Sunday, February 24, 2013

Shipping Contest: MichaelxClaire

"What are you wearing?" Tash pulled a face, fanning herself with her stack load of paperwork. In the midst of the Library's sub-tropical temperatures, Michael looked completely uncomfortable and completely out of place in his current attire. A thick, dark red winter jacket covered him from neck to waist, puffing out his form somewhat with the extra layers. Fleece lined jeans covered his legs, and black snowboots elevated him by a couple of inches. His face, which peeked out from somewhere underneath a woollen hat, was flushed from the heat. He also carried a rucksack, which was bulging with who knew what.

"I'm taking Claire on a date," he explained. "To the coldest, most romantic place I can think of. In other words, as far away from the Library as I can possibly get."

Tash fanned herself harder, ignoring the creases developing in her mission reports. This was what happened when you denied Phoenixia the chance to "blow off some steam (and a few guys)" in a fandom. The ex-hologram in a fit of spite, had shut off the air conditioning, and was threatening to keep it off until Tash let her out, or until someone screwed her into submission – whichever happened first.

As both agents muttered various insults, grievances, and threats to Phoenixia's person under their breath, Claire appeared from her own room, dressed in a similar winter jacket of bright sparkly purple, and boots. Her hat was also purple, and had ear flaps, which she was playing with quite happily.

"All ready!" she announced, beaming. Tash grinned at them both as they linked hands, fingers intertwined. Claire's engagement ring was proudly displayed on her left hand.

"Aww, you're both so cute," she smiled, at the happy couple. "I'd hug you both, but I'm so hot and sweaty, I don't wanna touch anyone right now..."

"Yeah, thanks Aneki," Michael pulled a face. "We'll be leaving now. Have fun stewing in your own body fluids."

"Shut up," the leader muttered, wandering back to work. Bumping shoulders as they went, the couple opened a plothole and vanished through it.


Snowpoint City was a beautiful place, no matter what time of year you visited. In early January (as it was at the point of time where Michael and Claire arrived) snow topped the buildings like a layer of icing on fat cakes, with trees framing the entire city as it sat in the shadow of the mountain. A small flock of bird Pokemon soared overhead, and the occasional cries of Sneasel and Snover could be heard coming from Acuity Lakefront.

There was no snow falling when the couple arrived just outside the Pokemon Centre. The cold mountain air and the smell of winter were beautifully refreshing compared to the humidity and ever present smell of sweat that had been floating around the Library for the past few days. Michael threw back his head and inhaled deeply, removing his hat and unzipping his jacket to fully embrace the cold that now raced over his skin. Claire took the more direct approach and just fell backwards into the fluffy snow on the ground, giggling madly.

The sky above both their heads was punctuated by thick grey clouds. Michael grinned, knowing that his timing had been spot on. The trick was finding a good location from where to watch. Maybe they could head a bit further up the mountain...

He was snapped out of his thought process by Claire glomping him around the waist.

"This is the best place you could have picked!" she informed him, before turning around and pointing at the area of snow she had just been sprawled out on. "And look! Snow angel!"

"You're a snow angel," Michael told her. Claire grinned wider still, bending down to poke a pair of eyes and a mouth into her angel. Taking advantage of her back being turned, Michael scooped up a handful of snow, packed it lightly together and threw. It caught Claire in the shoulder, and she whirled around.

"Don't start a fight you can't win!" she told him, as both of them dropped to the ground for more ammunition.
Claire squeaked as a second snowball impacted in her chest and sent her tumbling backwards onto her rear.

"Who says I can't win?" Michael smirked, approaching with another snowball. Claire scrambled to her feet, but before she could go anywhere, Michael had seized her and began stuffing snow down the back of her jacket. Claire shrieked.

"Michael! That's cold!"

"That's the point!" her boyfriend retorted. "Told you you couldn't wi – GAH!"

He released her and recoiled, as one of Claire's magical sparkly pinecones caught him in the side of the head. He staggered back, rubbing the impact zone.

"Baby! That hurt!" he whined.

"Yeah, well now I'm cold and wet!" Claire replied. "We're square."

Michael pouted. "Fine... and before I forget," he rubbed the side of his head, before plucking four small round red and white balls from his belt. He tossed two to Claire.

"I had to borrow a few Plot Devices, but we have at least a little company." He rummaged in his pocket, and extracted two small red pills. "And I brought Oneshots so we can understand what they're saying."

Beaming, Claire took the offered pill and gulped it down, before enlarging the two Poke Balls and tossing them into the air. A flash of light later and two creatures stood beside her. First was her Squirtle, who gleefully began racing around in the snow like a happy child. The second was Cubone, who glanced around once, twice, and then a third time in curiosity, before picking up his bone and drawing in the snow.

Michael's own Poke Balls were released, and two more creatures appeared in the middle of the snow. The first was Infernape, who hopped around, hooting and screeching about the cold indignantly. The second was Combee, who wore a pink bow wrapped around her head, and who's three faces split into identical wide grins.

"DADDY! MUMMY!" she squealed in joy, tackling Michael in the chest, and nuzzling him through his jacket. "Ooo! We're in a cold place! This will be fun! Can I go play in the snow? Can I Daddy?"

Michael hugged Combee tightly, so as to prevent her from taking a dive into the slush that covered the ground. On instinct, Claire dove one hand into her jacket pocket and pulled out a Pecha Berry. Combee was instantly distracted, and devoured the berry.

"Mmm! Nom!" she giggled. "Thanks Mummy!"

Infernape sweatdropped, running a hand over his flaming head. "Oh we go again..." Out of everyone in Michael's party, Combee was probably best known for her seemingly endless state of curious hyperactivity.

"We should get further up the mountain," Michael suggested, zipping Combee up inside his jacket, as Infernape hitched a piggyback ride on his trainer. "We'll have a better view."

"Better view of what?" Claire enquired, as the two began their walk leisurely up the hill. Michael checked his watch again, before glancing up at the sky above them.

"Well its January twelfth," he explained. "Which means at some point today, Diamond Dust will start falling from those clouds. I thought we could sit up here, watch it, and cool off from the Library."

"Diamond Dust?" Claire tilted her head to one side, contemplating, before her eyes suddenly went wide with excitement. "Ooo! Sparkly!"

She yanked on his hand. "Come on! We'll miss the sparkles!"

And giggling evermore, she charged up the hill, pulling a surprised boyfriend with her.


The eyes watched the couple race up the hill, their feet leaving prints in the snow, deep and fresh.

"Two Society agents? They found me quickly. I haven't even been here that long."

A smirk, as cold as the ice around him, formed on a white face.

"Well... I'm sure I can deal with them. I don't plan on leaving this fandom just yet..."


"Daddy!" in Michael's arms, Combee wriggled and squirmed. "I want to get down now!"

"What do you say?" Claire asked automatically. Combee thought for a few seconds, then all three of her faces smiled imploringly up at Michael.


Half an hour after they had first arrived in the fandom, they had walked a fair distance, and Michael decided that this clearing would be as good a place to stop as any. Kissing her on the head, Michael released his charge, who immediately buzzed off to explore. She found the nearest tree, and flew straight into it, sending a downfall of snow from the branches above plummeting onto her.

"Weeee!" the bumblebee giggled, as she backed up for another try. "I wanna do it again!"

To the casual observer, this act may have appeared masochistic, but the other Pokemon knew that this was just a by-product of Combee's natural hyperactivity.

"Combee!" Michael called. "Stop that baby. You'll hurt yourself."

"Aww..." Combee pouted. "Kay Daddy..."

And she buzzed around the clearing, trying to find another tree. Cubone took it upon himself to keep a watchful eye on her, and began following at a slight distance.

Assured that Combee was being watched, Michael reached into his rucksack and pulled out a large, thick picnic blanket, which he spread on the ground. Claire plonked herself down on it, laying backwards to watch the clouds form above them. Still fishing in the rucksack, Michael extracted a sandwich box, two plastic mugs, and a thermos. He passed the bag to Claire, who pulled out two large subs stuffed full to bursting, and poured her a mug of chocolate.

"You thought of everything, didn't you?" Claire commented, accepting her drink. Michael just shrugged and poured himself a mug.

"I was going to bring champagne, but I thought something warm would be better. Plus Rhia would kill me if she caught me raiding her kitchen again...don't laugh!" he objected, as Claire giggled. "Those knives of hers are scary!"

They were both distracted as Combee's activities caused a small avalanche of snow to fall from a tree, burying poor Infernape completely.

"Cold, cold, COLD!" Infernape screamed, evaporating the snow on his head with a small burst of flames. He hopped around the clearing to exercise some warmth back into his limbs.

"Yay! Inferny is dancing!" Combee began bobbing in midair. Deciding to play along, Cubone began to beat out a rhythm with his bone on a nearby rock. Squirtle just fell over giggling, as Combee drew a deep breath and began to sing.

"La, la, la la laaa! Ha ha, ha ha haaa! Dah dah, dah dah daaah! Want your bad romance!"

Hearing this, Infernape made a mental note to inform Michael that Miriku and Tash had been teaching Combee inappropriate songs again.


"Its tractor baby. Trac-tor," Michael enunciated slowly.

"Trac-er," Claire poked him in the ribs, dropping her T on purpose this time. Her fiancée rolled his eyes.

"Farmer... crazy farmer with a strange accent..."

"I'm not a farmer!" Claire retorted. "I'm from Dorset! What's your excuse for speaking funny?"

"I'm American," Michael replied promptly.

"That's not an excuse."

"You use being British as an excuse all the time!"

"But being British is a status symbol!" Claire saluted as she spoke. "And besides, if I'm a farmer, then that means Harriet is too. She's a Dorset girl."

"Too bad you have no sheep any more since the Welsh girls left," Michael pointed out.

"We've still got our Guernsey Donkey's – Tash and Jess."

Michael was about to reply, when something warm burrowed against him.

"Daddy?" Combee appeared, snuggling against Michael's neck like a shy child.

"Yes sweetie?" Michael patted her on the head. The bumblebee sniffed.

"I'm cold!"

Unsurprised in the slightest, Michael unwrapped his own scarf and tied it around Combee, taking care to keep her wings free.

"Yay!" Combee nuzzled him and then buzzed off again. Faint snatches of song were cast to the wind as she left.

"She's singing now?" Claire asked, wondering if the peace was forever gone for their group. Michael shook his head.

"She didn't get it from me-" he paused as he saw Claire's shoulder shaking with laughter. "What?"

"Oh please! She so got it from you, Mr-I-Rickrolled-My-Opponent-In-A-Battle!"

"Hey! That was a good strategy!" Michael defended. "It won me the match!"

"Ah but you lost your dignity in the process," Claire reminded him sombrely. "And you taught the Darkness one of the most annoying songs ever!"

And just like that, the mood was broken, and the temperature around the couple seemed to drop by a few degrees. Michael's face turned dark and brooding, and Claire seemed to deflate, before putting both arms around over his shoulders.

"I'm sorry..."

"Its okay," Michael muttered. "I just... miss him, y'know?"

Claire didn't really know, but she could imagine fairly well. However much Michael had complained about the Darkness, and its annoying and hazardous presence in his mind, the parasite had become a constant in his life, not to mention a significant boost of strength.

"And... I suppose I'm annoyed too," Michael admitted. "It sucks not to even know the reason why he's gone..." He grumbled, throwing his head back to look at the sky. "All those months I wished he'd just shut up and leave me alone... not that I regretted getting him at the time." He quickly smiled at Claire, who squeezed his hand.

"You're a crazy man..." she told him. "Selling your soul just to save someone..."

Michael cut her off with a kiss, which seemed to linger a bit longer than normal, and Claire realised he was remembering that mission and everything that had come with it – the panic when he had realised that she had been kidnapped. The fear when his mind had tormented him with what could be happening to her. And the determination to rescue her whatever the costs. Neither of them noticed the clouds getting thicker above their heads, or the commotion Infernape made when Cubone smacked him over the head for pulling faces at them.

"You are worth it," Michael eventually said. "And if I had to give my body up to another parasitic demon to keep you safe, I'd do it in a heartbeat."

"...well there's a promise most women don't get," Claire smiled, reaching for her hot chocolate. She sipped it for a second, thinking. "Since we don't know where the Darkness went, maybe it'll come back."

Despite the possibility, Michael did not feel very hopeful.

"Maybe... but until then..." he looked nervously at the ground. "I'm scared Claire... all these Sovereigns running around... and all these Sues that are stupidly powerful cropping up all the time... if another Alastor came up right now... I just don't know if..."

"You would," Claire put her cup down and folded her arms firmly. "You would be able to defeat him again. And anyone else." She tilted her head as she spoke. "Why do you think Tash and Harriet made you Chief Agent? Because they know you kick butt with or without the Darkness."

" think so?" her boyfriend asked with a smile.

"Duh..." Claire muttered. "The Darkness showed you that it is possible for you to be powerful – that you are powerful. Now its gone...its time you proved that, without its help. And you are." She smiled. "I've seen you training long after I've gone to bed, and not coming back until I'm getting up the next morning."

"Well if you will insist on being on crazy British time..."


"Daddy?" Combee's voice interrupted.

"Yes sweetie?" Michael turned to his charge.

"The snow is tickling my nose!" Combee gave a giggle, which turned into a sneeze. Michael absently placed a tissue in front of her nose, which Combee blew into quickly.

"Yay! "

She buzzed off again.

"And aside from being kick ass," Claire continued. "You're adorable too."

"Combee is adorable," Michael blushed.

"Nuu, you're adorable," Claire poked him in the side.

"You are," Michael retorted, poking back.

"You are."

"You are!"

"You are, and I'm British so I'm always right!"

"Unless we take your tea."


Michael swung his head around to see Combee again, wearing her inquisitive face this time. "Yes sweetie?"

"What's a vertical stick?" Combee inquired, blinking at him imploringly. "Inferny is being mean, and won't tell me."

Michael's mouth fell somewhere around his collar, as Claire burst out laughing.

"Combee, who has been teaching you Lady Gaga songs?" he asked.

"Auntie Tashy and Auntie Miri," Combee smiled proudly. "They told me all the words... I don't remember them all though, so I make them up. But I do remember that one, because I don't know what it means..."

"I'll explain it when you're older," Michael promised, as Claire unwrapped one of the sandwiches. "Now go play."


The Chief Agent shook his head in exasperation as the honey bee Pokemon buzzed off. Distraction arrived in the form of a sandwich, which Michael happily took. With so much paperwork to do, he hadn't eaten all day. He had tried to have waffles for breakfast, but when Miriku had bent down to give him a good morning hug, her hair had swept them clean off the plate and chomped them down. Evidently, she need it cut again.

"These subs are huge..." Claire stated, though from her tone she wasn't complaining at all, as she took her first bite. "Where on earth did you get them?"

Michael looked very nervous all of a sudden. "Well... I cornered Rhia a couple of days ago and asked her for a bread recipe. Took me four tries. She could probably have done them better..."

He trailed off as Claire leaned over and kissed him sweetly.

"They're awesome. And you made cheese and ham! My favourite! I wonder... did you make dessert?"

Michael smirked. "Oh I have dessert planned back at the Library. You just have to wait..."

"Daddy?" a familiar voice interjected behind the couple, at what was probably the most inappropriate moment thus far.

"Yes sweetie?" Michael sighed, swallowing the bite he had just taken. The bumblebee gave him very big, imploring eyes.

"Can I have a sandwich?" she asked, before opening all three of her mouths wide. "Aaaaahhh..."

"No Combee, you can't have Daddy's sandwich," Claire said firmly. As Combee's eyes began to water sadly, Claire reached into her pocket and pulled out a Watmel berry. "But you can have this instead."

Like a set of traffic lights, Combee's eyes switched back to wide and imploring. "Aaaaahhhh..." she opened her mouth again, and Claire parked the berry into it. Beaming as best she could with her mouth stuffed beyond capacity, Combee buzzed off with her prize.

"What do you say?" Michael called after her.

"'ankoo 'ummy!"

Rolling his eyes, Michael took a bite, pleased with himself for pulling off the food without a hitch, pleased with the company, and also pleased that so far everything was going without a problem...

As if to make things perfect, a tiny sparkling flake landed on the back of his gloved hand. It shimmered like a rainbow as he moved it back and forth against the dimming light.

"Its starting," he announced. Claire pulled her eyes away from her ham and cheese, just in time for a dust flake to land on her nose. She went cross eyed trying to see it. Michael leaned over and blew it off.

"You looked silly," he told her.

"You're a silly," Claire poked her tongue out, flicking diamond dust off his hair.

"You are."

"You are."

They continued muttering back and forth, watching as the dust began to fall heavier, scattering to the ground like glitter, and turning Snowpoint city, and the whole mountain top into something out of a fairytale. Trees sparkled as though covered in rain drops, and the buildings in the city below them looked as though they had been coated in diamonds.

Claire giggled abruptly, brushing a few flakes of dust away from where they had settled on Michael's cheek.

"You look like a Twilight vampire," she informed him. Michael paled, and immediately tried to bury his head in the snow in horror.

"Nuuu! I've committed the ultimate sin! I can never show my face again!"

Laughing helplessly, Claire pulled him upright by his shoulder, and rubbed his cheeks, which had turned pink from being pressed into the snow.

"You're no vampire," she told him. "I thought we established long ago that you're the grim reaper?"

Michael grinned as he remembered that particular nickname. "Yeah... but now my cheeks are cold..."

Rolling her eyes, Claire kissed one cheek, then the other, then kissed him full on the lips with a cheeky smile. Slipping his arms behind her back, Michael pulled her close and deepened the kiss – after all, he was very cold.


"Aww!" Squirtle cooed. "They're so cute!"

Squirtle and Cubone were spying on the couple from behind a nearby tree, having delegated the task of watching Combee, to Infernape, who was about to pull his fur out in frustration by this point. Combee had been thrown into throes of utter delight upon seeing the shiny snow fall from the sky, and was buzzing around in it at top speed, not caring who or what she ran into.

"Ooooh! Shiny!" she giggled, bouncing off another tree. "Inferny! Look at all the shiny!"

"Yes Combee..." Infernape said in a long, suffering voice. "Very shiny..."

"You're not listening to me," Combee pouted, coming to a hover, and bouncing on Infernape's head. "What do you think I am? Stupid?"

Infernape wisely decided not to answer.

Cubone and Squirtle giggled, the former sneezing as a sparkly flake landed on the end of his nose.

"It is pretty..." Squirtle nodded, holding out his hand to catch some of the flakes.

"Not as pretty as those two," Cubone nodded to the couple, who had now abandoned their sandwiches. Now perched on Infernape's head like some kind of headdress, Combee nodded in agreement.

"Yup yup!" she agreed, before tilting her head to the side curiously. "Why has Daddy got his hand in Mummy's shirt?"

Her eyes were immediately covered by Infernape's hand, while Squirtle and Cubone burst into more giggling.

"Hey!" the bumblebee Pokemon complained. "I want to see Mummy and Daddy's kissy time!"

"Combee, go play with the shiny again," the monkey Pokemon ordered. Combee's eyes lit up as they were uncovered, and she instantly forgot about watching the trainers make out.

"Yay! Shiny!" she dive bombed a tree in excitement. "Oooo..."

Cubone shook his head. "Oblivious."

"Very," Infernape agreed, as Combee began to barrel roll in mid air.

"Inferny!" Combee whined. "The world is spinning around..."

"That's just you," Infernape sighed, creeping closer to the clearing where the trainers were cuddling, in the hopes of getting a better view.

"Oh yeah..." Combee grinned sheepishly, before peering somewhere into the distance. Her eyes went wide in sudden excitement. "Stranger!"

"You're a stranger..." Infernape replied absently. Combee pulled a face.

"I'm not strange! Daddy says I'm special!"

"Yeah... special needs maybe..." Infernape muttered, before sitting up straight. Something was making the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. "There's someone coming."

"Told you!" Combee declared proudly. "My bumblebee senses are jingling!"

"I think the phrase is 'tingling'," Squirtle corrected sweetly.

There was a man approaching up the hill, cutting a large, perfectly even trench through the snow, with his firm, strong looking body (which despite being covered in a thick jacket, was still easily noticeable). His dark eyes scanned everywhere, missing nothing, and as he spotted the Pokemon, his face broke into a pleasant smile, which showed perfectly even, white teeth, and inspired trust in every sane mind in the universe.

...fortunately for us then, that Michael and Claire's Pokemon, were not sane in the slightest. Infernape and Squirtle had both seen a Gary-Stu before, in the form of Alastor, and could remember quite clearly the effects that he had had upon them. Cubone was suspicious as he noticed his friends shift to battle stances, and he wisely gripped his bone club a little tighter.

And Combee... stopped grinning. This man had a smart face – but it wasn't a nice, funny smart, like Auntie Tashy's Thoth, or Auntie Miri's Tails. It was the same smartness that Team Rocket always had. The bad kind.

The man paused, observing the small party, before holding up his hands, in what was supposed to be a non-threatening gesture. "Hello there... are you all lost?"

Infernape rolled his eyes. "He is so stupid... does he really think he'll be able to understand us if we answer back?"

"But I can understand you," the man smiled. "My name is Jackson Carey Marlin Bryon-"

"You're hair is so shiny I could use it as a mirror," Squirtle muttered quietly.

"I heard that!" was the slightly ticked off response.

"You two are being rude," Combee informed her friends. "Mummy and Daddy always say to be polite."

"Except to fictional characters with God complexes," Squirtle added.

"I do not have a God complex! I am a Gary-Stu!" Jackson proclaimed, proudly.

Cubone blinked several times. "A... gary stew?"

"Mmm! Sounds tasty!" Combee declared, licking her lips.

The Stu was completely frustrated now. All Pokemon usually took to him wonderfully – heck he was only a few steps away from having a team strong enough to catch every legendary in the world, trample all the Pokemon Leagues, and defeat every evil mastermind in this fandom. And now this mishmash of Pokemon were standing here, on the mountains of Snowpoint, completely immune to his charms?

It had to be their trainers, Jackson thought to himself. These Pokemon belonged to the Society Agents who had shown up recently. He smirked. Maybe he could use this to his advantage...after all, he was sure they wouldn't want their precious Pokemon hurt...

"A Gary-Stu is the kind of people that Clairey and Michael hunt," Squirtle explained. Cubone narrowed his eyes through his mask at the man, and drew back his bone club threateningly.

"But I thought a stew was a kind of soup..." Combee blinked cutely. "I'm so confused..."

"Oh don't worry, I can enlighten you," the man before them smirked. "You see, if your trainers are Society Agents, then I'm afraid I can't let them leave here. They've been causing my friends a lot of trouble."

Infernape's hair and fists seemed to blaze with fire. "You won't get near our trainers! You'll have to go through us first!"

"Oh that won't be a problem..." Jackson smirked, fingering the Poke Balls in his belt. Before he could pull one out to use however, he was tackled full in the face. Combee.

The Poke Ball landed in the snow, as Combee backed up and dive bombed the Stu again, all three of her faces registering rage of the most dangerous variety. She impacted painfully in his solar plexus, and the man doubled over howling in pain. Combee immediately shot like a rocket into his spine, sending him careening face first into the snow.

"WHAT THE HELL?" Jackson wheezed, once he had enough breath to speak.

"You are a bad man!" Combee declared, ploughing into the man's knees as he tried to stand. "A bad, stewy soupy man! No one interrupts Daddy and Mummy's kissy time! That's just RUDE!"

All three of her faces blew raspberries, before she tackled him in the shoulder.

"Gah!" the Stu ran around in circles, flapping his hands at his assailant. "Get away from me, you insane bumblebee!"

"I'm not insane!" Combee protested, giving him a particularly painful bruise in the neck. "And I have Nurse Joy's cyclematric reports to prove it!"

"Psychiatric," Infernape corrected wearily.

"Bless you!" Combee paused to smile sweetly at Infernape, who facepalmed in response.

" we actually need to do anything?" Cubone asked, scratching his head with his bone club.

"...Nah," Squirtle shrugged.


"I don't think his head is on straight baby..."

"Its artistic, Michael," Claire huffed, shoving her gloved hands under her arms in an attempt to keep them warm. She felt like she had icicles laced through her joints, but it was so worth the effort. Their snowman was four feet tall, and with the recent shower of diamond dust, he sparkled like he was encrusted with diamonds. Claire's scarf was wrapped around his waist, and Michael had fashioned one of the tinfoil wrappers from their eaten sandwiches into a hat for him. The hat was sliding off due to the tilted angle of the head.

Michael spotted her shivering, and hurried to her side, wrapping his hands around hers, and blowing on them. "Cold?"

"Mmm... not anymore," Claire muttered, resting her head on her fiancée's shoulder and yawning widely. "Tired though..." She leaned up to kiss him, warmth spreading right through her frozen limbs as he pulled her closer and kissed back. "Thank you Michael," she smiled, as they broke apart. "Today has been wonderful."

"Well, I try," he grinned back. "I got the location right, and the sandwiches right... and we made an awesome snowman..." he frowned suddenly. "But the Pokemon were strangely quiet. Where are they?"

Claire peered around, as though expecting them to come leaping out from behind the trees at any moment. "Maybe we should go look for them..."

No more prompting was needed, as Michael hastily repacked the blanket and remains of their food, and they set off. They did not have to look very far, as they entered the next clearing and were confronted with one of the most bizarre sights ever.

"I want your cycle. Your vertical stick. Want your piano, and a big shiny brick! I want your lo – Daddy!" Combee squealed, from where she bounced happily on Jackson's back. She sounded very pleased with herself. "I caught the soup man!" In her glee, she began to spin around like a top.

The poor Stu lay face down on the ground, appearing to be in some kind of paralytic state. Infernape was anxiously keeping him warm with the occasional blasts of flame, but the tips of his fingers were starting to turn blue, even as the fire monkey worked. Cubone was prodding him in the side timidly, the Stu's occasional moans of pain, the only sign that he was in fact still conscious. And Squirtle was racing towards Claire, tackling her in a relieved hug as they entered the clearing.

"You... caught... a Gary-Stu," Michael stated slowly.

"Don't ask," Infernape suggested. "All you need to know, is that Combee was very upset with him...and thought she could get him to move again by singing..."

The bumblebee nodded, before frowning. "I tried singing a million green bottles, but he didn't like that..."

"Please..." Jackson finally spoke, lifting his head to stare pleadingly at Michael and Claire. "Lock me up...just get me away from her..."


" how's the Stu doing now?" Tash asked, folding her arms over her chest, and leaning back in her office chair. Beside Michael and Claire, Valerie sighed.

"He's stable, but he keeps muttering about bumblebees and Lady Gaga...I don't think he needs to go in the basement. Once he's sane again, we can put him on parole."

The Society leader nodded, before running a hand over her forehead. "I'm sorry your date got spoilt by this, guys. We should have spotted him sooner..."

"Are you kidding?" Claire grinned. "That was still an awesome date!" She gave her boyfriend a side look. "Though we did miss dessert to bring the Stu back here..."

By her side, Michael blushed, and Tash's face took on a knowing smirk.

"Ah I see... okay. Well you're all dismissed then. I have paroles to do..."

Outside the door, four figures were eavesdropping.

"What are they saying?" Squirtle asked, as Cubone pressed his ear against the door again.

"Something about putting the stew on a roll..." he frowned. "That can't be right..."

"Mmm! Stew on a roll!" Combee began to bounce hyperly. "Let's go find the kitchen!"

And she buzzed off down the corridor, with the other three in her wake.

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