Sunlight streamed in through the bedroom window, waking Yellow. Still drowsy, it took her a bit to sit up. She'd been through a lot in what felt like only a few days to her. Just the day before she returned from the Battle Frontier in the Hoenn region, and before that, she had gone after Team Rocket to save another DexHolder, Silver. The time between had been much longer, but it didn't feel that way due to having been a stone stature for that that amount of time.
Her plan for the day was to relax for a while and do some minor training in case her friends needed help, even if that meant hurting other Pokemon. She had to get stronger in case her friends needed help. Her Pikachu, Chuchu, was still sleeping next to her pillow. She petted her Pokemon's head, eventually waking it. Chuchu smiled, and waved its tail that ended in the shape of a heart.
"Let's go swimming later, okay?"
Chuchu ran on ahead, smelling the flowers. She sniffed at a red flower before backing away from it, warning Yellow it was the certain kind of flower that only grew in the Viridian Forest that was extremely calming to those born in the area. Her ear twitched and she sniffed the air. Deciding it was unimportant, she continued to follow Yellow for a bit before going back the flower, picking it and running off. She came back after a little while, having gotten rid of it.
They eventually came to a pond that had large rocks that served as stepping stones. Chuchu ran on ahead and Yellow followed her, not really minding that her clothes got wet. Chuchu splashed her and evaded Yellow's attempts. The Pokemon jumped onto a rock and Yellow followed, slipping off and back into the water. She stood up, laughing.
After a few more minutes she remembered about the training session she planned on, and there was a cave nearby that was difficult for those who didn't know about it to find. She trained there before, and it was useful for learning how to battle in concealed areas. Her clothes dried during the walk there.
Yellow entered the cave and it just felt like someone was there. She slowly walked forward, ready to retreat if it was needed. A startled cry and a loud splash from behind caused her to scream and turn around. Lance, a former enemy, was picking himself up out of a small stream that ran through the cave. What was he doing here?
Yellow offered a hand and Lance backed away to a wall behind him, lifting himself up onto a ledge that jutted out and ran along the sides of the cave, staring at her with what could have been wariness from his distrust of humans. "How do you know of this place?"
"I come here all the time."
"The wild Pokemon here disagree."
"I've been gone for a while. I can't help it. Along with the other DexHolders I was turned to stone." Why was she telling him this? "Is it okay if I train here?"
He sighed softly. "Go ahead." He watched her as she sent her Pokemon out.
"We'll be training here for a while. Lance can watch if he wants to." He didn't have any reason to kill of humanity, and because she had defeated him he had, at least, a little respect for her.
Eventually she had to leave when it started to get late.
Some of the Pokemon watched her as she left. It was slightly unnerving, but she hadn't been around for a while, and the Pokemon probably didn't recognize her right away. It was like that the entire walk out of the Forest. Green greeted her just outside of it.
"Did you sense something strange?"
"No, like what?"
"Like something watching… it's gone now. Where were you?"
"Training." That was simple enough.
She continued to visit over the next few days; sometimes she'd find him training outside. If it was inside, he'd keep his distance by sitting on the ledge that went around the cave.
"Why are you always up there, anyway?"
"I like it up here."
O-kay. She set a paper bag on the ground. "In case you get hungry later." It didn't seem like he had that much else to eat, anyway. As it was getting late, she had to leave.
After a while he seemed to get irritated by her visits.
"Why do you keep coming here?"
"I won't stop until you answer my question." She had asked why he hated humans, but he never answered.
Why did she leave so late? She looked up at the darkening sky. Thunder could be heard rumbling in the distance. Hopefully she would make it…. She paused, sensing something approaching. She jumped when an Aerodactyl almost suddenly came flying down from an open space in the tree tops. It motioned for her to get on. Lance must have sent it for her…. She climbed on the Pokemon and it took off, being careful with its speed.
It took minutes to get to the cave. Just as they entered inside a downpour started without warning. Lance recalled his Pokemon, thanking it.
"You're hurt?" Yellow indicated to the spot on Lance's arm where a dark stain was.
"Let me treat it! If it gets infected!" she fought back tears.
Lance sighed. "Fine."
Yellow put her bag on the ground and brought out a small first-aid kit and set a cloth on the ground. She took out a tube of antiseptic, a roll of bandages, and cotton, setting them on the cloth. Lance pulled back the jacket sleeve, wincing a bit. Yellow cleaned the cut and put antiseptic on before bandaging it.
Pleased, she put everything away. "Sometimes I find Pokemon that are injured so bad I can't heal them, you know, like an infection or a broken bone. They're usually Pokemon from the Forest, like Caterpie and Pidgey. Five years ago after a battle I treated Red-" she abruptly halted, her face turning a bit red.
"You talk about him a lot. I know what happened back then. I found out from some of the Pokemon that watched."
The rain didn't even ease by nightfall. The cave was lit softly by Chuchu's Flash. Yellow had brought food and offered two sandwiches and a bag of cookies to Lance. He took the food and moved way somewhat before eating one of the sandwiches, listening to Yellow.
"I often have picnics in the Forest with the Pokemon. Even the Beedrill don't mind when I visit them. Sometimes they even bring me honey. It's different from the kind from the Sinnoh region, which is made by cute Pokemon called Combee. I recently found Ratty's family here and they're really happy he's stronger now. He was the first Pokemon I caught."
Lance had finished the sandwich and bit into a cookie, looking surprised to find it was filled with crème.
He set half of the food to the side, probably saving it. It began to rain even harder, and thunder rolled even before the lightening stopped flashing. Lance gave a soft sigh of irritation before sending out his two Dragonair. The two Pokemon curled up next to each other, expanding one wing each so it would go under the chin of the other.
Yellow stared curiously. She figured there really wasn't a place for a bed there, and this wasn't what she expected. Lance lied down on one of the wings that would serve as a "bed". That Dragonair laid its other wing over him as a blanket.
"Do you always do that?" Yellow asked.
"I usually have only one out but that's when there's a place to sleep outside."
Yellow climbed on the other Dragonair, finding it, like the other, really didn't mind this and actually kind of enjoyed it. She petted the wing. "Soft…." It didn't take very long for the side effect of using her abilities that day to come. She fell into a deep sleep within minutes.
Soft cries woke her. She didn't really know what it was until she saw Lance shifting restlessly, his face showing discomfort. Tears were sliding down his cheeks. Yellow crawled over to him. "Lance…?" That didn't get a response. She looked around and spotted her bag nearby.
One of the Dragonair used the tip of its tail to carry the bag over to her. Yellow dug around in it and found what she was looking for: chocolate candy bars. She unwrapped one and broke it in half, giving each to the Dragonair in thanks of what they had done for her.
Lance bolted awake, breathing heavily and just starting to realize the dream hadn't happened.
"Why are you crying?" Yellow asked.
"The reason I hate humans," he said, pausing to relax enough.
Yellow handed him one of the candy bars to him. "Chocolate makes you feel happy."
One of the Dragonair snickered, making its thoughts loud enough to be detected easily. "Lance knows that well enough. If he could he'd live off it."
"Dragonair!" Lance glared at his Pokemon as he unwrapped the chocolate. He slowly ate it. "I have that dream often. It's more of a reoccurring childhood memory. When I was a little kid I found two of my Pokemon in a polluted lake. I tried to heal them, but Magikarp was already dead and I couldn't save Dratini."
"Your Pokemon died…" That made a lot of sense why he hated humans.
"Yes… I come here every year at this time. I feel like I'm respecting them that way. I have something important to do. You can come if you'd like."
Yellow followed him to the outskirts of the forest, a place she never explored before. She looked around in amazement. An old building covered in vines and ivy sat a distance away.
"Pokemon live there now," Lance explained, "it used to pollute the Forest and now it serves as a shelter."
They came to a nearby area that was very peaceful. Two stones with writing engraved into them were at the edge of the clearing. Graves…
Lance knelt down in front of the two graves. "Hey guys. I'm a little late, I know. I tried to get here sooner, but I had to get someone out of the storm that came," he waved Yellow over. She sat down next to him. "This is Yellow, the one who stopped me from killing even the humans that love Pokemon… and reminded me about the friendship I share with them, and that's a lot better than taking revenge on others to heal the pain of past events. You knew what I wanted to do was wrong and called to her to make me understand, didn't you? I thank you for that. If I hadn't been stopped, so many more Pokemon would have been hurt and would be sad. I also know that not all the Trainers I thought I could trust only acted that way with new Pokemon, just so they could live." He began talking about the events of the past year. He eventually asked Yellow if she wanted to say anything. She shook her head, not knowing what to talk about, "I'll come back next year. Maybe by then I'll finally accept others. I know I say that every year…."
Yellow watched until Lance finished talking. They soon began to leave, not speaking until they were out of the area.
"They were my best friends. We were going to become the strongest team and never be defeated. Now, I know that would be difficult but you can't blame a seven-year-old for thinking that way."
"You were only seven?"
"Yes. I met Agatha and Lorelei shortly after that. Lorelei nearly lost her Seel to poisoning and Agatha saved it with her Pokemon. Only if I would have met them earlier…."
Yellow stayed silent before changing the subject. "Can you watch me train?"
"I have nothing better to do."
Disappointment crossed Yellow's face as the attack failed again. "Try again, Chuchu."
"Isn't that attack currently only used in the Sinnoh region?" Lance asked.
"It's beginning to gain popularity here. And it'll protect her from Ground-types."
Lance walked over and knelt down next to Chuchu. "Don't worry about failing. Image what you want to do and then try again."
Chuchu stared questioningly but tried it anyway. Several blades of grass slowly tied together.
Yellow hugged her Pokemon. "You did it!"
"She still needs practice," Lance said. "They're still loose," he untangled one of the knots with ease. Chuchu grinned evilly when he stood up and tried to walk forward but tripped from one of the knots of grass.
"Try again, Kitty. Solar Beam!"
Kitty's wings barely glowed. It sighed. Lance walked up to it.
"Feel and gather the energy before concentrating it into an energy beam."
Kitty looked doubtful and still tried it, anyway. Its wings started to glow and a beam of light came from each, hitting and blowing up a large rock.
Yellow attempted teaching attacks to the rest of her Pokemon and Lance gave advice on how to use the attacks and the Pokemon learned quickly. Yellow left at sunset
Yellow wanted to practice more the next day, this time with attack combos.
"If you hate battling why do you train?"
"Just in case I have to help my friends."
He frowned a little at that. Right, he had those trust issues because of…
"Omany, Spike Cannon! Chuchu, Thunder Bolt!"
The electricity knocked the spikes away from their target. That wasn't the effect she wanted…
"Have Chuchu use the attack while she's on Omastar."
"Omastar's shell will protect him from the attack. Like Cloyster, attacking the shell is nearly pointless."
"Okay… again, guys!"
The spikes became electrical and hit the target, damaging it badly. That continued for a little while and Yellow thanked her Pokemon once the session was over. She also tried other attack combinations such as using Spike Cannon with String Shot to make the thread wrap around the target. At times she unintentionally raised their attack power when she got excited. Later, she happily talked about other battle strategies before getting very tired and fell asleep against Lance's shoulder.
A light rain began to fall. Yellow looked around frantically. Because of the Megavolt she didn't see where he had gone. There had been a lot of tunnels inside of Cerise Island's volcano, so maybe he found a cave…? She sent out her Dodrio, Dody, and had it run around the base of the volcano, finding nothing. The Pikachu that rode with her pointed towards a cave that was higher up, and a ledge slowly extended from the base to past the cave.
Yellow nudged her Pokemon and it ran along the path, stopping in front of the cave. She got off, leaving her Pokemon to watch. Lance weakly lifted his head, staring at her. He was leaning heavily against the rocks and the wall behind him for support. He was covered in open wounds. He glared at her. "And I thought you were will humanity, yet you try to kill me."
"Why can't you understand I'm only trying to save Pokemon? Humans hurt Pokemon, they're not their friends!"
"Lance, not all humans are bad, some of them are really nice!"
"You're too soft," he slowly got up, gritting his teeth in pain.
Yellow ran over to him and helped him stand. "Let's talk about this later, okay?"
He gave an irritated sigh but didn't seem to protest.
Dody cried out in alarm and a Beedrill flew into the cave, pausing before it flew at Yellow. Lance shoved her behind him, bracing himself for the attack.
Yellow woke up from being shaken awake.
"What's wrong?" Lance asked, looking a bit worried. "What happened?"
Yellow just began to cry, upset by how her dream would have ended. Lance wrapped his arms around her.
"It was only a dream, it never happened," he continued to repeat those words and several others in a low, calming voice. Yellow calmed down. She felt so safe in his arms…. She looked up at him, seeing he was alright, unlike in the dream. She relaxed and fell back asleep.
Yellow continued to bring food over with each visit, usually bringing dry, portable food. Lance more than willingly tested each new cookie recipe. They were always soft, and he never said anything about that.
"What would make them better?"
"More chocolate." That was the most common response. That was for the regular cookies. He never said anything about the crème filled ones, probably because he couldn't find anything that would improve them; he preferred them even when Yellow created chocolate-chocolate chip cookies.
Yellow was surprised to see him sitting on the cave floor near the ledge where he usually sat when he accepted the food. He had also started to be more open with her.
"I thought you liked it up there."
Yellow practiced attacks with her Pokemon, sometimes asking Lance for advice on what would help. Chuchu watched from a short distance away, eating a cookie. After she finished it she spotted an apple, pointing to it. Omany fired one spike, knocking it down. Lance tried to catch it but grabbed too late. His reflexes were off…. Chuchu caught it, giggling.
"Do you know what happed to the berries?" Yellow asked.
"I looked earlier, but I couldn't find any."
"Maybe some Trainers came here really early and took a lot of them without noticing."
"I did sleep in pretty late."
They began to head towards the cave, talking about various subjects. Yellow brought cookies again, filled with plenty of chocolate.
She got to the cave in the mid-morning, announcing her presence. No response…. Yellow walked inside and found Lance still asleep on Dragonair. He must be tired… Yellow entertained herself by talking to Dragonair and her Pokemon, coming up with possible future strategies. It wasn't until a few hours she was concerned. Lance wasn't showing any signs of making up soon. She gently shook him awake, moving away once he woke up. "It's past noon."
"What?" he sat up.
"You must have been tired last night. Look what I found," she brought out a large Oran berry and tossed it to him.
Not only did he grab for it after it landed with a soft thud on Dragonair, but his reach wasn't even close to where it had been. He slowly ate the berry, enjoying it. After finishing it he slid off Dragonair, momentarily losing his balance.
"Are you feeling okay?"
"I'm just having an off-day."
"Are you sure?"
"Everyone has them."
"True…" her expression gave away what was on her mind.
"Is something going on?"
"I'm going to visit some friends over the weekend. I won't be back until Monday."
"I'm not going to be leaving until later next week if that's what you're worried about."
"I'll bring back some of the candy from where they live. It's really good."
They spent the rest of the day training, and when she had to leave it seemed to upset Lance a little.
She was leaving for three days. Hopefully it was just an off-day….
She arrived in Lilycove City the next morning thanks to a Gardevoir's Teleport. "Thanks, Ruru."
The Pokemon just nodded and led her to a small café next to a hotel. Sapphire waved her over. Ruby was repeatedly tying different scarves on his Castform to find "the right look".
"How do you like Hoenn so far?" Sapphire inquired. "Isn't it beautiful?"
Yellow nodded. "It's very nice here." She began wondering how much Lance would like it. He had told her he only used man-made things that made life easier if he had to, preferring nature instead. It would be interesting to hear a conversation between him and Sapphire on the subject.
Ruby gave a slight whine of frustration. His Castform didn't look like it was having that much fun.
"Tie the green one around its head like a headband," Yellow suggested.
Ruby tried that and nodded slightly. "Much better." He got up. "I'll get us something to eat." He left.
Sapphire had been staring at Yellow since a light breeze came up. "Have you been seeing someone?" she sniffed. "Dragon-type?"
Yellow forgot that Sapphire had a good sense of smell, one that was far better than a regular human's.
"Just a friend. We're not actually seeing each other. He's not a DexHolder." Not as far as she knew…
"Is he from Viridian City like you?"
"Do you like him?"
Yellow blushed. "Not in that way. We're only friends."
Ruby came back then, placing a small plate of desserts in front of the two girls and himself. "There's a Master Contest tomorrow. I'm going to compete for fun."
That made Yellow think of what Lance would say about Contests. He probably wouldn't like them in the aspect of showing off the Pokemon, but maybe he would like them because Contests demonstrated the bond between Pokemon and Trainer. She'd have to ask him sometime.
Over the next few days Yellow couldn't help but think if Lance would have liked to come along. She picked up a bag of candy at a small shop in Lilycove that was known for their candy.
"Maybe you'll visit again?" Sapphire asked. "You can bring your friend if you want."
"It'll depend on what he wants to do."
"True." She and Ruby waved as Ruru Teleported Yellow back to Viridian City.
"…Lilycove City has a museum, too. There were even a few paintings of Dragon-types."
Lance slowly ate the candy. He agreed it was good, but it was easy to tell he enjoyed to cookies she made even more. Yellow looked up at him and her eyes widened. It looked like he had a fever….
Yellow didn't come back until Monday afternoon, talking happily about her trip. The candy was good, but in truth, Lance preferred the crème filled cookies.
Yellow looked up at him before panic flashed in her eyes. "Are you sure you're okay?"
"I feel fine. I spent a lot of time looking for berries yesterday."
"Is it okay if I go back home and come back later? I learned a new cookie recipe and I want to try it."
"If you want you can just come back tomorrow."
The instant she got out of the Forest she broke into a run. She had to get help! To her relief Green was outside of the Gym, watching his Pokemon spar. He looked up and barely got to say anything when Yellow clung to him, sobbing and trying to speak.
Alarmed, Green ordered his Pokemon to stop and got to eye-level with Yellow. "What's wrong?"
"Who is it?"
Green's eyes widened. "Did he hurt you?" Lance was highly dangerous, and he wouldn't hesitate to hurt Yellow, badly.
Yellow shook her head. "He's acting a bit weird and he's lying that he's fine."
Green looked up at Golduck. "Show me those memories." Seconds later images of Lance's current state popped into his head. "That's strange. It's possibly he doesn't know…" he got a small container from a bag lying on the ground and called Pidgeot over. "Go and get a water sample from the waterfall." The large bird nodded and took off.
"I recognized the cave he's been staying in. I have an idea of what might be making him sick."
"Is there a way I can help him?"
"We can figure that out after we know what's going on."
Pidgeot returned, giving the now filled container to Green. Yellow stared at the Pokemon in surprise.
"Pidgeot can fly faster than twice the speed of sound," Green explained, heading back into the Gym.
Yellow followed him.
A small room connected to the battle field had several machines, one of which Green used to test the water sample by setting a needle-like instrument into the container. After a few seconds the results came up on a computer screen and Green frowned. "Thought so. You know the various powder attacks Butterfree can use, right?" Yellow nodded. "Together, they cancel each other out but create a powerful numbing affect. I don't know what is causing Lance's sickness, but this is preventing him from noticing."
"How do we help him?"
"He won't want to come with you anywhere. He's going to have to be tricked into talking something that will knock him out."
"It's our only choice. Is there a certain food he seems to really like?"
"He eats whatever I take to him. Especially the cookies."
"They're filled with chocolate crème."
"That will have to do."
"Isn't there another way? I don't want to…"
"He'll catch on otherwise. He'll detect the plan if you try to use Butterfree's Sleep Powder."
"It feels wrong…."
"Someone is trying to weaken him," Green set his hands on Yellow's shoulders. "He'll understand when it's over."
"What if I put the wrong amount in? I… he…."
"I'll worry about that."
"I brought some cookies," she held out the bag. "The kind that are filled with crème." She didn't eat any of them, knowing well enough she would fall asleep, too.
He bit into the cookie and looked a bit puzzled. He found out…. He apparently decided it was unimportant and continued to eat the rest of it and the other cookies.
Lance noticed her quiet behavior and gently turned her face towards him. "Is something wrong?"
"Not really." What excuse could she make that wasn't really lying and believable? "I think Green is starting to wonder why I come here so often. I told him I come here a lot, but I don't think he believes me."
Lance finished eating the last cookie. "You're a DexHolder, of course he's concerned. Especially because you still have a lot to learn." He frowned slightly at how that didn't seem to be it. "Yellow-!" he fell to his side and stared up at her, hurt and confusion in his eyes. "Why…?" he closed his eyes, falling asleep.
Yellow stared at his sleeping form, tears beginning to fall. "I'm sorry." She looked up as a Charizard came. It walked inside the cave, folding its wings in and lowering its head, having Yellow read its thoughts. It was Green's, and he had sent it to take Lance and Yellow back to the Gym. It picked Lance up, supporting him in its arms. Yellow climbed onto its back. She didn't trust herself to speak.
Lance was lied on a thick quilt, lying on his stomach as a nurse from the Pokemon Center treated his now bare back. The injuries covering his back and along his arm had gotten infected, and the nurse didn't seem too worried. Yellow talked to him as she repaired the tears in his clothes.
"Fortunately it isn't as bad as it could be. He's going to need plenty of rest," the nurse said.
Yellow nodded. "I'll make sure he gets that."
The nurse began treating Lance's arm. "It looks like an injury was reopened along with the new one."
"He got it a while back and I treated it," Yellow said.
"You did a very good job."
Green walked into the room just then. "Silver and Blue will be over later. They know about him and don't mind helping take out whoever is after him."
Yellow nodded and looked at the nurse. "You won't tell anyone, right?"
"Of course not. It would only put him in greater danger if the wrong person was listening," she tied off the bandage on Lance's arm. "That should do it. The bandages will need to be changed every day until the wounds heal." Yellow nodded automatically and blushed at her response. The nurse got up to leave. "He's lucky to have you as a friend."
Yellow stayed with Lance for the next few hours, talking about various subjects and would pull a blanket back over him when he changed positions in his sleep. She looked up as Silver and Blue entered the room. Silver's eyes widened slightly at seeing his former teacher. Blue didn't seem to care that much.
Green spoke up. "We still need to come up with a plan."
"We just stay there until he comes to the cave thinking he's going to capture Lance and tie him up. We'll worry about getting information out of him later," Blue said, making it sound as if it was the simplest thing in the world.
"I'll come up with a back-up plan just in case," Silver said.
Green nodded. "Be careful. Whoever it is may be dangerous."
"We can handle it," Blue said.
"Keep her safe," Green told Silver.
Silver nodded with a little more eagerness that he meant, having slightly misunderstood what Green meant.
For the rest of the day –or night, Yellow really didn't' know now- Yellow stayed near Lance, only leaving if she had to for several minutes before returning to find he was still asleep. She only allowed herself to sleep lightly if she had to. Understandably, Green closed the Gym until Lance recovered.
Yellow looked up at Green, worried. "It's been a long time."
"He's just sleeping off the combined effects of the powders. He should wake up later today or tomorrow at the latest."
Yellow relaxed and nodded a little.
"Clair, his cousin and the Gym Leader of Blackthorn City, called earlier. She wants him to go there after he wakes up. He'll be safer there."
"Okay," Yellow forced herself to stay awake.
"Yellow, you need some sleep. Go home and get some rest. I'll come and get you when he wakes up. You've been awake for over thirty-six hours."
"It's nice of you to stay with him, but right now you need to get some decent sleep."
Reluctantly, Yellow got up, pausing only to brush the back of Lance's hand in a way to tell him she was leaving. His hand twitched a little in response.
Back at her small house, Yellow sat down on her bed. She was tired, but she really didn't want to sleep, not until she knew Lance was awake and feeling a lot better. Some comfort came in the idea of making special cookies as a way of apologizing. She flopped to the side and fell asleep instantly.
She woke up early the next morning and almost right away she began working on the cookies. Little extra chocolate and chocolate chips imbedded inside the cookies and the crème was the next kind she had been planning on giving him, so she made those. By the time she was finished and allowing the cookies to cool, Green came over.
Yellow followed him and when she saw Lance she couldn't help but run and hug him, sobbing as she tried to speak. She calmed down after a little bit, realizing then that Lance was hugging her back. "I was so worried about you…."
"I'm fine now. You wouldn't have been able to convince me that I needed help."
"Green said you have to go away until you get better. You'll come back, right?"
"It'll have to be when Clair thinks I'm healthy enough."
"Can I come to Blackthorn to see you?"
"If you want to."
"I'll bring lots of cookies."
Green spoke up. "Silver just called back and said someone wants to capture you. He's currently getting the information to why. And Clair said she'll be here to get you in fifteen minutes."
"Is it okay if I come to Blackthorn right away? And maybe come every weekend?"
Lance nodded. "I'll send Aerodactyl to get you."
Yellow smiled and hugged him tighter. "I'll go and pack a few things," she stood and ran off.
Even after tricking him, he still trusted her, like how she trusted him. Over the last forty-eight hours she had learned something: she loved him.