Bugsy, born with the name Bevin, got a rough start in life. Although not rich, they were far from poor; the problems in his life lay elsewhere. Bugsy's parents were fundamentally unhappy people, pushed into marriage by their own parents. His arrival became a catalyst for the two young people to run away, deciding to ditch their lives of being ruled with an iron fist by their parents to discover themselves and their own happiness. Selfishly, they decided to abandon their son when they fled, leaving the boy with his paternal grandparents.
And so Bugsy grew up under the same unbearable strictness that his father had, his grandparents taking control of his life in every way they could. What they did not account for was the child making a friend when he managed to slip away one time. Faulkner was actually not a bad choice in their opinion, the other boy coming from a well respected officer and Gym Leader. Despite their initial anger that their charge had disobeyed and snuck off, they hoped that Faulkner would encourage Bugsy to live a life more in line with their vision.
And while Faulkner wasn't a delinquent by any stretch of the imagination, he certainly did not do anything to convince Bugsy to cease his own rebellious behaviors, the two young ones spending many days exploring the forests surrounding the route connecting their two towns, seeking interesting bugs and birds and generally goofing off and enjoying life. Bugsy hid the welts he accrued from his bad tempered grandfather lashing out about his misbehavior, threw on a smile, and got better at lying and sneaking. Just a few years after the two boys became friends, the Azalea City Gym Leader noticed his talent and offered to tutor the boy, Bugsy jumping at the chance. Aware that forbidding their grandson from accepting would raise some uncomfortable questions, his grandparents acquiesced, and Bugsy found himself under the tutelage of a friendly, understanding adult-- which was more than he'd ever had before.
It was under this man that he came to be able to trust adults; quite a feat indeed, after having been haunted by his parents' abandonment, his grandparents' cruelty, and the abandonment of his best friend by his own father. Under his guidence Bugsy set out into the world on his Pokemon journey and buried himself in his studies, finally able to research both in books and out in the field bug types without the threat of punishment like he'd dreamed of doing since he was four years old. Bugsy made fast progress, even discovering a brand new move, which he named Fury Cutter, and he made quick work of the gyms, astounding and pleasing his mentor greatly.
While the praise and awe over completing the gyms so quickly was enjoyed, the best part was the pokemon journey with Faulkner. The memories of the time they spent together seeing the region were one that Bugsy would cherish forever. As much as he liked his mentor, Faulkner was the first human being to ever truly see him. The older boy was irreplacable, and time spent with him the best medicine to any bad day that Bugsy may have had. Experiencing the trials and triumphs of this rite of passage with someone who was everything to him was worth the abusive words his grandparents lobbed at him once he was back home.
Hell, his entire current life was worth it. When he started to crack, he would remind himself that this wasn't forever. Someday he'd get far away from here, take Faulkner too--he needed to stop pining after a father who clearly didn't love him--and settle in one of the many, many places he wanted to visit. Maybe not even settle; maybe just wander for awhile and actually visit all of those places.
He had no doubt that a bright future was ahead of him. The sunbeams were already breaking through, and as the days passed, his hopes rose.
This period of his life came to an abrupt and tragic end when his tutor was killed trying to settle a dispute between two trainers. The word 'heartbroken' barely described the emotions Bugsy was experiencing; it felt more like he was dying. Faulkner was lifesaver, as were his own pokemon, helping him deal with the often stormy emotions brought on by grief as best as they could despite all of them being mere children as well.
In his mentor's will, he requested the League to take a look at Bugsy and consider him being his successor. The League honored that wish and to Bugsy's immense shock, he was handed the title of Gym Leader, should he choose to accept it.
Being a Gym Leader didn't make the grief go away, as he knew it wouldn't, but it gave him an outlet-- something to do instead of hiding in his room, mourning. Though there were days where he wanted to do nothing but hide, he knew he had a duty, and so he grit his teeth and went out there to do it.
Plus, as long as he was a Gym Leader, his grandparents wouldn't dare touch him, something he needed desperately. Though he hated leashing himself to the place he'd dreamed of escaping someday, he knew he wouldn't have escaped the way things were directly following his mentor's death. If he hadn't accepted this position, his grandparents would have likely whisked the thirteen year old off to some remote place in Johto and kept him there for the rest of his life. He shuddered to think what could become of his pokemon if they wrestled them away from him, and of course, there would be no Faulkner wherever they took him. At least this way, his beloved pokemon and best friend remained in his life and people kept tabs on him; if he went missing, there would be a giant fuss raised.
It wasn't all bad, either, he had to admit to himself. It was a tremendous honor, something that fed his fairly starved ego. Used to being bullied and belittled by his grandparents (which only grew worse when he was accepted as a Gym Leader's protege) it was comforting to know that others out there would recognize his skill and intelligence and didn't even have to be his friend to do so; the only praise he'd gotten thus far came from Faulkner and his dead teacher. Though he'd started challenging his grandparents' opinions of him when he was eight years old, such repeated cruelties did wear a person down. This was a nice combative to the occasional, creeping doubt.
And it was thrilling to face off against those who would challenge his gym. Not only did he enjoy befriending and training his new gym pokemon and his gym trainees, but he loved facing off against challengers and... maybe bragging to them a little, too. Trash talk was just part of the fun, and he never allowed his to become mean-spirited. Participating in and later helping out with the bug catching competition was a joy in it of itself, too, even if he had to ban himself for winning so many times. It wasn't long after Bugsy's ascent to Gym Leader Faulkner became a one too, Bugsy bursting with pride for his best friend. Duties kept them both busy, but they still found plenty of time to enjoy each other's company.
Yes. The future was still bright, if a bit less planned out than before. There were definitely worse positions to be in.
Like the one that he found himself in a couple years later.
Just after his sixteenth bithday, the world descended into ruin and chaos. His town being in ground zero, there was no time to prepare at all, their only warning that something was terribly wrong being the Pokemon Center full of sick pokemon. What had started like any ordinary day spiraled into madness and death, those same victims of the illness succumbing to their affliction only to rise and tear the living apart. Bugsy was at the National Park at the time, wrapping up a bug catching contest that the park employees handed him to host.
One of the contestants hadn't been able to actually catch a bug, per say, but one was sort of following her around. Bugsy couldn't count that towards the competition, and in fact only noticed the bug when it came time to judge. Something felt very off with the insect, and as Bugsy approached them after the contest, the bug suddenly lunged at the child and tore into her.
Viridian was quick to pull the pokemon off, but the damage was done; the child was dead. As Bugsy stood there reeling from horror, screams erupted from across the park.
The infected had arrived.
Everyone scattered despite Bugsy's attempts to help keep order and calm. Unable to chase after everyone, and fearing for his city, Bugsy fled homewards, but arrived too late to save his little town. People died around him despite his best attempts to save them, his Yanmega sustained an injury to her wing, making escape by sky impossible, and he ended up fleeing to Route 32 on foot, trying to get to Violet City.
Only to find the place in ruins.
Refusing to believe his dearest friend might have fallen victim to the walking dead, Bugsy pondered out where to go next, trying to reel in his panic long enough to piece some sort of plan together. Roaming around Faulkner's deserted home (and grateful he found no gore there), A painting of Ho-Oh on the wall led Bugsy to deduce that, should Faulkner be alive, he would likely be heading to Ecruteak City to try to speak to his god, and that, given the abudance of undead birds in the sky, he would most likely not be flying there, to reduce risk to himself and his team of birds.
Still terribly traumatized but now with a plan to steady him, Bugsy raided the abandoned city for supplies and set out towards Ecruteak City.
On the way, one week into the outbreak, he made the greatest mistake of his life.
Tucked away in the foliage of a route Bugsy no longer remembered hid an Ariados, obviously sick or injured but not making any move to attack, merely sitting there and shivering. Being in the spider's presence terrifed the boy, as well as his pokemon, and they warned him that something felt very, very wrong. Convinced that this one might be docile, that he might be able to help this poor creature, that he was being paranoid, Bugsy approached anyway, cooing softly to the spider.
She lunged at him.
He was saved only by the presence of his pokemon, but it was far too heavy a price. By the time they could fight the spider back enough so that his Scizor could scoop the boy up and run for their lives, four of them were dead, and they fled with the sounds of spiders eating and the one of theirs who was still alive screaming as she was eaten alive.
Bugsy mostly shut down after that. Ridden with trauma and guilt, he withdrew into himself, a state that didn't change even after, by some miracle, finding Faulkner.
Desperate to fix his friend, the older boy has taken them across the region, seeking the help of Ho-Oh as Bugsy predicted he would be. Maybe the phoenix of legend could help against the infected, or at least, bring back to life the light that died in Bugsy's eyes.
- depressed and anxious
-the world is dying, his own Pokemon died, and he's a knot of terror and anxiety, just waiting for the next disaster
- dying passion
-everything he used to love, he finds harder and harder to take any pleasure in
-it's just... evaporating
-bug types seeking his company make him wince and try to find excuses why they should leave and move on
- terrified, struggling to digest reality
-the epidemic having just started, Bugsy is reeling from the shock and horror of everything
-since it's so early, information is generally scattered; some people have worked out that touching the dead is a bad idea, others haven't; some have worked out that it spreads through biting and bodily fluids, others haven't, some have realized the undead are particularly active at night and more dormant during the day and others haven't, etc.
-basically anxious and paranoid 24/7 when he's not out of it
-while not especially loud before, Bugsy now mumbles a lot of his words
-it may take a few tries to get him to say anything coherently
-his mental health is relying fairly heavily on his Pokemon and Falkner's continued survival
-his depressive tenancies lead to him skipping out on food when they find it; it takes a bit of coaxing for him to eat
- intelligent and well-read
-Bugsy is very good at walking himself through problems
-in this state, however, he's too damaged to always think logically
-regardless, his mental state hasn't affected stuff he already knows, and he's a virtual atlas
-aside from tons of information about bug types and different bug pokemon species, he basically has maps in his head and knows how to use a compass and stars for direction
-very good person to have around if you need to get anywhere
-it's not fair that none of Falkner's pokemon have died while almost all of his did
-but then again, he wasn't the idiot who led them into potential danger
-so really, he has no one to blame but himself; as much as he reiterates this to himself, twinges of envy still plague him constantly
- fearful for his Pokemon and Falkner
-the notion of his two remaining Pokemon, Falkner, or Falkner's Pokemon meeting that fate makes him sick
-he will fight has hard as he needs to to ensure their survival
-he will fight very hard for strangers, too