Shocking New Bonds
He was so close.
Cool waters splashed behind him, singing softly as every gruelling step pierced through his battered body; he continued to inch closer to his destination. The heat of the evening sun continued to bombard him right through his white t-shirt, stained brown with dirt; the relentless ball of gas desperately tried to crush his unyielding will to move on.
"Can't...give...up..." A dry, detached voice repeated. His very soul screamed for mercy as he made another fateful step, breaking the barrier between spongy sand to sun-burnt concrete. His wavering head now turning slightly to the left, lifeless eyes managed to barely make out the text that were scratched onto a wooden sign that tilted out of a large stone.
Cole's dry lips cracked upwards in triumph, his goal nearly in reach. He coughed roughly before he continued on, his aching arms continuing to grip onto the collars of his fallen comrades. They had made it this far, he could not let them down.
"I can see...a light...Latios?...I-Is that you?" A faint voice murmured from below him.
"Stay away from the light!" Cole croaked, pushing further through the streets of the bustling city. "We're almost-" Elisa and Noah in hand, the staggering man huffed and puffed as onlookers stopped their own activities and gaped at the scene before them; one man dragging a young boy and woman slowly through the streets of Mauville towards their salvation, the Pokemon Centre, fighting all odds. You could not make this stuff up.
It had been another depressing two days on the slow river leading to Mauville, the winds unwilling to cooperate with the broken trio to push them forward. With not even a crumb to bite, the three had struggled desperately to eat any rations they found along the riverbank; be it lost berries that fell into the river to...well whatever looked like food.
"We will.." Cole panted tiredly, another gasp for air as he pulled both bodies at once, dust kicking up from the strong force. All of their Pokemon finished, they had battled Trainers continuously; they were like pests, spotting their ship on the river and mercilessly sending out their Pokemon, to the protest of the three.
But it was not in vain.
"We will eat tonight!" Cole cried, another push forward. The money they had racked in from the battles would finally pay off. They would never go hungry again.
One of the bystanders who managed to finally break out of his trance, stepped forward onto the street, leaning towards Cole and his live baggage. He hesitated, clearing his throat before raising one hand helpfully. "Um..Excuse me. Do you need some he-"
All of the residents of the Mauville district screamed in fear as an ominous bellow erupted from the travellers. The deafening roar, surprisingly to the residents, came from the trio's stomachs. The growl for food literally vibrating the air around them as they remained silent, on the verge of collapse.
"W-What are they? !" A woman cried, running into her home and slamming the door shut.
"G-G-Groudon! It must be here to take me for my sins of littering this year! Ahhh!" A man shrieked, dashing in the opposite direction of Cole's shuffling steps.
The defeated Trainer could only pant in exhaustion as he finally stopped and managed to tilt his head up. Tousled black hair that now stuck to his forehead from hot sweat, he easily recognized the familiar red roof that welcomed anyone. Be they weak, strong or especially tired from a famished journey.
"P-Pokemon...Centre!" Cole savoured the words that slipped from his lips as he pushed forward, tears brimming above the dark rings under his eyes.
A pink-haired woman meekly squeezed onto a clipboard in her hands, baby blue eyes wide with concern as she gawked at her latest 'guests'. "I-I'm glad that everyone is okay!" Nurse Joy announced with a shaky laugh as she inched away from Cole, Elisa and Noah who were all tearing through their meals, bowls stacking up one by one.
"...Yourfe...the...besf..Mmm...Joy!" Noah managed to spit out as he shot up from his bowl of fried rice with a bright smile. The group of three were in the main hall of the Pokemon Centre. All of their Pokemon were spread around them at the round table, chowing down happily along with their Trainers as Nurse Joy fiddled with her clipboard.
"Y-You're very welcome!" Nurse Joy replied, a bead of sweat running down her forehead. "Um...We have one more room for two...I think you will be taking that room tonight then?" She suggested, seeing that no one else would be coming tonight, the sweaty traveller's stench alone from not showering for over a week repelled any other Trainers that entered.
"Yes please!" Elisa chipped in, grains of rice sticking to her puffed out cheeks.
The Pokemon Nurse could only laugh nervously before cautiously placing a key onto the table, as if not to get caught in the blur of movement that was occurring in front of her. "O-Okay then! You're Pokemon are fully healed-H-Have a good night!" She quickly ended the conversation, moving with an inhumanly fast pace towards her front desk.
As the trio continued to eat without a care in the world Elisa glanced up, finally filled on fried rice and vegetables that they had mercilessly devoured from the Pokemon Centre's kitchen. Cole and Noah were eating happily as well but it was the expression on Cole's face, their saviour over the past few days, that made her blink repeatedly with curiosity.
He actually looked...happy for once.
'He better be happy,' She pouted slightly, smooth fingers tightened around the bowl's rim. 'We wouldn't have been this hungry if he didn't burn the food!' She glared at him now, however she was unaware that her hazel eyes were starting to wander along his face. Messy charcoal hair crowning his appearance roughly, Cole's chopsticks continuously moved back and forth between the Trainer's mouth and shaking bowl. Glazed hazel eyes then traced over the Trainer's moistened lips for a few seconds before rising above his firm jawline towards his eyes.
'...But he did do everything for us...again.' Elisa realized as she tried to glare harder. Even though she was still angry with him, those icy feelings melted helplessly in light of those deep chocolate eyes that were bright with satisfaction, unwillingly sending her into a daydream that she did not want to wake from.
'I guess...He's kinda cute...' She shyly confessed to herself; she had lost track of her very reason for staring but she gazed at this new side of him in silence. She was beginning to realize that it was hard to stay mad at him.
As the young man happily slammed down another empty bowl, a number rivalling only Noah's inhuman record of 30, Cole glanced at Elisa, feeling a sudden presence. He slowly raised an eyebrow as the young woman suddenly blinked in confusion before awkwardly taking in a sharp breath and snapping her attention back down to her empty bowl, hands shaking nervously.
'She's still mad...' Cole sighed before shaking his head lightly in protest. 'Why should I even care?...I was just trying to make her stronger.' Annoyance laced within his thoughts, he turned to grab another bowl from Noah, to his dismay, before digging in once again.
As the sun bid its farewell for the day, splashing golden rays down onto the bright lights of Mauville City, Cole and the rest of the group sighed in satisfaction along with their Pokemon. Their appetites finally conquered as a relieved Nurse Joy and Chansey wiped tears from eachother's eyes.
Slapping his now massive stomach with glee, Noah knocked his head back in the wooden chair with a loud sigh. "Oh man, that was the best!" He moaned.
"We won't have to eat for a week!" Elisa laughed at her friend's antics before turning to Cole, her thoughts turning back to their journey. "Cole, we're only going to be stay-"
She blinked, noticing the thoughtful expression on the young man's face as he gazed over Noah towards the entrance of the Pokemon Centre. "Huh? What's the matter?" Peeking in Cole's direction, she noticed a large figure at the doorway. It was a man, elderly in body but young in mind as he stepped into the hall, laughing heartily. His brown pilot's jacket snugly fit around his large stomach, he moved in a jolly manner towards the front desk where Nurse Joy was smiling at him.
"Wahahahaa! Evening Joy!" Voice bellowing rich with sugar, his hands slammed onto the front desk with a thud. Nurse Joy nodded with a greeting before giggling softly. "Would you be so kind to heal some of these Pokemon for me?" He asked, dark eyes shut to complete his joyous smile.
"Absolutely Wattson! Please wait here!" Nurse Joy smiled, taking a handful of Poke balls from the Electric Gym Leader before placing them onto a silver trey and heading towards the back room.
Cole and Noah stared at the joyous old man as he turned around. The Gym Leader's eyes went wide with surprise once he caught site of the group, blinking to make sure his old age did not deceive him before he finally decided to head over to them. His mouth made an 'O' shape once he peered closer towards Cole, who shifted back in disgust, closer to a confused Elisa.
"Cole?...Cole! That is you, my boy!" Wattson laughed, slapping the young man on his back who grunted in pain, food still unsettled. "Where have you been all these years? The last time I heard from you, you were just heading into the Hoenn League Championships!"
Noah and Elisa gasped in awe from the words while Cole narrowed his eyes in annoyance from the old man's booming voice. "It's good to see you too, Wattson." Cole replied dryly, quickly dodging another slap on the back.
Unfortunately, he was already too far off of his chair and slipped back, eyes wide with surprise.
"Cole!" Elisa gasped, reaching out for his hand, but could only be pulled along with him as they crashed to the cold floor with a loud thud. All of the Pokemon, along with Noah and Wattson could only slam their eyes shut as the two hurdled to the floor. They all blinked in unison once the table rattled to a halt.
"Ugh..." Elisa groaned as she opened her eyes, only to come face-to-face with Cole. Hazel eyes locked into bewildered deep brown, yet Elisa could only stare, mesmerized by the closeness of the man she had fallen onto. Feeling a sudden shift on her upper thigh, she slowly peeked back only to see Cole's hand placed, ever so convincingly, on her lower extremities. It was trembling slightly, daring to squeeze her in a place that did not see the light of day.
Elisa screeched, face flaring red with anger as she jumped upright with her hands on her backside. Cole's face matched her own before he averted his eyes from the woman's wrath. It was not like he touched anything...
"You fell on me!" He quickly snapped back before getting up while brushing himself off. Now combing through his messy black hair, Cole noticed the young woman's reddened cheeks and fearful, wide eyes that were still fixed on him. The young man quickly turned away from her, focusing on Wattson who was laughing hysterically alongside Noah.
"My my! Already at the age where you force yourself on girls?" Wattson smirked causing Noah to burst out into more laughter along with some of the older Pokemon while the younger ones blinked in confusion.
"Y-You..violated me!" Elisa cried, hushing the embarrassing words which surprisingly earned a guilt-filled look from Cole.
"What do you want!" Cole barked at a hysterical Wattson, hurriedly changing the subject as Elisa dropped in her seat with her face hidden behind trembling hands.
Wattson finally calmed down from his fit of laughter before facing Cole with a warm smile. "You were one of the few Trainers to really give me a run for my money back in the day. Wahahaha! Why don't you come by my Gym for a good rematch?" He patted Cole on the back.
"I.." Cole's voice trailed, quickly noticing Noah behind Wattson. The boy's aqua blue eyes seemed to dim from Wattson's proposal; Cole's own narrowed from the younger boy's sunken expression.
'Didn't he?' Cole questioned himself. Noah used to be a Trainer, but had changed his goal to becoming a sailor, or however Elisa originally explained it to him a couple of days ago. "I don't battle Gym Leaders anymore..." His voice was quiet as he looked away from the larger man.
"Oh...Is that so?" Wattson replied thoughtfully. Almost frowning, the Electric Gym Leader turned to Noah who jumped in response. "Ahh...I think I remember you too...You must be...Noah? From Dewford, correct?" Wattson grinned.
"Y-Yes." Noah managed to slip out, his face downcast. Cole continued to watch him as Wattson walked over to the young sailor and patted him on the back.
"Yes, I remember you! You came to my gym so many times! Wahahaha!" Wattson chuckled. Noah's expression did not seem to brighten from the joke as he continued to look down at the empty bowls in front of him. "Your Water Pokemon had a lot of trouble against me; you should come by for a rematch, I'm fully charged right now!" Wattson gave the boy a thumbs up. "My Pokemon have been looking for an easy victory!" He continued to laugh on behalf of Noah's failures.
Cole continued to gaze at the boy who suddenly seemed drained. The brat would usually argue right back if he got insulted, but he did nothing. Turning to Elisa who had now calmed down, she seemed saddened as she gazed at the sailor as well.
"Wattson's the reason he couldn't really continue his adventure." Elisa whispered to Cole once she noticed him, his eyes narrowed slightly. The young man did not know what rose within him next, but he turned forward.
"Wattson." Cole's voice was firm, catching the attention of Noah and the joyous Gym Leader.
"Let's have that rematch," Wattson's face lit up as he smiled brightly from Cole's challenge, "but I would like a double battle. Noah and I will battle you."
"What!" Noah gasped as Wattson smirked, looking down at the young boy.
"It's a good thing you have this good man here. Cole is one of the few Trainers I've met that knows how to battle." Wattson smiled at the boy before turning to Cole. "The Gym Leader is usually the one to make the rules. But since you're one of my favourite shocking Trainers; I'll make an exception just for you my boy! Come by when you're ready. Wahahaha!" And with that, Wattson flashed another smile before he walked towards Nurse Joy who had conveniently come from the back room, Poke balls in hand.
"But...He's really strong..." Noah muttered as the older male gazed at Wattson's retreating figure. Cole then turned to Noah, dark brown eyes reflecting a strange spark of determination.
"Don't give up on yourself because of one setback. Even if you don't want to become a Trainer..." he turned to his team of four. "You need to at least prove to your Pokemon that you won't run away from your problems."
Noah choked back words as Elisa's eyes widened from Cole's powerful statement. "My Pokemon?" The sailor turned to his team who all gave him a confident nod of approval. Wartortle, Carvanha and Wingull all hopped onto the boy, surprising him as he stared back at them in awe.
"Yes." Cole responded, his eyes locked on his own team. 'Nidoking and Shedinja...I'll get them back.' Dark brown eyes flickered from the ceiling lights before he finally turned to Noah. "We should get going, it looks like Wattson's ready."
"Y-Yeah!" Noah responded, his voice rising in confidence before returning his Pokemon and heading to the entrance.
Cole continued to gaze at the nervous sailor as he went through the automatic doors before turning back to his own team. "Who's good to go?" He asked, his voice rising with confidence.
Multiple grunts of pleasure were heard, to Cole's dismay, as Flygon, Houndoom and Lairon lay motionless on the floor. All were sighing in satisfaction from their meals, their stomachs bloated beyond maximum.
"I don't think they can even move..." Elisa muttered before giggling at Cole's annoyed glare. She then noticed one Pokemon floating above the other three; Solrock hummed quietly to itself, levitating above its teammates with its monotone drone. "Since Solrock doesn't eat foods, I guess you'll be using it, right?" She asked, looking back at the frustrated Trainer.
Cole sighed to himself, earning another snicker from Elisa before he returned his Pokemon. "At least I know Solrock can always come through when I need it..." Cole's taunting words hit dead on as Solrock seemed to be the only one that did not give their Trainer a sharp glare before the red light consumed them. Grabbing their things, the duo followed after Noah towards Mauville City Gym.
The loud hum of generators could be heard throughout four gym walls as Elisa sat down on a platform overlooking a battlefield where Cole and Noah would be taking on Wattson. Peering over the steel bars that separated her from the main floor, she softly squeezed onto a small creature in her arms.
"Watch carefully Riolu..." Elisa breathed into the small Pokemon's ear as Cole and Noah took their places. The Fighting type nodded softly, sensing a strong aura from the field below. It cried out softly, pointing to Cole which Elisa caught onto immediately.
"Yes...He wants to make you strong..." Her eyes twinkled softly before smiling. "We can't just sit back and always watch them fight...I know he cares for his Pokemon..." She stared thoughtfully towards the young man, "But I need to see if he will do the same for you too." Elisa confessed, her heart increasing in pace as a plump, but strong figure finally entered from the other side of the gym.
"It has been ages since I had a double battle! And with two Trainers? Wahahaha!" Wattson bellowed, his voice matching the volume of the generators. Cole and Noah stared at their opponent, unflinching as another man followed suit, flags in his hands as he took to the sidelines of the battlefield.
"Challengers! This will be a two-on-two battle between Mauville City Gym Leader, Wattson, and Trainers Noah Arlynd from Dewford Town and Cole from Lavaridge Town!" The referee announced, waving both yellow and blue flags into the air.
Elisa frowned to herself as she continued to hear the rules for the Pokemon Gym Match that would have both Cole and Noah use one Pokemon against two of Wattson's very own. "...Did he tell me his last name?" The young woman ended up blurting out as she looked down to Riolu. Thinking back, they had never really introduced themselves properly when they first met. Riolu however remained fixed on the battlefield, its large eyes focused on a certain messy haired Trainer.
Cole glanced over to his teammate for the battle who was shaking nervously, his knees buckling. The young man gave him a questioning look; this would be a great opportunity to test his skills. "Ready?"
"Yeah! Ready!" Noah shot up, his hand slapping his forehead in solute which only made Cole cringe in sympathy from the pain he must have been feeling.
"Let the battle begin!" The referee shouted, swinging both flags to the ground.
"Wahahaha! Manectric, Electabuzz!" Wattson laughed as he threw two Poke balls into the air. In a flash of bright light, a large dog-like and humanoid, yellow-furred Pokemon materialized onto the battlefield, eyeing their opponents along with a cry of their names.
"Solrock!" Cole ordered, throwing his Poke ball into the air to reveal a large sun-shaped Pokemon that levitated above the battlefield.
"Wartortle!" Noah cried out after, throwing a Poke ball that revealed a turtle-like Pokemon with a puffed-out white tail. Its dark eyes glinting with confidence far greater than its Trainer.
Cole looked over to Wartortle as it took a battle position along with Solrock. 'That must be his strongest Pokemon then.' He concluded before looking back towards his opponents. He smirked; it had been a very long time since he had a clean and honest battle.
"Cole, let me show you the strength of my new Pokemon! Electabuzz, Manectric, use Thunderbolt on Wartortle!" Wattson commanded as both Electric Pokemon flashed with bright light before sending two streaking bolts towards the only Water type in the arena.
Wartortle cringed, legs unmoving as the high-powered electric attack zipped towards it, desperately waiting for its Trainer's command.
"Use Light Screen to protect Wartortle!"
Noah gasped as a golden transparent wall materialized in front of his Pokemon. The dual Thunderbolt collided with a thunderous roar, sparks spraying to the side and onto the battlefield harmlessly as Wartortle stepped back in shock.
"I'll defend against Wattson's Electric attacks!" Cole yelled from his side of the field over the buzzing shriek of the electricity. "Now's your chance!"
Noah shook his head frantically, snapping himself out of his early jitters before finally pointing to the battlefield. "G-Got it! Wartortle, Water Gun on Electabuzz!" The Turtle Pokemon obeyed, jumping to the side of the Light Screen where both attacks were still locked onto before releasing a powerful stream of pressurized water towards the large humanoid Pokemon.
"Quick Attack, Manectric!" Wattson barked. Almost moving in an instant, Manectric stopped its own Thunderbolt and vanished from its spot on the field. Dust suddenly kicked up from the floor as the Electric type slammed into an unsuspecting Wartortle, sending it straight into Solrock.
"Warrr!" Both Pokemon cried out in pain as Wartortle's hard shell slammed into Solrock's face, sending the pair into the floor with a thud.
Cole could only curse as the defensive Light Screen disappeared, allowing a persistent bolt of electricity to finally zip towards its groggy targets. He did not need time to think, already knowing who was in the most danger.
"Psychic on Wartortle to send him behind you!" The stronger Pokemon of the duo obeyed, instantly glowing a dark purple before Wartortle was flung behind the Meteorite Pokemon. Solrock droned in pain as it was engulfed in a coat of yellow electricity, sparks encircling it while it struggled to maintain its levitation. "Come on, Noah!" Cole yelled towards the sailor who was desperately trying to think of another move.
"It seems like you two need to work on a little teamwork! Wahahahaha!" Wattson laughed as Electabuzz continued its attack. "Manectric join in on the fun! Use Thunderbolt on Solrock too!" Wattson ordered, pointing towards the struggling sun-shaped Pokemon.
"Noah you have to help him!" Elisa gasped from the sidelines as another bolt of electricity was sent flying towards Solrock's helpless form.
"Wartortle Ice Beam! Make a wall in front of Solrock!" Noah cried desperately. The Water type that was witnessing the onslaught from behind Solrock quickly jumped up into the air before sending a brilliant stream of white ice into the floor. Wattson jumped back as the powerful river of ice froze into the ground instantly, splitting the field in half with a glittering wall.
"That's some Ice Beam!" Wattson couldn't help but mutter as his Pokemon's attacks were negated; he was in slight awe by the wall that separated them from their opponents.
Noah slowly turned to Cole as Solrock shook off the Thunderbolt, sparks of electricity still randomly jetting out from its stone frame. "Shake it off Solrock!" Cole called out with confidence as his Pokemon hummed, recomposing itself.
"I-I'm sorry for getting in the way." Noah called towards Cole who was preoccupied with the battle. The older Trainer snapped towards Noah who jumped in response.
"Don't worry about that now!" Cole barked.
A tone so demanding, Noah yelped as his attention snapped back to his teammate. "Double Battles are all about teamwork! Let Solrock deal with the Electric attacks; that will give you the chance to strike back when they're open! Got it!" Sandstone eyes were rigid, emitting intensity with that of a true commander.
Noah could only nod as Cole turned back to the icy wall that separated their team from Wattson's own; scanning its frozen surface frantically, he anticipated another attack.
These battles...Dark brown eyes then glinted with a calculating coolness, a strategy quickly forming. 'I can't see through that ice wall...If it's the same on his side, he'll need to break through it to attack us. He won't stop his offence if he thinks that he has the advantage!' A smirk formed on his lips as Solrock moved towards the ice wall. These kind of battles...
He loved them.
During all of this electrifying action, Elisa stood on her heels from the balcony. Her hazel eyes brimming with a mix of concern and excitement. To her, Cole and Noah seemed to be in a desperate situation, the powerful Electric attacks of Manectric and Electabuzz appearing completely overwhelming for Solrock and deadly for Wartortle who stood, panting, behind the Meteorite Pokemon.
Focusing on Cole, she quickly noticed the excitement in the Trainer's youthful eyes, a confident smirk plastered over his features as he stood upright, a stance that almost begged to be a part of the battle itself.
'He's enjoying this...' Mouth open in awe with new found respect. '...Do all Trainer's really love Pokemon battles that much?' Elisa hugged onto Riolu who was beginning to squirm in its Trainer's arms, feelings of a warm touch of a woman pressed against it now shifting to heated anguish in a struggle to breath.
'He's been protecting Wartortle from the Electric attacks this whole time while sacrificing his own Pokemon to take the hits,' She released a breath she did not know that she was holding. 'He really cares about others...'
Wattson eyed the icy wall that blocked his vision from the other side of the field. The referee could only glance at his Gym Leader as he thought of a counter attack. "I hope this wall gave your Pokemon a breather because it's going down now! Wahahaha!" Wattson laughed as he pointed towards the frozen barrier. His dark eyes then glinted with excitement as he noticed a familiar floating image through the thickness of the ice.
"There you are!" Wattson pointed towards the suspected Solrock. "Electabuzz! Break through that wall with Thunderpunch! Knock it out!" Electabuzz cried out with its hysterical voice as it charged towards the blurred image.
Cole smirked to himself once an explosion of ice rocketed from the frozen wall, Electabuzz roaring loudly along with the piercing crack of shattered ice shards.
"Double Team!" Solrock multiplied itself in an instant, blurred images spreading the length of the icy wall to Electabuzz's surprise as its fist connected with nothing but a blurred substitute.
Cole quickly turned to Noah who already knew what to do. "Water Gun!" Before Electabuzz could protect itself, a piercing jet of water slammed into the Electric type's frame, sending it into the ice wall as it screeched in pain.
"What the!" Wattson could only gasp in shock as his Pokemon broke out through a new hole from the ice wall, forcefully pushed back by a jet of water before finally slamming into Manectric, sending both into the far concrete wall behind him. "They were waiting for us?" Wattson gasped before a small smile broke his lips, "Excellent strategy Cole, but let's turn up the watts!"
"Manectric, Discharge!" Wattson's deep voice boomed.
Cole and Noah gasped as the wall instantly shattered, bolts of golden electricity zipping across the ground, hitting every Solrock fake, before erupting below Solrock and Wartortle. The two Pokemon cried out in pain as an explosion ripped across their side of the field, sending them back to their Trainers with a thud.
"It hits both Pokemon!" Noah cried out in shock as Wartortle struggled to get back up from the ground. "Those attacks are too strong!" His heart racing, haunting memories were resurfacing of his past battles with this charged up old man.
"Electabuzz, let's go with Thunderpunch one more time!" Electabuzz roared with anger as it jumped into the air, fist crackling with electricity before brutally striking Solrock who was still shaking off the previous attack.
"Solllll!" The Meteorite Pokemon screeched as an electrifying fist connected directly, sending it into the ground before splitting the floor with a sickening crack. Cole's fist clenched as Electabuzz and Manectric jumped back onto their side of the field, panting with anticipation of victory.
'Damn! We need to hit back hard!' Cole's jaw clenched as Solrock slowly rose from the ground, droning in pain while Wartortle panted heavily beside it, on the brink of collapse. One more hit and Wartortle would be out of it.
Suddenly, panicked brown eyes rekindled. 'There's still a way!' He pointed to his Pokemon.
"Solrock, Skill Swap!"
Wattson smirked confidently as the Meteorite Pokemon began to glow an ominous pink, orbs of light encircling its battered frame. "You'll only be giving me the advantage if you switch abilities with my Pokemon! Wahah-" His trademark laugh was cut short once Cole suddenly pointed to his target; the Pokemon was definitely not one of his own.
Wattson, Elisa, and Noah all gasped in blatant shock; no one predicted that target as orbs of pink light suddenly radiated around Wartortle's weakened body and shot towards Solrock. The orbs spun around the two Pokemon in a blur as Cole did not take his eyes off the brilliant exchange.
"Electabuzz, Thunderpunch!" Wattson cried as his Pokemon's fist crackled with yellow sparks.
"B-But why?" Noah stuttered as his Starter Pokemon began to float from the ground, its eyes wide with shock at the turn of events. Solrock then dropped to the ground with a heavy thud, the floor cracking under the sudden weight as the sprinting Electabuzz eyed the change of abilities. 'He's not really going to-'
Cole's voice roared throughout the gym walls as everyone gasped along with Wattson's Pokemon that were stunned with what would come next. A rippling wave of rock and debris suddenly erupted from beneath Solrock, the ground trembling as it expanded in a wave-like motion towards Electabuzz and Manectric.
"Noooo!" Wattson cried as he covered his face from the onslaught of the attack that engulfed the arena. Crumbling of concrete resonated throughout the building as the entire gym shook with fright as an explosion of heavy debris cloaked both sides of the field, the ceiling lights flickering repeatedly from the ferocious super-effective attack.
"Cole used Solrock's ability to save Wartortle from his own attack!" Forcefully remembering the Rock/Psychic type's ability that she learned from the young man, Elisa's jaw dropped as she gripped onto the steel railings for support from the powerful magnitude of Solrock's Earthquake; the entire gym was shaking and groaning tremendously as if in agony while everyone dropped to the ground for protection. The fact that Cole managed to hit both Electric Pokemon at once was amazing to her, but to be able to ensure the safety of his own teammate with such a cunning strategy blew her mind away.
"He's beyond any ordinary Trainer!" She cried with amazement as Riolu waved its arms around frantically, surprisingly enjoying the sway of the balcony in which it viewed as something fun.
"Such power!" As the ferocious shaking of the gym slowed to a halt, Wattson could only gape at the scene in front of him. The entire gym was in disarray, as if someone had personally flipped the floor to their liking, spikes of rock and concrete jetted out from the floor as his Pokemon were laying on the ground, groaning in agony. Electabuzz was motionless, swirls in its eyes as it was on its back, raised slightly from the ground on a broken slab of concrete.
Wattson's bewildered eyes then flickered towards Noah's floating Wartortle, not one scratch from the Earthquake on it as it continued to gape at the ruptured battlefield. Cole's Solrock was on the destroyed floors, barely levitating as well. Surprisingly, his Manectric, however was panting tiredly as it struggled to get back to its feet, some fight left in him. Wattson bit his lip with worry as his Pokemon boldly stood up for one more attack.
"Manectric, Bite that Solrock!" Wattson's ace obeyed, fangs baring a dark shine as it suddenly bolted towards a Solrock that was barely able to regain its balance.
Cole held his breath as he looked on in surprise, Manectric still had some fight left in it. "Solrock-"
"Use Protect in front of Solrock!"
Cole's eyes widened with shock once a glimmering white shell suddenly floated in front of Solrock's sunken frame. Manectric snarled in anger as it bounced off the white shell, sliding back across the broken rubble of the dusty field as it panted heavily with exhaustion.
"Finish it with Water Gun!" Noah commanded, confidence rising as Wartortle popped out of its shell.
"Triiic!" Wattson could only drop back in shock as a highly pressurized jet of water slammed into his Pokemon, sending it right by him into the gym walls with a splashing thud. Manectric dropped to the battered floor, water running from its ruffled fur as Wattson looked back in shock, zapped into defeat.
"M-Manectric and Electabuzz, a-are unable to battle!" The referee managed to call out, still stunned from the previous explosion. "The winners of this Gym battle are Noah and Cole!" His voice boomed as his hand shot up into the air, a blue flag piercing towards the dimly lit ceiling.
"You did it!" Cole smiled unnoticed to the others, jogging over to Solrock before tilting the heavy Pokemon's body so that he could look into its slitted eyes. The Meteorite Pokemon managed to groan out its name happily as it began to rise slowly, eyes glowing a victorious red as it regained some energy to levitate.
Noah's knees buckled under him as he walked towards his Wartortle who had gently landed back onto the familiar ground. He slowly picked up his partner, withholding an urge to scream out with happiness as Wartortle tiredly smiled up to him. "You-...Y-You did it!..." Noah exhaled in awe, hands trembling as if threatening to drop his Water Pokemon. "We did it! We finally beat him!" Noah's long held exuberance finally spouted back to life as he jumped up and down for joy with his Pokemon. His aqua blue eyes wide with glee, he danced around with Wartortle, holding onto its hands as they spun in their own little circle. They managed to finally beat their shocking obstacle!
A large hand suddenly placed itself on Noah's shoulder, halting his celebration as he glanced up to a large white beard. "That was a fine battle, my boy." Wattson managed a smile as he locked eyes with the young sailor in front of him.
"I...I.." Noah's face flushed red, excitement still etched on his face as he looked back towards his Wartortle who was mimicking its Trainer's expression.
"Wahahaha! You don't have to stop the party just because I came, right?" Wattson laughed, his voice hearty as he slapped the boy's back, nearly making him drop Wartortle. As Noah struggled to hold onto his fearful Pokemon, the persistent sting of the old man's hand still felt from the imprint on his back, Wattson suddenly reached for his pocket and handed Noah a small gold object, the shape of a small 'O' with two points sticking out that gleamed in the remaining lights of the gym.
"This is.." Noah's voice was weak, accepting the object as it was gently placed on in his now free hand, Wartortle jumping back to the tattered floor. Cole walked over to the pair after returning Solrock, a small victorious smirk on his face before he glanced at the accomplishment in the boy's hand.
"The Dynamo Badge." Cole could hear the young boy's voice shake with excitement as the light from the symbol of Mauville City Gym sparkled beautifully.
"Wahahahaa! Cole, who knew you and this boy would give me such a shocking thrill of a match!" Wattson laughed, turning to Cole who gave him a thoughtful nod. "Cole, I knew you wanted to help this boy get over his fear of battling me again." Cole and Noah both took a step back in slight shock as the Electric Gym Leader fell into another fit of laughter. "You're a truly thoughtful man. Not just thinking about Pokemon after all huh? Wahahahaa!" Wattson's voice boomed.
"I just wanted to have a good Gym Battle. It's been a while." Cole responded quickly, shrugging off the annoying compliment before walking away from the other two males towards the exit where Elisa would be waiting outside.
"He...He wanted to help me?..." Noah's voice was barely audible as he stared in awe at Cole's retreating figure. "But that means...He really earned it-"
"It's yours Noah." Wattson interrupted, his voice soft as he placed a hand on the young boy's shoulder. "Cole already earned the Dynamo Badge ages ago. Not much sense in giving him two now, right?" He turned to Cole's retreating figure who disappeared behind the automatic doors of the gym that luckily were still in tact.
"I believe that he wanted you to win here."
Aqua eyes shook as the words resonated within the boy.
"It would have been tough by yourself and your Water Pokemon if you had to go it alone." Wattson smirked slightly, brimming with his newest punchline, "I guess you can say that he was your grounded lightning rod in this electrifying battle! Wahahaha!" Wattson laughed heartily again before turning to leave on his side of the gym with the referee.
The large man suddenly stopped. "Now how am I going to clean up this Gym for tomorrow?" He asked turning to the referee's smiling face. "I have those shocking kids coming by for a vacation too...Wahahaha!"
"Cole..." Noah breathed, his hand trembling as Mauville's Gym Badge pressed against his palm. He knew that Cole would be special, a real friend from the very first day.
Walking outside into the brisk evening air towards Cole and Elisa, aqua blue eyes shined brightly in the early twilight as Noah walked up beside Cole, a thankful smile on his face. "...Y-You knew that I didn't beat Mauville Gym...because of the type of Pokemon I had..." His eyes glimmered as a few tears threatened to fall but he could care less. He had never received such thoughtful support from anyone before.
"You probably should have just caught a Ground type Poke-" Cole attempted to jab at him but his voice cut off once he noticed the tears in Noah's heartfelt eyes. The tears finally slid down his face, flashing in the last rays of the setting sun as he closed his eyes, giving off a smile that could rival the bright electric attacks of Wattson's Pokemon.
"Thank you Cole!"
Those words slammed into Cole's very being as memories of Dewford jolted back into his head. He never wanted to play the hero...He really wanted to just see Noah's skills...right?
His mind raced as a flutter of wings suddenly danced against his stomach. "...Yeah yeah..." The Magma Admin blew it off, averting Noah's childish grin.
Elisa blinked in surprise once she noticed a tinge of red grace Cole's cheeks. '...Is he?' She must have been seeing things! The usual calm and cool Cole seemed to be heating up from the praise of a child to her amusement! She snickered before she absent-mindedly pulled on Cole's sand-coloured jacket, catching his attention.
"W-What?" Cole muttered, recomposing himself from Noah's innocent snickering. Elisa suddenly snapped her hand back, averting his stammering face once she noticed her actions. Squeezing onto Riolu that was smiling brightly in her arms, she shyly looked back into his rugged sandstone eyes with a small smile.
"I, um..." She quickly looked back down to Riolu with a soft expression. "I want you...I mean!" She awkwardly fidgeted with her Pokemon in her arms, "I...guess it would be for the best to train me and Riolu..." Her voice was soft, unable to look back into the eyes of the man she was beginning to admire. "If we're a team...Then I have to help out too."
Cole's own expression seemed to soften, Noah quickly noticed as the young woman's voice reached his ears. 'Did the battle change her mind?' Noah wondered as he turned to Cole for his response.
Cole's lips turned upward in a small smirk, a thoughtful expression surprisingly filling his features before he turned away from her to the setting sun, earning a sad smile in return. "It will take a couple of days to reach the desert..." His words were rough, catching the attention of the researcher as he glanced back.
"Make sure you look up Riolu's abilities before we leave."
Elisa's face slowly lit up with the last rays of sunlight, cheeks tickled pink as she smiled at Cole who could only stare back in slight awe. "I'll try my best!" She beamed, Riolu crying out with glee from the decision.
"Yeah..." Cole managed a small nod as he inadvertently scratched the back of his head; the perky young girl making his brow furl with thought. The trio then started their walk towards the Pokemon Centre where they would sleep for the night.
'What the hell am I thinking?...She's not cute!' He retaliated against the lewd thoughts of his snickering male brain, increasing his pace to move slightly in front of Elisa and Noah who were now wrapped in a conversation that somehow switched from Noah's Dynamo Badge to something about which island foods were more appetizing. He could hear Elisa gently begin to banter about Mossdeep's Kelpsy Iced Berry Blend being a thousand times tastier than Dewford's Pinap Berry Sundae Special; Cole sadly overheard all of this as he pinched the bridge of his nose, clearly irritated.
He did not know what it was...But these two people that he believed were weaklings, and still kind of were apparently, seemed to be stirring up some kind of emotion he had not felt in a long time. A small smile managed to break through walls that were beginning to crumble ever so slightly.
Maybe this is what...friends do after all.