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Old January 5th, 2008 (06:51 AM). Edited January 5th, 2008 by Grovyle42(Griff8416).
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No. 1 Grovyle Fan
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: The Great Green North
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This was a co-op chapter done by me and my almightly beta (Diamondpearl876). You'll be able to tell when she starts because it gets MUCH better in quality. It was quite a fun chapter to write.

The next chapter will be a co-op chapter as well, and may take awhile due to finals.

Shock and Terror

“…You.”

Jeff fell against the pop machine due to his sudden loss of balance. His vision was still a blur from glazed eyes and unconsciousness. All that he could make out was the blond hair atop a tall, muscular stature of a teen. He also saw what appeared to be a blue pokemon cradled in his arms. The light aqua color stood out against the teenager’s navy blue-indigo shaded shirt. Jeff looked down to see the vague outlines of two pokeballs on his belt, above tan cargo shots.

“You’re damn right it’s me, Jeff! How’s it been going?! I‘ve been waiting for you!”

Rage ran through the disoriented teen as he continued to try to make out the face. The face was significantly familiar, and Jeff struggled to recall someone, anyone, but the events that occurred earlier that day had interfered with his train of thought. No one in particular came to mind.

“Dude, have you been crying?” the figure asked, probably noticing his reddened eyes.

With increasing anger, Jeff covered his tracks by responding with, “No, I accidentally scratched my eye after getting stun spore on my hands… How the hell have YOU been… Alan?” Making a wild guess, he started to prepare himself from doing anything that might result in sorrow or anger. There had been too many of those kinds of moments already.

“What kind of Paras mushrooms have you been eating?” he asked with a quizzical chuckle. “Come on, you haven’t been gone THAT long!”

“What?!” Jeff asked, rising to his feet. He managed to finally get a focus on the guy, who, indeed, was not Alan. “Kevin?!” A wave of relief swept over him; ever since his last encounter with that enemy of his, he couldn’t predict what would happen if he were to meet up with him again.

“THERE ya go! Our names aren’t THAT similar,” Kevin answered.

Jeff stood in shock as the teen smirked, the same teen who was a little taller and more muscular than he. He looked down to examine the pokemon whom he thought was a Mudkip, due to the fact that Alan had one in his possession when he departed from Littleroot Town. Although the pokemon also had a blue head and limbs, it was surrounded by a thick, round shell. The sparkling shell was brownish red on top and beige underneath. Its blue, puffy tail swung back and forth, idly.

“What is THAT?” Jeff remarked, observing the pokemon, noticing a hint of fear in the water-type‘s maroon eyes upon hearing this. “Were you late for picking a starter or something?” he teased.

It shrunk back at these questions, obviously hurt by them. It quickly disappeared back into its shell, showing no signs of coming back out. After a moment of slight confusion towards the pokemon’s actions, Jeff realized what that must of sounded like and apologized. “Sorry, I didn’t mean that to sound so… MEAN.”

“He’ll get over it. This is Ace, my Squirtle,” Kevin answered.

“Cool. Nice to meet you, Ace.” He outstretched a hand warmly as the Squirtle’s round head slowly reemerged from the defensive shell upon hearing his name. Ace reached his light blue hand out from the protective hiding place of his, then halfway to Jeff’s hand before stopping. He looked with nervousness up at Kevin, who rolled his eyes and nodded. Looking back at Jeff’s extended arm again, he stalled.

“Come on, you coward; introduce yourself,” Kevin light-heartedly urged with a grin.

The tiny turtle pokemon looked even more insulted at the merry plea and, with some visible sadness, began to shakily outstretch his arm again.

“Relax, Ace, it’s ok,” Jeff insisted, retracting his hand. “Anyways, Kevin, when did you leave Littleroot Town?”

“A few days after you did! After hearing you left with some pokemon, I decided I didn’t want to be the only one of us not on a journey!”

“Really? How did you come across your starter, Ace? After me I thought all that was left was a Torchic and a Mudkip,” Jeff asked.

“Actually, Ace isn’t my starter…” Kevin informed him, checking his watch.

“You got a date?” an upbeat Jeff asked. He had gotten over the initial surprise of stumbling into someone from his hometown, or was just pleased with the fact it wasn’t Alan or Kristie.

“How long does it take to put on a skirt, tube top, and make up or whatever?” he replied, somewhat exasperated.

“You got a date with a GIRL…or a cross dressing clown?” Jeff said, poking fun.

“Heh, I wish. Then I might at least get a laugh or two out of it. But seriously, no date and she’s pretty nice. She’s just always late.”

“Who is she?”

“I’ll tell you once she gets here… maybe we should hitch up a tent until then,” Kevin replied while holding Ace, who remained quiet the whole time.

“Cool… How did you get a Squirtle? I’ve never even heard of a Squirtle!” he proceeded, nosily.

“I… well, my…father gave him to me… hearing I was leaving,” the blond haired boy replied in an almost incoherent mumble.

“Oh…” Jeff answered, unsure of what to say. After hesitating for a few moments, he questioned, “Then what IS your starter?”

“I’ll show you mine if you show me yours,” said Kevin with a sly grin which immediately appeared from his recently upset face.

Jeff’s eyes widened considerably; he couldn’t believe he’d nearly forgotten about Treecko. “Oh, crap!” He brought his hand to his face to hide the sudden guilt and imagined Treecko scolding him already for taking so long to get a simple soda. He dared to take a peek towards Kevin and Ace, who only returned an expression full of puzzlement.

“Err… I mean, I promised my starter I’d take him to the beach, like, two hours ago,” he abruptly replied.

“Sure. You hear that, Ace? That’s cute. Taking his pokemon to the beach,” Kevin mocked with one eyebrow raised, as if he would never come up with an idea like that in a million years. Ace looked up at him longingly, but no words emanated from his mouth.

“Yeah, very cute,” Jeff mumbled, then motioned for Kevin to walk with him with the hand containing the unopened Coke, mentally beating himself up at the same time. Still holding Ace, he followed eagerly, making a comment on how he couldn’t wait to see what kind of pokemon Jeff held in his possession. Soon, they arrived in the main lobby, which held an assortment of pokemon paintings on the walls, and a set of four chairs surrounding a table for trainers to sit in while awaiting the outcome of their pokemon’s conditions. As Jeff and Kevin were passing by the front counter, they couldn’t help but overhear a trainer who was complaining on how Brawly had nearly defeated her in a gym battle less than a few hours ago.

I wonder what Treecko would be like now if that was us, Jeff thought, remembering his response when he had asked him if he was all right. They had won, was what he had said; that seemed to be all that mattered to him at that moment.

“Wait up. That‘s her,” Kevin said, and set Ace down near Jeff’s feet. He casually walked over to the girl as she was retrieving two pokeballs from Nurse Joy, who didn’t seem to mind her moaning in the slightest bit. As Kevin approached, she swiftly turned towards him, her shoulder-length blonde hair moving too, now covering a portion of her face. She pushed the strands behind her ear, and listened intently as Kevin told her about the encounter with Jeff and their plans to introduce their pokemon. Nodding and smiling, she thanked the nurse and walked over with Kevin towards Jeff.

“Hey, Jeff, this is Rachel. I was talking about her before, remember?” Kevin said, then looked down to the floor to make sure Ace was still where he left him. The tiny turtle pokemon scrambled over to him, not being too thrilled about the silence between him and Jeff during Kevin’s informing conversation with Rachel.

“Hi, Jeff. We’ve been waiting for you for a while here in Dewford.” She outstretched her hand, much like Jeff had done with Ace. Like Kevin had mentioned before, she was wearing a black tube top along with a white skirt--perfect for the kind of weather Dewford held. The most notable thing about her was the necklace she was wearing as well; it reminded him of Daedalus, as it had a feather on it, and the fact he wasn’t so ecstatic with Treecko’s homecoming. He stared at it for a moment, wondering on how he was going to handle this; he hadn’t had a problem with Daedalus before, but surely he could make him understand easily. Rapidly snapping out of it to avoid false thoughts, he returned the friendly gesture.

“You’ve been waiting for me?” he asked, surprised at the news.

“We ran into Kristie and Alan a few days ago, actually. They told us that… you left them in Petalburg. Very quickly. Yeah. So we figured you’d reach Dewford soon enough. How come you left?” Kevin inquired, recalling no problems between Jeff and Kristie back home.

“Oh. I just didn’t want to travel with anybody at the time. Come on, let‘s go see Tr--my starter,” he replied simply, quickly changing the subject.

“Well, just let him out of the pokeball already. I don’t suppose you have a whole show to perform when releasing it, do you?” Kevin sarcastically asked, annoyed at how long this was taking.

“…No. He’s in the recovery room,” Jeff admitted. He could have sworn he saw a grin appear on Kevin’s face, but he pretended to notice nothing. To steer clear of unnecessary comments, he added with a smirk, “We defeated Brawly together.”

“Yeah? So did we, earlier today. I had to help Rachel, though. She wouldn’t have won without me,” Kevin said, grinning.

“I doubt it. My Pidgey was doing just fine until you interrupted!” She playfully pushed him away, and Jeff knew what the feather symbol on the necklace was for; it represented her Pidgey, and he assumed that was the pokemon she began with.

“Okay, well, whatever. Let’s go,” Jeff irately commanded, frustrated at how her Pidgey had fought for her, but Daedalus hadn’t. What was so erroneous with battling to him, anyway? Daedalus had had a clear advantage towards Brawly’s fighting-types, which could have resulted in a joyous victory for the two of them, and that was something Jeff expected for there to be plenty more of. Surely he had witnessed and participated in several types of combat and planned numerous schemes while being a leader back in Petalburg Forest. He made a mental note to ask him later, when Kevin and Rachel weren’t present.

Shrugging, the two teenagers continued to ensue their short trip to the recovery room, where Treecko hopefully wasn’t growing agitated by Jeff’s sudden disappearance. Quite a lot of trainer’s pokemon were placed on hospital beds, either resting or being reassured by their masters on how they would do better in the next battle, discussing strategies based on the attacks and pokemon used earlier that day. Sighing, Jeff advanced towards Treecko’s bed, where he saw several white bandages placed carefully on his broken ribs. Not daring to look towards Kevin or Rachel, whose thoughts on the resting Treecko wouldn’t matter anyway, he kneeled down near the bed and watched as his chest moved up and down, causing a soothing feeling to flow through Jeff. He didn’t seem to be in pain, and he wasn’t trying to outrageously break anything else in a battle.

“This is him, yeah?” Rachel asked, although the answer was obvious. “That must have been one tough battle.”

“It was. But we got through it anyway,” Jeff replied, not looking up from where his eyes were set. His hands were placed on the bed sheets to avoid disturbing the peaceful Treecko, which was a rare sight to see.

“He looks pretty damn tough,” Kevin said. He looked around, appearing concerned and uncertain about his next move. “I don’t want to release my starter here. It might intimidate some of the pokemon.” A sneer crawled upon his face as his gaze returned to Jeff and Treecko.

“Ace here doesn’t intimidate anybody,” Jeff pointed out, ignoring the conceited words.

“Yeah, well, he’s a wimp,” was Kevin’s only remark, but a tentative Ace was too distracted from examining Treecko in his current position. Jeff easily imagined Treecko leering into the turtle’s innocent eyes, frightening him and making him feel smaller than the rest, just as Kevin’s somewhat harsh comments did.

“Man, Jeff, dude! You forgot your badge,” cried a familiar voice from the recovery room’s entrance doors. Jeff looked up towards the surfer, along with many other faces which either held a surprised, upset, or thrilled expression on their faces, depending on their previous encounters with Brawly, or lack there of. However, he stopped walking as soon as he hit a point where he wouldn’t get in anyone’s way. Brawly gave a motion for someone to come to the doorway, for reasons that were unknown to Jeff.

“I’ll… be right back,” he solemnly claimed, knowing the signal was for him, and he took one last look at the tranquil lizard pokemon before going to retrieve the badge he worked to earn. Placing his cola on the bed, he felt the stares rest upon him as he was in the presence the blue-haired gym leader.

“Thanks,” Jeff started. “Thanks for coming to give the badge, I mean. It was an emergency, you--”

“I know. Dude, I know because of the way you handled that battle,” Brawly said, cutting Jeff off and conveying no emotions or any signs of being proud to be where he was standing. While he was digging through his pocket, Jeff wondered what exactly Brawly was talking about. He didn’t sound delighted, but he didn’t sound dismayed, either. Jeff focused again on reality when a small, gray badge was held in front of his confused, green eyes.

“So, dude, do y’know what this looks like?” Brawly sternly asked.

Before responding, Jeff observed the badge, which was rightfully his according the standard rules. It was round and resembled something similar to a boxing glove people would wear. Finally, he quietly said, “It looks like a fist or something.”

“Ya, radical answer. And what I wouldn’t do to use my own to knock some sense into you right now, dude! Your Corphish was boss, I can admit that. But, dude, your little bird guy wouldn’t fight for you at all. And you made that ace Treecko fight despite his conditions,” Brawly explained. The words hurt like a Beedrill’s own stinger, but all Jeff could do was admit that he was nothing but correct. To distract himself, Jeff peered over to the other parts of the room, which only worsened the situation when glares were sent his way. He gulped, and tried hard to prevent himself from taking Treecko and running out of the pokemon center.

“I, well, you don’t understand…” he began, unsure of what to say next. It seemed necessary, yet useless to explain what Daedalus and Treecko were like, to clarify their actions and reasons for doing what they did.

“I do, dude. I understand I don’t want to give you this badge, but I have to. It’s bogus, but it’s the rules, ya know? So, here, dude. But I hope you learned something. Watson from Mauville won’t let you get past him with those kinds of trainer skills,” the surfer said, and he firmly took Jeff’s wrist. Opening up his hand to reveal his palm, he felt Brawly’s larger hand on top of his, and a tiny, cold stone was placed inside as he released his hand and the grip on his wrist. Giving nothing but a nod, the teenager watched as Brawly walked away; he almost called out to him to tell him everything, suddenly feeling the need for someone else to know, but then deemed it useless once more.

“Oh yeah… and I hope your Treecko gets better,” called the gym leader, not bothering to turn back as he left the recovery room.

Jeff stood looking down at his closed hand amidst a near-silent room, from which hushed whispers began to emanate upon Brawly’s departure. A wave of warm sweat surged through his spine as he could feel the accusing eyes of the trainers and pokemon piercing into him. He could see that his hand had begun to tremble so he quickly placed it and the badge into his pocket. Jeff didn’t dare look up from the tiled floor; he was much too worried of everyone’s, including Kevin and Rachel’s, reactions to think of it.

His head remained hung in guilt, guilt which he had already placed upon himself prior to the match. He already assumed it, but what was worst was hearing this from someone else, no less an experienced and usually mellow gym leader like Brawly. Despite what Jeff thought, rightfully he was innocent of the accusations, but Brawly’s talk seemed to laminate his fears.

Kevin exchanged a look of uncertainty with Rachel before announcing, “Hey, why don’t we all get some food in the lobby?” His plan to break the tension did the best that it could. With a new grin to replace the old one which was discarded from the Brawly incident, Kevin grabbed Jeff’s shoulder and began to push him towards the doors that the gym leader had just walked through,

“But Treecko…” Jeff solemnly protested before being interrupted by the upbeat male.

“… Is sleeping. Besides, he’ll still be there when we get back,” explained Kevin, with Ace in one hand and Jeff in the other.

“My Coke…” he mumbled more quietly, almost shamefully, looking back at his unopened drink which was located on the sheets of the bed.

Rachel followed, apparently still trying to figure Jeff out. They slid by four trainers, who were making whispered comments about Brawly, who had just went by them. They proceeded to sit at a round table housing three red chairs. Kevin placed Ace on the table top and began to stare at Jeff with an all-knowing smirk; it was as if he was ready to make a snaky comment.

The blond haired girl, who knew better than to come between Kevin and his prey, proclaimed that she would get them all some drinks. As Rachel walked off, Jeff refused to make contact with Kevin’s gray eyes. Instead, he simply watched Ace prod a salt shaker, who began to become more and more uncomfortable with the silence.

Kevin finally broke the reticence with what Jeff thought would be a degrading remark, but instead he simply asked, “So… what was that all about?”

Jeff continued to stare at the table top as he answered. “Nothing. It wasn’t anything…” he blatantly lied.

“Oh yeah? So BRAWLY of all people just happened to be sore about losing to you?”

“Look!” Jeff sputtered, finding himself glaring into Kevin’s eyes. The abrupt actions scared the Squirtle, causing Ace to knock over salt shaker-its white grains spilling onto the table. “Just drop it, okay?!” he continued.

“Ok, ok,” Kevin said, almost chuckling. “Keep talking like that and you might make Ace here piss himself.” He looked down at his pokemon and playfully hit the Squirtle a little too hard on his shell, causing him to fall into the mess of spilled salt. Jeff merely watched Ace lift himself back up and, with a sigh, plop back down into a sitting position while brushing salt from his underbelly.

“Oh, cheer up you two!” Kevin insisted, shaking both of their shoulders. “You’re both alive and well, aren’t you?”

Just as he finished talking, Rachel appeared from behind them and sat in the unoccupied chair, carrying three drinks. She strategically placed them around the pile of salt and Ace.

“I can’t leave you alone for two minutes without you making a mess, Kevin,” she teased, acknowledging the salt.

“Hey, don’t blame ME; the little guy was the one who almost had a heart attack!” Kevin retorted with a light-hearted smile. Ace looked down with clear hints of shame in his maroon eyes. “And I can’t leave YOU alone for two minutes without you tripping over a stone and begging for a doctor, Rachel,” he mocked.

Kevin was answered by a sarcastic laugh and an ice cube in the face. The cube fell to the ground and the Squirtle watched it closely, fascinated by it as it began to melt into water.

Jeff, who had remained quiet until then, spoke up after chugging the carbonated drink in a single gulp. Wiping some of the beverage from his mouth, he asked, “So what IS your starter, Kevin? Or do YOU have a big show waiting, too?”

“Oh don’t worry, you’ll behold him in all his glory soon!” the blonde haired teen reassured with clear cockiness.

“Why don’t you just tell him?” Rachel inquired, while brushing a hand through her hair.

“And miss the look on his face once he sees it? Hah, I don’t think so!” he replied with a malicious smirk.

“Come on, your starter can’t be THAT cool,” Jeff observed as he brushed away salt to make room for his drink.

“He’s cooler than that Treecko of yours!” Kevin joked, lightly punching Jeff’s arm.

“Hey!” Jeff growled, punching his arm back much harder, not in the mood for his antics.

“Jeez, nice swing, man,” Kevin mumbled, wincing and rubbing his pained bicep. “When did you get to be so touchy?”

Jeff didn’t answer. Instead, he asked, “Why didn’t you two go with Al…the others?” He then took Kevin’s untouched drink and downed the whole thing. Kevin gave him a glare to which Jeff shrugged and answered, “I was thirsty.”

“We did think about going with them, but we decided to wait for you,” Rachel smiled, still twiddling her hair with her index and middle finger.

“Why?”

“Because we didn’t think you’d make it in mainland Hoenn all by yourself!” the blonde teen replied with his provoking smirk. “Face it, Jeff; you look like you have a habit of getting yourself in way over your head.” Kevin made a tapping gesture on his cheek, clearly referencing to the healing scar on Jeff’s face. Rachel hadn’t taken her eyes off it, either; it was the only visible wound that they could see.

“How did you get that scar, Jeff?” she asked him, genuinely curious.

Jeff stalled and looked back towards the recovery room. It took him a few moments to decide how to reply.

“…A branch. The day Treecko became my first pokemon…it’s kinda a long story.”

There was a brief silence, before Kevin brought his fist to his palm in revelation. “I KNEW there was something else different about you!” he exclaimed proudly. “What happened to that weird twig thing that you always used to carry around in your mouth?”

“It’s…in my pocket…” he replied ominously.

“…Anyways, didn’t you say you were taking your starter to the beach? It sure doesn’t look like he’ll be building any sandcastles anytime soon,” Kevin exclaimed with a laugh.

Jeff shot him a glare for making light of Treecko’s condition. “Yes, I did.”

“Doesn’t that sound cute, Rachel?” Kevin prodded.

“Hey, that kind of sounds like fun! Do you mind if we tag along, too?” Rachel asked with enthusiasm.

“Uhh…yeah, sure. I… you guys go on ahead. I have to take care of something first. Is that ok?”

They nodded and stood up, Kevin taking Ace under his arm like a football. Jeff got to his feet as well.

“I’ll meet you there,” he claimed. As the two walked away, he began to force himself to go to the only place where he thought he should be, despite the previous meeting with Brawly: the pokemon center’s recovery room.

--------------------------------------------

Treecko opened his eyelids after a good, relatively peaceful nap, unaware of the meeting between the gym leader and his trainer not too long ago. He darted his eyes to the bedside on the left, expecting to see Jeff, but only saw a boy kneeling, comforting his injured, pokeball-colored Wurmple. A few other pokemon and humans could be seen as well, but everyone was disregarded as they had no resemblance to the figure Treecko was looking for.

“<How long can it take for a human to get a drink?>” Treecko thought to himself.

He then finally noticed something pressing against the sheets somewhere near the middle of the bed. In a pained struggle, he lifted up his head, cringed, and looked down to find a can of Coke lying near where his tail was. He then dropped his head back on the pillow and sighed, relaxing his neck.

“<So, he did get it. And he’s gone. Good. I need to be alone for awhile,>” thought Treecko, blinking lazily.

The wood gecko stared at the ceiling, motionlessly.

“<Jeff thinks I battled to help him. He doesn’t know that I didn’t fight for him… I fought for myself. After that humiliating ambush by Nidoking, and then losing to Jeff because I underestimated him, I had to do it. I never thought he’d have the guts to go through with it. That’s why I fought.>”

Another part of his mind butted in, a part he wished he could erase, as it seemed only to exist for irritating him. “<Is that really the only reason why you fought? For honor and pride? Are you sure really didn’t fight because you wanted to help Jeff?>”

“<No… Yes… I don’t know,>” he pondered. As if a person was asking him these questions, he shut his eyes tightly in hopes of getting rid of this illusory figure before reopening them again. It resolved in no changes, and with the silence in this tedious room, he was slightly confused and angry at how he could be so dithering when it came to his thoughts. At his previous visit to this wretched place, Treecko was so weakened then, clear decisions and thoughts being hard to pass through his mind at the time. However, he felt confident with his selection despite these conditions, and did not regret his choice in the slightest bit. At least he redeemed himself, and showed someone who was boss.

Treecko frustratingly took the twig from his mouth and tossed it onto the end table. He heard the recovery room doors open as he thought, “<I don’t know what’s going to happen.>” He remembered how delighted he had been when Jeff had taken him as his starter over the popular Torchic and Mudkip, and was certain that from that moment, they’d be involved with nothing but great adventures. Now, with those times seeming so far away and out of reach, he was unsure where the future would take him, whether he was with Jeff or not.

He could see Jeff slowly walk in, and suddenly sensed feelings of awkwardness from the people in the room. Upon seeing the human, Treeck merely blinked in complaint before turning his head away. He felt Jeff attempting to ignore the human’s gazes as he made his way towards his bedside. The human had a warm, yet nervous smile on his face, from what Treecko could assume.

Jeff gently placed his hands around the wounded pokemon’s left hand when he reached the recovery bed. Much to Jeff’s confusion, Treecko slowly pulled away from his grip.

Taken aback, Jeff asked, “Treeck?” When he got no response, he insecurely corrected himself. “Treecko?”

The wood gecko pokemon glanced over at Jeff before staring at the ceiling. Silently, he wished he was gone; the short time alone had not been long enough. Who ever, or what ever, made him decide to leave the room without the Coke had done a horrible job of keeping him with them.

The human spoke in a hushed tone. “Treecko, I have some friends waiting at the beach…” That last statement seemed to catch the grass type’s attention. So, more humans were the cause; however, that didn‘t change his opinion on anything. “If you want to come… No, you shouldn’t. You’re probably still much too weak.”

That final remark struck Treecko hard. Weak, weak, weak… A simple, straightforward four-letter word, yet so harsh and rejected by many. He immediately scowled at that and sat up to the best of his ability, cringing with the movement and only proving Jeff to be correct.

“<I… I’m fine,>” he said with a grunt.

“No… you’re not fine. You almost died today!” Remembering the rather stark conversation with Brawly, and how he had made Treecko fight even though he wasn’t fully healed, he continued with, “Because I… What kind friend would I be if I made you come with me?”

“<A friend who knew who he was dealing with…>”

Jeff forced himself to not become angry with the pokemon again; with Brawly and Treecko, he knew he couldn’t be on both of their good sides. Instead, the two stared off. The determined human shook his head and gently placed his hands on the pokemon’s shoulders.

“No… Not this time.” Without any violence, he forcefully pushed Treecko back into a lying position, who attempted to struggle against him in vain.

“Treecko, please… for both of our sakes, rest. Get well.”

The wood gecko remained silent, but continued to look at him. Jeff reached in to pat Treecko’s head, but he stopped just short of meeting its destination, and instead reached for the Coke on the bed after noticing the quivering movements of his hand. His shaking hand abruptly retracted to his side after the soda was retrieved. The teen stood and backed up.

“Goodbye, Treecko… I’ll be back soon.”

The pokemon’s eyes followed him as he made a quick exit from the recovery room. Whether or not the quickness was to escape from the people or to get away from him, Treecko didn’t know. Then, he looked at the twig on the table, and realized Jeff’s had been absent before gazing back at the ceiling. Treecko didn’t seem to be the only one uncertain about the current circumstances.

“<…Goodbye, Jeff.>”

---

“I guess I shouldn‘t have expected anything less from that,” Jeff mumbled, and heavily sighed as he exited the pokemon center, already recalling the previous confrontation with his mulish, determined Treecko. Before leaving to get the Coke, Treecko had seemed glad for their victory and his return to Jeff’s team, but then decided to refuse the demands on remaining in his bed, to repose and recover. Jeff simply deemed it a mistake when he thought that his lizard pokemon would continue acting that way upon his arrival to the monotonous recovery room, a place that was he was sure he’d foolishly be stumbling into again.

Walking down the busy streets of Dewford, Jeff couldn’t help but notice the few shattered houses that were supposedly ruined by an Onix. An Onix… Perhaps Atlas was the culprit, as that was his species, but Jeff forbid himself to believe that such a gentle creature could go on a rampage on this island. Doubt suddenly took over his mind as he realized he had never actually spoken to Atlas yet, and he had just basically explained the Treecko situation to him out of sheer depression. His personality was unknown, his past a mystery. And, as he had learned with days prior to this one, anything was possible.

Overwhelmed with the confusion coursing through his mind, he began to run towards his destination; he was uncertain of future days, but he knew to go for the very moment. The tall buildings were only a blur out of the corner of his eye, and the stares of Dewford’s residents and tourists seemed nonexistent. There was nothing appealing about the island besides the gym, and even that had turned out to be a disaster with Brawly.

Jeff began to slow down as he reached the lively, energetic beach, which was the exact opposite of his current frame of mind. Surfers could be seen scattered in the ocean water, awaiting the arrival of the next wave. Other people were playing volleyball with the nets set up on the beach, tanning, or building castles and other figures with sand with their pokemon. Looking to the left of him, however, he noticed a cave far off into the distance, and the beach area near it was deserted. Knowing it had to do something with the rampage on the town, Jeff claimed it uninteresting and began to search for Kevin and Rachel.

When simply scanning the beach for them was unsuccessful, he began to wander around the beach on the sand in hopes of finding them. He was slightly annoyed at the grit finding its way into his shoes and socks, and he quickly pulled out his first badge from his left shoe and placed it in his pocket beside the dreaded Knuckle Badge.

“Daedalus STILL doesn’t know about our first gym battle. After his performance in Dewford’s gym, though, he may just be happy when he finds out,” Jeff said to no one in particular, then considered having his battling talk with his Taillow while his companions were nowhere to be found. Afraid he may cause another scene in front of everybody, he decided against that and began to make his way towards the coastline.

“Dude, these waves are totally radical today,” a familiar voice claimed, and Jeff’s head darted towards the direction of the vocals. As predicted, the blue-haired gym leader was on the beach, not too far away, crushing Jeff’s hopes of thinking, maybe, it wasn’t Brawly after all. Topless and water dripping from his swimming trunks, he walked out of the ocean to his surfer friends, a satisfied expression on his face.

“Oh, great,” Jeff murmured, hoping Brawly wouldn’t detect him. The area Jeff was standing in was somewhat safe with the distance between them, and the other people surrounding him. But, after their past encounter, the last thing he needed was for him to get another lecture from an experienced trainer about not being with Treecko right now, or anything else that could have been left unsaid, or undone. He watched Brawly speak to his friends in an inaudible voice, surfboards in hand. Jeff suddenly became slightly paranoid, thinking they were speaking of him, about Treecko’s conditions and Daedalus’s misbehavior.

"He didn’t even see me… did he?"

He briskly turned his head away and began walking, continuing the search for Kevin and his traveling partner. Using his hand to block some of the sunlight that was hindering his view, he tried to make out a Pidgey somewhere on the beach, remembering Rachel had one in her possession. However, only several Wingull and Butterfree were spread throughout the luminous sky, a pleasant change from the vile storm that took place when the chase for Treecko had taken place.

“Where the hell are they?” questioned Jeff. “Maybe Kevin thought this was TOO cute and ditched.” He kept up his ostensibly perpetual search for any sign of them. He dodged several pokemon and children playing in the sand, and began to see that Brawly was no where in sight among the people. Without knowing where he was, the bothersome paranoia stuck with him and his pace quickened immensely. As a result, he tripped over a small creature that Jeff was completely unaware of.

“What the--” He didn’t get to finish before catching a brief glimpse of blue and toppling face-first into the warm sand without warning.

...Continued

(Couldn't find a better place to break the chapter.)
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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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Older Fic banner by Scenice.
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