Author's Note: Hello. I was bored and felt like playing around in Silver's head, so I wrote this. I felt really sorry for him, being a statue for six months and all. What could he possibly think about all that time?
I don't really like how this turned out, but... I also know that fanfics are usually more fun to read than the author thinks or claims they are, so I decided to post it anyway. Hope you guys enjoy.
It's getting lighter and I can see the outline of my best friend's face. It strikes me as strange; Green and I haven't left each other's presence in months and yet I've barely seen her. Someone has moved us into a storage cabinet somewhere. Apparently, the careless movers ignored the "fragile" tape on us and lay Green on her side facing my direction. Can she see me too? It occurs to me that the others may not be conscious like I am – though I don't know why they wouldn't be, other than Yellow, who was sleeping in the first place.
Which leads me back to the same frustrating line of questions. What happened to us? Are we really alive? Will we ever go back to normal, or are we fated to remain like this for all eternity – pure spectators of life – until someone decides to make us into monuments and we end up on a street corner where adults will ignore us and children will carve graffiti onto our legs?
Will I ever see my father again?
I'm sick of having the same frustrated internal monologue. I wish someone would talk to me so I could have something fresh to think about. But everyone ignores us. It's as if they've never considered the possibility that we still have feelings. And it goes beyond boring; it's lonely. It's lonely for me – and I don't spend much time socializing in the first place. I can only imagine how lonely it must be for a people-person like Green.
Green. She's a nice topic to redirect my ever-circling train of thought.
Green. An amazing thing about Green is how much she's changed while still staying the same. Perhaps this is true of everyone. I wouldn't know. There's no one else in my life that I've stayed in contact with long enough to judge in that way. Green has been in my life from my earliest memory until now. It feels strange because I usually sort my memories into two categories – before we escaped, and since we escaped. Green is the only one who recurs in both sets of memories, and though I know she's the same person, in my mind, I can't help but split her into two Greens. Masked Child Green, and Free Green. I was very young back then, when I knew Masked Child Green, but there are many things about her I haven't forgotten – though my perception of things has changed so much since then that it has skewed most of the emotion associated with those memories. It was a different world in the masked man's lair, and looking back on it, I feel like a foreign observer.
The place was a world of nightmares. That man had a way of taking every good thing in the world and twisting it into something so evil we could never trust it again. One of those things was human interaction. All of it was negative. Will and Karen were psychopaths. The masked man was worse than that – he was volatile. One minute, he'd be generous or even affectionate; the next he'd explode into violent rage. For four years, these were the only people Green and I had contact with. I understand that this world has crazy people as well, but a crucial difference between here and there is that even unkind people here seem to value kindness in others. To the masked children, however, life was a contest to see who could be the cruelest. And Green participated. She had to; to be good would mean to be an easy target.
Green somehow ended up in an eternal feud with Karen. The two didn't see each other much, as the masked man kept each pair separated, but Green and I often passed Will and Karen in the halls and we occasionally sparred together. Neither girl ever missed an opportunity for a cutting remark. Looking back on it, I see that Karen was six years older and it really wasn't a fair rivalry, but Green managed to hold her own. Once she somehow set the shower so that it when Karen turned it on, it immediately sprayed her with scalding water. Another time when Karen threatened me, Green went completely batty, attacked her, and even ripped some of the girl's hair out. It left Karen so scared that she left us alone for a week. But it didn't make Green feel any better. She hated to interact with Karen at all. When Green won, she would laugh in victory just like Karen laughed, but then she'd go to her room and cry just the same as she did when Karen won. The cruelty contest just absorbed all her energy and made her hate herself. But pretending she enjoyed it must have made it, somehow, more endurable.
Pretending is something that both Green has always done – before we escaped, and now.
It's grown lighter by the minute. I can see her petrified face clearly now, and it catches me off-guard a bit. It's been so long since I've seen her that I've forgotten what she looks like. All these months, when thinking about her, I've been picturing her with the baby-face she had when we were kids. Seeing her now, I remember how her chin is pointier and her nose is sharp, and her hair reaches her lower back.
There's something else about her face that also catches my attention – her expression. Pure shock. Her mouth is partially open and her eyes are round. She really doesn't even look scared – she had no time to realize what was happening in time to get scared – she just looks shocked.
This is ironic. Of all the poses Green could have chosen had she been forewarned of her fate… the world had instead caught and trapped her in a rare genuine facial expression.
How long has it been now – a month or two? It must be the longest Green has gone without wearing a mask.
Masks. There's another train of thought for me. The Mask of Ice – or, Pryce – he never told us why we had to wear those masks. The mask rule was the one rule that all of the masked children hated – except Green and I. I didn't hate the masks because I'd never known anything different; wearing a mask was like wearing pants. Green, however, did remember life without masks, yet actually preferred to wear one. She said it made it easier to hide things. She told me this one day in response to a question.
"What does a face do?" I'd asked.
"A face? Um, well besides seeing with your eyes and breathing with your nose and things – your face shows your feelings."
"Really?" I'd asked, fascinated. I imagined being able to look at people's faces and read their minds. I imagined being able to communicate without speaking. It sounded good to me. I'd never cared for speaking. "How?"
"Oh. Well… you know," she'd fumbled. It had been so long since she'd seen a face that she'd had to search hard for a memory to use as an example. "If you cry, people see you and know you're sad. If you're happy, you smile – um, your mouth makes a bowl-shape – and people can tell."
I tugged at my own mask. "I want to see a face. I wish we didn't have to wear masks."
"When we escape, we won't," Green promised. Then her tone changed. "But here, I'm glad we have them. It's really hard to lie without a mask. In the outside world it's OK because you don't need to lie. Even if you don't do well enough, people don't hurt you."
"So that's why in the outside world we can show our faces?"
"Of course." Green patted my head. "Once we escape, we'll never have to lie again."
But Green was wrong. Once we reached the real world, we realized that it wasn't as kind as Green had remembered. At least not to lost children with no money and no social skills. I think it broke Green's heart to realize this. She'd lived the last four years of her life with nothing but the hope that even though she lived in a cruel world and played those cruel games, she did not truly belong there. The hope that she and I would someday break free from that twisted reality. The hope that somewhere there was a place where people wouldn't hurt us, but accept us as their fellow human beings. She just had to get there. And then she got there. And people didn't want us after all.
Now she didn't even have the hope to get her through.
She went a little crazy after that. Did people love her for being a good person? No. No one cared about that. People only cared about money. If that's what they wanted, we'd simply have to get it. There was no other world to escape to this time.
Thus began Green's desperate quest for money. Of course anyone in our situation would have been desperate for money, but for Green, it was different. Most people want money so they can by comforts and necessities; Green wanted money just because it was money. She never wanted to spend it on anything. Whenever she appeared with stolen money and I asked her what she intended to do with it, she would explain some complicated investment or scheme that would only lead to making more money.
But pure thievery alone could only make so much. It wasn't long before people began to recognize us and kick us out of their shops before we had the chance to steal. People asked us why we loitered around their stores, and we couldn't just run away anymore. We would have to learn to lie.
So for hours at a time, Green and I would sit together on the roof of the Goldrenrod Department Store and watch people through the telescopes. Green was very particular about it; she drew sketches in her notebook that detailed facial gestures so minute that I was incapable of detecting them. I would look at a stranger's face with total conviction that he was unreadable, only to look over Green's shoulder to discover her jotting down notes about the man's personal life. She'd notice the tiniest details, like crinkles around the mouth and dilated pupils. It always amazed me. I had barely grasped the concept that a smile is a frown upside-down.
After Green had mastered the science of reading facial expression, she moved on to the art of deceiving people with it. I never tried that kind of thing – I never really learned how – but I would watch as Green fluttered her eyes to sneak into sneak into PokéMart without an Trainer ID Card, and bite her lip out of shame when caught stealing. At first the lies she told were relatively small – no, she didn't steal money from that old lady; the three dollars was a birthday gift – and things like that. But small lies didn't make much money – and without much money, there wasn't much acceptance.
Her lies grew bigger. She learned that pubescent boys were kinder to her when she laughed at their jokes. She learned that people would listen to her if she posed as an adult by putting Poké Balls in her dress and having Ditto sharpen her facial features. And it got to the point that she was always pretending, any time she showed her face to anyone but me. She wasn't really showing her face, not her own – because, after all, wasn't a face what you used to communicate your own feelings?
Thus I began to internally refer to her disguises and lies as masks.
Over the next few months, she developed a complex collection of masks. Some actually involved Ditto covering her face, but most were simply Green's manipulation of her own face. When her eyes were round and her mouth was half-open, that was her friendly mask. She used it on lonely shopkeepers who would give her better deals when they thought she was honestly impressed with their product and honestly wanted to be their friend. And then there was the sorry mask she wore when confronted by those she had stolen from – she would burst in tears and "confess" that she had only stolen because her family was poor and her mother was in the hospital and would die if Green couldn't come up with an impossible amount of money in the next month. If she wore this mask well, she not only got away with what she'd stolen, but was often given more. And then there were other, smaller masks that she began to wear out of habit – wrinkling her nose when shown spinach despite the fact that she didn't mind eating it, or laughing at a joke even if it wasn't the least bit amusing. Masks like these she wore everywhere, to fool everyone. Except me. She never lied to me; at least, she didn't back then…
There was one mask in particular that I never understood. It was the cruel mask. She didn't use if often; only when no other mask would have worked. It was like this: when someone discovered Green had been lying to him, Green's usually policy was to lie more. But sometimes there would be smart ones who didn't fall for it twice. These people got weepy or angry, and they'd chase her down and tell her how much they hated her or how she'd taken advantage of them and broken their hearts. Then is when, Green would put on her cruel mask and just laugh. Head held high, tongue outstretched, she'd cackle and sometimes throw in a rude jeer or two. This would make the victims angrier or sadder, and the more emotional they got, the more she'd laugh.
The only thing that was accomplished by this was that the victims grew more aggravated. Sometimes they even attacked her. Whether or not they did, tricking Trainers into thinking she was a heartless female Snubbul had no advantage, and it would have been far simpler for her to simply escape. Why would she wear this mask? The idea that she really did like making people hate her was unthinkable – nobody likes to be hated, and Green didn't like to hurt people. That she made clear. She wasn't above hurting people at that point, but if cruelty had been her objective, she could have done a whole lot worse than she did. Either way, that simply wasn't Green. Green was a good person.
So who was she trying to fool?
It was a great mystery to me in my childhood, but now I think I know. She was trying to fool herself. Just like she did when she played the cruelty game as a child.
Looking back on those circumstances, it's a wonder that Green turned out the way she did. She is a good person. She does – used to do – bad things, but she really is good. She always took care of me.
I… think it's because of me that she did manage to resist the pressure to become like the other masked children. Not through anything I did, but because I was there – an innocent little boy to protect. That way, she didn't forget how to be kind. Now I understand why the both of us always went into frenzy when the other was hurt or threatened. I needed Green. I couldn't have made it without her protection. Green was independent, but she needed me, too. I was her last link to humanity.
I was her last link. Her other links… she's gotten them back by now.
I recall the way I felt when I finally heard her call her first Pokémon "Jiggly." I was just… stunned. Something – internal or external, I didn't know at the time – had happened that had allowed her to shed her inner fears. Jigglypuff's new nickname was just the beginning. Day after day, I watched her get brighter and brighter. She smiled more, giggled more, skipped around more. To other people, she lied less – yet I knew she was keeping a secret from me. I didn't know what it was until Senior Red of all people mentioned it to me: she'd found her parents. He'd looked baffled to hear that she hadn't told me yet. For me… I wasn't sure what I felt.
Why hadn't she told me? That question bothered me the most. Did she not want me around? She had her Pallet Town friends now – the friends she should have had. Was I just a painful reminder of her past? Green couldn't leave me behind – I needed her then just as much as I had when we were children.
And there it was – that's what had changed – Green no longer needed me. It took a few days to absorb the concept. I lost a bit of sleep over it.
I'll admit I had selfish motives for sending her those clothes – those clothes she's frozen in now. Now that she didn't need me, I was afraid – trivially so – that she'd forget me. If she wore my present, she'd have to remember. It was childish, I know.
Green finally called me to thank me for the clothes I sent, and I mentioned her parents directly. It turns out that she hadn't said anything because she felt guilty. She took the hat that I'd given her and tried it on over the video-chat, blushing out of pleasure of new clothes and embarrassment that she could look so beautiful – and I knew that things would never be the same again.
An image appeared in my head, a rare happy memory from the base at Mahogany. The Mask of Ice had ordered Green and I to read an essay which compared and contrasted evolution and exchange. I barely knew my letters, so Green read the essay aloud, periodically checking to make sure I understood. I remember how I mulled over the working of exchange – the paradox of Pokémon forming the same bonds with a new human, but never being able to truly rid itself of its bonds with its original Trainer – and what if I found a new "trainer"? Would I still remain a masked child inside?
But Green had barely thought about that. She had different questions. "Silver…" she'd said once we finished the section on evolution, "if a Pokémon evolves… is it still the same?"
I hadn't known what to answer. "Of course it's still the same entity…"
"But it changes!" Green broke in, flustered. "If its name changes… and its body changes… and its personality changes… then what else is left? How do you know what part of it belongs to the Pokémon and what part is just an evolution?"
It bothered her, and I didn't have answers. All I could do was hug her and say, "But even if the Pokémon evolves, you can still be its friend." In hindsight, those probably weren't the most comforting words I could have used. But they calmed Green down and she hugged me back so tightly that it was almost enough.
The flashback ended and I was left staring at the sky and holding the PokéGear that had recently born the sound of her voice. She had evolved. Her name wasn't changed, but she was so much more willing to reveal her identity. Her body had changed, of course… and her personality? That's different now too. What's left?
Green is left. Well, a statue of her is left, but suddenly I feel like she'll get through it. She's still in there somewhere – the Green who read to me, who escaped with me, who showed me her face when she couldn't show it to anyone else. It's the same Green who lied, stole, cheated, and lied about it again. It's the same Green who bit her lip in nervousness over the thought of reuniting with her parents, who caught the little girl – Senior Yellow – who was falling from the sky and nestled her against her chest and cooed over her adorable sleep talking, and the same Green who excitedly burst out spontaneous plans for a PokéDex holder get-together. It's all Green. It's who she is.
I look back at her face and remember when I saw it for the first time. I was wrong earlier when I thought it had changed. It really just hasn't. The only important difference is that she shows it to other people.
But even if the Pokémon evolves, you can still be its friend…
Again I think about what will happen when we return to life. She'll glace around, wink at Blue, tease Yellow, and high-five Red. Then she'll turn around. She'll lock eyes with me. She'll smile at me – it's her job to smile at me in social events, or no one else will – and then she'll pat my shoulder to herd me into the excited chatter. Her eyes will be on Blue the whole time, searching for a crack in his shell out of which she can draw his attention. She'll hug everyone, steal their possessions, and then return them. She'll complain about having been a statue.
And then she'll finally skip away into the arms of her parents. Because she's finally ready to stop cowering in fear over the orders given to her by a madman long ago, and ready to stop lying to herself that she's happy, and ready to start being who she is. Everyone, now, can see Green as the good person I saw all along, and they lover her for it. They accept her as part of their world, and I'm happy for her. I really am.