Pokemon Fan Fiction ❯ A Blond Ray of Sunshine ❯ Chapter 21
The duo re-emerged from the woods sometime after dusk. Both of them were scuffed with plenty of dirt marks.
"That was so much fun!" Fireball exclaimed. "Man, it feels like it's been forever since I trained. There's a lot of wild Pokémon around here! Your skills look so awesome, too. You were punching and kicking and running around everywhere. You've gotten way faster since the last fight. Is it just me, or have you also gotten a bit more muscular?"
Antoshi curiously looked down at his arms. They had indeed become more toned and defined since their arrival in Johto. “Oh, I guess I haven't noticed. I've been juggling so many other things lately. I haven't even eaten or slept very much over the past couple weeks.”
"Yeah, that's true. I—" Fireball's train of thought was interrupted by the scent of something deliciously sweet. He began sniffing the air. "Is that … apple pie I smell?"
“Oh, that's right. Mimi said she's going to make dessert for us when we—” Antoshi stopped abruptly as Fireball charged toward the cabin on all fours.
"Desse~ert!" the Typhlosion cried out along the way.
Antoshi grinned and shook his head, jogging along behind his friend. Fireball managed to calm himself down a bit, waiting by the front door for Antoshi with an eager tap dance. The boy opened the door and both of them headed back inside.
“Welcome back, you two!” Mimi greeted them. Upon the marble countertop, she gently placed a pie in a tin pan on top of a wire rack. Bubbles had already returned to her Poké Ball.
“You made a pie while we were out?” Antoshi asked, pleasantly surprised. He took his shoes off to set by the door once again.
“Sure did! Well, you know, it was one of those pre-made frozen ones that you just put in the oven. But, hey, I got to put the crumb topping on it myself. Still has to cool off for a bit, though.”
“I think I should probably take a shower in the meantime.”
“No problem. The bathroom is the door in the hallway. Oh! There's fresh towels in the cabinet.”
“Thanks a lot, Mimi. We both really appreciate the hospitality.” Mimi smiled and nodded before Antoshi headed for the bathroom.
"As for me," Fireball said, "I usually just clean off with a hose."
“Well, lucky for you, we have a gardening hose on the side of the house. Would you like me to help clean your back?”
"Absolutely! My arms are pretty short, you know."
Mimi laughed as the two of them made their way outside together. “I've never dealt with any Fire-type Pokémon before. I always figured they'd, like, melt from water.”
"Don't worry, I've survived plenty of meltings," he joked.
After getting cleaned up, the trio sat around the trio of couches in the living room. Antoshi and Fireball sat on the long couch resting against the left wall, while Mimi sat on the shorter, perpendicular couch to the left of them, sitting closest to Antoshi. A circular glass table sat between all three couches, atop a beige area rug with vine patterns. The group enjoyed their pie and chatted for a while longer.
Afterward, Mimi provided the boys with one of the bedrooms to stay for the night. They thanked her once again, closing the door behind them. The mid-sized bedroom was surprisingly spacious. A double pane window with horizontal blinds on the far wall faced the door. A plush, wood-framed bed rested against the left corner, covered with white sheets and gray pillowcases. A dark, wooden nightstand held a small lamp and another area rug laid next to the bed. Fireball found it to be a perfect sleeping spot.
The two were very content with their sleeping quarters, getting settled in for the night. Dressed in a simple white t-shirt and boxer shorts, Antoshi slipped under the covers, while Fireball took his usual spot on the floor beside him. The two smiled as they gazed up at the ceiling.
"You know," Fireball said, "this room is a lot like your room at home."
Antoshi took a look around. “Yeah, it really is. The window is even in the same spot.” The duo went quiet for a few moments. “You know, there's something I was thinking about. Did you notice how Mimi didn't … say anything about my name? Usually everyone we meet has an opinion on my name when I introduce myself. Mimi just didn't seem to care.”
"Maybe she's just an exception to the rule."
Antoshi laughed. “Maybe so.”
"She really is super nice, though. I'm glad we decided to stop here." Fireball looked over at his friend, concerned. "I'll bet you're still thinking about Latoshi, huh?"
Antoshi took a deep breath and sighed. “I haven't stopped thinking about him. I really hope he's doing all right. I'm worried for him, Fireball. I'm worried that … maybe he won't be able to get rid of this evil spirit inside him. It's been blocking his memories, so it probably keeps making him think I'm his enemy. If that's the case, then, I'll only end up fighting him over and over and over again. I really don't want that anymore. I can't … bear to fight him again.”
"This really stinks. I wish I could help him, too. He was a good friend to us at first. You and I both know the kind of person he really is."
“Yeah. That memory of him is what I'll keep fighting for.”
The duo went quiet for a while once again, lost in their own thoughts of the sable-haired boy. In that time, Antoshi picked up the sound of soft breathing outside the bedroom door. He curiously sat up.
“Mimi?” he called out, quietly. “Is that you?” Fireball also sat up, wondering what was going on.
On the other side of the door, Mimi panicked and jumped. She opened the door and nervously laughed.
“Sorry about that. I was just listening to see if you two were awake. I was heading for the kitchen to get a glass of water, and wanted to know if you wanted a glass, too.”
“No, that's all right. Thank you, though.”
Mimi nodded. “Okay, well, goodnight.”
She quietly closed the door, shuffling over to the kitchen with a relieved sigh. ‘That was close,’ she thought. ‘I don't want either of them to start getting suspicious about me…’
Later that night, Latoshi was still seated in the same position on the same patch of dirt since morning. He visibly strained, struggled and sweat. He trembled incessantly, rhythmically clenching his fists. His aura flickered weakly, barely able to manifest itself.
“I can't … take this … any longer,” he muttered. “I can't sit here. I want to move. I want to leave …”
'You will continue to sit and focus,' Lazarus replied. 'You will not move an inch until I—'
“I want to le~ave!!” Latoshi suddenly screamed at the top of his lungs. His black aura exploded to life with so much ferocity that it caused trees in the distance to bend and sway. Some Sentret and a flock of birds that had congregated there for the night fled for their lives. He slammed his fists into the dirt, creating small impact depressions. He jumped to his feet, glaring off into the distance with an incensed expression. He trembled and seethed, panting like an enraged animal.
'What do you think you are doing, Latoshi?!' Lazarus said. 'Sit down! I command it!'
Lazarus' demands came with the usual, torturous ringing noise in the boy's head. Latoshi screamed, wringing fistfuls of his hair before he abruptly took off into the air like a bullet toward Goldenrod.
He continued screaming and snarling. Lazarus' method of restraint over him no longer had an effect on him.
'What is going on?! Why will you not heel?!'
His head felt like it was shrouded in an intense fog. Acting purely on instinct and no longer thinking clearly, Latoshi made his way into city. He descended upon the nearest high-rise building in an abandoned area. He heaved for air, his irises glowing intensely black, dropping to ground level. He stared blankly at the building before him, before he suddenly crashed headlong into it, effortlessly smashing through the tightly locked, glass doors. Once inside, he screamed in rage once again. He darted through the main lobby, punching through each of the support beams as if made of cardboard. He slammed through solid walls, busting up everything in sight, until the structure began to creak with an ominous groan.
Floor by floor, the building collapsed in on itself. A cloud of dirt and dust billowed out in all directions. The handfuls of people and cars nearby took note of its collapse and quickly fled in a panic. Some pulled out their phones to capture the inexplicable destruction.
With the building fallen to a crumpled mass of concrete and steel, all fell silent for a moment. Latoshi suddenly burst through the rubble, screaming, taking off into the air once more.
'Damn you, Latoshi!' Lazarus shouted, intensifying the ringing noise. 'Listen to me right now! Heed my will!'
Latoshi remained unfazed by it. Instead, he landed on the rooftop of another empty building and began punching down on it furiously. It, too, began to rumble and buckle, its supports snapping from the sheer force of Latoshi's strikes. It toppled in on itself, creating another plume of dust and debris, to the shock of the confused onlookers.
‘Damn it!’ Lazarus thought, as Latoshi smashed through the outer wall of another building. ‘This stupid child will not heel from my whistle, and he has become too powerful for me to possess him! He is going to level this whole city block!’
The boy threw his arms around one of the main support beams. With a long, strained shout, he lifted up on it until the entire building split from its foundation. He trembled and growled, holding the twenty floor structure high up over his head like a trophy. The framework couldn't take the lack of support for very long until it also fell to crumbling pieces over his head. Latoshi punched through the debris, launching himself into the air.
At that point, police cars started to trickle in with lights flashing and sirens blaring. The thick clouds of smoke made it unsafe for them to get too close. They were forced to get out of their cars and watch from a distance, calling in for reinforcements on an unknown assailant. Latoshi darted around too quickly, not staying in one place long enough for anyone to identify him.
'Damn you, Latoshi!' Lazarus shouted. 'Think! Think, so I can get through to you!'
After he stomped through the roof and darted all the way to the ground floor of another building, he grabbed his hair once again.
“Where are you now, Antoshi?!” Latoshi screamed, as yet another building caved in around him. “Come out and fight me! Fight me right now!!”
Latoshi continued on smashing through an entire city block's worth of buildings — just as Lazarus surmised he would. By then, military and federal vehicles rolled up, and began to coordinate tactical responses. Some of them cordoned off the area, putting up road blocks and signs to keep the public at bay.
Standing in the dead center of all the chaos he'd wrought, Latoshi panted heavily. Under the cloud of smoke, he fell to his hands and knees, trembling. It was at that moment when his eyes turned fully black from the energy of Lazarus' spirit. Finally under the restraint of Lazarus' control, Latoshi had enough consciousness to snarl in contempt — aware that he was being possessed again. Lazarus guided the boy's body, flying through the debris, retreating with haste back to his usual resting area.
Once back in the eerie silence of his forest clearing, Lazarus relinquished control of the boy's body. Latoshi fell face-first to the ground with a weak groan, promptly falling unconscious.
‘He is gradually losing his sanity,’ Lazarus thought. The boy slept peacefully, covered in dust and dirt. ‘I cannot continue suppressing his memories. His anger towards me, and the ignorance of where to direct his anger after I restrict his memories, has caused him to go mad. He will continue to regress into nothing more than a feral, bloodthirsty beast at this rate. I cannot allow that to happen — not after the progress I have made. I must be careful with the memories he makes from here on out…’
The next morning, Antoshi and Fireball emerged from their room to the sounds of breakfast being cooked. Fireball eagerly went on ahead, out to the kitchen, while Antoshi sat on the edge of his bed for a moment. He could've sworn he felt an odd disturbance in his sleep — markedly similar to the dreams he had of Latoshi. And, yet, he recalled seeing nothing in his dreams. He shook it off, getting himself dressed into his usual red shirt and blue jeans.
“Good morning!” Mimi cheerfully greeted the boy from in front of the kitchen range. She was wearing a light blue sleeveless shirt with a large Marill print on the front, and white denim shorts. Fireball was already standing at the marble countertop, waiting eagerly. “I hope the two of you are ready for my 'super-extra-deluxe breakfast'! I named it myself.”
"I'm ready for anything with a name like that!" Fireball replied.
Antoshi took a seat next to him. A couple of tall glasses of juice had already been set for them. “Whatever it is, it smells amazing. Do you usually cook a lot at home?”
“Oh, absolutely! Both of my parents are chefs, so it was only natural that I learned how to cook from them.”
Mimi set up three plates with bacon, eggs, hash browns and waffles. She turned to the boys, sliding a couple of plates in front of them.
"Wow!" Fireball remarked in amazement. He said nothing further, eagerly digging in with his knife and fork.
“Thank you again for this, Mimi,” Antoshi said. “Fireball and I really appreciate how kind you've been to us.”
“Ohh, you're very welcome,” she replied, warmly, as she came around to the other side of the island to join them. “You don't have to keep thanking me. Really, I enjoy this!” She sat next to Antoshi with her own plate of food, and the group all started to eat together.
Once they finished, Fireball sighed happily while patting his stomach.
“Why don't you let me clean up this time?” Antoshi asked. “It's the least I can do to repay you.”
“No, that's all right. I'll bet the two of you are eager to get out and train some more.”
“Actually, … I think we should get going to Ecruteak City. We don't want to seem selfish, especially when other Trainers might want to come here, too.”
His response prompted dual whines of disagreement from both Fireball and Mimi.
“Don't leave so soon,” Mimi said, pouting. “You guys can stay here as long as you like — the longer, the better. You can even use the place like a home base.”
"Yeah, come on, Antoshi," Fireball chimed in. "Can't we stay at least one more day?"
Antoshi nervously rubbed the back of his neck. “I—I dunno…”
“Ple~ase?” Mimi and Fireball asked, in unison.
“Okay, fine, one more day.” The other two cheered, thankfully. At that moment, the videophone rang.
“Oh! That's probably my parents,” Mimi said. “I better get that.” Mimi headed over for the phone, while Antoshi made his way to the bathroom.
“I'm gonna brush my teeth really quick before we go,” he said, quietly.
Mimi nodded to him before he walked in and shut the door behind him. She picked up the receiver of a phone with a fairly small hologram video screen. Fireball stood by the front door, patiently awaiting his friend to come back.
“Hi, Mom!” she said. “… Of course, I'm doing just fine. … No, no, nothing yet. I'll probably be here for a little while longer. … Yeah, I do have some company over! A Trainer and his Pokémon are staying with me for now. … Everything is fine, don't worry about it. Everything's all stocked up. … Yes, Bubbles is doing great. She's, well, you know, in her Poké Ball with guests around. … I will. Love you, Mom.”
Just as she hung up, Antoshi emerged from the bathroom. “You have some really great toothpaste,” he remarked.
“Ah, yes, Sparkly Fresh. That's my favorite brand!”
“I think it just be my favorite now, too,” he said, heading for the front door to put his shoes on. “Well, Fireball, let's get a good training session in.”
"I can't wait!" Fireball exclaimed, heading out the door with Antoshi.
Mimi sighed in content, heading for the kitchen to bring the plates to the sink. Almost on cue, Bubbles re-emerged from her Poké Ball.
“Hey there, you,” Mimi greeted her, grinning. Bubbles smiled warmly, sliding her way into Antoshi's room in order to tidy up.
Back outside, Antoshi and Fireball gazed in awe at a loveliness of Ledyba congregating in the open clearing outside the cabin.
“Oh, shoot,” Antoshi remarked, quickly turning back around.
"What's up?" Fireball asked.
“I forgot my wallet.”
"Do you really need it? We're just going to train."
“Yes, I do need it. I don't want to be accused of being a Pokémon poacher again.”
"Ooh, that wasn't a fun time," the Typhlosion remarked, under his breath.
Fireball waited in place as Antoshi headed back up the porch. The boy stopped suddenly, his eyes widening with a look of sheer disbelief at what he saw. He slowly walked over to the window on Mimi's right that looked in through the kitchen. The girl hummed to herself as she washed the dishes.
Antoshi was bewildered by the sight of Mimi's hands and forearms having turned from flesh into clear water.
‘No,’ he thought. ‘It couldn't be…’
Fireball sighed in frustration. 'What in the heck is he staring at?' Fireball wondered. "Hey, Antoshi! Let's get going!" The blond boy, however, remained frozen in place. Fireball became concerned. "Antoshi? …" He headed over to the house to check on his friend. Before he could, Antoshi recollected himself and burst through the front door with purpose.
“Oh!” Mimi exclaimed in surprise. Her arms immediately returned to normal as she turned around. “Wow, that was quick! I didn't expect you to be back so soon!”
“Yeah, I'll bet you didn't,” Antoshi replied, cautiously.
Mimi looked at him in confusion as he stared back at her with great suspicion. Both Fireball and Bubbles emerged to see what was going on.
“What's … wrong?” Mimi asked, laughing nervously.
“It was you,” Antoshi replied. “You were the one that followed us through Goldenrod.” The other three gasped in shock. “You're the one … that turned into that puddle of water and disappeared.”
"Her?" Fireball remarked in disbelief. "But, how can that be?"
“Yeah,” Mimi agreed, becoming visibly uneasy, “that just sounds … totally crazy, right? How—how could I even do something like that?”
She glanced over to Bubbles, who hung her head down. Antoshi walked over to the girl, getting up close to her. She trembled, looking into his eyes, fearfully. Being so close to her, he recognized her brown eyes as the same as their stalker in the alleyway.
“It is you,” he remarked, taking a few steps back. “But, … why? Why were you following us around?”
Mimi remained quiet for a moment, nervously looking over at Fireball. The Typhlosion was just as curious for answers as his friend was. “I … I—I can't answer that.”
“What?!” the boy replied, offended. “What do you mean? You stalked us and you can't even give us an answer why?”
“Yes. I—I mean, no. I mean, … let's just drop it, okay?” The girl was starting to crumble. She turned her gaze away from him, rubbing her arm.
“No way. I'm not dropping this until I get answers from you. You know something about me, don't you? You know something … about my powers?”
“No, I—I don't know … anything,” she replied with uncertainty.
“You know something about Latoshi, or about Serenity. Are you with them? Are you friends with either of them?”
“I'm t-telling you, I don't know what you're talking about.”
"Antoshi, maybe you should ease up," Fireball chimed in, quietly.
Antoshi held a reassuring hand out to him. “Now I know what you did,” he said, grabbing the girl's attention. “You put that sign up because you knew we'd be coming. Then, you took it down and you got back here before we did. That's why the signs were the same.” Mimi's eyes widened, surprised that he managed to correctly deduce her actions.
“You specifically lured us here,” he continued. “I understand you when you said you wanted company, and that it gets lonely out here with just you and Bubbles. What I can't understand is why. Why did you target Fireball and I? You followed us; you picked us for a reason. There's been way too many weird events in my life lately for this to be just some random coincidence. A girl who can turn her body into water is definitely another weird event.”
Antoshi walked up to her again and grabbed her shoulders. She jumped in fright. “Tell me why you brought us here. Tell me who you are.” The girl shook her head. “If you don't tell me right now, Fireball and I are going to walk out that door, and we're never going to come back here.” She gasped, looking at him with a deeply hurt expression. “I mean it. Right now, I don't know if I can even trust you. We'll walk out, and we'll never speak to you ever again.”
“No,” she whispered, “… please don't do that.”
“Then tell me!”
Mimi was on the verge of tears. “I can't! It's … it's too soon! I was going to tell you later! Much later, when I … got to know you better. When the time was right!”
“I'm so sick of all these secrets and mysteries!” he shouted, shaking her. “Tell me who you are!”
“I'm your sister!!” she shouted back at him.
Mimi immediately collapsed onto her knees, sobbing, covering her mouth. Antoshi stumbled backwards, grabbing the marble counter as he bumped into it, having the wind knocked out of him. Fireball looked on in shock. Bubbles shut her eyes, also brimming over with tears.
“No,” he said, quietly. He reached up and held his head. “No. No, no, no, no. This isn't happening again. This can't be happening again. There's no way I have another sibling I never knew about. You're lying.”
“I'm not lying, Antoshi,” she replied, sniffling. “My name isn't … Mimi. … It's Mitoshi.”
Antoshi panted, struggling to breathe. Her name echoed continuously in his head.
“I'm so sorry, Antoshi,” she continued, trembling as she rose to her feet. “I didn't want … to—to tell you this way. … I'm sorry. I couldn't think of how else to approach you to tell you something so serious. Please, … let me explain everything. I promise it'll all make sense—”
“No,” he quickly said, stepping out of the kitchen, away from her. “Don't come near me. I don't know who you are, okay? Just leave me alone!” In an impulsive huff, Antoshi bolted out the front door.
“Antoshi, wait!” she called out, rushing to the door. “Please, don't go!” The boy ran off into the woods, without so much as looking back.
At the same time, the girl now known as Mitoshi covered her face with both hands as she sobbed, uncontrollably, by the door.
"I'll go talk to him," Fireball reassured her as best he could, quickly heading outside to follow after his friend.
As the girl cried, Bubbles slid her way over to her. “Bubbles, what have I done?” she asked, hugging her friend tightly around her neck. “I've ruined everything…” The Lapras closed her eyes, letting her own tears fall.
Antoshi didn't head very far into the woods before he came to a stop in front of a tree. He panted and trembled heavily, his eyes welling over with tears. He grabbed the tree for support, digging his fingers deep into the bark. The boy slid down onto his knees, turning himself around into a sitting position with his back against the tree. He hugged his knees to his chest, sobbing just the same as Mitoshi did.
‘What if … she turns out the same?’ he thought. ‘I can't go through how I dealt with Latoshi all over again …’
A few moments later, Fireball caught up with him. "Antoshi?" he spoke up, softly. "I'm here, buddy."
Antoshi sniffled, rubbing away as much of his tears as he could with his forearm. He looked up at Fireball, eyes red and bloodshot, offering a weak smile.
“Thanks, Fireball,” he replied, clearing his throat. Fireball took a seat next to his friend. Antoshi took a minute to just breathe, and think about what to say. “Guess I … overreacted a little back there. It's just that, … my life's done a complete one-eighty since we got to Johto. Once upon a time, I thought the craziest thing in the world was that I … had the ability to talk to you. Now, I can— … I can shoot energy from my hands. I can fly, and I can run way faster than normal people can see. I've had to fight for my life twice. Apparently, I have a twin brother who I never met before, and is being controlled by some evil spirit. Now, … I have a sister, too?! … Not only that, but they both just come out of nowhere and find me! I feel like I'm the target of someone's horrible joke! … I just don't know how much more of this I can deal with. I never asked for any of this. This isn't why I came to Johto. I just wanted to go on an adventure with my best friend, and to be a normal kid. This is like a dream — a terrible, terrible dream that I just want to wake up from. I want to wake up from all of this, Fireball.”
"Antoshi, I told you plenty of times that I'm always here for you. I'm always here to support you whenever you need it. I see how hard all of this is on you, but … right now, you have to be strong. You've got to be strong for everyone around you, including me. It's not just you and me anymore. There's more people in our world now: Latoshi, Serenity, … and your sister. Right now, we need the old Antoshi back. The Antoshi that's calm, and smart, and thinks things over. The Antoshi that always comes up with the best decision. The Antoshi that … always gives it his absolute best. Remember that phrase?"
“I'm sorry, Fireball. I'm just so scared. All of this stuff is just … piling up more and more and it's—it's so hard to deal with! I've never had to go through anything like this before. I feel like I'm losing myself constantly. Like my life is just falling to pieces.”
"That's why I'm here. I'm always looking out for you because you're my best friend. If your life falls to pieces, I'll be right here to help pick them back up. I know what I said before might have sounded a little harsh, but … I think it's what you need to hear. We need you to be strong, because that's when you're at your best."
Antoshi sniffled and nodded. He leaned over to share a hug with Fireball.
“Fireball, you are my best friend and I love you.”
"I love you, too, buddy."
“I'm glad that you're here with me,” he said, as they let go of each other. “I don't know … what I'd do if I had to deal with all of this on my own.”
"Well, you don't have to worry about that at all. Still, what should we do now?"
Antoshi scoffed and grinned. “I guess I have no choice, huh? I have to be strong. I have to confront Mimi— err, Mitoshi, … and get the answers I need.”
Fireball nodded, standing up along with his friend. Antoshi sighed, taking a few moments to collect himself before the pair marched back toward the cabin.
“I'm such an idiot, Bubbles,” Mitoshi lamented, as she sat on one of the two shorter couches that faced each other. Bubbles rested on the floor beside her. “I've ruined Antoshi's life.”
"Don't say that, Miss Mitoshi," the Lapras replied, quietly. "You had nothing but good intentions."
“I knew this was a terrible idea, but … I just had to meet him somehow. I shouldn't have blurted it out like that. … I was just so scared when he started pressuring me.” Just then, the two boys returned — much to the surprise of the pair already inside. “Antoshi?” she uttered, getting to her feet with a hopeful look in her eyes.
“It's all right,” he replied, “you don't have to get up.”
Mitoshi nodded and sat back down. With a heavy sigh, Antoshi took a seat on the couch across from hers. Fireball sat down next to his friend.
“Antoshi,” the girl said, “I'm so sorry. I didn't mean for things to turn out this way. Please don't be angry with me…”
“I'm sorry, too. I shouldn't have yelled at you like that. It's just that, you have to understand there's been a lot of crazy stuff happening to me and to Fireball recently. It's really been getting to me. I haven't been eating or sleeping much, and I've been pretty wound up all the time. Because of that, I lashed out at you. Still, it's no excuse. I was wrong to react the way I did.” Mitoshi smiled at him. “Even still, I … do want to talk about this. I'm sure you can guess I have plenty of questions.”
“I understand,” she replied with a nod.
“First, the most important question on my mind is, … well, how do you know for certain that you're my … sister?”
“I only found out around a year ago. One night, I overheard my parents talking and they were … well, they said the craziest things I'd ever heard. They were talking about their 'boys'. My mom said she missed them, and she wondered if they were doing all right, how they looked now, and so on. I thought I was dreaming at first. My parents couldn't have had any 'boys', I was their only child. Well, I … I couldn't stop thinking about it, so the next day I talked to them. I told them what I heard. They seemed a little nervous at first, but they decided to tell me the truth.”
“What did they say?”
“They told me … that I wasn't their only child. A little over a year before I was born, they said they had two sons — twin boys. They were all ready to welcome them into the world, but, not long before my mom was due, a fire burned down their house. They ended up on hard times. They didn't have the money or even a home to raise two boys anymore, so … they had to give them up for adoption. My mom told me that she'll never forget their hair — one blond and the other had black hair. The real ringer here is what she named the babies before they were given up. She named them 'Antoshi' and 'Latoshi'.”
Antoshi hunched over, having the air sucked out of the room yet again. He took a few deep breaths, staring blankly at the glass coffee table. He looked up to the ceiling, to hold back another round of tears.
“This is so … unreal,” he remarked, his voice quavering. “You said that she … gave us up? I—I can't believe this. I'm … I'm adopted? I'm— wow.” The others looked on in concern as Antoshi came to terms with what she told him. “My parents never said anything about this. When were they going to tell me? Were they … going to keep it a secret from me forever?” Fireball placed a paw on his friend's shoulder. “No, you're right. I shouldn't be upset with them. … But, how did you even come to find us?”
“After I learned about you and Latoshi, all I could think about was the two of you. I kept thinking about how I had two brothers out there, and it filled me with so much excitement. I kept imagining about what my life would be like with two siblings, and I had so many dreams at night about meeting you both. A couple months ago, I had … the strangest dream. I dreamt that I was in someone else's body somehow and everything felt so real. This person screamed and let out this huge burst of energy that just destroyed everything for miles. It was such a huge shock that it rattled me out of my sleep. I felt … so much fear, like somehow I had done something horrible.”
Antoshi gawked at her. “That was the same dream that I had. It turned out it was Latoshi. I watched him as he … destroyed Fern Town.”
Mitoshi nodded with a sorrowful expression. “I heard about that on the news the next day. I remembered my dream and I couldn't understand why I had seen that. Well anyway, fast-forward to a couple weeks ago and I ended up feeling this strange sensation in my head. It was like I was seeing something: two tiny little lights, red and black, clashing with each other. It was coming from the direction of Goldenrod City. I just knew this had to be it, I knew it was the two of you. I told my parents that I was going to go on a journey to find my brothers. They were pretty confused, and thought I was joking at first, but, when I made it clear I was serious, they were nothing but supportive. They gave me some money, I took Bubbles' Poké Ball and some supplies and I headed for Goldenrod.”
“How did you get to Goldenrod?”
“You mean you were on a boat or something?”
“No, I … 'swam' there, sort of. With my water powers, I can shoot through bodies of water like a torpedo — it's really neat.” The boys were awe-struck at what she said. “… Well, I'm getting off point. After I couldn't sense you two anymore, I had no choice but to stay somewhere until I could again. Luckily, our vacation cabin was close enough, so I unpacked my things here. I heard the news reports about attacks on prisons and I just knew it was tied to you both. I disguised myself and started taking trips through Goldenrod at night, which is when the attacks were happening, and then I eventually found you two on the beach.”
“… That was when we fought,” Antoshi remarked, his expression quickly turning to dismay. “You … saw that fight?”
Mitoshi nodded. “Your presence was so clear to me. I went over and I started watching. I was so excited at first, but the two of you had such horrible looks in your eyes. I watched the fight playing out and … it was terrifying. The power you both had scared me, and it scared me even more to see you both fighting like that. I was so overwhelmed. Then, a girl with brown hair told me to get off the beach, so I walked away far enough that I wouldn't be seen, but came back again to watch the rest of your fight. I was happy that the two of you made it out alive, but … it wasn't anything like what I had imagined you both would be like…”
Antoshi sighed heavily. “Well, I guess it's only right that I fill you in on what's been going on with Latoshi and myself.”
He proceeded to fill her in on everything he'd experienced since coming to Johto. He included his conversation with Serenity, along with what he learned of Latoshi and Lazarus. Mitoshi was horrified and confused.
“An evil … spirit?” she remarked. “So, Latoshi isn't really a bad person, and that icky feeling I felt from him was from this … Lazarus thing?” Antoshi nodded. “Why aren't we helping him? We can go out right now together and go find him. I'll help pummel this evil spirit thing out of him!”
Antoshi was taken by surprise at the sudden fire in Mitoshi's gaze. He smiled reassuringly at her. “We can't do that. Serenity told me that only Latoshi can get rid of this spirit inside him. There's nothing we can do to help — physically or emotionally. My guess is if we try to help, it'll only give Lazarus proof to Latoshi that we're trying to oppose him. It'll start another unnecessary fight. Not to mention, he can just take away Latoshi's memories afterward.”
Mitoshi's gaze faltered. “What can we do, then?” she asked, her eyes welling with tears. “I don't want him to suffer like this.”
“I don't, either. All we can do is to have patience. You've never met Latoshi, but … I have faith. I've seen the good in him before. He is a good person, and he has heart.” Antoshi turned to Fireball, both of them grinning at each other.
Mitoshi let out a trembling sigh. She nodded, wiping the tears from her eyes. “Well, … I guess that's everything, then.”
“Yeah,” Antoshi replied, sighing.
“Now that we're all on the same page,” Mitoshi said, “where do we do from here?”
“We take things one day at a time,” Antoshi said with a smile. “I think Fireball wouldn't object to staying here for a while.”
Fireball nodded in agreement, enthusiastically. The two youngsters laughed.
"You really are a good person, Mimi— sorry, I mean Mitoshi," Fireball said. "I think that you and Antoshi are a lot alike; kind of like brother and sister!" Antoshi sighed and rolled his eyes while Mitoshi laughed again.
“Fireball is right, though,” the boy added. “You are a kind person, and we would be glad to stay here if you'll have us.”
Mitoshi could barely contain her excitement as she got up, walked over, and grabbed Antoshi's hand in hers. She grinned from ear to ear, her eyes sparkling in jubilation.
“Nothing would make me happier,” she replied. “I've waited so long for this moment!”
Their two Pokémon smiled at each other before looking back at the scene.
“Well,” Antoshi said, as he got up, “I think Fireball and I will take that training session now. I'm sure it'll do us some good to get a little fresh air after that long conversation.”
“I'll be right here when you get back,” she happily responded, stepping back.
“Come on, Fireball,” he said, leading his friend back outside once again.
Mitoshi sighed in relief, watching them head off. “That ended up way better than I was fearing,” she said to Bubbles. “I understand now that Antoshi still has a lot to deal with, and I want to be there every step of the way to help.”
"I'm happy things turned out this way," Bubbles said, quietly. "I know how important this was for you."
“Well, we're only halfway there. One brother down, one brother to go. … I really hope this situation with Latoshi gets better. I've never met him, but I'm still scared for his safety.”
Bubbles nodded, before taking her leave to resume tidying up Antoshi's room.
"That was a lot to take in," Fireball said. "With everything she said, I think you handled yourself really well there, Antoshi."
“As well as I could. It's not every day that you find out you're … adopted. I'm going to have to talk about this with my parents soon, but I'm not sure when or even how to bring it up. … For now, let's just focus on training.”
With that, the two best friends headed into the woods together for some late morning exercise.