tagRomanceGaming for Love

Gaming for Love

byauguy86©

I'm back, dear readers! Been writing up a storm over the holiday break; I did manage to churn out a few chapters of the sequel to my King Arthur story, as well as this little number. I've cooked up this short romance for Literotica's 2018 Valentine's Day contest. As you can tell by the title, it has a gaming theme, specifically Pokémon, a game that I'm really big into. I did make sure to write it in such a way that even someone with no familiarity with the game can easily follow along with the action. Even if you were to only skim through the gaming portions, I think you'll still enjoy the story. I'd really appreciate it if y'all could give it a read, and maybe post some honest feedback. Your comments are always helpful in getting my stories ready for the critics. And if you really enjoyed it, I'd appreciate a five-star rating for the contest. Thanks for your continued readership!

*

"And Smallwood drains it for three!"

Click.

Michael Goldman scanned the Auburn Basketball Arena, always looking for the perfect shot for the school newspaper, The Plainsman. Allison Smallwood, the star point guard of the women's basketball team, always made for an excellent target. Not only was she a fantastic athlete, but she was also a pretty blonde with a dazzling smile.

"Foul on Georgia, and Smallwood steps to the free throw line!"

Click. Click.

As he snapped a few more shots, Michael couldn't help but smile. Even as socially awkward as he was, he seemed to thrive whenever he was on the job. While behind the camera, he was able to see the world around him not as the annoying bunch of people he had to deal with, but as a collection of models waiting for him to capture the perfect moment. Still, it'd be nice to have a sweet girl to go home to after work, but Michael wasn't holding out much hope. Most girls weren't attracted to the stereotypical Jewish kid: scrawny with curly black hair, pale skin complexion, and a bit of a large nose. As much as Michael tried to downplay the cliché, there really was no escaping it.

A sudden thud from the court snapped Michael out of his daydream, and he saw one of the other girls down on the floor. A quick glance at his roster sheet told him it was Desiree Bonner, the starting forward. As he went to work with his camera, he was relieved to see that her injuries didn't look too serious. Soon, she was being tended to by one of the trainers.

"There she is," Michael breathed.

Michael still had no idea who she was, but the student trainer that worked with the women's basketball team was nothing short of a knockout. She was maybe 5'5" with light ash blonde hair, and her sharp eyes and wry smile seemed to indicate that she had a keen intellect to go with her stunning good looks. As she worked on Desiree, Michael couldn't help but snap a few shots of the two of them, making sure that both the trainer and player were in focus. What he would give for a shot with her. Soon, the buzzer interrupted his fantasies, forcing him back to reality.

"Well, back to work..."

So it went for the rest of the game. No further injuries occurred for Auburn, so Michael didn't get any further glimpses of the little goddess that tended to the players. The Lady Tigers kept the game close, but Georgia was just the better team in the end, and the Bulldogs ended up winning 67-62. This didn't come as a huge surprise to Michael. Throughout the season, the team had proved to be talented but young, with Smallwood being the only real veteran on the team. Considering that she was only a sophomore, the team had nowhere to go but up in the coming seasons.

After a final series of shots as the teams shook hands, Michael texted his boss up in the press box. The reply thanked Michael for his hard work and instructed him to take the rest of the night off; his boss would handle photography at the postgame press conference. This suited Michael just fine, as he had gotten more than enough of people for the day. After packing up his camera gear, he headed out to his bike to begin the trek back to his apartment.

*****

As he reclined on the sofa in his living room, Michael grabbed his Nintendo 3DS and powered up his copy of Pokémon Sun, intending to waste away the rest of the evening with some online battles. On the other side of the room stood Antonio, Michael's roommate. He was a tall drink of water by any standard, and his dark chocolate skin and shaved head gave him quite a striking appearance. Still, he was as nerdy as Michael was, perhaps even more so, and tried to communicate this with his black horn-rimmed glasses. Of course, with his height and good looks, that only served to make him even more irresistible to the opposite sex. As was his usual Thursday evening routine, he stood with iron in hand, pressing his shirts for the coming weekend, no doubt for a Valentine's Day date of some sort.

"Dammit," Michael muttered.

"What's wrong, man?" Antonio asked.

"Another rage quitter. That's three in a row!"

"You gettin' that good?" Antonio wondered with a laugh.

"No, the level of competition has definitely gone down in the last few months. Not sure what's happening. Still, I can't help it that I'm kicking so much ass!"

"Sounds like you need some stronger competition."

"Yeah, but I know you don't play Pokémon anymore."

"True. I ain't got the time to put in. But maybe you ought to consider joining the local League?"

"League? I thought you said the president of the AU Pokémon League was a total asshole?" Michael replied.

"He is, but it's gonna be your best bet for some decent people to play against. Besides, none of them will rage quit on you; it's against their rules. If they do, they get put on probation. Too many times, and they're kicked out."

"Hmm... maybe so. When's the next meeting?"

"Tomorrow, actually. They meet at the GameStop on University Parkway."

"Thanks, I'll check it out." Hearing the steam from Antonio's iron, Michael remarked, "Dude, you're fucking obsessed with clothes. It's a little disturbing."

"What can I say? The ladies love a man wearing a freshly pressed shirt!"

"Yeah, right. I'd bet you're in the closet. Great cover, by the way," Michael snorted.

"Hey, that hurts," Antonio whined, feigning a heart attack. "I can't help it if I'm that much better than you with the women, just like you can't help it you're so much better than those idiots online!"

"Yeah, but you could share," Michael shot back with a grin.

"Sorry, but Antonio don't kiss and tell," he replied with a toothy grin. After a moment of silence, he continued, "You see that little hottie at the basketball game again?"

"Yeah, she was there."

"You should talk to her, man! I bet you two would hit it off real good!"

"Are you nuts?! She's so far out of my league, I bet she doesn't even know I exist!" Michael laughed.

"Dude, stop sellin' yourself short. You're a good guy with some excellent job prospects after you graduate next year. What girl wouldn't be all over that? And if a girl isn't all over that, you don't want her anyway!"

"Easy for you to say, Mr. Ladies' Geek."

"Trust me, just chat her up next time you see her. I don't care when or where it is, introduce yourself and see what happens. You might even be able to get her to go with you to the Valentine's Day dance in the student union building."

"No point; I bet she's got a boyfriend."

"Don't hurt to ask, does it?"

"Whatever..."

*****

The next afternoon, Michael arrived at the GameStop on the outskirts of campus. For some odd reason, he felt nervous. He reasoned it was likely just because of a new and unknown situation; once he tried this group out, he had little doubt he'd like it. As he walked in to the shop, he was pleasantly surprised to see at least a dozen people there, all seated at tables. A couple of them were engrossed in discussions or trading card games, but the majority had their 3DS systems out and ready. After a moment, an overweight man with long greasy hair greeted Michael.

"What's up? You here for the League?"

"Uh, yeah. Thought I'd give it a shot, see what it's all about," Michael replied.

"Cool. I'm Eric, the Almighty President of the AU Pokémon League," the man said with pride. "That's an official title, by the way."

"Good to meet you," Michael answered, hiding his immediate dislike for the man. "Name's Michael."

"Lemme show ya around. The rules here are pretty simple," Eric said, pointing to a poster on the wall.





  1. The terms of any battle or trade must be discussed and agreed upon by all parties beforehand.





  2. If terms are not discussed, all battles are assumed to take place under standard OU rules in the case of singles or VGC rules for doubles.





  3. Any and all disputes will be settled by the Almighty President of the AU Pokémon League.





  4. Absolutely no rage quitting; either forfeit or see the battle through to the end. The first offense will result in a warning, second offense will be probation and temporary suspension, and the third offense will result in the player being banned from the League.





  5. The Almighty President of the AU Pokémon League may be challenged for leadership at any time by any law-abiding member.





  6. These rules may be amended as the Almighty President sees fit, but rules 5 and 6 may not be changed.





"Huh... I like rule four," Michael remarked. "That's what brought me here."

"You're not alone in that," Eric replied. "Rage quitting is a huge problem with online gaming, and probably more so with Pokémon than with many other games. In Call of Duty, for instance, a single rage quitter often goes unnoticed. If he's doing that bad, neither team is likely to miss him. But Pokémon is always one-on-one, so any rage quit ends the match altogether."

"At least Nintendo is trying to do something about it lately, forcing rage quitters to stay offline for a while before they can play again."

"Only in ranked battles," Eric corrected him. "In free battles, there's nothing stopping them. Anyway, looks like everyone's paired up for now, but feel free to watch. If anything opens up, you can jump in."

"What about her?" Michael asked, seeing a girl sitting alone at a table in the far corner of the shop.

"Dude, you don't want to play her," Eric said, the disgust apparent in his voice.

"Why not?"

"She cheats. Nobody can figure out how, of course, so we can't kick her out. But nobody can come close to beating her, and as good as the guys that come here are, she has to be cheating."

Not believing Eric for one second, Michael replied, "I'll take my chances."

"Whatever, dude. Your funeral."

Despite his promise to "show Michael around," Eric returned to his seat and began a battle with another member. Michael stared for a moment, watching the pretty brunette with thick glasses seated next to Eric. The way she was hanging on his every move, they had to be an item. Still, Michael could have sworn he saw something in her eyes. It could have been sadness, but it could also have been longing. Either way, Michael decided he wanted as little to do with Eric as possible; a part of him wished he had listened to Antonio. Still, the competition was bound to be better here than online. Turning towards the lone table in the back corner, Michael froze as he realized something.

"Holy shit... it's her!" he muttered to himself.

Sitting alone at the table was the same girl from the basketball games. Her ash blonde hair was unmistakable, even if it was held up by a hair clip rather than in a ponytail. Now that he had his best look ever at this girl, Michael had to concentrate to keep from embarrassing himself with a public erection. Her face was the cutest thing he had ever seen, impish with a slightly rounded tip to her nose. On one side of her nose, he could see a piercing with a tiny faux diamond stud in it. Her front bangs were quite long and side swept over her right eye for a sultry look, even if that wasn't what she was going for. She wore a black t-shirt with a picture of a very unhappy Princess Peach saying, "Rescue this." Michael shook his head in disbelief. All this time he had thought this mystery girl a jock, but now, he couldn't see her as anything other than what she apparently was: a gamer girl. Collecting his courage, he walked over to the open seat across from her.

"If you think I'm gonna fuck you just 'cause I'm a gamer girl, fuck off. If you think I suck just 'cause I'm a gamer girl, fuck off," she muttered without even looking up.

Though Michael was taken aback by her cold remark, he replied, "Nothing like that, I just wanna play a game with you."

"Right, but only 'cause there's nobody else available," she snorted.

"Actually, I'd want to play you regardless. I'm told you're good."

"Pretty sure you were told I cheat."

"I was, and I don't believe that bullshit for one second."

Shrugging, the girl replied, "Maybe you ought to believe it."

"Only one way to find out, right?" Michael smirked, adjusting his glasses.

At last, she looked up at him, studying his face. "You seriously just wanna play? Nothing more?"

"Nothing more."

"Fine. 6 on 6 single battle, standard OU rules."

"Works for me," Michael said as he powered up his 3DS.

Studying him again, she asked, "Do I know you from somewhere?"

Michael replied, "I don't know if you do, but I've seen you around. You're the trainer for the women's basketball team, right?"

"That's where I know you from! You're the photographer I always see on the sidelines!"

"Yep. Michael Goldman, graphics design major and photographer for The Plainsman student newspaper," he said, extending his hand.

She waited a moment before shaking it, saying, "Ashley Henderson, sports medicine major and your soon-to-be executioner."

"Damn, little trash talker!" Michael chuckled.

Ashley's eyebrows shot up at this. "Huh. Sorry, it's just that... most guys can't handle my trash talking. You'd think I had cut their balls off or something."

"I've heard worse from twelve year old kids playing Call of Duty," Michael snorted. "Ok, let me pull my team together..."

For most non-gamers, the first thing they think of when they are asked about Pokémon is the catchphrase, "Gotta catch 'em all." From this, it is easy to assume that the games are simple collectors games, catch them all to win the game. But for players like Michael and Ashley, who had both been playing the series since the first games came out in the 1990s, it went far deeper than that. They loved the competitive turn-based battles, finding joy in structuring different teams for different situations and going up against as many skilled opponents as they could. With six Pokémon per team, each with different roles to fill, the possibilities were endless. To them, it was like a massive game of chess in which you could customize your pieces to fit your play style. Don't have any use for bishops? Trade them in for an extra knight or two. Every decision had advantages and drawbacks, and as in chess, victory often hinged on which player could accurately predict what their opponent was going to do and when.

In Pokémon, every combatant has either one or two elemental types, each of which has its own strengths and weaknesses. For example, Fire types are strong against Grass types, but weak against Water types. Water is strong against Fire and weak against Grass, while Grass is strong against Water and weak against Fire. With eighteen different elemental types to choose from, crafting a team strong and varied enough to handle anything that comes along is essential. Further, each Pokémon could fill different roles on the team. Some are quite fast with powerful attacks, known as "sweepers." These offensive Pokémon are the basis for most teams, eschewing defensive capabilities for the ability to pressure the opponent with their sheer damage output. Others have little to no offensive presence, known as "supporters." They possess a variety of moves that can indirectly disrupt the opponent's strategy. Finally, there are "bulky" combatants with little to no speed but incredible defenses. Such Pokémon are often capable of filling either an offensive role or a defensive support role, depending on the overall team strategy.

At the pregame preparation screen, images of the teams Michael and Ashley had chosen appeared. Michael had gone with his favorite bulky attacking team. Most of his Pokémon weren't fast, but could take some damage and dish right back, once they had the chance to boost their attacking power. For several seconds, he studied Ashley's team in an effort to figure out what her overall strategy would be. Her team seemed all over the place, possessing a couple of fast sweepers, but also several members known for their defensive stalling abilities. He didn't know what to make of it, but the battle was about to start, so he would have to figure it out as he went.

Michael led off with his Ice type Pokémon, Alolan Ninetales. Though frail, this Pokémon was very fast and possessed the ability to summon a hailstorm once it entered the field. Further, its Aurora Veil technique would boost the defenses of his entire team, giving them the edge as Michael got them in position to take Ashley's team down. Unfortunately, Ashley had predicted this exact strategy, leading off with her Celesteela, a bulky Steel and Flying Pokémon. Michael now was faced with a difficult choice. Ninetales was faster and could easily set up Aurora Veil, but would also be taken out of the game with a single hit from Celesteela. Deciding not to sacrifice his best supporter so early, he pulled Ninetales back onto the bench in favor of his Magnezone.

Magnezone was a staple for most of Michael's competitive teams. A Steel and Electric type, it possessed the ability to trap other steel types and prevent them from being pulled back onto the bench, as he had done with his Ninetales. Thus, Celesteela was forced to remain in the game, ensuring it would soon fall to Magnezone's electric attacks, which were twice as effective against it. But once again, Ashley had predicted this exact action and was ready for it. Rather than attack with Celesteela, as Michael had anticipated, she had it use a boosting move to increase its otherwise slow speed. This would ensure that it could attack Magnezone first in the next turn, while Michael had used up his first turn to switch to Magnezone, rendering him unable to retaliate. Still, Magnezone's attacks were powerful enough that Celesteela shouldn't survive more than a single hit, Michael reminded himself.

That, of course, was when disaster struck. Celesteela is a Pokémon capable of learning a wide variety of attacks, even if they don't match up with its own types of Steel and Flying. One sneaky move is to teach it a Fire type attack, and this is precisely what Ashley had done with hers. The Flamethrower attack hit Michael's Magnezone for twice the damage, due to it being a Steel type, and reduced its HP to 0 with a single strike. Michael was dumbfounded by the surprise attack, but had no time to recover. Upon achieving a knockout, Celesteela's special ability came into play and boosted its attacking power. Now, Michael knew he was in trouble.

"Oh, shit..."

"Aw, you gonna go crying to your mommy?" Ashley teased him.

"I've still got a few tricks up my sleeve," Michael shot back.

"Good. You're gonna need 'em."

Michael took a few moments to consider his options. As Magnezone was who he was relying on to defeat Ashley's Celesteela, he was forced to change tactics and sent out his Tapu Fini, one of his more defensive players. Celesteela immediately fired off a powerful attack, but Michael's Tapu Fini managed to weather the hit and launch a Water type attack. As Michael had hoped would happen, its Muddy Water attack had the additional effect of lowering Celesteela's accuracy, and the next attack missed completely as a result. After lowering Celesteela's accuracy once more, Tapu Fini succumbed the next turn, but Michael could sense the tide turning, in spite of the score being six to four against him. Michael's next Pokémon was his Alolan Marowak, a Fire and Ghost type with incredible attacking power. Even though Celesteela was faster than Marowak by far, its first two attacks missed, allowing Marowak an easy knockout with its Fire Punch.

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