Diamond 76: Give me Expectations
Diamond 76: Give me Expectations
On the day after the parties, the day before the wedding, Ash, Lando and Kenobi returned to Cerulean City. Gary and Brock, who were also invited to the wedding, went there as well. The men found the interior of the gym looking messy and wet. Puddles were abundant in the street. Oddly enough, the street was also painted in bright colors. The body paints were indeed easy to wash off skin, but stuck to any other material.
The group had lunch together at a nice cafe near the gym. "Are you perchance remodeling the gym?" Lando curiously asked during their conversation.
The Waterflower sisters looked at each other and Daisy replied with a smile and a simple, "yes." It's not like they had a choice after what happened.
"I thought so," Lando smiled back. "I also noticed they painted the street in a rather original design, how very festive. Speaking of remodeling, I'm remodeling the party room. It's nothing too major; it will be ready for the reception tomorrow and I'm sure you'll like it."
"I can't wait to see it!" Daisy happily exclaimed. Without any direct references to the disastrous parties, their conversation continued casual and carefree. The wedding would be held in Cerulean City, at Daisy's request. The reception would be held at Lando's mansion in Vermilion City, also by Daisy's choice. The locations were far from each other which posed an inconvenience. However, the problem was quickly minimized by making sure enough aerial transportation was ready.
xoxox xox xoxox
That afternoon, the group returned to the Cerulean gym where Brock found a quiet corner in a guest room to mope. It didn't take long for Ash and Misty to stray from the group and investigate. "What's wrong Brock?" Ash inquired, though he had a good guess about what was going on. Brock must have been feeling lonely due to his lack of date.
Brock looked away from the wall with a desperate expression. "I asked Lily if she would be my date for Daisy's wedding party and she said..."
"She said no?" Misty asked, "don't take it so badly. Maybe I can talk to her for you."
Brock shook his head, "actually, she said yes, but only because I helped her before."
"Congratulations!" Ash happily exclaimed, "you have a date, that's great!"
"Why aren't you happy?" Misty guessed Brock would be jumping with joy if anyone agreed to be his date.
"Because it's only a pity date," Brock pouted, "Lily might feel it's her obligation to stand next to me and talk to me and dance with me," Brock dramatized, his voice rising in volume and pitch as he went along. He frowned deeply, "she might not enjoy the wedding and it'll all be my fault."
"Aw, don't think that way," Misty tried to console him, her expression supportive. "You're a fun guy, I'm sure Lily will enjoy the date."
"Yeah, you two will have lots of fun together," Ash grinned. "Maybe Lily will even agree to go out with you again."
Brock seemed to grow sadder, "I don't think she'll go out with me again. Relationships never work out for me, I'm cursed. It's going to be heartbreaking even if she does have a good time. I'll miss her more when she rejects my second date invitation."
"Think positive!" Ash urged, though given Brock's history that would be a challenge.
"Listen Brock, it's about time you learned to be smarter with women," Misty spoke in a serious tone, her eyes piercing. "When you see a girl you like, don't just tell her, you have to get to know her first. I know you're good at heart, but anyone who doesn't know you that well will think you're a superficial jerk. You also give up too easily. Take it slow and gently, pursue the same interest loyally, but without stalking."
Brock nodded like a bobble head toy. He was too shocked for words. He stared at Misty, processing her advice. Then his mind was filled with pictures of his happy life with Lily. "I understand!" Brock loudly exclaimed. "I won't give up until I win Lily's heart. Somehow I will accomplish this without getting slapped or getting a restraining order!" He ran off to put his plan into action immediately.
"Wait, Brock that's not what I-" Misty didn't have time to explain herself. Brock had already run off, from his quiet guest room corner. His footsteps faded away down the stairs. Misty's advice was spoken in general terms. She didn't mean for Brock to apply it specifically to her sister. "Lily is never going to forgive me for this."
"Who knows, they might end up dating for real," Ash thought of the possibility, but it seemed difficult. Brock really did have the worse luck with women.
xoxox xox xoxox
Far away from Cerulean City, strong winds blew as a helicopter landed in Pallet Town. The only thing identifying the black helicopter was a green leaf, shaped like the Earth badge. That particular helicopter lacked the red R most of Giovanni's flying vehicles had. It was an extremely rare event, far rarer than a car driving by, and that was already quite rare. It didn't take long before some of the inhabitants of the town gathered around the helicopter. They witnessed as the Viridian City gym leader exited the flying machine when the wind died down. He was followed by his loyal Persian, who was always by his side.
The people of the small town knew of the apparent relationship between Delia and the gym leader. Rumors traveled fast in the little town. As he walked, people stepped aside as if making way for royalty. They commented among themselves about the gym leader's 'dashing' arrival and came up with all sorts of romantic stories. Giovanni found it annoying that they didn't have the decency to wait until he was out of earshot to start gossiping.
Delia rushed out of her house to meet Giovanni. She was accompanied by her three pokemon, Cloyster, Kingler and Mimey. Additionally, she was followed by two other pokemon, a Vulpix and a Persian. The last two were Skye's pokemon Dia and Givan. "You could have been a little more discrete," Delia whispered to Giovanni. She expected him to pick her up, but not in such an attention grabbing way.
"Does it bother you that much that they talk?" Giovanni whispered back. He caught bits and pieces of the murmurs of the Pallet Town residents. They were muttering something about whispering sweet nothings. The public was composed of mostly idiots; it was something Giovanni had figured out a long time ago.
"Let's discuss this inside," Delia urged. She was feeling a little too scrutinized. Though the looks she was getting were much nicer, she was reminded of when she returned to Pallet Town expecting Ash. The looks she got back then were not nice. Now people seemed to be happy that she was with such an important public figure. They treated the situation as a matter of pride.
Giovanni, Delia and the pokemon went inside her house. Persian gave Givan a threatening glare. Givan was bigger than him, but he didn't care. He liked being the only Persian around. Givan had a look of superiority in his face. His expression was very familiar. Then something seemed to click. 'You're...' Persian glared, 'impossible! Who are you really?'
Givan remained unfazed, 'sometimes I wonder about that myself.' He began to leave and Delia noticed.
"Are you going back, Givan?" She called after him and he nodded in response. There was no need to guard Delia when she was with Giovanni. "Alright, I'll see you when I return, you too Dia."
"Vulpix!" Dia gave her goodbye and followed Givan to the door. Givan stood on his back paws, taking the doorknob between his front paws and twisting it. He exited the house along with Dia and closed the door.
Giovanni watched the scene with interest, "did you teach him that?"
"No, Givan and Dia already knew how to get around when I met them recently," Delia explained. She went to pet Persian, who was giving her an attention demanding look. "They're Skye's pokemon, he's Gary's new employee. He'll be taking care of the pokemon while Gary is away."
"Mr. Mime, mime mime," Mimey was curious about the man who was apparently dating his trainer. He introduced himself and extended his hand.
Though a handshake was a common trick, Giovanni decided to humor the pokemon and more so Delia. He returned the greeting shaking hands with Mimey. "Giovanni, Viridian City gym leader."
"Mime!" Mimey sounded happy.
Delia laughed, "he's impressed," she smiled and elaborated upon the introduction, "Mimey is my little helper."
"The one that cooks, cleans and uses a vacuum cleaner to wake people?" Giovanni remembered Ash mentioning it during his last visit to Pallet Town.
"The very same!" Delia smiled proudly along with Mimey. "I promised to take him along with everyone the next time I went away. Should we get going before the neighbors decide to coincidentally drop by?"
"Yes, it's best if we leave right away," Giovanni agreed. Getting away from the office when he was waiting for important scientific reports was not easy. Either way, he really needed to attend the wedding the next day. As for his little trip to Pallet Town, the publicity was good. His image as the good gym leader was restored quickly. Romantic gossip could make miracles and disasters for public figures.
"Okay, is everyone ready?" Mimey, Cloyster and Kingler agreed cheerfully. Delia had been making sure to give her pokemon a lot of attention so that she wouldn't lose their trust ever again. "Into your pokeballs you go, I'll let you out when we get there," Delia recalled all three pokemon into their pokeballs. Mimey wasn't used to being in a pokeball, but he didn't resist the red beam that absorbed him.
Delia, Giovanni and Persian returned to the helicopter. The pilot was instructed to take off with Cerulean City as the destination.
xoxox xox xoxox
Dia and Givan had returned to the Oak research lab. Vandel, alias Skye, was laying on the grass a few steps outside of the house. "Chores are far more tiring than battles," he complained when Dia looked at him curiously.
'Should we tell him that Giovanni was here?' Givan grinned mischievously. The expression didn't go unnoticed by his trainer.
'Van might be upset that he didn't get the chance to see Giovanni in person,' Dia warned. She could clearly picture Vandel complaining about missing a chance to obtain the autograph of the great Giovanni.
Vandel's tired eyes focused on the two pokemon. "I keep getting the feeling that you're talking about me right in front of me," he mused aloud. "I thought not having your collars would bother you more than me, but it's the other way around." He closed his eyes, "I'm taking a nap right here..."
"Skye?" Professor Oak's voice came from the door.
Vandel got mentally ready to assume his alias, though Skye's following statement required no acting, "I'm so tired!"
"You're still young, where has your energy gone?" Professor Oak got an idea and smiled knowingly. "If you're that tired you can take the rest of the day off. That's too bad though, I was hoping you could help me study a rare pokemon. Oh well, I guess I'll wait until Gary comes back and ask him to help me."
"Rare pokemon!" Skye jumped to his feet. "Where is it? Where is it?" He was suddenly full of energy.
"It's right over here in the lab," Professor Oak walked towards the laboratory area of the residence.
Skye followed him impatiently asking questions, "what kind of pokemon is it? What makes it so rare? Is it really powerful?"
The short walk to the laboratory area felt eternal for Skye. Finally, Professor Oak picked up a pokeball he had set aside on his desk and released the pokemon it contained. What came out was a young Bulbasaur and he was all green.
Skye closely observed the Bulbasaur, waiting for him to do something amazing. The green Bulbasaur backed away, intimidated. That human had a very piercing stare, plus there was a very fierce looking Persian next to him. The Vulpix looked friendly, but that wasn't enough to make up for the young human and his Persian companion. "do something!" Skye exclaimed.
The green Bulbasaur let out a loud and frightened, "bulba!" He ran to hide behind the elderly professor. He was familiar with that particular human at least. "Saur!" The little green Bulbasaur wrapped his vine whip around Professor Oak's leg, firmly attaching himself to him.
"Be careful little one, you almost made me trip," Professor Oak grabbed on to the edge of the desk for balance. "There's nothing to be afraid of, no one will hurt you." He tried in vain to calm the little Bulbasaur.
Skye was still staring at the young pokemon intensely. He didn't want to miss anything whenever that so called rare pokemon did something amazing. "When is he going to do something?" He urged impatiently.
"It's his color," Professor Oak pointed out what he thought would be easy to notice. Skye sure sounded excited about seeing a rare pokemon, so the professor had assumed he knew that much about them. "This color is quite unusual for a Bulbasaur. I'm sure you've seen light blue Bulbasaur before."
Skye blinked, "his color?" Pokemon could be digitalized into data and kept in suspended animation where he came from. They could additionally be recolored. That was an illegal practice that could result in corrupt data. The risk of the pokemon remaining in a permanent coma after they were returned to a physical state was too great. Not even an expert could guarantee a successful modification. Of course, that didn't stop people from doing it. The pokemon that survived were generally weak as an aftereffect of the procedure. They were not ideal for battle, but they were not sold to battle anyway. They were living decorations. The technology to do such things didn't exist in the era of his mission. That Bulbasaur was naturally colored differently from most of his kind. "That is rare," Skye finally acknowledged, "is he very powerful?"
"He's still a baby," Professor Oak pointed out, "a frightened baby," he emphasized. He knew Skye wasn't scaring the little pokemon on purpose, but he was still scaring him. The same went for Givan, except he seemed amused by the little pokemon's fright.
Dia pouted at Givan's grin. 'Don't be mean to him,' her words came out as a stream of "vulpix" for the humans. She walked over to the little green Bulbasaur and sweetly talked him into calming down.
Vulpix was a fire type, but she was very gentle, so Bulbasaur wasn't afraid of her. He finally let go of Professor Oak's leg. "How interesting, it seems Dia has calmed him down." It was ironic due to their types. "I think we should begin the study there. Let's allow Bulbasaur to interact with other pokemon and observe them."
"You mean we're not going to battle?" Skye pouted in disappointment, "I want to battle!" He stubbornly insisted. What he really did was sent his pokemon into battle and watch them win. Givan had already shown his strength to Gary. Dia was generally a pacifist, but she was not a pokemon anyone would want to make angry.
The little green Bulbasaur once again looked frightened at the prospect of having to battle. The big Persian looked extremely scary and he didn't want to battle him. The Vulpix had shown him kindness, but she was a fire type. Even if she was merciful, the idea of battling her was also scary. Any type of battle frightened the little Bulbasaur.
"I don't think Bulbasaur is ready to battle," Professor Oak tried to make Skye understand.
Skye looked at the small green Bulbasaur with disinterest, "he's not very brave. He's probably not very strong either. Don't you have some sort of super rare pokemon around here I can battle with?"
Professor Oak looked thoughtful; there was something about that boy that was different. He glanced at the Persian who was examining his expression. Their eyes met and a cold chill went down Samuel's spine. That Persian did indeed have a very intimidating presence. The professor brought his mind to focus on the situation with Skye and Bulbasaur.
"To be honest, Gary has already studied this pokemon," the elderly professor revealed. "I just thought it would be good for you to study him as well. This little one is ready to be given to someone to train him. I've made up my mind; I'm giving you this Bulbasaur, take good care of him."
Skye was taken by surprise; he looked back and forth between Professor Oak and the small green Bulbasaur. He didn't really want the Bulbasaur. Plus he couldn't take any pokemon other than the ones he came with when he returned home. His refusal was clear in his face, but Professor Oak was giving him an insistent look.
'Just take him,' Givan finally spoke. Skye could only hear him say "per persian," but his expression spoke loud enough.
'I thought you didn't like children,' Dia reminded.
'I don't,' Givan confirmed, much to Bulbasaur's worry. 'I just think it's a good idea for Vandel to train a pokemon from the start. We've been doing all the battling for him. He needs to learn how to train pokemon instead of relying on us all the time. He needs to become strong on his own.'
Dia thought it made sense, 'you're right, this will be good for Van. Even if we'll have to part ways, it will be a good experience.'
The tiny Bulbasaur whimpered, 'what's going to happen to me?'
'Don't worry, we'll take care of you,' Dia assured with a sweet smile. 'Van, I mean, Skye has to return home eventually and he won't be able to take you along. It's okay; we'll make the best of our time together and help you become brave and strong. Givan will help too, he's really not scary once you get used to being around him,' Dia casted a glance at Givan who grinned showing his fangs. He wasn't really trying to look any less intimidating.
Skye and Professor Oak found themselves watching the conversation that they didn't understand. Oak was determined to invite Meowth over sometime and have him talk to Skye's pokemon. That might not be so simple in Givan's case. Meowth was an open book when it came to his life outside of Team Rocket. Though he didn't specify why, he had stated time and again that he hated Persian. Perhaps the professor could get Dia alone for a moment while Givan was visiting Delia and ask Meowth to speak with the friendly Vulpix.
"Alright, I'll take him," Skye finally voiced his agreement. Later, he would have to ask Givan why he looked so encouraging. Dia he could understand, but this was an unexpected acceptance coming from Givan. It was only temporary, but Skye didn't mention that. There was no need to disclose details that would encourage an inquiry about explanations he couldn't share.
xoxox xox xoxox
The trip from Pallet Town to Viridian City went relatively fast, but for Delia and Giovanni it didn't feel that way. Delia was asking questions that Giovanni didn't feel like answering. Yet the information didn't seem too bad if painted in the right light. She had done her research about the news and wondered what happened to those who were not in the custody of the police. "Bollux was arrested and I also heard they captured Caedus," it was the name revealed by the news. She connected the events with what Ash told her about in a recent phone call. "Which leaves..."
She didn't need to finish, Giovanni knew what kind of information Delia was looking for. "Yes, Poisona is still in Rocket custody. She's alive and as well as a prisoner could be. We might hand her to the police soon. It doesn't seem like she has much else to confess."
"I do wonder about your interrogation techniques," Delia frowned in disapproval at the possibilities. "I'll be keeping an eye on the news. I know she's a terrible person, but she better be in one piece. I wouldn't be surprised if she's a little bruised, but there are still limits," she stopped, she wasn't sure just where to set her limits. She had slipped back into a tolerant mind frame without fully realizing it. It gave her a headache to go in mental circles and she didn't like the satisfied smirk Giovanni gave her remark.
Delia decided to change the subject a little. Her next question went down a similar road as the last, concerning a different person. "What about Akira? According to the news she escaped from the police on the same day she was detained. It was when... all those terrible things happened. They haven't really said anything beyond that." The sounds of the gunshots and pain were still clear in her mind.
Giovanni decided to mostly tell the truth about Akira. Technically, Team Rocket was keeping her alive, even if it was only for research purposes. Once that was done, she could spend the rest of her life in jail. She would take the blame for her own crimes and a few other unlawful acts that needed a culprit. "Comet found Akira and returned her to Team Rocket," there was no need to specify when those events took place. "She was in bad shape, almost dead, and it was not Team Rocket's doing. She's in a coma, the doctors are doing what they can to keep her alive," while at the same time studying her, but Giovanni kept that last fact to himself. "After she's been interrogated," in truth the interrogation wasn't important, the scientific studies were. "She'll be given to the police."
"I take it her list of crimes will be longer than it should be," Delia sighed. "It was just like with Tempest, they took the blame for everything. Team Rocket was doing a lot of unlawful things back then. It wasn't as pretty as I painted it," admitting it made Delia feel as if her precious past had been suddenly stained. "I should realize that and admit it," a part of her wanted to reject that truth and hold on to her precious memories as perfect pictures. She wanted to do that with at least the very distant memories, the ones of her beginning with Giovanni. The memories of a time before Team Rocket started to turn into what it currently was.
"You've matured," it was a slightly odd thing to say to someone who was well into adulthood. Yet somehow it appeared to fit. "Even so, it seems you still can't decide what you want."
"I know what I want," Delia affirmed, "I also know it's not possible to have it exactly as I want it. I'm trying to find the middle ground, trying to stretch the limits of tolerance. I'm trying to be happy with what I can have. I thought I had already accomplished that," until she decided to seek him out and he complicated things. She looked almost annoyed, "you have a grand ability to complicate things."
"So do you," he returned, almost amused by her expression.
The helicopter landed on the roof of a nice hotel in Cerulean City. After the blades slowed down and the wind subsided, Delia, Giovanni and Persian got out. "I should head to the Cerulean gym," Delia stated unsure.
"It's getting late, everyone must be busy and the gym is probably crowded. You'll be able to see everyone tomorrow anyway. Besides, I already had your things delivered here," Giovanni didn't expect Delia to oppose an argument. She didn't sound like she was protesting; it was more like she wanted to get away. It was all the more reason to keep her there. "Aren't you hungry? Dinner is waiting for us. There's no need to run away."
The thought of running away hit a sour note for Delia. She had been doing so much of that she felt sick with herself. "Sometimes I wonder if I'm just pretending to be nicer than I am. Sometimes I think I'm terribly selfish."
"You worry too much," Giovanni nonchalantly voiced. The elevator took them from the roof one floor down. Giovanni was already in possession of the keycard that unlocked the door to the fanciest suite. "We have a celebration to attend tomorrow. Even I know I should leave stress for later," running such a large organization as Team Rocket could indeed be very stressful.
At least he knew she couldn't simply make her worries go away. "Alright, I'll forget my worries and enjoy the celebrations. As of right now, until the morning of the day after tomorrow, I'll try to relax." She felt selfish in doing so, but honestly tried to let go of her worries for the time being.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon. In the games you can turn pokemon into data, in the anime they need to be fed and exercised. In this story the technology to digitalize pokemon is something that is developed later.