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-------- About two years later - January -2081 --------

Love and Sacrifice: How can one so young be so old?

"Seikou? Seikou!" Tahari was worried, very worried. The little guy had been missing for an hour now, and it was time for him to go for his training sessions.

A black ball of fur launched itself from its hiding spot on a counter and onto the twenty-one year old's back, knocking him down. "Get off me Shadow..." Tahari coughed, for the little boy had knocked all the air out of him, again. Tahari could only be thankful that his head had not hit the cold tiles in his fall, or he could have broken his nose.

Silently, the young hybrid climbed off Tahari, his green eyes holding little of the innocent playfulness other boys his age had. He seemed eager, almost hyper, but not innocent. "Play?" He asked, watching as Tahari slowly stood up.

"Later Seikou. I need to work, and you have to go for your training." Tahari picked up the furry five year old.

"When's later?" Seikou asked, folding his arms across his chest. One of his ears twitched a little, and his eyes darkened.

"At five o'clock, when you're done."

"Why five? Should be four!" He started to wriggle a little in Tahari's arms, wanting to be free.

"You've been missing for an hour, so we have to add an extra hour."

The boy sighed and stopped trying to escape. "Uncle Ta'ri, why do I train?"

"Why do you have to train?" Tahari repeated, frowning in thought. Seikou apparently understood what he was being taught to do, but he did not seem to get *why*. "Because there's going to be a war, and we need people to help protect us."

"Me protect you?" He asked.

Tahari nodded. "Yes."


Okay? That was it? Nothing more? Tahari was beginning to wonder just what the boy was being taught in his classes, but he and Donna were never given details. They were just told to be loving parents, relatives, whatever, to him.

"Here we are." Tahari put the little boy down when they arrived at the room where his training took place.. "See you at five!" He called after the little kid.

Donna walked up then, holding young Donari in her arms, and with Love, her meowth, trailing behind her. Unable to take her little daughter for walks outside, she often resorted to walking around the base. She watched Shadow disappear into the training room, and then looked at Tahari. "He's grown up so fast... When you look into his eyes-" She stopped, not knowing how to describe the sad, all knowing aura the boy's eyes held. "He was the sweetest baby, rarely cried, so quiet...But his smiles! He had the best smiles."

"Had?" Tahari asked, frowning slightly. He had less time than Donna to be around Shadow. They had given his wife more free time from work because of Donari, but they refused to cut Tahari's work.

"He doesn't really smile anymore. I know he loves us. He cares about us, Love, Sacrifice and Donari, but... I can't say he's changed, because he really hasn't. He's just grown old so fast." Looking at her daughter's brown, baby eyes, she smiled slightly. "I feel like my son has grown up and left home. Why?"

"I know what you mean." Tahari smiled ruefully. "I don't understand what Professor Mikoto is up to, and I don't really like it... But it's for the best, or so he says." He bent down and picked up the meowth, playfully tapping its nose. "All we can do is love him."

"He hasn't made any attempt to get to know any of the other children around his age that live down here, though I can't blame him. They tease him so much... I'm only glad that we had Donari, and that we've got Sacrifice and Love. We're so busy a lot of the time; at least he has *some* friends-"

"And that's all that matters." Tahari finished for her. "Come on, let's go visit Sacrifice. They should be done with his tests by now."

"Do they have to test him every day?" She asked.

"They seem to think it necessary, Flame being his mother and all. She was one of their best experiments. Very intelligent for a charizard and possibly psychic."

Donna just shook her head slightly. Why couldn't they just be a normal family?

------- Inside the training room -------

If one entered the training room while the discussion between Donna and Tahari was taking place, one would have been amazed at the training they put the young child through.

First, there was the physical aspect of the training, an obstacle course that they changed every day so that he could not memorize any patterns. The course tested his speed, his balance, his judgment of time and distance, his intelligence, and how fast he reacted to the various hidden 'threats' in the course.

There was also the mental aspect, in which he was taught like any other child his age. He learnt about pokemon, the world he was living in, and how to read, among other things.

Lastly, there was the emotional aspect of the training. They wanted him to be willing to do anything for his future duty, and that would mean enforcing a strong love of life, of the world he lived in and the pokemon and humans he shared it with, yet also a willingness to die for his cause. They also wanted him to have a strong hate for wars, for battles. Why would one want their perfect soldier to hate fighting? Because his future goal was not to fight a war, but to bring peace. Although bringing peace may mean fighting a war, that would not be his main priority. They did not want to create a mindless killing machine. That was what had gone wrong in previous experiments of the same type.

And that was what would go wrong with Seikou.

"Are you paying attention?" The teacher knew that the hybrid had been listening, but sometimes you had to draw his focus to you even more. He paid attention to his lessons, but he also paid attention to everything else going on. The scents of the room, the various sounds that seeped through the walls... "What is one of the rarest pokemon?"

"Mew," he answered.

"Is war good or bad?"

"War is bad, but it can bring about good things."

"Good." There was a short pause from the teacher. "Name three electric pokemon."

"Raichu, Jolteon and Magnemite."


This was often how his classes went. The teachers preferred to call him 'Shadow' instead of 'Seikou'. He didn't mind anyway since those were both his 'names'. He had no last name, so calling him by either was fine.

--------- Three years later- 2084 ---------

"Sei? Why are you sitting here alone?" Little Donari looked up at the boy she called her older brother. He was sitting on top of a bookshelf, and most people would have walked right by him for he blended in perfectly with the darkness of the room.

"I'm thinking." The eight-year-old replied.

"Can I come up?" She asked, smiling hopefully.

He paused, thinking it over, then finally peered over, looking at her with his intense green eyes. "Yes."

She grinned happily. "But I need help up," she pointed out to him, unable to reach up to the shelves to climb to the top.

He leapt down, landing silently on his feet. "Get on my back." She immediately obeyed, her legs wrapped around his waist and her arms around his neck. "Hold tight." And he hoisted himself up the shelf. "You can get off now," he said when they reached the top.

She scrambled off his back, then daringly peered over the edge of the shelf. "Its high..." She whispered fearfully, because, for a five year old, nearly six feet above the ground is very high. She looked at him and smiled. "Why do you like being alone, Sei?" She asked curiously.

He did not turn to look at her, but instead stared ahead into the dark room. "I just do. It feels right."

She scooted closer to him, resting her head on his shoulder. "I don't like being alone... I get scared. I'm scared of the dark too, but I'm not scared when I'm with you!" She gave him a hug, startling him, but he awkwardly hugged her back. "Promise me you'll never leave me, Sei?"

"I promise," he whispered, kissing her on her forehead, then smiling slightly.

"Thank you," she said, though one couldn't be sure if she was thanking him for the promise, the smile, or both.