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    Default Fire Child

    Trigger Warning: Some domestic violence, mentions of depression, mentions of suicidal thoughts, and death in this story.

    ”She was unstoppable.”

    And once, she was unstoppable. She took every bad incident of her life and allowed it to make her a stronger person. Though some incidents broke her down to the point of nervous breakdowns from the stress of it all, she picked herself back up again and became stronger than she was before. Each incident was a lesson in life, becoming a stronger person, and how people were outside of the bubble she kept herself in.

    Her name was Asha. It was a fitting name for her, and by the end of this tale, you’ll understand why, if you haven’t already figured it out from the previous paragraph. Though she didn’t really show it, she was a bright young Fennekin. She did just well enough in school to pass classes, but she still loved to learn because knowledge was power. There was something about learning about subjects she had a passion for that really made Asha happy, and it was a happiness she’d hold onto throughout her life. It was a good thing Asha wasn’t born a cat, but instead a fiery fennec fox, because otherwise, it was possible her curiosity could’ve gotten her killed.

    As a child, she lived in an apartment in Anistar City with her parents. She went to kindergarten at Star Shine Elementary, though she doesn’t quite remember too much about it. There are pictures, of course, as there are for most good times in life, but her memories of her brief time at Star Shine Elementary were fuzzy. When she looks at the pictures, there are some fuzzy, vague memories, but for the most part, they’re just pictures to Asha, pictures that tell a story about a part of her life she doesn’t fully remember.

    She moved to Starlight Elementary for the rest of her primary school career. Her parents moved to another apartment within Anistar City, and that new apartment meant a rezoning of schools for her. Anistar was a large city with many places to live, sights to see, and schools to attend. Most stayed at the same school their whole academic careers, but Asha was one of the rarities that had to transfer not just once, but several times.

    But it was at Starlight Elementary that she met her closest friends. In first grade, she met a Deino named Tea. They became fast friends, and though they weren’t always in the same class every year, the bonds of friendship never failed them. Though Tea was a Dark and Dragon type Pokemon, she was still a great person; she just enjoyed the darkness, and that was okay with Asha. She could be the light to Tea’s darkness, or something cheesy like that.

    There was also Munchy, a Munchlax who lived across the street from her. Asha spent a lot of time with him during their childhood, and his parents were great Pokemon too. There was never a dull moment with them, and Asha was able to spend some time at their apartment to play games and share snacks together with Munchy.

    Unfortunately, Munchy moved away before Asha finished elementary school; Munchy was going to have a baby brother soon, and their growing family needed a bigger home. Ironically enough, he moved to the same area from when Asha lived before she moved to where she was now. Now he was going to be attending Star Shine Elementary. The difference was he would probably remember his time more clearly at Star Shine than Asha ever would, and she hoped he would enjoy his time there. Asha would never know though, as after some time, Asha and Munchy’s parents lost contact with each other, and as a result, Asha and Munchy lost contact with each other too.

    As the middle school years approached, Asha and Tea started to go their separate ways too. New school meant new friends from around Anistar City, as middle schools drew in students from several elementary schools, and so they started to go separate ways with their new friend groups. It was okay though, as Asha made new friends at Starlight Middle School, some of whom would be by her side through her high school years too. And though they went their separate ways, Tea and Asha still talked when they could, and they were good enough friends for Asha to get an invite to Tea’s baby shower when she was waiting for the egg she laid to hatch years later as Asha prepared to transfer into a university to further her education.

    There was a Scrafty named Bella that she met in sixth grade, and in seventh grade, she became friends with an Audino named Jessie. There were a couple boys she tried dating during her middle school years, one a Munchlax named Jackson and the second a Smeargle named Matthew. Neither relationship lasted very long, the first was for less than twenty-four hours, if that, and the second only lasted for about a week. She didn’t talk to Jackson after their very brief relationship, but Asha and Matthew maintained a friendship after the break up, at least until Asha moved away again. Those relationships were her first steps into the world of romance, though Asha didn’t quite learn too much about that foreign world through those two brief relationships. Middle school was a rough time for Asha, as it was for most Pokemon during this time. About halfway through seventh grade, she and her parents moved in with her grandmother, which allowed her to be closer to Jessie but also make new friends with the kids that lived in the neighborhood, including Matthew, who lived down the street from her grandmother. After seventh grade, she evolved from a Fennekin into a Braixen, and she struggled with dealing with her evolution.

    Just before she entered high school, her parents moved into another apartment, and Asha went with them, as she always had, though it wasn’t like she had too much of a choice as she relied on her parents for survival. Asha was a Braixen now, but there was still much she had to learn in the world. She was excited because she’d be able to go to school with her friends from childhood, but at the same time, she was nervous because high school was a new environment she wasn’t fully familiar with.

    High school brought her new friends and new experiences. There was a Chatot named Chessie, though they started a friendship in eighth grade that only got stronger as they got into their high school years. There was a Persian named Lacey that Asha befriended her junior year, who was related to another Persian named Ethan who was in Asha’s grade. Asha and Ethan weren’t particularly close, but they knew of each other and that was the extent of their friendship. Asha met Samuel the Ursaring in tenth grade when they were in a history class together, but they didn’t become friends until her junior year and his senior year when he started to do theatre with Asha, Chessie, and some of their other friends that they’d met through the program. Jessa the Jigglypuff and Nathan the Tranquill were friends she met through volunteering at the Anistar Public Library, but they both went to Anistar High School for the specialized programming they had there and the bonds of friendship only grew stronger as Asha approached her senior year and Jessa and Nathan were little freshmen, just getting their first taste into the world of high school.

    Speaking of Asha’s volunteer work at the public library, it was there that she met a great group of friends too. Jessa and Nathan were only two of them. There was also Nathan’s sister, a Tranquill named Tyra, and her friend, a Bellossom named Danica. Allison the Linoone, Veronica the Sawsbuck, and Jasmine the Honchkrow were also among Asha’s friends at the library, and of course, she was close to the volunteer leaders as well. Through the program, she also became close to the library staff outside of the volunteer leaders. One woman in particular, a Blissey named Hailey, stood out to Asha, and they spent many nights just talking while the library wasn’t full with patrons. They discussed many topics, from music to just their day to day lives.

    Asha graduated from high school, thankfully, and she was able to celebrate on a small cruise with her friends following the commencement ceremony. There was a six month break period following graduation in which Asha tried to figure out her life and what she wanted to do with it. She applied for jobs, but nothing worked out in her favor. There was a toy store that called her to come in for an interview, but she wasn’t hired in the end. Ultimately, after that six month break, she went to Anistar Community College to pursue her dream of becoming a translator.

    Just after her summer classes (in which she took a Zumba course that had her exercising twice a week, an ordeal that Asha wasn’t quite used to but enjoyed regardless), her family was kicked out of their apartment, and yet again, Asha and her parents had to move back in with her grandmother. They didn’t quite stay as long, and at the start of the following year, they moved out into another apartment. After a couple years there, she graduated with an associate’s degree in liberal arts. From there, she transferred to Anistar City University to go for her degree in journalism, a change from the original plan of becoming a translator. It was during this time that she met several new friends and even went as far as joining a fraternity, where she met the best friends a Braixen could ask for. Some said she paid for her friends, but Asha never saw it that way. She saw it as paying for her way into an organization that could help better her as a person. The friends were an added bonus, and without the organization, she probably never would have met them. She would have stuck with her friends in the English department, who weren’t bad people, but she craved friendship with others who weren’t just in her major. She wanted to broaden her horizons.

    And she did. She picked up a game called Dungeons and Dragons thanks to her first little in the fraternity, and it was through Dungeons and Dragons that she met the Dragonaire that would eventually become her second little. Asha fell in love with the game of Dungeons and Dragons, having heard about it before from friends she socialized with online but never actually played up until she started to play with her fraternity brothers. The friends online tried explaining it to her, but sessions would die out quickly and instructions would be contradictory as multiple people tried explaining things to her. Their first semester of playing, Asha took up the role of a Ranger, but she also discovered the wonders of homebrew races and classes during that time. In her second semester, she played a Channeler, a class similar to a Cleric, but actually kind of worse than a Cleric. There was also the Monk she made for a one shot campaign they did, and Asha still holds onto that character sheet, as she holds onto all of the character sheets she made over her time playing with them. Her character for what could potentially be her final semester of playing was a multiclassed character, part Rogue and part Sorcerer. The character was probably one of Asha’s favorites, though she wasn’t too fond of multiclassing at lower levels. Still, it was a learning experience for her, and it was a learning experience she was glad to have under her belt for the future of her Dungeons and Dragons experiences. Each time she created a new character, she wanted to further her knowledge of the game.

    As she went into her super senior year (because one senior year just wasn’t enough), she fell in love. Asha met a sweet Pikachu named Carson that she fell for, and after some talking, they started dating. There were bumps in the road, as any relationship has, but they were making it work.

    As her fall semester of her super senior year was coming to a close, she learned that her father was sick and had to be hospitalized in the Pokemon Center. The ordeal crushed Asha. To make matters worse, Asha had to deal with the fallout of losing friends over a petty issue. She was losing friends at a time where she needed them the most. She and her mom had to move in with her uncle and his family, or they would’ve been sleeping on the streets of Anistar City with nothing but their possessions. Her boyfriend comforted her through it all and reassured her that everything would be okay and would work out for the best, but there came a time where he could no longer deal with her and her nervous breakdowns anymore.

    Carson broke up with her.

    That crushed Asha too. She found herself in a school bathroom crying before a chapter meeting. She was crushed. She was broken. She cried in her mother’s arms when she got home that night. She couldn’t sleep. The Pikachu that stole her heart also held the power to crush it, and he did just that.

    The six months Asha had with Carson were great. He was there for her through everything, through all of the pain and suffering her father’s illness put her through. He took her mind off of it all when she needed it. He made her smile and laugh like no other Pokemon ever had before. Carson wasn’t the first Pokemon she’d dated, there were others, of course, but Carson was the first that she felt truly happy with.

    A month prior to the break up, her father passed, just before she was to start her final semester at school. He wouldn’t see her graduate with her degree, a moment both looked forward to. He wouldn’t see her get married one day. He wouldn’t get to meet his grand-Pokemon. There was so much her father wouldn’t get to see, and it broke Asha’s heart to think about it.

    And then Carson broke up with her. It was too much for her.

    She lashed out at Carson at first. She wasn’t proud of it. She begged him to come back into her life. She got mad at him when he wouldn’t. She apologized, and she and Carson remained friends, though even now they don’t talk as much and she’s sometimes reminded of the pain that she felt from the petty issue fallout and losing friends from that.

    But then there was a voice in the back of her mind that spoke to her one day. A voice that reminded her of something she’d forgotten about over the past six months.

    “You’ve done nothing wrong, Asha. Your feelings are your own. Your feelings are perfectly valid. You don’t have to apologize for anything.”

    That voice in the back of her mind saved her. It reminded her of her worth in the world. It made her stronger again.

    There was something her father always told her that pushed her forward too. “You are my sunshine,” her father would always say. “You’re the light of my world.”

    And it was true. All of her father’s friends that Asha met always talked about how her father would tell them about all the great things Asha did. She always shrugged it off, but it didn’t deter her father from continuing to brag about his little girl. Her father was always so proud of her and the accomplishments she had in life.

    Asha went back to enjoying the activities she enjoyed before everything happened. She found her passion for role playing again. She wrote her little Braixen heart out. She lived life without staring at her phone, talking to Carson or some of their other friends. She still used her phone, of course, but it was when she was bored or to take pictures.

    Asha lived life with her mom and her closest friends by her side. Life was going to get better for her, and for her mom too. Everything would be okay.

    The pain from losing her friends over petty issues was still there in her heart. The pain from losing her father and watching him battle against his illness was still there in her heart. The pain from Carson breaking up with her was still there in her heart. But what Asha learned, thanks to Carson breaking up with her, was that she could no longer hold onto her pain. She could no longer allow the pain that she felt bring her down and make her weak. She had to move on. She had to become strong again. It was what her father would’ve wanted from her.

    Asha didn’t need Carson or anyone else to make her happy. She had to find her own happiness. And then, once she had that, she could find someone else to share it with. She could find someone else to love with all the love she could give, and that Pokemon, whoever it would eventually be, would hopefully love her with all the love he could give.

    For a few months after the break up, Asha blamed herself for everything that happened as she spiraled deeper and deeper into her depression. But then life started to pick back up again. There was a small flame of hope that continued to grow bigger and bigger as things finally started taking a turn for the better. She let her friends back into her life. She stopped putting moments on hold while she talked to Carson. She put her phone down more. She socialized more. She got the things she needed to get done done. Nothing was left incomplete. She worked hard and picked up life where she left it after the break up. Asha was better than that. A silly, dumb boy wasn’t gonna bring her down.

    As her happiness and bright, signature smile returned to her face, she realized that nothing that happened over the last few months, since the holidays when she learned that her father was ill, was her fault. Well, okay, some of it likely was. She couldn’t blame everything on everyone else; she accepted responsibility for some of the things she did, and if she had to apologize for them, she did. The things that weren’t her fault, she didn’t accept responsibility for.

    It wasn’t her fault that there was a petty issue that broke apart her group of friends and turned them against each other. It was the fault of her former friends, who couldn’t let things go and dragged the issue on longer than it needed to be dragged on, who couldn’t have proper communication with all parties involved.

    It wasn’t her fault that her father fell ill and had to be put into the Pokemon Center until he took his last breath. It was the fault of all of those who kept her father busy and away from her and her mother so they couldn’t see the signs of the pain he felt until it was too late.

    It wasn’t her fault that Carson broke up with her. Asha was going through a rough time, and she couldn’t keep herself together because of the pain she felt. Carson just happened to experience a lot of that, and instead of helping her, listening to her, and letting her work through the pain she felt, he added to it. She couldn’t blame him for all of the pain she felt, but she could blame him for the pain he added to her already existing pain. Admittedly, he did try to help a bit, but all he wanted to do was fix her. Asha didn’t want to be fixed; she wanted someone who would listen to her when she had her tenth mental breakdown of the week, someone who would listen to her when she needed to vent about whatever issues she needed to vent about, someone who would tell her everything would be okay, someone who would let her ramble and talk through whatever ideas were going through her head and tell her if they were bad or not, someone who would ride the waves of this rough time with her until she could find some stability in her life. Carson didn’t do that. He tried to fix someone who didn’t want to be fixed; he tried to fix someone who didn’t need to be fixed.

    But it was okay. Asha healed from all of the emotional and mental pain that she felt. She smiled again. She started writing again. She started reading again. She started doing a little art here and there again. She started gaming again. All of the hobbies she once enjoyed, she started doing again. Asha was back to her old self again. There was no time to be blaming others or worrying about who to blame her latest problems on. There was no time to worry about friends who barely spoke to her or include her in activities anymore. She had to work on herself and become the best version of herself that she could be.

    Her name was Asha. It is a name that means hope or life, according to the Swahili, Hindi, and Sanskrit origins. But to Asha, it signifies her descent into the depths of the pain she felt, it signifies the time in her life from which she thought she’d never get out of. It also signifies her rise up from that pain, her recovery from it all, her finding her strength again. Like a phoenix that burns into ashes, Asha rose up once again with her fiery spirit. After all, Arceus wouldn’t have put her through anything if He didn’t think she could handle it.

    And speaking of Arceus, she started to listen to His word. She started attending Star Shine Baptist Church near her home. The Pokemon there embraced her with love and compassion, even though she was still healing when she walked into the doors the first time. The Pokemon she and her mother surrounded themselves with embraced them with no judgement and instead showed them more love and compassion than anyone else ever had. They taught Asha many of the things she already knew, like not judging others, and they reminded her of other things, like how she was fearfully and wonderfully made. The words the pastor, an Alakazam, spoke to her and the other Pokemon in the congregation spoke to Asha. They comforted her. She was never terribly religious as a child, but she found herself seeking comfort in Arceus’ word, for the words He spoke were words that she could relate to. Though she wasn’t willing to fully embrace religion, she was willing to listen to Lord Arceus’ words until the next phase of her life began.

    Those words helped her rise up again too. They helped her come out of the depths of pain she dove into against her own will. They helped her rise up from the pain. They helped her recover from it. They helped her find her happiness again. They helped her release herself from the stress and drama others put her through so that she could deal with life’s new challenges with a clear mind. But most importantly, she was reminded of two lines from one of her favorite songs, “Pearl,” by one of her favorite artists, Katy Perry, a Slurpuff who added a fun, quirky touch to some of her music videos that Asha truly enjoyed. The first of those lines opened Asha’s tale. The second closes it.

    ”She is unstoppable.”

    Pokemon: Fennekin (Hard, 20k-30k CC)
    Character Count: 22082
    Author’s Note: Additional notes separate from the trigger warning above: I’m writing this story to put my feelings into words with the events that have happened over the last few months. It’s better to get it out onto the page than to continue bottling it up inside. Everything adapted to Pokemon, of course. Apologies for dredging up the past again, but seeing both sides of the story and both sides of the pain is nice sometimes.

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