Allister kept his head down as he walked through the halls of the Stow-on-Side elementary school.
He didn’t know why he agreed to make a presentation at his old school. The Chairman had asked him to visit it so he could explain to the other kids the importance of his preferred type.
Now that wouldn’t be a problem if this wasn’t the school he used to be relentlessly bullied at by almost the entire class. Before he became Gym Leader and started getting private lessons at home, he walked the halls of this school the same way he was doing now.
The boy took a shaky breath, trying to calm his nerves even as he felt like throwing up. He wanted nothing more than to just forget the whole thing and to just go home and cuddle Mimikyu.
But like Rose had insisted, Allister had an image to maintain. Nothing could get in the way of that, The Chairman had said, even if he had social anxiety.
It was cruel of him, Allister knew that. But if he just got it over with, he might never have to do something like this again.
Finding the room ‘291’ Allister hesitantly knocked on the door. He picked at his shorts as he waited for a response. He planned on not making eye contact with any of these people. He knew some of them were his old classmates.
The door to Hell opened and a woman who looked way too cheery for this job motioned for Allister to come in.
“I’m so glad you’re here! I’m sure we’re all honored to have a Gym Leader visit our class today!” She said with a Kalos accent.
‘Heh, you’re honored? It’s not like I’m here by choice,’ The young star thought bitterly.
To both his expectations and utter shock, most of the kids in this class were his old classmates.
His heart rate increased, his mouth felt dry, and his hands were clammy.
‘Deep breathes, deep breathes. I’m okay. Gengar, Mimikyu, and the rest of my Pokémon are with me. They’re in their pokeballs in case anything happens.’
The teacher clapped her hands, “Class, today Gym Leader Allister will be explaining the importance of ghost Pokémon!”
Most of them were silent, but Allister was convinced that they were just too busy staring at him.
The teacher gave him a strange look but stepped back to allow him to begin.
‘R-Right! Oh crumbs, this is where I start. This is not ace…’
He fiddled with one of his pokeballs, a sort of nervous habit he’s developed, and began speaking.
“U-Um, you see…ghosts are…ace…”
He mentally face palmed. What was that?! What just came out his mouth right then? He just couldn’t do anything right when it came to being social!
Some of the students laughed amongst themselves, but it wasn’t a very friendly laugh, they were laughing at him.
Allister gulped, his eyes beginning to water under his mask. What did he have to do to stop making himself look like an idiot?
Feeling Gengar’s pokeball shake in worry, Allister patted it reassuringly before attempting to fix his introduction.
“I-I really can’t exactly explain why they’re so important but they a-are. S-Sure they might not make food like grass types or make mountains like r-rock types but they ‘ave an important p-part in nature like every livin’ creature. They guard forests and the underworld; some protect us from other not-so-friendly ghosts.” Allister sighed, “T-They love to battle and don’t have as many weaknesses as other types do. A lot of ghosts are very loving and just want to protect mortals. They like to be mischievous and entertain too.”
The teacher gave a clap, making Allister flinch, “Any questions for him? That was a wonderful explanation.”
One girl, someone who Allister thankfully didn’t know, raised her hand. “There’s been a rumor that you caught a Sinistea that was in an authentic cup, not one of the forged ones. Is that true?”
Allister nodded, “Yeah, ’m just lookin’ for a chipped pot to evolve ‘em. The ghosts in the real teacups are very picky of which pot they go into when they evolve.”
“Write that in your notes, students!” The woman suddenly exclaimed, making Allister flinch again. The class scribbled hurriedly as if they were specifically trained to do so.
Allister silently sucked in a breath when he saw one of his old bullies raise his hand. He remembered this guy well; he was one of the worst ones.
“You’re our age, right? Why did the League let you become Gym Leader?” He sneered.
That wasn’t a question he was supposed to ask, it had nothing to do with the topic. Allister glanced over to the only adult in the room for help, but she was texting on her phone and not paying attention.
The Leader tried his best to answer in the nicest way possible, “W-Well you can actually kind of become one at a-any age. Y-You just need enough skill…”
“So you’re saying that you’re great, and the only kid here that could ever be one?” The bully taunted.
“T-That’s not what I meant at all! I-I was just explainin’ it! T-There’s Gym Leaders in Hoenn that are a little younger than me! ‘M not the only one…”
The teacher, oblivious to everything that just transpired, threw a satchel over her head, “Class is over early today.” She said simply, running out the door as she put lipstick on.
‘What an irresponsible teacher.” Allister thought. But at least that meant he could finally leave.
As Allister walked outside and saw Bea standing a few feet away from him, the ghost expert whirled around in panic when he felt a hand tap his shoulder. Seeing that it was his former bully again, he did not relax at all.
“W-What?” Allister asked dumbly.
The slightly taller boy folded his arms, “I know I can’t do anything to you now that you’re Gym Leader and all. But I want you to know that I still don’t like you, and when I become a trainer, I’m coming for your badge and your spot.” He said spitefully.
Allister thought about it for a moment. If he really took a step back to think about it, there was no way this guy could take his spot. The Gym was his and Bea’s now and Allister was doing great as a Gym Leader. He realized that his bully was just trying to scare him like he did in the past.
So he decided to be the mature one in the situation.
The small boy only smiled cheerfully under his mask, “Sure, if that’s what ya wanna think. We’ll see.”
Allister coolly turned around and joined his sister for the walk back home. He was happy with his job, Pokémon, and just being with Bea. There was nothing that could ever change the way things were now.
Bea ruffled his hair, “I’m proud of you, kiddo.”
Allister let a genuine smile make its way to his lips as he stroked his pokeballs with care.
“Heh. Thanks, Bea.”