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New Hope, New Home

by Shiny Blue Gardevoir

Shiny Blue Gardevoir A banette is left frightened and alone after being abandoned as a doll... Until a gym leader takes her in.

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The scene was pitiful.

Behind a huge house in Nymphia Town, several bin bags lay against a fence, most of them full to bursting point. All of them were filled with toys of some description; plush toys, plastic dolls, the parts of a little pink camper van, and a dollhouse whose stickers and window boxes had long since been lovingly torn off by the little girl who once owned them. Within the bags, an entire childhood lay waiting to be taken away by the bin man.

Right at the top of one of the bags was a banette. Of course it hadn't always been a banette; just last night, it had been a flareon doll, who'd believed that it was special to the girl who'd cruelly thrown it away. Yet somehow, it was the only doll in the bags who'd become a banette.

Before her owner, Sara, had turned ten, the banette had been Lucy Lulu, Sara's beloved shiny flareon doll. Sara's family were very well-to-do, and she had mountains of toys made to look like all different kinds of pokemon; big ones, small ones, fluffy ones, scaly ones, legendary ones, and ones who walked and talked and cried like real pokemon, but no matter how many new dolls Sara got, Lucy Lulu always remained her number one favourite. Only Lucy Lulu got to sleep tucked under her arm every night. Only Lucy Lulu got to go to play dates, and sleepovers, and on holidays. Sara only went to Lucy Lulu for comfort, pouring out all of her fears, and her secrets, and the fact that she had a crush on some boy from her class.

Lucy Lulu was special. Special, at least, until the week before, when Sara had turned ten.

Her mother had begged and pleaded with her, as she began stuffing all of her precious toy pokemon into bin bags. She'd asked her, time and time again, if she was absolutely sure that she wanted them all gone, when she'd loved them so much. In response, Sara had said:

"I don't need them anymore, Mummy. Soon, I'll be getting real pokemon."

And so, Sara threw all of her dolls away. Even her beloved Lucy Lulu.

Lucy Lulu was now Banette. Just a banette, and nothing more. As far as she, and Sara were concerned, Lucy Lulu was dead.

Banette, fearful of the crushing jaws of the bin man's truck, cut her way out of the bag, taking a last look at Sara's house, before dashing off in the other direction. Now, there would be no warm cuddles at night, just the cold, hard pavement. Now, she wouldn't get to play with other toy pokemon, there were no toys out in the wild. Real pokemon would be afraid of her. Trainers would turn heel and run at the sight of her, knowing what she was. Knowing that maybe, she was the doll whom they'd cruelly thrown away.

From now, until the end of her days, she'd be alone.


Itzal's gym had been relatively quiet, for the past few days. It was September, which meant that all of the more experienced trainers had defeated him already, and only the new trainers, the ones from Fantasma Village, from which he hailed, were challenging him now. T'was a shame that on account of its size, there weren't many children living in the village who needed his badge for the league.

The boy slipped on an old, thin pair of wooden sandals, deciding that today, he'd go for a walk. Itzal's job, and his brittle asthma meant that he couldn't leave the gym very often, and even when he did, it was normally because he needed to go to the hospital. He'd been so many times that the staff knew him by his first name. On a nice, quiet day, when he had no one to battle, and his condition was, for the first time in ages, stable, Itzal simply had to get himself outside for a bit.

Fantasma Village was, as usual, extremely quiet. The clouds above were grey and heavy, as if it were going to rain soon, but Itzal didn't mind.

He took out five pokeballs, deciding that his pokemon should join him on his walk, and within seconds, Arbole the decidueye, Murasaki the chandelure, Yurei the drifblim, Bruja the mismagius, and Yuki the froslass appeared at his side, mindlessly following him as he wandered in the direction of Muermonio's Temple. How he loved spending time there, when he had the chance.


Banette ran until her little stuffed legs wouldn't carry her any further, and she was forced to stop at the first building she found herself at. Over the last few days, she'd been experiencing a lot of new feelings and sensations. Feelings and sensations that were far from pleasant.

She was a living thing now, not a doll. She needed to eat. She needed to sleep. She needed to keep herself warm and dry, and tend to her wounds when she was hurt. She was a real pokemon now, not a toy. She could feel now. She felt... Sorrow, and bitterness, and hatred. Banette had been used and then thrown away, by the only person who'd loved her. Or had ever pretended to love her.

Banette was hungry, frightened, tired, cold, and alone all at once. It this was what being a real pokemon was like, then she wished, with all her might, that she could go back to just being a doll.


After paying his respects to Muermonio, the guardian pokemon of Fantasma Village, Itzal decided to leave the temple. Maybe now, he'd go to the bakery and treat himself to a macaron.

He stopped just short of the temple's exit, when he caught sight of banette, laid by the door. The pitiful creature was barely moving, so he could only guess that it hadn't been a banette for very long. A day, or a week, at most perhaps, so it hadn't gotten the hang of being alive yet...

Itzal knelt down in front of the banette, offering it a kasib berry. They were common around Fantasma Village, and he often picked them when he was out, sometimes feeding them to his pokemon before battle.

Banette eyed the boy, and the berry cautiously. He was surrounded by pokemon, all of them ghost types, just like her, some of whom she recognised from T.V. Sara always said that ghost types were gross and scary.

Instinctively, the pitiful cursed doll shied away from him, as Sara had done, whenever there was a ghost type on T.V. She was expecting him to turn heel and walk away, taking his undead legion with him, but to her surprise, he stayed. When Banette opened her eyes, he was still there, knelt before her, with the kasib berry in hand.

"Take it," he ordered gently, "You must be hungry, are you not?"

Banette's stomach growled. Her first meal had been a piece of rotting bread, which she'd found by a bin, and that was three days ago...

Hesitantly, she took the berry, running away from him before eating it.

"Well, best be off, guys," Itzal commented gruffly, getting up and walking toward the bakery. He doubted that he'd see that banette again...


Itzal's gym was quiet the next day too, and since he had a little money to burn, he walked to the market, to get some nice things for his pokemon.

As he was perusing a display of incenses, Banette wandered through the market, eyes lighting up when she saw the kind stranger from before. He'd been the first person, let alone pokemon, to show her any kindness since Sara threw her away, and she was considering approaching him again... But she decided against it. He wasn't going to take pity on her again.

She still watched him from afar as he bought frozen oranges from a stand, one for each of his pokemon, and them himself. His pokemon seemed delighted to receive the frozen fruit, each of them gobbling their oranges down quickly...

"Oh, it's you."

Banette's breath caught in her throat. He'd noticed her. He'd noticed her...

He knelt before her again, offering her a segment of his own frozen orange.

"Here. It's just fruit," he reassured, "And I'll bet that you're pretty hungry again, aren't you?"

Banette nodded, and as if on cue, her stomach growled. The meagre meal of a half-eaten battered magikarp she'd fished out of a bin bag that morning, had been snatched from her by a murder of honchkrows. Thanks to them, she now hadn't eaten since yesterday morning.

She gratefully cried, "Banette," as she took the orange, once again gobbling it down greedily, before she ran away. If she didn't leave soon, she'd lose her bed for the night; a takeaway box with a hole in the corner.

Once again, Itzal watched her leave, commenting gruffly about the timidness of the little cursed doll.


Banette lay panting against a wall a week later, having been attacked by that same murder of honchkrows over some rotting pokepuffs. She knew that she should have backed away. She knew that they were strong enough to end a weak ghost type like her. And yet, she couldn't bring herself to give up those pokepuffs, when there were enough there to feed her for a month.

This was it, she was sure of it.

And then she saw Itzal.

He called out to her, scooping her up in his arms, as he followed his decidueye back to the gym.

He was so gentle with her. He cleaned up her wounds, and fed her oran berries, and wrapped her in a thick, warm blanket. He held her, and comforted her, speaking in the softest, most soothing voice that she'd ever had the pleasure of hearing.

When she recovered from her wounds, Itzal offered her the chance to stay with him, at his gym. She accepted almost immediately, and as he chose a name for her--Nekane--She was flooded with her very first positive emotions. She felt happiness. Acceptance. Love.

That night, Banette--No, she was Nekane now--Curled up under Itzal's arm. He hugged her tightly, telling all of his pokemon goodnight, before he pulled the covers up over himself and fell asleep.

She scanned the room, looking at all of his other pokemon, who were already fast asleep in their beds. Their trainer. Her trainer. It didn't matter. It was someone who fed them, and cared for them, and battled with them. Itzal wouldn't throw them away. Itzal wouldn't declare that he loved them, only to get rid of them when something that he deemed better came along. That, Nekane was sure of.

The banette lived happily, under Itzal's care, for two months. Challengers came and went. She won, and she lost battles. She watched as Itzal handed out his Netherworld badge to those who'd successfully beaten him, and mumbled, "Better luck next time," to those who hadn't.

It was just another morning in the gym, when Itzal got his first challenger of the day. Nekane was up and ready for battle, and she confidently stepped out from behind Itzal as...

Her face fell. This couldn't be happening.

Their opponent was Sara.

She'd grown a lot, since Nekane had last seen her. Her curly red hair had now been dyed black, and she wore a little minidress and wedges. Six luxury balls were strapped to her belt.

Nekane held her breath as she called out her first pokemon...

It was a shiny flareon.

"I'll let you have the first move," Itzal invited.

Sara gave the gym leader a victorious grin. "Lucy, use shadow ball!"

Itzal ordered Nekane into battle. It wasn't long before the flareon was down. And then her Alolan ninetales. And her heracross. And her pikachu. And before long, Nekane had swept her whole team.

Sara dropped to her knees. She'd lost? But how... After mummy and daddy had put a word in at the gyms she went to, she'd swept most of the other gym leaders' teams like dirty floors.

"You... You were supposed to lose! I'm the challenger, and you're the gym leader! I'm the one who's supposed to win, get your badge, and then go on to become the champion!"

Itzal shook his head. "If you want my badge, then you have to earn it, I'm afraid," he said coldly, "Your mummy and daddy can't buy you the Netherworld badge!"

Sara was fuming. Mummy and Daddy could buy her anything. Mummy and Daddy had paid Itzal handsomely to ensure an easy victory, or so they'd told her. Why... Had he not accepted the bribe? But how? Mummy and Daddy had offered him thousands. Enough for him to live comfortably, even when he wasn't getting any challengers. Enough for him to be able to afford the very best private treatment (Mummy and Daddy were well aware of Itzal's terrible health).

"You big meanie! I'll... I'll..."

"You'll what?" Itzal enquired, "Tell your mummy and daddy?"

"Mummy and Daddy gave you so much money! They promised me that you'd make it a quick, easy battle for me!"

The gym leader waltzed to her side of the battlefield, handing her an envelope he'd received a little before she came.

"Well, you can tell them that I don't want their money," the gym leader said proudly, "Trainers who defeat me in battle get the Netherworld badge. Not nasty little spoiled brats, who try to bribe their way through the league!"

Sara was quiet, for just a minute. And then she stomped away in a huff, throwing her badge case on the ground as she grumbled about the league rules, and about Itzal and his gross ghost types...

The banette smiled at Itzal as he knelt down to pet her. Now, with the misery of the past few weeks fully behind her, she could look forward to a happy future, with someone who would never dare dream of throwing her away.

"Now, how about we go and relax with some kasib berry pudding?" he offered, "And prepare for the next challenger, of course!"

Nekane nodded along, with her teammates. Pudding sounded wonderful.

She followed Itzal upstairs, and soon, she was enjoying a pot of delicious pudding, curled up next to hear dear master and friends. She was quite happy to stay, just like this, forever.
  1. ZRoberts555
    Wow, what a story. I loathed Sara for what she'd done and felt that Lucy Lulu sweeping her was a great payback. I can't believe Sara would throw away her childhood like that. I still have a Build-a-Bear Bear from when I was 3.
    Jul 9, 2017
  2. Keleri
    This is a great use of Banette's pokedex origin and very affecting! I guess Toy Story would be a horror movie in the pokemon world. I'm so glad that Nekane got a happy ending. I think your style of prose is good without getting bogged down in description, but one thing you could do to enhance the hurt-comforty-ness of the story would be to indulge in some of the sensory detail of being a street pokemon (e.g. cold, pain, hunger) as well as the relief of finally receiving food and care. You could also add some short description about your OC's appearance, but the hint about his poor health is good and doesn't overwhelm the short story with extraneous detail.

    I can't help but feel bad for Sara and her pokemon too, consigned to mediocrity and false achievement by her parents. I hope she gets out from under their helicopter blades and learns about the true value of even the "icky" pokemon. (Although to be fair, ghost pokemon are some of the most dangerous pokemon, able to drain humans' energy invisibly. I wonder if Itzal's doctors know about that...)
    Jun 3, 2017