This is basically just an alternate version of the beginning of TtS, but in Brendan's POV instead of May's. You don't really have to have read TtS to understand (It's really just loosely based off of the Hoenn games. Many liberties were taken with Brendan though), but it would of course be more meaningful if you have. If you get confused about Brendan's pokemon, I'll list their nickname and species at the bottom of the page.

WARNING: If you aren't up to date with Touching the Sky (I would say through probably chapter seventeen or so), this contains spoilers for that fic.

Brendan squinted down at the notes on his clipboard. He was definitely, positively, one hundred percent right. His father would be eating his words once he finished collecting his last round of data.

The wurmple on the oak trees were growing longer stingers on their tails than those on the maple trees; he knew it.

The leaf nutrition must be superior for their digestive systems… he decided, smirking slightly to himself as he hovered at the top of the staircase.

Brendan moved to step forward, but a rustling sound from the kitchen drifted to his ears. He winced, coming to a halt. The motion caused the pokeballs on his belt to shift, which, as always, left him hyper aware of the empty notch.

It was supposed to be there; second to the left, sitting within the few inches of space between Orion and Neptune's pokeballs.

A lump rose to his throat, but he hardened his expression.

He was going out. He was going out, and he was going to get some stupid data on the stupid wurmple. He'd let his pokemon out for a bit of exercise, and he'd have his father proven wrong within a week's time.

And he was bound and determined to avoid his mother, who was undoubtedly lurking in the kitchen, waiting to pounce and try to get him to do something she considered more fun with his day.

She didn't understand that he didn't deserve to have fun anymore.

Brendan had made it down the stairs (Expertly jumping over the two creaky ones, might he add) when a pair of smaller feet bounded over to him.

He groaned internally. Leave it to his little brother…

"Brendan," Noah yelled, his blond hair sticking up like taillow had been nesting in it during the night. He had some pancake syrup smeared across his cheek. "Brendan, guess what?"

"Oh, good morning sweetie," his mother, Lisa, called from the kitchen. She smiled at him, but her eyes were cautious, like she was expecting him to crumble into a million pieces any second.

Brendan despised that look.

"What?" he ground out, staring at Noah with raised eyebrows. He still couldn't quite comprehend how they'd been birthed from the same gene pool.

"We're getting new neighbors." He was mildly horrified when Noah erupted into sniggers. "Mom keeps talking about how one of them could be your girlfriend."

"Don't you remember that cute little Maple girl?" Lisa chimed in eagerly. She even paused in her obsessive scrubbing of the dishes to see his reaction. "Her family is moving back in next door! Norman is going to be the new Petalburg gym leader."

Brendan's clipboard dropped to the ground with a loud clang.

He never ended up getting that last bit of wurmple data that day.

Her moving truck pulled in next door at exactly 11:21 on a Tuesday morning. Not that Brendan was counting, or anything.

He stared through a crack in his blinds, shifting with anticipation as the front doors of the truck were opened. To his immense confusion, only a chubby driver with the moving company's logo on his hat and a middle-aged woman emerged.

A sharp talon jabbed into his shoulder, and Brendan scowled.

"Quit, Orion! I'm trying to rank how miserable this lunch is going to be on a scale of one to ten."

Thanks to his mother. "Honey, this'll be a great opportunity for you to make a new friend!" she'd pleaded, with such a hopeful expression that he couldn't really tell her that he had no desire to make a new friend, much less sit through lunch with a family of strangers.

So what if he'd been friends with this girl once upon a time. He was five, for Latias's sake, and that was before. Before, when things were still okay, and his life hadn't been turned so upside down that on some days it felt wrong for him even to smile.

When he didn't torture himself constantly with memories of Sirius's wagging bush of a tail as he begged for Pokechow, or of his soft pink tongue lapping at his face after they won an important battle together.

Of his blood staining the dirt and forever marring an inescapable hole into his trainer's heart.

Brendan shuddered, pushing away the memories. They floated to the edge of his subconscious, forever taunting him, but at least far enough away for a moment of peace.

"Blaziken," Orion said quietly, and his playful blue eyes dimmed. He poked Brendan again. "Blaze, blaze!"

"I'm not a creeper," he argued, despite the fact that he was still craning his neck against the window like a stalker. "I don't even see this May person."

As if on cue, the moving truck driver threw open the latch to the back of the vehicle. A vigoroth leapt from it, and Brendan could detect the powerful muscles rippling under its snowy fur even from his distance.

Finally, a slim brunette clambered out, half-tripping, half-sliding onto the grass beneath her sneakers. Her mouth was turned down in a frown, but her eyes sparkled an impossible shade of sapphire as she turned to inspect her new home.

Those eyes were so wide. So innocent.

Something about her reminded him sharply of the day, back when he was just an inexperienced ten year old, that he'd felt Orion's pokeball in his hand for the first time.

Scowling, Brendan snapped the blinds shut. "It's going to be a ten for sure."

You are a man, Brendan Birch, he coached himself later that day from his bathroom. His reflection stared back at him in the mirror, looking even more pale and unhappy than usual. A few giggles floated up the stairs, even through the closed door, and he saw himself cringe. He hated knowing that May and her mom were downstairs right that second, probably wondering where he was. You don't even have to talk to them. Just go down there and eat your stupid sandwich so your mom won't finally crack and kill you in your sleep.

He tugged on his shirt collar with dread. As a small act of rebellion, he'd kept on the same grass stained outfit he'd worn that morning for scouting wurmple nests, but unfortunately, it wasn't making him feel quite as smug as he would've liked.

Brendan hadn't always been this antisocial, not really. For as long as he could remember, he'd cared more about pokemon than meeting new people, but the past year or so had transformed him into a special kind of recluse.

Not that he would ever admit that out loud, of course.

Ready to just get the afternoon from hell over with, already, he slung back the bathroom door and turned towards the stairs. An unpleasant clamor rang out from the opposite direction, however, causing him to pause.

The door to his room was thrown wide open. He frowned. If Orion had come out of his pokeball to see how much he embarrassed himself again…

He set his shoulders and stomped into his room, not in the mood for antics.

It wasn't Orion.

A girl (May, no doubt) was sprawled out right across the carpet, her cheery, bright clothes standing out like a sore thumb amidst the darker tones of his room. Her thin arms were extended in an odd way, as if she'd made a dive to catch something.

He saw red when he noticed what exactly she was holding.

"What do you think you're doing?" Brendan snapped. His face twisted into a scowl.

May scrambled to her feet, flushing a vibrant pink all the way down her neck. A few strands of dusty brown hair had escaped her ponytail, framing her apologetic face in a way he probably would've found endearing (Or dare he say it, even cute) under any other circumstance.

Those stupid blue eyes of hers met his, flashing with a hundred different feelings of regret and humiliation at once. He hadn't known it was possible for one person to have that many emotions written so plainly across their face at the same time.

"Sorry. I fell," May blurted, as if that explained everything. She moved to hand the pokeball back to him. "Actually, I tripped over your backpack and almost broke my face, but-"

He snatched the ball out of her hand, not prepared to stand there and let her blabber on about whatever the heck she was getting at. No way was he letting her soften him up. No way. It wasn't as if it was his fault that she was a klutz.

"I meant what are you doing in my room, touching my stuff?"

Who did that, anyway? Oh, that's right. No one!

May flinched, and Brendan focused as hard as he could on just how infuriated he'd felt to see her with her hands all over his pokeball. "Your mom sent me up here to get you…" She blinked very rapidly, as if she couldn't quite process what was happening. Her voice had grown smaller when she finished with, "Lunch is ready."

Brendan shifted his gaze to a spot just over her head so he wouldn't have to look at that irritatingly blue color any longer. It didn't really help, so he turned his back on her to put Sirius's pokeball back where it belonged.

It hadn't been touched since the first day Brendan had come through the door without him by his side.

"Haven't you ever heard of knocking?" he asked. He made sure to make his tone sound as patronizing as possible to cover the sick lump that always welled in his throat when he was reminded too vividly of Sirius. The familiar feel of his pokeball between his fingers after so long was too much, and he wiped them on his shorts, as if that would banish the trace of him.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw May's stance shift into something more aggressive. A part of him felt relieved. Good. She hadn't noticed anything.

"You weren't in here to hear me knock in the first place!

"I was in the bathroom! Don't you know it's rude to barge into stranger's rooms?!"

Because, duh. If he'd been in her shoes, he'd have stayed as far away from her room as possible. It was common courtesy to stay out of another person's private space.

What kind of manners did people have in Johto, anyway?

"Don't you know it's rude to yell at your guest?" she yelled right back, which caught him a bit off guard. This was usually the part when the other person rolled their eyes and stalked off, done with him. Instead, May's hands flew to her hips, and her cheeks were puffed out in indignation. She looked ready to argue with him until her last breath.

He opened his mouth, about to ask her if she needed him to direct her to the proper definition of "rude", but he was unfortunately interrupted when Noah poked his head into the room.

"Hey guys, lunch is- oh."

It was hard for Brendan to really explain the surge of fury he'd felt upon seeing May with Sirius's pokeball in her grasp.

It was even harder for him to swallow the guilt he felt later that night, once he'd had time to cool off and contemplate what had happened. She was annoying, and way too curious, but for some infuriating reason, he was the one sulking out in the woods, remembering what an utter douchebag he'd been to her.

Brendan could honestly say that it wasn't because he wanted to make friends with her, because he really, really, didn't. He had enough people prying into his life as it was, and he much preferred the company of his pokemon.

"Troooo," Acumi, his tropius, hummed at him, brushing her moist nose across his forehead. Her shadow obscured his view of the stars, and he crossed his arms. The grass was starting to itch his back, but he was far from ready to go back home and hear his parents pestering him about apologizing to some girl, despite the fact that neither of them knew exactly what had happened.

The last thing he needed was his pokemon doing it, too.

"I told you what she did," Brendan said defensively. He avoided her dark gaze, instead glancing over towards Iris. "She was too nosy for her own good, snooping around in my stuff. You would've wanted to yell at her too!"

The shelgon nodded at him. She was the only one on his team who seemed to be on his side. Even Neptune, for all his capacity for nastiness, had given him that silent, unhappy stare after he'd mentioned what had happened earlier.

Logically, he knew that May probably hadn't meant to grab the pokeball, not really. But she had, and it had been the perfect trigger to set him off. And although the rest of the Maples' visit hadn't been nearly as explosive as his first run in with May, it hadn't been any less unpleasant.

They'd all gathered around the kitchen table, barely anyone saying a word apart from their moms. May had torn at her sandwich for a while, obviously disgusted with his behavior, but she kept her lips sealed regarding the whole thing. She had seemed almost as quiet and miserable as he did, actually.

Brendan sighed softly. He didn't have much of an idea of what kind of person she had become (Apart from annoying, of course), but she had been a good friend to him once, even if he was only five or six at the time. Plus, he hadn't forgotten why she moved away so long ago.

His brows furrowed, and he yanked his beanie off to run a hand through his midnight hair. It couldn't be easy, to be dragged from your home and back into the place where some creep had attacked you.

Acumi's gaze still bored into him.

"I'm not apologizing," he announced. But I'll try to be nicer to her next time, he added privately.

Acumi turned away, satisfied, and he could practically feel Orion grinning from where he sat a few feet away.

With a surge of annoyance, he tried to picture the graphs he was going to develop to demonstrate the difference in wurmple stingers. The growth rate would probably be increased exponentially in their first few weeks of life, and then… deep sapphire irises were swimming behind his vision, looking more annoying than ever.

"Stupid," Brendan hissed, running his hands over his face and resigning himself to the fact that he really wouldn't be getting much work done until he somehow showed May that hey, he wasn't such an awful human being after all.

Whatever. He still couldn't stand her. Obnoxious girl.

AN: Hey, I told you guys I wasn't dead! You can't get rid of me that easily. Anyway, this isn't anything spectacular, but I enjoyed writing it, and I hope those of you who like my take on Brendan enjoy it as well : 3 I know what everyone really wants is a TtS update, but I'm working towards more chapters. Also, I've been trying to update my Tumblr with more TtS stuff, so, check it out if you want the most recent information on what I'm doing. And please, feel free to ask me questions about the story or whatever you'd like on there. I love answering them.

Brendan's team:


Sirius- Mightyena, deceased

Neptune- Golduck

Knox- Dusknoir


Iris- Shelgon