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The Trials of Matt and Leafy (Edited One-Shot)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Air Dragon, Jul 6, 2010.

  1. Air Dragon

    Air Dragon Ha, ha... not.

    Hi, guys! Air Dragon here!

    Before I get to posting this edit, I think a little history is in order. This was my one-shot entry from the Heart Gold/Soul Silver One-shot Contest held in October last year. After much useful input from the judges and ten months of struggling to find the time to make this rewrite possible, the wait is more or less over.

    Hopefully, after plugging up all the plot holes, I can claim to have done a better job on this one than the first one.

    Happy reading, guys!

    THE TRIALS OF MATT AND LEAFY
    (Heart Gold/Soul Silver one-shot)

    LEAFY

    Hi, I’m Leafy... and I’m presently getting my butt kicked. Again.

    To put things in a nutshell, I’m presently standing in the middle of the shadowy Ecruteak City Gym arena getting punched around and slashed all over by a tall gym leader’s (I think they’re called) stupid Haunter. Why he has two... heck, why anyone would want two of the annoying buggers, I’ll never know...

    The bright green light bubble that surrounded me was holding, but I was taking heavy damage all the same, which only added to the scars and bruises the earlier Haunter had dealt me before I got him with my Razor Leaf attack.

    This would probably get you thinking, “Wait a second? Don’t you have a trainer?

    My reply to that would be to throw a glance towards a young, skinny boy dressed in a red and black trimmed jacket and black knee-length shorts who I met almost three months ago. His normally happy-go-lucky expression was at the moment looking none-too happy about the none-too-lucky situation I was in, and apparently seemed shocked, almost paralysed, his blue eyes widening in stunned horror and helplessness as he tried his hardest to guide me through the battle to no avail.

    You’d wonder why I’m being lenient on my apparently hapless ‘trainer’, while I’m getting the snot walloped out of me. Well, it’s a long story, but I’ll keep it short...

    I guess I’d better start from my trainer’s first experience with Pokémon. Or what I know about it...

    ***​

    MATTHEW

    How do you do? My name’s Matthew. Matthew Goldhart. And this is the story of me and my Chikorita.

    Most people in my hometown of New Bark Town take one look at me in my usual red jacket and black shorts and say that I look every part the hero my older brother Jimmy was. But sadly, appearances could not be more deceiving.

    My professor at the New Bark Academy; Professor Horatio Elm, my mom, my neighbours, they all had such big hopes for me. Such lofty expectations. I have to say it, but for a while, my brother and I were all part of the ‘Matthew Goldhart Cheer Club’...

    ...at least, up until the day my brother’s Ambipom nearly killed me.

    It started as any normal Saturday would. There were no classes, the sun was shining behind whitish grey clouds spewing snow (for it was early winter) and a light dusting of alabaster snow littered the landscape. I woke up particularly early this morning to catch my brother before he left for The Ranch, New Bark Town’s expansive fields behind Professor Elm’s laboratory which served as a place for trainers to release their Pokémon without damaging any of the citizens’ property or endangering any lives should the particularly ferocious ones revolt and go on the rampage.

    My mother had always told me not to go to the ranch and bother my brother while he was training his Pokémon at least until I had my own, and we had both kept to our word to honour the agreement, my brother making a more honest effort than I did. My longing to actually interact with Pokémon consumed me day after day whenever my brother was home for the off-season. My attention in class was divided, my family’s meal times filled with endless questions about my brother’s Pokémon, always met with the same answer from our mother: “You’ll know when you’re ready to go on your own journey.”

    But that was never enough for my curiosity, my longing. One day, I decided to take the initiative and make a Pokémon master of myself.

    One early morning soon after my ninth birthday, I lay awake and fully dressed in my winter clothes waiting for the first tell-tale footfalls of my brother plodding down the hallway to the kitchen door below where he usually let himself out when he went to The Ranch for an early morning workout. My mum, a nurse by profession, were taking advantage of the weekend and were spending the Saturday like they did any other: sleeping in.

    All lights were green. My plan was good to go.

    Slipping into my thick white socks, I padded out of the room and pattered down the stairs after my brother catching up with him as he wrapped a long white scarf round his neck and pulling on his long-fingered insulated gloves. As I stepped in front of him, my dark blue eyes glowing in excitement and overwhelming cuteness, I whispered in a singsong voice, “Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy!”

    Looking over at me with his more mature, golden eyes, my pleading voice affected a small knowing smile on my brother’s face as he replied, “Yes, Matt? May I help you?”

    Employing my omnipotent ‘Puppy Dog Eyes’ look, I said in a slightly whiney voice, “Can I come and see your Pokémon with you, please?”

    “Sorry, bro. You know Mom will flip...”

    “Pleeeeeease? I promise I won’t get in the way, honest!” I pleaded, knowing my brother was weakening under my earnest and sincere pleas as I kept up the ‘Puppy Dog Eyes’ routine.

    “I dunno, Matt...” Jimmy said without much conviction to his voice. “Mom will go ballistic if she found out.”

    “But she doesn’t need to know,” I said slyly, laying careful emphasis on the word ‘need’. “Aw, c’mon Jimmy... pleeeeeeease?”

    Jimmy sighed, rubbing the back of his carefully combed hair and after much muttering about terrorizingly cute little brothers, finally smiled and said, “OK. But you do exactly what I say, got it?!”

    Nodding vigorously I saluted and said joyfully, “Yes, sir!”

    Unlatching the door quietly, Jimmy turned to me and said, “OK, let’s go.”

    As we walked up the snow-dusted street in the early morning silence, Jimmy asked me how things were at the Academy, and we began to chatter animatedly. Despite the fact that we both knew we would get into trouble if we were caught, our worries seemed to shrink away into nothing; insignificant nothings as we trudged through the snow-slammed street side by side.

    Jimmy looked up at the falling snow for a few minutes and turning towards me with a smirk he asked, “So, how’s your girlfriend,” (laying extremely heavy emphasis on the ‘G-word’), “hmm... Kanna, was it?”

    Stumbling in shock at the impromptu nature of the question, I looked up at him and spluttered indignantly, “Wh-what?! Kanna isn’t my girlfriend! Sh-she’s a friend… OK?!”

    Jimmy laughed and declared in a teasing tone, “Your face is red.”

    “No, it isn’t!” I replied hotly, feeling the heat rise to my face.

    “You like her, don’tcha?” Jimmy went on unrelentingly.

    “Only as a friend!”

    “Suuure...” Jimmy laughed in his annoying know-it-all voice.

    “It’s true!” I remarked defensively as we turned the corner. “Somehow, no one in our class seems to like her and so she hasn’t got any friends. That’s why...” I faltered at this junction of my speech, staring down at my feet to hide the blush on my face and neck that was steadily worsening.

    “Aww, isn’t that sweet,” Jimmy said sincerely, although with an amused laugh at the way I handled his interrogation. “Have you kissed her yet?”

    “Urgh, NO!” I exclaimed vehemently and turned my head away, folding my arms and adopting a sour expression on my face as I puffed out my cheeks and adopted a huffy silence.

    “Your face is still red.”

    A few minutes after I began my code of silence, Jimmy said, “Look sharp, Bro. We’re here.” Following his earnest gaze, I noticed that we had finally arrived at our destination. The Ranch wouldn’t look like anything special to the outsider (especially given the lack of activity it currently presented), but as Jimmy opened the gate and led the way into the expansive clearing, my excitement at the idea of seeing real Pokémon up close became palpable.

    My brother undoubtedly noticed as he asked me with another roguish grin and pointing to a small shack with a corrugated aluminum roof, “Hey, bro. Think you could get me my Pokemon’s feeding trays from the store room over there? I’ll let my Pokémon out for a bit of fresh air before I introduce you.”

    Nodding in affirmation, I trotted off towards the shed, my joy apparently giving me wings as the deep snow that caked my path seemed to melt away. After a mere minute of wading through the snow I had reached my destination. Just as I reached out for the door handle with one mitten-clad hand, I suddenly realized I had no idea where my brother kept his Pokémon’s assigned feeding trays.

    Feeling faintly foolish, I turned around and began to struggle back towards Jimmy with the intention of learning where they were kept when the shed door creaked open behind me and a surprised voice called out, “Matthew!”

    I stood frozen foolishly in mid-turn, my pulse tripling every minute as I recognized the voice, which sounded considerably pleased albeit surprised. Turning around, I took in the sight of a nine year old girl with her large, Stantler-like eyes and soft brown hair tied in two short pigtails barely discernable under her too large white cap dressed in warm winter clothes and exclaim, “Hi, Kanna! What are you doing here?”

    Kanna clutched a large brown bag to her chest as she grinned and said, “Helping my daddy, of course! Mommy wanted to make sure Daddy ate his meals while they were still warm and makes me go with him to help with the Pokémon. Are you here with your brother, Jimmy?”

    I nodded happily before a look of embarrassment crossed my face. I reasoned this out when Kanna looked puzzled and asked me, “Matthew? What’s wrong?”

    “Forgot to ask Jimmy where he keeps his bowls,” I muttered embarrassedly.

    Kanna smiled one of her smiles she usually reserved for when we were alone and said, “Not a problem, I know where they’re kept. Wait here and hold these for me; I’ll get them for you, OK?”

    “O-OK!” I stammered, overwhelmed by her kindness and wondering why the rest of our class gave her such a tough time at the Academy. She was such a nice person the other’s behaviour towards her baffled my infantile mind.

    Kanna appeared mere moments later with a stack of cuboid plastic bowls about a foot and a half in length and half a foot in width handing them over said happily, “There you go, Matthew!”

    Accepting them graciously, I said, “Thanks, Kanna.”

    “Well, Daddy’s going to be looking for me soon. See you on Monday!” She smiled once more and turned around to jog back inside with her brown parcel.

    “Yeah... see you,” I said vacantly, captured by the pretty look on her smiling face as she turned to depart, her cap bouncing on her head as she trotted off with a skip to her step.

    Smiling foolishly, I turned to head towards my brother with my mind filled with the image of her smiling face, when several things happened is such rapid succession that to this day I had no idea which came first: the terrifying rumbling that caused my eyes to widen in fear, the sight of what seemed to be a mass of boulders rushing towards me across the plain, or the urgent shout of “Matt! WATCH OUT!” which rent the air.

    Dragging myself sharply out of my reverie, I looked up and saw the mass of wild Tauros charging towards me causing that awful rumbling as I faltered, frozen like a Stantler caught in a car’s headlights as the Wild Bull Pokémon came ever closer.

    I vaguely registered Jimmy racing towards me, yelling, “Matt, move!” although I was too terrified to heed his warning. There was a flash of red light and larger and furrier than me grabbed me roughly around the middle and threw me to the side just in the nick of time. I flew through the air and landed heavily on something long and furry with a loud “OOF!”

    As I lay in the snow, face down and completely winded, I reached out without looking and grabbed the strange, ropey thing I had fallen on and began to hoist myself up. Jimmy screamed, “Oh, no- Matt, let go of Ataro's tail now!”

    Looking up with puzzled eyes, my look of bemusement was quickly over taken by one of utter fright as I looked up into the wide face of a large monkey with slender tufts of hair rising out of the crown of his ovoid head. The monkey’s usually smiley face which I vaguely recalled then to be something I’d seen out of a handbook in the library was gone, replaced by a look of hard, vindictive fury that gave it a dangerously frightening look. As I looked down and saw that the snakelike item I was clutching so hard that I had unwittingly caused it pain was none other that one of the Ambipom’s tail.

    “ATARO... NO! STOP!” I heard Jimmy cry out as the skies around the two of us darkened and more ominous rumbling filled the sky. My eyes widened in fright at the sound, my mind linking it to the near miss I had experienced a mere moment earlier. My glassy eyes reflected the flashes that filled the sky with increasing intensity and with a scream and a blinding flash of white, my world went red, and then black.

    What seemed like hours later, I heard a frantic voice call my name from what seemed like the end of a long, dark tunnel. I could feel biting cold moisture seep into my jumper and get lodged there like a million splinters as I struggled to make sense of the last few minutes of consciousness that I had experienced: the Tauros... the rumbling... the Ambipom... more rumbling... the flashes... and the pain of feeling your every nerve throb as though I had been running for hours without pause.

    The voice got progressively louder and I could hear a sob or two laced in with the urgent pleas.

    “Matt? Matt?! MATT! Wake up!”

    I opened my eyes dully and said in a slurred voice, “Hi... Jimmy. What... happened?”

    For the first time in many years, I saw tears fill the golden yellow irises of my brother as he hugged me tightly, whispering weakly, “You’re alive. Oh, thank you... thank you...”

    It would be a few weeks later before I realised that I had survived near-electrocution, although that was something of a fluke, seeing as I was half-swamped with snow. I did not, however, escape my experiences that day unscathed. There was no physical wound on me when I woke up in my sobbing, apologizing big brother’s arms what seemed like hours later, but the psychological scars, and fears of rumbling noises, lightning, Pokémon stampedes and simian Pokémon embedded themselves like thorns deep in my heart and mind, haunting me for many a year to come.

    My next couple of years weren’t easy. I had become clumsy due to the incident and all my class mates were quick to notice and quicker to tease. Even Kanna started to seem distant those days and it hurt me because I couldn’t figure out why.

    Back then there was only one thing I looked forward to, despite my phobia of lightning, loud rumbling noises and Normal Pokémon: receiving my first Pokémon and getting out of New Bark Town and as far away from my past as possible.

    On the seventh of April, three years later, it finally happened. Kanna S. Elm, Tobias Silverstone and myself passed the Advanced Placement Examination and my chance to leave finally came.

    On the seventh of April, I met Leafy.

    ***​

    LEAFY

    I first met Matthew Goldhart on the seventh of April. I remember the date perfectly because I turned two months old that day. I may have been a young Chikorita then, but I certainly was not a naive one. “The professor” as we called him, said I was the smartest Pokémon he’d seen or raised in many years. And coming from him, apparently, that was saying something: I heard through the Carnivine that the thin, balding and kindly owner of the laboratory where I was raised with my fellows he was well into his fifties... whatever they were. All I guessed was that was quite a long time.

    Anyway, back to my story: the day started like any other day did that spring. The professor had given us our breakfast was making notes on his old tan coloured clipboard as always. I was brought to the notion that something important was happening today by the state of the room. Usually the room was cluttered with sheaves of paper, one or two loose leaves papering the floor. (Another reason why I’d stopped trying to get humans earlier. Why call something white and dry a leaf?) Today, however, the room was spotless. Sunlight filtered through the recently-cleaned windows and glinted off the old yet still-working apparatus that stood in the corner. Books that were usually draped in Spinarak web almost shone on their shelves. Most notably, the professor had showered. Something Toto (the Totodile I grew up with. Total idiot, yet bold as brass. Not a good combination) was quick to alert me on. We knew the professor was nice and all, but his smell was awful. Apparently his wife (what humans call their female life partners) threatened him with something called a dee-vorce (I’m still trying to work that term out) but it certainly kept him out of the lab longer than he’d like.

    Where was I? Oh, yeah...

    So, the lab was clean and the professor and his aides were bustling about, preparing devices called ‘Pokédexes’ and pokéballs for ‘the kids who would be here at ten’. I was keen on finishing my breakfast, a process impeded by the incessant and dare I say it – childish questions Cyndar bombarded me and Toto with. Cyndar was the third part of our trio. Annoyingly hyperactive, with a natural curiosity about everything from dust to the professor’s Quantum Physics (don’t ask, I only read the cover, albeit with much difficulty) notes, the Cyndaquil was one annoying creature. Much like I’ve heard younger brothers are to humans.

    “<Listen, Cyndar,>“ I said as patiently as possible after emptying my mouth. “<Explotaro-seiji (Seiji is the title we Pokémon give to our seniors) said that we’re given to new trainers when they come of age. All I can guess is that we’re finally going to meet them today and go on our journeys today. Understand?>“

    “<But what about staying together?>“ Cyndar said in his annoying mousy voice. “<We don’t know these people! What if they trade us off for Rattata, or Pidgey? What if we get hurt? Or sick? What are we gonna do, Leafy? What are we gonna do?!>“

    Did I mention Cyndar’s an annoying worrywart?

    With a superbly indifferent air, I returned to my food, quoting Mega-seiji, “<Listen, ’what will happen will happen’, so stop worrying and eat, OK?>“

    Despite my unconcerned appearance, I was as curious about my life from that day going as Cyndar. I’d heard about ‘gyms’ and ‘badges’, something called ‘contests’ and ‘battles’; we were told about them but we were still as green as my tail as far as the actual process worked. And I was secretly on the edge of my seat, eager to get out there and experience it for myself.

    You see, despite our differences, some things stand the same between both species. Like the humans, we starter Pokémon are trained by our predecessors who were at the lab just before we are handed over to our new trainers and lifelong partners.

    Just as the thought of partners crossed my mind, the door to the office opened and the professor poked his balding and slightly grey-streaked head in and said, “They’re here. Look sharp!”

    Toto rubbed his sharp teeth and put on his toothiest grin while Cyndar sat bolt upright, sweating ice cold bullets. Passing the others an emphatic eye rolling, I used one dainty foot and brushed my broad head leaf back and sat expectantly, using all my willpower to keep from wagging my tail like a precocious Houndour, determined to show some maturity.

    The door opened fully and the professor led three young people into the room after him. Cyndar was trembling heavily and the professor began to address the children as Matthew, Tobias and Kanna, inviting the last one to go first.

    Kanna peered at the three of us in turn with her coffee brown eyes shielded by her large white cap, her dainty hands on her knees which were clad in her long white stockings. She recoiled slightly at the sight of Toto’s gleaming fangs and considered the serious look in my scarlet eyes for a while. Noticing Cyndar tremble so hard I felt he’d start an earthquake, her eyes softened and scooping him up tenderly began cooing in an annoying voice, “Aww! Aren’t you simply adorable! Daddy, I’ll choose the Cyndaquil, OK?”

    Sweat dropping, I thought to myself, “<Phew, dodged that bullet! Good luck, Cyndar, you’re gonna need it!>“ as the professor made a tick on his clipboard and looking up, called the human called Tobias forwards.

    Tobias sloped forwards, his dark eyes overcast by his dark red hair. Tobias looked over Toto and myself in a calculating manner. Toto had not flinched at Kanna’s choice, but had puffed out his chest as much as he could in an effort to look bigger than he was. I simply ignored his attempts to imitate a Jigglypuff and kept eye contact with the purple-clad boy, repressing the urge to shudder as his sharp eyes seemed to pierce my very soul.

    Catching what I presumed was the idiotic glint in Toto’s eye the young human the professor had called Tobias smirked and said loudly to the boy who hadn’t picked yet, “Well, you can take the Chikorita, Matthew. Seeing that it’s even sharper than you are, you just might make it to Cherrygrove!”

    Picking up Toto by the nape of his neck, he added with a nasty chuckle, “But then again, seeing as it’s you, I could be wrong!”

    And laughing aloud, turned to receive his ‘Pokédex’ and Toto’s Poké ball and left the room after the girl. He gave a final sneer at the last youth left to pick.

    Looking at Matthew auspiciously, I took in his neat black hair held under a yellow and black striped cap as he moved forward saying, “Hi, I’m Matthew Goldhart, and I’m... whoa!” he yelled, tripping over his own feet and landing face first, nearly crushing me had I not sidestepped as quickly as my stubby feet would allow.

    I felt my leaf droop as he muttered a slow, yet agonized “Oww...” as I sweat dropped yet again.

    ***​

    LEAFY

    Regardless of how much I turned a blind eye to my predicament, Tobias had a point. Matthew was another breed of idiot. Kinder Pokémon would call him a detached soul, but they’d be singing to a different tune if he’d spaced out on them in the middle of a match trying to recall the moves I knew like he did to me.

    After three weeks of getting hopelessly lost, riling a horde of agitated Spearow and getting beat by the first gym leader’s Flying Pokémon twice in a row, Truck (his only other Pokémon at the time, a hot-headed and clumsy Phanpy) and I had finally won Matthew his first badge on our third and final attempt. This was to be the first of many more close shaves in our Johto League campaign, but the shame of losing to a Pidgey and Pidgeotto twice in a row was nowhere as bad as what was coming next as we left Violet Town to go south along Route 32 towards the Union Cave.

    Matthew had begun the day by letting me out of my Poké ball for some fresh air as we walked along, fully healed of my injuries sustained in Truck and my fierce match earlier that week. I walked a little apart from Truck and Matthew, wondering what the young boy’s problem was, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw something tubular and stripy flop out of the path surreptitiously into the boy’s path. A glowing yellow sphere adorned the end and Matthew, with his mind only Celebi knew where and before I could call out in warning, planted his foot right on top of it.

    An alarmed bleat came from nowhere and a large discharge of electricity rose from the bush, blowing Matthew high in the air and heavily onto his back with a voluble SMACK.

    “<Matthew!>“ I called out in shock, watching the boy stir feebly and the owner of the thing Matthew had stepped on (one very angry Mareep) leap out of the bush and ignoring me, charged down Matthew as he rolled over, his eyes wide in fear as he saw the flashing fleece of the Mareep.

    Growling at the indignation of being ignored, I leapt into action and head butted the angry Mareep away from Matthew and into the dirt, yelling, “<Back off, Bo Peep!>“ Glancing at my petrified trainer, I bellowed, “<Matthew! What do I do?>“

    Now, I knew exactly what I supposed to do from listening to my seijis’ lectures, but I was also taught to wait for my trainer to give the command. As I watched the young boy cower, the Mareep rose to his feet and releasing an angry calling bleat which seemed to echo all around Matthew and me. My leafy began to quiver in an irritating fashion – a trait I had come to trust as a sure sign of trouble.

    Looking around, I blanched as more Mareep stepped out of every bush, glared over the lip of every ridge and with their woolly coats flashing and gleaming all around, it looked like we were in for some rough weather.

    “<Matthew,>“ I barked angrily. “<I know you’re scared. I don’t know why, and that’s really annoying. But we need to run... now!>“

    Matthew either couldn’t or wouldn’t move. But I guessed this wasn’t really bothering the Mareep much as the flashes of their fleeces intensified, their bleating becoming an uncharacteristically vengeful drone.

    “<Aww, poop,>“ I sighed, knowing what had to be done and that I was not going to be enjoying it much. Leaping onto a boulder nearby, I took a firm stance and swinging the broad leaf on my head around, sent a salvo of quickly-spinning leaves at the nearest cliff where three particularly large Mareep stood, hoping that my guess was as good as my aim.

    As luck would have it, my attack actually had the desired effect. But as the effect was anything but desirable, I’ll leave it to you to determine whether my fortune was good or bad. My Razor Leaf attack had left a stinging, angry red cut across the side of the head Mareep’s head, and as a slight trickle of red blood oozed down its face sluggishly, the large Mareep glared at me and bellowed new orders to its flock.

    Gritting my teeth, I leapt off the rock and dug my feet deep into the soft earth and spinning my leaf in a provocative manner, muttered, “<Do your worst, you walking pullovers.>“

    A myriad of bright flashes filled the sky and the drone of many bleating Mareep filled the air for what seemed like hours after my dire yet resigned declaration. My every nerve felt like it was aflame as electricity assaulted me from all sides.

    Despite my resistance to Electric type attacks, despite my admittedly half-baked preparation for the attack and my determination to hold out against the Mareep flock, I didn’t last long. As my consciousness slipped away from me, I vaguely thought I heard Matthew scream out to me and the registered the Mareep’s angry bleats as the last sound I was conscious of before passing out, completely spent.

    Whoever said ‘whatever doesn’t kill you made you stronger’... lied. Big time.

    ***​

    MATTHEW

    As Leafy lay in the recovery ward of the Route 32 Pokémon Centre, the recollection of my earlier experience with lightning hit me. And although I had received reassurance from the local pink-haired nurse that the Chikorita would make a full recovery, the horror of nearly losing a Pokémon, someone close to me, because I had failed to act properly still hung on me with the weight of ten Snorlax.

    As my mind struggled through the shock and somewhat abated terror that had seized my heart, I began to appreciate the fear my brother had felt as I lay in the snow those three or so years ago, unsure if I had survived the accident his Pokémon had inadvertently caused.

    I couldn’t believe how stupid I had been not to tell him it was OK. That I had forgiven him for what had happened that day. That what had happened then happened because of my error.

    Flipping open my PokéGear Mark II, I dialed a number and waited patiently as my hands trembled, less out of fear then and more from the after effects of the Electric attack I had experienced as a child, which had left me shaky and with markedly slower reflexes, my eyes never leaving the sleeping Grass type on the bed beside which I sat.

    A small click told me that the call had been connected and a warm voice said, “Matt! Hi! How are you?”

    I gulped noisily when I heard the cheery voice that had lost its genuine touch since that day and knew that he hadn’t forgot it either. That he still blamed himself.

    “It’s OK, Jim,” I murmured in a lethargic voice, my throat dry and scratchy. “It wasn’t your fault.”

    “Hunh?” Jimmy voice sounded totally lost.

    “It wasn’t your fault,” I repeated tremulously. “You know, that day... with Ataro... it wasn’t your fault. I’m sorry I made you worry. I’m sorry.”

    “Matt?” Jimmy’s voice sounded concerned. “I don’t understand. What are you sorry for?”

    I found the lump in my throat which had grown larger would not permit me to speak any more. With another tremulous sigh, I hung up.

    The device in my hand rang again almost instantly. Staring at the screen, I saw the name KANNA flash several times as the phone rang. Deciding on balance that it’d be rude to ignore it, I pressed the answer button and a sunny voice came over crackling through.

    “Matthew! Finally! I’ve been calling for hours! How are you?”

    “I’m fine, Kanna,” I said wearily, flopping back into my chair and sighed in a melanchole manner.

    The cheeriness vanished from Kanna’s voice when she noticed my tone and said in a panicky voice, “Are you alright? Is something the matter?”

    Usually I had no problem confiding in Kanna but that day had stayed a secret between myself and my brother for three years. Plus I didn’t want her to worry. So I cleared my throat and mumbled in a voice filled with humiliation at the thought of how uncool my answer would sound, “Leafy got attacked by Mareep today, and I... froze.”

    There was silence on the line for about a minute after my pronouncement, and I waited fearfully for Kanna’s admonishment, or the scorn her answer I felt was sure to bring.

    What did happen took me rather by surprise. When Kanna seemed to finally find her voice she asked me gently, “Are you OK?”

    “Wh-what do you mean, ‘Am I OK?’? Leafy’s the one that got hurt...” I gabbled, unsure if my secret wasn’t quite as secret as I thought.

    “I mean, are you OK emotionally?” Kanna said slightly impatiently. ”You are afraid of lightning, after all. Anyone would be if what happened to you that day happened to them...”

    I blanched as my heart quickened. She knew. But...

    “But how did you know about that? Why didn’t you say anything?” I blurted out in shock.

    “I was there, remember?” Kanna said gently. “I saw it happen from the window. I was so scared back then. I thought... I thought I had lost my only friend.”

    "That doesn't answer my second question," I had said, anger replacing the shock I felt. "Why didn't you say anything then? Why didn't you tell me then?"

    "My parents both know your mom, remember?" Kanna said, a bite of impatience back in her voice. "I couldn't risk you getting into trouble when I knew your mom didn't want you to mix with Pokémon. If my dad found out I knew what was wrong with you, I guessed he'd never let up until I told him. I knew my mother would. And then it'd only be a matter of time before either of my parents told your mom, and you'd be in more trouble! So show some gratitude, OK?"

    "I'm sorry," I said feebly.

    "That's alright," Kanna replied genially.

    I felt my head slump downwards as the obvious truth hit me, the PokéGear clutched tightly in my shaking hand.

    “Are you OK? Matthew, are you there?” Kanna’s voice sounded edgy again.

    Sighing calmly, I said in a reassuring voice, “I’m fine, Kanna. Just tired.”

    “Then rest, Matthew. Just rest. I’ll call another time, OK?” Kanna said kindly.

    “OK,” I said gratefully, a sudden thought coming to mind. Speaking quickly so as to catch her before she disconnected the call, I added, “And... Kanna?”

    “Yeah?”

    “Thank you.”

    I could tell a moment’s silence hung on the other end of the line. “No problem,” Kanna said silently. “Just call back once in a while.”

    “OK.”

    As I cut the line, I turned back to my Chikorita and was startled to see her staring back at me in dawning realization of what the cause of my problems had been up to this point of our journey together.

    ***​

    LEAFY

    I don’t know whether seeing me get fried by a horde of Mareep stiffened his resolve or something, or if I finally understood him, but after that day, Matthew wasn’t so bad once you got over his low self-esteem and slow reaction speed to things that happened around him, but he seemed like a person with a million things on his mind. As time went on and our party grew, it became clear that once Matthew did now feel under potential threat, he was quite the trainer.

    Truck and I were joined by two more Pokémon, the first one being Poke, a Slowpoke we caught in the Slowpoke Well of Azalea Town. Poke, whose brain ran slower than cold Slugma in rain, was slower than most of his fellow Slowpoke (I actually think we had an easy time catching him because he had no idea what was going on until he was released for the first time). However, Poke was deliberate in speech and action, rarely wrong and started having his moments after a wayward Shellder bit him outside Goldenrod City, influencing his evolution and in my opinion, a much needed improvement to his bright-as-cardboard personality.

    We met our fourth team mate soon after that. Victorious (shortened to Vic) hatched from an egg the middle aged couple that ran the Day Care Center on Route 34 gave Matthew as he passed by after they found our he was Jimmy’s little brother. Vic was one cool-headed, strong and dependable Magby who had a bit of a bratty complex to her that put me at odds with her even more than the idea of her being a Fire type. After my evolution during our second attempt for the Plain Badge, and growing a couple of feet extra, I was able to put Vic in her place and she thankfully grew up somewhat.

    Hold it. You’re wondering how a guy who’s afraid of stampeding Normal types was able to beat a Gym Leader whose main Pokémon is a Miltank, right? Well, let me tell you, that was quite a tale…

    MATTHEW

    “Both Magby and Clefairy are unable to battle! This round is a tie!”

    Whitney, the Goldenrod City Gym Leader returned her second pokéball with a word of praise as I did the same with Vic.

    “Wow!” Whitney said in her peppy voice. “Now is this a fun battle or what?”

    I didn’t trust myself to speak. The knowledge of what was coming next was threatening to make me puke.

    The nerves one feels during a gym battle is something I’ve been ready for for a long time. Growing up, people occasionally told me I had an aptitude for keeping my head. And though they may have said it because I was Jimmy’s brother, there were still three types of Pokémon I’d never really gotten the hang of battling: firstly, Normal types.

    Second, Pokémon known to stampede.

    And finally, Pokémon that know Electric attacks.

    Which is why being in the Goldenrod Gym would be akin to building a home in a Beedrill nest for any Pokémon other than a Beedrill.

    The battle hadn’t gone so badly, either. True, I’d used two Pokémon to take out the hyperactive gym leader’s Snubbull and Clefairy, but it was what was coming next that made my blood run cold.

    Most people would scoff at a trainer who professed to be scared of Miltank. But I didn’t really care… they scared the crap out of me.

    I never even taught Truck how to Rollout due to my phobia, and now I had to face one of the Pokémon best known for their prowess in the powerful attack.

    As Whitney waited for me to choose my last Pokémon, I weighed my options. I had already used Poke and Vic. Truck may have the power, but would lose in size and weight difference. That left one choice. And all members knew that Whitney’s powerhouse Pokémon and mine had a score to settle…

    “OK, go, Leafy!” I yelled throwing my third Pokémon for the day into the fray.

    “Let’s do this, Milty!” Whitney said cheerfully, chucking her pokéball forwards. “Go straight into a Rollout!”

    The light that spilled from my pokéball formed a medium sized sauropod with a stout greenish yellow body and darker green shoots ringing his neck. He opened his eyes and saw the large, plumpish cow Pokémon form in midair, and with a low-keyed <Miloo…>, curled itself into a ball and hitting the ground hard, rocketed towards us like a delivery truck doing ninety.

    "<Ah, no, not the Dairy Express again,>" Leafy groaned as he did his best to get out of the way and got his back leg clipped by the rolling, pink ball of power. "<Matt! What’s the plan?>"

    I say Leafy’s red eyes meet my blue ones, and felt my throat desperately try to work, make a sound to overcome the noise around me. But the thundering sound was hard to block out. And the memories they carried in their wake even harder to shake.

    “Alright, Milty! Another one!” Whitney cheered, jumping up and down.

    "<Ahem, Matt?! (Oof!) Getting my butt kicked out here… Argh!>" I heard Leafy shout as two more Rollout attacks connected squarely with my Leaf Pokémon.

    I struggled to find the words to command my counterattack. ‘Leafy, use Protect’… three simple words. I’d called them out many times before as we trained after our second loss to Whitney.

    But the thundering… the rumbling… filled me. They drowned out any courage, any fight I had left in me. I felt my body curl up in fright as I sank into a foetal position, my hands clasped tightly about my ears to block out the sounds of Milty coming round for another pass.

    But I could still feel the vibrations… the deep rumbling that left cold shivers running down my spine. I tried to block them out… I tried to be brave…

    …I failed.

    I was weak. Still the weak, scared and scarred boy I always was…

    I wanted to say sorry… to my mother for disobeying her…

    I wanted to say sorry… to Jimmy for scaring him.

    I wanted to say sorry… to Poke… to Vic… to Truck… and Leafy…

    … for failing them.

    Just as the thought had crossed my mind the rumbling stopped. I still crouched shivering, my eyes clenched shut in fear as I heard the Miltank moo in pain and frustration and felt one last tremor rock the gym like a meteor hit the arena floor…

    And then… silence.

    I couldn’t look up. I knew it was over. I couldn’t bear to see the pain Leafy would be in because of my inability, my weakness. It was over for us… we couldn’t even secure three badges…

    "<Hey, Matt…>" Leafy’s voice said from somewhere above my head. "<If you’re done shaking, you better go get your badge from Little Miss Crybaby over there…>"

    My eyes snapped open in shock. “We… we won?”

    "<Well, technically, I won,>" Leafy said, flipping his broad green leaf back and looking over distastefully at the formerly cheerful gym leader who was bawling and rolling over the floor in fierce tantrum, surrounded by her junior trainers all sporting enormous sweat drops. "<Udders wasn’t so tough once you stop her annoying rolling. One Body Slam and it was all over…>"

    I looked down at my toes and mumbled, “I’m sorry, Leafy. I let you down again…”

    "<Yeah, I guess you did,>" Leafy said calmly. "<But we won this time.>"

    “It won’t happen again,” I said quietly. “I promise.”

    I heard Leafy sigh in exasperation. "<Uh, yeah. We both know you will… but you can’t help phobias, I guess.>"

    “Leafy?” I said uncertainly looking up at my Bayleef.

    "<I heard about a Pokéathlon Arena or something just north of here,>" Leafy said thoughtfully. "<You know, if we don’t make it to the League finals, maybe we should give that a whirl.>"

    “We’ll cross the bridge when we get to it, Leafy,” I said firmly, surprising Leafy as I stood up and clenched my fists. “We’re not out yet. It’s not time for us to bow out yet.”

    "<Wait, are you saying…?>" Leafy asked uncertainly.

    “Yeah, I am,” I said determinedly. “I’m gonna keep going for the Silver League finals, Undependable though I am.” I smiled despite my less than self-confidence-inspiring words. “I know we can make it if we work together, Leafy. Are you with me?”

    "<Well, it’s not like I have anything better to do,>" Leafy said with a wry smile as we watched Whitney cry herself stupid.

    LEAFY

    As I watched our team work and unity grow each day, I felt our chances get progressively better. Granted, we were still winning matches on our third and final tries, but with Vic and Poke on our side and Truck and myself growing tougher; we the Pokémon got stronger, and Matthew slowly yet steadily more steadily more self confident with each passing day.

    As we walked into Ecruteak Town four days earlier, I felt our chances for the Leader’s (whom I learned later was named Morty) Fog Badge were looking good, especially after Truck evolved during the duration of the match. That all went south after his last Pokémon, a bothersome purple cloudlike spectre known as a Midsreavus started using Thunderbolt on Vic and later myself, causing Matthew to lose focus and retreat into his shell of fear, costing us the match.

    After a day of rest and another one of training, we were back to getting our backsides handed to us again. Fortunately, there was one thing playing in our favour this time around: I’d heard that Morty’s Misdreavus had become ill the previous night and was unable to fight today which meant less lightning to scare Matthew. Between the three of us: Poke taking out Morty’s powerhouse (an aggravating Gengar) after Victorious failed to take it down due to (from what I discovered after being released to fight) a clever use of Hypnosis, it was down to me and our last opponent, a larger, sneakier and decidedly more annoying Haunter than the one that had forced Poke to throw in the towel. If I lost, the battle pretty much went down with me, as Victorious was busy snoozing away in his Poké Ball to which Matthew had returned him and would not awake immediately if returned to the field.

    Yet somehow, Matthew was choking on me. I didn’t have time to dwell on it, what with the Haunter using Shadow Claw on every square inch of me that it could reach, but I knew if he didn’t un-choke, we were done for.

    “Are you ready to surrender, Young One?” Morty said in a cryptic voice, his eyes sunken and face impassive. Yet even as I struggled to keep the Haunter at bay, I heard the note of derisive humour in his voice and that made me mad.

    “<Shut up, you Ghost-loving freak!>“ I spat venomously. Raising my voice to a shout, I said sternly, “<Matthew! Listen to me, now!>“

    Matthew’s head snapped up as life returned to his eyes.

    “<I don’t know what’s gotten into you this time, but if you don’t get a grip, we’ll lose this match!>“ I said in a lecturing voice. “<And I may not know about you, but I’ve had enough of fighting battles more than once!>“

    The Haunter relented in its attack and I looked up to see the Gas Pokémon conjure a sphere of black and purple-tinged energy at my face. Before I could summon up any resistance, the ghost let the ball fly and blew me off my four sturdy feet into the ground.

    Snickering maliciously, the Haunter hissed, “<Give up and I shall make your defeat as painless as possible.>“

    “<Never!>“ I gasped, summoning the strength in me to my feet, which my will to win found soon after my bold declaration.

    I continued in a lower voice as I rose to my feet shakily, Matthew staring at me, “<Let’s get one thing clear. I am going to win. But I’m not going to do it alone, even though I could,>“ I looked over at Matthew as I said the second part.

    “But... but you’re hurt,” Matthew said in a low mumble.

    Addressing Matthew fully this time I spoke again in the same low voice, “<We are winning this match together, and that means you, Matthew. So stop worrying about if I’m going to get hurt already because that’s very much inevitable. Just make sure I don’t get hurt any further, OK? Now let’s do this!>“

    I saw confidence fill Matthew’s eyes after my little speech out of the corner of my eye and with a look full of determination, said, “OK, Leafy... let’s win this match!”

    “It looks like you have some confidence left over, Young One,” Morty said impassively. “But confidence alone won’t help you! Haunter, Shadow Ball!”

    The Haunter held its hands together and conjured up another blob of dark energy just as I found my legs.

    “<We need a plan, Matthew!>” I called out urgently as the Haunter’s attack reached its optimal size.

    “Working on it,” Matthew said calmly, sweat pouring down his face as he bit his thumb – a sure sign of frantic thinking.

    “<You’re out of time,>” the Haunter snickered. “<Prepare to taste defeat… again!>“

    On its last word, it hurled the Shadow Ball right at my head and on pure instinct, I ducked sharply. The Ghost type attack just missed me and hit the base of one of the support pillars that held up the roof.

    “<Tch… missed,>” Morty’s Haunter sighed as it floated back towards its trainer’s side.

    “<Matthew…>” I urged my own trainer edgily, looking back to see the base of the pillar totally wrecked.

    “Ready,” Matthew said. “Leafy, use Razor Leaf!”

    “<That didn’t work the last time we were here,>” I reminded my trainer tersely. “<What the hell makes you think it’ll work this time?>“

    “Just do it!” Matthew said with a steely edge in his voice I’d never heard before.

    Smirking slightly at Matthew’s fresh determination, I reared back my head and muttered, “<Well, since you’re asking so nicely…>“ And jerking my head from side to side, a spray of sharp, spinning leaves sped towards Haunter.

    Morty showed the ghost of a smile and said, “Your Bayleef was right, Young One. That didn’t work last time, and it won’t work now. Haunter, dodge them all!”

    The Haunter grinned as he bobbed and weaved in between the leaves, its erratic levitating pattern helping it keep out of danger.

    “<OK, Ghost types are SO not invited to my birthday party next year!>“ I groaned aloud as I watch my attack hit a few more support pillars.

    “Good work, Haunter,” Morty praised his stupid Ghost type. “Now use Shadow Claw!”

    “This is it, Leafy,” Matthew said quickly. “Use Body Slam in the middle of the ring!”

    “Now I know you’ve taken leave of your senses, Young One,” Morty admonished my trainer haughtily. “Normal type moves don’t affect Ghost types! How many times must I beat you to prove it?”

    “<I’m with tall and creepy over there, Matthew,>” I said grimly.

    “Just do it,” Matthew said steadily as the Haunter began to swoop in, its sharp fingertips glowing a sickly purple.

    “<OK…>? I said uncertainly, rising to my hind legs as Haunter, who showed no sign of changing its attack plan, came straight at me.

    “Now!” Matthew called, and, wondering how the heck this was going to work, I slammed my heavy feet on the ground as hard as I could, sending out shockwaves in all directions.

    Haunter faltered for a second as the aftershocks of my attack shook the pillars and the cracked ceiling splintered even further, finally resulting in the ancient ceiling giving way.

    I watched with immense satisfaction as the Haunter’s eyes seemed to bug out as it became engulfed in the deluge of tile and wood that made up the ceiling, strong sunlight spilling into the gloomy building and forming a spot light of sorts to spill onto the field.

    “<Now I get it. Good thinking, Matthew,>” I thought triumphantly as I felt the midday sun shine through the hole in the ceiling and fill me with power.

    Matthew grinned at the stunned gym leader and said, “You might wanna consider renovating the gym soon, Mr. Morty,” who could do nothing more that scowl a little. Turning towards me, he added, “You know what to do now, Leafy. Right?”

    As the Haunter phased through the wreckage head clutched in his disembodied hands, I nodded once, the ring of shoots around my neck now a bright, sunshine yellow.

    “<Don’t you just love the sunshine?>” I taunted the specter as I opened my mouth to reveal a ball of light identical in hue to my leaves.

    Matthew nodded as he commanded, “Leafy… use Solarbeam.”

    *continued next post*​
     
  2. Air Dragon

    Air Dragon Ha, ha... not.

    The Trials of Matt and Leafy, Pt.2

    *continued from last post*

    ***​

    MATTHEW

    Two hours later, I reached over the counter and received my four Pokémon from the Pokémon Centre’s matron, a kind, young woman with pink hair done up in braided loops at the nape of her neck, and tucking the purple, ghost-shaped badge back into my badge case to join my first three. Deciding to give my Pokémon some air, I released them all in a collective flash of bright white light.

    “<Whaddup, Matt?>“ Victorious, usually the first to speak, greeted me in his usual highly energetic manner. “<How did we do?>“

    “<Yes, Matthew,>“ Leafy said, a faint smile cutting across my Bayleef’s light green face. “<Show them how we did.>“

    Opening the case, I showed all of them the badge we had just won from Morty.

    “<What a sec,>“ Truck said in shock. “<Are you saying...you don’t mean...>“

    “<We achieved victory, Matthew Goldhart?>“ Poke asked in his slow yet deliberate voice. “<Correct?>“

    “That’s right,” I confirmed with a smile.

    “<Yahoo! Who rocks? We rock!>“ Vic the Magby cheered and whooped.

    “<Yes,>“ Leafy said with a faint smile. “<It makes a nice change winning one try earlier that usual, doesn’t it, Matthew?>“

    “You know,” I said, having then missed the sarcasm in my Pokémon’s voice. “You’re right. I feel so pumped, I say we move to Olivine right now!”

    Curling his trunk and lifting it above his head, the elephantine Donphan said, “<Yeah! Let’s own some losers!>“

    Raising my fist as well, I pumped it in determination and announced, “OK, guys... follow me! Next stop: Olivine Town!”

    And turning to speed out of the Pokémon Centre, I promptly tripped and fell flat on my face.

    Later on Vic told me that Leafy sweat dropped.

    ***​

    LEAFY

    “<Yeah... this is gonna be a blast,>“ I muttered in a resigned voice as the others led the way back into the Pokémon Clinic carrying our trainer up to his room in the trainers’ living quarters for some much needed sleep.

    “<Is it just me, or do Pokémon Centers make a lot of money off Matt regarding his accommodation expenses?>“ Vic said, stifling a yawn behind her large, rounded forearm.

    “<Really, Vic? You don’t say,>“ I said flippantly as I marched alongside the Fire type, Matt slumped over my broad back.

    “<Aww… I wanna own some wimps NOW!>“ Truck whined as we walked down the hallway to the room we’d been occupying for the last five days.

    “<All happens at the right place and time, Truck,>“ Poke said as he opened the door for me. “<One must be patient and act as the opportunity presents itself.>“

    “<In other words, “Shut up, Truck,”>“ I said firmly as the Donphan opened his mouth to whine some more.

    “<It seemed that Olivine and the rest of our journey would have to wait ‘til the morning...>“ I thought to myself as I watched the rest of the team settle down to sleep. But not even a million face faults could wipe away the progress we had made that day and the brimming sense of confidence Matthew felt at his slight improvement.

    And though I was no psychic, despite the fact that the future was a mystery to me, even Poke could have never guessed that there would be so many more trials we’d have to go through together.

    Like how we’d acquaint ourselves with a man named Bill in the morning who gave Matthew an Eevee to care for (the idiot). I felt sorry for the little guy (whom I affectionately called Coffee) when Matt first saw him. We the Pokémon actually had to care for him as Matthew was too terrified to go near him. Although things got a little better between them, Matt traded little Coffee to one of the Kimono Girls in the Ecruteak Theatre who wanted to raise a stronger Umbreon than the one she owned when we passed through Ecruteak again en route to Mahogany Town. I last heard he was really happy there, although he missed us (Matt included) lots. Bless him…

    … Or that we’d lose to Tobias and that idiot Toto in a friendly battle on the beaches of Olivine City. I still say to this day that he was lucky to have evolved to Feraligatr in the middle of the match.

    I also had no way of knowing that Matthew would meet up with Kanna in Cianwood, get in a row and break ties with her until after we caught Titan at the Lake of Rage and they made up.


    Matt reached down and picked up the red and white pokéball that now contained the crimson Gyarados that had interrupted our training session. You should know the routine by now: Gym Leader had handed our butts to us twice already and we’d been training from sun-up to dusk every day since the second defeat.

    “<Well, that… was a vaguely annoying disruption,>“ I said watching Matt jump around and whoop like an idiot. “<I don’t see why you used Hyper Beam. It hardly seemed worth it.>“

    “<Why don’t you take down the next Gyarados we see, Leafy?>“ A smaller, black creature shot back with a calm, stoic voice. Looking askance at me with her blood red eyes, Umbra added, “<They’re not exactly fluffy Buneary, you know.>“

    “<Please. That one was a marshmallow,>“ I said with a groan. “<The Gyarados was begging to be caught.>“

    “Well, guys,” Matt said after finally calming down enough to turn back towards us. “Shall we continue from where we left off?”

    “<Not yet,>“ I said slyly. “<I think Umbra broke a nail.>“

    The Umbreon, who was busy studying her left forepaw, didn’t bother looking up and said primly, “<I don’t believe this. It’ll take a week to get the mud out of my paw!>“

    Rolling my large yellow eyes, I lowered my long neck towards Matt and muttered, “<I’m just glad she doesn’t wear mascara. We’d never leave the Pokémon Center.>“

    Matt grinned wearily and hooked the pokéball containing his latest capture to his belt when Umbra spoke up, “<Hey, do you hear that?>“

    “<Hear what? Your manicurist?>“ I quipped sarcastically.

    “<No. I believe it’s someone crying,>“ Umbra the Umbreon said slowly.

    “<Ha, ha. You’re funny. Aint no way you’re taking me on and winning,>“ I said in a deadpan voice.

    “<No,>“ Umbra said patiently. “<I actually hear someone crying. They sound close.>“

    And looking towards the lake, Matt and I saw someone who looked vaguely familiar huddled near the water’s edge, her head in her arms.

    “<Hey, isn’t that Kanna?>“

    “<Who is Kanna?>“

    “<Not now, Umbra,>“ I said shortly. Turning towards where Matt was standing, I asked him, “<What are you gonna do, Ma… oh, for crying out loud…>“ I muttered, when I noticed that my trainer had long since left my side to go and see what was wrong.

    “Hey,” I heard Matt say as Umbra and I walked closer toward the conversing trainers.

    Kanna let out a sniff, and hardly giving him a glance, muttered thickly, “What?”

    “What happened to your super cool boyfriend Leon Rogers?” Matt said grumpily.

    (Now, Leon Rogers was the kid in New Bark Academy that had it all: good looks, lots of cash, every girl’s attention, popularity… he was kinda like an Anti-Matt. He was also a jerk, which Matt told Kanna when he found out they were going out. Basically, Leon was the reason Matt and Kanna stopped talking. That, and Matt never did call back since Route 32.)

    “He was a jerk,” Kanna said shortly.

    “Told you so,” Matt said, turning to look away from her ostentatiously as Umbra and I came to stand right behind them, the gentle wind tugging at my extremely slender antennae and filling the air with my flower petals’ aroma.

    If the lake wasn’t so utterly peaceful then, Matt, Umbra and I would have missed her next three words entirely:

    “I was, too.”

    Matt stared at her for a few moments before turning back to me with a bemused expression on his face.

    Shrugging my larger than ever shoulders, I said, “<Hey, don’t look at me. You used your ‘I told you so’ already.>“

    Sighing slightly, Matt looked back towards Kanna who had buried her face back in her arms and had begun to shake slightly with sobs. Dropping himself heavily on his rump beside her, he pulled out his PokéGear and muttered, “Yeah. You were.”

    I rolled my eyes skywards as a minute passed in silence, broken by the sound of Kanna’s PokéGear beeping. Hiccoughing slightly, Kanna fished the device out of her pocket and opening the message that she had just received, stared at the screen for a few seconds before letting out a shaky laugh and leaning into Matt’s shoulder said, “You’re forgiven.”

    Matt smiled. “So, are we friends again?”

    Kanna nodded without shifting position and said, “Mm-hmm. Best friends.”

    Matt’s smile widened. So did mine.

    Since their row at Cianwood, I could not for the life of me have seen them ending up travelling together (and eventually being together) either. OK, that, I knew. I’d only seen Matthew around Kanna twice before they met outside Mahoghany, but a Meganium’s intuition is rarely wrong about matters of the heart.

    Or that we’d actually win our Rising Badge from Clair a few weeks later on our first attempt. That was probably our biggest surprise yet. Even Matt clocking Leon Rogers with a neat right hook soon afterwards couldn’t top that… but it was a close contest anyway.

    Even though I had no idea all of these events would begin to unfold come the morning, even though I worried for all our safety day after day after seeing Matthew fall flat on his face on the seventh of April, our trials had taught me something about us both. We may be considered clumsy. We may fall time and time and time again. But what makes a man (or a ‘mon) isn’t the number of times they fall.

    It’s the number of times they’re willing to get back up and try again, no matter how tough it gets.


    And as I watched Matthew snore surrounded by my slumbering team mates, I realized that, as sleep overtook me as well, it was in this truth more than anything that Matthew - that all of us – found our strength to keep on despite our trials.

    END

    So, how did I do this time? Don't hold back!

    L@er!
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2010
  3. Araleon

    Araleon Chill

    I enjoyed this.

    The way Leafy and Matt were opposites, but still close was nice. The humor was great. I liked the characterization too. Kanna, Jimmy, Matt, all of them.

    But, some of what you said was inconsistent. You changed Vic's gender twice. She was a female at first, then a guy for a while, and then a girl again. It was kinda confusing. Which is s/he?

    I sorta wanted to read about all of Matt's journeys. But, I think that means you succeeded with your writing. Go Matt and Leafy!
     
  4. Air Dragon

    Air Dragon Ha, ha... not.

    Thanks, Araleon for the first review! I guess I never noticed that I made the mix-up regarding Vic's gender. She was originally meant to be female throughout, but it might make for an interesting gimmick, or schtick.

    This is the most you'll get to see of Matt and Leafy's journeys, but you might get some snippets if I actually act on my inspiration for a spin-off series (I'm full of these spin off ideas. Outside of space-time travel, multiplication would be a radical ability for me especially regarding my writing speed)

    not gonna say more, but I'll certainly let you know when I do anything towards furthering the idea!

    L@er!
     
  5. PsychicChampion

    PsychicChampion Well-Known Member

    I loved it AD, it reminded me of the Bartimaeus trilogy with the back and forth Povs.
     

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