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Thread Description
This is the story of a girl who's tired of pretending // Updates every other Thursday

JavierE64

Masks are so 2016!! 31 Minutos FTW!!!
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
310
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
496
Location
Perú
Nature
Modest
Pronouns
He/Him
Pokémon Type
Grass, Water
Pokédex Entry
The Master of both Light and Darkness; who loves the Violent and Dramatic, and the Fun and Adorable.


Did I mention I love this chapter already?
 

Rhema

Conqueror of the Violet Gym
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
212
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
186
Location
Hearthome City
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
She/Her/Hers
Pokémon Type
Fire, Psychic
Pokédex Entry
She tries her best, but doesn't succeed. She gets what she wants but not what she needs.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #102
Hello everyone! Hope you all are doing well during this trying time. Personally, I'm very thankful for this community...... and that participating within it is 100% virtual :P

This is a chapter I've been extremely eager to write- it basically delves into Wally's entire backstory and explains a lot about why he is the way he is. For those Wally lovers out there, you're gonna wanna read this! Super pumped to finally be putting it out there and excited to see what y'all think of it!

@cyndakip Yes! Lisia is a character I've gone back and forth on including, but I think having someone from Lilian's old life will be an interesting twist on things. Brendan certainly doesn't mind that she's making an appearance, as you saw ;D thanks so much for singing my praises! the battle, which was kind of the first battle between two seasoned Trainers in this fic, was extremely fun to write- especially since I didn't have to worry about Wally or May having any dialogue during it.

@boomdidiyadah I want you to know that your meme made me and my husband literally laugh out loud- it kind of made my day. Lilian is, er, def a bit too slap-happy for her own good. She'll need to learn how to control her impulses if she wants to improve on that.

@csidvuL yes! like i said to cyndakip, it was really enjoyable to write a battle between experts, since Lilian is usually the Trainer we're following and she isn't exactly a seasoned professional lol. I'm hoping Lilian's battles will look more like this as time goes on!

@JavierE64 haha, your meme gave me quite a good laugh. looks like all my readers really focused in on that slap!

“Ginger, get out of the way!”

Ginger sniffs at Sage’s torn wing as I wind fresh gauze around the width of it, making it impossible for me to see what I’m doing. I shoo Ginger away with my hand, and she nips at my fingers with defiance before prancing away.

“Fuck,” I mutter, frustration building as I dab the same antiseptic I’ve been using on Sage’s wing onto my knuckles. They prick with an uncomfortable stinging sensation, and I curse again.

My outburst stirs Roe from her nap, but she easily settles back into slumber. A long strand of drool trickles out of her mouth, wetting the pillow beneath her. Mira lets out a concerned coo from the opposite side of the room, halting progress on the block tower she’s been building. Wally bought a colorful set for her back in Dewford in an attempt to ‘cultivate her imagination’.

Wally. I tense up just thinking about what happened earlier with him. When he stalked off, Brendan went after him and I retreated to my room at the Pokemon Center. I suppose I could’ve gone to check on him too, but if I’m being honest with myself, part of me doesn’t want to know how he’s doing.

I am jolted out of my chair by a sudden knock on the door, and my heart races as I walk over to answer it. To my immense relief and slight disappointment, I’m greeted by Brendan wielding a white paper bag mottled with grease.

“Thought you might want some dinner,” he says, holding the bag out to me. “Can I come in?”

“Thanks,” I mutter, grabbing the bag and stepping to the side so he can come out of the hallway.

Mira waddles over to Brendan, pulling on his pant leg and pointing proudly at her block tower. He smiles at her and crouches down to marvel at her masterpiece. When Ginger notices Mira getting all the attention, she struts over and knocks the tower over with her tail in one fell swoop.

Arceus, Ginger!” I snap over Mira’s ear-shattering sobs, rushing over to separate the two of them before things get heated. The commotion rouses Roe from her nap once again, this time prompting grumpy tears to spring from her eyes. Overwhelmed, I recall everyone but Sage and shove their Pokeballs into the drawer of my nightstand. I let out a relieved exhale as the room goes quiet.

“Yikes,” Brendan mutters, settling into the chair I had been previously sitting on. “It’s been a stressful day all-around, huh?”

“Tell me about it,” I grumble, throwing myself onto the bed and fishing some fries out of the bag he gave me. “How’s Wally?”

“He’s...fine,” Brendan trails off, pinching the bridge of his nose. “May’s like his kryptonite. He kind of loses it a little every time she crops up.”

I snort, shaking my head. “She’s terrible- I don’t understand how he could have ever dated someone like that.”

“She wasn’t always this way,” Brendan sighs, his shoulders heaving. “It’s complicated and she-”

“And what was that shit about Wally needing battle tips?” I interject with fervency, my mouth full of fries as I begin to rant. “Wally was just as good as she was, if not better. Why the hell am the one challenging Gyms if he’s that talented, anyways?”

An uncomfortable silence settles over the room, making me pause mid-fry to stare at Brendan. He squirms in his chair and glances at the ceiling, avoiding my gaze. “There’s a lot about Wally you don’t know, Lilian.”

“Like what?” I ask, suspicion creeping into my voice. Sage flits over to me as I wait for Brendan to respond, barely making it across the room with her left wing out of commission. I pat the top of her head, watching as her damaged wing vibrates weakly. My heart breaks seeing her hurting.

Brendan hesitates for a few seconds before letting out an overdrawn sigh. “You should really be hearing all of this from him…” he mumbles, scratching behind his ear. “Wally’s a private guy.”

“Yeah, and Wally’s sure as hell not going to tell me whatever it is,” I point out, my curiosity officially piqued. “So you might as well just go ahead.”

“Good point,” Brendan mutters, cracking his knuckles in front of him. “Fine, I’ll tell you. But Wally’s probably going to murder me.”

“Is that what it is?” I ask in a joking manner, raising a dubious eyebrow. “Did Wally kill someone or something?”

Brendan chuckles darkly and leans forward, propping his elbows on his knees. “More like something almost killed him.”

I narrow my eyes at Brendan. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

“Wally wasn’t well growing up,” Brendan starts uneasily, biting on the inside of his cheek. “He had some sort of autoimmune disorder. It was rare and there wasn’t a cure. I don’t remember the name of it.”

At the mention of a disorder, a light bulb goes off in my head. “I’ve seen photos of him when he was little and he looked super sickly, yeah.”

“He was,” Brendan confirms with a slight nod. “I met him when we were ten, in Petalburg. My old man had just sent me off on my journey, and Wally wanted help catching a Pokemon. His condition wasn’t all that bad yet, and his parents thought it might be good for him to get fresh air, so he was allowed to travel around for a few months. We actually traveled together for a short time.”

“So that’s how you two became friends.” I say, finishing off the last fry before pulling a supremely juicy burger out of the bag. “Your friendship is almost older than I am.”

“Yup,” Brendan replies with a fond smile. “Back then, we were just two dumb ten year olds trying to make names for ourselves. We went our separate ways after the fifth gym- I got swept up in dealing with the first Aqua emergence, and I didn’t want to slow Wally down. He was getting stronger every day and didn’t really need me anymore. He got all eight Gym badges just in time to help defeat Aqua.”

“Oh, so then he challenged the Elite Four too?” I ask, munching on my burger.

The look on Brendan’s face tells me otherwise. “Wally’s health took a major nosedive right after the Aqua situation. His parents rushed him back home and he was hospitalized for over a month while he stabilized. After that, they moved him to Verdanturf to be with his aunt and uncle. The air’s much cleaner in that part of the region.”

“Arceus,” I mutter, staring down at my dinner as I process Brendan’s story. “What happened after that?”

Brendan’s expression turns somber, and he bows his head. “Wally was bedridden for nearly a decade.”

I choke on my burger, hand flying to my throat. “What the fuck? He was really that sick?”

“Yeah,” Brendan mutters. “It was bad. He didn’t talk to me for six months after I beat the League. He was crushed that he couldn’t compete. Eventually we reconciled and I visited him as much as I could between field research, but I could only cheer him up so much.”

“But he’s better now,” I protest, finding myself desperate for Brendan to get to the happy ending of this screwed-up story. “Dude’s healthier than most people I know. What happened?”

Brendan reaches into his pants pocket, pulling out a sleek cell phone. He punches at the screen and scrolls for a moment before presenting it to me. “Recognize this Pokemon?”

I lean forward and take the phone from him, squinting at the screen. An image of a pudgy, white Pokemon fills most of the screen. It dons a yellow cape and the top of its head is a similar color, with curious blue streamers fluttering down the sides. It’s limbs are stubby and it has a strange curvature across its belly.

“Jirachi,” I state in an obvious tone, handing the phone back to him. “The Pokemon that grants…”

“Wishes,” Brendan finishes, offering me an amused smile. “The Millenium Comet passed over Hoenn about seven years ago- around Wally’s twentieth birthday. I was desperate to find a cure for Wally’s illness, so around the time the comet was supposed to pass over, I traveled across the region trying to find Jirachi. And I did.”

My mouth gapes as I regard Brendan. “And Jirachi cured Wally?”

“Correct,” Brendan laughs, rubbing his hands together. “Wally’s disease was incurable by modern medicine, but Jirachi made it happen. Best birthday present ever, right?”

“Understatement of the century,” I mumble.

“Wally was beyond ecstatic to start battling again” Brendan continues, his smile quickly fading. “His badges had expired, though, so he needed to re-do his journey if he wanted to challenge the League like he always dreamed. I was busy doing my final apprenticeship with my dad, so I couldn’t accompany him.”

I already have a feeling I know the answer to the question plaguing my thoughts, but I ask anyway. “Who went with him, then?”

Brendan grimaces, and my fear is realized. “None other than May Maple,” he admits. “And the worst part is that I introduced the two of them.”

His statement makes me cringe. “You did Wally dirty.”

“I know, I know,” Brendan laments, burying his head in his hands. “This was before she became a big-shot Coordinator. She had just moved to Littleroot and was going to travel around trying to win Contest ribbons. Plus Wally had the biggest crush on her, so I suggested they travel together as sort of a covert set-up. But she wasn’t who either of us thought she was.”

“Well I’m glad to hear you didn’t purposefully set Wally up with the spawn of Giratina,” I mutter, blinking my eyelashes at him.

“She was sweet at first,” Brendan assures me, although he doesn’t have me convinced. “Really bubbly and nice. I thought she’d be great for Wally. But as she began winning Contests, she got arrogant. Started treating Wally like some sort of assistant. And of course, you’ve seen how verbally abusive she is.”

“Yeah, I got an awesome sneak peek of that earlier today.” I respond sarcastically. Sage crawls closer to me on the bed and rests her head in my lap, burying it in the soft material of my dress. I stroke the length of her back with my free hand, feeling each vertebra one by one.

“It took Wally two years to finally stand up to her,” Brendan informs me with a sadness that doesn’t suit him. “He was just glad to be alive, you know? And he was so sheltered and meek. So he put up with it. Once he finally grew a backbone, May dumped him on the spot. Wasn’t the worst outcome in the world, if you ask me.”

“So then did he get to challenge the League?” I ask, squirming from the anticipation.

“Unfortunately not,” Brendan says with a regretful smile. “May had drilled it into his head that he was a terrible Trainer, so he just kind of gave up. Hasn’t challenged a single Gym since- mostly just traveled solo around a few regions before coming back to Hoenn and meeting you.”

“That bitch,” I hiss, shaking my head furiously back and forth. “And here I was feeling bad that I slapped her.”

“I mean, that wasn’t your finest moment or anything,” Brendan admits, letting out a nervous laugh. “But I think Wally appreciated it nonetheless. I don’t think either of us were expecting you to stand up for him like that.”

I try to shrug off the defensiveness stiffening my entire body, but fail. “It wasn’t just for Wally. She insulted me too.”

An odd smirk flashes across Brendan’s face, but disappears before I can question it. “Yeah, I suppose she did.”

“Regardless,” I continue quickly, crossing my arms in front of me. “She was totally out of line. Wally’s better than most seasoned professionals I’ve seen. He should be challenging the Gyms himself, not following my mediocre ass around Hoenn.”

Brendan snorts, shrugging with his elbows bent and palms facing up. “Try telling Wally that.”

I don’t know what it is in me that mobilizes me to leave the room so abruptly. Maybe it’s my festering hatred for May Maple and my desire to see Wally stick it to her. Maybe it’s the air in here, suddenly suffocating me with the smell of ointment and pungent grease. Most likely, it’s Brendan’s unwitting challenge- to empower a man who’s been told all of his life that he shouldn’t and more importantly, can’t- that resonates within me to such a degree that every inch of my body aches.


Mira the Ralts!
Female / Synchronize / Quirky / Likes to relax


Roe the Trapinch!
Female / Hyper Cutter / Jolly / Hates to lose


Sage the Yanma!
Female / Compound Eyes / Quiet / Likes to relax


Ginger the Vulpix!
 
Last edited:

csidvuL

Conqueror of the Violet Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
31
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
193
I really like the sort of logical increments you built upon to make Wally who he is — in the back of my mind, I was always wondering how the sweet little lad from the games ended up as this cranky bugger. I think you”re completely in the right to be happy with and proud of this chapter. It’s definitely some of your best work! Looking forward to seeing more.
 

QuietGuardian

Conqueror of the Goldenrod Gym
🌱Featurer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
33
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
245
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
I have two main takeaways from these past few chapters:

1. Brendan is, like, the best person on the planet; not only does he brighten every scene he's in, but he was enough of a friend to find Jirachi to heal Wally!

2. Basically 6:55-6:57 of this video. I hope we don't see much more of May…
 

cyndakip

there goes my luck
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
23
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
279
Location
Lilycove City
Nature
Hardy
Pronouns
they/she
Pokémon Type
Fire, Water
Pokédex Entry
Part Cyndaquil, part Mudkip, entirely tired.
I can see why you were so excited about this chapter! I think it's a great one. I loved getting to find out Wally's backstory! It's so much sadder than I expected, and really explains a lot about why he is the way he is now.

And I agree with Quiet; Brendan is wonderful and deserves the Friend of the Millennium award for tracking down Jirachi! Even if he is somewhat responsible for the Wally and May situation. May’s even worse than I thought, yikes.
 

Rhema

Conqueror of the Violet Gym
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
212
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
186
Location
Hearthome City
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
She/Her/Hers
Pokémon Type
Fire, Psychic
Pokédex Entry
She tries her best, but doesn't succeed. She gets what she wants but not what she needs.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #106
Friends! Hello and welcome to another update of As Above, So Below! I just want to say thank you so much to each and every one of you who has been keeping up with this fic! The world is a crazy hot mess right now and writing is a great respite from it all. It really brings a smile to my face to see such kind, lovely comments when I post an update. And even if you don't post a comment, know that I appreciate you all the same! Just knowing people are reading the content I put out and (presumably) enjoying it makes me happy!

With that, here's today's chapter!

@csidvuL thanks Flop! I've been really excited to reveal just what made my version of Wally the way he is. Like you said, he used to be a sweet little dude, but obviously life hasn't been very kind to him. I'm pumped that its all out in the open so I can begin exploring it even more in this fic! I appreciate the praise more than you know

@QuietGuardian I LITERALLY lol'd at that video haha, it definitely encapsulates my version of May. And yes! Brendan is the ultimate bro! I try to write him in whenever I can- and he'll def be around more frequently the deeper we get into this fic- because he's such a good foil to both Lilian and Wally. Ty for taking the time to comment!

@cyndakip thank you so much cynda! I'm really proud of the backstory I've concocted for Wally and I'm looking forward to exploring it even more. As Quiet said above, Brendan is for sure like, the ultimate friend. I'd kill to know a dude like him (well, my husband is pretty great lol but he aint finding Jirachi for me! XD). Thanks so much for the comment!

It takes three solid minutes of knocking and shouting a few four-letter words through the thin wall separating us before a light flickers on and Wally opens the door. He yanks me inside his room by the wrist, an embarrassed flush tinting his cheeks. “Arceus, are you trying to wake up the whole damn Pokemon Center?”

The question prompts me to roll my eyes. “Nobody goes to bed at eight o’clock other than you, Mister needs-his-beauty-sleep.”

“Not the point,” Wally shoots back, rubbing his bleary eyes as he plops himself down on the foot of his unmade bed. “What are you doing here?”

“I didn’t get to congratulate you earlier,” I blurt out, shoving my hands into my cardigan pockets and curling them into fists. “Even if you didn’t win, you and Cleo were super badass.”

Wally eyes me with a suspicion that makes my palms sweat. “Thanks,” he starts in a dubious tone, furrowing his brow. “Is that what you woke me up to say?”

“Don’t sound so surprised!” I exclaim with an unnatural gusto, cringing internally at myself. “That’s what friends are for, right? To congratulate each other?”

The room goes silent for a beat as Wally stares at me in utter puzzlement. “Uh, what the hell is going on?”

“Nothing,” I respond a little too fast, chewing on my lower lip and digging my fingernails deeper into flesh. I’m not sure how I was expecting this conversation to go, but I sure didn’t picture myself blowing it this quickly.

A flash of revelation crosses Wally’s face and he huffs, shaking his head at the floor. “Brendan can’t keep his fucking mouth shut for the life of him.”

I groan under the weight of my pathetic charade, collapsing into the armchair next to Wally’s bed and fluttering my lashes at him apologetically. “Don’t blame Brendan, I forced it out of him.”

“Well, nothing to be done about it now,” Wally replies in a blunt manner, running a hand through his tousled hair. “Now you know how utterly pathetic my existence is. Laugh all you want.”

“I don’t...I don’t want to laugh,” I reply incredulously, a pang of offense sharp in my chest. “What kind of evil bitch do you think I am?”

Wally sighs at me, remorse evident in his eyes as they flicker to meet mine. “That’s not what I was trying to infer.”

“I’m not the bitch here,” I huff, crossing my legs and leaning into the back of the chair. “Your cunt of an ex-girlfriend is. She stopped you from going after your dream!”

Lilian,” Wally remarks, with an emphasis that startles me- some sort of cross between a warning and a plea. The combination sends a rolling shiver up my spine. I hate that I care what he thinks about me.

“Am I wrong?” I counter with unwavering eye contact, refusing to lose my nerve despite the current circumstances.

Wally remains silent, breaking his gaze to stare at the faded carpet beneath us. He digs the front of his slippers into the frayed loops of yarn, tracing deep, strict lines with his toes. My heart grows heavy as I watch him almost shrink into himself, bearing a startling resemblance to the sickly, sad little boy I’ve only seen in photographs.

“We don’t have to talk about the crappy stuff,” I pipe up, anxiety threatening to overtake me if I fail to break him out of this trance. “But I do want to say that I think you should be challenging Gyms, with how skilled of a battler you are.”

This suggestion seems to do the trick. Wally straightens up, scoffing as if I had just told him he should pose nude for art classes or rob a bank. “I’m not that great. Cleo’s just a natural.”

“Pokemon don’t just naturally know how to battle like that,” I argue, thankful for my previous occupation and the knowledge it’s afforded me for the first time in my life. “Back when I was an MC we had countless Coordinators try to win Contests with borrowed Pokemon of a more advanced level, and it never works. The bond between Trainer and Pokemon is crucial- even a powerful Pokemon doesn’t stand a chance if its Trainer isn’t competent. And take it from me, you’re way more than just competent.”

Wally blushes and to my chagrin, I immediately follow suit. He rises from the bed, facing his back to me as he takes a swig from the glass of water on his nightstand. When he turns back around, he’s regained his composure. “I appreciate the compliment, but all of the Gym Challenge stuff is kind of behind me,” he insists with fervor.

“Does it have to be though?” I challenge, twirling a strand of hair around my finger until it turns white. “It’s not like you’re eighty and decrepit. There’s nothing stopping you.”

“My priorities have changed, Lilian,” he sighs, lowering himself back onto the bed. “Just getting to travel around is plenty to satisfy me. Before you came along, I was just going to travel with Mira and eventually release her like I did Nikolai.”

“Okay, and after a year or two of that?” I ask with exasperation, an incoming headache throbbing at the peripheral of my vision. Arguing with Wally is always a recipe for major migraines.

Wally shrugs, glancing down at his feet. “Probably just travel solo for a while, maybe get a job that lets me visit different places,” he says, a palpable uncertainty lingering in his voice.

“What kind of job?” I press, crossing my arms. “Have some secret degree you haven’t told me about?”

“No, I didn’t think I’d live long enough to make use of one,” Wally replies smartly, fighting off a smirk as he watches me internally debate crawling into a hole to die. Well played, Wakefield.

I groan after a few moments of stunned silence, burying my head into the chair cushion. “You’re already milking the whole ‘I almost died’ thing to win arguments?”

Wally chuckles at my discomfort, drumming his fingers against the bed. “Anything to get the upper hand.”

“Well you win this time,” I grumble, lifting myself off the armchair with a tired grunt and ambling towards the door. “But we aren’t done talking about this.”

“Keep telling yourself that,” Wally replies with a hint of uncharacteristic cheekiness, following me across the room as I make my way out of it. “Goodnight, Lilian.”

He closes the door before I can respond, separating me from him. I sigh inwardly as I reflect upon the fact that I came nowhere close to convincing him to take up the gauntlet again. Considering how much of a stubborn ass he is, I suppose I should’ve expected as much. Still, it’s disappointing.

Before departing, I place my hand against the cool surface of the door and allow a faint goodnight brush past my lips- I know Wally can’t hear me, but it feels important to echo his sentiment.

***

The coffee shop buzzes with early morning energy, as if caffeine was injected straight into the atmosphere. A bean grinder whirrs to life right as a barista brings me my shot of espresso, filling the room with a jarring sound that makes my ears sore. I grimace at the unpleasant noise, taking one swift swig from my tiny cup in hopes that it’s enough to help me shake off my residual sleepiness.

I straighten up in my chair as Lisia enters the shop, her cerulean locks stuffed into a baseball cap and dark sunglasses covering her eyes. A beefy bodyguard trails behind her, mumbling something incoherent into his ear piece. He ambles over to an empty table in the corner, glancing up from his menu occasionally to eye me with vigilance.

“Couldn’t lose the muscle, huh?” I ask jokingly, nervousness manifesting itself as a lump in my throat. Arceus, please don’t let me blow another important conversation.

Lisia snorts, removing her glasses and swiping a menu off the counter before settling into the chair across from me. “I wish. The only reason he wasn’t with me yesterday is because I managed to sneak away.”

I consider mentioning how Rafael and Maurice only follow us that closely in big crowds and other specific situations, but explaining the whole Aqua situation to her seems like a headache and a half right now. Instead, I push my now-empty cup to the side and adopt the most composed expression I can muster. “Thanks for meeting me, Lisia.”

“It’s been too long,” Lisia responds, her voice dropping to a quiet murmur. “I can’t believe you’re a Trainer now. It’s crazy.”

“You’re telling me,” I laugh, shaking my head as memories of the past two months swirl around in my head. “It was a total accident, too. Wally- oh sorry, the green-haired guy that battled May yesterday- left his bag with an Egg in it next to me and it hatched. The Ralts that came out of it imprinted on me.”

Lisia’s eyes go wide, batting her thick lashes at the notion of it all. “Seriously? That’s one hell of a story.”

“Yup,” I chuckle, patting Mira’s Pokeball in my pocket. “She’s adorable, though. Honestly glad it all happened.”

“She’s a great battler, very adept,” Lisia remarks, turning her body slightly to address the waiter approaching our table. “Soy latte, please.”

I blink at her, surprise overwhelming me. “You’ve seen my matches?”

“Well yeah,” Lisia laughs, flashing me a lopsided smile. “How else would I have known you were a Trainer now? It’s…..not like you keep in touch.”

Her face falls and mine does the same. “The phone works both ways, Lisia.”

Lisia sighs in response, folding her arms across the table. “Our fight was brutal. Excuse me for not really wanting to chat with someone who thinks I’m- what did you call me again? Vapid?”

I exhale sharply through my nose, gritting my teeth as I regard her. “I'm sorry about that, but you weren’t exactly sweet to me during that conversation either,” I point out, trying not to raise my voice and draw unnecessary attention to the two of us. “Those last few months of being an MC were hell for me. Every time I would vent to you, you made excuses after excuses for the Committee! The things they made me put up with…”

My voice trails off and Lisia bites her lip, glancing down at her hands. “I….I know,” she starts, her voice wavering slightly. “It sounds terrible, but I always thought you were exaggerating until the footage of your breakdown was televised. It was the first time I saw it actually happen, you know?”

A barista sets Lisia’s latte down in between us, aromatic steam swirling lazily into the air. Tears begin pooling in my eyes, threatening to overflow if I don’t compose myself. “It would’ve been nice if you believed me without needing proof, Lis.”

“I know,” she replies quietly, a rogue tear of her own rolling down her cheek. “I’m really sorry all of that happened to you, Lilian. I should’ve taken your word for it.”

Taking a shaky breath, I ask the one question that’s been plaguing me since our fight. “Why didn’t you?”

Lisia’s shoulders heave at the inquiry, and I feel my chest tighten as I await her response. “I guess I just didn’t want to believe that the Contest world could be like that,” she admits, fidgeting with a silver bangle on her wrist. “You know I’ve been obsessed with being a Coordinator since I was little. I wasn’t ready to be disillusioned with it all.”

A tired sigh escapes my lips. “I mean I get it, it just sucked seeing you deny that the Committee was anything less than perfect.”

“I’ve thought about quitting,” Lisia blurts out, avoiding my gaze and swirling her finger in the bubbly foam of her drink. “After seeing what they did to you, I wondered if I owed it to you to just wash my hands of it all.”

My breath hitches in my chest as I process what was just said. “Really? You would’ve done that for me?”

“I would’ve, and I probably should’ve,” Lisia says with a twinge of regret, twisting a chunky metal ring on her thumb. “You're my best friend, after all. I just couldn’t seem to work up the nerve to give up on my dream.”

“Please don’t think I ever wanted you to leave the industry completely,” I reply quickly, Beautiflies fluttering in my stomach upon hearing she still considers us friends. “I know how much you love being a Coordinator.”

“Oh,” Lisia winces, before flashing me a sheepish smile over the rim of her cup. “That’s my bad, then. You know what they say about assuming.”

I grin back at her, amused at the familiarity of the statement. “Wally likes to say that, too.”

“Speaking of Wally,” Lisia begins with a sultry emphasis, putting on a rather devious expression. “What’s the deal with you two?”

“Lis!” I admonish her with mortification, reaching over the table to give her elbow a playful push. “Not you too! Everyone in this damn region thinks we’re a couple thanks to the tabloids.”

Lisia snorts into her latte at my distress, sending milk flying onto the table. We both burst out laughing at the spectacle, gasping for breath as we scramble to find napkins to clean up the mess she made. It may not be entirely back to normal, but I’m relieved to see that our friendship wasn’t as irreversibly broken as I thought it was. I think we’re going to be okay.


Mira the Ralts!
Female / Synchronize / Quirky / Likes to relax

Roe the Trapinch!
Female / Hyper Cutter / Jolly / Hates to lose

Sage the Yanma!
Female / Compound Eyes / Quiet / Likes to relax

Ginger the Vulpix!
 

Duke_Maniac

Conqueror of the Saffron Gym
Pokédex No.
367
Caught
Jul 4, 2019
Messages
70
Dammit Lisia you're supposed to wait to reveal the obvious twist. Archeus get some drama sense. Have you never seen a Rom-Com

Also I liked the 2nd half a lot. First half was too awkward. I guess that's what you were going for.
 

QuietGuardian

Conqueror of the Goldenrod Gym
🌱Featurer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
33
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
245
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
The world is indeed a crazy hot mess right now—so I especially thank you for a chapter with a double dose of improving relationships. It's a good feeling I get when I read stuff like that.
 

csidvuL

Conqueror of the Violet Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
31
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
193
I really enjoyed the awkward and extremely natural tone of the chapter’s first half! Your writing imparts cathartically relief as well as lingering tension very effectively. I find myself not always vibing with how brash Lillian can be — purely as a personal thing — and so in a way I was delighted to see it be a double-edged sword throughout this chapter. I think that was a really excellent and nuanced way to play it, and seeing her plow her way through awkward conversations and reach new common ground with Lisia was gratifying. I think it makes Lillian active and dynamic and thus compelling to read about.

I also, as I think I mentioned, was really happy to see her make a female friend! I feel like this is a vital counterpoint to her treatment of and interactions with May.

I am, as ever, looking forward to more!
 

Xita

Moo
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
186
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
82
Location
Germany
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Water, Dark
Got kinda blindsided by May, I had an inkling that a character like that was on the way but I was expecting it to be from Lisia instead. Nice curveball there! Looking forward to more of Lillian and Wally’s crazy adventures.

Edit: Oh, and by the way, I noticed that the table of contents in the OP was behind on chapter links. Threw me for a loop for a second, like “woah I’m way closer to catching up than I thought!” than nope lol
 

cyndakip

there goes my luck
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
23
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
279
Location
Lilycove City
Nature
Hardy
Pronouns
they/she
Pokémon Type
Fire, Water
Pokédex Entry
Part Cyndaquil, part Mudkip, entirely tired.
I really enjoyed both the conversations in this chapter! It's good to see Lilian getting along better with Wally and Lisia. Also, I particularly liked this line:
The coffee shop buzzes with early morning energy, as if caffeine was injected straight into the atmosphere.
Great chapter, as always!
 

Rhema

Conqueror of the Violet Gym
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
212
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
186
Location
Hearthome City
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
She/Her/Hers
Pokémon Type
Fire, Psychic
Pokédex Entry
She tries her best, but doesn't succeed. She gets what she wants but not what she needs.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #112
Hello friends! Coming 'atcha with another update of As Above, So Below! This chapter will be, uh.....interesting 😬 Don't wanna give away too much, but I guarantee this will be a memorable chapter. Can't wait to see what y'all think! As always, thanks for tuning in!

@Duke_Maniac I was definitely going for awkward haha, so I'm glad that translated well!

@QuietGuardian aw, that was so sweet! I'm glad that my fic can provide some good feels during this chaotic time!

@csidvuL I certainly agree that Lilian's brash nature can be a double-edged sword. Something I want her to learn throughout her journey is, well, a little more tact haha. You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar, after all! And hard agree about Lisia! I was considering not even putting her in because I didn't want the character list to get too cluttered, but I'm glad I did! This fic needs an example of a woman who like, isn't a horrendous bitch :P

@Xita now that you mention it, I suppose I could've used Lisia as the Wally's ex/mean girl character 🤔 idk why I didn't think of that! Lisia was a late addition so that's probably why; I've pictured May as this character for as long as the fics been around!

@cyndakip haha, I'm glad you liked that line! I had my husband help me with all the coffee-shop stuff; I'm more of a tea drinker! ;D

“Sage, use Sonicboom!”

Rapid fire shock waves whip through the air and cut into my opponent’s Minun, the harsh impact sending it flying across the field. The Minun totters around in the tall grass, disoriented, and eventually topples over onto its side upon passing out. Mira frantically waves a makeshift flag she wove out of various weeds and flowers while playing in the grass, thrilled that her teammate has emerged victorious.

“Dammit!” the cyclist shouts, slamming his outstretched palm against the fabric of his skin-tight shorts. “How did I lose? I had the advantage!”

I fight back a grin as I recall Sage, tossing her Pokeball to Wally on the sidelines before approaching my surly opponent. “Fair is fair. Pay up please.”

Now seething, the cyclist shoves a wad of crumpled bills into my outstretched hand and stalks off with his unconscious Minun draped over one shoulder. He mutters curses under his breath as he attempts to maneuver his bicycle around the thick clumps of weeds and grass littering the ground. I chuckle when I catch Ginger sticking a taunting tongue out at him once his back is turned.

“Geez, that guy sure was in a pissy mood,” Wally remarks, dropping Sage’s Pokeball into my bag before handing it to me. “Wonder why he was below the Cycling Road in the first place.”

“Not my problem,” I say with a shrug, accepting my bag and slinging it across one shoulder. “All I know is that his cash is buying us a fancy-ass dinner tonight!”

Wally rolls his eyes at me in a judgemental manner. “Aren’t you, like, filthy rich from your Contest days? Does this win really affect your cash flow?”

I puff out my chest, cross my arms, and turn my head away. “For your information, I’ve been paying for all my expenses with money I earn from battling.”

“Color me impressed,” Wally replies in an indiscernible tone, nearly drowned out by the sound of an intense battle playing out above us. A screech resonates through the air, followed by a powerful eruption of water that scatters residual droplets onto the grass around us.

“Is that sarcasm or something?” I spit back. The malice in my voice prompts Mira to toddle over, sidling up to me and cuddling my leg with her stubby arms.

Wally looks surprised for a moment, then lets out a nervous laugh. “Not at all. It’s admirable, actually.”

As my face involuntarily decides to change its shade, a familiar voice cries out above the deafening commotion. “Wally! Lilian!”

“Brendan!” I shout back, more than a little thankful for the interruption. “All finished with your research?”

Rafael and Maurice part to let Brendan squeeze through them. A briefcase positively brimming with papers and charts swings from his arm as he runs over to us. “I’ve got everything I need,” he states proudly, as he plops down on the grass with a thud. “The Voltorb in this area are great subjects! The way they reproduce is fascinating.”

Wally turns Cheri Berry-red. “That’s what you’re researching?”

“I always knew you were a perv,” I tease, easing myself down onto the ground next to him. Mira immediately jumps into my lap, while Ginger prances around in my peripheral pretending she’s above a good snuggle session.

Brendan waves both of our comments away with a casual hand and digs several sandwiches out of his bag with the other. “It’s really not explicit at all. You see, they find a Ditto and emit this sort of discharge and then they start to tremble and—”

Brendan!” Wally and I shout in unison, scaring a flock of Taillow out of a nearby tree. I instinctively clamp my hands over Mira’s ears to shield her from being scarred for life. Brendan simply giggles at the both of us and chomps down on his sandwich.

Once he regains his composure, Wally lowers himself onto the ground to join us. He opens his messenger bag to reveal two plastic containers of fruit salad and a pitcher of sparkling Pecha Juice, completing our impromptu picnic. I shake some Pokepellets into four food bowls and release Roe and Sage to join us in chowing down. Cleo is released as well—she’s given a Razz Berry wrapped in wax paper by Wally and takes a dainty bite once seated.

Throughout the course of our lunch, another battle of epic proportions takes place above us. Shrieks and howls are born at random, followed by crashes and bangs that shake the entire Cycling Road like it’s going to collapse. Roe digs her heels into the dirt, barking at the sky as if issuing a challenge. Ginger scoffs at the savage nature of it all and sashays away from the rest of us to groom herself on a small rock.

“They’re really going at it up there,” Wally remarks, polishing off the last sip of his Pecha Juice. Sage trills in agreement, her translucent wings vibrating steadily. After a week of being injured from her battle with Brawly, she’s finally able to fly again. I can tell she’s happy her wing is no longer bound by gauze.

“That reminds me,” Brendan starts before taking a giant bite of his sandwich. “I must admit I’ve gravely failed you, Lilian.”

I quirk a brow at him and swallow the forkful of salad I’ve been chewing. “How so?”

“We haven’t battled in ages!” he exclaims, slamming his fist down on his thigh. “I’m a pathetic excuse for a rival!”

“Oh,” I laugh, leaning over to grab a napkin so I can wipe crumbs off Mira’s mouth. “Well there’s no time like the present. How about a quick one right now?”

Wally nods and gathers our empty cups and sandwich wrappers in his arms to throw away. “I’d like to see you two duke it out. Lilian’s a little too cocky these days.”

Rolling my eyes, I crumple my napkin and throw it at Wally. “I’m not cocky, I’m just confident.”

“Well as your rival, I shall shatter your confidence!” Brendan proclaims, thrusting a triumphant fist close to his chest. “I even have a newly evolved Renzo at my disposal!”

“Renzo evolved?” Wally asks, his curiosity piqued. “How’d you manage that between studying all that Voltorb sex?”

I let out an amused snort, prompting both Mira and Cleo to giggle. Brendan shoots Wally an exasperated look and digs several Pokeballs out of his backpack. “That’s not all I’ve been studying, you know.”

“Let’s just, uh, table the Voltorb sex stuff for now,” I say, backing far enough away from Brendan to give us plenty of space for the battle. “Show me what you’ve got, Professor.”

Brendan grins at me and lobs his first Pokeball high into the air. Renzo, now much taller and leaner as a Grovyle, emerges with intimidating claws that glisten in the sunlight. I gesture to Mira, and she scampers over and assumes her fiercest battle stance as she glowers at Renzo.

“Confusion!” I shout. I want to end this as quickly as possible given their difference in strength; even I know Pokemon in their basic stages have a difficult time defeating evolved ‘mons.

Mira wastes no time firing off her attack, emitting a brilliant purple light from her horn. Renzo hisses, skittering backwards when he’s hit. Without any instructions from Brendan, he lunges at Mira and slices into her midsection with a glowing blade that seems to have spontaneously sprouted from his arm. Moaning weakly, Mira turns her back to Renzo and attempts to limp away.

“Pursuit!” Brendan yells, and my blood runs cold. Renzo adopts a wicked grin and charges Mira, slamming into her with the weight of his whole body. Mira lets out a strained cry before falling to the ground, officially down for the count.

“Arceus, Brendan,” Wally remarks from the sidelines, an edge to his voice. “That was a little much, wasn’t it?”

I recall Mira and straighten up, standing tall and proud. “It wasn’t more than I can handle,” I reply. “I don’t want you going easy on me.”

Brendan hesitates before shrugging at Wally. “You heard the lady.”

“Let’s show them how it’s done, Ginger!” I exclaim, waving her over from the rock she’s still perched on. She casts an unamused look in my direction before eventually strolling over as slowly as humanly possible. Of course.

With our advantage, I have a feeling this is going to be a quick fight. Ginger kicks things off with Fire Spin, spitting out glowing embers to concoct a vortex that envelops Renzo with no chance of escape. His leafy attacks burn to crisp before they can launch, visibly frustrating Brendan. Try as he might, Renzo is unable to break free.

“Finish him off with Ember!” I instruct, jabbing a forceful finger in Renzo’s direction. He roasts under the crimson heat, fainting almost instantly.

Brendan groans, recalling Renzo before palming another Pokeball. “I hate type disadvantages.”

“Don’t use that as an excuse,” I tease, while giving him an exaggerated pout. “Who’s up next?”

“That would be Dahlia!” Brendan announces with pride, releasing a bubbling Slugma that gapes at Ginger with vacant yellow eyes. Ginger turns up her nose at the rather daft-looking Pokémon and lets out a prissy sigh. In this moment, she almost reminds me of Vivian. I bet they’d get along.

Ginger takes this moment to show off not one but two new moves that I had no idea she even had. The first I recognize from my Contest days as Feint Attack: she approaches Dahlia with trepidation before striking suddenly, leaving a sizable dent in her gooey body. Dahlia vocalizes a cavernous moan, her eyes empty and unblinking. The hollow sound makes me shudder.

The second attack Ginger uses is one I don’t recognize whatsoever. A ghastly aura begins to emanate from her, and soon the same aura wraps around Dahlia like a suffocating blanket. Dahlia barely seems fazed by this, despite taking visible damage.

“I think that’s Hex,” Wally mentions, hand raised to his chin. “It’d do double if Dahlia had a status condition.”

“Too bad Ginger won’t be able to get a burn off,” Brendan taunts, hands resting on his hips. “Use Incinerate!”

Dahlia breathes white-hot flames out of her gaping mouth, blasting Ginger with a wave of sweltering heat. She stands her ground, but her knees nearly buckle, and she lets out a pained wince when the attack washes over her.

“Feint Attack, one more time!” I shout. Ginger bounds forward, feigning left before dashing across the field and sniping Dahlia in the side.

“Rock Throw!” Brendan orders. Suddenly, Ginger is pelted with boulders the size of beach balls, and she’s knocked to the ground with a cry of agony. Dahlia passes out from the effort it took to exert her assault, and Ginger claims her narrow victory.

Brendan sends out his last Pokemon—a Wailmer named Ralph with an infectious, dopey smile—and I begin to perspire. Mira is out of commission, Ginger is moments away from joining her, and Roe doesn’t stand a chance against a Water-type. That leaves Sage, who just yesterday couldn’t even fly.

“Be careful, okay?” I ask Brendan uneasily, motioning for Sage to join the fight. “She was injured up until this morning.”

Ralph emits a spray of agreeable mist, and Brendan winks at me. “No need to worry.”

I nod at him, reassured. “Sage, Quick Attack!”

Sage takes flight, zooming through the sky and doing a fancy little maneuver before plummeting towards Ralph. He is pathetically slow, especially on dry land, and takes the hit without even attempting to move out of the way.

“Ralph, use Water Gun!” Brendan exclaims, and Ralph obliges with enthusiasm. A warm gush of water erupts from his blowhole, soaking Sage’s wings and rendering her flightless.

Clenching my jaw, I consider my next move. At this point I doubt she can fly; her wings look drenched and heavy, like wet newspaper. “Sonicboom, Sage!”

“Rollout!” Brendan instructs with an excited fervor, thriving off the energy of the battle. Sage and Ralph launch their attacks at the same time: Sage whipping up a violent mass of swift air, Ralph tucking his fins and barreling towards Sage at an impressive speed for such a bulky ‘mon.

What happens next makes my vision go black. Sage’s attack fails to slow Ralph’s incoming body, and he smacks into her with the full force of his weight. A nauseating crunch resonates above everything else, followed by a gasp for air that cuts off abruptly. As Ralph rolls across the battlefield, I catch a glimpse of Sage flattened against his rotund body, having been unable to take flight and free herself. I drop to my knees, clutching my chest as if my own life depended on it. Everything goes dark.

A cacophony of sounds litter the air that I am so desperately trying to breathe in. Mira’s shrill sobs pierce my ears, followed by Wally’s shocked gasps and footsteps pounding on the grass as he runs towards me. Something across from me falls to the ground with a thud, and I hear Brendan shouting my name interspersed between apologies. He chokes on every syllable, his lungs failing him.

Everything is dark. Everything is black. My thoughts are fuzzy, and I can’t feel my hands. My heart aches with a sobering grief that makes my whole frame shake. Wally’s arms envelop me from the side, and he digs his fingers into the fabric of my sweater. It’s not a hug; his grip holds me steady as though I might sink into the earth, as if I might perish before his very eyes. I can’t see. Everything is black. Sage. It’s Sage.


Mira the Ralts!
Female / Synchronize / Quirky / Likes to relax

Roe the Trapinch!
Female / Hyper Cutter / Jolly / Hates to lose

Ginger the Vulpix!
Female / Drought / Sassy / Capable of taking hits

RIP SAGE THE YANMA!!!!! 😭😭😭
 

Duke_Maniac

Conqueror of the Saffron Gym
Pokédex No.
367
Caught
Jul 4, 2019
Messages
70
RIP Sage probably. We hardly knew ye.

Also Voltorb Sex. That has now forever been entered into the vocabuary of the forums, huh I guess Wally was right
 

Xita

Moo
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
186
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
82
Location
Germany
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Water, Dark
Brendan sends out his last Pokemon—a Wailmer named Ralph with an infectious, dopey smile—and I begin to perspire. Mira is out of commission, Ginger is moments away from joining her, and Roe doesn’t stand a chance against a Water-type. That leaves Sage, who just yesterday couldn’t even fly.

“Be careful, okay?” I ask Brendan uneasily, motioning for Sage to join the fight. “She was injured up until this morning.”

Ralph emits a spray of agreeable mist, and Brendan winks at me. “No need to worry.”
Me: “Sage is fucking dead”

Well the Brendan/May Cycling Road rival battle is pretty infamous even to this day so I wouldn’t feel so bad about this (and well, Yanma aren’t particularly strong so I felt like its days were numbered here) loss. The run’s had some pretty easygoing vibes up until this point so it’ll be interesting to see what happens next.
 

QuietGuardian

Conqueror of the Goldenrod Gym
🌱Featurer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
33
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
245
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
My thought process throughout this chapter basically went like this:

Reading your comments before the chapter: "That's ominous. Does someone die in this chapter?"

When Brendan challenges Lillian: "Uh-oh. Is Brendan gonna accidentally kill one of Lillian's Pokémon?"

When Lillian sends out Sage against Ralph: "…That Wailmer knows Rollout, doesn't it."

And then, "Damn it, I was right."

I am curious, though as to how you actually beat the Wailmer in-game. Did you use Roe while it was using Rollout, so she'd resist its attack?
 

Rhema

Conqueror of the Violet Gym
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
212
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
186
Location
Hearthome City
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
She/Her/Hers
Pokémon Type
Fire, Psychic
Pokédex Entry
She tries her best, but doesn't succeed. She gets what she wants but not what she needs.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #116
Hello hello! I'm back with another chapter of As Above, So Below! (hey, that kind of rhymed)

As always, thanks so much for tuning in! I am grateful for such a strong readership; it makes writing this fic feel more "worth it", but more importantly, it makes me happy to know that I'm able to entertain through my writing! Can't wait to hear what y'all think of this chapter :)

@Duke_Maniac RIP Sage indeed! I honestly didn't even realize just how bad I'd feel once I had to write this death (and now funeral) scene- I really loved her as a character and I'm sad to see her go! Also yes......Voltorb sex is totally a thing now XD

@Xita that particular May/Brendan battle is SO hard- I feel like I almost always wipe on it, so I'm glad I managed to only lose Sage. This run def gets a bit darker after this- it's really just the beginning of things going wrong.

@QuietGuardian haha, you have killer instincts! Or maybe I was just too obvious while writing. In regards to how I managed to beat Wailmer- I honestly have no idea. My gameplay notes aren't amazing and judging by the abrupt cut-off in them once Sage dies, I was probably too bummed to keep writing lol. My best guess is that Rollout missed, because I feel like it's unlikely I wouldn't have lost another Pokemon if Rollout had gotten stronger. But I could've very well sent in Roe to tank, too. The gameplay was over two years ago so without notes I'm clueless!

I can’t feel a damn thing.

That’s how numb I am. I can’t feel Mira squirming around in my arms, suffocated by my rigid grip. I can’t feel the light spray of rain as it clings to my face or the wind as it ripples across my skin. I can’t feel Wally’s hand against my shoulder, grasping me as if the incoming storm might carry me far away from here. I wouldn’t mind escaping this nightmare.

“If we’re going to do this, we need to do it now,” Wally informs me with a softness I didn’t know he was capable of. When I lift my weary eyes to regard him, I don’t recognize the man standing next to me. He possesses a sort of quiet strength that I can only assume comes with age and experience. I almost find it comforting. Almost.

Brendan agrees with a slow, silent nod. His eyes are bloodshot and puffy, and he clutches a wad of crumpled tissues in his hand. I can’t find the words to tell him it wasn’t his fault. Even if I could, I’m not sure he’d listen.

With a shaky sigh, I turn to face Ginger. “You know what to do.”

For the first time since I’ve known her, Ginger obeys me without sass or rebellion. With a heartbreaking hesitancy, she plods away from the group until she reaches Sage’s body wrapped in every spare blanket we could find. Wildflowers picked by Roe and Mira are scattered around her in a crooked heart-shaped formation that Wally helped them with. Sage’s Pokeball rests next to her body, shrunken and void of the life that once inhabited it.

All it takes is a few small embers to ignite the edge of a blanket, and soon, it all begins to burn. A thin pillar of smoke extends towards the sky as angry flames consume Sage’s body and the flowers around her. I gag at the smell of burning flesh wafting through the air, struggling to not vomit from the morbidity of it all.

Once ash is all that remains, Roe approaches the fire and unleashes a Bulldoze that swiftly quashes the flames. Fat tears roll down her cheeks as she retreats, and I grit my teeth hard enough to hurt. I can’t cry; if I start, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop.

“C-could you give us a few minutes, please?” Brendan rasps, addressing Rafael and Maurice from their spot a few yards away. They’ve remained silent and stoic from the moment Sage died; I suppose they’re used to seeing things like this.

“You kids take all the time you need,” Rafael replies. He and Maurice amble out of sight just as the wind begins picking up around us.

I swallow the mass of guilt and grief in my throat before glancing between Brendan and Wally. “I guess we should begin.”

Wally is the first to step forward, collecting Sage’s ashes in a small pail we used to make sandcastles in Dewford. He shakes out a portion into Brendan’s hands, then mine. I let out a soft gasp when the foreign substance makes contact with my skin, nearly dropping it all. This is all that’s left of my friend. My companion. Is this really happening?

“Sage was a wonderful addition to your team,” Wally begins, barely audible above the wind. “She was extremely sweet and an excellent battler. Very special.”

“She was the best,” I manage to choke out as my legs tremble. Keep it together, Lilian.

A chorus of distressed babbles emanates from Roe, Ginger, and Mira. Even though we can’t understand what they’re saying, the overall sentiment is clear as day.

Brendan starts to say something but hesitates. His shoulders droop, and he inhales sharply, shaking his head at the ground. Still unable to vocalize all that I want to say to him, I shift Sage’s ashes to one hand and place the other tenderly on his arm. The gesture seems to relax him—and therefore myself—a good deal.

“Choosing to battle with Pokemon means accepting that it’s possible for them to not make it out alive,” I assert with a briskness that earns a side glance from Wally. “What happened here today was a tragedy, but Sage will always remain in our hearts and memories.”

With that, I lean over the edge of the rails and open my hands. Sage’s ashes are picked up by a gust of wind, carrying them high above the sea before they scatter across the water. Once my hands are empty, Mira whimpers for me to pick her back up. My arms feel too weak to oblige.

Wally and Brendan release their portions of the ashes right before a clap of thunder sounds. With that, heavy sheets of rain begin to fall sideways from the sky. The Cycling Road shields us from getting soaked, but Roe and Ginger shriek in unison at the smattering of rain coming in through the sides.

I recall my Pokemon with haste and drop their Pokeballs into the front pocket of my bag. I don’t wish to dwell on the fact that it’s one less ball than I’m used to carrying.

“Tissues for the road?” Wally shouts above the storm, interrupting my thoughts as he holds a half-empty packet out to me. Brendan turns around with his briefcase held above his head preemptively, squinting at us as he awaits my answer.

“No thanks,” I respond, swiveling away from Wally to avoid the implications of his question. “I won’t need them.”

***

“Are you ready?”

Wally stands across from me, smack dab in the center of Mauville City’s square. Animated chatter swirls around us, and a gentle breeze teases the hair on my arms. The sun shines brilliantly above, littering the sky with beams of airy light. Wally clears his throat and tilts his chin at me as he waits for my response.

“I guess so,” I begin, my voice laced with hesitation. I’m not sure why he’s brought me here.

My heart thumps in my chest as I watch him remove an unfamiliar Pokeball from his pocket. It is the inverse of a normal Pokeball: a stark white surrounded by a ring of red. Why haven’t I seen him use it before?

When Wally tosses the Pokeball into the air, my breath hitches. A Ralts, bearing a striking resemblance to Mira, emerges bathed in a pinkish aura. It addresses me with a blank stare, eyes unblinking.

“Who is this?” I ask, my nose crinkling in confusion. “That’s not Mira, is it?”

Wally raises an eyebrow at me before letting out a hearty chuckle. “You don’t recognize Nikolai?”

“Nikolai?” I echo, utterly befuddled. “Nikolai is in Sinnoh. And he’s a Gallade now, isn’t he?”

The sudden blast of a horn makes me jump, and my heart begins to race. Mira appears out of thin air, squaring up to the Ralts across from us. I scramble to find her Pokeball, but it doesn’t seem to be on my person. Out of the corner of my eye, I spot it submerged in the square’s fountain.

“Use Confusion!” Wally shouts without warning, his mouth curling into a devilish grin. The Ralts dashes over to Mira, cackling maniacally as it readies its attack. Mira begins to cry and casts a desperate look in my direction. I try to yell, but it comes out quiet. My limbs move like molasses as I attempt to run.

“Don’t kill her!” I scream, watching in horror as Wally’s grin widens. “Stop!”

MIRA! NO!

I wake up in hysterics, screaming and sobbing at the top of my lungs. Disoriented in the pitch black, I panic and begin to flail. Right as I realize I’m in bed, Wally flings the adjoining door between our rooms open and rushes in clutching a lamp like he’s ready to swing. “What the hell is going on?” he shouts, flicking the lights on.

His outburst startles me into silence for a split second, after which I promptly burst back into tears. Realization crosses his face and he sets the lamp down, hurrying over to me. I can barely see him through my blurry eyes.

“Lilian, you have to calm down,” he states with a gentle authority. He grips my knee with a firm hand as he settles onto the bed next to me.

“I can’t!” I wail, my entire body shaking like a leaf. “Sage is d-dead! She’s fucking dead!

Wally bites his lip and nods. “I know, I know. You need to breathe, though.”

“She isn’t c-coming back,” I choke out between painful sobs, clutching at my chest like it’s going to explode. “What if someone else dies? What if Mira d-dies?” I bury my head in my hands and continue to cry, gasping for breath but unable to fill my lungs. Dizziness overtakes me, and I start to feel suffocated.

Stop it,” Wally orders harshly, leaning forward to grab me roughly on either side. He forces me to look at him, his gaze hard and cold. “You’re going to hyperventilate if you don’t calm down.”

I sputter at him but clamp my mouth shut and attempt to take a breath through my nose. His grip eases up on me as I begin to breathe easier.

“You...you killed Mira in my dream,” I whimper, pulling away from him to rest my back against the headboard. “I was terrified.”

Wally sighs, then stands up and strides over to the mini fridge where he retrieves a bottle of water. He hands it to me in silence before sitting back down on the foot of the bed. I empty the contents into my mouth before speaking again. “I’m fucking devastated, Wally.”

“I know you are,” Wally replies, his shoulders heaving as he regards me. “I should’ve known you were bottling it up.”

“What else was I supposed to do?” I snap, shooting him a teary-eyed glare. “Lose my damn mind like I just did?”

“Losing a Pokemon is a tough thing,” Wally laments with a small smile. “It’s normal to cry and be sad over it.”

My rib cage feels like it’s rattling inside of me when I take a deep breath. “It’s been a week since she died, and I still feel like I’m never going to be happy again.”

Wally shakes his head, eyeing me with pity. “These things take time. I know it sounds callous, but it’ll pass.”

“I sure hope so.” I sniffle. I wipe my nose with the back of my hand before squeezing my eyes shut, finding comfort in the darkness.

“Well, if it makes you feel better, you’re handling your first death better than I did,” Wally admits. “When I was eleven, my Shroomish died battling some random Bug Catcher, and I stalked him for three weeks.”

My eyes blink open, and I hold back a scoff. “Seriously?”

“Yup,” Wally snickers as he scratches the back of his head. “I was obsessed with getting some sort of revenge, even though it was a total accident. Guess that’s the difference between being a Trainer at eleven and being one at twenty-two.”

“Twenty-three,” I correct him, before I can catch myself.

Wally’s brow furrows. “I thought you were twenty-two?”

“I turned twenty-three the day before we arrived in Slateport,” I mumble quietly, tracing the pattern of the bed’s quilt with my finger.

“Excuse me?” Wally asks incredulously, his mouth agape. “Why the hell didn’t you say something?”

I roll my eyes at the inquiry, avoiding his bewildered gaze. “Why would you even care? It’s not like we’re friends or anything.”

You could hear a pin drop in the brutal silence that overtakes the room. I instantly regret my words and my palms grow sweaty as I consider what to say to smooth it all over. Once I gather the courage to look up, I’m caught by surprise. Rather than looking sullen or pissed, Wally is smirking at me.

“At this point, do you really not think we’re friends?” he asks with more than a hint of amusement in his voice.

I blink at him, utterly baffled. He bursts out laughing at the look on my face, and I can’t help but follow suit once the ridiculousness of my statement dawns on me. This is the first time I’ve so much as cracked a smile since Sage died. I can’t lie; it feels pretty damn good to not be so sullen. I’m not over what happened by any means, but it’s a step in the right direction. Sage wouldn’t want me to be sad.


Mira the Ralts!
Female / Synchronize / Quirky / Likes to relax

Roe the Trapinch!
Female / Hyper Cutter / Jolly / Hates to lose

Ginger the Vulpix!
Female / Drought / Sassy / Capable of taking hits
 

boomdidiyadah

Hand Washer
Pokédex No.
1609
Caught
Mar 6, 2020
Messages
84
Location
Inside, outside, U.S.A.
Nature
Lonely
Pokédex Entry
Quietly sings to itself quite constantly, and is said to always have a song inside its head. Despite this, it has a terrible singing voice.
Like if you cry everytime

edit: I can't like my own comment. The joke has been ruined.
 

Duke_Maniac

Conqueror of the Saffron Gym
Pokédex No.
367
Caught
Jul 4, 2019
Messages
70
Hey look they’re finally realizing they don’t hate each other now after 25ish chapters some girl will get interested in Wally, Lillian will get jealous then. Then the girl say “Don’t fall in love wi-“ WAIT A MINITE THIS AIN’T FF7

Also good chapter
 

Xita

Moo
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
186
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
82
Location
Germany
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Water, Dark
Nice grief and healing chapter, I especially liked the somber Pokemon reactions.
 

cyndakip

there goes my luck
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
23
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
279
Location
Lilycove City
Nature
Hardy
Pronouns
they/she
Pokémon Type
Fire, Water
Pokédex Entry
Part Cyndaquil, part Mudkip, entirely tired.
Mira frantically waves a makeshift flag she wove out of various weeds and flowers while playing in the grass, thrilled that her teammate has emerged victorious.
I would die for Mira

Rafael and Maurice part to let Brendan squeeze through them. A briefcase positively brimming with papers and charts swings from his arm as he runs over to us. “I’ve got everything I need,” he states proudly, as he plops down on the grass with a thud. “The Voltorb in this area are great subjects! The way they reproduce is fascinating.”

Wally turns Cheri Berry-red. “That’s what you’re researching?”

“I always knew you were a perv,” I tease, easing myself down onto the ground next to him. Mira immediately jumps into my lap, while Ginger prances around in my peripheral pretending she’s above a good snuggle session.

Brendan waves both of our comments away with a casual hand and digs several sandwiches out of his bag with the other. “It’s really not explicit at all. You see, they find a Ditto and emit this sort of discharge and then they start to tremble and—”

Brendan!” Wally and I shout in unison, scaring a flock of Taillow out of a nearby tree. I instinctively clamp my hands over Mira’s ears to shield her from being scarred for life. Brendan simply giggles at the both of us and chomps down on his sandwich.
BRENDAN NO

“Well as your rival, I shall shatter your confidence!” Brendan proclaims, thrusting a triumphant fist close to his chest.
BRENDAN NO
(I saw your status post about writing your first death and so as soon as we got to this point I just knew it was going to be caused by Brendan...)

What happens next makes my vision go black. Sage’s attack fails to slow Ralph’s incoming body, and he smacks into her with the full force of his weight. A nauseating crunch resonates above everything else, followed by a gasp for air that cuts off abruptly. As Ralph rolls across the battlefield, I catch a glimpse of Sage flattened against his rotund body, having been unable to take flight and free herself. I drop to my knees, clutching my chest as if my own life depended on it. Everything goes dark.

A cacophony of sounds litter the air that I am so desperately trying to breathe in. Mira’s shrill sobs pierce my ears, followed by Wally’s shocked gasps and footsteps pounding on the grass as he runs towards me. Something across from me falls to the ground with a thud, and I hear Brendan shouting my name interspersed between apologies. He chokes on every syllable, his lungs failing him.

Everything is dark. Everything is black. My thoughts are fuzzy, and I can’t feel my hands. My heart aches with a sobering grief that makes my whole frame shake. Wally’s arms envelop me from the side, and he digs his fingers into the fabric of my sweater. It’s not a hug; his grip holds me steady as though I might sink into the earth, as if I might perish before his very eyes. I can’t see. Everything is black. Sage. It’s Sage.
...and there it is. 😭

“If we’re going to do this, we need to do it now,” Wally informs me with a softness I didn’t know he was capable of. When I lift my weary eyes to regard him, I don’t recognize the man standing next to me. He possesses a sort of quiet strength that I can only assume comes with age and experience. I almost find it comforting. Almost.

Brendan agrees with a slow, silent nod. His eyes are bloodshot and puffy, and he clutches a wad of crumpled tissues in his hand. I can’t find the words to tell him it wasn’t his fault. Even if I could, I’m not sure he’d listen.

With a shaky sigh, I turn to face Ginger. “You know what to do.”

For the first time since I’ve known her, Ginger obeys me without sass or rebellion. With a heartbreaking hesitancy, she plods away from the group until she reaches Sage’s body wrapped in every spare blanket we could find. Wildflowers picked by Roe and Mira are scattered around her in a crooked heart-shaped formation that Wally helped them with. Sage’s Pokeball rests next to her body, shrunken and void of the life that once inhabited it.

All it takes is a few small embers to ignite the edge of a blanket, and soon, it all begins to burn. A thin pillar of smoke extends towards the sky as angry flames consume Sage’s body and the flowers around her. I gag at the smell of burning flesh wafting through the air, struggling to not vomit from the morbidity of it all.

Once ash is all that remains, Roe approaches the fire and unleashes a Bulldoze that swiftly quashes the flames. Fat tears roll down her cheeks as she retreats, and I grit my teeth hard enough to hurt. I can’t cry; if I start, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop.
I really like this bit and how it shows everyone else's reactions! Wally doing his best to help Lilian and her Pokemon, Brendan being so torn up about it because he blames himself (I'm glad Lilian doesn't blame him, at least), and the Pokemon all contributing to give Sage a sendoff. Seeing Ginger so sassless and subdued really adds to the sadness of it all.

I also really liked the dream scene! It starts off believably normal and then quickly turns into OH GOD THIS ISN'T RIGHT, which is really cool in a horrifying way.

I roll my eyes at the inquiry, avoiding his bewildered gaze. “Why would you even care? It’s not like we’re friends or anything.”

You could hear a pin drop in the brutal silence that overtakes the room. I instantly regret my words and my palms grow sweaty as I consider what to say to smooth it all over. Once I gather the courage to look up, I’m caught by surprise. Rather than looking sullen or pissed, Wally is smirking at me.

“At this point, do you really not think we’re friends?” he asks with more than a hint of amusement in his voice.

I blink at him, utterly baffled. He bursts out laughing at the look on my face, and I can’t help but follow suit once the ridiculousness of my statement dawns on me. This is the first time I’ve so much as cracked a smile since Sage died. I can’t lie; it feels pretty damn good to not be so sullen. I’m not over what happened by any means, but it’s a step in the right direction. Sage wouldn’t want me to be sad.
And this part! I love this little interaction between them. Of course they're friends! And it's good to see Lilian start to heal.

Great chapters! I continue to love the Pokemon in particular; you do so much to showcase their personalities in just a sentence or two at a time without any dialogue, and it's really impressive.
 

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