What's In Your Head?
Charizard roared from the ground in a sitting position, struggling underneath the blazing sun. His hard eyes were on his opponent, a Decidueye which was sternly staring back. He struggled to get up, but nothing, not even his Trainer’s shouts, were enough to free his shadow that bound him down.
“Seems your spirit’s been shackled, shall we agree? Aaaa-aha ha ha ha,” the lady cackled slowly and lightly. A laugh she did occasionally during this battle, which made her opponent suspicious as to if it was real or not.
Gary bared his teeth, his heart leaping about wildly in his chest. I can’t lose, he thought seriously. Not now. Not here! This is it! I have to win! I have to do it!! He grabbed the bill of his backwards cap and flipped it forward on his head!
The dark stone wedged in the middle of the Poke Ball design on the front of his cap glimmered in the sun.
“Charizard, the battle is far from over!! Exceed your maximum potential and show power beyond compare! MEGA EVOOOOOOLVE!!!” He pressed his pointer and middle finger to the Key Stone on his cap.
With a sharp white light, the Key Stone flashed and quickly traded off to a yellow glow, streams of what could have passed for lightning stretching out from it and reaching for Charizard.
A Mega Stone attached to a red, metal band around Charizard’s right leg began to flash blue and shot out blue sparks that met with Gary’s sparks in the air between Pokemon and Trainer.
Gary’s sparks seemed to take over and run over Charizard’s, becoming a brighter mix of colors, and this coated over Charizard’s body.
The Pokemon roared aggressively as its almost glittery silhouette morphed and shifted, changed and twisted, until the light blew itself out and gray smoke and gusts of air filled the field momentarily before the Mega Evolved Pokemon was revealed, the colorful symbol of Mega Evolution appearing in front of him for a second before vanishing. The same height as before, a black beast stood on its two feet. It inhaled deeply, puffing out its sky-blue underside, and let out a horrifying roar that forced wind at Decidueye and its Trainer.
Decidueye’s feathers ruffled and it turned its head slightly, maintaining eye contact with Mega Charizard X’s now red eyes.
Decidueye’s Trainer, Masseca, bared her teeth, though in a forced smile, stunned by this turn of events, but keeping a brave face.
“Whooooooooa!! Mega Evolutiooooooon!!” her talking Rotom Pokedex wailed out, unable to hold in its surprise. It was hovering in the air above Masseca but backed up at the completion of Mega Evolution. “This could spell out trouble!”
“And there it is, folks!” the unseen announcer yelled from a private area high above the packed bleachers. “Gary has Mega Evolved his Charizard into Mega Charizard X! After having been bound down by Decidueye’s Spirit Shackle, Mega Charizard X is up and at ‘em and looking all kinds of mean! With these being both Trainers’ final Pokemon, has the winner of the Hoenn League been decided??!”
“Aaaa... ha-ha ha ha ha...” Masseca laughed dismissively. “As if I’ve come so unprepared!” She extended her arms, her diamonds gleaming by the sun.
Gary squinted at her, looking her up and down, distracted by her gleaming wardrobe.
Masseca was wearing, literally, nothing but jewels! They all looked to be the same size and crystal shape, but the colors did tend to vary, and they all held black designs amongst the middle of them. Her body was covered in these items, no actual clothes in sight.
Gary found himself trying to spy a nipple or other private part beyond the jewels during a bit of the battle, but to no success.
She grabbed at a specific jewel on her person and removed it, placing it in a spot Gary had also been eyeing.
A white band on her wrist.
The jewel began to glow dazzlingly before a dark symbol came out from it, the symbol disappearing soon after.
What’s going on...? Gary felt his heart begin to drop with concern. He realized his face showed his insides as he saw Masseca smile.
“Decidueye!!” She crossed her arms in front of her face.
Decidueye mirrored this move, crossing its wings in front of its face.
“We’ll combine our powers and unleash relentless devastation!” Masseca’s arms then spread apart and landed at her sides before extending in front of her, crossing over each other at the wrists, and then separating again and her arms were brought in closer to her as she bent her knees and leaned forward some, her hands going limp at the wrists.
A dark glow surrounded Masseca as she did this dance. This energy reached out to her Pokemon, releasing the Trainer.
Decidueye, mimicking these movements in perfect timing, was surrounded by the glow.
All the while, the decoration continued glowing on Masseca’s wrist.
Swaying side to side, both Trainer and Pokemon rose up straight again.
“Reach into your soul, to pull out the energy to stop all others! Decidueye!”
They covered their faces, Masseca with her hands, Decidueye with its wings, and they then revealed their faces, Masseca’s makeup soaked face smiling big.
A different symbol, glowing bright, appeared in the air in front of Decidueye. Both this symbol and the glow then vanished from the Pokemon.
“Sinister Arrow Raaaaid!!”
Decidueye bowed down low before Mega Charizard X, its wings spread out wide, and then shot into the sky at a startling speed! It came to a stop high above the field, and its wings spread open over it. Above it appeared a multitude of arrows holding a blueish-purple color around each of them. The Ghost type then zoomed swiftly down at Charizard, the arrows behind it circling, catching up with it in time.
“CHARIZARD!!” Gary burst out.
Charizard stood his ground.
Decidueye slammed into Charizard, disappearing in a white flash.
The arrows landed around and on Charizard before blowing up with bright energy, covering Charizard from sight on the field.
From out of nowhere, Decidueye landed easily and watched from a distance.
Charizard roared and, as the dust and light settled, he was sliding on his side.
“CHARIZARD!!” Gary demanded. “Let’s wrap this up!! Get up now and use Blast Burn!!”
Masseca squinted in disbelief at the fallen Dragon. “There’s just no way!!”
Charizard stopped sliding and his claws slammed into the dirt ground, digging through. He easily pushed himself up and gave a half-smile at Decidueye.
“Charizard surviiiiiived!” the Rotom Dex exclaimed. “The battle continuuuues!”
The blue flame on Charizard’s tail expanded and grew massively, almost matching the height of Charizard himself. The flames at the sides of his mouth also grew with intensity. He grunted before inhaling deeply.
“Decidueye-!” Masseca started.
Blue flames took over the field, a wave of what could have passed for water, but was the exact opposite, sweeping over Decidueye and furthermore exploding!
The force was enough to drop both Gary and Masseca.
Gary covered his face with his arm, holding himself up on the ground with his other hand.
Masseca just screamed on her knees, crouching down for feeble protection.
The Rotom Dex also screamed in the mix.
The loud rumble of the move lasted a while, but eventually left.
“Decidueye is unable to battle!” the referee’s voice spoke clearly. “Mega Charizard X is the winner, which means Gary is the winner of the Hoenn League competition!!”
“AND THAT IS IT, FOLKS!!” the announcer boomed, the crowd blowing up not long after in a deafening roar. “GARY IS THE HOENN LEAGUE CHAMPION AFTER ONE OF THE WILDEST MATCHES I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIIIIIIFE!!!!!”
“GA-RY!!!! GA-RY!!!! GA-RY!!!! GA-RY!!!! GA-RY!!!! GA-RY!!!!” the crowd chanted while others just screamed as loud as possible.
Gary ran to his Charizard, who turned to him, and he leaped at his Pokemon, tackling him down as Mega Charizard X started reverting back to Charizard in a surrounding flash.
As Rotom Dex consoled a mournful Masseca.
As the announcer went on about the incredible battle that just concluded.
As Charizard accepted strong rubs upon the top of his head from Gary.
As Gary cried heavy, grateful tears upon Charizard.
The crowd continued to ring out the name of the new winner of the Hoenn League. “GA-RY!!!! GA-RY!!!! GA-RY!!!! GA-RY!!!!”
“Gary! Gary! Gary! Oh, my god! Gary!” Shelly moaned in ecstasy, bouncing on the bed, atop her husband.
Gary stared up at his wife, loving everything about every moment of what was going on.
Shelly had her head back, eyes closed. She looked down at her husband, her dirty blonde hair falling around her face as her thick body maneuvered like a whip.
She looked so sexy like that in Gary’s eyes.
The woman with the British accent smiled and lowered herself upon him, in love with the smile she saw on his face, driven by seeing his reaction to her. It gave her butterflies, even after the two years they had been together.
Gary got even more erect with his wife’s body practically pouncing him like a tigress descending on her victim. His hands tightened around her butt, and his eyes lowered to the amazing line on her body where her hip and thigh meets when she’s sat like that. It was just about his favorite part of her otherwise mesmerizing, luscious, curvy, smooth, pale and milky frame. He slid his hands to her hips and held on as he inserted himself even deeper inside.
Shelly grit her teeth and growled, smirking. “That... is deep.”Gary loved this game and beamed at her. “I know.” He did it again, pushing himself in even further.
Shelly let out a loud gasp of surprise and smiled, a light, startled laugh following. “No! That is bad! Stop it!” she growled again. “Smack my butt.”
Gary ran his hands over that area, feeling on the dimples all over, another beloved feature of his wife, and then obliged to her wish, making Shelly giggle as she always did afterwards.
Gary slammed his laptop shut and shoved it from the table. “FUCK!!” he raged at his wife as it crashed to the floor.
Shelly gasped and backed away, holding a book in her hand. “Gary! What are you doing??”
“What am I doing?? I’m tryna fucking...” He inhaled as a thousand different answers came to his mind. “I’m tryna save the fucking world here and all you can do is fucking hold me back with your fucking PC shit!”
Shelly inhaled shakily, frowning. “I just don’t think it’s right to support him.”
“Because he’s male?” Gary questioned sharply.
“Because he’s a Pokemon!”
“What does that have to do with anything?? He’s the right guy for the job! Senator Slowking can really take things in the right direction! He’s a leader! And he’s a fuck of a lot better than that bitch you want in office!”
“You just don’t want a gay woman in office,” Shelly accused.
“That is entirely irrelevant! This bitch is planning to raise taxes to fund supporting the poor on a biweekly basis of free paychecks; just free money! But she’s cutting funding to the Pokemon Centers and going to set up an insurance plan for Trainers to use them? But she’s going to open five thousand more abortion clinics throughout Unova, and force a mandated class on Feminism to all students??! Who the FUCK said I wanted my money going to ANY of this bullshit?!! Where the FUCK is my say in any of this shit?! Because I’m a MAN I can’t have a voice, but this cunt is gonna take my money to fund this shit?!”
“Gary, calm down. Please. The neighbors will-”
“FUCK the NEIGHBORS!! Tell them all to SUCK MY DICK!!!”
“Gary, you’re being ridiculous right now!” Shelly whispered. “It’s three in the morning.”
Gary inhaled and closed his eyes, his throat sore and his body thumping. He took several more breaths. His hand wrapped around his glass cup half full of Dragon Type flavored La Cardi rum and he took a nice swig before landing it back. “Damn it. I’m just trying to help.” He stared at his wife. “I’m just trying to have a voice in this society that has slowly but surely allowed the minorities, the downtrodden, those in unfavorable positions, to finally gain a leg up and speak; only to watch it be taken advantage of and the roles be reversed! The racists are now dead and gone, but their descendants are paying for the sin of their parents! The freedom for people to be themselves and represent their ‘truth’ is now required law! I don’t want to hate anyone. I just want to have a damn opinion! Shit I’m a black man and I’m made to feel like a sellout or a traitor by my own people, just because I think for myself and don’t cave in to stereotypes and roles that, as a black person, I’m ‘supposed’ to fulfill, like marrying a black woman!” Gary slanted his mouth at his wife, narrowing his eyebrows. “Why do you think I’m always online?!”
Shelly hadn’t said a word, taking in everything her husband was letting off his heart. “I know, Gary. I do understand.”
Gary was finishing another sip and shook his head. “What is she doing for the Pokemon Trainers forced to use these damn Ann Droid and Sam Droid phones? These kids are being watched! The government is full of pedophiles and protecting people like them. It’s all a setup! Why do you think I joined up with ClearSmogon?! I’m telling you, soon, we’ll be ready.”
Shelly sighed but kept her eyes on Gary. “Ready for what?”
“For war! Don’t you listen to anything I tell you??”
“Yes, I do, Gary,” Shelly said with agitation.
“If that’s so you wouldn’t have asked me that, now would you?”
“I knew what the answer would be. I know you’re ready to fight.”
“Then why the fuck did you ask me what am I ready for, then??” Gary was getting even angrier now.
Shelly hesitated, not sure how to answer. “I don’t know, okay? I just was making sure.”
“You said you knew what the answer was! What’s there to make sure of?!”
“I was just hoping maybe the answer would be different!” Shelly complained. “Gary I hate that you joined with that group! You saved so many lives after stopping Wattson and Project AZOTH’s restructuring. But then you went and took it too far and joined ClearSmogon and you’ve ruined your reputation as a Pokemon Trainer! You’re not even allowed to compete in Pokemon competitions now! You’re like a criminal, just not on the run!”
“That’s the government, Shelly!” Gary insisted. He had some more to drink. “Don’t you see? I should be praised for what I did stopping Wattson and his return of Team Solace for the third time! I saved basically an entire region! Detective Looker put me on to ClearSmogon. They’re nothing more than a Watchog Group. We just monitor the government and expose all of their bullshit and corrupt actions against the people. The fact that we’re criminalized for protecting the citizens using the truth is just insane! But one day, it will all pay off.”
“One day, we’re gonna be living off the grid, in the wild, growing our own fruits and eating with the Beartics.”
Gary sighed and waved her off, having some more to drink. “Beartic don’t even live in the woods. Besides, it’s safer than living under the eye of the government and eating their poisoned, processed foods and dying decades earlier than we should be.”
Gary squinted at her. “What do you mean?”
Tears were rolling from his wife’s eyes. “Is all of this really worth it, Gary? You say you’re doing all of this to save the world, but is this truly happiness for you?”
Staring at his wife, Gary felt a mix of feelings. He hated seeing his wife cry, but it also angered him. “This isn’t fair.”
“What’s not fair?” she sniffled, wiping at her wet cheeks.
“I’m out here, risking my life! Risking our livelihoods! Trying to make it that one day, we can be happy, free, the planet relieved and grateful for its freedom, and all you do is cry. Every time I make a damn good point about something! Every time I try to just... do what’s fucking right for... Just... I try to think about other people. Not just me, but others! Nothing I’ve said is wrong! At worst I have some opinions, but they all come from a good place, and with evidence! I’m not speaking lies here! If so, please correct me! I’m here to listen! Why can’t I ever just be right with you?! Why is it that no matter how hard I try, and how good of a place I’m coming from, I’m always wrong to you!”
“I’m not saying you’re wrong to me!” Shelly pleaded.
“Because what you’re doing isn’t right!”
Gary threw his hands up in the air. “I JUST FUCKING SAID THAT! I JUST SAID YOU THINK I’M WRONG, AND YOU SAID I’M NOT! NOW YOU’RE SAYING I AM!!”
“No, Gary, I just mean it’s just because what you’re doing is hurting me!”
“What am I doing??!”
“You’re out here fighting against these things in your head and saying you’re willing to die for them! What about me?”
“I’m willing to die for you! That’s what this is all about! The people of this planet, including you! I’m trying to make things better! You think I’ll trust the people Team Solace had working for them?”
Shelly bit her lips, not speaking, and more tears flowed down her face.
“They had members in government, damn it. The Pokemon Association itself! And a group like that never dies. That’s what Prof. Oak told me. The mindset of that group doesn’t lie in one person alone. Team Solace is still out there, Shelly.”
“Gary, it’s been... twenty years-”
“Fifteen.” Gary knew where this was going. He’d been here too many times already.
“...Fifteen years since Team Solace was last active...” Shelly finished.
Gary just shook his head. “It doesn’t matter. This world is absolutely mad. People like Team Solace are still out there. That’s the message Prof. Oak left me with, above all. It’s like he’s still alive today, speaking those words to me everyday. Reminding me to fight. And I’ll be ready, me and ClearSmogon. And the Smellons. We’ll be ready for them should they try their shit again.”
“When is the last time you’ve even spoken to the Smellons? I feel like you don’t message them much anymore.”
“It’s been a while...” Gary admitted grumpily, looking away, and shrugged. “We just don’t speak much these days.”
“Rob is really focused on his schooling these days, studying to become a Pokemon Professor,” Gary responded.
“Kiwi? She’s still in Abete’s Mental Health facility, right?”
“Yes, Shelly...” Gary sighed impatiently. “She’s isn’t going to be let out. You know this!”
“I know, I know. I’m just checking. I mean, they let her have a phone there, so...”
“Yeah, thanks to Barry. And only ’cause of him.”
“How is Barry?”
“Haven’t heard from him either lately. He was the last one in our group who responded somewhat frequently.”
“Is he still in Marreein prison?”
“For his serial killing spree in an attempt to satisfy his obsession with the dead?? Yeah, Shelly!”
“Okay, okay. I’m sorry.” She let out her breath.
“Had I not faced off with him way back then in Kanto twenty years ago, and then won the Hoenn League - roughly five years ago, we might not have hooked up and ended up being such good friends. And I’m sure his connects as an Elite Four member got him allowance to a phone.”
“Yeah. And June?”
“June went to Cali and got married, mailed me a book on Pokemon in Unova for some strange reason, and I never heard from her again.”
“Is that what inspired you to move to Unova?”
Gary sucked his teeth. “I told you this already! I literally told you, and you acknowledged that you knew, that that wasn’t the reason!”
“Okay, I’m sorry. I know that wasn’t why we moved here.”“THEN WHY THE FUCK DID YOU JUST ASK ME IF THAT’S WHY WE MOVED HERE??!! Are you just trying to drive me crazy right now??!!”
Shelly cringed uncomfortably at the yelling. “Gary I just love you. That’s all!”
“You love me?? What the fuck?? When was that brought up?? Who said anything about love?? What does that have to do with anything we’re talking about right now?!”
“Nothing...” Shelly admitted.
“Then why the fuck did you bring that up?? Are you even listening to what I’m saying tonight?? At all?! Why do you do shit like this?! Why, when I’m talking about one thing, do you just jump around and start talking about entirely irrelevant shit??”
Shelly’s face was scrunched up with sadness as she shed her tears.
“And now here we go again with the motherfucking tears! Every time I have a fucking point! A solid fucking point! Here’s the tears to make me feel like I’m an asshole, right? I can’t be right for SHIT around here!”
“I didn’t say you were an asshole!” Shelly cried.
“Yeah, you did! You’re crying! You know how aggravating that is! I can’t make a fucking point in this house without you crying and making me feel like I’m a fucking dick!”
“I can’t help that I’m crying, Gary! I’m sorry! I just... I hate how you talk to me when you drink!”
Gary tossed his hands up in exasperation. “This shit again. I’m expressing myself! This has nothing to do with me drinking! I’m not even drunk or anything! I act the same way sober! You never can fucking admit that!”
“No! It’s worse when you’re drunk! You go into these rants about ClearSmogon and fighting the government, and Team Solace! I don’t want you to die, Gary! I love you! People love you in your life, Gary! Me, your family. When is the last time you’ve called your mother, Gary?”
“I’ve been thinking about that, okay?!” Gary shook his hands hard one time in front of his face. “I’m busy! Once I get a minute I will, okay?? Life is hectic right now with things I’m doing to make this world a better place for all! People like me, you, and her! People like her who still don’t understand!”
“Because of what Pokemon has turned you into.”
“And now you’re defending her??” Gary was mortified.
Shelly shook her head sharply and raised her hands. “No, not at all. I do not support what your mother feels, but what she feels has been used against you in the media, and when you fail to even call her frequently, it only gives her ammunition to not see your side of things and-”
“She never saw my side of things before. Me calling her more won’t change anything. She’s on the side of Team Solace. And I’m ready for their return. It’s pretty much inevitable. And when they do, I’ll be ready to launch the first strike!”
Shelly just shook her head, staring sorrowfully at her husband. “It’s like you just want Team Solace to return!”
A big switch was flipped in that moment inside of Gary’s head. It was labeled: DANGER.
“You fucking idiot!” Gary got to his feet, making Shelly gasp loudly and back up a couple of steps. “THEY KILLED MY BEST FRIEND!! AND TOOK AWAY MY OTHER BEST FRIEND!! KIWI AND ALY!! HOW DARE YOU THINK I WISH THEIR RETURN YOU STUPID FUCKING BITCH!!!”
Shelly stared at her husband, pain written on every bit of her face before covering it and running away, slamming the bedroom door behind her.
Gary heard the chain lock as well. “I’m not in the wrong here,” he muttered to himself. His head was heated and floaty, mildly disoriented. “I’m not!” he said louder. “I didn’t do anything wrong here! Fuck this place!” He picked up his black jeans from the floor and put them on over his black boxers with white dots all over, huffing lazily afterwards in his inebriated tire. “Everyone would just be happier without me around!” he shouted. He grabbed a plain white T-shirt and pulled it on. “I’ve had enough of being here anyway, trying so hard for this household, only to be underappreciated and loathed so much!” His black jacket was also on the floor of the living room and he put it on, as well as one of his caps, which he slid on backwards, the Poke Ball design on it at his forehead. His tongue ran over his dental flipper at the top of his mouth, which granted him his two front teeth.
The bedroom door chain rattled and the door opened, a tearful Shelly staring out at him as he slipped on white socks. “Gary, what are you doing? Where are you going?”
“The fuck do you care? I’m going away from you. That should be enough of an answer for you to be happy.”
“Gary, stop this. Please don’t go. You know I hate when you do this.”
“But I keep doing it, don’t I?” Gary was pulling on black and white sneakers. “So you must hate living with me, then.”
“Gary, I love you. I just hate that you get so worked up and angry.”
“Well, you won’t have to deal with it anymore. I’m out of here.”
“Where?? For how long?? Please, Gary, stop!” Shelly pleaded.
Gary hesitated, staring at his wife’s weeping face, feeling like it was a mirror for how he himself felt inside. He shook his head at her. “I do nothing but cause you pain. I ain’t shit, Shelly. I just hate all of this.”
“So, you hate this?” Shelly squeaked. “You hate me? You hate our marriage?”
Gary felt like falling to his knees and crying right there and then, watching his wife go through so much because of him. But he remained standing and shook his head. “No. Not you. Not our marriage. Just myself. I hate what I do to you. And myself.” He walked to the front door and unlocked it.
“Then stay, Gary!” Shelly begged. “Just talk! Talk to me! Don’t just walk out and leave like this! I love you! All I want are cuddles and attention!”
Gary opened the door, his eyes closed as he thought of how to respond. His heart was beating so painfully at his wife’s innocent words. It was killing him.
Gary’s eyes opened. He stared at the stairs leading down. “I’m sorry for who I am. I only mean well.”
He closed the door behind him and ran.
He ran down the stairs.
He ran to the front door leading out of the apartment building.
He ran down the block, holding back the tears his body longed to release.
Gary ran past multiple houses in anger, dying to yell out his rage and pain. We should just get divorced, Gary told himself. This isn’t working out. We’re just too different. She’s just so fucking stupid! It drives me nuts! She’s a kind, tolerant person, but a fucking deadhead! And I guess I’m a fucking asshole to her. But she’s just too irritating for me! I’m trying to do my best for everyone, and she’s too busy trying to please everyone and succeed with her stupid V-UTube channel and her Log-a-Graph accounts. She couldn’t keep it real if her life depended on it. She’s too caught up on the government’s tracking toys to admit what’s really going on around her. I can’t save her. It’s too late. I love her, but she’s too busy trying to please a world that doesn’t even exist. It’s over. What even is there for me in this world anymore, then? In this life? I need to man up already. I need to end this all. What am I living for? My life is worthless and all I want is for it to end already. I do nothing but make people hate me. Ruin their lives. I’m horrible! I’ve never felt more alone in my life. “AAHHH!!” Gary slammed into someone and fell on his backside. “Gaah.” Looking up, Gary squinted in the night at who he had run into. “Whoa. Hey, I’m really sorry.”
The man leaned over and extended a hand, smiling warmly. “It’s so, so good to meet you, Gary.”
Gary had started to reach his hand up until the man said his name. “Huh?” He squinted at him. “You know my name?” Gary could have slapped himself as he suddenly recognized the face before him.
The man’s long, black hair was in a ponytail. He was a clearly tall man, even bent over.
Gary’s eyes widened in disbelief and he scurried backwards. “Y-y-you!” He shook his head hard. “No!”
The man lowered his hand but maintained his friendly face. He nodded understandingly. “I knew this would be difficult. And I’m so sorry.”
“You’re dead!” Gary screamed in a panic. “Who are you?!”
“Gary, please,” the man insisted, still nodding, raising his hands up a bit. “I need you to listen to me.”
Gary leaped to his feet, glaring now. “How...? HOW??” He leaped at the man in fury and then gasped as he was now hovering in midair, his arm stuck, ready to sock the man right in his face. His body was outlined in blue.
A squeak came out from closeby, but Gary was unable to turn to see what it was. The source of the noise revealed itself, lowering itself next to the man and hovering over his right shoulder, its eyes glowing blue.
Gary stared in disbelief at the being before him now, his eyes going back and forth between it and the man, not sure which was more surprising as his head was filled with thoughts, questions, and memories. Finally, his eyes settled on the man. “Isaac.”
Isaac’s smile finally faded. He seemed sad as he gazed upon Gary. “Gary, I’m so sorry I have to do this. But this isn’t what you think.”
“ISAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAC!!!!” Gary roared, struggling to move, but he was stuck in the Mythical Pokemon, Celebi’s, Psychic hold. “ISAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAC!!!!” Gary didn’t know what else to say or do, so he just struggled and yelled in desperation.
“Pokemon are our friends!” Aly screamed angrily, stepping forward.
The guns pointed at Gary and Aly.
“Gary, I am not the Isaac you know,” Isaac stated. “I’m here to explain.”
“HOW ARE YOU-??!!” Gary’s mouth was forced shut, and he could only grunt in anger.
“I’m so sorry for this, Gary,” Isaac whispered, lowering his head. “I hope you will forgive me for all of this. Believe it or not, I’ve come to offer help.”
Gary was using up all of his energy, and soon, he found himself unable to continue his vain attempts to power through Celebi’s hold.
“Gary, I wish to speak with you, but I need to know that you will not cause a commotion,” Isaac offered. “As you likely know, Celebi is a Psychic type Pokemon, and therefore can read your mind and intentions. Agree to speak with me, and hear me out, and of course, I will do the same for you. Even if you refuse, I’m afraid I will simply have to keep you silent and explain myself. Should you not react within reason, I will depart, and we shall never meet again; at least, not in any predictable fashion I can foresee. It certainly will not be with me, at least. I would prefer for us to both be able to have an actual discussion, personally.”
Helpless, Gary could only leer at Isaac.
Aly turned to Gary, fire in her eyes. “Gary! Screw you, then! You damn coward! I’m not afraid of these bullies!”
“Aly, they have freaking guns!” Gary pleaded. “This isn’t worth it! Please! PLEASE ALY!!!!”
“No, Gary,” Aly shook her head. “You have to stand for what you believe in. You can’t just cower away! How can we win if we let people like this step all over us?”
Gary uttered a growl, confused, but ready to fight. He hasn’t... aged a bit! he realized. He looks exactly the same, but this is him! It’s Isaac! This is it? This is what I’ve been waiting for? The return of Team Solace? But how?? Isaac died right in front of my eyes!!
Isaac tumbled right out of his helicopter! He wailed at the top of his lungs, flailing!
A Snorlax was behind Gary, standing up, looking up at the bomb as it headed for the Indigo League Stadium, its mouth wide open in awe. “Snor...” The bomb dropped right into its mouth! Snorlax shimmied in surprise, the bomb sticking out of its mouth, already filling it, and grunted and GULPED! the rest of it down! Its mouth fell open as it breathed out heavily from the effort.
Isaac, shrieking in terror, fell right behind the bomb, and into Snorlax’s mouth as well! Only his head was in the gigantic Pokemon’s mouth, the rest of his body kicking and struggling.
Gary could hear him screaming from inside of Snorlax’s closed mouth.
Gary could still hear the explosion of Snorlax as if it had happened for the first time.
Isaac nodded. “I am not the Isaac you know,” Isaac repeated. “Hear me out. I am not the Isaac who was killed by the bomb in Snorlax. I am, in fact, not even from your universe.”
Huh? Gary wanted to ask this out loud, but was unable to.
“Gary, I am the Isaac who kept Celebi.”
Gary’s eyes shot to Celebi, and they widened.
“I knew other Pokemon as well, but Celebi always felt special to me, for some reason,” Isaac explained sadly through a microphone to the crowd at the Indigo Stadium while high above in a helicopter. “It became my favorite Pokemon, and best friend. Little did I know at the time, it was a Legendary Pokemon with great powers of time travel. One day, I couldn’t find it. I searched for it for several days before giving up. Having been deserted by my best friend, I began to loathe all things.”
“Yes, Gary,” Isaac smiled. “You see, I am not that Isaac who a Celebi fled from.”
Gary couldn’t believe his ears. What is he saying? Is he reading my mind??
“The Isaac you know, perished. And thankfully so, I might add.” Isaac let out his breath. “Gary, we have a lot to talk about. Please, give me your grant. Let us speak. Peacefully.”
Gary still couldn’t speak, but he needed answers, at any cost. Okay, Gary thought hesitantly. I want to speak to you. Can you hear me?
“Bi!” Celebi nodded.
“Loud and clear, Gary,” Isaac nodded with Celebi.
Celebi’s eyes stopped glowing, and the glow around Gary vanished.
“Aahh!!” Gary hit the ground on his back. Now freed, Gary scrambled to his feet and stepped back a bit. He raised his hands, extending his right palm out to Isaac. “Okay, what the fuck is going on here?”
Isaac cackled lightly. “It’s funny, no matter how many times I’ve gone over this in my head, no matter how many times I’ve done this, over and over again, it’s never easy to explain.” He went silent, still smiling.
Gary just leered back at the man dressed in all black, from his jeans, to his long sleeved, button up shirt, to his sneakers, not knowing what he was talking about.
Isaac’s lips pressed together, and he took in a breath. “Let’s just begin. Gary, you are familiar with the concept of multiple universes, correct?”
Gary squinted now, his eyebrows furrowed in confusion. “What??”
“I’m trying to make this as easy to comprehend as possible, but I don’t know if you know what a multiverse is. I need to know how much I need to explain. Do you know of the theory of multiple universes?”
Gary was breathing slowly, but deeply. “A multiverse? The idea that the universe is split into different, new universes every time you make a decision, basically. Something like that, right? That there’s this world, this universe. And if I wake up and decide to get dressed, instead of going back to sleep, an entire new universe is created in a new dimension that is just like this world, and the me in that world goes to sleep instead. Every choice you don’t make is lived out in an alternate reality. I’m aware of that stupid theory. It’s nonsense. What of it?”
Isaac laughed. “Yes, it is quite ridiculous, isn’t it? That every option you go against gets to live elsewhere. You eat cereal here, the other you eats waffles. But then what about your friend? He or she must be making choices, too, right? Say they go to the park instead of the mall; is there a universe where you are getting dressed and they go to the mall, and a universe with you going back to bed and they go to the mall, and a universe where you get dressed and they go to the park, and a universe where you eat cereal and they go to the mall, and a universe where you eat waffles and they go to the park? Etcetera, etcetera... Then what about strangers in this world? Everyone is doing different things. Billions of different people doing different things at all times, creating, goodness, a googolplex of universes, even! Insane isn’t it, trying to figure that out.” He laughed some more.
“How are you here, Isaac?” Gary growled impatiently.
Isaac nodded immediately. “Yes, of course. That’s what I’m explaining, Gary. I am, in fact, an Isaac from a different universe. I am not the one you know.” His face suddenly went serious, his smile completely gone. “Gary, I am so sorry for what Isaac did to you.”
Silence met the two men for a moment.
“Gary, I come from the past. I am not the would-be now fifty-five year old Isaac who was killed, but the thirty-five year old Isaac you’re familiar with, except, as a child, I befriended and kept Celebi. I have come here from the past to make amends and make you an offer to save your friend, Aly.”
Gary’s eyes shot at Celebi, only because his first instinct was to slug Isaac in the face as he dared to mention the name of his late friend.
“I can’t even describe how much of a punch in your ugly freaking face you deserve!!!” Aly stormed over to Isaac with balled fists.
Isaac sat there calmly, watching her.
“ALY, STOP!” Gary demanded frantically.
The blood splattered the floor.
Aly gasped loudly and then collapsed on her side. “Gary,” she managed. Her grip tightened on Gary’s arm as her eyes rolled up in her head. She gave one hard shake and went still, her mouth wide, her eyes still open.
Seeing Celebi still there, Gary restrained himself.
Isaac closed his eyes and lowered his head, as did Celebi. They shook their heads. “Gary, I’m so sorry for your loss...”
Gary bared his teeth. “Are you... reading my mind?”
Isaac and Celebi returned their gaze to him. “Thanks to Celebi, yes. Being a Psychic type. This is why I was able to travel through time, as well. This is the offer I am making for you. Gary, I am here to let you travel back in time to save Aly’s life.”
Gary’s breath was cut short. His lips quivered, trying to speak.
“If you wish, I will send you back in time to hopefully be able to save Aly’s life.”
Gary shook his head hard. “Wh-wh-why?”
“I’ve had this conversation so, so many times,” Isaac smiled briefly. “You see, it’s like this, Gary. Your Isaac, the vile, vile, broken man, met a Celebi, but that Celebi fled. Other things led to Isaac becoming the terror he was for your world, which led to the horrors of Kiwi later. I, though, am an Isaac that a Celebi did not choose to leave alone. The results are quite the opposite. I am not a madman. I have come to help. To stop those thoughts in your head for good. Those traumatic, horrific memories. To silence the voices.”
Gary swallowed and grit his teeth. “No,” he shook his head. “This is some kind of trick! You’re Isaac! You’re no friend of mine!”
“Gary, I am not here to force anything upon you. This is only an offer. Deny it if you feel most comfortable. I will simply leave, and you will never hear from me again. It’s just, if there’s one thing I’ve noticed in all of the alternate universes I’ve been to so far, Gary, it’s that you and I are inseparable!”
Gary just shook his head.
“Every universe, you and I are in some kind of squabble. Even in the ones where we’re friends, there’s a problem! Ha ha ha. There’s differences in our characters, but we are, usually, essentially, the same. Sometimes you’re far more foolish and downright arrogant. Other times you’re a complete coward. Overall, you all share that stubbornness, ha ha ha. Me? I differ in ways, but I always have the intelligent spark about me, if I say so myself.” He beamed at Gary.
Gary remained cold towards him, holding him in sharp eyes. “If you want to help so bad, why don’t you just go back and stop Isaac? Why don’t you go back to that moment and save Aly yourself? Or heck, go back and call the police in advance! Or hey, why not just kill Isaac as a baby and spare my universe the trouble it had to go through altogether? Seems like for someone with access to time travel, you have a lot of options you’re not utilizing that would make things a whole lot easier than trying to convince me to trust you.”
Isaac shook his head, sympathy in his eyes, his lips tight against each other. “I know, it does seem that easy, doesn’t it? It’s not.”
“And why not? I don’t believe any of this.” His eyes turned back to Celebi, still contemplating attacking Isaac until he got some real answers, but knowing he couldn’t. He didn’t even have his Pokemon with him.
Celebi stared back at him solemnly.
“Gary, I know my answers aren’t sufficing. To be clear, I am a Draconid.”
“Draconid...?” Gary spoke the word softly. It rang a bell in his head, like something he’d heard once before somewhere. Maybe on TV, or something from a friend.
“The Draconids are an ancient people going back thousands of years. To put it simply, they were a tribe from what is the Hoenn region, of Dragon type Pokemon users. Moreover, they were like one with the Dragon Pokemon. They could communicate with them, live in peace alongside them, and the Dragons would often loan their strength to aid the Draconids.”
Gary let out his breath impatiently through his nostrils and cocked his head, glaring at Isaac.
Isaac opened his mouth to speak.
“Enough, Isaac!” Gary took a brave step forward, his eyes going to Celebi only for a second. “Enough! You’ve told me about time travel, multiverses, and Draconids, and none of it makes any sense! Get to the damn point or it will take the power of your Celebi to keep me from beating your ass right here, right now!” Gary’s fists balled up as he got more pumped to fulfill his threat.
Isaac opened his mouth, but it closed again. He took a deep breath, letting it out. “Gary, I cannot go back in time to save Aly myself, because this is something I am offering to you. This is an opportunity to allow you to right what was wrong. I could have done a number of things, like save Flora, Isaac’s daughter, for example. But I’m not here to help him. I’m here for you. I’m here to help you. This is about you and me, Gary. There’s something you don’t understand about time travel. It’s not like in the movies and on TV. You can’t just go back in time and change things, and suddenly go back to when you left and everything’s fine and you remember everything. That doesn’t even make sense. For example, if I go back in time and stop you and Aly from entering the Radio Tower, tell me, would you, right now, remember me stopping you both?”
Squinting hard, Gary slowly shook his head. Of course not. “If you stop us in the past, I wouldn’t be here to remember that. I’d be in a completely different place remembering it. But not in this same exact... reality. Right?”
“Right!” Isaac beamed at Gary’s comprehension. “Furthermore, if I go back in time, into your timeline, your memory, essentially, and suddenly I am there stopping you two from entering the tower, I change the very fabric of reality itself and create a loophole! What would happen is that I would stop you from entering, which means you both never enter and Aly lives, which means I then have no reason to have gone back in time to save Aly! That means I don’t go back in time to stop you two from entering which means you both enter and Aly dies again! Meaning I’ll have a reason to go back in time to try and stop you again and we’ll just be caught in an eternal loop! I’ve seen universes end up like this, Gary. Stuck forever, cycling with no end. Time travel is a terrifying thing and not as stupid as they make it sound. The same with multiple universes! It’s not just: run across the street through the stop light and another universe just like this one is created just so you can wait for the walk signal! Pokestar and the media make a mockery of true time travel and multiple dimensions.”
Gary’s head was spinning, but everything Isaac was saying made perfect sense. In fact, it was something Gary always felt about the concept of time travel and the multiverse!
“To take it further, Gary, if you do accept my offer, you’d be changing the fabric of reality itself. If you go back to save Aly, you have to go to that very moment Aly is shot, and you’ll only have seconds, if that, to save her. You see, once you go back in time, your presence affects the timeline of your memory, and the memory of everyone else in existence. It’s that, because you go back in time, because your current self wasn’t originally there, once you’re spotted by anyone or anything in that past, you’re now affecting their current memory in this present of what actually occurred, and changing it. You being there never happened, so by interfering with that reality, it changes the reality of the entire universe! Once you’re spotted, you’ll be erased from existence, and memory, while your past self will remain and continue on as normal. No one will remember you being there. It’ll be as if you never were there, because, in a sense, you weren’t. The simple fact is, Gary, by going back, you will no longer exist. You’ll vanish, and the past, child version of you will continue on. The trick is to make sure that you are able to affect the past enough that when you do vanish, your past self doesn’t end up exactly where you are now.”
Gary was silent as Isaac stopped speaking. Math was never Gary’s favorite subject, and it felt like Isaac had just tried explaining algebra to him. His head was twisted, mixed, and trying to put the puzzle of things spoken, in place. “So... You’re not affecting any timeline right now by being here...? Or is it because you came from the past...? I’m... pretty lost here...”
“As a Draconid, I can communicate with Dragon type Pokemon,” Isaac explained. “This includes the Legendary Pokemon Dialga and Palkia. These two control time and space. The significance is that, while Celebi can travel through time, it is Dialga who actually controls it. With this, and the power of Palkia controlling space and dimensions, I can travel without affecting anything in any universe.”
“Right...” Gary nodded slowly, still not fully believing or understanding everything being told to him. “So, I go back in time, try and save Aly’s life, and then cease to exist, and hope that everything goes along okay and doesn’t loop the universe?”
“In the most simple of terms, yes,” Isaac said with a bit of a tired sigh and a light smile.
Gary thought about this, still trying to sort out his thoughts and questions. “So this world I’m in right now will just disappear and revert back to that moment when Aly and I go in the radio station?”
“No. This world will remain just as is. But, the moment you decide to do this, Gary...” Isaac’s mouth hung open and he tried to form his next words. “...a replacement of you will appear in that same instant.”
Gary gasped. “A what??”
“It will literally, in every sense, be you,” Isaac spoke quickly. “Think of it like karma, cause and effect. An action having an equal but opposite reaction. When you jump up, your body goes back down. When you blink, you cause darkness to your sight. When you fall to the ground, you cause pain and damage to your body. In these circumstances, when you travel through time, to fill the void of your unwarranted disappearance, only ‘naturally,’ something must fill the void. It will be you, created by the creator of our very universe, Arceus, to continue on. By our language it may be seen as a replacement, but it isn’t. It literally is you, Gary. Not a clone so much, or a copy, or a robot, or anything like that. But you, yourself. He will not know about the time travel. He will just pick up exactly where you were and what you were doing before all of this. Running. Nothing more.”
Gary’s eyes widened. “But my wife! That means I’ll be leaving her! And with... a clone?! Or whatever you wanna call it! No way! That’s my wife!”
“I’m not forcing anything on you, Gary. This is your choice.”
“There’s no option here! I’m not deserting my wife! I’m not being replaced by something you claim a Mythical Pokemon will produce out of thin air if I trust you to take me back in time to save Aly and might possibly end up failing and cause time warps and other bullshit. This is insane! All of this is mad! Just leave me alone! I’ve got a story to write, as it is.”
Isaac nodded. “Yes, your next work after the major success of your Kanto autobiography. You’re working on the final chapter of your Unova exploration. That’s quite alright, Gary. I will leave, then.” He nodded again and turned to Celebi. “To the next universe, then, Celebi?”
“Bi! Bi!” Celebi reached out with both hands to Isaac, and he did the same.
“I know I didn’t do much of anything for you, but I did what I could. For that, I thank you, Gary.” Isaac didn’t turn from Celebi.
They both closed their eyes.
“Isaac! Hold on!” Gary reached out to him.
Isaac turned to see Gary’s watering eyes.
“I just... don’t understand!”
“It wasn’t possible for you to save her!” Gene had shouted at Gary twenty years ago when he had been blaming himself for Aly’s death. “Gary, you did everything you could possibly do that day.”
“I don’t understand anything,” Gary stated again, tears falling out of his eyes. “Except that they took my best friend from me... And I hated myself, thinking I didn’t do all that I could for her, and tried living each and every day believing that I did. And now, here you are, telling me there is something more I can do?”
Isaac didn’t respond, staring sadly upon Gary.
“Every time I make a damn good point about something! Every time I try to just... do what’s fucking right-”
“I JUST FUCKING SAID THAT!”
“Then why the fuck did you bring that up??”
“And now here we go again with the motherfucking tears! Every time I have a fucking point! A solid fucking point!”
“HOW DARE YOU THINK I WISH THEIR RETURN YOU STUPID FUCKING BITCH!!!”
“This new... same... me that will replace me...” Gary whispered. “Will he be better to her...?”
“Gary, it would be as if you had never left. He would only be you, with no knowledge of this interaction of ours. Just as we met, you running, he’ll be running, and do what is natural. He is natural. He is as you as you are.”
Gary nodded, looking down. “I see...” He looked back to the man before him. “So, can’t you use the power of the Dragons to protect me, too? So I don’t screw up the timeline or whatever? Then I can just return back to this time and the new Gary would vanish? Or is that not how it works...?”
Isaac shook his head. “Even as a Draconid, having contact with Dialga and Palkia is a blessing. A gift. I can’t just grant every of the countless Garys protection with this power, too, let alone even just one of you.”
“Right,” Gary muttered. “So I might end up down this same road, though? I’ll create a new universe, erasing my existence, but things might still end up as they are now?”
“Gary, while not impossible, that is highly unlikely. The smallest change in the wind could result in a world of differences compared to had the wind simply not blown. You will very, very likely not wind up in this same spot in life. Married, an accomplished Pokemon Trainer, a bit of a controversial public figure. The Pokemon you meet and catch will likely change. Aly might die again, at a different time.”
“It could all be in vain and I’d never even know. Does that mean you’d return?”
“Not me,” Isaac shook his head. “I imagine not any ‘me,’ but who knows. This time travel, multiverse thing gets more complicated than I could ever explain to you, and I don’t even know it all. This is the power of the gods, Gary. I am merely a man trying to explain it.”
“Can’t you make sure I make the same choices somehow? Follow me? Explain this all to me when I’m gone and the past me is going through life again? Make sure I end up with my wife...?” His eyes began to fill again, and his eyebrows narrowed at the lack of response. “Isaac!”
“Gary, me doing that could cause more harm than you think.”
“But you can!!”
“I cannot!” Isaac spoke strongly, staring hard at Gary. “Gary, you don’t understand, and I understand that. But no, that is not what I am here for. That is not what this is about!”
“Then what is this about, Isaac?!”
Isaac hesitated. “I’ve told you, this is an opportunity for you,” Isaac responded in a more relaxed voice. “To save Aly. To remedy a fault. A chance. This is between you, and me. Here, then. But no one else. For Aly. I’m sorry this isn’t as black and white of an answer for you, but as I’ve said before, it’s your choice. I’ll leave at your word.”
Gary’s entire face was tight as he thought about everything he’d heard so far. He lowered his eyes and raised a hand to cover his mouth, sniffling hard. I can save Aly, like I believed, Gary pondered. I can fulfill it. Turning away means... I didn’t do everything I could do to save her, after all... And Shelly... Maybe, it’s like Isaac said. The smallest things can change the world; a butterfree effect. Maybe, by having Aly back, I’d be less negative about life. Maybe I’d be happier. Maybe I wouldn’t be in the ClearSmogon group. Maybe I could end up a happier person, meet Shelly, and be able to treat her better... Or, not meet her at all and she could end up with someone who treats her right... He blinked repeatedly, pulling back forming tears before he looked into Isaac’s eyes.
Isaac stared back in silence.
Gary removed his hand from his face and extended it out.
Isaac watched this, but didn’t move.
The two men focused hard on one another.
Isaac reached out to Gary and grasped his hand. “Gary. Are you sure?”
“You have a Celebi there, don’t you? Can’t you tell?”
Isaac smiled gently.
Celebi then floated over and placed both of its hands on the men’s. “Bi!”
Isaac closed his eyes. “Granted by Arceus, powered by Palkia, controlled by Dialga; we thank you, greatest of Dragons. Celebi, guide us back!”
A bright flash of light forced Gary’s eyes shut. He squinted hard, trying to see what was going on!
Shining like a multitude of smashed green and blue diamonds, the light engulfed the three.
“Shelly!” Gary burst out, full of regret.
They all vanished.