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Written Story Alola General Don't Fear The Reaper

Thread Description
Death goes on a vacation in Alola. They get a Rowlet.

enbygonetimes

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Writer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
643
Caught
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
117
Location
hunched in front of a computer screen
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
any; they/them
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
Pokédex Entry
this pokemon spends far too much time in front of a laptop, someone unglue them.
wow, this update made me feel so many feelings.

if it helps, the cheeziness of that scene with Lillie did not interfere with a huge case of the warm fuzzies. there are no words for how much i enjoy every scene with Lillie in it. and Death's character is developing so well - there's so much depth there under the serene calm. A+ job as always!
 

CyanideCrystal

If my character isn't named after a color call 911
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
663
Caught
Aug 12, 2019
Messages
4
Nature
Relaxed
Pronouns
they/them
Pokémon Type
Ghost, Psychic
This Death reminds me a lot (look-wise) of The Sims 2 Death(pic under the spoiler). I love stories with Death as a main character so I was already delighted to see this exists, but honestly every other character is great too. I love Lillie and her trying to battle her anxiety and self-esteem issues, I love Hau's excitement, Kane's existentional dread(TM) and the way you write children is amazing and on-point. This is the first written Nuzlocke I've ever read and honestly might make me read more of them! (Also they/them pronouns for Death, yay!)

 
Last edited:

Whozawhatcha

i have too many projects
Pokédex No.
486
Caught
Jul 12, 2019
Messages
490
Nature
Lonely
Pokémon Type
Fire, Flying
Hello I'm back and I LOVE this. You have my favorite Lillie who is an adorable bean to watch grow. Jimmie is still the best and a BABY and the humor is on point as ever. I love! I am entertained! I am charmed!! And i always so look forward to each update!!!
 

QuietGuardian

Johto League Champion
🌱Featurer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
33
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
1,287
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
Lillie's excitement over completing her Trial is too precious. And I love Death talking with Jimmie and acting so wholesome towards the Team Skull members. Good times all around! ...Well, except for Kāne. Poor guy's still having issues.

(I did notice a handful of typos/punctuation errors in this chapter. Nothing major, but you asked about them. I'm happy to elaborate if you'd like.)
 

cyndakip

there goes my luck
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
23
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
726
Location
Lilycove City
Nature
Hardy
Pronouns
they/them
Pokémon Type
Fire, Water
Pokédex Entry
Part Cyndaquil, part Mudkip, entirely tired.
I loved that scene you added with Lillie and Burnet! Lillie is adorable and perfect and deserves the world, and I was so happy to see her so happy after winning her trial. I'm very proud of her and also of Jimmie, who is the best birb. The other characters continue to be perfect as well, and I still love everything about this!
 

Dee

THIS IS MY HAPPY FACE
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
147
Caught
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
808
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.
War. My dude.

I'm living for this run. (No pun intended.) I love what you're doing with the characters. Death themself is great. Their quiet thoughtfulness, their total unfamiliarity with how the world works, is all such a great imagining of what the Reaper would be like. It's seriously so, so good.

But the real characters who stand out are Lillie and Kane (I can't get my computer to do the little e-mark thing but you know.) Lillie seems like such a well-written abuse survivor, yet not in a way that drags the story down. It's very exciting to watch her slowly blooming, and the added scene between her and Burnet was incredibly sweet. Kane is by far my favorite. He's sassy, smart, but most of all the concept of a ghost who doesn't remember his own past and doesn't want to be a ghost teaming up with Death? Like dude? How do you come up with this shit, it's great.

Not much else to say except this is off to a killer start and I'm hyper excited to see where it goes from here!
 

glancesherlock

Consulting Detective
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
32
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
716
Location
221B Baker Street
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Just wants to stay home and solve crimes.
How the hell did I miss a whole chapter of this????

Rereading Section 3 to refresh myself and admire your edits.

Death takes her to a graveyard.

(Death takes most people to graveyards.)
Oh my god, I'm crying. The fact that this is clarified...

Lillie is the sweetest darling. Her concern for the ghosts is so gaddamn adorable. How do manage to make a story with Death as the main character this hecking cute??

“It is my understanding that most Pokemon do not speak. You must remember; ghosts were not always Pokemon. It would be a very hard thing, to unlearn thinking once you’ve done it your whole life.”
I love Death, and I love the way they speak.

Things in the locke that still kill me:
  • Haunter Resources
  • Death's Trainer Belt
  • The Lei
  • Frangipani ;;;;;;
  • “Those nods are legally binding,” Ilima tells them. “So don’t fuck with me on this.”

Hau waves her off. He still won’t look her in the eye. “Hey, no, c’mon, the point is. The point is! You can come back! And try again! And sometimes you, y’know, you fail really hard, but it’s gonna be okay! Cause you still have time to do shit! And maybe you’ll even meet Death!”

“Hello,” Death says helpfully.
This is so simple, but I'm dying. You're fucking humor.

Death doesn't care for swearing alkwmlajkslf;ajjfa;ldf;awkfa

“I’m sure it’s a very effective cult.”

Oh my god, Kane is gonna have an aneurysm by the time this run is over. Y'know, if he... had a body.
 

enbygonetimes

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Writer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
643
Caught
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
117
Location
hunched in front of a computer screen
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
any; they/them
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
Pokédex Entry
this pokemon spends far too much time in front of a laptop, someone unglue them.
hey just letting you know, Wwar, this run is still awesome and when the next update comes out it'll make my fucking day!! you got this, bro
 

Wwarborday

Gradually Becoming Productive
Pokédex No.
153
Caught
Jun 28, 2019
Messages
200
Location
Gaytown
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
He/him/his
Pokémon Type
Ground, Ice
Pokédex Entry
I'm Doing My Best
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #29
Holy shit, everyone, can I just say a MASSIVE thank you to everyone who participated in the Extravaganza??? I am so totally blown away by the response this has gotten, where Don't Fear the Reaper took gold for Best New Written Run, and Death won Best Protagonist. (And I got second for best style?!? What!!!) Everyone, thank you so much. I cannot put into words how grateful I am that you all like this enough to vote for it. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

@anonymouse I want you to know that you are a beacon of light and joy. thank u.

@CyanideCrystal DUDE NO JOKE....WHEN I STARTED WRITING THIS, I WAS IMAGING DEATH FROM TS3. A few people have come to me to show me the AMAZING pic from TS2, which is 100% how you should be imagining Death. And thank you so much, I really hope you've picked up some more written runs! There's a lot of really good ones :D!

@Whozawhatcha Jimmie is a baby....a sweet child.......and I'm charmed that you're charmed!

@QuietGuardian Thank you! I think I've cleaned it up; I really appreciate you letting me know about the errors ^^

@cyndakip ahhh thank you!! I really wanted to explore Burnet and Lillie's relationship, I'm so glad I got a chance to ;;

@Dee THANKS HOPE U LIKE THE REST

@glancesherlock “I’m sure it’s a very effective cult.” this is literally the best line I've ever written I'm so damn glad you like it


And....you all deserve an explanation.

-In December, I had finals, and visited family, and got a really bad cold.
-In January, my mental health took a severe downturn.
-In February, I went to go play more of my DFTR file....and realized that I had lost my 3DS, and most of my games, including my DFTR copy of Moon, and a few games I've had since childhood. To the best of my knowledge, I lost them on a flight; I know I had my stuff with me when I went to visit my family, but I can't confirm if I brought it home or not. -This was a massive blow, and I really debated killing the story for a while. 2020 hasn't been great for me mentally, and losing the file was just. Devastating.
-After talking it over with a few people, and taking some time to mourn, (yeah, I know it's all games that be replaced, but I'm sentimental,) I've decided to take a different copy of Moon, non-Nuz my way back to where I was, (duplicating catches, but I won't be looking for natures,) and Nuz my way from there. It's unconventional, but for fuck's sake, I lost the file somewhere between the East and West coasts of the US. Cut me some slack.
-In addition, the re-working has slowed the story down. (Not quite to a crawl, but for comparison, the first idea had the gang get to Akala in the next chapter, showing the Hala battle only in flashbacks. The re-work has three more chapters before they finally leave Melemele. So, uh. Just a heads up.)
-Since I needed to give myself time to replay the game, I had to do some story restructuring, which isn't fun, and means the next chapter is primarily padding. But.


Extra short TL:DR; Lost the game card, had to replay shit, 2020's a bitch.

This next update is a delightful crossover with the lovely and talented @glancesherlock!! Glance has a story called "A Light For The Lost," in which a spirit named Wisp guides the ghosts of the dead to their final rest. (Glance will be taking down the story due to personal reasons, but the important thing is; there's a psychopomp, and they're a metaphor for depression.) We've been joking for a while now that Death is Wisp's "boss", and we finally say down and wrote a crossover where they work in an office. (Sort of.) I hope you all enjoy, and I will be back here on the 13th with Don't Fear the Reaper, Slice Five.

Death has an office.

It's not a big office. Just a square room with some cubicles and one space closed off for the Big Guy. It's lit with fluorescent lighting and floored with cheap carpet. It's also very empty. The coffee maker, the printer, the 90s Macintosh computers (you know the model that came in different colors?) never used. No one has time to come into the office, not when all the souls who need reaping or saving are in the mortal realm.

You could say it's pretty dead in here.

Today, however, there are two people (people? Spirits? Beings that travel along multiple planes of existence?) in the office. They’re here for a meeting.

There isn’t a conference room. Death heard they were bad for employee morale. All meetings are held at the empty water cooler, because Death also heard employees need time to “talk around the water cooler.”

(Death got all of their office advice from a 1983 issue of Business Monthly, on a world where it’s always 1983.)

“So,” Death says, useless paper cup in their gray hands. “I think it’s time for your annual performance review.”

“Annual?” Wisp blinks slowly, eyes flicking to their lantern out of habit. The flame is still.

“Yes, why?”

“It’s been five hundred years, sir.” Half a millennium is a long time for one’s left hand to hold anything besides a soul. The empty cup is heavier by comparison.

“By who’s count?” Death sounds a little indignant, but it’s not a bad question. Who decided how long a year was, anyway? Mortals? They haven’t experienced enough time to understand how it should be measured.

That was the excuse. In reality, Haunter Resources temporarily lost track of Wisp’s file and discovered it holding up the leg of a rickety chair during the turn-of-the-century spring cleaning. Ironic, considering Wisp’s charges are the lost ones.

“By most counts, sir,” Wisp ventures.

“Well.” Death is wearing a tie over their normal dark robes. “My apologies.”

(They’re embarrassed, of course. The whole reason Wisp was hired was because Death has trouble with the ghostly side of things. Their domain is clear: the exact moment of death. Ghosts have a habit of falling through the metaphorical cracks, and here Death is, neglecting their own employee. Literally their only employee, besides HR.)

Wisp is curious, eager, starved for something. “So… how am I doing?”

Death smooths their tie. “Well. How do you think you’re doing?”

(They read asking employees to evaluate themselves was a great way to encourage them to self-reflect.

If only Death could read a room, instead.)

The living call this emotion something sad, but Wisp stands tall anyway. "Since we last spoke, my lantern has led me to many lost souls. Over two hundred, I believe. Yes, two hundred twenty-one. And I saved…" Heartache. "Two hundred four."

One might call that failure. Another would call it an A+. Wisp only has experience with one of those.

"They were happy, the souls I saved," they elaborate, saving face. "Many were at peace when they left me..." Heartache, hunger. (One of Death's other coworkers is more familiar with these.)

“Well,” Death says. “I think you’ve done quite well, then.” It’s a lot of souls to bring peace too. They clear their throat and add, “I’m proud of you.”

...Proud? Something stirs that feels nice, but confusion pushes it down. “But the others left behind…?”

“I have left behind thousands.” Death, for once, sounds as old as they are. “That’s why you were hired. Without you, they would all be left behind.”

Wisp thinks of the lost ones. Of the sad ones, the confused, the angry, the malcontent—the ones Death could not take. “Oh.”

Death regards Wisp for a moment.

“Are you happy?” they ask.

Happy. Happy?

...Happy?

“I perform my task as instructed,” Wisp recites.

“And you do it well. But do you enjoy yourself?”

It is so perplexing. The lost ones are liable to ask such questions, but Death… Death is an instructor. What could they need to know?

Wisp ponders. There are no visions. Memories, perhaps? Of those moments with the forgotten souls and what they mean, how they feel. They are mundane, yet varied. Complex. Confusing. Though satisfying, they may not be.

The only answer they can supply is, “If I ever did take enjoyment in my work, I do not remember. I find the lost. I talk to them. I light their way home… then I am alone. There is forever wanting, and I do not know what it is for.” That should do it.

“You know,” Death says. “I was like you, once.”

They pick at their paper cup. “You’ve met the other horsemen, of course.” It was a moniker given to them from religious sects on Earth. The four of them had grown attached. “We were young, once.”

It had been… difficult. The universe was new, and so were they. There was no warning, no training period. They were not, and then they were. Suddenly, there were things like life and death and hunger and sickness. And so they Became.

“I am death.” The words do not feel like they weigh enough. Death picks their next ones more carefully. “I am the act. I am the final blow, the lack of oxygen, the last stutterings of a brain. I am the stopping of a heart, the cracking of bone, and the ripping of flesh. I am the moment.

“I am also Death. I am myself.” And that was a strange millennium, coming to terms with consciousness. “There is more to me, and to you, than performing tasks as instructed.”

More. More is unknown, perplexing. A fantasy. More is what the lost ones require. More is what never came to Wisp in the forest. More is… wanting.

What do you want, Wisp?

They want more.

“But this is all I will ever be. What else…” The words hide from them. They have to search. Unfortunately, they are lost. “What can I do?”

Death knows this feeling well. (And they feel like an idiot for not putting it together, that this is what Wisp has been going through: the paralyzing realization that one is more than their duty.) Death does not ask, “What do you want to do?” because they know wanting can feel like an impossibility when it takes all your strength to simply be.

Death asks, instead, “Have you tried taking a vacation?”

Wisp has never taken anything besides a hand and this cup. “I am not familiar with the term.”

Death (metaphorically) lights up. “Well! A vacation is when you take time away from everything.”

“...Why?”

“To come back to yourself.” Death can feel Wisp’s wary confusion; they elaborate.”It is...lowering expectations. You allow yourself to be, and don’t get upset when you do not do more. You….you relax. And you let yourself relax.”
Wisp takes every word into quiet consideration, struggling to comprehend and searching and deciding upon their next question.

“Where could I… take a vacation?” they ask. “I am not sure where to find one.”

“Well,” Death says. They feel like they’re getting on a roll, here. “That’s the fascinating thing; you can do it most anywhere. I understand that it is more a state of mind than anything else, but you can’t do it at work, because then there’s still expectations, and vacations don’t have those.”

“So I cannot take a vacation at work.” Wisp thought and thought. It is difficult to avoid work when your job requires you to travel the entire mortal realm. Though, perhaps, there is one place where there will be no expectations or pressures to lead the lost. A place where a friend may still be waiting. “I believe I know a place! It is a bog.” The excitement fades quickly. “But I do not know the way… I can only travel where the lantern takes me.”

“Have you ever tried anything else?”

“Oh. I suppose I have not.” Wisp has traveled by lantern for too long to remember anything else.

“Well! It is never too late to try something new.” Death throws their empty paper cup in the trash. (The trash is full of other, also empty, paper cups.) “As your boss, I am authorizing you for a leave of absence, for, hmmm. For as long as you need it.”

(Haunter Resources can work the post temporarily, of course.And if all else fails, well. The ghosts will still be there when Wisp is ready for them again.)

A feeling overcomes Wisp. Happy? Yes. “Then if it is alright, I am ready to go.” They gently set the paper cup with the others in the trash can. “I do not know how long I will need, but if my absence becomes a hindrance, do let me know.”

Death inclines their head. “I will contact you at once.”

The two of them leave the office. (Disclaimer: the office’s location is incomprehensible and therefore disclosing it would tear your mortal mind asunder.) Wisp puffs their chest with new resolve and purpose. With a respectful nod, they are on their way…

Death clears their throat. “Ah, mmm. That’s the wrong way.”

Wisp stops. “Oh. Hmm.”

“If you turn around, you’ll be - actually, would you like a map? I can make you a map.”

They mull it over. “A map may help, yes. I am used to following directions more than not.”

Death draws the map on dismantled paper cups.


*****​




The bog is more vast and dense than before. It is unclear how much time has passed. When one lives for eternity, there is no point in measuring time in small quantities. Less than half of the lake remains, having been consumed by the hungry mass, so it couldn’t have been longer than a century or two.

Following Death’s map proved more difficult than following the lantern. It was drawn in glittering gel pen ink and held together by staples, and the shape was very abnormal. In other words, it was precisely what Wisp assumed a map should be, having never confided in one before.

Tucking the makeshift map in the folds of their robe, they take the first silent step into the bog. It is not difficult to find their way to the center.

She is still here. Faded more than before, but still present. Still grabbing for an elusive blueberry.

“Do you remember me?” Wisp asks cautiously. A deceased mortal mind is not the more reliable.

The spirit regards them. “You are Wisp.”

“Yes.” Relief seeps in.

“And you’ve come to light my way to some place I don’t wish to go.” The words are bitterly biting.

“No, no.” It is exciting to tell a spirit something new. “Death has granted me a… they call it a vacation. It is when—”

There’s almost a laugh. “I know what a vacation is.”

“Oh. Well, if it suits you, I would like to spend my vacation here.” It is tempting to sit before the invitation is granted. “Perhaps we could explore the bog and watch it grow, like you wanted.”

Her black, black eyes stare. They stare and stare at something they’ve never beheld before. “Is that really what you want? I mean, you have the whole world to travel.”

“I have traveled for a long time, longer than your existence. I have seen the whole world,” Wisp responds. “It is… very lonely. I wanted—I want—to be in a place where I am not lonely anymore.”

Spirits cannot cry; they can only feign sobs with the memory of crying. Yet Wisp finds an urge to comfort her as the act overtakes her. Friendship, the living call it.

“When you left, I had many doubts,” she admits. “Some days I wished you would return so I could go with you, but my resolve is the same as it was. I don’t want you to lead me anywhere. I want to stay here. It’s just… I didn’t want to stay here alone.”

“Death told me my absence could last for as long as I needed,” says Wisp. “So I will stay until…” Heartache. No, this must be hope. It must be. “Until you fade. You will never be alone again, and for a time I may call a soul my friend?”

Overcome, she nods. Or rather, her gaseous form moves with the memory of nodding. “You are the first and the last to come to me. Yes. Yes, a friend would be wonderful.”

Wisp eagerly settles at her side. With great hesitation that stretches for an hour, they move to set aside the lantern. They finally resolve to set it upon the moss. Uncurling their fingers from the handle is new and a small adventure in itself. Strange. Strange and freeing.

So this is a vacation.

They sit. They talk. They walk and explore. As the bog grows and grows, Wisp watches the spirit become less and less. Even still, they agree, they have more together.









Glance called the doc "Can We Please Put Like Five Haunter Resource Jokes In" and honestly I think we hit EXACTLY five.

Thank you all for your patience, thank you for the votes, and as always, thanks for reading.
 
Last edited:

Dee

THIS IS MY HAPPY FACE
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
147
Caught
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
808
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.
This is so sweet.... I love it 😭
 

enbygonetimes

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Writer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
643
Caught
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
117
Location
hunched in front of a computer screen
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
any; they/them
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
Pokédex Entry
this pokemon spends far too much time in front of a laptop, someone unglue them.
for one thing, the timing here is uncanny. it's fate.

the other thing that's uncanny is your ability to deck me in the jaw with pathos in so many different ways. i experienced almost every emotion i'm capable of experiencing while reading through this. part of it is Wisp, for which i will happily blame glance and go read that run, because wow, you both nailed that depression feel. i felt called out in the gentlest and most compassionate way possible.

but Death here is also responsible for generating pathos, so that's all you. their description of themself is simultaneously terrifying, sad, bittersweet, and horrific, which is a whole lot of feelings to pack into a few sentences of dialog. and it encapsulates the idea of death and how it makes people feel to so well i'm a little mad you can smith words so well!! except i'm not mad at all, i'm too busy wanting to hug Death to be mad.

it's a damn shame you can't react to posts with more than one emoji bc i wanted to put, every single one, on there. one for each of the stages of emoting you put me through.
 

CyanideCrystal

If my character isn't named after a color call 911
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
663
Caught
Aug 12, 2019
Messages
4
Nature
Relaxed
Pronouns
they/them
Pokémon Type
Ghost, Psychic
Omg, I was so scared you were gone for good! Congratulations for the Extravaganza wins! I got really excited by your return and drew some fanart :3
 

Wwarborday

Gradually Becoming Productive
Pokédex No.
153
Caught
Jun 28, 2019
Messages
200
Location
Gaytown
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
He/him/his
Pokémon Type
Ground, Ice
Pokédex Entry
I'm Doing My Best
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #33
Well, that took longer than expected. But hey! Here it is!


Also, I am VERY late to the party, but I've got fanart! (Fanart!!!!! Holy shit!!!)


(From @glancesherlock )


(From @Woo )


(Death with their medals, from @CyanideCrystal )

Thank you all so much!!!!! ;;;;

AO3 Link

Kāne's been taking it easy.

He's been staying with Death in Iki Town, where Hala has let them sleep in the guest room. Well; Hala lets the Pokemon sleep in the guest room, while Kāne floats around and Death reads. Neither of them actually needs sleep. (Kāne could technically be plugged in to charge, but he gets plenty of solar power during the day.)

(After the first few nights, where Kāne kept getting up to float around the house, Death had begun to quietly read out loud.

Kāne had looked at them, startled. "Everything okay?"

Death had looked up from their book. They sounded equally surprised when they said, "I thought you were bored."

Ah.

Of course they did.

"Oh," Kāne said, "uh, yeah," because he feels like it would be cruel to tell them that no, he isn't bored, he just gets a soul crushing, existential crisis every time he looks at Death sitting in the corner of the room.

(It's better during the day. It's always better during the day. But at night, something happens inside his head, and he can't fucking think beyond that fear of the day he will be nothing, have been nothing, and-)

"I am reading a novel Hala lent me," Death said. "It is called, High Noon At Wela Volcano." Death spoke like they were trying not to spook Kāne. "I apologize for not asking, but would you like to hear more?"

"Uh," Kāne said. "yeah. Okay, sure."

It was the first nice thing anyone had done for him in a very long time.)

Lillie's been staying with Kukui and Burnet. She comes by most mornings for breakfast, before she, Death, and Hau begin training for the day. The three of them like to talk about Trainer stuff.

Kāne never really knows how to contribute to that. He’s a database, sure, but there’s another part of himself that’s wonky; is he a database? Or is someone with access to a database? Is that his knowledge, tucked away in his motherboard, or is that the knowledge from the Rotom-dex chassis?

Who would he be without it?

Kāne mostly just ribs Hau during breakfast. That’s always a safe subject.

Death has the largest team of the three of them, so Kāne's been helping them train by creating team exercises. Or, rather; Kāne was helping them train, until Death discovered Poke Beans.

"What are these?" they had asked, when the two of them were healing up at Hau'oli's Pokemon Center.

"They're Poke Beans."

"Beans?"

"Poke Beans? They're Pokemon treats."

Death had light up. They've been spoiling their Pokemon ever since.

"Djall!" They'll say happily, "What a wonderful quick attack!" And the Rattata gets a bean and a chin scratch.

"Deborah! Your Minimize is coming along beautifully, I could barely see you!" And the Grimer gets two beans, because she's too toxic for pets.

And Jimmie gets beans for everything. After she almost fucking died, Kāne's talked Death into setting up a stamina routine for her, so that she won't get tired next time she has to fly for an extended period. And for each lap she does, she gets a bean.

And then it becomes, "You did extra laps today!" Or, "Everyone did such a good job training, you all get a Bean with dinner." Or, "Really, Kāne, the thunderstorm is scaring them, I'm sure they could use some comfort food."

It would be infuriating if it wasn't so endearing, watching the grim reaper coo over their Pokemon.

(Death never coos over Strigoi and Alhani. They both get to eat from real plates at Hala's real table, and if they do get Beans, it's only because they ask for them. And at night, instead of sleeping in Death's room, they are allowed to roam. The two of them like to use this freedom to leave the house and float off into the night, but they always return before morning.

They give Kāne the creeps.)

Hau spends his time training or relaxing. Hanna has evolved into a Brionne by now, and Hau likes to take her to the beach to let her stretch her muscles. He's even set up an obstacle course in the backyard for U'ila, so she can practice her dodging. And sometimes, he'll blow off the whole thing to go buy malasada and see a movie.

(Kāne knows this because Hau invited him.

This is the second nice thing someone has done for him in a very long time.)

Lillie trains with Kukui. She's got a Staryu now, named Sammie, and her Litten has evolved. Leo the Torracat is quickly becoming Kāne's least favorite Pokemon. Leo seems to think Kāne is some kind of toy, and likes to try to catch him out of the air. Because Leo is an asshole.

In a nice twist, Lillie's Trial win seems to have helped her confidence. She still seems like the kind of person who would apologize to her own murderer, but when she comes over, she makes actual jokes now, so it's much nicer to talk to her.

Weirdly, she didn't answer Hau's texts this morning.

He left a few hours ago to check on her. Kāne's been helping Death train in the backyard, (while trying to avoid direct interaction with the ghosts,) and it seemed to be going well. They only stop when the rain starts, Death and Kāne herding the gaggle of Pokemon indoors.

It's a surprise when Death asked to speak with him privately.

Kāne froze. "Are you going to kill me?"

"What? No!" Something about the shock makes it the most human Death has ever sounded. "Goodness gracious. no."

"Oh." And he can breathe again, suddenly, metaphorically, because his lungs don't exist anymore. "Okay, yeah. No problem."

(Death leaves Alahani in charge. Kāne avoids her gaze.)

It's rainy without being cloudy, and Death meets him on Hala's enclosed porch. The rain drums steadily against the windows, and they can see the sunset through their watery view. The oddly spare clouds are stained pink , and red streaks across the sky.

"So," Kāne says. "I feel like you didn't take me out here just to see the sunset."

"No," Death agrees. They're sitting primly on Hala's stained porch couch, hands folded atop one knee. "I want to talk to what happens next."

"Like....after I die?"

"Kāne, really, do you think I'm limited to my job?" Death sounds almost indignant.

"Well, it's, like. Your name. So. I mean."

Death huffs. "I'm on vacation."

Kāne should probably stop pressing the buttons of cosmic entities, but, "Does your name change when you go on vacation?"

"Kāne, please."

"Sorry."

(He's never able to put it together, he really isn't, the way that Death, the being, is someone who sneaks Deborah scraps of broken glass, and reads to Kāne at night, and death, the thing, is something that shakes him to his very core, something he works to avoid thinking about whenever he can.

Cognitive dissonance, or whatever.)

"The Kahuna battle is coming up," Death says. "And after that, I hope to continue on to Akala. Djall has asked to be left here. He does not like the ocean. I.."

Kāne isn't really sure where they're going with this.

Death hesitates, then continues. "I know that you did not exactly...volunteer for this position. And while I am incredibly grateful for all your help, I no longer believe I require it."

Before Kāne say anything, they hold up a hand. "Please, let me finish; while I." They sound like they're choosing their words very carefully. "While I do not think I require your help any longer. I would nonetheless deeply enjoy your company, if you would like to come with me once I leave Melemele."

"Oh," Kāne says.

"You do not have to answer right away-"

"No, I." I assumed I would be here till you killed me.

Except Death hasn't killed him. They've argued with him, and infuriated him, and adopted ghosts. They have made jokes, and studied type matchups, and given Kāne a reason to leave Route 1. But they haven't killed him.

And Kāne realizes, they are friends.

Does that mean, then, that he is going to have to watch his friend kill him?

“How is it gonna work?” Kāne blurts. “When, it. When I.” He can’t get his speakers to work right. “When I pass,” he finally says.

Death is quiet for a very long moment.

“Do you. Are the one that that, like.” Kāne feels vaguely embarrassed to be asking. “Do you. I mean.”

“Do I use a scythe to rend souls from flesh?” Death sounds amused. “No.”

“Cool, cool, cool.” If Kāne had fingers, he’d be twiddling them. “So. Uh.”

“It’s. It happens. It is something that happens, and I am, that, but I am also me.” Death sounds almost frustrated. “I do not control it. I cannot stop it. And I am aware of it happening, all of the time, and.”

Death seems to take a deep breath. Kāne has about a half second to process “I am aware of it happening, all of the time” before Death continues, “It just happens.”

It just happens.

It’s….almost comforting. Still terrifying, of course, but at least Death isn’t going to murder him. (Except for how they are, kind of, if Kāne understands them right, but that’s a whole different can of Pokemon worms.)

“If you could stop it,” Kāne asks, before he can talk himself out of it, “would you?”

Death is silent. “I don’t know,” they finally say, and it is the first time that they have sounded small.

(Kāne doesn’t know if he is the man or the chassis.

Death has the same problem.)

“Okay.”

“Sorry?”

“Okay.” Kāne doesn’t quite know how to phrase what he’s feeling, the strange, soft sensation where his chest should be, “Okay. I’m going with you.”

They watch the rain.

"Thank you," Death says, after a moment.

"Yeah, man. No problem."





Hau's been knocking for five minutes.

Like, literally, actually, honestly five minutes. He's been timing it with his watch. Every couple of minutes, he'll yell, "LILLIE!" Next, "KUKUI?" Then, "BURNET?" And finally, "ANYONE?"

Then he'll start it again. Repetition is the key to success.

He stands there for a solid fifteen minutes, rain soaking him through, knuckles wearing down, throat getting sore, before he hears a shout.

Hau turns; Kukui is walking up across the sand. He's wearing a rain jacket, which seems like a smart idea. "Why are you trying to break my door down?" he calls.

"I'm trying to check on Lillie!" Hau yells back.

Kukui's close enough now that Hau can see his grin. "So you decide to torture the information out of my door?"

Hau grins back. "He seems like he would know something." He moves out of the way so Kukui can unlock the door.

Kukui shakes his head. "And yet, they never broke down." He pats the wooden frame. "Good man. C'mon in, cousin, let's get you dried off."

Hau's always been fascinated by Kukui and Burnet's place; it looks like a lab was attacked by a gift shop. There are white walls, white tiles, and white counter-tops, strewn with shells, driftwood, and beach glass. There's a giant aquarium tank in the middle of it all, populated by whatever (herbivorous) local Pokemon need care.

Their Rockruff, Hibiscus, jumps on Hau as soon as he steps in the door. Hau is more than happy to indulge her, squatting down to give her chin scratches and tell her what a good girl she is while she licks his face.

Then he remembers; "Oh, so where's Lillie?"

Kukui's hung up his rain jacket, and changed into a dry shirt. "She's out on the boat with Burnet. They're collecting water samples." He throws Hau a towel. (Any respectable tropical home keeps towels by their door during the rainy season.)

"Oh, wow!" Hau wraps the towel around his shoulders. He would get up and dry off properly, but Hibiscus has settled herself in his lap, so he legally can't move. "For anything in particular?"

"Nah, just data collection."

Hau nods sagely. "I see, I see." He scratches behind Hibiscus's ear; her tail starts to thump the ground.

“So,” Kukui asks. “Are you nervous about the Kahuna battle?”

"I guess," Hau says. He gets that spot right behind Hibiscus' ear; her tongue lolls from her mouth. "But I'm really good at battling, so not really.”

"Oh," Kukui says. "Alrighty, then. That's cool, cousin." His tone is the lukewarm temperature of someone who thinks you're lying, but doesn't want to offend.

Something in Hau’s mouth tastes bitter.

This is why he doesn't tell people.

He isn't trying to brag. He doesn't like to talk about it, because people act weird, but he's good. He’s been training to be a Kahuna since he was born. He taught himself how to read using back-issues of Trainer magazines. He knows that Lillie and Death like to train against wild Pokemon, but Hau prefers real Trainers, and he can count the number of times he's lost on one hand.

He's not worried because he doesn't need to be.

He tries to make a joke out of it, to move his tongue to lose the acrid taste. "I mean, I already beat Death. I think I'll be fine."

Kukui laughs. "I've seen Death battle, kid. We both know beating them isn't that impressive.”

The conversation shifts from there into something more light-hearted.

Hau's kind of glad Lillie isn't home.

He always feels like he has to walk on eggshells when he talks to her, because one wrong move makes her flinch and shut down. And that's fine, obviously, it's fine, she's his friend, and she's clearly been through something, (Lillie told Hau that Kukui and Burnet were her aunt and uncle, but he's not stupid,) it's just.

It's a lot of work, sometimes, to get through a conversation with her.

But. She's still his friend. So he came to check on her.

(Once, when Hau was about ten, Hala had to pick him up from school for fighting. Not Pokemon fighting, either, but for shoving a weird kid in a locker.

Hala had walked him back home in silence. Hau had been in tears the entire time, waiting for Hala to do something, anything, to lay down whatever punishment he had coming to him. He had screamed at his grandfather as they walked, begging with him, pleading with him, asking what was going to happen to him.

Hala had walked him home, and sat him down on their old porch swing. Hau, by then, had the hiccups and a headache, and had simply sat there, whimpering, wondering, waiting for punishment.

Finally, Hala had said, "Did that boy do anything to you?"

Shame burned red-hot in Hau's gut. "No, sir," he muttered. He wanted, very badly, to be shot into the sky, and never see land again.

"Did he do anything to anyone else?"

Hau sunk lower into himself. "No, sir."

"Hmmm." Hala started straight ahead as he talked. He was the only person Hau ever knew who could talk so softly, but sound so loud. "So. Did he deserve what happened to him?"

"He's weird!" Hau had burst out, his self-preservation instinct scrambling to find any kind of defense.

"Does that mean," Hala had asked, still quiet, "that he is undeserving of your kindness?"

Hau's fists had balled up, nails digging into his palms, guilt sinking its teeth into every fiber of his being. "You don't get it, he doesn't act normal, it's hard to be kind-"

Hala's voice was ice. "Then do it until it becomes easy.")

Kukui politely kicks him out once the rain stops. Hau whistles on the way home, calling back to the Pikipek hiding in the trees.





Lillie's helping prepare plant slides when Burnet asks her, "What are you planning to do with Nebby?"

(Nebby's been hovering around the corner, playing with a block set. They perk up at the sound of their name.)

Lillie chews her lip. She carefully puts the slide in the box next to her before asking, "Um. Why do you ask?"

Burnet's watching something through her microscope. (She's been examining the water samples they got earlier.) She doesn't look up when she speaks. "Well, we still haven't found a ball that will hold them, and I doubt you want to babysit that duffel bag again." Burnet adjusts a knob, and grins down at the microscope. "Selfishly, frangipani, I'm trying to figure out if I'll have more time to study Nebby, or if you'll be leaving with my most interesting subject."

Lillie fiddles with a blank slide. Selfishly, Burnet says.

Lillie already knows what she wants to do. She's known since she sent Nebby back here; she can't take Nebby to Akala. She has no way to store them safely, and they hate being stuck in the duffel bag. The alternative is to let Nebby wander free, and that's just plain stupid.

(She has nightmares, sometimes, about that night when she found Nebby on Aether Paradise, when she found the pitiful, crying creature, and her mother said, "Lillian, leave," but it was too late, she had looked, and seen-)

"Lillie?"

Lillie is snapped back to reality. "Oh, sorry-"

"Hey." Burnet's voice is gentle. she places a hand gingerly on Lillie's shoulder. "Hey, you're okay."

There's a coo from Lillie's other side. Nebby brushes her face with one gaseous appendage. (It feels like being stroked by a cotton ball.)

The knot in Lillie's stomach gets worse. She reaches out a hand to pet Nebby, stroking over the barely-physically-tangible body. "I'm okay," she says, to Nebby and Burnet both. "I just."

Nebby looks at her with those big, wide eyes, and coos again.

Lillie has to look away.

“I have to leave them here,” she says quietly.

The words feel very final.

Nebby feels cool under her hand. “I can’t leave them in the bag,” she mumbles. She’s wrestled with this long enough, arguing herself in circles as she tries to fall asleep, but it feels different to say it out loud. “It’s cruel. But, um. But I can’t just, I can’t let them wander around, either, since. Since I’m sure that Mother is looking for both of us,” and she won’t let her voice hitch, she can say this, “and it’ll be safer if I’m by myself and she doesn’t find Nebby with me.”

(“Lillian, get out of here.” Her eyes are what Lillie remembers most. They were cold and fierce at once, a glimpse into a blizzard. “Now.”

But Nebby had been crying-)

“And um, we haven’t, um.” She can do this. She’s been doing better. She takes a deep breath, and continues. “We haven’t seen Mother, but.”

Oh.

This part, But she’s definitely still looking for us, this part refuses to leave the spot where it’s lodged in her throat.

Burnet reaches out a hand. Gently, she squeezes Lillie’s shoulder. “It’s okay.”

Lillie nods rapidly. “Um.”

(She’s beaten a Trial.

That’s been her source of strength, through all of this; she’s beaten a Trial. She did, all by herself. And it’s so small, it’s so stupid, but no, no, she did that. She never thought she could, but she did, and she holds onto that tiny spark for dear life.)

Nebby wriggles under her hand, begging for more attention. Lillie still can’t look at them.

“I feel really bad,” she manages to say. “Um. Like. Nebby got me out of there, Nebby saved both of us, and I really, um, I really feel like I owe them, like, I owe them something, and I don’t want to just abandon them, they don’t deserve that.” Before Burnet can correct her, Lillie adds, “And I know, I know it’s not really abandonment, because they’re with you, and Kukui, and they like you and Kukui, but how come it feels like I’m abandoning them?!”

Her throat feels tight and her hands are shaking, but she’s said it, she’s done it, the words are out in the air, and she wants, desperately, to know why it feels like she’s been stripped raw every time she asks someone a question.

(Nebby nudges against her hand again. Lillie resumes petting them. The knot in her stomach tightens further.)

“Well.” Burnet has that tone in her voice that means she’s thinking. “If I had to guess, you’re worried that you’re abandoning Nebby because you feel like whatever you ‘owe’ them hasn’t been fulfilled.”

Lillie latches onto the words. Burnet’s good at stuff like this, at looking at the tangled mess of Lillie’s emotions and explaining what tapestry it resembles. “You think so?”

“I think so.” Burnet puts careful emphasis on the word. “I’m not in your head, I can’t see exactly what your feelings are, but if I had to guess, yeah, that’s what I’d say.”

Lillie mentally turns the idea over. It sounds right. She’s been trying to be more introspective; she’s not very good at it. Obviously she’s great at feeling lots of complex emotions, but she’s been trying to understand how to name them beyond ‘these feel bad’.

It’s been a process.

“But.” It’s been a process, and it is a process, and every time she tries to understand herself, it feels like all she finds are deep wells of ‘I’m sad’. It’s so much easier to have Burnet explain things. “What do I feel like I owe them?”

Burnet quirks an eyebrow. “Again, sweetie, I’m not in your head.”

Dang it.

“Okay.” Lillie takes a deep breath, and lets it out. “Okay. Um. So. To figure out why I feel like I’m abandoning Nebby, I need to find out what I feel like I owe them, and then give that to them?”

Burnet shrugs. “It’s my best guess? But I study biology, not psychology.”

Lillie chews her lip.

She looks at Nebby.

They look right back at her, eyes just as unfathomably black as the first time Lillie saw them.

(Dr. Faba had done something, had pressed some switch, some button, and Nebby had screamed, and Lillie had shouted, and then,)

“I want them to be safe.”

The knot in her stomach loosens.

Lillie pivots to face Burnet, ecstatic at her discovery, “I want them to be safe! And the safest place they could be is with you and Kukui, it’s not with me, so leaving them here means I’m fulfilling what I owe them!”

It’s a relief. It’s a huge, monumental relief, to have all of that sorted out in her head, because this has been eating at her even more than the upcoming Kahuna battle, and now she gets it, and everything will be okay, because Nebby can stay here, with the professors, and Lillie isn’t a bad person for leaving them here.

Everything is going to be okay.

Everything is going to be okay.





Aether Paradise

“Still nothing, ma’am.”

She drums her fingers on her desk. “Run it again.”

He hesitates. “Lu-”

“No.” Her voice is soft. This is when she is at her most dangerous. “No, I don’t think you’ve earned enough favor to say my name.”

He gulps.

The room is silent.

She stands. “Run it again,” she says quietly. “And keep running it until we fucking find them.”

She doesn’t need to add ‘or else’.

He knows what else.

He’ll run it again.


I'm very happy with parts of this chapter, and very unhappy with others, but it's as good as it's gonna get.

As I mentioned in my last post, I've restructured the plot, which is why this chapter has slowed down the action significantly. While this will, overall, be a rather short project, (I'm currently clocking it at maybe 30 chapters,) I've got a little more wiggle room for real character development now, so here you are!

And, uh. In some different news, I've started a Patreon. I'm looking to branch out more with writing, both fanfiction and original work, so if you're interested, please, come check me out! (That being said, DFTR will ALWAYS be posted here on the forums/AO3 for free, so don't worry about that.)

As always, thanks for reading!
 

Dee

THIS IS MY HAPPY FACE
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
147
Caught
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
808
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.
Kane can charge up? That's... super neat, actually, and makes total sense. I love little worldbuilding details like that.

" "Oh," Kāne said, "uh, yeah," because he feels like it would be cruel to tell them that no, he isn't bored, he just gets a soul crushing, existential crisis every time he looks at Death sitting in the corner of the room. " Also, he remains hyper relatable.

Kāne never really knows how to contribute to that. He’s a database, sure, but there’s another part of himself that’s wonky; is he a database? Or is someone with access to a database? Is that his knowledge, tucked away in his motherboard, or is that the knowledge from the Rotom-dex chassis?

Who would he be without it?
Holy crap this is so neat! I would actually be super down to just read a run about Kane.

(Kāne doesn’t know if he is the man or the chassis.

Death has the same problem.)
First off: chassis? Great word. Second, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa--

it looks like a lab was attacked by a gift shop. It does. It does!!

Our look into Hau and Lillie's heads was really neat, and I see we're meeting our villain, aren't we~
 

Whozawhatcha

i have too many projects
Pokédex No.
486
Caught
Jul 12, 2019
Messages
490
Nature
Lonely
Pokémon Type
Fire, Flying
Oh!! Oh I finally got back and caught up, and this is all still so good. Kane and Death were FASCINATING this time around, watching them go back and forth and seeing how they compare and contrast. They just felt good, you know? And Kane has been my least fav of the crew, but this bit really made me appreciate his character more.

My favorite part was definitely the Hau and Hala bully exchange. I just really love the exchange of "be kind until it is second nature" as a moral code, and to see how that's shaped Hau, even when it's difficult and he doesnt want to, is really lovely. Hau is turning into a fine young man and it makes me very proud.

And ahah! I see we finally get the ominous tease of our villain!
 

glancesherlock

Consulting Detective
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
32
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
716
Location
221B Baker Street
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Just wants to stay home and solve crimes.
God I loved this scene with Death and Kane. I'm glad not all the ghosts in-world just fall to their knees at Death. Even the ones we saw in the cemetery prior were respectful, but not like. Absolutely starstruck. Kane's fear and even his own projection on Death is so fascinating. Just the fact you've given the PokeDex an existential crisis is great.

Kāne doesn’t know if he is the man or the chassis.

Death has the same problem
This is so loaded and wonderful, I can't even begin to describe.

That bit at the end. Sinister af. Nice. 👌
 

Thirteenth

Number XIV
Writer
Pokédex No.
14
Caught
May 20, 2019
Messages
1,724
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.
This has been unexpectedly delightful, and I only say unexpectedly cause like -- I mean, I knew from the start it was gonna be a lighthearted story, the grim reaper's going around Alola with a lei ffs. But it's been so much cuter than I thought it'd be? I think this last chapter has a little bit of everything that I like about this run. The story is humorous and wholesome, and it doesn't lose that even when you go into things like Kane's existential dread, Lillie trying to heal, and now this bit about Hau needing to learn to be kind -- It's just been a warm, enjoyable read.
 

Wwarborday

Gradually Becoming Productive
Pokédex No.
153
Caught
Jun 28, 2019
Messages
200
Location
Gaytown
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
He/him/his
Pokémon Type
Ground, Ice
Pokédex Entry
I'm Doing My Best
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #38
Hey! Guess who didn't wait six months between updates? This guy.

@Dee Thank you!!! My fave part of the last chapter was def Kāne and Death's interactions ^^

@Whozawhatcha ahhh I'm so glad it helped bring you around to Kāne! And writing that scene with Hau honestly got me emotional, I'm so happy it came across well ;;

@glancesherlock I'm quickly realizing that my entire "brand" of writing is being t"the guy who gives PokeDexs existential crises." Not a bad brand!

@Thirteenth I'm so glad! I really wanted to focus on something more "light" than my usual stuff with this story, it's been great to write, so it's wonderful to know that it's fun to read.


AO3 Link

The Kahuna battle takes place at the Ruins of Conflict.

("Why's it called that?" Kāne asked over breakfast. “Ruins of Conflict?”

"Ah," Hala said. "There was once a great temple there. Then there was a conflict; now we have ruins."

Kāne can't tell if he's messing with him or not.)

The Ruins are to the north of Iki town, across the world’s most rickety bridge, and ultimately tucked away in a cave ringed by palm trees. A great stone door bars the entrance. Hala has a massive key on a bigger ring to unlock it.

Hau keeps shifting back and forth from foot to foot. His grin is almost manic. “I’ve been trying to get gramps to take me here forever!”

“This place is sacred,” Hala reminds him. “I wasn’t about to let you use it frivolously.”

“Just looking at it isn’t frivolous!”

Hala raises his enormous eyebrows. "Is 'just looking at it' not the definition of frivolous?"

Hau shuts up.

Hala finally gets the door open. “Kāne,” he says, “do you mind going first?’

Kāne is instantly suspicious. “Why?”

“It’s dark. You have a flashlight.”

“Y’know,” Kāne mutters, floating past him to himself on, “I’m not a damn Kalos Army Knife.”

Inside, Kāne can feel his internal thermometer drop. The floors are not rough stone, but beautifully carved rock. Massive tapa banners, printed with battle imagery, hang from the walls. As Kāne’s eyes sweep over the room, he realizes there are battlefield lines inlaid in the ground. The field is framed with six stone braziers; one at each corner, and two on either side of the center.

Hala releases a huge, hulking Emboar. "Tapu Koko!" he booms. "This is the first Kahuna battle for these three challengers! We dedicate this battle to you, and ask that you bestow upon them your blessing!"

The Emboar shoots two jets of flame.

The braziers light.

Kāne's jaw drops.

There, in the center of the arena, floats a large, yellow and black thing. A sweeping orange plume falls down its back. It turns its head to Kāne.

"Tapu Koko?!" he croaks.

It vanishes.

"Kāne? Did you see something?"

Kāne looks at Hala incredulously. "Did you not?”

"Did you see the Tapu?" Hau practically squeals.

"Where was he?" Lilie asks.

"Oh," Death says mildly, "were we not supposed to see him?"

Hala's busy mustache turns down. "Could you see him too, then? He was really here?"

"Hey, what do you mean 'he was really here', I just told you I saw him-"

Death inclines their head. "I see many things that others do not. It is often for the best that I do not share them."

"Yeah, okay," Kāne says, "but you're like, Death. I'm just some dude, how come I could see the Tapu?"

"Maybe cause you're dead?" Hau offers.

"Gee, thanks."

(Great, awesome, wonderful, great, Kāne loves these little reminders that he’s dead, he’s a Pokemon, he’s neither alive nor himself-)

Hala clears his throat. "No matter the reason. The Tapu has seen fit to bless our battle, and I believe we should honor him by beginning!"

Hau whoops.

"Hau, this is a place of sacred business."

"Oh, sorry. I thought it was the place where I was gonna kick your butt."

“Hau.”

“Sorry.”

Hala gestures to the arena. “I will be fighting each of you one-on-one, one Pokemon per Trainer. No substitutions, no swaps. Items take the place of a move. Those of you who aren’t battling can wait outside. Does anyone have questions?”

“Who’s going first?” Hau asks.

“Death.”

“What-”

“Oldest to youngest, Hau,” Hala says, straight-faced.

In retrospect, Kāne’s pretty sure he was fucking with him about those Ruins.



Hala sends out a Crabrawler.

Death sends out Strigoi.

The two challengers stare each other down for a long moment.

Hala's mustache twitches. "So. You picked a flying Ghost-type."

Death sounds like they're trying not to laugh. "I was told Fighting moves cannot hit ghosts."

"And any Dark moves I have won't land—"

"Because Strigoi can simply fly out of the way," Death finishes.

They stare at the battlefield.

"Does your Misdreavus have a psychic move?"

"He does, yes."

"Of course."

"Of course," Death agrees.

They resume their staring.

Finally, Hala sighs. "By default, you win."

"Thank you."

"That wasn't a compliment."

"Well. It should be."




Lillie's up next.

She's only shaking a little. She's put up her hair today, in a neat braid under her trademark sun hat. Burnet had done it up for her this morning, while Kukui made breakfast.

"You can do this, Lillie," Burnet had assured her.

Now, looking at Sammie on the battlefield, Lillie almost believes her.

Lillie surveys her opponent carefully. Hala's sent out a Makuhita. It's odd to see one that isn't Mason; Hala's Makuhita, Clementine, is burlier, and she has more of an orange tint instead of Mason's yellow-brown.

Lillie's eyes narrow. Mason’s a hard-hitter, but he’s slow. He goes over like a sack of bricks, even to low-power attacks. One of her biggest hurdles in training him was finding ways to defensively use his offensive power. Clemtine looked bigger, but bigger Pokemon almost always meant slower Pokemon.

And if Clementine was slow...

"So!" Hala's voice echoes slightly in the chamber. "Are you ready to begin?"

Lillie takes a deep breath. Breathe in, breathe out.

You can do this.

She clenches her fists at her sides. "I'm ready!"

"Clementine, Feint Attack!"

"Sammie, Psywave!"

Clementine starts charging, but, true to form, she's slow, each step echoing with its weight. As she runs, dark energy starts to clump at her fists.

Lillie can only see Sammie's back, but Sammie's already glowing violet, and they shoot off a weak beam of energy, a purple haze in the air that swims toward Clementine-

Clementine goes down.

Lillie blinks.

"Um," she says. "Is. Is that it?"

That can't be it, can it?

Was that it?

Hala sighs so loudly that she hears him across the battlefield. "I was afraid of that." He recalls Clementine in a red flash. “Congratulations, Trainer, on earning your Melemele stamp. I’ll put in your passport once Hau is done with his battle.”

“Wait.” Lillie can’t wrap her head around this. She feels like something’s fizzing under skin, like when you drop a mint into soda. “Um. What were you afraid of?”

Hala waves a hand. “Staryuu are powerful Psychic-types. Makuhita have low defensive capabilities. One decent Psychic attack and they’re down.”

"Wait, so.” Lillie hasn’t quite processed this yet. “I won?”

Hala nods. “You won.”

This feels like some kind of trick. “I. Are you sure?”

“Your Pokemon knocked out mine. That’s a win.”

It.

This.

Something feels wrong, here. This was way too easy.

“Are you sure?” Lillie asks again.

Hala sighs. “Yes. Can you please send my grandson in on your way out?”

“...sure,” Lillie says faintly.

Huh.

Okay, then.




Hau feels a quiet sense of awe when he enters the Tapu’s chamber.

It’s nothing like he expected. It’s too plain, for one thing. There’s no marble columns or grand tapestries.

And, y’know. No Tapu.

The only lighting in the chamber is stone braziers on either side of the arena. They cast harsh shadows over Hala’s already stern face.

“Hau,” he says. His arms are crossed.

Hau nods. “Hala.”

One side of Hala’s mustache twitches in a grin. First blood to Hau.

“Do you understand the rules?” his grandfather asks simply.

“Yes, sir.” Hau squeezes Hanna’s Poke Ball. “I’m ready.”

His whole life has been leading to this, and it’s just a cave with some fire in it. He doesn’t know if he should laugh, or. Well.

He’s gonna laugh, obviously. He’ll just have to save it till the end of the battle.

Hala releases a Mankey. Hau releases Hanna.

They don’t need to wait.

“Karate Chop!”

“Baby-Doll Eyes!”

Mankey leaps at Hanna. Hau doesn’t know whether Baby-Doll eyes lands; he sees the Karate Chop hit, and he sees Mankey back on the other side of the arena, but he barely sees him move.

Hau narrows his eyes. “Disarming Voice!”

“Karate Chop!”

Mankey darts forward again. Hanna tries to follow him, singing Fairy magic, but he moves too fast; she only clips him. She yelps when he lands a second hit to her side.

Hau chews his lip. Mankey is fast. Hanna has a fish tail. She isn’t exactly agile on land, and Disarming Voice moves through the air like syrup in water. If he can’t even land a hit, he’s dead in the water. Maybe if he can create a slip trap? Or hit the lights with Water Gun, so the Mankey can’t see? But, no, then Hanna couldn’t see either. Or what if—

Hau shifts his stance. He’s overthinking. (Contrary to popular belief, he does that sometimes.) Pokemon battles aren’t about super-effective moves or fancy strategies. They’re really simple when you get right down to it; it’s about keeping your opponent from hitting you, while you hit them.

Hau knows how to do that.

Hala’s apparently decided Hau has had enough of a break. “Fury Swipes!”

“Water Gun!”

Mankey leaps at Hanna, but Hau’s been training her with water bottles since he got her. She shoots out water right when he’s in the air, and he goes sprawling.

(Hau sees Hala’s mustache twitch upward.)

Mankey stands up and shakes himself off. He’s breathing hard.

Hau doesn’t grin yet, but it’s coming.

“Fury Swipes!”

“Water Gun!”

Mankey doesn’t jump this time, but Water Gun hits it square all the same.

(And this is how Hau beats his grandfather in their official match; without fanfare or fuss or fanatics.

He lies awake that night, staring at the ceiling, and wonders why he feels so empty.)


Not very happy with this, so I projected it onto the characters.

Not a whole lot to say here! Battle was way easier than I thought it would be, and I figured just Death kicking Hala's ass would be incredibly boring, so I spaced it out a little.

Stay tuned for next time, where we wrap up Melemele with a very special guest.

(While I'm here, here's a great resource about ways to help BLM if you don't have any money or can't personally protest.)

As always, thanks for reading!
 
Last edited:

glancesherlock

Consulting Detective
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
32
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
716
Location
221B Baker Street
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Just wants to stay home and solve crimes.
("Why's it called that?" Kāne asked over breakfast. “Ruins of Conflict?”

"Ah," Hala said. "There was once a great temple there. Then there was a conflict; now we have ruins."

Kāne can't tell if he's messing with him or not.)
I can literally picture Kāne's facial expression here.

Death's candid af Grand Trial is sending me. I love that Hala's not like. Super impressed with this stalemate. (Hala just can't catch a fucking break, can he?)

Burnet doing Lillie's hair for her big day, aaawww!!! 😭 Lillie's battle is almost as short (er, at least it's actually a battle), but I'm so happy to see her strategize and come out on top because of it. Her doubting she actually won is breaking my heart, even though Hala is just exasperated. This child needs a chorus of pep talks.

I really liked Hau's battle! The way you organized these is great, with each one being more intense than the first. I love those little moments where you can tell Hala is proud of his grandson. It was a really solid match, but then you gotta stab me in the gut with that last line.

Jerk.
 

Whozawhatcha

i have too many projects
Pokédex No.
486
Caught
Jul 12, 2019
Messages
490
Nature
Lonely
Pokémon Type
Fire, Flying
Ngl I was in stitches with the little stalemate Death and Hala had and that little, "if that's how it is, then fine" and the salty little forfeit.

Burnet? Doing Lillies hair for the match? Stop being so cute, I'm trying NOT to grin like a fool at work. And gosh you guys! I know we all have our type matchups down pat, but jeez, let hala do some battling!

And last but not least, hala and hau?? They're so stupid cute trying to stay serious but they cant cause they're so excited, and hala is so freaking cute with how proud he is of hau. But dude, why you gotta do my boy dirty like that, why's he so upset? I want to give all of these kids big hugs, including that salty Kane
 

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