"Hey, are you awake?"
Aidan numbly looked around, snapping out of his daze to see two similar men walking toward him. They were both in karate garb, for some reason.
"Come on, kid, give us a response already!"
Ringing was still in his ears, but slowly, he managed to sit up. "Uh... Yes, I'm okay." He forced out in a wheeze, head dizzy with the world dancing around him.
The guys seemed to relax, relieved. "That's good. We didn't know how serious your injuries would be, after the collapse. I'm Jiro and this is Saburo, my brother."
Even after the length of the journey thus far, Aidan still found himself uncomfortable in introductions. "I'm, um, Aidan. Aidan Smith. What do you mean, the collapse?"
His brain was fuzzy. What happened? It hurt to think. Groggily panicked, he looked for his pokeballs. Not on his belt. Not in his pockets- not anywhere! Where were they? Where were his pokemon?
"Whoa, calm down there, Aidan. Your pokemon are safe outside the cabin, no worries. We saw a signal, where we found you, after the cave collapsed. We brought you here 'cause you're like, completely one big scrape, man." The Saburo guy said, smiling.
The trainer looked down to see that he had gauze over both arms and his legs- he didn't feel hurt, however. Then, he noticed where some other gauze was. "Y-you saw-"
Jiro waved his hands, shaking his head furiously. "I-I used to be a medic, it's okay. We understand everyone has their own things to deal with, don't worry, Aidan. We won't tell anyone- even if we had someone to tell."
Aidan sighed, feeling some weight lifted off his shoulders. He was glad he didn't have to pretend- and these guys seemed nice. They didn't seem to judge him, either.
The little Verde in his head was urging him to move on, nonetheless. It wasn't good to stick in one place, anyway, and he didn't want to abuse the brothers' generosity. "I-I... I honestly can't thank you guys enough."
Jiro laughed loudly, filling the room with a pleasant noise. "No worries, kid. Gives us something to do besides the same old boring training."
"If Ichiro heard you say that..." Saburo murmured, shaking his head.
Aidan slowly moved his limbs around, feeling for damage. "Training?"
Jiro grinned from ear to ear, sitting proud. "Vice-captains of the Saffron Martial Arts Gym! We're here a lot for training, since a city isn't really the best atmosphere to get into it. We're prepping for our training camp."
"Even now? After the collapse?" Aidan asked, tried to remember. What happened? Why did the mountain collapse? He had been in there, right? For a long time. He had to have known what happened, or at least something related, right?
Jiro nodded vigorously. "Especially after this. We want to use our group to find anyone like you and help bring it back to its natural state. The ecosystem in there is probably all out of whack by now."
Aidan couldn't help but like the brother duo. They were good people- the type of people so good that it hurt the heart to be around them too much. Then he remembered- he still needed to see his pokemon, to confirm with his own eyes. Panic returned in a great mass.
In a quick, fluid motion Aidan rose and started to get up. "It was very nice of you guys but I'm alright n-" He was stopped mid sentence by his own scream of pain, pushing weight on his leg.
Jiro gently laid him back on the bed, frowning. "Sorry, but you're not going anywhere for a week at least, bud. Bed rest and fatty foods for you."
Jiro gave him a silencing look that he thought only his mother owned. "The only reason why you aren't feeling all the pain is the medication pulsing through you. Nurse Joy wasn't able to look at you in her office when I called her over to affirm your condition. Your right arm and leg may very well be broken, although we don't think its quite that bad. "
Aidan sighed, defeated. Inspecting his body, and peeking under wraps, it really wasn't pretty. More bruising than he had ever seen on his body, at least.
Legends, Aidan didn't think he had ever been so tired in his life. "Can I at least see my pokemon please?"
Jiro grinned, and just now were Aidan's eyes focusing enough to make out the pepper and salt wiry hair on his head, face, and arms. The guy was really buff- he could easily rival the mine workers from Pewter.
"Saburo's already grabbing your munchkins, don't worry. And most of your stuff is intact except a box, a bit of your medical supplies, your stove, and some of your tent rods."
Aidan's heart dropped. "Does the box have designs on it?"
Jiro nodded. "Yeah. It looks pretty nice- well, did. It's fairly bent out of shape now. Is it important?"
Swallowing the lump in his throat, Aidan bit his lip. "Yeah." He whispered in a tight, constricted voice.
The older guy seemed to get the message, his entire frame sloping down. "Oh... Sorry kid. A pokemon, eh?"
Aidan forced himself to breathe normally. "Yeah..."
Jiro scratched his head. "Damn... I, uh... We know a guy at Lavender Tower. We can ask him to bury it with respect, if you'd like."
Aidan didn't want to keep taking generosity from the nice brothers. But for something like this, Aidan wanted it to be done right. "Please. I'll pay you back, f-for all of this, I promise, b-"
"Don't gotta beg, kiddo. We have your back."
Aidan fell asleep while thanking Jiro, finding himself unable to keep his eyes open a second longer.
Aidan woke up feeling less alone- almost too crowed really, like when he and all three of his pokemon tried to sleep in his sleeping bag together. It was uncomfortably hot in a bearable, happy way.
Slowly drifting into awareness, he found himself being cuddled by three offenders. Elliot was resting between his propped arm and his stomach. Pickles was quite literally sleeping on Aidan's cheek. With extreme carefulness, he slowly, slowly ever so slowly sat up without waking any of them. Tucked in by Aidan's throbbing, numb left arm was something that looked like Fae. Smelled like Fae. Even snored like Fae, but it wasn't the same Fae from Mount. Moon.
Fae had evolved! Aidan was so tempted to dance in giddiness, but his body didn't seem quite up to a festive gig just yet.
She was taller, pudgier, with funny little wing things and a big tail. She slept soundly, and Aidan couldn't help but feel tears in his eyes. They were okay! No one was hurt, and they were all together.
Dusk had darkened the room considerably, and Aidan spent what felt like hours thinking, thinking.
They'd fight Cerulean Gym next. Water types. Nothing he could think of really owned a type advantage against the sleeping trio. None of them owned a type advantage move either but they were on their way to their second badge already! This was great, amazing, wonderful!
Aidan wondered if Gary had made it to Cerulean yet. He'd have to call Professor Oak and see how far his rival was.
He smiled at the thought of 'rivals.' It was much better than enemies, certainly. Aidan wanted to get the gym badge first, if only to see the look on Gary's face.
They could catch a pokemon or two near the city if he remembered correctly. Imagining the possible members that could join their team, Aidan found himself unable to care about reality if even for a moment. They were all alive and well, and that was all that mattered.
Aidan was running fast, running far as a familiar, unfamiliar voice boomed behind him with frightening force- all he knew was that he was running for his life.
Self-Destruct! He was screaming and screaming but it wasn't him who was hurt. Gary! He wailed, trying to alert his childhood friend with a voice that sounded muffled and slow, as though it were moving through water. Run, Gary!
Aidan was falling, falling, uncontrollably and wild, fear eating all his senses senseless and wind whistling with unimaginable volume to where he could hear practically nothing, see practically nothing for it was all black, blacker than any day or night.
He was crying, how could he fail Gary twice, how could he be so horrible to?
His mother is suddenly in the distance and he ran with tears in his eyes to his mother, because Aidan hadn't seen her in so long, he missed her so much that he never thought about her because he couldn't, or otherwise he'd go straight home. Mama! He cried, Mama! Her eyes were ruthless and cold, heartless and spiteful as they ensnared Aidan's very being, screaming and raging without a voice. How could you leave me alone? they asked with pain and loneliness that hurt more than any possible anger that his mother could've thrown at him.
Verde was laughing, like he had just told her the funniest joke in the world except it wasn't the joke she was laughing at; she was laughing at Aidan. Pathetic piece of shit! She said with a hysterical lilt in her voice. Coward! Skittles was smiling in her arms, nodding, joining in. Motherfucking coward!
Aidan was drowning, suffocating in the blackness, struggling against waves of everyone he knew.
The trainer was awake, suddenly, gasping for air with a heavy pressure on his chest.
"Ay', Fae, that Wake-up Slap is coming along now!"
Laughter was in the room, and Aidan was sitting up, careful of his more damaged arm as he scanned the room.
Saburo was the owner of the laugh, sitting next to the bed. Fae was the one who had just jumped off his chest and had woke him up.
Jiro was across the room with a Nurse Joy and a Blissey, on the phone with somebody. Pickles and Elliot were at the foot of the bed, concerned.
"Master Aidan, stop crying in your sleep! Do I need to beat you up and give you another lesson?" She may have been pudgier and taller, but the bossy attitude and agreeableness with violence was still just the same.
With every fiber of his being, Aidan wanted to hug her. The dream was still so strong on him that he was trembling, and he wanted to hold his starter, to remind himself he wasn't alone. But he found himself unable to move, stuck by the echoing words that rung true.
He was a coward and awful, dreadfully alive. He should've died in the explosion. He should've- because everything in the dream was true as a dictionary definition.
He left his single mother to suffer alone and unhappy without even so much as a good bye. He failed Gary by not being more persistent then, not taking the punch in stride, not being there more. And both Verde and Skittles could testify: he was an absolutely no good coward.
Perhaps it was instinct in a way that she knew what her trainer was thinking, or maybe it was from the relief that her trainer was in stable condition. It surprised the rest of the room except Aidan, who was preoccupied with his own thoughts- Fae unleashed everything she had been keeping inside.
Fae threw her new body at her trainer, slapping him over and over with tears in her eyes, until both Saburo and Jiro tried to remove her to no avail. They started to look for Fae's pokeball, and the Blissey began to approach, to remove Fae itself.
Smiling and trying not to cry, Aidan realized why Fae was upset and he hugged Fae with his good arm, who quickly began to sob into his chest. She was crying and wailing like a newborn baby, her angry strength wilting suddenly and she sank into her trainer.
"YouweresohurtandIwassoscaredandyou’resostupid-" The rambling continued on until Aidan kissed her forehead, which had an immediate effect, calming her down.
"I'm sorry, Fae. I'm so sorry. It must've been awful for you, huh?" He held the sobbing clefairy with tenderness and glanced at Elliot and Pickles who sat immobile. "Well, guys? Get over here."
The brothers and Nurse Joy were kind enough to give them some space as they cried it out none too prettily, hugging with snot probably in a lot of strange places.
It was a while until all four of them were able to speak completely sentences without hiccuping or sobbing, but Aidan managed to piece together what happened after a little investigating.
Fae evolved while pulling the unconscious trainer away from the mountain, sending her new Magical Leaf attack into the sky. The brother's discovered him after seeing the light that came off the leaves, and was treated to. While he recovered, the brothers sent the three of them to 'play' with their pokemon.
Their ideas of 'play' were different, to say the least.
They also gave him some idea of what happened before the explosion.
They had been battling Rockets- he remembered that much- and then there was the scientist guy. It had all been going pretty well until the Rocket ordered the voltorb to Self-Destruct which made an explosion. Aidan was extremely lucky to be in the condition he was, apparently.
On the fourth day, Aidan found himself between a rock and a hard place.
"Look Aidan, we have to call your guardians. They'd want to know your condition." Saburo pressured the boy as they had been eating lunch, watching Doctor Hoot leisurely.
He almost choked on his soup, barely forcing it down with little tears in his eyes as he stared at Saburo. "I-I'll pay the medical fines, I promise! It'll take a while, b-but-"
"It's a miracle that Nurse Joy hasn't put your case in the system yet. We couldn't at first because, well, you couldn't even talk. But we know your trainer card is bogus after we ran it. Come on, kid. You know we only want what's best for you. Is your life at home that bad?"
Aidan remembered his dream vividly, her soundless voice echoing in his thoughts. "I-It's not..."
Saburo's face now looked just as wrinkled as Jiro, frowning deeply. "Aidan... I- we won't let anything hurt you here. I promise."
The trainer shook his head, feeling his plans all start to unravel. "It really isn't. I left without her knowing- my mom- because I didn't want to hurt her more than I had to. I... I can't fail, Saburo. I just can't."
Gary's screams were written into his mind like they were engraved in stone- the real, heart breaking and soul tearing screams from the Night. "Aidan. Please. What happened? What's been happening?"
He gave Saburo a modified version of his reasons and his journey- very, very modified. Really, all Saburo could know from it was that Aidan's journey was to help a friend, and that he even left his single mom to go. He even made a fake identity to be able to become a trainer- Aidan had wanted to do this badly, after all.
Saburo was quiet for a long time, sighing repeatedly. "Damn it, kid."
Aidan startled, having returned his attention to the show to divert his thoughts from the nerves. "Huh?"
"You're a good kid, Aidan." The guy rubbed his temples, looking even older than Jiro now. "I can't send you home if you've done all this just for your friend. But… I can understand that strange clefairy of yours a little bit."
Aidan sat there for a moment, to process that he wasn't being sent home. "Y-you aren't sending me home?!"
Saburo gave him an unhappy look. "Unfortunately I am not, no, although I need to consult Jiro and Nurse Joy first, you lucky punk."
While the younger karate brother went to talk to said people, he gave Aidan a phone to call anyone he needed to with.
It was past dinner by the time he managed to work up the courage to call Verde. Verde probably wanted to know if he made it out the mountain, right?
The dial took a while, and Aidan breathed in deeply, waiting for his friend's voice.
"Hello, this is Leyla Emory speaking."
Shit. Aidan realized he hadn't been paying attention as he dialed- he didn't know Verde's number by heart. That's why he had dug through his pack for the unopened journal that was resting unopened on his bed.
He hadn't heard his mother's voice in so long, he almost gave in for a moment. But he watched Pickles sleep soundly against the window pane, while Fae and Elliot once again were being sucked into the Hoennese dramas. Determination filled him once more.
"Hello, I was hoping to discuss with you about your interest in our lord and savior, Giratina?" He made sure to adjust his voice, fidgeting with his cast.
"Oh! I was hoping to talk with you again! I have new questions for you. Here's one: how can I benefit from worshiping a dark god like him?"
Aidan wanted to cry from relief, hearing the good humor in her voice. She always asked weird questions. "Why, his unconditional love as we're split into parallel molecules through his Distortion and enter heaven and hell simultaneously, after he arrives."
He was happy he brushed up on it while in Pewter, so that he was at least able to bullshit the act well.
They weren't able to talk long, but Aidan was glad to hear her. Very glad.
Next up, he fumbled with his book single handed to find her number scrawled in it.
Jiro walked into the room to watch television, and was also able to experience the extremely loud, angry babbling Verde from the call."Wherethehellhaveyoubeenyoulittleshit!? I'vebeensofuckingworriedwhyhaven'tyoucalledearlier?! WherethefuckareyoulittleshitI'mcomingtoseeyourightnow-"
"What, Aidan?!" She screeched, and he grinned, imagining her as a banshee.
He took a deep breath, reminding himself that the dream had only been that: just a dream. If he kept telling himself that, he'd eventually believe it. Probably. "I'm okay, you know."
Jiro shot the boy an incredulous look. "Define okay?" He quipped, throwing a pillow at Aidan.
"Hey..." The trainer mumbled, giving Jiro a grumpy look.
Verde's voice was a little strangled. "Aidan, who was that?"
"Oh, um, you heard that?" Aidan asked, somewhat surprised and dreading the explanation he'd have to give and the lecture that'd come after that.
Her voice was becoming more terrifying by the minute. "You know what I have to do, don't you, Aidan?"
"You really don't have to, Verde. I'm okay- everything is going okay."
"Oh, but I must."
He sunk into the bed, wishing he had some way to run. "You've already got my location tracked, don't you?" Aidan didn't miss the mystified look on Jiro's face. "Please be nice, Verde."
She giggled, reminiscent of his dream. "I'm always nice, Aidan."
"Bullshit." He muttered, knowing he was going to be seeing her soon.
"What was that?!" She shrieked, and he sighed.
"Pretty please, just grab an inn in town or something."
Aidan hung up, rubbing his temples, unsure if he was happy or horrified by the fact that Verde was coming. He needed to warn Jiro, Saburo, and Nurse Joy about the rude visitor. Jiro took the phone that Aidan offered, looking concerned. "Who on earth was that?"
The trainer placed his face in his hand, feeling more than tired enough to sleep by now. "A friend? My boss? My sister? Something like that, I guess?"
"O... kay then. Do you want us to ready a room for her? We have more than enough space if she doesn't mind the area."
Aidan chuckled a little bit darkly. "Oh, she won't mind in the slightest, Jiro. But I can't keep accepting your hospitality- well, this goes above and beyond hospitality. I can't take advantage of your generosity forever."
Jiro smiled, ruffling his hair. He liked to do that a lot specifically because it annoyed Aidan. "We don't mind, Aidan. It goes our way too, y'know?"
Aidan nodded quietly, realizing what the old guy was saying. Jiro had been married, but his wife was taken out of a comatose state a few years back after a car incident. No children. Saboru had been both engaged and a dad, but their baby son had died in a miscarriage and they separated.
Apparently misfortune seemed to strike their family a lot, and they found a lot of people like Aidan on happenstance. In fact, they found most of their gym members this way, and it was probably a reason why it prospered so much.
Aidan felt bad that he wanted- or felt that he needed to leave. These two old geezers were some of the kindest people, and the two even joked that they were brotherdads now, and were eager to help with any problem that Aidan had.
How could such nice people exist? Aidan wasn't entirely sure, but he was entirely certain he lucked out by meeting them. He just hoped and prayed that Verde wouldn't give them a bad time- he really honestly didn't want her to. It was silly, but he hoped that they could become friends, or at least agreeable with each other.
Fae and Elliot hopped into the bed after their show ended, and Aidan fell asleep well in his uncomfortably warm pile.
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