"Hey, Chikorita. Wake up!" Totodile said, prodding me with a sharp-clawed hand.
"Ouch, that hurts!" I squeaked, shocked out of my sleepy state.
"Sorry," said Totodile, looking at the floor.
"It's all right. I was overreacting," I said, also focusing my attention on my feet. My leaf flopped in front of my face, and I flicked my head irritably. Stupid thing... There is nothing on this planet that annoys me more than the dumb leaf sprouting from the top of my head. It works as a sunshade, but that's about it.
"Elm's had to go out. The trainer should be here soon. He trusts her, at least. That probably means she's not as strange or creepy as the dude who took Cyndaquil," she said. She sounded so much more confident today. It seemed the young water Pokemon wasn't so much scared of me as she was scared of Cyndaquil. It was strange. I was a Grass type, and had a large advantage over a Pokemon like Totodile in battle. Cyndaquil, on the other hand, was a Fire type, and was easily overpowered by a strong water species such as her own.
Both of us raised our heads when we heard echoing footsteps entering the room. A short, shy looking girl who didn't look a day older than eight clutched the hand of a teenage girl who I assumed was her older sister walked in. The younger girl was round faced with straw blonde hair that fell in untidy curls around her plump cheeks, reaching her shoulders in length. Her nails were bitten so short that you wouldn't know they were there if you looked at her palms and the skin around her fingertips was red, bleeding in places closer to the nails. She was nibbling away at her thumb the entire time she was in the lab.
The older girl's hair was short than her sister's, barely passing her chin. It was a shade of brown that reminded me so strongly of chocolate that I could almost taste it, melting on my tongue. It was not quite curly, but not quite straight, sort of like the sea on a calm day, rippled by a soft breeze. Her eyes were also brown, but not the same chocolate shade as her hair. A sprinkle of freckles covered her cheeks and the bridge of her nose. The glasses she wore kept slipping down, and she kept irritably pushing them back up so she wasn't looking over the top of them.
"Em, I don't like it here. It's scary without Professor Elm," the younger girl squeaked, tightening her grip on her sister's hand.
"If you decide which pokemon you want quickly, you can get out quickly," said the older, bending down so she was looking directly into the little girl's sky-blue eyes. The younger girl nodded, but her eyes didn't look convinced.
However, as soon as she turned to Totodile and I, her little face lit up like someone had flicked a switch and turned a light bulb on behind it. Her eyes sparkled and a wide smile spread across her face.
"Oh, they're so cute!" she gasped, running over to us and gently prodding one of the spikes lining Totodile's neck and black. She ran a hand a long my scaly back, and a look of concern creased her face. "She's so cold, Emily. Why?"
"She's a Chikorita, Lucy. Of course she'd be cold on a day like this," the older girl, Emily, said matter-of-factly. The younger girl, Lucy, didn't look like she understood, but she didn't say any more on the subject.
"How am I ever going to chose?" Lucy wailed, looking at the ceiling.
"I thought it would be easy. You've always said you love Water types," Emily said, confusion filling face.
"But that Chikorita is so cute! It seems mean to leave it here all on its own!" Lucy complained. She looked sadly at us both. Emily's gaze drifted from her sister to Totodile and I as well.
"You're right; it does seem a little cruel. I can't imagine what life must be like, living with someone like Elm all the time," she said with a sigh.
At that moment, I heard the door open again. Four pairs of eyes turned to face the Professor as he walked in.
"Professor, I don't know who to chose!" Lucy said, running up to the man that had raised Totodile, Cyndaquil and I with such love and affection. He was like a father to us. I suddenly came to terms with the fact that if Lucy chose me, I would have to leave the Professor and life at the lab behind. It was a sad thought. I loved the Professor dearly; we all did. And even though the prospect of having a fantastic trainer and friend in Lucy, for it was obvious she was one of those children who adored Pokemon, I wasn't quite sure I was ready for this. I wasn't ready to leave the nest yet. I wasn't ready to fly solo.
"I thought you'd have no problems choosing, Lucy," the Professor said, his face creasing with bewilderment.
"But... if I pick Chikorita, Totodile will be lonely. And if I pick Totodile, Chikorita will be lonely! I just don't know what to do!" Lucy complained with a sigh.
"They'll be fine. Soon, there'll be new starter Pokemon for them to play with," the Professor assured her.
"But they seem to be such good friends! It seems... cruel to separate them!" Lucy moaned, leaning heavily on Emily, who staggered and grabbed hold of a nearby table to right herself.
"Maybe... Maybe I could take the other one. That way, you wouldn't have to worry about splitting them up," she said, gently pushing Lucy so that the younger girl was standing upright.
"Yes, that would be good!" Lucy said, just about jumping for joy.
"Hm... Well, there's nothing to stop you. You're still a qualified trainer, after all. But I thought, after Cinna's... accident, you swore you wouldn't have anything to do with Pokemon training again?" the Professor said, running a hand through his messy, pale blonde hair. The ground suddenly became very interesting to Emily.
"I know, but that happened six years ago. I think it's about time I moved on," she murmured.
"I think it would do you some good. Since what happened with Cinna, you've only left your house to go to school," Professor Elm said, "I guess your choice is easy now, Lucy?"
Lucy dashed over to us, beaming and scooped Totodile up in her arms.
"Of course!" she said, clutching Totodile tightly to her chest.
"Did you really need to ask that?" asked Emily, looking at the Professor. He doesn't reply. Emily walks over to me.
"So I've got Chikorita... Well, it's certainly different from Cyndaquil," she said, stroking my head. Her hand was hot against my skin. Her warmth spread through my body, chasing away the chills of winter. I closed my eyes and let out a small squeak of pleasure. I heard Lucy giggle.
"She's so cute!" she said, walking over to us with Totodile in her arms, "Can I name them, Em? Please?"
"Sure. If I name her she'll end up as something stupid like Leafy," Emily said, smiling.
Lucy looked at me, her face creasing in concentration.
"I'll call her... Fudge! 'Cause she's really sweet like fudge!" she said suddenly. Emily laughed.
"Fudge? Really?" she said, shaking her head.
"Yep! And I'll call Totodile... Aqua," Lucy told her sister.
"Well at least that's not completely insane," Emily sighed. I looked at Totodile, puzzled. Lucy, it seemed, was half bonkers. But the newly named Aqua looked overjoyed to have the little girl as a trainer. And, I'd be a liar if I told you I didn't feel the same way about Emily.