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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 finger. Sharp.

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 used.

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 young hybrid.

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 aiming at."

"I. Don't. Care." Sei replied, lifting his head so that the scientist could see the dead look in his eyes. "Do what you want."

"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.

"Like it?"

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?"

"Open 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 pain.

"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 return them."

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, purring.

"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 the floor.

"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 tone.

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 pronounced, though.

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 face.

"You're...leaving?" Hands clenched into fists, the hybrid looked down at the floor. He refused to look at Tahari again. He was a traitor.

"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 real miracle...

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 dead.

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 parentage.


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 perfect soldier.../