(all right then...the finale to the saddest fic I've ever done. Grab your tissues folks, we're going in!)
Chapter 3--Lost Like This
In that moment, I felt everything fall apart.
My entire life, I never imagined how badly it would hurt. But what shocked me the most was the fact that, at first, it DIDN'T hurt. I was stunned, and could feel nothing. Then it hit me like a tidal wave. Giovanni, the one man I ever loved, was gone, and never coming back. I would never see him again, never look in his eyes again, never feel his kisses again...
Oh, I felt like the entire world was coming apart around me, leaving me alone in an endless void...even now, I feel that way. My whole life, I have been alone, then I find the one person who can fill that void, that total emptiness, and he is taken from me in one hellish night.
If only I had never left him! I would have taken him from there, comforted him in his time of loss.
But who shall comfort me? No one. I am all alone, as I have always been.
In the still of the moment, I fell to my knees, totally overcome with the total agony. I remember being there, slumped over on the floor, the radio continuing indistinctly in the background, with only one word in my mind.
I do not recall how long I remained there, but the stagnant grief was puncuated by Tabitha's return with a full report of the invasion. The quiet murmurs on the channel came to an immediate halt at the sound of her voice.
Only a few details reached my broken mind. He had fled down a hidden corridor, pursued by Officer Jenny. She had overtaken him, and he went for the .44 he kept in the inner pocket of his jacket...
But she was quicker.
The official report said that he had died instantly, but I knew better. I knew that he had lain there, stunned from the force of the shot, unable to fight against the fast-approaching darkness, and finally, feeling the end nearby, he whispered my name. And then, after a life of power, all power left him.
I could see the whole thing in my mind, even down to the Viridian symbol on the officer's uniform. I wanted to go to him, or even to stop the bullet, but I knew it would be futile. The report finished, I turned off the radio.
It was all over. I knew that very well.
Services were held a few days later at a small chapel within sight of the Viridian Gym. Few Rockets attented, too shaken to appear in public, I presume. The far and few between who did attend all seemed very shaken, not only for Giovanni, but for themselves as well. With his death, the Rockets were dead as well, leaving behind only a few forlorn and lost individuals, on their own for perhaps the first time in their lives.
I was the first one in attendence, and the only one at the viewing. I had to see him one last time, but I can understand the reluctance of the other mourners. In their minds, they had failed him, and did not wish to face him ever again.
He lay in splendor, surrounded by items of personal significance. As per his will, he had been outfitted in his formal Rocket uniform, with the tell-tale R insignia on the left side, and the Earth Badge pinned to his right lapel. His hands were folded across his chest, the Rocket signet ring on his left hand glinting in the dimmed lights. His face bore his usual expression, but I had never found it more beautiful.
I remained with him for the entirety of the viewing hour, kneeled over him, admiring him, and remembering him. When the chime sounded the end of the time, I cupped his face in my hands and gently kissed him for the last time, then closed the casket lid, sealing him away from the world forever.
Within a few minutes, mourners began to file in. I recognized the two Rockets that had been present at Shamuti, but they did not seem to notice me. They kept to themselves, overcome with emotions unfamiliar to their usually unconcerned manners. Giovanni had told me a great deal about the two of them, and the silly Meowth that lead them.
Although most of the mourners were in the pairs that marked them as Rocket members, there were two people, besides myself, there alone. One was a young woman with brown hair and a simple nature about her, seated in the back row of the chapel. The other was none other than Officer Jenny herself, in her dress uniform. Despite my initial thoughts, I found I held no ill will against her. She had been simply doing her job, as he had. I could not fault someone for that, for if I could, I would have to fault my dear Giovanni as well. I knew full well that he would have taken her life just as quickly as she took his.
In the few days since the raid, I found myself thinking many thoughts along those lines. So many people trying to characterize my departed love as evil, heartless, cruel...I had to defend his memory, for I alone knew the truth. I alone knew the real man. These liars knew nothing, nothing about him, about me, about anything. He was simply doing his job, as I was at Shamuti. Those children who thought they saved the world from me will never know that. I have no doubt that they think of me in the same way that the common people think of Giovanni. They think of me as a greedy, thoughtless man with no regard for anyone but myself, but they do not know one iota about me. They do not know anything about my life, my pains, my dreams, nothing.
I knew what I was going to do. I had been planning it from the moment I knew that it was all over. Let them think what they will, I cannot defend myself against it.
The service was short, with a few Rockets giving brief eulogies. The two from Shamuti tried to deliver a prepared speech, but were crying too hard for the words to be coherent. I could not help but be stung at the bitter injustice. These two were very much in love, that much was obvious, and they were allowed to be together. Perhaps a more poetic man than I would have torn them apart, but I could not bear to do so. I had enough pain in my own life these past few days for the entire world to feel, I did not wish to be the cause of more. Let them have each other, and perhaps someday, they will know the heartache that true love brings. But until then, I wish them the best.
Finally, one of the Rocket executives, on leave from prison, read the details of Giovanni's will. The majority of his posessions were left to the lonely woman that I did not know, 'for reasons known only to her and myself,' as the will read. I tuned out of the proceedings, drawing inward, to my thoughts of Giovanni and what I would do for him. Given the opportunity, I would have gladly taken his place. He was the world to so many, and no one would miss a lowly collector. I would be soon forgotten to all but him, a sweet memory in the back of his mind, and that was all I aspired for. I did not delude myself. He would have recovered from the loss, turning to his position of power as solace from the pain. Gradually, I would be nothing more than a fond episode of his life. But that was all I wanted. Collectors are never remembered for very long, I knew that my entire life, and I never wanted to be anything more.
But my sad daydream was broken by the mention of my name. My dear sweet Giovanni had left a large amount of his estate to me as well. But I could not concentrate. I would have no use for any of the grand things he left behind, not in this lifetime.
Before I knew it, the service was over. The man who had read the will silently handed me a Pokeball with a note attached. "Jirarudan--Giovanni also left you this. It is the crowning glory of his collection." I turned to the man, but he had already been lead off. With a note like that, I knew it had to be the prize Persian that Giovanni kept with him always. I smiled, despite myself.
On my way out the door, I chanced to bump into the aforementioned Meowth. At first, he simply whispered "'Scuse me," and started to walk away, but I stopped him. At least someone would be happy in this world. I removed the note, and held the Pokeball out for him to take. "For you. It will be yours, and may it bring you luck." Wide-eyed, he accepted it. From the stories Giovanni told me about this cat, he would be more than overjoyed to discover that he was once again the 'top cat'.
With nothing further for me to do, I left. After this, he would be cremated, with his ashes to be recieved by the mysterious woman. There was nothing else for me, here or anywhere.
It was evening when I left the chapel, the sun just beginning to set over the top of the gym. I sighed, looking at it one more time, and reliving all the memories of better days.
I had retrieved everything I needed from my ship earlier in the day. There was no reason for me to return there ever again. The two items I had with me seemed to burn as I walked, their importance overwhelming. In my breast pocket lay the Ancient Mew card that started my entire quest; and at my waist hung but one of the relics I had collected during that time, the famous blade known to the world as Scizor Claw. It had once been owned by a legendary fighter whose name has been lost in the annals of history, as mine shall be.
The entire event was mapped out in my mind. It had to take place on the spot where he declared his love for me. I made my way to the crest of the hill overlooking Viridian Lake and gazed in awe at the breathtaking view. The sun was almost gone from the sky now, the brilliant light reflected in the lake. It was like I was seeing the portal to another world, one where I wished I could find my lover again.
I knelt on the apex of the hill, facing the lake as we had on that night. It had to be perfect, so I glanced around for any irregularities--and came face to face with a young boy.
"Are you all right, sir?" he asked me, face full of innocence and concern.
I nodded. "I will be soon. Thank you for asking."
He pointed at my face. "Because you've been crying. Sure you're all right?"
My hand flew to my cheek. I did not realize it until then, but I had been crying ever since I left the chapel. "Yes, I'll be all right. Thank you very much, but I'll be fine."
He smiled. "That's good," he said, and turned to go.
"Wait." I stopped him with a hand on his shoulder. I had to reward him for his kindness, and knew the perfect thing to give him. "Please, take this." I knew there was a chance I was condemning him to the same life I had lead, but I knew that he could repair the mistakes I had made.
He stared, disbelieving, at what I offered him. "An Ancient Mew card? That...that's the rarest card of all! They say it's got magic powers!! Are you sure about this?"
I nodded. "It's yours now. Treasure it as I have, and may it lead the way to a marvelous collection."
He smiled, too overcome to say anything further, and took the card into his small hands. I waved him on. "Go on. And may your life be whatever you make of it."
As he ran off, I smiled sadly. He would remember me, but not for who I was. That would be forgotten for all time.
Something else had fallen from my pocket when I retreived the Ancient Mew for the boy, and I picked it up. It was the note that the man at the services had given me, crumpled and folded. On the side facing me, a haunting message greeted me.
Jirarudan--Giovanni crowning glory
That was it. I could not be without him for one moment longer. In a single motion, I brought the blade to my abdomen and thrust inwards.
As the light fades, I know that I will soon be with him once more.
My Crowning Glory...