Well, an update. I found some old notes and transfered them over. The lag on this computer is so bad that I daren't spell check with various spell check options, and the "copy" button seems to have been broken or is down. Maybe I'm doing something wrong, considering my lack of computer expertiese it's certianly possible. I'm done with the FF7 spree that's been carrying me on for so long as of the moment, and Abyss and Symphonia aren't screaming at me to finsih them. This story, however, has been nagging at me for a while. Blame Saphire if you want to, it was her "Chance" fic that made me start dwelling on this one. So, for long as my notes last and the inspiration carries me I'll be working on Two Paths for a while. This should -for the time- span the most of the human only theme that's been going on. The later chapters should be more balanced.

Once Upon a Time

"Surprised to see me?"

He leaned back and the chair creaked alarmingly. It was made of hard wood, without so much as a pillow to offer a shred of comfort for the rear. Despite it's flaws he treated it as the chair he had back home. Imagining it over lapped with this sad specimen of seat he managed to assume a pose that was pure relaxation. The heart of it was a farce, the edges bit into his legs, but ignoring pain was second nature to him.

And what paltry discomfort he endured was banished in seeing her pain. The widening of the eyes, the paling of her delicate features…

He smiled, as he lounged. Once upon a time he'd have kicked his feet upon a long dark desk. She'd have taken the seat opposite, and they would have talked. Sometimes of business, other times of gossip. Their time together had been a blessed short span where walls could come down. All in the name of love, he had trusted her, and she had betrayed him,

Once upon a time…

Like fantasy, love was a thing long lost. He sighed at its absence, then set his hands behind his head. He turned his head to better regard her. Like a drunkard long denied liquor he thirsted for the sight of her. Even her terror would do. And she had aplenty of that, he smiled, hunger satiated for the moment.

Guena Silvamore, it's been so very long."

She winced at the name, as if it were a curse. Perhaps it was. His smile widened at her pain.

Setting her hand upon her bosom she drew back a weary half step. Never blinking he watched each motion. She was not one to threaten or act in violence. She hadn't been aggressive or hostile in the least. But years had passed, he'd take no chances, and she was nearing the knife rack on the far counter…

"Not long enough." She countered, black eyes flashing. Her words were coated in ice, dipped in disgust, they dripped venom. "What do you want?"

"I was in the neighborhood, and decided to drop in for a visit, isn't that cause enough? You must forgive me if I'm not too familiar with the customs of small towns. I hope I'm not… interrupting anything?"

The house was silent and vacant. Her pokemon were out in the garden, the boy was not to be back for an hour. She could plead no excuse to put this off that was not a lie.

She knew that, and he knew that.

"What do you want?"

As her hand curled around the hilt of a steak knife Giovanni raised an eyebrow. "I would ask for what was mine, but something tells me you would not be obliging."

"I'm not a thief!" Delia hissed. "Not like you."

"Feel free to count the silverware, I assure you I've made no withdrawals." With a dull thunk the dull steel blade cleared its wooden holder. Amused more than alarmed Giovanni barked out a laugh. "Guena, you can put the knife down, if you know of me than you are aware I always have a gun. I'd pull it out and kill you before you got halfway across the room."

The knife's point lowered, only that. For her credit Guena had gotten more cautious since going on the run. Just not cautious enough. She'd been still to long, feeding the same lies to herself and those about her until she became at ease with the pseudo truths. She'd made the mistake of buying into her story, for living out the lie.

Eventually lie had become truth -for her at least. Any with eyes could see the tattered framework she'd made her life around. He saw the remains clearly. Thin, grey, a virtual trail much akin to a failed string shot, those twining ethers tied her to him. One snap, one hard word, and they would fall apart, a ruin between the two of them. He had no plans to tug upon the ties, no... he'd not settle to merely tug... He'd demolish, demolish and burn, rip, tear, and rend, and leave her with scars to match his own.

Thus had been his origianl plans, and though they changed in the face of a disturbing revelation, they had not changed much. A minor diviation. Deviation was ever the nesecity when need was pitted against pleasure.

But pleasure was all the sweeter for a small span of abstinance.

"I want something, but I don't think I'll have it. Not in this lifetime, by any means." With a tilt of his head Giovanni indicated Guena's knife. "Be greatful, Guena, because the man I am is an honorable one at it's core. I'll honor enough of what you were to let the insult pass, but only if you cooperate."

Through palid lips she force the words, and they were as he expected. Mere repitition of the last. He chuckled, and stood.

"What do I want?" Giovanni murmurred. "How about the truth? We'll move on from there once you give me the truth, we'll see where all this leads."

X

In the tals things weree supposed to end all right. Though circumstance devided them, and wars were waged, one act of mercy, one motion of compasion, and everything was supposed to fall into place. Like peices of the puzzle, every cause, effect, and event, had it's place. Once put together the whole it should have come together with a click that resolved everything.

The only click that solved anything, Leonardo Giovanni had learned long ago, was the click of the gun setting itself into place. The curled finger around the trigger, and the violent rush as the bullet escaped. Death was the only finite, the only finish. The past was not dead, but a living devil, and it had a bad habbit of re-emurging at the most akward of times.

Or so Guena had proved.

He sat on a child's bed, Guena besides him, a book spread between them. His hands were fists within fists, his chin was perched upon entertwined fingers, his eyes thined to slits. He considered the contents, Guena's banter filling his ears and not lingering the slightest. Perhaps later he would understand, perhaps he could beter comprehend this in solitude, perhaps he should now regret that it was only in issolation that he could truly think and feel.

So many unknowns, so many variables. He shook his head as if to clear it of all thought. But he wasn't thinking. For once he couldn't think. The only functions left to him were to registure a numb ache in his chest and admit that he was tired. One glace at the pokeball shaped alarm clock on the child's nightstand jarred him back to reality. He had five minutes before Ash came home, not much of a time to escape, not much of one at all.

"I need to go, now." He snapped, twisting to his feet with an absent feline grace, he stood and aprouched the boy's window.

"You said if I told you..." Guena dared to stop him, not only with words but by bodily setting herself between him and escape.

"Out of my way, Guena. Unless you want to explain to your son about my presince, as well as-"

And she didn't move, she only stared at him. Proud in herself, in the life she lived, and the son she'd raised. Her gaze was a challenge, and he met it in confusion... than realization hit like a blow to the gut.

"You're insane." Giovanni snarled.

"He deserves to know."

"Well then I give you the pleasure of that revelation. I'm not interested. He's not mine, he's yours, and Will's. May you both find pleasure raising the little fool."

At his vehamence -or more likely at the sight of his clenched fists- she stepped aside. As he eased himself down out of the window Guena lingered by the sil, watching him with such obvious concern he felt a twinge of nausia touch his gut. Wtih the skill of an experience cat burgler Giovanni eased down the flank of the house. His sudden drop half way down set the few bug type pokemon who were gathered around the unguarded flora to scattering. His boots would leave tracks in the moist earth, but both child and mother were such oblivious twits they'd overlook the marks and thier significance.

Wasting a few seconds of precious time kicking at some post to better remove the freash menure and mud from his shoes Giovanni finally descided his tracks were covered good enough. It would not due, after all, to track such distinctive muck in the presince of an officer. Law enforcement wasn't stupid after all, they just weren't as sharp as they thought themselves to be.

"Fury!"

With a flick of his wrist Viridian's ex-gym leader summoned one of his oldest and most trusted Pokemon. After the flash of light had died down a dun hued avian materialized. It looked at the moist earth with obvious disdain, but obediantly settled itself in front of his trainer. The long beaked bird cringed a bit at the cold ground, clicked it's beak in distaste, but overall the avian was still. Almost the size of a Ponyta, Fury was an uncommonly large Fearow. It looked first to the sky, then to its master with ruby hued eyes.

"We're leaving!"

With a squawk of acknowledgement Fury squated, mussing his crest in the mud all so Giovanni could climb abord. Once sure that it's master was firmly in place the bird kicked off the earth and with a triumphant screech. Soon to leave the Pallet behind.