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NebulaDreams

A Dense Irritating Miniature Beast of Burden
Hello! I decided to bash out a quick 2k word story based on an idea I had about a couple of the side characters in The Curious and the Shiny! I thought I'd post it separately from that thread since it focuses on a minor character that's very non-essential to the story. Reading TCATS beforehand isn't a requirement, but it does add a lot more context to what's going on.

Summary: A hunter asks a meek rabbit a simple request.


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So, something totally weird happened! Like, super weird! Okay, so I'm making it sound less serious than it actually is. But who's reading anyway? Might be good for me to write stuff down in my diary for once.

I was minding my own beeswax, reading a guide on doll-making since we've started learning stuff. Exciting stuff. There were some things I didn't understand like stitches and patterns and all that, so I got Patches to help explain those to me. But even with all the exciting stuff, there was more exciting stuff that waited for me elsewhere. My doll set. There was that Buneary over there, just like me, except not. Those eyes are still so adorable! Then there were my other friends... well, plushies, one of a Politoed wearing a cravat and another of a Mime Jr. in a top hat. As much as I loved them, their evolution really gave me the creeps. But still, they looked kind of sad just sitting there on those chairs and around that tea set, being unused. I promised Dapper I'd have a tea-tasting ceremony with him, though he couldn't drink anything from there. And Polyphone really enjoyed the cafeteria cakes for some reason, though he couldn't eat it. More for me, I guess. Or maybe smooshing it on his face counted as him eating it?

I knew it wasn't real. Each day that passed kept clinching it for me. I'd get weird looks, especially from that Bibarel, whenever I played with those dolls. I mean, he can get stuffed. Thinks he's so good because he's into construction and all that. I get he likes making dams, but he can keep that to himself. But okay, I get it, this is weird. Yet, I can't stop myself. When I get people to join in the fun, and when I truly get into the flow of it, it doesn't matter if it's real or not. I don't have to feel like a Pokemon all the time. I mean, Buneary, huh? What good can we do? Well, I could bean that Bibarel in the face with my ears. That'll show him. Still, if the staff told me to stop, I would've, but they didn't. They said play was healthy after all if it didn't hurt anyone. That, and that Shinx seemed to like it, though I didn't know why. He said he liked playing as other characters. But whatever.

I stopped reading and looked into the beady little eyes of Dapper. Staring at me. Pleading to me.

'What, does that mean we can't play anymore? Preposterous!'

Polyphone's eyes as well.

'You're not too old to play with us!'

Great, now they wouldn't shut up. So I gave in and started fixing Mime's clothes. That button of his tux was undone. It was all going well.

That doll Buneary looked at me, judging me. She didn't have those button eyes. In fact, hers looked more real than the other ones.

You know you're trying to avoid your studies and the real world. Well, aren't you so safe here?

That wasn't the plush speaking that time.

You know it's way too comfortable here as well. Like any minute, the other paw could drop and you wouldn't be prepared for it.

This wasn't happening.

You know you're not doing so hot in the fight tests so far. You know what the others say about you. You have to grow up at some point. Why not be the Lopunny instead?

I wanted it to shut up. Before I could stuff the plush back in its toybox, he came in.

Ooh, that Marowak. M was his name. What a scary guy. Since bases weren't divided anymore, other Pokemon could just pop into our place willy-nilly. I liked Basil and Pecha. Those two were so much fun to play with! This guy was more like a fun-sucking Banette, not something you'd want to get mixed in with. Last time I saw him in class, he said something about us not being able to survive in the wild. Maybe that's true, especially for me, but...

Nah, can't think about that. M walked towards me. Wait, what? Why? What did I do to pee on his parade? He stopped in front of the doll set and stared. Those eyes. The more I looked into them, the more it seemed like he was looking into me. Judging me.

"Hi hi!" I said, trying to sound as friendly as possible. "Emmy, what's up?"

"Em... my?" He cocked his head. So much for the nickname. Out of nowhere, he took my paw and dragged me out of the base.

"H-hey!" I yelled. "What's your problem?" Despite his larger size, I coiled my ears, about to bop him one. "You want some of this?"

He waved his paws in front of him. "Not... please..."

I stopped, still on my guard. "Whaddya want?! I'm not playin' nice now you’ve kidnapped me!"

M shook his head rapidly. "...listen." He sat down, paws behind his back. He wasn't trying to be threatening that time, but still, couldn't be too careful.

"Listening." I unrolled my ears, smoothing them out with my paw.

I watched M as he tried to find the right words for something, though what, I couldn't place. Then... "Make... make a doll. Teddiursa. Please."

...Okay. I guess there was still room for surprises in this place. I just parroted what he said, and he nodded.

"Why?"

"Please..." He dug his claws into his lap. "Please. Don't... tell. Secret?"

"A Teddiursa doll ain't so secret. What's so special about it anyway?"

"No..." He looked up, pleading with those eyes.

I guessed, considering how well known M was for being a basket case. "Wait... you're not telling me you like dolls too?"

"N-no!" He yelled, looking like his wild self again. Then his docile self. "Yes. Maybe."

Huh. Again, what a surprise.

Well, one thing became another, and since he still kidnapped me, I made him promise to play with me for a bit. Partly because of the whole 'you scratch my back, I scratch yours' bit, but also because I wanted to see him try to play with those dolls. I mean, what did he even need them for anyway? Did he even know how to play with them, given his whole shtick in the wild? Curio caught on pretty well, I guess, but she didn't even like me doing this.

Anyways, I let him in. I had to convince the others he wasn't trying to bite my face off, though they still looked out for me. I guess the harmless wittle Buneary couldn't have been left on her own. Jeez. So I got a beanbag for him to sit on around the table and made myself comfortable as well. With a bit of imagination, I tuned out the rest of the world and imagined we were in a Pokemon cafe.

Yeah, a cafe run by Pokemon. Imagine how awesome that would be. You'd have the Charizard roasting coffee beans at the back, with all the other customers, including us, at the front. Dapper was no longer a plushie, but a person, one that twirled his moustache. Polyphone became an opera singer of some sort. Both looked really fancy. Then there was me and M.

"What sort of cake do you want, M?" Polyphone said.

No response.

"Or perhaps some tea, sir?" Dapper said. "I like a good earl grey myself."

No response either. I started to regret this. I had explained the whole point of this session, but even then, he still didn't want to respond. Oh well.

"Why... pretend?" M asked. "You say this... they're not you... but you're them."

I took an imaginary sip of tea and hummed as I thought. "Well, it's nice, isn't it? Being someone you're not?"

"Not real."

"But that's what makes it so fun! Who cares if it isn't real? That's why you want the doll, isn't it?"

He grunted. Mmm. M. Oh, so that's why he was called M. Huh.

"Yes. Understand." M gripped his lap again. "Cafe? What is..."

"Oh, sorry, it's a human thing. Y'know, a place where people come to drink coffee, eat yummy sweets and talk. Maybe there's a bit of music as well." I guess to make my point, I gave him a cup to 'drink' out of.

"Nothing in it."

"Doesn't need to be. What do you think coffee tastes like?" I stuck my tongue out. "I don't like it. Got the humans to make me some once and I'd rather eat one of their dirty socks than try it again. But I'd like coffee to taste like... Rawst berries. Well, maybe Rawst juice. That's a thing. Yeah, so, maybe think of a berry you like, but it's something you drink instead of eat."

That got his attention. He put the cup to his lips and smiled slightly. "Bluk juice is... nice."

"Good! Now, talk to the nice Politoed!"

"My songs are known far and wide!" he said, standing up on the table. "I've got quite the set of pipes, after all!"

Polyphone sang, or rather, I sang, the best I could with a Politoed voice. They weren't very nice singers, but hey, a girl can dream. Yet, out of nowhere, M snickered. It was the first time I saw him crack a smile over anything. Not even in class. Not even when that other Buneary kissed Pikachu on that show, or tried to anyway.

"Why do you sing?" M asked.

"Because it's my job! People listen to me sing the classics!"

"Not good classics."

Smiling was one thing, but getting him to crack a joke was another. Did the guy finally get up on the right side of the bed or something? Politoed looked rather peeved at that.

"Well, I have a reputation to uphold."

"To empty seats."

Wow, this guy had a good mouth on him. Where was that a year ago? I laughed along with that, breaking the illusion for a bit. The eyes of the other roomies were on us, watching, but I didn't care. We both laughed, not caring about the rest of the world. It was nice to see M like that at last, as much as he got under my fur.

His laughter soon stopped as he dug into his lap once more. "She would like... never mind." He stood up, facing the door. "Thanks. Enjoyed this."

"Well, tried to make it fun, heh!" Minutes ago, I would've clobbered him, but there I was, having a nice moment there. That moment didn't last as I took a good look at M that time.

He stood in place, with all those scars lining his body and that sad look in his eyes. I never would've imagined being out in the wild, fighting for my life, while every scar I got from predators and other monsters served as a reminder for each day I spent alive. Okay, sounds a bit more... what's the word? Something starting with 'philo', but I don't remember. But since he was such a survivalist, I went up to him to ask something. This time, I took his paw and led him out of the door, despite his size.

"M... Milly?" he asked.

"Okay, there's something that's been on my mind, so hear me out." I sat down, away from the door so I wasn't blocking anyone. "Y'know, the others say I creep them out."

M nodded. "They say... too."

"Sometimes, they say things like 'ugh, why is she talking to herself again'? I just like doing it, though. I like cute stuff and the toys help me think. Helps me get through stuff sometimes. All the stuff GeL heaps on me, and they expect me to get it all like I'm a normal human."

I tugged on my ears. "GeL wants me to keep playing. But the others don't. Especially not the wild Pokemon."

He sat down as well, all eyes on me.

"So.. pathetic, isn't it?" I stood up and crossed my arms, hugging myself. "A Pokemon that's not good for anything. Just another dumb hatchling bunny."

I don't think I was talking to M at that point. All the plushies I had to chat with, and yet, they only told me what I wanted to hear.

"So, say it! Say I'm weak! I know you want to!"

I didn't care who heard my voice or how loud I was. Jeez, writing all of this down, now I feel like a basket case. What M did though, he stood up as well and hugged me.

"Strong," he said, "weak, but strong. Buneary are weak. You are not."

"But the stupid dolls--"

"Something you like. Fun. Need fun… stimulation to survive. Need..." He trailed off, then changed the subject. "Not real, like you said. That's what's fun."

I got what he meant then. I didn't know how to take it though, so I pulled away from him, but he wouldn't let go. He muttered something under his breath, which started with an S. Sister? I don't know. Maybe. I figured he needed it as much as I did and let him hug it out before pulling away from me. Such sad eyes, again, like he would've cracked at any moment. I wish I knew what his deal was.

"How long would the doll take?"

"Dunno. Would be my first time making it. But I think I know how."

He nodded, then looked to the end of the hallway where he could get back to his own base. Before he left, he nodded again, thanking me in his own way.

So... after that happened, I stuffed all of the toys back in the drawer in my own base. Dapper, Polyphone, and especially the other Buneary would stay in the box. This time, I definitely knew they weren't real, and this time, I wouldn't cave in when I needed to focus on the real things. But when things got tough and I needed an outlet, I'd play with them again. Or maybe...

I let Buneary back out for a while longer. I needed inspiration as I looked through the book to study my topic of choice. I couldn't wait for my next session with the human so I could start making it for real. The first one I'd make, I wouldn't be doing for myself. I had the other plushies for that. This time, I'd be doing that for someone else, someone who needed it more than me. I looked at the Buneary once more, expecting it to disapprove of me. Maybe saying I didn't have the talent to make something of my own others would like.

Nah, you've got this, girl.
 
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Venia Silente

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The title and checking that it was a oneshot called my attention to I gave this a look, this reads like an interesting story with a particular first person POV plus plushies! Who doesn't like plushies.

And I mostly wanted to comment on this story because it stresses hard enough one little thing - that playing, that imagining things, that ludic activities in general are prep time. Stimulation. Need to survive. Every fledgling, every kitten, every puppy knows this, creatures in the wild know this, but it's only "adult" creatures in a culture who look down on it. And while here it doesn't look like it serves a purpose (and I know literally nothing else about TCATS to tell otherwise) it's an opening. Sure, sometimes it gets out of hand but hey that's what we have adults for.

Regarding this M... Mmmmm.... nice for them that they'll be getting a plushie. Best case scenario, it's a character getting into their heads the idea that "out there" "in the wild" is not the only place you have to go to learn things or to dunno, practice some moves.

(Let's just hope the plush is not going to be used for say grappling or bone-whacking practice, but I can figure out most intended purposes are a win-win)
 

NebulaDreams

A Dense Irritating Miniature Beast of Burden
Ah, hello Venia! I never imagined this would be someone’s introduction to TCATS, but I guess I left it open ended enough for it to work out of context, and I’m glad it seemed to resonate somewhat.

Yeah, more or less the main point I wanted to get at with the story. That it’s okay to enjoy something that doesn’t seem to progress anything or have a purpose on its own. That, and I have a hard time relaxing myself, so sometimes, reminders like these are needed. As far as it relates to TCATS, it’s not especially relevant; just that it offers another side of the character M.

(Let's just hope the plush is not going to be used for say grappling or bone-whacking practice, but I can figure out most intended purposes are a win-win)

My sides. :) But yeah, this plush ends up being part of a serious plot point in TCATS. I won’t say how, but it’s there.

Which reminds me, I really need to update the Serebii version with the latest revisions I’ve done of chapters 1-17 like I was meant to do earlier.

Anyway, thanks for reading and commenting!
 
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