All Sherri Frasier wanted was a relaxing vacation with her girlfriend. Alola has other plans.
special thanks to Gilda for the awesome banner!!
Please note that this run will feature some mild cursing and PG-13 physical intimacy. Please also note that you can view this run on Archive of our Own!
- [+] Rules
- 1. If a Pokemon faints, it can no longer be used in battle.
2. Only the first Pokemon on a route can be captured.
2a. Route One is divided into three areas: to the north of the player's house, to the south by Kukui's house, and the Trainer's School.
2b. SOS Pokemon can not be substituted for the first encounter.
2c. Dupes clause is on.
3. All Pokemon must be nicknamed at the earliest opportunity.
4. No Legendaries spoilers!! may be used.
5. Pokemon may receive one full cycle of Pokemon Refresh (petting until no hearts are seen, one Poke Bean) for participation in each significant boss battle, defined as trainers with unique models and Island Trials.
5a. If a Pokemon survives a hit that was meant to KO due to Refresh buffs, it may stay on the team BUT cannot be used in the next battle. This rule can only be activated once.
6. The run will end when no Pokemon are able to fight, Casey dies or even more spoilers!!
- [+] Prologue
- The train pulls into the Viridian station without fanfare or even a crowd waiting for its passengers. Only a long, high whistle announces their arrival, and it echoes through the drowsy city. Eight in the morning feels early in late November, when the sun is just starting to peek over the eastern horizon; today's fog is only more reason for the residents to snuggle deeper into their beds.
Three people step off onto the platform in varying states of waking. One skips onto the platform with a sunny smile, already pawing at her belt to release an equally cheery Cubone; the second shuffles away with small, sluggish steps, his hands clutching onto a crumpled paper map of the city he'd swiped in the Saffron station.
The third wishes she had listened to her girlfriend and worn her flats instead of her red Meowth heels, or brought a different bag. The stone is slick and she nearly falls face-first onto the platform, but catches herself on the railing. The heavy black backpack sways on her shoulders, skewing her center of gravity. If anyone asks
"No one told you about Viridian winters, eh?" the attendant asks her, his smile large underneath his larger mustache. "Sure you'll be alright?"
"Thank you," she says, and readjusts her backpack. She would have been fine if she wasn't carrying this huge thing around, but it's important, and she's too proud to say anything other than, But I think I'll manage.
He chuckles, mutters something under his breath that sounds suspiciously like "tourists," and waves her away from the train. "Next stop: Indigo Plateau!" he calls in a booming voice; it gets swallowed up by groaning wheels and the high whistle of the engine. It's a decent distraction from the weight on her back; she doesn't remember it being this heavy in Saffron. Then again, maybe she just isn't used to carrying things like this, period. Which she isn't. But she'll learn.
The station spits her out and Viridian swallows her up, quiet in the hazy morning light. She's used to seeing the city on TV as the hub of celebration for Pokemon League festivitiestickets to the stadiums and hotels in the Indigo Plateau are expensive, so many people flock to the Gateway City for the second best thing. But now, with the ceremonies concluded and a new victor crowned, the city has returned to its normal sleepy state. There are still flyers wrapped around telephone poles and street lamps, advertising Poke Mart specials and promoting local favorites to win. This year's winner, a rough-and-tumble blonde who had swept Bruno with a particularly fierce Gyarados, features prominently in them; she's surprised they haven't been stripped clean yet, to be saved and sold as collector's items.
Sherri isn't nearly as interested in these as she is the signposts pointing the way to the Viridian Gym. Someone has salted the streets, so she doesn't fall over again; even if she had, there wouldn't be many people around to see her. It's a nice change from the hustle-and-bustle of Saffron, a city where she could hardly glance over at a window display without tripping over something. Normally she would let her feet guide her down the gently-sloping streets, maybe even take a picture of herself against the gate leading to Route 22but she's a girl on a mission today, and so she keeps to the path, stopping only once to grab an extra-strong coffee from a sly-eyed barista.
By this point snow has begun to fall, melting before it even hits the ground. Sherri closes her eyes and sticks her tongue out, hoping for a big fat flake to fall on her tongue. There's silence for one beautiful moment, with her face being kissed by tiny flakes, and then a rush of wind.
Sherri opens her eyes just as the tawny blur passes, and smirks. She doesn't even take her glove off before sounding a piercing whistle that echoes into the sky. It takes a moment for the sound to register, but the giant Pokemon suddenly turns and dovetails straight toward her. The townspeople on the street don't even scatter, just watch with interest as the Fearow lands just a wing's-width away. No one's riding her.
"True doesn't know I'm in the city yet, right?"
The Fearow shakes her head.
Sherri grins. "Awesome. C'mere, Clara."
Clara's dark blue eyes shine as she pushes her long beak into Sherri's waiting hands. She clicks it merrily, teasing the curled ends of her hair and cooing softly. Sherri throws a smile at a curious man passing by, who tips his hat to her, before leaning down. "You wanna save me a walk?"
She only has a few flights under her belt, but Clara is a seasoned pro; the Fearow pokes and prods Sherri until she's sitting the right way, with her hands braced on the base of Clara's neck and her body low. Take off is almost a second thoughtone moment they're on the ground and the next they are not, spraying pebbles and dust beneath them.
The flight to the gym doesn't take more than a few minutes, but it's fast enough for Sherri's face to go numb and her thighs to start wiggling. Viridian Gym, once a building tucked behind thick imposing trees, has been polished and repainted and landscaped to seem almost inviting. Red-pink flowers line the dirt path leading to the front door; she's heard trainers in Saffron marvel about them, and their resilience in the most extreme weather. Sherri bends down to stroke one of the dark green fronds, very aware of Clara lowering her head in respect behind her.
"The gym's not open this early, right?" Sherri asks, standing up and readjusting her backpack. "What're you going to do, sneak me in?"
The new gleam in Clara's eyes is answer enough. She leads the two of them to the back door and pokes it twice with her beak. The door opens immediately to a tall Exeggutor, who stares at them for about two seconds before every head brightens. "Sh!"
"Shhhh. Hyde. Surprise, remember?"
"No it's okay!" The Exeggutor bounces on their feet as it moves back, allowing Clara and Sherri to step inside. The hallway lights have been turned on, revealing light gray tile and soothing green walls. "True and Casey went out to get groceries"
"Hey, Hyde? Can you slow it down a bit, I can't catch everything you're saying."
"Oh." Hyde nods, takes a deep breath, and begins again. "True and Casey went out to take care of some last-minute stuff, they were gonna be back just before they went to pick you up from the station! Why're you here now?!"
"Payback," Sherri says simply. Clara snickers.
"Well you'll have to tell usoh, your bag! Let me help!" Sherri has just enough time to lift her arms before the backpack slides off her. It hangs several feet away, suspended by bright green energy. "You probably had a long trainit was a train, right? I've never been on a train before, I keep telling True "
Now that the heavy bag is off her back, Sherri feels betteror at least like she can walk confidently. Hyde leads the way, asking her questions about Saffron and her work and her friends.
"I think Preston's relieved to have some space to himself," Sherri says, as Hyde leads them up the staircase. She remembers when the upper floor had been used as a viewing balcony, with a glass wall all that separated the upper lobby from the battlefield. It's been replaced by a memento wall, with framed photos from True's previous battles dominating much of the space. She recognizes several key moments from televised battles, and even a few candid shots taken with a camera bought in Fuchsia: a Venusaur smiling, Hyde conversing merrily with a frowning Haunter, a Blastoise throwing a hard punch into the jaw of a Dragonite.
"Door's unlocked! They shouldn't be much longer."
She turns away from a silver-framed picture of a green-eyed Raichu to step inside the apartment. Very little has changed: the cream-colored walls are familiar, and the green trimmingswhat was with gym leaders color-coordinating everything to their badges?are just as she remembered them. The beige couches have been moved to the side, no doubt to better accommodate True's larger team members. Someone's left the radio on to something jazzy, and a fire crackles in the fireplace. True had laughed about it when she'd first moved in, said something about it being safer than cuddling Jackson in the night. The living room was more than big enough for a fully-grown Charizard, but yeah, probably better than running the risk of burning the gym down.
Clara doesn't follow them inside, instead settling at the bottom of the stairs. Sherri carefully lays her heavy down coat over the nearest chair and her black gloves on top of her bag before flopping on the couch. Hyde sinks down beside her, their trunk turned toward her like they're a teenage girl about to drop some serious gossip. "I wish I was going with you guys. A whole month in where is it you're going again?"
"Alola." She's had enough friends in her theatre group begging for details and souvenirs. "It's somewhere far, far south from here."
"True showed us a picture a few days ago," Hyde says. "She has a bunch of stuff planned, likeooh, maybe I shouldn't say that. It's a surprise."
The whole trip had been a surprise. The region's professor, who was known best by the global community of researchers and trainers, had come to Kanto to participate in the Indigo Challenge. He'd been so impressed by what he'd seen that he'd gone to High Champion Peg Hartfield herself to request the Indigo League's help in establishing a league in Alola. She had no idea how True had been chosen to leave after the closing ceremonies were done, only that Viridian would be taken care of in her absence and that she could bring a plus-one.
Enter Sherri, who had decided to surprise her girlfriend with an early arrival before tomorrow's high-speed flight. She turns to Hyde with a grin, torn between wanting to dig for detailsthe Exeggutor is practically an open bookor wanting to be surprised. She errs for the latter, one eye on the kitchen. "Are you hungry? I don't cook as well as True but I make a mean cheese toast."
"Oooh, yes please!"
Fortunately there's just enough cheddar cheese for herself and Hyde; unfortunately there's no bread. Hyde quickly tells her that he's fine with just the cheese, which probably isn't the greatest breakfast, but she's certainly had worse. Sherri splits the block and offers half to Hyde, and nibbles on her half. There's a good five minutes of happy munching and mild back-and-forthing before Hyde suddenly falls silent, wicked grins stretching on all five of their faces. "They're heeeeere."
"How do you," she starts, before Hyde psychically opens the door a crack. Clara's welcoming warble is easy to hear, as is the gentle laugh that greets it. Any thoughts Sherri might have of going off to hide and jump-tackle her girlfriend evaporate as she hears the stairs to the balcony creak.
" tell you I hate needles? I didn't sign up for shots."
"Joy was really nice, she only tookwait, I didn't leave the door open. Did I leave the door open?"
"We locked the back door, and Clara would've attacked anyone we didn't know. Hang on, I'll check."
A small yellow head pushes the door open. The Pikachu takes one look inside, sees her and Hyde sitting at the table, and chuckles. "Looks like we won't need to go out later."
The door opens fully. Sherri sees hands gripping two cloth bags fulled to bursting before she looks up at the woman holding them. "Casey, of course weoh."
It's funny, but the first thing Sherri thinks is True's cut her hair. She's used to seeing it drop past her shoulders, not sway against her chin. It hasn't even been a week since the closing ceremonies, where True had stood with Casey and the Rhydon who had cemented herself as the gym's ground-type ace.
She must notice her staring, because her pale hand comes to tease the ends. "Uh you like it? I thought it'd be nice since we're going somewhere warmer. Wouldn't have to mess with it so much."
And that's enough for Sherri to surge forward, her cheese forgotten, to wrap her arms around her and squeeze tightly. Three months, she thinks, as she breathes in winter air and dust. She has just enough time to see a green flash before True presses a firm kiss to the corner of her mouth. "I missed you," she whispers.
"Missed," Sherri answers back, reorienting their kiss so their mouths meet properly. "You too. I love the hair."
"Thought it'd fit," True says. "You still," kiss, "want to go?"
Her low groan surprises them. They laugh softly, the gentle breaths tumbling together against their mouths. Sherri pulls back just enough to look into True's eyeskiss-bright, her favorite lookto say, "I would much rather go traveling with you than spend another hour dealing with Mrs. Moronso."
Shes seen True smile plenty in public before, tight and not wrong--perfectly fine with her usual company of gym challengers and League officials. But the ones she gives in private, when its just the two of them, are her favorite: theyre large and wild and appear without a second thought, without any hesitation. "I need to put theseoh, thanks Hyde," she says, and when Sherri turns around she finds True's bags sitting on the kitchen counter, Hyde watching them with gigantic grins on their faces. "Peg's staying here and I figured I should have some food for her. You weren't here long?"
They hold hands while True puts everything awayjudging by the amount of chocolate True pulls out, High Champion Hartfield must have one hell of a sweet-tooth. "Just a few minutes. You didn't happen to buy any bread, did you?"
"We are not having cheese toast as one of our last meals before we go," True laughs.
"Well, no we aren't, Hyde and I ate your cheese."
"I was going to make macaroni with that. It's okay," she says, as Sherri's face falls, "we can just go out? There's a new restaurant that opened up that my mom's been pushing me to try"
"Let's just stay in," Casey says from the floor, staring at the bandage wrapped tightly around his freckled arm. "There'll be enough time to eat out when we get to Alola."
"I still don't get why only Casey gets to go," Hyde whines.
"Alola's strict about allowing foreign Pokemon in," True says, like this has been an ongoing argument. There's no need to voice the greater truth: Casey is True's partner in more ways than one, and leaving him behind is unthinkable. Sherri tightens her grip on True's hand. "You're all going to have fun with Peg. Just make sure"
"'You listen to Britt 'cause she's in charge,'" Hyde sighs.
True squeezes back before stepping away, gently cupping one of Hyde's faces in her hands. "We'll be back before you all know it. And I'm going to call from every city. And if you're good, I'll bring back presents."
"Promise." True kisses their closest cheek gently, patting their large trunk. She turns to Casey and Sherri with a tired smile. "So. Eggs for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch how's delivered pizza and a rented movie sound?"
Sherri smiles. "Perfect."
The plane doesn't rattle. It's eerily silent, rushing through the air at well, she's not sure how fast planes go. It's fast, maybe even faster than a Dragonite. She spends most of the time awake, knowing she should be asleep beside True, watching the clouds whir by. They have plenty of room in first classsometimes it pays to date a gym leaderbut she doesn't want to walk. And she can't sit still. So she draws.
She hasn't had the time to do this for fun and in no way tied to commissions and I don't like stripes, make it lined and that looks like it'll be 65% cotton I want 68%. She stills, taking a deep breath. No thinking about work right now. Draw. She accents the greens and browns of Hyde's body with small strokes of purple and yellow. She's probably fudging details but reminds herself that this doesn't have to go farther than her sketchbook. This is fun. Sitting in front of their tiny window as the sun begins to rise is fun, damn it.
She feels Casey jump up on the back of her chair but doesn't glance up. True's snoring softly in the seat beside her, and it's all the music she needs right now. His paws find purchase against her thin shirt as he leans down. "Always forget how good an artist you are," he whispers.
"I'm rusty," she says, and begins shading around the pupil. "You think they're gonna be okay?"
"The team?" he asks. When she nods he says, "They'll be fine. It's like everyone's getting a vacation." She adds a few strokes of blue in the shadows, for contrast. "It'll be nice, just having the three of us. Reminds me of how it used to be."
It had been him and True for years now; now she's torn so many different ways, between gym battles and League duties and teaching part-time at the local schooland whenever she's not busy with those, Sherri's usually in town. She adds a few more hatchmarks along Hyde's trunk. "You miss it?"
He doesn't answer for a long time. She peeks at him, surprised to see his brow furrowed so deeply. Pikachu aren't supposed to look like they're battling existential crises. "She's happy," he finally decides, and stares expectedly at her.
He doesn't elaborate and she doesn't ask him to. Instead she closes her sketch pad and box of pencils and places them back in her bag. She has no idea where they are and doesn't have the patience to flag down a flight attendant; instead she leans her head against True's shoulder and closes her eyes.
She doesn't realize she'd fallen asleep until the plane jolts beneath her with a screech. Sherri yelps and grabs the closest thing availablethankfully it's True's hand and not Casey, who smirks at her from True's lap.
"I don't think I like planes," Sherri says weakly, brushing bits of hair from her mouth.
True smiles, sleepy eyed, and kisses her good morning. Sherri's so tired that she doesn't even mind the mild case of morning breath. "Good thing we're getting off soon." She turns to the open window, grinning wide. Sherri leans over her, expecting to see more fields of endless gray blue.
Instead she sees bright green everywhere: dark leafy palm trees and the brightest, clearest water she's seen in her life. Her mouth drops, and she turns to True with a shaky, "Is is that"
True nods. "Welcome to Alola."