Diamond 45: Give me Romance
Diamond 45: Give me Romance
Brock, Ash and Misty walked through the crowded streets. Pikachu was once again riding on Ash's back and the rest of their pokemon were resting in their pokeballs. As soon as they were away from Giovanni and Delia, Brock was quick to express his worries. "Do you remember Mewtwo and the one who tried to capture him?"
"I remember Mewtwo, but not really the one trying to capture him," Ash was confused by the sudden question that didn't seem to be related to anything recent. "I was helping Mewtwo when he arrived and when I looked up I just saw Onix. Maybe he didn't see me either, but why do you ask?"
Misty had grown pale, her hand gripping Ash's tighter, "it has to be a coincidence. The man who was with Delia is the Viridian City gym leader," Misty also remembered that man who tried to capture Mewtwo. She saw the resemblance between him and the gym leader too. It was something that she realized subconsciously before Brock finally pointed it out and she became aware of it.
"What are you talking about?" Ash inquired with curiosity, "do they look alike or something? Well, I'm sure it's just a coincidence. The gym leader is the same man from mom's picture. They used to date," and therefore, he had to be a good man. "I want to ask her about it, but this is no time to be nosy. I'll give them some space and let them catch up. Besides, it would be nice if mom had someone to keep her company when I'm away. Viridian City is very close to Pallet Town, so visiting would be easy," Ash reasoned.
Misty and Brock nodded in understanding. Surely the gym leader's resemblance to Mewtwo's enemy of the past was purely a coincidence or maybe even their imagination. They would never know for sure unless they saw Giovanni wearing orange. Seeing him in black made him look like someone who wouldn't wear such a bright color.
It was only after his worries were calmed that Brock noticed the look of bliss on Ash and Misty's faces. Then the situation became more apparent when Pikachu jumped on his shoulder. "Did something happen?" He had been too worried before to notice the ring on Misty's finger, even when she waved at Delia.
Misty smiled from ear to ear, "I thought you'd never ask," she lifted her left hand to show her engagement ring.
Brock immediately understood, "congratulations!"
"I still haven't given Ash a proper answer. The explosion interrupted me," Misty recalled, still blissful nonetheless.
"In that case, you should do that now," Brock smiled, truly happy for his friends. He wished that he could experience that kind of happiness one day too. "Pikachu and I are going to get a snack, how about it, Pikachu?"
"Pika!" Pikachu nodded, he too was full of questions regarding Giovanni. Pikachu had been paying attention to the conversation and was puzzled. He remembered having met Giovanni some time ago, years after the Mewtwo incident.
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Jessie had thought James' idea was bad, "quality over quantity," she had argued. James had purchased a pair of cheap remote control robots with long arms culminating in robber covered hands. The robots did not posses a human shape or even a head. They were instead a pair of metal boxes with conveyor style wheels to help them move. They were about five feet tall with long arms, protected by rubber, though their bodies were not.
Jessie, James and Meowth appeared in front of the path Ash, Misty and Brock were taking across the Viridian forest. They began by reciting their motto as they always did and creating a commotion. James served as the decoy, sending his robot to capture Pikachu. He was ultimately sent flying after Pikachu short circuited the machine into exploding before he could be caught.
Jessie took advantage of the distraction and sent the second identical robot to capture Pikachu. The yellow electric pokemon was taken by surprise and captured by the robot. However, things did not go as planned. The robot began to malfunction by itself, even if Pikachu wasn't doing anything. It ultimately exploded and sent both Jessie and Pikachu blasting off, while Meowth was left behind.
Jessie was used to the rough landings and was able to recover quickly. In contrast, the explosion, aftershock, flying shards of the destroyed robot and the fall, affected Pikachu greatly. Jessie picked him up, he was conscious, but he was injured and his breathing was labored and pained. The yellow pokemon didn't have the strength to fight against his captor.
In her euphoria for having captured Pikachu, Jessie didn't even realize the critical state he was in. "James, Meowth, I have him!" She wasn't even wearing rubber gloves, but she couldn't think about that at the time. She only thought of finally handing Pikachu over to the boss.
James, who had landed in a tree near by, heard Jessie and rushed towards her. "We have him, we have him!" He jumped and cheered, "we finally captured Pikachu!"
"Shut up, don't jinx it!" Jessie scolded, she didn't know where Meowth was, but there was no time to wait for him. "We need to give Pikachu to the boss right away before something goes wrong." It was a good thing they were so close to headquarters, and they wasted no time in rushing there.
Giovanni was just returning to the Viridian headquarters after completing some business in the Johto region. He was entering the gym from the back door when Jessie and James arrived and cheerfully called out, "boss! Boss!" They felt bad about leaving Meowth out, but it was vital to hand over Pikachu before their good luck ran out.
"What do you two want?" Giovanni snapped; he was in no mood to deal with Jessie and James.
"We brought you a super strong pokemon!" Without even thinking that her boss wasn't equipped with rubber gloves or any sort of electric protection, Jessie placed Pikachu in his arms.
Giovanni never liked jokes and he knew no one was crazy enough to play a joke on him. He didn't have the best impression of Jessie and James. They had been competent at some point, but those times were long gone. He wasn't even sure why he put up with them anymore and decided that day that it was over. If that beat up barely conscious creature was their idea of a super strong pokemon, they were useless, "you're fired!"
Jessie and James stood in shock while Giovanni took his little black cell phone with a red R from his pocket. He was still holding Pikachu in his other arm while he called out a few Rocket grunts. He instructed the Rocket grunts to carry out the usual procedure when someone left Team Rocket. He watched as Jessie and James were dragged away.
Realizing that he was still holding the injured Pikachu, Giovanni examined the creature. He noticed the little yellow pokemon was glaring at him. Putting no importance in that detail, Giovanni decided that maybe that pokemon would be useful after all. He took a small clear vial from his pocket. It was a sample of a new healing potion that would be quite profitable when it hit the market. All the tests were complete and it worked perfectly with no side-effects. Giovanni wanted to see its fast effect in action one more time.
He took the vial's cap off and held Pikachu carefully, "drink this," he instructed gently, so as to not startle the creature, but with commanding authority.
Pikachu was dazed and barely conscious. His electricity felt as if it was completely gone at the moment and his body didn't respond when he wanted to move. His vision was blurry and it hurt to breathe. He had no choice but to swallow the salty liquid the human was giving him. The aftertaste beyond the salt was bitter and unpleasant, but the pain was starting to fade away. Pikachu felt strong again, he could breathe easily and his limbs were no longer limp with numbing pain. He shifted in the human's arms, looking up at him with puzzlement. If this was the Team Rocket boss, why would he heal him?
Satisfied with the test, Giovanni set the Pikachu down, he had no interest in keeping the seemingly weak pokemon. Leaving Pikachu standing in confusion, Giovanni proceeded to go inside the Viridian Gym. Persian paused before following his trainer and addressed Pikachu, taking note of his confusion. 'You're free to go,' Persian followed Giovanni inside and the door was closed behind them.
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After the perplexing event, Pikachu was reunited with Ash, who didn't let Meowth get away. Upon finding Pikachu, Ash finally released Meowth. The Rocket pokemon ran away immediately to avoid being sent blasting off.
Meowth searched for Jessie and James, finally finding them as they exited the Viridian Gym wearing casual clothes. Meowth almost didn't recognize them. "I've been looking all over for you. It looks like Pikachu got away again; he's with the twerps now." Meowth examined their depressed expressions, "why do you look so sad and how come you're not wearing your uniforms?"
Jessie and James tearfully informed Meowth that they were fired and that all the final paperwork had been completed. Meowth exploded in depressed rage, scratching them and running away. He later rejoined the two humans to seek revenge. Then one day they decided to start anew after a good meal and an understanding talk from Ash's mother in Pallet Town.
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Time passed and once again it was morning in Viridian City. The previous night had been filled with celebrations, music and fireworks. Delia was just waking up and her head wasn't any clearer than it was the previous day. She knew she wouldn't be able to figure things out any time soon. She examined the unfamiliar ceiling before remembering where she was and her confusion hit her harder, "what am I going to do?"
She got up and went to take a shower in the bathroom attached to the Viridian Gym's guest room. The room was rather elegant. The carpet was so thick that her bare feet sunk into it and she didn't even bother putting on her shoes when she got out of bed. It was that same deep red color as the sheets and pillows, there were at least a dozen pillows varying in size. From the biggest being almost as long as she was tall, to the smallest being a little square less than a foot long.
The walls were a very pale gray that looked almost white by the contrast of the deep shades of red. But it was not white enough to stand out and take any attention away from the dark colored furniture. The bed was large enough to fit three or four people with an intricately carved backrest in swirling shapes on the black wood. It was as if it had been crafted from an imaginary tangible material which composed the black holes of outer space. The two nightstands on either side of the bed, the desk in the corner, the chairs and various pieces of furniture in the room matched the bed.
There was a large mirror in front of the bed, three feet tall and five feet wide. Delia found out by accident that it was not a normal mirror. That was a fact Delia discovered the previous night after insisting that she needed some alone time and kicked Giovanni out of his own guestroom. She locked the door to ensure his lack of intrusion, not that it worked.
She intended to lie in bed sorting through her thoughts, but the lack of concentration made her observe the various aspects of the room like a detective searching for hidden clues in a crime scene. She spotted a remote control on the night stand to her right and picked it up, examining the multitude of colorful buttons it possessed. She experimented with the buttons, learning by trial and error how to control the room's temperature and lights. The lights could be set to a variety of intensities and colors. It was an unnecessary luxury in her opinion, but that didn't make it any less amusing.
As Delia played with the lights and the purple faded into darkness, her finger slipped and pressed another button. She was suddenly face to face with a masked man armed with a bloody knife and couldn't help it but to scream.
Giovanni entered the room, turning the lights on as he rushed in to find Delia rolling around the bed in a fit of laughter. "What happened? Why did you yell?" The 3D TV was on, having less of an effect in the bright light, though it still showed the vicious killer finishing off his latest victim. "Where you yelling because of this movie and is that the same reason you're laughing?"
Delia composed herself and nodded, she should have known a simple lock wouldn't keep Giovanni out. "Yes, I didn't realize it was a TV at first, then suddenly there's some murderous masked man trying to stab me. When the scene changed it made it look as if the room was haunted. That would have been nice, but then I realized it was just a TV hidden in the mirror."
Giovanni had forgotten Delia's liking for haunted places. Yet Ash was the one who ended up finding ghosts now and then. Some should have been haunting Giovanni, due to Team Rocket's actions. The topic reminded Delia that Giovanni also had a liking for such things. More so than simple curiosity, it was because he wanted to know what kind of power lurked behind the illusions and how to obtain it. "Maybe I should stay here and keep you company so you don't hurt yourself with everyday household appliances like a naive country girl."
She could have argued that particular kind of TV was not an everyday household appliance for everyone, but there were other more pressing matters in her mind. Delia didn't know when Giovanni sat down on the bed beside her. She didn't know when he wrapped his arms around her. She didn't know when he got close enough to whisper in her ear. It all still felt unreal, but years of waiting for that moment and not obtaining it had build up her defenses, if only by a little. She wanted to laugh, call him Charmander like she used to and playfully scold him, not really meaning it. She felt a heavy sense of deja vu that drowned her and she liked it, which was all the more reason to push him away. "Stop it, I'm serious. I told you I needed some time by myself to think."
He gave her a quick kiss and got up, "you really need to stop denying yourself what you want." She wanted to throw the nearest blunt object at him for telling her the exact same thing he had told her long ago. As if her deja vu and confusion wasn't overwhelming already. At least he didn't intrude in her requested privacy again for the rest of the night.
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After her morning shower, Delia threw on a bathrobe tying the band around her waist and wrapping a towel on her damp hair that matched the color of the sheets. She exited the bathroom and opened the closet. It was full of clothes, clearly new, which must have been hastily purchased by that Rocket girl she saw when Giovanni led her to the room.
When he convinced her to spend the night over at the gym, he made a call to have the guest room prepared. Delia had insisted that she would only stay if she got her own room. As they arrived, a girl with cyan colored hair and green eyes, that Delia was certain she had seen before, was exiting the room. "Everything is ready, boss!" She chirped cheerfully, her voice was particularly melodious.
The girl left soon after, before Delia could inquire about her identity. "Isn't she a famous singer? Akira?"
Giovanni didn't seem to place too much importance in the fact, "members of Team Rocket can do what they want in their free time, as long as it doesn't interfere with their duties."
Delia had found it all too puzzling. Why would a famous singer want to be a part of Team Rocket? Furthermore, why would she still remain as a famous artist even after it became well known that her concerts were most likely Team Rocket traps? Perhaps the added danger contributed to the rebellious teen image she had since she was actually a teenager. Albeit those years had passed, she still looked like one.
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Delia felt guilty examining the price tags on the clothes that Akira must have hastily placed in the closet. At least the girl had good taste, despite her own attire outside of her uniform being very different from what Delia would wear. Sighing hopelessly, Delia frowned at the amount of clothes there were. It was as if Giovanni wanted the well supplied closet to send the message that she should be in no hurry to leave. Two could play that game.
If she was going to be there, she would make herself useful to the world by trying to pick up where she left off in her attempt to talk Giovanni into making Team Rocket an organization of good. Either he would get tired of her and send her away, or she would at least push him to the edge and make him explain why he was suddenly all over her. She knew she might not like the explanation, but she needed to know. Either way, first she had to call Ash so he wouldn't worry about her prolonged absence.
Unfortunately, Delia's cell phone had mysteriously vanished. She had a sinking suspicion that Giovanni took it from her pocket at some point when she attempted to continue conversing with him in a private living room area at the gym after dinner. It must have happened before she decided it was time to do something to protect her personal space. There was no phone in the guestroom or at least not in plain sight; unless some random piece of furniture was secretly a phone. Left without a choice, Delia went off to find Giovanni and ask to use a phone.
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Ash, Misty, Brock and Pikachu were in the Viridian Pokemon Center's lobby that morning. Brock didn't know where his friends went the previous night or at what time they got to the Pokemon Center. He assumed they stayed in the city and that their date lasted until late. Pikachu jumped on Ash's shoulder, greeting his happy trainer. Mutual "good morning"s were exchanged.
After the greetings, Ash curiously inquired, "did mom come back to the Pokemon Center last night?" The question was followed by a growl from his stomach, demanding breakfast.
"No, I haven't seen her since yesterday. I thought she might have called you," Brock voiced with concern.
Ash was surprised by the news, but not unpleasantly so. "She must have forgotten the time talking to Giovanni. They had a lot of catching up to do, I bet they enjoyed it," he smiled. As it often happens when children turn to adults and the time to officially leave home approaches, Ash also worried about leaving his mother. In truth she had been practically living by herself since he left on his journey. Even so, he didn't want her to remain that way for the rest of her life.
Misty was about to comment, but before she could speak, Ash's loud but catchy ring tone filled the relative quiet of the Pokemon Center. The Viridian City Pokemon Center was nothing unusual, it had a nurse Joy managing it, white tiles on the floor, matching walls and a large front desk. Rows of plastic black seats with metal legs were available for people to rest and wait for their pokemon to be healed. Rows of PCs and video phones lined the walls and there was a plastic potted plant here and there.
Ash glanced at the number displayed on his cell phone realizing he did not recognize it. He answered it anyway, "hello?"
"Hi, it's me," she would feel odd saying that 'it's Delia' because when talking to Ash she would normally say 'it's mom'. She couldn't say that at the moment, Giovanni was still unaware that they had a son. Until she sorted out her life and where he stood in it, she thought it was best not to reveal too much.
A part of Delia wanted to be happy that Giovanni had taken her out to dinner in a nice restaurant and they shared a long conversation about their past together. That part of her wanted to believe that everything was somehow fixed by some inexplicable miracle. She wanted to believe that he did care and that he was happy to have her back, though she had not officially mentioned anything about getting back together.
Another more realistic part of Delia screamed at her that she was only being used. She was just an old flame with no emotional value, merely there for amusement. That part told her she should leave before she got hurt and more so before Ash was hurt because of her actions. Yet she couldn't bring herself to heed the warning.
"Good morning! Where are you?" Ash recognized his mother's voice immediately, though there was something off about her tone. Was she nervous?
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With Giovanni listening in on the conversation, there was only so much Delia could say. She didn't want to hint that her young friends were actually their son, his fiance and his best man for the coming wedding. Ash had already told Delia about choosing Brock before he even proposed, though the date of the wedding had not yet been set.
"I'm at the Viridian City gym," Delia paused, watching as Comet, now in his Rocket uniform, entered the dinning room with their breakfast and set it on the table. She was right; the Rocket image did fit him. Despite his good boy face, the mischief in his eyes shone through. She nodded in silent thanks, watching as Comet smiled.
Delia continued speaking into the little black cell phone with the red R, much like the one Comet had. The high tech cell phone was something Giovanni had given her. It was as if she was joining Team Rocket, though she was not. "I think I might be staying for a little while, so don't worry or anything."
She paused, watching as Giovanni got up from his seat across from her. He stood behind her and whispered in her ear, opposite to where she held the tiny cell phone, "stay forever." She gasped in surprise when he started kissing her neck, trying to get her to end her conversation with who he assumed to be the enemy. He still had some preparations to make before he was ready to ambush the anti-Rocket group. Delia would have plenty of time to talk to the mysterious Ash after she became his loyal double agent.
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Ash couldn't make any sense out of the surprised gasp and following silence that came from his phone, "hello?"
"Stop that," Delia mentally kicked herself for letting a giggle escape, "I'm on the phone," there was another short silence, "yes, I'm still here. I'll be staying over for a while. I lost my cell phone so if you need anything call this number. I'll try to call you again later, bye."
"Okay, have a good time, bye," Ash stared at his cell phone before pressing the buttons to save the new number into its address book. "Is giggling good?"
Misty couldn't help it but to laugh at the question, "yes Ash, it's good." Meanwhile, Brock frowned and held back the need to cry because everyone was getting some love except him.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon. This chapter makes a reference to a specific scene in Mewtwo Returns. Gio isn't wearing orange in the present time because in the new series, Best Wishes, he has a new outfit. Have you seen it? Rather than a gangster, he looks more like a bellhop... er... I mean an army general! XD