Shades of Violet

"Lance Michael Starnes!" Sabrina slammed the board room door, ignoring the sudden rise of complaints from the other gym leaders. They could just damn well live without a breeze for five minutes. Lance, on the other hand, could beg for mercy. "How could you?"

"How could I what?" Lance asked, leaning back in his chair. Unfortunately for him, he was smirking.

"This!" she yelled, and threw a handful of 'newspapers' onto the table. The papers skittered across the worn surface, going in all directions. One- the worst one, she saw by the cover- actually fell off the table and onto Giovanni's lap.

The other gym leader ignored the death glare she sent his way, and picked the paper up. He scanned the front page, eyebrows climbing for his hairline. "'Renowned Psychic gym leader abducted by clefairy'," he read. "For full interview turn to page seven. Really, Sabrina?"

Sabrina huffed, and then turned her glare on Lance. Much as she would have liked to yell at Giovanni, maybe even make him think he was a six year old girl named 'Princess Penny', she couldn't. Giovanni, after all, wasn't the main contact with the media. Lance had taken over that job after Misty nearly had a nervous breakdown and Erika threatened to feed the reporter responsible to a Venus flytrap she 'had in case of burglars'.

"Two tabloids have said that I've run away from my duties, to get married or some such nonsense. Three have said I've been kidnapped, and only one managed to get anything even halfway right- but I was not investigating a cult of vampires!"

"That's halfway right?" Lance asked, leaning forward to study the nearest tabloid. Unfortunately, it was upside down, but he didn't seem to care.

"It had that I went up north," she admitted, "and that I was running an investigation. But that was about it."

Agatha was laughing, looking like she was about to fall off her chair onto the floor. Sabrina scowled at the woman, and then sighed. She supposed it was funny, when you thought about it. She just hated the gossip rags. Too much like high school.

"Besides," she added. "I'd never marry John Cliffton."

"No, you wouldn't. Come on, sit down and tell us how your week was. Oh, new pokemon?" Erika leaned across Bruno to peer at Sabrina's belt, where her three new pokeballs were clipped. Bruno tolerated the invasion of his personal space with good grace.

"I'm keeping the loaners. I like them." Sabrina sat down on Bruno's other side, and smiled at him. "How have things been while I've been away?"

"No emergencies," he said. "No surprises, not even any trainers complaining much about you being away."

Sabrina nodded, and leaned back in her chair. She frowned at Giovanni, who had an unusual look on his face, then shrugged it away. It didn't matter to her, did it?

"Well, cuz? Your report, if you please," Lance said, tossing the tabloid he'd been reading back onto the table.

"Boring," she replied. "Psychic teenager who came late into his powers. He couldn't turn his telepathy off, so he retreated someplace a bit... quieter. Whenever anyone came within his range, he just stopped their thoughts from forming, erasing their memories. He didn't even mean to do it."

"Ah," Lance said. "And you're back in a week because...?"

"He's a good student? Honestly, he got shielding faster than anyone I've ever seen before. If he does get into trouble, he knows to come to me. His shields aren't going to fall any time soon, and he didn't exactly appreciate my... intrusion into his solitude anyways."

Lance nodded, and waved one hand. "So, problem solved? Good. Very well, you get your week's vacation, but maybe you could tend to the backlog of trainers waiting for you to open the gym? There's probably no more than seven or eight."

"I think I can manage that," she replied.

The meeting moved from her recent trip to other details of running the League. Sabrina, as per her usual procedure during meetings, didn't pay much attention to what was being said. Instead, one part of her mind turned over the potential for new, stricter rules for capturing wild pokemon while the other contemplated the water stains on the ceiling.

They really did need to fix the plumbing.


The meeting closed up after an hour. Giovanni was the first out the door. Even though she'd had an 'inside track' several years ago, Sabrina still wasn't certain when the man found time to sleep. His various businesses and his work with the League certainly filled his time table.

Then again, they all had interests outside of their gyms and League duties. Sabrina had her school, Lance had his wild pokemon rehabilitation work, Bruno had carpentry and Misty was working on a university degree. Heaven only knew what the others did; of the League members, Sabrina was closest to Lance and Bruno.

The others began to filter away, and Sabrina cleaned up the strewn about tabloids with her telekinesis. Lance, she noticed, wasn't leaving. She arched one eyebrow at him and settled the last of the papers in a neat stack.

"Yes?" she asked.

"Thought I'd warn you. Your pet detective, what's his name-"

"Basil Truitt," Sabrina said.

"Yes, him. He had to visit your home." Lance stood up and shook his hair back out of his eyes. "No one's hurt, or in any trouble, but... Well, you had a break in."

"A break in?" she asked, remaining seated. "Who would be stupid enough to break into a school for psychics?"

"Not the school."

Not the school, not the gym... that left her home. "I see," she said. "No one was hurt?"

"Well, no one except the intruder."

Sabrina nodded, and looked down at her hands. Her fingers were numb. "Was Jamie alright?"

"Alright and spitting mad. I checked in on him when I heard about it. Yesterday. The detective said no one would be pressing any charges against him."

"I should hope not. A lawyer just out of school can make a case of self defense. Jamie was defending himself and his home." Of course Jamie was alright. She just wanted to make sure of that with her own two eyes.

"Just thought I'd warn you. Apparently there was some cosmetic damage done to the house."

She nodded. "I do understand. Thank you for warning me."

"Anything for you, cuz. Go home."

Sabrina nodded again, then stood up in a too fast, jerky movement. "Goodbye," she said. Then she released Silver from his pokeball and stepped close. "Home, please," she said.

Silver wrapped one arm around her shoulders and teleported.

They arrived just outside of the school's front door. Sabrina released Gale and Bolt, waving at them to send them off. She would open the gym tomorrow, she thought, even as she hurried around the great bulk of the school building. Old manor homes were good for something, she thought, and then shoved it to the back of her mind.

Her home that she shared with her husband and pokemon was- comparatively- small. It used to have been the gardener's home, which meant it only had three bedrooms, two baths, and two floors if you discounted the cellar. Ivy had grown up to cover three of the sides, and creamy stone blocks made up the fourth, still visible side. Even as she hurried up the walkway to the front door, she made note of a broken window and a torn up flower bed.

She tried the front door, and found it unlocked. "Jamie?" she called, stepping inside. Inside, she could see further signs of disruption. The hall mat was missing, and further down near the kitchen archway she could see a splash of dark brown on the pale terracotta floor.

Blood.

"Jamie?" she called again, a little louder. Ridiculous- Lance had said no one was hurt- but she needed to talk to her husband.

"Sabrina!" From upstairs, she realized, and turned towards the staircase. "Hold on, I'm coming!"

She took a few steps closer, even as Jamie began to clatter down the stairs. Honestly clatter, she noted. What was he wearing, plate armor?

Jamie rounded the corner and she could see that, instead of plate armor, he had his tool belt on, thus explaining the noise. Why one man needed three different hammers, she didn't know, but he insisted.

He looked fine. He looked like he always did, a bit befuddled by life, barely five-foot-seven, with ash brown hair just a little too long because he kept forgetting to get it cut. Something inside her immediately went to goo the moment she saw him, and she smiled automatically on seeing him.

"Ah, there you are. I wasn't expecting you home until after I'd replaced the window," Jamie said, jumping the last three steps. He reached out and rubbed one hand over Sabrina's arm. "Bit of an incident, but don't worry. I've had extra windows waiting for someone to throw statuary through the current ones."

"Of course you have," she murmured, and moved forward to rest her head on his shoulder. "Lance told me everything was fine, but..."

"Well, now you know everything's fine. Ah, dear?"

"Mm?"

"You wouldn't happen to know where I put those windows, do you? I checked the attic and the cellar, but they're not there. I even went over to the school, and- I have to check the shower in the boy's dorm, the water pressure's not quite right. I'll make a note- do you have a pen?"

Jamie took a step back and began checking his pockets and the pouches on his belt for a pen and paper. Sabrina let her smile widen. "I'll remind you," she offered. "And the windows are in the closet in my office."

"Why did I put them there?" he asked, turning to go back up the stairs.

"I have no idea. So you'd remember where you put them?" she suggested.

"Ah. That was a good idea I had. Pity I didn't remember, then."

"You'd have found them eventually."


Mewtwo growled, and pulled further back into the shadows. This was not how he had expected his freedom to be. Instead of going where he willed, he was instead being hunted and harried from his home in the mountains, across Kanto, all the way to Johto and Goldenrod city. Teleporting only worked so well, when you could only go where you had been prior.

It could have been worse, he thought wryly. He could have been without his mental shields.

In the streets below, humanity lived. The individuals didn't matter, their thoughts didn't matter- from the heights of the skyscrapers the city appeared to be one single organism, with one collective conscious. A pity the reality was so different; perhaps the crime rate would have been lowered if everyone was more conscious of everyone else.

Then again, he wouldn't have been able to hide so effectively in the urban jungle if not for the small mindedness of individual humans.

There was one place he could go to lose whoever was trailing him. It hadn't been long since she made the offer.

Mewtwo closed his eyes and focused on his memory of Sabrina. Saffron City, wasn't it? His aura became visible for a brief moment, ice blue lighting up his surroundings, and then he was gone.

The rooftop was silent and empty, save for the umbreon just sliding out from the shadows.


Domino was worried. Not that she would show it, of course. Giovanni expected competence, and if you showed that you had doubts, or that you were surprised, well... There were worse things than death, and being assigned to training the new recruits ranked up there with visiting Cinnabar Island in summer.

"You were arrested?" Giovanni asked, and stared at Melchior.

The assassin actually looked embarrassed. "You said he was ordinary!"

"James Botwright is an ordinary man. He's the janitor at a school!"

Domino carefully avoided looking at Melchior when he snorted. "A school for psychics! And he's a mean right hook, too. One of the students yanked me out through the window, and called the cops!"

Detective Truitt and Officer Lance, Domino had heard. Melchior had managed to escape the police station with a paper clip and Captain Rogan's sleight of hand. The two intrepid police officers had then chased Melchior down fifteen blocks, over three alley fences, and only lost the assassin when he'd jumped into the sewer.

Melchior still smelled.

"Never mind!" Giovanni snarled. He got to his feet and walked over to the window. "Never mind James Botwright for now. You will be delighted to learn that your services are required for a different task. An easier task, in fact, then taking out a single man in his own home."

Of course, Domino knew the reason for that. Sabrina was home, and she would hardly look kindly on anyone trying to kill her husband.

Giovanni slid a thick folder across his desk to the assassin. "Read that," he snapped. "And then capture me that pokemon!"

She glanced at the folder, and sighed. Upside down, in faded gray ink, she could still read the heading.

Project M2, production and study of same.


Shades of Violet is now officially finished. That being said- despite all attempts to the contrary- this story somehow developed a little thing called a plot and therefore, since I couldn't see any way to keep the plot contained, has led to the development of a sequel, so far being called 'Shades of Violet Returns'. Obviously it will have a better title when it's posted, but since I've decided (so we don't have as long a break between second to last chapter and last chapter, as we did this time) it will be posted when it is fully complete. Obviously, that may take a while.

In other news, I've got a full time job (yay!) which is closing (hurk) and I'll be starting a new job at the end of this month (ack!). I expect I'll be doing a lot of work on the new story, if only so I can use my frustrations with the new job for something positive.

Thank you for sticking with me this long, and I expect I'll have a better track record for posting things. Eventually.