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We Choose You!

Chapter Text

Ever since he could remember, Tsuna was surrounded by Pokémon. It wasn't the fact that his mother had been a famous Coordinator back in the day or his father was a powerful Ranger or his older brother was the Kanto champion—they just wouldn't leave him alone. He wasn't terrified of them—okay, scratch that, he was. Try breathing again when some Pidgey came around and thought that your hair was a nice nest before a whole flock arrived and tried to find something to perch on, too. Or the time when some Beedrill tried offering Tsuna some honey that he mistook for something else and had him screaming his head off all the way home.

Embarrassingly enough, his mother diligently filled albums with numerous pictures of him either being chased by or pounced on by random Pokémon. There was even a baby photo of him being cuddled by Jirachi, the legendary wish Pokémon. Tsuna thought that was pretty neat at least, until he realized how much that entailed for the rest of his life. His mother still never told him what his three wishes were and he wasn't sure he wanted to know.

As he grew older, these kinds of occurrences continued happening over and over again until Tsuna turned 10-years-old, the age when new trainers would start their journeys.

Well, actually, it didn't stop then and he didn't think it ever would, but he could hope, right…?

When he arrived at Professor Lal Mirch's lab, she and her assistant, Colonnello, were already waiting for him. Tsuna gulped, his grip tightening around his bag that his father had bought for him a few weeks ago. Even though he had been around the two way more than he liked—they had been his father's trainees back in his ranger days—and visited the lab from time to time (to act as bait), they were both intimidating people.

Colonnello grinned. "Tsuna! You're finally here!"

Tsuna paled. "A—Am I late? I thought I woke up on time." He checked his watch to see that it was exactly 9 AM.

Lal Mirch smacked Colonnello over the head, making him grunt. She crossed her arms over her chest and gestured to a machine that held three PokéBalls. "You're right on time," she said. "Pick your poison."

Giotto had started out with a Charmander and Tsuna really wanted one too, but maybe that could be considered copying his brother…? He didn't want to look that way though. Charmander was cool. Actually, he looked forward to seeing it evolve into a Charizard with its huge wings and fiery breath. Just thinking about flying off into the world with the dragon-like Pokémon got him hyped.

Before Tsuna could respond, a familiar screech stopped him in his tracks. He nearly lost his balance when a large, bird-like Pokémon flew through the window and perched himself on Tsuna's head. Colonnello's Braviary flapped his wings in greeting.

"Oi, Falco!" Colonnello said. "Where were you when I called you before, kora?"

Tsuna winced when Falco's claws tugged his hair. "Falco, can you let go? Please?"

Lal Mirch huffed. "Honestly, Tsuna, are you sure you can go on a journey by yourself?" She glanced at Colonnello. "You can take him with you. Maybe his ugly mug could scare off the Pokémon."

Colonnello flailed his arms in the air. "Hey, who're you calling ugly?"

Wobbling from Falco's weight, Tsuna managed to stumble over to the PokéBalls and gripped the machine for support. Honestly, why did he even bother? At least, Zamza wasn't h—

A low gurgling noise sounded from his left. Tsuna thumped his forehead against the machine. He had hoped, he really did. Zamza, Lal Mirch's large Scolipede, sauntered over and nuzzled the brunet's cheek with a low coo. Falco still didn't let go at that point.

Sighing, Lal Mirch headed over to release the starter Pokémons from their capsules. "Bulbasaur, Squirtle, or Charmander. You can only take one."

"I know," Tsuna said.

Immediately, the three starter Pokémons went into action. Bulbasaur hopped forward and let out some of its little vines while Squirtle and Charmander butted heads, shouting their names like a small war cry. Tsuna wanted to cry. "Um…I'm sorry," he said. "Please don't fight. I'm sorry that I can only take one of you."

"It's working," Colonnello whispered obnoxiously in the background. "The Tsuna Charm, kora."

Tsuna sighed at that. Mentally steeling himself, he pointed a shaky finger at Charmander and said, "I…want you…?"

That came out a little worse than Tsuna had imagined. Falco immediately hauled him up in the air and soared out the window just as an explosion of bubbles, fire, and leaves burst in the lab. Screaming, Tsuna covered his eyes while Colonnello and Lal Mirch tried to keep the Pokémon apart.

In the end, Tsuna found himself on the road with three starter Pokémon skipping happily beside him as if they just didn't destroy nearly half of Lal Mirch's lab a few moments ago. Oh, and he somehow had an egg with him too, because why the hell not?

His life liked being extra that way.

Fuck.

Chapter Text

It took normal trainers two or three days to get to Viridian City from Pallet Town. Of course, since Tsuna was anything but normal, he ended up taking a week.

Route 1 should not take that long to get through. It shouldn't. It really shouldn't. It wasn't like Tsuna was bumping into trainers left and right. Pallet Town was a small town with little people and there was barely anyone in sight. The road wasn't even that hard. Yeah, it was big but Tsuna could read a map and it was pretty straightforward.

On the first day, it was okay. A little awkward but okay. None of his Pokémon wanted to go inside their PokéBalls and Tsuna had given up after Dante tried biting his. Ah, right. The nicknames. That was a whole different story.

"So, erm, it's kind of weird to keep calling you guys by your Pokémon names and everything, I think," Tsuna said, spreading a small blanket under a tree. The egg that had rolled in its intubation container to follow Tsuna out the lab—he didn't know, Prof. Lal Mirch didn't know, and Colonnello was even more lost on how that worked; it just did—was safe in his orange backpack. "And I hope we become good friends so…I can give you nicknames?"

Charmander flexed his arm and beat his chest. "Char! Charmander!"

"Oh, you want to be called Dante?" Tsuna scratched his cheek. That seemed a little much but he was never good with names, so who was he to judge? "That's…cool."

Sparkles somehow sprouted around Dante's head as he leapt into Tsuna's arms, cooing and rubbing his head against Tsuna's white shirt. Tsuna smiled despite himself and hoisted Dante more comfortably in his arms. Even if his situation was weird, the Pokémons were really cute.

Squirtle tapped his shoulder. "Squirtle. Squirt, squirt."

"Mira? That sounds pretty." Tsuna chuckled sheepishly. "Sorry, I didn't know you were a girl."

Squirtle just smiled. "Squirtle, Squirtle."

Tsuna grunted when she plopped down on his lap and made herself comfy, ignoring Dante's indignant shouts. Bulbasaur sauntered over, blinking lazily up at Tsuna. Two vine whips shot out from its bulb, grabbed Mira and Dante, and tossed them aside. Their cries faded in the distance while Tsuna just gaped. He blinked when Bulbasaur walked onto his lap and laid down, already dozing off.

"Saur."

Tsuna smiled shakily. "Bacchus. Okay…"

Mira and Dante ran over and started screaming at Bacchus who was already sleeping. Tsuna just covered his ears. "Why can't you guys just be friends?"

Sadly, his words fell on deaf ears.


The second day turned into a shitfest as soon as it started.

Pidgeys, Spearows, and Rattatas popped up left and right, holding onto Tsuna like a lifeline. He was also pretty sure he saw some Pikachus but didn't pay too much attention because he just had to get away.

"I'm sorry I can't take all of you!" he said, running through some tall grass. "I only have three PokéBalls!"

He screamed when a Spearow tried to perch on top of his head until Mira spewed Water Gun to smack it away. Dante burned anything that got close and Bacchus whipped the others away from Tsuna's arms, the lazy fuck. Sorry, but he was pretty heavy and Tsuna was a twig, okay?

At the end of the day, he caught a Pidgey because he thought it was customary to have a Flying-type. The Pidgey called himself Ace. Tsuna called himself unfortunate.


The third day wasn't any different. What was the point?


On the fourth day, Tsuna somehow ended up at the beginning of Route 1 and proceeded to smack his head against a nearby tree. He could barely get a hit in before Bacchus pulled him away with his vines.

Bacchus ended up carrying Tsuna to prevent him from harming himself. Tsuna just blankly watched Embers and Water Guns light up the skies, targeting all the Pidgeys and Spearows that came down. Ace had the honorary spot of perching himself on Tsuna's stomach and shouting orders at the others on where to shoot.

In retrospect, this was good training. However, Tsuna didn't care.

He just wanted to go home.


On the fifth day, Tsuna had his first Pokémon battle—if you could call it that. It was with some guy from someplace that Tsuna forgot the name of because he was more focused on getting the trainer's Caterpie off of his leg and preventing his own Pokémon from committing murder.

"Um, she doesn't like it when you try to sing her to sleep," Tsuna said, scratching the back of his head. "And, erm, she doesn't like your cooking, too." Caterpie nodded from the side, making her trainer stare at both of them in bewilderment. "Oh, and don't forget to—Dante, I saw that. Don't do that, please. What was I saying again? Um, yeah. Don't forget to call your mom. I think that's everything."

Caterpie pulled something similar to a smile and cooed at Tsuna, her eyes closed in delight. Tsuna laughed. "Really?"

Caterpie murmured something else that had Tsuna going pale and his Pokémon glaring daggers at her.

"Um…I can't take you with me." He bowed deeply. "I'm sorry!"

Ace flapped his wings to conjure Gust and counter Caterpie's sudden String Shot. Tsuna somehow hauled his Pokémons up in his arms and made a run for it.

"I'm sorry!"

The other trainer was still wondering what the fuck just happened.


The sixth day came and Tsuna decided to stay in his sleeping bag all day. Dante and Mira snuggled up on his sides with Bacchus snoozing on his stomach and Ace sleeping in his hair.

It was nice until a Rattata became the unfortunate victim to Dante's Ember. Tsuna hit the road after patching up the poor Pokémon and sneaking off. He might as well throw away the rest of his PokéBalls. The thought vanished when a flock of Spearows appeared overhead. He just dove behind a bush and let his Pokémon do what they had to.

He really wanted to go home.


On the seventh day, Tsuna saw the sign for Viridian City and almost cried. His beacon of light grew even closer until he finally stepped inside the beautiful city. He breathed in the morning air and sighed. Finally.

All that happiness was literally slapped out of him when some Magikarp leapt out of a nearby pond and crashed into his face. Tsuna could only stare in horror when an empty PokéBall rolled out of his bag and tapped the orange fish.

"No!"

"Char!"

"Squirtle! Squirt!"

"Saur…"

Ace just screeched. 

Chapter Text

The Pokémon Center was a haven for both trainers and Pokémon. Plus, everything was free. That didn't really make Tsuna's life any easier.

"Guys, please," he said, clasping his hands in prayer, "it'll only take a few minutes."

Dante crossed his arms over his small chest and looked away. Mira just shook her head, always clear with what she wanted. Bacchus continued sleeping in Tsuna's arms, which were numb at this point, and Ace didn't move from his hair. The Magikarp from before waded in a small fountain and looked nervously at the rest. Well, Tsuna couldn't blame it. His Pokémon nearly mutilated it once it entered his PokéBall.

Tsuna wanted to tear his hair out. Even if his Pokémon were okay, he still wanted Nurse Joy to look at them because what if there was something wrong that he didn't know? As if his prayers were answered, one of Nurse Joy's Chanseys came over and smiled sweetly at Tsuna. "Chansey, Chansey!"

Tsuna breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank you." He glanced at his Pokémon. "Don't give her any trouble, okay? I'll be right here."

After gently shaking Bacchus awake, Tsuna watched as Chansey led his little entourage to one of the check-up rooms, even carrying the Magikarp above her head with impressive strength. As soon as they were out of sight, Tsuna gathered his bag and dashed over to the front desk. "Excuse me, but could I use one of those video phones over there?"

Nurse Joy giggled. "Of course, young man. You don't have to ask me. Our phoning services are free for everyone to use!"

Tsuna flushed. "O—Oh, thank you."

He scurried over to a video phone and picked up the receiver. After dialing his home number, he waited for someone to pick up. He tilted his head when no one did. "They're not home? Oh."

Right, his parents went to Alola for vacation. He ran a hand through his hair. Well, they had been planning it for a while, and now that both kids were out of the house, they could travel as they pleased like they used to. Tsuna dialed another number; it barely rang once before his brother's smiling face appeared on the screen.

"Tsuna!" Giotto said. "You called!"

Tsuna laughed. "Of course I would. You made me promise to call you when I'm at the nearest Pokémon Center."

"Oh, so does that mean you're in Viridian City? That took a while. Mama said you left on Tuesday."

Sighing, Tsuna slumped his shoulders. "It's a really long story. How are you, Nii-san? Is this a bad time?"

Giotto frowned but didn't push. Tsuna liked that about his brother. It made him easier to talk to. "Nope." Giotto chuckled. "You'd think that being a Champion means you battle all kinds of trainers every day, but it's pretty quiet here."

Tsuna ignored the part where Giotto muttered something about less paperwork. He smiled brightly. "That's good to hear. Make sure to take care of yourself, Nii-san, and eat proper meals every day. Mama gets worried."

Giotto laughed. "I know! Ah, I miss your cooking."

"You mean Mama's cooking."

"Don't tell her but I think yours is better," Giotto whispered in the receiver.

"Mama will kill you."

"That's why you don't tell her! Oh, Tsuna, could you do me a favor? Do you remember Alaude?"

Giotto had told him about his friends whenever he had the chance to call. Tsuna could only imagine what they looked like, but they seemed fun, if a little scary. He didn't grow up with friends since Pallet Town didn't have kids but it would've been nice. At least, he wouldn't be lonely without Giotto. (No, Prof. Lal Mirch and Colonnello did not count as friends.)

Tsuna cocked his head. "I think so. He's the blond guy with scary eyes, right?"

"Yeah! Just don't tell him I said that. He'd kill me. Anyways, can you pass on a message for me?"

"Oh, um, okay."

Tsuna should've said no.


Giotto's words whirled in a nauseating spiral in Tsuna's mind while he headed to the Viridian Gym, his Pokémon, minus Magikarp who was in its PokéBall, following behind him. He was so caught up in his thoughts that he didn't notice the horde of trainers running past him for the Pokémon Center, blabbering wildly about a terrifying gym leader fighting them all at once.

Ace gripped the collar of his shirt and pulled him away from bumping into a trainer. Tsuna mumbled his thanks while Mira looked up at him in concern. He smiled at her weakly. "I'm okay," he said. "Just…a lot on my mind."

For one thing, he was most likely going to die. Second, Alaude was the last gym leader to battle, so why the heck was Viridian City the first place to arrive at? It didn't make any sense. When he finally arrived at the gym, he took a moment to admire the simple but impressive building. Shaking his head, he climbed the steps and entered through the mahogany doors.

It was quiet, too quiet.

Ace looked around from on top of his head, keeping a sharp eye out for any danger. Bacchus had woken up from his sleep but still seemed drowsy. Mira and Dante scouted a little farther ahead. Dante's fiery tail was the only source of light since it was dark.

"H—Hello?" Tsuna cleared his throat. "Hello? Anyone here? Please…"

His voice trailed off into a whisper until the lights suddenly brightened, making him squeak. He gaped when he saw the battlefield in front of him. It was so…big and intimidating. There was a small boom behind the bleachers before some footsteps sounded in the distance. Tsuna gulped, unconsciously hugging Bacchus closer to his chest.

A young man with platinum blond hair and icy blue eyes in a trench coat appeared. He kind of looked like Tsuna had imagined. He just didn't expect him to be so…good-looking. Alaude eyed him disinterestedly before standing at the other end of the battlefield. "One-on-one," he said blandly.

Tsuna blinked. "Um, wh—Oh no, wait! I—I'm not here to battle you!"

Alaude paused, but his hand still rested on his belt. Tsuna swallowed a small lump in his throat. Geez, the teen was pretty terrifying. What was he? 18 or something?

"I'm"—Tsuna coughed lightly—"I'm Tsuna, Giotto-nii's brother."

Alaude raised a brow but didn't say anything. Okay, it would've been a little less awkward if Alaude could, Tsuna didn't know, talk? He mentally groaned. "I just came to give you a message from my brother…"

"Speak."

Tsuna wanted to smack him. Mira placed a hand on his leg as small comfort. He smiled down at her before closing his eyes and taking in a deep breath. Finally, he looked up. "Stop doing your job so perfectly, you fucking idiot! Just give the trainers their dumb badges and send them to the League already! I'm bored out of my fucking mind here while you guys get all the fun! Let me do my job too, asshole!"

Heavy silence hung in the air as Tsuna panted hard to catch his breath. He'd never thought that Giotto would say those kind of words but he was his older brother. What right did Tsuna have to judge? Alaude stared at him hard while Dante rolled around in laughter with Ace joining him with his trills.

Tsuna snapped out of his daze and flushed. "W—Wait, that wasn't me! That was from Giotto-nii! He told me to say that! I'm sorry! Please don't kill me!"

At the mention of the word "kill", his Pokémon stopped and immediately fixed a glare on Alaude, as if daring him to try. Even Bacchus hopped onto the ground by Tsuna's feet, his vine whips ready. Something must've clicked since Alaude's lips twitched into a smirk. "I accept," he said, taking a PokéBall from his belt.

Tsuna widened his eyes. "W—Wait, I said I didn't come here to battle! Are you crazy?"

Too late. Alaude had already tossed his PokéBall in the air. Tsuna covered his eyes and maybe screamed. He didn't know.

"Tuff! Wigglytuff!"

He blinked. Removing his hands, he was greeted with the sight of probably the most terrifying Wigglytuff he had ever seen. It immediately fixed its sharp blue eyes on Tsuna, making him flinch. He had to give it to them though; his Pokémon weren't the least bit intimidated.

"Charmander! Char!"

Tsuna gasped as Dante opened his mouth to release a stream of Ember. "Wait, Dante!"

Alaude wasn't fazed. "Tuffy, stand your ground."

Tsuna blinked. Then he blinked again. Tuffy…? Tuffy?

Huh.

He returned to reality when Tuffy—seriously, did he hear right?—just smirked when the Ember barely even grazed it, much less burn it. Okay, that was bad, really bad. Alaude was the eighth Gym Leader, not the first.

"Wait! I was being serious! I don't want to battle!"

No one listened to him. Tsuna wanted to bash his head against the wall and maybe strangle his brother at the same time.

"I said I don't want to battle!"

His screams could be heard throughout the whole city, but there was no one willing to help him against the strongest Gym Leader in the region and his demonic Wigglytuff. 

Chapter Text

There was no such thing as "weak" in the Hibari family.

The world was made up of 99% herbivores and 1% carnivores—no exceptions. His mother's word was law and his brother's skills were the bar he had to reach. Carnivores in their own right, his small family was his pride, his clan, and Hibari made sure that everyone knew it.

He did not catch his first Pokémon until he had wandered Kanto for months. Whichever Pokémon cowered from his gaze weren't looked at again after he moved on. But he never forgot scouring through the mountains and coming upon the little animal, proud, fearless, but powerful; it never looked away from him or gave into his baleful stare. It had just smiled and followed him back down the mountains with no trouble. The rest was history. (Really, Hibari had never been so close to actually going toe-to-toe with Alaude before in battle, especially against the carnivorous Tuffy. He had still lost and the gym had to take months to be repaired, but the destruction was already enough to deem the little animal worthy of being his.)

It had taken Hibari two years to assemble his team; his mother and brother had taken the same time too, making it almost a family tradition. Either way, he had his own carnivores now.

Still, that didn't mean Hibari was done with his journey. There were still more carnivores out there to be tamed, more powerful and worthy of being under his name. At 12-years-old, he prided in having the fearsome ability to intimidate and control, unlike his herbivore father who had ran away after he was conceived. Weaklings like him did not deserve to live.

Whenever Hibari returned to Viridian City to visit his brother, he expected nothing but victories and triumph in Alaude's battles. With the little animal walking beside him, he did not blink at the fearful gazes the citizens gave him. Good, he thought. They know their place.

His brow twitched. But why were there so many of them, crowding unnecessarily like mindless sheep? He took a PokéBall from his belt and tossed it in the air. A large, menacing Pidgeot appeared, chirping cheerfully as it flew around in loops and circles above the herbivores' heads. The people screamed, scrambling away like the stupid herbivores they were. Hibari crossed his arms over his chest and waited for Hibird to finally settle down from scaring the herbivores off. The Pidgeot was too happy for him but it sang well and fought savagely when necessary. Hibari could let his herbivorous tendencies slide.

"Come back," he said, returning Hibird into his PokéBall.

After surveying the empty streets with sharp eyes, Hibari nodded to himself and carried on. The little animal tittered, hopping and twirling around in a happy dance. Hibari's lips slightly twitched despite himself. When his brother's gym came into view, he quickly schooled his features and didn't waste any time entering through the doors.

He didn't blink when he heard some screaming from the battlefield. Another herbivore that would be bitten to death by Alaude. Hibari pursed his lips when the little animal suddenly ran ahead of him. Before he could ponder on its actions, he stopped short when he saw Tuffy. For Alaude to even use Tuffy meant that the herbivore might not be a normal herbivore. No one but the Kanto champion, who was sometimes an herbivore and sometimes a carnivore, ever got Alaude to send out Tuffy.

"Dante, your Ember won't work on her!" the herbivore said, tugging his hair. "Just stop it! I said I didn't want to battle!"

The Charmander spat a small ball of fire to the side, baring its teeth. Tuffy swatted the Pidgey away without batting an eye and side-stepped the Bulbasaur's vines with a small hop. She smirked at them, her laughing blue eyes glinting under the light, before deflecting the Squirtle's water gun with its white belly. Hibari watched quietly from the shadows as the little animal bounded towards the herbivore trainer and glomped him.

"Cleffa! Cleffa!"

And just like that, all the Pokémon stopped what they were doing, even Tuffy. Hibari blinked as the little animal snuggled against the herbivore's chest. The herbivore just flailed his arms pathetically in the air. "Wait, no!" he said. "I'm not—Don't call me that! Where did you even come from?"

"Squirtle, Squirt!" The turtle Pokémon blasted a strong blast of water gun at the little animal only for a light green barrier to form and block the incoming attack. The herbivore screamed, which had his Pokémon back off a bit—for now.

Giggling, the little animal continued hugging the herbivore, chattering happily. Hibari wasn't sure what to think of this strange predicament. For one thing, the little animal had approached an herbivore with no means of hurting it. Its appearance was only a guise for the real carnivore underneath. Second, Tuffy, the infamous carnivore around—yes, even more so than his brother and mother—had somehow skipped over and hugged the herbivore's legs, looking more pleasant than usual.

"W—Wait!" the herbivore said, trying to push Tuffy away. "I just said I didn't want to battle! They can't fight you! And Alaude is the last gym leader!"

"Cleffa! Cleff!"

"Oh, please no."

"Wigglytuff!"

"Um, I think you're cute…"

Hibari stared when Tuffy just smiled happily at the compliment. No one ever called Tuffy cute unless they wanted to be bitten (or slapped, in this case) to death. His lips curled into a smirk. Interesting. The herbivore's Pokémon all jumped on Tuffy to pull her away, but ended up tumbling and causing a pathetic pile. The herbivore groaned while Tuffy just slapped his Pokémon away.

Finally, Hibari made himself known, stepping out of the shadows. "Little animal."

The said Pokémon just smiled brightly at him, nuzzling the herbivore's face. "Cleffa!"

The herbivore struggled to get Tuffy and Fairy off of him but to no avail. He was weak despite subduing the carnivores with…whatever he did. Alaude watched from across the battlefield, his face blank, before noticing his brother. They shared some silent words through eye-contact until the elder nodded.

Hibari smirked. He headed towards the herbivore, ignoring the other Pokémons threatening growls and hisses. Fairy hopped towards him and tugged the end of his black pants. "Cleffa, Cleffa!"

The herbivore stared at Hibari with wide eyes. "Who are you?" He looked back and forth between him and Alaude.

Hibari crossed his arms over his chest. "We leave tomorrow morning, omnivore."

A bout of silence passed.

"Who are you?"

Chapter Text

Hibari…was a really weird guy. Actually, scratch that: the Hibari brothers were just a couple of weirdos. Tsuna didn't know how Giotto became friends with Alaude—it was something about Giotto helping him with some incident involving Team Estraneo way back when but Tsuna couldn't remember the details—or what the heck was going on, but he was suddenly lugged out of the Pokémon Center at dawn and forced to follow Hibari through Viridian Forest.

The trees were so dense, there was barely any light to guide their way. Tsuna shivered when a cool draft swept in. His orange vest and white hoodie weren't enough to keep him warm but Bacchus, who was snoozing in his arms, provided some heat. Dante yawned beside him, Ace doing the same from on top of his head, while Mira admirably stayed awake throughout the small journey.

"Um, guys, you should really go inside your PokéBalls," Tsuna said. "It might take a while."

Mira shook her head. "Squirtle, Squirt, Squirt."

"You didn't really sleep that much…"

Dante puffed his chest. "Charmander!"

"None of us really did…"

Ace trilled.

"I didn't really think this would happen…"

Tsuna shook his head. Nope, screw this. He wasn't taking this like an idiot. Just as he opened his mouth to give Hibari some choice words, the other boy had disappeared. His Pokémon shared a glance with him. He didn't need them to say anything. He turned to run back to Viridian City but screamed when Fairy just happened to be blocking his path, smiling. "Cleffa!"

"Uh, hi," Tsuna said. "We were just…thinking about…taking a break?"

Fairy giggled under Dante's glare. "Cleffa, Cleffa!"

"W—We weren't running away!" Tsuna forced a smile. "Are you hungry? We were…just about to eat."

Fairy hopped towards him and twirled in mid-air, dodging Mira's Water Gun. He—yes, he, Fairy was a boy—nuzzled Tsuna's face with a coo. "Cleffa!"

"Please stop calling me that…"

Dante bared his teeth. "Char, Charmander!"

Tsuna frowned. "Watch your language! By the way, is there some kind of pond or something around here?" He was pretty sure the Magikarp was itching to get out of his PokéBall.

Fairy smiled brightly. "Cleffa!" He pointed at some direction. "Cleffa!"

"Ah, okay…"

It didn't even occur to Tsuna that no Pokémon approached him so far. He never noticed that all of them cowered from a certain Cleffa clinging onto his neck, sweet smiles and all.


 

Fairy led them to a small clearing with a pond nearby. The trees weren't as thick so some light filtered onto the fresh grass. Tsuna checked to make sure the coast was clear before settling underneath a tall tree. He laid out an orange blanket that Dante and Mira made themselves comfortable on before taking out some containers of Pokémon food he made last night.

"Where's Hibari?" he said, pouring out the brown kibbles into separate bowls.

Some leaves rustled above him before the said boy landed on the ground. Tsuna shrieked, spilling some food. Mira narrowed her eyes at Hibari, who was unperturbed by the reaction. Dante and Ace were too busy yelling at the boy and choking on the kibbles. Fairy just gestured at Hibari in a festive manner as if to say, "Ta-da!"

"Omnivore," Hibari said, "you're slow."

Before Tsuna could respond, several flashes of light appeared from Hibari's belt. He squeaked when a Pidgeot swooped over his head with a cheerful trill. A large Dodrio screeched incessantly at each other's heads about, uh, stuff. Something fluffy brushed up against Tsuna's hand before some vine whips chucked the Eevee to the side.

"Bacchus!"

The Bulbasaur just opened his mouth, waiting for Tsuna to feed him. Tsuna blinked when a Sandslash shyly crept forward and vaguely gestured at the food. "Slash…?"

"Oh!" Tsuna took some napkins and poured some food on them in a big pile. He smiled sheepishly. "Sorry, I don't have enough bowls but I'll buy more later!"

Ah, crap, he thought, am I really going to be stuck with this guy?

Before the Sandslash could eat, Dante tried to swipe the napkin away until Tsuna gave him a look. He smiled at the timid Sandslash. "You're more than welcome to eat."

Fairy plopped down besides Tsuna's leg and waved his hands in the air. "Cleffa!"

The Eevee sauntered back, scowling at Bacchus, before smiling sweetly. "Eevee, Eve."

Tsuna scratched his cheek. "Um, I think I have enough for everyone."

Ace was staring down the Pidgeot who didn't seem to be too bothered by the small Pidgey. Tsuna wondered how it became this way. Soon, Hibari's entourage were chowing down on his food. Unclipping Magikarp's Pokéball from his belt, Tsuna released it in the pond. The orange fish dove into the water and resurfaced again after a few seconds.

"Karp…"

Tsuna widened his eyes. "Oh, no! I'm not releasing you! I just wanted to let you out, you know, since you're a fish. There's not a lot of water in the cities and Fairy was nice enough to let me know where this pond was."

At the small praise, Fairy hopped onto Tsuna's neck, dodging stray Water Guns, Vine Whips, and Embers, and cuddled his cheek. "Cleffa!"

"I'm serious. Please stop calling me that…"

Hibari watched the interaction quietly and it made Tsuna nervous at how silent he could be. Finally, he said, "What are your carnivores' titles?"

"Huh?"

"Their titles?"

"Uh, you mean, their names…?"

Tsuna took Hibari's silence as a yes. "Um, she's Mira. He's Dante and he's Ace. This one here is Bacchus. And…" He glanced at Magikarp. "I'm not sure what his name is yet but I'll find out. And yours…?"

Hibari didn't point them out. "Fairy." Cleffa chirped his name happily. "Hibird." The Pidgeot cooed. "Roll." The Sandslash glanced at Tsuna shyly before munching more food. "Dori." The Dodrio's three heads screeched. "Evie." The Eevee swayed its tail while fluttering her eyes at Tsuna, which, okay, was pretty creepy.

Wait.

Tsuna blinked. "I'm sor—Wait, what?"

Hibari crossed his hands behind his head as he laid down on the blanket beside Tsuna's legs. "Stop talking, omnivore."

"Wait, wait, wait, wait. You named your Eevee what? And your—wait, what?"

Hibari closed his eyes. "Don't disturb my nap."

"Your Eevee's name is just…Eevee?"

The fluffy Pokémon made a noise akin to a sigh. "Eevee."

"Oh, Evie." Tsuna wrinkled his nose. "That's still—And Dori?"

All of Dori's heads just gave him a blank look. "Dodri, Dodrio, Dodrio."

"I—I'm sorry. That must be…really difficult."

"Dodrio."

"Yeah, I mean, if you want, I can call you that. I don't mind." Tsuna turned to Hibird. "And…"

Hibird just shook his head, as if he had already accepted his fate. Wow. First there was Tuffy the Wigglytuff and Fairy the Cleffa. Just…wow. Roll didn't look Tsuna in the eye though he did look a little red in the face. Tsuna tossed a kibble at Magikarp. "Right, erm, you. What do you want me to call you?"

"Magikarp…?"

Dante snickered, prompting Tsuna to give him another look. "I mean, Dragon Fish isn't a bad name but…don't worry! We can work through this. You had three, right?"

"Karp, Karp."

Fairy giggled and didn't stop when Tsuna tried to quiet him down. "Karpem's a little simple. What about the third one?"

Hibari suddenly spoke up, "Guppy. Now be quiet, omnivore."

Tsuna deadpanned. "No, never, go back to sleep."

Even Magikarp's eyes looked deader than usual. "Karp… Karp…"

"Oh! That's a perfect name!" Tsuna grinned. "Bastion it is then. Don't be embarrassed. It really is a nice name."

"Omnivore."

Fairy tittered. "Cleffa, Cleffa!"

"No! Stop calling me that! I'm not—Ugh, just eat your food!"

Chapter Text

Reaching Pewter City was like falling outside the gates to paradise. After days of trekking through Viridian Forest and suffering through Hibari's sporadic "training" sessions—honestly, Hibari was crazy; who in the world tried to fight other Pokémon? Needless to say, he was terrifying and Fairy was no different—Tsuna was already thinking about resting in the Pokémon Center when he was suddenly lifted in the air.

Yelping, he struggled against the surprisingly strong grip around his backpack while his Pokémon grabbed onto his legs, pulling him down. Bacchus' vine whips squeezed around his waist, making Tsuna wince; his stomach felt like it'd explode. "H—Hibari!"

It was Fairy who responded instead. He hopped on top of Dante's head and leaped in the air. Tsuna heard a loud thump before he fell, landing in Hibari's arms.

"That was pathetic, omnivore," Hibari said.

Tsuna gaped at him. "Are you—I was just about to be kidnapped and you just stood there!"

"Hn."

"Don't 'hn' me! That's not—We spent three freakin' days together! I fed you and made you—"

Tsuna squeaked when Hibari unceremoniously dropped him to the ground, but Bacchus' quickly held him up with his vine whips; the brunet gulped when his face was close to touching the floor. Dante waved Fairy off from getting too close to Tsuna but the star-shaped Pokémon just hopped over him and cuddled the boy's face. "Cleffa, Cleffa!"

"Stop calling me that!"

"Heracross!"

All eyes turned to the Pokémon that had tried to carry—no, abduct Tsuna. Needless to say, it wasn't very welcomed. Tsuna, still upside down in the air, was more busy with keeping his hoodie from sliding down his stomach. "It's never nice to kidnap people for any reason at all! And I'm not fluffy!"

"Herac—"

"Charmander!"

Ace screeched and started pecking Heracross' face with no success in damaging the bug Pokémon. Tsuna opened his mouth to berate Dante about his language when someone shouted, "Ceros!"

A teen in a white tank top and long black pants ran towards them with blinding speed. His slim muscles rippled as he pulled Heracross into a headlock. "Where'd you run off to, huh? We weren't done with our ultimate training!" He smiled sheepishly at Tsuna. "Sorry if Ceros bothered you. She usually doesn't approach people that easily."

Tsuna blinked as Bacchus finally set him on the ground and tapped his ankle as a signal to pick him up again. "Oh, it's…okay," Tsuna said, taking out the green Pokémon Trainer's Guidebook from his backpack. "Wait." He flipped through the pages until he found the Pewter City section. He turned another page before he found the teen's face inside. "Oh, you're Knuckle!"

The gym leader grinned. "That's me! You must be a trainer." He cocked his head. "Actually, you kind of look like…"

Tsuna smiled. "I'm Sawada Tsunayoshi!" He scratched his left cheek, the other one being incessantly cuddled by Fairy who ignored Mira and Dante's glares. "But maybe you heard about me from my brother, Giotto. You can call me Tsuna."

Knuckle grinned. "Yes! I've heard of you! He talks about you all the time!" He straightened up, letting Ceros go, and gestured at himself. "You're here for a battle, right? You seem like a strong kid. That Cleffa you got there seems powerful. You see, Ceros is tough to hit."

Tsuna flushed. "Oh, um, Fairy's not mine."

"Cleffa!"

"Stop calling me that! I'm telling you, it's not appropriate!"

Knuckle blinked a couple of times. "You can…understand it?"

"Him," Tsuna corrected, trying to pry Fairy off of his face. His cheek was starting to get sweaty. "Come on, go back to Hibari."

Hibari, on the other hand, had climbed up a nearby tree and was napping without a care in the world, the jerk. All he did was sleep and fight and eat the food Tsuna made for him.

"Charmander!"

"Seriously, how many times do I have to tell you to stop calling him that? It's rude!"

"Squirt."

"No, you can't dump him in the river! Remember what happened last time?" (Fairy had literally swum against the strong currents like a knife cutting through butter. It was just bizarre.)

Ace trilled a few high-pitched notes while perching himself on top of Tsuna's head.

"You and Dante seriously need to get your mouths washed out with soap or something. Where did you even learn those words?"

"Cleffa!"

"No! Don't copy them!"

Knuckle watched the interaction with some kind of morbid fascination in his eyes for a second before he smiled. "Are you ready for the battle? I'd be really honored."

At the mention of "battle" from their gym leader, the onlooking and passing pedestrians fled immediately, leaving nothing but dust behind. Before Tsuna could even process the strange spectacle, Knuckle already had a Pokéball in his hand. "I look forward to this, Tsuna!"

The brunet widened his eyes. "W—Wait, I'm not ready for a—"

Knuckle just threw his PokéBall in the air. "Brutus!"

A Geodude appeared in a flash of light, shouting its name proudly. When his eyes landed on Tsuna, he immediately flew towards him, making Knuckle blink. Tsuna was too busy skimming down Knuckle's profile page. "Ah, crap, wait, Knuckle's a Ground and Fighting-type and, uh, Geodude's, um—" He tugged his hair. His nerves were getting to him. "Wait, Knuckle, I really don't think I'm r—"

"Squirtle!"

Mira spewed a powerful Water Gun at Brutus, knocking him out instantly. Tsuna blinked. Then blinked again. "Uh…"

Fairy still clung onto his face. "Cleffa, Cleffa!"

"No, you're not even my Pokémon! And stop calling me that!"

Knuckle returned Brutus to his PokéBall. "You have some strong friends there, Tsuna! Let's go, Tyson!"

"Wait!"

A Mankey appeared next. He hopped on his feet excitedly when he saw Tsuna, who was flipping through the guidebook like his life depended on it. "Um, Mankey's a, uh… Oh, wait." He fumbled through his backpack just as Tyson sprinted towards him with a happy squeal. When Tsuna finally found his red Pokédex, he laughed sheepishly, feeling very dumb. "I forgot I had this."

Ace soared in the air and flapped his wings to conjure a powerful Gust, blowing Tyson away. He slammed into some trees before sliding down, his eyes swirly. Tsuna widened his eyes. "Holy—A—Are you okay?"

Cooing proudly, Ace flew back to Tsuna's hair. Knuckle rubbed his chin. "It says a lot when your Pokémon knows what you're thinking and wants them to do. You must be really close!"

Tsuna wrinkled his nose. "Huh? Wait—"

Knuckle returned Tyson into his Pokéball and removed another one from his belt. "Well, third time's a charm right, Tsuna?"

"Uh, wait, I'm—"

"Arthur, go!"

A Cubone appeared, twirling his bone impressively, until he saw Tsuna. His eyes immediately teared up. "C—Cubone!"

"Wait, no, I'm not—" Tsuna gaped when Dante opened his mouth, getting ready for Ember. "Dante, n—"

"Cleffa!" Fairy suddenly leapt from Tsuna's face and back-kicked Arthur in the chest.

Tsuna gripped his hair. "Fairywhat did you do?"

The unconscious Cubone was swiftly returned to his PokéBall while Dante screamed some colorful words at Fairy's giggling, innocent face. Tsuna just stared on at the scene, not sure what to make of it. Bacchus patted his ankle again. "Saur."

Tsuna just fell onto his butt in shock as Knuckle headed towards him. The teen's words were a faint buzz in his ears. Mira patted his arm in concern while Dante looked up at him with wide eyes, mumbling his name. Bacchus just made himself home in Tsuna's slack arms. Fairy hopped onto his neck, cuddling his chin, as Ace flew down to perch on his shoulder instead.

"—ations, Tsuna! Here's your ultimate Boulder Badge! You earned it!"

Tsuna was pretty sure he didn't. It wasn't like he actually battled Knuckle; his Pokémon did all the work.

"I also feel very blessed," Knuckle rambled on, "because I sincerely believe that Arceus has sent you as a sign that the world will be revolving on a higher, greater, and better path for the future."

Tsuna stared at the teen for a good moment, and holy crap, he was being serious. "Wait, what? Did you just—Arceus what?"

That got him some really long lecture about the spiritual workings of the universe, Arceus, the Fated One, and all Tsuna could think about was how he should just go back home and hide under his covers.

Chapter Text

Sometimes Gokudera thought he got the short end of the stick when it came to his life. Honestly, the shitfest that happened after he was born was something out of the soap operas his mom watched sometimes. Oh, wait. The only good thing about his family was his mom, Lavina, who had been a world-renowned Pokémon Coordinator until she retired and opened a Pokémon Daycare Center in Kanto on Route 5. Even though she was originally from Sinnoh, Gokudera's father and his actual wife lived there so…yeah. Fucking awkward.

His half-siblings were the icing on the cake. Bianchi with her poisonous cooking and G with his incessant nagging pushed Gokudera's buttons way too much to the point that they fucking broke when he was 4. Thank Arceus that his mom decided to take him with her. He was already sick of seeing so much nauseating shades of pink (fuck G; his hair was pink, not red).

It was nice living with his mom. Gokudera didn't have be crushed to death by his father's wife, Colleen, every time he was forced to visit or suffer from Bianchi's less than edible glop of shit. Lavina was a compassionate woman, and Gokudera grudgingly acknowledged why his father fell in love with her. Still, it pissed him off. She was everything to him. She didn't deserve some scum like Matteo.

Her daycare business grew more popular as word spread out about her name. Matteo had been thorough about keeping the affair under wraps so Lavina could have some dignity left. Gokudera still hated his fucking guts. After he turned 6, Lavina had an Egg sent to her to take care of but the trainer never came or asked for it. There were some fair shares of abandoned Pokémon and Eggs though it didn't make it any easier. A Purrloin hatched some months later and Lavina gave her to Gokudera as his first Pokémon, which he named Uri.

He hated her and she hated him with a fucking passion.

Four years had passed since and not a day went by without Uri trying to scratch his eyes out or Gokudera attempting to choke the damn cat—not in front of his mom, obviously, or her shrewd Delcatty, Erika, who always seemed to know when they were fighting. Gokudera didn't know which was worse: his mom's cold temper or Erika's vicious fangs.

Along the line, he managed to actually catch a Pokémon for himself. A Growlithe he named Kohaku. He was kind of hoping that the Growlithe had some backbone but the dog Pokémon was easily scratched in submission by Uri. Why was the whole word fucking against him? Gokudera seriously wondered if there were any answers to his existence.

When he finally turned 10, he was pretty excited to explore what the world had to offer, but didn't leave right away so he could help his mom. She entered his room a few nights later and simply told him, "Hayato, there's so much more to see out there than staying here with me. I was like you when I was your age, but as time went one, I never once regretted it. Don't let me hold you back. Remember to make a lot of friends, alright? Don't cry, my sweet boy…"

It was mortifying, crying in his mom's arms like when he was younger, but a part of him spurred him on to take that first step. He wasn't going to let his mom down. However, Gokudera wasn't exactly the nicest person out there. Every trainer he met on the road stayed away from him. Heck, he even cursed out kids older than him if they got on his nerves. Honestly, Gokudera was having a harder time getting Uri to listen to him and Kohaku to stop shaking whenever he battled a wild Rattata or something else that jumped out of the bushes.

Still, he kept going even if his heart ached for his mom's gentle smiles and warm hugs. At night, he'd gaze up at the stars and dream about things he'd see to get his mind off of the depressing shit. It helped a bit, and he couldn't deny that his heart raced faster at the thought of meeting new Pokémon and maybe even going to other regions (minus Sinnoh because fuck that).

After two weeks on the road, Gokudera finally saw the large Mt. Moon in the distance, hidden by some dark clouds. It had rained a bit before but nothing unbearable. With wet mud sloshing underneath his feet, Gokudera jogged over until he was at the bottom of the mountain. He strained his ear when he heard something inside. At first, he thought it was just the wind but it sounded more like…humming? He pursed his lips. "The fuck?"

He trekked inside, careful not to make too much noise. He'd probably end up dead if he sent Uri or Kohaku out. The noise soon grew louder and louder as he walked deeper in the dimly lit cave. Gokudera narrowed his eyes. There should've been some Zubat or something at this point; not that he wanted them to but his muddy sneakers weren't exactly quiet. The trainer's guide clearly stated that there were Pokémon here, so not seeing any was weird. Did it have to do with the weird noise?

Gokudera paused in his step, his body going rigid. Was it Team Estraneo? If the current Kanto Champion and his friends hadn't stepped in, the terrorist group would've stolen the Red Orb a few years ago. Gokudera scoffed. He heard that G was part of the little entourage but didn't really care much. "Damn bastard," he muttered.

Still, Gokudera kind of envied G, who had been best friends with Giotto ever since they met in Sinnoh. He shook his head. What was he thinking? Jealous of G? He must be smokin' some weird shit or something. Gokudera blinked when Uri and Kohaku suddenly escaped their PokéBalls in bright flashes of light. They ran off before he could process what just happened. "W—Wait! Where are you going? Oi, come back here!"

He sprinted to catch up with them. The noise grew louder before he realized that they were a bunch of chants by Clefairys, the near pinnacle of UMP's (Unidentified Mysterious Pokémon). Gokudera ran faster until the light at the end of the tunnel became brighter.

His jaw dropped.

"Clefairy! Clefairy! Clefairy!"

Dozens of Clefairys hopped and twirled around a rocky pedestal that had a boy about his age, maybe younger, sitting on top in dumb horror. None of the Pokémon noticed Gokudera and he wasn't aware of his own two Pokémon trying to push through the crowds of Clefairys. No, he just gawked at the strange phenomenon, too stunned to speak.

"I—I'm not your anything!" the small boy said, snapping out of his daze and trying to pry a Cleffa off his face. "Fairy, tell them to stop!"

"Cleffa!"

"For Arceus' sake, I'm not your mama! Stop calling me that! Hibari, do something!"

All the Clefairys stopped their celebratory dance. Even Gokudera shivered. Their eyes were anything but innocent, making their smiles creepier. "Clefairy," all of them said together in some kind of cult fashion.

The small boy widened his eyes. "No! I'm not staying here with you forever! Gah, just give me back my Pokémon! What did you do to them?"

And it was at that moment, Gokudera believed that he just stumbled across some sort of strange but awesome miracle.

Chapter Text

"Clefairy! Clefairy! Clefairy!"

How in the world did Tsuna get into this mess in the first place? Well…

After leaving Pewter City, Fairy was more excited than usual. Tsuna just let him drone on, not really processing his excited babbles. Honestly he stopped when Fairy mentioned something about "brethren" and just yeah, no. Snoring lightly, Bacchus slept soundly in Tsuna's arms while Dante and Mira bickered about the best ways to mutilate Fairy. Ace kept a lookout from Tsuna's head and Hibari wasn't helping in any way again like usual, the jerk.

Soon they arrived at the foot of a large mountain. Tsuna bent his back backwards trying to look up at the top. The starry sky was a nice backdrop until gray clouds started rolling in. A drop of water plopped on Tsuna's nose. Gasping, he quickly ushered everyone inside, pushing Hibari to make the fucker move. "It's going to rain!"

As if on cue, more rain started falling from the sky, pattering against the dirt road and tall forest trees. Tsuna checked to make sure Dante's tail was good to go when Fairy hopped down and pointed deep inside the dim cave. "Cleffa!"

"Oh, you know the way?" Tsuna said, rubbing Dante's head. Mira smiled when Tsuna patted hers after. "Hibari, do you know this place?"

Hibari walked ahead of him. "I've conquered it."

Tsuna blinked. "Huh?" He quickly followed Hibari's calm strides. "What do you mean?"

"Cleffa!"

"Oh, you're from here?"

"Cleffa?"

"Y—Yes, I was listening! Uh, your…brethren, right?"

Fairy smiled again. "Cleffa! Cleffa, Cleffa!"

"Uh, I don't know about a family reunion…"

But Fairy had already lifted Tsuna above his head, making him shriek, and dashed off. Dante and Mira cried out Tsuna's name before quickly following suit. Screaming, Tsuna held onto Bacchus like a lifeline while Ace tried pecking Fairy's eyes. The Cleffa spun and kicked Ace away. The motion made Tsuna dizzy and almost drop Bacchus who finally woke the fuck up.

What greeted him was probably the most terrifying thing he'd ever seen. Dozens upon dozens of bigger Cleffas, chanting "Clefairy", spun in the air around a beautiful, glimmering stone resting on a rocky pedestal. Amazed, Tsuna couldn't help but stare as it twinkled under the moonlight—until the Clefairys suddenly stopped and a few pushed the Moon Stone off, making a loud crash. Tsuna couldn't even blink when Fairy hopped on top of the platform and placed him down. He then flung Bacchus off to some Clefairys, who took the confused Bulbasaur away to Arceus knew where. Tsuna widened his eyes. "B—Bacchus!"

Fairy gripped his shirt tightly to stop him from leaving. "Cleffa!"

"What? I'm not—You never said that!"

Fairy then turned to address the other Clefairys, "Cleffa, Cleff, Cleffa! Cleffa!"

Tsuna paled as Hibari appeared at the entrance, aloof. "I—One, stop calling me that! Two, I'm not going to become your Queen! What…"

No one listened to him. And that was how he was stuck with a bunch of Clefairys chanting crazy stuff. "Clefairy! Clefairy! Clefairy!"

"I—I'm not your anything!" Tsuna said, trying to take off the cuddling Fairy from his face. "Fairy, tell them to stop!"

"Cleffa!"

"For Arceus' sake, I'm not your mama! Stop calling me that! Hibari, do something!"

Hibari just stood there with his arms crossed over his chest, silent. The fucking—

All the Clefairys stopped in their dance. Their smiles were just creepy. "Clefairy," they all said in one big unison. Tsuna flinched. "No! I'm not staying here with you forever!" Mira, Dante, and Ace were missing, too. "Gah, just give me back my Pokémon! What did you do to them?"

"Clefairy," one of them said.

"What do you mean they're asleep? Give them back!"

"Clefairy! Clefairy!"

Tsuna covered his face with his hands. His fingers trembled as he took in a shaky breath. "Please… Fairy, make them stop…"

Silence fell in the rocky clearing. Tears suddenly sprung up in his eyes when Fairy hopped down from his face, looking worried. "Cleffa…"

Tsuna sniffled. "I—It's not your fault. Just…can we just go?"

"Clefairy! Clefairy!"

"Cleffa."

Tsuna blinked when Fairy held him up again and hopped over the Clefairys' heads. The wind swept through his hair as Fairy sprinted down another cave. Hibari was terrifyingly not far behind. How they worked together so well was a mystery to Tsuna; then again, his own life was one big mystery. The ground shook underneath them, rumbling in the air, as the Clefairys chased them down. "Clefairy!"

Fairy smiled. "Cleffa!"

Tsuna wiped his eyes. "Watch your language!"

Fairy just giggled. Suddenly he turned around and opened his mouth. It started glowing a light blue color before he released a powerful wind of blue sparkles at the Clefairys, effectively freezing them in a large, wonky block of ice. Fairy tittered again. "Cleffa!"

Tsuna shivered. "Um, yeah….great job. Can you take me to my Pokémon now?"

"Cleffa!"

"…you're Hibari's Pokémon…"

"Cleffa, Cleffa!"

Tsuna flushed. "Don't call him that!"

"Cleffa!"

Tsuna just pinched the bridge of his nose. "Just…get me to my Pokémon."

Apparently, the Clefairys were right. His Pokémon were thrown into a small pile and snoozing off along with the myriad of wild Zubats, Geodudes, and Paras. Oh, so that was where they were. Tsuna hopped down from Cleffa's stubby hands and returned his sleeping Pokémon inside their PokéBalls for the first time since he met them. Sighing, he followed Fairy out of the mountain; the air smelled damp from the rain and the starless sky was clear of most of the clouds. Tsuna almost collapsed on a boulder and slumped. "I'm going to pretend that never happened…"

Hibari grunted. "They don't do that."

Tsuna scowled weakly. "You think anyone wants that to happen? That was scary and you weren't any help!"

"Cleffa, Cleffa!"

"We're not fighting! I'm just trying to get this—this jerk to understand that I never asked for this."

Fairy rubbed Tsuna's ankle. "Cleffa!"

"I'm not your m—You know what, never mind."

A voice shouted in the distance, "Wait!"

Tsuna stared when a strange purple cat and a Growlithe bounded towards him. He squeaked when they leaped for him before meeting Cleffa's foot. They rolled on the ground just as a boy with silver hair appeared at the mouth of the cave. Panting, he leaned on his knees to catch his breath. Tsuna did not like the way the boy looked at him.

"A—Are you a UMA or a UMP?"

Tsuna blinked. "What?"

"What you did back there was amazing and I've never seen or read anything about that before! How did you get the Clefairys to do that? They only worship the Moon Stone but then I saw you actually talking to them so I have to know! Are you an UMA? Or maybe even something else?"

"What?"

Chapter Text

Tsuna didn't know what to make of the new boy in their…squad, team, group, whatever. They were a far cry from friends, that was for sure. Now, Tsuna was a polite boy. His mother made sure he learned his manners and he was pretty good at that, too. But if Gokudera asked him one more question about whether or not an UMA or UMP—Tsuna didn't know the difference and didn't care to ask—had contacted him in the last years or whatever science, psycho-babble he was saying 24/7, Tsuna was going to sick Ace on his eyes or something.

He was tired from that whole cult episode in Mt. Moon. At some point, his Pokémon (minus Bastion) escaped their PokéBalls and walked alongside the small group. Though it was endearing when they checked over Tsuna to make sure he was okay, he wasn't in the mood, even keeping Fairy at a distance, which, well…

After setting up camp with Gokudera's overzealous help, Tsuna pulled out his guidebook from his bag and held it near the small campfire. Everyone's Pokémon were out, having eaten dinner he made for them, and snoozed uncomfortably close to him. He wasn't even sure if Ace or Hibird was perched on his head but he didn't look up to check.

"What are you doing?" Gokudera said, laying out his red sleeping bag.

He scowled at his Pokémon somewhere around Tsuna's legs, which were going numb from Bacchus and Mira's combined weight. Hibari was up in the trees somewhere, already sleeping with Fairy snoozing on his stomach. After Tsuna had lashed out at the star-shaped Pokémon, he had uncharacteristically fallen silent and didn't bother him the whole day.

Hibari wasn't pleased but Tsuna didn't care.

The boy flipped his guidebook to a map of the Kanto region. "Trying to find the best way to get to Cerulean City."

Gokudera's eyes lit up. "Are you a trainer?"

"I guess." Tsuna found Mt. Moon and shivered before trying to best guess where they were on the map. "We're not too far. We might reach there tomorrow afternoon if we wake up early."

Gokudera tapped his chin thoughtfully. Before Tsuna could get his usual "I don't know" answer ready for the other boy's crazy questions, Gokudera surprised him by saying, "We don't have to get there in the afternoon. There's another route, a shortcut. I can show it to you."

Tsuna blinked. "Wait, really?"

Gokudera nodded. "We don't have to wake up that early, too." He quickly added, "I mean, if that's what you want. We don't have to."

"Why not? I think it's better if we can sleep in a bit." Tsuna grunted as he wriggled inside his orange sleeping bag and zipped it up, just leaving enough open so he could leave out his arms. "Erm, sorry that I didn't ask before but are you from around here?"

Gokudera shimmied under his sleeping bag. "My mom owns the Daycare Center on Route 5. It's near Cerulean City."

"Oh." Another bout of awkward silence passed. The fire crackled quietly between them. At least the stars were pretty to look at. "Is this your first time away from home?"

"Yes." Gokudera spoke much quieter now and Tsuna suddenly felt horrible for treating him like crap. They were just a couple of 10-year-olds thrust into the world and asked to fend for themselves—what would they know? Even if he had a couple of overprotective Pokémon, it wouldn't be all that bad to try to make friends.

Even if they were a bunch of weirdos, a small voice whispered in the back of his head.

Tsuna ignored it.

"Well, I never thought three was a crowd," Tsuna said awkwardly. "We can…travel together."

Gokudera bolted up, his eyes wide. "Really?"

Hibari grunted from his place in the tree, a small warning to shut up. Gokudera didn't seem to hear it. Grimacing, Tsuna nodded. "Yeah. Um, we should go to sleep. Get ready for the big day, you know?" He laughed nervously and cursed his non-existent social skills.

"Right!" Gokudera said, his voice just barely above a whisper.

Tsuna wasn't sure if he was just desperate or really, really dumb. Why didn't he just stay home?


Gokudera's shortcut was useful. The trio and small band of Pokémon arrived at Cerulean City just before noon. It was beautiful, with clean white buildings, lush greenery, and a long river that flowed on the outskirts; people bustled in the streets and there was a much more carefree-vibe here compared to Pewter City.

Fairy was back on Tsuna's shoulder again, cooing and singing happily. After apologizing to the Pokémon, Tsuna could barely feel his back from the too forgiving hug. Gokudera had spouted off all these facts about Cerulean City, pointing out the more popular spots like a bike shop, the Pokémon Center, the Cerulean Marine Stadium, and of course, the Cerulean Gym.

Tsuna and his Pokémon gaped at the largely renovated building. Instead of a circular dome, the top was triangular, coupled with powerful white frames and blue glass windows. A small white bridge connected land to the entrance where there was a small channel of water underneath. A PokéBall was etched in the middle of a Starmie design above the door.

"This is the gym?" Tsuna said, his eyes wide.

"Charmander…"

"You could say that again."

Gokudera scribbled something in his notebook like always whenever Tsuna interacted with his Pokémon and fixed his glasses on his nose. "Yeah." He shrugged. "It's not that impressive but I guess it has a cool aquarium."

Tsuna perked up. "They have an aquarium?"

"Inside, yeah."

Tsuna wondered if Giotto hung out and battled other trainers inside a cool building, too. "Well, can we go in?"

"It's free admission." Gokudera tapped the end of his pencil against his chin. "They might be having a show going on. That's also free."

Why were so many things free? Well, not that Tsuna was complaining but he doubted the gym could get much money from just free stuff. Huh, maybe the League was more loaded than he thought.

"What kind of show?"

Hibari grunted and stalked inside the building. "Just go in, omnivore."

Fairy chirped in agreement and stuck out his stubby arm as if to say "Onward, peasant!" Tsuna just sighed but followed Hibari anyways with Gokudera trailing behind him.


No one was in the long, fancy hallways but Gokudera led them to a set of closed doors and ushered them inside. Tsuna flinched from a sudden roar of applause around him and gasped when he looked down the steep stairs. They were in a dark stadium of sorts with the bright lights aimed at a huge pool below. There were some raised podiums showcasing some Staryus spouting water from their five legs while leaping over each other in some sort of dance.

Suddenly, the Starmies in the water started glowing blue by using Psychic, along with the beautiful streams that the Staryus tirelessly sent out. The drummers from the sidelines picked up speed, hitting their drums louder and louder with their wooden sticks to an exciting rhythm. Tsuna watched, dazzled, as the torrents of water raised higher and higher in the air, twisting and twirling until they formed a large sphere.

The audience gasped, and Tsuna was pretty sure he did, too. The drummers hit their last note and in perfect synchronicity, the sphere burst, revealing a beautiful Vaporeon and a teen boy in a blue kimono. They glowed blue and gently drifted to the platform, obviously preening from the loud cheers and whistles from the amazed crowd. Smiling, the teen held a flute in one hand while waving at everyone with the other.

"Bravo!"

"Encore, encore!"

"Asari, I love you!"

"Have my babies!"

Tsuna wrinkled his nose at that while Fairy just giggled, poking his cheek teasingly. Ace failed to rip it off. Tsuna almost encouraged him—almost.

The aquarium was something else. There were normal fish in all shapes and sized swimming in the large tanks that filled up a long, twisting hallway. The lights were dimmed, letting the glow of the blue water entice the visitors itself. Hibari stalked along the tanks slowly, taking in every single creature inside, before finding them boring and lying on one of the benches to nap on.

"—and their cores grow the brightest when the sun goes down," Gokudera rambled on. Tsuna just asked if Staryus were common around the area and didn't expect an answer, much less a lecture. Although, Gokudera sure knew a lot and the info was pretty neat. "A lot of scientists and researchers believe that they might have some connection to celestial bodies in space."

Tsuna tilted his head, watching a pretty guppy fish swim by. "Celestial what?"

"Like stars and planets," Gokudera said without prejudice. "Since Staryus live at the bottom of the ocean, it's not common to see them up close but sometimes they'll show up in rivers. But when they do approach the surface, it's at night and they actually align themselves with the stars. I heard that it's a really interesting behavior. Professor Bermuda said—"

The sound of doors opening echoed down the hall before squeaky footsteps followed, drawing closer until Asari appeared with his Vaporeon. Hibari opened one eye, sizing him up, then closed it, going back to sleep. Tsuna opened his mouth to say something, even though he had no clue what he wanted to say, and ended up blurting out, "You were really good."

That sounded lame. Even Dante winced. Asari took it in stride though and smiled. "Thank you," he said. "You must be Tsunayoshi."

Tsuna blinked while Gokudera looked between them curiously. "You know me?"

Asari chuckled while dabbing a white towel on his face. How his kimono looked perfectly fine was beyond Tsuna. "Of course I know you." He sounded so…prince-y. "Giotto talks fondly of his little brother after all."

Gokudera's jaw dropped. "Wait, you're the Kanto Champion's brother?" He put on his glasses and scribbled something in his notebook that he procured from Arceus knew where, looking Tsuna up and down unnervingly close. "I'm so stupid. You even look like him. I'm blind. That's it. I'm going blind."

Tsuna eyed him oddly while he muttered curses and numbers under his breath. He was starting to regret their tentative friendship again. Mira and Uri stood as a buffer zone between Gokudera and Tsuna though the former didn't seem to notice, too lost in his…whatever he was doing.

"You must be here for a gym battle," Asari said, smiling ruefully. "I apologize but this month's schedule has been filled with performances."

Tsuna widened his eyes. "The month? Wait, but I'm not here for a—"

"Although I'm sure you want to continue your journey as fast as possible." Asari slipped a hand inside his kimono, making Tsuna blush and look at the ceiling. Fairy looked at Asari with disapproving eyes. The gym leader procured a small blue case and opened it. Tsuna blinked when Asari handed him the Cascade Badge. "Here. This is what you came for, right?" Asari smiled. "I'd like to stay and talk more with you but I have another show soon. Good luck on your journey. Say hello to Giotto for me."

"…wait, what?"

Chapter Text

"Tsuna! Wow, you're in Cerulean City already? I heard from Knuckle that you beat him in a battle! That's amazing!"

"…"

"He has a little brother and sister, too! I think his sister's the same age as you."

"…"

"Did you meet Asari? He's so busy all the time it's hard to get a hold of him sometimes."

"…"

"Oh right, Alaude called me a few days ago. It's nice of his brother to join you. I was kind of worried, you know? Not that I didn't think you'd be able to travel by yourself! I just think it's nice that you'd make friends. How is he? I've met him once. He can be intense, but their whole family is pretty intense to be honest."

"…"

"…Tsuna? Are you there? Can you hear me?"

"…"

"Is something wrong with your phone? Huh, that's weird."

"Nii-san."

"Oh, hey! It works! Can you hear me, Tsuna?"

"I see Tuffy in my dreams."

"Oh…you met Tuffy. I'm sorry you had to see—"

"Never ask me to do that again."

"O—Oh, yeah, no p—"

"Bye."

"Wait, T—"

Tsuna hung up.


Even if Tsuna hadn't come for a gym battle, taking the Cascade Badge just like that made him feel cheap. He wasn't the most driven person out there, but he still thought that rewards should be earned through hard work. He wondered if Asari had given the badge so easily to other trainers before him.

Well he gave it back, surprising Asari, and left the gym, but not before the Vaporeon silently demanded a pat on her pretty head with a sniff. Tsuna had snatched Bacchus and Dante up before they could maim her face and bolted for the door, yelling his goodbyes and apologies.

After that, the odd trio rested in the Pokémon Center. Hibari was dozing on a bench with Fairy, using his bag as a pillow, while Tsuna and Gokudera sat at a table to keep some distance. Something about crowding or whatever Hibari said.

"What a coward," Gokudera ranted, munching on a sandwich. Tsuna poked at his salad and mindlessly fed kibbles to Bacchus by hand. "What's the point of being a gym leader if you're not going to battle anyone? Instead of the Prince of Cerulean City, he's more like the Pu—"

"Yo!" a voice said.

The crew looked up to see a grinning boy standing beside their table. Gokudera narrowed his eyes while Uri hissed. Tsuna blinked. "Hi," he said before Gokudera could say anything. "Did you need something?"

"I was just wondering if you were Sawada Tsunayoshi," the boy said. "I'm Yamamoto Takeshi, Asari's brother."

Gokudera rolled his eyes. "Just ignore him. It's probably nothing."

Tsuna fed Bacchus another kibble. "Oh, yeah, I am. But you can just call me Tsuna."

"Great!" Yamamoto said. "I'm here to give you a message from my brother. He was hoping you could come to the gym now if you're not busy."

Gokudera and Tsuna stared at him for a long moment. If it was possible, Yamamoto's smile became ten times brighter. Uri tried to swipe the boy's ankles until Tsuna managed to hold her back. She hissed when Yamamoto laughed.

"You have a cute cat."

Tsuna should've seen it coming. Gokudera exploded.


After Nurse Joy patched up Gokudera and Yamamoto, along with Uri, the boys headed over to the gym. Tsuna nobly placed himself in-between them to make sure Gokudera didn't try to punch Yamamoto's face again. The only Pokémon out were Tsuna's and Fairy. Nonetheless, Tsuna was very displeased, more displeased than exasperated. He didn't know if that was a good thing or not. Hibari was just miffed that he couldn't join in the fight.

When they finally reached the gym, Takeshi led him inside to where the show took place, chattering happily about baseball despite the bandages around his arms from Uri's scratches. Well, at least Gokudera missed his face thanks to Kohaku and Ace pulling him back at the last second.

The stage arena was gone and in its place was a stone field with no water in sight. Bells went off in Tsuna's head when he noticed Asari, who still wore his blue kimono, on the other side of the battlefield. The teen smiled when Tsuna and his…groupmates appeared. "Hello, Tsunayoshi," he said. "I'm sorry for calling you here so suddenly."

Hibari hopped over the railing and lied down on the bleachers, already out like a light. Gokudera scowled at Asari. "What do you want?" he said. "Did you think that Tsuna might be up for a fight now or something?"

Asari lightly smacked his flute against his palm. "Actually, yes."

Gokudera blinked. "Eh?"

"That's why I sent Takeshi to bring him here. You left quite an impression, Tsunayoshi. Not many trainers lately would've done what you did."

Tsuna deadpanned. "Giving back something that they didn't want in the first place?"

Asari laughed. "Yes!"

Wait, was this all a test? Tsuna thought, his face paling.

The brunet licked his lips. "Um, Asari-san, I don't really—"

"You left me to do some thinking and re-evaluate my priorities." Asari chuckled. "I admit, I've been swept away with my performances instead of focusing on the gym."

"It's okay. I don't m—"

"And since I'm free for a moment now, I thought it would be a good time to set things straight."

"Well, I'm sure someone would l—"

A loud beep sounded through the arena before the stone field started to retract into the floor and fill with water. Tsuna gaped as the waves softly sloshed around the edges. He took a small step back. "Um, I don't really—"

Asari pointed his flute at him in an almost dramatic fashion. Tsuna wondered if it ever broke before or if it even could. Also, why couldn't Asari just talk to him face-to-face without yelling across the battlefield? "So I challenge you to a Pokémon battle!"

"Yeah?" Gokudera said, snapping out of his stupor. "Well, he's going to beat you so hard your as—"

"Can I just go?" Tsuna said meekly.

Dante stepped forward. "Char, Charmander!"

"Are you crazy? There's nothing but water out there! You're just gonna drown!"

Cawing, Ace fluttered his wings and puffed out his chest.

"No! No dive bombs!" Tsuna groaned. "Asari-san, you really don't have to. Besides, I'm sure Hibari or even Gokud—"

"We'll each use two Pokémon," Asari said, still with that dumb smile on his face. "Takeshi can be our referee. Is that okay with you?"

Was no one listening to him? Did no one care what he thought?

"Tenth," Gokudera whispered in Tsuna's ear, "I'm confident you can beat him."

Tsuna looked at him as if he grew five heads. "Tenth? Why are you calling me Tenth?"

Gokudera flushed. "Well, yesterday was the tenth day of the month and we met at exactly 10 PM, too." He shrugged, looking at the ceiling. "I thought it fit."

Tsuna's brow twitched. "How thoughtful."

Gokudera brightened up. "Really? Does that mean that you consider me your right-hand man? Well, you don't have to but—"

"Let's—Let's just talk about that later, okay? I have…a battle thing, whatever, to do."

"Right! I'm sorry for bothering you, Tenth!"

Tsuna grimaced. Yeah, he was going to have to fix that after this mess. When Gokudera settled down on the bleachers and Yamamoto took his spot at the referee position, Tsuna stood awkwardly at the other side of the field with his Pokémon by his feet and Ace in his hair. Bacchus yawned.

Asari threw a PokéBall in the air. "Shelly, let's go!"

A Shellder dove into the water, a darting purple shell in the water, before leaping out and giving Tsuna a smile. "Shellder!"

"Um, yeah, hi," Tsuna said.

Mira stepped forward when Shellder swam back to the other side. "Squirtle."

"Oh, yeah, you can go…" Crap, Tsuna had no idea what he was doing. His Pokémon battled for him and he was still working out the kinks of Pokémon battling. He was screwed, so screwed.

"Cleffa, Cleffa!" Fairy had procured red pom-poms out of nowhere and was chanting up a storm on the railing. He twirled in the air. "Cleffa!"

Tsuna gulped. "Um, hopefully no skulls are going to be crushed."

"You seem to have a good camaraderie with your Pokémon," Asari said when Mira dove swiftly in the water. "Shelly, use Tackle!"

Mira dove deeper into the pool to dodge Shelly and swiftly turned around with Water Gun ready. Shelly squealed as she was shot out of the water and slammed into the ceiling. Tsuna nearly tore his hair out. "Mira, that was too much! Bacchus, catch her!"

"Bulb."

"Use your vine whips, you lazy dumbo!"

With a sigh, Bacchus did what Tsuna ordered, caught Shelly with his vine whips, and almost tossed her to the side. Grinning, Yamamoto raised his left arm. "Shelly's out. Tsuna wins the first round!"

Asari nodded gratefully when he returned Shelly to her PokéBall. "Admirable work, my friend. Rest easy now."

Tsuna jumped when Mira patted his platform. "Squirtle, Squirt!"

"Oh, um, yeah, you can keep going. But please don't be too…rough?"

"I suppose it was a bit premature to send Shelly out," Asari said, taking out another PokéBall. "She's not that experienced with battling yet."

Tsuna widened his eyes. "And you just sent her out?"

Asari smiled pleasantly. "Most of the Pokémon here are show-performers. Well, except for my own team; but you don't want to battle them. You're not ready." He threw the PokéBall in the air. "Shuri, go!"

A Staryu spun into the water. Retreating inside her shell, Mira sped towards Shuri to strike her down but Asari was quicker. "Harden!"

Shuri immediately tensed, flashing white, and took Mira's attack straight-on without a twitch. Tsuna gasped. "Mira!" Coming out of her shell, Mira shook her head, a bit confused. "Are you okay?"

"Shuri, use Swift!" Asari said.

Glowing, yellow star-shaped rays shot out of Shuri's red core. Mira tried to swim away but the attack landed without fail, creating a small explosion underneath the water. Tsuna knelt down at the edge of his podium, his eyes wide. "Mira!"

He fell back when Shuri suddenly leapt out of the water in a dazzle of beautiful spray. "Star!"

Dante glared. "Charmander!"

"No, you're not going in there!" Tsuna said, taking out Mira's PokéBall. After making sure Mira returned, he stood up.

"Don't worry, Tenth!" Gokudera said. "You can send out another Pokémon!"

Okay, Tsuna was incompetent, not dumb. Wait, which was worse?

"Mira's out!" Yamamoto said, raising his right hand. "Asari wins!"

"Swift never misses its target," Asari said. "Your Mira wouldn't have been able to avoid it either way."

Before Tsuna could tell Asari to just shut it, a sound from his belt made him blink. Bastion waded in the waters. "Karp, Magikarp."

Oh, you gotta be kidding me, Tsuna thought.

"Um, Bastion, I didn't call y—"

"Magikarp."

"I mean, you don't really do al—"

"Karp, Karp."

"You have a plan?"

"Karp."

Tsuna sighed. "I still don't think you should go in."

"Are you ready, Tsunayoshi?" Asari said. "You seem like you are. Shuri, use Swift!"

"Wait!"

Shuri released another stream of star-shaped rays at Bastion. Tsuna inhaled sharply. "Bastion, move, dodge, get out of the way, something!"

He yelped when a wave of water splashed against him. Bastion leapt in the air to an impressive height with Swift at his tail before diving forward at Shuri. "Karp!"

"Shuri, dodge!"

It was too late. Bastion plunged into the waters, right at Shuri, just as Swift created small explosions on impact. Tsuna gawked at the spot. Did Bastion just kamikaze himself? That was his genius plan?

A few tense seconds passed by until something re-surfaced. It was Shuri. Bastion joined her, also unconscious.

"Both Pokémon are out!" Yamamoto said. "And since Tsuna won the first round, he's the winner!"

Tsuna could only stare in dumb awe as his Pokémon, Gokudera, and Fairy cheered. Bacchus helped Bastion out of the water with his vine whips and held him up like he was a God. He didn't hear Asari's congratulations or Gokudera's excited chatter, too much in a daze.

He left Cerulean City the next day with the Cascade Badge and a set goal in mind. He was going to get better as a Trainer so his Pokémon didn't have to keep fighting for him. They were going to have to work on battling together. Yeah! That sounded like a good p—

Tsuna whirled around quickly. "What are you doing?"

With his traveling pack in tow, Yamamoto laughed. He wasn't even embarrassed, the jerk. "I'm just going to the next city!"

"On this path?" Gokudera said, scowling.

Yamamoto was unperturbed. "Who knew we were going to be on the same road! Funny, huh?"

A moment of silence passed. Tsuna finally sighed. "Fine. You can join us."

"Oh, really? Thanks!"

Three was already a crowd. And now, there was another one.

Chapter Text

"Because of you, we took the wrong path, dumbass!"

"Don't curse," Tsuna mumbled, looking down at his shoes. Mira and Dante gave Gokudera a glare that he didn't catch.

Yamamoto laughed. "You don't have to be so angry. It's pretty foggy, you know? We can always go back."

Tsuna cringed when Gokudera whirled around, scowling. Even through the mist, Tsuna could see how angry the other boy was. "We're not going anywhere, and I'm pretty damn sure we're just walking in circles at this point! Why did you have to go off on your own like that? Tenth almost went crazy when you disappeared!"

Okay, that was a bit of a stretch. Yamamoto only disappeared for like, 2 minutes before Ace led him back to the group. The fog was pretty thick and Tsuna only screamed once, okay? Hibari was a couple of steps behind them, something about "crowding herbivores". Tsuna knew he was still around because Fairy always called for him every few minutes that they were nearby; and for some reason, Fairy wanted him to respond with some kind of affirmative.

"Cleffa!"

Tsuna sighed. "Yeah, I'm alive." He watched Gokudera yelling Yamamoto's ear off for a few more minutes. "Hey, guys. Uh, guys, we should just—"

"—on't need a map!" Gokudera said, shaking Yamamoto by the collar. "I know every route in every region like the back of my fu—"

"Guys!" Everyone froze. Bacchus yawned, all comfortable in Tsuna's arms, and blinked once before snoozing again. "We're going to find a nice camping site and settle, okay? Stop screaming at each other. There's nothing we can do about the fog. We'll wait until it goes away."

"I'm sorry, Tenth!" Gokudera said in near tears.

Tsuna sighed. "Let's just find a spot for tonight."

"Cleffa!"

"Yes, I'm not dead yet!"


It took more time convincing his Pokémon to stay put than Gokudera from strangling Yamamoto to death. In the end, Tsuna managed to have most of his overly-clingy party stay put and guard their things in exchange for more food (and cuddles) when he returned. He couldn't do anything about Hibari, who was napping in a tree, unless he wanted to get punched in the face, so Fairy was left with the responsibility of making sure he didn't die or whatever. Gokudera and Yamamoto went separate ways to gather firewood since Tsuna was pretty sure Gokudera would find some ways to stab Yamamoto with sticks or worse. With Ace and Bacchus in tow, Tsuna went off to find some berry trees.

"Why don't you ever walk on your own?" he said, shifting the sleeping Bulbasaur in his arms. "And stop sleeping for once. You're like Hibari. I'm surprised you guys even function at all."

Bacchus yawned. "Saur…"

Tsuna flushed. "I'm not nagging! What are you—" He winced when Ace suddenly flapped his wings and tugged his hair with his claws. "What? Oh!"

He stopped in front of a tall tree and squinted when he looked up. The fog made it a little difficult to see, but he was pretty sure those were Oran Berries. "Ace, could you drop some?" He placed Bacchus carefully on the ground and unzipped his bag. "Ready when you are."

Ace trilled an affirmative and flew up, disappearing in the haze. Soon, blue berries fell from the tree. "Hey, hey, hey, slow down! I don't need this much! Ace, this is—Oof!" Tsuna tripped over a root and fell but didn't reach the floor. Instead, he was held up mid-air thanks to Bacchus' vines. "Thanks…"

"Saur…"

"I'm not clumsy! I can't see through the fog!"

After Bacchus set him down, Tsuna peered inside his bag and nodded. "This should be more than enough. Here." He crouched, handing Bacchus an Oran Berry. "It tastes good." While the Bulbasaur nibbled on the sweet treat, Ace flew down for his share, too.

Smiling, Tsuna petted them both. It was really nice to have them with him, even if they were pretty clingy. It didn't make him feel so lonely. He stopped for a moment and strained his ear. A strange sound came from the distance. It sounded like…a treadmill? Standing up with Bacchus in his arms, Tsuna looked towards the direction from where it was coming from.

And followed it like an idiot.

Before he could berate himself for being so stupid, he blinked when he saw some candlelight in the distance. Were there other people here? And who would work out on a treadmill in the forest?

"—ernce in a Venomoth's dark and light scales?" someone said. He sounded like he was Tsuna's age.

"I—I'm not—Can I stop?" another boy panted out. "I can't really think…"

"Hey, hey, hey, keep running!" a third boy said. "We're not even close to finishing yet!"

"You didn't answer in time. I'm increasing the speed, Enma."

"H—Huh? Wait, no!"

There was a loud crash and a yelp before Tsuna finally approached the group. He gasped when he saw a redhead boy on the ground, groaning in pain. "A—Are you okay?"

"Who are you?" one of the boys said, making Tsuna freeze in place. All of them were wearing the same blue uniforms. "You're not a student and you're trespassing on school property."

Tsuna blinked. "School property…?"

The fog dissipated, revealing a large, fancy school with white bricks and orange rooftops. The gates had an elegant inscription: Pokémon Technical Academy. Tsuna gaped. Since when was there a school like this? And in the middle of the woods? When he looked back at the group, the other boys were gone, except for the one named Enma. What the…

"A—Are you okay?" Tsuna said, grimacing at the amount of Band-Aids on Enma's face. He couldn't reach out a hand because Bacchus liked being deadweight in his arms, and Ace pulled him back by the hair. "Um, yeah, I'd—Can you stand?"

Enma gave him a shaky smile, but it looked more like a wince. "I can, just… You should leave. It's not good if you stay longer."

"Huh? Why? And where did those guys go?"

Standing, Enma pursed his lips. "Really, I insist."

"But—"

"Who are you?"

Both boys flinched when a shadow loomed over them. Ace flapped his wings more out of surprise than aggression. Tsuna paled at the sight of a tall girl with black hair in a high ponytail—and she looked furious.

"You're not a student," the girl said, glaring at Tsuna. "What were you doing to Enma? Who gave you authorization?"

Enma laughed weakly. "Um, Adelheid, you're—"

His friend didn't listen. Tsuna felt a sense of dread when she took out a PokéBall from her belt. "You're going to regret messing with him."

Didn't she see the treadmill and the boys and the—Ah, crap, Tsuna was screwed. The PokéBall was already in the air before he could try to make a case for himself.

"Cloyster!"