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Thread Description
"According to Hop, I am Princess Peach." (Chapter 22 - 2/14 - One Year Anniversary!)

Dee

THIS IS MY HAPPY FACE
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
147
Caught
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
975
Location
Zion National Park
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
They/Them
Pokémon Type
  1. Bug
  2. Clever
Pokédex Entry
A regular writer of fanfics and other works, this pokemon loves puns, bugs, and the outdoors.
Such great chapters!

The ball was a lot of fun and I can see why you continually return to it! It's very exciting and fitting for the setting. I had a lot of fun with Bede, too. His description and interactions with Lav are purely on point. And CONDOM???!?!?! I was rolling, I can't believe.

I really like the pokemon in this one too! Zephyr's interactions with Buttercream were adorable, and I love the evolution. And Honey seems like a timid sweetie...
 

Spectacles

Rule Maker
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
139
Caught
Jun 24, 2019
Messages
666
Location
Pennsylvania
Nature
Jolly
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
Pokédex Entry
It hides deep inside caves where no light ever reaches it and remains virtually motionless there. ~Pokemon Crystal, entry #52
Ah Lav did such a great job at the gym! But social anxiety is a big bitch. Hopefully Honey can help her through these stressful times <3
 

lostballoon

sleepytime tea connoisseur
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
335
Caught
Jul 2, 2019
Messages
54
Location
lindsay lohan's party island
Nature
Jolly
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
  1. Grass
  2. Fairy
Milo reminds me of a turnip.

A cute turnip that doesn’t skip arm day.

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

Absolutely misread this as Milcery and was totally amazed!! Thought some totally wild worldbuilding had thrown me for a loop and this adorable romcom was speeding into UFC punchout drama territory.

SPEAKING OF ADORABLE ROMCOMS......I absolutely adore this run so far!!!! Lav is such a charming protagonist--she's sweet and relatable but not overly so, so that she stands on her own as a protagonist rather than as a vessel for the reader to live vicariously through! I love her history with Hop, and her longstanding crush on Leon is so sweet and innocent that I almost hope they don't get together, just so we get to read more of her pining. And while the gym battle was stunning (go Lav and press F for Milo's trainers), I loooove when you dive into more self-indulgent scenes like the ball!!! You can really tell how much fun you had writing that--from the Lav's nervous room-scans to her private dance with Leon (oh that reads really dirty sorry). you provide so many fun details and little, relatable asides that are just a delight to read!!! I'm so excited for more silly romcom cuteness!
 

glancesherlock

Consulting Detective
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
32
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
748
Location
221B Baker Street
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
  2. Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Just wants to stay home and solve crimes.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #24
@Whozawhatcha - I love Jerry and the Announcer so much?? I'm such a sucker for comedic characters we never see or have proper names for, so wynaut stuff both in here. And hehe sorry, but I am def one of those people who adores the Applin line. Appletun is just so perfectly awkward in design, and it was especially fun here to have Lav project on the most pitiful-looking dragon in the game.

@Dee - Bede is so. Much. Fun! I love this posh asshat, more than I've enjoyed previous dickhead rivals. It's the arc. The arc is good.

@Spectacles - Yeah, social anxiety is a bitch and a half in situations like these. Maybe taking on the League and putting herself in a position where she has a thousand eyes on her was a bad decision on Lav's part. lol

@lostballoon - Thank you!! I'm glad Lav is able to stand on her own as an entity. She's a mess and a ton of fun. As for the pining, I meannnnnnnnn you'll just have to wait and see. ;)
"private dance" *gasp* LOST.

Hey, apologies that I've skimped on the updates. Lately things have been, uh...

*checks news feed*

Stressful.

I'm in a fortunate position where both my husband and I are able to stay home without any loss of income, but I understand not everyone is so lucky. Stay safe and healthy out there, guys. Hope Lav's silly antics can give y'all some comedic relief in these hard times.

This is rough. Nessa’s definitely a lot harder than Milo. I don’t have an explicit type advantage like last time.​

But I have a Gretta advantage, and she is a tank.​

Fighting Goldeen was an uphill battle for Buttercream, but my big pink girl’s holding her own against this Arrokuda. It zips this way and that, hitting her again and again, but she takes it in stride and hits it with enough dazzling gleams and magical leaves to blind it into submission. Excitement surges through me as Nessa returns it.​

Just excitement and nothing else.

I didn’t eat today to be safe.​

“Wow!” This announcer is really good at pretending to be impressed. “Quite a storm of attacks from our challenger!”​

The other guy, not so much. “It’s a pretty basic strategy, honestly. Simple but safe.”​

“Jerry, here. Just take my coffee, you need it.”​

Nessa tucks an electric blue strand of hair behind her ear. She’s so serious and focused. She’s all in for this battle. She’s determined. She’s strong.​

She makes me want to cry in fluent bisexual.​

Yeah, I’ve really had to adopt some tunnel vision for this one.​

It becomes a lot easier not to stare at Nessa when she dynamaxes her Drednaw. I get busy with Gretta’s growth spurt, and I’m back to standing between two giant monsters ready to duke it out.​

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

…​

I don’t remember.​

I give the order, but Drednaw’s faster. A barrage of waterjets pummels Gretta, and I crouch as it crashes all around me. She’s quick to recover with her counterattack: a grassy wave of mushroom-like energy across the field.​

My fists clench. I stand fast, watching the two go back and forth, lobbing attack after attack at each other. Gretta can handle this. She’s got thicker skin than anyone else on the team. I picked her specifically for this battle after watching Hop struggle with his.​

Drednaw shrinks.​

I fall to my knees in relief.​

Nessa’s hesitant to shake my hand, and I don’t blame her, considering. That whole vomiting incident must have spread like wildfire. My face flushes when she flinches.​

“Er, I’m not going to…” I keep my hand out almost confidently, breathing deeply. “I’m fine.”​

She smiles and accepts it. “Yes, you are.”​

Haha, no.​

You’re fine.​

Oh god, I want to die.​

*****​

I nearly skip out of the gym. It’s time to celebrate. For real, this time! Maybe I’ll call Hop for ice cream. Or even Leon to tell him the good news? But what do I say? “Hey, I won, and I didn’t even toss my sick this time!”​

Certainly not.​

My planning comes to a halt when I see someone waiting for me in the lobby. At least, I assume she’s waiting for me. Her dead-eyed stare is scarily fixed on me.. It’s the woman I saw with Chairman Rose at the ball.​

“Miss Fog.” It’s not a question. She knows exactly who I am.​

“Y-yes?”​

“The chairman would like to extend an invitation to dine with him.”​

I nearly squint. “Chairman Rose?”​

“He’s waiting for you at the Captain’s Table.”​

The fuck. “W-wait, now? But I haven’t even healed my team—”​

“Let’s not keep the chairman waiting any longer.” She’s so monotone, but it’s oddly commanding. When she turns around, I only feel compelled to follow her.​

My first thought when I enter the Captain’s Table: I am not dressed for this place.​

My second thought: neither is the chairman.​

He’s rocking the dad bod in a white sweatshirt, with sunglasses, a baseball cap, and… I’m assuming they’re supposed to be patterned shorts, but they just look like boxers—bloody boxers!​

Third thought: Condom is here, sitting across from Rose.​

What, pray tell, the fuck?​

“Ah, Oleana!” Rose brings his hands together. “Thank you for fetching our honored guest.”​

Oleana. Oh, I never asked for her name. Should I have? Probably. That was rude.​

Rose offers me a seat next to Condom. I’d really rather not, but I’m not exactly the one in charge here. Condom doesn’t acknowledge me. He stares forward, his face halfway between snobbish and ticked. His default expression, probably.​

I suppose now I can test that steak theory.​

“Congratulations on your victory, Miss Lavender.” Rose smiles at me, rubbing a gold band on his pinkie. “It appears Leon’s endorsement has not gone in vain.”​

I swallow. “Thank you, sir.”​

“Apologies for the getup. Sometimes my public outings require something more inconspicuous.”​

He’s not. He’s not inconspicuous.​

Like, literally every person in the restaurant is looking at him.​

Oleana doesn’t join us at the table. Instead, she positions herself behind Rose, staring forward with that same blank expression. Between her silence and Condom’s, Rose might as well be the only other person here.​

"I've been informed you have a knack for dragons and fairies." His smile looks painted on. "Interesting combination. What made you settle on those?"​

Oh, he's probably expecting a much more impressive answer than the truth. I give him my default bollocks. "They're natural enemies. It's challenging to have them cooperate."​

Challenging. Zephyr has greeted each new fairy with open arms, and I think Buttercream’s already taken a liking to Honey. Every single one of my babies is a cinnamon roll.​

"Fascinating, fascinating. I'm a steel man myself. Strong, industrious. Fits with the branding, you see. Speaking of, how exactly do you know our boy Leon?" He pivots so fast, I wonder if the first question was just a preamble.​

Condom shifts next to me. He rubs the face of his watch. I think his scowl grew wider.​

Rose hasn't introduced him yet.​

"His brother Hop and I are best friends," I answer quietly. "I've known Leon since I was seven."​

"Really?” His voice gets higher with interest. “I don't believe he's mentioned you before this season."​

Yeah, that figures.​

...But dammit, not once?​

"Of course, he's a busy lad," Rose muses cheerfully. "My doing, I'm afraid. Tend to keep him on his toes, but he's a good sport about it."​

I think about how tired Leon looked at the ball.​

"Y-yeah, sounds like he does a lot."​

"He’s a good boy. Like a son to me, really."​

Condom speaks up. "Too busy to help you with what's really important, though." There's venom in spades. "That's why I'm here."​

Rose shifts his eyes, but it's Oleana who addresses him. "You're doing a fine job, Bede. You've conducted the chairman's work admirably."​

Bede.​

Like.​

Beads?​

Anal Bedes.​

I bite the corners of my mouth to fend off a smirk.​

"Oh, actually…" There's a twinkle in Rose's eye. "Since I have both of you here, why not show me your might, hm? Pit my pony against Leon's."​

I don't even know where to begin with that. "I'm s-sorry, excuse me?"​

"The chairman endorsed me for the League this season," Condom (yes, he's still Condom) explains, looking downright punchable. "I've two badges, same as you. Quicker to earn them, of course."​

"Come now," Rose rests his chin on his hands and gives me the doughiest eyes ever. His sleeve slips, revealing a gold watch. It matches Condom’s. "Humor an old man."​

Oh, they want me to battle. My hands shake, so I hide them under the table.​

"Oh, I couldn't," I stammer. "I've just wrapped up my match with Nessa, and I haven't even healed my team—"​

Rose cuts me off with a snap of his fingers. "Oleana, could you oblige Miss Lavender?"​

It's hard to tell if my stuttering protests are in my head, or if I just sit there babbling. Either way, it's weird watching a near-stranger take my babies away. They’re gone. It’s unnatural.​

"There!" Rose smiles like everything’s all fixed. It isn’t. I want my Pokemon back so I'm… so I’m not alone. "We'll dine, and by the time we’ve finished, they'll be fighting fit and ready to go!"​

We finally order. I just get a salad. I barely eat it.​

*****

Shit, this guy's actually really good!​

He gives me the smuggest smirk as Gretta goes down to his Hatenna. Shines that watch right in my face to celebrate. Fucking purple-eyed, parka dress, Golden Girls-looking motherfucker.​

I grit my teeth, keenly aware of Rose and Oleana watching this. It's throwing me off something fierce, and if I could get Zephyr to evolve right now and fly me away, I would.​

Condom recalls Hatenna, which means we're both on our last 'mon. I'm not using Honey, she's not ready. So it's been a three-on-four. Gretta took out those first two after Buttercream had a nasty hit from Solosis. It's been close, though, so close. He rarely gives verbal orders, just snaps his fingers at his Pokemon like a douche. I have a feeling he's been training these guys up for a long time.​

The moment Zephyr goes on the pitch, I feel relaxed. My best boy. My ace. Condom is toast.​

Condom is a little bitch.​

Condom has a Ponyta, oh my god!

I have a plush at home, but I’ve never seen one in-person!​

It's cute!​

It's so fucking cute!​

This should be illegal!​

He does not deserve such a pure baby!​

A pure, restricted baby!​

That means this fucker has a fairy-type certificate like mine!

…​

AHHHHH!​

…​

I have to focus!

Ponyta are best at ranged attacks. They like to keep their opponents at bay so they can fire psychic energy or charge, so I try to keep Zephyr close with leech life and the occasional bite. It's almost unfair. It's completely unfair. How many years would I go to jail if I stole this thing right here and now? Ten to life? Worth it.​

God, I'm close to tears. It's so beautiful and perfect, but I have to fight it, because it belongs to that bitch-ass Condom. This is almost as bad as battling Wilma.​

Almost.​

I need one. I'll catch one and evolve it and sweep Leon on its back, and then we'll ride off into the Wild Area for the rest of our days.​

Yes.​

Zephyr stands victorious, and I have to wipe my face. What a bittersweet battle. Forced to wound such a majestic creature. Such cruelty. Such barbarism.​

I never left my horse phase, does it show?​

Zephyr flies to my arms, and I coo incoherent praise at him. Rose’s singular applause shakes me back to reality.​

“Well done, young lady.” The chairman’s jovial tones send a strange wave of pride through me. “We may have to keep an eye on you this season. Leon could be in some real trouble.”​

My face flushes. “H-heh. Yeah,” I shrug. “W-we’ll see.”​

I side-eye Condom. He’s running a hand through his old-lady hair, still looking smug all to hell. If faces could flip the bird, that was the look he gave me.​

Something tells me I have another rival.​

Zephyr knows something’s wrong. He keeps close to my head and gives my hair an occasional lick. I can almost feel him watching over me, and I don’t deserve him.

Shout out to Aurea's husband for Anal Bedes. It was too good, had to steal it from 'im.
 

Rhema

Conqueror of the Azalea Gym
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
212
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
212
Location
Hearthome City
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
She/Her/Hers
Pokémon Type
  1. Fire
  2. Psychic
Pokédex Entry
She tries her best, but doesn't succeed. She gets what she wants but not what she needs.
How did I miss a chapter of this?! Sorry about that, must've slipped past me. Even so, I'm pumped to have gotten to read TWO awesome chapters of this fic tonight.

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.​

As someone who loves Cleffa, this especially warmed my cold, dead heart.

Also, I am giggling like a fifteen year old girl at the fact that you've dubbed Bede, Condom. It's hilarious to read every single time. This fic is a breath of fresh air and a really fun read in the middle of the craziness of the world. Well done once again!
 

pinkshellos

Black Lives Matter !!
Artist
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
1220
Caught
Dec 23, 2019
Messages
474
Location
Hoenn Route 120
Nature
Calm
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
  1. Bug
  2. Flying
Pokédex Entry
A timid Pokémon typically found in groups. The only thing that motivates her more than companionship is food.
It’s great to catch up on this ‘locke! I missed Lavender and her relatable antics.
 

Dee

THIS IS MY HAPPY FACE
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
147
Caught
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
975
Location
Zion National Park
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
They/Them
Pokémon Type
  1. Bug
  2. Clever
Pokédex Entry
A regular writer of fanfics and other works, this pokemon loves puns, bugs, and the outdoors.
Lav remains arguably the most relatable nuzlocke protag of ALL TIME, I was swimming in laughs at crying in fluent bisexual and her shenanigans with Bede Condom. Speaking of, I like what you're doing with his character, too!
 

Spectacles

Rule Maker
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
139
Caught
Jun 24, 2019
Messages
666
Location
Pennsylvania
Nature
Jolly
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
Pokédex Entry
It hides deep inside caves where no light ever reaches it and remains virtually motionless there. ~Pokemon Crystal, entry #52
Ah I'm so glad the second gym battle went batter!! I don't blame Lav for geeking over the Ponyta; that was basically my exact reaction when the design was revealed.
 

glancesherlock

Consulting Detective
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
32
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
748
Location
221B Baker Street
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
  2. Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Just wants to stay home and solve crimes.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #29
@Rhema - I love friendship evolutions!! Especially writing them, because for a character like Lav, feeling loved is a rarity, I like this cute little moment.
lol The Condom nickname is immature to the point of parody. I love it so much.

@pinkshellos - Thank you!! Glad you like her antics.

@Dee - Thank you~ 😭 Bede Condom became one of my favorite characters to write for, and I kept finding ways to make him fit in thematically, so I'm excited to share more of him down the road.

@Spectacles - Me toooooooo. It's so hecking cute and precious. I reverted to a child the second I saw it. lol

It hurts.​

It hurts so much I forget to cry quietly.​

It hurts so fucking much I can’t speak. I can’t calm down. I’m just wailing in this loo stall and shaking like a fucking leaf. My face is on fire. I’m barely breathing.​

The fire badge is in my hand. I want to flush it down the toilet.​

My babies.​

They’re dead.​

They’re fucking dead.

Nobody’s around, and nobody’s answering their damn phones!

I call Hop again. Sixth time. Straight to voicemail. I want to scream and call him a bastard for not having his phone on, but I can’t… I can’t. Son of a bitch!

I try Leon three times. Sonia twice. I even let my thumb hover over Chairman Rose’s name as I contemplate telling the big man in charge I quit.​

Fuck this. ​

Fuck everything.​

Fuck Kabu.

No.​

FUCK ME.

I didn’t prepare enough.​

Gigantamax. What the hell is that?? No. I’ve heard of it before. It’s like... Leon’s Charizard. Ignatius, yeah. But nobody told me I had to face it now!​

Sally, my new Hatenna, I thought she’d be fine, but she was trapped in that fire spin, and I couldn’t… I couldn’t even see her!​

And then.​

Oh god.​

No.​

I saw that giant ass fucking fire bug and just panicked. No one had the strength to take it alone, even dynamaxed. There was no room to switch out mid-fight. It was like… I had to pick.

I couldn’t lose Zephyr. Never Zephyr! Gretta, no. She’s… too special. Doc, the new guy, I need him.​

Honey wouldn’t be fair.​

Buttercream… it had to be Buttercream. It still wasn’t fair, but I threw her out and just covered my face as she put her whole self into that fight.​

And where the fuck is she now?!​

I scream.​

So loud.​

A new wave of tears bursts through, and I jam my palms against my forehead. The world’s so loud and crowded and empty and awful. It’s never going to stop. I’m just going to sit here and cry forever until everything ends and I’m dead.​

There’s a knock. It startles me.​

The world goes quiet.​

“Oh, sorry,” says a soft voice. “You just seem a little… Do you need a doctor or something?”​

I shake my head, forgetting she can’t see.​

She continues when I don’t reply. “I watched the match. Bloody brutal. Think Kabu’s mind might be chipped a bit. He went too hard in the paint.”​

I watch a tear join the small puddle on the floor. My sobs are quieter.​

“If you don’t mind me saying, I think you handled it well. Saving Noibat for the end was your safest bet. I could’ve done no less.”​

She’s… nice. She doesn’t know who I am, but she’s being nice. I don’t understand. I mean, I’m especially pathetic right now, but this doesn’t feel like pity. Still, I say nothing. Listening is easier. Listening is helping me breathe.​

I can’t open the door, though.​

“I have people waiting on me, but if you need someone to talk to, I’ve… Well, I’ve been where you are. Here.”​

I hear a zipper, then scratching and paper ripping. A folded piece is tossed under the door.​

“Call me if you like.”​

The world is quiet. I’m breathing.​

She leaves. I stare at the paper until she’s long gone. My shaking fingers find it and slowly flatten it out. Sure enough, there’s a number there with a heart.​

Her name is Marnie.​

*****

I lay silently on my bed at the Budew Drop Inn. Nothing sounds okay right now, not the telly or the games on my phone. I just want to be with my team.​

Everyone’s out. Well, save for Doc. I’m certain this place frowns upon Koffing fumes.​

Zephyr knows something’s wrong. He keeps close to my head and gives my hair an occasional lick. I can almost feel him watching over me, and I don’t deserve him.​

Gretta’s asleep by my feet. I hold Honey close to my heart.​

No word from Mum. With any luck, she had a shift during my match and missed the whole thing. Hid my phone away for the rest of the night, too ashamed to check it. I’m not ready to speak with her. Tomorrow. I’ll call her tomorrow and tell her I’m coming home.​

My eyes are red and puffy, but I’ve run dry.​

Knock at the door. For some reason, I imagine it’s that girl again. I don’t move.​

More knocking, insistant knocking.​

“Lav, open up!”​

Shit.​

Slowly, very slowly, I shift, waking up Gretta and disturbing the others. I nearly choke when I spy through the peephole, but I can’t leave them hanging. I unlock the chain and the deadbolt.​

Hop just about tackles me to the floor and holds me tighter than he ever has, apologizing profusely.​

Leon’s in the hallway, two pizzas in one hand and a twelve-pack in the other. He looks lost, and not in his usual way. Entering my room, he holds up the food like some kind of peace offering.​

“There’s ice cream melting in my bag. ...We brought Mario Kart.”​

*****

I cry three more times in front of them before I finally come down.​

The one consolation is Leon holds me through the third fit, so looking like a total bitch-ass in front of him doesn’t feel so bad.​

“I’ll have to speak with Kabu,” he says. “It’s… weird. Normally he’s this pillar of restraint, but even Rose agrees he went too far. Maybe he’s just getting old.” His arms are so nice. They’re around me. They’re… safe. “I mean, this happens a few times every season, but not until far later in the summer. They’ll come up with some kind of compensation. Not sure what, but something.”​

“I don’t want it,” I murmur. “It was my fault.”​

Hop’s watching me with worry. “That’s not fair to say.”​

But it’s true.​

I feel guilty about their concern, so I try to smile and insist on Karting. A few laps in, and my mood grows decent. Okay, even. Wilma lends herself to me as a pillow, and her presence is more healing than modern medicine. Leon’s back becomes my foot rest, and I joke that he’s just going to have to deal. ​

...He should wear jeans more often.​

Hop’s on the corner of the bed, and Gretta’s curled up beside me, and I’m feeling… fine.​

Not sure how long we’re at it, but we play each cup at least once. We have to make a rule that the winner switches characters, because Hop is literally unbeatable with King Boo. It becomes a competition between me and Leon how many times we can blue-shell him. For laughs, we play one cup as our designated characters (I swear they let me win that one).​

We mess around with the replay feature, and Hop likes to do this thing where he mimics Luigi's slow-motion death stare, and it kills me every time. My first bout of laughter of the night.​

I'm two beers in. Even though I'm full of pizza and half-melted ice cream, I can feel it. And I'm emotional.​

Oh no.​

I love my boys. I love them sooooooo much.​

"I'm really gonna miss you guys this summer," I state bluntly.​

Hop raises an eyebrow. "What's that about?"​

If I don't tell them now, they'll just learn tomorrow from someone else.​

"I'm going home," I say, keeping my eye on Peach. "I quit."​

One of them pauses the game. ​

"Sorry, what!" Hop looks like I slapped him, and it stings. I don't need to look at Leon to know he's disappointed.​

"Alright, then." He rolls out from under my legs and pops open another round of bottles. Our fingers touch as he hands me one, and the jolt I feel tells me getting more drunk is a mistake.​

But fuck it. I take a huge swig.​

We sit in a circle. They want me to explain. No, they know why. This is an intervention.​

Still, they let me speak.​

"I was… scared." I admit. "They just… stopped moving. I wanted to run off the pitch and keep running forever. I wanted to hide, but I was trapped there while everyone watched…" My throat catches. They're staring at me. I stare at my beer. "I love my babies so much, and I don't want to feel that again."​

Hop takes my hand. "What if I help you train?"​

"I don't know. I don't think I'm cut out for this."​

"But you love battling."​

"I'm not good at it, though."​

"Now I know that's bollocks!" Hop squares his jaw. "Three matches, you and I, and I haven't come out on top once. If you aren't meant for the League, what chance have I got?"​

My head snaps up. "N-no, Hop! I don't mean it."​

"I'm just takin' the piss." He grins. "You've got talent, Lav. This was… I dunno, a freak tragedy. Just give it some thought."​

It’s hard to think about reconsidering. I’m already committed. If I bounce back and forth, I’ll stress myself out.​

Leon speaks up. “Well, for what it’s worth, I think you’re both doing better than me my first season.”​

I squint. “You became champion your first season.”​

He nearly chokes on his beer. “What? No. There was a whole year of treading water before that. I was a wreck. Just ask Sonia, I didn’t know up from purple.”​

It’s right there. He’s handed it to me on a silver platter. “You still don’t know up from purple.”​

“Psssshhhhhh.” His hand covers my face with a push, and I giggle as I fall backwards.​

As I struggle back up, he launches into his story. “No, I dropped out after the second gym. It wasn’t Nessa yet, still her predecessor. He took me for a nightmare of a ride, and I about tore the whole place to the ground. Told Sonia I was done, and I quit, ran back home.”​

Hop furrows his brow. “Mum said you came home ‘cause you were sick.”​

“Mum also told you a Ribombee snuck into your room at night and traded your lost baby teeth for coppers.”​

He shrugs, point taken.​

“I moped around for weeks,” Leon continues. “Couldn’t get me to do anything, my motivation was shot. Then one day—I think this was the first time you came over for a playdate.” He points to me, and my heart gets loud for a beat. “Mum and Dad were out for the day, and I was watching you lot. Of course, I was just vegging in my room, depressed as all get-out. I came downstairs for a bag of crisps, and you two were gone.” He holds up his hands like a magician. “Just vanished. I panicked. Ran around everywhere screaming your names. Nothing. ‘Till I found Wilma’s hoofprints in the mud.”​

“Oh, wait!” Hop interjects. “I remember now. She’d run off, and we chased after her.” He looks to me. “Right?”​

I shrug. “I don’t know what you guys are talking about.”​

“Well, we woulda been seven. That’s not too young. Keep going, Lee. Maybe you’ll jog it.”​

He takes a drink. “You’d gone into the Slumbering Weald. I found you both on the path, knocked right out. Could barely see you under the fog. I thought you were dead at first. Came this close to calling the cops, ambulance, anyone.” He shakes his head. There’s still a trace of worry on his face, like it’s stuck with him all this time. “But I shook Hop awake, carried you back to the house. Maybe that’s why you don’t remember.”​

I just shrug again. “Maybe.” Wish I could’ve, though. But just the, er, Leon carrying me bit.​

“The whole thing made me think: I have to step up. As a brother, as a… well, everything. And I knew what I wanted. So I got a better team together, trained like hell throughout the year, registered the next season, and shit, here I am.”​

The three beers in me are a monster. “Wearing just about the worst cape in history.”​

Leon snorts. “Yes, that gaudy thing.”​

“But awww!” Hop leans his head on his brother’s shoulder. “You’re champion ‘cause of us?”​

Leon ruffles his hair. “Yeah mate, thanks for the heart attack.”​

Maybe it’s the beer or my high-emotional day—eh, it’s both—but I melt. I set aside my empty bottle and knock them over in a group hug.​

Dummies, both of them.​

They stay for a while. We flip on the telly, mute it, and try to dub it over with our own silly dialogue. I’m too giggly to be good at it. Hop has about a million voices in him and can imrpov for three characters in a scene. I’m drunk as fuck and laugh until I’m sore and realize I am exhausted.

I’m sleepily lying next to Leon. If I were sober, I’d probably care more about how much I’m staring at him. God, those golden-ass Fisher boy eyes. They shouldn’t even be real. He hasn’t shaved today. I like it. I want to braid his hair.​

“Hey, Leon,” I slur. Five beers now. It’s bad. “You wanna know why I decided to train dragons and fairies? Like just those two?”​

He rolls over and props his head up with his palm. “Sure. Why?”​

“Fairies are really pretty,” I explain, with all the authority of an Eiscue in the desert. “And if I’m the princess of the group, then I should have pretty Pokemon.” I giggle. Stupid. “Then I found out most fairies are assholes, so I love them for that too.”​

He purses his lips with amusement, clearly not as drunk as I am. If at all. “Okay. And what about dragons?”​

“Er, because…” Another giggle fit interrupts me. I’m still not drunk enough to tell the truth. I say the first thing that pops in my head. “Because dragons go rawr.”​

Those lips purse harder, and I wanna smooch.​

I don’t, though, are you fucking kidding.

“Because they go rawr,” he repeats.​

“Yeah.” I beam, proud of my dumbassery.​

“Wow, Lav,” Hop chuckles, patting my head. “You’re cut off.”​

“Ffffffffine.” I bury my face in my forearms for no reason and close my eyes.​

And I stay there.​

And I almost fall asleep, but there’s a pit in my stomach that won’t let me go entirely.​

After a while, I hear, “Hey, Lee. She asleep?”​

“Yeah.”​

“How much did she have?”​

“Er, I lost count.”​

I hear shifting. They keep their voices low. I should probably let them know I’m still awake, but eh.​

Fuck it.​

“I’ll grab her the bathroom bin just in case.”​

I hear Hop walk away, and after a moment or two I feel a blanket being draped over me.​

There’s the sound of a crinkling bag as the bin is set on the floor, coupled with noises of the two of them cleaning up.​

"Thanks for coming, Lee. I know you had something going."​

"It's fine. I'll get an earful from Rose, but he'll calm down. Couldn't leave her alone."​

I just breathe.​

“Grab her pillow,” Hop whispers.​

My neck shifts as someone lifts.​

“Watch her head.”​

“She’s not porcelain, Lee.”​

My head comes back down on a pillow, and oooooh that does it. I’m not moving for the rest of the night.​

There's a pause.​

"You think she'll be alright?" Leon’s concern sends me to the moon.​

"She's like you, mate. She keeps it bottled."​

"Yeah, but you usually know."​

"Not always. C'mon, Wilma. Leave her be."​

As the Wooloo climbs off the bed, Leon adds, "You're in charge, Zephyr. Keep her company."​

They're leaving. I don't want them to, except I do a little so I can smile at what they're saying.​

There's a hand in mine. It's a little calloused.​

Leon's voice is close. "Whatever you do, Lav, just stay strong, alright?"​

I take a deep breath and can't stop myself on the exhale. "Okay…"​

He squeezes my hand, and then he's gone.​

I sleep for ten hours, and I don't throw up.​

*****

"Hey, Mum."​

"Lav dear, finally! I've been calling and calling you. You need to pick up, or I’m going to worry."​

"Yeah. I'm sorry."​

"I heard what happened from Hop's mum. Are you okay?"​

"I guess…"​

"Well, do you need a lift home? I know how you get. Won’t be ideal, but I can find a cover and drive up to Motosoke—"​

"No, Mum. Stay home. I… I'm gonna keep going."​

"Hammerlocke tomorrow, yeah?" Hop settles himself on him a log. "You ready?"

I shrug. "Sucks the week is ending."

"Wild Area will still be around." He pets Wilma's head as she saunters to him. He winks. "We'll do this again. Maybe after the challenge is over and I'm champion."

"I highly doubt that will happen."

That fucking voice behind us.

Hint: first name Condom, last name Anal Bedes.

This concludes Arc I: Still Into You! Arc II: All I Wanted will kick off next week. No break in between - no point when everything is pretty much written lol.

Kabu's battle was rough, y'all. It was.... so damn rough. XD I went in waaaaaay underleveled, so that's entirely my bad. Sorry, Lav.

I like this chapter for a number of reasons. It's the first death (two actually) and the first big dose of feels. And I thought it was important to have a scene where Lav, Hop, and Leon just hang together and breathe as characters. They've known each other for years, so I wanted to show that and especially showcase Hop and Leon's dynamic. Making them closer in age has been fun for writing Hop. He still puts his brother on a pedestal, but he's old enough to joke around with him and be his own goofy entity.

Thanks for sticking around this long! I definitely put on my pantsing hat for this fic, and this was the moment I decided that yes, I did want to do plot. So... that's coming.

Toodles!
 

Rhema

Conqueror of the Azalea Gym
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
212
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
212
Location
Hearthome City
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
She/Her/Hers
Pokémon Type
  1. Fire
  2. Psychic
Pokédex Entry
She tries her best, but doesn't succeed. She gets what she wants but not what she needs.
Omg, I am *here* for more drunk off her ass Lav.

Also, for such a lighthearted fic, I think you did an excellent job handling death- I just wrote my first death scene so I’m keenly aware of how difficult it can be. I enjoy that we kind of get dropped into her grief and anger, rather than witnessing the death first hand in the story. It’s an interesting way to portray things that I haven’t seen done before. I found myself really empathizing with Lav!
 

Dee

THIS IS MY HAPPY FACE
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
147
Caught
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
975
Location
Zion National Park
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
They/Them
Pokémon Type
  1. Bug
  2. Clever
Pokédex Entry
A regular writer of fanfics and other works, this pokemon loves puns, bugs, and the outdoors.
The fire badge is in my hand. I want to flush it down the toilet.​
My babies.​
They’re dead.​
They’re fucking dead.
Buttercream… it had to be Buttercream. It still wasn’t fair, but I threw her out and just covered my face as she put her whole self into that fight.​
And where the fuck is she now?!​
I scream.​
So loud.​

Maybe it's because this run has been so light and sweet, but these lines killed me. They just knifed me right in my feels. Like oof! Vicious! But I love you for it. Good going, Glance. And the rest of the chapter was solid, too. It was nice to see the three of them all hanging out and being friends together.
 

glancesherlock

Consulting Detective
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
32
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
748
Location
221B Baker Street
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
  2. Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Just wants to stay home and solve crimes.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #32
@Rhema - Yeah, poor Lav. It was definitely an artistic choice to start with the grief and totally not because I didn't feel like writing the battle.

@Dee - 🙃 I do love my sads. I'm a big fan of using short sentences to convey devastation, and Lav isn't the most articulate person when she's upset, so ye. Small, emotional jabs.

Arc II - All I Wanted Let's goooooo.

"C'mon, Lavender! She's this way."​

"Hop, my mum says I'm not supposed to be here. Let's go get your brother."​

"No, we gotta find Wilma! If we go back, she'll get more lost."​

"But um… I'm scared."​

"Just hold my hand, okay?"​

"...Okay."​

"I see her! Wilma! Here, girl."​

"Hop, the fog is worse. I don't wanna keep going."​

"Stay here. I'll get her."​

"Be quick, okay?"​

…​

"Hop? Hop, where are you?"​

…​

"Hop, I don't like this, come back!"​

…​

"Hello?"​

…​

…​

"HELP!"​

*****

Hop and I backpack through the Wild Area for a week. Normally, it's only a two-day hike from Motosoke to Hammerlocke, but we wanted to make it an adventure.​

Besides, I felt the need to bond with my team and really boost them up. For their sake and mine.​

We have three campsites throughout the week. The first is a beach-side place near a berry grove. We rent a wok from a nearby outpost and cook our best food there. Hop spends most of his time splashing in the lake chasing Magikarp while I train my team and make flower crowns for Zephyr and Gretta. Honey gets a special one when she finally evolves. She's a lumbering, soft Appletun now, and she looks radiant in violets.​

Second site is in the forest. Hop goes treasure hunting with his Corvisquire, and they bring back things other trainers left behind: spoons, broken PokeBalls, buttons, and lost jewelry.​

I catch a Ribombee after our first night in the woods and name her Ingrid. She observes Hop's excursions and copies him, bringing me honeycombs.​

Like.​

So many honeycombs.​

I love her.​

We stay at our third site the longest. It's just in sight of Hammerlocke on the edge of the Dusty Bowl. There's a pond, some trees, and a good field for training. We're high up enough to survey the land we've traveled. It's vast and beautiful, but more importantly, it's quiet and still. Even with all the wildlife. No anxiety. No demands. I can breathe.​

Honestly, the whole experience makes me wonder why I partake in society.​

"Chilli powder in yours, Lav?" Hop rummages through his little spice collection. He's got a curry going, enough to feed us and our teams.​

"Just a bit. Oh, thank you, Ingrid."​

I take the honeycomb my Ribombee proudly presents to me before she buzzes off, probably to find more. I call to Honey, and she slowly waddles over. I feed her the treat and give her chin scratches as she munches.​

Awkward, a little funny. Still not sure what to do with herself. Pathetic. I'll protect her from the whole world if I have to.​

Zephyr clambers onto my shoulder to beg for curry. I give him a spoonful of rice with sauce, and he chirps happily.​

Gretta rests under a tree nearby. I like to imagine she's keeping watch. She's massive now, nearly as tall as me. That moonstone was a lucky find. She's all but unstoppable, and intimidating despite her soft face. It's comforting to know I have something so strong with me. My big, pink bodyguard.​

Doc sorta keeps to himself. Seems like he's still getting used to acquiring a second head. He floats about like he's on patrol, grunting here and there, smokestacks puffing. He's a funny one, but he rounds us out invaluably.​

Just need a… sixth member.​

My chest tightens. I avert my eyes from the fire.​

"Check this, Lav. Hey, Bongo!" Hop calls to his Thwakey. "Here's a beat."​

He breaks a stick in half and taps rhythmically on the wok. Bongo watches him repeat the pattern before he retrieves his sticks, his drumsticks, from his head fur and joins in.​

They go at it, like a two-man percussion band. Bongo jumps and screeches with excitement. It almost sounds like music until it just devolves into banging on the wok.​

I applaud, laughing. "You could be twins."​

"Mum always said I was a monkey." Hop chuckles and brings Bongo in for a rough hair ruffle.​

I want to have days like this forever.​

But…​

"Hammerlocke tomorrow, yeah?" Hop settles himself on him a log. "You ready?"​

I shrug. "Sucks the week is ending."​

"Wild Area will still be around." He pets Wilma's head as she saunters to him. He winks. "We'll do this again. Maybe after the challenge is over and I'm the champion."​

"I highly doubt that will happen."​

That fucking voice behind us.​

Hint: first name Condom, last name Anal Bedes.​

There it goes. My good mood.​

"What are you doing here?" I sneer at him, making doubly sure to convey he isn't welcome.​

He casually polishes that oversized watch on his sleeve. "Special mission from the chairman. I heard a racket and thought it might be a dying Wimpod. Guess it was two."​

"Oh." Hop swirls his spoon in Condom's direction. "Is this that love child between Bea Arthur and Draco Malfoy?"​

"Unfortunately."​

Condom gives me a nasty grin. "Better that than a basket case who tossed her sick on a gym leader. Almost impressed you held it in after things went south on Kabu's pitch."​

I should have a retort, but I don't. My stomach knots, and my head droops.​

"Ooh, too soon then?"​

"No mate, go on." Hop's already storming towards Condom, PokeBall in hand. "If you're feeling Froakie, then jump."​

Condom narrows his eyes. “I don’t need to humor the champion’s bluk-haired parasite.”​

“Say that again.”​

I find my voice. It’s small. “Hop…”​

“Just repeating what I’ve heard, mate.” Condom shrugs. “There’s talk in every gym about Leon’s younger brother, how he dressed like a clown at the Rose Ball, jumps into battles he can’t handle, and earns his badges with only a passable performance. Quite a stain on Leon’s reputation, if you ask me. Champion for a record ten years, and his brother turns out to be a bloody joke.”​

I should stand up and help, but I’m a coward. “Hop…”​

“And here he is camping out with this mental case.”​

Hop looks ready to have a conniption. “She beat your sorry arse.”​

“A fluke.” He runs a stupid hand through his stupid hair. “Sure it won’t repeat if I challenge her again.”​

“Nah, Dorothy.” Hop all but digs the PokeBall into Condom’s chest. “This one’s with me.”​

I don’t like how smug he is. “Have it your way.”​

Hop sends his Corvisquire out first.​

It struggles against Condom’s Duosion, but manages to bring it down. A Hattrem enters the field, and my throat tightens as I think about fire. It takes out Corvisquire, then Bongo with little trouble.​

Wilma’s last. Hop shaved his team down for the sake of focusing on the ones special to him. He tells his Wooloo to jump in and stay close.​

No. Bad move. Hattrem prefer physical, close-range attacks, but it feels wrong to intervene. If I help, it won’t be Hop’s win.​

I don’t know what to do.​

With every snap of Condom’s fingers, Wilma gets smacked again and again. She doesn’t land a single hit. Hop recalls her in a panic. She’s too important to be bloodied.​

It’s over. I finally find the energy to stand.​

Hop’s face is sunken in, cheeks painted with a shade of purple and his eyes a shade of red. His jaw is squared. It breaks my heart.​

Condom’s face is like the most obnoxious Game Over screen in history.​

“Rumors are true, then. Leon wasted his endorsement.”​

He approaches me, and he’s so close, I actually flinch.​

“We’ll battle again, Lavatory.” It’s nearly a threat. “When your jester in cotton armor isn’t here to make a fool of himself.”​

God, I don’t even know how long we stand there after he fucks off. I want to say something. I need to say something. Why don’t I know what to say?​

Hop stood up for me. I just sat there like a Snom.​

“Hop, I…” I swallow. “I’m so sorry.”​

He takes a deep breath, and it’s familiar. “Give me a few, will ya, Lav?”​

He walks towards the basin. And just keeps walking.​

*****

Fuck, I love camping, but there’s nothing better than the shower afterwards. It’s healing, even. Clears the head.​

I close my eyes. I clench my fist.​

I suck in air and exhale spite.​

I’m gonna string him up like the Bede he is.​

Bede is basically Lauren Lopez's Malfoy from A Very Potter Musical.

tumblr_murup1FQhC1r3t08lo1_500.gif


Tell me I'm wrong.

Also shout out to Whoza for coming up with "Lavatory."
 

Dee

THIS IS MY HAPPY FACE
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
147
Caught
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
975
Location
Zion National Park
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
They/Them
Pokémon Type
  1. Bug
  2. Clever
Pokédex Entry
A regular writer of fanfics and other works, this pokemon loves puns, bugs, and the outdoors.
So, thus far, we have:

Ribombee, Appletun, Clefable, Noibat, and Weezing. A pretty good lineup! Poor Zephyr almost seems out-of-place around so many fully-evolved pokemon... and that's not gonna change for a while, sadly XD

And oooooh, everyone's love-to-hate rival returns. Glad to see he stepped up his bantering game, those zingers hurt.
 

Spectacles

Rule Maker
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
139
Caught
Jun 24, 2019
Messages
666
Location
Pennsylvania
Nature
Jolly
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
Pokédex Entry
It hides deep inside caves where no light ever reaches it and remains virtually motionless there. ~Pokemon Crystal, entry #52
I have to echo the above comments and say how much I love how Chapter 6 just drops you right into the raw aftermath and immediately upon reading the first sentence I'm going "oh no OH NO WHAT HAPPENED AHHHHH". I also just love the sweetness and healing of her hanging out with Hop and Leon afterwards. Such lovely lovely friends.

As for Chapter 7... oooooh man, somehow I forgot all about the whole thing with Hop and Bede. It's one of my favorite plot points of SwSh and I feel like it wasn't explored nearly enough (like most if not all the plot in SwSh IMO). I am very much looking forward to how it all plays out in your run!

Also

I literally SPIT when I opened your author comments and saw the Draco AVPM gif. Fun fact about me- I co-directed and ran lights for a fan production of AVPM for my senior project and to raise money for two of my local community theaters. Not to toot my own horn but our cast was incredible and we had a full house every night. When me and some castmates went to see the 8th HP film in theaters, people in the audience actually recognized us from our production and geeked out. Super cool feeling. Anyway sorry for rambling- I just get excited when I find out someone shares a relatively uncommon interest like AVPM! That connection is making me look forward even more to Bede's appearances and future ass whoopings! Can't wait for the next chapter!!
 

glancesherlock

Consulting Detective
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
32
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
748
Location
221B Baker Street
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
  2. Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Just wants to stay home and solve crimes.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #35
@Dee - Yeah, I really liked how my team shaped up! Secondary typing gave me more variety than most typelockes I've played. And heheh, Bede's zingers are fun.

@Spectacles - Yeah, SWSH really did put plot on the back burner, but that's what us fanfic writers are for. :D

And holy shit???? That's so cool!! I've been a StarKid fan since high school, and I still lose my shit whenever they release a new show (they got their start in my home state, so I feel a kinship, lol). Working on a production of AVPM must have been so much fun! That's awesome people in your community loved it so much they remembered you guys long after.

Good day. Excited to announce Brick by Boring Brick is officially and entirely backlog! Finished writing the last chapter just a few days ago, and I only cried for twenty minutes.

Ngl reviewing the earlier chapters before posting right after working on the end is some whiplash. Hoooh boi.

It'll be thirty chapters total with a few extras thrown in, so expect this sad puppy to regularly update until roughly the end of the year.

Anyway, I love Sonia, and Raihan is GOAT. Let's go.

Somehow, I've been trapped in a historical tour of Hammerlocke Stadium.​

I really don't know how I got here. One minute I'm heading for the Center, the next Rose is ushering me into a courtyard, speaking animatedly about the dual-nature of the place.​

"My corporate conglomerate does more than sell t-shirts and stadium tickets, you know." He's like a kid the way he reveals this. "I provide all of Galar with its primary source of energy."​

I knew that, but I feign interest.​

"Well, sources," he corrects. There's an infographic on the wall with a caricature of him as a weatherman. Fitted suit, earring, and all. It's hard not to laugh. "I ensure we get our energy from solar, water, natural gas, you name it. Extraordinary, really.."​

Kalos already accomplished this over thirty years before us, but sure.​

...I don't know where Hop is.​

When Rose isn't looking, I check my phone for a text. Nothing. We haven't spoken since leaving the Wild Area.​

"But of course, there are other avenues we'll need to explore for our society's needs! Could find ourselves in some trouble if we don't." Rose taps the floor with this foot. "You know what's under our feet?"​

Dirt.​

My self-esteem.​

Kanto, if you dig far enough.​

I shake my head.​

"An underground energy plant. Fully equipped to harness the energy produced from dynamax evolution. Nowhere else on earth has such an untapped mine of energy. There's really nothing like Galar, you know."​

I glance at Oleana, who's donning her trademark blank, stoned expression. Not even Rose's, err, patriotism can move it.​

Why the hell am I here?​

"You seem, um…" I hate words, and I hate this. "Excited about this."​

"It's my life's work, Miss Lavender." He beams proudly. "Of course, Hammerlocke Stadium is but a prototype. In the years to come I'll be making efforts towards building one under every stadium in the League."​

"Neat."​

This doesn't feel like it's over. It wouldn't be so bad, except the moment we stepped in here, I felt queasy. It's different than anxiety queasy. I feel light-headed and distant, like my soul is about two seconds behind my body.​

Rose turns. I check my phone.​

There's a text from Leon.​

Hey, you free? Want to go to the Hammerlocke Vaults?

My heart both stops and speeds up. Was this… Was this it?! Was he really—? Did he actually—?!​

It's so sudden and random, but shit if it's happening… I don't believe it for a second!​

But a girl can hope, so I respond with, Yes. Please save me from your boss. He's going on about his energy company, and it's super boring.

His reply is almost instant. Haha, Mario to the rescue. Hold tight.

If I were outside, I would float straight to the stratosphere right now.​

A phone rings. Oleana fishes it from her purse, checks it, and hands it to Rose.​

"Leon, my boy!" He sounds so jovial. "What a coincidence, I was just visiting with your young lady friend."​

Lady friend.​

"What's that, now?" Rose leans against a countertop as he listens. "Oh, I see. You'll still be at the shoot later? ...Yes, yes, but you've skipped out on it once already, and I'm not willing to overlook it a second time, Leon. These are very difficult for Oleana to reschedule."​

I watch Rose out of the corner of my eye. Was this that commitment Leon missed to come help me?​

"I understand. Well, so long as you're not late. ...Hm?" Rose throws back his head in laughter. "Of course, of course! I'll send her off. Got distracted, you see. You know me, I love my speeches."​

They wrap it up. Rose hands the phone back to Oleana.​

"Well, Miss Lavender, it appears Leon's cutting our time short." He winks. "Truth be told, I pulled you aside to address the… fopaux with Kabu. Dreadful thing, simply dreadful."​

Oh, he doesn't. He really, really, doesn't have to.​

I've got nothing except a nod and, "O-oh."​

"Leon informed me you wouldn't accept anything official. I respect that, you know. A girl who can't be bought is a force to be reckoned with." He snaps his fingers at Oleana, who produces a small, black box. She offers it to me.​

"However," Rose continues. "I hope you'll accept this personal gift. It won't right the wrongs, of course, but… Well, I'm simply wretched at apologies, you see."​

My hands are sweaty. Does he do this with everyone who loses Pokemon in the challenge? There's no way.​

It's a necklace. A dewdrop sapphire haloed with diamonds and hanging from a white gold chain. It probably cost a small fortune.​

Something sickening crawls up my back. What the fuck?​

I force out a thank-you, and Rose waves his hand.​

"No thanks needed, my dear. Think of it as a good-luck charm for the remaining season."​

I nod, feeling increasingly uncomfortable.​

*****

I nearly skip down the streets of Hammerlocke. Finally, I was away and about to see Leon. Spending time with him, just the two of us. God, that's all I want.​

I imagine we're in the Vaults. I'm admiring a tapestry, but he's secretly looking at me. He slips his hand into mine.​

My face goes red, and I squeal, because I'm hopeless.​

The western Center, that's where we're meeting. I'm nearly there, just need to turn the corner, and...​

Oh.​

My feet skid to a halt.​

Sonia's here too.​

"Hey, Lav!" She waves at me cheerfully. "Long time!"​

"Y-yeah." I get a hug from her as I approach. I like her, but whyyyyyy.​

"I hit a bump in my research and needed some inspo." She twirls a loose strand of hair. "Leon and Raihan landed me a private look at the Vaults. So it'll just be the four of us. I'm excited!"​

"That's cool," I admit. "So, Raihan will be there too?"​

"He's opening for us," Leon explains. "We were just waiting on you."​

Okay. Cool.​

Cooooooool.​

At least he's wearing normal clothes in public.​

And at least, well, I get to meet Raihan? Seems like I already know him a little. He had to approve and sign off on my dragon certificate, after all.​

But dammit.​

Piss, balls, and cock.​

The walk is just a couple blocks. Not enough room on the sidewalk for three people, so I assume my position as the person behind the others.​

Again, forever in the back seat.​

They're chuckling at something. They're still on good terms.​

Sonia is pretty, so...​

"Hey, Lav." Leon waits up a little for me to catch up. "Need to ask you something."​

The answer is yes.​

"Y-yeah, what's up?"​

He shows me a message on his phone. It's from Hop.​

I'm really sorry, Lee.

"That's it, nothing else." He's concerned. "You know what that's about?"​

So that's why he called me over. His ex is here, and we're talking about Hop. This is fine.​

I try to shake away my dumb emotions. This isn't about me.​

"Hop got beat pretty bad out in the Wild Area," I tell him. "You know Cond—Bede? The guy Rose endorsed?"​

Leon thinks. "I've met him a few times, yeah. Not well acquainted, though."​

I shrug. "He approached us, started talking some shit. He er…" I hesitate on the details. If Condom's right, and people do see Hop as a joke, I don't want to hurt Leon by telling him. "He insulted me, so Hop challenged him, and it wasn't pretty. Hop's pretty down about it."​

"I see." Leon pockets his phone and shakes his head. "Hop's so eager sometimes. He could be great, really, but when his head gets clouded, I don't know…"​

"Maybe you should talk to him," I suggest. "He looks up to you so much."​

"I'll let him stew a bit."​

"Yeah, but you will talk to him, right?" I look at him sternly, my love for Hop overriding my crush. "It won't be the same coming from me."​

He mulls it over for a second. "Of course, promise. At the very least I need to thank him for trying to defend your honor."​

His sideways smile kills me. I am deceased. I’m almost tempted to tell him more about Condom, how mean he’s been to me and the fun little nickname he’s given me. Lavatory. (Not that I have room to talk). Just to see his reaction and hear him say more things like that.​

No, I shouldn’t be selfish.​

"So," he thankfully switches gears. "Rose roped you into a lecture?"​

I throw up my arms. "Yeah, right out of nowhere. He did it in Hulbury too."​

Leon glances at me, and I wish eyes could take pictures. "That so?"​

"Yeah, he snagged me right after my match for lunch."​

"Huh." He stares ahead, brow furrowed.​

“Oh, and he gave me this today.” I show him the necklace. Out of the corner of my eye, I spy Sonia glance back. “It’s because of… Kabu.”​

Leon whistles. “Blimey, Rose never half-asses, does he? But you’re not impressed.”​

“I barely know the guy!” I blurt. “He can’t just do that.”​

“It’s creepy,” Sonia says flatly. She doesn’t look back again.​

Leon all but squints at her. The muscles in his arms are more defined when he shrugs. “Eh, he means well, I’m sure. He’s… Well, he’s got his ways, I suppose. By the way." Another pivot. "Your hair's up today."​

"Haha, yeah." I've been wearing my hair down for years. Got caught up in a Condom revenge fantasy this morning and threw it up in a ponytail. Felt too lazy to change it.​

"It looks nice."​

And I will be wearing it this way from now on, thanks.​

We enter the Vault's lobby, and it's sparse, just as Sonia said. There's no one else there but a guard reading the paper.​

Leon waltzes to the middle of the room and cups a hand around his mouth. "Honey, I'm home!"​

Like a Diglett popping from the ground, Raihan's head appears in a doorway.​

"Hey, babe!"​

They embrace like two lovers who have long been parted, and Raihan makes kissy noises. I snort. That tango is definitely not the only reason for those rumors.​

I've always thought of Leon as tall, but Raihan stands almost a full head above him, which means he towers over me. His dragon-themed hoodie is ridiculous, but he owns it, somehow.​

"So this is that girl you endorsed, ah?" Raihan sticks his hands deep into his pockets, sizing me up. "Can't help but think you snatched one of mine. Dragon exam's a bit brutal, innit? I saw your scores, Lav. About dropped a letter right then and there."​

I blush. "Really?"​

"She's a natural, Rai," Leon adds. "Already been raising a Noibat for three years."​

Leon, stoppppp. I can't flush like this in public.​

But I think about all those sleepless nights studying and the weeks of work, writing, and reading. All the practical tests and oral exams. It was such a hard course, but I did work hard. Plus my fairy course on top of that. Not to mention all the time I've invested in Zephyr.​

So yeah, I'm... proud.​

My voice is louder than what I'm used to. "Thank you."​

Raihan grins. One of his teeth resembles a fang. "You better make it all the way. Always a good day when a fellow dragon tamer walks on my pitch."​

"I-I'll try."​

He gives me a thumbs-up and shifts his gaze behind me. "Son, you with us?"​

Sonia tears her attention from her phone. She was in the middle of furiously typing. "Sorry, had a thought, couldn't lose it."​

"Can't turn off the brain, can ye?" Raihan puts an arm around her. "Must be a curse."​

She gives him a sideways glance. "Alas. Don't worry, you've been spared."​

"Oh!" He dramatically clutches his chest. "You wound me, m'lady!"​

I giggle. What a goober. He and Hop would get along swimmingly.​

Hop.​

I hope he's okay.​

Leon checks the time. "We better get a move on. I'm expected to be somewhere at four."​

"No worries, luv." Raihan leads the way to the Vaults, but not before scratching the base of Leon's chin. "One day I'll beat you to a pulp and take all those pesky appointments off your pretty little hands."​

Leon snorts. "Ignatius says otherwise."​

They shove each other like school boys and race up the stairs. I catch Sonia roll her eyes as we follow.​

The tapestries here really are something. They're so intricate and detailed and huge. The first one is nearly as tall as my house, and the rest aren't far behind.​

I hover from place to place while Leon and Raihan giggle over something in the corner. Sonia, meanwhile, takes her time at every tapestry, studying them with intensity and taking notes on her phone.​

"It's amazing," she says halfway to herself. "Ever since the Great Fire of Wyndon, we've lost so much about the Darkest Day. These are about the only concrete record of the heroes who bested it, and we still don't know how… Check this, Lav!"​

She motions me over to the middle one. It depicts two young men standing in a field. Rays of sunlight shine down on them. How the hell did Medieval people pull this off?​

"This one's supposed to be right after the Darkest Day," Sonia explains. "The two youths—"​

"What?"​

"I swear, that's what the plaques say."​

"Youths." It's funny.​

Sonia repeats me, and we just keep saying the word until it loses all meaning.​

We compose ourselves, and we're almost back to serious talk until I notice they're holding hands. "Do you think they were gay?"​

"Oh, hella gay."​

She steps aside, cause we're too giggly, and continues to take notes. I stare absent-mindedly at the tapestries again, and then out the window at the city. We're fairly high up. I can see the Wild Area beyond the wall.​

I want to talk to Leon, but he's too preoccupied catching up with Raihan. They take three or four selfies together. Sounds like Raihan's got it down to a science.​

I want to talk, but… he's busy after this, I don't want to ruin his good time before he has to work.​

"Hey," Sonia nudges me, voice low. "Don't get discouraged. When those two are together, everyone else is a collective third wheel. It's not personal."​

I hang my head in a nod before the horrible realization strikes. My eyes snap to Sonia, who's casually taking a picture of a plaque as though she didn't just say the worst possible thing.​

My throat makes noises until eventually it forms a word. "H-how?!"​

"Oh, honey." Sonia pockets her phone. "Rose Ball. It was all over your face. And the number of times you keep glancing at him, you're going to give yourself whiplash."​

I'm shaking. Of all the people to know! It's all I can do not to shoot down the stairs and hurl myself into the city moat. "I-I-I'm s-sorry. I-"​

"What for?"​

"W-well you and Leon…"​

I think the look she gives me is supposed to help, but it doesn't. She’s almost sad to remind me. "I… I was the one who broke things off with Leon, remember? We're still friends, sure, but we've moved on."​

Why can't I stop shaking?​

"Hey, easy." Sonia puts a hand on my shoulder, and it steadies me a little. "Didn't mean to sound the alarm. Look, if it upsets you, I'll drop it, but it doesn't bother me, not at all."​

I nod. No one's talked to me about this before. No one's known for years aside from Cookie, my trusted Ponyta plush. Now it feels exposed for the whole world to see, and I want to vomit.​

"If you ever need to talk about it, ring me." She smiles so sweetly. "And if he ever hurts you, say the word, and I'll tear his perky little beard off."​

*****

Hop won't answer my texts. I still haven't seen him.​

I'm curled up on a couch in the Center lobby with a bottle of pinap juice. Something feels off, not just with Hop, but with me.​

Sonia knows.​

Worse, she could just tell.

Somebody knows.​

It feels… real now. Not just a fantasy I tell my plushies.​

I love him.​

And I don't know what to do.​

I want to talk to somebody, but I'm still too nervous to face Sonia again, even if she's fine with it. The Fisher boys are utterly off limits. I don't have anybody else…​

...Well.​

I mean?​

If she wasn't kidding?​

I rummage through my bag, all the way to the bottom, until I find a crumpled up phone number.​
 

Dee

THIS IS MY HAPPY FACE
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
147
Caught
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
975
Location
Zion National Park
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
They/Them
Pokémon Type
  1. Bug
  2. Clever
Pokédex Entry
A regular writer of fanfics and other works, this pokemon loves puns, bugs, and the outdoors.
Sonia and Raihan are both great! I love the bit with Sonia at the end, and Raihan's shameless macho-flirting is amazing. I fucking love it.

And Rose comes off as so scummy! It's amazing what pestering someone about a shoot and a too-nice gift can do. Eugh. Congrats on making him so skeezy in such a small amount of pagespace... like wow
 

glancesherlock

Consulting Detective
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
32
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
748
Location
221B Baker Street
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
  2. Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Just wants to stay home and solve crimes.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #37
@Dee - Thank you, I pride myself in writing sleazy, unsubtle villains. Rose is a fucking delight. lol

Marnie isn’t at all what I expected her to be. Then again, I’m not sure what I expected.​

Maybe someone a little more, I dunno, basic?​

She’s got an old-school punk aesthetic to her. Spiked leather jacket over a pastel pink dress with boots to match. Her hair is up in two messy pigtails, and a choker with a heaving looking charm sorta completes the whole look. She has the greenest eyes I’ve ever seen and has mastered the art of winged eyeliner.​

She’s cute.​

Legs crossed, she swirls her bubble tea and contemplates my story.​

“So, you’ve got a secret fancy for the most eligible bachelor in Galar.” She takes a long, loud sip of her tea, longer and louder than is probably necessary. “Neat.”​

“I know what it looks like.” I hang my head, understanding full well how ridiculous this is. “Me and every other fangirl, right?”​

It’s a rhetorical question, but she nods. Ouch.​

I clutch my knees. This is so outside my normal sphere. I’ve entered a surreal Kalosian film. We’ve been here for an hour, but I still can’t believe I called her. Can’t believe I met up with a complete stranger to talk about my problems. Can’t believe I’m talking to anybody at all!​

It took me an age to bring up Leon—didn’t feel like an appropriate opener. So we started where we left off: Kabu’s gym match. She offered her condolences for what happened, and I tried not to cry as I talked about Sally and Buttercream. That rolled into training and our overall experience with the Gym Challenge, and we stayed there until I finally found the courage to admit my feelings for our beloved champion.​

For the first time ever, I told someone.​

“But I know Leon,” I counter. “His brother Hop is my best friend, so we grew up together, and I—”​

“Have you told Hop?”​

“W-what? Of course not.”​

“Just checking, go on.” Another loud sip of tea. She needed a refill three sips ago.​

My hands wring uncomfortably. “I just thought maybe… we’d have a connection?” I think of all those girls at the Rose Ball surrounding him. So many red dresses. “Like, because of our past that would make me different or…” Special?​

I really am pathetic.​

“You are different,” Marnie agrees. “You know him in a way most don’t, and that’s nice. I’m sure he appreciates you. Doesn’t make you the one for him, though.”​

Bloody hell, she does not go easy.​

She must notice the face I’m making. “Not saying it isn’t meant to be; you just shouldn’t expect him to return your affections because of a history.”​

Dammit, she’s right. Her candid way of speaking is clarifying, really, but dammit. That’s not fair. I’ve always known it would never happen with me and Leon (because, come on, look at me) but it’s not fair for me to spend years in heartache for nothing.​

Right?​

But I don’t know how to stop.​

“What do I do, then?” I ask, already knowing the answer.​

“Tear that bandage off, right quick,” Marnie says simply. “Tell him.”​

NOT AN OPTION.​

“B-but if he doesn’t… I mean, then he won’t want to talk to me, and then things will be weird with Hop…”​

“Weird isn’t forever,” she offers. “Bad emotions pass. They’ll want to continue being friends, I’m sure.”​

I still don’t want to, though… I live in secrets. What will I have to come home to if I blow the whole place down?​

Marnie finally stands to grab a refill (this will be her third) so I’m forced to sit with my thoughts. I try to push them away and watch Zephyr poke at his new friend: Marnie’s Morpeko, Punky. She’s a bottomless pit of a ‘mon, gobbling every piece of food Zephyr offers her. Still, he keeps sharing, because he’s mama’s good little boy.​

I scratch his ears. “You can keep some for yourself, buddy.”​

He blinks. Then pushes another oran berry towards Punky.​

Silly bat.​

Marnie returns and leans against the back of her chair. “Hey. What’s your plan after this?”​

“Huh?” I tear my attention from the Pokemon. “I’m heading west for Stow-on-Side.”​

“Hm, same as me.” She cocks her head a little, and her bangs fall away from her eye. “Want to travel together, then? I’ve got an issue you might help me resolve.”​

What am I supposed to say? Thanks for letting me vent for over an hour, but no thanks? Rude.​

“Uh, sure.”​

*****

The road to Stone-on-Side is a craggy desert. It’s full of Pokemon that are quite frankly not my favorite and not easy for me to battle, so I’m eager to move on through.​

At least Marnie is good company. There’s an oddness to her that doesn’t set off my fight-or-flight. The way she speaks is slow and calculated. Calm but commanding enough that I’m inclined to listen. She’s indifferent, far enough from the situation she doesn’t care enough to judge. Yet she’s kind.​

“So, what’s this issue you’re having?” I remember halfway through.​

She adjusts her bag. “You train fairies, right?”​

“Yes.”​

“That’s my issue.”​

“...Pardon?”​

“I have a preference for dark types,” she explains. “Even have a certificate to let me train the restricted ones. Limits me, I know, but training something I don’t fancy would be ingenuine. You understand.”​

I do.​

“I have a Toxicroak—my one off-type. She’s brilliant, but with her fight-typing… Fairies just concern me. I was wondering if you could give me some pointers.”​

A nervous laugh escapes me. “You’re pretty much asking me to tell you how to beat me.”​

“Perhaps,” she shrugs. “I plan on going all the way, and friends or no, I don’t imagine the champion tossed your name in on connection alone. It’s possible we’ll face each other in the semi-finals. But I’m not asking about dragons, am I? No, my concern is Opal. She’s been in the business for nearly four of my lifetimes.”​

Ah, yes. Opal. My certificate from her was lemon-scented. I haven’t given her a second thought since I caught Doc. He’s already pegged as my ace for her match.​

Though I suppose someone so seasoned is intimidating if you don’t have an advantage.​

Actually, I know… It can burn you.​

“Well…” I try to remember Opal’s team. “Most of her ‘mon have a secondary type. You could lean into that. Be speedy enough to hit first, and you might be fine.” I motion to Punky. “She’ll be ace for Togekiss. And your Toxicroak cancels out Mawile. Their typing makes them even.”​

“Hmm…” Marnie scrunches her face. Just a little. It’s the most expressive I’ve seen her. “It’s an idea. But yes, speed could be an issue.”​

There’s something exhilarating in giving her advice. I’m not really someone people come to for help. I continue almost eagerly. “Also not a bad idea to fight fire with fire. There’s a population of Morgrem in Glimwood Tangle. Fairy and dark, so… helpful, but still on-brand.”​

“Oh?” She’s genuinely surprised. “Is that where they are? I’ve had a devil of a time tracking down an Impidimp.”​

“Yeah! I plan on spending a lot of time there to catch a Ponyta. I can help you find one.” I freeze. This is so odd. I’m just talking. Normally. Like a person. With a new... friend?

She smiles—first I’ve seen from her. It’s small, but it holds a great weight. There’s something else in it besides gratitude, something I recognize. It’s not sadness or melancholy. It’s the overwhelming disbelief someone would be so kind.​

She’s like me.​

“I would appreciate that, Lavender. Though for now we’ll have to cut this conversation short.”​

“Why’s that?”​

She points behind me. “Because you’ll want to catch that.”​

I spin and spot a Vibrava circling in the air.​

I’m off like a shot.​

*****

I find Hop sitting in a corner of the Stow-on-Side marketplace and nearly tackle him to the ground.​

“Where have you been?!” I hold him so tightly, not realizing just how worried I was until now. “I sent you so many texts.”​

“Sorry, Lav.” He pushes us apart, averting his eyes. “Just needed some time.”​

“But how are you?” I ask, but it’s all over his face. Overall summary is not good.​

“Eh. Did some thinking. Lot of pacing. I didn’t… Euch, didn’t feel right facing you or Lee before I got some things sorted.”​

My fists clench. Fucking Condom. “Hop, that guy’s a twit. You don’t even know him. You can’t let him get you like this.”​

Hop shrugs, hands in pockets. “Just feels like he’s right, you know? I walk around town now, and I dunno. I notice things. People whisper.”​

“Fuck ‘em!” Point me in a direction, and I will punch. “It doesn’t matter, you’re amazing—”​

“Lav, just don’t.” He holds up a hand. “Look, I know I need to change, make a name for myself. That’s why I took some time to reevaluate my team.” He’s holding a ball. “Care to let me test it?”​

I blink. “Like… now? Here?”​

“Why not? It’s as good a spot as any.”​

“...O-okay.”​

I don’t want to go into details, because it’s… it’s too easy to beat him. I want to cry.​

There’s a moment when I ponder throwing the match. Give him the confidence boost he needs. I make softer commands.​

“Hey!” He notices, because he knows me, and I have no poker face. “Don’t you dare hand me a win! If you don’t go all out, then what’s the point?”​

My shoulders tighten. He’s upset. “I’m sorry…”​

A Cramorant, Toxel, Silicobra, and Bongo all go down. I brace myself for Wilma. I plan to switch, thinking Honey will be an easier opponent for her (doesn’t matter what Hop says, I have to ease up on such an angel).​

But Hop shrugs. “That’s it. You won.”​

“No, hold on.” I furrow my brow. “What about Wilma?”​

“Not on the team.”​

He did not. “But you love Wilma!” This is wrong. “I love Wilma!”​

“She’s soft, Lav. If I don’t shuffle, I’ll just fall behind more.”​

I can’t believe him. All those times that Wooloo’s been there for us.​

“Don’t be mad, mate,” Hop pleads. “I’m just trying to be better.”​

There are literally no words I can say to him right now. My face must say it all.​

“Bloody hell, it’s my team, Lav! The Challenge is a rough go, alright? Condom’s right, I’m a bloody joke, and if I can’t get my shit together…” He stops, frustrated. He kicks at the dirt and sends a rock flying. “Hard act to follow, Lee is.” Hop stuff his hands in his pockets. “But I’m Luigi, so… fits.”​

He saunters away, and I don’t give chase.​

I want my happy Hop back.​

Hello and welcome to BbBB, where we always opt out of writing the battle, because seriously fuck them.

I think Marnie has my favorite entrance. Glad I didn't force myself to write the awkward arrangements of their meeting and instead just dropped right into it. Marnie sorta grounds this fic in a way I couldn't get the other characters to do. She's an outsider, so it's easier for her to deconstruct Lav's issues. Plus she's just. The best.
 

Dee

THIS IS MY HAPPY FACE
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
147
Caught
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
975
Location
Zion National Park
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
They/Them
Pokémon Type
  1. Bug
  2. Clever
Pokédex Entry
A regular writer of fanfics and other works, this pokemon loves puns, bugs, and the outdoors.
I love Marnie as a character in general (she was easily my favorite member of the SwSh cast) and I think you did her great! She's super frank but also friendly and like... just a real friend in general.

And I knew it was coming, but still... Wilma :(
 

pinkshellos

Black Lives Matter !!
Artist
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
1220
Caught
Dec 23, 2019
Messages
474
Location
Hoenn Route 120
Nature
Calm
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
  1. Bug
  2. Flying
Pokédex Entry
A timid Pokémon typically found in groups. The only thing that motivates her more than companionship is food.
Catching up on this fic made my day! It was a bit of a rollercoaster (curse you Kabu) but I can’t wait to see more of Lav (what will she name the Vibrava?) Also, poor Hop :(
 

glancesherlock

Consulting Detective
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
32
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
748
Location
221B Baker Street
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
  2. Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Just wants to stay home and solve crimes.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #40
@Dee - Marnie is wonderful, my punk daughter. ;;;; And yeahhhh, I was looking at Hop's team while prepping some chapters, and my heart lurched when I realized he leaves his Wooloo behind after Bede defeats him. 😭

@pinkshellos - Ahh!!! I'm so glad you caught up! You won't have to wait long to meet the newbie proper. :3

Someone is clearly conspiring against me. It is totally unfair that I had to beat Hop yesterday only to turn around and face this little apple dumpling before me.​

Allister is young. So fucking young. Too young, probably, to be here? But here he is, a full foot shorter than me—bear in mind, I am short—looking utterly possessed by his own ghosts and hardly saying a word.​

The mask is bold. Genius, too, for people like us. For anyone else it’d be social suicide, but he can pull it off as a ghost type gym leader. Aesthetic, and all that.​

“‘M Allister,” he says quietly. We don’t shake hands. “Good luck.”​

“Same to you.”​

His first Pokemon is a Yamask.​

One of these days I’ll go into a gym and not rely on Gretta to sweep house for me, but today is not that day.​

She’s a tank with shadow ball. What am I supposed to do?​

Yamask goes down fast. A couple meteor mashes take out Mimikyu, and even Cursola is handled in no time.​

I can’t watch Allister as his Pokemon are knocked out. He just droops his head sadly. It’s like kicking a Togepi. I try to remember he’s a gym leader, despite his age, but all I want is to tear across the pitch, embrace the poor kid, and apologize for an hour.​

At least he and Bea switch off every year to give him a break.​

Even over the crowd, I can hear him. “My last Pokemon. How lonely… How frightening.”​

That tears it. He is my son. Zeph, meet your new brother.​

Gengar’s his ace. By now, even Gretta’s short of breath, and I’m certain this ghost knows a poison move or two. So she won’t be dynamaxing this time.​

Not an issue. I saved that honor for the new girl.​

Fern the Vibrava is a firecracker, and she comes out of her PokeBall looking to fight. She finds the caged wall surrounding the pitch and scurries up it, eyeing her enemy.​

We watch as Gengar dynamaxes into some Aladdin-Cave-of-Wonders-looking bullshit, and I’m quick to call her in. Kaiju time.​

I’m nervous about allowing such a hyper-active ‘mon become so damn large, but thankfully that cage protects the audience from her bug-like feet as they find their grip again. She roars. It’s kinda smelly.​

“Well, folks, here we are!” The announcer’s been pretty quiet this match. Guess quick wipe-outs are good for commentary. “Challenger Lavender has Leader Allister on the ropes, but our little man’s Gengar is a famous force to be reckoned with!”​

“Miss Fog’s not too shabby,” the other admits. “Considering the blow her team took in Motosoke Stadium.”​

“Thanks for being a downer as always, Jerry.”​

My stomach churns.​

Why.​

The fuck.

Would they bring that up?​

I’m back on Kabu’s pitch. Buttercream’s looking at me for guidance. There’s fire. There’s so much fucking fire…​

For the first time, I notice a Rotom camera hovering close to focus on me. It’s to catch my tears. I can’t stop them. They’re all over the jumbotron.​

Please stop. Everyone please stop watching me.​

God, I’m gonna…​

Fuck, I’m gonna…

I can feel the bile rising. Try as I might, I can’t hold it in, and if I give Fern a command, it’s just going to come shooting out, so I’m stuck here fighting it.​

There’s a commotion in the crowd. People are whistling, excited. Bloody hell, is everyone really so fucking eager to watch me suffer??​

I look up and realize it’s not me they’re hype over.​

Allister is taking off his mask.​

Gym leader’s doing something. The cameras have to be on him.​

He knows that.​

I hurl. Not much, but enough to be done.​

If anyone sees, it’s just some rando in the audience who didn’t look away.​

I could cry. More.​

Allister’s mask has returned. I never do see his face, but our match is back on.​

Fern is buzzing, waiting for a command. I give it to her, and after three rounds of gigantic dark-type moves, Gengar shrinks.​

I wipe my face as Fern returns to her ball. Allister meets me in the middle circle, and I don’t know what to say.​

“Crumbs,” he murmurs. “That was ace.”​

He’s so precious, and he saved my ass. “Th-thank you.”​

“Attention’s hard.” He taps his mask. “Makes it easier.”​

I gulp. He’s a little kid, and he took off his armor for me.​

“I, er… I’ll find a way to make it up to you, promise.”​

Through the eye holes, I see him blink. “Just keep going.”​

The tears well. “O-okay.”​

*****

Sonia calls me to meet her in the outskirts of the city. Something about checking out some ruins for her research.​

Thankfully, she doesn’t bring up Leon.​

“I really appreciate you coming out, Lav.” She smiles at me from her phone. “Sometimes I just need someone to bounce ideas off. Really need to get an assistant one of these days…”​

“Sure thing.”​

Despite the heat, the walk is nice. A good change of pace from standing in Stow-on-Side Stadium. I listen to Sonia go on and on about the heroes and the Darkest Day and how it all relates to dynamax. She’s really into this business.​

Admittedly, most of it washes over me.​

For a while she’s distracted by an ancient mural, so I wander around to admire the ruins. The old paintings aren’t nearly as intricate as the tapestries. They look more like children’s drawings than anything. I’m sure someone like Sonia can find meaning in them, but I just call them pretty.​

Something catches my eye. Something big.​

Down on a lower level of the ruins is a Copperajah. Odd. So odd. Those don’t live around here. It must belong to someone.​

I see him.​

That pissant pincushion pussy wanker.​

“Go on, then,” Condom urges the mammoth ‘mon. “You want to help the chairman, you need to help me. Now get smashing.”​

He’s making it destroy the ruins.​

Hmmmmm pretty illegal if you ask me.

I’m about to turn and grab Sonia, but I pause. I think of Hop.​

This is an opportunity.​

Crouching low, I take out my phone and snap the clearest picture I can. Bringing up Rose in my contacts, I send it with, Is he supposed to be doing this?

I pocket my phone.​

I grin.​

Then I grab Sonia.​

“What the hell are you doing?!” she demands when we’ve reached him.​

“None of your concern.” He’s insufferably smug as always, but it’s going to make this all the more satisfying.​

“These are ancient ruins, you wanker!” Sonia’s eyes are daggers. Glad I’m not on the receiving end of this. “What gives you the right—”​

“I’m just—”​

“I am not finished!” She gets right in his face, and oh my god, this is amazing. “What gives you the right to come in here and stomp around like some bloody Coalossal!”​

“Tch.” Condom shrugs her off. “A few ridiculous paintings are nothing compared to what the chairman has in store.”​

She looks ready to slap him, but he’s spared by his ringtone. I hold my breath.​

“Sir?”​

It has to be Rose. Perfect.​

I watch his face transfigure from smug to confused to fucking displeased.

Get stuffed, Condom.​

“Sir, I’m on the assignment Oleana gave me!” He turns from us. “I’m collecting wishing stars so you can— ...Yes, I know, but— ...Sir. Sir, no, you can’t just—No, sir, I’m the only one who can beat the champion! You…” He stands there, fist clenched.​

My skin is clear. My crops are watered.​

Justice for Hop.​

“I… Yes, sir.”​

Condom hangs up. Sonia’s not done with him.​

“Are we finished here, then?” She squints at him. “Time to pack up and shove off.”​

He whirls, glaring right at me. My expression gives up the game straight away.​

“You bitch!” He storms forward until Sonia blocks his path.​

She’s not your problem.” She crosses her arms, and I feel sorry for anyone who ever fucked with her.​

His face grows beat red. I almost expect steam to shoot out his ears. “Congrats, Lavatory. I would’ve beaten you to a pulp come semi-finals, but now I suppose someone else will have to do it for me!” He angrily returns the Copperajah. “My endorsement has been revoked. The Gym Challenge is over for me, so it looks like I’m out of your damn way. I hope you’re happy.”​

Whoa, whoa, hold on.​

I didn’t want that.​

He just needed to be bitched out a little.​

Turning on his heel, he saunters away, and I try to beat the living daylights out of my conscience.​


Between Hop and Allister, I can't believe Game Freak let me have two good sons in one game. Bede is the cursed son.

Pretty much just used Allister's dialogue from the game, because it's already perfect. He's a good lad; I wish I'd found a way to put him in the run more. ;;;
 

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