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Iris [one-shot]

There’s some mild foul language so I’m rating this PG.

This is a rewrite of a one-shot I wrote six years ago. It answers a writing prompt that had bit me at that time: What does the Pokémon Center nurse in Ever Grande City experience every day?

I wanted to rewrite it because I felt like there was so much more I can do with that kind of character. I eventually decided to make it first-person so I can try my hand in exploring the character from her thought processes rather than from how she acts. And it’s also so that I can practice writing in a voice I’m not familiar with. I admit that I’m not 100% with how the ending turned out, but I felt like it was a good note to end the one-shot on.

And on that note, any other comments and criticism are very much appreciated. Thanks for reading! :)


Iris

Hi. I’m Iris.

I work in the Ever Grande Pokémon Center for 12 hours a day, six days a week.

I serve hundreds of trainers each day, thousands each week.

Sure, they’re all different and unique and whatever, but I can group all of them into four categories.

You want to hear about them?



Category One is the most common trainer. And they also happen to be the most annoying.

Picture this: Category One goes in the Center with their Wailord-sized egos right behind them. They make sure the eleven steps they take from the entrance to the counter are as loud and attention-grabbing as humanly possible. When they find themselves facing me, they give me this grin that seems to be screaming, “Punch me in the face!”

Instead, I say my line: “Welcome to the Pokémon Center. Would you like me to heal your Pokémon?”

Category One raises their eyebrow, or looks me up and down with a smirk, or does whatever other stupid mannerism to assert their arrogance before giving me their Poké Balls.

Once I deposit their Poké Balls in the healing station, things turn from bad to worse.

They usually begin their monologues with, “You better make sure my Pokémon X is in good shape. Pokémon X is the strongest Species-Of-Pokémon-X in all of Hoenn.”

I nod and smile, so that my months of nurse training don’t go to waste.

They then show me whatever proof they have of their accomplishments—eight badges, five ribbons, a Key Stone, you name it—while continuing their monologue on how great they are and how strong their Pokémon are and how the Elite Four don’t know what’s coming when they challenge them.

I keep nodding and smiling, wondering why the healing station never worked fast enough when I served Category Ones.

The worst ones are those who point out how “superior” their trainerhood is from my nursehood. They’d say something like, “I bet you feel lucky you’re hearing all these awesome stories about my journey since you can’t go on your own,” or maybe, “I’d ask you about your day, but I’m sure it’ll be boring.”

It took a lot of practice, but I also nod and smile through those pieces of—let’s say they’re “advanced” Category Ones.

When I finally withdraw their Poké Balls from the healing station and return it to them, Category One would act like a Fan Club Chairman and blurt out every adjective they knew to praise their Pokémon. One of the very few perks of dealing with so many Category Ones each day is how my vocabulary has expanded because of them—I now know every word synonymous with strong, awesome, and unique.

And they’ll always end their monologue by claiming that they’re gonna be the “greatest Champion Hoenn’s ever seen.” Yeah, those five exact words used over and over and over again. Sure, there could be some “greatest Champion in the world” types or even the more ambitious “greatest Champion to ever exist” kind of egos, but Hoenn will have an endless supply of greatest Champions to see according to all these Category Ones.

And then I say, “We hope to see you again!” And because they always have to get the last word in, Category One replies with, “You won’t!”



Category Two is a whole other thing, but it’s just as bad.

I have this friend, Erin, who works in the Pokémon Center in Rustboro City. Whenever we vent to each other about our jobs, she would always tell me how she was sick of acting like a mentor to all the newbie trainers she served. These amateurs were usually those who just got their first Pokémon from Professor Birch and were about to take on their first gym battle against Roxanne.

“I swear, Iris, every time I’ve had to lecture these brats about which types are strong and weak against Rock-types, I ask myself, ‘How did they get this far without knowing their type matchups?’” she would tell me.

Now imagine something like that, but with trainers that have eight badges and negative eight self-confidence.

Category Two enters the Pokémon Center already looking lost even if the path between the entrance and the healing station is a straight line. They act as if they’re a Magikarp in a sea of Carvanha, even if the fact that they’re here means they’ve already evolved into a Gyarados.

“Welcome to the Pokémon Center. Would you like me to heal your Pokémon?” I say, and they take one more minute to compose themself before giving me their Poké Balls.

Once I deposit their Poké Balls in the healing station, things also turn from bad to worse.

“I can’t do it,” they would start. Sometimes they go straight to the point: “I’m a huge loser.”

And then the floodgates open, where Category Two would tell me how flawed they are as a trainer, or how they feel like everything they’ve done up to this point was a fluke, or how they felt like an embarrassment to their families and friends. All those things are probably true, but I’d get into trouble if I said that to their faces.

A professor in nursing school always said, “Pokémon aren’t the only ones nurses can heal.” At least the Pokémon don’t beg you for an ego boost.

It’s always one of three sentences that cheer them up: “You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t good enough,” “The Pokémon League’s had a lot of trainers, but they’ve never had you,” and one I got from Erin, “Failing is better than not trying at all.”

And then they’d look at me like I’m Arceus or something while I hand them back their Poké Balls. That doesn’t look as good as it sounds, really. It becomes this whole pattern of Category Two putting themself down and expecting me to lift them up again.

“Oh, but my Pokémon don’t deserve a bad trainer like me,” they’d say. And I’d have to reply with, “They wouldn’t stick with you throughout your whole journey if they didn’t think you were a good trainer.”

“Oh, but I only got here by pure luck,” they’d add. And that’d be my cue to say, “Luck wouldn’t be enough to bring you here if you didn’t have skill.”

“Oh, but I’m not good enough to be Champion,” they’d say, and that one’s a real favorite among Category Twos. My reply’s a real favorite, too: “You’ve been good enough to get all the way here, so what’s stopping you from being good enough for the League?”

And that drags on and on until they’ve run out of self-deprecating things to say. I’m not sure if they’re worse than Category Ones, but Category Twos are their own kind of annoying.

After all that, I say, “We hope to see you again!” And Category Two would give me this dopey look that takes all my restraint not to mock them about it.



Category Three can sometimes be the best kinds of trainers I get for the day, but they would always be the dullest.

Category Three goes in, marches right to the counter, and hands me their Poké Balls even before I finish my “Welcome to the Pokémon Center” line.

They then exert all the effort they can to look like they don’t give a shit about anything that’s happening. In my first few days of dealing with Category Threes I tried to make some small-talk with them, but as the months went by I realized that I was fighting a losing battle. So as soon as I know I’m dealing with a Category Three, I don’t say anything beyond my script.

And in some ways, I appreciate the emptiness Category Three brings. At least I’m not dealing with a stuck-up Category One or a woe-is-me Category Two.

But damn can it get awkward. They’re just there, looking at me—or probably just the general direction where I’m standing—and seeing their blank stares is real uncomfortable. If the healing machine takes long when I’m serving Category Ones, it feels like the healing machine needs an eternity to restore a Category Three’s Pokémon.

After that eternity, I hand them their Poké Balls back and continue with my script. And then I finally say, “We hope to see you again!” And you can probably guess how they respond to that.



You might be thinking, Wow, being a nurse in the Ever Grande Pokémon Center sucks. And in many ways you’d be right. Dealing with arrogant, hopeless, and indifferent trainers 12 hours a day and six days a week isn’t worth it, right? So shouldn’t I just resign? Or maybe relocate to somewhere that doesn’t have as many Category Ones or Twos or Threes?

I’d be lying if I said I haven’t thought about it. In fact, my day wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t think about it at least twice behind the counter.

So why haven’t I left? Well, there are two main reasons.

Reason number one is that dealing with arrogant, hopeless, and indifferent trainers 12 hours a day is very much worth a constant paycheck, especially one that allows me to help my family in Fallarbor while putting food on my table.

Look, nursing is hard, and I had asked to be assigned here in Ever Grande precisely because of the lower foot traffic. Sure, cities like Slateport or Lilycove would probably have much less Category Ones, but the large amount of Category Twos and Threes I’d be dealing with would drive me insane. The small towns like Pacifidlog and Lavaridge and even my hometown Fallarbor would probably be less hectic, yeah, but all the other nurses know that, too. I’d have to wait months before any of those towns have an opening, and those nurses wouldn’t let go of their positions that easily.

And who’s to say they don’t have their own categories to deal with? Maybe the Category Ones of Slateport and Lilycove aren’t the arrogant trainers I deal with, but the insensitive foreigner trainers who think they deserve to be treated like royalty. Maybe the Category Twos Erin deals with are the Rustboro Gym trainers who have no faith in themselves. Maybe the Category Threes of Fallarbor and Verdanturf are the coordinators who bring their own set of annoyances.

So yeah, Ever Grande’s customers can be a pain in the ass, but there’s no shortage of that anywhere, if you think about it.

And then there’s reason number two, who also happens to be Category Four.

I’m not really sure how to describe a Category Four. Part of it is because they aren’t really common. Category Ones and Twos always come one after the other, and Category Threes fill in the gaps that the Category Ones and Twos leave behind. But Category Fours? I’d be lucky if I get more than one a day.

But a bigger part of it is that when they do show up, they’re different all the time.

Maybe they’re a white-haired—or white-hatted, I’m not really sure—boy who makes you feel like you’re the most important and interesting person in all of Hoenn by turning his attention to you rather than to himself.

Maybe they’re a frail-looking green-haired boy whose appearance betrays every sense of strength and willpower he possesses, his pendant boasting his key stone with pride but his demeanor being anything but boastful.

Maybe they’re Steven Stone.

Or maybe they’re just a trainer who isn’t arrogant, or helpless, or indifferent. Maybe they’re courteous when I welcome them to the Pokémon Center. Maybe they ask me how I’m doing after I deposit their Poké Balls into the healing machine. Maybe they have a little chat with me and they actually listen to what I have to say. Maybe they thank me after I give them back their Pokémon.

And maybe there aren’t a lot of them and they’re different all the time because they’re fate’s way of reminding me that, hey, my job isn’t all bad. Maybe I’m not as annoyed with my job as I thought I was. Maybe the arrogance, helplessness, and indifference I experience don’t affect me as much as I thought it did. Maybe all I need to do is to write all my thoughts down and categorize all the trainers I serve to realize that, hey, you can handle them all—you have the experience, you have the comebacks, you have the lines memorized—so what’s making you have any doubts about your job?

And after all that, I say to Category Four, “We hope to see you again!” And it’s the only time I mean it.
 
After reading Unpacking, I decided I'd look out for more of your stuff, and lo and behold something new has been released!

Now, I can't lie, when I first saw the title I thought it was about the Iris who everyone hates from BW, so I got a neat surprise when it turned out to be a simple Pokemon Centre Nurse (which in hindsight makes sense since this is your writing style). This may be a kinda short one-shot, but it's one of those short-and-sweet ones that leaves you with happy fuzzies afterwards. It starts off with negatives about being a nurse in such a busy, important location, and the situations Iris describes feel really realistic, like you'd fully expect them to happen. Watching Pokemon Let's Plays on YouTube are enough to show that people can be exactly like the first three types of trainers, and you really hit that home here, so kudos to you on that one!

And then we reach Trainer type 4, and the fic maintains its sense of realism there too - there are references to in-game characters, ones with kind, caring, likeable personalities that stand out from every NPC on Victory Road, ones that are willing to hear what Iris wants to say, start up a discussion, emerge from their shell, hear about her rather than them, and it works so well at conveying the positive emotions Iris feels while talking to these people despite not even showing the conversations she has that I begin feeling those positive emotions. Well done!

Before I first went on the internet I was an extremely secluded person. I never really talked to people much around me, and I found that nobody really wanted to talk to me back - especially in school classes. However, when I joined this forum I was stepping out into something I hadn't really tried before. I was shy at first on this forum, but I began emerging from my shell when I began talking to people, asking about them while they asked about me in return, with a sense of engagement and friendship that made both me and the other person happy.

This fic reminds me of that story so much. I was a Category 3 Trainer that didn't know how to get to Category 4 until joining this forum, and in that process, finding a way to interact with people without feeling too nervous and shifting from 3 to 4. That story has been one of my fondest memories, so the fact that your fic almost teaches to others what I learned is really awesome.

Overall an adorable little fic that really hit home for me!
 
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Chibi Pika

Stay positive
Okay this was absolutely not at all what I was expecting, but you know what? I'm okay with that. :) Because this was a fun little character piece. Pokemon Center employees are definitely one of the NPCs that people don't give a lot of focus in fanfic. They're just a background detail, ever-present, but rarely acknowledged as people with their own lives and dreams. And this is a fun insight into some of the things they have to deal with.

Iris was a lot snarkier than I was expecting, lol. But then again, you can see why--pretty much anyone who deals with customers on a daily basis has stories about the worst of the bunch. I mean, how many of us could deal with Category Ones all day long? :p

I liked the details about how the trainers a nurse deals with might vary across the region, and how all of them might have their own problems to deal with. I know without that part I might have wondered why she kept at the job if she couldn't stand it that much. And then of course, the Category Fours. The only trainers to actually treat her as a person. In a story about an NPC that players wouldn't really think of as a character. There's a fun sort of poetic irony to that. Overall, a sweet note to end the story on.

~Chibi~;249;;448;
 

Cutlerine

Gone. Not coming back.
You know, I hadn't really thought about this particular conjunction of ideas before, but there's really good mileage to be got out of drawing parallels between NPCs and workers in the service industry, isn't there? Like, take an NPC and give them self-awareness, and the result is almost by definition somewhere between the two; if the NPC you pick happens to be a Pokémon Centre nurse – who are (a) all very emphatically NPCs in a way that other NPCs aren't, being very distinctive in a way that highlights their interchangeability, and (b) service industry workers with scripts that might be lifted straight from an equivalent real-life position (“Hello, and welcome to the Pokémon Centre!”; “We hope to see you again!”) – the whole thing becomes way more marked and pointed. I think what I was saying, in that horrendously overlong and unclear sentence, is basically that this is a really great and interesting idea.

And you execute it very well, too. You've got the sense of weariness and of being so achingly, tediously familiar with the way things turn out, over and over. I think I'd agree with you on not being entirely convinced by the ending, actually, but also agree that it's a good note to end the story on. Maybe what makes it slightly off is the way Iris seems to come to the conclusion that no, actually, her job is okay just on the basis that she is competent at it – which doesn't quite feel right to me. You could perhaps edit that penultimate paragraph to give a stronger sense of it being the Category Fours that really swing it for her; that might do it. Other than that, I don't really think I have much criticism to offer. It's a really strong one-shot, with all your usual style. Nice work!
 

Negrek

Lost but Seeking
This is a cool idea! I really enjoy stories that look at nurses and other pokémon center staff, since they're such an integral part of the franchise and yet not one that tend to get examined much in fanfiction. They also provide a nice mix of an outsider's view on trainers and training and the view of someone who's still intimately connected to the sport. The idea of nurses getting to pick what center they want to work at, and making that decision based on things like whether they'll be seeing a lot of newbie trainers or whether things will be super busy or more quiet. It makes sense, of course--if you're in a position to do so, that's what you'd hope to arrange in any normal job--but it's one of those little details that makes things feel more real, and which simply make sense for this sort of portrayal.

I think of the types Iris describes, I liked the third one best. I don't know if you intended for that one to represent the player character or not, but the description of them being silent, unemotional, not engaging in any kind of conversation just makes me think of the protagonist from Sun/Moon standing there staring with that horrible fixed "8)" expression on their face.

Overall, though, I thought the different trainer types Iris talks about were a bit overexaggerated, to the point where they really weren't believable. Like, it makes sense that you'd get a relatively large number of bigheaded trainers at Ever Grande, but I think it would still be rare to encounter someone who was that much of a blatant *******, much less have that character type make up the majority of people you were coming across. Likewise the Type Two trainers read to me more like caricatures of insecure and depressed people than individuals you'd actually meet on a regular basis. Now, I know that the profiles are going to be exaggerated because Iris is exasperated, and also a bit for humor, but it didn't work for me. They struck me as just too cheesy.

I also thought the framing of the story was a bit odd. It starts out sounding like Iris is narrating to an audience, what with the "You want to hear about them?" bit. But at the end, it sounds like she's writing this down somewhere ("Maybe all I need to do is write all my thoughts down..."), as if she's doing a diary entry or a pro/con list kind of thing ("pros vs cons of leaving my job at the pokémon center"). I don't know that you need the framing at all, tbh, like I'm not sure what it adds, but one way or another you might want to be more clear on how exactly Iris is dictating this.

I keep nodding and smiling, wondering why the healing station never worked fast enough when I served Category Ones.
Little tense shift here. Should be "works" fast enough when I "serve" Category Ones.

I did like the ways that you differentiated between the different kinds of trainers, how you mentioned the same aspects each time, e.g. how they walked up to the counter, and pointed out the unique ways each trainer type approached those situations. Gave the one-shot a nice sense of unity by repeating the same beats with variation each time. I also loved the little Humans of Hoenn reference--you really do enjoy calling back to that story, don't you?

All in all this was a cute little one-shot. Takes a nice look at a pretty unexplored area of the pokémon canon.
 
Well. Holy crap. This was pretty freaking sweet.

It's always fascinating to see fics about aspects of the pokémon universe that never get talked about, and it's been a long time since I've seen a fic focused on the Pokémon Center. And I've gotta say, this is a fascinating angle to take it.

You totally have to whole "world-weary sarcasm" down to a science with Iris. I especially loved the "eight badges and negative eight self confidence" line. That just oozed with personality.

I also kinda like how you implied that she may not even be all that passionate about the job anymore. Everyone starts off as really invested in a job in the pokémon universe, and I don't think I've seen any examples, really anywhere, of someone who wasn't still passionate about that job, so in a weird way, it was refreshing to see a character who, by all accounts and in her own words, is really just in it for the paycheck at this point. It's a much more grounded, realistic look at a job that is glorified in basically every iteration of Pokémon canon, and I find that fascinating.

So, yeah, this was awesome. If you have any more ideas like this, I'd definitely be on board to read more of them.

-Phalanx, out.
 
Oh my god, that was a delight. I admit I'm a huge sucker for these dry, over-it character pieces (especially with this one's customer service angle), and this one hit all the right spots for me.

I worked at a Dairy Queen for years, so the flattening of individuals into broad types felt too true, and unfortunately so did the annoyance even at the ones who didn't exactly do anything wrong. Iris' totally unrepentant attitude as she dragged each category was speaking right to my heart, especially when I think about my worst days at that job. Her voice was very well defined--tough and perpetually annoyed but with just enough of a sense of humor to find a grain of enjoyment in her own frustrations--and felt like a real person (maybe heightened just a bit for effect).

My favorite was Category One for sure. It felt like her attitude toward those types was laser focused and the jokes were ridiculous but in a way that seemed inspired by reality. I did love the part about Category Four too, but I agree that maybe it was just a little too suddenly sweet considering what came before. It was very nice, but being good at my job and liking some customers a lot definitely never made me think that maybe serving people ice cream was a good thing, and that Iris sort of does have that turnaround felt insincere. Still, it was very sweet, and I was kind of moved by it despite myself. But I think maybe dialing back the switch of emotion just a tad could go a long way to helping the ending go down easier.

Despite that, it was a super enjoyable one shot. Great job as always! :)
 
You know what I forgot to do?

Reply to these reviews omfg.


I really liked this one shot and thought this was awesome. I like the Brendan reference in category four.
Haha, thank you! I can't help but come back to my favorite interviewer in a lot of my recent one-shots ahaha.


After reading Unpacking, I decided I'd look out for more of your stuff, and lo and behold something new has been released!

Now, I can't lie, when I first saw the title I thought it was about the Iris who everyone hates from BW, so I got a neat surprise when it turned out to be a simple Pokemon Centre Nurse (which in hindsight makes sense since this is your writing style). This may be a kinda short one-shot, but it's one of those short-and-sweet ones that leaves you with happy fuzzies afterwards. It starts off with negatives about being a nurse in such a busy, important location, and the situations Iris describes feel really realistic, like you'd fully expect them to happen. Watching Pokemon Let's Plays on YouTube are enough to show that people can be exactly like the first three types of trainers, and you really hit that home here, so kudos to you on that one!

And then we reach Trainer type 4, and the fic maintains its sense of realism there too - there are references to in-game characters, ones with kind, caring, likeable personalities that stand out from every NPC on Victory Road, ones that are willing to hear what Iris wants to say, start up a discussion, emerge from their shell, hear about her rather than them, and it works so well at conveying the positive emotions Iris feels while talking to these people despite not even showing the conversations she has that I begin feeling those positive emotions. Well done!
I honestly didn't realize that I was naming my character after a pretty established NPC in the canon, and only after reading the comments here did I realize that, whoops, I probably misdirected some readers by making them think this was about the Unovan gym leader. Hahaha.

In any case thank you for saying that! I'm glad that all the categories felt realistic for you.


Before I first went on the internet I was an extremely secluded person. I never really talked to people much around me, and I found that nobody really wanted to talk to me back - especially in school classes. However, when I joined this forum I was stepping out into something I hadn't really tried before. I was shy at first on this forum, but I began emerging from my shell when I began talking to people, asking about them while they asked about me in return, with a sense of engagement and friendship that made both me and the other person happy.

This fic reminds me of that story so much. I was a Category 3 Trainer that didn't know how to get to Category 4 until joining this forum, and in that process, finding a way to interact with people without feeling too nervous and shifting from 3 to 4. That story has been one of my fondest memories, so the fact that your fic almost teaches to others what I learned is really awesome.

Overall an adorable little fic that really hit home for me!
Aw, that's really sweet of you to share! I'm glad that it was able to convey that message for you, and I'm more glad that you see yourself in a better place now! Thanks again for the review!


Okay this was absolutely not at all what I was expecting, but you know what? I'm okay with that. :) Because this was a fun little character piece. Pokemon Center employees are definitely one of the NPCs that people don't give a lot of focus in fanfic. They're just a background detail, ever-present, but rarely acknowledged as people with their own lives and dreams. And this is a fun insight into some of the things they have to deal with.

Iris was a lot snarkier than I was expecting, lol. But then again, you can see why--pretty much anyone who deals with customers on a daily basis has stories about the worst of the bunch. I mean, how many of us could deal with Category Ones all day long? :p

I liked the details about how the trainers a nurse deals with might vary across the region, and how all of them might have their own problems to deal with. I know without that part I might have wondered why she kept at the job if she couldn't stand it that much. And then of course, the Category Fours. The only trainers to actually treat her as a person. In a story about an NPC that players wouldn't really think of as a character. There's a fun sort of poetic irony to that. Overall, a sweet note to end the story on.

~Chibi~;249;;448;
Heh, thank you! You know how much I love those background characters ahaha. About the snarkiness, I was a bit worried that I would be going overboard with it, but in the end I thought, the "overboardness" of it shows a lot about her character anyway so why hold back?

And that bit about poetic irony is a really nice way of putting it and I didn't even realize it. Haha. Thank you very much for the kind words!


You know, I hadn't really thought about this particular conjunction of ideas before, but there's really good mileage to be got out of drawing parallels between NPCs and workers in the service industry, isn't there? Like, take an NPC and give them self-awareness, and the result is almost by definition somewhere between the two; if the NPC you pick happens to be a Pokémon Centre nurse – who are (a) all very emphatically NPCs in a way that other NPCs aren't, being very distinctive in a way that highlights their interchangeability, and (b) service industry workers with scripts that might be lifted straight from an equivalent real-life position (“Hello, and welcome to the Pokémon Centre!”; “We hope to see you again!”) – the whole thing becomes way more marked and pointed. I think what I was saying, in that horrendously overlong and unclear sentence, is basically that this is a really great and interesting idea.

And you execute it very well, too. You've got the sense of weariness and of being so achingly, tediously familiar with the way things turn out, over and over. I think I'd agree with you on not being entirely convinced by the ending, actually, but also agree that it's a good note to end the story on. Maybe what makes it slightly off is the way Iris seems to come to the conclusion that no, actually, her job is okay just on the basis that she is competent at it – which doesn't quite feel right to me. You could perhaps edit that penultimate paragraph to give a stronger sense of it being the Category Fours that really swing it for her; that might do it. Other than that, I don't really think I have much criticism to offer. It's a really strong one-shot, with all your usual style. Nice work!
It's a great prompt to work on, yeah. There's a whole bunch of NPCs in the Pokemon world that are probably having similar experiences to Iris, too, and it's really exciting to think about. I'm glad that you thought this particular story was good!

And about the ending, a big thank you for that comment. I remember in the first version of this one-shot I also got a really helpful comment about the story being static, which is why I went for the direction of making it a bit more flavorful with this revision. But yeah, I definitely see where you're coming from with the ending, and I think I can do better in conveying Iris's relief with the Category Fours. Thanks again for the comment! :)


This is a cool idea! I really enjoy stories that look at nurses and other pokémon center staff, since they're such an integral part of the franchise and yet not one that tend to get examined much in fanfiction. They also provide a nice mix of an outsider's view on trainers and training and the view of someone who's still intimately connected to the sport. The idea of nurses getting to pick what center they want to work at, and making that decision based on things like whether they'll be seeing a lot of newbie trainers or whether things will be super busy or more quiet. It makes sense, of course--if you're in a position to do so, that's what you'd hope to arrange in any normal job--but it's one of those little details that makes things feel more real, and which simply make sense for this sort of portrayal.

I think of the types Iris describes, I liked the third one best. I don't know if you intended for that one to represent the player character or not, but the description of them being silent, unemotional, not engaging in any kind of conversation just makes me think of the protagonist from Sun/Moon standing there staring with that horrible fixed "8)" expression on their face.
Thank you for saying that! I admit I did have a lot of fun trying to think of how Iris actually got to where she was right now, not just in terms of her feelings about the different trainers but also her position as Ever Grande's nurse. I also noticed that quite a lot of my one-shots in the past few years had a Pokemon Center nurse as a supporting character, so I guess I'm just as interested in their story as you are!

I didn't mean that, but now that you say it it does resemble our favorite emotionless player characters, doesn't it? Ahaha.

Overall, though, I thought the different trainer types Iris talks about were a bit overexaggerated, to the point where they really weren't believable. Like, it makes sense that you'd get a relatively large number of bigheaded trainers at Ever Grande, but I think it would still be rare to encounter someone who was that much of a blatant *******, much less have that character type make up the majority of people you were coming across. Likewise the Type Two trainers read to me more like caricatures of insecure and depressed people than individuals you'd actually meet on a regular basis. Now, I know that the profiles are going to be exaggerated because Iris is exasperated, and also a bit for humor, but it didn't work for me. They struck me as just too cheesy.
Hm, very much noted on this. Yes, I did mean for them to be exaggerated, but I see where you're coming from in that there were probably some aspects of the first two Categories that I can make more realistic. That bit about the Category Two trainers sounding like caricatures I definitely agree with, and I'll definitely work on conveying that it isn't so much poking fun at how insecure every trainer is but rather highlighting just how widely shared that self-deprecation is among trainers.

I also thought the framing of the story was a bit odd. It starts out sounding like Iris is narrating to an audience, what with the "You want to hear about them?" bit. But at the end, it sounds like she's writing this down somewhere ("Maybe all I need to do is write all my thoughts down..."), as if she's doing a diary entry or a pro/con list kind of thing ("pros vs cons of leaving my job at the pokémon center"). I don't know that you need the framing at all, tbh, like I'm not sure what it adds, but one way or another you might want to be more clear on how exactly Iris is dictating this.
Ah, thanks for pointing this out! I was unsure how to approach Iris's narration, and I believe that I did switch gears often with how she was presenting this to whatever audience in the middle of writing this.

I did like the ways that you differentiated between the different kinds of trainers, how you mentioned the same aspects each time, e.g. how they walked up to the counter, and pointed out the unique ways each trainer type approached those situations. Gave the one-shot a nice sense of unity by repeating the same beats with variation each time. I also loved the little Humans of Hoenn reference--you really do enjoy calling back to that story, don't you?

All in all this was a cute little one-shot. Takes a nice look at a pretty unexplored area of the pokémon canon.
Thank you! I thought making the structure more repetitive would be a great way to zero in on the monotony Iris feels, and putting the variation in between those repetitions was pretty fun to work with, too. And yes, of course I had to sneak in that reference - I'll find a way to do it in most of my one-shots now tbh. Haha. Thanks for the really comprehensive review! :)

Well. Holy crap. This was pretty freaking sweet.

It's always fascinating to see fics about aspects of the pokémon universe that never get talked about, and it's been a long time since I've seen a fic focused on the Pokémon Center. And I've gotta say, this is a fascinating angle to take it.

You totally have to whole "world-weary sarcasm" down to a science with Iris. I especially loved the "eight badges and negative eight self confidence" line. That just oozed with personality.
Thank you! I'm happy you thought it was sweet despite Iris's snarkiness, as this is one of my very few attempts at working with a lighter and more optimistic premise. And I'm even happier that you liked Iris's personality as it was definitely a challenge to put together!


I also kinda like how you implied that she may not even be all that passionate about the job anymore. Everyone starts off as really invested in a job in the pokémon universe, and I don't think I've seen any examples, really anywhere, of someone who wasn't still passionate about that job, so in a weird way, it was refreshing to see a character who, by all accounts and in her own words, is really just in it for the paycheck at this point. It's a much more grounded, realistic look at a job that is glorified in basically every iteration of Pokémon canon, and I find that fascinating.

So, yeah, this was awesome. If you have any more ideas like this, I'd definitely be on board to read more of them.

-Phalanx, out.
I admit, that was probably a lot of self-indulgent inserts that made it work ahahaha. But in any case I liked working with Iris's character precisely because of what you said - that these jobs' monotony does take a toll on the workers and it's rarely a straightforward journey like what the player character experiences. You put it really nicely, so thank you very much for the comment!


[Imaginative]:[Clockwork];18432788 said:
Oh my god, that was a delight. I admit I'm a huge sucker for these dry, over-it character pieces (especially with this one's customer service angle), and this one hit all the right spots for me.

I worked at a Dairy Queen for years, so the flattening of individuals into broad types felt too true, and unfortunately so did the annoyance even at the ones who didn't exactly do anything wrong. Iris' totally unrepentant attitude as she dragged each category was speaking right to my heart, especially when I think about my worst days at that job. Her voice was very well defined--tough and perpetually annoyed but with just enough of a sense of humor to find a grain of enjoyment in her own frustrations--and felt like a real person (maybe heightened just a bit for effect).
I'm so glad this worked for you as I was worried if I was making her too dramatic when talking about her job woes, so hearing it work for someone who's experienced it is such a relief! I'm glad you liked her voice and personality, as like I said above, it was really something I wanted to get just right with this kind of one-shot.

[QUOTE='[Imaginative]:[Clockwork]My favorite was Category One for sure. It felt like her attitude toward those types was laser focused and the jokes were ridiculous but in a way that seemed inspired by reality. I did love the part about Category Four too, but I agree that maybe it was just a little too suddenly sweet considering what came before. It was very nice, but being good at my job and liking some customers a lot definitely never made me think that maybe serving people ice cream was a good thing, and that Iris sort of does have that turnaround felt insincere. Still, it was very sweet, and I was kind of moved by it despite myself. But I think maybe dialing back the switch of emotion just a tad could go a long way to helping the ending go down easier.

Despite that, it was a super enjoyable one shot. Great job as always! :)[/QUOTE]

Very much noted on the over-"sweetness" and insincerity of the ending. I admit that I'm not really that sure on how to remedy this, but I do think exploring her character more and getting into the nitty-gritty of why she's still in the job in the first place would lead me to the right direction. Thanks as always for the helpful review! :)

So sorry to everyone for taking so, so long to reply, but I really, really appreciate all your comments. Thank you so much for reading "Iris"! :D
 
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