This was written as a fill for the Pokémon Kink Meme on LJ, along with the June prompt from PokéPrompts (yep, another LJ community), [no] regrets. I quite like it, and hope it does okay in the PokéPrompts contest!
But yeah. This is a Lance character study, focused on his feelings about Red and Gold.
...slight warning for Lance creeping on teenagers (Silver (blatantly) and Green (subtly)). But he's the Dragon Master so, you know, rules don't apply.
I hope you enjoy it!
[no] Regrets, [no] Anger, [not] Bitter
The first time Lance ever lost a Pokémon battle was against an arrogant young upstart from Pallet Town.
"Oi, Dragon-guy!" the brat had cried the second he entered Lance's chamber. "Get ready, cos you're about to lose to Green Oak."
Agatha informed Lance, and indeed anyone who would listen (most wouldn't, but Lance had been raised with utmost respect for his elders) that Professor Oak was once an arrogant young upstart, too. While the Professor's boasting had declined with age, his ego had not, and it was more than evidence his grandson had inherited these traits.
Green proved to be as much skill as he was talk; he battled with style, with clever commands, and strategies clearly carefully planned out just to fend off the Dragon-Type. It was quite thrilling to allow such a young, skilled Trainer into the Hall of Fame, a place noticeably empty since the last Champion had died in the line of duty. For all his talk, Green seemed as awed as he was thrilled, but kept it well-hidden behind a smirk. It was a pleasure to lose, and when Lance left Green alone to heal his Pokémon, he was informed another Trainer was thrashing his way through the Elite Four and he'd better hurry up because Agatha wouldn't last much longer against his Charizard.
Losing for the second time in his life on the same day, within the same hour no less, was less thrilling. But Lance didn't regret it at all; Red was even more skilled than Green. It was with dread and understanding that Lance watched Red approach the Champion's Chamber to battle Green — dread, because he knew Green would lose, and understanding as to just why Green was so skilled. With a rival like that, he had to be.
When Professor Oak ignored the first person Lance had ever lost to in favour of the second, Lance was sympathetic. Having grown up being doted on by their grandfather and facing the resulting resentment from Clair, Lance was all too acquainted with the glare Green sent Red's back.
"You were the first person I lost to," Lance informed Green, who huffed irritably and said he'd smell him later. What, exactly, that meant was a little confusing, but Lance had a new Champion to occupy himself with.
After a month and a half, Red decided he'd had enough and was leaving.
"What of the Championship?" Lance demanded. "Nobody has beaten you. Who will replace you?"
Red looked at him expectantly, and raised his eyebrows.
"Ah. Very well. It will be my honour."
It irritated Lance that Red hurriedly left his title behind, and he would have rather earn it, but Red really had no place being Champion when he so rarely spoke. Lance didn't find anything to regret; he had power.
Not long later, whilst holding trials for the new Viridian Gym Leader, Lance once again met Green. He out battled every Trainer smoothly, with far less boasting than when they had met before.
"Congratulation," Lance said as he handed over the keys to the Gym, but Green's eyes were locked on something else.
Red. Apparently, he had come down from Mount Silver to 'cheer' his friend on. Red was thinner, paler, and looked utterly calm. Eyes locked with Green's, Red nodded slightly.
As the crowd dispersed, Green shoved over to Red and snarled, "What the hell."
Red shrugged. "Good job."
"No, I mean, what the hell, you disappear, then you turn up to sneer at me cos I'm settling for second-best without telling me?" Green snarled.
"When do I tell you anything?" Red asked, before once again repeating, "Good job. I'm glad it's you taking it over. Unless you're a Rocket now."
"Go to Hell."
"See ya there."
And then they were kissing each other. It was hard to say who started it; they just collided in a mess of passion.
It reminded Lance of someone he'd grown up with, who never shook his hand after losing a battle, who shouted that Pokémon mattered more than as a means to gain power, who specialised in Ice-Type yet never won, and who was warm, friendly, and kind to everybody else for some reason. She repeated her name over and over so he wouldn't forget, not realising Lance had memorised it the second she said it. She left for a far off land after Lance refused to go too; he had a Gym to run and a family's honour to keep in tact.
But Lance didn't have time for regrets; he had two regions' worth of Gyms to help run, and the leftovers of Team Rocket to keep an eye on.
As he watched Team Rocket, Lance started to notice some odd behaviours in Johto. Returning home was sufficiently awkward without a criminal organisation to stamp out, but Lance was amazed to find a young upstart Trainer had already started the job for him with great success. His name, following the theme of course, was Gold. On occasion, Lance would also noticed a redhead Gold would shout for the attention of named Silver, and could have sworn he had seen the kid before around Viridian. Several times as they lurked through Team Rocket headquarters, Lance would notice Silver who seemed to only be watching to make sure they took down Team Rocket properly. When, at a much later date, Lance finally saw Silver battle, he placed the connection. Silver battled like a Rocket; all force, no strategy, and blaming the Pokémon for any loss. Lance had seen him during a routine check-up of the Viridian Gym years and years ago, glowering because, as he had shouted, his only time with his father not ignoring him in favour of work for ages was being cut short.
It was quite gratifying to see the child of Giovanni working to destroy his father's precious organisation, even if Silver was clearly only doing it out of spite.
To make up for the fact that he hadn't spotted Giovanni's true intentions sooner, Lance started to train Silver regularly at the Dragon's Den to battle like a Trainer, not a Rocket Grunt. It was thrilling to watch Silver become more and more powerful under his command, and it washed away any regrets of not seeing things sooner or checking more thoroughly.
Silver was an abundance of issues. Years of being ignored in favour of a morally terrible organisation had left him insecure, desperate for approval, extremely angry, and highly prone to violence — in short, a prime example of 'male with daddy issues'. A lesser man would find these traits abundantly easy to exploit. A lesser man would take advantage of this exploitability due to the way Silver seemed to have been bred to be as attractive as possible.
When Gold took on the Elite Four, Lance paid close attention. Normally, he would watch the first fifteen minutes of a Trainer's initial battle and then turn away, knowing they would fail. But Lance had seen Gold battling Rocket Grunts and Executives, seen him figure out holes in strategies and in and instant fill them. Gold was clever, resourceful, and he held the same fiery commanding spirit as Red. Lance watched Gold's battles closely to try and find flaws, but Gold didn't develop strategies of his own so much as tear down others'.
As anticipated, Lance lost. Only just, but a loss was a loss.
Through his teeth, Lance said that he wasn't angry he lost. It wasn't a lie; he was frustrated to have his title, which really was just a loaner anyway, stripped away by a flighty brat whose only ambition seemed to be wandering around pissing off as many people as possible.
"About the Champion thing," Gold started nervously as they recorded his data in the Hall of Fame. "I didn't really, you know, expect to win. And I don't really want — you know, I'm only sixteen, and I know Spinarakman says that stuff about with great power comes great responsibility but I'm just, I'm not ready."
"It's perfectly all right," Lance replied, elegant as ever. Rehearsed as ever. "I will be more than happy to fill the position."
Gold smiled broadly. "Thanks!"
He said something about collecting the Kanto badges, then maybe going to Hoenn or some other far off land Lance had never had the time to visit whilst training to honour the family, whilst maintaining the Blackthorn Gym, whilst heading the Elite Four, whilst being Champion in lieu of two impulsive brats who hadn't thought through what they would do in the likely event of their victory.
Of course, Lance's training with Silver was later interrupted by Gold. Silver immediately turned as red as his hair, and Clair suggested a double-battle to see how Gold had grown. Lance thought that perhaps, with the hindrance of working with someone he didn't get along with, Gold might fail.
No such luck. Gold adapted his commands around Silver's, matched Type advantages, and at one point, even had his Typhlosion take the damage for Silver's Feraligatr so it could deliver a final Ice Beam.
Later, as Silver prepared to leave, Lance overheard Gold talking to him in some rapid rant.
"— and then I thought, hey, maybe it's cos I love him! Except then I was all, no, I'm not gay or anything like that, and like, you're clearly a guy which is kinda a bit worse or something, but then I realised it doesn't matter at all or anything like that and —"
"Idiot, what're you on about?" Silver huffed.
"Go on a date with me!" Gold demanded.
Silver punched him. In the face, Lance noted with satisfaction.
"Ow! No, I'm not making fun of you!" Gold quickly cried. "I really mean it!"
"What makes you think I'd want to date you?" Silver growled.
Gold shrugged awkwardly; he still held a hand to his face. "Hope?"
"…hmph." Silver glanced away, arms folded over his chest. "Fine. I guess. Since you really want."
All Lance could think was a bitter, Typical.
Lance didn't regret the path his life had taken. He didn't regret standing where he stood, in the shadow of two great Champions who had handed over their thrones. There were no regrets to be had when he had power instead.
With great care, Lance took his Pokémon to the Dragon's Den more frequently than ever before and focused on their resilience to Ice-Type attacks, especially those that would come from a certain Lapras and a particular Slowking. It wasn't that he regretted losing to ungrateful brats; it was that next time, he would show them why they cowered from the title he continued to embrace.
Next time for sure.