Disclaimer: I don't own DCMK or Pokemon
Pairing: Mild KaiShin [Kaito x Shinichi]
Summary: What started as a simple errand for the Lucky Moon Amusement Park turns into a rescue mission and a chance encounter between a traveling magician and a budding historian.
A.N: This is another one of the stories I've had lying around for a while that I finally got around to finishing. V is partly responsible for spawning this as it began with a discussion we had about Pokemon.
Encounters Under a Lucky Moon
The stone glittered with soft rainbows on his palm. Closing his fingers around it, Kuroba Kaito held it up to the light spilling in through the small shop's large windows and watched the sunbeams dance inside its luminous depths.
"This one's the genuine article all right," he said, lowering the stone to the stone emporium's glass countertop.
"Of course it is," the jolly old man running the shop said with a note of pride in his voice. "This town's been mining evolution stones for generations. We know the real thing when we see it."
"I'll need a dozen. And a dozen dusk stones too, if you have them."
"Just wait here a moment. I'll go check how many we have in stock."
Kaito let his gaze wander around the little shop as the man disappeared into the back room behind the counter. It was quite a nice little shop—very clean and well-organized. Samples of stones of varying sizes, colors, and value were arranged across every shelf, each with its own neat label. But the pride of the collection was definitely the comprehensive selection of evolution stones tucked inside the glass counters. A bemused smile tugged at the corners of Kaito's lips. It was pure chance that he had stumbled across this tiny town, hidden away as it was in the foothills of Mt. Coronet. He certainly hadn't expected to find this treasure trove. Today certainly was a lucky day.
The shopkeeper returned with a sizeable bag. "You're in luck. I got 'em all right here."
He hefted it onto the counter, tugged open the drawstring top, and began counting out the glittering stones inside. A minute later, twelve dawn stones sat in a neat row above a corresponding row of dusk stones.
Kaito grinned. "Perfect. I'll take the lot."
"Right you are." The man replaced the stones in their bag. "Pardon me, but it's pretty rare for a trainer to buy evolution stones in bulk. Are they for a special occasion?"
Kaito laughed. "Sort of. I'm with Lucky Moon."
"The amusement park?"
"That's the one. So you've heard of us?"
The shopkeeper let out a hearty guffaw. "Have I ever! My grandson's been clamoring that he wants to go ever since they ran that feature on you guys on television."
"He's welcome any time," Kaito assured the man. "In fact, we're holding a special event for kids next month. I have some extra passes here, if you think he might be interested."
The man's face lit up. "Really? I'll have to speak to his parents about it, but I know he'd be ecstatic for the opportunity."
"Awesome. Here." With a flick of his wrist, Kaito produced a flyer and half a dozen tickets from thin air. He hid a grin at the shopkeeper's gasp of surprise and laid the lot on the countertop. "He can bring his friends too, if any of them are interested. If you have any questions or concerns about the event, just call the number on the flyer."
The shopkeeper beamed. Five minutes later, Kaito left the stone emporium with his purchases and an additional pair of ever stones, courtesy of the grateful shopkeeper. He hadn't been angling for free stuff or even a discount, but he wasn't going to turn down a gift. And it was truly satisfying to learn that his family's work had fans even here in the Sinnoh region.
"Word really does spread fast these days, doesn't it?" he remarked to the empty air just outside the shop as he paused to draw in a deep lungful of fresh mountain air. In the shadows at his feet, a pair of eyes opened followed by a grinning mouth. Then a piece of that shadow detached itself and darkened until it had become a black sphere hovering at the heart of a flickering haze of smoke and darkness.
The smiling Gastly bobbed around Kaito's head then disappeared into the cloth bag where the stones were being held. It reappeared a moment later, still grinning, though Kaito recognized this grin as approval.
"We got lucky," he told it. "That's one item we can mark off our to-do list. Now we just have to get Mom that snowrunt she wanted."
"Gas gastly~," the ghost Pokemon reminded him, spinning around in the air and briefly taking on the appearance of a white and blue circus tent then a spinning globe before reverting back into his natural shape.
Kaito laughed. "And reach out to see which cities might welcome the Lucky Moon Festival. Don't worry. I remember. But since we got this errand done so fast, I think we deserve to have a little R and R, don't you?"
Gastly mirrored his grin.
"Nurse Joy told me that the local ice cream parlor has its own special twist on a Rocky Road Sundae that's to die for. I think that sounds like a good place to start."
The ghost pokemon rolled around him in agreement, its eyes and mouth bouncing about its face like they were being stirred. Kaito laughed. Turning, he struck off back towards the heart of the town only to pause when his gastly froze in mid roll and bounced back upright. Then the ghost was soaring off into the trees to the side of the road.
"Oi, where are you going?" He jogged after it. Ducking under a low hanging branch, he skidded to a stop next to where Gastly was hovering.
"Gas gas," the pokemon exclaimed, bobbing up and down. Puzzled, Kaito pushed aside the screen of shrubs and drew in a sharp breath.
There was a growlithe lying in the underbrush. Its orange and black fur was matted with dirt and dust. Its pale crest and tail were all but brown with grime. What injuries that dirty coat was hiding, however, Kaito shuddered to think. Crouching, he reached out to hold his hand before the puppy pokemon's nose.
"It's breathing," he muttered. "Come on. We have to get it to the Pokemon Center."
Gastly bobbed in agreement. Its eyes flashed, and a faint blue glow surrounded the growlithe, levitating it out of the entangling shrubs.
"Careful," Kaito warned, sliding his arms under the fire pokemon to help guide the extraction. Once they had the puppy free, they set off towards the Pokemon Center at as close to a run as they could get without jarring the poor creature.
Though he had only been in town for two days, Kaito was already very familiar with the local Nurse Joy. She had been more than happy to let him put up his posters advertising the Lucky Moon amusement park, which featured ghost, psychic and dark-type pokemon, though she had expressed some doubt as to how helpful the posters would be here in her out of the way Pokemon Center. They didn't see many travelers, she'd told him, and she treated more wild pokemon than trainer-raised ones. Because she had new visitors so rarely, she loved asking the few she did see for new tales of the roads and other news. And so he had spent several hours on his first night in town just telling her of his recent travels and his work for Lucky Moon.
For all that she professed to see very little action, Joy was still a professional, and she knew immediately that the situation was serious when Kaito burst into the Pokemon Center with the injured growlithe. In no time at all, she had the pokemon on a gurney and rolled into the emergency room.
Knowing that the issue was out of his hands now, Kaito flopped into one of the chairs outside the emergency room with a sigh.
"Not exactly how I pictured the rest of this day going," he told Gastly. "But I am glad we were there. I'd hate to imagine what might have happened to the poor little guy if we hadn't been passing by. Good job spotting it, by the by."
Gastly hummed its agreement.
Since neither of them had any idea how long it would take for the growlithe's injuries to be treated, Kaito left Gastly in the waiting area so he could run up to their room and drop off his recent purchases. The lampent drifting near the corner of the ceiling floated down to greet him as he came into the room.
"I trust everything's been quiet?"
It chirped affirmatively, the blue flame inside its round, glass body flaring up in a happy burst before returning to normal.
He flashed it a thumbs up and tossed his new purchases onto the bed. "Good. These are those evolution stones Dad wanted. There's one in there for you too, when you feel like evolving. Anyway, a little trouble's come up, so I have to go. Keep an eye on things here until I get back."
The lamp pokemon chirped again and drifted back up to ceiling level, where it began to rock gently from side to side in a light doze.
When Kaito got downstairs, it was to find his gastly blowing smoke rings then rolling through them. He returned to his earlier seat and watched as the ghost blew out a series of seven rings of varying sizes before lazily bowling its spherical black body through all seven. Upon reaching the last, it 'discovered' that the final ring was a little too small. It examined the ring from the left then the right, from above and below, then made a show of squeezing through the ring until it popped out on the other side.
Kaito applauded. "That might be a routine worth adding to the kids show."
Grinning proudly, the pokemon tipped forward in a bow.
The light over the emergency room door blinked off. Then the doors themselves opened, and the growlithe was wheeled out on a recovery bed by the Pokemon Center's resident chansey. Nurse Joy emerged soon after. Kaito rose to meet her.
"How did it go?" he asked.
The redheaded woman smiled at him. "Growlithe will be fine. It was exhausted and dehydrated, but its only really serious injury was to its right forepaw. It'll have to stay off that for a few days, but then it should be good as new."
"I have to wonder how it ended up in such a state though," the nurse continued, shaking her head. "Do you know what happened?"
"Not a clue," Kaito admitted. "We just found it lying in the shrubs. Are there many aggressive or territorial pokemon around here?"
"Not really. Perhaps the poor dear got lost," the redhead mused. "We don't normally see wild growlithe up here. They're far more common down around Twinleaf Town."
Kaito frowned. That comment, innocuous as it was, unsettled him. After all, he had only assumed that the growlithe was wild. If it wasn't…
"Hey, Nurse Joy, do you remember when I got here yesterday morning, and you told me I should wait a few days before going any further into the mountains if I was planning to travel that way?"
The woman blinked, startled. "Oh, yes, of course. Does that mean you want those maps after all?"
"Maybe. But what I meant was, why did you tell me I should wait?"
"Well, we had a minor earthquake just a few hours before you arrived. We didn't feel it much around here, but they're often more pronounced higher up in the mountains. It's best to let things settle a bit in case of landslides."
As though on cue, they heard an alarmed "Chansey chan chansey!" in the distance. Both Kaito and the nurse were running before the cry had even faded. Skidding around a corner, they saw that the recovery bed was stopped in the middle of the hall because Chansey was desperately trying to keep its patient on the bed. With a mighty effort, the growlithe wiggled right out from under the much larger pokemon and leapt off the bed. It let out a yelp of pain as its bandaged paw hit the ground, but the discomfort didn't slow it at all. If anything, its blue eyes seemed to sharpen with renewed determination.
Chansey made another grab for its patient, but the puppy slipped past its short forearms and ran straight at Kaito and Nurse Joy, barking all the way. It dove between Kaito and the nurse, nearly bowling them both over. But rather than running on, it circled back to bark at them some more.
"You need to calm down," the nurse said soothingly as she crouched down to the puppy pokemon's eye level. "Please, that paw won't heal if you don't give it the rest it needs."
The fire pokemon whined. Turning, it ran a few steps in the direction of the lobby then came back again.
"Nurse Joy, I believe we need to follow it," Kaito cut in. "I'm just guessing here, but I think it might have been caught up in the mountains by the quake you told me about. The only logical reason for it to run itself ragged without food or water coming towards town would be if it needed to get help."
"Oh," the nurse gasped as understanding dawned. "Another young man did pass through here five or six days ago. I forgot since he only came in for five minutes to get a map of the local mountain trails. But I think I might have seen a growlithe waiting outside when he was here."
The growlithe let out an excited yip.
"That's gotta be him. Can you get me one of those maps too? Gastly and I'll go with growlithe."
The nurse looked worried. "Are you sure?"
He offered her his best reassuring smile. "Of course. We can't well sit by when someone's life is on the line. If the growlithe's condition was anything to go by, his trainer probably can't afford to wait much longer."
Nurse Joy visibly relaxed at both his smile and confident tone. "I'll go get the maps. But make sure you're careful. The land may still be unstable."
"Don't worry. I've got more than a few tricks up my sleeves for difficult terrain. You're talking to an experienced traveler here."
It was the nurse's turn to smile. "All right then. As for you." She turned stern eyes on the growlithe, who had finally calmed now that it was apparent the humans had gotten the message. "I know you want to help your friend, but you need to take care of that paw. You won't help anyone if you maim yourself because you pushed too hard. Keep your weight off it as much as possible, and take breaks if it starts to hurt even when there's no pressure on it. Is that understood?"
The puppy hastily bowed its head in submission. Satisfied, Nurse Joy hurried away to get Kaito one of the copies of the local maps that the Center offered to needy travelers. When she returned, she also had with her a hefty backpack filled with tools, food, and medical supplies. Thus armed, the little rescue party set out.
There were, Kudo Shinichi mused in those brief moments when his mind was clear enough to string coherent thoughts together, many things he should probably have done differently. First and foremost, he really should have told someone where he was going. If he'd done that then someone might have noticed or at least considered the idea that he might have been caught up in the earthquake. He could also have accepted his friend Sonoko's invitation to join her and his other friend Mouri Ran at her family's new resort in Galar. If he'd done that, it would have been another two weeks at the least before he came to Sinnoh. He would thus have avoided being in the middle of things when the earthquake struck. He could even have made the decision not to enter the mountain tunnels when he found that fragment of stone outside that appeared to bear part of an ancient inscription. He could have chosen instead to mark the place out on his maps and taken the stone fragment to a lab for further analysis so that he could be sure it wasn't just a funny rock. But failing all that, he could have left the tunnels when he noticed the zubat and other cave pokemon beating their own hasty retreats to places unknown. But he had been too excited at the prospect of being the first to discover a new portion of the many ruins said to riddle Mt. Coronet.
So alas, he hadn't done any of that, and thus here he was.
He couldn't move. Every time he tried, a sharp pain would lance through whichever limb it was he had attempted to move and sparks would fill his vision. He wanted to cough, but he forced himself not to because he knew that the moment he started coughing, he might not be able to stop in the rock dust rich air of the collapsed tunnel. And the pain in his chest was already growing worse. Coughing would only aggravate it.
He was almost certain that he had broken ribs. Maybe even a broken leg. He just hoped that that was all that was broken.
He wished he knew what had happened to Luxray. He couldn't see it anywhere through the gloom. All he knew was that it had tried to push him out of the way when the ceiling had caved in. When he allowed his thoughts to go that way, he was terrified that it had been completely buried under the rubble. If it was under there… He shuddered and tried not to gag, guilt twisting his insides.
He couldn't actually feel either of his legs down there under the rubble. So there he lay, drifting in and out of consciousness, fighting off the urge to cough and straining his ears for the sound of Growlithe's return.
Instead, there was now a gastly making faces at him. It had drifted down out of the darkness of the caverns overhead and stuck its tongue out. It had proceeded to lick its face clean of facial features only to begin juggling its eyeballs with its tongue. He silently wished that it would stop. The sight was making him nauseous, but it was also kind of hard to stop watching.
Mesmerized by the ghost pokemon's rather disturbing display, it was a while before Shinichi realized that the caverns around him seemed to be growing brighter. He was beginning to be able to see further up along the walls. There seemed to be a warm, golden glow in the caves with him, growing ever closer by the second.
The realization heralded the sound of an unfamiliar voice.
"Just bear with it," the male voice was saying. "We did promise the good nurse you'd stay off that paw after all."
There was an answering yip.
Shinichi's heart leapt. He recognized that yip.
A moment later, something orange and black drifted into view. It let out a happy bark at the sight of him, and Shinichi would have laughed if not for two things. One, his ribs still hurt, and two, he thought he had probably either passed out or started hallucinating.
Because there was no other reason to explain why his growlithe was floating over his head.
Growlithe barked again and paddled its feet as though trying to swim through the empty air. All it managed to do was to slowly pinwheel in place. It let out a frustrated growl and tried again to much the same results.
A moment later, Shinichi's field of vision was blocked by an upside down face. It was a young man probably around his own age, maybe a year or two older, with a mess of dark hair and sharp, indigo eyes. The stranger was grinning, though what he found so cheering, Shinichi had no idea.
"Glad to see you're awake," he said. "We were worried we'd be too late. My name is Kuroba Kaito, by the way. Just call me Kaito. Can you talk?"
Shinichi blinked slowly, decided he might actually not be dreaming, and did his best to shake his head even though the movement made the world spin.
"All right. Just hang in there while we see about clearing some of this rubble off you."
Kaito's face disappeared, leaving Shinichi once again watching the gastly, who had thankfully put its eyeballs back on its face where they belonged. And next to it, still floating, was his now very disgruntled growlithe.
"All right Growlithe," he heard Kaito say. "I'll have Umbreon put you down now if you promise to sit still."
The puppy's ears drooped, but it nodded. A moment later, it was drifting down and out of sight. A few seconds later, Shinichi felt a warm, furry presence settle down next to him. That reassuring warmth brought tears to his eyes for a medley of reasons and emotions ranging from relief at this sudden reprieve and grief for what had almost been and could still be lost.
Politely pretending not to notice the emotional moment that the unfortunate traveler was experiencing, Kaito paced back and forth before the caved in section of the cavernous tunnels then beckoned to Gastly. "I need you to check out exactly how all these pieces are distributed so we can figure out how best to move it."
A raspy noise made him look down to meet a pair of blue eyes that glimmered almost jewel-like in the glow from Umbreon's rings. Curious, Kaito crouched down closer to the other boy.
"What was that?" he asked softly.
Shinichi tried again, forcing a whisper past a sandpaper throat and cracked lips. "Luxray."
"Under the rubble?" Kaito guessed. Shinichi's wince was all the answer he needed. He straightened. This was getting more complicated by the second. "Gastly?"
The ghost pokemon phased out of the rubble heap. "Gas?"
"There should be a luxray somewhere around here too."
Gastly bobbed in understanding and disappeared again through the stones. When it returned a few minutes later, it began contorting itself into a series of bizarre, geometric shapes shot through with fissures and webbed in varying shades of gray. The sight was even more disorienting than the eyeball juggling had been, and Shinichi found himself closing his eyes as he fought back another wave of nausea.
From what sounded like a long way away, he heard Kaito discussing the structure of the cave in with his gastly and his umbreon and planning how to rearrange the debris as they dug in order to prevent a second collapse. Whoever this Kaito person was, Shinichi thought distantly, he certainly knew a lot about physics and construction. Then his world faded into darkness.
Progress was slow, but, through the careful application of Gastly and Umbreon's psychic abilities and his own ingenuity, Kaito eventually had the rubble of the cave in rearranged in a way that allowed him to pull the injured boy free. Doing the same for the unconscious luxray that Gastly had located took even longer, but fortunately the lynx pokemon had been caught in a relatively stable pocket under the debris and not simply crushed. It had woken up halfway through the extraction and panicked, forcing Kaito to order his gastly to put it to sleep with hypnosis. But eventually both the unlucky traveler and his luxray were free.
The next few hours and a large portion of the supplies provided by Nurse Joy were spent performing basic first aid on the two's many injuries. By the time they had finished, they were all exhausted, but Kaito knew they should get back outside before they thought about resting. The last thing they needed was to be caught here by another quake when they were all weary from a long day's work. It was too bad he hadn't brought a pokemon who could teleport with him on this trip.
"Sorry, I know this is going to hurt, but bear with it," Kaito murmured to the semiconscious boy as he carefully lifted him into a bridal carry. The boy was alarmingly light, Kaito thought. "Okay guys, let's go."
So, with Gastly and Umbreon levitating Luxray and Growlithe respectively and Kaito carrying their human friend, the rescue party made its slow way back through the mountain's twisting tunnels. None of them breathed easily until they stepped out beneath the open sky. Kaito was mildly surprised to see the sun rising in the east. They had gone underground late in the afternoon on the previous day. That meant they had been in the caves all night.
Locating a sizeable clearing not far from the tunnel entrance where a small spring bubbled out from between two massive boulders, they set up a camp. The mountain air was crisp, but their clearing was largely sheltered from the wind, so, once Growlithe had helped them light a fire, they were comfortable enough to take a quick nap.
Three hours later, Kaito was up again, grateful that he'd never needed much sleep. He poured a can of condensed soup into the collapsible pot from his pack and set it to heating over the fire. Then he woke the injured boy and coaxed some water down his throat. The boy mumbled something incoherent after three gulps before passing out again. Knowing that someone who'd been deprived of food and water for so long needed to take things slowly, Kaito left him to his slumber and turned his attention to the luxray. The large feline managed to down a sitrus berry and some water before drifting off as well.
The next time Shinichi became truly aware, he was startled to see blue sky overhead. But then the memories came rushing back, and he shuddered.
A shadow fell over him. "Ah, you're awake. How do you feel?"
"Better," Shinichi rasped, realizing that it was true. He was still aching all over, but the nausea and headache were gone.
"Well, you'll be glad to know that your luxray will be fine. I'd say it's doing better than you are."
Shinichi managed a weak smile at that. "Thank you."
"No problem. Do you think you can stomach more stew?"
The question caused Shinichi's stomach to growl loudly, and he blushed. "I—I can try."
Kaito chuckled. "No need to be embarrassed. To be honest, I'd be more worried if you weren't hungry. Here."
He moved to fetch a bowl of soup then helped Shinichi into a sitting position. Now that he was upright, he could see that Growlithe was curled up into a furry, orange and black ball less than a foot away from him. Across the fire, Luxray too was fast asleep. The sight loosened the tight knot that had been stuck in Shinichi's chest since the earthquake's first tremors had shaken the tunnel floor beneath his feet.
Kaito sat down behind him so that Shinichi could lean against him then handed him the bowl and spoon. "Let me know if you need help."
The soup was nothing special, but it tasted like the best dish in the world to Shinichi at that moment. It also seemed strangely familiar. He supposed he must have already been fed some earlier. He did have vague recollections of being told to drink things between even vaguer dreams of endless, dark tunnels and the dull roar of mountains breaking apart.
"I never got your name," Kaito said as he refilled Shinichi's bowl. "Care to share?"
"Well, Shinichi, we need to get you examined by a medical professional as soon as possible, but I don't want to risk you breaking your neck on the way down these mountains after we finally got you out of that cave in. Thanks to the lovely Nurse Joy, we have enough in the way of rations to stay here a day or two before we absolutely have to head back. So, unless you have any objections, I was thinking we should wait at least until tomorrow morning before we break camp. Would that be all right with you?"
Shinichi nodded. Nausea or no nausea, he knew he was still too weak to stand up right now without help, forget hiking down the often steep trails that had gotten him up here.
"So what were you doing in the mountains anyway?" Kaito asked much later as they sat around the campfire. Shinichi could sit up without help now, something they all took as a good sign. He sat with one hand resting on Growlithe's warm back as the puppy leaned happily against him.
"There are a lot of ruins in these mountains. A new site was uncovered just last month. I was on my way there, but I sort of got sidetracked."
Kaito blinked, surprised. "So are you an archeologist then?"
"Sort of, I guess. I'm putting together a book on legends from all the different regions. I've been tracing their origins and examining how they influenced the civilizations they came from. When I can, I try to verify which parts of the legends are actually true and what they really mean."
Kaito whistled. "That sounds amazing."
Shinichi blushed. "Oh. Um, thanks." He wasn't used to hearing such honest praise from other people in his own generation. Most others his age were more interested in pokemon battles and other such more, well, active and competitive things. But Shinichi had always been fascinated by mysteries. "What about you?"
"I've been running errands for Lucky Moon. We needed to replenish our stock of dusk and dawn stones, and we've been thinking of holding a few festivals here in Sinnoh."
"Wait, are you related to the magician Kuroba Toichi?"
Kaito grinned. "Yep. He's my dad. Have you met him?"
"Well, no," Shinichi admitted. "But my mom took lessons from him when she started her acting career."
"An actress, eh? Kudo… Ah, Kudo Yukiko, right? The actress from Goldenrod." When Shinichi nodded, he laughed. "Wow, this really is a small world, isn't it?"
Shinichi smiled ruefully. "It certainly is. I have a friend who's a huge fan of you and your father. She's going to freak out when she finds out that I've met you." And here Sonoko had always been extra vocal about how boring she thought his work was. "She was planning a big trip to your amusement park, but then she heard you'd taken a leave of absence and changed her mind."
Kaito smirked. "I'm flattered. I'll be in charge of organizing our festivals here in Sinnoh once we get the locations worked out. You and your friends are more than welcome to attend."
"I'm sure she'd be delighted."
"And what about you?" Kaito prodded, leaning forward slightly. He was amused when Shinichi turned pink. The boy blushed rather easily. It was cute. "Aren't you interested in magic?"
"Er, well, I mean, it's just…" Shinichi stammered.
Kaito gave him a knowing look. "I'm sensing a skeptic here."
Shinichi's blush darkened. This was the guy who'd just saved his life after all. "I'm not saying it can't be interesting when it's well done," he hastened to explain.
"Ooh, a challenge." Kaito grinned. "Now you have to come to one of my shows. I insist."
Shinichi blinked at him. "…Huh?"
"I'm going to teach you to believe in magic."
Shinichi let out an involuntary snort that turned into an undignified shriek when the campfire suddenly exploded upward in an icy blue torrent. Behind him, Luxray jerked its head up off its forepaws and blinked sleepily around while Growlithe leapt straight up into the air with a yelp. In a torrent of purple smoke, Gastly rose out of the flames, its gaseous body expanding rapidly until its face all but filled the sky. It let out a howl of eerie laughter that echoed all around the clearing.
Then, just as abruptly as it had appeared, it vanished, leaving a wide-eyed Shinichi staring at the empty sky, heart still pounding from shock.
On the other side of the fire, Kaito had to fight hard to suppress a laugh. "Sorry about that," he said into the silence. "Ghost pokemon tend to like their pranks. You didn't hurt yourself there, did you?" he added, expression growing concerned.
"I'm okay," Shinichi insisted, though he was more shaken by the gastly's sudden and dramatic display than he cared to admit. "That was just…unexpected."
Kaito studied his face intently for a long moment before apparently deciding that he was telling the truth. "So how about you tell me a bit more about the legends you've been researching?"
Kudo Shinichi was, Kaito reflected, a rather unusual sort. Though actually a year younger than Kaito, he behaved like someone twice their age. He had an excellent memory, much like Kaito himself, and an incredible talent for solving puzzles—something Kaito had discovered when he had decided to perform a few tricks only to have Shinichi deduce how all but the last was done (and Kaito may have cheated a little on that last trick by using a little something he'd learned from his father's Alakazam). He also knew an insane amount of lore and history (including all the little details that typically put students to sleep) and could gush like a five year old over his favorite books. Yet he knew almost nothing about popular bands or the latest movies for all that his mother was a movie star. It was really quite peculiar.
Kaito liked peculiar.
He would like to get to know Shinichi better, he decided.
The bathroom door opened, and Shinichi emerged dressed in fresh clothes that Kaito had lent him. Shinichi had lost all his supplies in the cave in, though he said he was just grateful that the notebook where he'd been recording his findings had been inside his jacket. Kaito's clothes hung rather loosely off of Shinichi's smaller frame in a manner that Kaito found rather adorable despite the cast on his left leg.
"Hey, you said you were going to stop by that new dig site then head up to Snowpoint to study the lake guardian legends up there, right?" Kaito asked, rising to help Shinichi to a chair.
Kaito beamed. "Perfect. Then we can travel together."
Shinichi blinked up at him. "Together?"
"I'm headed to Snowpoint too. Mom wants me to catch her a female snowrunt. Since we're headed the same way, we might as well travel together. It'll be fun. So? How about it?"
"Well, if you really want to, I guess I wouldn't mind… But the doctor said I won't be able to travel for another week or two at the earliest."
"That's all right. I've got plenty of time. You can help me perfect some of the new routines I wanted to try while we wait. And I can tell you some of the myths and legends I've heard in my travels. I've been tracking down and catching ghost, dark, and psychic pokemon for Lucky Moon for seven years now, and let me tell you, nothing spawns myths and legends the way they do."
Shinichi let out a startled laugh, though he stopped quickly as his ribs (not broken but definitely cracked, the doctor had said) complained. "I'm sure you're right."
His journey, Shinichi mused, seemed like it was about to get a lot more lively. He'd mostly traveled alone before this, but, over the last few days, he'd found himself coming to enjoy the eccentric magician's company. Although, he thought with some trepidation as he watched Kaito and his gastly grin identical, evil grins, he suspected that hectic might be a better word for what lay ahead if those faces were anything to judge by.
A.N: And that's it! Thanks for reading I hope you enjoyed it. Take care!