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Pokémon I'm A Marionette

Just a Torchic

~ Utterly glorious ~
Location
Sootopolis City
Pronouns
she/they/he?
Partners
  1. torchic
  2. custom/torchic-blue
A Facadeverse fic

"Are you okay?"
In which Wallace isn't okay, but he gets better. Eventually.

Alternate summary: college/YA Wallace tries to hide the fact that he's a mess.


So this story originally started back in 2020 as part backstory stuff for a fic that never saw the light of day (a fic that eventually became the Facadeverse fics), part venting when I was suicidal and depressed over quarantine before I was diagnosed with GAD and PMDD (I would have a low, and in order to deal with urges to try purging or relapse into self harm and self starving, I would write about Wallace doing it instead). If you're wondering if I'm okay, yes, I'm okay. I'm in therapy, I'm taking meds, and while I'm not 100% better. I'm getting there. This fic follows a similar trajectory of things falling downhill before getting better.

I decided to go back to this story and publish it because 1. I wasn't letting it go to waste (I have 30k+ words of that old fic, and I refuse to let those words go to waste), and 2. there are some things that can't easily be conveyed in the form of a drabble (like in But How Will It Be). I decided to post it here because someone seemed to want me to do it. I forgot who, but to whoever wanted me to: thank you.

And I hear people like angst on TR.

This story is rated Mature.

This story contains depictions of:
eating disorders (including starving and purging)
alcohol and alcohol abuse
drug abuse
(including alcohol, LSD, marijuana, sedatives, and stimulants. There's also depictions of withdrawal, which includes an offscreen seizure)
parental death
self harm
abuse
(physical, verbal, and emotional)
sexual harassment and sexual assault
manipulation and grooming
mental illness
(including depressive symptoms, panic attacks, and manic episodes)
bigotry (including Fantastic Racism, homophobia, and ceterophobia, or discrimination towards nonbinary people. There’s also the use of the f-slur in Chapter 13)
suicidal ideation
blood, needles, and hospitals
implied consensual sexual content and discussions and themes of sexuality


Several things can't easily be stripped from the story (especially depictions of eating disorders and abuse), but summaries and chapters stripped of other elements can be provided upon request.

Also: if you feel this story warrants other content warnings, please tell me.

Preferred feedback:
- Grammar/spelling/typo stuff
- Is the angst too much? Just right?
- Impressions on headcanons and characterizations
- Did I do a good job of dealing with the heavy subject matter?
- Did I portray hospitals/rehab/treatment/political scandals accurately?
Untitled_Artwork_9_1_25.png
 
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Chapter 1

Just a Torchic

~ Utterly glorious ~
Location
Sootopolis City
Pronouns
she/they/he?
Partners
  1. torchic
  2. custom/torchic-blue
Mentions of purging, anxiety

Wallace stared at his reflection. He used to be just a little short for his age. His Hinodego name, Mikouri, meant "little child" in Sootopolitan Greek; he was a small baby, a small toddler, a small child. It was just one of the many things people would tease him for.

But then, at the age of fifteen and a half, he had a sudden growth spurt. Now, at the age of sixteen, he had a lanky frame and stood just under six feet. He felt awkward, he felt weird, he felt confused.

But that didn’t matter: In ten minutes, he and Victoria would be performing in their first Contest.

Wallace picked up his beret and put it on. After staring at his reflection some more, he became dissatisfied with his appearance and took it off. He wore a purple shirt, white jacket, turquoise dress pants, and white boots. At least he had settled on that much—his outfit. And his hair, which was tied up in a low bun.

Victoria watched as he took out his makeup case and put on foundation and turquoise eyeshadow. Wallace had spent a whole hour making sure his Milotic looked her best—her scales shimmered like a lake, and her Blue Scarf was tied into a perfect bow—and now he was nearing an hour and a half spent on his own appearance.

He put on lipstick of a subtle shade of pink, but after five seconds, he wiped it off. It wasn’t that he was uncomfortable with makeup, but in that moment, staring at himself in the green room mirror, everything felt off, down to the finest details of his face.

He looked up to established and well known Coordinators and saw that the main difference between him and them was that he wasn’t perfect. If he wasn’t perfect, how would he succeed?

The stress made him feel sick.

Victoria rested her head on Wallace's. He gently pet her head, hoping some of her calmness would rub onto him.

There was a knock at the door, and Victoria slithered over to open it. Meanwhile, Wallace prayed that it wasn't Mayor Megalos coming to scold him for taking part in such a "feminine" sport.

It wasn't, thank the heavens. It was his sister.

“You excited?” Nicole asked as she walked into the green room. She wasn't taking part in the Contest, but that didn't mean she wouldn't come and support her younger brother.

She had the same hair and eye color as Wallace, but unlike Wallace, she was perfect. Her white shirt and skirt were perfect. Her simple makeup was perfect. Her posture was perfect. Why couldn't he be perfect?

Wallace forced a small smile. “Sure.” In this context, “sure” meant something more akin to “I might puke.” Nicole seemed to pick up on this, because she walked over to him and looked at his reflection with a sympathetic look.

“I was nervous before my first Contest,” Nicole said, placing her hands on his shoulders as she looked at their reflection in the mirror, “but as soon as I stepped onto the stage, all worries fell to the wayside, and Goldie and I both took home gold.”

Except she had been perfect. Nicole and her Goldeen had been perfect, with not a single hair or scale out of place. Surely Nicole knew that Wallace was inferior to her. Surely she knew how pathetic this was. Surely she was only pitying him. That's how pretty much everyone else in his family viewed him.

"Sick again? Weren't you just sick with a cough a few days ago, Mikró Mikouri?"

"You're so slow, Mikró Mikouri! You can't even keep up with us!"

"Why did Mayor Megalos choose you? You're nothing special, Mikró Mikouri."


“What if I step onto the stage and spill my guts out on it?” Wallace mumbled.

Nicole gently turned Wallace around so he faced her.

"Wallace, look up at me." She smiled when Wallace did. "Kamari mou, you’re going to be just fine.”

“I don't want to risk it. Maybe I should make myself throw up so I don’t feel so nauseous—“

Nicole's smile fell.

“Don’t say things like that.” Her face was stern but concerned. “Making yourself sick won’t make you feel better.”

“Really?”

“Wallace, would I lie to you?”

“Perhaps.”

“Wallace.”

Wallace rolled his eyes. “Fine. No, you wouldn’t.”

Nicole smiled.

“I’ll be out there in the audience with Raphael and Lisia. We’ll all be cheering for you.”

Wallace gestured his hand towards Victoria.

“How does Victoria look?” he asked.

“Beautiful.”

Wallace motioned his hand back towards himself.

“How do I look?”

Nicole’s eyes darted towards the counter. She picked up the beret and put it on Wallace.

“Beautiful.”
 
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Chapter 2

Just a Torchic

~ Utterly glorious ~
Location
Sootopolis City
Pronouns
she/they/he?
Partners
  1. torchic
  2. custom/torchic-blue
Panic attack, descriptions of restricted eating habits, mentions of bigotry, depictions of purging/self induced vomiting, mentions of self harm, overstimulation

It wasn’t an eating disorder, he told himself.

He wasn’t restricting what he ate to get thinner; he was thin enough. He was fixated on the imperfections of his body to the edge of obsession, but that wasn’t the main reason for his restriction. It was restriction for the sake of control.

His duties and training were tumultuous shackles, dragging him across oceans. He was at the mercy of Megalos, the socialites of Sootopolis City, and the press, who seemed to intrude more and more into his private life with each passing day. They took his right to choose when to come out to the world as genderqueer and pan and maybe sort of polyamorous, leading to many people turning on him. They took his right to privacy without speculation on his personal or sexual life. They took his right to dignity and respect.

He was chosen to be Sootopolis City's Gym Leader, meaning he now had to deal with catching up to the other Gym Leaders, facing the wrath of Hoenn League chairman Kurogane Cockburn and the bigoted language he used on Wallace, and dealing with even more expectations from Megalos and Sootopolis City. Sure, with college, he only had to work on weekends, but college didn’t exempt him from the Three Loss Rule. In actuality it was a One Loss Rule: lose once, damage your perfect facade, shame on you.

He couldn't control who Megalos set him up with. He couldn't control what the socialites did to him or said about him. He couldn't control what the press revealed about his personal life. He couldn't control the language Cockburn used when referring to him.

But he could control what he ate.

For breakfast, it was toast. For lunch, half a bowl of rice. For dinner, salad made of just lettuce and carrots. Sometimes, he even skipped lunch. He could compensate for any vitamin deficiencies with supplements, he told himself.

Was he hungry? Of course he was. Was he tired? Seemingly constantly. Did he feel like shit? Absolutely. He could ignore those side effects just fine. They didn’t mean anything. He wasn’t dead, so he was fine.

The problem was eating around other people.

Wallace got downright terrified at the prospect of eating with other people, even just one person or Pokémon. Because of this, he avoided it by any means possible. He made excuses every time there was a family gathering involving food, planned dates anywhere but restaurants or cafés, and refused to talk about eating under any circumstances.

He probably looked like a lunatic.

But he couldn’t avoid every meal, and every time he had to eat beyond his restrictions, he felt like he was dying. He felt like he had failed his parents and Sootopolis City, that the gods would punish him for failing to be disciplined, perfect.

But it wasn't so bad, right?

-

"Come on, Wallace, aren't you going to eat before the Contest?"

Nicole sat next to Wallace at the kitchen table. She placed a plate in front of Wallace.

Fettuccine Alfredo. Wallace's favorite meal. How long had it been since he had eaten it? A couple months? A year?

Aren't you disciplined? Aren't you in control?

Nicole's going to think you're a freak if you don't eat.

You're going to fail this Contest if you eat.

You're going to fail this Contest if you don't eat.


"Wallace?"

Nicole stared at Wallace. She gave him a small smile, but it was a perfect smile.

"Thank you, Nicole," he sighed.

Nicole put Wallace's beret on his head, but he took it off right after she did. His hair was short and tousled; he had cut it in the middle of the previous night out of a half conscious impulse, in part driven by confusion, in part driven by hating his appearance. At least he had been able to resist the urge to cut his arms with the scissors.

"Come on, Wallace."

"I look stupid in hats, Nicole."

"No you don't."

"I'm not in a 'wearing my beret' mood."

"Are you in a 'Fettuccine Alfredo' mood?"

Nicole beamed another smile before hugging Wallace.

He could let himself have a little more than his strict limitations, right?

-

He was still regretting eating when he got to the Contest Hall.

Stress before Contests wasn’t new to Wallace, but it seemed even more overwhelming this time. He couldn’t focus on what his and Victoria’s routine was supposed to be. His hands were shaking too much to even hold his makeup.

“Are you okay?”

Hailey, one of Wallace’s friends and Contest rivals, was staring at him, her brows furrowed with concern. Even she was perfect: perfect short, brown hair; perfect brown eyes; perfect short blue dress; perfect gold eyeshadow and lipstick.

Everyone around you is better. Everyone around you is in control.

“I’m fine.” Wallace smirked. “You should be worrying about yourself. Victoria and I have been practicing for weeks.”

The confidence returned to Hailey’s eyes.

“Ha! Lovelynn and I are going to wow you with our new techniques!”

“Yeah… you sure will…”

The lights in the green room were too bright. The marble counter was too hard. The room was spinning. The stress was making Wallace dizzy. His gaze and attention turned away from Hailey… and to his thoughts.

You’re going to fail this Contest because you lost control.

What would your parents think if they saw you?

You’re a failure to them. You're a failure to Nicole. You’re a failure to Juan. You’re a failure to Megalos. You’re a failure to everyone.

Calm down, Wallace. Calm down. Calm—


“Wallace?!”

He slammed the door to the bathroom. Too dim. Too bright. Too much. His legs were legs shaking, and his head was spinning.

Tears stung his eyes. He couldn't cry. He couldn't cry. Sootopolitans didn't cry, especially not the city's Gym Leader, guardian, poster boy...

Why can't you calm down?!?!

He couldn’t take it anymore. He couldn’t take it anymore. He couldn’t take it anymore.

Fuck you. Fuck you. FUCK YOU.

The torrent of thoughts stopped when Wallace plunged his fingers down his throat.

It all happened so quickly that he couldn’t even register what had just happened. Slowly, he began to process the sound of his choking echoing on the walls of the bathroom, the slimy feeling of spit and vomit on his fingers, and the burning, bitter sensation in his throat.

“Wallace? Is everything okay?”

He could finally process another sound: Hailey’s voice. He could stand up, stumble to the sink, wash out his mouth, and open the door.

“Come on, Victoria,” he said monotonously.

“Wallace, are you feeling well?”

“Of course I am.” His tone didn’t change. “I’m feeling wonderful.”
 
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Chapter 3

Just a Torchic

~ Utterly glorious ~
Location
Sootopolis City
Pronouns
she/they/he?
Partners
  1. torchic
  2. custom/torchic-blue
Sexual themes, almost sex, discussions of eating disorders, mentions of self harm, drug abuse, manic episode, LSD, body dysmorphia, vomiting, migraines, overstimulation, anxiety

“Are you sure you don’t mind that I never take off my clothes when we have sex?”

Wallace looked up at Lucy when he asked that question. He was sitting on the edge of her bed, and she was standing in front of him. She was dressed in black lingerie, while he was dressed in a long sleeved shirt and long sleeved pants.

“Why would I care? Besides”—she slid a finger down the buttons of his shirt—“you look pretty in those clothes of yours. Do you take them off for Steven or Winona?”

Wallace's heart started racing even more. “No.” Not even Steven and Winona—who were more than friends with benefits, unlike Lucy—were allowed to see Wallace’s body. He hated his body. Hated it. And what would they say if they saw his body? What would they say about his body if he took off the makeup and clothes that hid his imperfections?

“Are you anorexic?” No, Wallace would respond, because he hated how thin he was, and he didn’t want to keep losing weight. Paradoxically, he didn’t want to gain weight either.

"All right then, are you bulimic?" Also a no; Wallace didn't binge before purging, unless eating even just a bit over his strict limits counted as binging, and even then he sometimes purged other times, like when he got stressed before Contests, or when he was having an emotional low, or when he was on the brink of a panic attack, or when he needed to tire himself out because his emotional high was too high for him to sleep.

"Do you have an eating disorder?" If he didn't have anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, and if he didn't want to get thinner, he couldn't possibly have an eating disorder.

“Where did those bruises come from?” He hated those bruises too. They sometimes came from him accidentally falling, or intentionally slapping himself, or intentionally slamming his textbook on his arms just below the point of potentially breaking them.

“You look high.” It was the bags under his eyes, Wallace would insist. Sure, he had tried marijuana and LSD, but that was for art, not for the high. Sure, he occasionally drank a little too much, but only on bad days. Sure, he took sedatives and stimulants, but only to regulate his emotions. He wasn’t high. He wasn’t an addict. He could stop if and when he wanted to—or as long as his emotions weren’t smothering him in exhausting sadness or distracting euphoria. He didn’t have a problem. He didn’t have any problems. He couldn’t have any problems. He was Gym Leader Wallace. Coordinator Wallace. Guardian Wallace. He couldn’t let something as small as college or stress taint his perfect image. He was tired, though, and he did sometimes have to call in sick from work at the Gym because of a hangover or bad trip.

“What the hell is wrong with you?”

“You’re hideous.”

"You're a freak."

“You’re—“


“Wallace? You stuck in space or something?”

Wallace stood up and walked towards the door.

“I’m so sorry for cutting this hook up so short, Lucy, but I’m not feeling well.” Wallace was still riled up on hormones and still physically wanted sex, but his sexual thoughts were spinning around alongside creative urges and panicky feelings, and he didn't mentally want sex.

Lucy smiled. “Hey, it’s alright. I’ll manage just fine alone. Maybe some other time?”

Wallace nodded. His head was starting to hurt, and he rested it against the wall for a second.

”Do you need help walking home?” Lucy asked.

“I appreciate the offer, but I’m fine.”

As soon as Wallace shut the door, he began quickly walking down the hall. He was tired, but he also wasn't.

It was going to be another all nighter.

-

Wallace managed to deal with his sexual urges at his dorm, but unlike other nights when he had these certain thoughts and feelings, he couldn’t get anything productive done. The thoughts were just too overwhelming. He didn't even feel happy, just shitty in an overenergized way instead of an undernergized way.

After pacing around the dorm's living room for what seemed like forever, he opened the dresser drawer where Filbert kept his drugs. They were reserved for parties only, but it's not like he would miss a few pills.

"Gamó ton Drákou." No sedatives. In fairness, it would be improper etiquette to sleep at a party, and Filbert didn't know about Wallace's emotion problems. Actually, Wallace knew more about Filbert than Filbert knew about Wallace. Probably for the best; Filbert was a stereotypical polo shirt frat bro, and Wallace was a disaster artist who couldn't tolerate a single piece of lint on his clothes.

There were a few sheets of... LSD tabs? Yeah, LSD tabs, with colorful pictures of Psychic type Pokémon. Wallace had done LSD before, when he was doing Art History assignments with some... acquaintances, not friends. Wallace didn't have human friends; he had family, lovers, a mentor, acquaintances, or people who hated him.

But anyway, someone offered him some LSD "for inspiration". It was certainly inspirational. It took the colors in his mind that appeared when he listened to words and music and put them in front of his eyes. Maybe he could use his frenzied energy and that hallucinatory energy and do something with it...

Well, Filbert was out for the night with a girl, and Wallace's Pokémon were asleep in their Pokéballs, so what did he have to lose?

-

It was a bad, bad trip, but it produced some good art. That was all that mattered.

The morning came like a tsunami to bring his emotional high tumbling down.

He felt too nauseous to eat breakfast, and by the time lunch rolled around, he was feeling downright miserable.

He, Winona, and Steven were in the bookstore café, discussing classes or something. Actually, Winona and Steven were doing most of the discussing. Wallace’s head was spinning, and he was too fixated on how nauseous he was and how many spots of black and white he was seeing to contribute anything meaningful to the conversation.

“Wallace?” Steven asked. “You doing okay? You don’t look too good.”

Wallace could only nod.

“Do you want me to get you anything?”

At this question, Wallace shook his head.

Steven wrapped his arm around Wallace’s shoulders. While Wallace appreciated the gesture, it also further aggravated his condition.

Wallace couldn’t focus on the conversation anymore. He was too worried he would throw up. He was terrified that he would throw up in public. He was terrified that he would lose the control he so desperately tried to cling onto. He was terrified that he would make a fool of himself.

Breathe, Wallace. Deep breath in, deep breath out.

You’re too weak to have control. You don’t have control.

You’re safe with Winona and Steven. You’re safe with them.

You have no control. You have no control. You have no—


He abruptly stood up and, with his hand over his mouth, briskly walked away from the table and towards the bathroom.

“Wallace?” Steven gasped as he stood up.

-

Wallace knew he wouldn’t make it to one of the stalls, so he leaned over the sink just as he started to vomit. No one else was in the bathroom. He would have counted himself lucky if his head wasn’t pounding so much that he couldn’t process anything around him. Even after throwing up a whatever was left in his stomach, he still continued to choke up bile and, eventually, nothing. He kept retching, but he was too exhausted to keep standing.

“Wallace?! Is everything okay?! Speak to me, Wallace!”

Someone was holding him on the bathroom floor. Panting, Wallace slowly regained consciousness.

“Steven?” Wallace whispered feebly. He figured he had stopped retching right before passing out, but the violent nature of what had just happened left him exhausted.

“You collapsed into my arms! You’re weak and pale as talc! What’s wrong? Do you need me to get help?”

Don’t. Whatever you do, don’t get help.”

“I’m worried, though. What’s wrong?”

Wallace couldn’t respond.

“Do you think it’s a migraine?” Steven asked.

Wallace leaned his head against Steven’s chest, his eyes closed. The light in the bathroom was too bright, too cold, too invasive.

“You’re the one who gets migraines, not me,” Wallace mumbled.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if you got one, seeing how you’ve been drowning yourself in your studies.” Steven though for a second. “Have you eaten anything today?”

“Don’t remember,” Wallace replied.

“‘Don’t remember’? Wallace, you haven’t been forgetting to eat, have you?”

Wallace was starting to feel nauseous again, so he didn’t try to respond. He felt Steven’s arm wrap around his shoulders again. Wallace didn’t try to stop him.

“Think you can stand up?” Steven asked.

Steven helped Wallace stand up so he could rinse out the sink and his mouth. Somehow, Wallace found himself outside the bathroom a few minutes later, leaning against Steven.

“Is he okay?” Winona asked.

“Wallace isn’t feeling too good,” Steven said. “I think it’s a migraine. I’m going to take him back to his dorm.”

“Can I come?”

“I can go alone, you two,” Wallace insisted.

“Nonsense,” Steven replied. “It’s like the Orbeatles song: you get by with a little help from your friends.”

“Gonna try with a little help from your friends,” Winona added.

Wallace gave her a small smile. “It’s ‘I get high with a little help from my friends’ first.”

-

Wallace realized too late that there was vomit in his hair. He was too exhausted to apologize to Winona as she held back his hair.

It was supposed to be a perfect evening, a perfect evening of shopping at Lilycove City’s stores, walking through its gardens, and lovemaking at one of its love hotels. It had to be perfect; it was the last time they would get together before months of Gym challengers clogged up their free time.

But Wallace had to ruin the perfect evening with a stupid migraine.

He had to thank the heavens that he wasn’t puking over the bike railing next to the sidewalk because he was drunk, but still, why were the heavens cursing him with migraines? Didn’t he throw up enough by his own accord? Was this some sick, twisted, divine punishment? Wasn't three nights and a row of no sleep enough punishment? Did he need to purge more?

When he finally started heaving up nothing, he realized that he had vomit on his hair and his shoes. He was even more of a mess than he thought.

He had even less control than he thought.

”You’ve been getting a lot more migraines than usual,” Winona whispered. “Is everything okay?”

Wallace let himself fall to his knees. Keeping his head hung and facing away from the railing, he sighed. ”My head still hurts, if that’s what you mean.”

”I mean in your day to day life. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you eating well? Are you keeping your stress levels low?”

”Sure I am."

"That doesn't sound like a very sure answer."

"Darling, I don't think I can muster the energy to sound more sure."

Winona gave a smile: partly sympathetic, partly a smug "I told you so."

"Fine. Fine." Wallace staggered to his feet, holding onto the railing in case he passed out. "You win. I'm not fine, surprisingly. I feel like I'm dying, and worse yet, if someone sees me like this, I'll have to kill myself or face public humiliation."

Winona's smile fell. "Wallace, are—"

Wallace collapsed against Winona, who caught him before he could fall in the puddle of his own vomit. Something worse happened: Wallace threw up bile onto Winona's dress.

Shit.

Silence. Wallace didn't even want to look up at Winona. She was probably disgusted, ashamed, furious...

"Wallace—"

"I'm so sorry, Winona. I'm so, so sorry. You can do whatever you want to me: break up with me, shoot me, let Aurora peck me to death, expose my kinks to the press—"

"Wallace, Wallace, Wallace, it's okay. It's okay. You're not feeling well. A dress is replaceable; you're not."

Winona wrapped her arm around Wallace.

”Now come one. Let's get you back to the hotel. You need water and sleep, maybe a shower, too. If you need to throw up again, tell me. If this doesn’t get better—“

“It will get better.”

No. No. No. He couldn’t go to the doctor. A doctor would be able to find out that he used drugs. A doctor would be able to find out that he cut himself. A doctor would be able to find out that he starved and purged. A doctor would be able to confirm that he was a freak.

“I hope so,” Winona said.

"I'm sorry for ruining our date."

Wallace looked up at Winona. That soft smile of hers was back.

”Wallace, your health will always be infinitely more important than a date. Now come on. Let’s get you a nice bath, and then let’s get you comfy and cozy in bed.”

Wallace managed a small, dizzy smile. ”I would kiss you if I weren’t such a mess.”

-

The two went to one of Lilycove's cheaper love hotels, the kind with simple walls and floors in beiges and browns, the kind that only gave lovers a basket of condoms. At least it had a shower and other toiletries.

After an hour or so, Wallace managed to hold down ibuprofen and melatonin.

He and Winona hadn't really prepared to be going to sleep in clothes, so all they had for sleepwear were their clothes for the next day: for Winona, the shirt and pants she worse under her flight suit, and for Wallace, a plain dress shirt, purple pants, and a short cape.

Winona didn't let Wallace use the cape as a blanket. Instead, she wrapped him up in a blanket and Aurora's fluffy wings and cuddled him on the other side. The pressure, the warmth, the comfort... he managed to sleep for once.

He thought he could feel Winona getting out of bed and calling someone just as he started drifting off to sleep.
 
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Chapter 4

Just a Torchic

~ Utterly glorious ~
Location
Sootopolis City
Pronouns
she/they/he?
Partners
  1. torchic
  2. custom/torchic-blue
Purging, mentions and depictions of self harm, mentions of drug abuse, suicidal ideation

“Wallace? Are you okay?”

Wallace slowly raised his head at the sound of his sister’s voice from the other side of the bathroom door. Of course he wasn’t okay; he had just purged dinner, and he didn’t know if he had the strength to stand up from where he lay on the bathroom floor.

“I… I don’t… I’m fine…”

“Can I open the door?”

“...Hold on.”

Grabbing the edge of the sink for support, Wallace staggered to his feet. He had to wash out the sink. He had to wash out his mouth.

The water stung like the time Wallace had gotten his Spheal to use Sheer Cold on him. It was heaven to his throat and hell to his skin. It still couldn't wake him up, so he turned it from freezing cold to burning hot. As steam started to rise, he stuck his hand under the water.

He had to bite back a shout as he forced himself to keep his hand there. He only pulled back right before he thought he would get a second degree burn.

Nicole opened the door as Wallace shut the faucet. There was shock on her face, along with hints of concern.

"Nicole, I didn't—"

“Oh Mikouri…”

The next thing he knew, Wallace felt Nicole wrapping her arms around him.

“Eíste kalá?”

Even if Wallace wanted to respond, he couldn’t muster the energy to do so. The past few weeks had been rough; he seemed to constantly have some sort of ailment or illness. It was his early childhood all over again.

"Did something not agree with you?"

"Nothing's agreeing with me," Wallace mumbled.

Nicole slowly rocked Wallace and gently patted the back of his head. Damn it, his hair was a mess.

"Go lie down, Mikouri. I'll get you some medicine for your stomach."

Guilt weighed Wallace down as soon as he collapsed in bed. Nicole was his older sister and his closest family member. Their parents were dead. None of those things made Wallace feel any better about essentially needing her like a sick child needed a parent. He was nineteen—legally an adult. He was supposed to be perfectly self sufficient. Aside from that, his sister had a child of her own. She didn't need to be burdened with deadweight who couldn't go a whole week without getting sick.

The weight was dragging him deeper into the waters of his mind.

Look at all the problems you’re causing. Look at all the dates you're ruining for Lucy and Steven and Winona. Look at the time and money and energy your sister is wasting on you. Look at all the worry and anger and misery you're causing. Look at how disgusting you are.

Things would be better off if you were dead.


-

He slept lightly but peacefully through the night and the next morning. When he woke up, his Milotic was there to greet him, hanging her head over his bed.

“Promise not to tell her?” Wallace mumbled.

There was an old Hinodego saying that everyone from Hoenn to Sinnoh knew: “Pokémon keep secrets”. Victoria was the only one who knew what Wallace was like behind the mask. She was the only one who knew about Wallace's scars and bruises. She was the only one who knew about his self destructive habits. She promised not to tell, and even if she didn't, it's not like she could say "Nicole, Wallace is a freak who's using drugs and making himself vomit up your cooking". It was nice that he could tell someone about the darker parts of his self.

But it was also shameful that he had those darker parts in the first place.

“I’m sorry.” What good would sorry do? Wallace was living in a personal hell, a personal hell he had dragged Victoria into. "Sorry" wouldn't fix or do anything.

There was a soft knock at the door.

“Uncle Wall?”

“Lisia?”

The door opened, and a little girl walked into the room. Well, maybe she wasn’t that little; she was eight, not too little anymore, but still not big enough to be not little. She was wearing a hand me down dress; once it had been her Grandma Lucille's, then her mother's, then her uncle's, and now it was hers.

She hopped up into the bed, holding a drawing in her hand. Wallace sat up. His head hurt from doing so, but he cared more about Lisia than himself.

“Mom wants to know if you’re feeling any better,” Lisia said. "She said I can visit you if you're doing better."

When Wallace was five, he came down with a cold. When he said he wasn’t fine after twenty four hours, he soon found himself in the ER. It was just how his parents were, and it seemed that Nicole inherited that same fear.

“Tell her that I’m doing better. I should be able to go to classes tomorrow.” He wasn’t sure how true that was.

“Good! I made you a get well present!”

She held up the drawing in her hands. It was a drawing of a Swablu, a Milotic, an Altaria, and a Metang. Maybe Wallace was biased, but it looked far better than the average eight year old’s drawing. It was certainly far better than anything he had done as an eight year old.

“It’s Ali, Victoria, Aurora, and Metang!” Lisia explained. “They’re all playing together! Just like you and your friends! Someday, I’m going to be strong like them, and I’m going to be a strong, dazzling Coordinator like you!... Wallace?”

Wallace wrapped his arms around Lisia, holding her in a tight embrace as he leaned against the headboard. Lisia hugged him back. Wallace could feel the happiness radiating from her, but not even that could lift his spirits.

“Lisia, can you promise me something? Can you promise to not do anything to hurt yourself or make yourself sick? Can you promise to take care of yourself?”

“Sure I can!”

Wallace looked over at Victoria, who was resting her head on the bed and purring as Lisia pet her. Wallace reached his hand over so he could scratch her under the head.

"Can you promise me something?" Lisia asked.

"Of course. What is it?"

"Can you promise to do Contests with me? Just like you did with Juan! I think you're the best Coordinator ever!"

What would Lisia think if she found out her shining uncle on a shining pedestal was abusing drugs? What would she think if he died of an overdose or malnutrition? What would she think if he killed himself?

No. No. Even if Wallace did end up taking his own life, Lisia—no, nobody—could know it was a suicide. It would have to look like an accident. It would have to—

Victoria was staring at him. Shit, could she sense his negative thoughts?

Was he really contemplating suicide?
 
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Chapter 5

Just a Torchic

~ Utterly glorious ~
Location
Sootopolis City
Pronouns
she/they/he?
Partners
  1. torchic
  2. custom/torchic-blue
Panic attack, mentions of racism and queerphobia, body dysmorphia, mentions of purging and self harm, mentions of alcohol, suicidal ideation, emotional abuse

Wallace paced around the locker room, staring at his reflection in the locker room mirror as he did so. The light overhead was too much, the buzz of the radiator was too much…

He felt like he was dying.

It was his first swim meet in... well, a while. Panic attacks and migraines kept him from his duties on the swim team, and now that he was back, now that he was goodness knows much thinner, what was once an enjoyable hobby had become a metaphorical guillotine.

Most of the people on the Rustboro University Swim Team had far more muscular physiques than Wallace. Meanwhile, he was like a long twig. While he wasn’t into hyper-masculinity and was glad he leaned away from it, he hated how awkward he looked. He was a Coordinator. He wasn’t supposed to have bony looking arms and ribs sticking out. He tried hiding his body under long sleeved turtlenecks and dress pants. He knew he would have to change into his swim trunks soon, but he dreaded having to change. He dreaded having to show everyone his body. Why did the swim uniform have to be swim trunks?

He was already five minutes late to the meet. No one on the swim team liked him for one reason or another: he was Sootopolitan, he was mixed, he was scrawny, he was into art and poetry, and/or—after the tabloids outed him—he was pan and genderqueer. He couldn't remember all the names he had been called, and he certainly didn't want to repeat them. Because of this, he had waited until the locker room was empty to go in.

He leaned against the lockers. He was going to keel over any second. Part of him wanted to purge again, but the other part of him knew there wasn't anything left to purge. He thought about cutting his legs again. He thought about slamming his head against the lockers. He thought about—

Bzzz! Bzzz!
His Pokénav was bussing with two notifications:
Winona and haven't seen you yet
You okay?
-Steven

-

“You had better win this battle. The whole world is watching you.”

“That was a decent Contest, but it needs to be perfect. If you’re going to perform instead of study politics, at least be
good at it.”

"Don’t wear that. You look like a stripper. People are going to think this city is a pornocracy.”

“You have a swim race today. People will be watching you. There might even be reporters. Don’t fail.”


Wallace was already failing Megalos’s order to not fail by wearing a full piece, long sleeved suit instead of the uniform. It hid his body, but it also made him stand out more.

Wallace ran into the natatorium. The rest of URC’s swim team was already there, along with Rootclaw Academy’s team.

Coach Alagona briskly stormed over to Wallace. He was somewhat shorter than Wallace despite being fifteen years older than him, and his messy, purple hair was held back with sunglasses. He had a slight tan from being in the sun often, and his face was red from anger.

“Where were you, Wallace? You missed warm ups, and you only have five minutes until the Individual Medley! And why aren’t you wearing your uniform?!”

“My apologies, Coach Alagona,” Wallace panted. “I did my laundry the other day, and I couldn’t find them.”

Alagona scowled, but he said, “Fine. Just get ready.”

Winona and Steven were sitting in the second row of bleachers just a few steps away from where Wallace was. He walked over to the two and waved.

Wallace sat down—or rather, collapsed—in between the two. “You two have anything interesting to talk about?”

“Are you doing okay?” Steven asked. “You look exhausted.”

“I ran all the way from here to my dorm and then back here,” Wallace panted.

“What are those bruises on your face?" Winona asked. She gasped as she saw the parts of Wallace’s arms uncovered by his suit. “And your arms?”

“I tripped.”

The sounds of people splashing in the people, talking, yelling... all of it felt empty in the seconds during which neither Wallace nor his companions spoke in.

“Wallace,” Steven said gravely, “you’re not hurting yourself, are you?”

Shit.

“Of course not! What would possibly make you think that?!”

“Wallace, deep breaths. We’re just worried about you. You’ve been pushing yourself a lot since becoming a Gym Leader and starting college. You’ve been drinking a lot, you haven’t really been taking care of yourself, you've been getting horrible migraines, you’ve been spending more and more time alone—”

“I’m fine.”

Wallace stood up—a bad idea, since a wave of dizziness almost immediately crashed over him and threatened to drag him to the floor—and walked over to the other swimmers. The 200 Metres Individual Medley was up next, anyway.

Wallace looked up at Winona and Steven. Before stepping onto the diving block, he forced himself to smile before giving them a thumbs up. He wished he could have given them a better apology.

In his head, Wallace went over the stroke order of the Individual Medley: Beautifly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle. Beautifly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle. Beautifly… backstroke… god, why did his head hurt so much? Why did he feel like he was going to puke?

“3… 2… 1… GO!”

The freezing cold waters shocked Wallace out of his half conscious state. He was too busy to dwell on how cold the water was. He had to win this race.

Before he knew it, Wallace reached the other end of the pool. The sudden switch from Beautifly to backstroke threw him off more than usual, and the backstroke itself felt more off than usual. Wallace felt himself losing focus…

...only for his head to hit the other end of the pool.

Even when the impact shocked him awake, Wallace was too dizzy to process his surroundings, save for the shouting of spectators, the splashing of water, and the fact that he seemed to be leaning against the edge of the pool. He soon realized how far behind the other racers he was. He couldn’t stop now, no matter how exhausted he was.

After giving his face a quick but hard slap, Wallace shot off the edge and swam faster than ever before.

What little focus remained was directed entirely towards catching up. Even when he reached the other end and spiraled into freestyle, he didn’t notice that he had caught up to the other swimmers, that he had surpassed them, that he had reached the other end, that he had won. It was only when the judge grabbed his arm and lifted it into the air did he realize people were cheering for him.

Everything was a blur, a blur of lights, flashes, cheers, and then screams.

-

He woke up on the pool deck. There were people staring down at him, including a medic. There were people talking or shouting. It was too much, especially when coupled with the haze still lingering in his mind. He thought he could see Steven and Winona, and he tried to reach for one of their hands. The flashes of light weren't helping his vision or state of consciousness.

“Is everything okay?” the medic asked.

“Sure I am... Sure I am...”

-

He was taken to the health office. Winona and Steven wanted to follow him in, but the medic kept them out, leaving Coach Alagona and Wallace alone in the room.

The fluorescent light made the baby blue walls and white, tiled floor even brighter. It was overwhelming, but at the same time, the room felt empty. Perhaps it was the silence. Perhaps it was Alagona’s stare: serious yet emotionless.

“Wallace,” he finally said, “at times, you are the greatest member of the swim team. You take first place. Your form is phenomenal. At your best, you guarantee that URC brings home gold.

“At your worst, you're late to or even absent from meets and tournaments. You’re too tired to compete. You’re a gamble: Either the top of the charts or the bottom. As good as your best is…” Alagona sighed. “...I’m sorry Wallace, but I can’t risk it. I’m going to need to ask that you take a break from swimming and focus on working on yourself.”

Those words reached Wallace as “You’re a failure. You’re a disappointment. You don’t deserve to be here.” And then he heard Megalos’s voice: “You’ve failed your parents. You’ve failed Sootopolis City. You’ve failed me. I thought you were Sootopolis City’s pearl. You’re just a failure. You don't deserve to be here."
 
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Chapter 6

Just a Torchic

~ Utterly glorious ~
Location
Sootopolis City
Pronouns
she/they/he?
Partners
  1. torchic
  2. custom/torchic-blue
Mentions of drugs and drug abuse, slut shaming, mentions of eatings disorders and restrictive eating, mentions of sexual harassment, mentions of setting up people below the age of consent with people above it (i.e. a 16 year old with a 30 year old) with the intent on marriage when both parties are of legal age. Don't know what to tag that as, but it's squicky. There's also graphic depictions of physical and emotional abuse.

Megalos’s office was stark white: white walls, white floors, white desk, white chair. In other circumstances, it probably would have been what Wallace imagined what the offices of Archangels looked like. But for the given circumstances, it was far less welcoming and more intimidating, like a pristine altar that couldn’t be damaged, dirtied, or touched. Wallace felt like his presence in the room was a dirty stain on the clean room.

Megalos was sitting up straight in his chair, hands clasped together on the table, staring at Wallace. Megalos was old enough to be Wallace's dad, but his graying brown hair and wrinkles made him look closer to a grandfather. Sure, Wallace was taller, but speaking from both appearance and Wallace's own experience, the older and far more heavyset man was big enough in size and muscle to overpower Wallace by pinning him against a wall, or slapping him, or grabbing him and dragging him around like an angry child dragging a doll behind them.

Megalos's verbal power matched his physical power. Through tone or emotional appeal, he could make Wallace do whatever was needed: attend parties until four in the morning running on nothing but caffeine pills or other stimulants, skip Contests so he could takes on Gym challengers, date 30 year old women when he was 16... sure, Wallace sometimes resisted: he chose who he gave his heart to, he chose what he wore, he chose what he did and didn't eat. It was his only stability. It was his only control.

Oh well. Such things came with being Sootopolis City's golden child.

“I have some matters to discuss with you regarding past and future events.”

Wallace nodded. His legs felt shaky, and his head was spinning. He wanted to sit down, but even if there was a chair for him to sit in, he knew that Megalos would look down on him for showing weakness.

So he stood in front of Megalos’s desk like a criminal standing trial in front of the high council.

“I heard that you won this week’s swim relay… only to pass out and get kicked off the team. I’m disappointed, Wallace.” Megalos's stone-like eyes barely blinked. Wallace could stare into them; they were smooth and sharp enough to cut into his skin.

“I heard you also lost a Gym match.”

“I won the one after—”

“Don’t talk back to me. If you lose three matches in a row, you’ll lose your position.”

“I’m sorry—”

“It’s too late for ‘sorry’, Wallace! Don’t you care for Sootopolis City?! Don’t you care for yourself?!”

Wallace's gaze fell to the floor. “I’ll do better.”

“You’d better do better.”

“Is that all you needed to—“

Megalos slammed a fist on his desk, sending the pencils on it shaking to the floor. "Stop being a lazy smartass with me, Wallace!"

See what happens when you try to stand up for yourself, bitch? Stop it. Just smile and nod. That's all you're good for. Smiling and nodding and being pretty and perfect. You can drown out your inner sorrows later.

“This Sunday," Megalos continued as he relaxed back in his chair, "I will be hosting a dinner party at Juan’s estate. The wealthiest and most important of Sootopolitan, Hoennese, and the larger Hinodejin society will be there. I want you to attend, and I want you to take part in an exhibition match against Cerulean City’s Gym Leader.”

Wallace wasn’t stupid; by “want”, Megalos meant “you had better do these things or else I’ll make sure you regret it”. Even still, Ren Mizutani was at best a controversial and at worst accused of several crimes.

“Ren Mizutani?” Wallace asked. “I’ve heard about her." He gulped. "Another Water type Gym Leader, is she not? Why her, out of all the Gym Leaders? Aren't you worried about her reputation?"

Megalos rolled his eyes, tapping his fingers like an approaching drum. "Ren is the strongest Gym Leader in Kanto. What 'reputation' are you talking about?"

"DUIs, unpleasant treatment of employees, harassment—"

"If she's a strong trainer, does it matter?" When he didn't get a response Megalos slammed his hand on the table and stood up. "Does it matter?!?!"

"N-no, of course not!"

Megalos grabbed Wallace's shirt collar and jerked him forward. Wallace stumbled onto the desk. Megalos's eyes were aglow with fury.

“I want you to clean up your act before the match," Megalos hissed through gritted teeth. "I don’t want you losing and making an ass out of yourself and the city. You make an ass out of yourself enough with everything you do."

He twisted his hand, choking Wallace in an iron grip. Adrenaline rushed in, but Wallace wasn't surprised this was happening.

"Megalos... please... I'm sorry for—Hhk!"

“And one more thing: I want you to look your best. Don’t look like a prostitute. Don’t look like a drug addict. Don’t look like a sad little Cubone who lost his mommy. Don't you know that Sootopolitans don't cry?"

This was just like every other encounter with anyone: just smile and nod, smile and nod, smile and nod. Would that be enough to please Megalos?

It was. Megalos let go of Wallace, who had to catch himself with his arm before his head crashed into the desk. Panting, Wallace felt around his neck for any marks left behind. He didn't want anyone thinking Winona or Steven or someone was abusing him. Luckily, his scarf was in his bag; he could easily hide his neck. If word got out about any bruises, Winona or Nicole or someone else would be accused of abuse. Wallace didn't want that. He wasn't being abused by anyone. He was just being put in his place.

"Now go." Megalos sat back down. "And get your act together."

Wallace stood up straight, smiled, and nodded.

"Yes sir. Thank you sir." He opened the door to the office. "Goodbye sir."

This duty was his birthright. Countless Sootopolitans, especially most of his cousins, would do anything to be in his position. If anything, he was grateful to be in this position. His ancestors had given up so much—sometimes their lives—so Wallace could have this position and carry on Sootopolis City's legacy. He had to stand up to the waves that would try to bring it down, either physically or culturally. He had to be its shining, guiding star, and shining, guiding stars were perfect. The people were staring up at him, and the gods were staring down at him: Wallace Izumi Papadakis, Gym Leader of Sootopolis City, guardian of Sootopolis City, priest of Sootopolis City, Lorekeeper of Sootopolis City. His outer shell had to be perfect. His inner self and desires and well being didn’t matter. He had to be perfect for Sootopolis City's past, present, and future, and that sometimes meant dealing with unpleasant things, such as Megalos.

So what if he had to use drugs to stay awake or fall asleep or stay sane? He never overdosed save the blackout drinking, and he wasn't an addict or dealer. So what if he had to discipline himself with starving and purging? Fasting was an element of a few Runekyō holidays, and it wasn’t like it was an eating disorder. So what if he had to cut and hit himself? Just a bit of makeup, and there, he looked perfect again.

So what if Megalos yelled at him? So what if Megalos sometimes got physical with him? So what if Megalos basically encouraged old, rich socialites to flirt with Wallace, touch him, try to coerce him into having sex with them despite his protests...

This was his duty. This was his duty.
 
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Chapter 7

Just a Torchic

~ Utterly glorious ~
Location
Sootopolis City
Pronouns
she/they/he?
Partners
  1. torchic
  2. custom/torchic-blue
Drug abuse, panic attack, mentions of purging

Wallace could barely tie his necktie with his hands shaking so much.

He wasn’t really a “suit and tie” sort of person, but he had to look pristine, presentable, perfect for this party. Everyone would be watching him, and he couldn’t make a fool of Sootopolis City, Megalos, or himself.

At the very least, his white dress shirt and dark blue pants could hide his bony torso, his gaunt limbs, and the bruises and cuts all over his body. Foundation, especially unnoticeable foundation, would hide the circles under his eyes. Sure, it would draw attention to his bloodshot eyes, but at least he could hide one problem.

He had barely been able to get himself out of bed by three in the afternoon. He didn't want to hide caffeine pills in his sister's house and risk her finding out that he was a drug freak, but inhaling an Awakening would work just fine to keep him from collapsing from exhaustion, and he had a few appetite suppressants in his travel bag.

But he still needed to straighten the creases and folds of his shirt. He still needed to arrive on time. Most of all, he still really, really needed to stop his spinning thoughts, his racing heart, his shaking hands. He thought about purging his fears. He thought about loosening up by sneaking up some wine from the cabinet downstairs. He thought about—

“Uncle Wall?”

Lisia had opened the door to the guest bedroom. She was holding a big box of crayons—a box Wallace had given to her for her birthday.

“Are you okay, Uncle Wall?”

Wallace took a deep breath in. As he exhaled, he forced a soft smile.

“Of course I am. I’m going to a party. Parties are… fun.”

Lisia’s smiled back, radiant as a rainbow.

“Do you wanna draw with me before the party?”

Wallace nodded. Maybe engaging in something he loved—art and his family—would help him calm down. Maybe it would be a better alternative to vomiting or alcohol.

-

“I like crayons, Uncle Wall!”

“I do too.”

“I’m going to draw mommy and daddy and Ali and Vicky and Goldie and…” Lisia waved her crayon around like a wand, then pointed it across the table and towards Wallace. “...you!”

Wallace couldn’t help but laugh. He looked over at Joan, who was sitting next to him.

“But what about Joan?”

Lisia held up a drawing of the Swanna. “Already did! I want you to give it to Megalos!”

Wallace took the drawing. After a second of hesitation and thought, he folded it and put it in his pocket.

"I'm sure he'll love it," Wallace lied through the most happy smile he could muster.

“Why don’t you draw too?” Lisia asked.

“Well... I suppose I have time for a quick drawing…”

For just a brief moment, Wallace managed to keep his hand from shaking as he picked up a light pink crayon—coral pink, to be exact.

Lisia hummed to herself as she continued drawing pictures of Water and Ice type Pokémon.

She certainly takes after her mother, Wallace thought.

Speaking of Lisia’s mother, Nicole was preparing dinner alongside Raphael. Every so often, they would look over at Wallace and Lisia, smiling and whispering about how cute they were. Wallace smiled for them. He was happy. He was happy. He was happy.

Shit. He had made the heart shape of his Luvdisc drawing too sharp. Luckily, it was small enough that he could simply cross it out and try again. Maybe he could make the patch of pink into something later.

The phone rang. Raphael nodded to his wife before walking over and answering the call.

“Hello, Raphael speaking… Yes, she’s here. One second.” He looked up. “Honey, someone named Steven is on the phone.”

Wallace looked up. “Steven?”

“I’m sure everything is okay.” Nicole beamed a smile at Wallace before taking the call. “Hi Steven, this is Nicole…”

Wallace distracted himself from his returning fear by going back to drawing.

He tried again to draw a Luvdisc. Still not perfect. He tried again. Still not perfect. He tried again. And again. And again and again and again and—

His hand froze in place as the crayon split in two with a small snap. His hand stayed frozen for a few seconds. Then it started shaking.

He ripped the paper apart.

“Uncle Wall?”

Wallace stood up and stormed out of the kitchen. He could hear his sister calling for him, but he ignored her.

He slammed the door behind him.

“Wallace—”

“I’M FINE!”

His breathing was ragged, and his hands were shaking as he clutched his unkempt hair. He let them fall to his side as he realized that he was standing at the bottom of the front door stairs, and Nicole was standing in the doorway, staring at him with terrified eyes. Well, at least he wasn’t a complete mess; he had put on his shoes for the party.

“What happened?” Nicole gasped. “Are you okay? What’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong. Nothing’s wrong. I have that dinner to go to, and I have to leave now—”

“Wallace, you don’t have to go to it. If you want to stay and talk about whatever is going on at work pr—”

“I don’t. I have to.”

Joan was standing next to Nicole. She shared Nicole’s concern, and she cocked her head in confusion.

“Come on, Joan,” Wallace ordered quietly. “We have to leave... I said we need to leave!"

"Wallace, what is going on?" Nicole pleaded.

Anger joined the fear in Wallace’s blood. What had Steven said about him? Joan still wasn’t coming. He considered asking Winona for a ride to Sootopolis City, but then he began to wonder what she had said about him. What had everyone else said about him?

“Joan. Now.”

Joan hesitated for a moment. Eventually, she stepped past Nicole and walked over to Wallace. He climbed onto her, and with a flap of her wings, she flew off.

Wallace felt a sinking sense of guilt in his heart as Joan flew higher.

"I'm sorry, Joan." He could apologize to Joan, but it was too late to apologize to Nicole. It was too late to apologize to Steven or Winona. It was too late to apologize to everyone.
 
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Chapter 8

Just a Torchic

~ Utterly glorious ~
Location
Sootopolis City
Pronouns
she/they/he?
Partners
  1. torchic
  2. custom/torchic-blue
Dissociation, depersonalization, alcohol abuse, purging, eating disorders, panic attack, emotional and physical abuse, internalized slut shaming and queerphobia, and purging mistaken for a suicide attempt.
This chapter also contains depictions of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Sebastian opened the door to Juan’s estate. The evening air was bitterly cold, and the person standing in the doorway was smiling, but shivering.

“Wallace! Welcome.”

“Good evening, Sebastian.” There was a smile on Wallace’s face, and his posture was straight as a line, but there was no emotion, no life in his voice.

His mind was numb, but his body continued forward.

He didn’t register his surroundings until he stopped in front of Megalos. Main hall. Bright white and gold light. People. Lots of people. Bottles of wine and liquor. Megalos staring at him and not smiling.

“You’re five minutes late.”

“I’m sorry.” Wallace didn’t feel his smile fall. It was a miracle that he still had the energy to keep it.

Megalos smiled, grabbed Wallace’s shoulders, turned him towards the reflective wall.

“See? You look better when you smile.”

Wallace stared at his reflection. All he could think was What is that?

-

He talked to Ren about something. They talked about... Water types. Occasionally, Ren would make comments that made Wallace uncomfortable. Wasn't Ren married? Didn't she have four children? Oh well.

He could speak without thinking. He was Wallace. Wallace knew how to speak to people. Wallace knew how to act in front of people. Wallace knew how to perform perfectly to people.

Was he Wallace? He didn't feel connected to himself. He didn't feel connected to the reflection he had seen in the mirror. He didn’t feel connected to anything.

Ren was watching him. Megalos was watching him. Everyone was watching him. And if he messed up in any way…

As Megalos watched the conversation, he nodded. He didn’t smile. He might as well have been verbally mocking Wallace.

Ren seemed to be mocking him with her smug grin and condescending tone. Her words started blending together. They made less and less sense.

Wallace’s legs started shaking. His heart pounded in his chest as thoughts ate away at his mind. He felt like he was going to pass out or throw up. Either thing happening would be imperfect. Terrible.

Don't you dare leave. Don't you dare make an ass of yourself you stupid stupid—

“Excuse me one moment, Ms. Mizutani.”

-

No matter how hard he stabbed his finger down his throat, no matter how deep he stabbed, no matter how hard he tried, Wallace couldn’t bring up more than a thin string of mucus and bile.

He stumbled back to his feet. He felt worse. He felt like he was dying. Was he really going to die such an undignified death?

Someone was banging on the door to the bathroom.

“Wallace!” Megalos shouted. “Don’t tell me you’re sick!”

“Don’t worry, I’m—”

As soon as the door opened, Megalos grabbed Wallace and dragged him by the necktie.

"I don't know why I chose you to be Sootopolis City's guardian and Gym Leader? Why can't you be like Juan? Why can't you be like your father? Why can't you be normal?"

With one last tug, Megalos threw Wallace into a small dining room and against a table.

Panting, Wallace shakily stood back up and looked over at Megalos. No one else was there.

Sorry wouldn’t save Wallace, but maybe…

"I wanted to give you something my niece made for you." With a smile, Wallace stood up and took Lisia's drawing out of his pocket. He held it out to Megalos, hoping he would take it.

Instead, Megalos walked towards the door, saying "I'll go find Ren. You two can continue your conversation from earlier."

-

Alcohol. Strong smell. Strong taste. Strong effects. Wallace was one year below the drinking age. Did he care? No. Did anyone around him care? No.

Nothing was stopping him from drinking. Hell, if he wanted to, he could drink a whole bottle of wine. No one was in the small dining room Megalos had brought him to so Wallace could chat with Ren some more. The doors were closed. No one was there yet. Maybe he would stop panicking inside. Maybe he would be able to smile genuinely. Maybe someone would slip something in his drink so he could be completely numbed or maybe even—

Someone wrapped an arm around his lower back. A woman. Probably in her early 40’s. Red hair. Fair skin. Brown eyes. Clearly drunk.

Ren.

“Hey babe.”

Wallace couldn’t move. Couldn’t speak. He didn’t want this. He didn’t want a woman over twice his age flirting with him. He didn't want to be touched so suggestively, not now, not with this woman. He wanted help.

Ren creeped her arm lower, wrapping her leg and other arm around him. "Look at the lucky lady who gets to play with a Coordinator, and no less than Sootopolis City's special boy. I'd love to get you loosened up so I can have a good time. Maybe we could go to my hotel room... or we could do it here."

I don't want either. I don't want either.

Megalos entered the room. Wallace stared up at him, desperate for someone, anyone to save him.

"Come on, Wallace. I thought you were the Gym Leader. I thought you were an entertainer. Aren't you going to entertain our guest?"

Megalos turned his back, left the room, and shut the door behind him.

Wallace was choking. His tie and collar felt too tight. He wanted to scream. He wanted to scream or cry or even just say something. But he couldn’t. He felt like a doll cursed with sentience and stillness, a doll Megalos had thrown away when he had gotten bored with Wallace, a doll that anyone was free to play with however they wanted.

He began to think that maybe he deserved this. Maybe he deserved this for dressing the way he dressed, being pansexual and polyamorous, being a dirty slut. Maybe he deserved this for not battling Ren yet, for not being a good Water type trainer like her.

Maybe this was all Wallace was worth to the world. Maybe he was just a toy. Maybe he was just a puppet to be pulled around at other peoples’ needs or pleasure. Maybe he was just meant to be used for the benefit of others. Maybe he had no real worth as a person. Maybe he—

“GET OFF OF HIM!”

That shout was all that echoed in Wallace’s mind for a second. Or minute. Or hour. He didn’t remember. Then Juan was standing over him. A Kingdra guarded them—Ruisseau. That name came up in Wallace’s mind. Ren screaming as she was taken away. Juan yelling at Megalos. Megalos yelling at Juan.

Somehow, Wallace got the freedom and energy to run.

"Wallace, wait!"

-

Wallace was in Juan’s bathroom. His smile was gone. His stillness was gone. He was shaking. Panting. Only one thing assured him that he was still conscious: he was trying to open a bottle with hands that could barely hold it.

He needed to open it. He needed to open it. He needed to—

“WALLACE!”

Juan grabbed Wallace’s wrists. The bottle fell to the floor and shattered. The label was still intact: ipecac syrup.

Silence. Complete, deathly silence. Wallace looked down at the bottle. He hadn’t stopped shaking.

“I wasn’t trying to kill myself.” His voice was shaking. “I wasn’t trying to kill myself. I want to kill myself, but I don’t want to kill myself, and I wasn’t, wasn’t trying to kill myself.”

“What were you doing with ipecac syrup?” Juan paused. “You’re not making yourself sick to control your weight, are you?”

“It’s not about weight. It’s not about weight. It’s not about body image. I hate how I can’t swim or take off my clothes without seeing my ribs sticking out from under my skin. I hate how I can’t eat around other people without feeling like I’m going to die. I hate having to taste vomit everyday. I hate having to go to the dentist every week. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it.”

Juan let go of Wallace’s wrists. Wallace almost fell over, but Juan grabbed him into a hug.
 
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Chapter 9

Just a Torchic

~ Utterly glorious ~
Location
Sootopolis City
Pronouns
she/they/he?
Partners
  1. torchic
  2. custom/torchic-blue
Delirium, aftermath of sexual harassment/assault, blood, vomiting, and Wallace spilling all of his drug abuse, disordered eating, suicidal ideation, and mental health issues

He was in bed. Juan’s bed. Maybe. He was starting to forget things.

He thought he could feel Juan loosening the grip the tie had around his neck. He thought he could hear Juan and Megalos arguing outside of the room. He thought he could see Victoria. He thought he could hear a door open and close. He thought he saw someone sit next to him.

“Wallace, can you sit up?”

Juan.

Wallace took a few seconds to muster the strength to shake his head. Juan helped him sit up and propped him up against a pillow. There was a bowl of soup on the nightstand.

“I’m sorry for not letting her—”

“Wallace, Wallace, Wallace, you didn’t do anything wrong. Do you understand? You didn’t do anything wrong.”

“But I wasn’t a perfect guest! I wasn’t a perfect Gym Leader! I wasn’t a perfect protector! I wasn’t a perfect Coordinator. I wasn’t a perfect anything… ever. I’m an anorexic, slutty, Spinda’d, cutting freak. I don’t deserve to replace you in the Gym. I don’t deserve to protect Sootopolis City. I don’t deserve to be alive.”

Silence again. Silence that let Wallace—in his half conscious, feverishly delirious state—realize what he had just done. His throat was burning. His eyes were stinging. His heart was either going too fast or not moving at all.

“Juan, I’m not… I didn’t…”

“Wallace, Steven and Winona called me and Nicole about your drinking and potential self injuring behavior, but… how… how long have you been drinking and starving yourself?”

Wallace didn’t want to look at Juan. He already knew that his mentor was ashamed. He knew he was disgusted. He knew he was… crying? Crying from shame?

“Starving started sixteen,” Wallace finally responded. “Purging eighteen. First binge drink maybe three months later. LSD and marijuana were one week.”

He felt Juan hug him. Was that a sign of shame? He couldn’t tell anymore.

“Wallace, I care about you. There are so many people who care about you. To see you like this, to see you suffering so much… I’ll never fully understand your pain. I’ll never feel the true weight and toll of it, but I will do everything in my power to try to bring you some relief from it. I’ll do everything in my power to help you out of this darkness. And you're not a failure. You're not a failure. You're not a failure.”

“Master, I’m sorry for refusing that woman's advances. I should have—"

“Oh Wallace... If you aren't comfortable with something, you have every right to turn it down. And if someone still tries to force themselves on you... It isn't your fault. It's their fault, and if you want me to do so, I will take that woman to the authorities and see to it that she sees justice."

"I'm sorry for breaking the bottle."

"In times before you were born, ipecac syrup was used to make people vomit after swallowing poison, but people realized that self induced vomiting is far less effective than other methods of poison treatment, and that, in fact, it does more harm than good. I should have gotten rid of that bottle years ago.”

Juan took the bowl of soup.

“Wallace, I want you to try to eat. I know you aren’t feeling your best, but I promise that eating something will make you feel better.”

After some hesitation, Wallace accepted a spoonful of the soup. His throat and stomach immediately regretted it.

“I’m going to call your sister about the disordered—”

Wallace bolted upright. “Juan. Please. Don’t.”

“Wallace, your sister loves you, and she’ll help you through this.”

“I don’t need help. I need to go back to the party.”

“You’re in no condition to be—”

“I’ll die if I can’t be perfect!”

It was all too much. Too much. Too much. Wallace his face in his hand. He couldn’t cry. Sootopolitans didn’t cry. Sootopolitans didn’t cry. Sootopolitans didn’t cry.

Too late. The floodgates had opened.

His sobbing was quiet. Shaky breaths. Hot tears falling on his lap. His heart felt hot with shame. But it also felt good to finally, finally cry.

He buried his face in Juan’s coat, and Juan wrapped his arms around him—tightly, in a comforting way. Wallace felt safe for once. Care for. Loved.

His sobs became coughs. Choking, it seemed.

Wallace pushed Juan away and vomited. He tried to cover his mouth, but that only coated his hand in wine, undigested broth, bile, and…

…blood.
 
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Umbramatic

The Ghost Lord
Location
The Yangverse
Pronouns
Any
Partners
  1. reshiram
Hi! I'm here for Review Blitz fgor the first couple chapters! And also because you shilled this to me because Wallace.

That said I did not expect to open this fic and get "Wallas struggles with dysmorphia and depression and an eating disorder" but I WAS GLAD I DID. It's wonderful. And terrible. Wondribble.

The descriptions of the eating disorder and the depression and the dysmorphia hit close top home - I don't have the first one bui I deeeeeeeefinitely have the other two and what Wallace is going through there is a very familiar feeling. You handled a delicate subject very well.

I especially like the description of Wallace's intrusive thoughts. Those in particular are very familiar with how they never. shut. up. and are always on the attack. And good lord coupled with the eating disorder he makes himself puke - that was also well described.

It's good that Wallace has a supportive friend - even if she doesn't seem to know what's going on. But Wallace also has a LOT of expectations hoisted on him - Gym Leader, Sootopolan noble, eetc. etc. all that jazz. No wonder he's like this. Poor baby.

If I have one complaint i- and it's a very Umbra complaint mind - t's that there's SOME allusion to Wallace's Pokemon being appropriate but at least in these two chapters they're weirdly absent? I know RN the focus is on Wallace Suffering and that is Wondribble but. We could see Wallace's Pokemon being comforting and therapeutic to him Where is the Thgerapy Milotic? GIVE ME THE THERAPY MILOTIC.

But as you can probably tell I like this a lot. I definitely hope to be back for more.
 

Just a Torchic

~ Utterly glorious ~
Location
Sootopolis City
Pronouns
she/they/he?
Partners
  1. torchic
  2. custom/torchic-blue
Hi! I'm here for Review Blitz fgor the first couple chapters! And also because you shilled this to me because Wallace.
Welcome to RB!
That said I did not expect to open this fic and get "Wallas struggles with dysmorphia and depression and an eating disorder" but I WAS GLAD I DID. It's wonderful. And terrible. Wondribble.
Welcome to the plot of, like, a concerning amount of my fics.
The descriptions of the eating disorder and the depression and the dysmorphia hit close top home - I don't have the first one bui I deeeeeeeefinitely have the other two and what Wallace is going through there is a very familiar feeling. You handled a delicate subject very well.
I especially like the description of Wallace's intrusive thoughts. Those in particular are very familiar with how they never. shut. up. and are always on the attack. And good lord coupled with the eating disorder he makes himself puke - that was also well described.
Write what you know and all that. Intrusive thoughts can go step on a LEGO. I'm also happy that I handled the heavy topics well.
It's good that Wallace has a supportive friend - even if she doesn't seem to know what's going on. But Wallace also has a LOT of expectations hoisted on him - Gym Leader, Sootopolan noble, eetc. etc. all that jazz. No wonder he's like this. Poor baby.
He has lots of supportive friends, but he's gotta hide his feelings
If I have one complaint i- and it's a very Umbra complaint mind - t's that there's SOME allusion to Wallace's Pokemon being appropriate but at least in these two chapters they're weirdly absent? I know RN the focus is on Wallace Suffering and that is Wondribble but. We could see Wallace's Pokemon being comforting and therapeutic to him Where is the Thgerapy Milotic? GIVE ME THE THERAPY MILOTIC.
Don't worry. His Milotic will be back in later chapters. And Therapy Milotic will be a thing.
But as you can probably tell I like this a lot. I definitely hope to be back for more.
It has to get worse before it gets better. Glad you like it!
 
Chapter 10

Just a Torchic

~ Utterly glorious ~
Location
Sootopolis City
Pronouns
she/they/he?
Partners
  1. torchic
  2. custom/torchic-blue
Delirium, hospitals, needles, IVs, dissociation, depersonalization, suicidal ideation, mentions of drug abuse and eating disorders

Silence. Silence save his racing heart. Silence save the expanse of the ocean.

Juan came back. Other people too. Blurry in the thick water.

Questions. Questions he couldn’t answer. Maybe he did. He couldn’t understand his own response. He was taken from the bed and put in another one. It moved.

Gold light. Coral pink. Gold. Light yellow.

Black. Darkness. The depths of the ocean.

Red. Red. Red. Blue. Red. Blue. Red blue red blue red blue red blue. Talking. Shouting. Questions. Faces.

White.

People surrounding him.

Stinging on his arm.

Screaming.

Sitting up. Bitter, slimy liquid burning his throat. Blood. Someone holding a bag under his mouth. More liquid. More blood.

Someone putting something on his mouth.

Fading.

Drowning.

Dying.

White.

Blinding white light.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

The light turned into pale gray squares. There was a humming or buzzing sound. There were also the beeps.

Nicole was sitting in a chair next to his bedside. She hugged Wallace. He could hear her softly sobbing.

"Mikouri... Chília syngnómi..."

Wallace didn't speak. He didn't hug his sister back. He tried to remind himself that he could trust her touch, but his mind wasn't working. He just stared into nothing. A heaviness overtook him.

He saw a nurse standing near the door.

"Nicole," she said. She made a beckoning gesture with her hand. Wallace was left alone as the two woman talked about something:

"Traumatic... temporary aphasia... a while to..."

Wallace sat up. He needed water. He tried to stand up, but then he saw the IVs on his arm.

Blinding white light.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

There was no one in the room when Wallace woke up again.

He tried standing up again. He was careful not to look at his arm. He grabbed the IV drip stand and shifted his weight from the bed to his feet.

He almost fell over when he did.

He leaned on the bed for support and slowly began walking. He stopped using the bed as a crutch when he opened the door.

The wall became his companion. He aimlessly walked down the hall. Eventually, he found the restroom.

He needed water.

He grabbed the edge of one of the sinks, breathing heavily. Before he could turn on one of the sinks, his eyes caught a glimpse of the mirror above them.

A turquoise-haired shell of a person. Sunken, bloodshot eyes. Pasty, bruised skin stretched over nothing but bones.

What is that thing?

Blinding white light.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

Wallace was starting to think he was trapped in purgatory, maybe even hell.

The nurse was there with a Gardevoir, and Wallace seemed to be sitting against the bed, not laying down.

“Wallace, I understand the need to be independent, but if you need to use the bathroom, you have to tell me. I don’t want you hurting yourself.” She handed Wallace a notepad and pen. “If you can’t speak yet, you can use this.”

Wallace stared at the blue lines printed onto the yellow paper. After some hesitation, he began writing:

I want to see Juan.

-

Juan came into the room a few minutes later. After a short, quiet exchange with the nurse, he walked over to the bed and sat in the chair next to it.

His eyes were red and wet, but he smiled after a few seconds.

“How are you doing, my friend?”

Wallace stared at Juan. For almost a minute, the only sound in the room was the buzzing and the beeping.

"Wallace—“

“Why didn’t you let me die?”

Juan froze at Wallace's whispered question. He shook his head, tears returning to his eyes.

“Wallace… why would you say—”

“Why did you have to save me?!” Wallace’s voice was raspy, and it hurt to so much as speak, but that didn’t stop him from shouting and sitting up. “You could have let me be put out of my misery! You could have let someone replace me, someone who’s actually fit to be guardian and Lorekeeper and Gym Leader and whatever else I need to be!”

“Wallace—”

"I DON'T DESERVE THE RIGHT TO LIVE ANYMORE! I LOST THAT RIGHT A LONG TIME AGO! I DON'T HAVE ANY WORTH OR VALUE THAT GIVES ME THE RIGHT TO... to... to..."

Wallace’s face fell into his hands as he started sobbing. Juan reached his arms out to hug him, but Wallace weakly tried to push him away.

“Wallace, every human and Pokémon is born with equal, intrinsic value. No one and nothing can take that value away. No matter what. Do you understand that?"

"No..."

"Wallace, when you were born, did the doctors tell your parents 'you have created a child with no worth'?"

"...No..."

"Do you think that worth has faded as you've grown older?"

"Yes."

"What makes you think that?"

"I'm not a strong enough trainer," Wallace gasped in between sobs. "I'm a failure to Megalos and Sootopolis City, I'm a drug user, I'm an alcoholic, a purger, an anorexic—"

"But you're also a wonderful partner, if Steven and Winona's word is to go by. And I believe it is. And do you really think you have no worth to your sister, your brother in law, your niece, your Pokémon, or me?"

Wallace looked up at Juan. "I mean something to you?"

Juan chuckled a little. "Of course you do, Wallace. Why would you ever think otherwise?"

"I'm not a good Gym Leader... and I'm not good enough for Megalos."

"Am I Megalos?"

"Well... no."

Juan smiled. "That's my so—boy. That’s my boy.”
 
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Ambyssin

Gotta go back. Back to the past.
Location
Etherium
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. silvally-dragon
  2. necrozma-ultra
  3. milotic
  4. dreepy
Blitzy New Year!
Disclaimer: This is mostly stream-of-consciousness thoughts. Take it as you will.

This is also doubling as your catnip piece, though if the index isn’t lying to me, I’m surprised at the length of these parts.

1
-It’s called “puberty,” Wallace, dear. I’m afraid it’s hard to escape. XD
-Though the decision to have him as a Kantonian native is intriguing, I think? ORAS’ Delta Episode seems to establish the idea he’s the latest in generations of Sootopolis guardians. Maybe one of his parents is from Kanto? Just musing aloud, I suppose.
-I’m assuming Victoria is a milotic, however you don’t establish that in the prose proper. I think you should drop the species name at least one or two times so your audience knows for sure and isn’t guessing like I am.
-I see the beginnings of the body issues here with his looking in the mirror and repeated walkback of some of his outfit decisions. My gut tells me his suggestion about throwing up because he’s nauseous is meant to be an excuse to cover up a harmful behavior. I’m just making assumptions, though, since the narration doesn’t give me any indication for that.
-On the flip side, having the narration say Wallace feels comfortable experimenting with his gender identity feels a bit redundant to me after the act of putting on the lipstick. It might even lessen the action’s impact for me.

2
-The name Megalos sounds so hilariously evil to me. Like, why would anyone trust someone with a name like that? I wouldn’t be surprised if this person has red eyes and a sinister-looking haircut.
-There’s a lot of esoteric exposition in this part to highlight Wallace’s insecurities and thoughts on everything. I do think they’re in line with what someone would be thinking with such a condition. Focused too much on perceived flaws that don’t actually exist and using that as a driver for self-loathing that, in turn, leads to purging behavior.
-That said, though, while the actual purging behavior is described well, there isn’t a lot of description otherwise to give me the best picture of what’s happening. Like, I can’t really place in my mind what Hailey and Nicole are supposed to look like. Similarly, again, we still haven’t learned whether Victoria is his milotic or a different pokémon. The dining table at his house, the contest hall, and the restroom area could all use some more descriptors as well, in my opinion. But I think your fic is focusing more on Wallace’s inner thoughts, so you’re free to ignore this if you want.
 

Just a Torchic

~ Utterly glorious ~
Location
Sootopolis City
Pronouns
she/they/he?
Partners
  1. torchic
  2. custom/torchic-blue
-It’s called “puberty,” Wallace, dear. I’m afraid it’s hard to escape. XD
Gosh I felt this
-Though the decision to have him as a Kantonian native is intriguing, I think? ORAS’ Delta Episode seems to establish the idea he’s the latest in generations of Sootopolis guardians. Maybe one of his parents is from Kanto? Just musing aloud, I suppose.
Yeah, this is a remnant when I still called Japanese "Kantonian" in fics, but, no, he's not Kantonian. I should probably fix that.
-I’m assuming Victoria is a milotic, however you don’t establish that in the prose proper. I think you should drop the species name at least one or two times so your audience knows for sure and isn’t guessing like I am.
Noted. Gonna fix that.
-I see the beginnings of the body issues here with his looking in the mirror and repeated walkback of some of his outfit decisions. My gut tells me his suggestion about throwing up because he’s nauseous is meant to be an excuse to cover up a harmful behavior. I’m just making assumptions, though, since the narration doesn’t give me any indication for that.
I wanted it to be a bit ambiguous but leaning towards "he's just nauseous." Might fix that, though.
-On the flip side, having the narration say Wallace feels comfortable experimenting with his gender identity feels a bit redundant to me after the act of putting on the lipstick. It might even lessen the action’s impact for me.
Noted. Will fix.
-The name Megalos sounds so hilariously evil to me. Like, why would anyone trust someone with a name like that? I wouldn’t be surprised if this person has red eyes and a sinister-looking haircut.
He gets even more evil.
-There’s a lot of esoteric exposition in this part to highlight Wallace’s insecurities and thoughts on everything. I do think they’re in line with what someone would be thinking with such a condition. Focused too much on perceived flaws that don’t actually exist and using that as a driver for self-loathing that, in turn, leads to purging behavior.
Yeeeeeeeeeeeee
-That said, though, while the actual purging behavior is described well, there isn’t a lot of description otherwise to give me the best picture of what’s happening. Like, I can’t really place in my mind what Hailey and Nicole are supposed to look like. Similarly, again, we still haven’t learned whether Victoria is his milotic or a different pokémon. The dining table at his house, the contest hall, and the restroom area could all use some more descriptors as well, in my opinion. But I think your fic is focusing more on Wallace’s inner thoughts, so you’re free to ignore this if you want.
Yeah I should probably add more details and stuff.
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. flygon
  2. charizard
  3. milotic
  4. custom/zoroark-soda
  5. sceptile
And here I am again! And this time I surprised even myself by reading the whole thing up to what's been published so far. More on that at the end. Until then, I'll be giving mostly stream-of-consciousness thoughts while stopping now and then to give more fleshed out feedback.

Firs thought? This will be the second Wallace story I've read from you! Now to see if he's not a vampire this time.

Going through a massive growth spurt after being so short is a massive mood, can really relate to that one. And while I can't relate to the eating disorder, the way it's all written down is very reminiscent of things that I in general know about eating disorders and, well... everything else Wallace has going on, from anxiety to migraines and drug abuse. The combination of rationalizations and denials of it being a big problem, and the way he was getting some support for it in subtle ways, is very reminiscent of the beats you would usually see from someone with that in real life. Well, for the kind of rationality that comes out for some with the disorder, at least.

Boy, we're only a few chapters in and Wallace already has quite a few problems going on mentally, though that is also something pretty common. Something about how one disorder can often lead to or make you more susceptible to having another, statistically or otherwise. Especially when apparently everyone in the world seems keen on not noticing it. It's really too bad that the others seem to be more ignorant to the issue than I had originally suspected earlier in the previous chapter, where I thought they had been hinting more strongly at it. It's definitely going to be a climax down the line on if or when someone finds out about it, is my suspicion.

By the third chapter the denial is hitting hard. At this point I'm definitely expecting a confrontation or two over it if his friends and beyond know anything about anything. Surely they've seen the signs by now, right?

Bro, buddy, pal, the migraines are because of the vomiting, not because you haven't been doing it enough. The warped mindset is incredible to watch

That short chapter with Lisia was interesting as well. There's always the one who doesn't tell and becomes an outlet, but at this point I wonder if it's starting to worsen. Once again it comes to pass that perhaps she should tell someone after all, somehow. But then there's the quandary of how Wallace would react to that, the sense of betrayal and lack of control over it. It's a deadly paradox.

Then again, that has been a lot of Wallace's general mindset, hasn't it?

Side note after having read the whole thing: I kinda wish I saw more of Lisia, though it seems she (and several characters) are only briefly appearing in some chapters before the story moves on. It's kind of a shame that aside from Wallace, there isn't a ton of focus on the surrounding characters; perhaps that feeds into his sense of isolation? But now that I've read everything so far, I wonder if a shift to focus more on his closest friends and family would be a good way to shift the tone to correlate to the shift in how much everyone now knows of him. It could be something to think about.

Anyway, we now return to the swimming chapter. For all he has going on in his head, Wallace also seems to have an incredible amount of extracurriculars. There are contests and being a town figurehead, then there's the swim team on top of all that? Not to mention the banquet, family, his Pokemon... Where does he even get the energy. His metabolism must be on the floor.

Can I just comment on how amazingly on-the-nose the name "Megalos" is for all this? And being what I would say is the closest thing to a personal antagonist to Wallace, he certainly seems to be the main catalyst and aggravator for all of his issues at the moment. Even though it's clear that he's had these issues in the past, Megalos is either intentionally taking advantage of it to manipulate him, or is just so keenly unaware of everything that he's just evil out of ignorance.

Almost everything that he said during their first physical exchange in the story was one that led to the issues that Wallace had been going through in the past five or so chapters. I could practically make a list of it! And meanwhile, his friends are outright stating the problems they're seeing and their suspicions, and yet Wallace is either deceiving then we'll enough that they don't press, or perhaps in the background they're tying to find a way to help him. I suspect his political position is what makes this especially complicated. Most frustrating of all is the fact that Megalos wants Wallace to be 'at his best' despite very clearly being the reason for Wallace's reasons for NOT being at his best all this time.

That's kind of a rare classic, now that I think about it. From a narrative style, I mean, it seems like a twisted form of dramatic irony where the antagonist's desires are tied inversely to how they're treating the protagonist, and in the end they could both get what they wanted if he only let up.

The crayon scene is yet another instance of people getting so close to the truth and yet missing it right at the end. So close so close, that's pretty much been my feelings while reading through basically all of this!

Goddamn, Megalos just up and tears up the picture. Like, not even an ounce of a redeeming quality from this dude whatsoever; it's almost incredible. A little hard to believe he's do that right in front of someone, almost to the point where he's a cartoonish villain at this point despite the very heady context otherwise, but still cartoonish nonetheless.

And so in the end it's Juan who catches it, eh? Certainly wasn't expecting that, but now that I think about it, it's often someone with a more outside or different perspective who can rock the boat enough for something to really be caught. Something this hidden, at least.

Also, this marks the second time where the title is almost dropped but isn't. You're either never going to drop the title or you're waiting until the very end, is my guess at this point.

Yeah, here's the confrontation I've been waiting for ever since the beginning. There were so many near-misses that I wondered if the whole world would just never realize it, somehow. But now it's definitely out in the open, and hopefully we can now see a road to recovery, or at least a chance of it. Megalos is still in the way, though, unless he gets ousted for what happened.

Well so much for getting ousted. Apparently they're used to squirming out of trouble, even if it's against someone with such status as Wallace! you'd think that'd have more weight. It's crazy that Megalos has enough away to make sure he can head to the gym like this. I feel like the doctors would have some kind of oath to try to prevent him from going back or at least prevent Megalos from forcing him into it, you know?

But anyway, looks like that's everything published for this story so far and wow! I didn't expect myself to get all the way through all of the chapters in one sitting, but here I am. That's quite rare of me, you know, though granted the chapters are very short. That makes it very easy for me to want to pop through the next one without needing to think about how much it is.

Overall, it's going on fine! The story beats make sense, and while the syntax and phrasing can use some work here and there, the story itself is very down to earth and relatable. I do have to remark that, similar to the other story I've read, you could probably replace the characters with fully original characters and it wouldn't have changed too much, but here the Pokemon also seemed to have a presence. The Chansey portion in particular, behaving as a very intelligent therapy animal slash assistant and caretaker, was one thing that I really liked. While overdue, it finally was able to ground this story more firmly in the fantastical world of Pokemon rather than a generic world.

So, good work! I enjoyed myself despite the heavy subject matter. I think, between how short the chapters are and the fact that you managed to get me all the way to the end of what's currently published without stopping, that's got to mean something. I'll be keeping an eye on this one as more parts get published, see what's in store for our Wallace...

I don't think I remember a sense of length for how long this story will go, but if I had to guess, we're looking at (unless new plot elements are suddenly introduced) a story that will clock in at somewhere between 15 and 20 chapters, perhaps? At its current pace. The first emotional climax has been hit, but I can see a second one incoming with a clash between Megalos and Wallace's friends... and then perhaps Megalos and Wallace himself. Now that would be spicy.

Until then, though, good luck, and thanks for the read!
 

Just a Torchic

~ Utterly glorious ~
Location
Sootopolis City
Pronouns
she/they/he?
Partners
  1. torchic
  2. custom/torchic-blue
And here I am again! And this time I surprised even myself by reading the whole thing up to what's been published so far. More on that at the end. Until then, I'll be giving mostly stream-of-consciousness thoughts while stopping now and then to give more fleshed out feedback.
Tbh, I'm surprised you've been coming back to so many of my fics (it's a very pleasant surprise, don't get me wrong). I didn't know you too well, so my first thought was "oh Namohysip is a PMD person", and then you reviewed two of my (non PMD) fics.
Firs thought? This will be the second Wallace story I've read from you! Now to see if he's not a vampire this time.
And it won't be the last!
Going through a massive growth spurt after being so short is a massive mood, can really relate to that one.
Haha I've always been tall.
And while I can't relate to the eating disorder, the way it's all written down is very reminiscent of things that I in general know about eating disorders and, well... everything else Wallace has going on, from anxiety to migraines and drug abuse. The combination of rationalizations and denials of it being a big problem, and the way he was getting some support for it in subtle ways, is very reminiscent of the beats you would usually see from someone with that in real life. Well, for the kind of rationality that comes out for some with the disorder, at least.
Oh good I did this part right!
Boy, we're only a few chapters in and Wallace already has quite a few problems going on mentally, though that is also something pretty common. Something about how one disorder can often lead to or make you more susceptible to having another, statistically or otherwise.
Comorbidity and all that
Especially when apparently everyone in the world seems keen on not noticing it. It's really too bad that the others seem to be more ignorant to the issue than I had originally suspected earlier in the previous chapter, where I thought they had been hinting more strongly at it. It's definitely going to be a climax down the line on if or when someone finds out about it, is my suspicion.
By the third chapter the denial is hitting hard. At this point I'm definitely expecting a confrontation or two over it if his friends and beyond know anything about anything. Surely they've seen the signs by now, right?
Probably, but Wallace is doing his very best to make sure no one suspects anything. Sure, that means he dresses in baggy ass clothes and has no social life, but as long as everyone thinks he's okay, it's all worth it. Right? 🥲
Bro, buddy, pal, the migraines are because of the vomiting, not because you haven't been doing it enough. The warped mindset is incredible to watch
It's incredible to write too
That short chapter with Lisia was interesting as well. There's always the one who doesn't tell and becomes an outlet, but at this point I wonder if it's starting to worsen. Once again it comes to pass that perhaps she should tell someone after all, somehow. But then there's the quandary of how Wallace would react to that, the sense of betrayal and lack of control over it. It's a deadly paradox.
👀
Then again, that has been a lot of Wallace's general mindset, hasn't it?
Yee
Side note after having read the whole thing: I kinda wish I saw more of Lisia, though it seems she (and several characters) are only briefly appearing in some chapters before the story moves on. It's kind of a shame that aside from Wallace, there isn't a ton of focus on the surrounding characters; perhaps that feeds into his sense of isolation? But now that I've read everything so far, I wonder if a shift to focus more on his closest friends and family would be a good way to shift the tone to correlate to the shift in how much everyone now knows of him. It could be something to think about.
Part of me wants to write from other character's perspectives, but at the same time, I'm worried that it would be too jarring at this point. At the same time, having a chapter from someone else's perspective to signify a shift sounds like a really cool idea.
Anyway, we now return to the swimming chapter. For all he has going on in his head, Wallace also seems to have an incredible amount of extracurriculars. There are contests and being a town figurehead, then there's the swim team on top of all that? Not to mention the banquet, family, his Pokemon... Where does he even get the energy. His metabolism must be on the floor.
I would make a joke about how he's using drugs, but honestly he's probably either using caffeine pills or getting a Pokémon to use Wake Up Slap or Smelling Salts on him.
Can I just comment on how amazingly on-the-nose the name "Megalos" is for all this? And being what I would say is the closest thing to a personal antagonist to Wallace, he certainly seems to be the main catalyst and aggravator for all of his issues at the moment. Even though it's clear that he's had these issues in the past, Megalos is either intentionally taking advantage of it to manipulate him, or is just so keenly unaware of everything that he's just evil out of ignorance.
You are the second person to point out Megalos's name. Originally, I chose that name because it means "large, big", and Megalos is, well, a large figure in Sootopolis City. He was also far less of a jerkass.
Also yes these are very good reading things you're doing. Titles and themes and stuff.
Almost everything that he said during their first physical exchange in the story was one that led to the issues that Wallace had been going through in the past five or so chapters. I could practically make a list of it!
*Sits down*. Oh do tell. I can grade it like an AP essay.
And meanwhile, his friends are outright stating the problems they're seeing and their suspicions, and yet Wallace is either deceiving then we'll enough that they don't press, or perhaps in the background they're tying to find a way to help him. I suspect his political position is what makes this especially complicated. Most frustrating of all is the fact that Megalos wants Wallace to be 'at his best' despite very clearly being the reason for Wallace's reasons for NOT being at his best all this time.
Friendship/love is complicated, especially when your friend/lover is being manipulated by the mayor.
That's kind of a rare classic, now that I think about it. From a narrative style, I mean, it seems like a twisted form of dramatic irony where the antagonist's desires are tied inversely to how they're treating the protagonist, and in the end they could both get what they wanted if he only let up.
👀
The crayon scene is yet another instance of people getting so close to the truth and yet missing it right at the end. So close so close, that's pretty much been my feelings while reading through basically all of this!
"The crayon scene" is such a wholesome name for a scene and given the context it hits even more
Goddamn, Megalos just up and tears up the picture. Like, not even an ounce of a redeeming quality from this dude whatsoever; it's almost incredible. A little hard to believe he's do that right in front of someone, almost to the point where he's a cartoonish villain at this point despite the very heady context otherwise, but still cartoonish nonetheless.
Toned down the SA scene so Megalos wasn't watching it happened and instead left the room to let it happen (and because I misread your review on the first reading) so he wouldn't be too much of a cartoonish "hello I'm evil" sort of person (let me know if I should change it back), but kept the picture thing in as sort of a small thing that mentally breaks Wallace.
And so in the end it's Juan who catches it, eh? Certainly wasn't expecting that, but now that I think about it, it's often someone with a more outside or different perspective who can rock the boat enough for something to really be caught. Something this hidden, at least.
Yee
Yeah, here's the confrontation I've been waiting for ever since the beginning. There were so many near-misses that I wondered if the whole world would just never realize it, somehow. But now it's definitely out in the open, and hopefully we can now see a road to recovery, or at least a chance of it. Megalos is still in the way, though, unless he gets ousted for what happened.
Road to recovery, hell yeah.
Well so much for getting ousted. Apparently they're used to squirming out of trouble, even if it's against someone with such status as Wallace! you'd think that'd have more weight. It's crazy that Megalos has enough away to make sure he can head to the gym like this. I feel like the doctors would have some kind of oath to try to prevent him from going back or at least prevent Megalos from forcing him into it, you know?
It's a lot of battling between "underpaid hospital" and "the fricking mayor", but hopefully Wallace can at the very least get a restraining order.
But anyway, looks like that's everything published for this story so far and wow! I didn't expect myself to get all the way through all of the chapters in one sitting, but here I am. That's quite rare of me, you know, though granted the chapters are very short. That makes it very easy for me to want to pop through the next one without needing to think about how much it is.
With the exception of PHAV, all of my fics run very short chapters.
Overall, it's going on fine! The story beats make sense,
Thank goodness
and while the syntax and phrasing can use some work here and there,
Oh noooooooooo
the story itself is very down to earth and relatable.

I do have to remark that, similar to the other story I've read, you could probably replace the characters with fully original characters and it wouldn't have changed too much, but here the Pokemon also seemed to have a presence. The Chansey portion in particular, behaving as a very intelligent therapy animal slash assistant and caretaker, was one thing that I really liked. While overdue, it finally was able to ground this story more firmly in the fantastical world of Pokemon rather than a generic world.
I could certainly add more Pokémon stuff, seeing as I haven’t crossposted the edits yet.
So, good work! I enjoyed myself despite the heavy subject matter. I think, between how short the chapters are and the fact that you managed to get me all the way to the end of what's currently published without stopping, that's got to mean something. I'll be keeping an eye on this one as more parts get published, see what's in store for our Wallace...
Oh good! I engaged my reader! I accomplished my goal!!!
I don't think I remember a sense of length for how long this story will go, but if I had to guess, we're looking at (unless new plot elements are suddenly introduced) a story that will clock in at somewhere between 15 and 20 chapters, perhaps? At its current pace. The first emotional climax has been hit, but I can see a second one incoming with a clash between Megalos and Wallace's friends... and then perhaps Megalos and Wallace himself. Now that would be spicy.
Spicy stuff for sure. And yeah, 15-20 chapters is a good estimate.
Until then, though, good luck, and thanks for the read!
Thank you for the review! Take care.
 
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ShiniGojira

Multiversal Extraordinaire
Location
Stranded In The Gaps between Multiverses
Pronouns
He/him/they/her?
Partners
  1. custom/zorua-gojira
Hi again, Torchic! Since I said I was gonna check this out so here I am! With a review on the first 3 chapters and my thoughts on things to boot!

Gonna be a little honest here, I was mostly gonna read this fic as a little guide to help in writing my own fic ('cause my god, my first world is so damn depressing) but I do like how this story was written so I'm definitely gonna check the rest of the story later on, probably tomorrow at the earliest. ('cause I think I need a little break from all this angst)

Anyway, onto the review!

So we start off with some background from Wallace, about how he was a rather short kid that had been bullied because of his height. Then we learned that his problems started when he went through puberty. The sudden growth spurt, the stress of school and his family's constant berating (minus his sister) made him into a mentally unstable man that has too much problems and a too kind heart.

Then adulthood came and the problems just keep piling on and on until his body couldn't handle the abuse anymore.

Which is where Nicole and his friends come in.

Nicole is a great sister with a kind heart who seems to want to help Wallace but she doesn't want to pry and that is a flaw that could've killed Wallace and sent Nicole down a depressing spiral.

It was only with the introduction of Steven Stone and Winona, does it seem like Wallace could be fixed.

And they seem to be the catalyst that will get Wallace the help he needs.

So off the bat, Steven Stone is a great guy. A little confused on his position in the league though since it seems like this 'Kurogane' guy is the champion (what happened to May or Brendan?). But he takes notice of Wallace's wellbeing first and is gonna try his best to help Wallace in whatever way he can.

Winona's the closest to him in terms of relationships as it seems like she's the one that takes him home and help him clean up, she's gonna provide a lot of help for Wallace whether he likes it or not.

Anyway, here's some line-by-line thoughts:

His Hinodego name,
Hinodego? What's that? An in-universe language?

It was just one of the many things people would tease him for.
Yikes, bullies are the worst.

He felt awkward, he felt weird, he felt confused.
Puberty can do that to ya.

Wallace had spent a whole hour making sure his Milotic looked her best (her scales shimmered like a lake, and her Blue Scarf was tied into a perfect bow),
Fabulous Milotic! Absolutely Fabulous!

If he wasn’t perfect, how would he succeed
The goal to perfection is nothing but an illusion. No one can be perfect and you should never try to reach perfection because it is simply impossible.
it wasn't Megalos coming to scold him for taking part in such a "feminine" sport.
This Megalos guy sounds like a total dick.
Her simple makeup was perfect. Her posture was perfect. Why couldn't he be perfect?
Because it's your own perception of perfect, Wallace. She probably thinks she isn't perfect either.

You just gotta accept that you'll never be perfect and move on. You can certainly to be almost perfect but you can never be truly perfect.
That's how pretty much everyone else in his family viewed him.
Jeez, sounds like a horrible family. (Let's just hope it's what Wallace thinks they think and not that they actually think like this)

"Sick again? Weren't you just sick with a cough a few days ago, Mikró Mikouri?"

"You're so slow, Mikró Mikouri! You can't even keep up with us!"

"Why did Mayor Megalos choose you? You're nothing special, Mikró Mikouri."
Holy crap, never mind. Burned all of that hope like they've burned Wallace's confidence. They're horrible.
What if I step onto the stage and spill my guts out on it?” Wallace mumbled.
Aw, don't worry about it, Wallace. You'll do great, it's just the anxiety speaking, don't let them affect your life.
Wallace motioned his hand back towards himself.

“How do I look?”

Nicole’s eyes darted towards the counter. She picked up the beret and put it on Wallace.

“Beautiful.”
Nicole is such a great sister. She's supportive, loving and overall a great girl. (You could even say she's best girl)
Kurogane Cockburn
This name is great. A fun little way to take a short break from the angst with such a ridiculous name.
But he couldn’t avoid every meal, and every time he had to eat beyond his restrictions, he felt like he was dying. He felt like he had failed his parents and Sootopolis City, that the gods would punish him for failing to be disciplined, perfect.

But it wasn't so bad, right?
Perfection is a journey no one can complete, Wallace dear. You have to accept that you're not perfect and strive to be better.
"Come on, Wallace."

"I look stupid in hats, Nicole."

"No you don't."
The short self-deprecating exchange gives us quite a lovely amount of info about how he looks at himself.
Everyone around you is better. Everyone around you is in control.
That's the biggest lie I've ever heard.
Come one, Victoria,” he said monotonously.
Is it supposed to be 'come one'? 'cause it feels like it's supposed to be' come on' with the given context.
“Wallace, are you feeling well?”

“Of course I am.” His tone didn’t change. “I’m feeling wonderful.”
You're not fine. Seek help, damn it.
You’re too weak to have control. You don’t have control.
Not to talk too much about myself here, but I have a villainous character that took this 'Not in control' thing to the extreme so it's a pleasant surprise for me to see it used a bit differently here.
You’re safe with Winona and Steven. You’re safe with them.
Safety in numbers. Safety in friends. Your anxiety is like lumber and it's time for them to meet their end.
“Nonsense,” Steven replied. “It’s like the Orbeatles song: you get by with a little help from your friends.”

“Gonna try with a little help from your friends,” Winona added.
Greatest friends ever! It's good to see them so supportive even if Wallace tries desperately to not 'bother' them with his problems.
Wallace gave her a small smile. “It’s ‘I get high with a little help from my friends’ first.”
Another fun line that breaks the choking air of angst. It's good to see you using breaks so well.
"Wallace, Wallace, Wallace, it's okay. It's okay. You're not feeling well. A dress is replaceable; you're not."
Again. An amazing friend that has a great way with words that makes Wallace feel a bit better after experiecing such dread.
”Wallace, your health will always be infinitely more important than a date. Now come on. Let’s get you a nice bath, and then let’s get you comfy and cozy in bed.”
Winona is so great here. Supportive, loving and observant, all great traits to have in an amazing character.
Winona didn't let Wallace use the cape as a blanket. Instead, she wrapped him up in a blanket and Aurora's fluffy wings as Winona cuddled her. The pressure, the warmth, the comfort... he managed to sleep for once.
Cute. Wallace deserves some rest after what he's been through.

So this was great. I think the first three chapters have a good amount of angst and short breaks are great to refresh the readers for what's to come.

Would love to read more. Take care!
 

Just a Torchic

~ Utterly glorious ~
Location
Sootopolis City
Pronouns
she/they/he?
Partners
  1. torchic
  2. custom/torchic-blue
A bit late to my response, but hello! Hope you're well.
Gonna be a little honest here, I was mostly gonna read this fic as a little guide to help in writing my own fic ('cause my god, my first world is so damn depressing) but I do like how this story was written so I'm definitely gonna check the rest of the story later on, probably tomorrow at the earliest. ('cause I think I need a little break from all this angst)
using my fic as a guide to angst? gee friend, that means a lot to me.
So we start off with some background from Wallace, about how he was a rather short kid that had been bullied because of his height. Then we learned that his problems started when he went through puberty.
The sudden growth spurt, the stress of school and his family's constant berating (minus his sister) made him into a mentally unstable man that has too much problems and a too kind heart.
Then adulthood came and the problems just keep piling on and on until his body couldn't handle the abuse anymore.
Ohoho there’s so much stress in poor Wallace’s life.

So off the bat, Steven Stone is a great guy. A little confused on his position in the league though since it seems like this 'Kurogane' guy is the champion (what happened to May or Brendan?). But he takes notice of Wallace's wellbeing first and is gonna try his best to help Wallace in whatever way he can.
Kurogane is the chairman. Think Chairman Rose in the Galar region. Steven is Champion at this point.
Winona's the closest to him in terms of relationships as it seems like she's the one that takes him home and help him clean up, she's gonna provide a lot of help for Wallace whether he likes it or not.
Hehehe
Hinodego? What's that? An in-universe language?
PokéJapanese
Yikes, bullies are the worst.
Ikr
Puberty can do that to ya.
Ahhhhh
The goal to perfection is nothing but an illusion. No one can be perfect and you should never try to reach perfection because it is simply impossible.
God I wish I could take that to heart
This Megalos guy sounds like a total dick.
Ohoho
Jeez, sounds like a horrible family. (Let's just hope it's what Wallace thinks they think and not that they actually think like this)
Holy crap, never mind. Burned all of that hope like they've burned Wallace's confidence. They're horrible.
Haha I love the whiplash
This name is great. A fun little way to take a short break from the angst with such a ridiculous name.
You know what's even better? His nickname: Kuso Cock.
Is it supposed to be 'come one'? 'cause it feels like it's supposed to be' come on' with the given context.
Oh shoot. Fixed that. Thank you.
You're not fine. Seek help, damn it.
Eh, just give him a few chapters.
Not to talk too much about myself here, but I have a villainous character that took this 'Not in control' thing to the extreme so it's a pleasant surprise for me to see it used a bit differently here.
Hell yeah
Safety in numbers. Safety in friends. Your anxiety is like lumber and it's time for them to meet their end.
Burn anxiety!
Another fun line that breaks the choking air of angst. It's good to see you using breaks so well.
(:
Winona is so great here. Supportive, loving and observant, all great traits to have in an amazing character.
Yeeeeeee
Cute. Wallace deserves some rest after what he's been through.
Give him slep
So this was great. I think the first three chapters have a good amount of angst and short breaks are great to refresh the readers for what's to come.

Would love to read more. Take care!
Take care!
 

ShiniGojira

Multiversal Extraordinaire
Location
Stranded In The Gaps between Multiverses
Pronouns
He/him/they/her?
Partners
  1. custom/zorua-gojira
Hi there, Torchic! Hope your day's a good one! I was originally gonna review this yesterday but I caught an unexpected bug and couldn't muster up any energy to read or write so...

Here I am instead! (Also, a quick side note. Holy crap is Chapter 4 to 6 getting dark and desperate, jeez)

Man, these 3 chapters are reminding me about some old and horrible memories, so many of Wallace's problems here made me relate on some levels. (Don't worry, it's not your fault. I'm fine. And unlike Wallace, I'm actually fine, please don't blame yourself for this.)

Anyway, onto the review!

Chapter 4 begins with Wallace burning himself and his sister checking in on him. Again, while she's a good girl that respects Wallace and gives him some space. She doesn't realise that her actions are making Wallace feel even worse rather than actually helping him. She tries but it's not enough so she thinks that sending Lisia, Wallace's niece would be a good idea. It kinda works but one hug isn't gonna remove all that stress no matter what. Wallace contemplates suicide, and from how his thoughts are laid out, it seems like it wasn't the first time he did this.

Chapter 5 isn't a direct continuation of chapter 4, but rather it's implied to be a few days later and now Wallace has to compete in a swimming contest despite how malnourished and self-destructive he's been. We get some thoughts on a bit of his childhood and how he was an outcast. Steven shows up and notices Wallace's body. (Is this implying that Steven also has these self-destructive problems?)

Wallace nearly dies after winning, and his anxiety made him think that his coach's removing him because he was useless and garbage. (Which is the complete opposite, man. He just wants you to be healthy, Wallace)

Come chapter 6 and oh boy, you made Megalos such a perfect unlikeable guy that deserves to be put in his place. (Like damn, props on making him so unlikable)

Hope Wallace recovers from the abuse this man gave him 'cause damn, he really deserves a break after what happened.

I'm gonna make a guess and say that Megalos is gonna be behind bars (or at the very least, fired) by the end of the story. (Either that or Wallace is gonna show him what's for)

Anyway, here's some line-by-line thoughts (probably what you've been waiting for):
The water stung like the time Wallace had gotten his Spheal to use Sheer Cold on him.
Why? Why would you do that? (Is this hinting at him having suicidal thoughts?)
He had to bit back
Typo here 'Bite'
The next thing he knew, Wallace felt Nicole wrapping her arms around him.
Yes, give him the love he deserve. Give him comfort, Nicole.
Damn it, it hair was a mess.
'It hair'? I'm assuming this is supposed to be 'his hair'?
Things would be better off if you were dead.
Oh god, I was right.
There was a soft knock at the door.

“Uncle Wall?”

“Lisia?”

The door opened, and a little girl walked into the room.
Oh no, I hope Wallace doesn't snap at her. Let's hope she somehow fixes this broken man with her niece charms.

Wallace wrapped his arms around Lisia, holding her in a tight embrace as he leaned against the headboard. Lisia hugged him back.
Aw~
Wallace could feel the happiness radiating from her, but not even that could lift his spirits.
Awww, no. That's not good.
No. No. Even if Wallace did end up taking his own life, Lisia—no, nobody—could know it was a suicide. It would have to look like an accident. It would have to—

Victoria was staring at him. Shit, could she sense his negative thoughts?

Was he really contemplating suicide?
Oh boy... oh boy...
While he wasn’t into hyper-masculinity and was glad he leaned away from it, he hated how awkward he looked.
An experience about being an outcast, I know that feeling.
He was already five minutes late to the meet.
'Meeting' maybe? I mean, it's probably just me nitpicking.
He thought about cutting his legs again. He thought about slamming his head against the lockers. He thought about—
Holy, holy crap. This is getting extremely dark.
Everything was a blur, a blur of lights, flashes, cheers, and then screams.
Fainting spells after exhausting himself. Let's hope the doctors tell him what he needs to do.
Megalos's verbal power matched his physical power. Through tone or emotional appeal, he could make Wallace do whatever was needed: attend parties until four in the morning running on nothing but caffeine pills or other stimulants, skip Contests so he could takes on Gym challengers, date 30 year old women when he was 16... sure, Wallace sometimes resisted: he chose who he gave his heart to, he chose what he wore, he chose what he did and didn't eat. But if Wallace tried to fly too close to the sun, Megalos could easily strike him down and send him plummeting into the ocean.
Holy Jeez. That's... that's... wow, Megalos' a goddamn asshole.
Megalos slammed a fist on his desk, sending the pencils on it shaking to the floor. "Stop being a lazy smartass with me, Wallace!"
Man, I wanna hit him.
See what happens when you try to stand up for yourself, bitch? Stop it. Just smile and nod. That's all you're good for. Smiling and nodding and being pretty and perfect. You can drown out your inner sorrows later
Just smile and nod. This is not a good mindset. You should stand up for yourself if someone's doing things you're uncomfortable with. It doesn't matter what the 'consequences' they're planning for you are, they can't get that done when behind bars.

Standing up for yourself is not a bad thing and you should talk to someone about your problems if someone's making you uncomfortable. (Obviously there's always a good and bad timing for when you stand up to yourself, my younger self can attest to that when I fought back against my bullies) But know that, it's never a bad idea to stand up for yourself.
Ren Mizutani
Misty? (I'm assuming it's Misty since I know Mizu means Water)
His inner self and desires and well being didn’t matter.
You matter. Everyone matters. You may feel bad or like everything's going horrible for you and you feel like you're worthless and horrible compare to other people. You feel like you're a waste of space on this planet.

But that's not the truth, everyone matters. You matter. If you love what you're doing, if your accomplishments mean a lot to you, know that it means you matter. You shouldn't compare yourself to others, you should only work on yourself, take advice from others if you can or if you want. Work on yourself, relax, enjoy life as you want.

Know that You matter.
So what if Megalos yelled at him? So what if Megalos sometimes got physical with him? So what if Megalos basically encouraged old, rich socialites to flirt with Wallace, touch him, try to coerce him into having sex with them despite his protests...
This ended on such a dark note, holy crap.

So yeah, another great 3 chapter binge. I'm gonna see if I can get all of them down by this week.

Take care!
 
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