Re: The Human Species (PG-13)
“YIKES AND GAZOOT!” Lucario screamed as he flew out of his bag, making Zerobi look at him with a curious face.
“Damn it, my back…!” he whined and turned around, making her catch a glimpse of the poison thorns from earlier, still stuck in him.
“Told ya” she said smugly as she got up and walked over to him, “You ready for an extraction?”
“… Don't kid around, It’s much too dark for that!” he groaned while futilely trying to locate and pull out the stingers himself, “I’d like to spend the night in a sleeping bag, not a body bag…”
“I can see fine in the darkness” Zerobi said quietly.
“I said no! This is insane!” Lucario responded loudly, “Gouging them out is not going to help at all!”
“Actually, I was planning on using my claws as pincers…” Zerobi said as she held up her claws in front of her.
“Pincers…” Lucario whispered to himself as a faint memory resurfaced. He was looking at his finger, doing his best to claw out the painful splinter lodged within. Suddenly, a pair of sharp objects appear above the wound. He tries to twist his hand away, but something is preventing him! In an instant, the pain flares up before vanishing altogether, a tiny object caught between the two…
“… Alright” Lucario muttered as he laid down on the sleeping bag on his stomach, “I’m placing my back in your hands… Literally.”
"About time!" Zerobi replied cheerfully, leaping up and crashing down on Lucario's pants, making him jump slightly in terror.
"Are you crazy!? Don't just sit down on them!" Lucario yelled, trying to look at the creature both above and behind him.
"They're on your back, not backside…" Zerobi muttered before quickly looking at her current seat and shuddering a bit, "… I hope…"
Looking down at his back, she noticed that several spikes were sticking out among the large hairs growing out of his torso. Zerobi used her hands to lightly brush aside some of the hair on the back, just to make sure where the fur stopped and hair began. Instead she was met by a sight far more horrifying than she had expected.
“… Scars… ” Zerobi whispered as she stared at the misshapen body beneath her. Even though no hair was growing out of these parts, the large gashes across his back had been all but invisible until now, hidden under the yellow fur.
"… What!?" Lucario shouted, oblivious to what she was referring to, "Those thorns were lodged in that deep!?" The scars were closed now, but she was certain that no one could just forget wounds that massive. Simply looking at them brought her back some unpleasant memories from her time in Cerulean City.
“No, I mean… I’m not a doctor, but these look old” Zerobi mumbled as she winced, “… Man, they look painful, too…!”
“You mean to tell me you're NOT a doctor?" Lucario chipped sarcastically, "You… At least you've done something like this before, right?”
“As if! One little slip and blood'll…” she said before stopping herself, “… I mean, just don’t move around too much.”
“Uh, you know, maybe I could just sleep on my stomach…” Lucario whispered frightfully, “… Actually, that’s a great idea! Let's do that!"
“Are you sure about that?” Zerobi asked with an unusually calm tone, “I’ve already extracted six of them.”
“… Really?” Lucario replied hopefully as relief washed over him, “Whoa! I didn’t feel a thing! You’re good at this!”
“Yeah, I know…” Zerobi snickered, “I’m lying.” Instantly she grabbed the first of the thorns and pulled it out, making Lucario yelp in surprise.
“ARGH!” Lucario shouted as he once again tried to turn around and look at her, “Damn you! That’s SO not cool!”
“What?” Zerobi asked with a sinister smile, “Is it too much for the little crybaby?”
“… Just get it over with” Lucario mumbled. The pain of having it pulled out had been bad, but nothing compared to his battles against Suicune, Raikou or the aura that lay dormant within him.
As he lay there, he realized that so far trying to use the aura had ended up in a catastrophe each time. He knew that if he wanted to learn how to use it, he would have to try something different. The female Lucario from earlier popped into his mind and he thought about asking her for pointers, though a more pressing matter suddenly came upon him…
"… You still believe me, right?" Lucario asked after a while, "That I'm human and that Rukario wasn't my wife?"
“Well, the way you treat women I doubt you could ever land a sh…” Zerobi started before suddenly converting her snide remark into an explanation, “… That was a shiny Lucario back there, you know.”
“Oh… Uh…” Lucario mumbled as while closing his eyes, “If you compared her to what she looked like in that picture, she was actually a bit meager.”
“Shiny is a term used to describe Pokémon with different colors than what’s usual” Zerobi explained, mentally telling herself to do that right away the next time so that she wouldn't have to listen to his nonsensical replies.
“Oh…" Lucario mumbled again, "So it’s like racism?”
“Ra… Huh?” Zerobi asked with a confused tone, before remembering her earlier plans, “Anyway, they’re extremely rare and constantly sought after by trainers. The fact that she even showed herself… Well, let’s just say she’s going to be heckled unless she quickly hides again.”
“… So IT IS like racism!” Lucario continued as a particularly painful thorn was pulled out in the middle of the sentence, “She and that Cyon were some kind of inter-racial couple, then?”
“Now I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about” Zerobi groaned, “Just… Forget about it. Also, I'm done.”
"… Oh?" Lucario mumbled for a third time, "… Why aren't you getting off me, then?"
"… Alright, you got me" Zerobi said with a mischievous smile as she pulled out the final spike, making Lucario twitch, "NOW it's done!"
"DAMN YOU!" Lucario shouted in fury, "Why you gotta do that!?"
"Because you were so stubborn, and wouldn't let me help you unless I practically begged" Zerobi said with annoyance as she lectured him, "Don't be so stubborn, or there'll be hell to pay in the future."
"Fine… I don't know what you're expecting, but you've made your point" Lucario replied as he wiggled around a bit while trying to get up, "Speaking of butt, would you mind separating yours from mine?"
"I don't know, I kind of like it here" Zerobi snickered as she leaned back and tried getting comfortable, "You wanna sleep together?"
"… Great, I get the spikes replaced with a Siamese twin…" Lucario muttered to himself before slowly rising up, making Zerobi fall off him. She landed on her back as Lucario walked over to his sleeping bag and picked it up.
“… But really, you seemed reluctant back there” Zerobi said as she got up and walked back to her own sleeping bag, “She was so kind! What kind of girl do you like, anyway?”
“Human” Lucario said bluntly as he uncurled the sleeping bag, and in a quick, fluent motion slipped into it. He sighed of relief as his back hit the soft underside of it. Even though it still hurt, it was nothing compared to earlier.
“Hmm… Figures” Zerobi replied as she also decided to lie down, lying down on top of her own sleeping bag.
"You aren't going to crawl into it?" Lucario asked while turning his head in her direction, "It feels damn good, you know!"
"That will be much too hot for someone like me" "I tried telling you this, but you just HAD to buy two sleeping bags…"
"Weirdo…" Lucario mumbled as he leaned his head back on the pillow and looked up at the heavens. It was fairly cloudy, but nothing that could completely cover up the infinite blackness of the sky that peered at them.
“… Pokémon don’t get married, you know” Zerobi suddenly whispered.
“… Huh? Where’d that come from?” Lucario asked in a whispering tone as well.
“She said she was your wife” Zerobi said, “I’ve never heard a Pokémon call themselves that. It’s strictly a human thing.”
“And me knowing this is going to save our lives in the near future… How?” Lucario asked while sitting up and looking over at Zerobi, who was busy staring up into the sky.
“Hey, I’m trying to solve the mystery here!” Zerobi replied with a short snicker, “Help out a little, will ya?”
“There’s no mystery” Lucario sighed as he lay down on his back again, “Listen, the last thing I want is psychotherapy that’ll convince me that I’m a stinkin’ Pokémon. Show me a way to turn back, or forget about it.”
“Even so…” Zerobi said slowly, “You’ve yet to tell me anything of what it’s like being human…”
“We’ve been kind of buys not dying, remember?” Lucario chuckled, “I’ll tell you now. What do you want to know?”
“Well…” Zerobi mumbled as she thought, “Anything, I guess. You’re the only creature that has been both human and Pokémon, what’s different?”
“I eat berries for sustenance” Lucario responded bluntly, “And I’m talking to something not human.”
“… That’s it?” Zerobi asked with disappointment in her voice.
“I’m still human within, so mentally I was never a Pokémon” Lucario said.
“Come on!” Zerobi exclaimed loudly, “You’ve met with Pokémon and talked to them! There must be something!”
“There is, but… How do I explain…” Lucario sighed as he thought very hard of a way to explain what was on his mind, “… Like… What do you see when you look up at the sky right now?”
“… Clouds…” Zerobi mumbled an answer, “The moon… Stars…”
“Heh…” Lucario smiled, “All I see are gigantic rocks and balls of fire, swirling around in a great big void.”
"… Huh?" Zerobi exclaimed, not understanding him at all.
“See it like this - We are both less than a dot on a speck of a planet in a tiny little solar system in the edges of a galaxy, that there are millions of” Lucario explained in a depressing tone before lightening up, "But we're not worthless! Every time we close our eyes in a blink, we give birth to new life in the form of cells, only to kill them off the moment our eyes open.”
"… Whoa…" Zerobi whispered to herself, "Deep."
“That means that depending on our perspective, we are both an almighty god...” Lucario continued, “… And barely even nothingness.”
"So that's how a human thinks, eh?" Zerobi said quietly, somewhat disappointed in his answer, "Alright, something less… Existential… What did you look like as a human?"
"This is going to sound weird coming from a canine" Lucario chuckled, "But I was actually pretty ugly."
"That's… An unexpected answer" Zerobi replied, again feeling disappointed, "Feel free to lie, it's not like I can prove you wrong."
"Nah, that's just the way things were" Lucario kept going, "Constant fighting does that to you."
"Huh… Funny to think that someone so handsome was once…" Zerobi started but suddenly trailed off after realizing what she had just said, "… Uh, human!"
"Handsome?" Lucario said with an uninterested tone, "I can't tell… And I really don't care, either."
"You don't care?" Zerobi asked with surprise in her voice, "… Really? Not even a little?"
"I'm a freak, either way" Lucario mumbled and wished he could shrug more naturally when lying down, "To any human, at least… I don't think I'd be real popular as the dog-man with no job, money or viable future."
"Alright…" Zerobi mumbled as she was getting tired of all the boring answers, "I'm done. Goodnight."
"Aw, come on! Ask me something more!" Lucario said excitedly.
"… We'll have plenty of time tomorrow…" Zerobi yawned while closing her eyes.
"Talking like this is fun!" Lucario exclaimed, "What, you're immune to fun?"
"Go ahead. Talk to yourself" Zerobi muttered as she turned around, facing him with her back.
"… Fine" Lucario said as he closed his eyes as well, "Just know that out of all the odd things I've met since I got here… You're the best."
Zerobi felt a bit insulted at being called an 'odd thing', but nevertheless fell asleep not long after that. Lucario's head was still spinning with all the new information it had taken in, and his blood was rushing from the battles earlier in the day. All of it finally collided in him, as exhaustion kicked in and he was instantly overtaken by sleep…