Diamond 28: Give me Kindness
Don't Give Me Diamonds
Diamond 28: Give me Kindness
The evening sun sunk into the horizon in Cinnabar Island, marking the end of a very busy day. The city was tense from the recent attack, with people watching their backs and jumping at the smallest sound. The tourists had mostly fled, piling into the ferries until there was no more room and heading to the mainland of Kanto. The locals stayed in their homes, locked in, wondering if this would be a stand alone incident and fearing that it might become the first of many.
"Dudette, I'm like so glad you're here, you know?" Luke greeted Delia as soon as she made her way off the ferry, which was nearly empty of passengers, save for her and a few others. Those others were probably on the island to try to talk friends and family who had stayed into leaving.
To use Team Rocket transportation would be too suspicious, so Delia traveled as a regular visitor would; giving the impression she wanted to remain unnoticed by Team Rocket. "I'm sure we can work things out, everything will be alright."
Luke nodded solemnly, not quite believing her, but wishing he could. "Let's like talk at my house."
Delia followed Luke to his house, which was very close to the beach. It was a small but cozy little house that clearly hadn't been maintained in years, but still kept its charm. It was painted white, with blue ocean waves decorating it. The paint had started to come off over the years of being exposed to the constant ocean breeze, but rather than making it look shabby, it made it looked lived in and welcoming.
Luke opened the door and stepped in, followed by Delia; he closed the door and bolted it as soon as she was inside. "Dudes, I'm like back!" Luke called out, with less energy than he normally would.
A man physically identical to Luke emerged from one of the connecting rooms and came into the living room. His hair was the exact loud red-orange shade as Luke's and he too had a tan and blue eyes. His eyes, despite being the same ocean blue color as Luke's, held a very different look as they scrutinized Delia critically as if she were a vile creature. "So you are that man's-"
"Han," Luke gave him a warning glare, bothered by the amount of spite his brother piled into the words 'that man' and determined not to let him so openly insult Delia.
"You are, Delia, the Rocket boss'... girlfriend," Han rephrased it. "My name is Han Eisley, though I have been going by Noel, and as you know, I'm Luke's brother." He lacked Luke's speech pattern but what stood out the most was the anger in his voice. "Sit down; we need to have a long talk."
Delia wordlessly took a seat on the old but comfortable sand colored couch, with faded seashell pictures. Her gaze never left Han's face, her anger obvious in her expression at the one who had caused so much damage. Luke sat beside her, nervously biting the index finger of his white glove without realizing it, he was still in his Team Rocket uniform.
"My brother insists that I talk to you, but be assured that I have no intentions of accepting Team Rocket and their evil deeds," Han warned.
"Where is Leah?" Delia spoke for the first time since she had entered the house, her voice firm and demanding.
"Why do you want to know?" Han yelled back, suddenly losing his temper.
Delia's glare became deadlier, "if you hurt her-"
"Please like stop, dudes, both of you!" Luke interrupted. "Leah is like safe, she's here, but she's like having a hard time dealing with things, you know?"
"I want to see her," Delia insisted, her expression unchanged.
"You can't," Han denied in anger.
"How do I know you're not holding her hostage?" Delia was not following the plan to get as much information out of them as she could, but she didn't care, Leah's life could be in great danger.
"Don't put me in the same level as you Rocket scum!" Han yelled, clearly enraged.
"Stop!" Leah exited the only other bedroom in the little house. "Please stop..." She sat down next to Han, her gaze downcast, expression tortured, she couldn't look at Delia.
"Leah, I'm glad you're not injured," at least Delia could put one worry out of her mind. Her voice was soft, calm and supportive all of a sudden; it made Leah cry.
"I'm sorry," Leah whispered softly. She might have preferred to be regarded as a traitor, instead of being treated with such understanding that made her feel so guilty. She had never fully felt comfortable in Team Rocket, but followed Luke to it and stayed. Now Han was back, her lost love, but he was so different it broke her heart.
Leah had decided to return to him and though he didn't remember her, seeing the photos of their past and hearing the stories, he took her back. Still, he had changed so much it pained her to think what the old Han would say about his current self if he ever got his memories back. Perhaps it didn't matter, he had become a different person and memories may not be enough to restore him to how carefree and gentle he was before.
"It's not your fault," Delia tried to comfort Leah.
Leah didn't reply, instead crying quietly, Han took her hand, "you don't need to stay here."
"I want to," Leah refused to leave, "I have to hear this again."
Luke's frown deepened, appearing alien on his face which was always adorned by a big smile, but he didn't say anything.
"My brother told me why you originally joined Team Rocket," Han spoke, "he said you wanted to help the pokemon and allowed them to take you prisoner for that purpose. Then you ended up as one of the team and even got close to the boss. You've been so corrupted I don't even know if you can still be reasonable."
"Corrupted?!" It was true that Delia let a few things slip that she wouldn't in the past and even participated in them. It was true that she had become more open minded and accepting of the new Team Rocket, but that did not mean she was corrupted. She was simply no longer quite as naive as she used to be, she was braver and stronger. "I did not plant explosives in a volcano risking the lives of many!"
Luke ripped his glove with his teeth, biting into his finger by accident and yelping in pain. He sucked on his aching finger and noticed that no one was paying attention to his predicament anyway.
"The people of Cinnabar Island are just as bad as Team Rocket for accepting them. Team Rocket uses Cinnabar as a trade point and they're planning to establish a business here to make that easier. Everyone knows how terrible Team Rocket is and yet they let them do as they please out of fear or maybe even economical benefit. They unfairly justify Team Rocket. If they're not willing to fight against Team Rocket, then I'm not willing to protect them," Han argued defiantly.
"No one is asking for your protection!" Delia retorted with the same challenge and resolve, "all you have to do is not hurt them. Do you even realize the risk of what you've done? You seem to know a lot about Team Rocket, do you know where our base of operations is?"
"The Viridian City Gym," Han revealed with a mix of frustration and anger, "the authorities know but they don't do anything, it seems Giovanni is good friends with the mayor."
"If you know that then why, instead of involving innocent people, didn't you go to the Viridian Gym? If you hate Giovanni so much, why didn't you just challenge him to a battle directly? I'm sure he would have been happy to wipe the floor with you!" Delia yelled.
Han stood furious, "you insolent little-!"
"Stop it! Dudes please, we're like not getting anywhere like this!" Luke raised his voice beyond the other two and signaled for Han to sit down again.
With clenched teeth and fists, Han sat down; Leah beside him had her face buried in her hands. "I want to make the people of Cinnabar Island and of all Kanto fight back. They will know that if they don't stand up for themselves, they will never be free of Team Rocket!" Han growled.
"Protesting is one thing, but you need to understand that no matter how strongly you feel about something, hurting others is wrong. Besides, people are not obligated to hate Team Rocket; people are not obligated to agree with you. They can have their own opinions, even if you don't like them!" Delia had a strong dislike for those who used violence to prove a point, hindering the lives of those who were not to blame in hopes of forcing them into joining the cause.
Before Han could argue back, Luke intervened again, "Han bro, just like please tell her the story, man!"
"Fine," Han took a deep breath and began to narrate his tale, "some time ago I was in an accident which made me lose my memory. When I woke up I was underground, lost and confused in the darkness. It was a group of Diglett and Dugtrio that led me to the surface. I wandered around Cinnabar Island lost, hungry, exhausted and hurt. People looked at me, many with concern, but when I approached them they turned away and that made me think their concern was for themselves and not for me."
Han continued, "I later found out my brother had not taken the news of my supposed passing calmly. He had tried to dig me out from the cave-in, convinced I was alive and he was injured in the attempt, but would still not accept my apparent death. He wondered through the streets of Cinnabar Island and got angry at those who tried to offer sympathy, those who had given up hope. Because of that, I was not found, even if I was seen; they assumed that I was Luke. For that event I hold no grudge against my brother or the people of Cinnabar Island; for it was because of this that I experienced many things. Those things were painful, but they've made me who I am."
"I made it to the main land thanks to the kindness of the captain of a cargo ship that had just made his first trip to Cinnabar Island following his newly assigned trade route, Captain Adoy. On the ship I finally received food and medical attention. Forever grateful, I set out to continue my search for my lost past in Fuchsia City, but no one on the busy streets recognized me. I later learned that Leah had shut herself in her room with her pain, so she didn't see me at Fuchsia City, I don't blame her for that either. The story was repeated all over Kanto, I visited each city, but no one seemed to know me and in the end I gave up."
"It's ironic to think people were hurting for my absence and I was wishing to be found, yet we would not be reunited until such a long time had passed; maybe this was my destiny. I returned to Fuchsia City after journeying all over Kanto and found Captain Adoy again. He asked about my story and after learning of my fruitless search, he offered me a job and I worked at his ship. I never really went far from the ports during that time; I didn't venture into the streets of Cinnabar Island again. I didn't think that was my past home, I thought that maybe I had been visiting when the accident occurred."
"When I had a vacation from my job, I decided to take another look around Kanto in the areas that I had spent the least time before. It was in Viridian City where I had my first run-in with the Tempest Gang and it's because of them that Vaporeon, the pokemon that was given to me by Captain Adoy to keep me company, was killed in battle protecting me. Desperate to make it up to the captain and to at least try to honor Vaporeon's memory, I caught two Eevee, but Captain Adoy refused to take them, instead saying I should raise them. In the end, I couldn't bring myself to evolve them into Vaporeon, the memory was too painful."
"There was a time when I saw her again, the woman who ruthlessly attacked Vaporeon with an Electabuzz. That woman with the violet hair and cold green eyes; she was wearing a Team Rocket uniform. I wondered if she had been a spy infiltrating the Tempest Gang in the past. I avoided a confrontation and ran away; I thought that my pokemon would be killed if I fought even if she didn't seem to have her unnaturally strong Electabuzz anymore, who knows what might have become of it; she had a Ghastly instead. Later I was ashamed of myself for running away and for leaving her free to cause more damage."
"I heard the Tempest Gang was defeated by Team Rocket and later I heard a rumor about New Island, news travels fast at the ports; I had to investigate. I set out on a small boat and made it there, sneaking in past security. There wasn't a whole lot of security there and not the entire place was operational. I guess that was the reason for the lack of security, it wasn't fully established yet and many areas were still heavily under construction. Regardless of that, I saw what they did in the few semi-operational areas, conducting terrible experiments on pokemon and using cruel training methods. I left before I was found, I guess it would be impossible for me to get in there now, no doubt, the security system must have been fully implemented by now."
"Team Rocket has been making a lot of illegal deals with stolen goods and controlling the market to their convenience. To top it all up, the boss even became a gym leader, staining everything the Indigo League stands for. The police are powerless, the politicians are too comfortable and people are cowards. Team Rocket is a terrible organization of nothing but villainous criminals. They steal, they lie, they threaten, they take what's not theirs and leave nothing but destruction in their path," Han finished with vast hatred and bitterness.
"It's not true," Delia whispered, "it's... it's different!" She took a deep breath trying to organize her thoughts, she recognized Aayla as the woman from the story, the description fit and she had previously been with the Tempest Gang, doing things their way. Delia knew Luke and Leah must have realized Han was talking about Aayla as well, though Han didn't appear to know her name.
"New Island has changed," Delia insisted; she didn't want to think about the terrible things Han spoke of having witnessed there before. "It's a research facility for the study of extinct pokemon. They're only experimenting on rocks now, it's different!"
Han didn't look convinced in the least, while Delia continued, "I know Team Rocket has been dealing with stolen goods, but someone had to step in, the flow of stolen goods can't be left to continue. Someone has to set things right and put the resources to a good use. We rescue pokemon and take care of them. Sometimes you have to bend the rules to do what's truly fair. We may not be a legal organization, but we're not evil."
"The person whom you battled," Delia made sure to keep Aayla's identity a secret and only spoke in general terms. "I'm sure she found a new life with Team Rocket, abandoning the Tempest Gang's terrible ways. The Tempest Gang was truly evil, Team Rocket protected Kanto from them, we saved the pokemon and we helped discover the cure to the epidemic that threatened all pokemon!"
"The way Team Rocket had the cure first, I find it suspicious," Han argued. "What's more, they took advantage of that, abusing people's pain and desperation to be unable to save their pokemon unless they could pay the expensive price of the antidote. The bureaucracy of the official pokemon products regulation isn't much better, but the fact remains that Team Rocket took advantage of the suffering of others!"
"Without Team Rocket there would be no cure at all! You need to realize how much the world owes Team Rocket!" Delia felt hurt and angry that Team Rocket was insulted along with Giovanni, her friends and herself.
"Listen to yourself Delia!" Leah was the one to interrupt this time, surprising all those present with her unusually loud and harsh tone. "You didn't used to be this way, anyone could see it. It's true that Team Rocket's influence brought some good consequences, but Giovanni doesn't care about that, he just wanted the power, riches and the useful connections that came along with everything. Team Rocket has become like the Tempest Gang and worse. They attack the innocent and steal from them; they rule the underworld of Kanto with threats and fear. They do terrible things in New Island and the deals they make, the consequences they cause... You have no idea how many people have been hurt by Team Rocket, you've been kept in the dark, Giovanni's been sheltering you. He's using you for your skills at taking care of pokemon and your connection to Professor Oak."
"That's not true!" Delia couldn't believe this was Leah saying all those terrible things. "At first Giovanni didn't even know that Professor Oak had been my teacher, I was the one who told him that. We helped with his research, don't you remember? Professor Oak agreed to work with Binks, he agreed to give us the antidote's formula first because he knew the official testing would take too long and there was no time left for the pokemon. Professor Oak knew he was doing the right thing."
Delia continued, "my skill with pokemon is not that different from anyone else who cares about them, it's nothing unusual. I'm not being used, Giovanni appreciates me. The one who is being used is you, clinging to the memory of a man who did nothing but ungratefully force you into a dangerous situation as thanks for your devotion!" Leah was shocked to hear Delia throw the truth at her face and Han was enraged.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon. Luke and Han's house is based on Kai's shop from Harvest Moon.