A Realistic Pokemon RP
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(tw; childhood bullying)
The best thing that your parents ever did for you was get arrested. At least, that's what your social worker says. You're thirteen with scabby knees, sitting in the heat-sticky Hau'Oli City Office of Social Services while a little man in a big jacket tells you about your next foster placement.
Two boys and a girl, he says. They're a very nice couple, he says. You catch your lower lip in between your teeth and gnaw at it, resisting the urge to roll your eyes. Stuffed shirts hate it when you roll your eyes. Like anyone had the time to teach you manners.
The couple is nice. They're Sinnoh transplants with shiny, straight teeth and a whole mess of Pikachus. Their house is big with wide, open windows and for the first time in six years, you have your own room. The other kids aren't too bad except for the big one - a boy twice your size with a brow the size of a Geodude and a crooked nose. He tugs your short hair. Tries to pull down your pants. Calls you words that make your throat tighten, your eyes squeeze shut.
The couple is nice, the house is homey, the bedroom is great. But nobody touches you, calls you those words. You break your left hand on his jaw, sink your teeth into his nose.
You don't get nice placements after that.
You find Brother when you're fifteen. He's not Brother, then, but Cubone. Or rather, a Cubone. Dirty and bleeding under the boardwalk, he doesn't even flinch when you poke him with a stick just to see if he's alive. Abandoned, maybe, you think. Couldn't win enough battles and left to stink on the beach. You skip school to take him to the nearest pokemon center, picking your nails in the lobby while the nurses do their thing.
You've never had a pokemon of your own before. You've seen them - in your guardians' homes, working at social services or in school - but they've always been distant, untouchable things. Part of the world that you're not allowed to touch. So, when the nurses ask you if the Cubone is yours, you say yes. You say his name is Brother.
A lot of your foster moms want to put you in dresses, do your makeup. You learn to recognize the signs. A sigh, a hand in your hair. A comment about an old dress they have that might fit. An almost sad remark - what a pretty girl like your looks are wasted on being a foster kid.
The problem is, you're not a girl. That's what they call you. Pretty girl. Young lady. Miss. It rankles at you, settles somewhere under your skin and tugs painfully every time someone says those words.
One of your more progressive moms asks if you want to be he and him instead of she and her, but that doesn't feel right either.
"I don't know," you stumble. "I - that doesn't. Maybe I'm nothing?"
That particular mom doesn't really get that, but you can see her trying, seeing the gears crank in her head and you want to disappear, ashamed. Maybe you're wrong. Maybe you're broken.
When you inevitably leave that home, the mother gives you some books on gender and sexuality and it makes your chest ache because no one's ever tried so much for you.
Once you turn eighteen, the foster system spits you out. Which is all well and good, as far as your concerned. No more moving homes. No more sharing bedrooms or meals or feelings with strangers. Just you and Brother.
You get a job at a local sanctuary, up in the hills where the air is sweet and clean. The noises of the city don't reach you up there and even Brother, a grumbly, moody thing seems better tempered.
You spend two years there, keeping to yourself, mostly. Your coworkers think you're a bitch, honestly. You don't go out for drinks, don't want to fish or hike or play video games with them. In truth, it's less a matter of desire and more a matter of experience. You don't see potential friends, but the people in your childhood. Impermanent fixtures. Why bother getting to know them when they'll leave or you'll leave or worse, they'll hurt you? You can't articulate this feeling, wouldn't even if you could. So, you keep your face neutral and your head down. And your coworkers whisper, "what a bitch" as you walk away.
Pokemon are easier than people. They don't make your insides go shivery with nerves. There's a Meowth that won't take to the sanctuary, hissing and clawing until one of the interns runs out in blood and tears. Meowth's the second pokemon that you take home with you, letting him hiss and claw until he tires himself out, until he sees that you're not going to hurt him. You don't give him a name, thinking you'll take him back to the sanctuary eventually, but he sleeps in a sunbeam at the foot of your bed every day and you put it off for another day.
You've had your fill of Alola by your twentieth birthday, so with money in your pocket, you head out into the wild blue yonder. Which is more gray than blue because it's Slateport City in Hoenn.
It's colder that Hau'Oli. And darker. But interesting. It feels like peeling wet clothes off and putting on a new set, a new you.
You bum around the city for a few months until a recruiter catches you on a street corner. Join the ranger corps! Travel! See new pokemon! Make the world a better place!
You figure, sure. What else have you got going on? So, you do.
You have a job. You have ambition. When you got to the rangers, you realized that you were good at it. Of course you had to chase that feeling. That sense of belonging. You're punctual. You're serious. You're professional.
So, maybe you're twenty-four and people ask if there's a ninety year old man trapped inside you. Fuck off. You've got a job to do.