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Sharks and Minnows

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Generally, you left poké balls alone.

The risk of opening one at your size was far too much. Either you found a potion or a TM that you had no use for, or you risked unleashing an animal dozens, or hundreds, of times your size, so you found it best to avoid them.

However, you had just come back from a supply run, heading towards your tree home. In the grass (not the tall grass, of course, that was another danger that was best left unprovoked) was a poké ball, tilted on its side, wide open. The white part had a small crack in it, but for the most part it seemed in tact. You edged towards it, eyes narrowed in scrutiny, one hand hovering over the small sewing pin you carried as a make-shift sword.

The poké ball seemed empty and harmless, stepping closer to it confirmed it. Placing your hands on the plastic rim, you peered inwards, finding it empty. A closer look showed that the mechanisms inside seemed broken. You didn't have any experience with poké ball's, and weren't sure what a functional one looked like, but the cracks along the inside showed that it was definitely out of use. It probably couldn't even hold a pokémon if it tried.

You considered it for a brief moment, looking over it once more, before grinning. Your tree home was just a few feet away anyway, and you needed a new bed.

Tightening your grip on the open edge of the ball, you tugged it in the direction of your tree, finding the plastic easy to move, even at your size. The poké ball was about the size of a baseball, and at your two inch height, it was easily twice as tall as you.

It didn't take long for you to come to your tree, you let go of the ball to run a sleeve over the sweat beading on your forehead.

The tree you chose to live in was a special one, but from a quick glance, no one could tell. Only when looking closer one could see that its roots didn't quite meet the ground entirely. There was a gap beneath the bottom of the tree and the ground, not big enough to notice, but big enough to make a home in. It kept you out of the rain, the thick roots left gaps too small for predators to get through, and there was enough room to keep all of your thins.

You took a brief moment to rest, glancing up at the sky. Dawn was breaking, and it'd probably be best to get home and asleep before the day started, bringing out trainers and pokémon out with the morning.

Reaching a hand to grab the rim of the poké ball again, you dragged it to a spot where the roots were rather high, and you began the arduous process of tugging it into your home. After a few minutes of struggling, you managed to get it under the roots, and inside. The 'ceiling' of your home was a lot higher than the low roots, so it was easy enough to maneuver the ball to a corner of your home, balancing it in a corner.

You allowed yourself a grin at the feat you just pulled off, smiling at the new addition to your home. Dropping your pin and your bag down by your new bed, you crossed over a few steps, hitting a button on a small flashlight you had picked up weeks ago. The light illuminated your home, making things a lot easier.

You had a small stockpile on one side of the room, filled with small bits of food, along with a few sets of extra clothes, an some 'weapons' (i.e., sewing pins and the occasional poisonous thorn shaped into a spear). Then there was your former bed, a pile of scraps of cloth, cozy enough but still on the hard ground. The poké ball would do wonders for your back, compared to the ground. There was the flashlight, a pocket knife, a few other knickknacks you had picked up over the ages. Your home was cozy enough, more than you could ever ask for. It wasn't much, but you were satisfied.

The exhaustion from gathering supplies all night hit you, you letting out a soft yawn. Borrowing, traveling, all of those necessary things, they were fun, adventurous, but exhausting.

You crossed over to your pile of blankets and took as many as you could in your arms, before turning to your new poké ball. You dropped a few of the thicker ones at the bottom, covering up the plastic and mesh, making almost a mattress of sorts out of the cloth scraps. You laid out the remaining blankets carefully, and then added the cotton balls you used as pillows.

Rolling your shoulders back to stretch a bit, you admired your work, before climbing into the ball. It was a little hard to find balance at first, but you found by tilting your weight back the ball leaned against part of the tree, balancing you evenly.

Slipping under the covers, you let out a sigh. This was an infinity better than sleeping on the ground, and all the thoughts you had of why pokémon were content to live in balls were dashed in an instant. Everything was cozy and warm, and your eyelids grew heavy with the weight of all the work you did throughout the night.

You belatedly realized that your flashlight was still on, but decided it wasn't worth getting up over. The light wasn't bright enough to draw attention to your secret home, especially to tall humans, in the daylight. It still was a little too bright to sleep with, so you reached up and grabbed the rim of the top half of the ball, lowering it to the base but not clasping it. It blocked out most of the light, leaving you in a cocoon of cozy, warm, darkness.

You curled up under your blankets, and in a few moments, you were fast asleep.


There was a glint of light coming from underneath the tree.

Archie, a man with people to see and places to go, generally wasn't distracted by such things, but this was an exception. It was barely dawn, he was tired, and in such a state one can't really ignore interesting things.

There was light coming from underneath a tree, and important duties could be pushed aside, he couldn't really pass up an intriguing situation such as this.

He crossed over to the tree quickly, making sure at least a third of his attention was on his surroundings, it wouldn't do good to get jumped on. He knelt down, cringing slightly at the fabric of his pants hitting the wet, dewy grass, before peering underneath the tree.

From the outside there seemed to be nothing outstanding about it, without the light coming from it he wouldn't have noticed the tree was different at all. But from his low point of view, he could see that the tree was elevated some, the roots disguising that fact.

In the small cave, of sorts, under the tree, there was a littering of lost items. Food some animal probably had squirreled away, a sewing pin, some coins.

The light source was a flashlight, the light bouncing off a perfectly good poké ball's plastic. They were both pretty far back, it was a reasonable assumption that some trainer had dropped the pair of them and decided it wasn't worth the trouble of trying to get it out.

Without the poké ball reflecting the flashlight's beam outward, it was likely Archie wouldn't have noticed the little spot at all.

There was a small crack in the white of the poké ball, but other than that it appeared perfectly fine. Considering that walking into a shop might give away something that would tip Maxie to his presence, and the fact that poké balls cost money, Archie wasn't really the type to buy them. Better to take and fix up old ones rather than drop some cash on a new one.

He snapped back some of the roots easily, making a space wide enough to reach his arm in. As he clasped his fingers around the poké ball he heard the clasp lock; given that it was open it was a reasonable assumption that it was empty. He took it out from under the tree and moved to rest back on his heels, giving the ball a quick glance over. Aside from the thin crack on the side of it, it seemed perfectly fine.

H didn't have the time to deal with a trainer's old pokémon or whatever surprise might be awaiting inside, so he decided to fiddle with it more later. Chances were it was empty, but Archie had a team to run and oceans to raise, so he carelessly dropped the ball into an empty pocket.

He decided to snatch the flashlight too, and with that, he was back on the trail again, the event merely a minor moment in his no doubt long day.


It was the snapping of roots that awoke you.

The loud cracking was almost like thunder to you; you jolted up into a sitting position the second the sound interrupted your sleep.

Clutching onto the blanket with white knuckled fists, you bit down on your lip to keep silent. With any luck, it was just some pokémon who got a whiff of your foot stash and wanted some. Whatever was prying into your home, alerting it to your presence wouldn't be a good thing.

For a moment things fell quiet, and for a moment you felt safe.

Suddenly your whole world was jolted, a loud clicking noise echoing around you as the poké ball was clasped shut, sealing you inside. There were thick fingers wrapped around it, blocking out the light of the flashlight.

The fingers were as big as you were, if not bigger. It was the first time you saw a human's hand up close, and it was utterly chilling how big it was.

Before you could contemplate how small you were, the hand jerked the ball out from under the tree, sending you tumbling. You scrambled to keep upright in the ball, stomach lurching as you were flung about inside of it.

Everything paused again, all that you heard was your heart pounding in your ears. You held your breath in expectation, unsure if the human was going to open the ball. Hopefully they would notice the crack in it and just leave you alone, but that was doubtful.

A moment later the ball was dropped, you being tumbled around with it. The ball made a surprisingly soft landing, landing in cloth, if you had to guess. Your heavy landing was softened a bit by your blankets, but you didn't even consider this as panic set in.

A moment later everything jostled about once more, before settling into a rhythmic pattern. There was the distant, echoing thud of footsteps, you and your prison swaying with each and every one of them.

Your heart pounded viciously, your breath was ragged, and you held onto your blankets like they were a lifeline.

You didn't know who had you or where they were going or what was going to happen when they found out, but you did know one thing: you were fucked.

-

Hours passed by. Time felt a bit endless in the ball, but it had to be longer than minutes, and it couldn't have been days.

Your panic had eventually subsided somewhat, and the soft swaying was almost calming. You even dozed off once or twice, before the memory of where you were startled you awake.

Eventually the soft footsteps on grass turned into crunching on gravel; this snapped you back into being alert. In the darkness all you could really rely on was sound, so you made sure to pay attention to every noise. Hopefully whenever the human got to their destination they'd set the poké ball aside, giving you an opportunity for escape.

After a few footsteps on gravel there was the sound of a door opening, then boots on floorboards. A few greetings sounded, and your heart nearly stopped. The idea of facing one human was terrifying enough, you couldn't stomach the thought of meeting multiple.

Whomever's pocket you were in; he sounded a greeting in reply, authoritative but still showing a bit of friendliness to the others he was addressing. You felt a faint glimmer of hope, maybe he was friendly, would understand the whole mishap, and let you go.

You'd never met a human before, lessons from others your size and general common sense told you how bad an idea that was. There were nice humans, sure, but when someone was dozens of times your size it was far, far too much a gamble to risk revealing your presence. You were even shorter than most of your kind, barely two inches in height, but humanoid in ever other way.

You've heard your fair share of horror stories, all the ways humans could be horrid and terrible, and so you kept your distance. Despite all of that, you let yourself cling onto the hope that he could be friendly, because at the moment, hope was all you had.

After greetings were through there were more steps, more swaying, more greetings. Wherever you were seemed to have an awful lot of people, which would make escaping hard.

Eventually the man came to a stop again, the pocket you resided in swaying for a moment before stilling. You let out a sigh of relief; being still felt nice after the constant movement.

A chipper voice greeted the man, referring to him just as “Boss”. Wherever you were, apparently he was the one in charge.

The people in the room skipped the pleasantries and cut straight to talking about plans, and it didn't take even a minute for your hopes that the man might be friendly to be dashed away.

The poké ball and fabric muffled most of the conversation, but you did pick up bits and pieces.

A kidnapping of a scientist, a meteor, something involving the seas, and whatever was going on the man who's pocket you resided in was at the center of it.

A new wave of panic washed over you, sending a shudder down your spine. If he was the type to orchestrate theft and kidnappings, and things bigger, he probably wouldn't be the friendly type.

You tugged your knees up to your chest, screwing your eyes shut and trying to keep your breathing even. Panicking wasn't going to do you any good, but at the same time it seemed impossible to not have a breakdown.

You were so focused on keeping yourself calm that you hadn't even noticed the conversation ended until you were rocked into motion again, this time it sending you off balance. You let out a soft grunt as you were thrown against the plastic of the ball, cringing at the bruises left on your arm.

There was no way to predict where the man would go or what would happen next, but the fact that he stopped walking just a few moments later did come as a surprise. There was the sound of a heavy door shutting, and him heaving a sigh, the motion sending you rocking slightly.

Given that he wasn't speaking to anyone, it was evident he was alone, and that made you tense up in expectation.

A moment later there was the faint flood of light, a small bit of light filtering through the plastic of the ball as the pocket was opened. Before you could brace yourself the man picked up the ball, crossing the room with you in hand. You could feel his every movement more than when in the pocket, although trying to see him through the thick plastic proved useless.

The ball landed heavily on something, a few other things clattering down with it. You held your breath in expectation, but a moment later there was the sound of footsteps receding. The sound of a door, and then silence.

You didn't dare move for several moments, unsure of what things were like outside of the poké ball. Staying in there would do you no good, because whomever had you would undoubtedly be checking the ball at some point. Weighing the pros and cons of leaving, you eventually decided getting out would be the best option.

Inside of the poké ball was dark, just small bits of light coming in from the crack in the top half. Using that, you managed to tilt the ball back a bit, shoving aside some of your blankets to find the clasp.

It was sealed tightly, but after a few chipped fingernails and some heavy pulling you managed to undo the clasp. Apparently something else entirely happened to pokémon while they were in the balls, because getting out was surprisingly easy for you. With the way you've seen trainers carry the pokémon around without incident, you expected it to be harder.

It was nothing to complain about however, and you risked propping the top open to peek out. However, the motion of opening the ball sent it off balance again, the open circle rolling to its side, sending you tumbling out of it.

You scrambled to get yourself untangled out of the blankets around you, finding yourself sitting on a dresser. There were items scattered here and there; your flashlight, a rather large anchor chain, a couple potions.

A quick glance around the room showed that it was a bedroom, and a rather nice one at that. You blinked several times, trying to get rid of your vertigo and get used to things at this large scale. Everything utterly dwarfed you, and it was more than a little intimidating.

Before you could stand to your feet, a sudden shadow was cast over you, and you froze. You managed to tear your eyes upwards, meeting a cocky grin and a pair of mischievous blue eyes.

“Well,” he said, deep voice shaking you down to your spine, “What have we here?”

His eyes flick off of you for a moment, landing on the open poké ball; his eyes narrowed slightly as he pieced things together.

Even if you weren't positively minuscule compared to him, you got the feeling that he'd still be more than a little threatening. His muscles, the way he held himself, the cocky tone in his voice, it all practically screamed authority.

You swallowed nervously, unable to tear your gaze from him. Chills went through you, you've always thought that meeting a human would be nerve-racking, but you didn't expect it to be so terrifying.

While his eyes were off of you, you made an attempt to edge back, wanting to put as much difference between him and you as possible.

There was a small flash of brown to your side, and as you moved back you felt your head hit something thick and warm. Ignoring how you were shaking, you tilted your head back to see what it was.

The man had moved his hand behind you, and he curled his massive fingers around your body slightly. They were as big as you were, if not bigger, and entirely dwarfed you.

“Not so fast,” the man stated, the slightest hint of something smug in his voice, as if he was amused that you thought he'd let you get away that fast.

Before you could think his hand shifted, grabbing you by the back of your shirt. He pinched it in two fingers and raised you up in the air, standing to his full height as he did so. He held you in front of his face, holding you close as he looked over you.

You flailed a little as you raised up, and despite your resolve your eyes looked downwards. You stilled the second you realized how long the fall was, and the fact that his two fingers on your shirt were the only thing keeping you from a long drop and a quick death.

Turning your eyes up from the fall, you found he had pulled you even closer, his blue eyes looking over you intently. He was looking at you like a rare find, something undiscovered, which you supposed you were. Under other circumstances, someone looking like him looking at you like that could be a compliment, but you were a tad too caught up in panic to even think of that. Still, you felt utterly pinned beneath his gaze, and blushed a little at your far, far too close proximity. There was nowhere to look other than his deep blue eyes or the deep fall below, so you screwed your eyes shut, deciding to keep your mouth shut as well. It wouldn't do any good to say something wrong and turn into another one of the horror stories borrowers told each other about humans.

The man laughed, a deep chuckle in his chest, the wind from his mouth making you sway slightly in his grip.

“Skittish little thing, aren't you?” he asked, moving you a bit back from his face. Apparently, he had a concept of personal space after all.

You risked opening your eyes again, biting on your lip anxiously. He tilted his head slightly, eyes still scrutinizing you, head to toe.

“What are you?” he asked, leaving no room to not speak anymore.

Deciding that not answering might make him mad, you attempted to ignore the way your throat was locked up, and spoke.

“I'm a p-person,” you stuttered out. People called you many things, borrowers, thumblings, tiny folk, but at the base of it you were just that, a person, just small. Besides, clearing the air as soon as possible and making sure he knew you weren't a pokémon or some toy was important, you were as much a person as he was, and despite your anxiety you wanted to make sure he knew that.

He quirked an eyebrow up.

“People aren't an inch tall, dearie,” he stated.

“W-well I a-am,” you replied, before muttering under your breath, “And it's two inches.”

The man tilted his head down to face you better, still taking in your appearance.

“And would you be so kind to tell me how and why you got into my base?” he ask. There was a slight undercurrent of firmness in his voice, sending a chill down your spine.

“I was sleeping in the poké ball,” you said, words tumbling out one after the other, “You grabbed me!”

The man nodded, accepting your answer. However, he made no motion to put you down, instead seemed to be more interested in you.

“Well, isn't that unfortunate,” he stated, in a tone that showed he didn't really think it was unfortunate ate all.

You took in a deep breath, something hard to do with him pulling on your shirt causing pressure on your chest, and looked up in his eyes.

“Look, just please let me go,” you pleaded, “It was an accident, you don't even have to bring me back to my home, just set me outside!”

The man paused in thought for a moment, before replying.

“Now why would I want to do that?” he asked, moving you a bit closer again. You swayed a little as the motion of his hand rocked you, you flailing your arms, wishing you had something to grab onto.

“I-I-I,” you stuttered out, not sure of what to say, “P-please don't.”

“Look, doll, I'm a busy man, I have things to do,” he stated, “However, even someone like me wouldn't pass up on someone like you. I've never seen anything like you before, you think I'm going to let you slip away that easy?”

Your breath came raggedly, your heart pounded in your chest. You were downright terrified, and shaking all over.

Suddenly a spark of resentment sounded, and the words slipped out before you could stop them.

“I'll tell someone,” you threatened, immediately panicking at the threat but not letting it show. If it was going to work you had to stick by it.

The man's eyebrows furrowed, his eyes narrowed, him sizing you up.

“The conversation earlier, about the scientist and the meteor, I heard it,” you stated, putting every ounce of energy into keeping your voice firm and even. Threatening someone dozens of times your size was a stupid move, but it was the only one you had. “I'll get out, I swear I will, and if you don't let me go I'll tell someone.”

It was a bluff, plain and simple. If he let you go, you'd get the hell away from him and any other humans as far as possible. However you attempted to seem resolute, not wavering an inch.

Something shifted in the man's expression, his careless cockiness turning into something a touch darker. A small chill shuddered through you, waiting in expectation.

“You're playing with forces you aren't ready to handle,” he said, jerking you closer to him.

You swallowed thickly.

“Let me go.”

He raised his other arm up, stepping closer to the dresser. There was the shuffling of glass and plastic, and you couldn't turn to see it due to the hold he had on your back.

A moment later, he dropped you.

A shriek ripped through your lungs as you were plummeted downwards, only for your fall to be muffled by a wadded up piece of cloth, a bandanna by the looks of it. You scrambled to your feet, wobbling on the uneven surface, before looking up.

You were in a jar, it far taller than you. The thought of climbing out of it seemed impossible, glass walls rose above you on all sides.

You spun around, hoping to see some weak point, something you could use to your advantage, but there was nothing at all.

You were knocked off balance again as the jar was raised up and twisted. You righted yourself into a sitting position, scooting back and pressing your back against the glass, as far from the man as possible. A quick glance upwards showed he had twisted on the lid with a few holes punctured in.

You looked up, meeting the man's gaze again, as he looked down at you, smug grin playing on his lips.

“You can't just k-k-keep me here!” you stuttered out, voice slightly muffled by the glass.

“Watch me,” he replied, before setting down the jar on the dresser.

He leaned in close, so his face, his deep blue eyes, was the only thing in your vision. You pressed yourself back into the glass further, wanting to be as far away as possible.

“My name's Archie,” he stated, before grinning at you like a shark would at a minnow, “And it looks like you're stuck with me, dear.”