In the small cafe, the young lady's surprisingly childlike voice touched her audience in a way they would never have imagined possible. Although she sang mostly about love, there was this touching, childish innocence to her songs. It seemed to her male audience that she reached into their chests and pulled out their hearts, singing directly to them, then shoving them back in with a 'Sorry, you can't have me'. At least, that was what it seemed to Ray, sitting alone at his table and attentively watching the seventeen year old girl who would be eighteen at midnight that day. She was about four years younger than the young man with the dark, fearow like eyes, and she stood, like a little earthly angel, on the polished wooden stage.
Her bright blue eyes twinkled; lost in the sweet song she was singing, and seemingly paying no attention to the crowd. As she sang, her hands were clasped behind her back timidly while her beautiful, innocent voice filled the cafe. She wore a cute little pair of jeans that had red hearts embroidered into them, and an adorable white t-shirt that had the words 'Angel' in big silver glittery letters on it.
Ray was at the little cafe every night at eight, sitting at the same table, and in the same chair. Each time, he would order a coffee, and add three packs of sugar, and exactly three teaspoons of cream, resulting in a light brown color the same as his skin. Then he'd sit back and wait for the girl to perform, sipping his drink. At nine, when her performance was over, and he'd finished his coffee, he would leave. A strange black-clad customer that all the staff knew well by sight and habit, but beyond that, they had no clue.
Tonight, however, he had come a little earlier, at seven fifty, and he had ordered a cappuccino instead of a coffee. To the staff of the cafe, this was a big thing, and they all wondered why he'd disrupted his little pattern, but they would find out soon enough. He had broken his habits for a reason, signaling his end of his nightly visits to the 'Dodrio Ranch Cafe', a quaint little place in a small town, perfect for tourists. To him, habits were life, and that was how he lived his, full of rituals.
Finishing with her song, the girl curtsied and shyly left the stage. Although she had been performing at the cafe for two years, she never seemed to completely get over her fear of crowds. As usual, she rushed down the stairs to the stage and to one of the waitresses, excitedly telling her something, probably saying something about her birthday.
Ray stood, running a hand through his unusually straight black hair. Quietly, he approached the girl, tapping her lightly on the shoulder and causing her to jump fearfully.
"You!" She blurted out almost accusingly, her light blue eyes widening in surprise. Quickly though, she regained her composure, but lowered her eyes to the floor. "You're that boy that comes every night... You've been coming her for the past year."
"So you noticed me." He said.
She tilted her head to one said, raising her eyes to look at him briefly. "So that's what you sound like.. I always wondered... You have a strange accent though. You pronounce everything almost perfectly, and you say your 'Os' a little weird."
He shrugged. "I don't know where I picked it up." Again, he ran a hand through his hair. "My name is Ray, what's yours?"
There was an awkward silence as the both of them watched each other, somewhat unsure what to say.
"How old are you?" Julie finally asked.
"I'm twenty-one." He responded. "And you'll be eighteen at midnight."
Taken by surprise again, Julie took a step back. Was he a stalker? Was that why he watched her every night, and left when she was done? But then, maybe he'd just overheard the staff talking or something... "How'd you know?"
"I just do." He shrugged again. "Be careful." With that random comment, the young man left, leaving poor Julie absolutely confused about what he'd said, but at the same time, a little scared.
But by some act of fate, Julie did not call out to him as she would have liked to, and let him walk away, out of her life, or so she thought.
An eerie howl, most likely from a houndoom, filled the forest, and a pair of startlingly bright green eyes opened, their owner awakened by the cry. Awkwardly, the pokemon broke from the remains of the huge egg it had just hatched from, and after a few minutes of rest, stood, testing out it's legs as it tried to walk, but only succeeded in falling. Again and again, it tried to stand, but it kept failing, much to its disgust.
But at midnight, a time well known for strange happenings, it suddenly stood without trouble, and if it were human, a satisfied smirk would have crossed its face. Instead, its green eyes simply glittered, and it started walking around, speeding up little by little.
Its paws were large, appropriately sized for the huge deadly claws the pokemon had, filled with potent poison that would easily kill a rapidash. Long gangly legs held up the thin emaciated creature that slightly resembled a houndoom, only taller, and pure black, with thin, sharp ears instead of horns. It had a little devil tail though, and long, leathery bat-like wings that protruded from just behind its shoulder blades. Gleefully, it flapped the wings and seemed to shiver in delight.
Another howl filled the night, and it responded with its own howl, testing out it's voice, and shivering again, pleased with the high pitched sound it made.
Emerging from the damp, rocky cave it had been born in, it peered around, marveling in the wonders to be seen. Darkness was everywhere, but the light of the moon was sufficient enough for it to see every little detail. Soft green grass that tickled the pads of its feet, fallen leaves that crunched when it walked on them, trees that towered over everything, sleeping pokemon, and wide awake pokemon, live things the scampered around.
A rattata scurried by it, and curious, the creature followed it with its strange, puppy gait. Sensing danger, the rattata paused, and the strange pokemon leapt on it, wrapping it's huge, well fanged jaws around the small pokemon's body, it's teeth sinking into the struggling creature's body, eventually silencing it. All the while, as it watched the rattata die, it's eyes were wide with amazement, marveling at how the creature squeaked and thrashed, and the sweet liquid that ran into it's mouth from the wounds in the pokemon
Thrilled by the taste of the blood, the strange pokemon dropped the dead body, then licked at the blood that was slowly stopping to run from the body. Its keen nosed smelt another live pokemon near by, and it chased it, catching the unwary persian and killing it, again licking up the blood. Now on a mad blood drive, it flew and ran through the forest, killing any and everything that moved.
But by some act of fate, it didn't go deeper into the forest where it would find many pokemon, but it went to the outskirts, where it would eventually encounter civilization.
"Happy Birthday Julie!"
Smiling shyly, the brown haired teen blew out her candles, glad that it was a Friday and she could stay up without having to go to one of her many jobs the next day. She lived with a friend, in a small isolated house just on the outskirts of the town. Many people wondered why someone her age was living on her on for so long, but they left her alone. She had moved in when she was fifteen with her friend Dulce, who was twenty at that time.
Grinning, Dulce started to cut the cake, ignoring the red hair the fell over her eyes, and being careful not to mess up icing rose decorations she had carefully placed on it. "Hey, be a little more cheerful, you're eighteen!" Dulce exclaimed, her green eyes glittering as she handed Julie a piece of the cake then cut one for herself.
From their backyard, the collective cries of their dodrio could be heard, and Julie was about to rush to go check on them when Dulce held her back. It was late, and they lived in the middle of the forest full of wild pokemon. Instead, Dulce went to go check on them, while Julie waited.
The tall woman exited through the kitchen door, cautiously looking around. It was probably a houndoom again... They were always tormenting the dodrio, but thankfully, the bird pokemon could defend themselves. Dulce bred the birds, selling the well-mannered, well-trained pokemon for a good enough profit.
However, instead of the site of slightly ruffled, but safe birds, she was greeted with the horrifying scene of thirty-two dead dodrio and twelve young doduo. Each and every one of them had been killed, viciously ripped apart with obviously sharp claws. Judging from the bloody paw prints amidst the blood pools around each pokemon, she assumed that the track of the killer would be easy to find, but she'd best got back into the house before whatever it was that got to the dodrio got to her.
Swooping down from above, the un-named pokemon pushed her down with its heavy paws, sharp claws digging into the flesh in her shoulders. She cried out in pain, but was immediately silenced as it bit into her neck, piercing the main vein there. Almost cooing in delight, the pokemon lapped up the blood happily, wondering at this new kind of creature, for it tasted, looked, and smelt a lot different than the other creatures it had killed.
When the blood flow had stopped, it looked up, spying movement somewhere inside the strange structure. Puzzled, it flew up, landing on the roof and walking around, it's large claws clicking on the tiles.
But by some act of fate, the young man climbing up to one of the window remained unnoticed to the baby pokemon.
Startled, Julie dropped her plate when she heard Dulce's scream coming from outside. Silence followed, and she started to panic, wondering what was going on. A clicking noise could be heard on the roof, and fearfully, she looked up.
A tapping was heard coming from the window next to her, and she leapt back, gazing at the window, startled when instead of the face of a ferocious creature, there was only the handsome face of a young man, hair slicked back with sweat.
Immediately, Julie ran to the window and let him in, shutting it as soon as he was safely in the house. "What are you doing her, Ray?" She demanded with more assertiveness than she usually displayed.
"Making sure you're safe." He replied.
"Safe from what?" She demanded.
"What we need to get rid of. Come on." He ordered, finding the staircase and going downstairs.
Used to being lead, Julie automatically followed him, but inside, she was confused about what was going on. Where was her Dulce, and how had Ray found her house? And where had he gotten that gun? Only a tranquilizer gun, but normal people didn't carry tranquilizer guns in their coat pockets!
And Dulce! Where was Dulce? Dulce was practically her mother... She had taken care of Julie since she was thirteen, pulling her off the streets and training her voice. Tears started to well up in Julie's eyes, but she held them back. Dulce had always told her that if anything happened to her, she shouldn't cry, because it'd happened for a reason... Sniffing slightly, she sat down at the table downstairs and watched Ray.
"There's a dangerous pokemon out there." He finally started explaining as he checked the locks on all the windows. "It was born tonight, and it kills everything in its path." Disappearing into the kitchen, he withdrew with a handful of sharp knives, setting them down on the table in the dining room. "It thrives on blood."
"What's any of this got to do with me?" She asked slightly timidly, for he was currently holding a very large butcher's knife.
"There's some sort of link between the two of you... Its egg was laid at the same moment you were born, and it most likely started its killing around midnight. It has something to do with you being eighteen now, legal to do a lot of things you wouldn't be able to do, and about to learn more of the world. Especially though killing."
"But I'm not a killer..."
"Well it obviously is, your friend and those pokemon out there are proof of this." Sighing, he picked up a small knife, then before she knew what he was doing, he picked up one of her hands and sliced one of her fingers open. He had two reasons for doing this. One, he needed her to be bleeding, two, she'd keep her mind off the death of her friend and on the matters at hand.
"OW!" Immediately she snatched her hand back and got up, running to the kitchen, rinsing the finger off and searching for some way to bind it. "Why'd you do that?" She yelled from the sink, holding back tears that were not only from grief now, but from immense pain. "It'll smell your blood." He followed her into the kitchen and handed her the same knife. "When it comes up to you, stab it. Hard."
"I can't stab a pokemon!" She protested, ripping a cloth napkin and wrapping her finger.
"Yes you can, and this is a bad one. At least, it is now." Returning into the main room downstairs, he finally settled on a six-inch blade knife and sat down at the table, running a hand through his hair.
"I still don't get it..." She muttered, examining her still bleeding finger.
He sighed again and leaned back in his chair. "Every now and then a pokemon like this one is born, always the descendant of a dark pokemon. By chance or by fate, their eggs are laid at the same time as the birth of a human, and that causes some sort of link to be created between the human and the pokemon. Until the eighteenth birthday of the human, it may not hatch, or it will, but will be helpless until the birthday. The pokemon are always blood driven, enhanced versions of their parents." He somewhat nervously glanced over his shoulder, looking at the window. "They can only be stopped by the joining of blood between them and the human they are linked to. As soon as their blood mixes, they either die right then and there, or suddenly transform into the normal form of their parents, often the pre-evolution if there is any." Still looking out the window, he ran his hand through his hair again, his only nervous habit.
But by some act of fate, he managed to turn around right as the strange pokemon flew by the window, peeking in and excitedly spotting the two youths.
Tail wagging, it flew up and crashed into the window it had seen the boy enter through. Looking up, it's green eyes met the light on the ceiling, and it shied away from the bright thing, only looking back up when it realized that it was not alive. Curious as usual, it started to look around, nibbling on just about everything, looking for something that bled, but finding nothing.
Its ears pricked up, picking up the sound of something moving, and it found the stairs, at first intimidated by the steep passage, but taking one step and succeeding in crashing down them, more than shocking the two humans downstairs.
"It's here!" Julie exclaimed, picking up her knife.
"Go stab it while it's dazed!" Ray instructed, but she hesitated. "What are you waiting for?" He yelled.
She shook her head, looking at the dazed pokemon with its black leathery wings trailing on the ground, and it's bright green eyes confused, and so young and innocent. This baby was a killer? It looked so young, and incapable of evil. But this baby had possibly killed Dulce... She glanced down, and noted the ferocious looking claws it had, and noted the blood that stained its fur in various places. This was no baby, this was a freak of nature.
Suddenly driven, she rushed at it and stabbed it hard in the shoulder, jerking the knife down. As Ray had instructed her, she touched her now un-wrapped and still bleeding finger to the wound.
Pain shot through the body of the creature, and almost sadly, it looked up at the girl. Why had this tall pale creature done that? And what was that hotness that it felt? That un-comfortable hotness that made it want to howl? Confused, it watched as she touched her finger to the wound, and its body tingled, much like when it had first killed that rattata, but different.
Its wings disappeared first, vanishing right before the eyes of the two youths. Then the claws, the fangs, and the ears. Slowly, it shrunk down to the form of a newborn houndour, laying on the floor helplessly and crying with hunger, blindly crawling towards Julie.
Although somewhat dazed by the magical occurrence she had just witnessed, Julie immediately knelt and picked it up, cradling it lovingly, cooing softly to the poor thing.
But why was she doing this? She wondered. It had killed Dulce... Dulce had taken care of her for so many years, watching over her like the mother she had never known... But it seemed so right to take care of the houndoor. Crying, mourning for her dead friend, she still held onto it, rocking back and forth.
From where he stood, Ray watched with a satisfied smile. Another one of the strange blood craving pokemon was defeated, and that was what he lived to do. That was what his father had done, and what his father's father had done. It was a family thing. And with his father gone, it was his job to scout around, checking for humans like Julie, and pokemon like the one that had crashed clumsily down the stairs. That one had been nothing compared to some that he had face before, and he realized that the pokemon in some way reflected the humans they were linked to. Though they were all blind killers, some had a more child like quality to them, while others were tough, mean beasts that took more than a fall down the stairs to knock out.
Julie was a sweet person, and in many ways, extremely naive despite growing up on the streets. Yet at the same time, there was a slight darkness to her that showed through in some of her songs, or moments like this, when she realized how alone she was in the world.
Ray hated to leave her like that, but he had things to do. She was just another human, another person who might desert him, and break his heart. Turning, he ran a hand through his dark hair one last time, and started to leave her house.
But by some act of fate, instead of leaving immediately, going on to the next case, he stayed, listening to her beautiful voice as she soothed the young pokemon. His dark eyes softened, and he felt the distance he put between him and the humans he watched close. How could he leave this young, vulnerable girl that he had observed for so long alone? Her friend was dead, and she was alone... Like him.
Julie had noticed him leaving, and had stood, wiping her tears with the sleeves of her 'Angel' t-shirt. "You're leaving me?"
"I..." He was torn, torn between continuing being the solitary, habitual person he'd always been, or fulfilling his need for companionship that he did his best to ignore.
"You what?" Her lower lip trembled, and she suddenly looked like a lost little eight-year-old. "Please don't leave me Ray... Dulce was the only person I really got to know, and now..."
Quietly, he walked up to her and hugged her, letting her rest her head on his shoulder and cry. Yes, he'd take her into his care. They could work together, as a team. He could train her, for under her shy exterior, he was sure there was a strong soul.
"This really isn't as bad as you make it out to be Ray." Julie remarked as she threw a piece of her hamburger to her now grown houndoom, who lay beside her. They were in a park, settled on the grass and eating lunch while watching a little boy that Ray suspected was bonded to a dark pokemon. They wouldn't have to to spend much time watching him, since he was only six, but Ray liked to observe the people who were bonded, it was one of his little habits.
Ray smiled, and Julie grinned back. In the two years they had worked together, she had proven to be a pretty good side-kick, and great at explaining what was going on to the poor human who was bonded to the pokemon. He found keeping his eyes on his food hard, for he kept glancing over at the beautiful twenty-year-old who sat across him.
"Don't you fret, it'll get bad someday." He told her, a mock serious look on his face. She'd brought out the lighter side of him, but she still had not shaken off his habit of dressing in all black...
But by some act of fate, no matter how many times he joked that it would get worse, it never did, and they lived happily ever after.