Twisted Paths, Forgotten Pasts
Akira woke, sitting up with a start. Where was she? Her room... in her bed...in her house...in Reva, not Datil, but Reva... Grief suddenly flooded back into her, and she let out a choked sob, squeezing her eyes shut and willing herself not to cry. What had happened in Datil had happened, and there was nothing she could do about it.
Bringing her mind back to the present, she was suddenly reminded of the events that had occurred in the last few days. Arika, Jay, Ash... For a moment, she blanked out and a rush of images swooped into her mind and disappeared just as suddenly. She picked out herself, with gold streaks in her hair, and dressed in a long gown of white. A man who looked a heck of a lot like Ash kneeling before her, and that black-clad figure who had been watching her at the cafe, only he was standing beside her, was looking at her with adoring eyes, and dressed in black and gold...
Had yesterday really happened? Had she really gone out to lunch with Ash after finding that old 'prophecy book' in the library? Seen that mysterious man in the road? More importantly... had Jay really kissed her? Not that she minded...
/MOTHER!/ Akira heard an astonished voice say in her mind. She looked at her pillow and found her dratini, 'Rika, looking at her with a scolding expression on her little dragon face. /Mother, really!/
The young woman looked at her dratini, then put a hand on her forehead. "Normal temperature..." She muttered. "Then why am I hearing things? Dratinis are not psychic... And even if they were, she's at too low a level to be able to communicate so well with me." Closing her eyes she took a deep breath. "Okay 'Kira, I know you've been having a rough life, but that's no excuse to go crazy.... Just breathe in and out slowly, and clear your mind..."
/Are you meditating?/
Abruptly, Akira tumbled out of her bed, landing rather heavily on her backside. After spending a few moments digesting what had just happened, she peeked over the side of her bed, looking up at the dratini that rested on her pillow. "...'Rika?"
/The one and only./
"How come you can...uh... 'speak' to me?" She now had her head and her arms rested on the bed, looking at the 'young' pokemon on a level plane.
/Well.../ The dratini slithered down to be closer to Akira. /Because we're us. Ever heard of the 'Legends of the Firsts'? or the 'Pokemon Parents of All'?/
"Everyone knows them, and everyone knows that they're myths..." Suddenly unsure of herself, she leaned forward. "They are myths, right?"
/Twenty-six unique souls, created of the Gifts-/
"Brought forth to the world a new era, one full of magic and myths." She interrupted the dratini, completing the first sentence of the 'Book of the Firsts'. "And then it goes on to say how the 'Firsts' gave birth to the first pair of the first generation of pokemon, who evolved and bred to form new breeds, and also continue on their own lines. Your pretty typical beginning of the world story."
/Except it's not a story. Remember the end?/
"The firsts and most of their children died in a battle when they and the Gifted started fighting. In their absence, the legendary pokemon were born to watch over things, but it says the Firsts will be reborn again to claim their rightful rule over the world, and to finish their quarrels with each other."
/Good, you paid attention in your myths and legends classes in college. Now, guess who you are?/
"What do you mean, 'guess who I am?'"
'Rika slithered closer to her 'trainer', close enough that their noses almost touched. /You're what Jay said you are. The Mother of All Dragons./ Again, the image of herself, with the two strange men came into her mind.
"Mother...of All Dragons? So are you telling me I'm not human?"
She bowed her head down into her covers, and spoke in a muffled voice. "I've only been here a few weeks... My parents are dead... nearly everyone I knew is..." She broke off. "My town is gone... Now, I'm suddenly thrust into this whole thing, and being told I'm the re-incarnation of one of the firsts. What the hell is going on here?!?"
/We need to find the others and re-group, then find the st-/
Akira grimaced. "No, none of that now. I need to eat first. Let's just pretend this conversation never happened, kay?" She said, cutting off the little dratini. "I'm not thinking straight, too hungry... Come on!" She picked up Arika and absent-mindedly forgot to at least change into some clothes, or put on her morning coat.
Dashing into her kitchen, she stopped short when she discovered Ash slaving away at the kitchen stove, with Pikachu busy munching on bag of potato chips. She immediately dashed back upstairs in her skimpy nightgown before Ash noticed her, and threw on her morning coat, then checked herself in the mirror. No, her hair was all frizzy, and she really didn't feel like showing off her cute growlithe patterned morning coat to anyone so she shed her clothes and rushed into her bathroom for a quick shower, dratini still around her neck, and to brush her teeth. After that, she changed into her blue-jean shorts, and a black T-shirt with a big paw-print on it. After combing her long hair and tying it into a ponytail, she finally felt ready to go downstairs.
/Mother! Remember me?/
Of course, she had to take Arika first... So she picked up the dratini and placed her on her shoulders where the blue creature made itself at home, then she ran down the stairs and into the kitchen. "Good Morning Ash. What are you doing in my kitchen? Actually, what are you doing in my house?"
Ash turned around and blushed at the question. In actuality, he'd only been planning on stopping by to say good morning, but then when he'd knocked she hadn't answered, and the door had been un-locked. "Uhhh.... making breakfast?"
She rolled her eyes and crossed her arms. "Why?"
He shrugged. "I just wanted to... Besides... I also needed to check up on you before I went crazy with worry. I wasn't sure how you were yesterday after I left."
"Pika pika chu ka!"
He blushed again. "And the food at the hotel really isn't all that good..."
Akira laughed, forgiving Ash almost at once for he was a likable person, just like Jay... "So, what are you cooking?"
"Well, I'm not as good as my old friend Brock..."
"The guy who used to be the Pewter City Gym's leader? But became a really famous breeder? I've read about him!" She smiled, all other morning events forgotten for a moment. "You two were great friends, weren't you?
Ash nodded. "Yeah, and he's a really good cook! He tried teaching me, but I never quite got the hang of it. I'm not all that bad though."
Looking around, she noted the various food items he'd prepared. "Scrambled eggs, bacon, pancakes..." She inhaled deeply. "Smells good!"
He grinned and began to set the table. "Is 'Rika hungry?"
"Okay, okay, don't yell at me..." He set a place for both the dratini and for Pikachu, then began to serve them all food. "I take full responsibility for any subsequent stomach aches after eating this meal." He said as Akira took her first bite.
Laughing as she was about to swallow, her food nearly slipped down the wrong tube and she coughed several times before taking a sip of orange juice and looked at Ash accusingly, but with a grin on her face. "Don't do that Ash!"
/Are you all right m... 'Kira?/
/Yes dear, don't worry./ She grinned at the dratini, who immediately relaxed for not only was the young woman okay, but she had unknowingly put their ability to talk telepathically to use. "The food is great Ash. Brock must be a very very good cook if he's better than you!"
"He is." The pokemon master spoke in the middle of a bite of toast.
"Pikachu! Pika chu-pi pika chu!"
Ash swallowed. "Fine, fine, I'll make sure to swallow before I speak next time. Sheesh..." He looked at Akira. "Pikachu's very mindful of my manners. I don't know where he picked all that up though. Probably from Mi-" He broke off and quickly corrected himself. "From my mother.
Knowing he wouldn't want her to talk about his slip, she smoothly continued the conversation. "I think all pokemon are like that. At least, most of the ones I've known have been. They love their owners so much, they do all they can for them, even die for them..." Her mind suddenly went back to the good old days when she used to play with the family pokemon, the sweetest Vapoureon she had ever met. The water eeveelution tended to be silent and more reserved, although loving to their trainers. Theirs was loving all right, yet also very outgoing, and friendly. Like a growlithe even! Akira had loved Treixis like a sister almost, and the vaporeon had been in the family for as long as she could remember, and had comforted her so many times. She had even wanted to take Treixis to college with her, but her parents wouldn't let her, as they loved the vapoureon too, and thought that it wouldn't be the appropriate environment for the pokemon.
Then the fire. Treixis had done all she could to help put it out, to pull Akira's parents out. But she was the only water pokemon in the family, the only pokemon in the family... Akira remembered vividly hearing the poor vapoureon's anguished cries as it tried to get everyone out. Treixis, Trixy as she used to call her, had saved Akira's life, then returned back into the flaming house to get her parents. Akira recalled seeing Trixy poke her head out of a window, and cry out one last farewell, before collapsing by her parents, and dying in the fire.
She snapped out of it, wiping the tears from her eyes. "I-I'm sorry Ash... I was just remembering... what happened back at home. I'm sorry." She got up hurriedly from her chair and ran back up to her room, sitting on her bed.
Why, why did her parents have to have died in such a horrible death? And Treixis too! Why did anyone have to die? And to die saving her too! She wasn't worth being saved, she wasn't worth having three dear souls die in exchange for her life.
Ash followed Akira with 'Rika and Pikachu, and he slowly entered her room, sitting down by her. "What's wrong Akira?"
"Not now Ash. I really don't want to talk about it..." She turned her head away from him, not wanting him to see her like that, not wanting [i]anyone[/i] to see her like that, especially 'Rika or Jay, they were her family now, and to lose them would literally kill her.
'Rika nudged Ash's leg, urging him to leave. Sighing, he looked at Akira one last time, then turned and left with Pikachu, going to the kitchen to clean up, then go back to his hotel room, or walk around town.
As soon as Ash was out of the way, Arika slithered up to Akira. /I suppose now would not be a good time to tell her of the past./ The dratini thought to herself, looking worriedly at the 'human' she called her mother. /Of our deaths back then, of what really happened... Maybe its good that she has forgotten? Maybe it would be good for her not to remember? But no. To survive, it is necessary for her to remember, unfortunately./ Winding up Akira's leg to make it onto the bed, and into her lap, she rubbed her head against the girl's hand. / Please don't cry. Please? For me? I hate to see you like this mother./
"I... can't help it." She rubbed her eyes and tried to hold the tears back. "I thought I was over it by now."
The dratini 'smiled' softly, then straightened up and snuggled up under Akira's chin. /I love you./
Akira paused in her sobs, and immediately hugged the dratini's body to her. "Thank you." She sniffled, cradling the young dratini. "This seems to be all I've been doing lately. Hiding in the embrace of a loved one..."
The dratini sighed happily in her 'mother's' arms. /You need a warm bath, with lavender bath oil./
Giggling for no real reason at the remark 'Rika had just made, she wiped her eyes dry and sniffed. "Good suggestion." She forced a smile
/First step to solving anything is a relaxing bath, now let's go!/
Ash cleaned up the kitchen, all the while confused about this whole thing. Why was Akira so saddened suddenly? What had happened that had caused her to leave her town? He sighed, knowing it would be some time before she would open up to him. He would have to work on getting her to trust him more. This was only the third day since they'd met, but Ash had a feeling they'd be sticking around each other for a very long time, maybe even travel together. Unlike Misty, she might actually be an agreeable companion.
The pikachu nodded.
"Good, let me just put these plates away." Ash had been delighted to be in a kitchen again. He remembered how when he was eleven, cooking was not his main concern, eating was... But as he grew, he became more and more interested in the art of cooking. Of course, he only knew a few things, but hey, that meal was another point for him in Akira's good book!
He wondered about Jay. Was their relationship together more than just close friends? No, couldn't be dating him.She hadn't known him all that long, right?
"Kachu?" The electric mouse inquired, wondering what Ash was thinking.
"Ah, nothing pikachu. Just thinking about nothing..."
"Pika, pikachu! Pika!"
"There are people who think about nothing! Now come on, lets leave the two of them alone. Let them have some privacy."
"Chu." Pikachu hopped onto Ash's shoulder from the counter and the two of them left 'Kira's house to head for the hotel he was staying in, and then the gym.
/Something heavy on my chest.../ Jay thought sleepily as he opened his eyes. "Jyp!" He hissed softly. The growlithe had probably followed him into the park.
The park? He'd slept in the park? Jay sat up, the growlithe sliding into his lap, still asleep miraculously. Jay's head hurt, almost like he'd been body-slammed by a Snorlax... or several times by a Growlithe. They must have fought again, but why couldn't he remember?
"Good morning Jay." A soft voice said, and he looked up to see the little blonde haired girl again. This time, however, she looked disappointed. "I told you Jay, I don't want you falling in love with Akira! It could ruin everything!"
Jay sat quietly for a second before his anger began to form, and his eyes narrowed. "I am tired of being controlled." He said in a tightly controlled tone. "Why, why can't I fall in love with her? Why can't I show her my love? I've never felt this way about anyone before..."
She walked up to him and put one of her small hands on his cheek. "Jay... Jay! Look at me." He obeyed. "You know why you can't fall in love with Akira. Stop denying it! If you do, she may loose all will to go on just to be with you! She may make a wrong choice when the time comes! She may-"
"Enough!" He said, still holding her gaze. "I know all of this already. But still, I'm tired of living within all these restrictions. My whole life... I feel like a puppet for you to do as you please with!"
Her eyes narrowed. For the first time in a long time, she was mad at him. "You are mine to do as I please with! Why? I created you. Just like I created Jyp! I let you grow up like a normal child, did I not? I didn't hammer lessons into your head, but let you learn at your own pace! I even let you run the gym though I disapproved of it! You went to school, you had friends, you had a foster family! So why are you being so ungrateful? If I were my sister, I'd-"
"You'd what? Face it, I'm a grown man now."
"You're still my very own creation! I could destroy you right this moment if I didn't need you!" She suddenly softened and smiled. "But I won't, because I love you Jay. Please see that! I. Love. You. I know I can't stop you from loving Akira, but at least restrain your love. If I ever see you pull a stunt like last night, I will allow Jyp to speak like a Waterflower girl till either of you die."
Jay smiled slightly. "I love you too, but-"
"Ah! No more. I need to go spy on my sister... I think Chisa will be in town soon, along with your most delightful rival. Try not to kill her, okay?"
Jay grimaced and nodded. His rival... Now that was someone he could easily live without.
"Goodbye now!" She kissed him on the cheek then disappeared with a bright flash of blue light.
Jay sighed. His life was a whole mess now, but that didn't matter. He was sure he was going to end up being killed by the time this whole thing was over, so he might as well just do as she said.
"Is she gone yet? Can I wake up now?"
Jay laughed. Jyp never ceased to amaze and amuse him. The growlithe had this knack for knowing how to get out of trouble, and this time, had obviously 'stayed asleep' to avoid confrontation. "Yes, she left. Come on, let's get back to the gym and eat, okay?"
Jyp licked his lips and sighed dreamily. "Foooood. Let's go! And I hope you don't mind if I relate to you a rather comical reconstruction of what you said in your sleep last night, do you?"
"I do mind. But will that stop you?"
"Good point! Anyway..."
It was noon now, and Ash decided he and Pikachu were ready to challenge the gym leader. He had heard that this guy was tough, and had remained unbeaten for a long time, even though he had only a growlithe, which was really strange... How could an un-evolved Growlithe be an uncontested champion? Well, he was about to find out anyway.
Ash pushed open the gym door, and found the gym leader currently lounging on the floor, talking to the growlithe, which looked normal enough... "I'm here to challenge you." Ash said, startling the older man only slightly.
Jay grinned. "Great! I was waiting for you." Patting the growltihe, he exchanged looks with it. "Come on Jyp! Time to get some exercise, you're getting flabby."
The growlithe turned around and stuck its tongue out, something Ash had *not* seen a growlithe do before.
Pikachu jumped off Ash's shoulder, and stood in front of the growlithe, ready to attack.
"Okay Ash, this is a free attack battle. They can scratch, bite, trip, and distract, anything until the other faints. Those are the rules of this region, and I'm sure you're familiar with it anyway, being a Pokemon Master. Ready?"
*cue badly written pokemon battle*
The pokemon rushed at each other. Having the advantage of size, Jyp knocked Pikachu over, but the electric mouse shocked the growlithe as he fell on his back. Jyp then used a fire move Ash hadn't seen before, and burnt the little mouse just as it leapt at the growlithe, charging up as it was in the air, and landing with an electric slam.
Ash shouted instructions at Pikachu, while Jay merely watched. This confused Ash, but he ignored it. The Growlithe was, in fact, a very worthy opponent. It had an obviously high level, great speed, high attack, and intelligence... Why hadn't Jay evolved it?
Meanwhile, Pikachu was now crushed underneath Jyp, who was enjoying every minute of the battle. At Ash's command, the electric mouse made a comeback with a thunder attack that actually connected. Jyp got up, slightly dazed, then lunged at the pikachu, eyes blazing, body temperature soaring. This time, the pikachu made no comeback, and instead looked up, winced, and fainted as the growlithe landed on him.
Jyp got up and patted the pikachu with one paw on his head, then trotted back to Jay, ever so slightly worn out.
Ash frowned, looking at his pikachu, then at the barely scratched Growlithe. "That must be one powerful growlithe. How long have you had him?"
"All my life." Jay replied, picking up Jyp who had a smug look on his puppy face. "We can have a re-match some other time. Jyp needs to be beaten to teach him some humility."
Ash smiled slightly, still disappointed at his loss. "Well, I must be going..." He turned to leave, having then remembered what Akira had said that morning... "Jay? Why did Akira have to leave her town to come here?"
Jay sighed. "Her town burnt down. There were very few survivors. Her parents, her vaporeon... many of her friends, they all died. "
Ash stood still. No wonder she was so sad this morning after she spoke of pokemon dying for their owners! Her vaporeon must have died saving her or something. Knowing this now made Ash want to protect the younger girl even more. "Thank you for telling." He said, then turned and ran out.
Jay watched Ash and his pikachu go with interest. He was heading for a pokemon center, but his next stop would be either Kira's house, or a gift shop. Yes, Ash was definitely the one they were looking for. The sworn guardian of Akira, the mother of all dragons, and Akira, the girl... He was falling into her trap, and if he wasn't careful, could die for it. The father of all dragons would not be very happy if he found out that the-
Jyp snorted. "Love! Humans!" He exclaimed, exasperated. "The things humans do for love! That is why I am proud to be a pokemon, who has had the good luck to never fall in love."
Jay laughed. "Do not worry, my friend. If our mistress is as cunning as she appears to be, she will have one lined up for you, as she does for me. So beware." He looked around the gym. Boy, was he going to miss it... "Come on, we need to pack. Ash and 'Kira may not know this yet, but they're not going to have a place to call home for a very long time."
His pokemon partner nodded, a grim look on his face. "And after packing, I need to sniff out that bitch, Chisa..." He growled menacingly, his eyes shining with pure hatred.
"And the equally bitchy Chiata..." Jay replied, running a hand through his jet black hair, his green eyes blazing like darks emeralds in the bright summer sun...
Little did they know they were not going to have to do much searching.
A vulpix stepped into the streets. There was an expensive designer collar on her neck, with an equally expensive leash. Holding the leash was a youngish looking woman dressed in tight black jeans and a navy blue equally tight, tiny T-shirt. Her whole outfit left very little to the imagination, as was her normal style. Her black hair was short, reaching only just below her ears, and her sharp green eyes were hidden behind a pair of sunglasses.
"We need to find the 'guardian and the master'. With him dead, the mother of all dragons will be ours for the taking." The Vulpix spoke in a sharp, foxy voice, with a hint of steel.
The woman simply smiled, taking of her sunglasses. "He should be easy to find. The master part of his title implies that he is a pokemon master, and they are not all that hard to spot, being rare, and having to wear those silver bangles. The problem is how to kill him while avoiding being spotted by those two fools that work for our mistress's sister."
"True, very true... But I say we forget avoiding them. We'll clash again sooner or later. Why not now? Besides, what can they do? They're forbidden to kill us." The vulpix replied with a shrug.
"They can protect the Guardian if they find out we are after him."
"Hmph. I doubt it-" The Vulpix suddenly stopped, having seen something. "There, I saw a glimpse of silver over near that hotel!" Then she gasped. "He has the sword! But... Jay couldn't have already instructed him. He couldn't have claimed his heritage yet, could he? Then why would Jyp have given him the sword?"
Chiata shrugged, a slightly worried look on her face. "I don't think he could have learnt this fast, but this means we must kill him soon. If he remembers, he will be more than able to defend himself. That must be the hotel he is staying in, so we'll get a room there, then at night, when he sleeps, we kill him."
"Too easy... I keep expecting that klutzy growltihe to pop out of nowhere. "
Chiata laughed, a suprisingly pleasant sound. "Don't worry, they're probably cooped up in that gym, as usual." She picked up the Vulpix, then headed straight for the hotel.
They passed by a young man with hair that he must have slicked back into a ponytail in the morning, but had rebelled and some of it now stuck out in spikes. He was wearing a singlet/wifebeater and a simple pair of jean shorts, and he appeared to be practicing using the sword.
"That's the one." Chisa whispered to Chiata. "Can't be anyone else."
Chiata nodded. "A shame we have to kill him. He's kinda cute..." She smiled slightly, then walked into the hotel to check in.
Back to the library