Valentine doesn’t remember any parents, any humans acting as parents, siblings, other relatives, anything like that. His first memories recall a cage in an empty room, and regular food and water, but none of the affection a growing creature needs. This went on for many years, with no change other than graduating from the cage to the room itself. And when he reached his adolescence, he began to be trained. It was swift and brutal and the message was clear: "Keep up with the pace, or die."
Valentine was a child. Valentine did not want to die.
So he kept going.
Thinking was not a thing he enjoyed doing because his life consisted of a whole lot of nothing. Nothing of value, of warmth or joy or light. But the nights were too long and lonely to not think, so he would always find himself doing so anyway. Sometimes he wondered if there was a point to this miserable existence. All he wanted was a reason why.
After several months the routine broke and broke very suddenly. He was moved from the empty room to a bedroom, a child’s bedroom. They were a precious little thing; a girl or boy he could not tell, but what did that matter when the little one hugged him close and proceeded to decide his name was "Cupcake" His heart had never before experienced such a sensation and he decided right then and there that he would protect this beautiful tiny human with his life.
Alex was three years old and loved toy trucks, tutus, Barbies, and swords. They loved books with lots of colorful pictures and cookies and cupcakes with frosting. They didn’t like baths unless he was allowed to sit in the bathtub with them, much to the exasperation of the little one’s mother. "Cupcake" was not a very dignified name but he wore it proudly because it was his and Alex had given it to him and that made it perfect. For a month he enjoyed the child’s company, and when he returned to training with the child there watching, he evolved very quickly into a Slyveon. He was so proud, so overjoyed; he had no way of knowing what was to come.
Within the day everything was taken. The peace of mind, the comfort, the sense of purpose and pride—gone. For after his evolution he was led away back to the empty room, locked inside it again, shoved back into that tiny little confining room. The difference this time is that he knew what he was missing and losing it was more than he could bear.
Why? What was the point? Why give him everything only to take it all away?
When he reached what could roughly be considered adulthood, he received the answer and it was nothing he ever could have imagined.
The room was exchanged for a building that had once been a warehouse and had been heavily modified to hold very large, very violent Pokemon. But the reason for his being there was the specific type of Pokemon—this was a holding area for dragons. Against Dragalge he could do nothing, but there were none present.
The reason soon became clear. He was a tool, a weapon, to keep the dragons in line. The humans had guns, but they preferred not to waste bullets, nor did they trust that they would be able to get in a headshot before a dragon could maul them, hence his presence there and the shock collar to keep him in line.
But why? What was the purpose of them being here, using him like this? Why did they have dragons they needed to use him as a weapon against?
He found that out when he was forced to beat back a Dragonite trying to maul its master. "It’s a fighting ring," he snarled at the crouched Sylveon. He didn’t know what that meant, but if this thing was what had given the dragon such horrid wounds, it must be pure evil.
Still, what choice did he have? If he didn’t do this thing he would die, and dying would mean he’d never even have a chance of seeing Alex again. And thus it was with a heavy heart that he knocked the Dragonite out.
For years this went on—he would remain in a cage in the dragon room, forced to beat the dragons into unconsciousness should any of them attempt to turn on the humans. The memories of the time he’d spent with Alex were fading but he clung to them anyway because if he did not, he would lose his mind. The blood, death, darkness and the tears sapped him of his sanity, and eventually even Alex was not enough.
This was about when a Tyrunt was brought to the place and put in cage next to his; she was young, and confused, and frightened. That same protectiveness he felt towards Alex began to arise, and he started giving her some of his food. They began to talk, quiet whispers, barely snippets of conversation. These developed into shared stories of their pasts. When they ran out of happy stories of their pasts, he began to make things up. He wove together bedtime stories he made up out of thin air, stories of princesses and dragons who were friends and kept their kingdom safe, stories of bad people who were put in their place by the very Pokemon they mistreated him. One night she asked him what his name was, and when he answered, she asked what a cupcake was. He explained it was a small, sweet cake, but she didn’t really understand that either, having never seen a cake or tasted something sweet. However, “sweet” sounded nice. It sounded like something you wanted to have. She wanted a sweet name like his. Noting how she’d enjoyed the stories with princesses in it, and how Alex loved the moving pictures on the funny thing called a "TV" that had princesses in it, the Sylveon named her "Princess."
Years passed; little Princess grew up and evolved and wasn’t so little anymore.
It was about a week after her evolution that they decided the dragon must participate in her first real match in the fighting ring. Panic shot through the Sylveon; he had never actually seen a fight himself, but he’d seen what the participants came back as—traumatized, bloodstained wrecks. If they even came back at all. No. They would not take her. They would not take his Princess the way they took his little Alex.
Nor was he the only one who wanted to fight. The second they tried to remove the dragon from her holding pen she lashed out. And, right on cue, they went scrambling to his cage to let him out so that he could defend them. He stared up at them, a pensive tilt to his head, realizing that these creatures that had treated him and others so cruelly were so... fragile. They were. Squishy bodies, no powers. No powers...
No power at all unless he continued to let them pretend they had it.
If he acted quickly enough... someone had to use the shock collar, after all...
It was at that point that he launched a Moonblast at the nearest human. Princess, realizing that the time to fight back was now, fight back now or never, reared her head back and with a roar, stepped forward and snatched another one of the humans in her jaws.
What followed was long and bloody, and he did not remember most of it. It blurred into a red haze and, frankly, he wanted it to remain that way. The next thing he remembered was waking up in a large room with cages and thinking that they failed, they must have failed... and then realizing that this was a different room, that it was clean and well lit and very white and only one of the other dragons from the room was there. According to one of the said dragons, during the rebellion humans in blue outfits had come and taken captive everyone in the place, Pokemon and humans alike. However, they took the Pokemon back to this place and had started to care for them, which the humans from the other building never had. And that was all very interesting, but... where was Princess?
For a few days there was no answer to this question, and he snarled and bit at anyone who came near. He was beginning to think that he’d never find out what became of his beloved little sister figure when he heard what sounded like arguing, cut off by footsteps that came closer until they reached his cage.
The human knelt down so that the Sylveon could see them, and the vulpine’s heart almost stopped. That couldn't be anybody but Alex. After all these years, he still recognized the human's scent.
"Hey, buddy. Remember me?"
Those four simple words stole his heart all over again.
Packed away comfortably in a Pokeball, he was let out later in the woods. As Alex pitched the tent, the Slyveon and Tyrantrum stared around at the surrounding woodlands with giant eyes, squinting. Sunshine was completely foreign to them, like the soil beneath their feet and the scent of green things growing and wild things living that surrounded them. Once the tent was up, Alex sat down beneath a tree, hand cupped to their chin, seemingly lost in thought. He was about to do something when the human spoke again. "Valentine. I’m gonna call you Valentine from now on. You sorta remind me of a Valentine’s Day card, with all the hearts and the pink and the cute. And you," he looked at the Tyrantrum, "I’m gonna call you Princess. Because Tyrantrums were kings of the prehistoric but you’re a lady and I want to save the name 'Queen' for if I ever get a girl Kingdra." They laughed. "Get it? A girl Kingdra named Queen."
Princess glanced at Valentine, teeth bared in a grin. So, she understood now why he was so completely taken by this strange little human. Good. Valentine let out a happy little noise and ran over to snuggle up beside Alex.
They learned many things in the next few hours. Like how Tyrantrums were a little too big to snuggle with humans. How tents were flammable. How s’mores were the most delicious things in existence and how shooting stars were gloriously beautiful. What berries tasted like, and crème puffs, and hot dogs and burgers.
Alex taught them something new every day. Some were humorous. Some were not. Many required patience. And gentleness. There was so much to learn and so much to unlearn. And there were days where they were certain that nothing was going to actually work out. But bit by bit, things were getting better. They met new people, went new places, added more members to their team. For the first time in his life, Valentine felt free. Nothing could bring him down, and it was this thought that got him through even the bad days.
But it didn’t last forever. Nothing ever does, but nobody could ever imagine it’d end the way it did.
It happened when visiting Johto. The call was going out that a disease only Pokemon could catch was spreading around, that this disease was changing Pokemon into unrecognizable monsters. Alex refused to abandon any of them; they could never do that, and the knots in Valentine’s stomach loosened. Alex would find a way out of this; they always did.
And then the actual attack happened in the middle of the night.
It was a moment of sheer panic. Everyone scattered. Better to survive and have to regroup later than to die here trying to stay together. The problem was... nobody could find each other afterwards. Lost and frightened for the safety of his beloved family, Valentine wandered the mountains of Johto, searching for the ones he loved most.
WHAT HAPPENED IN HEARTHOME
Valentine is both an idealist and a pessimist. He wants the very best for everyone and works his hardest to achieve it, but he still expects the very worst and is always surprised if it doesn't happen.
He isn't the type of person who likes fights. Not at all. He actually absolutely hates them; his past has tainted even friendly battles for him forever. However, he's also capable of battle if he has no choice but to fight.
Generally he tries to get along with other people, but he's a bit shy; he won't actively approach anyone, but if you approach first he'll happily hold a conversation with you and probably seek you out to talk to another time. He probably will hesitate to spend too much time with you though; acquaintances are easy and safe, whereas friends involve bearing one's soul and whatnot and the idea of that makes him uneasy. He would like friends, but doesn't really know how to deal with actually becoming someone's friend, so he tries to keep things casual and light.
Rude people Valentine will sorta glare at or make a face about, and on the whole he'll try to avoid dealing with them. If he has to, he will, and usually that will involve him trying to verbally fight them, though like I said earlier he can handle it if it comes to blows. Provided that the person isn't at a type advantage, anyway; if they are then the rule of thumb is to avoid avoid avoid. Stick around others if possible in hopes that they'll provide backup.
He likes physical contact, both giving and receiving. Hugs, pats, pets, and the like. However he's also very aware that the thing called "personal space" exists and is too shy to ask, so unless there's an emergency, he'll refrain from touching anyone.
He deeply values life of all kind but especially sentient life; death saddens him beyond words and killing horrifies him. He does not condone or take life without a very significant reason to do so and even then, having to either kill or let someone be killed will still make him sick to his very soul. He'll be feeling guilty for a long time even if the person very much deserved to die.
His guilt over his past continues to plague him. He does his best to put it out of mind, but he struggles with it more often than he'd like to admit.