Pokemon Fan Fiction ❯ A Blond Ray of Sunshine ❯ Chapter 33

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

As Ken had predicted, within a couple of days, the snow clouds dissipated for good. The residents of Goldenrod cheered the return of the summer sun. Cleanup and restoration to infrastructure all around the city kicked off as soon as possible. People and Pokémon trapped in their homes were tended to by rescue officials as well as neighbors and ordinary citizens. Life within the city slowly, but gradually returned to normalcy. Meteorologists across the world were all equally stumped as to the blizzard's sudden formation and dissipation. Ultimately, it was chalked up to a powerful Ice-type Pokémon, or group of Pokémon, that wreaked havoc upon the weather — intentionally or not.

The trees in the forests around Route 35, which were totally covered in white, began to thaw out. Snow sloughed off the limbs and leaves, onto the blanket of snow upon the ground where it soon melted. Everything soon returned to normal, lush green foliage. The group of four Pokémon-like young people had an incredibly far-reaching impact upon the environment than they ever considered they would have.

At the siblings' cabin, just after lunch, the two little Pichu, Poka and Chika, laughed as they played 'tag' in the grassy field. Latoshi smiled, watching over the pair who were finally able to enjoy the sunny outdoors.

“Whew,” Antoshi remarked, walking outside with a glass of lemonade in hand. “Another scorcher, huh?” He and his brother grinned to each other as they stood together. The two were back to wearing comfortable tank tops in their own respective favorite colors, along with loose-fit shorts.

“Sure is,” Latoshi replied, looking up at the clear, blue sky. “I'm never taking another summer day for granted.”

“That's for sure,” Antoshi said. Both of them chuckled. “So, how's the arm?”

Latoshi looked at his previously broken arm, flexing it around and rolling his shoulder. “It's great. Serenity's a miracle worker.”

“I definitely know that from experience.”

The two brothers smiled for a few moments, watching the pair of Pichu play as they reflected upon their experiences as of late.

“Hey,” Latoshi spoke up, “I just wanted to apologize again for … being a dick to you when I was fighting Celeste.”

Antoshi smiled and shook his head. “No apology necessary. It's, … you know, it's a learning process — for all of us. All three of us aren't used to having siblings, or living in the same house together all the time. … I was selfish, too. When we were all learning that we were … related, I was only focused on myself; how I felt about it, what I wanted. I never stopped to think about how you and Mitoshi felt, and what both of you wanted.”

“Oh, yeah?” Latoshi asked, grinning in amusement. “You're telling me the infallible Antoshi can make mistakes, too?”

“I most certainly am saying that,” Antoshi replied, grinning back at him. “But, still, I couldn't be any happier or any prouder to have you and Mitoshi as my siblings.”

Latoshi's grin shifted into a warm, content smile. “Yeah, same here.”

"Oh, man!" Fireball exclaimed, ecstatically, as he burst out the front door to join the two brothers. "Antoshi, you make the best waffles in the whole world! That's it — from now on, you're our personal waffle chef. What's that? 'What a great idea, Fireball'? I know it is. You can thank me later."

Antoshi grinned, scoffing as he rolled his eyes. “Come on, Fireball, it's just waffles. It's not that big of a deal.”

"'Not that big of a deal'?!" Fireball exclaimed. "Antoshi, that's my favorite food in the whole world! And, you managed to perfect it!"

“He's got a point,” Latoshi said, sticking his hands in his pockets. “They were pretty damn good waffles.”

Antoshi laughed, looking at him in surprise. “Oh, were you just waiting for Fireball to mention it before you finally decided to say something?”

“Yes, actually,” the sable-haired boy replied with a sly smirk. “Somehow, I had the weirdest feeling he was going to rave about them.”

“Oh, you haven't started yet, have you?!” Mitoshi exclaimed, holding the door open for Bubbles as the Lapras slid herself out onto the porch. “Wait for us!”

"Yes, this is going to be quite exciting to watch," Bubbles chimed in, smiling. "Thank you very much, Miss Mitoshi."

“Ooh, I'm so excited,” Mitoshi said, prancing in place next to her brothers. “Come on, come on!”

“Yeah, Latoshi,” Antoshi added, “don't chicken out on us.” The others chuckled softly.

Latoshi took a deep breath and sighed. His hand was trembling a bit with nervousness as he took something out of his pocket. He gazed down at his open palm, and the two, minimized Poké Balls he held.

"You can do it, Latoshi," Fireball cheered, quietly.

“I'm really nervous,” Latoshi admitted with a soft laugh. “What if … what if they don't want to be with me?”

Antoshi placed a reassuring hand on Latoshi's shoulder. “It's like they say: 'you don't choose a Pokémon; a Pokémon chooses you.' Those two Pichu love you to pieces. I think it's time to make it official.”

Latoshi swallowed the lump in his throat, nodding in agreement. “Hey, Poka! Chika!” he called out, bringing the pair's play to a sudden halt as they looked over at him. “Come on over here!”

The Pichu siblings laughed happily as they scampered over to him, heading up the porch steps.

"What is it?" Chika asked in excitement as they looked up at him with shining faces. Latoshi smiled warmly, kneeling down in front of them. The pair of Pichu loved him to pieces, and he knew he loved them back just the same. He was ready and certain about the lifelong commitment he was about to undertake.

“Well, you know,” Latoshi started, “I really … enjoy having the two of you around. Even though you've barely spent any time here, you both already feel like part of our family. So, I just wanted to ask: … would you like to stay here … with us? … With me?”

Poka and Chika were surprised at first as he held out his hand to show them the Poké Balls he held. They looked at each other, as though conferring mentally. They had always seen those devices as nothing more than imprisonment; a way for humans to enslave Pokémon and act as their masters. The pair held a dour opinion of humans for so long. Being with Latoshi, learning how much fun and how good it felt to be with him, and becoming part of a family with Fireball and the others certainly changed their outlook. Latoshi had been so kind, caring, and thoughtful toward them. The sable-haired boy literally saved their lives.

The Pichu twins needed just a moment to think it over before turning and nodding to him in unison, both of them grinning. Latoshi sighed in relief, swallowing yet another lump in his throat.

“Well, then,” he said, pressing the buttons on the Poké Balls to expand them to their normal size. He placed them down on the ground in front of the twins. “Welcome home.”

"All right!" the two of them exclaimed just before they both pressed down on the buttons of the Poké Balls. The balls opened suddenly, reducing the two to flashes of light and pulled them inside their own respective accommodations before snapping shut. The buttons blinked red as the devices wiggled around for a couple moments. Once the commotion died down and the blinking ceased, the two were officially set in their new Poké Balls, under Latoshi's care. Latoshi had an omnipresent smile upon his face while the others cheered.

“Congratulations, Latoshi,” Antoshi said as his brother stood up, “you're a Pokémon Trainer now.”

Latoshi smiled, gazing down at the pair of Poké Balls in his hand. “You know, I never thought much about these things. They never seemed … all that special to me. … Suddenly, I have a whole new respect for them and what they represent. These little trinkets that I always considered nothing more than 'toy balls that kids throw around', … they're an important part of my life now. It's like … they're a symbol of my bond with Poka and Chika.”

“Well put, Latoshi,” Mitoshi remarked, grinning happily. “I couldn't agree more. I'll never forget that moment when Bubbles was set into her Poké Ball.” She laughed in amusement. “It's almost like her second home now!”

Bubbles held her head down, blushing as she grinned coyly.

“Yep,” Antoshi said, putting an arm around Fireball, who smiled at him, “being a Pokémon Trainer is a big responsibility. You sure you're ready to handle it?”

“You bet,” Latoshi replied, smirking confidently, as he prepared to throw the Poké Balls into the field.

"Wait!" Fireball exclaimed. The large Typhlosion headed out into the grass on all fours before standing upright. "Okay, now!"

Latoshi scoffed in amusement, shaking his head, tossing out the balls without incident this time. They snapped open, releasing the tiny Electric-types from their confines. The pair giggled and instantly started to chase Fireball around in the grass, as if nothing had happened.

“So, then,” Antoshi said, walking down the porch steps before turning to his siblings, “how's about a little training?”

Latoshi scoffed, following behind his brother. “Like you even have to ask.”

Mitoshi hopped down to the grass, giggling in excitement. “How about … first one to give up has to do the dishes tonight?”

“Looks like Latoshi is doing the dishes, then,” Antoshi teased. Latoshi's eyes lit up, grinning from ear to ear.

“Oh, are you seriously laying down a challenge?” Latoshi replied, laughing as the three of them casually began to spar.

⁂    ⁂    ⁂

At the same time, miles away, the sibling trio were being watched from afar. Wearing a gray on white three piece suit and necktie, along with immaculately polished white dress shoes, Collin sat casually on one of the benches along Route 35, smiling in content as he stared in the direction the siblings. Passing travelers, people and their Pokémon, went by him in either direction. He did not need a direct line of sight to them, able to gauge what they were doing simply through detection of their Ki.

“Hello, Serenity,” he said without so much as glancing at his sister, who took a seat next to him. “To what do I owe the honor of your company?”

“I'm just here to see how you're doing,” she replied, looking over at him, her hands neatly folded on her lap. The young woman wore a pink tunic top, a pair of skinny jeans, and white sneakers. She turned her attention to the siblings' Ki as well.

“I'm doing just fine,” he reassured her. “As you well know, I have a new hobby to keep myself busy. Three new hobbies, to be precise.” Serenity turned to him briefly with a glint of concern in her eyes. “The three of them have such fascinating potential. You feel it the same as I do — that unerring sense of justice in their hearts, willing them forward, burning with hope and passion. Yet, all the while, keeping that same feeling of purity and innocence about them.”

“I do sense that,” she replied. “That's what drew me toward Antoshi in the first place. His fight against Lazarus was inspiring, as was Latoshi's inner struggle.”

“Yes, the two of them did well to drive off the old parasite. That group of four rapscallions they fought a few days ago offered a very unique flavor of danger to our three young heroes — and what heroes they turned out to be. Saving lives, infrastructure, climate, … they raced right in and dealt with the culprits like firefighters running into a burning building. I am impressed that they pushed through and were victorious over much tougher foes. Very impressed…”

Serenity stared hard at her brother for a moment. She could only wonder what it was that Collin wanted out of the sibling trio; what he was pondering behind that small, content smile of his. While she had a strong hunch, she still needed to probe further.

“You have something planned, Collin — I know that much. What do you hope to accomplish?”

Collin chuckled. “The only thing I have planned is to simply watch them grow. I am insatiably curious about their ability, where it leads them, and how much they continue to shatter their own limits. Yes, the three of them will serve as a very entertaining hobby for the foreseeable future.”

Serenity pursed her lips, worried. “Collin—”

“You know,” he interrupted her, “I've been studying them, and I realized the three of them not only mesh together so well, they also manage to cover each other's weaknesses. Antoshi's trait is speed, Latoshi's is power, and, all things considered, Mitoshi's strength is in her defense. The three of them have an unbelievable symbiosis that compliments their counterpart's strengths. I'd surmise that if the three of them learn how to fight as a cohesive unit, they would be unbeatable. Yes, … they're still so rough around the edges, but they adapt quickly. Along with their confidence and resolve, they'll become incredible fighters yet — I'm sure of it.”

With a content sigh, Collin rose to his feet, dusting off his clothing.

“Collin, wait,” she said, standing up as well. “Tell me what it is that you have planned.”

He grinned in amusement. “Now, now, Serenity, where's the fun in that? You know I can't very well spoil the surprise. However, you can take solace in the fact I don't intend to harm the three youngsters. They have such a bright future ahead of them.” He turned and walked away, flashing her a casual wave from behind before sliding his hands in his pockets and whistling a tune.

Serenity sighed heavily, turning her attention to the siblings once again. She was left to mull over the perplexing, unsettling intricacies of Collin's mindset.

⁂    ⁂    ⁂

Later that evening, the sibling trio and Fireball sat at the kitchen island while having their supper of pasta salad. Bubbles was set up on the end of the island, none of them minding that she ate — very quietly, at that — directly off the plate. Inside the kitchen, Poka and Chika ate their own meal of kibble-like Pokémon food, which they'd come to enjoy, out of their own individual bowls on the floor.

“I have a question,” Latoshi said, amid the sounds of forks clinking against plates. “Why doesn't this place have a fireplace or a heater or something?”

“Because we only ever visited the cabin in the spring and summer,” Mitoshi replied. “Surprisingly, we don't need heat during those times of the year, … barring any freak snowstorms, of course.” The others chuckled in response.

“Speaking of which,” Antoshi said, briefly taking a sip of water from his glass, “I wonder how 'The Clique' is doing now.”

“I really hope they're going to be fine,” Mitoshi said, softly. “It's … probably going to take some time for them to … let go of all that animosity they had, huh?”

“Yeah,” Latoshi remarked before taking another bite of food.

“Hopefully, we'll see them again soon,” Antoshi said, smiling.

⁂    ⁂    ⁂

In the woods between Route 35 and 36, Ken sat looking up at the clear evening sky, leaning back on his hands, wings folded against his back. He was still wearing the same clothing since his battle with Antoshi, including the tattered shirt. The ground around him was littered with a handful of half-eaten Oran Berries — bulbous, blue fruits with green stems on the top. The sounds of Celeste complaining at Kage for something trivial rang out in the distance, as was typical for the pair. Myst came over and sat by Ken. She was constantly elated to see him, cherishing the time spent with him even more after watching him nearly perish.

“How are you feeling?” she asked, placing a hand on his shoulder before resting her head atop it.

“Honestly, kind of bored,” he replied, smiling at her.

“Yeah, well, that's pretty normal for us, isn't it?” she replied, smiling just the same.

“That whole adventure we had, the fights against Antoshi and his siblings, it was … pretty thrilling. It reminded me of the way the four of us used to live our lives like an action movie all the time.”

“Those were some exciting moments — both then, and now. … You know, we don't have to stop living our lives the way we used to just because we're … different now, Ken. There's probably all sorts of exciting mischief we can get into again, … without endangering peoples' lives.”

“I guess, but, … thinking back on the old days, it just seemed like stupid kid stuff, you know? Those three siblings, even though they're younger than us, act more like adults than we ever have. Being around them was … different. Different and interesting. I think that was part of the reason why I even wanted to go through with our plan — because I was just so bored of the monotony, the sadness, the hatred we all shared for so long. … Anyway, I just hope those three kids don't forget about us.”

Myst chuckled, lifting her head up to meet his. “Well, if worse comes to worse, I'd never forget about you.” Ken grinned in the instant before the two of them shared a brief kiss. After which, Myst sighed in content, resting her head on his shoulder again while he looked toward the clouds once more.

⁂    ⁂    ⁂

In the dead of night, Latoshi found himself awake, drawn into sitting up in his bed by an unknown force. There was a cold, ominous dread in his heart that he couldn't explain. He looked over, finding Poka and Chika sleeping peacefully on the other half of the bed. He was trembling as he got to his feet, panting in shallow breaths, heading slowly toward his bedroom door. Latoshi turned the knob slowly, fearing what was on the other side. The door swung open as if on its own, and he gasped in horror to see nothing but inky darkness obscuring the living area.

“No,” he whispered. “It couldn't be…”

"Oh, but, it is," Lazarus hissed. "I told you not to forget about me, did I not, Latoshi?"

The boy panted heavily, sweat rolling down his face as he glared bitterly at the parasitic spirit. Its presence felt so much more honest and real than it did during the hallucination Kage put him through. He wasn't merely living a horrible memory — he was interacting with a horrible reality.

“Leave here — now,” he demanded, his voice quavering.

"My, you have gotten so stringent in my absence. What a wonderful, little home you acquired for yourself. It would be quite a shame if something were to perhaps … incinerate it." Latoshi bit his trembling lip. "Should I visit your stubborn brother again? Or your darling new sister? I might even be inclined to recruit those two little Pichu into my fold. You have so many weaknesses now, Latoshi, it will be quite a fun game to choose which I exploit first."

“Leave my family alone, or I will erase you for good.”

Lazarus chuckled in amusement. "You have no idea how to truly deal with me, though. Collin may have figured out my secrets, but you are too much a pathetic, ignorant little child to know where to look first. You will never be as powerful as Collin, and you will never be rid of me."

“Shut up!” Latoshi screamed, firing a blast of green energy from his open hand. Lazarus laughed loudly as the energy dissipated inside of its amorphous form.

"Stupid, stupid little brat," Lazarus replied. "Do not worry. Once I inevitably regain my control over you, I will make certain never to let you think freely ever again…"

Latoshi shouted in terror as Lazarus' spirit began to surround him like a cloak of pure darkness, cackling wildly.

The sable-haired boy jolted awake with a terrified gasp. He sat up, clutching his chest while his heart pounded intensely. He was covered in a cold sweat from head to toe. Latoshi glanced over, seeing that the Pichu twins were indeed sleeping peacefully beside him. He ran a shaky hand through his dark hair, taking a moment to catch his breath and look at the clock on his nightstand: 2:02 A.M.

‘He can't be coming back,’ Latoshi thought, shaking his head. ‘That was just … some stupid, horrible nightmare. He's no match now for the three of us.’

Latoshi swallowed the lump in his throat, sliding out of bed to fetch a glass of water from the kitchen.

After Latoshi headed back to bed, a poster carried by the breeze wafted toward the siblings' cabin. It snagged momentarily on the porch steps — a faded advertisement for an upcoming carnival and its main attraction: the circus.

⁂    ⁂    ⁂

End of Part 5

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