Diamond 06: Give me Comfort
Diamond 06: Give me Comfort
When morning came at the little inn in Pewter City, things looked better for Giovanni than they had the night before. That anti-burn cream Delia got him was super effective and he appeared to be fully healed. He took the bottle and examined it closely. He had put it on as promised, she was certainly right about being able to tell if he used it, the difference was as noticeable as day and night. However, his satisfaction was short lived, "this stuff is made for pokemon!"
He found himself pushing back his temper once more, Delia was only trying to help and the cream did result in a little miracle for him. Deciding not to mention his discovery, Giovanni concluded that he wasn't all that curious to know if Delia was aware of the fact the lotion was for pokemon or not. After the morning activities were completed, the pair met out in the hall, coming out of their rooms simultaneously.
"You look good today," Delia suddenly complimented, albeit Giovanni's ego didn't have time to grow before she added, "I told you that anti-burn cream would work, see what happens when you listen to people's well intended advice like a good boy?"
Motherly was a term that described Delia well, she was often motherly towards the other Team Rocket members and specially towards the pokemon, but that was not the mood he wanted her in. Yet he could think of nothing to say before she started down the stairs.
"Giovanni, hurry up or we'll be late!" Giovanni rushed down the stairs to meet Delia, they checked out of the inn and returned to the car.
"It's still early, we could go out for breakfast in a nice restaurant," Giovanni suggested.
"Time is of the essence, but you're right in that we should remember to take care of ourselves. Let's just go to a place that has food ready quickly so we can get on the road again. Pallet Town is still a long way from here; we need to pass through Viridian City first."
"Don't worry, we're making great progress," with Delia in a rush to deliver the samples, there was little time left to take advantage of their deal.
They stopped in front of a fancy restaurant, which Delia declined, "they'll take too long to bring the food. These places are for people who have time to sit and talk while they wait and we don't."
In the end they settled for the breakfast menu of a fast food place and were on the road again soon after.
xoxox xox xoxox
Time passed and they made it to the Viridian Forest fairly quickly. That was the slowest part of the trip since the forest was so thick and no one bothered to take good care of the road. Viridian was the closest major city to Pallet Town, though clear of the abundant trees of the forest, Giovanni knew the road would not be good past the city, no one had much of a reason to go that way anyway.
They were slowly but surely making their way through the forest when the car suddenly jerked violently, causing Giovanni to stomp on the breaks and Delia to close her eyes, clutching the pokemon egg protectively. The car came to a full stop feeling unbalanced. "Great... it looks like a flat tire."
"Did you bring a spare?" Delia certainly hoped he did.
"No, that was the spare; I changed it a few days ago," and forgot to replace it. Things were not looking good for Giovanni.
Even so, Delia didn't lose her optimistic mood. "Viridian City isn't far; we'll get another tire and replace it."
"Right, I'll go get it, wait here," Giovanni got out of the car, silently cursing his luck.
"I'll come too and you should get a spare while you're at it," Delia got out of the car as well.
Their conversation was interrupted by an approaching pokemon loudly calling out, "machoke!" while pointing at them.
"What is it Machoke?" A woman was fast approaching and for a moment Delia feared she was a police officer that somehow knew the leader of Team Rocket would be heading that way, though how she obtained that information would be inexplicable.
The police usually used Growlithe as their main pokemon, but exceptions were not unheard of. "Giovanni, the police!" Delia couldn't be caught like this. For a fleeting moment she considered claiming she had been taken hostage by Giovanni. She had good friends who could vouch for her character and it wasn't an unlikely possibility. Yet she couldn't bring herself to abandon Giovanni. She reached for her pokeballs, adding a plan B hastily in. "Giovanni, take the pokemon and battle the police, if they win, take me hostage and escape." It was wrong to pretend to be a hostage, but she would much rather turn Giovanni into a righteous vigilante than see him imprisoned.
Giovanni shook his head, "Delia, relax, put those pokeballs away. No one knows who we are."
Embarrassed by her sudden panic caused the Machoke's alarm, Delia nodded hurriedly and quickly put the pokeballs away, thankful that that pokemon couldn't talk, thus the Machoke would not be a dangerous witness.
"Oh my, you got a flat tire!" The woman was not wearing a police uniform, nor did she have anything that identified her as an officer.
Delia then understood that the Machoke was only trying to alert his trainer that there were people there who appeared to be in need of assistance. It then sunk in that had subconsciously gotten into a somewhat criminal mind frame worrying about being caught. She remained lost in thought while Giovanni casually made up a story to tell the woman.
They learned that Machoke's trainer, Amethyst, was the leader of the Viridian City gym, which she had inherited from her father. She was a cheerful young woman, with a vast willingness to help others and a bit of a shy side at times. She was also very beautiful with violet eyes and brilliant golden hair.
With some help from Amethyst's Machoke, the flat tire problem was solved swiftly. None the less, one distraction led to another and the group had lunch in Viridian City. Delia didn't want to rush out too quickly, albeit she could come up with a believable normal sounding excuse to be in a hurry, she was still jumpy from her earlier scare and wanted to avoid unnecessary suspicion.
It was when Delia called out Cloyster and Krabby for lunch, apologizing for having woken them up so early for breakfast before, that Giovanni realized she had been taking care of feeding the pokemon all along. She must have gone out to buy pokemon food when she got the anti-burn cream for him and given them dinner later that night. Then they must have had breakfast before Delia exited her room that morning.
Giovanni had all but forgotten about his Ivysaur, which had only been fed once early on the previous day. He considered hiding the pokemon, though if it was too weak to battle that would defeat the purpose of having brought it along for emergencies. Besides, Delia didn't need to know he forgot. He called out Ivysaur who was used to being forgotten and didn't make a fuss about being hungry, though it was certainly happy to have some lunch with the other pokemon.
Delia gave Giovanni a discreet glance, noticing his hand caught in the cookie jar expression, which he found impossible to hide completely. Fortunately, albeit the looks were easy to catch for those who expected them, the silent exchange went unnoticed by Amethyst.
After lunch, the act of friendly travelers was finalized with an expression of gratitude to Amethyst and her Machoke, and Giovanni and Delia were finally on the road to Pallet town once again.
As expected, when the left Viridian City behind, Delia brought up the topic of Ivysaur, but was not too energetic in scolding Giovanni, "please don't let Ivysaur go hungry again."
"Are you alright?"
"You sound tired, ever since we ran into Amethyst you've been uncomfortable," he paused and allowed his mind to come up with a pleasant theory, though he was smart enough not to voice that he thought, or at least hoped, it was all due to jealousy caused by the false friendly act he put up with Amethyst.
"I panicked back there and it made me realize what it's like to be on the run," Delia confessed.
"We're not on the run; we can go out in the open anywhere. I don't think you know the difference between a mafia organization and a gang of common thieves. Granted that's how we started, but it's not so simple anymore, it stopped being simple since before you joined. We'll be a powerful force, right now we're unknown and by the time they learn who we are, the police won't come after us, they'll know better than to start a war."
His words did the opposite of reassuring Delia, "you're aiming high and in the wrong direction," the second day, today was the second day, she would count yesterday as a full day even if Giovanni didn't like it. In another five days their deal would be off and she would no longer have a criminal boyfriend.
"Delia..." She automatically looked at him, suppressing the need to tell him he should be paying attention to the road instead of her. The path was straight and there was nothing to crash into anyway. "I'll protect you."
She blinked, blushed, then laughed, the last reaction understandably surprisingly Giovanni. She shook her head and composed herself, "a spy movie, you sounded just like the protagonist of a spy movie." She would never admit that she was laughing herself out of a dreamy daze in which she wanted to believe she was safe.
She just had to keep reminding herself that real life bad boys were not like movie bad boys, and yet, she still held on to the hope of someday making him change his ways. Perhaps she knew he was inevitably destined for power and wanted to make sure that power was used well.
Giovanni wasn't sure if he should be angry or glad. At least Delia was taking things better than he thought, or maybe she was running away from the facts. He concluded that it was useless to go around in circles trying to figure her out, she really was an enigma. "I like spy movies," he tried to guide the conversation into a casual topic.
Delia was all too happy to distract herself from her worries and played along. Soon they relaxed and carried out a normal conversation about movies, music and the like.
xoxox xox xoxox
When they entered Pallet Town, Delia was surprised. She knew it wasn't a very long way from Viridian to Pallet in a car, though pokemon trainers sometimes took up to three days to travel on foot, it was quite possible to make it in one, the delay was probably due to multiple stops along the way to pursue wild pokemon. Still, the remainder of the trip had gone by very quickly.
"Right down the street, there on that little hill," she directed him towards Professor Oak's research lab. Giovanni stopped in front of the stairs leading to the house; the gates had been left open. Delia exited the car, carrying the pokemon egg in one arm and a box full of samples on the other, which she had retrieved from the back of the car. She was half way up the stairs when she stopped and called back at Giovanni, "aren't you coming? You'll get bored waiting in the car for so long."
Giovanni didn't like the sound of this. "You mean you're not just going to drop off the samples?" He knew the answer would be a negative and wasted no time waiting for it before starting up the stairs. Then again, this might be for the best, he would know a little more about the resources and contacts Delia had and how he could use them in the future, this trip had stopped being only a vacation a long time ago.
"I want to take a look at the samples too, hear Professor Oak's opinion and say hi to the pokemon. This place is bigger than it looks; I stayed here for a long time as a student. I'm sure that Professor Oak will have a couple of spare rooms and invite us to stay," Delia explained.
"Fine, have it your way then," he took the box and placed his other arm around her waist, they did have a deal. He was her boyfriend for a week, not her secret boyfriend.
"If you're going to play the boyfriend card, you'll have to be nice to Professor Oak and help out. We'll be busy with the samples so you'll have to help with the pokemon and you need to treat them well."
For all his work, Giovanni felt he wouldn't receive any rewards right away, but having a look around the lab would be good. "Alright, I'll play nice, but try not to extend the visit too much. We should leave tomorrow at the latest." Sometimes he wondered why he was so tolerant with her. Either way; it wouldn't take his long to asset the situation and know what cards he held for later so there was no need to stay for more than a day.
"I'll try; believe me I'm in a hurry to see if we can learn anything from these samples so we will be working as fast as possible."
Delia rang the door bell and noted Professor Oak's solemn expression as he opened the door, which he tried to brighten when he realized who it was. "Delia, welcome back, and you've brought a guest, come in, come in."
Delia was quick to cut to the chase, "you look sad, did something happen? How are the pokemon? Has the epidemic reached here? We collected some samples from the beach east of Cerulean City where a healthy Shellder was found, although there was also a sick Gyarados, but I don't think she was originally from that area. I have water, sand and even scales from the Gyarados. The Shellder is now a Cloyster and I have him with me, as well as a healthy Krabby caught in the same beach. I would also like to conduct a more detailed examination on this pokemon egg, it came from a Persian, she..." Delia sniffled, "passed away..." and started crying, unable to hold back any longer.
Professor Oak feared his expression had been far too easy to read and didn't know what to say. Giovanni resolved to hug Delia quietly until she calmed down, though he was as confused as ever with her outburst. However, neither needed to wait for Oak to tell them the epidemic had reached his lab, it was written all over his face even if he tried to hide it.
Several minutes passed before Delia let out her bottled up stress and became focused again. Professor Oak first examined the egg, confirming that as Delia previously determined, virus had not been passed from mother to child. Oak then got to work on studying the samples, though Delia's studies had concentrated more on the pokemon directly than on analyzing their environment.
She took Oak's gentle suggestion to take a break and go for a walk in the spacious yard. She didn't want to get in the way and knew he would work faster if he didn't have to explain what he was doing as he went along, this was no time for an academic lecture; he needed to concentrate in his research.
Between the rush, the sadness and the overall drama, Giovanni was eventually introduced, with Delia feeling the obligation to point out he was her boyfriend. Albeit the casual pleasantries were cut short, for which Giovanni was secretly thankful, due to the call of duty to focus on research.
Delia restlessly made her way through the yard, which looked sadly empty with so few healthy pokemon left in the area. "I wish I was an expert in pokemon but my training is far from over, I would just slow him down if I go in there to help Professor Oak." The egg had been left inside the lab along with Cloyster and Krabby for further examinations.
"You've done a lot already, for all we know, this could be the key to solving the mystery of the epidemic," Giovanni consoled her, though it had little effect.
"You may be right, I am naive, but not this much, nothing in life is that easy." For a moment it looked like Delia would suffer a nervous break down and Giovanni could only think of hugging her, though she unexpectedly looked up at him with confidence. "I won't give up, no matter what." Thanking a deep breath, she focused on her other mission, trying to turn Giovanni good. Perhaps if she opened her heart to him just a little, she would find him easier to understand and easier to guide towards the right path. "It's a bit empty now, but this place is very beautiful, I enjoyed taking walks here as a student."
Giovanni was surprised by the sudden shift in Delia's mood when she took his hand and started hurrying towards the other side of the grassy fields where there was a little pond. Concluding he would never understand women, he went along with the nicer mood and took the opportunity to relax and take a break from the stress that dominated the majority of their time lately.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon. This chapter turned out longer than the others. :)