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Blazing Waves Nuzlocke

Chapter Text

There's a certain breed of people that become pokemon trainers. Phoenix is definitely not one of those people. First of all, the hallmark of a great trainer was a loud, booming voice, a voice that could be heard over everything, a voice that sounds crystal clear even in the heat of battle.

That was perhaps the biggest issue, cause Phoenix had no voice. He was born mute. As far as he’s aware, the only other mute trainer out there was the Famous Red from Pallet town. Even then, everyone rushed to correct him, saying that Red was selective mute. He could talk if he wanted to. As if that made a difference. Even then, the whole ‘Selective mute’ thing was highly debated, nobody knew for sure. Red was, after all, hiding away from everyone on top of the infamous Mt. Silver.

The second problem was that trainers needed to be fierce, they needed to be strong. They had to pick and choose which pokemon they were to take with them, and send home any that weren't up to the task. Especially those taking on the hardest challenge of the all, the Pokémon league. But Phoenix wasn’t like that, he couldn’t do that. He wanted to keep all of his Pokémon with him, he wanted to take all of his friends everywhere. And he most definitely wouldn’t be able to just drop them like a bag of rocks in a river just because some newer, stronger, better Pokémon appeared. They were his friends and he would never leave him behind.

People called him crazy when he applied for a league license. People told him he’d never get anywhere. He’d never face the first gym. Heck he’d never make it to the first town, but he didn’t care. He will travel as far as his faith in his friends will allow.

The league had some pretty interesting rules pertaining to Pokémon captures. Due to the decline of wild Pokémon over the years due to over capture, over hunting, and over usage of certain items. There were three main rules.

1)Only one Pokémon was allowed to be caught per route.

2)No duplicate Pokémon may be caught, including evolutionary relatives.

3)The usage of repels of any manner is banned

There was a few exceptions, namely in the case of finding an alternately colored Pokémon. The league encouraged live capture of these Pokémon due to their rarity, and it prevents poachers from killing the Pokémon illegally. Plus each Pokémon caught has to be registered with a nickname on the league database, especially these ‘shiny’ Pokémon, so the league can keep track of the Pokémon and how they’re being cared for. There’s a special little sticker that goes onto the card of any trainer, due to the dangerous and often lethal nature of Pokémon battles, especially with wild Pokémon. If you have this little sticker, the league overlooks any scars, injuries, or other signs of harm. (This May or may not have its own drawbacks.)

Phoenix sighed as he closed his notebook and slid it into his bag. Today was the day. Today was the day. His league license got approved and it came in the mail today. He still can’t believe that him, of all people, was approved to be a trainer. A full fledged trainer. Granted, he had already had a Pokémon, a treecko he had gotten years ago as a birthday present. It was technically his mom’s until he got the league license, but it was his friend and responded to his calls. Now though, Leaf was fully his.

Phoenix smiled and let out a sharp, loud whistle. Not too long after he heard the unmistakable cry of his Pokémon, and heard the sound of Lead crawling across the walls before settling upon his shoulders. He patted his Pokémon’s head, before leaving his room at a sprint. Leaf clung to his shoulders with an experienced ease, even as he ran out of the house and into the fresh air of Littleroot town.

His hometown was peaceful, tucked away in the depths of the forest. Nothing ever happened here, the most dangerous Pokémon was a stray poochyena, but those stayed far away from the town. The most interesting thing in the town was the professor’s lab and even then that wasn’t technically in town. It was down a wooded path and tucked away, mostly so the rare Pokémon being kept and studied there wouldn’t disturb the villagers. Plus the professor himself liked to get out into the field to study. Phoenix knows this as well as the rest of the town, considering that his long time friend and the professor’s own daughter lived in town.

Phoenix looked towards the small path that led towards the professor’s lab. He debated on visiting it, but decided that the other path, the one on the opposite side of town, was much more interesting. This path led to the next town, and while it wasn’t overly dangerous it wasn’t harmless either. It wove through the woods for about a whole mile before reaching the next town. Wild Pokémon were known to appear everywhere along the path, zigzagoon, poochyena, wurmple were common along the path. They were overly dangerous to any normal trainer….

But Phoenix wasn’t normal. It was a fact that was thrown in his face every day, every time he tried to leave. Even when he had Leaf perched on his shoulders he wasn’t allowed to leave. Because he couldn’t ‘tell’ his Pokémon what to do. Because he couldn’t shout for help. Because he was mute. Today though, today was finally the day he got to give the path watcher the bird, and got to leave town.

Just as he was about to turn, about to leave, a voice shouted his name from a distance, “Phoenix! Wait!” Professor Birch ran up to him, red faced and breathless, “You’re, you’re leaving today, right? I, i wanted you to take these. My daughter has already left town, she got the same thing. I would like you to write notes about the Pokémon you see, the ones you befriend, and record them in this device here. It’s wireless and syncs to both your pokeballs, and to my data here at my lab.” Birch says all rushed and out of breath, as he pushes a small device and a small baggie of pokeballs into Phoenix’s hands.

“show them what you’re made of,” Birch says softly, his voice serious, “show them the power inside, show them and prove them all wrong. Prove to them that anyone can be a trainer. Show the world the power in your hands, and prove to them that they should never, ever look down upon you. Walk with your head held high, and your faith in your team.”

Phoenix nods, surprised by the sudden pep talk, but he took the words to heart. He was going to prove the world wrong. He was going to prove to everyone that even he, a mute kid, could become a great trainer.

Chapter Text

He wasn’t even halfway through the woods before he spotted his first Pokémon. The fluffy gray tail of a poochyena was sticking out of a bush, and Phoenix dropped to a crouch to sneak forwards. Slowly he crept forwards, and the Pokémon remained unaware, until at the last minute Leaf leapt off his shoulders and used Pound on the poochyena. The dog was dazed, and Phoenix scrambled for a Pokeball while Leaf fought. He closed his hand around one and blindly chuckled the ball in the general direction of the fight.

He looked over when he heard an unusual noise, and saw that the ball was shaking. It shook once. Then twice. Then three times, before it clicked shut. Phoenix smiled before pulling out the device - the Pokédex - that Birch gave him. He went over to the ball and picked it up off the ground, holding it under the camera part of the dex. The dex scanned the ball, and then the Stats of the Pokémon popped up on the screen.

He knows thunder fang. Huh. That's not a common move. Phoenix thought to himself, before smiling. In the bottom corner of the screen there was an option to name the Pokémon. I'll name you Fido.

Phoenix typed In the name before calling the Pokémon from his ball. Fido was a bit dazed, but he quickly recovered and barked happily. Phoenix whistled softly, causing Fido to bound up to him and Leaf to hop back upon his shoulders. He had once read in a book that captured Pokémon could understand their trainers no matter the language, that the bond between trainer and team transcended and communication barriers. That as long as the trainer had unwavering faith in their team, the Pokémon would understand any command. The deeper the bond, the more the Pokémon will understand.

Phoenix reached forwards the pet Fido, whistling softly. When he stood, Fido barked and bounded forwards, leading the way through the woods. Phoenix smiled, and followed.

The rest of the way through the woods was uneventful, there were a few encounters with some Wurmple, and one zigzagoon, but they were all driven off by Leaf or Fido. All too soon they reached the next town, Oldale town. It was a simple town, not much bigger than Littleroot, but this town was big enough to have a Pokémon center and a Pokemart.

Phoenix immediately made a Beeline for the center, he needed to get his new partner checked out to make sure he was healthy enough to be registered with the league. Sometimes wild Pokémon can carry diseases or be just generally unfit for battle. As per League regulations, he would have to do this with every new Pokémon he catches before he can officially add them to his party.

He’ll also have to stop at the Center every time he enters a different town, to update his location so the league knows roughly where he is, and also after successfully defeating each gym, so he can update his trainer ID with the new badge. Phoenix sighed softly as he made his way up to the counter, he knew there was a lot of visits to the Center in his future.

As he approached the counter, the lay behind it beamed at him, “hello there deary! Welcome to the Pokémon center! How may I help you today?”

Phoenix smiles and made a flurry of gestures, signing ‘I’d like to register and heal my pokemon.’ Before picking up and setting both of his Pokémon on the counter.

The nurse smiled as she read his gestures and looked at his Pokémon, “alright. I will take care of them and be right back.” Nurse joy says before moving both Pokémon onto a cart. She wheeled them off into the back hallway, and Phoenix anxiously took a seat on one of the nearby benches.

It wasn't even half an hour before nurse joy comes back out again with his Pokémon, “alright, your Pokémon are happy and healthy! Feel free to stop at the computer to update your record, and have a nice day. Hope to see you again!”

Phoenix nods though he will admit he is just a bit creeped out by those last words, before gathering up his partners. Leaf happily took his position upon Phoenix’s shoulders, while Fido was begging to be carried. Phoenix smiled and scooped the dog up before making his way over to the row of computers.

It was quick work to update his files, and before he knew it he was out the door and on his way to his next stop in town, the shopping mart. He wanted to pick up some potions so he could heal his friends in the field, as well as some more pokeballs.

It was easy to find the mart, the bright blue roof stuck out almost as much as the Center’s red one did. Phoenix jogged over, Leaf clinging to his shoulders and Fido at his heels. The door to the mart slid open as he got close, and he snagged a basket from besides the door and began browsing.

Inside there was one lonely attendant who looked absolutely bored out of her mind as she mindlessly blew bubbles with the gum she was chewing. She looked up when Phoenix entered before going back to paying attention to whatever was in her hands….Probably her phone. Phoenix mostly ignored her as he browsed the shelves, until it became obvious that he would need to talk to her. He couldn't find any trainer supplies anywhere in the small store, just food and regular household supplies.

As he approached the counter the girl looked up, “welcome to the oldale pokemart. how can i assist your shopping experience today?” The girl asked in perhaps what was the most monotone and bored voice he had ever heard.

Phoenix began to sign, going extra slow, ‘I would like to buy five potions and five pokeballs please.’

The girl looked at his hands with a blank face, before responding, “I'm sorry, I don't speak hand flails. Use your words?”

Phoenix gave her a dirty look, but before he could do anything, another shop clerk rushed out from the back room, “Janet! What have I told you about being rude to customers?!” The older clerk seethed. Phoenix recognized the older man, he lived in a house a little bit away from his own in Littleroot.

The older clerk sighed, “Janet, Go take a fifteen. And lose the goddamned gum.” The clerk looked up at him, “I’m sorry Phoenix, she's rude and nothing I can do changes her. And I can't exactly fire her, she's the only teen still In town. Everyone else got their trainer passes and left already. I'm gonna guess that if you're here, you got your license too? Well congratulations. I'm gonna give you some free gifts, as both celebration and as apology for Janet.”

The clerk passed a small boxful of stuff over the counter, “Its our New trainer bundle, and I threw in some extra potions for you. There's ten potions and five pokeballs in there. Now, if you would like some advice, the route to the north is 103. Wild Wingull live there, and they're exceptionally good against Roxane, the first gym leader. They're attracted by food, so if you wanna catch one take some crackers. To the west is 102, it has the usual, zigzagoon, poochyena, but if you're lucky you might find a lotad. They're water grass Pokémon, and they prefer to live near the pond. And if you're really lucky, you might find a Ralts or a Surskit. Both are extremely rare in this region due to overhunting when I was a kid. If you manage to catch one, treasure them, as they're both gonna be strong when they grow up.”

Phoenix nods along, making a mental note of the Pokémon he wants, as he stores the items he received in his bag. He really wanted a ralts, he heard they were amazing but timid Pokémon, but they were a psychic type! According to articles he read, psychic types could read minds and even use their powers to talk! One would be great for him! He waved goodbye to the store clerk before dashing out out the store.

There was a creepy man standing near the entrance to 102, so Phoenix decided to head north first. Getting a new team member didn't sound bad. He climbed up the small hill that was in the middle of the route, and gasped at the sight. There was a perfect view of Mt Chimney to the north, with ash billowing out from the peak. To the east he could see the inlet, and beyond it the other side of the route. He could kind of even make out the taller buildings from slateport, and even a little bit of the cycling bridge too. This little hill provided him the perfect view of so many new places he wanted to go, places he wanted to see.

His perfect moment was abruptly interrupted by Fido’s loud bark and Leaf suddenly using his head as a springboard. Phoenix recovered in time to see Leaf grab a wild Wingull out of the air, and drag it to the ground. Phoenix snatched a ball out of his bag and chucked it at the bird. It smacked the bird square in the face.

Phoenix held his breath as the ball shoom once, twice, and then clicked shut on the third shake. Phoenix let out a silent breath of joy, and rushed over to retrieve and scan the ball. The Wingull was fairly weak, only level 2 and only knowing growl and water gun, but Phoenix didn't care, i’ll name you Waves. That's a good name for her.

He typed in the name before calling the bird out from the call. Like Fido, Waves was a bit stunned and dazed after the capture, but she shook it off and poofed up as she eyed him with her beady little eyes. Phoenix softly whistled, and she responded with a loud trill back, before flying up to perch on his head. He felt her tug a few strands on his hair, cleaning them.

Phoenix whistled softly to recall the rest of his team. Leaf took his place on his shoulders, while Fido trotted along as his heels. He cut around Oldale town, entering route 102 from along the shores of the lake. He could see some lotad floating along the top of the lake, and there was one lone surskit gliding gracefully along the surface. Phoenix watched the bug dance and glide all by themself.

They looked so lonely out there, dancing all alone. Phoenix felt his heartstrings tug as he watched. He momentarily forgot about his wish for a ralts as he was overcome by the desire to catch the lonely Pokémon in the water. He didn't want them to be lonely anymore. He whistled softly, calling his team to action.

At his whistle, Waves took off from her perch upon his head, swiftly flying out over the lake. He let out a sharper, louder whistle and she dived down, snatching up the startled bug before it could slide off. Waves banked hard, turning full circle to fly back and drop the struggling bug onto the shore. Leaf pounced upon the Surskit before Phoenix could even whistle, delivering a square hit that stunned the Pokémon just long enough for Phoenix to throw another pokeball.

When the ball clicked shut on the third shake, Phoenix swiftly snatched it up and scanned it, You’re so small and precious. I'm gonna name you Suri, welcome to the family. You're gonna be a great little brother to everyone. He thought with a smile, typing in the name and calling the Pokémon out from the ball. Suri shook himself before starting up at Phoenix. He didn't even get a chance to whistle before Suri was jumping up and wiggling his way into his shirt, getting comfortable. Phoenix smiled, Suri may not be a ralts, but he was still a good catch and a new friend.

Chapter Text

It was late in the evening when Phoenix returned to the Pokémon center in Oldale town. The sun had already set, but its last few orange rays were still slightly illuminating the sky. A few of the brightest stars were softly twinkling in the purple dusk. He and his friends had spent all afternoon in the woods chasing down wild Pokémon and training, all of them were covered in dust as well as bruises and the occasional scratches. They were all smiling though, in their own way, because they were all stronger now.

Phoenix yawned and stretched out his muscles, looking over his team with a smile. They were all level 8 now, stronger and ready to take on tomorrow. Along the way, Waves learned two new moves, Supersonic and Wing Attack, which she happily practiced on all the wild pokemon she met.

Now though, now it was time to head back to Oldale town to rest and recover for tomorrow. If he was being honest, Phoenix was just a bit nervous, this would be his first night spent away from home. And while he knew that the pokemon centers had amazing bedrooms and great sleeping accommodations, he still couldn't help but to find himself just a little bit nervous. He wasn't scared, not at all. Definitely not scared just nervous. His pokemon, as if sensing his not-fear, gathered closer to him. Leaf curled around his neck and shoulders like some bizzare tree cat lizard, Waves got comfortable on his head and began to groom his hair; Suri burrowed deeper into his shirt making small little concerned “ah” noises and Fido literally got under his feet, tripping him up and forcing him to watch where he was walking so he didn't face plant or step on the pooch.

That drew him out of his thoughts, and before he even knew it, he was inside the pokemon center. Phoenix looked at the nurse at the counter, and she smiled back at him, “You need a room for the night dearie? There’s an open one just down the hall to the right, it’ll be the first door to the left. If you need anything there’s a bell in the room, just ring it and either a nurse or a pokemon will come to aid you.” the nurse smiled at him as she directed him where to go.

Phoenix nodded and smiled back, very grateful for the help. He let his pokemon heard him off to the room, where he found a pair of nice fluffy pajamas laid out on the bed. Phoenix couldn't help but to try them on, and while they were a little baggy on him, they fit. They were warm and soft too, and Phoenix couldn't help snuggling into the clothes, before diving under the blankets. Those were soft too, and the bed was just the perfect amount of plush softness and firmness… but… even with that Phoenix still felt fear nervousness in the pit of his stomach.

He drew the blankets up to his nose, staring up at the dark ceiling. He missed his at home, it was covered in little plastic glow in the dark stars and planets. He missed the smell of his home, how everything stank like tree lizard, how the house would smell like mom’s cooking even hours after dinner was eaten and put away. He missed the sounds of dad coming home late at night, missed the faint sounds of the tv playing downstairs or the hushed voices of his mom and dad talking….

Wait

The room wasn’t silent. There was something whining. Then suddenly the edge of the bed dipped down and phoenix felt several things situate themselves up next to his body. Phoenix sat up onto his elbows, looking around and seeing his team, his friends, were all lying next to him… or on him. Phoenix smiled and layed back down, which apparently somehow gave leaf the go ahead to come and lay on his face. Phoenix sputtered soundlessly and pushed the Treeko off his face. He got a chortling laugh in response, and Leaf curled up in the crook of his arm, a warm and comforting presence.

Phoenix smiled, and closed his eyes… this wasn’t what he was used to, but maybe, possibly… that was better. Yeah, this was home. He could get used to this…. If only his pokemon didn’t snore so loudly.

Chapter Text

The next day Phoenix woke up bright and early, eager to get moving. He wanted to get to Petalburg as soon as possible, especially as that’s where his dad was and he wanted to tell him the good news. That not only was he a certified trainer, he had his own team too! His friends that love and care for him.

Phoenix quickly packed up, taking the new pajamas with him, and all but ran out the door - his Pokemon hot on his heels. They made swift work of Route 102, having explored it yesterday. It was mostly woodlands and a few small ponds and murky swamp-like spots, but there was a maintained road to follow too. The road had some trainers on it, but they all just waved at Phoenix, having learned yesterday that he was the stronger opponent.

It only took a few hours to reach Petalburg, and, after stopping at the Pokemon Center to heal up after a few stray fights, he made a straight beeline to the gym. He threw open the doors with as much gusto as he could, which - admittedly -wasn’t that much. The doors slowly swung open, revealing his dad standing inside talking to another kid with mint green hair. Who even has mint green hair?

Phoenix stepped into the gym, which caused his dad to turn and look at him with a smile, “Phoenix my boy! Look at you! I heard the news from your mom and I’m so proud of you! And look at these friends! They look so strong and so loyal already! You’re gonna be a great trainer. Oh! Speaking of trainers! This here is Wally! He just got his trainer license today but he doesn't have any Pokemon of his own. Do you think you could go out and help him? Yes? Good! Wally you can borrow this guy and here, take these pokeballs. Off you go now, have fun and stay safe!” Norman said in a rush, not even letting Phoenix nor Wally have any input before he pushed them out the door.

The two of them stood, confused, outside the gym, “So,” a very soft, whispery voice spoke up next to Phoenix, “I guess you’ll help me?”

Phoenix looked over at the boy next to him, the boy looked so small and frail. Sickly. But despite that, wide and innocent eyes full of hope stared at Phoenix from underneath his unusually colored bangs. Phoenix felt his very soul soften at the sight, and with a restrained sigh, he smiled and nodded.

Wally smiled brightly. And Phoenix-- Phoenix felt something. An urge to nurture, and protect, too; to show this boy the world, but to shield him from it as well. To protect him from the shady beings that lurked in the shadows, waiting to take advantage of someone as innocent as he. From the greedy hearts and lying tongues and sly and everything dangerous between. But right now, in this moment, Phoenix felt the strongest desire to reach out and ruffle Wally’s hair, if only to make the smaller boy laugh and smile.

Wally did a little dance before facing Phoenix again, that wide grin still on his sweet little face, “We should go to route 102! I wanna catch a Poochyena! Or maybe a fluffy Zigzagoon! Oh but the fur might make me sick… oh! I could catch a Wurmple or a lotad! I can’t wait!” and then he was off like a little bullet.

Phoenix startled and took after Wally, running to catch up, which thankfully wasn't hard. Wally was barely at the edge of town when he doubled over, wheezing and gasping for breath like he had just done 100 laps on the pacer test. Phoenix looked at the boy, concerned, but wally waved him off, “I’m - I’m fine.” Wally wheezes, “I couldn’t help it, i had to run. I’m not supposed to. I got really sick as a baby and because of that I’ve always been weaker than everyone else my age. I never many friends so my parents thought it would be a good idea to get me a trainer license so i could make Pokemon friends.” Wally said softly, looking up at Phoenix with those wide eyes.

Phoenix smiled, and brought his hands up to sign, ‘I know that feeling, i was born mute. But, if i can make friends and catch Pokemon and be a trainer, so can you. You just have to believe in yourself, and believe in your partner Pokemon. You can do this.’ Phoenix encouraged him with a smile.

Wally smiled back, “Thank you.” he whispered with a slight blush across his pale face, “We should get going, my parents want me back before dark.”

Phoenix nodded, and together they set out into the brush of route 102. For the first few hours…. There’s nothing. No Pokemon, not even the barest sign of any Pokemon! Wally sighed, “maybe today isn’t my day.” he said, his voice soft and sad. Phoenix couldn't have that, this precious boy deserved a friend. Phoenix doubled his efforts in searching and there! A small, little itty bitty footprint. Phoenix grabbed Wally by the arm and dragged him into the woods, following the trail until…

Until they stumbled upon a Ralts. Phoenix pushed Wally forwards, and when it was obvious the boy was still frozen in shock, grabbed the pokeball out of Wally’s hands and threw it high into the air. A fluffy Zigzagoon popped out of the ball, chirruping in confusion before seeing the wild Ralts and attacking. Phoenix went to go make sure Wally was okay, but as he did so Wally came out of his shock and fumbled for an empty pokeball. He launched it without a further thought, and it bounced on the Ralts’ head. The Ralts was sucked into the ball, and it shook once…

Twice…

Three times, before clicking shut. Wally gave a shout of joy as he ran over to scoop up the pokeball, “I have my own Pokemon! A friend! This is… it is the best day ever! I have made a friend!” he grinned at Phoenix, his eyes bright and shimmering with happiness.

Phoenix smiled back and signed, ‘Well, would you like another friend?’

Wally’s head fell to the side in confusion, “What do you mean? Another Pokemon? Will we even have enough time to find another?”

Phoenix silently chuckled and shook his head, ‘No i mean me. Would you like to be my friend?’

It was like Christmas had come early, like every miracle in the world had happened all at once, the way Wally’s eyes went wide and he gasped, before his face lit up in the best smile that Phoenix had seen yet, “YES! Yes yes yes! I would love to! This is now officially the Best. Day. Ever! Not one but two friends! Two! Yes! And tomorrow will be good too because i have decided! I’m gonna become a trainer like you Phoenix! I’m gonna travel and go on an adventure! I want to make more friends!”

Phoenix smile brightly, though he momentarily wished he had a voice so he could laugh at Wally’s excitement. He pushed that flash of feeling away as he signed, ‘Alright! Let us make it a challenge too! Whenever we meet let’s have a battle! And then we can talk about all our new friends.’

Wally smiled, “That sounds great! I love that idea. But first… we should probably get back to Petalburg. My mom will throw a fit if I’m not home before nightfall.”

Phoenix nodded, and together the two of them and their Pokemon headed back towards the city, and towards their future as not only Trainers, but good friends.

Chapter Text

The next morning Phoenix set out from Petalburg. The route was a pretty little seaside path, following along some cliffs. There was a small rock stairway that led down to the beach, and a small plateau that could only be accessed from the forest.

It was a breezy morning as Phoenix wandered along the path, marveled by the vastness of the ocean to one side, and the denseness of forest that the path led towards. Occasionally he craned his head up to look up at the cliff behind him, wondering if there was some way to climb it, but the cliff face looked like it was weak and crumbly. There were lots of footholds ... but they looked like they would crumble with the slightest amount of pressure.

Despite that, high up on the cliff face there were… nests? And birds…. lots of birds. They were nesting right on the crumbly cliff. Maybe the rock wasn’t that weak?

Phoenix decided his curiosity at what was up on the top of the cliff was worth the risk, so he slowly plotted a path in his head, and placed his hands and feet on the first set of grips. He pushed his weight onto them and…

They held. Phoenix grinned, and moved on to the next set. He could hear Fido barking, sounding a little worried, and he could feel Leaf’s grip on his shoulders getting tighter and tighter as he climbed higher and higher. Waves hovered near by, occasionally squawking at him. Suri disappeared into his bag and didn’t come back out.

His Pokemon got increasingly anxious as he got closer and closer to the nests. And the birds got louder. Several took into the air from the nests above him, letting him see that they were Swellow and Taillow. They appeared like they were getting mad, and a few taillow even swooped at his head.

Phoenix was regretting his decision and thought about climbing down. Unfortunately, that choice was taken from him as one particularly feisty taillow swooped down and grabbed his hair. Phoenix, startled, let go of the cliff face to dislodge the bird in his hair.

Whoops

The feeling of floating gently through the air was a rather peaceful one - until he wondered how he had gotten there. Right about the same time, the ground rushed to meet him like an over eager dog rushing towards their master ... and just about as painfully too. All the wind left Phoenix’s lungs as his back kissed the ground, and he stared dazed at the sky.

Above him there appeared to be some sort of aerial battle between Waves and some other bird ... and was that Leaf riding on the back of the Wingull? Why yes, his Treecko was riding on his Wingull’s back. It appeared like they were steadily driving the other bird lower and lower to the ground. As it got closer, Phoenix was able to see the Pokemon was a Taillow ... and just in time too, for not a moment after he recognized the species of bird, Fido did this spectacular leap up from the ground.

The poochyena’s jaws were crackling with latent electricity, and as they closed around a wing of the wild Taillow, that electricity was released in several arcs of light and sound. The Taillow screeched out as its body was assaulted by the current. Together dog and bird Pokémon went plummeting towards the ground, gravity aiding them in their swift descent. Fido came out a few moments later, carrying the twitching but otherwise limp bird Taillow along the ground.

Phoenix pushed himself up with a wince, oh he was going to hurt later. He watched Fido drag the bird over to him….. and drop the wounded Pokemon off at his lap, well, at least I know he can play fetch. Phoenix thought to himself, as he slowly searched through his bag for a ball.

Once he found a pokeball, Phoenix lightly tapped the injured Taillow with the ball, watching it begin to glow a beautiful red light before being absorbed into the ball. The ball shook three times in his hand before clicking shut.

Phoenix took a moment to marvel at the pokeball. It now felt slightly warmer in his hand, and if he focused enough, he swore he could feel tiny movements as the Pokemon inside got comfortable. There was even a faint pulsing feel coming from the ball. Almost like a heartbeat.

Phoenix took out his Pokédex to scan the ball and its new occupant. He was immediately concerned with the health of the Pokemon, they only had 1hp left. He was impressed by the level, however, this girl was level 15! Ten whole levels above what was common for this area, if he remembered correctly. Phoenix looked over the rest of the Taillow’s data, and as he did he mulled over a name.

Once he had gotten to the end of the stats pages - including reading over that she had some really good moves, including Brave Bird! A very powerful flying type move - and the new Pokédex entry, he had finally settled upon a good and fitting name. He pulled up the naming screen on the Pokédex, and typed in the name Dextra. He smiled as he hit enter, nodding to himself, that’s a very good name for her…. I think I’m gonna get her healed before I meet her though. I know she’s stable in the pokeball, but I don’t know if she’s okay enough to last long outside. That thunder fang looked like it did a lot of damage…..

Phoenix got to his feet with some pain, his back was very unhappy with him, but he was more worried about Dextra. With only a little bit of difficulty, he rushed as fast as he could back towards Peralburg. He hoped Dextra would be alright.

Chapter Text

Phoenix sat patiently in a little exam room in the Petalburg Pokémon center; one of the resident Center Audino’s had just finished massaging his back with Heal Pulsing paws. He had argued about getting treated himself, when he first came into the center, limping and not standing straight. He had been more worried about his new and injured Pokémon, at the time. He still is, but Nurse Joylyne assured him that Dextra would be okay, they would do everything in their power to make sure she made a full recovery. That he should make sure he was fit enough to lead his team, which meant getting himself healed too.

Phoenix swung his legs off the edge of the bed, kicking them restlessly. The rest of his Pokémon were in their balls, having retreated there when he entered the Pokémon center. Which was nice, as nurse joy took them too, they’re off being healed for the wounds they received in the fight with the Taillow.

However, that left him all alone with his thoughts. His worried, depressing thoughts. Was he even good enough to be a real trainer? He not only let his team down, with the spectacular fall off a dangerous cliff, but he left them in danger too with no orders to guide them! They got hurt! He left them alone, because he made a stupid choice that put him out of the fight when they needed him. He’s supposed to lead them and they-

“Stop that child.” A feminine voice snapped Phoenix out of his thoughts. Standing in front of him was a lady dressed in a pretty purple dress with a band that appeared to be tied in a large bow on her back, “I can tell you’re over thinking things. Let me guess, you made a mistake and your friends got hurt? Well, that’s what happens when you become a traveling trainer. Your Pokémon will get hurt. You will get hurt. It’s part of the life. All you can do is learn from it and move on. Learn from your mistakes, learn from others. Learning and growing is the only way you’ll be able to survive this life.” The lady told him matter of factly, as if those words were made of of stone, “why don’t you visit the trainers school in Rustburo? It is a place to learn, to grow and to change. Perhaps there you will find some information that will help you. It’s about a day’s hike away, through Petalburg woods and across the pond in the other side of route 104. If you start early, you might be able to stop at the Flower and berry shop for lunch.”

Then the stranger was gone, leaving his room and walking down the hallway. Phoenix was confused… but at the same time he was inspired by those words. He had forgotten that fact, that being a League trainer was a harsh life. That he was going to get hurt at some point, and that even death was a real possibility. He was scared but… not deterred. He thought to himself, that perhaps it was a good idea to visit the trainer’s school. His dad used to tell him that Knowledge and Experience were power, a strong tool that could be used In many many forms. One could not be a great trainer without not only having both, but being able to use them wisely.

Right now, he had some knowledge, but very little experience, and no clue how to use most of what he had at all, not even mentioning wisely. Having more knowledge wouldn’t be a bad thing, and undoubtedly he would get more experience from the hike to Rustburo… Phoenix nodded to himself, coming to a decision. Tomorrow, if his team was ready, he would take them to Rustburo. He was going to be strong for them; he was determined to be the best leader, the best trainer possible for his Pokémon. They relied on him after all. Their lives were in his hands, if he messed up he could very well cost one of them their very lives. That was a very horrifying thought.

Phoenix shook his head to clear his mind from that thought. He didn’t have to worry about the thoughts returning either, as nurse joy came into the room carrying a tray with four pokeballs on it, “good news! Most of your team made a happy and healthy recovery. They are very eager to see you. However your Taillow we would like to keep watch on overnight, just to make sure she heals properly and is able to fly. She seems to be very feisty, one of the intern chansey’s attempted to handle her and they got pecked. Quite a bit.” Nurse Joylyne said was a small chuckle as she handed Phoenix the tray.

Phoenix nodded along, that made sense. He couldn’t help but to smile when he was told about Dextra’s temperament, he figured she was going to be fiesty. That made him more excited to meet her and really befriend her. He has a gut feeling she was going to be a good friend.

Phoenix took each of the balls off the tray and hooked them into his belt, before handing the tray back over, “do you need anything else?” Joylyne asked him.

He shook his head, he was good for now. The nurse smiled, “Alright, The cafeteria is down this hallway here, if you get hungry. They’re usually serving food until about 10pm. If you need anything, just get the attention of one of the staff and we’ll help you as best we can. Have a good evening Mr Phoenix.”

Phoenix nodded as Joylyne excused herself and left the room. He looked down at the pokeballs in his hands, and casually summoned his Pokémon. Once free of their balls, his team gathered around him, and he silently laughed as they all demanded his attention.

It was easy to settle into bed and fall asleep this time, with leaf sprawled on his chest, Fido on his legs; with Waves softly snoring into his ear and Suri buried somewhere in the blankets of the bed. It was a more restful night.

Chapter Text

In the morning, Phoenix awoke with his back on fire and his face buried in Fido’s backside. The coarse fur tickled and scratched his face, but he couldn’t move because Waves was sleeping against the back of his neck, and leaf had trapped both his arms. The only one he could not locate by feel was Suri but… oh. There’s the Surskit.

Phoenix could feel the very soft footsteps of his fourth Pokémon climbing up his body, towards his face. He felt Suri poke his cheek, “Ah?” Suri chirped out.

Phoenix shook his shoulder and attempted to roll over, only to be blocked by the still sleeping Pokémon.

“Ah.” Suri clicked softly, and Phoenix felt the Surskit shift on his shoulder, and Phoenix heard him take in a deep breath.

The next thing he heard was the sound of bubbles popping, furious squawking, and wings beating as the weight of the bird behind Phoenix’s neck disappeared.

Phoenix took the opportunity to roll over and free his arms from Leaf’s grasp in the process. Once freed, Phoenix slid out from under the blankets and rushed to get dressed. He had a goal today, he wanted to set out for Rustburo as soon as possible. First he had to collect his new team member though.

Phoenix all but ran out the door of the room he was staying in, sprinting down the hallway and to the main lobby. Nurse Joylyne looked up at him and chuckled, “someone is eager. Follow me, I checked up on your Pokémon just a little bit ago.” She said as she walked out from behind the desk and walked down the other hallway.

Phoenix sprinted to catch up to her, falling in line behind her. She led him to a small room, stopping just before the door, “now, she’s quite fiesty and might be a bit grumpy. She’s slowly coming off the pain medication we gave her.”

Phoenix nodded as she opened the door. As soon as he stepped in, he heard some hissing noise from a pile of blankets. He stepped closer to the blankets, and then quickly had to step away as a beak shot out towards him. At least he now has a decent look at his frazzled new Pokémon. Her feathered were almost all poofed up, everything except for one wing which was bound close to her body.

Nurse Joylyne donned a pair of thick gloves and stepped close, reaching forwards to lift the Taillow, “she’s healing nicely, however this wing should remain bound and bandages for the next day or two. No battles at all. You can leave the bandage on unless it gets soiled in any manner, whether it be blood, dirt, water, Etc. I’ll send you on your way with some extra bandages, but aside from that she’s in good enough health to be discharged today. You can take her now. Careful, she bites.” Nurse Joylyne Warned, just a tad too late.

Phoenix has already stuck his hands out in preparation to take his Pokémon, so his Precious fingers had been within beak range. He quickly pulled his hand back, pulling air in between his teeth as he inspected his hand. Thankfully, there was no blood drawn.

Phoenix was not to be deterred though, and with more care and caution, he took his Pokémon from Nurse Joylyne, Hello Dextra, it’s nice to finally meet you. He thought with a smile as he turned to go back and retrieve the rest of his team. They were all eager to meet Dextra… and all of them got hisses at in response. Except Suri, who just got eyed. Phoenix figures Dextra was just a little pride hurt over getting beaten and caught, especially since she obviously had to be a good fighter to be such a higher level than the rest of her flock.

-a-a-a-a-a-

After the initial greetings were over, Phoenix took his team up to the lobby to get all checked out. Nurse Joylyne gave him some directions on how to get through the woods, before bidding him a happy farewell. Phoenix stepped out of the Pokémon center into a cloudy, dreary day. It didn’t look like it was going to rain… but Phoenix decided to not risk it; he decided to skip visiting his dad and set straight out. The sooner he could get moving, the sooner he could get to the halfway point just in case it started raining later in the afternoon.

The woods weren't the biggest woods ever, however they were very dense and barely any light filtered through to the floor. Tall grass erupted in the few places of light, making it just that much harder to see. The trial he was told to follow was hardly more than a Breloom trail, and he occasionally ran into other trainers on the trail.

The practice was good for his team though, and it was good practice for him as well. He got used to whistling out commands, and his team got used to his signals and tones. As they battled they slowly became more and more in sync, their movements becoming more and more fluid. More sure of themselves. He’d whistle loudly and clearly, and his team would obey seamlessly, their bond flowing strong and proud and clear.

Even Dextra was slowly bonding with them, even though she could not fight for the moment. She was getting to observe them in motion, in the heat of battle. She got to see their power as a team, the strength of their bond.

And apparently, she was not the only one watching. Phoenix often caught sight of several wild Pokémon watching his team fight… but he caught one watching more often than the others. This same, surly looking shroomish appeared to watch all his battles, each time creeping closer and closer. However, when they were caught watching, they puffed up in indignation and fled back in the woods.

After the sixth trainer battle in the woods, the shroomish has finally crept close enough that his team managed to drag them into an encounter…. only for the shroomish to screech and run back into the woods.

Fido barked loudly, immediately chasing after, with Leaf right on the canine’s tail. The rest of his team, including himself with Dextra in his arms, followed in hot pursuit, veering wildly off the trail and into the deep, deep brush.

Chapter Text

The rain came swiftly and harshly. Even protected by the dense trees, Phoenix was quickly soaked as he chased after his Pokémon. He followed the grey blob he could barely see through the rain as it ducked into bushes and leaped over fallen trees. He couldn’t even see Leaf anymore, his treecko completely blending into the forest. Nor could he see the Pokémon that they were chasing after, all he could barely see was Fido, and even then that was flashes at best.

The rain continued its onslaught as Phoenix pushed his way through the brush, staining to see his Pokémon. Alas, it seems they had completely disappeared, he couldn’t even hear them anymore. The only ones he had near him were Waves, who was perched on a nearby bush, Suri who was soaking up the rain on his shoulder, and a very disgruntled Dextra in his arms. His other two had completely disappeared into the darkness of the woods.

Phoenix spun in a circle as peered through the rain and the leaves looking for his friend. He strained his hearing to try to hear something beyond the roaring of the rain hitting the leaves above. He was shivering and rattling from what he would say would be the rain and the cold. He whistled loudly, but nobody came.

He moved forwards, climbing gingerly over a large fallen log before whistling again.

But nobody came.

The rain beat down upon him as he moved through the forest, whistling for his team.

But nobody came.

Nobody came.

Until…

Phoenix stood upon a large stump in a clearing, letting the rain pour directly down upon him as he desperately whistled. He whistled sharply, urgently, fearfully.

Off to his left there was a noise, and Phoenix spun to face it… a little too quickly. His feet lost traction on the slick wood, and he went careening off he edge of the stump, landing in the mud with a wet ‘shlop.’ Thankfully Dextra remained unmuddied on his chest, through she very vocally voiced her complaints about the sudden movement and falling and landing.

Wet and muddied furry feet crowded his vision, and Phoenix pushed the culprit away one hand as he pushed himself out of the mud with a grimace of yuck. He turned to look at the culprits, his missing Pokémon. Who apparently returned with a third in tow. The surly shroomish glared at him, looking disdained at his appearance. There was something about that look that seemed familiar.

You look like Janet. The thought suddenly popped into his head and Phoenix couldn’t help but to snort, before breaking into silent airy giggles at that awful thought. He hardly noticed his Pokémon rolling a pokeball, stolen from his pouch, forwards, nor did he notice the shroomish prodding the ball with their foot. He did notice though when the ball clicked shut and his Pokédex beeped to let him know he had a new capture.

His giggles slowly died away as he took stock of everything. He was lost in the woods, soaked to the bone and his entire back was basically a slab of mud, and it was still raining. The good news though was that he had not only his two missing members of his team back, he had a new member too.

Phoenix reached out to pick up the ball, fishing in his bag for his dex at the same time. The shroomish, whom he had already decided to name Janet, was a girl, and knew some decent moves. Phoenix smiles as he typed in Janet’s name and hit confirm, before summoning Janet back out

Phoenix looked over the three of them, giving Janet, Fido and Leaf his best disappointment and disapproving glare. It seemed to be effective as the three of them shrank away from him, but he decided to throw in a stern finger shake just to further drive the point home.

After his Pokémon were thoroughly scolded, Phoenix got to his feel, frowning at the cold, wet, heavy feeling on his back from the mud. He probably looked like an absolute mess right now, soaked and muddy and wild looking. There was probably leaves and twigs in his hair. This is probably why he was told to stay on the path. Scratch that, this is definitely why he was told to stay on the path.

Phoenix pointed to Janet, getting her attention, before gesturing out towards the forest. He watched confusion scrawl across her face, before Leaf chittered something and her face went bright with understanding, “Oom!” Janet chirped, hopping up and down before taking off swiftly in one direction. Phoenix whistled sharply as he took off at a steady pace behind her. He was not in the mood to go running through the woods again. He just wanted to get back on path again.

At the whistle, Janet slowed down and looked back at him, “ooh?”

Phoenix shook his head and continued his steady pace forwards. Fido Barked, saying something to Janet. Janet seemed to get the message as she took off again, albeit at a slower pace. Phoenix slowly followed after out of the clearing and into the woods once more.

Chapter Text

The rain was relentless, and everything was soaked. The ground was nothing but slop and roots. Phoenix stepped carefully, very aware at how not waterproof any of his clothing was. His socks were soaked, his underwear was probably soaked. Everything was soaked. It was cold and wet and miserable and….

And there was voices. One was a shrill high pitched voice, that was… pleading? The other voice was rougher, more demanding, “Hand over those papers! Or else!”

“N-no! I-I can’t! These are important research papers!”

“I know you bastard that’s why I want them!”

Phoenix listened to the conversation, and he decided he didn’t like where this was going. He decided to intervene. He burst out of the bushes, kind of sliding on the mud, and found himself directly in between the two people. That worked out conveniently well.

The shrill voice belonged to a man who was obviously a researcher, if the mud stained lab coat was any give away. The other… looked like a thug of some sort, with a bandana with weird logo on it, a ripped up white and blue striped shirt, and a ratty pair of jeans.

The researcher immediately reacted to Phoenix’s appearance, “A trainer! You’re a trainer, aren’t you? You have got to help me! Please!”

The grunt - Phoenix decided in his head that this man must be a grunt with his ratty clothes - looked confused, before laughing, “You?! Ha! You’re going to protect him? Get lost kid.”

Phoenix shook his head at the grunt, and stood up tall. His team echoed his posture, all standing strong and proud and ready to fight.

The grunt laughed, “No one who crosses Team Aqua gets any mercy! Not even a kid!” The grunt reached for his belt, and tossed out a scruffy looking Poochyena.

Phoenix whistled a soft two staccato beats, and Fido rushed forwards, lighting crackling at his jaw. The other poochyena jumped out of the way, but was just a moment too slow, and Fido managed to get his jaws around their paw. The enemy cried out in pain, ripping its paw free, and launching themself at Fido. Phoenix heard the distinct sound of teeth tearing into flesh and Fido whined from the pain of the bite to his shoulder.

The two dogs tussled, exchanging bites and tackles, while their trainers issued commands. The aqua grunt looked nervous every time Phoenix whistled, and Phoenix noted that he often shouted his orders too late for his Pokémon to react; he couldn’t read Phoenix’s moves. He couldn’t understand Phoenix’s command like how Phoenix’s Pokémon could… and that gave Phoenix the advantage.

There was a warm feeling of pride as Phoenix took control of that advantage, he swapped out his Pokémon - Fido was looking weak and was bleeding badly - and he sent out Waves to finish up the fight. His whistle commands came faster and more confidently, and in turn Wave’s reaction times got quicker and quicker.

It seemed like just a matter of minutes before the grunt was frantically recalling his poochyena, “Y-your crazy! Y-you have some nerve meddling with team Aqua! You’ll regret this!” The grunt shouted as he took off into the woods.

Phoenix turned back around to the scientist, smiling and feeling proud. The scientist looked like he was sweating bullets, “Whew! That was awfully close! Thank you so much! Thanks to you, he didn’t rob me of those important papers. Oh! I know! I’ll give you this!” The science man says as he pulls a weird contraption out of his coat, “this is an EXP share! Just turn on the little lever and boom! Your Pokémon all will gain experience from just watching a fight! I had to strain every fiber of my brain and body to develop this device! I totally didn’t steal the blueprints! This is my own creation! Completely and utterly mine! I’m a genius! Oh! I have a bunch of extra healing potions too, so I guess I’ll heal your Pokémon.”

After a quick break to apply the medicine and wrap Fido up in bandages, as well as place a small little bandaid over a scratch on Wave’s beak - it wasn’t bad enough to warrant a bandaid, but Waves looked upset that she wasn’t getting any attention after her hard fight, so Phoenix gave her a bandaid. The scientist stood up, stretching, “Wait! Didn’t that Team Aqua thug say they were after something in Rustburo too?! I can’t be wasting time! There could be a catastrophe on the verge! Thank you for all your help but I must get going!”

Just like that, the scientist was gone, heading down the path, his coat fluttering behind him.

The rain had finally stopped.

~~~~~~~

Somewhere, deep in the forest a pair of grunts where patching up their shared Pokémon. The male was sulking off on a stump while a female grunt was talking into a headset, “... This is the Petalburg recon team checking in. I’m afraid I have to begin with an apology, Mr. Matt… it’s not good news. The mission is a no-go, a little something cropped up and got in the way. Roger that. Will do. I’ll continue investigating that energy we detected.”

The female grunt removed the earpiece from her ear with a sigh, and looked off into the woods. Her male companion walked over to join her. She looked over at her companion and sighed, “Phew! Glad we didn’t have to do that mission. But…. that kid…”

The male nodded, “Indeed. That kid sure had some promise as a trainer. I didn’t stand a chance, I couldn’t even tell what was happening, much less react to it. I’ve never faced anyone like that before… and I hope I don’t again. That kid is going to go far, I’m sure of it.”

Chapter Text

Phoenix sighed in relief as he flopped down on a couch in the back room of the berry shop. The ladies who ran the store were so kind to him when he came in, soaking wet and covered in mud and branches; they gave him a spare set of clothes to wear and took his off to (hopefully) be washed. They were even offering him free food... if he told them of his adventure through the forest.

Phoenix looked around the small back room and spotted a small pad of paper and a pen. He shuffled over to it just as the ladies came into the break room, arms laden with various baskets of baked goods. Phoenix saw everything from muffins to pies to cakes and everything in between.

“We make these fresh daily, and usually make several every hour. It’s all made from fresh berries we either grow out back, or have donated to us by farmers outside of Rustburo and Petalburg! Feel free to help yourself and… oh? Are you perhaps hard of speaking?” The head lady asked, seeing that Phoenix was beginning to write down his response on the pad of paper he grabbed.

Phoenix nodded slowly, and the head lady smiled at him, “we know sign! Well, kind of. It’s uh, rough in places, but feel free to sign! We will try our best to understand!”

Phoenix sat up, looking happier as he brought his hands up, ‘well….’ he started, before launching into the story of how he got absolutely lost, soaked, and covered in mud chasing after one surly shroomish. Then after that, heroically rescuing a poor scientist, and beating up a “scary” Aqua grunt. Okay maybe he exaggerated a few bits here and there for the sake of the story, but a little stretch of the truth wouldn’t hurt anyone.

He finished up by signing that he was on his way to Rustburo, to look at the Trainer’s school there and see if there was anything he could learn.

One of the Florists grinned, “Oh! The trainer school is the best! I’m sending my sweet little Joseph there and he’s just loving it! And they occasionally get visits from leader Roxanne, she’s a teacher too! She teaches them all about type match ups and other things she has learned from her experiences.”

Another florist, an old, aging lady noded in agreement, “If you go, you should stop into the gym. Most trainers pick up her badge before heading elsewhere. Her’s and Norman’s are often some of the first gotten, at least by people who live along here. There was one lad many years ago who came from the ocean...he battled Norman last and the previous Rustburo gym leader just before facing Norman. What was his name? Steve? Steveman? Stevemon? Seven? Oh, it doesn’t matter.”

Phoenix smiled as he listened to the lady ramble, though he tried to hide it behind his hands.

The head florist speaks up again, interrupting the ramble of the other florist, “Oh! Before you go running off. Many new trainers don’t know this, but this little snippet of route here is considered a part of 104. Don’t get in trouble by catching over the limit.”

Phoenix noded and thanked the lady. That was very good to know, otherwise he might have caught another Pokémon and broken the League rules. That could have costed him his license... or worse. He decided to stuff his mouth with food, to distract himself from the ‘or worse’ thoughts; he even shoved some more food into bagging and put those into his bag for later. He also fed some to his team as he listened to the ladies chatter amongst themselves.

They were mostly talking about recent events, such as the new surge in Team Aqua activity, the increase in severe storms in the sea near Mossdeep and Sootopolis, and the rise of the sea level by two whole inches. There were other things, such as how hot the champion Mr. Stone was, and other gossip about various gym leaders.

After about an hour or so, Phoenix’s clothes were finally dry. The ladies left him alone so he could change back, and when he came out of the back room they had thrown together some food for him and his Pokémon in little plastic baggies, despite him stuffing his bag full of food just a little while ago.

Phoenix smiled as he took the baggies. He tried to offer the clothes back, but the ladies refuse, “You can keep those kid! You wore them, which means they’re yours. Besides, you look like you could use a second pair of clothes. It’s not smart to only have one after all.” The head florist told him as she pushed the clothes back towards his arms.

Phoenix nodded as he put the clothes into his bag, that did sound like a smart idea. Just in case he got rained on. Again.