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Old September 8th, 2007 (12:25 PM). Edited January 28th, 2008 by Grovyle42(Griff8416).
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Join Date: Jun 2007
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Revised
To Leave the Nest
The two left Professor Birch’s large laboratory and began to walk down the black tarmac. The four o’clock sun shone bright, casting bright beams on the two travelers’ dried, blood stained faces.

“I still don’t understand…why did you let yourself be captured?” Jeff asked Treecko.

Treecko attempted to explain, using various body gestures. He made a stance with fists raised, like a Tyrogue, and pointed down the street to Jeff’s house.

“Tyrogue?” Jeff asked, to which Treecko nodded. “Tyrogue made you want to be captured? But how and why?”

Treecko pointed at Jeff and then crossed his arms like an ‘X’. He then pointed to himself.

“I… am not…” Treecko shook his head. “I…don’t…” Treecko nodded, indicating that he got that part correct. “I don’t… you… I didn’t like you?!”

Treecko nodded, now climbing completely onto Jeff’s shoulder.

“Damn it, Tyrogue,” Jeff grunted “That’s ridiculous, of course I wanted to be friends with you…I think Tyrogue just doesn’t like…” Jeff tried to think of a way to put it lightly, but couldn’t. “…you.”

The teen bit his lip, worried that his new pokemon might get offended from his blunt remark.

Treecko shrugged. “Cko tree, treecko treecko cko,” he grinned, trying to say, “<I get that a lot; I think many other pokemon are threatened by me.>”

Jeff halted in front of a medium-sized white house. He began to cut across the spacious green lawn towards his home a final time before heading off. While avoiding the jets of a sprinkler, he noticed two neighbors standing on the sidewalk behind him. Although they were talking quietly, Jeff heard them say something along the lines of “Did that kid really choose THAT Treecko? He must have a loose bolt to want to go training with it!”

Treecko grunted without care and Jeff now knew that he had also heard them. He swung around defensively to retort but found himself stopped short when he noticed that he was standing directly over the sprinkler.

“Treecko tree…” mumbled Treecko sarcastically, placing his hands behind his collected head.

“Oh be quiet, you…” Jeff murmured, grumpily yet in good cheer.

The grass lizard took a glance around the suburban neighborhood, still waiting for his companion to trudge his way out of the sprinkler. Jeff, now soaking, walked up the white steps of the front house and onto the veranda, which had several deck chairs sitting on the wooden porch. He opened the white, windowed front door and entered a cramped vestibule littered with shoes and umbrellas. Ahead was the hallway which Treecko recognized as the place where Tyrogue encouraged him to leave.

“Hey mom, I’m back!” Jeff yelled into the house as he entered. “Treecko, this is my home...in the daytime,” Jeff told him, as Treecko jumped down and looked around curiously.

He looked to his left and noticed a spread out living room complimented with two opposite-facing leather couches. Behind the green leather couch was a fireplace, which homed a mantelpiece above it. Parallel to the front door was a hallway that led to the kitchen. To their right were stairs that led to the second floor.

“What took you so long?” his mom asked before turning into the hallway from the kitchen. She was a dyed blonde, brown haired woman walked entered and looked at them.

“That’s no Torchi--” Jeff’s mom stopped mid sentence after closely examining the scratched up and beaten pals.

“My goodness! What happened to you two?!” she asked, frantically digging through a cabinet beside her looking for one of the many first aid kits in the house.

“It’s nothing; we were on the receiving end of a Fearow’s beak--y’know, kind of a male bonding thing,” Jeff replied, calmly.

Mrs. Growell inspected Jeff’s new pokemon and looked less than pleased. The master observer, Treecko, noticed this and clearly was expecting no more than disappointment.

“<So this is what someone’s mother looks like… same expression. Figures,>” thought Treecko.

“Mom, this is Treecko. I decided on traveling with him before I walked out the door today,” Jeff admitted as he introduced them.

“I thought you said that you were getting a Torchic!” Mrs. Growell said, disappointed.

“Mom…never did I ONCE say that I was getting a Torchic! I wanted a Treecko ever since I saw my brother’s, when I was nine,” Jeff replied, truthfully.

He looked at where Treecko was standing and imagined a Torchic standing in his place. Jeff envisioned the Torchic cutely running around in circles before crashing into a wall. He chuckled and didn’t mind the idea of having a Torchic, but for some reason, he still wanted Treecko instead. The grass type sweat dropped and gave him a look, noticing that Jeff was staring at him for the past minute.

“Not even a Mudkip?” she yearned. “Your brother chose a Mudkip!” This snapped Jeff out of his differential thoughts.

“No he didn’t! He chose Treecko…he caught a Mudkip somewhere after saving it… and that was nine years before this guy came along!” Jeff corrected, motioning to Treecko. “I’ve made my choice and I don’t doubt a single thought of it!” Jeff said in irritatation.

To this Treecko smiled smugly. The lizard mumbled to himself, “<Arceus, it sounds like being friends with one’s first pokemon is some sort of right of passage for these humans. And this guy’s mother forgets her own son’s one? I’m really NOT missing out on this whole parent’s thing. I’ll probably be forgotten much quicker than the other Treecko.>”

“Well, Treecko sure is… nice,” his mom lied as she looked at Treecko who lay on Jeff’s shoulder, leaning against his tail and Jeff’s cranium, with his arms behind his head.

Jeff began to get uncomfortable with the disdain towards his friend, so he quickly brought up a question that he was planning to ask anyways. “Is Dad still working at the hospital in Petalburg?” he asked his mom.

“Yes, he is on-call so he and Bayleef will be home later tonight,” his mom replied, walking into the kitchen.

Treecko tilted his head at Jeff upon hearing the odd pokemon’s name.

“You remember Chikorita? She’s now a Bayleef… a grass reptile pokemon, like you. She helps him out at the hospital, healing people’s ailments and wounds,” Jeff explained to Treecko.

Treecko listened, intrigued, and then went back to poking around the living room. Jeff ran up to his room, packed a few more items which he had forgotten earlier, and changed into a dry green t-shirt. He also threw two more shirts into his backpack.

“It never hurts to pack some clean, fresh shirts in case we run into Kristie again,” he thought eagerly.

Tyrogue entered the living room, from a door leading to the kitchen, with a huge scowl on his face. “<You again,>” Tyrogue growled, cracking his knuckles. “<I see you just couldn’t stay away from us.>”

“<That was a pretty low stunt that you pulled last time…>” Treecko began growling in return, maneuvering himself into a defiant stance.

“<Not as low as this!>” Tyrogue roared, swinging his leg sideways, taking out the grass type’s legs.

“<What the hell!?>” Treecko snarled, hitting the hardwood floor.

He quickly recovered from the fall by using his tail’s momentum, and bounded back upwards. He rammed Tyrogue into the wall. Two hanging pictures dropped as a result from the impact. Treecko jumped at the pokemon who was getting up. With a quick exchange from the wood gecko’s tail, Tyrogue was thrown at the wall again. The fighting type slid to the floor, cringing, but managed to stand back up. He slid over the coffee table feet first, his strong legs hitting Treecko in the gut.

“What’s that sound?!” Jeff called down from upstairs.

Tyrogue grabbed the wincing Treecko by the throat and held him off the ground. The grass type was completely vulnerable while Tyrogue delivered solid punches to his face, like a hammer beating in a nail. He cringed in pain and anger, while the cuts on his face reopened and bled. Treecko held on to the scuffle pokemon’s wrist, trying to loosen his grip. Jeff ran back downstairs and saw the green lizard pinned against a doorframe by Tyrogue; Treecko was quickly losing oxygen.

“DAMN IT YOU TWO, BREAK IT UP, NOW!” Jeff yelled as he ran to them and forcefully pried them apart. Using his long arms, he pressed them both against opposite sides of a door frame, making sure they wouldn’t start fighting again.

“What the hell are you two doing? Now is not the time to settle whatever scores you have with each other. It’s a good thing that we’re leaving…Tyrogue, go back to weightlifting or whatever the hell you do. Treecko, let’s go.” Jeff commanded, releasing them to the hardwood floor.

“It’s a good thing he’s not coming with us…” Jeff thought to himself. He imagined if Tyrogue did come along and envisioned himself walking along side one of those cartoon fights with the arms and legs shooting out of a moving cloud of dust and dirt.

Tyrogue grumbled as he sulked upstairs and Treecko was on his knees rubbing his red throat, and panting from the lack of oxygen. After a moment of catching his breath, the wood gecko stood to his feet and charged after Tyrogue, enraged. He lunged up the stairs at the fighting pokemon, who was oblivious to the attack. Before he could hit the pink pokemon, he found himself stopped and now hanging in midair Jeff had grabbed one of his two tails. Treecko swung about helplessly, held up by the teen.

“Treecko…” Jeff glared at him disapprovingly. Treecko ignored him and swung about trying to free himself and attack the clueless Tyrogue.

“Damnit, Treecko, stop it! It’s over!” Jeff urged.

Treecko continued thrashing for thirty seconds, refusing to give in. Jeff stared at him, exasperated. Treecko then stopped reluctantly, giving in, and was limply hanging by his tail. He swung back and forth, looking upset.

“Look, Treecko…” Jeff attempted to comfort him, but the wood gecko folded his arms and looked away with contempt.

“I’m sorry, I know Tyrogue is an ass hole, but you don’t want to stoop to his level,” Jeff explained. Treecko silently stared at the wall, upside down.

“Look, I know that we are just getting to know each other, even though we’ve actually KNOWN each other for a year. But trust me; I just did you a big favor. Are we cool?” Jeff asked Treecko, who still looked angry. Treecko scowled but then nodded grudgingly, still trying to cool down. Jeff let go of his tail and placed him on the stairs; they continued back down to the hallway.

Jeff looked in the mirror in the main hallway at his battered and cut face. “I hope we don’t have too much more friction between us,” Jeff thought unsurely.

“I haven’t even left town yet and I already look like I was in a war… this is going to be a long trip,” Jeff thought out loud. “But, at least I have a cool scar and a cool pokemon!” Jeff turned to Treecko, smiling.

Treecko, who had finally began to cool off, forced a smile and motioned his head towards the door, obviously getting a little impatient.

Jeff nodded. “We should really be heading off before we start bleeding on the carpet,” Jeff told his mom. “I’m gonna go say goodbye to Tyrogue and then we’re off!”

Jeff walked back up the stairs and called out, “Hey Tyrogue…I’m sor…” Jeff stopped in the middle of his sentence as he reached the top of the stairs. He found himself looking at a large brown bodied pokemon with long, flexible, lighter brown, muscular legs. The pokemon’s brown eyes squinted at Jeff, proudly.

“Woah!” Jeff yelped, and hopped backwards onto the stairs in surprise at the new pokemon. Jeff missed a step and found himself slowly falling backwards down the stairs. The pokemon quickly outstretched its foot; it extended and caught him before he hit the stairs. Jeff pulled on the leg to stand himself up. He looked cautiously at the pokemon.

“Ty…rogue?” Jeff asked, inspecting him.

“Lee, hitmonlee,” it replied, correcting him. He spoke proudly in a low, raspy voice.

Treecko turned a head towards the stairs and called up with some concern. “Cko treecko?”

Jeff frantically covered for himself, “I’m fine, Treecko…go see if you can find my…shoe!”

Jeff didn’t want Treecko to feel ashamed and weak compared to the newly evolved pokemon, who the wood gecko wasn’t even fond of. He could imagine the poor guy sulking off, feeling inadequate to the new fighting pokemon. Jeff was worried he may have even started a fight with him to prove himself and Jeff knew that Hitmonlee would be eager to test out his new form. He shuddered at the chaos that would have ensued.

“Congratulations, Tyrogue, but I have to go now. For my sakes, don’t come downstairs until we leave, okay? No offense, but I don’t want you stealing our thunder,” Jeff quietly told him. He wasn’t concerned about himself but Treecko, who had been through a lot that day. This was the last thing that he needed.

Hitmonlee nodded and walked back into the upstairs hallway. Jeff jogged down the stairs to Treecko, who waited eagerly in the vestibule.

“Hey mom, I’ll call you and Dad in the pokemon center in the next town…and something happened to Tyrogue!” Jeff called to her as she entered the hallway.

Treecko smirked at Tyrogue’s apparent misfortune, unknowing of Jeff’s true meaning.

His mom, although she was no stranger to having sons leave for pokemon training, was still quite upset.

“Are you sure you’ll be all right?! Will you call as soon as you can? Will that Treecko be strong enough to protect you from wild ones?” she asked anxiously.

To that question, Treecko growled. Jeff kneeled down and put a hand on his shoulder.

“We’ll be fine, Mom. I’ll be more than okay with Treecko to fight with me. Really.”

She sighed, almost tearfully. “Okay. I’ll miss you. Be careful and have that Treecko take good care of you! Are you sure you have everything you need to survive out there?!”

“I’ll miss you too, and I can take care of myself…just because I can’t make an omelet…” Jeff called out to his mom, and cut himself off as he closed the front door.

“Is she serious? Us…be careful?” Jeff muttered to Treecko, who was on his shoulder as the teen walked down the porch stairs.

The duo were shocked to find a small crowd waiting for them at the front of their house. Treecko was confused at the gathering of humans, but Jeff was only surprised. He had seen the townspeople do a similar thing for Alan yesterday night, but he had thought that was purely Alan-exclusive. He was happy that they were doing this but also quite embarrassed.

“Congratulations or your first pokemon!” they told Jeff, enthusiastically.

“Treecko, huh? Never thought I’d see the day when a trainer from home would choose Treecko over Torchic or Mudkip!” one man in his thirties stated.

“Be safe and put Littleroot on the map!” another woman encouraged.

Jeff and Treecko blushed; Treecko was especially uncomfortable and unfamiliar with the sudden amount of attention that they were receiving. He was always the odd one out. Treecko and Jeff, filled with shock and embarrassment, had trouble speaking when trying to thank the small crowd. Jeff walked to his father, who had black hair and was still in hospital scrubs.

“What are you doing out of work?” Jeff asked him.

“I couldn’t miss my son starting on his own journey…did you pack the medical kits that I took from the hospital?"

Jeff nodded.

Mr. Growell looked at Treecko. “That’s a really cool pokemon you have there!”

Treecko nervously chuckled and rubbed the back of his head, but smiled with pride.

“He sure is!” Jeff proudly told him. “Mom, doesn’t seem to like him much.”

“She chose a Torchic back when she was a trainer,” he replied.

“Oh yeah… is Blaziken still helping Uncle Erikk on the SWAT team?”

“Yup, he is,” Mr. Growell answered.

Behind Jeff's father stood a large, light green dinosaur pokemon. It was Bayleef. It was much larger than it was when it was a Chikorita. It now had a much longer head leaf and a necklace of green flower buds. Bayleef walked up to Treecko and handed him a flower with one of her vine whips.

“Treecko, tree.” Treecko nodded, in thanks, although he was quite confused as to why she was giving him a flower. Bayleef blushed a little bit and then backed up behind Jeff’s dad’s legs.

“Th-thank you, all…f-for this great sendoff party…thing. I will do a great job with Treecko by my side!” Jeff announced to them, trying not to stammer from modesty.

The crowd applauded and the two blushed as they moved past the crowd and up the north road.

Jeff and Treecko, feeling homesick already, set off into the forest, leaving their respective homes behind.

------

The duo, walking side by side, left the gates of Littleroot Town.
They walked up to a sign on the left side of the road by the forest. The sign was illuminated dimly by the setting sun, casting and orange glow on it.

“Route 101—Oldale Town,” Jeff stated as he read the sign aloud.

“Well…” Jeff looked to Treecko. “We’ve got to start somewhere.” Treecko nodded and they continued on down the rugged dirt path.

Jeff walked, swatting flies away, who were buzzing around him like it was their last supper. “It’s a good thing that this route is pretty short, these bugs are annoying the hell out of me.” Treecko chuckled at Jeff’s annoyance.

“Oh sure, laugh it up. What’s annoying for me is a nice, light snack for you.” Jeff retorted, teasingly.

Jeff looked at his first pokemon and had an idealistic feeling by looking at him that they’ll have an unbreakable bond. He watched Treecko look at the flower given to him by Bayleef.

“I wonder if he knows Bay has a crush on him,” the teen thought to himself. Jeff watched Treecko carelessly flick the flower into the forest before yawning, much to his embarrassment. “I guess not,” he pondered with a chuckle.

The wood gecko pokemon blushed, aware that Jeff noticed him yawn.

“If you’re tired you can ride on my shoulder if you want, Treecko,” Jeff suggested.

Treecko gave an adamant denial, wiping away all signs that he was exhausted.

Jeff grinned and the two continued walking along the forest path. The sun set behind the horizon to their left, causing the sky to grow dark. An eerie dark blue cast itself on the trees and the ground.

Treecko ran ahead and leapt on top of a boulder, looking ahead. Jeff caught up with the lizard and stood beside the boulder.

“What’s up, buddy? Do you see something ahead?” Jeff asked with curiousity as well as some unease.

“Treecko!” he agreed.

“A pokemon?” the teen asked his companion with a nervous pitch to his voice. Jeff was clearly worried that it might be a Scyther. Without really knowing it, Jeff began scrolling his fingers along the large scar on his left arm.

Treecko seemed to sense his unease, but didn’t bother to comfort him. He merely shook his head.

“Then what?” Jeff questioned again. “Do you think the town is that way?”

The wood gecko nodded and leapt forward off the boulder.

“Hold up,” the human urged. Treecko looked back with a mild hint of irritation. The night wind rustled the leaves of the forest as the two stared onwards.

“…I’m pretty sure we have to go right!” Jeff looked in the direction in which he was pointing. Treecko shook his head and insisted that it was north.

“I’m telling you it is right,” Jeff claimed, becoming hardheaded and disagreeable.

“Cko,” Treecko insisted.

“Right,” countered the teen.

Becoming more agitated with his human, Treecko growled, “Cko!”

“Right!”

“CKO!”

“RIGHT!”

“CKO!!!”

The two argued, getting a little closer and more hostile each time they spoke. They were practically spitting in each other’s faces by the time Jeff stopped it.

“Okay, that’s enough! We’ll settle this with ‘Rock, paper, scissors’!” he declared.

Treecko nodded and the two readied their hands.

“Rock…Paper…Scissors!” Jeff threw down his hand flat, indicating paper.

Treecko threw down his tail onto Jeff’s hand, slamming it into the dirt.

Jeff fell to the ground with the unexpected action, cringing and letting out a sharp exhale. He withdrew is dirt covered, aching hand from the ground. “Ok…we’ll go your way!” Jeff angrily told him through his gritting teeth. “I guess rock beats paper, too,” Jeff mumbled as they began walking.

“And for future reference, ‘Rock paper scissors’ is NOT ‘knucklebones’!” Jeff stated, still sore about losing.

Treecko looked back, grinned, and stuck out his tongue in a mocking fashion.

Jeff grinned and lightly pushed Treecko with the outside of his foot, coercing. “That’s it! Let’s race!”

His starter pokemon accepted his challenge with a cocky grin.

“Ready? GO!” Jeff yelled, charging forward.

The two sprinted with everything they had along the dirt path. Treecko ran on all fours, which admittedly surprised Jeff as he had only seen him walk on his hind legs. Jeff was forced to jump over fallen branches and logs to avoid tripping. His little green friend was in the lead but he managed to catch up with him. Treecko noticed and bolted onward.

The two noticed that the path began to lead to a small town of about ten buildings.

“I guess I owe a certain reptile an apology,” the teen thought to himself, grinning as he sprinted towards the center. Jeff noticed a few people staring at the odd sight, but he shrugged it off. The dirt path became cleaner as they entered Oldale Town. He was just behind Treecko, who dashed for the door.

The automatic doors the center opened and he noticed Treecko leap over something for apparently no reason. Then Jeff heard memorable, disconcerting words.

“Tor-chic, tor-chic, tor-chic,” peeped the orange obstacle from earlier that day.

“Oh crap! I can’t stop with this much speed,” Jeff thought to himself as he noticed the Torchic walk obliviously towards him. He tried to slow down but it was hopeless. The fire-type starter caused Jeff to go flying inside the center. He crashed into a girl, causing her to fall beside him.

Unbeknownst to Jeff, he nearly caused a purple rodent known as Rattata to faint, having missed crushing it by mere inches. The Torchic started chirping furiously at Jeff once again. A few people couldn’t help but laugh at the chaos while a few others merely ignored it. Treecko had a small grin on his face as he approached the groaning teen.

Jeff got to a knee and surveyed the damage. He noticed that the girl he knocked down was none other than Kristie.

A knot tied in his stomach as he helped her up frantically. “Sorry! Crap! Are you okay?” he asked, clumsily.

“Yeah, I’m ok,” Kristie replied with a faint giggle.

“You sure?” Jeff again asked, placing the twig in his mouth after losing it in the fall.

“Wow, Jeff…you look awful!” Kristie said, noticing the cuts on his face.

“Well thanks, I try my best.” Jeff joked.

Kristie chuckled politely as she got up. Jeff blushed and mentally beat himself up, which created a self-loathing face. He turned his head away to Treecko, who folded his arms and shifted his own twig in his mouth, smugly.
As he turned away he slapped his hand to his head and started muttering to himself, “Real freaking smooth, Jeff.” He placed his head against the metal doorframe of the pokemon center in frustration with himself, waiting for the blush to die down.

Treecko walked up to Jeff, followed by a still angry Torchic. Treecko was confused by his friend’s odd, new behavior around this girl, but then he shrugged it off and jumped up onto Jeff’s shoulder.

Jeff turned around, smiling, “Oh yeah, Kristie, this is my new pal, Treecko.”

“Tree,” Treecko said, acknowledging this apparent acquaintance of Jeff’s out of the corner of his eye.

“Wow, he’s so cool!” Kristie said enthusiastically. “So I guess there was a third pokemon after all.”

“Yup!” Jeff said cheerfully.

“<Hey, well if it isn’t my old pal, Treeckie?>” the Torchic said imposingly.

“<What do you want, Ares?>” Treecko retorted sharply. “And it’s just ‘Treecko’, got it?>”

“<Whatever you say, best buddy,>” responded the Torchic known as Ares, sarcastically. “<Do you know any moves besides that pathetic pound attack yet?>”

Treecko put his hands behind his head dismissively. “<If my attack is so weak then what does that say about you when I beat you senseless with it back in the lab?>”

The Torchic growled. “<If you’re so much better than me, then why do I know a new attack and you don’t?!>” Ares chirped in anger,

“<I’m better than you because I have arms,>” the grass type said with a collected sense of confidence which immediately struck a nerve with the Torchic.

“<You won’t for long!!>” Ares trilled, running a Treecko.

“Torch!” Kristie stated, picking up Ares. “What’s gotten into you?”

“Torch?” both Treecko and Jeff muttered, slightly amused by the lack of creativity. The only difference was that Jeff added, “I like it!”

Treecko sighed and crawled onto the male human’s shoulder. Jeff patted the grass starter’s back as he stood to look at Kristie.

“Hey, Jeff, how about a pokemon battle so we can show off our pokemon to each other!” Kristie abruptly said.

Jeff paused for a second and then said, “Yeah, sure. Are you up for a battle, Treecko?”

Treecko nodded confidently and exasperatedly said, “Treecko tree cko cko tree!” as if saying, “<You should know by now you don’t have to ask me if I want to battle. I live for battles!>”

“Ok, let’s battle over to the left of the pokemon center,” Kristie instructed, walking out of the building.

“Got it,” he replied, walking over and placing his backpack by a tree in the said location.

The trainers and pokemon went to their respective sides. Jeff scanned Torchic with his pokedex. The dex proclaimed in a robotic voice, “Torchic, the Chick pokemon. If attacked, it strikes back by spitting balls of fire it forms in its stomach. A Torchic dislikes darkness because it can't see its surroundings.”

“It may have the type advantage, but we can beat it, no problem,” Jeff said, reassuring Treecko.

“Let’s get this started!” Kristie called out. “Torch! Charge him!”

“Toooooor” he said, his voice getting shriller as the chick rushed towards Treecko in a rage.

“Treecko, use Leer!” Treecko dug his feet into the earth and stared menacingly at the oncoming pokemon. As the Torchic came closer he made eye contact with the lizard and he couldn’t take his eyes off of Treecko’s. Ares, distracted from his running by the gaze of Treecko, tripped over itself, and fell face first into the dirt.

“Tor!” said Ares in shock as he drew his beak out of the mud.

“Torch, quickly, get up!” Kristie called out to Ares.

“Treecko, jump up over that Torchic and use pound!” Jeff commanded.

Treecko began to run towards Ares and then he leaped into the air.
When Ares looked up he could see Treecko’s silhouette jumping in the bright moonlight.

“TOR!” the Torchic moaned as the large, muscular tail of Treecko slammed it further into the mud.

“<Direct Hit,>” Treecko called to Jeff, smugly, raising one fist up in a victory pose while using the other to place his tree twig in his mouth, before folding his arms.

Jeff stood, dumbfounded. “Did I just understand what I think I understood?” he asked himself, dazedly.

Treecko looked at Jeff for direction, “<Jeff, the battle’s not over yet! Come on! What’s our next move?!>” Treecko shouted from what should have been “Cko tree treecko, tree! Treecko! Cko cko?!”

While Jeff stared in amazement at Treecko, Ares rose behind the idle gecko.

“Torch, use scratch!” commanded Kristie.

Jeff snapped out of it, while Ares began to raise his talons. “Treecko, heads up! Dodge, right!” Jeff heeded.

It was too little too late; when Treecko jumped, Ares’s claws slashed into his right arm, leaving three bloody claw marks.

“Trrrrr,” Treecko grunted, clutching his searing cuts while landing on one knee.

“Hang in there, pal,” Jeff yelled. “Treecko, run up that tree to your left!”

Treecko jutted his head to his left, looking it up and down. He nodded and jumped onto the trunk. His hand’s adept grip allowed him to scale the tree like an Aipom. Treecko climbed and disappeared into the darkness of the canopy.

The Torchic quickly looked up, turning his head every which way, frantically. Ares, having very poor night vision, and Treecko, having excellent hiding skills, made it so that Ares could not spot the well camouflaged Treecko in the dark night.

“Torch, use ember upwards like a flare!” said Kristie to her daunted pokemon.

“Chic, chic, chic, chic, chic!” The Torchic spat many balls of fire from his mouth upwards, illuminating the tree branches in a blinding orange light.

“Ok, Treecko…NOW!” The small, hidden figure jumped down from atop an orange-lit branch and landed behind Ares, who still spat flames. Treecko maneuvered his body towards the right, powering up his tail before he swung it with a massive force. The muscular tail hit Ares smack across the face.

“TORR,” Ares screamed as he went flying a few meters off to the left, still spitting ember fireballs as it landed. Ares groaned, a gentle flame still burning inside his mouth.

“Torch! Are you alright?!” Kristie yelled, concerned. She ran over to her exhausted pokemon and cradled it in her arms.

“Torrrr,” he said weakly.

“Wow, that was a great battle, Jeff,” Kristie smiled, standing up with Ares in her arms.

“You handled yourself much better than I did out there. I was just lucky,” Jeff reassured her, modestly. Treecko strutted triumphantly over to Jeff, with a proud grin plastered on his face.

“<Are you kidding? We wiped the floor with them.>” Treecko grunted, proudly crossing his arms.

Jeff shot a glare at Treecko, pretending not to hear that. “Ok, let’s go back to the pokemon center and get our pokemon healed up, then we should call it a night and rest at the center until sunrise.”

“Sounds good,” Kristie agreed.

The four entered walked by the white exterior of the red-roofed pokemon center. They went through the automatic doors and stepped onto the unnaturally clean, white tiled center. They walked to the counter ahead of them.

A cheerful looking women with pink hair appeared behind it. “How may I help you today?” she asked with cheer.

“Can you heal my Treecko, please?”

“But of course! We’ll take your Treecko and he should be fine in no time! I’m Nurse Joy by the way!” She said happily.

Treecko shook his head in disagreement saying, “<It’s just a flesh wound.>” Nurse Joy ignored him and picked up Treecko, who sighed as he was taken to the backroom.

“Thank you, and nice to meet you, I’m Jeff,” Jeff said, before walking over to the video phone in the corner of the Pokemon center. He lightly pressed the numbers on the machine shaped like a TV and called up Professor Birch.

“Hello?” The professor asked with yawn. Jeff saw the brown haired professor stretching as he appeared to be waking up from a sleep.

“Sorry for waking you, Professor. I assumed that you would be uplate examining some nocturnal species of pokemon again,” Jeff greeted him with awkwardness.

“Actually I was,” he explained. Just then, a brown, owl-like pokemon hopped on one leg onto Professor Birch’s shoulder. Its menacingly red eyes stared at Jeff. “Hoothoot here used its hypnosis on me as part of an analysis.”

The brown bird remained staring at Jeff, who was more than a little creeped out by the way it looked at him.

“That’s great to hear. If you hurry, you may catch up with Kristie,” Birch advised him.

“Actually she’s here with me right now,” Jeff said happily. “We just battled and I came out the winner.”

“Good work, Jeff. I knew from the start you and Treecko would make a great team.” Birch smiled as the Hoothoot jumped from his shoulder.

“If you say so, Professor,” Jeff teased. “I have to go now, I’ll talk to you once I catch my next pokemon,” Jeff said before turning off the phone.

Jeff turned away from the blank screen and walked over the white tiled floor to Nurse Joy. Beside her stood Kristie, who held Torchic. Treecko walked over the floor and crawled up and onto Jeff’s shoulder. Both pokemon were looking as good as before the battle.

“Thank you,” Jeff and Kristie replied.

Jeff turned to Kristie, summing up his courage, and stammered, “Hey…how would you like to travel together at least until the next city?”

“Petalburg?” Kristie asked as she held Torchic, “Sure, why not!”

A wave of relief swept over him. “Great, let’s head out now, then!” Jeff said enthusiastically.

“Ok, I’m much too excited after that pokemon battle to rest anyways,” Kristie agreed.

“<Great, now I have to be with Ares again. I was happy when I was rid of him forever. At least that damn Mudkip isn’t here too,>” thought the grass type to himself. He looked over to Ares only to get a menacing gaze from the fire type.

“Let’s go,” Jeff said to Treecko who was relaxing on his shoulder.
----

Jeff, Kristie, Treecko, and Torchic walked through the glass automatic doors and turned west. They carefully treaded over the field, which still housed burning blades of grass from the battle. Jeff stomped out a light flame which doubled as a small lamp. The group walked into an open field, heading westward towards Petalburg City.

“So Jeff, I see you didn’t decide to keep your Treecko inside a pokeball, either,” Kristie exclaimed, practically skipping through the dark field.

“Yeah, we decided that it would be better if Treecko stayed out of a pokeball,” Jeff responded.

“I did the same thing with Torchic; I couldn’t bare the thought of not having him with me at all times. He’s so warm and cuddly,” Kristie smiled, cuddling Torchic lightly. She started to go on a rant about how great her Torchic was. Treecko rolled his eyes and Jeff feigned interest.

“Torchic is so cute, kind of like a Piplup…except more so.”

“A Piplup? What’s that?” Jeff questioned upon hearing the pokemon’s name.

“Oh, it’s a small, blue penguin pokemon. They’re mainly Sinnoh pokemon,” Kristie informed before ranting about Torchics.

Jeff let out an informed grunt, remembering back to when he was running to Professor Birch’s lab. He remembered seeing a blue, Torchic-like pokemon riding with the man who he was racing. “So THAT was a Piplup?” Jeff mumbled to himself; Kristie’s harangue was now white noise to him.

“Torchic is also really sweet and fun to hold. More over, Torch has really ticklish spot behind his ears and…” Kristie rambled, being sucked into her own little Torchic-filled world.

“<Wake me when it’s over,>” Treecko said, closing his eyes.

“You got it, Gex,” Jeff muttered to him, teasingly.

Treecko opened one eye, bothered by the poor nickname. “<Treecko’s fine, thanks.>” Then he closed it again.

After a few minutes of walking, Kristie finally finished with, “And that’s why my Torchic is great.” By then they were half way to Petalburg.

“Wow,” Jeff remarked. “That’s a lot of great things about Torchics,” he pointed out with unnoticeable sarcasm.

“<And don’t you forget it, bub,>” murmured Ares, sassily.

Jeff started to have a stare down with Ares. The Torchic turned its head, noticing something.

“What, Torch, do you see something?” Kristie asked, alerted to her pokemon struggling in her arms.

“<A Marill,>” he chirped while it hopped to the ground. The gang looked over at a small, somewhat foggy pond. Ripples emerged towards the edge of the pond. From the center of the ripples emerged two large blue ears with red encasing the insides. The ears twitched as the rest of the body ascended from the water. The Marill’s body was like a blue beach ball with a white stomach. Marill had endearing eyes and a cute smile. It had a very peculiar tail; the tail was crooked in places and at the very end was a large blue ball.

“OH, I want it!” Kristie squealed, yearningly.

“Hey Treecko, you won’t want to miss this battle.” Jeff nudged him with his shoulder.

Treecko awoke from sleep and yawned. “<I might if I can have a few more minutes of rest…>” he replied, irritated from the awakening.

“Torch, use scratch on it!” ordered Kristie to her pokemon.

“<Fine,>” answered Ares. He rushed forward on the damp grass towards the aqua mouse pokemon.

Treecko and Jeff took a seat on the dirt path, watching the battle taking place near the pond to the right of the road. Jeff scanned the Marill with his pokedex.

The Marill rolled backwards from the scratch and landed upright. It retaliated with a powerful blast of water emitted from the Marill’s mouth. The jet hit Ares dead center, sending him flying backwards into the dirt, turning to mud while he slid over it. Ares groaned while getting up, drenched and muddy.

“<I HATE water,>” growled Ares, angrily shaking off the water.

“Torch, Ember,” Kristie commanded.

“Tor, tor, tor, tor, tor.” Ares shot small pellets of orange flame from its mouth. The Marill dodged the attack and the ember hit an unsuspecting pokemon, who was just emerging from the pond. The orange pokemon stumbled backwards. The hit pokemon rolled forwards on his hard, orange shell. Above the pokemon’s angered eyes were three sharp, orange horns. Using his six small legs and his two large, orange and beige pincers, he got back onto his feet. The pokemon slapped its fish like tail in the ground, while the blue moonlight reflected off of his wet orange exoskeleton.

Jeff scanned the pokemon with his pokedex. “Corphish, the Ruffian Pokemon: Once it grips prey with its large pincers, it will never let go, no matter what. It is a hardy Pokémon that can thrive in any environment,” finished the monotonous robotic gadget.

“That can’t be good,” Jeff mumbled to himself, worried for Kristie’s Torchic as the ruffian pokemon angrily approached it.

“Corphish! Cor!” it angrily said to Ares.

Ares responded with a comment that undoubtedly struck a nerve with the Corphish. He was about to hit Torchic with a crabhammer attack, when Treecko caught his pincer with his hand.

“<One battle at a time,>” Treecko advised it, preparing to fight.

“<Stay out of this, Twig boy,>” the Corphish growled, quickly retracting his claw from Treecko’s hands.

Treecko let out a huff and dug his feet into the mud while the Corphish assumed a fighting stance.

“Ok, Treecko! Use your p-” Jeff called, but was cut off when Treecko attacked without him.

The large tail of Treecko caught the Corphish off guard, causing the hit to send it sprawling.

Nearby, Ares dodged Marill’s water gun attacks and hit it with a tackle. Marill hit the ground hard and tried to use its tail to get itself up, but collapsed. Kristie threw a pokeball and a red beam engulfed the Marill. The pokeball containing Marill rumbled once, and then blipped, indicating that Marill had been caught.

“Yes!” shouted Kristie.

“<Too easy!>” boasted her Torchic.

Meanwhile, Treecko used pound after pound on Corphish’s tough shell. The attacks were not doing much damage against its thick shell. Corphish used a bubblebeam, shooting many translucent bubbles out of its pincer, which exploded on contact with Treecko.

“<Errrgh,>” Treecko grunted, holding his bruising chest.

Corphish came in with a crabhammer. Treecko jumped up and Corphish missed him and drove his claw into the ground. The impact caused an eruption of soil to fire upwards. Treecko used this to his advantage. He came bursting through the wall of airborne dirt and back flipped, using pound in an uppercut like motion. Corphish was knocked onto his back.

Jeff took the pokeball from his pocket and pressed the middle button, making it bigger. Jeff threw the pokeball with might and precision. The Corphish got itself upright, but the pokeball hit it square in the forehead. Corphish was sucked into the pokeball. The pokeball wiggled three…four…five…six times, before the button finally flashed a red color and stopped moving.

“All right! A Corphish! Nice fighting, Treecko,” Jeff remarked.

Treecko nodded. Kristie and Jeff approached each other and congratulated one another on their catches.

Jeff pointed his pokeball at the ground. “Come on out, Corphish!”

“Corphish, Cor” He enthusiastically smiled as he exited the pokeball.

“Welcome to the team, Corphish,” Jeff warmly told him, crouching down and extending an arm. Corphish smiled.

“<Nice to meet you,>” replied Corphish, shaking Jeff’s hand with his claw. “<My hobbies include being rejected by females, being alone on Saturday nights, and, like now, making jokes when I’m insecure,>” Corphish grinned, trying to lighten the mood.

“I know you’ve already met Treecko,” Jeff remarked. Corphish turned to Treecko and said, “<Hello again.>” Treecko sighed, not liking the idea of having a team member.

“Anything wrong, Treecko?” Jeff asked the less than amused grass type.

“<I can work perfectly fine on my own without help of a teammate. I work better solo and unhindered by others.>”

“Tell that to yourself when you’re surrounded by a group of fire type pokemon,” Jeff retorted, sticking up for Corphish.

Treecko crossed his arms and his face turned to an apathetic look but Jeff could tell by his eyes that he was still bothered.

Kristie decided to wait until they reached the Petalburg pokemon centre to bring out Marill, due to its wounds. The two trainers wandered along the dirt path. Corphish walked up by Jeff while Treecko was walking far up, alone.

“<What’s with Reptar up there?>” Corphish asked Jeff, motioning to Treecko.

“It’s nothing personal,” Jeff insisted. “He just doesn’t really like being with others, I guess. I don’t really understand him, myself.”

“<Oh…>” Corphish said, giving a stare at Treecko. “<Why aren’t I in my pokeball?>” he asked his new acquaintance.

“I dunno.” Jeff shrugged. “Treecko said he didn’t like being in pokeballs so I let him out with me. I wasn’t sure if you were like that too.”

“<I don’t see what he thinks is so bad about it. It’s just kinda like sleeping,>” exclaimed the water type.

“Why? Do you want to be in your pokeball?” the teen asked.

“<Nah. Not right now, at least. I’d rather stay out here and talk.>”

The human nodded and looked over at Kristie with a smile.

Corphish noticed his face and smirked, merrily.

“Hey, I think we’re almost there,” Jeff stated, as he could see the tips of the buildings over the tree line.

Jeff decided to catch up with Treecko and maybe talk to him about whether he was alright with Corphish. In the process, however, he accidentally stepped on Treecko’s tail. The wood gecko emitted a yelp of pain, before quickly swinging around and taking out Jeff’s legs with his tail. The human fell with a thud as Kristie and Ares watched on in confusion.

“Sorry, Treecko,” Jeff said with a smirk.

“<Yeah, I’m sure you are!>” answered the lizard, leaping onto Jeff’s chest.

“Really, pal!” Jeff insisted.

Treecko grinned and took a glob of mud from the ground.

“Uh… what are you doing with that?” Jeff questioned warily, still on the ground.

The wood gecko simply approached the human’s head and threw the glob of mud precisely at Jeff’s face.

The teen brought his hands to his face and wiped the mud from his face “Okay, you asked for it!” Jeff grinned. He tackled Treecko and the two began to playfully fight each other on the ground.

“I hope you’re prepared for the dreaded ‘Tickle attack’!” Jeff laughed, pinning Treecko in the mud. Treecko actually laughed, landing a hit on Jeff’s face, knocking him off of him. Corphish decided to take part in the merriment and tackled Jeff, knocking them farther in the mud. The three rolled over laughing, as they wrestled.

“…Guys,” Kristie thought to herself, shaking her head. Ares merely glared at Treecko.

Two young boys approached Jeff and Kristie. One had a yellow baseball cap and had brown hair. The other boy looked younger and wore an orange t-shirt and blue shorts.

“Do you two want to battle in a double battle?” the one with the cap asked. Jeff stopped wrestling and stood up, brushing himself off. Kristie looked at her Marill’s pokeball and then her Torchic, who took quite a beating in the earlier battle, with worry.

Jeff noticed this and stepped up. “I’ll take both of you two on,” said Jeff with confidence.

“Ok, but don’t get mad when you lose,” said the other boy.

“That shouldn’t be a problem. Go Treecko and Corphish,” Jeff ordered.

Treecko glared at Jeff, taken aback that Jeff thought he needed Corphish’s help to beat two little kids.

“<Let’s give’em hell,>” Corphish battle cried to Treecko, who ignored him in displeasure.

“Go Lotad!” said the boy with the cap.

“Go Taillow!” said the younger trainer.

A blue bodied pokemon, who had a green, dish-like lily pad on its head appeared next to a dark blue feathered bird. The bird also had a red and white pattern on its chest and neck.

“Taillow, use a quick attack on Corphish!” the boy with the cap commanded.

“Lotad, use astonish on Treecko,” the younger kid told his pokemon.

Taillow took to the air and came zooming towards Corphish, who clicked his pincers eagerly. Lotad jumped right in front of Treecko, attempting to surprise him. Treecko didn’t give an inch of ground; he didn’t even blink.

“<That was pretty pathetic,>” muttered Treecko.

Jeff yelled, “Corphish, on my signal, harden. And Treecko use Leer and then pound on Lotad!”

Treecko stared down the small pokemon, causing it to back off, frightened. He then jumped upwards and slammed his tail down onto the Lotad’s rain dish. This caused a rough head injury, knocking it out.

“<That was too easy,>” Treecko thought, as the boy called back his Lotad.

Taillow came closer and closer to Corphish. As soon as the bird was a foot away from Corphish, Jeff yelled out, “NOW.” Corphish hardened his shell causing severe recoil damage on Taillow when it hit Corphish.

“Taillow, you ok? Use Peck!” yelled the boy as Taillow got up, shaking its head.

“Corphish, Crabhammer from the side!” Corphish swung his huge pincer, hitting the bird far into the forest.

“Taillow!” yelled the boy, running after his fallen pokemon.

“<This battle couldn’t be more won,>” exclaimed Corphish happily.

“Great job, Jeff,” congratulated Kristie. “That was great!”

Jeff blushed at her compliment. Corphish looked at him and grinned, seeing sparks fly between the two new trainers. Treecko still didn’t see what Corphish could see.

“<No need to be modest, Jeff, we did great!>” Treecko smirked. That was Treecko’s way of comprehending Jeff’s behavior, which caused the teen to blush further.

Corphish smiled at Treecko’s naivety and tried to pull his leg. “<Hey pal, did you hear the story of that Cyndaquil named ‘Nye’ and his girlfriend, a Flareon named ‘Eve’?>”

Treecko looked at Corphish with an unamused stare. “<Yeah, I also heard that Torchic just wrote ‘gullible’ on the back of your shell…I was in a clan, you know, I’ve seen all the pranks and dumb jokes.>”

“<Can’t blame a ‘phish for trying, can ya?>” Corphish grinned. When Treecko turned his head, Corphish quickly tried to check the back of his shell to see if anything was written on it. To his relief, there wasn’t.

“<So if you were in a clan how’d you end up here?>” asked Corphish, curiously.

He wanted to say, “<None of your business, you annoying lump of Gyarados food.>” but Treecko restrained himself, knowing it would be an Ares-like thing to say. Instead, Treecko dozed off for a moment and then replied insincerely, “<I’ll talk to you some other time…>”

“<Wow, you’ve managed to guess the last lines said by a girl Corphish on every single one of my dates!>” Corphish half joked, straying away from an awkward silence.

They both forced grins and walked to Jeff’s side.

“Shall we go into Petalburg City now?” asked Jeff, staring at the tall, flashy, unwelcoming city.

The group nodded and walked into the streets of neon signs and office buildings.
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