Diamond 24: Give me Confidence
Diamond 24: Give me Confidence
Delia dried her eyes and attempted to compose herself in the face of tragedy. She felt helpless and lost, but she still hoped and told herself that things would miraculously improve as they had before. "Binks, you won't make the same mistake again, right?"
The small white room was filled with a heavy atmosphere. "Of course not, if I could do it over I would take any beating Aayla gives me instead of following her dangerous orders."
"Take care of her and when she wakes up, stay by her side to make sure she's alright, call me immediately. I'm afraid there's not much I can do here, I don't have the kind of scientific knowledge and experience this situation needs, but somehow, I'll try to be of help to everyone," Delia wasn't sure how she would accomplish that. In the past when she felt lost, Giovanni had been there, but in truth he didn't know the way either, not the right way.
"I will," Binks promised solemnly.
Delia looked at Aayla's peaceful face; she showed no signs of pain what so ever. She placed her warm hand on the other woman's freezing one, "be strong Aayla, you're a truly amazing person and I know you can make it through this," after those words, Delia left the room.
As Delia walked down the hall, her expression was neutral; she didn't want to darken the atmosphere all over the laboratory to how it was in that room. Binks would take care of Aayla and she would wake up, everything would be alright.
"Delia, what are you doing over here?" She found Giovanni walking up the hall in the opposite direction.
"I went to see Aayla and Binks, she's sleeping and he's taking care of her," Delia made an effort to keep her voice even.
"New Island will be dedicated to researching Mew," Giovanni informed, "you wanted that," he reminded her, trying to lighten her mood.
Delia shook her head, "it's not because I wanted it that it's happening, but I am glad about the laboratory's new purpose." She didn't know of the specifics and deemed them harmless by lack of opposing evidence. Archeology, rocks, dirt, theories, maybe even fossils, but no live experimentation, she at least found comfort in those thoughts, not knowing how wrong she was. "Is your business here done?"
"I was going to talk to Binks," about the new project, to access how well he could participate in it and to address a few curiosities about his last project. Giovanni made sure not to hint at his true purpose, instead trying to look concerned.
Delia nodded, "go on, I'll wait here," if she saw the unconscious Aayla, the distraught Binks and the sad Rattata once more, Delia was sure she would cry again and that time she wouldn't be able to stop.
Delia wasn't sure how much time passed, she spent it all staring at her shoes with her back against the cold gray wall out in the hall. Giovanni returned and she walked beside him in silence. They went to the helicopter again and took off, this time Giovanni's requested destination was Cinnabar Island.
xoxox xox xoxox
The buildings near by as the helicopter landed looked unfamiliar to Delia, she had not been in Cinnabar Island before, but she had a good guess about why they were there, or so she thought. There was a construction in progress as Leah had mentioned before, Giovanni probably wanted to take some time to personally visit it.
Delia frowned, telling herself not to complain, she had wanted to be included in his business. Aayla would be fine, Binks would take care of her; life had to continue for their sake. When Aayla returned, she would find a new Team Rocket that was at least a little better than before. Delia would not let go of her dream, one day Team Rocket would be a force of good.
She still felt conflicted and lost, she wasn't sure what was a fact and what was an excuse anymore. It was not until they arrived at their room that Delia realized it was indeed a hotel room and not a meeting room filled with the people supervising the Cinnabar Island project. "What are we doing here?"
"Taking a break from everything," Giovanni crossed the room, opened a door that led to a spacious interior garden, and let his pokemon out. "We can relax here and our pokemon can rest as well," he knew she cared deeply about pokemon and would be glad they were somehow included in their mini vacation.
Delia let out her pokemon, her expression softening only slightly at the sight of the beautiful scenery. The garden was covered in soft green grass with tall bushes lining the walls so that was all that was seen surrounding it. There was a little stone path that rounded two small ponds, one of them steamy and the other cool. Flowers were all around, varying in fiery shades of red, yellow and orange. Soft sunlight shone over the scene, highlighting the pokemon's expressions as they paused to watch her curiously.
"What is it? Go play," Delia took care of them for Giovanni often, so his pokemon were just as familiar with her as her own.
"They're worried about you; it seems you absorb all the stress of the world into you. I told you before that you can't carry the weight of the world all by yourself. Try to relax for the pokemon's sake; they have a strong connection to us, especially to you," Giovanni attempted to make Delia forget about the recent events and focus on the present, trying to make her as calm and optimistic as he was at the time.
"A strong connection..." Delia mused, "that's what I've been trying to tell you."
"You were right," Giovanni credited, if only to get his point across that she needed to relax.
Delia's expression softened a little bit more, "you only say I'm right when it's convenient."
"You were still right," Giovanni gave her Meowth, who had remained perched on his shoulder thus far.
"Meowth?" The little pokemon looked at Delia with curiosity and concern.
"Mommy is alright," Delia smiled at Meowth. "I was just worried about aunty Aayla. She's a little sick but it's nothing serious, she's going to be okay, uncle Binks is with her." She petted the small pokemon and set him down, "go play with your siblings."
There was a knock on the door with the announcement of, "room service!"
"That is the pokemon food," it was well into the afternoon by then, "we can leave them here, they'll be fine," Giovanni hinted that they would be going elsewhere.
Delia nodded and tried to make herself relax. Maybe it wasn't that Giovanni didn't care about Aayla's situation, but rather he knew he had to be a reliable figure of calm and composure. She would try to be that way too, so that she could muster the strength to share with others and give them hope.
xoxox xox xoxox
"Don't lean out so far," Giovanni urged as he held Delia back.
"You have me, don't you?" Delia didn't listen and continued leaning into the volcano, fascinated by the glowing lava below. The lava was calm and smooth, its vapors being drained by vents connected to pipes on the bottom of the balcony around the volcano's opening.
It was true that Giovanni did have his arms wrapped securely around Delia's waist, but he still found it reckless that she would lean in far over the railing like some, "curious country girl."
"Hey, I've been living in the city long enough to be a city girl now!" Delia argued sounding amused rather than offended and finally stood upright. "This place is beautiful; I wonder why we're the only ones here?"
"Because I don't want interruptions," Giovanni an expression of confidence and victory, the look he always had when he gave her an expensive gift.
"Did you rent out this place for the entire day?" Delia still felt uneasy about the expensive gifts and the excesses, but they had been working hard and they hardly had time to relax, plus she really needed a get away. For once, she wouldn't tell him it was too much, instead allowing him to bask in the pride of being able to give her something fancy, she was especially thankful that this time the gift included spending time with her.
xoxox xox xoxox
It was nice, eating on a volcano, it was very warm of course, but neither seemed to mind, after having some island specialties; Delia had an experiment she wanted to try. The waiter, who Delia thought must be very tired of going up and down the volcano, brought the requested supplies with a smile, probably thinking the tip he knew he would be getting was well worth the exercise.
With a childish spark in her eyes, Delia inserted the marshmallows into the stick, tied it to a long string and lowered it close to the lava below, but just far enough so it wouldn't catch on fire.
She brought the roasted marshmallows up again, blowing at the one on the end before biting into it. Her expression was joyful as she devoured the rest of the large fluffy treat. These marshmallows were about twice the size of regular ones, but she had no complaints about it. "Delicious!" She offered Giovanni the stick with the other marshmallow, "you have to try this!"
"Volcanic marshmallows..." Giovanni had not considered the idea, it was creative, plus she was right, it did taste great. More importantly, Delia was finally relaxing, which meant that he could leave the strategizing behind for now and relax for real.
Delia remembered the marshmallows Team Rocket had at the beach long ago; she hoped they could do that again as she tried to stay focus on a positive line of thinking. That time she had felt invincible, like a righteous vigilante who could take on the world. Giovanni had reassured her then. There was also another time when he reassured her that stood out in her mind.
Team Rocket had just started its speedy growth, she took care of the pokemon and he tried to keep everything running smoothly, their paths crossed in the halls in what Delia would refer to as Charmander mini-moments, but they weren't working side by side, even if they were together in the evening until the next morning when they again parted ways.
They had gone up to the roof of the Viridian Gym one night with the lights off and he had told her to look up. It felt like being in outer space. She could see nothing but darkness around her due to the abundant trees, but when she looked up she felt as if she really was surrounded by stars, with no other light to dim their shine.
She had told him then about how she wanted to be more involved with Team Rocket, more helpful. "You're already helpful," he had replied, "you take good care of the pokemon, they're strong because of you; I trust you." That had been all the reassurance she needed that time.
Delia felt appreciated, trusted and capable; she could be left on her own because she knew what she was doing. She later heard about certain angles she didn't like in the progress of the various negotiations surrounding the new Team Rocket, but she tried to look at the situation from a different angle where Team Rocket was somehow justified.
The evening was arriving now, the glow of the lava below becoming the closest light, second to the lights of the hotel at the volcano's base. They had been kissing when the sound of Delia's cell phone was heard, she looked it immediately, with Giovanni giving her a slightly annoyed expression, "don't give me that look Charmander, this is important," the call was from Binks, Delia immediately answered and asked, "how is she?"
"Aayla is awake, she's awake!" Binks cheered, "she's going to be alright, she gave me a black eye!" No one had ever sounded so happy about getting a black eye before.
"That's wonderful!" Delia cheered, her radiant joy shining through without having to be forced, "I mean about Aayla waking up, not about your black eye; can I talk to her?"
"I'm afraid she can't really talk to anyone right now, but I have you on speaker, oh sorry, I forgot to tell you that!" Binks apologized, though he still sounded joyous, albeit exhausted.
"Never mind, it's okay, but why can't she talk? Did she lose her voice?" Delia inquired, her previous worry returning slightly, though the relief that Aayla was awake was still greater.
"Oh no, she just had her tonsils removed. Don't worry, her condition is stable, her voice will return in a few days," Binks assured. "Aayla, do you want to try saying something to Delia?"
A raspy growl was heard and Delia's smile grew at the further confirmation of Aayla's consciousness, it might have been a growl, but it was Aayla's voice. "Don't try to talk now, it's okay, I know you're there. Just focus on recovering and enjoy having lots of ice-cream!" She paused, looking at Giovanni, who listened to one side of the conversation with curiosity. She knew he must have already realized what this was about, "I'm putting you on speaker now, Giovanni is here."
"Boss?" Binks spoke with a hint of uncertainty, "I sent you an email with the detailed medical report as requested. The tests are being prepared, I'll send the data as soon as we have it."
"Good, continue as planned," upon hearing this, Delia realized Giovanni must have told Binks to send that data back when they were at the New Island laboratory.
She smiled, assuming he was more concerned about Aayla's safety than she had thought, even if he was discrete in showing it. She felt bad for ever doubting him, a good leader would take care of his team while remaining calm and Giovanni was a great leader as far as Delia knew. She wasn't sure what the tests were about, but she assumed they were related to Aayla's health and that Giovanni did care enough about their friend to stay informed.
"Yes!" Binks showed signs of excitement in his voice, besides his joy and relief. "I'll work on that right away; I guess that's all the news I have for now, so um... goodbye."
"Bye!" Delia gave her cheerful goodbye, she felt too good to find the short conversation suspicious. It was the good news she longed to receive and she could react with nothing except happiness, relief and gratitude. Music began to play in the distance, catching their attention. "A party?" Delia wondered as she clicked her cell phone shut, Binks had already hung up, perhaps before Delia could finish saying goodbye.
"It's the flame festival, do you want to go?" Giovanni inquired, he looked more comfortable than he had in a while, he was calm and strong all the time, but that time he was peaceful. It was as if the constant guard he always had disappeared in light of everything progressing well and being able to take some time off. He knew the scientists would do their work, there was nothing else Giovanni could do at the time, he had already set everything in motion.
"Yes!" Delia was finally feeling truly good; focusing on the preset completely as she knew Giovanni wanted her to. She had no looming worries to push to the back of her mind anymore. Delia had looked forward to spending time with Giovanni, she had her wish granted and she would enjoy it.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon.