Title: Unlikely Matchmakers
~ Part One ~|~ Part Two ~|
Author: Jos Mous
DISCLAIMER: I own none of these characters, I'm not making any profit out of this, blahblahblah.
PAIRING: Haven't decided yet. So I'll have to get back to you on that one.
A.N: As the members on this list might have already figured out is that I sometimes come up with very strange and possibly even original ideas. I can't help it. I really can't. My mind simply works that way. The following attempt at a story is going to be another fine example of all the neurons misfiring in my brains. I hope you enjoy it and don't send the men in white coats to take me to the loony bin.
Sam angrily slammed the small doors shut. One week. One lousy week. She was ill for just one damn week and already they had redecorated the entire house! The furious brunette made exactly two paces, opened another pair of small doors and looked inside. The already very apparent frustration on her face became even more apparent as this pair of small doors also got slammed shut.
"What are you looking for?" Brooke asked, entering the kitchen because she was getting tired of the sound of slamming little doors.
"U's food." Sam answered, not looking at the blonde, but continuing her search.
"It's in the fridge." Said Brooke.
Now Sam looked at her.
"It's in the fridge? It's in the FRIDGE! What were you thinking putting it in the fridge!"
Brooke flinched back from Sam's sudden fury.
"Sorry." Sam muttered under her breath as she headed for the fridge.
The brunette yanked opened the door, looked inside and with a triumphant cry took out a small pack.
"What were they thinking, putting it in the fridge." Sam muttered as she walked over to the small bowl in a corner of the kitchen. It almost seemed as if she had already eradicated Brooke from her personal universe.
The blonde, realising this, sighed, turned around and left.
Sam knelt down next to the bowl and poured some food into it.
"U?" She said sweetly. "U, come here, boy."
It would be wrong to say that 'U' appeared out of the shadows. It was more as if it brought the shadows along with it everywhere it went. 'U' looked faintly similar to a dog, even though its ears looked more like that of a hare. Its fur was pitch-black. It was blacker than even the blackest night. On its fur, however, were also several gold-coloured circles, including a small one on its forehead between the eyes and one around each of its ears and tail. Its eyes were blood-red and slit in half by pupils even blacker than its fur.
It said. "Umbreon?"
"Come on Umbreon," Sam said. "Dinner's ready."
Umbreon walked over to the bowl, looked inside it, then looked at Sam. He looked very pleased.
"Umbreon!" He shouted.
"Nice to see you too." Sam said, stroking one of Umbreon's ears. "Now eat."
Umbreon did not need to be told that more than once.
Sam looked at affectionately at Umbreon for a while longer, stood up again and put the pack as far away from the fridge as she could manage.
Sam turned around again to face Umbreon, who by now was finished and was looking at her expectantly. The brunette hesitated for a moment, reached down her pocket and took out a small red-and-white ball.
"Umbreon, we need to talk."
The day had progressed smoothly and without incident. That is to say, no incidents worth mentioning. Currently Sam was standing inside the gym of Kennedy High, wracked with nerves. It was try-out for _the_ most popular sports teams of the school. A few more people were standing more or less around her, all of them just as nervous. In the far corner of the gym most of the Glamazons were glaring at her. The tribune was filled with spectators. Unbeknownst to Sam an apparition wearing a white lab coat materialised behind her.
"So, Miss McPherson, I understand you want to try out for the team."
Sam quickly turned around, faster than humanly possible. Well, faster than normally possible anyway.
"Miss Glass?" She asked, stunned, astounded and not a little frightened by this discovery. "What are you doing here?"
"Coach broke his leg falling down some staircases. So in return for a slightly bigger, yet still pathetically small number on my pay check I have decided to take over." Glass whipped out a pad and a pencil. "Now then, what's your team?"
"My... err... my team?" Sam stumbled. Normally she would have known what Glass was talking about, but since this is Glass we're talking about her higher brain functions had periodically fled to other places.
"You do have a team, right?" Glass said, staring at her intently.
"Err... yeah, sure. I mean, of course."
"Oh, right, of course, well, I have Umbreon."
Glass wrote the name down. Then she looked at Sam expectantly. After a while it became clear that little more would follow.
Sam nodded rather helplessly.
Glass sighed meaningfully and scribbled something down on her pad.
"Caught, given, bought?"
"Your Umbreon." Glass explained slowly. "How did you get it?"
"Birthday present." Sam said. "Of course, he was still an Eevee then."
The shape of a raised eyebrow appeared on the face of Glass. She very briefly smiled approvingly and wrote some more.
"OK then. Why do you want to be on the team?" Glass asked.
Sam shrugged. "I dunno. For fun."
"Fun?" Glass repeated, her voice betraying that she didn't really believe it.
"Alright then, you're on. After you prove yourself." Glass put away the pad and pencil and looked over at the rather large crowd at the edge of the gym. "You'll have to fight someone already on the team. You don't actually have to win, just as long as you show potential, got it?"
"Josh Ford!" Glass suddenly shouted. "Get over here!"
Every head in the gym turned to look at Josh.
"I-I... err..." Josh stammered.
"Something wrong with your hearing?" Glass said. "Or is your brain to slow too process a command like that quickly?"
"I'm... not a trainer." Josh admitted.
"Then what the Hell are you doing here?" Glass demanded.
"I... like to watch?" He offered helplessly.
Glass glared at him. "Fine. Just make sure you're gone when the Glamazon practise starts." She said. She then proceeded to look over the assembled spectators, many of whom tried not to get noticed.
A sigh of relief escaped Josh' lips.
"Dude, that was close." Said Sugar Daddy, who was sitting next to him.
"Yeah." Josh said. He then frowned as a rare thought entered his mind. "Sug?"
"Wasn't there a time when... you know... football was the most important school activity?"
Sugar Daddy looked at him. His look made it very clear what he was thinking.
"Yeah, I know." Josh sighed. "Wishful thinking."
Suddenly the voice of Glass sounded throughout the gym.
"You there! Dumb-looking guy!"
Some average guy suddenly pointed his finger at his own chest. "Me?"
"Yes, you." Said Glass. "You a trainer?"
"Well... yeah." Said the guy.
"Then get down here."
The guy, confused by this sudden attention carefully made his way down and over to the small group of maybe soon-to-be school-endorsed trainers.
"What's your name?" Glass asked.
The guy looked rather embarrassed. "Extra." He said.
"That your first name or you last?"
Glass looked over the list she had received containing all the name of the people she was supposed to be training. "Oh yes, here you are. Nameless Extra." She looked at the list a while longer. "The Extra family is pretty big I see."
"Yeah, well." Said Nameless Extra.
"Now then," Miss Glass said, turning to everyone in general, but Samantha McPherson in particular. "Mr Extra here has been a trainer for..." She glanced on the sheet of paper. "Two years. So we can all expect he has a good team, right?"
"Well..." Said Nameless Extra. "I have a team of two."
"A team of two?" Glass asked.
"Official matches require at least three."
"We kinda, sorta lend them to one another."
"I can't believe the coach allowed that."
"He probably wouldn't." Said Nameless Extra. "If he were around." He added grumbling.
"He was never around. Completely didn't care. And whenever we lost he shouted angrily at us."
Glass was silent for a moment. This was something she could not approve of. True, she did shout at her students as well, but at least she was there to witness the events that might evoke some shouting. And that gave her the right to shout.
"Well anyway. Form up for a match. Everyone else, get clear."
Sam and Nameless Extra soon found themselves opposite of one another on a very empty floor of the gymnasium. Everybody else was sitting in the tribune, already cheering and shooting.
"Good luck." Said Sam.
"You too." Said Nameless Extra.
"OK, you'll just use one, since Miss McPherson doesn't have any more. There's a five minute time limit. I'll judge who wins. However, if one faints, that will be the clear loser, got it?" Glass said.
Sam and Nameless Extra nodded.
Sam, not used to battling, took out the red-and-white ball and pushed the button on it. Umbreon appeared. Nameless Extra, on the other hand, threw his ball with great enthusiasm. The creature that appeared looked like an inverted triangle with two eyes and a very large mouth. Two disembodied hands floated nearby.
"A Haunter?" Sam said. "You're using a Haunter?"
"It was either that or Abra." Said Nameless Extra.
"I said, 'start', didn't I!?" Glass shouted.
"Haunter, lick him!" Nameless Extra shouted fanatically.
Haunter quickly flew over and dragged his tongue all over Umbreon. Umbreon shivered, but wasn't overly affected.
"Bite him." Sam said.
Umbreon nodded and dashed forward. Nameless Extra started to panic a little.
Everybody covered their eyes as a bright white light filled the entire gymnasium. As the light subsided Umbreon was furiously blinking, trying to get some measure of vision back. Meanwhile Haunter had gotten behind him. His eyes were glowing as he prepared for another attack.
"Faint Attack!" Sam shouted.
Umbreon disappeared. The glow in Haunter's eyes disappeared as well. The ghost looked around, not knowing where Umbreon had gone. Umbreon soon reappeared behind Haunter. Haunter was too late to react and Umbreon hit him full on. Haunter floated off, clearly hurt and turned around to face an Umbreon who was looking at him confidently. Haunter put his hands together for another Flash attack, but Umbreon dashed forward and quickly lunged at Haunter before he had the chance to pull it off completely. The ghost floated away again, but Umbreon was in relentless pursuit. Umbreon hit Haunter full on as the ghost was trying to turn around. Haunter slowly floated to the ground and remained lying. Soon afterwards he turned red and returned to his ball.
The crowd cheered.
Umbreon happily strutted over to Sam. The brunette knelt down and, deciding that hugging was maybe a bit too much, patted him on the head.
"Great job." Sam said. "For a first try." She added smiling.
"Umbre." Umbreon huffed, not insulted in the least.
Glass walked over to her and clapped in her hands twice. There were traces of sarcasm, lined with a little cynicism.
"Well done. Of course we all know Ghosts don't stand a chance against Darks, but still." Glass again got out her pad and pencil. "You're on the team. Congratulations." She said, smiling faintly. "And for Heaven's sake, try to get some more before the next training."
"I will." Said Sam.
Glass nodded, then looked at her pad.
"OK, next up is... Unseen Extra!"
A voice sounded through the gymnasium. It wasn't loud, in fact it was almost a whisper. But everyone heard it , because everyone knew that not hearing it could very well mean death.
"Oh Gods, don't tell me I've got to cheer for Spam McFearsome."
NOTE: Yes! I know! It's a Pokémon cross-over! But no Pikachu's, I promise. Unless their role is to be beaten up, but otherwise no Pikachu's.
The Pokémon Centre was huge. Everyone knew that. At least, everyone _thought_ they knew that. The building in itself was really quite small. That is to say, quite small compared to what everybody thought of what the size was. Currently Samantha McPherson was at the desk, waiting in a line consisting of herself and one person in front of her. Umbreon was standing next to her. For some reason Brooke had insisted on coming as well and stood a little behind Sam. The man at the very front of the queue walked away.
"Can I help you?" Asked the receptionist. She was a woman in her late forties. She wore glasses and the corners of her mouth seemed to be permanently pointed down.
"Is this where I can apply for becoming a trainer?" Sam asked. Trainers always needed to apply first. When they did they were allowed to fight in official matches and received their first Pokémon. It was just a formality, but a formality that everyone had to go through.
The woman glanced at Umbreon.
"He was a birthday present." Sam explained.
"I'm sure he was." Said the woman. She slammed several pieces of paper and a pen down on the desk. "Fill in these forms, then check back." She said. "You can sit over there." She added, indicating the waiting area.
"Gee, the service in this place is really something." Brooke muttered as she and Sam headed over to the chairs.
"As long as I get my trainer's license." Sam said.
"Umbre." Said Umbreon, agreeing with Sam. Of course, Umbreon _always_ agreed with Sam.
Sam sat down and immediately started filling in the forms. Brooke looked around bored, grabbed a magazine and started reading. Umbreon jumped onto the chair next to Sam, walked in a circle a couple of times and lay down. Sam absentmindedly stroked Umbreon's head, earning a happy sigh from the black Pokémon.
Five minutes later Sam had filled out the form, stood up and walked over to the desk. The instant Sam had moved Umbreon had woken up and was once again walking next to her. Brooke stood up last, putting the magazine away and wondering why she had come in the first place.
Sam handed over the forms.
"Everything OK?" She asked.
The woman looked like she was actually reading it intently. Then all of the sudden the forms were yanked out of her hands.
"Who the-," She started. "Oh, it's you Mister Lance. I apologise." She said as she saw who now had the forms in his hands.
Mister Lance looked about five to ten years older than Sam. His hair was a fiery red and he wore -besides his deep blue clothes- a black cape.
"L-L-Lance?" Sam stuttered in awe.
Lance looked up at her, one eyebrow raised. "That would be me." He said as he casually threw the forms back onto the desk. "A pleasure to meet you Miss McPherson." Lance stuck out his hand for Sam to shake.
Sam shook it, still a little dumb-struck. It is, after all, not every day that you meet the number one trainer in the entire world.
"And you would be?" He asked, turning to Brooke.
"Not related then?"
"Not yet. Why?"
Lance smiled. "Just curious." He turned his attention back to Sam. "Everything seems to be in very good order indeed. If you would just follow me?"
"Sure." Said Sam. It had not even crossed her mind that she could've said 'no'.
"Where are we going?" Brooke asked, still having a mind in working order.
"To select Miss McPherson's starting Pokémon, of course." Lance said, hurrying in front of the two girls and Umbreon.
"She already has a Pokémon." Brooke pointed out.
Lance pirouetted around, making everyone suddenly stop dead in their tracks. "Exactly." He said. Then he turned around again and continued walking. His cape swirled dramatically as he turned.
It occurred to Brooke that Lance was rather... extravagant. Maybe even eccentric. He also seemed very intelligent, to the point of being downright brilliant. When you looked at him you could see him thinking. You could not _hear_ him thinking since the little machinery that made up his mind ran so smoothly and so fast that they did not make any kind of sound. Lance was the type of person that was constantly thinking of everything that popped into his mind and that was always quite a lot. He was also the type of person that simply could not imagine that there were people that did not think as much as he did.
So, figuring out that Lance wasn't about to explain, Brooke had no choice but to ask.
"And why is the fact that she already has a Pokémon so important for the fact that we're going to get her one?"
"My dear girl, we're not getting her just a simple starting Pokémon. _I_ am going to give her a starting Pokémon." Lance said, not looking back. He talked the way he walked. Hurriedly.
"Wow." Said Sam. "Thanks."
"Still not having an answer here." Brooke said.
Lance sighed. "Really, is it that hard to figure out?"
"Yes, it is." Brooke said pointedly.
"Shut up, Brooke." Sam whispered urgently.
"No, no. Miss McQueen's questions are quite justified I suppose." Lance said, turning around once again. "You must understand, of course, that I don't just hand out Pokémon to every eager young trainer-in-the-making that comes along." He said. "Mainly because I'm usually not here, even though I own this Centre." He added, turning around again. "However, once in a while a trainer comes along who gets my attention. And that's were that fine Umbreon comes in. This way please."
Lance opened a door and led the two girls and the Pokémon outside.
Outside turned out to be a huge open plain. All kinds of Pokémon from all kinds of sizes were doing all kinds of things. Lance quickly led the way down the dirt path to a small building. The small building consisted of four walls and one door. A Pokémon was standing in front of it, guarding the building. It looked like one huge rock with two small legs sticking out at the bottom, two small arms sticking out from the sides and one small head sticking out at the front.
"Hello Dorfl." Lance said. "Be a dear and let us in will you?"
"Golem." Said Dorfl as he stepped aside and opened the door.
The small building was just as small on the inside as on the outside. Lance pushed a button on the wall and everyone got that strange sinking feeling in their stomachs that indicated that they were inside an elevator moving down.
Lance looked back at Sam and Brooke. He was smiling faintly.
"Dorfl the Golem." He said. "Just a small joke on my part I'm afraid. But anyway, since we have a little time now I suppose I should give the explanation Miss McQueen has so patiently been waiting for."
"And about time too." The blonde muttered.
"But first, let me ask you a question: How many people get an Umbreon for his or her birthday?"
"Nobody does." Said Brooke. "Sam just got an Eevee."
"And do you know why this is?" Lance asked.
"Umbreon are always too attached to their trainers." Sam said. "They wouldn't listen to anyone else, right?"
"Very good." Lance said. "It is all part of the rather erratic evolution process of Eevees. In most cases people more or less force the Eevee to evolve by the use of an evolution stone. There are, however, circumstances that an Eevee can evolve out of its own desire. It wants to better serve its trainer and it knows that evolution will make it stronger. Needless to say, the Eevee in question needs to be very attached to its trainer in order for it to make this decision."
"I think I'm getting the picture here." Brooke said. "But Sam's not a trainer."
"And that makes it even more exceptional." Lance said. "A good trainer needs to put quite some effort into it to gain his Eevee's trust. An exceptionally good trainer can do this without being one."
"So, based on the fact that Sam's just really nice to this one Pokémon you think she's a good trainer."
"Caring trainers are always the best trainers, Miss McQueen. It has been proven time and time again." He paused for a moment. "Ah, here we are." He said.
The doors of the elevator slid open.
It was rather warm and humid in the underground corridor. Lance was still walking hurriedly. Brooke gambled that he would soon start talking again as well. She was right.
"Those Pokémon you saw outside are mostly from wandering trainers. They can only carry six of them at a time and any... surplus... gets send here for us to take care of. Well, I say 'us', but I mean of course my employees. However, there are some Pokémon who prefer to live in an entirely different climate than our North-American one. Magmar, for example, are only really comfortable inside a pool of lava, whereas Jynx much prefer freezing mountains. It was therefor essential for us to create several facilities so that we could grant each and every one of our guests a very pleasant stay. I also gave order to build a facility where I could devote quite some time to my greatest personal passion."
"I take it we're going there?" Brooke asked, a little bored.
Sam's pace faltered, her eyes went wide, her mouth became slightly opened. Lance turned around.
"Is there a problem Miss McPherson?"
"You're not gonna--- I mean, I'm not---."
"You're not what?" Lance asked. "Serious about becoming a trainer?"
"But, but... It's just that I heard that..."
Sam sighed. "Never mind."
Lance smiled briefly and turned around once again. "Almost there."
Doors swung open and both the temperature and the humidity rose. Lance, Sam, Brooke and Umbreon stepped into a very large, very well-lit room. There was an extremely large pool in the centre of the room. Small, light-blue Pokémon were swimming in it. There body looked like that of a snake, but that's where the comparison ended. Their underbellies were white, their eyes were very dark and a little big for their heads. They had two small, white fin-like ears.
"Dratini." Sam muttered.
"Exactly." Said Lance. "It is my great dream that Dragons will soon populate the entire globe once again. I must admit it is not really proceeding all that smoothly just yet, although I have released a colony of Dragonair in the Artic Sea a few months ago."
"You can't give me a Dratini." Sam said. "They're impossible to raise. I can't be _that_ good."
"Maybe." Said Lance. "But just think about the impression you will make when it has become a Dragonair. Or perhaps even a Dragonite."
"That's really not a winning argument here, Lance." Sam said. "I don't care how powerful they can _become_, I just know that I'm not good enough to take proper care of them _now_."
Lance smiled. "Miss McPherson, that was exactly the right thing to say. Go ahead and pick one, any of them." He looked at her. "And if it doesn't work out you can always come back and get a different Pokémon."
Sam sighed and walked over to the edge of the pool. Umbreon trotted along next to her.
"I take it you're not expecting to see her here again?" Brooke asked.
"Indeed I am not."
"I hope you're right."
"Miss McQueen, there is one thing you should always remember about me."
"When it comes to Pokémon I'm always right."
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