There were no other Trainers at the orphanage who I could battle against. And, given that I wasn't allowed to wander outside of the orphanage (with the rare exception of monitored library time), that left me without any way to practice my theoretical knowledge in the actual heat of battle. This bothered me greatly, and left me with a yearning to venture out of the orphanage stronger than I had ever experienced before.

But, even if there was no way for us to battle against opponents, I wouldn't let Hatenna and I get sloppy. I would throw balls near her to have her dodge, in order to keep her reflexes sharp without battle. I would toss sticks and such into the air and have her use Confusion to snap it in half before it hit the ground, practicing precision and keeping her ability to use her moves from getting rusty. We were never able to gain any levels from this, as is the way with Pokemon leveling, but it kept both of us from growing stale.

More importantly, though, it kept us close together.

I'd sleep with Hatenna in my bed, under the covers with me, and petting her as I dozed off. She, I would notice, would never fall asleep before me, as if feeding off my energy. Hatenna was never far away, either residing in my arms, on my shoulder, or on the ground, just by my feet.

This was how over a year of my life was spent. Reading everything I could on battling tactics inside, practicing what I could with Hatenna outside, falling asleep with Hatenna in my arms in between. I lived, slept, and breathed training, and every step forward felt like a step towards once again seeing the man who had changed my life, once again, and thanking him properly. Showing him how much better I had become, that what I swore to him wasn't pretty, empty words.