I couldn't believe he had called me that. This bastard didn't know who he was talking to. I gritted my teeth, feeling my hand clasp tighter around the handle of his shopping basket. "Listen, moron. You'd better watch your mouth."

The man arched a brow, an offended look trailing across his dark brown eyes. "Is that what you came over here to tell me? I've been bad mouthed before, but I'm not so sure I want to put up with it now. I'm here, shopping for my daily groceries, and a child I don't even know comes up to me and calls me a moron? I don't believe that what I said even warranted such a remark. I use a bit of sarcasm, and instantly you-"

I slapped my hand over his mouth. "Alright," I scowled, "I get it. Just shut up and listen."

He tugged my hand away from his face. "Well, fine. But I've already decided that I'm not fond of you. I'll have you know that. And being disliked is a terrible thing to be."

I bit my tongue before a long string of insults could escape from my mouth. Whatever. If this guy thought he could ruffle my feathers, I was going to prove him wrong. I pointed furiously towards where Gold was hiding, catching a brief glimpse of his panicked face just before he ducked back behind the shelves. "I need you to do me a favor. Gold is following me around, and-"

"Gold!" The man exclaimed loudly, raising his unadorned arm in excitement. "Well, I'll be damned! I haven't seen that boy in months! I wasn't aware that you two knew each other. I beg your pardon for my rudeness. I'm Mr. Pokemon." He held his hand out to me in greeting, which I ignored. He simply shrugged and let his hand fall to his side before continuing. "Wonderful to meet a friend of Elaine's son. You know, I met them on one of my visits to New Bark town. It's a fantastic story. Would you like to hear?"

"No." I scowled. "Look, can you just take Gold back home? He shouldn't be here."

"Nonsense!" He cut me off before I could explain further. "Gold has been down here before. Elaine has never minded. Are you sure you don't want to hear about how we met? It really is fantastic."

"No. I don't care. All I want is for you to take Gold home. Take him home now."

"Oh, you're being silly. The boy is plenty old enough to be out on his own. Now, I remember when he was just a young lad." A sentimental smile creased the man's face. "I met Gold on, oh, I believe it was my third visit to Elm's lab. I was helping him redecorate. No, reorganize. The man is a mess when it comes to filing his papers. Elaine was over helping as well. She brought Gold along with her. Such a sweet young man, helping us out like that. I imagine he had better things to do at his age…"

I scowled, my mouth agape in frustration. This man was more frustrating than Gold. I moved my mouth to speak, but he held up a hand to silence me.

"No, no!" He said, wagging his finger. "Hold all questions till the end of the story. We have all day. Anyways, I took quite a liking to the family. They were both quite the characters. Gold has always been a bit headstrong, but never in a bad way."

"Will you stop talking?" I growled through gritted teeth. "Gold is following me around, he shouldn't be, and I want him gone! He won't leave me alone, and obviously you can fix all of this. So will you do me a damn favor and get rid of him?"

Mr. Pokemon (which I highly doubted was his real name) paused, a baffled look flashing across his face. "Well, you sure are a feisty one. No wonder Gold took a liking to you. He doesn't follow just anyone around."

I tugged at my hair, letting out a hiss of frustration. "Ugh! Fine! Never mind!" I turned to stomp out the front door, ignoring the blank look of disapproval from the woman at the register. I heard Mr. Pokemon trotting after me moments before a strong hand gripped my shoulder.

"Young man, wait a moment." He said, his tone slightly more stern that it had been earlier. "If you're going to leave, I'd like you to take this."

I turned around, shooting him a glare. "Take what?"

He held out his hand. On it rested a large, circular object. It gleamed a fiery red, the florescent lights from the store's ceiling making it shine. I scowled down at the unconventional gift. "What the hell is that?"

Mr. Pokemon drew his hand back. "If you don't want it, I'll keep it."

"I don't even know what it is." Folding my arms, I glanced back towards Gold's hiding place. I couldn't tell if he was still there. If he were trying to stay out of sight, he was doing a good job.

"This," Mr. Pokemon beamed, "is a red scale."

"Yeah." I kept glaring gloomily down the aisle. This man had been completely useless. I would have been better off taking Gold's advice and just avoiding the man, but of course I had to try. "I can see that."

"Just take it." The man grabbed my hand and shoved the red scale into my palm. "You may not be the nicest boy, but you're a friend of Gold's. I feel I should give you something. I'm not quite sure what this is, but I feel like it's special. Who knows? You might figure it out." He patted my shoulder. "You know, if you have time, you should join me at my house. I can tell you all about how I found that scale. A thrilling tale of adventure! I could even tell you now, if you like."

I stuffed the scale into my pocket. If he wanted me to have it, fine. I'd take it. "Thanks, but I think I'm good." I wasn't keen on more stories. Not from this man. As I turned to leave, he let out a sigh.

"Well, alright then. But if you change your mind, my house is just up the hill on Route 30. Don't be a stranger, my boy!" He gave me a wave and a grin. "Tell Gold to pay a visit as well. It's about time he stopped by."

I grunted in response. Well, that was a complete waste of time. I shoved my way out the door, leaving Mr. Pokemon inside to tell his stories to the cashier, which I'm sure he did readily. I leaned against the outside wall of the store and slumped down, resting my forehead in my hands. The last twenty-four hours had been nothing but headache after headache. I knew it wouldn't be too hard to ditch Gold eventually, but if I didn't do it soon, I'd go crazy. I mulled over my options. I could stay in Cherrygrove and wait for Elm to call the cops on me. The Pokegear wouldn't register enough movement to satisfy him, I was sure. Then they would come, and I could get them to take Gold off my hands. There was a problem, though. The police were finicky people. They probably wouldn't listen to me no matter what I told them. I'd be charged with kidnapping, theft of home-baked cookies or something else ridiculous like that.

So, no, I decided. I was better off just moving forward. Maybe Gold would take that damn Pokegear out of his pants and I could snatch it from him. Ditch him on the road at some point. Walking for miles with random shit in his pants was bound to get uncomfortable at some point. All I needed to do was muster up whatever patience I had and tough it out, which is much harder for me to do than it should be.

I heard the light whisk of the shop door opening beside me. Gold, looking skittish, twirled out and pressed himself against the wall next to me. "I can't believe it." He whispered, turning to stare at me with his eyes wide open. Whether his expression was shock or admiration was beyond me. "You weren't stuck in there for hours! I thought it would take at least two to get away."

I glared up at him. Maybe if I thought hard enough, he would disappear.

He ignored my spiteful gaze and went on rambling. "That man can talk forever, I swear. One time, he had me sit and listen to him talk for four hours straight. I didn't get a single word in that whole time."

"And that's why you made a big fuss? Because he talks?" I scowled.

"No, because he doesn't stop talking." Gold let out a sigh and reached into the pocket of his sweater, pulling out a crumpled wad of paper. "I grabbed us a map, by the way. Here." He tossed the wad over to me, beaming proudly.

"I didn't see you buy this. I didn't even see you pick it up." I shook the papers out, flattening them as best as I could, mulling over the creased lines and landmark icons.

"I had my Aipom grab it for me." I glanced up and saw that he was twirling a pokeball on his fingertip. It wobbled after a moment, tipping into the palm of his hand, where he gripped it fondly. "I had him leave money, don't worry." He smirked at me. "I didn't steal it, like you would have. I just didn't want to get caught up in a conversation with Mr. P, so I took some liberties."

I let out a frustrated sigh. "Whatever. Do what you want. Just leave me out of it." Glaring down at the map, I tried to figure out the fastest way to get to Goldenrod. The sooner this was over, the better. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Gold shift.

"Maybe…" He said cautiously, glancing at the door, "We should get moving. I don't think I could tell Mr. Pokemon off like you did. If he saw me, I'd never get away."

"All the more reason to stay." I grumbled, only half to myself. Gold, for some reason, found that amusing.

"You saying you don't want me around?" He smirked, raising his eyebrow quizzically.

I stared up at him. Was he serious? I decided not to answer. Instead, I ignored him and stood, turning to walk towards the edge of town. No reason to stay here, I thought to myself. I still had plenty of time to make it to Violet city before nightfall as long as I hurried.

Gold trotted behind me. "Well, whether you want me here or not, I'm staying. You need me, you know." He shrugged, a ridiculous smile still glued across his face. There was a hint of smugness in his expression that made me uncomfortable.

I stopped walking abruptly and whirled around, facing him with a scowl. "I do not. I do not need you here." I jabbed my finger into Gold's chest, pushing him back. "I can list more than enough reasons to get rid of you. The only reason you're still here is because that prick Mr. Pokemon wouldn't listen to a damn word I said. If he had, you'd be on your way home right now. Understand?"

He gazed at me with unreadable eyes. Finally that stupid smirk of his had faded. Gold stayed silent for just a moment, which I guess was better than I could have asked for. But the silence didn't last long. Eventually, he sighed and shoved his hands in his pockets. "Look," He said, "I know what you're doing. That flute you're supposed to get. You don't expect to get it for free, do you?"

I clenched my jaw and drew back. I hadn't even thought about it. If I had to pay, I was screwed. I had no money. Nothing that I could use to pay for it. I hated to admit it, but he had a point.

"I've got money." He continued. "I could…" He paused, contemplating something in that thick head of his. "I could help you out. I could buy it for you. Then you don't have to worry about it."

I hated the idea of accepting his offer. I hated it with a passion. But I couldn't think of any other way. If it really did cost something, then I would have to work to pay it off. That was time that I couldn't afford to waste. "What do you get out of it?" I narrowed my eyes. "You actually want me to get this flute?"

Gold shook his head and glanced away sheepishly, his cheeks turning a light shade of pink. "No, but at least this way I can get to know you before you do. If I hadn't come, I'd never be able to do that. So I'm getting something out of this. Trust me."

I grumbled to myself. As bad as it was, taking Gold along with me was my best option. Great. I was about to knowingly accept the company of this creep for the sake of money. I never realized I could sink so low. "Okay." I forced the words out through clenched teeth. "You can follow me. For now. But I swear, if you try anything creepy, the deal's off."

Gold's eyes lit up as he beamed with excitement. "Really? You're serious?"

"Do I look like I joke around?"

"Not really. I guess I should give you this back, then." Without warning, he reached his hand down into his pants and yanked out the Pokegear. I backed away as he held the device out to me.

"Keep it." I frowned. The image of where that thing had been flashed in my mind, almost making me gag with disgust. I guess I have a strong stomach.

Gold grinned and shoved the Pokegear into his pants pocket. I supposed it was better than where it had been before. "Alright, if you insist. I'll try not to make too much trouble for you." And then he winked.

I shook my head. What the hell had I gotten myself into?

AN: So, I finally returned. :3 I know it's been forever since I updated this! Like... Forever forever. I'd stopped working on this for some time, but even after so long I'm still getting people favoriting my story. ;-; So I decided to pick it up again. Turns out I'm still having fun doing it!

As for this new chapter, yes! The stranger was Mr. Pokemon! Chances are he'll be back again later, next time with a lot more to say. Silver didn't spend enough time with him to get a real idea of how frustrating a conversation with that man can be. Luckily for Silver, he's the type of guy who wouldn't feel bad about just getting up and walking away in the middle of one of Mr. Pokemon's speeches. Gold, on the other hand, can't really bring himself to do it, poor soul. I imagine he just spaces out for as long as he needs to. It's a good survival strategy. ;3 Until next time, friends!