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Pokémon Under a Bed of Clover

Starlight Aurate

Just a fallen star
Location
Route 123
Partner
mightyena
Hello everyone! This is a one-shot I made for a Kanto-themed contest way back when on another forum. It sat around for a few years but I finally got around to editing it and putting it out. It was inspired by events in my own life and eventually morphed into a storyline that a lot of fans have theorized from RBY (you'll probably guess as soon as you read it).

I hope you enjoy!


Under a Bed of Clover


The grass swayed beneath the gentle breeze that softly kissed his cheeks. He stared down at the slate-grey headstone, hands in his pockets, hunched slightly forward. Little shamrocks sprouted around the stone and formed a springy bed.

He told himself that he would be fine. After all, Raticate had been gone for three years. He had long since accepted that fact—he had moved on, had broken out of the shell and started acting normal again. People stopped giving him pitying glances and stopped trying to speak in soothing voices all the time. Not that he missed it—more than anything, he hated the pity. He knew they were trying to help, but all they were doing was bringing back all the hurt and pain and left him feeling more upset than he was to begin with.

He sniffled.

It took a few months, but people gradually forgot about it and treated him like they always had—until the Tower was converted. Once the announcement that the place of Raticate’s grave, Pokemon Tower, was to be converted into a radio tower was made, people came up to him and asked him what he thought or how he felt. Some people grew angry, saying how unfair Lavender Town’s city council was acting and that they had no respect for the families of those who had passed away.

But he knew it wasn’t whole-hearted. Even though people appeared indignant before him, he heard others excitedly talking about how it would make internet service so much better and help the town grow.

Closing his eyes, he grimaced at the thought. While he had not talked about it to anyone, he was furious at hearing that Raticate’s body would be dug up, carried away, and re-buried in a new house near the entrance to Lavender Town. He saw plans for the small house while it was still in the developing stage and looked at the plot of land it was to be built on. It was far too small. Pokemon Tower held thousands of graves—there was no way that they would all fit into that tiny plot of land. And they couldn’t dig under the earth to make catacombs, since Lavender Town was so close to the harbor. They would hit water.

He remembered his family vacationing at Lavender Town’s harbor as he grew up. He would bathe in the sun with Raticate sitting on his lap; he and his sister often raced along the shoreline while their Pokemon trailed along behind them. There were so many happy memories—it was the perfect place for Raticate to be laid to rest.

He remembered seeing news of the Pokemon Tower conversion in the Celadon Sentinel and hearing people excitedly chat about it. Both in reviews from the newspaper and his classmates’ voices, people were excited that the town would no longer be known for just the Tower; that the “spooky, grim atmosphere pervading the town” would be replaced with something to symbolize the advancement of society.

“Lavender Town will finally be rid of the stigma of being known for its dead. It would advance and catch up with the rest of Kanto and join the new world as it accelerated into the digital age.”

He figured that same paper was still lying trampled in the mud he left it in. Nothing had ever made his face burn so much as seeing those written words in that paper, in seeing the smiling mayor’s face proudly proclaim the changes coming to the city. All it did for him was confirm that the world held no value for what was no longer alive.

In the end, the city council’s decision was unanimous. Pokemon Tower was gone by the end of the month.

It was too much. As soon as the announcement was made, he vouched to take Raticate’s body back and bury him elsewhere. He figured that the only way to accommodate so many bodies in such a small space would be mass cremation, and he refused to allow that to happen to his best friend.

He glanced up. The branches of the maple trees hung low, their browning leaves blocking out much of the sunlight. The rocky slopes rose steeply up not too far in the distance, and the tall grass moved back-and-forth with the wind. He closed his eyes. Raticate would have loved it here. When he looked into the depths of the trees, he could easily imagine his friend sniffing at the trees’ roots or else scampering about playfully.

The area reminded him of a place just outside Rock Tunnel where he used to play with Raticate all the time—even more when he was a little Rattata. The trees were difficult for his seven-year-old self to climb, but Rattata loved to play hide-and-seek, probably because he could always sniff out his owner in under a minute. Even when they were tired, they could just lie down together beneath the branches of the trees, Rattata’s warm weight pressing down on his stomach.

He smiled at the memory, and with the smile came more pain. He looked up, trying to prevent the tears from falling.

It didn’t work.

They welled up until his lids couldn’t hold anymore and soon they were running down his cheeks. Wiping them away, he sniffed and tried to regain his composure. Raticate had been gone for three years—it was time to get over it and move on.

He stopped wiping his face and let out a choked sob.

“Why did you die?”

No answer came from the grave, but he already knew the answer in his heart.

Maybe that was why he never felt that Raticate was “taken” from him; he never felt angry at whatever gods might be out there for removing the Pokemon from his happy life. Raticate chose to die—because he wanted others to live.

He scrunched his eyes shut as his heart panged. The breeze blew again, chillier this time. Pulling his jacket in tighter around him, the scene played out before his eyes.

“Keep at it, Raticate!” he shouted as the Pokemon rapidly dug holes, diving in and out of the dirt as if it was water. “I want you to dig so fast that I can’t see you!”

Raticate emerged from the hole and stopped moving. His ears stood straight up and his nose twitched. He chittered—there was something very large nearby, and several people too. It sounded like they were fighting.

“Fighting? Like in a Pokemon battle? Maybe there are trainers around here we can challenge! You could use more fighting experience.”

Raticate cocked his head. It sounded different from usual Pokemon battles. Several different people shouted and something was crying out. It sounded distressed!

“Hmm, maybe we should get out of here—I don’t want to get caught up in someone else’s mess.”

Raticate’s ears twitched and he chittered again. The sounds were growing louder—and at this point, his owner could hear them too. It was a loud, sort of barking sound, and thundering footprints—

Raticate lunged at his owner and tackled him to the ground as an Arcanine burst through the tall grass. Several patches of its fur were singed, exposing torn-up skin. It howled as a long, metal dart plunged into its hind leg. A group of men and women clad in black ran up to it, each of them holding a long metal baton. The men and women started beating the Fire-type with their batons, and the Arcanine howled again as electric currents ran through the batons and into its body.

A woman turned around and saw Raticate crouched on top of his owner.

“Hey!” she shouted. “What are you doing here? This is a Team Rocket-only zone! You can’t watch!”

Her baton sparked with electricity.

His heart clenched. He pushed Raticate off of him and struggled to his feet. Raticate was trying to get around him—he shoved and kicked the Pokemon away—

“Raticate, get out of here! We need to—AHHH!

The baton only touched his arm for a second, but that second lasted forever. Electricity surged through his body, burning every single vein, seizing his heart, contracting all of his muscles. He had no control over his body. He fell to the ground and screamed—it was all he could do.

The electric surge stopped and he lay on the ground gasping. He looked over—and he wished he had been hit with the baton again.

Raticate lunged at the grunt who shocked him, biting and scratching her face. When she screamed, many of her teammates came over and all of them hit Raticate with their shock batons.

Raticate’s screams were horrible.

He struggled to his feet, his eyes locked on his Pokemon as his body lit up from the multiple shock weapons. His muscles barely worked—but they had to—he needed to get Raticate out of there—

With the Rocket grunts distracted, the Arcanine fought off the others and released several bursts of flame. Some Team Rocket members screamed as flames enveloped them; others were trampled underfoot; still others fell victim to the Arcanine’s fangs.

Every single Team Rocket member was focused on the Fire-type. Raticate lay on the ground, burned, forgotten. His owner scooped him up—they needed to get to a Pokemon Center. Once they reached it and the Chanseys looked after him, Raticate would be all right.

The journey to the Pokemon Center took so long—he didn’t know how much time it took, but the entire time, his heart pounded with anxiety. The acrid smell of Raticate’s singed fur filled his nostrils. His head pounded. His heart raced. His chest hurt so badly that he just wanted to stop—but he kept going—he had to—or else…

Once he got to the Pokemon Center, he handed Raticate to the nurse and sat down on a chair in the lobby.

That wait was even worse. He stared at the burn mark on his arm from the grunt’s shock baton. It had been so painful. And Raticate had taken so many of them…

He knew he should call his family. But he didn’t want to talk to anyone until the nurse came back with Raticate. He didn’t want to be told that he was arrogant, reckless, or irresponsible.

He just wanted Raticate to be okay.

“Excuse me. You’re the Raticate’s owner, aren’t you?”

He looked up at the nurse standing before him.

He nodded.

“Will you come with me, please? I have an update on your Pokemon.”

He followed the nurse through the lobby into a small room on the side.

“Sit down, please.”

He took a seat. She did likewise. He stared at her. She gazed at him kindly.

“Your Raticate didn’t make it.”

He stared.

He went numb.

He didn’t make it.

He was gone.

The reality that Raticate, who had been around for as long as he could remember and whom he had expected to be with for the rest of his life, was gone hit him.

He scrunched his eyes up. Tears fell. More tears fell. They fell quickly. His throat closed. His chest convulsed.

Raticate couldn’t be gone—he had lived through so much. He used to play with Squirtle in the pond behind their family’s house. He fought so many battles—against wild Nidoran and Pidgeys, against other trainers’ Charmanders and Pikachus. Raticate never gave up. His older sister would sit on their family’s living room couch and groom Rattata while softly singing to him. His parents would let Rattata climb into bed with him. They would pet him while reading the morning newspaper. They gave him food at every meal. They took him to vacation with them across Kanto.

On his tenth birthday, when he received his Pokemon Trainer’s license and set out to take on the Pokemon League challenge, Rattata was with him. He welcomed new Pokemon to the team. He fought alongside them. And when the journey of being a Pokemon trainer wore on him and was too much for him to bare, Raticate would come out of his Pokeball and always snuggle with his trainer. Raticate taught him that the effort it took to raise Pokemon was worth it.

And he was gone.

The autumn sun cast long, slanted shadows across the face of the tombstone. Fresh tears fell down his cheeks. He could still hear Raticate’s screams as multiple grunts shocked him with their weapons. He would rather have been hit with a shock baton again—he would rather have been hit with all of their shock batons, as Raticate was, because that couldn’t have been as painful as this. If he was electrocuted instead, then Raticate would still be alive…

He coughed.

After Raticate passed, people asked him how he felt. Was he angry? Did he want revenge? Sure he did—at first. But the anger didn’t last. He never went after Team Rocket. Raticate didn’t die because he wanted to destroy a group of criminals; he died so that his owner could live. Hunting down Team Rocket and getting himself into more trouble would be a poor way to repay his Pokemon.

Though people tried to be nice to him, their words and sympathy only hurt him more. Every time they said, “I’m sorry,” all he could hear was, “He’s dead.” People told him that he should be grateful, that he should be proud that his friend was brave enough to put the lives of others before his own. And he was proud—but the pride and gratitude could not hold a candle to the overwhelming sorrow and emptiness that filled his heart for years.

He sighed. Though the words of others failed, the presence of those who loved him brought comfort. His older sister would sit with him on the couch, her arms wrapped around him as he sobbed into her shoulder late at night. His parents were there for him—overwhelmingly thankful that he was alive and mostly unhurt. His family was truly sorry that Raticate was gone. They never brought it up to him. They were there for him, letting him cry out his heartbreak and pain until his throat had gone hoarse and his eyes ran dry.

The last of the sun’s rays cast dappled shadows over the shamrocks sprouting before the tombstone. He raised his eyes and saw the orange disc sinking behind the craggy mountains and knew it was time to head home. The sight was beautiful—it was wonderful, but also painful. His heart was full, but he was so empty inside. He smiled; he was grateful to see such amazing views, and he was joyful—but there was suffering in his joy.

He shook his head. People told him there would come a day when everything made sense and he could finally joke about Raticate—about ten years after the incident had gone. As it was, everything was too fresh to sit all right.

He looked down at the grave.

“I’ll see you again soon.”

With the last of the fading sunlight, he trotted through the trees onto the worn footpath, leaving Raticate under a bed of clover.
 

kintsugi

golden scars
Pronouns
she/her/hers
Partner
silvally-grass
Hi! I stumbled upon this because the title reminded me of a running joke some friends and I have, and this was a lot of fun! Well, not like, fun, but I'm super-here for portrayals of people working through loss and grief in a fanfic lens. I liked how you laid out unnamed rival's (Blue? Gary?) thoughts here, his wrestling with the feeling of being pitied, the pressure to put things up and Get Over It, all wrapped up in a world that's clearly moving on. I think the idea of having Lavender Town choosing to dig up the gravesites is a really clever way of contrasting this huge, life-altering event for Rival and Raticate with mundane things like board hearings and better internet connection -- grief can be alienating, and it can often feel like no one else really Understands what you do.

I also like how this doesn't end with an immediate catharsis or anything. Rival will come back, and think more things, and slowly learn to heal. It's a long process and there isn't a magic scene that will make everything right for him. I thought that was realistic as well, and in general I liked how you handled the gambit of emotions that he feels thinking through all of these things.

Not that he missed it—more than anything, he hated the pity. He knew they were trying to help, but all they were doing was bringing back all the hurt and pain and left him feeling more upset than he was to begin with.
I think the hating of attempts to comfort was a really interesting angle and it came up a lot from these faceless strangers -- people who don't really seem to know Rival and aren't helping, even though they mean well. At the end you talk about how he cries with his family, how they're there for him, and I find myself wishing that there was some focus on that as well. For the most part this is a very lonely story for Rival -- he's alone at the grave, Raticate is gone, and also no one in the entire world can offer him the comfort that he needs -- so I wonder if having maybe one person who can understand his situation and help him come to a more positive place would help a lot. I found myself wanting to know more about what Daisy told him on that couch, how his parents brought him comfort when these other people failed, maybe how the rest of Rival's pokemon feel about losing a teammate and a friend as well. You do a really good job of sketching the internal monologues that get Rival to this point, but I think it needs something to give me a more concrete idea of the external forces that help him get here as well.

Even though people appeared indignant before him, he heard others excitedly talking about how it would make internet service so much better and help the town grow.
Again, I really liked this idea as a driving factor/cause for the story! The world moves on and often, unintentionally, forces us to come to grips with things before we really want to, to dig up things that we thought we'd buried. And I don't necessarily think anyone is wrong or right here, but I can definitely empathize with the conflict that it causes for everyone. I really thought this helped bring your story together.

He remembered seeing news of the Pokemon Tower conversion in the Celadon Sentinel and hearing people excitedly chat about it. Both in reviews from the newspaper and his classmates’ voices, people were excited that the town would no longer be known for just the Tower; that the “spooky, grim atmosphere pervading the town” would be replaced with something to symbolize the advancement of society.

“Lavender Town will finally be rid of the stigma of being known for its dead. It would advance and catch up with the rest of Kanto and join the new world as it accelerated into the digital age.”
I think the "Lavender Town will finally be rid of the stigma [...]" line could be italicized or something. At first I didn't realize that this wasn't dialogue that was happening in the moment, and I thought there was a new character or Rival was saying something out loud -- but I think it's supposed to be a newspaper review?

"stigma of being known for its dead", oof, nice job driving home the conflict here

He smiled at the memory, and with the smile came more pain. He looked up, trying to prevent the tears from falling.

It didn’t work.
To me this line felt too forced, too sad. The single-sentence paragraph, the smile, the pain, the tears falling -- these are all images that work very well but I think need to be used a bit more sparingly. You sketch out the emotional conflict in broad strokes around the story, and I felt like lines like this were almost too ham-fisted -- I was already very invested in Rival by the time I got here, so these lines feel like overkill -- Evanescence when you want something a bit softer, I think.

“Hmm, maybe we should get out of here—I don’t want to get caught up in someone else’s mess.”
Wow! Not the line I expected from the protagonist at all, but I like how you made this Raticate's choice, not Rival's.

A group of men and women clad in black ran up to it, each of them holding a long metal baton. The men and women started beating the Fire-type with their batons, and the Arcanine howled again as electric currents ran through the batons and into its body.
Oof. Brutal. I find myself wishing I had a better metric for how pokemon battles normally go -- if this is worse than being hit by a Thunderbolt, if maybe Rival can recognize this as being particularly more brutal somehow. I've always found it interesting how people have a visceral reaction to reading about scenes like this, but if we replaced the shock-batons with Pikachu it sort of becomes the anime.

“Your Raticate didn’t make it.”
This feels a bit terse for a nurse -- both vets and doctors/nurses receive extensive training about how to break the news of a dead loved one to a family. Even something like "He tuned out the rest of her words" or something would help convey that she's trying to offer him more comfort, but he can't hear it, and would also start our boy strong on the train of getting offered comfort that falls on deaf ears!

Raticate couldn’t be gone—he had lived through so much. He used to play with Squirtle in the pond behind their family’s house. He fought so many battles—against wild Nidoran and Pidgeys, against other trainers’ Charmanders and Pikachus. Raticate never gave up. His older sister would sit on their family’s living room couch and groom Rattata while softly singing to him. His parents would let Rattata climb into bed with him. They would pet him while reading the morning newspaper. They gave him food at every meal. They took him to vacation with them across Kanto.
I really liked this bit and it helped me nail down the one thing I wish we got more of -- I wanted a better feel for Raticate as a character. Not just how Rival sees them and what they can do for Rival, but just a general sense of who Raticate is. A lot of these contributions are about how Raticate is useful/provides things for Rival -- he fights, he's good for pets, he's good for comfort -- I don't really get the feeling of him as a character. Does he sometimes get over-aggressive when asking for pets? Does he have a favorite snack that he'll go out of his way to get? Did evolving from a Rattata make him more confident, or did he get bigger and clumsier? The traits that you list out for Raticate are things I think any Raticate could really do (something that I think ends up being highlighted by his lack of name)-- but Rival isn't mourning just any raticate, he's mourning Raticate. But to sell us on that grief I think you need to sell us more on Raticate, the character, and who he is outside of what he does for Rival.

To me the most powerful glimpse into Raticate's character is when he willingly chooses to investigate the screaming Arcanine because he feels bad for someone in pain. Even though Rival, who is arguably safer in this situation, still feels the need to run. That to me was probably the most emotionally compelling part of the story, and I think this bit would help from having a more personalized understanding of Raticate in his quieter, non-heroic moments as well. He died saving someone but what did he live for, you know? Both of those things are who he was.

After Raticate passed, people asked him how he felt. Was he angry? Did he want revenge? Sure he did—at first. But the anger didn’t last. He never went after Team Rocket. Raticate didn’t die because he wanted to destroy a group of criminals; he died so that his owner could live. Hunting down Team Rocket and getting himself into more trouble would be a poor way to repay his Pokemon.
I thought this was interesting too -- punitive justice is bad, but bad people should be prevented from harming anyone else. It's a harsh dichotomy and sometimes we aren't ready to shoulder that burden, though. Is this in the same canon where Player takes on that responsibility instead? Does Rival have thoughts about it?

With the last of the fading sunlight, he trotted through the trees onto the worn footpath, leaving Raticate under a bed of clover.
"Trotted" feels a bit too casual and rushed for me -- it evokes feelings of a light jog, happiness, in a slight but eager hurry to get somewhere else -- which I don't quite thing was the emotion you wanted here.
 
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