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Old May 13th, 2006, 11:22 AM
Saffire Persian's Avatar
Saffire Persian
Feline of Light and Shadow
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Utah
Age: 26
Gender: Female
Nature: Adamant
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Schizophrenic Charmander: o.o Glad you liked it. The next chapter is coming soon.. This post in fact.

Hanako : You didn't have to review here, too! But much thanks. I appreciate it.

Akinari: *blinks a couple of times* XD Fanfiction of the month again, eh? Thanks for the honor.

A/N: Well, here’s the newest chapter of Metamorphosis – well, granted, half of it. I debated whether I should debut all of it, or part of it… as this chapter is very, very long. About 30ish pages worth of material. 0_o.. I know w hat it feels like to read long chapters, and know not everyone likes extremely long chapters. So I decided to split it into two parts. Thus, Pt. II will come next weekish, while you have this nice, shorter segment that’s a heck of a lot easier to read.

Two other things. First, I'm making a PM list for those of you who wish to be notified when a new chapter comes out. If you'd like to be added to the list, just drop a line if you haven't already.

Secondly, would it ruin any of you guy’s reading experiences if I gave you a name? (It’s not a bad one, I promise!) I don’t it to interfere with your reading and enjoyment if you think it would.

Ah, and one last note. On pronunciation, just in case…

Ian: Pronounced E (as in the letter ‘e’) –in (as in inside.) E-in.

Oh, and IceKing:

Thanks a ton! :3 <3


+ Changing Perceptions +

They say, Wishes are false, silly things, best left to the little children.
They say, Let them wish, let them dream while they can.
But it is they who have lost the dream.
Because, sometimes, wishes do come true...
All it takes is one single change of perception…


What was supposed to be only a few days soon changed into something along the lines of two weeks. Of course, in relative terms, the time spent between you, Stella, and the Caterpie (now christened Ian after a long and tiresome debate) seems more along the lines of a few days versus weeks.

And what an interesting “Few days” it has been.

You never knew ‘raising’ a Caterpie could be so immensely complicated. You never knew that there were so many things that could go wrong, nor did you realize that your own sense of logic, though it may apply to you, might not apply to what the Caterpie’s vision of reality and how it worked was. The main problem had dealt with windows – well, anything glass really.

It took you some time get the foreign concept of windows thoroughly embedded into the tiny bug-type’s brain. You tried to make him understand that you can’t pass through glass things just because it looks like you can; you have to wait until they’re open. Ian, at first, only listened respectfully to your words, shaking his head as if he knew something that you didn’t before he commencing to run into the nearest glass door a second later to try to prove a point. (It ended up proving yours, not his.)

After that happened, you couldn’t help but wonder why your mother adored her glass doors so much. People just ran into them. To Ian’s credit, he adapted pretty fast. Now he has the sense to actually check to see if you can pass through something, instead of running straight on into it.

Now, TV was a completely different ball game. He was just plain scared of it.

After watching mere seconds of the Running of the Tauros on TV, he could be found shivering in fear under your bed, and he would not come out for the life of him. You begged, you pleaded, you even tried to bait him with food. Nothing worked. He was dead on convinced that the terrifying, charging monsters with horns were just waiting to get him inside the black box. It took you and Stella a very long time to convince him that the black box was only a black box, and the Tauros weren’t real there, waiting to squish them under their hooves. Stella had been the one who cured him, having the actual courage to drag the screaming Caterpie out from under the bed, and forcefully holding him in front of the TV screen with an old recording of the Tauros event. (You had not the heart to do it yourself, and Stella ended up calling you a sissy again.)

And so the days went on, though you couldn’t help but feel that the days were too good to last. You were becoming increasingly aware of your Mother’s decreasing patience. She was getting mad at Dad a lot lately. It didn’t bother him much, but you knew what it was that she was mad over, and that worried you. You did tell your mother it would only be a few days, after all. You had long since reached that limit. You could see that your mother was frazzled over the whole experience, looking around every corner before she entered a room, as well as forbidding you to bring Ian purposely near her. If she came in the family room and you and Ian were in there, you moved. Very quickly.

The arguments between Mom and Dad were becoming more frequent (though it was more of a one-sided argument. Mom ranted while Dad listened.) and it was only yesterday you actually listened to their arguments through the vent. You learned quite a lot from that conversation – and it was not good news. You had three days left. Your Dad convinced her to let you keep Ian until your birthday was over, as, he pointed out, it would be unnecessarily mean to take him away three days before your ninth birthday.

Three days.

It wasn’t close to being enough. There was so much you wanted to do still, and you weren’t even close to accomplishing it.

You wanted to take him to Vermillion’s theme park, just to see what would happen when you took him on Puff the magic Salamence and the Merry go Round, not to mention the Fun House with all those mirrors.

(SQUUEE! *Thunk*)

Since he’s not afraid of TV anymore, you wanted to take him to see a movie. Well, one that was all gumdrops and rainbows-y, as you don’t think people would appreciate an overly emotional Caterpie in the theatre.

You also wanted to take him to school, even though you’re technically not allowed, as you’re not ten yet. You think he could learn stuff there, and he’d keep many of the annoying, giggly girls away – the kind you get girl disease from even if you happen to be standing twenty feet away. They’re scared of bugs.

…. You would definitely miss having him around. Stella would, too, though you purposely didn’t tell her about your Mother and Father’s time limit. It was probably best to keep her ignorant, as she’d probably say something stupid to your parents about it. Granted, it might have turned out in your favor, but you weren’t willing to take the chance.

Because of this, you’ve been increasingly frustrated and stressed. You’ve been trying to think up some kind of diabolical scheme – something, anything, to convince your mom to let you keep Ian.

All these intense thought processes that really, really hurt your brain and give you headaches are proving to be a pretty much fruitless endeavor.

Today is no different. There’s only a day left, now. Tomorrow’s your birthday.

You grumble, waving your arms about in irritation from your position on the lush green lawn. You’re lying under the shade of the big oak tree that grows right outside your bedroom window – one of its branches actually stretches over to your windowsill. Stella climbs up the tree all the time, because it’s a funner way to get inside your room. You’ve never tried it yourself – it seems so much more practical to just use the stairs.

Your parents are gone. Your dad is at work, and your mom is at the grocery store, picking up a few decorations for your birthday party – and maybe a few presents, too, as she left you home. Ian’s upstairs somewhere, probably in your room, since he was sleeping when you first came outside.

You HAVE to do something.

You sigh, spread-eagling yourself across the soft grass, watching as the leaves of the tree sway in the gentle wind.

You blink.

What would happen if you got hurt?

Like... say... fell out of a tree?

Your mom would feel bad and sorry… even though she would probably yell at you for doing something stupid… of course, everyone climbs trees at your age, so it wouldn’t be that big of a deal, would it? You wouldn’t have to tell your Mom it was on purpose, anyway. It could be an accident or something. And after she gets mad at you, she’ll feel sorry for you; and when she feels bad, she usually gives you stuff and does things she usually doesn’t do, like bringing ice cream to your room. So maybe, just maybe, she’ll let you keep Ian.

Yeah, that works.

You’ve never climbed a tree before, but it can’t be that hard. Stella does it all the time. If she can do it, you can, too. You’ll just get up to that branch by your bedroom window, and fall. Simple as that. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to break your arm or something. Casts are cool.

With a new sense of determination, you begin to scale the tree, smiling for all you’re worth.

You did it! You thought of something!

You feel so immensely proud of yourself you can hardly bottle it up so you can concentrate on climbing.

+++++

Whatever surety you had has long since flown to the four winds and beyond. All the courage, all the elation, all the feelings of grandeur – POOF! Gone. Obliterated, and it’s never coming back. You can’t move, you’re frozen.

What a horrible time to finally realize you’re very, very afraid of heights.

You’re head’s spinning, and all you can think about is how unfriendly the ground looks as your little hands clutch the tree limb by your window in a tight vice grip. You try not to look down, as it gives you a very unpleasant feeling. You feel nervous enough already – no, you’re just plain terrified.

You don’t want to fall anymore. Well, you want to be back on the ground… but not that way.

The thing is, you can’t bring yourself to move an inch. All you can do is sit and stare, petrified, flinching each time you think the tree so much as quivers. Your eyes are glued tightly shut, and the bright sun is streaming downwards through the thick tangle of branches, hitting your face. You open your eyes blearily. The bedroom window’s open, and you could probably get into it if you tried… but you don’t want to fall, and you can’t gather enough courage to move.

“I hate this…” you sigh despondently, yelling as the wind picks up. You hold on to the branch even tighter.

“Pi?”

You raise your head up from where it was laying against the bark. Ian’s watching you from the window. Curiosity is apparent on his features, and he looks rather confused when you don’t say anything in return. You’ve almost always answered him before.

“Cattrrrr…“ he motions his head towards the television inside.

“I can’t…” you gasp, guessing it probably is 3:30 by now and your – and his – favorite show is on… You’ve been up here for a half hour already?

That thought alone makes you feel sick.

“Crrpi?”

“I can’t come watch Poké Rangers with you.”

“Crra,” says Ian despondently, before brightening as the Poké Rangers theme drifts through the open window. Its heroic tune is almost mocking. Ian begins to sway on his feet, looking towards the television and then to you. He seems torn between leaving you here and watching the show, or staying at the windowsill and watching you instead. He continues to sway in an almost hypnotizing fashion before suddenly darting off onto the bed, and onto the floor as the theme song ends. Since you’re not going anywhere, he probably thought it’d be all right to leave you – quite literally – hanging out on a limb.

Probably a good thing, too, his swaying was making you feel a bit sick.

You groan, looking longingly into your room. You can do nothing but close your eyes and listen to the sound of the TV, opening your eyes only when the Caterpie screams in terror before falling over onto his back when Rita the Bannette makes an appearance. The second time you open your eyes is only to watch him squeak and jump for joy when the pink Poké Ranger with the Latias zord comes to save the day. (He’ll only jump for her, for some reason or another.)

Time ticks by, and you are become aware of a voice, singing and coming your way. You turn you head ever-so-slightly to the left, and open your eyes enough to notice that Stella is coming up the driveway, singing some nonsense song she probably made up. She stops midway up the driveway, and looks up. She doesn’t say anything for a few seconds as you hurriedly look away from the ground, as the freezing, scary feeling takes hold of you again. You barely notice she’s waving at you.

You expect her to go in the house, but she doesn’t. Much to your dismay, she begins to head towards the oak tree.

She couldn’t be going to…

Oh, yes she is. She’s climbing up the tree.

You begin to panic. What if her weight makes you fall off?

“STAY AWAY!” you whine, sounding like an unhappy puppy. She’s getting to the top branches now, and she shows no signs of stopping, clambering up the tree with all the dexterity of a cat.

“Why?” her voice asks.

“‘Cause… “ you squeak. “I’m trying to do something.”

She stops on the next branch, and your body heaves with relief. “Tryin’ to do what?”

“Umm.. Fall.”

“Fall?” she echoes. “Why would you want to do that?”

You wince. Why did you even want to do this in the first place? “Just ‘cause.”

There’s no way you’re telling her you’re afraid of heights. She’ll call you a sissy again.

“Well, you’re doing a bad job!”

You don’t answer her, and she resumes her ascent. “I can help you fall if you want.”

“NO!”

Your shout stops her in her tracks, as well as brings Ian over to the windowsill again. Must be a commercial break. His eyes go wide as he looks downwards. “Squuuueeee!”

“Stop screamin’, you big sissy! It’s just me!” Stella says hotly, glaring at Ian, who quiets with only a half-hearted peep. She waits from her place on limb, moving into a sitting position as she straddles it. You can hear her tapping her foot impatiently. “Well?” she says. “Are you going to fall or not? ‘Cause if you’re not, I’m not staying here. I don’t wanna sit here all day y’know.”

Since when did you falling become a spectator sport?

“You’re scared, aren’t you?” Stella says, her blue eyes glimmering with sudden understanding. “Ah, c’mon. Falling’s not that hard. All you have to do is go this way –“ She begins to lean to the left, and you blanch. “-and let go. Then BAM! –“ She says it with such gusto you almost let go of the branch in surprise, while Ian ducks behind the windowsill, allowing only the very top of his head to peek over. “--you SLAM into the ground! And then it’s all over. Easy, huh?”

The Caterpie seems to have put two and two together, and is working himself into a fit of mini hysterics, while all you can do is watch countless replays of you falling and “smashing” into the ground (with a loud, cartoonish thud no less) over and over again. It’s not a pretty sight, and it does not please you in the least. You’re fast becoming pale at the scenario your mind’s eye cooked up.

“I don’t think I wanna fall anymore…” you whimper quietly. Stella has to strain herself to hear you. You’re still scared half out of your wits, and all you want right now is to have your two feet planted firmly on the ground, unscathed.

“Mmmhmm…” Your face pales even more when you notice Stella is starting to scramble upwards again. Slowly, branch by branch, she pulls herself up until she’s just under you. She’s winking. The nerve of her. “We’re going to have to get you down then, huh?”

You scowl. “Not if you’re gonna push me.”

“SQQQUUUUEE!”

“I’m not going to push him,” growls Stella, with a glare that shuts Ian up in seconds. Your grip around the branch tightens considerably as Stella finally pulls herself onto yours. The branch holds, despite the added weight. It’s thick enough to hold the two of you.

Somehow, Stella moves around you, not showing the slightest degree of hesitation in crawling to the middle of the outstretched bough. Her balance is perfect, and it takes only seconds for her to sit down with each of her legs dangling over one of the branch’s sides. She beams at you cheekily, obviously quite proud at her show of dexterity.

“See, you just gotta crawl. Just follow me slowly, and count to five, and you’ll be there! It’s easy as 1, 2,3,4,5!”

You don’t move even when Stella reaches the other side, safely crawling through the window. When she turns around, she notices that you haven’t been following her. This obviously irritates her, as she plops onto your bed with her arms tightly crossed along her chest. Ian is just a few feet back beside her, wary.

“C’mon! You sissy!”

“M’not a sissy,” you say, inching yourself forward by a very small margin.

One...

“Yes you are. If a girl can do it and a boy can’t, that means he’s a sissy, you know.”

Two...

Another inch goes by, while you force yourself to concentrate only the limb before you. You think you’re going to be cross-eyed if you ever manage to get across.

Three...

Stella’s still egging you on, but you try and tune out her taunting. Instead, humming your own, ceaseless mantra of “don’t look down, don’t look down.”

Four…

A lot of good that does you, you realize. That just makes you want to look down. When you do, it seems as though you’re going to fall that instant, while your vision lurches dangerously.

Four in a half…

You want to stop, but you know you have to keep going. The bark is chafing the skin on your palms and the parts of your leg not covered up by your shorts. You’re almost there.

Five....

You're almost there, so close to the window. You slowly rise on your knees so you can latch on to the windowsill -

Then, you're hit by a sudden blast of wind, and you wave your arms, trying to maintain balance as you teeter. In the background, you can hear Ian screaming, and you find yourself leaning over to the left as you try to maintain balance... and then, to your utmost horror, you feel yourself falling.

You don't even have time to scream.

Something sticky suddenly catches your leg, as you fall, shoulder first out of the tree. It gives a single second of resistance, and for that single second, you feel hope.

You're not going to die.

And then, it's gone, and you plummet like a stone all the way to the ground, landing on your butt with a hard thud. Your body soon follows suit, collapsing onto the grass. You're breathing hard, as if you've been running, and your heart is beating a mile a minute. You feel dazed, and your vision is still spinning.

And your butt hurts.

Terribly.


Slowly, your eyes whip back into focus, and you notice Stella is leaning out the window, with the Caterpie scampering down the oak tree. You stare at Stella blankly. You feel a distinct pang of dissapointment. You didn't even get a broken arm. You fell out of that tree for nothing. Your mom’s going to be home soon, and there’s going to be nothing left to convince her to let you keep Ian. And your birthday is tomorrow.

"Wasn't it fun?" you hear Stella yell.

You then have the sudden urge to push her out the window and let her see how it feels.


+++++

“See that? Those are called streamers,” you say as you come down the stairs the next afternoon, you face literally glowing as you watch your father put up the birthday decorations. Ian is perched on your shoulder, looking amazed, his black eyes wide with wonder. You then point your finger to the giant blue and red banner strung across the archway just above the stairs. “And that’s my birthday banner.”

“Cattrrr?”

“Ian probably doesn’t know what a birthday is,” your father says from his place on the ladder, taping up the blue and green streamers to go along with the red and yellow ones. “He’s a Pokémon after all, and I highly doubt his species celebrates birthdays.”

“Oh.” Ian doesn’t know what a birthday is? That alone is an odd concept to you, as everybody has one. It never occurred to you that maybe Pokemon don’t celebrate birthdays like humans do. Well, you’re just going to have to teach him all about it, then. “They put the banners and streamers up because it’s my birthday. You have to have them for your birthday; a birthday is when you have a big party for the day you’re born, because it’s special.”

Ian makes another disgruntled noise, still looking confused. In the other room, you can hear your mother frantically working to make sure the dining room is absolutely spotless before any guests arrive. She hasn’t come into the kitchen yet, and you think she’ll be in the dining room for a while so you’re relatively safe with having the Caterpie seated on your shoulder. “You get presents n’ stuff, too,” you tell him, as you walk around the kitchen, almost wishing you could have your birthday dinner in here instead. “That’s the most important part – well, it’s my favorite part.”

Everyone’s coming today for your birthday dinner, too – well, Stella and her family are. Even her father’s coming. Stella told you that he was yesterday excitedly over the phone. She was talking so fast you could barely understand her. All the rest of your family can’t come though. Your dad has only one sibling, and all of Mom’s family lives over in Vermillion and couldn’t make it. Your Dad’s parents are on Safari over in Fuchsia, so they couldn’t come either.

“Presents,” you continue, since if the Caterpie doesn’t know about birthdays, you’re very sure he probably doesn’t know about presents either, “are gifts where you give something of yours that you buy or make to someone else because you care about ‘em and appreciate them n’ stuff and want to be nice. And even if you don’t like someone and go to their birthday party, you have to do it anyway because it’s the nice thing to do.”

The Caterpie nods slowly, scuttling over to the other side of your shoulder in one, quick movement. He’s looking at the banner again. You smile brightly. “I can read what that says! You want to know what it says?” Ian nods. “It says Happy Birthday on it. See —“ you then point to each individual letter, calling each by name as you point. “— H-A-P-P-Y B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y. It says that, doesn’t it, Dad?”

“Mhmm…”

You begin to sway ever so slightly on your feet, looking at the happy birthday banner, while putting your arms behind your back, remembering that you wanted to ask your dad something very important. “Hey, Dad?”

“Hmm…”

“Can Ian come to the party, and have cake and ice cream and help me open presents, too?”

Your father blinked dubiously, pushing up his glasses to the bridge of his nose as he considers your question. “I’m not sure… Go ask your mother.”

You take a few steps back, watching his every movement. “Why? I asked you.”

“Because I happen to want to come to my son’s birthday party.”

You blink. You don’t get it. “But… if you say yes, then mom can’t say no, because you’re Dad.”

Your father laughs, though you don’t quite understand why he did. What you said was right, wasn’t it? “That's not technically true. Even I have to do what your Mother says—” He winks. “—or else Dad gets in big trouble.”

You giggle. “Like the time-out couch?”

“Yes, like the time-out couch.”

“Still, you sure you can’t just say yes?”

Your dad shakes his head, and your heart sinks. “Very sure. It’ll be fine – just go ask your mother and see what she says about it.”

You begin to shake your head rapidly, and Ian, sensing your agitation, begins to mimic you. Your father’s eyebrows quirk upward at the sight. “YOU ASK!” you say, pointing to Ian who is perched on your shoulder, still shaking his head back and forth.

“Point taken…” He clears his throat. “Claire…”

“What?! I’m a little busy here!”

“Can our son bring Ian to –“

“NO!”

If your father was at all affected by your mother’s very loud outburst, he doesn’t so it. “Your mother says no.”

“Why?”

“Because that’s what your Mother says. You’ll just have to keep Ian up in your room during the party.”

Your face sinks, and you stare at Ian, who, though startled by the outburst, doesn’t seem to quite understand what’s going on. Your father notices this, and climbs down from the later, surveying his work. “Don’t look so glum. You’re going to make the clouds rain with that face. You don’t want that to happen, do you?”

You shake your head glumly. “No…”

You know you’re dad’s trying to cheer you up though, and you know he means the best by it. But the dark thoughts that are drifting at the back of your mind won’t go away. What if this is the last day you’ll see him? It’s not fair if he has to stay cooped up in your room on your birthday. Mom may be scared of bugs, but what is Ian going to do?

“I’m curious…”

You look up, not realizing you were staring at the floor.

“Why did you name the Caterpie Ian? It’s a strange name for a kid to think up.”

“Well,” you say, thinking back to last week, when you and Stella had that argument, “Stella wanted to name Ian after a flower ‘cause she likes flowers, and she said it’d fit.”

“What flower?”

“Pansy.”

“Ah,” your father mutters, “that fits quite well…” You glare at him. It’s not funny. Your father grins apologetically, and gestures you to continue on with your tale.

“Anyway, I said no. Ian’s a boy, and boys don’t get named after flowers. So, we argued a lot, and then Stella tried to get Ian to tell us his name himself, but she got him upset, and he started screaming – Stella really was scary, Dad – but when Caterpie started screaming, Stella got an idea. She said, ‘lets call him ‘Ian’ because he goes “IEEEEEE” all the time.’”

You’re father doesn’t laugh, but you can tell he finds it amusing by the way his eyes look. “I see,” he says, shaking his head.

“You don’t like the name?”

“No, I think it fits perfectly.”

Then, he laughs, and you can’t help but feel better.

+++++
“And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.” –Abraham Lincoln
+++++
__________________

Battle ye not with a monster, lest ye become one.

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