This is an Original Trainer One-Shot (or you can consider it a short story) and it's rated PG. I realize it's written in an uncommon POV and tense, but please don't let it drive you away before you read it and find out for yourself.
You have no idea how appreciative I'll be for any critique/thoughts/opinions, etc. for this fic. It's a totally new style that I've never tried, and I'd like to know if it's successful or not. Please note this is a character centered piece, even if it doesn't seem so much so at first. ^_^
The Ties that Bind
by: Saffire Persian
~They say that Time will eventually heal all wounds; but people tend to forget the deep, everlasting scars it leaves~
The noise the crowd is making in the stands is almost deafening. You turn your head to glance at rows of avid fans, smiling for a moment – but only for a moment – before you turn back to meet your opponent’s gaze. Again, you can’t help but marvel at the fact that you’re here, you’re finally here! Through the blood and sweat and constant toil, you have finally made it to the final battle that will ultimately determine who will be the next Champion.
The journey to get here has been difficult, but it has been worth every bead of sweat and sleepless night. Even the Elite Four were just another obstacle in life's road -- just another roadblock you had to overcome. And here you are now: one last stop before that dream is realized, perhaps becoming reality.
Because right now (you feel as if you are in a waking dream, and you hope to never wake up) you are facing off against the current Champion in a battle that has, as of yet, not been disappointing. After a spectacular double knockout you are both down to your final Pokémon. The sixth and the last. You are tied, and you know that even if you lose, you will not be disappointed. In your hand, the pokéball that contains your last contender – your final hope and light – is clutched, waiting to be summoned. He is the first Pokémon you ever received; you have been with each other since the beginning. He's trustworthy and loyal; you know he’ll never let you down. He never has.
The Champion, out of courtesy, is going first, though it doesn’t really matter who goes first now. The red and white ball flies through the air, erupting in a flash of white light. Out of the light, a giant verdant creature appears, a giant flower spread across her back, while a long, steady grin emerges on her long face as she stamps the ground in challenge. You smile and fancy you can feel it tremble.
The Venusaur doesn’t daunt you – very few things in battle do now. You’ve seen just about everything. You only grin and, tapping the center of the pokéball once, you throw it out into the battleground. In a bright flash of evanescent white, a draconic figure emerges. Tough and vibrant, with a long, flamed-tipped tail that is lit and flickering, the Charizard surveys the crowd; it takes him a moment to react. He looks back at you first, with an obvious tinge of amusement in his black eyes, then to the giant Venusaur in front of him. He snorts as if this battle is nothing (though you both know equally well that is anything but nothing), and with a loud roar, he sends a long thread of dark flame into the sky: his battle cry.
The Champion gestures for you to make the first move, and you take it.
He roars once before bolting up into the blue noonday sky, wings spread wide, each flap taking him higher and higher, until his body is finally in front of the sun, so it’s harder for the opponents below to see him.
The Champion is not a Champion for nothing; he does not hesitate. "Solar Beam."
Nor do you. "When the Venusaur uses Solar Beam, dodge it and dive."
He prepares for it, his wings slanting in expectation, and you know he’s ready to dodge. Moments later, the Venusaur releases the beam of concentrated light, and then he dives, evading the Solar Beam by mere inches. He is forced to continue his downward course as the Venusaur moves to direct the Solar Beam to the left, trying to score a hit before the energy runs out.
The beam begins to fade into nothing more than a few harmless yellow waves. And your Charizard, heartened by this, picks up speed, bellowing in challenge. The Venusaur is too slow and large to even try to evade the attack, and hasn’t yet had time to regain her breath.
Sharp, pointed claws rake across the Venusaur’s tough skin and fragile foliage, leaving deep scratch marks and ripped pieces of leaf and petal in their wake. Your Charizard then cranes his neck as he flies past and spits out a small Flamethrower for good measure. You hear him grunt in satisfaction as the Venusaur cries out in pain, her roar as deep as an earthen drum. Your Charizard begins to ascend, so he does not see the thick vine that emerges from the Venusaur’s body until it is too late.
With a harsh crack, the tough vine wraps around your Charizard’s ankle like a whip, and with a tough, vengeful jerk she brings the Charizard back to her own level – face-first. It’s the Venusaur’s turn to grunt in satisfaction as your Charizard struggles to rise. He is too close to the Venusaur for your own liking, now only a foot away from the green behemoth, the vine still securely wrapped around his leg.
A plethora of vines then burst out from all around the Venusaur’s body (how it’s even possible she has that many is an amazement to you) just as your Charizard picks himself up. You know you have to fend them off before it gets worse. Some of them are already beginning to curl around the lower half of the dragon’s body.
The quick attack is spit out – the tiny, blackened shards of fire fending off the rest of the green appendages for now. The Champion sees this, and he meets your eyes. You know what he is going to do without trying. You would do the same in his place.
But you are going to try to stop it. “Flamethrower!”
A thick cloud of yellow, paralyzing powder is sent forth in a giant cloud that surrounds both Pokémon. So thick is it, you can barely see your fire-type through the haze (it then strikes you how desperate the Venusaur must be to conjure up such a copious amount).
The Stun Spore is already beginning to disperse into the air, and now you can see enough of your companion’s body to watch him raise his head, open his lethal jaws, and inhale deeply –
But he stops in mid-breath, and you can hear a raspy sort of sputter come from him. The paralysis must be taking hold. Meanwhile, the Venusaur seizes her chance. Green appendages hiss as they cut through the air. They are all around him now: his arms, his legs, his torso… some are even curling about his neck, preparing to constrict and strangle.
(You face flushes in anger at this, and a bunch of expletives cross your mind, but you do not say them. You also think the move the Champion is using is low, but the referees say nothing about it, so you say nothing, but your mind is raging… But you will take care of that later. What matters is the here and now: you cannot let the Venusaur continue. )
You call out to your Pokémon by name (not his species name, but the true name you gave in Viridian Forest, when you and he first became acquainted). You know he hears you, and you cry out, voice desperate and pleading. You cannot allow the paralysis to take hold just yet. You can’t.
“Flamethrower! Please! You have to use it!”
He hears your desperation – you know he does. The lungful of air he had taken in previously is released along with a torrent of white-hot fire. Nothing is held back. The flame washes over skin and plant like a giant tide, burning away many of the vines that cross the Flamethrower’s path towards the Venusaur’s face, where it hits with all the possible fury the Charizard can muster – and he does not stop there. The fire flows out of the dragon’s throat until he can exhale no more and the smell of burned flesh mingles with the smokey, spore filled air.
The Venusaur is still standing. The vines that have not been severely burned still hold tight around their quarry. The Venusaur is weary but alive, and it's only then you notice the she was channeling the sun’s rays into energy meant to heal and restore, though in this case it merely kept her conscious with enough energy to carry on.
You curse aloud, watching as your Charizard succumbs to the paralysis, body twitching as he tries to move his limbs but can’t. He can’t fight off the vines that now are twisting around his neck in order to stop him from breathing fire.
The audience has hushed. No longer do you hear the excited screams and cheers for both sides. Only silence. And out of the silence, you hear the Champion speak, his eyes glimmering like ice while his tone is just as cold.
“Hold him down. Use Solar Beam. Don’t
The vines constrict, but that is not what you are most worried about
: it is the flower upon the Venusaur’s back that you are most concerned over. Already the center of the flower is filling with the sun’s rays, glowing with a horrid white-yellow light. The going is slow, thankfully. You can see the grass-type is straining to gather each essential bit of energy for the final attack that will, if it’s not stopped, bring about the end of the match – the end of your dream.
(And you don’t intend to let your dream go so quickly. Not after you have come this far.)
The only way to win is to stop the attack from charging, and fast. The Venusaur can’t hold out for much longer. Another strong attack might be enough to knock the beast out for the count. First, though, you have to get your Charizard to move. You know some of the bonds that hold him are fragile, weakened by fire’s burning touch.
(Don’t give in without a fight.)
Taking a deep breath, you shout out his name again and you can see him strain his head to look at you; his pupils are constricted, like a cat’s. Your eyes meet his ruby ones and you nod your head, only once.
True fire might not be an option now, but you can still settle for the next best thing.
“Dragon Claw!” you shout. “Finish it!"
With agonizing slowness, your Charizard begins to strain against his bonds. One of his claws is now surrounded by a pale green nimbus, and the vines wrapped around it recoil, loosening, while he strives against the bonds that hold him. (They are not strong enough to push him away.) Then, mustering the last of his strength, your Charizard strikes.
Green flames dance over the surprised plant-type, setting the already burned foliage alight with dragon-fire, while merciless claws dig into the already burned, tender skin in a last desperate attempt to snatch victory out of the claws of chance.
Then, as soon as it began, the attack is over. The Venusaur is swaying while your Charizard doesn’t move from his upright position.
Vines loosen. The Venusaur teeters dangerously on her feet until she can keep herself conscious no longer and slumps onto the arena floor and moves no more. The vines fall away and your Charizard is given room to breathe. A few seconds of respite are all you’re given before the referee is forced to give judgment. The noise of the crowd erupts anew, drowning out the sound of the referee’s voice. But what has just happened is clear: you are the new Champion.
Another few seconds go by before you fully comprehend what has just happened. But when it does, it hits you like a brick. Your heart shoots up in your chest, and you think for a moment it just might leap out as the euphoria swells deep within you. Only the feelings of self-consciousness keep you from jumping up and down in your trainer box – that and the fact your Charizard still hasn’t moved.
You find it strange that he isn’t up beside you. He may be paralyzed, but that hasn’t stopped him before. You notice his tail flame is low – dangerously low, and though he may be on his feet, he hasn’t moved, not even to shrug off the limp pieces of vine that have not fallen off his body.
It is then you first know something is wrong.
The noise of the crowd lessens while the sound of your own heartbeat magnifies a hundredfold. You stare, eyes concerned. You call out his name to see if he’ll respond.
He only turns his head to stare at you, his muzzle open wide like he is breathing hard... but he isn’t. His eyes roll, and to your horror, he collapses. Even as he’s falling, you run out of the trainer box, knowing, just knowing, something is wrong. A thousand different thoughts flutter through your mind in one spontaneous instant.
Don’t let anything be wrong.
It can’t go wrong.
It’s not right, it’s not fair.
He’s just fainted, that’s all. Nothing more.
You’re kneeling at his side now, silently saying his name over and over. He doesn’t respond to your pleas, and your heartbeat quickens. He’s always
You suddenly notice that he’s not breathing. There’s no reassuring rise and fall of his chest, no wispy smoke billowing out of his nose as he exhales.
You panic, and everything suddenly becomes a blur.
(Figures are melded; red is blue and green is black; noises sound fuzzy and distant, distorted like a Screech had just disrupted your whole system; voices sound garbled, mixed around like words in a paper shredder.)
You are barely aware that the stand-by medic has noticed your distress until two Machoke flit in front of your eyes, lifting a prone body of a Charizard onto a large stretcher. Your Charizard. They lift the stretcher effortlessly, leaving you behind to watch them go farther and farther away.
Suddenly, your emotions kick in. “Wait!” you scream. Well, you try to, but no words come. It’s as though your voice is gone, coming out as nothing more than a pitiful squeak.