LOVE AND SACRIFICE
Love and Sacrifice: Fear
Five years later, August- 2087
Thirteen and a half year old Shadow Seikou watched as the people he
regarded as his family, the only ones he could trust, if only a
little, left for their third out of four annual visits to the
'upperworld'. They never knew what happened when they left, and he
never told them. Why? He never really knew; he just did not feel like
telling them... Yet at the same time, he wished with all his heart
that they would not go. For those eight weeks out of the whole year,
he was miserable. Two weeks out of January, two out of May, three out
of August, and one of December.
As soon as they left, he slipped through the shadows to his room,
locking the door behind himself. If only he didble claws. His feet were the same, except they were much more
paw-like than feet-like. However, his paw-feet were incredibly silent
and also helped him land softly from high places.
He growled involuntarily, and then looked at his teeth. Almost human,
but with canines like that... He barred his teeth at his reflection,
then carefully touched the pointy edge of one of his canines with a
Shadow Seikou... That was his name. Donna and Tahari called him
Seikou, Donari called him Sei, and the professors and everyone else
called him Shadow. He treasured the name Sei the most, however,
followed by Seikou, as those were the names the ones closest to him
Freak would have been a more appropriate name in his opinion. He was
a freak of nature, created in a lab by desperate scientists to fight
a war that did not truly exist yet. He was shunned by his age group,
and the adults who worked there treated him as nothing more than
another experiment, which he was.
A knock at the door, which he ignored, until it was followed by the
sound of keys jingling together...
Sei breathed in sharply, and his eyes grew wide. How did they get a
key to his room? Without a sound, he lowered himself to a crouching
position, his tail held straight.
The door opened, and he pounced, knocking down the man and stunning
him momentarily. Not hesitating for one second, Sei ran through the
hallways of the underground hideout, hoping to find somewhere for him
to hide. However, they had anticipated this, and he ran straight into
one of them. Struggling with all his might, he tried to break free
from the tight hold on his arms, but he was outnumbered, and the last
thing he wanted to do was kill some of the people who worked in the
base. That would only serve to get him into trouble.
"Look like we caught ourselves a little umbreon," one of
them sneered as they took him to the basement.
The basement was the lowest level in the underground hideout. It was
where all sorts of things were stored: test tubes, food, spare parts,
you name it. It was also the place Sei dreaded during those
particular eight weeks of the year.
"Tried to run again Shadow?" One of them asked, his dark
brown eyes seeming to laugh at the boy. "There's nowhere to
hide, freak. We all live here together, and we all know every single
little corner. Besides, we've been doing this for what, five, six
years at least? You should be used to it."
They had him tied up tightly, his ankles bound together, his hands
too. He was not gagged, as there was no one to hear him from that
isolated spot in the basement. No matter how loud he yelled, all he
would achieve was a sore throat. Besides, they enjoyed hearing him
scream... Seikou growled softly, his eyes blazing. He was not going
to scream this time. He was not even going to give them the pleasure
of seeing him cry. No, this time was going to be different. He was
going to do his best to ignore them. What kind of soldier would he be
if he couldn't tolerate torture? And that's what these were. Torture
training sessions. Professor Mikoto knew about this; he knew
everything that went on in the lab. These sessions served to
compliment the normal pain resistance training he took.
The one who had spoken crouched down in front of the specimen.
"Growling at us, Shadow? You know that won't do you any good.
Growl all you want. You might as well be purring for all I care.
Can you purr Shadow? Eevees can, such a nice sound, softer
than that of a persian... But then again, eevees are sweet little
pokemon, and the last word I'd use to describe you is 'sweet'."
He ran one hand through the young teenager's wild black hair,
savoring the silky feel. "You should be a good boy,
Shadow." He patted him on the head like a pet pokemon, something
he knew the boy hated. "We'll hurt you less if you behave."
But as he withdrew his hand, Sei sunk his teeth into it, refusing to
let go until one of the others kicked him hard in the side.
"Little beast!" The bitten one exclaimed, trying to stop
the blood flow. "You're going to pay for that," he hissed,
leaving to go get his hand treated.
Sei, however, ignored the threats, and simply spat the blood at of
his mouth. Biting the scientist, Gareth, had been a big mistake, and
he knew that, but he could not help it. Sometimes the pokemon side of
him overrode his common sense.
"Well, that's a new one." One of them remarked.
"Normally he just snaps. First time he really drew blood. Must
have to do with him being a teenager now..." The man lowered
himself down to Sei's level. "But we're going to see to it that
you don't dare try a stunt like that again. By the time we're done
with you, you'll wish you were never created."
/I always wish I was never created... Why should now be any
different?/ He thought to himself, but his train of thought was
interrupted by another kick, followed by punch after punch. /I don't
deserve to live. I don't want to live. But I have to live. At least,
for now I do.../ Were his last conscious thoughts before he welcomed
the darkness of unconsciousness where he could successfully ignore
the pain he felt all over his body.
The next morning, at least, he supposed it was morning, Sei awoke.
Morning and night meant next to nothing to him. He had never seen the
sun before, never felt its warm rays. He had only been to the upper
world at night, for dangerous missions that Professor Mikoto did not
want to send humans or pokemon on, and decided were worth risking the
He licked his dry lips, wincing as realized he had a cut because he
could taste dried blood. Sei's entire body ached, and one of his eyes
was practically swollen shut. Curled up in a corner, he realised his
hair was loose. It must have unraveled from his braid yesterday... It
cascaded down his shoulders in silken strands that covered much of
his body because of his current position. As he raised his head to
look around, he realized there was a collar around his neck, and he
was chained to the wall. Trapped. Not a feeling he was fond of, but
one he knew all to well.
"Awake, are you?"
It was the one he had bitten. Sei awarded him with a blank stare, not
wanting to waste his time conveying his feelings through words. Words
were meaningless, and actions were everything.
"Quiet, aren't you? Well if you don't speak, you won't
eat," the man said, setting a plate down near the boy.
The hybrid shrugged, closing his eyes, rather, his eye, nonchalantly.
"Trying to be tough, Seikou? I wonder how tough you'll be if I
cut your hair short?" He threatened, taken a pair of scissors
from his pocket.
Sei's eyes flew open, and he immediately pressed his back flat
against the wall. "Don't you dare," he hissed, his eyes
wide with fear. Sei knew it was foolish of him to treasure his hair
so much, but it was his only possession that he allowed himself to
get attached to.
"Ah, finally a reaction from my brave little soldier."
Gareth smirked. "Any move like what you did yesterday, and off
it goes. I know how much you treasure that hair of yours." He
set down the scissors. "But I don't think I'll be cutting it
off, unless you give me a good reason to." Reaching out again,
he gently touched the boy's cut lip. "Bite me if you dare. I'll
just be rougher on you." He moved his hand to the boy's cheek,
caressing it with a light touch. For Seikou, the false kindness hurt
more than the kicks, and Gareth knew that. Without warning, the
scientist viciously grabbed Sei by the collar, pulling him up till
the chain had reached its limits. "Nothing changes the fact that
you're a freak, and therefore don't deserve to live. You're only
alive to serve us." He let go of the collar and then backhanded
Sei hard, knocking him to the floor.
"Bastard," the hybrid whispered, the corners of his lips
curling into a snarl. It took him extreme control to prevent himself
from lunging at the scientist and killing him with his claws... But
Sei remembered what he had promised himself in the beginning. He was
not going to give them the satisfaction of driving him to his
limits. He was going to stay calm and endure what they did to him, as
much as he hated it. Counting to ten, he picked himself up, sitting
against the wall.
"Well, isn't this wonderful? Four words from you in a span of
less than five minutes?" The man's mocking gaze bore into Sei.
"I can tell you're thirsty." He picked up a glass of water,
holding it in front of the hybrid. "Here." He held it to
Sei's lips and let the boy drink half of it before withdrawing it and
setting it back down. "And I'm sure you're hungry too; you had
only one meal yesterday. But I know you can go for a long time with
little or no food, so we're going to play a game." He smiled
evilly, an eerie sort of smile that Sei was overly familiar with.
"I'm going to break your wild spirit if it's the last thing I
do. By the end of our two week session, you're going to be whimpering
and groveling. You will, of course, have your usual one week recovery
period so your 'family' don't suspect anything, but I have a feeling
this is something you'll never recover from... And that's what I'm
"I. Don't. Care." Sei replied, lifting his head so that the
scientist could see the dead look in his eyes. "Do what you
"We'll see if you still think the same way when I'm done. They
go too easy on you during your training. If you don't learn what true
pain is, you'll never survive this war. You'll get captured and end
up telling them everything."
/Easy?/ Sei wondered. /He calls that going easy on me? If that guy
has kids, I pity them./
"You need to learn what it's like to be terrified. The last
sessions will be nothing compared to this one."
And Sei did learn true fear. He learnt what it was like to be
stripped of his pride, and the little innocence he still held. He
learnt what it was like to hurt so badly both mentally and physically
that suicide would seem like the only way out. He learnt what it was
like to have the things and people he loved used against him in
terrible ways. What he had been through in the years before was
nothing compared those next two weeks, and the years that were yet to
come. But it only served to help the already emotionally unstable
hybrid retreat further into his anti-social shell.
Love and Sacrifice(v3): Friends do not exist
Three weeks later
Donari could not wait to see Sei. She had cut her black hair to
shoulder length, and she hoped Sei would like it. Plus, she had
bought him a special present. As soon as the entrance to the hideout,
her home, was opened, she bounded down the stairs ahead of her
parents and ran to Sei's room, rapping on his door when she reached
it. "Sei! I'm back!"
"Hold on!" He quickly pulled on a T-shirt to hide the scars
that had yet to heal. As soon as the fur grew back, they would be
covered, but until now, he would have to make sure to hide them under
clothes. He checked quickly in the mirror to make sure nothing
showed, and then he opened the door. "Hey Donari."
The ten year old threw her arms around his waist, hugging him
tightly. He winced, for he was bruised around that area, but he
smiled to cover it up. "I missed you so much Sei!"
For a moment, he just stood there, but then he lifted her and hugged
her back tightly. "I missed you too Donari..." After a few
more seconds, Sei put her down, awkwardly shifting on his feet.
"You cut your hair," he observed.
He nodded. "It's new."
"Speaking of hair." Donari dug into the pockets of her
jeans, searching for something. "For you." She held it out,
and he gently took it from her.
"What is it?"
He opened the box cautiously, and his eyes widened slightly when he
saw what was in it. It was a hair tie for him to hold his braid, but
there was a round silver thing on it that had 'CXIII' engraved in it.
He opened it carefully, like a locket, and found a small picture of
him, Donna, Tahari, Donari, Sacrifice and Love together. "Thank
you Donari." He hugged her again, this time simply ignoring the
"You're welcome, brother." She took it from him.
"Here, let me put it on for you." Looking at the braid that
hung down his back though, she frowned. "You need to comb your
hair." She grabbed his braid and tugged him out of the room.
"Come on, we haven't much time before my parents will want to
see you. Your hair's a mess!"
She dragged him, by the braid, to her room and made him sit down in
front of her dresser while she combed his long hair. "It's all
tangled! It's as if you haven't done anything to it for weeks. If
you're not going to take good care of it, what's the point of keeping
all of it?" He did not answer, but she did not mind. He rarely
spoke anyway, though she loved his quiet voice when he did speak.
After combing his hair, she braided it and used the hair-tie on the
tip. "There, all done."
"Thank you again, Donari."
"You're welcome!" She hugged him, not noticing his wince.
"You've always been there for me, and I like to return the favor
every now and then. Now come on, the others want to see you!"
She grabbed one of his paw-like hands and tugged him off to go see
her parents. Donari forever remained the one and only person Seikou
allowed to drag him around.
"Seikou!" Donna hugged the thirteen year old boy tightly.
This time, he did not even flinch. "I missed you," she
said. "We got you some new clothes, so I want you to try them
on. If they don't fit, I'll get the next person who's going up to
He nodded, then turned to Tahari, who also hugged him, but more
lightly than Donna and Donari.
"It's good to see you again," he said, ruffling his hair.
"Charmeleon!" The big fire pokemon pushed passed Tahari and
tackled the boy he had known since he was born. "Char!"
"Persian!" The smaller pokemon rubbed against Sei's leg,
"I'm happy to see you guys too." He scratched behind Love's
ear and petted Sacrifice on the head. Tilting his head towards the
floor, Shadow attempted to hide his eyes under his bangs. They were
not going to see his eyes watering. He did not want them to know that
each night, ever since they had left, he had nearly cried. Several
times he had cried. Yet he was to be a soldier, and true
soldiers never cried. He wrapped his arms tightly around the
charmeleon that sat on top of him and hoped that they would always be
there for him.
Four months later, December
Sei sat on his bed, meticulously brushing his fur. It was not
something he did often, but it was something he had to do every now
and then so he did not shed. Someone knocked on his door, and he
quickly put a shirt on before opening it.
It was Donari. "S-Sei, Daddy wants to see you." She
sniffed, and the boy could tell she was holding back tears. The dark
hybrid waited for her to come in and hug him, crying into his shirt
as she usually did, but instead she stayed by the door, staring at
"Tell him I'm coming," he said, watching her leave before
closing the door. Slightly puzzled, he hastily re-braided his hair
before emerging and making his way to the room Tahari and Donna
shared. He knocked, then entered. "You wanted to see me,
Tahari?" He asked, worry breaking through his normally flat
The thirty-two year old man stood a short distance away from the
door. He was only about a foot taller than the young boy was, but
then, Sei had always been tall for his age. By some eerie chance,
they both had black hair and light green eyes, which was a colour not
normally found on arasians. The shade of Sei's eyes was more
Quickly glancing around the room without moving his head, Sei noticed
that it had been cleared out, and one single suitcase lay on the
floor. Returning his eyes to Tahari, he dropped his emotionless mask
and allowed the apprehension that he felt to show clearly on his
"You're...leaving?" Hands clenched into fists, the hybrid
looked down at the floor. He refused to look at Tahari again. He was
"I'm sorry Seikou..." Tahari walked closer to the boy, but
stopped when he heard the growl that emitted from the hybrid's
throat. "Professor Mikoto wants us to take over the task of
attempting to unite the rebel groups in Arasia... We're the Tavis's.
People know and respect our family line. We'll try and visit every
now and then though..."
Sei looked up, but instead of looking directly at Tahari, he looked
past the man, over his shoulder; almost as if by not looking at him,
he would be able to stop the pain he felt. "Then goodbye."
Shadow turned and started to walk out.
Tahari stood in shock. That was all? No hug, no 'I'll miss you'? He
knotted his brow in confusion, then walked up to the boy's retreating
form, laying a hand on his shoulder. "Why have you started
hiding from us? Sure you were never the most open person, but at
least you confided in us every now and then. Why stop now?"
Sei tensed when he felt Tahari touch him, but listened to what Tahari
had to say before flinching away. Without looking back at the man he
had regarded as a father for his whole life, he spoke in a lifeless
voice. "Don't touch me again. If you're leaving, then leave. I
can't do anything about it, so why should I try?" The boy
paused, and Tahari could have sworn he heard the boy sniff slightly.
"There's nothing more for me to say to you. Just tell Donari,
Donna, Love and Sacrifice that I said Goodbye. I wish you luck on
your new mission. It's obvious you're not needed here anymore if
they're sending you away."
Those words stung Tahari like paper cuts on his heart. What had
happened to Seikou? The boy he had once known would not have simply
shrugged off this news. "Seikou..." He reached out for the
boy again, but the dark hybrid ran out of the room, sprinting down
the halls to the comfort and solitude of his room.
Tahari watched him go, knowing there was nothing he could do. He
would have gone to comfort the boy, but he had to leave. Donna and
the rest had already left for the airport, and if he did not go now,
he would miss the flight. Sometimes he wished that he was not 'Tahari
Tavis', great-grandson of the legendary Ferina and Nerina Tavis...
But then, he might never have met Donna, had Donari, and been given
the opportunity to raise Seikou as his son.
Yet now he had just broken the bond that existed between them. It had
been a fragile link of trust that they had built over the years, and
now in less than ten minutes, thirteen years of work had gone down
the drain. It would take a miracle for Shadow to trust him again. A
Dabbing his eyes with his shirt sleeve, Tahari picked up his last
suitcase and left the room, heading for the exit to the base. Little
did he know that a pair of green eyes sadly watched him leave. If he
had looked back, he might have noticed the boy, and they might have
re-established their 'father/son' bond with a true goodbye. But he
did not look back, and the hybrid never said a word.
"It's not fair Mommy! It's not fair! We can't leave Sei! We need
to go back!" Donari struggled in her mother's arms, throwing one
of her not so rare temper tantrums.
"Donari! I have told you before, be quiet!" Her mother
shook her roughly, silencing her. "Life's not fair Donari, and
you need to learn that. We are not normal people. We do
not lead normal lives. We have heavy burdens on our shoulders,
and we need to learn how to carry them. You are Donari Tavis, and
that means a lot." Donna released her daughter, then smoothed
back her own brown hair nervously.
Donari may not have inherited the light green eyes of the Tavis
family, but she definitely looked like a Tavis and acted like one.
The little girl was as stubborn as a charizard.
"I didn't want to leave Shadow any more than you did, but we
have no choice. His life is not to be one of a normal person. His
life will be a hard one, not one that I would wish on anyone, let
alone him, but it is what he is, and he cannot escape that. You need
to understand that, Donari." The woman picked up her subdued
daughter who was now crying silently. "Your father should be
here in a few minutes. As soon as he gets here, we leave."
"Yes Mommy..." The little girl replied, but in her mind,
she continued to deny the fact that who she was, was an excuse for
abandoning her 'older brother', Sei. Under no circumstance did she
think it was right for one to leave someone they loved behind.
Donari was definitely a Tavis. No doubt about it.
That was how Sei felt, and it was betrayal of the worst kind, the
kind committed by those closest to you. This was the last straw that
broke the ponyta's back; the very tiny bit of emotional stability
that the boy had once possessed had just left. In a way, one might
say he was overly emotionally stable in the sense that he locked
everything inside, keeping himself under extreme control. Such
extreme control that one could only describe the look in his eyes as
Others might say that it was not complete control, and it was only a
matter of time before his hidden emotions overwhelmed him, and drove
him over the edge... Which did eventually happen, without teaching
him anything except that he was a danger to anyone who got close to
him, and causing him to hide his emotions even more.
Betrayed by his family...
Sei felt like his heart had been ripped out and crushed right before
his eyes. He had allowed himself to love Tahari, Donna, Donari and
the two pokemon, Sacrifice and Love. They had become as close as Sei
would allow them, and now that he trusted them, they left him. At
such a crucial part of his life, they abandoned him. He needed
them. He needed to love, to be loved.
But that was being denied of him, as if his being half human, half
pokemon meant that he could not be loved by either half of his
That was what Gareth and the others called him, and they were right.
He was a freak who did not deserve to be loved. He was not needed in
this world. It was only his ability to fight that was needed, his
quick reaction time and sharp mind. Not him. Not the...
person? Could he even be called a person? No. He did not deserve
that. He was a creature, a beast. Not even a pokemon.
He had watched Tahari go silently. Half of him wanted to call out to
the man he had learnt to love as a father. The other half wanted to
hide and wallow in self-pity. He obeyed the other half.
"Well, so you're all alone now Shadow?"
Sei turned, one hand still on his doorknob, and looked at Professor
Mikoto, but did not answer.
"Hmm, well, you've always been a quiet one. Pokemon of your type
tend to be quiet too." The Professor walked closer to him.
"Shadow, these next few years are very essential to your
training. The true war may be starting any year now. The Kaitan
Alliance has become more aggressive, and people aren't liking it.
Arasia and Eurel have been conquered for years now, and even the more
recently attacked areas are starting to give in. Our neighboring
countries have started building up secret rebel armies, recruiting
young men not too much older than you, and less experienced. They've
even started training pokemon for the sole purpose of killing."
The professor paused, checking the reaction of the hybrid, his
creation. "You have no more time to have friends Shadow. Friends
do not exist anymore. There will be times when you will have to kill
those you are meant to protect. Your goal is to somehow bring the
Alliance down, and friends will just get in the way. They can be used
against you. Remember that." And the professor walked away.
/Friends do not exist.../ He thought to himself, standing there and
watching the professor leave. /But what about family?/
"Shadow! You're late!" One of his teachers came around the
corner, glaring at the hybrid.
Sei followed the man. /Friends do not exist./ He repeated to himself
again, and it seemed the professor was right. Over those next few
years of training for the war, with next to no visits from his
'family', he never really had friends. Except for one, and she
betrayed him too. He spent most of his time in classes, and
thankfully, because he was frequently under the observant eye of one
professor or the other, the 'kidnapping' sessions were not as many as
he had thought they would be without Tahari or Donna looking out for
him, but they were still more than he could handle. Those sessions
stopped nearly a year before the war started, but by that time, he
was scarred for life.
/Sei does not exist either./ He added as he entered his next class.
/I am no longer Sei. I'm just Shadow. A fitting name for me
considering I am only a shadow of what I once might have been. An
emotionless shadow, one with no feelings, no cares, no worries. A