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MATURE: Capsized

voidcritter

Sad Grass-Type
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I'm putting this as Mature just to be on the safe side. The language here isn't terribly strong, although there's occasional use of the seven dirty words here and there. There's also smatterings of violence here and there, from mild to short but kind of graphic. Later on there's also some sexual references that probably count as being a bit raunchier than a teen rating would allow, although there's no actual sex scenes and it's all consensual stuff.

I had the idea for this fic for a while now, especially since some people at the Writer's Workshop started wondering about fic written about "normal" people in the Pokemon universe, who aren't aspiring Pokemon masters/top coordinators or evil team people or part of the league, but just living out everyday lives.

ACT I:
Prologue
Chapter 1: Dawn of the Final Day
 
Prologue

Jasper

After three weeks of being her trainer, he finally managed to get Rosie to stop bringing all the rubble she'd collected into the apartment.

What Jasper didn't know was that he'd encouraged things to go from bad to worse. Not that he really blamed Rosie. She was a Pokemon, and she had instincts she had to follow. He'd seen her muscle-bound brethren at the construction site damn near every time he showed up. The little ones, like Rosie, carried discarded pipes or the odd wooden plank. The bigger they got, the easier it was to realize their burdens were crutches to support too much muscle on too little feet.

Crutches. Jasper had a pair, too, sturdy gray forearm crutches. He used them when the weakness in his legs and the pain in all of his joints became too much to bear. That had been happening a lot all last month. But Rosie got cabin fever after a week without the construction site or the junkyard, and she decided to stage a rebellion. One morning Jasper woke up with his knees killing him and only one crutch. Today her latest stunt had been stealing his cane and twirling it around, breaking a glass of pear nectar on the kitchen table. If Jasper hadn't bent over to scoop up the shards she'd have broken him, too.

Girls and their silly games. In time, Jasper hoped, Rosie would learn that her old, hobbling trainer didn't find any of this fun. She was just a baby, but all of his other Pokemon learned faster than she did.

The lights flickered on and off three times. Someone was at the door. Rosie was the one to answer, but Jasper followed, his hand wrapped tight around the handle of his cane.

And there stood more than two decades of regret in the doorway, with her white sand body and string of pearls and legs sheathed in a thin patchwork skirt that dragged to the floor. But when she signed her hello, Jasper looked in vain for a silver ring. She asked if he'd let her inside, as if the four months without so much as a word between the two of them were nothing but a dream already half-forgotten.

It didn’t matter where that ring had gone, Jasper figured, as long as she wasn’t wearing it.

On the table lay a plate of half-eaten toast, still around after Rosie's mishap with the glass. Jasper dumped it unceremoniously into the sink. All of the blueprints he'd been studying were collected into a sad-looking pile in one corner. She was still technically his wife, and he had to make some concessions.

But why stop there? Jasper put some tea on the stove, and looked back to make sure that in that space of a few seconds Sibyl hadn’t slipped away. But there she was, sitting in one of his plywood chairs and straightening the bow on Rosie’s head.

She’d picked a damn inconvenient time to visit.

Sibyl always said her favorite moon was the pale face that hung in the sky when afternoon was just starting to wane into dusk. It was almost morning, but what Jasper saw instead was a sick bone white bleeding into ice black water below. If not for that deathly moon standing there like an unblinking eye, Jasper figured, there probably wouldn’t have been a horizon that night.

It was all beautiful and terrifying, like a mermaid drowning sailors far from shore.

“I didn’t know you had a Timburr,” Sibyl sipped absent-mindedly, her lipstick slathered like pink icing on the rim of the cup.

“I didn’t know I’d have one either until now,” he said, imagining the venom he tried desperately to steep into his voice, “just like I wasn’t expecting visitors at an hour when for all you know, I could have been in bed.”

Sibyl’s neck was bent over and Rosie’s hands were pressed against her face. In the midst of their embrace Jasper struggled to make out words on Sibyl’s lips.

“Sy, look at me when you’ve got something to say.”

Immediately, she straightened herself and faced him once again. Then, with perfect clarity in her words, she spoke:

“There’s not nearly as many Frillish as there used to be here. At least, not in the bay,” the rest of Sibyl’s teacup was drained to the very bottom; she spent a few seconds in silence studying the exposed leaves.

“Good,” Jasper poured himself some tea. There was a hint of wistfulness on Sibyl’s face that Jasper found impossible to understand. He hadn’t been working here long, but he didn’t like what he’d seen.

In the veil of night they were almost invisible, but Frillish and Jellicent lurked in the water all hours of the day. Their pink and blue heads stuck out of the water like candies, their eyes deceptively blank. Jasper had seen them and long ago decided that he hated the bastards. Half the survey crew disappeared four months ago during the inspection of the seafloor, and all anyone had to show for it was a pulverized arm torn off at the elbow and bloodied splinters of what used to be a boat. From time to time, someone out on the shore found a Pokemon in its washed-up ball. But like the dead, most Pokemon didn't tell tales.

“I’m looking for their queen,” she said. her eyes still on Rosie as the Timburr wandered off to the fridge. “She’s purple like a queen ought to be; she lives in the ruins underneath these waters. Weren’t you sent the results of the inspection when you got here?”

Well. Sibyl had always had a love for the dramatic. She knew as well as he did that Pokemon didn’t have such useless customs as royalty--but if that was what she wanted to call the purple terror, so be it. Never mind her flair for poetry; her first order of business after disappearing for months was this. Asking a favor that nobody even owed her.

Right away, Jasper knew the answer he wanted.

“No.”

She was her own person. Could fight her own battles. Knew what she was doing, at least most of the time.

And he hated her for abusing it.

“You’re better off sticking to what you’ve already got. You’ve already lost me, Sy, I’ll be damned if you’re throwing away everybody else.”

“I swear I’ll pick up where I left off,” she bit her lip and, after much deliberation, sealed her mouth shut. But with her callused hands and what pitiful remnants of the language she knew, she began to sign: “One last search. Please. I never told you this before, but I only want back what I’ve left behind.”

Why she was telling him this now, he didn’t know. She lifted her skirt to adjust a fallen shoe, and also to realign her leg after so much shifting in her seat.

Since before they met Sibyl had legs made of hard plastic and silver paint. She was a tall woman with them strapped on, but every night she would cut herself in two just under the waist and Jasper would wonder privately just what had pulled her apart in the first place.

She told him that she lost her flesh-and-bone legs in a car accident when she was a girl. Jasper told her that when he was young he heard a Pokemon’s cry while out on Mount Coronet that made his ears bleed and his body ache with terror; he hadn’t heard anything else since. He knew better than anyone else that there actually had been a Pokemon that loud he’d been unlucky enough to stumble upon. But as far as he could tell, the car crash was a damn lie.

“So that’s it.”

He really didn’t know what else he could say. In Jasper’s gut something cold and heavy formed, and he drummed his fingers feverishly against the table as if that would make it better.

Sibyl’s eyes were downcast and impossible to pry from her pearls, which she wound so tightly around her hand that her fingers turned violet. He thought about flipping the table and letting everything on it--tea, china, coffee-stained paperwork--crash onto the floor and whether his so-called wife would run or just sit there, her eyes glazed over as always. As it was, he barely had enough strength to even lift his chair.

“I’ll be off, Jasper. Not entirely sure if I’ll be ba-”

Enough.

“Get out.”

Jasper had nothing more to say. The only thing he could do was turn around and let her leave. If she wasn’t ever going to tell him what was on her mind, he didn’t have to listen.

The door was slammed so tightly that the entire floor shook beneath his feet. Rosie dropped Jasper’s cane at his feet not a few minutes later; she rushed to the window and stayed there. All Jasper could think of, as he watched her while finishing the toast he’d put aside, was the possibility that someone or something was outside, that the last vestiges of the night had slipped away during Sibyl’s visit. It didn’t take long after that for him to realize that the whole apartment had been saturated with a candy pink shade of light all this time. Through the cracks in the window blinds he could see what few people stuck around Undella during the winter open their doors. He had to get ready for work. Whatever Sibyl was really looking for, he hoped she’d abandon the search before she could find it.

The lights flickered three times all around the apartment.
 
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I love seeing stuff about "normal" people.

Frankly you hooked me almost instantly with the inclusion of a female Timburr. Timburr is one those Pokémon that's highly subject to being "typecast" as male, and the fact that you introduced one into the story, doing something both endearing and "realistic", while not having to spell you that you're writing about a Timburr, was fun.

As for the story at large, I'm very interested. If you hadn't listed a table of contents I'd have thought this was some kind of really experimental one shot and would have been satisfied and mystified by it at once, but if you do get to writing more I'll be interested in dropping by here again!

Thanks for sharing!
 
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