Title: No Antidote Author: FalconPain Rating: T Genre: Tragedy/Adventure Status: Complete Fandom: Pokemon Summary: Bulbasaur and his trainer had an agreement: they would make it to the Pokémon League, or go down trying. So even when faced with utter tragedy, he decides that he and his trainer will live up to their promise. By any means necessary. Link: Ffn So, this fic came back into my mind recently, and I was surprised as hell to see it wasn't already here. I first read it most of a decade ago, must've been 2010-2012 or so, and it mostly holds up. Premise is that Marty - the trainer - gets poisoned by a Beedrill and is given a time limit on life. They go back on the pokemon journey anyway, with the goal of getting as far as they can, and the fic takes Marty's condition damn seriously. The story is told from the perspective of the Bulbasaur, rather than the trainer, and humans are given rather short shrift throughout. Generally that makes me hesitant because it's often a red flag, but it works here, and the fic just flat out fails otherwise. The Pokemon are solid characters, with their own motivations, personalities, and voice. Bulbasaur's got the right balance of naivete to him, where he's clearly inexperienced but not immature. More impressive is that the author made Bulbasaur's voice and personality distinct from Marty's second pokemon, who's rather innocent. If you can make naive and innocent sound different from each other, you've got a leg up on most fanfic writers when it comes to characters. Spoiler: Other Pokemon Ekans is another good example. I'm sure there's some YMMV on tolerating him, but there's well done undercurrent of bitter fear to him behind the arrogance and abrasiveness. The plotting comes full circle in a fairly intelligent way. Author has a point. They know it, and they strike it. And they know damn well what genre they're writing, and they don't bitch out when it counts. This isn't one of those not-so-sob stories where Marty's illness is an inconvenient presence that doesn't stop him from ultimately succeeding. Marty's condition is serious, and it's treated as such. This is a tragedy. And the story understands how to make it progress and slowly escalate until it comes to its final end. I think it spins its wheels a bit past the halfway point, but goddamn does it stick the landing. Spoiler Will say, the part after Marty dies with the ghost trainers and whatnot is a let down, but not enough to really hurt the fic. Marty's death is still great. Ask me whenever I first read it all those years ago and I'd have given it an easy 5, and I'm still kinda tempted. A few things grate on me more than they used to. Nevertheless, the core of the story remains damn good. It's a well-written tragedy that doesn't pull its punches but doesn't get too melodramatic, and ain't that a nice thing to find. 4.5/5, rounding down.