Secrets We Keep
Summary: Professor Oak thinks about his beloved grandson, Gary and talented assistant, Tracey, and their 'secret relationship' that he knows about. Ah, young love...
Disclaimer: I don't own the series Pokemon or any character associated.
Warnings: Tracey is portrayed as female in gender in this story. Yes, I know he's a guy, and yes there have been episodes where Tracey had been shirtless, let's just pretend that never happened for the sake of it, ok?
AN: Hello there, everyone. This oneshot is a side story to my other Pokemon Fic Secret No More. I wasn't planning on writing a side story, but I could not help myself. There isn't enough Pro-Tracey fics in my opinion.
You don't have to read Secret No More to understand this fic, but it would be nice if you did ^^ Don't be afraid to drop me a line, suggestions and comments are always greatly appreciated.
Professor Oak liked to think that he did not become a professor because of his supreme knowledge of all Pokemon, great or small, but also because he was a great judge of character, and to do that, he had to learn how to watch people along with the Pokemon.
Watching people as they interact with Pokemon was much easier for him to study them. It gave him the chance to calculate who was ready to become a Pokemon trainer and who wasn't.
Over the years he had developed his skills in such a way that no one knew he was watching them. And his latest subject just happened to be a skilled watcher as well; Tracey Sketchit.
His young assistant was talented in many way; knowledge on Pokemon, drawing skills, ability to sneak up upon the intending target and hiding away from the world were but a few.
Prof. Oak had known that there was something different about Tracey and it took him a month of silent observation to realize what it was, and it surprised him to say the least. Tracey was not who he claimed to be; he was actually a young girl dressed as a male.
At first, he was very much surprised by that revelation and he wondered why anyone would hide themselves from the world like that. He thought about approaching his young assistant, but he could never find the nerve to bring up the topic. He didn't wish to frighten Tracey and he didn't want to force her into telling him the truth. After all, Tracey was a polite and gentle person, and for whatever reason she chose to hide her gender, he would not judge her on that.
Just like with Pokemon, it wasn't on the outside that mattered, but what was on the inside. He knew for certain, that even though Tracey was technically hiding from everyone, her true personality shone through, especially when she was dealing with her and the labs many Pokemon.
Pokemon never judged a person on appearance and they would never flock to a person they felt was hiding ill intentions, but they gathered around Tracey often, loving her as much as she did them.
He was certain that Tracey had good reason to hide like she was and he would wait patiently for her to come to him to tell him her story. Until then, he'll be happy to sit back and pretend like he didn't notice a thing.
It was incredibly hard, though. Tracey had been his assistant for over four years now and she still hadn't said a thing. However, there have been times where she looked like she wanted to, but lost her nerve and end up stuttering something incoherent before making a quick exit.
Things were not tense or awkward at all, surprisingly. Maybe Tracey had an indication that he knew of her secret, but lacked the nerve to confront him about it. It would be an awkward conversation, no doubt about that.
However, Oak had noticed that there was a change in the air. Tracey, still polite and docile, appeared a bit more, what's the word...content? Happy? He wasn't sure, but this changed happened about six months ago, when his wayward grandson returned to stay with him at his labs for a while.
And Gary, well he appeared to change over the years as well. He was still a wanderer at heart and he never lingered in one place for very long. However, he has been here for a solid six months and Oak had the feeling that Tracey might be the cause of it.
At first, he was slightly confused by the sudden change in atmosphere and thought that maybe Gary had grown tired of his wanderings.
Since moving back to the labs, Gary had struck up a friendship with Tracey, seemingly the moment he stepped through the door. It literally happened over night one could say. He still wasn't sure how their friendship came about, but it had something to do with Marill using Water Gun or something of that nature.
If that is the case, than perhaps it's better that he doesn't know how this whole relationship started.
He first realized that there might be some romantic feelings between Gary and Tracey when he witnessed a rather tender display. He had gone outside to check on the Pokemon when he spied his grandson and assistant leaving the Tauros pen. Gary had easily flipped over the fence in a very show-off display, while Tracey opted for a less showy fashion of simply climbing of the wooden structure. She sat on the top of the fence for a moment when Gary suddenly placed his hands on her waist to help her down. Tracey had a light blush on her cheeks, but smiled warmly and placed her hands on his shoulders, letting him lift her off the fence, keeping her in the air for a moment as he took a step back and then gently placed her on her feet.
They lingered like that for a moment; Tracey's hands still on his shoulders while Gary's hands had slipped ever so slightly to her hips. Tracey said a bright thank you and Gary told her not to worry about it with a smile of his own before they parted and walk towards the labs.
But what really put the nail in the coffin was when, late one night, he stumbled across the two sharing a quite a...ah...passionate kiss.
He had woken up from a deep slumber with an insatiable thirst. He paddled down to head to the kitchen to get a drink, his feet silently scuffing the floor when he noticed a dim light from the sitting room. He thought that maybe he left a lamp on and went to turn it off when he found both Tracey and Gary locked in an obviously romantic embrace. Gary had his arms secure around Tracey's waist as he held her tightly against his chest, while she had her arms around his neck, one hand entangling her fingers within his hair.
In his sleepy state he thought that he might have been seeing things but when they broke the kiss, Gary ran his hands gently up and down Tracey's back as she rested her cheek against his chest and releasing a content sigh. They whispered soft words of endearment to each other and continued to stay locked in their embrace.
The display was so sweet and loving that Prof. Oak's inner child wanted so badly to race in and point at them while exclaiming; "I knew it!" as loudly as he could. But he managed to restrain himself enough to give the unsuspecting pair a bright smile and practically skipped back to his room on an unconventional high.
He wasn't at all upset about the relationship; in fact, a part of him was pleased, proud that Gary had a great taste in women. The Oak's were renowned for their incredibly handsome good looks, but also for their ability to choose the perfect woman for them on the first go.
Tracey would make a great granddaughter.
Ever since that night, Oak had to stop himself from giggling childishly when they tried their best to hide their relationship from him, trying to act like there was nothing but a professional relationship between them. But with his trained eye, he could see all the small signs of affection. An accidental touch here, a quick glance there, a wordless conversation with their eyes from across the room; he saw them all.
For his part, he tried to act like his was oblivious to the sweet romantic moments between his grandson and assistant, but often times he could not help but laugh out loud whenever a guest to the labs paid Tracey close attention, earning themselves Gary's jealous wrath.
Sometimes, he would lose the battle with his inner child and provoke his guest into paying Tracey more attention just to see his grandson's reaction. Immature and childish? You bet, but it never hurt anyone to have some fun once in a while, did it?
His grandson had always had a short temperament, inpatient and was quick to act, so he was perfect for Tracey who was far too sweet and quiet to say no to anyone.
He remembered one time vividly when they were visited by an experienced Pokemon Ranger called Jackie, who took an instant liken to Tracey because of her amazing sketching skills. He had asked her if he wanted to join him, but Tracey was happy where she was in life currently, but Jackie tried hard to convince her. Then, almost as if out of the blue, Gary appeared, defiantly pushed his way in-between the two, placed an arm around Tracey's neck and told the Pokemon Ranger to take a hike.
Of course, those weren't the exact words he used, but it was something to that effect.
That memory still made him chuckle; the look of surprise and mild amusement on Jake's face, the dark blush with a hint of gratitude on Tracey's and the look of utter seething jealousy on Gary's was something he probably will remember until the end of days.
He thought that maybe, when that event occurred, that was when they started dating, but soon came to realize that Gary was like that all the time.
It was actually nice to see his grandson put all his effort into something other than outdoing Ash in everything. Gary really needed someone soft and gentle in his life to calm him down or turn his focus onto something more constructive. Gary was a very determined individual and sometimes that would play harshly on his health.
And Tracey? Well, she needed someone like Gary in her life as well. While Tracey wasn't weak –far from it- she was vulnerable. She continuously second-guessed herself in just about everything while wondering if she was good enough for something. She thought very little of herself and always tried her best to be of some assistance to everyone, even at the cost of her own health.
Prof. Oak couldn't help but grin at the hypocritical nature of the two teens. Both Gary and Tracey often worked themselves in exhaustion, yet get really upset or annoyed if the other does it. For Tracey, she constantly worries about whether or not Gary –as well as himself, of course- has had enough to eat, but it was ok for her to skip a meal or two, or even three.
And for Gary, it was ok for him to work himself in a walking zombie state, but forbids Tracey for working past midnight on any project.
A laugh passed Prof. Oak's lips as he happily recalled a memory of such a thing. Tracey was working in one of the lab, collecting data and totally forgot about the time. A few minutes pass midnight, Gary appeared, and despite her protests that she was nearly done, he picked her up in his arms and carried her off to her room and dumping her on her bed with the order that she was to get some sleep now.
A warm smell of pancakes drifted through the air and Prof. Oak took a deep breath, his mouth already watering at the thought breakfast. He always liked it when Tracey cooked breakfast and by the smell of those delicious pancakes, she was in a good mood.
Of course, Tracey was always in a good mood, just some mornings she was in an exceptional mood.
"Good morning," Oak greeted brightly as he moved into the kitchen.
"Hey pops," Gary replied as he lounged lazily in a chair at the kitchen table, in a chair that was closest to Tracey who was working at the stove, Oak noticed with a grin.
"Good morning, Professor," Tracey greeted as she looked up from her cooking and gave him a warm smile. "You're in a good mood this morning. Did you sleep well?"
"I slept wonderfully," Oak said with a laugh in his voice and moved to sit down, on the other side of the table to his grandson, who, unsurprisingly, was gazing at him with a sense of suspicion in his eyes. "Did the two of you sleep well?"
Tracey blushed lightly as she placed a plate of her infamous blueberry pancakes in front of him while Gary narrowed his eyes further. She was about to reply when Gary cut her off.
"What's got you in a good mood?" he asked.
"Oh, just thinking about some things," Oak replied with a tone of mystery to his voice.
Gary narrowed his eyes further while Tracey looked confused. The two shared a look that lasted longer than probably should have before turning their attention back to their elder.
"Are you hiding something from me, pops?" Gary asked finally.
Prof. Oak grinned. "We all have secrets, Gary my boy."