Most people don’t tend to guess that White is actually from Johto, not Unova, but she was born in Olivine City and lived there for a part of her childhood. It was never a significant aspect of her life, though. When the publishing company her mother worked for there shut down, her parents decided to move-and the place they chose was Unova, her father’s home region. Still only a very young girl, White knew little about her new home and had trouble adjusting. They had family there, and her parents thought that might make living in a new place less daunting, but White showed little interest in befriending her cousins. The less people there were around her, the happier the girl seemed.
School was much the same; White didn’t interact with many kids, not unless she had to. She preferred comics and video games, often playing out pretend fantasy worlds either by herself or with her father. For years, her parents worried for the girl, but over time they came to accept she was simply a naturally quiet person. There was only one exception to her rule of letting others approach her first, and it was Pokemon. When her father brought home a young Tepig one day, White befriended the little Fire-type faster than she had ever done with any of her peers. Learning how to do so from her mother, she cared for everything the Tepig needed, and they always played together. The Eevee that showed up a couple of years later was no different. These two Pokemon were her closest friends; for a little while, White was happy.
The death of her father in her teenage years ended that happiness, and upended her life completely; unable to cope with the traumatizing grief and loss, White became bitter and irritable, often screaming at her mother and shutting herself off from the world more than she ever had in her entire life. Even her Pokemon could not always reach her. The creative imagination of a quiet girl turned into maladaptive daydreaming in an attempt to escape her painful life; White immersed herself in fiction, unable to stand the void of her father’s absence. Though she went to counseling, her first therapist was terrible at their job; they couldn’t be bothered to take a teenager’s emotions as seriously as an adult’s. White could have told her mother about this, but kept it all to herself instead; not only was her mother more distant than her father had ever been, the girl still blamed her for his untimely death.
It was during these circumstances that White took up battling, something she’d never thought much about despite its prominence in all the regions. A companion to her now rampant daydreams, it was all too easy to forget her father’s passing when immersed in a new hobby. White liked being able to avoid her mother’s sorry attempts to reach out; she wanted to stop thinking about her last day with her father, hating herself for not being able to save him. These emotions turned her and her Pokemon into fierce opponents. The other kids’ teams were all too easy to defeat with her friends, and soon enough they were fully evolved. Three other Pokemon flocked to her as well-a Stoutland, a Lilligant, and a Musharna. White tried not to think too hard about how the three all appeared to her when she’d been crying alone.
Truthfully, this was also around the time Plasma was first attempting its takeover of Unova-yet White hardly noticed what was going on. So immersed in her own world of emotional escape, she didn’t hear much about the thefts, the speeches of their priestlike leader, or anything else. It wasn’t until the news of the incident at the League spread that the girl learned everything publicly known about what had happened, and by then the worst of the dust had already settled. It was surreal to think of how all of Unova faced something terrible, yet it had passed her by completely. She had never in her life felt so disconnected from the world. Even with her dear Pokemon, White felt an emptiness within her: an aching, cold loneliness.
Coming back from that despair was the most difficult thing she’d ever done. Her life had hit rock bottom, and her self-loathing tried to convince her to keep digging down further. The opposite happened, somehow. White wouldn’t be able to say exactly what brought her to finally stop pushing her mother away. Maybe, deep down, she was trying to save herself. No matter the reasoning, she shakily agreed to try going back to counseling. It took time, but it turns out having someone actually care about you-rather than being dismissive and irritable-can make a world of difference. Being heard and shown compassion after stewing alone in trauma shook White to her core.
Recovery wasn’t all sunshine-no, it was painful and beyond anything else, difficult, a Herculean effort. White wasn’t sure if recovery was even the right word. Her grief never went away, after all; it would lull for awhile, then return as sharp and suffocating as the very day her father died. But this time, White allowed herself to try and trust her mother. She slowly opened up to her, and received the same in return. The best thing White can say about her mom is how hard she tried to turn things around for her child. She apologized for not giving emotional support as a parent should, White apologized for screaming at her so much, and things genuinely changed. Not in a perfect way like in movies, they still had conflicts, but the two learned to talk it through and give each other space when needed.
Her home life was not the problem after some time, but every other part of the world still terrified White. After so long being shut away in the isolation of unending grief, and before that always being a reclusive person anyway, she had no idea how to interact with society at large. When she was still a battling trainer, White never really made new friends: she was too closed off, and her sharp tongue drove away nicer people who might have liked her. School certainly never netted her good company, either. The only people White knew how to talk to were her own Pokemon. She tried to get back into battling in an attempt to find a new friend, but without it being one of her sole refuges from trauma, White found she‘d retained almost nothing of her interest in the hobby.
What did catch her attention was, perhaps unsurprisingly for someone so hurt by the world, politics. Activism, specifically. It started with her looking into the Plasma Incident-the information that was made public, at least-and then falling down the rabbit hole into just how messed up the world truly was. White wasn’t sheltered or ignorant, she’d suffered more than her fair share of social stigmas, but the sheer depth of cruelty she ended up learning of was overwhelming to the teenager’s mind. More than anything, it angered her. How could people be allowed to get away with the harm they inflicted, not just to other humans but to Pokemon and the planet itself as well? It wasn’t right, and it began to stir a fire within her heart. She wanted to make a change.
Her mother supported her in this, both in an effort to continuously connect with her daughter and because of her own outspoken ideals. At first, White participated in smaller scale things. Her first volunteer work was helping Pokemon who’d been rescued from abusers; she’d always been better interacting with them over other humans, though she always felt a deep welling of compassion for anyone who’d been hurt. In time, the girl found herself gradually able to feel some level of comfort with small groups of people, and her political engagements grew. She travelled further and further away from home to pursue this passion; the more injustice White saw in every region, the more dedicated she felt. At one of the many protests she was a part of, which had been against one of many corporations committing environmental destruction, White found what would be the only other friend group she had outside of her Pokemon.
They were a small group of transfems, and though White was never going to be the best with people, they still seemed to accept her. Some part of her was surprised they considered her to be a friend. It was... somehow freeing. Sharing very similar political alignments, it was easy for White to be a part of their group when they did volunteer work, went to protests, things of this nature. It felt nice to have other people who understood her without the burden of her past trauma as emotional baggage. White began to believe, even if only barely, that she was actually making a difference in the world.
It was short-lived, though. Life is full of cruel ironies, and the epidemic arriving when White had been spending time at home to recover from a mild sickness was one of them. It was both terrifying and surreal to experience the sheer horror of how quickly the outbreak swept through the regions, reaching Unova with ease. White had seen plenty of trauma and violence in her work, but witnessing the dead walking was never a part of it. She and her mother were attacked at home, and though White managed to get them away from the carnage, it was too late for her mother. She’d taken a terrible, mortal wound in the fight; all White could do was be there for her in her final moments.
To say it was traumatizing would be quaint.
One by one, the ones White cared for died. First her mother, then her Stoutland, then her Musharna and Lilligant in the same fight against an undead group, until only she and her oldest Pokemon companions remained. Her human friends were probably dead, too, and even if they lived they were separated from her. White felt the walls that once defined her build back up. The world was cruel and without mercy; it took everything from people without care. Everything she’d done in her past life had been for nothing. The only thing White had was survival, and though she could never bring herself to simply lay down and die, she knew existing was worthless.
And then she made it to the Unova League. It had other people and Pokemon alike, all living together. White thought maybe it could be safe-that her Pokemon could live without constant fear.
What she found instead was no safe haven. Mismanaged and already lacking in resources, White was caught in a nightmare of suffering and death ran by a former Elite Four obsessed with power. Caitlin quickly put her to work as a supply runner, venturing into unsafe areas for the things people desperately needed. White could not possibly say no, not after seeing what the residents endured, but her own work was hellish in its own right. Risking infection and death for her treasured friends each time they headed out took its toll on her mind. The only thing that kept White going was seeing how the resources brought back helped the people at the League begin to find new life, to start building a home that was more than a graveyard.
But this small beam of light in the dark did nothing to reverse Caitlin’s harsh grip over the League, nor her violent paranoia. It barely even managed to last at all. Less and less of the runners began to return over time, spreading thin the already insignificant resources of the struggling settlement; White and her team were put into worse danger far more often in an attempt to make up for these losses. The strain of this wore them all down both physically and mentally until her Espeon, one of her oldest friends, died amidst an attack by powerful undead. That was the last straw that finally brought everything down.
In the aftermath, in the fresh throes of grief, White knew this loss was too much. She was done: done with Caitlin and her whims, done losing the ones she loved. So she ran away, turning away from the suffering people of the Unova League in the process-something White will never forgive herself for. But she knew she could not go back. She needed to get out before she and her remaining companions lost their lives. If she didn’t, White might not ever get another chance.
That choice was only a short time ago, and already things are going wrong as she finds herself chased into the freezing caves of Giant Chasm.
•Constantly exhausted both mentally and physically, which in turns makes her irritated with nearly everything and anyone. Not easy to get along with, especially since White intentionally acts cold upon meeting people in order to maintain emotional distance; she refuses to become close with anyone again knowing they could leave her behind or die
-Truthfully, connecting with other people has always been difficult for her; every relationship she had prior to the epidemic took work to build and keep. To have that stolen away is something White will never get over
•Unconcerned with how others feel or think about her, to an unhealthy degree-other than her Pokemon she tends to mostly discard what people say, even if it might help her out. Living at the Unova League has made White very resistant to acting on anyone’s word except her own, as it strays too close to all the orders she was given under Caitlin’s rule. White can be swayed to another’s ideas or plans, but unless in a very dire situation, it would take effort
-The easiest way to convince her of something is to talk when at least one of her Pokemon is there; White values their thoughts and will listen to them with much less resistance. Especially true with Summer, her closest and oldest friend
•Her sense of trust is currently brittle, and easily shattered. She fears opening up or showing kindness only to have it be turned against her the same way Caitlin did at the League. White will resist attempts to befriend her; it’s too daunting, the thought of having to endure that pain all over again
-If betrayed at this point, she would never be able to forgive or forget
•For all her salt, White does truly care about others-if someone needed her help, she would do so without hesitating. This is the reason she stayed at Unova League for as long as she did; fleeing was her last resort, a decision made out of desperation more than anything else. White cannot bring herself to turn her back on the suffering of other people or Pokemon
-If she ends up in a group, White will not easily abandon them no matter how little she wishes to interact. Their inherent value as people (not just humans, everyone) takes priority over her own issues
•Her Pokemon are her number one priority; she sees their lives as more valuable than her own, particularly after the recent loss of her Espeon. Their safety and health come before hers; for example, White will continuously try to give them more food than she‘ll allow for herself. As mentioned before, she listens to her Pokemon’s wants even if they go against what she would rather do, as they are her friends and partners
-They are her entire reason for living, and she will try to hold onto her life for their sakes
•Still dealing with both the guilt of leaving the Unova League residents behind, and the crushing grief of losing one of the last members of her original team. White is in a very low place emotionally, blaming herself for everything that has gone wrong
-If she’d been stronger, maybe she could have stood up to Caitlin-if she’d been more careful, her Espeon would have lived-these are the thoughts that haunt her
•White has become increasingly self-critical since her escape, attacking herself for even the slightest of mistakes and generally being unwilling to care about her own wellbeing. Self-loathing constantly simmers under her skin; it doesn’t take a whole lot to bring it out
-Easily triggered, but represses her episodes until they finally erupt without control
•Her old passionate nature remains within her, particularly when it comes to social issues. White has seen firsthand the corrupting, terrible nature of power and privilege; her driving goal, the one buried within her mind, is really no different than what it was before. The powerless and the forgotten are still being left for dead, and she’ll do anything to fight that
-Incredibly sensitive about the lives lost during the epidemic, undead included. Even when necessary, she is pained by having to kill them
-Very bitter when people cling to the old ideas of power (such as Elite Four members leading, for instance)