Pokemon Fan Fiction / Pokemon Fan Fiction ❯ Precious Stone ❯ The River ( Chapter 1 )
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1: The River
“Sit her up on the bed.” The girl's head lolled forward as her father hefted her up, laying her soaking wet body on the thick comforter. Her mother dried her once more with a soft towel, but the girl didn't open her eyes. “Make sure her hair is dry. Pin it away from her face. I'll take off her clothes and find a better blanket.”
The father did as he was told while the mother went off into the house. She returned with a velvety-soft blanket, and wrapped up her daughter in it before putting her under the comforter. The girl's breathing evened a little, and the trembling in her thin limbs tapered off. Soon, she was quiet and asleep.
Dr. Sheen returned the next day to look the girl over. She hadn't woken up, but it was still early, and the doctor told her parents not to worry—yet. After a few minutes of talking, however, Crystal opened her eyes and confusedly gazed at the three adults standing around her.
“Hey there,” Sheen greeted her, brightly. She smoothed back some of the girl's wild bluish hair. “How are you?”
Crystal blinked a few more times and rubbed her eyes with her palms. “Where am I?”
“You're in your parents' room.” Crystal looked at her strangely. “Can't you tell?” The girl shook her head, and looked with skepticism at each of the tall people watching her.
“Who are you?”
The mother and father exchanged looks. “I'm your mother, Crystal. Do your eyes hurt?”
“No,” the girl replied.
“I'm your father, Crystal. You must know who we are.” She scowled a little, focusing on the faces of her parents. She shook her head.
Then, her mother began to cry. Her father grabbed the doctor's elbow. “Amnesia?” he asked, hollowly, with a hint of anger in his tone. Crystal watched them curiously. “She only fell in the river! How can she have amnesia?”
Dr. Sheen, not looking at the father, shook her head. “I really don't know. She didn't get pneumonia, only a real chill and unconsciousness. Sometimes lack of oxygen to the brain causes short-term dysfunctions—like in Crystal's case—but never amnesia. From what I can tell, she didn't hit her head on anything of consequence, either.” The mother still cried, and her husband put an arm around her. He pulled her close, while all three of them ignored the child sitting uneasily on the bed. “I really don't know.”
Outside the room, outside the small house on the edge of the frosted meadow, the parents stood beside their ten-year-old son. The porch was still wet—and beginning to freeze—where Boston had dragged his unconscious sister to the doorstep.
“Will she be all right?”
The father and mother looked at one another. The meadow, which was usually alive with creatures playing and bugs chirping, was silent; the cold snap had forced the Rattata which usually bounced under the tall grass to retreat, and the bird Pokémon were silent in the trees. The sound of silence was a background to the drama of the Little family.
“I want to tell you she'll be fine,” said the father, after a moment's hesitation. He crouched down beside his son, and put an arm over his shoulder. Boston was short for his age, but would grow into his genes, with time. “We don't know. When the doctor saw her before, she said that she will probably pull through—but she can't say if Crystal will be the same.” The boy looked at his father and rubbed at his watering eyes.
“What did she see down there, Papa?”
“We don't know.”
“I want to go there,” Crystal demanded, pointing to the farm across the road. It was surrounded by a short, white picket fence. Miltank browsed a far pasture. There was one large barn and a cozy-looking white house. Her brother sighed.
“All right,” he said. “But remember: you have to tell them what's wrong with you. You used to be friends with the girl that lives there.”
Crystal expressively raised her eyebrows. “Really? Is she nice?”
With a shrug Boston took her hand. They took the path through the meadow and crossed the road. It was still cold out, so they both wore thick sweaters; the frost on the grass had begun to melt, though, and summer looked like it wasn't too far off.
They approached the door and Boston nervously knocked. A voice came from inside: “Who's there?”
“Boston and Crystal,” the boy called back. There was some stomping and shouting, and quickly the door was wrenched open by an excited-looking girl of five, perhaps six.
“Come on in,” her older sister shouted from inside the house. The younger girl hurried them inside and closed the door behind them.
“It's good to see you,” the sister said, addressing Boston. The boy blushed and nodded his head.
“You too, Mila. And Bunny.” Bunny, the small girl, smiled at both of them. “Crystal... Crystal wanted to see the house.”
The mother of the two girls, a much older woman, came into the kitchen at that moment. “What do you mean? She's here all the time.” Boston nodded, adjusted his collar, and cleared his throat. “What's wrong?”
Crystal smiled then and raised her hand. “I lost my memory!” she said enthusiastically. Bunny, not understanding, raised her hand too and the two girls giggled. Mila and her mother, however, each gave Boston a serious expression. While Bunny and Crystal began to talk quickly, the mother invited Boston into the living room.
“I was supposed to be watching her. Well, I was—I looked away for a minute to get the ball that we had been playing with, and when I turned back, she'd fallen in the river.”
The mother didn't tell him, “You shouldn't have been playing by the river, anyway.” She stayed silent.
“She sank too quickly. I jumped in after her and pulled her out, but once she was above the surface, she started to scream. She was crying out something about something horrible... I don't even know what. She saw something down there. She started to tell me, when I got her onto the ground, but she passed out. When she woke up, she had gotten amnesia.”
Boston sighed, and Mila patted his back. The mother looked over at Crystal and Bunny, who were interacting like nothing had ever come between them. “Well, Mila, why don't you take her outside and she can see the Miltank? Wasn't your father working with one this morning?”
Mila's face immediately brightened. “I forgot about that! There was supposed to be a calf born. We'll go out and look.”
The four children, after bundling up, went outside. It was supposed to be late spring, but the cold had killed most of the budding flowers. Even some of the grass was withering, despite the fact that the strange weather had only been around for less than a week.
Bunny enthusiastically led the way, guiding the group around the back of the barn. The pasture opened up there, and a few yards off they saw a man crouching over a large, supine Miltank. He didn't stand when the children approached.
“How is it going, Dad?” Mila asked, coming up beside her father to look over his shoulder. He slowly shook his head and propped his head up on his elbow.
“Not too good,” he replied. Boston curiously came over to survey the scene: the Miltank breathed deeply, its belly heaving in long, laborious movements. Crystal, who had been laughing and playing with Bunny only a minute before, quickly became calm and walked up beside her brother. “The cold hasn't been good for this one. She probably won't live. I'm just hoping she can get the calf out before she goes.”
Crystal inhaled sharply and Boston rubbed the top of her head to comfort her. Bunny had walked around to the Miltank's head and squatted down. The girl rubbed the Pokémon's wet black nose. She mooed weakly and pawed at the friendly face.
After a few moments, the Miltank began to move again. With more effort than Mila and Bunny's father expected, the Pokémon heaved, mooing louder. Bunny comforted her and within a minute or two, the sound of heavy breathing was accompanied by a small, wispy cry; as the mother died, the calf gasped its first gasp of air and rolled like a wet ball onto the cold grass.
Crystal watched the whole event with a kind of distance; it was surreal, like something she remembered from a distant dream, suddenly becoming real. The small creature was brighter than anything she had ever seen, though it stood to reason that her memory was not very extensive. When it opened its large, blue eyes and gazed at her, alone in the world and cold, she felt a kind of innate identification. Without thinking she reached out, dropping to her knees, and took the new baby into her warm arms.
Mila's father watched curiously. He wanted to take the creature inside and see about giving it a new mother; though the procedure occasionally succeeded, the Miltank were usually too busy with their own young or their upcoming young to bother with an adoptee. The neighbor's daughter had always been quiet, and she often shied away from the cows; they were bigger than she was and she had never shown the same interest in them that his own daughters displayed. But now, the little blue-haired girl seemed different. The Miltank stopped crying out and buried its small face into the crook of her arm.
“It's probably hungry,” he said at length. He spoke not to the other children—just to Crystal. She nodded her head and rose, not once prying her eyes away from the small Pokémon. The tail hung limply over her hands. The father went toward the barn, and she followed. Boston watched, having no real idea what to think. They left the mother; the next day, he saw a small gravestone had been erected in that place.
Boston's parents were not thrilled at first. After feeding the small baby and holding it for a number of hours, Crystal attempted to leave it behind with Mila and Bunny's family, where they would hopefully find a suitable mother. The calf, however, had no intention of parting with her new mother, and cried out miserably when they were separated. Mila ended up bringing the pathetic Miltank over to the house across the street. As soon as the baby saw Crystal sitting at the table eating her lunch, it stopped its whimpers and began to moo loudly. Her eyes rose and watched as her parents intercepted Mila.
“It wants its mother, my father said,” she replied. Crystal's father crossed his arms and glanced over at his daughter. It had only been a few days since her accident. Her gaze was riveted on the little Miltank, who was equally enthralled with her. After a moment Crystal got up and carefully took the Pokémon from Mila. Right away, it went quiet. “It's much smaller than it should be. My sister and I were going to try to raise it, but it cried and cried. It thinks you're its mother, Crystal.”
The girl looked at her friends, friends she didn't know she had, friends she had only met that day. Everything was so strange and foreign—these people who claimed to be her parents, this place that was supposed to be her home. But this small Pokémon was more familiar to her than anything. Its big blue eyes appealed to her in a way she couldn't explain.
“Her name is Minnie,” Crystal said, as the Miltank grabbed her finger in its mouth and began to suck on it. “Father, mother, I want to take care of her.”
Her parents were not thrilled, at first. They let her bottle-feed the small creature. Crystal had always been somewhat solitary; she only really went out to see her friends across the street or play a reluctant game of ball with her brother.
However, she found a kind of solace in her new Pokémon. She spent a day teaching it how to walk in the front yard; they slept together; they played frequently, and Crystal felt a deep sense of responsibility for the little Miltank. Her parents found that she eased back into life quickly and easily, as long as Minnie was with her.
The sun came out and the world warmed up once more. Summer finally came. Minnie was growing fast, and loved to play in the sunny meadow, Headbutting rocks and rolling about. It was one of these days that Crystal saw the red-haired boy for the first time.