Actions

Work Header

We Must Survive, To Earn Payback

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 1

There was not much noise once they were outside of the facility.  In fact, other than the sea crashing into the cliff below them and their own heavy breathing, the two individuals were alone for the moment.  Both members were trying to understand their new surroundings in the dead of night, along with coming to terms of what they have done.  One of them, a teenage boy, was staring down at his hands which were covered in a mixture of his blood and blood of the groups he killed.  The other, a Pokemon, tried to give the boy some reassurance despite his body telling him to rest from fatigue.  Both human and Pokemon were injured from a couple different sources, one of which was them fighting their way thorough numerous humans and other Pokemon to escape the hell they were subjected to for a month.  An experience neither of them would ever wish their on their worst enemies… well except for the one who caused their suffering to begin with.

As if on cue, the open area the boy and the Pokemon were in was illuminated by a few search lights.  They had to shield their eyes for a couple minutes to adjust to the brightness as many different voices and footsteps started to fill the silence around them.  Once their vision cleared, the two escapees saw a small army of men and women dressed in red suits with sunglasses and matching red styled hair.  Each red suit was armed with a rifle that shoots a beam which will paralyze the target for a short enough time to capture said target.  As the red suits took aim, in the center of the group, a tall man with orange hair styled like a male Pyroar’s mane walked forward to the escapees.  “Tsk, tsk, tsk.  Come now Ash and Greninja. Haven’t you two done enough for one night?”  Ash gritted his teeth in frustration while Greninja muttered a couple curses under his breath (not that anyone, including Ash will hear him).

The tall man stopped within five feet of Ash and Greninja, and just stood in front of them.  Ash was hit with a mixture of anger and fear from the man who towered over him.  He wanted to do nothing more than rip the man’s throat out with his bare hands, but his body was telling him to run like hell and never look back.  Greninja felt the vibe Ash was giving off and wanted to cause bodily harm to the man as well, but his and Ash’s safety comes before that.  Retribution will come at another time.  “Lysandre…” Ash started to speak when he found the courage to do so, “I already gave you my answer on top of Lumiose tower and it hasn’t change since you have had me.  I will NEVER join you or your cause.”  “Gren, greninja,” Greninja echoed Ash’s sentiment, and stood in-between Ash and Lysandre.

Lysandre’s smile dropped from his face, and his eyes narrowed at their declaration, “Is that so?”  Lysandre raised his right arm, and all the other members of Team Flare raised their guns at Ash and Greninja.  Lysandre smirked as he spoke, “Look around you two.  There’s no way to escape!  I have 25 grunts pointing weapons at you, both you and Greninja are wounded, and we are on an island in the middle of the ocean!  What chance do you have of getting away from us?”  Ash wanted to scream out in frustration.  What could they do?  Both him and Greninja had cuts and bruises all over their bodies, and the torture they have endured for the past month has left them weak from hunger and tiredness.  All the adrenaline from before was gone, so they could not fight their way though the grunts again, and Ash did not have any of his other Pokemon on him, so he could not ask Talonflame or Noivern to fly him and Greninja off the island.  In fact, the only way they could escape is if they jump off the cliff… jump… off… the… cliff… 

Ash looked down off the side of the cliff to the water below.  It wasn’t a big jump, probably 40 feet if he had to estimate.  Greninja is a water-type so, when they jump, Greninja could protect him from the fall and hopefully swim far away enough to get away from Team Flare.  Maybe they will even get lucky and wash up on a shore of a town to ask for help.  Greninja noticed Ash contemplating about the jump behind them and realize what his trainer was thinking about.  Unsurprisingly, Greninja was ok with attempting this plan since they did not have any other option, and between jumping to their freedom/death or going back into the clutches of Lysandre, the former sounder way better.

When Ash looked at Greninja and silently asked if he wanted to jump off the cliff, Greninja nodded his head. Ash nodded back and turned his head towards Lysandre, who was calmly waiting for them to walk towards him in defeat. "You know Lysandre," Ash said as he slowly moved backwards towards the cliff edge with Greninja, "There is one way out of here you overlooked." Lysander raised his right eyebrow, "Oh yeah? Please enlighten me to what..." Lysandre instantly realized what the teenager was implying as Ash and Greninja stopped moving to spread their arms out. "I say this once more since you don't understand Lysandre. Greninja and I will stop you at all cost. You may have turned me and my Pokemon into lab experiments, but that is all the more reason you and Team Flare need to be extinguished from our world. That much, I promise. Until then... good-bye."

Ash and Greninja fell backwards and off the cliff, as Lysandre yelled at his underlings to fire.  Fortunately, they missed in time as Greninja grabbed Ash and fell head first into the sea below.  Lysandre and the other Team Flare members ran towards the cliff edge but were not able to see anything due to the night covering the ocean in almost pitch blackness.  Lysandre continued to look at the sea for another minute before he closed his eyes and took a deep breath.  Turning around, Lysandre began to walk back to the facility until he heard one of the Flare grunts speak out to him, “S-Sir?  Are you ok?”  Lysandre turned to the male underling that spoke and smiled, “Yes, I’m fine.  Why do you ask,” as he walked towards the grunt.  The grunt took a deep breath of relief, “Oh, thank Arceus.  I thought you would be mad at us for- GUAK!”  The grunt did not finish his sentence as Lysandre plunged a hunting knife into the grunt’s stomach.  Lysandre held the grunt at face level as he pulls the knife out of the soon-to-be dead underling, “I… am… NOT… ok you idiot!  Our plan to eradicate the ugliness in the world just gave me the finger and JUMPED INTO THE OCEAN BELOW!!  All that hard work, gone!  Because of you incompetent fools!” 

Lysandre threw the grunt towards the ledge of the cliff, and the grunt, trying to stop the blood flowing from his wound, lost his balance and fell off the cliff.  The last two sounds everyone else heard from the male grunt was his scream as he fell, and the “plop” sound as he hit the ocean.  All the other Flare grunts slowly turned their heads towards Lysandre and did not say anything in fear of being on the wrong side of his blade as well.  Lysandre collected himself, and addressed his group in front of him, “Listen up everyone,” as his grunts straightened up.  “I have a new mission for you.  I do not care how long this takes, I do not care how many resources we go through, and I especially do not care if you like this or not.  Our plan to create a new world has escaped, and I will not let our plans be ruined twice.  Your orders are to find and capture Ash Ketchum and his Greninja alive.  Once they are caught, bring them back here to continue with our goal of a beautiful world.  If they escape again, or are killed,” Lysandre says with a wicked grin as he holds his knife up to threaten everybody.  “I will hold each of you, including everyone in the base responsible for our failures.  Understand?” 

All the Flare grunts yelled, “Yes sir,” and ran back into the base to prepare for the search.  Before he headed back in, Lysandre walked back over to the edge of the cliff once more to mumble something, “Just you wait Ash and Greninja.  This world will be beautiful, and you will understand what I am trying to accomplish.  I promise you that.”  With that out of his system, Lysandre walked back to the facility to plan his next move.

 

 

Chapter Text

“W-where am I,” A sixteen-year-old girl with honey hair, blue eyes, and a confused look on her face, was walking through a long corridor that was barley lit.  She did not know how she ended up there, nor does show know how long the hallway was, the girl just felt something in her body to keep moving forward.  She wished she had her Pokemon on her, but other than her usual attire on her body, the girl had nothing else on her.  “This is creepy.  Why haven’t I seen a door on either side of this tunnel or any other living being since I have been in here.  Sigh.  Even ghost Pokemon like Haunter and Gengar would be comforting right now.”

The girl trekked on for what felt like a few more minutes until she saw a metal door with a sliding, peep hole door on the upper part of it.  Suddenly, a wave of fear washed over her, stopping the girl in her tracks.  “Huh…  Why am I suddenly… scared?  Sure, it’s unsettling that I haven’t seen anybody or anything, but why don’t I… want to open this door?”  Shaking the uneasiness in her, the girl unlatched the door and opened it enough to peek around the other side of it.  There was nothing that caught her eyes as she scanned the room, that is until her sight landed on a figure on the other side of chamber.  The girl’s eyes widened at the discovery and she pushed past the door to rush over to the figure on the opposite wall.

“Ash!”  Once she made it over to Ash, the girl was both happy and shocked at the same time.  Not only had she found the boy who has gone missing for a month, almost all the worst-case scenarios that played over in her head had almost came true.  While Ash was not chained to the wall he was laying on, he was malnourished, and bruises covered his body from head to toe.  Probably the biggest worry though was the fact he did not respond to her calling his name.  “Ash?  Can you hear me?  It’s me, Serena.  We need to get you out of here and to a doctor right now.”

As Serena went to lift Ash up from the ground, he grabbed onto her left arm and spoke a sentence that stopped Serena’s thought process, “Why… why didn’t you save me Serena?”  She took a moment to understand what Ash said, “What do you mean Ash?  That’s what I am doing right now.”  Ash did not hear her as he repeated the same sentence from before, "Why didn’t you save me Serena?”  Trying to pull her arm out of his grasp, Serena started to become uneasy of Ash’s demeanor.  She knows whatever kind of suffering he went through probably affected him mentally, but she thought he would be grateful for her attempting to rescue him, not repeat a random question.

“A-Ash,” as she tried to pull away from him, “I’m trying to get you out of where ever we are!  Don’t you want to get out of here and go back to everyone that loves you?”  Ash released Serena from his grip to give her an answer that made her blood run cold and her stomach churn, “But Serena… how can go with you if I am already dead…”  Serena stood there floored with the response Ash gave her.  “How could you say that Ash!  Where is the boy that inspired me to never give up, never give into despair?  Where is he right now?!”  Ash looked to Serena again and gave her a sad smile as he responded to her outburst, “The boy you liked is dead because you couldn’t protect him from whatever took him that week after the Kalos Crisis.  If you had been more assertive and went along with him, he could have been with you, Clemont, and Bonnie having a fun time together.  Instead, he is probably being subjected to a nightmare he wishes he could wake up from but can’t because no one can save him… because of you Serena.” 

Serena just gawked at “Ash”, “You can’t blame me for that!  Ash said he would be fine since he had Greninja with him!  How can I be held responsible for something that wasn’t in my control to begin with?”  Fake Ash (as Serena decided to call him now), mood change, now menacing, which did not fit Ash’s actual personality.  “But usually you hovered around Ash.  You would always decide to go wherever he goes but decided to listen to him just like your mother.  You never make a choice on you own, just follow the orders of everybody and never listen to that thing in your head called a brain.  So, yes Serena, you can be held responsible for the death of Ash Ketchum, and I will be here to remind you of that.”

Serena took a few steps back away from Fake Ash.  This was not the boy she liked, this was not the trainer that cheered her on to be better, this… was not the friend she traveled through Kalos.  Fearing for her life, Serena turned around and ran towards the door she entered though except the door was gone.  Panic setting in, Serena put her hands to the wall to frantically search for something that will let her out of the room, and away from Fake Ash.  “W-where did that door go?!  I came through it to get in here!  Come on, come on!  LET ME OUT OF HERE!!”  Fake Ash got up from his spot on the floor to walk over to Serena who did not notice him coming up to behind her.

“Sorry Serena,” Fake Ash said more with a malice tone now, “Once you are in here, there is no way out.  You’re stuck in here with me… forever.”  Serena turned back around to the Fake Ash and her face blanched, “No!  I can’t be, I won’t be!”  Fake Ash than laughed out loud, “But you are!  You are stuck in here with the person to remind you of your constant failure!  Enjoy it my love!”

“NNNNNNOOOOOOOOO!!”

----------------------------------------

Serena shot up from her bed, her breathing erratic and sweat dripping from her face.  Taking note of her surroundings, she realized she wasn’t in a trapped room with Fake Ash, she was sleeping in a guest bedroom at Clemont’s and Bonnie’s house in Lumiose City.  Taking a few minutes to calm herself, Serena looked out the window nearest her to see it was still dark outside, and at the clock that sat on the nightstand by her bed that read 3:18 AM.  Putting her hands on her face and rubbing it in aggravation, she knows she will have a hard time falling back to sleep after a dream like that.  Maybe she needs a glass of water to help her relax.

Getting up from her bed, Serena quietly opened the door to her room, so she does not wake the other occupant in the bedroom, Pikachu.   Looking at the sleeping Pokemon, Serena cannot help but feel grateful for him to stay with her after what has happened in the past few weeks.  Walking to the staircase to the first floor, Serena noticed the doors to Clemont’s room had a faint light glow under it.  ‘He’s probably still up working on an invention,’ Serenaa mused as she past his room. 

Going into the kitchen, Serena grabbed a glass out of one of the upper cupboards and fill the glass from the kitchen sink.  Not in a rush to get back to her bedroom, she sat down at the kitchen table, letting the glass of water sit in front of her.  ‘That was a terrible dream I had,’ she thought, ‘Sure I have been having dreams about Ash since he disappeared, but usually those involve us reuniting with one another, maybe even a kiss between us.’  Serena chuckled at that.  At least that observation calmed her down a little, but her nerves are still shot to fall back asleep.  ‘Why did I have that nightmare?  It wasn’t my fault Ash and Greninja went missing because I didn’t go along with them to train… is it?’

Lost in thought, Serena did not pay attention to the fact that another person entered the kitchen, one that was also a teenager with blond hair, glasses, and wearing an oil stained jumpsuit.  “Serena,” Clemont said.  Concerned that Serena did not hear him, he walked over to her to put his hand on her left shoulder.  Serena let out a small gasp when she felt a hand on her body and looked up at to see who the hand was connected to, “Oh… Clemont.”  Clemont nodded his head and asked if he could sit down with her.  Serena smiled and said it was fine considering it was his family’s house.  Sitting next to her, Clemont wanted to ask why Serena was downstairs at almost four in the morning, but before he could, she asked him why he was in the kitchen at this time of night.  “Oh… um, I was working a new device till I noticed what time it was, so I came down to get a drink of water before bed.”

“Hmm… really,” Serena said in acknowledgement.  Clemont noticed her lackluster response, which was unusual because barring the fact it was very early in the morning, Serena would usually ask about what he was developing.  Sitting in uncomfortable silence for a few minutes, he was about to ask her if anything was wrong till Serena said something.  “Hey Clemont.  Can I ask you a question?”  Blinking a couple times, Clemont then smiled, “Of course you can Serena.  What’s up?”  Hoping her question was not too out of left field, Serena just flat-out said it, “Clemont?  Was it my fault Ash disappeared?” 

Taking a moment to comprehend what Serena asked, Clemont gave her a look of uncertainty.  “Why would you think that?”  She shrugged her shoulders as she continued to look at the glass in front of her, “Sigh… I had dream Clemont, a nightmare.”  Looking up at Clemont to gauge his reaction, he tilted his head in curiosity, but gave her a nod to continue.  “In my nightmare, I was walking down a hallway that seemed like it would go on forever until I came to a metal door at the end of it.  At first, I was scared to open it, but I didn’t know why I was frightened so, I went ahead and opened it anyways.  In the room I saw Ash…”  Clemont tensed up at that reveal.  The news of Ash going off the radar hit him with a wave of shock and worry.

It was a week after Ash and all of his friends stopped Team Flare from destroying Kalos and the world itself.  Lysandre’s plan to control both Zygarde Cores (or Squishy 1 and 2 as Bonnie called them) was foiled by several different factors.  Ash, the new Kalos League winner, Alain, and Kalos Elite Four Member, Malva, taking out all of Lysandre’s Pokemon on top of Lumiose Tower.  Then Serena, Alain’s friend Marin, and Hoenn Champion, Steven Stone, went to Team Flare’s headquarters to save Marin’s Chespin, Chespie, but they also leveled the entire facility during the rescue.  Bonnie was able to undo the brain washing Zygarde Core 1 was under, and Clemont, with the help of Clembot, destroyed the weapon that controlling Zygarde Core 2, and break the control over that one as well which was at the cost of Clembot’s memory and body.  From what he understands from Ash, Serena, and the police; Lysandre jumped off the tower after his defeat but hasn’t been seen since. Two of the Flare admins, Mable and Celosia, were killed when Team Flare’s base collapsed on them, and the other three admins, Alaiana, Bryony, and Xerosic were arrested soon after the crisis ended.  Unfortunately, Xerosic escaped police custody when he was being transported to a jail to be held for trial.  Nobody knew who busted him out.

After Team Flare’s defeat, Zygarde used the little power it had left to remove the vines that were used to destroy Lumiose City.  Both Cores then vanished claiming they need to hibernate to restore the power they have used since their discovery by everyone involved in the crisis.  Since then, Luimose was being slowly rebuilt by anyone capable of doing manual labor and, Clemont was rebuilding Clembot from the ground up, even improving on the old specs he designed.  The same day Clemont had Clembot up and running and the gym was repaired, a young boy challenged the gym for a badge.  Seeing as this was a good chance to re-introduce Clembot to battling again, Clemont agreed to the challenge with Clembot as the gym leader.  The battle ended in defeat for Clembot, but it understood what it meant to battle again, and be a humble gym leader.  Clemont, happy with this outcome, and celebrating the fact that Lumiose was on its way to being fully functional again, everything was looking up for everyone… at least it was until the day after Clembot’s battle.

Seeing the gym battle pumped Ash up as usual.  Since Ash was busy before with helping fix Lumiose City, he did not have the time to properly train since before the Kalos League.  Wanting to get back into it, Ash decided to go out to the same park arena he and Clemont first battled at to practice.  Clemont asked what training Ash was going to do first, and Ash decided on testing the Battle Bond ability with Greninja to see if still it activated and worked correctly after he and Greninja were hit with the mega energy wave from Team Flare.  Both Pikachu and Serena wanted to tag along with him, but Ash claimed it would not be a long training session and said he would be back in a couple hours.

Night time came, and Ash or Greninja did not return to the house or the gym.  Worried about his trainer, Pikachu wanted to go into town later that same night to search for him.  Everyone agreeing it was weird Ash and Greninja did not return for hours, Clemont went with Pikachu around Lumiose City to find out if Ash was still at the park stadium like he said he would be.  After a night of searching the park and all around Lumiose, the only trace of Ash the duo found was his trademark hat he always wore in an alleyway in the north part of town.  The next day after the search, Clemont, along with Serena, Bonnie, and Meyer went to the police station to file a missing person’s report for Ash and Greninja.  Officer Jenny said usually they wait forty-eight hours before they file the report, but since Ash and Greninja were runners up in the Kalos League, they became a high priority case.

Once the paperwork was sorted out, they all went back to Meyer’s house to discuss about what to do with Pikachu and all of Ash’s other Pokemon.  After talking with each other, they all agreed to see if Professor Sycamore will let Ash’s Pokemon stay in the green house in his laboratory for the time being since the area is larger than the house and there are other Pokemon Ash’s team can talk to.  After calling the professor and explaining the situation, Sycamore gladly accepted their request and asked them to come over the next day once he and his assistants prepare the greenhouse.

The next morning, Clemont, Serena, and Bonnie released: Talonflame, Hawlucha, Noivern, and Goodra from their pokeballs.  They explained to the Pokemon what was going on, and where they were going.  At first, all of Ash’s Pokemon were upset because of the sudden news dropped on them, but after Serena, Clemont, and Pikachu calmly explained to them that Ash and Greninja were missing before anyone knew, the Pokemon sadly nodded their heads. Promising them Ash will return to them soon, all of Ash’s team went back into their balls, and the Serena (who had Pikachu on her shoulder), Clemont, and Bonnie went to Sycamore’s lab to drop everyone else off.  Pikachu was offered to stay there as well, but he did not want to leave his human friends alone because he knew how much all of them meant to Ash, especially Serena. 

The first week, Clemont stayed up almost every night, working on an invention to keep himself busy from letting his mind think of the worst things that could of happen to Ash.   Bonnie was always sad on account of Ash missing and Zygarde Core 1 leaving her beforehand, but everyone tried to keep her from going into a full breakdown by distracting her with training with Dedenne and visiting Ash’s Pokemon at the professor’s green house.  Serena and Pikachu were trying to keep a strong façade, but Clemont knew deep down those two are taking it the worst.  Pikachu has been Ash’s best friend and partner since Ash started his journey, and Serena would not have come as far as she has without the encouragement and help of Ash through their trip through Kalos.  Since both of them have a strong connection to Ash, Serena and Pikachu just clicked with one another, and have been together since. 

During the day, Serena will take Pikachu out with her to do errands, let him watch her try new combination moves with Braixen, Pancham, and Sylveon, and even practice battling with Pikachu even though she is not officially his trainer.  At night, Pikachu will be by Serena’s side unless he is talking with another Pokemon or eating dinner.  Pikachu had also started sleeping with Serena every night to protect her and keep her company as well.

Over the next few weeks, Jenny and other polices officers throughout Kalos had search parties out to locate Ash and Greninja.  Unfortunately, all policemen and woman had not found a single clue to help lead them to the missing duo.  That and along with the fact they could not focus all their resources on one case, they had to stop the search.  Jenny stopped at Meyer’s house a few days earlier to let everyone know they are transferring all their notes and leads on the case to the Kanto G-Men and The International Police.  Trying to keep their spirits up, everyone convinced themselves if Interpol. and the Kanto government are going to get involved, they will find Ash and Greninja one way or another.

“…ont?  …emont?  Clemont.”  Clemont was snapped out of his own thoughts by Serena calling out to him for the last couple minutes.  “You okay Clemont,” Serena asked, “It looked like you space out for a while.”  Face heating with embarrassment, he apologized and explained why he wasn’t paying attention to Serena.  “It’s okay Clemont.  I didn’t think about how mentioning Ash would effect you like that.”  “No, no Serena!  It was my mistake for not fully hearing out why you were up.  If you are ok with repeating yourself, I will listen to the rest of your dream.” 

Serena smiled for Clemont’s generosity, “I don’t mind, I didn’t get too far after you zoned out,” and continued her dream.  “Well, I found Ash on the far wall of the room I found.  The thing was… the Ash in my dream… wasn’t the Ash we know.”  Feeling confused by her statement, Clemont asked Serena to elaborate, “The Ash in my nightmare was very different from the real Ash.  He kept blaming me for his disappearance because I didn’t push to go with him the day he went missing.  He said since I listen to everybody else, and never think for myself, I am responsible for him “for his death”.”   Clemont was speechless to say the least.  “When I realize I was talking to a fake Ash,” Serena continued to speak, but it came out shakily, “I tried to get out of the room and away from the fake, but the door I came through was gone… and the fake Ash said I would be trapped in that room with him…forever.”

Noticing Serena’s distress in her voice, Clemont put his hand on her arm to comfort her.  “I’m sorry you had to go through that Serena.  It truly does sound like the worst kind of dream someone could have.”  She nodded her head at his statement and sat in silence until she asked her original question to him, “Clemont, do any of you blame me for not going with Ash?”  Clemont shook his head at Serena and gave his two cents on the matter, “Serena, it is not your fault.  You know how Ash is.  Once he has his mind set on something, it’s hard to change it.  Even if you did convince him to let you go with him, Ash would of ran off on his own with Greninja regardless.  Plus, by your logic, we would have to blame Pikachu too since he wanted to go with Ash as well.”

Serena looked down from Clemont after he finished speaking.  He was right, Ash will do things his way.  He will offer her and Clemont chances to spar with him, but he usually likes to go on his own, so he can focus on the training and not anything else.  Also, while Pikachu is obviously upset with all of this, it doesn’t seem like he blames himself for not going with Ash as well.  Maybe since Pikachu has been with Ash the longest, he already knew how Ash does training, so maybe that’s why he didn’t push too hard to go along.

Looking back up at Clemont, Serena felt grateful he came down from his room, “Thank you Clemont…for hearing me out.”  Clemont smiled back, “Your welcome Serena.  It’s what friends do.”  She really did feel thankful for friends like him.  If Clemont wasn’t here to listen to her, she would have been sitting at the kitchen table till the morning sunrise, speaking of which.  “Oh,” Serena said as she noticed the faint light coming into the windows downstairs, “I guess it’s past six AM.  Your dad will be up soon for work.  Do you want to start on breakfast?”  Yawning loudly, Clemont nodded his head, but Serena raised an eyebrow, “Or are you tired from staying up all night?”  Clemont chuckled at that statement, “I’ll be fine.  I will help you prepare it and go take a nap after we eat.  A good inventor still needs food to be able to process ideas coherently.”  Serena laughed at his remark, “Alright, “Mr. Inventor”, go grab the pancake mix out of the cupboard and I will grab a bowl and whisk to mix it.”  When Clemont got up to get the mix, Serena went to grab the utensils but paused for a sec to reflect again on the fact that she is glad to have met friends like: Ash, Clemont, Bonnie, Pikachu, and all the Pokemon they have caught or befriended.  ‘Yeah,’ she thought, ‘This is nice.’

Chapter Text

On the island of Melemele in the Alola region, a beach house resides on the east-coast shoreline. The man who owned the house did not have any neighbors for a couple miles in each direction, and the beach that was in front of said house came with the land he purchased a few years back, so it was considered his as well. This whole set up was perfect because besides the fact of getting a whole area to swim by himself, the man can be loud when it came to his research he did for the scientific community (and believe him, some of things he has said during his test can be taken out of context). The researcher name, Kukui, specialized in Pokemon moves and what the effect of them does to the intended target.

Kukui spent most of his youth as a Pokemon trainer, competing in both the Island Trial Challenges in Alola, and the Indigo League in Kanto. While he did not finish the Island Challenges, Kukui was able to earn eight badges to participate in the old-school version of the Indigo Leauge, where the challenger takes on the Elite Four and the Champion of the region. Unfortunately, Kukui made it to the last Elite Four member, Lance, before the dragon tamer knocked him out of the league. With no other direction to go in life, Kukui decided to go into Pokemon research, specifically how Pokemon use their moves and how the opposing Pokemon reacts to the moves used on them. After spending his teenage and young adult life studying to get his title, Kukui, now in his early 30s, has a house on the beach, a lab in his basement to conduct scientific test, and a second job teaching children at the school not too far away. Life for him is great, and he would not have it anyother way, except… life does throw a curve ball occasionally.

It was a Monday morning, meaning Kukui must get to the Pokemon Trainer School before his students start to arrive. Having stayed up till 2 in the morning, and waking up at 5 am, Kukui is struggling to get off his couch he has downstairs in his lab. "Man… Why did I think it was a great idea to ignore most of my sleep the night before a school day," Kukui said out loud, "Even with a pot of coffee, I know my body will be dragging as I lecture today." Continuing to grumble to himself, Kukui walked up the basement stairs to the ground floor of his house.

Besides the lab in the basement, the house consisted of one major room with a kitchen/living room combination, a loft with a ladder to get to it, one bathroom in the main room, and Kukui’s room in the back of the house. Usually anymore, he does not use his bedroom other than to change his clothes or store random items he has accumulated over the years. Going to the kitchen, Kukui halted his movement to bent down to rub the head of the Pokemon that was slowly waking up from the attention he was getting. Rockruff raised his head to yawn, before getting up to stretch his body to loosen it up. Looking up at Kukui, Rockruff barked at the professor and smiled knowing he was going to get his breakfast soon. “Hahaha. Good morning to you too Rockruff. Come on, I’ll get you some grub and then let you stretch your legs on the beach for a bit after.”

Kukui and Rockruff went into the kitchen where Kukui grabbed Rockruff’s food and water bowls from the floor to fill them up respectively for the dog Pokemon. Once Rockruff was taken care off, Kukui went to his coffee maker and poured out the contents from the previous day and made new batch for himself. He poured the drink into a plain white mug while contemplating on what he should focus on for his class time today. ‘Alright, today’s lesson is about type advantages and disadvantages. I do want my students to use their own partners to practice, but I need time for the lecture itself, so they understand why typing is important in a battle.’ Breathing in the smell of his caffeinated liquid, Kukui took a sip of it, ‘Sigh… I might spend the whole day teaching them to be sure they get it, and I’ll let them try out themselves tomorrow. Yeah… That’s what I’ll do.’ Kukui nodded to himself with a smile as he took a larger sip of his coffee and looked down to see Rockruff already done with his breakfast. “Geez Rockruff! I guess you are pretty eager to go outside huh?” Rockruff barked a couple more times and walked over to the front door, waiting on Kukui to open it. Chuckling out loud, Kukui walked over to the door with his mug in his right hand and opened the door which let Rockruff bolt his way over to the beach.

Instead of following Rockruff, Kukui decided to stay on his porch to watch the sunrise continue. At 5:30 in the morning, the sun was barley over the horizion, but in about an hour, the sun would be above the ocean, signaling a new day for a good amount of the natives on the island. Taking in the scene around him, Kukui’s smiled did not drop from his face, even when a few minutes later, Rockruff came running back up on the porch barking his lungs out. “What’s up Rockruff?” Rockruff continuously barked and pulled on Kukui’s pants leg, “Is there something wrong? Do you need me to come with you?” Rockruff barked and nodded as he took off towards the right side of the beach from Kukui’s point of view. Sighing out loud for the fact he must run on top of being tired, Kukui put his mug down on the porch table and took off to find Rockruff.

A couple minutes later, Kukui sees a spec in the distance believing it to be Rockruff if the barking is any indication. As he got closer, Kukui notices Rockruff standing near a mysterious pile that was covered with debris, ‘Why is Rockruff so worried about a pile of garbage,’ Kukui wondered. He eventually was close enough to have a better look at what Rockruff wanted him to see, and the first thing Kukui noticed was the blue, webbed hand sticking out underneath the debries. “What the…” Kukui started to say as he also saw what appeared to be a boy underneath the body of the Pokemon Kukui recognized as a Greninja. Both look like they were put through the ringer; with the teen’s clothing destroyed beyond repair, and many different bruises and cuts covering their entire bodies. Kukui tried to think of what could have caused all that damage to them, but before he could theorize, Rockruff was barking at Kukui again. “W-what? Oh yeah, we need to get these two back to the house now!”

Getting back up, Kukui grabbed a poke-ball from his right pocket, enlarged it, and threw it into the air. “Come on out Incineroar! I need your help!” The light from the poke-ball eventually materialized into an Incineroar that roared out its name but was confused on why he was out on the beach instead of a wrestling ring. “Incineroar, help me get these two on ground back to my place please.” Seeing the boy and Pokemon, Incineroar nodded and picked up the injured with ease and cradled them in each arm.

The group trekked back to the house in almost silence. Rockruff hung around Incineroar worried about the two strangers he found, while Kukui is debating on how he should approach this situation. ‘Oh man, this wasn’t how I expected my morning to go. I should probably call Nurse Joy in Hau’oli City to look at them the first chance she can come over. I should probably also call Sam over at the school to let him know I won’t make it in today as well. Shit… what a way to start to a day.’ Once they reached the beach house, Kukui asked Incineroar to lay the boy and the Greninja on the couch in his living room, while he went to the basement to grab the first aid kit he had stored in case of emergencies. Coming back up with the kit, Kukui stripped off the boy’s shirt and paused from the shock of what he saw. He thought the crazy number of cuts on the teen’s face, arms, and legs were bad, but on his chest, there was a massive gash that was looked like it was surgically sewn shut. There were similar gashes on his stomach and back but were not as big as the one on his chest.

Getting back to the task at hand, Kukui took medical peroxide and dabbed a cotton ball with it to disinfect all the injuries on the teenager and Greninja. Next, he took the one bandage roll that came with the kit and covered their abrasions to the best of his abilities. Once the boy and the Greninja were taken care of, Kukui asked Rockruff and Incineroar to keep an eye on their incapacitated guest while he goes to call Nurse Joy and Samson Oak, the principal of the school. Kukui went to the basement to call Nurse Joy first on his cell phone and explained how he found the duo on his beach and asked her if she can make a house call to check them out. Nurse Joy told Kukui she would be over within the half an hour and hung up.

Breathing a little easier, Kukui punched in Samson’s number on his phone, and waited for an answer. A few rings later and the voice of a raspy, but energetic old man came through the cell phone, “Kukui! What do I owe the pleasure of you calling me?” Rubbing the back of his head with his free hand, Kukui launched into the same explanation he gave Joy earlier, hoping his boss will understand his position. “Hmm, I see. No worries. Just make sure those two are ok, and I will “Exeggute” a plan to distract your class today.” Kukui blinked a couple times, before laughing silently and shaking his head. Samson Oak was known for inserting terrible Pokemon puns into his sentences because of his quirky sense of humor, and unless it is a inappropriate time, Samson uses every opportunity to use his puns. “Alright Kukui. I will take care of everything at the school until you are ready to return, and you take care of the boy and that Pokemon, ok,” Samson said. Kukui nodded to himself, “I will Sam. Thank you for understanding my situation sir.” Samson laughed out loud on the other end of the phone, “It’s no problem! Just make sure you also take care of yourself.” “I will Sam. Thank you.”

Kukui hung up the phone and walked up back to the main room to check on the duo. “Rockruff, Incineroar, have either of them moved or say anything?” The rock dog and fire cat shook their heads at their trainer, “Alright. Nurse Joy should be here any moment now. When she gets here, give her space to work.” As both Pokemon were about to nod their heads, there was a few rapid knocks at Kukui’s front door. “Speaking of…” Looking at the clock on his stove, it was about 7 am. ‘Man… time flies when a lot is happening,’ Kukui thought as he walked towards the door.

Opening it, Kukui saw Hau’oli City’s Nurse Joy standing in front of him with doctors’ bag in her left hand and a serious look on her face. “Good morning Professor Kukui. Where are my patients at?” “Good morning Nurse Joy. They are back here on my couch. Do you need me my help at all?” Joy shook her head as she walked in, “No professor. Just give me some time alone with them, and I will let you know when I am done with the examination. Deciding to disappear, Kukui motioned Rockruff and Incineroar to follow him back down to his lab. In the lab, Incineroar practiced his jab punch on the punching bag hanging from the ceiling, Rockruff was laying down by the staircase, and Kukui sat down in his chair with his anxiety higher than it has been in a long time. He hated the fact he could not be upstairs helping the good nurse take care of their mysterious guest. Kukui could also not help but worry how the boy and the Greninja were so injured to begin with. ‘Sure, there are some protruding rocks scattered throughout the ocean around the Alola Region, but what about that gashes on the boy’s chest and back? Unless he purposely dragged his body on the jagged stones, how else can he receives injuries like those ones? And why were they in the ocean to begin with? Did they fall overboard from a cruise ship or boat the night before? I know there is the occasional child or even adult that gets too excited, and they lean over the guard rail when they are watching the water Pokemon. Sigh… I won’t know for sure until the boy wakes up.’

Kukui was soon snapped out of his musings again when Rockruff, who was worried about his trainer when Kukui did not hear his cries, nuzzled his cold nose on the professor’s hand to gain Kukui’s attention. Looking down at Rockruff, Kukui took the same hand that his rock dog touched, and petted Rockruff’s head, “Hey there buddy. You worried about me?” Rockruff yipped and moved into Kukui’s hand more, “Hehehe, don’t worry. Just wondering how those two washed up on our beach hurt. Hopefully we will know soon.” Satisfied with Kukui’s answer, Rockruff walked back over to the staircase and sat down to rest some more. Seeing Incineroar was still preoccupied with the punching bag, Kukui looked at the clock on his cellphone that read “7:30 am”. With not much else to do, the professor decided to do some more work while he waited on Nurse Joy to give the ok to come up.

A couple hours later, Nurse Joy came down the stairs to see Rockruff curled next to Incineroar as they both slept on the floor, and Kukui engrossed in his work on the computer, unaware of Nurse Joy coming up behind him. “Professor Kukui?” Not getting a response, Nurse Joy put her hand on his shoulders, which caused him to yelp out and wake up the sleeping Pokemon on the other side of the room. “Damn it Joy! You nearly cause me to have a heart attack,” Kukui said as he clutches his chest. Miffed, Nurse Joy defended herself, “Well maybe if you paid more attention to your surroundings, you would have heard me call your name.” Kukui pinched the bridge of his nose to keep himself from getting into a shouting match with her. The last thing he wants is to make it sound like he is ungrateful towards Nurse Joy for her help. “Alright Joy. I’m sorry I did not hear you say my name earlier.”

Satisfied with Kukui’s apology, Nurse Joy gave her reason for why she came downstairs, “Anyways, I am happy to report that the young man and Greninja will make a full recovery.” Kukui was at full attention when Nurse Joy gave her report, “I noticed you already disinfected their wounds and bandaged them, but… it was amateurish at best.” Kukui laughed sheepishly as he rubbed the back of his head, “While Pokemon moves and status effects are my area of expertise, I still fell asleep during the medical parts of school, so my healing skills are not great.” “Why am I not surprised by that,” Nurse Joy said with a sigh. “Well, I removed the bandages they had on them, checked all the abrasions to make sure none of them were life threating, and rebandaged them better this time. All their vitals were ok, no broken bones, both have small fevers, but nothing unmanageable. The only thing I am concerned about is the cut that runs along the teen’s chest and the couple on his back as well.” Nodding his head, Kukui put his own two cents in, “I noticed the gash on his chest was sewn shut like a professional surgeon had done it. Could you tell what kind of cut it was because it looks like the stiches were recent and I’m at a loss on how someone his age could have injuries like that.” Nurse Joy shook her head to Kukui’s question, “I could not tell you for sure Professor Kukui. I would have to undo the stiches to see if I could identify what caused the injury, but I would need a sterile room and surgical equipment to suture the wound again without it becoming infected. Maybe he will tell you when he regains consciousness.” Kukui sighed at that answer, “I figured as much. Do you know when the boy will wake up?” This time Nurse Joy shrugs her shoulders, “Again, I am not sure. I think will come out his sleep state eventually, but do not count on it today.”

Getting up from his seat, Kukui walked towards the stairs to go back up to the main room, with Nurse Joy, Rockruff, and Incineroar following him. “Ok Joy. With all that said, what do I need to do while they are recovering on my couch up here?” Upstairs, Nurse Joy went into her bag and pulled out a couple medical bottles and a couple bandage wraps to give to Kukui, “I need you to change their bandages every 24 hours. I will give you a couple rolls to start out with and if you run out,” Nurse Joy gives a pointed look at Kukui, “Stop by the Pokemon Center in Hau’oli City and I will give you more if you need them. As for the medicine, both bottles are are antibiotics, one for the teenager and one for the Greninja. When they wake up and can function, give them one pill in the morning with water and one pill at night with water as well. If they wake up within the week, call me. If they are still unconscious after a week, I will take Greninja to my center for further examination and we will send the young man to a hospital until he regains consciousness.” Thanking Nurse Joy for everything she has done, Kukui walked her to the front door, and offers his right hand out to shake, which Nurse Joy graciously accepts. “I appreciate everything you have done Joy. Hopefully the boy and Greninja will wake up soon.” Nurse Joy nods her head in agreement, “I think he will, but like I said, give them some time, and if nothing changes let me know. Until then, have a wonderful morning Professor Kukui.” “Thank you Joy. You do the same.”

Kukui waved off Nurse Joy as she got in her vehicle that is specifically for the Pokemon Center she belongs to, and she took off down the dirt road until she was out of Kukui’s vision. Closing the door, Kukui walked back towards the boy and Greninja who were still out cold but look better now that Nurse Joy had taken care of them. Both Rockruff and Incineroar went back to hovering over their guest incase the unexpected happens. “Ok you guys. For now, we will be staying home for the time being. I’m ok if you guys want to keep them company, but also give them space from time to time. I have a gut feeling they will be uncomfortable if Pokemon they have possibly never seen, are the first thing they see when they come to. If either the boy or Greninja awaken, come get me immediately, ok?” Rockruff barked out a conformation and Incineroar made a grunt of acknowledgement to Kukui’s instructions. “Alright. If you guys need me, I will be downstairs again working. I will be back up in a bit to make us all lunch.” Both Pokemon cried out once more, and Kukui started his decent down into the lab again, but an idea struck him.

‘Hhhmmm… Maybe I don’t have to wait for the boy to wake up to find out what happened to him. I could call the coast guard to see if there have been any boat companies reporting a passenger and their Pokemon going overboard in the last day or so, or they could have been on a boat that cap-sized as well. Whatever the case may be, I won’t be completely relaxed until I know what happened those two. Sigh… I hope whatever I gotten myself into won’t come back to bite me.’

Chapter Text

Walking through what remains of some of the hallways in Team Flare’s HQ, one would not believe a teenager and his Pokemon were the cause of the destruction.  There was carnage scattered in four different sections of the base including the holding cells, the laboratory, and the corridor leading to the entrance of the building.  Walls were destroyed, light fixtures busted, flooring torn up, and unfortunately, numerous grunt casualties.  The number of people that joined Team Flare before the attack on Lumiose City was around three-hundred people or so, but since then, their numbers were reduced to 200 members.  Some were killed when the original base came down on them, which also cost them Mable and Celosia.  Others were arrested after Kalos Crisis was stopped, including Bryony and Aliana.  Morale was low when Team Flare moved their operations over to Alola with everyone believing Lysandre did not have a plan to fall back on, but as usual, their leader had a way with words.   In fact, Lysandre’s charisma was one of the reasons Xerosic joined Team Flare to begin with.

Lost in his musings while Xerosic tried to clean his laboratory, he did not hear the footsteps of the same man he was semi-fanboying over in his thoughts earlier.  Getting up from the pile of papers Xerosic salvaged and organized, he turned around and froze in place when he saw Lysandre standing in front of him.  “S-sir!  I did not hear you come in,” Xerosic exclaimed.  Lysandre stood there, with a neutral look on his face, for a few moments until his lips slowly curved upward into a smile, and he let out a laugh at Xerosic’s shock-induced state.  “My apologies Xerosic,” Lysandre said as he calmed down, “I didn’t mean to surprise you.  I called out to you, but you I guess you must have been somewhere else.”  Xerosic nodded and walked over to a table and put the stack of paper down, “I was sir.  Just thinking about the state of Team Flare after what has transpired in the last twenty-four hours.”  Lysandre’s smile turned into a concerning frown at Xerosic’s statement, “Is that so…  And what have you come to in your conclusion?” 

Realizing the coldness in his superior’s voice, Xeroisc tried to remain composed as he clarifies his earlier sentence, “What I meant by that Lysandre is how are we going to proceed with our current situation?  I realize you sent out our men and women to recapture Ketchum and Greninja, but before they escaped, they did do substantial damage to our numbers as is.  Out of the thirty grunts that the two went against: fourteen were reported bruises and cuts but otherwise fine, six of them were taken to our intensive care unit with missing limbs or extreme injuries, and the last ten were killed in grisly ways by them.  I do not mean to question your orders, but none of the units you have sent out have reported any sightings of the two in the last day, and the number of members that are affiliated with our team have considerably dwindled since the attack on Lumiose City.  …Was it a good idea to send what little reinforcements we have left to take back what cost us to begin with?”

Lysandre listened to Xerosic rant before offering a response, “I understand your concern Xerosic.  I will admit, Ash’s and Greninja’s performance last night isn’t something I was anticipating from either of them”.  Xerosic nodded his head in agreement.  “But… there is nothing to worry about.”  “What do you mean by that sir?”  Lysandre walked over to the broken, glass vats Xerosic had set up on the far side of his lab to look over the damage that was done to them; before explaining the meaning behind his last statement.  “I have realized I was not in control of my emotions the night before Xerosic.  It was not a good idea to send most of our forces to apprehend Ketchum and Greninja, especially now considering the two of them are capable of emotions and actions not many humans and Pokemon can act on.” 

Lysandre turned around to face Xerosic as he spoke, “To put you at ease, I did call most of the grunts I sent out beforehand, and they are returning to the base as we speak”.  While Xerosic is pleased with hearing his superior has cooled off after last night, that still has not reassured him that everything was under control.  “Lysander, sir.  Forgive me for insinuating anything, but I do believe you have a plan in mind since our forces are coming back to HQ?”  Brushing past the insult to his intelligence, Lysandre continued speaking, “I do.  I did some research on Alola before we came here and there is way we can search for our escaped experiments with discretion.  A street gang scattered throughout the islands named Team Skull, could be useful in our pursuit of the two.  They are led by a punk who goes by the name, Gumza and his second in command, Plumeria, and their base of operations are out of Po Town on Ula’ula Island.  From what I gathered, Po Town was a nice and quaint village till the Skull Gang over ran the town and took it for themselves”. 

Already knowing what Lysandre was going to suggest, Xerosic jumped into the conversation, “Are you saying we use Team Skull as both reconnaissance and expandable soldiers in place of ours, sir”.  Lysandre nodded his head, “Precisely.  Team Skull are known for causing noise and chaos where ever they go for the sake of it.    We can use them to search for the boy and his Greninja, and with Skull disturbing the peace, it will draw attention away from our group as I keep some of our members out in the field to search for our escapees as well”.

Xerosic had to admit, it was a sounder idea Lysandre had than when the duo got away.  “Hmmm… that could work.  We would not have to worry about losing anymore grunts than we already have, and if Skull does agree to work for us-” “They will,” Lysandre said as he interrupted Xerosic speaking out-loud about his thoughts.   Clearing his throat in his slip up, Xerosic continued, “Y-yes sir.  My mistake.  As I was saying, when Team Skull does work for us, I can provide their leader and his most trusted members with two-way holocasters that will only communicate between us and them.  So that way, rather than having Skull grunts walking up to our front door, we can communicate with them immediately and without having to be near them”.  

            “But what would happen if say a random trainer or the police were to come into the possession of the holocasters you plan to give out,” Lysandre asked.  A grin formed on Xerosic’s face, “I will put two fail-safes in the holocaster should they fall into the wrong hands, sir”.  Lysandre gave out a joyous laugh at Xerosic’s enthusiasm before approaching him again.  “So Xerosic, do you feel more confident with what we have planned for our future?”  Taking a deep breath, Xerosic nodded his head, “Well sir… to be honest, I am.  I was worried about your mental state when I heard you killed that grunt out of anger and ordered most of our forces to find a pair of potential killers.  But with that said, you always believed in me when I was struggled to contribute to Team Flare back then, and you helped me overcome my fears and doubts when I questioned if we were doing the right thing or not.  I may not have much in this world we are trying to change, but the one thing I can give you is my loyalty.  Some things I might question, but I, Xerosic, will follow you, Lysandre sir, to our end goal of creating a new beautiful world with Team Flare as its only occupants!”

            Starting to walk past Xerosic, Lysandre clapped his right hand on Xerosic’s right shoulder, “That is the response I was looking for.  I will leave you to start working on the fail-safes for the holocasters we will give to Team Skull.  Update me when they are completed, Xerosic”.  Giving a salute to Lysandre as he walked away, Xerosic felt ecstatic on preparing the plans for the holocasters until another thought came to him.  “Lysander, sir!”  The giant man stopped before he exited the lab, “What is it?”.  “Before you go sir, may I ask; have you sent anyone to Po Town yet to talk to Team Skull?”  Not missing a beat, Lysandre responded, “I have not, but I do plan on sending our two most capable we have at the moment”.

            Keeping his composure from going into shock again, Xerosic kept his voice as neutrual as he can, “Do you mean… the ones who captured Kethcum and Greninja the last time”.  Lysandre nodded his head once, “The very same ones.  I have confidence in them that they can broker a deal with Team Skull and keep them in line if Skull tries to back out of the agreement.  I will be meeting with them after we are done here.  Does this answer your question Xerosic?”  Not wanting to show questioning his logic again, Xerosic straightened up, “Yes sir!  I will begin to work on those holocasters now”.  Giving a nod in understanding, Lysandre walked out of the room and left Xerosic to his own devices.  Once his superior was gone, Xerosic went back to picking whatever debris was left on the ground before going to build the holocasters.  ‘Dear Arceus…’ Xerosic thought as he was going back into his headspace, ‘This is going to be mess in the end.’

--------------------------

            Walking through the ruined halls of Flare Headquarters, two members of Team Flare were indifferent to the destruction around them.  Having been out on a supply run, the couple did not see what had transpired the night their former targets went on a rampage though the HQ and escaped.  They heard stories about what the brat and his Pokemon did to the building and their comrades, but it did not shake the pair in the least; in fact, they could not be more excited.  The two recently promoted administrators of Team Flare already had a good idea on why Lysandre is summoning them to begin with, but for all they know, he could just be sending them to collect more resources for the base.  They hope whatever they are going to their boss for, it’s the chance to stretch their legs for something more useful to their skill set.

            One of them, a woman, had an electronic pad underneath her left arm as she walked.  Her height is 5’7”, with dark red hair that came down to her shoulders, and a pair of octagonal-shaped glasses she wears to read smaller print on her pad.  One of her distinguishing features was the scar that came straight down from her right-eye brow, to the right side of her nose.  The man next to her was 6’1”, with his long, black hair twisted into dreads, but he tied the dreads into a pony tail on the back of his head.  His distinguishing feature was the necklace he almost always wore around his neck.  Unless he was in disguise, the man wore a pendant of a band’s symbol he greatly admires, Blue Oyster Cult.  He also will listen to music whenever the opportunity arises, but unfortunately it makes him oblivious to everything around him unless someone or something gains his attention.  That is what the woman was trying to do next to him as they are about at Lysandre’s office.

“…r.”

Pay me I’ll be your surgeon, I’d like to pick your brains

Capture you, inject you, leave you kneeling in the rain

Kneeling in the rain

I choose to steal what you choose to show

“…rter.”

And you know I will not apologize

You’re mine for the taking

I’m making a career of evil

I’m making a career of evil

I’m making a career of evil

“Carter!”

            The man known as Carter realized the woman next to him was frantically waving her hand in front of his face and pulled down his headphones to hang around his neck.  “What, Kim?  Are we already here?”  The woman named Kimberly took a deep sigh at Carter’s observational question.  “Yes, you dumbass.  The boss is waiting on us.”  Carter just shrugged at her insult and paused the song that was playing on his holocaster.  Making sure they look presentable, Carter and Kimberly knocked on the door to Lysandre’s office and waited for his response.  “Come in.” 

Opening the door, the room is unlike other personal quarters in the base.  Lysandre’s office doubles as his living space, with a standard desk with a computer and a couple monitors set up on top of the desk.  To the left of the desk was a small kitchen with a small table Lysandre can eat at when he becomes too busy with research to go eat with the other members of the team.  To the right of desk was a king size bed with a walk-in closet next to it for his clothes and other personal items.  Lysandre was able collect some belongings and his Pokemon he had stored at his estate before the Kalos government seized all his other assets including Lysandre Labs and the Café in Lumiose, but he got used to living on what he had for now.  The man himself was sitting at said desk looking over surveillance footage of the night before, studying how Ash escaped from his holding cell and rescued Greninja.

Not waiting for an invitation, Kimberly and Carter sat down at the two rolling chairs that were in front of their boss’s desk and waited for him to address them.  “Good evening Carter, Kimberly.  I will get straight to the point.  Do you know why I called you two here?”  Kimberly, who normally speaks for both her and Carter, answered, “We may have an idea sir.  Does this have to do with the escape of Ash Ketchum and his Greninja that happened at 1:32AM last night?”  “Yes, it does,” Lysandre said.  “Other than the damage you have seen to the hallways and Xerosic’s laboratory, are you aware of carnage those two committed to our numbers as well?”  “Not exactly sir.  We have heard rumors and stories from other members that were present at that time, but we have not reviewed any of the footage from the security cameras.”

Lysandre nodded at them and turned one of his monitors towards his admins. to see the video of Ash and Greninja in action.  Lysandre clicked play on the tape and it shows two Flare grunts with their paralyzing rifles, firing at Ash and Greninja.  They could tell the duo was deflecting the shots that came at them, but they could not tell how Ash was able to stop the beams from coming at him due to the poor quality of the picture.  Then the next two things that happened though made Carter and Kimberly blink in surprise.  Ash was on the other side of one of the grunts in a weird stance, and the grunt’s head fell off with a small fountain of blood spraying from the neck stump as his body fell over.  The other grunt stood in fear, not noticing Greninja running up on her as he used his move, Cut, to slice off one of the other grunt’s arms, then kicking her into the wall to leave her to unconscious and bleeding out.

Usually Carter was quiet when it came to professional situations like here in a meeting with Lysandre, but on a rare occasion, he will voice his own opinion or blurt out something.  The latter scenario happened after seeing the footage.  “Arceus-damn…  did that actually happen?”  Lysandre nodded his head as he swiveled the monitor back around to his view.  “Oh yes, Carter.  There are plenty more clips of them together or each of them alone going though our people like fodder for Miltanks.  Keeping herself composed compared to her partner, Kimberly cleared her throat to gain the attention of Lysandre again.  “Sir.  What are your orders on recapturing Ketchum and Greninja?”  “Normally I would send you two and a group of grunts to reclaim what we lost,” Lysandre stated, “But, due to the shortage of manpower around here, we will take a different approach on recapturing them”.

Turning his computer screen towards them again, Lysandre laid out his mission for them.  “I want you two to go to Ula’ula Island, specifically a place called Po Town off Route 17,” he pointed at the screen.  “There lies a gang called Team Skull who have taken over Po Town about six months ago.  The leader, Guzma, and his team will take almost any job they get hired to do for the right price.  You two will go in disguise to Po Town to make a deal with Guzma about hiring Team Skull to look for Ketchum and his Greninja.  They may use any method to capture them, and they can rough up the two some, so long as they are brought back alive to us.  If Team Skull refuses to deal with us, back out partnership during the operation, or either of them end up dead…”  Lysandre eyes narrowed and his face harden, “You may deal with Team Skull however you please, so long as they see things our way.  Any questions”.

Processing her order quickly, Kimberly spoke up, “There is one sir.  When Team Skull agrees to working with us, how will we keep in contact with them without raising suspicion?”  “I already have that covered.  Xerosic is making special holocaster for Team Skull to use that only will communicate with them, and our group.  Once they are ready to be delivered, I will have you two take them to Po Town and explain how they work.  Can you two handle that and your current mission?”  Kimberly and Carter nodded their heads, “Yes sir.  Carter and I can handle anything you want us to do, for the honor of Team Flare”.  Lysandre gave a nod and a wicked smile at the two.  “Very well.  You are both dismissed and are expected to leave in the next hour for Ula’ula Island.”  Both admins. got up and bowed, and Carter and Kimberly left to prepare for their mission.  Once they left, Lysandre let himself breathe a little easier and leaned back into his chair, letting the statement Ash made the night before, playback in his head, “You may have turned me and my Pokemon into lab experiments, but that is all the more reason you and Team Flare need to be extinguished from our world.  That much, I promise.”  “Hehe…  That sounds like a declaration of war, Ash Ketchum.  I’ll be sure to remind you of that promise you made that night as I dragged your broken body back here to be used for our end goal.  I look forward to it.”

--------------------

After walking away from Lysandre’s office, Carter pulled out a pack of cigarettes and used his mouth to pull one from the carton.  Lighting his cigarette up, he offers the pack to Kimberly, which she accepts and pulls one out for herself to light up.  “So…” Carter started to say as he took the cigarette out of his mouth, “Do you think grabbing Ketchum and Greninja will be as easy as before?”  Kimberly took the cigarette out of her mouth to breathe out the smoke before answering, “No it won’t, Carter.  You saw that surveillance footage yourself.  It will not be as simple as tricking the brat and ambushing him and his Pokemon in a dark alley.  Apparently, Ketchum has some sort of power, and he isn’t afraid to hurt us to get away.  The same goes for Greninja as well.”  Nodding his head in understanding, Carter took his headphones back out of his pocket and plugged them back into his holocaster.  “Well first thing first.  The boss wanted us to bring Team Skull into the fold to help us capture the duo.  Do you think they’ll decline or resist us?”  Again, Kimberly took a drag before answering, “I’d have to look at the notes Lysandre is planning to send us when we leave, but from the sound of his confident voice, he feels like Team Skull won’t have problem working for us.  It’s just the question of will they stick with us after finding out what kind of prey we are hunting.  As Lysandre said, if they don’t want to work with us, or run away during this plan, we’ll just have to show them not to underestimate Team Flare”. 

Taking one last puff before putting his smoking stick out, Carter had one more thought, “One last thing Kim.  Lysandre said deal with Team Skull if they don’t play ball.  Does that mean we also take out any witnesses or anyone that tries to meddle with us?”  Putting her cigarette out, Kimberly shrugged her shoulders, “Pretty much.  If Team Flare is going to create a new world and get rid of everyone beforehand; it wouldn’t hurt to get rid of anyone that tries to stop us.  Just have to make sure we do it quick and quietly.”  “Alright,” Carter said as he put his headphones back on his head, “It seems like we are on the same page. Let’s go get ready.”  Carter then turned back on the song he was listening to before the meeting with Lysandre.  Kimberly shook her head at Carter going back to being deaf to the world, but nevertheless, smiled and walked with them back to their living quarters to prepare for the battle ahead of them.

I’d like your blue-eyed horseshoe

I’d like your emerald horny toad

I’d like to do it to your daughter on a dirt road…

 

Chapter Text

“What do you think Pikachu?  Would I look decent in this if I wore it in a showcase?”  Serena and Pikachu were leisurely walking through Lumiose; enjoying the nice weather until Serena spotted a new clothing store on their path.  Asking Pikachu if he was okay with her trying on dresses for a bit, Pikachu smiled and nodded his head at her request.  That is where for the next hour, Serena tried on a handful of clothes and garments to see if any interested her down the line.

Looking in her direction, Pikachu put a paw on his chin for a minute before saying, “Pika”; with a thumbs up at Serena.  Serena giggled at Pikachu for his approving her choice in fashion before decided it was time for them to keep moving again.  With the electric mouse on her shoulder, Serena thanked the staff for their help, and walked back out into the semi-congested sidewalk the shop was located on.  Looking around them, both Serena and Pikachu could not help but smile to themselves at all the commotion around them as they moved.

 Just about a month ago, the citizens were starting reconstruction on the city, and now save for the airport which will open in a few days, everything was up and running again.  It was such a great feeling to see all the people and pokemon moving along their daily lives after the Kalos Crisis.  Serena knew there were some people and pokemon that had lingering health issues, both physically and mentally after what happened before, but if they did, that did not stop them from continuing living life to the fullest.  Even couples Serena and Pikachu saw were enjoying some of the shops and stands that were open right now.  Seeing the lovebirds together though made Serena’s smile dropped into a more somber tone before walking with the small group of traffic on the side walk.

Her body moving on its own, Serena’s mind jumped back to the conversation she had with Clemont the morning before.  “You know how Ash is.  Once he has his mind set on something, it’s hard to change it.  Even if you had convinced him to let you go with him, Ash would of ran off on his own with Greninja regardless.  Plus, by your logic, we would have to blame Pikachu too since he wanted to go with Ash as well.”  She had wanted to believe that Ash would not ditch her if she tagged along with him and Greninja that day, but knowing him, Ash would have gone off on his own when she was not looking.   It made her both sad and frustrated when she thought about it. 

Here she was: seventeen-years-old, a year older now after she left her home in Vaniville to get away from her mother who wanted to push her into competitive Rhyhorn Racing and follow the boy, Ash, that helped her become more self-confident and independent.  Only now, she has become somewhat dependent on Ash because of her school girl crush on him and has no way to find him and save him from whatever took him to begin with.  Even though everyone believes her and Pikachu are not to blame, Serena still can not but feel helpless about everything that has happened.  She just wishes she could have help from Arceus; a clue to help point her in the direction Ash and Greninja are.

Serena was lost in her musings until she was knocked out of them, and on her behind.  Pikachu fell off her shoulder and landed face first on the sidewalk wishing Serena heard his cries before they ran into the person on the ground next to them.  The person in question was a mailman; rubbing his back as it was the first thing he hit on the concrete from the collision.  All three regaining their senses, Serena got up to her feet quickly to help the carrier to his, with an apology.

“I am so sorry sir!  I was not watching where I was walking.”  The mailman brushed himself with a smile as he accepted Serena’s apology, “It’s ok miss.  I should be saying sorry as well because I was trying to read this map I had, and I wasn’t watching where I was walking either.”  Accepting his apology as well, Serena straightened her clothes out as well, as Pikachu ran up her body to climb back on her shoulder.  “Hello, I’m Serena, and this my friend’s pokemon partner, Pikachu!”  “Pika, Pikachu,” Pikachu cried out to introduce himself.

The mailman’s face froze for a second, before nodding to them and introduced himself. “Nice to meet you Serena and Pikachu.  My name is Gunther; I’m a mail carrier here in Lumiose.”  Serena took note of Gunther’s appearance, obviously wearing the standard, dark blue uniform when it came to delivering mail in the Kalos Region.  Other notable features about Gunther was he was a tall man that if Serena had to guess, he would be 5’10”, the fact he wore thick, black rimmed glasses, and he was missing his pinky finger on his right hand.  If Serena and Pikachu met him in one of the many alley ways in Lumisoe at night, they would of ran away in terror, but in daylight, Gunther seemed like a genuine man.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you too Gunther,” Serena replied back as a thought came to her, “Though may I ask why you are using a map while you are working?  Aren’t you supposed to be familiar with the layout of your route?”  Gunther chuckled as he rubbed the back of his head in embarrassment, “You got me there Serena.  This is actually my first week on my own as a mail carrier.”  Both Serena and Pikachu tilted their heads in confusion to Gunther’s answer and he decides to explain further, “You see, I just got recently hired in at the Lumiose Postal Office, and even though I passed my exams and had a trainer go with me on my route for a week, I’m still having trouble.  My route is supposed to go from this address to the last one here, and so far, I have delivered to every other address down except for the last one.  I am not too familiar with the South Side of Lumiose still.”

Looking at the map and the list of addresses Gunther had, Serena recognized the last address was Meyer’s house.  “Oh, I know that one!  Pikachu and I are actually living with the residents of that address right now”.  Gunther gave a look of surprise at Serena and Pikachu before opening his mailbag to reveal the last few envelopes in his bag, checking to make sure of something.  “Well now…,” he said as he looked at the mail, “I thought your name sounded familiar, Serena.”  Gunther turned the stack of envolopes around to show at the top of them, Serena had one addressed to her, funnily enough it came from Lumiose itself. 

Serena raised an eyebrow at this reveal.  She did not know anyone else here in Lumiose other than Clemont, Bonnie, Meyer, and Professor Sycamore/assistants.  The address she was not familiar with, nor does it have the name of the person or possible group it came from.  The only things it had on it was her name, Meyer’s home address, and a return address that indicated it came from Lumiose City.  Serena had to guess something this sloppily addressed could not have gotten through the screening process to be delivered without raising a red flag.  But she was not sure about how the mail gets sorted out to begin with, so maybe it was an error on the post office’s part. 

Wondering if it was ok for her to take the mail from Gunther to deliver, she asked him if she could do it.  Gunther shook his head explaining that it was government rules for the mail to be delivered by a certified employee of the post office to avoid fraud issues.  “So, would you like to walk back to the address with us,” Serena asked, “It could help you memorize your route better”.  “Well if you two don’t mind, then I will take you up on your offer.”  Pikachu chirped in agreement, and the three of them took the twenty-minute walk back to Meyer’s house. 

On the way, Serena and Gunther talked about what Gunther’s job as a mailman was like, and Serena talked about her experience as a Showcase participant, with Gunther admitting he never really watched a Showcase Contest before. They eventually arrived at Meyer’s home which doubled as his repair shop in the front of the building.  “Well here we are,” Serena said.  Gunther dropped Serena’s envelope and Meyer’s bills in the drop box outside the repairman’s business.  “Thank you, you two.  This should help me remember my route a little better now.”  “No problem Gunther; that’s great to hear.  Pika, pika!”  Gunther smiled at them, “I wish you luck on your future Showcases, Serena.  Until then, you have a lovely day you two!”  Serena and Pikachu smiled back, “Thank you very much!  We wish you the same with your job.”

Gunther nodded as he turned around and walked down the street, and Serena grabbed the mail from the drop box to take it inside.  Walking past the counter of the shop, and into the home itself, Pikachu hopped off Serena’s shoulder to play with Chespin in the living room, who was on the floor playing with a small ball.  Clemont was in the kitchen preparing the ingredients he planned on using for dinner in an hour.

“Hey there Clemont.  What are you doing?”  Clemont turned around from the counter with a chef’s knife in his hand and Serena sees meat all cut up in chunks on a cutting board.  “Welcome back Serena.  I’m in the preparation stage of making beef stew for us tonight.  It will be ready in a couple hours or so.”  Serena nodded but noticed a distinct lack of noise in the house, save for the two pokemon playing in the other room.  “Where’s Bonnie?  It seems too quiet right now.”  The inventor chuckled, “She went with my dad on a supply run to the hardware store.  Bonnie was bored here, and my dad suggested he could go with her to help him bring stuff back”.

Serena giggled silently at the thought of Bonnie possibly proposing to every pretty woman her and Meyer came across, and Meyer had to explain everything before carrying Bonnie away in embarrassment.  “By the way,” Clemont asked, “Is that the mail in your hand?”  Serena forgot for a second she was holding the mail, “Yeah.  A couple of these are for your dad; the only other one is for me”.  Clemont raised his left eyebrow, “For you?  Is it from your mom?”  Serena shook her head, “No.  The return address is from here in Lumiose, but it isn’t from the Professor, and you guys are the only other people I know here.”  “Hmmm… That is peculiar.  Can I see the envelope please?”  Serena agreed and handed her mail over to Clemont, after he washed his hands, to see if he can identify the return address. 

After a good thirty seconds, Clemont came to a conclusion, “Well… I do not recognize the address either”.  Serena about fell over in disbelief but recovered and asked for her mail back, and he gave it to her, but asked Serena to wait on opening it.  “Let me go grab something from my bedroom.  I’ll be quick.”  Clemont left the kitchen to the staircase, while Serena shrugged and set the her and Meyer’s mail on the kitchen table.  Sitting down looking at her mail, Serena could not help but being more curious about the envelope every passing second.  She heard Clemont up in his room, moving and throwing objects around waiting to see what he was going to do with her mail.

Pikachu and Chespin stopped playing with the ball and went to see what Serena and Clemont were going to do about the mail as well.  Pikachu climbed up on the table next to Serena mail to touch it and smell it.  Serena noticed him picking at the envelope and asked the electric mouse what he was up to.  “Pipika, Pikachu.”  Serena tilted her head in confusion to what Pikachu was implying, until Pikachu sighed in exasperation and pointing to the envelope and giving a thumbs up.  “Are you saying it’s ok for me to open it?”  Pikachu cried out happily and nodded.  Serena decided to go on Pikachu’s word that her mail is not tampered with and opened it to find there was only a letter in it.

Serena started to read the letter just as Clemont came down the staris to show off what he was doing in his room.  “I knew we would run into a situation like this.  The future is now thanks to science!  I present to you: The Mail Checker Two-Thousand!”  While Clemont kept his eyes close in smugness and expecting was expecting Serena to ask how it works, he opened his eyes a few seconds later to instead see Serena trembling in her chair.  Her hands were gripping the paper tightly while she re-read the letter, with her breathing picking up heavily, and her pupils dilating in shock.

Clemont stood a few feet away from her; his own nerves on edge from Serena’s sudden mood shift.  Pikachu and Chespin were also worried about what had their friend freaking out over a piece a paper.  Pikachu slowly walked to Serena’s point of view to see if he can read the letter himself.  Since he has been with Ash through six regions over the years, Pikachu has been able to somewhat understand and read the alphabet his trainer and their friends use.  It took him a minute to comprehend what he was reading, but as soon as Pikachu put the letter together, he let out an exclaimed, “PIKA?!” 

The shout made by Pikachu snapped Serena out of her shocked state of being and realized Clemont was standing near her.  “Clemont,” Serena shouted as she got up from the table quickly and knocked her chair over, “Read this now!”  Clemont was concerned about what had the performer and the electric mouse panicking about a letter they read, but nonetheless, took it from Serena’s hand and read it out loud.  “Dear Serena, Clemont, Bonnie, and Pikachu, I have information on the whereabouts of your friends, Ash and Greninja-” He stopped reading immediately when he realized what the note just said.  At Serena’s and Pikachu’s urgency, Clemont continued, “If you want to know how to save them, meet me at the return address on the envelope at 9pm, on March 28th.

There was no signature at the bottom of the letter, or on the back of it.  That did not matter to Clemont though as he was still trying to process the information he just read like Serena and Pikachu.  Someone or a group of people possibly know where Ash and Greninja are, they know who he, Serena, and Bonnie were, and the group of friends had about a day and a half to decide to go to the address or not.  Weary of the letter overall, Clemont faced Serena and Pikachu to discus the matter with them, “I don’t about you two, but I do not have a good feeling about this.”  “Pika?  Pikachu Pi?”  Clemont had to guess Pikachu was asking why he was not more willing to jump on this opportunity to save their friends,

“Think about it: Do you think it is a little suspicious that we get a letter from some random person or organization that claims they know where Ash and Greninja are?  We and the police here in Kalos never mentioned to the press that Ash and Greninja went missing, so how can anyone know they disappeared and found them no less?”  Serena and Pikachu did find it odd that despite keeping quiet about Ash’s and Greninja’s kidnapping, there were people out there that knew about it.  “Also,” Clemont continued, “What if whoever sent the letter, was the one responsible for their abduction, and they are luring us into a trap to take us as well?”  Clemont tone of voice was going from calm and logical, to hysterical and worry, “I cannot bear the thought of someone taking Bonnie away from me!  I promised my mom that I would take care of Bonnie and not let anything happen to her!  I WON’T LET IT HAPPEN SERENA!!” 

Serena put her hands up to calm Clemont down as he was starting to sound paranoid, “Ok, ok, ok, Clemont!  Take a deep breath, everything is ok.  Nothing is going to happen to Bonnie.”  Clemont realized how he was sounding and walked over to the table to sit down with the letter in front of him.  Serena grabbed her chair on the floor to put it right side up again to sit down as well, with Pikachu still on the table looking back and forth, and Chespin was on the floor; staying silent during the discussion.  “…I’m sorry for that outburst, Serena.”  The performer saw remorse on Clemont’s face as he was trying to keep himself in check after the episode he had.  It was a quiet couple minutes before Clemont spoke again, “…what do you think Serena?”  “About what we should do regarding the letter?”

Clemont nodded his head as he looks up to see what she would say.  Taking a deep breath and looking him straight in the eye, Serena gave her answer, “I think we should go to the meeting place tomorrow night.”   “Pika, Pikachu!”  Clemont saw Pikachu nodding his head with a determined look on his face; agreeing with Serena.  “We should give this a try.  Officer Jenny and the rest of the police force still have not found a clue or lead to what happened to Ash and Greninja since they vanished.  You know as well as I do the Kanto Government is not going to share anything with us since we aren’t of any concern to them because we are both foreigners and teenagers.  This is the best lead we have had in the past month, and Pikachu and I believe we should take a chance on it!  Plus, the note did not say we couldn’t bring any of our pokemon with us, so if we are walking into a trap, at least we would have protection.  What else do we have to go on?”

Clemont sighed as he took his glasses off to rub his face to relieve the stress headache that was building in his brain.  Serena has some good points to her argument: The Kanto Regional Government is not going to tell a couple of Kalos teenagers anything relating to their friends’ disappearance, and if the information is believable enough, they could tell Officer Jenny and let the police handle it.  The letter did not say anything about bringing their pokemon, so they could theoretically escape if turns into a bad situation.

After a couple minutes of thinking and putting his glasses back on, Clemont conceded to Serena’s and Pikachu’s side.  “Ok, let’s go for it, but I have one condition.”  Serena and Pikachu leaned in anticipation to what Clemont’s request was, “We leave Bonnie out of this.”  Serena was about to ask why, but then she remembered Clemont’s emotional outburst from moments ago.  As much as Serena wants to argue for Bonnie to tag along, she has come to be associated as Bonnie’s “Big Sister” by the child herself and would not feel comfortable with the possibility of putting her “Little Sister” in danger.  Pikachu felt a similar need to protect Bonnie like his human friends, so he can agree with the terms as well.

“Ok.  We can agree with that condition.”  Clemont released a breath he did not realize he was holding and smiled.  “Alright, we will come up with a plan to figure out where the address is located in Lumiose, and go from there.  Until then, keep it a secret from Bonnie and my dad.”  Serena and Pikachu nodded their heads and were going to get up from the table until they saw Chespin still on the floor looking confused.  “Chespin,” Serena said, “We need you to stay quiet about this as well please.”  Chespin realized he was being spoken to and straightened up, “Ches, Pin, Chespin”.  “Kapi, Pikachu.”  Pikachu and Chespin spoke to each other for a minute before Pikachu gave a, “Pi” and gave a thumbs up for Clemont and Serena.  “I guess Pikachu convinced Chespin to not say anything,” Clemont said.

With everything sorted out, Clemont went back to finishing the prep for dinner, which would be a little later now, and Serena and Pikachu went upstairs to their bedroom to take a breather after everything that had transpired in the last couple hours.  Serena flopped down on her bed, staring at the ceiling while Pikachu, climbed onto her stomach and curled himself into a ball to fall asleep.  “Just think Ash.  We could be seeing you again real soon,” Serena said to herself quietly before closing her eyes like Pikachu.

 

Meanwhile, twelve hours behind Kalos

            The moon was still out, and the night was quiet as Kukui typed away on his computer down in the basement of his bachelor pad.  He had to keep his mind distracted from the metaphorical dead-end he hit the day before.  After calling Samson again to let him know he will unfortunately be taking the week off to look after his “guests”, Kukui then started making calls in Alola and Kalos to see if he can find out who the boy was and if that Greninja was his.  The Coast Guard did not report any ships or boats lost out at sea in the past few days, the few hotels that cater to tourist on Melemele or Akala Island have not had any customers checking in that match the boy’s description.  Finally, Kukui called Professor Sycamore in Kalos remembering Greninja is the final evolution form of the Kalos starter, Froakie, so maybe Sycamore could identify the duo upstairs.  Unfortunately, Sycamore was out of region for a conference to promote a new evolution theory called Battle Bond, and the young man that answer his call yesterday, was not too happy about being woken up at three in the morning and hung up after.

            Throughout the day and night, Kukui spent his time in his basement making the calls and going up to the living room to see if either one of his guests had woken up.  Neither of them has budged since Nurse Joy patched them up, and while it had only been a day, he wonders if either of them was going to wake up within the seven-day limit Nurse Joy set.  Instead of going to bed at night when he had morbid thoughts in his head, Kukui continued his own research on the effects of a crunch attack, and what it could do to an opponent at max power.  Occasionally, he got up from his work desk to grab a snack and beer from the mini fridge he had next to his desk or get up and practice his right hook on the punching bag on the other side of the room. 

It was now about 5am and other than having gotten through halfway on his hypothesis, Kukui was stumped on who the kid and that Greninja were.  Deciding it was probably best to sleep on it, Kukui got up from his desk to catch a couple hour nap before the sun rose up over the horizon.  Just as Kukui’s head hit the pillow and he closed his eyes, Rockruff came flying down the stairs, barking nonstop at him and pulling on his lab coat.  “What do you want?  I’m tired…”  Rockruff stood in front of the couch, whined a little, and ran back up the stairs.  It took a minute for Kukui’s mind to catch up to him, but he is guessing Rockruff wanted to be fed and let outside for a bit.  Kukui inwardly groaned before getting up from his couch and headed towards the stairs as well.

The professor rubbed his face in attempt to wake himself up some as he slowly ascended to his living room.  Once he reached the main floor, Professor Kukui was about to call out for his dog but any sound he was about to make, died out in his throat.  Across the room, the teenager who Kukui thought would still be out cold, was standing in the middle of the living room; back turned to the professor as he looked out a window.  Kukui blinked a couple times, then proceeded to gently pat his face to make sure this was not a dream he was having; the boy was awake and moving.  Kukui looked over to his left to see Rockruff sitting on his hind with a weary look on his face, and Incineroar was curled up on the floor near the front door asleep, unaware of what was going on. 

Mulling it over in his head for a minute, Kukui decided to speak out loud to see if the boy was all there in the head to begin with.  “Uh… hey there… cousin.”  Kukui noticed the boy’s posture stiffened before his whole body turned around to face the professor.  Kukui saw the boy had his head down, with his hair hiding his eyes and his hands were dangling at his side.  Kukui was about to say something else till realized he was probably making the boy nervous with how he just called out to him.   So, the professor straightened himself up to introduce himself more professionally, “Sorry if I startled you a second ago; let me try again.  My name is Professor- “ 

Kukui could not get his name out in time as the next couple seconds were a blur to him.  He felt like someone took a baseball bat to his stomach and his back was slammed into the wall below the loft.  Still trying to make sense of what hit him and keep his pain level in check, Kukui also realized that the same teen he had laying on his couch earlier, had him pin to the wall and there was something in the boy’s right hand.  Kukui looked down out of curiosity to see what the boy could have grabbed in that short amount of time, and what he saw, stunned the professor into shock and confusion.  The boy was holding a water shuriken up to his neck.

“Where am I…” the boy said in a low growl, as Kukui noticed his eyes were hard and feral.  “Who are you?  Do you work for Team Flare as well you twisted freak?  Do you?!”  That was the moment in his life when Kukui realized… he was in big trouble.