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Love and Sacrifice(v3): This is a tale of Love. --------- Two weeks later, a hotel suite ---------

A little baby sat quietly on the floor of a hotel room, gnawing on a teething ring, the remains of the teething ring, really. His alert green eyes wandered around every few seconds, returning to the red toy after a quick search of the room. Bored with attacking the toy, he dropped it and started to crawl over to Tahari. With a furry, paw-like hand, he tugged on the fabric of the young man's jeans.

"Hey lil' guy, you okay?" The young man stretched, looking at the baby. "I'll go get you something to eat." He picked the young hybrid up, placed him in his crib, and left to go find him something easy to fix.

"Tahari, we can't keep calling him 'lil'guy'. He needs a name," Donna complained from inside the tiny kitchen. Her black hair, in a high ponytail, swished back and forth as she moved. There was an easiness to her movements, as if she had not been willing to die merely two weeks ago.

Tahari shrugged. "They never named him. He was always referred to as 'Project H/C, Type #15: CXIII'."

"Project hybrid/crossbred..." She limped over to him. After the attack on the lab, she had never fully regained use of her right leg. "Well, he needs a name."

"What do you name a baby like him?"

For CXIII was no ordinary baby, with the black fur that covered his body, and the way his light green eyes shone brightly. He had long ears, and a little stubby tail that every now and then could be caught wagging slightly. His hands strongly resembled paws, except he had two opposable thumbs, and eight fingers, like a normal human. Sharp white teeth already could be found in his mouth.

"What about Hyde?" Donna suggested, walking over to his crib and handing him a baby bottle she had just warmed.

"Reminds me of 'Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'."

"What about Dhari then? A cross between Donna and Tahari?"

Tahari frowned, looking at the younger girl strangely. "He's not our son..."





"Or maybe Tahon?"

"Donna! We're not naming him after us!"

"Why not? And besides, you can't come up with a name yourself!" She folded her arms across her chest and stuck her tongue out at him.

An orange head peeked in from the bedroom, followed by a slightly chubby body that waddled in. "Charmander? Charman mander char?"

"You want to name him after your mother, Sacrif?" Tahari asked, confused. Flame was hardly an appropriate name for CXIII.

The charmander shook its head. "Mander!"

"Oh! You want to name him in honor of your mother." Donna deduced, having a better understanding of the charmander.


The young charmander, 'Sacrifice' had been with them since the attack. When they had gone to check for survivors, his egg had been discovered in the rubble, under the body of his brave mother who had given her life to let Tahari, Donna and CXIII escape, and to destroy the lab along with their attackers.

"So, what name do you want us to give him?" Tahari glanced at the charmander curiously, then back at the little baby.

"Char." The Charmander asked them to wait, then stumbled off to go get a book that Donna had been reading to him and the hybrid every night. He picked the book up in his mouth then gave it to Donna. "Charmander, char man derchar man char." With limited pokemon vocabulary, he described the character to her.

She giggled, patting the charmander on his head.. "He wants us to name the baby 'Shadow Seikou'."

"Shadow Seikou?"

She nodded, a silly grin on her face. "Haven't you read the book before? It's a popular legend. Seikou is your typical hero, altruistic and charming, but he goes through a lot in the story, and in the end, he dies a rather horrible death. Of course, I'm reading the abridged version to Sacrif." She shrugged, still grinning. "I guess it'll do... He's going to grow up to be a soldier anyway."

"Fine." Tahari walked over to the computer and opened up the baby's file. "His new alias is Project H/C, Type #15: CXIII - Shadow Seikou."

Sighing, Donna sat down near Tahari, and stared at the nineteen year old with her brown eyes, catching his attention. "You know, we can't raise him on our own. We need to find somewhere to bring him up... Neither of us have the kind of training necessary to bring him up as a 'perfect soldier'."

He nodded. "That's true... Professor Mikoto had big plans for him. We were just assistants, working on more of the medical side."

"We need to find some people who might have known about the experiments, but we've lost contact with the other groups..."

Tahari closed the file and looked at Donna. "Hey, don't worry about it too much, 'kay? We'll find each other, just give it some time."

------ Several Days Later ------

Tahari cradled the young baby in his arms. Only eight months old, yet he seemed so much more advanced than a baby that young should be. He could walk, although he preferred crawling, and Tahari had caught him mumbling what sound very much like words when he had woken up from a nap and was waiting for someone to come check up on him.

Looking at the sleeping baby, Tahari couldn't help but smile. So tiny, so perfect. Never cried, only whimpered or tugged on the nearest person's clothes. He played with the baby charmander, much in the same way that normal baby pokemon would tackle each other and play-fight. Neither of the two could ever be called normal, both being the results of different projects, but they still held a certain innocence that Tahari knew would only last so long...

The fire pokemon waddled his way over to where Tahari sat with Seikou in his arms. With a plaintive "mander", Sacrifice plopped down at Tahari's feet and opened his mouth.

"Alright, alright. Just let me put Seikou in his bed, okay?" Tahari stood up slowly, careful not to wake the baby. Sometimes he slept lightly, sometimes he was far gone in his dreams. After placing Shadow in the basket, lined with a pillow and towels, the best they could do on such short notice, he hunted through the room for something to feed the charmander. Had Donna left anything there? Usually she planned out things like that before she went out on her hunts to find survivors from the attack. She and Tahari took turns venturing out of their hotel room, never taking Sacrifice or Seikou with them, for the hybrid and pokemon were too unusual and would bring unwanted attention.

So far, they had found a pleasing number of people that filled their hearts with hope that all was not lost, after all. They had enough people from most of the factions of the project to start over with new recruits. Currently, Donna and Tahari followed rumors of Professor Mikoto's survival, and today, Donna hoped to narrow in on the truth. If all went well, she would return to the hotel with the rather intimidating professor.

Tired of waiting, Tahari fell asleep on a chair, not too long after putting the charmander to bed. When Donna returned, she caught him in the middle of a nightmare, and the sound of the door opening caused him to almost leap from his chair. Heart beating wildly, he looked at Donna, and then at her guest: a rather ragged, but healthy and alive Professor Mikoto.

"Where is CXIII?" The professor asked, walking in with his hands clasped behind his back.

"Over there," Donna said, pointing at the basket where the baby slept. "And we've...we've named him Shadow Seikou."

"Shadow Seikou?" The professor repeated, going over to the basket and picking the baby up. "Shadow... good name him." Seikou awoke with a start, but did not cry, and put up with the professor's examination of him. "Perfectly healthy." Mikoto looked at the young couple, placing Seikou back in the basket. "We must hurry and leave before we are found. I will come get you tomorrow." About to go, he stopped when he saw that charmander. "Where'd you get him?"

"He's Flame's son."

"Flame's...son?" The professor asked, going over to the Charmander then crouching beside it so he could be closer to its level. "He will be useful if the experiment worked and Flame's alterations were transferred to him." As if on a second thought, he looked back at Seikou and then walked over to him, picking him up and bundling him in one of the towels. Without a word to the young assistants, he left.

"Well... That's that," Donna said, getting up from her chair and about to go and pack when Tahari grabbed her arm and stopped her.

"Donna..." He said, letting go of her arm and picking up her hand instead. "I..." He clammed up. What to say? Hey, I know we're in the midst of trying to create a resistance group in Arasia, but how about we try and go on a date sometime?

"You what, Tahari?" She asked with a sly smile on her face. He had a feeling she knew already, and that slightly irked him. Could she not be one step ahead of him for once?

"I... I really like you."

She giggled and patted him on the shoulder."Was that so hard to say? You implied it well enough when you dragged me out of the lab," the eighteen year old replied. "I really like you too, Tahari Tavis," she whispered, standing on her toes and lightly kissing him on the lips. "Now let's pack."

He pouted ever so slightly, an almost out of place expression on his normally more dignified face.

She smiled, letting go of his hand. "Learn patience Tahari. Patience is a virtue-"

"Which I don't have," he interrupted.

"Well learn it." And she picked up Sacrifice and went off to pack quickly.

Tahari sighed, and followed her example. But he smiled the entire time; he just couldn't let go of the warm feeling that had rushed through his body when she had kissed him. It almost made him forget the harsh truth that what they worked on, what they dedicated their lives too, was all leading up to a violent, senseless war.

------ The next day ------

Donna and Tahari traveled with the professor and some of the other survivors on a train to the town their new hideout would be built in. To avoid suspicion, they separated into groups, using fake identities to get through the strong restrictions on travel. Some of the people had already made it to the little town, and they were the last group.

Thankfully, they all made it safely, immensely grateful that nothing had happened. The new lab would be spacious, much larger than the previous one, which was unfortunate as they had less than half the number of people in the previous team. It would take some time to recruit enough people to fill it up.

The night of their arrival, when everyone was settled in the completed area of their lab, Professor Mikoto called a meeting.

"You all have two choices. The first is that you live down here, with little or no contact with the outside world." He glanced around, the slight gleam in his eyes signifying that as the preferable choice. "The second is that you lead two lives, one up there, and the other down here, at night. The choice is up to you, but please make wise decisions." He paused, giving them some time to talk it over with each other before ordering them to be quiet again. "Now, I will be recruiting several more people for the team. Although we have achieved success in the first experiment, CXIII, we are not done. Nowhere near done. There's the whole process of raising him that we will have to go through, and we can't expect one hybrid to save us all. We'll need more than him."

"You mean things like, stronger, smarter pokemon? Advanced weapons? Maybe some trained humans as well?" One of the assistants asked.

"Exactly! And we'll need a large team for that. It'll take many years. And a perfect soldier must be perfect in all ways. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. It's going to be hard, but it will work." There was a moment of silence, as everyone took in the significance of their project. In a sense, they were creating not only a hybrid that could perform covert operations, but an army for more large scale attacks. "Donna, Tahari, he seems to like you two. You shall be in charge of being his surrogate parents."

"You trust us to be his parental figures?" Donna asked, incredulous.

"All I ask is that, especially in the first six or so years of his life, you spend time with him so he has some idea of family life. It is essential to his upbringing that he learns something about love." And as he so often did, Mikoto left as soon as he was done talking, leaving all the assistances with little clue of what to do.

Donna looked at the little hybrid in her arms, and then at Tahari. "Meet our first son, Tahari."

Tahari froze, looking at the furry baby in shock. Seikou smiled at him, his green eyes sparkling happily. "Son...?" He asked.

"What is it with men and babies?" Donna asked Seikou, smiling down at the dark hybrid. "A lot of them go into a state of shock the moment women mention them." She looked sternly at Tahari. "If you keep acting like that about babies, it's going to be a while before we can have a real child of our own."

"Child...of...our own? But... we're not... Are we going out?"

Donna sighed, shifting the baby to one arm and grabbing Tahari's arm with her free hand. "Let's go find our new home. The living quarters should be nearby."

------- Two years and some months later, December-2079 -------

"Donna, I'm back!" Tahari announced, entering the room cheerfully and carrying several bags with him. "Why didn't you want to come? You always jump at a chance to leave the hideout and go out into the upper-world!"

Donna winced. She knew she'd have to tell Tahari soon, but she just didn't know when. She'd only found out a few days ago...

He put the bags down, puzzled, and hurried over to her when she didn't answer. "Are you sick?"

She shook her head.

"Is Seikou sick?"

She shook her head again.

"Then what's wrong? You've been acting like you're hiding something from me..." He sat down on the armrest of the chair she was sitting in.

"Tahari, I need to tell you, I'm-"

He cut her off. "Hold on, and close you eyes."


"No buts, just wait." And he ran out of the room to get something, then ran back in. "Open."

She opened her eyes, and gasped at what she saw. Tahari was on his knees in front of her, holding a small velvet box. Sacrifice, now a charmeleon, stood beside him, holding a bouquet of red flowers. "Oh..."

He grinned nervously, then put the box in her hands. "Open it."

She opened it, and inside was a beautiful engagement ring, and quite likely an expensive one too.

"Will you be the ying to my yang?" He asked, his amused, though nervous, expression taking some of the romance out of the moment, but not spoiling it.

Donna laughed, then nodded. "Of course!"

He put the ring on her finger and then hugged her, kissing her soundly.

"Eon!" The charmeleon interrupted, handing her the bouquet of roses.

"Thank you, Sacrifice."

"Char," he replied with a sharp toothed grin.

"The roses were his idea. I wanted to give you lilies but he insisted on the red roses," Tahari explained sheepishly.

Donna patted Sacrifice on the head. "Thank you dear. Tahari doesn't know much about being romantic."

Tahari scowled briefly, then remembered something. "Wait! One last surprise!"

"Another one?"

The highly enthusiastic young man ran out, and returned with a box. "For you, my love. I know how much you love these, and me and Sacrifice are busy a lot of the time, so..." He set it down in her lap.

She seemed puzzled, but opened the box all the same.

"Meowth!" A little kitten pokemon popped its head out, chewing on the red ribbon around its neck. "Meow?"

"She's so cute!" She gushed, picking the meowth out of the box and hugging her. "What's her name?"

"That's up to you."

Donna thought carefully. "I think I'll name her... Love."


"Yes. Love." She put the meowth in her lap and petted its head. "Tahari, I have something to tell you..." She said, not looking up from the kitten.

"About why you didn't come with me, right?"

"Yes." She picked up Tahari's hands, looking straight into his green eyes with her own brown ones. "Tahari, you're going to be a father."

"A fa..." His eyes widened in shock. "Really?"

She nodded.

"Alright!" He exclaimed, picking her up and hugging her, dropping the poor Meowth in the process but managing to save it just in time. "I love you Donna," he whispered to her, kissing her again.

She sighed in relief, for she wasn't sure how he would take the news. Although they had raised Shadow as their own, she wasn't sure how he would take the news of having their own child, especially since she was only twenty, and he was only twenty-one.

"What's all the noise?" One of the assistants asked, peeking in their room.

"We're getting married, and I'm going to have my own baby!" Tahari grinned foolishly, overcome with emotions and having no other way to express himself but to be incredibly hyper.

"Congratulations!" Kris said, winking at Tahari. "This calls for a celebration!"

"Kris! Not another one of your parties, please..." Donna grimaced. Kris was well known for finding every possible opportunity to liven up the hideout with a party.

"Why not? I'm going to go see if I can pester one of the above-dwellers into buying us some supplies!" And he left before the pair could say anything.

"Charmeleon..." The fire pokemon sighed, then he looked at the meowth. "Char?"

"Meet your new friend, Love."

"Eon." He sniffed the meowth, and seemed to approve of her.. "Char char meleon, char?"

"Yeah, where *is* Seikou, Donna? Usually he's with you."

"They've started his real training now."

"Training? But he's only three!"

"That's what I said..." She replied with a resigned shrug. "But Professor Mikoto believes that we must start as early as possible, and that he should have even started at two..."

"So it's just us then." Tahari had to admit that he was going to miss the little kid. He was unusually quiet for his age, but could be such a joy to be with.

"And Sacrifice and Love." She added.

"Right. Love and Sacrifice... Ironically, I believe those names sum up the years that have passed, and the years that have yet to come..."

Donna put one arm around Tahari's waist and laid her head on his chest. "Sad, but true."