|History ||(Note: this history contains subjects such as familial abuse and mentions of a suicide attempt.)|
Michael’s younger days are not something he speaks of often; they were unpleasant at best, and more often traumatic. Both of his parents treated him poorly, alternating between the physical abuse of his mother and the uncaring negligence of his father. They had the audacity to sometimes act kind and nurturing as well, instilling within the young Growlithe both a guilty conscience and a thin hope that maybe someday, the good times as a little family unit would become permanent. They never did, of course, but the belief was strong enough to tie him down for years. Michael had nowhere else to turn anyways; his parents were split off from their own pack, isolated, and so he was the same.
The shift in his life happened by complete accident; his mother was killed in a random territorial dispute one day, leaving Michael alone with his father. Said parent wasted no time in driving him off, ranting about how he’d never wanted him anyway, that his other children should have lived instead. The Growlithe ran off in shock; having only thought of supporting his father, he was now left alone-no home, and burdened with two forms of grief. He wandered aimlessly for weeks, only barely able to eat and drink. The last words of his father replayed in his head constantly, and Michael wondered if he deserved to live. It seemed as if he’d only brought misfortune into his parents’ lives.
Michael lived alone for a long time; the guilt and regret eating his heart chased him from others, for fear he would once again be hated and rejected. The memories of his parents’ behavior still echoed in his head. Michael resolved to never inflict himself upon another. Eventually, though, the painful solitude became too much, and this time he began to wander with no intention of caring for his basic needs. When his strength finally failed him, the Growlithe felt some kind of relief; he could finally be free from himself, and from the pain. As his eyes closed, he expected to stay there in the embrace of darkness forever.
His eyes would open again. Michael was confused and frightened at first, his vision badly blurred and his last memories before waking up unretrievable. There was an unfamiliar voice, and he found himself being lulled back to his unconscious state. This happened several times before Michael had the energy in his body to stay awake. He still had no recollection of anything past his falling unconscious for the first time, but the Growlithe remembered what it was he had tried to do. Obviously, he’d failed.
His rescuer was an unfamiliar Pokemon, though through their introduction Michael learned they were part of a species called Minccino. They claimed no name other than that, and so in his mind, they became simply “the Minccino”. The other Pokemon was gentle and kind; they helped nurse Michael back to health, and never forced him to speak of why he was near death when they found him. It was an odd thing for him to try and comprehend. Why had a complete stranger helped him, when even his own mother and father wouldn’t have done so? It didn’t make sense. Michael suspected they had ulterior motives for a time, but the longer he stayed in their little home, the less convincing that idea became. They were simply kind, no strings attached.
He tried to run away at some point. It hurt too much, in his mind, to be given compassion he did not deserve. It was better to be alone. But before Michael could get far enough to not be able to return, a feeling he didn’t fully understand stopped him. As best as the Growlithe could describe, it was an intense want to finally live with someone who didn’t despise him; he liked the presence of the Minccino. It’d been good to be cared about. And so, with that in his heart, he turned back. The other Pokemon welcomed him as if he’d never attempted to leave, and Michael thought for the first time in his life that he’d made the right choice.
They lived together from that moment onward. Michael’s personality blossomed, having finally found love and acceptance. After years of agonizing loneliness, he began to open up, finding company not only with the Minccino but with their own friends as well. He had not just a friend group, but an entire small community of Pokemon who wanted him around. It was a huge shock to the Growlithe, but one he accepted without protest. He found happiness in the smallest of things, there. Whether gathering berries to roast or helping to decorate his little home with the Minccino, it was as a miracle to him. It was the life Michael never dared to have before, and he wanted to keep it. He wanted to stay with his partner forever. He was happy.
It all came to an end eventually, though, and Michael learned the harsh lesson that nothing good can ever last forever. In the joyful years spent with the Minccino, he’d forgotten exactly how cruel life can be. It started with a wildfire. One day, the forest he called home began to burn, all the homes of his community and friends going up in flames. He’d been away from his shared den at the time, but the second Michael was aware of the crisis, he ran home as fast as his legs could carry him. His mind screamed only one thought: save the Minccino. Their home was empty of that familiar face, and though Michael searched everywhere-even searched long after the flames died-he never found them. Whether alive or dead, Michael never found them. They were gone.
In the aftermath, he defaulted to the same trauma response that had never truly left: he ran. Weighed down with the guilt of not only failing his partner, but the fact he could have saved others had he not fixated on them, Michael once again threw himself into solitude. In this state, his mind grew obsessed with the Minccino. He’d never found their body, which meant they weren’t dead for a certainty, right? Nothing else mattered other than finding where they’d gone. Michael owed them that. They were his partner.
This obsession did not die when the disease came to kill and devour. If anything, it only spurred Michael’s fixation further. Seeing the dead walk, he knew he couldn’t let it happen to the Minccino. The mere thought of them dying, being eaten, or coming back that way-he could not bear it. Michael travels everywhere in an attempt to find his long-lost partner; he will not stop until his goal is achieved, no matter what it takes or where he has to go.
•Rather unstable when it comes to dealing with others; his opinion of someone can change multiple times in rapid succession, depending on the circumstances. Works both ways: Michael can like someone before suddenly hating them, and vice versa
•Cannot stand to be treated like a child due to his unevolved status; tries to be as independent and reliable as possible to keep people from looking down on him or acting as if he’s incapable of handling himself
-His unwillingness to evolve is due to the trauma of being abused by his Arcanine mother; he does not want to resemble her
•Very dry and sarcastic, though his barbs are usually kept inside his head; not above admitting his smaller stature makes him wary about angering other people, but sometimes he doesn’t care enough to keep his mouth shut. His default tone is blunt even when he’s not actively trying to be, however
•World-weary; he’s grown tired of everything over the course of his life, and often acts apathetic. It’s not as easy anymore to provoke strong emotions from him, unless it’s specifically aimed towards sore subjects: his partner and his evolution status being huge examples
-Expects everything to go wrong, and is deeply cynical from a lifetime of pain
•Speaking of his partner, in his head they alone are his first priority; he wants more than anything to reunite with them, despite all evidence pointing to their death having occurred years prior to the epidemic. He refuses to believe they are gone; he would rather die than live in a world devoid of them, and has clung to his thin thread of baseless faith all this time
•That being said, he’s not as good at the whole “at any cost” thing as he thinks he is; Michael cannot bring himself to abandon others easily, and will put himself in harm’s way for anyone he grows close to. Has a protective nature he will never admit to
-Often feels guilty about this, thinking himself evil for not being able to truly put his partner before anyone else
•Though he believes otherwise, Michael has an instinct for leading the way and directing a group. If circumstances call for it, he will step up, often not even realizing he’s doing so at first
-His trauma and obsessions can easily compromise this, however, as his goals will likely contradict that of any others he’s traveling with
•Has a very low opinion of himself, believing he deserves whatever horrible things come his way. Michael is still suffering deeply from the trauma of his past, and his consistently poor self-image is one of many results. He cares little for his own pain
-Has deeply ingrained abandonment issues and rejection sensitivity due to past abuse