Twisted Paths, Forgotten Pasts
- one year and eight months later -
James pressed the door handle down with his elbow and walked into the house he, Jessie and Persian had moved into just three weeks ago. Shuffling his feet quickly, he managed to make it into their quite small yet cozy kitchen, and set down the three grocery bags before they fell. "Jessie, I'm back!" He started to take things out of the brown paper bags, putting them away immediately. James personally did not mind not having everything where it should be as soon as possible, but Jessie did.
Jessie walked in, stopping at the table and peeking into one of the bags with her blue eyes. "Did you get some cream for Persian?" She asked, for James had a bad habit of forgetting at least one item.
James grimaced as he put a box of cereal into a cupboard. "Yes."
"What about shampoo for the growlithes and arcanines, and rubbing oil for the ekans and arboks?"
"James!" Jessie punched him in his shoulder, light enough not to cause a bruise, but hard enough to let him know she was not all that pleased. "If we want to sell any of them tomorrow they need to look their best! First thing in the morning you are heading over to the store and getting the shampoo and oil."
"Yes dear." James replied, putting the last item, a bag of fresh tomatoes, into the fridge. After placing the bags in the blue recycling bin, he walked up to where Jessie stood searching through a cupboard. He wrapped his arms around her waist, then rested his chin on her shoulder. "Looking for something?"
She smiled, then closed the cupboard and tilted her head to the side so that she could see James a little better. "I was looking for the chocolate I bought a few days ago, but I have a feeling you ate it all."
"Maybe." James lifted his chin from her shoulder and started to run his fingers through her long red hair. "You said you're on a diet anyway." He added slyly.
Jessie grimaced slightly. "True." She turned around so that she could face James, his arms still around her waist.
Persian padded in, rolling his brown eyes when he saw James and Jessie together. "Aw hell, how many times am I gonna walk in on you two? What happened to arguing all the time, huh? I could watch that without feeling the urge to cough up a hairball."
James sighed and removed his arms from Jessie's waist. He turned to look at the normal pokemon, a scowl on his face. "How'd you like to actually help out our pokemon breeding business and be our new persian stud?"
The cat pokemon's eyes widened, and he looked around nervously. "Eh... heh..." He flicked his cream tail, then sat down and licked a paw. "You know what? I think I saw some rattata lurking around one of the arcanine's kennels." Disappearing as a lightning bolt of cream fur, Persian escaped further threats from his former Team Rocket partners.
Jessie frowned, one hand on her hip. "I think we should spay him."
"What? It's not like he'll miss them." She grinned, then ruffled James's silky blue hair, which was somewhat shorter than he used to wear it. "We've come so far, haven't we?"
James nodded, looking around the kitchen. They had bought a lovely little house near enough to Vermillion City, but far enough that they had very few neighbors. The peace and quiet was perfect for breeding pokemon. With a little loan from James's parents, they had started their own pokemon breeding center in their backyard, and at the moment, they bred ekans and growlithes, but they had plans to expand their range after the first litters found homes. Team Rocket still had not quite gotten back onto it's feet, but Jessie and James had new official identities, and only called each other by their real names when at home.
"Yes, we have." James replied, smiling. "I wish Michi would stop by and visit more... She's such an odd little girl, but so pleasant to be around."
Jessie nodded. "If we have a daughter, I'd like her to be a bit like Michi."
"With your temper, I don't think that's possible."
Jessie blinked, slightly shocked by James's bold remark, and then grabbed a cookbook, brandishing it threateningly.
The noise James made could only be described as a squeak, and immediately following that, he ran out of the kitchen, chased by a somewhat furious, but really just playing around, Jessie.
Joy smiled, pleased with the way things were going. The world had not reached the perfect balance of power yet, but it was close enough, and soon, it would have achieved that special statethat would allow things to be as they should be. When the world was in harmony, when deaths and birth were at the right rate, when angst and happiness were felt at the correct levels, then things would be right.
The Goddess could not deny that she found herself rather proud of the Firsts' decisions not to announce their existence and take over the world, but to live quietly, hiding their identities and watching over the world 'from the sidelines'. Together, they had made an island rather near Pokemon Island, but with waters so dangerous that few dared to try and reach it, into their own private safe haven. Joy had a strange feeling that new pokemon species would be gracing the world with their presence soon.
With her sky blue eyes, she looked at the unusually small for a growlithe body in her lap, and for a moment, her smile faded before brightening. Lifting the body into her arms, she cuddled it against her chest. "Soon you will not be in the dark anymore, I promise." Joy felt that the time to do something really nice for her two creations had come. A sort of parting gift before she disappeared, not to return to the world again for a long time. Love and Josh could take care of the world on their own. The younger God and Goddess had more 'ruling motivation' left in them than Sorrow and Joy. The two sisters felt that they deserved a long rest.
"Be free." Joy whispered, kissing Jyp on his nose.
Jizo gently brushed his hand over his newly cut hair. The black spikes now only stood two inches high, and according to Rezia, looked much better than his previous hairstyle. Glancing over at where she walked by his side, he could not help but smile. Rezia possessed this inner beauty that just shone right through her skin and illuminated her eyes and the smile that seemed an almost permanent aspect of her face these days.
The first month right after the fight, all of four of them, Jizo, Rezia, Reika and Janyin, had gone through a state of displacement, where they had no idea what to do with their lives now that their Father had freed them from carrying out his wishes. All of them missed the frequent visits from their Father, but they understood that they had to figure out what they wanted to do with their lives from then on.
Now, a year and eight months later, they had some sort of a life going. Somehow, all the Guides had picked the same area to move to, at least, till they found themselves more comfortable with 'normal human life'. The little island of Raon where Jay had grown up now housed seven of the guides, for it was a quiet place where they could get more accustomed to humans, but not have to deal with an incredibly hectic life.
Janyin paused at the door of the Peace/Patience group's destination, and turned to look at his three life-partners. "Do we really have to do this?"
"Janyin!" Reika nipped him on the ear. "I've told you many times, Chisa and Chiata were not brought up in the same kind of environment as us, and they've been through a lot, it's only nice for us to stop by and then and say hello."
"Chisa does you mean. Chiata's probably still comatose or whatever." Janyin snorted softly, twitching one ear.
Jizo looked down at the larger eevee. "Janyin, behave."
"Yeah, yeah..." The eevee sighed, then followed the other three into the apartment.
The vulpix ran up to them, her fur looking much healthier than it had been the last time they had caught a glimpse of her, and there was a healthy glow about her. Chisa's ears twitched as she looked over the group, and a slight hint of jealousy could be detected in her stance. "Thank you for dropping by," she finally said. Though they no longer had to fight against each other, it could obviously be seen that Chisa found being around them on friendly terms uncomfortable.
"No problem." Jizo answered. "How's Chiata doing?"
The stiffness to Chisa's posture disappeared, and the little vulpix sat down. "Much better. I think she's fine now... She even got a job at a restaurant."
"Chiata...waitressing?" Reika's eyes widened, and by the movement of her ears and tails, one could tell she found that amusing.
"She's actually good at it," Chisa said. "Though I admit I was surprised too. I think she wants to have a chance to get to know other people in a distanced way. Neither of us have had human friends before."
"Hm, well I suppose that makes sense." Rezia sat down in a chair, and Jizo stood next to her. "So, where is she now?"
"I'm not her keeper." The vulpix replied, scratching behind an ear.
"No, you just happen to be able to enter my mind at will," Chiata said from the doorway to her room. She had kept her hair short, at about ear length, and although she still had this distant air to her, she seemed more in touch with reality. After the battle, she had gone through a sort of living coma that she finally snapped out of. The realization of what her whole life had been committed to had hit her hard, very hard. Now her hard emerald eyes twinkled with more life than ever before, and though she was almost twenty-nine, she looked a little younger these days. "So, what are you brats here for?" The eevees actually were, in all truth, older than Chiata, but she still referred to them as younger.
"We're just stopping by." Jizo said, glad to see Chiata up and about now.
"Stopping by, hm?" Chiata walked up to where Chisa stood and picked up the little vulpix. "I take it you've forgiven me for injuring you or something? Although it really was your fault for being a truly incompetent spoilt-brat of a swordsman."
Jizo's eyes narrowed, and for a moment he found himself about to retaliate when he realized that Chiata was simply playing with him and actually hoping for a reaction. "You happened to have the advantage of years, you old crone."
Chiata grinned, much to the surprise of her four visitors. "Well, I'm doing all right. Jay's stopped by a lot, which has been interesting. It's a nice spin to things to argue with him but not have to bother with trying to kill him after, or at least, not seriously. He hasn't been quite himself lately though, but I have a feeling he'll be all right soon."
"Hm, yeah, with Jyp floating in and out of contact with him, I can understand why he wouldn't quite be himself." Rezia sighed, but then looked up at Chiata. "What do you mean by you have a feeling he'll be all right soon?"
"You'll find out. Stop by his gym later tonight or something." She looked at her watch. "I need to get ready and go to work." She looked at the two younger guides. "Take care of yourselves, kay? You're damn annoying, but you're good kids." With that, she disappeared back into her room, leaving the other guardians to escort themselves out of her apartment.
"What do you suppose she meant about Jay?" Janyin asked as they walked out of the apartment complex. "Maybe Jyp will be back? I rather miss that growlithe."
Rezia shrugged. "I have no clue, but we'll find out later, right?"
"Right." The eevee answered.
"Who's up to snuggling on the couch and watching movies?" Jizo asked, grinning as Reika started to run circles around him as they walked and wagged her tail. "Reika is." He said, his eyes twinkling.
Rezia looked at Reika and laughed. The bossy eevee was not one that usually enjoyed acting like a silly 'normal' eevee, but she had her moments. Smiling, Rezie wrapped her arms around her brother, and leaned against him while they headed toward the video rentals. This was life.
Emerald eyes peered out a window of the gym, searching for something in the outside world to distract the mind in the body they belonged to. Failing, they turned their attention to the interior of the gym, spotlessly clean, and kept in perfect condition, though it had not been used exactly as a normal gym for nearly two years.
Jay sat down behind the desk. It was eight at night, and the chance that anyone else would come in for pokemon help was rather slim. Resting his head on his arms, he shut his eyes and decided to catch a quick nap before closing up the gym. Ever since the battle of the Firsts, Jyp's contact with Jay had been unstable, and at one point the two had suffered a month without speaking to each other... Jay went about life and survived by following a strict routine that kept his mind from wandering to Jyp too much. When he got too miserable, he even stopped by Chisa and Chiata's apartment, sometimes even the four 'brats' place.
Thinking about Akira left a dull pain in his chest, and life as a retired Guide did not seem to be going well with Jay. Akira's death had left him desolated; he felt that he had lost someone that he had known his entire life, and that he had failed to protect her... Joy no longer visited Jay, and never would again, for he knew that she and Sorrow would be going on a sort of 'Goddess leave' that would last till long after he died.
Jay felt more alone than he had ever been before. He missed all the Firsts that had traveled with him. He missed Rosc babysitting Kevin and Taie, and making sure they kept their public displays down to a PG-13, Akira and Sarina banding together to mess around with their two Guardians, Garis managing to randomly pick a fight with everyone now and then... He even missed the newer Firsts that he had not gotten to know all that well, like Terra.
No sooner than his eyes had closed than a loud resounding knock on the doors could be heard. Groaning, Jay lifted his head and looked at the door. He felt strongly tempted to yell that the gym was closed, but he knew that then he wouldn't be being a good gym leader, and therefore would not likely get a raise from the World Wide League, so he lifted himself out of his chair and shuffled over to the door, opening it and peering out at the strange youngish-man, probably around Jay's age or so, that stood there.
He stood with his arms folded across his chest, and his head titled to one side, staring at Jay with mischievous brown eyes. "You gonna let me in or you gonna let me freeze?"
Jay blinked, finding something oddly familiar about that voice and those eyes, but he opened the door wider and let the strange person in. "What do you want?"
The man grinned, still staring at Jay, but then taking a moment to look around the gym. "You've kept the place in good condition."
"Uh, thanks." Jay scratched the back of his head. "So who are you?"
"C'mon, guess." The man turned around so that Jay could get a better look at him. He was quite a bit shorter than Jay, and he had naturally spiky-ish hair that seemed to have a sort of natural mohawk. It was rather oddly colored actually, the middle being white, and the rest brown and black striped... He wore a dark forest green t-shirt and navy blue jeans. "Aw Jay, you can't *still* be all that dense!" He said when the gym leader seemed to be going through some of disability to speak.
"Jyp...?" Jay finally said, looking at the man with complete and utter shock in his eyes.
"You got it!" Jyp hugged him tightly, squeezing the air out of him. After a moment of choking Jay, he released him and then looked around, grinning. "I can't tell you how good it is to have a body again..."
Jay simply continued to stare at Jyp, taking in the odd hair, and the fact that his growlithe companion now had a human body. "How...?"
"Joy wanted to be nice, and she decided that maybe not being a growlithe anymore might be nice for me..." Jyp looked up at Jay, then looked down as he felt conflicting emotions well up within him. "One thing I hate about being human now though, is that you aren't very good at hiding your feelings..." He coughed and then cleared his throat.
Jay smiled and hugged Jyp, much gentler than Jyp's bear-hug a brief while ago. "Good to have you back."
Jyp hugged Jay back, and then pulled away. "Hey, guess what?"
"You can't tell me to shut up in public because I'm a growlithe anymore!" Jyp stuck his tongue out at Jay and then dodged a playful punch.
"And you can't tell me not to abuse my 'pokemon' anymore." Jay smirked as he landed a light punch on Jyp's shoulder.
"Ow! Sibling abuser!" He nimbly dodged a further attack from Jay and ran behind the desk.
Jay chased Jyp around the gym, and though the two landed many hits, and threw swears and insults at each other, that really just happened still to be their way of showing affection. Watching their antics through one of the gym windows, Jizo and Rezia decided not to bother the two of them, and so they headed back on their way to home.
Winded, Jay leaned against a wall, and Jyp lay on the floor, panting. Grinning, the two looked at each other, the same thought crossing their minds. Jyp got up and walked over to the desk, pulling out Jay's wallet. He counted out some money and stuck it in his pocket, then handed the half-empty wallet to Jay. "Alright, let's go out to eat and then we can talk." Jyp said, patting the pocket he put the money he took into. "It's for my manga, remember?"
"Right." Jay looked at Jyp's pocket and sighed. He worked hard for that money. "There's this really nice new place that opened up."
"Oh really? They got steak?"
"Oh yeah, they got steak." Jay grinned and put an arm around Jyp's shoulders. "You're gonna love this place."
"I better, or you won't hear the last of my bad first day as a human."
"Bad first day? But you're with me again!"
Josh smiled, looking at Love. The two of them sat in his realm, doing a quick check of their previous charges from a little over a year and a half ago. "The Guides have adjusted I think."
"That's good." She smiled back, feeling as though a load had been lifted off her shoulders. None of them, even Joy or Sorrow, had felt very happy about having to create eight souls just for the purpose of being guides, but knowing that they now lead normal lives made them feel more at ease about the matter. "The Guides are fine, the Firsts are good, Michi and Catalyst have adjusted to each other somewhat... Michi tends to like to spend her time with Takith and Mewtwo instead though, but being in the presence of Catalyst is not necessary for her to balance him out anyway."
Josh nodded. "What about the Guardians, how are they?"
"Gary is fine. Although Sarina relieved him of his duties, he drops by their island once and a while. He managed to convince Ash to go with him rather recently actually, just to drop by." Love smiled sadly as she rested her head onto Josh's shoulder. "Poor Ash, poor Calisin... It hurts them to see each other, or to be reminded of Akira. Yet Ash is healing. Misty and Brock are helping him well, and even Gary has been rather supportive."
"That's good." Josh stroked her long white hair idly. "Noir, put down that rock!"
A little toddler with a head of black curls, and strangely dark eyes, looked over at Josh from where he sat in the grass. For a moment, the baby hesitated, but finally he put down the rock, and then stood up to toddle over to the little girl with hair and eyes much like his own.
"They're such a handful, aren't they?" Love giggled, watching as Noir pulled Ivory's hair but stopped when she glared darkly at him instead of crying her lungs out.
"They'll be the parents of two wonderful new types, don't you think?" Josh stifled a laugh as Aurum and Mercury tackled Noir and Ivory. They developed around the same rate as humans, just a little faster. "Takith and Mewtwo will be busy with the Mew Files, don't you think? Just because the world is nearly balanced doesn't mean it will be quiet."
"Very true." Love got up and picked up Aurum and Mercury before they tried to pick a fight again. "Mew's left them both with a very hard job, and not just actually trying to have fun enjoying little things." She giggled as she set the two children in her arms back into their playpen. "Did you see that time Takith and Mewtwo had a water fight? It was cute. Mewtwo kept trying to look dignified."
Josh smiled. "I give him a few more years. By then, he'll be more comfortable with the realization that he does not have to prove himself to anyone."
Love walked over to Josh and put her arms around his waist, then rested her head on his chest. "The world's going to be nice and busy in about one and a half decades."
He kissed her on the forehead and then wrapped his arms around her. "We'll be very occupied."
"Mm." She closed her eyes for a moment and simply reveled in being with him. Then her eyes flew open and she ran over to Noir, snatching him off the ground before he could bite Ivory.
"So you're leaving?" Calisin sat on his bed, looking at Ash intently. This was the young man that Akira had trusted with her life... Calisin had never had much of a chance to ever get to know Ash, or to speak to him. It hurt to know that this human had spent more time with his lover than he had in this life.
The young man nodded. The strange black pokemon named Sorrow stood by his feet, and his pikachu perched on his shoulder. They went everywhere with him, Calisin had noticed. "Yeah, I just wanted to stop by and tell you... We never really met, and it would have been nice to get to know you, but weve got our own lives to live, right...?"
Calisin nodded too. "That's true." The somewhat spiky haired father of all dragons sighed, then shrugged elegantly. Everything he did seemed elegant, or rather, his entire being screamed of royalty. "I wish you a good journey then," he said, taking his eyes away from Ash and looking around his mostly black themed room.
Ash blinked, then nodded. "Yeah, sure. Uh, see you some other time, maybe?"
"Well... Till next time." Feeling somewhat nervous, Ash exited Calisin's room and met with Gary, so that they could leave the island.
Calisin watched Ash leave, and then lay back onto his bed, resting his head on the soft navy pillow. He shut his golden eyes, then folded his arms across his chest. Whispering the name of his dead lover, a smile forming on his lips. Calisin had not smiled ever since Akira had died. In his mind, he could see Akira reaching out to him, he could feel her arms wrap lovingly around him, feel her wavy, dark blue hair tickling his skin. He breathed in. He breathed out. He died.
The world was balanced.
Back to the library