Pre Fic Note: This is the last "introductory" chapter before the actual journey itself is started (Leaving Twinleaf Town), hope it's enjoyed! Drop a message to let me know how I'm doing~! Share opinions, likes, dislikes-whatever you want C:

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, 17. Hometown, Twinleaf. Pokemon Captured… one." The monotone mechanical voice called out, giving my profile.

My eyes gleamed and I squealed once more. "UWAH, 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 notion of having Totodile outside of the Pokeball, so he could experience everything first hand- the reason Gator is outside right now.

"Before you feel the necessity to run out and see every single Pokemon you can..." Professor Rowan cut in on my antics. I quickly jerked my head, paying extra attention with a rather out of character smile plastered on my face. "Remember to let your mother know you'll be off on your journey." I nodded vigorously. Steven seemed amused. "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 a little... worried. She's worse than a kid in a candy store…"

"It's the least I can do in payment of her allowing Totodile to assist me." Steven responded cordially. "I promise to keep her safe."

Professor Rowan nodded. "Very good."

Not bothering to see if the conversation was over with and ignoring the fact that I was being dissed by Rowan, I slightly tugged at Steven's sleeve. "Can I show you to my mom so she wouldn't have to worry that I'm probably with some random sleezy guy? I also kinda bolted this morning, so the family might be 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 training top was helping me even less. My teeth chattered as I kept rubbing my arms and abdomen, 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 the 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 and button it."

"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 my fingers to peak out. I then buttoned it and 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.

"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- a nervous habit. Guessing someone's age never felt like a good thing to do, as being very wrong kind of felt like it was an insult. "You're mature and dress the part..."

Steven merely smiled. "I'm close to your age range. I'm 20."

I stopped walking and stared at him, wide eyed. Clearly, describing myself as embarrassed wasn't going to cut it. He wasn't some 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 doesn't matter 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. 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 to the ground. "Ow..." What I get for not paying attention...

"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.

Rustle!

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 reaction.

Rustle rustle!

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 clapping with mine, pulling me back and stopping me. "The fighting type attacks of Pokemon, not humans. Leave the battling to Totodile 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, patting Gator on the head. "Good job, boy." Something seemed to worry me though- how fast the Glameow fainted. I knew the Totodile wasn't 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. I walked up to Glameow and brushed it's fur to the side- noticing cuts and bruises on it. Worried, I 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 heading to Lake Verity myself, Gator immediately running to keep up with me.

"Hey, I thought we were heading to Twinleaf, what's wrong?" 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 looked a little shocked, then 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. He gave me a funny feeling." Steven mentioned a little anxiously- I could see it in his face. "I said I'd protect you, don't go getting hurt already."

I frowned. "That whacko worries me though... Even though I have a feeling it wasn't him who hurt that Glameow."

"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. You see that man was probably with her from their attire, so there's probably more people around." Steven warned.

As much as I wanted to go over 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..." Steven said as he pet the unconscious Glameow.

I remained quiet, silently stewing 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… 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 before Barry stormed into the small hall for the doorway. "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 got hurt or something-" 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 step back a bit. After a bit of tapping his chin with his finger, his eyes widened, probably in his 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, that's me. 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 get 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 as 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 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. "Do explain!"

Another sigh. "Nothing in the tracks you're following, ma. You see this Totodile and this Glameow?"

"Are they Mr. Stone's?" She questioned, ridiculous smile still plastered on her face.

"No." Steven shook his head. "I only train steel types, Ma'am."

"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 well protected."

"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 sunk. "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 of thanks to your emotions. So I'm only trying to take precautions."

"I understand ma'am." 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. "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 betrothed. You didn't give Ken this much trouble…"

"That's because your brother is a man. Men are normally much more capable of defending themselves." My mom pointed out while nodding to herself. "You should tell him to visit while you're out there."

"Yeah, yeah…"

"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 a long 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 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 strong 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...I won't see her off since I know it'll make her feel weak and cry… 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 ludicrous. "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 Mrs. 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 get yourself ready."

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 like 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 saving 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