Yep, just like I promised, we're getting into the really interesting stuff here. New characters, new Leagues, new Marril antics (well not many new Marril antics), and a little Sam angst. Whoo. -------------------------------------------------------- Sam trudged through the streets of Mossdeep City, which was becoming very annoying because no matter which way she seemed to turn, the sun was glaring in her eyes. She decided about three seconds after just out and covering them that that wasn’t the brightest decision she ever made. “Oh, sorry,” said the guy she bumped into. “Wasn’t looking where I was going.” “No,” Sam said quickly as she walked on, “my fault.” A hand on her shoulder stopping her, she looked at the guy who stopped her. He had semi-long, greyish-white hair, although clearly not from age, since he looked only seventeen. Despite his young appearance, his eyes seemed to convey a constant sense of weariness, and the sun made his pale skin look that much paler. “You’re that girl who let the Space Center know what it had really brought back, aren’t you?” “Yeah, so?” Sam asked. “I’ve actually heard a lot about you,” the guy said offhandedly. “Pokémon Master and all. You’re from Cerulean City, right?” “Yeah…” Sam didn’t know where this was going and she wasn’t too anxious to find out.” “You heading back there any time soon?” “Why?” “It’d just sound odd,” the guy said. “But could you just please answer the question?” “Yes, I was just going back there, so why?” “Well,” said the guy, “it’s kind of strange to actually say it, but it’s just that I wanted to meet your brother.” A sweatdrop roughly the size of a baseball appeared on Sam’s head. “You don’t say.” “Well I was just wondering if you’d take me along so I could, you know?” The guy seemed pretty nonchalant and he didn’t seem like he was up to anything. “Who are you?” “Oh, yeah, guess you kinda want to know. The name’s Tschel, as in the Eevee trainer who took fourth last League.” “Oh you’re Tschel,” Sam said. “I’d read about you, saw your name in the rankings. Always imagined you looking a bit different.” Tschel shrugged. “Uh, yeah, well… oh how about I just go about paying for our boat tickets eh?” Taking that opportunity to excuse himself, Tschel quickly got himself lost in the line. Sam, who was very intelligent about most things but clueless as to the subtleties of people, just stood there dumbstruck. “Man, Sam,” Sam told herself, “you just seem to meet all the weird people in this world.” Sam eventually found Tschel again, who had indeed paid for both their boat tickets on the SS Aqua, which would make the trip to Cerulean in about a week. Throughout the trip, Tschel, through the normal conversation and general overall friendliness, kept on bombarding Sam with questions about her brother, and not even questions that made much sense for a normal person to be asking. They were all questions about what Alex was like, or what things he liked, or how he acted towards his Pokémon. “Or,” Sam thought to herself in disgust upon going through another of those conversations, “Tschel should be asking how Alex takes weird people who ask way too many questions.” Sam glanced at her watch. 11:47 AM, and the date, which she’d since lost all mental track of, seemed to be the date for the noontime arrival in Cerulean. Give it a few more hours so she could take Tschel to meet Alex, then a few minutes for Alex to get rid of Tschel, and then she’d never have to see that weirdo Tschel again. “The SS Aqua has arrived in Cerulean City,” the voice over the PA announced. “All passengers should be prepared to depart in ten minutes.” Tschel hoisted his small backpack up over his shoulder and stood up at the table they’d been eating lunch at. “Well then, I’d say we should be going.” Sam stood up. “Yes, let’s.” She called Alex on her cell phone and let him know they were about to arrive. Walking off the ship with Tschel, they were greeted in about five minutes by Alex. “Oh great,” Alex said with much enthusiasm. “Sam, you’ve actually brought someone I’ve met before and isn’t out to get me.” --Flashback-- It was about a day earlier that Alex had decided to leave his mom’s house and go see a water show at the Gym. “Marril… mar…” Marril hopped a little, indicating that it wanted to be carried. Alex picked up the water mouse. Scribbling a quick note to his mom, he walked out the door and down the street a bit, then turned a corner and almost walked straight into a medium-height, brunette boy he definitely shouldn’t have seen. “No, no way,” Alex thought nervously to himself as he’d backed away quickly, Marril looking quite confused. “That couldn’t be David. David’s, well, in a coma. Besides, he’d have said something by now if he were.” Deciding that backing up was ridiculous, Alex turned around to walk the other way when he almost walked right into the same boy he’d seen around the corner. “Okay,” Alex thought to himself, “now I’m freaked out.” The boy blinked, a look of genuine hurt on his face. “I wake up after this long and take all this trouble to see you again and I don’t even get a ‘hello David, how are you?’” Alex slowly shook his head no; as if doing so would disprove the impossibility he was seeing. “David, uh…” David sighed. “No, I guess trying to hurt you a couple of years ago isn’t something I can apologise for, is it?” It hit Alex. Shaking his head to the impossibility was involuntary, but it must certainly have looked to David like Alex was condemning him. “Uh, n-no, that’s not what I meant, it’s just that, well…” “You’re terrified of me,” David said, hanging his head. “Just as well, really. Guess I can’t really guarantee I won’t snap again.” Then it occurred to Alex that David might actually want to make up with him. He felt bad about not even giving David a chance, but he couldn’t even work out how to talk to the psychic. “I’ll, I’ll just go, okay?” David asked. “Yeah, I’ll just go.” By the time Alex had worked out how to say “no, don’t go, I don’t want you gone it’s just a surprise to see you”, David had already walked away and around the corner. --End Flashback-- “You’ve met Tschel before?” Sam asked, disbelieving, as Tschel walked over and petted Marril, who was being carried by Alex. “Yeah,” Alex said. “Last Pokémon League. Said he had some stuff to do, but I agreed to go through the Neo League with him when he was done.” Sam looked from Alex to Tschel, then to Alex again, at a loss for words. Tschel tried to stifle a chuckle, but trying to wound up with it being a single amused snort instead. “Guess I should have said earlier, eh? That’s why I was asking you so many questions, to see if Alex had changed any, and to fill in some stuff I didn’t know about him. Think about it, though, would you have believed me if I’d told you?” “No,” Sam said after a minute of thinking. “Wait, you said Neo League?” “Yeah,” Alex said. “Lot of two-on-two trainer battles, so you need two people. Plus it’s really tough, so finding someone willing to go is really hard too. Remember, I asked you but you said we weren’t anywhere near good enough?” “Wait, before,” Tschel said to Alex, “you said I wasn’t out to get you. Who was?” “Oh,” Alex said. “Just someone I once knew who turned out to be a psychic. He went crazy and tried to kill me. He was in a coma before, or at least I thought he was; he’s out now but I’m pretty sure he isn’t trying to kill me again.” Tschel smirked in amusement. “Don’t worry. I won’t let anything happen to ya.” “Oh all right,” Sam said in indignation, storming off. “Alex, you want to go spend like a year with this… freak, then go ahead. Call me when you’re done and I’ll never have to hear from or about him again.” -------------------------------------------------------- My, my, I don't think Sam likes Tschel at all (also if you ask me how to pronounce his name you get slapped with a tunafish). Mostly the Neo League was because the two-on-two gym battle in R/S was so danged fun that I thought a whole league of two-on-two would be interesting. Next chapter up when I get around to writing it.