To my readers,
First non-TOS fic in almost a year. Based more off the TV show then the game, but there is some leanings towards the Red version (as it is the only game I beat of the series). Placed a few weeks after Oak is attacked by Team Rocket. Slight AU where Giovanni and Oak are friends. Since I don't know the ful names of Oak or Giovanni you'll have to live with the origianal ones I made up till someone can offer me the official names.
The guilty and the innocent,
Prelude of guilt
Those fools, never would I have allowed... Giovanni gritted his teeth, made another circuit on the humble porch. They should have known. All the others knew of my will.
Giovanni smiled a small guarded smile. Affection was a rare thing in which he allowed only a select few to show him without rebuke. It was a smaller select few from that original select that received it back as tokens or babbles that his wealth allowed him to offer freely and out of eight... Out of eight people in the entire world he would return their affection in the form of a smile, or some other physical gesture.
His current companion was one of those eight.
He allowed the furry quad ped to rub against his leg. He ignored the path of white furs that streaked across his orange business pants and tell upon his polished black boots. He considered the animal's unwound tail that wiggled against the air like a music enchanted Ekens. A quick glance around reveled him to be alone so he knelt, grabbed the base of the white length and pulled the creature up. Hind paws dangled in the air, fore kneaded and left marks on the wooden porch. If at all possible the purrs grew louder and those crystal blue eyes slid close when he gave a gentle shake. He released, not wanting to cause pain, and when four paws hit the ground the Persian turned and tried to embed the ruby between its eyes into his ankle. He swatted the pokemon's side a playful scolding to act just a tiny bit dignified. Considering he knew that they were here to see an old friend however, Persian was acting -for him- very clownish, and Giovanni was a bit more tolerant of the clowning then he'd normally be.
"Merow!" For a Persian his companion was very skilled at giving someone the Arcanine-Eyes.
"Fine..." Giovanni forsook dignity for a while, sank to his knees and ran both his hands through the creatures pearl white fur. The purring if at all possible increased. The gym leader took some pains to avoid putting pressure on the scars that marred the skin underneath the silky fur, most of them were old injuries but still old wounds could be the most sensitive.
Persian's ears slicked back, he glared at the door. In less then a heartbeat Giovanni sprung to his feet, wiped the proof of his petting off of his hands by way of a damp handkerchief he kept in his suit pocket, and appeared the cold dignified individual he normally was. For a minute he had forgotten his guilt, forgotten the reason of his visit. Mentally he kicked himself, ordered himself to act as he should have. He took two steps forward to line up with the door, and one step back to give said door enough room to swing open. That was enough time to have his armor and shield in place. While the knob turned he had a heartbeat to reflect that armor was a very good -if archaic- term to describe the hardening of his features.
He used the term as the ancients meant it to be used, as protection and to inspire fear.
The door opened and a youth he did not recognize popped his head out.
The friendly greeting was too weak a thing to penetrate the steel facade. There were no kinks for a mere warm word to slip though, no way for the fickle warmth of those who were not welcome to pierce the ice cold arrogance and distance that he wore about him like an accessory. He considered the run down clad youth, he had to be in his early teens, and like all youth of that age he was dressed slop shod. He met those warm brown eyes, his own eyes glittering black expanses that were scyther-blade sharp. He had to give the boy some credit, he wasn't cringing in terror. Despite his facade he felt a chill slither through the steel, pierce his heart with the beginning of dread. A feeling that his Persian reflected with the ever so slight curling of the tip of the tail.
"Is this the research facility ran by Professor Samuel Oak?"
"Y... yeah..." The boy gulped, and Giovanni, a master of reading the levels of lies that those dishonest live by, could sense no falsity.
"Where is he? I have business with him."
The boy bristled at the arrogant tone, not at all liking it.
"Do you read the newspaper?" The boy flared, anger making him brave. "We were attacked by the Rockets and he got hurt!"
The orange clad man offered his flatest glare and the boy lost his nerve, adopted a more appropriate tone.
"Look, he just came back from the doctor to get his injuries tended and he isn't seeing..."
"Tell him Mer Leonardo Giovanni of Viridian is here to see him. He'll see me, or at least set up a time when he is capable of seeing me."
"Giovanni of Viridian... the Giovanni, the Gym Leader?" The boy's eyes nearly rolled out of his head, Giovanni rose an eyebrow and the child blushed. "I'll tell him... Wait here... no wait inside... err..."
"We'll come inside."
Fear to hero worship, ten seconds flat. Well fear and hero worship ten second's flat. The man mentally sighed; it was times like this he regretted opening a gym.
"I'll tell him... your..."
Giovanni caught the door before the boy in his panic closed it on his Persian. Stammering the boy dithered, apologized, but did not do as ordered. It took iron effort to not lose his patience, an apology was words, he held little to simple inane babble that consisted of most words. He was not a forgiving man, would not forget this show of incompetence, but for now he would let it slide.
"Just go." He snapped.
The boy fled.
Alone Giovanni let his eyes sweep over the room. He absently stomped his feet on the faded but loyal rug that had endured over thirty years of service. Little had gathered in his boot to soil the fabric, but still it would hurt nothing to be courteous. Persian followed his master's example, picked his hind paws clean with his teeth and stomped them as best he could. Taking care to stay on the rug, the pokemon grabbed the scratching post embedded in the wall and wiped and sharpened his claws all at the same time. Most others would have wondered why there was a scratching post nailed to the wall along side the door frame. That was simple enough, because some time long ago Giovanni, with Oak's help, had nailed it there for a claw happy Persian who was scratching it and the both of them while the addition was being installed.
"Hold it steady!"
"I am holding it steady! Persian stop it, that's me not the post you stupid fur ball!"
"I am never getting a cat nip covered post ever again!"
"He's never getting cat nip again!"
"Ung... Graveler, sit on this lunatic!"
Little had changed, since the last visit, since the first, all the available walls sported overstuffed book shelves, twin tables at the back wall choked with odd and end bits of machinery... The only new installation had been the visual phone, and that took the place of the old phone that had broke several years ago. Empty was a black rolling chair a bit battered but stil as comfortable looking as it had been when he first saw it, it rested by the visual phone, empty save with memory.He sighed, so little had changed, yet everything had. There, hidden in the shadow of a small tree in a large cheap plastic pot, were two chairs set aside for waiting. They were simple things, perhaps twin remains of an old build-it-yourself kitchen set. Normally he would have never sacrificed dignity or comfort, he had beentaught beter, but in this place many leasons came undone and were forgotten.He took the seat closest to the plant, lowered his head into thetangle of interlaced fingers. His chin found a roost on his knuckles, his eyes found a shield in the dark behind his eye lids. There was no shield strong enough however, to deflect his guilt.
"Do you read the newspaper?...We were attacked by the Rockets and he got hurt!"
Oh he knew, that was why he was here. He knew of the attack, because it had occured against his orders, and the second he had those responsible in his grasp... There would be two wrung necks and one Meowth covering for his chair.