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This is a sequel to my one-shot, Loyalty; however, you do not need to read it to understand and enjoy this story. (It’s just nice to know the other characters a tad better.)
And now I present to my entry for the Laughingstock One-shot contest over at SPPF… well, part of it anyway. It will be split into 4 parts because of its length.
As always, comments, critique, etc. are appreciated. Typos will be killed upon sight.
Part I: Fake Wings
Part II: Morana
Part III: Ashes to Ashes
Part IV: Flight
+Dedicated in loving memory to Belle the Devil Cat: inspiration, pet, and friend who passed away on 6/6/06. You will be missed.+
By: Saffire Persian
“Chance is a fool’s name for Fate.”
Part I: Fake Wings
Overhead, the heat of the sun in shining in all its glory down upon you, and you bask in its extended radiance with all the luxury of a human at the beach. The weather is warm, the air is crisp and clear… the atmosphere is peaceful…
Or rather, you wish it was.
But things don’t quite turn out that way.
Today has been far from sunny – in fact, the weather’s completely opposite: it’s snowing.
It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s dreary, and summer seems so far away. And, for a fire-type like yourself, winter has never been your favorite part of the year, and never will be. Granted, it doesn’t snow a lot in Saffron during wintertime, and the weather is usually quite tolerable, but it still does, and right now it’s falling like it’ll never stop, coating the ground below in neat, virgin snow.
You move away from your place at the window, crawling nearer to the passionately burning fireplace, enjoying the heat it gives off. Riley and the Rat (as you still “fondly” call him) are in the kitchen, enjoying a breakfast consisting of omelets and toast. You know so because you can smell it.
You can hear them laughing, and you can’t help but ponder how much things can change – have changed – in six months. It seemed like only yesterday you were coming up with your next fiendish plot to exterminate the Rat for good... and now – now they’re married. They did it all fancy and legally as most humans do. It seemed like a total waste of time to you, especially when you could’ve been working with the rest of the police team doing something useful, instead sitting there listening to some crazed man with a hat give a long (and boring) speech of which you paid no attention to.
Your coal black eyes lazily wander over to where the Christmas tree is just to your right, sitting straight and tall in all its glory. Various tinsels and ornaments hang at every available limb, sparkling with various hues, mostly red and green.
Riley and the Rat love it.
You just want to burn it – have for the past month. Mostly because you’re bored, partly because you just like to burn things.
You sigh, watching a few more snowflakes fall from the white sky. You also don’t like winter because it’s unduly hectic. Every place you go – on and off the job – is excessively crowded. Everywhere’s packed with humans; so much so, Saffron City seems to be little more than an overflowing colony of Ratatta as they scurry from store to store, all fighting to get their hands on the newest fad or recent sale. Because of the Christmas holiday, you and Riley have been working overtime, taking down petty criminals whose capture means absolutely squat to you.
Stealing’s about as common in the Christmas season as the fat men running about in red suits are, and fights (especially between angry women) break out almost continuously. Even you, a highly trained, respectable Growlithe, have trouble breaking them apart without having to use desperate measures.
You shake your head. You never knew humans could be so stupid. They act so irrational and greedy this time of year.
You jump onto the couch in front of the TV, cocking your head as you hear footsteps approaching the room.
Light, hesitant footsteps.
Harder, more determined footsteps.
They enter into the room at the same time. The Rat’s looking all professional-like as always, dressed in a ironed shirt and tie despite the fact he has a day. Riley’s still in her pajamas, taking advantage of one of her only days of rest.
It is Christmas Day after all.
You scowl a bit. This is your first Christmas with the Rat living in your house. It still feels odd, having this strange (and certainly not normal) person living in your house who shares little of the same values with you. The only thing the two of you have in common is your love for Riley: and that trait’s the one and only thing that keeps you from killing him every time you watch him walk through the door.
The Rat looks at you suddenly. There’s a strange gleam in his eye you don’t like one bit.
“Riley,” he says, and you notice he’s reaching for something in his pocket. “Now that we’re all here –“ There’s that cursed glance again. He’s grown a spine over the past few months, it seems. “—you care if I start off?”
Riley looks up, shrugging her shoulders. “With the presents? Doesn’t matter.”
“Well …” The Rat pulls his hand out of his pocket, a round object clenched in his fist. Your eyes narrow. “Didn’t your family have any Christmas traditions?”
You can already feel that it would be a very good idea to snatch the gift out of the male human’s fist and burn it before it’s too late.
Riley sighs, moving a brown lock of hair out of her face. “I grew up on a farm – my father didn’t believe in celebrating Christmas much. We had too much work to do on the farm to bother with those kind of things. Milk the Miltank, make sure the Torchic didn’t go and burn the barn down…” Her expression tightens, eyebrows furrowing as she stairs at the object clutched in his hand. “What is it, anyway?”
He opens up his hand. It’s red. It’s white. It’s a Pokéball.
You stare. Maybe you should bury the Pokéball deep beneath the earth instead. You’ve tried burning Pokéballs. It doesn’t work.
Riley’s staring at the Pokéball, too. “A …”
He grins at you, and you glare back at him. Since when does he have the right to bring something living into your house? He may have married Riley, but that does not – DOES NOT – give him permission to do so.
“I thought your Growlithe could use a friend.”
(You think the Rat could use a restraining order.)
“Well, shall we?” the Rat says, with a sly grin.
The Pokéball bursts open, illuminating the room with white light. You watch, not realizing you’re holding your breath as the creature materializes out of the haze. The light slowly disappears, and the specimen in which the ball contained blinks and yawns, revealing two perfectly pointed white canines.
You groan. It’s a cat. You’re going to be replaced by a cat.
Even the Rat couldn’t help but notice your venomous glare, but he ignores it, whistling a familiar Christmas tune, tossing the Meowth’s Pokéball up into the air and catching it.
He smiles. “Just evening up the playing field.”
For perhaps the millionth time today, you let out a frustrated groan. You’re staring listlessly from the couch, feeling like an old rag doll that’s seen too much of life. The Meowth is happily prancing around the living room, throwing scraps of sparkling wrapping paper up into the air before energetically pouncing on it.
Riley and the Rat have gone to some restaurant downtown, leaving you alone with explicit instructions to watch over the Meowth and make sure he doesn’t get into any trouble.
You’ve been keeping an eye on him all right, resisting the urge to chase the stupid cat out of the house and into the street. For now, though, you’ve pretended to be asleep, just so the cat would leave you alone. Within the first five minutes of humans’ departures the Meowth has been trying to speak to you, quite literally bouncing off the walls.
He just won’t shut up.
“Ha!” A piece of white gift paper drifts through the air, landing on the tip of your black nose. Your eyes are barely open – just enough so you can see what’s going on. The Meowth’s staring at you, blue-eyes wide and far too curious for their own good. Slowly, a smile comes to the kitten’s face, and he begins to slink towards the couch, weaving through a mess of wrappings, string, and boxes left over from the opened presents.
His back end is wriggling in an oh-so annoying fashion, with his brown-tipped tail waving to and fro. He’s positioned himself just in front of the couch now, his eyes narrowing to tiny slits.
You wonder if now would be a good time to ‘wake up’. But then again, he’d realize you were awake and try to strike up some air-headed conversation that you do not want to be a part of.
“Ready…almost there… slowly…”
Heck, he even talks to himself.
“Almost there… just wait for the right moment…steady… that’s it. It can’t be too hard – just SNATCH it off the dog’s fat nose, then I’ll pounce on it. It WON’T get away from me!”
Hmm… you never did like the taste of paper ashes in your mouth…but…
“It can’t hide behind a dog forever! I’m not scared of any dog. I’ll show you!”
...you suppose you can make an exception.
“All right!” Your muscles tense. “GO!”
The Meowth springs just as you ‘awake’ from your slumber. You bolt onto your feet, and the paper flies off your nose. Snarling (you intend to make yourself look as menacing as possible) you snatch up the stray piece of paper with your open jaws. The Meowth yowls in anguish.
“NO! It’s MINE!”
You blink in surprise as the Meowth lands on the couch before you, looking everything but intimidated by your display. “You let it go right now!”
You shake your head, eyes betraying your disgust as an Ember quickly disintegrates the cat’s plaything into little more than a miniscule layer of ash. It tastes absolutely horrid.
You open your mouth, trying to spit out some of the bad, charcoal-y taste. The Meowth looks horrified.
“You ATE it.” The feline does a double-take, a disbelieving look coming to his white countenance as he adds: “You’re weird.”
“Weird,” he says again, head tilting to the left as he sits on his haunches. “You’re not supposed to eat paper y’know. Especially the kind with ribbon; that kind gets stuck in your throat. Tastes nasty, too.”
“I didn’t eat it,” you tell him, your muzzle now bearing the most ferocious snarl you can possibly make while trying not to gag on the ash. “I burned it. I like to burn things.”
“Oh.” He obviously does not get the message you’re trying to get across. “Well, at least you’re awake now. I thought you were going to sleep all day. Well… umm… Eh… I guess I’ll start off. I’m Chance. Who’re you?”
Like you’re going to tell him. “It’s none of your business, Meowth.”
“My name’s not ‘Meowth’! It’s Chance! I told you that!”
“Chance, riiight,” you say, letting the last word draw out. You can’t help but roll your eyes as the kitten’s back arches in fury. “Whatever.”
You jump off the bed in a fluid motion, heading toward the kitchen through the maze of wrapping paper.
“Hey! Wait!” The Meowth quickly follows suit, running after you. He’s quite fast. “You haven’t told me your name yet.”
You don’t really intend to, either. Instead of going into the kitchen as previously planned, you turn to the left and trot down the carpeted, dimly lit hallway.
“Your name!” Chance hisses. “You dogs really are stupid. D’you not have a name or something?”
“That’s right,” you say, reverberating with sarcasm. The sarcastic remark is completely wasted on Chance, however.
“Well, I’ll have to make up one for you, then.”
The cat’s face scrunches up in concentration. It takes him only seconds to spit out: “Cal! How about that?”
“No.” You continue down the hall, darting through a doorframe into your room. Chance’s just outside of it.
“But Cal’s a good name! Hey!”
The door abruptly slams in his face, courtesy of a well-placed kick from your outstretched forepaw. To your pleasure, you can hear him hiss in frustration.
Maybe he’ll get the message now.
You come out of your room a few hours later, wrestling open the door with a long piece of red cloth tied tightly around the doorknob that’s always been there, just in case you ever closed the door. Riley’s never wanted you to stay locked in. You haven’t heard so much as a mumble from the Meowth for the past hour. For that, you’re glad.
You slowly make your way down the hall, noticing pieces of gift-wrap scattered willy-nilly about the hall. You grimace, peeking your head around the corner and into the living room.
Chance’s there, sitting quietly in the middle of the paper-strewn floor. He’s grooming himself. You roll your eyes. Typical cat behavior.
You look again, spotting something just as you were about to dart back into your room before the Meowth has a chance to notice you’ve come out.
He’s not grooming himself, he’s licking air.
“What in the name of Entei do you think you’re doing?” you growl, coming out from behind the corner, eying the young cat incredulously.
“What does it look like?” Chance hisses back, glowering. “I’m cleaning my wings.”
The sudden idea that this Meowth may not be at all sane begins to cross you mind. You can’t even bring yourself to laugh. Instead, you stare. You aren’t quite sure what to say in response. “You’re what?” you finally bark out, slightly hoarse.
“Cleaning my wings, I said! You need to keep your wings clean to be able to fly. Everyone knows that.”
“You can’t fly,” you retort, ignoring the dark glares the feline is throwing in your direction. “It’s impossible.”
(They can fall though.)
“That’s what everybody says!” Chance yells, fur bristling. “That’s what they all tell me! But they don’t know anything.” His face falters, and he suddenly seems apprehensive. “Well, I know most Meowth can’t fly … but I’m different! I have wings! And you’re just jealous. Jealous just like everybody else!”
Your expression doesn’t change. It looks very far from ever being a believing one.
“You don’t believe me, do you?” Chance hisses, voice rising in volume as he stands up. “Well, I’ll prove it to you. I’ll prove that I can fly! I’ll show you!”
You follow him outside, onto the wooden deck that overlooks the neighborhood. You’re only following him out of curiosity, nothing more. You’re starting to regret it as your paws make contact with snow. It’s not snowing anymore, but it’s still wet; it’s still cold, not the most ideal weather for a fire-type such as yourself. The sun’s actually out though, shining dully through the sparse cloud cover. You’re thankful for that.
Snorting, you exhale, sending a light flamethrower searing through the snow, barely missing Chance, who's walking in front of you. He yelps, jumping to the side as the flame dissipates and steam rises from the vaporized snow.
“What did you do that for?” Chance asks stiffly, wrinkling his nose.
You attempt to look as innocent as possible. “Getting rid of the snow. I don’t like it.”
Your excuse is actually partially true – you did want to get rid of the snow and clear a pathway, so you wouldn’t have to deal with the annoying sensation of frozen water against your paws. He just happened to be in the line of fire. Nothing more.
Or rather, at the right place at the right time.
“Sure you were…” Chance glowers, lowering himself into a crouch. With a calculated leap, he springs onto the snow-soaked railing, landing with practiced ease. He brushes off the excess snow from the railing with one paw, and you can’t help but be slightly envious of his reflexes and sense of balance.
You’re better trained than he is though. Much better. There’s no contest between his abilities and yours. At least, that’s what you’re trying to tell yourself.
Well, one thing’s for sure: at least you aren’t delusional.
“Hey! You watching?”
You nod your head.
He really is serious about this flying-thing.
“I just have to wait a minute until the wind picks up…”
You shake your head a few times, your whole body wriggling along with you. You continue to watch Chance prepare for flight. His blue eyes are glued to the sky, like he’s lost in a daydream. Suddenly, he begins to lower himself against the railing, black-tipped ears flat against his head. His expression is completely serious.
It’s then your conscience (or what remains of it) kicks in.
Perhaps you should stop him from pursuing this stupid endeavor. He could get hurt from jumping off a one-story deck. Riley charged you to keep an eye on him, too. It would be a shame if they found him plastered on the snow-covered cement below.
Of course… Riley told you to just watch him. She never said anything about physically stopping him from doing something utterly moronic.
But then again, he’s a young Meowth, and obviously his parents never tried teaching him anything better. So it’s not his fault that he’s stuck with an unsound mind with eyes fixed on the sky above.
(He’s looking about ready to jump, his back end quaking in anticipation. It’s now or never. Should you stop him?)
He jumps, his whole body and soul poured into the one, single bound that lifts him up in the air and into the blue. You watch him as his body stretches, becoming little more than a silhouette against the sun.
You run forward, head fixed on the feline figure’s every movement as he soars through the sky, almost like a bird –
But as the great law of Gravity decrees: “What goes up, must come down.”
—and with a loud, elated cry, Chance plummets to the ground below, landing with a hard, unsympathetic thud.
Your head’s sticking out from in between the gaps in the railing. You watched the fall in its entirety, and you can’t help but wince. Even so, you can't stop the amused smile that comes to your muzzle.
Cats really do land on their feet.
You can't help but wonder if falling is what caused Chance's dementia in the first place as you watch him wobble up the stairs, snow covering his white fur and whiskers. You're waiting for him at the top, not doing anything to conceal your obvious amusement and triumph. With that fall, how could anyone think that they could fly?
Chance reaches the top of the stairs, rapidly shaking himself, ridding his coat of any snow. You frown as a few flakes land on you, snorting.
Chance grimaces, wincing as if in pain. He looks over his shoulder at nothing in particular. “I think I sprained my wing.”
You nearly face-fault as the cat keeps looking back at his invisible appendage. You decide to put things simply and bluntly.
“You didn't fly, you fell.” You pause a moment before adding in your driest tone: “Stupendously.”
“I know that!” Chance says, looking very much displeased at the thought, but shrugs. “The wind wasn't that great, that's all. Couldn't hold me up.” He sticks out a pale pink tongue, looking up at the pale, robin’s egg sky, seeming deep in thought. “That happens a lot.”
You have no doubt it does.
Already, you've tried countless times to tell Chance that he can't fly; that it's physically impossible in every degree of the word, but the kitten refuses to listen to your infallible logic, preferring to prattle on about his silly fantasies without hardly taking a breath.
Even though you're obviously not listening, Chance continues to ramble as you lay stretched out comfortably along the couch. You can't help wrinkle your nose in disgust as Chance begins to groom his non-existent wings once more, complaining of [phantom] wing pain.
If he doesn't shut up soon, you'll give him something to really moan about.
“Hey, Cal -”
You flinch at the nickname - though what can you do? You're not about to tell him your real name anytime soon. “What?” you answer gruffly.
“Were you given away, too?”
Your head shifts only slightly from its position on a fluffy white pillow. It barely betrays your sudden interest. “Given away?”
“Y'know… given away by humans. Without them giving stuff for you. My old masters got gold coins for my brothers and sisters, but they just gave me away. So, did they give you away?”
“No…” you answer. “I was bought and taught by special humans. I was trained especially for the Police Force.” It seems like so long ago, now that you think about it, when you arrived at the Firebolt Training center, little but an excited, naïve puppy with a dream. You didn’t know what was waiting for you beyond the training center, but you were ready for whatever life decided to throw at you.
A tiny flame of pride begins to burn inside your chest. You were special; you were a chosen; you were a Growlithe born and bred for the proud duty of serving alongside a human partner - Riley, in your case.
“You're a police dog?” Chance says, his eyes going wide as saucers. “Then … is the girl human your …”
“Partner?” you finish, grinning. “Yes.”
“Oh… I thought so. The male human looked kind of gangly and weak… kind of like a rat or something.”
Your grin extends into a very satisfied smirk. You can barely quell the rumble of laughter that threatens to escape your muzzle. Quickly, you turn your attention back to the pillow, your line of sight coming to rest on the hall that leads to the front door. Riley and the Rat'll be coming home soon.
You make eye contact with him briefly.
The next few days fly by without a care. Over those few days, you've gotten used to Chance, how exactly, you can't fathom. Maybe it was because of that day when you actually talked to him. You think it changed something about the way you thought of him. Granted, you still thing he's more than a little bit psychotic, and deep into the spectrum of weird and annoying, but you can stand him. Flight is now an everyday topic with him around. He watches the sky like his kind does mice.
Four days from Christmas, you finally get up the courage to ask (because you weren't sure you wanted to know): “Why do you want to fly?”
“Why do I like to fly?” he paused. That was not what you meant. “I just do.”
“’Just do’ doesn't cut it.”
“Well - I like it. It makes me feel calm and happy. When I'm there, I can do anything, y'know? Free. My brothers and sisters thought I was crazy, and my owners thought it too. They thought there was something wrong with me wanting to fly. It took awhile to learn, I'd go out and jump off of everything, and I'd hurt myself sometimes because the wind couldn't hold me up. Mom didn't like that. But even if I'd fall, I'd get back up again. Flying's worth the fall in the end. You should try it sometime.”
To that, you replied with a dull, bored no.
“You know, maybe you should take that cat to work with you,” the Rat suggests to Riley a day later over breakfast.
You can barely keep yourself from choking on your dry dog food, gagging and gasping as you pull your muzzle out of your orange bowl, gulping down the last bits of food as you wheeze for breath. Chance looks up from his own bowl of Goldeen-shaped fare, looking hopeful and concerned at the same time.
“I don't know…”
Already, you are frantically trying to send a desperate message at the two humans. Don't even think about it! He would just get in the way!
“What? Don't they allow you to have any other Pokémon besides Growlithe and Arcanine?”
“There's nothing in the guidebook that says you have to use Growlithe -“ Already, you are rapidly shaking you head, a wheezy `no' accompanying it at regular intervals. The Rat, Riley, and Chance are giving you odd glances.
“—Growlithes are just the standard,” Riley continues, shrugging. “Everyone uses them because they're loyal and dependable.”
Ha! That's right. Loyal and dependable. Cats are anything but that. They'd rather sleep their butts off all day.
“However -” Your thoughts of triumph falter ever so slightly. “—there have been instances when people have used something different. In fact, our head executive over the entire police force uses a Sneasel.”
“Sneasel…” A pause. You glower. “Wait… I think I've seen it before. When I came to visit you in the office, I think I walked past it.” The Rat shakes his head. “If it wasn't a Pokémon, I could've sworn that thing yelled some profanity at me as I walked past.”
Riley smiles, tossing a lock of brown hair out of her face. “Morana probably was. She speaks perfect English, you know.” She laughs, her voice full of mirth. “Just don't get on her bad side and I think you'll be all right.”
The name rings a very familiar tune. You think you've caught a glimpse of her once or twice, but nothing substantive. You have heard a bit about her though. As far as your knowledge goes, they only tend to use her on the big, important missions. Most of the missions you cover rarely calls for another division's attention. Perhaps you should be glad of that. Sneasel, by nature, aren't usually the most friendly of creatures, and with those claws that could shiskabob anyone with ease, it's a wonder any human would want to train one.
“I'll keep that in mind,” the Rat says, sounding a bit nervous as he takes a sip of his morning coffee. “… She's not going to be at the party tonight, is she?”
Chance looks like he's wondering the same thing, lapping up his bowl of milk slowly with his long, rough tongue.
“Probably not. I haven't seen her the last few years, though Lunara - the head executive - has always been there. I don't think the Sneasel's fond of parties. …That, or she was banned from the party, either one.”
Ah. You remember now. The annual New Year's Eve party. How could you forget? It's always held once every year, on the day before New Year's Eve (due to the fact that most of the police force [including you and Riley] are on duty for pretty much all of New Year's Eve.)
“Good. You going to take the Pokémon to it?”
Riley nods. “I don't see why not. I always have - so does everybody else. I'll just have our faithful dog here watch the newcomer and make sure he doesn't get into any trouble.” She winks at you, reaching down from the chair and ruffling your white fur as you scowl. Lovely.
Chance, however, looks excited at the prospect, springing onto Riley's lap with a happy yowl, his tail swishing happily.
“Hear that, Cal? We get to go to a party!”
Oh, you're just thrilled about it.
So you're here too SP? wow. another awesome Pokemon POV. no spelling or grammar errors and the story line just rocks!
Shiny Mightyena: I echo you: "You're here, too?!"
It's good to see you hear -a nd thanks for the review!
Saffire, brilliant story as always. I have only one thing I want to ask- WHERE THE HECK DID YOU PUT THE REST OF IT! I WANT TO READ MORE!!!!111!!!
Umm... yes, anyway, this story does prove that you are more then a tragedian. You are a dramatist and a comedian as well. (You know, if you start writing plays I may be tempted to call you "The Shakespeare of Pokemon fanfiction".) This story is way better then anything I could write... anyway, see you topside!
Oh yeah, I'm supposed to rate this- well, I forgot my rating machine (Patent Pending) because I was so excited about reading another Saffire_Persian story, so I can't rate until you put up another part or something. (Yes, this is blackmail.)
Well, have fun topside!
Thanks for your review. Yeah, there is more, just got distracted with other projects to put up this installment.
Ah, on a random note, the link to Loyalty has been fixed.
Part II: Morana
Babysitting never has been (and never will be) your greatest strongpoint. You've never been the kind of Growlithe just likes to sit there and do nothing. You're no guard dog, and frankly, you find your current assignment to be rather insulting. It hurts your pride to think you, a great and talented fighter, has been degraded to watching a cat chase his tail around the expansive, decorated halls.
It is especially humiliating in front of your Growlithe teammates. Just hearing them snicker as they trot passed makes your blood boil. And if you hear “cute” one more time…
Ugh. If you weren't so well behaved, you'd show them what for, but for now, you have a cat to watch.
Your main mission is to keep him from doing anything stupid – which is a chore and a half in itself.
Chance seems to have taken a fancy to spontaneously darting in between all the party guest’s legs, nearly tripping a great number of them, and the Humans themselves aren’t making your job any easier. There are way, way too many sparkling things in the room for Chance to try and pounce on. This includes (but is not limited to) people's jewelry, and heaven help it if a single golden coin is sticking out of a patron’s left pocket. You’ve been waiting to see him get a good, hard kick in the butt from one of the high-heeled woman because of his risky antics – the kind of women whose shoes could put a hole through somebody’s chest. But nooo, they think the little Chance is cute .
Oh, pet the cat as he greedily paws at your anklet. Feed him when he jumps on your lap, begging for food.
Why not just slap him and tell him he is a dirty little thief? Seriously, if it were a Linoone pick pocketing, they would have booted it to kingdom come.
You eye Chance as he plays with another rich lady’s bracelet – one of the Police Headquarters’ secretary’s. This one doesn’t do anything to punish him either, petting his head as she lets him play with her jewel-studded bracelet.
Just wait until Chance steals your whole set of diamonds, lady, then we’ll see who’s “cute”, you think with a snort.
You peer around the room with a bored look on your face.
You have to admit, this New Year's Eve party has certainly had a lot of work put into it. Every empty wall has been decorated to their full capacity, festooned head-to-toe with bright streamers and rainbow colored confetti. The dining room that you’re in is especially extravagant. Tables with food and drink are everywhere, and there's even a little fountain spitting out some kind of green liquid with a lemon smell. Punch, probably. It's disappearing like mad. There's even food catered especially to Pokémon on a few of the lower-set tables. You've never been one for huge parties such as this, full of chattering humans and Pokémon, but still, it's too bad you're too busy watching Chance to glean even an ounce of enjoyment out of it.
“To marriage!” a loud, boisterous voice roars, catching your attention. The lion-voice is followed by several others, each sounding in equally good humor. Some are even hiccupping. You look up to see a few wide-rimmed glasses being raised, full of a dark red substance.
“To Santa Clause!” A rather rotund fellow yells out, wobbling about like a Teeter Dancing Spinda. “Beat that!”
The crowd around the gold table pauses. Some appear to be deep in thought, others just look confused.
A man hiccups. “San’a doesn' even exist, you moron!” His acne-covered face suddenly blanks. “Umm... where was I? Eh? To Women!”
A dreary, forlorn voice: “To the children I'll never have…”
You cough once you recognize the pale figure that just spoke, the one who’s barely keeping his own glass aloft. It's the Rat. He’s still muttering something in a low, slurred tone, his head laying on his arms in a depressed fashion. It’s surprise his white shirt and black tie aren’t stained yet.
“Did I hear you say something, Alex?”
Riley appears out of nowhere, touching the Rat lightly on the shoulder, smirking. That is, before the Rat nearly trips over himself in attempts to turn around. It takes only seconds for her to deliver a venomous hawk-eyed glare over at the other men crowded around the table as she tries to steady her husband. “What have you done to my husband?”
“Just gave `im somthin' to drink, ya?” says one of them, snickering.
“Yeah, we told `im it was punch, didn't we, `arry?””
“Yup. And `e fell for it. You obveeously hav't teached him much, eh, Riley?” a particularly ugly looking guy responds. You recognize him: he’s the janitor for the police force headquarter’s. Larry, that’s it.
The look he's giving Riley is making you want to tear his arms off -- that, or bite him where it hurts. She can take care of herself; she’s already fixing Larry with a `try me' sort of look. He shrugs, going back to his drink with a gravelly laugh. He probably doesn't know she carries a gun with her at all times.
(You’d very much like to see him find out.)
“Hey, where's your little cat?”
You spin around, startled. It's only Ember, one of the youngest (and most annoying) recruits. “What do you want?”
“I wanted to know where your little kitty-kat went. I heard you were supposed to be babysitting a Meowth, so I came to see.”
You growl, eyes darting frantically around for any sign of Chance. “None of your business.”
“You lost him, didn't cha?” the Growlithe snickers, body shaking in mirth. “You lost him! You lost him!”
(And when you find him you're going to kill him.)
“You did! I can see it on your face!” Ember continues to taunt. “How are you supposed to watch a prisoner if you can't watch a mangy ca -“
Ember doesn't have time to finish his sentence, as you bound forward, emitting a loud, angry Roar that sends the Growlithe fleeing fast in the other direction. You ignore the accusing stares that drift in your direction, black nose sniffing the ground. You easily pick up Chance's scent - it's unmistakable and strong.
You follow the trail angrily, feet going from carpet to tile as you circle around the house, weaving through the crowd through and open doorway into a tiny room. The lights are completely off, and it takes a few seconds for your eyes to begin to adjust - but not before your nose runs into wood.
You look up, blinking a few times. Your vision slowly clears. It's a door, just slightly ajar and wooden. It probably leads to a basement cellar. A strong odor that’s not quite cat is drifting from it -- in fact, it’s a mixture of strange scents, though they've coalesced with one another so much it's hard to distinguish.
The only one sure thing is that Chance definitely went down there. …And so must you.
The cellar’s completely dark, and it takes a while for your eyes to fully adjust to the sudden change in lighting. The floor's made of hard, cold cement and the mixture of strong smells in the air is making you sneeze. Cabinets full of glass bottles line the walls and middle of the room.
The sound of breaking glass makes you jump, spinning about to the right where the noise originated. Slowly you creep forward. Rounding one of the wooden shelves, you spot a familiar white figure jump down from one of them, mumbling something indistinguishable. You see his pink tongue flick out, paws clutched protectively around a broken, sky colored glass bottle as he laps up the substance inside.
In - out - in - out.
It's then you make your presence known.
“And what do you think you're doing?”
Chance looks up, his eyes glowing eerily in the dark. He has the most idiotic grin you've ever seen plastered on his face. You bet it would even rival a Sunflora’s in terms of sheer stupidity. “Cal!” he yells, smiling a secret smile as he looks sneakily around the room. His voice fades to a low whisper. “I'm drinking.”
“Give me that,” you growl, wresting the bottle out of Chance's possessive grip with your teeth. It has a picture of an Altaria on it, flying high amongst rainbow colored clouds. There’s human writing on it, but you can’t exactly read that.
“You SHOULD try it!” Chance's voice says, fluctuating in loudness and tone at an alarming rate. He stands up, walking as if his legs have been completely jellified. The Meowth manages to spring up onto the top of the shelves, walking along it with less than his usual feline grace. “You can `ave that! I've had THAT kind before!”
You slowly set the bottle down, sniffing it carefully. The berry-like smell is almost overwhelming to your olfactory sensors. It has another smell to it though - a hot, pungent odor that makes your nose itch. You're sure you've smelled it before but you can't put your paw on it.
Another glass bottle shatters on the floor, and you can't restrain a nervous bark. Chance chirps with glee, already on the floor and lapping up the liquid quickly seeping from the broken container.
Curiosity finally overthrows your caution and suspicion. You begin to lap up what's in your own bottle. You recoil at first at the strange, strong taste. It's not altogether unpleasant though. There's a definite berry flavor to it, with a touch of cool mint to offset the hot smell, but as you continue on nothing can stop you from draining the rest of the bottle's contents or pulling down another one from the shelves and consuming it with rapidly increasing greed.
You are completely, absolutely drunk.
…Not that you would know anything about that.
Your mind has long since been locked into a prison of your own making, rattling on the steel bars in utter bewilderment. Many of your thoughts have been replaced with hazy confusion and all common sense has been thrown to the wind, perhaps never to return. After drinking down as many bottles of that sweet-bitter-mint-stuff as you did, it wouldn't be a surprise.
Of course, you wouldn't know anything about that either, would you?
No… you're still wondering how you managed to get outside. You don't remember ever leaving. A moment you were in that basement, the next…well, you were here. Lost, completely lost.
The cold night air is chilled, and everywhere you go, silence reigns. Snow is softly falling from the star-struck heavens above, landing on the pavement with cat-like silence and prestige. Around you, the buildings are dark and dreary, all lights turned off with only a few flickering lamplights providing any sort of luminance.
That brings to mind your second ever-fleeting question: Why the heck do the lights insist on swimming about like a school of bloodthirsty Sharpedo? It doesn't make sense; it's defying all sense of logic. Not to mention it's making you feel sick.
….It is pretty though.
All the pretty lights swimming round-round-round-round-round…
Even those thoughts are making you feel a bit sick. Pushing aside all those needless, sickly feelings though, your emotions are that of sheer, deluded happiness. You feel, despite all the confusion, like you're about to burst. You have never felt this… this… giddy in your entire life. It's a wonderful feeling!
You want to leap!
You want to bound!
You want to sing!
You want to jump and howl at the moon above like some kind of untrained savage!
(…Now, where did that thought come from? Hmm…)
Not a bad idea though.
Yes, you think you just might do that.
Even though your legs are almost refusing to cooperate with you, nearly tripping over your own paws at every step, you prepare yourself to leap. Your muscles tighten like an arrow waiting to fly, hackles rise in anticipation…
…then you become aware of a strange, warm weight on your back. You shake yourself, priorities changing in a flash. You now want nothing more than get this strange mass off you. Pain, small and sharp, digs into your fur at the shake. You grimace, eyes rolling as you try to stop yourself from falling over.
You manage to steady yourself, and you peer over your shoulder. You see three white cats clinging to your back, their claws digging painfully into your fur, sleeping. Your eyes focus and unfocus, and the forms waver. Wait - there's only one.
Chance, something tells you.
Are you supposed to know him?
Yes, the voice says, insistently. It then adds, in a nasty, biting tone you do not like at all: idiot.
Okay, so you know him.
Now why is he on your back? You're not some beast of burden.
You shrug, shaking your head madly. You shouldn't try to think, you'll probably end up hurting yourself. Just keep walking. You're bound to end up somewhere useful. You have a distinct feeling that you do indeed know where you are - but it's only a feeling, nothing more.
“Eighty-seven Rattata in the grass, eighty-seven Rattata! Take one out, smack it around, eighty-six Rattata in the grass—”
Your eyes tighten, ears twitching at the sound of the rough voice. You look behind you, hoping to catch some glimpse of whoever's singing. It was coming from behind you. You are sure of that.
Suddenly, you collide into something cold and solid in front of you. Grunting, you recoil. Your eyes are spinning about like bowling pins as you try to regain equilibrium. Slowly, your eyes follow a path upwards. The body is a dark one, covered in some kind of short fur with long claws, scythe-like and lethal.
“Watch where you're goin', you freakin' moron.”
A growl, unbidden, rises in your throat. Automatically, you feel your whole body tense up. Fur rises at its ends. Something inside tells you that very few beings have gotten away with calling you that; you're just feeling too dizzy to do much of anything about it.
“If you're thinking about growling at me, do me a freakin' favor and shut it. You ran into me, not the other way around. ”
Your eyes finally come to the creature’s head. It's cat-like in appearance, with a definite, foreign look. A pair of pitch-dark sunglasses covers its eyes…
Your heartbeat quickens to a frantic chatter. You know this Pokémon. You've seen this Sneasel before.
You try to say it, but you find your mouth can't form the words. A rumble comes out, but nothing even close to being understandable.
“Maybe if you let go of that freakin' bottle, you just might be able to speak halfway decent,” the Sneasel says, snorting in a half-annoyed, half-amused fashion, before adding nastily: “Just a suggestion.”
You are suddenly painfully aware that there's an object in between your jaws. Something hard and slick. You try to look at it, but black stars swim in your eyes at the attempt and you give up, heeding the Sneasel's advice, and relinquishing the glass bottle to the ground. You let it roll across the sidewalk. The Sneasel is looking at you expectantly.
“Morana,” is all you can say. Your jaws are incredibly stiff. On your back, the warm presence starts to stir.
Morana's eyebrows furrow in confusion. “Am I supposed to know you or somethin'?” she says slowly. She pauses, staying silent for a few seconds before she snaps her paws, startling you with a sudden movement. “Wait! You're a police lapdog, aren't you? What's your name?”
You open your mouth to speak, only to find you can't answer. You don't remember.
“'s Cal!” the voice from your back answers for you, his voice pattern sounding like a badly turned piano. Chance is standing up on your back, wobbling a bit before tumbling off, the sidewalk breaking his fall. The Sneasel only gives the Meowth a passing, jaded glance.
That name seems to spark something in your memory, and you reply, growling adamantly: “I'm not Cal.” You remain blissfully unaware how strange and slurred your voice sounds. However, Morana picks it up, eying you with a sudden suspicion. Her eyes, hidden by the black shades, dart over to where the bottle is, before picking it up with her paws.
“Altaria Wine –” she reads, “the secret, splendid mixture of spirits popular ever since 1548. Drink freely. Unchain your majestic spirit and allow yourself to find release and soar to Cloud Nine and beyond…” She stops, looking incredibly disgusted. Her sideways glance meets yours. “You and your little cat are freakin' drunk aren't ya?”
You don't answer, not quite knowing how to respond. Meanwhile, Chance is already up and at it, having revived from his drowsiness rather quickly. His current obsession seems to be pouncing on snowflakes from behind you, missing most of them. He's apparently bored listening to the rather one-sided conversation.
Out of nowhere, Chance suddenly performs a gallant leap that sends him headfirst into a lamppost. He slumps to the ground, stunned. Morana's eyebrows twitch. You **** your head, and decide that that white cat is really stupid. You would never do something like that.
You turn your attention back to Morana, blinking a few times as your vision becomes slightly hazy. You shake your head.
“Ha! I thought so,” is all she says, a smirk darting quickly across her ebony face. She tosses the glass wantonly over her shoulder. It lands into the ditch, rolling. “I go out patrolling for drunk humans `cause they don't want me at the party, and instead I find drunk Pokémon, what are the odds?”
You smile, the sudden anger you felt towards the Sneasel starting to fade away, replaced by that unnatural happiness again.
“Let's see… acts of stupidity… You're not that one they call Blaze, are ya?” Why do you suddenly feel insulted? You don't answer - nor do you have time to. Morana quickly picks up where she left off. “Naa, too skinny. Lesse - Ember? No? Wait! Wait, I've freakin' got it! You're Riley's partner aren't you?”
The mere mention of Riley's name makes your ears perk up. A strange sense of pride fills up your body like running water into a glass. It's almost overflowing.
“Oh - that makes a lot of freakin' sense, lemme tell ya. I can see it now; don't know why I didn't before. You're that freakin' moron of a Growlithe that almost became road kill six months ago, because ‘e forgot to look both ways before crossin' the street. You had to be saved by a stick figure of a human, too. Heh - I was hearin' about that for weeks. And now lookit you – drunk just like one of those Spinda. How I wish I could put those things out of their miseries.” She takes a breath that rattles in her throat. “Well, them and humans. Their existence makes no freakin' sense, and the greater part of their population ends up killing themselves someway or another … that is –” she smiles evilly, apparently enjoying the next train of thought. “—if something else doesn't kill'em first. That's always interesting to see, lemme tell ya. It's why I'm in the `good guy' job. Breakin' down doors n' figuring out homicides, that’s the life.”
You listen to Morana's continuous tirade. She seems content with monologuing to herself (you aren't exactly paying full attention). The Sneasel herself has broken into a fit of mad cackles over something you don't get.
“I've got to give it to you though,” once again, she has your attention, “for being drunk, you haven't done anythin' stupid yet. By now, a human would've done somethin', like run away or try to attack me with a knife –” she looks at her long claws, snickering at some fond memory “--or… doing something along the lines of what your kitty friend is doing.”
You spin around, and to your growing horror (and amazement) you realize Chance is attempting to scale the nearest lamppost, his claws finding whatever purchase he can. He's doing pretty well, his posture rigid and determined.
“He’s doin’ it just like humans do. You should watch `em try sometime, it's the most hilarious thing to watch. They scurry up the poles like roaches. Most of them fall flat on their backs in the first five seconds. Though - and here's the thing - some of them actually have a bit of monkey still left in `em. They climb right up those polls without any trouble at all - dunno how, but they do.”
You blink in shock at Morana's statement. A sudden, clear thought comes to you, floating amidst the junk floating around your mind. “You watch them?”
Shouldn't she be stopping them?
“Oh yeah. I don't save other humans from their own stupidity, Watchdog. If they want to be a monkey, then I let them. `S not my business. It's when they go unconscious from falling or jumping that's my business.”
You stare down at the ground. Thinking - thinking about nothing. Somehow, you being here is feeling decidedly strange, and now that you're not moving, you're starting to feel sleepy -
“'ey, Watchdog,” again, the Sneasel's screechy voice brings you back to some semblance of reality, “your Meowth friend wouldn't happen to be one of those freakin' jumping types, now, would he?”
Your head snaps upwards as you collapse onto your haunches. Chance seems to have made it to the top, already walking over to where the dim light fixture extends over the sidewalk. He's assuming an eerily familiar stance, body to the ground, posterior swaying…
“Well, looks like he's goin' to jump. Most humans don't usually make it that far, though some do. This should be interesting.”
“Y'see, most humans get cold feet after climbin' all the way up there, but a few - you know, the kind of people who are really stupid, have a lot of guts, have a death wish, got extremely drunk, or’ve just got cheated on by their girlfriends – those are the ones that to go out with a bang!” She accentuates her meaning with a swift punch - though she stops in mid-action, tilting her head. “Well, it's technically more a loud thud, but still…”
“GO! SEE! I'm flying!” comes the joyous cry, tearing through the night air with a fiery, exuberant passion.
Morana whistles, looking impressed. “Haven't had anybody who was so delusional they thought they could freakin' fly though. But they basically do the same things he just did...” Her head follows Chance's quick descent as he drops like a wounded bird. He lands hard on the cement, feet first, crumbling to the floor.
Out of instinct, you run over to his side (teetering all along the way). As far as you're drunken mind is concerned, that was one of the most amazing spectacles you've ever seen! Something in the corner of your mind is telling you that you should've at least told him he couldn't fly.
You're at his side now. Chance's eyes are closed, though you can see the steady rise and fall of his chest as he breathes. He looks extremely content for a Pokémon who's just had a less than pleasant fall. Morana's keen eyes dart up and down the Meowth's body, no doubt looking for signs of broken bones or abrasions. “Unlike humans,” she continues, “we Pokémon are a lot stronger than they are, so your friend pretty much got away with nothin' but a few bad bruises that he'll definitely feel in the mornin'. Humans though, they're not so lucky. Most of `em never get up again. We usually have to peel them off the cement with a spatula.” She smiles that disturbing smile again. “Tragedy, ain't it, watchdog? We-hell, time to get movin', I suppose.”
You nod. (What are you nodding at?)
Morana carefully lifts Chance off the ground, throwing him over her shoulder with obvious ease. She begins to walk away, and with less than perfect elegance, you follow her. Across the street you walk, coming to the other side. You can guess that Morana's keeping tabs behind those darkened glasses. She makes her way around a brick building. You do too, head down, watching your paws.
Suddenly, you hit something metal with the center of your head. Your vision swims, blotched with black circles. You're only vaguely aware of a dull throb is beginning to rise from the center of your head before everything goes black.
As with Loyalty, I like this a lot. The only problem is... well... WHERE'S THE REST OF IT I NEED MOAR OMFG!!!!1o1ne
Seriously, though, this is lovely. Everything is just so perfect: It's just so charming, and I'm finding myself becoming more and more attached to the characters as the story goes along. (And I must say, I'm really liking Morana: She's a highly entertaining character.) Oh, and the humor is just wonderful. I found myself snickering quite a few times.
And darn it, you know just how to keep a reader hooked! I can't stop wondering what's going to happen next, especially with the current installment. (Agh, so many questions! Like, 'What's gonna happen to the Growlithe and Chance!?!', 'Why won't the Rat ever have children!?!', 'What did the main character hit his head on!?!' and 'What's the main character's naaaaaame!?!', to name a few.)
Yeah... that's all I really have to say, except 'Keep up the good work' and...
'OMG WHEN R U GOIN 2 ADD MOAR OMGOMGOMGOMG!!!11one'
Taste me, I'm delicious! ;D
What's going to happen to Cal and Chance? For spoiler's sake, you'll just have to wait and see. And the Rat thing? Keep in mind that he was drunk, and alcohol does funny things to people - for the rat, it made him a rather pessimistic, melancholy nerd. You can chose to read into it if you wish. I dunno how far that'd get you though. As for Growlithe's real name? Well, you don't *really* find out in this installment, but it's a name you could come up with if you consider all the Growlithe's naming schemes thus far. (Ember, Blaze...) So it has - at least -- something to do with fire. For Cal, it fits the canine's personality quite well, I assure you. XD
As to what Cal ran into.. you'll just have to stop and wait and see. And on an off note I always find it amusing when people always refer to Cal as a he -- every single time -- even though I've purposely kept Cal's gender ambiguous. So he could be a she for all you know. >.> But it's technically up to you.
Thanks for your review!
A/N: Second to last installment here. As always, comments, critique, etc. is appreciated. Spelling mistakes will be killed.
Ashes to Ashes
You wake to the sounds of a clock, its gentle ticks slowly bringing you out of your idyllic dream world into reality. It took you a surprisingly long time to recognize where you were, the light beams playing across the floor nearly blinding you.
You were home. You were safe.
You also wake to a deep, searing headache. You feel horrid - worse than road kill on a scorching day. You have very little memory of what transpired the night before, but you soon found out.
Upon hearing what happened from Chance (who apparently has a memory far superior to yours) you barely believed it. It sounded as far-fetched as Chance actually flying. Still, you have no choice but to believe it. After all, the pounding headache you have certainly isn’t natural, and the memories you managed to retain add up to Chance's story. Some of his commentary even managed to trigger a few of the repressed memories – well, embarrassing ones that you would do better to forget.
This left you to conclude two things:
1: You were a complete, total idiot. You deserve a medal for it. Chance deserves about five.
2: You are never going to so much as drink any bottled substance ever again.
You know you deserve punishment for your irresponsibility. You acted out in a way that's the absolute antithesis of what you stand for, and that alone embarrasses you. You don’t tell anyone else this - who is there to tell? But you got what you wished for once Riley made her appearance, dressed in her police uniform.
Morana had, apparently, told her every single painstaking detail. She left nothing out. You think deep down Riley found a lot of it funny. She didn't appear angry in the least, when she told you Morana’s tale, shaking her head in a bemused fashion – especially at the part when you apparently ran face-first into a stop sign and knocked yourself out. According to the words of Morana, you did yourself a favor.
However, Riley then did something she had never done before: she departed for work. Without you.
That hurt more than any stop sign ever could.
It made sense; Riley didn't want a Pokémon with a “hangover” coming to work with her. You’d probably end up endangering the mission. Your wits obviously aren't all about you yet, even if they’re returning more and more each passing hour. Still, it hurts. More than anything.
You're not alone in your misery: the Rat and Chance are here, too, all suffering similar maladies of the head. (The Rat in particular was really out of it. Anytime he wears his pajamas past 8:00 A.M is cause for deep-rooted worry). Despite this, you choose to weather out the headache and slight depression alone.
You end up sleeping most of the day, coming in and out of consciousness, only to go back to sleep again when you notice the clock. Deep is your regret.
Hours pass, six p.m. hits, then soon enough, it's eight.
You can't sleep any longer. It now evades you like the plague. Your headache’s diminished to only a dull throb. It'll be gone soon. Riley will be home in an hour if everything goes right.
Nine comes on swift wings. Nine-thirty all the faster.
Riley still has yet to come home.
You wander wearily into the living room. The TV screen's blaring. Chance is on the Rat's lap, paws draping over the human's stripped pajama knees, both human and Pokémon look abnormally pale.
You can tell something's wrong. You look to the television for answers. It's what the other two are staring at with such deep-set interest and hollow eyes.
Your heart stops.
On the TV screen, the Silph Co. building is in full view. There are people everywhere, some in uniform, some not. Panic is obvious. Yelling, screaming, fear. The Newswoman is doing her best to talk above the obscene noise.
There's been an attack. No one knows what’s really going on or what they’re after. All the police teams available are fighting inside. Rumors of fire; rumors of gunshots. A Team Rocket attack? No: it lacks all the usual signs. It has to be some lesser-known organization.
“Cal!” Chance half-shouts, half-whispers, as he notices you. Worry is prominent in his sky blue eyes. He's looking to you for direction. “Alex says Riley's there. What should we do, Cal?”
You don't answer him. You're already out of the room, and soon, out of the house.
Worry. Panic. Fear. Fear, panic, worry, guilt.
Riley can take care of herself.
(But is she all right?)
She can fight.
(But can she fight alone?)
How is she feeling?
(Everyone else has a partner, she doesn’t.)
She can take care of herself. She can fight. She’s smart. She’s a born and bred fighter, a tried and true survivor.
(And you’re coming.)
Paws scrape against the sidewalk, wind becoming servant to your newfound speed. You know the way. You can’t let her do this alone. The police have a saying – a saying that you should always have someone to fall back on, just in case things go wrong. You’ve followed that creed for years. Now, you’re fulfilling it.
“Cal! Wait! Slow down! Please…”
You turn to face him, the small kitten trying to keep pace with you, running just behind your tail. Already, you’ve told him to go home. You don’t need him; he’ll only get in the way. You can’t be his baby-sitter. No, not this time.
Go home. Go home and dream your silly dreams, you say, snarling with a biting steel edge, because this is real. This isn’t a game you can just get up from if you mess up.
You mess up, you die.
(Simple. Plain. Truth. Learn it. Keep it. Live it.)
It’s not a game; you can’t rely on transparent wings to fly. You must have them, you must have the skill.
He does not.
But Riley’s my friend, too, he argues, his spirit flaring – the spirit of an elegant Persian who refuses to be swayed. I want to help.
It’s then you know you can’t stop him from going.
Even birds have to learn how to fly. They don’t even know how until they try, until they leap. Then they either soar or fall.
“I’m not slowing down,” you tell him. “You speed up.”
Humans are everywhere. Most are completely oblivious to what’s really going on. Some are there for the view – for the action. After all, it’s not everyday something happens on a scale such as this. In fact, it hasn’t happened in many years. The reporters are savoring it like a fine food connoisseur does his favorite dish.
They know publicity when they see it. They know a good tale that’ll keep their audiences at the edges of their seats. They know how to earn their bread; they’ve been at it for years, perfecting their recipes.
Yet they have no idea how incredibly annoying they are. They fail to realize that one simple fact.
And to think you have to get through them to get to the doors.
You’re small, though. Few people pay attention to you.
Even fewer notice the Meowth as it slinks by like an opaque ghost.
Some silly kid’s Growlithe, they probably think. Some alley cat.
Most get out of the way. If they don’t, a growl or well-placed kick does the trick. If it doesn’t, you can always Flamethrower them a bit. That always gets them moving.
Luckily, you don’t have to. You make it to the doors some rookie police officers are guarding. They recognize you of course, their Growlithes barking at you in recognition. Their faces do a complete 180 when they see Chance, though.
Still, he’s with you.
You’re Riley’s dog. Chance is Riley’s cat.
They let you through.
The first floor looks as pristine as the day it first was open to business. The fountain is flowing, and floors are clean. No sign of battle – of breaking and entering – are evident. The receptionist’s desk is empty, the chair bearing no person to greet you. The flowers in pots and vases around the first floor are untouched.
There’s nothing, nothing at all. That puts you even more ill at ease than a full-blown battle scene would have. People have recently been here, though. You can smell them.
“Where is everybody?” Chance asks. “Where’s Riley?”
Your nose catches a familiar scent, of battle hardy cinnamon and gunpowder. “She’s here,” you say, breathing in the scent again for good measure. “I know she is.”
The many flights of stairs you are forced to go up are long and hard; they seem to stretch to forever. Each floor yields a new level, untouched and unblemished. You can no longer ignore your growing unease and agitation. The fact that running up stairs is tiring doesn’t help your predicament at all, and oftentimes you find daydreaming. Heh. Perhaps a bit of alcohol is still in you blood, you don’t know.
(Stupid. Stupid. Never get drunk again.)
Chance is having a hard time, too. His breathing is fast becoming ragged and torn, like a proud flag in a cutting wind. He doesn’t talk much anymore, and even when he does, he doesn’t complain, and he always says the same thing: “She here?”
It disappoints you just as much as him to say no.
It doesn’t take too long for you to reach the ninth floor, following Riley’s scent in a loyal procession, but it isn’t until you reach the thirteenth floor that you come upon signs of battle. You arrive on the thirteenth landing, hearing furious screeches and yowls that reverberate along the corridor.
Startled (who wouldn’t be?) you peek your head around the corner, ears flat against your head. Your sharp eyes can make out two ebony forms deep within the throes of battle. One of them is a bird, a Murkrow who’s trying to avoid the long claws of its foe. A foe you recognize.
The Sneasel is obviously infuriated, slashing at the crow Pokémon with Zangoose-like quickness, and Salamence-like ferocity. It’s obviously a one-sided battle, ending rather quickly as a single, focused slash strikes the Murkrow across the chest, its blood spattering like paint across the white walls. It falls to the floor, a blow to the neck quickly finishing off the unfortunate bird.
It doesn’t get back up.
Morana snarls. “Serves you right, you freakin’ pincushion.”
You run forward, Chance just behind you. A bark lets her know you’re here. “What’s happening?” you ask, looking at an object clenched in her left paw.
You can tell she’s still angry her fists quivering, while her left, blood-red eye is completely constricted. Morana turns around, obviously in a very sour mood. “Oh, you mean this?” She lifts up her right claw, of which holds a pair of sunglasses – make that one shattered pair of sunglasses. “A human stepped on them and broke ‘em.” She jerks a claw to the pile of lifeless plumage. “He thought it was funny.”
“That’s not what I mea –”
“Your eye!” Chance yowls, going slightly pale. “It’s gone!”
“And you only have half a brain, so what?” the Sneasel growls. “Doesn’t freakin’ matter. I can still fight perfectly well with one eye.”
It may have surprised Chance, but it doesn’t surprise you. It’s common knowledge that Morana is a one-eyed Sneasel who lost her eye in a battle with a human. “It’s not new, Chance,” you decide to tell him. He visibly relaxes. “She lost it to a human awhile ago.“
“Now listen here, Watchdog,” Morana snarls, unamused, “I may have lost an eye, but that human lost his freakin’ head. I lose to no one, got it?”
You shrug. That seems to pacify the dark-type, who folds her arms, clutching her ruined lenses protectively. “What’s really going on?” you say again. “ In the building, I mean.”
“Oh…that…” Morana shrugs. “Nothin’ much. We’re mainly dealing with a few traitorous rats.”
“Rats?!” Chance exclaims.
“We think that the culprits are some employees here,” Morana explains, sounding bored. “Tryin’ to destroy everything really. The elevators are out, and some of the rooms are on fire in the higher levels. We think there are a few humans behind it… hard to tell who is and who ain’t though. They’re all wearing normal clothes like regular workers, see? So I can’t rightly go an’ kill all of them.
“We think we know who a few of ‘em are though. Their freakin’ leader has a Houndoom wandering about some place, too.” She grimaces. “He got away from us, but he’s here, watching, I know he is. We’ve been trackin’ him for a while now, and he likes to attack outta nowhere and disappear again, so I dunno when he’ll turn up next. We may not’ve got him, but I think we’ve managed to capture the ringleader of this whole thing. ‘aven’t seen him myself, but that’s what I’ve heard. Heard he’s a bit of a wimp, too. Strange for a leader-type. All brains and no brawn. ”
You nod. With a sudden leaden feeling, you realize you’re wasting time talking here. Riley’s not here. You shouldn’t be having a chat with anyone. Your eyes dart towards the next staircase.
“You lookin’ for Riley, right?”
“Yeah!” Chance grins broadly. “Do you know where she is? We’re looking for her.”
“She’s was on the twentieth floor when I last saw her. Fightin’ some idiots with a couple buddies of hers. It was quite a big fight, too. Pokémon and humans everywhere.”
That’s all the information you need. You bolt towards the staircase, running up it without hesitation, Chance not far behind.
Morana’s voice echoes up the stairwell as you leave. “Hey, Watchdog, keep a look out for the human body on the nineteenth floor. It can’t bite you or anything, as I’m pretty sure ‘e’s dead. I just wouldn’t want you to trip over him or nothin’.”
The twentieth floor is huge, (you jumped over the body in the stairwell). The air’s full of chemicals that sting your eyes and burn your nose, but that does not stop you from locating Riley’s scent. This one is different from the others; it’s alive and fresh. From your left, you can hear sounds of battle originating from a room down the left hall. You and Chance waste no time running down it.
There’s an open doorway at the end of the hall, light streaming through the wooden flame. The sounds are coming from here.
“Stay back,” you tell Chance in a whisper, slowly creeping through the open doorway, and surveying the situation inside. You recognize most of the faces here, recognizing them as part of the esteemed Firebolt division. Bodies of fainted Pokémon and humans lie scattered about the room like puzzle pieces. Thankfully, Growlithes are in the minority.
You spot Riley off to one-side, wrestling with a stick of a man with a pale complexion, pockmarked skin, and dark hair. She’s trying to pin him to the floor. She’ll definitely succeed, that man is a wimp.
You bark gleefully as gravity finally takes hold of the man, bringing him down shoulder first to the white floor below, white lab coat askew. Riley sighs with relief. You and Chance run towards her, you can see the surprise on her face.
Your smile doesn’t fade for those long five seconds – those five seconds that will be forever imprinted in your mind as long as you exist to remember.
The next five seconds are akin to a far away dream. Agonizing and slow, they stretch longer than they should, and that one moment in those seconds that should have stretched on forever, didn’t.
The man had a gun.
You couldn’t stop him as he pulled it from his pocket. You couldn’t stop him as he aimed the gun at the only human you ever truly came to care about. The shock and surprise in her eyes at that single moment was enough to send chills down your spine and into your bones until they felt hollow. She jerked to the side; a vain attempt to dodge.
(She was never one to give up. She had looked death in the face many, many times and survived. But…never this close.)
And to think…
His finger began to put pressure on the trigger, the panic in his eyes fueling that pressure, hands shaking. Then, out of the death-device of man, came a roar as barrel gave life to bullet. Once, twice.
…there was nothing you could do.
She didn’t cry out in pain like most humans would have, when bullet meets flesh. No, that was not her way. She was tough about it – the tough-as-nails way that you always remember her doing things. Nothing that could plausibly happen to her could ever faze or waver that odd, dignified will. Hawk-like, if you would.
Hurt someone she loved, though, then it was different. Hurt someone she cared about and you could be sure she’d never stop hunting you. She would follow you everywhere; there was no escaping it. Death would not stop her, she’d track you down with a vengeance, and when she’d finally find you months, years, days later, the talons would dig deep, never to release their hold.
But this was not about anyone else, this was about her.
When she was hit, once in the chest and once in the side, her eyes didn’t promise eternal revenge like others would have. She did live everyday knowing that, perhaps, she would meet the final darkness that would take her away. You guess she accepted that. You could understand, you did too.
But you were here; you were watching her fall, blood soaking her uniform in which she prized. Deep blue to crimson red. It did not fit her. You did not like it – it didn’t feel right.
Shock overtook your body as you watched her collapse, dreamlike, onto the pristine white floor. You could do little but watch, eyes widening in horror and dread. You forgot to breathe for a few moments.
Partners weren’t supposed to watch the other die.
No. Partners weren’t supposed to let each other die.
Alright, just a few things before I dissolve into tears. (Again... I'm not supposed to get moved to tears! That doesn't happen to tough guys! *sob, sob* Maybe I should have joined the body scouts instead of taking acting lessons... *sob*)
I think you meant "You find yourself"... but you could be finding a daydream in midair. (Just kidding, XD) -- *will fix*
Thanks for your review.
A/N: Last installment. It took me awhile, as heavy action scenes – even editing t hem, is a pain for me, as I have trouble writing and editing them. Hopefully it’s okay. There’s probably typos, and I’ll kill ‘em as I see them.
I usually don't go out and say this, but if you like listening to music while reading, 3 Doors Down's two songs "Dangerous Game" and "Going Down in Flames" were the songs that I wrote this to, and fit the coming scenes perfectly. '
Also, if you’ve ever held a cat by the scruff of the neck, (at least by my experience) they’ll freeze instinctively, and not really move or try to do anything, even if they don’t like it. It’s this automatic thing left over from they were kittens. Keep that in mind.
And thanks for the review, Hanako.
Somehow, the man that had shot Riley manages scramble upright, fleeing fast in the other direction. Everyone lets him run. Many, like you, were in shock. Like you, they couldn’t believe it. Others who had more wits about them – tried and hardened from countless years on the force – were too occupied with keeping the other Pokémon and men under control to give chase. Lab coats continued to fight police, Pokémon fought Pokémon.
It was as if nothing had changed at all.
Chance is already at Riley’s side. The small kitten’s eyes are wide, full of bewilderment and confusion, his paws immersed in a pool of blood – her blood, seeping out from her side.
Slowly, you begin to breathe again. Even more slowly you became aware of your suddenly heightened senses. Now that shock has worn off, you’re finally finding your legs again. A low, rumbling roar comes up from deep in your throat, fire makes it burn.
He shot Riley!
He shot Riley. He shot Riley. He shot Riley!
Your once warm eyes turn cold. He’ll pay – he’ll pay a thousand times over.
“Cal…” comes Chance’s worried voice, looking up from his place besides Riley’s prone form. A male human has also come to her side now, trying vainly to stem the blood flowing from her side with his left hand, while trying to tear pieces of material from his shirt with the other. “What happened to Riley? What did he do to her? I don’t understand…”
He shot her, that’s what.
He’ll pay. You’re going to royally cremate him.
“I’ll kill him,” you whisper. “I’ll kill him.”
With a startling Roar, you bolt down the hallway.
“Cal! What are you doing?” Chance hesitates, before running after you, surprisingly swift. “Cal! What about Riley?”
You don’t hear him. Your mantra is singing a glorious warsong in your head, driving you onwards, towards your final destination.
Just behind you, Chance follows, dark-red footprints leaving their mark on the white tile.
You’re barely watching where you’re running, concentrating only on that foul man’s scent. You don’t care who you pass, who you have to go through. You will find your target. And when you do, you’re going to make sure he regrets ever even thinking of harming Riley.
His scent leads you through a pair of double doors. There’s an expensive spiral staircase there, obviously not used by the main public, surrounded on all sides by rows of glass, currently showing the city nightlife. You run up it, Chance panting behind you.
“Cal, stop this! Please. We need to go back to Riley. We can’t just leave her there. What if she wakes up?” But she’s not going to wake up. “We should go back.”
“No,” you snarl back, making the Meowth cringe. Your voice goes quiet as you reach the end of the staircase, hearing sounds of heavy breathing coming from just ahead. Your ears twitching, you begin to call up fire. A dangerous glint is in your eyes.
You slowly slink across the tile. Your head barely peeks around the corner. Your eyes narrow and fill with rage. The fire you were summoning flares up your throat. The human is at the far end of the hallway, leaning against the wall, trying to catch his breath and slow down his frantic heart…
(You intend to stop it for good.)
You spring into action, sliding into plain view. The man looks at you in terror, and begins to run. Out of your mouth, you release the burning stream of flames. They fly down the hallway and the man yells, jumping to the left around a corner. The Flamethrower harmlessly hits the opposite wall. The man used the corner to dodge. Still, you’re not going to let him get away, following quickly at his heels. He darts like the coward he is into one of the metal cubicles that line the room. You almost run past it in your rage, skidding to a stop, before lunging into the room with a mad yowl. Behind you, Chance is yowling loudly, begging you to stop. The man steps on a glowing white tile, it blinks a few times, and phases out before you can even attack.
You hesitate, but only for a few seconds – but more than enough time for Chance to run in front of you. His fur is standing on end, while his pupils are wide and dilated. “Cal,” he says, looking behind his shoulder, “I think something's following us.”
You snort. “It doesn’t matter.”
You’ll tear him to pieces, too.
Chance’s ears whisk back against his head. “Let’s go back, Cal. Back with Riley,” he pleads. “I want to go back. Let’s go back. You’re starting to scare me.”
“Then go,” you say, looking behind you as the Meowth finally stumbles into the room.
“I can’t leave you,” he protests. “Riley wouldn’t –”
“Then keep quiet!” you hiss and step onto the glowing tile. Your fur stands on ends as the transporter tile emits odd mechanical clicks and hums. You feel oddly lightheaded, while your body tingles with a strange sensation that you can’t place. Soon, the whirring becomes faster, with Chance’s form turning into nothing but a flake of white against a splattered paint background. Then, you’re gone.
You arrive, rather unceremoniously on another tile somewhere in the Silph building, though you don’t know where exactly. feeling more than a bit nauseated from the teleportation, with your mind spinning like a carousel. You stand up, stumbling over yourself as you try to regain equilibrium. Something white catches your eye, and on wobbly limbs you pursue. Chance probably won’t be far behind.
Your chase leads you through another hallway that leads into a white room, looking to be only decorated a table, chairs, and an odd machine, with a thick wall running through the middle of the room. Distantly, you can also see a glowing tile like the one you just stepped on. The stupid human is running to it, making good use of the wall in between to separate you from him, making your aim useless. The tile’s in plain view though – just diagonal from you.
Flames surge out of your throat, so hot that it even makes your throat burn with the heat. The attack’s not aimed at the man, but the glowing tile. It conflagration of flames hit the tile with deadly intent. The tile sparks with tendrils of electricity, letting out a shrill whine, like it’s screaming. Once the Flamethrower finishes, the light the tile once had dies out into a lifeless shade of blue-white. You hear the man swear and can’t help grin.
He won’t escape this time.
Not wanting to postpone this man’s Judgment Day any longer, you run towards the white room.
Red and white colors blur along the large glass that run across the hallway’s left side. It’s probably close to ten now. It’s almost the New Year. Fireworks will be ushering in the New Year any time now, with most of the world not even realizing the tragedy that has just taken place.
The Rat’s probably at home, watching the TV with those nervous brown eyes of his, unaware of what just transpired. He probably won’t find out about anything until the morning breaks.
A new day, a new dawn, just not the way anyone imagined it.
Behind you, you can hear Chance’s ragged pants. He’s still following you. The fool. He shouldn’t be here – it’s not his place. Birds are not supposed to learn how to fly over a pond full of hungry Carvanha.
Your breath becomes hot with summoned fire. You’re keeping it in check. For now. Always, always, you’ve been taught to hold back, to contain the raging blaze that is yours to carry and use. There’s no Riley to hold you back now. No, not this time.
You slow down ever-so-slightly. You can’t afford to miss. You finally bound around the corner, muzzle fixed in a permanent snarl. You lunge –
“Cal! Stop! He still has that thing he hurt Riley with!”
Chance’s frantic cries are cut short by another loud gunblast. By then, though, it’s too late to fully get out of the way. Chance was seconds too slow. No – you just refused to listen.
The bullet collides with your left shoulder, cracking and crunching as fragile bone yields to hardened lead, soon shattering. You yelp, fire expelling harmlessly past the man’s head. You skid, landing on your good shoulder. Pain. Not like knives, not like needles. It burns. Your life-blood begins to flow profusely out of the wound, and for a moment you can barely see anything past the pain – past the white haze that clouds your vision.
Is this how Riley felt?
Another click, the man is trying to shoot again. You try to stand, but the pain is too great. You can hear the trigger click.
Nothing happens. No bellow, no sting of pain. The gun’s dead, he ran out of bullets.
You growl, focusing only on the man before you as your vision clears. You cannot afford to do anything less.
Somehow, you manage to stand, your hurt leg hovering just above the ground. Perhaps it is the adrenaline that is madly gushing through your veins or perhaps it is your rage. Whatever it is, it’s alleviating the pain, clearing your head and sharpening your focus.
“Asmodeus!” you hear the man yell angrily. “Asmodeus, you stupid mutt. I know you can hear me. Anytime now would be great.”
The man is still sitting there on the floor where he was crouched, fiddling with that stupid gun of his and muttering that nonsense name. He stands up. You muster the strength to lunge.
Your sharp teeth sink into his right arm—the one that’s holding the gun – between the wrist and elbow. You’re not going to let go. You breathe in air, you exhale fire.
The man screams in agony. You hang on, grimly satisfied with your results.
No, you’re not going to kill him, like you thought you would. He’s going to rot for years in prison if you have anything to say about it. He’s going to suffer for all the eternities for what he did. The man tries to throw you off, but you don’t let go. Instead, you tighten your grip. Bones crack and the man whimpers, because he no longer has a voice to scream.
The fire disperses, and your throat burns. It’s almost completely raw.
“Asmodeus,” you hear the man hiss, eyes clouded with pain.
A black cloud of smoke suddenly appears at the side of the room, arriving with a bang. You hang on grimly as a Houndoom emerges. The devil-dog snarls, its teeth bathed in blood. You snarl back. Chance is yelping.
A Take Down rips you away from the man’s arm – but not before it snaps in half. The man howls in pain, while you land hard on your hurt shoulder, the pain the only thing keeping you from crying out. It hurts, but you must stand.
You have to!
“Leave Cal alone!”
Chance lunges at the dark-type, though he is clearly no match for the fully evolved Houndoom. Asmodeus evades the cat’s lunge, snatching Chance by the nape of his neck as his run slows, jerking him roughly back. Chance freezes, looking absolutely terrified, curled up into a fetal position.
He couldn’t move if he wanted to.
Slowly, on quacking limbs, you manage to pull yourself to your feet. You don’t know how long you’ll be able to hold this position, but you know you have to get up.
“Don’t waste time. We have to… get out.. before they catch us,” the man gasps, voice full of bottled pain. His arm is poking out at an unnatural angle, with a piece of bone jutting out through his ghost-pale skin like a deadly white spire, covered in spurts of blood. “Smog. Now.”
The Houndoom’s eyes, already fueled by a cold fire, plunge into an even deeper chill. The hound growls in disappointment, and wantonly tosses Chance aside, letting him skid across the ground. The room is then plunged into a thick cloud of poison. It obstructs your vision until you can no longer see two feet in front of you, and the chemicals in the air is making your eyes, nose, and throat burn.
They’re trying to use Smog to get away. The cowards.
You can’t let them get away. You won’t.
Smiling grimly, you know exactly what to do. Whatever happens afterwards – well, it doesn’t matter. You don't have much of a home to come back to. Not anymore.
“Chance,” you say levelly, as the fire flares inside your body, making its way up your throat.
“Run. Now. I don’t care which away. Just move away from my voice.”
Perhaps he does, perhaps he doesn’t. That’s not any of your concern now. For years, Smog has been used against the Police, using the thick cloud to flee from the scene and escape. It is the tool of the craven men and Pokémon who do not stand and fight when the time comes. Instead, they scurry away like mice, trying to save their worthless hides.
But not this time – this time it is your judgment flame. Inside the thick cloud are chemicals. They are extremely flammable, sparked at the slightest hint of fire. It is a tool of the spineless, but it is also a weapon of destruction for all those with the will to use it. You don’t know what will happen once you spark it. The amount of smog is small, but thick.
But whatever happens, happens. As long as they don’t get away, you don’t care.
Slowly, you breathe in, filling your lungs with whatever air you can gather from the deadly smog. Out of your gaping maw comes the hot flame. It will soon form an ancient Kanji symbol and fly through the Smog and set it all off.
The very first flickers of flame hit the deadly substance. Chain-reactions start off like a pack of dominoes. Low roars turning into big, dragon-like rumbles of fury. The sounds of the explosion rocket all around you, and you are seared with a blast of powerful energy. Black dots copiously fill your vision.
You smile grimly as you welcome oblivion. You’ve been a pyro ever since you were born. Perhaps it’s fitting you end as one, if that is your fate.
Your mind wanders towards the voice. It’s pitiful.
“Cal! Wake up, please!”
Slowly, the light becomes more prominent. It’s no longer just black. You also are starting to feel again, and with that feeling comes the pain. You just want to sink back into that dreamless sleep.
“You gotta get up. I’m scared, Cal.”
Your eyes flutter open, only for a moment. “Go ‘way.”
“Cal!” the Meowth yowls happily, looking worn, but alive. He’s covered in black marks, ash, and dirt, and is bleeding from many few places all over his body – especially his paws.
You look around. Fire is everywhere, burning everything it can touch. The Smog has faded away, though you can still smell the poison in the air. Smoke seems to have taken the place of the Smog though, and it takes you only a few moments to realize all the windows are gone; shattered. Most of their remnants lie scattered about the blackened floor. The old passageway you had come through is blocked by debris. You won’t be able to get through there, and there’s no other way out.
But that doesn’t matter to you. There’s nothing that does – save one thing.
But.. amongst all the chaos, you can’t see them. Asmodeus and his human.
“Where?” you demand.
He knows what you’re talking about. He looks around nervously.
“I tried to stop them, I really did… but they got away. The Houndoom did this trick with smoke and got away. The human was hurt real bad though. He needs a lot of help, or they probably won’t be able to fix him.”
You failed then?
You sigh, closing your eyes. You’ll welcome sleep, to get away from the everything. The pain, the anger, all of it. Gone – everything’s gone.
“Don’t go to sleep! We need to get away. ”
You open one blood-shot eye. “Then go. I’m not going to stop you."
Chance bites his lip, shaking his head stubbornly. “Come on.”
You grunt, though it’s more of a groan. “Go. Fire can’t hurt me.”
“Fire might not, but the smoke will,” the little cat spits out insistently, but you ignore him.
Your eyes close. ‘That’s really none of your business.”
"Cal!" Suddenly, a sharp, quick pain comes from your tail. You snarl and jerk upward, half-lunging, half-falling as you try to retaliate. You miss and Chance darts away, spitting out a wad of your tail fur, while pulling out a small shard of glass from his bleeding right paw.
He bit you – he bit you, the little jerk!
It’s only then that you suddenly become aware of the blood pooling around you, coming from your shoulder. You grimace.
“We can get out,” Chance continues, coughing and gagging as the smoke fills his lungs. He’s looking quite pale. “Everywhere else is blocked, but the glass in the windows are all gone now, we can jump –”
“Jump?” You laugh, a deep melancholy laugh. Your eyes sparkle like black diamonds. “What are you going to do? Fly us? You can’t fly, Chance.”
The Meowth looks at the floor, hurt. “I’m not talkin’ about that. I saw what the Houndoom did with that human. I think I can do it, too. But not in here – it’s hard to concentrate on anything with all this stuff in the air. It’s making me feel sick. I tried, but it didn’t work. If we jump with me on your back… I think I can get it to the Pokémon Center… I know I can do it.”
You laugh again. So he wants you to jump out the window. They’ll probably have to scrape the two of you off the cement, just like Morana described. Chance is looking at you pleadingly, dead-set and determined to get you through that window. You reckon that if he had the strength in him, he’d throw you out himself.
You sigh. “Fine,” you say, shaking your head. Perhaps the fumes are affecting your decision-making skills too. If he wants to go and throw his life away, you’ll suppose you’ll let him.
You don’t know quite how you did it, dragging your broken and bruised body through the road of shattered glass and fire, all the time feeling you were about to collapse from the blood loss, exhaustion, and pain. Still, somehow, you managed to drag yourself to the window ledge, unpolluted night air awaiting you, favoring your broken forepaw.
You can’t help but think, as much as your tired mind can, about how stupid you are. Jumping off a building from as high up as you are… absurd.
Chance might think that even if his plan fails, that he’ll fly away on those wings of his, and that you’ll magically grow wings, too. Or perhaps he thinks the ground will suitably cushion your fall, if something goes wrong.
You know better though. You know once you hit ground, there’s no coming back.
Jumping, you think, what a wonderful way to die. Perhaps you should call it flying, just to please the small Meowth whose dreams are too big for his body.
Truthfully, it’s more like a fancy suicide.
You find yourself mimicking Chance’s take off maneuvers, paying little heed to the roaring nightlife below you. The Meowth is securely clinging to your fur with his claws. You hope that perhaps your doubt is misplaced – that Chance actually knows what he’s doing. You’re only doing this because you have nothing left.
It’s one of those ‘oh heck, why not?’ kind of things.
Part of you finds it funny – oh-so-amusingly funny. It’s absurd, this little act. The final hurrah. Oh what a noble death.
You jump. There’s no moment of hesitation – no second thoughts. Just you flinging yourself into the open, starblown sky like the fool you are.
It’s cold, jumping into the frigid night air. You and Chance are falling fast. Everything below and above you keeps moving. Cars fly to their destinations below, voices drift through the night are.
(Though nothing as of yet has drowned out Chance’s mad laughter. You think he’s finally lost it.)
Still, everything serves to prove a single point: even if you die, everyone else will go on living.
Strangely enough, you don’t care.
You don’t feel so bad, it’s weird, and goes against your expectations. You’re not screaming in terror or anything, like you would’ve imagined yourself doing. It’s an odd feeling – the wind brushing against your striped fur as you fall. It feels like it’s trying to support you – push you upwards. To carry you, maybe. And perhaps it would if it could.
It…almost feels as if you’re flying.
How very odd indeed.
Black curls of evanescent smoke suddenly wisp around yours and Chance’s falling forms. It blots out your vision and plunges you into a deep, unfathomable darkness. Then, your body starts to fade away, until it disappears leaving nothing but a pool of black smoke. All that you can feel anymore is the touch of Chance’s claws.
It’s almost as nauseating as the tile. No, worse. Every particle in your body protests at the use of this move – this unnatural existence it's pulling you into. It’s like your body is not in your own anymore, and you warp through a dark place that is neither or the living nor the dead. You can’t really see this, but you can feel it. It’s like the inside of a casket not yet buried beneath the earth. It’s fast making you sick and cold.
You phase out, cold and trembling, back into the sky.
Except, you’re not that high up anymore.
In fact, there’s a building just about ten feet from you – a red roof. You and Chance both hit into it at the same time. His relinquishes his grip and tumbles off the roof, with you unwillingly following suite. You crash into a mattress of trashcans, with your shoulder and ribs crying in pitiful protest. You can do little to soothe those cries though. The impact took a lot out of you. Everything in your vision is messed up, and black, red, and blue dots are flying across your eyelids and you can fast feel the impending unconsciousness. Chance is a few feet away from you, in his own bed of trash, completely still.
You slowly regain consciousness, becoming slowly and suddenly aware that there are lights around you. The air is clean, there’s no poison here, and it feels like you’re on a bed. You can’t feel much of anything besides that though, and you can barely move. It’s like you’ve just been paralyzed by a Thunderwave – that odd, numb feeling.
Your eyes open, focusing and unfocusing at a rapid rate. You breathe in deeply, hissing as your ribs suddenly jolt in protest. The pain fades immediately, and you allow your eyes to start to wander around. You feel a little bit better than before.
“Ah, you’re awake. It’s about freakin’ time.”
No, now you’re awake.
Morana’s perched herself on a comfy looking seat “I have my orders to check on a suicidal dog and one deranged cat who thinks ‘e’s a freakin’ canary. You two fit the bill perfectly. Seriously, jumping out a window then Faint Attacking over to the Pokémon center… you both need your freakin’ heads examined.”
“How’re you feeling, Watchdog?”
Somehow, you manage to get your mouth to work. ”…Don’t feel like anything.”
“Good, ‘cause you’re not supposed to. They’ve pumped you so full of stuff, if you could feel much of anythin’ I’d be worried. You should be singin’ praises like a bird – ah the wonders of morphine. One of Human’s most useful inventions. You can’t, by chance, let me in on the deta-”
Chance. You almost bolt upright, feeling the needles strain as they’re lightly pulled, but you don’t have the strength to and slump back into the mattress. “Chance. Where is he?”
“The canary?” Her head jerks to the left, to the bed right beside you. A white, prone form is on it, breathing peacefully. “He’s currently enjoying the benefits of Chansey-induced dreamland. Has been for ‘bout an hour ‘n a half now. Shouldn’t last too much longer though. The Chansey can’t sing that well t’night. New Years, y’know. The fireworks are about to go off. They love that. Almost the end of the Christmas Season, and it makes the Chansey jittery. Speaking of which –” She picks a small, tall rimmed bowl off the table by her chair. It’s full of a milky, yolk substance “--want some eggnog?”
Morana shrugs. “The Chansey gave me explicit instructions to shove this stuff down your freakin’ throat if you don’t take it willingly. They made it themselves, see. They always make too freakin’ much of it ‘cause ‘tis the season, after all. But it heals ya like a charm. Hell, they put it in feeding tubes during Christmas. It’s insane.” She stands up, offering you the bowl. You turn your nose up at it.
“It doesn’t taste that bad. Quite good, when it freakin’ comes down to it.” You still don’t take it. The dark-type feline sighs. “It’s totally nonalcoholic, I freakin’ promise on my dearly departed daddy’s dead body. Happy?” You eye her suspiciously as she sets it in front of your face. Your body is so sluggish you can barely move to take a few sips. It’s really not bad, this eggnog stuff.
“Just between you and me, the Chansey horde all the alcoholic stuff for themselves and the really special people. You ain’t that.” She notices your hugely disbelieving look. “I’m not kidding! Okay, why d’you think they’re so freakin’ happy – over the flippin’ rainbow happy -- all the dang time? Sheesh, seriously. Can’t you hear them yelling outside?”
You shake your head, draining more of the eggnog from the bowl. It sends a strange warmth throughout your entire body. You almost feel alive again.
“Riley… she’s –”
“Oh, about her –“ the Sneasel’s face turns grim. “—she’s just currently chilling in the local morgue right now. “ You pale. “You can go and see her corpse whenever you --”
She pauses, seeing your face, and laughs. “Kidding, kidding. Seriously though, you should’ve seen your face. The only thing currently in the morgue is your freakin’ sense of humor apparently. I’m supposed to tell you she’s all fine and dandy – well as dandy as you can get when you’ve been freakin’ shot in the side.”
“But she was shot twice,” you say, wincing painfully at the memory. Still, you can’t help but feel hope.
“You don’t much have a brain either, d’you, Watchdog? She may ‘ave got shot in the chest, but that’s what bullet proof vests are for.” She sighs. “Moron.”
You breathe out a sigh of relief. You close your eyes, breathing deeply. You close your eyes savoring the thought: alive. You feel as if a great burden has been lifted from you, a great chain that’s been unlocked and now has fallen from you. Still, there are a few links that have not been unlocked yet.
“Was there a man?” you ask, as the Sneasel looks confused. “One with a Houndoom. They got away after the explosion –”
“A guy and a Houndoom… Oh! you must mean the Picasso guy? We caught ‘em lurking in some alley a couple hours ago. Anyways, they were both a mess, and that freak of a man was uglier than any human I’ve had the pleasure of capturing. Mmm… I believe he’s getting plastic surgery on his face right now. Scratches and burns were all over it, not to mention it looked kinda melted." She smiles. "Oh! And I think he’s getting his right arm amputated, too – it was rather mangled, like a door swinging off a broken hinge. Couldn’t save it.” The Sneasel grinned, rattling on in an amused tone that will probably never go away. “Now his Houndoom was a little better off. But we caught him. He’s here, actually, getting his wounds treated. Haven’t seen him though. They’ll get him rehabilitated, then neuter him, and ship him off to live with a nice, loving family of whom will teach him the value of life.”
You snarl. Morana face faults.
“Sheesh - I was kiddin’ about the family. He’ll probably rot in jail with what’s left of his master.”
A beeping coming from outside goes off, and Morana’s eyes dart to the room door. “Well, that’s my cue. I have some other rounds to make.”
She phases out of sight in a cloud of dark energy, and you’re left alone. You look around the bleakly white room, gulping down more of the Chansey’s mixture with relish. It will all be back to normal soon – well, give or take a few weeks in recovery. You’ll probably be able to go home soon. You start to feel drowsy, yawning.
Sinking down in your cushion, your eyes begin to close. But a noise catches your attention. Chance is stirring, his whole white body is twitching and spasming as he attempts to wake up. Slowly, he raises his head, blinking back the haze from his eyes. Both of them are dilated, and even though he appears to be conscious, he seems a bit out of it.
“Cal?” the kitten says, smiling a broad smile that reaches his eyes.
“Did you see it? We were flying.”
You laugh, head sinking back into the pillow. Through half-lidded eyes, you answer, for once absolutely content: “Yeah… we did, didn’t we?
I apologize profusely that I missed this chapter being posted. Now, to cheer for it!
Give me a C!
Give me an H!
This is taking too long! Just finish the cheer!
Yesh, now that was an exciting final chapter. Oh thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. You didn't kill Riley! (Yet). I'm going to guess that Chance was using Faint Attack to keep himself and Cal aloft? And what is Cal's full name anyway? I'm very bad at guessing games. Really.
Anyway, I couldn't find anything seriously wrong in this chapter (or remotely wrong) so this is where I bid this story adieu and give another whopping 9.5 outta ten. Wowza.
Keep improving or I send my Houndoom after you. Rowr.
Cal's full name? He doesn't really have a full name, per say, but he has a name the humans gave him where he trained as a puppy before becoming Riley's partner, and it fits him very well. If you analyze the naming schemes of the Growlithe in the two stories, you could probably guess what his real name is. Or come close to it.
And yeah, it was Faint Attack which transported them down, as I'm a solid believer that Faint Attack is a dark-type ...type of teleportation which goes through the "space between" (a limbo of sorts) as a short cut to get from point A to point B. Given as Chance can't really Faint Attack worth a darn, he got close but not quite. It did get him more or less where he wanted to be, which I suppose isn't that bad for a first attempt.