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This all felt surreal. The message on the desk, the promise that Steven wouldn’t be here, after all, and that this Pokémon was something of a gift. Brendan felt like he was floating on air, but beneath all those inchoate emotions he felt a faint spark of frustration. Steven was away training, but he didn’t even mention where, or why, really, or how… And on the flip side, Brendan supposed that Steven could look for him any time he wanted, with that new communication mode on the PokéNav Plus. Brendan wanted to hit something, but he settled on curling his hand into a fist, digging his nails into his palm.

Brendan released the catch on the Pokéball, and sure enough, floating squarely in front of him was a Beldum. It blinked back at him with one large, beady red eye, and Brendan reached one hand out subconsciously, as if he was meeting someone new and was about to shake their hand. Beldum let out a choppy high pitched cry at that, and Brendan wondered faintly if it was meant to be a laugh: the creature was psychic after all.

Behind him, Bane made an alarmed noise, and Brendan turned to smile reassuringly at him, as if to say, it’s okay, it’s fine. Bane was without a doubt remembering Metagross and their battle against Steven, which was rather difficult, to say the least. But they persevered, and everything turned out just alright, and they were Champions. With a final pat, he turned back to Beldum, who was drawing meaningless circles in the air by zooming about.

“You need a name,” Brendan said to it, causing it to let out what sounded like a disdainful snort - at least what Brendan imagined it would sound like if sent through a sound distorting processor. He would give Beldum the benefit of the doubt, however, though he still rapped the Pokémon lightly in its side. “Everyone that gets into my active party has a nickname,” Brendan explained, gesturing to his Sceptile next to him, who let out a distinctive roar. “He’s Bane, for example.”

“So, what do you think about Steven?” Brendan asked rather jokingly. The neatly-penned letter lying on the desk seemed to bore into his side, so Brendan took it up and folded it, placing it into his bag so he wasn’t glancing at it out of the corner of his eye. He tried to hide the bitterness in his voice when he next spoke, but it leaked out anyway. Steven Stone. Signed like a stranger, even despite everything… But maybe to Steven, they were just business associates. Brendan bit his lip heavily to draw himself back to attention. “What about Stone, huh?” He suggested. “I'm not that creative, but it should be cool enough for ya, bud.”

Beldum did a happy little spin, and Brendan took it as an affirmative.

When he finally emerged from Steven’s house, Stone floated at his side, eager to please, while Bane snipped at it chidingly from time to time. Brendan was sure that every time he passed by this house, he would invariably slow down, wondering at the whereabouts of its owner. But if Steven was so determined to be this way, then Brendan would just have to similarly trust that they would meet again, by some circumstance or another. But before that happened…

Brendan glanced at Stone, who had twisted around nimbly to meet his gaze. It had probably picked up on his thoughts already, even if he hadn’t tried to project them or anything.

Yes, before then… Before then Stone would become a Metagross. One of Brendan’s own.