Black, Cheren, Bianca, and their pokémon entered Nimbasa central station for the fifth day in a row. The large, round station featured twenty-five different platforms with trains to the various cities of Unova. The station was this huge because it made sure any station in Unova was reachable from any other by at most two trains, as every train stopped in Nimbasa at some point. But the platforms that interested the trainers were the five that hosted the Battle Subway. The Battle Subway consisted of several trains were trainers battled while being driven to their destination, so to Black, Bianca, and Cheren, that meant a morning of battling, an afternoon spent picnicking in some new place, and an evening spent battling again, which was great training and fun. That day they decided to try the one platform they hadn't tried yet.
“Sorry,” the conductor stopped them, “this 'ere's a tag battle train. You can only board in groups of two or four.”
“Oh, that's a shame. I guess we-”
“That's no problem, there are four of us,” said a new voice.
They turned around in surprise to greet the new arrival. “Oh, hey White,” greeted Black, “what are you doing in Nimbasa?”
“Just visiting the city.”
Black introduced the others to one another and they boarded the train. They entered a large, mostly empty wagon and the train began riding.
“I guess we should get started with the battle,” said Black.
“Right!” exclaimed Bianca, “I'm with Cheren!”
“What?” Cheren said while Bianca pulled him to the opposite side of the wagon by his sleeve, “but I want to team up with Black!”
Bianca stuck her tongue out at him. “Too late, you're with me now!”
“Then I guess we are a team as well,” said White.
“Great. Let's use three pokémon each,” said Black, “Octa, you're up first.”
“In that case,” Cheren said with a grin, “I'll use Pignite!”
“Then I'll use Oshy to complete our starter trio!” Bianca exclaimed.
“Don't you know anything?” Cheren asked exasperated, “You don't use pokémon that are at a type disadvantage to your opponent's if you can help it!”
“It's just a training battle, and how better to train him for battling electric types than to use him against his other weakness?”
“Training or not, you battle to win.”
“Well, I battle to have fun!”
White cleared her throat. “Rufflet, go!”
The four pokémon looked at one another for a moment, then Octa summoned a Leaf Tornado at Oshy the Dewott, while Pignite encased itself in flames and bashed into Octa. To complicated matters further, Oshy slashed at Rufflet, who performed an aerial swoop over Pignite at the same time. As the battle turned into close combat, Octa switched to using Vine Whip attacks while Pignite used his fists and mass to do the talking.
Boreas was watching the battle intently, but slowly became aware that with each Vine Whip Octa used, Toxica's grin became a bit broader and her blush a bit deeper. Eventually she sighed deeply. “Oh, how I wish he would just sweep me off my feet, wrap me up with his gorgeous green body, and kiss my lips while he's at it...”
“Please excuse me while I go vomit into someone's eye,” said Boreas, quickly moving away from Toxica to go to Lucius and Capella who were sitting a few metres further, chatting with White's pokémon, including, Boreas nervously noted, Febby.
“Hello, non-creepy, non-obsessed people,” he greeted them.
“I take it Toxica was swooning over Octa once again, then?” Capella amusedly asked.
“More like obsessing over him.”
“Don't worry,” Lucius sneered, “I'm sure Octa has eyes for no-one but you.”
While Boreas hadn't been paying attention, the battle had continued and by now Octa was the only combatant left standing. “Octa,” Black commanded, “switch out for Boreas.”
“Good luck, my dear fellow,” said Octa as they passed each other.
“Then it's up to you, Liepard!” Cheren said.
“Pansy,” Bianca commanded, sending her Pansear out, “begin by lowering its defence with Tickle!”
White sent out her Vullaby to help Boreas. Pansear lurched at him, but he dodged with a quick roll that led his straight into Liepard's claws. The feline slashed him several times, opening long cuts on his body. As he recoiled in pain, Pansear used the opportunity to grab him and begin tickling his belly. Boreas recoiled and laughed as he tried to wrestle the Pansear off him.
“So you're ticklish?” asked Aqua, interrupting Boreas.
“A bit, yeah,” said Boreas.
A diabolic grin slowly spread on Aqua's face. “Oh, you are?” she said in a tone that was as sweet as a caramel onion.
Suddenly she jumped on top of him, placed her paws on his stomach, and started tickling him. He tried not to laugh, but the feeling of her tickling was too much to handle and he burst with laughter while his limbs convulsed uncontrollably. “Hahaha- No, stop it- Heehee- Please- Nononono- hahaha- Okay, stopstopstop, please- hahaha- knock it off, pleahease!”
“Never!” Aqua said, tickling even faster, “I'm going to tickle you to death!”
“Hihihi- pleaheaheahease- haha- stohohop!”
“Maybe I'll be lenient to you if you beg me for mercy.”
“Hahaha, mehehehehercy, please!”
“Percy?” she said with a look of ignorance, “My name's not Percy!”
“Do I look like a Percy to you?”
“No, no, hahaha, merceeheehee!”
“I don't think this “Percy” of yours can hear you, so he won't come to save you. You're all mine!”
Realising she wasn't going to show him any mercy, instead he tried to get his convulsing limbs under as much control as possible, grabbed her wrists, flipped her over on her back, and sat on her hind legs. “Ha!” he exclaimed, “we'll see who tickles whom to death now!”
He began tickling her stomach, finding out that she was ticklish too as she began laughing. “You do know you really deserved this, don't you?”
“Hahaha- if I sayayayay yes, will- heehee- you stohohohop it?”
“Not a chance,” Boreas grinned, enjoying this position very much.
“Hahahaha- stop it- heeheeheehee- I gayayave you a fair way ouhout!”
“Okay, I'll stop if you can say 'antidisestablishmentarianism'.”
“Ahahantidisest- ahahaha- Antidihihihi- it's not faihaihair, knock it ohohoff!”
“No, I don't think so.”
“Hahaha- please- hahaha- pretty pleaheahease!”
“Not a chance. I'm tickling you to death!”
“Hahaha- no, mercy!”
“Percy? I don't know anyone named Percy.”
“Thahahahat's mean! Hahaha- knock it off, mehehercy!”
“My name's Boreas, not Percy.”
“That's not my name either.”
“Hahaha- I give uhuhuhup. You win.”
Boreas stopped tickling her, and immediately she grabbed him, rolled them over, and said “And now it's payback time!”
But Boreas was prepared for that: he used their rolling momentum to continue rolling and end up on top again. “You were saying?”
She laughed coquettely. “I guess I shouldn't have tried to trick you. Now you really win, you sly fox.”
As she lay there, still panting from the tickle fight, she looked absolutely stunning and Boreas was overcome by an overpowering sense of adoration. “To think that I only met you yesterday...” he whispered.
“Incredible, isn't it?” Aqua whispered blushing, “it seems as if I've known you for so much longer.”
“Yeah... It does.” Boreas slowly leant forward, approaching her face closer and closer as she held her breath in expectation. But when he was only twenty centimetres away from her, he suddenly lost all courage. His nerves made him freeze in place, he blushed so deeply it was a surprise his eyes didn't pop out of their sockets, and he got off Aqua.
Why didn't I kiss her?! He thought, angry at himself, if I hadn't chickened out, I would be feeling her soft lips on mine right now!
But what if she didn't want to kiss me? A voice of doubt inside him asked.
Obviously, she wanted to kiss me, she hasn't exactly made it a secret that she fancies me! And look at the disappointed look on her face right now.
A few seconds passed in a highly awkward silence, and Boreas was deeply jealous of another Boreas in a parallel universe, who was spending those few seconds snogging Aqua instead. But in this universe, the moment had passed and Boreas felt he had to break the silence somehow.
“So... um... when Bianca's Pansear tickled me, it wasn't remotely as much fun as that,” he said.
“Oh?” asked Aqua, somehow managing to put interest, indifference, disappointment, and curiosity into just two letters.
“Yes,” he continued, “because as soon as I began laughing, it gave me a Fire Punch instead and the Liepard scratched me with his claws.”
Boreas cringed in pain from the several attacks he was being hit by and his vision was rapidly going black. He concentrated on staying awake and created Powder Snow out of thin air to cool and soothe his wounds. Feeling less dizzy, he took a look at the world around him. His ally had taken the pressure off him by engaging both opponents at once, and though her bone-armour protected her she was clearly about to faint. He formed Icy Wind to envelop both opponents and draw them to him, but once again he was finding the attack was just not direct or powerful enough for his purposes. He tried to concentrate all his cold in a beam, but again, all it did was make his mouth very cold, so he resorted to using Ice Fang on Liepard instead.
Vullaby immediately reacted by stabbing her beak into Liepard's flesh like a knife. Pansear tried to use Boreas' distractedness while he bit Liepard to give him another Fire Punch, but Boreas had expected that, jumped aside just in time, and laughed as Pansear punched his own ally. Using moves from when he was an Eevee, he Tackled the Pansear multiple times, pinned him down to the ground, and allowed his ally to Peck it again. Pansear and Liepard were soon defeated, and Black recalled Boreas as White switched the wounded Vullaby out for Febby. “Boreas, switch out for Toxica.”
Boreas was rather surprised by that, as he couldn't remember a single time when Black had used Toxica other than against Team Plasma. Apparently Cheren was surprised too. “An Oddish, really?”
“This is a training battle,” explained Black as Boreas sat down by Capella and Octa, “and I think it's about time she evolved, so I'm training her.”
“That is weird, now that he mentions it,” Capella mused, “Toxica should have evolved a while ago. I wonder why she hasn't yet?”
Boreas had a pretty good idea of why Toxica hadn't evolved yet, recalling her conversation with Octa where he called Glooms smelly and ugly. He didn't say anything, though, as though Toxica's fawning over Octa annoyed him highly, he still wasn't going to spill her secrets to others.
Cheren sent out his Tranquill and Bianca her Munna to battle Toxica and Febby. They began attacking Toxica, who unleashed a cloud of powder before jumping out of the way, so that her opponents both inhaled a big breath of the toxic powder.
“Excellent!” Octa exclaimed. For once, Boreas was not annoyed by this as he was too bust watching Febby. Toxica turned for a moment to smile and wave at him with one of her leaves, and was immediately punished for it as Tranquill swooped over her and slashes his talons across her face, while Munna was battling Febby.
“Just out of curiosity,” Capella's calm voice whispered, “have you told her how you feel about her?”
Boreas turned in surprise. “Whom? And what am I supposed to feel about her and tell her about?”
Capella sighed. “Look, don't bother trying to hide it, it's pretty obvious and I've seen it often enough.”
“Okay, fine,” Boreas submitted, “no, I haven't told her.”
“I've been in love more times than I can remember, and let me tell you that it's always better to tell her. Sure, she might not return the feelings, but in that case you get over it relatively quickly compared to how long it takes if you never know what she might have said.”
“I appreciate your concern, but just let me deal with it my way, okay?”
After relentless psychic attacks by Munna, Febby collapsed. However, the effects of the Poisonpowder were rapidly becoming apparent: one by one, every vein in the opponents' bodies became clearly visible as it turned black, and their eyes were turning a bloody red while their faces were screwed up in pain.
Before White could even switch Febby out for Vullaby, Tranquill swooped over Toxica, scratching her with his claws. Meanwhile Munna's bleeding eyes glowed and Toxica seemed to be in severe pain. Within moments, she fainted as well.
“Woohoo!” Bianca cheered, “we won!”
“I'm afraid we didn't,” said Cheren, “White still has a pokémon left, and Black only retreated his Servine and Glaceon, they never fainted, so he can use them again, while our last two pokémon are poisoned.”
“Oh,” said Bianca disappointed.
“We could call it a tie,” suggested Black.