Pre Fic Note: This is the last "introductory" chapter before the actual journey itself is started (Leaving Twinleaf Town), hope it's enjoyed! Feel free to let me know how I'm doing~! Share opinions, likes, dislikes-whatever you want!
DISCLAIMER: I don't own Steven Stone, Professor Rowan, Totodile and Pokemon. I only own Samantha Walker. This is done for enjoyment while bored.Chapter 2: The Road Back To Twinleaf
"Here you go, and good luck."
"UWAH!" I let out an out of character squeal and stared at the hi-tech red device in my hands for a few moments before curiously pressing a button.
"Samantha Walker. Age, 18. Hometown, Twinleaf. Pokemon Captured… one." The monotone mechanical voice called out, giving my profile.
My eyes gleamed and I squealed once more. "WOW, this is SO cool!" I further continued tinkering with my brand new Pokedex, now pointing it at Gator and checking out his moves as he stared at me with an innocent expression. I liked the idea of having Totodile outside of the Pokeball, that way, he could experience everything first hand.
"Before you feel it necessary to run out and register every single Pokemon you can manage..." Professor Rowan cut in on my antics. I quickly jerked my head, paying extra attention with a rather large, probably off-putting smile plastered on my face. "Remember to let your mother know you'll be off on your journey." I nodded vigorously. Steven seemed amused at just how excited I was. "And remember, when you have too many Pokeballs in your possession, you can always go to the nearest Pokemon Center and deposit them." More vigorous nods from me in response. Professor Rowan sighed. "Steven... I know she's not exactly your responsibility and you're not obliged to have to do any work for her, but... do keep an eye on her... at least until she matures a bit. I'm aware she's an adult, but I can't help but be a little worried. I have faith that she will grow into an excellent Trainer seeing that she loves Pokemon, but currently she's like a kid in a candy store."
"It's the least I can do in return of her allowing Totodile to assist me." Steven responded cordially. "I promise to teach her well."
Professor Rowan nodded. "Very good."
Not waiting to see if the conversation was over with and ignoring the fact that I was kind of being dissed, I lightly pat Steven's arm to get his attention after remembering something important. "Could I actually introduce you to my mother now? I kinda bolted this morning, so the family's probably worried."
Steven looked at Professor Rowan to see if all business was settled, and the Professor offered a nod. "Lead the way." Steven answered simply in response...
"Cripes!" I yelped as soon as I walked outside and the chilly breeze hit me. By now it was early evening, and my get-up was helping me even less. My teeth chattered as I kept rubbing my arms, trying to generate heat.
"Here, use this." Steven unhooked two metal armbands, unbuttoned and shook off the blazer he was wearing- the one he was famous for (what his fans recognized as champion attire, if you will). A black blazer with 2 purple zig zagged stripes along the front and he draped it across my shoulders. "Put it on."
"Er... thank you..." I said a little shyly as I put the orange back pack on the floor carefully and stuck my arms through the sleeves, the sleeves being a bit too long, and managed to get the tips my fingers to peak out. I then buttoned it and carefully slung the back pack on again, starting to walk. "It feels kind of weird adventuring with an older guy, but that you're being nice to me, it's even... weirder, for lack of better words." I kept my eyes glued on the floor, my face still brimming with heat.
"Older guy?" Steven questioned, chuckling slightly. "Just how old do you think I am?"
I put a finger to my bottom lip in thought. "Er. Well... At least 25 through 27?"
"And why do you think I'm that old?" Steven questioned, rather than telling me if I was right or wrong.
"Well... um..." I scratched the back of my head nervously. Guessing someone's age never felt like a good thing to do, as being very wrong felt like it was an insult in a way. "You're mature and dress the part..."
Steven merely smiled. "I'm closer to your age range than you think. I'm 22."
I stopped walking and stared at him, wide eyed. Clearly, describing myself as embarrassed wasn't going to cut it. He wasn't a prestigious older guy… he was a prestigious, attractive, young man. I felt like an idiot for guessing so high. "...Er... I... um..." After a brief moment after not making eye contact, I managed to mutter, "You're pretty young for holding that title for a while..."
Steven laughed at my probably red face. I glared as best as I could. "Don't worry, hardly anyone guesses right. After all, I do help my father with important business from the Devon Corporation, since he's the owner, and I'm his son." Now instead of glaring, my eyes were completely wide, still staring at him. Talented champion and business man? Damn. "Stop with that look and let's keep moving, that matters not at the present moment anyway- I'm in Sinnoh looking for rare stones, not for business, nor for anything related to being former champion." That's when he placed a hand on my back and gave me a slight push to start walking.
I complied and began, taking rather big steps to match his stride, Gator almost jogging to keep the pace with its' small legs. I zipped my lips although I was extremely curious about the 'former champion' part. I chose to not voice my questions, in due time I may come to know anyway. After some short time, we reached the high thickets of grass leading back to Twinleaf- and the silence was almost unbearable. "Why are you looking for rare stones?"
"It's because it's what I like to do." Steven answered, smile back on his face.
I let a smile replace the curious look on my face, until my foot got caught on a thick tree root and I fell chest first to the ground. "Ow..." What I get for not paying attention... At least the bag didn't jerk around violently.
"Are you okay?" Steven kneeled as he asked me, observing my face almost kissing the floor, my cheek pressed against the dirt.
"Just peachy... don't worry about me." I commented as I dizzily got back on my feet and dusted myself off.
My attention was sparked as the lot of us heard something moving in the grass around us. Gator and I looked around with extreme caution while Steven seemed amused by our over the top reaction.
Out from the grass, a cat like Pokemon emerged. It looked at us surprised, and seemed ready to attack. I pulled the Pokedex out of my pant pocket and pointed it at the feline, black, white and pink in color, with a coiled tail. "Glameow, the Catty Pokemon. It hides its spiteful tendency of hooking its claws into the nose of its trainer if it isn't fed. It is weak against fighting type attacks."
"Weak against physical moves eh?" I took a fighting stance and began to approach it. "Then this'll be-"
"Hold it." Steven's voice rung in my ear, his hand encircling around my wrist, pulling me back and stopping me. "The fighting type attacks of Pokemon, not humans. Leave the battling to Gator now. Trust him."
"Oh..." I looked dumbfounded for a moment, reaching within my memory for Gator's attacks. "Oh! Gator, use Watergun!"
"Toto!" Gator jumped up in the air, getting closer to the Glameow before letting out a forceful spray of water, knocking down the cat, and seeming to incapacitate it as it lay on the ground, unable to move. Gator ran towards me looking up, happy.
"See, I told you to trust him."
I nodded and kneeled down, patting Gator on the head. "Good job, boy." Something seemed to worry me though- how fast the Glameow fainted. I knew that Gator must not be that trained yet, as it was just caught from the wild, and was running away from the Gabite earlier. I was aware Gabite must have been significantly stronger, as it was evolved, but Gator seemed to be as much of a battling greenhorn as I was. Steven probably had the same train of though as he didn't seem curious that I walked up to Glameow. Brushing it's fur to the side, I noticed cuts and bruises on it. I quickly stood up and looked around, noticing someone going into Lake Verity- a suspicious person with blue hair. I wondered if he was connected to Glameow's injury and started tailing him to Lake Verity myself, Gator immediately running to keep up with me.
"Is something the matter?" Steven questioned as he started catching up to me.
"That Glameow had been abused... I'm seeing if the person involved went into Lake Verity. He seemed oddly dressed."
Steven nodded. "Alright, I understand." He then quickened his pace to match mine.
After escaping the mass of foliage, the two of us saw the entrance and slowed our pace, walking into the lake to be unnoticed. Standing by the water was the man I saw earlier- piercing blue hair with very odd clothing- silver colored. He seemed to be talking. I listened closely. "The flowing time... The expanding space... I will make it all mine one day... Cyrus is my name. Remember it... Until then, sleep while you can, legendary Pokemon of the lake bed..." I didn't understand what he meant at all. To me, he seemed like an eerie whack-job. The only thing I managed to garner was that he must have been speaking of the legendary 'Pokemon of Emotion'- as the sign outside of the Lake read. The man then turned around, facing Steven and I. He slowly walked up to the entrance and stopped where both of us were, pretty much blocking it. "Allow me to pass." He said simply, looking down at me. I didn't move, only gave an intense glare. "Step aside." He said a little gruffly. I continued to stay in place until Steven grabbed me by the arm and pulled me towards him. The man said nothing, only left.
"Don't just idle with someone like that." Steven mentioned a little anxiously- I could see it in his face. "He hasn't proven to do 'anything wrong', but he gave me an odd feeling, nonetheless."
I frowned. "That whacko worries me though... Even if he really wasn't to hurt Glameow, I agree about the bad vibes..."
"Actually, let's go check on it." Steven nodded toward the direction we were to head to and we hurried off to the area.
When we got there, I saw some woman was there, dressed in a funny-looking mid thigh length black and white turtle neck dress with a G in the center, along with silver leggings and sleeves- she kicked the Glameow pretty hard. "That son of a-" I tried springing off for her, but Steven held me back.
"Don't. Judging by her attire, that man was probably with her, and there may even be more people around." Steven warned. "Give it a moment. If she lays a hand on Glameow once more, I'll be the one to intervene."
As much as I wanted to go over to her and beat the living hell out of her, I obliged and decided to listen. "You worthless Pokemon! I leave you here for a few moments, and you get beaten again! I might as well leave you here to freeze and die. A total shame to Team Galactic..." The woman tossed her pokeball to the ground and turned around, starting to walk. "I'll just tell the boss you ran away and died or something so I can get you replaced..."
After a few moments of waiting until she was far enough, I ran over to the Glameow- it was unconscious now. I scooped it up and decided to take it with me, grabbing the pokeball and jamming it into my pocket. Standing up, I glared towards the direction where the woman walked off. I swore that she'll get hers.
"You did the right thing not attacking her attacking her abruptly..." Steven said as he pet the unconscious Glameow. "We know there are people who wear similar clothes, so we can look out for them and observe their actions. I'm sure this is not the last we'll be seeing of them."
I nodded while remaining quiet, silently stewing about the situation as I lead the way back to my place...
"..." Amanda stared at me, her eyes all dewy- it was a strange, hopeful look.
"..." My eyebrow twitched instinctively as I looked down at the girl. I was hoping I could just go straight to bed as it was a long as hell day- but it was now 11pm, and I was just returning home wearing a man's jacket… with said man in tow.
"...MOM! Sam came back! She brought me a nice future brother too!" Amanda called out while excitedly making a dash for my mom, hair bouncing as she ran off.
"That's not it! Don't tell mom lies like that before I end up six feet under!" I yelled after her, cheeks slightly rouging from embarrassment.
"WHAT? Sam's finally back?" I heard Barry's voice call out from the living room, followed by stomping toward the doorway- where Steven and I still remained grounded.
I turned around to Steven, covering a side of my mouth with a hand and keeping my voice hushed. "In future reference, I'm sorry for the chaos..."
Steven only managed to blink once in bewilderment before Barry stormed into the small hall for the doorway and start running his mouth. "Geeze, I was worried about you and stayed over here until now! I was thinking that you probably listened to me about the Pokemon in the tall grass and actually got into a battle with one and ended up getting hurt or worse, and that's why you didn't come home after all these-" Barry waved his finger as he quickly spoke, not taking a single breath. When he finally realized I wasn't the only one there, he immediately stopped moving and talking, brown eyes blinking as he stared at the lot of us in the door- Gator looking up excitedly, Steven giving the best smile he could possibly offer amidst the confusion, Glameow still fast asleep within my grasp and me, looking away with a half-irritated pout. "Er… what's with the random Pokemon? And he looks familiar..." Barry leaned towards Steven, observing him further, Steven only managing to broaden his unsure smile just a touch. After a bit of tapping his chin with his finger, his eyes widened, probably in realization. "YOU-NO WAY! Aren't you Hoenn's Champion-"
"OH MY GOD! Is that Steven Stone on my door step?" My mother practically hollered as Amanda dragged her out toward the large group. I could see my mom mouth 'Go back upstairs' to Amanda as the little girl nodded and took off to her room.
"Yes, it is. It is a pleasure to meet you all." Steven replied politely as I began rubbing my temples.
My mother grabbed Barry by the collar and pulled him inside, making space for us on the doorstep. "I've saw almost all of your matches on TV with my girls! Well, come on in! And Barry, you go on home before your mom worries about you."
Barry pulled free from my mom's grip on his collar and squeezed by the both of us in the doorway, then stopped before leaving. "You have to explain what's the deal tomorrow!" And after he said that, he was already gone. That boy had the attention span of a fruit fly.
"Well, what're you waiting for? Come in!" I heaved a long sigh, still not ready to explain and nodded at Steven to follow me and led him to the living area, plopping down on a red leather sofa, Steven taking the seat next to mine. "What brings you around these parts? And what are you doing hanging around with my daughter of all people? Seems so unlikely!"
"Thanks ma, love you too..." I mumbled as I gently pet Glameow.
"That's actually something the two of us wished to discuss with you." Steven rather seriously begun.
"Really?" My mother's eyes were practically gleaming as she clapped her hands together. "Is this what I think it is?"
Another sigh. "No, ma, nothing of the sort. You see this Totodile and this Glameow?"
"Are they Mr. Stone's?" She questioned curiously.
"No." Steven shook his head. "I only train Steel types and a few Rock types, Miss."
"They're mine." I said, leaning back against the sofa. "And I plan to go on a journey to fill up the Pokedex, assisting Professor Rowan."
My mom went wide eyed for a moment. "W-what...?"
"She does not intend to go alone- I will be accompanying her on her journey." Steven said with a smile. "And I can ensure you that she will be safe until she's truly ready to travel on her own."
"Mr. Stone..." My mom stood up to her feet. "I do understand that her personal safety will be ensured going with you, since you are a more than capable Champion..." She said, rather serious for a change. "But as a mother, I'm still going to worry, because you know... you are a man."
My face twisted, horrified that she'd even touch a subject like that. "Ma... seriously...?"
"I know how you are- and would have been fine if you finally got yourself a boyfriend, had you still been staying in Twinleaf." She crossed her arms as she looked down at me- I immaturely stuck out my tongue and crossed my own arms, muttering a low 'Blech.' "But away in a long journey, only a guy and a Numbskull like you... I think you'd be easy to fool and it would be simple to take advantage of you. So, I'm only trying to take precautions."
"I understand, Miss." Steven stood up and extended a hand. "I promise to have her check in alone at a Pokemon Center in every new town and city."
My mother grinned, taking his hand and shaking it in agreement. "Such a responsible young man. I feel like I can trust you."
"Oh, for crying out loud…" I mumbled as I scrunched my nose. "I'm going on a Pokemon journey, not going off to get married. You didn't give Ken this much trouble…"
"That's because your brother got to travel out of town more often and wasn't as naive as somebody I know." My mom pointed out while nodding to herself. "Speaking of your brother, you should tell him to visit while you're out there, that is if you go beyond Sinnoh at some point."
"M-mommy... Sam... is what you're talking about true?" I put the Glameow down on the arm rest of the sofa once I heard the childish voice call from the entrance to the living room and turned around. Amanda was now hesitantly walking towards where the rest of us were. Shit. I had planned to go without telling her a thing, but here we all are, openly discussing it.
"Amanda..." My mom started, running over to the young girl.
The little pigtailed girl snivelled as she looked over at me. "You're leaving us?"
I looked up and huffed, thinking of what to say. Then I walked over to the little girl and reached a hand out, ruffling the girl's hair, grinning. "I'm just going on my own journey, like Ken! Tell you what- I'll come back to visit once I catch me a flying Pokemon! Otherwise, you can tag along with mom when she goes to talk to me over the video phone, alright?"
She fished in her pink dress' pocket and pulled out her shiny pokeball. "Take Starly… Starly will grow up to be big and strong… and be able to take you back home whenever..."
The gesture touched me, and I didn't even know what to do- it was saddening, to say the least. I looked down, unsure of how to act, tears surely brimming in my eyes- my little sister was one of my soft spots. Steven noticed I was having a little difficulty and approached Amanda, kneeling down and patting the girl on the head. "Your big sister wants to catch and raise a strong Pokemon of her own- she wants to come back and show you how cool she's become. You should wait until then, okay, Amanda?"
My little sister sniffled as she quietly thought about it, then after a bit of a while, managed the best grin she could. "I...I think I understand... I will! I know Sam will be so much cooler! She likes being strong... I'll go and start waiting now... Bye Sam, bye mister!"
With that, she waved quickly and stormed up stairs, my mom letting out a sigh of relief. "Nice save... I'll leave you two to talk here about preparations for the journey. Steven can sleep in the living room and you go to your own bed afterwards." She waved a finger for emphasis. "I'll go and take care of Amanda."
I rolled my eyes again, thinking my mom's suspicions were still silly. "Really? You had to go and murder the moment that way?" I muttered under my breath.
"We understand- thank you for your hospitality, and good night, Miss. Walker." Steven gave a slight nod as my mom waved and walked up the stairs. A thick silence filled the room until Steven broke it by sitting down on the sofa, the sofa letting out a squeak as he did. "Today was certainly eventful. You should try getting some rest so you can wake up early and pack up."
For a moment I stayed grounded, then finally let myself plop on the sofa, sinking down quickly- Glameow was still soundly sleeping. "I owe you again. You saved me from the worst 'good bye' possible. I think it really will be easier leaving without seeing her crying face." I ran a hand through my hair, pulling my bangs out of my face. "Today was hell..."
Steven looked at me, obviously perplexed. "Then why did you join me here? You should go to bed as I have suggested-"
"I don't want to be alone." I cut in at a very audible mumble. Steven's face now reflected that he didn't know how to respond to that. I immediately got embarrassed and started flailing a bit. "Er... Wh-what I meant was... well... today was a bit much to swallow alone in my room immediately. I'd like to sit in the presence of someone for a bit..."
"It's okay. I understand, you needn't speak when you don't want to anymore." Steven said as he pat my shoulder.
"Thank you, again." I said as I picked up my legs and hugged them with my arms, balling up.
I closed my eyes, remembering the attack on Gator, the Gibles and Steven saving me, Gator joining me and getting my Pokedex, the odd man in the Lake Bed- Cyrus, and taking in Glameow after it was abused and abandoned...
Taking the good with the bad...
Learning just how harsh the world is outside the safety of Twinleaf...
Slowly, everything faded to black.
End Chapter 2