Love and Sacrifice: All together for the first time

Shadow watched the other hybrids warily, wondering if he really could trust them. He sensed that they were safe, but he had trouble believing his feelings. Settled down in a corner, he contented himself with cleaning his guns.

The other hybrids all seemed a little younger. The flying hybrid, the dragon hybrid, and the psychic hybrid seemed closer to his age, but the others must have taken longer to create. He might have misjudged their ages though. Hybrids aged differently from humans and pokemon.

He took a moment to look around the room again, watching how they interacted, if they did at all. Many seemed confused, out of place. Few ever had cause to make friends before, and they did not know how to go about starting. Shadow understood how they felt, but was not about to reach out to them just yet. They would find their feet on their own.

The lightning hybrid, Indenki, had not spoken a word since the accident. He had been quiet the whole time, keeping a calm mask on. But if one searched hard enough, they could see the conflicting emotions fighting inside of him. He seemed to deeply regret what he had done, and understandably so, as he had killed the men who might have helped bring about peace. Jarith Oak still lived, but he was in a coma.

Shadow stood, his guns perfectly clean and loaded. He packed them into his bag, which he shouldered, for though he knew he could trust the hybrids as allies who would not sabotage his equipment, he still could not bring himself to cut off old habits. He found the lightning hybrid pretending to work on his laptop but really just thinking.

"You couldn't have known," Shadow said, his voice slicing through the other hybrid's concentration.

Indenki looked up to see the dark hybrid standing over him. "Shadow Seikou?"

He nodded.

"It doesn't change what I've done."

"So worry about what's still changeable." Shadow could have said that he was sorry about what happened. He could have tried to comfort the other hybrid. Instead, he set out to clear Indenki's thoughts. Feelings of guilt always got in the way of matters.

The electric hybrid was silent, seeming to think over the dark hybrid's words. "I'm going to keep a close eye on Jarith. I'm not going to let Zentai get him."

"Good choice." Shadow turned to go off somewhere, but Indenki spoke again.

"Why did you talk to me?"

He did not get a spoken reply. Shadow turned, staring at him with his odd green eyes before turning again and leaving.

/He's even better at keeping emotions hidden than I am... My eyes always betray me, but him, he keeps everything locked away from everyone, even himself./ Indenki closed his laptop, searching the room for something that he did not find. Tired, but having too much to do, he got up and searched for a phone-line so he could connect to the internet and try to find where Jarith Oak had been taken.


Merideth looked around the room they had all gathered in, wondering what purpose it served. Not quite a common room, and it was a sort of random little area for a base. But then, considering the dojo on top of it, maybe this room served as a meeting area? That made more sense than a common room.

She finished treating her small wounds. Little scratches and bruises that could heal on their own, but that she did not want to risk getting infected.

"Mind if I borrow your kit? I seem to have left mine."

She looked at the hybrid that had just sat down beside her. Swift, if she recalled correctly. She handed him the kit, smiling gently. "Go ahead."

"Thank you." He opened it and pulled out a disinfectant, about to spray a rather nasty looking bite when she got up and grabbed his arm, inspecting it carefully.

"You can't just spray a bite like that!" She pulled her pack over and rummaged through it, pulling out a disposable syringe and a bottle of some sort of antibiotics. "Do you even remember what type of pokemon bit you? It could've been a poison type!"

He blinked, surprised by her readiness to treat him. Wanting to speak, but not quite sure what to say, he waited till she was done giving him a shot and dressing his wound before thanking her.

"No problem." She put away her supplies and sat back down next to him.

"You have nice wings," he said, turning and looking at hers.

Surprised, she stood up and unfolded her wings so he could get a better look. "Um, thank you." Not that it was everyday that one met another 'person' with wings, but did he go around complimenting every nice set he saw?

He stood too, gently running his hands over them. "Your wingspan is even bigger than mine," he noticed. "And they look a bit stronger. How come you can't hover?"

She looked at him over her shoulder. "Because my body's not built quite as light as yours. My wings may be bigger but they have enough trouble holding me up as is. Maybe if I'd had more time to mature, I might have learnt how to hover, but not anytime soon."

Hali, having overheard their discussion on wings, walked up to them. "At least your wings aren't made of crepe paper. I keep being worried that one day I'll roll over in my sleep and rip mine."

Swift looked at the bug hybrid, then looked at his wings and Merideth's, then back at the bug hybrid. "How light are you?" He asked, wondering how the hell her wings were functional.

"Not more than a few butterfree," she said proudly.

Merideth re-folded her wings and looked at Hali. "You must have been one tiny baby."


"So you two have met already?" Corvet asked the ice and grass hybrids.

"Yes," Aita replied.

"Unfortunately," Vair said at the same time.

"There aren't very many female hybrids, are there?" Corvet observed. "There's us three, and then the bug, psychic, ground and dragon hybrids. The boys outnumber us."

"Well, that can be both a good, and bad thing," Vair added with a wink. She was enjoying being around these other hybrids. She did not trust them all yet, except maybe Aita, but still, it was nice to talk about random things.

"So, what do you think of the others?" Corvet asked.

"They seem alright... I talked to Blade, and he's a really nice guy." She smiled, remembering how strange it was, talking to him after the battle, after seeing him fight. "Probably the sanest one of the males in my opinion. In battle, he's extremely focused, but you can tell that he hates killing. Xeth was pretty nice too, though he talks a lot. Tevix seems quiet, but something tells me that having him in the same place as Xeth is not a good idea. They've got that jester air to them. Devin... well, I'm not sure if he counts as a girl or boy. He's kinda... both."

"Dittos don't have genders, and Devin is a ditto hybrid. What gender 'he' chooses to appear as is his own decision," Aita said, slightly surprising the other two by joining in the conversation.

"I guess that makes him an 'it' then..." Corvet supplied. "He/she's kind of like Xeth and Tevix when you think about it. They have a more loose attitude toward this war."

Aita got up, disappearing into a hallway.

Corvet shook her head, watching the other hybrid go. "Some of us could learn from Xeth and some of the others."

Vair sighed. "We're all a bit wound up, Corvet. We have no other purpose in this world but to fight this war. I, for one, am counting on dying in it. Can you imagine any of us even trying to live normal lives, if-"

"When," Corvet corrected, knowing where Vair was going.

"When the war ends. People will never accept us. We may be the ones fighting for their freedom, but I don't think they'll ever accept us."

"Such grim thinking..." Corvet muttered. "But you're right." Forcing a smile, however, she spoke again. "I am not going to shut myself off from the world like they have. I may die tomorrow, so I might as well enjoy life while I can."

"I only wish I could see my life like you do..." Vair replied quietly, looking around. She wondered if Corvet really believed what she said, or if it was false optimism. She had seen a lot of that in her life.


From where he sat with Jorvis and Kaor, Blade had watched Shadow talk to Indenki, wondering what had caused the dark hybrid to actually speak to him. They were both such complex souls... All of them were, really. On impulse, Blade got up and followed Shadow through the hallways and to a training room. He knew Shadow could sense him following, but the dark hybrid did not bother to turn around and say anything.

Shadow entered the training room and looked around, searching for something. He turned around after a moment, staring at Blade. "What?"

Blade shrugged. He had no reason to be following Shadow, and he did not feel he needed one. "Just following you."


"Why not? I felt like it."

The dark hybrid frowned slightly, one of his ears twitching in agitation. He did not understand. Why did Blade not have a motive? He should have a motive. While Shadow was interested in the steel hybrid's personality and what made him tick, he did not trust him fully yet.

"Haven't you ever done something for no real reason?"

Shadow took a step back, his ears flattening against his head a little. Blade caught of glimpse of fear and confusion, and realised how long it had been since Shadow had anything beyond a mission related bond with anyone. With Blade standing in the doorway, Shadow probably felt trapped... The steel hybrid sighed. "Maybe later." He turned and left the dark hybrid alone, not wanting to lose what little trust was shared between them.

Shadow walked up to the doorway and watched Blade walk away. His ears were raised again, and his eyes still seemed dead, but he felt emotions slowly awakening in his soul. Growling, he pushed them away, killing them effectively. He would think about Blade and the other hybrids later.


Side Story 3 - Shadow

One thing I have learnt about my life is that I should never hope for anything. Things always go wrong when I hope too hard. I hoped that I would still be in close contact with Donna, Tahari and Donari. Didn't happen. I hoped the 'sessions in the basement' would stop. Didn't happen until it was too late. And I hoped that I would at least have a friend, someone to help me cope. That happened, but it did not last.

-------------------------------- 2088 - Shadow's age, fourteen, nearly fifteen --------------------------------

Wrapping my hand with a cloth bandage, I headed into the lab to try and find some sort of disinfectant to treat my wound before it got infected. I had cut myself during a sparring session with my fencing teacher, and the wound in my hand was deep.

Entering the lab, I ignored the pleading glances of the pokemon there, tearing my eyes away from their innocent stares. I reached the shelf with all the chemicals on it and found some Iodine. As I treated my wound however, a pokemon that had managed to escape crept up on me, pressing its wet nose to the back of my leg and causing me to turn around sharply, nearly dropping the bottle.

"Eevee," it said apologetically, for it had not thought I would react like that.

"It's okay," I replied, immediately turning back to my hand. Finishing with it, I put the bottle back, then started to head out of the lab. But the eevee followed, cheerfully trotting behind me. "Go away." I commanded it, but it wouldn't listen.

"What's your name?" It asked me in eevee as I reached my room.

"Shadow." I opened my door and tried to slip in fast, but it dashed in, leaping onto my bed and making itself comfortable.

"My name's S.C." She told me, although I had not asked, and she started to lick one of her paws daintily. "It stands for Specimen C. I'm part of the experiments on eevees that they're working on. They're studying how we evolve on our own even if we've been tampered with genetically." Starring directly at my eyes, despite the fact that most eevees tried to avoid eye contact, for they were naturally shy, she spoke again, her little eevee voice suspiciously intelligent sounding. "I have human genes in me, just like you have eevee genes in you."

Trying to ignore her, I slipped off my bloodstained shirt, changing into a new one. "I have to go to lunch."

"Then I'm coming." Leaping off my bed, she walked up to me. "Let's go then."

I just stared at her, for I had never encountered a pokemon with her attitude before. Love the persian had been sweet and, well, loving. Sacrifice the charizard had been loyal, and a great friend to confide in. But this confidant, saucy attitude? And in an eevee no less? Trying to hide my feelings, I walked out, letting her follow me into the lunch room, a place that I dreaded for I often encountered some of the people that were like Gareth, the one who seemed to lead my basement sessions nowadays, and the children of some of the scientists, who considered themselves superior to me because of their pure breeding.

But the ones I really hated the most were those who pitied me, but never said anything. They just looked at me, sympathy filling eyes. I don't think they knew, but it hurt me when they did that. I didn't want anyone to care about me, especially like that. If they really cared, they should have done something.

Quietly, I got my lunch, ignoring the insulting calls of some of the teenagers that lived in the base with their parents. SC jumped onto a chair beside me and watched me eat silently, staring at me with those smart, black eyes. When I finished and put my tray away, she followed me to my room again and watched me as I un-braided my hair, combed it, and then re-braided it.

When I was done, and was about to leave, for I had a History class next, she got off my pillow, which she seemed to have claimed for herself. "Why do you keep your hair long? Would it not be easier to fight without such long hair? You'd be lighter, and you'd find it easier to move."

I had been asked that question many times. "I'm used to it." My standard answer. Reaching for my door handle, I looked at her again. "I'm going to my History class."

"I'm returning to my cage."

And sure enough, as I left to go to my class, she returned to the lab, shutting herself back in her cage as if she had never left it.


SC, or, Essee, as her name soon became, followed me around a lot, and we eventually became friends in a strange way. I came to know that she was most likely going to evolve into a burakki, or umbreon as others called them, depending on where they were from. She had the dark quality of an umbreon in her, especially in the way we became friends; usually just quietly going about our own business, rarely saying anything except the occasional comment.

Yet she became my confidant. Returning to my room once after being away for some days in the basement, nursing my wounds by myself, she would watch me - she always watched me - and then she'd ask me why I didn't fight back, and I would reply that I didn't care about what they did. Then she would call me a liar, and the discussion would be over. But for just a quick second, I would let my mask fall, and she would look deep into my eyes and see how I really felt. Normally we never touched, but on those days she would crawl into my lap and nuzzle her head against mine, whispering words of comfort to me.

Our 'friendship' would not last forever, as I discovered weeks before I would be sixteen. I had just returned from a mission, and as I returned to my room, lying down on my bed and about to sleep, I heard a faint scratching on my door, and I opened it, seeing Essee, now evolved into an umbreon. It had probably happened earlier that day.

"Shadow, I have something to tell you..." She said, walking in and leaping onto my bed as usual, curling up on that same pillow. "Following you was not my own idea originally..." For once, she did not look directly into my eyes, and I immediately realized that something was wrong. "Professor Mikoto wanted someone to keep a close watch on you, and he chose me." Sighing, she closed her eyes, resting her head on the pillow. "I have a transmitter in my ear. They can hear everything you say to me."

"I knew." Was my reply as I sat down next to her on my bed.

For a moment, she gaped at me. Snapping her jaws shut, she regained her composure. "How?"

I shrugged. "You could sneak in and out without their knowing, so since you didn't get caught, I realized that they didn't care for some reason. And they've stopped keeping such a tight rein on me."

She crawled into my lap, and I wrapped my arms around her. "Shadow, I love you," she whispered into my ear, nuzzling her head against my neck. "They're done with me as an experiment... They'll be getting rid of me soon."

"Why can't you be my pokemon?"

"We're too attached to each other Shadow." Sighing, she lowered her head, resting it against my chest. "Sometimes you're like a little child. So naive when it comes to feelings." She licked my cheek, then leapt off my lap, walking to my door. "I envy you Shadow. I have an eevee family to worry about. I kept wanting to tell you about this, but if I did, they'd kill my babies. You don't have anyone to worry about. You have nothing that can be taken away from you."


"Quiet! Shadow, I have too much, and I hate it!" Lowering her head, she whimpered softly. I had never heard an umbreon whimper. "They're going to end my life soon; I know it. Despite all I've done for them." She looked up. "Enjoy your life, Shadow. At least, try to. You've got much more freedom than I have. Escape when they let you out on missions on your own." Her eyes glowed with an angry light, red rubies lit by a fire within. "Escape this war."

I shook my head. "I can't."

"Then let's escape together!" She pleaded, running up to me. She stood on her hind legs and placed her paws on my knees. "Please Shadow?"

I scooped her up, placing her on my lap again. "Essee, I have a duty. I was created for this."

"Screw this world!" She cried out fiercely. "What about our friendship?"

"I'm sorry..." I said, watching her as she leapt out of my lap and ran back to the door.

"I hate you!" She yelled, about to leave.

"I love you..." I told her, causing her to turn around and glare at me again.

"I hate you." Was her bitter reply as she left my room, but I knew she didn't mean it.

Essee was put down the next day. As a favor for her, I found out which eevees she was related to, and set them loose, so they could experience what Essee never had. I got into a lot of trouble for that, but I didn't care.

End Side Story