Word Count: 1885
Disclaimer: I don't own Pokemon. I also don't think it will ever go away.
Teaser: Two boxes, one small and one large, sitting side by side, were the proof of a trainer's greatest legacy.
In the initial news reports, there had not been a great deal of information. There had been an explosion inside a building, a place reputedly abandoned many years prior to its destruction; one person was dead, and foul play was suspected, but not yet confirmed. An investigation was underway, and there would be more information as new developments came to light.
Shortly thereafter, though, a name was given to the victim, and more details of what had happened in those final moments came to light and came to the public eye. Once the victim’s name became known, the outcry went from a loud grumble to an all-out roar, with people across the region and across other regions screaming for justice.
As was initially suspected, there was foul play afoot. An agent of Team Galatic was captured at the scene, the police finally revealed, and interrogated on the matter. The agent eventually cracked beneat the pressure. Identifying himself as a mere grunt, and therefore not privy to the inner workings of the plan (information secured only to the administrators and higher-ups), he did have a bit of information to share with the officers questioning him.
The building had been a base of operations for them, a hideout in plain sight. They had been making preparations for some sort of endeavor, though the lower-level agents had not yet been informed as to what that plan was precisely.
And then those trainers had appeared.
Three kids, all with Pokemon, and all determined to stop their plan. There had been a fight, and the administrator on duty had ordered an evacuation with all of the supplies. An alarm had sounded, for the building had been rigged in case of such an event. It would essentially self destruct to hide any and all evidence of their plans.
It was there that the agent’s information ran dry. He knew nothing of anyone dying, and pleaded innocence in that matter. He had moved supplies out of the building, nothing more. The administrator there had been the one to set off the timer for the explosion.
If the man was telling the truth about the situation, then he himself was not guilty of murder, though there were several other crimes that could be laid neatly at his feet. And the police grudgingly admitted that they did not believe the man to be responsible for the death of the trainer inside the building. They did, however, demand more information on the higher-up who had started the self destruct mechanism.
The rest of the details of the victim’s final moments and what had happened in the building were filled in by his friends, the other two trainers who had made their way into the building with the intention of stopping Team Galatic. One male and one female, both young, they were in near hysterics when the police came to escort them away from the scene.
Their story was, initially, very similar to the grunt’s. An alarm had sounded, and they had realized that the building was to be destroyed and that they had almost no time to escape. They began to run. It was only when they got outside that they realized there was a problem: their friend was not with them, though one of his Pokemon was, the one he had been battling with.
He was, however, close enough to the door to call to them. A stack of pallets had toppled over, right on top of him. His leg was pinned beneath one of them, and he couldn’t move it. He had yelled at them not to come in. There was no time.
His voice had cracked on that, though, and they knew he was afraid.
A handful of Pokeballs had flown through the door then, bouncing and rolling across the ground to release their residents in the safety outside. They were a varied bunch: Staravia, Turtwig, Gliscor, Buizel, Chimchar. And they all looked around, bewildered. What was happening, and where was their trainer?
They heard his voice again.
“I release you! All of you! You’re all free! Just get away from here!”
The Pokemon had stood there, stunned, unsure of what to do. Released? Why would he—
As the timer ticked down its final seconds, something incredible happened. The girl, who gave her name as Dawn, broke down and cried anew as she recounted it to the authorities. Her Piplup crawled into her lap and offered the best comfort it could; how remarkable that a Pokemon would weep for a human that was not its trainer.
One of the Pokemon had gone running through the open door, back into the building. They called after it, too startled to even try and stop it; indecision and horror had left them frozen. By the time they could react, it had vanished into the doomed structure. They heard their friend’s voice, heard Pikachu’s cry—
And then the timer had run out.
The two trainers and all the Pokemon had to be treated for minor injuries. They were close to the blast, and only one had taken any serious damage: the Buizel had been hit with a large piece of wood, and would need to spend several days recovering in the Pokemon Center.
…and that was it.
When police and rescue workers searched the ruins, they found the remains. Two bodies, a boy and a Pokemon, both badly burned, and entwined together. They had been holding onto each other in their final seconds. Neither had been alone.
It was a cold comfort to the friends, family, and Pokemon left behind, but a comfort it was nonetheless.
When the trainer’s name and the name of his Pokemon made it into the news, it was suddenly an international story. The authorities received calls from every region, from trainers of every area and walk of life and skill level. It appeared that the young man had made some impact on the places where he traveled with his Pokemon, and had no few friends made throughout his journey.
It was for this reason that the funerals were being held in such a large building. Even then, the place had filled up quickly and early, leaving only standing room. A special area near the front had been reserved for Pokemon, and a surprising number of seemingly wild Pokemon had appeared to claim places there amidst those belonging to trainers.
A Charizard, quiet and solemn. A Squirtle, removing its sunglasses in respect. Two Butterfrees, one pink and one blue. A Pidgeot, who hovered over the coffin before flying up to roost on the rafters. They all took a place with the dozens of other Pokemon gathered. Many had come with their trainers, who took seats on benches, chairs, or even on the floor.
There were many people as well. So many trainers, who spoke softly of the young man they had come to pay respects to, who had helped them or made an impact on them in some way or another.
A few had a more personal connection. His mother and closest friends sat at the front. They included Pokemon professors, Pokemon researchers, gym leaders, and regular trainers.
One of his friends was the leader of the Cerulean Gym, Misty. She commented to another friend, May, that she thought she saw two suspicious people sneaking into the funeral, and she knew exactly who they were: a purple-haired man and a crimson-haired woman in pitiful disguises. They sat near the back with a Meowth between them.
They opted to say nothing about it. There was no point so long as the two stayed there quietly, and the two did not seem to be interested in making any trouble. Besides, May ventured, perhaps it was just their odd little way of paying their respects to a worthy foe.
The funeral itself was a tearful affair. Several spoke, including gym leaders and researchers, and even Cynthia, the League Champion. They all described him in much the same way: driven, determined, capable, and compassionate. They extolled his virtues, tempered his faults, and recounted stories of the impact he had made on their lives.
Those that were closest to the deceased moved to the grave, where trainer and Pokemon would be laid to rest. A few more words were said. His mother wept openly, as did many others. Two yellow roses were laid, one on each casket. Max had said they symbolized friendship.
And as a small group of those who had known the two best watched tearfully, Pokemon and trainer were laid to rest together. That was how they would have wanted it; no one argued that.
It was at the grave, as the caskets were being lowered, that Brock made his statement, speaking as one who had known him longer than many and considered him more a younger brother than a friend. His words were brief, and came with his usual wisdom and insight.
For all the tears and stories and respect of the ceremony, Brock said, thus far there was one thing that no one had yet outright mentioned, and it seemed to him that it was the most important thing to remember. So many had called the deceased a gifted young man and a promising trainer. But the extent of his gift did not truly need words to describe.
It could all be summed up by the much smaller casket being buried beside the larger one.
Within that casket lay a Pokemon, the trainer’s first. A Pikachu. Trainer and Pokemon had overcome their initial animosity towards each other to form a bond and a partnership that transcended so much, from language to norms to battle tactics. Many in their situation were simply trainer and Pokemon. These two were equals.
What Pikachu’s reason was, they did not know. It might have been so its trainer would not be alone. Or perhaps it was just that Pikachu did not want to go on without its trainer. The only one who could answer that question now lay still and silent in a small box, to be buried beside the trainer who had been its best friend.
But that, Brock said as he finally shed one of his rare tears, was perhaps Ash’s greatest legacy.
That his Pikachu loved him enough to follow him into certain death.