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Five Seconds

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“Wait five seconds after I engage them to start scaling the tower, okay?”

The six Pokemon nodded their understanding of Citron’s instructions, barely taking their eyes off the objective before them. They all knew the plan after all, and where each of their friends were.

Platane-hakase was retrieving Serena and Mannon from where they’d been sent to take cover. Eureka, with Bursyamo Kamen as her protection, was going to support Puni-chan against the corrupted Zygarde. And Citron, with Citroid as his back-up, would be distracting and hopefully defeating the forces guarding the base of Prism Tower. That should provide the distraction needed for them –Satoshi’s Pokemon– to navigate the massive corrupted roots wrapped around Prism Tower to reach where Satoshi was being held.

They knew Citron was concerned about them for a couple reasons. For one, they had not been given medical attention yet, and thus were still a little battered from the fight against Alan in the finals. And for two, Numelgon was not a very mobile Pokemon in general. Valid reasons for concern, but not ones they would let hold them back from rescuing their trainer. Numelgon had a proven method to help him scale the tower with them, even if it might take him a little longer, and three of their team were able to fly or glide.

Scaling that tower was not going to be an issue, and they made sure to assure Citron of that. Doing it without being spotted by the enemy on the ground was another matter entirely, one they were hoping the battle with Citron and Citroid would make negligible.

Positioned near the top of one of the massive roots, this one leading straight up to the tower wall, they were ready to get moving. All they were waiting on was for Citron’s battle to start.

“Be careful up there. Don’t take any needless risks while getting Satoshi back… And good luck.”

That was all that needed to be said. Waiting just long enough for Citron and Citroid’s teams to kick up a massive dust and debris cloud for cover, the six Pokemon hurried across the root to the tower. While the cloud still provided cover, they made their way partly around the tower to just out of sight from the battlefield, hunkering down and waiting for the battle to really start before making their next move.

The opening salvo was a Swift from Rentorar, a Pin Missile from Harimaron, and a Mud Shot from Horubee. Waiting five seconds as instructed, the Pokemon were quick to get moving. Gekkouga jumped up to the next set of roots straight above them. Pikachu hopped on Fiarrow’s back to fly up, and Onvern gave Luchabull a lift. As for Numelgon, he carefully judged the distance before timing a Dragon Pulse at his feet, making sure the sound of the explosion would be covered by noise from the battle nearby.

The Dragon-Type was launched high, a good third of the way up the tower, and he utilized his powerful antennae to latch on to a nearby root at the peak of his flying height. With a hefty swing, Numelgon landed solidly on top of the root, where he rested a moment while waiting for the others to catch up. Fiarrow and Pikachu stayed a little ways out from the tower so they could direct Numelgon to a good launching spot, while Gekkouga, Onvern, and Luchabull landed a moment to make sure they hadn’t been spotted yet.

This was the pattern they kept to. Within five or ten minutes the six Pokemon scaled all the way up until they were just below the landing Gekkouga had seen through Satoshi’s eyes the one time he’d established a full connection to him since this fiasco started. Gekkouga, being the stealthiest of the group, clung to the wall and carefully edged up so he could take a peek at what was happening.

Fleur-de-lis was easy to spot, standing near the edge of the landing with his arms spread wide and a crazed grin on his face. Alan was just past the abnormally tall human, on his knees and curled over with a hand clenched around his mouth and a shell-shocked look on his face. Gekkouga had to fight down the urge to throw a few Water Shuriken at the downed teen; this whole situation was his fault, he had no right to look so devastated. It took Gekkouga several seconds to spot Satoshi, trying to tap into the Bond while doing so in order to check on his condition.

When he did spot his trainer, Gekkouga froze, torn between horror, worry, and rage.

Satoshi was suspended over the next landing up, strange metal orbs covering his hands and feet in obvious restraint. Two bug-like machines were hovering a few feet in front of him, cables of some kind trailing down to the landing below and out of sight, some glowing red and others filled with sparks of blue. The machines were firing the red energy at Satoshi, who was glowing blue as an orb of power surrounded him. It was fairly clear the orb was trying to protect him, as it was primarily the same blue Satoshi was glowing, but the red power was writhing across the blue, attempting to consume it. And Satoshi was shaking, jolting in agony as arcs of red energy slipped through to lash at him, the blue energy occasionally arcing back on him as well. All the while, the beams of red energy were pulling some of the blue back toward the machines, clearly collecting it.

Gekkouga could hardly breathe as he took this sight in. Satoshi, who had no true training in wielding his Aura, was being forced to try and defend himself using it, only for it to be stolen from him. And it had to be a slow, agonizing process, because it had been at least twenty, maybe even thirty minutes since Gekkouga had managed to connect to the teen that single time since his capture.

“Truly, you are an amazing soul, Satoshi-kun. Xerosic had estimated you would have bent to the Mega Evolution energy within ten minutes at most. And yet, here we are nearly forty-five minutes in and still you fight.” Gekkouga shook as he listened to Fleur-de-lis, the tone, a strange mix of pride and tolerance that made Gekkouga’s sight nearly turn red. “But you need not fight me, Satoshi-kun. I have no desire to lose one like you, with limitless potential and the purest of connections to Pokemon. Give in, and you will be the Messiah that leads the worthy into a new age once I have wiped the world clean of the ugliness, the rot that the selfishness of humanity has inflicted upon it!”

“I…won’t let…you…use me…! I won’t…help you…destroy…the world I love…!”

“Please, stop, just stop! You told me you wanted to save and protect the world, not destroy it! And Satoshi…! You’ll kill him if you keep this up!”

Those words from Alan pushed Gekkouga over the edge. No one was going to kill Satoshi. NO ONE.

…-…-…-…-…

Fleur-de-lis honestly couldn’t tell you what happened in the next moments after Alan started pleading with him. He had turned to address the teen –that poor trusting boy who truly had some of the purest intentions–, but his vision blurred for a long moment after that. When he could see properly again, the man was distracted by the absolute agony his back was in for a long moment before he could take in the situation.

He’d been thrown across the tower landing. Alan had been knocked over, probably by him as he went flying, but wasn’t moving from where he was sprawled as the teen stared up at the higher landing. Just past the teen, there was the odd sight of a Numelgon firing a Dragon Pulse at its own feet to launch up to the landing Alan was fixedly staring at. Looking up himself, Fleur-de-lis felt his breathing cease for a moment.

His Mega Evolution manipulation modules were in pieces, some of the parts teetering off the edge of the higher landing and tiny streaks of lubrication fluid beading down the wall. Satoshi was no longer being suspended in the air, the manacles in pieces where they’d crashed to the ground not far from Alan. The boy was curled up in the arms of a certain Water/Dark-Type, and from the lack of movement Fleur-de-lis assumed Satoshi was unconscious. Arrayed around him were the rest of the boy’s Pokemon, all but Gekkouga clamoring in what was clearly worry for their trainer.

Gekkouga was silent, its gaze locked on Satoshi with an intensity unlike anything Fleur-de-lis had ever seen from a Pokemon before. Around the group were slowly, sporadically forming drops and globules of water, floating almost idly in a circular pattern around the group. Even from his distance, the leader of Team Flare could see how the normal pink of the Shinobi Frog’s irises was darkening to red, as if on the cusp of transforming into that unique appearance that was gifted to it due its bond with Satoshi.

Any sane man would’ve done the smart thing and either stayed silent or surrendered outright. But Fluer-de-lis was elated with the circumstances, certain that with Satoshi weakened, he would be able to take control of first Gekkouga and then the boy.

It made him laugh as he carefully got to his feet. And that turned the Shinobi Frog’s unholy gaze right to him.

…-…-…-…-…

Alan couldn’t say when the last time he feared for his own life was. Possibly against the Primals? When ever it was, he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it paled in comparison to his fear now.

He’d been used, everything he’d fought for twisted to purposes the teen would’ve never supported had he known Fleur-de-lis true intentions. It made him angry. But more than that, he felt sick and disgusted, weaker than he’d ever thought he could be. But Alan had also been so unsure how to remedy and repent for the situation. What could he do? Was there anything he could do that wouldn’t make things worse?

He had thought he’d come to a decision as he listened to Satoshi continue to resist even with his very life being drained away –and what were the odds that his rival and friend was an untrained Aura Adept?–. Alan was going to make Fleur-de-lis stop hurting him, if nothing else. But he’d been beaten to the punch, so to say, by a blur of blue and pink that slammed into Fleur-de-lis’ back with what had to be an Aerial Ace with how the limbs were glowing light blue. It had happened too fast for Alan to get out of the way, and he’d gone sprawling on to his side when Fleur-de-lis’ legs smacked into him mid-flight.

As he’d looked up before trying to move, Alan had frozen at the expression on the obvious attacker’s face.

Gekkouga had been still for maybe a brief second, but it was more than long enough to see the sheer, unholy rage in his eyes. His fists were clenched tight and blades of light were forming within those fists. But they were flickering from the white energy of Cut, to the purple-black energy of what had to be Night Slash. In the brief moment that Gekkouga’s gaze slid from behind Alan –tracking Fleur-de-lis, the teen was certain– to meet Alan’s blue gaze, the blades turned solid black as condemnation filtered into the Shinobi Frog’s eyes.

Alan had been sure he was going to die on those blades. He wasn’t sure he would’ve even tried to stop it.

But Satoshi’s strained voice, calling his Pokemon’s name, spared him from certain death. The blades turned back to the white of Cut before Gekkouga turned his full attention to Satoshi and leapt high in the air. It had to have been less than a second for Gekkouga to destroy the machines hurting Satoshi and dismantle the manacles suspending the younger trainer. As the pair dropped to the ground with Satoshi held safely in Gekkouga’s arms, the rest of Satoshi’s Pokemon emerged from over the edge of the landing –including Numelgon, and Alan watched his climbing technique certain he should feel a lot more shocked than he was–. The other five Pokemon quickly made their way up to crowd around their trainer.

He watched, as Gekkouga examined Satoshi’s state, as those eyes flickered with worry and tenderness for only a moment before the rage came back even stronger than before. He saw the red gleam and the water that was ever so slowly coalescing around the group. Alan knew Gekkouga was powerful, all six of those Pokemon were…but he suspected the Water/Dark-Type was about to find a new depth to his power, all for the sake of his clearly loved trainer who’d been hurt.

Alan felt Lizardon’s Pokeball wiggling, sensing possible danger to his trainer, but the teen placed a hand over the metal sphere to keep it closed. He feared what might trigger in Gekkouga if he made any sort of moves that could be considered threatening, and letting Lizardon out, even if it was only for his own protection, would definitely be seen as threatening.

He wasn’t sure he even had the right to defend himself should Gekkouga turn his blades on him.

There was stillness for maybe five seconds, before Alan’s fear ramped up higher as he heard distinct laughter from the direction Fleur-de-lis had been thrown. In his peripherals he saw the ginger-haired man stand, head thrown back and laughing, and Alan silently prayed to whatever deities were listening that the man didn’t push Gekkouga over the edge.

Or worse, drive the rest of Satoshi’s Pokemon to the edge.

…-…-…-…-…

Pikachu had forgotten what it felt like to hate. And not hate like he hated how the Team Rocket trio just wouldn’t give it a rest. But truly hate; to wish agony and death on another living being for what they’ve done. He’d seen hatred in the time he’d been with Satoshi; it was hard not to considering how the world seemed determined to throw his best friend headlong into every global problem that could possibly occur. But he’d promised, after seeing those instances of hatred, that he would never fall victim to feeling that himself ever again.

In this moment, Pikachu was sure he was going to break that promise.

Satoshi was hurt, badly so. He knew it from the faint trembling and the near invisible arcs of energy flitting off of his body every few seconds. The teen’s eyes were shut, almost squeezed shut, and he was curled toward Gekkouga’s body in a way that made him look more fragile than all the other near deaths Satoshi had experienced before made him appear. Pikachu wasn’t even sure if Satoshi was still conscious at this point.

His best friend was once again close to dying, and all Pikachu wanted to do was fry the people responsible until they were begging for death.

The Electric-Type could feel the worry and anger from most of his team, and it fueled his own feelings. Not to trivialize their concern for Satoshi, but Pikachu knew they didn’t feel the same depth of rage and worry he was feeling. They were too soft for the battle that was to come, to avenge their trainer’s pain. The only exception to this was Gekkouga, just as he always was.

Pikachu had known, just as Satoshi did, that Keromatsu had been special. In all of their adventures, no other Pokemon had meshed with them so well, so immediately, and continued to do so despite the changes evolution tended to bring. Not even Lizardon had bonded with them so well and cherished the bonds as strongly as Gekkouga did. If Lizardon had been the one Satoshi was struggling to help master the Kizuna Genshou with, Lizardon would’ve given up after that loss against Urup-san and focused on building his own strength instead so the bond wouldn’t even need to be considered.

Not Gekkouga. As Pikachu examined Gekkouga’s silent tempest of worry, tenderness, and complete rage, he again felt the kinship between them strengthen. With the Shinobi Frog, he would always have a brother that would his love and care for Satoshi, that would face any and all obstacles to protect and avenge him without faltering.

As they both heard laughter, Pikachu also knew they were both going to split the heavens if that’s what it took to make the one laughing little more than fodder for Ghost-Type Pokemon to feed on.

…-…-…-…-…

Gekkouga couldn’t hear anything aside from that grating laughter, even after it became clear the loathsome being was talking instead of laughing. It echoed in his mind like rolling thunder, and he felt power welling up inside of him like a slowly building typhoon in response to it. It wasn’t the bond, not really, because Satoshi was in no condition for their bond to activate. He could feel the teen was fading in and out of consciousness, Satoshi’s heart fluttering quickly but so faintly that Gekkouga feared any strain would make it give out.

No, he was feeling power he’d left untapped welling up, Dark-Type energy he’d never utilized before as he’d never learned a Dark-Type move. Often times he forgot that he was a Water and a Dark-Type, sometimes deliberately because Dark-Types were more inclined to be cruel and without mercy or pity. He didn’t want to lose the ability to feel pity or give mercy, nor did he want to become cruel.

But he did want to gut the monster responsible for the agony Satoshi had been put through. There couldn’t be any mercy for this brute that had announced to the world that he was going to let everyone but who he deemed worthy die, all for the sake of his aesthetics.

And Gekkouga knew he would have help to ensure this monster paid. Whatever the man had been saying was enraging his family. Pikachu was sparking and glowing with power, so much he was certain Electric Terrain would come into effect regardless of the fact that Pikachu didn’t know that move. Clouds were gathering overhead and rain was beginning to fall as Numelgon trembled and teared up. Both Luchabull and Onvern were crouched low, ready to spring forward and he could see Luchabull’s eyes were glowing a hellish gold in anger. Fiarrow was hovering above them, but Gekkouga could feel the heat growing from the Fire/Flying-Type, steam beginning to waft down from the steady beat of his wings as the rain evaporated against hot plumage.

Carefully, gently, as his family tensed for battle, Gekkouga lowered Satoshi out of his arms and to the ground. One hand carefully brushed at the teen’s fringe in a silent promise he would be safe, while his free hand grasped a new blade, flickering between white and black erratically.

His eyes stayed unerringly on the ginger-haired monster’s form, voicing his only warning as the man finally shut up, regardless of the fact he knew he would not be understood.

“You have five seconds to pray to whatever deities you believe in.”

END