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    Default kid a (ah)

    Spoiler:

    this is a boku no hero academia crossover and also a huge shout out to the coup <3

    Kid A is a reference to one of my fav albums of all time! It's about the creation of the perfect human, at least in some interviews?? and is another reference to "1-A," the classroom that our kids of BNHA belong in. The top of the top, the "hero" class taught partially by "All-Might," who's in here as Pantheon (she's female here)

    pokesouls are a parallel for "quirks" or / superpowers that 80% of the people in bnha-canon verse are born with! the concept of heroes is very important!

    and our main character here <3 is face claimed by Hitoshi Shinsou, who's the brainwasher but is uhh, inverted here you'll see ; also this has mean language

    HAVE FUN PLS

    Cash attempt
    ~52k!


    chapter one: birth in reverse


    Her womb’s the scattering of failed equations sailing across the desk. There’s an answer in a prayer here somewhere, somehow for this woman who’s been given the task of playing God. She’s done it once and can’t stop. The fate of her girl rests on her hands. Because the boy’s life will be measured in money, she doesn’t feel so bad about slicing off certain factors: serotonin and oxytocin, and ten other compositions and compounds that make heart and human soul. There’s simply not enough room for all that if they want to add in omniscience. Her deadline crawls closer by the second; a stark reminder cries out to her in the room next door.

    Human engineering started off with a pure purpose. Cure my child of this terminal illness, see that my child makes it to at least one-hundred years old. 1,000 years of miracle engineering found humanity switching out mercy for the makings of war. She wonders now if the two states were ever distinct.

    Now there’s a feral staring right back at her. Glass eyes shatter her insides on sight; vaguely feline ears twitch, as if catching onto her every word though the cryogenics reports that the thing’s in deep sleep. The body is a mass of white sludge, hardened to the touch, impervious to the effects of ice water keeping it in place. Sunken shoulders and chest of the eight foot beast heave in and out occasionally. The tail surprises her the most, a trunk of an appendage that curls across exposed waist. Fear.

    But for those eyes, the Thing could be an overgrown house cat. That’s the only thought she can hang onto that makes any semblance of this situation okay.

    “Fuck!” she roars as coffee spills across the documents. It’s more like embryonic fluid gushing forth, because then something changes in the cradle of the cry next door.

    “Mommy?” A word like a bell’s discord rings out. The woman turns immediately, stressful shimmer of sweat coating her as she faces her daughter. The two-year-old, holding onto the steel pillar for support with tiny hands, awaits on bow-legs. Huge eyes framed by a chestnut bob cut water in distress; dimples disappear in the pudge of her cheeks.

    “Petra,” she murmurs, voice broken. She scoops the child into her arms, nuzzling the baby with her oversized sweater against her chest. Legs swing precariously off her waist, one shoe of the baby missing. “Mommy’s sorry. Mommy didn’t mean to use that word.”

    Petra clutches onto her mother’s back, other hand reaching out towards the desk.

    “Brother,” she murmurs ever so softly. Brown eyes stare at the slew of papers as if she sees sinews, DNA strands intermingled with the portraits of everything the one named Pétoire will be.

    Her mother’s eyes narrow in response. The woman takes quick steps away from the desk, regretful that Petra managed to break out of the day care facilities yet again. Yet the woman will not blame her; for every day of her life, Petra has demonstrated the exemplary ability to summon a different Pokemon’s ability through her own body. She is the codex; she will be the compass for beating the ferals to their bitter ends. Her brother will be her protector, made from her DNA to emulate her perfection but something feels wrong…

    “Mom.” The woman’s set on pushing on through, yet something in the toddler’s tone makes her stop. The word is distanced, a million miles away and going farther based off the look in her daughter’s eyes.

    Gaze is set on the mewtwo. The one suffering forever away in cryogenic sleep. Mom. Petra’s lips upturn slightly; the dimples reappear, shining light upon the young sprout.

    Her mother presses the back of her daughter’s head further into her collarbone and makes it out of the room as quickly as possible.

    When she finally returns, alone, to that dark, dark place, she decides to make one more tinker in the equation. The cry from next door haunts her. The cry from a baby’s body smooshed into an airbag. It should save his life, but with the way this is going, he’ll keep crashing and crashing again. She can only keep him suspended on life’s cusp for so long.

    Heartbeat accelerates for every hour that gets away from her. Her heart is counting down like she feels the world will detonate with the unholy birth. She struggles to push him out, breaking the barrier of hippocratic oath and human limitation. The surgeons are a set of monitors surrounding her, imputing her functions, molding life under their brilliant bright lights. Everything she does here has a direct effect on the boy’s life. Yet ironically his life controls her very future.

    Oh, what mothers sacrifice for their children.

    Then finally her labor comes to an end.

    Blood pressure and oxygen level stabilize upon the screens. Suddenly, a team of Enforcers are summoned. In a flurry of activity, the room fills with women and men of outstanding authority; seizing both of her forearms, they lead her to the room next door. Running off of three hours of sleep, this seems like the worst part of her nightmare to come. She floats with their influence, blown away and into the fate of her own life. In the frenzy, she misses the heartbeat of her baby finally showing up onto the screen.

    Simultaneously, the eyes of the mewtwo burst open.

    The entire team barges into the room. The nursery’s hallway is made for one person to walk through at a time, titanium steel sides resisting the most ruthless of escapes. The mother walks slowly, hearing her feet thud against the steel from somewhere outside of herself. The actual room is suspended in five tons of concrete on all sides. The further down the hallway they go, the deeper they get into the underground chambers, closer towards Pétoire‘s grave.

    Her son is buried there, under two more security panels and vault-style doors. His cry is a scream of survival. Little organism left here, all on his lonesome, over the course of two years. Twenty-four months and two birthdays were spent entirely in cold lonely darkness. One project turned into a pound of flesh. Then that multiplied by five, grew tiny toes and fingers that curled gently in a capsule. Then consciousness emerged to assemble something befitting of “brother”.

    Petra wanted a twin. The overarching council wanted a god.

    She never wanted a son.

    A boy rises out of a black tub. Something like blood coats him, slowing his movement as life sets lungs on fire. His brain’s finally fully operational. He knows this about himself at two years old, knows he’s been locked away here. He arises into life, knowing he was left to die. Enforcers scream something in their language. He knows what a protocol is and has the vague sense that he too should follow protocol.

    That baby stands on two feet, harsh scream strangling his own vocal chords. A shock of indigo hair, craned spine, Knowing periwinkle eyes, every ounce of him soaked in that sticky red substance slowing his movements. Ah, right. She did this because she knew his mind would move too fast, it’s making sense, he somehow knows this -

    “Petruccelli,” he pronounces in perfect articulation. He is naked; he is perfect in form; and he just referred to his mother by her first name. Speaking is better than screaming. Yet he’d rather not speak at all. It feels needless. He just learned that a name is a referent to someone. Yet she already had his attention. Effort is wasted. A few trillion synapses rewire information in his mind, registering what this means. A precocious husk of annoyance haunts his face.

    “Pétoire,” she barely breathes out his name, immense dread climbing up her spine. The ring of Enforcers move towards the tiny boy, yet he neither flinches nor steps back. They are monsters to him, three times his size, staring at him in overwhelming threat. He assesses his chance of survival against these people. Yet being escorted out of this room would be his first priority, a task he knows will be accomplished should he just follow protocol.

    Pétoire turns towards his left, face shooting upwards. It is a human mistake. A moment of mercy unfolding for the immortal whose brain is evolving beyond his control.

    This is not protocol.

    He can hear something - the faint breathing of a soul he immensely misses though he can’t place why. A small hand shoots up to the back of his neck, pressed over a pipe jutting outwards.

    “Mother,” he calls, looking upwards.

    His hands are held the next moment, his whole tiny body pushed to the ground. Pétoire does not struggle. Petruccelli’s memories bombard him, as do those of the people pressing him. He sees himself from their eyes, this naked, terrifying monster of thirty-two inches. He feels ashamed.

    His umbilical cord runs from the back of his neck to notch #L5 on his spine. They chop it off, and he descends into a dreamless oblivion.

    ///

    “You can be a hero.”

    Pantheon stands before them all, the Symbol of might in face of overwhelming challenge. There are twenty five-year-olds squirming about in chairs, staring with bright eyes up at the woman speaking to them. At seven-feet-tall, she commands attention instantly, hands on her hips and a blonde widow’s peak framing eyes like booming stars.

    “Young heroes, you live in a time of immense change. Living creatures don’t mean to hurt other people, but sometimes the worst comes to worst and we must learn how to protect everyone with the values you’ll learn here today.”

    Pétoire’s eyes wander outside to watch stars shooting across a vast sky. He can hear Pantheon… sort of. Cloudiness filters through the overwhelming situational awareness like big clots bunched across all his senses. Feeling still seeps through… but he finds that it might be even harder now to focus on any one thing.

    There’s a tap on his desk. Then there’s Petra looking at him hopefully, hand cupped to hold something with a water bottle in the other. The water bottle’s stamped with skitty and purrloin, which he supposes is supposed to help him.

    Right. Medication time.

    Pétoire takes it, just to make his sister smile. He’s not sure if he loves her, he’s not, but he’s seen that typically happy siblings are compliant to one another so he might as well try. Her smile gets wider, puffy cheeks moving mounds upwards on her face, when he takes that tiny pink pill and gushes down some water. No one’s noticed, nor do they really care about this little boy with all his limbs tangled inwardly together at this desk, turtleneck sweater hiding the recent lab marks -

    “What if I don’t want to be a hero, though,” Pétoire says out loud. He’s not sure if the outburst is a side effect of this little pill or if that his actual personality. He’s been taking these medicine since birth, so it may be a two-in-one. More research would have to be done later. But that would require him to be off the suppressants.

    “Young Pétoire! You are made for greatness!” Pantheon extols kindly, cutting across the classroom to put a hand on his shoulder. Pétoire cranes his neck to look all the way up at her; she’s coated in a full-length, sparkly suit filled with stars and stripes that makes his head dizzy. “My boy, just wait to see what you can do! We’ll all need your powers one day, so you stay strong and you keep questioning your values! It’ll make them even stronger!”

    There’s a squeeze of his shoulder. Something within’s reacting to Pantheon’s words, but it’s not oozing of the same enthusiasm as the woman. It means to crush.

    A little bit of that makes it past the psychic wall set by the pills. Something pushes back against Pantheon’s hand, a little like a punch from a kid his size. Get off me. Pantheon’s still smiling her hero smile, but something changes in those eyes, for only the slightest of seconds. Then the young woman takes her hand off, giving Pétoire a thumbs up. “I believe in you, Young Pétoire,” she says with words that don’t connect to him, words framed by these motivational posters that don’t depict what Pétoire knows. They were made to die for this space center.

    “Ungrateful snobshit,” a boy calls from the back, blonde hair hurtling up and out of control all over his head. His eyes are big and mean and he’s got on a Punisher shirt, some relic from a not-forgotten past. He thinks he’s so cool, Pétoire can feel that much from here. “Who doesn’t want to be a hero? With all I can do? You must be lazy as all hell,” the boy taunts. At that moment, he holds his hands up. They crackle with energy unbound, sparks of light booming from his hands. One pops too close to his face, and shock suddenly wipes away his shit-eating grin.

    “Uh huh, glad about all you can do over there, pixie friend,” Pétoire calls back menacingly. Petra kicks at his chair this time from next to him, concern wild over her face.

    “Who ya calling a pixie, purpleass?” the boy, Pierre, screams right back.

    “Young lads, calm down! You’re all friends here!” Pantheon calls over the rising crescendo of students. She stands between their desks now, cutting off eye site from each other, but now the boys are leaning in and out of their chairs wildly, trying to ascertain that the other can see the middle fingers sticking up at them -

    “Victini, the victory pixie,” Pétoire calls back. His voice could almost be the voice of a child. Yet already it’s wearied, knowing, low in tone, moderated. He’s going to say something he shouldn’t really know, he shouldn’t even know the boy’s a victini at all, but there are things that get through the suppressants when he starts feeling this way -

    “I could kill you with a snap of my fingers if I wanted.”

    The classroom goes dead quiet.

    He doesn’t mean it to be malicious. This is a fact he wants to share, that which he knows is true, and the other boy’s reaction is an instant verification of it. Pierre’s flustered, eyes bulging out of his skull, head thrashing with his rage. Pétoire smiles, and he doesn’t mean for it to look evil, not at all, but apparently he’s good at monitoring everyone else’s thoughts and behaviors except for himself.

    “Young Pétoire, a word please,” Pantheon calls. Petra moves to get up too, to be with her brother always, a value she’s internalized - but Pantheon motions for her to stay in her seat. There’s another teacher coming in from next door now, bandages wrapped over his face and neck, to watch over the kids. Pétoire stands and walks, a little of a mechanical right step that hits the ground a bit too hard. Pantheon escorts him out of the class with the big “1-A” sign over its door.

    These hallways are dark. There’s a psychic’s illusion, of afternoon sunshine spilling into the big bay windows lining the hallways, of trees in the background and clouds spreading over the sky. Unfortunately, Pétoire can see through all of this without trying. It’s a bit distorting - truth and lie trying to make one comprehensible image.

    “Young Pétoire, have you been taking your medication?” Pantheon calls as she kneels down to meet the boy. She smells of citrus and saving people from fire and doom.

    “Yes.”

    Pantheon stiffens, a sad smile falling over her face. “I’m going to have to tell your caregivers the serum may have to be strengthened.”

    “Okay.” Right. It’s against protocol to speak the truth. It’s against protocol to have freedom of thought.

    “But Young Son, you’ve asked a great question. You have great powers, Pétoire, and what you do with them is entirely up to your own volition. To be a hero or not… that’s up for you to decide.”

    This is a lie, Pétoire knows, but he’ll keep listening anyway.

    “What you’ll need to learn, Young Pétoire, is what to do when no one expects you to be a hero. Who are you then?”

    His mouth opens then. A hand shoots up to the back of his neck, rubbing over the sewn skin which was once a vestige of whatever is it within him. A cord connecting him to Mother.

    “Thanks Ms. Pantheon,” he states easily. “Can I go play outside?”

    “Yes you can, my boy,” Pantheon replies, this time hugging the boy closer to her. She’s warm and kind, and Pétoire has missed this affection somewhere in his life. “Let’s try again tomorrow Pétoire, to manifest your powers and learn how to use them! Once you start, I bet you won’t want to stop!”

    Pétoire nods meekly, already turning to head outside. He neither wants to start nor stop. He’s suspended somewhere between already, a host of all these psychic abilities he doesn’t want. But once you’ve learned to read people's’ minds, hear their thoughts bubble up ecstatically at you, all their dirty deeds and premonitions, it’s difficult to stop. But Pantheon thinks of loftier things and moral values. It makes Pétoire a bit sick to the stomach.

    The boy wanders outside, hands reaching up to touch the enormous granite and marble pillars. Mon’s School for Gifted Youngsters. It’s a bit of a joke - the far-spanning playgrounds, the shimmery hallways and front steps, the pristine front gates and walls. Blocking them out from who? Protecting them from who? This is policing, he knows already, ‘training’ under the premise of education when he knows it’s because the Space Center just doesn’t know how to put them all to work yet.

    He’s a bit grumpy, sitting at a nearby bench. There’s a technology malfunction that leaves a graceful light post functioning, bathing the artificial sunlight in blue light. Pétoire prefers this light, because it’s more accurate to all that’s outside. Vast nothingness revealing no secrets. No light may ever illuminate it. He rolls his feet out, looking downward to see space centipedes crawling out from under their nest, twenty-seven pairs of legs.

    An aura of concern and affection unwarranted hits him. Ah. Petra, ever the escape artist. For such a talented pokesoul, that’s what she chooses to do most often - run. Pétoire has formed no solid opinion about it yet.

    She says nothing, but there are those big cheeks and watery eyes. He feels neither regret nor remorse, only the warm arms of his twin sister falling over his chest and back.

    “I’m sorry, Pétoire,” she starts. “Mom said the first day could be tough.”

    “You’re not,” he calls back. Again, this is just a fact. “Petra, don’t you feel that this will be a waste of time?”

    “Don’t think that way, Pétoire!” she snaps instantly amidst sniffles. “You and I and all those kids… we need this, we need to be friends too.” She’s completely lost him.

    “For what reasons?”

    “It’s just like Ms. Pantheon said, Pétoire! To become heroes!” Fists curl inwards towards her neck. Eyes plead up at him. Understand, baby brother, please understand. There’s a centipede crawling up her leg, shooting up the skin, and Pétoire should have the sense to flick it off but he almost wants to see what happens if he won’t. A research experiment. Throughout the day, he has so many questions.

    Petra screams when she realizes it, nearly leaps off the bench trying to get the thing off. There’s school guards coming their way now, because one kid ditching class isn’t just good enough. But should Petruccelli's prized gem scream, it’s another story.

    Shrill screaming pounds away at his sense. Pétoire acts without thinking, holds one hand out towards his sister’s leg. Suddenly that centipede explodes, twenty-seven lines of legs falling away from her, insectoid spine curling outwards at an impossible angle. Precious, warm shells of its back pool on Petra’s hands, which rise to her face in shock. She starts trembling.

    “Am I still a hero, Petra?”

    Then Petra runs away, shaking her wrists out at a whiplash speed, never looking back. The hallway guards go to meet her, but not Pétoire, never the freak.

    Pétoire’s curious. Hand reaches out again, reassembling all the parts and pieces, stringing together the spiny legs to make one six-inch beast. He thinks he’s got it all together, exempting the parts Petra has of this thing - and he holds it together, waiting for the bug to start crawling again. He takes his hold off, and all the little legs go tumbling down.

    What a disappointment. What’s the missing piece? The component that brings life into beings? What’s made him?

    “You’re that psychic boy!” a new voice calls out to him. Pétoire hasn’t experimented much with this set of his ability, which is usually locked out thanks to the pills. So he’s a bit flabbergasted to know that he missed the presence of the pink-haired fairy leaning over his bench. She’s got a wild crown of magenta hair, the shade of which is just slightly more vibrant than her skin. Celebi horns sprout upwards from her skull, in contrast to yellow eyes like dusty moons. There’s charm bracelets rattling her wrists as she moves again, pointing one hand at the pile of legs on the ground, another hand on her temple.

    Pétoire watches, mystified. Right before his eyes, he sees the pieces of the bug float through the air, the moment he made the insect implode upon itself, the zooming of shells back to their original place. There’s a squeal in the air, perhaps of the bug itself being brought back to life.

    Then, all too quickly, it finally ends. The centipede shoots away at an insane speed from the duo.

    “I went to run after Petra and I only found you,” she says with a wide smile still. “But I’m a psychic too! I like your abilities!”

    At that, Pétoire smiles. For one second, he feels understood.

    Then Piper goes off to find Petra.

    ///

    There’s three sets of medications he takes. Petruccelli's got him hoisted upon the kitchen counter right at noon, and she’s not happy with him. Yesterday was the first day of school, and he already came home with three warnings for misbehavior. Pantheon told her to increase the serums; her research team agreed. There are many parents now with their paws in his pot.

    This is the one he detests the most. The small pills once an hour he doesn’t mind so much - those make him fuzzy, flip his brain a few times around in his skull. There’s also the ones he takes before bed, the much bigger pills that he’s sure don’t actually break in his stomach, just sit there gathering like river stones in his gut. But those are all small things compared to this one.

    He’d much rather have the pills than the pipes. Petruccelli’s not pleased with him and it shows, because she shoves the pipe into his broken skin without even asking him today. Even when she asks, she doesn’t truly care, she’ll make him do it anyway - but he doesn’t mind adhering to those little human decencies. It makes him feel a tad bit better for what comes to next.

    “Pétoire, I expect you on your best behavior tomorrow.” She’s not looking at him and couldn’t see those sad periwinkle eyes staring back up at her. His eyes shoot downwards, not willing to face her and the big yellow bag with the words “HAZMAT” printed in gigantic font on its front.

    This medication is the Killing, not the Saving. When he looked through her notes, he understood immediately - the thing within generates too much energy, to a point that some of that excess must be starved off lest he himself implode. He didn’t entirely believe the equations and functions - this seems so unnecessary, he’d really much rather channel his energy in his own way to get rid of it - but the woman referring to herself as his mother won’t allow him to do that. The space center’s not ready for him, she says. So it justifies the pipe feeding poison straight to his bloodstream.

    Hiss screams from his mouth, whole back arching as he feels it hitting everything within him simultaneously. She pins down his legs and feet with her hands, and it takes every ounce of self-control within him to not rage in his withering. This will go on for full five minutes - the killing, the blasting of all the colors and thoughts of his world with this insane concentration. If they’ve strengthened it, he can’t really tell, everything’s pushed beyond the boundary of threshold of what hurt a five-year-old should be able to comprehend -

    And when it’s done, he falls into the woman’s arms, entirely spent. She throws his body, knocked into a deep unconscious, onto the living room floor. He is frail and gaunt when this happens, lungs and brain and heart compressed, fighting tenaciously against that which sucked him up to negative 99% percent.

    Petra’s not allowed to see him in this state. She has no idea something terrible happens to him at this time every day since they were three, right after their schooling morning classes - Mom’s set her up to attend ballet classes at this time. She’s having too much fun to want to escape.

    Pétoire’s all sunken cheeks and chest. Body convulses but the woman named Petruccelli is long gone, wheeling the machine and its killing bag away, away where Petra won’t know of its existence. Pétoire sees no need to tell her either.

    That will be his mercy to her. The never knowing.

    When Pétoire rises two hours later, he is filled with animosity. His limbs are chunky and wearied as usual, nothing but the dark bags under his eyes displaying his agony. Even asleep, he feels it all - the burning of all his cells, the crust holding him together crumbling away. So when he rises, head hurting, body cold from this wooden floor, all he can think of is to hate.

    She’s nowhere to be found, the woman named Petruccelli. Pétoire is hungry, but he pushes that urge down far deep. There are adults here somewhere in this laboratory disguising itself as a home - but not now. He knows he’s being monitored but not now, he’ll find sustenance elsewhere.

    A five-year-old donning a dinosaur shirt and shorts heads outside, not bothering to lock the door behind him. The psychic of the space center must feel notably creative today, for now there are pinks and purples blending in with the oranges and reds, swans swimming across the sky’s surface. He almost wishes he didn’t know the truth so he could actually enjoy it.

    Will that be his job one day? Once their aesthetic psychic goes obsolete? Spending all his days and all his energy projecting shitty sunrises and sunsets he doesn’t believe in?

    Pétoire starts into a jog, just willing with all his heart to get away. There’s a smattering of oddly-shaped homes on this street, domes and complexes melding together ceaselessly. Truth be told, he likes the aesthetic. They’re all atypical families, and for once something on the space center doesn’t hide how truly fucked they all are. Pétoire’s running faster, making his way past people walking their dogs and fake fields of green spread over the horizon. There are kids frolicking in those meadows, shooting fake lasers at each other.

    Pétoire has no direction or purpose in sight, but then he reaches a playground fenced in by their neighborhood. It’s an impressive structure for something created within the past five years, all of this space center is - and for a moment, he can try to forget what just happened to him. The jungle gym calls to him, rolling blocks with big numbers stamped upon them, slides and hooks inviting him to the challenge over the soft plushy ground. There’s a tent sprawling over the whole thing, made up of green and yellow fabric. He can see why children of his age would like this.

    Laughter and words hit his sense before he draws too close. He can pull out now, he truly can - because he recognizes the voice of a particular one -

    “Purpleass!” a voice calls out to him as he’s already turned tail to walk. He’s a good five meters away now, a little farther and he’ll be completely out of earshot of the one named Pierre. It’s okay. He’ll find his own playground.

    “Shut up, you bully!” another familiar voice calls. Interest piques him.

    Pétoire turns slowly, only to see the pink onion fairy running his way. “Pétoire! Come play!” she says, but he doesn’t really have a choice, because she’s pushing him towards the group.

    “Hey! I know you! You were in my class yesterday!” a voice shouts at him, belonging to a boy hanging upside down from the jungle gym. Vibrant red hair spills downwards, accentuating eyes the same shade. There’s a pulsating purple heart at the center of his being, a core drawing all the strength of the universe. Pétoire’s definitely interested. Could he go toe-to-toe with that one? What if he dons a different form -

    “I’m Paco!” that boy shouts, unable to hear his thoughts of war. Paco reaches out a hand to shake Pétoire, but then falls off the jungle gym in his folly, only to be caught by a simultaneous growth of fresh ivy.

    “Gotcha!” Petra calls out to Paco, re-positioning the bulbasaur’s ability with a swift tug of her hand. She’s donning a black tutu, crystal tiara holding her hair into a bun at the top. Oh right. Ballet.

    “Pétoire!” she calls next, unable to get out of the swings any faster - and before he can object to it, she’s thrown her arms around him. Holding him close. Petra’s wanted a brother before she understood Mother was only one part of the equation.

    “Yes, you,” Pétoire says back, rubbing her head in what he assumes should be an affectionate gesture. Then Paco’s running up them too, joining the bear hug party because he’s a little dumb and just likes affection - and Piper too, slipping into the embrace before Paco can touch them all -

    Pierre’s wide-eyes and struck with the sight of this as he sits at the top of the slide. He rolls his wrist, ready to summon up his powers and unleash his fury on the group, when suddenly there’s a hand at his back.

    “Try it on me, please!” a precious little boy’s voice calls, belonging to the one with the swirl of green hair and emerald eyes. Pierre hates this kid even more than Pétoire, because his mom’s the teacher of their class, the Pantheon of all gods, and he found out yesterday that he doesn’t stay down for some reason -

    “Patrick, you little shit,” he roars under his breath. But Patrick’s smiling up at him. It’s a genuine question - he got a dosage of Pierre’s abilities and it hurt, but it only took an hour for him to recover from the immense scarring. He wonders if the boy was going at full-pace, if he can dodge all of his moves and what else he may be able to recover from.

    “If he hits you at his full strength right now, it’ll take you two whole days to heal but you’ll be able to do it.” Pétoire’s voice comes from under the pile of all his classmates holding onto him. Patrick whips his head in direction, mouth dropping open in awe.

    “Whoa! How’d you know that,” he asks, but Pierre’s done with the distraction. A blast unhinges from his palms, blown right towards Patrick’s face!

    The boy’s not ready - so he chooses to dodge, and instead Pierre’s onslaught hits one of two steel pillars holding up the slide. Burnt steel smokes through the air, and then the two boys on top lurch forward a bit, because the slide’s gonna fall -

    “Me me me!” Piper chirps, wiggling out of the embrace to hold her hands up. Forehead crinkles as she as she tries to melt the steel poles together; but, unfortunately, she’s struggling to even move one of the poles towards the other one. Hand begins to tremble, sweat beading across her face. Patrick and Pierre are yelling at each other - or rather, Pierre’s yelling at Patrick - and there’s so much noise, no one really notices when Pétoire snaps his fingers together and the steel poles are restored.

    “You did it, Piper!” Petra squeals in delight, throwing an arm over her friend’s shoulder. Piper clucks her tongue.

    “No, that wasn’t me, you guys... “

    “Whoa! Do it again, I missed it,” Paco replies, turning away from looking at nothing in particular in the distance.

    “Paco, listen you dummy!” Piper yells right back, only to meet the wide-eyes of the red-haired boy.

    “Pétoire, fight me!” Pierre screams, leaving Patrick in the dust! Pétoire’s feeling warm from all his classmates huddling around him, and it may be because the other boy bothered to use his name too. Pierre leaps off the slide, landing on all fours, throwing his fists together as he approaches Pétoire.

    “No psychic shit, you asshole,” the tiny boy screams. “Just punch me, like foolish humans do, like Patrick would know how to do.” There’s something like steam emanating from Patrick, which Pétoire resonates with. Immense shame. A human, huh? Pétoire has only met a handful of them in his young existence. They live in a world where 80% of people on the space center have some sort of pokesoul - but that doesn’t diminish Patrick’s power in any way.

    “You’re a psychic too, you jerk,” Piper chides as she crosses her arms.

    “Please don’t fight,” Petra murmurs, tugging her brother’s arm. Pétoire moves out the embrace easily, motioning for her to stand along Patrick’s side. The green-haired one needs the comfort a lot more than he does.

    “Fight fight!” Paco calls out, scrambling upwards on the playset to get a better look at the whole situation.

    “Okay, you’ll punch me,” Pétoire replies with his flat tone. “But then I get to punch you, okay?”

    “What sort of fight is that, dipshit? You don’t tell your enemy your moves until you start!”

    Petra’s in obvious distress, flailing as she holds onto Patrick. His hand moves to cover her eyes, but his own are vibrant, analyzing the situation, perturbed by Petoire’s calm.

    “But if you say so…” Pierre’s all coy. For just one second. Then he launches a fist straight towards Pétoire’s face, imbuing it with a blast from his wrist. Stupid cheater. Cheek bones fracture upon impact; Pétoire sways in place, feeling the bruising from the right side of his face, raw, pain blooming from the impact and the swift, sadistic explosion from Pierre’s hand.

    Petra’s screaming, but a deal is a deal and Pétoire’s still conscious. It takes the five-year-old three seconds to get his shit together, and then he sends his fist sailing towards Pierre’s left.

    No psychic powers, all for Patrick’s sake. He hopes the boy can tell. Though it doesn’t really matter to him if he can or can’t.

    Pierre’s body slams down to the ground, a screaming, wincing blonde puddle that holds a hand up to his face immediately.

    “You… piece of shit!” he manages to murmur-scream, cooning in pain. Piper and Paco are standing back, giggling to themselves, hands over their own lips so the boss doesn’t catch them like this. Patrick’s standing there in awe. Petra’s crying with a childish human heart that somehow hasn’t managed to be tainted like these others’ have.

    Pétoire extends a hand towards Pierre.

    “Fucking piece of shit.”

    He takes his hand, and it’s in that moment Pétoire understands they’re all sort of friends. It’s a mutual relationship, which maybe means he can punch them all he wants and they can punch him back, or something. Friends are a weird concept. But there’s a small sliver of his heart that’s smiling.

    ///

    Friends help each other do crazy things sometimes.

    Seven years later, and this little chunk of 1-A’s creeping across obsidian pathways. Petra’s finessed this whole escape art business, to the point where she can transmute all the particles of five of their bodies into something akin to fairy dust. They swirl in their pretty, sparkling patterns, the chemical composition of pokesouls and humans, until they make it through a sub-atomic space on the other side of the Underground Chambers.

    At age twelve, Petra’s got a good understanding of not necessarily the concepts behind the act, but how to transform their bodies back to one comprehensible, safe and sound form.

    “Fuck,” Pierre spits out, “I’m never ready for that shit.” Voice is a shade deeper, much more controlled now. He’s a sporty kid, arms for hitting, legs for sprinting for the kill. Patrick agrees with him in short huffs, hands on his knees, green hair soaked with sweat. Piper and Petra sway from side to side like the graceful fairies they are, center of their gravity somehow oriented to things like space and time travel. Paco’s the most solidified one, body assembling itself like spacestuff falling back into its natural cradle of orbit.

    It’s a stuffy hallway they’re in, steam spilling outwards from a pipe hanging overhead. This is a space they’re not meant to be in; yet here are five children, clad in robes of black, ready to do the clandestine duty.

    “I take corridors A and B with Paco,” Pétoire commands. “Petra and Pierre C and D, you two on the last ones,” he reminds them all, making eye contact with Piper and Patrick. They nod in return; Pierre rolls his eyes, but there’s reassurance in the reminder.

    They’ve been plotting this for months. Through psychic visions, whispered truths, Patrick’s analytics. At this moment, Pétoire understands that he’s got some good friends. The fear in Patrick’s eyes says all of it. Their standing here is a testament to the weight of sacrifice, the transgression of the space center’s most holy rules, a sure expulsion from school and potential juvenile delinquency time if they’re so caught.

    This was all founded on a bit of Pétoire’s own curiosity. Petra’s support of the question.

    “Go then,” Pétoire says at the same tone. Then the groups of two before them are bounding down doors, one of the pair protecting the other as they take the lead. Camouflaging one another in their odd ways - Paco by transforming his body into a shield, Piper by imbuing haste and stealth into their steps, Pierre by assuming the most reckless stance anyone’s ever known as to protect Petra. So much effort, so much time committed to a single project -

    All for Petra and Pétoire’s sake -

    The search for their Mother One.

    Petra swears she doesn’t remember. But Pétoire digs through her earliest moments, sees the blurred edges of rhombus horns and bulging fingers. But it’s not the sight that matters. It’s what he feels layered under her memories - the emotions of longing.

    It’s taken Pétoire a long time to feel things other than fear and apprehension. He wonders now, bulleting down the darkness, why it took so long to see the joy of others.

    “You have none of your own, man,” comes Paco’s voice, steeped in the rumble of alien energy.

    Pétoire doesn’t need to look his direction to feel the throttling of the core in the other boy’s chest, to see eyes rimmed with blacks and green’s. He’s taken on a new form now: that of Speed, arms and limbs sharpened like crystalline swords. It’s in this form that the Deoxys is most present and the world’s blessed with Paco’s brightest thoughts. He really is quite smart, and the ignorance, Pétoire thinks, is a gift from the space virus within. To protect from the infection of hatred and Knowing.

    “I do,” Pétoire lies. “I have friends.” Not a lie.

    Paco’s playing him back two images in his mind: one of backyards and peaches, another of playgrounds and recesses. Paco’s favorite things, summarized exceptionally well. There’s Pétoire in his memory, smashing peaches into Pierre’s face as the other boy nearly jumps Petra.

    “Y’know, these all bring me joy.” Paco turns the corner, sprinting at a hundred miles a minute of his own volition while Pétoire follows by mere menes of psychic hovering. “I think you feel a little bit of that sometimes!” A pause, then the boy’s mind’s off in some great heights. Pétoire follows his mind’s path into endless labyrinths of sunshine and vaporous bubbles over artificial ponds. Oh shit. There goes the Deoxys again, infecting him with goodness as it does.

    “But you don’t know joy, man. High off life, so high you shut out everything your friend’s making you see and just see the horizon, y’know?”

    His friend, the thing inside him.

    “Right,” Pétoire replies, gently closing the thick drapes of psychic connection laid over the two. A little more of that joy-sunshine nonsense and Pétoire might feel it too. Clever Deoxys.

    He’s sure he’s seen the horizon and hates what it actually looks like.

    There’s a little part of him picking apart those words, hoping there’s something he hasn’t seen or doesn’t know yet but it’s hard when you live with omniscience -

    “I have joy,” Pétoire replies definitively. “There is nothing I lack.”

    No one could tell that twelve-year-old differently. So Pétoire can’t really explain it when he feels something explicitly insignificant break in their plan. He knows something’s off, but then unwarranted panic surges through him. Calling attention to not what’s wrong, but rather what would happen if he were to fail. If he and Petra would never know the truth behind the feral in the glass, all those years ago.

    The other psychic-types don’t possess knowing to Pétoire’s unfathomable state of suffering. If a ball falls somewhere in the underground chambers, Pétoire would know. But he would also know the strength and size of the ball, the resounding clash of the ball as it hit the ground, the distance it traveled to. The image of the ball would zoom upwards, capturing the perpetrator in horrifyingly vivid light. If he zooms in on anything, it’s truly a never-ending echochamber of images and sounds that multiply all upon each other. That’s what the medicine’s for. That’s why the woman taught him to look away.

    The boy stops in his hovering, feet gently falling back to the ground. Paco’s accidentally run ten meters before him, but then the boy slows, big red eyes shining in attention. The subtle sound of water moves overhead, through the pipes, as well as the low hum of monitors surrounding these rooms. Opening one door means discovering the truth about another legendary, just like them. They’re down here somewhere. One-thousand rooms blown open wide, Pétoire knows he could do it if he wanted -

    And he’s tempted. To just see how much he could do.

    Because suddenly, time has run out.

    “Pétoire?” Paco calls gently, reaching an arm over to the boy.

    Truths unravel in his mind, one tiny thread intertwined with one-hundred more beneath it. There are people ten miles overhead, on the surface. Their boots dig into the space center, smelling of sulfur and smoke; then there’s the shout that breaks across Pétoire’s consciousness, a wild bay from a demon unleashed.

    There is fury, there is fear, emotions that are multiplying out of Pétoire’s control to filter them -

    “Plan B!” Paco’s yelling fiercely with his psychic power from somewhere far away. Pétoire’s on the surface with all of them as it begins. He knows it intimately, skin gone cold, apprehension tightening his spine and forcing him to stay in this spot. The sight of men and women slayed instantly, knives gutting the weaklings instantly. The screaming of young children as they sprint on home, only to be caught on their doorsteps. Pétoire’s fists clench; the walls around them shudder -

    Stay ten miles under ground. Avoid Them.

    “Everyone come back, something’s happening,” Paco’s commanding as second-in-charge. His voice is the only indication of life in their space. Pétoire’s eyes are up, leaving him here in this cold loneliness.

    “Petra,” he murmurs, forgetting where he is or who he is. Knowing. Ironically, he’s seeing that horizon that his friend talked about. Soaring into the sun, body incinerated the first second it hits. Seeing something more important than what your friend wants you to see.

    The URPG Space Station’s being forcibly invaded.

    The first hatchet of the chambers cracks open.

    Ironically, his mind’s coasting the highest reaches of ethers unbound and he’s simultaneously got the greatest control over the friend inside him. His brain evolves a mile a minute, comprehending complex wishes and transforming them to soul-switching capabilities. It feels like breaking multiple dimensions with a hammer, slogging through it with his own physical strength and not his psychic capability - because Pétoire would claw his way to get to his sister, to get to his friends before they do -

    to experience that feeling of joy which he can’t -

    “The fuck?!” Pierre yells, because his spine’s being split from his soul. Petra hangs onto him, but recognizes in this energy coursing through her something akin to her own abilities. In the span of a half-second, she’s figured out that Pétoire’s learned what’s taken her years to do. Then they are whisked away, faster than she could ever do herself.

    Patrick and Piper reach the end of their goal posts. They’re waiting for the signal to barge through this door whose steel is set from the top of this ceiling to the very bottom, as wide as their whole class lined head-to-head. This is one of three hot spots Pétoire’s mapped out for the mewtwo, but then there is no call. There is only the swooshing of their bodies far and away. Patrick holds onto her before it happens, swearing to be the shield to the end. He doesn’t know yet that he cannot die.

    When Pétoire comes to, all his friends surround him, faces lost in the darkness. A headache splits his skull and he can’t see when the ground rushes up to meet him - but he’s done it, has summoned all his friends and teleported them simultaneously to safety somewhere in this dark place.

    “Shit Pétoire,” Pierre shouts, voice echoing off gray walls. “Where is this now?”

    “Ssh be nice, he’s hurt,” Petra cries soothingly, rubbing tiny circles into Pétoire’s head. The sensation feels off on his body; and then there’s Piper and Paco’s voices chattering happy words that don’t come together as full sentences in his mind. “Pétoire? Love, can you hear me?” she asks again, throwing off the dark robe to place over his head. The lights are so bright.

    A sideways tub lies on the floor, dried splotches of blood shewn across the ground.

    “If we die down here, no one would know,” Patrick muses suddenly. Everyone’s attention is drawn then, towards this analytical, complex little boy who’s caught scrutinizing the existence of God. It’s difficult when his mother’s the pokesoul of Creation itself. She has no judgement besides that which is hers, she’s repeatedly told Patrick. God can be found in everyone if they chose so.

    Patrick’s hand clutches the wooden cross strung onto his neck as he looks upwards. He loves his mother so much. Terror rips through him, though he cannot understand why.

    “I was born here,” Pétoire supplies, tugging off the makeshift blanket. Pierre’s wide-eyed, and suddenly the tub has new meaning -

    “Turtles, returning to shore.”

    “Pétoire’s making a joke?...” Piper’s about to scream, mouth open wide, Paco throwing up a victory fist!

    “We might die here. The space center’s being taken over.”

    Suddenly, silence falls over the children. Patrick doesn’t flinch; hand tightens the hold over the cross until it splinters his palms and draws his very human blood over the carved emblem. Reminding him of everything he will never be. Reminding him of what it would feel like to not know the truth.

    “N-not a joke?...” Piper asks, knowing that no matter how many times she rewinds this situation, she ultimately cannot change the future. She’s done this a hundred times, has played a joke on Paco to see his beautiful dumb face light up in ecstasy, only to know that the next moment for them would always spell the same old trouble. Yet there is nothing she can do in this present moment to fix the future. To prevent the psychic’s words from materializing. Her brain’s suffering, trying to light a match when she knows they’re drowning steadily, to cold, unseeing depths.

    “Well fuck me,” Pierre spits out as he sits cross-legged on the ground. “Fuck us.” It’s the most important revision he’s ever made in his life.

    “At least we’re together.”

    Petra’s words are both the most revolting and most refreshing thing Pétoire’s ever heard in his existence. So he curls into her touch when she holds him, lets her little fingers that were once centipede-blasted course through his hair. A chin lying over his head, protectively. Safe and sound. So the others gather, waiting in the most impenetrable room, suspended in the center of nothing that spreads for miles outwards. His beginning and ending.

    They wait for hours and hours. Pétoire begins to know, for the first time in his life, what being off the medication feels like. Energy festers within him, breaking his body apart. He vacillates between needing to throw up and wanting to sprint ten times around the earth world. Whatever this is, he’s never felt so good in his life, he breaks his promise of mercy and just tells Petra about what he’s been on -

    And Petra’s whole world contorts in sorrow, knowing finally unleashed onto her, crashing over her in fresh new waves. The problem with Knowing is that it never really stops, because once Pétoire’s said one thing about Petruccelli, he needs to tell darling sister of the increased serums. Of the way she’s brought him into this world, all from his perspective. Pétoire feels eyes crawling over him, chains loosening at his chest, lungs filling with air so he can just tell this story with the most words he’s ever spoken in his life.

    Then Patrick talks about regret, about the devastation of being human when his mom’s a god - and how he knows he’ll never live up to her, regret and shame doubled in big, wide sweeping gestures. Pierre’s about to fire a cannon at his face, because of how stupid he finds Patrick and doubly how stupid he finds himself. Being human was never his curse but rather his strength, Pierre knows this, and the only thing he’s ever had to question has been matters of identity too.

    People are approaching, Pétoire knows, circling the premises in a huge wave. There’s more than ever before. He’s going to let loose in the most insane of ways; and then Petra’s hands, soft, scared, comb over his head.

    “Your thoughts are so loud I can hear them.” Whispers. Time’s going out of control for Pétoire, because he feels like it’s been either a hundred seconds or a hundred days they’ve been down now together, suffering in this little space, sinking deeper into the bloodied sheets of his baby blanket. There is agony among the children for a minute… then all settles in revelation of the current situation.

    For every moment Pétoire lurches forward a slight bit, the children cry in agony; Pierre persuades them all to go back up to the surface and find out what’s happening, only for Patrick to assure him that Pétoire’s never wrong. The group sides with Pierre before slipping over to Pétoire’s side. Then they tell stories and play charades like the children they could have been.

    Piper and Paco tell a story together then, of staying curled on a couch together when the illusionist summoned a summer storm over the space center. A story about aliens and fairies, meeting in the cosmic middleway. Pétoire shouts, laughing and shouting, lost in a messy haze of unraveling true persona. He sees a boy rising from the same tub again, this time so much brighter and happier.

    “You are a hero,” Petra’s words come from somewhere at some point, the lie he’ll never let go of. Not once everyone’s memories are wiped. Not once he’s beaten to a centimeter of his existence by the thing inside known as friend. Not once he craves death on the daily.

    And there is really no letting go, because once the door swings open, steel clasps reinforced and melded into place, Pétoire’s still holding onto Petra’s hand. He’s holding onto Petra’s hand even as he rises to his feet, hair billowing ruthlessly away from his skull as he can finally summon all the energy his mother’s starved off in him. A man approaches, clothed in dagger and knives, swords and grenades whose target is set upon their small hearts -

    But Pétoire can’t see him, because power floods his senses and then bodies are thrown against the far wall, landing there to leave big stains of blood as they drip down. Crooked limbs and knee caps popped, all at the hands of the boy who’s not going to let go of his sister. Pierre’s trying his best, hailing down a meteor shower with just his wrists; Piper’s slowing the enemy down, Petra’s shielding them, Patrick’s holding himself in offering like the strongest knight ever seen -

    But it all fails when the man named Slayer snips his energy, sounds the depths of his consciousness and shuts his soul off. There’s fading light, followed by accomplices grabbing onto his peers, and Pétoire’s really helpless. Friends. Something he’s only now known. Petra’s screaming, at him or the whole situation, he can’t be sure, but then he knows he’s screaming as she’s taken away too. The kids of 1-A were swiftly shipped off to another planet, hazy thoughts all they held onto as their whole universe disintegrated upon itself.

    Holy voice calls to him from somewhere deep within, and he grabs onto his true mother’s sentiment with all he’s got left. Then the Mother One who saved their lives while seeking her no longer seeks him back, for now or ever.

    Do you love your sister?

    Yes, he hopes.

    Do you know joy?

    He’s not sure if it’s his to have.

    Then he’s torn from the womb.

    Fucked over to be born again.

    ❤ MISTRAL IMMORTAL ❤

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    you know what, i think i'm going to claim this

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    @Smiles;

    I had the honor to grade Smiles, hooray. ;o; This looks long, but don't be intimidated, amazing stuff here pleaseeee write more of it. <3

    INTRODUCTION


    The story starts off with an interesting analogy for a hook. It's not too often you see wombs compared to equations, but here, it's pulled off so aptly and with such strong language that I couldn't help but stop and think, "I'm in for a wild ride here, I just know it." And to be frank, I wasn't disappointed. The mix of exposition with description gave us insight into your crossover world and your characters, and it was extremely well done. Right off the bat we know that Petruccelli basically dedicates her life to this human engineering work, and there are enough subtle hints to show that her work has gone to her head - ie. the mention of her playing God and how she can't stop herself from doing what she's doing.

    You really nailed the tension in your opening scene when it comes to how Petruccelli views her work as important. Despite how much I or anyone else may disagree or agree with the reasoning for her actions or the extent to which she hurt Pétoire for her daughter's benefit, you really get the sense, too, that she believes what she's doing is right and necessary. For this particular Mewtwo PokeSoul project she's working on, which shapes the rest of this chapter, her daughter's life is on the line for one reason or another, if the line "The fate of her girl rests on her hands" is anything to go by. I may have misread something, but I didn't pick up on the explanation of how Petra's life was on the line, even after the introduction. I might suggest adding in that first paragraph exactly how her daughter's life is on the line. I don't think a quick explanation would crowd your introduction, but would only serve to strengthen it. This is, of course, assuming I didn't just let the explanation fly over my head at some point.

    Anyway, the introduction also does a good job showing how Mommy dearest here isn't all sacrifices and warm hugs. Even without having read her abuse of Pétoire later on just yet, you portray really well that she has an even darker side to her. Pétoire is considered her son, technically, but he's not treated like it by any means. The lines "She never wanted a son" as he's born and the matter of her leaving out vital neurotransmitters which influence mood and emotions in favor of knowledge offered this scene an extra layer of tension which, I think, set the tone for the rest of the chapter quite well. Her actions clearly affect Pétoire's life and thus the events of the story, given that he's the main character.

    The further down the hallway they go, the deeper they get into the underground chambers, closer towards Pétoire‘s grave.
    I'm a tad torn on the "grave" wording here. On one hand, I think it fits with the chapter overall given the ending, but on the other hand, I think it implies this isn't Pétoire's birth but rather his death. To me it contradicts the metaphors you've been using about birth and lessens their impact. I'd suggest that changing the hint that his birth = death to seem more like they're walking to his cage or something similar, as I get the sense that Pétoire feels trapped more than anything throughout the story.

    Then finally her labor comes to an end.
    I like the double meaning in this here - it insinuates that her work in creating Pétoire is done, but it also heavily implies that she is indeed his mother whether she likes him or not and now the birthing process is over for her.

    His hands are held the next moment, his whole tiny body pushed to the ground. Pétoire does not struggle. Petruccelli’s memories bombard him, as do those of the people pressing him. He sees himself from their eyes, this naked, terrifying monster of thirty-two inches. He feels ashamed.
    I've mostly talked about Petruccelli for the introduction since it focuses on her and she's pushed aside in favor of Pétoire for the rest of the chapter, but the description of what happens immediately following his birth is both haunting and beautifully written at the same time. The paragraph I quoted in particular exacerbates how powerful Pétoire was created to be. Can you personally imagine being born and viewing the world the exact same way as you do right now, this very moment, instead of the way a normal human infant would? The thought is a terrifying one. The little part with him at the end does a good job introducing the theme of a lost childhood and provides some worldbuilding detail for PokeSouls. It's super interesting that his omniscience is actually overkill to the point where Pétoire starts to know so much and perceives so, so much of the world within a mere few seconds.

    Overall, some real amazing stuff here. I was literally left speechless once I got to the scene break, and I still kind of am speechless, ngl!

    PLOT/STORY

    And just when I think the fic can't get any better, it does. The transition from a dark, depressing laboratory setting to a school one, where Pantheon is giving what's meant to be an inspiring lecture to her students, flows pretty flawlessly. Before you even dive in to Pétoire's opinion on the lecture, the introduction already gives you the sense that what Pantheon is saying isn't really true, that the inspiration she's trying to induce will be challenged and the powers these kids have will affect them a lot more deeply than she's letting on.

    Then storms in Pierre. He's an angry little kid, energized by victory pixie, Victini - which, by the way, is such a kickass, perfect fit I don't even - and gets Pétoire riled. At least, he tries to. Pétoire throws some salt back his way but doesn't overall seem too perturbed because, for him, there's bigger things to worry about. The scene where Pantheon pulls him out of class to talk to him one on one both utilizes the pre-established tension in this scene and adds a good amount of new tension from Pantheon herself, who previously like I said was all inspiration.

    The scene afterward with Petra does well to directly show the deep rift between Pétoire and his family. Petra's deluded by what Pantheon and the school is spouting to her, while Pétoire isn't, and no matter how much she might try to argue with him, he's not going to sway. He knows the truth, literally is incapable of feeling anything besides apathy, animosity, and I guess occasionally some fleeting positive emotions, and so, the way he treats her is not quite akin to what a brother would normally treat a younger sister.

    I think the next part with reassembling the bug he destroyed on her is a bit more subtle. It does well, again, depicting his feelings (or lack thereof) toward Petra, but what I like more is the way it makes Pétoire question what made him the way he is. He's got a ton of knowledge, being a psychic PokeSoul, but he still has questions to ask and no one/nothing to answer him. You do a good job establishing a way for the reader to relate on a personal level to Pétoire here.

    Following up with the Petra scene is the in-depth explanation of Pétoire's medications, which I think is another fitting transition as it focuses on the reasons why Pétoire's relationship with his family is rocky as hell. Petruccelli makes her reappearance, too, and we get a blatant look of her disdain for Pétoire instead of heavy implications like in the introduction. There's hints at her trying to be a kind, considerate mother, sure, like with her asking on some days if she can stick a needle tube in him, but that kindness is quickly swept under the rug by her true feelings. As far as Petra goes, Pétoire does more as a brother than he gives himself credit for, I think. If he didn't care about Petra to some extent, what would be the point of sparing her the information of what their mother did to him? He may not love her, per se, but I think he feels some semblance of obligation to do what people do for others when they love each other. That only makes this chapter more sad, but, you know what, you can keep crushing my heart all you want.

    Pétoire next starts to expand his circle of companions with friends from school. Pierre stands out the most along with Petra, but Patrick and Piper and Paco are also distinct enough for me to tell them apart from each other. Patrick's the human boy just trying to fit in with the others, Paco confronts Pétoire about how he might seem happy and claim he's happy but he doesn't actually experience joy, and Piper has psychic powers too which makes Pétoire feel slightly less alone. It would've been easy for the kids to seem like they act similarly to each other and blend into one big group, but you don't fall into that pit by any means. There's also a good amount of characters, I think - enough to make Pétoire feel like he has friends and belongs to something, but not so many that the prose gets bogged down and confusing by them all.

    All right, and then we get a seven year jump. I assume this was intended for the campaign, but even if not, I think the jump was a tad rushed. The opening line about friends doing crazy things for each other hints at how Pétoire's gotten closer to his friends, close enough that they're willing to run into danger to help him and Petra locate the Mother One. It's also described that Pétoire's more in tune with others' emotions now, however that happened. My main suggestion here would be to slow down and not rush the development to get to the action. There's development there, don't get me wrong, but I'm curious in how things got to be this way. How have they spent the last seven years together? Did something happen with Pétoire's medication or abilities to make him more in tune with emotions? How have the others changed besides Petra? The supporting characters lack the development, and I realize this is only the first chapter, but the time gap seems like an important one.

    Actually, I may have misunderstood something, or not.

    He wonders now, bulleting down the darkness, why it took so long to see the joy of others.
    Pétoire's said to be able to at least identify emotions in others with his psychic abilities. Here, I get the impression that he's starting to empathize a bit more with his friends, but I can't tell for sure. There's definitely a difference between identifying and empthazing, at any rate! So the quoted portion is contradictory to me, and I think slowing down the transition a tad would help clear that up along with the amount of character development that seems to have taken place in general.

    I'm a little confused, too, as to how the URPG Space Center was alerted to their presence and whatnot, but I'm not sure stating it really matters. There's enough of the plot to make an educated guess as to why they're there. They're attempting to breach top secret information about the Mother One, after all, and they're kids, they're likely to have screwed up something somewhere during the trip. Not to mention Pétoire in particular probably has people keeping an eye out on him due to his background. At any rate, the scene where they hide and are found shows no mercy, which is unfortunate for Pétoire and co. but made for a delicious read for me! Returning to the birth metaphors was a particularly nice tough; that last line just about killed me.

    I do think the time from them starting to search for the Mother One to having to hide is also a bit short, especially since a lot of what is there is overshadowed by Paco's conversation with Pétoire about joy. If that's the point, you can totally ignore that, but! After spending so much time on Pétoire's birth and then how the circumstances of his birth affected his childhood and then bouncing to an action scene seven years later without much padding between the latter two parts was a bit jarring.

    STYLE

    I covered your use of birthing metaphors in the introduction, so I'm going to skip repeating myself here, hehe.

    There’s a squeeze of his shoulder. Something within’s reacting to Pantheon’s words, but it’s not oozing of the same enthusiasm as the woman. It means to crush.

    A little bit of that makes it past the psychic wall set by the pills. Something pushes back against Pantheon’s hand, a little like a punch from a kid his size. Get off me. Pantheon’s still smiling her hero smile, but something changes in those eyes, for only the slightest of seconds. Then the young woman takes her hand off, giving Pétoire a thumbs up. “I believe in you, Young Pétoire,” she says with words that don’t connect to him, words framed by these motivational posters that don’t depict what Pétoire knows. They were made to die for this space center.
    The use of body language to portray the tension in this scene is perfect. Pétoire's aggression and lack of feeling toward others clearly stems from two areas: the fake world he's forced to live in and how his mother deprived him of serotonin and oxytocin. It would've been enough to portray Pétoire's apathy due to the oxytocin, I think, but the instinctive and persistent aggression is an interesting addition. If Pétoire's mind and emotions weren't tampered with, would he act this same way? Most likely not. He'd be just like the other kids, and it hurts me as a reader to see that he's suffering due to a selfish choice Petruccelli made just for the sake of science. We're not even that far into the first chapter by this point and already I care about him and what happens to him - a testament to how well written this is, I think!

    These hallways are dark. There’s a psychic’s illusion, of afternoon sunshine spilling into the big bay windows lining the hallways, of trees in the background and clouds spreading over the sky. Unfortunately, Pétoire can see through all of this without trying. It’s a bit distorting - truth and lie trying to make one comprehensible image.
    Here, too, your characterization and emotional description, particularly for Pétoire, shine through - not to mention the spin put on the URPG Space Center. It's known for being a place that allows people to live "normal" and "peaceful" lives, and it makes complete sense for them to try to make that as realistic as possible, especially in a setting where children are around. I think I might've wanted to see a bit more interaction with this, as Pétoire never confronts anyone directly about the lies he sees. Am I right to assume that Pétoire's powers allow him to simply know that the other kids aren't able to perceive the faux scenery? There's not a lot of detail to tell for sure, and I think adding a bit more about that would've accentuated even more how different Pétoire is from his peers.

    “Let’s try again tomorrow Pétoire, to manifest your powers and learn how to use them! Once you start, I bet you won’t want to stop!”

    Pétoire nods meekly, already turning to head outside. He neither wants to start nor stop. He’s suspended somewhere between already, a host of all these psychic abilities he doesn’t want. But once you’ve learned to read people's’ minds, hear their thoughts bubble up ecstatically at you, all their dirty deeds and premonitions, it’s difficult to stop. But Pantheon thinks of loftier things and moral values.
    I wasn't quite sure what to expect from a My Hero Academia/AH/Pokemon crossover, but you know what, this quoted section sold it for me. I watched season 1 and I'm kind of in the same mindset as Pétoire, here, in that Pantheon/All Might and pretty much everyone are just too carefree and the world as it is isn't taken seriously. My personal anime tastes aside, lol, I like that you took the concept of heroes from MHA and powers from AH, then added a twist of your own to make things feel wholly original - namely, the human engineering part of things. Overall your style and ideas read very much like an original published novel I'd be hooked on immediately if I pulled it off the shelf. It's like I'm reading the opening of a novel that's so well thought out, so in-depth, and so strong, that I can tell that you as the author care about what you're writing and that the characters mean something to you.

    He’s not sure if he loves her, he’s not, but he’s seen that typically happy siblings are compliant to one another so he might as well try.
    I've said that the language in this is strong throughout, but there are some examples of simple language here and there that's impactful for their simpleness, if that makes sense. Here, Pétoire's "not sure if he loves [his sister]" and it's just said outright, despite how taboo kind of thing that would be if someone said that in real life (you know, the "you always have to love your family no matter what" belief) and, to me, that strengthens Pétoire's apathy and confusing about his feelings toward others.

    Patrick’s standing there in awe. Petra’s crying with a childish human heart that somehow hasn’t managed to be tainted like these others’ have.
    I noticed this a lot throughout the chapter, too, the way you write actions like this. Here, it's passive tense, and in others, it's completely focused on active voice! Passive voice doesn't mean it's a bad thing, though. I think that, in the right places, it makes things feel more unique to your writing style specifically while adding to the tension of what's happening, like in the quoted part here. There were a couple places I feel it didn't fit, but I'd really just be nitpicking. I mostly just wanted to point out I think it's an interesting part of your style in this chapter.

    GRAMMAR

    There's not a lot to say here, really. There's the occasional missing word and typo here and there, but nothing to distract from the overall story. I know you know your stuff in this department, and I could suggest proofreading but these are mistakes that would easily be overlooked without a second pair of eyes.

    She stands between their desks now, cutting off eye site from each other,
    "site" should be "sight"

    It makes him feel a tad bit better for what comes to next.
    Pretty sure you didn't mean to put the "to" there!

    Then Paco’s running up them too, joining the bear hug party because he’s a little dumb and just likes affection
    Should be "running up to them"! Super cute image, by the way, oh my gosh these kids.

    “No, that wasn’t me, you guys... “
    Misplaced quotation mark, here.

    Pétoire doesn’t need to look his direction to feel the throttling of the core in the other boy’s chest, to see eyes rimmed with blacks and green’s.
    Should be "look in his direction" - just another missing word, is all.

    to see eyes rimmed with blacks and green’s.
    No apostrophe in "green's" for the same reasons there's none in "blacks" - there's no possession being specified, just different overall shades of green.

    Paco turns the corner, sprinting at a hundred miles a minute of his own volition while Pétoire follows by mere menes of psychic hovering.
    When Menegoth makes an appearance in your story. :whew: Nah, but "menes" should be "means."

    CONCLUSION

    I felt this was a little long for a first chapter, and I think that's literally my only true complaint. There's a lot here, and I don't know the plans for the rest of the story but the content here spells out a whole arc for me - an arc that's not finished, but still. I get the feeling that this is really just an opening based on the rush to seven years in the future, but I don't know. Regardless, the transitions were for the most part seamless and made sense no matter how subtle the connections seemed to be, each bit of language hit hard and did its job, and the plot you've thrust your characters into is fascinating along with the depth of each character. This was a cash attempt, and I think you can claim Demanding - 40k for your efforts. :3 If that doesn't seem right to you for whatever reason, don't hesitate to let me know!

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