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'Realistic family photo' AKA 'If We Were Pure' art comissioned from Raizy
An author’s foreword note:
OC /Pokemorphs/ PG-13:For blood and some suggestive themes.
Word count so far in WordPerfect, 30 pages 11781 words
Fic Betaed By Pink Parka Girl as of 6/24/06, I am looking for a 2nd/new beta.
This fic can also be read on Fanfiction.net under my pen name Alicorn
(If you have anymore questions about little things just ask)
1) Who/what mark is:
Avon's line of makeup, skin and body care, fragrances, and accessories for young women to buy and sell.
2) This is an apple filled bear claw doughnut
It all started with this line of questions;
In the Pokémon world, if you don't go on a journey at age ten then what? Better yet, what happens to twentysomethings and older in the Pokémon world?
My answers to these questions, although a bit unorthodox, I hope will entertain you and make you think a little bit as well.
A usually short narrative making an edifying or cautionary point and often employing as characters animals that speak and act like humans.
Book 1: Human
I: A nurses confession, the beginning of a fable
II: An Unsettling hatching, Rediscovery of a self.
III: An Extended explanation, Avoidance of a mortality
IV: A Forgetful Farewell, Shedding Of a Humanity
V: An Initiation In White Linen, Inheritance Of a Family
VI: An Unmet Expectation, Reunion of A Bloodline
I. A nurses confession, the beginning of a fable.
My name is Yvonne, which is not pronounced like “A-von”( that product annoying salespeople dressed up as Delibird advertise
by talking about someone named Mark all the time), but “Ee-von”.
I stopped typing on my laptop slowly after this bold statement, wondering if I had come across in too snooty a tone with which to began a memoir.
No, no, it’s fine, I decided. After all, if I can’t be high and mighty in my own writing, where else can I ?
The rest of the details of my birth (“May 16th, 9:45 am”) and hometown (“The secluded water city of Cerulean”) followed soon after, and poured so swiftly from my typing fingers that I could have sworn I was writing with an ink pen by candlelight like all the great master writers...
I felt my brow pull down in effort and my blue eyes squint into a driven glaze as I wrote on, my own personal inner cheerleading squad shouting me on.
Headed for future glory! Bound to be written about in the history books! Others will look at the place in which I sit today and speak “Lo’! This is where the famous one penned her greatest wor...!
“Nurse Joy! N.U..R.S..E...JOOOY!” A pitiful, whimpering, and somewhat whiny voice hollered out of the blue.
“Ack!” I replied, spilling over backward from the bar stool like perch I had been sitting on. I fell with a crash, the white titles on the ceiling of the room appearing blurry before my eyes for a couple uneasy moments before rearranging themselves back into line.
Funny, I had never noticed what a fine remodeling job the work crew had done on the building before. Granted, I had never viewed it from an upside down ground level position before, ether.
Ours was a small pokemon center after all, situated in between the outskirts of Viridian Forest and Pewter City.
Everyone (myself and a handful of my peers who also hate working here) was rightfully surprised that a “middle of nowhere” center like this one would be approved for the funding to get repairs and other much needed maintenance done. Yet, here it was in all its “work environment” glory; with new black and white title floors so clean you could eat off their glossy surface, sky blue and baby yellow sunflower print wallpaper, and glossy red counter tops with matching red cushioned stools that gave the illusion we were running a 50's malt shop rather than a pokemon healing facility. All of this was meant, in essence, to energize we “workers” and provide a safe, happy place for all.
Oh, how I it hated so.
I got up slowly, rubbing my head at the point of its impact with the shiny linoleum and wondering why new pokemon trainers always happened to be so loud and energetic in the middle of the afternoon.
Then I saw who it was.
“Oh, hello Billy, how nice to see you again. How are you?” I spoke in the false sweet happy tone that was company policy.
If ever there was a legend around this pokemon center it was Billy. This ten year beginner had been coming to my center for the better part of a month, at least twice a day, seven days a week. His light hair was always dirty and sometimes it was difficult to tell whether the large collection of band aids covering areas of his face and knees in situated clumps were barely holding his small preadolescent body together; or if he was only pretending to get in the bloody battles with lone Pidgey he often talked about. Ether way, his only pokemon, a tiny Weedle, always ended up getting the business end of whatever they came across and was, as a result, battled well beyond its limit.
Every. Single. Day.
It was more than enough to make any pokemon caretaker sick, and one reason of many why I hated this job. My cheerfulness at helping trainers like Billy may have been pretend, but my love for pokémon certainly was not.
“Stupid Weedle fainted again! He’s so weak, ya know.” Billy said briskly, reaching a hand into his pocket and digging out a pokéball.
Beaten and dented, the once bright red and white pokemon container was now a half dark brown and tan mess from the ingrained dirt on its surface. I poked it inquisitively with a fingernail, wincing as a half inch deep section of sediment crumbled off the sphere.
I knew from experience the pokemon inside couldn’t be much better.
“Okay then, well, we’ll just give Weedle a few moments on the pokéball energizer and send him back to be looked at by the type specialty nurses.” I said oh-too-cheerfully, my smile masking the inner dialogue that was running though my head as I took the ball.
This is a pokemon center, not a quickie mart! Shame on you for battling your pokemon so recklessly! They are living things just like you or me and..
“Thanks Nurse Joy, but could you hurry up? Just healin’ it on the table thingie should be good enough.” Billy said, wiping his nose with a band-aid covered hand.
My. Name. Is. Not. JOY! My inner voice of truth yelled. It’s Yvonne! How many times do I have to tell you before you get in though your head!
And, um, I’m not really a nurse ether..
My last thought stopped me from correcting the little boy about my name for what seemed like the hundredth time. If he knew that I was still just a student at Kanto Nurse Joy University there was no telling what might spill forth from his brace lined teeth, and I could really do without that today.
School. Phh. It wasn’t as if I really loved what I was being taught there...
I placed the pokéball in the round indentation and watched the life force of the pokemon glow for a moment inside the ball with a studious concentration.
A second later, much to Billy’s disapproval, I had whisked the ball, pokemon and all, into the back hallway and handed it off to our center’s resident bug type P.P.D.
He flashed me a look of “oh, this again,” and began to go to work like a well oiled, if a little old, machine.
I returned to the front desk, nimbly getting down on my hands and knees to avoid being detected by the boy, and snatched up my trusty laptop from the floor where it had fallen.
And now it’s time for this little intern to get back to her life’s story, I remarked gleefully to myself, making a speedy, crawling retreat to the quiet recovery room.
The recovery room was a cozy and inviting place. It was heated in the early evening with a tried and true small kerosene heater, lit by lamps and night lights.
The new sky blue wallpaper reflected the light in a soft manner, making the room appear a light gold color that bathed every form within it. Pokemon, small and large alike, lay here, some tucked inbetween lacy blankets like foundling babies. Overall it felt like a nursery, and at this time of day, was the most perfect place to write I could hope for.
In this peaceful silence that seemed to hang in the air, broken only by the soft sleeping sounds of the pokemon, I had been putting myself in a mental psychologist’s chair for the better part of four hours,
far away in my own “writers world”.
When had it started? When had I began to hate this job?
Well, from the very beginning, I answered myself. Since when I was little and wanted to be a pokemon trainer.
My parents had said it was too dangerous and put me into school. Into something nice and safe that would give me a career “fit for a young lady.”
Now, all I knew of any use was the beginning courses of being a “pokéball technical nurse”, a fancy title for the nurse whose only job is to run a pokemon center’s pokéball energizer day and night, and can say “would you like to rest your pokemon?” and “we hope to see you again! ” in five different Kanto, Johto, and Hoenn dialects.
It all comes down to wanting to make my parents happy, I suppose.
Despite my hidden temper all I had every wanted was to make everyone in my life happy with me.
It sounded so pitiful now that I thought of it that way.
After all, I was nineteen, going on twenty in a month or so. Almost an official adult. Who knew if my father might get it into his head to arrange a marriage for me or something, all for my “own good?”
I felt my eyes widen in horror at the thought.
What if he already had and just hadn’t told me yet? What would I do then to please everyone?
A shiver ran down my spine and I shook it off, going back to typing more notes on my computer, only much slower this time.
My parents would be shocked if they knew that since my dreams of being a Pokémon trainer had been crushed, I had set my sights on being a best selling author. It was a job that, to them, ranked somewhere between someone who cleans out cages at the zoo and a homeless bird woman.
I typed the next words with vigor:
But never the less, as a proud bookworm for years, I continue on under their noses.
My cheeks suddenly flushed as I remembered the other thing I had been keeping from them.
The one reason why had I taken the Saturday shift in the first place... HIM.
The single line of text in his usual stately Times New Roman sent my heart into nervous flip-flops in my stomach. They were the words every person in an internet relationship both hopes for and dreads.
My eyes, scanning over and reading the declaration for what seemed like the tenth time, were the only part of my body I could feel moving as my mouth went dry and my thoughts started playing emotional maracas. The words began with an innocent every day “I want..” and ended with the ever popular earth shattering, “...to meet you.”
The logical side of my mind was the first to speak
Of course he would want to meet you in real life, you’ve been talking online for almost six months now.
“Yvonne? Are you still there? “ The stately black text appeared slowly, almost shyly in the empty white space of the private chat room.
I blinked, startled out of my misty daze and typed in reply hurriedly.
“Yes, I’m here.”
I could almost hear his laugh, or what I had always thought of as his laugh come across the endless silence of the internet.
“Thank goodness for that, I thought for a moment you had fainted.”
I smiled, chicken pecking a reply cheerfully with a lone four fingers like in my high school days.
“”Well, you did floor me, that is for sure.”
My spirits began to lighten slightly. This was not a stranger I was speaking to after all, it was Nathan. Nathan, the same person I had spent months confiding in, who always was so understanding of how maddening work could be, who seemed to be the only one to really see the world like I did...
“So, should I take that pause as a ‘no?’ I wouldn’t want to make you do anything you do not want to, you know that.”
“Yes...I mean, no, no! I would love to meet you, really I would.” I typed, flustered and tripping over my own virtual tongue quite nicely.
“ 8:30 pm then, next Saturday. At the edge of forest in back of your Center...I wouldn’t want you to get scolded for meeting a boyfriend on your employer’s time, after all.”
I let out a giggle at the word boyfriend, a term as rare in the world of a pokemon nurse as a noon time sighting of a flying Doduo over Pewter City.
Taking in a deep breath, I replied at that very moment while my mind was still numbed with happiness.
A fine mess you’ve gotten yourself into, Yvonne, my logical side chimed in now, seeing that the coast was clear as my faded happiness from days before had been replaced by the chill of being outside for the last ten minutes.
Having paid the price of the customary sacrificial apple filled bear claw to my chubby overseer for an hour of "I don't know where she went or when she will be back" time, I sat scot-free...and waiting. The waiting was the hardest part.
The appointed meeting spot was a serene grove of fir and oak just outside the line of sight of anyone who might happen to glance out of the rear windows of the building.
The seat upon which I was nervously resting now also happened to be the edge of the honorable center’s guest room heating and air conditioner.
I dug the toe of my shoe into the earth that rimmed the surrounding concrete of the large grey metal box with a choppy kick.
A nineteen girl old girl was found dead today, an emotionless news reporter rattled in my minds eye. Rumor has it she had taken up the obsessive desperate practice of online dating, and was planning to meet the man she had been conversing with soon after she disappeared. Film at ten.
No, No! I shook my head with a rough forward jerk, clearing my fears. You’ve got to think positive! Think of the nice times with Nathan, think of the things he’s told you, think of what his face will be like...
A chill wind whipped pass the tall grass between the trees just then as if to aid my troubled mind. The air, which seemed moments ago to still be heavy with the memory of the muggy summer day, now danced across my bare arms, leaving goose bumps.
I breathed it in, slowly filling my chest, the weight of work forgotten as I busied myself with smoothing out the hem of the white pinafore on my pink uniform dress.
Would he be tall or short? Perhaps he is a different nationally than me? I never thought to ask!
Well that didn’t matter much; he did say that he lived somewhere near here, and was only a few months older than myself...
Hand in hand with the mellow wind and my now acquired need for a coat, my imagination painted a picture of a man with long dark hair and eyes of an undescribable mixed color worthy of a best selling romance novel. My eyes glazed over jubilantly, and my bottom ached from being pressed against my metal perch somewhere far away, as I daydreamed...
The warm soil and clear night had welcomed the cheery sounds of chirping crickets and humming Venomoth from among the shadows by the time I saw a figure in the near distance and sat up like a shot.
It was plain to see the person was a man, and that he had been approaching all this time. I cursed myself for dozing off.
He was a figure of above average height warped in a light brown coat and brimmed hat that brought to mind the adventures of an underpaid daredevil rune explorer.
I remembered plainly now from our months of chatting Nathan’s job..
“So, what do you do?”
“Nothing worth speaking of, just capturing and selling common pokemon from the wild in small numbers to good breeders.”
“Oh, that sounds wonderful, you must have such freedom..”
“It pays the bills...”
Surprisingly, his frame was small for an outdoorsman; his upper arms even appearing a bit scrawny under layers of fabric as he reached up to pull off his hat, wiping his brow with long gloved fingers.
I couldn’t tell for sure if the cause for this pause was mainly because he had walked a long distance already today or if it was purely nerves at our meeting each other.
I was completely sure of the later source when one of his green eyes locked upon my own under his newly reveled untidy mop of short sandalwood brown hair.
He had noticed I was no longer asleep!
Whether he was a bit slow at making observations of details, or had just been avoiding my curious gaze up until this moment, it didn’t seem to matter.
I stood up slowly, rooted to the spot. My shoes came into contact with a strong pull of self-conscious shyness.
His smile was a slow, leisurely gesture that caught me off guard, like the welcome of a long lost childhood friend. His first words were not.
“Did you invite me here of your own free will?” He asked, his tone strangely serious, melting away his first reaction to me.
What sort of question is that?
My mind flashed back to our easy going discussions on the internet. These weighted, business like words did not match the sort of man who had told me in serous confidence his most embarrassing secrets..his favorite novels..his small, funny habits...
“Yes, um, of course. What is it, Nathan? Is somethi...” My question fell sort as I saw a shiver quake his frame a moment after my saying his name, and slowly, like a worker suddenly relieved of a heavy weight, he fell to his knees.
My god! He’s sick! Howlonghashebeenwalking!
I gasped, my ‘nursing drive’ kicking in as I raced quickly to bridge the small distance between us.
“So.. you fully.. comprehend..the significance of this meeting?” He nearly croaked now.
Dehydration. I forgave most of his words to this natural demon he had gotten while coming to see me...just me...
Of course, he wanted to make sure I wasn’t one of those girls who acted like they cared online but never followed though on anything. This meeting was important. Maybe I’d end up his girlfriend...
The whole world seemed to slow down to a crawl as he raised his head upward and my breath caught in my chest.
His eyes shone an unmistakable violet sheen with the fleeting intensity of a ripple on water.
Silencing my scream and my thoughts in one fluid movement..as he rose up with the speed of a soundless wind, latching on to my throat...
Kicking and pounding my fists against his hold, what began as two heavy shots of pain throughout my body soon numbed into a slow pulsing lightheadedness, laced with the sound of someone screaming far away.
like a cloud,
II. An Unsettling hatching, Rediscovery of a self.
The worm. Choking... gagging my breath. Feasting upon my soul with eyes of blood red ruby. Its skin, snow white, segmented, pulsing, drawing my life inward as I watched it from some indescribable dreamlike location within myself, and replacing it with a warm, colorless mucous.
The wretched creature... yes... it's evil was like a slow pull... the gravity of an unknown planet of consciousness...
Onward and onward it seemed to drive, not satisfied with the confines of my mouth but wishing to reach some unknown destination closer to my throat.
Then... then, I felt it. Instinctive... growing...energy...
Yes...along with that one half solidified burst of will I gave form to my terror, loneliness, emotion...
With one swift movement closing my jaw, bringing an end to its loathsome life...
Clamping down on it with my teeth and hearing its hideous cry...
I could hear words as if they were echoing down a long tunnel, randomly muffled and jumbled beyond my half sleeping mind’s recognition, but faintly familiar like the comforting monotone of a foreign language tape...
And cursing , yes, very loud cursing...
"My tongue, my tongue! Why does it always have to be my tongue!"
The voice was somewhat brash and unencumbered as if very used to hearing itself talk.
"Oh settle down now, it’s not that bad..."
This voice, its neighbor, was in comparison a bit mellow around the edges, the soothing counterweight to the first impolite outburst...that voice, my mind searched sleepily, yes, Nathan’s voice...
Oh, so warm...
"Don’t give me that now! I’ve had it, this is the last straw! Every time, every time, I tell you, I play nursemaid for months and months and what do I get in return? This!"
A pause that indicated some sort of unspoken gesture followed.
"Oh, that. Really now, Milo, a mere flesh wound."
An exasperated sigh that could only come with years of bottled adolescent emotion filled the room.
Faintly I began to feel the tingling sensation of blood returning to my hands. The speakers didn’t seem to notice however and continued on in their conversation.
"I don’t care what you say she is, Father, she might as well starve for all I care! I will not be expected to tongue feed her one more minute of my life..."
"Don’t you dare use such an insolent tone about your...!"
Yes, I felt as if I really could move again, my limbs heavy like granite and my head filled with a cotton that expanded and contracted with every feeble attempt of thought.
Opening my eyes was my first mistake.
My hands reached up to shade my face from the radiance of the sun, the faint weight of a sheet falling away from them.
My vision was only a fraction better when the gruesome image of two rows of demonic teeth upon an unhinged jaw, parted in an inhuman laughter, drove me backward.
The uneasy, uncontrollable feeling of falling off a high bed onto a cold concrete floor was muffled by the layer of cold fabric wrapped around my legs.
When suddenly, in that moment from both everywhere and somewhere very near me, I heard the same scream I heard upon first losing consciousness in Nathan's arms... what seemed like only a moment ago.
But this scream was new, edged with the raw terror and primal rage.
Not a human sound, but a cry of a caged animal just disciplined with an electric rod, laced at its ending with the uncommon mix of an ambulance siren and nails upon a chalkboard.
I felt my own arms clutched around my body, wet with sweat and shaking violently now...
When the form I had seen before spread out large scaled wings from the confines of its towering silhouette.
The sound came again.
More cursing, more half jumbled speech I could not understand.
In that moment I realized the sound was me.
And I didn't care.
"That infernal Supersonic, I never knew they...um, your kind...got it so young..."
"Hold your tongue, Milo. That is our god given first line of protection, one that you deserve! Put those infernal things away... you sent her into shock "
I was cold... so cold... and alone... so alone.
Somehow I seemed suddenly overaware of the pressure of my spinal cord against my other organs as I lay curled up in what I could only guess in my present condition was the corner of some sort of large room. The two walls were the only thing keeping me upright, I realized dimly, when I felt his presence come near.
His smell was intoxicating, as if a scent alone could carry with it the warmth and spiciness of a summer day, the breath of fresh cut wood and aroma of old leather bound library books, thumbed well by the hands of time.
As the weight of his arm came down to encircle my shoulders I felt my body move instinctively toward his chest, my bare legs coming to rest upon his jean covered lap like my body was on security seeking autopilot.
His voice was a low reassuring monotone of sound, half of the wording of which was lost in the haze I felt; as if it was someone else far away who happened to be nuzzling her nose into the well stretched fabric of his T-shirt.
"There, there...you are safe, you are with me, you shall never be in need nor want for anything. You can attack me if you wish, kill me, or do whatever your heart desires... but whatever you do, you must not sleep. Stay here with me...and come back to reason first. Then, please let us talk together. That is all I ask you. There there, there there... you are safe and warm..."
What followed next was very difficult to describe, as it seemed to me, at the start, like an elaborate exercise to steal me away from the lulling unspoken melody Nathan's breath and heartbeat continued to make, as though tempting me to the subconscious paradise of sleep.
"What is the capital of Kanto?"
His first question; silly, unimportant, something kindergartners learn before afternoon snack.
For the strangest reason I did not know...
It did not matter. This brand new level of intense feeling did.
"What is the capital of Kanto?"
Again that trivial question; his voice seemed less warm when requesting it from me. Perhaps if I tried to answer, his speech would return to that gentle reassuring hum of before.
My voice was odd, sounding cracked and awkward like an unplayed record left for too long in a forgotten attic.
"Good girl." Came the humming tone again.
Yes, oh yes, how I wanted to hear it once more.
And so the bizarre quiz-like requests continued on for what seemed to be hours, or even days.
Perhaps it was really only a few minutes.
Everything from color of the sky, to the sound of a waking Pikachu, all the way down to the finer points of my Pokémon organ rehabilitation training, while all the while my need for reassurance was slowly growing, clearing and reshaping itself into true reasoning emotions.
First a pure calm, then a nagging curiosity, and finally the seeds of a full-blown frustration.
Maybe it was a math questions that finally did it.
I never was really good at math.
"Twenty-four times twenty four ?
"Five hundred seventy six."
"Twenty-six times twenty six ?"
"Six hundred... seventy...This..is..."
"Oh? What was that?"
I heard something move to the left of us as if a large two-ton sack of potatoes had just been roused from a long nap.
"Hey, a snappy retort! She actually talks. Throw a party already for all I care. Anything would be better than listening to all this mushy 'bring your mind back to reason' stuff..."
The last intended add-on to the speakers comment, something about the mouth he had been feeding for the last few months finally being useful for a change, died away to a grumbling murmur a second later.
Upon glancing upward from my cradled area on his lap (my eyes now fully refocused back to normal) I could see that it was Nathan's own piercing glare of discipline that cut the boy’s commentary dead.
His clear green eyes were surely a force to be reckoned with .
Yes, a boy. While the voice was large it definitely had a younger sound to it, one that I've become well acquainted with in the confines of my pokecenter internship.
I looked up farther, finally summoning the strength within my muscles to turn around fully from the nook of Nathan's embrace.
I found that I was in a small flat, a sort of plain low rent district studio apartment that was popular with poor middle age unattached men (or at least what I had always imagined they would have).
Two large windows allowed golden sunlight to spill into the confines of the humble abode furnished only with a TV, a large double bed (I must have fallen off of that), a refrigerator, and a half-dozen beat up looking dining chairs, all of which were varying degrees of dingy white.
White seems to be a theme here.
I wonder if the owner has a germ phobia? I pondered
Not that I had time to psychoanalyze interior decorating though, as what happened to be sitting, or who happened to be sitting, that is, in one of the chairs was far more, um, interesting...
The first thing that stood out about him, weirdly, was the sheer size of his legs.
Twin homages to whatever higher power had first invented bone cartilage, a single one of his appendages was with the size of both of my upper thighs put together! They bulged out of a pair of faded kneelength camouflage cargo pants, and ended dramatically with a large pair of bare feet overrun with calluses that he was rubbing against the concrete where he sat, impatiently shifting his weight. And what a weight it was!
Stretching out in every direction, from his mass laced arms to his protruding stomach, he looked every bit like the type of teenager I would never want to meet in a dark alley. He could not have weighed less than 300 pounds, and from what I could see of his well-defined deltoids under a tight fitting black coat, not all of that was mere fat.
His young, freckled, red hair rimmed face seemed almost out of place upon its large strong lower jaw line as he eyed me with the look I couldn't read.
For a second I could've sworn his gray eyes turned a ruby red shade in the light.
"Milo, for goodness sakes be personable for once."
Nathan spoke firmly to the teenaged giant I had by now made a point of edging away from.
Dignity was a small price to pay for self-preservation, after all.
"At least try to introduce yourself like a gentleman."
The oversized youth extended a hand with weighted reluctance and squeezed my own shaking fingers within his sausage-like digits.
"Name's Milo, Milo Aldridge. Not that last names have any meaning around here."
He spoke flatly, looking me square in the eye with an intensity that burned an imaginary hole around the vicinity of my forehead.
And then he did something that I wasn't expecting it all.
Now under normal circumstances I might have thought of this is a friendly gesture, if still a little bit sarcastic.
But a normal smile would have stopped far sooner.
In place of it the expanse of Milo's lips around his two rows of surprisingly pearly teeth continued to draw farther and farther back around his jaw line revealing the gruesome sight I had thought was only a dream earlier - a semi circle of what looked like well over 200 brutally sharp canines of an otherworldly predator, the majority of which turned out to be tucked away under the façade of regular human teeth in the front of his mouth, the action of the flexing his buccinator muscles sliding the natural weapons out of unseen bone sockets.
I shrieked in a true knee-jerk reaction, grabbing a handful of Nathan's shirt and nearly kneeing him in a most uncomfortable area in the process.
Note to self: A guys lap is not necessarily the most ideal place to have screaming convulsions.
Milo's voice boomed in laughter now containing an even more ragged edge to its tone.
"Oh that face! I tell you, it never gets old. Yahaha! Well you better get used to it! You’re one of us now..."
I never knew what compelled me to look back at Nathan's face just then but I found I was greeted by the same wide, stormy, violet colored eyes I remembered so clearly from the night of my collapse.
Two canine teeth, though much less fearsome and more delicate and long looking (maybe four inches? Their width couldn't be more than that of a quilting needle) compared to Milos full arsenal, extended out from behind the dummy human ones, resting on the bottom lip of Nathan's now strangely gentle expression.
All my fear and confusion somehow melted into mental silly putty with that single look.
"I know all of this must be a lot for you to take in at once. You have been sleeping for three months after all...you may find your new developing state of mind will help with all of that. But first, before we go any further... this mark here.”
I felt his hand come down to trace the hollow of my neck ever so lightly with a burning touch, while its twin reached for something and came back with small square hand mirror, its glass cracked with spider web like fractures in a corner.
I took the handle of the reflective surface gingerly from him, my hand trembling slightly.
What are you afraid of? My inner monologue teased.
I'm... I'm not afraid...I answered myself slowly. I'm not frightened at all...but I should be more scared...that is what worries me.
The mark was a perfect circle the size of an old fashion ten yen coin, its detailing worthy of the envy of a master tattoo artists. In place of ink, the intricate knot within the circle was made up as near as I could tell of my own small blue capillaries and strangely purple tinted scar tissue. It was as if my own body in an attempt to recover from a nearly fatal wound had somehow miraculously reconstructed new blood pathways around the indentation, bowing out to the graceful twist and turns of the artwork. It seemed to be made up of two sections at first, but my eyes were lost when trying to find a point in which the pathways of decorative knot ever truly disconnected.
"It means we will be together for always." Nathan whispered, a breath away from kissing the spot. "It is your wedding ring. Do you like it?"
The light click of the mirror being placed upon the floor made little reverberance in the early evening air as I caught sight of the violet shine in my own eyes.
Whoah... I've read this fanfic elsewhere, and I know the next few chapters are just as good. This story definitely rates as a nine out of ten on the ACC scale of fanfiction uber-rating. Yes- anyway, there are a few differences here between your conception of Pokemon and mine, but that's really just me. (You tend to think of Pokemon as being more animal-like, I interpret them as being intelligent, to the point that when I create a Pokemon character, he/she is usually smarter then the trainer, for example.) I'd actually love to sit down and talk sometime about writing (over the internet, I'm not some kind of real-life Nathan clone!) So, anytime you want to chat with me about writing just call.
Incidentally, I watched your video blog and your mystery dungeon videos on youtube. I couldn't stop laughing- and I was surprised when I discovered that you scored Cubone too. I'm supposed to be the only Inner-Cubone author here! And I still don't see how MD would affect Pokemorph fanfics, but I've never tried one, so what the heck would I know?
After all, what is the point of pokemorphs if the animal side they are mixed with is just as human as the human base?
Anyway, even if they are more animal like in my veiw that does'nt mean they are'nt treated like friends just like world animals
But I am proud of the Mini movies . And of all the MD pokemon I think Cubone has the most character
III: An Extended explanation, Avoidance of a Mortality
"Now, if everyone did last night's assignment this question should not strain your feeble little minds: of all the Pokémon species not of the vaporous and gelatinous classifications, which possesses the second most lethal poison?"
My arm ached.
It was embarrassingly skinny, as I was, and had always been, so much smaller than the other children.
Truth be told, this one distinguishing characteristic, which might not have been that big of a deal in a normal classroom, was just the sort of thing to make me a black sheep in primary nursing school.
In this crowd of twenty-four neatly bobbie-pinned heads and looped pink curls, even an unironed dress sleeve could get one a case of no holds barred teasing for an entire day.
I raised my tiny appendage higher in the sea of arms, trying to fight on in the unspoken war.
Pick me! Pick me! My silent plea went out with wiggling fingers.
I switched to the other arm swiftly, supporting the limb with my lesser hand grasping it at the elbow.
I know I know I know I kno...
"Seviper!" I proclaimed.
Giggles erupted from all sides; signaling my defeat long before the teachers voice chimed in.
“No. That is incorrect. If Miss Colville had happened to read her text more carefully she would know that the Pokémon in question is..."
I felt all the blood rush to my cheeks in embarrassment as Mrs. Noble rattled of off the answer.
Of course I knew. How could I have forgotten? I pressed my nose down on the surface of my desk and groaned.
The pressure against my nose gave two velvety taps and paused again.
Its taps persistent, this give and take ritual continued on for a good five minutes of annoyance and words on the edge of sleep.
“Aw... Mom... I don't wanna go to school! Mrs. Noble is mean.."
I mumbled, nearly turning all the way over to bury my face in the soft, cool, and very much inanimate pillow surface. A set of claws dug lightly into my side, and a familiar meow of vengeance registered somewhere near my ear.
The flurry of cream colored fur, the shade of a stuck up billionaire movie star’s feather filled sofa throw pillows, was an all too familiar sight to me as I awoke from one reality of gashing teeth to another.
The hissing, spitting, whirlwind of annoyed, and over all most unhappy, Pokémon mass shifted its mighty twelve pound weight swiftly onto my stomach and sent me tumbling halfway upside down over the side of the bed.
The bed... with its rose trimmed sheets... embroidered bedskirt... and battered three-year-old stuffed Goldeen comforter with all its interior filling settled to one side...
My bed... my honest-to-goodness perfectly normal somewhat boring bed!
I was home!
At least, I was in the apartment that had been my home for the last few years of my internship. Its salary was not quite enough for extreme luxury, after all.
My head still spinning, I crained to my neck upwards to lock gazes with a pair of glinting almond shaped sky blue eyes, their pupils so dilated that the light blue made up only a rim of color around a deep sea of black.
“Good morning, Nickel,” I said plainly, feeling my upper lip curl in a weak smile.
"MEOWTH, th, th, Meo!" The enraged urban cat type spat bitterly, lacing my bangs with spittle.
It felt like a hundred years since I had last been in this most ordinary environment, and I knew to Nickel the end result emotionally had been about the same for him.
Pokémon have a very different sense of time than the average human. Some studies suggest that their perception is in many ways akin to a very young human child. Whereas pleasurable events make time travel at the rate of minutes an hour, distressing or painful events may seem like they take hours in the confines of a handful of minutes.
I could tell with no hesitation whatsoever that what I had here was a case of a very distressed and neglected feeling meowth.
If I Nathan’s words were true, and I really had been gone for three months, my cat was not about to let me live it down any time soon, that much I was... sure of...
I was...I was... Those two words struck a half forgotten chord somewhere deep in my mind. A memory from yesterday, or had it been longer ago still?
I flopped once more onto the bed, having just recently gathered the necessary strength to scramble back from hanging over the abyss of my bedroom carpet.
The faded blue fabric of the two sizes too big men’s long sleeve t-stirt I now found myself still wearing felt oddly comfortable as I put my arms under my head, subconsciously ringing the three inches of extra material that enveloped both of my hands between my fingers.
I'd always heard the human lifespan is divided into three records: birth records, marriage records, and death records. Suddenly, the prospect of having two of these said records already applying me at age twenty felt more than a bit depressing.
Of course, most people with commitment issues did not have the odd realization of being born twice...or the unique concept to deal with of not having to face mortality for a very long time.
Still, I had missed the coming-of-age ceremony this year, the only one that would ever apply to me...
I would never get the chance to wear my over flamboyant red kimono and fluffy pink boa, while getting hopelessly drunk on sake with my peers, enjoying the warm buzz of youth, not knowing what the future would bring; being united in the fellowship of acting so extremely goofy for one night in a shade of too bright red lipstick as all the authorities merely looked on...
Now, in place of my birthday celebration, I had three months that were merely a blank slate, and a vague recollection of many hours of detailed explanation told primarily by my new husband, (or should he be referred to as a 'mate'? ) who became such only by kidnapping me in the most blatant example of a worst-case scenario of internet dating I could have ever dreamed of in my former state of mind.
The cocktail of my mixed emotions ran bitter like a throbbing headache over the inside of my skull, forcing me to think less about the bigger picture of the past few days and more on the concise, less emotional, shocking details of my mates conversation...
I was... I was...
“When you say I am ‘one of you’...that is, if I am your kind now...”
Easy, Yvonne, you can do this, concentrate on the words, I coached myself silently. Put them in the right order and just...
“What am I? What are you?”
The effort to speaking with any seriousness felt like it had just taken a gigantic weight off my chest.
“Well now, that is a remarkable question we don’t answer often.” Nathan chuckled
“Yeah, since seven years ago more or less, ” Milo added, rolling his eyes and retracting his front teeth behind their human doubles, with a sound that brought vividly to mind a muk driving into a pool of gelatin. “But at least she was not so awfully noisy about it...”
Nathan seemed to sucessfully ignore that comment, and rubbed his head thoughtfully.
“I would guess, that your type before your hatching, the humans that is, would know our kind as the creatures commonly referred to as Vampir, or more presently, as vampires. Although other terms have been applied to our core physiolo..”
I felt various body parts I did not even know I had go numb with disbelief.
“Vampire? As...in...blood... drinking.... vampire?”
An affirmative nod, a chuckle from the nearby goliath.
“Vampires..as in..horror movie...undead..vampires?”
“I assure you, we are very much alive, and you were never before, nor will you ever be for a long time, a corpse. We do not even call ourselves by that name. It is solely a human term.”
“Yes. We are called Lineage. Your relatives by creation blood are your... our... “Family.” Your official title is that of Mother to this family, with all those ranking below you required to address you as such. ”
Milo made a face and grumbled. “I have no plans to ever be addressing her as such, Father, any more than I am ever undressing her, thank you.”
Maybe if I just grinned and nodded this would all be a dream...
“But there is more, and in order to live you must learn this well, Dear Heart...There are different types of Lineage.”
His eyes fixed upon me with the burning purpose that his speech seemed incapable of conveying alone.
“This may be the hardest to understand but it is essential. Milo here is of Charmander Lineage.”
In the mist of these words I saw the boy get to his feet and with a swift flex of his mighty biceps and the grind of straining fabric, large copper colored wings unfurled themselves from the outline of his body. The same wings from what I supposed was only a misty hallucination hours ago, now happened to be stretched out to their full-length before me, knocking over a couple chairs with their muscular wingspan.
Each wing by itself was a marvel to behold, like one half of an eccentric european-style dragon lovers self-made hang glider. But the flesh strung below the sinewy humerus and wing radius, and running down upon the thin nearly invisible two phalanx (that allowed for the wings flexible stability) was far too alive and pulsing with a bizarre mixture of tiny aquamarine colored scales, and porous lightly haired humanlike flesh, to ever be mistaken for an artificial construct.
Whatever he was, or what his people (my people?) called him, those wings could have not been merely grafted onto his body in any way I can think feasible with the considerable amount of knowledge I had obtained in my many Pokémon and human relation physical biology classes.
This couldn't be possible...
The idea of vampires existing alone was hard to grasp with a sane mind, but adding to the mix the mythical idea idea of...
Pokémon human crosses... were the stuff of fables written for toddlers... stories like...
I can still remember my great grandmother's heavily lined face looking down at me with a bemused expression over half moon spectacles.
I was four, wearing my favorite sunflower print dress, and looking down in turn on the picture book she held with all the questioning power of a tiny ruler of my own domain of fairy tales.
"Grandmére, why did the Abra man die?"
Her voice in reply was gravelly and weighted down with a history of living I would never come to know fully.
"Sweetheart, he died because he was a lazy and wouldn’t listen to the hard-working rattata-man when he told him a long winter was coming. He had no food left to eat and starved."
"But why? Why did he have to die? Why didn't Rattata-Man share his food with him?"
"You'll understand where you're older. The world isn't really that kind to the lazy or weak, Evie. No matter how much we think it is unfair..."
“And we.. both... are Zubat Lineage.”
Nathan’s hand grasped my own, and silently, like a puzzle snapping into place at a gradual, yet reassuring, rate I knew the nature of those luminous eyes.
Purple. The natural pigment of a poison pokémon venom before being exposed to the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels outside the body...
My mind attempted to reach for logic, grasping at what a little I could draw upon something, anything...
“But..aren’t those Charizard wings?...And if he is..made by you..shouldn’t he be a Zubat lin..e..age to?”
Milo groaned and lay back down on the bed, folding his wings, now outside of their confines of fabric, into the neat triangle shape of a kite at rest.
“Oh, how I hate hatchlings so early in the evening”
And so there it was, plain as the day light streaming through my open bedroom window.
I was a vampire, a vampire pokémorphic-ish thing called a Lineage.
I raised my hand to watch the sunshine bounce off each curvature of my fingers and was greeted with no smoking, first-degree burns, or spontaneous combustion like those supernatural movies were so fond of. I checked my consciousness briefly: no urge to wear black clothing, no frightening change of taste toward listening to heavy metal music, no craving to put on three shades of non-matching dark makeup or sleep in a wooden box.
So far so good.I don’t even look very different from all I can tell, maybe...
That is when the smell finally hit me. It could not have been anything suddenly new in the last five minutes, maybe my troubles had been blocking it out on some unknown level.
Whatever the case, it happened to hit me just then with all the odorous force of a semi containing X-defend powder doing ninety on a slick winter road.
“Oh Nickel, what did you DO?”
Meowth urine has a very distinct smell. Some specialized normal type nurses often say that male Meowth have a tendency to spray furniture and carpet in cases when their owners have been absent for long periods, due to high stress levels. I'd never experienced it before now firsthand, and I had been absent for a very long time...
“Bad kitty, very bad kitty, I knew I should have gotten you fixed!”
“I hear neutering saves lives you know. The lives of the cats who go everywhere but outside and irritate their owner most of all.”
The smell turned out to be much worse than I had thought. After five minutes of vigorously scrubbing the carpet with a heavy-duty sponge soaked with white vinegar and my trusty pink rubber gloves, the many stains had won the battle.
It was funny; the strong ammonia scent of urine had never really gotten to me before in all my years of caring for Pokémon, yet after only a few minutes of being exposed to it now my head reeled and pounded with a headache, while the roof of my mouth felt as raw and dry as if I had the beginning of a sore throat.
But, anything was a better subject to focus on now than the ones swimming around imposingly in my mind about whatever future my newly acquired form might bring.
I knew my next door neighbor must have been feeding Nickel all this time via his Skitty shaped plastic flap mini doorway into the hall, but you would have never guessed for the way he tore into the salmon flavored cuisine...
I mused over the joyful feline face who seemed to be ingesting pokéchow faster than he could breathe between gulps.
At the ripe old age of ten years old, Nickel was only half grown in meowth terms.
Back at the time I had gotten him as a birthday gift it was still popular for anyone who is anyone to get shiny metal coverings for their meowths’ head koban.
Gold plate was of course the metal of choice, but my parents were going through hard times back then and could only afford a second rate one made out of silvery polished nickel.
So, in my nine year old wisdom, that became his name.
I wonder why he's not running away from me or something? I would think I smelled different... then again, Meowth don't normally have much natural interaction with Zubat in the wild as the hunter or the hunted...Thank goodness for small DNA related favors.
I could see it all now if it had been any other way:
A half human, half zubat girl, was eaten alive yesterday by her own pet Pokémon from childhood. Investigators arrived at the scene late last night to discover the apartment empty and a satisfied smirk on the Meowths' lips as it sat batting at a lone remaining index finger...
A chill ran down my spine as I watched Nickel wash his face in contentment with a forepaw.
There was a issue worth concentrating on now.
As if in acknowledgment my stomach growled.
Of all the subjects Nathan had confided in me, how often I had to eat was not one of them.
Great, he tells you you’re now a member of a species unknown to human science and you don’t even have the common sense to ask about what is needed to keep yourself alive?
I couldn't really exist on blood... could I?
Not at all, most of all if your mother happened to be dead
At that time the term for a human/pokemon mix was a Hybrid, and was made only by the mating of a human with a pokemon or in a Team Rocket lab.
Nowadays both terms mean pretty much the same thing Although, I think my type may be a 3rd all together...
Chapter IV: A Forgetful Farewell, Shedding Of a Humanity
“You will be taken back to your home and given two days to get your affairs in order. After which you will return to me.”
“But why only two days? And what makes you so sure I will return?”
“Because in a few more days you will start to forget... and because there's nothing worse to our kind than being alone.”
The kitchen floor was a battleground of culinary death. A carton of milk laced the kitchen tiles with a film of dairy based groundcover, while the innards of a container of yogurt did war with the sad remains of leftover Chinese takeout noodles. Raw egg yolks made up a bright cheerful stretcher for a lone bedraggled lettuce leaf...
This whole grisly scene, that could have made even the most hardened of master chefs wail while holding aloft their sauté pans and praying to the gods of gas heated ovens, was woven together with nearly an hour's worth of vomit.
And me, sitting right smack dab in the middle of the mess, not caring as it soaked into the seat of my Lovedisc Your Way underwear.
Blood, only blood.
Nickel had given up licking my once tear stained cheek sometime ago, and deciding one good glassy eyed response deserved another, I guess, had gone to press the activation button for the TV.
Blood, only blood.
The thought was a chant something akin to a prayer of depression, that had been running through my head for so long now there was no room for anything else... not even the cheerful pokéchow commercial that Nickel was watching, waving his tail along with the beat.
I sat, propped up against the refrigerator door, my legs pulled up towards my stomach, my hands grasping tightly the styrofoam, plastic covered container that had resulted in the scarlet smears around my mouth. The situated hole in one corner of the package of ground beef had once been small, neat, but neatness had not suited the ugly, shocking truth that I thought had been a blessing hours ago:
I had no fangs.
Countless attempts at eating the old fashion way have convinced me I wasn't intended to swallow solids or dairy.
So, here it was now the true art form of eating:
A mouthful of bloody ground meat, pressed up against the roof of my mouth, some unknown organ contained there siphoning the blood to my stomach, and who knows where else; creating an overabundance of saliva mixed with meat that spilled from the corners of my lips like a gorey waterfall.
Blood ...only blood... salty... blood...
It was nowhere near the over romanticized sweet scarlet nectar that all those first-person narrated popular horror young adult novels I had read when I was fourteen or so often harped on about for ten pages.
It tasted no different than the time I sucked my finger after getting a particularly nasty Beedrill sting during rounds... only more beefy, of course.
But then, maybe my shiny new complementary blood sucking palate had not developed fully yet. Given my lack of fangs it would come as no surprise to me...
I probably could have sat there forever in my own filth if I hadn't remembered his voice
Two days... two days.
One day was nearly done.
Why me? Why me... why would he want a no fanged, didn't even know how to feed herself good-or-nothing?
Don't you want to know? Something inside me asked
No, I don't, I'm staying right here and breaking down into a schizophrenic sobbing mess that gets locked away in a mental institution, thank you.
But what if he had a good reason for picking you... what if there is more to this vampire thing?
What, a cape and a seaside castle in the Whirl Islands?
Maybe not... but I bet everyone thinks you can't do it, whatever 'it' is...
Can't do it?
A fire of anger felt as if it had rekindled somewhere near my digesting liquid lunch.
Yes, Yvonne can't do it. She's a lost cause.
With a shouted obscenity that made Nickel jump, his tail transformed into the texture of a bottle brush, I hopped to my feet, nearly slipping over again.
“I'll show them!”
There is a certain comforting monotony in knowing that you still have to go to the bathroom.
As I did my business and then went to go wash my hands I pondered at how much waste might in reality build up in a coffin if real-life vampires had a habit of reciting for hundreds of years in one.
If they had indeed, I mean if we had indeed been some sort of semi undead creatures, our bodies would have to have one heck of a recycling system within us for purifying an internal blood supply.
But if it was just being recycled over and other there really would be no reason to stock the living every night in an exciting way that sold-out at the box office would there?
If we had to drink so often because we lacked the ability to produce our own blood, as some stories suggested, that was a whole other can of worms.
A dried up mummified looking vampi..I mean, lineage, who had laid itself to rest more than a century ago came to mind, and I shivered slightly, glancing for the first time into the bathroom mirror.
A short startled scream escaped my lips as I looked upon my own face in the artificial light of my bathroom lamp, splashing a generous amount of water on to it and scrubbing briskly before then daring to look upward again:
The familiar stranger's oval, high cheekboned face was pale and wide-eyed, the blue of those eyes uncommonly dark compared to what I was used to, the whites bloodshot and tinted ever so lightly with pink.
A rat's nest of tangles now recited, bold as brass, between the looped sections of my mandatory nurses hairstyle, with what little that wasn’t entangled being frizzed beyond any stylish recognition. Worse than that, a good three inches of growth from my scalp now revealed my dull ever so common natural brunette hair color, shockingly out of place when put beside the baby powder pink I was so use to seeing it as for the last ten years.
Adding to this picture of blatant hygiene and health neglect, the freckles I was used to having sprinkled across my nose and cheeks by the beginning of summer were nowhere to be seen, a telltale sign of my three months of captivity with little sunlight, and to top it all off, my lips were horribly chapped, in that annoying way where a single central piece of flesh on the top lip just begged to be peeled off with the front teeth.
“Do we have work to do...” I said with a sigh to the ever curious pokemon sitting next to my elbow.
Nickel, recognizing this sigh as being in an ‘I better make myself useful if I want to get a pork flavored poke-snack’ sort of tone, grabbed the two nearest small bottles off the medicine cabinet shelf, gripping them triumphantly in his jaws for me to take.
“Thank you Nickel.” I giggled with the half repressed grin.
As luck would have it neither bottle happened to be the one I wanted, but the little cat soon saw to remedy this, nearly emptying my whole body and hair care arsenal in his search mission of trial and error. Pokémon can’t read after all, but they are nothing if not persistent.
After deciding against declaring war on the months worth of mildew and mold that might just as well have developed intelligent life in my shower by taking a sponge bath, I noted with a nearly morbid sense of curiosity that my body was not completely unchanged is I had once believed:
The blotchy patch of purple flesh was located matter-of-factly on top of my left breast, as if in its own silent way it had always been so fading off gradually to my normal skin pigment as it became further away from where my heart was located, the blood veins there mimicking the deep lilac ones in my neck 'wedding ring'.
My mouth feeling oddly dry again, I swallowed meekly, quickly beginning to get dressed in my favorite old hair dying outfit...
An hour later, after wrestling with the last remaining stubborn tangle and showing it the business end of a pair scissors to seal its fate, I prepared mentally for the last remaining step.
The details of the logo art on the bottle of the Nurse Joy’ s brand ‘In The Pink’ semipermanent hair dye had never looked so very clear to me before:
The Nurse Joys picture standing beside the 'n' of the trademarked company name drew my eye, she had been the very Joy that founded the first Pokémon nursing school some fifty years ago, so the story goes. Her body was a little too perfectly slim, smile wide, and white pinafore two shades brighter than I had ever been able to get mine in reality. I tried my best to look away from that image.... that perfect mocking smile... squeezing a fifty yen coin sized amount of the dye onto the palm of my hand.
In The Pink dye always looked like the translucent icing for a five-year-old little girls birthday cake, and smelled remarkably akin to a newly opened package of bubblegum, but its sugary first impression was deceptively non-toxic. I grinded my teeth, bravely awaiting the familiar sting of the chemical concoction against my scalp, sending an involuntary shudder down to my vaseline rimmed ears....
The rest of the evening was spent sorting through my belongings and deciding which to take upon my journey.
Since the times of knights in shining armor and the Pokémon that fought beneath them as virtual war machines, a Pokémon journey has been an intricate part of a normal child's growing up and a sign of increased independence.
So much so in fact that a whole corner of the most sophisticated of written literature is dedicated just to that subject and the most talented ,and not as much so, of artist have composed songs as well.
Five or so of the less than award-winning poems and songs that we were forced to research in school now tumbled around in my mind through an annoying case of loose association. The all-time worst of these melodies of course, was the one now playing inside my head, a bright and cheerful earworm rhyme that's meter had never made much sense to me:
If I should journey in the spring,
let my pokemon be Sunflora, the flower queen.
Leafy hands to shield me at night,
shredded cheek seeds to ease my hungers plight.
Extra petals of sunlight yellow,
to sell as short-lived garlands clean
Let my friend forever be the flower queen...
But this was no normal journey.
Nathan had made it all too clear that whatever was to come would be a lengthy excursion from which there was no coming back, at least not for ten years or so.
I glanced at the picture of Mom and Daddy on my night stand, they looked so happy and blissfully unknowing of what I was about to do that my stomach clenched into an uneasy knot of regret...
“Why ten years?” I asked naively, I felt my hands shaking as if they contained all my emotions ready to explode upward like the contents of a queasy Snorlax's stomach.
“Ten years is the minimum amount of time before a missing person is declared presumed dead, by which time they will be looking for a much older version of yourself not the young woman you will remain as you are today...”
My hands had resumed their former queasy trembling, feeling half numb as I carefully lifted the much too small articles of clothing out of the only traveling luggage container I had ever bothered to buy for myself:
The backpack from when I was eleven years old. Funny, how I hadn't bothered to unpack it all these years...that it had been moved with all the rest of my few belongings from the nurses primary boarding school dormitories to my own independent apartment when I turned seventeen.
Sitting for months upon months, collecting a layer of dust like some forgotten teddy bear that long recalled being held tight to keep the monsters of adult dissolution at bay, in a closet of half realized dreams...
Now here I was, a twenty old year old vampire with a head of freshly bubblegum dye infused curls, tumbling freely down to where I could nearly sit upon them, (as was the required length for Joy-dom) clutching that same neon yellow backpack covered in homemade Corsola and Staryu patches cut from my favorite childhood bedsheet, sealed on clumsily around their edges with brightly colored puff paint....
It spurred something long hidden away from my every day recollections, memories from that bygone age where I actually thought that running from my parents preset expectations of me would somehow make them prouder in the long run. That I would in some magical way miraculously evolve in the light of something far removed from the world of an everyday primary nursing school.
Such a short trip, but it seemed to make sense that the time...
“ You cut it up?” Her question was probing, with a distinct hint of I-know-better-than- to-do-that-ism.
She had been my best friend back then.
Funny, I can't even recall her name now. But her condescending tone in memory makes up for that.
"Yeah, I did. It's no big deal it was my sheet after all.."
I was walking along the dusty road in my new white sneakers, getting them blissfully dirty in the red soil that was the trademark of route twenty four, the faint padding of Nickel's kitten size feet mimicking my own path.
The girl beside me had a backpack too, much bigger than my own. Shiny leather with a sleeping bag attachment. New, custom-made, expensive. Even my memory of her smelled rich...
“Do you honestly think you can get away with this? You're half a year older than most starting trainers already. Just give it up, I would if I were you. Running away won't do any good..."
Then... that moment... that's when she stopped being my best friend, I remember now... the sting of too honest words...
"I'm not running away, I'm running to something, something important. I want to at least try, not become some silly nurse...."
And then there was the recollection of running, a bitter taste in the back of my throat, running in the opposite direction of my parents and that nameless girl who had always gotten everything she wanted upon a silver platter.
I wonder if she ever became a Pokémon Master, or if money bought her easy fame scooped up effortlessly in what would now be her Alakazam's signature weapon...
I fell asleep to the rhythmic shadowy thoughts of running far from everything I knew, my still soggy head using the little traveling pack as a makeshift pillow, a warm feline curled up on my faintly itching hands.
From somewhere far removed from conscious thought my inner voice of truth nearly buzzed amiss striking irony.
You always wanted to go on a pokémon journey. Who would have ever guessed the pokémon in question would be yourself?
Traveling around town as a sunglass masked, big floppy straw hat wearing, Nurse Joy makes one remarkably inconspicuous. With most regulation uniform wearing nurses only identifiable features being upper face and eye shape, as well as length of hair loop, it turned you into a virtual clone in public.
Sometimes I got the impression in my years of being a nurse, that a Joy, wearing the appropriate oversized level of 70's style glasses and a wide rimmed sombrero, could rob the First National Bank of Pewter City with a shiny red gyarados and still be unknown in identity, and at large, years later...
I valiantly resisted this urge as I walked at a smart clip into the local banking establishment. After all, while there was no telling when or if I would come back to another official government building like this, a single meowth was hardly a pokemon meant to strike fear into the hearts of bank receptionist.
The bank tellers with a false cheerfulness to each befitting a small army of the ranks of Joydom, had long-ago in my youth been replaced by automated machinery.
“Hello, a pleasure to be of service today.”
The robotic voice of the trilling Meowth figure atop the card scanner exclaimed.
Nickel hopped up on the scanners shoulder in the next second, and as I inserted my card, he began batting at its blinking eyes as if trying to establish robotic organic Pokémon communication.
“Your balance is (Bleep) yen. What would you like to do today?”
On any other day the customary beep that hit my account balance for nosy passers by would have made me laugh.
But today was not a humorous one. I hit the withdrawal button decisively with the straw liked touchpad pin.
“Withdraw? Are you certain?”
“It is my duty to inform you that in order to retain your account you must have a minimum balance of ¥500. Are you certain?”
I was almost certain that a full half of the other customers at the bank looked across at me from their own terminal booths as my overzealous tap almost left a virtual hole in the screen.
Grinning cheerfully like a good little Joy that had just withdrawn her whole life savings for no particular non-Vampiric reason, I made a speedy retreat to the door.
Nickel was soon at my heels, with his touch pen trophy in mouth, dragging its disconnected wire tale across the glossy white entry title proudly....
“Forget... in what way?”
His tone was businesslike once more, as if reciting a well-known play from an invisible script read one too many times at the edge of sleep.
“Mild selective disassociation, think of it as a side effect of selective Alzheimer's with none of the repercussions. You will recall that you have loved ones before your hatching, details of every event just as it was. But you will no longer be able to link their memory to faces or names. In this way of half forgetting the transition to being a Lineage will be less sorrowful and less prone to acts of violent remorse. It is the price one pays for great power Dear Heart.”
In that moment for some reason I recalled vividly the many vampire movies I had had the luxury of renting in the past whose antiheroes did nothing but spread anguish about their lost mortal families while sipping cheap blood laced wine in dusty mansions.
At least I know I won’t have that future to look forward to. I thought, trying to hide utter disbelief with heavy selfishness.
The note itself sounded just as cliché as Nathan’s speech, the cousin to many a teenager’s depressed and attention starved suicide farewells in the vast expanse of the Internet. Had circumstances been different I would have never dreamed of writing it.
Still, unoriginal or not, cringe worthy or not, it was the closest thing to the honest truth that would not result in seven-year long search parties followed shortly after by a greatly reduced lifespan on an operating table in garlic laced steel restraints.
I stole one last glance at my room from where I sat, one leg already outside my window escape route.
Everything was neat and clean as if no one had ever slept there save the note placed prominently on the end table next to a lone picture frame. The couple in the photo were smiling as if eternally in love.
I hoped that my parents were as happy as them right now, wherever they were...
Dear Mom and Daddy,
I don't know what to say or even how to say it so that the whole thing doesn't sound crazy.
I'm going away, don't try to find me, trust me it is already too late.
By the time you read this I will be gone.
It's not your fault, it's mine, and I'm sorry if I ever caused you disappointment.
Angest (sp?) 1st person pokemon pov one shots. Trust me, there are so many of them it would make your head spin .
*Shoots said person with Beretta*
Yes- I know a few handgun names. Fear me! (I read too much Black Cat for my own good...)
Anyway, I'm kind of sorry you only replied to my review to bump up the thread. Don't you like discussing with me? (Btw, if you want to just talk about writing, typo problems, etc., I have an E-Mail adress that I can give out now. Yayz!)
Wow, that is... good XD
Way better than mine, I should say, way better, even though i only read the 1st chapter (the lazy person am i)
I congradulate you getting a 9/10 on the ACC scale (from what I read), I can attempt a 7 XD
But itsh good XD although I dont really know the story, it's good grammer and wording, yey! If you have MSN, you must teach me *clapps*
It makes sense if you read the 2nd and 3nd chapters . My fic is not the sort you can just read the first chapter of and know everything about it .
I don't know how good of a writing teacher I would be but I have been writing for years now, and have read a lot of writing how to books to boot . As long as you don't want me to teach spelling I think I can help though
The very dust you now stand on responds more willingly to their footsteps than to yours, because it is rich with the blood of our ancestors and our bare feet are conscious of the sympathetic touch.
---- Chief Seattle
V: An Initiation In White Linen, Inheritance Of a Family
People talked about that word all the time to describe why Sceptile winter in the south of Shino , or how Goldeen knew where to return to the exact streams of their birth to lay their eggs. It's often suggested that human beings in their lofty evolutionary position at the top of the chain are somehow beyond the reach of inborn instinct.
To whatever amount of humanity I had misplaced in exchange for my becoming partly Zubat I now felt strangely grateful, as that invisible hand that drew me westward continued on in a low hum. The call was painfully weak, like the nagging memory of a door left ajar to a dearest treasure.
Nathan, oddly enough, for his love of explaining, had never bothered to tell me his address, yet here I was making an ambling beeline in a seemingly random direction that just seemed right.
It drew me ever on, promising a warm comfort that I remembered so vividly while cradled in his arms...
It sounded so foolish and overdramatic to my conscious mind, like a half-plotted romance novel complete with unrealistic overprotective parents and hundred-year-long feuds... but on some level closer to my heart, it seemed that I had been without his reassurance for weeks rather than days.
The dirt roads near my apartment complex soon gave way to the paved, rock-lined sidewalk of Pewter City as I stopped for a minute to catch my breath. I had been jogging more so than walking all this time without noticing it.
The smell of the city, heavy with the energy and breath of so many people, and its signature Pokémon types mix of sulfur and gravel ash, left a burning feeling of soreness upon the roof of my mouth, akin to the feline urine incident from yesterday. Closing my mouth and breathing deeply through my nose instead seemed to help, if only a little bit.
The nearly undetectable sound of soft paws that had been trailing me for the last two hours or so stopped short just outside of my line of sight. The sound seemed to carry with it a feeling of guilt, if that was even possible.
"Nickel, I thought I told you to not follow me. Go on now, off to Mom and Daddy's house, you still know the way."
The silence behind me, I could tell from experience, listened with pricked ears.
"They'll take good care of you, I promise... better than I could anyway..."
A pitiful mew–one that would have sent even the most hardened cat-hater out to the store to buy a lifetime supply of pokéchow–greeted my ears in reply.
"Nickel, this whole thing could be really dangerous. I don't want you to get hurt, or worse... they might like kitty stew..."
The second mew melted my heart into a warm gooey puddle of blind cat-owner obedience and I sighed in defeat.
"All right all right, you can come. But don't come running to me when they start shoving baby corn into your ears."
Nickel let out a cheerful meow and made an overzealous joyful leap to become a clawed fixture in the previously-empty outside pocket of my backpack. I grumbled, but only a little, at the added furry weight.
Over the years since the fall of the corporate empire that was Silph Corp. and Team Rocket's unlawful business conglomerate, various modern-day dead-end hick villages had sprung up between the major towns and cities. They were mostly shadowy places by nature, where you could buy anything at half price, and had to keep one eye behind you to make sure someone did not accidentally 'misplace' your Sponks head jewel.
I should have known he was living in a place like this.
The scenes I had recalled of his abode were hardly those of a residence that one would find positioned on the shining streets of Vermilion City.
My spirits were suddenly renewed when I smelled him on the wind.
The warm stupor that flooded over my caution and doubt at the smell of his scent on the breeze was enough to set the ends of my itching fingers tingling with the sensation of returning blood flow where it had never been lacking before.
My head reeled, my feet felt suddenly heavy, sweat upon my brow from a
hard day's walk feeling all the warmer and more uncomfortable.
Was this what Nathan had felt the first time he had met me? Some sort of glandular reaction? Are our kind really so blatantly codependent?
"God, I missed you." I was in his arms nearly before I had even recognized us as two separate entities. His warm chest was a retreat upon which I pressed, containing the telltale sharpness of his fangs with my own mouth, concealed away from the view of nosy everyday human onlookers.
In any other day of my life I would have thought that creating a spectacle by nearly making out in the middle of the street in public was a downright vulgar action reserved only for hormonal 16-year-olds. But along with my newfound amnesia, instinct, and oddly ill-equipped fangless blood-transporting mouth, I seemed to have thrown any traces of bashfulness and common decency out the window.
I was amazed that some of the resident gangsters and ruffians of the low-end town didn't start shouting and egging us on.
I made a shining attempt to still carry on an intelligent conversation in between kisses.
"Is this... what it's going... to be like... every time we... are apart?"
"Sometimes... even worse... I hear... never knew... it would be this bad."
One of the greatest examples of mating codependency in the Pokémon world is that of the Psyduck. If the female is ever unlucky enough to be killed with or without her mate's immediate knowledge, he will sense it with his fine-tuned psychic headaches. It's said that the male, upon ever losing track of his female, will fall into a deep depression. The male will then set about constructing a small cave of river mud and debris scarcely big enough for its body to curl up in and go into willful, deadly hibernation. The results of this phenomenon were always less than pleasing to look at for a researcher unlucky enough to view the remains many months later.
Great, we're the humanoid equivalent of a duck type, my cynical side chimed in, but it's voice could barely be heard over my emotions' blissfully happy roar.
Like any bliss, however, it was short-lived, as a larger-than-life hand reached in a menacing fashion from among the shadows of the street's adjoining alley. It pulled me roughly, yet unceremoniously gently (like a bunch of bananas that one was not allowed to bruise but all the same would hate to eat given a choice), into its not-so-public depths.
"Father, you waste too much time with pointless, sappy reunions. You're lucky I'm around to remember your head for you. There will be plenty of time for that later when we are not as expected as I'm sure you know we are today. The sooner we stop pampering her, the better."
I slipped my backpack off, letting it fall gently onto the bed, where it sat oddly motionless. Nickel must have hidden deeper inside its fabric cocoon, afraid of the strangers' new mixed scents.
I could smell them now to with a stronger level of certainty, like a third eye. There was Nathan's reassuring warmth of dust and spice and Milo's new scent, one that brought a feeling of familiarity and understanding, a mix of wine and the memory of a cotton field after fire, alive with ash.
He is one of yours, the scent quailed softly with old fashion charm. Try to be nice, won't you?
It was an odd thing, a smell sending a message. But it was so much deeper than any smell humans might be willing to admit they were animal-like enough to still understand. It melted into the very essence of the living body, rising and falling with their breath, edged with a hint of their mood and how they regarded you...
Nathan's scent was heated and male with a dash of unease; Milo's burned cold and male, with a sharpness of something like resentment saying rather explicit things about my presence at the edge of olfaction.
"Here, put this on," Milo snorted gruffly, flinging something light and fabric towards the vicinity of my head.
The assaulting weave made a semi-transparent tent of white other my eyes before I had a chance to pull up the inseam inquisitively.
What turned out to not be a pillowcase at all was in fact a pure white sundress made out of the same simple linen.
But not just any dress; it was the sort of sleeveless white dress, pure as snow, that fell to just above the knees. It had with it shapeless and innocent elegance that would befit a storybook little farm girl in the woods of Johto romping through the flowers barefoot with the family Mareep at her heels...
The sort of dress that makes your butt look big. A fine thing to get fed to a dragon in, I thought with some uneasiness in an Old English accent.
The fact that I did happen to be barefoot now also did nothing to soothe my nerves, as my unwilling teenage companion and husband had both insisted I wear nothing but the dress.
The countryside was hardly the shade of summer I had remembered leaving it as.
In my many months of different states of captivity the days had grown short and the early advance of night could be felt, even now, as the breath of autumn rippled through the trees with a dried-out voice that fell short of any acknowledgeable melody.
The dirt path southwest of Pewter City, adjoining the cobblestone road of "Victory" some twenty miles off, had long since dried out and weathered, leaving only golden straw and the first of the season's fallen leaves... along with an occasional lonesome twig and acorn, the latter of which I was getting all too familiar with.
I winced as yet another piece of hard bark nearly impaled itself into the tender ball of my foot with an almost satisfied-sounding snap.
"Are you really sure I have to be barefoot for whenever this is? Would they really mind a pair of slippers? Flip-flops? Jelly... shoes?"
Milo's serious glare from behind me silenced my whining plea for footwear as I fell back into the somber mood that seemed to hang over the three silhouettes we cast in the evening light. Even Nathan, from whom I was a custom to hearing and encouraging word or two, was ghostly quiet.
The silence was a heavy, alive thing, weighted down with unspoken expectation, like a first day to church or temple with none of the smiling faces or free pamphlets.
Then, all too suddenly, it hit me, a hand of moisture, first the smell and then... a feeling, bouncing off rock and resounding like thunder in my ears over and over, painting something in sound that nearly had me gripping Nathan's form before me...
Water... moving water...
For as far back as I can remember, the Pokémon world had been one of sharp income contrasts.
A handful of rich investor families got even richer with each generation while the rest of the people and surrounding nature went on living in the same manner of farm-based lifestyle as they had two hundred years ago, with the weedle population eating most of their winter fruits and grain.
I'd always learned that most people thought too much funding was put into scientific areas of government while the everyday citizens got even less help than my own government-funded Pokémon center enjoyed.
"With all the scientific wonders in our world, I only hope we can stay alive long enough to see them." My economics teacher had constantly mumbled between sips of something that smelled much too strong to be tea.
But whatever the reason for most people's old-fashioned living, the holier-than-thou conservation group of the Blissy Suns had a hand in the sheer amount of nature I was enjoying now, as they happened to have been the ones to insist upon the building of the man-made Chartreuse River that ran hundreds of miles from the bay of Viridian City to the underground springs of Mt. Moon, fabricated as an "endangered water-type habitat."
Mud, thick and adobe red, sloshed with a not-so-pleasant sensation (and a sound not unlike the stepping on of a half-dead Pilitoad) between my toes, signaling that we had at last come to the source of what many Pokémon caretakers thought of as... well, let's just say we couldn't even think of it without wishing not-so-nice things would happen to its founders by way of an "escaped" pack of untamed police Growlithe.
I caught a glance of my own reflection as it eyed the crystal clear water of the river's surface with unmasked distaste.
I had been so successfully avoiding this, this... thing... since it was opened a year ago that this was my first time actually seeing it in person.
"Endangered water-type habitat" my hair loops! Everyone knows in lab studies the rarest thing living in here is a school of common blue poliwag. No Pokémon worth its salt would live in water this clean with all their necessary minerals taken out with filters. What's good for drinking water is not the same as what's good for Pokémon... Not that extremist groups have ever opened a biology book to save their...
Where did Nathan go?
The shock of reality hit my inner ranting monologue like a blast of wind, cold and unfeeling. He was gone; somehow in that moment I had stopped to ponder the water and issues that had once been the center of my world as a Joy I had misplaced was seemed to be the center of my new one.
I could still feel the breath of Milo behind me as we walked, or at the moment as he walked and I was prodded lightly forward with what felt like a dagger attached to his hand... Much slower this time...
"C'mon, c'mon. He can't come. This is just for you. Can't have you two being sappy again, ruins the whole thing. You've got an appointment."
Appointment. Something about that word sounded very formal and not so nice to the appointee.
An appointment was something you were dragged to as a teenager to have the dentist yank out your wisdom teeth and reduce your diet to applesauce. An appointment was something you kept with the moral fear of being fired by your boss if you weren't on time.
Your feet are covered in mud... there are burrs between your toes...
I should have been running.
You're out in the middle of the night with a giant boy who could very well eat you...
Running... I remembered running, I remembered when common sense would have taken hold about now...
And you're basically naked, which never is a good thing.
But common sense didn't come, and my legs–for all my begging–kept up their slow, steady march no matter how I pleaded with them.
Maybe it was the magical pull of the just-now-appearing stars though the deep gold of twilight, or the feeling that somehow this whole night was so much bigger than all my life of studying could have ever amounted to if I was just another official nurse at a Pokémon Center...
That "something more" people always talk about having... was this it that was calling to me?
My thoughts seemed to take on living form as I spotted movement among the trees ahead. The three white shapes that had appeared in the crisp air looked as if they were falling for the sky as comets, the largest of which resting its weight on its two followers like a graceful angel folding its wings upon landing. Even now, while they were still so far off, my eyes adjusted to the dimming light well, picking up the figures as they wove to and fro like they were playing tag with an invisible Venomoth.
White... not feathers, cloaks. Who wears cloaks anymore? my logical side murmured, feeling left out in the cold for lack of use.
Before I had a moment to even ponder fashion of the vam... lineage kind, the tallest of the group was there... right there, in front of me.
I stumbled over backwards with an unspoken gasp, narrowly avoiding getting my feet trotted on under hoof.
It was true the two legs peeking out from under the long white cloak did seem–after a dash of smart, expensive-looking men's slacks–to end with two solid black hooves that shined as if a vain stablehand made a habit of using them for a mirror. If I looked even closer, which somehow did not even require the leading of my head with my odd new eyesight, I could just make out short coarse hair a shade or two lighter than Nickel's above the solid masses of bone.
I gulped meekly, and felt my hands edging my body backward even further unconsciously.
His scent was male, and cold... not cool with some understanding like Milo's but the kind of cold that burns silently... and a sweetness, like artificial cherry candy mixed with the chemicals shopping malls put on new clothing before it has been washed... a heavy scent.
"Is it you of the lineage of Nathaniel's blood, Zubat hatchling, who unknowingly wishes to be bestowed the title of mother, and become leader of all who would be called his sons and daughters in the past or future?"
The hooded figure spoke in a monotone voice. His words were a deep tenor, slow, weighted, weaving to and fro at a whisper as if daring me to question something unspoken.
I could only bring myself to pretend to be magically attracted by the lining of Zangoose fur. It made a heavy snow-white and crimson-striped loop around the hood's depths and lay like a 1930's boa around the cloak's neck, fastening all the way to the breast, of a well-tailored tan waistcoat with shining golden buttons.
It was so odd a fashion statement, it could have been classy– had something not died to become it.
"So then. Your silence speaks your will. I, Father Bartholomew, Ponyta lineage, of the first ranking, shall be your sole Judge of Initiation, my will be Law. I swear to be just."
Uneasy silence again.
Oh please, just let him stop talking.
Somehow, the fact that I could not see his eyes gave him a certain power I couldn't place. A power that left me somehow invisibly indebted to him for even daring to breathe.
I missed Nathan's voice so much; it was a calming wave of something that seemed to be a million miles away from this silence which was slowly but surely making me feel very small.
[I]No... I'm not anyone important, no one at all, please, please let me go home, please? </I>
I could feel my eyes screaming with all the dignity I could master at the shadowed face.
The man's voice flitted lightly upward, ever so slightly, when he drew a breath again.
"Now then, the formality of the rite of beginning is over and business is at hand. What is your name?"
"Y... Yvonne," I whispered, my voice sounding much smaller than I had meant it to.
"Yvonne. What a respectable, obedient name... little ewe," he spoke, his tone circling around me like a warm bath with none of the comfort
Suddenly, with the smooth graceful movement of a showman, the figure swept off his hood and bowed at a level just above my head.
The air came alive with the touch, like light of living flame as the man revealed his head. The fire, free of what must have been a flame-retardant fabric, danced and arranged itself loosely like the petals of a lotus flower before being whipped up for his bowing form.
"Bartholomew, Fledgling Glory, whom you are privileged to be meeting, I'm sure."
Despite the fact that I knew Ponyta had been said to have compete control of their flames seeing this act presented on a human form left me as speechless as much as his fake, dipped-in-honey talk made me uneasy.
Before I noticed it he had me on my feet, hand grasped between his own to kiss it, and I saw his face for the first time.
It had once been a handsome face, all the signs were there, his high cheekbones and the line of his jaw... he could not be more than ten years older than Nathan. But above the nose all normally stopped. His eyes, with deep endless irises of brown and yellow, looked as if they had outgrown their sockets and, not content with merely moving outward, had also moved their inner workings to eliminate the bridge of his nose altogether. More than making up for this loss, however, was a large mantle of bone (reminding me of the pictures of the early cavemen in ancient times) running under a united brow. Most impressive of all was the long spiral horn that crowned this brows center. Looking nearly eight inches long, the ivory horn picked up the light of the like man's mane as it flowed to and though.
The shock of his true appearance and the hypnotic fire had me dipping lightly forward before I heard Bartholomew's next words.
"So very young to be put to the test, but I suppose Nathaniel and his weak line has no choice. A mother of Zubat even if you do succeed..."
I saw the thin line of drool beginning around Bartholomew's small mouth, moving as though the world had fallen into a pit only large enough to contain he and I.
Somewhere inside of me, a new part of my conscious stirred uneasily. I knew it was new because, in my twenty years of living, no remark had ever made my hands itch.
I felt as if I was watching myself inside my body, powerless as it wrote its own story... a story... a story where...
"It is truly a shame your DNA is predisposed to such weakness."
My hands burned.
"You would have made a fine mother of Ponyta ..."
The soft pink tissue of his tongue was against my face with a full forceful lick before I even had a moment to turn my head.
When I did, his lick merely changed course to glide over my cheek and ear, frenzying my mind with sudden disbelief before it was cut short with a howling curse, nearly causing my captive to drop my arm that he now had gripped near his chest.
"Ungrateful poison-type wretch!"
The two neat gashes that now ran across the top of his nearly non-existent nose oozed red with blood before taking on a blackish tint.
What just happened?
My free hand throbbed as if in reply. I doubled over in convulsions as I lifted it to my face in the firelight.
Two claws, curling slightly where normal nails had once been on my middle and ring fingers, shone with a glossy newness. The claws were nearly twice the length of my hand.
I turned them around again in the light, entranced somehow by the semi-transparent gloss of the needle-like width. They contained a purple liquid that now appeared to drip from somewhere inside my own body toward their sharp tips.
Bartholomew's face was a barely-contained mask of pain as he shook me roughly out of my dreamlike trance.
"I am finished with you and mercy for this night. You will have your perilous trail..."
I barely had a breath to scream as his other arm whipped up to grip my throat, yanking me unceremoniously off the ground with amazing strength. I gasped and clawed in the hazy world that spun around me, the nails of his hand digging into my tender flesh. They felt more like segments of bone than dead skin.
The crashing thunder of moving liquid beneath my suspended feet filled me suddenly with the dread of being cast into Hell. The waters voice bounced off every single stone in a chorus of death.
No... please, God, no.
My whole universe was a noiseless, scentless terror that began from the breaking of the surface of the water's domain. All alone, like a newborn stripped of whatever luxuries it had just began to realize of sight and sound.
The long curved claws cut against weak, breaking away rock and dirt, stirring up a fresh cloud to darken the crystal waters strong current.
Their newly grown siblings from the toes of the creatures...my feet dug in to find only a moments traction, in that moment my mind screamed in fear. My mouth followed and was greeted by a line of precious lost air bubbles.
Choking... too fast...something was wrong...
I love water...
The water flowed into my mouth faster than ever, like a unforgiving fist of force stopping short of going down my throat yet still slowly blurring my thoughts as I tried to draw breath...
I know how to swim....don't I?
Those slits on the roof of your mouth... My voice of logic whimpered and then faded away dreamily, talking all the way They feed you but kill you, funny, not being able to close them...
Minutes, hours, weeks, years all flowed together in that crystal water abyss as I felt my body slowly give up hope and stop in its fight, grow heavy... then numb and senseless.
It seemed like a hundred years had passed before I felt a strong pressure grip me around the waist and lift me heavenward against the god-like current. I felt the cold frenzying hand of the night air hug my face in the moonlight as I was placed upon the warm earth. Somewhere, someone lifted the hair out of my eyes as my vision swam.
Violent coughing and vomiting filled my senses as I heard the faint sound of running feet upon grass and dead greenery, my nose too full of watery dullness to even register a scent.
"...he did it, he really did it! I can't believe that..." Milo's voice mumbled a line of obscenities I did not even know could be used together to define someone nearby from somewhere behind me "...actually did it! I knew he was looking to get you..."
"Enough." Nathan's voice ended Milo's commentary suddenly with a snap.
My vision slowly returning as my latest episode of vomiting subsided, I saw my hands before me in shock. What had once been my normal tight skin upon my forearms had bloated outward as if grossly swollen, as transparent as my new nails, showing clearly like a gruesome streetmap the pathways of my violet-tinted veins, the pores in my skin becoming each a small section of water-oozing sponge as I pressed it with my thumb in morbid wonder.
Halfway through a new fit of coughing I felt my body began to shake, a warmth of emotion festering. Shaking and vomiting, I could just barely make out the face of the hooded Bartholomew turn my way many miles upstream, and give a deep bow.
"I... hate... you..." I managed as my first spoken words in a croaking whisper at his silhouetted form as it melted into the darkness.
"Welcome to family tradition," replied Milo, the slight tone to his words betraying a smile.
In the words of a Neopets board avatar that I once saw, "Ohemgee!"
Lessee, Nathan being sort of redeemed as a character, plotline moving ahead nicely, yep, the only thing that could make this fanfic better would be if more people were reading it. I couldn't read it forever, and now that I'm coming back to it after reading (in some cases without meaning to) PokemonxHuman Yaoi, one paragraph fanfics, and a bunch of creepy drabbles, reading your fic again, and seeing a new chapter, is like a breath of fresh air. Please, accept these complements with pride!
Poked with a stick? That's worse then my review, which had no less then two unintentional typoes which made me look like a total n00b!
Anyway.... *cough, cough*
You don't happen to have written another chapter yet, have you? (please say "yes" or "I'm working on it", please say "yes" or "I'm working on it, please say...)
By the by, that scene with father Pervy-ta was really funny, and it made Yvonne seem a little less "Ooh, I'm scared of everything" for a moment. It is very hard to be scared when your hands are sprouting poison claws, I have found. (Not that Yolanda being all that scared of everything is bad, you understand.)
I'm working on it . There is *alot* of talking in this one, and character intros . Unlike some fics that have alot of talking to say 'this is this, and this is the reason why this..' mine does not stop with one scene of talking, and more characters add in their two cents about the whole 'what's it all about?' thingie later in the chapter. Since Yvonne is a newcomer she has alot to learn . I noticed alot of morph fics jump over this learning . Not mine :D!
Oh man... I've been taking stupid pills since summer started. *edities and shoots self in foot*
Jumping over the learning? HOW DARE THEY!
Anyway, keep the old train smokin'.... by the way, why is it that the Legacy happen to all be vampires? Or is it just Zubats that are? I'm confusled. Yes, that was intentionally misspelt. And that.
VI: An Unmet Expectation, Reunion of A Bloodline
The battle of words Nathan and I were locked in showed little chance of ending anything soon.
"I could always just eat him and get it all over with," Milo chimed in flatly.
There are many downsides to having a pet. None of those owners guides ever talk about the many methods needed to coax a domesticated meowth off the ceiling upon his first encounter with newly acquired vampiric features and relations.
Hm, now that is a niche reading market if I ever heard of one, I thought wistfully.
"All right, he may accompany us if you wish it, but I would appreciate it if he did not provide his own atmospheric lighting," said Nathan, adding a mumbled "I am quite attached to it" afterward.
Where Nickel now resided was not exactly the ceiling, but it was as near as a feline who was skilled at leaping from bed to bookcase top could ever hope to get. Of course, the frenzy of pure terror may have helped.
Thanks to Milo's love for bearing his true jaws, the bowl-like shade under the light bulb was now edged on one side with a perfect scratch indentation of ten individual claws. The unreasonable puffball of cream fur ending in a cinnamon roll like engorgement of a brown tipped tail that had once been a meowth hissed fiercely.
My outstretched hand retreated a little, keen cat owner senses were always skilled at telling the moment before you risked a painful clawing.
Not that I would blame him...
My own claws were surprisingly retractable.
It had taken four hours, long into the night yesterday (and five attempts at holding a pen) to even partially began to understand how my emotions and claw withdrawal where somehow linked. While the imprints of my former nails remained, I had been told that skin would never again grow over their slits...
Being able to reduce the long, nosferatu-ish things to small purple nubs that lined up at finger level was a huge blessing.
Thank goodness there is a natural way of hiding them. At best humans might have indentured me to cut hay.
The thought of spending nearly eternity feeding and residing with zoo animals while being saved for posterity filled me with a unique form of dread. I clicked my tongue softly, shifting my weight on the chair Nathan was holding steady beneath me.
"Here kitty kitty, here, come down, we're going to keep you with us." I darted my hand forward slowly again.
"...unfortunately. Just what we need, another male pure," Milo added flatly. "He's going to make us miss the 4:45, you know."
"Oh, is that the ship you were talking about? It's hardly ever on time... pure?" I tilted my head at the unusual use of the word.
"A pure is what we call a normal pokémon. Although it is not the nicest of terms. It is rather like calling a dark skinned Johto islander a—"
I couldn't deny I was a little relieved and amused when the bowl shade under the light bulb gave way just then under Nickels weight, cutting Nathan's expatiation short. The resulting momentum nearly deposed an unhappy, maddened ball of fur squarely on Milo's head. He was surprisingly quick for an oversized boy.
"Meaw... th? " Nickel commented innocently in the rumble, shaking from head to paw.
"Oh, poor baby!" I squealed in standard babyish kitty owner-ese, hopping down to cuddle a bedraggled shadow of my former pokémon.
It was just as well; I had already had enough expatiation in the last two days alone to last a lifetime. Still, it seemed I couldn't help but question more and more.
Everything was so otherworldly, half of it was still swimming around my mind like the waters of that hellish river.
The simple word in question I could feel as it rang again in my eyes. My shaking hands reached to to over-lace Nathan's own as he raised the china cup to my lips.
The blood was a warm syrup, mixed with an odd earthy tanginess.
I tried my best to not think how 'fresh' my elixir must have been to retain its former body's warmth. It was enough of a comfort to see that my arms had stopped retaining water, shrinking back to hug skin to muscle tightly.
"Why did he—"
"He has done you a great disservice."
Nathan began, twisting the frail fabric of the now dry ceremonial dress between his hands. I was silently grateful for again wearing my nurse uniform under the bed's light sheets.
"You see, Bartholomew put you though the water trial rather than that of the air."
I fixed Nathan with a blank look of puzzlement.
This was quite an accomplishment, since I had only regained control of my facial muscles hours ago, after heaving up more water than I cared to remember.
"The trials are meant to awaken the powers of a hatchling Mother. There is one for each..."
"Yes, we share many of the abilities of pokémon..."
Okay, I'll bite, I concluded in wordless irony to Nathan's understanding face. Deciding that it was better for my sanity to bypass the "with great power comes great responsibility" speech, I cut right to the question that seemed would bring the worst news first.
With my luck I might as well get it over with...
"Why is it... so important I have powers?"
I could see Nathan wince, but caught the sweat laced smell of his unease long before the facial movement. This was definitely something he had been stewing over.
"I meant to tell you... so many times... " He said, gripping the half-empty tea cup. "Perhaps it is I who have done you the greatest disservice of all..."
My husband's voice took on a heaviness of tone much too worn to suit his unlined face.
"I was... selfish, this year being the last I could take a wife..."
His green eyes glinted lilac as they darted up at me and then resumed contemplation of the cup just as quickly. "There is... a meeting of our kind.. a great celebration held once every seven years..."
My stomach, having regained sensation after being waterlogged, gave a feeble flip-flop of uneasiness.
"It is called The Gathering, its highlight being a series of organized and free-range... mandatory battles."
He blurted out the last words quickly as if expecting my head to burst into flame. It might as well have.
Words poured from me like an uncorked bottle, put under the pressure of years of hearing others talk. "You... bite me on the neck... marry me God only knows how... drag me out of my nice comfortable life..."
I shuddered a bit, my fury masking my white lie.
"Three months before graduation.. and now you want me to battle for you like some type of... trained pet... !"
I was stopped by his mouth. It was a very good conversationalist, and his kiss soon turned my argument to jelly. Still... it was an angry jelly.
"With me. Battle with me, with us, " he whispered, his aged tone gone and replaced with youthful enthusiasm.
"We are no better, there are no masters here." The shaggy brown bangs of his forehead pressed against my pink in gentle affection. "And if there should ever be, you already far outrank me."
"Geesh Father, but you sure know which side your bread is buttered on..." I heard Milo whisper airily somewhere far away, shoving odds and ends into a large knapsack.
The seaside city of Celadon had long since given up trying to be a historic town. After all, who cared for old buildings with outdated pokeball exhibits of the first settlers when there was money to be made? The area surrounding the port was home to an eternal carnival of shops, balloon venders, and artists water-coloring Machop caricatures of young underweight business men.
With all this advancement and modern convenience, however, ships where still the preferred method of travel. It was true we did have airplanes and even the new shining symbol of progress that was the express monorail connecting Kanto and Johto over the Cancun Sea... but in much the same way as the rough, untamable ground kept cars from being commonplace, so did the wind currents over the Seafoam Islands keep anything but adaptable well-trained giant Spearow breeds from traveling the sky.
If we didn't have pokémon I wonder if humans could have even lived here in the first place.
Before I had any more time to reflect on what I knew about this port-side city (useless facts that somehow seemed to shine now like pearls of sanity in the sea of my confused mind) the ship had arrived. The howling of its steam-fed horn sent me diving to catch the nook of Nathan's arm, my other hand pressed in vain over my sensitive ear.
What would have once only been a deafening sound to my ears some months ago was now an unearthly tone that felt as if it was about to puncture both my eardrums simultaneously. I peered over toward the crowded deck with a shaken gaze, my head still ringing.
It's a shame I didn't look up sooner, I thought in bemused wonder. If all of our kinds' ears are alike... Driven by some dark, newfound sense of humor I was beginning to grow accustomed to, my mind could not help painting a picture of a good three-fourths of the ships passengers recoiling down toward the deck in pain, hissing with long blood-soaked fangs bared like unholy pokémon based demons, as the few humans gasped in overdramatic terror.
...probably not, I concluded, shifting my feet nervously.
I had never been good at meeting new people. Maybe it was because I judged them too fast. Maybe it was that most of my childhood friends had been imaginary and not all that good at debate. But whatever the reason for my high level of social anxiety normally, the fact that Nathan had kindly informed me that these strangers would know me as 'Mother' sent my emotions to a whole new level.
Three more people. That would make six of us all together. The basic math did not add up to anymore reassurance in my mind about the likelihood of our group having a chance in this "gathering"... whatever it was.
At least now you'll have a full-belt pokémon team, my inner voice chimed in a merry tone.
Shut up you. I answered back inwardly.
Of course talking to oneself was not at all healthy, but given the circumstances I would take any opportunity to vent my frustration I was able to.
"So they're coming by boat?" I asked, trying to make polite conversation after my raging outburst over being told I was indentured to fight. It had lasted a good hour or so since Nathan's kiss, after all, and had carried on at a merry pace until a worried forehead rub from Nickel had snapped me out of that trainwreck of a one-sided argument.
Nathan, true to his long-paused, carefully-worded virtual chatting style I had known him for in all our months of internet interaction, did not seem to be very affected. In fact, all this time he had been sitting with his head resting upon the palm of his hand, lounging back in the recesses of the white cushioned chair with the side of his boot crossed over his other leg like some sort of modern day Tauros rancher. The only thing that betrayed him were his eyes, which although dim and out of focus, would every now and then break from their trance and expose a deep, thoughtful stare.
Something about my tone changing from an angry "how dare you use me as a tool? I'll be happy to relieve you of a few male body parts" sound to a brisk "okay, if I am going to be a tool, I'm going to be my own, and know about all my attachments" one seemed to break him out of his trace.
"Yes, the others will be arriving on the liner from Johto this afternoon," Nathan confirmed, tracing his hand around the side of his face to rub his eyes.
"Why are they living in the islands? Wouldn't it be easier for them to live around here? With you two?"
Milo blinked, looking up from where he was shining his enormous shoes, and stared at me as if I had just suggested he wear neon pink boxer shorts outside his pants. "You ever see one of those old horror flicks? The ones with the vampires, and the nosy doctors who find their homes?"
"And what is always their first reaction to seeing the happy little family, all nice and cozy, in one spot?" Milo concluded, raising his eyebrows for dramatic effect.
"They... oh, I see what you mean."
"Let's just say our kind's faith in human coping skills has not exactly grown by leaps and bounds since the time of those pictures," Nathan concluded, reaching out to grab his coat.
And now here we were, standing in front of the ship that, somewhere, contained Nathan's... my... our... children.
Me... a mother. At my age... a mother... my god... I'm not even really a mother... I'm a stepmom!
At that moment every negative connotation I had ever heard about the label from others over my few years of life hit me mentality like a sack of unpolished geodude.
They would hate me. I would say something wrong and they would hate me. Or I would say something right that was wrong to them and they would hate me more.
They would hate me, Nathan's once happy family would disband, and we would spend eternity drinking blood alone out of used tin cans under a bridge somewhere. A silent, lonely marriage of bitter indifference, all because I would say something, because I had to, of course, and they would hate me.
Something inside me wanted dearly to run, hide, and leave a forwarding address not even the most persistent of junk mail catalogues could find their way to.
I did not get that chance.
For undead... or bloodsuckers at least, we blended in with the surrounding mass of humanity surprisely well. So well, in fact, that it felt even to me like a group of nearly two dozen people were matching Nathan's "I have nothing better to do than walk up and down the pier on a Sunday" pace.
The late afternoon sun reflected off the sleepy waves just starting to be awaken by the wind, painting the sea in earthy shades of orange. Out of the corner of my eye I saw this peaceful skyline marked ever so slowly by three shadows carefully and purposely breaking away from the crowd, their gate like that of everyday tourist on a quest for the nearest vending machine.
Too bad I'm one of those bags of honey roasted peanuts they they have in mind.
"This way," Nathan spoke in an even, matter-of-fact tone, grabbing my hand and pulling me down a side street to the chorus of old tin cans and soggy used gum under our shoes.
The dank refuse of the alley we ducked down seemed to swallow all the clean sea breeze into itself as I struggled to keep up with Nathan's sudden turn. We had jogged down four shady adjoining back streets in this way, like a pack of stray houndoom, by the time Nathan and Milo stopped suddenly, almost sending me flying head first into what looked like ten-year-old garbage.
Milo raised his head with a sharp jerk toward the gaps of sky between the laundry lines bridging shadowed slum apartments. The boys' mouths opened ever so causally, exposing the tips of his true jaws to the light with the same slow movement of reshaping his mylohyiod that still sent a shiver down my hands. To add the crowning touch to this unsettling action, as he inhaled, what looked like a cloudy nictitating membrane slipped over his stone grey iris.
Flame-retardant sunglasses. The fire type specialists' favorite nickname for this part of pokémon anatomy echoed in my mind.
At the same time, Nathan was making an odd dance of cocking his head in one direction and then the next, eyes closed, his mouth also agape, the twin length of his fangs half drawn to just barely touch his bottom lip.
Standing in the middle of this odd display, I knew from the heavy breathing sounds behind me the others that I dared not look at just yet were doing the same. Slowly, ever so slowly and awkwardly in comparison to Nathan's graceful motions, I tilted my head to the side as well, closing my eyes.
The world was again a landscape of scent, only this time the scents that I drew upon now where cozy and familiar, like a favorite song I had forgotten.
You belong, came that same feeling in unsaid words. ...and they belong of the same.
There was Nathan's scent above them all to my senses, with Milo's smokey one begrudgingly sandwiched behind his, but now there were three others as well. The first, and most pronounced, smelled of fresh green leaves mixed with a light warmth that brought to mind the memory of baking yeast bread. The second's aroma was a strange mix of dry earth and a burnt smell that mirrored Milo's own, but unlike his, this one was of woodland ashes from a fire that had long since spent all its fuel. The last scent was not as strong as the rest, made up of the algae laced smell of the sea, and fainter still, an odd artificial sweet odor.
Something about that mixture made a involuntary shiver run though my body as I opened my eyes to the sound of Milo's voice.
"Human free." He said with a growing smile, a true smile I had never seen before, that tugged at the edges of his demeanor...
Three voices thundered as I was blind-sided by the whip of a drive-by... scarf?
The sky-blue knitted length of the weapon was already draped over Nathan's shoulders and, before I even had time to draw another breath, its gifter was already kissing a very taken aback Nathan squarely on the lips.
My mouth felt a dry as a sea of mixed emotions swam behind my reddening cheeks. The back of the assaulter, around which an acoustic guitar covered with neon colored travel stickers was slung, was all I had at the moment to aim my shocked displeasure at.
The form was an inch or two shorter than Nathan's, but undoubtedly that of a man, lean muscular arms motioning energetically for the confides of a tight sleeveless white t-shirt as if just about to speak when Nathan pushed him away. The man's faded blue bomber-style hat tilted in consideration from my background vantage point.
"Christopher, how many times have I told you never to do—"
The light warm voice that replied was oddly weathered around the edges with a gravely tone. "Aw, but dad, I missed you so much! See? We all pitched in on this, it really does bring out the color of your eyes..."
"I really don't think I need—"
"Oh dad, dad, dad, always with your constant whining ..."
My mind felt fuzzy, still reeling to get a understanding of who exactly this 'Christopher' was. His voice marked him as someone many years my senior despite his youthful torn acid-washed jeans.
"Papa, papa papa!"
A pleading small voice rang out again as all three of us looked down in unison. The tiny Johto islander girl that began in a mess of short fuzzy black curls and a red plastic squirtle-shaped backpack and ended in a white party dress edged with cornflower blue lace tugged impatiently on Nathan's pantleg, hopping from one glossy black mary jane shoe to the next. The quick movement made the novelty marill tail she was wearing bob back and forth under her hoop shirt as she reached upward on tiptoe.
"Papa, I made this for you, papa...." the girl said, proudly presenting a piece of paper. In the dim light I could just make out a series of deeply-penned crayon marks on its other side.
"Did you now? Well, I'll just have to have a look at this masterpiece, won't I?" Nathan said, kneeling down to her level, where Christopher joined them.
"It's a far-out picture, she and Pecival really put their souls into it..."
I used to love those fake pokemon tails when I was little... I mused silently. When I was little...
The profile of the girl's giggling face, her bright black eyes squinted in a happiness that highlighted the glow of her deep brown skin as she spoke words I suddenly could not hear, dragged out a nagging, unsettled, memory. Something... yes, something Nathan had said...
"Ten years is the minimum amount of time before a missing person is declared presumed dead, by which time they will be looking for a much older version of yourself, not the young woman you will remain..."
She can't be more than six years old. How could anyone...?
At this same moment, before I could dwell longer on this upsetting idea, the blur of motion I had seen for only a moment before that had made a beeline for Milo bumped into my ankle. I yelped, rubbing at the burnt spot that seconds ago had been the upper two layers of skin on my fibula.
The inseparable tangle of two growling fire-spitting forms was now making a full-scale uproar, littering the alley with spots of blood and hair. I sidestepped sheepishly away from the miniature world war, catching the edge of my husband's gaze with my look of what I hoped was a bit more than hopeless desperation.
It's okay, he mouthed over the little girl's cuddled body. Both she and the man named Christopher seemed to be preoccupied by what looked like a young marill that had appeared from somewhere in the confines of her backpack and was now snuggling its way under the folds of Nathan's coat.
"Candace, Christopher, Valerie..." Nathan spoke up, gently placing the girl back down to earth. What I could only assume was her pet Marill, now perched atop her head, began to make a spirited game of trying to tug off the still-kneeling Christopher's hat, oblivious to the serious talk around it.
"I have someone very special I'd like you to... Milo, Valerie!"
The dust cloud of limbs, hair and grime that had been building into a murderous volume of snarls and growls from one end of the alley to the next all this time froze in a far off corner. The shadow of what looked like a girl, dwarfed two times over by Milo's sheer bulk, let the side of boy's arm fall from her mouth with a whimper of regret.
"I have someone very special I'd like you to all meet." Nathan began again, motioning in my direction. "This is Yvonne, your new mother."
I felt three sets of eyes fall upon me as they all turned... and the world itself stopped turning, forcing all its heaviest into a knot in my chest.
Don't say anything stupid. Don't say anything stupid. I coached myself silently. And don't hyperventilate here ether. The last thing you need for a first impression is to faint and get pidgey droppings all over your face.
I felt my hands began to tremble as I rung them nervously together, falling back into the one mode that protected me, in some small way from awkward moments: Joydom.
"It's a pleasure to meet you!" I blurted out a cheerfully, bowing my head deeply in the traditional poké center manner.
More silence. More stares as I drew my head up again from view of my hands clasped tightly together over my pinafore.
"Is she really my mama?" The girl asked in a loud whisper to Nathan, behind a cupped hand that did nothing to block the sound but rather, felt as if it amplified it to me prying ears.
"Yes, she is, candy-doll. Would you like to go say hello?" He whispered back just as loudly in a hopeful tone.
Candace returned her gaze to me, a thoughtful hand pressed to her mouth as the marill that had sat atop her head all this time hopped gracefully under Christopher's hat with a chatter of teeth.
Hand still to mouth quietly, carefully, she crossed the short distance between us. Her eyes were focused on me, never weaving, with all the unspoken power of a judge, jury and executioner as she opened her mouth to speak.
"You look funny. You can't be my mama." A blue glint passed over the depths of her pitch black irises. "Real mamas aren't so skinny."
My head started to pound, the invisible punch to my ego sending me reeling, frozen, and at a loss for words.
It's going to be a very very long night...