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A Dance Through Fire

Chapter Text

The cityscape glittered like a thousand shining gemstones, its buildings a parade of neon lights soaring into the dark night sky. This was the region's entertainment capital, and thousands of captivated tourists flocked to the city's many attractions. It is Nimbasa City, a city said to be "lit by the flash of lighting". From the gleaming Rondez-View Ferris Wheel, to the bustling underground Subway, to the lively sports stadiums, it was impossible not to find something to enjoy here. This couldn't be more true for one resident of the city, wholly engrossed in the performance before her…

In front of her excited blue eyes danced pairs of Pokémon, dressed in bright scarlet costumes. The dancers twirled and spun in each other's arms in a beautiful display of finesse and prowess. Their moving forms, the flashing scenery... it was almost too much for the viewer to take in all at once. She was all too familiar with this performance, one that she had begged her trainer to see time after time. While devoted to her training in battles since being a tiny Torchic, she has been enamoured with the intricacies of dance for as long as she could remember. She thought the title of this production, "Exciting Nimbasa", was all too fitting. The tango was undoubtedly her favorite style of dance, the movements, passion, and emotion that she felt was like being wrapped in a warm blanket, or a loving embrace. Like all good things however, this show must come to an end. As the performers left and the lights dimmed, the Blaziken shot out of her seat, clapping and chirping enthusiastically. Her trainer followed soon after, clapping in satisfaction (although not as much as his excessively eager partner).

The air was crisp and the breeze calming as the two, trainer and Pokémon, walked down the busy sidewalk. Slightly larger than the average Blaziken at just over 2 meters, the Blaziken could comfortably rest her head on her shorter trainer's head, should she choose to do so (and let me tell you, she tried to quite often). The Pokémon had been very... clingy as a Torchic and Combusken, often rubbing, nuzzling, or gently pecking her trainer. Terry, her trainer, had to wean her off of the more... potentially harmful actions when she evolved, uncomfortable and unfamiliar with her new body, often unintentionally leaving her trainer with bruises and scratches from the accidental roughness of her affections.

The "Blaze Pokémon" let off a series of happy squawks, then spoke. "Blaze, blazi!"

Her trainer smiled. "I know, Kenia. It was a great show as usual."

The two had met at a very early age, as Kenia was Terry's starter Pokémon. Kenia had been the best friend the socially awkward boy could hope for. Carefree and courageous, the two had roamed the Hoenn region, collecting badges and winning contests in their long, four year journey. After their stunning and nerve-racking victory in Ever Grande City's Hoenn League, the two set out to meet new Pokémon, explore the greater world, and learn of new strategies. All they learned however, was about themselves.

Mostly about their short-sightedness.

The two companions had grossly-overestimated their league winnings, spending only a year travelling the beautiful Unova region. Both growing tired of battles and funding depleting, the two had reluctantly chose to head home and settle down. On a whim, they had decided to visit the entertainment capital of Nimbasa City before leaving. They rode the ferris wheel at least a dozen times, caught several games at the city's sports venues, and even had a short, but impressive stint at the Battle Subway. Most importantly however, they discovered the Musical Theater. Both enjoying shows (although one significantly more than the other), it was possible that Kenia and Terry had watched almost every production the Theater had organised for that night, and the next afternoon.

The two talked for hours afterwards in their small hotel room. They came to the decision that they'd stay in the Unova region, and settle down. With that, Terry could both build up his resume, and the two could continue to explore the region and it's many happenings.

And so the two continued down the bustling street, to their apartment.

"I know you absolutely love the musicals, Kenia... but don't you think we're overdoing it? Soon you're gonna get bored of them."

The Blaziken looked down at her walking feet. "Blaz..."

"I know you love 'em, c'mon. But there's so much else to do in this city! And.." Terry paused for a second. "Even though my new job pays reasonably well... you know we aren't exactly rolling in money."

Kenia nodded. "Blazi."

While the two had an obvious language barrier, their years of travel together had opened other avenues of communication. Terry always paid close attention to his partner, and was usually able to pick up her general intention through the tone of her speech and body language.

Terry yawned. "Okay... let's head home then. I've gotta get some sleep for work tomorrow, anyway."

The trainer was sluggish in his walking now, struggling with nighttime exhaustion to keep up with his Pokémon. Kenia stopped, turned to Terry and pouted. Or at least, whatever her beaked-equivalent to a pout was. When Kenia's trainer eventually caught up she was akimbo, hands on her hips.

"I'm sorry Ken, we had a really long night. I'm just really..." but he didn't get to finish his sentence.

The Blaziken scooped her smaller trainer into her arms, Terry's body going limp at first contact with her soft, warmth-radiating body. Her feathers were much thicker and larger than usual, giving her a bushy, although still well-groomed appearance. She knew that he didn't like contact like this... especially not in public. He'd probably scold her later for this, but Kenia could tell that at this point he wasn't going to make it back to their apartment without help. Terry opened his mouth to interject, but Kenia pressed a clawed finger to his lips and cooed softly.

Terry closed his eyes. "Fine, but when we get back to..." he let out a deep yawn.

Kenia found this incredibly cute, and gently ruffled his hair. She looked down, and noticed that Terry had already fallen asleep in her arms. Kenia smiled softly, and began carrying her sleeping trainer back to their apartment.

Back at their apartment, Kenia gently lay her trainer on their bed. While she wished that she could get him out of his day-clothes to sleep, the Blaziken knew that would lead to yet another round of chastising. She got into bed beside Terry, pulling the covers over both of them. Kenia looked over at her trainer, then up at the ceiling. She rubbed her eyes, and let out a squawk-like sigh. While she usually tried to keep these thoughts out of her mind, tonight she couldn't relent. Kenia thought of her trainer, and his... reluctance towards her affections. She thought back to their time in Hoenn, before he shunned her contact. As a Torchic and Combusken, Terry was perfectly fine with her nuzzling and light pecking. She loved every second of this, wanting to show her trainer how much she cared for him. Even as a Blaziken, Terry was fine with her contact as long as it didn't involve her sharp talons, or piercing beak (one too many bruises and accidental talon-scratches had made sure of that). After they had settled down in Unova however, everything changed. Their trip to the region was... unfortunately timed.

While the Team Plasma extremist organization had just been disbanded, their presence had sent shockwaves through the region. Their dogma had challenged old concepts, created new ones, and questions of human-Pokémon relationships, Pokémon rights, among other things, incited much public debate, unrest, and eventually violent protest. Deep connections and sometimes even more... intimate relationships between the two species had generally been frowned upon, but had enough support that laws against them had been largely neglected, and intentionally ignored even by enforcement agencies. In retaliation to the Team Plasma-induced turmoil however, the government had began to crack-down on these laws, enforcing them indiscriminately.

Kenia never intended for her affections to come off as more than just friendly gestures between close-friends, and she knew that her trainer never saw them as anything intimate. Despite this, his prestige in Pokémon battles meant that any misstep could be perfect fodder for media outlets. Terry had to watch his actions, and the actions of his Pokémon very carefully. This translated to their actions behind closed-doors as well, not wanting Kenia to get used to affections in private, in fear that either of them might slip up in public. Kenia realized how fortunate she was to even be able to sleep in the same bed as Terry. They had slept together ever since they first met. As a Torchic, she felt safe at night while snuggling next to her taller, protective trainer. Even after evolving into a Combusken, she began curling up on the end of her trainer's bed, like some kind of feline. When she became a Blaziken however, her size didn't make that an option anymore. While Terry had planned to get Kenia her own bed, the Blaziken's protests, along with both his inability to actually afford an apartment with space for two beds, and his refusal to make his partner sleep on the couch, made the Trainer relent. And so she was allowed to continue sleeping in the same bed as him. However, if he ever woke up to her arm around him, or the fire-chicken snuggling uncomfortably close to him, Terry was sure to give her another round of scolding.

Kenia knew however, that her trainer genuinely enjoyed her affections, but shunned them for their own safety. She just wished it could be different, a Unova where humans and Pokémon could freely express their feelings towards each other, without a distasteful glare from passerby, or threat of legal action.

The Blaziken yawned loudly, and with these thoughts she fell asleep to dreams of this new world. The possibilities swirling around her mind...

Chapter Text

Terry was forced awake by an uncomfortable vibration in his pocket, and a loud chime-like ringing sound. The sensation startled him, his groggy, barely-awake mind trying to piece together what was going on. After a few seconds he finally realized what it was, his phone was ringing in his pocket. And it was ringing quite loudly, at that. Terry wiped the sweat from his forehead, and pulled the device out. The first fact that stuck out to him was the time. "5:00am", the text read in bold characters. The second striking feature was the caller.

"What could my work possibly want at 5 AM in the morning?", Terry thought to himself. After debating for a few more seconds whether to pick it up or go back to sleep, he relented.

"Heya, it's Terry." he groaned. "What can I do for ya?"

Someone on the other end introduced himself.

Terry's eyes widened after his recognition of the caller. "Oh, Mr. Emmet. I didn't expect to get a call from you of all people, this morning. How can I help you?" Terry had been keeping his voice down until now, trying not to wake up the sleeping Pokémon beside him. He realized how in vain this was as he spotted the grumbling Kenia next to him, holding a pillow over her head to keep the noise out.

Terry switched his attention back to his phone, where his boss was saying something to him in a strained, and possibly even worried tone.

"You need… Kenia, too? She's not an employee, and what could it be that I can't use the Pokémon you guys usually supply me?" Terry paused to listen to the reply. "They won't... cut it? It's an emergency? I uh… of course, sir. I'll definitely help. Not sure if she'll be up for it, but I'll at least ask, I guess. I'll leave… uh, immediately." Terry hung up the phone. "Some things can't be helped, I guess", he muttered to himself.

Terry wasn't sure what her response to something like this would be. She wasn't exactly a morning-person (or morning-Pokémon, or whatever the heck they'd call it), but he knew how much she loved spending time with him.

"Hell...", Terry said to himself, lost in thought. "She even likes coming along with me for boring stuff like buying groceries, and…" Terry's thoughts were interrupted by Kenia, who much to his surprise, had already retrieved the several clothes hangers from his closet, with the different pieces of his uniform.

A wide grin spread from cheek to cheek as Terry talked. "Thanks, Kenia. Lets go."

Terry locked the apartment door behind him, as he munched on an cereal bar. He was clad in matching green dress pants and suit jacket, on top of a white dress-shirt and black tie. Gold lines were etched across his uniform, across both the edges of his lapel and cuffs. He clutched the green "Depot Agent" hat as he walked briskly to the elevator, his partner bounding behind him.

He was struck by a sudden realization, he had promised to take Kenia out for breakfast today. They were going to wake up early at 8 AM, and go out for breakfast together before Terry had to leave for work. He realized how disappointed Kenia would be, she usually slept in past when Terry leaves for work on weekdays, and rarely got to eat breakfast with him outside of the weekend. Much less go out somewhere nice to eat breakfast. Terry decided that he'd have to make it up to her later in the week, and the two continued their trek.

About a dozen minutes of jogging later Terry and Kenia arrived at his workplace, the Gear Station. For how early in the morning it was, the building was a hubbub of activity. A plethora fire trucks, ambulances, and police cruisers were parked outside of the facility, some of their sirens still blaring. Kenia cooed, and grabbed onto Terry's arm tightly to the point that he felt minor pain. He could tell that she was very worried, with this many emergency services here for whatever incident had occurred.

Near one of the police cruisers Terry spotted one of his bosses, Ingo. He stood alongside another Depot Agent, and the two were talking to a police officer.
"Kenia, see that guy in the goofy suit?"

Kenia snickered at the sight of the man, with both the longest suit and sideburns that she had ever seen.

"Yeah, that's one of my bosses. I know you're worried, but lets at least talk to him and see what's up, okay?"

"Blaze…" she said, and reluctantly let go of her trainer's arm.

The two noticed a red glem from her claws, and Terry's eyes glanced down to his shoulder where she had grabbed him. Kenia had grabbed on to him tightly enough to draw blood with her talons, leaving three slightly-bloodied holes in his uniform. A look of shock spread across Kenia's face, and she put her hands out to stop what bleeding there still was.

Terry put his hand up to stop her. "Kenia, it's… fine. Just… remember what I've told you, you've gotta be careful with those things, okay?"

The Pokémon nodded profusely.

"Okey then, let's head over there."

The two jogged over to Ingo, who caught sight of Terry and turned his attention from the police officer towards the two. Ingo's face was awash with relief, glad to simultaneously see both another Battle Subway employee, and two ex-Hoenn League champions.

"Terry! I'm so…" Ingo paused, trying to find the right words. "I'm glad you both made it! Did my brother fill you in on… everything that's happened?"

"Honestly…" Terry began. "He just told me that there was some kind of accident. Said to come as soon as I could."

Ingo turned his attention back to the policeman. "Officer, would you mind explaining what's happening to our other employee? You'd probably know more than I do."

The Officer nodded. "Uh, of course." He looked at Terry and Kenia, then raised an eyebrow. "You a trainer?"

Terry pointed his thumb to the Blaziken beside him. "Yeah, we won the Hoenn League a few years back."

The Officer's eyes widened. "Oh! Then, you might be able to help us. You see, the majority of the trains here in Unova are mainly automated. Well, being an employee I'd expect that you already know that…" he scratched his beard. "Look, a long story short… what we expect are some ex-Team Plasma goons, broke into the main subway control center here in the Gear Station. Somehow they've gained control of the automated systems, so they basically have control of the whole subway. We've detected lots of subway movement from some of the other stations, so we assume they're using the subway to move personnel, cargo, or... something around. Some of 'em barricaded themselves in the control room with some strong Pokémon, so we've been waiting for the International Police or… someone, to show up to deal with them. Not much we can do with our Pokémon, and we've tried. With you and that other Depot Agent though, I'd reckon you could flush 'em outta there in no time."

"Precisely", Ingo began. "After calling you, Emmet had to leave deal with a fire near the backup generators. I'm stuck here answering the emergency personnel, but with you and your Blaziken, I think you and Cameron could make short work of them."

Cameron, the other Depot Agent who had been silent up to this point, made eye contact with Terry.

Cameron looked Terry over. "I don't think I've ever worked a shift with you, but if you really did compete in the Hoenn League… I'd say our chances are pretty good. There's nothing stopping us, so are you ready to head out?

"Well, I'm ready, but…" Terry looked over his shoulder to Kenia. "So Ken, are you up for this?"

The Blaziken crossed her arms, and tilted her head to the side.

"Ken…" Terry frowned. "Look, Kenia. I know you're tired of battling, but the faster we deal with this, the faster we can get the subway running again. I'm sure these guys'll…" Terry snapped a finger. "Be a piece of cake for you."

Kenia shrugged, not caring. "Kenia, forget about all that. Please do this for me, okay?"

Her face perked up a bit. Kenia looked off in the distance for a few seconds, thinking. "Ken", she said, nodding.

Terry smiled at the Pokémon. "Thank you, Ken." He turned to Cameron. "Okay then, we're ready. Lead the way."

Cameron seemed a tad confused by the encounter he had just watched. If he had anything he wanted to say though, he kept it private.

After about a dozen minutes of weaving through maintenance stairways and employee tunnels, the two Trainers and one Blaze Pokémon made it to heavy steel door. "Restricted Access" could be read on a large sign attached to the door.

Terry turned to his coworker. "So, I assume this is the place?"

"Yeah, this is our deep storage. I doubt you've ever had a reason to come down here, so I'll explain the layout to you two. Behind this door is our main storage room, full of supplies, excess train parts, etcetera. If the police investigation is correct, this is where these "strong Pokémon" they couldn't defeat will be. After we get past them, the control room is just past the shelves, on the far side of the room. We break in there, defeat and apprehend whoever is doing this, and secure the area. We should be able to get a technician in who'll be able to fix all of this after that."

Terry scratched the back of his neck. "Really?" He began. "Sounds… too easy to me."

Cameron took a single Pokéball off of his belt. "I have a feeling that they're banking on their Pokémon keeping us out until they get done… whatever they came to do. They probably started that fire in the generator room to keep the brothers occupied, so they wouldn't have to face them. You're right though, keep an eye out for anything… suspicious." He let out his Pokémon, a tired-looking Chandelure.

Terry gave his coworker a thumbs up, then turned to the Blaziken. "Ready, Kenia?"

The Pokémon stuck close to Terry, her worry-stricken eyes glancing nervously at her trainer.

Terry looked deep into her eyes. 'Let's guess… you're worried about me getting injured by these Pokemon the police couldn't beat, aren't you?"

Kenia nodded profusely.

"Ken, please don't worry about this. The police have tiny little Growlithes. I have you, my biiiig strong Blaziken, and I'm sure you'd never let any harm come to me, right?

Kenia crossed her arms and squinted her eyes as if to say, "Of course, do you even need to ask that question?"

"Ken, I'm sure these Pokémon will be a cakewalk for you, ya don't need to-"

Cameron held a hand up, and interrupted Terry. "Excuse me for interrupting, but this is the second time this has happened. You keep asking your Blaziken if she wants to do stuff. I understand that you're trying to be polite and all, but we need to defuse this hijacking situation quickly. It has to listen to you, the Blaziken is your Pokémon. Just… command it like a trainer does instead of this pointless 'polite asking', so we can beat these goons and go home.

Terry was at a loss for words. "Pardon me? I'd never make her do something she didn't want to do. She's… she's her own person!"

Cameron scoffed at this. "Your Blaziken, or Kenia, or whatever you want to call it… isn't a person. It's an animal, a Pokémon. And legally your property, at that. It's not a person, no matter how 'intelligent' it might seem to you. My Mom has a Furfrou. She tells it to sit, it sits. She tells it to roll over, it rolls over. That doesn't make it fuckin' intelligent, or something bullshit like that. It means it can follow basic commands."

"How…" Terry was at a loss for words, and stumbled to reply. "How dare you compare her to some kind of… dog! Why you…" Terry quickly turned around, his teeth bared. Cameron didn't even see it coming, and within seconds Terry had both hands clenched around the neck of his coworker's shirt. Terry forced him against the wall, knocking the air out of Cameron's lungs. "How fucking dare you! Kenia is more of person than you could ever hope to be. She's intelligent, she's caring, she's beautiful…"

Cameron's eyes widened at the last word. "What are you, some kind of-" Cameron coughed, hardly able to breathe. "Some kind of fucking… pokephile?"

Fear struck across Terry's face. "N-no, of course not! I mean, she's… I meant to say…"

Terry's mind raced, trying desperately to find an excuse for what had just slipped. He felt a large taloned-hand firmly grasp his right shoulder, and Terry shuddered at the contact. He turned to Kenia, and looked into her eyes. For a moment his head went blank, his mind unable to think about anything but her face. "How perfect her eyes are…" Terry thought to himself. "I wish…", he started, but his mind was interrupted when he noticed a pleading in her eyes. Pleading for him to stop… something? His mind raced to find the cause of her distress, until he noticed the feeling of clenched fabric in his fists. Terry's head turned forwards and noticed Cameron's eyes bulging, and face starting to turn blue.

Horror splashed across Terry's face, realizing what he had just done. He quickly released the man, who fell to the ground on his hands and knees. Cameron let out a series of hoarse, sputtering coughs, and looked up at Terry.

"I-I'm sorry! I didn't mean to…" Terry stammered.

"No…" Cameron said to Terry. Kenia offered him a hand to help him up, to which Cameron reluctantly accepted. "I said some things… I shouldn't have said. I forget how… overprotective some trainers get of their Pokémon."

Terry was at a loss for words. "I-I didn't mean to… I thought…"

"Look," Cameron started. "You lay another finger on me, and I'll gut you like a fucking Tepig. But for now…" He let out another sputtering cough. "For now let's just finish what we came here to do, okay? I'm tired, and I don't want to deal with your bullshit any longer than I have to."

"O-okay." Terry mumbled nervously.

Cameron grabbed the door handle, and gave it a wiggle. "Unlocked", he said. He held five fingers, ready to begin counting down.

The Depot Agent dropped a finger. "Four."

Chandelure was right behind Kenia, ready to burst through the narrow door right after her.

"Three." Terry took his place behind the two Pokémon, ready to rush in after them.

"Two." Cameron braced his free hand against the door, ready to enter right after the coworker.

"One." His grip around the handle tightened.

"Zero." Cameron turned the handle, and threw the door open.

Kenia was the first to enter the storage room, her eyes darting across the room in search of opponents. Far across the space she spotted them, a hulking Scolipede and an extremely agitated-looking Gigalith guarding the control room's door. Large industrial shelves stretched straight between the two doors. Unfortunately the two spotted the four new intruders, and quickly started their attack. Without hesitation, the Gigalith shot a blinding beam of pure energy towards the group.

"Chandelure!", Cameron called out quickly. "Protect!"

A wide, blue barrier of energy spread out in front of the group, and the beam collided with it just moments after. Upon contact the both the barrier and Hyper Beam attack dissipated in an explosion of light and energy. As the dust and smoke was settling the four emerged, sprinting towards the enemy Pokémon. Unfortunately the Scolipede itself was also heading towards them, straight in the direction of Kenia and her trainer following closely behind her.

Terry noticed something unsettling about this Scolipede. Terry once trained a Scolipede who he named Coliph, and at the time he thought the head-taller bug was large. Coliph's size however was nothing compared to the specimen charging towards them, easily twice the height of the Trainer. Terry guessed that if this Scolipede stood up tall, it's horns would probably scratch the ceiling of the room.

"Keep charging, Ken!" Terry called towards his partner.

The Blaziken nodded, and the two kept their course towards the charging centipede.

While the Scolipede's size was certainly intimidating, and certainly why these Team Plasma remnants had charged it with guarding here, it certainly came with its drawbacks. It's increased height meant that its legs were significantly longer, carrying its body higher off of the ground than usual, just enough to…

"Now Kenia, dive under it!"

The Trainer and Pokémon dove, sliding right under the Scolipede.

The massive Pokémon was shocked, Cameron had already broken off to deal with the Gigalith, and the only threats to it were behind its back in the Scolipede's blind-spot. The centipede tried to slow it's rapid charge, but it was too late. The Blaze Pokémon fittingly landed a flurry of devastating Blaze Kicks, quickly knocking the Scolipede out.

Terry and Kenia stopped for a second to catch their breaths, and smiled at each other.

"Great work!" Terry called out to his partner. "Now let's see if Cameron needs any…"

When the two looked over to the Gigalith however, they found it defeated just like the Scolipede. The Depot Agent and his Pokémon had undoubtedly taken it out while it was still recharging from it's powerful Hyper Beam attack. The four regrouped at the door to the control room.

"C'mon Ken, that was fun, wasn't it?" Terry asked Kenia.

The fire-chicken just pouted, Crossing her arms.

Terry sighed. "Yeah yeah, I know you don't enjoy battling a whole lot anymore. Let's deal with these train-jackers and wrap this up, okay?"

Happy to hear that they could finish this soon, the Blaziken threw open the door to the control room.

"For the last time, Gigalith…", a voice shouted towards Kenia as she strolled into the room.

A team of Team Plasma scientists were working away tirelessly at the control-computers, visions plastered to their screens. Kenia brought her fist down on a nearby desk, splitting it in two. Now that got the hijacker's attentions. They looked up towards the intruder, their annoyed expressions quickly replaced with those of horror. She didn't exactly have any rope on her to tie up the system-hijackers, but Kenia had other ideas about how to subdue them.

"Oh my." Cameron gasped out, watching the Pokémon kick out, tripping (and more than likely breaking) the legs of a fleeing scientist. "She… certainly has her own way of doing things, doesn't she?"

Terry nervously laughed. "Yup…" He started, thinking of his beloved Pokémon. "She's certainly an… interesting one."

Chapter Text

Kenia walked alone back to their apartment, through the crowded Nimbasa streets. She had desperately hoped that after dealing with the hijackers, Terry would be sent home. After not being able to go out for breakfast with her trainer, she had wished that they could at least spend some more time together. With the busyness of his work and long operating-hours of the Battle Subway, the two were really only able to go out together on weekends. Unfortunately, the "incident" back at the Gear Station had lead to an excruciating amount of police interviews to attend, as well as reports to read and sign. Kenia decided to take a detour to the Musical Theater, after remembering that she had forgotten to check the show schedule during their visit last night. When the theater came into view, Kenia couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at the sight. A large crowd had gathered in front of the theater's small plaza, and so Kenia curiously ran over to investigate.

Kenia reached the back of the crowd, and despite her height couldn't see past the swarm of excited, cheering onlookers. An upbeat country song played from a speaker somewhere, only adding to her confusion. Desperate to find out what was going on, she looked for a vantage point from where she'd be able to see… whatever was going on. Kenia noticed a flat-topped streetlight and in a single leap, landed on top of it perched on one taloned-foot. From this height, Kenia got a clear view of what was going on. At an open patch in the crowd's centre, Kenia watched as several oddly-costumed figures moved from side-to-side in sync. It took her several seconds to connect the dots, but she realised that the figures were doing a type of… line dance?

"Maybe some kind of… promotional show for the Musical?" Kenia thought to herself.
After taking a closer look at the dancers though, Kenia came to the realization that not all of the dancers were Pokémon. Garbed in the same cheesy cowboy outfits as the line dancing-Pokémon, an equal number of humans were involved as well!

"...what?", Kenia thought to herself, stumped by the sight in front of her. "The musicals haven't had humans in them in years. So why are they…"

A thought flashed across her mind. Kenia remembered a newspaper she had read some time ago, particularly to an article featuring an interview from a "Luis Ferez". Ferez was not only an extremely wealthy man, but also both the creator of, and driving force behind the success of the Musical Theater. The man had talked at length about his desire to add humans into the musicals alongside Pokémon. The article had stunned most who read it, and it quickly circulated online. You see, Ferez was a massive romance-production enthusiast. Tragedies, comedies, it didn't matter to Ferez. As long as it had a well-written romance plot or subplot, it was well-known that he' happily host the production at his theater. The thought of Pokémon and humans together in such a production… well, Ferez's subordinates certainly had a busy week trying to do damage-control after the article was published. Fortunately for both him and the Musical Theater, after a few weeks most had dismissed this as the pointless ramblings of the tired old man, and the article was forgotten as quickly as it gained popularity.

"I guess… he finally went through with it?" Kenia thought to herself. "That's probably why this whole event is so cheesy. Investors probably fought tooth and nail to get it watered down to something this tame. They're probably doing this to reassure customers that there won't be any... "distasteful romance" in these joint human and Pokémon productions."

Kenia watched the line-dance with interest. As she often did during performances however, Kenia's mind wandered, and fantasised herself as part of one such production…

In this fantasy, Kenia was line dancing with the group. In sync with the others, she moved from side to side, tipped her hat, and shook her hips. She shook and swayed into the arms of another performer, whether Pokémon or human, Kenia couldn't tell or care. They danced together now, the vocals fading and being replaced by a distinctive violin and piano, among other instruments. Their dance morphed along with the music into a tango, and Kenia found herself twirling across the stage with her partner. She spun, and was spun by her partner in this intimate dance, eventually finding herself leaning far back with her partner's hand on the back of her hips to keep her from falling. Kenia felt her partner's face drop near hers, so she lifted her neck up to gently nudge the other's lips with her beak. Her tongue poked out, prodding her partner's lips for entrance. The lips opened, and Kenia hungrily explored the foreign cavern with her snaking tongue. The Blaziken felt a hand lightly grope the back of her head, gently caressing and stroking her feathers. Kenia opened her eyes to look into the beautiful, lustful green eyes of Terry, their tongues twisting around each other in a dance of passion… "Hold on, Terry?!", Kenia's voice screamed inside her head.

Her lust-addled mind snapped back to reality. The Blaziken nearly fell off of the lamppost, desperately waddling her arms in the air to keep her balance. Kenia jumped down from the lamppost, and landed on the hard ground.

Her mind was swirling with confusion. "Did I just imagine… Terry and I…"

Kenia grabbed her throbbing forehead, trying to make sense of what she had just fantasised.

"Arceus…" the Pokémon cursed. "I thought I repressed those feeling back when… damn, how long ago was that? Back when I last evolved?"

And in truth, Kenia had thought of her trainer this way several times before. Just after she had evolved into a Blaziken, the now taller-bipedal death chicken started to get somewhat… new urges around her trainer. At first, Kenia had confusion with these feelings she felt towards her best friend. All she wanted to do was be near Terry.

"But it wasn't just in the way friends enjoy being around each other, was it? It was… deeper than that."

Kenia just wanted to… do things with him. She never wanted leave his side, and desperately desired to be even closer than she already was to him. Sometimes Kenia just wanted to hold him in a tight, loving embrace. Before they moved to Unova, back when Terry was more welcoming to her affections… she never wanted to let go of him. She'd have hugged and cuddled him forever if she could, just to show Terry how much he meant to her.

"Of course I felt that way… he's always been there for me. There's nothing he'd never do for me, just to make me happy. Like the times he'd spend hours driving to the beach, just because I wanted to watch the sunset that night".

After spending what was supposed to be their last night in Unova at the Musical Theater, laughing, cheering, and crying at the shows together, she had finally decided to confess her love towards her trainer. "I couldn't keep my feelings bottled anymore… I just had to say something. Even the slight chance that he'd feel the same about me was worth the risk. Even if he rejected me, even if he thought that a relationship like that was wrong, or even immoral… I knew he'd understand. He's not the kind of person that would hold something like that against me. We'd deal with it, and move on.
Before Kenia could find the right time to do this however, Terry had called her for a "private meeting".

Terry had explained to her that because of the now extremely strict enforcement of poképhilia laws in the region, she'd have to tone down her, as he worded it, "physical affections", both in public and in private. While she had (barely) been able to keep her physical compose in front of Terry after hearing this news, inside Kenia was absolutely devastated. If Terry was going to go as far to prevent something like nuzzling or hugging in private, she knew there was absolutely no way he'd return something like her love for him. Kenia recalled that she nearly cried herself to sleep that night…

The Blaziken shook her head, trying to wipe these memories from her mind. "But I don't… like him like that anymore, right? Of course I don't, and I stopped thinking about him like that years ago!" Kenia put a hand over her mouth, unconsciously rubbing it while she was deep in thought. "But if I really don't, then why did I imagine us dancing together and… kissing like that? Was it because he called me… beautiful back at the Gear Station? And that look in his eyes, he looked so… sad?"

Kenia mentally grappled with this question during her walk home, until she came to a conclusion on the elevator. "No, he'd never think of me that way. He made that clear enough when he called that 'private meeting', and told me I had to stop being so… physically affectionate." Kenia had made up her mind. "Right. There's no way he'd ever think of me like that. I'm just… overthinking everything. Yeah. I just need to go back to the apartment, and find something to take my mind off this." She pushed these thoughts from her mind, thinking her conclusion to be true…

While Kenia had just found herself neck-deep in thoughts, Terry was neck-deep in paperwork.

"International Police interviews to attend, security complaints, and now safety reports to read and sign… shit, this days never gonna end." Elbows on the desk in front of him, Terry buried his head in his hands. "Kenia looked so sad when I couldn't go home with her… I even skipped my lunch break to get all of of this work done. Hopefully these reports won't take too long, and I'll finish up soon. Maybe I'll bring her somewhere nice to eat. I mean, I still need to make it up to her for ruining our breakfast plans." Terry rolled a tiny scrap of paper into a ball, and flicked it across the room. "I must be tired, I'm talking to myself again…" It was almost 2:30 now, and the nonstop working had finally gotten to Terry. His hand sore from writing, Terry put his pen down and stretched his fingers. "Well, my shift doesn't end for another two-ish hours, but I bet they'll ask me if I can stay later."

Terry's eyes drifted to a picture on his desk, of him and his old Pokémon team. Among them were the smiling faces of an Ampharos, Gliscor, Lucario, Scolipede, and a Mightyena. In the middle stood Terry, Kenia close beside him. The Blaziken's arm was wrapped playfully around her shorter trainer's shoulder, and her expression was undoubtedly the most happy of them all. "She's always just so happy to be around me, isn't she?" Terry mumbled to himself. "Even when everyone went their separate ways…" Terry picked up the picture, to get a better look at it. He shut his mouth and stopped mumbling, his attention now lost in his thoughts. "Lucia left for Kalos, to learn about a new kind of evolution with some Lucario trainer… Coliph left to lead his Scolipede herd, but Kenia… she refused to leave. She said that I was her best friend… and that she'd just be happy to follow along with me," Terry thought to himself. A tear rolled down his cheek, and it was quickly wiped away. "There's nothing I wouldn't do for her, to make her happy, to keep her safe. I know how wrong it is, but I… love her. And that's why I have to push her away, because if someone found out how I feel about her… well, they'd call me a poképhile. Having feelings like this isn't technically illegal, but that's all they can be. If we took this anything further than feelings, she'd be taken away from me. So many see Pokémon like tamed animals, they'd see it like I'm abusing her… and so I do nothing. Because I love her… to protect her, I keep these feeling secret. And I don't even know how she sees me. Does she just see me as a best friend? Would Kenia be disgusted if she found out that I love her…" A knock at Terry's door jolted him back to reality. His head whipped around and Terry spotted Emmet in his doorway. Terry quickly put the picture frame down, and spoke to his boss.

"Mr. Emmet, sir! I'm sorry, I was just…" but the Subway Boss just waved his hand dismissively.

"Terry, you're not in trouble or anything. I'm… sorry if I interrupted anything. I came in and noticed you were deep in thought, so I was waiting until you were done…" Emmet leaned against the doorframe and sighed. Look, I just came to tell you… you've been working nonstop today. Take the rest of the day off, okay?"
"Are you sure? There's still so much…"
"Terry," Emmet interjected. "You've done more than your share of work today, get some rest. Please."
I… thanks, Emmet. I'll… I'll do that.
Emmet nodded. "See you tomorrow then, Terry." The Subway Boss left the doorframe, and continued down the hall.

Terry looked at the mess of half-organised papers and files on his desk "Well," he slumped back into his chair. "I guess I'm going home, then. Terry got up, and started to pack his belongings. He left both the Gear Station, and stress of work behind him for the day. "Now that I think about it, I can't remember the last time I was sent home so early… I bet Kenia will be happy to see me back so soon."