No One Special
LDR: Umm...yeah. I should probably be posting a chapter of Unova's Downfall, cause I really do owe the next one, but my muse hates me. So this is a thing instead. Call it a celebration of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon coming out this month? Who's excited for that, by the way? Definitely me!
Alright, let's get the disclaimer out of the way. This applies to the entire story. I don't own Pokemon (if I did, Team Rocket would be ruling everything by now, let's face it). The only things I do own are my ideas and my characters.
Hau'oli City. A bright, bustling place. Its people might have their ups and downs, but they overall led happy lives. Most of them anyway. Like every city, Hau'oli City had its slums. In these slums, curled up at the back of a narrow, dead-end alleyway, was a teenage girl. Malnutrition shrunk her sunburnt skin so it clung to her bones. Tangled and filthy dark hair draped over her body like a blanket. Beside her was a slightly less starved Rockruff. He was awake, staring at his unconscious companion, watching the weak rise and fall of her chest. It was very, very gradually growing fainter. He had to do something.
It took an enormous amount of effort, but the Rockruff managed to lift his head and force out a weak, rasping bark. The sound echoed in the alley, bouncing back and forth off the walls and being amplified so that the sound that actually exited the alley was louder than the one that had initially been made. But it faded into silence. The canine whimpered, then barked again. This time there was an answer. A silhouette appeared at the alleyway's entrance, a female voice calling out a name. Another silhouette appeared behind the first, and the two moved towards the unconscious girl and the Pokemon. Rockruff's tail twitched against the pavement, wagging slightly as one of the people picked up the girl and the other person picked him up. He relaxed in their arms, having fulfilled his duty, and drifted off to sleep.
Empty wrappers and dirty bowls and plates littered the floor around the bed where Kalama sat, her back against the wall and her Rockruff curled up in her lap. She reached for the small pile of cheap snacks that had been laid beside her, tearing open a bag of chips. She crunched through its contents, her strange yellow eyes fixed on the Pokemon in her lap. Over a week had passed since she'd been picked up by the notorious Team Skull, a week that had been spent resting and eating, recovering from nearly starving to death. Or so she'd been told. Her memory of the last couple weeks was hazy at best. This was, apparently, the first time after her arrival that she'd been awake and actually lucid. Which was probably why she had the visitors that she did. They'd introduced themselves as Guzma, the boss of the gang, and Plumeria, his second in command, so Kalama was feeling understandably intimidated.
She peeked their way, looking through a curtain of her dark hair. Someone had washed and brushed it while she was out of it. That act of kindness didn't at all fit with what she'd heard about these people. "How'd I get here? Where is here?" she finally asked, breaking the silence that had blanketed the room.
"You're in Po Town, on Ula'ula Island."
"Ula'ula Island?" She stared at Guzma, until motion from her lap drew her gaze downward. She had jolted in surprise at the reveal of her location, and in doing so had accidentally jolted Rockruff awake. The Pokémon yawned, looked up at her, and wagged his tail. She grabbed a granola bar from the snack pile, tore off the wrapper, and broke the bar into pieces to feed to him. Watching Rockruff eat, she felt a sharp pain in her stomach and grabbed another snack for herself, wolfing it down. Then she looked back to Guzma and Plumeria, the latter waiting much more patiently than the former. "But Hau'oli City ain't on Ula'ula Island. It's on Melemele Island. Why'd I get taken here?"
"Po Town's our base of operations." Plumeria had answered that time.
"Then why were you in Hau'oli City?"
"Recruiting," Plumeria replied. "Looking for people like you. Lucky you've got that Rockruff or I wouldn't have found you. Heard him barking."
So Rockruff had saved her. Normally this would be the point that Kalama gave him all the cuddles and pets he could want and told him what a good boy he was, but Rockruff's solution to their plight had been to let Team Skull take her. "So what're you gonna do with me?" These were the leaders of a notorious gang of thugs. There were so many awful things that could happen to her now that they had her. Did they want to ransom her? Would they kill her and dump her body into a ditch when they found out she had no family to pay a ransom? Were they into trafficking?
Guzma came closer, reaching towards her. Kalama closed her eyes and hugged Rockruff, pressing herself back against the wall. Sensing her distress, Rockruff wiggled out of her arms and growled a warning. A hand came down on her head. Surprisingly gently. She peeked up at the man through one open eye. "We're gonna get you a uniform."
"You're scaring her, Guzma. Back off."
He snorted but stepped back. Kalama relaxed a little bit, staring at both of them, baffled. "Gonna what?"
"You wanna go back to starving in Hau'oli City?" Guzma demanded. Kalama shook her head. "Right. That's what Team Skull is for. Plumeria and I, we take care of kids like you who don't got a place to go."
"You ain't gonna hurt me?"
"Hurt ya? The Distortion World kinda people you think we are, kid?"
Uh-oh. He sounded kind of angry. She grabbed Rockruff, hugging the Pokémon close again. "W-Well...it's a gang, ain't it?"
"It's a family. Big, crazy family full of troubled kids," Plumeria cut in. "So yeah, sometimes we do things the public doesn't like. But they make us out to be worse than we are."
"Well why you want me to be in it? I ain't no one special."
"You were all curled up in an alley, dying of hunger, when I found you." Plumeria's hands went to her hips as she gave Kalama a hard stare. "You obviously got no home, no family, no way to get food. We're trying to give you all of that. You want it or not?"
"Yeah, I want it. But you're just gonna give it to me? Or you want me to do something for it?"
"Just gonna give it to you. Too many kids in Alola that got no family, or no good family, or are just troubled. Team Skull's supposed to help them. Give them what they need."
Kalama went silent, thinking about that. These people were a lot nicer than she'd expected. Were they really this nice though? Maybe they were fooling her. Then she thought about the pile of food on the bed beside her, the way that someone had taken care of her hair while she was out of it, how gently Guzma had patted her head. Well...Rockruff seemed at ease. "Okay. Ain't like I got someplace to go to. I'll join." Anything had to be better than starving on the streets.
There was an excited muttering from the other side of the closed door. Guzma yanked it open. It swung inward, and three people fell into the room with it. Guzma scowled at them. "What've I told you little shits about sneaking around?"
Looking undaunted, one of the three jumped to his feet, swiping a chocolate bar from the floor where he'd just been laying. "Luka said how she came in almost dead. We got her something to help her feel better. Heard she was finally awake."
Kalama was barely listening, her gaze directed towards something behind the trio. With the way her bed was placed, she could see out into the hall. When the door had been opened, she'd caught sight of someone with blond hair quickly slipping around the corner. He had glanced over his shoulder, meeting her gaze with one green eye, the other being covered by his bangs. Then he was gone. She looked down at Rockruff, fondling one of his ears. The chocolate bar landed on the bed in front of her and she took her attention away from the happy canine, watching Guzma usher the three strangers out the door. Then he followed them. "Get her settled, Plumeria." The door closed.
"What's your name?"
"Wanna talk about how you ended up alone?"
Kalama looked down at Rockruff again. "Just...got no family. Mom died when I was born. My Dad had a bad leg, so he couldn't walk to work. Had to drive. But we were poor, so our car was real old. Brakes barely worked. One day, he was coming home. Brakes failed, and the car crashed. He didn't survive. I had no other family to go to and I ain't going into a foster home. So me and Rockruff, we tried to make do. But I couldn't get a job, and food was hard to get." She reached for the chocolate bar, unwrapping it and taking a bite. "I thought maybe Tapu Koko would show up. Help me out somehow. I'd always worshipped the Tapus like everyone else. Went to every festival in Iki Town to honor Tapu Koko, even if I didn't feel good. Me and Rockruff, we even won battles a few times. Tapu Koko never came. Why ain't our guardians looking out for us?"
Plumeria frowned. "There's a lot of people here who coulda used help from the Tapus but got jack shit." She gestured towards Rockruff. "Got a Pokeball for him? I couldn't find one when I picked you up."
"Dad said no wasting money on something like a Pokeball. Ain't ever needed one for Rockruff anyway. He was a stray that I started feeding, and he's stuck around since."
"You're gonna have to get a Pokeball for him. I'll get one for you. Don't worry, you don't have to keep him in it all the time. But you've gotta have one. You're gonna need a uniform too. Think you're strong enough to walk around?"
"Maybe." Kalama gently pushed Rockruff off her lap, then pulled the sheet to the side to free her legs. She swung them over the side of the bed, bare feet meeting the floor, and carefully stood up. She took a hesitant step. Then another. She had only made it halfway across the room when her legs gave out. Luckily, Plumeria was there to catch her before she hit the floor.
"Get back in bed," she commanded, helping the teen move back towards the bed. As she did, she tugged back first the back of Kalama's shirt collar, then the waistband of her jeans, checking the size tags. "You stay here and rest. I'll come back with a uniform and a Pokeball."
"Okay." Kalama collapsed back onto the bed. Rockruff, looking concerned, snuggled up to her and began to lick her face. She scratched his rump, watching as Plumeria left. This time when the door opened, the hallway was empty. Once the door closed and she heard footsteps fade into silence, she looked at Rockruff. "Hope you know what you're doing. You're the one that led them to me. If this ain't good, I'm blaming you," she muttered. He yipped, and she smiled, reaching for another snack from the pile. She wasn't sure why, but she had a feeling her life was going to be better from this point on. She still wasn't sure what to make of Team Skull, but at least now she had a roof over her head, a bed to sleep in, and food to eat. And, she supposed, people to talk to.
And really, after knowing what it was like to have none of that, she couldn't be more grateful to have it all. Maybe being in a gang would turn out to be a lot of fun. The people didn't seem bad at all, so far. Some complete strangers had even went and gotten her a chocolate bar to help her feel better. "Our lives are gonna be a lot different from now on, Rockruff," she whispered, kissing the Pokemon's head and smiling.
LDR: Right. There's the first chapter. Soo...not much to say here. Oh, this will be a SYOC story. That's a submit your own character story for anyone who doesn't know. The submission form will be up in the second chapter. If it isn't there it's because submissions are closed.
Oh, hold on. So I'm a firm believer that the Pokemon world is entirely separate from Earth, so religion is obviously gonna be a bit different, yeah? Now I'm not a particularly religious person, so there won't really be much religion brought up in this fic, but there will be some parallels between Pokemon religion and Christianity. Such as Arceus = God, the Distortion World = Hell, etc. Now I'm not saying that Arceus is the same as God, or that the Distortion World is the same as Hell. But if someone says something along the lines of "For the love of Arceus" or "What the Distortion World" it would be like someone from our world saying "For the love of God" or "What the Hell". I know Christianity has no relation to Pokémon whatsoever but it's what I'm most familiar with so it's what I'm using.
Well, I hope everyone enjoyed the start. Drop a review. It would be appreciated. LDR out!