Chapter 14: Connection
A pregnant silence fell upon the group watching as the brunet woman stared openly turning shades of purple that Harry had been certain would have made his Uncle Vernon impressed. She placed a hand upon her hip beginning to wag her finger at Volkner, closing the gap between her and him looking none too pleased with his remark.
"Honestly Volkner would it honestly kill you to learn your colleagues names?! Out of all the names you couldn't remember it just had to be mine didn't it? You probably remember Maylene's and Candice's but not mine? That stings!" The brunette droned on, frowning and with an irritated stare, she jabbed the blond in the chest as she went off on her tangent. Her voice had kept an indoor level, though the clear irritation could be heard loud and clear by the group. Letting out a huge sigh she folded her arms against her chest, eyeing Volkner in a sober and calm fashion.
Volkner held up his hands in defense. "I was just kidding Gardenia, really!"
"... Were you?" Gardenia's eyes narrowed at him distrustfully, her eyebrow raising slowly, skeptical of the claim.
"Yes!" Volkner nodded sharply. "Have I ever lied to you before-"
"Yes!" Gardenia replied succinctly, being blunt and direct. "Many times before!"
The electric lead had the decency to flush deeply at the comment, standing awkwardly. "H-hey that's all in the past, we can put it behind us. Right?" Offering a meek, yet sincere smile towards her while mentally chanting her to forgive him. While Volkner wasn't the type to 'lie' per say. There were times where he did with hold the truth on various occasions or whenever he felt in an inventive mood Volkner developed the habit of deterring others from interrupting his creative mood by any means necessary, it wasn't something that he was particular proud of, but habits are hard to break.
Gardenia remained silent for several moments, pressing her lips into a thin and faint smile. "You're lucky that you're cute, Volkner."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah whatever." Volkner looked a tad smug at the comment, his stance come off as rather arrogant as Volkner was well aware of how good looking he appeared to be. A small smile rested on his lips, feeling the tension in the air beginning to fade. "I'm guessing that you just came back from a gym battle?" He inquired trying to start a conversation, a rather small one at that.
"You betchya! The challenger wasn't all that tough to be honest but he did put of a great battle!" Gardenia remarked cheerfully. "It's making me eager to see the next trainer that will come to challenge me!"
It had been strange hearing, and see the eagerness that came from her. Everything about Gardenia's posture spoke volumes, the bouncing energy that rolled off her felt rather similar to Flint though more controlled compared to that of his friend. How long had it been since he had felt the thrill of battle against a challenger? Far too long for his liking. A small part of him felt envious of Gardenia for being able to continue enjoying gym battles, fighting against strong trainers with every fibre of her being and ending in her defeat. Volkner missed it. However, the other part of him had been thankfully at the chance for being able to travel and stretch his legs from outside of his city. It allowed him to think, perhaps even re-kindle his desire for battling again.
At least that was something that Volkner hoped for. Though that wasn't the only reason for his travels, glancing back to the side at Harry before turning them back onto Gardenia. "If you're looking for a challenger, I know someone that will give you a run for your money."
"Oh really now? You've captured my interest's Volkner!" Gardenia's eyes gleamed brightly, giggling. "So who is this 'someone'?"
Sirius cleared his throat about to speak up before Volkner draped an arm around Harry's shoulder, pushing him forward. As the younger protested, throwing a glare up at him. "Volkner!" Harry hissed, lowly turning his attention back towards Gardenia. "Erm... hello..." He greeted her in an awkward fashion, holding out his hand towards her.
"Why hello there! Name's Gardenia but I guess you already know that!" The brunet woman grinned ear to ear, waving. "So you and Volkner are travelling together, huh? If he says that you're a great trainer then I can't wait until you come to the gym and take me on. I look forward to battling you!" Gardenia stated, happily. "Ohhh do you have any grass Pokemon on you? I'd really like to see if you do!" Her eyes seemed to glow under the mentioning of grass types.
"Not now Gardenia. Wait until the actual battle," Volkner chided her calmly.
Gardenia rolled her eyes, pouting. "Fine, fine ruin my fun Volkner! Anyway the least you could do is introduce me to your friends."
"Fine." Volkner rolled his eyes having removed his arm from Harry's shoulder and now rested up against his chest, nodding towards the younger. "This is Harry." His eyes glanced towards the older members of their group. "The one with the long hair is Sirius and the last is Norman, a gym leader from the Hoenn region. We're travelling together," The electric leader informed Gardenia. Though he failed to see why he said so before dismissing the thought, it was probably just to get her off his back and prevent her from pestering them with constant question as his fellow gym leader was rather curious.
"Heh, it's nice to meet you three!" She beamed brightly at them, eyes landing on Norman with surprise. "A gym leader from Hoenn? That's pretty rare, what brings you out here to Sinnoh?"
Norman's smile tensed upon the inquiry. "Yeah, that's correct. I just needed space from my gym is all, it has been a rather long time since I've been able to travel and see the world I figured I might as well take the chance." He commented sincerely, though it had been obvious to them minus Gardenia, that he felt uncomfortable with the question. Volkner didn't entirely know the story behind why the older man had began journeying around Sinnoh but he suspected there had been more than that, nonetheless it wasn't any of his business and he refused to pry into it even though Volkner had the inkling that at least Sirius knew more than Harry and himself. "You're a gym leader, correct what type do you train?"
It had been an attempt to catch the subject to something less bothersome.
Gardenia practically brightened at the question, her hands intertwined together. "Oh me? I train grass type Pokemon! They're the best in my opinion everything about them just screams best don't you all agree? The way they all look, how they attack just... oooooh!" She squealed happily.
"A grass type trainer, does that mean that your area is centred on forests and all of that? Like how Roark's field is primarily a rock field?" Harry asked, curiously recalling his battle with the Oreburgh leader.
Norman cleared his throat, interrupting Gardenia. "It's not that uncommon, many leaders preferring using arenas that suit their styles or that reflect the type that they both use. My gym for example resembled a dojo, I think you can guess the reason as to why for that." The older male stated with a smile, seeing the hesitant but understanding nod from the boy.
"Ohh you personalized your Dojo? That's awesome, that's exactly what I do!" Gardenia declared, effectively cutting off everyone else her tone pierced the room as she grinning ear to ear happily. "If there's one thing I love just about as much as I love grass Pokemon, it's gardening and planting! I turned my entire gym into a giant garden. Filled with plants, trees and all sorts of flowers that can only be found here in the Sinnoh region! I haven't had the chance to add any exotic flowers from other regions, but I will eventually!" As she giggled happily, wrapping her arms around herself. "Ohhh~ Just thinking about adding more plants to my beloved gym brings a smile to my face making me feel warm and fuzzy!"
Volkner buried his face into his palm. "Urgh... you just had to go and get her going, didn't you?"
"Um... sorry..." Norman murmured, his eyes rested on the grass leader, fidgeting as she continued her tangent about her flowers and her gardening. A frown ever presented upon his face, his arms moved towards his chest moving very comfortable while trying to drown out Gardenia's words with his own thoughts, memories of the past began to surface upon him. Memories that he simply didn't want to remember, it seemed that despite his initial desire to leave behind his past it continued to follow him wherever he seemed to go. His mind slowly started to become filled with various sounds and thoughts increasing the suffocating air that had pressed upon him, forcing a smile if to simply endure what had been before him. It felt painful to him, emotionally and mentally. Carefully, and slowly he made a step backwards seeing that everyone's attention had been placed upon Gardenia, stepping away from the group.
None of them would be aware of him missing until he had already left. A part of himself felt rather guilty for skipping out on Gardenia's little story about her gym, but somehow he hoped that she and the others would be able to forgive him; heading out of the centre discreetly.
Where exactly was he going?
Sirius' eyes remained glanced back watching as Norman had began to detach himself from the group, making a silent get away and disappeared from the Centre doors without even looking back. It had been quite unlike the gym leader to simply do that, that alone caused the wizard to be worried about the other man. Had something that Gardenia said made him uncomfortable or had been it something else? He decided to check up on Norman once the conversation with the Eterna gym leader had come to an end, as it would be rude to leave her in the middle of it; besides, Sirius had a fairly good idea of where exactly the other had went. Having Growlithe with him would help make the search for Norman quicker and easier, unless, of course the man wanted to be alone.
Privacy was something that Sirius knew very well, if he had chased after Norman it would have been an insult to the other. For the moment the wizard would allow the other all that he needed, though Sirius did plan to go after him. Just not yet.
After all he had to make sure that a certain blond wasn't going to go near his godson!
"... and that's why I decided to make my gym the way it is, took a lot of hard work but it had been worth it and my grass Pokemon simply love it!" Gardenia gushed happily, fawning over her Pokemon and gym with a dreamily like expression. Her hands were intertwined together smiling broadly."I can't wait for you to come to my gym to see it for yourselves, I'm sure you'll all agree how magnificent it is! And of course, how strong my beloved grass type Pokemon are!"
Volkner shook his head, smirking ruefully. "Don't worry, we'll all witness the mighty power of your grass Pokemon during the gym battle!"
"And don't you forget it!" Gardenia giggled, happily and smiled brightly. Her eyes landed on Sirius and Harry, bowing her head slightly to the side. "I am looking forward to my battles with you both, I have the feeling that you two will be difficult opponents, so make sure to not disappoint me!"
"Don't worry." Harry began, stepping forward his eyes locked on to hers. "We won't."
An eerie air seemed to linger on them as Sirius glanced down at his godson feeling a wave of pride flow through him at seeing and hearing the confidence Harry displayed. His godson always seemed to have a particular talent when it came to stunning people into silence, a grin appeared on his face seeing the bewildered look that came across Gardenia and the surprised but proud one on Volkner's. Harry always seemed to know exactly what to say and at the right time, the teen merely kept a steady smile on his face watching her carefully and calmly; he knew well enough that Harry had meant no ill offense or any rudeness just simply to convey that neither of them had any intention of losing to her.
The grass leader remained stilled for the moment, her smile blossomed across her face. "Well now, I like that confidence in your voice! I'll hold you to your words! Anyway I should probably head off to the gym, so I'll be seeing all of you later. Oh!" Before she walked her eyes, her head turned towards them. "If you want to check some places out we have our famous museum here that's a must see, and we also have the newly opened bicycle shop if you guys are interested in that sort of thing."
"I think we're good," Sirius remarked cutting her off as he held up his hands. "But thanks Gardenia." They didn't really need bikes to get around; besides their Pokemon would be able to take care of any problems should the four of them encounter any.
"You're welcome, anyway I'm off! It was good meeting you all and talking with you again Volkner," Gardenia smiled giggling holding her hand upwards waving good bye as she disappeared in the distance.
"So, that was Gardenia." Harry remarked slowly moments after the gym leader had met. A tiny smile twitched on his lips. "She's reminds me of Luna... "
Sirius raised an eyebrow, chuckling. "Except without the obsession with grass and nature?"Harry had spoken a bit about Luna from his letters, while he hadn't met the Ravenclaw personally the details that his godson had wrote about her had been rather detailed and felt almost like he knew her. Back before his imprisonment, he had encountered her father briefly and while he had been a bit strange Sirius could tell that Xenophilius had been a good man despite only ever meeting once.
"Kinda." Harry shrugged his shoulders, choosing not to elaborate on his words.
It seemed that Volkner had appeared rather puzzled, remaining silent on the sidelines keeping a neutral expression though his eyes had spoken of confusion and interest. "Luna's a friend of yours from back home?" The electric leader questioned.
Harry nodded. "A good friend," the teen confirmed.
'So Harry hasn't told Volkner anything about home? I guess... that's a good thing,' The wizard thought to himself, eyes narrowed at the two watching them talk following them as the sudden unanimous agreement to grab something to eat; his own stomach rumbled quiet happily at the mentioning of food as none of them had anything to eat once getting up. The prospect of food would help pass the time, afterwards Sirius resolved to go and look for Norman once they had finished eating, the younger two knew that the gym leader had left the room but had refrained from making comments out of respect. The silence had given him sometime to think on a few things, over Harry's secrecy from Volkner and what he had to ld Norman.
It seemed Harry and himself had chosen differently; in terms of informing their new friends, which Sirius could not fault. Without any offense to the two, he hardly thought that telling them that they were from another world would be such a good idea, especially with how things worked within the world. At the same time, the wizard felt rather horrible for keeping a secret from, at least, Norman given their current stance of their.. relationship. While he had told the man some things it hadn't been everything nor the entire truth either, at first it Sirius had be cautious with what he informed the gym leader at least owing him for finding him and for becoming his friend and now... the more time that he had spent with Norman the stronger his feelings had become turning from mere friendship into.. romantic.
Many years had passed since the last time Sirius had been in an actual relationship after bring imprisoned, but even once released he hadn't pursued anyone. His distrust of others had remained lodged into his being, being betrayed by people he had once viewed as friends so... easily, simply because of his name. Opening up his heart again had been... particularly difficult, it had been a slow process but eventually Sirius had allowed himself to at least try being with someone, and that someone had turned out to be Norman.
Even so... Sirius still wondered what exactly where they. Years of being single made him question and go with their relationship slowly, refusing to force their relationship to the next level. The only thing that Sirius wanted to know was where they stood... as a couple.
"Sirius?" Harry piped up snapping him out his thoughts; the teen stared at him concerned. "Are you alright?"
Volkner remained stoic. "You've been spacing out there for awhile now," for a brief moment his blue eyes sparked with concern and quickly vanished being replaced with the stoicness.
"Hm? Oh sorry," Sirius shook his head snapping out of his thoughts. He hadn't realized how transparent he had appeared before the two. "I was thinking of something, that's all. What were you two saying? I missed it."
Volkner opened his mouth to say something only to be stopped by Harry holding up his hand preventing him. The blond glanced down curiously, but complied without any argument falling quiet. "Sirius, you can go and find Norman," Harry said, smiling. "Volkner and I can look after ourselves. We won't go far."
To leave Harry with Volkner made Sirius' anger starting to surface, but the prospect of going to look for Norman had also entered his mind. Internally he had become conflicted staying here protecting his godson from the blond or going to look for his...boyfriend? That actually sounded nice now that he was thinking about it. The wizard had remained silently, thinking over what he should do, hands curling up into fists. The encouragement from the two, both verbal and the silent to turn away that would be an insult.
"Alright," Sirius nodded turning his back towards him, before throwing a glare at Volkner. "And you keep your hands off of him!"
The blond held up his hands in response, smirking at him. His poisonous stare remained on the gym leader making his way from the two as they faded away in the distance; Sirius knew exactly where Norman had gone off to making his straight towards the forest. Originally, they had all planned on exploring it before Volkner had gone off to do his own thing and running into Gardenia back at the Centre. Tossing the Pokeball out to reveal Growlith Sirius issued a command of sniffing out the gym leader heading deeper into Eterna Forest, the fire type had been the best of choice to lead him through the downtrodden path. That said, the forest seemed to glow brightly underneath the rays of the sun, Sirius couldn't deny the beauty that the forest had. In fact it felt much more welcoming and natural compared to the Forbidden Forest back at Hogwarts.
Then again everything about this world seemed to be far more natural and pure to that of the wizarding world. Was that due to the Pokemon that had resided within the world or the bonds between trainers and their Pokemon? Everything within this world seemed to hold a deep connection between the two, a bond of both species. A sense of unity.
If wizards, muggles, and non-humanoid creatures managed to get along, could they have managed to make a world like this? It was something that made Sirius wonder about, he acknowledged that many of the mishaps and violence that had erupted through the magical community of Britain had been largely due to the misunderstandings and prejudice of all sides; not just one. None of them were willing to give the other a chance. In the end that had truly lead to their eventual downfall, unless they learned to work together the wizard didn't see how things could work out. Then again it didn't really matter to him, no longer being a part of the wizarding world. The very thought of the realization made him feel like a great weight had been relieved from his shoulders, oddly enough.
Sirius shook his head continuing to follow through the forest, gazing around carefully following his Growlith's lead patiently, turning upwards to the blue sky that hung above them. His eyes narrowed catching a string floating in the sky, lips pressing against together into a thin frown calling for his Pokemon to halt as he watched the 'floating string' swaying across his line of sight. Sirius glanced back at Growlithe and back at the string, his curiosity piqued.
"C'mon Growlithe we're going after that thing!"
"Glameow use Fury Swipes with Quick Attack!"
The feline Pokemon's eyes glinted at the command letting out a low but long purr arching arching his back up, preparing to bounce. The claws that the normal type had began to glow menacingly lunging forwards landing the attack upon the opponent and skidding to the side, circling the other in order to increase his speed and once again collided roughly; knocking the opponent down. Glameow eyed them with a satisfied smirk and remained standing in front, waiting patiently for newly given orders while keeping a steady eye upon the Pokemon before him. Clawing at the ground, Glameow's eyes continued to linger on his opponent, looking forward to continuing the battle.
The opponent jumped back onto it's feet looking agitated and angry, shaking violently glaring at Glameow.
"Be careful," Norman advised observing carefully, eyes narrowing slightly at the Pokemon before him. "I think it's getting ready to use Stun Spore, be on your guard Glameow make sure it doesn't come in contact with you!"
"Glammm!" The feline Pokemon remarked, with a sharp purr.
That seemed to make the grass type Pokemon even more angry as a furious expression appeared and began to shake wildly, yellow dust came from it's body shooting up into the air settling into the air and began to settled downwards. Glameow sniffed the air, shuddering making an attempt to dodge the attack pouncing from side to side trying to avoid getting hit by the attack. The longer the feline dodged the attacks the angery and more aggressive the attacks became, increasing in speed to the point where Glameow began to have difficulty in dodging it, coming in brief contact with one and felt his tail going stiff, a sharp cry came from the normal type's mouth wincing.
"Glameow!" Norman remarked, curling his hand into a fist as the opponent Pokemon started to approach the stunned feline appearing victorious. "Hurry use Cut attack!"
Glameow's eyes opened wide at the comment, his right hand glowed brightly turning into a sharp edge that glowed underneath the ray's the sun and lowered the arm slashing against the Pokemon causing the opponent to flew backwards, bouncing off the ground and rolled onto it's side where and laid there; twitching slightly. The normal type carefully walked over towards where its opponent was, raising a paw poking at the unconscious Pokemon, nodding with a pleasant meow proud of winning and making back to where Norman stood, nuzzling at his knees very happily. The gym leader smiled, kneeling down, petting the feline gently with an approving smile on his face.
"You did a great job Glameow," Norman praised, eyes flickered towards the Pokemon unclipping an empty Pokeball from his waist tossing it. The ball came in contact with the Pokemon and dropped to the floor, starting to wiggle back and forth before a ping echoed softly into the air. "Looks like I captured a new addition to our team Glameow!" He went over, picking up the Pokeball from the ground holding it within his hands and smiled. It had been awhile since he had gotten a capture usually leaving it to the much younger ones and Sirius, the adrenaline rushed through his body gripping at the Pokeball that laid in his palm and smiled as he clipped it to his waist.
Feeling all the anxiety that he had felt back at the centre the gym leader held out his Pokeball returning Glameow back to inside after wishing him a good job, heading off straight back to the city. A nice long refreshing walk with a Pokemon battle had been exactly what the gym leader had needed to clear his head; the capture of the Pokemon he had stumbled upon had been a bit of a surprise to him nonetheless Norman felt rather happy at the success of the capture. His hands slide into his pockets walking down the path that lead back to where he came from, a relaxed smile rested on his lips taking the time to admire the forest in which surrounded him, it was simply beautiful and had a more exoticness to it that Petalburg lacked, though that had been due to the fact that the Hoenn region was far more tropical compared to the Sinnoh Region. All regions were different from one another, with the slight exception of Johto and Kanto which were rather similar in feel due to being close to one another.
Suddenly, a downpour began drenching him within seconds. A surge of ire appeared, Norman had no problem with the rain and actually enjoyed it on the odd occasion even so, it did annoy him that it appeared so...
He blinked, turning around slightly noticing how dry everything looked slowly moving his body and gazing. It seemed that he was the only one that had been subjected to the rain.
"This is weird," Norman murmured to himself, brows knitted together looking around slowly. Was there something that was causing this, as far as he had been aware there were no water Pokemon about, a frown appeared on his face; maybe... perhaps there was a Pokemon battle going on? That seemed to be the most likely.
The moment when Norman resumed his walking, the ground began to shake without warning, causing him to stumble slightly knocking back into the trees holding onto it as a smoke cloud hung above him gaining his attention. His head snapped towards where the smoke came from, pushing off of the tree staring for several moments lunging forward with a mad dash; seeing smoke like that always meant there was trouble nearby. He didn't know what might have been going, a battle or even an accident occurring, even so, regardless of what had created the smoke, the gym leader couldn't simply walk away from it. Norman knew that perhaps he might have been overreacting to the situation but it was better to be safe rather than sorry, especially with Team Rocket being in the Sinnoh region.
His eyes darkened darkly recalling how the trio had attempted again and again to try and steal not just his daughter's Pokemon but his own as well. Discovering that they had come to the Sinnoh region had been alarm for concern, while they were not a major threat to his eyes the rest of Team Rocket were. Growing up in the Johto region, he had heard horror stories of all the vicious and terrible things that the Rockets had caused all over the Johto and Kanto regions before the initial fall of them several years ago. Unfortunately, he didn't know how or when they had revived but it had come to his knowledge that at least the rest of the gym leaders were aware which placed his worries at ease.
It didn't take Norman too long to discover the source of the smoke passing through the peering trees easily, by the time he had reached the place the smoke had already begun to fade away. His eyes traced over the area steadily gazing across the field landing upon a dilapidated looking house, worn down and barely holding together. It looked like the place had been abandoned for years, which meant it was the exact type of place where ghost Pokemon would hang out.
Norman shuddered at the thought.
"Ah!" His eyes landed upon the door catching the familiar black hair that hovered in the air, disappearing inside the house. It had been Sirius! Norman made an attempt to say something only for the words to leave too late, causing him to groan placing his hand over his face. The man had already entered the house.
Norman stared, his eye twitched, feeling torn between following in after Sirius or remaining exactly where he was until the man had returned from the inside. His body twitched irritable the longer he debated internally with himself, going inside a place where it had been crowded with ghost Pokemon. His throat went dry, his legs began to move on their own, heading straight towards the house with him breathing heavily and fearfully the gap between himself the place began to lessen with each step. He fought off the urge to begin shaking, inching closer and closer to the handle as he reached out, throwing the door open and peered into the darkness.
"I-it's... it's just a house," Norman stuttered out, swallowing thickly continuing to gaze at the endless darkness before him. "I-It's just a house. S-so what if th-there's Ghost Pokemon inside! T-they're just Pokemon after all!"
Placing one foot inside of the house the gym leader slowly began to enter the house; his senses remained tense glancing around the house in a fretful manner. His fears were stupid, that much the gym leader realized even so he couldn't help but be frightened! His left hand remained near his Pokeballs, on the floor had been various papers and a couch that laid on it's back looking like it had been there for quite a long time. It honestly made Norman wonder just how long this place had even been abandoned. Far beyond a mere five years or so, he'd wager at least twenty if not more. A frown rested on his face, and shook his head glancing away to the side.
Something must have happened in the house, something horrible. Whatever the reason was... the gym leader wasn't entirely sure if he really wanted to know.
"Where did Sirius go?" Norman frowned, moving slowly shakily around the place turning his head slightly. He knew that Sirius got a bit of a head start ahead so it made sense that the other probably ventured further into the house, much to the gym leader's cringe. "I... I can do this. J-just find Sirius a-and t-then I can leave here. E-easily enough!" At least that's what he told himself anyway, mentally repeating his words over and over again in attempt to place his fears at easy, though that was easier said than done. Norman didn't particularly like ghost Pokemon or environments where ghost Pokemon liked to hang out. The fact that he had forced himself inside of the house, and walk around within was a truly a feat for him.
Norman let out the most unmanly scream possible jump into the air and looked absolutely terrified looking at the bemused expression that Sirius had.
Sirius laughed, holding his sides. "Oh man I didn't expect you to scream like that! You should have seen the look on your face, Norman!"
"T-that w-wasn't funny!" Norman remarked, throwing him a glare recomposing himself. "N-Not f-funny at all!"
"I-I'm sorry," A small snicker escaped Sirius' lips as he smiled at him. "Really, I am sorry. I won't do it again, promise!" Once the laughing had ceased, the darker haired man eyed him. "So what brought you all the way out here? I saw you ditching us back at the Pokemon Centre."
The gym leader closed his eyes briefly, a stab of guilt appeared. While he had left willingly, Norman hadn't meant to make Sirius worry, or come after him for that matter. Which doubled the guilt; as a thought appeared, had he been the reason why the other had come to the forest; to look for him? His heart began to fill with a lightness as a small smile bloomed.
"Well, whatever the reason is, it doesn't really matter now." Sirius dismissed, with a grin on his face.
"Sirius..." Norman sighed, knowing that if... whatever they currently were, even though he was aware that Sirius kept some secrets from him the gym leader wanted to let him know that he understood. "Back when I was married to Caroline, my ex-wife. We... well, there were a few problems during our marriage. Along with my gym leader job I always have a greenhouse which I use for gardening and for my botany, unfortunately Caroline she... didn't really like the idea of me having it. She thought it wasn't right that man had and loved to garden, she went even as far as to threaten to get rid of it."
"Reminds me of my mother, they would get along splendidly," Sirius said, his tone sardonic and bitter.
The gym leader's lips curled hesitantly, he already knew there was bad blood between Sirius and the rest of his family due to whatever happened back home but he hadn't realized that it had extended farther to his own parents. "Do you not get along with her?" Norman asked slowly.
"She was a controlling, narrow minded, abusive banshee." Sirius remarked harshly, eyes narrowing to a glare. "She was far too obsessed with our 'status' in society and 'nobility of our blood' it sickened me. I ended up running away from home when I turned sixteen, because I couldn't stand living under the same house with the rest of my family. I ended up moving with my best friend; James Potter, Harry's father, before getting my own place a few years later."
"It's good that you got away from there," Norman commented sincerely smiling at him. "You and James must have been really close." A hint of jealous appeared in his voice, it was stupid but it had been obvious to him that Sirius and James must have been more than simple best friends. The leader knew he shouldn't be jealous as he had been married but... Norman couldn't help it.
Sirius stared, blinkingly rapidly before and barked a laugh. "A-are you jealous Norman?"
"No!" 'A little.' His brain remarked.
"Don't be," Sirius reassured him reading him easily. "James had absolutely no interest in me, he was far too much in love with Lily, Harry's mother, to bother with anyone else!"
The gym leader blinked at that, his lips tugged into a smile chuckling. "Is that so?"
"Trust me when I say that it was almost as if his world had revolved around her," The long haired man shook his head, rolling his eyes as a tiny smirk laid on his face. "At times it could be funny, others not so much. In the end he married her and had Harry, making me godfather to him."
"I see," Norman felt embarrassed at how easily his jealousy had been spotted before throwing it to the side, smiling at him. He had been glad to see that he had been wrong on his assumption now seeing that James and Sirius were far more like brothers than anything else, in fact after what Sirius had told him Norman couldn't help but feel glad that Sirius had a friend like James during his youth to rely on and trust. "But you've never dated?"
"Here and there," Sirius answered calmly, his attention turned away from the leader looking around with curiosity letting out a thoughtful hum.
It took all of his willpower not to frown at Sirius' reflective and empty answer, while Norman knew that his... whatever they were, had dated in the past and had no right to bring it up. That didn't mean he felt happy about his question not being answered. For now, the leader decided to leave it be.
"So what brought you to come in here?" Sirius asked, curiously glancing back.
Norman sighed. "I... saw you inside and went after you. So now that the two of us are here can we go back now?" His words were rush, the desperation of wanting to leave the house as quickly as possible was evident. He had already stayed longer in the house longer then he felt comfortable with, now that Sirius being found neither of them had any reason to stay longer. Logically in his mind, that meant they could return to the city!
"A... are you scared?" Norman kept his mouth shut, as Sirius began to grin; a wide grin. "You are scared! I never thought you'd be the type to be afraid of abandoned places!"
"I'm not," Norman threw him a glare.
Sirius retorted with an arched eyebrow. "Oh really now? Then why are you fidgeting about?"
"I-it's not the house," Norman repeated, truthfully.
"Then why are you shaking?" Sirius folded his arms against his chest, refusing to let the subject drop and stood in silence, waiting stubbornly for his answer.
The normal gym leader sighed, gritting his teeth. "I... don't like Ghost type Pokemon, alright? They give me the creeps!"
"Is that all?" Sirius started, the grin remained brightly approaching him and wrapped an arm around his waist pulling him closer, landing a kiss upon his cheek. "Don't worry Norman, I won't let those big bad Ghost Pokemon hurt you! Just stay by me and I'll protect you."
"Don't need protecting," Norman shot back, flatly. His cheeks tingled in embarrassment, his lips twitched in appreciation at Sirius' words. The sign of affection hadn't been something that he had been expecting to received from the other man, it wasn't unwelcomed nonetheless. When they were in private the two would exchange some forms of affection towards one another, but never anything so... forward. It seemed that perhaps they were starting up move to the next level of their relationship.
"So now that I'll be by your side, let's go and explore! It will just be you and me, c'mon it will be fun!"
The gym leader rolled his eyes. "... Fine."
"If it makes you feel better how about a bit of protection?" Sirius unclipped a Pokeball from his waist, giving it a toss causing a brief flash of light to illuminate the darkened room to reveal a rather plump blue Pokemon with large ears smiling rather happily. Around the bottom half the Pokemon was pure white with little white spot along the chest, and at the end of the tail had been a bouncing blue ball. "I think she should be enough, don't you think?"
"... When did you get an Azumarill?" Norman inquired, blinking slowly at the water Pokemon.
Sirius gave a nervous laugh. "It's... well, originally isn't not mine."
"What do you mean by that?" Norman's eyes narrowed at the implication of his words.
"The brat gave her to me around the time we were going to leave Oreburgh before the incident with the fossil Pokemon happened. He really didn't seem to care what happened to Azumarill all that much either, honestly the kid has a stick up his ass or at least something anyway." Sirius commented with a harsh snort, shaking his head. His expression seemed to soften as his eyes landed upon the water type Pokemon, a gaze of empathy and understanding.
Brat? Norman thought about it, before the person that Sirius had been referring to had instantly dawned on him. 'Paul.' Somehow that didn't surprise him at all, trainers like Paul seemed to dump their Pokemon whenever they didn't perform well enough in battle, either being trading away, handing them someone else or outright abandoning them without as much of a second thought. It disgusted him to see that happen to Pokemon, they were living creatures that deserved to be loved and cared for; to simply hear Azumarill had been given away out of a lack of empathy made him angry. However, the gym leader always saw the positive side of things, Azumarill had been given to someone that would treat her with kindness and love. "At least you're taking care of her now."
Sirius nodded with agreement, smiling brightly. "Mhm, Azumarill has been a big help to me. Haven't you?"
"Azuuu!" The water type cheered with a smile, nodding happily at Sirius.
"So I guess that explains the rain that I felt earlier then, you were battling with Azumarill." Norman concluded, shaking his head with a smirk on his face as he chuckled.
"Rain?" Sirius looked puzzled, in a very adorable sort of fashion.
"When I was heading back I felt water dripping on me," Norman clarified with a laugh. "I thought that it had started raining until noticing that I was the only one that had gotten wet, so initially I knew then that a battle had been going on not too far from my location. After that I resumed heading back to the centre and then I saw smoke..."
Sirius winced. "Sorry about that, apparently Scald and Gust attack don't go together."
"A Gust attack?" Norman blinked a few times, before snickering. "Where you battling a flying type Pokemon?"
"Erm... no," The man's lips began to twitch struggling to fight off what appeared to be a smile. "How about instead of beating around the bush I show you instead?" As he pulled out another Pokeball from his waist tossing it into the air, allowing another quick flash of light to appear revealing a small purple balloon like Pokemon floated in the air; it looked rather out of place with two beady black eyes and a yellow 'x' across it's face and yellow heart-shaped like objects attaching to it's end while on top had been what appeared to be a cloud. "Meet Driftloon!"
"It... looks sort of cute," Really Norman didn't even know how to respond to this Pokemon, it looked innocent enough. A few moments passed as his lips pressed into a thin but kind smile. "It's nice to meet you, Driftloon."
"Did I mention that he's a ghost type?"
At that moment Norman stared in horror letting out a small yelp of fear jumping back a few steps once more staring at the balloon Pokemon with horror. His finger pointed shakily at Driftloon chatting his teeth together, before anything could be said or done one of his Pokeball's opened revealing a flash of light which revealed a small little creature with puny legs, it's body had the shape of a mushroom with little green spots on it's face while the rest of it's body appeared to be a lighter shade of brown. It's eyes narrowed angrily at Driftloon taking an offensive stance. Azumarill sensing the disturbance between them jumped in front of the two holding out her arms at them, looking between the two Pokemon trying to pacify them both.
"What the hell is that?" Sirius asked, kneeling down at the Pokemon that came from Norman's Pokeball as he held out his Pokedex pointing towards it.
"Shroomish, the Mushroom Pokemon. Preferring to live in soiled forests, Shroomish will unleash spores from it's body in order to protect themselves from warm. These spores are capable of causing pain all over once inhaled."
Sirius raised an eyebrow, pocking the device. "He certainly sounds lovely to have around."
"Shroomish aren't really all that bad, they're native to the Hoenn region mostly. Especially within the Petalburg Forest, to be honest I've always wanted to capture one but never got the chance until now." Norman admitted sheepishly, with a grin on his face giving appearing abashed. He always had a soft spot for grass types even if his primary type that he trained were normal types, Norman felt rather happy being able to be able to train a grass type.
"Good on you then for finding one," Sirius seemed genuinely happy at that fact wearing a smile. "When did you capture this little guy?"
Norman stifled a snicker eyeing him amused. "Caught him before coming in... here..."His body shivered with fear remembering their current location beginning to glance around the house nervously. He didn't understand why Sirius even wanted to explore this place further, there really didn't seem to be anything inside.
"Hey," Sirius went over taking him by the hand, gripping it. "I'm right here remember? Nothing bad will happen, besides Azumarill, Driftloon and Shroomish will be with us. Right guys?" The three Pokemon let out happy and confident cheers at his question, as the other man turned to him and smiled brightly at him. "See? So, don't worry." His other hand slipped into Norman's free hand, holding it while facing one another. "Trust in me."
The gym leader stared at him hearing those words seemed to wash away all the anxiety and fear that he felt. Hearing the sincerity from Sirius, he knew that the other man would keep his word and gripped their hands back. "I trust you," Norman stated softly, a gentle smile rested on his lips staring deeply into the grey eyes. Taking the initiative he stepped forwards, tilting his head downwards and pressed their lips together in a soft, but quick kiss. Their first, true kiss. It had been different from kissing a woman; kissing a man had a rougher and harder feel, feeling a tingle of eagerness beginning to stir within him desiring to deepen the kiss but he resisted that urge.
Sirius hummed lightly, wearing a half-smirk. "Thank you," As he snatched a kissed of his own, lingering longer than the first one. "So shall we continue exploring?"
"If we must," Norman sighed reluctantly agreeing with him. "Though... I have to ask where are Volkner and Harry?"
"That was a great breakfast," Harry commented with a smile, strolling along the sidewalk with Volkner glancing up at the taller male.
The blond hummed lightly, nodding. "It was good. I still think that your cooking is a lot better. Nothing can beat homemade food."
"Erm... thanks," Harry's cheeks flushed, his mouth twitched at the compliment that he had received from him. He didn't really consider his food to be 'homemade' though the sentiment behind Volkner's words was appreciated and he felt happy that the gym leader held his cooking in such high-esteem especially since he didn't really think his good was all that good, he still took the other man's words to heart. "Should we had back to the Pokemon Centre?"
Since they had finished their meal, it made sense to the teen that the two of them returned to the Centre as he felt certain that it wouldn't be too long until Sirius had returned with Norman in tow.
Volkner glanced down. "I was thinking that the two of us should explore the city. I've never really had the chance too before, not even when I was a trainer. Actually, there's a statue located at the middle of Eterna City that resembles the Legendary Pokemon, Palkia."
"Palkia?" Harry frowned, and blinked. "Legendary?"
"Check your Pokedex," Volkner suggested with a soft laugh, looking a tad amused by the question.
Not wasting any time the wizard dug through his pockets pulling out his Pokedex. "Can you bring up the Pokemon known as Palkia?"
"Pokemon registered: Palkia. Searching records," The Pokedex beamed, the bulb's green glow began to flicker rapidly. "Searching... searching... Pokemon found. Palkia, the spacial Pokemon. A Water/Dragon type, only located within the Sinnoh region, it is said that this legendary Pokemon's breath is capable of stabilizing space."Oddly enough, the Pokedex did not show an image of the so-called 'legendary' Pokemon. Had it been because there was no record of it's appearance or because it wasn't in front of him? The teen wondered pressed his lips together, frowning thinly at the information that the Pokedex had given. It sounded that Palkia possessed a great deal of power, whether that this was truth had yet to be seen. Legends were capable of becoming obscured through history, becoming distorted and even intentionally being misleading. It didn't really surprise him to hear that a Pokemon was capable of doing that, from the encounters of the Pokemon that he had encountered so far Harry was certain that Palkia's power only mere the very tip of the iceberg.
"So," Harry began pushing his thoughts aside. "Is Palkia hailed like a deity here?"
"That's a good question, I was born in Kanto even though my mother was purely born in Sinnoh. Some people hail them as such, others merely view of them as power Pokemon, and few see them as just myths." The gym leader answered honestly, sliding his hands into his pockets. "I can't really give you an honest answer. Everyone's different. But to say that Palkia actually exists? I'd believe it. This world is filled with many mysterious that I doubt that we'd be able to solve them all. Though if Palkia exists that must also mean that it's counterpart, Dialga must also exist too."
The wizard blinked. "Dialga?"
"He's the partner to Palkia, being the temporal Pokemon." Volkner answered whimsically, with a small smirk. "Basically it rules over time."
Time? That made Dialga one of the most powerful Pokemon. Harry shuddered at the idea of going up against a Pokemon that had power over time itself, he had learned his lesson about time travel back during his third year. Once was enough for him.
"So... did you want to check out the statue, I mean we don't have to go if you don't want to; I thought maybe you know," Volkner shifted awkwardly, his cheeks turning a faint shade of red. "We could... go together, I thought it would be nice. After all it's just you and me right now."
The teen blinked rapidly at the suddenness of Volkner's words. "N-no, I mean sorry. Yes, I'd like to go. With you, I mean. It would be great, thank you Volkner!"
Harry was no stranger when it came to the attraction of men, having small crushes upon certain individuals such as Bill Weasley and even Cedric at the time during his fourth year. He never acted upon those feelings, having never truly spent time with either of the two long enough to strength the attraction that he held for them. Volkner, on the other hand was quite different from that, spending majority of their time together, when Sirius wasn't around. Needless to say, Harry truly enjoyed the blond's company, it... felt right. The two of them being together like this.
Though the teen would fully admit he didn't truly understand what exactly he felt for Volkner. What Harry could decipher from them was that whatever the feeling was, it was simply stronger then mere friendship. But to call it love? Harry couldn't help but wonder on that.
Another question had appeared in his mind, was Volkner even attracted to the same gender? Harry could tell that the blond wouldn't let just anyone get close to him, or open up to them. Yet, here he was spending time with Harry, talking openly and eagerly attempting to make conversation with him. It... Bewildered him, knowing how Volkner preferred to remain quiet opposed to speaking. It made his heart feel warm and light, seeing that the gym leader was willing to be talkative around him.
The two had arrived at the statue as Harry found himself staring up at the giant dragon sculpture in awe, it was a rather large statue. Bigger than the ones he had seen back at Hogwarts, holding a powerful atmosphere that practically pulled people in. In appearance Palkia looked quiet odd compared to the dragons that Harry had become accustomed to, before chiding himself since the statue of the Pokemon before him had powers beyond mere normal Pokemon; it made sense it would look far more different. Even so, Harry didn't really feel intimidated by the dragon and it wasn't because the Pokemon wasn't in front of him, he simply didn't. The strange 'padded' like armor upon the dragon's shoulder and the 'strips' along the dragon's body, the horns on Palkia's head reminded him of a Minotaur.
Even if the Palkia before him had been a statue the teen could almost feel the power that resonated within it, his eyes remained fixated on the statue slowly making his way towards it. Politely passing by a small crowd of tourists that took pictures of Palkia, walking away once finished.
"A –Ahhhhhh!" The shift of his weight changed, feeling his foot getting caught landing face first onto the ground. A sharp and quick cry escaped Harry's mouth throwing his head towards what had caused him to trip. It wasn't that painful. The teen pushed himself off the ground as Volkner came running towards his side, placing his hands upon his shoulders. "I'm fine, Volkner." Harry reassured the blond, with a smile, though he had felt rather embarrassed that he had tripped so easily.
Volkner's eyes widened a fraction, making his expression by coughing and averting his gaze. "I-I know that," The man remarked lamely. "Can you move?"
"I'm fine." Harry repeated emphasizing on the world, eyes glinted with bemusement while looking towards the object that he had tripped over. A brownish like object pointed out from the ground, covering underneath the earth. A tingle ran through his body, moving towards the object beginning to dig with his bare hands in order to get at the object; eventually managing to uncover the square like object. It had been rather light in terms of weight and small sized in terms of width. "What is this?" It was so tiny that the object looked like a small dot in his palm.
Volkner frowned, bending down in order to get a good look at the object. "I... have no idea. It's nothing that I've never seen before," The gym leader eyed him in amazement and wonder.
"Think we should call Professor Rowan?" Harry asked, staring at the small object in his hands curiously and worriedly.
"That might be a good idea, hopefully he'll relatively have some good idea of what exactly this thing is." Volkner looked at the object again, gesturing towards as placing his hand upon his shoulder beginning to guide the younger back to the Centre.
"It seems that the trainers that prevented us back in Jubilife city are here in Eterna City. What should we do?"
A woman wearing an odd space like uniform appearing from the darkness, covered in blacks, grey's and white standing confidently. "Simple. Not only have they interfered with Team Galactic's business but they also managed to defeat us. We can't let that go unsettled now can we?"
Jupiter merely smiled at the grunt. "I have been tasked by our leader to eliminate them." Her smile took a sadistic turn. "And I won't fail."
Chapter 14 end.
After a nice, and dreary long wait chapter fourteen has finally arrived! This chapter was actually finished around the time the first time X and Y had been announced; that said, I was unaware at the time of Azumaril's type change from water to fairy; for the time being I'm keeping it as a singular type but will touch up it's secondary typing carefully in order to keep up with canon. So please keep in mind for that!
Another thing has been brought to my attention; Harry DOES have his wand on him. It was by my fault that I made it sounded as if he didn't have one; that is a typo and is aimed to being fixed.
Chapters fifteen and sixteen are completely, both currently under editing. Please look forward to them!
Have a happy holiday and a happy new year!
Can anyone guess which trainer Azumarill belonged to?
Sirius' new Pokemon
Ability: Huge Power
Attacks: Hydro Pump, Water Gun, Ice Punch, Double-Team, Scald and Toxic.
Attacks: Minimize, Hypnosis, Disable, Body Slam, Astonish and Gust.
Norman's new Pokemon:
Ability: Effect Spore
Attacks: Absorb, Tackle, Stun Spore, Leech Seed, Bullet Seed.