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Old 09-26-2017, 02:55 AM
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Default Out in the Cold

A holiday fic, featuring refrences to /tg/ and Ed, Edd and Eddy as well as an unusual depiction of Kyurem.

Out In The Cold

It was a typical winter in Icirrus City, which meant one thing: Snow. Inches and inches of it, piling up every year without fail.

And it didn't stop a young man with ginger hair and bright blue eyes from staring out at it all in wonder from the window of a modest two bedroom apartment.

From a bit further in the apartment, another young man with black hair and hazel eyes took a swig of his beer, then plopped the bottle down amidst a couple empty ones and glanced over at his fellow in annoyance.

"...Tom, it's just snow. You don't have to stare at it for fifteen minutes."

"But it's so pretty here, Roger!" Tom said. "There's just something about all the white everywhere that's so nice to look at!"

Roger continued to stare at him irritably a bit and sighed.

"Alright. If you wanna stare at all the fancy white ice go ahead. I don't give a damn."

At that Tom's smile disappeared and he turned to Roger with concern.

"...You're still sad you couldn't visit your family for the holidays, aren't you?"

"...I'm not. Don't ask about it again."

Tom gave a distinct pout and moved over to the table, sitting across from Roger.

"Hey, c'mon. You can tell me if you're sad."

Roger just stared to the side blankly.

Off a ways, a Scrafty and Golurk, previously playing a video game, looked over at the two humans with similar concern.

<Yo, Vladimir?> said the Scrafty. <I'm thinkin' your trainer needs some cheering up.>

<I was about to note the same, Estragon,> said the Golurk.

Together the two moved over and stood by the table, Vladmir in particular placing one of his massive hands atop Roger's shoulder reassuringly.

Roger smiled slightly.

"Heh... I guess it's still nice having you all around..."

He quickly frowned and looked down again.

"But... I dunno, I wanted to see my family for Christmas after all the shit from us joining Team Plasma and then all that promptly going down in flames... I mean, that's the whole fucking reason we had to lay low and hole up in the first place, but I... I..."

He groaned and slumped his head on the table.

Vladimir gave Roger a gentle pat. <The necessary evils of life are hard, to be sure...>

<Yeah, ain't denying that's really rough,> said Estragon.

Tom, meanwhile, stared anxiously at Roger and fidgeted nervously.

"...I've always wondered... Where did Christmas come from anyway?"

Roger looked up at Tom with a weary expression.

"Honestly, no one fucking knows. Some say it started with some human avatar of Arceus whose birthday was supposedly around the time... Some say it started with something about Xerneas and that's why they call it X-Mas sometimes... We do know over the years all these other holidays got mixed in so that's why no one knows how it fucking started... And I dunno, sometimes I get the feeling it's some other world's holiday that got tacked onto ours for some weirdass cosmic reason..."

He paused.

"...I'm being weirdly existential again, aren't I?"

Tom fidgeted more.

"Um... I guess?"

Roger shrugged.

"Figured. I suppose it's the alcohol. I come up with the most insane bullshit when I'm drunk."

He took another swig of his beer regardless.

Tom looked off to the side nervously before his eyes lit up and he turned to Roger with an excited, if somewhat nervous, grin.

"Hey! If it cheers you up I can tell you a story about a holiday we celebrated where I grew up!"

Vladimir's lit-up eye flickered nervously.

<...I do dearly hope it isn't like that Ugly Binacle sto->

"It's not basically that Ugly Binacle story again, is it?" said Roger.

"Nope!" said Tom, smirking.

<Crisis averted! Mabye. I hope,> said Estragon.

"Right..." said Roger. "You said you grew up in Lacunosa before moving to my hometown at age 14, right? What the fuck do they celebrate there?"

"Well... You know about Lacunosa and Kyurem right?"

"Yeah... Kyurem showed up one day and started using the locals as midnight snacks, so they made a bigass wall like in that one gory and depressing cartoon about the giant man-eating Mr. Mime and have locked themselves in every night since. Right?"

"Yep! But they say in the winter months, Kyurem gets extra-hungry, so we take preemptive measures!"

"...Like what?"

"The Great Feast of Kyurimek!"

Roger raised a concerned eyebrow. "Please tell me this doesn't involve fattening up select human sacrifices to be ice dragon abomination food."

"Don't worry, it doesn't! It does involve making sure Kyurem's belly is too stuffed to want to eat anybody!"

"Reassuring. For now. But go on?"

"Well... Every year on Kyurimek the people of Lacunosa set out food! Loads and loads of food everyone in town chips in to prepare to be as tasty as possible, so Kyurem can make it into a stew that will delight its icy tastebuds and keep it full all winter - and leave Lacunosa alone!"

Tom's eyes sparkled in delight at fond memories rushing through his mind.

"And when the clock strikes midnight on Kyurimek, Kyurem emerges from its lair in the middle of the Giant Chasm and walks through the streets of town gathering up all the food! If it's particularly pleased with the offering, it makes the winters less harsh and blesses the people of Lacunosa with good fortune and well-wishes, especially good girls and boys that offer their favorite snacks and treats!"

His expression became somber and serious.

"...We don't talk about what happens to the bad little girls and boys who only give the vegetables they don't want to eat."

Roger gave Tom a bemused look.

"About as bizarre and nonsensical as expected... But that's all just bullshit, right?"

Tom grinned.

"Nope! Kyurem actually does that! I've seen them myself!"

Vladmir's eye flickered again.

<He's encountered... The Shell?>

<OK, now this is getting really interesting!> said Estragon, pumping his paws excitedly.

Roger, on the other hand, merely raised an eyebrow skeptically.

"OK... Go on. Tell me how the hell you'd know Kyurem's holiday shtick isn't as much of a fairy tale as Santa Claus is for my holiday."

Tom put a hand to his chin.

"Well..."

***

On a cold winter's night years ago, the townspeople and Pokemon of Lacunosa were in a frenetic rush, piling all sorts of fine and freshly prepared food in the middle of street crossings, in front of their houses, in any place they could. All the while they sang, with a universal air of joy, hope, and... more than a tinge of fear.

Deep within the chasm dark

There lives the dragon god of old

Whose appetite is bigger than

Its power over bitter cold. Hey!

Great Kyurem who fell from the sky


And with wings of ice desperate to fly!

Great Kyurem who craves the meat

And should have something less morbid to eat!


Great Kyurem who calms the ice

Especially if its meals are nice!

Great Kyurem who hides away


To hopefully stalk another day!

But should your meal be ill-prepared

Your feeble dish too weak in flavor

Great Kyurem will surely come

And make sure you're the one to savor!

Great Kyurem who curls up in its hole


And roars its wishes to be more whole!

Great Kyurem who can't ever feel

The greater power of truth or ideal!

Great Kyurem, forever incomplete

And tried to fix that with our meat!

Great Kyurem, take our gifts instead


And spend the winter away and well-fed!

Amidst it all, a young boy with ginger hair and blue eyes was carrying an armful of various bagged snacks and candy bars.

"Kyurem's gonna love these! Especially the carmelly ones! Those are my favorite!"

He suddenly blinked as something crossed his mind.

"Wait, I've got some fruity candy it'll like too!"

He attempted to fish some out of a bag he was carrying to the side, only to spill the rest all around him.

"Oh no! Kyurem's gotta have some good snacks!"

He scrambled to pick up the assorted scattered junk food.

As he did so, however, a clock chimed eleven and echoed through the town, and the townspeople all immediately rushed to dump their food wherever they cold and sped back to their houses to lock the doors behind them. In the mayhem they didn't notice the boy, and in turn the boy didn't notice them in his frenzied attempt to gather his treats...

...Until he finally finished his task and looked up to find himself alone, in a cold, dark, silent town.

"...Oh no."

He rushed around, desperate to find his own house but lost in the darkness and silence. He banged on doors, only to hear yells from inside about Kyurem's coming. He ran more, panicked, desperate, scared...

...Until overwhelmed from exhaustion he collapsed amid a food pile.

--------------

The first thing he noticed as he started to come to was the even greater cold.

His still-waking body was already shuddering at it, and as he gained more consciousness he curled up into a ball to keep warm.

It was then he noticed the cold shift somewhat. It became more concentrated somehow, specifically around his face.

Despite the shock from that he managed to pry his eyes open...

...And became much more fully awake seeing a massive pair of blank yellow eyes staring back into his.

He immediately screamed in utter terror and pedaled backward. The massive, gray dragon with much of their body encased in ice immediately mirrored his actions, backing themself into a corner and letting out a staticky buzz vaguely akin to a cat's terrified hiss.

"P-Please, Great Kyurem, d-don't eat me, I probably t-taste terrible..."

At this Kyurem paused, before warily gesturing to another corner of the chasm they were in.

The boy looked over to find a massive pile of all the food the Lacunosans had left out.

"Wait... I... I'm not food?"

Kyurem hesitated for a second before slinking over to the food pile and shoveling some of it into their maw, chewing and swallowing it before gesturing to the food pile again, in a way the boy read as... concerned?

"Oh, s-so you're happy with all the food? Th-that's good..."

Kyurem raised their haunches slightly and gave another buzz. At that, however, the boy furrowed his brow.

"Weird... You don't make any growls and such and say bits of your name like most Pokemon do... You make those weird buzzes, like a broken machine..."

At the word "broken" Kyurem shrunk back again and hung their head in an ashamed fashion.

"Ah! D-Did I upset you? I-I hope not, you r-really will eat me then..."

Kyurem backed away further, letting out a small, faint buzz.

"I-I'm sorry! Wait!"

The boy hurriedly got to his feet and rushed to the food pile, hastily digging through it until he found a small bag of fruity licorice. From there he steadily, carefully approached Kyurem with it.

"Um... If it makes you less likely to eat me, I got these especially for you..."

Kyurem eyed the boy carefully themself before steadily standing upright, inspecting the bag of licorice.

"Um... H-here, you probably can't open it very well with your claws..."

He ripped open the bag and scattered the contents in front of Kyurem. Kyurem immediately sniffed one of the fruity pieces of candy before lapping it up with their tongue and chewing lightly. Their eyes widened and they gave an ecstatic buzz before gobbling up the rest quickly and then giving the boy an expectant look, at which the boy waved his hands in panic.

"Ah! I-If you need me to get more I can..."

Kyurem stared at him, then the food pile, then back at him, tilting its head.

The boy blinked.

"You don't want any more food?"

Kyurem stared at the boy blankly, shifting nervously.

"Um..."

His expression suddenly brightened.

"Hey! If you can understand me... Here's a human thingy! Shake your head up and down for yes - that's nodding - and shake your head side-to-side for no - that doesn't have a name, it's silly. But got it?"

Kyurem hesitated before nodding.

"Good! Now do you want any more food?"

Kyurem looked to the food pile and then back at the boy before shaking their head side to side.

"Um... What do you want, then?"

Kyurem regards him quizzically again before sitting down the best their anatomy could allow it.

The boy stared back in confusion.

"...Huh?"

Kyurem made a loud series of buzzes. The boy blinked again before he realized something.

"Do you...Want to talk?"

Kyurem's expression brightened as they nodded.

"Oh, OK! Um..."

He thought a bit to himself before responding.

"Um... I'm Tom. Tom Rosencrantz! Do you know how human names work?"

Kyurem nodded.

"Yay! I already know your name is Kyurem..."

Tom's brow furrowed.

"Were you always called Kyurem?"

Kyurem hesitated before shaking their head.

"What was your name, then?"

Kyurem attempted to respond with another buzz, only to realize their own incomprehensibility and hang their head in shame again.

Tom responded waving his hands defensively again.

"I-It's OK... I can just call you Kyurem..."

An awkward silence ensued. Tom eventually looked around the chasm out of curiosity.

"So this is that big ol' giant chasm where you live, huh?"

Kyurem nodded.

Tom looked off to the side in thought for a bit before looking back at Kyurem.

"...You know, you don't seem like the kind of Pokemon who would eat people... At least not anymore... You actually seem really nice! Why don't you go to my town and show them that so they're not afraid of you anymore?"

Kyurem stared awkwardly at Tom before shifting uncomfortably.

"...What's wrong?"

Kyurem hesitates before turning to give Tom a better view of their left leg, at which point Tom notices a large scar.

"Wha..."

Kyurem turned again to show another scar on their arm. Then opened their mouth to show a broken tooth. Then various parts of their icy bits that seemed cracked and worn before something finally clicked for Tom.

"They... Did all that to you?"

Kyurem stayed still a long while before finally nodding.

"Oh... I... I'm sorry..."

Kyurem immediately shook their head.

"Huh?"

Kyurem gestured to Tom, then to one of their scars, before shaking their head again.

"Oh... It's not my fault?"

Kyurem nodded and buzzed in a reassuring way, and Tom smiled.

"That's good to hear, at least..."

He suddenly approached Kyurem with arms outstretched, at which Kyurem cowered away again and gave another hiss-y buzz.

"D-Don't worry! I know you think I am, but I'm not gonna hurt you! I'm gonna do, like, the opposite!"

Kyurem tilted their head warily.

"I'm gonna give you a hug! Humans give each other and their Pokemon hugs to make them feel better! I'm gonna do that to you!"

Kyurem stared at him a bit longer before hesitantly righting itself.

Tom slowly approached Kyurem before getting close enough to quickly hug their leg, only for both to recoil in shock.

"Ah! You really are cold..."

Kyurem shifted warily again.

"Don't worry, there's gotta be a warm spot on you somewhere..."

He held a hand close to Kyurem's body without actually touching it and used it to scan, Kyurem noticeably nervous but still allowing Tom to do so.

Eventually, Tom's hand reached the un-iced part of Kyurem's chest, and he suddenly stopped and smiled.

"Wait a minute!"

He carefully touched Kyurem's chest. Kyurem flinched noticeably, but stopped when Tom just felt their chest gently.

"Your heart... I can feel it beating! And it's so warm!"

He slowly pressed his head and other hand against Kyurem's chest and closed his eyes.

"It feels so nice..."

Kyurem looked down in shock before gently clutching Tom with their claws.

They stayed that way a good while before Tom moved away and smiled up at Kyurem.

"Glad you liked that..."

He looked back at the food pile and then to Kyurem again.

"You already got lots of good food... But after tonight I wanna give you something extra-special that's not food!"

Kyurem tilted their head again as Tom dug into his bag and pulled out a figurine of a woman with bright red hair in even brighter red full armor.

"This is a Crimson Lady action figure! It's from a TV show I like where great heroes from the past team up to fight bad guys! And she's my favorite!"

He handed the action figure to Kyurem.

"...So I want you to have her!"

Kyurem stared at Tom in shock before clutching the action figure gently in their claws and inspecting it carefully.

"I dunno... Everyone back home thinks you're this big scary monster who eats people and really you're just hurt and scared and want to be alone so you don't hurt people or other Pokemon and they don't hurt you back... So I know she's a toy and not the real person, but maybe she'll make you feel less alone?"

Kyurem looked down at the action figure then back at Tom before nodding vigorously with a contented buzz. Tom smiled brightly back.

"Yay! That's great!"

He then frowned.

"...Sorry, I gotta get home... Everybody probably thinks you ate me..."

He looked around the chasm nervously.

"Though... I don't know my way out of here..."

Kyurem looked to the side in thought a bit before looking back at Tom, hunching down, and gesturing to a non-icy part of their back. Tom grinned in response.

"You'll give me a ride?"

Kyurem nodded and buzzed contentedly again.

Tom immediately went to Kyurem and climbed onto their back, flinching again from the cold at first but then getting to a position where he could ride comfortably enough.

"Alright... Let's go!"

Kyurem gave a triumphant buzz before stomping out, Tom astride his back.

------------

It was early morning in Lacunosa, and the whole town was searching desperately for a certain someone in panic - a man and woman in particular.

"I... I can't believe we just left him out there..."

"Relax, honey, Tom's a resourceful boy, I'm sure he found a way to hide from that thing..."

"Yes... Just... The thought of it eating our child alive... I... I can't..."

"Hey Mom! Hey Dad!"

The pair turned immediately to see an unharmed, if weary-looking, Tom standing before them. They both immediately embraced him and sobbed as the other townspeople and their Pokemon looked on happily with murmurs of relief.

"Honey, we- we're so happy you're OK..."

"Yeah, I'm fine... Kyurem helped me out!"

"...What?"

"Yeah! It was actually really nice to me!"

"Honey... A night out all alone must be addling your brain... You need rest!"

"But Mom, Dad, I'm telling the truth! Really!"

He was promptly ignored as his parents hauled him back to his house, despite his protests the whole way.

***

"...So yeah! I got to be friends with Kyurem!" said Tom, puffing his chest out proudly.

He promptly deflates a bit and frowns.

"...Even though no one believed me. Still bitter."

Roger, Vladimir, and Estragon, meanwhile, were all staring aghast.

<...Well, that certainly went in a bunch of crazy directions,> said Estragon.

<The Shell... So different from what I thought...> whispered Vladimir.

"Tom, you... You really made friends with the one being your hometown feared the most?"

"Yep!"

Roger smiled softly.

"...You know what? I believe you, man. If only because I know you're the one person crazy enough to pull it off."

"Thanks!"

Tom shifts a bit.

"And... I told you because it's a lot like what you're worried about."

"...Oh?"

Tom frowns.

"Well... Kyurem was all scared and alone and hurt and had nowhere to go, right? That's kinda us right now, after what happened in Plasma. After we... W-we failed N... And that's why we have to hide away here and we can't see our families..."

He smiles.

"But... Kyurem was just so happy I kept them company then... So... I figure sticking with each other now will help too, right?"

Roger smiles brightly back.

"...You're damn well right, Tom. You're damn well right."

Vladimir and Estragon looked on fondly before the latter nudged the former.

<Yo, Vladdy! Bet these two would appreciate being in on the vidya.>

<Some friendly competition would be good, yes...>

Vladimir nudged Roger, who looked up at him as he gestured to the TV and video game console.

<Would you be interested in virtual kart racing, Trainer?>

Roger smiled. "I'm assuming those beeps and that 'lurk' mean you guys are up for four-player?"

Tom pumped his fists. "Dibs on first player!"

Roger glared in response."Tom, what did I fucking tell you about that?"

"Hey! Remember who brought the console here."

"Remember who's being kinda stupid and rude."

"I'm rude? You-"

The two descended into incomprehensible prattling as their Pokemon looked on and sighed.

---------

Deep within the Giant Chasm, Kyurem tossed the last of the food gathered from Lacunosa's streets into that year's pile. After doing so and pondering a bit they decided they weren't ready to help themself just yet.

Instead, they walked over to a corner of the chasm, where a Crimson Lady action figure was set upright on a small outcrop, Kyurem gazing at it fondly.

<Merry Kyurimek, Tom... Wherever you've gone...>

~~~
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