View Full Version : Heart of the Magma

June 10th, 2005, 7:38 PM
This fic would be PG-13, just to be on that safe side... that's assuming that 'ass' is considered a swear word here like on SPPf.

So... *waves* hi. I actually forgot I had this account, but here I am.

Now, I'm looking for brutally honest reviews... on SPPf there aren't many people who tore my fics apart, and those that did haven't finished reviewing all of my work. That's not to say I want mindless flames - but I know I can improve and I wanna know where.

Now, this is supposed to be all in one part... but it's still too long for a single post. So here it is in three. <_< Yes, three. Character limits... oich...

Disclaimer: I don't own pokemon or the majority of characters in this fic; the one I do own is Keegan.

^.^ Enjoy.



A babys crying; wailing and mournful, confused and frightened. It cut straight to heart of the red-haired man striding through the roughly hewn hallways of his base. Keeping pace behind him, his constant shadow and most trusted agent Harland remained calmly grim and silent in the face of potential tragedy.

Maxie hurried his step, anxious to get to the medical ward. Courtneys report had mentioned some complications, but Maxie had been in the middle of an important meeting at the time and hadnt been able to leave He hardly saw the rock walls of the corridors he walked through; instead his eyes were again seeing the face of his wife, pleading with him.

Many of the young men and women under his command looked to her like a mother the one who comforted them when they failed a mission or visited them when they were in the medical bay. But she wanted a child of her own, and despite the danger Maxie had never been able to deny her

It was then the crying that seemed to echo throughout the base stopped. Maxies stomach felt like it was twisting itself into knots; without realizing he walked faster, his jaw clenched with worried tension. In the hallway in front, one of his agents looked up from the sheaf of papers he was examining and, upon seeing Maxies expression, stepped quickly to the side, the pants of his red and grey uniform rustling. Maxie swept by without acknowledging the man, but Harland gave him a quick glance; it was enough for the agent to know that life in Team Magma was about to change dramatically.

When Maxie crashed through the door of the med-ward Courtney leapt to her feet, startled, and the bubble she had just blown with her habitual bubblegum burst with a pop. Her scarlet hood was down, revealing a mass of sleek, short brunette hair. Report, Maxie snapped. Courtney shook her head, her huge brown eyes worried. Maxies fists clenched momentarily and he made for the door to the next room. Courtney glanced anxiously at Harland; for once his grey eyes, usually so tauntingly cunning and enigmatic, were concerned, and the look he exchanged with Courtney did nothing to assuage her fears.

Maxie never reached the door. The doctor came through from the next room, eyes downcast to the floor. Maxie stopped short as the man closed the door behind him. He looked up to meet Maxies unintentionally pleading eyes with a gently sorrowful look of his own and shook his head.

It seemed as though Maxies insides had just vanished; he was numbed. Then the next instant they had returned, only it seemed as though his body was too small for them as he tried to swallow past the lump in his throat. Courtney turned away, one hand to her lips; her eyes shone with tears and she shook as she tried to suppress them.

Only stoic Harland was in any condition to speak; so he asked the question for all of them. What about the child?

The doctor managed a smile and opened the door, beckoning to the nurse inside. She exited the room cradling a precious bundle of red cloth, murmuring comfortingly to it. In a flash, Maxies attention was focussed on that bundle, the last legacy of his dear wife.

Shes a fine little girl, the nurse whispered as she gently gave Maxies child to him; but he barely heard her, gingerly holding the baby girl as though afraid he might break her. They locked eyes; it was as though the little girl had recognised her father, her only relation, for she halted the soft whimpers which had threatened to break once again into wailing.

Staring into her clear blue eyes Maxie saw the fiery spirit within her, and knew she would blaze brightly in the future. He felt comforted; he had lost his wife, but she had left behind a treasure.

* * *


Keegan giggled to herself, putting a hand to her mouth to stifle the sound. She couldnt let Courtney find her not yet. Not when she was having so much fun. The little girl was nestled behind some metal crates in the hangar; her red-blonde hair was tied messily into a ponytail and her clothes, while clean and well kept, held evidence of many minor adventures.

Keegan huddled further down in her hiding place as more crates were added to the stack against the corner. It hadnt been there yesterday and likely wouldnt be there tomorrow; but Keegan had an incredible knack for sneaking away from her guards, eluding anyone who was likely to return her to them and finding a place to hide.

And today, it just happened to be Courtneys turn. The short-haired brunette sighed with frustration, pausing to slowly survey the hangar with hard, confident brown eyes as her fingers fumbled with the wrapper of a piece of bubblegum. She doubted Keegan would have hidden anywhere shed be easily seen, but potential hiding places might be evident from the doorway. She had been Keegans almost constant companion for the past eight years, but it still amazed her how the girl could manage to get away so easily.

Grumpily, tossing the piece of bubblegum into her mouth and dropping the wrapper to the cement floor absently, Courtney walked slowly through the wide, high hangar hewn out of rock. Dodging the Magma grunts who were unloading the helicopter, as she went she looked critically at every crate and drum she passed.

Watch that! she barked, gesturing to a stack of boxes that threatened to fall over, and with a curse one of the agents leapt to straighten it.

Keegan shouldnt be in here, he added, seeing Courtney looking inside one of the boxes absently, blowing a shiny pink bubble as she did so. Weve warned her its dangerous.

Courtney snorted, pulling the gum back into her mouth with her tongue. You shouldve learned by now thats never stopped her.

The agent chuckled, setting down one of the boxes to begin a new stack and take the height off the old one. Shes a handful, that one, he said ruefully in his deep voice. And I thought my brothers kid was bad.

You just got a new shipment in today, Courtney observed dourly, again sweeping the room as her slitted grey skirt swirled around her thighs; the twin white lines on the hem which marked her status as an admin rippled with the movement. I thought Harland told you to keep the door locked!

Weve been moving equipment in and out all morning, the man told her, crouching to tape up the loose lid of the carton hed just put down. Weve had to leave it open but most of it should be gone by tonight. Well keep an eye out for the little fox.

Courtney rubbed her cheek broodingly, fiddling with the curl of hair which framed her face. Its not that simple. Maxie actually has some spare time this afternoon he wanted me to take her up for lunch.

The grunt blanched, his eyes overshadowed by the customary red hood of the Magma uniform as he looked down to his task. Good luck.

Thanks, Courtney snapped sourly. Courtney was one of the FireHeads, the third of a trio of the most highly ranked agents and those most trusted by Maxie; and Keegan was securely under her care. Although Maxie and the FireHeads usually elicited a respectful if somewhat informal nature from the normal agents, in Courtneys case this was not so. Running around after the girl had lowered the walls which usually separated an executive from those beneath them but greatly increased their respect. Every Magma grunt knew what it was like to be looking after the little fox, only to have her disappear on them; how Courtney managed it on a day-to-day basis, they didnt know.

Frustrated, Courtney left the hangar. There was too much activity going on for her to have a hope of finding Keegan there, if she was there at all. In her hiding place behind the crates, however, Keegans blue eyes were wide with horror. Shed forgotten about lunch!

Carefully, she crept to the edge; when she was sure the agents nearby were too busy to notice her, she darted out, dashing from crates to boxes to stacks of wood until she reached the door. Then she hurtled down the uniformly rock and metal corridors, dodging the agents she met and praying she wasnt too late.

Courtney checked the nearest clock for the thousandth time, yet another of her pink bubbles bursting with a pop; she was beginning to get worried, now. Not even Keegan would be deliberately late for lunch with Maxie. Without meaning to, Courtney found herself walking down the corridor to Maxies office. She had been intending to search the storerooms next, but upon seeing the time she realized shed better make an appearance and explain, or thered be hell to pay.

Courtney scowled at the door for a moment to compose herself. She hated having to tell Maxie that Keegan couldnt be found; it was like admitting a failure, and Courtney hated failing. Then she knocked, and without waiting for an answer pushed the door open to enter his luxuriously furnished office. Shed already opened her mouth to explain when she stopped short at the sight before her.

Keegan was already seated at the ornately carved table, her short legs barely touching the ground. She grinned angelically at Courtneys surprised expression. Hiya Courtney, where you been? the girl said cheerfully. Courtney snapped her mouth shut, avoiding Maxies amused eyes of course he knew exactly what had happened and flopped down on the well-cushioned couch behind the door, blowing another exasperated bubble. Lounging on the sofa, she caught Harlands gaze, standing at Maxies right side with his arms crossed behind his back. She rolled her eyes skyward, and Harlands mouth quirked up in a rarely amused smile.

As was her wont, Keegan made up for Maxies comfortable silence by nattering on about the things shed seen on her daily ventures throughout the base. The girl didnt know it, but Maxie frequently found her childishly innocent point of view an asset to managing Team Magma; often her observations were correct, and there were many agents throughout the base who knew they had her to thank for commendations or promotions.

However, this time Maxie had a surprise for the little fox. He smiled as he pushed back his plate, clasping his hands in front of him and remembering the first time Keegan had seen a pokmon battle.

It had been one of the few times Maxie had a chance to take Keegan around the Magma base himself; he knew for a fact that Courtney was relieved at the chance to take a break. Maxie was the only person for whom Keegan behaved not even the stern-looking and occasionally intimidating Harland could control her.

Keegan had eagerly asked to see the training room a doorway that was always kept locked against the curious little fox. Maxie had considered this carefully; pokmon training battles could occasionally be dangerous even for onlookers, especially if it was between two of the Teams highest level pokmon. Eventually, however, he had conceded. She had chosen an excellent day; Tabitha, second of the trio of FireHeads and in charge of pokmon training, had been battling at the time. If there was anyone who had pure talent at pokmon training, it was Tabitha.

Tabitha had been testing one of the newest recruits; the lad had potential but was inexperienced. After watching the battle with wide, awestruck eyes, Keegan had been silent for many moments while they walked back to Maxies office, shadowed, as always, by Harland.

I want to be a pokmon trainer, Papa, Keegan had said suddenly, looking up at her father with pleading eyes and clasping his hand with her small one. Maxie had exchanged a somewhat resigned glance with Harland before replying.

Perhaps one day, little fox, Maxie had answered, and Keegans face had lit up with that glowing smile that reminded Maxie so much of her mother. She loved it when he called her little fox.

Maxie lifted out of that memory to find Keegan cocking her head and studying his expression curiously. What are you thinking, Papa? she asked.

Maxie smiled. You were too eager to get here before Courtney to look around the room, he answered teasingly. Keegans cheeks went slightly pink, but she grinned; she knew Maxie was aware she had run away from Courtney again, but she also knew he wasnt angry. Maxies eyes flickered to something in the corner, so she dropped her spoon and turned in her chair to see what he was gesturing to.

And let out a squeal that made Courtney wince, accidentally popping her latest bubble; then the girl leapt out of her chair with such zeal she knocked it over. The chair hit the red carpeted floor with a soft thud, but Keegan didnt notice; she was too busy dashing over to the round wicker basket in the corner. It was lined with silk and nested comfortably in the centre, curled up with her white-tipped tail brushing her nose, was an eevee.

At Keegans squeal she had awoken, and watched curiously as Keegan rushed over. She yawned and clambered out of the basket, greeting Keegan with a tentative wag of her fluffy tail. Eyes shining, Keegan brushed the pokmons hazel-brown fur with her fingertips; it was soft, almost like the silk on which the pokmon had so recently been resting.

Is she mine? Keegan asked in a hushed voice as the eevee looked up at her with huge, chocolate-coloured eyes, her red collar a stark contrast to the fluffy white mane that circled her neck.

Yes, Maxie answered, his voice carefully bland; but Courtney and Harland could see the pleasure in his eyes at having made his daughter so happy. Keegan gasped and hugged her new companion, squashing the poor eevee into her chest and rubbing her cheek against her soft fur. But you must promise to take care of her, Maxie warned. Keegan nodded eagerly and released her tight grip into a more comfortable one; the eevee curled up in Keegans arms and smiled happily. And Tabitha will teach you to battle and train properly, Maxie added. So be sure to listen to him.

I will, Papa, Keegan promised breathlessly, her face glowing, and cuddled the eevee blissfully. Maxie watched her contently; unnoticed, Courtney drew her legs up onto the couch and exchanged a knowing look with Harland. Courtneys was more than a bit relieved; if Keegan was to begin training, that meant Courtney could spend more time watching and less time searching and it would be Tabithas turn to take care of the little fox over whom he had laughed

Hazel, use tackle! Keegan commanded, her face set in studied concentration. The eevee which had given her so much joy wore an identical expression as she darted towards the houndour against which she was pitted.

Houndour, flamethrower! Keegans opponent, none other than the burly Tabitha, ordered. The black and red dog dodged Hazels tackle, artificial light flashing over the bony armour on its head. It opened its jaws wide, spilling crimson flames over its canines; the attack hit Hazel full on, sending the little eevee across the rocky, high ceiling arena and putting her out of the battle.

Keegan rushed over to her pokmon as she shook her head groggily. Are you okay? the little fox asked anxiously; Hazel staggered to her dainty paws and nodded, long ears flapping and smoke wreathing off her fur in streams. Keegan smiled, relieved, and stood up to face Tabitha. Was that better, Tabby? she requested earnestly.

Off to the side, watching from the bench, Courtney snorted in amusement at Tabithas new nickname, chewing contentedly on her gum as she leaned against the stone wall. Tabitha threw her a frown, knowing perfectly well she was laughing at him, and answered Keegans question. A little better, yeah; but remember that pokmon learn stronger attacks specially with practise.

Keegan frowned and looked down at Hazel; the eevee looked back up with a puzzled expression. I dont even know what attacks Hazel can learn, Keegan confessed.

Hazels an eevee, which means she wont learn special attacks like flamethrower, Tabitha explained matter-of-factly, scratching the back of his unhooded dark, wavy-haired head. But pokmon can also change form to make themselves stronger and eevees are special like that. There are five pokmon they can turn into; theyre all different, and all have their own special abilities.

Really? Keegan squatted and examined Hazel critically. Hazel grinned and jumped into Keegans arms. The little fox giggled. Changing form sounds fun. How can I teach Haze to do that?

The change is forever, Keegan, Tabitha told her seriously. And sometimes pokmon will change personalities too.

Keegan looked at Hazel, shocked. Oh, I dont know if I want Hazel to do that, she exclaimed, hugging the eevee.

Eebui! Hazel agreed in her somewhat shrill and yet pleasant voice.

Can we battle again, Tabby? Keegan asked, letting Hazel jump out of her arms and onto the rock field.

Neh, Hazels pretty tired, Tabitha pointed out with a grunt. Remember what I told you if you take care of your pokmon, theyll take care of you. Its a dangerous world out there, and a loyal pokmon is better than a disloyal one.

Oh, yeah, Keegan remembered, sounding disappointed. When can we - her sentence was disrupted by the sound of growling. As one, Tabitha, Keegan and Courtney looked over to see a poochyena dash out of the next room; the one which dealt with newly caught pokmon. The little grey pups fur was bristling, and his black lips were rolled back over glistening canines as he snarled at the agent who had followed him out of the room.

Tabitha frowned, raising his big hands in irritation. I thought youd tamed that one, he snapped to the grunt.

She shrugged and spread her hands helplessly. We thought so too, she sighed. But hes got a nasty attitude, this one. The poochyenas eyes flickered from the grunt to Tabitha, ears pricked up and ready.

However, he did not notice Hazel and Keegan sneaking up on him from behind. I dont get it, Keegan surveyed the poochyena. Whys he so angry? At the sound of her voice the poochyena jumped and attacked instinctively. Startled, Keegan fell back and Hazel leapt forward, tackling the poochyena to the ground. Tabitha started forward, plucking his personal pokball from his belt and expanding it; but Courtney laid a hand on his muscular arm, watching with huge, interested eyes as she blew another bubble.

The poochyena got to his feet and charged at Hazel, black paws pounding on the rock. Duck it, Haze! Keegan cried, and Hazel dropped to the ground. The poochyena, too close to change direction, tumbled over her. Tail whip! Hazel leapt to her feet, lashing her tail towards the poochyena as he struggled up. He got a snoutful of fur and was sent tumbling once again.

Try quick attack, Courtney suggested as Tabitha rubbed his head, frowning. Keegan jumped, startled; shed forgotten they were there, but obediently ordered the quick attack. Hazel flashed across the field and hit the bewildered poochyena squarely, sending him flying back. This time, he didnt move; instead he remained on his belly, eying Hazel and Keegan warily.

Courtney crossed her arms and threw a smug look at Tabitha. Ah, nice work, he congratulated Keegan, looking slightly disgruntled.

Keegan blinked, slightly confused; then a grin spread over her face. You mean we won?

Bii? Hazel cocked her head and purred.

Keegan picked her up and swung her around, fur ruffling in the breeze, laughing delightedly. We won!

Tabitha gestured at the agent. Ill take over the pups training, he ordered.

Done. The grunt handed over the poochyenas pokball and retreated gratefully.

Thats enough for today, Tabitha told Keegan sternly, returning the poochyena to his pokball with the customary beam of red light.

When will I get to battle in double battles, Tabby? Keegan asked eagerly.

Tabithas answer was cautious as he exchanged a glance with Courtney. Ah give it some time, little fox. Give it some time.

June 10th, 2005, 7:41 PM
* * *

Maxie swirled the wine in his goblet absently, leaning back in his chair as the liquid left a transparent red sheen on the sides of the glass. But Maxie wasnt watching the wine; his eyes were resting thoughtfully on the shapeless form of his daughter beneath her blankets as she slept.

It was the early morning, and Maxie was waiting patiently for Keegan to wake. He often watched the little fox sleep at night, after he had finished with his work for the day. It soothed him, somehow, to witness the utterly peaceful slumber of the innocent. This time, however, was different. It was the little foxs tenth birthday, and Maxie knew she was tired of the uniformly rock and metal halls of the base, the stoic tors and shifting trees of the single valley she was allowed to venture.

Tabitha had lectured her more than once about the wild pokmon outside the base, but Keegan had been forced to learn the hard way that the outside was not a place appropriate for the mischievous games of hide-and-seek she played within. And yet the little fox persisted more than once one of the grunts had caught her trying to sneak her way past the border Maxie had set, not only for her protection, but the security of the entire base. That she was willing to ignore the rules Maxie had laid personally only spoke of her desire to see the world outside.

It was that desire Maxie had been finding more and more difficult to deny. And today it would be denied no longer.

The figure beneath the blankets stirred. Hazel, draped over Keegans waist, tumbled off and found herself rudely awakened. The eevee blinked and yawned, tail swishing, and Maxie smiled. One of the best things hed ever done was to give that eevee to the little fox.

Maxie set down the goblet on the table nearby, his hand hovering down to pass gently over the small jewellery box resting on the table.

Papa? Keegans young voice yawned from the bed. She sat up, rubbing her eyes blearily while she stroked Hazel absently on the head. The pokmon was nestled in Keegans lap, and looked about ready to drift contentedly off to sleep once again.

Maxie took the box and moved to the bed, his footsteps muffled by the thick crimson carpet. Keegan crossed her legs under the quilt so he could sit down, disturbing Hazel. With a sigh, the eevee straggled out of Keegans lap and instead curled up on her pillow, carefully tucking her dainty black nose under the tip of her thick fluffy tail.

Maxie held out the box and lifted the lid. Happy birthday, my little fox, he said simply as she gasped, her eyes alight.

Oh, wow, Keegan breathed, lifting the necklace out of the box. It was a pendant, but the stone used for the setting wasnt any ordinary one; it was a fire stone, a rare trinket with the power to evolve certain pokmon. The filigree on the setting and the chain were gold; slightly too large and ostentatious for a child of ten, perhaps, but Maxie knew shed grow into it. He couldnt help smiling at the wonder in her blue eyes; even Hazel looked up and cocked her head to see Keegans newest acquisition.

Here, Maxie held out his hand for the pendant. Let me put it on for you. Obediently Keegan handed it to him and shifted her ponytail so he could clasp it about her neck; then he leaned back, lifting her chin with a finger so he could admire the effect.

Hed been right, he conceded; it looked slightly too big around her small neck, but the flames which seemed the writhe within the deepest centre of the stone brought out the red highlights in her hair. He smiled again. Perfect. Keegan grinned, her eyes seeming to dance. Just be careful to keep it away from Hazel, he warned. Tabitha has told you about evolution, yes? Keegan nodded, so he continued. This stone will evolve her into a different pokmon.

Okay, Papa, Keegan said earnestly. Ill be careful.

But thats not all, Maxie added, and tapped the fire stone. This is only half of your present, intended to remind you of home while you travel to Fuschia City.

It took Keegan a second to realize what Maxie meant before her eyes widened. You mean were going on a journey?! her eyes shone with excitement. A real adventure?

Well, perhaps not an adventure, Maxie admitted. But your uncle in Fuschia City has agreed to take you for a while. Hes an excellent pokmon trainer, and youre likely to learn a lot from him.

I didnt know I had an uncle, Keegan said, puzzled.

Maxie smiled at her innocent confusion. Hes an old friend of mine, but not really your uncle. Hes also got a daughter who should be about your age, so you should do well there.

Arent you coming with me? Keegans eyes were pleading, now.

Maxie shook his head. But I wont send you alone, little fox, dont worry.

Keegan thought about this for a moment; then she grinned and threw her arms around him. This is the best birthday present ever! Maxie returned her embrace with one of his own, content in the knowledge he could so easily give his daughter so much joy.

Are you gonna come with me, Courtney? Keegan asked, bouncing happily by Courtneys side as the brunette guided her to Maxies office.

No, Courtney shook her head. Despite herself, she had to smile at Keegans enthusiasm. As much grief as the little fox had given her, Courtney found she didnt regret any of it. But between us, Harland, Tabitha and I have found someone suitable.

This is gonna be so great! Keegan beamed down at Hazel, happily trotting at her heels, as they entered the office. Maxie had been speaking with the young agent chosen to accompany Keegan on her journey, but cut off once they arrived.

Little fox, I believe you already know Hank, Maxie held out a hand to the young man. Hank peered through his long fringe and smiled somewhat nervously, his hands stuffed in the pockets of his baggy grey pants.

Oh, hi, Hank! Keegan waved cheerfully, running to look up at him earnestly. Im glad to see your hair grew back. Hank went red. Courtney blew a bubble to hide a snigger while Maxie coughed and looked away. Hanks run in with Keegan four years ago had become legend... and Courtney hadnt asked him to sit for her again. But the lad was reliable and dedicated, and Courtney was certain that aside from the FireHeads or Maxie himself, he was the best choice for the job. Were gonna have so much fun! Keegan went on excitedly, heedless of the embarrassment shed caused. Whenre we leaving? at the last she turned wide, sparkling eyes to Maxie.

In four days, Maxie answered, suddenly feeling that it was much too soon. Hank, however, was remembering his first meeting with the little fox and wondering what on earth had possessed him to accept this mission.

It was a windy day on Slateport harbour. Leaves and natural debris were sent skittering over the concrete, twirling in an intricate dance of spirals between the passengers now boarding the cruise ship Atlantis.

Out of the crowd, the wind tugged at the clothes and hair of one small party. Keegan, sporting her fire stone pendant, was watching the other passengers curiously while Maxie gave Hank some last-minute instructions. Until the day before, when they had travelled by helicopter to Slateport City, she had never seen anyone but those agents belonging to Team Magma, and it fascinated her the way people moved and reacted to one another; so random and unpredictable.

Little fox, Maxies voice caught Keegans attention, and she turned around to listen. He looked so different wearing the long black coat and normal clothes compared to the red and grey uniform as was his usual wont. He kneeled before her, straightening the collar of her jacket. Now, you do what Hank says, alright? Keegan nodded obediently and smiled nervously. Maxie smiled back and patted her cheek comfortingly. Well see you again in a few months.

Okay, Keegan said in a small voice; then she lifted her chin. It had amazed her how big the world outside the mountains had been; amazed and scared her. But if Maxie was fine with it, then Keegan was determined to be too. Impulsively, Keegan gave him a hug, which Maxie returned gladly. Then he rose and stepped aside to give Hank the tickets and allow Courtney to say her goodbyes.

Tabitha wanted me to remind you to take care of Hazel, Courtney said through her bubblegum in a voice which made it known she thought he was being paranoid. And I thought that someone else might want to say goodbye. Brushing aside her coat and the crimson scarf which draped over her shoulder, Courtney plucked a pokball from her belt and expanded it, releasing the pokmon inside.

In the flash of light, a mightyena appeared, shaking his black-maned head. When he saw Keegan he let out a friendly bark, wagging his tail. Keegan grinned and threw her arms around him, burying her face in his thick fur. In the past two years, Keegan, Hazel and the rebellious poochyena had grown as battlers; and the day poochyena had evolved was a day of great importance for all of them. It proved that hard work paid off and made Keegan more determined in her pursuits.

I think Harland has his eye on him, Courtney added, surveying Mightyena as he lowered his head to butt Hazel gently. Even Tabitha agrees hes come a long way from the defiant little pup. Hazel put her paws on his snout and nuzzled him affectionately as Keegan stood. She squeezed Courtney around the waist and Courtney put a tender hand on her head, her scarf trailing in the breeze.

The ships siren sounded, warning the last passengers to hurry. Keegan released Courtneys waist and stepped back, looking nervously up at Hank. The flaxen-haired young agent, also dressed in nondescript clothes, smiled reassuringly and held out his hand. Gratefully, Keegan took it and they walked aboard the ship to stand at the stern.

As the ship chugged slowly from the harbour, Keegan waved madly at the three figures on the dock. Courtney raised a hand to wave back, and Mightyena raced across the pier, barking madly, until the ship turned away from the harbour and out into the sparkling ocean.

Hank hurried down the corridor, anxiously checking the doors he passed and occasionally calling Keegans name. Excuse me, he stopped a sailor passing in the opposite direction. The oval-shaped blue and white azumarill at his feet peered through its long round ears at him, gnawing absently on its sphere-like tail. Have you seen girl about ten years old, with an eevee?

The sailor smiled, his salt-roughened face crinkling with a thousand wrinkles. Oh, shes a curious little thing, that one, he chuckled. Hank sighed with relief. Last I saw her, she was down near the cargo room, he nodded back the way hed been coming.

You keep that room locked, dont you? Hank demanded uneasily. Shes likely to wander into any room left open.

Oh, sure, the sailor was quick to assure him while the azumarill nodded. Therere plenty of curious kids on the ship, and what with the rockin of the sea, it could be dangerous.

Thank you, Hank said gratefully, slipping past him to hurtle down the corridor. Startled, the sailor blinked after him momentarily before looking down at his azumarill, shrugging, and continuing on his way.


Hank paused, hearing Hazels faint voice, and turned from the corridor he had just been about to walk down. Instead he followed the sound, eventually coming to the end of a rarely travelled passageway to see Keegan, curled up on the window seat and gazing out the porthole. She was absently stroking Hazel on the head, but the eevee was pawing her insistently.

When she heard Hank approach, Hazel turned with huge, sad eyes to look at him. Carefully, Hank sat down on the other end of the seat, but Keegan didnt acknowledge his presence. Whats wrong, little fox? he asked gently, leaning back on the wall and stuffing his hands in his pockets. I thought youd like being up on deck.

Those other kids were teasing me and Hazel, Keegan answered, her voice muffled in her knees.

Hank sighed; of course. Keegan had never played with other children before an imaginative child, shed spent all her time keeping herself entertained, often at the expense of the Magma grunts. And though most children on the ship would also come from wealthy families, some were sure to be spoiled brats. Dont worry about them, he reassured her. If theyre not going to be nice, then you dont need them.

Keegan looked at him over the top of her knees. Do you still like me? she asked uncertainly.

Hank was surprised. Of course I do! he exclaimed. What gave you that idea?

Keegan looked back out the window, letting Hazel worm her way onto her lap. Well, Ive been watching the other kids and their parents, Keegan confessed. And theyre always arguing and disobeying. And then they were teasing me when I said Papa stayed home. They said he must not like me.

Keegan, you know thats not true at all, Hank said sternly. You know Maxie adores you.

But I was always playing tricks, Keegan hugged Hazel, her eyes glittering with uncertain tears. And running away. She looked up at him apologetically. And I accidentally set your hood on fire.

Hank laughed, taking a hand out of his pocket to rub his head with embarrassment. Well, it was funny, right? he smiled encouragingly. You did do those things, but you never deliberately put anyone in danger, and you knew when to stop. He put a comforting hand on her shoulder, looking at her seriously. Never, ever think youre not loved, little fox. Because no matter where you are, theres always someone out there who cares.

Keegan sniffed and wiped her eyes; then abruptly she threw herself forward to hug him tightly. Thanks, Hank, she whispered as he gingerly patted on her on the back.

Sure, he answered tentatively.

Just as suddenly, Keegan jumped up, startling him as Hazel rolled off her lap to land daintily on the shiny floor; with a giggle, the girl slapped him on the shoulder. Youre It! she cried, and raced off down the corridor, Hazel bounding at her heels. Too used to the little foxs exploits to be put off for long, Hank chuckled to himself and followed.

Hank lay back in his wide, comfortable bed, wide awake and examining the metal ceiling of his room. He sometimes found it difficult to fall asleep at night, distracted by the swaying crash of the waves against the bow and the faint vibration of the engines.

In the room next door, Keegan was no doubt slumbering deeply. After the first day she had adjusted well to life on the ship, ignoring the other kids when they teased her. Then she had settled the matter securely when one of the bullies had challenged her to a pokmon battle. Hank grinned as he remembered that.

It had been the day before. A sturdy, greasy-haired kid who looked like hed never once lifted a finger to help himself had been tormenting the younger kids on deck. Upon seeing Keegan playing with Hazel and a red ball supplied by the ships facilities, the kid had made a beeline for his new victim. No doubt Keegans naturally small frame and huge, innocent eyes, plus Hazels timid demeanour, had made him think she would be the perfect target.

At the time, Hank had been standing at the rail with a pair of binoculars, watching the white, long-winged wingull as they floated on the breeze. Upon hearing Keegans protests, he turned only to see the bully threatening Keegan with an expanded pokball.

Bet you cant battle, the kid sneered. I got my pokmon from my father, and its a real fighter. Theres no way that puny ball of fluff could beat it. To Hanks great amusement, he had then released a crimson magby; a fire pokmon, of all things. One of only two types which Keegan had battled on a daily basis, and knew how to fight as well as she knew the back of her hand.

Uncertainly, Keegan had glanced at Hank. At his encouraging nod, shed stood and accepted the bullys challenge. And proceeded to give him the thrashing of his life. At its end he had blubbered like a baby and run off to his parents in the present, Hank chuckled. Keegan could be a handful, yes, but she could also provide excellent entertainment, even unintentionally.

Without him realizing, Hanks memories turned into real dreams as he finally drifted off to sleep.

June 10th, 2005, 7:44 PM
Only a few hours later, Hank was rudely awakened when the ship sloped abruptly to the side, throwing him off his bed and onto the carpeted floor. Instinctively he reached for his pokball only to hit the wooden bedside table, cracking his knuckles; then the ship righted itself and he tumbled back against the bed, still twisted in his sheets.

Somethings wrong. Was his first thought as he struggled to untangle himself. The wind shrieked past his porthole window, the spray of the water splashing over the glass as the waves beat at the hull, rocking the ship unsteadily. Hank staggered to his feet, grabbing his pokball and his shirt, and was sent lurching across the room as the ship pitched to the side. He caught himself on the wall as someone hammered on the door, flinging it open.

It was the sailor with the azumarill. The round blue pokmon clutched at its trainers legs as he gripped the door frame, balanced with the roll of the ship. Get your life jackets, he ordered, face pale and eyes bleak. Then come out on deck.

Were sinking, arent we? Hank said grimly and without any trace of fear, shrugging on his black shirt. Respect flashed momentarily in the sailors eyes; usually rich passengers, when faced with such reality, denied it hotly or panicked.

Yes, sir, he admitted quietly as Hank yanked the life jacket from the wardrobe.

Zurii, the azumarill echoed in a small voice; its eyes were worried.

The nearest lifeboats are on the starboard side, the sailor added helpfully, and left to warn the other passengers while his azumarill waddled quickly at his heels. Hank tugged his life jacket on over his shirt, wrenching open the door adjoining Keegans room.

The little fox was huddled in her bed, eyes wide, gripping tightly to Hazel with one hand and the bed post with the other. Whats happening, Hank? she cried fearfully as the ship lurched violently once again, making Hank stumble as he made his way to Keegans closet to pull out her life jacket too.

Listen to me, little fox, Hank said urgently as he put the bright orange jacket over her shoulders. Keep tight hold of Hazel and stay close to me, alright? We need to go up on deck.

Keegan drew the jacket on over her short-sleeved white cotton top, fingers fumbling as she clipped the front together. Hazel struggled through the jumbled sheets to the bedside table and carefully picked up Keegans pendant by the chain. Keegan took it and put it on, then clenched Hazel tightly to her chest and slipped off the bed unsteadily, allowing Hank to guide her out of the room.

As soon as they entered the hallway it grew more difficult to stay on their feet; Hank gripped Keegans shoulder to stop her tumbling over. His grim demeanour was scaring her, but she knew that as long as he was nearby she was as safe as she could possibly be.

The sailor with the azumarill was coming back down the corridor, occasionally giving directions to passengers as his azumarill dodged the forest of legs. The atmosphere in the hallway generally curious and apprehensive, but not panicked. Not yet.

He spotted Hank and hurried towards them. Youll have to make it to the port side, he warned Hank softly. Keegan gripped Hanks hand and looked up with frightened eyes.

Why? Hank asked cautiously, casting a worried glance down at Keegan.

Some of the lifeboats were over turned, the sailor answered shortly. And others were destroyed by the pounding of the waves against the hull. Theres not enough; that side of the ship is already overcrowded - he was cut off when the ship quaked violently, rocking harshly to the side. Before any of them had time to think the hull peeled open like a flowering bud, yielding to the broken, jagged spar which speared through it like some massive javelin.

The point caught the sailor squarely in the chest, driving him back through the opposite wall in a broken mess. Keegan was tossed to the side, stunned by the curling metal of the wall. The wind howled in from the outside, spraying the walls and floor with water and debris. Distantly, Keegan realized screaming had erupted in the corridor; high shrieks which were echoed faintly through the storm outside.

Hank? she cried, turning her ashen face down the corridor, but all she could see was that massive block of wood impaling half the ship and allowing the storm inside. Hank! she screamed, unaware of the tears which tracked down her cheeks.

Bui! Eebuuii! Hazel yowled, her fur already matted by the salt water.

Shaking, petrified, Keegan scrambled to her feet, clutching Hazel so hard the little eevee could hardly breathe; but the pokmons claws were also digging with unreasoning terror in Keegans skin. Gasping with sobs, Keegan turned and fled down the corridor, using her size to dodge the older passengers which clogged the hall in their panic.

She reached the upper deck and was immediately lashed by the spray of the sea, the icy-cold rain and the shrieking wind, her wet hair like burning streaks across her face. The ships roll and slant was more obvious now, and she jumped out of the way as a pile of debris skimmed across the drenched deck.

Someone rushed up from below, bowling her over; she cracked her elbow as she fell, and her arm sparked with momentary pain. Pedalling with her feet, she skated backwards only to end up against the wall, watching with a kind of numb horror at the panicked chaos she could barely see through the storm, but could hear quite well in the shrieks of pokmon and people alike.

A man without a life jacket slipped and fell in front of her. He scrambled to his feet and saw her, an orange beacon in the darkness of the night. His eyes lit up with a kind of panicked madness, and Keegan shrank against the wall, paralysed, as he came towards her. He yanked on her arm, ripping the life jacket forcefully off her small frame though she tried to clutch to it desperately.

He never got a chance to use it, for at that moment a length of sparking electrical wire whipped towards him, and he screamed as the electricity seared throughout his body. Keegan turned away and screamed with him, tucking her head into Hazels wet fur until he stopped. She heard something hit the deck but didnt open her eyes, shaking and gasping with heaving sobs, only now noticing the burns which had scorched her arm; the electricity had lashed out at anything within range. Through the smell of the rain she caught the faint scent of burned flesh, and swallowed her nausea shakily.

Oblivious to the throbbing on her arm, eyes half shut, Keegan crawled blindly in the opposite direction, shivering in her thin, soaking wet night clothes. She put her hand on something sharp but ignored it, trying to dodge the legs that almost crushed her beneath their feet.

Under the jabbering voices and frightened shouts she heard something creak and looked up to find a bunch of passengers fleeing as one of the lifeboats ropes snapped, sending it careening in her direction. Paralysed, she could do nothing but watch, her blue eyes wide.

Distantly she heard rapid footsteps behind her; then someone grabbed her around the waist, picking her up and bodily moving her out of harms way behind some rocking crates. Keegan looked up to see it was Hank, his yellow hair whipping in the gale. He set her down, squeezing her on the shoulders. Wheres your life jacket? he demanded.

Someone took it, Keegan choked, burying her head in his chest and shaking with tears. Without hesitation Hank slipped off his own jacket and put it over her shoulders.

Whatever you do, dont let this go, he warned her, clipping it together for her. Keegan nodded numbly, the fingers of terror easing their grip over her mind now that she wasnt alone. Hazel also seemed calmer, and relinquished her grip on Keegan, leaving tiny puncture marks on her skin.

What do we do? Keegan sniffled, her fist clenching up a handful of Hanks shirt.

Dont worry, little fox, Hank reassured her, giving her a comforting squeeze. Ill take care of you. I promise. Keegan nodded, biting her lip. Hank took her hand and steadied her against the rock of the boat; then he led her out of the relative shelter of the crates and back into the wind.

Keegan clung to Hank like a burr as he made his way through the lashing rain, fending off babbling and terrified passengers. She was still frightened, but things didnt seem so chaotic now there was someone with a cool head to rely on.

All Hank cared about was getting Keegan somewhere safe. He squinted, using his arm to shade his eyes against the lashing rain, searching desperately for an empty space on one of the few lifeboats left to be lowered into the seething, raging ocean; but the crowd of terrified passengers were all struggling for the last seats. As he watched, a wave swelled and bulged, breaking with white foam to engulf a lifeboat filled with shrieking passengers. A few resurfaced, only to be swallowed moments later by another, swamping wave. Keegan clutched Hanks arm, staring with wide eyes, and Hank turned her away.

Abruptly a wave crashed against the hull, drenching them in spray. With one hand Hank gripped the railing to keep them steady; with the other he held Keegan close while she scrabbled desperately to gain a footing on the slippery deck. Just as quickly, the ship pitched to the opposite side, sending them crashing through the railing and into the deep, raging black ocean.

Cant breathe cant breathe cant breathe! Keegan thrashed, panicking, struggling to reach the writhing surface above. Her life jacket lifted her through the water as Hazel clung to her, fur swirling in the strong eddies. With a gasp, their heads erupted out of the water, bobbing like an orange beacon as the powerful waves tossed them about helplessly.

Keegan shrieked when she felt something grab her arm, swallowing almost as much water from the air as from the sea; but it turned out to be Hank, clinging to a piece of floating debris almost too small to hold his weight. Shivering in the cold of the water, he guided Keegans hand to the wooden debris. She clutched at it desperately as a wave swamped over Hank for a moment before he appeared again, coughing. Dont let go! he choked, and Keegan nodded unthinkingly; one hand holding Hazel, the other clamped tightly onto the board.

What remained of the ship suddenly loomed out of the storm like some hulking island. A wave swept them towards it, pounding Hank harshly against the metal bow. He gritted his teeth, struggling to keep his hold on Keegan. They couldnt hear any of the other passengers now, trapped in their own world of wrathful wind and raging water.

Something dropped from above, and Hank ducked over Keegan protectively as the debris hit the water with a heavy splash. A loose strut attached to the debris swung down; Hank saw it and shoved Keegan away, but still it glanced off the back of her head. She slumped onto her debris, unconscious, while the strut continued its downward path, cleaving a swath in the water and pinning Hank to the rest of the framework.

Bubuuii! Hazel howled as she and Keegan were swept away. Water closed over Hanks head as he was pulled by the debris into the depths of the inky black ocean. Lungs burning, head pounding, he struggled desperately with the strut; but the mangled end had latched onto the main part of the framework, and he couldnt work it loose.

Slowly, his resistance grew weaker, the ocean seeming to sap his remaining energy like a dreameater. Blackness encroached on his vision, until all he could see was the faint outline of the little fox shifting with the waves on the surface, and he knew she would be fine knew it as well as he knew the sun would rise the next morning, whether he was there to see it or not.

It was enough.

* * *

Courtney yawned as she trudged through the corridors of the base, tugging at the belt which secured the loose grey dress around her middle. It was the middle of the night, but Harlands harsh tone of voice had allowed for no dawdling; thus her hood was still down and her hair still mussed from sleep.

She heard the sound of footsteps and the scrape of claws on the rock floor, and turned to meet Tabitha and Mightyena as they turned the corner. Any idea what this is about? she yawned again as he fell into step beside her.

Tabitha shrugged, his wide shoulders lifting the red mantle draped over his shoulders, as per the Magma uniform. Nah, I didnt ask. Sounded kinda he paused, scratching his unhooded head as he searched for the right word. I dunno, strained? he guessed. Somethin must be up hope its good. I aint been out to have some fun in weeks.

Idiot Tabitha, Courtney tossed her hair at him scornfully as they reached the door to Maxies office, where Harland kept watch over the Teams doings at night. Its something else. She reached for the knob and turned it, entering to find Harland leaning on Maxies elegantly carved desk, fists digging into the tabletop. As soon as he heard the door open he straightened and turned to his fellow FireHeads, jaw clenched with some kind of stress.

Courtney stopped short when she saw him, taking in his trembling fists, tensed muscles and the shock still evident in his grey eyes. Harland? she asked, startled, as Tabitha loomed behind her and blinked at him. Whats wrong?

I just got word, Harland said tonelessly. The cruise ship Atlantis sank in a storm a hundred miles off the coast of Johto. There were no survivors.

Courtney gasped, her brown eyes widening and her hand flying to her mouth. Gah! Tabithas mouth dropped open and his eyes widened in fleeting astonishment. Hank? The little fox? He then demanded, tensing, as Mightyenas ears pricked forward and he growled.

No survivors, Harland repeated, his tone thickening. Stunned, Courtney sank down on the lounge, fingers still brushing her lips as she stared wide-eyed into the red and gold carpet.

Tabitha gritted his teeth, running a hand through his thick, long hair at the sickened feeling of grief in his gut. Maxie? he growled as Mightyena padded over to Courtney, nudging her knees sorrowfully with his head.

I havent told him yet, Harland admitted, looking at the floor. Tabitha made a harsh sound of disapproval, hands twitching, and Harland raised his head to meet his somewhat accusing gaze squarely. Hes going to need all of us to get through this, Harland said. I thought wed need prior warning. And he hesitated, obviously tormented. Its the middle of the night I couldnt wake him just tell him that his little fox is dead. Courtney wrapped her arms around herself, shaking with suppressed sobs; but she couldnt halt the tears which flowed unwillingly down her cheeks.

Tabitha rubbed his head and nodded reluctantly, slowly, accepting this. It was likely the last peaceful nights sleep they could give him. Mightyena looked at him, dark eyes distressed, and let out a low, mournful growl deep in his throat. The sound seemed somehow to echo everyones stunned grief. Tabitha stared unseeingly at the floor as Harland turned away, rubbing his forehead. He knew that whatever they felt it was nothing compared to what Maxie would experience the next morning.

Maxie stared unbelievingly at Harland. The agents head was lowered, his red hood shading his eyes. As he spoke, Maxie felt his insides tighten up; it seemed difficult to breathe. He was unaware that his face had paled and eyes widened, already glimmering, or that his fists had clenched in an echo of the giant hand which had clamped around his heart.

Never before never before had he wished that Harland had a sense of humour never before had he wished that Harland would play so undignified a trick. Never before

Harland finished and looked up reluctantly to find Maxie staring; staring in his direction, but not seeing him at all, trembling uncontrollably. Then his jaw tightened and he spun on his heel, stalking into his inner room, his most private of offices. As Harland exchanged a worried look with Tabitha, Courtney still sitting in straight-backed shock on the lounge, Maxie slammed the door behind him; slammed the door which had never before been closed.

Shutting them out.

Whats going on? Courtney asked quietly with slightly jaded eyes. She had once again received an unexpected call; at least this time it was during the day, but after the last time any summon to Maxies office made her feel the tension, the pang in her stomach which had everything to do with fearful grief.

And once again, Tabitha was walking with her. He had handled the past few days by throwing himself at his pokmon training duties with frightening intensity. He was pushing everyone, himself and the pokmon included, too hard, but no one complained. They understood why. Every single member of Team Magma had suffered some kind of grief, and not just for Keegan. Hank had been well respected, and no one had any doubt hed done his best to protect the little fox but that didnt change the fact he had, ultimately, failed

Feh, I dunno, Tabitha answered neutrally as Mightyena pattered along behind him. Ive been giving my reports to Harland to pass on to Maxie he aint come out of that office since he went in. They entered Maxies more public office to find Harland waiting for them. The air of the room was tense with cold fury.

Ive been receiving reports, Maxies voice shattered the silence, coming from the high backed chair behind the desk, now facing away from it. On the desk was an open file folder. About a Team. Team Aqua, they call themselves. The chair spun around to reveal Maxie, elbows resting on the armrests and hands clasped before his pale face.

The dark circles under his eyes attested to the fact he hadnt slept in days, and his face was set and lined with the remnants of distraught, grief-stricken contemplation. A Team, he went on, who are apparently dedicated to expanding the worlds oceans. Courtney glanced to Harland, who nodded a confirmation; but none of them spoke.

Maxie stood, shaking with emotion. The ocean, he seethed. The ocean which stole my little fox from me, not to mention a ****ed good member of this Team! And they want to expand it?! Courtney gritted her teeth as her eyes darkened, herself feeling frustrated anger rise. How could someone want to expand the seas which took hundreds of lives every year?!

As though he was reading her mind, Maxie added bitterly, The ocean is dangerous; it claims hundreds of lives yearly. This goal this delusion of theirs I will not permit it. Therefore, I am hereby dedicating Team Magma not just to halting Team Aquas efforts, but reversing them. With land dominating the world, the ocean will not be able to take life so blithely. He fixed them with the piercing, fiery gaze rarely seen but often spoken about among the agents; the gaze which had practically become myth, and had given Maxie his reputation as someone completely at one with the fire.

The FireHeads were silent, stunned at this declaration. It seemed so impulsive, so far-fetched and yet

Defiantly, Courtney raised her chin and stepped forward. I will continue my service under this new regime, she announced burningly. Mightyenas ears flicked forward and he looked from Maxie to her, sensing the crackling passion within both of them.

Well make em learn a thing or two, Tabitha added grimly, smacking a fist into his other hand. Harland said nothing, but he didnt have to. The new anticipation which glittered in his cunning, taunting eyes was enough. Maxie nodded, his features visibly relaxing now he knew he had the support of those few he trusted most. His smouldering gaze turned to the open folder on the desk, and he studied the heavy-set, bearded face of his newest nemesis.

For the death of his little fox it was time for the fire to wage war on the ocean.

* * *

Simon grunted as he yanked at the net, the thick wire digging into his fingers. Together, he and his older, scrawnier brother Peter hauled the net into their fishing sloop. One of the fish trapped within thrashed, spraying Simon with salty water.

So? Simon took a step to the right, under the duress of checking the lobster cage still hidden within the water.

So? Peter wiped his forehead.

So is Miriam pregnant or what? Simon tugged on the rope leading down to the cage, testing the weight on the end of the line.

Behind him, Peter sighed. No, not this time, he answered with frustrated sorrow. Simon clicked his tongue sympathetically as he pulled up the cage, his bulging muscles working easily. He was a notorious bachelor, but he knew that Peter and Miriam had been trying to have a child for years.

Well, we should return to Alto Mare soon -

Whats that? Peter cut him off, shading his eyes from the light reflecting off the sparkling ocean. Simon looked up and saw a form in the water. As it drifted closer, he saw it was a girl of about ten, hanging on to a piece of weathered debris with an eevee tucked under her arm. She was out cold, an orange life jacket making her bob on the surface.

You dont think anyone was caught in that storm two days ago?! Peter exclaimed, astonished.

No, I think thats a mirage, Simon snapped back sarcastically, stepping quickly to the motor and making the boat rock. Now sit down or youll fall on your ass. Peter did so quickly as Simon fired the engine, and within moments they were beside the girl. Peter reached out for her and pulled her into the boat while Simon grabbed the eevee threatening to sink into the water.

Peter laid the girl out on his lap, wiping her red-blonde hair back from her forehead anxiously as the large pendant around her neck flashed red in the sun. She stirred but didnt waken, her eyes flickering beneath their lids.

Simon cradled the shivering eevee, its ears waterlogged and sagging. Its got a collar, he saw, carefully removing it. He set the eevee down gently on the girls lap. Its says Hazel on the outside. He turned the collar over, hoping for some more identification. For Keegan, my little fox, he read.

Peter looked down at the girl they now guessed was Keegan. She looks in bad shape, he noted worriedly. Wed better get back to Alto Mare.

Yeah, Simon agreed, tossing the collar onto the seat and moving to the motor. Seconds later they were speeding away from the calm, glittering ocean; towards the city of Alto Mare sprawled on the horizon.

~ finis

June 15th, 2005, 5:13 AM
If I don't finish, I'll post anyway and edit in the rest later.

Alrighty. Here we go.

A babys crying; wailing and mournful, confused and frightened.

Ah, semicolon abuse. A semicolon must connect to independant clauses: in layman's terms, two complete sentences (INdependant, versus depandant, which aren't complete sentences). Also, I'm not sure if you meant "baby is" or "baby's (possessive). If the former, replace the semicolon with a colon. If the latter, reowrd the sentence.

Now you're using them correctly, but be careful not to overuse them. Vary your sentence structure.

Alright. I'm so on this.

The mood in the beginning is very good. You've managed to do what the last person I concritted here (and many ficcers world over) didn't (and don't): You've seen up an interesting first chapter. Praise to you.

You should really cut down on the semicolons. Too much of a good thing tends to become annoying to the reader. Though I must pat you on the back for using them properly.

How sweet. This first section is very well done. Aside from the semicolon manifestation, your prose is great and your tone is wonderful. Personally, ulike team rocket, I never saw Aqua and Magma to be 'evil', just a tad misguided. Of all canon-character fics, I like Aqua/Magma ones best.

eluding anyone who was likely to return her and

Someone was trying to return her? Seems like you omitted a word here.

Grumpily, tossing the bubblegum into her mouth and dropping the wrapper

Hn, it should be 'tossing bubblegum' or 'tossing a piece of bubblegum'. Using 'the' there makes it sound as if it is a particular piece or gum we should already be familiar with.

I'm liking this quite a bit so far, so I find it a shame that you want to 'discuss' something with me. Not too often I get hatemail for praising the author. It's all very real, believable.

Hm, considering that this block of text I'm looking at isn't really a flashback as much as it is an introspection-- as well as your using past perfect tense-- I'd say it shouldn't be in italics.

No! :dies: Had to be an eevee, eh? Dammit, what are so great about them? I think they're ugly, and they're hopelessly weak. Give her a houndoom or something... maybe numel. But eevee? Gah! Couldn't give me 100%, hn?

On a positive note, you've cut down on the semicolons. Good.

Tabitha is a man? Odd. Typo or preference?

Preference, apparently. To each their own.

Hm, why did Keegan name her pokemon but no one else has? It's always a good idea to have the beliefs of a group of people consistant. If everyone around her isn't naming their pokemon, Kee shouldn't be either.

over to see a poochyena dash out of the next room; the one which dealt with newly caught pokmon.

This should be a comma or hyphen, not a semicolon. The latter part is a depandant clause.

You're overusing the semicolons again. Be careful of that.

Done. the grunt handed over the poochyenas

Probably just a typo, but should be either >"Done," the grunt... or >"Done." The grunt...

I very much like this, and when I have the initiative, I'll read through the second part. Great job. A rare, well-written gem of canon-character fanfiction. I'd really recommend posting this on ff.net.

July 2nd, 2005, 6:11 PM
Ah, the semi-colen debate. ^.^ Heh, that's what I wanted to 'discuss' with you; I'm expecting a debate on this matter, which I must say isn't too appealing. Yus, I have a reason for that (the question is whether or not it'll take).

I probably do use them an awful lot, and I'll be sure to give them the twice-over from now on, but there are times (most especially in that first sentence) where I deliberately use them wrongly for a simple reason: tone.

Sometimes using a semi-colen (or a comma, or ellipses, or almost anything else for that matter) in a certain place gives the sentence a slightly different tone than what the expected punctuation would. I think the reason people notice it more is because a semi-colen has such specific rules attached to it; but sometimes I tend to bypass them in favour of the tone.

Now, I dunno what tone the sentence would have to you; but it has the exact feel I wanted, hence the reason it is like it is. I WILL go through and triple-check all the other semi-colens though :P but I guarentee you there's going to be some which are there to stay.

Personally, ulike team rocket, I never saw Aqua and Magma to be 'evil', just a tad misguided. Of all canon-character fics, I like Aqua/Magma ones best.

^.^ I'm glad; Teams Aqua and Magma have such potential, and I never saw them as 'evil' either. There's a fine line between the two extremes, but the canon often seems to take either one of those sides with no regard for the middle.

Someone was trying to return her? Seems like you omitted a word here.

No, no word missing; umn, how to explain? It was supposed to be generalised, as in she often snuck away from anyone who would take her back to her guards. Did that make sense?

Hn, it should be 'tossing bubblegum' or 'tossing a piece of bubblegum'. Using 'the' there makes it sound as if it is a particular piece or gum we should already be familiar with.

Thanks, that helps; I was never happy with that sentence but couldn't figure out how to change it.

Hm, considering that this block of text I'm looking at isn't really a flashback as much as it is an introspection-- as well as your using past perfect tense-- I'd say it shouldn't be in italics.

I see what you mean; I'll change that accordingly.

No! :dies: Had to be an eevee, eh? Dammit, what are so great about them? I think they're ugly, and they're hopelessly weak. Give her a houndoom or something... maybe numel. But eevee? Gah! Couldn't give me 100%, hn?

Heh, lol ^.^ I imagine that's what most people think when they read it. But I'm not ashamed to admit that eevee is one of my favourite pokemon (or at least, it was when I began developing this story), and not many of the fire pokemon suited Keegan's character. I certainly hope that by the sequel she has a personality which is developed enough to take the edge of the 'overused' vibes; but if you don't like OU pokemon I suggest you be prepared - 'cause I go with my favs or what suits the character, regardless of popular use.

Tabitha is a man? Odd. Typo or preference?

Preference, apparently. To each their own.

As far as I know, Tabitha is his official name; go figure why they gave him a girl's name, but I'm all for continuity.

Hm, why did Keegan name her pokemon but no one else has? It's always a good idea to have the beliefs of a group of people consistant. If everyone around her isn't naming their pokemon, Kee shouldn't be either.

I never really considered that; but I suppose as a child Keegan would be closer to her pokemon than hardened agents - or at least look on them more fondly. I don't think it out of character for a little girl to name a pet, which is more what Hazel is than anything else. It's hard to explain, but do you see my meaning?

Probably just a typo, but should be either >"Done," the grunt... or >"Done." The grunt...

Ah; yes, thanks.

I very much like this, and when I have the initiative, I'll read through the second part. Great job. A rare, well-written gem of canon-character fanfiction. I'd really recommend posting this on ff.net.

^.^ Thank you, and thanks for reviewing; I look forward to your next one. I am intending to post it on ff.net <_< but I haven't quite figured the system out yet, so it hasn't quite happened.

July 3rd, 2005, 4:38 PM
Sometimes using a semi-colen (or a comma, or ellipses, or almost anything else for that matter) in a certain place gives the sentence a slightly different tone than what the expected punctuation would. I think the reason people notice it more is because a semi-colen has such specific rules attached to it; but sometimes I tend to bypass them in favour of the tone.

Ah, absolutely understandable.

No, no word missing; umn, how to explain? It was supposed to be generalised, as in she often snuck away from anyone who would take her back to her guards. Did that make sense?

Hn, then you probably should have said 'to return her to her father' or something.

I found it very weird that I was typing about bubblegum. o.o;;

Heh, lol ^.^ I imagine that's what most people think when they read it. But I'm not ashamed to admit that eevee is one of my favourite pokemon (or at least, it was when I began developing this story), and not many of the fire pokemon suited Keegan's character. I certainly hope that by the sequel she has a personality which is developed enough to take the edge of the 'overused' vibes; but if you don't like OU pokemon I suggest you be prepared - 'cause I go with my favs or what suits the character, regardless of popular use.

I don't really like any of the fangirl pokemon, so :shrug: I don't really get the hype. I think vulpix is ugly, too. I can only be thankful that houndour passed the ONG 1337 PUPPIIII!!!!one111! thing.

As far as I know, Tabitha is his official name; go figure why they gave him a girl's name, but I'm all for continuity.

Didn't know that.

^.^ Thank you, and thanks for reviewing; I look forward to your next one. I am intending to post it on ff.net <_< but I haven't quite figured the system out yet, so it hasn't quite happened.

It's basically a huge, complex, message board. The same theory applies as far as topics and bumping goes. The process is a tad more introcate, but not too difficult to get used to.

July 3rd, 2005, 5:58 PM
Ah, absolutely understandable.

Wow, no objections? :P I'm amazed. I was expecting a debate against one of deh scawy reviewers-of-doom.

I don't really like any of the fangirl pokemon, so :shrug: I don't really get the hype. I think vulpix is ugly, too. I can only be thankful that houndour passed the ONG 1337 PUPPIIII!!!!one111! thing.

Heh, lol ^.^ I'm actually finding myself liking a lot of what I think are UU pokemon, recently - yanno, spinarak, aipom, zubat, to name a few. Vulpix I can take - but I prefer Ninetales; I'm all for beauty, which often governs my choice of pokemon. Which is probably the reason I have a lot of OO pokemon. :P

It's basically a huge, complex, message board. The same theory applies as far as topics and bumping goes. The process is a tad more introcate, but not too difficult to get used to.

Yeah, I think I've worked it out ^.^ Thanks. I've edited this thread, so hopefully the second and third posts ease up on the semi-colen thing.

July 3rd, 2005, 6:01 PM
I'll continue when I have a chance ^^

Just for the record, I nominated you for fanfic of the week as well to Lily.