He dropped the tennis ball with a sigh and let it roll away across the grass. Nothing. Oshawott wasn't smiling. Its little mouth was still set firmly in the same severe, thin-lipped frown it had been wearing ever since the professor had given it to him over a week ago.

"Come on, Oshawott, what's the matter?" He slumped against the growing mound of rejected toys, some purchased with his own money but the majority borrowed from sympathetic fellow park-goers. A rainbow of multicolored toys tumbled down as his back hit the pile. "Are you angry with me?" The pokémon shook its head. "Are you sad? Do you miss the professor?" It shook its head. He sighed again. He didn't know why he bothered asking anymore. He didn't even know why he'd bothered panhandling for toys. They never worked. Oshawott never smiled.

At a loss, he watched Oshawott glance over its shoulder and turn its pout on a little girl toddling along in pursuit of another recently rebuffed ball, this one ignored after being tossed wildly in half an attempt at fetch and half a fit of frustration. The toy had come to rest on the other side of the road; it wasn't until he heard a woman scream that he realized said road was currently in use by an advancing car.

He was on his feet and sprinting toward the child before his brain had fully registered was what going on. Twelve yards behind her, twenty feet behind her, almost close enough to grab her shirt and pull her out of harm's way, face-first into the trunk of a venerable ash tree that had sprung up out of nowhere.

The motorist slammed on his brakes and screeched to a halt just in time; the girl skipped straight across the road, oblivious to her narrow escape, and retrieved the ball; he groaned and fell backward, hitting the ground hard and blacking out seconds later.

He lay there for a minute or so with blood trickling from his forehead, out cold and unable to see the smirk on Oshawott's face.