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The day before the third multidimensional ‘Super Smash Bros.’ tournament began was a day Pikachu would never forget.

It started during a newcomer demonstration, showing the ropes to those who were first joining the large fray that was the Smash line. Master Hand had placed Mario in charge of teaching the newbies

“... And now, Bowser will be showin’ off how to properly grab an’ throw your opponent,” Mario said reluctantly, standing in between the newcomers sitting on the rows of bleachers in their dojo, and Bowser and Pikachu on stage.

Pikachu had been dreading the day orientation and training came around. Bowser was one of the most violent and nasty guys on the whole entire tournament roster. Though he had only appeared in the previous set of battles beforehand, he had succeeded in traumatizing the last Link so badly they needed to get a different one, put Mewtwo in a Pokémon Center for weeks, the very reason the Pokémon wasn’t in this third tourney, and smashed apart Samus’ power suit with his signature ‘Bowser Bomb’ as he calls it. He’s brutal, a monster in every sense of the word behind his dopey demeanor.

And as the testing dummy, Pikachu was at the Koopa’s mercy. Mario knew it too, but there was nothing he could do to get someone else at such short notice. Bowser was the only choice. It was with an apologetic look to the mouse Pokemon that the demo began.

Bowser immediately scooped Pikachu up in his claws, grinning wildly. “Now’s about time I make ya pay for that last battle we had in the Melee competition. You know, the one where you zapped me so bad I got sent to the infirmary?”

“Pika pika-pika CHU!” Pikachu said defiantly despite himself. “'You deserve it for what you did to Jigglypuff!'” Pikachu shuddered at the memories of a deflated Jigglypuff sitting alone and wailing painfully in the infirmary while Dr. Mario tried his best to treat her.

“We’ll see if you still think that after I’m done with you runt!” Wasting no more time, Bowser demonstrated what it was like to perform a throw, hopping on and crushing Pikachu without warning.

“Hey, get off of him, you’re gonna crush the little guy to death!” one of the newcomers, Pit, said in an outrage. Everyone in the bleachers was getting fired up and even Mario could barely contain his anger. The plumber sadly couldn’t do anything to his arch enemy at this time. No fighting outside of the coliseum without penalties.

“It’s ALL part of the demo, folks.” Getting up, Bowser snatched up Pikachu again and bashed him with his horns, sending the Pokemon into the ceiling of the dojo before crashing onto the floor.

“Pikachu... 'Ow…'” Pikachu whined, hardly finding the strength to stand back up.

“Knock it off, you big bully!” another newcomer, Diddy Kong, said as he started aggressively tossing banana peels at the large Koopa. Olimar, the one sitting next to him, joined in by tossing Pikmin. Bowser simply slashed them away, destroying the peels and killing the Pikmin to Olimar’s dismay.

“As long as this goes on, I can do whatever the heck I want. So why don’t all of you just sit pretty while I finish beating the snot out of this little--”

Bowser never got to finish his tirade, for suddenly a spiky blue ball launched itself at his face, sending the Koopa back into a nearby wall. The attack was caused by another newcomer from a particularly far away dimension, Sonic.

“Pick on someone your own size, Bowser!” Sonic spat with clenched fists, standing protectively in front of the shaking Pikachu.

Bowser slowly got up from his fallen position, ripping out a few loose quills that had been inserted into his face. “I’d give you the same advice, rat.” Bowser spat fire as a warning, but Sonic’s glare only deepened, as did everyone else's. No one was afraid to take him down if they had to, even with punishment hanging over their heads. Even King Dedede, a bit of a ne'er do well himself, was astonished with Bowser’s actions. Seeing no other option, the Koopa backed down for now.

“Alright, ALRIGHT, I give. Taking all of you on at once would just be a waste of my time. I’ll leave the pipsqueak alone.” He made his way slowly to the exit, walking by Sonic as he did. “You and everyone else in this room are on my list. ESPECIALLY you…” Without another word, the door slammed shut.

“What a blowhard…” Pikachu heard the hedgehog mutter before he turned to him. “You alright?”

Pikachu nodded enthusiastically, glad the danger had passed. “Pikabi! 'Yeah. Thank you, everybody!'”

Mario sighed in relief and addressed everyone. “Session’s over. We can pick things up tomorrow, an' I’m-a definitely gettin’ someone else. You’re all-a free ta go.”

Pikachu looked on fondly as the group filed out of the dojo, on to their own lives until the tournament began. He never had an entire room full of fighters stick up for him like that. Granted he never needed it before, but it was nice to know the people here cared about more than just beating each other up. After picking him out from the crowd Pikachu caught up with Sonic, seeing the hedgehog walking by himself.

“Pika! 'Wait up!'” Sonic turned around to find Pikachu right at his heels.

“What’s up, little guy? Need something?”

“Pikabi! Pi-PiKA! 'That was so cool how you hurled yourself into Bowser’s face! How’d you do that?!'” Pikachu liked learning about natural abilities that his fellow fighters had. Not for an advantage; he was just a very curious Pokemon.

“Well, I’m a hedgehog; curling into balls is what we do. Somewhere along the line, I told myself ‘hey why not try to weaponize it?’, so I taught myself how to become a cannonball. I can easily cut through metal with these babies,” Sonic said, pointing to his quills and feeling happy to brag about how strong they were since Pikachu insisted.

“Pi? Pikabika… Pi-Pikachu Pikabi-chu.” 'Seriously? Nah, you’re bluffing... I’ve heard of being able to melt it, but you’d have to be as strong as a Blastoise’s back cannons to cut through metal.'

“Here, let me show ya,” Sonic said, seeing a discarded R.O.B. off to the side of the two. “R.O.B.s have to be pretty bulky if they’re getting sent here for combat, right?” Getting a nod from Pikachu, he continued. “So, this’ll be the perfect to show off my skills, then!” Backing up a few feet, the hedgehog took off like a rocket, with Pikachu barely able to see him curl into a ball in midair and cut the fallen robot in half.

“PIKABI!” 'AWESOME!'

“Told ya I wasn’t bluffing.”

“Pika bika-pi-bi-bika. Pikachu?” 'My tail can cut through stuff too, but it’s not as strong as your quills. Wanna see?'

“Sure, why not?”

Dashing over to a nearby rock, Pikachu jumped and tensed his tail to make it as strong as iron. With one swift chop, Pikachu soundly cut it in two. Sonic gave a whistle, noting how impressed he was.

It was this back and forth in sharing abilities that day that made the two grow close over the coming days of training. After Mario had finished teaching the newcomers for the day, Pikachu and Sonic would immediately move over to the nearby field, whether to show off skills or hone new techniques. By the time the training period was over Pikachu could use his Quick Attack to move at faster speeds than ever before and Sonic had finally begun learning to harness the power of static electricity. When they grew tired from pushing themselves they would spend the rest of the day chatting under the tree on top of the hill, telling each other stories from their respective worlds. Pikachu made Sonic feel welcome in a world that was foreign to him, and Sonic helped Pikachu find the fire needed to stand up to bullies like Bowser.

A few weeks after the tournament’s official start, when the world changed and Sonic and others went missing, would mark the abrupt end of these cherished ‘happy times’.