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EVERYONE: Nori Carino: A Marvelous Encounter?

System Error

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Forced on a vacation, the young Pokemon Rehabiliator Nori Carino has a battle with a fellow trainer north of Mahogany Town. Yet both him and his opponent have things they don't want the other knowing...

This is a birthday gift and one-shot to my best friend @Juliko . The story behind this fic is, Nori Carino actually has his origins in an alternate history take on her fic - Pokemon: A Marvelous Journey, a retelling of Gold and Silver with original characters. Called A Marvelous Journey Awry and created with input from her, it was inspired by someone's anonymous comment on the Red Gyarados arc and how it "should've" gone...and how wrong it could've gone if it did go that way.

Enjoying writing Nori was what led to his series. While their universes are and should be separate aside from shoutouts/references/inspirations/counterparts/characters potentially still existing there, and MarAwry is non-canon to both, there's one event that could've still happened - the opening scene. This explores my expanded take on it. Prior experience with either fic isn't necessary here.

##########

A thirteen-year-old boy was wandering through the forests of Route 44. It was a mild autumn afternoon, though he felt warm enough to be wearing brown cargo shorts and a loose-fitting white shirt with a leaf-textured vest over top. He had ear-length hair the color of a chestnut, and eyes that people often described as like apples or cherries.

He was grumbling to himself all the while, a question stuck on his mind. Why was he here?

His name was Nori Carino, and he was the world's first and presently only Pokemon Rehabilitator. His job was to take problem Pokemon that treatment facilities refused to touch and tone them down, or at least give them a place to belong. He'd been implicitly told he had the right personality and mindset for it, although nobody ever clarified. It had all started with the infamous Demon of Veilstone City, which had earned him the moniker ‘the Demon Tamer.’ The psychotic Nidorina was closer to the males of its subspecies in appearance, and was even worse in temperament. Yet he befriended her regardless, and had rehabilitated one more Pokemon since then.

So why was he here? He knew the answer, and it was still dumb. He was on mandatory vacation, as all officials were expected to take. As much as he would've liked to have a week off to sit back and spend time with his friends, or if not that travel to Sunyshore where he had trained, he couldn't do so. Instead, he had been forced to go out of region - the guy he reported into said the Officials wanted their agents to be well-traveled. He picked Johto somewhat arbitrarily. His flight was near Ecruteak, but that city turned out boring, so he bussed over here.

Nori was something of a mild celebrity, but thankfully, his appearance tended to defy people's expectations. Still, some people recognized him anyway, and he occasionally needed to get away from the crazier ones. Hence being in the wilderness.

As he was walking, he instinctively came to an abrupt pause. There was a commotion nearby. He looked about, trying to discern its direction. Keeping one hand in his pocket where he kept his Poke Balls, he followed the noises to their source.

As he stepped into a clearing, he spotted a long-beaked brown bird and a bee with two sharp spikes on its hands essentially swordfighting. Meanwhile, a bell-shaped plant Pokemon was relentlessly assaulting a bipedal blue and red crocodile with Vine Whip while trying to avoid its freezing bites.

Nori momentarily thought he'd walked in on a double battle, but there was only one person in the clearing besides himself. It was a girl close to his age with blonde hair with light brown streaks, light blue eyes, and skin that seemed tanned from travel. The slim teen wore tight jeans with a hole in the right knee and an even tighter tank top. She was developing, and probably wanted to show it off.

The Weepinbell looked up at Nori as he stepped a little closer. That was all the hesitation it took for the Feraligatr's jaws to strike true. The starter Pokemon recoiled, quickly checking on its now-unconscious ally.

"You idiot!" the girl cursed the Grass type out, drawing the attention of the sparring Fearow and Beedrill. "What were you–" At this, she turned to face Nori. "Oh," she spat.

"Um, sorry, am I interrupting?" Nori asked.

"Yes, you are." The teenage girl glanced back at her Pokemon, shaking her head as she recalled the Weepinbell. "Lord, this is going nowhere."

Nori adjusted his bangs. "Training your Pokemon out here by yourself?"

"Yes," she snarked, glaring at him in a way that screamed she just wanted to be left alone.

"I can understand," he said with a nod. "Sometimes you just want to get away from the morons."

She slightly chuckled. "Totally," she agreed, turning away yet relaxing her shoulders. Not the response he was expecting.

"Going for the Pokemon League?" he asked, chancing a bit more conversation.

The girl nodded. "I got six badges. I'm training for my seventh." She shook her head in disgust at her nervous Pokemon. "And some of these...guys aren't making any progress."

"Well, they got you this far, didn't they?" he stated. He'd run into a couple people who were strict with their Pokemon, and only expected the best out of them. She was likely one of those types.

In response to this, the girl grumbled and fired another glare at him. Maybe it was better to not press this subject.

"Well, I could help you train," he propositioned, without even thinking about it. It took him a moment how stupid it was to suggest that when she wanted him gone. "Um, if you want, that is."

"You mean like a battle?" she snidely asked.

"I guess, just a casual one." As in, nothing on the line like some traveling trainers like to do. The boy shrugged. "I've done a lot of solo training myself, but nothing beats practical experience." Nori's eyes awkwardly darted away, and he fidgeted with his bangs. "Though I uh, only have two right now. So maybe a one-on-one?"

The girl was aghast. "What kind of idiot doesn't have a full team of Pokemon by now?!"

"Someone being forced to travel whose Pachirisu is sick and had to be left at home," was his impassive reply. That was the worst part about this, and he didn't hide his irritation. The stupid morons were inflexible about when he had to go, and having a friend looking after Pachi only eased matters slightly.

"Okay, sure. I get it," she said, although her tone was something between dismissive and begrudging. "One-on-one's perfect."

He nodded. Okay, he was not expecting to challenge someone to a battle while he was out here. At least his Pokemon would enjoy it. And, much as he was indifferent to it, he'd probably like it better than stupid sightseeing anyway. "Do you want to go double blind, or...?" He trailed off.

"Beedrill, get in there! You need more training!" she barked. "The rest of you, get back in your balls." She recalled the Feraligatr and Fearow to their balls. The girl fumbled around in her bag, muttering to herself as she searched for a potion of some kind.

"Okay," said Nori. "I'll use the one of mine that needs training too." That and he didn't want to use the Demon. If this girl didn't know he was Nori Carino, he preferred to keep it that way for now. He retrieved the ball from his pocket. "Bet you've never seen one of these before!"

He gave the ball a toss, and a black and red creature burst forth. Beady yellow eyes peered out from under a bladed helmet with a chip on the front edge. Its hands were sharp needle-like claws, and four additional spikes protruded from its torso. Nori was still trying to think of a potential nickname. The Pokemon didn't like Pawny, so for now its name was its species name, Pawniard. Capitalized as such, as always for a proper noun and name.

"Hold on, what?!" And this caught the girl's attention. She fumbled around in her bag, reaching for a book labeled The Pokemon of Japan. She flipped through some pages. Eventually coming up blank, she scrutinized Nori and asked, "Are you from another country?"

"Er, no? I'm from Sinnoh."

She shook her head. "Whatever."

It suddenly occurred to Nori, he'd gotten this far without even asking this girl's name, or giving his in return. Oops? As he was going to do so, his opponent decided to kick the battle off right there.

"Fly up, Beedrill!" the girl ordered. As it did so, Nori cringed. He knew how to handle surface-to-air battles. Yet it was very Pokemon dependent. He hoped that she wasn't just going to leave the bee up there this whole time.

"Wait, wait!" he told his Pokemon, just as he was getting ready to counter it. That move would be useful, but it took effort to execute, and he didn't want to pull it out just yet.

"Now String Shot!"

Oh. Well if it was just that, easy as pie. "Run beneath."

His Pokemon was getting ready to slice - Pawniard was kind of a slice and stab-happy Pokemon. But Nori wasn't sure how cutting a sticky stream of web would go. Reluctantly, the Pokemon moved as instructed with arms trailing behind, and sure enough, the Beedrill couldn't hit.

His opponent growled. "Dive bomb it with Rage!"

Rage? What was that attack again...? Wait! The one where if you counterattack, the Pokemon gets madder and stronger!

"Wait a sec," he tried to warn his Pokemon, but Pawniard was having none of it. As the bug swooped down and struck, Pawniard hit with Metal Claw of his own volition. The opposing Pokemon shook as it was knocked away, pumping itself up in blind anger.

The girl snickered to herself, smiling like a killer in a slasher flick. "Rage again, Beedrill!"

Nori huffed. Thankfully, he had a counter. "Torment, Pawniard."

And that changed everything. The girl's face dropped when she heard the name of the move. The black and red Pokemon made some cruel gestures while mouthing off. The Beedrill cringed, unable to execute the attack.

"Are you serious?!" she complained.

Nori put a hand on his hip. "Handy move, isn't it?" Niche moves always shined whenever you found the time to use them.

"Oh my lord." She shook her head in irritation. "Whatever. Electroweb, Beedrill!"

A strange choice coming off the physical power boost, but one Nori welcomed. "Slash the web," the boy confidently asked of his Pokemon.

This, his Pokemon could get behind, and in fact was already getting into a stance to do so. With one perfectly timed slice of his claws, Pawniard cleaved the net Beedrill launched from its arm stingers and backside in half...getting shocked anyway.

Nori cringed as his Pokemon yelped in surprise. Not his best counterplay. Their opponent laughed.

"Idiot. Now Twinneedle, Beedrill!"

It thankfully hadn't slowed his Pokemon, so Nori was able to command, "Back and Slash."

"Look out for that and get behind!"

One, two. The Beedrill jabbed left and stabbed right. Pawniard evaded each with a step backwards, lunging with a swipe after. Beedrill was quicker than expected, and only got nicked as it quickly flew out of range.

"Electroweb again!"

They'd learned their lesson this time. Nori didn't even have to tell Pawniard to dodge, the bladed creature did it intuitively. Their opponent was starting to get more than a little annoyed.

"Beedrill, X-Scissor!"

"Meet it with Slash."

The bee swooped in, ready to strike with its two hand stingers in a cross formation. Only for Pawniard to parry the blow with one arm. A clang echoed through the clearing as the Pokemon's blades slammed together.

"Don't let yourself be beaten here!" the Beedrill's trainer yelled through gritted teeth. Her forceful urging prompted her Pokemon to put more effort into it. Its wings beat furiously as it attempted to overpower Pawniard.

Nori was concerned for a moment, but his own Pokemon was holding strong. He confidently huffed on seeing this. Their opponent may have been trying to end this quickly, but they weren't going down easily.

He gave a simple command. "Push." Pawniard not only did so, but jumped towards the Beedrill in the process.

"Look out!" the girl screamed. Her Beedrill heard and regained its bearings just in time to avoid the follow up Slash. She grasped at her hair.

"Pretty good," he complimented. Genuinely. This was actually kind of fun...

"More than you know!" came the retort, as if she had been insulted. "Beedrill, Double Team!"

At once, innumerable copies of the insect appeared. It was like an entire swarm had descended on the clearing. Of course, all but one of them were illusions. Which was real?

"Hold," warned the boy, raising a palm as Pawniard was looking to just start chopping. That was usually a quick way to be ambushed from behind. The red and black Pokemon slammed his blades into the ground in frustration. Nori's mentor had taught him the perfect way to counter this move. He just needed to watch their motions very closely...

"Crush it with X-Scissor!"

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw it. One of them raising its stingers a fraction of the second before the rest. "There it is!" he pointed and shouted. His Pokemon instantly ran off, but he had something else in mind. "Psycho Cut!"

Keeping his beady gaze trained on his prey while ignoring all the others swooping down, Pawniard began to slice the air. Pinkish-purple waves were produced by these motions. They completely caught the Beedrill off-guard. The fake swarm dissipated as its creator's form was ravaged by psionic blades.

"How!?" the girl screamed, as her Pokemon was left grounded and twitching after that vicious attack. "Come on! Get up!" she demanded.

To the surprise of Nori and his Pawniard, it managed to dig a stinger into the ground. Nori raised a hand, and his Pokemon waited. However, with a sinister smirk at the other trainer, he began sharpening his claws against each other. The intent was clear.

Her anger gave way to a despaired plea. "Beedrill, please!" she begged. This seemed to inspirit her Pokemon. Its antennae twitched. It managed to force itself into the air, defiantly flapping his wings. The teen cheered. "Yes!"

Nori nodded in approval, adjusting his bangs. "You Beedrill must really like you to want to keep going." A strong bond between trainer and Pokemon could make all the difference in battle, as he'd learned.

The girl rolled her eyes at that, as if somehow doubting that notion. "Anyway, if we let ourselves be beaten by some random, we don't have a hope of achieving our dream!"

Although calling him a random was meant as an insult, Nori couldn't help but smile at it. It reaffirmed, she didn't recognize him. And, it meant there were fewer expectations of him in case he lost...

"Aerial Ace, now!"

Gaining a second wind, Beedrill burst towards Pawniard. The bladed Pokemon was caught off-guard by the sheer vigor behind this, getting struck right in the face. He instinctively lashed out with Night Slash, not only completely whiffing, but getting his blades wedged in the ground for a second.

The girl pounced on the opportunity. "Hit from behind with Twinneedle!"

"Um, flip over?"

Pawniard could've pulled free, but this would accomplish that and getting him out of harm's way in one motion. Beedrill missed the first blow. Nori's Pokemon twisted in midair and grazed the insect with a Slash, only for the second spike to shove him onto his back.

"Now let's wrap this up!" The girl glared and pointed with her fist. "String Shot!"

Just like at the start of the battle, Beedrill fired a sticky string from its backside. But this time, Pawniard instinctively sliced at it in midst of standing up. Yet the webbing kept coming, coating Pawniard's entire body.

Despite how bad this was for his winning prospects, Nori still snickered. "Did you mean to pun there?" he playfully asked. "Wrap this up, wrap?"

"Tch. No!" the teen screamed. "Finish this joker off! FELL STINGER!"

As the Beedrill floated up ominously, the spike on its backside jutted out further. It briefly gleamed in the light filtering in from the canopy. Nori had mere seconds to figure out what to do before it came diving in.

His words were quick and instinctive. "Pawniard, Feint Attack!"

They definitely couldn't dodge this, and probably couldn't endure it with the attack boost. That goop limited their options. So the only way out was straight forward!

The Pawniard nodded and got ready just as Beedrill came bombing in. Would this work, Nori wondered? If his Pokemon could get it off, it WOULD hit! But would it be enough?

Right before Beedrill landed, a flash of darkness surrounded the two Pokemon. Pawniard's form flickered, and in that moment, an outline in the shape of his body lashed out and swatted Beedrill in the abdomen. There was a screeching buzz of pain as it fell prone, right in front of Pawniard!

"Son of a–!"

"Iron Head."

Pawniard violently fell forward, driving the blade on his helmet into the writhing Beedrill. The bug Pokemon made one final attempt to get up, only for its strength to give out. As it lay still, Pawniard gave it an irritated kick for good measure.

"Ugh!" the girl growled in frustration, stamping a foot. "You pathetic weak Pokemon. You're lucky this wasn't for any money!"

Nori winced. "S-Sorry..." To him, it never felt good when his opponent took a loss hard. Except when he had reason to hate that opponent, but that wasn't the case here.

She glared up at him after recalling her Pokemon. "For what?" she seethed. "Winning?"

The boy paused, slapping his forehead. "I guess when you put it like that, it does sound dumb." He laughed at himself and shrugged, nodding at Pawniard as he recalled the bladed critter. "But I don't think your Beedrill's weak. You were limited by type, but either one of us could've won that. It came down to that last move."

One thing was clear from this. Pawniard may have calmed down a lot, but still needed a lot of training. He had his own initiative as Nori liked, yet the Dark and Steel type also had the habit of making poor decisions. Nori pondered visiting Mynwest Court more often to get the battle-happy Pokemon more practice.

The girl sneered. She seemed moments away from snapping at him again, though her expression eventually faded. She looked down and sighed, shaking her head. "Stupid..." he could hear her mutter.

"Losing sucks, I know. Had way too many of those myself." It especially sucked to lose to someone you hated. He warmly nodded at her, giving reassurance. "But you're not a bad trainer at all." Maybe she was harsh, but he could see her talent.

The girl was equal parts dumbfounded, happy, and annoyed. She sputtered for several seconds before replying. "Question," she slowly asked. "How many badges do you have?"

He ruffled his hair. "Um, technically one?" When he said technically, he meant it. It was more of a joke on the behalf of the Poison-type Gym Leader of Veilstone."Not really into the whole Gym thing, but I beat a Leader in an official battle before."

His opponent nearly collapsed, burying her face in her palms. "Oh my lanta. I lost to some random with one badge."

Nori lowered his head. As far as she was aware, yes, he was this random person passing by. But what the heck. "I'm not some random. I was trained by the best Gym Leader in Sinnoh." He clarified this to help cheer her up. "My name's Nori," he introduced, better late than never.

The teen slowly looked up, staring at him curiously. For a moment, Nori wondered if something clicked. At this point, it wouldn't have mattered to him if it did. Her expression didn't waver, and she eventually said, "I'm Amara." After a second, she added. "...Amara Ramsey."

"Nice to meet you." He smiled. The two trainers studied each other, albeit awkwardly.

Nori surmised that Amara had to have been traveling for several months now. Alone, which Nori could understand - better that than your traveling companions becoming bitter rivals at the League. Given the hole in her jeans, she either liked it, didn't care, or didn't have the money. The thing that stood out most was her face. Between some of her acne was rough skin, as though she'd been through a lot. She might...actually have a cute smile? Nori thought, to his own surprise? But she was scowling.

In fact, she had been scowling basically the whole time. Not necessarily at him, but in general. Was she an unhappy person, maybe even angry most of the time? He could only speculate, and wasn't going to dig.

Amara hadn't said anything, and appeared to be getting impatient. The boy decided to break the ice with some casual venting. "Man, I hate this stupid vacation I didn't even want to go on. Hey, want to go back to Mahogany and hang out for a bit?" He blinked, rubbing his neck. "Er, if that's fine with you?"

"I can't!" she tersely snapped. "I'm...busy. I have other things to do, I mean!"

"Oh." That was disappointing, but it was what it was. "Well, I know you're going to win those last two badges, no problem."

Amara sighed. "Thanks, I guess," she said, expression and tone softening for the first time. And with this, she made to leave the clearing. When she reached the edge of it, she added one final word without looking back. "Bye."

"Bye, Amara!" he waved as she disappeared into the trees. "Good luck on your dream!"

Once she was gone, Nori let his disappointment out. So much for that. He was hoping to find someone cool to hang out with for his week here instead of going wherever on his own. And Amara seemed cool.

She definitely had a story of her own. Was she in a hurry for some reason? Or, was she trying to hide something? Thinking back to his officials' training and how he was taught to read body language, something did seem off about how she was acting. Like she just wanted to get this over with without being suspicious. Maybe she just wanted to get back to her own training as soon as possible, or was developing a secret technique for beating someone? Or was she hiding from people, like he was?

Not that it would've bothered him if she was hiding anything. Who or what a person was never mattered to him, as long as they were good people at heart. Moreso if they could be friends! He could tell that Amara wasn't a bad person, deep down inside. Besides, snitches get stitches. And who knows, if she did have a serious problem, maybe he could've helped?

There was no sense dwelling on it at this point, though. All he could do was silently wish her the best in her goal and head back to Mahogany Town to continue this stupid sightseeing vacation he'd been forced into.

##########

Amara stormed through the woods, only wanting to get as far away from that situation as possible. She was royally pissed off.

Who was that, and why did he have to be so stupidly nice? He even apologized for beating her like some dork! More than once she had to hold herself from exploding at him. Come to think of it, he actually seemed familiar, but Amara couldn't place it. Either way, she did get the feeling he didn't want her knowing who he was. Just like she didn't want him knowing who she was, though probably not for the same reasons. Maybe he was some celebrity trying to get away from his fans. But she was Amara Parisa. A blacklisted trainer on a journey in memory of her deceased friend.

Life on the run had not been easy. Along the way, she racked up lord knows how many more crimes to her name. Amara had changed so much, mentally and physically, naturally and by choice. Sometimes, the sight of her own reflection was surreal or even terrifying. Food and shelter had been a serious concern, not to mention having to always be alert for cops or narcs. She was alone, and the whole world felt against her. Some Gym Leaders were calling her out, her own stupid sister and parents wanted her arrested, she even met two of her former friends the other day, who claimed she made everything about herself.

Amara sighed. It must be confessed, there was a part of her that desperately wanted to take Nori up on his offer. Friendship was something she had been sorely missing these past six months. She hated Pokemon, and few people would give her the time of day for obvious reasons. But he was all right. He was nice, but not a goody two-shoes about it like her sister was. She'd even lashed out at her Pokemon on impulse, and he didn't lecture or insult her about it! He didn't even care about some of the insults that slipped out at him!

She did wonder something. This Nori was a good enough trainer, who might've been able to help her get stronger. And he treated her like a person, instead of a criminal or customer! It was pleasant. And way better than those so-called friends of hers! Even if they might've had some points about how she was acting. For a fleeting moment she wondered. If she was nicer, would more people treat her like this Nori did?

But no, that was the stupidest thing she'd thought in the past few days. They absolutely wouldn't. None of that mattered. Not like she could've been friends with that Nori, anyway. And she couldn't chance him knowing who she really was. He'd probably get mad and report her like all the rest anyway. If he wasn't lying about himself or had ulterior motives. Or both.

All she needed was to get to the Pokemon League and win. For Chanel's sake.

##########

The idea behind this fic was twofold. One, for it to potentially fit both universes - particularly something in-line with Amara's character development at that point. But more than that, this was my take on Amara herself. A sort of character analysis, if you will.

While MarAwry opened in midst of this battle, it got interrupted. This fic sees how it could've started and what might've happened if it finished. It is moreover a what-if scenario that Amara rejected because of her own stubbornness and thinking the whole world is out to get her, sometimes wrongly or assumptively. A lot of her troubles stem from her own self-destructive behavior, but at least part of it was not getting the friendship and support she needed. This wasn't negligence on anyone's part, but the right person not being there for her at the right time. Nori might've been able to be that person - non-judgmental, willing and able to help, and (though I never thought of this at the time of MarAwry) had a couple comparable experiences to her. He was breaking through to her, but ultimately, Amara turned away out of angst and paranoia. She's sadly her own worst enemy. However, as Nori got the sense, just like a couple others in MarJour itself (including seemingly the Legendary Gerbils) - she was never bad at heart.
 
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Juliko

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Oooh, now this was interesting! The battle scene between Amara and Nori was very well written! It felt like I was watching a battle from the anime series. Plus, I think you managed to capture Amara's character down pat, with her being bossy and mean and often times having conflicting ideas of what she wants out of people. You're right in that a lot of Amara's problems in-story were caused by not only her own self-destructive behavior, but also rejecting potential offers for redemption or friendship, even if those people could have helped her in the long run. Teenagers don't always make the right decisions, and they don't have the hindsight and maturity that adults, or even other people outside their experiences or collective mindsets, do. I also like that Nori tried to give her tips on battling and was nice to her even though she lost to him. This was a great little fic you wrote! Thanks so much for writing this for me! *hug*
 

System Error

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Really glad you enjoyed this. :D

I also like that Nori tried to give her tips on battling and was nice to her even though she lost to him.
It was more like encouragement than anything. But, positive encouragement can mean even more than that.

Plus, I think you managed to capture Amara's character down pat, with her being bossy and mean and often times having conflicting ideas of what she wants out of people.
I was half-tempted to write her thoughts in the MarJour style anyway. Probably would've made her seem borderline tsun at times.

You're right in that a lot of Amara's problems in-story were caused by not only her own self-destructive behavior, but also rejecting potential offers for redemption or friendship, even if those people could have helped her in the long run.
Okay, so the short version of this since it was part of my interpretation. The idea here was that just like people grieve in different ways, they also need help in different ways. As much help as Amara was offered and pushed away, it wasn't the right type of help for her. She needed someone who understood, was loyal, and wouldn't give up helping her heal. Like sort of a manic pixie type, or at least someone who could cry with her. Someone in her life who could help bring it back to as normal as it could be. A morality pet. Unfortunately, by the time those people were there (Marie in official canon, Nori here), she was already too far gone. It took something that literally shook her world to break out of it.
 
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