Regret

Death. War. Destruction. The world of the future lies in ruins. I got the chance to go back and stop it from ever happening, only to discover that I was the cause. This is how I destroyed the world.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5808527/1/Regret

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43. The Downhill Slope

Disaster is a natural part of my evolution. Toward tragedy and dissolution ~ Chuck Palahnuik

-O-O-O-

"We climb the slopes that life give us in the hope that whatever lies at the top is worth the effort we put in. The problem is when we go downhill. For once you start rolling down that hill, it's hard to stop."

- Marshall Harris, 29th Unova League Champion and Unova Elite Four member 3002 – 3020. (April 19th, 3004)

-O-O-O-

"I'm sorry, you're what?"

"Pregnant."

She sounded pretty fed up and angry. I couldn't very well blame her. My mind was all abuzz with various stupid questions, all clamouring for attention. The first and the one that wanted to be voiced the most was, 'why', but I was fairly certain that would only lead to pissing her off.

"Are you sure?" I asked carefully.

I could practically see the deadpan look she gave me. "Unless the past thirteen tests I've taken are all wrong…"

"Oh," I said. I honestly didn't know what else I could say in such a situation. "What… what are you gonna do?"

She sighed and the phone blared static at me. "I'm not certain. I mean, I always wanted kids, but I wanted to be married and everything before I even considered children. Now, with this… I'm not sure. I mean, given how it was conceived, I don't want to keep it. I can't keep it, I'm just not ready for it."

"So that's your answer there, isn't it?" I asked her. I heard the brief silence and gathered that was still somehow the wrong answer.

"You'd think," she told me. "But I can't help thinking: what if I never have kids after this? I mean, I've always dreamed of having them, but I want to make sure I've done something with myself first. I don't want to be one of these women that only ever becomes a housewife. Maybe become a champion, or something – I don't really have the patience to work as anything else, like a secretary or something. But… I just don't know."

She cursed the air blue for a good minute.

"You told me killing gets easier, right? That means if I get rid of this, it should be a little bit easier, shouldn't it?"

I shrugged and scratched at my head with my free hand. "Yeah, usually. But I mean, you're what, five weeks gone? That isn't really a person yet, is it?"

"It's what I keep telling myself," she said. "But, my brain's keep playing all these 'what if' scenarios. This is too big a decision to make on my own. I'd ring my parents to talk to them, but I mean, I can't tell them what happened. They'd freak. I can't put them through that. Especially not if I end up aborting the baby."

I blew out a long breath. "I don't know. I mean, I really want to help you, but I just don't know what to say. Honestly, I think you should get rid. You said it yourself; you're not ready for a kid yet. I mean, I don't think you'd be able to travel well as you're a few months gone and having to waddle around as your pokémon battle."

She managed to laugh at that. "Yeah, that's true. Thanks. I don't know what to do either, but I just needed someone to talk to about this. I've got an appointment soon anyway for a consultation about this all. You know that big company? Pathornogix?"

I frowned. The name rang a bell. I just couldn't tell where from.

"I've heard of it," I said. "Can't remember where from."

"You've probably seen it in the papers or on the internet," Mia told me. "They're the ones that specialise in preventing stillbirths. If I get rid of my kid, at least they could probably use the foetus to help."

My mind was still slightly elsewhere as I thought about where I'd heard the name before. "That sounds like a good idea, actually. How do they even use that to help?"

She laughed. "No clue. It's all way too sciencey for me. Last time I did any sort of education was in my exams before I became a trainer. Thanks though, I needed to talk. Anyway, I should probably go; I've wandered off a little bit from my pokémon and they really do worry if I'm away from them for too long."

I could relate to her problems. I had Xander acting as bodyguard for me whenever Lacey or Erra came close. I guessed it was because he didn't trust them, after they'd ended up accidentally injuring me. Granted my ribs and my ear still hurt. All of it was just because Erra still hated Lacey for the shiftry's brutal methods of helping me capture her.

Looking towards the long-term was never my forte.

It took me a few more days to finally figure out where I'd heard the name Pathornogix before. It was from my research in Slateport – at least when I'd used the internet in Fortree I didn't end up somehow opening up a massive pornography virus.

Everything Mia said was true. I still hadn't found out anything about what could have been behind the strange outbreaks in various little towns. I checked the news and it had reached Slateport – apparently no one had died in this one, yet there were a few people in hospital.

It played on my mind that I still hadn't figured out where that strange Italian speaking man from the boat towards Slateport worked. I still hadn't figured out what he'd said, either.

I didn't spend long in Fortree, aside from checking in the pokémon centre and trying to get my pokémon healed. It turned out that everyone else was, in fact, suffering from poké balls not working. It meant that the pokémon centre was rather busy with various different pokémon everywhere and many trainers all complaining about the failing technology.

It also came with another problem.

Poké balls suspended the current state of the pokémon, or something to that effect. It meant that if something was really badly injured, in most cases, its case wouldn't worsen. The only exceptions were with cases or bad poisoning or evolution.

In that pokémon centre alone there were fifteen different trainers with one or more dead pokémon, as a result of it all.

I also found out that Gemini didn't seem to appreciate having to walk through a town. Among her sarcastic, derogatory comments about the various different people – some of which, I have to admit were quite brilliant – there were a few more directed at me. She really didn't like humans who kept pokémon locked up in poké balls and pointed out the various different pokémon who were rejoicing at being free for so long.

In all honestly, it was quite entertaining to sit there and watch some people with their more unruly pokémon. It made me feel better about having suffered the same thing, though it mainly made me happier just because it was quite funny to watch.

Until one kid's scyther decapitated another kid's granbull. Then all hell broke loose. It took a few more accomplished trainers to come in and subdue the subsequent battle royale.

I managed to make a quick getaway before they realised a number of my pokémon were actively involved in such a brawl.

As strange as it was though, I found it better that the poké balls had stopped working. If anything, my team seemed a little calmer. They didn't fight or argue as much, or even act as maddeningly insane.

Xander was still intent on being my own personal bodyguard though.

"So what do you reckon we do now?" I asked him as we sat on watch one night. We were somewhere between Fortree and Lilycove without a defined goal in the way. I hadn't found out much at Fortree and couldn't even scope out the land, if only because there were so many trainers in a panic there.

Xander just gave the nearest he could to a shrug. I sighed and scratched his head, idly staring out at the dark horizon and wondering just what the hell to do with my life. My phantom kidney pains were still being a bitch, though they weren't as bad compared to my ribs or my ear.

I'd managed to bandage my ribs, but ended up getting my chest cut a little bit more than I would have liked. It turned out that while Scar might have looked after members of his clan, he was certainly no first aider. Asking him to cut the bandages for me was about as safe as rubbing your face against a power sander.

"What are we on now?" I asked my pokémon conversationally. "July? We've got like a few months left until everything's up shit creek. And I still have no exact clue what I'm meant to do. That stupid celebi could have at least given me a hint towards what I needed to do. Instead all I've managed to do is kill an Elite and possibly send racial tensions overboard into a full-blown war. Maybe it'd be easier just to find these stupid racist leaders and quietly do away with them."

Xander nudged me in the leg, his face displaying his lack of amusement. I sighed and waved a hand at him. "Yeah, yeah, I know. No going on murdering sprees. But it's just easier that way. People aren't a problem when they're slowly decomposing in the ground."

My lombre seemed even less impressed with that. He spat a globule of ice-cold water down my back and made me yelp with the sudden change in temperature.

"You're an ass," I told him. "If I scorched you with a lighter, that'd be pokémon abuse. You trying to freeze my lungs from the inside out? People would just see that as you being playful." I grinned as he gave me a condescending look. I could feel Gemini somewhere nearby – her second head was keep sending little messages of sleep into my brain. My eyes were tired and I couldn't stifle the yawn that came with the drowsiness.

Xander croaked and nudged me towards my sleeping bag. I protested as much as I could and told him that it was just Gemini's instinctive head taking effect, but he didn't seem to want to listen to me.

I allowed my pokémon to force to bed and waited for Loki to scamper back to us once I called him. He leapt at me, cackling happily in the night sky and showing me a strange glowing green stone.

I jumped up at the sight of the stone and panicked for a brief second; worried it would somehow distort one of my pokémon. When my brain finally cleared up enough to tell me none of my pokémon would be affected by its radiation, I let Loki have his randomly-found treat, silently hoping that he hadn't mugged another trainer of their items.

I realised that I probably wasn't teaching my pokémon the best of habits.

All of my concerns faded, however, once I felt Gemini try to talk to me. A little bit of me wondered just whether or not Xander had put her up to putting me to sleep just before I hit my sleeping bag and passed out.

/I stare out at the sunset and watch the world come to a close for another day.

Shame nothing seems to fall asleep with the coming of night these days.

I sigh to myself and turn towards my pokémon. I see a vespiquen fluttering about nearby me and feel no fear. Something lets me know the creature is mine, yet I can't manage to recall its name.

I shrug and turn back around, content to just watch and wait.

I know I'm waiting. Anxiety is dancing in my every heartbeat. It makes my stomach flutter like I'm a nervous teenager and threatens to force bile back up my throat.

My hands become fists and I punch the ground beneath them. I hate the fact that after everything I've seen and everything I've done, just this one person is enough to make me feel nerves I thought I'd conquered long ago.

I flinch at the distant sound of gunfire.

The vespiquen makes an annoyed sound as she flies by my side. Her wings beat me with a gentle breeze that only makes goosebumps erupt over my skin. When I said I wanted to visit Sinnoh, I never really realised just how could it was going to be.

"It's not anyone we know," I tell the flying bug. It buzzes something I know is a confirmation of my statement. Little grubs crawl out of her large abdomen and fall gracelessly to the floor. The vespiquen itself wastes no time in dropping to the floor and consuming the fallen.

I turn away from the creature, annoyed that somehow, a part of me can't remember her name. I feel like part of me is watching myself through a dream, but I'm honestly not certain what way round it is.

I ignore it and focus on the distant sound of gunfire. The sounds tell me people are panicking – spraying their attackers with automatic fire.

Amateurs, a part of me snipes.

A bigger part of me screams for my body to tack action. My muscles fight a war against themselves – help the people you can! Maybe one day you'll be in the same position!

I swallow the thought down with a quick swig of whiskey. The liquid fire burns down my throat and makes a little flourish of heat spread from my stomach. Instantly I waver a bit and feel a little bit of the world spin.

"I haven't eaten yet today, have I?" I ask the vespiquen by my side. She hisses something I know is a condescending nag. I ignore the thought and continue to stare back out towards the empty stretch of town beneath me. When I'm done waiting, I'll think about eating.

I hear screams closer to me.

My heart shrieks at me to help. I ignore it once more and try to drown out the noise as best I can.

Then I hear a scream I recognise.

My body turns to ice for a little moment. It passes quickly and I'm on my feet, slamming ammo into my guns and cursing the world itself. The town begins to blur past me as I race through the small moment in time it's become.

My brain is only able to function in small bursts. Jump over a body. Left. Right. Avoid the pokémon. Shoot. Shoot. SHOOT!

I leap over another pile of corpses and round a final corner.

There I find exactly who I've been looking for.

She's accompanied by a pack of hungry mightyena.

Her head turns just a little to acknowledge me.

"Oh, hi Timothy."

There's a little gust of wind as her pidgey flutters down and sits atop my head. He shrieks at the approaching pack of creatures as if his tiny cries are enough to scare them off.

I don't give myself the time to think about anything. My finger's already found the trigger I need.

"Down!" I scream as I begin spraying the wolves with bullets.

The woman jumps on the floor as the gun rattles in my hands, throwing me off-balance with its harsh recoil. Timothy tweets from atop my head, mimicking the sound of gunfire and flapping his tiny wings at the surviving hounds.

The vespiquen flutters above my gunfire and sends little insects in for war. As soon as I stop firing she dives in at the final creatures, rips them apart with her claws and claims an eye with her mandibles.

It doesn't take long for the hounds to die. I smirk as I holster the gun, glance around the street and offer the woman my hand.

"Really?" I ask her as she stands back up. "Was a food run really worth pissing off a pack of mightyena?"

She flashes a smirk that makes my heart skip a beat. "I found chocolate," she declares and waves the little item of food in my face. "Worth every moment of panic."

I laugh and snatch a square from her. "You're insane."

She winks and steals the food back off me. "You wouldn't love me otherwise," she declares and pops the chocolate in her mouth. "Now come on, sharpshooter! Let's get out of here before everything else comes searching down whoever shot the street instead of the hungry beasts!"

I'm struck dumb by the insult for only a second. She laughs, kisses my cheek and darts off quickly, Timothy the pidgey chirping as he quickly takes after.

The vespiquen grunts something in my ear.

"I know," I tell the pokémon. "She'll be the death of me."/

I woke up slowly and wondered just what the hell my brain was playing at. My ribs were killing me from a little stone digging into my side during my sleep and the little bit of alcohol in my dream seemed to have made even my reality a constant blur. Only the darkness around me let me know I hadn't slept for a long time.

"Oww…" I groaned and placed a hand on my side, pressing down on it as hard as I could. I fished around in my bag for some painkillers, popped them as quickly as I could and found a set of red eyes staring at me after I drained my canteen.

"My ribs hurt," I told Alistair. "I'm fine."

His eyes narrowed in suspicion and my brain finally told me he was squatting in front of me. [Perhaps you are sir, but what happens when you start taking them when there is no pain?]

I frowned at the creature. "I'm not going to. I told you the truth, so accept that. My ribs hurt after I was a stupid ass and jumped between my pokémon because I thought they wouldn't attack me. Forgive me for thinking my pokémon might actually put my safety over their hatred of each other."

I blew some of my hair from my face and felt my frown turn into a glare. "I'm trying here, okay? You can read my mind, I'm sure you can tell I'm actually in pain. Now stop accusing me of things that I'm not doing."

He fixed me with a glare enough to rival my own. [Then what happens when you actually start doing so, sir?]

"But I'm not!" I shouted in a whisper at him. "I'm taking enough to dull the pain, not make myself clueless and dribble incoherently, alright? Chris told me that shit I was injecting was designed for poisonous pokémon and I gave every bit of it to her! Even if I wanted to, I can't because I don't have access to anything like it!"

[And what happens when you do?]

"That'll be an interesting day," I snarled at him. "Now get out of my face. I'm having freaky dreams and waking up in near-agony. Being accused of random shit I'm not doing isn't exactly putting me in a good mood."

He stood up and watched me clamber to my feet in silence. Once he was certain that I wasn't going to do anything rash – or that I wasn't in any more obvious pain – he bowed, told me he was going to train with Scar and stalked off into the woods.

I folded my arms and spared a glance towards my surroundings. "Chapter whatever in my life; my pokémon don't trust me to medicate myself and function on a daily basis."

Loki bounced up at my heels, chattering furiously until I sighed and picked him up. He grunted something unintelligible at me and gave me his glowing green stone. I couldn't help but laugh at the stupidity of taking a chewed-on evolution stone off my pokémon. It smelt strangely of fresh cut grass and I found my temper subsiding just a little with the smell.

"That's a weird stone you've got there," I told my sableye. He nodded eagerly and warbled a few syllables at me. I got enough of what he was trying to say – he was worried about me.

"You've got nothing to worry about," I told him. "It's just Alistair being an ass. And me getting angry because what he's saying is true." I shrugged to myself and dropped Loki on the floor. "Now come on, since I'm up, we might as well run a few drills. We're not challenging gyms at the moment, so I need to make sure that you guys are still in shape."

He didn't argue with me and I was surprised to find that Loki hunted down Erra pretty quickly to train with. Xander appeared as if out of nowhere, cloaked by a little mist once I started helping Erra train. I couldn't help but wonder just how much of his actions were him looking out for my best interests or just him not trusting Erra.

I finally dropped down next to him and smiled as I patted him on his head.

"Sleep didn't help, you know?" I told him. "It gave me more freaky dreams, more aches and pains and no more ideas as to how to stop the world changing, or even just finding that stupid Celebi."

I threw a curse at the heavens and punched the ground around me. "This is all just really stupid. Why do psychics have to be so damned vague about things? Have I mentioned that I really don't like psychics? Present company included."

[Pleasant.]

I smirked at the shadow in the darkness. "Hey, you hate on humans all the time. One little dig at pokémon and I'm in the wrong?"

Gemini snorted as she cantered towards me. She took a glance at Xander, whinnied and sat herself down next to him softly. [You're in the wrong most of the time. Like your current attitude of moaning about your situation, rather than doing what needs to be done.]

I rolled my eyes. "And what would you do then Gem?"

[Gemini,] she corrected automatically. She had a strange habit of every name having to be said in full. She even constantly called me by my full name, which I was fairly certain I had never told her before.

[And I would seek out the creature. Celebi stick to forests. We should search out the creatures of the forest and see whether or not they have seen the damned thing.]

"We'd be playing catch up then, wouldn't we?" I asked her, even though I considered the idea for its merits. "So what did the celebi actually do to you to make you hate it so? I know you don't want to tell me, but at the same time, how do I know you aren't just going to use me as a sacrifice for it?"

Both her head and tail glared at me. [That creature has no need for anymore sacrifices.]

Her glare relented as she moved her gaze to the campfire. There was a pregnant silence that I felt like she would never dare break.

Then finally, she spoke up.

[Psychics… we all share a telepathic bond with others of our species.]

I nodded. "I'd guessed. There were a couple of gardevoir I killed before in Dewford. Then another seemed to know about it."

[Don't interrupt if you don't know what you're talking about.] Gemini fixed me with a flat look that easily conveyed how pissed off she was. I fell silent and waited for her to start speaking again.

Her ears flickered in my direction. [Each species has a different form of a bond. Gardevoir and the like send out a distress beacon when they're in danger. It alerts others of their species, sending them a picture image of the object of their distress. And before you ask, I know this because I have spoken to the gallade Alistair.

[My own species is rather different. We form attached bonds with our young. Each parent-child couple has a permanent psychic bond. It allows us to share exactly what we see and think, whenever we want.]

It was the way she said it which let me gather instantly the implication behind her words.

[There was a trainer some time ago who became quite famous among humans.]

I guessed where this was going. "I've heard about him. The one that had a load of attention from the media, yet vanished overnight and no one can remember him properly?"

[For once you are right,] Gemini said. [He was another of these trainers that the Celebi recruited to its cause. The trainer travelled with a girafarig.]

"That was you, right?" I guessed. Xander gave me a flat look that showed me just how clueless he thought I was.

[Your mouth is speaking, you should remedy that,] Gemini deadpanned. [It was not me, but instead my foal. He travelled with this trainer for some time. Then eventually, the Celebi – the very same one that brought you here, I suspect – decided that he had outlived his usefulness. It somehow managed to make it so that most evidence of the trainer's existence disappeared or just became warped.]

"So how do you know about this then?" I asked her.

She gave me a flat look. [Have you not been paying attention? My foal travelled with this human. I was able to see what my foal saw at times. I do not know what happened to the trainer.]

She looked away from the fire and towards the floor. I'd never seen a pokémon look so upset about something.

I felt like I had to ask something about it. "So you didn't find out what happened with your foal then?"

She gave the briefest of nods. [The Celebi opened up a small portal to the future. I don't know what happened to the trainer. What I do know is that my foal got sent to the future. I saw every moment of the life it suffered in such a location. That future is something I wouldn't wish on anyone. I came to you because I see certain similarities in what my foal suffered to the images in your mind. The Celebi will suffer for what it made my foal endure.]

I was silent. I just didn't know what to say to that. The only sounds I could hear for a while were my own breathing and Loki training with Erra. If I concentrated enough I could hear Alistair and Scar off in the distance too. Only Lacey remained hidden somewhere in the woods. My mind wandered just a little and told me she had probably found a way to double back to her former clan. I knew she was a cruel creature at times, but I knew that even she had a heart. With her gone for the better part of the day, I figured she was paying her final respects or apologising to the dead.

[Anger guides us all in key motions,] Gemini finally said in a whisper. [The key is maintaining control. Never give in.]

With that she got up and left.

I glanced at Xander, who looked as confused as I felt. I shrugged and stared up at the sky, wondering just what the hell my new accomplice meant when I saw a large shadow fly past the moon.

Instantly I was on my feet and glaring at the ceiling of sky.

"Xander, get ready," I whispered as I readied my gun. "Something big's just flown past." I pointed off to the distance, where the large shadow seemed to have stopped in place in the sky. If I squinted enough I could see its body twisted like it was facing me. "It looks like its staring at us too."

He warbled something and stared at the creature in the distance. I called for Erra and Loki to stop their training so I could get them ready for whatever fight was to come. Erra hissed something and hovered by my side, her body dancing with sparks.

Only Loki didn't seem to be worried. In fact, he was bouncing up and down on the spot and throwing his arms about, almost like he was waving at the strange thing.

Confusion helped to lower my guard. "Wait a minute guys," I whispered, holding my hand up for them to stop. I saw the large shadow heading towards the ground and caught sight of what seemed to be someone sat atop the creature.

Someone was riding the pokémon.

The single thought filled me with trepidation and intrigue at once.

I was about to order my pokémon to attack, just to be on the safe side.

Then I heard a familiar whoop from atop the pokémon.

"Does he really have to fly at night?" I muttered to myself as I holstered my gun. "Guys, it's alright, you can stand down. Xander, just soak him when he gets close enough anyway."

I closed my eyes as the large pokémon got closer, its wings beating a breeze and sand down on us. I heard Loki's excited chatter increase in volume even as Erra growled something and fluttered closer to my head.

As the sand stopped scraping my face I opened my eyes and glanced at the person getting off the flygon. He flashed me a grin that was barely visible in the dark before he cursed his pokémon.

"I've got a wedgie thanks to your flying."

I burst out laughing at the entrance that could only belong to Adryan. He glanced at me, rubbed the back of his head in an embarrassed laugh and sighed as he readjusted himself.

"Hey Soldier Boy." He pulled me into a hug and laughed as Xander soaked him to the bone once he pulled away. "I guess I should be thankful your lombre just decided to drown me."

I smiled and scratched Xander's head. "Don't be overconfident yet, he's just making it easier to freeze you."

"Figures," Ayd muttered. "So no, 'How you been? Where's your pokémon? Why are you here in the middle of the night?'"

I shrugged. "I was just about to ask that. Not my fault you're stealing all the attention once more."

He laughed and pointed to a spot next to his flygon. "Talking of attention stealing."

I followed where he was pointing to…

Then had a heart attack as his dusknoir appeared from the ground.

"Holy-!" I shrieked and found myself about to punch the randomly appearing pokémon. "Where the-? What? Just… how?"

Ayd smirked. "Ripper's just teleporting with style. He likes making grand entrances. Though, not like I can talk. But he's the only one I could really bring alongside Irenui. No one else can fly so quickly or teleport so far." He laughed as Loki bounced up to him, pointed at his leg and began to cackle like a lunatic. I snorted to myself as Ayd watched the sableye, oblivious to what the pokémon was on about.

"You don't want to know," I told him. He knew Loki had humped his leg in his sleep, but I figured he hadn't dropped by to reminisce about such things. I let Loki scamper over to the dusknoir and watched both Erra and Xander talk to the flygon. The vague little pulling at the back of my head let me know that both Alistair and Gemini were close by too.

"Probably not," Adryan agreed with a shrug. "Anyway, as to why I'm here, seeing as I didn't fly all the way from Lavaridge for no good reason. Long story short; there's a lab near here-"

"The Pathornogix one, right?" I asked quickly.

Shock attacked his face. "Yeah, that's the one. I'm surprised you know about that," he admitted with a laugh. "You're usually quite clueless to these things. Anyway, Dad works in another lab and I've been talking to him about little things. Turns out our friends at that little lab are behind these little spills of disease and death that a few towns have been suffering."

My heart stopped for a moment as my brain processed the information. It was so hard to believe that the information I needed had dropped so easily into my lap! So much of me wanted to celebrate that I was finally on track with what I needed to do. The little bit of me that panicked about what would happen to me once I'd dealt with them was quashed quickly by another key fear leaping to the surface:

"Mia's got an appointment there in a few days," I said without thinking.

"Why?" Adryan asked. "Actually, never mind, I don't really want to know. Point is; this lab's been behind these attacks, so what're we gonna do about it?"

"We?"

He nodded. "Damn straight," he said and put a hand on my shoulder. "Hey, I told you before; if you need to save the world, count me in to help. It's why I've brought these two," he said and jabbed his thumb towards his pokémon. "Irenui's a quick flyer and Ripper can walk through walls. What more do we need?"

It was all falling into place.

The first real step on my road to finally changing the world.

I couldn't stop the smile that came to my face. "Adryan, I think it's about time we start to save the world."

I never did get to save it.

But I paid the price anyway.

 
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