Why Must This Happen?
"So, uh," Harlow tried to speak, rubbing the back of her neck uncomfortably, "how is this gonna work?"
Steven Stone placed a hand under his chin, lost in thought for a moment. "Let's see what happens if all your Pokemon Mega-Evolve one at a time."
Nodding, the female Champion of Hoenn turned to her team, nodding once again. At the sight of the motion, her team rushed forward to stand on the battlefield before her, all in athletic stances, ready for the battle. "At ease, soldiers," Harlow joked, holding a hand out in front of her almost defensively. "You heard Steven: one at a time, alright? We'll start with Glory."
With a smile, the Gengar shooed the other Pokemon away, chuckling darkly to herself. She took too much pleasure from watching her friends glare at her and shuffle off to the side, glum expressions on their faces. Glory resumed her athletic stance, her paws held out in front of her as she readied herself for an attack.
"Hold on, Glory," Harlow stopped her, raising a finger in the air. "We have to Mega-Evolve you first, remember?"
At the mention of this extra stage of evolution she possessed, Glory's grin widened, and she moved one paw to clamp over her Mega Stone, which was located on her left wrist. "Gar!" she called, telling her Trainer she was ready.
Harlow chuckled, hovering her hand over her Key Stone, which was dangling from her right ear like an earring. "Alright. Let's see what happens." Just before she touched the stone, the pit in her stomach grew more painful, but she only paused for a moment. Growling a bit to herself, she toughed through the pain and finally grabbed the stone, watching with a mixture of fear and excitement as her Ghost-type partner was enveloped in that familiar blue light. She could see her form changing, but the light hid her new appearance for the most part.
The light vanished, revealing a Mega Gengar, who roared in anticipation.
"How do you feel?" Steven called to her Trainer, already expecting what the answer would be.
"Fine," Harlow replied with a small shrug. The pit in her stomach had dissipated quite a bit. "Let's see what happens when we really start this thing!" She now turned to her partner, who glanced back at her, waiting for a command as patiently as she could. "Alright, Glory, use Shadow Ball!"
The purple entity in front of her howled as an even darker purple ball formed in front of her. Glory waited a moment for the ball to hit full power, before shooting it over to Steven's first Pokemon.
His Skarmory tried to dodge the attack, but it wound up hitting its legs, sending it circling through the air. Before getting too close to the ground, it swooped back up, screeching its name as it did so.
"Aerial Ace, Skarmory!" Steven commanded, pointing a hand at Harlow in an almost accusing manner.
The Steel/Flying-type obeyed, sending a quick current of air in Glory's direction.
She wasn't fast enough. The attack hit her square in the face, but all she had to do was shake it off and keep going.
"Glory, come back here! That's enough!" Harlow said, pointing to the floor. She had made a deal with Steven: to save time and both their Pokemon from fainting, she would return whoever was battling after they got hit once. Mega-Evolving before the battle started was also part of this deal. "You ready, Alma?"
"Ray-oo!" the Ampharos replied, happily skipping onto the battlefield before narrowing her eyes and taking her own stance. She, too, hovered a paw over the bracelet that held her Mega Stone.
"Let's just see what happens," Harlow whispered to herself for the second time, taking a deep breath before covering her stone, yet again, with her hand. "Mega-Evolve!"
Much like with Glory, the exact physical changes done to Alma could only be seen after the light faded, but it was already obvious that their Trainer was going through changes of her own.
For a moment, Harlow's head ached, but the pain was nothing compared to what was to come. With a now-red face, she looked up to the Mega Ampharos, her fingers flexing on each hand. "Now, Alma, Thunderbolt!"
Her partner followed her command, sending a large jolt of electricity to the Skarmory.
Again, it wasn't fast enough. This time, it got hit in the chest, sending it tumbling down to the ground. It struggled to stand up, but it eventually did, taking to the air once again.
"Toxic, Skarmory!" Steven's eyes were soft as he watched Harlow, to see how much the second Mega-Evolution had affected her.
"Dodge it and use Power Gem!"
Alma dashed off to the side, avoiding the poisonous attack. She skidded her feet on the floor, turned to face her opponent, and manifested rocks, which she hurled towards it.
Skamory fell to the floor as it was barraged with the rocks. It had fainted. Steven congratulated its unconscious form on a job well done, returned it to its PokeBall, and sent out his next partner. "Earth Power!"
The Claydol obeyed, hitting Alma with the attack.
She soared back to Harlow, who watched with wide eyes. Hitting the ground hard, the Electric-type's large form sprung back up, heading off to her friends. She knew her job was done.
"Thank you, Alma," Harlow said, motioning for her Swampert to battle next. Of course, he bounded over to the field like a puppy, barking out its name.
Her face was redder now, and she began to hunch over, knees bent. Huffing and puffing loudly, Harlow growled to her Water-type partner with a motion of her hand, "Waterfall!"
Steven was too worried about Harlow's appearance and mannerisms to even think about telling his Claydol to dodge, which left the Ground/Psychic-type in a bit of a pinch. He held a hand up, face blank, as a way to pause the battle. "Harlow," he called over to her, his voice echoing off of the walls of the room, "calm down, please. We can continue this battle another d-"
"No!" He was cut off and taken by surprise by the sudden yell. Harlow clenched her hands into fists, gritting her teeth together. "I wanna keep going! I can do it, Steven! I can handle this!"
"You'll only end up hurting yourself!" Steven retorted, patiently, placing a hand on his hip.
Harlow pointed a finger at him accusingly. "What do you care, anyway, huh? There's no reason to stop! Why bother? I'm fine!"
With a sigh, Steven returned his Claydol, taking a step onto the battlefield. "Harlow, this is even worse than it was before. It's high time I took you to-"
"To who!?" Harlow shrieked, cutting him off once again, holding her hands up by her sides in an almost-shrug. "Where!? Nobody can cure me, Steven. I might as well embrace this."
"That, actually, is..." For a moment, he faked thinking about her take on this mess. Then, he held a hand out towards her. "...a terrible idea. This can only hurt you, Harlow. I've made up my mind, and you are not able to change it. I will arrange your flight to Kalos as soon as possible."
"Wha- KALOS!?" Harlow spluttered before snapping. "What are they gonna do for me there, eh? A whole lotta nothing, like you."
Steven sighed before looking back to Harlow's team and nodding to one of its members. The Pokemon quietly snuck behind her Trainer and waited for the signal. Steven continued. "I've been protecting you, and I believe the people of Kalos might be able to at least make this partially batter for you."
"And what if they can't? What do I do then, Steven? Stay stuck in a cage for the rest of my life? Let them run experiments on me until I die!? I'm not gonna let that happen, thank you very much," Harlow replied, matter-of-factly, crossing her arms over her chest and glaring at her friend.
Running a hand through his hair, Steven closed his eyes for a moment. "Now."
Tosca wrapped her Trainer in her arms from behind, holding her up off of the floor.
Harlow wriggled in her grasp, but it was too great for her to escape from. "Let go of me!" At the feeling of something pressing against her lower face, she began to hyperventilate, eyes wide. Soon enough, though, they grew heavy, and she quickly fell asleep.
The Tyranitar held Harlow bridal-style as three of the five other members of her team glowed blue-and-white for a moment, reverting back to their original forms. She looked down to Steven, head tilted. Where was she to put Harlow? He had her knock her out why, exactly?
Steven opened his eyes once again. "This was the only way to get her to cooperate," he explained to the Pokemon, leading them out of the room and through the Elite Four's chambers. Each member watched with confusion and wonder as Harlow's sleeping form was brought out of the building, over to the Pokemon Center. "I have already spoken with Nurse Joy. You all will be healed, returned to Harlow in your Pokeballs, and shipped off to Kalos on a plane, which I will call soon. There is nothing to be afraid of, though: I am doing this to help her."
In understanding, Harlow's Pokemon nodded. Tosca placed her Trainer onto a seat before she and the others were brought to Nurse Joy and returned to their homes, just like Steven had said. He, too, sat on the seat, making sure Harlow stayed asleep by rubbing her knee in a comforting manner, waiting for the return of her team as he made the call.