All is fair in love and war
Sam was just a normal girl. But, her life is about to change forever!
Pokécure Warriors, it's time to fight! Bring love and light to the world!
Pokécure Warriors, it's time to fight! Bring love and light to the world!
Author's Note: This is my first time writing a proper fic of sorts since... gosh, I don't even remember! ^^; (pcb0000 was a different format, after all!) Shoutouts to Jackie and all the pals in the Thousand Roads Discord for inspiring me to do this, and for sparking the ideas that made this happen.
Content warnings: Some blood and injuries, but nothing too severe at the time of writing. Additionally, this fic has a big focus on trans characters and some talk of dysphoria. Chapter 1 has a character unintentionally misgender another. I'll keep these content warnings updated with any new things.
Chapter 1 - A Shining, Pure Heart!
Work was disappointingly normal on Sam’s first day back. After calling off sick for several months, she was expecting a considerably more heartfelt and joyous reunion. Maybe even a cake, because everybody missed her so much…! But alas, after a bit of polite chatter, a few comments on her hair length, and her trying her best to act like a normal human who knew the rules of social interaction, it was back to the books as usual.
And oh, what a state they made of the shelves in her absence! Books in entirely wrong sections, shelves not following an alphabetised order… sure, library visitors tended to leave things wherever they wanted, but it was like the other staff members almost didn’t try at all. On top of that, so many returned books needed processing, lest the place become barren.
To be fair, this was kind of her speciality. Sam much preferred tending to the shelves rather than manning the counter and having to deal with… people. She didn’t consider herself antisocial, no, but… hmm, she’d just rather avoid those kinds of situations. “It’s fine,” she thought to herself, adjusting her shirt and tie self-consciously. The books were a lot easier to engage with.
It was a quiet day, at least, with only a few regulars dotted around the library. A young boy was quietly reading a book to an enraptured Espurr, whose thousand-yard stare was only interrupted by their slow, relaxed blinks. A Gardevoir hummed to himself as he regarded the crossword in the newspaper, gently tapping his pen on the table with thought, and nearby, a dignified-looking woman was printing out several pictures of cool-looking Charizards.
It was nice, in a way, to have so many things to organise and rearrange - a kind of zen, a kind of bliss. Familiar books and titles passed through her hands, unchanged and comforting despite her absence, and newer books brought her small joys with their pristine edges and fresh smell. These, too, would become familiar in time.
Before she knew it, she was brought back to reality with a familiar caw. “Excuse me, young man...!”
Gently burying the icy discomfort forming in her stomach with a smile, she turned to face the greying, spectacled Murkrow perched on an adjacent shelf. She knew it wasn’t Ms. Moonsong’s fault, and that nobody would have any idea she was a girl yet, but… it made the old crow’s sweet demeanor feel bittersweet at times, as she addressed Sam with that.
“Good morning, Ms. Moonsong,” she said, nodding towards the crow. “How have you been?”
“Oh, it hasn’t been the same without you, my dear!” the old Murkrow chuckled, her eyes wrinkling with a smile. “I do hope you’re feeling a lot better now.”
Sam hoped she’d stick to ‘my dear’ for the rest of the conversation, at least.
“I’m certainly trying my best, ma’am,” said Sam, trying her best to maintain polite levels of eye contact. “How can I help you today?”
“If you could be a dear and put this book on my perch for me...” said Ms. Moonsong, gently tapping at a hardcover novel on the shelf.
“Of course, of course.”
Taking the book from the shelf, Sam carried it over to Ms. Moonsong’s favourite perch, as the old bird hopped and fluttered beside her. She carefully clamped the book onto the stand in front of the perch, making sure the pages were held firmly. Taking her place upon the perch, Ms. Moonsong trilled in appreciation.
“Thank you ever so much, my dear,” she cawed, nodding happily at Sam.
“No problem, Ms. Moonsong,” said Sam. “I hope you enjoy your book…!”
Sam felt really warm and fuzzy sometimes, thinking about how accessible everything was these days. The vast majority of books now had ebook or audiobook versions, with tablet computers made to withstand all kinds of claws and beaks poking at them. Some Pokemon, however, still preferred paper and ink, and they too were accommodated for.
She watched as Ms. Moonsong gently turned a page with her beak, tucking the previous page under the automatic clamp. Technology really was amazing.
Ah, but it was time to get back to work. The voice of the boy reading to his Espurr friend almost put Sam in a trance as she continued organising and sorting the shelves, and she couldn’t help but feel invested in the grand fantasy tale as it fell onto her ears. No wonder that Espurr seemed so relaxed.
As she reached for an upper shelf in the YA section, the round clock above it gently popped into her vision. It had been… more than two hours since she last took a break. Oops.
Sam slotted a few last books into place, and although sorely tempted to continue, made the executive decision to have a snack and a drink in the staff room. Everyone else had surely already had their breaks at this point, so she thankfully didn’t have to make any effort to be by herself in there. Score!
She was halfway through daydreaming about the new books she wanted to read, maybe even two-thirdsway, and there was an Eevee batting at her snack wrappers on the table. An entire Eevee, with their brown tail swishing playfully. Having nowhere to place her drink without disturbing them (and feeling too self-conscious to ask the Eevee several pertinent things at that moment), she awkwardly took another sip. She hadn’t spaced out that hard, right? How long had this Eevee been here?
After managing to dislodge the wrappers from the table, the Eevee caught her eyes and turned around to fully face her, sitting down firmly with an adorable expression of pride on their face. Sam instinctively looked away, grasping her drink with both hands and feeling very small in front of this very unimposing Eevee.
Sam cleared her throat. “Um… I-”
“Sam! I’m so happy to finally meet you!” squeaked the Eevee, bouncing up and down in place excitedly. “I’m your new coworker!”
This was kind of a lot to take in.
“Um… nobody said that they’d hired anybody new here,” said Sam, staring very intently at her drink. She was trying really hard to be polite and make eye contact, but every glance seemed to make the Eevee even more energetic.
“Nooo, I’m not your library coworker, silly!” said the Eevee, hopping to their feet. “I’m your magical girl coworker!”
Cold. Sharp cold feeling in chest. Her breath caught itself in her throat. She felt like she was shrinking in her chair.
“I’m… I, I just…” The words weren’t coming out properly. “I… how do you know I’m a girl?”
The Eevee tilted their head to the side, with a bemused smile. “Huh? You’re focusing on that and not the magical girl thing?”
Sam just couldn’t muster any other words. All she could hear was her heart pounding.
The Eevee placed a paw on Sam’s hand, and she flinched but instinctively looked up at them. The Eevee trilled happily, and continued. “I know you’re a girl, because every magical girl has a shining, pure heart!”
Sam jerked backwards, but then recoiled with a gasp. Her back was very keen to remind her when she was due for more pain medication.
“Sam, it’s your destiny to protect the Galar region!” squeaked the Eevee, following her as she stumbled to her locker containing her meds. “With your magic powers, you could do anything, Sam!”
Sam hurriedly took two pills and slumped back down in the chair, her head in her hands. “Eevee, I’m…” She took a breath. “I’m really not in the mood for this. Please, just… don’t tell anyone that you figured out that I’m trans. I’m just… I’m just not ready to come out yet.” It was getting hard to breathe, tears were splashing on her knees, she could only watch as they fell. “I’m sure you had fun pranking me like this, but I just, I just want to work. I just want to sort books. Please just, just leave me in peace, okay?”
It was quiet, for a moment. Sam desperately hoped that the Eevee had gone away, but when she looked up they were sitting on the table again, patiently regarding her.
“Sam, please humour me for a second,” they said, tilting their head. “If you could have anything you wanted, what would you choose?”
“Eevee,” she said, taking another deep breath. “Please, just stop. This, this isn’t very funny and you know it.”
The Eevee hummed, seeming a bit disheartened. “Sam, I promise you, I’m being completely serious.”
Sam didn’t respond. The Eevee continued.
“I got really, really excited and didn’t realise how shocking this could be, and I’m sorry about that,” said the Eevee, with an illegally adorable frown. “I promise, with all my heart, I’m here to help you, Sam!”
“How, in any way, is this helping me?” said Sam, gritting her teeth. “I don’t know what you’re trying to do, but it’s just- it’s just-”
The Eevee carefully made their way onto Sam’s lap, where they pawed at Sam’s hand and chirruped in concern. Sam flinched in response, but it was hard to not feel at least a little comforted by a warm, fuzzy Eevee. She hesitantly scratched behind the Eevee’s ear, and they chirped happily, nuzzling Sam’s hand and smiling.
“Why are you doing this?” said Sam, sighing in resignation. “What do you even mean with the magical girl thing…?”
“Inside your heart, there’s a bright glowing power,” said the Eevee, smiling warmly. “You might not feel it yet, but I can help you realise your power, Sam. You were Chosen, and all the warmth and kindness in your heart can turn into magic.”
“Have you been watching too much anime or something?” said Sam, frowning. “How old are you, anyway?”
“Nooo!! That’s not important!” said the Eevee, bouncing indignantly. “You really are special, Sam, and you have a big magic inside you. A huge magic!”
“Okay, Eevee…” she said, sighing. “Let’s say you’re serious. What’s so special about me, and why am I magic?”
“It’s because you’re pure of heart!” said Eevee, their eyes shining with glee.
“Right.” This Eevee needed to stop being so cute when she was being so skeptical. “Okay, so how do I do the magic, then?”
“When you feel your love and kindness really strongly, your wishes will come true!” they squeaked, turning in a circle excitedly. “And I’m here to help!”
“That’s, uh, that’s really vague,” said Sam, patting Eevee halfheartedly. “I’m not sure if I can, you know, feel that kind of thing really strongly at the moment…”
“But I believe in you!” said Eevee, nuzzling Sam’s hand furiously. “I know you can do it!”
“What am I even meant to do?” said Sam. “Why am I supposedly suddenly magic for some reason?”
“Galar is in danger, Sam!” squeaked Eevee, making a very serious expression.
A harsh and tremendous crash interrupted her thoughts. Someone knocked over a bookshelf?
No, far too loud to be bookshelves. Far, far too loud.
“What the-” Sam caught herself for a moment, she couldn’t swear in front of this Eevee if they were a kid. “What was that!?”
Eevee hopped off her lap as she jumped to her feet, running alongside her to the door. “Sam…!”
Sam’s heart skipped a beat. Beyond the staff room door, dust swirled and sunlight beamed down from a huge hole in the ceiling. Some bookshelves had indeed fallen, but only because large pieces of the roof and its innards had crashed down onto them, strange dark embers sparking around the rubble.
She blinked in shock, barely hearing the panicked yelling and crying of the library guests and staff in her daze. However, one cry in particular quickly drew her eyes towards the foot of the wreckage - Ms. Moonsong. Her heart jolted as she saw the old crow bleeding and crying out in pain, trapped beneath the brunt of the rubble.
Oh god. Oh god. No, no, no, no! This couldn’t be happening! She had to do something, she had to do anything - Ms. Moonsong was so kind, so sweet, she didn’t deserve to be hurt! Sam didn’t even know what she could do in this situation, but sheer panic drove her into a sprint. She needed to help Ms. Moonsong, and fast.
As Sam ran towards Ms. Moonsong, time slowed to a crawl. Panic and fear drew tears to her eyes, her heart was pounding with adrenaline, and memories of the old, kind crow flashed before her eyes. The cold feeling in her chest grew into a pain, and then into a hot, burning sensation. A warm, bright light erupted from her chest and swirled around her, enveloping her completely. As she ran beside Eevee, the warmth filled her whole body and the light burst into glitter and sparkles, into blue, gold, and white, into frills and fabric.
She didn’t have time to question what was happening. She just needed to help.
Rushing to Ms. Moonsong’s side, Sam grabbed the pieces of rubble and pushed them away as hard as she could, with a strength she never knew she had. She’d heard of adrenaline giving people extraordinary strength in times of need, and she could only thank the stars that all the shaking, heart-pounding feelings within her were letting her shift the wreckage aside at that moment.
Soon, Ms. Moonsong was fully uncovered, laying atop a broken perch and missing her spectacles. Sam’s stomach turned at the sight of her injuries, deep red wounds and a surely-broken wing. As Sam knelt down beside her, she could hear her breathing heavily and gasping. She needed help, now.
She instinctively touched the old crow’s crushed and bloodied wing, her hands trembling, and gold light swirled out of her hands and into Ms. Moonsong’s body. With the shock only now setting in, she watched as the wing rapidly healed back into its proper shape, and as the wounds on Ms. Moonsong’s body faded away.
Sam was stunned. Ms. Moonsong was stunned. Eevee was extremely excited.
“You did it! You did it!” they squeaked, hopping happily and running circles around Sam.
“You… you saved me,” cawed Ms. Moonsong, still trembling from the shock. “Young lady… thank you. Thank you…!”
“Young… lady?” Sam whispered. The voice that came out of her mouth sounded so different. What on Earth was happening?
“Sam, look out!” squealed Eevee.
Sam blocked an incoming dark blast with her arms, shielding poor Ms. Moonsong. The blast did… practically nothing to her, or her arms. Her arms… which were unexpectedly blue. Blue, and - she touched her skin in wonder - as hard as rock.
A shadowy entity hovered beyond the hole in the roof of the library, its form shifting and twisting and burning with a dark flame. A strange feeling came over Sam as she looked at it, her mind struggling to perceive it as any one organic or inorganic shape. Her eyes almost seemed to slip around it when she tried to look directly at it, making her stomach twist with discomfort.
“What… what is that Pokemon!?” stuttered Ms. Moonsong, cowering behind Sam and Eevee.
“That’s not a Pokemon!” squeaked Eevee. “That’s a Shade! You gotta defeat it, Sam!”
“What...!? How!?” said Sam, shaking from the pressure and adrenaline.
“Use your love and kindness! That’s the only way to stop it!”
Flecks of shadow gathered around the twisted being, congealing into another ball of darkness that it hurled at Sam. Quickly deflecting it again, she could feel a stark coldness in the embers of its attack, tiny fragments of a deep, persistent anxiety.
“Sam…! Think about the people you want to protect!” said Eevee, hopping restlessly. “Think about all the people you’ve helped!”
“What’s that gonna do!?”
“Just trust me!”
She thought of Ms. Moonsong, of how seeing her hurt and battered had brought her to tears. She thought of all the times the old bird had been so sweet to her, and the times where Sam had helped her. Flashes of library visitors she’d helped crossed her mind, particularly the ones that were so happy and polite to her. She thought of Eevee, and how she couldn’t let this strange kid get hurt.
She felt... warmth, and energy. A light from deep inside her shined in front of her heart, and as time seemed to slow yet again, she reached towards it. Cradling that energy in her hand, she looked towards the Shade and hurled the light right at it.
Upon impact, the light burst and surrounded the shifting entity, engulfing it in golden energy. It swirled and burned brightly before dissipating, leaving nothing behind but flecks of glitter. The Shade was no more.
Sam fell to the floor, trembling, her hands on the ground. She stared at her fingers, now blue and solid and segmented. She was so tired, so anxious, and so confused.
As far as first days back at work went, this was certainly a unique one.