Chapter 10: Shuichi’s Past
Fan Fiction inspired by Pokemon, Pokemon Conquest
Rating: Young Adult
Amy took me to her parents’ home to spend the night. The old couple welcomed us in, surprised that she was home, let alone that she would bring a guest. She introduced me as Shuko, a friend of hers from Sinnoh. I guess that’s true. We were kind of like friends.
As we walked through her house, I noticed a small shrine used for honoring loved ones who passed away. A picture of a beautiful young girl was set in the center, along with some incense and an urn. Freshly placed ginkgo leaves were scattered about it as well. Amy knelt down in front of it and paid her respects.
“I’m home, Mei Jia,” she said as she prayed. “Everything is going well with me. Shuichi is also in good hands.”
So this loved one is a friend of Shuichi, the professor. But she looks so young in the photograph. She must have passed away a long time ago.
“Let’s go to my room, Shuko,” said Amy as she finished up her prayers. “I’ll help set up a futon for you.”
We walked to her room which had been a little dusty, having been vacant for so long. The walls were bare, with the exception of paint chippings and leftover stapled paper trails, probably left by posters. Amy certainly had grown up quite a bit since she last stayed in this room.
Amy pulled out an old futon from her closet and laid it out on the carpet. She meticulously set it down to equalize the balance in the room; either that, or she was trying to cover a stain. She stepped out of her room to get some sheets and blankets from the linen closet and came back.
“It’s okay, Amy, I can do the rest myself,” I said before she could do anything else.
Amy obliged and handed me the sheets intended for me and started to make her own bed out of the frame and mattress that laid bare in the corner. The bed frame was actually made for a bunk bed. The top bunk was empty. I wondered why she didn’t offer me that bed, but then I remembered the shrine in the living room. That bed was probably hers.
“That girl you were praying to just now,” I inquired, “who was she?”
“Oh, she’s my little sister Mei Jia,” she replied casually while still making her bed.
“I never would’ve guessed,” I said as I made my own. “You two look nothing alike.”
“Actually, she’s my adopted sister. Her abusive parents were taken into custody when she was only five years old. My parents and I were the only family she had from this region, so we took her in. Don’t get me wrong, but I always thought of her as my little sister.”
“I see. So was she also a friend of Shuichi’s?”
Amy stopped what she was doing and paused.
“She was the love of his life. Mei Jia was in love with him even when we were just junior members at the Celadon City gym. She was beautiful, always cheerful, and her love for Shuichi was absolutely genuine. He could’ve been annoyed, embarrassed, or disgusted with her, but she was still perpetually by his side.”
Amy started to tear up as she went back to finishing her bed. The two of us had finished and laid down for the night.
“You know how Shuichi’s alias for the University of Pokémon Studies is Prof. Ginkgo?” continued Amy.
“That’s because Mei Jia thought of him as a ginkgo tree. It apparently grew all over the place where she was born. Shuichi reminded her of that tree. In turn, Shuichi gave her the name of a tree, too.”
“And what was that?”
“She was his sakura. Shuichi loves the sakura trees when they bloom in the Spring. All the loves of Shuichi’s life are called Sakura. Mei Jia was the first, of course, and that Oddish of his is the second.”
“That’s a strange name for such a pokémon.”
“That’s because she is the offspring of his Vileplume, the first pokémon he ever had. Shuichi felt bad that he never named his pokémon before, since many trainers never do. But that Vileplume was very special to him. She died of natural causes a few months back. Sakura is the legacy she had left behind, and Shuichi is very protective of her.”
I guess there’s more to Shuichi than I thought. He seemed to be a young, naive professor that only cared about his studies of pokémon warriors, but he’s actually a very kind person. He’s friendly to others, he’s demonstrated that he can be quite a romantic, and he deeply cares for all of his pokémon. Maybe I was falling in love with him too.
No way, that can’t be right. I shook my head violently to escape that thought. Shuichi might be my brother. If it turns out that he is, I’d have a brother complex! And besides, he already has Amy. That’s right.
“Unfortunately, Shuichi never got a chance to confess his feelings for Mei Jia,” said Amy.
I was surprised.
“How could Shuichi not confess to that girl? Is he really that spineless?”
“You may have noticed, but Shuichi was kind of an awkward kid growing up. I guess you’d have to be, if you were the only boy in an all-girls’ pokémon gym. And because of that, he never understood his true feelings for Mei Jia. He didn’t realize he was in love with her until she fell gravely ill.”
“Shuichi was still finishing up his undergraduate work at the University while still applying for the doctoral program when it happened. While she was ill, he went to visit her in the hospital. It didn’t matter if he had work or had to study. He never missed a chance to see her.
“Shuichi planned to confess his love to her on the day of his graduation, but that day never came. Mei Jia died just a day before the ceremony. After that, he was depressed for a long time, from the beginning of his doctoral program, to the time he started as an adjunct professor at the University in Saffron City.”
“Is that when you started dating him?”
Amy admitted with a heavy sigh.
“Even now, I still feel like I’m just a replacement for her.”
“But you still love him, don’t you?”
“I’m not so sure, really.”
“Why is that?”
Amy looked out her window at the bright moon that shone outside.
“It’s because it doesn’t matter to me whether or not I am a replacement for her. Shuichi is just a replacement for a guy I liked, too.”
“He is? Who is it that you really love then?”
“Another boy that I grew up with here in Celadon City, Nathan. He was Shuichi’s best friend and a rival to me when it came to pokémon battles. Unlike Shuichi, he was strong, confident, and always seemed to know what to do at the right time. The three of us left the city on our journey at the same time, and we stuck together from time to time. It was because of Nathan that I became a strong trainer, since we had constantly battled each other.
“But Nathan was obsessed with looking for stronger pokémon. He only praised his partners when he won and thoroughly punished them when he lost. All he cared about was strong pokémon. And so he joined the notorious Team Rocket, a crime organization similar to Team Galactic in our region.”
“Yes, I’m aware of them.”
“Team Rocket has since been disbanded, but Nathan was killed in action while he was with them. That’s right. Nathan, too, has passed on from this life.”
“So if that’s the case, why did you and Shuichi start dating then?”
“It’s simple, really. For him, it can only be Mei Jia, my little sister. And for me, it can only be Nathan, his best friend. And yet here we are, the survivors of both Nathan and Mei Jia. There is no one else.”
“But that’s so cruel for both of you. How can you be together if you’re not in love? Isn’t that absurd?”
“Is it really, Shuko? I’m not an idealist like Shuichi. I work to survive and I care about the things that will benefit me. That is what made me a genius. To me, dating Shuichi is the best thing we can both do for each other. Love doesn’t have to be romantic because Shuichi and I share a different kind of bond. We’ve been so close for so long, we are like family.”
They’re like family. The same way Nagamasa was like family. And Misa, Kiyomi, Hiroaki, Kyoko, Jinbei, and all the others too. I think I understand why Amy and Shuichi can work things out so well, because I had that bond once. Still, however, it all felt so sad.
“Let me ask you something, Shuko,” said Amy frankly. “I know you believe that Shuichi is your real brother, because you two look the same and you even share the same surname. But if it just so happens that he is not your brother, what will you think of him then?”
I hadn’t thought about that, really. I went through all of my life so far without knowing who my real family was. But when I finally found a lead, I was so excited that I couldn’t think of it in any other way. How would I feel about Shuichi if he wasn’t my brother?
“That’s a silly question,” I replied. “Whether he’s my brother or not, he’s still an idiot, and from what I can tell, he’s also a pervert. But I guess,” I had to think about this carefully, “he can also be very charming, considerate to others, and he can do just about anything he puts his mind to. After all, he’s got you, Amy. So take care of him, will you?”
“Are you still saying that because you think you might be his sister?”
I shook my head.
“I’m saying that because you are my friend. Have a good night, Amy.”
“You too,” she whispered as she turned her head away from me.
I guess I should get some rest too. I closed my eyes and called it a night.