Blue's eyes scanned the field of tall grass before him, blades swaying in the cool spring breeze, brow furrowed in concentration. He knew there was a Pokémon out here somewhere. It must have been hiding in the brush. Blue had hoped he was already ahead of Red, having caught a Pidgey so soon after obtaining the Pokéballs from his grandfather, but the kid also had a Rattata with him.
Blue spat. Red. What was so special about him all of a sudden? If it weren't for Blue he wouldn't even have any dreams of being a Pokémon trainer. His head was always up in the clouds, even since they were children. Since before Blue was living with his grandfather, back when his parents were still alive. Granted they weren't home much anyway, being trainers themselves, but it was their tales of wonder and adventure that gave Blue such a passion. He pored through his parents' volumes of texts and encyclopedias on Pokémon, watched every documentary he could find on television, and even got the play sets for Vermilion and Fuschia city gyms. He'd spend hours playing with Red, showing him all of his parents' books, so heavy with knowledge at the time, and pretending to be the leaders of their own gyms.
Things changed once his parents died. Or maybe it was only Blue that had changed. His grandfather, Professor Oak, didn't have much in the way of time for him, and Red seemed to be so focused on himself and his own family. Ever since then, Blue couldn't help but hate his childhood best friend. Perhaps it was Red's perfectly fine life, still going home to his parents every night, his mother making him a proper dinner while Blue had nothing but frozen meals in the freezer.
"Gah!" Blue cried out. He was snapped back to reality as a Rattata had snuck up on him, biting at his calf. It shrieked at him in defiance before turning and fleeing, quickly disappearing into the long, swaying grass.
"Oh no you don't!" Blue called. He pulled the second Pokéball from his waist and pressed the button on its center, immediately unclasping it. A bright light unfurled from the ball and took shape into the sky, and soon his Pidgey was flying through the air. "Don't lose sight of that Rattata!" he called out. He began to chase his Pidgey, who in turn chased down the Rattata. The two of them were both awfully quick, and before he knew it Pidgey was simply a shadow in the sky.
He realized the Rattata had been cornered once the Pidgey started to circle in the sky. Blue smirked.
"Pidgey, gust!" he cried, and the bird flapped its wings with such a force that a burst of wind slammed into the ground. He could see the grass flatten, struck as if by an invisible hammer, and causing a dust plume to rise. It was easy to find the Rattata with the grass laid low. The creature had taken refuge in an old, hollowed-out log, now snapped in half from the force of his Pidgey's attack. Blue looked upon the dusty Pokémon with victory.
That is, until it began to limp away from the log.
"Oh man," Blue sighed, leaning down. It was injured, and bad. Blue reached out his hand, gliding his fingers along the rodent's fur. It flinched at first, and shivered in fear, but soon began to relax. Blue smiled. "Don't worry, little guy, I'll get you healed up." Reaching for one of the empty Pokéballs upon his belt, he pressed the button to the Rattata's forehead. In the blink of an eye, the rodent was vacuumed into the Pokéball. Not quite the catch Blue was expecting, but it would do.
Blue dropped beside the large rodent, its buck-toothed mouth chattering as its claws scratched and kicked at the air. It yelped and whined almost uncontrollably. It was all Blue could do to wrap his arms around the large creature, his shirt and even flesh becoming torn as it clawed at nothing, at everything. Beneath the pair, the deck of the S. S. Anne began to become slick and warm — Raticate's blood pooling around them.
"Beedrill, come back!" Red cried in a panic, and soon his large insectoid Pokémon was swallowed by a light that fled inside a Pokéball. The boy's eyes were wide and his face had gone pale. He swallowed, opening his mouth to say something, but he could only stutter. Some of the guests of the cruise ship had come out to watch the battle, others to complain that their cruise was being ruined. Now all looked in silence as Blue tried to hold onto his Raticate.
"Don't worry!" he cried as a stray claw slashed his cheek. The salt of his tears stung, but Blue couldn't feel that. He couldn't feel any of it. Red lunged forward suddenly, onto his knees. His hands grasped at the broken tip of Beedrill's stinger embedded in Raticate's abdomen.
"DON'T!" Blue shouted. Red jumped back, surprised. "You'll only make it worse!" Blue could hardly speak himself. His nose must have been running. He could feel the warm snot running along his lips, but he didn't care. His fingers searched out Raticate's Pokéball on his belt, fumbling. He pulled it off, but there was so much blood on his fingers the ball dropped and rolled across the floor. Raticate's body was growing still, weakly pawing at Blue's chest instead of slashing at the air. A young woman bent down to pick up the Pokéball, rushing it towards Blue.
"Gimme that!" he cried, snatching it from her grasp. What was that hissing noise? Was it him? Was that his breathing? Was that pounding in his ears actually his heart? He finally managed to find the button on the Pokéball, clicking and unclasping it. The device popped open, and...
Blue cursed, snapping the ball shut. He pressed the button once more, popping it open and...
"Dammit!" He closed it again, then pressed the button to the forehead of the Raticate. It clicked, but nothing happened.
"SHUT UP!" Blue clicked it again, then again, then again and again and again. Raticate's body shifted and bobbed with the motion like a sack of potatoes.
The water sparkled brightly as the sun set along the horizon. A gust of wind blew across the harbor, and Blue could smell the salt in the air. Red leaned against the railing of the S.S. Anne beside him. They had been standing there for well over an hour, just watching the sun slowly dip beneath the endless waves.
"Blue, I'm ... " Red began. His voice was trembling, raspy even. Blue shook his head.
"It was an accident," he said calmly. In truth, he wanted to lift Red up and toss him overboard, to steal his Charmander and force it to roast that Beedrill alive. Yet when he saw that look on Red's face, that sad expression, Blue remembered.
Blue chuckled softly, closing his eyes. He remembered when they were kids — Red crying as he tried to put Blue's Scyther toy back together. Red had been even more upset than Blue was. For days he had tried to fix it, but his parents finally took Red to the store to buy a replacement.
Was it possible that Red was even more sad than Blue was right now? He shook his head. It doesn't matter. It's not like Blue was unfamiliar with death. Even his parents' Pokémon were killed in battle at times. Rules may have been put in place to keep fatalities to a minimum, but these were still animals, and it was still combat. Fatalities happened.
But damn, why did it have to be Raticate?
"Listen, Red," Blue began. He wanted to apologize for being a jerk these past few years. He wanted to talk about his parents. He wanted to talk about how it felt for grandpa to show as much attention to Red as he did to Blue. He wanted to spill all of his feelings out. When he turned to look at Red, it all went away. All he could see now was the excitement in Red's face just before the Beedrill had impaled his Raticate.
"I heard there was a Cut master on board," he said instead, looking back out towards the sunset. "Y'know, one of those rare abilities that you have to teach a Pokémon. They won't learn it on their own. Well, it turned out to be some seasick old man." Blue shook his head with a sigh. Yeah, "seasick." More like "drunk." "It might be worth checking out, though. Cut would be a really useful move to know."
"Alright," Red said quietly. He was looking at his hands, his thumbs wrestling with each other. That meant he was nervously thinking of something to say. "Listen, I ... ."
Blue stepped away from the railing and spun around, walking towards the cargo hold. That's where they were keeping Raticate's body, stored away and unseen from the upper-class guests of the S.S. Anne. He had to get affairs settled, have Raticate's body sent to the Pokémon Tower for its burial. The deck had been cleaned up, but there was still a red tinge to the deck where his Pokémon had died. He could hear Red stuttering behind him, wanting to apologize. Wanting to say something to make it all better.
Blue simply smirked, and held his hand in the air.
"Smell ya later, Red."