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Andromeda's Lament

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Molag Bal, Oct 24, 2018.

  1. Molag Bal

    Molag Bal It's evolution, baby.

    I decided to develop a character of my own out of nowhere. I have no idea if this'll be a one-shot or a multiple-chapters thing, so I lengthened it to 1000+ words to meet the chapter requirements. Please give me feedback about how I conveyed the character, and what you feel she's like!

    ***
    A wind swept through Route 24. When it swept downward, it rustled tall grass; when it turned upward, it shook tree branches and leaves. As it passed, it roused Spearow from their slumber and made Sandshrew shiver.

    On a high ledge facing Cerulean Cave sat a woman and her Garchomp.

    The woman felt her auburn hair blow in the wind and sighed. “It doesn’t get any easier, does it?” she said, patting her Garchomp on the head. The Garchomp nodded and looked forlornly at Cerulean Cave’s base, as though lost deep in thought.

    Suddenly, the woman heard a step behind her. She recalled her Garchomp and turned around, holding her Poke Ball.

    “Whoa, there!” the stranger said, holding up his hands. “Hold your Ponyta there, lady! I’m not here for a match!”

    The woman stood up and put away her Poke Ball. “Sorry,” she said. “Reflex.”

    “Hey, it’s all good,” the man said. “I was just going to ask you what you were doing here all by yourself.”

    The woman squinted. “I’ve got my reasons. You?”

    “I’m just…taking a hike, ‘s all. You looked lonely, so I came up to check.”

    Silently, the woman sized him up. He was around her age, with short black hair and narrow blue eyes – even from the distance between them, she could tell that he had a good few inches on her. The most noticeable feature of his appearance, though, was the blue baseball cap that he had on backwards. He’s cute, she caught herself thinking, but it’s not like I’m that easy.

    “Does the forward approach work with most girls you meet?” she said, smiling despite herself. “It sure isn’t working with me.”

    There was a stunned silence as the man took time out to comprehend the bombshell she’d just dropped. Finally, he smiled a guilty smile, scratching the backside of his head. “I was that obvious about it, huh?”

    “You aren’t exactly winning points for subtlety,” the woman said, still smiling.

    The man held out his hand. “Jonathan’s my name. You?”

    The woman walked over, took the man’s hand, and gave it a firm shake. “Andromeda. Call me Ann.”

    “Pleased to meet you, Ann,” Jonathan said. “You wanna go down for a bit? It’s lonely up here.”

    Andromeda let go of his hand. “Okay,” she said, and followed him as he led her on.

    As the two traveled downhill, Jonathan couldn’t help but look his new companion up. Andromeda had chin-length auburn hair, wide gray eyes, full lips, and soft features. She wore blue denim jeans and a sleeveless, tight gray crop-top – her bare arms and stomach, while deceptively slim from afar, were hard with muscle. A pair of simple sandals completed the look.

    She cocked her head at him. Damn, he’d been caught! “So,” he said, quickly trying to divert her attention, “do you come here often? I do.”

    Andromeda closed her eyes momentarily. “Only occasionally. This place holds…memories for me.”

    Jonathan nodded. “I see. What kind?”

    “I’d rather not share.”

    “If you insist.” Jonathan knew better than to pry, especially with how forlorn she’d looked when he’d met her.

    “How about you?” Andromeda cocked her head. “What do you usually do here?”

    “Train with Growlithe, mostly. I just got my third badge, and I don’t intend on stopping!”

    At the mention of his badges, Andromeda’s eyes widened. “You’re doing the Gym Challenge?”

    Jonathan smiled and pointed to himself with his thumb. “Sure am. Wanna see ‘em?”

    Andromeda took out her Poke Ball again. “I’ll do you one better. I want to see how good a Gym Challenger is in battle,” she said. “Mind showing me?”

    The two stopped – they were at the small hill’s base. Around them were other Trainers, some battling, some playing with their Pokémon. Andromeda turned to look at them, then looked back to Jonathan.

    “Sure,” he said, taking out his Poke Ball and stepping away from her. “Ready when you are.”

    ***
    Cerulean City’s Pokémon Center was, as usual, packed tight with people. Through the windows, the sun’s orange glow shone. Andromeda and Jonathan sat next to each other on one of the few available long benches, both covered with a sheen of sweat.

    “Your team’s got a huge Ground weakness, bud.” Andromeda leaned against the bench. “That’s a problem.”

    Jonathan scratched his head, humiliated slightly. “I’ve gathered,” he said, his voice dejected.

    “I mean, Fire and Ground are good coverage together, don’t get me wrong.” Andromeda wrung her hands. “It’s just that where your team shines offensively, it lacks defensively. Ground’s one of the most common attacking types around.”

    As Jonathan remembered the Earthquake that had KO’d his Graveler, he winced. “I’ve gathered.”

    “My suggestion’s to get something that can cover your Ground weakness. Like a Fearow, for instance.” Andromeda shrugged. “Not the only option, but hey.”

    Jonathan shook his head. “If you weren’t cute, I’d be really annoyed by now.”

    “…sorry.”

    Jonathan just smiled. “It’s fine. Just a bit bothered by all the unsolicited advice, is all.”

    “Yeah.” Andromeda hung her head. “I get that a lot.”

    Jonathan sat up. “Considered stopping? It gets on peoples’ nerves, y’know.”

    “I try.”

    There was a beat where the two just stared at each other. Finally, Jonathan moved closer to her – she couldn’t hear it, but his heart was pounding. “By the way, ‘Mack’ isn’t a bad name for a Garchomp.”

    “Thanks. Named him after my grandfather.”

    “How’d you get one, anyway?”

    “Safari Zone, back in Johto. I used to be quite the Trainer when I was younger.”

    “You’re from Johto?” he said, leaning forward ever so slightly.

    Andromeda nodded. “I did the Gym Challenge too, when I was younger. Then…things changed, so I gave up and went back to school.”

    “But you battle now.”

    “What can I say? Couldn’t help the pull.” Andromeda shrugged. “You’re one of the few Trainers I’ve battled with recently.”

    “Honored to be here for your rebound.” Jonathan fished into his bag and took out a PokeGear. “Let’s exchange numbers, shall we?”

    Jonathan leaned in even closer to hand Andromeda his PokeGear – as he watched her punch in her number, he slung a hand over her shoulder. When she pulled back, her eyes turned to said arm; she just smiled and shook her head.

    “How stupid do you think I am?” Andromeda said, turning to him. “I told you that I knew you were hitting on me earlier, didn’t I?”

    Flustered, Jonathan snaked his arm back to hang at his side. “Sorry. Must’ve slipped my mind during the battle.”

    Andromeda’s voice dropped an octave. “I’ll tell you straight up, Johnny-boy. You’re not very good at being subtle.”

    Jonathan just grinned. “Well –“

    That was all he could say before Andromeda slung her arms around his shoulders. “C’mere.”

    ***
    Andromeda woke up later that night in one of the Pokémon Center’s rented rooms, her limbs tangled with Jonathan’s underneath the sheets. Mack had gone out of his Poke Ball and was staring out the window, straight at Cerulean Cave.

    When she surfaced from her bath, clad in nothing but a bathrobe, he was still staring out to the cave. “What are you doing?” she said, snapping her fingers. The Garchomp didn’t respond.

    Andromeda sighed. “Quincey’s gone, Mack.” Still, no response.

    Instead of admonishing Mack further, Andromeda walked up next to him and stared out to the cave with him. That’s when she noticed that he didn’t have an expression on his face – he simply stared out, blank-eyed, as if drawn by an invisible force…

    Andromeda turned back. “How long have you been awake?” she said to Jonathan.

    Jonathan sat up, still naked underneath the sheets. “Long enough.”

    Andromeda walked over and sat on the bed. “I suppose I owe you an explanation,” she said, looking him dead in the eye. She was beautiful, but her beauty took on a lonely quality when framed by the moonlight.

    “You don’t need to, if you don’t want to – “

    “’Quincey’ was my starter, a Hitmonlee. We tried to clear the Gym Challenge together with Mack over here – “ She turned to Mack. “ – and we got pretty far, too. Then one day…”

    Jonathan just nodded. “I see.”

    “…It was when we were training at Cerulean Cave that it happened. Out of nowhere, there was a massive collapse, and, well – Quincey didn’t make it out.” Andromeda bit back tears.

    “Ann, I’m so sorry.”

    “Don’t be. It wasn’t your fault.” Andromeda said.

    It was mine, she thought, as she moved to pin him against the bed and kiss him deeply.
     
  2. Interesting story! It reads better as an introduction to a longer work than a one-shot IMO. Not just because of all the unresolved plot details, but also because I feel there's a lot more you can do with these characters to make them feel more holistic. It also helps that there's a lot of points brought up that seems to set up something important later on, from major things like Quincey to smaller things like how Jonathan reacted to Ann's critiques (like, that bitterness must have come from somewhere ahaha).

    Ann worked pretty well for me though, given what's presented. She has a lot of spunk and confidence that makes her really likeable. She played off with Jonathan well, and I think you conveyed their dynamic really nicely even with such few words. With Jonathan, I felt that I needed more from him to get a clearer grasp of his character, since he goes from cocky to dejected to smooth really quickly. But I thought he was also conveyed well given how playful he was with his interactions with Ann.

    I was also slightly weirded out by how Mack was just there when Ann woke up. Like, did he wait for them to finish or something? It's not really an issue for me but just something slightly humorous to think about.

    Good job with the story! Looking forward to where you take it. :)
     
  3. Cutlerine

    Cutlerine Gone. Not coming back.

    I'm with Dramatic Melody here: this would make a good introduction, but it definitely reads like there's a lot more to be said. Like, a bunch of stories begin here – Ann and her team's attempts to deal with what happened to Quincey, some form of story involving Ann and Jonathan, Jonathan's journey – and nothing is really resolved, especially with that final line opening up the only thing in the story that could have been read as some kind of resolution.

    Ann herself is … perhaps not quite as cool as she thinks she is? Which is a subtle thing to have conveyed, so props to you for that! Like, that particular facetious confidence, kept up so continuously, would be pretty tiresome to deal with, I think. At the same time, it's a pretty transparent cover for her unresolved grief, and that's great: people rarely have just one reason for feeling or acting a particular way, and I like it when fictional characters also have that kind of depth.

    Jonathan himself isn't particularly noteworthy; I didn't come away from this with a very solid grasp of his character, probably because his main purpose here is to say and do things that reveal more about Ann, rather than to be an actual human being in his own right. Possibly that's part of the point? Like, Ann is pretty much in control of everything that happens here right from the start (which may have something to do with her guilt, or with the fact that she takes responsibility for Quincey's death, though that theme would need to be developed a bit more before it really means anything); maybe casting her opposite someone insubstantial like Jonathan is deliberate, to accentuate these features of hers. If you did lengthen this at all, I think you'd probably need to do something with Jonathan at some point, though.

    Anyway. For a little character study thing, you know, this is pretty enjoyable! Nice work!
     

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