This was supposed to be a story about façades but it turned into a legal drama. I didn't mean for this to happen. I don't understand. I'm sorry.

Gold was perceived in a fascinating manner. His exterior showed a cheerful, carefree, even somewhat stupid young man. Fortunately for him, humans had a tendency to be shallow creatures.

Gold wasn't a bad kid by any means. He was genuinely kind and friendly, a bit of a flirt, even. He had a positive demeanor and was definitely no sore loser or sore winner. He had a sort of charm about him that cheered up people in his presence. Lyra used words like "glittery" to describe his personality, but he snorted and asked her if she could think of a "gayer way to put it". She usually could.

However, certain things made Gold's blood boil. Specifically, the boy that declared himself his rival the moment their eyes met. Team Rocket just the same gave him an itch all over his skin that he just couldn't seem to scratch.

Violent and abusive people just made Gold, well, angry. Every time he saw a human or Pokémon being hurt in any sort of way, he became so inexplicably upset that it took all of his will not to lose complete control of himself.

He didn't mind so much when Silver pushed him around when they were younger or when the Rocket Grunts had roughed him up a bit. He could take it. What he couldn't take was seeing the hurt on the face of a kicked Pokémon or the sound of a little girl begging someone to stop hitting her.

Gold kept himself in control for a very long time. He thought he could keep himself in control for the rest of his life because it was always a stranger getting hurt. Gold was an unbelievably loyal person and he swore that if anyone ever hurt one of his friends, he'd kill them without a second thought.

Gold and his childhood friend had traveled to Goldenrod City together one spring day, Crystal making Goldenrod puns the whole way. ("Get it? Because it's your name! Haha!" "Yeah, thanks for clearin' that up, Crys.")

They reached the city by mid-afternoon and Gold announced he was "just gonna to run to the Department Store real quick". Crystal chirped that she'd be waiting in the Pokémon Center and they went their momentary separate ways.

It didn't take Gold more than ten minutes to buy what he needed (to this day, he doesn't even remember what it was). He strolled on over to the Center, stopping confused when he didn't see a cute girl with teal pigtails anywhere in prospect. He first thought that perhaps she went to the bathroom or maybe she was just messing with him, but after fifteen minutes of waiting, he went to ask Nurse Joy.

"Oh, yes," the attendant recalled. "She stepped out about twenty minutes ago. Apparently with someone she knew?" Gold thanked her politely and headed outside with his hands shoved deep in his pockets. It's not like it wasn't unusual for Crystal to get distracted and wander off, but if she'd been gone for twenty minutes, she definitely would have sent him some kind of message. With a sigh, Gold leaned on a nearby building and pulled his PokéGear out. He only had one message. It was from his mother, asking if they'd gotten there safely. He typed back an apathetic "yeah" and looked around. Goldenrod was huge- the biggest city in Johto. Crystal could have been any number of places.

Gold first thought that maybe the person Crystal had gone with was Whitney, but he crossed that off the list upon realizing Nurse Joy probably would have told him if it was Whitney. He figured he'd try Bill, then.

However, Bill was hard at work and Gold guessed he hadn't seen sunlight in days. He excused himself awkwardly and left Bill to his computers.

His second destination was the Flower Shop. He knew Crystal was fond of flowers and though the Shop was adorable. However, to his disappointment, the woman behind the counter said she hadn't seen any teal-headed girls in the Shop that day.

Gold wandered a bit and finally gave in and texted her a "where are you?" message. He watched his feet as he walked, not paying any mind to the change of scenery around him.

He only looked up when he head a man shout in the distance. The blood drained from his face and he realized he wasn't the New Bark Town anymore. This was a big city and he was definitely in the wrong neighborhood. He quickly turned to head back the direction he came, but he heard that man shout again. Not only that, though. Oh, no. There was a girl, too. And Gold was pretty sure he recognized that voice. He could feel his blood start to boil, even though he tried his best to not make assumptions. Still, he pushed forward and picked up his pace.

He started to break when he heard the distinct sound of someone crying. He was starting to wind down a path through tight passages and behind buildings, speeding up every step until he was in a full-out sprint.

He didn't have to take in the scene for very long before he lost control. All he knew was there were two men, there was blood, and Crystal was crying on the ground half-naked.

The first punch sent one man's head into a wall, dislocating his jaw. When the other tried to grab the boy, Gold swung his elbow back so hard that he felt the ribs crack. While he recoiled, he smashed the first man's head back into the wall repeatedly, making terrifying growling noises the entire time. And when he glanced back to see Crystal half sitting up with tears in her wide, watching blue eyes, well, everything went black after that.

When he came to, he was staring at crumbling, blood-speckled brick and listening to soft sobs. He turned to see that he'd apparently called out Typhlosion at one point, as Crystal had her arms around him and was crying into his fur. The Pokémon stared at his Trainer with a strange look in his eyes, then closed them, nuzzling the girl's head with his snout.

Gold looked at his hands.

The were scraped and bleeding, but there seemed to be a lot of excess. The were also spotted with dirt and wow, did his face hurt. He touched his cheekbone and winced. Yes, there was definitely something wrong with his face. And his shoulders hurt, too. And his ribs. And he was missing a tooth? He touched his lips, with his less bloody hand, only to find that his mouth was bleeding too.

He looked down at the ground. A mistake.

There was blood pooled everywhere and there were two mangled masses that were definitely people. One of them was missing almost all the skin on the right side of his face and his head was dented in several places, in particular just above his right temple. The other one's arm was pulled out of its socket and his throat was slit. They were both stabbed in several places all over their bodies.

Gold didn't even realize he was holding a knife until he dropped it, taking one step back.

Crystal and Typhlosion both looked up at the clatter. Gold's eyes were wide and his breathing was shallow and he did all he could not to vomit.

He just killed two people. He just killed two people.

Crystal got to her feet with the help of Typhlosion and when Gold got a good look at her- how her shirt and bra were torn to ribbons, leaving her breasts fully exposed, how she was bruised and beaten, how she limped when she walked, how there was a fluid running down her legs… when Gold got a good look at her, he instantly regretted nothing. How dare they hurt sweet, chipper Crystal like that.

Gold was the one that called the police.

"I killed two men."

Crystal hugged him tightly when he got off his phone. She was breathing raggedly and shaking, mumbling something that sort of sounded like "thank you". He hugged her back carefully so he didn't startle or hurt her until there was the sound of a Pokéball opening. The teens both looked to see Typhlosion seated next to a very confused Meganium and an open Ball. When the Herb Pokémon took in the sight of his Trainer, he galloped over and Crystal collapsed, hugging him around his neck. Meganium cooed sadly and rubbed his cheek against the girl's head.

Typhlosion went to stand next to Gold as the sirens approached.

The police were fully prepared to arrest Gold but Crystal sobbed the whole story to them, practically shrieking in hysteria when they still put him in the back of a car with his hands cuffed behind his back. One of the officers attempted to return Typhlosion, but he struggled and refused ultimately, roaring loudly in his Trainer's defense. They allowed Gold out of the car again to calm his Pokémon, telling him softly to return to his Ball. He cried out in exasperation, but was ultimately returned and Gold was escorted back into the cab.

Crystal was still crying hysterically when a female officer draped a jacket over her shoulders and gently directed her to another car. Meganium followed closely, his eyes narrowed, prepared to strike if anyone were to harm his vulnerable Trainer.

Despite still being a minor, Johto law had him charged as an adult when he fully admitted to the murder. He was put into custody until his trial. His mother dropped a dangerous amount of weight in the couple months time period. Lyra's father was constantly checking up on her. For awhile she was so inexplicably angry at Crystal and blamed her for putting her son in jail, but that changed quickly after she'd seen Crystal crying and screaming the most bone-chilling scream she'd ever heard whenever anyone but her Pokémon got too close to her.

Lyra was Gold's most frequent visitor. She was sure to remain somewhat positive, assuring him that Professor Elm was taking good care of his Pokémon and that his mother was still functioning even though she was so sad and lonely. She'd fill him in on Crystal's current status. She didn't really need to after a certain point, though. When Lyra spoke quickly and kept eye contact through the window, that meant Crystal was doing well. When her voice was soft and her eyes wandered sadly, that meant Crystal was having a rough time. Gold mostly nodded and hummed softly during her visits. Something just felt off.

Gold was watched over quite closely in the prison. He had a cell to himself, but because of his young age and smaller size, his was extremely vulnerable to the other prisoners. He knew he should have been uncomfortable being surrounded by grown men that were convicted felons, but he somehow couldn't get himself to care. There were a few instances when some people got a bit too close for comfort, but thankfully he was left mostly unscathed.


He didn't realize how much control he'd lost until there was a fight. There had been plenty of fights since he'd taken residence in the prison, but it was usually two "tough" guys asserting their dominance or whatever, so Gold didn't really care much.

It was different when those "tough" guys all ganged up on one person.

His blood boiled to evaporation and he started swinging his fists, using his small size and speed to his advantage. However, these were not the dirty thugs that destroyed his best friend in an alleyway. These were five big criminals. One of them grabbed Gold by the ankle and down he went. He was absolutely positive he was going to die then and the fact he didn't mind much alarmed him.

The guards arrived then.

Crystal suddenly became very strong as the trial approached. She was the witness. And she would be damned before she allowed Gold to be imprisoned for protecting her.

The day finally arrived.

There were far too many witnesses in Gold's opinion. It felt like called up every person he'd ever spoken to, which was pretty much all of Johto and Kanto. He didn't really care what happened by that point and he was pretty convinced his family and friends were just wasting their time trying to defend him.

However, there were a few times when that itch came creeping up the back of his neck even though there was no violence going on. But when they had the gall to bring up Giovanni in order to discredit Silver he had to grind his teeth and swallow hard to keep himself composed. Gold could tell he was clawing at himself behind the witness box and just looked so utterly shattered and Gold's anger was so white-hot even after the judge told the jury to disregard it. Even though Silver had once been one of those people who had made him tick, he couldn't deny that the redhead had changed quite a lot and he hadn't given Gold an itch in quite a few years. He actually liked to consider them friends- good friends, even. He was pretty sure Silver did too, even if he would die before he admitted it.

The prosecution had no further questions for Silver when they realized they couldn't use his father against him.

The second time the itch crept was when his mother was called up as a witness. At first they simply asked her about the text message regarding Gold's safety and she told them she worries about him because she's a mother and mothers worry about their babies. Then they brought up Gold's deceased father. His mother just stared wide-eyed as they went on about the lack of an "adult male figure" and he just couldn't take it. He snapped a "shut up!" and the judge brought down the gavel. The prosecution then dismissed his mother from the witness box. She returned to her place in tears.

The third time was when Crystal was brought to the box. She explained the story with remarkable calmness, answering the prosecutor's questions with an air of maturity.

He turned that against her.

He tried to convince her that this was not the way a rape victim acted and if she really had been raped, she should have been a mess. Her façade broke at that and she told him she was a mess and she was trying to keep herself composed so she could properly tell her story. Gold defended her and that was all she wanted to get across. She didn't think crying was necessary. So the prosecutor simply told her once again she simply wasn't acting like a rape victim and that's when Gold's neck ticked and he almost screamed but Silver beat him to it.

"That's bullshit!" The gavel slammed down. "No!" Slam! "That's fucking bullshit!" Slam! Slam!

The judge told him to sit down and be quiet. He did shut his mouth but he stood there and stared at the prosecutor for a good five seconds before taking his seat again.

The court was called into recess until the following day. Gold went back to prison.

The trial carried on for another two days until the jury reached the verdict that Gold was innocent and the murders were out of defense. Everyone was thrilled except Gold. He just felt… empty. Ever since that day in Goldenrod, he felt like part of him was missing.

He spent a lot of time in his bedroom after that. Months, actually. Lyra came to visit him often, just as she had done when he was in prison. Occasionally, Crystal was with her. His childhood friend had lost a great deal of weight and she looked tired all the time. She told him she was going through counseling. When he asked her if it was helping any she just gave him a sad smile.

Silver awkwardly showed up once. It was late summer and hot, but he was in long sleeves as always. He stared at Gold's floor as he stood out-of-place in his bedroom, murmuring about how everyone was worried about him.

"It's just that no one else will come out and say it. Lyra thinks you've lost your "glitter". Whatever that means."

Gold just shrugged.

Silver left in a frustrated huff after ten minutes of silence.

When Gold finally started to go out again, he still wasn't "right". Crystal stayed close to his side and Lyra did her very best to keep them both at least pretending to be happy.

One day, though, Gold saw a boy of about ten picking on a girl as he was taking a walk through Violet City. His neck ticked. When the little boy pushed her over, he was right there.

He picked the kid up by his shirt and gave him an earful and left with a harsh shove.

A mother smacked her son upside the head a few weeks later. Gold slapped her across the face.

He sat under his covers that night, hugging his knees to his chest.

Gold had become one of those people. He had become one of those stupid fucking violent people who made him itch and tick. He hated the cruelty so much that it made him cruel. He hurt people. And the worst part of it was that he just couldn't help it. A month or so later, he knocked a shelf on top of a guy in the PokéMart when he started manhandling his wife. He saw it and just stopped thinking.

That cheerful aura he once expelled had turned into one that made people afraid. He was just so angry all the time.

Lyra was right. He definitely didn't glitter anymore.