I - Prologue

Ahh, a new story to make Axy's writing juices spark. (Should probably be working on...well...my other in-progress, but I'm at a standstill. ;;) I'm tired of seeing nothing but OC-centrics and generic romance. Mock me all you want, community - it's not gonna change my mind. ;D My thought process works something like this : if I can actually write with good grammar, fix spelling errors, and not piss off my mom by writing with the lights on 'til midnight, then frick, I can write a fanfic.

This idea came to me a couple of weeks ago. At first it revolved around Gary kicking crime and evil similar to Light Yagami from Death Note (only without the killing ._.), but that was scrapped since superheroes are lame. xD (Really ?) So, I'm pursuing this project, and don't be angry if I decide to suddenly scrap it. Axy gets bored easily ; those who've read some of my other work should know that by now. :3 But I shouldn't ramble, somebody hit me (*shields self*). I just want to bring in my own ideas and hopefully give someone a decent read. So, I'll stop reading and let those who've actually read this to start reading the actual fic. XD Gooo !

" -And after the Army finally recaptured all of their ports, the rebels finally agreed to surrender. "

It was a very grand room in both proportion and elegance. Walls were of a fresh pine and draped with photos of a strong family background. Furniture was placed accordingly, tidy and modern, with the most expensive material money could buy. Warm velvet covers were tucked underneath the pillows. Not that the one who slept there cared about appearance, anyway.

" Thus, the Pact of 1819 was formed, and for the next century Kanto would excel in productive brilliance. "

The curtains were drawn over the windows despite it being a sunny day. Facing the window was a walnut desk, scattered with pencils, pens, and a giant textbook covered with Post-It notes. At first these notes were made of thoughts and scribbles of Kanto's history, but as time passed they became doodled with stick-wielding ninja and fire-breathing Dragonite.

" With the age of electricity, Kanto was able to accomplish many feats, and-hey, pay attention ! "

A ruler struck the desk like lightning, and a boy whipped around to see his very angry tutor glaring at him. He was not afraid at all, merely startled. This was neither the first nor last time that he had spaced out from his studies, or fiddled with fantasy, or even nearly struck with that ruler. Mr. Ruler and him had a long history, actually. All he could do now was stare at the man with innocent eyes. " Oh, I apologize, Sir. I guess I couldn't stop myself. "

By now both of them were familiar with the act. The boy watched with indifference as his tutor snatched up the textbook from his desk. Page by page he attempted to stifle his snickers, which only infuriated his elder even more. It was always a pleasure to annoy others. Of course, others never thought it was pleasant at all,especially Mr. Tutor and his delightful companion. " God, you are such a little worm. I don't know why anyone would think such a stupid child like you could learn anything, " he snorted. " Doesn't really matter to me, though. Your mother pays me whether you learn or not. "

" Yes, I know, Sir. Silly me. "

" You know, that attitude of yours is really gonna get you in trouble some day. And you're lucky I don't beat the shit out of you myself. I'm not employed by your mother just to bake cookies and take care of some snot-nosed brat. I've got other duties. "

" Oh, so you're just going to blame your misfortunes on this snot-nosed brat, then ? " the boy countered. " There are more little snot-nosed brats than me in the world. I'm sure a lot of them would be a lot more appreciative to be taught by such a...skilled teacher. But how would that look on an application ? Not too impressive, I guess, but I'm just eleven. I know nothing of the grown-up life. "

A snicker finally came out, and the tutor chuckled himself. " Such a little manipulator. Heh. Very well, go wander around like a wild Mankey. But Giovanni, you need to start taking more responsibility. You can't just weasel your way out of your studies all the time. "

" Yes, you've told me so many times. I'm not a Chatot, you know. "

" Ignorance is stupidity's best friend ! You mind the advice of your elders ! "

The door slammed, and the tutor leaned back against the wall. He chuckled, wiping the dirt from his eyes. " Damn kid. "

Classical paintings and fine vases decorated the hallways. There was no attempt at being careful as the boy dashed through them and down the staircase. No one would notice if something was broken except for the tutor, and perhaps a maid or two. It'd be nearly impossible to avoid seeing a broken vase, and no doubt would the boy be reprimanded for such reckless behavior. Nothing serious, though. The vase stock was too numerous for any of them to count, especially for the head of the household.

Another door slammed, revealing the clean air, green trees, and sunny sky of Viridian City. The boy tugged at his shirt collar as he ran everywhere and anywhere, as far as his scrawny legs would take him. Giovanni wasn't a sheltered child, but he came pretty close. Being the son of one of the most influential leaders in the underground, he was kept on a tight leash by the servants. It was only when he was released by his tutor that he could go out and act like a boy his own age. Or if his mother was home. That wasn't very often.

Regardless of the police, or the crazed drug dealers, or even the occasional death threats, his mother still lived the life of luxury. She might've been stupid, but there were always business trips, fancy parties, and long vacations to keep her busy. Even when she was home Giovanni rarely saw her. The woman immersed herself in a world of work and partying, far from ever acknowledging her only child. Said child was perfectly fine with that. She only taunted and hit him whenever they crossed paths, and he enjoyed her absence from the home. It was easier to cope with no parents than an alcoholic and her various pals.

He shook his head. It was hard to hold back his feelings. Envy. Jealousy. During the rare times he got out, he'd always find a way to see some doting parent and a giggling boy and girl. And those horrible feelings would consume him, making him imagine that he was the son of that doting parent. For the longest time, Giovanni dreamed of even the slightest bit of affection. Someone who would hug him and smile and make him a grilled cheese sandwich. Such a wonderful fantasy.

But of course it would never come true. Giovanni shook his head again and hugged himself. By now he had slowed down to a walk, and he was a long way from home. The usual traffic was in the midst of rush hour, yet it was starting to drizzle. Gone was the sunny day and back came the rain. Water dripped on his nose, mocking his limited freedom once again. It always rained when he was out, always, always, always, and this time there was no shelter, only the local park. There wasn't much of a choice, though. He refused to lose what little dignity he had by standing in the rain like an idiot.

Covering his head with his hands, he ran toward the park with the last of his strength. Being homebound made him weak to much athletic activity. He managed to get under the slide before collapsing onto the dirt. Things never went right for him. Something always had to make his best days into normal, dismal ones. Before he knew it, tears were running down his cheeks. He had never felt more ashamed in his life. Maybe if the water could wash away loose dirt, it could send him off, too.

" Fine day to be hiding, huh ? "

The boy suddenly jolted from his thoughts and looked to see a little girl giggling at him. She couldn't have been that much younger than him - no younger than seven - but her auburn braids helped to make a childish face. Giovanni was shocked. This was the first time another kid had ever talked to him. " I didn't expect it to rain, " he mumbled.

" Hmm ? Well, what's wrong ? You're crying. "

Annoyed at the realization, Giovanni wiped off his tears and glared at the girl. He had never let anyone catch him off-guard until now. " I was not ! " he exclaimed. " Don't be foolish, it's just the rain. And anyway, if I'm here, what are you doing here ? "

Another giggle. Giovanni's glare weakened as the girl shrugged, sitting down next to him. " Told Papa I was gonna explore. We're in the city for the day, and I figured I'd go to the park. "

" Huh ? Where do you live ? "

" Pallet. " The girl kicked off her shoes, revealing that she wore no socks. She wiggled her toes. " I know. It seems weird to let a little girl off by herself, but Papa trusts me. He knows I can get out of a pickle. Hee-hee. "

" I see. Well, my name is Giovanni. Pleasure to meet you. "

" Like the bread ? "

Giovanni stared at her. Her eyes were lit up and excited as if he had just invented the greatest tool known to mankind. He couldn't help but smile at the idea. " No. That's silly. Why would someone be named after bread ? "

He could've swore she was disappointed, but there was no time to know for sure. She giggled again, pulling out a red object that Giovanni saw was an apple. " Well, it's nice to meet you, too, Giovanni. Are you hungry ? "

It wasn't until he saw the concerned look on the girl's face that he realized she was serious. He thought back to the long list of rules, remembering that it was rude to refuse food or beverage. Not that it mattered, since she was so young and probably knew little of civilization. The town of Pallet was barely developed, and the stories told by the servants were of foreign people only wearing loincloths.

But she didn't look foreign, and she certainly was wearing more than just a loincloth. The girl smiled. " Good. We could split this in halvsies, then. "

" Halvsies ? Wha ? "

She took out a pocket knife and sliced the apple in half. Giovanni stared in horror at the knife. All of the stories of Pallet people were true. The girl stared back at him, confused as she handed one of the halves to him. " Is something wrong ? "

" Yes, something's wrong ! Everything's wrong ! " He threw his apple half to the distance, resuming his glare. " What kind of idiot allows their little girl to have a knife ? " he snapped. " What kind of idiot thinks that my name is a type of bread, and roams around the park without even thinking of what can go wrong ? They're all right, you country people are uncivili- "

A hand struck him across the face, and he leaned against the slide, astonished. The girl supplied a glare of her own, bright and determined to fight back. " What right do you have to call me anything ? " she retorted. " If I'm uncivilized, then you're the rudest boy who's ever lived ! "

" I know. " Giovanni ran his hand through his thick hair, feeling even more ashamed. If a little girl could manage to smack him and get mad at him, then it really proved he was a horrible child. Without thinking, the tears came back, and this time he made no attempt to hide him. Life already spat at him on a daily basis, and he wasn't even a teenager yet. There was nothing he could do to redeem himself, no pure river or lazy meadow to cleanse him of his sins. Thinking that would only make him look more selfish.

He was startled when a hand rubbed his cheek. The girl had crept next to him, once again showing him concern. She placed the other half of the apple in his hands. " Here, " she said, holding his hands so the half wouldn't drop. " I didn't mean to smack you. I'm sorry. I just get mad when someone insults the things I love. " She blushed, a light pink tinting her pale cheeks. " You need this more than I do. Please eat, 'kay ? "

" ...'Kay. "

She watched him like a Noctowl while he nibbled at the apple half. He wasn't unnerved but rather flattered, if he was thinking right. Usually when someone gave him food he or she would leave him to eat by himself. (No money being made by watching the snot-nosed brat eat.) And now here was a little girl who sat by him even after he knowingly insulted her. Either she was extremely caring or extremely dim-witted. Giovanni could've taken either one. Somehow it felt pleasant to have company.

What did surprise him was when there was a crackle of thunder, his company hugged him tight. He almost choked on his apple, and he gawked at the girl in bewilderment. This was the first time he had been hugged in a very long time. It made him feel uncomfortable. " Um...are you okay ? "

The girl blushed again but made no move to let go. " Oh, I'm so sorry, Vanni. I just hate thunderstorms. " She tilted her head in embarrassment. " Want me to let go ? "

" Nnn...no, it's okay, I suppose. " Something then hit him. " Vanni ? "

" Mm-hmm. It'll make me remember that you're not bread. "

"...fine. "

They both looked away in the opposite direction. Giovanni furrowed his eyebrows in annoyance when the girl snuggled closer to him, laying her head on his shoulder. For a while he thought that she decided to use him as a pillow, as her eyes fluttered and her grip loosened. Then there was another crackle and she immediately snapped back to attention, regaining her grip on his shirt. The rain refused to relent, tumbling down from the sky like a heavy weight. Giovanni shut his eyes, sighing. Oddly enough, he didn't feel very bothered by the rain. His companion made him feel different from all of the other times, and she wasn't even an adult.

Both of them watched the rain fall down for what seemed like hours before the sun finally peeked out from behind the clouds. It was odd seeing the sun come out after a rain shower. Never had this happened before when Giovanni had previously gone out. There was even a small rainbow in the distance. He had only heard of one of those, and wished he could take in that image as a pleasant memory.

He jumped forward when the girl tapped his shoulder. She seemed embarrassed again, but concealed it with a small smile. " I'm so sorry. I forgot to introduce myself, didn't I ? I'm Delia. "

The storm was long over, and the two children strolled around the park. Giovanni was close to the point of busting his gut. He had never felt more alive and carefree than he did while walking in the park. Delia was very bright for such a young age, and also energetic. Her stories of Pallet differed very much from the ones the servants told Giovanni. Vivid images of miles of forests, flowers, and cheerful pokemon danced around his head. It was very far from living the city life, yet no loincloths were involved. If his mother's organization burned to the ground or was taken over by some crackpot weirdo, he would've liked to travel to the countryside for a good frolic.

For once his spirits were high, and he didn't mind at all as Delia held his hand and pointed out all of the nooks and crannies that she had discovered. She could almost be called the little sister he had wanted in life, but something kept him from thinking that. It was like she couldn't be anything closer than a friend.

Blushing, he bumped into her without realizing it. Delia turned around, giggling at his blank expression. He shook his head, grinning like a Linoone. " Sorry. Wasn't paying attention again. "

" Haha, it's all right. " She stretched out her arm and patted his head. " Look what's up in the tree ! "

Confused, the little boy glanced up to see why one of her secret places would be up in a tree. When his eyes focused on the tree, he knew that this wasn't one of them. A pair of angry ruby slits glowered back like a ravished lion. Those slits frightened him, reminding him of the crafty snakes in some of the stories he read. He doubted they belonged to a snake, though, wondering how Delia could be fascinated with the unknown creature. " Do you have anything what that thing is ? "

" Don't call him a thing ! " Delia snapped. " He's obviously a kitty ! "

" Kitty ? Are you nuts ? "

A hiss greeted his ears, and Giovanni had just enough time to see a Persian dart from the tree leaves to one of the branches and back to its hiding place. He could feel a sweatdrop running down his neck - it was definitely a kitty, all right. Delia, on the other hand, was ecstatic, clapping her hands in pure delight. " See, Vanni ? Isn't he adorable ? " She ignored his blank stare and grinned. " I've seen him before. He's a stray. Last time I saw some poachers chasing him, and-shit ! "

" Hey, watch that potty mou- "

He was dragged forward and up the tree within a few seconds. His high spirits were immediately vanquished, feeling exasperated again. Before he could protest, however, Delia clamped a hand over his mouth. This wasn't the first time someone forced him to keep quiet. " Just act natural and let me do the talking, " she whispered.

No idea what she was talking about, it took Giovanni a couple of seconds to register that two men had approached the tree, tall and armed with guns. There was no doubt that there men were poachers. Delia had taken her hand off his mouth and waved down to the men. One of them noticed her, glaring at the children like a couple of steaks. " Hey, girl, you see a fluffy kitty anywhere ? Pretty coat, funny-lookin' ears ? "

Delia tilted her head sideways, twirling one of her braids around her finger. " Hmmm. If I tell, whatcha gonna do to Mr. Kitty ? "

The other man chuckled. " Take him to the vet, of course. Mr. Kitty's pretty sick. "

" Oh, I see, I see ! Silly kitty ! " She laughed, airy and cheerful. Giovanni's earlier thought of her being crazy started to rise, but he kept silent. " He went toward the deli. Hungry kitty, growl growl. "

Both men looked at each other and laughed. The second man waved at Delia, grinning. " Well, thank you very much. I'm sure we'll catch him in time. " He turned to the other man. " See ? Not all kids are useless. "

" Feh. "

" Heh. Well, we better get going. We'll see you another time, okay, sweetie ? "

" Sure ! " Delia agreed.

" Lessgo. "

They walked past the tree without taking another glance back. Neither child dared to utter a word until they couldn't see the poachers anymore. When it was safe to assume that the coast was clear, Delia put two fingers to her mouth and whistled. Giovanni saw the Persian come back out, and he noticed that the cat's ears were a light pink instead of the usual tan. The response was a fierce hiss, and Giovanni was taken aback, giving it a blank stare.

Meanwhile, Delia crawled over to the kitty and hugged him without the slightest bit of worry. Instead of hissing or even biting her, Persian rubbed against her, letting out a low, deep purr. She laughed again, rubbing his ears and flopping them around. " Oh, you're such a good kitty ! I've never seen such a well-mannered kitty ! Those icky men don't know anything, do they ? "

" Purrrr. "

Another sweatdrop dripped down Giovanni's neck. He gawked at the girl and cat, horrified. " Good kitty ? " he repeated. " That furball's out for blood ! Just look at him ! "

Persian cocked his head, infuriating the boy. It was just like his mother taunting him, only in the form of a cat. Delia crossed her arms and glared at him. Deciding that it was better not to speak, Giovanni merely scowled at the cat. In one day he had managed to make both a friend and an enemy. To him, being enemies wasn't weird at all. Instead, it only expanded his boundaries of dislike, but it was better not to declare war when a little girl could easily kick him out of the tree.

Eventually they did come down from the tree, though, and Giovanni's spirits went back up higher than ever. The three relaxed under the tree for a long time, talking and laughing while pokemon and boy made subtle glares at each other. Nevertheless, the boy felt like he could conquer the world in one great swoop. It must've been what the pokemon trainers felt when they went on their long journeys. Maybe it wasn't a journey, but it felt great.

Soon the sun started to set. Delia jumped from her seat, startling both males. " Oh, it's getting dark. I'm afraid I have to go now, Vanni. "

A wave of doom crashed over Giovanni, and he looked up at her with a visible look of sadness. " What ? Do you have to ? "

" Mm-hmm. Papa'll be worried. " She patted his shoulder and smiled. " Don't worry, we'll see each other again. And you have Persian to keep you company ! Sooo...bye-bye ! "

She was already up, running, and back with shoes when Giovanni cupped his hands together. " What do you mean ? "

" I can't take him home ! " Delia called back. " You'll be fine, just like a p.b and j sandwich ! Now I really have to go now. See ya later, Vanni. "

Within a couple of minutes she was completely gone from his view. Persian meowed at him, looking confused, and Giovanni shrugged. He had no idea whether the household would allow him to keep a temperamental furball as a pet. If they denied him, he could get in a lot of trouble. They wouldn't have any problem skinning a cat for its fur, and he didn't want to be blamed for making a furry mess all over the linoleum.

However, meeting Delia brought him a fresh bag of hope and the will to break barriers. Even if he never saw the little girl again, he knew what he must do. There was the chance, a very slim chance, that he could keep the kitty. Obviously there would be a struggle for authority between them, yet it could work out quite well if proven to be successful. Giovanni might not have been the strongest child, or kindest, or even smartest, but he was comfortable with that. He stood up from the grass and beckoned for Persian to follow him. Reluctantly he did.

" Let's go home, kitty. "