A New Life Through The Eyes Of Kanto: An Autobiography

By QBOak

Adventure / Drama

Songs About June

We should’ve been there by now, I thought, staring at the Town Map. I was trying to retrace my steps on the Town Map from where I was now, and back. I couldn’t spot Tough Town, and supposedly Azure City was a couple of towns away from Cloud City. Tower Town and Increment Town were supposed to be very close to Cloud City, and Azure City wasn’t meant to be much further from there. Nonetheless, June and I had been traveling for quite a while now, and still hadn’t reached our planned destination.

I was wearing my black jacket with the image of Mewtwo on the right breast. My black fitted cap sat atop my head, backwards, the Poke Ball showing from the front of me that way.It was getting so much warmer outside now. Spring was here for sure. This worried me, knowing the Pokemon League was getting closer and I still had two more Badges to get.

June was quiet for a change today. She had been since our battle with the Butterfree girl just yesterday, walking not far behind me, which was surprising as she was usually practically walking on top of me!

The silence should’ve been nice. The space should’ve been welcomed. It all should’ve been what I’d desired since June first decided to travel with me. But it wasn’t. Not this kind of silence. This was forced. An unsettling kind of peace. It was why I had taken out the Town Map; to distract myself from the uncomfortableness, trying to understand why we weren’t in Azure City yet. I’d look at the Town Map for a couple of hours, glancing up on occasion to see if I could spot any signs of Azure City up ahead. On occasion, I glanced back at June from the corner of my eye.

Her head was down as she walked, pain clear in her eyes. She was really distraught about not being able to read the Butterfree girl’s Pokemon.

I placed the Town Map back into my backpack that hung from one shoulder and continued to walk, secretly wishing June would speak to me. As much as I hated how much she talked about complete nonsense and made me wish she’d just stay quiet and not ruin my enjoyment of our walks, I now found myself unable to enjoy the nature around us, desiring her to talk now.

We walked along a path with much lower grass than we had been maneuvering through previously, the grass only reaching up to my ankles. There was no telling if we were headed in the right direction. Everything looked the same around us, grass being the only sight for miles.

June sniffled. It was the only sound she’d made all day.

I had fed my Pokemon a while ago, and June traversed on her own through the field until she vanished from sight, not returning for around two hours to be with her Pokemon. When she returned and we were ready to continue, she remained silent. I hadn’t said a word to her, no idea of what to say.

The ability to read Pokemon wasn’t like anything I’d ever heard of even being remotely possible. Sure, many people were highly in tuned with their Pokemon’s feelings, but June’s ability to read them was something else entirely. A true gift. It was incredible.

Why couldn’t she read Porygon-Z and the Butterfree girl’s Pokemon? It was a question I wasn’t able to answer, and one I was unable to help her get over.

And so we continued to walk relatively close to each other, yet further apart than ever.

Personally, I didn’t see June’s issue as such a big deal. I mean, it was surely upsetting to lose the ability to read a Pokemon’s internal, personal feelings and be able to communicate with them, but it wasn’t the end of the world. She still had her health. June probably just needed some time to herself to rest and catch her breath and focus. Her gift would return. I was sure of it. I was curious as to why it was specifically Porygon-Z and the Butterfree girl’s Pokemon that she couldn’t read, but I felt it was a problem that could be resolved. When June saw Porygon-Z at Cleopatra’s Gym, it was a very intense situation. When she saw the Butterfree girl’s Pokemon, it was also a serious moment. With a clear head, I was sure June could read any Pokemon.

“You know...” June said in a voice just barely above a whisper.

I stopped walking, shocked at the voice I heard from my quiet companion, and turned to her, my eyes wide.

June was staring at the ground, but she looked up at me, a longing song behind her eyes.

An album I’d been dying to hear.

She stared at me deeply, almost unsettlingly, challenging me to continue looking back at her.

I wasn’t used to looking at a girl, let alone one who looked like June, in her eyes like this, but despite my discomfort, I kept my eyes at hers.

She swallowed saliva in her mouth. “I love Pokemon.”

I didn’t respond. I just watched her intently, waiting, my heart beating faster as she spoke to me.

“I could always read Pokemon. Always. There’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to read any Pokemon, I think. Especially if I can still read them. I can read all your Pokemon, but not Porygon-Z and that girl who owns those Bug types. Her Butterfree she keeps on her shoulder; I stared at him before the battle began. I couldn’t read him, either.”

I wanted to nod, but I couldn’t even manage to do such a small action. I felt frozen, glad June was speaking for a change.

“I don’t understand, Gary...” June said weakly, her eyes watering. She suddenly dropped to her knees.

“June!” I ran to her, kneeling down next to her.

June’s eyes were closed. “I remember when I first read a Pokemon,” she whispered so low, I leaned in to hear her better. “I remember much further back than then, even...”

I listened to June, refusing to speak, holding back any questions I had.

“I was born in Vermillion City,” June spoke gently, her voice occasionally dipping into a whisper. “My mom and dad never wanted me, from what I understood. At a very young age, about, maybe five, I was becoming a lot more conscious of my surroundings, and I had friends whose parents loved them...”

June’s good friend from preschool, Angie, ran to her mother and was swooped in wide, comforting, loving arms.

June teared up immediately as she witnessed this love, unfamiliar with the sight, having never experienced it. Just from seeing it, she wanted it desperately. When her mom came to pick her up from school, she went for it. Little June ran up to her mom with a heartwarming smile, her heart swelling with delight in her chest enough to blow up in her body, and tried to have a loving, warm, happy hug like she had seen.

Instead, her mom sneered at her daughter, a mix of surprise and disgust, and walked away from her child as she got closer.

June ran after her, seeking that same hug Angie received, but her mom continued to walk off, June chasing after her in confusion. The hurt jolt of her heart hit her chest hard, and she tripped, hitting the ground and scraping her arm. Immediately, she cried, looking up for her mom. She cried so badly, just wanting to have that moment she had seen earlier. June knew Angie and her mom shared love, affection, care, even before she knew what those things were. She only knew that she wanted it.

June’s mom turned sharply to June and with an iron, ice cold grip, yanked June by the arm. Ignoring June’s cries and protests, she pulled her up to her stumbling feet and dragged her.

I held back tears as June opened up to me, the hot sun high in the air, the temperature comfortable, the wind blowing very lightly, the air fresh against my face.

“My mom and dad loved Pokemon,” June told me. “My dad always had Normal type Pokemon. I remember that he had a Raticate and a Tauros. Others, too. But I definitely remember Tauros and Raticate the best. They were always so terrifying to me... I’d shiver just from the sight of them as a younger girl. I recall my mother usually caring for a Glalie and a Jynx, I think. I’m pretty sure those are the Pokemon I saw as a child. I especially remembered my mom and dad... hugging... their Pokemon. Yes... Jynx... Tauros. For sure, them. I remember it so well because it reminded me of Angie and her mom. It reminded me of something I... never experienced from them.” June stopped and closed her eyes, lowering her head. She wiped her eyes and kept her hands over them for a while.

I stared at June patiently, not wanting to urge her to tell me more than she desired.

“I never knew love from them,” June said weakly. “I never received that feeling I felt just from witnessing a hug between Angie and her mom. What I felt from just watching that filled me up with a feeling I didn’t recognize. A feeling I had no name for.” June paused, her body giving a hard, mournful shake. “My parents both died, at the same time, just about. I was never told why. Five years, and not a single sign of affection that I can remember from them... I was sent to live with two complete strangers who lived on the other side of the city. I never knew their names, or much about them... I do remember being completely terrified when I was first sent there, sitting in the back of somebody’s car, being driven to their house. I remember that Sunday morning...”

June looked up at the two strangers with wide, worried eyes.

The new man wore black slacks and shoes, his brown shirt tucked into his pants with his black blazer on over it, his smile large and welcoming as he gazed upon June as she and the social worker approached.

The new woman wore a white blouse tucked into her purple skirt that stopped just above her ankles, standing in black high heels. Her black hair was in a bun.

The couple appeared so sweet together, standing at the front door of their house.

June walked beside the social worker as they both got closer, the woman’s hand around her back, gripping her far shoulder. The little girl didn’t understand the language being spoken by the adults. She was too busy concentrating on the two new people who were laughing with the person who drove her there.

The new lady June didn’t know, turned to her and knelt down, speaking, but June didn’t respond once the lady finished, barely aware she was even being spoken to, and just gazed at her with her little lips parted slightly.

The three grownups laughed.

The man stepped up beside the lady he was with and nodded with approval at young June.

June inhaled sharply as the woman by the man embraced her, pulling her in close and holding her tightly. A shaky breath escaped her throat, every second that passed seeming to make it harder to breathe. Before she could settle into this moment, it ended.

The woman released June and stood up, turning to the social worker. “We’ll take her!” she gushed.

June let out a low weep for a moment before inhaling deeply, her head remaining low, unable to look up at me. “Once the social worker left, the man and woman changed immediately. I never received a hug again from them. They didn’t care for me at all... I wasn’t fed. I stayed in the same clothes. I wasn’t even given a bath or anything. I was locked in my room, unable to escape, for a week! A week of no food, clean clothes, or any human contact whatsoever. I cried, screamed, and begged for food and to be let out. I pleaded so desperately. The door never opened. But one day, it did. I’ll never forget that night...” June breathed heavily several times, reliving the moment.

I was desperate to stop her, but I couldn’t just interrupt her like that. I could only listen to this horrifying story of June’s. There were no other options.

The man who had adopted June stood in the middle of the room, having just kicked the door open a moment ago. His face was empty, displaying no anger or seriousness, nor any friendliness or concern. His jeans hung low around the lower half of his body, his boxers halfway visible. In his right hand, he held the middle of a leather belt.

The five year old June shrieked for her life and ran into a corner, terror controlling her body so strongly she could have dropped dead right there. She curled into a ball but never took her tear filled eyes off of the approaching adult.

He tightened his grip on the middle of the belt as he raised his arm and proceeded to beat the young girl wherever the blows from the steel buckle would land. June’s screams meant nothing to him, his face blank, bland, merciless.

There was nowhere for June to even try to hide. Desperately, she looked around for help from the woman of the house, but couldn’t find her anywhere. It was just her and the man.

He continued to unleash his seemingly pointless fury on the child, long after she had started bleeding.

Her cries. Her screams. No one ever came to June’s rescue.

As he swung his belt buckle at her one more time, she blacked out.

The young girl awoke in darkness. Though her eyes opened, it was as if she still had them closed. She soon realized that she was in an alleyway. Blood was running from her head down to her pants and the ground around her. Dizzy, lightheaded, her entire body sore, aching, and ready to collapse, she used the last of the energy in her body to cry. At five years old, June no longer desired to live.

June stopped, taking a moment with herself after what she’d revealed to me. What she had to go through again.

I hadn’t moved in the slightest, afraid to do so; not wanting to disturb this already uncomfortable topic. Even my usually active mind was blank on words to even think as I listened.

“Curled up into a ball, laying on my side in a pool of my own blood, I cried, wishing only to die,” June continued. “It was so cold, and I was dying of hunger. I only had my pants, a torn up shirt, and not even socks for my feet.”

A noise in the distance startled the young girl and, still weeping, she sat up and looked around frightfully. She trembled over the thought that the man who had beaten her was coming back.

The noise got closer, louder! Something was headed towards June, making a scary noise.

She wanted to get up and run, but didn’t have the energy in her to do so. He can’t take me back! June thought in horror. I won’t! Pleeeeease! She opened her mouth wide and let out a loud, desperate wail.

The creature appeared from the shadows.

“Huh?” June whimpered.

It was a Pokemon that stared back at her! It rolled closer to her and the two stared into each other’s eyes.

June’s teary eyes made it hard for her to make out the Pokemon, but she could see it seemed to be rounded, like a ball, with red and white color to it. She shakily wiped away the tears from her eyes and stared at the creature again.

“Hello,” Voltorb said.

June covered her face with both hands, crying.

As if a bolt of lightning had struck me, my body jumped and my heart was beating at rapid fire speed as I feared where this was going.

June kept crying, sniffling hard, wiping her eyes. Even through all of this, she told her tale through her tears and pain.

Young June stared at Voltorb.

Voltorb returned the gaze with its solemn face.

The warm feeling June felt when she saw Angie hug her mother, gripped the girl immediately. Before she knew what she was doing, June stood up and hugged Voltorb tightly. The warmth she felt was incredible. It was her first true hug. Voltorb couldn’t hug her back, but she knew that if Voltorb could, it would. She felt a lot of things that night. She understood so much more than she ever had before. It was the first time she ever read a Pokemon.

“After that, it was me and Voltorb. It... raised me... Voltorb brought me food, water, and even gave me minor electric shocks of energy when I was weary and tired. Just enough to bring up my stamina. But it never hurt me. Not even once. Voltorb... loved me... It... loved me like nobody else ever had before.” June snorted loudly and gulped as she wiped at her nose. “Also, I had found out that I was no longer in Vermillion City. My foster parents had dumped me off in the alleyway of a different city to just be forgotten and die off. Voltorb and I lived as a secret duo for several months. Voltorb was friends with other Pokemon, too. A group of Rattata, a couple of Chikorita, a Mankey, a Ralts, and a group of Jigglypuff. The Jigglypuff were so sweet. They Sang us all to sleep every night. And I could communicate with each and every one of them. I told them all I knew about myself, my parents, and foster parents. They accepted me as one of their own, but none of them loved me like Voltorb. It was my best friend...”

June, Voltorb, and Mankey ran as fast as they could, Mankey in the lead while Voltorb rolled between June and the leading Pokemon.

“You damn thieves!” a large, angry man barked as he chased after them in his blue grocery store apron. “As soon as I get my hands on one of you, you won’t be eating straight for the rest of your life!”

June panted hard, her arms full of boxes of cookies and a loaf of white bread.

Mankey was carrying bananas and a big chunk of meat in plastic wrapping.

“You ain’t getting away this time!” the grocery store owner threatened.

June gasped at how close his voice sounded and pounded at the pavement with her feet as hard as she could, afraid that this mission they were on was going to be a failure, unlike the several times before when everything went smoothly. She shrieked as she was yanked by the back of her shirt and began to ascend in the air! She released her goods and struggled desperately.Gotcha!” the man yelled in triumph. He turned June to face him as he held her by her shirt. “You stupid little brat! When I find out who your parents are, I’ll be-!” The man squinted at the whimpering child in his hold. “Wait...” he spoke much more softly. “Who are-?”

The shirt tore in the man’s grip and June dropped hard on her backside on the pavement, instantly exploding into tears at the man’s feet.

“Oh, no! Hey, it’s alright, child.” He knelt down and rubbed June’s back. “I’m...” That’s when he noticed her bloodstained clothes. He was lost for words as he stared at the child in horror and slowly rose to his feet.

“Hey! What’s going on? Did you catch one of those bum Pokemon or find the kid stealing your food?” a voice called out from across the street.

“Oh, I found the kid, alright...” the owner of the grocery store said, shaking his head as he kept his eyes on June. “This is a lot worse than I thought.”

“When it was discovered I was an orphan, pity was given to me. The entire city sought to care for me. I couldn’t read them like I could read Pokemon, but after a while, I began to learn that these people, these people who lived in this city, truly did care for me. They loved me. They... hugged me. They kissed me. They fed me. Clothed me. Housed me. These humans actually gave a damn about me. I never knew love from a human before then. The people of Gringey City, where I was dumped at to die, raised me, as a family. Together.”

At that moment, I reflected back on the time when June ran away from Gringey City to join me. She was chased down by the police as we tried to escape. She was filed as missing and having been kidnapped by me. The residents all came to watch our battle. They all booed me fiercely every time I beat one of June’s Pokemon. It was all so clear now. It all made so much sense.

“At first, I didn’t make many friends growing up in Gringey City. I only wanted to be with Voltorb and the others.” June’s voice was calming down some. “My true family.”

Rain poured upon the group from the skies above, thunder rumbling lowly during such a mournful time.

“Guys, it’s me! June!” June pleaded to her friends, her entire body dripping wet, her hair matted around her face.

The Chikorita and Ralts had fled a while ago, the group of Rattata and Jigglypuff, as well as Mankey, remaining in the back with wary eyes on her, drenched.

Voltorb was in front of them all, closest to June, sitting under the downpour.

“We’re through with you!” one Rattata shouted at June.

June gasped, her hand over her slashed heart. “But... Why...?” Her eyes blinked out tears indistinguishable from the rain all over her.

Thunder exploded, accompanied by a bright flash of lightning that lit the area as if the sun had come to watch for a second, making the group all jump and look up momentarily.

“You’ve been captured by the humans,” a Jigglypuff spoke more kinder, but sharply. “You’re not like us anymore. You’re with them, now.”

“No! Wait! They aren’t bad! They’re just like me! Us! We’re like, the same! Pokemon and humans! They don’t mean any harm!” June tried to reason, wiping at the rain and tears in her eyes.

The Jigglypuff all sighed and turned around from June’s words.

The Rattata raised their heads snobbily and grunted in disapproval.

“Humans and Pokemon, the same. What a laugh!” one Rattata mocked. “Come on, we must get out of here. Away from her!

Everyone but Voltorb turned, walking away.

Mankey turned back briefly and did a doubletake. “Hey! Aren’t you-?”

“No,” was Voltorb’s response. It kept staring at June, staying in its spot.

Lightning flashed and thunder rumbled low.

The Pokemon all stopped and turned back.

“I’m staying with my friend,” Voltorb spoke strongly.

“You can’t be serious!” Mankey stomped an impatient foot. “We’ve got to go! Stop being stupid and-!”

“I said nooooooooo!!” Voltorb’s body sparked dangerously, making even June back up in fright.

She’d never seen Voltorb angry before. All of her friends were fighting over her!

The other Pokemon all jumped around in a panic, trying not to get zapped.

Mankey slipped on the wet ground, holding himself up with one hand down.

The electric ball didn’t turn from June, focusing on her, its body still sparking dangerously. “I will not abandon June,” Voltorb insisted. “She is my friend. She is family. She will be loved. I will not desert her!”

“Fine! Suit yourself! You’re captured as far as this group is concerned!” Mankey leaped high and took off, the other Pokemon following right after.

In seconds, they were all gone and Voltorb stopped sparking.

“Voltorb...” June whispered. “Your friends!” She shook her head, tears flying from her face. “Why...?”

“I love June.”

As if she knew those words were coming, June cried out on cue and ran to Voltorb, hugging the Pokemon.

Voltorb coated June in gentle electricity, warming her up, its way of hugging.

June’s body flinched in pain, feeling a much sharper jolt than she was used to from Voltorb due to being wet. But this only made her hold Voltorb even tighter under the noisy, bright, soaking thunderstorm.

“Late at night, I would sneak out and play with it,” June smiled. “It was always there for me whenever I could get out, or if I couldn’t, we’d see each other from my room window on the second floor and smile, just happy to be able to see one another. My life was better with the humans, sure. I had food, TV, my own room, the works! But I was never happier than the nights I would spend with Voltorb. When I finally turned ten years old, I demanded to go out on my own journey. The Gringey City citizens refused to allow it, and I ended up running away from the main people who were raising me, a man and a woman I had been referring to as my mom and dad, and ran to find my Voltorb as they chased me.”

“I’m not coming home! Ever!” June insisted, running away from her new parents, determined to find her friend.

Her dad grasped her arm and pulled her back. June screamed and tried to break free, but he had a lock on her. “June, you don’t understand what’s out there!” her father spoke hard, yet kindly. “You are not allowed to leave like this! We know what we’re talking about! We know what’s out there and we don’t think it’s best for you to go right now.”

June’s new mom reached the two and gasped for air, her hand over her chest. “June, please! Don’t!”

“June, you are in some big trouble for this outbreak,” June’s dad informed her. He turned around and pulled her hard, taking her back to his house.

Ow! Dad, that hurts! Get off! Get off of me!!” June struggled but only seemed to be hurting herself by doing so, forced to walk with the man.

“We’ll be discussing just how long you’ll be grounded for, among some other things I’ll decide are fair punishment for this-” June’s dad stopped speaking as a ball rolled in front of him, sparking in yellow electricity.

“Let go of my friend!” Voltorb demanded, sparking more brightly, ready to strike.

“Voltorb?” June’s dad released the girl and he spread his arms wide in front of his wife and June, closing his eyes, ready to take the hit.

“Voltorb, don’t!” June called out.

“June, no!” The man turned his back on Voltorb and tensed his body up for the pain.

“Voltorb!” June ducked under the man’s arms and ran to the Pokemon.

“JUNE!!” June’s dad turned sharply and reached out for June.

June got to her knees in front of Voltorb and the Pokemon’s electricity dimmed, making it seem less threatening, as June wrapped her arms around it, her body engulfed in the yellow wave. “Voltorb! It’s okay! These are my family! My mom and dad!”

June’s dad grabbed June’s shoulder, trying too late to pull her back, and he was taken by the Electric shock, screaming out in agony as he collapsed.

“Martin!” his wife gasped.

“My parents were so shocked, but happy. They entrusted me with Voltorb, and it lived with me for a few months before it was agreed by my parents that I could go off on my own journey. They gave me the chance because they saw that I was actually able to communicate with Voltorb. I never told anybody about this ability of mine, but once my parents saw it between me and Voltorb, the entire city knew within a day, and it was agreed that I should go off and befriend more Pokemon!”

A strong gust of wind blew warm air against June and I. I closed my eyes as June brushed her hair out of her face.

“I traveled through Gringey City with Voltorb at my side, having caught it in my first ever Poke Ball, but always letting it roam outside of it,” June said fondly. “Just before truly exiting Gringey City, I ran into my first ever Pokemon battle. It was a Magnemite. I had no idea what to do, even though I had studied up on Voltorb’s attacks days before leaving. I was stunned. I didn’t want to fight against Pokemon. I only wanted to make friends. And yet, I had made the decision to become a Pokemon Trainer.”

With a challenging shout, Magnemite’s body sparked and it zapped Voltorb with Thunder Shock.

“Aaaaaargh!” Voltorb groaned. “I’m okay! That was nothing!

“Magnemite, please, won’t you listen? I don’t want to battle!” June tried after several other failed attempts to stop the fight. “Would you like to be friends, instead?”

“I go with no one! I’m a free spirit!” Magnemite’s body was covered in light blue electricity as it flew at Voltorb, slamming into it and tossing it back.

Voltorb groaned again, having a harder time just shaking off the hits it was taking. It regained its focus and glared up at Magnemite. “I’m ready, June! Let’s battle!”

“But... But... Why won’t you listen, Magnemite?” June attempted to reason.

“This should end things.” Magnemite’s body glowed in light blue electricity and its magnets flashed repeatedly in the same blue. Multiple light blue orbs shot out from the magnets and hit Voltorb.

The poor Pokemon called out helplessly and rolled over numerous times before stopping, its eyes closed tight in pain.

“Voltorb, NO!” June fell to the ground near Voltorb. Her mouth opened and released her pain. She inhaled deeply and let out more pained cries at what she had caused for her friend in the battle.

“Is that all?” Magnemite questioned.

“Voltoooorrrrb!” June covered her face.

Voltorb’s body suddenly flashed brightly, covered in white light!

“Huh?” June’s hands lowered as her eyes widened.

“Whoa!” Magnemite let out.

The ball grew larger, and the light around it exploded into sparkles as the new Pokemon was revealed. Now, with the white on top and the bottom half red, a new Pokemon smiled at June. “Let’s try this again, eh?” Electrode winked.

Hearing her say Electrode wasn’t enough to send shock waves throughout my body and freeze my heart. It was seeing her look up at me and give me that freezing, blank stare that made me feel something powerful inside. I knew exactly how this was going to end.

With a warcry, Electrode spun in place, its body glowing in yellow electricity. An orange-yellow orb formed in front of Electrode and fired out at Magnemite.

The cry from Magnemite was painful for June to hear, and the Pokemon dropped, defeated.

“Magnemite...?” June asked hesitantly. “Are you alright?”“It better not be unless it wants more o’ this,” Electrode threatened, sparking.

“Easy, now,” June told her Pokemon. She knelt down to her black bag she had on the ground and pulled a Poke Ball out. “I choose you, Magnemite!” June tossed the Poke Ball.

It hit the worn out Electric type and sucked it in by a red beam. The ball hit the floor and shook repeatedly, the middle button flashing red on a constant. Finally, the light died out. Magnemite was caught!

“Magnemite was my first Pokemon I captured in a battle. And then. And then, after a bit more traveling, I found myself in a city I didn’t really recognize, having only been in it as a baby. It wasn’t long before it was revealed to me that I was back in Vermillion City. Once that came to light, I passed out.” June’s eyes seemed to intensify on me.

Conscious of the darkness around her, June opened her eyes, struggling to see. Her vision was fuzzy. After blinking a number of times, she could see that she was in a house. But what really made her eyes open was the face of the man.

He was tall, powerful, and very muscular. He sat on an old couch, stuffing poking out from it in a couple of places. June focused on his warm, black eyes and pointed, fantastic blonde hair. He smiled caringly and the young girl melted instantly. “Ah, good ta see yer awake,” the man spoke in a lazy yet strong, commanding voice. “My name is Lieutenant Surge, da Gym Leader of Vermillion City.”

Whooooooa!!” June squirmed and fell out of Lt. Surge’s lap, hitting the floor on her side. She sat up, holding her shoulder and groaning. “Vermillion City?? Wh-wh-wha-? I can’t! I-what?? NO!” She was unable to speak straight, her tongue tangled in her mouth.

“He gave me water and after a while, I finally was able to speak. He asked me, so sweetly, if I was okay. I couldn’t fight against him. I told him everything about me. From the loss of my parents, to the horror of my foster parents, to my family in Gringey City, to how miserable I was on my journey as a Pokemon Trainer. The sorrow in his eyes nearly made me lose control and I just barely could resist the urge to kiss his sweet, gentle, yet hard, face.” June smiled a little bit as she reflected on this. “He asked me what Pokemon type I favor and I pointed at my Electrode, who apparently Lt. Surge had befriended while I was passed out. I told him I didn’t really know much about Pokemon, but I knew that Electrode was Electric. I knew that I loved when Electrode shocked me and I loved the way it made me feel, so I told him Electric would have to be my favorite type. He told me again that he was the Electric type Gym Leader and, if I decided, he would school me in the ways of the Electric types.”

I was mesmerized by June’s tale. This was a side of June that I had never heard before. I remembered when June had told me a little bit about her life when we first met in Gringey City. I also remembered that a couple of the things she told me there weren’t matching up with what she was telling me now, but I held my tongue.

“Lt. Surge trained me, Electrode, and my Magnemite harshly,” June told me, her voice getting darker. “We did these drill runs. It was me, my Pokemon, Lt. Surge, and his other protégés, training together. Everyone else, men and women alike, were all these huge, muscular young adults. And there I was, a skinny little girl. But I refused to let anything stop me. I had to keep up, and even surpass, if possible, everyone else! We crawled through sand, climbed walls, ran track, and even engaged in controlled, physical combat training with one another. He claimed that all of the intense workouts were related to understanding Electric type Pokemon. There were a couple of things, like the electricity tests we had to endure, that made sense, but a majority of what I went through perplexed me often. But I stuck with it, desperate to not only learn, but to stay close to Lt. Surge. After a couple of weeks, I demanded a battle, but he refused. He felt I was not ready. The training continued, and I stuck with it, demanding a battle after every day of training, but he constantly denied me, scorning me and saying I wasn’t able to defeat him. I began to hate being around him, living in his large house. I wished I were back in Gringey City with Electrode and Magnemite, having fun. Even going back to being homeless sounded more appealing. My only peace of mind was playing with Lt. Surge’s Mareep. She was so sweet. She would play with me, Electrode, and Magnemite every night. No matter how exhausted I was from training with Lt. Surge, I always had energy to play with Mareep. One day, I finally got my wish during a new training Lt. Surge called Practice Charges. It was a Pokemon battle using one Pokemon each. It could be me versus him, his understudies versus him or me, whatever he wanted it to be. Lt. Surge often used his Raichu, but it didn’t matter. The results were always the same.”

“Electrode, Rollout!” June told her Pokemon.

Electrode was a blur as it rolled to slam into Raichu.

Oooooooff!” Raichu groaned as he was forced back from the hit but maintained his footing.

“Raichu, Mega Kick, now!” Lt. Surge ordered.

Raichu waited, keeping his eyes on Electrode as it rolled around the Gym floor, coming back around to attack. “Here it comes again!” Raichu grinned mischievously as he ran at Electrode. He leaped and pulled his foot back. It glowed white and swung forward, connecting with Electrode.

Electrode screamed as its attack was interfered with and it flew backwards, into the air.

“Now finish dis once again!” Lt. Surge bragged. “Dundabolt!!”

Electrode groaned as it slammed against the wall and slid down to the floor.

Electrooode!” June screamed.

“Gaaaaame OVERRRRRRRR!!!” Raichu let loose with his attack.

The entire Gym was blinded as Raichu lit up the place.

Electrode’s screams deafened June and she covered her ears, dropping to her knees in tears as her eyes closed from the sight.

“His Raichu always stuck by him and never played with me, but he was a sweet Pokemon and I could see a lot of interesting stories behind his eyes. One day, after a particularly difficult day of training, Lt. Surge approached me and helped me to my worn out feet with one of his enormous hands. He smiled so brightly with those surreal, bright white teeth of his and said I’d done well that day. It was the first time he had ever said anything like that about my day of training with him. He then took me home and gave me a reward for my hard work. Mareep! In our excitement and joy with this news, Mareep evolved into Flaaffy. I begged Lt. Surge for an official battle, and he obliged. So, the next day, Lt. Surge left to go to the Gym, and I took a stroll outside to speak to my Pokemon in the woods, to let them know what we were in for and to hype them up to win. While talking to my Magnemite, Flaaffy, and Electrode...” June stopped for a moment, taking a deep breath. Her eyes started to water. “...an Elekid came out.”

My eyes widened.

June’s eyes lowered. “He was so cute. I knelt down and spoke to him, so eager to see the little cutie, but knowing nothing about what he was. I didn’t have a Pokedex. I only knew that I wanted him. Unlike Magnemite, I didn’t have to battle him. We spoke and became fast friends. He was such a friendly Pokemon.” June shook her head, her eyebrows raised, a look of disbelief on her face. “I picked him an apple from a tree, and he picked me a berry from a bush, and we ate together.” June’s voice was quaking now and she wiped at her dripping eyes. “I asked if he wanted to join up with me, and he immediately said ‘yes.’ I was so psyched. I just knew I’d defeat Lt. Surge without a doubt.”

With Elekid and Magnemite defeated by Lt. Surge’s Raichu, June had gained a win with Flaaffy stopping the threat, as well as beating his Jolteon. But she refused to let Flaaffy battle any further against the final Pokemon, Luxray, and returned her, declaring that she should be considered defeated. She could feel the struggle Flaaffy was going through just to stand up and couldn’t dare to put her through more, just to win for her.

Lt. Surge’s eyes were stunned as he stared at June. “Wow. June! I’m impressed!” His face went serious as he turned to the judge and raised his hand out to him. “Stop da match! Dis is ova!”

The judge nodded and waved to June. “The Gym Leader, Lt. Surge, forfeits the match. The winner is trainee, June!”

June gasped at the referee. “What??” She turned to the Gym Leader. “Lt. Surge, sir! What are you doing??” June was beyond confused by this ruling.

Lt. Surge approached the young girl.

Unbeknownst to him, his every step was making her weaker and weaker, and June was struggling to not land on her knees before the older, but still attractive, especially to June, Gym Leader. The young lady was losing her cool and at this point, unsure of what the emotions and feelings making her body ready to explode were. But she liked every moment of how submissive she felt before him.

“Ya have strength, heart, an’ spirit,” Lt. Surge told her, stopping close to her. “Not only dat, but cha have da compassion every Trainer needs ta truly be victorious in baddle.” His tall form knelt down to June’s.

June felt like she was swaying in his presence. Having his open shirt and flexing, sweaty pecs all up in her face never got old. Seeing his face so close to hers was another pleasant experience for her to enjoy.

June stopped and smiled wider, thinking of this.

I stared at June impatiently now, wanting her to get out of her fantasy and continue speaking some more about the battle and not the brawn.

June took a deep breath, still smiling. “He said that life as a Gym Leader is hard. He told me I have promise and he wanted to send me to back to Gringey City to be the alternative Electric Gym Leader for when his Gym got too busy. I had mixed feelings. I wanted to be in Gringey City rather than in Vermillion. I wanted to go back to what I had considered my true home. My home in Gringey City. I wanted to show my family what I had become. What I had accomplished! But, to be honest, as silly as it sounds, I had fallen in love with Lt. Surge. Right there in front of him, and the judge and other Trainers, all which I had forgotten were still there, I cried. And... he hugged me.” June smiled liked a junior high school girl getting asked to the prom by her lifelong crush. “He hugged me! Lt. Surge hugged me! Right in his gigantic arms, against his broad, over swelled up, but perfectly sized chest.”

Ugh... I groaned silently, squinting at June.

“And he asked me what was wrong. I told him.” June’s voice went lower, sadder, and her smile softened. “I told him... I loved him. And of course, he rejected me.” Tears fell down June’s lowered eyes. “I didn’t cry, and interrupted him as he started to try to explain why. I forced a laugh and told him that I didn’t mean it that way. I told him I got too emotional about leaving such a wonderful teacher like him and that I loved him platonically. He laughed, but I felt that he could see right through me. I received one last hug that night before I left, my head held high, back to Gringey City. But once I was alone in the woods, I cried so hard that I was truly surprised nobody came from Vermillion to see what was making that loud wailing. I cried for such a long time, but when all my tears had been drained, and when I felt my determination return, I remembered his last words to me. ′Don’t let me down.′ I inhaled deeply, got to my feet, and held my breath, trekking back to Gringey City.” June looked up at me, her eyes filled with tears. They closed, but she was still smiling. She inhaled deeply and held her breath for a moment. Even after she let it out, her eyes remained shut. More tears slid down her cheeks. “My family in Gringey City were ecstatic with the news of me becoming a Gym Leader. I was, too, of course. However, once the challengers started coming, well, you already know I sucked. I told you this before.” June’s eyes opened and she gave me a weak, saddened stare. “What I didn’t tell you was about my Elekid.” She sighed. “I always had several people from Gringey come to see my battles, every single time. I used Elekid in every battle I ever had. And he lost each and every time, very easily. It was frustrating... I was getting very angry about this, and yelled at him quite a few times. I was just constantly thinking of Lt. Surge and what he asked of me before I left Vermillion. I caught others during my time as a Gym Leader, like my Pikachu, but nobody performed as bad as Elekid for some reason, so I was the hardest on him.”

“Elekid, I choose you!” June sent out her second Pokemon, her Magnemite having been beaten previously.

Elekid turned back to June. “I’m ready!” He turned to his opponent, a Geodude. “You’re going down!”

“You’re just my second victory!” Geodude shot back, breathing hard from his previous round.

“We’ll see about that!” Elekid smirked. “You’re barely able to go on!”

“I’ve got more than enough for you!” Geodude growled.

“You can do it, June! You and Elekid will do it this time!” a man from the crowd yelled out.

“Yeaaaaah!! Go Juuuuuuuune!!” was more support amongst other shouts. “Defend your Badge, baby!”

“Elekid, Quick Attack!”

“Yeeeeaaaaaa!” Elekid zoomed around the Gym, appearing here, there, and all over. “Ha! Ho! Heeeeya!” Elekid leaped at Geodude and slammed into him headfirst. He fell back after colliding with such a Defensive Pokemon, but so did Geodude.

“Grrr,” Geodude shook off the hit as he awaited orders from his Trainer.

“Tackle!” was the other Trainer’s only retaliation.

“Taaaaaaake this!” Geodude slammed into Elekid.

Aaaauuuuugh!! Uuuuuggh...” Elekid groaned as he bounced twice on the Gym floor and slid to a stop. His body ached from the impact.

Elekid, come on!!” June freaked out, losing her temper as she leaped up shortly in the air and slammed her feet down. “I’m not accepting another freaking loss out of you!! What’s the point in even using you?! I’m sick of this already!! Can’t you do anything?? Ever??

Elekid groaned from the ground, tears burning in his closed eyes from his Trainer’s devastating words as he sat up.

“I have so had it!!” June went on. “After this match, I am so totally-!!” June’s words nearly strangled her, unable to leave her throat, blocking her from breathing, as Elekid started to glow in a bright white light!

His body grew wider and taller. The Pokemon stood up, regaining more energy and attitude. The light around him went away in sparkles. “Bring iiiiiit!!” he threatened Geodude.

June covered her mouth, just in case the rest of her sentence decided to tumble out.

Geodude sneered at the new Pokemon.

“Electabuzz!” the opposing Trainer gasped. “We can still do this! Magnitude!”

“See how you stand up to this!” Geodude flexed his arms as his body became outlined in brown. He dropped like a weight to the floor and the entire building shook lightly.

The move Magnitude, which varies in power, was particularly weak this turn.

Electabuzz groaned as he stumbled from the impact and dropped.June’s hands slid from her face. “No...” she whispered as her shoulders slumped.

“Electabuzz is unable to battle. Geodude wins the round,” the referee stated in his yellow suit and sunglasses, pointing at the opponent. “Chambers from Forecast Town is the winner.”

The crowd clapped lightly amongst mutters.

“Yea-haaa!” the young boy cheered.

“I knew I could-!” Geodude joined in, turning to his Trainer.

Both the Pokemon and his Trainer were interrupted and turned around by furious words.

Useless!! As ever!!” June scolded. She held out her Pokemon’s Poke Ball and returned him. Sneering at the Poke Ball, she added, “Grrrrrr!! I’m done with losing due to you!”

“Hey...!” June’s opponent called out hesitantly. “There’s no need to be so harsh on your Pokemon! Geodude used a Ground move! That must have been really hard for an Electric type like Electabuzz to handle!”

June’s teeth gritted together and she furrowed her eyebrows. “Oh, shut up and take your stupid Badge!” June flung her Thunder Badge across the room and whipped around before she even saw where it landed.

The only sound in the building was June stomping away and finally slamming one of the many doors behind her as she left.

“It had been running up on about eight months of me losing and I was getting calls from the Pokemon League HQ about my constant losses,” June spoke sadly. “A lot of pressure was building on me as my Gym Leader status was coming under fire. Lt. Surge was calling me, and I never answered his calls. I was terrified to speak to that man. I was failing him completely. Letting him down. To my surprise, one day, he paid me a visit, and he wasn’t too happy with me.”

“I gotta be honest witcha. I’m hurt ya would ignore me after all we’ve been tru,” he spoke in a voice that was gentle, yet thinly coating in what was perhaps anger? “Ya haven’t stayed in contact wit’ me anymore. Why, June? Why would ya-?”

“I’m sorry, sir!” June burst out, covering her face and turning her back on the man as she began to cry, unable to handle Lt. Surge’s words. “I’m so ashamed! I’ve let you down! I can’t defeat anyone no matter how hard I try! I’m not worthy of the title you gave me, sir! I failed youuuuu!” She bawled in front of the lieutenant, embarrassed. A heavy, unmistakable hand landed on her shoulder, and she cried out, cowering even further, knowing that Lt. Surge was touching her, which made her body start to shake uncontrollably.

“Dat’s no reason ta leave me in da dark, is it?” he asked her lightly. “Ain’t we still friends?”

His questions made her heart throb in the worst way, feeling horrible about how she had treated him. “Of course we are,” she sobbed.

“Den, ya gotta tell me when tings get rough. I’m always here for ya, June. Ya gotta know dat.”

June still couldn’t face him, crying harder than ever, hating herself with every sentence Lt. Surge spoke.

“June,” he spoke more seriously.

This new, harder tone made June even more unwilling to turn around, but she felt like she was being commanded to, and she lowered her hands, turning tearfully and pouting out her quivering bottom lip.

“Ya ain’t in tune witchur Pokemon. Dat’s why yer losin’. Ya beat me, ain’t cha??” Lt. Surge laughed heartily.

June sniffled and managed a smile.

“Ya need ta regain dat focus in order ta win. Dat connection datcha have wit’ yer Pokemon. Yer blockin’ yerself from yer own success.” The man’s face seemed to sadden suddenly. He let out a sigh. “Maybe I was a bit hasty...”

“Huh?” June’s heart sped up even faster than it had already been, fearing she knew what he was going to say.

“Maybe yer not really ready ta be a Gym Leader.”

Lt. Surge’s voice stung June’s heart. She gasped out loud. “NO! WAIT!”

Lt. Surge raised a huge hand. “June, it’s alright! Don’t feel bad! Da Gym Leader life ain’t fer everyone! Listen, maybe after a few more years of trainin’ and whatnot-”

June lunged at Lt. Surge, wrapping her arms around his neck.

Lt. Surge was silenced.

They both were in that position for a length of time that didn’t matter to June as she cried silently against him. “Lt. Surge... Please...” June’s voiced trembled.

“He conceded after a while and left later that evening after we had a late lunch together. In the Pokemon Center, I sat by the window, crying silently, wondering what I could do to get stronger with my Pokemon. Nurse Joy had walked over to me and asked me what was wrong, and I told her. After hearing about my troubles as a Gym Leader, she gave me something that she thought might help. Something that would change everything. An Electirizer.”

My eyes widened.

An Electirizer. An Electabuzz traded while holding that item would evolve into Electivire!

“I walked to the waters with Electabuzz that night, and spoke about evolving him to make him stronger.”

“Ya see, as a Gym Leader, I have to provide a challenge to my opponents,” June explained, staring at the object in her hands. “I’ve been a Gym Leader for months, and have yet to win a single match, and my position is being threatened, and I’m letting down the greatest person I know, who trusted me to run the Gym well. I need not only you, but all of my Pokemon to pull through and help me out, here!”

“I’m sorry, June. I understand,” Electabuzz agreed. He was looking right at his Trainer as he spoke. “I’m sorry I haven’t been good enough...”

“It’s just... I mean, I’ve taught you so many new moves to help you counter your weakness and to battle a variety of types, but nothing is working! I need strong Pokemon! Nobody loses like you lose! Do you know that?” She faced her Pokemon, no longer looking at what was in her hands.

Electabuzz stared right back. “I know. I’m no good as I am, no matter how hard I try. I must improve.”

“Yeah, like seriously, though!” June insisted. “Otherwise, you’re just gonna have to like, sit on the benches and watch or something! I can’t use you if you’re gonna just do, basically nothing!” Even June thought her last sentence was a bit much, and she laughed lightly, giving a small smile to her Pokemon.

Electabuzz didn’t return the grin. “I’ll do whatever it takes to make you happy.”

June smiled sincerely and gripped the Electirizer in her hands. Her grip suddenly tightened even further, looking into her Pokemon’s eyes, and her smile started to fade.

Electabuzz continued to stare back at June, his solemness giving way to other feelings.

June swallowed and shook her head. She smiled. “I’m glad we’re on the same page.” She held out the Electirizer strongly, ignoring what she was feeling inside. Ignoring what she saw in Electabuzz.

Electabuzz looked down at the Electirizer, and then back up to June.

They both gave each other stern looks, being strong for one another, though for entirely different reasons.

Finally, Electabuzz reached out and touched the Electirizer. “Whatever you want, June.”

“Electabuzz knew I could read him. He knew I knew how he truly felt. I could see, clear as day, that Electabuzz didn’t want to evolve at all. He was always... Always. ...Always! Such a happy Pokemon... But I ignored that...” June’s voice took a new tone. It became lower, all the way down to a whisper. It was now sadder, and quivered noticeably. “I ignored Electabuzz’s feelings and turned to my own personal desires to not disappoint Lt. Surge. I evolved my Electabuzz into an Electivire.” June’s eyes leaked as she stared at me. “I evolved him!” she cried. “And... And...”

I couldn’t help but look down at my belt and glance at Ivysaur’s Poke Ball before looking back up at June.

June shook her head hard, tears flying from her face. “No. It wasn’t like Ivysaur, Gary. Electivire isn’t quite like that. He didn’t evolve and demand respect from me, per se. Electivire doesn’t obey me because I ignored what he knew I knew about him. He knew that I knew he didn’t want to evolve. He knew I was only evolving him for my own selfish needs. He resents me for that. He resents me for my selfishness.” June swallowed. “I wanted a powerful Pokemon, Gary. And now, he’s giving me exactly what I asked for... Electivire is being exactly what I angrily screamed for him to be. What I selfishly forced him to be. I used him in a battle that wasn’t an official Gym battle, and got a taste of just how disobedient and vicious he had become. A taste of what I had created. He beat somebody who I asked to battle me as a test battle, one-on-one, and after easily destroying the Trainer’s Pokemon, Electivire chased the Trainer down, trying to beat him up! He chased the Trainer out of the city before I could finally return him to his Poke Ball. I’ve never used him in a Gym battle before. I would never use something I couldn’t control. I’d rather lose. And I did, battle after battle. And then, several months later, Robin came to my Gym. And then, of course, not long after, I met you...”

I sat there, stunned by June’s story. I wanted to speak to her, but I couldn’t, too deep in awe. Everything she had told me about her life replayed in my head while she stared back at me. It was a long story to go through again, but I went over as much of it as I remembered. My lips parted to say something. “June.” It was all I could get out, so I closed my mouth.

“I know that when we first met, I didn’t exactly tell you everything,” June admitted. “A few things I told you about my journey to becoming a Gym Leader weren’t quite exactly how it happened, but it’s just that this is very personal and I didn’t know you too well. The things I changed around weren’t a big deal, though. Just things about going to Gringey City for the first time when I really had been there before, really.”

“June, you don’t owe me any explanation,” I told her, shaking my head, reaching out to gently touch her shoulder.

June leaped forward and wrapped me in a hug, crying hard.

I hugged her tightly, reflecting on how important hugs were to her, and wrapped my arms around her even tighter.

June’s arms pulled me further as she cried more.

I understood now, reflecting once again on June’s story, why she was so distraught about seemingly having lost her touch at reading Pokemon.

I understood her Electivire’s furious attitude.

Finally I truly understood why, after all the hard work she put into becoming a Gym Leader, and all the trouble and pain she put her Pokemon through, she felt like such a failure and was so destroyed about having quit.

I gasped suddenly and froze. My eyes began to tear up. Oh, no, I realized as tears dripped from my eyes, landing on June’s shoulder. I remembered something I had feared about once June had told me a bit about her past.

June continued to cry.

I held her, not moving, and silently cried as I came to an understanding.

June looked up at me, her face covered in tears. She stared at me and slowly reached a hand up and wiped at my cheek.

I shook my head and stared back at her. “I’m sorry,” I whispered. “I’m so sorry. For everything. Everything that happened to you. What I did to you.”

June stared at me, fully understanding my last sentence, and nodded. “Electrode saved my life,” she whimpered, more tears rolling down her cheeks. “It was my first friend. My best friend. My family. You took it from me.” She closed her eyes and lowered her chin to her chest.

I closed my own eyes, knowing there was nothing I could say. Hot tears burned their way down my cheeks in constant streams. I’d never hated myself more.

“Before I left Gringey City to follow you, I purchased a burial plot for Electrode,” June sniffled. “In Lavender Town. I had decided to travel with you, knowing we’d end up there eventually. There’s a place called the House Of Memories, where dead Pokemon are buried. That was where I went when I left you at Lavender Town. I had bought a gravestone for Electrode there. I didn’t want to go there, but I had to... say goodbye...” June broke down in front of me.

It felt like a disrespect to even dare to hold June right now, but of course, I couldn’t let go. But there was no comfort I could bring to her. I was trembling so hard, my heart colliding with my chest repeatedly. What have I done? I thought miserably.

June looked up at me, wiping her eyes. “I don’t blame you,” she whispered. “It wasn’t your fault. I forgive you, Gary.”

“No!” I rejected. “June, I had no idea. I can’t believe what I’ve done to you!” I began stuttering, unable to find the right words to express my sorrow. There were no words worthy to speak.

June placed her hand over my mouth, silencing me. “Accept that I forgive you,” she pleaded, begging with her eyes. “That’s the best thing you can do. For yourself. For me. For Electrode. It’s the sweetest goodbye we could give. Please, Gary. That’s all you can do now. We can’t turn back the hands of time. We’ll move forward, together. Give me that. It’s all I want. For my dearest friend, and most loving family member. In the name of Electrode’s memory. Accept my forgiveness, as Electrode surely forgives you, too. Please, don’t carry that burden.” She grabbed my hands in hers and raised them to her lips, pressing against them tightly, not taking her eyes off of me. “Please.”

Tearfully, and against my will, I nodded and said, “Okay.”

She smiled and dropped my hands, pulling me into a tight hug, which I returned.

I closed my eyes and pulled her in even closer. My lips neared her ear. “June,” I whispered.

“Yes?” she said in a low voice.

“I think it’s time, June.” I pulled away from her and stared her in her eyes.

June stared back, a look of confusion and worry on her face.

I looked down to her bag.

June turned to it, too, and immediately looked back at me in shock.

I stared at her sternly and stood up. My hand extended to her.

June looked down at her bag. After a while, she took a deep breath and turned back to me, a stronger look on her face. She took my hand and got to her feet. June picked up her bag and turned away from me, taking several steps away. She stopped and turned back to me, setting her bag on the floor and kneeling down. After a few minutes of digging around, she stood up with an armful of Poke Balls, a face full of determination, and she nodded.

I nodded back, backing up a few feet.

“I choose you!” She inhaled. “Everybody!!” June threw her Poke Balls into the air.

“Eeeeveee!” Eevee cried out happily, waving her tail slightly.

“Electiviiiiire!” Electivire punched his fists together, looking around.

“Pika Pikaaaa!” Pikachu announced.

Ampharos let out a pleased cheer, reaching for the skies.

“Manectric!” Manectric said, staring at me.

“Magneton!” Magneton greeted.

“Bllliiiiiitzllllle!” Blitzle nodded repeatedly.

A Lanturn popped out from a Poke Ball, calling out.

A bizarre looking Pokemon stared at me that I didn’t recognize.

“Galvantulaaaa!” the enormous spider hissed.

“Gary, these are all of my Pokemon,” June introduced. “Electivire, Galvantula, Eevee, Pikachu, Manectric, Ampharos, Blitzle, Magneton, Lanturn, and Rotom. Everybody, this is Gary. Some of you already know him, or at least his Pokemon.”

Everybody greeted me warmly, except for Electivire, who completely ignored me and stared at the other nine Pokemon.

“Electivire!” Electivire screamed out at the surrounding Pokemon and began sparking threateningly.

“Electivire, stop it!” June shouted. “I sent you all out so I could apologize to you all for everything I’ve put you all through. I-”

“VIRE!” Electivire didn’t even turn to June, but he shocked her with a powerful Electric blast.

June shrieked and fell. Shaking her head, she sat up and turned to Electivire angrily. Her hair was now standing on end in several places. “Electivire! Just listen to me! Give me a chance! I’m sorry! I hate myself just as much as you hate me for what I did to you! But, I love you, Electivire. Can we try to just talk? Don’t you remember how we used to talk? Because I do...” June stood up shakily and looked at Electivire with pleading eyes. “Electivire, remember when we first met? I remember that day. I was in the woods with Magnemite, Flaaffy, and Electrode. You came up to me and-”

TIVIRE!” Electivire electrocuted June again.

June fell again, but shook the shock off, glaring at Electivire, her hair looking funny in this serious situation. “Return!” she demanded, and returned Electivire as he yelled at June’s Manectric, who looked back quietly, not responding. June sighed, staring at Electivire’s Poke Ball. “This may take some more time...” She turned to her other Pokemon, her body sparking a little. “Well, hello, everyone.” She smiled.

June’s Pokemon all faced her and let out their adoring sounds for their Trainer.

June’s smile widened as she brushed her hair down with her hands and got to her feet. “I know Ampharos, Magneton, and Electivire were the only ones here who trained with me when I was becoming a Gym Leader. I met the rest of you later on. But I still want you all here for this.” June paused a moment, her Pokemon giving their full attention. She exhaled for a longer moment. Inhaling once more, she began: “To begin with, Ampharos, Magneton, I’m sorry for what I put you both through for so long. My ridicule of you both for our losses at the Gym, and then after all of that, I ran away from it all. Ran away because of the failure in battles, but the losses were due to my own faults. I was blinded by the wrong things and fighting for the wrong reasons. It was that which caused us to lose, not you guys not being strong enough. I’m so faulty and horrible of a Trainer. I know we’ve had our private times together, but today, I want to truly apologize to you all, in front of our new friend, Gary. And the reason for that is because, I’m finally able to move on! You all already have forgiven me the several times a day that I apologize to you for what I’ve done, every breakfast, lunch and dinner that I leave to be with you all in secrecy. You all have moved on, and have been waiting for me to move alongside you. But I was never able to forgive myself. When battling with Eevee, Magneton, and Pikachu yesterday, I was once again the cause of our loss and caused much unnecessary harm. I’m distraught not only over why we lost, the selfishness which led to the defeat, but also the selfishness over why I was initially so upset. My ability to communicate with Pokemon seems to have its limitations. But, who cares?? What’s most important is my communication with you all! Who cares about anyone or anything else?! I forget about what’s most important to me, and then blame those I love so much when things go wrong, when it’s my selfishness, my lack of empathy, my lack of attention to my beloved, that is the cause of it all!! I suffer you all by thinking of me, me, me! And nothing else! It’s the us that allows me to follow and succeed not only in my dreams, but your dreams, our dreams! I couldn’t have even begun this long journey of mine alone. It only continued with the addition of all of you! I cherish you all more than I show, and I will change that!” She smiled so lovingly at her Pokemon, her eyes twinkling. “Today is that day when I can finally walk alongside you all. You all were so far ahead of me on the road to recovery. Now, I can join with you all, and we can continue our journey and discover all kinds of new and amazing things about each other and this incredible world that we live in. I won’t do it alone. I can’t! I have you all with me, and I won’t forget it!”

June’s Pokemon all cheered loudly and surrounded her, licking her, hugging her, and floating around her, eventually weighing her down to the ground.

June laughed hysterically on her back from the love her Pokemon gave her.

I smiled and pulled out my Pokedex.

Eevee. The Evolution Pokemon. Depending on how it is raised, it can evolve into a wide variety of different types.

Galvantula. The EleSpider Pokemon and the evolved form of Joltik. They make their homes in electric caves. They set electric webs when in danger.

Lanturn. The Light Pokemon. The final stage of Chinchou. The bright part of its body is used to lure prey. It can devour its food in a single swallow.

Pikachu. The Mouse Pokemon and the evolved form of Pichu. This popular Pokemon can become a nuisance as they enjoy eating electric equipment.

Ampharos. The Light Pokemon and the final form of Mareep. This Pokemon is often very gentle and enjoys grazing with others of its kind. Their tail light up and are used as a beacon in place of a lighthouse in emergencies.

Blitzle. The Electrified Pokemon. Its mane holds in electricity. This Pokemon gains boosted effects when hit with electricity.

Magneton. The Magnet Pokemon. The evolved form of Magnemite. It is said that this Pokemon have been discovered in ancient ruins, indicating their existence of at least 1,500 years.

Manectric. The Discharge Pokemon and the evolved form of Electrike. This Pokemon discharges electricity from its body almost constantly. In battle, they can create thunderclouds.

Rotom. The Plasma Pokemon. This Pokemon can infiltrate electronic equipment and enjoys pulling pranks while doing so.

I was in complete awe as I watched June happily play with her Pokemon. It was quite the sight. I wasn’t sure what else to do as I put my Pokedex away but smile, so that’s what I did. And that was all I did, watching with relief.

*

“June?” I brought up.

“Huh?” June asked, turning to me.

“I’m surprised you own a Galvantula, to be honest with you,” I stated.

“Oh,” June said, looking at the ground.

We had finally cleared the grassy field, the area extremely and uncomfortably dark at this time of night, and were now climbing a mountain. It wasn’t too steep of a climb as we followed the curving path going upwards, but it was still a fair amount of leg work.

“You criticized my Beedrill when we battled with you back when you were a Gym Leader,” I reminded her.

June nodded. “I remember. I know it seems odd that I have a Galvantula. I’m just really in love with the electricity flowing through her. I think that’s really cool. And, she’s really pretty strong. I found her back in Gringey City when I left you after Saffron. She was at the Power Plant, on the ceiling. She scared me half to death and I ran, but she actually gave chase and shocked me.” She giggled. “From then on, I stopped running and just had to catch her. I totally fell in love when I realized she was Electric.”

I simply smiled.

“It’s not that I hate Bugs,” June explained. “It’s just, some are kind of scary. But I love all Pokemon. I’m not really afraid of any types... I guess I’m just not an enormous fan of Bugs, but some are pretty awesome, really. They do pique my interest quite often, actually. Like, Parasect. That is a really interesting Pokemon. Like, as Paras, the mushrooms on their backs have a life of their own and slowly take over the host Bug. When evolved into Parasect, the mushroom takes complete control over the Bug. It’s like a walking zombie! That’s totally creepy and scary but so interesting.”

June kept on talking, and I wasn’t willing to complain, happy she was okay and willing to speak again. I didn’t even move away from her as she brushed up against me constantly from how close she was walking.

Glad she and her Pokemon were doing okay, other than the relationship between her and Electivire.

Grateful I got to understand more about June and her Pokemon’s past.

Pleased that I got to meet all of June’s Pokemon and we could all spend time together now.

As June talked, I closed my eyes and tuned her out for a moment and gave a brief, silent, “I’m sorry” in my mind, and a final “rest in peace,” to Electrode.

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