Diamond 67: Give me Humor
Diamond 67: Give me Humor
Delia and Professor Oak were walking outside Oak's research lab. "I'm sorry he surprised you like this. I honestly didn't expect Giovanni to come to Pallet Town so soon. I especially didn't expect him to take the initiative to talk to Ash." The surprise was pleasant and Delia's expression gave that away.
"Aren't you worried?" Professor Oak inquired with honest concern. "I have no doubts that Ash will do the right thing, but still."
"If Ash was younger I would worry," Delia admitted. She didn't allow the passing thought to ruin her sudden optimism. "He's at a point where he has already decided who he is. He can't be easily influenced and I'm sure Giovanni knows that. He won't tell Ash the truth out of the blue. I told him that it was his choice to reveal his true self or not. I think he knows that I at least want Ash to know who his father is, but the illegal part doesn't need to be included. If Giovanni decides to reveal that, I'll let him, but I'll prepare Ash first."
"Don't you think Ash has the right to know either way?" Professor Oak didn't like the idea of Ash getting involved with someone from the mafia. He cared about him as another grandson. Yet even hurtful honesty was best at times.
"I think he has the right to know, but I don't want to push things. I don't want to cause a conflict," Delia tried to hold on to her optimism and hope. "If things progress slowly, then maybe the revelation won't be so harsh if it comes, or perhaps I should say when."
Professor Oak nodded. His aged face showed support mixed with some hope of his own. Things really did feel different. "I wish you both the best," It was as if the time for conflict had passed. Albeit Delia was pretty sure Oak's wish only extended to her and Ash. He had suffered the hurt of a father whose daughter was hurt, even if Delia wasn't his biological daughter.
They spotted Ash and Giovanni laying on the grass not too far away. At first they were alarmed. Delia ran to them, first checking over Ash to see that he was sleeping soundly despite the red scribbles on his face. Pikachu peacefully slumbered beside him, similarly decorated. She then rushed to Giovanni who was in the same condition, as was Persian.
Grinning mischievously Delia gave Professor Oak a thumbs up to express that there were no serious problems. Then she placed her index finger over her mouth in a sign of silence. She conveniently used her little black cell phone with the red R to take a picture. She put the little cell phone away and quietly walked off.
Professor Oak observed the scene in confusion. "They all have red doodles all over their faces," Delia whispered, that much was obvious. It was the consequences that she was trying to point out. "I don't think Giovanni will see the funny side of that. I'm going to get something to clean him up. Hopefully he won't wake up."
"Alright..." Professor Oak observed the sleeping men with surprise and relief. They were okay, at least until Giovanni woke up. 'What could have caused this?' He wondered.
Delia quickly ran inside and took a few napkins. She wet some of them hoping that water was enough to get the ink off. She hurried back to the sleeping men and got to work on cleaning Giovanni's face first. She glanced at Professor Oak. "Maybe you should run for cover just in case," Delia wisely suggested.
Professor Oak had bravely walked over to the sleeping Giovanni to have a better look at the doodles. It was a once in a life time opportunity to see something like that. "I think you're right," he admitted and began to quietly retreat towards the lab.
Making sure to be gentle, Delia tried to wipe off the red ink from Giovanni's face. He stirred in his sleep and she drew back her hand. He was still and she tried again. It was evident that water alone wouldn't be enough. It would be next to impossible to wash anyone's face with soap without waking them.
Delia didn't have time to consider the prospect for too long before she found Giovanni staring up at her. He was about to battle Ash and there was a Jigglypuff singing. The next thing he knew he was waking up on the grass. Delia was on her knees next to him apparently cleaning his face. "Delia?" Was all he managed to say at first. The puzzled and questioning tone of his voice spoke volumes.
She smiled and bit her lip so she wouldn't laugh, but she couldn't hold it in. "I'm sorry; it's just that, it's so funny. Don't worry, no one saw you." She still had the picture for her own viewing pleasure.
"No one saw what?" Giovanni demanded to know, "is there something on my face? What's so funny?" Persian woke up listening to the voices near by. He stared at Giovanni in surprise, which didn't give the gym leader any reassurance. "What did you do?"
"I didn't do anything," Delia tried to explain between giggles. "You were already like this when I found you."
The catchy song of Ash's cell phone woke him up near by. He yawned and stretched along with Pikachu. He answered the call, still a little confused about what was going on. "Hello?"
"Ash..." Misty's voice came a little uncomfortable at first, as if she was worried about something. She changed the tone of her voice to a cheerful one and continued. Maybe Ash wouldn't notice since he sounded sleepy, "did I wake you from a nap?"
"A nap," Ash recalled the events that made him fall asleep. "Yeah, remember that Jigglypuff that used to follow us around and doodle on our faces?"
"I wonder what ever happened to her," After a while, the Jigglypuff disappeared, seemingly having lost track of their constant travels. "Wait, don't tell me," imagining the situation gave Misty a real smile.
"Yeah, she's back," Ash confirmed. He looked at Pikachu, who was looking back at Ash. "Judging by the red hearts all over Pikachu, it looks like she got a shiny new marker. I just know it's the same little mischief maker. She popped out of nowhere and started singing when I was about to..." Ash's mind finished becoming aware of the situation. He looked over at Giovanni and Persian, finding that his mother was there too. She was spared from the scribbles, but both Giovanni and Persian had fallen victim to Jigglypuff. "I was about to battle Giovanni when Jigglypuff made us both fall asleep." Ash lowered his voice to a whisper, "I think he's mad. Maybe if we have our battle he'll feel better."
"Oh, you're in Viridian City? Or did Giovanni go to Pallet Town?" Misty inquired. She had assumed Ash would take a break in Pallet Town for a while.
"I'm in Pallet, we're at Oak's place," Ash watched as Giovanni scrubbed his face with the napkins Delia provided. It didn't help and Ash was starting to worry that they would all get stuck with doodles on their faces for an indefinite period of time.
Misty needed to talk to Ash, but decided not to keep him for too long if he had a battle. He would be distracted thinking about it anyway. She didn't need to talk to him in a big hurry, that wouldn't change anything. She could wait until they had time to talk calmly. "I'll leave you to your battle. Tell me all about it later."
"Okay, I'll talk to you later!" Ash cheerfully ended the call with no suspicion that Misty was stressed. He assumed that she was only calling to talk to him with no specific topic of conversation in mind, just to say hi. He rushed over to the annoyed gym leader with an apologetic look. He couldn't help it but to smile holding back laughter after a moment.
"Don't laugh, you're probably worse off than me," Giovanni snapped. He had no way of knowing, but he hoped to be right. Anyone else would have coward in fear, but Delia and Ash seemed amused.
"Persian!" the spoiled pokemon gave his indignant complaint. No doubt he must have fallen victim to that infuriating Jigglypuff too. He wasn't sure if he wanted to look at his reflection. He scrubbed his face with his paws insistently, though he had no way of knowing if it was effective. The red stars on his face remained unchanged.
"Pi pi pi ka," the yellow electric pokemon laughed at Persian's predicament, despite being affected too with red hearts.
Persian glared and grumbled something about unrefined pokemon. Pikachu only stuck his tongue out and made no other reply. Persian glared in annoyance, then threw his head back and turned around, ignoring Pikachu.
"I was always Jigglypuff's favorite victim." Ash's cheeks were decorated by red circles like a Pikachu. Giovanni's facial art was inspired by Persian, with whiskers and a jewel. One of Ash's bright red circles seemed to have more ink then Giovanni's whiskers and forehead jewel together.
"This has happened before?" Giovanni thought that one time was too much. He didn't know how Ash could allow such annoyances without doing something about it. He was too forgiving. On the positive side, the very microscopic positive side, at least he could ask, "how did you clean your face afterwards? This stuff doesn't look like it'll come off easily."
"To be honest, I'm kind of worried," Ash's confession did not help Giovanni's anger subside in the least. "Jigglypuff had a black marker before that came off with water. I don't know about this new red one. It has to come off with something, right?" Ash looked to his mother for support.
"Of course," Delia assured, "C'mon, let's go inside. I'm sure Professor Oak won't mind if we borrow some soap."
"I would prefer not to be seen like this by anyone else," Giovanni was clearly at the very end of his patience. If he had a Rocket grunt at arm's length, the unfortunate grunt would have become a punching bag.
"I'll see if the coast is clear," Delia's eyes paused on Giovanni's for a moment. She was letting him know that she understood he had all he could deal with and intended to try to end the uncomfortable situation.
Fortunately, Professor Oak wisely decided to stay out of sight in his office at the laboratory. After a good amount of soap and water, the trainers and their pokemon were finally clean. They were all about to head back outside to finally have their battle when Gary returned.
Gary's face was decorated with red suns. Belle was fast asleep in his arms, her yellow head adorned with red swirls. The fact that the crying Bellsprout had been silenced by slumber was Gary's only consolation. He was seen by Ash who gave him an amused and knowing smile.
Instead of getting annoyed, Gary smiled right back, which made Ash stop cold. The young researcher quietly walked over to Ash and handed him the sleeping Bellsprout. "She's all yours. It turns out Mrs. Alderaan remembered you in her will. I heard it from her relatives and they asked me to deliver Belle to you."
Ash's jaw drop and he stuttered a quiet, "what?" Gary grinned victoriously and Ash knew he was serious. The relief was short lived as Ash reminded, "don't forget all my pokemon that are not in my current team will be living here."
Gary glared, "I hate you," he grimaced, while Ash smiled in amusement. He turned his attention to the somewhat familiar looking man he had seen with Ash earlier in front of his house. "Aren't you the Viridian gym leader?"
"Yes, and you must be Gary Oak, the current head researcher of this laboratory," Giovanni was still annoyed with the interruptions and the Jigglypuff incident. It was obvious from Gary's face that he had suffered the creature's mischief.
His encounter with Mewtwo had been forgotten, instead replaced with a story Gary still had trouble believing. It was as if his subconscious tried to fill the blanks with logical sounding conclusions. He battled the gym leader, he was winning, he fainted and thus forfeited. That would explain why he was woken up by Ash. But it didn't explain where the gym leader disappeared to and why Team Rocket was there. Did they knock him out? Were they impersonating the leader? Such conclusions seemed logical enough, thus for lack of more information, Gary believed them.
They were interrupted by the sound of Giovanni's cell phone. He hurried to make it stop but it was too late. The loud mouth Bellsprout in Ash's arms woke up and started to wail again. In no mood to deal with any more craziness that day, Giovanni stepped outside, "this is an important call," he was barely heard beyond Belle's cries.
Away from the noisy Bellsprout, Giovanni answered his little black cell phone with the red R. The device was so small that it looked as if he was holding nothing but his hand to his ear. "What is it?"
"Progress report," Archer's voice came from the little cell phone. "Proton had a psychologist examine Poisona due to her unusual reactions to hypnotism. She has a split personality that has somehow been acting as a natural defense. When she's in that state she becomes violent and holds no recollection of her normal self. It's going to take some time to figure out how to put her in a trance without bringing out her second personality."
"Then we don't know anything new," Giovanni had already used up all of his patience. He couldn't muster any more, not even for Archer.
Archer could almost feel the tension and anger transmitted along with Giovanni's voice. He must be about to snap. "There's more," Archer was quick to add. "Luke returned soon after you left. His trip to Cianwood was fruitful, he brought back a journal. The journal was written in a very general way and spoke of various unrelated cases, but I have high hopes that there are answers hidden there. Laiki and an assistant of her choosing were put to the task of deciphering the events mentioned in the journal. She has a talent for prying. She said they were making progress and will have the full report soon. They might finish it on time for your return." With that last statement, Archer also indirectly asked about when Giovanni would return to Viridian City.
"It better be ready," Giovanni's voice was quite similar to a low growl, "I'm heading back right now." If he didn't, he might just throw his good gym leader reputation out the window and blow his cover with Ash in the process.
Archer didn't expect Giovanni to return right away, but it shouldn't be a problem in terms of the report. He would send a reminder to make sure they finished it at top speed. "There is one more thing, the police asked for the mayor's assistance in capturing any remaining members of Tempest. I can only interpret this as the Viridian police suspecting we're holding the Tempest leaders prisoner. The Viridian police already know a lot, but they won't make a direct move unless they're pushed to it. They have an idea of what they're up against, even if it's not the full idea. I would suggest handing Bollux and Solo over to them. We have no use for them anyway."
Giovanni wasn't in the mood for 'peace offerings' but if they didn't need those two it wouldn't matter. It was best not to push things at that point. If he started a war he would have to finish it. He wanted to be ready to take on the whole world when that happened, not just most of it. He wanted Team Rocket to be in a position in relation to the world similar to that of Kanto, where the world could not function without it. "Fine, give those two up if you're sure we have no use for them. I'll look over the details of the report when I get there."
"Yes," Archer had been meaning to ask something. He might as well satisfy his curiosity even if it was unrelated. He didn't want to push Giovanni's patience further but he needed to know. "What is that infernal noise in the background?"
"A Bellsprout," Giovanni grumbled between his teeth. "When have my trips to Pallet Town ever gone smoothly?" At least this time he hopefully wouldn't return to find his hide out in flames after a trip to Pallet Town. The necessity for a cover up involving Ditto was also not present at the time. He certainly got a headache out of the visit. Maybe it would have been easier to deal with a blazing hide out.
Ending his conversation with Archer, Giovanni took a deep breath and tried to put up a good act. He would be away from the chaos soon, in the safety of his criminal headquarters. When he went back inside, the annoying Bellsprout was still wailing and Ash and Gary were bickering. They couldn't agree to disagree on what was the best way to make Belle cheer up.
"I'm her new trainer, I know what's best," Ash argued.
"I'm a pokemon researcher," Gary countered. "Besides, you're just going to leave her here all the time aren't you?"
"Well, I can't send her out to battle," Ash continued to rock the crying Bellsprout in his arms, but it wasn't helping.
"Is everything alright?" Delia smiled sweetly, her expression as sugary as ever. Her voice was gentle, even if the volume was louder than usual to be heard over the noise.
"Is it always like this?" Giovanni had to ask. He doubted any human being could survive such chaos with a shred of sanity left.
"Of course not, Ash and Gary haven't argued like that in years. Not that they're really arguing now, not like they use to," Delia recalled. "They were rivals when they were little. You should have seen them running around and bickering." Giovanni didn't look amused at all. "It was nothing too bad, just a couple of hours a day of 'I'm better than you' arguments. They both settled down as soon as a pokemon battle came on TV. Then they would cheer for the trainers and pretend they were there. It was adorable."
"Sounds noisy," Giovanni recalled just why he didn't like children. He was never really around Archer and Ariana's son during his younger years. He did try to train the boy when he was a teenager, but that didn't go well. He concluded he didn't like teenagers either. Perhaps Delia was braver than he thought facing all that. "I need to go take care of business. Ash can't focus on battling like this," the disappointment was evident in more ways than one. Ash was too easily distracted by insignificant things.
"So soon?" Delia couldn't say she was surprised that he was leaving. She was surprised that he lasted that long. "I understand, thanks for today."
"Why are you thanking me?" They had moved away from the crying Bellsprout and the two arguing young men.
"For coming over and spending some time with Ash," Delia gave Giovanni a knowing look, maintaining a grip on reality. "What was your real reason to come here? Was it only to have a battle with Ash and test his skill?"
"That idea came up while I was already here," Giovanni admitted. They had reached the front door and gone out to the steps in front of the lab. "It was actually Ash who suggested it. Things got in the way," those things were mostly troublesome pokemon. "I came here to find you. I said I would take you to visit Binks. Luke is in Viridian too, you can catch up with both of them," Giovanni would have to prepare Delia before seeing Binks, but for the time being he would move step by step.
"How nice of you to remember, I don't mind going right now. Give me a moment," Delia went back to Oak's front door and opened it to call, "Ash, Giovanni is leaving, come say goodbye."
"Coming!" It seemed that Ash and Gary had resolved their argument and were working together to make Bell shut up. Their plan was to get her back to sleep. Delia called Ash, as a mother would call her small child to bid farewell to a visiting relative. That interrupted Ash and Gary's out of sync lullaby. Ash went out the front door, leaving Gary to continue the lullaby on his own. "You're leaving so soon? What about our battle?"
Giovanni had to wonder just what Delia considered a good environment. In his opinion a criminal organization might have been better for a child then all that insanity. Pallet Town had definitely become stranger over the years. "I have a lot of things to do. Besides, it's obvious you have a lot on your mind," the annoyance slipped out at that part. Ash assumed that Giovanni was simply annoyed at Belle's loud crying and not at him. "I want to battle you when you can concentrate," never mind that a real trainer should be able to focus on the battle in any situation.
Ash nodded, "I understand. It's too bad that you caught Pallet Town in one of its rare busy days. We'll battle soon, right?" Ash didn't wait for a reply, assuming the answer would be affirmative, "by the way, has the detective said anything about my hat? He might want to try Saffron City. I took a look around before returning to Pallet Town, but I couldn't find any clues. That's where I last saw the thieving Meowth."
Giovanni could feel Delia's insistently reassuring sweet look almost burning a hole through him with her intense sweetness. It was clear to him she was encouraging him to be patient with Ash. She had offered to tag along and she seemed to understand that he would ask for her assistance with something. "I'll make sure to mention that."
"Thanks!" Ash cheerfully exclaimed.
"I'll be leaving too," Delia spoke in a perfectly casual tone with nothing out of the ordinary. "Giovanni is having some friends over and we have a lot of catching up to do. If you get hungry, just ask Mimey to make you something, I told him to listen to you." Ash couldn't operate a microwave if his life depended on it. He was more likely to blow it up, than to get it to work. Thankfully, he had always had someone to cook for him during his travels, most of the time it was Brock.
"Okay, don't worry mom. I need to have a talk with Mimey anyway. I really need to get him to stop waking me up with a vacuum cleaner to the face," it was definitely not what Ash, or anyone, would call a pleasant awakening.
Giovanni decided he really had heard enough. He felt relief wash over him as he made his swift get away from the little town with Delia. His cell phone rang as they drove further from Pallet Town. A sense of deja vu invaded the atmosphere as Giovanni answered it, "what?"
"Dude, Giovanni," Luke was immediately cut off.
"Is there an emergency?" If Luke was calling would bad news, Giovanni was sure he would snap and launch all the big missiles at once.
"Dude, like chill, man!" Luke could tell that Giovanni was angry. Since he had already called, he might as well state his request. "I like totally got back from Cianwood like earlier and I'm like totally still in Viridian, you know? I was like wondering if I could like maybe like talk to Delia, like soon, you know?" Luke's voice reduced its volume and increased its doubt with each word.
"Stay in Viridian, Delia and I are heading there now," Giovanni agreed. At least it wasn't bad news. He could give Delia a moment to catch up with Luke while he read the report about Mirta's journal. Then he could talk to her about Binks.
"Dude, that's like awesome, you know? Thanks, man!" Luke happily exclaimed with his characteristic cheer. It made Giovanni wonder what would happen if Luke was placed in a situation where he had to deal with a loud mouth Bellsprout and a suicidal Jigglypuff. One would have to be suicidal to doodle on Giovanni's face.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon.