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Old October 27th, 2007 (08:13 PM). Edited October 27th, 2007 by Grovyle42(Griff8416).
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Grovyle42(Griff8416)
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Join Date: Jun 2007
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Continued....

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Meanwhile, Jeff was still sitting and thinking. He began to remember far back as well as the days which seemed so long ago but were really only less than a week.

He thought of the day he first met Treecko. He was being chased by a Scyther and, out of nowhere, the pokemon jumped out and saved him from death. The heroic Treecko had beaten up the assailant and even brought him his backpack after Jeff forgot it. He invited the wood gecko back to his house in gratitude, but Tyrogue must have said something to make Treecko want to leave. Jeff had thought that Treecko had abandoned him, until one year later when he went to get his first pokemon and he saw the green pokemon fighting. Jeff saved Treecko much like Treecko had saved him and they had been friends and travel partners ever since. But then Jeff remembered what happened in Petalburg and how he was afterwards. He got mad at Treecko when he shouldn’t have; his pokemon was only trying to help although he didn’t know how. Jeff chose not to think about the events following his first gym battle. Instead he went back to remembering the fun times: having a race with Treecko, play fighting with him, joking, and laughing. The times were short but the memories stuck with him and would stay forever.

Jeff put a hand to his face and rubbed his sleep-deprived, unblinking eyes. When he opened his eyes, he was surprised to see Atlas’ head lying on the ground next to him. The Onix looked at Jeff and smiled warmly before letting out a soft grumble of questioning warmth.

“You’re wondering what’s wrong?” Jeff asked the gigantic serpent.

Atlas nodded in reply, even though he already knew the answer.

“Well… I’m sorry; I don’t even know your name… anyways I… a good friend of mine… my best friend, Treecko… he left. We had an argument, but ever since, he has been acting much different. The whole thing was my fault so I can understand why he was upset. But he was acting very weird… scary… I’m worried about him, but I want him to be happy,” Jeff explained, as if talking to a psychiatrist. He didn’t know why he was telling this to a pokemon that was a stranger to him. He felt comfortable around this Onix; he felt like they could relate to each other, There was something about him that felt so familiar…

Atlas knew he couldn’t respond with comprehensible words so he kept his head at ground level and lightly nuzzled Jeff’s side, comfortingly. He was almost knocked over by the rock snake’s head but he managed to stay upright and able to pet the Onix back.

“Thanks…” Jeff answered with some surprise, comforted by the normally terrifying pokemon.

Jeff paused before he looked at Atlas and asked, “That’s a pretty bad scar; how did you get it?”

He uncomfortably pulled his head away from Jeff, his head now rearing up high above the ground. Atlas began to stare over the tree canopies, into the pink, dawn sky.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you,” Jeff sheepishly apologized.

The towering Onix looked down at him, smiled, and shook his head in reassurance. Using Atlas’ body as support, Jeff struggled to stand; his right leg and foot still ached from the cuts. Atlas watched Jeff turn and walk over the grass back to the other two pokemon.

In an almost inaudible whisper, Jeff said, “Let’s get going.”

Corphish and Daedalus let out remarks of protest.

“You guys are going to have to learn English because I still can’t understand what you’re saying,” he muttered, beginning to get a headache.

Corphish picked up a twig in his claws and put it in his mouth. Following that, he pointed out into the forest and began to frantically hop around.

“What about Treecko?” Jeff asked, in which the duo replied with a nod. “He made his choice. It’s because I didn’t respect his wishes that we’re in this frigged up mess! So it’s about time I just… let him… go… if it’s what makes him happy. As long as Treecko’s happy, that’s all that I care about… he deserves at least that,” he exclaimed, lying to himself.

“<But he’s NOT happy!>” Corphish yelled, stepping forwards. Daedalus put his wing on the water pokemon’s shoulder to calm him down.

“So, let’s go… lead the way, Dae…” Jeff sighed as if he was holding all his air in his lungs until that point.

Daedalus looked at Corphish before nodding and flying ahead. Jeff and Corphish began to follow. Jeff turned around and looked at Atlas.

“Thank you, Onix,” Jeff said with mild gratitude before turning back around. He began to walk away from him.

Atlas’ head sunk and he let out a series of low bellows and growls, to which Corphish turned around and began to reply. They got into a conversation.

Jeff slowed in his tracks to turn around. “What are you doing, Corphish? Come on.”

“Corp corphish, phish phish cor corphish!” he responded to Jeff, seemingly trying to explain something.

“What are you two talking about? What does he want?”

Corphish ran up to Jeff, jumped, and snatched a pokeball from his belt, careful not to hit the center button. He then motioned with the pokeball towards Atlas.

“You want me to catch him?!” Jeff asked, almost upset.

Corphish nodded vigorously.

“I don’t want to catch that Onix!” he yelled.

Atlas’ eyes widened. He turned his rocky head down, feeling hurt and unwanted.

“No, I didn’t mean it like that, big guy. I mean I don’t want to have to take another pokemon unwillingly from their home. It’s bad enough that I did that with three already. I couldn’t live with myself if I did that again.”

Atlas roared in protest and shook his head.

“I’m sorry, Onix. But you don’t want to come with us,” insisted Jeff.

The rock snake nodded his head in persistence and neared Jeff.

“Trust me; I bring bad luck to everyone around me.” With that, Jeff turned around and began to follow the troubled Daedalus. He heard the noisy slithering of Atlas behind him. Jeff stopped in his tracks and turned again to face the gigantic pokemon trailing their footsteps.

“Do you actually want to come or are you feeling bad for me?” Jeff questioned. He stared into the Onix’s warm but hard, staring eyes and he immediately got his answer. “Why would you want to come with me? I’m sure you could have it so much better… Treecko did.”

Atlas looked off into the distance before he lowered his head to Jeff’s level and brushed it against him affectionately.

“Nothing I say is going to make you leave… is it?” Jeff questioned.

Atlas gave a smug grin and shook his head. Something in Atlas’ smile immediately reminded him of Treecko. He felt a little warm, but the memory also hurt to think of him.

“Would you be genuinely happy to come?” Jeff asked, insecurely.

The Onix rolled his eyes and nodded in a persistent agreement.

If this will make him happy… maybe I SHOULD let him come along. If I couldn’t make Treecko happy, I should at least try to make this Onix content. Still… why would he want to come with me?”

Jeff left his thoughts and answered, “Sure… we’d love to have you with us, Onix. Just know that you can leave anytime that you want. No pressure. No guilt. No problem.”

Atlas was overjoyed; he beamed and let out a joyous roar. Jeff took the pokeball from Corphish and held it in front of him, awaiting the Onix to make it official. The rock snake leaned forwards and tapped his head on the pokeball. He was engulfed in a red beam and went into the pokeball without a struggle. The sphere clicked shut. Without a second thought, Jeff immediately released Atlas from the ball. He towered over the three.

“Now let’s go,” said Jeff impatiently.

They nodded and moved around the cliff base and up a hill. Atlas was very careful not to accidentally slither on one of his comrades. They went past the plateau and into the forest. Daedalus flew ahead while Jeff and Corphish rode on Atlas’ back.

“You sure you don’t mind us using you as a train?” Jeff asked the Onix. He shook his head and grinned, squeezing through trees and bushes, following Daedalus. They entered a familiar clearing; it was where they were attacked by Seviper. Daedalus cautiously scouted ahead. He looked at the tree where Seviper was. He saw that the pokemon had disappeared. The tiny swallow also noticed that the tail looked like it was ripped from the bark where it was planted by Treecko. There were small blood spatters on the bark and the grass surrounding the tree.

“This is where Seviper attacked us… and where Treecko tried to save me,” Jeff remarked glumly.

Corphish looked at Daedalus. “<It’s a good thing he doesn’t know what really happened.>”

Daedalus nodded and urged them to turn east, away from the clearing.

“<What do you mean?>” Atlas asked in a throaty grumble.

“<Treecko actually chased after Seviper to fight him instead of trying to save Jeff. I don’t know why he did that, either. He should have known better,>” Daedalus informed.

“<Maybe he had a good reason…>” the giant serpent mused.

“<Either way, it looks like Treecko came back and finished what he started… and I don’t think he left the number of his insurance company,>” Corphish ruminated, inspecting the damage.

Atlas turned and followed Daedalus through the forest. Corphish and the Taillow struck up a conversation about Piplups.

“<What’s the deal with them? Are they a fish or a bird?>” Corphish asked, almost frustrated.

“<They’re obviously birds, numbskull!>” Daedalus retorted, somewhat offended.

“<Sure they LOOK like birds, but they can swim, can’t fly, and can shoot water from their mouths!>”

“<What about Peeko? She can swim and shoot water!>” he confidently stated.

“<But she can fly! Piplups can’t!>”

Daedalus sighed at the hopeless conversation and changed the subject. “<Speaking of Peeko… I wonder how SHE’S doin’!>” Daedalus grinned, thinking about the Wingull they had met earlier.

“<Keep your dirty wings off of her!>” Corphish shot.

“<Are you saying that she’s out of my league?>” Daedalus asked as he grinned competitively.

“<Yes, what if I am?>”

“<So you’re saying YOU’RE in HER league?>”

“<Hah! NO! Could she BE any more out of my league?>”

“<So, you’re saying we’re in the same league?>”

“<No! You’re a stud compared to me. But still not good enough for Peeko!>”

Daedalus paused and flew on. “<We’re getting kind of into an uncomfortable discussion here…>”

Corphish looked around, uncomfortably. “<SO… food! What’s the deal with THAT?!>”

The contented Atlas remained silent the whole time and smiled. Jeff shifted uncomfortably on the rocky transport. Although he couldn’t get comfy he was happily shocked that the Onix’s body was actually quite warm as opposed to what he thought would have been stone cold. Atlas continued to slither around trees, where Jeff had to bring his legs up from the rock snake’s sides so they wouldn’t be crushed between the stone and the tree trunks. The forest moved by them quickly. Daedalus flew hastily while he talked to Corphish, with some nervousness in his voice.

Jeff sighed. “Ok, Daedalus, stop. You stop as well, Onix.”

The two pokemon stopped and looked at Jeff in confusion.

“Dae, I may be a human, but I’m not an idiot!”

Daedalus didn’t even try to lie; he looked away in guilt. Atlas, however, was genuinely confused.

“We’re not going to Petalburg… you brought us in the wrong direction to find Treecko!”

Corphish’s stomach sunk; their plan was exposed and left out in the wind.

“<Is this true?>” Atlas asked Daedalus, who weakly nodded in reply; he still did not make eye contact.

“You know I don’t want him gone, but we can’t FORCE him to come with us! He has a mind of his own… and I want to respect that,” explained Jeff with heavy repentance.

The Taillow opened his mouth to protest, but he stopped himself knowing it would be in vain.

“We’re not going to look for Treecko…” Daedalus and Corphish’s heads sunk. “…but we’re not going back to Petalburg, either.” Their grief turned to confusion.

“<We aren’t?! But why?!>” Atlas growled in shock.

“For now… we’re going home. Daedalus, go straight to Oldale Town and then we make a hard right. Let’s go.”

Without much choice, he nodded and flew in the direction he was flying in.

“<I can’t believe this,>” the rock snake grumbled. “<Where does Jeff live?>”

“<In the gym battle he said that he was from Littleroot Town,>” Corphish explained.

Daedalus stopped flying in his tracks and hovered in place. An organ twisting silence ensued. Corphish’s eyes widened at his misdeed. Daedalus wasn’t supposed to know that!

“<…Did you say… ‘gym battle’?>” he asked coldly.

Corphish looked around frantically. “<Uhhh…yes! Wh…while you were in the… the pokemon center, Jeff was out getting you medicine and he decided to go into the local WORK OUT gym to WORK OUT. Then he accidentally stepped on this guy’s foot and then they started to fight…it was pr…pretty cool…>”

“<I’m sorry I missed seeing that, then,>” Daedalus remarked, flying forward again.

After a little while of traipsing the sunlit woodland, Daedalus had an idea. “<Instead of going to the town up ahead and then turning at a right angle, why don’t we cut diagonally to the right and that will half our travel time.>”

“<Good idea, Featherhead,>” Corphish complimented. “<I don’t think the good people who I steal satellite signals from would be too happy with Goliath here slithering over their… twelve buildings.>”

“<Just because I don’t eat Corphish’s now doesn’t mean I can’t start,>” Atlas threatened, good-naturedly.

Corphish grinned nervously and backed into Jeff’s arms. They continued to move through the dense forest and entered Route 101.

“Route 101…” Jeff muttered to himself. “Let’s get through here as fast as we can!” he ordered to the rest of the group.

Daedalus flew quicker and Atlas speedily followed him. They moved from the forest onto the path that led from Littleroot to Oldale Town. Jeff remembered happy memories from this path. He could clearly see him and Treecko walking away from the town, poking fun at each other and sharing a laugh. He quickly shut his eyes hard. It hurt him to think about.

“<Is that it?>” Daedalus asked, pointing ahead to a good sized town. The biggest building was Professor Birch’s lab, which was closest to them. The community omitted a sorrowfully, familiar ambience.

“<I think it is,>” grumbled Corphish. “<It’s not as bad as that awful Petalburg City!>”

“<Yeah… it’s actually kind of nice… for a human city,>” Daedalus remarked. “<And there’s only a few of those things that humans go around in… what are they called… BWMs or something?>”

They began to near the side of the lab. Atlas was incredibly cautious, so he crawled in the middle of the empty road.

“<Cars, bird brain… cars. Also, it’s BMWs… I see a lot of celebrities driving them on TV along with Porsches,>”

“<A ‘Porsche’? Is that a pokemon?>” Daedalus asked Corphish.

“<No! …NO! It’s a CAR! Like we were just talking about...?>” Corphish asked, a little frustrated.

“<Krabby today, are we?>” Daedalus grinned, sticking his tongue out at Corphish. “<How do you watch TV anyways?>”

“<I stole a TV from the Oldale pokemon center along with about four things of extension cords, so that I could watch it from my pond. I bribed a Magnemite into hooking up the satellite signals with the TV,>” Corphish explained proudly.

“<Wow… I… >” Daedalus pictured Corphish running through the forest with a TV over his head. The image caused him to burst into laughter.

A glass door was heard being swung open from the lab. The mildly husky Professor Birch ran out to inspect the Onix.

“Jeff?! Is that you?!” he yelled to them, removing his hands from the pockets of his white lab coat to shade his eyes from the sunlight. The brown haired professor was obviously confused as to why Jeff was back in Littleroot Town so soon. He indicated that his assumptions were correct by scratching his thick brown beard in confusion.

Jeff gave him a quick glance before he turned forwards and directed Atlas down the main street. The rock snake pokemon attracted a great detail of attention from the town’s inhabitants. A few people gazed at the beast through their opened windows, while others abruptly closed their curtains. Jeff pointed to his white house, which now had bits of the front painted an odd pale gray-green color.

He noticed that the driveway had no car in it. That must have meant that his mom was out shopping in Petalburg. Atlas slithered into the driveway and let out a low sigh. Jeff and Corphish dismounted and Daedalus flew onto the human’s shoulder.

“Sorry, Onix. Do you want to wait out here or inside your pokeball?” Jeff asked him.

The rocky serpent laid his head on the tarmac, indicating that he was fine outside.

Jeff nodded and picked up Corphish. He walked with his pokemon up the front steps and took a key from his pocket. He inserted the metal unlocking device into the keyhole.

Jeff stopped in mid unlocking. “I never thought I’d be back here so soon… and like this…” he thought. He finished opening the lock and placed the key back in his pocket. The door creaked open, revealing an unoccupied hallway.

“…And this is my home,” the human explained to his pokemon. “You guys must be starving; the kitchen is straight ahead.”

“<Kit…chen?>” Daedalus asked, oblivious.

“<It’s where humans keep their food,>” enlightened Corphish.

“<So is it like a place where they hunt for… whatever it is that they eat?>”

“<No, Featherhead… no hunting. All of there food is already dead and they keep it in a kitchen for storage.>”

“<Pfft… typical humans. Don’t even hunt for themselves. ME… I hunt for MY Weedles and Caterpies!>” Daedalus proudly exclaimed.

“<So THAT’S why you’re always looking at Atlas like he’s a giant Wurmple! Not to mention why your breath always stinks!>” Corphish laughed, poking fun.

Daedalus smirked and entered the kitchen, looking around in awe. Corphish pointed to the giant, white box-like appliance. He looked at the indent in the left door of it, which was the ice dispenser. It had two levers where you put the glasses to obtain either water or ice. He and Daedalus pushed a chair over to the left door of it and Corphish hopped up onto it.

“<I’ve never seen one of whatever these things are in a fridge before… I wonder what it does,>” he said, motioning to the device.

Coprhish outstretched a claw and pressed the lever on the left. The hole above the lever, on the fridge, emitted a gentle trickle of water. The liquid dampened his claw and he became very pleased.

“<Aww, it’s water!>” Corphish stated happily. He merrily splashed Daedalus, who waited below. The Taillow shook off the water and flew up beside him.

“<Great, but what does the other one do?>” he asked, nudging Corphish with his wing.

Corphish reached with his claw and pressed the other button, holding it down. A terrifying mechanical humming came from the button. It sounded almost like a Sceptile blowing its nose for a long time. They jumped back but Corphish still kept his claw on the lever. From the hole, out shot semi-circle blocks of ice, which barraged the two unsuspecting pokemon. They let out shocked cries as they fell from the chair and onto the white tile.

“<It knows blizzard! Get it!>” Corphish yelled in fear and anger. He opened his pincer and unleashed a volley of clear bubbles, which hit the levers. As a result of being hit, the machine spat out more ice. The blocks hit Daedalus who was righting himself on the floor.

“<You jackass!>” Corphish yelled at the inanimate device, unleashing more bubbles at the fridge.

Jeff, who still stood in the hallway, broke a grin at the antics. He chose not to intervene since they would probably tire themselves out soon.

Jeff sensed movement behind him. A shadow moved over his body. He turned to move but he couldn’t react in time. He felt something like a hammer hit the back of his closely planted knees. His legs buckled and he fell to his knee caps with a cry. His right, freshly relocated kneecap filled with pain. The knees impacted the hardwood floor but before he could retaliate Jeff felt another blunt blow in his spine. He fell to his stomach and something hard began to crush his left hand, while something else grabbed his right hand and pulled it behind his back. His left hand was pulled behind his back to meet his right hand and the same thing that crushed his left began to press on both hands.

“Eerrrrgh,” Jeff snarled.

“Hit,” said a smooth voice.

“What?” he asked the clenched teeth.

“Hitmonlee monlee,” replied the familiar tone.

The pressure on his hands was taken off. He rolled over to find the brown, long-legged body of Hitmonlee standing over him, grinning. The brown pokemon outstretched a hand to help Jeff up. He returned the grin and took his hand.

Corphish and Daedalus rushed into the hallway to see what the commotion was about. Corppy pointed his opened claw at Hitmonlee as Daedalus stepped forwards.

“<Who the hell are you and what did you do to Jeff?!>” trilled the bird, threateningly.

Hitmonlee glared at the bird and stepped forwards.

“It’s ok, guys. I know Hitmonlee. He’s with me!” Jeff explained, still holding onto Hitmonlee’s hand.

With a large jerk of his arm, the kicking pokemon pulled Jeff to his feet. The human stepped between Daedalus and Hitmonlee to prevent a possible clash between the two. Hitmonlee looked at Jeff and grinned contently.

“<It’s nice to see you again, Jeff,>” the brown pokemon told him.

“It’s nice to see you too, Hitmonlee,” replied Jeff.

Daedalus and Corphish’s jaws dropped in shock. Jeff looked at them blankly. He then realized why the duo was staring at him so oddly.

“I’m sorry to get your hopes up, but I still can’t understand you guys. I’ve been living with Hitmonlee for so long that I can understand him through his tone of voice and his body gestures… I can’t actually understand his words. He’s part of the family.”

Their heads sunk in disappointment.

“Oh yeah… Hitmonlee? This is Corppy and this is Daedalus. And this is obviously Hitmonlee.”

“<And the Onix snoozing in our driveway?>”

“That’s Onix… he’s with us.”

“<His name is actually Atlas… but Jeff doesn’t know that,>” Daedalus informed him.

“<He knows YOUR name! How did he manage that?>” Hitmonlee asked the Taillow, imposingly.

“<It’s kind of a long story…>” Daedalus explained.

“Tyr…err… Hitmonlee? Can I talk to you upstairs privately?”

The Hitmonlee nodded and followed Jeff up the stairs to the right of the doorway. Daedalus and Corphish followed, curious of this ‘upstairs’.

“I see that your blunt sense of humor hasn’t changed,” said Jeff through a grin, rubbing his hurt hands.

“<I couldn’t resist,>” laughed Hitmonlee.

They reached the top of the stairs. Jeff and the fighting pokemon walked into the pseudo fighting dojo where they always practiced martial arts. Corphish and Daedalus, however, wandered into Jeff’s room. The two in the hardwood gym sat against the wall beside a new punching bag in the corner. Jeff lightly pushed it, causing it to swing like a pendulum.

“<It’s been pretty lonely sparring by myself…>” Hitmonlee explained with a solemn smirk.

“Sorry… I can imagine how you feel…” answered Jeff in apology.

“<It’s not your fault. Arceus, Jeff, you apologize too much! If a tree falls in the forest you can’t say you were responsible because you weren’t there to prop it back up!>”

“I… don’t know…” Jeff mumbled. “Hitmonlee, I have a strange question…”

“<Shoot.>”

“How…do you eat… and talk?” awkwardly asked Jeff.

Hitmonlee took a half full bottle of water from beside him and brought it to his face. He tipped it to where one would think his mouth would be. Jeff expected water to pour down his front and was shocked when that didn’t happen. The water went from the bottle to his face before seemingly evaporating on impact. Jeff was left speechless.

“<What? Didn’t you pay attention during your pokemon biology class? I have really fine pores in that area of my face. It’s called diffusion… ring any bells, college boy?>” he taunted, despite the fact that Jeff was not in college.

“That was amazing, Hit,” Jeff gaped. “Can you do that with solid food, too?”

He nodded. “<The food turns into particles on impact with the pores and goes into my stomach.>”

“That’s so cool… you talk the same way… through your pores or whatever, I mean?”

“<No! I talk with my feet!>” Hitmonlee grinned, bringing a foot and his sharp toes to Jeff’s neck, kidding his friend.

“I could tell by the heartwarming greeting you gave me! Y’almost dislocated my knee again!” Jeff tried to smile, hitting the foot away from his neck. “That reminds me… how’s Bayleef doing? She like your new form?” Jeff asked, ribbing the fighting type with a playful punch to the waist. Hitmonlee visibly blushed and returned a shove, although it was much harder, knocking Jeff to the wooden floor. Hitmonlee felt a bit guilty for hitting Jeff so hard, so he helped him back upright.

“<Bay’s doing fine… I guess… I… don’t know if she likes it or not… So… a Taillow, a Corphish, and an Onix! Not bad for your first week as a trainer!>” complimented the kicking pokemon.

“That’s the thing… ” Jeff began.

“<Hey, what happened to the little green ass?>” interrupted Hitmonlee.

Jeff went silent and turned his head away. Hitmonlee felt a great stone burden his heart from guilt.

“<Oh Arceus… Jeff… I’m so sorry… how did he die?>” he asked sympathetically, although jumping to conclusions.

“No no! He didn’t die… I don’t think… please Arceus, no…” Jeff answered, his voice gradually getting softer.

“<Then what happened?!>”

“I’ll tell you… but there’s something else I need to tell you, too.”

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Corphish and Daedalus walked around Jeff’s room, admiring all of the different things. The Taillow flew up onto Jeff’s bed, followed by Corphish, who clawed his way up the sheets. The ruffian pokemon eyed the movie posters which feature the black-grey, dog-like Mightyena and the Grovyle, who instantly reminded him of Treecko.

“<Those were both great movies… Nychus… that Grovyle… reminds me of… nevermind.>”

Corphish collapsed on the soft, cotton sheets of the mattress. He began to roll about them, semi-contently.

“<THIS reminds me of him…>” Daedalus said, pecking at a life-sized Treecko plush toy that he found sitting on the bed.

“<Hmm… the eyes and cheeks are ALL wrong!>” Corphish stated, examining the Treecko.

“<He must really admire Treeckos,>” thought Daedalus out loud, nudging the plush toy over on the bed.

“<Yeah… he does… >” Corphish muttered, withholding something.

“<He’s probably taking Treecko’s leaving harder than we thought.>”

“<Um… right. Because he wanted to get Treecko back SO badly that he came home instead of looking for him.>”

“<It just doesn’t seem like Jeff would let this go so easily… do you really think he gave up and let it be?>”

“<You know what, Featherhead? I think he has.>”

“<You remember how hard he took it when Treecko left temporarily! You’d think he’d at least be the same way when Treeck left for real… but he’s hardly showing anything at all!>”

“<I don’t know… but what I DO know is that THIS bed is really soft!>” pointed out Corphish, sprawling on the neat covers. Daedalus flew over to the window and peered out. He looked down upon the driveway where Atlas was waking up from a deserved nap. The rock snake pokemon yawned, causing the windows to tremble.

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Jeff finished telling Hitmonlee what had happened. He recapped the story with surprising apathy. The kicking pokemon felt very badly for his friend and anger coursed through him when thinking about the Treecko who abandoned Jeff.

“<That jackass…>” Hitmonlee muttered. “<Don’t worry, Jeff… we’re better off without him anyways.>”

“…If only that were true.”

“<You know it’s true, pal! He’s a selfish, arrogant prick who only thinks about what’s in his best interests! He left you, so why should YOU feel bad?!>”

“He was my… one of my best friends, Hitmonlee! I had to have done SOMETHING!” Jeff insisted with heavy woe bearing down on him.

“<I’M your best friend, Jeff! Trust me… he’s not worth what you’re putting yourself through!>”

Jeff let out a deep sigh and paused.

“I’ve decided to stop trying to be a trainer.”

The fighting pokemon gaped at Jeff for a moment.

“<You can’t be serious! Not because of this!>”

“No, not just because of this…” Jeff explained with an uncaring monotone tenor. “Ever since I started becoming a confident trainer, it all went to hell! Kristie was with Alan. I couldn’t command my pokemon or even myself! I didn’t even win my first gym battle on my own, Treecko bailed me out! Then our plan with that Nidoking went to crap. I hit my own pokemon for Arceus’ sakes! I’m surprised they ALL didn’t leave when I did that! I can’t even get my own starting pokemon to stay with me.”

Hitmonlee was going to protest but Jeff stood up before he had a chance to. Without a word, he limped to the door of the hardwood dojo.

“I’ve got to go break it to my pokemon.”

“<Oh yeah?! THEN what are you going to do with them?>” Hitmonlee shot at him, getting up to follow Jeff.

“Then they can finally go home. They’ll no longer be mine,” he replied.

In frustration, Hitmonlee spun around and kicked the punching bag with such force that it swung up and hit the ceiling before coming back down and dangled around in circles.

“<DAMNIT, JEFF!>” he yelled with a significantly raised voice, stopping Jeff in his tracks. “<I know you think that if you do this you’ll be able to start over from before you left for the lab to get that Treecko, BUT YOU WON’T! I’ll still be a Hitmonlee, Kristie will still be with Alan, Treecko will still be gone for good, you’ll still have three pokemon to take care of, and you’ll still be a pokemon trainer!>”

Jeff turned and locked his green eyes with his friend in a cold stare. Hitmonlee glared back, not budging an inch. He needed to prove his point… for Jeff’s sake. The glare-off kept for several seconds.

“<Let it go, Jeff…>” the arrogant kicking pokemon ordered, brown eyes still fixated on the human’s.

Jeff turned to leave to his room, followed by Hitmonlee. They crossed the blue carpeted hallway and walked into Jeff’s spacious room. He threw his backpack down my the bed, as it was quite heavy. Corphish and Daedalus were nested on the bed, the sun warming their backs from the window behind them. Daedalus was sneaking something into Jeff’s backpack, but the human took no notice of it.

“Guys… I need to talk to you. Can you wake up Onix so…” Jeff was interrupted by Hitmonlee forcefully pulling back on his arm.

“<Jeff, don’t do this!>”

Jeff yanked his arm from Hitmonlee’s grasp. Meanwhile, Corphish threw Jeff’s alarm clock down at Atlas to wake him from his deserved nap. The clock let out a final ‘PIDGEO’ before exploding in wood, gears, springs, and wings. Atlas woke up with a sharp snort and looked up at the apparent assailant.

“<Hey, Atlas! Get up here for a group meeting before I start bringing out the sexual innuendo insults!>” Corphish called from the window. The rock serpent grumbled and brought his head to level with the second story window over looking the driveway.

“Ok, guys… this is hard for me to say so I’ll just say it!”

The pokemon leaned in with a bit of worry and curiosity.

“I’ve decided to stop trying to become a pokemon trainer. You guys can leave if you want.”

Following the bold words were a barrage of comments and protests.

Corphish’s cries were the most noticeable and obnoxious, although Jeff still could not decipher them. “<Could that idea BE any stupider?! Get a hold of yourself, Jeff!>”

Atlas also let out a frustrated rumble of frustration, causing loose items on Jeff’s end table and desk to fall over. “<How am I supposed to get to Dewford?! He can’t leave me, too!>”

Much to Hitmonlee’s surprise, Daedalus smiled, closed his eyes and nodded. The smile said, “<I’m proud of you, Jeff,>” but his eyes had a burdened longing in them. The flying type’s head sunk but the smile in his beak remained. It was as if he felt like he failed them.

Jeff honestly was happy that he couldn’t hear the rantings and insults of his pokemon at this point. It made the decision so much more easy. Although he still got the main idea of what the collective protest was.

“Enough you guys… I made up my mind!” This shut the pokemon’s traps. “I’m going to the lab to return my pokedex and pokeballs… I’ll meet you guys downstairs,” ordered Jeff in a flustered mumble.

The trio indignantly marched downstairs, while Atlas simply lowered his rocky head from the window to down by the front door. Jeff picked up his backpack again and walked over to his desk underneath the two posters. He looked at the many items knocked over by the growl of Atlas. One of the many articles was a face down picture. He tipped up the picture and placed it in both of his hands. It was a photograph of his brother, Keanu, and the Treecko, Sawyer. Both who he greatly admired.

I’m sorry… I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t be like you…” Jeff thought back to what he had said the day that those two left. He vowed that nothing would drive him and his own Treecko apart. “I let you down… I couldn’t keep my promise.

With that, he gently and carefully placed the photograph to its original upright position on the desk. Jeff hobbled out of the room, his foot and quadricep wounds still giving his right leg grief. He turned left to go down the stairs after his pokemon. He saw them angrily waiting in the porch, talking about what was probably Jeff’s decision. Jeff walked into the hallway and turned to face them.

All of a sudden he heard a sweet voice behind him.

“<Jeff?!>” asked the soothing, feminine voice.

The person in question turned around to see Bayleef standing in the hallway. She twirled the leaf on her head around in delight.

“Bayleef!” Jeff greeted in return.

The green sauropod ran towards the human. Upon reaching Jeff, she reared her forelegs up onto Jeff’s quadriceps and released two vines from her leafy necklace which wrapped around his waist in a hugging fashion. He smiled and bent down to reprise the action. After a moment, they released each other from the mutual bond.

“<It’s nice to see you again!>”

“Thanks, Bay.” Like Hitmonlee, Bayleef could be understood by Jeff since they had been around each other for so long. It was through their motions and tone that this relatively lucky skill was established. Jeff had still wished that he actually knew what they were saying, though.

Bayleef looked around Jeff to see the three pokemon in the porch. She noticed that the original team member was listening.

“<Where’s Treecko?>” she asked eagerly.

Upon that question, Hitmonlee furiously scowled at no one in particular and subconsciously kicked a propped up umbrella, immediately snapping it in half. Everyone turned their heads to the enraged fighting pokemon.

With a cold, unrepentant tenor, he answered, “<… My bad.>”

Jeff turned his head, back to face the hopeful Bayleef. He paused and looked deeply into her red eyes.

“<He’s gone.>”

He watched her smile instantaneously fade into a broken frown. The red eyes began to ripple as tears started to flood them. Jeff turned away and opened the front door to leave. The distressed Bayleef bounded up the stairs away from them.

Hitmonlee reached out his rather stubby arm to try to go after her, but he also noticed that Jeff and his pokemon had already made it down the walkway and onto the sidewalk. Torn between which he should go after, he took his own oath and he let his feet do the talking. They were jumping down the front steps and running after Jeff before his friend made a huge mistake.

Hitmonlee’s powerful legs caught him up to the Taillow, Corphish, human, and the Onix, whose back they were all sitting upon, in no time at all.

“<You can’t stop becoming a trainer, Jeff! We’ve all talked and your pokemon don’t want to go home… they’ve moved on… why can’t you? And what about all of our training for those years?!>”

“Arceus, Hit, I’m not having this conversation with you again! My mind’s made up!” Jeff retorted, as stubborn as a Tauros.

They neared the largest structure in town… Birch’s lab, which seconded as a classroom. The walls of the building’s exterior were a clean white color. The paint wasn’t even peeling from the sides; it was like it was brand new. Atlas slithered in front of the spotless glass doors and the three dismounted and landed beside Hitmonlee. Atlas then moved away from the entrance and curled up on the grassy path to the left of the large edifice. Jeff opened the glass door and held it open for Daedalus, Corphish, and Hitmonlee.

Inside the spacious, but this time, clean room were many shelves containing text books and biological encyclopedias. Essays were crammed between the books, but were done so in a tidy, organized fashion. There was a video-phone in the left corner of the machine-laden room. The devices looked like they were used for physical and internal research of pokemon; Jeff had only seen a few of them in action. In the far right side of the room was Professor Birch’s desk, but he was not at it. Instead, he was at the farthest end of the room next to a pedestal with three pokeballs on it. Beside him was a kid who looked like he was in his early teens.

Just as the door behind Jeff closed, the kid picked up a pokeball and held it against his red shirt before beginning to place it in his tattered, blue jeans. When the door clicked shut, creating a loud echo around the spacious room, Professor Birch and the guy turned around.

“Jeff! I was hoping I could have a chat with you… come on over here!” Professor Birch called out warmly.

Jeff nodded and walked over to the two, followed by his pokemon. The teen walked up to him and outstretched a hand. He shook the guy’s hand and introduced himself, “I’m Jeff.”

“Hey, I’m Sam,” he replied. “That’s a lot of cool pokemon you have there! You must be a pokemon trainer, too… I just became one.”

Jeff shifted in his spot, uncomfortably. “Well, I am for about four more minutes…” he answered softly so Professor Birch wouldn’t immediately hear.

“You’re quitting? Before you do, can we have a battle? It’d kinda be my first battle and your last battle,” Sam asked, hopefully.

“I guess that’d be ok… I have to talk to the professor first, though,” replied Jeff.

Hitmonlee grabbed Jeff’s arm once more, saying, “<Please, Jeff… Treecko isn’t worth giving up all of your work.>”

He kneeled down to Hitmonlee’s level and whispered in his ear boldly, “As long as I keep thinking of and remembering what I did to Treecko… I can never be a pokemon trainer. And the memories and guilt aren’t leaving any time soon…”

He pulled his arm away from the kicking pokemon and walked up to Professor Birch. Hitmonlee sighed and walked towards the table with the two remaining pokeballs.

“So, Jeff! Wow, an Onix! How did you manage to pull that one off?” Professor Birch asked with a large grin.

“I find me asking myself that same question…” Jeff half-grinned and began to open his mouth but was interrupted.

“That’s a fine Taillow you have there, too! His forked, tail feathers are notably longer than the average Taillow. That’s a large plus when it comes to mating season.”

Jeff tried to open his mouth again but had his words stolen, again.

“Say, I don’t see Treecko… where is the green little troublemaker, anyways?”

Jeff’s heart sunk deeper. He dodged the question like a live grenade. He decided he would blurt out what he was going to say before being interrupted again.

“I’m qui…”

“<HEY JEFF!>”

“WHAT? WHAT HITMONLEE?!” Jeff yelled in frustration at the pokemon over by the two pedestals. The other humans and pokemon sweat dropped.

“<I think you should battle that kid. He seems really antsy to start his journey!>”

Annoyed, Jeff ignored him and turned back to the professor.

“<Battle him or I’ll tell the other pokemon about your… ‘first’ pokemon…>”

Jeff’s entire body froze. He managed to creak his head to face Hitmonlee. Stunned, he gazed into his eyes to see if he was serious. Even if it was a bluff, Jeff didn’t want to take the chance. “This’ll have to wait, Professor… Hey Sam! Battle time!”

“Actually, wait!” The Professor budged between the two humans, passively. “I kind of just cleaned my lab and I don’t want bubbles or anything messing up my freshly finished essays. Also, Sam? I think you should get to know your pokemon a little first before throwing him straight into a battle! The better you two know each other the better you two will get along both on and off the field!”

Sam nodded in agreement. Jeff fell back into his maze of thoughts before the professor nudged him with the words, “Is that ok, Jeff?”

“Uhh… yeah, suits me fine,” he answered.

“But, Jeff, aren’t you…” Sam started to ask but was cut off.

“Professor, I’m…” Jeff interrupted but was disrupted, himself.

Professor Birch had barged into the sentence. “Jeff! Can I ask you a favor?”

He bit his inner lip in frustration but nodded, as he wanted to be polite for the teacher who he admired.

“Great! Being an accomplished trainer, can you come into my class tomorrow and explain to some of my students what your journey has been like so far as a trainer and how you and your pokemon are getting along? They would be honored to hear what you have to say,” asked Birch.

Jeff laughed out loud at the apparent irony before uncomfortably shifting around.

Fate is out to get me,” he thought with a defeated laugh. “…I guess that would be ok,” he finally replied with uncertainty.

“Great! Thanks, Jeff! I owe you one!”

I owe you one.’

The words cut through Jeff like a lance. The reminiscences of saving and being saved by Treecko pervaded his thoughts, high-jacking them. He began to wonder if his former green friend needed to be saved right now. Jeff awoke from the contemplation when he noticed he was blankly staring into oblivion.

“Uh…yeah. Sure. No problem,” he replied, a bit hazed.

“Great, I’ll see you tomorrow! I’m going to lock up the lab now, the sun is setting…” Professor Birch said, merrily.

Jeff, Sam, and the pokemon walked out of the lab, the bright lights being turned off darkening the room behind them. Outside was now a sharp dark blue which the ground was shaded. The sun had departed to their right, shining only a few streams of orange across the blue.

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” said Sam, unable to take his eyes off of the sleeping, rock snake giant.

Jeff tilted his head in confusion. “But you got your first pokemon today,” he pointed out.

“I’m not leaving for another three weeks at the end of the semester… so I’m excited to see what you have to say tomorrow,” Sam answered, beginning to walk away from them. Without turning his back, he said, “It looks like you’re still a trainer…”

Jeff returned the slumbering Atlas to his pokeball and gathered his pokemon around him.

“…‘still’?”

They began to walk down the long road, south to Jeff’s house. The night humidity burdened on their bodies.

“…never.”

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Sorry for the lack of action this chapter. I had to make last minute compromises and will make up for it next chapter.

I promise the fic will be more upbeat in the future! xP
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[B]Claimed: Treecko, Grovyle, Charmeleon.
Co-Owner of Treecko/Grovyle/Sceptile Club.
Paired withAnastasia R.
PC Family so far: Cousin - ScytheMaster, Awesomest Sister - Diamondpearl876, Brother - Rebellious Treecko (PM one of us if you want to join it)

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