Bad Secrets (Chapter 2—Hypersomniac)

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Bad Secrets (Chapter 2—Hypersomniac)

Post by Caprizant on 24th June 2014, 4:00 pm

Content of Tables:

Ivers Pierce, a reluctant Pokémon trainer, must set off on a journey across the Hénon region to support himself and his sister, who come from a family that hasn't produced a trainer in years.
Like I said in the General Chat, I've written a few chapters ahead to try to keep this at a steady one update per week. Let me know your thoughts and if you see any mistakes or anything; weird wordings, misspellings, muddy details, stuff you didn't like, etc. Constructive criticism is incredibly welcome, as I'd like some other eyes than mine on this before I post it anywhere bigger.

Currently this isn't planned to be anything above a T rating at the very most. If you have any (non-spoilery) questions, ask me and I'll answer them.

Chapter:

Chapter 1—A Dog of Feldgrau

For almost twelve sweltering minutes behind the counter, there was not a soul but him in the store. The cardboard mannequin that was supposed to be his coworker didn't count. Just as he was beginning to feel some semblance of joy for the quiet, he heard the sound of the plastic Chingling ringing over an opening door.

Professor Hawthorne was a bit of a middling man; not quite young, yet not quite old. He had a cultured air about him that made people admire him, and something of a lively look in his face that made people adore him.

"Good afternoon, Mr. Pierce! Hotter than a Houndour out there today, isn't it?"

"If that's what you'd call it, I'd say so sir," Ivers said. "What brings you over here?"

"Oh, er..." Hawthorne looked momentarily taken aback, but flashed him a smile. "I didn't mean to get to the point so soon, I apologize. It's just that I'm running out of starters in the Lab already, and I just thought, since you've turned eighteen and all now, maybe you'd like to—"

"I'm sorry, sir, I think you know I have no intention of acquiring a starter."

Hawthorne slacked at the shoulders and his smile shrunk. "Yes, of course, I was just hoping you'd changed your mind. It's a very important experience in a young man's life, you know, and I wouldn't want you to... well, let's move on from that, I came here on an errand as well. You wouldn't happen to have any Burn Heals in stock, would you? About ten would do."

After their customer left, his coworker leaned against the counter and glanced over at him.

"You're seriously passing up on the chance to get a Johto starter? I got my Totodile early this morning. It's such a lively little thing, I just had to pick it!"

"I'm fine, Tory. I've told you, I have no interest in acquiring a starter or going on a journey."

"But they only import the Johto starters here once every cycle! Next year is the Hoenn starters, and let me tell you, I've seen them, they're dreadful."

"I don't care."

Tory frowned, staring out at the dirt road. A black van streaked past the windows, moving so swiftly that neither of them took note of it.

"You know, for all the studying of competitive battling you do, you sure don't like Pokémon."

"I watch battles as a sport. I want to know who will win beforehand."

"But that takes the excitement out of it!"

"Not when you're proven right."

"And who are you to—"

Tory was cut off by the Pidgey clock, signalling the end of their shift. He shrugged, picking up his backpack. "You're gonna turn around soon, but too late," he said. "I know it."

Ivers walked out onto the road a few minutes later and looked around. The sun was low in the sky, and a gentle wind was blowing the grass towards the Feldgrau Town Pokémon Research Lab across the field. It was surrounded by a crowd of eager trainers, some with brand new Pokémon at their feet, others waiting their turn for a partner. Deep green hills on either side of the town rolled lazily towards the horizon, as if inviting a pedestrian to simply keep walking with them until they stopped, too. A short way down the dirt road was a small white building with flaking paint and grimy windows, which hid the bent and broken blinds. It was his house.

When he reached the door, he paused. Looking around at the landscape, he felt a faint sense of disappointment; the town was the eye of a needle, and the world was an enormous patchwork. Shuddering slightly, he opened the door and walked in.

"Where's your Pokémon, kid?" his sister greeted him, tossing a glance over her shoulder as he walked in.

"I told you Jen, I don't want one."

"You know Mom wouldn't like to hear you saying that."

"Doesn't matter now, does it? Besides, he was running out already. Someone else can take one. I don't want one."

Jen sat still for a moment, then slowly stood up to face him. Her hair was the color of apricot, and hung down almost to her waist, uncombed. She had a slightly square jaw and her glasses were slipping off her nose.

"You go right now," she said, keeping her voice steady. "You go right now and get your Pokémon. Our family hasn't been a trainer family for years. I've been telling you for weeks, Ivers, it's not your choice anymore."

"Then why don't you just go get a Pokémon?" he grumbled. Jen turned red.

"I—you know why I can't! Ivers, just—look, please cooperate with me, for just this once. I know I haven't been the best sister, but it's all been a little hard for me to deal with. You know I can't go, you know I'm not allowed a Pokémon. It'll just be for a year, Ivers, just one year and you can come home."

Ivers sat down at his desk and leaned back in the chair, thinking. Jen stared at him for a few moments before sitting back down. He looked around at all the papers strewn about on the floor; the mathematical formulas, the theoretical papers, the records, and the various articles ripped from newspapers and Pokémon magazines. Then he looked around at the bleak, cold walls and rotting furniture. He looked at the TV; there was a trainer with a Gengar battling another with a Nidorino. He knew already who would win, even before the destined victor had transformed into a monster with a glowing third eye that pierced its victim, distracting it from the advancing shadow.

"Alright," he said, standing up. "I'm going to get a Pokémon."

Jen lifted her head slightly. Then, she bounced up and slammed into Ivers, arms wrapped around him tight.

"Good luck! Choose carefully, and come back before dark! You can sleep here tonight, but you're leaving tomorrow, do you hear? Thank you, Ivers, be safe!"

"Alright, alright, it's just across the field!" he said. His mouth twitched upwards slightly.

There were only a few stragglers left at the Lab when Ivers got there, making their way into the golden evening with their Pokémon chasing at their feet. He ran up the marble steps, through the doorway, and into the office. Professor Hawthorne looked up from his papers.

"Oh my, hello there, Mr. Pierce. Is there something wrong? Did I, er, forget to pay again—?"

"No, Professor," Ivers said, panting slightly. "I've changed my mind. I'd like a Pokémon."

Hawthorne stared blankly at him for a few moments. Then he let out a defeated chuckle.

"Well, I'm very glad you came around, but unfortunately I've just given away the last of the lot. It was a Cyndaquil for a young man called Ethan, I believe."

Ivers stepped back and leaned against the wall. "Ah," he said. "Alright."

"Oh, no need to worry, though, no need to worry! I should explain, we have a procedure for just such an eventuality. Come with me."

Somewhat perplexed, he followed Hawthorne as he strode out of the Lab and into the darkening woods behind it. He stopped for a moment to pull an empty Poké Ball, an occupied Poké Ball, and a Pokédex out of his bag, and he handed them to Ivers.

"I'll lend you these for a bit. You're going to practice catching a Pokémon now."

"But... Professor Hawthorne, there's nothing here."

"I think you'll find there is, if you simply walk and wait. When you see something, wait for it to approach you, then press the button on the Poké Ball to unleash the Pokémon inside to battle it."

The forest seemed much darker than the open fields; twisted tree trunks were hidden in shadow, their roots ready to grab him and take him down. The sky was blacked out in favor of the leaves, which dripped from recent rains and onto ancient ground. Behind them it was still golden, and the brilliant white Lab was still close by; but still it felt like the forest was swallowing them in, looking to take them home to the Earth.

After a few minutes, a glint appeared in the dark.

"Don't approach it, Mr. Pierce," Hawthorne whispered. "Let it come out."

There was a low growling coming from between the tree trunks, and the creature stepped out of the shadow slightly. It was black, with a red muzzle and grey marks. It spat a flick of fire as though blowing pencil shreddings off paper.

Ivers activated his Poké Ball. Out of a shroud of white light, a Marill appeared.

"What does this thing currently know?" he asked.

"Water Gun and Tackle."

"Use Water Gun!"

Marill shot a jet of water out of its mouth at the wild Pokémon, which jumped out of the way and charged straight at Ivers, who nearly tripped on a root dodging.

"What does this thing think it's doing!?"

"It's wild, Mr. Pierce! No guaranteeing it'll follow standard battle rules."

Marill charged at the wild Pokémon, but it skidded back around and headbutted it into a tree. Then it turned back to Ivers and breathed smoke from its nostrils.

"There's no use weakening this thing, even with type advantage," said Ivers. "I'm just gonna have to—"

At that moment, Marill shot another jet of water at the Pokémon from out of its vision, distracting it just long enough for him to throw the Poké Ball at it. It engulfed the beast, fell to the ground, and rocked back and forth for a few seconds. Then, it clicked.

Ivers stood for nearly a full minute before picking up the ball. Quietly, he returned the Marill to the other ball.

"Is that it?"

"Indeed it is, Mr. Pierce. You are now a trainer."

He stared at the ball, not answering. He felt for the hinges, but there seemed to be none.

"No," he said quietly. "I don't care about being a trainer. I was wondering if that was really all this thing had in it to fight."

Hawthorne chuckled. "Yes, that's really it. It doesn't take much, especially for low-level Pokémon. But more advanced Pokémon will present more of a challenge."

Ivers did not respond. With each passing second of silence, Hawthorne grew more anxious. But it was neither him nor Ivers who broke it. Ivers activated the Poké Ball and stared at the Houndour, which had gone to sleep inside it and now woke on the ground with a questioning whimper.

"I don't want to train this Pokémon. I won't train anything that has so little sense of self-preservation and dignity that it won't put up a fight when its freedom is in danger."

As little as he liked the silence, Hawthorne couldn't help but feed it a little longer at this remark. Then, anger welling up inside of him, he said, "Didn't put up a fight? This thing tried to ram you down! It could've killed you!"

"It didn't kill me."

Running his hands through his hair, Hawthorne suddenly looked less of a middling man and more of a man progressing well into old age. Ivers was staring down at the Houndour in disappointment, and it was staring back up at him in obedience. Neither tried to kill the other.

"Look," said Hawthorne, "there's nothing you can do about it now. Just... if you want to train it your way, you can. But there's no way you can get rid of it now."

"I can release it. I'll find another one."

"No!" Hawthorne spoke slightly louder than he meant to, and his eyes darted around, involuntarily, as though trying to catch another pair looking back at them. "No, no, you can't do that. Anything but that. Listen to me clearly now, alright? You will take that with you tomorrow on your journey, whether you like it or not. You can shape it up to be whatever you want it to be, but take it with you."

Ivers considered his words, wondering what the panicked tone in his voice meant. After a few moments' thought, he turned towards the Lab and said, "Alright."

He returned the Houndour to its Poké Ball without looking at it and walked back towards the light outside the forest. He strode swiftly past the Lab and started across the field.

"Wait!" called Hawthorne, running after him. Panting slightly as he caught up, he said, "I forgot to tell you to take a look at the Pokédex. It was invented by an old Professor called Oak from Kanto some decades ago, but the Lab in Citrine City recently upgraded its outdated technology and gave it a full redesign. As soon as you catch or scan a Pokémon, it'll find information about it for you. This includes its species, habitat, average height, average weight, other forms, evolutions—"

"I know all I need to know already."

Hawthorne already had the device turned on and was navigating the holographic display to show off the technology. He stopped talking, blinked a few times, and shut it off. Ivers gave back the ball containing the Marill. Hawthorne held out the Pokédex.

"Even if you decide not to use it for information, you should still have it for convenience. It also has a map function, a holocaster program, a note-taking program, a calendar function, and guides to all the cities and towns you may find on your way. It will also continue recording information about Pokémon you catch or scan, in case you change your mind."

Ivers shook his head. "I'm not going with one of those. I know where I'm going, I don't want any communications, I don't need a program to keep my notes for me, I don't need a schedule, and I don't care what cities or towns I end up in as long as they have a Gym."

Hawthorne sighed. "If you say so. Well, you go and get some rest tonight. I'll be awake tomorrow to see you off, and that Houndour had better be with you then."

Ten minutes later, Ivers stood at the door of his house. He could hear Jen snoring inside. Quietly, he unclipped the Poké Ball from his belt and released the Houndour. It stood up, yawned, and gazed intently at him.

"Go. I don't need you."

It tipped its head in curiosity, not sure what he meant.

"I don't care where you go. Just go. I'll catch another Pokémon in the forest on my way to Ivory Town. Hopefully it'll have some greater dignity than you."

The Houndour stood for a moment, then it flattened its ears and looked at the ground, whimpering in dismay. It shrunk away, walking towards the Lab. Ivers watched it all the way as it walked, reached the white walls, and lay itself down in the grass.

***
He was woken mere hours later by a loud barking and Jen falling out of her bed. The windows were tinged orange through the grime, flickering in and out. The clock told him it was close to midnight.

While his sister tried desperately to untangle herself from her blanket and shout, "God damn it, who let their Lillipup out at this hour?" at the same time, he'd opened the door and been knocked over by a familiar muzzle.

"I thought I told you to scram!" he said, throwing the Houndour off of him through its continued barks. It got on its feet and stood at the door, beckoning to him with its head. Ivers reluctantly pulled on a coat, sensing the urgency in the Pokémon's movements. The Houndoor raced through the door and vanished around the other side of the house. He followed it out without bothering to put on his shoes or belt, and turned to see where it had run off to.

The Lab was engulfed in flame. The marble was visibly cracking in several places, and the fire reached from the wooden roof towards the sky. Smoke was pouring out of the windows and the doorway, while the door itself was smoldering on the steps, off its hinges. The Houndour was already halfway across the field, rushing towards the opening.

Ivers ran from house to house, nearly knocking out their own doors himself waking people up, ordering them to get their Water Pokémon ready without explaining the situation. After awhile, he could see people and Pokémon stumbling in droves from their houses towards the flaming Lab. As soon as he had roused every person he could, he unlocked the Poké Mart with his key and grabbed a stack of large buckets. Rushing towards the Lab, he began to hand out buckets and ordered everyone to start filling them up and using them to help the Pokémon put out the fire. In the commotion, no one noticed the Houndour as it extracted first the Professor, then his family, then the occupied Poké Balls from the burning building.

The Professor and his family were visibly shaken, but suffered from no serious injuries. Their faces were covered in soot. Hawthorne kept repeating, "I can't believe it," under his breath. His daughter, who appeared to be about five years old, was crying in her mother's arms, who simply held her and stared off into the dark field. His son was off helping with the buckets as soon as he was free.

It took a long time to put the fire out. But when it was out, people trickled back to their houses in their nightclothes, their faces clearly betraying that they felt less like heroes and more like they'd been robbed of a good night's sleep. A few stayed behind to comfort the Hawthorne family. Only a few of those who stayed behind seemed to notice the large trail of Pokémon footprints leading from the forest to the Lab.

"I can't believe it," Hawthorne was still saying. "I can't believe it, I can't believe it..."

"You did a good job with the buckets, Henry," said a burly, balding man to Hawthorne's son. "A good young man like you should be out adventuring, but by God we're glad you were here tonight."

"We've searched your office, sir," said a boy. "Your research isn't even touched! It's all there, it looks like you were still working at it, it was spread all over your desk. We couldn't open your filing closet, but the door was fine, so we assumed the fire hadn't spread there..."

"We can rebuild the Lab in no time, Professor," said a young woman with a Wartortle. "It'll just take a bit of elbow grease. We can have you up and running again in no time and find out how all this started."

"I know how it started!" said an old man, pointing at the tracks. "Look! Pokémon tracks from the forest! It was an attack!"

"Why would wild Pokémon attack the Lab? That's such a silly concept!"

"Someone must've been leading them!"

"But who could possibly want to burn down the Lab?"

The old man searched the crowd. He looked over the heads of people walking home to their dreams, the still-shaken Hawthornes on the ground, and the faces of people staring at him for an answer. Then he looked at a boy who had woken him up for a fire and was now patting the head of a Houndour.

"Him! The boy with the Houndour!"

Ivers straightened up and looked his accuser in the eye. The crowd was murmuring.

"Isn't he the boy who didn't want a starter?"

"Look at him! Congratulating it!"

"Aren't those Houndour tracks?"

"Isn't that a pretty petty reason for burning the Lab?"

"And he's a petty boy. He lives in that musty old white house by the Mart. The one with the grimy windows."

"Someone grab him!"

Ivers stood his ground, ready to hold them back. But before anyone could advance on him, someone stumbled between them, arms spread wide, hair uncombed and glasses slipping off her nose.

"Back off of my brother."

The old man looked her up and down and scoffed. "What do you have to say in it?" he said. "You're just as scummy as he is, you little runt!"

Jen lunged at the man, fists out, with no plan but to knock him down and let him have it. However, a hand held her back, and before she could let her anger drain out, Ivers was steering her across the field with the Houndour in tow. Its ears were bent back and it hung its head low, listening to the jeers coming from the Lab behind them. She regained her composure and forced herself away from Ivers and walked into the house ahead of them, ready to collapse onto her bed and forget.

Hawthorne had straightened himself out and stood up. He dusted off his coat, looking after them as they walked away. As he watched, a black van streaked down the dirt road and out of town, unseen under the blanket of night.


Last edited by Caprizant on 7th July 2014, 2:27 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : New chapter.)
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Re: Bad Secrets (Chapter 2—Hypersomniac)

Post by Moira O'Deorain on 24th June 2014, 6:42 pm

....What the hell is Ivers' issue?


We are bedeviled by the mysteries of creation.
Science can reveal the truths that lie behind these many questions.


What we learn can unlock the true potential of humanity.
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Re: Bad Secrets (Chapter 2—Hypersomniac)

Post by Lief Katano on 24th June 2014, 8:01 pm

Yeah, Ivers is kind of an ass.


Thief Lief Katano appeared!
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Re: Bad Secrets (Chapter 2—Hypersomniac)

Post by Caprizant on 24th June 2014, 11:49 pm

Ivers' general asshattery will be explained in due time. :B
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Re: Bad Secrets (Chapter 2—Hypersomniac)

Post by Orcapon on 26th June 2014, 9:41 am

Great job cap! Though now I wanna work in my stuff more :T
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Bad Secrets (Chapter 2—Hypersomniac)

Post by Caprizant on 7th July 2014, 2:20 pm

Sorry for the delay; there was a vacation and a bad storm in between chapters. :B

chapter:
The rain hit the leaves hard. Beyond the shelter of the tree, the world was a thick, grey sheet of water hitting a hill. Under the tree lay a girl with black hair, leaning uncomfortably against the rough bark with a heavy bag resting on her knees. She was shivering violently, but her eyes remained shut.

The storm had come out of nowhere; no one could explain its origins or how it had gone by unnoticed until it hit. All anyone knew was that it was the most fearsome storm in recent history. People had been forced to stay indoors until it passed, and the Pokémon Centers and Marts were full with drenched travelers.

A man came running down the street at the bottom of the hill. His umbrella was flipped inside-out by the wind, and he was squinting ahead towards the neon-lit sign of the Pokémon Center through the downpour.

He didn't notice the hill until he caught a white flash out of the corner of his eye. Once he saw that, his eyes went to the tall, formless shadow on the hill. Once he was closer, he saw an open Poké Ball, a shivering girl with her eyes closed, and a small yellow bug flitting about her in desperation.

Quickly, he unclipped his own Poké Ball from his belt and activated it. From a white flash of light, a Drowzee appeared.

"Drowzee, use Wake-Up Slap on her!"

Slightly confused and already drenched, the Drowzee slapped the girl awake and immediately let itself back into its ball. The girl jolted upright and wrapped her arms around herself, eyes staring into the grey slate, and didn't notice the man until he had gathered her belongings and picked her up before running to the Pokémon Center.

***
"You were shaking really badly when I got there," he said. "You're lucky your Joltik got out of its ball, or I wouldn't have noticed you."

They were huddled in blankets in the lounge area of the crowded Center, sipping at mugs of hot cocoa. A crowd was gathered around the entrance, complaining about the storm to an exasperated Officer Jenny. Joltik was jumping around on Drowzee's head, and a few people glanced at it curiously.

"When did the storm start?" she asked.

"It must've been about an hour ago. Seems you slept right through it."

"Mmm." She stared at the ground, still shivering slightly while trying not to lose grip of her cocoa. "Thanks for waking me up."

"Hey, it wasn't me who woke you up!" he said, smiling. "You can thank Somnus for that."

"Well, I guess I owe you a thanks too, Somnus."

The crowd around the door was getting restless. Some of them seemed to have traveled from far away lands; they wore unusual clothing and carried Pokémon she had never seen before.

"I've got to get to New Island!" cried a girl with a balloon-shaped Pokémon. "I can't just come all the way from Sinnoh to be let down by some stupid storm!"

"Yeah! I surfed all the way here from Hoenn with my Wailmer, and we got through much worse storms than this!"

"People, people, please!" shouted Officer Jenny. "This is shaping up to be the worst storm in history. We've got to stay inside. We're already missing a Nurse Joy at the harbor Center."

Struggling to keep her eyes open while wrapped in her blanket, she looked over at the man. He seemed to be a few years older than her, with shaggy brown hair and bags under his eyes. She also noted the people staring at Joltik.

"Hang on," she said slowly, trying to speak coherently through her drowsiness. "How come you knew what Joltik was? No one else I've met in Kanto has ever even seen one before."

"Oh, I don't live here," he said. "I'm just visiting. My father sent me here with Somnus to 'broaden my horizons'. I think he just wanted me to go on a new journey so I could exhaust myself to sleep."

With effort, she sat up straight. "Why would he want to do that?"

"Well... I just have trouble sleeping, I suppose. It's the one time of day when my mind isn't occupied, so it sort of wanders a bit. And whenever I make a conscious attempt to sleep, I just stop breathing and jolt awake. That's why I like to have Somnus around—his Hypnosis really does the trick."

She frowned, studying him wearily. His clothes and the bags under his eyes gave him the air of an aged butler, but the rest of him was decidedly youthful.

"That must be pretty annoying to go through," she finally said. "I kinda feel like I shouldn't worry so much about my own problems with sleep compared to yours."

He smiled at her. "I suppose you have the opposite problem with waking up, then? That must be why you slept right through the storm."

"Mmm." She sipped the last of her cocoa and lay down across the lounge sofa. With one foot already in her dreams, she heard him talking.

"You should find a Pokémon with Wake-Up Slap someday. It'll be a lot more convenient than waiting for someone to come along with one."

She giggled quietly, but didn't answer.

"Somnus isn't technically supposed to learn it, but, you know... Hey, haven't you given your Joltik a nickname yet?"

"Haven't thought of one."

"I see... Well, choose carefully. The names of your Pokémon say a lot more than you think."

If he said any more words, she didn't know; all she knew when she woke up was that she was alone in the Pokémon Center, and the last place she remembered being was under a tree.
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Re: Bad Secrets (Chapter 2—Hypersomniac)

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