[OOC: IT BEGINS. This is incredibly long |D] *~~~* It was mid-morning in the bustling city of Oreburgh. People were just beginning to emerge from their domiciles, some still groggy from a restless night. The shops and businesses that lined the paved roads were just opening around now- the only thing that had seen any activity before this time in the morning was the Oreburgh Mine, a major draw of the city both for coal acquisition and fossil hunting. Many of those who woke up during these hours did so by choice- for love of their job, or for love of the multitude of species of Pokemon that only showed up when the sun was just making its way over the horizon. Xyrem Kaminsky was not one of those people. In fact, she might as well have been the angriest person awake in the whole town. Mid-morning was far too reminiscent of a long journey she had taken with a would-be thief- and while memories of this journey were, on the whole, positive, she still would rather leave the fond reminiscing to later hours. Xyrem tended to enjoy sleeping in long past noon, to the point where she was waking up a mere three hours from dinner. Today just wasn't her day. Although she had unconsciously been following a schedule for the past year, she enjoyed her life immensely. In other words, waking up so close to dinner was a good thing- she could spend the night hours training, meaning that use of the Oreburgh Gym's main battlefield was plausible. If she tried to train during the day, she'd have to share the thing with the junior trainers, and would have to move aside for any challenger that walked through the doors. And while often enough trainers that walked through the doors would be promptly sent to go hunt for Roark in the mines, she figured that there would be too many interruptions throughout the day to justify a complete switch of her normal sleep schedule. Today, however, the young redhead was woken up by the blaring tone of her LiveCaster. And as she sat up in bed, bleary-eyed, glaring at the thing, she realized that she would have to indeed answer it, as the call was coming from her parents. "What," she mumbled into the receiver, not even attempting to look happy. "Hey honey! How are you?" her mother knew that she was not the type to be awake at this time, but didn't really seem to care all that much. "Tired. You know I don't sleep until 4 in the morning! It's only 8 now. That's four hours," Xyrem mumbled back. "I'm perfectly aware of your sleep schedule, but this is important! I just got a call from Professor Birch in Hoenn," she started. "Birch?" the young girl cocked her head quizzically. "Hoenn?" at this hour in the morning, her brain just didn't work right. "Yes. You are aware that 'Vadumee came from Hoenn, right?" Xyrem looked over to the Pokeball on her nightstand. It belonged to her Blaziken, her best friend and protector, 'Vadumee. It made sense for him to come from there- Torchic was given to beginning trainers, after all. "I suppose so. What did he want?" "Well, I told him how you had just traveled Sinnoh with 'Vadumee, and he said he'd love to see what has become of that little Torchic that he gave to your father so long ago," her mother smiled. Xyrem thought for a moment. Her parents had given 'Vadumee to her... how many years ago? Had to be around 6, at the least. She nodded, and turned back to the screen. "I suppose I have to go and see him, then?" "It would be best. I mean, you could call, but I believe he wants to make sure you have taken good care of him," she began, then paused, noticing a slightly sad look crossing Xyrem's face. "I'm sure Roark will understand," she finished. "Well, I guess it can't be helped. Thanks for telling me- I'll pack up today, and head out tomorrow. Now can I please go back to sleep for a bit?" "Of course. Have a good time, Aruru!" Xyrem sighed, bid goodbye to her mother, and ended the call. To think, there were exactly three people in the world allowed to use that name. Crazy how these things worked. A few minutes later, the young girl had fallen back asleep. *~~~* "You really are going to sleep through dinner one of these days." Xyrem rolled over, pulled the covers over her head, and went back to sleeping. Ah. This act again. The gym leader smiled, grabbed the covers, and pulled them back. For this, he got a glare that could melt steel. "Fire doesn't work well against rock types, Aruru," he laughed. Another glare. A few seconds later, she realized that Roark probably wasn't going to let her sleep any more. After all, he was still holding the covers just out of her reach, and had begun to ask her something. Not that she could understand English this soon after waking up, but whatever. "I'm up, I'm up," she mumbled, sitting up. "You're lucky I love you so much." This was true- usually anything that disturbed the young girl from a nap was decimated with a mailbox. No one knew where she got the mailbox from, as it always appeared out of thin air, and disappeared right back into it. Most just assumed that a wizard did it. "Now then. What reason do you have for forcibly removing me from sleep? It's only-" "Four thirty?" "Prove it!" In response, he pointed over to the clock that sat jubilantly on his nightstand. Sure enough, it read "4:30" in block red letters. "You set that clock up. It can't be that late," Xyrem continued, completely in denial that it was that late. "Well, for one, I get home at 4. You know that," he stated, sitting on the bed next to her. This fact she couldn't dispute. She didn't want to fight at all, really. She was just stalling, because there was an impending trip to Hoenn that really wasn't going to be fun to talk about. She sighed, and leaned against his shoulder. He wrapped an arm around her, pulling her close. "This is late, even for you. Everything okay?" The question was just a formality, really. He could tell by the look on her face that something was seriously wrong. "I was woken up early this morning," she mumbled, yawning softly. "I know you're serious about your sleep, but that's not what's bothering you. I've accidentally woken you up tons of times. You didn't sleep until 4:30, and you weren't this down." This was true- being the mine's foreman, Roark was usually awake around 6:30 and out by 7. In fact, nearly every morning his alarm woke her up. "It was a call from my mom. She had just talked to Professor Birch." "Wait. The Professor Birch in... Hoenn, is it?" "Yes. That's where 'Vadumee came from. Apparently, he would like to see what has become of the Torchic he gave away so long ago," she finished, suddenly very attentive to her feet. Meeting his eyes at this moment would probably start her crying. "So..." he started, careful to control his tone as not to upset her any more, "I assume you have to actually go and meet the Professor?" His only response was a curt nod. For a minute, silence prevailed between the two. "Sorry," she started, clearly upset. "I don't even know how 'Vadumee feels about this. I just slept," Xyrem brought her head up, but still couldn't meet her boyfriend's eyes. Roark sighed softly, and looked to her, waiting for her to turn her head. Once she finally did, he locked eyes with her, and smiled softly. "It's okay, you're clearly upset by this. You probably should talk to 'Vadumee about this, though, as he is the reason you're going over. If he doesn't want to see Birch, you might end up just going with a phone call." He paused, and pulled her into an embrace. "Although if you two decide to go... I'll miss you more than I could put into words." "I'll miss you too... Although you are right," she replied. Xyrem stood up, and walked over to her bedside table. She grabbed the Pokeball, and let 'Vadumee out. As usual, he slumped slightly to avoid bumping his head against the ceiling. "Blaze?" after knowing Xyrem for 6 years, the fire chicken knew exactly when his trainer was happy- and this was not one of those times. She looked up to meet his avian eyes. "I got a call today. Professor Birch would like to see how I've raised you. What do you say? Would you like to go to Hoenn?" 'Vadumee seemed rather taken aback at first, then looked to his trainer once more. He wasn't psychic. He wasn't the smartest Pokemon out there. But he did know that Xyrem cared for someone here very much, and that leaving would be terribly hard for her. Still, the promise of seeing the man who hatched him, and took care of him until that fateful day when he met Xyrem's father... He contemplated for a few moments. Finally, he slowly nodded. His trainer smiled. "To Hoenn it is, then. C'mon you, back in the ball. We'll train where the ceiling isn't so confining," she laughed, recalling her friend. Within seconds, her smile faded. She placed the ball back down and silently walked back over to Roark. Without a word, he stood up and wrapped his arms around her. "Hey... I just realized that... well, everyone else really likes it here. I think one region was enough of a journey for them. I'm definitely taking 'Vadumee, but... is there any way I could leave the rest here with you?" "So you're telling me there are going to be -three- Rampardos running around here?" "Is that a no?" "Are you kidding me? It'll be like the past has come alive within the Gym! I can even have Prometheus swoop down on people! It'll be like it was when the world was new," Roark replied, smiling brightly. She smiled at him in return, and kissed his cheek. He was adorable when he was speaking about fossil Pokemon. "Okay then. I suppose I've got a journey to pack for. I think the only ferry from Sinnoh goes to Slateport. I've got to figure out where Birch's lab is, since that's where he should be. I think it's in Littleroot, which is rather removed," she pondered aloud, "I'll probably need a map. I can probably get one on the ferry over." "I suppose I'll leave you to your packing, then. I'm going to get in some training before dinner. Let me know if you need me, kay?" The leader broke the embrace to go head out of the residential section towards the main battlefield. "I always need you, silly," the redhead mumbled, opening up the drawers in order to start pulling clothes out. "Mutual," he replied, closing the door behind him. *~~~* After packing what she assumed to be a sufficient bag, Xyrem got herself dressed and headed out to go and grab some form of dinner. Hopefully, the kitchen still had pasta- she was rather in the mood for something with mostly carbohydrates. The kitchen was closest to the entrance to the Gym proper, and sounds of a battle filled the air. "It's an odd time for a challenger, so late..." the young girl thought aloud, walking over to the entrance and peeking thorough the doorway. There was no challenger- just Roark, running what clearly was a rough training session. She frowned. This whole Hoenn thing was taxing on the both of them. Xyrem set up some water to boil, and ran out into the Gym. "Hey! Do you want anything to eat?" He looked over at her, clearly surprised that she had finished packing so quickly. He shook his head, and turned back to the battle field. "You need to eat, you know, and you've been training for a while," Xyrem continued, pulling a Pokeball out from her belt. "I'm okay for now, Aruru," he stated, knowing full well that they were the only ones in the Gym at that time, "but thank you." She shook her head softly. The two of them really were a match- whenever something upset her, she and her Pokemon would usually work it out through training, so she understood his preference to skip a meal. However, since it would be their last dinner together for what would probably end up being months, that wouldn't fly this time. "Sorry, love, but you can train when I've boarded the ferry," she threw the Pokeball in her hand into the air, and released a large, hard-headed dinosaur- her Rampardos. In particular, her female Rampardos, named Eris. The same Eris who had a penchant for head-butting anything she liked, including the Rampardos that belonged to Roark. Within seconds, she was in full headbutt mode, rushing towards the other of her species that was out on the battlefield, in an epic match with a rather tired Onix. "I appreciate what you're trying to do, but-" Roark recalled his Rampardos, and soon after, his Onix, "Rampardos is already tired enough without being love-headbutted by Eris." "Fair enough," Xyrem replied, quickly recalling Eris before she decided to headbutt Roark or herself. That Pokemon just loved too much. "I suppose that we should have a last dinner together. Sorry, I kind of lost track of things," he bashfully rubbed his neck, and smiled softly at her. "Lost track of thin- THE PASTA!!" Xyrem jetted back into the kitchen faster than a Magnemite on fire. Roark stood, perplexed, and then opted to follow her, hoping she hadn't set anything ablaze. Luckily for the two, the water had just begun to boil, and they were able to have a fire-free dinner together. Afterwards, Xyrem grabbed her Pokemon and walked out to the battlefield, knowing full well that Roark would probably be asleep by the time she had finished her own training regiment. *~~~* Xyrem let all of her Pokemon out. Generally she liked to let them all stretch, mock battle each other if they wished, and generally relax. 'Vadumee, however, would be taken aside, and the two of them would spar. She was often called insane for sparring a six foot tall fire/fighting chicken, but she was often called insane for a lot of things, so it didn't bother her much. She stood at one side of the large main battlefield, and 'Vadumee stood at the other. The rocks littered around the field provided good obstacles, and generally made it much tougher. Xyrem stretched one final time, and looked over to her Blaziken. "Shall we?" within a split second, the Pokemon rushed forth, giving her his answer. She began to run forward as well, keeping the two of them on a collision course. At the last second, she leaped off of a nearby rock, and spun a kick towards the Blaziken. He allowed it to hit his arm, and twisted his claw to grab her leg. Both had clearly read the others' movements, though, as Xyrem allowed the force of the kick to continue in a more circular path, bringing her other foot into a hard hit on the bird's left shoulder. The shock of the hit made him let go, and she pushed off of his claw. A second later, she landed on the ground, and he spun around. He ran forth once more, but she stayed crouched. Just as he was about to kick, she jutted her leg behind her, slamming into his support leg- or where it would have been, had he not expected this and jumped over her. "Nice move, 'Vadumee. It's getting harder to knock you down." She stood up, and dusted herself off. A mere taunt, really, as the two were nowhere close to finished. This time, she rushed forth, and pulled back her arm. He closed his eyes, sensed where her form was, and stepped forward only slightly to the left of her. Just as her punch was about to connect, he swept her arm towards her core with his left claw, and brought his right around from the side into where her head should have been, if she hadn't taught him that technique when he was still a Combusken. Instead, she had ducked and, with her arm pulled into her core from the block, rushed forward into an odd offensive headbutt- probably something she had picked up from Eris- and finished with an elbow to the Blaziken's central core. A solid hit, yes, but it was coming from a 5'2'' girl who really didn't want to hurt her Pokemon. Their training continued on like this for the next hour. The whole time, all Xyrem could really do was worry about the upcoming adventure. She would miss it here. She would miss her love. But in the end, 'Vadumee truly wanted to see this guy, and to hurt him would be like hurting a younger sibling. After sparring, she recalled him, and all of her Pokemon. She walked through the residential section slowly, perhaps taking in her environment. Xyrem had really grown to love this place, so much so that she had sold her apartment three months before. She had no reason to live alone, now that she had someone. She smiled bittersweetly- Roark was probably asleep by now. What a hypocrite she was, stopping him from training so they could spend time together only to walk off herself. She sighed, and softly opened the door. Sure enough, he was asleep. She changed out of her training outfit and into a night shirt, and quietly got into bed, turning to look at him. Even in his sleep, he looked troubled. "I'll be back as soon as I can," she whispered softly, hoping to appear in his dream, "and I'll miss you the whole time," she finished, turning over and closing her eyes. "I'll miss you too," he mumbled, half-asleep. She turned over once more, and moved closer to him. He wrapped his arms around her, then fell back asleep. She soon fell asleep, with the hope that tomorrow wouldn't be so rough. *~~~* As the morning dawned, Xyrem bid farewell to her team. They were all excellent Pokemon, and she knew they wouldn't give Roark too much trouble. Except maybe Anonymous- he was a little crazy, even for a Porygon-Z. Ah well. The plan was for Roark to fly her over to the port in Canalave on her Aerodactyl Prometheus, and then bid farewell to her there. She would board the ship with 'Vadumee, and would sail to Slateport, and find a way to Littleroot from there. She had no idea how long she was going to be gone for, and therefore was rather skittish about leaving. The ride to the port town was rather uneventful- Roark knew the way by heart, as he had made the same journey to visit his father many times before. As they got to the ship, she turned to Prometheus, giving his large head a hug. She released 'Vadumee from his ball, and looked towards the ferry sadly. Xyrem was terrible with goodbyes. Roark knew this for a fact- back when she was going on her Sinnoh journey, before the two had even gotten together, she was just as awkward. Rather then let her stand around, then, he held her tightly, and kissed her. "Come back safe, okay?" "Of course. You can count my team as collateral," she said jokingly. It did have a kernel of truth- she would never leave her team behind. They were like family to her. "I'll miss you too," he mumbled softly, smiling. They broke the embrace, and she turned with 'Vadumee to head for the ship. "Wait a minute!" he called, walking towards Xyrem. "I want to give you something. I was trying to figure out when would be a good time, but I want you to have this," he said, pulling a box from his pocket. She took it, and curiously looked at him before opening it. Within sat a necklace. The 'stone', as it was, was a cut piece of amber set in a silver square. "I found that amber when I was digging around in the mine. I... well, I thought it would look good on you," he fumbled, smiling bashfully. She grinned, and placed the necklace around her neck. He took the two ends from her hand and connected them behind her head. "I was right. It does look good on you. Then again, anything would. It's you," he smiled. "You just find more ways to be amazing every day, don't you?" She asked, giggling softly. "Well, I love it. It'll remind me of you, and of the fact that I can see you once more when I return. I'll get back as soon as I can. Take care~" "Take care yourself, and don't be gone too long," he replied, jumping back on Prometheus. "You think they'll be okay, 'Vadumee?" Xyrem was obviously worried, and the Blaziken sighed. He nodded, and the two boarded the ferry to lands unknown.