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Written Story Galar Mature dandelion

Thread Description
a retrospective Shield Nuzlocke | ii. "I wasn't told to bring anything but this..."

Aurea

Moderator
Moderator
🎇Contributor
Writer
Pokédex No.
25
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
78
Location
Sinnoh Region
Nature
Calm
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Grass, Steel
dandelion banner.png

The eve of summer brings change, warmth, and new beginnings. Years have passed since Sonia's own failed attempt at the League, but time alone does not heal wounds.

She cleans when she’s anxious.

It’s a habit she picked up from Gran, which is why the lab is always immaculate -- why she always has to get creative when looking for ways to busy herself. She pulls books for her research, organizes them by author, then by title when she finds herself grasping for something to do. Empties her pen cup and wipes out the bottom of it, takes a duster to the air vent. Waters all the plants for the second time today, which buys her a good half hour given their ever-growing collection.

But still, inevitably, she finds herself hovering in the doorway of Gran’s office.

Magnolia doesn’t look up immediately, glasses pushed down the brim of her nose as she peers at a nearly miniscule, glowing red chunk of rock. She’s holding her breath, steadying shaky hands as she attempts to delicately pick up the wishing star fragment with a pair of tweezers. Sonia shifts and the old wooden floor groans its displeasure, breaking the professor’s concentration enough that her hand jumps, and she curses under her breath. She turns her chair slowly, leveling her gaze on Sonia and giving her a stern look. “Can I help you, dear, or are you beyond it today? If you water my plants again they’re sure to rot.”

Perfectly manicured nails tap idly on the doorframe. “Just seeing if there’s anything else you’d like cleaned, while I’m in the mood.”

Gran shakes her head, twirling back in her seat and returning her focus to her studies. “The lab’s practically a mausoleum, Sonia, and I’m not dead yet. If you’re bored, don’t you have research you’re neglecting?”

Sonia pulls a face, and slowly peels herself away from the door. “Not that desperate, Gran.”

Never that desperate.

She flops on the sofa in the waiting area and sighs. Gizmo lifts his head to look her way, but clearly has no desire to join her. He’s dragged his bed into the patch of sunlight that streams in through the atrium’s glass windows, soaking in the warmth of late spring.

Windows. That’s something she hasn’t attended to yet.

There’s glass cleaner under the sink in the kitchenette. She crouches to look for it, moving aside the dish soap and a large box of disposable gloves. She starts by wiping at a smudge on the faucet she must’ve missed earlier, then moves to the window above the counter.

Her heart drops into her stomach when she sees a crowd forming outside of the train station.

“Sonia,” Gran calls, voice floating through the fog in her head, “if you’re still looking for things to do, be a dear and run an errand for me? You’ve been breathing in cleaning fumes all day, fresh air might do you some good before you go completely off your trolley.”

“What for, Gran?” she calls back. Her eyes scour the crowd, looking for a sweeping cape and stupid cap. She pinches her nose. Rotten timing. “I was thinking about cracking open that book you wanted me to look into.”

“Oh really?” She hears shuffling footsteps behind her, and turns to see Gran making her way over. She looks her granddaughter up and down, and clucks her tongue with feigned concern. “My, then I’m afraid it’s worse than I thought. You’ve missed it altogether.”

Sonia rolls her eyes, leaning one hip against the counter and resting her hand on the other. “You’re awful cheeky today.”

Magnolia waves her away with a poorly hid grin, sets down her cup of tea, and eases herself into a wooden chair. She watches quietly as Sonia wipes the dust from the windowsill, and hums. “I was hoping you could pick up some groceries. As eager as you must be to start reading a book I gave you three months ago, surely a little detour won’t hurt.”

Sonia winces, turning her attention back to the window. She sees a flash of orange now -- no doubt his Charizard, Vesta, parading around and soaking up the limelight. The crowd parts briefly, and she sees a mane of raven hair spilling out of a ridiculous snapback --

She sprays more cleaner on the window than necessary, obscuring her view as it streaks down the glass. She takes her time wiping it away. “Yeah, alright. I’ll run in this afternoon.”

“Sonia.”

It’s rare Gran takes a serious tone, and it’s surprising enough that it drags her attention away from the colors of the crowd bleeding together like a mosaic. She raises her eyebrows and shakes her head ever so slightly in response, as if she doesn’t know what’s coming.

“This isn’t about Leon’s homecoming, is it?”

She sputters unconvincingly, tucking a lock of hair behind her hair and turning her nose up indignantly. “I haven’t seen him in years. Why would that matter any?”

Magnolia eyes her for a moment around the lip of her teacup, taking a delicate sip. “Brilliant, because the Harris’ invited us over for his welcome dinner tonight. I told them you’d bring the slaw.”

Her jaw tightens. She returns to wiping at the window in broad strokes, straight up and down to reduce streaks. “Of course. That’s no problem.”

“Good,” Gran muses, reaching over to tap Sonia’s calf lightly with her cane, “I thought I’d raised you with more sense than to worry over a man, of all things.”

She gives her gran a tight smile, depositing the wadded paper towel in the trash and stowing the glass cleaner away in one swift movement. The Leon she knew wasn’t a man. He was just a boy -- reckless, earnest, with unruly hair and no sense of direction. She inhales sharply and tries to remember this version of the unbeatable Champion. It’s easier that way.

“I think I’ll manage.”

When SWSH was released, I fell in love with the characters, and like most Pokemon games -- found myself wishing they'd done more with them. I was specifically intrigued by Sonia, and disappointed that she didn't get more focus. I started writing some short drabbles centered around Sonia and her relationships, and eventually exploring a little more about the rest of the cast. It was fun to write, and a nice break from my usual heavier, more polished stuff.

I swore I'd never post another story until Impulse was complete, but I've also learned you can't always force it. dandelion is going to be short, fluffy, very loosely-written with very little thought/time devoted to editing, and above all else? It's going to be indulgent as hell. I plan to write the parts that excite me, and gloss over the parts that don't. It's meant to be an exercise in just writing what I'm feeling, going with the flow, and having fun. I hope you enjoy, too! ^^

 
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localhoney

~either i'm careless or i wanna get caught~
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
2002
Caught
May 17, 2020
Messages
63
Location
Miami, FL
Nature
Adamant
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
Electric, Poison
Pokédex Entry
Localhoney, the Sweet Toxin Pokemon. It's said that the sounds it emits can paralyze even a Gigantamax Grimmsnarl.
Oh hell yes! A story centered around Sonia is just what the doctor ordered. Her and Nessa were my favorites once Sword and Shield were announced, so I'm excited to see where you take my intellectual queen. Plus, I'm glad I'm in on the ground floor of this, since I'm slowly working through the institution known as Impulse.

I love that immediately we know something's wrong with Sonia based on the obsessive cleaning, and I'm interested to see what actually happened between her and Leon. I'm assuming it's deeper than him just beating her down during their crack at the Gym Challenge.

Definitely following this one!
 
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Tookie

The Immoral Bard
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
80
Caught
Jun 16, 2019
Messages
425
Location
Southern England
Nature
Lax
Pronouns
He/Him
Pokémon Type
Poison, Psychic
Pokédex Entry
This user does not exist. All impressions to the contrary are propaganda pieces and not to be trusted.
i mean, leon isn't so much a man but a true paragon of himbo-ism, so i wouldn't blame the conflicted thoughts there! what did this doof of a man do, where are the tabloids when you need them?

also i love this and i am LIVING for professor magnolia, oh my god
 

Thirteenth

Number XIV
Writer
Pokédex No.
14
Caught
May 20, 2019
Messages
171
Nature
Quiet
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Ice
Pokédex Entry
The reason she guides people all the way down to the mountain's base is that she wants them to hurry up and leave.









also magnolia is excellent and you already know how much I love Sonia
 

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 hey a story focused on an NPC
Looks like fun

I like the immediate characterization of Sonia through little lines like “never that desperate”
Just a good way to give info on a character quickly

This looks like it’ll be light and cute so looking forward to more
 

Missy

i left my heart in alola
Writer
Pokédex No.
94
Caught
Jun 16, 2019
Messages
91
Nature
Lax
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Tough
Pokédex Entry
just missy now
Aurea..... Aurea...... you're not allowed to make cleaning a house that engaging to read about. What is it with you and your stellar, minimalist, domestic openings? Curse you.

That said, the "retrospective" in the thread title has me intrigued. Can't wait to see where this goes!
 

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.
I'm still over the moon that you posted it. Your writing is a bright spot in my life, as always. 💜

The implication that Sonia is always anxious if the lab is always immaculate. Oh bby. ;;;

God thank you for writing Magnolia so damn well. She got shafted big time in the game and felt totally wasted. Bless you. I love your take on Sonia so much. You absolutely nail the anxiety of not wanting to partake in an awkward reunion. The little glimpses we get of Leon are great previews, and I love how they're the flashy side of him she's bitter over. I can't wait to reread this. ;;;;
 

csidvuL

Conqueror of the Goldenrod Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
31
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
238
gOOD shit!!!

very brief comment but I really enjoy the slightly looser style you're using here. One over-fussy dork to another, I greatly appreciate the more polished work you do in Impulse but I understand intimiately how taxing that can be, especially as deep in it as you are. I'm so pleased that you're able to get something out the door that's lighter and makes you happy. I truly believe that how a writer feels about a piece is reflected in it -- especially in fanfiction, where authors and their readers are closer just by the very nature of it. You enjoyed writing this. It shows!

shitpost aside: i was super stressed when sonia overwatered the plants and i'm so glad she immediately got yeeted for it hahahaha
 

Garnet

Hater of the Monty Hall Problem
Artist
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
322
Caught
Jul 2, 2019
Messages
146
Location
Littleroot, Hoenn
Nature
Quiet
Pronouns
They/He
Pokémon Type
Dark, Psychic
Pokédex Entry
A strange Pokémon that claims to be both an artist and writer, yet almost never has any work to show for either.
So I read this last night and forgot to comment until now so! Lemme just say I'm super excited to see how this goes :0 I really appreciate stories that take the time to flesh out characters who didn't get as much focus in the games proper (granted, I know Sonia is one of the side characters with relatively more screentime what with the whole Kings of Galar plot and all, but it never really felt so much like it to me considering, yknow, main series Pokemon game and all :p), and I'm loving the way you're writing Sonia here!
I'm particularly interested in how the Nuzlocke aspect is gonna come into play, with Sonia being featured as the main character and all! Just because I have fun throwing out speculation: Is the player character involved, and is it their Nuzlocke who Sonia is hearing about and seeing during her travels while researching Galar's history, or does Sonia manage to find herself in the in-game protagonist's stead somehow? Or perhaps her failed attempt at the league was a Nuzlocke itself, and we'll get to learn about that story over the course of the current one? 🤔 Whichever way, I'm excited to see how this turns out; I'll be watching this for sure!
 

Tailsimp

A Universally Under-Rested University Imp
🎇Contributor
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
50
Caught
Jun 15, 2019
Messages
494
Location
A Literal Desert
Nature
Quiet
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Electric, Psychic
Pokédex Entry
Tailsimp: The Impish Pokemon. Despite being quiet and reserved, this pokemon is usually very happy to talk and is always excited to help out!
Ohh what a great start! I've never been so engaged reading about cleaning before in my life. Seconding Missy that you're not allowed to make cleaning this engaging to read about. Also this right here
I plan to write the parts that excite me, and gloss over the parts that don't.
excites the heck out of me. Reading the parts of a story that the author really wants to hit on is always the most fun part, and I can't wait to see more of it here!
 

Garish Garchomp

Friendly Neighborhood Landshark
Administrator
Moderator
🌱Featurer
Writer
Pokédex No.
43
Caught
Jun 12, 2019
Messages
110
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
He/Him
Pokémon Type
Dragon, Psychic
Pokédex Entry
he's ok i guess
Waters all the plants for the second time today, which buys her a good half hour given their ever-growing collection.
I can’t wait for this to increase literally every chapter until it takes like 2 hours for her to get through everything.

aaaaa though I love this so much! Sonia deserves so much more love, and I trust nobody more than you to give that to her. Already she just feels so much more nuanced and full of life (and nerves) under your brushstrokes, and that’s just through watching her clean and get owned by an old lady. Imagining you really fleshing out her background and the way she and Leon re-connect and all is a joy, but reading it will be even better.

Also, it’s just really nice to see you writing and posting ;w;
 

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.
VERY excited for this. You know I'm a ho for romance, especially ANGSTY romance. Ready for the angst. Ready for the rollercoaster of emotions. Lay it on me!
 

Aurea

Moderator
Moderator
🎇Contributor
Writer
Pokédex No.
25
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
78
Location
Sinnoh Region
Nature
Calm
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Grass, Steel
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #13
I am absolutely blown away by the response to this, thank you all so much. ;; Please don't get used to double updates in one week -- I'm only posting part ii so soon because a.) it's got a little more substance than part i, and b.) I'm excited to properly introduce a few other characters! I do have a little bit of a buffer, but working on dandelion will take a backseat to my main project most days. Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy!

@localhoney - YES, Sonia and Nessa are queens and deserve their time in the spotlight. I'm really excited to write from Sonia's perspective, but also expand on some of the other NPCs who I wanted to see more of. SWSH has a lot of flaws, but they gave us some really unique characters with great baseline personalities/designs, and I am so excited to write them! Great to have you on board, I hope you continue to enjoy! ^^

@Tookie - lasdkfj;skdj paragon of himbo-ism. Way better title than "Unbeatable Champion", truthfully. xD And I'm glad you're living for Magnolia, she doesn't get near enough love. ;w;

@Thirteenth - hi your gif game is on POINT as usual, thank you for always supporting me and sending me inspo art and encouraging me to write, ilu 💙

@Uberle - thank you! ^^ Definitely intend for it to be pretty light and cute and short, with some angst thrown in bc I can't help myself, but! I hope you enjoy ;w;

@Missy - 😭 omg I'm glad you found it engaging?? it's been eight years since I started a story so that means a lot to hear, the new project anxiety was REAL, which is silly bc this is not meant to be something I take too seriously. thank you ;; and hehe yes, I'm glad you caught that in the thread title!

@glancesherlock - YOU are a bright spot in my life, always. 💜 Thank you for posting the amazingness that is BBBB, you know swapping galar fic is what inspired me to actually write this!

Sharp eye, as always! ;; And aaaa, I'm glad you like Magnolia! She really came alive on the page. I'm really hoping to do her justice, because it was such a wasted opportunity. I wish she'd seen more screentime... speaking of awkward reunions, it's time!

@csidvuL - aaaa, thank you! I am so glad you appreciate all the work that goes into a project like Impulse (and know you can relate, given your rewrite of T-W and the huge amount of care taken there), but yeah, it can be exhausting sometimes! Very happy to hear that my enjoyment from writing this is shining through. I hope it continues to feel this way.

sdflasdjk i wrote it and cringed, but couldn't pass on such a great opportunity for Magnolia to roast her. seemed appropriate. xD

@Garnet - aw, thank you for taking the time to come back and comment!! ;w; I totally agree with you - while Sonia technically got a lot of screentime... the majority of it was devoted to worldbuilding exposition, felt like, and we got precious few peeks into who she is and what makes her tick. So I'm excited to share more, and so glad you love my take on her so far! ^^

Ohoho yes, there were a lot of ways for me to incorporate a nuzlocke into this! This chapter should answer a few of your questions, but not all. c:

@Tailsimp - omg lsdafj;asd thank you! I was worried I was going to lose people with that opening, but I'm really glad to hear it managed to be engaging. And yes, I'm really excited, too! hopefully it makes for an enjoyable read, even if the pacing ends up a little wonky. xD

@Garish Garchomp - Idk if it's wise that you're trusting me with Sonia, but I'm honored! ;w; I am so excited that she feels like she's got more depth already, and hope that continues. I'm rusty on 3rd person and writing from the POV of... well, anyone who's not Nat, but I think (hope) I've got a handle on Sonia's voice now. and thank youuuuu ❤ it's good to be back around...

@Rhema - !!!! i'm excited that you're excited! I know I can always count on you to appreciate some good ol' angsty romance with me hehe. hopefully this doesn't disappoint! ^^;

The Harris' cottage hasn't changed at all over the years.

Vines entangle the stone fence lining the property, overflowing from the flowerbeds that are meticulously tended to by Mrs. Harris. Gizmo trots along ahead of Sonia excitedly, tail wagging as he takes in the familiar smells. How many times had he visited here with her as a pup? Back then, she'd found any excuse possible to turn up at their door.

Now, she finds herself looking for any excuse to turn around.

Gran turned in early for the evening, leaving her to bring the cole slaw alone. Even down the way, she can hear laughter, smell the smoke from the fire spit, see the warm glow of the lanterns hanging from the pergola. Her grip tightens on the glass bowl as they crest the hill and round the corner, passing through the gate that's swung wide open, welcoming her inside.

She'd been expecting a large party -- not an intimate family barbeque.

"Good evening, Sonia!" chirps Mrs. Harris, making her way over. She frowns slightly, glancing around Sonia as if she's disappointed to see only Gizmo and her shadow in tow. "Is the professor not joining us this evening?"

"She sends her apologies," Sonia says quickly, extending the bowl. "We've been swamped prepping for challenge season. You know how it goes."

"Better than anyone, dear," she says with a wink. She doesn't take the dish. "Come on, food's not getting any warmer!"

Just like the house, Hop is exactly how she remembers him.

Granted, he's shot up over the years. Lankier, lost the baby fat in his cheeks, but still energetic and annoying as ever. He animatedly speaks with his friend -- another boy about his age -- gesturing with his skewers wildly. He only slows when he catches sight of her, and oh, apparently that hasn't changed, either.

He's almost cute, the way his forehead pinches when he frowns. He sets down his food and walks over, hands stuffed in his pockets churlishly. "If you're looking for Lee, he's--"

"I'm not," she assures him coolly. "Your mum invited Gran and me."

He relaxes a bit. "Oh, yeah. You help give out the Pokedexes 'n stuff to new challengers now, right?"

She raises an eyebrow, and holds up the bowl of slaw. "Erm, I guess. I wasn't told to bring anything but this." His face clouds a little, and she glances over at his friend -- and it's then that it clicks. "Oh, is that what the party's for? You're challenging this year?"

Suddenly, it makes a lot more sense why it's a small crowd.

He stoops down to rub Gizmo's ears fondly, making his hair stand on end with static. "Yeah! Got my license 'n everything. Lee's here to see me an' my mate off, and give us his endorsement!"

Gods above, they're starting them young these days. Her lips form a thin line. "Congratulations, Hop. Really." She taps the glass bowl with a fingernail, "Now, where can I put this?"

In the house he tells her, of course, with the rest of the food. She'd been hoping he'd carry it in for her like a right gentleman, but she supposes it's a stretch to expect that sort of hospitality from a 13 year-old. Especially the notoriously clueless Harris boys.

Which is how she finds herself in the kitchen, rooting through the drawers, trying to remember where they keep their slotted spoons. She doesn't think much of the distant voice in the other room, until it starts to float closer. Deep, official, borderline arrogant.

Shit.

She abandons the slaw, leaving it without proper utensils in her haste to make it to the door.

"Sonia?"

She freezes with her handle on the knob, takes a millisecond to compose herself, and then turns and gives him what she hopes passes as a pleasant smile. "Leon." He's staring, like she was the last person on earth he was expecting to see here, in this cottage where they practically grew up together. Like he's seeing a ghost.

Maybe that's not too far off.

The person on the other end of the line is still jabbering. Sonia blinks languidly, tilting her head to the side, and nods at his rotom phone. "You gonna…?"

That snaps him out of whatever stupor he's in. "Hey, listen mate, we've got guests arriving so -- yeah, next week, that's fine. Give the chairman my thanks."

He tucks the phone away in his pocket, and smiles warmly. "God, it's been ages!"

"It has," she says, keeping her voice level even as her heartbeat quickens. Her eyes skim over him briefly -- she doesn't allow herself to linger. Not on his taut shirt, nor his five o' clock shadow, and definitely not on his amber eyes. "You're looking well."

"They feed me good," he laughs, patting his stomach, and it's genuine. His phone beeps again, and she sees his hand twitch to check it. To his credit though, he doesn't. He steps forward and hesitates, like maybe he'd hug her if she didn't still have a hand on the doorknob. If there wasn't an eight year gap preventing any of this from feeling normal. "How've you been?"

"Fine," she says, voice clipped. The knob turns. "Should we…"

"Yeah, I better get back out there," he says with a sigh, rolling his shoulders as if to prepare himself. "Just had to take a quick call."

He follows her out the door and to the side patio, where everyone is clearly awaiting his return.

Sonia doesn't miss Hop's glare at the sight of them together.

She sits at the far end of the table, next to Hop's mate's mother. She introduces herself, and asks how Sonia knows the Harris'. Sonia opens her mouth to respond, but Leon -- from the head of the table, of course -- jumps in. "Sonia's the best cook! She makes a mean slaw."

A good cook? The tablecloth -- cheap polyester, dark in color and easy to launder -- bunches in her fist, and it's all she can do not to snap at him. Is that really all he thinks of her? After everything -- a good bloody cook. She shoves a bite of the offending slaw into her mouth, buying herself a moment to think of a proper response. "Yes, that's absolutely what I'm known for. My cooking," she says, hoping it sounds as bitter as she feels. "Never mind that we were rivals." Or childhood friends. Or anything more than that.

Hop snorts. "I don't really remember anyone but Raihan giving Lee a serious challenge. He's the greatest trainer in all of Galar!" He looks to his big brother, and gods, it's borderline pathetic how he panders for his attention.

She almost says what she's thinking -- that it's hard to notice anything when your head is so far up someone else's arse -- but she holds her tongue. This is Hop's big night, and besides, it's not him she's frustrated with.

Just make it through dinner, she tells herself. Get through dinner, grab the bowl, and get the hell out of dodge.

But it's never that simple.

Immediately following dinner, Leon makes a sweeping announcement: he comes bearing gifts. Everyone applauds -- applauds, honest to god, like they aren't his own family and neighbors -- and he releases three pokemon with flourish.

They're rare pokemon -- each having been on the endangered species list at some point or another. Hop is living up to his name, bouncing on the balls of his feet in anticipation. He clearly has his pick lined out -- no doubt the fire starter, to follow in Leon's footsteps. But his father places a hand on his shoulder and clears his throat, stilling him instantly. Hop deflates, and turns to his friend. "Victor, you're our guest. You can pick first if you'd like."

Victor strides forward, considering his options, and kneels before the Sobble. It shrinks from the attention, color fading from its skin as it tries to blend in with its surroundings. Relatable, she thinks, but Victor is patient. He doesn't say a word, just coos gentle sounds and extends a hand. The Sobble glances back at Leon, who gives an encouraging nod, and the water-type slowly creeps up the sleeve of his new trainer's arm, clinging to his shoulder.

Sonia sucks in a breath. Kid's a natural.

Hop tries to take a cue from his friend by crouching slowly in front of the Scorbunny, but he's practically vibrating with excitement and nerves, and he's about as piss-poor as Leon at hiding it. The Scorbunny's nose wriggles, ears pinned back, and tilts its head curiously before returning Hop's proffered fistbump. Hop whoops in triumph, startling the poor Sobble into a fit of tears, but his new Scorbunny mimics its trainer and leaps for joy.

Sonia finds herself reaching for Gizmo idly, and burying her hands in the ruff of fur on his neck. She remembers, vaguely, how sweet it was to get your starter. Her Boltund leans into her touch, stretching with a weary sigh, and her fingers brush over a thin, hairless line of scar tissue across his throat.

Her own throat tightens. Too young. They're starting them too young.

The two overzealous boys practically fall over themselves racing to the open field next to the house. The grass is clipped low, faded white lines painted to outline the 'battlefield'. Sonia wonders how many practice battles -- imaginary and real, she and Leon had in this very spot.

She hazards a glance his way, and he's watching them with a blank smile, arms folded across his chest, expression unreadable. Sonia wonders if he even remembers such humble beginnings.

"Challengers!" Leon booms, clearly giving his best impression of the chairman. It elicits nervous giggles from the boys, and makes her stomach turn. "This is your very first Pokemon battle! Show us what you've got!"

"You're going down, Vic!" Hop crows, winding his arm to warm up. His Scorbunny watches in earnest, and tries to imitate the action by flailing its arms.

The battle is boring, as most beginner battles are. Both trainers and pokemon are inexperienced and hesitant to hit, spending most of their time dancing around the inevitable. Victor clearly has the type advantage, but Hop doesn't seem deterred in the slightest.

He reminds her so much of his brother.

"Hey." Speak of the devil. She feels Leon sidle up next to her, hands shoved in his pockets as he kicks at a dirt clod. It takes everything in her power not to look at him. "I'm glad you came out tonight. It was really good to see you."

"Oh, you know me. I'll jump at any excuse to cook."

He winces, and rubs at the back of his neck. "C'mon Sonia, you know I didn't mean it like that. I was trying to compliment you."

She huffs, not taking her eye off the battle at hand, boring though it was. "I am a bloody good cook," she mutters.

He brightens. "You are! And a brilliant researcher, a patient teacher. And a great trainer," he adds, reaching down to stroke Gizmo's snout. She sneaks a glance at him, and he gives her a lopsided smile that makes her knees feel weak. He nudges his shoulder against hers disarmingly, and ugh it's not fair how well it works. "You didn't think I'd forgotten, did you?"

Warmth burns across her cheeks like a wildfire, and she's grateful for the dwindling light. She crosses her arms pointedly. "Pay attention to the battle, will you? Hop's looking over here every thirty seconds to make sure you're still watching, and you know how he feels about me."

Leon sighs, rubbing at his chin. "If he'd pay more attention to his partner he wouldn't be losing." She can't deny that. Hop's getting his ass handed to him. Leon shakes his head, and then inclines his head toward her. "Hey, so can they come grab their pokedexes tomorrow? I was planning on seeing them off, but I've got to be back in Motostoke soon."

It's not a problem. It's a simple phone patch, is all. But the request doesn't sit well with her. "Oh? Off so soon after gracing us with your presence for the first time in god knows how long?"

He blinks. "It's my job. We're prepping for the opening ceremony. I'll be around all season though."

Hop lets out a shout as his Scorbunny collapses in defeat, doused and exhausted. He cradles it close to his chest, but his eyes are on his brother.

"I'll be right back," Leon says, making his way over to the field to join the two boys. He places a hand on Hop's shoulder comfortingly, and shakes Victor's hand. Everyone swarms them, leaving Sonia on the fringe. It feels like she's intruding. It's a stark reminder of everything that has changed over time, even if the house and yard and people look more or less the same.

She leaves as quietly as she came.
 

Tailsimp

A Universally Under-Rested University Imp
🎇Contributor
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
50
Caught
Jun 15, 2019
Messages
494
Location
A Literal Desert
Nature
Quiet
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Electric, Psychic
Pokédex Entry
Tailsimp: The Impish Pokemon. Despite being quiet and reserved, this pokemon is usually very happy to talk and is always excited to help out!
You know, I'm not sure what to call this feeling of like, "nostalgia but sad," but man you portrayed it perfectly. The melancholy of being in old spaces that used to be comforting but now put you on edge or just make you miss how things used to be is so hard to nail down but its just all over Sonia here and its so engaging to read her interacting with an environment like that. Her sadness (and annoyance later on with Leon) feel so understandable, even tho it probably doesnt look like it is from the outside. And that last line was just a superb strike right to the heart. Really fantastic job you did here!
 

csidvuL

Conqueror of the Goldenrod Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
31
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
238
ugh sonia's mix of vaguely horny but also very aware of herself and prickly is incredibly relatable content! I hate feeling this seen! I also super enjoy the sort of informal jumble of this family gathering. The liveliness and the little pockets of quiet in it are things that I think you excel at portraying. Hop is a bean and a sprout! Looking forward to more!
 

Metafiction

Fourth Wall Demolitions Expert
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
237
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
27
Location
The depths of the nearest salt mine
Nature
Hasty
Pronouns
he/him/his
Pokémon Type
Water, Ground
Pokédex Entry
Writes in bursts of inspiration, followed by long lapses of inactivity. It reacts with sarcasm when provoked.
I'm really a fan of this already! I think the best part of this so far is, for lack of a more articulate way of putting it, the "feel" of things. The way the narration describes things, the emotions Sonia feels, you really get to see the world through her eyes, and her viewpoint as you've constructed it so far is a very interesting one. Whatever happened between her and Leon in the past, it's clear how much it's weighing on her right now, and honestly I think the way you show how that impacts her is fascinating. It's early days yet, but it'll be interesting to see where things go from here, especially between those two.

So...yeah. Looking forward to reading more!
 

Garnet

Hater of the Monty Hall Problem
Artist
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
322
Caught
Jul 2, 2019
Messages
146
Location
Littleroot, Hoenn
Nature
Quiet
Pronouns
They/He
Pokémon Type
Dark, Psychic
Pokédex Entry
A strange Pokémon that claims to be both an artist and writer, yet almost never has any work to show for either.
Oh god, that sort of awkward, moderately uncomfortable but not entirely negative nostalgia when Sonia and Leon interact or when she reminisces on their past together.. that's an Entire Mood right there. Like, seeing someone you were close to once after years of not talking only to see they're doing great while you're sort of stuck in a rut? I felt that.

(Spoilered for medical/health/hospital mention, not explicit, but a heads up for those that are uncomfortable with that topic) Back in December a friend of mine had to go to the ER (they're alright now, in the process of getting treatment for the condition that sent them there) and I was with them, and one of the workers at the front - Not sure if she was a nurse or just an assistant, but either way - was one of my friends from high school who I hadn't spoken to since the summer after graduation when they were working part time at Hot Topic. It's like, damn. You're out here working in the medical field probably making Bank and being Big And Successful and meanwhile I'm out here an assistant manager at a dollar store. Like, what are you supposed to say in a situation like that? And that's basically a big ol chunk of the feel I got from this haha

So basically, that vibe? Is legit.
 

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.
so glad I popped while the thread's early--and so excited it's finally here! yes!!!

like you, I was also captivated by Sonia when I first met her in SwSh--super relatable, insecure, uncertain of her future. I felt like she had such untapped potential and this run is stoking that fire even more. I like the dynamics you're exploring between Sonia and characters like Magnolia and Hop; they seem like natural extensions of the characters, and it's freshing to see Hop in particular from someone who basically doesn't see him as anything more than a brat XD

the changes are great as well. Gizmo being a Boltund instead of a Yamper is a great touch, and that scar alludes to so much... at first I wondered if Leon wasn't responsible, but the way he interacts with Gizmo is giving me second thoughts. Raihan, maybe? or a gym battle? either way, adds such poignancy to that thought of them starting early...

that last line is great too, so moody and understated. I kinda get that's where the title comes from. Sonia's just being blown this way and that, coming and going quietly, never feeling at home, drifting like the seed of a dandelion...

looking forward to more :)
 

Tookie

The Immoral Bard
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
80
Caught
Jun 16, 2019
Messages
425
Location
Southern England
Nature
Lax
Pronouns
He/Him
Pokémon Type
Poison, Psychic
Pokédex Entry
This user does not exist. All impressions to the contrary are propaganda pieces and not to be trusted.
oho, this is a refreshing take on hop! it's pretty great seeing him from the perspective of someone who doesn't think so highly of him the perils of the source material being intended for the young'uns

bratty hop is fun, busy overworked leon is fun, but aaa i hope sonia gets a break soon, she deserves it :(
 

AstroDeath

Conqueror of the Celadon Gym
Pokédex No.
44
Caught
Jun 12, 2019
Messages
32
As I said before, welcome to the multi-story club. Everybody eventually slips on the slope. Also: dande-leon.

Time to get acquainted with Galar's characters through fanfiction (since I'm beyond lazy playing Shield thus far, three and a half weeks in owning it haha.)

Can't say that's an anxious habit I have. Serious though, little habits like that, when a character's stressed or handling anxiety, is such a real character trait. Right out the gate we get a look at something that's a pretty deep part of Sonia's instincts. Man, I already love Magnolia; she's not mean, but she lets her granddaughter have it. The mausoleum joke got me a good laugh. She has no mercy on Sonia, goodness haha.

I like how you jump right in with the two of them. Super clear chemistry, both in Magnolia's teasing and then switching to serious mode. Doubly so in tandem with the brevity of the first part. I'm a sucker for shorter chapters, especially when it's clear a lot goes into a little. Something something less is more and all that jazz that I'm a giant fan of haha. And of course Sonia's nervous tic of twirling her hair made it into the story; something about the gesture in-game is neat to me; all too easy to avoid such small things in animation. Already wondering just how her and Unbeatable Bro are gonna be like interacting.

Fight the good fight. Do your best to honor the buffer and not let the devil tempt you (god is it fucking hard, as I'm learning with my own story haha.)

Man. Family and friends get-togethers are the best. Super home-y vibes, with the food and the fire pit and everything. It's a Pokemon game, so of course everything is real happy and rainbows and all that jazz, but that was one thing I did get a sense of: for all the extraness around Leon, it did feel like the player character and Hop's family got along real well growing up. I like how you got that going on here... though that said, Hop and Sonia don't seem the best of friends and I'm already wondering why.

Borderline arrogant. Hmmmmm.

Oh man. Looooads of tension. Bless Sonia for her restraint 'cause she really seems like she'd smack the shit out of Leon if the laws of public decency didn't stay her hand. It's early, so I could easily be reading it wrong, but I'm getting the feeling that she's real bent out of shape over Leon ascending to Poke-Godhood in Galar for being such a famous and unbeatable guy... and man, if that's the case, I feel for Sonia. That sucks, seeing your friend really change that way; he doesn't seem like an asshole over it, which in a way maybe stings more? It doesn't seem like he means any offense, but he's clueless to Sonia. Then of course Hop twisting the dagger by his older brother worship. Man, you've turned Hop into an absolute little teenager shit. It's polite to take the high ground, especially since she's older than Hop... but I couldn't blame Sonia if she put him in his place in his own home, at his own celebration. Might miss out on future get-togethers though.

Good choice, Victor.

Man. That hit hard, with Sonia thinking they're starting so young. Literally all you did was have her introspection and slightly touching Gizmo's scar, and man, was that all you needed to get that point across.

Having a crush is already bad enough to deal with, especially on someone you've grown up with. But to see it interfered with because of fame and fortune (and as Leon said, it's a job), that's even rougher. It's easy to label him as a bit of a 'bad guy', from Sonia's perspective, but I wonder what a cut to his point of view would reveal; the fact I'm wondering that shows how nicely you've done introducing everybody as actual human beings haha. Non-story related, I've found it easy to dislike Leon (he wears a cape and is a champion, he's got asshole Lance/Clair vibes, I cannot budge on this)--but I really like how you've taken his celebrity status and mixed it in with not entirely keeping up with his friends and family post-fame (at least, I think I've read this vibe right.) I usually give all the npcs a fair shake in stories, because writers make them more than just a static character in-game, but I've already taken to your versions of them all, even in spite of not really vibing with Galar in my short time with it.

Nostalgia is so strong, and I can't help but feel for Sonia. You're killing the millennial vibes with her haha.
 

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