Heya. New chapter. Hope it's satisfactory, especially after such a long (but excusable) break since I first posted this. I don't have internet at home, currently, which is a pain. But I'm already planning the next chapter, so hopefully it gets put up soon.
Again, review review review.
It was a long walk down the mountain.
After fuming for a few more minutes, Green decided that Red wasn't worth being this pissed over. So, he grabbed his backpack and began stomping his way back to civilization. All the way down Arcanine followed behind him obediently (Green knew his Pokemon were better than him, although he wouldn't admit it) and Green continued to curse beneath his breath at the boy he had now decided to search for. He's an asshole, Green thought, for not coming back by now. His mother missed him, Leaf missed him, old Oak missed him, and Green, well, did Green miss him? A little bit, he admitted to himself. Just a little bit. But that didn't cover for the fact that he hated Red right now.
Sure, they hadn't been all buddy-buddy during their journeys through Kanto, but their bickering (mostly just Green throwing insults and Red glaring at him) brought back memories. Even before that, when they were children, and they had actually liked each other. Digging in the sandbox, refusing to play with Leaf because girls had cooties back then. Red was likable when he wanted to be. Hell, so was Green, but the catch was the Green didn't want to be liked.
Green wanted to keep up the persona he'd gained over the years; strong, unshakable and snaky. That was the kind of person who wouldn't be easy to push over during gym battles, who didn't care that his best friend hated him. In the beginning, he was what he had strived to be. Now, he had become it. Uncaring and sarcastic on the outside, and who-knew-what on the inside. That, essentially, was Green.
By the time that Green was back in Viridian, it was nearly seven in the evening the next day. It was too late to really get anything done at the gym, so Green pushed that idea aside.
Five hours later, it was Green who appeared on Leaf's doorstep, for the first time, well, ever.
"You lied." The boy (or man, was it now?) mumbled, slipping in past the shocked Lead. Her apartment was anything but tidy, but he managed to find an empty place to sit at her cluttered kitchen table.
Leaf followed him in, warily. "About what? What are you even talking about? God, Green, you're drunk." It didn't take a genius to spot it. Although, Green thought, Leaf wasn't a genius.
"Red isn't on the mountain."
"What? You checked?"
"Yes," Green mumbled. "Waste of my day, too. Have you ever visited the Center at the bottom? Everything there is trashed. Leaks everywhere."
"Wait a second," Leaf interrupted, "So you actually hiked your ass up to the peak just to see if Red was there? Don't you, you know, hate him or whatever?"
"Absolutely-" Green managed, before letting out a belch. Leaf only sighed. "Idiot wasn't on the mountain." He explained, as if that was a proper excuse to hate Red.
"Would you still hate him if he was actually up there?"
Green glowered. "Obviously. He's an idiot. Didn't I already tell you that?"
Leaf only groaned, and left the room to make a place for him to sleep.
The following morning when Green woke up sprawled on Leaf's (ugly) orange sofa, the smell of eggs and sausage was wafting through the small apartment.
"So when are you going to go?" She asked him over breakfast, once coffee had revived him. He had already told her that he was planning an extended vacation. In reality, he was going to search for Red. Granted, he wasn't going to tell her that, even if she outright asked.
"I dunno. Soon." Green grumbled through his food. Yeah, he thought, Johto was his best bet. The authorities in Kanto had already ransacked every city and town searching for the ex-Champion years previously, although it was unlikely that he would stay in the region anyway. Too many people to recognize him, if he wanted to stay hidden.
Leaf gathered her plate and dumped it in the sink, then pivoting around and leaning on the counter. "You should visit Hoenn, I hear it's nice in the spring. Beautiful weather, exotic Pokemon, open air. Absolutely lovely." She tittered conversationally.
Green swallowed his food. "Maybe. I was thinking Johto, though."
"Oh come on, that's barely a vacation. You could walk there if you wanted to. It wouldn't even take you three days." Leaf pouted, stepping back to the table and taking his now empty plate. "Go somewhere nice. Somewhere interesting and lively with nice souvenirs to bring back to me. If you don't want warm, there's always Sinnoh-"
"Johto, okay? I like it there." He lied. Not that Johto wasn't a bad place. But it wasn't home, either.
Leaf frowned, but let it drop. "Well, okay. Now get out of my house. I've got to get ready for work."
It turned out Leaf had acquired a part time job in Saffron, presumably punching train tickets or some dumb thing. Green, now considering what he would do next, began the twenty minute walk to the gym. He had Eevee and Arcanine with him, and the rest of his team was in his small, unused apartment at the gym. Realistically, he didn't know if he should bring all six of them to Johto. Between searching for Red and traveling, would he have time to exercise and feed them? They were a lot bigger than the last time he'd explored a region, and besides, he didn't plan on this being a long trip. Just sweep Johto, find Red, and go home.
So no. He would leave them with Daisy, perhaps. Babysitting four trained adult Pokemon for a week or two wouldn't be beyond her.
Green walked into the gym, waved off some ten year old who thought he had a chance (with just a Butterfree, of all things), dispatched the gym trainers, grabbed his team, and left a note on the door. On vacation. Be back soon. Lance would probably throw a fit (apparently there was this thing called protocol, meaning that if Green wanted a goddamn vacation he was supposed to fill out a stack of forms and give the League six months to affirm it.) By this point, Green didn't care much what Lance thought. He'd beat his ass once, and he could beat it again.
There wasn't much Green needed to travel, but he stopped by his apartment and filled a hiking backpack with some necessities. Clothing and his water bottle were on the list, as well as the small store of medicines he kept and a few key items left over from years passed. His Pokedex wasn't really necessary, since his didn't have any of the new gadgets the modern models came equipped with, but traveling without it just didn't feel right. A small radio went into the pack. A sleeping bag. By the time he was finished, Green was amazed by how much the backpack weighed. He was still strong at seventeen, obviously, but the fact that ten year olds traveled around for years carrying all this and more seemed more than a little extreme, in retrospect. It was no wonder that kids (like he and Red, Green thought bitterly) rarely made it to the Elite Four. The few that did lost pieces of themselves in the process, and left them worse for wear.
The path back to Pallet Town was a familiar one. Green could almost sense his younger self here, battling the Pidgey with Eevee. Those were the last moments of simplicity for Green. After that, the prospect of adventure and glory overtook him until the day that, long years later, he had realized that, despite his Champion title, he really had no best friend anymore.
Soon enough Green arrived at his destination. Pallet Town was a small but homey place, one of the few places left in Kanto where you could walk outside your house and hear the birds sing and the innocent sounds of children playing. It didn't take more than five minutes to reach his old home. When he knocked, it took mere seconds before Daisy opened the door.
"Green!" She exclaimed, reaching her arms for him and pulling him into a gentle hug. "It's great to see you!"
Daisy was the opposite of everything Green was. Her calm, motherly instincts balanced his own dark sarcasm. When their mother had died and he had perished into months of tears, she, at only seven years old, took the initiative to care for her brother the way their mom had. The same thing, to a lesser degree, had happened when their grandmother died two short years later. Their age difference of three years had always seemed more like ten. Now, he didn't remember his mother's face fully, the memory having been replaced by Daisy.
It was disconcerting to think that she had only turned twenty a few months prior. It also bothered him to see her dating, mostly because his interactions with her boyfriends always made him feel pretty immature.
Green hugged her back and pulled away, walking in. "Good to see you too. I'm not here for long, though. Is Gramps around?" He asked, although he knew the answer was no. Oak was almost never home. Of course, the lab was only a short walk away, but he would think that family was still a priority, and that home was more than a place to sleep at night.
Daisy shook her head, and went to the kitchen to pour him some tea. "No, as usual. How've you been?" Green knew, intuitively, that that was her way of asking why are you here, because why would Green ever return home when the memories were bitter? Green didn't hate Oak, but he wasn't fond of him, either. When he'd been a child, Green had cared for four people. One of them hadn't been on the damn mountain, two were dead, and the other was tethered home to take care of the aging old coot that has raised them. Oak was not on that list, and was mostly just a reminder of his dead grandmother. As such, Pallet Town wasn't exactly Green's favorite place to visit.
Green sat at the kitchen table. "I'm traveling soon, and I was wondering if you could take care of my team. I'm only bringing Eevee and Arcanine, so would it be okay if I left the other four here?" he asked, accepting the cup of tea as Daisy brought it and sat with him.
"No problem," Daisy said, and Green nodded at her in thanks. "I'd love to. Where are you going?"
"I have someone I need to find." Green said, and took a sip of his drink before explaining.
After he had recalled the events of the last week or so, and they had sat in silence for a few moments, Daisy just sighed. "Are you sure about this? He could be anywhere, Green. Anywhere. What if he went to Hoenn? Or Sinnoh? Unova, even? I understand that you're determined, but this is bound to be more than a two week trip. What if it takes years?"
"It won't." Green said, stubbornly. "If anyone can find him, it's me. I know him best. He wouldn't go too far from home."
Daisy shook her head. "Did you ever think he would strand himself on top of Mount Silver for months, maybe years on end? I knew him too, I watched both of you grow up together, and the Red we both knew as a child would never have done that, to himself or to his mother. Traveling alone changed both of you. Are you really sure you can predict his every move?" Daisy asked, quietly.
Green slammed his hand on the table angrily. "Sure as hell I can! More than anybody else could! I'm his best friend!" He argued.
"Was his best friend, Green. He's different now. When's the last time you even talked to him?"
"I don't know, a few years maybe. But only because he wasn't around!" Green thought back to the last couple of years. Maybe that was a lie. But if Red had been in town, would he have tried to talk to him? It depended on the day, Green decided. He'd been mad at him, but he still would have talked to him, if circumstances were right. They were best friends, for Arceus's sake.
Daisy sighed. "But did you ever even call him? Or try to find him? And did he ever look for you?" She asked, making Green frown.
"No." He admitted irritably. "But what am I doing now?"
"I'm not sure." Daisy murmured, softly. "Maybe trying to fix things. Or change the past. I don't think you know yet, either."
"I just want to find him. That's it."
"Yes, but why? Why does it matter so much?" She asked. Green thought of standing at the top of the mountain, thinking the same thing. "You have to answer that eventually. And if you do find him, he'll probably want to know, too."
Green thought, Maybe I can put that off for a while, then. Not finding him, of course. But telling him. Or maybe he could skip the matter entirely.
Bringing Red home hadn't seemed to complicated before.