Love and Sacrifice: A little distance never stopped anyone

Merideth sighed as she watched Swift get up and leave in the middle of the movie they had been watching. She had not really expected him to enjoy the movie, but she had hoped he would stay and see if it could take his mind off things a bit... Ever since the disappearance of the Professors, his professor, he had been acting even stranger than usual. Most that knew him expected his strange mood swings and often quiet nature, but now, these were random bouts of depression.

Swift rarely spoke, and when he did, she could sense a sort of sad longing in his voice. He seemed... almost wistful, like he wished there was something he have done but now he had lost the chance. Merideth had always been good at telling when someone was having trouble, and anyone could tell that Swift was having trouble coping, but how was she supposed to cheer him up? Zentai and Sai had them between an onix and a steelix. Without missions to do, Swift just wasted away, doing nothing each day except retreating further into his depression. She did research on the internet and hunted through her professor's notes to see if there was anything she could do, but she found nothing.

Finally, unable to take it, she switched off the TV and picked up a phone. It was a secure enough line, she decided, and so long as she did not mention any specifics, she was fine.



Blade's eyes opened with a start and he grabbed the phone. Or he thought he grabbed the phone. The ringing continued and he realised he had grabbed a gun. A light now on, he blinked, his eyes adjusting, and found the phone. "Hello?"

"Hi Blade! It's Merideth."

"Mer...Merideth?" He sat up, fully awake now. "What're you calling for? Is something wrong? Have you been attacked?"

She laughed, realizing how petty her problem might seem now compared to the real ones in their lives. But then, this affected one of their hybrids. It was a priority then, right? "It's not a problem of that scale, but I wanted to talk to you about it anyway, because it could become a problem of that scale."

"What is it?"

"Guy problems," she said simply. It was, actually, rather refreshing to be doing this. She made a note to try it more often. Was this why Xeth constantly played the role of the jester? Doing such trivial things in such a serious time took one's minds off things.

"Swift, right? Has he been acting strange?"

Across the continent, Merideth grinned. She had known that Blade would catch on quick. The two of them had somehow managed to become close friends over this 'break' in the war. Although they were both on separate sides of the continent, they stayed in contact, keeping each other up-to date on the little that was going on in their areas.

"Well, he's been acting *really* strange nowadays."

"More so than usual?" Blade added wryly. While he really liked the flying hybrid, and thought he was an *extremely* nice perso-....hybrid, he was a little odd sometimes, not to say that the whole group of them was not.

"Blade! Don't even get me started on Shadow." Her tone was mock serious, and Blade could mentally picture her glaring at the phone, which she actually was.

"Hey!" The steel hybrid's cheeks slowly turned from light gray to a bright shade of red.

"Point one for Merideth!"

"You're not keeping score again, are you Mer?"

"Ummm, no?"

"You're a horrible liar Merideth, which is probably why you're never sent on under-cover missions."

"They just don't send me because wings are really hard to hide."

"Sure they are Mer."

"But they are!"


Merideth rolled her eyes, although she knew full well that Blade wouldn't be able to see her. "Anyway, I have no idea what to do about Swift. It's not good for one of our hybrids to be in serious depression..." She paused thoughtfully. "Not to say that Shadow and Indenki and several others aren't already depressed, but they've been that way for so long, and it doesn't get in the way of their abilities to function as soldiers."

Blade frowned thoughtfully, thinking of what she said and the way she said it. "Are you sure you want him feeling better just because he's a valuable member of our team, or because you're starting love him?"

Silence on the other end.

"Merideth, I'm serious now. Do you love him? I know you two are attracted to each other, but is there anything that could potentially become permanent?" The playful look on Blade's face had long gone, replaced with a now concerned frown. Merideth was a dragon hybrid, and dragonites mated for life.

"I don't know! I've never been in love before. When was the last time any of us went of a date?" She began to think twice about calling Blade. He was a little too perceptive. "But what does it matter? I just want him to feel better."

"It matters a lot Mer." Blade shifted on his bed, sighing. "And you know what I mean. Think about it. How many of us even want to survive the war?" Pausing, he allowed what he'd said to sink in.

"Blade, I'm touched that you care that much about me, but don't worry about it, I'll be fine." She smoothly avoided even thinking about the meaning of his question. "All I care about right now is figuring out what to do about Swift. This professor thing has hit us all hard, but it's hit him *really* hard. And if he doesn't snap out of it, I'm going to kill him."

Again, Blade sighed, but he leaned back on his bed. Who was he to judge her on that matter? Wasn't he doing much the same thing? "Okay, fine. What's he been doing?"


Love and Sacrifice: That Darn Zentai

"Responsibility, what's that? Responsibility, not quite yet."

Devin covered her ears as she walked into the room Xeth occupied in Kenji's base. "Xeth, turn that music down!" She yelled, walking up to him.

"What?" He yelled back.

"TURN IT DOWN!" She repeated, knowing full well that he could read her lips. That confused expression on his face was not fooling her. She could see the mischief in his eyes.

Still unable to hear her, Xeth turned to Tevix, who rolled his eyes and repeated, once again, the request to the fire hybrid.

"Oh," he said in understanding, lowering the volume. "Hi Dev!"

"Hmph," was her reply as she settled down in a chair and turned on the TV. "I just thought you should know that Kenji looks like he's going to murder you two if you don't stop being so loud."

"Us two?" Tevix inquired, floating over to Devin and leaning over the top of her chair. "But I hardly make any noise!"

"You're always at the scene of the crime and that counts for enough. " She grinned, tilting her head back so she met Tevix's eyes. "I must admit though, Kenji needs to loosen up a bit. The poor kid's so uptight, and this break isn't doing him any good. He feels useless and weak. We all do, but fighting is his type."

"Exactly why he needs us! We need to give him something to do, don't we?" Xeth added, settling down in the sofa.


Guiltily, Xeth looked at Tevix, scratching the back of his head. "I think he looked in the mirror Tev..."

"I suppose so. Should we run?"

"Best solution I suppose. You go that way, and I'll go this way." And the two of them rushed out.

Sighing, Devin returned her attention back to the T.V. "Corsens, a little too hyper for their own good... Now Eurelians, there's a good breed of people. Why wasn't I created there? I would've made a good Eurelian," she muttered, flipping through the channels.


She turned around to see Kenji standing in the doorway and forced hereself to keep a straight face. The poor fighting hybrid's hair was striped in hot pink. "Yes Kenji?"

"I was wondering if you could by any chance tell me where Xeth and Tevix are?" He asked.

"Sorry, but I try not to mingle with those two when they're up to something." She frowned slightly, noticing that they had probably pushed him a little too close to an edge. He looked so frustrated and lost... "Look, Kenji, they just do this to get a rise out of you, like Erian does." She patted the chair next to her. "Come on; sit down and watch a little T.V. for once."

He hesitated, but then gave in and sat down next to her. "Can you fix my hair afterwards?" His orange eyes softened a little, losing some of the defensive edge they normally held. Tevix and Xeth kept him on his toes, but Devin was safe, for now.

Giggling, she glanced at him again. "Yeah, I think they used the kind that washes out in one go. They wouldn't permanently dye it."

Letting out a sigh of relief, Kenji visibly relaxed. "Good. Then I won't have to kill them." He smiled wryly, leaning back in his chair after checking to make sure it was not rigged.

Looking at her watch, Devin raised her eyebrows in interest. "The news is on." She flipped to the news channel.

"And today, it was learnt that Zentai promises to help all the continents equally in its endeavor to restore peace to our war ridden world-"

"It makes me sick just to think that they believe every word Zentai's feeding them! Next thing they know, they'll have dug themselves into a hole too deep to get out of." Devin snorted, running a hand through her mousy brown hair.

"And then they'll expect us to dig them out of it..." Kenji added, equally disgusted. "Humans are incredibly fickly."

"Currently, in Eurel, Colonel Haris of Zentai is visiting some of the current heads of states with Zentai's proposals-"

Fed-up, Devin changed the channel. "The world's been brain-washed Kenji... What are we gonna do?"

The fighting hybrid shook his head, then shrugged. His eyes were bleak as he stared at the black screen. "I have no idea Devin, but we need to come up with something quick. Zentai's too powerful."


Love and Sacrifice: What's love got to do with it?

"Reix, listen to me when I talk to you." Yiana's voice appeared calm and collected, but there was a steel edge to it that her green eyes mirrored.

"I'm listening!" Reix snapped back, agitatedly brushing back some of his wild brown hair. "Am I supposed to care what Sai thinks of my actions? So what if I still have that boy's zapdos? Why is it their business?"

Yiana sighed as she sunk back into her seat, looking at Reix with a slightly worried expression on her face. "Reix, please be more careful. Sai's the organization that funds us now, we owe th-"

"Cut the crap, Yiana," he interrupted, getting up and pacing around the room. "I know you hate Sai, just like you hated Team Rocket. You hate their materialistic ideas about war, and you hate your uncle. Why do you go on like this? Do you hope that you can someday be rid of them completely? Well wake-up Yiana, it's not gonna happen!"

"Think what you wish, but my main point is you should be more careful." She stood and walked up to Reix, standing so close to him that their faces were mere inches apart. They were almost the same height, but their auras of power were so strong it was hard to be sure who was really taller, and who was just in charge. "We became soldiers together, Reix." Gently, she picked up his hands, then stared into his eyes, careful not to be caught in their depths. "We're friends, remember? I'm not just your superior, and I don't want you dying because you were too hotheaded to listen to me as usual."

A slight smile crept onto Reix's face, and he hugged Yiana, wrapping her tightly in his arms. "I understand," he whispered softly into her ear. But then he broke off the hug and stepped back. "Farewell, dear friend," he said, bowing elegantly before exiting.

"Reix..." She whispered, staring at the door for a while before returning to her desk. Always back to the desk. She hated it. Was she not trained to fight? It had been months since she last led her soldiers on the battlefield, and she wanted to do it again. But the time was not right. Not yet.

Someone knocked on the door, and she ordered the person to enter.

"Your excellency." Haris now stood in the door, a slightly jealous expression on his face. He had seen Reix leave just a little while ago, and he was not blind to their close relationship. "I wanted to inform you that I'm leaving for the next 'peace talk'."

"Good," she nodded. "You're dismissed."

Like Reix, he too bowed before exiting. Yiana's presence demanded that sort of formality.

Slightly puzzled, she narrowed her eyes a little. Haris seemed to have changed a bit... Sometimes he was very strict, like a colonel should be, but other times he transformed into the soft-spoken Zentai representative shown on TV. Which was the real him? She had to admit that his duality served her well, for his softer side was just what they needed to gain the trust of the people, but the change disturbed her a little.


Love and Sacrifice: Round-up

Floating on her back in the water, Corvet lazily petted her gyrados, yawning as she looked up into the sky. She had mostly been on her own during this break. Occasionally, she got in touch with Siana, as they came from the same continent, but she only spoke to the other hybrids if she happened to be near them.

For that whole month, she had been trying to figure out a way out of Eurel and Arasia. She needed to get back home, to find something covert to do. With her professor gone, their base needed someone to lead them and plan what their next move would be. If only she could find where they kept the professors... It would be a worthwhile mission to either break them out or have them killed.

"The hell...?" She blinked up at the sky again, watching as a pidgey approached her and dropped a letter on her stomach. Boldly, it perched on her gyrados and waited to make sure she had noticed its delivery, then flew off. Carefully, she picked the letter up, noticing that the writer had taken care to encase it in a zip-lock bag.

Dear Corvet, I know we never talked or anything before, but I'm trying to round up all the hybrids. We really need to ally ourselves with each other if we want to do anything. Zentai has fooled the world into becoming its pet meowth, but it won't be long before the tail pulling starts. Sai's really just the brains of the old Team Rocket - they never were, and never will be a trustworthy group of people - and they're the real ones behind Zentai at the moment.

So be forewarned and prepared. Many of the hybrids are planning on returning to their native countries soon, so keep your eyes out.

Signed, Blade Keisuke.

/Blade.../ She looked at the neat handwriting thoughtfully. /He was the steel hybrid... Seems like he's our pseudo leader./ She stopped treading water and got onto the back of her gyrados. /Looks like I have something to do, finally../ "Jaws, we're going home!" She announced cheerfully, shaking water out of her hair.

"Gyrados! Gyra!" It replied, splashing its tail excitedly.


" keep your eyes out. Signed, Blade Keisuke." Hali finished reading the letter a spearow had just delivered to her. "So Jorvis, will you be heading back to Farica?"

The rock hybrid idly tugged some blades of grass from the ground. "Maybe... Will you be heading for Jarlis?"

"I guess..." She was currently perched upon the taller, much taller, hybrid's shoulder, her feet dangling down his back. The two had happened to bump into each other a week ago, and despite their obvious physical differences, had become fast friends. They balanced each other out, making a perfect team. If only they had met earlier. They would have been great on missions. "Maybe you could come to Jarlis with me?" She asked hopefully, looking over her shoulder at him.

"Maybe..." Sighing, he stood up, careful not to upset her balance. "But I really need to go home... There has to be something that I could do there. And Erian can't handle the entire continent by herself."

Hali too sighed, and turned around on his shoulder so that her tiny legs dangled down his chest. "You're right. And I can't come with you because I really need to go to Jarlis and see if there're any people still on our side."

Tenderly, he smiled, reaching up and plucking her off his shoulder, carrying her delicately in his arms. It was an odd sight to see, him, the tall, dark Farican, carrying the fragile little Jarlisian in his arms, careful not to bruise her wings. It was something akin to a Machamp carrying a butterfree. "Hey, we'll meet up again, 'kay? I'll be careful, and you'll be careful. We'll just stay out of trouble. Promise?"

Giggling, she rested her head against his chest. "Promise."


/Stupid Arasian... He could have at least said goodbye. Just goodbye! That's all I wanted, that wasn't much, was-/

"Erian, stop brooding!" Joseph exclaimed, sitting down next to her. It had been over two and a half weeks since she had left the company of the fighting hybrid, yet she still was a little peeved over the fact that he had not even bothered to say goodbye. "It's not like you were all that nice to him..."

"I didn't do anything bad!" She retorted, although she lowered her gaze after that. "I just... teased him a lot."

"He's not used to that kind of thing Erian, not many people are." He said softly, playfully twirling one of her braids on one of his fingers.

Turning to face him, she stuck her tongue out. "Well he'll have to get used to it eventually. We're bound to bump into him again, right?"

"Right..." Her brother reluctantly agreed. "Well, hello there!" He said, as a pidgey landed on his shoulder. "What've you got here?" Taking the letter from its beak, he read it out to Erian.


Out in the courtyard, Blade was washing off his steelix. Although it was an extremely large pokemon, Blade was content to clean it off himself, no matter how many others offered to do it for him. He thought of it as a bonding experience. He and Sahn were a pair now, and they might as well like each other.

"Been doing okay?" He asked the pokemon, turning on the hose and starting to rinse it off.

"Steelix steel steelix," it replied, nodding at the same time and accidentally spraying the hybrid with water, soaking him thoroughly. "Lix," it apologized.

"Don't worry about it, I'm fine," Blade answered, wiping his face off with a sleeve. "I was gonna take a bath after this anyway."

"Lix, steelix steel steel?"

"I dunno when we'll be fighting again... Soon though. I sent out letters to all the hybrids."

"Steel." Again, it nodded, but more carefully this time.

Blade had to admit that it disturbed him how battle orientated his steelix was, but that was the point of it. The pokemon had been created to fight; that was its only purpose. Blade was taking it a step further by befriending it as much as possible, but he could not reprogram its mind. The hybrid snorted softly. At least the pokemon's mind was not such that it thought ahead to what would happen after the war.

"Steelix?" It turned around to look at Blade, as much concern as possible showing in its eyes.

"I'm fine, just thinking a little about our purposes..."

"Lix, steelix steel steelix. Steelix steel lix lix steelix steel. Steel steelix, steelix steel..." The tone of the pokemon was grim, and after it was done, it swung its head around and allowed Blade to continue.

/We were born for war. We will live and die on the battlefield. That is our purpose, and it is honorable... Such wise words for a steelix./ He thought as he began to rub it down with a large towel.


With his own two pokemon at his feet, Shadow watched Blade through the windows of one of the corridors. He had been on his way to train with them when he noticed the steel hybrid outside washing his pokemon.

Did Blade know what he all but wore his heart on his sleeve? The little hybrid displayed his emotions for the world to see, and radiated calm and peacefulness. It all seemed wrong to Shadow for one created for battle to be so at ease with life... How did he do it?

Shadow noticed that Blade stopped to talk with his Steelix, and he caught a slight flicker of sadness linger in the boy's eyes for a while. What could the pokemon have said to hurt him so?

"On your way to train?" Indenki asked, riding up on his raikou. The lighting hybrid had regretted the loss of his zapdos, but his raikou was sufficient.

Shadow nodded, tearing his eyes away from the window.

"You're planning on doing it, aren't you?"

"Doing what?"


The dark hybrid shrugged, bending down to pick up his umbreon . "You did it."

Indenki did not reply, and he followed Shadow's former line of sight out of the window, watching the steel hybrid briefly. "A wise man once told me that the only way to live life is to act on your emotions," he finally said. "But one warning; it hurts like h*ll." Digging his foot gently into the side of the raikou, Indenki rode off.

Blinking, Shadow mulled briefly over what Indenki had told him before continuing with his original intent on going to the training room.


"But Devin-"

"No buts!"





Xeth glowered and turned to Tevix and Kenji. "Can't you make her change her mind?"

They both shook their heads.

"It's 'he' now. If I go in as a female, I'll draw too much attention to myself. There are plenty of female soldier pokemon trainers, but I'll be less noticeable as a male," Devin replied, glaring back at Xeth who had at least let go of his legs.

"But it's dangerous! You might get found out!" He protested, now sitting on the floor, his tail lashing around agitatedly.

"No I won't. I know how to keep up a disguise." The normal hybrid sighed and softened his glare. "You're acting as though I'm going to announce the fact that I'm a hybrid when I get there."

Xeth crossed his arms and stopped glowering, but did not say anything.

"I'm sorry, but I'm going to go undercover as a new Zentai recruit and you can't stop me. Tevix, Xeth, find a way to get back to Corse, k? I'll keep in touch!" He waved, then jogged off before Xeth could utter another complaint.

"Great..." Kenji mumbled. "The sanest of the three had to be the one to leave."

"I heard that!" Both Xeth and Tevix replied bitterly.