Diamond 86: Give Me Bonds
Diamond 86: Give Me Bonds
At the Viridian rocket base... "He's dead!" Laiki wailed at the top of her lungs, so loudly that Giovanni and Delia clearly heard her as they ran down the hall towards Comet's room. Laiki had seen her fair share of deaths, mostly pokemon and a few humans. Though she did her best to save them, there were times when her medical help was too little too late. She never panicked like that; she just shook her head and sent the victims away to be turned to ashes. This was different, she had no connection with any of those deceased beings, Comet was like a brother to her.
"Clear!" Before the nurse could panic further, Pixel pushed her away. She released Peachy from her pokeball, the Pikachu landing on Comet's still form. "Thunderbolt him back to life!"
"Pikachu!" The room was filled with electricity, some of it catching the two young women and Luke. He was panicking on the phone, despite Giovanni having already hung up.
Comet's blue eyes opened suddenly, he was only without a heartbeat for a few seconds. The pain of the shock woke him from his unconscious state as his heart started to beat again.
"I told you he's not dead," Pixel firmly insisted, "people don't die instantly when their heart stops beating. You can still revive them in the next few seconds, I'm not in the medical field and even I know that."
Laiki was beyond the point of responding to words. Her piled up stress had pushed her to a nervous breakdown. It didn't help that she was convinced that Comet would inevitably die due to being a clone.
Comet began to close his eyes, the tiredness evident in them. "Stay awake!" Pixel ordered, she was clearly the only one with a grasp on her reasoning at the moment. Laiki was choking on her sobs and Luke was begging for help on a cell phone that wasn't transmitting his voice to anyone anymore. "If you fall asleep, Peachy will shock you and make it painful."
"Ka! Chu!" Peachy was ready to follow the plan if needed.
Giovanni and Delia suddenly entered the room. Giovanni took the needle from the bag, clearly Laiki was in no conditions to apply it properly, but he had no experience. "We need to get someone to-"
"I'll do it," Delia interrupted, taking the needle. "I've done this before with pokemon," she took Comet's arm, searching for the proper place to inject the antidote and did so. She waited for what felt like an eternity looking into Comet's unfocused blue eyes.
Comet blinked; his eyes gaining focus. He muttered something too quiet to be perceived. He took a deep breath feeling the contradiction of hot and cold he had been feeling leaving his body. The lifeless exhaustion melted into normal tiredness and he felt much more alert. "I'm okay now..." He had no way to know, but whatever medicine they gave him was certainly making him feel much better fast. His vision was focused enough to see normally, he noticed Delia's tearful face and her slightly red eyes. Giovanni looked like he had a multitude of thoughts running through his head, none of them pleasant judging by his expression. He could hear his father's voice behind them, mixed with Laiki's sobs while Pixel tried to calm them down. He smiled a brilliant smile, looking like his usual carefree self.
Delia's breath caught in her throat and she felt in her heart that he really would be alright. "You can rest now, you're cured," she brushed his red hair gently with her hand in a motherly fashion. She thought she heard him mutter a sleepy thanks before he closed his eyes again, his chest moving with the rhythm of his steady breathing.
Delia and Giovanni exited the room, leaving Comet with Luke, Pixel and Laiki. They walked down the hall to find a quiet place to talk. They both knew they had a lot to discuss and it could not be left for later.
xoxox xox xoxox
It was night time, in Pallet Town, but Misty knew Ash wouldn't mind. She exited the yellow taxi in front of the Pallet House and paid the driver. She approached the house, but before she could call, Charla opened the door for her. The fire pokemon had long chocolate colored waves cascading from her head. Misty blinked, "hello," she saw several of Ash's pokemon out of their pokeballs around the house, some wearing wigs.
Ash thought he heard a car outside and went to see what that was about. He saw Misty, his face immediately brightening, despite his racing thoughts. "Misty, you're here!" He didn't want to throw his stress at her, but he had been wishing to see her.
They embraced each other in a tight hug before their lips met, as if they had not seen each other in years. They were reassuring to each other in many ways. After they parted, Misty explained, "my sisters and their chick flicks were driving me insane. I had to get out of there, Brock seems to be enjoying it though."
"Good for him," Ash smiled, "do you think he finally found a steady relationship?"
"I hope so, I would be upset if he ended up heartbroken after he's been spoiling Lily so much," Misty sighed, "I just hope he learns to tone it down a little."
"That's Brock, he always tries so hard," Ash laughed. He almost fell into the familiarity of being with Misty, but it wasn't long before his stubborn worried thoughts returned.
"If I didn't see your own hair peeking out from under this wig I would think you bleached it," Misty adjusted the blond wig on Ash's head, if only to make sure beyond a doubt that it was indeed a wig. "Why are you wearing that?" As she asked, Pikachu walked by in the background and she added, "why does Pikachu look like Elvis Presley?"
"It was pretty random actually," Ash and Misty sat down at the living room, his face returning to a smile as they talked. "Skye, Gary's helper, thought I was being stalked by fan girls. He brought over this collection of wigs he borrowed from Professor Oak to help me disguise myself. The pokemon started playing with some of the wigs too."
Misty couldn't help it but to laugh at the revelation. Her voice was clear and refreshing to Ash. Yet he couldn't help it but to feel guilty because she didn't know the truth. What would she say? Even if he wasn't supposed to tell her, he had to.
"What's wrong?" Misty's laughter faded and she caught on to the turmoil in Ash's eyes. "You know you can tell me anything."
Ash nodded and took a deep breath, his face serious, "what if I told you that I'm more... involved in the..." he paused, the word feeling somewhat odd and coming out as a whisper, "mafia, than I thought?"
"What do you mean?" Misty couldn't imagine how Ash could be more closely linked to them than her with her sisters' situation. She immediately started to wonder if Ash was in some kind of trouble.
He read the worry in her face and shook his head, trying to clear it and find the way to phrase things. "I'm not in trouble, this isn't even something recent. It's something that's been true for as long as I've been alive, longer even. I just recently found out, mom told me."
Misty immediately recalled the events that happened at Lando's mansion and an infinity of theories floated in her head about Delia, Giovanni, Ash and the mafia. She imagine sweet Delia being kidnapped, she imagined a battle between Giovanni and someone from the mafia. It all played out in seconds in her mind like in the cheesy movies her sisters had been watching. Another theory was about a young hero who falls in love with a lady, which lands the lady in the middle of a love triangle. She makes her choice, though the man who was not chosen still loved her. Then one day a terrible villain steals the life of her beloved and the other man, who had sincerely tried to save his own rival for her sake, can do nothing more than console her. Pushing the theories away along with the images of a bittersweet embrace in a sunset cliff near the ocean, she breathed, "you know you can tell me. You don't need to hide anything from me, I'm here for you."
"I know," Ash felt comforted and suddenly, the idea of keeping everything a secret from Misty was unthinkable. "Everything makes sense now. Mewtwo's enemy, the leader of Team Rocket, his resemblance to Giovanni, it was all true."
Misty's eyes went wide as she remembered their conversation with Brock after the tournament at Viridian City. Brock had been the first to point out how similar the Viridian gym leader was to the Rocket boss. "Than Giovanni is Team Rocket's leader? He's playing both sides so easily." Kenobi's involvement in the mafia made a lot more sense. They were trying to hide Giovanni's identity so that he could continue the good gym leader act. "The good gym leader is the mafia lord, it's so ironic, and yet, I wonder why no one can see it." As the pieces fell into place with the force of the revelation, the idea went from unthinkable to obvious.
"He has a lot of influence, I guess," Ash's confusion clouded him again. He honestly didn't know how to face Giovanni, but it had to be done.
"I bet the police knows, but Team Rocket is too powerful so they have to let him be," Misty reasoned, then the image of sweet Delia, kind, motherly, gentle Delia, entered her mind. "My goodness, Ash, your mom."
"She knows more about Team Rocket than I ever would have guessed. She knows their history from the very beginning," Ash looked into his fiance's eyes, "she was there, Misty, she was there from the start, ever since Team Rocket was a street gang. She was... she joined..."
Misty took in a big deep breath as if the extra oxygen was needed for her brain to continue functioning with more simultaneous thoughts than what a normal person should have.
"Have you heard about the epidemic from years ago? I've heard stories about it, but it was hard to imagine. She saw it all, the Tempest of the past was the cause and Team Rocket ended up finding the solution. That just makes me believe it even more, that Team Rocket wasn't all that bad, it couldn't have been. Mom was there and... and my father, Giovanni, he had to be different. Maybe there's some of his past self still left," Ash fell silent as he observed Misty's face.
The red haired young woman paled, it wasn't until that moment that Ash had directly pointed out that Giovanni was his father. He wasn't part of a triangle as they had initially thought. "All these years..." her voice came out as a quiet whisper, but there was some edge to it.
"He didn't know," Ash was quick to reveal. "Mom broke up with him. She left to raise me in peace. She never told him she was pregnant, he didn't know about me until recently."
"She was protecting you," Misty concluded, "she wanted to keep you safe, she must have seen what Team Rocket was turning into, she must have..." Overcome by emotion, Misty felt her eyes water. "It must have been so hard."
The couple held on to each other tightly in a warm embrace. "They were in love, I know they were. I think they are again, I'm pretty sure they are. I don't understand it really; they're so different, even if I barely know him. It's... it's strangely comforting, to know they care about each other, to know they can care; to know they love each other." Ash held on to Misty and closed his eyes, burying his face on her shoulder as she gently caressed his hair. The blond wig had fallen off at some point neither cared to notice and sat on the couch next to Ash.
"It's all so big, so unexpected..." Misty whispered, "at least you know and there is hope. Maybe everything has a reason," after seeing what Team Rocket had done over the years, Misty had trouble believing her own words. She wondered what else happened that she didn't know. She feared for Ash and for Delia, she didn't want them to get hurt. Then Ash's words rung out in her head with such certainty, ' they love each other,' his mother must have assured him no doubt, for Ash to be so convince, he must have seen the truth in her. There was a lot Misty didn't understand and she knew it must be troubling Ash terribly.
"We were at Giovanni's house when mom told me," Ash confessed, his voice slightly muffled by the closeness to Misty. "I ran away, I left a note saying I had to think. Mom called me as soon as she found out; I worried her I'm sure. I insisted that I was okay, that I was not angry at my father. I tried to reassure her and convinced her to give me some time to think. I didn't know how to tell you, I'm really glad you came."
"It's going to be okay, things we'll work out," Misty quietly assured, though she couldn't know for sure. "I'm here for you." What could she do? She couldn't change the past, plus it was a past that should not be changed. If Delia had loved Giovanni and Ash was the result of that, Misty could only be thankful. If they had rediscovered those feelings, how could they stay apart? If Delia found it in her heart to welcome Giovanni it was her choice, her judgment, but would she be hurt because of it? Would Ash be hurt?
"I wonder if he hates me," Ash looked into Misty's eyes; the fear in his eyes shocked her. He had always been brave and determined, always willing to face anything. "I ran away leaving behind nothing but a note, just like mom left him with a letter. Maybe the reason why mom didn't insist in coming here was because she needed to stay with him. What if he hates me? What if he thinks I hate him? It's ironic really," Ash laughed bitterly, the fear still present in his eyes. "I've always secretly wanted a father, but accepted not having one. Then when Giovanni came into the picture, I wondered if it was similar to having a father. I wanted that with him. I wanted to get to know him, to have the kind of father-son experience I never knew. I was happy, he wasn't replacing anyone, there was no one to replace. He was just filling a hole I never fully realized was there. Then I found out he really is my father and instead of being happy, I'm so confused and so afraid." Ash was almost trembling, which made Misty hug him tighter, "I don't know how to face him, I don't know what to say, I'm afraid I'll get caught in the moment and say something terrible. I'm afraid I'll anger him, I'm afraid I'll hurt him, I'm afraid he'll give up on mom and me, I'm afraid he'll give up on mom because of me. She already gave him up once for my sake, I know it hurt her to leave to raise me. They have a second chance to be together, I have a chance to have a father, but Team Rocket is in the middle of everything and... and..."
"Shh... don't say anymore," Misty softly place her finger upon his lips, then kissed him gently and wiped away the moist from his face that he didn't even notice was there. "He can't hate you. How could he possibly? Maybe he's worried too. Maybe he's wondering what you'll think of him, but I'm sure he can't hate you. If your mom can still care about him, then no matter what he's done over the years with Team Rocket, there's no way he could hate his own son."
xoxox xox xoxox
At the Viridian City gym, Giovanni and Delia were in one of the rooms. The door was locked and no one would interrupt them. The conversation would not be easy and there was no way to make it so. Delia had taken a moment to wash her face and try to calm down. She splashed cold water on her face, then looked up from the sink to the bathroom mirror. Her face made it obvious how much she had cried. She took a soft towel and gently dried her face.
Taking a deep breath, she headed out of the bathroom and into the connecting room. Giovanni was there, sitting on an expensive couch that she didn't care to admire. Her eyes were locked on his, but after a second he looked away. She approached and sat down at his side, searching for his eyes with hers. He was lost in thought and didn't breathe a word. With a deep sigh, Delia began, "what happened to Aayla's daughter?"
The conversation was barely starting and it was already taking a dark path. "She's dead. I was informed she passed away a few hours ago." He had received the call when he was on his way back to the mansion.
"How?" Delia kept her question simple; she feared that her voice would turn increasingly shaky if she spoke too much.
"Poisona stole her blood, the virus, and spread it. By the time we took her into custody it was too late. She was alive, just barely. We tried to keep her alive, but it wasn't enough. She was in a coma, clinging to life by a thread without most of her blood. Her body wouldn't accept normal blood for long. The doctors struggled to keep her alive but couldn't. She needed her own blood, but that was impossible to recover. It had been put in food, human food. Countless people consumed it and acquired the virus. They're out there, they don't know it, but to pokemon they are like poison. The virus was stretched thin and not very effective at first, but it grew, it's becoming unstoppable. I've managed to keep the base mostly clean, but it wasn't Team Rocket that Poisona was aiming for. She aimed for Kanto, for those who didn't expect it. Many of the nurse Joys are suspected to be infected, killing while they try to heal," after the confession was finished, Giovanni once again fell silent. His voice was paused with force neutrality. His expression hid discomfort and his eyes reflected thought.
Delia took in all the information. She had felt so much, so intensely, that she didn't know what to feel anymore. "What happened to the third survivor?" She referred to the three clones, no, the three boys, who had survived such terrible trials years ago. One of them was an urban legend, the Bloody Killer. The other one was a loyal Rocket, Comet. The third was still a mystery to Delia. She remembered Binks mentioning him, calling him number ten.
Giovanni didn't reply right away, he wasn't sure what Delia meant by her question, "survivor?" He finally inquired, his gaze still lost to hers.
"Comet's brother," Delia clarified, though she didn't know if she should call him that. Comet was different, he had no modifications. When they met as she ventured into the Viridian gym, she didn't see anything that could indicate he was different from a normal person. Regardless of his origins, he was indeed human. She remembered wondering about who was Comet's mother. She remembered wondering if she still lived. A cold chill went down her spine. She left the topic of number ten on hold and asked, "what does Comet think about his mother?"
Giovanni had to pause for a moment before replying, "he doesn't know he never had one." The very mention of Comet's name brought that image to mind. The memory of the young boy asking his father questions that Luke, out of mercy, didn't want to answer. Then the memory would turn into a figment of his imagination and mold into something else. The boy's hair was no longer red, it was black. The one he was asking was someone else and the question was about his father. The shadowy figure became clearer, he was asking Delia. Giovanni could feel the urgency in the boy's voice. Then the boy turned around, expression saddened, he was Ash. "He must have assumed she died. He must have assumed Luke was too sad to speak of her." Did Ash assume his father was dead in the past? Did he believe Delia had locked away his memories in sorrow?
Delia struggled to find her voice before finally speaking, "he needs to know. I know it sounds cruel, but he needs to know. He has the right to know. When things calm down, I'll talk to Luke." When things calm down, later, not now, it all felt too familiar. "No, after we're done talking, I'm talking to Luke. The more he waits, it'll just get worse. I'm not letting him continue making my mistakes. Every person deserves to know where they came from. I believe that not knowing hurts more than the truth. No one deserves such uncertainty." Determined, she took a deep breath and returned to their previous topic. "Tell me about the third survivor please."
"Number ten was here," Giovanni could feel Delia's upset eyes on him at the mention of a number. He knew she could never consider those experiments to be experiments and nothing more. After Comet became a Rocket, he was another agent and a competent one at that. Giovanni had all but forgotten his origins. Luke cared about him so much; he cared as a true father would. Not that Giovanni felt he could know. He didn't have a father, just a mother who saw him as a hindrance more often then not, as far as he could remember from his late childhood and teen years. He couldn't speak from experience either. His thoughts kept going back to Ash over and over.
"What happened to him?" Delia prompted Giovanni to continue after a long silence passed.
Giovanni tried to focus on the present instead of on his own thoughts. He didn't know what was wrong with him. He had done so much. He wasn't bothered by such things before. Why did his son's apparent rejection, though Delia had tried to excuse it, bother him so much? Why couldn't he get Ash out of his head? Why couldn't he focus like he used to? "I don't know where he is," he finally answered Delia's question. "He disappeared one day, no one knows how. There were suspects but..." he paused as if remembering a detail, his face contorting with anger.
"What is it?" Delia insisted that he voiced his thoughts.
"Iblis," the name was spoken with absolute hatred. "Looking back on it, the pattern fits. The so call suspects were set up by her. She must have stolen number... the other survivor. They're not like Comet. Comet wasn't altered. The others are different. They were altered; they're inhumanly strong, but also traitorous and unstable. The third survivor was in a coma, he woke up on occasion but he was too aggressive to let him go anywhere. He barely responded to words. It was strange, it was as if everything terrified him and the only thing he knew how to do was destroy it. Anything that moved or made a sound, he wanted to destroy it, anything that lived, he wanted to kill it. He's out there, it's the only explanation. He's out there."
Delia couldn't imagine such a miserable being ever existed, one that was created from Luke's DNA as the base. Comet was the only one who was spared, the only one who received a chance to live as a human. Was the third survivor going to become another Bloody Killer? Delia became pale as she remembered a conversation she had with Ash. He had told her about how he and his friends heard a horror story about a serial killer, as they passed through a town in Johto. They had camped out that night and stayed up late telling horror stories, trying to see who was the bravest.
Delia thought it was all fiction. It was too terrible to be real. As Ash repeated some of the stories she even laughed at how exaggerated they sounded. Who would believe that? It had to be something purposely made to frighten people, not reality. The first survivor became a legend. The Bloody Killer was out there and possibly another one, but that other one could be being controlled by Iblis.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon.
To clarify, number three is also referred to as the Bloody Killer and the first survivor, since he was the first one to be "awakened" from the three clones that survived out of the original twelve. He was altered to grow up faster and be stronger than a human.
Number seven, who was ironically expected to be the "weakest" due to not being modified, turned out to be the only one capable of rational thought. He is known as Comet, the second survivor, as he was the second to awaken out of the three who lived. He wasn't genetically modified.
Finally, there's number ten, who was in a coma most of the time, thus never truly fully conscious. He was the third survivor, the only one that Binks didn't elaborate about before. He was modified to be stronger, but he aged normally.
I wanted to give Luke and Comet some differences in terms of appearance, so that their similarities would be noticeable, but not shocking. It would be out of character to dye their hair or have them wear contact lenses, so other than the age and having different haircuts, the sun made the difference. Luke is tanned from being out in the wilderness looking for strong pokemon so often. Comet is not tanned because his missions mostly involve sneaking around at night to steal, blackmail, plant evidence, etc. thus he's not out in the sun much.