Disclaimer: I don't own anything.

Gold likes it when people know that he's a pretty simple guy.

Gold has always enjoyed the simple pleasures in life. He likes to play pool, joke around with his partners, listen to pretty ladies like Mary, everything that a guy should want at his age. Unlike people like that jerk (otherwise known as Silver) and that super-serious gal (Chris), Gold doesn't get his kicks from stealing Pokémon or trying to catch them all. Unlike the others, who seem desperate to get new Pokémon or stronger Pokémon, Gold knows from years of living in the House of Pokémon that taking it easy is the only way to do anything. Sometimes, it seems like Gold is the only Pokédex holder who actually remembers that he's eleven.

That's not to say that Gold is lazy – quite the opposite, in fact. When Gold gets his eyes set on a goal, he won't stop for anything or anyone until he's achieved it. His mom knows him best – Gold only lazes around when he has no clear objective, but runs at one full-tilt once he finds out that there's something for him to do. Gold has proved his capacity for mischief and strong will to his mom several times in the past – by this point in time, his mom has long realized that it's easier to let Gold do as he pleases.

There was once a period when Gold was as stuck-up and serious as either Silver or Chris. He trained his mom's Pokémon to the extreme, trying to make the House of Pokémon famous outside of New Bark Town. This lasted for approximately two days before Gold gave it up – acting strong and serious just didn't suit him. Gold has the good fortune to know himself inside and out – to know his limits and his strengths, and at every opportunity, Gold will show off just how relaxed he is.

Because of this, Gold knows that he comes off as shallow and opportunistic at times. Gold will even admit it if asked – that he does things for personal gain. It suits a simple guy like him, to want things for himself over things for others. Your pouch stolen, sir? Oh, I can get it back if you pay for a meal! You're headed into town on an errand for Professor Oak? I can take you there if he can get me Mary's signature!

What Gold snickers at with his partners behind these dummies' backs is that they wouldn't have had a chance without him. Complain all he wants about paying, that old man never would have been able to stop that herd of rampaging Donphan. That out-of-town kid, Grant, would have had his stuff ripped off within minutes if Gold hadn't come with him to keep an eye out. Those weird bald guys in the Bellsprout Pagoda wouldn't have been in any trouble in the first place if they hadn't been the ones to challenge Gold. So Gold altered that jerk's official picture for the police? They wouldn't have had any clue to his description at all if Gold hadn't provided them with it. (Sometimes, Gold wonders how many people with that face they've pulled over for questioning, and laughs. That photograph was no masterpiece, but it sure was funny.)

Yes, Gold likes it when people know that he's a simple guy. They never expect too much out of him, and Gold will always happily live up to their expectations. It keeps them from knowing just how complicated Gold is at heart.

Gold knew even before finding out from that masked dude that Silver must've had a pretty shitty past, and is always secretly amazed at the fact that nobody else figured that out. An eleven-year-old kid, no matter what kind of super-Pokémon trainer he was, doesn't break into labs and steal Pokémon for fun. Gold's taken care of his fair share of delinquents outside of the House of Pokémon, and he knows that delinquents break stuff and take from easy marks, not break into labs that hardly anyone knows about for rare Pokémon. Not to say that they wouldn't take a rare Pokémon if they suddenly found the opportunity, but going through the trouble to break into a lab and steal a Pokémon from right under the Prof's nose is hardly "finding the opportunity".

Gold knows exactly what Professor Oak's looking for when he asks Gold what Pokémon mean to him. It's such an easy question Gold almost feels sorry for the old man when he answers. Not that it's not the truth – Gold does think that Pokémon are partners. But Gold knows that not everyone is as scrupulous as the Professor would want. Gold knows that there are plenty of people in the world, even as young as his eleven years, who would gladly lie about their intentions in order to get their hands on this technology.

Gold also knows that everyone who's answered "companions" and "friends", regardless whether or not they ended up getting up a Pokédex, will never be able to use the Pokédex in the way that it deserves to be used. A person doesn't send a friend into battle, when they stay behind and give it orders. A person doesn't train up a "weak" companion into a "strong" companion – a companion would bristle at the implied insult. No, training Pokémon was a partnership, one in which the trainer would provide for the needs and wants of the Pokémon, and work beside them in their mutual quest to grow stronger. It was for this purpose that Gold needed the Pokédex – a trainer would hardly be able to work alongside his or her own Pokémon if they couldn't help, as per their partnership, by figuring out strategies via that same Pokédex.

It's stuff like this that makes Gold realize that Silver is actually a good guy, and that Crystal has to have something to her beyond her stickler-for-rules appearance. Anyone who could train Pokémon as loyal as theirs were had to be doing something right, and they sure couldn't do that if they were busy being boring jerks. They worked well with their Pokémon; at least, they worked much better than those Team Rocket idiots who thought that sending their Pokémon to dogpile their target was a smart idea. Silver and Chris are partners with their Pokémon, whether or not they want to acknowledge it. (At least, whether or not Silver wants to acknowledge it – Gold gets the feeling that the super-serious girl will admit to it freely. She's the kind of goody-two-shoes who wouldn't say "friends" to Professor Oak until she meant it.)

So when he works with them, Gold makes sure that Silver and Chris know that he's a simple guy at heart. Both of them know for a fact that if Gold does something, it's because something's triggered his personal goals, not for any feeling of pity or empathy. So, when Gold takes Silver out to that abandoned field to battle after their fight against Team Rocket, Silver knows that it's because Gold wants to see how well he matches up against Silver now, not because he recognizes that Silver needs to blow off steam after Team Rocket leaves without even a satisfactory battle. When Explotaro nearly burns Chris when cooking her food, Chris decides that it's because Gold is an idiot, not because she was becoming so focused on finding the Mask of Ice that she was beginning to develop tunnel vision, or she'd end up getting roasted by something much more deadly.

When Gold refuses to run and leave Silver to his battle with Mask of Ice, Silver attributes this to Gold's insistence that he has unfinished business with the bastard, rather than the fact that Gold can tell that this guy meant something to Silver, and was going to whup his ass if Gold wasn't there to watch it for him. When Ataro suddenly shakes off the effect of the Roar attack and manages to release a Pokémon, Chris figures that it's due to sheer dumb luck that Gold's Pokémon managed to shake it off first, not that Gold realized that Chris needed a hand overcoming its effects.

No, Silver and Chris know that Gold is a simple guy, and it is not until they are inside Ilex Shrine and Gold hands them the Lugia and Ho-oh feathers to go running off on his own, lost in time, that they begin to suspect that Gold isn't the simple guy that he seems at all, but rather a guy who knew that Chris had a mom who worried about her at home, and that after all the crap in his life Silver didn't deserve to be shoved into a position where he'd never make it back. When they get sent back home, they aren't there to see Gold turn into his strong and serious self and manage to force Celebi into dropping him off back at home from his sheer will to live.

Even now, Silver and Chris have trouble believing that Gold is anything other than the goof he appears to be, except when he lets out the rare slip, the rare sign that there was actually a guy as complicated as they were up in Gold's brain. It's ok, though – Gold just smiles and shrugs off any suspicious glances that they give him. He likes it when they know that he's nothing more than the klutz that left his mom alone for even longer to learn techniques from Red to beat Silver.

Because when they know that Gold is nothing more than he appears, Silver doesn't make anything of the fact that the idiot just happens to show up to "show off his new super-cool attacks" on days when Blue's turned her Pokégear off and left to find her roots. Chris never notices the amazing coincidence in Gold taking her out to "look at new billiard cues" with him and then deciding to eat at one of the better restaurants in Violet City every time after she's had a bad day.

But just as his friends know that Gold's a simple guy, Gold knows that a partnership isn't just between trainers and Pokémon, and that the jerk and the stickler for rules need reminders sometimes that they're humans, not just some work machines. Gold knows that everyone needs a reminder that someone cares about them, regardless if it's just as a rival or as an annoyance.

So, yeah, Gold likes it when people know that he's a pretty simple guy. Gold likes it when everyone else overlooks him and doesn't add his strength into the equation, because simple guys like Gold worry about themselves, not others.

Gold likes having his partners' backs, whether or not they know it. Gold likes it when they unconsciously do the same.

And whether they know it or not, Silver and Chris are his partners.

(Gold secretly wonders how they would react if he called them "Siltaro" and "Crystaro". He immediately resolves to do so sometime in the near future. Preferably near someone with a camera.)