Eevee TF Series
Her body bolted upright, gasping hungrily for air. Her head was in a thick racing fog and the dark room was filled with a loud, incessant noise: a rapid thumping, as if someone were running up the hardwood stairs in her apartment. She quickly felt the tension compelling in her chest and took her clammy palm to it, pressing down as hard as she could, trying desperately to calm herself down. Still her rapid breaths were thin and she began to feel drained with each successive inhale. Searching frantically she finally felt the small smooth object that rested around her neck and held it in her hand tightly, as her violent pants turned into raspy shallow cries, her eyelids damp.
The pain after a nightmare. She saw her, alone and helpless; frightened. Everything was foggy and invisible, like a blank void to her, but still moving and drifting slowly. Bone-chilling. She shivered viciously. She could see straight down into an abyss of distant emptiness. Face-to-face with death in that dream, wondering if it was real or not. Vertigo shook her violently and she wrapped herself tightly in her bed sheets, praying that the familiar person she saw falling endlessly over that edge was just an illusion.
She opened her eyes slowly. Deep, glazed over with soft, glowing lavender. The darkness weighted down on them painfully and she clamped her lids shut, covered them with a hand, blindly searching for her lamp through the clutter on her nightstand. Again she ventured to open her eyes, relieved to see a warm yellow light fill the room: her eyes a dark brown, wet from her night terror.
no no!" she cried into the fist carrying her namesake. "Come on, Crystal relax
it was just a dream
The despaired girl sat on her bed, sniffling lightly into her palms, embracing the crystal as she would have embraced her father; cold to the touch. "Get a hold of yourself," she demanded out loud, the image of the helpless girl still vivid in her mind. She shook herself and kissed her father gently. "Just a dream
just a dream
" she repeated quietly to the beat of her heart, softly slowing down until her whispers faded into thoughts. Her fingers rubbed the crystal's smooth facets delicately, her vision blurry.
She sighed deeply. "Four o'-five," she muttered, and picked up the alarm clock that had landed on the floor. 4:06. She rolled her eyes and set it back on the desk.
Staring up at the ceiling, the lamplight casting shadows behind the rotating fan blades above her, she became hypnotically dizzy and let her eyes fall closed again. Another cool sigh filled her and she felt herself lazily falling
"M-Momma?" the voice groaned. Strained, muffled.
Wrapped in a disconcerting cross of fear and comfort. Another nightmare. Light-headedness. Dizziness, drowning, flying. Falling. She lay not knowing whether she was on her back or front, weak and exhausted as the world pressed down on her. Unable to move, she let out a groan, but the howling around her was deafening. As if she was trying to talk underwater and her voice was coming from far away. She pushed hard just to make a barely audible sigh.
She clenched her eyes tightly, feeling snow shift around them. Outside. Where she wanted to be. A tingle of numbness shook her; she had never experienced frostbite, but she assumed her condition was not unlike it, because the chills began to soothe her. Comforting her.
?" Mumbling between her desperate gasps for the thin air that came to her slowly, filtered by thick walls of ice that caged her in, her trembling teeth began to calm down along with the deafening heartbeat which shook her head. A steady muffled thump sounded around her, trapped just as she was. Once her mind cleared a barrage of thoughts rushed at her all at once. Where am I? How did I get here?
How am I still alive?
Shock began to overwhelm her as she realized what had happened. The last thing she remembered was a wall of white flying directly toward her and almost knocking her out instantly. A fierce shiver shook her as she remembered the few brief seconds of the avalanche that swept her over the edge of the cliff; the glimpse of the deep, dark wide landscape that swallowed her into an infinite free-fall. As far as she could tell, however, she must have blacked out well before hitting the ground. Everything else seemed like a distant blur to her. Again her heartbeat picked up and raced. Her body stiffened and tried to buckle against the shock of realization. Wait, what happened to-
It couldn't have all been a dream, she kept telling herself. Yet it all still seemed impossible. Doubt pulsed through her being and she tried to shake her head, with little success.
" a ringing in her ears stopped her, but it was the only thing that made sense. There was no way she could have survived both an avalanche and a fall from such an impossible height. She should be dead, if in fact it was not all a dream. Yet it felt so real and lifelike to her. None of her dreams of the high-up cliff had ever contained so much realism.
The howl of the wind sounded, still muffled by ice and snow. She had no idea how deep she was. Her body felt numb and dense; trapped inside an immobile sack. Even if she could move her limbs she probably wouldn't have the strength to climb out of the snow. Maybe this is what it's like to be a zombie? She forced a tiny smile at the thought. She could picture the expression of another family, maybe like her own, hiking through the snow above and seeing a poor dark-haired, most likely pale- or blue-skinned girl digging her way out of the ground. She chuckled; possibly the most successful action she had done since regaining consciousness. An odd warmth took over her. Not warmth. Feeling. Suddenly she could tell she was on her back. Everything was upside-down now. She winced, imagining how it might have felt if she had been awake when she landed on her back in the thick snow. She shivered, not from the cold but from the thoughts that continued to leak into her mind. How far did I fall? How long have I been asleep? Will I be able to find a way back home? My parents must be freaking out right about now
She tried to wiggle her fingers. No luck; still numb. Grunting silently she tried moving any part of her body. In an attempt to pull her right arm into her body her eyes opened and widened at the alarming sense of freedom; she couldn't feel a jacket sleeve. Nor could she feel anything around her other arm. Without thinking she tried to turn her head to look and see if she did in fact lose her jacket somewhere. Gaahh! Snow caved in and locked her head still, and pinned her bare arms down as well. Great
so I'm shirtless too
lovely. Instead of the rush of icy prickly cold she anticipated on her awakening arms, they felt secure and comforted; as if she were back home, wrapped up in her thickest blankets. Not necessarily warm, but very cozy. She couldn't even feel the biting cold she felt when she first touched snow; it all began to feel completely natural to her, like simply wearing a new shirt almost. She began to feel tiny in her blankets of snow, as she would often feel in the cocoon of her bed at home. Her feelings both worried her and assured her. She let out a sigh.
" She had no idea what became the tiny creature, but every muscle in her body and every feeling she had made her believe he was safe, wherever he was. An icy tear formed behind her eyelid as she recalled the comfort he had given her before the plunge. "He spoke to me! That had to be a dream then
right?" Nevertheless she had never felt safer than when he looked into her eyes and embraced her, before the swell of the avalanche picked them both up and sent them flying. If you are still alive, I promise I will find you. I'll never forget you
The icy cold wrapped her tightly and she felt reassurance swirling in her spirit.
It felt so backwards to her, to feel strength by staying still. Yet the more she thought about it, the more her small traces of body heat seemed to annoy her. She embraced the icy cold and longed to be surrounded by it now. Nah, there's no way I'm dead, the thought rang in her head, I feel way too alive to be dead. The cold seeped down to the bone; she could feel its tingle. Exhilaration replaced her anxiety as she could feel the heat leave her further; a full-body massage taking away her stresses. She wanted to stay hidden in her fortress forever, but more and more she felt like she had to wake up and get out of bed sooner or later. Something within her and around her willed her to break free, to experience new life through new eyes; made her want to jump out of her old life for good.
Her soaked wings were heavy with melted wax but she shoved them off. The wide white world around her was hers. Pure and wiped clean.
Immediately the only thing on her mind was the sudden joy she felt, to be once again surrounded by the only thing that felt natural to her. Trees long-since barren of their leaves in the permanence of the wintry mix of ice and snow. Looking up, the mountain's impossibly tall height only gave her a clue as to how far she fell; the summit was hidden in a thick dense fog. In the skies, pale fluffy clouds hung in midair, idly floating in the wind that howled through the trees. Snowy dust drifted on the breeze, adding to the thick fog which surrounded the mountain forestry.
Victoria heaved a gentle sigh of amazement. There was no sight more beautiful in her wildest imagination. Even her dreams of the cliff couldn't match such idyllic serenity. A sudden wind crept up behind her and in reaction she crouched, before realizing there was no threat to be found. Laughing, she stood back up and ran with the wind before tripping almost as soon as she took her first step.
"Pbfflt!!" She spat snow out of her nose and mouth. "W-what?" She had never really run in particularly deep snow before but it didn't make sense to her that she would fall so easily. Falling out of her euphoria she recalled her apparent wardrobe malfunction and immediately hugged her chest, hoping nobody had spotted her running in the snow au natural.
"H-huh?" What she felt was almost alien to her. Foreign. No doubt in her mind she was touching her chest, but it felt different. Soft and thick, a little prickly. "YeeOUCH!!" Her distress grew and as she pressed her hand firmly against her chest, what felt like tiny needles pricked her soft skin, and she yanked her arms away immediately to scan for blood. Her eyes widened instantly and she let out a high-pitched squeal of alarm. No blood, but a navy-blue furry palate; a smooth padded dark-turquoise triangle in the center of her palm, and similar elliptical pads on each of her four fingers. Her eyes grew impossibly wide with astonishment as she flexed her hand, the paw following her commands.
The urge to faint grew in the back of her head, before the wind blew the scent of a freshwater pond in her direction. Snapping out of it she ran, her ability to walk quickly improving as she charged toward the water source through the thick, tall trees and bushes. "There's no way
There's no way
" she kept panting under her breath. Superior instincts she barely noticed at all told her where to place her slender robin's-egg legs- with long dark-blue "socks" pulled up halfway, to avoid falling into the patches of thinly-packed snow. In the forest the wind howled even louder than before, and threatened to send her off course and ram her into a tree, but her persistence and determination kept her racing toward the smell her sensitive nose locked onto.
The repetitive motion of her legs quickly became natural to her as she raced through the thickening snow, still very loose from the avalanche. Stepping became more difficult as she sank more than a couple of times. She compensated by quickening her pace, gliding over the snow as if running on water. She could feel the smell getting stronger, her back tingling with anticipation. Before she could imagine the taste she pushed through another bush and tumbled straight into the dark-gray pond that opened up before her.
"Waaaah!" Her sudden scream was swallowed up as she splashed into the smooth freezing water. The wave of cold surrounded her immediately and she opened her eyes, the world around her bluish and hazy. Floating under the surface, she grabbed hold of a flat diamond-shaped flap that drifted in front of her face. "Ouch!" Discovering that the odd flap was actually attached to her head, her words dissolved into bubbles that tickled her fur as they rose up around her. Another "flap" drifted into view and she saw they both had matching patterns on the ends.
"W-wait a minute
" her recollection slowly came to her. "G-Glac-"
A sudden explosion split the silence around her and before she could flinch she felt a searing pain on her neck as some brutal force pulled her rapidly toward the surface. Screaming, she kicked her legs violently against the unseen predator that had taken her by surprise. Seconds later she was tossed out of the water and landed in a soft snowy bank, coughing and gagging from the water she inhaled. She grabbed her neck, still throbbing, and her head spun to face her aggressor.
Sprawled out on the ground sat a larger jet-black form, panting and coughing violently. Bulbous ears soaked and pressed against the figure's neck, a single yellow glowing band on each, and a similar ring on the creature's forehead. Umbreon, she immediately thought. From what she knew about them they were dangerous and lethal, but somehow she felt safer around this particular one. His breath was masculine, but raspy; not an aggressive-sounding one at all, but weakened. Nevertheless she made no motion to approach the beast.
The Umbreon continued to pant and shiver violently, only a foot or so from the edge of the black pond. His rings pulsed slowly, and his eyes opened weakly to stare at her: deep, dark crimson red with small black pupils. If he was on his legs they may have looked menacing and deadly, but with his legs spread out on the snow they looked tired and desperate. She risked a sigh of relief and turned over slowly. On her back she saw a soaking wet flap she identified as a tail, lying flat on the ground between her legs. Was that a smile she saw hidden on the Umbreon's face?
With a grunt he rose onto his front legs, followed by his back legs and shook the frozen water from his thick black fur. Tiny ice crystals sprayed out and left his body in a poof, making Victoria giggle silently. Her smile disappeared as he displayed a slightly more serious expression and slowly approached her.
"You're welcome," his voice was thick and husky. It surprised her a bit, not expecting to be able to understand him.
She tilted her head questioningly and rubbed her sore neck with a paw. "You can talk?"
He gave her a smirk. "Most pokémon would say "Thank you," if someone saved their life."
"Saved my life?!" She realized her voice sounded noticeably squeaky. "Not only did you almost break my neck but you scared me half to-"
"Your internal body temperature is several degrees below freezing, missy." He put thick emphasis on the word 'several' and turned around, taking a few steps toward the water. "If you'd stayed in that water much longer you would have become a little Glaceon popsicle. The water would have frozen right around you. Might have actually frozen the whole lake at that." He turned back around to face her, smiling casually. "Need help, there?"
Victoria raised an eyebrow. "Huh? What do you mean?" The Umbreon held back a good laugh as she grunted to move. The water that had soaked her fur had frozen and was sticking to her body, rendering her immobile from the neck down. "Hmph
She rolled her eyes and refused to make eye contact as the Umbreon grabbed her paw and whispered in her ear. "This may hurt a little
" Before she had time to protest she was launched ten feet into the air. Squealing, her instincts begged her to flip over and land on her feet but she took a deep breath as she smacked down on her side, the ice shattering upon impact.
"OWW!!" The Umbreon burst out laughing.
"You're welcome, again," he added with a chuckle.
"NOT funny!" She glared at him, hiding a smile she felt trying to leak out of her expression. "That hurt!"
The Umbreon kept laughing as he approached her with an outstretched paw which she reluctantly took. The feeling in his grip was uncomfortably warm, yet secure as he carefully helped her onto her four legs. With a sigh he sat down next to her, the two facing the black pond which still rippled from activity, with a few of Victoria's ice shards floating along the sides.
She stared at his dark paw on the ground in front of her, much bigger and darker than her own now that she noticed. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed a large bright halo on the Umbreon's shoulder, almost as large as her whole head. She had always imagined an Umbreon's rings to be some sort of ominous supernatural marking which indicated inbred evil, but being right next to them, they looked soft and completely natural to her; like stripes on a tiger, excepting that a tiger's stripes never really glowed. Her eyes wandering still, she noticed for a split second that the creature's radiant red eyes had been fixated on her the whole time while she was admiring his foreleg. Disgusted she tore her gaze from him and took a few steps toward the water.
The image burned in her mind. Those two bright red eyes that were indescribably deep and intimidating; hypnotic. The feeling was not unlike staring at the sun for a moment and having one's sight temporarily blinded. Shaking the vision from her mind, she stared into the dark reflective water and finally saw her own breathtaking qualities. The first thing she noticed was her eyes. They were a completely different color than any other on her body; a deeper blue than any she had ever seen before. Her whole eye was an iris; not surrounded by white like a human's eyes. Deep, calm and serene, with a spot curiosity and innocence. Her mouth hung open in silence. The two flaps she saw floating beside her earlier were there, long flat and almost scarf-like. She ran one of her paws over one as though she were brushing her hair in front of a mirror; it felt soft and very lightweight, almost completely fur. Perfectly centered on her forehead sat her characteristic crest which resembled a winter cap. The thought crossed her mind that such a cap was designed to keep her warm, which would be ridiculous for an ice-type, but she agreed that she might have looked more ridiculous without it, bald. Time froze as she took in all of her features; her ears and tail were all exactly like she expected, but her eyes still held and locked her attention. She blinked and smiled as they blinked back. It all seemed unreal.
The image of the burning red eyes was still floating in the corner of her eye, and as she smiled at her reflection she quickly realized they weren't floating dots. Umbreon's forehead ring glowed, confirming her disappointed reality.
"You still have a lot to learn about being a Glaceon, friend of Ron," his reflection murmured softly without blinking. The tiny black pupils had disappeared into the dark lake.
Victoria's image was almost lost to the brightness of the cloudy sky as she continued to stare. The Umbreon's dramatic words rang in her sensitive ears. Suddenly her head turned to face his with casual alarm. "Wait, how do you know Ron?" She knew Umbreons were not exactly psychic, but she took precaution in hiding her feelings for Ron in her reaction.
Her dark acquaintance pursed his lips and seemed to drop his firm appearance, racking his brain for a suitable response. "I, uh
following him, keeping an eye on him." He paused awkwardly and glanced over at Victoria. "Well he nearly hit me with a taxi a few nights ago! Plus there was something I could feel about him. I think he wanted to be my friend, but I'm personally not too good with the humans. Nevertheless I let him find me out a few times," he smirked, staring into the middle of the lake, not looking at her, "just to mess with him I guess." He heard Victoria chuckle and his small smile grew up the side of his muzzle. "I suppose he grew on me; even if he knew nothing at all about me, I couldn't just scare him and not come back to haunt him every so often!" They both shared a quick laugh. His laugh was hoarse and silent; it was the most he had spoken to someone in a while. He coughed and tried to regain his composure before continuing. "When I found out about his little friend-"
"You mean Eevee?" Victoria interrupted. Her ears drooped when the red eyes turned to give her an apathetic glance.
"Yeah, him." He turned back to the lake, his large tail sweeping around slowly behind him. "When I heard about him I took it upon myself to, well, investigate. I discovered others like me in this town-"
"Vulpix?" Her ears drooped again and her eyes widened in fear as the Umbreon moved toward her.
"Do you do this a lot?" His eyes were glowing brightly but a mischievous smile was threatening to destroy his intimidating stare.
you can continue
" It took Victoria a moment to realize her friend was simply joking with her and she smiled back as he once again resumed his stoic position.
"Thank you." He lifted his tail and whacked her diamond-patterned back playfully.
"Hey!" She batted at his tail with her paw, both of them smirking at each other. "Get on with your story- it was just getting interesting!"
The Umbreon sighed as a slight solemn wind blew through the trees around them. "I don't recall how or when I ended up here; it was very long ago. I just knew that, well, I was the only one of my kind here, and I've been living here as long as I can remember. I can't even remember my own parents; probably long-gone. I've pretty much avoided attention, since everyone I meet is either crazy or scared to death of me. I kinda like it that way though, being a lone Absol. I can mind my own business and do what I please. I do get somewhat lonely at times though, which is why I was so intrigued when I heard rumors of a strange creature with six tails."
"AH!" He snapped his paw to the Glaceon's muzzle. "Yes, him. Are you gonna be quiet now?" When she nodded he removed his paw with an exasperated sigh. "I knew that I was unique in that I had abilities that frightened most indigenous life. Sorta, dark abilities, but you know that already, don't you Ms. Smarteon?" She giggled and looked up at him playfully. "Anyway, so I heard about the six-tailed freak about a week ago and travelled to this 'Coledge' place. Went half-crazy walking through the arid desert to get here, but that's where I met your friend Ron. Err, well met is an understatement. Now that I remember, I probably scared your friend more than he did me! But I could see something in his eyes I couldn't explain, and the crisp scent of a fire-type was strong, so I followed them into town. Old one didn't suspect a thing though. He was cracking up a storm over something." He took a moment to pause and take a breath, a shiver betraying his sturdy pose as he took a step away from the water's edge and lay down in the moist snow. "I finally reached Ron's place of residence and found what, or rather who I was searching for. A few rooms down. Can't remember exactly how I got in though. But the important thing was that I found the Vulpix, and he was no rumor after all. In fact he was very polite- after I scared the lights out of him of course." He ignored Victoria's delighted giggle of approval. "I tried asking him what he knew- about where we were, about what we were; what were we doing here. He claimed to have been raised by his owner since he was a tiny kit. Not a whole lot of help, but nevertheless he looked incredibly familiar to me. As if we had some sort of connection- I don't mean like a family or close-friend relationship, but as if we belonged to something else, you know? An affinity, I guess. Anyway, his master came home (the loud one) and so I hid
in his car. Lucky for me, he was coming right back to it with Ron." Victoria smiled affectionately at his sarcastic tone. "To my only relief, Vulpix came too. We had a chance to chat in the back of the taxi, hidden from view. He didn't have a whole lot to say to a strange stranger like myself but he went off on these lengthy stories of his younger years. Hard to believe he was around when his master was just a little kid, you know? He said his parents reluctantly allowed him to keep him as a pet, or at least that was how he remembered it. What really intrigued me though was when he revealed that the boy's parents had subsequently denied him to keep another pet: one he mentioned he only got to spend maybe a day with at most. From his description of the little fellow, I was certain it was an Eevee." At that moment he paused in his story and looked to Victoria, his expression more serious and direct. "Don didn't release the Eevee of course. He managed to get his hands on one of those pokéball things that capture Pokémon, and he kept him hidden from his parents, then just forgot about him I guess." He looked at her silently with the patience of a rock until her youthful wandering eyes met his. He took a slow breath and adopted a more serious tone. "Eevee stayed in that ball for about forty years, give or take, and he didn't age a day."
Victoria's blue mouth dropped open in shock and her eyes grew. She had no idea that what she had been holding the previous night was something so much older than she was, yet only a month or two old in appearance. It was something she couldn't wrap her mind around completely. Her lost, curious eyes looked back to his for answers. "Wait, how so?"
The Umbreon shrugged idly and looked away again. "Part of the technology in a Pokéball, I suppose; it uses age-suspension to preserve the Pokémon inside. But when Vulpix told me about this infant from his youth, it got me thinking about my own childhood." Once again he paused and reflected, turning his head toward the grey, cloudy skies above them for a moment, and then looked over at her, a serious, stone-cold rigidity in his stare. The bright red that lit his eyes seemed to fade away, to a deep, dark crimson, like a fire dying down to a frozen ember. She felt a sudden disconcerting chill run through her body. "Eevee is my long-lost baby brother."
"Woah! Don!" Ron looked over to his driver, his eyes half closed and flickering shut. "Don don't fall asleep while you're driving!" He quickly dropped his binoculars which he found in the glove compartment of the taxi and grabbed a hold of the wheel, narrowly missing hitting a mailbox on the side of the dusty road.
"Wha-huh? I'm up! Where's the fire kid?" His half-dazed expression couldn't fool Ron for a second.
"Sorry for waking you," Ron replied half-sarcastically, "but look at that!" He pointed out the passenger-side window toward the giant mountain that engulfed the landscape before them. The sun was hidden behind a thick blanket of dark-grey clouds, and along the side of the enormous elevation an even thicker, bright white cloud of haze seemed to be rolling down the side. A chorus of clamor from behind, along with the light thumping of paws on old leather seats indicated the stampede that rushed to steal a look outside the window.
Don shook himself awake and rubbed his eyes. "H-hey lemme see them binoculars," he slowed the car down and held his hand out. Ron immediately grabbed the wheel again as Don took both hands off, holding the binoculars to his aging eyes and staring at the mountain. "Well I'll be
hope no one was up there." He continued to look through the eyepiece as Ron steered uncomfortably.
"How's that?" he grunted as Eevee jumped onto his back to get a view from the front window.
"Avalanche from that high
that summit's taller than any building we got in Coledge, kid. Imagine a solid wall of ice just plowin' you right off." He pressed the gas again, unaware of Ron's increasingly difficult situation.
"I'd rather not." Eevee was faltering his stance with the bouncing of the old car, while Ron tried his best to keep him from falling off. He could hear tiny squeaks of amazement and forced an unseen smile.
"Got caught in one once; thank goodness it was just a little one. Just a little rip in the lower ice sheets; just got stuck in knee-deep snow. But one from way up on the summit, and you're gonna have snow pouring all into Windbell, and I'm not talkin' about some summer slush. I mean that lake is gonna be freezing for a few weeks." He finally put the binoculars down, on the back of Ron's neck and resumed his normal driving. "What are you doin' trying to hijack my car? I can drive perfectly fine with no hands!"
Ron grabbed the binoculars and threw them back in the glove compartment and caught Eevee just as he fell into his lap, cradling the tiny fox in his hand. "Dang
what are the chances of survival?"
Don bit his lip, not taking his gaze away from the mountain. A faint roar could be heard through the rush of the wind as the sound of snow falling several thousand feet raged on. "Can't be too sure. The lower the source the better your odds are. It trickles, you know? Tiny one near the bottom, just a little snowfall. But then again, ya can't be too careful. 'Starts near the top, it's gonna be on the news for sure. However depending on where you are
if you're up at the top, chances are you can escape the drift. Get caught in it though, and you're gonna get tossed off the top, and 'less you're reeeal lucky
" his voice trailed off and silence settled in the small car. He turned his head to face him. "Hey, I'm sure she'll be fine. She's bright, like you." He offered a smile and patted his friend's back heartily.
Ron forced a half-convinced smile, but as hard as he tried, he couldn't shake the thought from his head. And the roaring giant approaching them offered no help in overcoming his stress. Looking down he saw Eevee trying to grab a hold of his thumb and latch onto it with his tiny mouth, not having much luck, other than making him chuckle to himself. With his other hand he played along, rubbing his forehead and otherwise attempting to distract and confuse the baby fox.
"Do you think she'll be alright?" Valencia stared out the window as waves of ice cascaded down the black mountain. She breathed slowly through a narrow gap between her lips in unease as her nose pressed against the glass, her paws on the armrest. The Vaporeon could almost feel the ice pouring against her as she watched; surging around her soft tender skin. The idea of treading through the snow gave her the chills; most her body was now water or water-based, so being exposed meant putting herself in serious danger.
A Flareon yawned behind her and she felt a warm furry tail brush against hers. "I dunno, probably?" He giggled lazily until he yelped, being squirted with cold water by the annoyed Vaporeon.
"I'm being serious, Corbyn!" She sighed and pulled her attention away from the window. Cathy sat on the left side of the car curled up, staring blankly at the sky. Valencia bit her lip at the desolate-looking Jolteon and stared back down at the Flareon, who had stretched out and taken up most of the legroom below the seat. A damp splotch indicated her blind bull's-eye right on his muzzle. "She's not from around here; she's probably never been above a thousand feet; probably not even a hundred. She has no clue what snow is really like, or how dangerous it can be-"
"I'll tell you what's dangerous: listening to you whine all the time!"
"Amen!" Cathy groaned from her corner sleepily.
Valencia swiftly smacked Corbyn with her flabby tail and turned to Cathy with an eyebrow raised at the unexpected comment. "You agree with him?"
"Hell yeah I agree! Worryin' ain't gonna add an hour to your life so just chill. I need my sleep; I was kept awake last night because SOME of us like to run around the hotel room at THREE IN THE MORNING!!" It was clear her outburst was directed at Eevee, who giggled delightedly from the safety of the front passenger seat. She sighed in annoyance and tucked her head into her body, trying to get some sleep amidst all the commotion.
Valencia threw her head and tail in the air, frustrated. She kept complaining to herself that she was the only sensible one out of all of them, and she would keep finding reasons why. She's right though, I guess, she confessed silently. Worrying won't save her. It won't make the snow go away or stop, or take her to safety. Her eyes suddenly felt very droopy and she settled down on the old slightly-torn seat, curling her tail around her as she relaxed and stared at the placid sky streaking overhead. It felt good to relax every once in a while, she thought.
The road on which the taxi drove grew steadily bumpier as it reached the hilly outskirts of the mountain. The inclines became steeper and the roar of the avalanche grew, though it was already almost over, as indicated by the lack of snow lining the top of the mountain. Ron gripped Eevee tighter as he opened the car window a crack, a sound like rocket engines and a wintry chill rushing in. The only one in the car who didn't shout and complain at the sudden chaos was Vulpix, perched perfectly in the rear window, snoring lightly and basking under the cloudy sky. Ron turned his head and apologized to everyone, quickly rolling the window back up.
Eevee's squealing continued however, despite being released from Ron's tight restraining grip. In a fit he leapt for the back seat and rushed over to Valencia who opened her arms for him. The tiny fox burrowed under her paw and dug his face into her neck.
"Aww, what's wrong 'Vee?" Valencia gently stroked his back as he squeaked in discomfort. She began to feel more and more like a mother figure for the infant, which she took more satisfaction than bewilderment in.
"My ears," he cried, clenching both of his ears with both paws and covering his eyes with them. "T-They hurt! Make it stoooop!" His grunts of pain were muffled by her slick skin as she slowly comforted him.
"Aww, shh it'll be alright," she cooed as Eevee curled up in a tight ball, trying to escape the atmospheric change. "It's just the mountain air; it will be over soon. Here, swallowing some water usually helps your ears feel better." She kept her eye stiffly on Corbyn who raised his head and smiled provocatively as she held her paw over Eevee's open mouth, dripping a slow stream of fresh water which he gulped down desperately, making a pinching gesture with his face and looking up with amazement.
"It kinda feels a little better
" he opened his mouth and whimpered for more of her natural treatment.
She obliged with a smile, but felt a touch of unease letting the fox feed off of her body's element. It was just water, she assured herself, but she couldn't shake the awkward feeling she took in caring for him, almost as if she really were his mother. Once again she wasn't opposed to the thought, but she knew it was not her place, so she waved the concern off and giggled, giving Eevee a gentle massage. "There, is that better?"
Eevee nodded excitedly and squeezed himself under her front legs, curling up and falling asleep quickly beneath her chin. She smiled and wrapped around him as if he were her adopted child. She felt surprisingly comfortable being the guardian of a small package of big character; it gave her a small boost of pride; one she had been longing for.
The air temperature outside slowly began to drop as Don's cab made its way closer to the base of Bracherock. The roar of the avalanche seemed to have subsided completely, though the clouds of white floated in the sky on the mountain's flank. It wasn't quite over, but it was nearing its inevitable end. Ron squeezed his kneecap nervously, hoping his young friend was just lost, and stayed away from the disaster before his eyes. Out of the side of his eye he noticed Don making faces at his steering wheel.
"Dang old hunk of junk
switch gears already!" He whacked his dashboard and the cab leapt forward, the engine roaring and calming down quickly. "Thank you!" he mumbled sarcastically, looking over to Ron. "This car's probably as old as you, kid. Doesn't wanna tackle the mountain roads too well. Let's hope she can get us up there in one piece
" He flexed his large fingers around the wheel and pushed the gas, flying over a hill. Up ahead a small building on the side of the road was connected to a lowered gate arm. Off to the side was a connection to a small parking lot, with perhaps one car and one service vehicle parked near the front. An old cream-colored sign beyond the gate read in aging dark brown letters "MOUNT BRACHEROCK National Park."
"This must be the Ranger station," Don muttered. "Maybe no one will be home?" He chuckled and drove up to the booth with the gate but stopped short. "Umm, kid? What do you suppose we do with our little circus back here?" He turned his head to look at the rainbow of colors sitting in the back. "Might turn a few heads if we're not careful."
Ron shrugged casually. "I'm sure it'll be fine; like you said maybe no one's home. Maybe everyone's up there looking for victims
Before he finished his sentence, a black-haired young adult came running out of the building. He looked almost out of place wearing an olive green uniform with a hat bigger than his head could fit. Don fought the urge to crack up, whispering over to Ron, "Ain't he a bit short for a trooper?" A shiny new badge on the teenager's chest read Marco. Stumbling slightly he made his way to the old taxi's window, motioning for the driver to roll it down.
"Ah, uh, good morning and welcome to uh, Bracherock National park. My name is Marco but we, we're uh actually not taking reservations right now because of the uh, conditions of our grounds at the moment. To be honest I'm the only guy down here for now, everyone else is up there uh, making sure everyone is alright after the avalanche. I- I'm sorry if this affects your plans today but again we are not exactly open at-"
"Listen, kid," Don interrupted with a wave of his hand and Marco was silenced immediately. The old driver smiled at the raw, naïve nature of the teen, and felt almost tempted to scare him to his will. He hung his shoulder out of the window intimidatingly. "You new here?" Ron put his hand to his forehead, already predicting where he was going to go.
"Uh, well, this would be my first week, sir. Why do you ask?" Behind Don, Ron tried to stuff the squirming fox that was in his hand into his jacket, his squealing muffled but piercing. Marco, with eyes wide, raised an eyebrow curiously.
Don tried to hide the scuffle with a quick laugh. "Eh, nothing, really; just wonderin'. Anyway we were just on our way up to the campgrounds up there." He waited a moment as the startled teen fumbled for an answer. "That's not a problem is it?" He tripped Marco with a vague smile.
He ran his small fingers through his thick curling hair nervously. "B-but sir, the campgrounds are off limits right now!" He looked at the mountain as if it were his supervisor, stepping in to reinforce him but without luck. "W-why do you need to go up there anyway? It's dangerous
and what is that sound- that's not a pet is it? We don't allow-"
"Alright listen," Ron moaned, opening the door and stepping out, Eevee in his hand making a bulge inside his jacket. Marco's face lit up in obvious panic as the college intern approached him. As if nothing was wrong with the world, Ron sat facing the olive-green-clad teen on the hood of the taxi, still keeping his fist hidden. "I got a call from the parents of a young friend of mine, saying their daughter went missing. This was at what, like 7 this morning? I may not know a whole lot about mountains but I know enough to know that she needs help as soon as possible, and I need to get up there, regardless of your opinion."
Through his whole speech Marco's stare never left the jacket. "I-is that a gun?!"
Ron's eyes drifted down, then back up as he sighed, rolling his eyes. "No, it's much worse."
Looking from Ron to Don, Marco was desperate to hang on from the bridge he was about to fall from. It was his first day on the job; the first job he had ever held for more than an hour, and already things were going from bad to worse. He was no stranger to common disasters, and he was far more frightened by the two larger men in front of him than the natural disaster only a few miles away. He racked his brain for how to react to a case like the one he was in but could not scrape for a solution. His manager, supervisor, and most other rangers were already out on the mountain, checking through the campsites to make sure all reservation-holders were accounted for, but now there was something he knew that they may not even find out until it was too late. Scraping the dirt under his boot he cleared his throat, "Right, erm
Listen, I cannot let you go up there. Not unsupervised." What are you doing?! he yelled at himself, You're going to your whole career away if you keep this up! He shook his head, "That's the only way I can let you in." His rigid, less shaky military-like pose was the least he could show off, but he felt confidence blow through his hair. "Well?"
"I dunno, he looks alright," Corbyn shrugged, struggling not to fall off the seat. Cathy had relocated to the back window as soon as the car had stopped, as her sleeping spot soon became a spectating area. Both Corbyn and Valencia stood with their front paws against the tinted window, trying to get a good look at the kid.
"He looks kinda cute," the Vaporeon giggled to herself. Her eyes gleamed in the soft sunlight peeking through the clouds.
The two others looked at each other, both concurring silently with smirking expressions. Ron looked back at him and tried to smile. "Thank you, Marco. We'd be happy if you accompanied all of us. My name's Ron, by the way, and my friend here is Don." He jumped off of the hood, his jacket still squirming, whining desolately as he approached the back door of the taxi.
"A-all of us?" Marco tilted his head, adjusting his cap.
Ron let out a laugh and opened the back door. A commotion inside did not come soon enough, as an orange fox and a blue serpent-like counterpart both fell out onto the rocky gravel and belly-flopped, grunting upon impact. The blue one quickly got up and dusted herself off and tried to look decent, while the other turned onto its back, paws lazily in the air as it looked the bewildered teen over, upside-down. Marco was speechless as he looked over the two creatures; the one on the right looked elegant and graceful, with eyes as deep as an ocean. The inverted one seemed to burn like a campfire on a warm summer's night. Before he could say anything, as if his suddenly dry mouth would have let him, Ron unveiled the limp bundle he carried by the scruff of the furry cream-colored neck, which looked first at its detainer with pleading eyes and let out a whimper, before picking up the scent of the visitor and sparking to life, turning and scrambling wildly to wiggle free.
Marco took a step back and Ron let out a chuckle. "Told you," he wrapped the dangerous troublemaker back in both hands and gestured for the open door. Marco hesitated for a moment, before sidestepping around the two colorful creatures on the ground and crawling inside, sliding all the way over to the right seat. The Vaporeon and the Flareon both jumped inside and sat down perfectly next to Marco.
Ron reached his head inside and held Eevee out to Valencia. "Do Not let this guy get near our friend okay?" Marco looked in amazement as the creature nodded its head, understanding every word the man said. Ron dropped the furball into its paws and the bluish fox fought to restrain the Eevee, a quarrel of whining and squealing erupting from the bunch as the orange one joined in. As they settled down he got a glimpse of the wild brown fox, panting rapidly as the blue one had its arms finally secured around it, the other keeping watch.
"It's alright now," Ron prodded Marco with a finger, making the baffled kid flinch. "Go ahead and buckle up; we're ready to go."
Marco nodded and reached for the seatbelt and yelped as something dark-orange covered his face with overwhelming warmth. He let go of the strap and tried to push the fur-covered body out of his face, discovering six curling tails hanging over his shoulder. "Oh God, there's more of them?!" As soon as he said that he noticed one more besides the rusty-colored fox; a bright vivid yellow one slumped in the corner under the window, staring out and taking no notice to the goings-on behind it.
"So you noticed eh?" Don looked back just before hitting the gas pedal and zooming off as the gate arm rose, letting them through.
"Easy, kid." Ron smiled at himself; he felt somewhat proud, calling someone else "kid" for once. Though, he felt somewhat of a connection to him, now that he had joined them. He felt himself to be almost some sort of guardian for the teen. When he thought about what he was going through, having his very first job, he had not been that far away himself when he was that age; scrawny, timid, taking a baby step into a gigantic world. The young man's eyes were flying quickly between all of the guests on his left, admiring the peculiarities of each individually. "That's Corbyn," Ron gestured toward the orange fox.
Flareon! he cried back.
"That's Valencia, Cathy, Eevee, and that guy behind you is Vulpix." Each of them named called out their species name as though responding to a roll-call; all but Cathy, who merely flicked her ears objectively. "Cathy's just a bit moody sometimes," Ron whispered.
The Jolteon glared at him out of the corner of her deep black-purple eyes. The sun peeked through the thick clouds and hit the irises, making them glitter brightly as Marco lost his words in them. There was still something about this one he couldn't put his finger on. "Uh
Eevee, and Vulpix, you said?" He turned back to look at Ron. "A-aren't those
err, you know
Ron offered little suggestion but nodded slightly in reassurance. He smiled as Marco's eyes looked lost and confused, glinting with his youth. "What do you think?" he replied casually.
"I," he paused, blinking slowly. "I don't know what to think." His words were mumbled and muffled as his lip became dry.
"Depends on if you believe it or not, I guess," he muttered.
Marco did a double-take. "Are
are you trying to tell me that these things are actually Pokémon?"
"I'm not trying to tell you anything," Ron replied with an 'I told you so' look. He didn't think for a second that letting the kid onto his secret would have any negative repercussions. After all, he really didn't tell him anything; he just gave him encouragement. Funny, he thought, that Julia probably would have reacted the same way. Vulpix turned his head and gave him a look, almost hearing his thoughts.
"So, wait, hang on," he stumbled. "So, then, y-you're a Flareon?"
Flareon! Corbyn repeated in confirmation.
"And, you must be a Vaporeon then?"
Valencia looked up gracefully, Vaporeon?
"You know your stuff, don't you?" Ron was still turned around as the taxi started the first curve of the incline up the mountain.
"I-I know enough, I suppose." Wordlessly he looked over the remaining, bright yellow and white one in the corner, curled up and isolated from the pack. He stared at the wild spikes connected to her waist as her chest slowly and silently rose and fell in steady succession. "And you must be a Jolteon." A warm welcoming smile crossed his face as Cathy opened one of her eyes and rolled it dully towards him. It fell closed and he sighed under his breath. "Curious names for pets," he muttered. Immediately after the last word slipped, Cathy huffed and Valencia looked at him with certain indignation.
"Eh, they're not exactly pets, per se- well actually Vulpix belongs to Don and Eevee is, well, kinda mine, but other than that those guys are my friends
some more than others." Valencia's gaze calmed down, though her pride was hurt.
"E-excuse me; friends? What exactly do you mean?" Vulpix's tails had fallen down over his shoulder again but he made no motion to remove them.
Ron repositioned himself in his seat and held up a pointing finger. It was lucky most of the city police were either already at the top or not in the area at all, because if not he would likely be in violation of several seatbelt regulations. "Went to high school with him, college with her, interned- well interning with her." He smiled matter-of-factly and awaited his new friend's response.
Marco scratched the side of his head. "You went to college with Pokémon? I'm not sure if I get it
" He could see Valencia making a rolling motion with her head out of annoyance.
Ron reached back and gave him a pat on the shoulder. "It's a long story."
"Looks like I have time," Marco tried to chuckle awkwardly. "After all it's a long way up the m-Oof!" He was cut off as Corbyn, oblivious to his size and weight, jumped onto the seat next to him and climbed onto his lap, wobbling and trying to balance his stance as the taxi shook with the curvy roads. Ron was laughing hysterically as the Flareon took his place on Marco's knee and shook his giant tail wildly, thumping loudly against the leathery cushion.
Flareon, he replied as if proving something.
"Corbyn, what are you doing?!" Valencia whispered loudly.
"Relax I'm just messing with him. Guy needs to lighten up," he replied casually.
Marco smiled and risked running his hand through the fox's warm fur. It felt as though he had been basking in the sun for hours, even though for the most part he had been sitting in the shade. "Well, aren't you the friendly type?" He gently stroked his back and scratched the puffy warm mane around his neck. The Flareon purred lavishly as he got comfortable under Marco's hand; Valencia put a paw to her forehead as her counterpart soaked in the attention.
The Flareon in his lap felt amazingly real to Marco. It could have been any other feral animal; a cat, a dog, a wolf, and nothing would have felt any more real. He was definitely a dog person though, he admitted. His family had owned several in his lifetime, all of them dear friends to him. As a child and still as a teenager he had also been a fan of the classic Nintendo franchise, though probably not as inclined as others his age. No doubt though, that he could tell a Flareon from a Pikachu; an ability which well over half of his high school lacked. Remembering one rusty-red dog he once had in about fourth grade he pressed his face against Corbyn's forehead and cautiously sniffed the blazing warm fur. He grinned, the scalp smelling like crisp oak trees. Without much of a further thought he gingerly kissed the Flareon's forehead.
With a sudden yelp, Corbyn jumped away from Marco and ran to the other side of the car. His barks sounded with disgust and humiliation as Ron cracked up. "He kissed me! He kissed me! BLECH!"
"Serves you right!" Valencia cackled from her perch. Cathy couldn't help but chuckle too.
"You guys are pissing me off so much right now, but damn that was good," Cathy reached a paw down to Valencia, which she promptly slapped out of good humor. Vulpix was smirking in his light nap.
After the laughter died down slightly, Corbyn raspberried and shook his fur out thoroughly. "Hey Val, what'd you do with Vee?" Trying to remove his own embarrassment and change the subject he looked around the Vaporeon's anatomy for a trace of the brown fox's restraint.
"Huh? I thought you took care of him Corby." Valencia looked around too.
"Don't look at me," Cathy retorted casually. "Oh God
" The electricity in her fur began to crackle with irritation and anxiety as she scanned around the car desperately. "HEY!"
The two other heads turned toward Marco's chest, upon which a certain ball of mischief had climbed onto, crawling his way up towards the teen's wide surprised face. "H-hey there little guy?" Marco scooped Eevee in both hands and held the squirming fox closer to his face. "Aww, you're just so adorable!" He smiled, and time slowed down for the three friends on the left side of the car as Eevee suddenly reached out and lapped his tiny tongue along Marco's nose and cheek with infantile yet fateful excitement.
"Why you little-" Cathy's eyes beamed brightly with energy and her fur dripped with power. Her mouth curled into a snarl and she moved to leap forward. But instead of her body flying at Eevee, a ball of bright white light slammed into both of them with a deafening blast of sound. Instantly she flew backwards into the window and Don brought the car to a sudden screeching halt, throwing her the other direction.
Marco sat unconscious with dirt and carbon grime coating his sweating face. Lightning whirred from his limbs as Eevee sat on his chest in a poof of statically-charged fur, trying to lick his newfound friend's wounds.
Cathy groaned as she got up off of Corbyn and stared at the damage, with wide eyes dimming to a deep, confused purple. "Oh, dear God