Disclaimer: Pokémon isn't mine.
A/N: Love this chapter. lol Just trying to set up everything. ;D I'm already writing the next chapter since I'm so excited for it. xD And big brother Clemont is yay!
Thanks for reading! Enjoy!
Word Count: 2,517 words.
.: Hide and Seek :.
~ Count to ten ~
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::
"Hurry up, big brother!" Bonnie insists as she runs through the crowd.
Clemont, for all his efforts, can only keep up so much! He can already feel that burning sensation in his lungs; and with his backpack adding weight, Clemont feels like a block of lead. Throwing up a shaky hand, he wheezes. "B-Bonnie…slow down…!"
She's only slightly obedient, looking over her shoulder and rolling her eyes. There isn't any doubt that her expression screams, 'You're the Gym Leader how?' Pouting, Bonnie turns on her heel and rushes back to her brother, pulling him by the hand. "Hurry! We still need to find big bro!"
"I know, I know." Clemont sighs, forcing his impatient sister to walk at his pace.
Since he lost track of time working on Prism Tower's backup generator yesterday (which is, unfortunately, still a work in progress), Clemont literally had no time to spend with Volkner before he retired for the evening. Unhappy, Bonnie decided that the three of them should hangout the next day. She was doing such a great job planning everything out, but thanks to Clemont's new invention that just so happened to kill the phone line at the Tower, all Volkner assumingly got was the meeting time… Well, at least he also knew they were meeting somewhere on Estival Avenue, right?
Taking in a big breath, the resident Gym Leader does his part in searching for their figurative big brother within the busy crowd. The streets of Lumiose City never change: it's crowded as always, so Clemont really doubts he'll be able to single out a spiky-haired blond that's clad in blue among people and Pokémon alike. He can feel Bonnie squeezing his hand a little tighter and when he looks down, there's an unconscious frown on her face as she struggles to see as much as she could, but it's futile considering how small she is.
In the short span of time that she's spent with Volkner, Bonnie is already so attached. Clemont can't really say he's jealous (he sees Bonnie every day after all), but knowing his sister fully embraces Volkner without a second thought is…heartwarming. Clemont smiles and instinctively acts out his role of 'big brother' to ease her worries. Gently swinging her hand, the little girl looks up with big, blue eyes once Clemont speaks. "Do you know what big bro's Gym Leader title is?"
Bonnie shakes her head. "He didn't say."
"Well, in Sinnoh, he's known as 'The Shining, Shocking Star'," Clemont elaborates; well-informed. "Since we haven't found him yet, all we really need to do is look for the busiest spot in Estival Avenue."
Bonnie blinks once before grinning with excitement. "Because if we find a large group of people…"
"We find big brother since he attracts a lot of attention—like a star!" Clemont nods. He chuckles when Bonnie bursts with newfound energy and it motivates him to look for Volkner too; it shouldn't be that hard after all.
"Do you think he's from Unova? He looks like a celeb!"
"Does it matter where he's from? He's cute! And did you see his eyes? Dreamy…"
"That's because he's eye candy! Duh!"
A trio of stylish teenage girls pass by, loudly gossiping and giggling amongst themselves and it catches Clemont's attention. Now, he's heard his fair share of gossip within the city, but this is by far the most noteworthy. It takes him just five seconds to realize that those girls were talking about the one person he and Bonnie were looking for; and sure enough, when he looks to his left, Clemont spots the source of gossip material.
Sitting on the fountain's edge in Magenta Plaza—one of the connecting streets between Estival and Autumnal Avenue—is Volkner: glancing down at his Poké Gear, minding his own business…and completely ignoring the curious glances he receives from people in the crowd. Somehow, it isn't surprising that the majority of gawkers happen to be young women too… Well, at least Clemont was half-right: Volkner was in the center of a small, bustling crowd; just not somewhere directly in Estival Avenue.
…Wait, was Volkner trying to hide from the masses by ducking into the plaza?
"Volk—" Clemont initially calls out, but abruptly pauses after entering the plaza with Bonnie in tow. While most people believe the foreign Gym Leader radiates a cool charisma, Clemont sees solemnity in Volkner's posture as he leans forward on his knees. There's a raw emotion in Volkner's blue eyes as he keeps them on his Poké Gear; something melancholic…
"Oh, big brother, look!" Bonnie regains Clemont's attention as she tugs on his fingers.
Pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose when he's startled out of his thoughts, Clemont regains his focus and watches as a young woman briskly approaches Volkner; subsequently snapping the Sinnoh visitor out of his own thoughts. Volkner is quick to put away his Poké Gear, standing up to properly address the young woman. Actually, when Clemont squints in recognition, Volkner's (unintentional) company looks familiar; almost as if she reminds Clemont of someone else. Watching the scene unfold as the young woman asks Volkner questions (of which just sour the older blond's expression), a light bulb suddenly goes off when the young woman pulls out a headset with a recorder and microphone attached.
"Miss Alexa!" Clemont accidentally cries out, catching the attention of both Volkner and Alexa. Bonnie giggles when her older brother turns red in embarrassment.
However, the well-known Kalosian journalist only smiles in greeting. "Hey, it's nice to see you two again!"
Bonnie happily waves in response, dragging Clemont along to minimize the distance of this odd group. "What are you doing, Miss Alexa? Oh! Are you interviewing big bro for one of your articles?"
"Hmm, I had no idea he was related to Lumiose's very own 'Lemon Siblings'…" Alexa turns to face Volkner again while simultaneously putting on her headset. "Well! That just makes me want to interview you even more now!"
"I already told you: I don't do interviews," Volkner declines; voice edging on the monotonous side as he tucks his hands in his pockets. Even his expression goes stoic! "The last time I was interviewed, I was written into a Unovian best-selling novel without knowing it…"
Clemont gapes in surprise; not because Volkner is mentioned in a book (even if it does garner a look of wow), but because Volkner is being so…cold towards Alexa and she hasn't done anything offending! At least…Clemont thinks so. However, that still doesn't excuse Volkner's behaviour! Laughing out loud to dissipate any awkward tension, Clemont faces Alexa with a question. "B-By the way, Miss Alexa, were you headed somewhere? Whenever you're outside the press office, you're almost always visiting the source of a story."
Alexa gasps, slamming a fist into her palm in remembrance. "Oh, you're right! I was, but then I heard rumors about your friend on my way to Restaurant Le Yeah. I must've messed up my priorities again; there's always something interesting to write about wherever I go." Alexa laughs, rubbing the back of her head sheepishly.
Volkner rolls his eyes, but Clemont only releases a relieved breath. From what Viola told him some months ago at the Battle Chateau, Alexa is a bit scatterbrained when it comes to tracking all the stories she wants to write. Then again, the same can be said for Viola: not once has Clemont ever seen her not take pictures of everything and anything she wants to at one time… Siblings are strange; making Clemont wonder if he and Bonnie are like that…
"What's at Restaurant Le Yeah?" Bonnie asks, being the only person out of the loop.
Alexa leans down to address the little girl with a smile. "I'm glad you asked! I've heard the Cyllage City Gym Leader is in town today to finally celebrate his win in the Tour de Lumiose bike race that was held last week. I'm sure you've seen it on TV?"
"Oh, I remember the last few minutes of the race." Clemont nods, feeling his lips twitch in amusement. "Grant didn't look the least bit tired during the last leg of it; he's amazing!"
"He certainly is," Alexa agrees, standing upright again with hands on her hips. "Which is why I thought interviewing him would be fun! Besides, if Grant's here, then Valerie and Siebold are not far behind."
To this, Clemont and Bonnie swap confused glances, widening the smile on Alexa's face. Volkner simply stands off to the side, thinking with a hand to his chin. Clemont isn't sure if the Sinnoh Gym Leader is actually paying attention, but if the calculating expression on Volkner's face is anything to go by, then perhaps he is. Raising an eyebrow, Clemont asks. "What makes you think that?"
"If you come with me, I can show you." Alexa winks.
Bonnie immediately bounces on the spot. "Okay! I was getting hungry too! Let's go, big brother! Let's go!"
"Wait." Clemont furrows his eyebrows, throwing glances between his sister, Alexa, and finally, Volkner. As much as Clemont wants to satisfy his own curiosity as he isn't very familiar with some of his colleagues of the Pokémon League, it's rude to make such decisions without considering Volkner; their guest. Walking up to the older blond, Clemont fidgets from foot to foot while grasping the straps of his backpack tightly. "Umm, do you want to go, Volkner? I haven't been there myself, but I hear the food is really good."
Volkner blinks, staring at Clemont and putting the younger blond on the spot. Did Volkner eat already? Is that why he's gawking like this? The Lumiose Gym Leader immediately lowers his eyes before hearing Volkner chuckle. The older blond sniggers a bit more before softening his expression from the one used on Alexa. "No, it's cool. This restaurant sounds interesting—for more reasons than one."
Clemont unconsciously smiles in response and Bonnie takes the opportunity to unanimously give their consent. "It's settled then! Excuse us, Miss Alexa!"
"Not at all; the more the merrier!" Alexa insists, looking over her shoulder and teasing Volkner when they begin to cut through Magenta Plaza to Autumnal Avenue. "And maybe while we're walking, I can interview you, 'Mr. Big Bro'."
The Sinnoh Gym Leader scoffs; though this time, he's relaxed a little. "It's Volkner; and my answer is still no."
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::
Now, Clemont has been to restaurants before, but this is amazing. His glasses nearly fall off his nose as he looks around the interior of Restaurant Le Yeah; and they haven't even been seated yet! It was so sophisticated, big, and Clemont wonders if he's underdressed for the occasion. It didn't help that the majority of the patrons were adults; he and Bonnie are seemingly the only kids around…
"Welcome!" the man at the front desk greets. He smiles with the air of business. "A table for four?"
"Yes, please!" Bonnie answers loudly.
However, Alexa throws up her hand before the decision is finalized. She winks in Bonnie's direction, reassuring her that everything is okay and then turns her attention to the server. "Actually, I'm meeting the Laverre City Gym Leader. I'm sure she wouldn't mind if I brought along some friends."
The man hums, looking down at the list of reservations. "Your name, Miss?"
"Ah, yes; Miss Valerie is expecting you." The man writes down a note on the list, grabs four menus, and walks around the reception desk; gesturing for them to follow. "This way, please."
"Bonnie, keep your voice down!" Clemont hushes, looking around and apologizing to the patrons who glance over. He whispers with a scolding frown. "We have to be on our best behaviour, okay?"
His little sister clamps a hand over her mouth, whispering back. "Sorry."
Alexa giggles with an amused shake of her head before leading the party as they follow their guide. Volkner looks around with subtle interest before Bonnie grabs his attention when she holds his hand. She throws him a childish grin; to which Volkner returns with a half-smile. Clemont walks side-by-side with the Sinnoh Gym Leader, taking in the sights and inwardly complimenting the detail of each column and organization of the decorations and tables. Clemont isn't an interior designer nor is he an architect, but it's never impossible to appreciate intricate details made by other people. After all, working with machinery and dallying with circuit boards is pretty much the same thing.
"Clemont, who are Valerie and Siebold? Do you know them too?" Volkner suddenly asks out of the blue, though his voice is low; intimate.
The resident Gym Leader answers; unconsciously matching Volkner in volume. "To be honest, I don't know them very well apart from seeing them at the Battle Chateau from time to time. Valerie is the Gym Leader of Laverre City; which is north of here. Siebold is…scary…"
"Scary?" Volkner repeats.
Clemont shivers, looking at the ground as he walks. He smiles, but it comes off as awkward and slightly frightened. "W-Well, maybe that's…not the right word for him, but he's…hard for me to talk to."
Volkner frowns; suddenly getting defensive. "Is he bullying you?"
"N-No! No!" Clemont unintentionally shouts, drawing attention to himself. His face goes red, but Clemont tries to ignore the lingering gazes when the party continues to walk after momentarily stopping. Alexa—from what Clemont can see—is majorly curious about his outburst, but knows she needs to keep her attention forward for the time being. Clearing his throat, Clemont begins again. "I-It's not like that! It's just Siebold is a…very important person; and that's why I find him intimidating."
"Important?" Volkner hums, looking up at the ceiling; unaware that Clemont and Bonnie were looking up at him in curiosity. "Important how?"
"He's a member of the Elite Four!" Bonnie pipes up. She puffs her chest proudly for contributing information despite having no involvement in the conversation.
Clemont nods as he looks down again. "And Elite Four members are on a different level compared to the Gym Leaders…"
Volkner pats Clemont's crown, taking on a tone of sympathy. "Well, I can't say I disagree, but most of them aren't drastically different. If they were, that guy would be a lot less impulsive…and he wouldn't bug me so much…" Clemont expresses confusion while watching Volkner reminisce; the Sinnoh Gym Leader shrugging afterwards. "Anyways, I'm curious about this Siebold now. Interesting…"
Clemont can't help but feel as if there is purpose in Volkner's voice. "That's, uh… Why is that interesting?"
They finally reach their designated table—Valerie waving at Alexa with a bright smile whereas Grant looks on in surprise—as Volkner smirks; a small fire lit in his eyes. "Because I'm going to challenge this Siebold to a Pokémon battle."
"Eh!?" Clemont lets out; once again drawing attention. However, the Lumiose Gym Leader can't find it in himself to care at the moment. Volkner challenging one of the Elite Four? And it's the ever volatile Siebold?
…Clemont has a feeling he's going home with a headache later today…