Some indeterminate time ago, there was a Player and Pokemon Ruby. It had been their first window to the world of Pokemon, and there they had chosen their first cherished starter - a Mudkip they had named Tide, like the ebb and flow of the seas.

He was determined and fiery tempered, facing any battle head on. He feared nothing, and in return he was cherished by the Player. He was the first Pokemon they had ever trained, and for that he was more special than any other.

Together, though a screen stood between them, they braved whatever adventure came to them and became the champions of the region.

And then, a new game had come, glittering like Diamond. And, of course, the Player eagerly brought Tide with them to the next region as a treasured companion. The same repeated for the next, White as snow.

But Tide never crossed the leap to the third dimension, even as the next generation was announced.

The cart was lost, and with it the treasured companions within. Somewhere out on the roadside lay a Pokemon White cartridge, Tide's forever prison. The grief ran sharp through the Player, but in the end Tide had been data, so they had to move on. The sixth generation awaited.

And then, as Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire were announced, the embers of nostalgia that had grown dim sparked once again, burning bright and bitter.

The Player had chosen Omega Ruby, as before.

The Player had chosen Mudkip, as before.

And, at the whims of the Player's reveries, Tide was born, quiet and naive and wide-eyed.

The Player looked at him dully, said that it just wasn't the same. Tide did not understand.

Across Hoenn they journeyed, Tide meekly rising to the challenge. The Player was frosty and distant, but Tide was an optimist. Perhaps in time they would truly be friends. Perhaps in time the Player would not look at him with that sad deja vu that he did not understand.

In time, he knew his teammates better than he knew the Player, and it made him feel guilty. What had he done wrong? Was he not good enough? Not as a Mudkip, not as a Marshtomp, not as a Swampert... no matter what battles he conquered despite his fear or how desperately he tried to impress the Player, he felt like a stranger.

But ahead came the Elite Four, and there they would become champions. Perhaps in the Hall of Fame he would be finally enough.

But as they came upon the champion, instead there stood some Other Swampert. He looked bizarre, two-dimensional, sharp and formed from squares.

Tide did not understand, nor did the Player.

Then, furiously, the Other Swampert attacked, and a gasp of recognition came from the Player. Tide still did not understand.

The game said that the Other Swampert's name was Tide. But that was wrong - Tide was Tide.

The Other Swampert vented his grievances - he said his name had been taken, his Player had been taken, and now his title would be taken, too.

Tide still did not understand, even as the strange Other Swampert lunged with a hot-tempered fury. Tide dodged away and the Player cried out in despair.

The Other Swampert growled that he had been replaced by a cheap copy, and the Player cried out that they had thought he was gone forever, that they'd tried to fill the void left by the memories and it did not work. Tide felt a fist violently bash into his side.

The Other Swampert growled that he was hurt and that he could never stand to know he had been replaced. The Player told him that they'd missed him, they'd missed the real Tide dearly and all they wanted was to have him back. That was why they had named the fake, after all.

And when it should have been his turn, Tide looked between himself and the Other Swampert, and between the Other Swampert and the Player, and back and forth again a few more times, and finally he understood. He was the New Tide, and the Other Swampert was the Old Tide, and the Old Tide had held something that the New Tide had never had, not really - love.

And as the Player pleaded for the Old Tide to come back and the Old Tide glared with hatred and bitterness at the New Tide, he found he'd lost the will to fight to a meaningless death. He was not the hero of the story. He was not even the villain.

So New Tide fled. If the Player wanted Old Tide back, if Old Tide could not stand the sight of his replacement, then they would have what they wanted. New Tide would leave them to their devices.

Old Tide, for what it's worth, settled back in with the Player well. The teammates were strangers, they had only ever known the New Tide and this Other Swampert was strange and other to them. But the Player was happy and Old Tide was happy and that was what mattered.

Even then New Tide still felt jealousy from time to time, hovering about the team he had once called home from a safe distance.

One night, having accidentally crept closer than ever before, Old Tide confronted him to ask what he wanted.

New Tide asked if he had only ever been a replacement.

Old Tide said he had.

Then what was he now, now that the original was back and a replacement was no longer needed?

Old Tide supposed he was now nothing.

And, creeping back into the wilderness alone again, the New Tide could not find it in himself to argue.