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Thread Description
"According to Hop, I am Princess Peach." (Chapter 17 - 6/29)

glancesherlock

Consulting Detective
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
32
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
172
Location
221B Baker Street
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Just wants to stay home and solve crimes.
This is all @Whozawhatcha 's fault.

Well, not her fault that it's written, but her fault that it's here. Cause I've been scared/embarrassed to show this to the forums, but then she went and posted The Applin of My Eye, and I thought... I need to grow a spine.

This is a self-indulgent romcom (or romantic dramedy, more like). The idea struck me during my first playthrough of Shield: "Oh, wouldn't it be cute if the MC had a crush on her bestie's champion older brother?" And then... the blasted Battle Tower outfit happened...

I started a locke and wrote over 60,000 words of fic in less than a month.

It's nearly complete, too! I have maybe four chapters left. The buffer, my friends, is real.

I've never written something like this before? And the idea of sharing it with people made me nervous. However, this year especially, I really want to work on letting myself enjoy the things that make me happy without embarrassment or guilt. I am definitely red in the face as I type this post and am having second thoughts every other word. (This MC and I have a shameful amount in common, by the way.) But I'm kinda proud with what I've done here, even if it is the worst thing I've posted on the forums, probably.

So there you have it. Enjoy my trash.

- May only catch dragon and fairy types.
- Faint = Death
- Nickname the babies.


I take my sweet, sweet time walking to Hop’s place.

I think to myself, it’s such a lovely day! Why not go for a stroll with my Noibat and look at the clouds and smell the flowers and definitely not procrastinate facing Leon, because oooooh god I fucked up so bad yesterday...

Okay, to be fair—no. Actually, yes. Yes, it’s definitely his fault!

The bloke doesn’t come home for nearly a year, and then he shows up wearing the worst outfit imaginable and presents a perfectly good Scorbunny to me as a gift.

And boy.

Wouldn’t it be nice to travel the region with such a rare, bouncing bun at my side? “Why yes, ladies,” I’d say to the fangirls. “The champion did give this to me. We’re close, you know.”

I turned it the fuck down.

Because who needs that kind of attention? Not me, that’s for sure.

That’s for damn sure.

And I sure as hell didn’t need to see the look of utter disappointment on his face when I declined. Or, for that matter, the proceeding three hours of awkward silence between us as I suffered through his welcome-home BBQ, wishing I could drown myself in Mum’s macaroni salad.

Nope. None of that needed to bloody happen. But fuck me, I guess.

I’ve run out of road.

The gate to Hop’s yard is wide open, as always. It’s neat and pretty with barely a trace of yesterday’s party. Mr. Fisher’s wicked at keeping the place clean.

Zephyr flaps to Hops window and taps on the pane. A cute little trick I taught him a while back. Of course, I often imagined sending my Noibat to a different Fisher boy's window, but this was—is—fine.

Hop zips into view like a Rotom. He opens the window and waves me up, promising to show me this big surprise he's got in store.

We're a strange lot, Hop and I. It shouldn't work, really. Hop is driven, excitable, and popular with humans, while I would compare myself to a rotting log in the muck of Slumbering Weald. When he first approached me in grade school, I thought it was out of some twisted pity, but turns out Hop is incapable of entertaining a single dark thought. He was my first and only long-term friend, and he never shut up about his brother.

For ages it was, "My brother did this," "My brother said that," and, "My brother's going to be champion one day. He's unstoppable!" The blind admiration was almost pitiful.

Then I met his brother and started to, er... admire other things about him.

Now the whole Galar region adored him, and I was just another fan.

"Check it!" Hop bursts the instant I'm through the door. In his hand is an abused sheet of paper. "It's a letter from Professor Magnolia! She wants us to have tea with her this afternoon. We should head out now!"

Before I can say I'd rather not, Mrs. Fisher's voice rings from the kitchen, "Not before you handle the rubbish!"

"But Mum, all the bags reek from yesterday!"

"I asked you to do it two hours ago," She counters. "If you didn't want to smell, you should have done it then."

He groans. "I better get on it. I'll have to spritz up afterwards. Wait in my room?"

"Yeah," I say simply. His room is upstairs, among others.

"Brilliant. I'll be quick!"

My feet take me upstairs the instant he dashes off. Family photos line the walls. I’m in a few of them, always with Hop. There’s one with the two of us and Leon I often glance at. It’s from the year we celebrated his fifth year as champion. He picked us both up just to prove that he could, and Mrs. Fisher thought it was precious. She captured the exact moment my face went beet red.

I pause on the landing and glance between each room. One is a safe place where Zephyr and Hop's new Grookey are probably playing. The other is a den of, "Kill me now."

I need to say something though. Apologize? Maybe? Just something, at least, to break away any tension. Maybe I could poke fun at his new champion outfit. Or his beard. Or his snapback collection, an old classic.

I'm in the doorway, and sweatpants on someone like him should be illegal.

The snapbacks it is.

"My god, they're multiplying!" I feign a horrified look at the wall rack of caps. He really does have too many, or rather too many of the same black or navy blue color with a different logo. At least fifty and counting. One for every week of the year.

There’s a solitary red one. I snatch it up and plop it on my head. Because.

Leon half looks up from the strategy guide he’s reading. He’s in his glasses—a rare, magnificent sight—with a simple T-shirt. Plus the sweatpants (lord) and his dynamax band that he probably showers with. “They’re for work, I swear. Rose snagged us more sponsors.”

“Is Rose also responsible for this?” I rub my chin, and he copies me.

He grins a little, and I’m weak. “What? I think it looks… you know, champion-y.”

I chuckle and give him a teasing grimace, but then I forget to add words with the expression, and the air between us grows awkward.

Might as well get to the point.

“Hey, er… ‘M’sorry.” I look to the floor, and wow. Look at that carpet. That is some blue-ass carpet. Quality, blue-ass carpet that isn’t his face. Beautiful.

His desk chair creeks. “Eh. I mean… Well, I should’ve known you’d stick to Zephyr.” In the corner of my eye, he shrugs. “Doesn’t hurt to expand, though.”

“Yeah, but you see, the thing is, I sorta…” Oh god, I’m taking too long to say things. My palms are sweaty. “While I was getting my license, I took some extra courses that gave me access to training certain dragons and fairies, and I uh…” Dammit. I was so excited to tell him about this. Those courses were hard, harder than anything I’ve ever done. I couldn’t wait for him to be proud. Now it just feels like an excuse. “I only want to use those.”

“Oh, really?” He sits up straighter. “You didn’t tell me about that.”

You never call. “Yeah, it was super challenging, but definitely worth it.” And I don’t know if you care.

“Well, that’s great, congrats.” His smile should be outlawed. “Maybe if I’m smarter next time, I’ll bring home something in your type range.”

There’s a joke in there somewhere.

Like nah, baby, you’re already my type.

Ha ha.

Ha ha ha ha!

Kill me.

Hop returns, and I regain the ability to breathe. It’s already decided we’re visiting the professor, and Leon volunteers to drive us.

“Better put something on that isn’t your rug,” I tease. Leon gives me a sideways smirk and lightly smacks my side.

I’m three for three. Nice.

We pile in the car, and I make sure to crawl into the back seat so Hop can take shotgun. He’s been going on and on about Leon’s homecoming for weeks, so far be it from me to rob him of quality time with his bro.

Maybe that’s why I’ve never said anything. Leon encompasses so many of my thoughts, but Hop is still my best friend. He’s a mental lad, and I’d die for him, and I would never wedge myself between him and his brother. It was a surefire way to screw up and lose them both forever.

So yeah. Forever in the back seat.

There were other guys. Other people. Other crushes, I should say. Alex on the cricket team who’s only said three words to me. Thomas, who turned me down. I thought Kai and I were dating until I realized it was a joke for him and his friends. A dare or some bet. Either way, he won it. The only real relationship I’ve known was with Grace, and she ended it after five months. She said I was… tiring.

But every time, every damn time someone hurt my heart, all I wanted was to run to Leon.

The idiot who’s looking up directions to a place you can see from his backyard.

“Why in the world are you bringing up Maps?” Hop is incredulous.

Leon shrugs, typing in the address as he pulls out of the driveway. “I’m just checking traffic.”

He then proceeds to turn the phone volume on full blast to hear the AI, and Hop stares back at me like I’m a camera in a sitcom.

I laugh, holding Zephyr close to me. He’s been in cars plenty of times, and he’s already settled himself in my lap for the ride. Wings wrapped around him and everything.

The ride’s short, but I savor it as I listen to my boys joke and be stupid in the front seat.

*****

Sonia’s here. Magnolia’s granddaughter.

She and Leon used to date in college.

By definition, that makes her my mortal enemy.

I was ready to throw down with her once. too. Leon moped around for weeks after she broke it off. Even pictured myself gearing up with a sword, a battleaxe, a freaking bottle of mace, because you never know, and a bunch of Legos to sprinkle on the battlefield. I was high on bloodlust and ready for war.

Then Sonia turned out to be really cool, so there went that.

“Hey, come in! Kettle’s just whistling.” She sweeps her arm in a show of welcome and scratches Zepher’s ear as we pass. It sends him in a happy chirping fit.

I’ve met Professor Magnolia once or twice, but I’ve never been to her house. I’ll say this, if Leon has a lot of hats, the professor has a lot of potted plants.

And I have a lot of insecurities, so we all hoard something don’t we?

Seriously, bloody hell, there are so many plants in here. Like you could put one of Leon’s hats on each of them, and there might be plants to spare. Cacti, succulents, orchids, roses, ferns.

Plants are easier to think about than the conversation I’m tuning out.

It’s also easier than looking at Leon, who’s sitting on the loveseat across from me with Sonia. Stupid champion and his stupid cape and his stupid anime pose and his stupid OP Charizard, and I can’t stop staring at his dimples when he laughs at everyone’s jokes. Fuck him.

“Lavender,” Hop nudges me. “The professor’s asking you something.”

Shit.

“Y-yes, ma’am?” My tea’s cold. I’m not a fan, but I’ve been sipping to be polite. It starts clinking against the saucer as I shake, and I quickly set it on the end table.

Magnolia’s eyes smile at me over her rectangular glasses. She’s graceful in a way only elderly women can be, complete with a pastel yellow dress and a hairstyle that probably takes a dozen curlers and half a can of hairspray to achieve.

Her cane is cool.

“How long have you been a trainer, dear?”

Oh, okay. Pokemon stuff. I relax. “Three years. I just have my Noibat, though.”

“Well, there’s nothing wrong with that,” she muses. “No one starts off the same.” Her gaze flitters between me and Hop. “So you’ll be participating in this year’s season, I take it?”

Hop scoffs. “Yeah, if Lee would just endorse us.”

Oh yeah.

Endorsement.

Hop and I planned on joining the League the second we graduated high school, and seeing as how graduation was two weeks ago, and the League started up in three days, it felt like a natural progression. But you can’t just sign up. You need a professional trainer to acknowledge you in a letter of endorsement. We just assumed Leon would be the one to do it.

But then I turned down the Pokemon me brought me and probably ruined our chances. Hahaha, perfect. Nice one, you dumb git.

“Leon, c’mon!” Sonia side-eyes him, twirling her hair. “You waiting for them to beg or something?”

He shrugs. She caught him with his mouth full of biscuit. He talks through it. “I’m going to. I just…”

Sonia mouths, “He forgot,” at her grandmother, and the two share a giggle.

“No! I want to see them battle first. It’s a… formality, I guess.”

And that’s how we ended up on Magnolia’s lawn, Hop and I facing each other on a makeshift field. He’s amped. I want to die. Leon’s never watched me battle in person before, and this whole scenario is a trap. Either I get my butt handed to me, or I kick the crap out of his little brother in front of him.

Literally, actually kill me.

It’s a one-on-two, but it still seems fair as I’ve had Zephyr for ages, and even Hop’s Wooloo doesn’t have the experience we do. It’ll be his Grookey’s first match.

Wooloo’s first. Wilma. I love this goddamn thing. There’s a hill by my house that’s super fun to roll down, and she joins me and Hop in the fun every time. She’s also a better pillow than anything they could possibly sell on the market. One time during a depressive fit she let me cry into her side until I was calm.

And now I have order Zephyr to scratch her face.

The fuck.

It’s really sad how quick it is, and I feel bad.

To be fair, Wilma’s a slow, cute pacifist of a sheep, and Zephyr hunts bugs every night. Though I suppose that makes it worse. She runs back to Hop crying from her cut, and I’m such an arse. I need to buy her so many berries.

I don’t look at Leon.

Grookey’s next. Hop hasn’t named him yet. This one at least seems more comfortable on a battlefield. If he’s anything like other “starters,” then he was bred for this. The little monkey takes the stick from his head fur and bangs it on the ground, taunting Zephyr.

Oh yeah, he’s raring to go.

But you know.

Those type advantages.

Yikes.

As the Grookey disappears into his PokeBall, guilt seeps into my chest. Hop’s first match, and I probably embarrassed him in front of his brother. I can just hear Leon asking me why I didn’t go easy on him. I imagine Hop moping about it, gutted before the journey even starts.

So yeah, if some god could strike me down now, that’d be groovy.

“Blimey, look at that!”

I follow Sonia’s pointed finger to the sky. Something shoots across it. Actually, it’s not shooting so much as falling directly this way and oh shit fuck, I didn’t mean it!

We retreat to the front porch as the thing crashes smack dab in the yard. Sonia investigates, ‘cause she probably has more balls than anyone else here.

“It’s a wishing star!” she exclaims, holding it up triumphantly. Shouldn’t it be like… smoldering? Or is she really just that intense.

“Well, if that isn’t fate,” Magnolia smiles. “Bring it in, dear. We’ll make use of it.”

I tune out again, because that was a lot for someone who doesn’t have much of a life, and I’m left with Hop and Leon on the porch. The former puts his arm around my shoulders.

“That was wicked, mate! You beat me so bad, the heavens shook and lost a rock!”

You see why I could never hurt him?

I laugh. “I think some legendary beast took pity and wanted to give you a consolation prize.”

He shoves me playfully. I shove back.

A hand claps my back in congratulations. Leon’s right here, smiling at me, and my heart forgets how to act like a heart.

“Didn’t know Zephyr was such a spitfire.” He winks. Fuck. “Guess I better get on those endorsements.”

“Yeah, you Slowpoke!”

They’re not upset.

They’re excited.

I’m… excited?

No, I’m a mess.

But I’ll take this moment just fine.


My phone buzzes, and I freeze when I see a text from Leon. Maybe a minute or twenty go by before I open it. Hard to comprehend he would text me out of the blue.

It’s a simple, Hey! How’re you and Hop getting on?

He thought I was with Hop, but he texted me.

I type, We’re fine! I think. We split up in the Wild Area a couple hours ago.

I wait. Nothing. Oh no. Did I text back too fast?! Did I look desperate? Did he figure it out, does he hate me now, does he—

Bzz.

Oh.
 

Uberle

Lur King
Screenshotter
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
209
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
193
Nature
Lax
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
Fire
Pokédex Entry
Stays in the distortion dimension where no one bother him
I love this
So much
I ask that the purity of this be distilled and injected right into my veins

Lavender’s internal monologuing is perfect for everything from giving a description of the characters and the world to the comedy when she internally blue screens

I just love all of this
It is sweet and hilarious
Can’t wait for more
 

Sarbear

phobiaverse overlord
Pokédex No.
693
Caught
Aug 19, 2019
Messages
59
Location
Australia
Nature
Quiet
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Water, Dark
Pokédex Entry
I'm in WIP hell, but at least it's warm down here.
Oh my god this style is amazing
 

pinkshellos

Black Lives Matter !!
Artist
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
1220
Caught
Dec 23, 2019
Messages
237
Location
Hoenn Route 120
Nature
Calm
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Bug, Flying
Pokédex Entry
A timid Pokémon typically found in groups. The only thing that motivates her more than companionship is food.
I love this so far!
 

Spectacles

Rule Maker
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
139
Caught
Jun 24, 2019
Messages
303
Location
Pennsylvania
Nature
Jolly
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Fairy
Pokédex Entry
It hides deep inside caves where no light ever reaches it and remains virtually motionless there. ~Pokemon Crystal, entry #52
>dragon and fairy monolocke
>Leon being Leon
>hilarious internal monologue from MC


Clicked for the Paramore reference, stayed for the fantastic writing. I do NOT need another run to follow but now I have no choice damn you!!
 

Dee

THIS IS MY HAPPY FACE
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
147
Caught
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
608
Location
Zion National Park
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
They/Them
Pokémon Type
Bug, Clever
Pokédex Entry
A regular writer of fanfics and other works, this pokemon loves puns, bugs, and the outdoors.
Oh I'm living for this? I really like Lav's voice which is very genuine and funny. Lots of good image. And a pairing of two of the most exotic types for a region like Galar, eh? It's going to be real exciting! I wonder just how bad her crush will get in the end xD
 

Whozawhatcha

i have too many projects
Pokédex No.
486
Caught
Jul 12, 2019
Messages
59
Nature
Lonely
Pokémon Type
Fire, Flying
I started a locke and wrote over 60,000 words of fic in less than a month.
HOLY SHIT BITCH YOU first of all, posted, and SECOND OF ALL HOW MUCH?? THAT'S SO MANY WORDS.

Third of all, yessssss, I'm so glad you posted! Isn't it just great to freaking love what you love and not give a fuck? My MO in life right now, ngl, and look at that flood of comments, seems like everyone else loves Lav(atory) as much as I do! ^-^ Hahaha, but seriously, I'm very excited to read all this again and gain my fair share of cavities over it being cute as hell.
 

glancesherlock

Consulting Detective
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
32
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
172
Location
221B Baker Street
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Just wants to stay home and solve crimes.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #9
Promise this won't have a rapid-fire update schedule. I'm pushing this one up to today, because it's just easier to keep this on the same schedule as my Looking Backward repost.

@Uberle - Oh my goddddd ;;;; Calling it pure brings me so much joy, you have no idea.

@Wwarborday - WE OUT HERE GETTIN' TEN CENTS A BOTTLE ON RETURNABLES BIIIIIIIITCH (ilu)

@Sarbear - Thank you! Lav's internal monologue is fun, cause it just takes over the prose entirely.

@pinkshellos - Thank you so much!

@Spectacles - Heheh yessss. This whole fic has a lot of Paramore influence, and BBbB is definitely Lav's theme. It had to be the title.

@Dee - Yeah, there were just a lot of fairy and dragon types in Galar I wanted to try out, and they just felt right for Lav's character. The crush... ah you'll see lol.

@Whozawhatcha - sdfhafja;l Yeah, when I said "sold my soul to this Galar fic" I wasn't kidding. Legit blown away by the amount of support already garnered, and I'm super grateful. Thanks again for giving me that extra push. ;;;

Funny thing, I posted the thread right before I was about to lose internet access for a couple days. So when I logged on and saw seven comments, I almost spit out my coffee. Thank you guys so damn much, it means a lot. 💜

According to Hop, I am Princess Peach.

Let me explain.

When we were young, he always pretended he and Leon were the Mario Brothers. He dubbed himself Luigi, being the youngest and all (I'm sure there's more to read into there, and it makes me want to deploy hugs). Which of course made Leon—yeah, you get it.

Anyway, once I started hanging around, Hop was thrilled. He told his brother, "We finally have a Peach!" And then he made me go sit in a box or something that was supposed to be Bowser's castle and wait for Leon to come rescue me.

I didn't mind it.

Honestly, by that point Leon was too old to play pretend. I think he tagged along just to humor us, but still, it stuck. The game never really died. Leon is still Mario, Hop is still Luigi, and I'm still—

"Peach!" Hop shakes my shoulder excitedly. "It's your castle!"

Every castle was “my castle,” but what he really means is Motosoke is in sight, and our train is almost to the Wild Area.

I catch the last few glimpses of Motosoke's industrial skyline before it's swallowed by a cluster of trees. The next stop is ours.

"I'm about to go ham on some catches!" Hop declares. "Like maybe a giant Arcanine or a Drapion… or Bidoof!"

I snort. "Bidoof?"

"Arceus's fiercest warrior, my good lady."

"Yeah, alright."

The train stops, and I let a dozen people go by before I feel comfortable walking in front of someone to leave. I nearly have to sprint to keep up with Hop as he leads us to the Wild Area. Taking a deep breath, he stomps his feet like an ancient Alolan warrior and lets out a primal scream.

Luigi, ladies and gentlemen.

We discussed our plan on the trip. Instead of braving the vast wilderness together, we’d each take one side of the lake and meet back up at the Motosoke entrance. Hop said it was to keep our teams a surprise for our next battle.

I’m grateful for the alone time.

Not wasting a moment, Hop gives me a Bewear-sized good luck hug before dashing off to the west side. I head east, letting Zephyr out of his ball to stretch his wings.

I know Hop’s expecting me to show up tomorrow with a full team, but ehhhh I dunno. After having one Pokemon for three years, piling on a bunch all at once feels extreme. I can’t just eat a whole pizza in one sitting like Hop can. Piece by piece over the course of three days—that’s more my speed.

One catch. Yeah. That’ll do it.

If there’s even a fairy or dragon around here.

True to its nature, the Wild Area is anything but sparse. There’s Bunnelby everywhere, plus some Caterpie, a Pidove here and there. I stop for a while to admire a Butterfree gliding by. Rookidee chirp in the distance.

This is nice. Peaceful.

My phone buzzes, and I freeze when I see a text from Leon. Maybe a minute or twenty go by before I open it. Hard to comprehend he would text me out of the blue.

It’s a simple, Hey! How’re you and Hop getting on?

He thought I was with Hop, but he texted me.

I type, We’re fine! I think. We split up in the Wild Area a couple hours ago.

I wait. Nothing. Oh no. Did I text back too fast?! Did I look desperate? Did he figure it out, does he hate me now, does he—

Bzz.

Oh.

Well just be careful, it says. The Wild Area can be dangerous, and I don’t want you to get hurt. Stay safe.

GOOD.

GOD.

Can you frame a text?

Thank Arceus and every other god no one else is around, because the noise I make could shatter glass.

And ooooooh, what should I say to this?! Maybe something leading to keep the ball rolling? “Thank you, I didn’t know you cared.” Yeah. Something like that.

Or maybe!

Or maybe!

“You know I’m a big girl, I can handle myself. ;)”

YES.

Wait, no.

Ehhhhhh?

“Sure thing, handsome.”

NO.

After typing out a dozen messages and deleting them, I settle on, Thanks. Will do.

Kill me.

I put my phone on silent and busy myself with searching for a catch. I have to stop when I see something white and fluffy wriggling in the tall grass. My breath shortens as I imagine a Milcery. Already? Way out here? One of the restricted ‘mon my certificate would allow me to train—this is perfect!

I rush to it, PokeBall at the ready, and I nearly trip over the Growlithe as it rears its head and growls.

Shiiiiiit.

It’s on my heels as I make a mad dash escape. I can hear it’s bark and feel the heat from its ember, and I am panicking, holy shit, am I panicking!

“Zephyr!” I scream. “Kill it! Kill it! Kill it! Kill it!”

Kill isn’t an actual command, obviously, but he gets the idea and swoops down to combat my attacker. I focus all my efforts into jumping at the nearest tree, clinging to the highest branch I can reach. Swinging my body forward, I wrap my legs around the branch and lock my ankles.

It jumps and bites, but it can’t touch me.

“Ha!” I point tauntingly at the thing. “I took two years of gymnastics in middle school—fuck you!”

I stay up there as Zephyr continues his battle. He doesn’t need commands, not always, and some wanker’s after his mama; of course he’s gonna fight until it leaves.

Even after the Growlithe retreats, I cling to the tree branch. Fuck my feet and how numb they’re getting, safety first!

Zephyr lands on the branch, and his claws go click click clack on the bark as he moves closer to me. His chirps seem to say, “It’s okay, Mum. I scared that mean bully off for you.”

“You’re such a good boy,” I say, tears welling in my eyes. “You get a whole bushel of pecha berries tonight!”

*****

It’s nearly dusk when I stumble upon a legitimate catch.

Never expected to see a Cleffa outside of a cave, but there she is. Just waddling around without a care in the world.

I wonder how I should approach this. I’ve never caught a Pokemon before. Zephyr was raised from a wee egg. Part of me wants to leave it be and wait for a Cutiefly or something to buzz into my face and exclaim, “Love me!” but that’s not how wild Pokemon work.

No, I can’t pass this up. First catches are a big deal, and Cleffa are rare and a big deal. So I walk up to it. She doesn’t run, just looks up at me like she’s expecting something.

“Hi,” I say quietly. “You’re cute.”

Her chest puffs as she chirps. Oh my god, she is cute.

“You wanna, er…” I hold up an empty PokeBall. “You wanna do the thing?”

What the hell are words? My ears heat up, and wait. What the fuck, why am I getting embarrased talking to a fairy???

Bollocks.

No ceremony, no battle, no sweeping act of friendship, I literally just drop the ball right on her head, and I get it.

I name her Gretta.

*****

I set up camp about a hundred yards from the lakefront. Hop and I used to have campouts in my backyard, so if there’s one thing in this world I’m good at, it’s pitching a tent.

I hang a small lantern from the ceiling hook to give us some light, and then start divvying out the food for me, Zephyr, and our new friend. She’s a quiet one, to be sure, and super easy-going. I think I lucked out with this one. I give her a tiny handful of oran berries, and she nibbles on them one by one. When one slips from her paws, Zephyr sweeps it back to her with his wing.

“Good boy,” I say, giving him a head scratch. “Making her feel welcome.”

Pokemon are better than people.

After dinner, Zephyr grows restless, so I let him out for the night. He’s pretty good at staying active during the day, but I’ll probably never get that nocturnal instinct out of him. Come dawn, he’ll be scratching at the tent to come back in.

I cuddle with Gretta for a while so she gets used to my scent, and just fuck around on my phone. I keep returning to that text from Leon.

Stay safe.

Lord have mercy.

I wonder if I told him about the Growlithe, he’d fly over on Ignatius, his Charizard. Panicked, sweaty. “I got here as soon as I could, are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” I’d say. “But hey, since you’re here…”

Hmm no. Probably not.



Be nice, though.

It’s really quiet outside. It’s nice. Still peaceful. I’m a League trainer. Like, officially. I’ve wanted this for years.

Then why is my chest heavy?

Letting Gretta nestle on my bag, I bring my knees close to my chest and stretch my jumper over them. Rolling to my side, I close my eyes and pretend this tent is Bowser’s castle.

*****

Hop’s all over the place, full of beans. It appears his first official night as a trainer was a complete success.

“I’ve got a full team now!” he exclaims. “It’s gonna be a real rumble the next time we go fisticuffs!”

I smile, happy for him. “That’s brilliant. I just caught the one.”

“Ah boo, lame.” He sticks his tongue out. “Don’t tell me what it is, I want our teams kept secret.”

I giggle. “Very well, dork.”

“Rotten news, though,” he pivots, kicking a pebble. Most of our conversations are one-sided, but I kind of prefer it that way. Listening is easier than talking. “Mum wants Lee and I at this family dinner with some cousins. Tried making a case for you coming, but we don’t see them often, Lee’s rarely free, and…”

He hates giving bad news, so I don’t make him. “It’s fine, Hop. Family stuff’s important.”

“Oh, brilliant!” He brings me in for a hug. “I’ll make it up to you. Promise. We’ll get some sticky pudding or something, yeah?”

“Yeah.”

“Cheers.” His hands clap loudly. “It’ll give you some time to prepare for tomorrow. There’s a big shindig after the opening ceremony.”

There’s a what?

“There’s a what?”

“The Rose Ball!” He snorts at the name. “Lee’s boss is just full of himself, slaps his name on everything.”

Ah yes, this infamous Rose bloke. The part of Leon’s life I knew so little about. Perhaps I’ll finally get to meet him after seeing his face all over everything everywhere. Seriously, this guy must eat a hundred quid for breakfast. Anything he hosts must be swanky—

Oh.

Oh shit.

Hop’s phone rings. It’s his mum. “Ah bollocks, I gotta shove off. Head over to the Budew Drop Inn. Lee’s booked us rooms.”

There will be a lot of fancy people at this thing…

“See ya, Lav!”

I stutter out a, “B-bye!”

So many.

Fancy people.

Leon will be there.

In a suit, probably.

Fancy.

I have jeans.

And boots.

I’m pretty much a zombie as I make my way to the inn, and I don’t come out of it until I find my room and gasp louder than a Loudred, because holy shit!

This room.

Is huge!

Two dressers, giant telly, a whole table with chairs, shower bigger than my entire washroom at home, and a king-sized bed.

Thank you, Leon!

I throw my bag down and leap onto the mattress, pulling on the comforter’s edge and rolling around so I’m wrapped up like a cacoon. I giggle like a maniac.

This is the most comfortable fucking bed ever.

I’m never leaving.

Ever.

...Though I’ll have to for that ball tomorrow.

I unroll myself and sit up to think. Mum gave me some money. I could drop some quid on a dress and shoes. Who needs food? I can pick berries for my team. Then I’ll just gorge myself on fancy horderves at the party, and that’ll sustain me for three days. If all else fails I’ll become one of those beggars who sells facial tissue on the street.

Yeah.

Yeah!

I shower, change, and head out the door.

And who should I find in the lobby but Sonia typing furiously on her phone.

"Oh hey, Lavender!" She gives me a quick half-wave. "Sorry, almost done with this email."

I wait until she's finished, and then she asks what I'm up to. So I tell her.

"Oh, no kidding!" She clasps her hands together. Her nails match her outfit perfectly. They sparkle. So does her hair. Dammit, she's so put-together. "I'm heading out too. Didn't want to risk wrinkling a dress on the train over." She winks. "We should go together."

I muster all the fake excitement I can into a single, "Sure!"

Here's the thing about clothes: they hate me. If I ever feel like punishing myself, I'll go to the mall and cry in every changing room. Do that for three hours then come home with nothing—that's my crazy Friday night.

Going clothes shopping is pain, but going with someone else? Who's cool? And pretty? And could probably pull off a denim jumpsuit? My knees are shaking at the thought.

But there's no getting out of it, and I’m not familiar with Motosoke anyway, so off we go. Sonia picks a store that's slightly out of my price range, but I say nothing and eye up the clearance rack. It's slim pickings.

"Oh my god!" Sonia's face holds a shit-eating grin as she grabs something from a nearby rack. "Look at this monstrosity!"

It's a zip-up hoodie. Just a black zip-up hoodie with the League's logo. I don't get the joke until she turns it around, and there's Leon, taking up the whole of the back, doing his signature Charizard pose.

"I cannot believe this dork!" Sonia laughs. "He actually lets them sell merch like this. I'm crying. Hold on."

She takes a picture with her phone and sends it to Leon to tease him. I join her in joking about how ridiculous it is, how tacky, and what dumb fangirl would want this, lol?

...

I want it.

Once we've had our fun, Sonia returns the hoodie on the rack and makes a beeline for the dresses. She grabs five that are more or less the same shade of aquamarine, and I sit there trying to find something cheap in my size. I eye up a red one. Red is nice. Red is… sexy.

Red is Leon's favorite color.

Oh no.

No.

I can't show up in that, that's way too obvious! No, fuck that. No red. In fact, I should go home and burn everything red I own and paint over my PokeBalls.

“What do you think?” Sonia asks as she emerges from the changing room.

Gorgeous, honesty. Everything looks good on her; she has the type of body that can wear clothes properly.

“I like it!”

She frowns, clearly already made up her mind. “I dunno, the skirt is a little long for summer. I’ll try the strapless.”

And she’ll own it too.

She goes through a few before settling on a knee-length aquamarine dress with spaghetti straps and an empire waist. It comes with a tool shawl she ties around her neck like a scarf. It’s nearly a tailor-made fit, hugging her hips and chest perfectly, and good god, yeah, even Leon doesn’t deserve someone like her.

“Oh, this is perfect.” She speaks like this is business as usual, fluffing her hair and checking things out from different angles. “Yeah, my silver heels would kill with this.” A sweet smile comes my way. “Find anything you like yet?”

I shrug. The sweatpants, honestly.

“Well, let me change, then I’ll help.”

My heart races. “Oh, you don’t have to—”

She’s already gone.

Five minutes later, I’m being crushed by a mountain of dresses as Sonia stacks them on me two at a time.

“Sorry,” she laughs. “It’s been a really long time since I’ve had the chance to dress someone up. And you’re just so cute!”

My face goes red, and I hide behind the pile in my arms. “‘S fine,” I murmur.

I disappear into the changing room like a cryptid returning to its cave. Not sure if any of these will look good on me, so I just start from the top.

It won’t zip up.

I tear it away and go onto the next one. It makes me look pregnant. There’s a red one—we’ve established that’s right out. The white one’s cute. White is like… purity? That’d be good.

Until I get every matter of sauce all over it.

Two more and I finally get a green one to work with me. It's not great? Simple, and it fits funny around my shoulders, but I’ve seen worse. It’s cute. This might be it.

Sonia’s not as impressed. She eyes me up and down, asking me to twirl and perform the “sit down” and “bend over” tests. Tapping a manicured nail to her chin, she shakes her head.

“Not loving it,” she concludes. “Hold tight, I can do better!”

“I-I’m sorry,” I stammer. I’m being difficult.

After removing the dress and hanging all of them as neatly as I can, I stand in the changing room. My eyes avoid every mirror. I want this to end. She’s being so nice and wasting too much time on me. It won’t be long before she grows frustrated. Maybe I can convince her I’ve got it from here, and she can go do… I don’t know, anything else, because it’d be better than stuffing a square me into a round hole.

A new dress is all but catapulted over the door. Sonia’s triumphant voice sounds from the other side.

“Okay, everything I gave you before was rubbish. This one’s perfect!”

I stutter out a thanks and take a look. It really is pretty. Pink with a floral lace, capped sleeves and subtle sparkle. It’s beautiful, really, but how much does it cost...

As if on cue, she adds, “Don’t look at the tag, just try it on!”

My throat tightens. I didn’t see the exact price, but it didn’t look small… Bloody hell.

Of course the damn thing fits perfectly.

Sonia’s over the moon. “Lav! This is gorgeous on you! You’ll have to fend everyone off with a stick.” She sets me in front of the mirror, and instead of turning away, I can’t stop staring. When did… When did things start looking nice on me? Even as Sonia’s adjusting my hair, I don’t flinch or shake, I’m just dumbfounded.

“Yeah,” I whisper. The price looms over my head, but I push it out so I can live in this fantasy for just another moment. “This is it.”

“Yes!” She claps and does a little victory dance. “I knew it! I still got it.” Picking up her purse, she taps my shoulder. “Put it back on the hanger, it’s on me.”

UM.

NO.

Record scratch moment!

“Sonia, no!” I whip around, shaking. “I can’t ask you to buy this. It’s way too much! I can get the green one, it’s fine.”

She simply winks at me as she applies lip gloss. “Don’t worry about it, think of this as your birthday present or something.”

“My birthday was four months ago.”

“Belated, then.” She shrugs. “Or it could be a ‘congrats on becoming a League Challenger’ gift or something. Whatever you want to call it. It’s fine!”

“Yeah, but…” I really want to tell her off, because I can’t understand why she’s doing this for me. I can’t understand why anyone would do anything for me. But I love this dress a lot. I want to… be seen wearing something nice. And I feel guilty as fuck for making a wish so selfish.

“Hey,” her tone is more serious. “Your first League season is a big deal. I was a wreck for mine. And yeah, like the opening ceremony is important for the fans and yadda yadda, but the Rose Ball is where you make your first impression to the industry. Every major trainer in the business is going to be there. It is prime networking territory.”

I’m sorry, is this supposed to be comforting, because that sounds super stressful.

“I, er... “ Words. “I’m not really looking for a job… I just want to have fun.”

Her smile is so pretty. “Even better reason to get it!” She nudges me. “Besides, if I’m the only bad bitch working it at this thing, Rose will have to hire extra security.”

A laugh bursts out of me, and the longer we giggle, the more at ease I become. It’s still hard, like really, really, really super fucking hard to accept her generosity, but in the end…

“Okay, but… I’m getting my shoes.”

We grab coffee afterwards, and I insist on paying. She gets a grande latte with every sugary substance imaginable, and I order an espresso shot with some whipped topping and… sprinkles, yeah. Because it’s a good day.

We’re there for an hour, and the more we talk, the more I relax, the faster time goes by. I’ve never hung out with Sonia like this before. It’s nice. She’s nice. And witty and smart. Blimey, I’m in awe as she tells me about her Darkest Day research.

I wish I was like her.

She checks her phone, and I can tell our time is over.

“Well, Lav, I better be off. Still need to wrap up a report before bed.”

She has work to do, and she spent time with me instead. My chest tightens.

“Oh yeah, definitely. That sounds important.” I need to thank her, but it feels awkward until we’re standing outside the cafe, and I wave for some damn reason. “Thanks so much, Sonia. This was really fun.”

Fun? Yeah. Yeah, I had fun.

“It was, yeah! I needed a break.” She brings me in for a one-arm hug. “Get your beauty rest tonight, I’ll see you tomorrow!”

“See you.”

I watch her go out of the corner of my eye, pretending to play around on my phone.

The moment she’s out of sight, I go back into the store to buy the hoodie.

It’s hard to find a place to squeeze myself in. Every spot around Leon is claimed, so I just stand on the edge. Not really part of anything, just there. It’s familiar. I fiddle with my hands, peeling the fingernails I refused to let Sonia paint. Yep. This is my the rest of my night.



Does it have to be, though?
 

pinkshellos

Black Lives Matter !!
Artist
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
1220
Caught
Dec 23, 2019
Messages
237
Location
Hoenn Route 120
Nature
Calm
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Bug, Flying
Pokédex Entry
A timid Pokémon typically found in groups. The only thing that motivates her more than companionship is food.
“Ha!” I point tauntingly at the thing. “I took two years of gymnastics in middle school—fuck you!”
I love your writing style so much. And Lavender, she’s a stellar main character!
 

Dee

THIS IS MY HAPPY FACE
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
147
Caught
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
608
Location
Zion National Park
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
They/Them
Pokémon Type
Bug, Clever
Pokédex Entry
A regular writer of fanfics and other works, this pokemon loves puns, bugs, and the outdoors.
Hey. Hey Glance.

Glance.

I know Hop’s expecting me to show up tomorrow with a full team, but ehhhh I dunno. After having one Pokemon for three years, piling on a bunch all at once feels extreme. I can’t just eat a whole pizza in one sitting like Hop can. Piece by piece over the course of three days—that’s more my speed.
And ooooooh, what should I say to this?! Maybe something leading to keep the ball rolling? “Thank you, I didn’t know you cared.” Yeah. Something like that.

Or maybe!

Or maybe!

“You know I’m a big girl, I can handle myself. ;)”

YES.

Wait, no.

Ehhhhhh?

“Sure thing, handsome.”

NO.
I rush to it, PokeBall at the ready, and I nearly trip over the Growlithe as it rears its head and growls.

Shiiiiiit.
“Zephyr!” I scream. “Kill it! Kill it! Kill it! Kill it!”
“You’re such a good boy,” I say, tears welling in my eyes.
Her chest puffs as she chirps. Oh my god, she is cute.

“You wanna, er…” I hold up an empty PokeBall. “You wanna do the thing?”

What the hell are words?
I wonder if I told him about the Growlithe, he’d fly over on Ignatius, his Charizard. Panicked, sweaty. “I got here as soon as I could, are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” I’d say. “But hey, since you’re here…”

Hmm no. Probably not.



Be nice, though.
I throw my bag down and leap onto the mattress, pulling on the comforter’s edge and rolling around so I’m wrapped up like a cacoon. I giggle like a maniac.

This is the most comfortable fucking bed ever.

I’m never leaving.

Ever.
I join her in joking about how ridiculous it is, how tacky, and what dumb fangirl would want this, lol?

...

I want it.
UM.

NO.

Record scratch moment!

Why. Is Lav. Such a fucking mood????? Like great work holy shit
 

Uberle

Lur King
Screenshotter
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
209
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
193
Nature
Lax
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
Fire
Pokédex Entry
Stays in the distortion dimension where no one bother him
Oh dear god Lavender looking too much into everything is the definition of a mood

"Arceus's fiercest warrior, my good lady."
I see Hop is a man of culture
also this just reminds me of the "then it is even fight" meme and I love it for that

I just love that everyone acts like a normal person and all interactions are pure gold
Love it so much
 

Rhema

Conqueror of the Azalea Gym
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
212
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
209
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.
Glance!? I love this?! Like, Lavender is me at 17, crushing hardcore on boys and overthinking every possible thing. She's ridiculously relatable and I adore watching her fumble over every word that comes out of her mouth. She's such a mood.

Also, I'm hella interested in a Dragon/Fairy run. Very fantasy, very Galar. And Cleffa is one of my favorite Pokemon, so you've already peaked me interest with her cuteness. Zephyr is shaping up to be quite the treat, as well.

I am here for a self-indulgent rom com fic. Love it, can't wait to read more!
 

glancesherlock

Consulting Detective
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
32
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
172
Location
221B Baker Street
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Just wants to stay home and solve crimes.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #14
@pinkshellos - Aaahhh thank you! I love writing for Lav, she's such a disaster.

@Dee - We are all Lav, that's why.

@Uberle - She lives by making mountains out of molehills, lol. And thank you! I really love this cast and how everyone bounces off each other. They're a delight to write.

@Rhema - Omg well Lav is 18, so glad I hit it on the head. XD Dragon/fairy team was interesting. I might have skipped over a few catches on accident (Galar is so easy to just blaze through haphazardly), so I don't think I tried out as many of them as I'd like, but the ones I did train were 👌 . Lav's team is fun. I've never used a Cleffa/Clefairy/Clefable before??? ...I'm love now.

Oh boy. Here it is. The good shit. The real McCoy. Blushing like hell over this one, but w/e, too late now!

There are.

So many.

People.

Out there.

And I’m me.

Shaking in a corner of the locker room, I try to avoid looking at the other challengers. Most of them are strangers who have gathered in groups, already talking and making jokes and swapping phone numbers. How do people just do that?

Hop pulls himself away from some trainers he’s just met and makes his way to me. He’s more fired up than I’ve ever seen him. Even enters a fighting stance and starts punching the air.

“You ready, Lav?”

He’s so goofy, and my shoulders ease. “Down, Luigi.”

“C’mon, mate! This is big!” He’s all smiles. “Couple more minutes, and we walk out on the pitch!”

I’m sure it’ll look cool, all of us swarming out there in our jerseys. My number is 176: Noibat’s PokeDex number. Hop chose 189 using a random number generator, because of course he did.

“I am excited,” I admit. “Just… nervous.”

He lightly punches my arm. “Don’t worry, I’ll be out there with you. And then we get to party!”

I smile and give him a weak, “Yaaaay.”

The League officials give us the signal, and everyone piles at the entrance. I keep to the back, and I’m grateful when Hop stays with me.

Stepping onto the pitch, I—Oh.

Oh.

Oh.

Oh.

Oh.

Oh my god.

It’s so disorienting. The stadium is massive, and the stands are tall and full. The field is like an ocean—just a mass of bodies and confetti and grass as far as the eye can see. The other side doesn’t exist. I feel like I’m in a jar inside a bigger jar, and the first one is distorting everything. Am I really this small?

Everything grows numb and hot. What is breathing? What is a heartbeat?

Hop grabs my hand, and suddenly I can inhale.

“Hey, they’re not people,” he says slowly. “They’re a crowd. You can’t even tell their faces apart. It’s like noisy wallpaper. Here.”

He lifts his arms, taking mine up with them. He motions me to lift the other, and the action opens my windpipe. To anyone, it looks like we’re celebrating, but I can breathe. I’m breathing.

And the crowd doesn’t matter.

They’re all just noise.

I spy Leon on the stage. He’s searching the crowd. His cape is so stupid, and I want him to wrap me up in it like a burrito. His eyes land on me and Hop, and he waves to us with a huge beam on his face. We wave back.

I smile.

I’m breathing, and I’m smiling.

*****

I wait to enter the ballroom.

The opening ceremony was a warm-up. Now the real challenge begins.

Again, Sonia was an immeasurable help. I nearly had a panic attack when I realized I had nothing with me for my hair and makeup, so I gave her a call. She practically reached through the phone like a cartoon character and dragged me into her room.

How she managed to make my hair and face work for her, Arceus only knows. But after two hours my black hair was falling at my shoulders in tumbling curls, some of them pinned up by a flower clip that matched my dress. She had a mist she sprayed everywhere to make the locks sparkle, and she drenched herself in it as well.

As for makeup, I can’t even tell you what she did. I have some experience with the stuff? I’ll put on a little eyeliner and blush two or three times a week. Eyeshadow too if I’m feeling crazy. I think she put five layers on my face, plus a finisher. (Though I drew the line at fake eyelashes.)

When she was done, I stared at my reflection—at a stranger, really. I never imagined my face could look like this.

I looked...

I looked pretty?

Even so, I’m nervous to go in there. Every person who walks into the ballroom is gorgeous and probably knows what they’re doing. A group of beautiful girls make me go cold, and I look down at my shoes. They’re black flats with little Gracidea flowers on the side. At least I’ll have something cute to look at all night, normally it’s boots or trainers.

I wish I had my phone.

Like ripping off a bandage, I charge in—into the most beautiful room I’ve ever seen.

Columns and paintings, patterns carved into marble. Reds and golds with accents of silver. There’s a small orchestra playing music, and people are dancing. It’s like something from an Authurian painting.

As I stand there gaping, Hop finds me. He’s got a forest green suit coat with black fur lapel and a godforsaken bowtie.

It’s silly, but very Hop.

“Hey! There you are.” He stops, squinting at me up and down. He puts on an aristocratic voice. “I’m sorry, madam, I don’t believe we’re acquainted.”

“Shut up!” He leaps away from my attempt to shove him. “You look… interesting. I mean nice.”

He shrugs. “Dad’s old suit. Doesn’t fit me half bad.” He glances behind him. “Hey, Lee and I are over this way.” Holding out his arm, he turns the voice back on. “M’lady.”

“I’m not.” I wave him away, snickering with him as we make our way across the room to a small group. There’s Sonia, and she was right, silver heels really do kill with that dress. I recognize Chairmen Rose from the telly, but not the tall, blonde woman standing next to him. She’s absolutely stunning, and her backless silver gown practically molds to her. I recognize Leon’s hair, and I swear if he’s shown up to this thing in that damn sponsor-bedazzled cape—BLOODY HELL.

No.

No he is not wearing the cape.

He’s in an old fashioned royal coat—red of course—lined with gold trim and buttons to match, and it descends down into two glorious coattails. The cuffs and collar are black, and a lacy white cravat accents his everything. His tan pants are tucked into knee-high black boots that shine like obsidian.

And I’m just gonna come out and say it.

He is fucking hot.

He… He looks like a prince.

And I… I don’t belong here.

I need to leave.

Feet won’t move.

I should probably keep walking.

Feet won’t move.

I need to flee, change my name, retreat to the Wild Area, become feral, become one with nature, and spend the rest of my days living underground amongst the Diglett.

Feet won’t fucking move!

“You alright, mate?”

Hop. Blessed Hop. Wonderful, incredible Hop. He wakes me up, but I can’t exactly say, “Oh, I’m fine, just 1.5 seconds away from jumping your brother, and I hate myself,” so I take off my left flat and shake it.

“Er… rock in my shoe.”

“Ah, sucks.”

I’m walking again.

Okay.

Okay, okay, okay.

We’re walking.

I’m breathing, and I try to tell myself I’m okay.

And Leon is talking to me—shit!

“We were wondering when you’d be here.” His tone is oddly formal, almost business-like, but it makes sense as he gestures to his boss. “Lavender, this is Chairman Rose, our esteemed host.”

“Rose is just fine, my dear.” The man offers me his hand, and I hesitantly accept, thinking he’s just going to shake it. Instead he kisses it, and I try so hard to hide how uncomfortable I am. “Miss Lavender. I had an inkling Leon would endorse his brother, but I’ve been curious to see who this mystery girl was.”

Leon shrugs, more casual. “She’s the best new trainer you’ll see this year, guarantee it.”

My eyes snap to him. Did he seriously mean that?

“Sorry, bro.”

“Hey,” Hop holds up his palms. “I haven’t beaten her yet. She’s good.”

Wait. Why are they doing this? Saying things like that?

Like it’s fine and really nice, but why?

“Th-thanks, guys.” Hopefully no one can see me flush under all this makeup.

Rose winks at me, inclining his head to Leon. “Gunning for his position, then?”

I blink. Yeah, I guess if I do go far enough I would battle Leon. My reply is no louder than a whisper. “M-maybe. We’ll see.”

Please someone end this.

“Quiet but fierce type, I see.” It’s hard to tell if Rose is complimenting me or joking. Then again, I don’t know how that makes him different from anyone else. “Looking forward to your progression through the challenge.”

“Thank you, sir…”

Thankfully, the woman whispers something in Rose’s ear. He frowns for a split second before reverting back to his cheerful demeanor.

“So sorry, but a matter has come up I must attend to. Enjoy the evening, all.” He inclines his head at me. “It was a pleasure to meet you, young lady.”

I just nod.

When he’s gone, Leon puts his arm around my shoulders and squeezes. I’m a puddle.

“Sorry about him, he’s weird.” He ironically lifts his wine glass. “But we love the guy.”

“He’s… something,” Sonia adds. A single tooth bites her lip as she adverts her gaze from the chairman. “But Gran practically owes her entire career to him, so…” She drinks, bringing up the glass faster than what I’d call natural.

Hop scoffs. “At least the guy knows how to order a spread! Can’t wait to get my hands on some rich people food.”

“Just stay away from the grey stuff,” Leon warns him with a smirk. “It’s a lie what they say: it’s not delicious.”

He still has his arm around me, and I’m happy. Even when he finishes his wine and puts the other arm around Hop, I’m still happy. We’re casual. It’s just my boys and Sonia, and I’m okay. As far as I’m concerned, there's no one else in this entire ballroom but us. I can stand here and just listen, and nobody will expect me to participate much, because they get me.

Things are fine.

We talk, we laugh, Leon’s still holding me, and it’s fine.

Hop runs off to grab us food, and I decline because I might throw it up, but it’s fine.

As we talk, I start to wonder… I mean, this is a dance, and Leon’s here and… handsome. I look nice, for once.

Maybe…

Maybe?

I’m feeling brave.

“U-um, Leon?”

“Yeah?” Looking up at his golden eyes is lovely.

“Later do you want to… dance or something?” I’m shocked at my own words. I said it! I really said it!

Oh god, I said it.

Oh no, I said it!

“A-and Hop!” I clumsily add. “This is a special night, I want to dance with my boys.”

“Oh, of course!” Hop beams. “Just say the word, Peach!”

Leon agrees.

That was so awkward.

But Leon’s still holding me.

So it’s fine.

Then I hear a voice I don’t recognize, and I see a face that’s unfamiliar, and it’s less fine.

Two more.

Another and another.

All girls, all beautiful, and half of them wearing red. They all want to talk to him.

Our little group becomes a big group, and it’s not fine.

Leon pulls himself away, and the spot on my arm where his hand was turns cold. I shrink into myself, prepping to stare at my shoes for the rest of the night.

At least I had some time.

It was nice while it lasted.

I’m grateful when Hop pulls me out for our dance. It’s not a slow song, but that’s definitely for the best. He mostly flings me this way and that, and I’m so thankful I didn’t accept those horderves. I twirl him a couple times, and he pretends to curtsey. We laugh at how stupid we are, and again I forget there are other people here.

Then the song ends, and Hop’s hungry, so while he’s back at the buffet, I saunter back to our ever-growing group.

It’s hard to find a place to squeeze myself in. Every spot around Leon is claimed, so I just stand on the edge. Not really part of anything, just there. It’s familiar. I fiddle with my hands, peeling the fingernails I refused to let Sonia paint. Yep. This is my the rest of my night.



Does it have to be, though?

I’m in a ballroom, looking the best I ever have, with the guy I like, on the eve of the League Challenge’s opening day. This will never happen again.

I asked Leon to dance; I can socialize with a few pretty strangers.



I’m going to try.

Straining my ears, I listen in, trying to distinguish any topic of conversation I can jump in on. I hear personal news, celebrity gossip, silly stories, but nothing I can participate in. What would I even say? Just introduce myself to some rando like, “Hi, my name is Lavender Fog. Yes, like the candle scent. No, I don’t own a hundred of them, why does everyone assume—”

Bollocks to that.

Then one girl in a strapless red dress says, “I’m thinking about catching a couple fairies this season.”

I nearly gasp.

Yes! Of course, everyone here is a trainer. I can’t even categorize other topics of conversation, but I can talk about Pokemon all day.

“Oh, I specialized in fairies at trainer school!” I exclaim.

She turns her attention to me, and for half a second it looks like a victory until the girl next to her says, “You’re not planning on getting one of those Impidimp, are you?”

“Hell no, Grimmsnarl is nightmare fuel.”

“Thank god, I would only battle you if I felt like losing a night’s sleep.”

The conversation’s slipping from me, and I try to pull it back with, “I caught a Cleffa the other day!” But I’m drowned out by the laughter from the girl’s comment.

So… that’s that, I guess. Can’t try to budge in for a third time, that’d look so pathetic.

The music slows. I step back, wondering if I could bother Leon for that dance. He’s practically in the middle of what’s become a small crowd, talking to just about everyone who approaches him. He looks like he’s enjoying himself quite a bit. Being champion and being popular—he must adore this. I don’t want to take him away from the fun.

My heart aches.

Slowly, then quickly, I find an exit.

The open archway takes me out to a garden, and it’s like a switch. Aside from the couple snogging by a fountain, the place is vacant. It’s quiet with low light. In other words, perfect.

I make my way down the steps and find a stone bench in a secluded spot. It’s refreshingly cool to sit on. The moon is pretty. The smell out here is nice. It’s not stuffy, and I can still hear the pretty music. I can breathe.

Still, I’m alone, which isn’t entirely great. I pick a flower and start picking petals off it like a loser.

Time passes, and the pain in my chest gets worse. All the fantasies swirling in my mind need to stop lying to me. Mario’s not coming. If I’m Princess Peach, then whoever’s playing the game got frustrated with the first dungeon and quit.

Peach isn’t even cool. She gets kidnapped all the time and cries. When people think of helpless, useless characters, she’s at the top of the list. What about Zelda? Zelda’s cool. Gorgeous and capable, but still a princess. And she can do magic and moonlights as a ninja! Why can’t I be that?

Hmm, actually that sounds like Sonia, who probably also moonlights as a ninja.

Yeah, Peach fits me better.

Here come those waterworks.

“There you are!”

I all but jump out of my skin. Hop’s jogging down the steps towards me, and I panic. He can’t see me cry, he’ll just worry. I don’t want to ruin his night. So I hold it in—that I’m good at.

“Lee’s looking for you,” he says. “Party ends in thirty minutes, you guys haven’t had your dance yet.”

I shoot to my feet. He didn’t forget? He actually… wants to dance? He’s looking for me??

Hop grabs my hand to lead me along. Back to Leon, back to the party, back to the crowd, back to all those girls wearing his favorite color who will probably stare, and there will be cameras, and everyone will stare, and everyone will stare.

My heels dig in. Hop stops. He blinks.

He gets it.

“Too many people?”

If I speak, I’ll cry, so nodding works.

Hop takes my other hand and looks me in the eye. “Wait here.”

So I do.

I don’t dare move except to inspect my feet. My heart’s pounding from wondering.

The next pair of footsteps don’t belong to Hop.

Leon comes waltzing over, and it’s like something out of a fairytale. At least it would be if he didn’t constantly check behind him and crouch down like a wanted criminal, and also if he wasn’t going the wrong direction.

“Um, Leon?” Blast my quiet voice. I try louder. “Leon. Over here.”

He spins. Smiles. I can’t breathe. “Oh! Ha…” His feet swivel as he glances back towards the ballroom. “No one’s coming, good. Hop had to sneak me out.” He rubs his eyes with his thumbs. “Thank god too, I needed a break. I’m exhausted.”

I can’t help myself. “All those girls fawning over you. Yeah, that sounds awful.”

“Okay, hush,” he holds up a defensive hand. “I’ve had to be turned on all night.” At the sight of my smirk, he pauses. “Let me rephrase that.”

“Nope, too late,” I giggle. “It’s out there.”

He nods in defeat and reaches for my hand. “Alright cheeky, come here.” He pulls me to him, and I realize the music coming from the ballroom is slow and sweet. “I believe you owe me a dance.”

“No,” I say coyly. “I’m pretty sure you owe me a dance.”

Leon looks up, pretending to mull it over. “Hmm, no. No, I don’t think so.”

Why is it the buildup to our interactions is terrible, but then when we’re alone I feel fine?

The dancing is… It’s really goddamn nice. My right hand’s in his left, and he’s put his other one on the small of my back. We’re close. Neither of us know anything proper, so we’re just swaying, stepping side to side, spinning a little. The moonlight keeps catching his hair, and it’s glowing, somehow. I think someone turned on the soft focus in this movie.

I’m anxious, but it’s a good anxious.

“You know, this works out perfectly,” he admits. “There are so many cameras in there, and if you ended up on the cover of some tabloid, I’d have to have Rose sue, like, a million people.”

My heart rises with my eyebrow. “Yeah?”

“Well, I never dance at these events, so the press would be all over this.” He chuckles, suddenly remembering something. “Though this one time, Raihan and I were pissed all to hell, and we did a tango in the middle of the dancefloor. For months, the papers thought we were an item, and we didn’t even bother to deny it. We got such an earful from Rose.”

I laugh. “Why haven’t I heard this?”

“Probably because you don’t read rubbish.” He stops moving. “Ready for a spin?”

“No.”

“Well, you made fun of me earlier, so…” He twists my wrist, and I’m twirling out. It’s fluid and graceful, but on the return I trip and nearly stumble to the ground. He steadies me.

“Sorry, too fast.” He clears his throat. “Like a… Milcery figure skater.”

Sometimes, I swear. “What the hell does that even mean?”

“Don’t know. It was dumb.”

We go quiet, but we’re still dancing. It’s more than fine.

It’s wonderful.

I want to say more things. I want to say how I feel and tell him how important this moment is. Maybe we could have more of them? Maybe we could if I say something. It feels right. This has to be the time. The words are in my throat, the phrases are playing in my head. I just have to look up and say…

I’m silent. He’s gazing just past my shoulder, not sad, but zoned. His eyes look heavy.

He is tired.

The music’s still playing. I stop. I’ll kick myself in the morning, but… “Hey, you should probably get some sleep or something.”

“Hm?” He smiles, and it’s like he’s put a happy Leon mask over his face. “I’m fine.”

I shake my head. “No, you’re beat. Champions need to rest too. So do jumping plumbers.”

His chuckle. It’s my drug. “If you insist, Peach.” He steps back a little. My back misses his touch already. “Did I tell you you look nice tonight?”

Another headshake.

“Well, you do.” Bending low, he brings my hand to his lips. My skin explodes with goosebumps. “Good luck this summer. You’re going to be great. I know, I only endorsed the people I thought could become champion.”

“...So me and Hop?”

“You’re the only ones I’d want to lose it too.” He gently lets my hand go.

I mentally sigh. He’s leaving. “Goodnight, Mario.”

“Goodnight, Princess.”

My muscles freeze in place, all the heat shooting to my face. It’s just because of the metaphor. The game! Yeah.

This is the first time I’m not sad to watch him go and I’m content to be alone.

I finally cry, but they’re happy tears.

Milo reminds me of a turnip.

A cute turnip that doesn’t skip arm day.

Or leg day for that matter. Blimey, those calves.

Ballroom scene in a Galar run is mandatory.

Oh this chapter... I really do love it. There are a few in this run I like revisit now and again, and this is pretty high on the list. Idk, it's the first time we really dive into shameless territory, and I think it's cute? Kinda romantic, kinda sweet? Also got to have some fun with Leon and give him some dumb dialogue to knock him off the pedestal Lav's put him on. He's really a hopeless idiot, deep down.

Also Hop turned out to be ultimate MVP/best wingman here. The good mad lad.
 

pinkshellos

Black Lives Matter !!
Artist
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
1220
Caught
Dec 23, 2019
Messages
237
Location
Hoenn Route 120
Nature
Calm
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Bug, Flying
Pokédex Entry
A timid Pokémon typically found in groups. The only thing that motivates her more than companionship is food.
Aw, I enjoyed reading this chapter a lot :) I could almost feel the butterflies in Lav’s stomach through the screen! Can’t wait for more!
 

Rhema

Conqueror of the Azalea Gym
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
212
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
209
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.
Most of them are strangers who have gathered in groups, already talking and making jokes and swapping phone numbers. How do people just do that?
Right? I'm 23 and still can't ask for someone's number without having a panic attack.

“They’re a crowd. You can’t even tell their faces apart. It’s like noisy wallpaper. Here.”
I'm totally stealing "noisy wallpaper"

And I’m just gonna come out and say it.

He is fucking hot.
Lav you thirsty ho.

“Okay, hush,” he holds up a defensive hand. “I’ve had to be turned on all night.” At the sight of my smirk, he pauses. “Let me rephrase that.”
For Lav's sake, you better! Why do you have to be so handsome and charming? Cut the poor girl a break!
 

Spectacles

Rule Maker
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
139
Caught
Jun 24, 2019
Messages
303
Location
Pennsylvania
Nature
Jolly
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Fairy
Pokédex Entry
It hides deep inside caves where no light ever reaches it and remains virtually motionless there. ~Pokemon Crystal, entry #52
The mental image of Lav, Hop, and Leon pretending to be Mario characters is too pure for words. And Lav painstakingly constructing a text to Leon. I feel that in my soul.

“You wanna do the thing?”
Korra reference mayhaps? 🙃

I also heavily relate to Lav’s hatred for clothes shopping. If only we all had a Sonia.
I’m just loving Lav’s dynamic with literally everyone in this story. Such good friendships!

And ugh I can say I’ve very much been in Lav’s shoes in these kind of events and it’s always so nice to have a Hop to save the day! (I actually ended up snagging my Hop... maybe Lav should reconsider her crush~~~)
 
Last edited:

Whozawhatcha

i have too many projects
Pokédex No.
486
Caught
Jul 12, 2019
Messages
59
Nature
Lonely
Pokémon Type
Fire, Flying
*me, pumping my fists, dancing in the background, waving my pom poms*

INDUL-GENT! INDUL-GENT!! INDUL-GENT!!!

Yessssss I appreciate all of Lav's floundering so much, she's just such......a GIRL, you know? She's just such an empathetic young teen girl with a crush and it's adorable. Like, majorly let's people empathize with her. And she's really funny when she wants to be. (Also, when did I miss you updating chapter 2? Probably during hip surgery, haha.)

I also love seeing Leon's "champion mask" slip around her because he's comfortable with her in a way he isn't with others. Very charming and rocks for brains of him, what a himbo, let's give him a round of applause. Himbos are really the best and you turn that dial up WAAAAY up, god bless. Even on a second read this is really just a fun treat. Also, I find this indulgent fic and my indulgent fic are really like, partner runs because they're both romcoms that follow nigh the same beats. (We both have a ballroom scene, we both have Hop scenes, we both have party scenes.) Only difference is I think yours is written a bit nicer than mine, I'm very, very shameless with the lazy writing and altogether TOO southernness of it, hahaha. God. I can't wait to see your rally of fans here lose their ever-loving minds when they get to some things I've already read!
 

glancesherlock

Consulting Detective
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
32
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
172
Location
221B Baker Street
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Just wants to stay home and solve crimes.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #19
@pinkshellos - Thank you! Hehe, Lav's a nervous wreck, that was fun to write.

@Rhema - Connect with new people is so hard??? idk how some just insert themselves into a social situation and make it work, smh. (Lav is parched and hopeless tbh.)

@Spectacles - I have no idea where this Mario idea came from, but I ended up getting a lot of mileage out of it. Ridiculously so.
"Korra reference mayhaps?" Nah, Lav just can't word good (I haven't watched Korra in an age.)
Re: Hop. Lav's pretty much got tunnel vision for Leon, so probs not happening there. But aaaahhhh thank you!! I loved writing the relationships and friendships in this fic. ;;;

@Whozawhatcha - *joins in chant* YES! I love writing Lav as someone who is just genuinely head over heels and not at all wise on how to handle it. And pfffff yes, Leon is a perfect himbo. Honestly. So glad I found places to bring him down a peg or a dozen so he's not just Mr. Perfect with no personality. He ended up being one of the most fun characters to write.
Party scene, you say. 👀

So…​

I don’t hate dogs?​

Dogs are great. Dogs are cute.​

Apparently they don’t like me.​

I’m screaming as I scramble over the fence, narrowly escaping the third Electrike that’s chased me down today. It’s not until I’m sufficiently far away that I turn around and see it barking at me through the rungs. Backing up, I search for a way back to the path when I step on something soft: the paw of a Yamper. Cute little things normally, but it snarls at me, and I’m back to running.​

Running straight into the waiting claws of a couple horrifying Meowth.​

Electric dogs. Steel cats. And here I am with a bat and a fairy.​

Fuck this route.​

So anyway, I’m up a tree for the next two hours.​

I can’t even sicc Zephyr on these things without risking him getting hurt. I forgot to stock up on potions before leaving Motosoke, and I’m not sure how much farther it is to Turffield.​

This is seriously ridiculous, though. There is like an entire horde of wild Pokemon down there, cheesed off and growling their heads off. Do they really have nothing better to terrorize? I’m torn between yelling for help and wanting nobody to see me like this. I have no cell service (bloody bitch, even the Wild Area had service!) so I can’t call Hop or Leon or even Sonia. All I can do is wait it out.​

Opportunities for me to sit and think without any distractions are dangerous. I try to focus on the Rose Ball and my dance with Leon, how nice it was. How perfect. How he came to me. ...I mean, after I asked.​

Hm.​

He wouldn’t have done it otherwise.​

He doesn’t actually—no, he doesn’t. It’s just because I asked and he knows me. Hop probably had to remind him. Yeah, that’s it.​

Nothing more.​

You’d think I’d be used to it by now.​

Sigh...

He said Hop and I were the only ones who could surpass him, but I can’t even fend off a couple Yamper. I’m not a champion-to-be. He made a mistake.​

My eyes droop. Chest is heavy. Heart hurts.​

Time passes. No one’s coming. He’s not coming. No one’s playing the game. Peach is just stuck in this castle.​

“Haha, wow.”​

I freeze.​

There’s someone standing not far from my tree. A guy, I think? He’s wearing what I can only describe to be the dress version of a parka, and it is hot-ass pink. The oversized watch on his wrist keeps reflecting the sun in my eyes. His platinum blonde hair is styled in a way that rips off Dorothy Zbornak, except she is a queen. This guy looks like he complains to the waiter that his steak was not cooked to his exact specifications.​

He frowns at the group of feral Pokemon gathered below me. “You roll around in Wooloo dung or something? You offend in more ways than one.”​

“I—what?” I did not smell. I showered just this morning.​

Of course, I did cuddle the crap out of Hop’s Wooloo before we split off.​

Oh, that’s what it is. Her scent is on me...​

Wilma, why must you betray me like this?​

The guy sighs and lets out a Hatenna. I gasp, ready to comment on how I love his Pokemon, but the thing is quick to dispatch a confusion at the horde, and it disperses. The Meowth spin in circles and bump heads before taking off in the brush.​

Holy shit.​

“Oh, thanks!” I shift on the branch. The way my feet are situated is awkward, and one of them is numb. Getting down could prove difficult. “Could I trouble you to give me another hand?”​

“Figure it out.” He returns the Hatenna as he starts back down the route. “Get a decent team. Any half-wit would've known to bring something to combat the aggressive ‘mon on this route.”​

Bitch, excuse me???​

He doesn’t even know what my team is.​

“You don’t even know what my team is!”​

“It’s rubbish, clearly.”​

Oh no he doesn’t.​

Someone can insult me all day long, but not my babies!​

“Battle me, then!”​

He doesn’t hear me, or he’s ignoring me. I angrily shuffle my feet along the branch and try to gain footing on something lower. My numb foot slips, and I end up tumbling to the fucking ground and ow!

Wrist hurts, side hurts, can’t feel my foot, and the wind’s knocked out of me, but he insulted Zephyr and Gretta, so I scramble to my feet and start limping after him.​

“Hey!” I’m fueled by fury, and it’s the only reason I’m not falling over from this head rush coming on. “Get back here, you fuck-twit! Oh…”​

Oh, maybe I can’t stay up.​

Vision goes dark, and suddenly I’m on my back with nothing in sight by clouds and the blue sky. My foot’s all pins and needles, and my wrist is throbbing with pain. Those ‘mon might come back, so I should get back up… or I could just let them have me. Either way is fine.​

I zone.​

One cloud looks creamy, for some reason. And it’s, like, moving funny. It stares at me curiously, making bubbling, chirping noises.​

“Ah, the grim reaper,” I weeze. “I’ve been expecting you.”​

*****

I name her Buttercream.​

No, not the cloud. Or the… grim reaper.​

It was a Milcery.​

She’s pretty adorable. Bodily injuries aside, I’m over the moon. Milcery is on the list of restricted fairies I can bypass with my certificate. To have one of these before my first gym battle? Amazing. I can’t wait to stroll out on the field with something so exclusive.​

Fuck that guy, whoever he was.​

He needs a name.​

Hm…​

Hmm...​

Condom.​

Yeah.​

Got ‘em.​

I don’t have enough money for a hotel, so I’ve taken a room at the Center for the night. Lucked out big time and got private quarters, so I let Zephyr and the girls out while I rest.​

Best thing about raising a Pokemon from an egg: they get used to newcomers quickly. Territorial instinct only goes so far when you never had to fight for space. Not a minute passes before Zephyr is investigating Buttercream and encouraging her to play. The Milcery isn’t sure what to do at first, but she starts to catch on that he’s a friend.​

Gretta glances at the pair before waddling over to me. She climbs in my lap and nuzzles against me, and my heart melts to a puddle. Leaning against the wall, I rub her ears. She purrs.​

I’m calm. I’m so calm. Pokemon are the greatest things ever when they’re not rabid dogs.​

Or Mr. Rime.​

I close my eyes and soak in the moment. Might as well rest. My gym battle isn’t until tomorrow. I try to remember I’m a trainer, and things are okay, because I’m a trainer. I’m okay. I’m sore, but I’m breathing.​

The room is getting brighter.​

The thing in my lap is getting heavier.​

My eyes snap open in time to see the evolution light fade. I’m holding a Clefairy. Gretta’s a Clefairy.

Cleffa only evolve in captivity when they really care about their caretakers.​

The tears are welling. “So you… You love me?”​

Gretta chirps happily as if to reply. I give her a tight hug, and my squeal turns into a sob.​

I’m a wreck, but my team is the best.​

Fuck you, Condom.​

*****

Milo reminds me of a turnip.​

A cute turnip that doesn’t skip arm day.​

Or leg day for that matter. Blimey, those calves.​

He’s got a pleasant enough demeanor that talking to him doesn’t flare up my defenses. We shake hands and ready to walk out onto the pitch, and I’m not nervous. Maybe it’s Gretta’s evolution giving me hope, or the quick recovery from my fall yesterday making me feel invincible, or maybe it’s the battle strategy I’ve meticulously planned out giving me confidence.​

Or maybe it’s the four shots of espresso I sank this morning. I’m ready to jam!​

The announcer introduces us, and we move out. Walking onto the field gives me that glass jar feeling again, much like at the opening ceremony. The crowd’s almost as big. I keep my head down, clawing to hold onto my good mood.​

They’re just noise. No people here. None at all. Just noisy wallpaper.​

I take my spot on the pitch, and take many, many deep breaths. Eyes on Milo, Zephyr's PokeBall in my hand. That's all I need to worry about.​

"Ladies and gentlemen!" the announcer belows. I jump at his voice. "Our next challenger comes from our southern friends in Postwick—Lavender Fog!"​

A small roar of applause. My shoulders tighten. A second announcer speaks. This one's far less enthusiastic.​

"Lavender is our second challenger from Postwick today. Must be a record."​

"That's right, Jerry! We just witnessed Hop Fisher take out Milo in a narrow victory. And wouldn't you know it? Lavender was also endorsed by Champion Leon! Incredible!"​

"She's still new, though. So she'll probably just have a Rookidee like her friend did."​

"...Hey, Jerry, could we not today?"​

Milo calls to me, "You ready, Miss Fog?"​

I nod. Just a little at first, and then dramatically when I realize he probably can't see.​

He smiles. "Good luck to you!"​

His first Pokemon is a Glossifleur. It's cute enough that in any other situation, I'd wish it was a fairy type. But as I send out Zephyr, I'm glad it's just grass.​

Grass my baby's gonna mow.​

Milo couldn't be a better first challenge for me. He's weak to all my strengths, and it's beyond satisfying to watch those strengths validated. Zephyr knocks Glossifleur out with two quick hits, and Milo wastes no time calling it back.​

I zone through the applause. It's just noise. Just wallpaper.​

"Wow!" the first announcer exclaims. "What a hit from Lavender's Noibat. Someone came to her first gym challenge prepared!"​

"Maybe we'll get to go home early today."​

"Jerry, sometimes, I swear…"​

One opponent left. Milo sticks with two, that's what Hop told me. I only need one: my beautiful, unstoppable bat baby!​

It's an Eldegloss. Regal-looking thing for a turnip man to have.​

Milo lifts up the PokeBall, and I know what comes next. I forgot until now, actually.​

Dynamax.​

...Fuck, I haven't done that yet.​

Sonia and Professor Magnolia showed me how to work the band, of course, but I was too timid to find a den in the Wild Area to test it out.​

I could try to last the whole battle without it?​

But…​

It's the crowd-pleaser.​

Leon makes that abundantly clear during his matches.​

Eldegoss grows and grows to the size of a small skyscraper. I gulp and activate my band. Zephyr disappears into his ball, and I dynamax.​

When Zephyr reappears, I hardly recognize him. His normal chirp comes out in a roar that shakes the whole stadium. If he wasn't my baby, I'd be heading for the hills. ​

But he's still looking at me. Still waiting for instructions, like always. He's my boy. Still my boy.​

Just a bloody kaiju.​

I give the word, and the stadium becomes an absolute whirlwind. I have to shield my face from the attack, and out of the corner of my eye, I notice the audience shield activate. The wind is deafening, the debris is everywhere, it gets hard to breathe. It's like standing in the middle of a natural disaster. My body seizes up. How does Leon do this every day??​

The wind calms. I hear an explosion. Eldegoss is shrinking.​

I blink. One hit? It took one hit?​

"Ladies and gentlemen, the winner is Lavender Fog!"​

The audience cheers, and I… I smile! I'm smiling, even as I shrink Zephyr and bring him into a tight hug. I’m smiling as I carry him to the middle of the pitch, where Milo is waiting cheerfully with my badge.​

Three turns. I beat turnip guy in three turns, and people loved it.​

Yeah…​

They loved it.​

That's a… huge first impression.​

A high bar.​

People are going to expect me to keep that up all season.​

I’m not smiling.​

My heart pounds.​

I just impressed a lot of people, and they're going to expect so much of me now.​

Oh god.​

Oh god.

They're not noise, they're people!​

"Congratulations, Miss Fog," Milo extends his hand with a friendly smile. "I can see why Leon endorsed you. You don't mess around!"​

Oh god.​

Oh god, oh god, oh god.​

This is so much.​

Too much.​

I’m numb and hot. It's coming up. It's coming up fast.​

Instead of shaking Milo's hand, I throw up my breakfast on his trainers.​

*****

Before leaving home, Mum gave me this giant old bag she used when she took on the League Challenge. It's faded and torn, and one of the straps is held together with duct tape, but it carries my shit, and that's what matters.​

It also comes in handy for covering up the Leon image on the back of this hoodie.​

I don’t care if it’s hot out, I’m wearing it for the hood. It hides my face so no one can spot the girl who tossed her sick all over the gym leader.​

My feet hurt, but I’m just going to walk absent-mindedly all the way to Hurlbury, even if it takes me all night. The longer I stay in one spot, the more likely someone will recognize me and laugh.​

So many people laughed...​

There are fairies around here. I spy a Swirlix and a couple Spritzee. I don’t want them. Not today.​

I don’t have the energy.​

Being a trainer is supposed to be fun. Winning a battle is supposed to be a celebration. I have my first gym badge, I should be happy. Why aren’t I?​

There’s an apple on the ground. Two beady eyes stick out at me from behind the stem. I stop. It retreats into the core.​

“You too?” I murmur. My throat tightens. “Yeah, it’s scary out there.”​

There are other apples nearby, eaten and strewn about like a massacre. Stuffle get pretty aggressive with their food.​

I pick up the Applin and sniff it. It’s sweet.​

“Ah,” I realize. “You’re just a soft little guy people expect to be cool and tough. But you’re not. You won’t be. You’re just you, and there’s not much there, and you’ll just fall behind as everyone runs ahead of you.”​

The eyes slowly peek back out.​

“Don’t worry,” I sob, tears welling up. I cradle her to my chest. “I’ll protect you… Honey.”​

...Did I sign a waiver before starting this whole League thing?



I don’t remember.


She's fine. 🙃

Bede probably has my favorite physical description of any character in the run. I'm really proud of how many jokes I got out of this dude. XD
 

Whozawhatcha

i have too many projects
Pokédex No.
486
Caught
Jul 12, 2019
Messages
59
Nature
Lonely
Pokémon Type
Fire, Flying
So anyway, I’m up a tree for the next two hours.​
Greatest smash cut of all time.

Milo reminds me of a turnip.​

A cute turnip that doesn’t skip arm day.​

Or leg day for that matter. Blimey, those calves.​
Eyyyyy.

OMFG I FORGOT SHE THROWS UP ON HIM, hahahaha, holy fuck! Also, god bless Jerry. He's so fucking done. Also, the constant ragging on Bede? love it. Love it so much. He's such a fun bastard to hate/love. Also, on second read I like how scary you made the dynamaxing and how large and overwhelming it seems. Really sells it well. (Lav dynamaxing strategy? OHKO and vomit. Bonnie dynamaxing strategy? Uhh, how about we just don't do this and we stall out the dynamax smackdown with Max Guard.) You know, I bet Bonnie and Lav would be EXCELLENT friends, come to think.

Ahhh, and Honey! I still don't like the pie dragon, sorry, will never like that pokemon, but everyone else is weirdly recklessly endeared with it, so people are for sure gonna be hype about that catch. (Vanillite walked so Applin could run!!)
 

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