Gary hadn't meant to snap at Aidan. Honestly, it was a reflex at this point. And they had been getting along so well, too. . .
He had just been so angry at first- so damned angry that just about everything made him see red. But Gary knew he couldn't be angry like that- it really wasn't good. It hurt people, and no matter what he tried, it didn't help. So he distanced himself, and pretended he was strong and didn't care- and it was what worked, as bothersome as the facade could get.
Some days, he could even believe he was strong, and didn't care. But soon enough, he was always brought back to the reality facing him.
Even though through the years after the incident Aidan had been nothing but supportive and kind, Gary still was a total ass every time he saw Aidan, including now. Why couldn't he change?
Somehow, his grandfather and sister seemed to love him all the same- although, what choice did they have, after everything?
Gary pretended to leave after refusing Aidan's offer to go to the lab together. He had actually wanted to say yes in the first place, eager to patch their shaky relationship, but his instincts kicked in. It had honestly always been his plan to make up with Cl- Aidan. From the get go.
Ever since the day Gary had punched the little Clover by the bench, he had thought about his actions. Regretted them. They'd only gotten worse from then on, too. At school, he completely ignored their existence, and even had made fun of them a few times. But what was worse was ignoring the bullying that had resulted from that.
Not more than a few months after the funeral, Clover had withdrawn from school.
The more Gary wanted to apologize, the harder and harder it got. When Gary couldn't, he got resumed to his old frustrations and took it out others.
Gary watched Aidan from behind a tree, barely able to make out the conversation between Aidan and his mother. Aidan panicked- and started talking about grimism, of all things. Gary chuckled under his breath and was stricken with gradually building guilt.
Gary left the amusing scene to go to the lab first, finding his hand on Clare's ball.
Gary knew he was going to make things right between the two of them, he just had to- but, he was also going to enjoy the journey freely, or it was all a moot point, to be tied down by the past.
Aidan woke up in the darkness, finding himself just as lost as he had been when he went to bed, after long hours of taking watch.
He hadn't come up with any good plan, and he couldn't procrastinate forever. Aidan was fairly aware of Elliot's constant stare, quiet concern as the shell watched the trainer's every move, every breath.
The trainer took Elliot aside as water boiled on the camping stove, Fae and Pickles playing some sort of game. He made a mental note to remember to come back quickly- he wasn't sure Fae or Pickles would last long without an accident.
"What's on your mind, Aidan?" Elliot asked, relaxing in said guy's arms as they checked the perimeter. Aidan still wasn't sure what he wanted to tell Pickles and Fae. They were good pokemon, of course, but they weren't as mature as Elliot. The shellder was apparently about four years old, according to the pokedex, and had been through a lot.
"I..." Aidan started, almost losing whatever he had been going to say. "I don't think I'll tell them the whole truth, Elliot. What do you think? You've dealt with this way more than I have."
The shellder absentmindedly curled his tongue which had been laying limply over Aidan's arm. "I... I'm inclined to agree with you." There was a long pause, to the point where Aidan was jolted when Elliot continued. "Thinking back to when I was little... I think I would've liked it more if my mom had sugar coated it for me. It made me so scared having reality forced on me, I couldn't even function for days on end. I think protecting Fae and Pickles is a good call for now, Aidan."
The two walked in silence for the rest of the perimeter check, listening to a symphony of odd sounds and strange noises that had accompanied them so long, it was more like silence than its own independent concept. At first, it annoyed Aidan tremendously, to where he couldn't sleep as they got farther into the cave, but now it wasn't anything he thought of, anything discernible at all.
"Master! Come look at this, Master!" Fae said with excitement, her tiny body alight with motion and expression, as the trainer and shellder arrived back to the campsite. Aidan balked at first, so startled by the sudden discovery.
He stared suspiciously at Fae. He wouldn't be surprised at all if it had been her handy work. Or Pickles, either. The little wooper had been becoming increasingly erratic. Pickles hobbled closer to Aidan with a big grin, teetering and dancing, his little body unable to keep still. "Pickles found human! Silly human! Don't they know sleep time passed?"
It had turned out that the human was a dusty toned girl- or young woman, about Verde's age. The girl slept for 22 hours straight, although Aidan was no longer able to the tell the hours apart- it was only what the time on the pokedex said. As he and the small crew spent a long day trying to entertain themselves, nursing and tending to the girl who appeared to be a geologist, or something of the like.
The trainer, who did most of the nursing, couldn't help but daydream in wonder- what on earth would a pokemon-less girl do deep into Mt. Moon?
It was strange, to say the least. The girl seemed to be quickly getting over a fever, and had plenty of injuries on her body. They were scabbing over, but two of them were deep and one on her leg looked particularly nasty- Aidan kept it clean, but he was pretty sure it was going to need something more than that.
Aidan hadn't meant to fall asleep for most all of his watch shift, but he had anyway, almost immediately after he started it. Although, to his credit, he had been up for 24 hours tending to a girl and watching his pokemon simultaneously which was a harder task than he originally thought.
Fae wanted to explore, or mess with the interesting human, and Pickles would not, for a singular second, leave Aidan alone. Somehow, Pickles managed to speak more in those hours than Aidan thought possible- Aidan just about cried for joy as Fae used Sing to make the wooper sleep.
Oddly enough, the roles of Fae and Elliot were reversed, with the latter being completely unhelpful and short with everyone after noticing Aidan continually avoided bringing up the issue. Even when Elliot tried to bring it up to Pickles and Fae, Aidan made a distraction to postpone the discussion.
The trainer was scared.
He knew Fae would at least think of doing something stupid, and that Elliot would probably do something similar with that new bravado, and he wasn't sure what Pickles was thinking... well, ever, really. But Pickles certainly was the last thing he wanted near anyone like the Rocket guy.
In fact, the more he thought about it and meticulously mulled it over, Aidan was becoming less and less certain about fighting the Rocket group, even if it was just one or two.
They were dangerous if that guy had been just a grunt, and it wasn't like his pokemon followed his orders to a tee... or even a whole lot of the time, really. Not that he'd want them to, either, but he couldn't count on luck or risk taking. Not... Not again. He thought, feeling gloom infect him in a almost subtle manner.
He wouldn't do that ever again. Ever. And picking fights with the grunts of a crime syndicate? That was most definitely risky and not smart.
And yet, the thought of the Rocket group- there had to be more or them in the cave- they sickened him. They were awful, and terrifying. If a grunt would train a mere rattata like that, just what on earth did the higher-up's pokemon go through? He was certain that whatever they were doing was not good, not good in the slightest. What would they do with the money from the moon stones?
What were they planning?
Aidan was conflicted. He had a burning desire to know what they were up to. He was terrified to think of what would happen if no one were to stop them. But he was also terrified of what they could do. He couldn't put his pokemon through that. It was a trainer's job to make the right choices to guide their team, and he most definitely didn't want a repeat of the gym battle.
Not to mention Aidan wasn't the smartest guy out there, nor the strongest. His pokemon weren't either, and most of his team were so young- well, Aidan was pretty young for a trainer as well. They had no advantage, no trump card, no backup in case something went horribly wrong.
But Elliot wanted his help. Hell, Aidan promised it, and he didn't like going back on his promises, especially ones that meant a lot. And obviously it meant a whole lot to the shellder. But what was the point of avenging Elliot's father if Elliot, or any of them died in the process?
"Master Aidan! How long do you intend to keep day dreaming?"
Aidan looked up from the jagged rock that he had taken to staring holes into, and took a look at the situation around him.
The girl they had been nursing was up. Up, and trying to grab the brooding Elliot from behind…
"Are you trying to eat my shellder?!" Aidan squeaked in horror, quickly nabbing the unhappy Elliot before anything could happen.
The girl's complexion seemed normal, although her eyes were glazed over, not fully awake. Dried drool was at the corner of her mouth. "I..." The girl trailed off, staring intently at Elliot. Aidan swore it was a small miracle to wake her up into an alert state, which involved coffee, a long stretch of silence, and returning Elliot before the girl tried to eat some uncooked shellder.