stop the process, as Janine had bored her nails into his back so deeply that it would hurt to push her away. Yet, it would hurt even more if he did nothing at all. Hurt him and Sabrina.

“I should have known...someone as popular as you doesn’t deserve me...” she replied darkly, not daring to look at the two. She felt cheated on and for all that mattered, she was indeed. She had thought he had loved her, had loved her for real...and now she just teleported and there he was, kissing another girl. Somewhere in the back of her mind, Sabrina knew she shouldn’t freak out, shouldn’t feel this deep betrayal, the venomous effects of jealousy. After all...Will could tell the truth. There could be a different story behind, maybe even something funny. But her soul, stuck in its helpless weeping, didn’t want any other explanation, didn’t want to ask, to confront itself with the facts. It wanted to be alone. To get away from the scene, from the conflict, even from humanity itself. Shadows clouded her thoughts, shadows whispering to her, whispering that she should have known from the beginning that it would never work out. She would never find love. She, the psychic, the ghoul, would never find love.

She teleported away, unable to find any more words. Only the faint silhouette of her tears staid in the place between the worlds, the ether.

Will stared at the empty air, his body and mind lumb. He didn’t feel anything, and yet, everything was a dream to him. No, no dream. A nightmare. He had registered Sabrina’s departure and yet, there was nothing he had been able to do about it. He was left helpless.

And then, anger rose in him.

It was not only his fault. It was partly his fault, yes, he admitted that he wasn’t innocent for the anguish Sabrina probably felt now. Yet, Janine wasn’t innocent at all. She had flirted with him when it was plain obvious that he was taken, that he had a girlfriend and absolutely no interest in ditching her. He had gone through so much with Sabrina, had fought with her and for her and now he was going to lose her because of a stupid misunderstanding?

Never.

Will stood up, pushing Janine aside who blinked. “I’m sorry, Janine, but this has to end. Now.” He glared at her and even though there was only one of his eyes visible, Janine flinched slightly. “I have something to take care of.” He turned around, not willing to pay her any mind anymore. Without a second thought, he concentrated, following Sabrina’s teleportation path. To his horror, this was easier than he had thought; because she was so upset and that had left marks in the invisible trail. Swallowing his worry, he teleported away, leaving Janine alone.

The young ninja closed her eyes, sipping the rest of her coffee. “The end? No, Will”, she smiled. “This is only the beginning.”

~~~~~~~

The young woman had just finished combing her long hair when the door was opened quietly as a shadowy figure stepped in, its hands at its side. The room, bathed in the milky light of a cloudy April afternoon, didn’t give away the person’s identity, yet the woman wasn’t frightened. She had the natural talent of recognising her boyfriend’s aura. There was no need for her to be afraid.

Gently, he laid his hand on her bare shoulder, a single strand of her blond hair slipping through his slightly tanned fingers. His voice was even, steady, yet barely reaching her ears even though he was standing behind her, and had lowered his head to her level. “Hunter J thwarted our plans,” he said, a tiny bit of bitterness slipping into his sentences. “She appeared in the post office and caused chaos. I doubt there is anything left of our plan to save.” Without commenting, the woman continued to stare ahead. The man kissed her hair silently, before leaving the room.

Facing her picture in the mirror, a small, wicked smile appeared on the female’s cheeks. Her phone rang.

~~~~~~~

With eyes clouded completely by tears, Sabrina reappeared outside of the Pokecenter, falling to her knees as soon as the glow had faded from her body. Almost not even able to breathe properly through her sobs, she hid her face with her hands, balancing the egg on her knees. But it wasn’t as if that thing mattered to her anymore. She couldn’t believe it. She had been cheated on. All her life, she had stayed as far away from men as possible, not believing that anyone would take interest in her. And hadn’t she been right? Right, as she had seen it with her very own eyes just seconds ago? It was wrong to fall in love, just wrong, as it would only hurt you. There could never be true love, at least not for her.

Her hope- shattered. All of her happiness- gone. Replaced by despair and depression. She had been such a fool to believe that a man as handsome as Will- she nearly broke into another crying fit just thinking of him, would choose someone as unlikeable as her. She was doomed to be forever lonely; she should have realized that long ago and shouldn’t have tried to mess with fate’s ways.

But...it had felt so true! Everything had felt so wonderful, so honest, so...she couldn’t describe how good she had felt with him around, in his embrace, in his kisses...how could all of this have been a lie? If it truly was a lie, how could she not have felt it? She had never read through his entire mind, but there had been no indication that it had all just been a game to him. And wasn’t he calling himself a gentleman? Would he go this far, going against his own ways, just to play with her heart?

And just like true gentleman, Will was going to resolve the mystery.

He appeared by her side not even half a minute later, gulping when he saw his crying girlfriend. His heart ached, seeing her so distressed, but he had to tell her the truth first, as he feared she wouldn’t accept his love anymore otherwise.

“Sabrina...” “Go away...“ <Go away…> If she hadn’t repeated her order telepathically, he wouldn’t have understood what she had said. Taking a step towards her, then kneeling down next to the psychic, he carefully wiped away the tears that still fell down her pale cheeks, now freckled with red and glistening. He had never seen her so upset, and he never wanted to, either. Even worse, he had caused her misery. Just how good of a gentleman was he, actually?

“No, I won’t go away,” he whispered softly, trying to look her into the eyes, yet she was avoiding his gaze. “I want to apologize.” She stopped her crying, finally looking at him again. “Apologize.” Her low voice had a mocking undertone, yet one that was so weak it was very hard to detect. Will felt it nevertheless and it made his heart hurt more.

On the one hand, there was nothing she wanted more than his apology, and with it, everything going back to the way it had been before. Before their love had been tainted. She crawled for the intimacy they had before. On the other hand, she knew it would never be the same. Never again. It had all been too good to be true.

“I...please, forgive me,” he swallowed. He wished he knew the right words, the ones the perfect gentleman would use now and which would make every girl melt right into his hands, forgiving him of every mistake he might have committed. Yet there were no right words, only his intuition. “I shouldn’t have let her go this far...it was my mistake. Please, forgive me, Sabrina...” She stared at him and he wished, he wished so much he would know what she was thinking right now, only a glimpse of what was going through her head. Yet she remained emotionless, something that reminded him too much of the way Sabrina had been before the beginning of their relationship. The cold, unfeeling girl. Was it returning?

Sabrina knew she would falter even before he had said the words. She knew she would turn out to be the weak one there, the one admitting defeat, because she, as painful as it was to confess, had no intention of fighting over this, as she had lost the spirit to argue. It was the only way of keeping herself from breaking down. It wasn’t the right way to end this, she knew, yet she couldn’t help it. She wanted to get him back and if that would cost a great deal of her self-worth...it was a price she had to pay, she supposed.

Breaking into a heap of tears again, she fell into his arms. The hate for being so emotional was there again and this time, it reached her consciousness more than necessary, almost destroying the moment she had thought to be calming, the moment she returned to Will. She hoped everything would end well, yet the nagging feeling that something was not right stayed in her.

“Sh...it’s alright, it’s alright...” ‘Nothing’s alright.’ She wanted to scream at him, yet she was too weak to do so. Somehow, this was not her, not the true Sabrina that was sitting now there and acting like a crybaby, or worse, like the blond- haired valley girls with bright pink lipstick and mobile phones glued to their cheeks from the dumb road movies. Dear Arceus, she started to hate herself...what had love done to the once so strong and unapproachable psychic gym leader of Saffron?

Will pushed her away a bit, helping her with sitting upright again. He smiled with relief. She seemed to have accepted his apology; at least she wasn’t trying to rip away his limbs or...turning him into a doll. He had been sure he wouldn’t get safely out of this, yet it had ended almost anti-climatic.

Sabrina shook her head. She had to think straight again, and stop crying now damnit. She felt overtaxed and she didn’t even know why she had ended up next to the Pokemoncenter when she could have teleported straight to her hotel room, which was a more appropriated place for resolving relationship problems. She blinked openly and cursed herself. “The egg!” “What?” Will raised an eyebrow. “The egg! Great, I completely forgot about it!” She pointed to the bulge she had hidden with her coat so far. “Ehm...I didn’t know psychics laid eggs...”

Sabrina slapped him, not as hard as she might have if she had been serious about it, but it was still supposed to hurt. Just to remind him, and her, too, of who was in charge. “Idiot. Of course not. I found it.“ Will rubbed his burning cheek, glancing at her. “Found it? One doesn’t find a Pokemon egg just sitting around here...” Sabrina stood up, brushing the dust out of her clothes. “It’s a long story. Come on, I’ll tell you about it while Nurse Joy takes care of the egg.”

~~~~~~~

The phone rang again. Finally, a slender, pale finger reached the button for the speaker.

“Client M?”

“Yes.”

“Unfortunately, I have to inform you that both targets were lost. The Pokemon escaped, though I’m currently trying to locate it, but it will take some time to regain control over it. The egg...was taken by the woman, Sabrina Bennett.”

“Perfect.”

“What?”

“It’s perfect I said. I didn’t even have to set up the trap myself, she built and fell into it all by herself! Either that useless excuse of a boyfriend I have will be declared guilty and I will finally be able to get rid of him, or Kanto gets all the blame and is at Sinnoh’s mercy.” A high, female, malevolent laughter. “It’s a win-win situation for me anyway. You did well, dear Jenny.” A quiet, amused snicker. “You want me to pay you off in a more...natural way?”

The voice on the other end paused. “No.”

“Oh, come on, I know you still long for me...”

“I do not.”

“You do. I can hear it in your voice.”

“I would lose all trustworthiness if it were to come out that I sleep with my clients.” Another pause. “Plus, both you and I know that you love that psychic trainer. Not me.”

Another snicker. “If you...say so.”

“Goodbye, Cynthia.”

The line went dead.

End Chapter 4

delongbi
March 12th, 2009, 06:26 PM
Sorry, got sidetracked before I could read the chapter. Thursday is the one day I watch a bit of TV...

Anyway, the chapter.

No grammar errors I noticed. And...

THAT CHAPTER WAS AMAZING!!!

It's hard to list all of the great components, but I'll try.

1. Your plot is keeping me completely hooked. I love the little flashes with Cynthia, and cannot wait to find out what she is planning.

2. I can feel for your characters. I felt so bad for Sabrina when she saw Will, and I wanted to slap Will for not confronting Janine. The fact that I felt connected with your characters is a sign of great writing.

3. Much better with the style. I know it seems like such a little thing, but breaking up the paragraphs more made it easier to read. You still did not always create new paragraphs with a new speaker. For instance:

Unwavering, he pulled a Pokeball out of his pocket. “Come out, Bronzong!” The giant metal Pokemon appeared, and Lucian clung to it, having it levitate over the ground. Sabrina couldn’t help but snicker. “Interesting way, dear Lucian.” She commented, not caring to make the amusement in her voice disappear.

However, it did not bother me as much because in general the paragraphs were smaller.

4. I don't really watch the anime any more, but I've read of Hunter J on various websites. Her and Cynthia in a relationship... lol.

I'm sure other reviewers will shoot me for saying this... but I kind of like Janine. She makes everything so much more interesting!

Anyway, great chapter. I think it is the best so far. I can't wait to read more!

Crazy Packers Fan
March 13th, 2009, 06:28 AM
Yes! Cynthia is evil! Oh, how I have influenced you! Seriously, not even the yuri or whatever the y-word is could stop me from loving the fact that Cynthia... is... evil! You've made me completely forget about Janine, and Will, and Sabrina, and the heartbreaking romantic story. Okay, maybe not. Poor Will, he got backed into a bad situation. It really isn't fair to him, and of course I feel bad for Sabrina too, because she must be really hurt.

But yes, yes, yes, Cynthia is evil... oh, how perfect! This chapter is by far the best, not just because of that (after all, the Sabrina-Will-Janine story was great), but that just pushes it over the top. I love you, P*A! Maybe just for that I'll let Sabrina survive in my story... (you know how much I love teasing you with that)

Psychic*Absol
March 13th, 2009, 09:58 AM
*headdesks* ....great, two reviewers like Janine (second one is my beta-reader) and the other forgot all about the love story and only cares about his Shirona anymore.
Authors like me always get the freaks.

j/k, I was really rofling when I read your reviews, it's so funny and great at the same time. ^_^
Anyway...
I wanted to slap Will for not confronting Janine. Hehe...this will become important next chapter (and maybe in the sixth chapter, too).
You still did not always create new paragraphs with a new speaker. >.< Sorry, that one slipped through my re-reading control. XD

Oh, how I have influenced you! Curse you, my manipulated mind! *g*
You've made me completely forget about Janine, and Will, and Sabrina, and the heartbreaking romantic story. CPF, I'm starting to hate you. >> *makes note to cut Cynthia out of the next chapter*
j/k, she will be there, she's essential to the plot. Sadly. >>;;;
I love you, P*A! ...yeah, and because of that, you always get my favourite character into mortal danger, I see the love there. *sarcasm*
Maybe just for that I'll let Sabrina survive in my story... (you know how much I love teasing you with that) ...yes, I do know that. You drive me crazy with it. >>

I don't know when the next chapter will come out, it could take a while as I have only started it (one page so far). My first guess would be two weeks, but it can be anything from 9 days to 19. *g*

Crazy Packers Fan
March 13th, 2009, 11:06 AM
Thanks to Alakazam's signature, I now know why Hunter J is so popular. Even May would be jealous...

I loved the whole story with Sabrina, Will and Janine, it was great. I'm sorry, I was just so overwhelmed by Cynthia being evil that I couldn't help myself. I can't decide whether I like Janine or not, though. I think I want to root against her, because all she wants is to cause trouble between Will and Sabrina.

Psychic*Absol
March 28th, 2009, 12:00 PM
So sorry that it took so long to update. ^^;;;; The chapter was ready a few days ago, yet my beta needed a bit longer than usual. ^^;;; Yet, heads up, people, the next chapter is almost finished, so Part Two will be up very soon.
Just for the update, the two new shippings introduced in the last chapter were MindScrewShipping (Janine x Will), and BlueVelvetShipping/ArtemisShipping (Hunter J x Cynthia), the latter named by me and Zammr (though ArtemisShipping is my own idea..cookies to everyone who gets the name. 0=) )
Last shipping on the last will be introduced in this chapter.

5. Chapter, Part 1: Battles

The dining room of the league was again in quiet tension the next morning. Sabrina, feeling unusually unwell, was sipping her tea very slowly. Will hadn’t turned up yet. She knew it was probably paranoid to think that he would go after another woman, yet she couldn’t help but fear the worst. After all, Cynthia hadn’t appeared yet, either.

To make the miracle complete, she had let Lucian sit next to her, who looked just as miserable as her. He had told her that he had managed to fight off Hunter J’s Pokemon by himself, yet the three of them had escaped by the use of ‘brutal force’, as he explained it, surprisingly with a term Sabrina often used for the fighters’ dojo next to her gym. More accurately described, it meant that Salamence had created a hole in the wall with its Hyper Beam, separating Lucian and Bronzong from them with the pile of rubble.

All in all, the league had a hell lot of public donations to get for the rebuilding of the post office, and the psychological therapy of the employees.

Lucian blamed himself for all of that.

And Sabrina marvelled just why she was even giving that agony aunt’s role a try. She had better things to do, after all...hadn’t she?

“Lance will surely be angry at us once he comes back today...” Lucian whimpered, playing with the coffee cup between his fingers in a way that made Sabrina wonder just why he was not able to burn his fingers, or let a single drop of black liquid fall onto the white tablecloth.

Yet, that was not the only thing that had her blink. “Lance is already coming back? I thought he would spend some more time with Claire...”

Lucian shrugged. “I just got a note this morning that we- Cynthia and I, are going to meet Lance this afternoon. Nothing else.” Sabrina nodded, yet she wasn’t really listening in. Her mind was elsewhere. And Will had still not arrived.

~~~~~~~

“...no serious battling, just give them some time to demonstrate their power- a bit of showing-off, you know? Give them all they want, all that will please them.” Lance let his aching head rest on his equally aching wrist. He was tired, oh so tired, and yet this was not the only meeting that lied ahead of him. The league’s head knew he should get a new secretary as soon as possible, but with the events surrounding his last one, he had to be more careful than ever, and had to take more time choosing one. Time he technically did not have. His timetable was already filled to the brim, days appearing to have more than twenty-five hours and still, he had so much to do, so much still on his plate.

And Claire dared to beg him for more romantic dates with her.

In some way, he could understand her. He wanted to have her around him more, too, yet she, especially she should know that the job he had was very important. There were not only a bunch of four talented idiots who lived off his renting and noble donations depending on it, but the whole land of Indigo, with its thousands of people and thousands of stacks of office papers.

“Understood?” he asked, the rings under his eyes even more visible as the light of the desk lamp fell diagonally onto his face. Lance looked old now, yet he was not even in his forties. The strain put on him had its consequences, even more after yesterday’s...incidents. The post office getting attacked, the police not arriving soon enough so one of their guests had to fight the assailant off, and the ‘little argument’ with Claire over his idea of bringing his laptop to the candlelight dinner.

“Yes, Sir, “ both Will and Karen said in unison, nodding formally in front of their boss.

“You’re dismissed,” Lance answered, leaning back in his black chair. He looked so tired that Will, though there were many questions still raising in him, went out as soon as possible, Karen following him, in a way that made him wonder how the material of the heels of her shoes could take it, not to mention what kind of bone material her ankles had to be made of. Gravity must also have lost its effect on her, because he was sure any normal human being would have slipped, if its hip made movements similar to Karen’s.

“So, what is this all about actually?” he asked once they were out of the room and he had closed the door tightly, leaving Lance alone in his shadows and headaches.

Karen shrugged. “I don’t know. How should I know? I’m no psychic, I can’t read minds. If one of us should know what this was about, it’s you.“ She grinned, licking her lips as she continued to walk down the hall. “Besides, what does it matter? Lance wants us to battle the two trainers and loose. That’s not actually a big task, is it? Losing itself might be hard for some, as they’ve become so skilled at winning.” Will had to think of Lance, yet Sabrina’s image pushed itself into the foreground of his mind, confusing him. “Yet, seeing as we’re only two lousy elite trainers below both the level of Cynthia and Lucian, I doubt we will have any trouble accomplishing that duty.” She looked back at him with that glimmer in her eyes, that almost lustful glimmer that made him very nervous. He had a lot to make up for, concerning Sabrina and his unwanted rendezvous with Janine, and seeing Karen so close to him was no good sign. He had to end this now before anything more drastic could happen.

“Ehm, Karen...” He closed his eyes tightly. If only he could find the courage to actually tell her the blunt truth.

The dark trainer turned around and raised her eyebrows. “No need to tell me, Will. I know you love only her. I won’t question that.”

Leaving him behind, confused and a bit mad at himself, Karen walked down the stairs, readying herself for the test.

~~~~~~~

Lance leaned farther back in his chair. He wondered where he had left the Aspirin pills, yet he could not remember. The constant hammering in his whole head kept him from thinking clearly, and the world around him was swirling. He knew he should have refrained from drinking champagne and coffee together last night, but the expensive liquid had been left from the disastrous date; he couldn’t just let it go to waste and coffee was what he usually drank at 2 am to keep himself from falling asleep on the keyboard. Of course, usually, he didn’t combine it with champagne and so, he wasn’t prepared for the effects it had on his mind, but he was quite sure even if he had avoided letting the alcohol-caffeine mix into his blood, today wouldn’t be better.

A quiet knock on his door woke him from his near slumber and Lance realized, only half awake, that almost an hour had gone by without him doing anything, and his guest was already behind the door. Lance cursed silently. He was clearly behind schedule.

“Come in, please,” he said as loud as he could without giving his condition away. It was one thing to appear unshaved, crumpled and sleepy before his own underlings, another one to embarrass himself in front of an equal.

The door knob was turned around and a slender, pale hand appeared, holding onto the door frame. With a few steps, the woman stepped into the room, her long, black coat wiping around her legs.

“It’s my pleasure to finally meet you, Lance Gray of Blackthorn, leader of Indigo.” Lance nodded. His eyes were getting wet from being strained too much; he could barely grasp the outline of the young woman in front of him, who had sat down and let her head rest on her hands gracefully.

“Yes, it is”, he coughed. He hoped his breath didn’t smell drunk anymore, but if it did...well, at least it would smell like a one hundred and twelve year old champions’ champagne from Fuchsia, its price close to that of many expensive perfumes. “First, I have to ask...did you receive the welcoming gift I had bought for Sinnoh’s league? The Eevee egg?”

“Yes,” Cynthia answered, her smile as innocent as ever.

“Good.” Lance took a deep breath. At least that had worked out perfectly. “Then I want to explain today’s afternoon to you.” She nodded, not commenting him yet, yet looking at him as if she had much to say on this matter. And that smile of hers...it was bewitching, in every sense of the word.

“You and Lucian are going to battle the two new elite trainers we have, William Bender and Karen Schwartz. Just a simple three-on-three battle, nothing more.” He looked up. “It will be recorded and shown by some public channels, though. Are you okay with that?” Cynthia nodded without caring at all. ‘For publicity, Lance would sell his soul and his mother’s, if anybody asked. How...disgusting.’

“That’s everything for today.” Lance leaned back, stroking his shining hair. Might it be hair gel or the sweat from yesterday’s stress, Cynthia did not care. For a seemingly endless moment, she stared at Lance with her pale, grey eyes and innocent, silent smile, then she walked over to his chair, grabbed his collar and lifted him up, unhindered because Lance had never thought of needing his bodyguards with another champion in the same room. And it had been yet another thing he had forgotten to organize after the last night.

Lance could only stare with bright, open eyes at the young woman, before she pressed him against the wall and pressed her lips against his.

~~~~~~~

During the last hours, most of the clouds had decided to disappear, leaving a clear, bright blue sky above the Indigo League Champion’s stadium. It was a perfect day for battling outside and so, Lance had of course taken the opportunity and reserved the best place for Pokemon battles one could find in the whole of Indigo, personal preferences not taken into account. Usually, the finals of the Indigo Tournament took place there, almost always at night, with thousands of people sitting on the seats placed around the battle field, screaming, laughing, celebrating, and cheering for their favourite, with maybe even double the amount of people watching it on television. Normally, two aspiring trainers stood there below the watchers and the glassy eyes of the cameras, facing each other, both ready to give everything they had, for this was the moment they had waited for, some for years, some for decades.

But today, it was strangely quiet.

As security measurements had increased heavily, no spectators had been allowed into the stadium, at least no one without a VIP identity card. And since these people were rare, and not even all of them cared enough to come, the stadium was almost left empty. Only a few of the gym leaders had decided to spend their free time there, though it was right to ask if they hadn’t been blackmailed by Lance, who at least wanted to keep the image that the league trainers stayed together as much and were as close as possible.

Certain relationships between certain trainers only helped that along.

Sabrina shuddered, unusually cold in the warm April sun and the slight breeze blowing through the rows of seats. She hadn’t seen Will all morning and that made her not only sad, but also increasingly nervous. What was up with him again? She knew his work took up a lot of time, yet she had hoped, maybe dumbly hoped that he would at least greet her and tell her what his absence had been about. Maybe it was delusional to hope that he would try to meet her when Lance had probably chased him around the whole time, yet... Sabrina sighed. Was it that wrong and selfish to worry?

Damn it, she already missed him.

Just how was this going to work out once she was back in Saffron again? She couldn’t just travel to Indigo every day, and teleporting around would take a hell lot of energy.

“Don’t worry, sweetie, he’s alright.” Sabrina jumped when she heard the sinister, snickering voice next to her ear, almost losing her balance and falling over the row she had been standing on. Glancing at her side, her heartbeat still way faster than what was healthy anymore, she recognised Karen, the dark trainer.

Glaring at her, not trusting her in the least, Sabrina replied darkly. “And you know how?” Karen grinned, tracing her pale lips with a black coloured finger nail. “Lance called us to a meeting this morning. He was there and afterwards, we were told to wait here and prepare ourselves for the battle. That’s why he had no time to pay his little girlfriend a visit.” Sabrina snorted. She didn’t like the way Karen talked about her and Will. It wasn’t that Karen had called her ‘little’- okay, she wasn’t tall, but that was nothing to mock her with. No, the unspoken words behind, the melody of the sentence, everything made her tense. Closing her eyes, Sabrina tried to calm herself down again. Karen was a darkling, and dark powers frightened her, even more after her injury.

Sabrina turned away from Karen. There was nothing she had to talk about with her anymore.

“Yet...I refused to battle today.”

“What?” Sabrina wasn’t sure if she had heard right. An elite trainer, even worse, a fresh, new elite trainer, refusing an order from Lance? Had the league’s head finally turned senile or had Karen done something to him? The psychic gym leader backed away slowly.

Karen laughed out loud. “Yes, sweetie, I refused. Old Lance seemed to be a bit shaken up today. So I used the chance to snub out. I thought I would give someone else the chance to battle together with Will.”

“What?” Sabrina knew that it looked dumb to ask the same, simple answer twice within a short amount of time, yet she couldn’t help it. There was no other question she could ask right now. Her heart beat faster and faster and she could feel the warmth rising in her. If Karen was telling the truth, she suddenly had to prepare for a battle herself. Her, battling the Sinnoh Elite Trainer, alongside Will. It was a wonderful thought, yet it make her incredibly nervous. There was no way she they could win against Lucian and Cynthia, yet maybe it was worth a try. They had shown they weren’t that bad of a team and if she had another chance of being close to Will, she would surely use it. It was at least going to make up for the loneliness she had felt this morning.

Karen smiled at this and pointed downwards with a slender movement of her hand. “Look down.”

Sabrina followed her indication, yet, she could feel her body getting colder again, the beat of her heart staggering slightly.

On the left side of the stadium, standing close together, were Will and Janine.

~~~~~~~

Will felt his hands trembling as he walked up the stairs to the challenge’s podium. Janine next to him was chatting nonstop and grinning and laughing and clinging to him...

Boy, did he feel bad.

There was nothing he wanted more than just shoving her off and postponing that battle, yet it was impossible. Lance was watching, the other elite trainers were watching, cameras were watching, around 10% of Indigo’s population were watching, the gym leaders were watchi- Will grinded his teeth. The gym leaders were watching. ‘Oh fu** it!’ How could he have forgotten? Now he was really in trouble...

“Are the trainers ready for the battle?” Will turned to the left, where the judge had already taken his place and raised the flags. He really felt uneasy now, not very good for the coming battle, yet he couldn’t stop but worry. Sabrina surely was watching him right now and for once, he was happy he couldn’t read her thoughts. If he wasn’t distracted already, Sabrina’s thoughts would surely manage that.

“We are.” Lucian answered for both himself and Cynthia, as the woman seemed to gaze disoriented around, admiring the scenery rather than concentrating on a battle. Will raised an eyebrow, wondering if the champion was even taking them seriously or, if not, what was wrong with her and why Lucian was not reacting to it. He stood directly next to her and yet, it was as if they were worlds apart. And they were really boyfriend and girlfriend? Sure, relationships worked different for different people, but what Will was sure of was that the flame of love had long been turned out for these two.

Which unpleasantly reminded him of his own dear again.

“Then, battle start!” The judge raised the flags above his head and the second he flicked them back at his sides, Lucian had already thrown his Pokeball, the movement almost too fast to be seen, yet pliant and rounded. He almost paraded his entrance, so well he seemed to have tested it out various times before. Well, he had been an elite trainer for some time now, longer than Will anyway and the masked man supposed that after years of practice, a certain routine crept in.

“Go, Medicham!” He cried. Will briefly wondered why a psychic trainer like Lucian would use a Psychic/Fighting Pokemon, yet from the gossip he had picked up, Sinnoh’s elite wasn’t so strict on using just the element a trainer had applied for. Heck, Cynthia had even decided not to rely on one single element at all!

Reason why she was rumoured to be the strongest champion of all. Being restricted to one element just made you weaker, more inflexible.

“Gastrodon, your turn.” Cynthia’s voice was calm and even, almost sleepy. Either she wasn’t completely on this earth anymore, or she had taken something that had a creepy influence on her attention and consciousness.

Glancing at Janine, who was eagerly checking her Pokeballs and commenting each of their inhabitants, Will decided that it was time to choose his own battler. He was nervous; because this was his first official, albeit foretold, battle. He already knew Janine and he were going to lose, even if there wasn’t the clear advantage the champion of Sinnoh had, Lance had ordered them to lose. Or, more accurately, had ordered him to lose. Janine was clueless, having filled in for Karen at the last second. Hence her enthusiasm. If only he could share those feelings...

Will closed his eyes. He didn’t know much about Sinnoh’s Pokemon, but Gastrodon looked like a Water Pokemon, with its snail like body. And Medichan was, of course, Psychic/Fighting. His Xatu would be of most use here.

“Go, Xatu!”

“Crobat, go for it!”

Will glanced again at Janine, slightly surprised. Apparently, she was playing along his lines, using a flyer as well. Maybe she had realized his tactic.

“Use Supersonic!” Or maybe not.

Will glared at her, yet he wasn’t willing to scold the young ninja. He didn’t want to talk to her, didn’t want to have to do anything with her. Sabrina was watching, she shouldn’t get the wrong impression.

If she hadn’t had it already.

“Xatu, Fly on Medicham!” Obvious scheme, yet, he wasn’t supposed to win anyway.

“Medicham, Thunderpunch.” Will reeled back. Who should have expected this Pokemon to know this move?! He was screwed, severely screwed. Well, him and Janine, but she wasn’t so affected, still passionate over her battle. Well, seem from her point of view...

“Xatu, Confuse Ray, then Psychic!” The idea was simple. Confuse Medicham so it wouldn’t be able to hit Xatu, then take it out with a simple Psychic. Will winced inwardly when he remembered that he used a similar tactic to battle Sabrina and wished his mind would focus on something else, just not her.

“Gastrodon, Stone Edge!” It might have been a mistake not to have practised double battles ever before, Will realized now. His attention had to be divided onto two Pokemon. Thankfully, Janine reacted as well. The Supersonic of her Crobat hadn’t affected Medicham much, so now she focussed on Cynthia’s Pokemon. With the result of Gastrodon’s attack being blown away by Crobat’s Wing Attack, and Will’s Xatu being given the chance of attacking Medicham without distraction.

The violet spheres of the Confuse Ray, swirling away from Xatu’s eyes, hit Medicham, whose own eyes turned into swirls as well. Stumbling over its legs, the Pokemon couldn’t direct its Thunderpunch anymore- and hit its own partner!

Will wanted to smile, even though it was uneasy showing that while knowing that you were disobeying your own boss right now. Well, maybe that was the case, but Lance hadn’t said how close the battle was supposed to be, right? Maybe they were allowed to deal a few hits.
But to his surprise, Gastrodon shook the Thunder Punch off like it had been nothing more than the simple static shock happening between woolly clothes.

Will frowned. Either Gastrodon was really strong or...no, this couldn’t be the reason. Even though Cynthia was the champion and her Pokemon weren’t to be underestimated, Lucian was an Elite as well and his Pokemon’s attacks were just too strong to be simply shrugged off. No...Will came to another conclusion. Gastrodon was not only water type...but water/ground type! This made things a bit easier, knowing that ground attacks couldn’t hit both of their Pokemon.

“Gastrodon, Sludge Bomb on Xatu.” Will tensed. His Xatu was the worse flyer, so an attack requiring good aiming was better being used on the less mobile target.

“Crobat, Wing Attack!” Again, Janine tried to keep the projectiles away from his Pokemon. He had to admit, that girl wasn’t so bad of a double battler. Either that or her obsessed mind came up with strange ideas...

Yet, it worked. The brown coloured sludge balls fell into pieces, creating a rain of dirty water.

“Gastrodon, Muddy Water.” Gastrodon’s attack got mixed into the already existing rain left from its last attack, making more and more small puddles on the battlefield. Biting his lip, Will wondered what Cynthia was planning. Both of their Pokemon were currently flying, so the slippery ground didn’t affect them at all. Even worse, she had dug a possible grave for her partner’s Pokemon, as Medicham needed steady movements to attack properly. Lucian apparently thought the same, giving Cynthia a confused, shocked and even slightly angry look, yet not facing the cameras as he did so. Cynthia just continued to smile and whispered something to her boyfriend that Will couldn’t understand. Anyway, it didn’t appear to lighten Lucian’s mood.

“Again Wing Attack!” The psychic trainer was close to face palming. Yes, Janine was a rookie, but even new trainers knew that it was certainly no good strategy using an attack too often. Your enemy could prepare for that attack and chase you into a dead end.

Yet, this time, maybe he could let that slip. After all, it had done something good. The hard wind brushing against his body had caused Medicham to fall onto his back, landing directly in one of the many puddles. It was his chance.

“Xatu, Psychic Attack, now!” Noticing the dire situation, the Bird Pokemon didn’t hesitate at all and shot wave after wave of blue light over the helpless Medicham. Sooner or later, this was going to knock it out.

“Gastrodon, Stone Edge.” “Argh!” Again, he had forgotten about the second Pokemon and now it was too late to dodge. Stone Edge was certainly going to be the final attack his Xatu saw...

“Crobat, intercept it!” With a sharp hiss, the bat-like Pokemon dove down, positioning itself between Xatu and Gastrodon. Yet, now without any defence itself, Crobat was hit by the swirl of jagged, accelerated minerals. It couldn’t even withstand the assault for a few seconds before losing the strength to stay in the air. Finally, Crobat collapsed and landed onto the ground next to Xatu and Medicham. Using the small confusion for his advantage, Will let Xatu take flight again, the rest of the Stone Edge Attack hitting now Medicham, knocking it out as well.

The judge raised his flag, indicating a short break to give both trainer couples a chance to recall and possibly change their Pokemon.

“Come back, Crobat.” Janine held out her Pokeball at arms’ length, the red light consuming the fallen bat. “You did very well.” She smiled at Will, blushing slightly. “You, too,” she whispered. To his own surprise, Will nodded. They had actually managed to beat one of Lucian’s Pokemon. ‘Not bad, not bad at all.’

Lucian didn’t say anything while recalling Medicham. He kept his eyes, hidden by sunglasses, on the Pokeball, before closing them and sighing. Again there was a short conversation between him and Cynthia, with Cynthia mostly staying quiet and only smiling now and then, yet Will really wished he knew what was going on on the other side of the stadium.

To both Will’s and Janine’s surprise, Cynthia recalled her Gastrodon shortly afterwards. The Pokemon didn’t seem as if it had taken any direct hit and was still fresh for fighting, yet Will wasn’t one going to doubt the judgement of a champion and, of course, the owner of the Pokemon itself. If Cynthia thought it was better to have Gastrodon rest, it was her decision. He would keep on using Xatu.

Again, the judge raised his flags, indicating that the battle was continuing.

“Go, Bronzong.” Will had to smile. He had seen this bell-like Pokemon before, yet that didn’t mean it looked any less weird now. ‘Well, like Pokemon, like trainer, eh?’ He glanced at his Xatu, stiff, calm, said to be staring into the future, present and past at the same time. ‘...’

“Gligar, your turn!” The psychic elite trainer just had to smile, no matter who was watching right now. Janine really tried to keep along with him, using a second flying Pokemon now. It may work, after all, their teamwork hadn’t been so bad in the first round.

“Lucario.” Both Indigo trainers turned their heads to the side. After Gastrodon, Cynthia had called out her Lucario, said to be one of her strongest Pokemon, behind her signature Pokemon, Garchomp. If Will had doubted until now that she wasn’t taking them serious...well, he had been severely wrong. She was taking them serious.

Was that a good or a bad sign?

Shrugging it off, Will decided to focus on the battle once more. “Psychic!” Lucario was Steel/Fighting, at least one of these types was weak against Psychic. Sadly, both Pokemon they were fighting against were partly Steel, so Janine’s Pokemon were at a complete disadvantage here. Briefly, Will wondered why Cynthia and Lucian hadn’t used their superiority earlier. But then, maybe he was right with his theory. Maybe the first round had just been about testing their abilities as trainers and double trainers and now both Sinnoh trainers took them seriously and played their real trump cards.

“Gligar, Attract!” Will blinked. Now while attracting a Pokemon wasn’t a bad strategy in itself, the chances of it working were only 50/50, depending on the other Pokemon’s gender. He wasn’t sure, but Bronzong looked clearly like a genderless Pokemon, a thing which even Janine should have noticed, so that meant her attack had to be aimed at Cynthia’s Lucario. Yet...wasn’t it common knowledge that most trainers only used Pokemon of their own gender? Conclusion, Lucario would be female as well. Now, either Janine was sure that her Gligar was male or...

The ninja girl smiled at him. “I read in the papers that Cynthia’s only male Pokemon is Lucario.” His eyes widened as he realised that Janine knew more about the champion than he did. A simple, new gym leader knowing more than an Elite trainer. Yet...maybe it was only because he had started to really despise yellow press papers recently, with all the rubbish they had been saying about Sabrina and him.

Will winced, yet again reminded of the one spectator that meant most to him.

“Bronzong, Flash Cannon on Gligar!” Apparently, Lucian had seen through their tactics as well and was now preventing Gligar from attacking. There wasn’t much Will could do, none of his attacks would really stop Bronzong. He would only try to change the direction Bronzong was aiming in.

“Xatu, Quick Attack!” Will could feel his Pokemon’s pain at is crashed head first into the cold, blue-grey metal of Bronzong. ‘I’m sorry, old boy, I’m sorry.’ At least it worked the way he had wished for. Bronzong’s aiming was completely off, not hitting Gligar at all, rather endangering Lucario. But to his surprise, the wolf-like bipedal Pokemon created a sphere or bright, blue energy between its paws and threw it in the direction of Bronzong, splitting the bright white beam with ease. It was quite close to hitting Bronzong itself with the attack, yet the Steel/Psychic Pokemon glowed seconds before the energy ball could hit it, which prevented the attack from dealing too much damage.

“That attack from Bronzong was Iron Defense...but what was Lucario using?” Janine asked, not really caring who answered her question in the end, because it wasn’t Will.

“That was Aura Sphere, Lucario’s signature attack.” Both Indigo trainers looked up to see Cynthia smiling innocently at them, yet without a real emotion on her face. A simple fact, it was nothing more to her. She was very different from Lance, yet Will supposed that champions had the right to be a bit weirder than usual people.

“Bronzong, Flash Cannon again!” Will was startled, he hadn’t expected Lucian to use their distraction, but then, this nasty tactic was to be expected from both sides. He glanced at Janine. “You take care of Lucario, okay?” She nodded, while Will was left to deal with Bronzong. “Quick Attack, then Psychic!” He had to avoid the Flash Cannon, for he was quite sure his Xatu wouldn’t survive such an attack. If the Bird Pokemon came even close to Bronzong afterwards, it was a nice bonus, but not the main point.

He glanced at his side. Janine had clenched her fist, her attention completely consumed by the raging battle. Her Gligar had managed to hit Lucario with Attract, yet Cynthia’s Pokemon seemed to be trying hard to shake off the effects, holding its head and having closed its eyes tightly, while Gligar was flying around its body, hitting it again and again with Slash. Cynthia just watched unmoved.

A loud screech caught his attention again. Xatu hadn’t been able to hit Bronzong with Quick Attack properly, its claws rather just scratching the surface of the metal, creating this unbelievable nauseating sound. Will backed away, clapping his hands over his ears. It literally hurt him...

And then, it stopped. Will grasped the round steel restriction posts on their platform, supporting his week knees. “You’re alright?” He blinked. Janine was kneeling next to him, rubbing his back with one of her hands. “Yeah, I think so...” the girl smiled. Getting up, Will looked around. Cynthia looked as indifferent and uncaring as ever, only Lucian appearing to be a bit unsteady on his feet, too. He wondered why he had been affected by that sound, yet he assumed it has something to do with his newfound powers.

“Let’s continue.” He whispered to both himself and Janine. The girl nodded.

“Gligar, Slash again on Lucario!”

“Xatu, Psychic attack!” There wasn’t much use in trying to use weaker attacks; he had to go for it. His Xatu was already weakened; it wouldn’t take that much more.

“Bronzong, Gyro Ball!” The metal on the Pokemon’s skin- was it actually skin? seemed to melt, dropping at its front side into a growing ball of hot, white liquid. Will knew he had to act fast, that attack looked quite powerful. “NOW!”

The psychic waves and the melted metal shot towards each other at rapid speed, all while Lucario and Gligar were still having their own battle. Lucario was trying to claw its way through the slashes of Gligar, while the airborne Pokemon frantically tried to avoid them. Finally, Cynthia decided to change her tactic. “Aura Sphere.”

In the end, no attack really hit the target it had been destined for.

Xatu’s Psychic was not strong enough to overthrow Bronzong’s Gyro Ball, so the steel attack just kind of swallowed the weak psychic and aimed straight at Xatu. Yet, Gligar, fleeing in order to avoid Lucario’s Aura Sphere, ended up straight in the Gyro Ball’s flight path, getting hit instead of Xatu. And Lucario, trying to aim for Gligar, ended up shooting the Aura Sphere in its general direction, yet too far to the left to hit. Will knew he had to use the few chances he had been given, so he ordered Xatu to take control of the Aura Sphere with its psychic powers and aim it at Bronzong. He knew, there was no other way he and Janine would ever be able to beat Bronzong, not with their own Pokemons’ attacks. So what else was there left but to take advantage of the enemies’ attacks?

And he got rewarded. Bronzong was knocked out.

Again the judge’s flags were raised, indicating yet another break.

Both Janine and Lucian had to recall their Pokemon, while Cynthia wasn’t giving any sign if she would recall Lucario like she had recalled Gastrodon before. Will closed his eyes, thinking deeply. Would it be smart to recall Xatu? Probably not. It might have sounded cruel, but the most efficient way was to let the Flying/Psychic Pokemon deal as much damage as it could before being forced to recall it, too.

He smiled at Janine. They were doing quite well. The battle was still even, with both sides having lost two Pokemon so far. No doubt he and Janine were going to lose in the end, his other Pokemon weren’t quite as strong as Xatu, yet, he felt unusually good, battling together with her and doing so well.

~~~~~~~

On the spectator’s side of the stadium, a high, girlish squeal came from many throats, growing and ebbing like waves crashing against the shore, echoing against the stony walls. “Oh my god, isn’t he just great?” “Of course he is, did you ever doubt that?” “He took out two of Lucian’s Pokemon!” “He’s so strong!” “He’s perfect!” “My, what a battle!” “Janine’s so lucky!”

Yes, Janine was lucky.

Others weren’t.

Others felt their heart breaking.

Sabrina could only stare downwards. She hadn’t moved at all since the beginning of the battle, only keeping on staring down. Staring without any word, without any sign that behind the cold mask she had built up over the years of psychic training, she had some feelings after all.

Because right now, she didn’t want to feel.

And yet, she did.

She felt cold, colder than ever. Cold and...what was the word? Despair?

It hadn’t been a lie after all. It had been the blunt truth. He didn’t love her. He loved Janine. He had never needed her. There was nothing between them, their poor, pitiful little adventure only being an episode in both of their lives, nothing more. He had never loved her.

She swallowed, fighting back tears that tried to form. She couldn’t cry. Not here. Not in front of all the other gym leaders, who only knew her as the strong, unfaultering psychic. Yet, even if she had been all by herself, with no one watching, she wouldn’t have been able to cry. Not anymore. She had enough of crying. It wasn’t herself to cry, not herself to break down. She wanted to cry and to break down, yet she couldn’t, couldn’t allow herself. She had to go on.

She had to live. Without him.

Without love.

Feeling someone nudging her, Sabrina looked to her side, recognising Erica. She looked at her with a compassionate smile. Apparently, she knew. As if it wasn’t that obvious to see her pain. Yet...Sabrina didn’t even want anyone to notice her misery. She didn’t need the sympathy of any of these dumb, shallow girls. Even Erica was close to the line.

“What was his reaction to Xatu’s scratching about?” Erica asked, glancing at the battlefield again. Sabrina sighed. She should have known...all they cared about was her knowledge about psychic powers in general, not what was going on inside her.

“Psychics are hyper sensitive towards certain frequencies. If they’re hit with the right one...it hurts them psychically.” Erica turned again towards her. “And why weren’t you affected?” ‘I doubt even a dark attack would have managed to get me out of this lethargy...’ “It only works close ranged. I was too far away.” That was a lie, but Sabrina couldn’t care less about the truth right now when the blunt truth had just hit her straight in the face, destroying everything she had dreamt of.

“I see.” Erica walked away, leaving her alone again.

How ironic. She was truly alone.

Psychic*Absol
March 28th, 2009, 12:01 PM
(Continuation, chapter was too long ^^;;;)

“Please continue the battle!”

Will swallowed hard as the judge cried out those words. In the end, Cynthia had changed her Pokemon again. She had called out Garchomp. Garchomp, her signature Pokemon, her favourite, her star, her strongest Pokemon.

On the bright side, it meant that the champion was taking them more than serious; they were most likely going to see a spectacular battle and had a chance not many trainers even dared to approach, battling one of the strongest Pokemon in the care of a trainer.

On the not so bright side, this battle was going to be short.

On the dark side, they were screwed.

“Do your best, Ariados!” Will sighed. Janine didn’t know it, but her wish was most likely just that: a wish, nothing more. Garchomp had taken out whole teams without a scratch and, heck, so far, they hadn’t really managed to get even one good hit on Cynthia’s Pokemon. Both Gastrodon and Lucario left the battle as good as new.

“I choose Girafarig.” ‘Well, apparently that’s a Pokemon popular with psychic trainers...’ Will mused, thinking about his own Girafarig. He could as well use it, but with Garchomp outside, he had a better idea. And, after all, his Xatu was still standing more or less.

“Ariados, Night Shade on Girafarig!” While Will was really happy that Janine’s Pokemon knew such a handy attack, it left him to deal with Garchomp and that wasn’t great at all.

Momentarily wondering if he should again go for the direct hit or rather trying to weaken Garchomp by confusing it, Will didn’t notice Xatu’s eyes glowing. In the end, he didn’t have much time to muse over a strategy, because Cynthia wasn’t bothering with long theories and going over to the practically part right away. “Dragon Claw.” “Psychic!” Not sooner than he had blurted out the word, Garchomp’s claws already connected with Xatu’s body, making it fling all over the field and crash into a wall. Worried, Will turned around, but to his relief, Xatu was just knocked out, not hurt or...killed. The young psychic couldn’t really tell how he knew, just that he knew it for sure. Most likely, it had again to do with his powers. It gave him a better understanding of and connection to his Pokemon.

“Come back, Xatu.” Will smiled, sighing. That had been to be expected, Xatu had taken a lot of hits recently. And with Garchomp’s sheer might....well, it was worth a try, yet, nothing more.

“Go, Jynx!” Janine squealed, surprising Will a bit. It wasn’t often that girls actually liked his Jynx seeing as it was, even he had to admit, a bit ugly. But with Pokemon, the outside didn’t matter so much, as long as they could pack quite a punch.

And Jynx could.

“Ice Punch!” Will knew that wouldn’t take out Garchomp, for sure, but at least it could weaken it. And that was the point, Janine and he weren’t supposed to win anyway, so all he could- and would, was show that he was a true elite trainer.

And in theory, it worked perfectly, Jynx hit Garchomp’s left wing, freezing it instantly. Briefly, Will wondered why Girafarig wasn’t bothering him, yet glancing at his left side, he noticed that Ariados had fixed Girafarig with String Shot and the Psychic/Normal Pokemon had trouble getting on its feet again, while at the same time, it shot Shadow Balls around, trying to hit Ariados. For the moment, Girafarig wasn’t something he had to worry about.

But then, the ice broke.

“Dragon Claw.” Again, Garchomp’s wing glowed white, hitting Jynx straight in the face, yet surprisingly not knocking it out in an instant, something Will had surely expected then. “Double Slap, then Lovely Kiss!”If there was nothing else you could use, then at least use the fact that your Pokemon is close to your enemy’s.

“Cute!” Janine giggled, wrapping her arms around his neck. Will smiled nervously, yet dared to place a kiss on her cheek, causing Janine to laugh even louder and blush.

Down at the battle field, Garchomp’s cheeks had turned red as well, but rather from the fact that it had been constantly hit by Jynx’s large hands. Yet shortly before the human-like Pokemon could kiss Garchomp, surely scaring the poor thing for the rest of its life, not to mention that both Jynx and Garchomp were female, Cynthia decided to interfere. “Giga Impact.”

Will bit his tongue. With that short of a distance between Garchomp and Jynx, his Pokemon wasn’t going to get out of the attack at all.

Garchomp covered itself in a ball of pink energy, and jumped at Jynx. Smoke hindered the sight, shrouding the result of the impact in mystery, yet only theoretically. There was no way Jynx had gotten out of this, and Will knew it. Most likely, everyone knew, yet there was still a surprised murmur when the air was clean again and Jynx lay on the ground, its eyes closed. Wordlessly, Will recalled it.

“Girafarig, Psychic!” Will grinded his teeth. His last Pokemon wasn’t even out yet and Lucian still dared to attack? Technically, this could get him disqualified, yet Lance would rather behead the judge than allowing this. Cynthia and Lucian were guests; they had all the rights they wanted to have.

“Go, Girafarig! Crunch!” He had to help Janine, for her Pokemon wouldn’t be able to withstand the power of a direct hit with Psychic. So before Lucian’s Girafarig could actually hit Janine’s Araidos, Will’s own Pokemon intercepted the attack, biting the other Girafarig hard into its leg. It cried out in pain, falling to the side, with the string shot still wrapped about its other legs helping a bit.

“Garchomp, Dig.” Even before Will or Janine had the chance to turn around, Garchomp had already disappeared into the earth, disappearing from their view as well.

“Oh no...” Janine was really frightened, knowing that Garchomp could appear anywhere now, without her and Will being able to prepare for it. The battle could be over very soon now. Yet, Will smiled. He had some advantages now the usual trainer hadn’t and he started to wonder how he had managed to get this far without any psychic powers. Now that he had them, many things were much easier. Detecting a Pokemon beneath the ground wasn’t just an exercise of good concentration and good eyes anymore, but simple reaching out with one’s mind and concentrating on the only aura that wasn’t visible to the eyes, too. He was glad Sabrina had taught him so much, after all, he was really getting better.

“Girafarig, jump to the left!” He wished Janine would have followed his example, yet she wasn’t fast enough. The few seconds that were between his powers recognizing Garchomp and screaming out were enough for the Dragon/Ground Pokemon to break through the surface and hit Ariados with a force unbelievable to be contained by a single Pokemon. Instantly, Janine’s last fighter was knocked out.

“Your turn now.” She smiled at Will, taking his hand as she recalled Ariados. The psychic trainer nodded. He could at least try to knock out one more Pokemon, but that would depend on his luck and whether Cynthia decided to attack his Girafarig now or later. Two against one was never a fair battle, yet it ending like this was to be expected.

“Girafarig, Crunch again!” “Shadow Ball!” “Giga Impact!” Will winced. Two attacks at the same time. No chance he could avoid both, and if he had the choice to choose between them...Shadow Ball was a Ghost attack, partly strong against his Psychic Pokemon, yet Giga Impact was...well, he had seen its might. There was no word even close to describing how powerful Cynthia’s Garchomp probably was. It felt amazing to battle it, so much he could sympathize with all the trainers dreaming of beating the Elite four once in their lives.

But for now, he had to think of some solution himself.

“Girafarig, bite it in the leg, then fling it to the right!” The idea wasn’t new at all, yet Lucian seemed completely shocked. Well, he was, but Cynthia....her face was unreadable. If she knew what was going to happen, she didn’t try to hinder him. Not at all. Almost as if she wanted her boyfriend’s Pokemon to get hit by the Giga Impact.

And that was what happened. Will knew there was no chance he would get out of this tight spot, so he put up with his Pokemon being hit by the Shadow Ball and weakened through it, when he was able to keep Lucian’s Girafarig from fleeing that way. Both Pokemon were in the direction of the Giga Impact and both would be taken out that way.

If he had to end this battle, it would be with a bang. Sacrificing his own Pokemon to beat at least Lucian.

It worked, but not in the way Will had thought of.

Only seconds before the Giga Impact could hit both Girafarigs, Lucian held out a Pokeball at arm’s length. “Come back, Girafarig!” He looked up, staring Will into the face, not caring about what was going on down there. “I give up.”

Will blinked in surprise, not even realizing that his own Girafarig had long blacked out. Lucian gave up? It wasn’t that incomprehensible, as no one really could ever want his Pokemon to be hit by such an attack if it wasn’t dire emergency, yet it seemed untypical for the smug elite trainer. Something was wrong with him. He seemed to be far too weak for a real elite trainer, after all, Will was a newbie and he had sorta been able to beat him. With Janine’s help, of course.

Said girl hugged him suddenly, rubbing her cheek against his. “You were so great! It was amazing! You made Lucian give up!” “Yeah, I guess I did...hehe...” Will smiled uneasily. She was close to suffocating him...

“Your little girlfriend here is right; you were doing well, William Bender.” Will looked up from Janine’s smiling face to see Cynthia climbing up the stairs to their platform, carefully because of her high heels.

“You weren’t bad yourself, Miss Monde. A great battle, really.” He bowed, Janine nearly falling of his neck and hitting her head on the stones as a result. Cynthia smiled at the clumsy, love-struck ninja.

“You must be Koga Kiyo’s daughter. I heard a lot of your father. He is famous person, both as a ninja and a poison trainer. A very good decision from Lance to promote him to Elite.” Cynthia nodded to herself, while Janine awkwardly tried to get on her own feet again, almost knocking over Will in the process. She was deeply red. “Yes, that is right, Miss Monde. It is...it is a pleasure to meet you.” Bowing, too, and hitting Will with her pony tail, Janine showed her respect. Meanwhile, Will looked over to Lucian, who walked out of the stadium without paying them, or any other trainer for the matter, any more attention, his hands in his pockets.

“Is something wrong with him?” He asked, actually concerned with the well-being of the other psychic trainer. He had wanted to see the true strength of the elite four of Sinnoh and now he felt as if he had only witnessed the power of the champion.

Cynthia shrugged. “I guess he’s a bit worried for one of his Pokemon which hasn’t arrived in Kanto yet. All of his were shipped over safely, except for his Espeon. He is worried it might have been stolen or something...” Will nodded. That was understandable. He would be troubled too if one of his precious Pokemon was not with him and he had no idea where it might have ended up.

~~~~~~~

“Oh whoa, such a great battle!” “The two really did well!” “That Garchomp of Cynthia...amazing, just amazing!”

“I wish I had such a Dragon Pokemon...”

“Yeah, right, as if you could control a Dragon Pokemon, Lily...”

“Heh, I could try!”

“As if...leave that to the true Dragon Trainers, no, Lance?”

“Hm? Yeah, maybe...”

While everyone was chatting about the end of the battle, a lone woman had made her decision.

The wise eye of a father watched silently.

~~~~~~~

It had taken Will almost ten minutes to get from the platform to the spectators’ rows, because of all the people rushing to and around him. He could barely walk, as all the girls congratulated him, and, occasionally, teased Janine for being able to battle with him. The young ninja was beaming with joy, laughing and clapping her hands together in her sheer happiness. There was so much she could tell her friends now, she much envy she could cause now, it was almost too much for her young soul to take. She wanted to scream out to the world that she was now the happiest girl on Earth, yet, in front of all of these cameras and her father’s wise eyes, that wasn’t so much of a good idea.

Will just smiled at her. He was glad he had made her so happy; it was nice to see her smiling brightly and everything.

But then, he looked up.

On the top row, directly in front of him, stood Sabrina.

Will swallowed. He had forgotten about her...

She stared at him with those cold, unfeeling eyes. It was as if she wasn’t alive anymore, rather a ghost, a projection of herself, without emotions. She just stood there, staring down at him, and yet, he felt the weight of what he had done to her on his heart. There was nothing she had to do to cause these feelings of guilt inside him, as her simple stare, her simple presence was enough. And it was no psychics’ thing.

“Sabrina, it’s, you know, I’m sor-“

She shook her head. It seemed as if the whole world around them fell apart, only their presences remaining before an endless black background.

“It’s over, William.”

End of Chapter 5, Part 1, and the end of a relationship.

Crazy Packers Fan
March 28th, 2009, 05:49 PM
Okay, this is all stuff I already read, so I can just go on with the review... I want more evil Cynthia and more Cynthia x Lucian. Though Cynthia x Lance is pretty cool as well, you've got to love Cynthia just going up and kissing him. And I trust that Sabrina and Will will get back together soon. (Maybe I should threaten to stop reviewing in order to get my way in your fics, wouldn't that be nice?)

Psychic*Absol
March 29th, 2009, 09:09 AM
1. You *WILL* get more evil Cynthia and you will get Lucian x Cynthia (kinda *sweatdrops*). What more IS there that you want? Oh, Sabrina and Will getting together again? Maybe, maybe not. Haven't decided yet. 0=)
2. ....you can threaten me, but will I care?

delongbi
March 29th, 2009, 10:31 AM
Hehe, sorry; I fell asleep reading this. Not that it was boring, I was just really tired.

Anyway, I hate to blabber about grammar errors, but...

meeting that lied ahead of him.

I believe it should be "lay" instead of "lied."

wanted to have her around him more, too, yet she, especially she should know that the job he had was very important.

This is an error I saw a lot- the run-on sentance. There should be a period or semi-colon after "too" and before "yet." You often use "yet" as a joining word like "and," "or," and "but" even though "yet" is not truely a joining word. "Yet" made this sentance a run-on.

There were not only a bunch of four talented idiots who lived off his renting and noble donations depending on it, but the whole land of Indigo, with its thousands of people and thousands of stacks of office papers.


Maybe I'm not reading this sentance right, but something does not make sense to me. I think it's the "bunch of four" that is messing me up.

For a seemingly endless moment, she stared at Lance with her pale, grey eyes and innocent, silent smile, then she walked over to his chair, grabbed his collar and lifted him up, unhindered because Lance had never thought of needing his bodyguards with another champion in the same room.

Run-on. Period after smile.

She knew his work took up a lot of time, yet she had hoped, maybe dumbly hoped that he would at least greet her and tell her what his absence had been about.

There should be a comma after "hoped" and you did the yet/run-on combo again.

She hadn’t moved at all since the beginning of the battle, only keeping on staring down.

Keeping should be kept.

There were a few other times you used the yet/ run-on combo, but I didn't bother putting them all here.

Anyway, on to my more thoughtful comments.

Overall, this was, once again, a very good chapter. The battle was well described, as were Sabrina's emotions.

Right now, the plot is a little confusing, but I think it is supposed to be. This chapter opened many questions. For instance, I'm curious to see why Sabrina has the Eevee egg (I think) and why Cynthia wants her to have the egg. I also can't wait to find out what Lucian is so worried about and what Koga is going to do about his daughter.

Hehe, Cynthia's a real player... lol.

Will smiled nervously, yet dared to place a kiss on her cheek, causing Janine to laugh even louder and blush.

I was about to murder Will at this moment. Sabrina should have, actually.

I felt so bad for Sabrina! With the way Will has been acting, I'm glad she dumped him, but it really stinks for her.

Ahh! Can't wait for the next chapter! Your story is great!

Psychic*Absol
March 29th, 2009, 10:50 AM
This is an error I saw a lot- the run-on sentance. There should be a period or semi-colon after "too" and before "yet." You often use "yet" as a joining word like "and," "or," and "but" even though "yet" is not truely a joining word. "Yet" made this sentance a run-on. *grumbles about how they literally teach one nothing in English* I always thought 'yet' was like 'and', 'or' and so....*makes note to herself to search through the next chapter for any 'yet'* Would it be better then to cut the sentence before the 'yet' and just make a new one?

Right now, the plot is a little confusing, but I think it is supposed to be. This chapter opened many questions. For instance, I'm curious to see why Sabrina has the Eevee egg (I think) and why Cynthia wants her to have the egg. I also can't wait to find out what Lucian is so worried about and what Koga is going to do about his daughter.Yes, it is supposed to be confusing. *g* The next chapter might either answer some questions or bring up even more, depends on how you view it.
Well, I can at least answer one question out of these. Sabrina has the egg because she found it. *lol* It was the egg that was left after Hunter J's appearance.

I was about to murder Will at this moment. Sabrina should have, actually. ROFL, just ROFL.... I was just about to say 'Poor guy, needs love too', but then, you're right, Will acted very thoughtless here and he will get punished. Sorta.

I felt so bad for Sabrina! With the way Will has been acting, I'm glad she dumped him, but it really stinks for her. It does. And it will continue during the next chapter. BTW, the next chapter should be up very soon. It's finished and just needs to be beta-read. ^^

delongbi
March 29th, 2009, 10:58 AM
*grumbles about how they literally teach one nothing in English*

Lol. I completely agree... I learned everything I know from my cousin.

Would it be better then to cut the sentence before the 'yet' and just make a new one?


Sometimes you can write "and yet... blah, blah, blah" or you can just stick a period before the yet and start a new sentance. Then, sometimes, it's better just to rephrase the whole thing. It really depends on the situation.

BTW, the next chapter should be up very soon. It's finished and just needs to be beta-read. ^^

Yay!!!! Can't wait! :)

Psychic*Absol
April 22nd, 2009, 08:58 AM
*grumbles about busy beta-readers* SO absolutely sorry for this delay, but bear with me, I had to put up with a exam-writing beta-reader. ^.~
Last shipping of this fic was included last chapter as I said. It was WikiErrorShipping (great name, really), aka Cynthia x Lance.

5.Chapter, Part 2: Breakups& Breakdowns

“It’s over, William.”

“What?” Now he was mirroring her non-existing movements, staring at her as well. He felt so cold, frozen in place, frozen in that one moment of time. He could hear her words, yet it was as if they had never reached his consciousness. He could just not grasp their meaning, his whole mind frozen, too cold to think.

Sabrina closed her eyes, appearing to be sighing. Will wondered if he could trust his eyes anymore, for he saw a white haze appearing as she spoke, indicating that the temperature around them had indeed fallen. Yet that was not possible, was it? They were still in the stadium, on a spring’s afternoon...weren’t they? He couldn’t be sure anymore, as his mind played tricks on him-unbelievable tricks.

“It’s over. Our relationship...is over.” She opened her eyes again and her icy blue stare bore into his lively violet one. There couldn’t be a bigger contrast between the auras those two gave off. Sabrina was cold, unemotional, and uncaring again, while Will was still feeling the heat of the battle, the happiness from all the persons greeting and congratulating him. All the warmness.

“What? You can’t be, you can’t be serious!” he exclaimed, suddenly shocked and slightly frightened. She didn’t look as if she was joking at all....

“I am serious.” Her voice had turned into a whisper-a quiet clear whisper, which was as sharp as the hiss of a snake. He could understand every word. Every word was understandable, and yet not understandable for him.

“But, why?” He shook his head, still not believing what she was saying. She wanted to...break up with him? Why, just why? He thought it had been love...true love...but, had it all been a joke now? The Sabrina he knew wasn’t joking, not about serious things like their time together. But then...that meant she really...was breaking up with him. “Why?”

Her sigh sounded helpless, hurt, as if she was hoping for herself not to be there, not to have to do what she was doing. And yet, she forced herself to speak to him.

“You don’t love me. I see that now. Please understand me, Will. I do not wish to be hurt anymore. It’s better, for both of us.”

“But, but...” He couldn’t believe her words. She actually thought he didn’t love her?! Had she lost her sanity?! He loved her more than anything else! He bit his tongue, fearing he hadn’t shown his love as much as maybe he needed. Maybe he should have kept away from Janine, but...it hadn’t been his decision, damnit! He had no chance to get away from her! “I do love you! Please, believe me!“ If she was so strong of a psychic, couldn’t she just read his mind and find out?

But...maybe she had done that. Maybe he was lying to himself. Maybe he did love Janine...

No. Definitely not. Will shook his head.

“I wish I could believe you, Will, yet what you’ve done speaks against you.” She closed her eyes again. “Just remember...I loved you. I wish it could have worked, but it did not. Goodbye.”

And with her last word, she disappeared, reality surrounding Will again. He could see Janine, Lance, and all the other trainers around him, concerned, as he was kneeling on the stairs, apparently pale and not completely on the earth anymore. Dimly, he wondered if Sabrina had teleported him somewhere, or what else it had been about, but more important things flashed into his mind, making him jump, even though his legs weren’t that strong. He nearly fell, trying to run up the stairs. But his hope was destroyed.

Sabrina wasn’t there anymore.

~~~~~~~

The town of Indigo was not only known for its famous league and the tournaments that took stage here, but also for the mass of touristic industries that had been built around it, benefitting from the attractiveness it had on the trainers. And with that, not only ten-year olds were appealed.

Indigo Town had many night bars, adult cinemas, dancing theatres and other colourful establishments with their fancy decorations, disguising names, hidden entries and bright, gleaming neon lights. Many of them were in downtown, where the more celebrated, richer citizens claimed they never went to, but that was only the attempt of keeping the clean, straight image of infallibility.

In reality, many of the high society member parties took place there, as those were the only places where they could forget the strict rules, the rigid conventions, and just be humans, with all their emotions, tragedies, feelings, happiness, and dirtiness. Not to mention that they were technically the only ones who could pay the horrendous prices for...special staff.

If there was one place you theoretically couldn’t find Sabrina Bennett in, it was there.

But today’s night was not a usual night, not after everything that had happened the afternoon before.

Her dark violet coat wrapped tightly around her body, she walked silently through the shadows, out of the reach of the flickering street lamps and blinding neon sights, the rounded dusty tubes in ugly loud colours. It was getting cold again, the warm of the afternoon and April’s sun misleading one to the conclusion it might already be summer in the mountains, when it wasn’t. The nights were still cold; sometimes there were even small layers of ice covering the fresh, small blossoms on the trees at the streets’ sides. Sabrina didn’t know why she was forcing herself to do this, to wander around aimlessly when it was close to midnight, and anything but safe outside. She should go back to her hotel room, to her bed and try to find some sleep. But deep inside, she knew she wouldn’t be able to bear the emotional pain, knowing that she was so close to him and yet...so far. She wouldn’t find any sleep in a hotel room that was directly next to his. And since she hadn’t bothered with finding a new one the whole afternoon- who could take offence at that, regarding all the trouble she had been through?-there was not much she could do right now, besides spending the whole night on the streets. She felt even lonelier now, with the darkness not only surrounding her body, but also her soul. There was no one caring for her anymore. If she got attacked there, robbed, hurt, raped...no one would care. No one.

Sniffing and glancing at the side, where some fat, unshaved scum was drinking...unrecognizable stuff, she shook her head. She could take care of herself, as she wasn’t one of the most powerful psychics for nothing. Yet, it would have been nice not to be truly alone in the world, to have at least someone she could lean on, someone that saw in her more than just the gym leader and the psychic, but the...person.

Again, the young woman shook her head. It wouldn’t help her anything to pity herself. Somehow, she had to survive this night and then, maybe then, everything would look a bit brighter the next morning. After all, the meeting would be over in six days, and then she would be home again, maybe finally able to forget all the nasty incidents and...him.

She had to go back to regularity after all. She had her gym and school to lead and that was enough trouble for her, yet trouble she was used to. She could deal with that. Not with a broken heart, though.

Maybe it had been her fault, her inexperience. She had never been loved before-at least not in the romantic way, for she at least hoped that her parents did love her, even after all she had put them through. Maybe that had been the reason she had been stupid enough to be tricked, to be cheated on. She had no understanding of the ways of love. She was one of the strongest gym leaders-and lacked knowledge of the most essential human emotion. She was truly pathetic.

Even more pathetic was the fact that she was already missing him. And couldn’t help but think of him.

“Damn it!” the psychic cursed, kicking an empty can in front of her, so hard it bounced off the bin to her left and flew right into it. She couldn’t forget him as easily as she had hoped. Life wasn’t just as easy anymore, now that she had a whole bunch of emotions to deal with. Sometimes, she wished Ash had never set foot in Saffron City. Sometimes, she wondered if she had been better off without any emotions.

After all, she had only ended up hurt.

Glancing at the illuminated side of the street, she noticed a lonely bar, its wooden door half open, sending a warm, orange light onto the stony sidewalk. It seemed different from all the other pubs: more friendly, more like home, more...more like something she definitely needed right now. Besides sleep.

Maybe she did need a drink. After all, alcohol was said to make your mind clearer, right?

Glancing to the left and the right, she sprinted over to the entrance, swallowing her fear and hesitance, yet wondering where these feelings even came from. She had no reason to be afraid, no reason to be uncertain-after all, her powers were her safest protection. She could get out of every situation; she didn’t need anyone to guard her.

A wall of stale air hit her, smelling of different types of alcohol, wood polisher, and cigarette smoke. Clearly, this was no place she would ever visit if she had her sanity, but right now, she couldn’t imagine a more fitting atmosphere. Better than crying into her bed sheets at least. She assumed she should be surprised by her own behaviour, but she wasn’t. There were other things certainly more shocking...

Like the presence of Lucian and Claire.

“What...what are you two doing here?” Sabrina asked, walking up to her two fellow trainers and hanging her coat over the backrest of an empty chair, before sitting down on a barstool to Lucian’s right.

“Well, what does it look like?” the psychic elite trainer said slowly, downing a small glass filled with an amber-coloured liquid. “Drowning our sorrows, that it!” His voice went through several octaves.

Claire laughed, a high, shaking laugh, mixed with a coughing. She had a colourful cocktail in front of her, even with a small cherry which was nearly covered by blue-white froth in the middle. “But they seem to...to can swim...” she hiccupped, hitting the bar table with her fist. “Another one, please!” The barkeeper, a young, brown-haired man with a small beard, wearing blue-red-white clothes, nodded without looking at her, getting a similar glass and a few bottles with fancy labels and pictures of beaches.

“What sorrows, if I may ask?” Sabrina wasn’t looking at Lucian and Claire anymore, rather watching the barman and his mixings. It did look fascinating and she supposed she could have a drink herself, as after all, one couldn’t hurt so much and she knew how to restrain herself enough to leave it at that. Now, if she only knew what these names meant, and what ingredients were in them...


“Ah, fickle things, you know, love...” Lucian suddenly sounded as if he had aged fifty years in a matter of five minutes. “We both got turned down.” He laughed, a short, empty laugh, closing his eyes and rocking back and forth on the stool, while trying to grab the next small glass with the same liquid. Sabrina was close to helping the poor guy. Yet she did not know if it would really help him if she got the glass for him or if it would be better to pour it into the sink.

Claire nodded, shaking her head as she managed to get her nose dipped into the cocktail. “Lance an-and that, you know, that woman from Sin, Sin, Sinnoh...they were seen together today. Somewhere. Kissing.” ‘What an... unfortunate coincidence...’ Sabrina mused, her mood suddenly as down as Claire’s head. Lucian chuckled suddenly, yet sounding as if he was close to vomiting.

“And then both of them break up with us. Funny, not? Just after the battle...just after I’m down already...stupid shippers, messed up our whole plan...” He laughed and grabbed blindly, trying to get the third glass, but all he was holding was the ashtray and he had to thank Sabrina for not getting an extreme case of silicosis.

The psychic gym leader sighed deeply. “Same here, actually... Will cheated on me, too.” She looked downwards, at the strained wooden floor and so, she was fairly startled when a hand touched her shoulder.

“You, too?” both Lucian and Claire exclaimed, the former being the one touching her, while the latter rather pronounced something that sounded like ‘Youtwo’.

Lucian leaned back, forgetting that the barstool had to backrest for a moment and almost fell down, yet steadied himself sideward at the last second. “You now, eh, know, ehm...we should open up some club, hehe...the leftovers or something.” Sabrina sweatdropped, while Claire hit the table so hard with her fist that the glasses clanged and one of Lucian’s actually tipped over and fell down.


“Never! I’m no going ta be in the some, eh, same class, no, wait club as her!” she exclaimed while pointing at Sabrina, or at least in her general direction, as it couldn’t be made out where Claire actually wanted to point with her whole body wavering.

“No offence, but I don’t want, either,” Sabrina whispered, not daring to cross Claire’s eyes. They had never been on good terms and even though Claire was drunk right now, she wouldn’t suddenly start acting all friendly. Maybe she was indeed in desperate need of company, but she wouldn’t lower herself to the level of actually trying to make friends with one of her bigger enemies.

Lucian patted her shoulder again, smiling whimsically. “Ah, I can understand what you’re going through, we all can, we all can.” He sighed and indicated the barkeeper to come closer. “Bring her something, too. I’ll pay for it.“ For a moment, Sabrina wanted to turn down the offer, knowing that whatever she would get now would, for once, be unknown to her and second, not good for her anyway. But then, against her better knowledge, she stayed quiet. What was the point of going to a bar when you didn’t even drink? She was there to have some fun, to forget all the pain of that day, and what better resolution was there than drinking? Of course, not much. She wouldn’t allow herself to get drunk like both Claire and Lucian were, as her self-esteem, or rather what was left of it, would get in the way of that anyway.

And still, she accepted the drink without even asking what it was. Different from Claire’s cocktail, of course, hers was a bright red. ‘Like the colour of...’ Sighing, she closed her eyes and took a small sip. It tasted sweet, yet bitter at the same time. ‘Fitting, very fitting.’ She supposed she could get used to this flavour.

~~~~~~~

Miles away from the debacle that was about to happen, a young girl, barely in her teenage years, bounced along the empty, quiet street, marked with diverse flowers, bushes and trees. A lonely street lamp was the only witness of her joyfulness, or so the girl at least thought.

She held onto the street lamp with one hand and spun around it like in that old movie with the cheesy rain song. Yet she couldn’t care less, as after all, she had to show the world how great she felt, how lucky she was, how good everything had turned out. She had the cutest boy in the whole of Indigo in her hands, and no one, absolutely no one, was ever going to take him away from her now. May her friends think now that she was egoistical, keeping Will all for herself, when the original plan had only been getting his mind off Sabrina, and then starting yet another competition for his heart, but who cared? Not her, not her.

She had played foul when stealing Will- though Janine herself wouldn’t describe it as stealing, more like getting him back on the right road, and now she played foul by keeping him. So what? Life was never fair, but it was good.

At least for her. Deep inside, Janine knew she had caused some hearts to break that day, but she suppressed these dark thoughts as good as she could, lowering their importance and quantity. Sabrina would get over it, Janine was sure of that. After all, that witch had never deserved him, and she should know that, so it would have been only a matter of time until the right princess for the handsome came and saved him out of the grasp of the witch. She had no, absolutely no right to be sad and depressed now, for their relationship had been anything but real, anything but true love. Janine wondered briefly how a guy as smart as Will could have fallen into such a wicked trap, though she supposed Sabrina’s abilities had helped a bit. ‘What an unfair trick, influencing him with her powers...that cheater!’ Janine grumbled, pressing her fingers together so hard that there was a quiet cracking sound. Janine felt angry, at the same time not knowing who she was angry at. Sabrina, for stealing so much of the time the young ninja and Will could have spent together? Her friends, for choosing her out of pure boredom and fuelling the rivalry between them when it was clear that there could be only one girl winning in the end? Will, for not recognising her emotions earlier? Or herself, for having caused this mess?

Surprisingly, Lance had taken this rather well. Janine put a finger to her chin, recalling the short briefing they had after the battle. Lance seemed...well, rather calm and relaxed, yet with his mind elsewhere. He had this weird, unusual wicked smile, too. As if he wasn’t completely himself. But then, Lance often overtaxed himself, so it was probably just his strained nerves playing games with his personality.

Would fit the rumours about him breaking up with Claire all of a sudden and making up to Cynthia, of all the people!

Janine shrugged. Those matters did not concern her, aside from the general topic of breaking up. After all, Sabrina had officially given up Will, or so other sources said, and so, he was free. Free for her, of course. For her only. She had confessed her feelings to him, now she only needed to wait until he would do the same. He still had about six days, and Janine figured that would be enough for the poor, still confused boy to sort everything out and finally see that the right girl for him had always been around, just waiting in the shadows.

Yet, the right girl was not the one waiting in the shadows right now, but rather someone else. Someone Janine knew very well, and respected very much.

“Daughter, I must say I’m deeply disappointed with you.” ”Yikes!” Janine suddenly let go of the street lamp’s post, and landed face down straight on the street walk, embarrassing herself even more. Now her father had seen her singing....

“Daddy- I mean, dear father,” Janine bowed, one side of her face still decorated with grey, little pebbles. “It’s an honour to meet you here, after...” Koga waved his hand, silencing Janine.

“Cut off the formalities, Janine. I’m here to speak to you both as your mentor and your father.” He sighed. “What you’ve done is wrong. Very wrong.“

“What?” Janine didn’t really get what she had done wrong. Her father had every right to scold and discipline her, yet she had no idea what it was about now...

“Janine, it’s a ninja's rule to play fair. And not to meddle with others’ emotions.” He sighed. “Love is a very complicated thing; I can imagine that a girl as young as you doesn’t know all its subtleties yet. You’re still too immature, that speaks for you, so I can still forgive you of many of your mistakes. What I can’t forgive, though, is that you deliberately broke up a young, until now very happy couple.” His dark eyes locked onto hers, never leaving her and scanning her soul as precisely as an X-ray unit could.

“But, but?” Janine blinked. She would have never thought that her father would try to interfere with her love life; she thought she had at least those freedoms. “Sabrina didn’t deserve him! He was always supposed to be mine! My boyfriend!”

Koga sighed. He truly was speaking to a little, naive little child, but then, he should have expected that from his daughter. She still had much to learn to achieve true wisdom.

“And who told you this? Who played the cards of fate and decided that they wouldn’t be king and queen of the same colour and symbol? You?” he laughed. But it was a friendly laugh, not meant to make his daughter feel ashamed, even though it was debatable if she didn’t deserve that. “Maybe they are meant for each other. How should you know? You only threw yourself right into the mess, not caring about the damage you might cause. Janine, I’m really disappointed with you. Ninjas do not try to steal their beloved ones; they do not destroy steady relationships.” He closed his eyes, sighing. After all the scolding, he had to admit that he wasn’t all that innocent himself.

“Yet, I feel responsible for this, too. I have watched you, and kept watching for too long, letting things go freely without my intervention. Had I talked to you earlier, this wouldn’t have happened.”

Janine blinked. “What do you mean, wouldn’t have happened?” she asked, raising an eyebrow. Maybe her question would get her father’s mind of the discussion, as for now, Janine did feel guilty. She had been reckless and thoughtless.

Koga sighed. “I have been keeping an eye on Sabrina, knowing that after everything she’s been through, she might be a bit...emotionally unstable.” ‘Please bear with me, my dear....I came too late.’

“And?” Janine crossed her arms defensively. No way would she start feeling remorse because of that...witch. Guilt, yes, because her father was angry with her, but never remorse. Sabrina didn’t need her apology.

Her father sighed again. “Janine, she is in a bar in downtown Indigo...and drunk.“

“Oh...” Knowing Sabrina, this was a grim situation. And suddenly, Janine did feel the whole weight of shame and regret wash over her.

Psychic*Absol
April 22nd, 2009, 08:59 AM
(Continued)

“A-d-and ya know wha-what? She said I wasn’t her first! Whoopey, big deal, I said, no surprise, eh? That girl gets around.” Lucian staggered forth and back, the glass in his left hand half empty, but only because half of the liquid had not actually ended up in his mouth, but rather the bar’s floor. Yet, that didn’t matter, both to Lucian and his body. He didn’t need any more alcohol to be kind of high.

And he wasn’t the only one.

Claire burped, spitting out some droplets of her drink out at the same time, laughing hard. “Hah! You think Lancy was my first? Never.“ She paused to take a sip from the bottle itself, not even bothering with letting her drinks getting mixed, rather combining the different brands in her mouth.

“The guy was my...oh dear, I forgot.” She giggled whimsically, sniffing at the smoke filled air and leaning back. “I forgot how many boyfriends I had! Yay!” the dragon gym leader laughed again, not even caring about the people around hearing all her private stories when during her soberness, they would be running for their lives by then, fearing Claire’s whip.

Now the only thing they had to fear was her breath.

One dose full of Claire’s air would probably give one enough blood alcohol to fail a driving test.

“I’ve forgotten how many boyfriends I had, too~oo...” Lucian whistled, laughing through every second word. “Boyfriends?” Claire tried to stare at him, the emphasis on ‘tried’. Just like before, her world was swimming and with her body not under her control anymore, she was doubly disorientated. “You had boyfriends?” she asked, just to make sure she had heard right. Her ears weren’t working so well...

Lucian looked at her with a complete lack of understanding.”I had boyfriends?”

Claire laughed out loud. “Oh my god, you have short termed memory! Hah, get it, short termed...aw, whatever.” She waved her hand when no one seemed to get, or rather, care for her joke.

Lucian still blinked. “What boyfriends?” He looked around the room, as if he was expecting a random guy to lurk around the corner, just waiting for the right moment to glomp him – or do worse, from behind.

“Cut it out, Lucian, you never had boyfriends. Now I wish I never had one, either.” Surprisingly, Sabrina sounded much sober than one should have expected from a woman who usually didn’t drink much and just had swallowed her seventh cocktail. Or was it the eighth? She had given up counting them....

“You had a boyfriend?” Lucian had obviously forgotten the number of drinks he had consumed hours ago.

“Yeah, I had. A quiet dumb one...dumped me the very second I left him alone. A*shole.” Sabrina growled with a tone of voice never ever heard before, before reaching for the bottle of beer Claire had more or less bought for them, which was now standing between the dragon gym leader and Lucian. She had decided that beer didn’t taste quite as good as wine or whisky or these sweet lemonade-spirits mixes. The barkeeper, though-that idiot! Refused to give them anymore, so they had to fall back on more old fashioned methods of damaging their brain. ‘Imbecile...’ Sabrina snorted. ‘Thinking he knows us better than we do.’

Obviously, she thought she knew enough about her body to force more alcohol into it than she had drunk in her whole life before, every little drop of it counted in.

“Oh, I never knew,” Lucian giggled. “Can I be your boyfriend?” he asked, with a gipsy smile, leaning towards Sabrina who backed away. His sunglasses hanged in lop-sided on his nose.

“Nah,” she shook her head. “You have a girlfriend. Or had. Or something. I don’t know, damn.“ She gave off a loopy smile. Her memory wasn’t as bad as Lucian’s yet. Proof that she was not drunk. Not she. Not the psychic gym leader of Fuchsia.

Oh wait, not Fuchsia. Pewter, right?

“Damn.” She couldn’t even remember her home town anymore, what a pity. Frustrated, she tried to take a sip from the beer bottle, yet found it to be completely empty already. Growling, Sabrina snapped her fingers, indicating that she wanted another. The barkeeper rolled his eyes, and yet he reached for another brown bottle beneath the bar table. He couldn’t allow his customers to get so drunk that it was physically endangering their health, but, that bit of beer couldn’t make it worse, could it? And in the end, after all...they did pay. Maybe even a bit more. In their condition, they weren’t able to properly see the numbers on the notes anymore, much less count together the bill.

Not even bothering to get a bottle opener, Sabrina used her powers to push away the cap. However, as unconcentrated as she was, she rather managed to make the liquid overheat and it sizzled, dripping out as a yellowish froth at the gap between the cap and the bottle itself. Yet, even that did not trouble the psychic; she licked away the droplets with delight, getting her lips slightly cut open in the process.

Claire sighed and shrugged. “If you’re that desperate, you can be my best friend, guy. After all, my last one, ehm...my last one...” She blinked. Something was not right, yet Claire could not put her finger on it. She couldn’t put her finger on anything; she was staggering way too much for that. “My last one was weird...”

“Yeah, he was related to you...” Sabrina laughed. Now that was funny, having a relative as a boyfriend…

“Related to you?” Lucian asked, head spinning around, trying to watch the two girls at the same time.

“Yeah, he was my....oh god, what was he again?” Claire blinked and stared at the ceiling. Her family was so damn big... “He was my father’s son’s brother...oh, no, wait....that’s not right. He was my brother’s father’s son...“

“That’s...that’s the same!” Sabrina said weakly, the words only forming slowly.

“Oh, yes, you’re right, the same..ehm...isn’t he my brother’s father?”

“You’re dating your father?”

“No, no, of course not! Hehe…“ Claire giggled. “Then he is my son’s brother’s father.”

“You have a son?” Now it was Sabrina’s turn to be slightly surprised. Her mind was staggering, she was fairly sure Claire had no son...or had she? Had she herself any children? Not as far as she knew...but if so, then they were poor to have a mother who was sitting in a bar at nearly three o’clock in the morning. And who hadn’t succeeded at all in forgetting her boyfriend...

“Oops...I hope not...” the dragon trainer laughed out loud, hitting the table with her fist. “If I have, though... I don’t know about it. Isn’t that funny? I don’t know if I had a son…and what my boyfriend is…“

“He is your uncle,” Sabrina muttered, fairly sure about this. Just as sure as she was that she came from Celadon.

“Well, then my uncle....does that matter?” Claire asked, reaching for the bottle, finding it to be nowhere near her reach. She blinked. She was fairly sure there had just been a bottle of beer next to her hand, but now, it wasn’t there anymore. Had it run away? But bottles had no legs, had they?

“It kinda does matter....,” Sabrina growled. There wasn’t any more beer coming out, and at the same time she did not know how to open the bottle properly...”If you ever want to have children, they’re going to be nutcases.” Looking around, the psychic finally decided that the edge of the bar table would be sharp enough to cut open the bottle, despite the obvious difference in stability, resulting in the wood’s disadvantage and further destruction.

And in a bottle getting split in half.

“Eeeeks!” Lucian cried, in a tone normally not used by any member of a male species, at least not on purpose. His whole jacket was wet now, wet and probably going to be sticky once the liquid dried off. Yet, Lucian was not half as angry as Claire, despite her being nearly dry. After all, she had Lucian who sat in front of her as a living barrier. The few drops that hit Claire weren’t nearly enough to be mentioned, but, fuelled with alcohol to the brim; it only took a minor accident to break her loose.

“Hey, what do you think you’re doing!“ she screamed, waving wildly with her hands. She hit Lucian several times, although all he cared about was getting his hair style right again and cleaning his sunglasses to see at least accurately what was going on.

“Ehm, getting this bottle open?” Sabrina asked uncertainly, while staring unhappily at the half bottle in her hand, its sharp edges grinning at her evilly. No chance of drinking from that bottle anymore...

“Yeah, and getting me all dirty and wet!” Claire growled. It was debatable if the few droplets were even visible without a magnifying glass.

Sabrina thought the same. Yet another proof that she was completely sober. Claire and Lucian were drunk, not her. Never her. It was just impossible for her to get drunk. And she hadn’t consumed nine drinks over the span of four hours, no, of course not. And these beer bottles on the floor were just empty by accident, nothing more.

“You want to get in trouble?” Claire’s voice was desperately trying to sound intimidating and dark when in really, her vocal cords were close to faltering.

‘Aren’t I already in trouble?’ Sabrina’s eyes started to water. She wanted to cry and didn’t even know why. No, she wasn’t drunk. No, she wasn’t missing Will. No, she wasn’t depressed. No, she wasn’t thinking of death...

No, she wasn’t lying to herself.

And she would prove the world that she was capable of caring for herself just aswell. She didn’t need anyone.

“Maybe I do.” Her smile was evil. She was going to prove her strength. Maybe in an unusual way. Unusual for her. But hadn’t she fought with some blonde chick just mere weeks go? And had managed to knock that girl away for a moment? There was something that nagged in the back of her mind; something that warned her not to get herself into this trouble now, for this small piece of consciousness that was left remembered the consequences of said fight.

Yet Sabrina shoved it back, standing up and facing Claire. “If you want to bring it on, then do it right here and now,” she said, her voice challenging and, to her dismay, staggering a bit. She wasn’t so steady on her feet, too. She did register that it was late and she should sleep, but that didn’t matter. Not today, not anymore.

But something unexpected hindered her.

“Girls, stop it.” The barkeeper glared at both her and Claire. He was okay with them getting drunk to the brim and more, but not with fighting in his bar. His neighbours had enough of that and he tried to keep a relatively unsoiled image. His poor table was already split because of that weird woman with long hair.

“If you want to fight, then go and leave the area, I don’t want to have to do anything with you two anymore then.” Sabrina blinked. Had she already sunk that low that she was thrown out of a rough bar? She felt bad...really bad. Something was not right with her. Her head started to hurt.

Sitting down on a chair away from the bar, she held her head with both her hands. She knew without doubt that this was the beginning of a huge headache, one that would probably keep her company for at least one whole day. Just what had she done? She had let herself go, without any dignity limits, without caring about anything, much less her life, anymore. She had managed to show her strength by being the one who ended the relationship, but in doing so, she had weakened herself. Weakened herself so much that she was now sitting in a lonely bar in the dirtiest part of Indigo, drunk and ready to start a brawl.

Grabbing blindly for her coat, Sabrina stood up suddenly, running through the maze of chairs and tables with eyes blinded by unwanted tears. She had to get out of there and that soon. She hit her shin several times, yet forcing herself to bite away any sobs while she just kept on walking. It was almost a relief to breathe fresh air again, falling out of the artificial light and warmness into the darkness and coldness of the still young morning. But only almost. Her emotions were way too stirred up, her mind unstable and wavering, she collapsed onto the street walk just metres away from the bar, in a small, hidden alley, now shrouded in complete darkness because of the lack of street lamps and the moon hidden by clouds shimmering in a milky blue.

Feeling the tickle of tears on her cheeks, she knew she couldn’t just lie to herself anymore. It was useless. Her mind didn’t let itself be deceived anymore; the tears spoke a clearer language than the powerless words and formulas she had aggregated to save herself. She still loved him.

She still loved him.

And yet it had been her turn to end it all. Because she hadn’t wanted to be hurt anymore. Laughing weakly, Sabrina realized the irony. She was hurt either way. Either by the sheer knowledge that he didn’t truly love her or by the loneliness she felt. There was no way to get out of this.

In theory, everything sounded so easy. Or what did they say, there are more fish in the ocean? Too bad when you only want one fish and that one has already been caught. Or rather taken right out of your arms.

She sniffed, looking at her surroundings. She was lost. She didn’t know where to go to anymore. She didn’t know how to get to the hotel anymore. Of course, she could ask her way through the town, but knowing the figures living there, that wasn’t the safest of ways. She didn’t know if she had full control of her powers yet, so she couldn’t just rely on them in case of an emergency. Maybe she should just go back into the bar and spend the rest of the night there...

Or maybe she should stay shrouded in darkness.

~~~~~~~

Janine was frustrated. She had been running through the streets for more than half an hour by then and still hadn’t found her fellow gym leader. The young ninja had figured that Sabrina might have left the bar by now, but she hadn’t expected her to walk away so far. Yet that was what it looked like right then. Of course, that talk with her dad was an hour away and Koga had last seen the psychic two hours ago, so she might already be at the hotel.

Janine sighed and stopped, reaching for her mobile phone. She might as well just phone Will and ask him kindly to check the room for her.

The ninja hesitated a moment before touching the button to call up his number with a bit of sadness on her face. She had just phoned Will an hour ago to tell him the truth about everything. How an alliance of several frustrated and rejected girls had formed. How they had thought about separating him and Sabrina. How she had come up with the idea of ‘attacking’ him with her love and forcing Sabrina to see it. How Karen had agreed to this plan and switched places with her for the battle on purpose. How everything had just been a big farce, a big trick. How much it had hurt.

Shaking her head, Janine dialed in the number. Will had taken it surprisingly lightly, even apologizing to her for not recognizing her feelings earlier, yet again swearing that he loved Sabrina, and Sabrina only. Then it had been Janine’s turn to apologize, saying that she had not realized what the psychic gym leader meant to him and what harm she could cause with her reckless actions. Now she knew for sure. This area of Indigo was dangerous and for a woman like Sabrina, who had never been confronted with the lower part of civilization, was probably not able to defend herself right now...

“Yeah?” He didn’t sound sleepy at all, rather as if he had been through several bottles of beer himself. Yet Janine knew that was not the case, as he was just extremely worried and stressed ever since Koga had gone back to the league headquarters and told him about Sabrina’s situation.

“I couldn’t find her yet.” Janine bit her tongue, knowing that her own worry didn’t help Will at all. He didn’t answer. “I thought...maybe you could check her hotel room and see...” “Janine, where do you think I have been for the last hour?” The girl bit deeper into her tongue. “I also thought she would return...Janine...” he sighed deeply. “I have to talk to her once she comes back...or once you find her. Tell her I’m sorry. Tell her I want to speak to her personally. Please.” It would be an understatement to say he sounded sad. He sounded more than just simply sad.

“I will, I promise.” With that, Janine hung up.

~~~~~~~

Miles away, a single tear fell onto a red rose. ‘Please, be alright, my dear.’

~~~~~~~

Janine was just about to give up completely when she bumped into Claire. The dragon type gym leader wasn’t exactly sober herself anymore, even carrying a bottle of beer in each of her hands and drinking occasionally from each. Janine took a deep breath before she approached the older woman, not only because of her respect, but also because of the smell...

“Ahem...Claire...may I ask you a question?” Blinking, Claire tried to understand the words. It took her a moment- and another sip of beer, to answer.

“Sure.”

“Have you seen Sabrina?”

“Hm?” Claire blinked. Who was that again…? “Ah, you mean that psychic...sure. She was out with me and Lucian. Lucian’s still in the bar, he sure can take a lot. Ha, ha.”

Janine sighed. Why was it that all people were suddenly so embarrassing once they had a drink too much?

“And do you know where she is now?” the girl asked, desperately.

Claire grinned. “Sure.“ And pointed to the alley next to the bar.

Janine almost wanted to slap her forehead. She had been so close the whole time and had not realized it! “Thanks!” And with that, she spun around the corner, leaving Claire as fast as possible.

Claire nodded. “No problem, whoever you were…“

~~~~~~~

Just a few rooms away from Will, a young woman was staring out of her window. She wasn’t waiting for anything, even though one could expect her waiting for a sign, any special sign, the way she kept staring at the empty street.

In reality, she only liked the night. It was calming her with its quietness and darkness. The night was when she really blossomed, when her beauty shining through all dimensions, when she appeared to be inhuman. At day, she was nothing more than a champion. Nothing more.

At night, she was a goddess.

She closed her eyes. Others adored the title of Pokemon’s league champion, would give everything to gain it and may even try to do so again and again. She had achieved it and yet, while she was happy about being a champion and would do anything to defend her position, it wasn’t her life goal. There were bigger things in life than that. Goals not based on material sources. She was going for the bigger fishes and she knew how to do so.

Glancing at the sleeping man on the bed, she managed a weak, yet wicked smile. Lance had the scandal he never wished for, and he was blissfully unaware of it. He never had a chance against her. Poor guy.
Pressing her lips together, the woman started to think about her true lover and what he had done. Poor guy. Without her, he was lost. But it was his own fault he had ended up alone. After everything he had done to her…

Shrugging, Cynthia went to her bedside table and reached for her mobile phone. Not her concern. She had to know how sweet Jenny was doing.

~~~~~~~

“Sabrina?” Janine asked carefully, glancing into the dark alley. Absolutely no light reached the small piece of sidewalk placed between two high houses, so all she could see were faint outlines of boxes and trash containers. She couldn’t really make out a human figure, though that didn’t mean anything. Everything was so dark.

Sabrina looked up. She had clearly heard someone calling her name, that she was at least sure of. Her ears weren’t affected by her thoughtless consume of alcohol, or at least she hoped so. Everything was in a blur, but that was most likely because of the tears she had cried and not bothered to dry. “Yeah?”

Janine felt a ton of bricks breaking down from her heart when she heard Sabrina’s weak voice. “Oh, my, god, are you alright?” Slowly, the ninja took a step into the shadows. She reminded herself that she was a creature of the night as well, yet her ninja powers were still...lame, to tell the truth. She was learning, though. She really tried to get as good as her father, but she had a long way to go, she knew that herself. After all, she had been stupid enough to cause this mess. “We were...kinda worried about you.” Embarrassed, Janine rubbed the back of her head. She did not know what to say, how to explain everything to Sabrina. Of course the psychic deserved an explanation, she certainly did, but it wasn’t easy to give one when you were directly involved.

“Worried about me?” Janine flinched. Sabrina’s voice didn’t sound as if she believed her at all… “Yeah, right...maybe you noticed my absence during your little dates...” She sighed. “I appreciate that you searched for me, Janine, but I don’t think it was necessary. You shouldn’t leave Will alone for so long...you two only have a few days...” Her sentence ended in a quiet sob. It hurt to say this, but she had to be at least that strong. Strong enough to show that she would get over this, that she could stand the thought of Will being together with another girl.

She wanted to break down.

And die.

“Sabrina....” Janine grinded her teeth, closing her eyes tightly. A few tears tried to escape her, but she fought them off. She couldn’t cry in front of Sabrina, what kind of expression would that give off?! “Sabrina...I want to be honest with you...brutally honest...” Janine sniffed.

Sabrina peeked up. Janine was crying? Something was not right….yet the psychic couldn’t find the strength to get up, she felt so weak.

“It was all a lie. Will was never in love with me. He was tricked...I tricked him...it was all a scheme by Claire, and I volunteered to carry it out...Sabrina, I’m so sorry....” Janine shook her head, the tears finally pouring and falling to the ground, moonlight shining in them. The clouds broke apart, revealing a nearly full moon, bathing the two girls in milky light.

Sabrina just stared at Janine, unable to say anything, her mouth and throat completely dry. She felt...she couldn’t describe what she felt right now. It was too much. Too many emotions at once. Her heart ached.

“I know we were never really friends...I never knew you truly, no one really did, to be honest...but I don’t want to be hated by you now. Please, don’t hate me, Sabrina. I was blind...I was stupid...and naive. I thought I could steal Will from you...please, don’t be angry at me, Sabrina.” Janine nearly cried. “I don’t know what true love is, I thought I did, but I don’t. I messed everything up. Please, I would do anything to make up for it...”

Sabrina rubbed her head. She had a headache, a really bad headache, and she was tired. She didn’t know how late- or rather, how early it was, but she knew she had to get some sleep. And to cure the hangover she was probably going to have.

“Janine...I can see that you’re upset, but I think this is not the right atmosphere for a long discussion.” She had to close her eyes for a moment, as the world was blurring and she knew she would feel sick if she opened her eyes anytime soon. “Could we please talk this out tomorrow? For now, I don’t think I’m in the condition to...to do so.” She took a deep breath. As unpleasant as it was, she had to admit now that she needed help... “Could you get me to the hotel? I doubt I can find the way on my own...”

Janine beamed with a weak smile, her cheeks shining.”Of course,” she smiled. “I’m not a ninja for nothing!”

~~~~~~~

The brown-haired man sighed. “You know, dude, you really had enough by now. It’s four in the morning!”

An angry snort. “I...I had not enough! I know! Another one!“ He hit the table with his fist, getting it cut on a lonely cap.

The barkeeper sighed. “Shouldn’t you go back to your girlfriend, that Sinnoh champ, Cynthia?”

The man whined. “She doesn’t care about me! She has bewitched that other champ, I tell you! In every sense of the word! You have to know! She is a witch!“

“Yeah, right…” The barkeeper rolled his eyes.

Lucian growled. “You don’t know. She can make you do everything she wants...she is that evil.” He glanced at the mirror at the opposite wall and noticed how similar it looked to the one Cynthia had in her bedroom. Snorting, he turned back to the barkeeper. “I was lucky not to fall under her spell...yet, she could put the whole of Kanto at her mercy with it, and that’s what she plans to do so, eh, I know it. She is hiding something from me and all of us!” he declared loudly, changing the octaves several times and glancing yet again at the mirror. Did his eyes lie to him or had Cynthia just appeared there and winked at him? Nah, he must be dreaming...

The barkeeper laughed, with his back to Lucian. “Yeah, right, dude, keep on joking...” He turned around to see the elite trainer lying unconscious on the floor.

~~~~~~~

“Here we are...” Janine kept her voice down, not only for the masses of people probably sleeping in the hotel right then, but also for Sabrina, whose headache had only worsened over the time of their walk back to the hotel. The woman at the reception desk had been anything but happy about the nightly adventure of those two, knowing that for their prominent guests, she had to be available 24/7. And that included 4 am on a Friday. Yet, when she had to value her sleep over the possibility of losing her job and a shuriken placed on her neck, she rather spend twenty minutes in an obnoxious half-dreamy, half-awake state, searching for the main door keys.

Sabrina blinked, the greyness of everything confusing her. The colours looked off, without any real strength, without any real substance, as if someone had taken a brush and decided to paint everything with water and ash. But that was not the only thing that felt...wrong. Something was there, something that seemed to block her powers. She glanced at the corridor at her left side, the endless row of doors kind of intimidating. A gateway to hell...

Shaking her head, Sabrina got those childish thoughts out of her mind. Of course her powers were weak, as she had literally damped them with all the alcohol she had consumed, and it would take some time for them to recover, just like her body had to recover. She had been thoughtless, very thoughtless. A shame that this had happened to the psychic that called herself the most disciplined...she had to make sure her pupils never got wind of her excess.

Yet, it was crystal clear that at least one of pupils knew about it. She let out a quiet sob. She missed him so much. After the tragedy of that afternoon, she only wanted to be embraced by him, feel his warmth-nothing more, absolutely nothing more. She was just too tired to argue with him, heck, to argue with anyone.

Janine bit her tongue. She knew she wasn’t supposed to notice that, but over a great deal of the walk, Sabrina had to be physically supported by the younger girl. Janine’s back ached a bit, but she didn’t mind. It was the price she had to pay for being quite childish. At least, she had managed to make up for it a bit. Silently, the girl opened the door, glancing over her shoulder. Sabrina had her eyes closed, not paying her any attention. Janine gulped. Her attendance was now over. She had said what had to be said, and it was up to Will and Sabrina to sort everything out. The young ninja hoped they would, could forgive each other. She didn’t want to be at fault for a continuous breakup.

“Yeah, well...I’ll leave you two alone now,” Janine whispered nervously, scratching the back of her head while trying to grin friendly. She wanted to get away as soon as possible, not only because of the influence she might have on a possible argument, but also because she was really, really tired...

Sabrina could only blink weakly as Janine disappeared into the shadows. Shaking her head, she reached for the door knob and pushed the door open. From her position, she couldn’t oversee the whole room, yet...she could see the red rose lying on her bed.

Sabrina blinked again, staring at the flower while still standing in the doorframe and not daring to move. Her mind was working slower than usual, but she was absolutely sure she knew about the origin of the rose. There could only be one person, only him...

She gulped and took a step into the room, her eyes fixed on her bed. She couldn’t actually believe it...he still cared about her. Of course, there were so many girls he had given roses to, but...this just felt special. Without asking, without reading any mind, she knew he still loved her.

Gracefully taking the rose into her hand and breathing in the fresh aroma of it, she closed her eyes, leaning back almost automatically. She was only startled for a second before relaxing when she felt someone embracing her from behind. “Sabrina...” He kissed her neck gently, still holding her in his arms. “I was so...I can’t say how worried I was about you...” She bent her neck to be able to look him into the eyes. He was honest; she could see and feel that, from the faint tears on his cheeks. She traced the line of tears with the rose, her eyes fixed on his.

“It’s alright now...” she smiled weakly. “I’m back...” She leaned against him. His warmth…it was back. It had finally come back to her. She felt so calm.

Will had been trembling when he had seen the door being opened. He had no idea how to start the conversation, as he had no idea how to approach her, for he had no idea how she would respond. Again, he was helpless. For all of his life, he had thought that women were easy to handle, and so far, he never had to deal with such a drama. But so far, he had never been truly in love.

He sighed, but tensed the very moment he noticed her slim figure walking into the room, towards the bed. He literally couldn’t breathe, not knowing how she would react to his rose. He hoped, he wished she got the message. He didn’t know how to form the right words, and not even what the right words were. Actually, it was the second time he felt so helpless, the first time being the day Janine had kissed him in front of Sabrina. Yet, he didn’t feel as if he had improved. He was still powerless.

Especially against the addiction he felt towards the other psychic.

Silently, he stood up and wrapped his arms around her, hoping that his embrace would tell her more than a thousand words.

“I’m back...” He smiled at her, wiping a single strand of hair out of her face, staring into her dark, lively eyes.

“And you’re drunk...” He had to smile. Seeing his sweet dear this blue was funny and yet cruel, knowing that she wasn’t used to alcohol at all and probably would have a hard time dealing with the hangover tomorrow.

“I know...” Sabrina whispered, holding her head with one hand. Will slowly let her sit down, his hands still on her shoulders. She obviously had a headache and he wanted to let her rest.

“I...” He was nervous and slowly sat down on the bed himself, his hands in his lap and his head hanging down. “I guess Janine told you everything...I...I want to apologize...I was too weak to reject Janine. I should have known how much it would hurt you. But I was too weak...” He inhaled deeply, fighting back his own sobs. He had missed her, had thought he might have lost her for good. But she was back... “Please accept my apology...please return to me...please, I....I still love you...” Will was startled when Sabrina leaned to him and silenced him with a soft kiss. Her breath still smelled a bit like wine, but he didn’t flinch. He didn’t mind. It didn’t matter.

She stopped and he could see her tears. “I accept it, Will. I still love you.” She let herself fell back onto the bed, her dark hair framing her pale face, the few lines of moonlight shining through the curtains barely reaching it, creating a fascinating game of shadows and lights on her face. Will gulped. She was beautiful...

Slowly, she reached out to touch his face, tracing it with her fingers. Will didn’t say anything, for there was nothing he could do but admire her beauty.

“Never leave me, please, Will...” She whispered. “Stay with me.”

“I will," he promised, bending forward and kissing her, before closing the door.

End of Chapter 5, Part 2
Can you spell *fanservice*, CPF? XD

Crazy Packers Fan
April 23rd, 2009, 02:15 PM
Oh boy, what a chapter. Let's see if I can count down my favorite parts...

10. Clair being the one who orchestrated the whole Will-Janine thing.

9. Koga telling Janine to fix the situation... a great father.

8. Lucian wanting to be Sabrina's boyfriend.

7. Lucian thinking he had a boyfriend in the past... hopefully he was just overdrunk.

6. Sabrina so drunk she couldn't remember her own city's name.

5. Lucian... oh, just poor Lucian, he doesn't get enough torture, does he?

4. Clair's absolutely craziness being drunk, she's the very reason why I stay away from alcohol.

3. Will and Sabrina getting back together... awww!

2. Cynthia wanting more than even Lance... and blaming things on Lucian. She's not a goddess, P*A, she's a queen, get that right!

1. Cynthia's wink to knock out Lucian.

Why would Cynthia be calling Jenny? That's the biggest question I have after this chapter. I never remember everything at once, so maybe I'll review more tomorrow.

Psychic*Absol
April 24th, 2009, 09:26 AM
10. Clair being the one who orchestrated the whole Will-Janine thing. Question to hint make you think about things....do you think Claire will stop her sheme now?

9. Koga telling Janine to fix the situation... a great father. ^.^ I always think of him as the one who watches carefully over his daughters actions and intercepts when she's being too crazy, and generally being much more wiser than her. ^^

8. Lucian wanting to be Sabrina's boyfriend. He was drunk...

7. Lucian thinking he had a boyfriend in the past... hopefully he was just overdrunk. I repeat myself...he was drunk. He never had boyfriends. I just included this because I find the various Lucian x other males shippings funny. Do not hate them, just find them funny. Better Lucian than Will.

6. Sabrina so drunk she couldn't remember her own city's name. Ah, yes, funny part to write, too. Had to include something that showed just how drunk she was.

5. Lucian... oh, just poor Lucian, he doesn't get enough torture, does he? Nope. Torture in your fic, torture now in my fic...that poor guy keeps getting beaten by Cynthia. XD

4. Clair's absolutely craziness being drunk, she's the very reason why I stay away from alcohol. Me too. Yet Claire...she seems like the good old drinker kind of girl.

3. Will and Sabrina getting back together... awww! You better hope so! I wanted it to be as fluffy as possible!
Zammy died here, btw. Too much shipping for his poor heart. *ggg*

2. Cynthia wanting more than even Lance... and blaming things on Lucian. She's not a goddess, P*A, she's a queen, get that right! Yes, she wants more than Lance 's power and yes, she blames things on Lucian.0=)
In your fic, she's a queen close to being goddess. In my fic, she's a goddess playing the queen. 0=)

1. Cynthia's wink to knock out Lucian. To be honest, I included this at the very last second, but now I'm glad I did. It helped the plot along and apparently, you liked it as well. *g* Though, can we be sure it was Cynthia that knocked him out and not the alcohol?

Why would Cynthia be calling Jenny? That's the biggest question I have after this chapter. I never remember everything at once, so maybe I'll review more tomorrow. First, Jenny= Hunter J, of course. And then...Hunter J still hasn't finished the order she has from Cynthia, so of course, the champion wants updates on it. ^^


BTW, for anyone else reading this...apparently, a mistake slipped my beta-reader's eyes. *g* Line in the fic: "This area of Indigo was dangerous and for a woman like Sabrina, who had never been confronted with the lower part of civilization, and who was probably not able to defend herself right now..." Bold words were missing and the 'for' was not supposed to be there. ^^;;;

Crazy Packers Fan
April 25th, 2009, 06:44 PM
So Hunter J's name is actually Jenny? I'm sure that it isn't canon, but you sure you couldn't have come up with a different "J" name for her? Now it makes me confused... and you know exactly what I'm looking forward to in your story. Cynthia, Cynthia and more Cynthia. Maybe a little bit of Lucian too. But mostly Cynthia.

Psychic*Absol
April 26th, 2009, 10:53 AM
XD It isn't canon. I wanted to give her a ridicolous, embarrassing name to give her an excuse of using 'Hunter J' as an alias, yet, I wanted to keep the 'J'. And since I knew a blond, stereotypical dumb girl named Jennifer from my old school days, well, the idea of naming her Jennifer was born. =3 Cynthia calls her by her nickname for her because, well, she can. XD!
That, and it's funny how her nickname and the general name of the Officers in the Pokemon world are the same. =3

Yes, you will get more Cynthia. Ever doubted that? *g*

Crazy Packers Fan
April 26th, 2009, 03:10 PM
That's all I ask for, lots of fanservice and lots of Cynthia. I guess that would be a reason for using "J" as a nickname, though I've got a different reason for my J...

delongbi
April 27th, 2009, 06:31 PM
I honestly can't believe I just read this, but I'm glad I did. Nice chapter! My nit-picky grammar stuff is mixed with my other comments today... so here we go.

First off, I love the chapter name. =)

“I wish I could believe you, Will, yet what you’ve done speaks against you.”

Mixing up "will" and "but" again. You did it a couple of other times, but I gave up copying them all here. In general, there were fewer of these mix-ups than the last chapter.

It wouldn’t help her anything to pity herself.

Pick either "her" or "anything." Using them both sounds awkward.

Yet she couldn’t care less, as after all, she had to show the world how great she felt, how lucky she was, how good everything had turned out. She had the cutest boy in the whole of Indigo in her hands, and no one, absolutely no one, was ever going to take him away from her now. May her friends think now that she was egoistical, keeping Will all for herself, when the original plan had only been getting his mind off Sabrina, and then starting yet another competition for his heart, but who cared? Not her, not her.


Yet she couldn’t care less; she had to show the world how great she felt, how lucky she was, how good everything had turned out. She had the cutest boy in the whole of Indigo in her hands, and no one, absolutely no one, was ever going to take him away from her now. Her friends might think now that she was egoistical, keeping Will all for herself, when the original plan had only been getting his mind off Sabrina, and then starting yet another competition for his heart, but who cared? Not her, not her.

Changes bolded. That second last sentance is also a run-on. I would break it up somewhere.

What I can’t forgive, though, is that you deliberately broke up a young, until now very happy couple

Yeah, Koga!!!

But it was a friendly laugh, not meant to make his daughter feel ashamed, even though it was debatable if she didn’t deserve that.

1. Delete the "But." It's usually not good to start sentances with words like "but" "and" "or", though there are a few exceptions...

2. "meant to make his daughter feel ashamed, though it was debatable whether or not she deserved that" I would change it to something like this to make it less awkward sounding.


Sabrina is an awesome drunk, lol!!!

His poor table was already split because of that weird woman with long hair.


Was Cynthia here?!?! Who else has long hair?

Oh, Sabrina does...

Well, you got me excited for a moment...

Cynthia winking. Wow. I agree; I think that was the best part.

Overall, great chapter! I almost cried when Sabrina got back with Will; it was so cute. Now I have to go do work I've been procrastinating... bleh....

Crazy Packers Fan
April 28th, 2009, 05:26 AM
Mixing up "will" and "but" again. You did it a couple of other times, but I gave up copying them all here. In general, there were fewer of these mix-ups than the last chapter.

Actually, she means Will the character, which is why "Will" is capitalized. So probably all those times you saw were where she meant the character.

Psychic*Absol
April 28th, 2009, 10:26 AM
First off, I love the chapter name. =) Heheh, one of my more fitting ones. But don't worry, there will be more of them.
After all, there is an obvious pattern behind my chapter naming *shot*.

Mixing up "will" and "but" again. You did it a couple of other times, but I gave up copying them all here. In general, there were fewer of these mix-ups than the last chapter. It's like CPF said (thanks for the back-up, btw ^.~), it's the name "Will", not the verb. ^^

Yet she couldn’t care less; she had to show the world how great she felt, how lucky she was, how good everything had turned out. She had the cutest boy in the whole of Indigo in her hands, and no one, absolutely no one, was ever going to take him away from her now. Her friends might think now that she was egoistical, keeping Will all for herself, when the original plan had only been getting his mind off Sabrina, and then starting yet another competition for his heart, but who cared? Not her, not her.

Changes bolded. That second last sentance is also a run-on. I would break it up somewhere. *mumbles something about Sabrina not having any friends* Meh, I like long sentences too much. Short ones sound so...unprofessional and child-like. XD!

Yeah, Koga!!! =3 I see, he's liked by the readers. *makes note to mention him again somewhere*

Sabrina is an awesome drunk, lol!!! And the other (two) aren't? XD

Was Cynthia here?!?! Who else has long hair?

Oh, Sabrina does... Well, Cynthia was there, just not in a physical way.

Cynthia winking. Wow. I agree; I think that was the best part.^^ Thanks for liking it. She has interesting powers, hasn't she? *winks at CPF*

Overall, great chapter! I almost cried when Sabrina got back with Will; it was so cute. Now I have to go do work I've been procrastinating... bleh.... Awww...thanks again for liking this scene! ^^ I loved writing it, literally. Love songs while writing= great help. =3
Good luck on your work. =3

delongbi
April 28th, 2009, 03:55 PM
Ohhh! Wow, the Will thing explains a lot. XD

Psychic*Absol
May 26th, 2009, 09:32 AM
*hides from angry readers* >.< Not my fault! I had this chapter ready weeks ago, but again, beta-reading took a bit longer than expected...*cough*
Anyway, next chapter. 0=)
@Beta-Reader: Next time you try to insert yourself into the story without my permission, do it a bit more subtle. XD!

6. Chapter, Part 1: Soberness

The first thing she became aware of was the melodic twitter of a bird directly in front of her room’s balcony, enjoying the fresh spring air. Even before opening her eyes, she saw the scenery in her mind: the little Pidgey bending its head to peer into the unexposed room, jumping on the balcony’s grille back and forth, not brave enough to fly inside. She could feel the slight breeze on her bare legs, indicating that someone had opened the windows while she had been sleeping. The scents of several different flowers were in the air, an amazing cocktail of nature’s gracefulness.

Finally, the psychic opened her eyes, sighing as she did so. The ceiling of her room was a mixture of shadows bathing it into a crème-like brown colour, with other patches shining in a bright white, being touched by the rays of sunlight shining through the windows. The curtains rustled.

Carefully, Sabrina tried to sit up, but a blurry pain in the back of her mind stopped her. Letting out a soft groan, she fell back again, touching her forehead. She had no fever, thankfully, but her head ached. A lot. ‘Great, just great.’

After a short moment of steadying her senses, she opened her eyes again, scanning her room. The door to the balcony was in fact opened. The Pidgey had flown away, probably scared by her movements. And on her right side...Sabrina smiled widely. Will was sleeping in the swivel chair in front of the desk, yet he had turned it around to face her. The whole night. He was so...sweet.

She kept staring at him, giggling when she heard his snore. A quick glance at the clock told her that it was already 10 am. She was surprised that she was already awake again after only six hours of sleep, but she had never been a late-riser. Will, on the other hand....

Sabrina closed her eyes as she slowly stood up, careful not to wake him up and not to strain her aching head too much. He had all the right to sleep as long as wanted, as after all, all the worry he had been through yesterday had probably stressed his nerves just as much as hers were after the drinks.

Looking around, the gym leader was startled for a second when she noticed that she wasn’t wearing the same clothes as the last evening anymore, yet relaxed just as quickly when she realized that it was only her blazer that was missing. And her shoes, of course. Sabrina had to giggle again. It was...surprising, almost unbelievable that she didn’t mind a man undressing her, or that she didn’t strangle him to death for committing that crime. Yet with Will, everything was different. Quite different. There was an intimacy between them that could almost not be real anymore. They had only been together for about a month, and yet it was as if they had known each other for a lifetime. Well, not counting little drama concerning Janine...

Another stab of sharp pain going through her head made her fall back onto the bed again, waking Will up. He looked around, confused as to why he was not in his room, and more important, not in a bed, yet when his memory kicked in and he recognised the young woman sitting in the opposite side of the room, he smiled. “Good morning, dear,” he yawned, stretching his aching neck.

Sabrina laughed, as seeing him so sleepy was sure funny. “Good morning to you too.” He grinned, walking over to her and embracing her carefully, kissing her. She pushed him away playfully after a moment, hiding her face with her arms. “My head hurts...”

Will sat down on the bed next to her, rubbing his neck. “Yeah, not only yours...my back feels as if someone tried to bend it while I was sleeping.”

Sabrina had her eyes closed, her arms crossed over her head. “Well, you shouldn’t have slept in the chair. That’s quite uncomfortable, you know.”

Will looked around the plain room. “I understand, but...where else?!”

An evil giggle. “Well, the bed is big enough for two, isn’t it?”

Both psychics sharply turned their heads to the door frame, where Karen was standing, leaning against the frame with one hand for stability, a leg crossed over the other. She was wearing an almost transparent silver negligee, and obviously nothing beneath it. Sabrina snorted inwardly. ‘That...sl...’ She shook her head. She should know Karen by now…

And yet, she couldn’t stop the blush that emanated from her cheeks, at the sheer thought of sleeping in the same bed as him. While it was true that during their trip through the Indigo Mountains, they had had to sleep very close together, it had never been that close. And while she felt so much for him, and loved him so much...that was just too far a step. One step she felt not ready to take yet. One day, maybe. She wasn’t sure when, but....she just didn’t know what would happen to her then. Would it change her? Would it change their relationship? Sabrina sighed, knowing that those were questions she never had to have to ask herself before. She had never before been so fascinated by a person of the opposite gender.

“Karen...” Will sighed helplessly. “Nice joke, but no thanks.” He crossed his arms over his head. “She wouldn’t let me anyway...” He winked at Sabrina, who sighed and blushed at the same time. Will turned again to Karen, throwing a sharp glance over her scandalous outfit. He knew that that was usual for Karen, having been forced to sleep in the same room as her for weeks now, so it wasn’t new for him and his eyes had gotten used to her skin, not paying it any attention anymore. “Why are you even here?”

The dark trainer rolled her eyes. “Am I not even allowed to worry about my colleagues anymore? You weren’t in your hotel room last night, so I wondered where you were hanging around...then I met Janine,” she glanced over her shoulder quickly. "And she told me the short version of last night’s soap opera, so I decided to check up on you two the next morning to make sure you haven’t been maiming each other’s bones.” She laughed at her own joke, yet Sabrina wondered if it was a speciality of dark trainers to find bloody jokes especially amusing.

“No, we haven’t been ripping our limbs off, but thanks for asking.” It wasn’t hard for Sabrina to sound angry, and her headache really helped.

Will shifted his gaze between the two women, noticing the tension. He had been okay with the dark trainer so far, but he was weak as a psychic, unlike Sabrina. That little fact could explain as to why he didn’t feel unwell around Karen, while Sabrina did. “I guess we missed the breakfast?” he asked quietly, to change the topic.

Karen shrugged. “The regular time for breakfast is over, yes, but you know the rule. Everyone who has talked to Lance personally has a VIP bonus, and can get breakfast at 10 PM if necessary.” Again, she glanced over her shoulder and smiled. “I guess I should be off now. You two seem okay, so my babysitter job is over.” Sabrina tensed. ‘Babysitter?!?’ “There’s someone who urgently wants to talk to you now...” she winked at the two psychics, then turned around and walked away quickly, the movements revealing more of her body than absolutely needed, considering that no man aside from Will was around, and if there was one person Karen would never seriously try to attract, it was her fellow elite member.

Both psychics braced themselves for anything then, for it could even be Lance now that wanted to interrogate them. Sabrina didn’t know everything about the league’s chef’s hidden publicity plans, but she was sure their short-timed breakup had bombed quite a few of them. But it wasn’t Lance.

~~~~~~~

Karen glanced at her right, frowning. The hallway was still shrouded in darkness, the lights not turned on yet. ‘Something is off here, way off...’ Closing her eyes and shrugging, the dark trainer went down the stairs, deciding not to pay it any more attention. ‘Would be too much of a coincidence if I were the only darkling here...’

~~~~~~~

“Uhm, hey....” Janine stepped into the room, wearing a pink sleeping jumpsuit with little red Bunearys all over, even with a hood with fluffy bunny ears attached to it. Sabrina blinked. That was...unusual clothing for a ninja, to say the last. She knew from her experiences with Koga’s sister that pink was popular with the female branch of the family, yet Janine made it a bit awkward. “I wanted to check up on you two, too...”

Will grinned. “Just like Karen, eh? Well, we haven’t murdered each other yet, and we were just about to decide if we should do it traditionally with knives or take poison, if you have any left.”

“Will!” Sabrina laughed so hard that her headache was starting to pound on her poor nerves, but that was just too funny. “If I want to kill you, I would do it with my powers. I have an honour to defend as the strongest psychic!” <Besides, poison doesn’t work with psychics, idiot! You should know that by now!>

“Okay, dear, I got it. I really did,” he winked again at her, standing up. “I’m going to get some breakfast for us.” Sabrina blinked.

“What do you mean, getting some for us?” She had a slight feeling she knew what he meant by that...but no one had ever...no one had ever done such a romantic favour for her.

He grinned, kissing her hair as he walked out of the door. “Well, I want to make up for yesterday, so I thought breakfast in bed would be just as good as an apology, right? Not to mention that I am a gentleman after all.”

‘Yeah, you are...’ Sabrina thought, smiling unconsciously as she watched him leaving. She froze just when he had reached the stairs and stretched her body to be able to look around the door and reach him with her voice. “Hey, how are you getting it back here, then? You can’t carry everything!” His laugh was quiet, but only because he was already walking down the stairs.

“Hey, I didn’t train my teleport for nothing!”

Sabrina sighed and leaned back, rubbing the side of her head. ‘Let’s hope he doesn’t overestimate his abilities. Sure, he can teleport by now, but....‘ She opened her eyes again, shaking her head. If he wanted to try, why not? His decision, anyway. And she couldn’t help but admit that it was incredible sweet from him. She was lucky to have him back...

“Ehm...” Janine had flopped down in the chair that had previously been occupied by Will, closing her eyes and yawning. Sabrina snickered again. The jumpsuit had furry gloves attached to it and Janine had just put one on unconsciously. ‘To think that she is related to Koga, one of the best and most dangerous ninjas...’

“Short night, eh?” the psychic asked, seeing Janine almost falling asleep on that not so comfortable chair. She didn’t want her to suffer the same fate as Will, for Sabrina was sure Janine also had her own hotel room and could easily return to that to get some more sleep. Janine had already apologized the previous night and Sabrina didn’t see the need for another unbridled talk. Of course she was sure she hadn’t been told all the details, for she was sure the head of that operation, Claire, hadn’t even told Janine everything, and for another, the young ninja was surely embarrassed by her own stupidity to tell her everything. Sabrina closed her eyes. She knew that her old rival Claire had directly planned this as an attack against her, against her psyche, but that she would go as far as using an innocent, naive girl. No, Janine was not completely at fault. She was simply too young, too inexperienced with the way the league worked.

Just as Will was.

“Yeah, very short night...I couldn’t sleep after...you know...” Janine smiled helplessly, her tiredness almost getting the better of her again. Her hair, only yesterday evening having been tied into a tight, short pony tail, was sticking out in all directions at that moment, as if someone had detonated fireworks there. It reminded the psychic of her own comedian, her Haunter. It still loved its bombs...

“Don’t worry, Janine, really...I’m not mad at you. Not at all.” She smiled.”We could become friends, you know? You seem nice, after all.”

Janine blinked, her sleepiness making her mind working much slower than usual. “Re-really?“ she squealed with delight. “That would be so grea-whaaaa!” Janine threw herself back into the chair when a bright, white light exploded in the middle of the room, startling her. Sabrina smiled knowingly. She knew how a teleport looked like. A beginner’s teleport, but a teleport nonetheless. He really was improving.

A thud made her sweatdrop. ‘Well, he’s still learning...’

“Ouch....” Will had landed on his stomach. Yet, with an artistic performance unbelievable enough to be admired by both Sabrina and Janine, he had managed to keep the tablet balanced on his left hand, neither letting it fall down nor spilling any of the drinks he had brought with him. Sabrina glanced over the tablet, noticing everything he had brought with him...’I should have told him...’

“Ehm...” Janine blinked. She was still trembling a bit, but she was calming herself more and more. She recognized the flash now as a teleport, however, all the teleports she had seen hadn’t ended with the person in question in such an awkward and uncomfortable position...

Sabrina smiled at her. “That’s probably because you have never seen an amateur teleport. It’s a difficult discipline. It doesn’t take that much time to learn Teleport in itself, yet perfecting it, specifically the direct direction and the position you end up...” she smiled, glancing over at Will, who tried to get up without covering himself in a mix of their breakfast’s ingredients. Smiling, with closed eyes, she used her powers to steady him and lower the tablet to her bedside.

“An amateur I am, huh?” Will huffed, brushing the dust of his clothes. “Well, see it that way, it was the first time I teleported myself and I didn’t get split into half!”

“Sweet, dear Will, otherwise, I would have to find your pieces all over the ether and puzzle them together.” Noticing Janine’s wide open eyes and her pale face, Sabrina laughed. “Yes, it’s true, if a psychic isn’t careful enough with a teleport, half of his body might end up in the location he wished to teleport to, the other might end up in his grandma’s kitchen garden. Or the supermarket’s till.” She smiled at Will, who seemed to be quite proud at himself. “You still have to get better, Will. Two centimetres off downwards and your chest would have merged with the carpet.” Will paled, not commenting anymore.

Janine stood up, stretching herself again, yawning. “Well, I better get going now.”

“Hey, I wouldn’t mind you staying here. You can eat breakfast with us!” Will nodded, still a bit shaken at the thought of being forever glued to a piece of wool. Before trying to pull anything like that off again, he really had to take a few more training lessons with Sabrina...

Janine shook her head. “I don’t want to stress you anymore with that headache of yours.”

Sabrina giggled weakly. “It’s not that bad. At least not anymore.” She threw a short glance at Will, smiling. <After all, I found the perfect cure for a hangover...> He returned it nervously.

Janine laughed. “Well, then you’re better off than Lucian anywhere. I heard he ended up in the hospital with alcoholic poisoning!”

Sabrina and Will stared at each other with a frightened glance. Their colleague had obviously overestimated his own endurance, reminding Sabrina painfully of the fact that she had been drunk herself...

Janine giggled, seeing the look on the two psychics’ faces. “Don’t worry, he will be alright. No, I have to go, dad probably wants to see me. I don’t want to make him wait any longer.” She winked at the two psychics and left the room. As soon as she was outside, Will turned to face Sabrina, who had started to pour some tea into a cup. He sighed and sat down next to her, his head resting on his hand.

“There’s just something that…kinda surprises me. I mean…“ He bit his tongue, making Sabrina wonder just why he was suddenly nervous. She could feel it, being so close to him. “You’re such a good psychic....strong...yet....you didn’t read my mind.” He glanced at her, looking almost offended. “If you had read it...if you had read my true emotions...none of this would have ever happened. What I mean is...” he paused again. “I love you. I loved you all the time. Never, never was there one moment where I seriously thought about giving you up and taking Janine as my girlfriend. I admit I was too weak to just reject Janine from the beginning, blame it on my gentleness, but I never loved her. Just why couldn’t you just have found that out earlier and save us all the mess? Why?” He stared at her eyes, hoping, expecting honesty, taking her left hand in his and squeezing it.

Sabrina sighed and smiled. Will was so...cute sometimes. Yet also so naive. “That’s easy to explain. I thought you would get it by yourself.” She giggled at the sight of his clueless expression. “Will, I don’t read the thoughts of those I trust. I read Janine’s mind just now because it was a trivial matter. But in general, I don’t read minds when I don’t absolutely need to. It’s an interference in privacy. I just don’t do that to people that mean so much to me. And especially not on delicate emotional matters like love.” The gym leader shook her mind. “Years ago, I would have done that without batting an eyelash, without caring about the consequences. But not anymore. I trust you, so I let you keep your thoughts for yourself.”

Will was stunned. She was wrong; he would have never found an explanation by himself. He had expected many reasons, many psychic reasons that were too complex for his mind to grasp, yet that she simply trusted him that much...it was amazing. He couldn’t believe it. He was surprised that she was that...loyal to him. It made him feel even worse for all he had done. “You trust me...oh, Sabrina…I...“ he sighed. “Thanks, I guess. I never thought....oh, well.” He smiled at her. “Guess I should watch every step of mine from now on, just to make sure I don’t hurt you ever again.” He smiled. “You’re worth it.”

Now it was Sabrina’s turn to be stunned. She didn’t fight her blush, knowing that it just made her cuter. Taking a deep breath, she decided to change the topic, to something she had been...curious about. Even if it was a bit embarrassing. “Ehm, back then, when I saw you and Janine...” Will blinked. “You two...ehm, was that a French-kiss?” she asked, unusally shy for the psychic gym leader.

“It was kind of.” Will grinned, leaning back on the bed. “I’m positive Janine never French-kissed before, as it was so awkward.”

“I see...” Sabrina bit her lip. She hoped he would have said something else, but for now, she didn’t know how to ask. She didn’t even know if it was worth asking, but then, they had unconsciously agreed on being honest with each other. Always.

“Could you teach me?” Will opened his eyes wide, staring at the ceiling. Had he heard her right!?! She wanted him to teach her how to...French-kiss? ‘Oh my god...’
“What?” he had to ask, just to make sure he had understood her.

Sabrina turned away, blushing. “Well, I just thought, it...ah, never mind.” She turned away. ‘One day, I will learn it...’

Will was facing her now, lying on his side. “I didn’t decline...I was just surprised...” He smiled. “But I would love to.”

Sabrina blinked when he leaned to her, gently stroking her cheeks. “Be careful, the tea’s ho-“ He silenced her with a kiss and the next moment, the tea was the last thing on the psychics’ minds.

~~~~~~~

Playing with the mobile phone between her long, slender fingers, the woman let the sunlight fall over her slightly wavy, blonde hair. Jenny still hadn’t found the Espeon. Cynthia closed her eyes in frustration. Of course, even for a professional hunter like her, it wasn’t an easy task, catching an Espeon that had spent the better half of its life in the wilderness, never been touched by humanity’s hand before. But she needed it; she needed it to finish her plan and get rid of Lucian. That idiot...he had ended up in the hospital with alcoholic poisoning. Officially. Unofficially...well, his fault. He had been gossiping a bit too much...poor guy. Confusion and alcohol didn’t mix well, he should know that.

She smiled, bumping her elbow into the ribs of the man sleeping not so peacefully next to her. Cynthia slowly sat up, glancing over him. He was having a nightmare. She sighed. It could be her fault, yet it could be coincidence, who knew? In the end, she didn’t give a damn. She was going to give up Lance as soon as she was out of this middle-age-like rubbish tip. She never got why Kanto’s people were laughing at Sinnoh, when they weren’t better at all. Of course, Sinnoh wasn’t trusted by anyone, being a freshly new league with a female champion, but once she was over with that, Sinnoh’s citizens would surely had something to laugh about...Indigo’s incompetence and a boss who rather slept with the champion instead of taking care of organization, and not even noticing when something went completely wrong. For her, nothing had gone wrong so far.

~~~~~~~

Sabrina was leant against her boyfriend, smiling and drinking the last sips of the tea. “Shouldn’t we get up now..?” Will asked, though he sounded anything but willing to fulfil the task hinted in his question. It was already noon, yet none of them felt ready to get up at all.

“Nah...” Sabrina was comfortable with everything staying the way it was right then. She could spend the whole day in that peaceful haze if nothing hindered her. And aside from Will, there was actually nothing keeping her from staying in bed all day. Grinning, she thought that maybe she even deserved this slip into laziness. She could always excuse herself with her headache, even though it had nearly disappeared by then.

“Aw, come on....” Will sat up, letting Sabrina fall back onto the sheets. She growled. “I’m not tired anymore.” She continued to growl. “And you know what?” He smiled at her. “I’ve got some plans for today...”

“What plans?” Sabrina wasn’t sure she even wanted to know what Will wanted to do.

“Well, for once, I decided to visit our dear colleague in the hospital.” He grinned. “You know, Lucian. I wanna see how he’s doing...”

Sabrina raised an eyebrow. “And make fun of him?”

“Never, of course not.” Will smiled at her innocently, but if there was one thing she was absolutely sure of, it was that he was a notoriously bad liar. “And after that...well, I...ehm...” He was suddenly nervous again. “I thought we could go out for lunch together...I mean, I got my first cheque just days ago, so for once, I don’t need to be cheap, and I could invite you...”

Sabrina giggled. How sweet of him. “Of course,” she nodded at him. “So, let’s meet again in two hours, okay? I will catch some more sleep and you have fun torturing Lucian, right?”

~~~~~~~

Will had never liked the smell of hospitals. It reminded him of the dreadful day just a month ago, when he had rushed to Indigo’s Main Pokecenter, with Sabrina lying in his arms, already unconscious and just seconds away from death....when he had burst into the building and Nurse Joy had taken his dear from him, injecting that weird antidote into her almost brutally, but since every second had counted back then, it had been necessary. And then the weeks Sabrina had been comatose, and he came to the hospital every day, every day the same atmosphere and same smell and he couldn’t do anything to wake her up; he could just wait and hope...

Will shook his head. He had to remind himself that that had been long ago, and that Sabrina was okay now and he was there to visit a guy he couldn’t really care less about. Yet, maybe it was his manners that told him to come there, even though everything else in him refused to set one step into the bright, white, sterile object. He took a deep breath and opened the milky blue door to Lucian’s room, bracing himself. He was really not there to make fun of Lucian, as in fact, he didn’t even know why he was there, so he blamed it on his gentlemanlyness.

Lucian looked the worse for wear. He was pale, his hair dull and not really wavy anymore, being rather flat by being laid on for some time. He wasn’t wearing his usual red suit anymore, of course; just a plain white hospital gown, which looked quite...embarrassing, to be honest. Now Will was happy that he hadn’t decided to bring Sabrina to the hospital too as after yesterday’s excess, she would have murdered him had he seen her wearing this. Or, maybe not. She seemed not to have minded him undressing her at all. “Good morning...or should I say, good afternoon?” Lucian looked sharply at him and if looks could kill, Will would then be two floors downwards in the morgue.

“To hell with the morning...,” he growled. “I would have rather stayed asleep.” He pointed to a small tube that was attached to his left wrist. “Thank god they know how to treat you right. With that glucose infusion, the hangover stays away.”

“Great...” Will couldn’t hide his disappointment. So Lucian didn’t have to deal with headaches, but his beloved had. It was unfair. “I didn’t really get what was going on yesterday anyway...care to tell me?” he asked with sly grin.

Lucian raised an eyebrow. “Why should I tell you?”

Will bent his neck sheepishly. “Because I know Teleport now and could bring some reporters with me who would love to portray you with such an amazing wardrobe on?"

Lucian just kept staring at the fellow psychic trainer sardonically. “You can’t threaten me with that...” he whispered sharply. “I’m just as good of a psychic as you are, if not better.”

“Really?” Will laughed. “You’re the first one to tell me...”

Lucian closed his eyes. “Of course. Cynthia made sure that my abilities and hers were kept hidden from the public.”

Now Will was really getting interested in the conversation and he couldn’t wait to tell Sabrina, almost daring to use telepathy, but then, if Lucian was really psychic, he could intercept the message. And on the other hand, his own telepathy wasn’t that good that he could be sure if it reached Sabrina. “Cynthia is also psychic? That’s news to me...really.”

Lucian sighed. He looked almost...sad now. But why? “Yes, Cynthia’s psychic, and not even a bad one. I can’t judge how she would fare against your girlfriend, but one thing is certain: she can beat me easily. Of course, I am a weak psychic, having gotten my powers only because of my Pokemon, in contrast to Cynthia, who had hers since her birth.” Will couldn’t help but notice the similarities between them and Sabrina and him. It was almost the same... “That’s probably why she was able to attack me last night.”

“She attacked you?” Will blurted out, before looking around to make sure no one had heard him.

Lucian nodded. “She did. I suppose I was telling too much about our...plan.”

“Would you mind if I ask about that plan?”

The Sinnoh trainer glared at Will. “You know that I will get in trouble for that? Besides, there's not much that I know. Just that Cynthia wanted to cause some scandal here in Kanto and that she will use the post office affaire to help her. No more. She doesn’t tell me anything, you know...” The psychic trainer sighed. “She is always that reserved...”

“Yeah, I know...” Will rolled his eyes, thinking that if one of them had to be described with the word ‘reserved,' it was Lucian. Probably the reason why she dumped him and left with Lance. That guy really scarified himself for the league, and Claire, now that Will thought about it. Lance didn't get enough credit for all of his doings, actually, only being spit on when he brought up the topic of money.

“By the way, have they found your Espeon yet?” Will asked, hoping that the change of topic would make both of them feel easier.

Lucian just stared at him with a deep lack of understanding. “Espeon? What Es-“

Both psychics suddenly heard the door being opened and when Will caught glimpse of a black shoe, he decided that it was safer to teleport away, even risking being merged with random things. For all he knew, Lucian was the stronger psychic and Cynthia, being even stronger than Lucian, could be a real danger for him, after Lucian had told him about their plans.

Lucian shivered when the tall, slender woman walked into the room, her shoes causing a melodic clack on the floor. “Lucian, my sweetheart...” She smiled at him and it was all the more sinister. She touched his chin, kissing his cheek. The furry ends of her coat tickled his skin. “I know you want to get me back. But you have to play fair for that and stay quiet, understood? I will sort everything out.” She smiled at him and for once, for once, it was a real, compassionate smile. ‘Maybe Jenny is right...’ “I’m not mad at you, but you’ll have to wait for me to sort everything out.”

~~~~~~~

Will re-appeared just outside of the hotel room, coughing and leaning onto the white, spotless walls. Teleporting was a lot more energy-consuming than it looked like and it continued to amaze him how Sabrina had managed to teleport over twenty people in a physical state where not even walking was possible for her anymore. It told him a lot about her strength, yet he was nothing in comparison to her, and it was very likely that he was nothing in comparison to Lucian or Cynthia, either.

He had to stable himself for a moment, to catch his breath and stop the swirls in front of his eyes. Teleporting sure wasn’t as easy as it looked like for someone not able to wield psychic powers, and he still had to learn a lot. If he hadn’t suddenly felt that danger, that dark foreboding emerging, he wouldn’t have taken the risk. Sabrina was right: one moment of losing concentration might cause unpleasant consequences. And teleporting to the wrong direction was the smallest one of these.

Quietly, he opened the door to see if his dear was already awake. To his surprise, she was, already getting dressed. He just stood in the doorframe, helpless, mesmerized by her unearthly presence. He stared at her, not wanting to interrupt her, not wanting to make his presence known at all. He felt he was interfering with her privacy. Yet deep inside, he knew he wasn’t. They were so close, and if there was one thing both of them didn’t mind, it was the other watching.

Sabrina turned around, not surprised at all to see him. She had felt his presence minutes earlier, and let him stay in his dreamy haze while undressing. She didn’t mind, as he was too much of a gentleman to dare to touch her without her clear permission. “Are you ready?” she finally asked, acknowledging his presence at last. Will nodded.


End of Chapter 6, Part 1

Crazy Packers Fan
May 26th, 2009, 11:55 AM
Lovely chapter. Lots of Will x Sabrina, very romantic. What was my favorite part? Well, of course, Cynthia's visit to Lucian in the hospital. Most of this part seemed to be a preparation for something bigger to come. The real action didn't occur here, it'll occur later. I can't wait to see it... but of course the fanservice in the meantime was pretty nice in its own right.

delongbi
May 26th, 2009, 09:40 PM
Yay! A new chapter!

It reminded him of the dreadful day just a month ago, when he had rushed to Indigo’s Main Pokecenter, with Sabrina lying in his arms, already unconscious and just seconds away from death....when he had burst into the building and Nurse Joy had taken his dear from him, injecting that weird antidote into her almost brutally, but since every second had counted back then, it had been necessary.

Yeah... I think that was a run on...

This chapter was mostly fluff, and I love fluff! Therefore, by transitive property, I loved the chapter!

And Cynthia's a psychic!?!? Did we know this before? Have I just been an unobservant reader? Ahh... the Well, Cynthia was there, just not in a physical way. suddenly makes sense. Makes everything a step more complicated. She's a pretty complicated character to begin with...

Anyway, great chapter! Can't wait for the next!

Psychic*Absol
May 27th, 2009, 12:03 PM
Thanks at both of you for liking the chapter! ^^
@CPF You're quite right, this chapter was mostly there to explain some things, some background information that needed to be given before the real actions starts. Don't worry, the action will start...I know because I'm still at writing the final battle...(in chapter 7, btw)

@delongbi No, you were not an unobservant reader (rather the opposite, heh ^.~). Cynthia being psychic was hinted last chapter with the attack on Lucian and was revealed this chapter by Lucian. And, for credit, it was CPF's original idea which I took over for my fic. =3

Wyyrlokk
June 6th, 2009, 09:18 AM
Well, some hints about what might happen... poor Lucian, after drunk himself to coma, he will now be in trouble with Cynthia I guess. xD Anyway, she seemed to still love him, but I'm sure she's not honest. And surely something big will happen, the plan of Cynthia will come out even - or not - soon for sure.

Only that much PsychicShipping was hard to take. <<

Psychic*Absol
July 6th, 2009, 11:19 AM
*hides from readers* *hides especially from Wyyrlokk* XD No, I have not forgotten about the fic. *I* haven't. *cough*

6. Chapter, Part 2: Scandals& Sincerity

Just minutes later, the two psychics were sitting at a table just outside of a smaller restaurant, enjoying the fresh spring air. Sabrina relaxed, feeling much better now that she was outside with her headache being gone, and, most importantly of course, together with Will again. For now, she just wanted to forget what had happened before: the breakup, her near breakdown, her excess...she just wanted to spend as much time with him as possible and enjoy it, and that was what she did. Will, on the other hand, looked uneasy. This didn’t stay hidden from Sabrina.

She raised an eyebrow, watching her boyfriend carefully. She could both feel and see his discomfort, yet she did not know why. And just as she had promised mere hours before, she would never read his mind to find out. There was a more direct and honest way. “Will...what’s distressing you?” She took a sip of her tea. “I can see that you’re upset. I can feel it.”

Will closed his eyes. There were several reasons as to why he was upset, and many of them were connected to each other. It would be hard describing what was going on inside him. Yet there was especially one thing that confused him greatly. “Have you read the newspaper today?”

Sabrina silently took another sip, glancing at Will. “Of course not. Do you think I cared about the newspaper when I was drunk?” she smiled, actually not mad at Will, yet teasing him. “Besides, I had no chance to buy the newspaper yet. Maybe I could ask Misty to lend me hers...” She glanced at the man sitting opposite of her. “Why do you ask? Did they write nasty stuff about us again?” Sabrina grinned, rolling her eyes playfully. “Likely after yesterday...”

Will shook his head. “Not about us, dear. About Lance. Lance and, well, you know, Cynthia.” He bit his tongue. Should he tell her about Lucian’s revealing? How big were the chances that the Sinnoh trainer had told him the truth?

Sabrina glanced at the waiter, who didn’t seem to have noticed them at all yet. She was getting a bit impatient, but since they had nothing else to do that afternoon, she wouldn’t hurry. “Lance and Cynthia, I see. Well, it is quite the gossip, isn’t it? Lance was the designated husband for Claire-family issues, you know. The dragon trainers want to keep to themselves, what with all the honour and purity they have piled up.” Sabrina rolled her eyes, yet she couldn’t deny that psychics tried to exclude themselves from the rest of the world, too. Or maybe they were forced to. It wasn’t easy to tell. “And then he falls head over heels for Cynthia.” The psychic giggled. “Well, I can understand him; Cynthia is more beautiful than Claire, yet, that he would dump Claire that suddenly...” She shrugged.

Will nodded carefully. “That’s exactly what astonished me, too. It’s so...unexpected. Out of the blue. And completely untypical for Lance. He’s always trying to be the Mr. Clean of the league: no affaires, no bribing, no dark patches...nothing. And then, suddenly, he throws everything away for a woman?” Will shook his head. “That’s not Lance.” He paused, glancing at the ground uneasily. “Say, Sabrina....can psychics take control of someone’s personality?”

Sabrina looked up, oblivious of Will’s suspicion. “You mean taking control of one’s mind? Oh, yes, we’re able to. Yet...” She closed her eyes. Slowly, she became aware of his conclusions. “If you think that’s the case with Lance, I have to disappoint you, that’s just not possible. For once, Lance’s bodyguards always carry some dark Pokemon with them to intercept any psychic influence on the champion. And secondly...” She paused, as the waiter had finally decided to take notice of them and was taking the order now.

“Can you recommend the Italian soufflé?” Before the waiter could even come up with the beginning of a responce, Sabrina continued with a mocking smile. “Never mind, I’ll take it anyway, as long as it doesn’t include any meat.”

Will looked up. “You’re vegetarian? Never knew that...”

Sabrina again smiled at this. “I am. I could never eat something that was able to think....” She shuddered. “Call it a psychics’ issue, but I distaste meat greatly...”

Will grinned, thinking that this was not the only reason. “Too bad that a certain psychic Pokemon is liked widely as the main dish, eh?”

Sabrina glared at him. “I would rather starve than eat a Grumpig, you’re right. And don’t even dare to order it now because of me, because I will leave immediately if you do so!”

Will shrugged, itching to order the beef burger now to make fun of her, yet it in the end, he did not. He didn’t want to lose her ever again, and especially not over a minor thing like that. He loved her too much. Not so much that he would actually start being a vegetarian himself then, as he had starved too often in his life to not enjoy the advantages of having a steady and well-paid job.

Sabrina sighed again, leaning back after the waiter had left. She was a bit uneasy; she had never been invited by someone before and the prices were steep, after all. Will noticed this and had the right assumption. “Don’t worry, my dear, I will pay and I do have enough money to pay.” He laughed as he leaned back, crossing his arms over his head. “Actually, I have more money now than in my whole life before!”

Sabrina raised an eyebrow. Something about this did not sound right to her. “But doesn’t the main part of the elite’s salary come from the money won by battling trainers? I’m not sure, but that’s what I heard from former elites...and you haven’t had a usual battle yet at all...”

Will winked at the other psychic. “So what? It’s still more than ever before...” He stared at the sky, content and calm.”I’m rich....I still can’t believe it...I got rich...”

Sabrina rolled her eyes. “Well, where did I end....ah, Lance.” She smiled at Will. “Secondly...psychics can control minds, but I’m fairly sure Lance isn’t mind controlled. The way mind control works doesn’t correspond with the way Lance acts right now. To keep full control of a person, said psychic has to stay around the victim 24/7, and that is at least in seeing range. No one here could do that without getting unwilled attention, right?” Will nodded, and yet he was sure there was someone who could...someone he strongly suspected to be an unfair player then. “Not to mention that Lance...well, aside from this affaire now, does he act out of character?” She slowly took a sip of the tea. “Did he suddenly decide to donate all his money for charity? Give everyone free health care? Modernize the Pokecenters? No.” She answered for him, smiling. Will was doubtful, though. “The thing is, a person who is being mind-controlled acts completely out of character, because the psychic controlling him influences all actions, all thoughts, all decisions. There is nothing left of the original person. It’s just a body with the face of the original; a shell, nothing more. Its personality left. You can’t just mind control certain parts of a psyche, it’s all or nothing. And no one can copy the victim so much that the change is not noticeable. I’m certain that Lance is not being mind controlled. I would have noticed if there was a psychic strong enough to do that around here.” She smiled at Will, hoping to have crushed his fears. Yet he had crossed his fingers and stared at the table.

‘A psychic strong enough...’ He was frightened.

Sabrina turned her head to the side, still watching Will. She could feel his continued distress and wondered what it was about. “Will...” she whispered, glad that they had chosen a lone and exclusive restaurant for going out, one where the chances of a reporter suddenly popping up were slim.

He looked up and the seriousness in his eyes scared her. “Sabrina, is there a psychic stronger than you?”

She laughed, she laughed so hard he thought she wouldn’t stop for quite some time. Her grin was almost wicked, malevolent, as if she dared anyone, especially her pupil Will, to question her status; the brave challengers expecting nothing more than a dreadful defeat. “No, Will.” The darkness in her voice scared him deeply, scared him so much that he simply wanted to teleport away again. This was really his girlfriend?! “There is no known psychic stronger than me...there were some in the past, hundreds of years ago...but not in the present.”

Will, still frightened by Sabrina’s pure presence, couldn’t help but remember what Lucian had said. The public did not know about his and Cynthia’s abilities. So, no one had judged them. Yet.

Sabrina had closed her eyes, pausing until the waiter had arrived with their lunch, giving her the chance to lower the intimidating atmosphere she had created. On purpose. If there was one thing Sabrina loathed, it was anyone questioning her powers. She had spent way too much time training them not to be rewarded with the title of the strongest psychic. Her ego would not allow anyone to be above her.

Will only regained his composure after a while, with the waiter bringing the food being the main cause, relieving the mood. “Then...” His voice staggered. He could just not get the images out of his mind, the images of what Sabrina was capable of doing. He knew he, he of all people, shouldn’t be afraid of her, but that was anything but easy. “Is there any other way of controlling minds?”

Sabrina was quiet for a while, but Will knew without doubt that she had heard his question. She was just teasing him. And she loved doing that. “Yes, there are. Channelers can, but I don’t know enough about their ways to explain it properly. It’s...kind of using voodoo, if you know what I mean. Yet then, it’s not a real mind control, rather a body control. And then...” Sabrina looked up, thinking hard. “Then there’s mind tainting.”

“Mind what...?” Will wasn’t sure he had gotten the word right, and he was just as sure that the explanation behind would be just as confusing to him. Not growing up as a psychic was a disadvantage. Yet when he thought about how he had grown up...he laughed inwardly. No way anyone in his family would have ever thought about him turning out to be psychic.


“Mind tainting. It’s what people with dark powers do. It’s even more complicated than mind controlling or voodoo. Basically, you take a piece of someone’s personality, let’s say, a certain phobia, or a certain talent, and you manipulate it. Turn it into the complete opposite, lower it, or do whatever you want with it. Yet its radius is also limited. You can’t expend a person’s physical potentials to infinity; neither can you stop a person’s will to breathe.” She laughed. “Yet, I think the legal possibilities are scary enough. Of course, not that it’s truly legal...but darklings do it nevertheless.” She smiled helplessly. She knew what darklings did...she knew that oh so well. “I know what you’re thinking. Someone could have manipulated Lance’s mind and made him fall in love with Cynthia.” Will looked up. She was right, that had been exactly what he had been thinking about... “Yet, that is not possible either. Lance’s mind could have been very well manipulated, yet just because of that, he wouldn’t dump Claire all of a sudden. Thing is, mind tainting only manipulates the mind. Not the actions. Meaning that you could be forced to think that you’re a Geodude and you try to prove that by banging your head against the table and then you’re surprised that it doesn’t break and your head hurts.” Sabrina smiled darkly at him. “Not to mention that most mind taintings are very, very feeble. We psychics don’t mess with emotions, memories, and the like for a good reason. It’s just too dangerous. You can destroy more than you think. We even have a rule not to influence others by a greater deal, though I have to admit that we never really defined what ‘a greater deal’ means. Generally, I guess, it’s that we don’t damage people’s personalities with our powers. Surprisingly, that’s something even I followed during my dark days.”

Will stopped her. So far, he had listened silently, but now, it was just getting a bit too much for his mind to grasp. “Give it a break, Sabrina, and just tell me why Lance cannot be mind painted!”

Sabrina sighed. “Tainted, Will, tainted. And I was just about to explain...mind taintings are fragile. They break the very moment you are confronted with ‘reality’, with the real happenings, your real body, and your real emotions. Will, the very second Lance sees anything that indicates a relationship between him and Claire, he forgets everything about Cynthia. That’s not the way it was planned, right? The only way I could see such a manipulation working would be if said person was both psychic and dark. Than it could control Lance’s body with its psychic powers and keep him from seeing Claire or any hint that they were together, and influence his love life via mind tainting. That could work.”

Will looked up. “That could work?”

Sabrina nodded. “In theory. But not in reality. There are no dark psychics.”

~~~~~~~

In the dinner room of the league, several of the big, dark brown wooden tables had been pushed together to create one big table. Covered with one equally big white sheet, it looked as if someone had been preparing for an important meeting. And while it was no official meeting, the one in question was important for all participants.

Sitting in the middle seat at the longer side of the table, Claire, the initiator of the secret convention, clearly claimed the role of the leader for herself and only herself. Even with rings whose diameter rivalled that of a medicine ball under her eyes, a melting ice bag on her head and her third cup of coffee standing in front of her.

Around her, five other girls were sitting, chatting angrily. There was only one general topic of interest right now: The sheer unbelievable mass of recent breakups. And the unpleasant consequences.

While the breakup of Sabrina and Will had caused some joyful celebrating there, it was only short-lived, as they became reconciled the very next night. All in all, the breakup had lasted for twelve hours, if at all. And the only one profiting from it had been Janine. The traitor. Who hadn’t dared to show up. Of course, it was only good for her own health, as she wouldn’t have been treated nicely here now anymore.

Claire moaned, every sound way too loud for her sensitive ears, and the colours too bright for her more sensitive eyes. If it hadn’t been for the urgency of it all, and the need for a fast decision, she wouldn’t have got out of bed yet, rather continuing to cure her hangover. But hell, it had been worth it. What did Lance dare to, to just forget her after years of being together, to throw away all her belongings, smash their photos, all their memories of being together. It hurt.

Finally, all the girls had sat down, now looking at Claire with mixed hopes. Would their little alliance even continue to survive now that their leader obviously had other priorities on her mind? Would they manage to survive without Claire, when it had been her idea and her initiality? And after seeing how fruitless their first idea had ended...with them losing one member, losing the chance to fight again for their target’s love, and worse, probably even strengthening the bond between the witch and Will...

Claire stood up. She recognized the expectations resting on her and she stared ahead with strong eyes. “Girls...we may have lost the battle, but not the war. We need another plan.” A wave of enthusiastic crying and screaming hit her, making her smile and making her, for once, feel like her beloved Lance, the war leader.

“In war and in love, everything is allowed. And this, my dear followers, is both. So anybody got an idea?”

Karen, so far being certainly one of the quietest around there, slowly stood up, silencing the mass instantly. With her cold attitude, her daring outfits and her general presence, she scared many. “They say opposites attract...maybe I should give it a try.” She smiled evilly. “After all....no one has infected little Will's mind with dirty things yet, right?”

A combined shudder went through the group, yet no one dared to differ, for all, all of them, feared Karen. Claire nodded. “Okay, give it a try, Karen.”

The dark trainer sat down again, smiling to herself. ‘These fools...they have never seen true love. Otherwise, they would pray to Cupid that he forgives them for their sin of interfering with his ways....’

~~~~~~~

Will looked up, his glass of water waving around. “You say that’s not possible? Why?” He paused. “I admit I don’t know much about the genetics behind psychic powers, but apparently, they can be both inherited from relatives or one can become accustomed to them after being close to psychic Pokemon for a long time. Now, I don’t see why someone couldn’t get dark powers when he’s already a psychic!”

Sabrina paused and, in Will’s opinion, she took a very long time to answer. “You’re right about the two ways of getting psychic powers. You can inherit them- like I did, and your Pokemon can carry over some of them to you. Former method is the more accepted and idolized version, as these psychics generally get stronger, may it be by longer training time or other reasons we haven’t found out about yet. Though, it is also verified that for a child, it doesn’t matter whether its parents got their powers through the genes or through closeness to their Pokemon. Said child still has a greater potential than a child with only one psychic parent, and the same chances as one with both parents being psychics by birth.” She eyed him. Will looked confused, not knowing why she was edging around that topic. The psychic gym leader sighed. She feared how the elders would react to her boyfriend; she really feared they wouldn’t accept him, because he hadn’t been born as a psychic, but that was definitely something she did not have to discuss with him. Yet. Maybe later.

She coughed uneasily. “What I wanted to say is...there cannot be someone with both psychic and dark powers because they cancel each other out. Dark powers block psychic powers, yet the energy that is needed to block the psychic powers reduces the dark powers to zero as well. The conclusion is, said person has neither psychic nor dark powers.” She looked up, right into Will’s eyes. “There are no dark psychics, or psychic darklings, for that matter. These powers are incompatible.”

Will looked downwards. “If you...say so.” He trusted his girlfriend, as after all, she knew much more about supernatural abilities than him, yet the nagging feeling that she could not know everything stayed in the back of his mind. To relieve himself of his unwanted tension, he again shifted the topic to something he could at least comprehend better and probably contribute. “Say, what happened to the egg?”

Sabrina smiled. She had been wondering when he would bring that up... “The Eevee egg, you mean? Well, Nurse Joy takes care of it. It was barely alive when I brought it to her, yet she says the chances that it stays alive are high enough to risk intensive treatment. If everything goes well, it should hatch in a few days.”

“Eevee egg? It’s an Eevee egg?!?” Will couldn’t hide his astonishment. “Sabrina, do you know how rare these are?” She nodded. “Not to mention how expensive...” he added quietly, yet Sabrina still caught it and laughed.

“I know that, my dear. Yet I couldn’t just let the egg freeze to death when I found it, could I? Nevertheless, you’re right, it is rare and therefore, I’m sure someone is missing it in his or her mail right now.” She played with the forks a bit, letting them spin around the table and startling Will with it. “I had planned on contacting the post office as soon as possible and find out together with them who the egg belongs to. The egg has to be given to its true owner before it hatches.” She noticed his frown. “Don’t worry, I won’t keep it. Sure I would like to, Eevee are rare and cute...”

“And evolve into Espeon...” Will whispered, apparently absent-minded, yet with a sly grin.

Sabrina laughed. “Yes, and that. But still, it’s not my Pokemon and someone out there surely is waiting for it, so I’ll do anything to find that person and give him, or her, the egg back. Unlike Hunter J, I’m not a thief.” She closed her eyes. “That’s actually what I plan on doing for the rest of the day. It should be pretty easy, considering that I got the registration number of the egg and the post office keeps track of all oversea shipping and, by giving me the passwords, allowed me to get into their data base.”

“No mind manipulation there?” Will asked, honestly confused as to why the post office would trust a, well, not a complete stranger, but someone completely out of the background, with such delicate information.

“No, not at all. I guess they didn’t want to have to search through all the data themselves and were happy that someone volunteered to do it without payment.”

Will looked away, slightly distressed. ‘Without payment...’ He said, wondering if his past ever stop haunting him?

~~~~~~~

An hour later, Sabrina was sitting in the huge, yet as good as empty multipurpose foyer of the league, which was kept in the same semi-modern style in blue, silver and white as the rest of the complex. She would have rather done the task on her own laptop, but that had been one condition of the post office’s head: no copying of the files onto a private computer. Yet she wondered if a public one was that much safer...

“Phew...I correct myself, this is going to take some time...” ‘The whole afternoon, if worse comes to worse...’ She thought angrily, staring at the columns of numbers and dates and names. The only clue she had was the Eevee’s registration number, but not even the date of its arrival, which would have made the search for its rightful owner a bit easier.

Sighing, she decided to use the search engine instead of going by simple luck. ‘Let’s see...where is that stupid note again?’ She rummaged through the folder she had taken with her, finally finding the small, blue piece of square paper with the number written on in narrow black.’896 986, well, let’s see if that gets me any farther...’

After a moment of waiting and the computer’s searching, a long column of items showed up, longer than the whole screen. Sabrina rolled her eyes. Just as she had feared, but not expected. The owner of the Eevee had almost registered and shipped over a whole household. She could see various bags with clothes on the list, both for men and women, and things of everyday life: towels, toothbrush, books, make-up...it seemed as if someone had decided to spend his holiday in Kanto and wanted to take his soon hatching egg with him. Yet, the only thing missing on the list was the egg. There were several Pokemon shipped over under the number; too, as Sabrina could see the coding for an Espeon, a Girafarig, and a Lucario. Yet there was no trace that the egg had been under them, even thought it would make sense with a male? - Espeon being one of the shipped Pokemon.

Sabrina rubbed her forehead, confused and slightly irritated. She was just about to close the page and call the post office again to see if they had given her the right number when she noticed something weird. Very weird. The present Will and she had given to Lucian and Cynthia was listed here, too. Yet that was just not possible. The present had been registered under a number of the Pokemon league and those numbers were given exclusive for each item, so there were just not several listed under one number like it was the case there.

‘I don’t get it...why is it here?’ Sabrina shuddered when a breeze of cold wind swept through the room. “Who the heck left the windows open?” She snarled at no one in particular, just trying to take out her anger at humanity in general. But since no one really bothered to spend any attention to the psychic, or rather, no one dared to take the responsibility and the risk of being punished by her, she had to close the windows by herself. Not really easy, when you were just a bit over 5 ft 3 in tall...

Sighing, Sabrina looked out of the windows, gazing over the beautiful landscape. She wished she could have spent a few more hours with Will, yet she had to find the owner of the Eevee, there was no way around it. Slightly saddened, she returned to her seat, just to realize that the note was not there anymore.

“Oh great!” It just got more and more frustrating. There was no way she could remember the number, and she needed the note to inform the post office operator about his mistake and probably correct it. Thankfully, the little piece of paper had only been blown away from the table. “Hah, got ya!” She exclaimed, reaching for it and standing up, throwing one glance over it and then over the computer’s screen. “Huh...?” Now this was even more weird. She was sure she hadn’t made a mistake when typing in the number, yet now, the note showed a completly different number than the search engine’s box. Confused, Sabrina fiddled with the note in her fingers until the realization almost hit her...

“Oh, no, please don’t tell...” She let herself fall back onto the seat, massaging her strained temples. “896 986 is 986 968...just upside down! Argh!” She hit her forehead with her palm and her fingers almost tripped over each other as she searched for the new number. And viola, there, the egg was, registered with a date, a number and a description. What else could she wish for?

‘No...not this.’ The owner actually having a genuine name. The only things written in the box labelled ‘Person of responsibility’ were a few letters. ‘I.L., c/o L. Grey’. Yet Sabrina, being a member of the league for many years now, knew what that meant. The egg was property of someone no less than Lance Grey, their state’s head.

And now, dread washed over Sabrina, because she had come to yet another conclusion.

She closed the second window, opening the one with the wrong number again and scanned the other coding. More and more familiar Pokemon names came to her mind, Pokemon like Garchomp and Bronzong. And when she clicked on the date when these Pokemon had arrived and, at the same time, compared it to the date the egg had arrived, her theory was, unfortunately, confirmed.

Finally, she leant back, supporting her aching head with her hand. “Oh, goodness....I hope Lance doesn’t murder me the second he finds out...”

Opening her eyes again, she tried to puzzle together all the pieces without panicking too much. She and Will had messed up. Greatly. The statue was not the real present; it had all been a mistake. Just because of the stupid similarity of those two numbers. The package with the model had been upside down, so that its real number, 896 986, had appeared to be the number of the egg, 986 968. And they hadn’t checked the package’s shipping’s formulas once they were out of the post office with it, so they had never noticed the slip-up.

And the real present, the egg, had arrived just a day too late. Of course, now Lance’s explanation, that the first present was not ‘available’ anymore, made sense. Just like the egg, the first one was very likely to be close to hatching when it had been supposed to be given to Lucian and Cynthia, but due to Team Rocket’s interference, the meeting had to be cancelled. And the egg had hatched in between, so Lance had to get a new one. One that was now in the possession of Indigo League’s Nurse Joy.

Sabrina rubbed her eyes, taking a deep breath to calm herself. There was still some way to save the situation, there had to be some way. Yet, she knew she could never find the strength to go to Lance and tell him about it personally...

For the moment, everything was okay, since neither Lucian nor Cynthia seemed to have noticed the error yet and Lance, too, hadn’t called her to his office, so he was just as clueless. Maybe she could smuggle the egg out of the Pokecenter somehow, hide it and get rid of it later. She knew a lot of trainers that would gladly take care of an Eevee. Herself being one of them, too.

Sabrina sat up, ready to leave, when she slipped and, rather by accident then by pure will, touched the enter button again, yet the search options now labelled with the addition of ‘ten years ago’.

Annoyed, Sabrina wanted to close the multiple searching windows as soon as possible, but hesitated when she read a name that was oh so familiar. ‘Bender....?’

More out of pure boredom then out of real interest- since Bender wasn’t that of an uncommon name, she sat down again and decided to do a quick search.

Psychic*Absol
July 6th, 2009, 11:26 AM
(Continued)
The silence of the room was unearthly, especially when one considered what was going on inside. The young man, his spiky, red-pink hair bathed in shadows, was getting dressed without saying a single word, without making a single sound. His movements were robotic, and, strangely enough, he paused every few seconds to glance at the young woman sitting on his bed, her legs crossed, her head resting on her right hand. She nodded now and then, to confirm his every doing and yet it didn’t look like as if there was any need for her to disapprove of any of his movements. Her silver eyes just stared sleepily ahead, watching him and yet not watching him, for there was nothing he could do that she did not foresee.

When she started to talk, it was as if a soundless world got catapulted into another dimension. “And you will call off your bodyguards, right? We don’t need yours, mine will do well.” His bodyguards would ruin her whole plan with their dark Pokemon, blocking her powers and making her lose control of him. She couldn’t allow him to get near anyone, especially his ex-girlfriend, yet. Yet she wasn’t inclined on keeping him forever, no. She would give him back. Lance was just a means to an end, just like the other, blissfully unaware, league trainer. Cynthia bit her lip. And just like Lucian, too. Yet he was a means to an end and target at the same time. She had used him, she admitted. She had lied to him and she continued to lie to him, telling herself that men were the last thing she needed. And women, judging from how Jenny had failed so far.

Yet, was that the truth?

“You’ll stay in your office. Don’t answer anyone before contacting me, right? Don’t let anyone come in, either. You have the authority to do so. You’ll meet them soon enough.“ The man nodded before walking out of the door without a word, closing the door behind him.

Cynthia let herself fall back onto the bed, her hair covering the sheets, spreading in all directions. For one moment, she could exclude all trouble from her life, because for once, there was nothing she had to take care of, nothing to organize, no strings to pull. For once, even she had to wait. She had to wait for Jenny to find the Espeon. Then, the curtains would rise again and the final act would start, with both tragic heroes falling and failing. It was a short act, probably only consisting of several dialogues, and yet it was worth it.

Was it?

Glancing at the calendar to her left, she tensed. Considering how the day was likely to be lost, she only had five more days. Five days...would that be nearly enough? After all, she had hired the best hunter in the whole of Sinnoh, and still, she hadn’t managed to catch an Espeon in a matter of two days. And she couldn’t hide Lance forever...

On the other hand, that psychic trainer had most likely been informed by her boyfriend about the ’stolen’ Pokemon already, and if she was clever, she had drawn the right conclusion about her involvement...

Cynthia smiled malevolently. Why not use it to her advantage...?

~~~~~~~

Sabrina yawned, her gaze slowly wandering over to the clock hanging on the wall away from her. It was getting late, and she had already missed dinner, though, knowing her colleagues, she had not really missed a lot. Maybe Will was already wondering where she was now, as after all, she had told him it wouldn’t take long to find the owner and she would come back to her hotel room as soon as she had an address or anything of use. But now, she had already spent over three hours there. And only because of the free internet connection...

Sabrina giggled. Well, if Will really worried about her, he should know that she had her own mind and had all the right to do whatever she wanted to. He was not her babysitter and she was not going to take the minutes of everything she did just for him. And after all, she had taken her mobile with her, he had her phone number and he could always call her...

Hopefully, he wouldn’t.

She was just too absorbed in the article she had found minutes ago. After browsing around aimlessly for more than half an hour, she had finally decided to follow the trace of the name ‘Bender’. In the end, it had turned out to be quite a funny story. Not that she really got all of the details, because that was just impossible when the only sources were a single entry in the post office’s registration data base and a newspaper article of about five lines. Apparently, a George Bender, a man of forty-five years back then, had to send an apology to the Pokemon League itself because his son, a ‘high-spirited rascal of fourteen’ had tried to rob the Pokemon Center of Teak City. Sabrina shook her head; the dumbness of the boy was simply incredible. Pokemon Centers had no money themselves, as the only things stored there were medicine and sometimes food for the incoming trainers, but most of the times, even food had to be ordered from local companies. Anyone who tried to rob a Pokemon Center had to be either very stupid or very desperate. She couldn’t find out which of these two the boy had been, but the story was hilarious nevertheless. An apology letter....Sabrina shook her head. Lance hadn’t been the head back then, as it had still been Charles Goodshow, and he had apparently been a lot less demanding than Lance was nowadays. Had this happened under his reign, the poor boy would still be paying damages. Sabrina wondered briefly what he was doing now...

Maybe he was now a Pokemon trainer himself. Sabrina blinked suddenly, before yawning and squeezing her eyes tight shut. It was already getting late and that certainly influenced her awareness. If that boy had been fourteen then, he had already been a trainer, at least if he had started the usual way. Sabrina shook her head, while resting it on her arms next to the keyboard of the computer at the same time. A trainer robbing a Pokemon center...even more reasons to believe said trainer was more than just dumb.

Slowly, without noticing, Sabrina started to fall asleep in the hall.

Yet, someone had been worried about her. Someone had been wondering where she had been, after her promise to come back as soon as possible. And said someone was now going to look for her.

Will slowly walked down the stairs to the giant main foyer, the place where Sabrina had said she would be by then. It was already getting darker and the ceiling-reaching windows didn’t give as much light then as they had in the hours before. The room was not lit by artificial light, for Lance wasn’t willed to pay for random people who might not even belong to the league, using the electricity instead. So then, already past six PM, the only lights in the room came from the computer screens and the rare bedside lamps brought by the long workers. He rolled his eyes at Lance’s parsimony, cost-cutting at the cost of his employee’s eyesight. At least Sabrina wasn’t in immediate danger, because from what he saw, his beloved had already fallen asleep. He smiled and walked up to her, slowly stroking her silky dark hair. She shifted slightly in her sleep, but didn’t wake up. She was too tired, as she hadn’t gotten enough sleep the past morning, so she was making up for it then. And Will wasn’t going to disturb her, not in the least. He put his left arm under her neck and slowly lifted her from the chair, still amazed at how light a grown woman could be. Her long hair tickled his arm, as she squirmed into his arms, still asleep, yet feeling instinctively more relaxed, as if she knew who was carrying her. And maybe she did, even without her powers, even without a consciousness.

Will had to be even more careful when he walked up the stairs to the hotel rooms, yet he didn’t expect her to wake up any time soon. She was really in deep, deep slumber and hadn’t even reacted much to the changing of environment when he had walked out of the foyer into April’s fresh spring air. She didn’t even shudder, just keeping her peaceful, calm face cuddled against his vest, searching, longing for the warm and for the sound of his heartbeat. He smiled wordlessly at her, glad that they had come back to each other.

He was now standing in front of her hotel room, carefully balancing what weight she had on his chest and knees, while trying hard to not wake her up. That got even harder when he noticed that her door was locked and the only ones probably having access to the keys were either asleep or not within reach. Irresolutely, he stood there for a while, not knowing what to do. He couldn’t get into her room, for he didn’t want to risk teleporting inside together with her when he was still inexperienced, yet he didn’t want to wake her up either. After glancing at the left, where his and Karen’s room was located, he remembered what Karen had said. She had been kind of right... He shivered as he got an idea, one that wasn’t all that comfortable thinking about... But in the end, he had no other choice.

Slowly, he opened the door to his hotel room, as he had left the door open when he had left to search for Sabrina. The room was dark as well, only the light from the street lamps illuminating a few outlines. Will stared at the shadows in front of him, allowing his eyes to get used to them. Then he walked into the room and let Sabrina slowly down on the bed, taking her shoes and coat off her shoulders. He left her in her underwear, not daring to undress her completely, not daring to cross that border yet. She was beautiful enough as she was, and he already shuddered from the sheer thought of...spending the night with her. Not in the sexual way, but just staying there with her. Again and yet closer. He took off his own vest, his pants, his shoes, and, for a rare occasion, his mask as well. Here, in this complete darkness, with only his beloved around him, he felt safe enough to do so. Tracing his scars with his fingers, he shuddered at the memory of the pain, of the fear and of the burning knowledge that he would forever be marked, all because of a simple slip, and the unwillingness of the doctors to at least repair his skin, all because of...

He sighed. It did not matter. His beloved did not seem to mind his scars. She loved him the way he was.

Slowly, he sat down on the bed, stroking Sabrina’s hair as she slept peacefully. “Good night, my dear.” He laid down next to her, pulling the sheets up and again kissing her hair. Soon, both were engulfed in their peaceful dreamlands, the difficulties of last night forgotten.

~~~~~~~

In the foyer, a young woman walked down the stairs so quietly one could think she was floating, yet it was only the experience she had, being used to high heels longer than her whole legs. She had noticed her colleague, and yet she hadn’t been interested in making herself known to him, only watching him and his girlfriend with a smirk. Looking around, she made sure no one had noticed her so far; before she went to the computer Sabrina had worked on and glanced over the screen. Will hadn’t bothered with turning it off, not even with looking what was up on it. Now that she saw the internet page, Karen knew it had been a mistake. She laughed quietly. He was such an idiot... Yet, this was an awkward story...

Karen sat down, licking her fingers. This would get him into trouble. Because either Lance or Sabrina did not know a thing about this....

End of Chapter 6, Part 2

delongbi
July 6th, 2009, 09:53 PM
I was sooo excited to see a new chapter! Yay!

No, I have not forgotten about the fic. *I* haven't. *cough*

You'd better not!!! Do you know how long we have been waiting for a new chapter?! Well, I guess you do because you're the one writing... Anyway, I love this story; you cannot forget about it!

Sabrina relaxed, feeling much better now that she was outside with her headache being gone, and, most importantly of course, together with Will again.

Awkward sentence. I would change it to something like: Sabrina relaxed, feeling much better now that she was outside. Her headache was finally gone, but most importantly, she was together with Will again.

And just as she had promised mere hours before, she would never read his mind to find out.

Avoid starting sentences with "and." It is unnecessary- just start with "Just..."

“Of course not. Do you think I cared about the newspaper when I was drunk?” she smiled, actually not mad at Will, yet teasing him.

The "she" in "she smiled" should begin with a capital "S."

You are overusing "yet" again- way too many examples to bother putting here.

distaste

0_0 Is that a word?

Nya... I think I'm going to stop with grammar issues. It gets too annoying to keep posting down here when I want to read!!!

Will nodded, and yet he was sure there was someone who could...someone he strongly suspected to be an unfair player then.

Cynthia!

“There is no known psychic stronger than me...there were some in the past, hundreds of years ago...but not in the present.”

That is just asking to be proved wrong.

Sabrina nodded. “In theory. But not in reality. There are no dark psychics.”

See above comment.

Great chapter- well, except for some awkward grammar. I love the mystery you've created! Ahh! I can't wait for the next chapter!!!

By the way, is Will's last name Bender?

Psychic*Absol
July 7th, 2009, 09:22 AM
You'd better not!!! Do you know how long we have been waiting for a new chapter?! Well, I guess you do because you're the one writing... Anyway, I love this story; you cannot forget about it!Well...I have certainly not forgotten about the fic, as I'm still writing it (or, well, will write it once I get free from exams). It's again my beta-reader, but I don't blame him. ^^
Avoid starting sentences with "and." It is unnecessary- just start with "Just..." Even though my German teacher told me, long ago (lol) similar things, I still think "Just" at the beginning of a sentence sounds even more awkward. o,o
The "she" in "she smiled" should begin with a capital "S."*gives note to beta-reader* Finding mistakes of this kind is his job. 0=)
You are overusing "yet" again- way too many examples to bother putting here. And I thought I cut it down...>.<
0_0 Is that a word? According to my dictionary, it is.
Nya... I think I'm going to stop with grammar issues. It gets too annoying to keep posting down here when I want to read!!! XD *agrees*
Cynthia!*nods* 0=)
That is just asking to be proved wrong. It is? 0=) (CPF would *so* like it to be proved wrong, nah, CPF? XD)
Great chapter- well, except for some awkward grammar. I love the mystery you've created! Ahh! I can't wait for the next chapter!!!XD Thanks (okay, I don't see my grammar as awkward, but then, it's a different language for me...XD). Most of the mystery will be carried over into the next part (=/= next chapter), so stay tuned! XDBut don't worry, I won't leave many secrets open. ;-)
By the way, is Will's last name Bender? 0=) It is, it is...*winks at Wyyrlokk*

Crazy Packers Fan
July 7th, 2009, 03:58 PM
It helps being on the "inside" when it comes to this story... because Cynthia is of course "borrowed" from me. She's not as twisted and evil as my Cynthia, but she has the same basic powers.

I enjoyed this chapter, even if there was not too much Cynthia. Sabrina would sometimes confuse me with her rants, the same way Will was confused, but I liked how Sabrina always seemed to sum up what she meant. That makes things easier to understand, and I like that.

It's pretty clear now that Lance wanted to give the egg to Cynthia but couldn't, the question is, if he wanted to in the first place, why would it be considered stealing if Cynthia had J retrieve it for her? Or did Lance have no control over his mind when he thought about giving over the egg?

Either way, it seems to me that if Cynthia wanted to, she could take over the Indigo League right now because Lance is so helpless. And poor Lucian... out of the picture...

Now you owe me a review!

Wyyrlokk
July 8th, 2009, 08:34 AM
So... the plot gets darker and darker. Cynthia's plan becomes uncovered to the reader, and Will turns out to be a child of the lower grades of society (It was obvious to me after he spoke to the gang child and Lucians words about the high ancestry of the other elite trainers, but now it was affirmed. xD). And Sabrina thinks of him as "more than just dumb", that's great. ^^ Sadly, she doesn't get the coherence between the boy robbing the Pokemon Center and Will yet.
(Another hint in this chapter was "'Without payment’ He said, wondering if his past ever stop haunting him?"...)

You described the difficult scene with the number and the dark psychos very well - at least I had no problems with understanding what you wanted to tell. xD

Psychic*Absol
July 11th, 2009, 02:19 AM
@CPF
It helps being on the "inside" when it comes to this story... because Cynthia is of course "borrowed" from me. XD It kinda does. (Up to the point that I think our fics are AU of each other...) And believe me, you'll be even more on the 'inside' during the epilogue and the next parts. ;-)
I enjoyed this chapter, even if there was not too much Cynthia.*hides* I don't even know when Cynthia appears again...oh, wait, screw that. Beginning of the next chapter. =3
And there will be again much of her darkness. ^.~ In every sense of the word.
It's pretty clear now that Lance wanted to give the egg to Cynthia but couldn't, the question is, if he wanted to in the first place, why would it be considered stealing if Cynthia had J retrieve it for her? Or did Lance have no control over his mind when he thought about giving over the egg?
....uh, oh....
I'm sorry to say this, Wyyrlokk, but CPF discovered something we talked about some time ago. You remember the three inconsistences I told you about? Well, CPF just found one of them (and he was faster than you!XD)
Yes, CPF, this is a semi-important plot point. Cynthia has a reason for her actions. ^.~ And it wil be revealed, if I'm not mistaken, next chapter. ;-) (And, surprise, surprise, not even by Cynthia herself...;-) )
Either way, it seems to me that if Cynthia wanted to, she could take over the Indigo League right now because Lance is so helpless. Yes, Lance is helpless (completely helpless, but again, next chapter you'll see), but she does not want to take over the Indigo League. She wants revenge. ;-)
And poor Lucian... out of the picture...I know he is shafted...sue me!XD

@Wyyrlokk
Cynthia's plan becomes uncovered to the readerNot the whole ofher plan or else it would become boring, don't you agree? ;-)
Will turns out to be a child of the lower grades of society (It was obvious to me after he spoke to the gang child and Lucians words about the high ancestry of the other elite trainers, but now it was affirmed. xDAh, come on, it was not that obvious. >> Okay, we can agree that we all knew by now that something was wrong with his past, but it was not affirmed that he came from a poor family. He could simply have been a criminal or working for TR or something entirly different. ;-) (And heck, I told you he's kinda a street child, so don't think you're Mr. Holmes!XD)
Sadly, she doesn't get the coherence between the boy robbing the Pokemon Center and Will yet. Hm, does she? ;-) And second...Bender is a common name in their world (made that up, but hey, my fic). It's as if you read here "The son of a Georg Schmidt..." That doesn't tell you much. And even if your best friend is called Schmidt, would you immideately make a connection? Of course, for a reader, that's easy, because, come on, it has to be a hint, doesn't it? But for a character in the fic, there are hundreds of guys calles Bender and all of them could be meant.

Now, let's hope that Zammy beta-reads faster and I finally find the point where I can split up chapter7, otherwise, you'll have nothing to read after the next chapter. >.<

Psychic*Absol
July 28th, 2009, 11:09 AM
*hides from impatient readers* Hey, I did get it up faster this time. XD
Anyway, I'm sorry that I have to correct myself...no real revealing this chapter. >>;;; I mixed something up, the revealing of Cynthia's plan with the Eevee egg comes in Chapter 7 c or d (the one I was writing back then, so yeah, I mixed it up. >.< Sorries.)
Nevertheless, onto the next chapter! (And I double-checked the 'yet' this time, so there shouldn't be so many now anymore...)

6. Chapter, Part 3: Sorceresses

It was a perfect morning. The air was fresh, the sky bright, and spring was getting more and more power, almost dwindling into summer already. It was soon going to be May, yet nights could still get very cold in the mountains. And during these nights, one was happy if he had a warm bed. Even better if one was not forced to sleep alone in an empty bed. Yet, sometimes, the surprise of waking up next to someone was a bit greater than the happiness of it. Sometimes, that ended up as a serious argument.

And sometimes, it was just playful teasing.

“I thought I was sleeping next to a monster!” She laughed so hard, fastening her paces so much Will had to run not to lose her. They were on their way to the dining room, playfully chasing each other over the area of the hotel, a pastime which was really wasting their time, though both of them didn’t feel that way. Both were rather glad that they had the chance to be that close for a few more days. Sabrina was not really angry that she had woken up next to him that day. It had only been a shock for a minor time, for the brief flutter of memory where she had seriously wondered what she had been up to yesterday. But then, everything had come up again, from her computer search to her sleepiness. She had given him a summary of her findings, but he had shrugged it off, thinking that if they kept quiet now, Lance would never notice, and there would be a way to dump the egg somewhere. He seemed to be a bit too careless for Sabrina’s taste, but his positivity had rubbed off onto her and now, she found herself racing after Will like a mischievous child, not caring about her reputation and just enjoying herself. She could scold him with her worries later. Or never.

“Gotcha!” She cried, grabbing his vest’s collar and pulling him closer to her, both ending up in another embrace. Naughtily, Sabrina smiled at her fellow psychic and kissed him, something she now jokingly called ‘training’, as she still had to perfect her skills at French-kissing.

Slowly, he broke the kiss, smiling at her sympathetically. “Still, there’s something I don’t understand...” The elite trainer mused, looking at the bright blue sky above them.

“Hm?” Sabrina leaned back, out of his arms, against the empty air. Yet, a slight blue flickering gave her use of her powers away. “You mean about the Eevee egg?”

Will nodded slowly. “Yeah, and about the whole registration mix-up...I mean, why would Lucian and Cynthia not recognize anything that was registered under their name? That does not make any sense...”

Sabrina shrugged, playing with his hands in hers. “Maybe Lucian was acting? Cynthia didn’t seem to be surprised at all and Lucian...well, for my taste, he was a bit too excited. Besides...” Sabrina leaned closer to him again, with a questioning, yet mischievous smile. “Do we even know for sure it’s Lucian and Cynthia the registration number belongs too?”

Will pushed her away, annoyed, and started to walk to the dining room. “Well, how many even more obvious hints do you want? A Garchomp, Sabrina. And a Lucario. How many of these do we have here in Indigo? Hundreds? I think not.”

She stayed were she was, watching him depart. “Exactly. It has to be a tourist. Any tourist. Indigo City gets a lot of these, you know?” It was almost a sarcastic question.

Will rolled his eyes. “Still, isn’t it a bit too much of a convenience? Now the only thing we need would be the colours of the women’s clothes, and then we would know for sure, you know.” He laughed.

Sabrina mimicked his annoyed expression from seconds ago. “Don’t make fun of Cynthia’s style, as I like it. And anyway, not all Pokemon matched those of Cynthia and Lucian. I can’t remember Lucian owning an Espeon.”

Will froze. “Lucian’s Espeon was on that list?”

The gym leader blinked. She didn’t get her boyfriend’s reaction, his sudden uneasiness. “Um, yeah, there was a male Espeon on the list. It had arrived a bit later, on the same day as the egg, but it was there nonetheless.”

Will looked downwards. He felt dreaded, as if all sunshine had suddenly disappeared, as if time had just spun backwards and it was winter again. Soul winter. He knew that feeling oh so well, it was something he had seen often enough displayed with his girlfriend and now it was his turn. “Cynthia told me about Lucian’s Espeon having disappeared, probably being stolen.”

Sabrina froze as well.‘She fell onto her back, and only managed to push some dark blue cloth out of her view in time to see something lavender coloured jumping through the storeroom window.’

~~~~~~~

Karen leaned against the wall of Lance’s office, her arms crossed, eyes darkening, and this time, it had nothing to do with her powers. She was in deep thought, though her mind was troubled. Lance was acting off. He might have always been a bit paranoid, but in his position, caution was better than casualties. Better having locked your door once too much than one bullet more in your chest. Yet, he had never locked himself off in the office for a whole day. And he had certainly never completely ignored one of his elite’s wishes to meet him. He may postpone it to a later date, but never call it off for good, without even suggesting another time or day. This was very unlike old Lance.

However, it was typical for the new Lance. The one that had simply dumped his girlfriend between lunch and afternoon’s meeting, the one that had not spoken once to Claire or their relatives since the break-up and had sent back all her belongings via the post and without one word. The new Lance that clung to Cynthia as if he was her newest black accessory.

Karen pushed herself away from the wall, giving up her senseless and fruitless waiting. There was a chance that Lance already knew about this little incident in his employee’s earlier life and while she did want to bother him as much as possible, she couldn’t if he didn’t even open the door. She might give up as well and try to find someone else to drive mad. And then there was still the little ‘project’ she had taken up...

Just as she was about to leave the hallway, the door did open. But it was not Lance that walked out of it. Lance was not wearing high heels, and he was not wearing a long, black coat. And he was certainly not female.

“Oh, nice to meet you.” Cynthia walked up to the other elite trainer, shaking her hand without even waiting for Karen’s reaction. The dark trainer just stared at Cynthia, emotionless and body stiff, her hand shaking mechanically. Sinnoh’s champ didn’t seem to mind, not even to notice at all. Her smile was never pausing, never breaking. “You must be the second new elite trainer of Lance's, dark trainer Karen Schwartz, right?”

She nodded. “Yes, this is correct.” Her lips pressed together tightly, she wondered just what had mesmerized Lance so much. Sure, Cynthia was beautiful, but Lance had never been the type to fall for superficiality, not when his whole reputation was at stake, not to mention his relationship with his family, who had made him Claire’s destined husband. For the public, Lance had been the clean fighter for morals, even though his money business was not as spotless as he may have wished for. No matter how many times one thought about it and searched for reasons, Lance’s behaviour was just not comprehendable.

“What brings you to dear Lance’s office?” Karen asked evenly, not showing her deep interest in the topic openly.

Cynthia lowered her head, closing her eyes and playing with one strand of her bright blond hair. “Oh, nothing important. I just wanted to ask Lance if I could borrow his two psychics to do me a little...favour.”

“Favour...” Karen repeated, her tongue dancing over the emphasis of the word. She wondered, should she warn the two or was that too merciful? Was there even a reason to worry? About those two? Worry, from her, the dark trainer?

Cynthia looked over Karen’s short, black dress, her bare arms and legs and her slender, shining black lacquer shoes. “We seem to have a lot in common, Miss Schwartz,” she said, indicating her own favour of the colour.

Karen nodded sourly. “And not only that.”

~~~~~~~

“Sabrina, if you freak out, this is not going to help either of us!” Will cried, trying to follow the psychic gym leader, who had been close to running around in circles in her desperation.

“Will!” she growled. He was way too calm for her taste, way too calm for the way she felt. “Lance is going to murder me! How should I not freak out?!”

Her boyfriend crossed his arms, raising one eyebrow in questioning his girlfriend’s sanity. “He is not really going to make that threat come true...is he?”

Sabrina’s eyes darkened. “If he’s not going to kill me, then he will at least dismiss me and that is even worse!”

Will rolled his eyes. “Oh, yes, that is even worse....” He shook his head. “Sabrina, please, just stop worrying, everything will sort out itself, you know, it-“

“Sort itself out?!?” She started to scream, her voice reaching octaves they had never climbed up before, as the calm, resolved Sabrina had never felt the need to scream at someone, especially someone she normally held so dear. But then, she did. “Will, I am going to get into deep trouble, because it’s my fault THAT AN ELITE TRAINER’S POKEMON GOT STOLEN!!” She growled. “It’s not as easy to hide as the mix-up, dear Will. There were witnesses- the post office workers-heck, even Hunter J herself might blame me!” She clenched her fists, closing her eyes tightly to block out reality and some unwanted tears. “I was there, Will. I saw Lucian’s Espeon escaping... I saw Hunter J following it...if someone is at fault, if someone can even be at fault, it’s me. I failed to stop her. So I am going to get blamed if it gets out. And it will get out, as surely as we stand here now. Lucian will want an explanation for where his Espeon ended up, and they will look when it arrived here, and then they’ll find out that it was the day Hunter J attacked the post office. One thing comes to another and, whoosh, I’ll get into serious trouble, ending up in jail if I get especially unlucky, which I just will.” She sat down on the stairs of the entrance to the second meeting room, the very place where she and Will and confessed their feelings to each other. The place now a stage for entirely different emotions. Hiding her face behind her hands, she was close to crying.

Will stood there helpless for a moment, not knowing how to comfort his girlfriend. He did not know about the inner workings of the league, the delicate structures and complexes, as he was all too new to everything. Still, he was sure that while Sabrina was right about it being a tad bit more serious than the egg incident, he didn’t think that it was worth crying and worrying over. Sabrina wasn’t at complete fault; no one could scold her for not being able to single-handedly take down a vicious Pokemon hunter she did not know a thing about, especially when her powers had been blocked.

“Dear, please, don’t cry...” He kneeled down next to her; taking her hands slowly off her face and wiping away the hints of tears that dared to appear. “I promise you...there will be a way out of this. I won’t let you get all the blame for this accident. I won’t let you go to jail. I won’t.” He embraced her, burying his face in her hair as he did so, for once admitting his addiction to her plainly. There had been so many women in his life, but for none of them he had felt this much. None of them had been as perfect as his dear. “Even if I have to talk with Lance personally.”

“No, Will, no.” She pushed him away with a frown, shaking her head. Her tears had stopped, as she couldn’t cry when being this close to him and feeling his concern for her, his comfort. She had realized that crying had no real use; she had to give it up. “You don’t have to do this for me. In the end, it’s something I have to stand up for, something I have to deal with.” She smiled, kissing his cheek. “But thanks for promising help. You’re sweet, you know that?”

He smiled sheepishly. “I’m a gentleman.”

Sabrina returned his smile, stroking what was exposed of his cheek and not hidden by his mask. “You’re right, it was wrong for me to freak out so much...” She sighed. “We should try to get some breakfast now, as the others will surely wonder where we are...after being away for the whole of yesterday.” She laughed. At least yesterday had been quite...romantic. A whole new experience for her. And incredible experience. She still shivered when she thought about her life before and her life then-her new life, finally filled with love.

~~~~~~~

Sabrina almost choked with laughter when Misty rolled her eyes and walked out of the room as soon as she saw the couple, Will’s arm around her waist and Sabrina’s head leaned onto his shoulder. “We must be really getting on her nerves...”

Will laughed as well, kissing her hair quickly. “If she thinks so...I don’t see a reason to be annoyed because of showing true love.” Erica had already noticed their arrival as well, nodding in their direction and patting Misty’s now empty seat.

“Nice to see you two.” The grass type gym leader winked at them. “I hope you’re feeling better, Sabrina. Will told me last morning that you didn’t want to come down for breakfast.”

Sabrina smiled at Will before sitting down. “Yes, I am feeling much better.” She could feel Will’s ease as she said that, knowing that he had still been worried about her, worried that she might not be able to call her mind off the difficult dealing with Lance that laid before her. “I guess I was a bit too tired to come down yesterday, but thankfully, I have a handsome gentleman who is nice enough to bring me breakfast in bed, eh?” Will blushed and mumbled something that stayed unheard.

Erica smiled at that. She had never thought that it would be possible for their seemingly eternal single to find such a wonderful boyfriend. Unlike others, though, Erica was not jealous. She was not interested in Will, not that interested in boys either, and because of that, she was simply happy for her fellow gym leader. Might others disagree with her, she was of the opinion that Sabrina had deserved it.

But as happy as the two now were, Erica wondered how long it would last.

“Getting a boyfriend is not that hard...” she mused, staring at the ceiling with bright, shining eyes. Lance had employed the best artists to paint the walls of their main dinner rooms. “The hard thing is to keep him...”

Sabrina sighed. “Oh, I know how right you are, I sure know that.” She glanced at Will, yet he remained silent, feeling still a bit ashamed to have caused his girlfriend so much pain. She patted him slightly on the back, indicating with a comforting glance that she was not angry at him anymore. He answered her gesture with a sad smile, not completely convinced.

Erica shook her head, sadness playing around her delicate features. “No, no, I don’t mean the incident with Janine. I mean...you have to go back home in a few days, Sabrina. What will become of you two then? You can’t see each other every day then...”

“Um...” Sabrina and Will stared at each, speechless. To tell the truth, they hadn’t thought about a solution for that problem yet. While the fact that they had to depart very soon was openly in their minds, they had expelled it from their consciousness enough to not feel the pressure to think of a way to meet again. Sabrina lowered her head. She knew what Will would ask, without having to read his mind at all, and it felt so bad to turn down his idea. She took his hand in hers and squeezed it slightly, shaking her head so slightly that Erica was not able to notice it. <I cannot teleport every day from Saffron to Indigo, Will, I’m so sorry. I wish I could, yet even my powers have a limit and there’s a reason I came here with the Magnet Train. Indigo is just too far away of a location for me to teleport.> She looked up, trying to cheer him up with a smile. And still she knew deep inside this smile was just not making up for it, she knew she would feel just as miserable and down as he felt then. They had been very close over the span of a whole month now, not really separated by distance yet, if emotional distance was not counted in. No one knew yet how their relationship would react to this new situation, this loneliness. A loneliness which scared both of them.

Erica glanced over the couple sympathetically, even without being able to really depict the complete extent of their pain; she knew how hard it had to be for the two to realize that everything that was left for them was a weekend relationship and looking at how tight both of their schedules were, even that was a hopeful wish clashing with reality.

Sabrina snuggled closer to Will, her cup of tea levitating in front of her face as her hands were still busy holding his. He stroked her cheek silently, before whispering a few words to her, as he hadn’t even started training telepathy yet, so any attempt of his was going to end in failure for sure. “Don’t worry, we’ll find some way out of this, just like with other problems, hm?” She looked up at him, not really convinced but not voicing her disagreement either. Maybe she was realistic, maybe she was pessimistic. Maybe both.

Erica again smiled at this. She nodded with closed eyes. “Love will always find a way, isn’t that true?” The psychics nodded at that, even if just to keep their hopes up.

Several heads were turned around when the door of the dinner room opened and an all too familiar clacker of high heels was heard, echoing off the stony ground. Many faces beamed with smiles at the woman walking in, yet she ignored them as if they were simple air, heading straight for one table, keeping her mysterious, reserved but distantly friendly smile.

Sabrina braced herself already for a catastrophe, unwillingly and unconsciously digging her fingers into Will’s vest, causing him to yelp. She apologized under her breath, her eyes still fixed on Cynthia, who headed straight for them. Will, noticing this as well, kept her hidden behind him, ready to take the assault for her if needed. While Sabrina had insisted on keeping her independency, he was a gentleman and he would protect her, even against her will if absolutely necessary.

Cynthia stopped in front of their table, glancing over Erica, who had welcomed her with a silent nod and had now resumed to eating her toast. Sabrina felt the tension of the situation, yet she did not know why. She knew why she was feeling uneasy, but there was something around them that seemed to make her even jumpier.

Will looked around. Just like Sabrina, he felt that something was wrong, but unlike her, he caught the source after a moment. “Erica, would you please?” He asked kindly, with an undertone that told more than a thousand words however. He was not happy about having to shush off someone, but the silent pressure Cynthia managed to put onto them was unbelievable. She managed to get her own seat without even asking. Silently, Will wondered if that was the so called ‘endless superiority’ every champion called his, or in this case rather her own, but on the other hand, he had never seen Lance acting so offensive. Not even in the years before he became a member of the league, when all he saw of the champion was from TV reports and newspaper articles. And he was pretty sure that the news covered all of Lance’s life, after experiencing that pretty much that was the case now with him. He did not hate the media for that, but sometimes, he felt it was a bit too much for his dear, the way she reacted to reporters...

But that was nothing compared to the way she was acting now around Cynthia. Sabrina seemed almost...frightened. She kept most of her body hidden behind his, only glancing slightly around him. Yet Cynthia kept her never ending, mystifying smile. “I hope I’m not bothering you two.”

“No, you aren’t.” Will answered, though it was rather the ‘right thing to say’ than the ‘right answer’.

Cynthia smiled again. “Well, I’ve come here because I need you two to do me a little favour.”

Will frowned. That was as informative as advertisements. “A little favour, I see,” he said, letting as little distrust in his voice as he could. It was still possible that Cynthia did not know a thing about either the mix-up of the egg and the statue or the involvement of Sabrina in the case of the missing Espeon, so he did everything not make her suspect a thing. “About what, if I may ask?”

Cynthia laid her head into her right hand, glancing around Will and noticing the uneasy Sabrina, who stared emotionlessly at the wall opposite of Cynthia. “Lucian’s Espeon.”

“Ouch!” Will yelped when Sabrina’s fingers bore themselves so hard into his clothes that it left small marks on his skin. He glared at her, for her behaviour was neither helping his body to stay physically unharmed nor her innocence staying proven. Sabrina glared back just as fiercely and Will winced when she nearly tore his vest apart just with her finger nails, reminding him painfully of who was the stronger one in their relationship.

“What is with it?” The psychic elite trainer asked, forcing himself to ignore Sabrina’s actions. He didn’t seem to do very well, as Cynthia chuckled each time he flinched.

The Sinnoh champion sighed, an almost unreadable sadness enveloping over her face. “Well, as I told you after our battle, dear Will, Lucian’s Espeon did not arrive in time here in Kanto.” She closed her eyes. “Now it seems as if it was not only delayed, but also got stolen.”

Her fingers were going to leave some marks on his body, that was for sure now. His side would be covered in bruises, not to mention the cuts in his clothes.

“Now, I just happen to know from investigating the post office files that Espeon arrived on the day Hunter J caused havoc there.”

Will wondered if his inner organs would survive any more squeezing and how it would look like if he just passed out after having some virtual veins cut off.

“And...well, since you were there, Sabrina, I hoped you could...” Cynthia paused. “Ehm, I don’t think it’s that comfortable if you break your boyfriend’s rips.” Sabrina blinked, she had not noticed that she quite close to doing that with, amazing surprise, only her left hand. She had never suspected herself to have that much power.

“No, she’s not hurting me.” Will gasped, knowing very well that reality was proving him wrong. She was not hurting him, she was abusing him physically!

Cynthia laughed. “Oh, of course not, I see, my sweeties. Love makes you invulnerable.” For a second, a split second, anger flashed over her face, as if she had said something that she didn’t want to say, something that was too painful for even her to say aloud, yet that emotion disappeared as soon as it came. “Anyway, I hoped you could help me with getting the Espeon back. I’m fairly sure it’s Hunter J who has captured it, and since she’s a professional, there’s a high chance that the Espeon is already not in Kanto anymore, rather shipped somewhere in the world to a paying client.” Cynthia bit her lip. “But if there’s still a chance that the Espeon has escaped her and is somewhere in these mountains, I know you two could find it. You’re both psychics, you’re naturally bound to psychic Pokemon, isn’t it like that?”

Finally, Sabrina spoke up again, in a voice that was a business as it could get. “Yes, that is right, Miss Mo-, Cynthia, I mean.” She corrected herself, reminding herself of the informality promise they had given each other days ago. “Yet...I don’t see why you haven’t called the league officials. Aren't the police better...equipped for this job?”

Cynthia’s face was stony and noticing this, Will felt the impulse to grab Sabrina’s hands and squeeze them tightly, too. He knew that Cynthia was psychic, and he knew that she was likely a stronger psychic than him. The only thing he did not know what whether she was stronger than his girlfriend- and hopefully, if worse came to worse, protector, Sabrina. “I did contact the police. Earlier than Lucian, if I may add. He...doesn’t seem to care so much about his Pokemon.” Will raised an eyebrow. Just two days ago, he seemed to have completely lost his battle spirit because of his loss. And now he wasn’t caring about that Espeon anymore? Something was off there...

“Yet, I think that the search might be in fact a success if more people are in it. I hope you’re more triumphant than the police, with you actually knowing both the Pokemon we’re speaking of, and, of course, also knowing the mountain area where it might roam.” Cynthia paused, looking over both trainers. “So, will you do it? It has already been cleared up with Lance, so you don’t need to worry about your jobs being at stake if you take a few days off...”

‘Really? Our jobs not at stake?’ Sabrina still couldn’t get over her fear of being accused, so she stayed silent, for the first, and probably also last, time, giving Will the chance to answer for her.

Her boyfriend was just as uneasy as she was. ‘I guess our little mountain adventure will only be out of the news when we’re already married and retired...’ He glanced over her, wondering if she had caught his thought, before remembering that she did not read his mind. Luckily, because the sheer thought of marriage hadn’t crossed either mind yet and Will felt nervous being the first one to do so. A sign?

“Well, I guess we can give it a try...can’t we, dear?” He looked over his shoulder to glance at Sabrina and thus, busting his probably one and only chance at being the boss. She didn’t answer him at first, her eyes fixed on Cynthia, then, she looked back at him. Knowing that telepathy was no use, since Will didn’t know how to properly answer, she just nodded. Fortunately for her, as Cynthia had expected such a thing from the other psychic and was prepared for a quick mind reading of the weaker psychic.

“It’s settled then.” Cynthia stood up, still looking at the two trainers. “I’m afraid I can’t give you more information, as I myself don’t know where the Espeon went. Yet it should be obvious that there aren’t many, if at all, wild Espeon here in the mountains, so if you find one, it’s likely to be Lucian’s.” The champion laughed, but her laugh quickly stopped and she turned serious. “Be careful when you meet Hunter J. As you’ve already experienced”, She nodded to Sabrina,” she's as good as a trainer as well as perfect dealing with her gadgets. She’ll most likely find something to counter your powers.”

“Well, not that hard, considering how weak mine are...” Will joked. Cynthia joined his laughter shortly, before wishing them good luck and leaving. The tension immediately disappeared. Will leaned back with a sigh, causing Sabrina to growl at him and moving out of his way, in the end causing him to fall from his chair onto his back, with his legs still lying on the chair’s seat. Sabrina forced herself to smile at his, and yet deep inside, she felt anything but happy.

Still laughing, the gym leader helped him up again, glancing at the other girls in the room and keeping them on distance with a sharp glare. Even with Janine out of the pool of possible competitors, she still had to stay on alert, knowing now that there was an alliance of enemies. She just didn’t know any of the members, with the exception of Claire, who was prone to be the leader of the union. “Seems as if the last days of the meeting get exciting again!” Will mused while laughing.

Sabrina sighed, rolling her eyes. Her definition of excitement was not exactly met, even if it was spring then, as she still wasn’t that interested in roaming the mountains. Even alone with Will. Societies’ advantages just prevailed. Besides, she had enough camping for a whole year. “Let’s hope we find the Espeon soon, I don’t want to spend a week without electricity and warm water again!”

Will chuckled, standing up and kissing her cheek. “Don’t forget, we had warm water.”

She glared at him, the memory of the hot spring bath and his, in retrospect now clearly identified as one, advancing on her still fresh on her mind. “For one day...” Sabrina answered sardonically, sitting down to finish her breakfast. Will was still standing next to her, irresolutely. “Come on, sit down and eat. I said that we should start searching soon, but I think after breakfast is soon enough.” Will nodded uneasily. He wondered if he should tell her about Cynthia’s powers, unsure if it was wise to worry his girlfriend even more. She had certainly not taken the meeting lightly, his hurting side speaking a clear language regarding that, and if there was one thing he did not want, it was to trouble Sabrina any more, not to mention that he didn’t want to have his skin cut open by her fingernails in case she freaked out again. Maybe he could snuggle this little piece of information past her until Cynthia and Lucian had left, and then it wouldn’t be of any importance anymore. And, who knew, maybe there was no reason for them to confront Cynthia even during her current residency anymore? Maybe the Espeon would be found by the police soon enough for them to cancel their involvement.

On the other hand, Lucian had said that it was Cynthia’s goal to create a scandal with the help of the attack on the post office, and now, thinking about it, it seemed to be obvious that mentioned plan was coming into action and Sabrina had indeed a place in it.

Will looked to the side, swallowing his nervousness. Sabrina had been honest with him, and now there he was, plotting on lying to her, or at least withholding a great deal of important information from her. No gentleman would ever do that.

He sighed. He should tell her and he was going to tell her. But not there, it was not the right place. Biting his tongue, he finally faced the psychic again, who had already started to notice his distress, but hadn’t asked yet, giving him the time to prepare. “After breakfast...could we go somewhere private? There are a few things I think I need to tell you...”

~~~~~~~

Silently, the woman stopped after leaving the room, closing the door behind her so quiet that no one inside noticed it. However, she didn’t depend on the absence of noise. Everyone had seen her enter, if she had wanted to stay shrouded in darkness and mystery, like usual, one could almost dare to say, she would have done it the right way. Now the only thing that was left for her was to wait. Jenny did not need to know about her new pursuers, nor was there any need for Lucian to know about this change in plan. If she would ever consecrate him, it could wait until their trip to Indigo was over, until the news of their break-up had reached Sinnoh. Briefly, Cynthia wondered why she had forced Lance to take care of any overseas reporters that might have had the chance to spread the news, when she had wanted to embarrass Lucian, to break up with him. When nearly everything she had done there had either the purpose of humiliating Indigo’s league or of finally breaking up with the man who cared more about his books than his girlfriend and had managed to ignore her for too long, not to mention that he had ‘forgotten’ her birthday and their anniversary, just because of some stupid book exhibition...

Cynthia sighed deeply. The more she thought about it, the more hate rose within her. While she did not want Lance to take up the place as her boyfriend, she knew it would do Lucian right to see her happily together with another man. Maybe then he would recognise his mistake. His mistake to disregard her and, in the end, to believe her that she would come back to him. No. She would never come back.

Growling, Cynthia was suddenly startled when she noticed new thoughts rising in the mind of the weaker psychic. He wasn’t going to tell...no, he just couldn’t!

Cynthia looked back to the door, not sure if she would burst in and stop this flaw in her plan immediately, but then, she relaxed. Who cared if he told her about her powers? There was no chance that she could harm the Sinnoh champ...not as if she would try that, anyway.

Cynthia ran one hand through her hair before closing her eyes and walking down the stairs in silence. It was unlikely that those two would ever bother her. It was a bit sad, though, as they seemed to be such a beautiful couple, and if her plan went on correctly, they would be the main focus of all the blame. It was pitiful.

Cynthia looked back, swallowing. Maybe it was more than just pitiful. Maybe it was wrong.

~~~~~~~

Sabrina had heard and experienced a lot in her life already, especially a lot of myths and rumours regarding psychic powers. She had thought she had literally seen everything, but after the conversation with Will, she had to calm herself down for a moment and settle her thoughts, not to mention her standing up hair. She hadn’t told Will, but she was not only surprised, but also slightly scared. Normally, she could feel the presence of every psychic around her, at least if said psychic had knowledge of his powers and was able to work with them, reason why it taken her so long to notice Will’s powers. It had a lot to do with subconsciousness and awareness, and the fact that before his intense training, Will’s only ability had been a teleport of inanimate things, a skill so tiny that it could slip her mind. After all, when one was around other, weaker psychics all day, the mind could get used to the constant presence of other sources of powers. Maybe that was also the reason why she hadn’t felt Cynthia’s powers before... No, Sabrina shook her head. That was not the explanation. She had tried to identify the champion’s mind from all the others, as soon as Will had told her about Lucian’s revealing, but it had been a fruitless attempt. And that meant either that Lucian had lied, or, and Sabrina started to shudder, that there had finally been one psychic found that was stronger than her.

She was scared.

Startled when Will put his hand on hers, Sabrina looked up. She had been nervous already when he wished to be alone with her, even more nervous when he had invited her to the little restaurant from earlier again, and just ordering coffee for both of them, with Sabrina resisting and insisting on having tea, again. There were just too many kinds to choose from there, especially the special teas produced in the mountains...

But she had never expected her whole view of the world to be shaken.

“Will, this...” She let one hand run through her hair in a nervous fashion, tousling and splitting the ends even more. Sabrina shook her head. “This is not good. Not good at all.”

“I’ve expected this.” Will sounded much calmer than she was, but he didn’t know about the pecking order in the psychic society. Sabrina had been the leader until then, without doubt, yet, if one psychic stronger than her had truly been found, that position was in dire danger. Sabrina gulped. She just couldn’t let that happen. She had trained for so long, literally gave her soul for the authority over Saffron’s gym and its psychics, she would not give up that easily. Hadn’t Will said that Cynthia had kept her powers hidden from the public? Now why had she done something that peculiar? It didn’t make any sense...

Will shrugged. He had wondered about it, too, but he had assumed that it was simply a quirk to keep paparazzi away, as the Sinnoh champ had most likely enough of those already hushing around her. However, that didn’t make much sense either, as Sabrina had proven that she could very well keep the majority of reporters away with exactly those powers, as most unwanted guests knew she had a special treatment for films. He should ask her how the trick worked, Will mused inwardly.

Sabrina shook her head. This was getting way out of her hand and sadly, she did not know any way out of it, either. They had promised Cynthia to search for Lucian’s Espeon now and even knowing that everything was probably a farce, leading to something more dreadful, they couldn’t just snuggle out without a good explanation. And there wasn’t any.

She sighed. “Well, I guess we just have to wait and see now.”

Will nodded, but something was still on his mind. Something that then, at least in his opinion, made a lot more sense. It was just a question of whether Sabrina agreed with him... “Now that we know that Cynthia is psychic...how much bigger did the probability get that she indeed mind-controls Lance, hm?” He allowed himself a smirk, a rare sight for someone as polite as him. At the same time, he couldn’t fight the feeling that his curiosity and mistrust had triumphed over Sabrina’s rationality.

Sabrina sighed, suppressing an angrier growl, swallowing it with a sip of her tea. “They didn’t get any higher, Will. I already told you what is needed to control Lance the way he is right now. Complete knowledge of all of his actions, thoughts, behavioural characteristics, etc, etc... you can’t seriously tell me you believe Cynthia has a book of miracles in her suitcase where every scene in his life is written down, telling her what he would do, say and think. Please, Will...” She rolled her eyes. “Stay sane.”

“Not easy around you and all of that psychic stuff.” He winked at her, weakening his words with a well-placed sip of his own coffee. “Although...” He turned serious again, facing her directly. “Isn’t it a bit weird that Cynthia is psychic, has a plan to ruin Indigo’s league and then, boom, our champion turns unreasonable? Not as if he was before, but this just took the cake, didn’t it kinda?” Will paused, looking at his nearly empty cup. “Not to mention that Cynthia is again directly involved. It’s her who Lance hanging around now. And well, you said that a psychic who has control over someone needs to stay around him all day, and that is what Cynthia does right now, isn’t it?”

“Lance wasn’t around when we met her in the dining room...” Sabrina mused, not able to hide her smile.

Will sighed, putting his hands behind his head. His girlfriend was right, Lance hadn’t been with Cynthia back then. But then again, hadn’t Sabrina also said that any hint of the former relationship would destroy the efficiancy of the dark attack? And maybe Cynthia had viewed the risk that one of them would have mentioned Claire- not to mention that said woman was seated in the same room as the one the conversation took place in, as being too high, and so, she hadn’t taken Lance with her. On the other hand, that meant that Cynthia had to be a dark psychic indeed. And that was just not possible. Or at least Sabrina thought so. But she had also not noticed Cynthia’s powers, so there was a chance that she was now wrong again...

He blinked. Just now, it had crossed his mind that he had forgotten to ask about one particular important detail. One that he was quite sure Sabrina knew about, no matter how dark the matter was. “How do you get somebody mind-controlled, anyway? What’s the technique behind?”

Sabrina snickered. She really had to snicker, each time she started this lesson with her students, no matter what time it was, or what students she had sitting in front of her. And it wasn’t different either with her boyfriend sitting opposite of her. “Well, both mind-control and mind tainting require intimidate physical contact.”

Will blushed and Sabrina literally burst out with laughter.

“Oh, dear, of course that does not mean that said persons have to sleep with each other.” She snickered, putting a finger to her lip and teasing him with her winking. “Though I have to admit it is one efficient way of getting somebody under mind control, though if you can gather the necessary concentration during these antics, I doubt it...” She continued to snicker. “A simple kiss is intimate enough.”

“Okay...” Will couldn’t suppress the shudder that went down his spine, not to mention how uneasy he felt around the topic. If a kiss was enough...

He sighed helplessly. “We’ll start searching for the Espeon tomorrow no matter what. It’s not as if we have another chance, right?”

Sabrina nodded, not commenting the sudden and unexpected increase of self-assertion of her boyfriend.

End of Chapter 6, Part 3

Crazy Packers Fan
July 29th, 2009, 01:10 AM
I'm happy to see lots of Cynthia in this chapter. Apparently she wants to pay back Lucian for some reason, although I don't ever remember Lucian doing anything to her. That's just typical of her, though.

It seems all is set up for Sabrina and Will to clash with Hunter J, that's where this is headed, I think. Right now I am wondering most about Cynthia & Lucian's relationship and how that will turn out... hopefully for the best.

Psychic*Absol
July 29th, 2009, 09:33 AM
^.~ Think back of how Lucian treated her during the first chapters (you know, with ignoriring her beauty and his general behaviour), and then, re-read this "of finally breaking up with the man who cared more about his books than his girlfriend and had managed to ignore her for too long, not to mention that he had ‘forgotten’ her birthday and their anniversary, just because of some stupid book exhibition..."
Cynthia is angry at Lucian because he kept ignoring her and let their relationship go down the drain, so that's why she wants revenge. ^^

Yep, you're right, there's gonna be at least one fight Will& Sabrina vs. Hunter J. ^^
(I'm quite surprised that *you*, of all people, worry about their relationship, considering what you wrote in your fic...*coughs* 0=) )

delongbi
August 9th, 2009, 10:26 PM
I think Sabrina overreacted just a bit, lol. I almost started yelling at my computer when I Will was considering not telling Sabrina. That would have been very pooh-headed.


Cynthia looked back, swallowing. Maybe it was more than just pitiful. Maybe it was wrong.


Whoa. Cynthia, feeling regret? Where did that come from?

Something that kinda bothered me was Sabrina's very different reactions to bad situations. She pretty much explodes when she thinks she will be blamed for losing Espeon, when it seems incredibly unlikely for others to even blame her. Then she takes Will's explanation of Cynthia relatively well.

Other than that, decent chapter. Keep up the writing! :)

Psychic*Absol
August 10th, 2009, 10:01 AM
I think Sabrina overreacted just a bit, lol. I almost started yelling at my computer when I Will was considering not telling Sabrina. That would have been very pooh-headed. XD I noticed that, too, that's why I changed it in the end (originally, Will wasn't going to tell her and it wasn't suposed to be revealed to Sabrina that Cynthia's psychic too until the next part.)
Whoa. Cynthia, feeling regret? Where did that come from? =3 Well, my Cynthia unlike CPF's still has some human features.
Something that kinda bothered me was Sabrina's very different reactions to bad situations. She pretty much explodes when she thinks she will be blamed for losing Espeon, when it seems incredibly unlikely for others to even blame her. Then she takes Will's explanation of Cynthia relatively well.Hm, I can see your point. Though I think if Sabrina hadn't taken Will's news that easily, she would have broken down completely, and now that wouldn't have been good at all for my fic. >>
And is it really that unlikely to get blamed? She's a psychic, a gym leader, and she couldn't stop a Pokemon hunter who didn't have any Pokemon with her (and who, besides Sabrina herself and Cynthia knows that Hunter J has a device that can block psychic powers? =3 Nobody, that is.)
Other than that, decent chapter. Keep up the writing! :) ^^ Thanks. My beta already has the next chapter, so yeah..it should be up sometime this century....

Psychic*Absol
September 8th, 2009, 12:28 PM
*coughs* *does not comment* ...bad thing is, I'll be on holiday for the next week, so the next chapter might be even more delayed. >.< Sorries. But heads up, we're coming closer to the final AND the end of this fic. XD (If that's a good thing...)

7. Chapter, Part 1: Pursuit

It was already late at night when Will finally went to bed. Sheepishly, he glanced at the side when he opened the door. Two days earlier, he had spent the night in the very room next to his, and the night before, he hadn’t spent the night alone. But today was a usual night, as today, nothing extraordinary would happen. Sabrina was already sleeping peacefully, and although she had apologized nervously, he didn’t mind her sleeping in her own bed. After all, that was how it was meant to be. They weren’t that close yet. He giggled quietly. Maybe that would come soon...

Sighing and rubbing his slightly burning eyes as he went into his own hotel room, Will did not notice the shadowy figure that was leaning against the wall. Its wardrobe did not give away its identity, as all it wore was black and nothing. Its hair shined silver in the pale, fading moonlight, its face and eyes unreadable and cold, just a finger with a long fingernail tracing its lips. It moved as gracefully as an elf as it walked through the room, to Will, who had not noticed it yet and so, foolishly, turned his back to it. Moreover, he was sleepy and his attention span was short, his mind nearly in dreamy state already. So he couldn’t even scream when a hand clamped over his eyes from behind, his body turning around violently as a pair of lips closed over his own.

~~~~~~~

Sabrina took a deep breath, feeling the fresh, and already warm spring air over her skin. It was early in the morning, just a bit over 6 AM and no one else-at least none of the other gym leaders-were awake, though she had seen both Lance, Cynthia and Karen lingering around the halls, all more or less awake and not all that interested in talking with her. The only one she had hoped to see awake and had yet been not awake was Will. She had to get him out of bed herself, surprised by the fact that his hotel room door had been left open, not forcing her to teleport into the room. He had been still lying on his tousled sheets, half buried under his cushions, still in his usual clothes. Sabrina giggled at the memory, as she leaned out of the window, waiting for Will to get dressed again. Apparently, she had tired him out a bit too much last evening...

A slight tapping surprised her and she turned around to see Will leaning in the door frame, his arms crossed over each other, eyes closed and looking thoughtful, unusually thoughtful and serious. She raised an eyebrow, but kept silent. Both of them had every reason to be careful that day. Who knew what Cynthia planned on doing? It was unlikely that she would resort to physical violence, rather using psychical weapons. Maybe in every meaning of the word.

“Can we go now?” Sabrina asked politely, snuggling to his shoulder. Will opened his eyes and smiled at her, stroking her cheek with a single finger.

“Well, I have indeed packed, so yes, we can go.” He hadn’t brought much, as both of them hoped that they wouldn’t be searching for more than a few days, not a week, like the last trip into the wilderness had lasted. After all, just like last time, they did not have endless amount of time. Cynthia and Lucian were going back to Sinnoh in a few days and then, the case had to be finally closed, whether they had found the Espeon or the police had. Sabrina closed her eyes. Someone had to find it in the end, that much was obvious. Otherwise...well, if Lucian’s Espeon truly stayed lost, and the knowledge that this had happened in Indigo, because of an Indigo gym leader became public... Sabrina shook her head. No, she didn’t even want to know what would happen to her then. Maybe this was indeed the scandal that Cynthia had wanted to cause. Yet then, it wouldn’t make any sense for her to employee her and Will, of all people, to search for the Espeon. If this had truly been Cynthia’s plan, she would have kept silent about it, at least as long as there was a chance that the Espeon might still turn up. No, this didn’t make sense at all.

But like Will had said yesterday, it wasn’t as if they had a chance to change anything anymore. It was all a question of fate and coincidence.

Will coughed politely as they went to the stairs and stopped. Sabrina, surprised by this behaviour, stopped as well, staring at her boyfriend’s back. First, he stared downwards at his shoes, unsure if he should address her, hesitating for a long time, before he finally turned around and faced her. “I know that this mission is quite important for you...that we have to find this Espeon or else you get into trouble...so...I asked one of my colleagues to accompany us. You know, the more the merrier.”

Sabrina just stared at him. To say that she was surprised would be a great understatement. She was rather shocked. She didn’t want anyone to accompany them. It may be foolish and kind of hypocritical to think of this trip as another chance for them to be alone for a while, to spend some time just as a couple, when in the end, much depended on it, all of it being a rather serious business with a champion involved. Yet...was it wrong to wish for closeness? To live your feelings out? Sabrina felt betrayed and at the same time, she felt guilty. Maybe Will was right...

She sighed. “Well, who did you bring?”

Will smirked at her. “Someone who can take care of psychic Pokemon just as well as we do...in every meaning of the word.”

Sabrina blinked at his words, but when she heard the weak tapping of high heels from down the stairs, she braced herself for an unwelcoming welcome. Since she doubted that Will would actually be as foolhardy as to invite Cynthia for this camping adventure- Sabrina doubted that any spoiled champion would survive in the woods without his personal servants-it meant that the only other known high heel lover of the league would come with them. “My, you psychics sure get up lately. Had a lot of work to do last night, hm?”

Karen.

Sabrina couldn’t hide her growl. While she was getting used to Karen’s general presence, that was no reason to stretch her endurance that much. A darkling...what had Will been thinking?! Of course, Karen could take care of psychics...meaning that it was easy for her to knock them out. And not only Pokemon, human psychics as well. Will had just brought the one person that Sabrina was sure of was dangerous to both of them. If not for her frivolous attitude that might awake her long hidden feeling of jealousy, then for the team of dark Pokemon she most likely carried with her.

“You don’t mind her hanging around here, do you?” Sabrina raised an eyebrow. Did Will just lose his common sense or what? If it wasn’t obvious from her tensed, stiff body, then for the fact that she just kept standing away from both Will and Karen, who had walked up the stairs to meet up with them.

Clenching her fists, Sabrina took a deep breath, looked up and sighed. It was useless to argue now, as after all, Karen had obviously no intention of leaving them anymore, and Will, being the trigger for this unexpected twist of happenings, was no real help for her arguments, either. He would probably just accuse her of being biased and selfish. Of course, he hadn’t been a psychic for so long, so he wasn’t afraid of darklings like she was.

His shoulder didn’t hurt each time she remembered the fangs of a Mightyena.

“Well, I’ll stand her for the time being.” Sabrina mumbled, maybe a bit darker and angrier than she had intended. Better to not irritate the darkling too much, for she could overpower both her and Will easily. Maybe it hadn’t even been Will’s fault. He was too much of a gentleman- and had too less of a backbone to deny a woman’s wish, and Karen could easily blackmail him, as easily as she could blackmail Sabrina herself. The situation had ended in a stalemate, at least for two of them.

“Fine, then.” Will actually smiled, making Sabrina fume silently even more. “Let’s go, no?” He smiled at both girls and took Karen’s arm, shocking Sabrina even more, who did not really feel jealous at first, just rather off surprise and being catapulted into the wrong scenario.

“What?!” She was even too surprised to scold at Will, having frozen in place as the two elite trainers walked down the stairs.

“Well, are you coming?” Will asked, turning his head around to see and wink at her. Sabrina blinked, staring into space and really not getting what was going wrong again. Just being sure that something was wrong.

“Yeah, hm, I am coming...” She mumbled, following the two with a slight distance, body stuff and mind on alert, keen on observing Will a bit more than usual.

~~~~~~~

From her hotel room, a lone, beautiful woman was watching. Her eyes, grey and lifeless, were staring straight at the three trainers walking into the woods, two of them walking next to each other and chatting happily, the first easily to be recognised by his formal clothing, the second by the complete opposite.

And then there was the woman following them, trudging slowly and appearing to be a bit miserable, a mood noticeable even from the distance that kept the woman apart from the group going on a new adventure.

Cynthia bit her lip, wondering if she should interfere. She had not expected another darkling to be around; neither had she expected said darkling to get in the way of her plan. Yet... Cynthia closed her eyes, walking away from the window and waiting in the shadows of the curtains for a moment. Karen was not hindering her. She had her own plans. Obviously. Glancing back at the three, the Sinnoh champion wondered how much more the young love of the psychics could take before it would break apart.

Shrugging, she sat down on the bed again. She had taken enough humiliation from Lucian. Maybe she should advise Sabrina to do as she had done. She didn’t wish for another woman to be broken because of men.

~~~~~~~

Sabrina knew how it felt to be excluded. More than half of her life, she had been excluded. Always because of her powers. Always because of the mysterious things she could do, mysterious to those who never tried to get to understand them better. If it hadn’t been for her powers, if she hadn’t inherited them from her father, she would have been a usual girl, a normal girl living a normal life, going through normal puberty, getting a boyfriend, a job, maybe as a psychologist or at a grocery store or as a journalist or something along those lines. But she had her powers, and had trained them night and day, and thus, she had been different from everyone else and everyone else was scared of her. Too scared to dare to go near her. So, Sabrina supposed she shouldn’t be surprised by the feeling of hurt from being excluded again.

Just that this time, it was people like her excluding her. People with supernatural powers of their own.

Granted, Karen was no psychic, but darklings abused psychics in other, dreadful ways, not in this highly social way. She supposed it was in their nature to be a bit blunter and, well, darker. Karen had revealed herself to be not only frivolous, but also as impolite as one elite could get without being rocketed out of the office the moment she took a step into it. And worse, the person she had believed to be more disgusted by this more than ever didn’t even care.

Of course, she was talking about Will, for she, while having taken on as much politeness as needed, too, was strongly bothered by Karen’s behaviour. And so, in conclusion, about Will’s as well.

He had started to ignore her. During the first day- yes, they were already on the walk for more than a day, but Sabrina had started to lose her sense of time again. It hadn’t been so noticeable, yet now, the loneliness started to bore itself through her heart and soul, hurting her. It was not jealousy that she felt- she knew that for sure, as the feeling she had towards Karen was different from the one she had had when she had seen Will celebrating together with Janine after their double battle. This feeling was more like deep anger, deep mistrust and the inner feeling that something was wrong. She was only unaware of what was wrong. Aside from the obvious fact that Will was spending more time with the darkling then with her now.

It was only talking. Nothing more. Maybe that was why her jealousy hadn’t kicked in, Sabrina could only speculate. Jealousy wasn’t a feeling she was used to. For all of her former, emotionless life, she had failed to grasp the concept of ownership, because she had not seen the value of material things. Of course, she had been, well, kind of obsessed with a few things- her doll collection came immediately to mind. But aside from it... She had never felt the need to long for other people’s belongings, their wealth...yes, she had taken the Fighting Dojo’s gym leading rights from them, but that was nothing physical. And if there was one thing that she could have felt jealous about, even back then, it might have been psychical strength, but only that.

In conclusion, she had never really learned to be jealous and only now, when something existed that she really held dear, something unique, something she didn’t want to lose for all in the world, she suddenly had to deal with jealousy. Another new emotion on her ever going list that was giving her so much trouble and made her wish herself back to the old times, when everything was just an easy game of authority and training.

Sabrina shook her head, watching the two as they decided- they alone, for the third wheel on the bicycle had been long forgotten, to take a break at a small clearing. It was a nice, sunny day and if there hadn’t been the small detail of being a group of three, Sabrina mused she would have enjoyed this very much. Instead, she stared at the two elite trainers, observing them as closely as she could without grabbing their attention. It was getting warmer every day and she had trouble with the sun shining directly into her face, though she could clearly see the conversation on the other end of their resting place. Again, her instincts told her something was wrong, but she could not figure out what. Her first impulse was to assume that something had been done to Will, but she could not think of what that might have been and who might have caused it. Surely not Karen, who was, strangely enough, acting a bit off, too. It was not usual for her to talk so friendly and casual to a psychic. Sabrina tensed. Maybe it was not only one of them being manipulated, but both. In that case, she had to be very, very careful indeed.

Sighing, the psychic came to the dreadful conclusion that her list of problems was growing with every day she spent there in the Indigo Plateau. First, it had been acceptable emotional trouble, for while her crush on Will had indeed caused some inner tension, that strain had been more positive than anything. Then the stay in the hospital and a month-long coma. Not all that good for her already shaky health. The psychic ran her hand through her hair. The mix-up of the egg and the statue seemed to be a minor problem now and still, it had high priority. That probably meant she had been in a state of continuous alert for almost a week, a strain certainly not good for her nerves. If the alcohol hadn’t killed her brain cells, this had. All counted in, it was a surprise she hadn’t faltered yet, but maybe, just maybe, Cynthia was right with her assumption about Sabrina’s stamina.

“Will...Karen...” The gym leader started, well aware of the fact that the chances of them actually listening to her were slim. There was a topic that had to be discussed, no matter how unfriendly the response might be. “I don’t think it is beneficial for us to keep on wandering aimlessly around. I...admit that it is a bit hard to search for a Pokemon without any real clue, but...” The psychic hesitated. She had no confirmation yet that her comrades were listening, but if she waited for a verification, she might as well spend the whole afternoon waiting and staring into space. Or rather into the faces of a man and a woman opposite of her, the former being still very much in her heart, the latter being the stick in her heart, and their friendly talking nearly destroying her heart.

“We cannot just continue it this way. It’s no use. It’s already been more than a day and we haven’t found as much as a clue of the Espeon.” Sabrina stood up and took her cup of tea, as thankfully, with her obsession with the beverage; she knew enough about herbs to make her own, of course non-poisonous and even well-tasting one. She didn’t know what Will and Karen were drinking, but she wasn’t caring for one half of the duo, anyway. And the other half should theoretically know how to get poison out of his body, but with training being the last thing on his mind for a while...

“So what?” Karen smiled viciously at the other psychic, one hand hugging her hip, the fingers of her other tracing Will’s neck who had followed Karen’s gaze over to the gym leader, keeping a stoic, calm face even around the obvious flirtations of the darkling. “It’s not as if Cynthia and Lucian cannot leave without this Pokemon and get it sent on later.” Karen grinned. “Or do you think a little delay could cost your head? How sad...I wonder how well you would fare as a psychic without your most important organ, the brain, isn’t it? Sad that you depend on it so much... the outside counts, too, it sure does, little Brina.” Sabrina rolled her eyes. She knew what Karen meant, but hell would rather freeze over than her wearing clothes of the same ‘category’, if that was the right word, as Karen’s.

That, or other...

Sabrina shook her head. Now was not the time to think of future plans.

“Sorry to prove you wrong, Karen dear,” Sabrina bit her own tongue when saying that, and yet forced herself to mimic Karen’s snicker, though she herself had no real idea, just a dim feeling where the sudden need for competition came from. “But I fear the consequences of the Espeon staying stolen are direr than you can imagine. For once, it’s not only my head that may roll...” Glancing uneasily at the side, Sabrina wondered just how much she could tell these two, given how friendly Will was suddenly with Karen. “It could also cause the whole of Indigo some trouble.”

Karen raised an eyebrow. “You mean because Cynthia might blame it on Indigo?” The darkling smiled. “Oh, don’t look so surprised. I know all of your little theories. Your boyfriend has quite the loose tongue, my...”

Karen was right, Sabrina looked surprised. Very surprised. Her eyes wide open, her face pale, her fingers grasping onto a small branch of the log she was sitting on, she could only describe her feelings with one word. Betrayal.

Will had told Karen all about Sabrina’s hypotheses, about her speculations and, worst, her fears. Her fears of this turning out to be a matter of political affairs, of national wide importance. Of it working itself up to a greater dispute between Indigo and Sinnoh, maybe even with rumours of all of it planned out by Indigo turning up. In a world where Pokemon battling was a legal and an accepted way of making money, where the strongest ones held more political power in their hands than the elected governors and mayors, Pokemon were no more pets, but weapons and, to a degree, capital, a stolen Pokemon was more than a peccadillo, the very reason why Team Rocket kept being the number one threat for Kanto, aside from their obvious hunger for power, of course. And now it concerned the Pokemon of an Elite. Sabrina couldn’t even imagine the consequences of this, and she didn’t really want to, either. She just wanted this to be over as soon as possible.

“Will...” Sabrina glared at the other psychic trainer, wondering what was up his mind. He had changed and Sabrina was fairly sure that this change was not natural. She just had to find out what had happened.

He stared at her, cold, emotionless, and yet there was a difference between him and her former self. She couldn’t put her finger on it, couldn’t name it, but it was there, like a cloudy shadow hanging over him. Sabrina frowned. Maybe there was more behind this description than met the eye...

“Why have you told her this? I thought we would keep this secret...” She sounded...well, she sounded offended. She had thought she could trust him. Could she now? Or was it not his fault? Her fingers were trembling.

Will sneered. “I see no need to keep my secrets from someone I can trust.” For s split second, he glanced over to Karen, and Sabrina thought she noticed a small glimmer in both of their eyes. “And Karen has shown me that she is trustworthy.”

“Trustworthy...” Sabrina sighed. Whoever thought that Karen, of all people, was honest had to be very naive...well, nothing new considering it was Will... “I hope you know what you’re doing, dear...” Closing her eyes, the psychic stood up to throw some more wood in the fire when she froze, her senses picking up a change in the direction of the wind. And before she could grasp the situation, all three of them were startled by the sudden storm forming over their heads, leafs and dirt circling around them after being picked up by the wind. Sabrina hid her face with her arms, afraid of being hurt by little stones that were now in the miniature tornado as well. Fortunate for her, she didn’t see Will holding Karen in his arms to protect her.

After a few seconds, the wind was not the only thing that grabbed the attention of the three trainers. The noise of an engine, getting louder and louder, and the unusual sound of something sucking in air were around them, or rather, above them. Sabrina glanced through her closed hands at the sky. She could only see dust and in-between the brown cloud, something darker, something almost black.

“I don’t want to question our luck, but don’t you think it is a bit unusual for an airship to appear in the middle of nowhere?” Karen asked, her voice fighting to gain enough power to reach Sabrina’s ears, as Will was next to the darkling and hadn’t any trouble hearing her.

“What do you mean?” Sabrina hoped her own voice was strong enough to fight the growing wind, because for once, she was really interested in Karen’s thesis.

“Well, how big are the chances that this is Lance’s newest plaything? Not high, I think, in contrast to his bank account and ego size. And who else has an airship that big and modern? Only our dear J, at least from what I could gather from her international arrest warrant.”

Sabrina couldn’t hide her surprise, though hating herself for giving away a degrading emotion in front of the darkling. “International police forces are searching for her?!” ‘And you’ve looked at the files?’ She didn’t voice her second question, for it would give away her own lack of knowledge of the matter behind. She had neglected to do any research on their enemy, however, Sabrina wasn’t even sure anymore if J was their, or rather, her main enemy.

Karen nodded, her hair whipping around her shoulders wildly. “Well, she’s been on the public enemy list of Sinnoh for god knows how many ages and was recently added to Johto’s one. I think that counts as being internationally searched for.”

Sabrina, ignoring the sharp edge in Karen’s remark, shuddered at the sudden light that had started to shine over J. She was certainly not a newbie villain, nor was she to be underestimated. ‘As if my problems were too small for fate’s taste until now...’ The psychic mused miserably.

The airship had soon left the space above their heads, yet it was clear that it was going to land, considering how low in the air it had been. This, in conclusion, could only mean one thing: J was still searching for the Espeon as well, as otherwise; she would have no reason to leave the safe air space. Besides, she was still in Indigo, not having dashed off to wherever her client was seated, so apparently she hadn’t managed to catch the psychic Pokemon.

Sabrina started to run, wishing she could teleport right to the landing location of the airship, but finding herself to be unable to do this. One reason, of course, was the presence of Karen, but thankfully, the elite trainer had at least the grace to lower her own abilities a bit, which allowed Sabrina to be free of any headaches and shivers caused by dark power.

Still, she hoped for Karen not to own any Mightyena...

“My, my, you like to get into the action soon, don’t you?” Karen laughed, her arm still clung around Will. She had been momentarily startled by the sudden departure of the psychic, but had covered it soon with a laugh and a playful toss of her silvery hair.

Sabrina turned around. As much as she hated having the dark trainer around, it was better to have some awful assistance than none at all. “That might be the one and only chance we have to get a hold of her, so we’re better not wasting it.” She directed this at the two behind her, as they were far behind her already and didn’t seem to have any intention of following the psychic soon. Sabrina hadn’t really wanted to take the role of leader there, as she had wanted this to be an extended date exclusive for her and Will, and had, in no way, anticipated Karen’s coming along. Then, if everything had happened according to her planning, there would be no reason to really worry about the person in charge. And no, not because it was clear that she would dominate over Will...

Karen glanced over Will, tracing his lip with her sharp, black fingernail. “We should better go and save her backside in case she gets herself into a mess again, shouldn’t we, my dolly?” Will nodded without words.

~~~~~~~

Slowly, the woman sat down, blinking as she adjusted her shining black sunglasses. In truth, they were not only sunglasses, but a device filled with so many gadgets that any spy movie agent was about to get jealous. Silently touching the right side of the metallic frame, a holographic map, blinking in neon green, appeared in front of her cold blue eyes. Quickly, she scanned over the map covering nearly all of Indigo Mountains, lines of the blinking light detaching themselves from the artificial level they had created and forming into valleys and mountain peaks. The 3-D picture was not complete, as her henchmen hadn’t managed to download all of the needed material from local satellites yet. Illegally, of course. Satellite maps of Indigo City were not open to the public because of the league headquarters, and she didn’t even bother with asking for them kindly because she knew, even though she wasn’t as well known there as she was to Sinnoh’s upper class, someone would do his or her research and find out. Better let the dirty work be done by someone who was renounceable, like her henchmen.

Hunter J, or ‘Jenny’, as her by far closest client liked to call her, much to Js indignation, ignored the gaps in graph, concentrating of the little white blinking spot that moved slowly over the plain, following what seemed to be an even smaller spot of purple dirt, although it was in truth the psychic signature of a particular special Espeon. Special because it had been raised and evolved in wilderness, never been forced to follow a trainer’s order, never even been touched by a human’s hand. That was, until she, the greatest hunter ever known to Sinnoh, had caught it in the deep, inaccessible wood of Ilex Forest, and pocketed quite the nice amount of money for it from the champion of Sinnoh. J closed her eyes. While all that mattered to her was the money, she had truly started to question her client’s motives. Whereas a wild Espeon was as rare as a silver Eevee and such, the general value of it was not to be enquired, it was more a question of why it was so important to the champion of all people. J could imagine an endless amount of paying clients that would have loved to get the Espeon, clients that had a reasonable want for it, breeders or collectors came to mind, yet she couldn’t imagine why the champion with her already well-trained, full team of six monstrosities had wanted it so badly. So badly to go out of her way and cooperate with probably the second most wanted villain in Sinnoh, only next to the mysterious unknown leader of Team Galactic.

And it was not only cooperation, it was...more.

J squeezed her eyes shut, shuddering inwardly at the sheer memory of the events that had happened...what, only half a year ago? It seemed as if everything had just been a day ago, and then, her whole life being thrown into a loop, one she hadn’t managed to get out of even then. She had never been out of Sinnoh, and in a matter of six months, she had been to both Kanto and Johto. The only region missing was Hoenn now, and knowing Cynthia, it was only a matter of time before J would be assigned her first mission there. And it was useless trying to prepare for that special assignment, as J had the feeling that Cynthia had more various ideas than the usual eccentrics she worked with. Which was saying a lot, considering what background J worked with.

J blinked. Next to the white circle, or, more exactly, right beneath it, another purple spot, though significantly smaller than both the white one and the first violet one, had appeared, an equally small black spot next to it. J frowned, but even someone who might know her well- honestly said, there weren’t many that could fall into this category, that wouldn’t have noticed the gesture from afar.

The woman stared ahead, going through several scenarios in her head. She hadn’t been expecting any interruption; at least Cynthia had promised that no one would disrupt her, something J had not doubted. If the champion wanted something not to happen, said thing just wasn’t going to happen, and if she wanted earth to stop rotating. The obvious- no one without a serious aim would venture into those woods, involvement of these people- a psychic and a dark one even, was unexpected.

J leaned back, though her body stiffened, her fingers playing around the lonely Pokeball at her left side. It was a miracle she had managed to get all of her Pokemon back, but again, she had to thank her unwanted lover for it. Cynthia had not only used the police’s trust in her, but also the naivety of her boyfriend who had volunteered to take care of the Pokemon for the time being. Astounding that he believed in her that much, after they had broken up under more than mysterious circumstances, but again, this was only a trivial detail on J’s mind. Insignificant compared to the thorn in both her heart and mind at the thought that she had seriously needed Cynthia’s help to get her Pokemon back and complete this mission...

“Harry?” She spoke up, her voice confident and cold, demanding. The pudgy man saluted as fast as he could, almost knocking his hat off his head. “Get me the off board camera. I want to take a look at the intruders.” He nodded and within a few seconds, with the simulation her glasses produced still on, J looked down at the main monitor in front of her seat, the picture as clear and full of details as if she was hanging out of the ship and watching the three with her very own eyes, though this method was a lot more safer.

J’s eyes widened. She recognised the people down there, all of them, not only the one she had already met before. Of course, the one she had already encountered was the psychic gym leader, who hadn’t proven to be so much of a threat, just a bit more annoying than her usual enemies. The other two...they were more likely the ones to worry about. J hadn’t really bothered with reading all of the local newspapers, just the articles that obviously concerned her, and yet she wasn’t in the dark about the new elite four trainers William Bender and Karen Schwartz. She had seen them in the yellow press magazines her henchmen enjoyed to read. Most of them writing about Karen though and the ones with Will just read by those henchmen that were a pain to keep.

On the one hand, J was glad to know who she was dealing with. On the other hand, it didn’t make her job any easier. Just harder.

Clenching her fists, she remembered the fight with Lucian. Her poor Pokemon had been beat down, hadn’t had any chance against the better trained ones of the elite four trainer of Sinnoh. Yet, that had been a battle without her, and her, let’s call them technical advantages. Slowly rubbing over the sleek metal of her bracelet, she knew she had the moment of surprise there. These three didn’t know about the little toy of hers, only about the necklace that blocked psychic powers. That should be enough to overwhelm at least one of them, and J was sure the other two, the elite trainer especially, would prove to be challenging on her/his own. Though...only as long as their Pokemon weren’t bronze-coloured shiny statues in her collection for sale.

Closing her eyes, J stood up. “Land the ship.” She opened her eyes again, them being as cold as humanly possible. “I’ll deal with them.”

She wouldn’t allow anyone alive to ruin what may be her biggest coup.

~~~~~~~

Sabrina could hardly hide her frustration as the small group of three finally reached the airship. Since it had high-performance engines, unlike them with their tiny, flimsy legs, the distance it needed for landing was longer than the one they could walk in the same time. And so they would obviously end up too late if J had indeed found the Espeon and this was her reason for letting the airship land. All of this would have been no problem if she had been able to teleport. But because of a certain darkling, she couldn’t, and so, they lost precious time. Yes, she couldn’t deny her bias, she couldn’t deny her hate, hate that had only increased because of Will’s strange behaviour around Karen, but so far, the only thing she could blame on Karen was the weakening of her powers, not the sudden coldness between Will and her. For that, she had no proof.

And right now, she had no time for it.

A strong gust of wind blew her backwards and she had to hide her face yet again from sand tbehind her, both clouded by the grains of sand. And then, silence.

Silence, except for the odd flapping sound of a pair of wings. Sabrina turned her head around and almost jumped back in surprise when she saw a woman, a woman well known to her, standing on a Salamence. She had appeared as if out of thin air, as if she had teleporting powers of her own, yet Sabrina doubted that. She would have felt J’s powers and even if there were some she had overseen- after the experience with Cynthia, it was frightful and still possible, Karen was to make sure that any powers were blocked, from friend and foe alike. Sabrina tensed. To J, it didn’t matter whether Karen was there or not, as she could block the psychic’s power anyway. That was a clear advantage for her. On the other hand, she had lost against Lucian in a Pokemon fight, and now, it was not only one elite trainer against her, but two. Plus a gym leader.

Who wished that she was hopefully neither ignored nor left alone to do all the dirty work on her own.

J stared down at the three, stiff, her right arm hidden at her side. Without another word, she withdrew two Pokeballs from the hidden pockets of her coat and didn’t even bother with throwing them far, just letting them reach a certain distance over her head, where all of them opened at the same time, red light exploding in front of the faces of the league trainers. Two Pokemon, tall and monstrous, stood in front of them, all ready to attack. Sabrina braced herself. She didn’t know Drapion’s type, as it looked a bit like a poison and/or bug type, but she wouldn’t put her luck on it. Ariados, while being a Bug and Poison type for certain, had ghost attacks and so, was still even a threat for her. And Salamence was, without doubt, Dragon and Flying type, so her best try was to focus on that Pokemon, yet that would certain prove to be a bit more difficult, since Salamence was the very Pokemon J stood on. She wouldn’t give it up without a fight, as that would mean giving up her main defence. Not to mention that loosing Salamence would mean for J exposing herself to the attacks of their Pokemon, plus loosening the clear status advantage she had, as she stayed up in the air, barely reachable for them.

She could hear a wicked snicker behind and glanced backwards to see, unsurprisingly, Karen hugging her hip with one hand, the other holding a Pokeball up. “You want to bring it on the hard way, girl, don’t you? Then do it, right now.”

Sabrina sighed. Getting Karen excited sure was easy.

J closed her eyes. “Very well.” Glancing sideways, Sabrina noticed an unusual reflection in J’s sunglasses, one that was physically not supposed to be there. She did not have the time and chance to investigate in any further. J nodded silently to her two Pokemon on the ground and both of them jumped forward, ready to attack. With the teeny little detail that neither of the league trainers had a Pokemon out yet!

It should have been an obvious strategy, especially after everything they got to know about J’s cruelty, or at least what information Karen had gathered. Yet it still seemed to be so unbelievable that a trainer would order his Pokemon to attack another trainer on purpose, something forbidden by law since the very first days of Pokemon training, that they, in their foolhardiness, didn’t expect it. But the only rules that applied to Hunter J’s morality were her own, and she had none.

Knowing that she was in the first row of the attacks, so to speak, Sabrina did not try to run back. Instead she dove forward and just as she had expected, both Ariados and Drapion were too caught up in their massive attack that they couldn’t stop to meet, or rather, kill her in midair. Even more, it gave her the chance of attacking J directly, instead of having to fight her way through the two Pokemon, who were taken care of anyway by Will and Karen, or at least she hoped that was the case. She had her doubts about the reliability of these two now, but she had no other choice than to trust them enough to let them guard her backside for the moment. If Karen and Will decided to flee and Drapion and Ariados decided that she was the easier target, which she certainly was, trapped between J and two of her Pokemon, then there was no chance to get out without an unbalanced battle. An unbalanced battle she could very likely loose.

“Come out, Umbreon!”

“You too, Jynx!”

Well, at least they weren’t going to let her go down.

~~~~~~~

J frowned as she was about to order her Salamence to take off into the direction of the wild Espeon. Her plan hadn’t completely worked out as planned, as one of the three trainers had avoided the obvious battle request and had managed to pursuit her directly. While J was sure that she could easily shake her off with her Salamence’s speed, her simple presence opted the danger of her discovering the Espeon first, and there was the possibility of her owning other Pokemon not of the psychic type, which wouldn’t be affected by the necklace then and in conclusion a real danger for her Salamence. While it was strong, a gym leader’s Pokemon was just as strong, too. And the real trouble was still behind and most likely to put up a good fight, too.

“Kadabra, Confusion! Get her down!” J bit her lip in frustration. Just what she needed. This woman really was risking it. Irritating her. And getting both of them in danger. Better put her out of commission sooner than later.

“Salamence, Leer.” There were only so few attacks she could use from her position without jeopardizing her life, but she didn’t just want to use her bracelet just now, trainers were known to freak out and do irresponsible things if they saw their Pokemon in true danger. Not that J cared much about a trainer’s life, but if she had the chance to cause as little uproar as possible, she would rather do that. She had promised her client to get through this as smoothly as she could.

“Kadabra, Barrier!” The shining plate of energy deflected Salamence’s Leer easily. J let a small surprised frown glide onto her face, she hadn’t expected that Kadabra to be that strong. Nevertheless, it wasn’t likely to deflect a dark attack that easily...

“Salamence, Bite!” J stabilized herself on the back of her dragon Pokemon, as this attack required physical contact with the enemy and Salamence could only achieve this by diving down with her on its back. But J was used to that; she had managed to stay on during much more complicated flying manoeuvres. The danger was a constant part of her life as a hunter, and yet she had chosen this way of life on her own, never doubting it.

So, she didn’t even stagger in the least when Salamence’s mighty body nearly made contact with the earth, then it turned around sharply, blowing a whole wall of sand into Kadabra and its trainer’s face. Immediately after distracting them that way- though it was nothing more than a play-off and not a serious attack, which was coming now, it turned around again to face them, this time, opening its huge mouth, showing its sharp, long, dragon-like horrendous teeth.

Sabrina was frozen, completely frozen. Never in her whole life before she had experienced the consequences of a trauma, but in this very moment, in this unfavourable moment, she couldn’t move a single muscle, but simply stare at the throat that was going to be her end. She didn’t know that she was going to die; there was no single thought in her mind but the clear, painful memories of the events that had happened barely a bit over a month ago, with nearly the same attack tearing apart her shoulder, phantom pain making her unable to move.

But thankfully, she had a saviour.

Not the one she might have originally expected, but it was better than nothing.

‘Kadabra!’ Sabrina blinked, a brownish shadow jumped in front of her eyes, intercepting the attack with its body. The force of the Bite attack, though, and Kadabra’s natural vulnerability to it, sent it into the next tree, knocking it out immediately. Sabrina turned slowly around, her fingers still shaking uncontrollably, the fear still in every cell of her body.

“Kadabra...” Finally realizing that the Pokemon had sacrificed itself for her, to keep her from getting injured. While that had been a general good idea, Sabrina was now defenceless. Defenceless in the meaning that Haunter was anything but a decent fighter. And she didn’t dare to attack J psychically, for the consequences of the last attack were still fresh in her mind and her orthopaedist’s bill.

Still, this wasn’t going to stop her. If she managed to prevent J’s misdoing now, it would maybe cost her a few more nerves and sinews, if not, it would cost her the head and in comparison, the head was a tad bit more important than some inflammations.

Turning around, she got ready to jump. Maybe her reflexes and strength and balance weren’t as good as J’s, but she had the luck of the unprepared and desperate on her side. At least she believed so.

J stared at her coldly. “Salamence, Dragon Claw!”

Until the silver glowing claw of the dragon hit her side.

Surprisingly, the claw didn’t slash her open like an overripe tomato, ripping her flesh and inner organs out of her like feathers out of a cushion, splattering blood all over the place like an eccentric painter did with the colours over his canvas.

No, she could feel something sharp in her back, cutting her clothes and leaving small, red lines over her shoulder blades, and the impact of the attack sending her flying back onto the ground with a painful thud, but nothing more. It had hurt, no doubt, and she was sure she wouldn’t question J’s cruelty anymore, blaming her dumbness for this, but at least she wasn’t dead.

Just a bit dizzy.

Closing her eyes tightly to regain a more accurate view of the world around her, Sabrina wondered why the little colourful stars were coming from seemingly nowhere. Realising that these stars were anything but real, she opened her eyes again just in time to see Hunter J flying away a high rate speed, her back to her.

Slowly, she raised herself up from the ground, one hand rubbing the aching back of her head, the other steadying her body. Or, at least, trying to, as this was the arm connected to her hurt shoulder and she felt an incredible pang of pain as soon as the force of her whole body hit the arm’s muscles and she nearly broke down again. With tears in her eyes and her teeth biting so hard into her lips that she feared they would bleed soon, too, she gathered her concentration. And heard some footsteps behind her.

“Nice of you two to finally turn up.” Not even trying to hide the bitterness in her voice, Sabrina turned around with still half-closed eyes. The pain blocked her rational thinking, her manners, for the moment, she was just p...irritated. Heavily irritated.

“Hey, we had to fight with J’s other play toys, you think that was easy?” Will turned his arm behind his back, smiling nonchalantly and uncaring. He didn’t even try to help Sabrina up, despite the fact that she was still kneeling in the dirt, her left arm shaking with pain. “They put up quite a fight...”

“Ah, just like you did, eh?” Karen grinned, seeing the condition Sabrina was in, her dirty clothes, partly ripped apart, the blood on her back and the dust on her face and arms. Sabrina feared she wouldn’t be too off with the assumption that this actually turned her on in some weird, twisted way.

“Oh, yes, just like I did.” Sabrina grumbled. She didn’t want to make a fool out of herself with saying that she actually tried to jump onto J’s Pokemon as well, without even really knowing what good it would do to her- surely she could not start a box fight on top of a flying Pokemon, one that didn’t even belong to her. Maybe she was getting a bit too desperate in her attempts to catch Hunter J. She was only desperate in getting her head and job saved, in the end.

“Feels good to give everything in for a fight, doesn’t it?” Sabrina couldn’t tell if Karen was being sarcastic or not, as everything that did not include the word ‘death’ didn’t seem to be serious coming from Karen, and even then, there was a 50/50 chance that she was just joking morbidly again.

“Oh, yes, it does indeed feel good.” Well, at least the psychic knew she herself was indeed joking. Psychics were not made for physical fighting, and she, the fragile porcelain doll, was the best example. It wouldn’t take long until her arm was so severely injured that they would be forced to undertake an operation again just to keep it functioning. She didn’t want that to happen, and yet, her actions proved her intentions wrong. But what was an arm compared to your head?

Sabrina looked up, into the sky where Hunter J had taken off. Then, turning serious, biting down the pain in her arm, she turned around to her comrades. “Come on, let’s follow her.”

Karen waited for a second, before nodding to Will. He mimicked her gesture and then the chase after Hunter J began again.

~~~~~~~

Cynthia played with the mobile phone in her fingers, sometimes touching a button without intending to touch it, sometimes hesitating to call a number, to push the little green phone button. In theory, everything was planned out. In theory, her plan was perfect. In theory, she had no morality, no emotions.

In reality, she wondered just what she had destroyed by letting things go. Let things simply flow next to her, only controlling what affected her directly. And Karen’s little input didn’t. Not at all. And still, she felt guilty. She knew about it, and she wasn’t going to do a single thing about it. She was going to watch in delight how these two would finally break up, how another woman would break down because of love. Just like she had. She was not as strong as she seemed to be. She was a goddess of the night, yet even goddesses could be hurt. Myths were full of heartbroken Aphrodites. All of this had to be done because of her pain. And pain it would cause. Just more and more pain.

Cynthia sighed, running a hand through her long blond hair and staring at the black, shining display of the mobile. It would be so easy, way too easy, to call the reporters in, to tell them an exclusive story about Lucian’s stolen Espeon, her affair with Lance, and why Indigo’s league was to blame. That was the plan, wasn’t it? It was the perfect moment. The three elite trainers lost there out in the woods couldn’t do a thing about it, and were helpless against her power of influence. And yet, she hesitated. She, the one who was never unsure, hesitated.

Cynthia closed her eyes and put the mobile down. She would see how this played out. There was nothing else she could do.

Stalemate.

End of Chapter 6, Part 1.

Crazy Packers Fan
September 15th, 2009, 02:32 AM
The end is near, isn't it? Let's go into what I liked and didn't like about this chapter.

Liked: The love triangle that has Sabrina on the outside of Will and Karen. Not that I've got anything against Sabrina or anything... It's just fun to watch.

Didn't like: The lack of violence when Salamance attacked Sabrina. Come on, P*A, we can handle a little violence here and there. Even if it means Sabrina's back getting RIPPED APART!

Hated: The "weak" side of Cynthia shown at the end of the chapter. I don't like seeing my Cynthia show her weaknesses.

Of course I enjoyed the chapter, don't get me wrong. So, when do you want me to write the next chapter of my story?

Psychic*Absol
September 18th, 2009, 10:48 AM
The end is near, isn't it? Let's go into what I liked and didn't like about this chapter. If you call about 5 chapters 'near'...that's about how many chapters are left. XD!
Liked: The love triangle that has Sabrina on the outside of Will and Karen. Not that I've got anything against Sabrina or anything... It's just fun to watch. *No*, of course not....
Didn't like: The lack of violence when Salamance attacked Sabrina. Come on, P*A, we can handle a little violence here and there. Even if it means Sabrina's back getting RIPPED APART!>> Now, could I kill my main character before the story's over? Seriously...
You *will* get violence *hinthinthint*, and it will involve Sabrina. In both ways.
Hated: The "weak" side of Cynthia shown at the end of the chapter. I don't like seeing my Cynthia show her weaknesses....my Cynthia has her weak sides, too. You'll see them, you'll see them...she's not as perfect as she claims.
Of course I enjoyed the chapter, don't get me wrong. So, when do you want me to write the next chapter of my story? As soon as it's ready? =3

Psychic*Absol
October 25th, 2009, 12:57 PM
*hides* >.< Not my fault! I'm already at chapter 9. XD

7. Chapter, Part 2: Puppet

There was said that there should be nothing in a hunter’s eyes. Nothing: no emotion, no colour, no nothing. Irises just there for watching the world around, full of prey. It would be hard not to apply this to Hunter J. She was the perfect hunter. The perfect human hunter at least, as even humans could not reach the perfection of the natural carnivore Pokemon-Pokemon like Absol, for example. And Espeon.

And it an Espeon that her eyes were scanning for.

It had to be around her, the aura scanner of her sunglasses told her that much. She was getting closer. Yet, the aura scanning told her that those idiots of elite trainers were getting closer, too.

J glanced backwards. She had to hurry or else they would stumble over the Espeon by accident, and how amateurish would it look like if they caught the Espeon by sheer luck, while she, fitted out with the most modern equipment and a nice amount of gold in her pockets, could just stare dumbfound at them? Not professional, not professional at all. And she rather didn’t want to fail in front of Cynthia’s eyes when said woman could get her into jail any moment.

Yet, with the risk of J spilling out the bucket of filthy dish water all over her head.

Would she actually be cruel enough to betray her lover? For freedom, for money? For the chance to do it before Cynthia herself would do it? A hard question. One that J just couldn’t answer.

The woman shook her head. It didn’t matter and those confusing thoughts certainly didn’t help her with her search, either. A cold, skilled mind was needed, not one that was filled and troubled with emotions.

Just in that moment, rustling grabbed her attention. She ordered her Salamence to stop its flight and land as quietly as possible, for her psychic sensors had suddenly picked up a strong, familiar force near them. Without any doubt, it was the Espeon, for she doubted that any of the domesticated, trained Pokemon of the league members could have such a wild, peculiar aura.

A deep, cat-like growl, followed by a high, angry spitting hiss told her that she was indeed right.

J smirked. Two of her Pokemon were obviously lost in the fight with the elite trainers, but she didn’t need them. She didn’t even need Salamence. She just stared ahead, waiting for the Espeon to finally appear, giving her a chance of getting a good aim.

Cynthia had offered to give her a Masterball. A Masterball of all the things. A ball said to be able to catch every Pokemon on the first try, no failure rate, no missing, no mistakes. But she, Hunter J, did not need a Masterball to be perfectly accurate.

And catching Pokemon was one thing. Turning them into stone another.

Clients could be cheated on, and they knew this. So, Pokemon kept in Pokeballs did not sell very good, at least not if you worked on a commission basis. Commissions were just too seldom if you relied on this old way, so she had to find something new. And she had found something new.

Stiffing her body, J waited for the Espeon to emerge out of the bushes. Having the Pokemon covered by a slight, slim layer of stone was safer, as it gave the clients the knowledge that it was exactly the Pokemon they had wished for, and not some random one the hunter had just picked because he had been too incompetent to catch the wanted Pokemon. While she was all too hungry for money, she still tried to keep her reputation as an honest, skilled hunter. She didn’t know herself where her sudden need for morals came from; maybe Cynthia had triggered something inside of her that should have better had stayed bottled up.

‘Here you are, my little sweet boy.’ She rather though instead of saying as a lavender coloured paw made itself visible through the leaves and thorns, soon followed by a second paw, and a short, muscular chest, very unusual for a psychic Pokemon. But this Espeon was not usual by any means. It had grown up in this rough environment, so fighting for survival was nothing new for the creature, neither was fighting for its freedom. It had already met this human weeks ago, and started to despise it. It had stolen a part of his memory, and carried him in a small, wooden container with stony bars and hay beneath his paws. He had been carried away from his home woods, away from the lands and rivers and dungeons he had grown up in as an Eevee, from the clearings and meadows he had hunted in, from everything he had been used to.

To wake up in a human settlement.

He had thought he would be free again after his container broke, after he was able to escape from the humans' metallic cave of enslavement, after he had found woods, trees, grass and prey again. But now, this woman had been persecuting him, had followed him through days and nights, never leaving him a chance to rest. It was time for the deciding battle between human and Pokemon.

Oh, how he hated humans! Humans, who enslaved his race, his friends, his family, everyone he knew and held dear. And not only them. No Pokemon was safe; none had its freedom guaranteed for a lifetime. All they could do was hope, hope and hide. And get stronger, for then, they could fight the trainers’ Pokemon and defeat them, stripping them of all chances to catch them.

He felt the rage within him, building up his unseen forces, burning deep in his heart, making him growl and extend his claws. He hated humans, but for this woman, he felt more than simple hate. Deep disgust. She had done so much to him, stolen his freedom, his home and he feared that he would never see it again. All because of her. Baring his fangs, he wanted to taste blood. Her blood preferably. He would only feel satisfied once he was walking through her guts, feeling seas of blood beneath his feet and knowing, knowing that she had finally paid for everything.

He pushed himself onto the ground, his body tense and then, he lunged towards her, all of his energy concentrated into this one jump, onto the thought of taking revenge.

But that glorious moment never came. He saw a light, couldn’t even identify the light’s colour- was it white, red or nothing?- and then, his body froze.

J stared down unemotional, though her stressed body allowed itself to relax. Finally, she had finished the order. Well, not completely finished, because she still needed to get the Espeon to Cynthia, but now that she had caught it, what could go wrong anymore?

“There she is!”

A lot.

J rolled her eyes inwardly at the thought of deeply unwanted interruption, being again disturbed in her work by this idiotic trio of trainers that couldn’t just get it into their thick skulls that she, J, would not stop before she had fulfilled her mission. She had never stopped a mission before she hadn’t gotten her money, and though she had a great amount of the cash already in her pocket, she wouldn’t leave the rest behind. At least she hoped she wouldn’t leave it behind, and Cynthia wouldn’t send her on yet another mission in Kanto, or worse, Johto. Then, she would finally call this woman insane.

Insane, and insanely attractive. Was that the true reason she wanted to finish this? For Cynthia?

J closed her eyes, shutting any emotion out of her mind. Mechanically, she reached for her phone, typing in the number of her henchmen instinctively and ordered them to manoeuvre the ship over her without thinking about her words. Had anyone the sheer idea of asking her later what she had said, she wouldn’t be able to answer.

She looked up, her Salamence already starting to fly up again. They would never reach her, never be able to interfere with her plan once she was up in her airship. And these fools were never fast enough to reach her in time. Not unless they could miraculously use Teleport again, but with the necklace, this was impossible. The area around her was protected.

Sadly, it was only the area, and not her airship.

Sabrina had already anticipated another blocking of her powers, and, as she depended very much on them, had searched for a flaw in J’s plan. To her satisfaction, she had found one sooner than expected. The ‘force field’ around J, as it could be called, was surely able to protect her and individuals in a certain span of area around her, but its power to extend itself was limited to a few metres. So, in fact, she could follow J easily, she just couldn’t teleport right next to her. But that shouldn’t be that much of a problem. A bigger problem was the fact that she could not teleport when Karen was near, as said darkling would then be the second source of blocking.

Sadly, the chances that Karen would not want to follow them- as Sabrina certainly intended on taking Will with her, were quite slim.

But the very limited amount of time they had left before J’s ship would be out of teleporting range forced her to act quick. She haltered and turned around to her two followers, surprised and a bit irritated at the fact that Will was still very much mimicking every one of Karen’s movements and even running in pace with her. It was creepy.

“I could teleport up there.” She nodded in the direction of the ship and J who was already getting closer to it. Karen followed her gaze and Will did the same, though his eyes seemed dull.

At least, the darkling seemed to notice the obvious problem. Maybe the delay in attention was also a bit Sabrina’s fault, but she was not one for pointing out the obvious to a sworn enemy of psychics. It was already scandalous that she had to work with her. And that she did nothing about her more or less certain influence on Will. But for now, life came before love. For the moment.

Was that even moralistic anymore?

But then, what was more immoral? Working with Karen or leaving Will be as he was for the moment?

“I see the problem.” Karen lowered her head, smiling wickedly. “Yet, I don’t see the problem. You can teleport up there with your sweet masked boy and I use my own shadowy methods. So, what’s holding us up?” Sabrina didn’t even want to hear a definition of Karen’s ‘shadowy methods’.

She wouldn’t grasp them anyway.

“If you...say so.” She didn’t want to argue with the older woman, too. While it was nice having another powerful trainer around, and Sabrina was glad that the two of them had defeated J’s Pokemon, she didn’t really want to have Karen involved more than necessary. Not anymore. Not as if she had wanted her to be involved at any moment...

Karen nodded, and in a blink of an eye, she had disappeared into the shadows. And Sabrina couldn’t express it differently than ‘literally’. She blinked, shuddered a bit and then shrugged the behaviour off, noting to herself to not spend any more mind on it. If everything went well, they would see Karen soon enough again. If everything went for the best, they wouldn’t see her again for a while.

“Come Will, we have to get up there.” He nodded and walked next to her slowly, one step after another, as if he had lost his balance just minutes ago and needed to be careful not to trip over his own feet. Yet at the same time, he didn’t watch the ground, and just stared ahead. Sabrina took a deep breath, she had to do something about it soon, too. But for now, she just didn’t have the time and mind to spend on it. It was not easy dealing with Hunter J; dealing with your seemingly brain-dead boyfriend kind of didn’t help matters along.

Slowly taking his hand and grasping it tightly, she ignored the coldness the leather emitted. That was usual for this material, wasn’t it?

Closing her eyes, she concentrated. For a split second, for the single moment between here and there, the moment before the teleport unfolded its true might, in the moment between times and universes, she saw black.

~~~~~~~

Her fingers were twitching. The nervousness still hadn’t left her mind, and yet, she was wondering if it had not only started to surface now, being buried by her concentration until just then. She could see the blinking phone on her airship’s control station’s tabletop, as it was beeping louder and louder and soon, with the vibration alarm on, it would fall from the top of the table, having jumped to death by itself. Sardonically, J considered this option for herself, too, the flying altitude was high enough for a try, she mused. How far had someone sunk when one would rather kill himself than do a simple phone call?

The answer was, way below J’s usual standards.

Finally, she took a deep breath, grasping the phone so firmly with her hand that she almost crushed it and pushing the little green button down with shaking fingers. Instantly, she could see Cynthia’s smiling, innocently smiling face on the mini screen. ‘That woman is a witch.’ J mused, though she couldn’t help but switch the first letter out in the back of her mind. “You told me you have the Espeon?”

“I do.” J whispered, her voice too weak to fight the crumbling of the identity that was herself. “I will come over immediately. Where will we meet?”

Cynthia closed her eyes. She was lying on her bed, only wearing what appeared to be a black, or grey, transparent dress and playing with a small bottle of nail varnish between her fingers. From the look of it, she had tortured her mind slave, the champion, with it and the poor guy would wake up out of his trance soon and find both his finger- and toenails coloured in bright pink. Well, it would fit his hair colour anyway.

“You can visit me at my hotel room any time, you know?” J gagged. She knew that well. And judging from how she touched Lance’s back, the naughty female champion had clear ideas about that night. Sadly, J’s ideas were a bit different and did not involve the number ‘three’ in any way.

“I would rather appreciate it if we meet in the backyard of the hotel.” She answered in a voice that clung into sounding business, but staggered too much. J prayed Cynthia wouldn’t understand it the ‘wrong’ way. But then, there was no ‘wrong way’ for this champion, just ‘her way.’

“I see...you dirty little girl, the backyard, where the bins and the dust are and no one cleans out...” J rolled her eyes. She reminded herself to never answer a call from Cynthia again when it was getting late. Maybe even to never ever answer a call from her at all. After all, her business with Cynthia was soon over. As soon as she reached that backyard and had, more importantly, the money in her bag. Then, sweet freedom came back to her, clients that did not glue themselves into her consciousness and her home.

“Until then.” J forced herself to say, forced herself to cut off the connection as soon as she had said those words. Normally, she wasn’t this...impolite, after all, she depended on her clients, or rather, their money. But Cynthia was by far not the usual client anymore and a little rudeness was allowed, she knew the younger woman would not care. In fact, this might even turn her on even more. Cynthia was a rough woman, after all. Though no one would believe her that if she told them, though J had proof. Physical proof.

Silently, she touched her right wrist, and closed her eyes. Memories surfaced and J gulped. She didn’t want to remember. And, fortunately, an alarm sound pulled her out of her nightmares. J opened her eyes widely and turned around, just in time to see Harry stumbling through the automatic doors. “J, we have a problem! Intruders!”

She stared him into the eyes; her mind was working a bit slower than usually, but she still grasped the situation as fast as she could, which was considerably faster than a usual person would have, given what she had been thinking about mere seconds ago and the inward shuddering it had caused. “Intruders?” She cursed. Nobody was supposed to get into her ship without her noticing, there were motion detectors all over the place and only her henchmen had the identification chips that allowed them free movement all over the place. Normally, anyone who dared to venture into her airship was found the second his foot touched the metallic ground. But from the look of sheer surprise and shock on Harry’s face, she knew something had gone wrong. Most likely the intruders going too far.

“Where are they?” She asked coldly and stood up, close to kicking Harry in the stomach for not telling her the details immediately. He had to take a few breaths as he was still lying on the floor, holding his hurt knee. “Area 4, Room 8.”

J paled, though, with her already quite pale face, it was hard to see. “The warerooms...” Her luck was turning worse and worse. She knew, without looking at the camera files, that the intruders had to be the two elite trainers and the psychic. Anything else wouldn’t make sense. And with their sheer luck growing by every minute they spend in her presence, it seemed, they had found the room where the Espeon was being kept on the first try. She clenched her teeth. She should have kept the Espeon with her until she was sure that Cynthia had it safely. ‘That’s what you get for trusting your technology too much...’ She mused angrily. Now it also made sense as to why the security system hadn’t caught upon the three of them. It was only designed for relatively ‘human’ beings, and although she had thought about installing teleport identifying software, too, she had only bought the handy version for her googles in the end. How should she ever have anticipated being pursuited by a group of psychics- and, by the look of it, someone with quite different powers, too?

No matter, it was no time for standing around baffled, she had to act. She shoved Harry to the side rather rudely, but she couldn’t care less about manners right not. This mission had been interrupted so many times, it was not amusing anymore. For Hunter J, no interruption was funny.

She wouldn’t allow it to end unfinished.

~~~~~~~

Sabrina stumbled when her feet touched the ground again and she wondered why this happened. Usually, she was perfect with teleport, simply perfect. She didn’t just stumble. Maybe it was her nervousness, though this couldn’t be said for sure. Her mind was clouded, but it wasn’t as bad as it had been several times before, in situations set quite differently. She had to close her eyes for a moment, adjusting them to the artificial light of the airship, and then, she opened them again to take a more detailed look at her surroundings. They were in a quite modern airship, no doubt, and Sabrina almost felt herself being sent back into Lance’s personally designed headquarters, with all the metal and inhumanness being around. “Well, here we are...” Sabrina rubbed the back of her head, thinking hard. They were on the airship if her sense of teleporting direction and her common sense were not completely malfunctioning, that was a plus point. On the other hand, she did not know where in the airship they had ended up, it could be anything, from the board’s restaurant to the...

“Warehouse.” Well, for once, their luck had rolled onto the good side. Maybe Will was a bit too less enthusiastic about his discovering, but Sabrina wouldn’t question little details now. She looked over the door, finding no key hole, rather a number pad embedded into the wall next to the door. Its function was obvious, but Sabrina was not going to give up easily. Besides, technological devices that were not build to withstand psychic powers were toys for her...

She reached out with her hand, yet hesitated when she was close to touching the buttons with her fingertips. Something felt not right, something was wrong. The gym leader looked up and checked her surroundings again, but found nothing to be of any worry. Shrugging her worries off, hoping that she actually had a reason to believe that they were better being shrugged off; she let her fingers rest over the small metallic blue pad. Closing her eyes, she used just a minimum of her energy to intercept the electric barriers that normally kept the door closed tightly for anyone without the knowledge of the right code. Of course, if she had the time and the leisure, she would have found out the code anyway, as not all of J’s underlings had probably the guarding of devices that blocked psychic powers, but for now, a little brutality was appropriate. Even then, it was not really violent, as her powers only damaged the inside of the pad. From the outside, it looked as good as new, not used or manipulated at all. Another idea she had had, for now, if everything went well, J would not even notice that they had broken into her storeroom.

Or maybe that was only wishful thinking.

After a second of nothing happening, a stream of air coming from the direction of the door told them that it had, in fact, worked and their way was free. The door was not particularly loud-a good thing, Sabrina decided. They had been there for almost five minutes, were at least a few imaginary steps closer to the Espeon and so, to safety, and no one had noticed them yet and alerted the commander of the ship. It was almost creepy to know how much luck they had had so far. Logically, that luck just had to turn around any second, Sabrina knew and felt that, but if she let her superstition control her, she would have never made it that far in life. Maybe that was the only bad thing about her powers. Unwanted, bad promotions.

The room was not lit, the only light coming from a single window, one that was so small that the small ray of light it produced only made a part of the floor visible, a line covering the distance between the room’s door and the window itself. Yet, with her mind’s eye, Sabrina could see so much more. Just like everything else on the airship, the room’s floor and ceiling were made out of metal-dark blue metal this time. At the left and right side of the room, already reaching the ceiling, boxes of various different sizes were stapled. Sabrina blinked, because for a single moment, these boxes reminded her of something they should not, should never remind her.

They were made out of glass. Just like the cube the model she and Will had given to Cynthia and Lucian had been in. This couldn’t be coincidence...

Sabrina shook her head, not believing her own thoughts and wondering what kind of poisonous gases that came from the airship’s mechanics had clouded her rational thinking. This had to be a coincidence; there was no chance that there could be a connection between the two cases. Her fear had apparently made her a bit paranoid.

But then, something else entered her mind. She looked up, for anyone not knowing about her powers, it seemed as if sheer nothingness was mesmerizing her. But it was not the blackness, though said word clearly triggered some distant, but already gladly forgotten reminder in the psychic’s memory. It was something in the darkness, a presence, one she easily detected, though not recognised. It was another psychic’s mind, that much was for sure and though Sabrina’s contacts with Espeon had been spare and distant up to then, she was fairly sure the missing psychic Pokemon was kept here. The gym leader allowed a small bit of pride to seep into her consciousness for achieving this, because now that she had a specific location to concentrate on, it became obvious that the Espeon had not much of a chance to radiate any kind of psychic power. It was covered in a metallic brown substance, shining in the darkness. Superficially blind, she walked through the room with closed eyes, letting her powers leading her way through the room, until she stood directly in front of the cube that contained the Espeon. She let her hand rest on the cold glass, sighing and breathing quietly. She could not even see the faint outlines of the Espeon thanks to the darkness, but its aura was unique. Maybe even more unique than the aura of the usual, everyday Espeon, but Sabrina couldn’t put her finger on the specialness of the pokemon. It was just there, she would have to ask Lucian, or rather, find out by herself later. There was just no chance that she would ask the Sinnoh elite four trainer when then, the even now very obvious relation between the disappearance of his Pokemon and her trouble with Hunter J would get brighter than the rings of an Umbreon at midnight.

The psychic opened her eyes again. She had to find out how to get the Pokemon out of the cube, because it was quite apparent that she couldn’t transport it to Lucian in this condition without looking a bit too suspicious to get away unnoticed. Yet, how to remove the covering? There was no handbook to handle the containers around, obviously, and could she manipulate it as easily as the number pad outside without damaging the Pokemon inside? To tell the truth, Sabrina didn’t want to find out by trying.

But she didn’t have to, because something tackled her from behind, making her fall down, her head hitting the glass cube and shattering it.

~~~~~~~

Hunter J hated to run. While one reason was her stiff clothing that made it a bit difficult to run at high speeds, it was also the heavy bracelet that made her left arm drag behind and would cause powerful aches in it not much later. It was one thing to posses such a device, and know about the power that lied beneath the shell of metal, but another to carry it around with oneself all day, being forced to be prepared for an ambush and the need to use it every second. Thankfully, she didn’t have to wear it during the night, the only time where her arm could rest, covered in salves to make the pain numb, but even then, the bracelet was kept next to her on her nightstand. J was not in any way feeling too suspicious, neither did she think of herself as remarkably endangered on her airship. After all, how many enemies were out there that could, firstly, get through the most modern shielding one could find on the world and secondly, even if someone saw her ship, would said person really try to enter it? J could not deny that the police were always on her heels, but as those fools were not even given a tenth of the budget she had by simply accommodating her client’s wishes, the chances that they would actually be able to catch her where quite slim. What was a simple motorbike against four six-wheel-vehicles and a custom built airship?

Sadly, the elite trainers proved to be a challenge even without any kind of financial support by the league.

Dimly, J wondered if she should over think her priorities, think about if it was possible to be successful without being rich, but her mind shushed those thoughts aside. Self-doubt and, even worse, doubt of the own life principles were not useful in a dire situation that called for actions. And, after all, this way of living had done her quite well all of her life before, and it was so much easier than the ideal and moral driven way of mania her younger brother lived, after all...

J turned around the corner, her henchmen following her like sheep followed their shepherd, but she stopped abruptly when she came to face a wall made of...well, the easiest way to describe the wall would be ‘black, misty something that extended vertically from the ground to the ceiling, effectively blocking the way and view through the hallway, but looked too creepy and ugly to be called a comfortable door’, which, in conclusion, sounded very much like shadows, but that just couldn’t be. J knew that there was a Pokemon’s attack, called Smog or something, that could cause dark mist that blinded your view, but her instincts told her this was definitely not a Smog attack. It didn’t look as airy as Smog definitely did, but it was too wavy to be solid. J bit her lip. She had no idea what this was, but she had to get through and yet, she didn’t want to risk any consequences, might they be physical or psychical. So she turned around and motioned for one of her henchmen to come nearer. Of course, all of them were as confused as she was, not to mention how scared they were, and no one really volunteered.

J glared at them. She didn’t waste any time with useless threats. “Either one of who will move his backside over here and walk through that thing or all of you will be turned into stone and thrown through it!!!” ‘Either that, or sold to someone who would play his sadistically games with them.’ Nothing kept her from selling humans, too. As long as she made profit, she didn’t care what she sold and who bought it.

At least as long as that person wasn’t over earthly beautiful and a champion at the same time...

Gulping, one of the men was shoved forward. J grinned. “Harry, how nice of you...now go!” The man nodded, drops of sweat lining his pudgy cheeks. He swallowed again, then took a deep breath and walked right into the shadows.

And screamed.

And disappeared.

A pair of pale eyes shone in the darkness, a black fingernail trailing luscious lips. ‘No, Jenny Hunter, *I* am the only one playing with the psychics here.’

~~~~~~~

Sabrina fell forward, closing her eyes as soon as she was certain that her forehead was going to make an unwelcome, painful contact with the edge of the glass cube, in order to protect them from said edge. She wasn’t as prepared for the force, though, as she believed, the sudden hit and the cracking surface scaring her at first. Then, the countless shards of glass flew around her face, cutting her cheeks and lips, but thankfully avoiding any vital organs, may they have been unconsciously directed by her powers or not.

For a second or more likely even less, she lost all perception of her surroundings, being covered by complete, soundless darkness. But then, her mind kicked back again, forcing herself to stay awake, even though it felt as if someone had used a baseball bat on her brain. She had no idea who had attacked her, as she hadn’t felt any intruders and was fairly sure her powers weren’t blocked at the moment, so her first priority was to find out who had tackled her, why and, maybe most importantly, how to fight.

The psychic gym leader turned around and quickly corrected herself.
Not to fight. To defend.

And, maybe, to ask herself again what the heck was wrong with Will.

Grumbling, she knew she should have asked herself that question a bit earlier, and not only that, but also should have tried to find an answer as soon as possible. Because by now, she was fairly sure he was not himself anymore, but the poor boy was not the one to blame, he was way too weak as a psychic to defend himself from any attacks, not to mention that he could have been possessed by a darkling just as well.

Yes, possessed was the right word. Though he lacked the stereotypical red, glowing eyes, Sabrina felt the difference in his whole being as soon as she had a second to probe it. Bracing herself, the younger psychic wondered if she should shield herself with a barrier and wait for him to snap out of it, or if she should do something about it. While the former was the safer idea, it wasn’t going to work well in reality, considering that she did need Will to battle Hunter J, and in his possessed status, teamwork was not an option. That, and she simply cared too much about him to not do a thing about it.

Yet, was she really ready to attack him? Even if forced, she felt that it was too drastic. She couldn’t attack Will.

But thankfully, in the end, she didn’t have to make this decision herself, as a not so powerful psychic attack picked up a lone, already cracked glass cube in a corner of the room and threw it at her, Sabrina barely able to dodge in her instable state of mind. She stared ahead. Yes, it had been Will, but again, he was too weak to really hurt her, and Sabrina was too hesitant to attack him.

The gym leader sighed. “Ever since we met, I had not one week of peace. I hope for your sake that this does not continue.”

He didn’t answer. Instead, his eyes glowed in the same eerie blue haze Sabrina’s eyes did when she accessed her powers, and the stable of metallic cages behind her began to shake. Sabrina turned around in alarm, before jumping to the side. Just a second later, the whole construct collapsed, burying the bronze Espeon beneath it.

“You’re really not making it easy...” Sabrina whispered, looking behind her and wiping some strands of hair out of her face, only to be confronted by the fact that she was bleeding from the small cuts created by the glass shards. She shuddered for a moment, remembering the view and smell of blood much too well from her experience at the Team Rocket Headquarters, but again, her rational mind took over soon enough. It seemed as if it was going down to be a fight between them but...did she really want to fight him?

She was stronger than him. Much stronger.

“I don’t want to hurt you, Will.” She whispered, staring him into the eyes with a sad expression.

He did not care in the slightest and although she did not want to admit it, Sabrina had expected this. Expected, and feared. While it was much easier to attack an emotionless opponent, Sabrina wished the same could be applied to her. Then, she wouldn’t feel any guilt, any fear of hurting him too much.

She looked up, staring straight ahead. It wasn’t as if she had never fought against another psychic in a combat way, but either she had been in her more emotionless state and thus, not caring about her own students at all, or the fights had been arranged and each part knew what to expect and how far to go. Battling in the psychics’ way could be serious, but it could also be considered a cooler, more aesthetic way of showcasing power. While she was not one for physical fighting, psychical fighting was a completely different thing.

Normally, she would even go as far as suggesting that she liked psychical fighting. But not here.

Will had again looked for a suitable weapon and had found it in the form of a lone iron rod, which he twisted between his fingers to make it rotate. A small amount of his powers was seeking into the material, making it glow as well. She didn’t know what he was attempting to achieve with it, but it certainly looked as if he had a strategy.

And then, suddenly, he shifted his body to the side in such a smooth, fast movement that Sabrina was barely able to catch it with her eyes. She quickly realised that her earthly senses weren’t going to be of much use here, just like they weren’t in any real psychic battle, so she shut them off completely, closing her physical eyes and relying on her mind’s eye. There, she could see him again, not only as a blur like any normal person would, but as a colourful outline of psychic energies. She waited for a few seconds, if not even less, until she realised that something was missing. ‘Did he...?’ A quiet humming warned her, and again, the gym leader had to jump, ducking downwards, the metal scratching the back of her head. It flew further in Will’s direction and to Sabrina’s astonishment; he caught the wildly spinning rod in his bare hands, looking as if he had never any problems with timing. But then, he was not himself, and the possession seemed to have at least sharpened his senses. That was not uncommon, though the real reason could also be the person controlling him being around there and watching the scene from a point of view where directing was easiest. It would give her opponent a clear advantage, as he, or she, had literally four eyes.

Sabrina noticed, a moment too late maybe, that the ‘psychic boomerang’ he had used was not the only intended weapon. The many cubes and cages around her had that unmistakable blue tingle around them, a disturbance in the air that told her he was ready to swing them at her at any moment.

Any moment was now.

There was clattering behind her and suddenly, metal nails, ripped out of the cages by pure metaphysical force, shot at her. Sabrina managed to hold them off with a single barrier, but she hesitated to send them back, which was usually a simple task for her. But this time, she simply let the nails fall to the ground, their sounds echoing on the metallic walls, loud in the silence of the room. The gym leader looked down as well, the bangs of her hair hiding her dark eyes. She was lost in thoughts, but not as deep as to not be alert to keep an eye on the fighting. Only seconds after the nail attack had failed, the leftover plates of metal were thrown at her as well, again clattering loudly, even during the flight, and then, they crashed against her barrier, and, just like the nails, fell to the ground. Will snarled, an unnatural sound for the ears of his girlfriend, and she shuddered inwardly. Yet again, she could neither do something about this, nor could she simply attack him. She wanted to cry, but she had cried far too much recently to allow it. She had once been a strong woman, and she would be strong again.

The non-existent natural light, making room for the supernatural light of their powers emitting, casted equally unnatural shadows over her dark eyes as she opened them again.

“I cannot fight you, Will. Not because I love you...” She took a deep breath. Maybe, one day, she would really fight him. But for that, he had to get stronger, so she wouldn’t... “But because it would be too dangerous. I could easily hurt you. I could seriously injure you. I could easily...” She swallowed. “.. kill you.”

“Though whatever has happened to you...I will not fight you.” She let her barrier down, but for any non-psychic, it was barely visible, just a small flicker of reflections in the middle of the room, as the barrier had mirrored the psychical lights.

“But I will try to get you back.”

~~~~~~~

She traced her upper lip with her finger nail, the poor, trembling guy completely at her mercy, lost in the darkness that was her element. No, not only her element. She was the darkness. She could disappear in and appear out of it by pure will, every time she chose to. Yet, she needed light as much as she needed shadows, for the one could not exist without the other. She depended on the light side as well. Did that mean that she depended on the psychics? Psychic was seen as the opposite of dark, as the ‘light’ element, but that held as much truth as the old fairy tale of Murkrow being the bringers of misfortune.

She knew better.

She watched the two psychics with excitement, as anyone else would watch a fine movie. The difference here being that it was no movie, but reality, and the involved actors didn’t have any stunt-doubles, nor were both of them in this on their own will.

The woman snickered again. She loved playing with her dolls- an ironic pun, considering who she was playing with. Yet, she wanted to see just how this would end.

Would Sabrina be actually able to pass her test? Or were emotions still a bit too much to handle for her?

~~~~~~~

In the first moment, it seemed as if nothing had changed. Of course, what should have changed, only because Sabrina had decided to do whatever she could in order to free her boyfriend from whatever spell he was under?

Sometimes, even that was enough to bring a person back to his or her senses, but Sabrina knew enough about psychic powers to know that a strong possession was not easily dealt with. To her shame, she had to admit that she had neither ever tried to try out the technique by herself, neither had she ever been forced to break a spell herself, because they were so uncommon. Both facts had the same background, there were rules in the psychics’ society that most members silently approved and followed without voicing any disagreement. And even she had not broken the unwritten rules, even though she had both the authority and power to do so. In conclusion, Sabrina wondered which psychic dared to go against the usual ways, and her first unconscious response of her mind scared her.

At first, Will froze, but it didn’t seem like any human being would freeze, much less Will. It was a robotic movement, and he stared into nothingness, his eyes white and dull. He closed his eyes, but Sabrina was not one to relax just then. She waited, and slowly took a step towards him, but ready to jump back and put up a barrier as soon as it was needed and possible.

She had to be prepared for anything.

And she had a good reason.

Suddenly, Will opened his eyes. Sabrina was startled, for one moment, she did not know what to do and if this was supposed to be a good or a bad sign.

He smiled, and his smile told her everything.

~~~~~~~

The woman grinned. She enjoyed her view. She was going to see a lot more struggle, she knew.

The battle was not over yet.

~~~~~~~

His wicked smile told her everything, but before she was able to react, something hard had hit the back of her head and she stumbled forward. She kept herself from falling, though, and looked up. She hadn’t accounted for his self-made boomerang to be still in action-a mistake, obviously. Will had used something that was so uncommon in psychic battles that she had not anticipated. He had used her distraction in order to attack her from behind, in a way that she even had no chance to see his attack at all.

‘And he claims to be a gentleman?’ Sabrina wondered bitterly. She had to remind herself that this was not the real Will she was battling, and that he probably was not at fault at all, if not for his gullibility to trust whoever had put this spell on him. For that, she could probably kick his back later. But not for hurting her. He had promised never to hurt her again, and so far, theoretically, he had held his promise, because it was certainly not him smiling this evilly. He, the Will she knew, was not even able to produce a smile this malevolent. There was not one evil cell in him, her naive, cute and gentle boy...

Sabrina sighed. Just years ago, she would have turned anybody who even dared to attack her into a doll without second thoughts, without any moral aftershocks and...

She froze. Of course, she could just turn him into a doll! ‘Why haven’t I thought of this earlier?’ She scolded herself mentally. This way, he wouldn’t be physically hurt in any way, and secondly, she could study his possession without endangering her own safety. He would simply be helpless and not able to attack her either.

She had to concentrate to do this, and she couldn’t risk Will’s attacks distracting her, so she created a full body barrier, surrounding her from all sides. She could hear- but more feel, the nails again clashing the barrier loudly, Will’s own infuriation transferred into their speed and pressure, but she did not pay them any mind. She concentrated on her surroundings and once again, much easier this time, she found Will’s aura, the premier experience in battle certainly helping her.

~~~~~~~

The dark one opened her eyes, snickering, not evil, but corrupted in her own way. ‘Oh, no, don’t think that it’s that easy, my poor doll mistress.’

~~~~~~~

The psychic opened her eyes suddenly, shuddering, not shocked, but surprised in her own way. ‘Never expected that...’ He was not controlled by a psychic, now she was certain of that. Yet, in some way, it didn’t make much sense. His psychic aura was still there, of course, otherwise he wouldn’t be able to attack her at all. But it was not his psychic aura that was hindering her. Never in time would this have been able to block her powers.

But a dark one could without trouble.

Sabrina shook her head, confused, not believing her own senses anymore. She herself had told him that no person possessed both psychic and dark powers, and now, he himself was standing in front of her, proving her wrong. But that simply could not be! It was impossible!

She bit her lip, still inside the barrier, thinking it over again slowly. There was another solution.

Will was no darkling; she would have felt that for certain at one point or another. Plus, it would have influenced her relationship with him for certain, but Sabrina would never admit that to herself consciously.

But to get a certain amount of dark powers, they had to be transferred to him from someone else who had them. So far, she had not, couldn’t have been sure if he had been possessed by another psychic or a darkling, but by now, she was fairly sure it was a darkling.

Which left only one option of who it could be.

‘Karen...’ Sabrina snarled. ‘Just what do you think are you doing?!’

~~~~~~~

Karen smiled. ‘Oh, so now, you’ve noticed my interference. But will that help you?’

~~~~~~~

Which didn’t make fighting any easier.

~~~~~~~

‘No, of course not. You still have not passed my test.’

~~~~~~~

Sabrina was sure that, once she got her hands on the dark trainer, there wouldn’t be much left of her dangerously daring attitude. For all the weakling she was usually, she supposed she could get out of hand just as easily as other women did and, if forced to, could bite and scratch just as well. It wasn’t typical for her, but Karen deserved it. She had followed them without her permission, put Will under her spell for no apparent reason, which gave him no chance to rate the situation of his own, much less have a serious talk with Karen about where she belonged and what she may and may not dare to do, left him without the possibility to prove himself and prove that he had the guts to defend his girlfriend and defend himself from other women. And all of that, just for...for what? For fun? Considering that she was talking about Karen, this was the most possible explanation. The darkling wanted to have her fun, and who better to use than the helpless psychic who was, as a bonus, cute enough to seduce him unconsciously.

The dark elite trainer deserved some humiliation. And Sabrina did not even feel biased thinking that.

Yet, first, she had to get Will out of his trance, and sadly, she had no singly idea on how to accomplish that. She had no real experiences with dark possessions, and thankfully, none of her students had ever been possessed for as long as Will had to be by now, and most of them had managed to get their minds straight again by their own, had needed no help and the few ones who had mostly got help from their family and friends, not their teacher. In conclusion, she had never been involved in any of these cases, had mostly just been informed of them, as she was the psychics’ leader, after all. She was, to be honest, a bit at a loss now.

Obviously, Karen had left her a little break, because Will had paused in his attacks, albeit still with this unusually creepy smile and dull, white and lifeless eyes. Even that break was only that short, and when she looked up, still in deep thought, in search of hope, she barely managed to duck in time to avoid a dark blue plate of metal heading for her, well, head, ready to cut it off with its rough edges, torn by corrosion. Sabrina spun around, and by now, she had realized his strategy and was ready for the same plate flying in her direction again after cutting a corner sharply. Instead of using a full body shield, which obviously took up more energy than she could spare right then, she simply created a smaller one around her left hand and punched the plate away, before pausing in realizing another petite, yet central fact of Will’s, and thus, Karen’s strategy. Her boyfriend had so far not directly used his powers to attack her, but had hidden behind the few useable weapons scattered in the wareroom. For anyone else, this would not have mattered much, as an attack was an attack, not matter how it was formed, but Sabrina knew there was more behind it than met the eye. For once, the most obvious explanation was of course that Wills powers did not reach her level by far, and thus, it was useless for him to attack her directly, as she would simply shrug it off, if she even noticed it at all. Her natural shielding was, after all, not to be underestimated, either. One the other hand...it meant that Karen knew about his power level.

And this was by far more frightening.

Of course, at first glance, it didn’t seem to be of that much importance. So she knew about his powers, so what? Yet, even the main part of the public did not know that Will had become a psychic after meeting her, and the few persons that knew had either ignored it or spent not much thought on it at all. Karen had and that meant she had taken it more seriously than the majority of the yellow press readers. In conclusion...she had planned this ahead. It was not a last second operation; it was planned.

And who knew what else Karen had had in mind for days, if not weeks.

~~~~~~~

‘Yes, I have planned ahead. I have planned this from the very second on that you two kissed...’

End of Chapter 7, Part Two

Crazy Packers Fan
November 5th, 2009, 11:49 AM
Very interesting chapter... if I'm reading this correctly it seems that Karen is controlling Will, so now Sabrina has to fight Karen, Will and J... making the upcoming battles all the more interesting. And when I torture Sabrina, I do it in ways that aren't so visibly disturbing - the sight of her hitting her head on glass is enough to make even me shudder!

Sorry I didn't respond earlier, I didn't check this section as often as I should. And I probably should say more, but I just can't think of what to say, after having just read it... I guess I'm pretty shocked that it was Karen controlling Will, not someone else.

Psychic*Absol
December 18th, 2009, 10:19 AM
My beta-reader returned from exam land nowhere, so now we can finally continue this. Until my exams start, actually.
And when I torture Sabrina, I do it in ways that aren't so visibly disturbing - the sight of her hitting her head on glass is enough to make even me shudder!...that sight makes you shudder. That sight makes you shudder. The one who ripped off her hands. Yeah. Okay. ...wtf?!?!?
I guess I'm pretty shocked that it was Karen controlling Will, not someone else. Let me guess...you wanted it to be someone named C., right?

7. Chapter, Part 3: Passion

He jumped onto the stable of empty und occupied boxes, the sound of metal clashing against metal echoing in the room, and Sabrina wondered how long it would take J to hear the noise that came from the warehouse, and how many seconds would be left before she would become yet another trouble source. As if dealing with Will was not enough yet.

Said elite trainer had again found another weapon of choice, this time, it was the lonely ceiling light he could reach from the top of the mountain of boxes. Yet, instead of ripping it completely out of the wall, he removed it more carefully, so the cables connecting it to the main electricity source would not be cut off. At the same time, the light suddenly flickered on, first weakly and unstable, then bright and strong. He smiled his continuously wicked smile as he flung the lamp at her. Sparks flew everywhere as the length of the cable was not enough to cover the distance between Will and Sabrina, and power was cut off suddenly, creating a domino effect that turned off the lights of the gangway next to them as well. By then, Sabrina was fairly sure that J needed to be blind to oversee it.

Unbeknownst to her, J was more or less blind, but for a completely different reason...

The gym leader jumped backwards to avoid the crashing ceiling light and hid behind another ceiling, reaching a row of boxes, and some lockers mixed in them as well, which were apparently for the Pokemon that did not fit into the small boxes. The row extended to the wall with the small window on the one side, and on the other, to the wall next to the warehouse’s door. Just a few gaps between the boxes and lockers were left, but they gave her enough room to run from side to side if necessary. She was certain that Will wouldn’t be able to see her, and if she raised her detection barrier a bit, he wouldn’t be able to feel her either. Finally, she had a moment of peace, a moment to take a much needed deep breath of relief and to over think her strategy. Or, well, rather, build up a strategy at first.

Sabrina had just closed her eyes and was about to slump down against one of the lockers when she felt something breathing against her cheek, and then a hand making contact with her neck. Startled, she opened her eyes and froze. Violet eyes stared into blue ones, and she shuddered as she touched the glove covered hand that tried to suffocate her, but hesitated. Hesitating, playing, waiting for her to lose her nerves. She wouldn’t give Karen that satisfaction.

And yet, he had found her as soon as she had disappeared. Going by logic, it couldn’t have been him who had found her. He had no chance to do so. She doubted that there was any obvious flaw in her plan that had helped Will to not only find her mere seconds after hiding behind the lockers- she had expected him to find her sooner or later, just not that soon. The surprising thing was that he had teleported right next to her, had found her on his first try with an unbelievable blind luck. Either he was really lucky, or he had another pair of eyes. Literally.

Sabrina growled, knowing now that Karen would hear her. She had to be around here.

“What kind of dirty game is this for you?” She asked through gritted teeth. She paused, but decided not to say any more. If Karen wanted to know, she would have her ways of finding out. And there was not much more that Sabrina wanted to know beside the reason for this amusing show Karen presented them with.

That, and maybe how to snap Will out of it.

Laughter. Then a disembodied, hollow voice that would have scared grown men out of their wits, surrounded her, but Sabrina was way too used to telepathy to be scared by it. Even if it was the dark twin of telepathy. ‘Show? No, by no means is this a mere show for me. Neither is it for you.’

‘Obviously.’ Sabrina thought darkly. She had never liked game shows and one where she directly involved without agreement was not going to remove them of their unloved position.

‘This is not a show, but a test. A love test.’ The hollow voice laughed, and had Sabrina found the air to breathe properly, she would have laughed as well. How overrated were love tests, all kinds of them? There was no measurement for love, no questionnaire that could record all of its facets. ‘One that you still have to pass, I may remind you, dear Sabrina.’ The gym leader snorted. How could one pass a test if not even the rules were known, much less the goal, the result that had to be achieved?

Either Karen did not hear her, or she ignored her subconscious question on purpose. ‘I would recommend you to try to find a way to pass my test, otherwise, you will never get your boy back.’ There was a snicker as Will answered his mistress’ statement wordlessly. ‘Otherwise, he’ll be my little puppet forever...’

Sabrina froze. She hated the word ‘puppet’, she hated it for a reason, and she was sure that was the very reason Karen used the term. Yet, it described pretty well the state Will was in. “Why?” she asked, forcing herself to close her eyes and not cry. “Why do you do this? Can’t you keep us alone? Can’t everyone just keep us alone?!” She was fed up. Fed up with having to fight with other girls, with disproving dozens of newspaper articles, with dealing with so much stress. She wanted, for once, her peace.

There was no answer from Karen. Either she didn’t have an answer, or she did not bother with talking to the psychic anymore. Or maybe both. It wasn’t as if Sabrina cared, if Karen had just given her a tip, a single clue...

Again, the psychic felt tears starting to form at the corners of her eyes, and again, she fought back as harshly as she could. She gritted her teeth even harder, and, with strength she did not know she had herself, grabbed Will’s arm while getting up to a standing position again. She looked him directly into the eyes, and although her own where shining, she was not crying.

“No matter what Karen has done to you, I will get you back, I pro-“ She had not expected him to pull her fiercely back.

And so, she tripped.

And fell onto him.

~~~~~~~

Karen looked up, raising an eyebrow. ‘This way, you’re not going to pass...’

~~~~~~~

Sabrina rubbed her head with her free hand, wincing as she could feel a few drops of blood falling down her lips, as she had accidently cut open the small wounds through biting while being stunnrd by the fall. Will seemed equally surprised, or, rather, Karen had to be equally surprised, as she was the one who controlled Will.

The gym leader could not help but look into his eyes and shudder. She had fallen so deeply in love with this man that it hurt her to just think of losing him, of losing him for no reason, for a obscure ‘test’ that did not make much sense at all. Her heart hurt.

“I cannot lose you...” Bending her neck, she pinned his arms to his side as she moved forward, their faces coming nearer. Then, she kissed the still stunned man, wincing at the burning pain the fresh wound caused upon contact with his lips.

~~~~~~~

‘What?’

~~~~~~

There was a moment of silence. A moment of apprehension, of suspense, of complete stillness.

Then, she could feel him returning the kiss.

And everything in her just broke down.

She was trembling, Trembling with happiness, with the power of long withheld emotions leaping out again, forcefully breaking their way through her normally stoic appearance. She stroked his cheek with her free hand, forcing herself not to bite his tongue off in an overenthusiastic act. It was the very first time she did not feel awkward during a French kiss, and yet there were too many emotions inside her to count, even less identify all of them. She was happy, stunned, shocked, and mesmerized, just to name a few.

Slowly, after a seemingly endless time outside of any ether and any eon, she broke the kiss, staring into his eyes and a single tear fell down as she leaned her head down on his cheek, her hair cascading down on the cold floor next to them.

Will blinked. “Uhm, did I miss something?”

Slap.

In a matter of seconds, Sabrina’s expression had gone from complete calmness to an angry, irritated stare and she had slapped him.

Hard.

In her opinion he deserved it. After all, she had gone to hell and beyond to get him back and all he could ask was if he had missed something?!?! ‘Oh, no, you have not missed anything at all, it’s just that mere minutes again, we fought a battle of life and death and if I had let you, you would have scalped me with this metal boomerang of yours!’

Sabrina growled. “Get up, boy, we have to get that Espeon out of the rubble!”

Will, supporting himself with his arms while sitting up, rubbed his burning cheek, confused as hell. Then, he sighed, carefully quietening his words, in case she was listening to him. “First a lustfully kiss and then slapping...who would have thought that you differ in any way from the usual b...”

“What did you say?” Her eyebrow twitched and Will gulped, sweatdropping.

“Nothing, dear, nothing at all.”

~~~~~~~

‘It should not have worked. It should not have worked at all! Why did it...although, if she...how long has it been that she was in hospital?’

~~~~~~~

Will was confused as hell, but seeing Sabrina fuming silently to herself made him squish all intents of asking her what had happened during the last few...minutes? Hours? Days? His sense of time was damaged and the numbers on his watch told him nothing more than the current time, not how much time he had spent...away, he guessed. Something had happened, he was sure of that, otherwise, he wouldn’t have had so many blackouts in such a short amount of time, and secondly, his girlfriend wouldn’t act so oddly.

Not to mention that he had no idea where they were and how they had managed to find the Espeon... Last thing he remembered was going into his room to catch some sleep, but that had to be at least a day ago, so, in short, at least one day of his life was so full of holes that it was nearly missing completely.

He sighed and kneeled down to move another piece of metal around. Sabrina had said that the Espeon was buried somewhere under the chaos, and to his unasked question, obvious by his confused looks, she had said that Hunter J had turned the Espeon into stone, so it was most likely unhurt and unable to move at the same time. He looked around the plain blue storage room and could not imagine what kind of action had taken place there minutes ago. Many boxes were destroyed, their metal twisted beyond repair. Obviously a psychic’s doing, but had it been him, Sabrina, or someone completely different? He did not know, and Sabrina was too occupied to answer him, unfortunately. The elite trainer looked up, shivering at the gaping hole in the middle of the room, in the shape of a long, thin rectangle. He hoped that the airship they were on- that was at least something he had found out on his own, had thicker walls than their looks might tell, because even though the sky was usually a beautiful view, in this case, it wouldn’t be as gorgeous as usual.

“Stop daydreaming and help me!” She snarled, but he could hear a desperation and fatigue in her voice that hadn’t been there when he had last heard her, before his blackout. He nodded silently. His first instinct was to take her into his arms and calm her down like he had done before, but deep inside, he knew that right now, business came before love, and she would be even angrier at him if he didn’t help her.

He lifted another piece of metal and was almost startled when he looked right into the metallic brown eyes of a Pokemon. An Espeon, to be precise. He blinked. So that was how ‘stonified’ Pokemon looked like...

“Found it!” He exclaimed, and Sabrina turned around, a small, tired smile beaming at him like a ray of sunlight.

~~~~~~~

‘So my plan has failed. What a pity. It would have been the ultimate test, and at least it would have made these fools’ club of Claire shut up. What a pity...’

The dark woman closed her eyes, turning around to the shivering man.

“I have no need for you anymore. Not for you and any of your comrades.” She licked her fingernail. “Though I would have a fine job for that sexy b...bandit your have as a leader there. I wonder if she’s into girls...”

Harry blinked with watery eyes, his tears not dried yet (and neither were his pants, but that was another thing).

The trainer waved her hand. “Nah, too uncomfortable here. Let’s see...let’s see if I can turn the tables around again.”

And the dark mist disappeared, along with the blonde woman.

~~~~~~~

“Well, sometimes, you are good for something!” Sabrina exclaimed, walking over to him and helping him with getting the Espeon out of the mountain of destroyed boxes and other metallic pieces that had no use other than to be melted again, as their forms were nearly unrecognisable.

Will raised an eyebrow. “What?” He wasn’t sure if he was supposed to take her insult serious or if she was just kidding around, her voice was too tired to give him a definite hint of its intentions.

Sabrina grinned as well. “You gave me a whole lot of trouble, but let’s not talk about this now. We have to get going. The Espeon is still in a state where I think Lucian would not like to get it back. Hopefully, while we get out of this thing, we’ll come across one of her henchmen who can nicely tell us how to turn it back into flesh.”

Will nodded silently, not commenting. While he had the feeling that Sabrina was a bit too optimistic about the worker’s intelligence and knowledge, he didn’t want to argue with her either. Something had obviously happened that made her a bit snappier than usual and he didn’t want to increase that level of bad temperedness.

He glanced at her face and could not help but wonder what had happened to her. Her forehead, cheeks and lips had small cuts; her hair was shiny from sweat, just as if she had recently been through a series of serious physical exercises. And then, definitely suspiciously, there was a small red mark on her throat just as if someone had been trying to strangle her. Will clenched his fists; he wished he had been conscious, so he could have punished whoever had dared to try to hurt his girlfriend.

But then, disturbing him more than the simple injuries themselves, she had tried to hide the mark on her throat from him by covering it with her collar every time he looked, in the end failing and making it much more obvious to him that something was wrong. Will swallowed. He wanted to know...what had happened...but she wasn’t going to tell him, was she?

“Sabrina...” he whispered, just as she had managed to pull the Espeon out of the rubble and, not expecting it to be much heavier than usual, fell backwards, and, for the probably first time in her life, laughed at her own clumsiness. It took the woman a moment to notice his sad expression, then she stood up again, brushing the nonexistent dust of her clothes.

“I know what you’re pondering over, I know, Will.” And this was not even a result of her powers. Or maybe it was, depending on which powers were meant. “But this is not the time to talk about it. Please, I’m not mistrusting you”, she swallowed, as if she had to convince herself of that statement, too,” we simply have no time to talk about it now.” The man nodded silently, he had to be satisfied with that explanation for the moment. “You could rather help me with the Espeon, seems as if it gained a few pounds...or a few more...”

He laughed. “Ah, and you’re too weak to carry it? Of course, a gentleman has to help in this case...”

Sabrina glared at him. “Excuse me if I’m a bit drained from fighting you...” she whispered with dark eyes, just quiet enough for him not to hear it at all.

Together, they carried the Espeon to the door, with Sabrina walking backwards and being forced to open the door with her feet, creating a humouristic stunt Will had to laugh about.

Yet, she did not have to open the door herself, as it swung open with the force of a non-artificial explosion, caused by the power of an infuriated woman who had too much on stake and too much on her mind, including a few portions of too much caffeine.

“What the heck do you think are you doing?” she bellowed, clenching her fists and staring at the two psychics through her cold, darkening sunglasses. Behind her, a few of her men stood, equally startled and huddled together as if they were more afraid of their own boss than of the two, without doubt powerful intruders. Which was actually the more likely scenario.

“We’re carrying the Espeon to a bleacher, as it obviously caught too much sunlight.” Sabrina snarled, irritated by J’s more than obviously dumb question. Will had to snicker at his girlfriend’s sarcasm. He hadn’t known that she possessed it at all. “No, we’re rescuing it, idiot!”

“Idiot?!” Harry whimpered, praying to Arceus above that the dark mist would swallow him again. It was like choosing between plague and cholera, but at least he was safe from J in the dark mist, while out in the dark, not literally, he was not safe from the strange blond woman that had trapped him.”Are you calling me an idiot?” J shouted back.

Sabrina rolled her eyes. “No, you’re hearing ghosts. I said ‘shallot’!”

Will blinked, staring in her direction and, even though the situation was not one for replaying the last episode of ‘Who wants a billion pokedollars?’, dared to ask a question that seemed to come right of its handbook. “What is a shallot?”

Sabrina shoot around and glared at her boyfriend, while J was still confused, probably because she did not know the meaning either. “Of course, what else to expect from a cannibal....it’s an onion-like vegetable.”

“What?” Before Will had even the time to voice his disagreement with being called a cannibal- though he wasn’t sure if psychics that had indeed eaten another psychic, even if it was a Pokemon, didn’t deserve to be called cannibals, a bright, orange ray of light shot between them. He stumbled backwards, losing his grip on the Espeon. Out of the corners of his eyes, he could see Sabrina falling back in a similar way. He glanced back at the direction the light came from and saw that its origin was a small device on J’s arm whose purpose wasn’t completely clear to him, though after the few clues Sabrina had given him; it obviously had to do with both the beam and the Espeon’s stonification.

J growled, unnerved by the pile of flaws in her plan. “Couldn’t you take care of your own problems and not get involved?” Her voice was deep, snake-like, and yet at the same time, there was a higher pitch in it, indicating increasing frustration. “This was the biggest mission, the major coup, the finale triumph and you two had to smash it.” J snarled, her eyes glowing with invisible fire and fury.

Will glanced at Sabrina and swallowed. She was holding her head with one hand, one eye closed tightly. She wasn’t as confused as him, who had no real idea what J was talking about. Why was this Espeon so damn special? Of course, it was Lucian’s Espeon, the Pokemon of an elite four trainer, but he had thought that someone like J, being the legendary Pokemon hunter she was, would never use superlatives that casually and would always find a higher step. He had believed it not to be only his own ambition...

J put on a vicious, malevolent smile and touched something Will could not make out around her neck. From far away, it seemed to be a necklace of some sort, but it was too big to be comfortable and Will doubted that someone like J, who really depended on her fitness and mobility, would wear jewellery. For a split second, just after the villain had touched the mysterious appendage, there was a flash in his vision, and startled, he closed his eyes, and the flash disappeared too quickly for him to really recognise what it had been in the end. Yet, a sound coming from the other end of the room caught his attention. Sabrina groaned, glaring at J with furious eyes. Will concluded that this probably had to be the way J had shut off her psychic powers, just like the blue haired woman had done days ago in the post office.

J crouched down and pulled the Espeon, which had been left unattended in the chaos, towards her. “I’ll take this with me”, she said darkly, starting to turn around to leave through the open door. Will blinked, suddenly realising this turn of events and how J was going to flee.

“No, you’re not!” he screamed and jumped to his feet, running after J. He barely managed to get a grip on the psychic Pokemon before J turned around so violently that it was snatched out of his hands and he stumbled again. He couldn’t even see J’s angry expression as she threw the Espeon into the guts of on her henchmen, knocking the air out of his lungs.

“So, you don’t want to cut it out, do you?” J grinned. “But I can cut you off.” She closed her eyes as she pushed a button on the wall next to the door, nodding to her henchmen as they left the room. Momentarily, Will was surprised that she didn’t just try to ‘shoot’ him again with her bracelet, but knew that whatever she was going to do now would be just as effective. She surely hadn’t called off her henchmen because of anything dangerous...

At first, nothing happened, but then, the elite trainer heard the metallic screech of doors opening and he looked in horror behind him to see a door opening itself, cold wind suddenly rushing into and through the room.

Before he had any real time to react, there was a buzz behind him, and some kind of electric cracking. From the other end of the room, he could see Sabrina screaming something to him- and really, he could only ‘see’ her scream, because the noise in the room had increased dramatically. Now it was not only the howling of the wind, but also the charging of J’s bracelet-...

Will turned around, but it was too late. The orange beam, hot like the glowing sun and hissing like an Ekans after encountering prey, was already aiming for him at top speed.

Fortunately, the beam did not hit him with the expected force, the question if J had intended this left unanswered as she didn’t even stay long enough to see the impact, rather turned around with a whip of her coat, following her henchmen through the door.

Yet, even when being noticeably weaker, the energy was enough to knock Will off his feet and dangerously close to the open tailboard. He had closed his eyes, feeling the rush of wind around his face and body, his clothes flapping violently. And then, he couldn’t feel any ground beneath him anymore.

Still with closed eyes, the elite trainer couldn’t help but be amused. It felt like a déjà vu, only with reversed roles. And without the obligatory explosion, but that was something he could do without. An explosion was the last thing he needed.

For a split moment, he wondered if this was how his Natu felt, when they took off for the first time. It was very unusual for these small bird Pokemon to learn how to fly, but he had never seen the reason not to try it and he had trained with them and trained with them and trained with them, until they were ready. For them, it must have been a wonderful feeling to overcome this frontier, to go farther than anyone had ever thought them to be able to go. Just like him.

Briefly, he also wondered why so many people were afraid of flying. Of course, there were logical reasons- but he had thrown logic out of his life the moment he was informed that he was a psychic himself. Logic had no place in the life of a psychic. There was no gravity for them anymore. There was only the power of their mind and the spirit of what they wanted to do with it. It was not mind over muscle, it was mind over nature. He could bend the laws of nature to his own will any moment he wanted to.

Something grasped his arm.

‘This really feels like a déjà vu’, Will mused through closed eyes. He didn’t open them; he didn’t know why he didn’t open them.

Then, reality rushed in again and his fall was suddenly, harshly stopped. Will yelped at the pang of pain that shot through his left arm and during this second of confusion, he opened his eyes.

And then, he couldn’t close them anymore. He stared at his girlfriend above him, her eyes closed tightly, teeth gripped together as if she was in pain and taking short, raspy breaths. She had her hand closed firmly around his arm, her surprisingly short and uncoloured fingernails not bearing themselves into his skin, just leaving a fine line on its surface, barely visible.

Will was surprised, to say the least. He had never expected Sabrina to do this for him. After all, she didn’t need to. He could help himself. Didn’t she...trust him?

Sabrina snarled, audibly out of breath. “I do trust you...I trust you more than anyone else on this world...” She winced and Will, horrified, could see a small trail of blood flowing down her arm gracefully, a miniature river of thick, red water, crossing the border of their skins and touching his own. It felt warm against the cold winds.

‘Her hurt shoulder...she’s holding me with her hurt arm! The wound... the stitches must have broken open again...’ Will realised and twitched uncomfortably. She was hurting herself for him...

“Sabrina...please, you don’t need to do this...” Even without confirmation, he was sure she knew what he was talking about. It was rather obvious. After all, the wound was the very result of a similar scene. It was scary how fate loved to play with them...

She snarled again, but he assumed rightly that it was more out of sheer pain than out of anger. “I have to do this...Will, I trust you. I trust you to be sure that you would be able to teleport out of this. Or heck, even levitate, even though we didn’t even train this yet.” She smiled weakly at him, her eyes nearly closed. “But I could never forgive myself if you didn’t manage and... I could never forgive myself if I let you go and you die...” She paused. “I don’t want to lose you because of some foolhardy slip that could have been avoided.”

~~~~~~~

Sabrina winced at the stinging pain in her arm. In some way, it was almost comical at how the two of them kept saving each other's lives’. She just had to keep on hoping that her, their luck wasn’t going to fade away like her strength.

The doctors had told her not to stress her arm too much for a while and she wondered, with dry humour, if saving her boyfriend from death was considered ‘stress’. It was likely, though.

‘When this is over, a simply operation won’t do it anymore...” She groaned slightly. ‘I can probably forget about ever using that arm again...’ She wondered if this was really worth it, but quickly dismissed those thoughts. It wasn’t even sure if they would both come out of this relatively unharmed otherwise...

Another shot of pain made her flinch and she felt her arm becoming powerless...

~~~~~~~

He knew he was going to fall. But he smiled. He knew he was going to survive, no matter what happened.
He had his dear to live for.

~~~~~~~

A drop of blood fell.

~~~~~~~

The blond woman stared at the duo with wide open eyes, not believing her eyes. Then, she swallowed, overthinking her whole plan again. She had to do something now. She had to interfere.

She had been wrong.

And yet, she had been right in the end. She had felt it deep in her heart all the time. These two belonged together. Alone, they would be nothing. Now, if one of them died, the other would be lost.

In the end, the dark woman had to admit that...Sabrina had indeed passed the test. Just not in the way she had intended it.

~~~~~~~

The blond woman stared the duo with wide open eyes, not believing her eyes. Then, she swallowed, over thinking her whole plan again. She would have to do something about this later. She had to make things right again.

Oh, she had been oh so wrong.

All of it had been a mistake, she saw that now. Giving up the ones you love is the greatest mistake you can ever do. Especially when you know, know deep inside that those still love you. It’s often that they just cannot show it in the way you expect it, but this is a common human flaw. One she had not expected herself to have, but she was not flawless. She may have had the looks of an angel, but she was not flawless.

But she had the chance to change it all for the better.

She took the mobile phone and quickly called in a number. Yet, seconds before the ringing stopped and the voice at the other end of the line could make a sound, she hesitated. A few teardrops were falling down her pale face, framed by hair whose beauty could only be rivalled the rays of sunshine. Then, she smiled. She had an idea. She knew how to prove her love to him again.

She just needed to make a second, quick call.

~~~~~~~

Sabrina felt as if she was going to faint, she didn’t know from what, either blood loss or simple exhaustion, but the darkness was crawling closer.

Literally.

Something suddenly grabbed her hand and stabilized it, relieving it from the strain. Surprised, and quite a bit startled, too, she opened her eyes and looked to her side.

“Karen?!”

The dark women grinned at her. “Heh, always in for a surprise are we, eh?” Then, she turned her head to face Will again, who was just as surprised as Sabrina was, yet his surprise seemed to be of another kind. The gym leader couldn’t put her finger on it, but she was quite sure that Will had expected this to end quite differently.

Just like she had after she had lost grip.

Karen stretched her bony, muscular fingers and dark mist surrounded her hand, yet it only stayed misty for a few seconds before twirling around itself and winding itself into a rope of some sorts. The rope wrapped itself around Will’s wrist, curling and swirling and getting thicker with every new sheet that was formed out of nothing but darkness, and suddenly, Karen jumped back, getting Will on board of the airship again with a single powerful pull. Both elite trainers fell, Karen on her back, Will on his stomach, while Sabrina jumped to the side to avoid being hit by either of the two. The rope disappeared with a puff of smoke, nothing left of it aside from a few pieces of black ash.

Karen rubbed her head briefly before starting to stand up, smiling at Will, who was still sprawled before her and had a bit of trouble getting up. “Humans are not meant to be able to fly, sweetie...” she whispered, knowing Will’s thoughts and intentions very well, more than Will really wanted to.

The dark woman turned her head to the side, watching Sabrina with a thin layer of sadness on her pale, unmoving face. The psychic was pale as well, in comparison to Karen even paler and had her eyes closed in pain, as a few drops of sweat fell down her face. She held her arm with the other, still functioning one, pushing it tightly against her body. The blood, once flowing down her arm freely, had now pooled around her shoulder, leaving the part of her jacket soaked with it.

“Oh, dear...” Will whispered, honestly worried about Sabrina. He started to get up, almost tripping over his hands and falling over again as he was so troubled and he wanted to get close to his dear as soon as possible. Yet, a hand in front of his face stopped him.

“No. I wouldn’t get near her now...” Karen whispered, with an almost inaudible snicker. “You would certainly disturb her concentration...” Will looked up at Karen with such a helpless, dumbfound look that the other elite trainer had to try hard not to break out with laughter, which would certainly disturb Sabrina even more.

Gesturing towards the younger woman, Karen closed her eyes and snickered. “She’s going to use recover...smart move, I have to say. Even modern surgery wouldn’t help her arm now anymore, so ancient powers have to take over. What the irony...” Will blinked and followed Karen’s hand.

Sabrina still had her eyes closed, but Will knew, or rather, felt that something was different now. She was concentrating, indeed. It was as if she was gathering her powers, focussing them in a single point and then, slowly, directed that point of energy towards her shoulder. That was the only way Will, the novice, could describe it.

He yelped when white light literally broke out of her and everything was bathed in complete white for a few seconds. Will stumbled back, unsure if he was near the opening and thus, again in danger, but he could not feel any gust of wind and thus, concluded that it was safe to fall back. He rubbed his eyes once he was sitting again and surprisingly, the whiteness had already stopped and was replaced by the normal, shadowy colouring of the room. Karen was still standing next to him and had an even more persistent snicker on her face. He turned around to face Sabrina and, automatically, felt more relived. She was still pale and there was still blood around her shoulder, but she was way more relaxed, as if she wasn’t in any pain anymore and apparently, the wound had stopped bleeding, too. “Dear...?” he whispered, unsure and still a bit worried.

Sabrina opened her eyes and glanced wordlessly at him, before getting up and walking up to Karen. “Come on, we need to get the Espeon back...again.”

She didn’t pay him any other mind and walked out of the door, Karen wickedly grinning at him before following his girlfriend, her short, black, transparent dress billowing out in the wind.

Will smiled reassured and closed his eyes as he got up in order to follow the girls. ‘She’s alright...’

End of Chapter 7, Part Three.

Crazy Packers Fan
December 18th, 2009, 12:12 PM
Wait, does that mean Sabrina won't lose her arm? Awww... I was so excited, I thought you were going to take after me and disable her permanently. Of course she wouldn't be nearly as disabled as she will be in my story, but it would make her more interesting as a character. Oh well...

So this was a love test by Karen to see if Sabrina and Will belonged together? And I assume they pass, that's for sure. Strange part of the chapter where it almost repeats itself, but I assume you meant that.

Where's Cynthia? I thought she was important. And how much longer until the end?

Psychic*Absol
February 10th, 2010, 01:39 PM
Some general notes: No, I haven't stopped writing. In fact, this story *is* finished. It's just that my beta couldn't finish beta-ing it in time, so yes, this chapter will be posted as it is, not beta-read, typos and grammar stuff included. Sorry for that.
Plus, this chapter is very plot-talk-heavy and may be hard to understand. Sorry for that, too.

@CPF No, Sabrina won't loose anything there. The only one who *might* loose something is Hunter J. 0=) And Karen, but that's just for jokes. XD *winks at Zammy*

And Cynthia was speaking. She was the second blonde woman. 0=) I did not repeat myself, that was done on purpose.

Chapter 7, Part 4: Pact

Hunter J didn’t pay much attention to the things she should have paid attention to in this moment. Her mind was troubled enough with sorting out what she had experienced during the last hours. Hunter J rarely had to fight so fiercely to get a mission completed and she could only remember one group of three teenagers sabotaging her as badly as these league trainers had.

So she didn’t notice that her cell phone had been blinking and beeping loudly for at least ten minutes, and she didn’t notice that a large group of her henchmen had taken off into another direction, either out of fright or of simple lack of orientation, as her airship wasn’t easy at all to navigate through and she hadn’t been stupid enough to put up maps in case of an nearly impossible invasion which had, proven by the current circumstances, still happened in the end.

The woman stopped and gasped for air, taking one moment to over think the situation. She had to phone Cynthia and tell her that she would have to give her the Espeon now, no further delays allowed; otherwise, the whole mission was in danger of getting blown. She looked around frantically. Were the league trainers already taken care of? She didn’t know, she hadn’t stayed to watch, but she was fairly sure that she had closed the door behind her. But closing was not an equivalent of locking off...

“Wah!” She stumbled forward and hit the wall hard, the air knocked out of her lungs and she herself nearly knocked out. Something, or rather, someone, had tackled her from behind and grabbed her waist to pull her down. And, sadly, said someone had succeeded so far, but Hunter J wasn’t one for giving up. She still held the stonified Espeon tight in her arms, having taken it again from her henchmen. She had thought that the Pokemon would be more endangered if one of her less than dumb workers took care of it, but apparently, she had been quite wrong.

Someone else stepped in front of her. Hunter J looked up and saw the shining leather of black boots and a quite angry woman dressed in red wearing them. She glared at the Pokemon hunter, before allowing a smirk to appear on her face. And then, she stepped on the hand that was still grabbing the Pokemon, while bending forward and ripping something from the other woman’s neck. Hunter J yelped in pain as her knuckles cracked loudly and, against her will, she started to cry.

Will gasped for air and steadied himself, before blinking in surprise. Karen had managed to make Hunter J fall, and Sabrina had just taken the Espeon from her, at the same time hurting her fingers seriously. He had not known Sabrina to be so full of revenge, such cruelness had rather been the speciality of Karen, but it seemed as if the two women had changed places for the time being.

Sabrina stepped to the side, not paying Hunter J any more mind, while Karen pushed the helpless, whimpering woman against the wall, holding her fiercely by the collar. With her bony features, Karen certainly didn’t look like it, but she seemed to have the strength to overtake many enemies physically. That or her powers were the deciding factors here...

Speaking of powers...Will blinked, but before he could form the question, Karen had started to interrogate Hunter J with a snarl.

“So now, little “Sabrina forcefully ignored the word”, tell me who you’re working for!”

“Never!” J answered fast and harshly, not facing Karen.

“Hmpf, I wish- and you’ll wish too, that we could have settled this the easy way...” The dark trainer snickered. “Maybe you’ll be more talkative after I’ve ‘clouded’ any disturbing thoughts from your mind...” Will could swear that Karen’s voice had just gained an inhuman amount of seducing, and Hunter J had gained a paleness that equalled Sabrina’s.

“Please, we don’t need to be aggressive.” Sabrina smiled and Will shuddered again. Out of all the women in the room, there was only one that didn’t scare him anymore, and that was the villain...

“I can rip the answers right from her mind, my powers aren’t blocked anymore.” Will raised his hand as if he was in school, feeling that any more open gesture would cause the two female league trainers to turn their aggression towards him. Sabrina sighed and glared at him, just answering him telepathically. <You weren’t watching her when she used that blocker necklace of hers, so yes, indeed, your powers weren’t blocked.>

Karen shrugged. “Your decision. I guess both methods leave her more or less mind raped.” She bit her tongue in a lascivious way; Sabrina rolled her eyes and muttered that she hadn’t been so interested in causing a future prisoner who could be of value for *two* leagues to spend the rest of her life in a madhouse.

“No, no, no!” Hunter J had gained a bit of colour, but only in certain places, leaving her to look like a Spinda with measles. “I’ll talk, I’ll talk...just...never *this* again! Oh, please, never!” She grabbed her face with both of her hands, hiding it in shame and fear. Sabrina and Karen stared at each other, then shrugged, though Will couldn’t help but notice that Karen looked a bit disappointed.

J was shuddering, her teeth nearly chattering and Will wondered if she was in shock or what else caused the strong hunter to act like this. But even if he had known what had happened months ago in a hotel in Sinnoh- that alone would have surprised the heck out of him, he wouldn’t have been prepared for what J was about to say, rather deciding that going into shock was an adequate option. Thankfully, both Sabrina and Karen were steadier than him and took the time to listen and combine.

“It’s Cynthia.”

“What?” Will exclaimed, but Karen hit his arm with her heels and he was silenced, and speechless. The two women just continued to stare at J.

“She...she told me to steal the Espeon and the Pokemon egg that were on their way to the Indigo Plateau.” J held her head down. “Please, that’s all I know. Don’t do anything to me, please, no....” She whimpered, and Karen, who still pushed her against the wall, turned around.

“As surprising as this is, I have the feeling it just opens more and more questions, don’t you, too?” Sabrina nodded, staring at J with a hard to read expression. To tell the truth, Will, who had so far assumed that he knew her well enough to decipher her emotions anytime, was completely clueless about what she was thinking about.

Karen stood up, leaving J to slump against the wall, crying and sniffing there like a helpless baby. The great hunter had just crumbled her image as surely as a wallet wielded by the right woman would have done it. “We knew that Cynthia was about to fob something off the league, right?” Sabrina nodded sourly while glaring at Will, who was even more clueless than before.

Karen closed her eyes. “Now the question is...how did she want to achieve this?” The dark trainer turned to Sabrina. “The mix up with the real present and the fake one....what do you think? Could it have been planned out by Cynthia? I’m no expert on international relationships, but I suppose presents, even symbolical ones, are required to keep positive feedback of each other...especially for the host.”

Sabrina bit her lip. She felt uncomfortable talking about this, but to solve the puzzle she had to give in her pieces. “You’re right about the importance of presents in this...superficial society.” She hissed the last words. “But then, Cynthia should have known about the egg, right? And... she can’t have manipulated the two ‘presents’. In this case, she would have sorely depended on the fact that Will and I mix up the numbers and that there isn’t a suitable present with the wrong number.” The psychic gym leader shook her head. “That can’t be the solution.”

Karen nodded. “So...we know that Cynthia wanted to hurt Indigo’s League. We know she hired some Hunter to steal an Espeon and an egg which was supposed to be given to her as a present...” Karen raised an eyebrow. “There has to be a reason. I mean...why would she friggin steal something that would be given to her anyway? And since she ordered dear J here to steal the egg, she knew it was the secret present. Hm...”

Will raised his hand. “We know another thing. The egg and the Espeon were sent too late.”

Karen took a deep breath. “Now, was this an accident or not? Knowing Cynthia and how much planning she seems to have put into this, probably not.” The dark woman walked around the plain, dark blue room.

J coughed, not sure if she was allowed to speak or even if she should speak, knowing her situation. “No, I was ordered to steal the egg with the official date of its arrival here given. If Cynthia had known that it would be delayed, she wouldn’t have ordered me to wait for it on that date.” She shook her head, strains of her blue hair drained with sweat. “I even phoned her when I saw that the container with the egg and the Espeon, seeing as both were supposed to arrive on the same day, was not here yet. Lance didn’t know about it, either.”

“Well, seeing as he is Cynthia’s mind slave now” Both Will and Sabrina stared in deep shock at each other when Karen blurted this out, “he’s likely to have been manipulated for a long time, maybe Cynthia made him not know about it.”
Everyone else nodded. “There was, though, a change in plan when the egg and the Espeon did not arrive.” J looked up. “I told Cynthia who the two representatives were”, she nodded to Will and Sabrina,” and she ordered me to observe them.” While the two psychic trainers exchanged looks which rated from surprised to shocked, Karen nodded.

“It does make sense in a way...” Sabrina mumbled that she had never questioned the logic behind, but Karen ignored her. “See it from Cynthia’s point of view...in the end, she had two chances to demolish the league. First, if everything had went well, you two wouldn’t have any present for her, because if it had arrived in time, J would have stolen it! And while you come to her empty handed, Cynthia could triumphantly announce that her secret Sinnoh agents or whoever would play the clown’s role had found out that Kanto’s league has not been able to keep a known, dangerous criminal away from highly official artefacts- not mentioning that her own league has problems of its own with Hunter J, of course.”

Said woman blinked and blinked, and Will and Sabrina did pretty much the same. Karen was concluding a bit too fast for them.

“But then...several things that were not planned happened. First...the container was delayed. Apparently, Cynthia did not know about this, from what J here said, but we can’t be 100% sure about it. But assuming that Cynthia had not planned the delay...well, she had a problem.” Karen closed her eyes. “Fortunately, you two found an equally valuable and acceptable present.”

“Fortunately?” Will asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Of course! See, that way, there could be a comfortable change in plan, it didn’t have to be completely dropped.”

“In that case, wouldn’t it have been much better for Cynthia if we hadn’t found anything? Not only would Lance have beheaded us, but we would also not be able to give her anything...besides our bowings, that is.” Sabrina mused sarcastically.

Karen was speechless for a moment, not knowing what to answer. Surprisingly, it was Will who came up with an explanation. “I’m not sure, but a delay in the transportation wouldn’t be as demolishing as a personal failure of the two members the league chose to represent them. Politically thinking, I mean. After all, if that had truly been the case, we would have blamed it on the post, not ourselves.” He nodded to Sabrina, who wordlessly agreed with him.

Karen, slowly recovering from her mental blackout, found the thread again. “Anyway...do you remember what happened the day after you had given them the present?”

Will shrugged, but Sabrina growled with a clearly visible miserable and angry expression, dark shadows around her eyes. “Lucian invited me for a little walk, don’t you remember?” She hissed and Will backed away, swallowing.

“Uhm..no?” Slap.

Wrong answer.

Karen chuckled. “I’m not paranoid, but this invitation seems, in the light of recent events, highly suspicious. After all, we know now that his girlfriend was J’s boss here, and J was ordered to take the Espeon and the egg, and then, Lucian leads you to the post office the day J attacks. Now if that is coincidence, I’m going to wear a pink dress with frills.”

All the others in the room started to snicker, even J, who didn’t know much about Karen’s clothing preferences, but had her prejudices, considering that Karen was indeed dressed in all black and high heels and...not so suitable for the wilderness at all. And there was this frivolity that made J shudder...

“I think that it was planned for you to see J and interrupt her. Maybe Lucian played the ignorant, we don’t know, but it’s likely. In this case...” Karen closed again her eyes. “It was also planned for J to be interrupted by you,” there was a loud yelp as J realised that she had been used as well by Cynthia, not even knowing all of her role in this plan and blindly believing what she had been told, “but I suppose that it was also planned for you to lose against J. After all, Lucian stayed behind to fight her Pokemon, so that he would not be associated with the Espeon and the egg at all. I doubt that her plan involved you keeping the egg, but she doesn’t seem to have made any effort to get the egg back, now, has she”? Karen turned to J, assuming that the older woman was the best source regarding this kind of info.

J shook her head. “Cynthia told me that the egg had been destroyed in the fighting, so we didn’t pay it any more attention. I didn’t even know that it still existed and had been taken until right now.” She looked at Sabrina, but the psychic stayed silent, not daring and not wanting either to give her more information.

Karen raised an eyebrow. “How should Cynthia know what had happened to the egg? She is psychic, sure, but that is not something you can find out with these powers...”

J struggled with herself, biting her lip as she was caught between loyalty and fear. In the end, fear won again. “She got to the post office in order to fetch my Pokemon from the police officers there, and I guess while doing that, she took a look around to see if the egg was around.”

There was a moment of silence, until Sabrina broke it again with a level, even voice. “That’s all nice and so, but why would Cynthia want me to lose against J? It must have been a major point in her plan, otherwise, she wouldn’t have used Lucian. He trusts her, as far as I can see it, and I doubt that Cynthia hasn’t let Lucian into her plan and so, he would be of value at any point of her ‘operation’. But so far, she seems to only have used him once....and that was to get me to the post office...” Sabrina closed her eyes, stopping in her musings.”...it doesn’t make much sense...”

Karen shrugged. “She broke up with Lucian shortly after, so what...? He’s not of any importance for her anymore, and so, he’s not for us, too...and for why you should lose...” Karen snickered. “It’s not easy to figure out, but once you get the idea, it seems pretty obvious. And I think, Sabrina dear, you should have figured it out by yourself, too.” She looked directly at the gym leader, and her eyes started to sparkle. “You were to blame for the disappearance of the Espeon.”

Sabrina opened her eyes widely and stared at Karen in shock, grabbing Will’s arm tightly as she did so, and Will had to admit that he didn’t mind.

“You, and the Indigo League with it, in the end.” Karen sat down, not even bothering to check if Sabrina had recovered enough to take more of these shocking revelations, fuelling her inner fears. “After all...there are two possibilities, both of high probabilities, and both would make you the culprit. Either you would have simply not been able to hinder J at taking the Espeon, which would be, in my opinion, the less painful option. Otherwise...well, Cynthia could still accuse you of having taken the Espeon for yourself.”

“What?!” Sabrina blinked, even more shocked than before.

“Well, it’s fitting, isn’t it? You’re a psychic trainer, you don’t have an Espeon, Eevee are hard to get, even for a gym leader and you did say you would like to have an Eevee for yourself, didn’t you?” Sabrina intensified her pressure on Will’s arm, but this time, clearly on purpose. Of course, the poor guy could not know that he had been controlled by Karen when he had told her all these things, and in the end, had forgot about all events from the moment on that she had kissed him until Sabrina had broken the spell.

Sabrina whispered quietly. “And then, Cynthia ordered us to find the Espeon for her...I can only assume that, had we indeed managed to get it from J, she would use the excuse that we, or rather, I had more or less ‘stolen’ it, because it had not officially been announced that either Lucian’s Espeon has been stolen or that we have been ordered to search for it.”

“There’s only one thing wrong with your conclusion, Sabrina.” Karen’s eyes had again the sparkle that told them she was about to say would be quite new and stunning for them. “Lucian does not have an Espeon.”

“What?” This time, both Sabrina and Will exclaimed this question at the same time, feeling fooled. They should have expected Cynthia to lie to them, but they had never bothered to check something this obvious. Which Pokemon a league trainer owned was something that could be checked easily by anyone, so at first glance, it seemed to be something that couldn’t be lied upon. But apparently Karen, who was not even directly involved in this operation, had taken her time to check the facts and she had drawn the right conclusion, showing them what trick they had fallen for. Will certainly felt ashamed, while Sabrina’s pride didn’t allow any feelings of this kind to enter her consciousness, at least in front of the darkling.

Karen snickered. “Unlike you two, who lost your minds quite easily in the chaos of the past days, I found the time and thought to check the Sinnoh data bank. And viola, Lucian has no Espeon. Never had, and doesn’t plan to get one. It can never be his, despite all the things you’ve been told. Either it belonged to someone else or it was wild...”

J nodded without reacting in any other emotional way. “Indeed, it was a wild Espeon I was ordered to fetch...”

“Nonsense, there are no wild Espeon!” Will exclaimed. “Eevee evolve by friendship and love from a trainer into Espeon and Umbreon, at day and night respectively, and a wild Eevee obviously has no trainer it could get love from.” He glared at Karen. “You should know this, too, you own an Umbreon!”

Karen rolled her eyes. “Of course I know this, I know the basics, thank you very much. But I’m sceptical about your fairly radical theory. Why shouldn’t a wild Pokemon feel so loved by anyone, be it human or Pokemon, in this case likely Pokemon, to evolve? Granted, it has not been witnessed yet, but that doesn’t erase the simple possibility.”

Will snorted. “But then, why should Cynthia go into the trouble of having to catch a rare, possible not even existing wild Espeon, when she, being prominent and rich, has easier ways of getting it?”

“For once, she didn’t have to get it herself, she employed J, as far as I got it, and second...because she can?” Sabrina chuckled at her own joke, but Will didn’t even acknowledge her.

Karen shrugged as well. “I guess it’s because stealing a trainer’s Pokemon is something Cynthia does not dare. That itself is a delicate move, even more for a champion, and considering that it’s the exact crime she wants to blame on you...overkill, anyone? She would not only be released from her position, but rather catapulted out of it...”

There was a moment of silence, which was suddenly destroyed as the airship was caught in turbulences and J used the moment of surprise to get onto her feet and attempt to flee. A short-timed attempt, as Sabrina stopped her with her powers, inwardly surprised that they worked to well even with Karen being near.

“No, sweety, you’re not going anywhere before you’ve turned to Espeon back into flesh and bones, understood?” J grit her teeth, knowing now for sure that this was so not her day. She just wanted to get out of this mess, out of Kanto, back to her sweet home Sinnoh and there, hopefully, into a bathtub filled with hot, relaxing water and pink bubbles.

“Just push down the lever down the glass tube and remove the glass dome.” The hunter struggled against the invisible force, but Sabrina wasn’t going to let her go. She didn’t know what Cynthia was going to do once she realized that her plan had been blown, and considering that Cynthia was a psychic, Sabrina feared that it might end in a battle...but she couldn’t just let the chance slip away of, at least partly, redeeming herself by getting one of Sinnoh’s most wanted into prison.

Will picked the lone glass tube, left alone in the trouble, up and slowly pushed the lever down. Immediately, colour returned to the Espeon and it blinked, confused. The young Elite trainer smiled and removed the last restraint on the Pokemon, setting it free again. “There you go, boy. You’re free.” But apparently, the Pokemon wasn’t as gracious as its saviours had expected. It hissed as it recognized J and decided that the woman deserved some beating. And the other humans who were with her as well. They were all the same, imprisoning Pokemon, enslaving them, all the same...

He noticed that one of the human women he was about to attack was a darkling, but it didn’t matter to him anymore. He had overcome worse. His red pearl started to shine.

Will hat trouble avoiding the first psybeam, even though Sabrina had warned them seconds before, sensing the incoming attack. He stumbled backwards and hid his eyes from the blinding light. He heard someone cursing and saw that J had escaped Sabrina’s psychic grasp, as his girlfriend had concentrated on sparing him a nasty headache by intercepting the psybeam.

Karen was torn between helping Will- with her dark Pokemon, she had the advantage, and following J. In the end, she grabbed Sabrina’s hand and pulled the gym leader behind her while turning her head around to face Will and scream to him a few short-timed orders. “You take care of the Espeon, we’ll take J!”

Will blinked at Karen and Sabrina leaving, before a hiss caught his attention and he barely had seconds before another psybeam was aimed in his direction.

“Gee, thanks girls...”

~~~~~~~

Cynthia bit her lip. She was frustrated and everyone who knew her well enough knew that a frustrated Cynthia was not something that should be ignored, much less underestimated. When she wanted to get something done, it had to get done, and may the earth stop rotating, it didn’t matter.

Yet, a cell phone that was turned off was out of Cynthia’s physical and psychical reach and so, she had no other choice but to wait.

She didn’t hate waiting, but when it was about something she was eager about, something that made her fingertips prickled and filled her with suspense and a sense of welcoming foreboding. She could see the rest of the plan unfolding in front of her mind’s eye, it was as clear as if someone had filmed it with his digital camera. But it was all just imagination, nothing had happened so far.

She had phoned J three times by now, and by now she had started to wonder if J was deaf or if she had turned off her phone. Or if something more serious was happened there that kept her favourite secret agent from answering. Either way, it had become obvious that J was not the one she would speak to today.

Sighing, Cynthia called another number. It only ringed once or twice before a shivering, male voice answered here. “Henchman Harry here?”

Cynthia smiled as she instructed him over the phone. Now she was happy she had asked J to give her the main number of her airship, the only way to contact not only her, but her henchman as well.

The champion had always dreamed of owning a harem...

~~~~~~~

J jumped through the gate that separated the storage rooms from rooms used for more ‘office’ like activities. She grimaced, finally feeling a bit more relieved as she couldn’t see her pursuers anymore. Most likely, they had lost their ways after a few minutes of sprinting after her, due to the labyrinth like construction of the airship. It was no surprise that some of the freshly new employed men got lost here a few times. But not J. She had the instinct and orientation of a Pokemon, had the perfect memory, she was smart and would not easily be taken down, never...

“Gotcha!”

“Eeek!” J slipped and tripped, swinging her arms around her body to keep her balance. She fell down and moaned, her chest and abdomen aching because of the fall, as if she had hit something hard. The hunter looked up to see the elite dark trainer standing in front of her, hands on her hips, her legs spread as wide as possible without making the sexual arousal too obvious, a light scraping coming from the heels of her boots. The psychic was standing next to her, slightly rolling her eyes. “Keep it clean, Karen...”

The darkling grinned. “Of course, I’ll keep it clinically clean, if you know what I mean.” Sabrina rolled her eyes even more, while J shivered. What did she mean with ‘clinically clean’? Was it, hopefully, only sarcasm or was the elite trainer serious?

Obvious, at least, was the fact that the psychic trainer had enough of her colleague’s antics and shoved Karen aside, glaring at her. Karen didn’t react, she had every opportunity of embarrassing her at any moment she chose, but the dark trainer had had her fun for today. Nearly destroying a relationship while trying to plumb its strength in reality was enough for a while. That, and she had started to like Sabrina in a way.

“If you scare her so much that she ends up mentally irresponsible, then we’re never going to get any kind of confession and neither of us is going to be awarded by the league.” Sabrina glanced at Karen over her shoulder. “And you can’t seriously tell me you’re not going for that, too.”

Karen shrugged. “I never said I wanted to win Lance’s golden medal of licking butts...” J winced, yet neither of the league trainers took notice. Another noise had caught their attention.

It was the sound of heavy, military boots walking along the metallic floor, apparently going into their direction. And there was a light, though distinctly male voice, weak and feeble, but forcing itself to be steady.

“Indeed, we have already started the landing process.”

Sabrina and Karen stared at each other, stunned. Neither of them had noticed that the airship they were on was already landing, and while Sabrina was wondering why her enhanced senses had failed her, she guessed it was because of the modern technology crafted into the vehicle that allowed it to be even more stable and quieter than most planes.

“ We will be landing in about ten minutes, right in front of the hotel’s yard, Client M. We have activated the invisible shield, so there should be no problems with unwanted witnesses.”

“Who’s this ‘Client M’?” Karen asked, her voice not above a whisper in case the unknown intruder had unusual good hearing.

“That would be Cynthia herself...” J snarled, not in the need of trying to hide her identity. She knew her employee’s voice too well, this was Harry, and she wondered what he was doing around here when it clearly wasn’t his workplace and why, and that was the more unsettling point, he was talking to Cynthia...

Sabrina raised an eyebrow, but decided not to press on this matter and instead pushed herself against the wall in order not to be seen, in case the unknown owner of the voice turned in their direction. She was silent again, hoping to catch more of the conversation.

There was a pause. “Are you getting the tapes?”

Karen had to clap her hand over Sabrina’s mouth to keep her from yelping. This was Cynthia’s voice, clear and plain to hear. The three women, and this time, all three of them indeed, flinched and pushed themselves so hard against the wall that their backs were going to hurt, they didn’t want to be seen in any case, for this could cost them their honour, their job and/or their head.

“Yes, I’m getting what you wanted.” He swallowed, obviously nervous. There was no one not nervous right now, except Cynthia herself.

“Good. I’ll be getting the Espeon myself in the meantime.” There was laughter. “And then I’ll take care of her myself. She’s influenced and boycotted my plan on way too many occasions.”

Karen suddenly knew how Will must have felt when Cynthia had confronted the couple in the league’s dinner room and Sabrina had suddenly turned very ‘clutchy’. The psychic gym leader had chosen her forearm to be her next victim...

“Is there anything else I should prepare for you?” The frightened young man asked, slowing down his steps.

There was a pause, a pause in which Sabrina thought her heartbeat slowed down so much that it seemed not to be existent anymore. The thought of dying crossed her mind briefly, how quick and simple it would be to end it all, and easy for a psychic like her. One attack aimed at her own body, her own brain and she would be dead, or at least comatose...

Sabrina snarled inwardly. She started to despise herself, but even more, she hated Cynthia for making her feel so...degraded and weak. There was so much more in her life, so many things she had yet to experience, and to feel... The gym leader sighed. She would welcome the moment Cynthia’s plane took off to Sinnoh again. On the other hand, she would never have this kind of adventure if it hadn’t been for Cynthia and her insane plan...

Silently, the psychic vowed to take her revenge on day. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next week, maybe not even this year...but one day, she vowed, Cynthia would pay.

There could only be one psychic playing the master cards.

But for now, she had to think hard of how to slip out of this.

“Hm, yes, there is something. As soon as you’re landing, get me J. There’s another change in plan. She’ll have to claim the Espeon as her own.” Another pause, and Cynthia’s voice dropped an octave, getting considerably quieter. “That will not even be a near fitting punishment, but it will have to satisfy me for now.”

The man gulped. “That is not easy, I mean, ehm, well, the Espeon is obviously not easy to handle and even J has had troubles catching it and it never was her own, so to say...it never was anyone’s Poke-“

“Silence!”

J wanted to facepalm, but knowing herself, that would be loud enough to catch Cynthia’s attention. And the Pokemon hunter didn’t want to know what the champion considered a ‘more fitting punishment’. She should have made sure that in case her client phoned the airship and not her personally, a more competent henchman would pick up the phone. Harry was too blunt and dumb for this. He flinched when Cynthia’s booming voice echoed off the metallic walls.

“This is my order and you’ll do as you’ve been told, understood?” She snarled. “Since your oh so perfect boss has failed me again, I have to resort to false accusations once again.” She snorted. “At least this way, an Indigo gym leader will be accused of stealing, and even if it’s just the Pokemon of a known criminal, there will be punishment.” She fell silent. “Nothing you have to know too much about, though. Get me J as soon as possible.”

“Understood.” Harry fell silent, Cynthia as well.

After a while, the hallway was silent, too.

Karen dared to look around a wall, glancing at every side. They were away. She sighed, but it was nothing compared to how Sabrina calmed down physically. She slumped down against the wall, eyes closed, wiping away the layer of sweat on her forehead. Forcing herself to stop shuddering and give off the impression that she was controlled and calm again, and that in no way the whole affair had managed to shake her off. Glancing at the Pokemon hunter, who squirmed uncomfortable between them to try to get out, she thought about what she could do now anymore.

There was no way they could escort J to the police and right into prison anymore. Cynthia would catch them and do her own thing, bringing her own plan forward. As they had witnessed, she was going to use J as a fake actor, an innocent victim of circumstances and an overenthusiastic gym leader who tried to fix things that were not broken and obviously not even illegal. Cynthia sure was smart, but she had not considered that the three women would overhear her. That was the only advantage they had. And Sabrina already had an idea on how to use it.

She stood up; glancing around the corner just like Karen had done minutes before. Then, the psychic gym leader turned to aforementioned darkling and sighed deeply. She hated to do this, she really did, but she had no other chance. Karen was the only one who had comparable powers, and even better, they were of the polar opposite origin than Sabrina’s. She couldn’t completely trust the dark trainer yet; she had been the one to manipulate her boyfriend. And while Sabrina had learned to trust and like Janine, who had done a very similar thing, the case of Karen was an entirely different thing.

“Listen...” Karen looked up; interested in what her fellow trainer had to say. “Obviously we’re not able to get anyone official involved in this anymore, or else Cynthia gets our heads easier than J got this Espeon.” J snorted, but no one really noticed. “Apparently, the champion wants to put all blame on me, and she wants to use J as a witness, as unethical as it seems.” Sabrina lowered her head. She felt uneasy. “I think the easiest way for us- or rather, me, to get out of this is if we eliminate J.”

“What?!?!?” The hunter stared at the two women in fright, shivering and backing away. She was dealing with two women of supernatural powers, ‘eliminating’ could mean anything, even- and J certainly didn’t want to think that far, killing her. But they wouldn’t seriously commit murder...would they? J swallowed hard.

Sabrina smiled. She couldn’t hide her amusement at striking fear into the heart of a person, innocent or not, but she would never admit this consciously. She wasn’t as evil as certain other trainers, at least not on the surface.

“Eliminate? Sabrina, sweety, what’s on your mind now?” Karen asked, her voice as smooth as silk.

“Not her, exactly.” The psychic paused. “Precisely, her memory. I want to wipe her memory of everything that happened on this airship and possibly before. That way, Cynthia will not be able to use her as a witness.” She closed her eyes. “And to make sure that Cynthia, who’s apparently a psychic as well, won’t be able to unearth them again, I want you to seal them with your powers.”

Karen was surprised. While she had the feeling that there was the possibility of her and Sabrina warming up, she had never thought that the egoistical and airheaded psychic would ask for her help. But apparently, this trip, the forced comradeship had driven some sense into her. She wasn’t completely keen on playing the solo mission anymore, finally realizing- and even admitting, that friends weren’t as useless as she had thought them to be. Even if they were of the opposing element.

Then, the darkling smiled. “Of course.” She closed her eyes. “Suit yourself and start. I’ll watch and do my part once you’re finished.”

Sabrina nodded, closing her eyes as well and placing her left hand above J’s forehead. The hunter squirmed and tried to move away, but her attempts were fruitless as Sabrina multitasked, knowing her abilities well enough to know how much she could do at once and froze J’s body at the same time as starting the memory wipe. J shuddered, then her eyes rolled back and she fainted, her mind overtaken by Sabrina’s powers.

Karen smiled. The only difference between dark and psychic was the colour of their appearance, and even that was fading.

End of Chapter 7, Part Four.

Crazy Packers Fan
February 11th, 2010, 10:36 AM
So now they know for sure it's Cynthia behind everything. A lot of explanations in this chapter, always nice to see.

When it comes to beta-reading, the only mistake I saw was this one:
“So now, little “Sabrina forcefully ignored the word”, tell me who you’re working for!”
I was confused on who was talking there.

“In that case, wouldn’t it have been much better for Cynthia if we hadn’t found anything? Not only would Lance have beheaded us, but we would also not be able to give her anything...besides our bowings, that is.” Sabrina mused sarcastically.
Sabrina bowing to Cynthia? I wonder where you got that from. Please make it happen!

She started to despise herself, but even more, she hated Cynthia for making her feel so...degraded and weak.
Awesome. That's Cynthia's job, to make Sabrina feel worthless. Isn't it sweet how Sabrina turned from the most powerful trainer in my story to being utterly worthless and weak after Cynthia had her way with her?

Please post the next chapter as soon as possible, thanks!

Psychic*Absol
February 11th, 2010, 11:16 AM
So now they know for sure it's Cynthia behind everything. A lot of explanations in this chapter, always nice to see. Phew, and I thought the explanations were a bit too long. ^^
When it comes to beta-reading, the only mistake I saw was this one:

I was confused on who was talking there.That sentence was added last minute (as I had forgotten to self-censor my fic) so yeah, that was bound to be confusing. It's Karen speaking and Sabrina ignoring her slang.
Sabrina bowing to Cynthia? I wonder where you got that from. Please make it happen!*rolls eyes* From Santa Claus. No, of course I got it from you. And nope, it won't be Sabrina bowing to Cynthia. Not happening here.
Awesome. That's Cynthia's job, to make Sabrina feel worthless. Isn't it sweet how Sabrina turned from the most powerful trainer in my story to being utterly worthless and weak after Cynthia had her way with her? *Sweet* isn't exaclty the word I would use. Stupid would be a better one.
You continue with this and I fear what will happen to Cynthia in the sequel.
Please post the next chapter as soon as possible, thanks! Wait a week or so, maybe I can get my beta back in time.

Psychic*Absol
February 25th, 2010, 12:23 PM
Chapters are now going a bit faster, (ironic, considering that we're almost done XD) yet still not beta-read. >< Sorry.

Chapter 7, Part 5: Poacher

“Calm down, boy, calm down...” Will gulped, knowing full well that the Espeon was anything but listening. He had to admit his last experience with a wild Pokemon was years ago, when he was still an average trainer in his middle teens and he was still building up on his team. Since then, he had not made any addition to it, rather training up the Pokemon he already had (and doing a bit of breeding with them- but that was something he did not like to talk about this, as it had been anything but intentional).

All in all, he felt a bit pi...irritated at his girls for leaving him completely alone – or rather, at the mercy of this rabid Espeon.

The Pokemon hissed and lunged at him; Will quickly jumped out of its way, a wall stopped his fall as the airship suddenly rocked, making the Espeon fall to the ground as well and rolling to the other side.

“Is the pilot drunk or what?” Will asked angrily while getting up, wiping a few strands of hair away from his eyes. He didn’t have much time to muse about the airship’s navigator’s condition as there was another hiss behind him and he gulped at the sight of the Espeon being ready to leap at him again.

“You obviously don’t want to give me an easy time with this, eh?” He asked as he started to pull out a Pokeball from one of his suit’s pockets, enlarging it in his hand. He had been briefly thinking about which Pokemon to use, because he feared the Espeon knew Bite, which was pretty obvious from how it behaved. And Bite, being a dark type move, would hurt all of his Pokemon equally. In the end, he decided, it didn’t really matter much. He had the choice between fleeing- and most likely getting caught and mauled by the psychic Pokemon, and fighting himself- a great idea with his psychic abilities being a joke, and fighting the traditional way. The normal traditional way, as he assumed that his girlfriend wouldn’t have minded a Pokemon versus human battle being called traditional.

Maybe he should ask her if there had really been battles between psychic Pokemon and psychic humans, the rumours were there, after all...

“Essss...!” He jumped to the side, out of the range of a Psybeam, just in time to open the Pokeball and calling out one of his Xatu. The mystic Pokemon didn’t need to be told what to do, it spread it wings and intercepted the attack. Since Xatu was partly a psychic type too, a Psybeam didn’t hurt it that much, but Will was surprised at how much damage the attack managed to land anyway. Either his Pokemon had weakened significantly- something he doubted, after all, the Xatu were his self-declared signature Pokemon and he took great care in training them intensively, or the Espeon was extraordinarily strong. He bit his tongue, feeling slightly surprised, but then, this Espeon apparently had evolved, despite all his doubts, in the wilderness, and had been trained by nature itself. Wild Pokemon tended to be a bit tougher than the ‘pet’ Pokemon of trainers.

“Night Shade!” He called, ducking out of the way of another attack, feeling the ground move again. Whatever the airship was doing, it wasn’t flying steadily. He cursed under his breath, but decided that this wasn’t giving him much of a disadvantage in battle. After all, the Espeon wasn’t defying gravity, either.

The waves of darkly violet energy rushed towards the Espeon, who didn’t made any attempt at fleeing. Will wondered what the Espeon was intending to do, until he remember its move set. “Reflect...” He swore under his breath again, clenching his fists. Although Reflect was not a move Espeons regularly learned naturally, it was a move they could easily copy after watching it a few times, just like many other psychic moves like Teleport. This Espeon was strong.

The Espeon crouched down, a slight evil grin on its face, which alone told Will to be careful again. Suddenly, the Pokemon dashed to him, leaving his Xatu behind and just a few inches before his face, the Pokemon stopped, with the same evil grin. The elite trainer half expected to get a Psybeam aimed straight at his face, until he noticed that something was glistering around the Espeon’s paws. “Huh?” It took him to long to notice that the Espeon had, due to the lack of a natural environment that was required to use this attack, simply teleported some sand up into the airship and was about to use said substance for a nasty attack.

“Espeon!” Snickering, it threw a pawful of sand into his face, and using his temporarily loose of orientation for escaping.

“You bi...” Will stopped himself, reminding himself that the Espeon was apparently male and the word he had intended to say was anything but fitting, and sadly, there was no male equivalent for it either. “I may be half-blind, but that’s absolutely no reason to make fun of me!” He screamed after the Pokemon, but it didn’t even think of paying him any attention anymore.

Will sighed and turned to Xatu, who was patiently waiting for his master to recover. The Espeon had run into a lonely, quiet and wide hallway which was ending in an even wider dead end. The Pokemon was obviously not happy about this, snarling and scratching at the wall that blocked his escape, but nothing he did could open an entrance to freedom. And worse, he could hear the weird human-the human was certainly weirder than every other one of his race the Espeon had met before, coming closer again.

Will had just spotted the psychic Pokemon again when the airship shook again and he had to steady himself by holding onto the wall. He blinked as he could feel the airship starting to softly land on the ground beneath them. He had not noticed that the landing process had been started by now, but apparently they were already very close to the ground.

There was a sudden ripple in the air and Will, already knowing a bit about psychic attacks in general, half expected a Psybeam to be aimed at him and ducked to be on the safe side in case this was really happening, but to his surprise, a strong breeze of cold air suddenly swept over his skin.

The psychic trainer looked up. Before him the entire wall had opened up, leaving an open gab in his place. Will backed away, afraid to fall out of the airship once more, just that this time, there was no one here to safe him, for he doubted that his Xatu would be able to carry him and the Espeon would, if it even cared in any form for him, rather sabotage his plans of saving himself instead of doing anything useful.

But as he had expected, the airship had already landed, leaving a beautiful mountain scenery in front of them. The Espeon waggled its tail happily and started to jump out of the airship, just as Will was climbing up and starting to follow it. “Hold it on!” He screamed. “This battle hasn’t finished yet!”

The Espeon turned back to him, its eyes glistening with anger and annoyance. It wasn’t as if it didn’t want to battle- this Espeon had won many battles and participated in even more, but for now, it wanted to enjoy its newfound freedom, something it had been longing for a very long time. No human should disturb, or worse, hinder him from walking away right from this scene, from the cruel, cold und unfeeling humans that loved to take away the right of a Pokemon to choose where it wanted to live by itself. He disgusted Pokemon that were owned by a human. May the humans think they had the perfect training methods and facilities for Pokemon, may they think they cared wonderfully for them and they loved and adored them until death and beyond...it was all a joke, a farce to rip them of their own mind. He had seen Pokemon getting caught against their will, crying, whining, screaming, lamenting their fate. And, and he bit his tongue as he looked back and saw the Xatu, standing there still at his master’s side and ready for every order, he had seen Pokemon going willingly with the humans.

He couldn’t understand it. He couldn’t understand the weakness of these Pokemon, and he assumed he didn’t even want to know about it. Yet...this human was psychic as well. The Espeon had heard of psychic humans, the strongest of them rivalling the power of weaker psychic Pokemon. That, on the other hand, fascinated him. If humans could develop the same powers as he had, when he had evolved from Eevee...he had been so confused, so unsure and shy about his powers. It was an assumption without any real base, without the facts to prove it, but he supposed that humans, once confronted with their own supernatural powers, felt similar emotions. Maybe, and even though he was aware of the blasphemy of that thought, humans could feel empathy for Pokemon, and vica verse. Maybe it was just a question of circumstances.

The Espeon smirked. This time, he was ready for a battle. A real battle.

Will blinked. The Espeon had stopped and was now staring at him, its tail lashing out, all four paws steadily on the ground, claws out. Will had to wonder why he was surprised at Espeon having claws, after all, they were feline Pokemon and just because they were known as loyal, sophisticated psychic Pokemon didn’t mean that they weren’t perfect hunters. The Espeon obviously proved it.

A slight hiss and suddenly, another Psybeam lashed out, but surprisingly, not at Will himself, but in the direction of his Pokemon. The trainer jumped to the side, rolling onto his back and watching the scene from behind. Xatu had lifted his wings to protect himself from the Psybeam and that had worked pretty well, despite the disadvantage of being attacked by surprise on their side. Xatu looked at Will expectantly and the young man realized that the battle had been started from anew now. He stood up, looked over to the Espeon who seemed stunned, then commanded his Pokemon to use Confuse Ray.

Espeon bit his lip and prepared himself for the upcoming attack. He hadn’t expected this stupid bird to be so powerful! Then again, there were rumours between the Pokemon of his home, the ones that lived near the human settlements at least, that even between the humans, there was some sort of ‘hacking order’. That there were humans that were looked upon, leaders of some sort, simply because they had stronger Pokemon than the usual human. He could understand that even between the cruel and unfeeling bastards- or maybe especially between them, there had to be some kind of order, some people had to guide and some had to be the lower classes. It was just natural, the Pokemon were no different at all. He just now realized what little to none difference was between the Pokemon society and that of the humans.

And he seemed to have the bad luck of encountering such a human leader and his Pokemon. And maybe, judging from how powerful the woman that had caught him had been, with her commanding the powerful, mystic and legendary Dragon Pokemon, she was very likely one of them, too.

Calling upon a Reflect, the Espeon tried to avoid the Confuse Ray, but Xatu had expected this with his Future Sight and directed the Confuse Ray around the Espeon’s wall of Reflect, seeing as the Pokemon hadn’t bothered to do a full body shield. The lightening-like bolt of ghostly energy hit the feline psychic Pokemon straight on the head, thus being even more effective than usual. Will smiled, but only till he could see that the Espeon, in its confusion, was stumbling down the ramp which had been opening from the airship. The Pokemon finally fell into the fresh grass outside, shaking its head as it was trying to get the swirly rays of perplexing thoughts out of its head.

Will looked around, he wasn’t sure where J was, or if his two girls had managed to overwhelm her, but he surely didn’t want to let to the Espeon get away, may it be wild or not. A flash of an idea crossed his mind briefly, but he casted it aside for the time being. Mainly because he had to avoid another Psybeam that was originally aimed at his Xatu, but the Espeon, still slightly confused, couldn’t tell the two moving similar blobs of different colours apart.

“Note to myself: Confuse Ray is not a good move...” Will cursed, recalling his battle with Sabrina months ago, the battle where he had ended up confusing a Pokemon and its trainer. Now, the later consequences of said battle hadn’t been so bad at all, but still, neither a confused Pokemon nor a confused woman were things he wanted to come across again.

He turned again around to watch the Espeon, deciding to go for damage instead of status changes. “Xatu, Me First!” The Pokemon nodded and dashed off. It was so fast that the Espeon didn’t even know what was striking it, falling to the ground before it could do any damage. “Now, Psychic!” Will cried, pretty sure that this would be the finished move, seeing how much damage Me First had dealt. He was going to be wrong.

Angrily, the Espeon opened his eyes and looked his enemy right into the eyes, despite the pain. He fought to get up again, avoiding the psychic attack as good as he could and ignoring the pain that the part of attack which still hit him caused. Almost blinded himself by the sheer pain, he spun forward with lightened speed, and even though tackle was not the most useful of all attacks, it still did good against a fellow psychic Pokemon, he knew just so well. The Xatu fell back, surprised by the sudden attack, but didn’t retreat. Most likely because its trainer hadn’t told it to, the Espeon thought with an infuriated pang in his heart. Pokemon in nature never fought longer than needed, at least if it was just a training battle and not one of life and death or, the Espeon trembled inwardly, for mates. That was something he had never thought about before, of course, he had been the oldest and strongest male in his clan when he had still been home, but that had never mattered much, because all the females around were related to him. And he had never thought about leaving his territory to find other members of his species, because...it was home, wasn’t it? And now he wasn’t home anymore. He wanted to get back, though, and so, the chances that this unwanted move may offer him had never crossed his mind.

He shook his head and looked around, searching for the Xatu. He couldn’t see it, but he was pretty sure the human would never have recalled it to its ‘prison’ as long as it was still able to fight, which it obviously was. The Espeon was completely shocked as he heard some flapping in the air above him and bent his neck to see the Xatu flying above him. It was, or at least he had assumed that it was common knowledge between humans that Xatu couldn’t fly, even though Pokemon knew of course that they very indeed able to. Again, this special human had managed to surprise him, breaking the prejudices he had against the common ignorance of humanity.

“Xatu, Fly!” Will smiled, he liked the fact that the Espeon had managed to hold its own quite well in this battle, showing strength against the Pokemon of a trainer, an elite four trainer even. Nature itself was a good trainer, he had always known, but now he had the very proof in front of his eyes. Again, a certain thought played through his mind, but this time, his body copied the imaginary movements, as Will reached into his suit and pulled out an empty Pokeball, playing with it between his fingers. Xatu noticed the silent note of his master and nodded.

It fell like a stone from the air, but that was only a tactical move, nothing dangerous and certainly not a crash landing. The trick was to make the Espeon believe it wouldn’t be hit, that the attack would miss it. It was, to some extent, cheating, but Will didn’t care about that.

The Espeon hadn’t completely failed to notice Will pulling out a Pokeball, and the meaning of that action didn’t miss the Pokemon, too, but his mind, still confused by the Confuse Ray, couldn’t put two and two together. Neither could he correctly judge the angle the Xatu came crashing down, thus coming to the conclusion that the Pokemon was going to hit him and he jumped to the side. The wrong side, sadly, as he crashed into Will without intending to do so obviously.

Will yelped, yanked out of the airship and into the fresh, bright green grass. Xatu stopped his landing just as he saw what had happened, flying over to his master and the other psychic Pokemon. Espeon quickly got onto its feet again, trying hard not to stumble too much. The world was spinning, spinning around, and green and grey and blue were mixing and fading into each other. He shook his head and hissed. He couldn’t allow himself to falter in the middle of the battle, he knew too well what happened to Pokemon who did.

“Xatu, Peck!” The Espeon was surprised and reeled back, not knowing where the attack came from. He took too long to finally notice that Xatu was again over him, and by the time he saw the bird Pokemon, there was no time left for him to dodge the attack. He could either try to defend himself by using Reflect again or he could start a counter-attack, which might have a similar effect.

In the end, he decided to wipe out the Xatu if possible, and therefore, he used his strongest attack. Psychic. In nature, no Pokemon had managed to withstand this attack of him, the mystical power knocking them unconscious and making his ego grow widely over his head. He had been a strong Pokemon back at home, he was nearly sure that he had been the strongest Pokemon, both in his clan and his territory. And he had underestimated a trainer’s Pokemon, clearly underestimated it. Maybe that was going to be his downfall, maybe he needed a rip back to reality and earth’s surface. Or, maybe, he was going to triumph once more, and show the world that wild Pokemon didn’t have to hide from trained Pokemon at all, that they were equal in every meaning of the word.

He could feel the energy waves of the Psychic attack surrounding him, protecting him from the beak of the Xatu as good as they could, but the Xatu wasn’t going to give up either. Its eyes closed, it literally hang in the air, the body even stiffer than usually, every ounce of power concentrated in this single attack. And then, the Xatu started to come down, falling, coming closer...

And closer...

Until there was nothing that held the Xatu anymore, the Psychic attack vanishing into nothingness, the feeble blue lighting that zapped around it fading quickly. Xatu crashed into Espeon, sending it flying farther away into the grass, drops of dew wetting its sensitive fur. The Espeon could feel every drop of water hit him, but he was too weak to shake them off anymore. He could feel the world blurring, fading into grey which slowly turned into black. All the noise around him disappeared as well, leaving him in blissful, silent darkness, the only sensation being the coldness of his soaked hair.

Will smiled as he played with the Pokeball between his fingers. He was waiting for the right moment, the right second to throw it. He had not planned to catch the Espeon, at least not for a long time. Once his Xatu had started to fight with the Espeon, though, the thought had crossed his mind and he had to admit that he hadn’t thought of the consequences yet. He hadn’t been training a new Pokemon for years, he had had his team for a whole decade by now, which was maybe one of the main reasons why he had managed to win a league tournament and become an elite trainer. And all the paper work that he was now going to face, seeing as Lance liked to have everything recorded and on white and yellow paper and possibly with several signatures and twice and in Latin and Chinese...he was going to spend more hours on filling out the papers needed to register a new Pokemon than he was going to train said new Pokemon.

But the Espeon had intrigued him. He had never believed that there could be Pokemon that depended on happiness to evolve to be able to do this in the wild, but he had been wrong. He admitted that he had been wrong, but he didn’t feel ashamed about it. To tell the truth, he was tempted to study the Espeon more than train it, finding out how it had managed to survive and evolve in the wilderness, knowing that all wild Espeon that had been registered so far had been former Pokemon of trainers and had escaped from their home for various reasons. These Pokemon were spoiled, as unpleasant as it was to admit that, and more often than not, they crawled to human settlements as soon as they found out that food didn’t come in handy tins out there. Or when winter came. Whatever realization came sooner.

Maybe that would calm Lance down in the end and keep him from suffocating Will in paperwork. Though scientific research on a Pokemon was anything but not paper consuming, either.

He twisted his fingers a bit, feeling the cold, smooth plastic beneath them, just waiting, just waiting...and then, he threw the Pokeball.

The Espeon had already fainted, there was no doubt in him about that. It was only a question of whether its will to continue a free life was stronger that the beating it had taken. He couldn’t be sure about that, many Pokemon in a condition worse than the one of the Espeon had managed to escape. He wouldn’t be angry, or disappointed if that happened here, too. He would just try again.

The Pokeball hit the Espeon, engulfing it in a pale, transparent red light. The Pokemon’s form blurred, the outline disappeared and was sucked into the Pokeball, which fell to the ground with a thud and lay there, moving slightly. Will tensed, his eyes fixed on the Pokeball, not even noticing what was happening behind him, not hearing the approaching steps, not noticing who was arriving.

The Pokeball stopped moving.

Will proudly walked over, his Xatu watching silently while glancing backwards. The young man couldn’t hide his happiness anymore and jumped into the air, holding the Pokeball over his head with one hand as he did so. “Yes! I caught it!” Xatu croaked, rising an eyebrow as he watched his master.

“Lovely. You caught an Espeon. Big deal, genius boy.”

Will blinked and turned around as he heard the smug, female voice. He sighed as he recognized it.

“Nice of you to show up now, girls.”

Sabrina snarled and jumped down, out of the airship, and walked over to him. “While you had the easy walk with the Pokemon, we had to take care of J herself, if you didn’t know. “ Will backed away but didn’t say anything, as he didn’t want to infuriate his girlfriend anymore. Maybe she was just jealous because she didn’t have an Espeon, and now he did.

“What are we going to do now?” He asked, using the option for a change in topic.

Sabrina glanced at Karen, who nodded. “We’re out of this. Going back to the league I mean.”

“What about J?” He asked, curious as to why the girls hadn’t brought her with them, possibly tied up and unconscious.

“There were certain problems with the original plan, we’ll leave that for later.” Sabrina glanced around. “For now, we’ll have to get away before Cynthia shows up or else we’re as good as toasted.”

Will raised an eyebrow, but didn’t comment again. The two surely had their reasons for this. And he would be damned if he dared to ask them about it.

~~~~~~~

J blinked, the world around her swirling and dancing smoothly in and out of focus. She didn’t really know where she was, why she was here and why there was a herd of men in similar clothing, yet of very different stature crowded around her, watching her with kind, yet fearful and hesitant eyes. She blinked a few times, running her hand over her forehead and noticing a few bumps here and there, knowing full well that they weren’t supposed to be there and would give her a lot of pain later. She must have been in some kind of fight, but then, why didn’t she remember any details...?

Suddenly, the sea of men before her parted and through watering eyes, she could see the tip of a black furred coat, swinging smoothly around long, thin legs. J looked up and saw the grey, lifeless and harsh eyes of a woman. And unlike the events of the last hours, she remembered the woman...all too clearly, one might say.

“Client M...” J tried to get on her feet, but failed and almost fell down, if it hadn’t been for Cynthia, who held her upright without moving so much as a finger. Only her lips tilted into a small smirk, the rest of her face unmoving.

“I got what I wanted. Therefore, I declare our cooperation to be finished. You’ll get your final payment from a co-worker of mine. You may move back to Sinnoh if you wish to do so, I’ll cover the costs of the ticket.”

J blinked, trying to follow the melodic words as her head was still spinning. Finally, she nodded, deciding that anything she might add would only worsen the situation and she was better of silent.

Cynthia walked away from J, still smiling to herself as she did so. She hid one of her hands under her coat, holding a small, black package, containing several video tapes.

She smirked. She had a lot of watching to do today. Maybe then- and her smirk disappeared, leaving her with a disturbed, almost frightened expression; she would understand what had happened between the two psychics. And why the same couldn’t happen to her and Lucian.

Or could it?

~~~~~~~

The group had been walking in silence for quite a while now, and it was starting to bother Will. He knew something was still up, and he certainly wanted to know what that was, but he didn’t know how to approach it. There were some questions that still bugged him. He hadn’t had the time to ask his girls before, so he decided that now might as well be the time to finally get some answers. They were already getting closer to the league’s headquarters, after all, and he was quite sure that once they had reached the complex and once they were inside, they would be interrogated about their adventure and the girls would have the chance to avoid him and his questions.

“Um, girls...?” He started, staring at the two backs that walked in front of him. Neither stopped and his courage dropped. “I just wanted to know...I was kinda, well, out for some time...” He hesitated. “At least I can’t remember all of today, and yesterday...and the days before...it’s like a blur.” He looked up, hoping that they wouldn’t completely ignore him. “I want to know what happened.”

Sabrina stopped, but from the looks of it, she wasn’t too cheerful. “Maybe you should ask Karen about it, gigolo.” She glanced angrily at the woman at her side, who merely shrugged her shoulders and curled her lips.

While Will had no idea why Sabrina was annoyed and why she was calling him a ‘gigolo’ of all types of men, he knew that Karen would answer him. Even if it was a bad thing to get answers from the dark trainer...

“Ehm...so...what...happened?” He asked shyly, fighting with every word.

Karen snickered, then sighed. “Okay, I’ll tell you. Yet, before I do...I’ll apologize. I’m sorry about what I did to you two.” Sabrina looked over her shoulder, suddenly interested, but suspicious as ever, considering that she was talking to the woman who had dared to steal Will from her and had not Janine’s naivety as an excuse. Karen paused, biting her cold, dark lips. “Will, you were...under my dark mind control for some time. To be exactly, since the moment that we met up in your room...no, nothing serious, he didn’t even expect me, much less notice me.” She calmed Sabrina down, who was already fuming, fists at her side. “Well, at least until I kissed him...” Karen snickered, but jumped to the side just in time before Sabrina’s left fist would have connected with her right cheek and left a not so nice mark there.

Will reeled back. His memories, or at least a part of them, returned to him in a rush. He suddenly remembered something kissing him on the lips as soon as he had entered the room, but not being able to see who it was due to the darkness- a darkness that now that he was clearly thinking about it seemed more unnatural than ever. And then, he had just blacked out, and the next thing he consciously grasped was the kiss of Sabrina back in the airship. There was nothing in between...and he doubted that he even wanted to know what had happened in the meantime. Sometimes, it was better to stay blissfully unaware.

Sabrina snarled and turned around, walking in front of the small group without caring so much about what was happening behind her back. She knew why she was angry- she was jealous, no doubt, but it irritated her even more that she could do nothing against that feeling. Sure, she could try to hit Karen again, but the elite trainer would just dodge, and she couldn’t even attack her psychically. Sighing inwardly, the psychic gym leader decided for herself that jealousy was not a good feeling, one of the few that she would gladly scratch from her list.

“Uhm, yeah...and how...was that spell turned off?” Will asked, looking between the two women. Karen sighed again, pushing some hair out of her face.

“I’m not sure...theoretically, Sabrina’s kiss shouldn’t have worked...we’re not in a fantasy kids movie here, the kiss of true love doesn’t work...” She paused. “Though, I have a theory. Sabrina, dear, how long has it been that you’ve been out of hospital?”

Sabrina blinked and stopped, startled by the unusual question. “Um...let me think...today’s the 28th...about ten days. ...why?

Karen smiled. “That explains it. I can only guess, but from knowing how badly attacked you were by the Mightyena, I guess they gave you a whole bunch of anti-dotes?”

“Anti-dotes?” Will interrupted her, confused.

“Not for poison, they’re literally designed for the effects of dark attacks...” Sabrina explained in a rush, not taking her attention from Karen. “What do you mean, Karen?”

“Simply. These things are supposed to have a long-term effect; otherwise, the dark energies could still kill you off after a few weeks if your body was too weak. I can only guess that your body, and thus, your blood, was still pumped to the rear with the anti-dotes and when you were fighting, you got a wound around your lips, and when you kissed him, he accidently tasted some of your blood.” Karen smiled maliciously. “Kinda romantic, isn’t it?” She laughed. “That one drop of blood seems to have been filled with enough chemistry to break the spell upon him, to repulse my dark control over him.” She raised an eyebrow. “You must have really been filled with tons of this stuff if one drop was enough to completely block my powers.” Sabrina didn’t answer.

“I guess that must have been the ‘three times the normal dose’ the doctors were talking about...” Will whispered.

Sabrina closed her eyes and finally nodded. “Yes, that is true. But, I still have a question on my own, darkling...” She hissed. “You said this was some kind of love test...and yet, you said before that you had no interested in him.”

Karen nodded slowly. “Yes, it was, and you’re right, I had and have no interested in your toyboy.” Sabrina snorted but stayed quiet, while Will raised an eyebrow at the unusual title-giving. “Psychic and dark just don’t mix well, you see. I...I was merely interested in...how much you fit him.”

“Fit him?” Sabrina was not contented.

“Yes, fit him. See, I really like Will...as a friend. He’s really sweet, but naive. And that’s the problem, I was afraid he would fall into the hands of a real ***** or fall in love with the first woman he comes across. He is that inexperienced.” Karen sighed ruefully.

“What?!?” Will exclaimed, but Sabrina next to him nodded.

“When Janine managed to lure him away from you, I knew I had to take things into my hands for the time being. I was afraid you were not the...right one for him. After all, we all know how emotionally troubled you are.” Sabrina snorted, rolling her eyes. “I was worried that you wouldn’t be able to return the commitment he gave off. That you wouldn’t be able to completely return his feelings, because of your past and your split mind.” Karen paused for a second. “From what I saw when we were captured at the Rocket’s headquarters, Will was certainly ready to give his life for you, his life and a few more, less important things.” The male elite trainer raised an eyebrow, but he didn’t want to question Karen, as he had a feeling what kind of answer he had to expect from her. “On the other hand, though, I saw that you couldn’t trust him. Had you really trusted him, you would have known that the whole affair with Janine was nothing but a buff, nothing but an accident, a trap he had fallen into due to his naivety.” The woman sighed and Will felt again as if she thought of him as a five-year old when that state of mind was nineteen years behind him. “There was no reason to dump him then. It was not his fault. But you did and he worried over you and worried over you...and it was all for nothing, because it had been a stupid thing to worry about.” Karen chided her. Will backed away, feeling that another cat fight was not far away from breaking out. Better to get into safety now than later...

“Therefore, I wanted to test your ability to trust him.” Karen hugged her hips and sighed. “And even though you didn’t pass the test in the way I had intended it, you passed in some way or another, so...I won’t interfere with your love life anymore.”

Sabrina had clenched her shaking wrist, a bubbling vein appearing on her forehead. Will backed away a few more steps, slowly, trying not to attract too much attention. ‘Better let the women fight it out for themselves...’

“Nice of you...” Sabrina snarled, glaring at Karen. Suddenly, the psychic jumped forward and pinned Karen against the stump of a tree, wood splitting as Karen’s shoulders hit it. Sabrina, normally physically weaker, glowed with an inhuman strength as she howled in an even more inhuman voice. “NEVER...TOUCH...HIM...AGAIN...!!”

And kicked her knee right into a very special area.

There was some knack. A few intelligent birds decided to flee from the scene before their nests were put into any danger.

Will winced with intensive phantom pain.

Karen squeaked, then her eyes rolled over and she fainted, slumping unconsciously down.

Sabrina took a few deep breaths, smiling like a maniac as she held her fist upright, her eyes closed. “That felt good.” She cooed, with a bit too much pleasure for Will’s taste. “Nothing’s like a good egg cracker.”

‘Egg cracker?’ Will wondered, but never in heaven and hell would dare to ask.

He sighed and mumbled. “I should better not get in your way, otherwise...”

Sadly, Sabrina heard him and turned away, her expression only comparable to that of a mass murderer after completing his last job and being interrupted in the middle of composting it.

Will felt like the next victim. “What did you say?!?" Screw that, he was the next victim.

“I just said...I mean...eheheh...” He sweatdropped, trying hard to talk himself out of the mess, but it was too late. “I should better not get in your way, otherwise, you can put any family planning on ice.”

“Wrong thing to say...” Karen spit out.

Will wanted to say something along the lines of ‘d’oh’, but there was even no time for that. Sabrina had started to spurt after him. Will yelped before he realized that he was better off running away, doing exactly so.

After a few rounds of chasing, which would have amused anyone had there be anyone around that was capable of being amused right now, Sabrina finally caught up with Will and pinned him against a tree, just like she had done with Karen minutes ago.

Will looked up at heaven and started to pray that she wouldn’t hurt the crown jewels too much. He was too young to get neutered.

Sabrina held his shoulders tight, snuggling closer up to him. He winced when he could feel her kneecap up his leg. He didn’t want to be a eunuch, even if he was going to be her eunuch...

She smiled and pulled herself up, her lips less than an inch away from his neck. “Children, eh? I’ll think about that...” She whispered right into his ear.

Then, she suddenly let him go with a smile and walked away, while Will slumped against the tree, too, blinking and wondering what had just happened, yet being incredible happy about being completely himself still.

End of Chapter 7, Part Five (and definitely the *last* part of Chapter 7 XD)

Crazy Packers Fan
February 28th, 2010, 12:30 AM
This last part of chapter 5 was as always well-written, and it certainly serves the story well. It makes perfect sense, I like where it's going. I especially like that Cynthia's planning something evil. Unfortunately there wasn't enough of her in this part.

I wasn't too big of a fan of "nice" Karen, and I was even less of a fan of raging Sabrina. Sabrina of all people would be someone who could control her emotions, and take revenge in a more subtle way. But here she comes off as really mean. I don't like Sabrina as a tsundere. That's just not her character.

Anyway, very much looking forward to the next chapter, where maybe that Espeon Will caught will end up paying dividends for him...

Psychic*Absol
March 14th, 2010, 12:34 PM
Business as usual, chapter not beta-read. Will's backstory is, of course, fanon, but that poor guy has nearly no story at all in the games, so I gave him one. =3 Nothing more to say, I guess. =3

Chapter 8: Incision

Hours later, the three trainers had arrived at the league’s headquarters and since they hadn’t spotted even a tip of Cynthia’s coat yet, they felt safe enough to treat themselves a coffee or a tea respectively at a small café near the building. It was still warm, despite being almost 9 pm, and even better, the stars in the sky above were clearly visible due to the fresh and clean mountain air.

Karen, who had been walking in a rather embarrassing kind of way for the rest of the trip, literally fell onto her chair and gave off a deep sigh. “Finally! Couldn’t walk anymore, seriously...anymore and you might had have to carry me...” Sabrina’s glance was enough to shut her off. For a few seconds at least. That, and she changed the topic, just as Will was getting inside the café to see if there was still some waiter awake.

“I must admit, I wasn’t completely honest when I said that he trusted you completely...” She leaned her head on her right arm, running her other hand through her hair. Sabrina blinked. Karen’s hair seemed almost like liquid silver in the moonlight. She wasn’t ugly at all, the psychic had to admit. It wouldn’t have been such a big surprise if Will had fallen for her. But then, no man really seemed to fall for Karen on his own free will, so one, there was something fishy about the dozens of Karen’s bedtime stories, and second, she seemed to use her mind control more frequently than Sabrina had originally expected it. Karen also looked a lot older than ‘just’ twenty-six, and while it wouldn’t surprise the psychic if the dark trainer had ‘doctored’ her ID a bit in that aspect, assumptions could deceive.

“So? What do you mean?” Sabrina looked to the door of the café, wondering when Will would come back. She could really do with a cup of tea after this stressful day, to fall asleep later easier.

Karen sighed, and looked away, surprisingly not daring to look Sabrina in the eye anymore. “Really, sweetie, I’m not the one to break it to you, but Will has some secrets that you should better get told about, or else your relationship might collapse under its weight.”

Sabrina raised an eyebrow, but didn’t really believe Karen. She had no reason to. She still didn’t feel as if she should trust the woman who had nearly backstabbed her with a reason as stupid as the combined force of the girl’s army that tried to separate her from Will. And it wasn’t as if any secret could really break them apart, was it? After all, she had her secrets, too, and just as she didn’t feel too inclined about telling Will about them, he had the right to stay quiet about his secrets as well. It was fully his decision.

“Heh, didn’t think that they would still be open at this time, but everything’s different in the Indigo Plateau, hehe. You can even go into a café at 9 pm and you won’t get robbed. Not even by the owners!” Will laughed as he sat down with the cups, then suddenly noticed the chilly atmosphere. “Um, something’s wrong?”

Karen looked at him with the slightest hint of a smirk and stood up, taking her cup of midnight black coffee as she did so, placing a note on the table. “5th April 1989.” She paused. “Pay up for me, boy. I’ll leave you two alone.” She silently disappeared into the darkness of the night.

Sabrina raised an eyebrow. She was completely clueless, yet Will...

He had clenched his fist and stood up, staring after Karen. “Hey, wait! How can you...Karen! Wait up! Don’t you dare...this is...” He closed his eyes tightly, snarling unknown words. He had his back to her, so Sabrina couldn’t see her expression, but did she have to guess, she would say that he was angry, deeply angry. But why...?

Then it dawned on her. 5th April 1989 had been the day that...

“...the Pokemon Center of Teak City was robbed by a 14-year old trainer...”

Sabrina gulped. Now it couldn’t be a coincidence anymore. Will was twenty-four, so, ten years ago, he had been fourteen. And the father of said boy was a George Bender...

Will turned around, smiling weakly. “Yeah, George’s my dad...” He whispered, as if answering her thoughts instinctively, sitting down, his head and shoulders hanging as he didn’t dare to look Sabrina into the eyes, staying quiet. He was ashamed, Sabrina could see and feel that, but she wasn’t sure if she should feel sorry for him yet or not.

“But, but...why, Will?!” She stared at him, shaking her head as she did so, not really believing her ears. “I mean...a Pokemon Center of all things!!! Pokemon Centers don’t have anything worth enough to steal, not even enough money! You were a trainer, you had to know that there was nothing! Pokemon Centers have nothing of their own, to rob them is...well, it’s like robbing a baby!” She said, taking a sip of her tea.

Will sighed and fought with words. This was a dark and embarrassing, very embarrassing chapter of his life. He was so ashamed of it that he had actually tried to cover it from Lance, but the head of the league had known about it before actually; as he was in charge of organizing the old documents of the league, so hiding it was of no use anymore. Yet, it seemed to have been nothing too important or criminal in Lance’s eyes, as he hadn’t interrogated him; neither had informed the public about Will’s lapse.

Grimly, the elite trainer decided that he would have gladly taken Lance’s interrogation over that of his girlfriend any day.

“Well.” He paused. He didn’t even know where to start. Truthfully, he had his reasons on why he had tried to rob a Pokemon Center, but he felt that he was not ready to reveal them to Sabrina yet. He didn’t want to drive her off...

Shyly, he looked up at her and managed to bear a small smile. “I was too afraid of robbing a bank, for starters...”

Sabrina rolled her eyes. “Great, genius! As if robbing a bank is so much better...”

Will smiled at this, before his head hang down in shame again. “I know...”

Sabrina waited for a response, but when none came, she sighed deeply. “I’ve noticed that you seem to value money more than many of the other elite trainers, but...was it really so bad?”

He looked up at her. Maybe, just maybe, he could trust her enough to tell, maybe... Will sighed. She was his girlfriend, she deserved to know, and besides, there was no way he could snuggle himself out now. “Yeah, it...kinda was. I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen the suburbs of Teak City, but...”

“You mean Teak’s scum ghetto? The one that’s flooded with immigrants?”

Will winced and Sabrina quickly apologized, not knowing that her words would hurt him so much.

The man sighed. “Yeah, exactly that. Though it’s not so full of immigrants anymore, most of them have been there for over fifty years now, so they’re already in the second or third generation, and you can’t really call them immigrants anymore...they’re pretty okay, they even speak our language pretty fluently...aside from the usual accent, that is.” He smiled. “My family’s not one of them, though. Not technically, at least. Been there for over six generations, heh.”

Sabrina took another sip of her tea. “That doesn’t answer my question...” She paused. “Though I have to say, from what I heard about the suburbs...the situation’s there not pretty.”

Will nodded. “Not pretty at all, indeed. You can survive there, of course, otherwise, I wouldn’t be here, heh. But, like I said, absolutely no jobs there, crime’s all around, hygiene’s a foreign word, drugs and alcohol on the other hand are common, children not going to school and instead teaming up in gangs and all that stuff.” He sighed. “I know it all, I’ve been around it, heck, I grew up in the middle of that mess.” He looked to the side. “You can’t get it through to you, though. You have to get used to it, ignore it...otherwise, you’ll get mad. Or you become part of the system, and then, you drown in it. Down and down the spiral, until you’re at the end and dead. I’ve seen people who were happy to get into prison, because there you get a bed and food. And then they get out and die of hunger.” He trembled. “I’ve seen Pokemon used as weapons, drugged Pokemon, pumped with steroids and...awful stuff. ” He could see Sabrina paling, but she tried to keep her calm face, even though the storm raging behind was more than visible. “I didn’t want to be part of that...I wanted to get out. And, surprise, what’s the only way for a young, but poor boy to get out of the ghetto? Pokemon training. Take it seriously, aim for your goal, and train, and train...don’t return home.” He swallowed hard. “Of course, there is the problem of money. Even I did not win every battle, and the money you get from the league’s a joke. Can’t survive off that, and I learned to survive with nearly nothing.” He snorted. “Because that’s what my family had to spare for me. Nothing. I remember being hungry, Sabrina, and my Pokemon do as well. That’s what we were most of the time until I really got the hang of battling and started to win enough money to live a life. Before that...well, I was insane enough to rob a Pokemon Center. Insane, and desperate.” He smiled weakly. “That robbing was actually the first time in four years that I had to contact my family again...the league, or more precisely, Charles Goodshow, fortunately, turned a blind eye when he was told about our misery and the only thing needed to get me out of trouble was an apology letter...” He laughed. “He remembers to this day and I think he still hopes that my siblings turn out as ‘noble’ as me...” Will sighed again. “But I doubt it, as my parents didn’t have the money to support me on my Pokemon journey, and the other eight children will...”

Sabrina spit out the tea she had just drunk.

“EIGHT CHILDREN?!?!?”

Will blinked. “Um, yeah...heh...” He sweatdropped. “I didn’t tell you about my siblings, did I?”

Sabrina shook her head, as pale as the moon. “Eight...wait, no...nine children. ...ARE YOUR PARENTS MAD?!?!?”

Will blinked, staring at her, before he broke out with laughter. “They hardly are, Sabrina dear. They hardly are.” He calmed down. “In the society I grew up, having nine children is not an exception.”

Sabrina coughed, fearing that her heart just stopped in shock. “Don’t tell me that’s the average number...”

Will almost spit out his own coffee when he had to laugh again, but stopped himself just in time. “Nah, I suppose the average number is about four or so, but heh...” He sighed. “You’re right, I...grew up in kinda the big family, no?”

“Very big family...” Sabrina mused, thinking of her own parents and how that was all she could call ‘family’.

He sighed. “Might as well give you a few details, eh?” Sabrina didn’t nod, but she looked at him with interest. “All in all, I have five brothers and three sisters. I’m...” He paused to think. “The fifth, I think. Yes, the fifth. Three older brothers, two younger brothers, the twin girls are younger, one sister is older.” He looked up so register Sabrina’s reaction, who had paled again. She still was quiet stunned and knew that it would take her a long time grasping the fact that she would have nearly a dozen brothers and sisters-in-law- taken that she and Will ever got married, she realized with a quick blush. Regularly, it was normal for fiancées to meet the parents and the family of their future husbands, and vice verse of course, but she felt a bit uneasy at that thought...did she really want to meet with some family who lived in poverty? In a ghetto? She was obviously not used to that, while Saffron did have its own kind of ghettos, they were not half as bad as Teak’s, from what she knew. But then...if they had managed to produce such a handsome man like Will, they couldn’t be completely terrible...could they?

Sabrina coughed politely, and Will stopped, yet she did not know what to say. She had the feeling that everything she could say would add salt to the wound, a wound that had not completely closed over, as Will had kept this away from her. It was something very personal, and only now could she understand how much he trusted her when he allowed her to know about his background.

Will smiled silently, before sighing. “No, I don’t know why my parents decided to have so many children, they never told me, heh. I know that they themselves have many siblings, I have about nine uncles and three or four aunts, and I doubt that is even all of them, as I have never met some of them in my whole life. While a lot of them live close, the other part decided to do it my way and get away as far as possible. Dunno what happened to them...” He waited again, but Sabrina stayed quiet, staring at him with a calm, stoic face. It was a bit much for her to take, and she was still trying to grasp it all. “Maybe...” And he leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms behind his head and staring into the starry sky. “Maybe they wanted to even out the gender imbalance in my family. You see, we have way more guys than girls...before my first sister was born, my parents had three boys. And after her...” He started to laugh. “Well, there I came. Another boy. Though probably the most girlish out of all of them, at least in their way of definition. And then, directly after me, my twin sisters. Fits, eh? All the girls in a row...” He laughed hard, while Sabrina took a sip of her tea and raised an eyebrow. She couldn’t completely understand the joke behind, but she assumed that was more because of her natural talent for ignoring humour in all of its forms.

Will stopped laughing for a moment, smiling at Sabrina, before he sighed again, yet his smile stayed. “You know, we have not much space, which is, well, understandable. Not only don’t you get a big house easily in the suburban- especially not if you have a big family, and...oh, well, you might get a house with ten rooms or more, but then, out of them ten, only five are inhabitable. That is, not lethal for anyone living in them. Like the ceiling crushing down on you or Rattata eating your nose off.” He took another sip of his coffee, Sabrina being amazed at how calmly he explained all of that...mess.

“To get to the point, we have a house, but it’s not only my parents and siblings living there, but also some of my uncles and aunts. And their families.” He sighed deeply. “And they don’t have any fewer children. I’ve lost count of my cousins even before I escaped and I guess by now, I got even more...now that I think of it, my youngest brother was four, so by now, I might already have another sibling I do not even know about. Funny, isn’t it?” It was anything but funny.

“And now...everyone needed a bed, right?” His smile returned, to Sabrina’s surprise. “My older brothers are ten, eight and six years older than me, respectively, so of course they got their own rooms. Especially since most of the kids younger than them were girls, so...” He stopped. “Then there’s my sister. She’s three years older than me. And my twin sisters are two years younger than me. Then there’s a gap of five years between them and my second-youngest brother. And my youngest brother is again three years younger than him. So...” He still smiled at her, while Sabrina didn’t feel as if she was really getting it. It only explained to her that his mother at least didn’t have a child every year. Still, having nine children was...insane.

“We had three rooms. Most logically would be three children for every room, right?” He sighed. “Only bad that some of them are so far away from each other, hm? Relatively far away, at least. So my parents had the greatest idea ever...the smallest room, not much bigger than a closet, for my youngest brothers. The second-biggest for my older brothers.”

“Oh.” Sabrina got it and gulped.

“Yes. The biggest one for me and my sisters.” He chuckled. “I was forced to share my room with three girls for eight years. That forms your character, I say. While my brothers played soccer, wandered through forests, got into fights and started with drugs and weapons and Pokemon early, I was forced to listen to lectures about make-up and dresses.” He stopped chuckling, shaking his head. “You see, I was forced to grow into a gentleman. My sisters wouldn’t have allowed anything else. I had to please them or else life would have ended up as a pain in the butt for me. These twelve years taught me more about manners, women and what they want from men than any lifestyle magazine or show could ever have. And after a while, it even ended up as fun. And useful. You see, when people see that you come from the lowest part of society they can imagine, they don’t expect anything from you. They don’t expect you to be gentle and well-mannered and careful, you know? I guess a greater part of my luck and my later reputation comes from that. Besides,” He shrugged. “I like being seen as a noble man now. It something not even Lance really has. He’s the super hero, I’m the gentleman.” He winked at her. “And while I have no numbers, I assume I have just as many fangirls as he has.” Will stopped, taking her hand, lifting it up to his face. “But I was never fascinated by them as I was by you, my dear.”

Sabrina allowed herself to let a blush escape. She was too tired to hide it, besides, she didn’t want to hide it either. Not from him, at least.

Will sighed and leaned back, looked at a clock that was hanging from the wall of the café. “Already ten pm, my dear...we should head off if we want to get into our hotel rooms in time, before they close.” He laughed. “I’m not sure about you, but I certainly don’t want to sleep in the wilderness anymore. Although...” He winked at her. “I admit, I am quite sure that you neither want to sleep on the floor tonight.” Sabrina nodded. To tell the truth, she was very tired. She had fought several hard battles today, one even against her boyfriend, and the emotional torment she had been through was straining her nerves and body. She hadn’t told Will yet about their battle, but she planned on doing so, soon. If possible, tomorrow morning, when she had caught a bit of sleep and felt more at ease and relaxed. Now she just wanted to sleep.

Will got up and yawned, when he suddenly heard some footsteps behind. He turned around, surprised to see Karen move out of the darkness again, as if she hadn’t been away at all. He tensed, suddenly getting the feeling that this might just have been the case and all the time, the dark trainer had been hiding in the shadows and spying on them. He didn’t like that, he didn’t want to have anyone hear his story that detailed, neither did he want to see someone share gossip about it. Karen was the least likely to do that, though.

“Don’t worry, Will, I’ve heard nothing new.” Karen answered his thoughts, coming closer and touching his cheek with one of her over dimensional finger nails. Will shivered, her nails were cold like ice. Sabrina, on the other hand, was too tired to torture Karen’s reproduction organs again, so she just glared at her. “All you’ve said is old stuff for me, as I already got to know that from yourself when you were under my control.” Will felt the urge to ram his leg into inappropriate regions himself. “Never mind, I’ve got some...news for you.” Both tensed, as they still knew that Cynthia was around and they knew she could be up to something, and most likely was.

“I’m incredible sorry about what I caused...”

“Yeah, sure...”

“Yeah, sure...”

Will and Sabrina stared at each other, mesmerized that they had said the same thing at the same time.

Karen coughed. “I AM. And therefore...” She snickered. “You know, Will and I share a hotel room. I, heh, decided to quit my room for tonight and trade it with Sabrina.”

“What?” Aforementioned woman blurted out, not believing what she had just heard. No one had told her about this, it was...

Karen nodded. “Yes, sweety, you’ll have the chance to sleep with your honey tonight. It’s up to you what you make out of it, heh. You can take me literally, if you want to...” Sabrina was again too tired to hide the blush. Was she really ready to think about it, even? She didn’t want to risk her relationship; neither did she want to rush it. She felt uncomfortable, and wondered why, when it was almost well-known that she had already slept in the same bed as him.

“But, but...” She tried, her voice quavering. “I never agreed to this!”

Karen smiled. “I know, but the hotel manager and Lance already did, so it’s not as if you have any chance...”

Sabrina knew that there was no chance to argue with that, so she turned to Will, snarling. “You’re going to sleep on the couch, understood?”

“We have no couch...”

“Then the ground, whatever!” The psychic gym leader whined, turning away from the two, while Will and his aching back prayed that she wasn’t being serious...

~~~~~~~

Not even a mile away from them, a lonely woman sat in her hotel room on a lonely, slightly uncomfortable chair made out of reed that crunched with every move she made. She had already put a cushion underneath her as to make the chair at least a bit softer, for she knew she was going to sit in it for several hours, probably the whole night. The man behind her slept with a quiet snore coming from him. She couldn’t help but glance and smirk at him. She was going to like the sight he would be once he woke up and the league would laugh over it, too. She just had to make sure that the stilettos would stay on, but there was nothing a small speck of glue couldn’t fix.

Turning back, she pushed a longer strand of pale, blond hair out of her face, her grey night dress rustled, barely hiding her silky skin. Pushing the button on a black plastic remote control, she watched the small TV set in her room flickering to life. The screen gave off an eerie, ghostly, silvery light, enlightening her face and chest, revealing that underneath the night dress, she wore nothing. She wasn’t cold, for coldness was close to her element, and the spring was coming to an end, so the nights were getting warmer and warmer.

Cynthia closed her eyes as the video recorder gave off a quiet click and the video tape started to play again. The pictures weren’t as blurry and black and white as the security camera videos back in Sinnoh’s league headquarters she was used to, a sign that J really made use of the newest technology. She liked that, she didn’t expect anything lower from her associates, and J was one of the few she got along. Kind of.

Cynthia bit her lip as she saw what she had expected to see deep inside her heart, but had never wanted to see, consciously at least. It hurt her, her morality, her beliefs, her way of living, to some extent.

She had known that the other darkling, Karen, had put some spell on the psychic elite trainer. Now, Cynthia didn’t know what the reason was, neither did she really want to. It didn’t concern her, her plans didn’t clash with Karen’s so far. But still, she had watched the events, or rather, she was watching the events on J’s airship via the security videos she had gathered from one of J’s henchmen. She didn’t know why, she didn’t know a lot of her quirks and sometimes, she was confused by her own acting and doings, but what she did know was that she had to find out how this had played out. And why Sabrina had, in the end, forgiven her boyfriend.

This was something that had really stunned Cynthia. Stunned to the point that she thought the other woman crazy. If there was one thing Cynthia would never do- or at least one thing she had thought she would never do, it was forgiving the person that had hurt and betrayed her. But Sabrina had. She had even fought against, and for, her boyfriend, had risked injuries and psychical pain, just to get him back.

Cynthia flinched. It annoyed her, annoyed her to the point that she wanted to lash out and destroy the interior, that she wanted to...strangle something. She hated to see a fellow woman being treated like this, but now, she had the feeling that Sabrina wouldn’t feel the same way. After all, the one she had physically hurt in the end (in a way Cynthia could only snicker about) was Karen, her fellow ‘sister’. Yet, Karen was the one who had made Will cause her pain, so...was Will at fault? If Cynthia had to be honest, that was a question she couldn’t answer without feeling her stomach churn, a sign that she knew deep inside she was wrong, but wasn’t willing to show it openly. Or admit it to herself. She had always thought that she was the mistress of right and wrong, of laws and rules, as she had made the rules herself as long as she was the league champion, the true ruler and empress. But there was a level above her, a level she felt she could not simply reach. The level of true and honest emotions, and of forgiving was not opening its gates for everyone. For to truly forgive someone and overcome your own emotions, you had to be more than just a champion.

Cynthia sighed, turning off the TV and leaning back in the chair, staring at the now pitch black ceiling. She didn’t really know why, but she had the feeling that she had to forgive someone herself.

She had been wrong, and now she felt lonely. It probably was the price she had to pay for being wrong, she guessed. Sabrina now wasn’t lonely, and although her boyfriend had done things that were a lot more disgraceful, she had lived through it. And she, Cynthia, had dumped Lucian because of a forgotten date and her big ego. She was pathetic, wasn’t she?

Even if he was more at fault than Will, he should have been given a chance. Or she should have at least tried to talk with him about it. Had she talked to him, he wouldn’t have drunk until he was nearly poisoned by it and her league wouldn’t have a clown story of its own. Never mind that she had planned on corrupting Indigo’s league, that had been her little amusement for the time being, although it seemed small and unimportant right now, too. Tiny compared to the real matters of life.

Cynthia closed her eyes and when she opened them again, a transparent, black mist escaped her eyes, touching Lance and engulfing his face. The female champion turned around, her expression serious, yet with a frown. She waited. He stayed asleep. Cynthia relaxed and stood up, dropping her night dress as she did so, and then slowly slipping into the warmness of the bed, her fingers tracing Lance’s muscular chest. It was going to be their last night. A term Cynthia felt would also soon apply to the other new couple of the league, but unlike her and Lance, the dark psychic knew that they would always come back to each other. Their relationship was something special.

Listening to Lance’s calm breaths, Cynthia relaxed, imagining that the one beside her was Lucian, his silky, wavy hair tingling her nose, as he continued to read his books until noon, when she had already fallen asleep long ago. He would give her a small kiss on the forehead, as to not wake her up, stroke her hair and turn off the light, then fall asleep next to her as well, his hand still on her cheek.

With a sigh, Cynthia let herself fall into the lands of dreams, her last thought being that she had to make an important visit to a certain someone tomorrow.

End of Chapter 8, one more to go. =3

Crazy Packers Fan
March 17th, 2010, 12:54 PM
So, I guess all the excitement in the story has subsided and we're coming to an end. You already had told me about Will's family, so there was no surprise there for me. I look forward to seeing the final chapter, especially the part with Cynthia and Lucian.

Houndoom19
March 18th, 2010, 01:13 PM
Sorry it took me so long to review this, I got distracted (damn you world of warcraft!). Of course, I don't really have anything useful to say that hasn't already been said... But yeah, excellent as always, a few minor grammar issues but nothing major, and it's probably just my over-analytical mind spotting out every little problem as always (sometimes useful, mostly not).

Looking forward to seeing where exactly Will ends up sleeping. :D I have a filthy mind, me and Karen should get together... Damn, now I have another story idea I'm never going to write. >.<

Totally random but I love how your Sabrina drinks tea, for some reason it really amuses me. XD Oh, and Will's lovely. :P

Crazy Packers Fan
June 8th, 2010, 05:44 AM
Ever going to post the final chapter, P*A? I'm really looking forward to seeing it.

Psychic*Absol
June 15th, 2010, 01:13 PM
*sweatdrops* Well, now I know why I couldn't find the thread...anyways, yeah...I forgot about the last chapter. Plus I was a tiny bit lazy...oh, well. Let's finish this, right?

Chapter 9: Gentleman's Goodbey

Again, not even a mile away from Cynthia- to be exactly, just a few metres and floors, two psychics had made their way into ‘their’ hotel room, one of them slightly grumpy and uncomfortable, while at the same time trying to fight off the whole swarm of butterflies that inhabited her stomach, the other more relaxed, his arms crossed behind his head as he had slipped out of his suit and was now taking a shower.

Sabrina forced herself to stare at her toes, not daring to look up at the warm light that came from the bath room. She was sitting on Karen’s bed and while she was glad that the darkling didn’t like perfume as much as another certain female colleague of her, who had made a whole business out of this, the scent that was so much not her own still hang heavily in the air and chilled her off. She felt cold, but not exactly because she hadn’t slipped underneath the bed sheet yet. She didn’t know the true reason yet.

“You were right, there’s nothing better than a hot shower after being in the mountains for days. A kingdom’s nothing compared to the comforts of modern life. ..ehm?” Will blinked, realising that Sabrina didn’t look up, staring intensely at her feet as if they had suddenly mutated into something extraordinarily interesting. It wasn’t until he noticed how faintly red her cheeks had turned that he realized why she was acting off. “I’m not naked, don’t worry. There’re towels for a reason, you know.” He laughed, yet shaking with laughter was not the best idea when you weren’t exactly ‘clothed’ in a narrower sense...

“Oops...”

“Eeep!!!” Sabrina looked up and choked, blushing even deeper as her head nearly collided with the mattress as she was trying to find a hiding spot as soon as possible, cursing Karen and her idiotic sexist ideas loudly with every breath in words that did certainly fit the situation.

Will sweatdropped uncomfortably. “Sorry...”

“You better be...” Sabrina’s muffled answer came from the depths of the sheets, her back being the only visible part of her body anymore.

There was a moment of silence as Will rummaged through his suitcases to find his night clothes. “You don’t like how I look?” He asked with the slightest tinge of a subplot, something he was sure Sabrina would notice.

There was another pause until she answered in a surprisingly neutral voice. “It’s not that I *don’t* like it...” She whispered, a silent note to herself in that sentence that didn’t go unnoticed by Will though. ‘It’s more that I *do*...more than I wish...’ He didn’t comment.

“You can get out now. I’m dressed.”

She wouldn’t just risk it yet. “Sure?”

“Very sure.” He grinned.

Sabrina crawled out of her self-made cave and jumped out of the bed, walking into the bath room without trying to look at Will who had made himself comfortable in his own bed by now and was watching her. Still, she couldn’t help glancing at him and snickering. “Tell me one time when you’re not wearing something extremely formal.” Will shook his head while smiling. There was one time, but he would better not voice it for she was not in a mood for jokes.

It didn’t take her long to finish showering, unlike some other certain woman, she didn’t believe in spending more time in the bathroom than necessary. She guessed that it also mattered that she hardly used any make-up. The only thing really eating up time was washing and combing her hair, for it was getting longer and longer. A bit too long, she mused sadly. One day, she would have to cut it, but that was certainly not today. And probably not tomorrow either.

She entered the bed room again, unlike Will, she had undressed in the bathroom and was already wearing her night dress. “You look beautiful.” Even though he was grinning, Sabrina knew that he was being honest and couldn’t help blushing again. She liked being called beautiful, it wasn’t as if that had happened all too often to her yet. Men just didn’t seem to take much interest in a female that could read their minds and turn them into dolls...

“You, too...kinda.” She answered, not really knowing what would have been a more fitting answer, so she just went with the easiest. Will laughed with a wink, letting himself fall back onto the sheets and closing his eyes. Sabrina glanced at a clock on his nightstand. It was almost midnight. She sighed, she was slowly getting sleepy as well, so she was better off trying to get to sleep soon, too.

Flopping onto her bed as well, she nearly scared Will off who had been half-asleep already and was startled by the sudden noise of the bed next to him squeaking with the last of its strength as it tried to hold its pieces together. The man blinked, before smiling. “Don’t even think that Lance gave us some cheap second-class, three star hotels. The beds were in great condition...until Karen used them.”

Sabrina snorted, musing that she should have known...

Turning around, she faced Will and reached over to his bed. Surprisingly, the beds were not far away from each other, but Sabrina assumed that this was because the room was usually for couples and not for colleagues. Considering this, she had to be happy that it wasn’t a double bed. One, because she didn’t want to ruin her knee cap by kicking Karen again, and second, because she...

Sabrina shook her head. Too many thoughts were spinning through her head right now.

“Good night, love.” She whispered, kissing him as she turned off the lights before leaning back and falling back into her own bed.

Will was still up, staring at her as he tried to work up the courage to ask her something. He had noticed it before, but now that she had changed clothes, it was even more visible. “Dear?”

“Hm?” It wasn’t much for an answer, but he figured that she was still awake. Sort of.

“I must ask you a question...I hope you don’t mind...” He coughed. Sabrina waited, but before she could voice her thoughts, Will spoke again. “I saw that mark on your neck...” A slight, silent gasp, but in the complete darkness of the room it could have been as well a loud scream for it was that audible. Will frowned, knowing that he had found the beehive. “I just want to know...who did this? Who hurt you? I...don’t want to see you hurt, so...” He trailed off, still staring at her.

Sabrina was staring at her feet again, gripping the bed sheets between her cold fingers so hard the fibres were getting ripped apart. She didn’t want to answer, she really didn’t, her stomach was nearly turned upside down at the thought of giving him the right answer. How easy it would be to lie to him, he had no memory of what had happened, and it was unlikely that he would ever get it back. So, if Karen didn’t miraculously decided to interfere again, he would never get to know the true story.

But she would lie to him again.

“You. It was you.”

He was silent. Stunned. “Wha...”

“Karen had you under her control, remember? She made you attack me...I tried to escape by teleporting, I didn’t want to hurt and knock you out, so I had to use another strategy...yet you found me and strangled me. But it wasn’t ‘you’ per se, Will.” She sniffed. “You were controlled, it wasn’t your fault, it really wasn’t...”

He wasn’t looking at her anymore. “I could have killed you.” He was shocked.

Sabrina was as well. Her eyes had adjusted to the darkness by now and she could see Will staring with lifeless, cold eyes at his hands, the very hands that had grabbed her neck. He wasn’t wearing his mask and it made his face even more mysterious. She had to admit that even though she could call herself the one who had seen him the most without his mask on, she was still not used to the sight of his bare, naked and scarred face. He was different from all the other men she had come across so far, and it wasn’t overly his mask that made him unique.

Sighing, she got out of her bed and knelt down on his, embracing him silently, letting her head rest on his shoulder and nuzzling into his soft lavender hair. “You wouldn’t have killed me. Never. You’re too soft to fight fiercely on your one, let alone kill anyone.” She whispered, smiling. “You would be a total failure at a serious psychic fight.”

He turned his head around, stroking her hair and smiling at her calm face as he did so. “You mean I would be too inexperienced to put up any fight?”

She paused. “No. You wouldn’t dare to strike me or any other psychic.”

He sighed deeply. “True.” Another pause. “I’m too much of a gentleman to even touch a woman.”

“Aw, now I’m disappointed.” Sabrina snickered before she could control herself, suddenly wondering why she had said that and what she had meant by. She coughed, but thankfully, Will didn’t press any further. Sabrina assumed that it still was some kind of shock for him to realize that he had been completely controlled by the dark trainer, his colleague of all things, and that he had tried to strangle his girlfriend in this state of mind. The psychic gym leader know that he would be close to blaming himself, but again, the question of true guilt couldn’t be answered completely in this case. Who could really blame him for trusting Karen? And Karen had, after all, still control of the situation and even Sabrina, who wouldn’t deny being biased towards dark trainers, doubted that the female elite trainer would have gone as far as having Will actually hurt her seriously. That was just a bit too much irony.

“Uhm...”

She blinked. “Yes?”

“Would you mind going into your own bed now? I mean, nothing against you, but I want to sleep and I doubt you want to stay in my bed and...argh, why does Karen have to have such crazy ideas?” He exclaimed, throwing himself backwards on his bed and closing his eyes angrily. Sabrina couldn’t help but snicker. She didn’t want to form the question, but there was something that told her that he felt slightly ‘uncomfortable’ by their closeness.

But there was something throwing her off as well, and only now did she realized that it should have thrown her off a long time ago.

“Didn’t you say that you had an apartment already?”

Will opened his eyes again, his arms crossed behind his head. “I didn’t say anything, but yeah, I have one.”

‘Must have unconsciously been reading his mind then...’ Sabrina mused, amazed at how instinctively using her powers had now become. “...why do you sleep in a hotel room of all things then?!?”

Will blinked, then giggled uncomfortably. “Well, you see...I have an apartment...but no furniture yet.”

Sabrina nearly crashed into her own bed.

~~~~~~~

Far away from the two couples that clearly enjoyed their night together, a lonely woman tried to get rid of the headache that was forming behind her head as well. She wondered if she should dare to take some pills that would reduce the pain- or not. J was experienced enough to know that all the industrial advertisement promises were just that- promises. If you wanted something to be done right, you had to do it yourself. Sadly, she was not a pharmacist; otherwise, she would know what to use.

J sighed and let her head rest on her arm. At least Cynthia had not checked up on her yet. Something, maybe an instinct, told J that she was safe for the moment and that Cynthia would not bother her so soon anymore. Even better. She needed some rest for now. For now and the next weeks. Screw her waiting clients, she was going on holiday for now. Or she would visit a spa. Or maybe going to the sea. Whatever. As long as it was in Sinnoh and far, far away from Sinnoh’s league headquarters.

The neon lights were bothering her, the darkness outside was bothering her, the freezing air was bothering her, heck, everything was bothering her.

And Harry the henchman had the courage to go up to her and cough.

She sighed. “Tell me what you want before this headache kills me and I randomly decide to drag you into hell with me.” At least hell was very likely going to be a place she could warm her cold butt up.

Harry coughed again. “I have interesting, possibly profitable news for you.”

Normally, the news of making money would make her jump out of her seat even if she was in a deep coma, but today, J felt more like a mummy. A very dead mummy, not a walking one like the ones in very bad C-Movies.

Still, she sighed, and even that noise sounding like an arriving train in her strained brain cells, and she started to rub her temples again. “Speak.”

“There are rumours that the three remaining crystal bells of the Tin Tower in Ecruteak City are being carried out for some restoration work. The transport of the bells is heavily guided and kept very secretive. Still, it should be no problem to break through it with the airship.”

J had been on the verge of screaming and exploding at the mention of the name of a city in...this country, this damned country that had started all this crazy mess she had underwent. But she restrained herself in the hope that there might be some...well, hope. Some chance that even in her weakened state of mind, she would be able to start and finish this mission, this delicate arrangement that lay directly underneath her nose. She knew that there were some people who would certainly pay a convincing price for these bells, seeing as they were made of a mysterious, but rare and valuable material.

“Remaining three...weren’t there supposed to be four of them?” She asked.

Harry nodded. “Yes, but one of them was destroyed during an incident with some members of Team Rocket.”

“Team Rocket...interesting. So they tried to get the bells as well.” J wondered if she should steal the bells and then try to sell them to Team Rocket herself, seeing as there was certainly interest on behalf of Kanto’s residential criminal team.

But then, getting in contact with Team Rocket meant nearly as much trouble as dealing with Cynthia, and she doubted that she was in the condition to risk it. She couldn’t dare to make any kind of mistake, even with the soft cushion of Cynthia’s donation behind her head. Besides, hadn’t she already decided for herself to take a holiday now? One where she would let go of all stress and worries? Stealing wasn’t one activity that made her relax; it was rather the opposite, but she wouldn’t trade this kind of life for any other. Not even the legal way. Her brother had proved in more than one way that either way made you go insane sooner or later, with just the tiny difference that you were a richer madman if you choose the illegal way in the right moment.

J waved her hand off, making Harry blink. “Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll take...well..” She sighed. They had earned it, somehow. “We’ll take a holiday now. Tell the officers and other henchmen that the next weeks are off from work. We’ll go...let’s see, where might we go...” She stared at the wall, going through Sinnoh’s landscape as she rummaged through her childhood memories. “Canalave City might be a good place.” ‘At the other end of Sinnoh...far away enough from Cynthia, I guess.’ J sighed. It wasn’t as if there was a place she could really hide away from Cynthia, even if she decided to camp on the moon, the Sinnoh champion would find some way.

“Ehm, sorry to ask, but did I hear right? We have some days off...?” Harry’s eyes started to glisten.

J felt disgusted, but then, she was too tired to say anything. “Yes, some days off...and don’t even dare to ask how many!” She hollered, her voice suddenly rising as her headache did as well.

Harry scrambled off, leaving J alone in her darkly lit room, wondering for herself how many days it would take her to recover. Maybe she would never.

~~~~~~~

The sun had risen early, due to the season of summer coming closer and closer, and the air was warm. A slight breeze was edging through the open windows, cooling the strong rays of light that touched the two bed sheets. A slender, pale arm had uncovered itself from the shell of the white bed sheet and was hanging loosely out of the bed, the hand equally loosely entangling with another, slightly stronger and bulkier one, though the difference was so minimal that no one would have guessed that the second hand belonged to a man.

A slight groan escaped from one of the beds, its inhabitant starting to wake up. The sheets started to rustle, falling off the bed as the young woman pushed herself up and stared at the scenery around here, confused for a moment. “Hm, wait, tis ain’t mai room..” She whispered, falling into dialect for a moment before noticing it and chiding herself for it. She was a gym leader and even though the original accent of Saffrons was strong, it was not in her nature to use it.

She had an excuse, though. She was still only half-awake. That didn’t mean, though, that the other person in the room had the same excuse.

Yawning, Sabrina rubbed her eyes, smiling as she watched the few clouds high above gliding through the sky, white and fluffy as the rest of the sky was painted in a beautiful faint, soft blue. It was going to be a wonderful day.

She started to look around the room, slowly starting to remember where she was and why she was here. She sighed, giving up cursing Karen. The night had gone by quickly and without any interruptions, she was glad about that. Not that she had really thought something would have happened, but it didn’t matter in the end. Now she just wondered if Karen had spent an equally good night in her room and if she really hadn’t forgotten anything in her old room. Who knows what Karen would have done to her stuff in case she found it...

Glancing around, Sabrina noticed that Will was still asleep, lying on his stomach and hugging the pillows. She had to giggle.

“Rise and shine, sweety.”

“Mh...jus’ five mo’ minutes, kay, mum?” He mumbled, turning his head in the other direction and continuing to sleep.

Sabrina frowned, yet she found his behaviour cute anyway and slowly and silently crawled over to his bed, which wasn’t all that hard considering that there wasn’t even a feet between them. She had grabbed one of her pillows and held it upright above her head, ready to strike at any moment.

Will yawned and turned around again, lying on his back, his arms crossed behind his head. “It feels so early, doesn’t it, ho- wah!” He yelped as suddenly, Sabrina jumped onto his bed and hit his face straight with the pillow, engulfing him in whiteness and a tornado of feathers. Never mind that the staff of the hotel wouldn’t find it so amusing later to see their property destroyed by a love struck young woman, after all, Karen had already demolished their bed pretty bad, and they hadn’t complaint so far...

“Take that!” She laughed, she laughed so hard that she nearly choked. Will was shrieking beneath the pillow, probably in shock, and she found that so amusing, so absolutely amusing. Never before in her life had she seriously tried to pull a prank on someone herself, always leaving that to Haunter and then laughing together with him. But now she had come with an idea by herself and even quite spontaneously, if she had to say.

Slowly, she fell down onto her hands, the pillow still on Will’s face but not in her hands anymore as she tried to calm down and breath properly again. Tears were forming in her eyes as she shook her head. “You should have heard yourself! You sound like a girl! A scared girl!”

Will took the pillow off his face, seemingly fighting with it, too, as he had no apparent idea how to get it off since he thought that Sabrina was still pushing it down. After a while, he managed to throw it to the side, staring at Sabrina with wide, shocked eyes. “What...?” For a moment, he was completely confused, but then, he realized his girlfriend’s prank and started to laugh, too. Suddenly, without Sabrina expecting it, he pulled her close to him, making her lose her balance. Her hair touched his cheeks and nose and fell over it like the sheets fell over the beds, covering it completely. The tips of their noses touched each other, and after a moment of shock, Sabrina started to giggle. They were acting like children. Big children in love, though.

“Good morning, love.” He whispered, and kissed her, his hand stroking her hair and their tongues entwined in their own style of dancing.

“WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!”

Until a scream interrupted them and made them both jump.

Will blinked; he was sitting next to the bed, his legs crossed oddly over each other and half of the bed sheet wrapped around them. He looked to his side and found Sabrina still on the bed, although with the visibly emptier pillow on her head, hiding half of her face, making her look like a cross between a one-eyed pirate and a ghost.

“What was that?” She asked, turning to him with the pillow slip still on her head. He had to bit his lip to stop himself from giggling, but then again, the shock of hearing the scream made his teeth clatter anyway, so he mused it wouldn’t matter anyway.

“I don’t know. And I’m not sure if I want to look what it was either...”

He nodded, but before he could come up with an answer, they became aware of the loud noise outside and finally, the words became clear enough to understand them.

“...can’t be serious! This can’t be true! Oh please, don’t let it be true, I have a reputation to loose...” There was a whining in...Lance’s voice? Will blinked. There was a very similar ring in that voice that made him almost sure that is was indeed his boss, but he had never heard Lance cry like this and he had doubted that Lance would be even able to produce such degrading tones.

They both froze though when they heard a second voice coming from down the stairs, clearly female and all too familiar.

“Oh, Lance, sweet boy, you don’t have much more of a reputation to save, so you might as well walk out in the public and dance the Psyduck dance.” Cynthia. She was snickering. Sabrina felt herself shivering.

Slowly, Will got out of his bed, and while Sabrina was worried about him going out with only his night suit- yes, he was wearing a kind of suit at night, too, she was glad that he was doing it, with her staying in the room and waiting.

The door thankfully didn’t squeak as Will opened it, but what he saw could have made him squeak, too.

It was Lance that was sure. But if Will had thought so far that pink hair was ridiculous enough that only the head of the state could get away with it, he hadn’t known.

Lance was naked. Except for the pink, too scanty to be legal and too pink to be healthy and too plushy to be serious shorts.

And there was the fact that Lance was wearing make-up, never even mind that it was ridiculously loud pink make-up. Even the make-up couldn’t cover up the false, overly long pink fingernails, though.

All in all, Will guessed, the pink stilettos Lance was wearing were just fitting his new outfit, weren’t they?

The psychic trainer burst out with laughter and fell back into his room, holding his stomach since he was cackling so hard it hurt.

Sabrina stared at him with a hard to read expression, one eyebrow raised. “But otherwise, you feel okay, right?”

~~~~~~~

Her little toy was free again, her little toy boy. To be honest, she wasn’t sad. Not at all. She was rather...amused. Poor Lance. There was a lot of explaining he would have to do now to his comrades, and to make it worse, there was not much he could explain to them. His memory was as scanty as his pants were and she, she would move a single finger to tell him the truth. There was no reason to, and neither could Lance blackmail her into doing that. Not as if he would, anyway. He knew her power, he knew it very well, and he would be a fool to attack her once again.

Cynthia sighed on her way to the hospital, feeling somewhat empty and uncomfortable. She hadn’t announced her arrival, not to anyone, not even the doctors, so they couldn’t warn him anyway. But she supposed that he was right about to feel her anyway. As lousy as a psychic he was, there was no doubt in her that he couldn’t miss her auras, her white and, more obviously, her dark one. He would know that she was about to meet with him again, that she knew.

Yet she didn’t know what he was thinking. Oh, how easy it would be to find out, but it was exactly that. Too easy. She was sick of things being too easy for her, she wanted a challenge. She already had undergone some sort of challenge, as her mission to manipulate Indigo’s league had backfired. Kind of. Again, it was a double-edged kind of sword. She had decided to come back to Lucian just because of her plan’s failing, and yet, she did not feel satisfied by the current events. Oh, well. She would find a way to get her satisfaction. Sooner or later, whenever.

The doors opened by itself, never been touched by a finger of hers, but nobody seemed to notice. Silently, she strolled through the endless hallways, the doctors and nurses didn’t even seem to see her at all. Cynthia smiled, she knew why. Clouded in dark haze, she was nothing more than a transparent shadow for them.

Finally, she arrived at a familiar door. She opened it and walked through without looking at Lucian, staring straight ahead at the window and walking up to it, watching the summer clouds hiding the sun in a futile attempt to make temperatures drop. It wasn’t working. Neither was her calmness, her attempt to cross out Lucian’s presence and continue to ignore him until his own nervousness would make him talk.

“I’m back.”

“I see.” He nodded, his eyes darker than usually. Cynthia shuddered. His tone was colder, much more successful at making her shiver than the clouds.

“I’ve realized...some things.” Some peculiar things, things she had never been aware of before. One day, she would have to thank the psychic for it. And knock her out.

“What about your plan?” Lucian asked, not even caring for the lesson she had learned. Cynthia snorted inwardly. This was hardly the behaviour she wanted to see from him, but then again, after all she had done to him, she had to expect it.

“My plans are not longer of anyone’s concern. I’ll tell you once we’re out of here and on our way to Sinnoh again.” She wanted to sound cool and distant, but it was proving to be more difficult than usually. Maybe because she wanted to hug and kiss and embrace him more than anything, to melt into him and never be separated again. That was her only wish, and yet she couldn’t express it. At least not so openly right now.

Lucian sighed and leaned back in his bed. He wondered why he had even decided to stay in hospital even after he had been cured, but deep inside, he had felt ill no matter what the doctors did to him and thus, he had convinced them psychically to keep him here. Maybe it was also because he was...frightened of Cynthia. He didn’t want to meet her in the hotel, much less spend the night with her in the same hotel room. Not that he would have found enough space to sleep there, from the rumours he had heard, his side of the bed was occupied by the league champion of Indigo himself, and Lucian doubted that he wanted to sleep on the carpet in front of the bed.

“So...let’s be honest. Why have you come here again? I thought I was like trash for you, being thrown away as soon as I didn’t, couldn’t please you enough anymore. I see that you needed something new, and you got something new. Has Lance already become boring for you that you want to come back to me?” He knew how harsh his voice was, but he was hurt, hurt and bitter.

Cynthia sighed and sat down on the edge of his bed, finally turning her gaze from the window. “No...not really, at least. I...have realized some things. Things like how love has to be stronger than usual quarrels, and how you need to take and give in a relationship.” She knew she sounded cryptic, and she wasn’t feeling bad about it. She would have enough time to tell Lucian about her whole experience once she was sure no one was listening. “There have been people who have shown me that even when you’re hurt; it doesn’t give you the right to abandon your partner. Sometimes, he’s not being at fault, and sometimes, he doesn’t know better. In such situations, it’s better to talk instead of fight, you know. That’s the lesson I learned today. Or rather, yesterday...” She smiled at him, yet Lucian didn’t feel as if he had understood her. But that was typical for his Cynthia...he was used to it.

“And...?” He asked, with the tinge of being impatient in his voice, yet a small, mean smile played around his features.

Cynthia leaned down, pulling him into her embrace and kissing his cheek. “Will you come back to me?” She whispered right into his ear, a soft brace cooling him.

“Yes.”

~~~~~~~

There was an uncomfortable silence in the breakfast room of the elite trainers and gym leaders, and yet it had nothing to do with the fact that this was the last day of the official meeting. There was an odd aura to it...and the main cause was a very grumpy Lance with cheeks as red as tomatoes, who flinched whenever the word ‘pink’ popped up, may it be on purpose or not.

He had washed away the make-up and had re-dressed, wearing his usual cape and boots now, but the nail varnish didn’t want to go away so he had resorted to wearing gloves. His hair was naturally pink, so there was no reason to dye it, yet Lance seemed very intrigued to do that. At least for the moment, as long as people had the image of the ridiculously ‘pretty in pink’ champion. While no reporter had had the luck of catching a glimpse, or, even fortunately, a photo, the gym leaders and other elite trainers weren’t as reserved and reverent as Lance wished them to be, and word about his accident had spread quickly.

Though Sabrina wasn’t so sure if she should be happy about the original source of the rumour spreading.

“I really don’t think you should have run to Whitney the second you recovered from laughing.” She muttered, not looking Will into the eyes and staring at the plain, white wall.

“I don’t see why not. I mean, don’t you think that even, or, especially, Lance deserves some humiliation now and again? And it’s not as if it really damages his reputation anymore...his affair with Cynthia did enough of that kind.” He leaned back wish a smug smile, closing his eyes.

“You don’t even have proof...”Sabrina threw in.

“So? You believed me without seeing it with your own eyes, now, did you?” He didn’t look convinced at all.

“That’s because I’m psychic and can read your mind, silly. And yes, the image of Lance was pretty amusing. But nothing I would make fun of for the rest of my life.”

“I’m not making fun of it for the rest of my life, you know? That would get boring after a while. And I sure hope that there will come some other interesting picture for me to take advantage of. You know, I have these powers now, too, so maybe I can use that.”

Sabrina rolled her eyes. “Don’t get your hopes too high. Lance will probably try to find some way to protect himself from psychic and dark manipulation powers now that he knows the consequences of being too trusting. Don’t know how he’ll do that, but I’m sure he’ll get some personal bodyguards to take care of that, soon.” She glanced at him. “Never mind that you’re too weak to be a real threat to him, anyway. I, on the other hand...” She didn’t finish her sentence, either on purpose or because Janine had arrived at their table, sheepishly smiling with a hand behind her back.

“Hey, you two!” Glancing at her dad, who was sitting far away at a table with the Bruno and Lance, she made sure she was allowed spend some time with the older psychic trainers. Never mind that she had had a particular crush on one of them...

“I heard you managed to beat J! Congratulations! She’s really a mean woman.” Janine closed her eyes while Will and Sabrina exchanged a knowing glance. They wouldn’t tell Janine the true story; they wouldn’t tell anyone the true story. It was likely too much for the young, moral-bound ninja to take, and it was too dangerous to let anyone into this secret, for both of them knew how powerful Cynthia was. They didn’t want to drag any more persons into it, neither did Karen, who had kept surprisingly quiet about it. Though, maybe, it was not a complete surprise, as she had turned out to be more knowing than the two psychics in this case and still hadn’t decided to tell the officials about anything she had found out. It was, to some extent, calming to know that the case was sleeping for the moment, so to say. It was a sleeping beast.

“That is true. Too bad she escaped. She can still wreck havoc that way...it would have been better if we had managed to hand her over to the police.” Sabrina whispered, weighting each word after its moral and informational significance. She cast a glance at Will, who watched Janine without much of a reaction. Somewhere deep inside her, she wondered how he felt about her now, if she was still a friend, but then, she had no reason to doubt it. She only hoped that Janine’s crush would dwindle down and she would find real love soon. Well, granted, relatively soon, the girl was only fourteen, there was no desperate need for a steady relationship yet.

Janine nodded “Lance would have been proud of you, you know. He likes you two as a couple, somehow.”

“That’s because it gives the league more positive publicity...in regards to late, more embarrassing affairs an advantage Lance can’t dare to oversee...” Will mused, words carefully chosen so not to anger Sabrina. He snickered inwardly. He hadn’t even mentioned ‘pink’ and/or ‘Karen’...

“Hm, sure.” Janine smiled nervously. She still was unsure about her true feelings, for she still liked Will very much, but for the sake of her dad’s honour and reputation, Sabrina’s health and her own sanity, she had to suppress it. Deep inside the girl knew that this was an important lesson about love she had just learned, the lesson that you couldn’t always get what you want, no matter how intensely you want it, although she was still too young to grasp the whole intent.

How conveniently that Falkner chose this moment to walk by and wink at Janine...

The girl blinked and didn’t even notice the blush she gave off, as the two psychics glanced at each and chuckled.

“Ehm, uh, I’ve got...to do some things, some stuff, ehm...I’ll be off! Bye, you two!” Janine waved nervously at them while starting to run after Falkner in her usual ninja fashion, with the only difference that a real ninja wouldn’t bump twice into Chuck in an attempt to sneak up after someone...

“Young love, isn’t it sweet?” Will asked, watching Janine’s departure.

He didn’t see Sabrina’s sour smile. “Does that mean you consider me old...?”

He had fallen right into the trap, and worse, he had made up the trap himself. “No, but Janine’s younger than you anyway. And nowadays, you can hardly describe tweens’ feelings as young love anymore, kids seem to grow up much faster...” After all, Janine was ten years younger than him, and that hadn’t kept her from falling in love with him. And he had considered ninjas to be the more reasonable kind of teenagers.

She nodded, reminded of how she confused she had felt when her students had made their first, childish dates. She had passed that stage of life without making much of an entrance, and, even though it had been bothering her for a while, it didn’t seem to have much on an influence on her luck regarding relationships later in life. Excluding the various female rivals...

Will turned to her again, a bit hesitant. “Since Cynthia’s leaving tomorrow...what are you going to do with the egg? I...don’t think you can keep it, but I have no idea what else to do with it, honestly.”

Sabrina was surprised that he even remembered the egg, but then again, even she had nearly forgotten about it in the chaos of the recent days. Lowering her head and voice, she spoke. “Exactly. I don’t think I can keep it either, but what else? I can’t just give it away for free to some wandering trainer, that would look suspicious and would be irresponsible. So...for the moment, I have decided to take it with me and see what happens. It’s not as if I cannot own an Eevee, I’ll just have to find some excuse on how I got it.” She raised an eyebrow. “Just like you’ll have to convince Lance that you caught a wild Espeon by accident. Good luck on that, boy.”

“I want to see how you will convince Lance that you managed to collect the money to buy one of the finest breeds of Eevee, and even more so one still having to hatch, seeing as these can imprint on their trainers much easier and are more valuable.” He smirked.

“Touché. I admit, you nearly beat me there.” She didn’t look at him.

“Nearly?” Now it was his turn to raise an eyebrow.

“You’ll never beat me, Will.”

~~~~~~~

The page did have his trouble carrying the monstrous bags and suitcases, and while it was obvious that this was his job, he wouldn’t have minded a little help from the gentlemen dressed in red, who had nothing better to do than let his right hand rest in his suit’s pocket and caress a book with his left hand, his eyes never leaving the yellowish, aged pages. The woman in front of him was equally uncaring about his strenuous job, from time to time running her hand through her blond, shining hair that flew around her face, blown by the fresh summer wind. The page grumbled. There she was, the great, majestic champion of Sinnoh, grateful, gratuitous and strong at the same time, and yet she couldn’t even move a muscle to help him with the dozens of bags that all needed to be carried into the plane as soon as possible, which basically meant lightning speed. The boy, not older than fifteen, moaned again. The only one who could manage that was a psychic...

Cynthia glanced backwards at her ex- and now again, boyfriend, smiling without really meaning to. Lucian looked up, feeling the slight prickle on his neck her piercing stare caused. Making sure that the hotel boy was occupied, he walked up to her, keeping his path next to the champion and casting his look downwards. “Now, Cynthia...would you be so nice to tell me the whole truth?” He snorted. “You spend weeks on that plan of corrupting Indigo’s league, something serious has to have happened to make you abandon it.”

Cynthia nodded, yet it wasn’t much more than a simple hint of a nod. “You’re right, I have been hiding the whole story from your until now, yet you must remember that I did promise you to explain it to you once we were alone.”

Lucian rolled his eyes. “We might be as well now alone as ever before, so, shoot. Tell me, I’m dying to know the truth.”

Cynthia shuddered inwardly at his bitterness and coldness. She knew he had every right to be mad at her, but that didn’t keep the pain from stinging. “Part of my plan involved, well...cheating on you. Disgracing you, to make the breakup less damaging for my reputation.” She noticed how Lucian kept rolling his eyes, his opinion, and that of a greater part of the public was that her affair with Lance had not only shaken the league, but also made her look like a total cheater. Who knows how that could affect her career as a trainer, too...

She sighed. “You cannot image how much it hurt me to see you concentrating more on your precious books and manuscripts and magazines and lord knows what than me. It seemed as if a few black lines of ink were more important to you than your girlfriend, the woman who loved you, craved for you. All I wanted were a few words, a few whispers, just a few signs that you cared for me. But I never got anything. I was hurt, angry, bitter. And so I weaved the breakup into my greater plan, the one I told you about.”

Lucian swallowed hard. He had never thought that his girlfriend felt so left out, that she thought he didn’t care for her anymore. He felt a knot tightening in his stomach, the words only coming out slowly and broken out of his mouth, which suddenly felt as dry as a desert. “I’m sorry...I should have...done something. Something, anything. I’m really sorry.” He bowed his head in shame. “I’m an awful boyfriend...”

To his surprise, Cynthia giggled. It was a light sound, matching the bright sun in the sky above. “You’re not. Lance is much more of an awful boyfriend than you, seriously.” ‘Especially when he’s mind-controlled...’ Cynthia added silently.

Lucian sighed, though Cynthia wasn’t sure on how to interpret his reaction. While it was quite easy for her to read his mind, she didn’t do that all that often, more occasionally that on purpose. And it was more fun to tickle the answers out of him than to have them served on a golden plate. It was more challenging. Lucian himself was more of a challenge than any other man she had met so far. Of course, one could think that this was because Lucian was the last elite four, right behind her, the most dangerous threat for her golden throne of championship. But this was not true, the other elite four tried to beat her from time to time, too, the most recent example being Aaron, but of course, they all lost. And Lucian himself hadn’t succeeded either, but this was not of any matter today.

“And you know what made me change my opinion about you?” Cynthia asked sheepishly, winking at him with her visible eye, the one that wasn’t hidden by her silky hair.

Lucian blinked. Of course he did not know, but this was what Cynthia had intended. “No...tell me, what happened?”

Cynthia smiled. “I met- no, I rather watched some woman nearly scarifying herself for her boyfriend. He was controlled, he couldn’t do anything about his state of mind, he was too weak to fight it. I saw her fight him, I saw her getting hurt by him, yet, no matter what happened, no matter how life threatening the situation became, she never lost faith in him. And unlike life’s many other ironic outcomes, she was rewarded with love. She got him back, and their bond is now stronger than ever.” Cynthia closed her eyes. “That’s the tale.”

Lucian didn’t look all too convinced. “That doesn’t tell me much more than I already know. Won’t you at least reveal to me who this mysterious couple is?”

Cynthia winked. “No, sorry, that remains secret for now.”

Lucian rolled his eyes, yet decided not to press any farther. If Cynthia didn’t tell him now, chances were high that she wouldn’t tell him any time soon.

~~~~~~~

The whole train station was in a hurry, like a beehive in the middle of the summer, and it didn’t help much that temperature had gone higher and higher the whole morning, as if they wanted to reach an invisible point of no return. Similarly, a point of no return was reached for a couple as well...

While most of the gym leaders tried hurriedly to say goodbye to each other, and not to mix up their luggage in the general confusion, Sabrina and Will stood aside of the trouble, both staring silently at the group that seemed to have nothing better to do than call off this meeting as soon as possible. Sabrina mused that after the great delay Team Rocket’s attack had caused and all the time the gym leaders had to stand each other, they were quite happy to return to their own lives, gyms and the freedom of isolation. Honestly, she couldn’t say she shared these ideas.

<Goodness, the reporters could get the idea the league trainers really hate each other the way these guys storm off!> Will snorted. Sabrina nodded to him, allowing a small smile to creep onto her face as she noticed how much better he had gotten at telepathy in a matter of only days.

<I guess it depends on the people who are departing. See, Janine doesn’t want to leave her dad at all.> She nodded to the younger girl who was in tears, cradled in her dad’s arms and gripping his clothes tightly. Koga sighed, not having the heart to scold at her for showing too much emotion for a ninja rookie. She was, after all, his only child and heir, and while she hadn’t been the best starting gym leader, she was slowly but continuously getting better at it. Having the help of her aunt at her side, who had recently returned from an intense training session in Johto, she had someone to watch over her. Sabrina hugged her arms closer to her body, even though it wasn’t cold at all. It was more of a reflex, as she felt cold when she thought about the incoming loneliness.

<Shh...don’t be so sad. I don’t like it when you look so sad.> Will embraced her from behind, kissing her neck. That was one big advantage of telepathy; you could do whatever you want with your mouth and still talk.

<Too bad. Because I’m going to look sad whenever I want to look sad!> She countered, but it wasn’t as funny as she wished it to be.

Will sighed, rustling his hand through her hair. <You better get on train now, or else you’ll miss it.>

That was the truth. Not that she liked the truth, though. <I don’t want to leave.> She paused. That was not the whole truth. <I don’t want to leave...you.> She sniffed. She didn’t feel weak crying in this situation. It sort of made her feel more human, more alive. That was a feeling she hadn’t had in a long time...for nearly twenty years, she added mentally. She hadn’t been really human all that time, just a doll.

Will’s embrace became tighter, just as she heard the engine of the train being started. <I don’t want to leave you either.> His telepathic voice had turned into a whisper and she was amazed at how perfectly he managed to convert emotions into it. It was an advantageous technique, one it had taken her years to learn and perfect, and she still had trouble using the right emotions. <But you have to. You have your gym, your students, your parents. You can’t stay here.> Their cheeks touched and she shivered at the unearthly warmness. <Even if I want you to stay here, too. > He let her go and straightened up. “You really have to go now. See, the next train leaves in three hours, you really don’t want to wait so long, do you?” He winked, almost knowing the answer already.

<Well, I could wait with you. That would make the waiting time so much sweeter.> Will rolled his eyes.

<No way. I still have to get the furniture into my new apartment. There’s nearly nothing there yet. You wouldn’t even have something to sit on, if you don’t want to sit on the floor. Never mind that I couldn’t offer you tea or something...>

Sabrina shook her head, smiling. There he was, the young, soon to be rich bachelor, and he hadn’t even a chair to sit on yet. She guessed that was the prime example of how their league worked.

“Hey, Sabrina, what are you waiting for? The train leaves in five minutes, you know?!” Erica screamed out of one of the trains windows, her headband nearly getting loose in the strong wind.

Slowly, the psychic turned around again. “Well...I guess this is farewell, then?” She tried to smile as she walked up to the doors of the train, Will following her, carrying her bags like a real gentleman had to. They didn’t say a word as they walked over the grey pavement, both lost in thoughts. Sabrina opened the train door equally silent, biting her lip as she searched for fitting words. In the end, she decided, there weren’t any words that really fit the situation, and actions took over. She leaned forward, not caring that one of her bags almost feel into the dirt between the train rails, and kissed Will.

<I love you.> She gulped, the words still feeling unfamiliar for her telepathic voice.

Will smiled. <Love you too.>

She turned around and looked for a seat next to a window on the train station side of the train, nearly forced to throw Misty out of her seat- something she wouldn’t have regretted so much, the girl had acted too weirdly around her and Will. Maybe she should take things into her own hands and play the matchmaker...

Sabrina shook her head. Love was getting to her, there was no way she would be a successful matchmaker.

“You’re going to be alright, right?” asked a soft voice opposite of her.

Sabrina turned her head around, only now did she notice that she had taken the seat opposite of Erica and Janine. Dimly, she wondered why those two girls were sitting next to each other when there was plenty of space in the whole train, but that question was banished into the back of her mind.

The psychic sighed. “I guess so. Will already promised to visit me some time in June or July, depending on when Lance gives him free time for the first time.” Closing her eyes and letting her head rest on her left hand, she sighed again. “He’ll visit me then as soon as it’s possible.”

Erica grinned. “That’s okay. Separation can only make your bond stronger.”

Sabrina raised an eyebrow. She didn’t believe Erica much; it was as if being separated from him already hurt, despite being only a matter of minutes.

“I...hope so.” There was a rumbling as the train’s engine was prepared to move it and it was so loud that Sabrina almost wouldn’t have noticed the knocking on the window. Startled, she turned around and saw Will standing next to it while winking at her. She gave a curt nod to Erica and opened the window, yet the train had already started to move and Will nearly tripped as he run after her.

“Stop!” She laughed. “You’re going to fall!” Which he did.

Sabrina still shook her head, until she saw something black out of the corner of her eye. Blinking, she turned her head to it, to see a single, black rose slowly gliding out of thin air into her lap.

“How cute!” Erica exclaimed, giggling.

Sabrina smiled as well, holding the rose up to her face and letting its petals trace her skin. For now, all the troubles and life-threatening situations of the last weeks were forgotten, and only the good things remained.

The End

(And, as promised, the epilogue. It is not to be taken *too* seriously. Various RL persons that appear here [they know who they are...I hope], please don't be offended. 0=)

Epilogue

Scene shows a garden bathed in the light of a setting sun, the garden is neither neat nor overly chaotic, a lot of wild bushed and weird flowers are around, giving unwanted intruders guests a lot of hiding spaces in case the owner of the house wants to shoot them.

Suddenly, a blinding light appears in the middle of the garden, graceful, as pure as new fallen snow, truly a gift from the angels- and suddenly, a lavender-coloured Absol falls out of the light onto its butt.

Granted, we know that it’s the Absol from the last epilogue with the weird accent, since how many lavender-coloured Absols have you seen?

<Gotta train that teleport more...> It grumbled, before looking around. <Am I even right here? Ain’t looking much like Sabrina’s house...never mind....> The Absol puts its paws on the windowsill and looks through the window. It smiles as it sees the people inside. <Bingo, right place!> It turns around. <Now to get the guys here...>

Suddenly, an Alakazam, a Kadabra as well as a Starmie are brought into the scenery the same fashion the Absol was brought in, minus the butt falling, mainly because the Starmie had no butt.

The Absol smiles. <Here you are!>

The Kadabra smiles. Sarcastically. <Die Freude ist ganz deinerseits.>

Shaking its head, the Absol- can we finally stop with the ‘it’? We know it’s a female...anyway, the Absol scolded the Kadabra. <No speaking German here, no one understands it, anyway.>

The Kadabra looks suspiciously at the Starmie, who has stayed silent until now. On his own wishing, we might add. Good for him, considering that we don’t want to start another blog war here. Never mind that this is no blog.

<You finished your weird rambling yet?> The Kadabra asked. The Absol rolled her eyes. <My fic, I do whatever I want.>

The three minus one Pokemon, as the Starmie has no eyes, look at each other. They *know* what this means. They know it oh so well. The Starmie does as well, though it doesn’t seem to care as much. It...ehm...he? Have Starmie even a gender? ...okay, okay. He has/had his own fic to drive the Absol mad with.

<Why are we here, anyway?> The Alakazam asks, looking around as if expecting the world to change any moment. No wonder considering his fic...

The Absol turns around, smiling, and opens the window with one of her paws. <This, my dear, is kinda a ‘what has happened in the last ten years?’ segment of the fic.>

<Oh, so we’ll see how Sabrina grew up? > The tiny voice of a Mew asks.

Everyone stares at it.

<Uhm...you weren’t supposed to be here.> The Absol blinks, suddenly, a blank block of paper appears in her hands and she holds up a pencil, the backside of the block has the big, bold words ‘SCRIPT’ written on it. <After you stopped reviewing, I relentlessly decided to throw you out of the shamelessly self-inserting epilogue part of my fic where I make fun of my quirky fans and/or readers, pardon the quirk pun, Zammy. Sorry.> She closes her eyes and makes a dismissive gesture with her hand. <Writing space is limited in these hard economical days.>

Two Pokemon stare at her. One doesn’t care. One is as playful as a Mew and flies around. And that ain’t the Starmie.

<What has writing space to do with economy?> The Kadabra asks, and just as the Alakazam is about to interrupt it, the Absol stops them. <Guys, no political, philosophical and/or religious wars here, we could get into hell for that, pardon the pun.> The Starmie doesn’t react. Whatever.

<So, what are we here for, P*A?> The Alakazam again asks. The Absol grins and wiggles her finger, as wiggling with her tail would be highly inappropriate.

<Heheh, we’re here to do a little love-bird-watching.> The two other psychic Pokemon cross their arms and apparently don’t find the joke amusing. One wonders why...

“Aw, come on guys. I *know* you want to see how Will and Sabrina are doing?>

The Alakazam looks as if it got a heart attack while the Kadabra frowns. <Who said that these two are meant?!>

<Well, it’s her house we’re standing in front of and my fic we’re in. Want more proof?>

<No.>

Again, the Absol turns to the window and slowly opens it, but only so much that you can hear what’s been going on inside. Then she beckons the other two three Pokemon to come next to her. <Stay down, we don’t want them to see us, do we?>

<Do we even want to see them?> The Alakazam asks, the Absol just glares at him. She looks inside again, nodding and smiling.

“Will! You come here right now or you’re going into trouble!” It’s Sabrina’s voice with a snarl added to it. The two fox-like Pokemon share a grin.

“Yeah, I’m coming, love. Just a moment.” The voice sounds as if it’s coming from relatively far away.

There’s another snarl. “Now is now, and not in a moment.” No answer for a while. Then a sigh. “Will, she’s yours as much as she’s mine. And she’s still a baby. So will you take care of her please?”

The Absol grins like a maniac, the Kadabra seems to have fallen sick while the Alakazam nearly faints. Only the Starmie shines happily. Maybe. Hard to tell with no mouth to speak.

There’s mumbling in the background. “Ehm, since when is she also mine? I thought we agreed that you would take care of her alone!”

A wooden chair is being moved. “Well, usually I do, as you’re being busy playing the elite at Indigo.”

A fuming “Playing?!” is being ignored.

“But today you’re here, so you’ll be the foster daddy, right?” Again, mumbling as a door is opened and someone steps into the room.

“Okay, okay, I’ll do...”

The Absol can’t stop snickering as she sees her friends readers whimpering.

<Don’t tell me they made a little Sabrina!> The Alakazam asks, with tears in his eyes. Men who can still cry are cool, btw. ...no, this isn’t random at all.

A halo appears over the Absol as she smiles, angels sing in the background and there’s light all around. The singing actually comes from her MP3-Player and the light from a floodlight, mind you. The Absol is not religious. Teh blasphemy, a dark Pokemon...

<How should I know?> She asks, innocently, if you didn’t already get it from the background scenery.

The Kadabra raises an eyebrow. <You’re the author, that’s how you should know!>

<O, rly?>...internet speak iz 4 teh winnerz, lulz.

Suddenly, a loud mewing comes from the window and no, we didn’t decide to randomly throw the Mew into the living room.

Everyone turns their head to the direction of the sound, and the Absol starts to sweatdrop. <Oops...>

Now the three two Pokemon are suspicious. Which is good, considering who the author is. Another mewing sound. “Will! Leave Gary alone for one moment and come over to take care of little Soly! She can’t be all by her own while I get to the gym!”

The two Pokemon carefully peek from beneath the window and what they see is...Sabrina, standing in front of a wooden table. And on the wooden table sits a tiny...Eevee.

The two Pokemon glare downwards at the Absol. Which has just shrunk to the average size of a Weedle. No, we don’t have an explanation for that either.

<You...!!!> The Alakazam usually doesn’t resort to physical harm inducing, yet glaring and looking infuriated doesn’t fall under that category. Yet.

<Meep!> The Absol decides that it’s better for her glamorous, violet fur to flee if she wants it and what lies beneath to remain unharmed, and so she runs off, two Pokemon following her while the third, ehm...stands around. Do Starmie even stand?

The camera again looks into the living room where Will is sighing and lifts the little Eevee, who happily wags her tuff tail and squeals with joy as her ‘daddy’ is cuddling her.

“His name is Gareth, not Gary!” Sabrina snickers as she watches the older, scarred and rough looking Espeon walk into the room silently and majestically, glancing at the baby Eevee.

“Really, Gareth? Oh come on, Will, I don’t call you King William XIII either.” He blinked and smiled, bowing before her, which the Eevee doesn’t seem to like so much as it squeaks and tries to jump out of his arms.

“Yet you’re my queen, aren’t you?” The author/Absol knows one of her readers will get the joke.

“Will, be careful with my dear Soly, now, will you?” She glares at him and takes the frightened Eevee out of his arms. “No one should entrust you with a baby, you know that?” She continues to glare at him.

Will shrugs. “Says the one with no siblings. I babysitted my younger siblings.”

“Until you ran away from home.”

“I was ten back then!”

“So?”

Will grumbles, then sits down, Gary- sorry, Gareth, lazily followed him.”We don’t have any children to babysit and that won’t change so soon.” He looks at her with a knowing, smirking glance. Sabrina rolls her eyes.

“Well, if Lucian and Cynthia come back, we could babysit their spawn.”

“What?” Will raises his head. And at least one reader does at this point, too. We just know it.

Sabrina smiles. “Didn’t read the tabloids, eh? Announced just this morning, Cynthia’s pregnant.”

Will’s eyes have reached the size of water melons. And one reader jumps up with joy. “And...ehm...” He gulps. “Theoretically...you know, the whole trouble with Lance and stuff...only been a bit over a month ago, right?” His voice suddenly drops an octave. “Who’s the father?”

Sabrina grins and shrugs her shoulders. “That’s for fate to know. And Cynthia, once she wants someone to accept paternity. The tabloids say nothing, so I guess it’s widely assumed that Lucian’s the father.”

Will nods. And we decide to leave the scenery and enjoy the picture that is a frantic dark/psychic Absol running away from a Kadabra and an Alakazam.

The (real) end

Phew, this really, really took long, eh? =3 Thankfully, I already started the sequel (Summer's Magic), so posting the first chapter of the next part shouldn't take that long.