Johto University is not dead, just on hiatus. This is just a little something I felt I needed to write. So please, enjoy ^^ Prologue The first thing I saw this morning when I woke up was the wonderful face of my mother. And by wonderful, I mean over-excited, slightly caffeinated, and perhaps a bit crazy. Twinkling brown eyes, a huge contrast to my father's, and a huge grin. "Janinejaninejaninejaninejaninejanine!" Did I say slightly caffeinated? "Do you know what today is?!" "Mom…" I mumbled, as I sat up running my hands through my hair, "it's barely seven… sleep….nugh…." "No! Get up! Getupgetup! You only graduate high school once, you know!" she seemed incredibly eager, and only then did she climb off of my bed, standing on the rug underneath it. Her feet were bouncing. Reluctantly, I threw the covers off of myself, and stretched. As I yawned, I heard the door open, then close again. Mom was gone. A rather large sigh escaped my lips as I pulled my lazy self out of bed, and shuffled over to the bathroom door. It opened with a creek, and I hit the light switch. I didn't stop to look at myself until after I turned on the shower, and hit play on the speakers I always kept up on the shelves, that I stopped to check myself in the mirror. Nothing new, I mean, I was never the type to get obsessed about weight or anything, I mean, sure, I ran cross country for a few years, and it definitely showed, but, weight was never a big issue for me. I guess that makes me lucky? I think I'm totally average, I'm sure some other girls think I'm super skinny (you know, the kind that think they're the fattest people on the planet?) Realizing that I was thinking far too much on what has been the same for nearly three years, I ran my hands through my bed-heady hair again. The steam was beginning to fill up the bathroom, so I pulled myself into what seemed like the longest shower I'd ever taken. ------------------------- An eternity and a half later (okay, an hour) I was walking out of my bedroom, less stinky, no longer the possessor of the worst morning breath in the world, and with tame hair. My mom, the over-eager caretaker, had a hot breakfast ready for me on the table. It's almost like she's never had a child graduate before. Oh. Wait. Such are the disadvantages of being an only child, I thought to myself as I chewed on some pancakes drenched in syrup. "Are you really going to take that silly thing with you, dear?" My mom asked from across the granite-covered kitchen. "I don't leave home without Stella! Of course I'm taking "that thing" with me!" I said, defensively grabbing my camera. It wasn't one of those rinky-dinky ones that a lot of people have, it was borderline professional. Stella was my pride and joy, a digital SLR camera fit for a queen. There were at least a hundred lenses in my room. Me, obsessed? Never. ------------------------------------- "Volo, Janine" I stood up from the metal-folding-chairs-from-Hell, and walked to the stage. Everyone was clapping, of course, just as they had done for everyone else. Though, a few faces in the crowd were clapping vigorously, Mom, Dad, and Ms. Duggan, my bubbly photographer teacher, and hero, from the last four years. I strode across the stage, Stella under my golden-yellow robe, sun high in the sky, and tassel in my face. I shook hands with the principal, an older, fat man, and took my diploma. It was nice seeing it, the fancy print, the emblem, but mostly, my name. I had made it. I was free now. Free to fly, just like I had always wanted. ---------------------------- "So, what're you going to do now, honey?" My mom asked at dinner that night. It was the three of us, as usual, my graduation party had been planned a week from now. "Yeah, Janine, any ideas?" My dad asked. They had lived together so long they were beginning to look like each other. They both had straight mahogany hair, concerned smiles, and were both five foot seven. It was a bit scary at times, how similar they were, until I reminded myself to look at their eyes. Mom's were brown, Dad's were an incredible sky blue. I was incredibly grateful, for some reason or another, that I had inherited my father's eyes. "Well…." I began, pushing the food on my plate around with my fork, "I was thinking about… traveling…." "But sweety, we've traveled before! You've been as far as Sinnoh! What more could you want?" Mom asked, getting just a bit panicky. "Yeah, Janine, really, think about your education! You did incredible in school, and-" "No, I'm not going to go four more years of school! I mean, why bother? You know what kind of money I've made off of Stella-" my dad cut me off, "Would you please stop calling your camera that? It's just childish." He grunted. "Rob, really now, show some compassion! She's our baby, she can call her camera whatever she wants…." "See? This is why I want to get out and travel! With you two, it's kind of…." I was struck by sudden guilt, "it's not easy. A lot of my friends left home two years ago….. and, well, I kind of… wanted to…" "To what, Janine?" Mom asked, delicately wrapping my hands in hers. They were soft, and warm, just like a mother's should be. "I kind of want… to… start… training Pokemon to travel with." I swallowed. Neither of my parents had much supported Pokemon training. They both wanted me to be a world-class surgeon, or lawyer, or something. I would have no part of that at all. My dad looked like he was about to lose it. He excused himself from the table, and walked down the hall to their bedroom. Mom's hands dropped mine. Her eyes began to tear up a bit. "Well…." She sniveled, "if that's what you really want, I won't stop you. But leave soon…. It's hard enough knowing you're going to leave." She wiped her eyes her napkin "excuse me.." she mumbled as she did so. My breath paused. "I love you, Mom." I said, standing up. "I love you too, Janine…." She grabbed me into a hug before I could get to my room. We stayed like that, her arms wrapped around me, her head just below mine, for about a minute. She finally let go, and I walked to my bedroom to pack.