Diamond 102: Give me Fortitude
Don't Give Me Diamonds
Diamond 102: Give me Fortitude
Kanto was beginning to feel the change of most of its gangs being put behind bars. It was a chance for prosperity and growth in many ways. Viridian City had a new gym leader and a new mayor. The citizens were quite pleased, as both men appeared to be capable and dedicated. Naturally, the mayor would often socialize with the gym leader, as he felt it was his duty despite thinking the gym leader was a little scary. That socializing would lead to an alliance, which would pull another important figure to Team Rocket's side. All in all, things were looking up.
The panorama at the police station was quite different. The superintendent was stressed and very behind in his work. He had settled into his desk and finished most of his paper work. The documents were mostly about the trials that the officers affiliated with gangs would have to go through after being discovered. Team Rocket had been a relatively small gang with no connections to the police. In theory, it was due to Madame's interference. Apparently, she always made things backfire for her son when he tried to establish convenient connections with the police. It was perhaps her own way to push him into doing things on his own without assistance from double agents in the authorities and thus become stronger by his own skill, but most simply assumed she hated him.
Letting out a breath that seemed to carry all his stress, the superintendent wrote his signature in his last piece of paper work for the day. The sun had set a while ago and the day time shift had ended, giving way to the arrival of the night time officers. He tidied his work station and put away his confidential papers in a locked drawer before glancing at the photo in the corner of his desk. A slight smile appeared on his face despite all the stress he was in. He was doing this for them, for his wife, may she rest in peace and for his daughter, may she live happy and safe. It had been a long time, but he would see his daughter soon. He was anxious to hear about what she had been doing and how her pokemon studies had progressed. He felt guilty to not have kept up with her properly, but he trusted his good friend Professor Oak to guide her in his place when work kept him away.
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At the Viridian City gym, the second Giovanni stepped into his quarters, with his loyal baby Meowth on his shoulder, the sweet scent of perfume greeted him along with a pleasant sight. Delia was putting the finishing touches on her outfit with some light makeup that brought out her natural beauty. She wore a royal blue dress that was long enough to be formal, but short enough not to be a ball gown. The dress hugged her body nicely, without being too showy. She had her hair down, parted to the side with a sapphire hair clip and matching earrings. Her eye shadow matched her jewelry's color and her lips glowed with clear gloss.
This was exactly what Giovanni wanted to return to after a long day of catching up with his new gym leader duties, political socializing and managing Team Rocket. He could picture what would come next, a delicious romantic dinner from Delia's incomparable home cooking, a relaxing atmosphere and...
"I'll be going now, don't wait up for me," Delia picked up her purse, gave Giovanni a quick kiss, petted Meowth and headed for the bedroom door.
Giovanni felt as if a pokemon had used water gun on him. "Wait a minute, where are you going at this hour, dressed like that?" Needless to say, he wasn't pleased.
Delia sighed; she should have guessed he would forget. She smiled, still in a very good mood, "I told you about it yesterday. Tonight I'm going to meet my father for dinner. He hasn't had time for me lately and wanted to catch up in a nice restaurant. I would invite you, but this is kind of a father daughter reunion and I don't think dad wants to share my attention with another man tonight. I'll make plans for all of us to get together in another occasion so you can meet him, as the gym leader, I mean... since he's with the police."
"Your father is a police officer?" Giovanni received yet another shock, which felt like being hit by an ice beam attack.
"I told you this weeks ago," Delia reminded. You replied, and I quote, "does that mean you're an undercover officer here to seduce me into turning myself in?"
"You know I wasn't really listening!" Giovanni admitted what he felt was obvious, watching as Delia smiled and giggled.
"We have a lot to talk about, I haven't seen my biological father in ages," Delia explained.
"I do remember you saying you spent most of your time studying with Professor Oak," Giovanni recalled. Delia had told him about how her mother passed away when she was very young due to an illness that she, fortunately, did not inherit. Her father was always buried in work and often left her with her teacher, Professor Oak, who raised her more so than her own father. "So you're going to see your father, who you're not even all that close to and is a police officer no less, instead of spending time with me?"
"That's all the more reason why I should see him!" Delia insisted, then reassured, "at his age, he's no doubt a step away from retirement." She never imagined that as things stood, her father had no intentions of retiring until he was physically unable to continue working. "I want to take the first step to become closer to him. I want him to know he can count on me and that I understand that he had to take care of his career to support me, even if I would much rather have a lot less growing up if it meant spending more time with him. That aside, I knew he had good intentions and he made sure I was always well looked after. Professor Oak was like another father to me and I never felt neglected." She took a deep breath and finished, "so you see, I really have to go see him. We have a lot of catching up to do so we might stay up late talking. You should get some rest and we'll spend some time together tomorrow. You don't even have to tell me anything about secrecy; you know I won't breathe a word."
"I trust you," Giovanni assured, "it's just surprising..." It wasn't all bad if he thought about it in the right light. The police didn't seem to represent an obstacle at the moment, even more so because they were understaffed after their internal clean up. Yet the fact remained that Jenny and who knows how many more officers, knew of his secret identity. "What if he knows who I am? What if he just wants to take you away from me?"
This was a whole other side to Giovanni that rarely showed, the side of him that was protective and zealous. Delia stayed comfortably in his embrace for a while. "I won't say a word, I promise." Delia felt a little guilty to hide the truth about her boyfriend from her biological father, yet with Professor Oak's acceptance of the relationship, though he certainly wasn't trilled about it, she felt as if she could face anyone's disapproval or ignorant bliss with a straight face. That man was her biological father, but she would be lying if she denied feeling that Professor Oak was the main parental figure in her life. "No one is going to separate us."
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The police station was a short walk from the Viridian gym, but Giovanni insisted on driving Delia anyway. He didn't need to hide as the gym leader and dropped her off without incident. The police superintendent and current chief of the Viridian City police station, Davin Ketchum, exited the building just in time to see a young woman getting out of a car and the car driving off. He met the lady at the door, taking a moment to recognize her. "Delia?" He spoke unsure, barely above a whisper.
The young woman smiled, looking even more like her mother had in her healthier days. "Hi, dad." She went to hug the man she had not seen for a long time. He looked noticeably older than when she last saw him. He had lost some weight and had sleepless bags under his eyes, plus his hair had become grayer.
"Look at you, my little girl is all grown up," he spoke with a hint of sadness at having missed most of that process, though he still managed to make himself smile. "You look so much like your mother. But let's not talk out here," he began to lead her towards his car, "we'll have a nice dinner and talk until we catch up on everything."
xoxox xox xoxox
The atmosphere at the restaurant was elegant and peaceful. After the waiter left with their order, the father and daughter began to catch up on the happenings of each other's lives. "How are your studies with Professor Oak going? I haven't really spoken to him in a while," or to her. "We've both been busy; me with the police and I can only imagine how busy the epidemic has kept Samuel and you. At least the antidote is finally out there." Davin was aware of Team Rocket's involvement in that process, but chose not to mention them.
"Everything is fine now." The conversation was barely getting started and Delia already felt as if she hit a wall. "I actively participated in the research process to find an antidote." It was paraphrased, but it was still mostly true if the term research was used loosely. "I'm really glad it was finally discovered. Right now I have another job as a..." how could she define what she did for Giovanni while making it sound like a regular job? "A pokemon training assistant and secretary."
"Then you're not researching anymore?" Delia's father tried to mask the hint of disappointment in his voice. He had hoped she would become a pokemon scientist, doctor or nurse. However, as long as Delia was safe, he would be okay with the career she chose. "What do you do in your new job?"
"Lot's of things," Delia smiled and willed herself to act natural. "I help train pokemon, tend to them and take care of some business related things on the side."
The description was too general and short for Davin's liking, but he understood that his daughter might not be ready to talk as if they saw each other often, because they didn't. He blamed himself for the invisible wall between them and knew the process of bringing it down would be a slow one; so slow perhaps that it could not be done alongside his job. Yet he had to build a good world for his daughter, he found justification in that mission. "I've had some changes in my career too," Davin ventured off to speak a little about himself in hopes of building a familiarity that would encourage his daughter to tell him more about her own life. "I'm the police superintendent now." After those words were spoken, the waiter returned with their meals, setting the plates and cups on the table.
"What?" A worried expression overtook Delia's face. Her father took it logically and assumed she worried about the possible dangers of his job. He reminded himself that she was no longer a little girl, thus was more aware of the less pleasant happenings of the world.
The waiter thought the expression was directed at the food and with the most apologetic look he could muster, he asked, "is something not to your liking, my lady?"
"I'm sorry," Delia laughed quietly and tried to lighten the atmosphere. "I was simply surprised by my father's news. Dinner looks delicious, thank you."
"I am glad you think so," the waiter was visibly relieved. "If you need anything at all, please let me know and I will be happy to get it for you. It is an honor to have you here with us, Lady Roketto."
All color drained from Delia's face as her father's countenance turned red in anger, "what did you call her?" The police superintendent demanded furiously.
The waiter bowed regretfully, "my deepest apologies, I will use more discretion in the future."
"This isn't about discretion, what do you know about the Roketto? Why did you call my daughter that? Do they have connections in the police? I will clean the force of double agents if it's the last thing I do!" Davin glared in enraged frustration at the waiter, who seemed to be at a loss for words.
The outburst brought forth the attention of several other customers, as well as the restaurant manager, who rushed over to calm the situation. "Go back to the kitchen," the manager sternly sent the waiter away, then faced the angry man and the distressed young lady. "I apologize if you were offended. I will assign you a new waiter and your meal shall be on the house." They were aware of who Giovanni was through the connections the establishment's owner shared with the mayor.
Enraged to seemingly be counted as an ally of the mafia, Davin was about to angrily reply, but there was yet another interruption. "Delia!" Rune Antilles' loud voice bellowed from across the elegant dinning hall, adorned in gold and green. He hurried to the other side of the restaurant taking his young son's hand to make him dash along with him and signaling for his wife to follow. While Rune clumsily made his way towards the commotion, dragging a confused young Kenobi along, who only wanted to finish his barely started dessert; Naberrie Antilles, who sometimes chouse to go by her maiden name of Naberrie Coruscant, wife of Rune and mother of Kenobi, made her way over in a slow and regal fashion. She possessed grace that made her husband's occasional ineptness seem far too mismatched for her.
"You are the newly elected mayor," Davin recognized Rune and further wondered what was going on. There were rumors about the new mayor forming an alliance with the gym leader, even if no proof could be found of any wrong doings. The fact remained that the mayor and the gym leader seemed to be good friends in the public eye and that was suspicious enough.
"Yes, yes I am and I am quite pleased and ready to keep my promises of making Viridian City a better place!" After his brief acknowledgement to the man who he didn't realize was the new police superintendent and Viridian police chief; Rune directed his happy outburst towards Delia. "It's so wonderful that you're here. Perhaps you'd consider joining my family's table after you are finished with your business? We would be so honored. Oh, yes, this is my son, Kenobi." Rune finally released the boy's hand, remembering that he had dragged him over with the purpose of introducing him to Delia.
"Kenobi, greet the lady properly," in the span of time that had passed, Naberrie had since caught up to her husband at her own composed pace. Her voice was sweet yet commanding. The color of her hair and eyes were nothing like her son's who at first glance seemed to take completely after his father with black hair and green eyes. However, if one set aside her sky blue eyes and her hair which seemed to be an eternal debate between purple and crimson, it was possible to notice some of her features in her son. Her angular thin nose, long shape of the eyes and pronounced facial features made their appearance in her son in a more boyish manner that was a definite contrast to his father's nearly square head and full cheeks.
At his mother's voice, Kenobi bowed like a gentleman of times passed asking a noble lady to dance. He took Delia's delicate hand in his small one and placed a kiss on it. "I am Kenobi Antilles Coruscant, at your service dear lady."
"And I am Naberrie Coruscant of Antilles," the lady added. "It is fortunate that we have met."
"Coruscant?!" Davin was further angered by the mention of the name of a mafia family, though it was a name of the past. The Coruscant clan was no longer as big as it used to be, some said consumed by the Roketto and others theorized sabotaged by one of its own members.
"My name is Delia Ketchum, I am pleased to meet you both," Delia replied formally while throwing a worried glance at her father, who was feeling utterly ignored and disrespected.
"Should I find a bigger table for everyone?" The restaurant manager could feel the tension in the air and wanted the situation to settle down as quickly as possible.
"My husband and I have already dinned and were only waiting for our son to consume his dessert. However, I believe Lady Delia's dinner yet remains untouched. Perhaps she would enjoy dinning under the stars, let us move to a table on the roof." Naberrie's elegant and commanding voice once again left no room for argument. Her young son discreetly tugged on the skirt of her dress, the smooth fabric an undecided color between dark purple and black, depending on the angle and light. The boy's silent message was answered by his mother's hand briefly resting on his head. "We would also like for our son's dessert to be moved there as well and do prepare some coffee for my husband and I." She did not have to specify which kind because they already knew what to get for her.
"This is an outrage!" Davin exploded, "I know who you are." He pointed accusingly at Naberrie, who merely chuckled in indifference.
The elegant woman twirled her long hair around her fingers, accentuated with dark crimson nails that matched her lipstick. She allowed her hair to fall over one shoulder, the other bare in her elegant dress. "Delia, darling, you have much to learn about controlling your business, they are a double edged sword after all." She began to walk away placing a friendly arm around Delia's shoulder and leaning in to whisper things the other woman didn't understand as they walked away from the scene.
Delia, confused beyond reason, allowed Naberrie to lead her away towards the luxurious stairs. Kenobi cheerfully followed walking beside his mother. Rune was the last to react and scurried along after them, not before telling the frustrated superintendent, "we should go," still unaware of who Davin was in more ways than one. Rune had learned that when Naberrie spoke everyone was to remain silent, especially him, as she often pointed out that he had the most vexing ability to say the wrong thing at the wrong time.
Visibly fuming, Davin followed the group to the roof of the restaurant, intending to resolve the conflict of confusion that overtook him and find out what kind of connection those dreadful people may have with his dear sweet daughter.
As soon as they were on the roof, away from prying eyes and ears, Davin demanded to know, "what is the meaning of this? Do you people intend to threaten my daughter?" As he threw out the accusation, he pulled Delia away from Naberrie and reached for his police gun.
"That was a most unwise move," Naberrie's icy glare chilled the atmosphere, no one could ignore her strong presence. The click of a dozen sniper rifles being readied echoed through the silence as Davin released his gun into its holster and left it there. He knew it would do him no good to try to defend his daughter against such terrible odds. He could barely see the silhouettes of the hidden guards in the darkness.
"You planned this, you somehow knew that I would be here," Davin was frustrated for taking so long to react. He wanted answers in relation to his daughter's apparent recognition of the mayor, who turned out to be the husband of a lady of the mafia. He should have known Delia must be utterly confused; they must be strangers to her, whom she politely humored because she recognized the Viridian mayor's face. "Leave Delia out of this, she's innocent!"
Unable to stand it any longer, Delia finally spoke, "enough of this. I would like to know what's going on. What business do you have with my father?"
"None what so ever, my dear, sit, eat, your dinner will become cold," Naberrie took a seat at the table, signaling for Delia to do the same. "Do not feel threatened, friend, the guards are here to protect you as much as they are here to protect me."
"Delia is not your friend!" Davin tried to stop his daughter from sitting down, but could not.
"Father, please calm down," Delia spoke as evenly and urgently as she could while suppressing the alarm in her voice. "Sit, eat and relax. I will take care of the situation."
Davin sat down next to Delia, but did not touch his meal. Kenobi sat between his mother and Delia, closer to Naberrie, absorbed in the enjoyable process of eating his cake, slowly and properly. Rune sat at Naberrie's other side, silent save for the quiet thanks he offered the restaurant manager when he brought coffee for him and his wife.
Taking a deep breath, Delia tried to sort the mess that lay before her. "First of all I must clarify that I am here to have a nice quiet dinner with my father, I am not conducting any business."
"I see," Naberrie observed, her eyes focused on a point beyond the table as if staring off into the distance in superiority. "Though you both had the name of Ketchum," she spoke of Delia presently counting her as a Roketto, "I had assumed that the title of father was something you reserved for Professor Samuel Oak of Pallet Town."
Delia stiffened; the last thing she wanted was to add something hurtful to the already nerve-wrecking mess. "This is not the issue at hand," she neutrally spoke. "Davin Ketchum is my biological father and I appreciate him. If you know about Professor Oak, if you know so much about me, then you must be will informed about my purpose for being here tonight."
"Indeed," Naberrie confirmed. "No more charades, I will go to the point and tell you the story, but that man's determination is a hindrance so I would rather he not hear it. Fear not, he will not be harmed, I just want him to leave for a short while." With a discreet nod, Naberrie called two of her armed guards, who stepped forward to escort Davin away.
"Go with them, it'll be okay," Delia assured, though she was uncertain of it herself. What she did know was that she felt frustrated. That frustration evolved into anger and her seldom dried patience ran short. As soon as her father was out of sight and thus presumably out of earshot, Delia spoke as bravely as she could. She could feel the invincibility of a vigilante once again, but there was something dark about it. It was as if the vigilante, though still powerful, had been corrupted. She pushed the worries away and stayed strong. "If you are so well informed, then you must know who I am beyond a name and face. You must know the power of the Roketto." She glanced at Rune, who seemed far easier to intimidate and far less intimidating then Naberrie. Then with her best impression of an angry Giovanni, Delia dangerously warned, "if what you have offered the Roketto is a false alliance..." She purposely trailed off into silence, her glare unbreakable, leaving a nervous Rune to picture all the horrors his imagination could come up with.
The mayor began to sweat and shift uncomfortably in his seat. Kenobi was enjoying the last portion of his slice of cake while ignoring the grown up talk and Naberrie remained unfazed. "On the contrary," Naberrie's sweet voice pierced the atmosphere with the strength of a thousand knives. "This is the proof of our true alliance." Naberrie paused and glanced at her son, who had finished his dessert and sat quietly waiting. "Kenobi, would you like a chocolate shake?" Offer a child sweets and regardless of the amount of food recently consumed, the child will gladly agree, Kenobi was no exception to the rule.
"I would love one," Kenobi smiled with the true innocence of a child.
"Rune, why don't you take Kenobi downstairs and get a chocolate shake? Delia and I will stay here and talk woman to woman," Naberrie smiled, her face serene yet somehow still commanding.
"Yes, darling!" Rune was all too happy to get a breather from the tense atmosphere. Kenobi paid the guards no mind, as his mother had told him they were present to keep them safe and it would be impolite to stare at them. Rune never truly got used to his wife's way of life, which he considered to be excessive in terms of danger.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon. The next chapter will reveal Naberrie's background and the restaurant incident will be explained.