Too late. ;)
Too late. ;)
No copyright infringement intended.
Matt had fallen asleep at his desk. Sam had come to him for a tracking chip that some people put in their Pokemon at two o'clock in the morning. He'd made Matt toy with it so it would work just as well in a human.
"Matt, wake up," Sam said with light punch to his shoulder.
"Dude, no," Matt lazily responded.
"Matt," Sam insisted with a stern tone of voice.
"Ugh! Fine. What time is it?"
"Three in the morning."
"For crying out loud, what do you want from me?"
"Check to make sure that chip is working," Sam responded calmly.
"Seriously? This can't wait till morning?" Matt asked sleepily.
With a sigh, Matt sat up and started typing commands into his computer as he ranted. "Come in here and wake me up at damn o'clock in the morning and then expect me to work... The chip works just fine."
"Good. You can go back to sleep now, though I would recommend you sleep in your bed. I doubt sleeping over your desk is very comfortable."
"I will... depending on what you plan on doing now. If it's something work related then I might as well stay up," Matt yawned.
"It's plausible that Proton is in Azalea. I'm going to go check it out," Sam said with a shrug
Matt stared at him in utter disbelief. "Are you crazy? Seriously, when do you sleep?"
Sam tilted his head to one side. "Sleep? I don't. If you're not going to go back to sleep, then I'll assume that I can call if I need something."
"I am going to bed right now. Good night... Or good morning or whatever time you think it is right now." Sam didn't respond so Matt turned around only to find that Sam had left. Matt waved it off. "And make some noise when you leave, geez."
Unfortunately, Ethan had managed to become a double-edged sword in a battlefield of two powers. On one hand, he'd made himself an enemy of Team Rocket when he defeated them at Slowpoke Well. On the other, he'd come between Sam and his target by chasing Team Rocket off to the safety of their hideout. Fortunately for him, he had left Azalea before anyone knew what he'd done.
Zeth and Tobi were standing in front of the well sheepishly when Scythe, aka Sam, arrived. The sun had barely risen.
"Tell me what happened," Scythe demanded, oddly calm.
The two girls were startled. Of their many different images of Scythe, he didn't quite match them. Zeth was the first to recover. "Proton had a small group with him. We found the tunnel through which they escaped if you want to see it."
Sam ignored the tunnel part. He cut straight to business. "Who chased them away?"
The two girls looked at each other, Tobi answered this time. "Apparently, an old man named Kurt tried to get rid of them, but he hurt his back. But there was some other trainer kid who went in and finished the job."
"What was the kid's name?"
"We don't actually know. We tried to get a description from people, but the kid didn't stay long. The best description we could get was that it was a boy with a red sweater and a hat," Zeth shrugged.
Scythe gave her a funny look and then laughed dryly. "Of course he has a hat. What prodigy trainer doesn't?"
Tobi scuffed her black vans in the dirt. "Sorry... What were you planning on doing?"
"Doesn't matter now," Scythe dismissed her coldly. "Right now, someone needs to find this upstart prodigy and stop him from interfering with Team Rocket again. Either do that yourselves or find someone who can."
Zeth nodded. "No problem. I'm on it."
Scythe didn't say anything further, just left.
Tobi tugged on Zeth's sleeve. "He was a lot nicer in the stories."
Zeth laughed. "But he's much hotter in person. But hey, give him credit, he just got jipped by some punk hero."
"True enough." Tobi smiled. "Too bad he didn't stay longer."
"Well, I'll get to see him again," Zeth grinned. Tobi pouted but Zeth ignored her, her favorite song was playing.
Sam had barely walked through the gate of Goldenrod when his phone rang, after a quick glance at the caller ID, he answered it.
"Matt? I thought you were sleeping."
"Meeting of the thieves. Tao is pissed so watch out."
"Yeah, I might have to come with you... I almost want to see this."
Sam chuckled dryly. "Everyone loves a good drama. I don't care what you do."
"Hmm... Well, I might see you there, kay?"
"Kay." Sam hung up. With an irritated sigh, he headed for the safe house under the casino that was used for the meeting place.
The other four thieves were already there and had given Tao plenty of extra room. Sam completely ignored her and sat down in his customary seat. "I hope there's a reason this meeting has been called," Sam commented nonchalantly.
Tao responded immediately, "Arthur was here. In Goldenrod."
Sam stared at her cooly. "Were you under the impression that I didn't know?"
Waves of anger radiated from her as she stormed closer to him. "Of course you knew. You were there! You saw him, you could have called me, and I could have killed him...! And you let him go!"
Calm and unmoved by her outburst, Sam's voice was even as he answered to her accusation. "Of course I did. Now, perhaps you should sit down before your little tantrum embarrasses you further."
Tao's hand instantly went to her dagger, Sam didn't bat an eye at the violent gesture. Her wild ice blue eyes were bright with malice and rage.
Barrakus stepped in tactfully. "Tao, Sam wouldn't let him go without reason." Tao didn't back down. "Sam, now would be the time to explain."
Sam stared Tao down calmly as he spoke with the same even tone as before. "Killing him wouldn't have solved anything. Ariana would have notified Lance and Patrick and they would have taken all of their stolen Pokemon and fled again. I've been trying to draw them out for the last three years... For three years, my Pokemon and the Pokemon of good people have undergone their harsh and cruel experiments. At this point, there's no telling how many have died... We don't have a third chance at this." Tao backed away slowly, Sam continued with his voice dripping with sarcasm and contempt. "So yes, I could have called you and you'd walk away happy and your selfish need for revenge would be satisfied, but the world doesn't actually revolve around you."
Tao scowled and sat down. Sam yawned and glanced at the other thieves, "Is that all you wanted?" No one answered "Great. I have better things to do." With that, he left. The other thieves got up and slowly filed out except Tao who was still scowling and pouting.
Matt met Sam outside, "I can't believe you actually said that to her! Man... That was awesome."
"I'm so glad you enjoyed it."
Matt shrugged. "Anyway, Ariana is still in Mahogany... So, what trouble are we going to get into today?"
Sam glanced at him. "I have to check on my team. I'm not losing anyone this time."
Matt nodded. "That is really sad with what happened to your Abra... What was her name? Cat?"
"Has that paralysis worn off yet?"
Sam shrugged. "Steven said that she's gotten better, but she's still very weak."
"Ah... Well, I'll leave you to your training then. See ya later." Matt waved cheerfully as he left. Sam kept walking to where he kept all his Pokemon.
Northeast of the town, Sam had found a small clearing beyond the dense trees that lined the wilderness. After some renovations, this clearing spread up the cliff and looked down on Goldenrod. While recovering from the events of Kanto, Sam had kept track of what Pokemon had been stolen by Team Rocket and which executive would be likely to take what. Once his list was complete and he'd recovered enough to travel, he went through Johto and caught Pokemon that would have a type advantage as well as those that matched his rough outline of a plan of attack. Usually, he caugth more than one of each.
When he was done, he'd taken them all and put them in his own training field. Plenty of wild Pokemon flocked there and his Pokemon would also fight amongst themselves. Sam found a retired nurse, Anabelle; a groundskeeper, Martin; a secretary of sorts who managed the area in his place, Ryan; and young thieves were always willing to volunteer. If not because Sam was a hero to them because his Pokemon were incredibly strong.
Martin and Ryan met Sam at the top of cliff. Sam surveyed the field. "How are things going here?"
"Excellent. We sent them through some tests and calculated the ranks. The average was forty-seven." Ryan smiled proudly.
Sam frowned. "The weakest?"
Ryan sighed as she flipped through her clipboard. Heaven forbid that good could just be good enough for him."Um, an Ampharos at level thirty-eight."
"Only as strong as the weakest link. Bring it's level up, it won't be too much longer now before we get to knock down Team Rocket's front door."
Martin leaned on his shovel, and whistled softly. "Last I heard, you had no idea where they were. Boy, you've made progress since we last talked. "
"Its about time too," Sam commented flatly. "Anyway, are we good on supplies? Are things still running smoothly or do I need to go find something?"
Ryan put on her glasses and gave him a devious look. "Well, since you asked."
Sam grimaced and listened quietly as the list went on and on. "The berry trees we've grown aren't keeping up anymore, we'll need some time of replacement food so the trees have time to recover; some of the fencing is damaged, so we'll need stone of some sort and some wood, you know what to get... Charcoal, water; the office needs some work, it got damaged from a battle... And that's it for the grounds," she flipped through her clipboard again. "I, however, need some more paper, batteries, ink, a warmer blanket because it's cold and my little house here needs some work as well... Oh, and it'd be really nice if you could bring me a book to read because I get really bored."
Martin jumped in right after she stopped. "Nails, some pots, and two bags of fertilizer."
Sam looked at both of them. "Note to self; check in more often. I don't suppose-"
"Here's a list." Ryan laughed as she handed to him. "And there are too little pickpockets willing to help you out."
"Great, I'm probably going to need them."
"Alright, there's a boy, Clint, and a little girl who's very shy, her name is Stella."
Sam smiled a little. "Stella is the little girl with the blond pigtails petting the Rapidash, isn't she."
Ryan grinned. "She's so cute. She's totally in love with Rapidash- it's adorable. I'm impressed that you guessed so easily."
Martin laughed. "I won't be impressed until you can guess which one is Clint."
Sam played with his amethyst necklace thoughtfully. "The little boy with black hair and green eyes who's having a pretend battle with that huge Machamp?"
Martin gaped, then looked suspicious. "You've already met him, haven't you."
Sam pretended to be hurt. "What? You don't think I'm just that good of a guesser?"
Ryan and Martin answered simultaneously, "No."
"Ouch, you know, that really hurts. I thought we were closer than that."
Ryan gave him a comforting pat on the shoulder. "We're close enough to know that you are a very good liar."
Sam grinned. "My charm, right?"
"Whatever." Ryan laughed and elbowed him. "Now, get going. That list is very important."
Sam made a face. "Alright, fine. I'll go get those little monsters and leave." He stepped forward and tossed one of his famous daggers several feet into the air. The sunlight caught the amethyst pommel stone and the blade shone brightly. It had the desired effect- the children looked up and saw him. He waved and then held out his hand and expertly caught the blade.
Clint rushed up as fast as he could and Stella approached quietly with a blush rapidly spreading across her round face.
Clint was looking up at Sam in awe. "You're... Scythe! The Hunter of the underworld!"
"Among many other things, though I'd prefer you call me Sam."
"Okay!" Clint responded enthusiastically. Stella was hiding behind him.
Ryan handed both of them a copy of their long list. "You are to help him out, alright?" Clint saluted happily and Stella nodded quietly.
"Alright, let's go." Sam gestured in the direction of Goldenrod.
Two hours later, Sam came back. "I come bearing gifts."
Ryan took stock of everything they'd bought. "That would be everything. Good job, Sam. Did you find everything okay?"
Sam answered sarcastically. "No, we got lost on floor three for the last three hours looking for the charcoal."
It took Ryan a few moments to figure out he was joking, then she laughed. "You weren't even gone for three hours!"
"I know, but the cashier who asked me the same question didn't know that."
Ryan gaped. "You didn't really say that, did you?"
"Of course I did. Seriously, how do you not find anything?"
"Oh my god, that poor woman."
"Anyway, between me and Martin, we should be able to fix your house by tonight," Sam stated.
"Well, good. But what about this giant pile of stuff?" She looked to the supplies.
Sam shrugged with a smirk. "It's your job to put them away. Stella and Clint can help you." With that he walked away.
"Ugh... Alright, Stella. We can do this. Girl power!"
Stella looked at her with worry and shook her head. Fortunately, all the other little thieves were willing to help and they got everything squared away. Sam and Martin fixed her roof and repaired her broken door before sundown. Sam's Scyther had helped by cutting the boards neatly. When they were done, both had disappeared.
"Martin, did you see where Sam went?" Ryan asked with another glance around.
"I'd imagine they went up the cliff a ways to do their super-fast ninja-dagger whatever training, or whatever you want to call it," Martin answered while he chewed on a blade of grass.
Ryan smiled. "Let's just call it ninja training from now on, kay? Well, I think I'm going to watch."
Martin waved a lazy goodbye. "See ya tomorrow. G'night, Ryan."
With a nod and smile, Ryan climbed up the cliff and weaved through the thick trees until there was a sudden break and a short drop into a crater. In the center, Sam and Scyther were parrying each other's blades.
Ryan sat down and watched, all but hypnotized by the sun's scarlet light reflecting off the blades. Every time one ripped through the air, it left a path of light that would remain for a second. As always, neither could gain an upper hand. The longer they went, the faster they would get until no mortal eye could keep up with what happened.
Both of the skilled fighters' faces showed nothing more than cool, calm confidence. Each time, there was a silent agreement to continue until one ran out of energy or if one of them missed a block and was cut. That didn't happen very often anymore.
At one point, Sam got very close to catching Scyther's chest. In response, the Scyther leapt back to create distance. Sam let his blades drop to his sides and side stepped to the right. Scyther side stepped to the left, then changed his mind and shot like lightning at Sam. Sam was just as quick. He dodged and aimed a slice at Scyther's back. The Pokemon ducked quickly and their blades met again in their familiar duel.
More than an hour later, they finally stopped; they had called it a draw with blades at each other's throats. Sam sheathed his daggers. "That was a good run."
Scyther sat on his haunches and panted. Sam looked at the old Pokemon with concern. Over the past few months, Scyther had started losing his energy a lot faster. Scyther saw his master's worry and scowled. Sam smiled and put his hands up in mock surrender. "Alright, I won't say anything. But hey, don't overdo it." Scyther nodded in simple understanding. Sam climbed out of the crater using the shallow footholds. At the top, he saw something reflecting brightly. It was a watch.
Ryan was laying there, asleep. Sam considered waking her up, but decided to just pick her up and carry her anyway. Halfway to her small house, she woke up.
"Do you want me to put you down?" Sam asked slightly amused.
Ryan looked at him sleepily and then put an arm around his neck and cuddled closer to him. "No."
When they reached the door to her modest house, Sam put her down. She sighed and pulled out her keys. With the door unlocked, she opened the door and left it open.
Sam was straightening his jacket when she turned around. "I don't suppose you were planning on doing anything tonight," she asked coyly as she played with his necklace.
He smirked. "No... I wonder what you could possibly want."
She smiled back and let his necklace drop as she walked inside.
AN: Another day, another chapter. Yes- this is where the 'mild sexual themes' comes in. T_T You'll understand Ryan a little better later... Towards the end. All will be revealed later- I promise... Matt, Ryan, and Sam will have some character clarification moments. :) This story arc is about more than just revenge.
Zeth goes to one of my readers- FearlessNeko
Tobi goes to another one of my readers- JestieUchiha.
If you'd like to submit a character- I'll try to fit them in. :)
My Beta has returned! XD Thanks to DarkAngelTorchic! Chapter five will be back to the high quality since next time she'll be able to edit plot and story choices as well. (Yeah, she disappeared for a few months... But she came back! And she's still around!)
Also- thanks to Soulmaster for his error/typo-catching awesomeness. (I'm expecting some errors this time. I feel like I didn't do a very good job of catching them myself.)
Sigh Sam doing the shopping one of the best scenes ever.
I know right? I didn't realize that until when I posted it today. But it's okay... He needs to do something useful, lol.
Eh.... I'm just going to leave the 'kay's. Otherwise it looks like - "'Kay" and I don't care for the triple apostrophes... Even if it is grammatically correct.
No copyright infringement intended.
Sam was sitting in his temporary apartment twirling a dagger in one hand as he looked out the window to where his battlefield was secluded. He'd left Ryan's house almost an hour ago and after a quick shower and change of clothes, he was once again bored and oddly restless considering it was almost one o'clock.
Sam sighed. "This city is the 'liveliest city you'll ever see'... in the daytime. I've seen small towns with more action at night than this place," he muttered to himself sarcastically. With one final bored glance at the clock, he slid the dagger back in its sheath and left to meander the dark streets.
Lyra was having a lot of trouble. She'd wanted to stay ahead of Ethan and ended up way in over her head. And now it was past midnight.
"Ooh... Marill... What am I going to do?" Lyra cried as she sat next to a tree in Ilex Forest.
Marill looked very concerned and took her hand in its little blue paws.
Lyra smiled. "I know. But we're hopelessly lost." She sniffled. Marill bounded off then stopped to turn and stare at her. "But... Let's just keep going, huh? You're right; we won't get out of here if we just mope around." She stood up and clenched her fists to give herself strength.
"But... Which way did we come from again?" Lyra stared at the grass in embarrassment. Marill squeaked at her and pointed excitedly at something. Lyra followed slowly and sure enough, she could see a light on the other side of the pond. Re-energized, they both shot down the path to their right. When it turned up, they didn't even stop to think; they just kept running.
"C'mon, Marill! Its just down this path!" she cried excitedly. Both girl and Marill stopped and almost cried tears of joy to see the large ancient gateway. Lyra stumbled inside numbly and hugged the first person she saw warmly. The other girl was completely confused. Lyra let her go and continued to walk forward.
Outside, she could see the lights of Goldenrod City glowing in the night. She was so tired that she forgot to look for trainers.
"This is where I do my training!" the youngster cried.
"Wha! I am so sorry!" Lyra jumped and ran away. The boy was so startled that he just stared after her. She ran past several other trainers, but didn't stop until she passed the Daycare. Wheezing, she sat down in the grass and Marill plopped down beside her.
Suddenly, a flash light illuminated them. "Who goes there?"
"Lyra?" she answered back, confused.
The policeman walked closer and stared at the young girl sitting in the grass. She had leaves and twigs stuck in her hair and she was covered in dirt. Not sure what to think, he simply said, "Are you okay?"
"I'm just trying to get to Goldenrod," she wheezed.
"Well, uh," the police officer began hesitantly, "it's right there," he said with a jerk of his thumb to the large city almost directly behind him.
The officer nodded and walked away stiffly. Slowly, Lyra stood up and walked through the gates of Goldenrod and into the doors of the Pokemon Center.
The nurse was insanely joyful. "Hello, how are you?"
"I'm so tired. I need a room," Lyra said.
The nurse's face fell a bit. "I'm so sorry, but we're booked. I can heal your Pokemon for you if you'd like?"
"Okay..." Marill jumped up on the counter and after a few minutes they were back on the streets. She looked around for a hotel, there seemed to be one by the little shop past the department store.
She walked inside and approached the brunette minding the counter. "I need a room, how much does it cost?"
The brunette looked at her with contempt. "Sorry, sweetheart, we don't give rooms to children. Go to the Pokemon Center."
"Right." She checked two more hotels, but got the same answer. She sat down by the Pokemon Center and shared a dejected look with Marill. "I guess we don't have a choice. We'll have to get some camping supplies... But I don't know how to set up a tent! And I need a shower!" Lyra complained. Tears welled up in her hazel eyes and she had almost started to cry when she saw someone familiar.
She couldn't see his face, but the skin tone and hair color were the same.
She looked to Marill who was also staring at him. "Mr. Violet?" They shared a wondering glance. Impulsively, Lyra got up and ran after him.
"Mister! Mister! Wait up!" He stopped and turned to look at her. Now that she could see his face, it was undoubtedly him. "Oh, thank goodness. It is you! I don't know what I would have done if it wasn't!" she laughed.
Sam was completely taken off-guard. "...Lyra?"
She looked up into his confused face and blushed as she stared at the ground. "I... I need your help." She scuffed her shoe in the dirt before looking back at him.
"Okay...? What's wrong?" He seemed willing to help, but still very confused.
"Well, you see, I was trying to beat my friend Ethan here, so when it got dark I kept going and then I got lost in Ilex Forest for, like, ever. And I'm so tired and afraid of the dark and I don't know what to do because the Pokemon Center is full and they don't have a room for me so then I went to the hotels and they said they don't give rooms for children. So then I was going to buy camping supplies but I don't know how to camp!"
He was giving her the weirdest look, she sniffed and blushed. He slowly nodded as he sorted through everything she'd just said. "So... You need somewhere to stay... And you need me to get a room for you?"
Lyra nodded. "Yessir."
"I see," he chuckled.
Lyra was mildly offended. "What's so funny?"
He shook his head. "Nothing, nothing... I'll help you." He reached over and pulled a twig out of her pigtails.
"Oh, thank you so much! I promise I'll never ask for anything again, sir!"
"Don't call me 'sir'."
He motioned for her to follow. Not wanting to lose him, she grabbed his arm. The gesture surprised him, but he didn't push her away. He escorted her to the hotel near the bike shop. The brunette from before looked up, saw him, and dropped her magazine in surprise.
He didn't react to that at all, simply walked up to the counter with a gentle, disarming smile. "Hi, I know it's late, but my sister and I need a room for the night."
She gaped for a bit before she found her voice. "Um? Oh, right. We should have a room open... I just have to get the keys." She brushed her hair out of her face and rushed to the back room.
"She's a lot nicer to you than she was to me," Lyra commented.
"It's amazing what good looks and a charming smile can get you," he answered with smirk.
Lyra watched as the brunette came back dangling the keys. "Here you go... Have a nice night. Your room is one-O-five."
He smiled at her sweetly. "Thank you so much. You have a nice night too. C'mon, Lyra."
She continued to clutch at his arm as they walked up the stairs and up to her door. The hotel was very dark and she'd seen some men and women along the way that gave looked at her in a way that made her uncomfortable. She noticed that her escort had given each of them a warning glance that starkly countered the charming, kind behavior he'd shown until then. Still, she knew that he wouldn't hurt her so it made her feel safe.
He handed her the keys. "Here you are. Goodnight, Lyra."
She looked at the keys with uncertainty. "Umm... Could you; this is going to sound really weird, but... Could you stay for awhile?"
"I just... Don't know if I... Oh, nevermind," Lyra reached for the keys but he moved them away.
"You don't feel safe," he inferred. Lyra nodded. He sighed. "I'll stay for an hour and then I'm leaving."
Lyra brightened up instantly. "Okay!" He unlocked the door and opened it for her. She skipped in humming and Marill bounded after her. She surveyed the room. It had a bathroom in one corner walled off from the rest of the floor. There was a very small kitchen, a living room type area, and a bed in near the corner.
"It's so... Mister?" She looked around, he wasn't right behind her. He had walked out to the balcony while she wasn't looking. She followed him. "You aren't going to stay inside?"
He pulled out a chair from the cheap table sitting there. "Well, I'm assuming you're going to take a shower... So, I'll just wait out here. I prefer being outside anyway."
"Oh! Yes, of course!" She rushed back inside.
Marill stayed behind and crawled into his lap happily. While she was gone, Sam continued planning and thinking through every possible step for tearing through Team Rocket's base, which is what he had been doing before Lyra came out of nowhere. He thought of every floor plan, counter attacks, attacks, any traps they might have, and what and how many of his Pokemon would be sent to do what.
Lyra came back showered and in a gray shirt and pink pajama pants. Marill ran over to her happily. The sudden movement made Sam jump a bit. He glanced at her as he yawned and stretched. "Do you feel safe yet?"
"A little," Lyra smiled.
Sam nodded and stood up as he said, "Would it make you feel better if I left one of my Pokemon to guard you instead?"
Lyra tilted her head. "What kind of Pokemon do you have?"
"A lot of different species, but I think you'd be better off with a Scyther."
"Oh... Do you have one with you?"
"Not at the moment, but I can get you one for tomorrow," he offered.
"That'd be nice," Lyra responded happily. She turned and skipped off to the bed. Within minutes she was sleeping soundly.
He looked at the clock. "Only two in the morning... Damn." He sighed and brushed his hair back with his hand. Seeing Lyra asleep only served to remind him how tired he really was. He took her extra key and opened the door to leave. There were two guys standing just outside.
"Do you need something?" Sam asked politely.
One of them pulled out a small knife and picked at his teeth with it. "Cute little sister you got there." The other laughed.
Sam laughed with them for a moment and then punched the one with the knife in face. The blow was hard enough to make the man stagger back and fall. In the next instant, Sam had a dagger out and held at the other man's throat. "Get out of here. And tell your little buddies that I'll be waiting for the next man fool enough to even look at her the wrong way."
The thugs ran off, fighting to be the first down the stairs. Sam locked Lyra's door and waited patiently before descending the stairs himself. The streets were still completely void of life. Sam got back to his equally quiet apartment, and like Lyra, was out in a matter of minutes. But while her dreams were peaceful, his sleep was broken by the ever familiar nightmare.
It started off the same as every other time; watching Ditto taken. He wasn't there when it really happened, but in his nightmare, he was not only there but couldn't move. He could only watch. Then it would skip to Pokemon Mansion. Everything would follow what really happened until the battle with Proton. In the nightmare, all his Pokemon would fall and disappear. Once again he jumps in between the Gengar and Cat in an attempt to save her. Right before the slash would rip through his chest again, he snapped awake in searing pain.
For whatever reason, every time he woke up from that nightmare, the scars left from the Gengar would feel like they were burning. At first, the large wounds had healed like any other cut, but they had gradually darkened until they turned black. As the scars darkened, the pain that always followed the nightmare got worse and would linger even longer. Now, it was almost unbearable.
He tried to ignore it and the pain lessened a little bit. The passage of time seemed incredibly long. It was interrupted by a knock on the door.
Sam jumped at the sudden noise and stared at the door. A glance at his phone and several missed calls told him that the person was Matt. "Damn it all."
"Stop ignoring me! I will stand here and knock all night," Matt threatened beyond the door.
Sam sighed and tried to put on the facade that he was fine. He opened the door and Matt immediately brushed right past him.
"Do you know how much danger I'm in? I swear, man. You've pissed off Tao something fierce and the crazy woman isn't about to let it go. And apparently, since she can't find you anywhere, she's started targeting me! I mean," Matt finally turned around and looked at Sam and stopped talking. "Are you okay?"
Sam glared at him. "Matt, get out."
Matt stood his ground, Sam was never sick. It simply didn't happen, but his face was unusually pale and he almost looked like he was shivering. Matt shook his head. "Dude, seriously. What's wrong? You look like hell."
Knowing that he didn't have the patience nor ability to argue with Matt, Sam sighed and walked back to the couch, "What do you want me say, Matt? No, I'm not. Now go home, if Tao won't leave you alone then give her my number and I'll take care of it tomorrow."
As soon as Sam sighed, he dropped the act instantly. His voice lost the strength it had before and now he just sounded tired. The sudden change weirded Matt out. "Well, I came because of Tao, but I'm not leaving til you're okay. What's the matter? Are you sick or something?" he asked.
Sam laughed and then flinched. "If it only it were that simple."
"I don't even know that," Sam rubbed at his chest. He was still shivering a bit. He seemed more like he was in pain than anything else.
"How long has this been going on? Is it just now or..."
Sam flinched again as another wave of pain struck. "... Damn it," he kept silent for a moment, "Only every time I have a nightmare."
"So not that often?"
"Every time I fall asleep."
"That can't possibly be healthy. Have you talked to a nurse or doctor something?"
"No, I can't," Sam admitted.
Matt crossed his arms. "And why not?"
"Steven would find out. He's got ears everywhere. If Steven finds out, he'll tell the Thief Lord for sure and there's no way he let me stay here if he knew. Steven had to convince him to just let me come to Johto. If he'd had it his way, I would have been sent home after the incident in Saffron." Another wave of pain caused him to stop talking for a moment. "I am not just going to quit because of this."
Matt shook his head. "Surely you could convince Steven not to talk then?"
"The guy is practically my father. He let me come here because he thought I was okay. If he finds out that I'm not, he won't hesitate to do whatever it takes to get me back in Hoenn."
"Then what are you supposed to do?"
Sam laughed. "Shut up and deal with it. Same thing I've been doing. That and stop sleeping."
"Seriously, how do you function like this?"
"You get used to it. I typically don't even want to sleep... If I do, I get about two hours of sleep and an hour of pain. Nighttime in general gives me so much anxiety now that I can't calm down unless I have something to do."
Matt thought about everything that'd happened over the last few years. "That... Explains a lot."
"Though, you could just let someone else take your place in taking-"
"Be reasonable, Sam. It doesn't have to be you."
"Yes it does. This whole thing wouldn't have even happened if I'd just figured it all out sooner. I had a bad feeling about Giovanni from the start and if I'd said something to the Thief Lord about it sooner then nothing bad would have ever happened. I screwed up, and I got another shot at Pokemon Mansion, but I wasn't fast enough. I screwed up again... If I'd just taken a little more time to plan..." Sam was forced to stop as another wave of pain tore at him.
Matt took that opportunity to speak. "This is not your fault."
"Don't argue the semantics with me. I could have... Should have done something. You can't justify that."
"No one could have predicted how that was going to go. If anything, blame the Thief Lord. That whole Team Rocket thing should not have been your problem. And if it weren't for Steven, you wouldn't have gotten involved."
"I didn't say other people didn't share the blame. I know what I did and this is the last chance I have at making it right."
Matt sighed. "You make it sound like there's not even going to be a third time. Like Team Rocket and every Pokemon they've stolen is just going to disappear."
"Look, it really doesn't even matter how this turns out. I won't make it another three years like this, maybe not even another month. Scyther doesn't have it in him anymore either. So win or lose, I walk away. It'd be nice to know I didn't waste three years being miserable."
"What's wrong with Scyther?"
Sam shook his head with a small smile. "He's old. Really old... I didn't realize it when I first got him... But back then everything was invincible. Truth be told, I'm amazed he didn't keel over months ago. My guess is, he won't rest until we find Ditto."
"So he's in your boat?"
"Yeah..." Sam chuckled, "Cat and Ditto look up to him so much. He loves it... He loves them both. And he was devastated when he found out what happened to Cat and when Ditto was taken. He'll probably manage to hold out until we find him, but I doubt I'll be taking him out of Johto alive, unfortunately."
"What are you going to do if he doesn't make it?"
"Nothing. I can't do anything about it. I've known for a long time how this was going to end. If that old battle-scarred warrior wants to live his last moments in battle... I'm not going to deny him that." Sam smiled and laughed. "I can't imagine him going out any other way."
Matt thought about it, then agreed grudgingly, "I guess so... But that's still really frickin' depressing."
"Welcome to my world," Sam returned with smirk.
AN: Really depressing... Highly dramatic... And Lyra was the light, humorous moment- Chapter 5. GSTA: Johto is meant to be dark and is the overall darkest of all the planned installments... Which isn't to say that the others won't have their moments, but Johto has a lot.
-For the record: Sam doesn't have any, shall we say, special feelings for Lyra. He just has a bit of an older-brother mentality in him and just feels like he should protect her.
Big thanks to my Beta; DarkAngelTorchic. Also, thanks to Soulmaster!
This chapter really explains a lot about why things are the way they are. I didn't want Sam to stay cold and dark forever, but flipping too suddenly would be unrealistic (or bi-polar). So, the answer finally came to me long time ago while I was mulling things over; he hasn't changed at all- He simply never took the time to recover from the events of Kanto and is slowly losing his ability to function! :D (Sad in itself, but for those of you who miss the old Sam; he'll make a comeback... Though, he'll be even MORE of a smart ass.)
Sam is going to be even more of a smart ass...Uh oh. But this was indeed a dark chapter but it did show that everyone has their weakness.
No copyright infringement intended.
Zeth had been looking for the boy that had chased off Team Rocket for hours now. Her search had finally led her to Goldenrod. Unknowingly, she'd passed right by him. Ethan had decided to spend the night with his grandparents; the elderly couple that ran the Day Care. The sun had just barely risen. A mist hugged the ground near the ponds. She strolled down the routes jamming to her music. Eventually, her walk led her to the National Park. Almost oblivious to everything else, she noticed Scythe sitting on a park bench.
"Hmm, no music," she commented. He seemed to be staring at the water fountain but he was clearly spacing out. "I don't how he manages."
"I get by," he answered. She jumped, and he smirked. "Didn't think I could hear you?"
"Looked like a space cadet to me." Zeth shrugged after recovering from her initial shock. She sat down beside him.
"It's always safe to assume that I can hear you."
"They have to be. I've apparently royally pissed off Tao among countless others."
"Is it possible to do something that wouldn't piss her off?" Zeth joked.
"Just let her have her way... I swear, she's like a two-year-old with weapons and a comprehensive grasp of every torture method there is," Sam responded dryly.
"Ha! Yeah. And from what I hear, you don't let her have her way."
"I've only agreed that she can kill Archer, but it'll be on my terms. Other than that, I have gone out of my way to shoot all of her ridiculous plans down."
"Oh, I see. So, maybe you deserve this?" Zeth laughed.
"Maybe," he chuckled. "Seriously, though, people should start calling her 'Karma' or 'Axis'."
Zeth tilted her head and gave him a curious look. "Why 'Karma' and 'Axis'?"
"Because karma is a bitch and the world spins or 'revolves' around its axis." He shrugged. "I thought it was pretty clever."
Zeth burst out laughing. "I totally get it now!" Sam watched her in amusement as she laughed. "Oh man, that is too funny. I'll have to spread that around."
"Just give credit where its due... By the way, what have you heard about our new prodigy?"
"Nothing else. The kid's like a ghost. He comes and then poof! He's gone."
Sam sighed. "Of course. Since when did I ever catch a break?"
"Sorry, Scythe. I'll keep looking."
"It's fine. Just stop calling me Scythe. My name is Sam. I don't like either of the two nicknames I've picked up."
Zeth was obviously surprised. "I'm sorry, I didn't know... Personally, I think your nicknames are better than most."
"Sadly, you're probably right. Thieves in general are ironically uncreative when it comes to names," Sam commented with an amused grin.
"Yeah, its kinda sad. I mean, we named the department store in Goldenrod, 'The Goldenrod Department Store.' All the towns are named after plants..."
"Prodigies wear red and have a hat of some sort."
"Well, that Blue kid didn't have a hat or wear red."
"No, because that would be too much like Red. Those two hate each other way too much for that."
"Humph, speaking of Red... What do you think he thinks of the new prodigy?"
Sam didn't even have to stop to think about it. "I'm sure he believes that this new trainer is beneath him and no matter what, he'll beat any challenger. If he even knows at all. Last I heard, the kid was hanging out on Mt. Superior-complex."
Zeth laughed. "You're probably right."
Sam's phone rang, disturbing the short silence that followed. Sam made a face as he saw the caller ID. He opened the phone and held it up to his ear, but didn't say anything.
"Umm, Sam? Are you there? Hello~?" Whitney's voice was unsure on the other side of the line.
"I'm waiting patiently for you to say something important. Otherwise, I'm hanging up."
"No! Don't hang up! Could you come to the gym? Something's happened."
Sam considered her claim silently before answering. "Fine. But if its something stupid-"
"It's not, I promise."
"It'd better not be," he snapped his phone shut. He was already annoyed and he hadn't even gotten there yet.
In everything but a good mood, he stormed into Whitney's gym. She was sitting in the back sobbing. Sam was not even fazed. He crossed his arms and stood in front of her silently.
Seeing that her tears were not affecting him like she'd wanted, she stopped crying and sniffled. "You always come when I need you most." She reached a hand to him and smiled happily.
Sam glared at her. "You called. What do you want?"
Whitney folded her arms and pouted. "Why can't you just go along with my romantic fantasy?" Sam stared at her impassively. Whitney frowned. "You are a jerk sometimes."
"Jerk, huh? Is being a 'jerk' the new gentleman? Because it seems to be a real lady-killer lately."
Sam rolled his eyes and sighed. "Never mind. Did you call me here to annoy me again or do you actually have a good reason?"
"Fine... Fine." Whitney pouted. "I guess there's some bad-boy trainer around. He beat me and Falkner and Bugsy... I thought that it might interest you."
Sam's face betrayed nothing. Whitney watched him closely for a black mail opportunity. He finally responded. "That's all?"
Whitney's face fell, "You don't care?"
"Why should I?"
"I just thought..."
"Then stop thinking... Or better yet, stop talking for a week. I have better things to do."
"You are such a jerk-face!" Whitney almost shrieked at him in shock and anger.
"And yet here we are. If you don't like me, then I don't want to hear from you again."
"Fine, goodbye." Outside the gym Sam muttered under his breath. "That'll shut her up... for a few days." He pulled out his phone. "Matt, I got a little bit of a lead. I'll be out of town."
"Seriously? ... What am I supposed to do if Tao comes back?"
"I don't care... Serve her some tea and tell her to wait for me like a good girl."
"Yeah, right. I-" Sam cut him off by hanging up. He put his hands in the pockets of his black jeans and left town.
Silver was investigating the Burned Tower. He'd seen the three legendary Pokemon just sitting on the bottom floor, and so had the other total weirdo wearing a white cape. Silver stared at the Pokemon longingly. They were incredibly strong, no doubt, but they were definitely beyond his reach. With a sigh, he turned around and found himself staring right at Ethan.
Pretending not to be startled, Silver approached him calmly. "... Oh, it's you. You must be here to catch the legendary Pokemon to make yourself look strong. That is only a dream," he sneered.
Ethan gave him a sarcastic look that implied a, 'Go ahead. Keep talking'.
Silver continued undeterred. "You see, the legendary Pokemon suits a trainer like me who's sworn to become the strongest trainer. A battle with Team Rocket grunts is just right for you!"
The battle between the two boys ensued immediately. Sam watched them with amusement from a high vantage point in the rafters. "They are so like Red and Blue." Whitney's information that he'd beaten Falkner and Bugsy, made it easy to guess where he would go; the next gymleader. It wasn't hard to locate him after he'd gotten here. Now, he knew that Ethan was the kid's name. Ethan was like Red in his sense of justice, but it was clear that he did not posses the arrogance that Red had. Granted, the kid had a lot of confidence in his abilities, but he was much more reserved about it. Plus, talking to people wasn't beneath him, though he didn't seem to say much.
Silver was like a combination of the negative qualities of Red and Blue. Sam watched him as he spoke to himself. "He possesses Red's arrogance and Blue's harsh battling and raising style. And now, he's paying for it."
It wasn't even two minutes into the battle and Silver was already down to his last Pokemon. Silver shrugged off the losing battle carelessly, "Out of desperation, weak people sometimes do OK at fighting back."
Ethan looked at him confused, "I'm sorry... What was that?" His Pokemon, a Quilava, snorted and shook its head as if laughing. Without needing its trainer to say anything, the rash Quilava rushed forward and let loose a short burst of flames.
The Zubat, Silver's last Pokemon, was on the verge of fainting. Silver gritted his teeth. "Don't you get that I'm going easy on you?"
Ethan made a face. "Quilava... Take that Zubat down in flames." The Quilava pawed at the ground excitedly before roaring a powerful burst of flames that sent the Zubat to the ground.
Ethan held out his hand without saying anything. Not that he needed to; his face conveyed the joy he'd taken in his righteous victory.
Silver was clearly irked, but was still trying to play it cool. "... Humph! I'm not fighting with a weakling ever again. It's just too much playing around."
Both Ethan and his Quilava gave him a strange look.
Silver straightened his jacket and sniffed in distain. "... Aw, whatever. You would never be able to catch the legendary Pokemon anyway." With that last remark, Silver brushed past him and left. Ethan shook his head in utter disbelief.
Once the doors closed behind Silver Ethan threw his hands in the air and looked at his Quilava. "Who does he think he is? 'Weakling'? How many times is he going to randomly challenge me, lose, and then walk away like he won? Seriously!"
Sam couldn't hold back his laughter anymore. Then whole scene was just funny to him. After almost falling from his perch, his laugh died down to a quiet chuckle. "Oh man... That was classic! Those two are funny... Ah, I really should get down before I fall..." Sam stopped and stared. Below, Ethan had reached the legendaries. He was standing closer to the Pokemon than anyone had ever been. The powerful Pokemon didn't even stir until Ethan took a small step closer. Then there was just a sudden whirlwind of color as Entei and Raikou ran. Suicune lingered for just a moment in front of Ethan before running off as well.
Seeing that Ethan was still in shock, Sam dropped to the floor. Morty, who was just about to leave, jumped back in surprise as Sam hit the floor right in front of him. "Holy...! Sam?"
An expert landing roll had Sam back on his feet in seconds as if nothing ever happened. He brushed some dust off his gray jacket before responding. "What? Never seen a guy drop out of the sky before?"
Morty recovered from his shock. "What are you doing here? And don't say that you're here to cause trouble for me."
"I've got business here. If it comes to trouble, then last I heard, you're not allowed to assist me."
"If it concerns Team Rocket."
Sam laughed. "Everything I do concerns Team Rocket." He started to walk out the door, but turned back for a last word. "By the way, you should probably reconsider your destiny... I'm placing my bet on the Ethan kid."
Morty glared at him. "It is my destiny to call back the legendary Pokemon and mine alone."
"Whatever, dude. Can't say I didn't try to warn you." Leaving Morty, Sam walked down the stairs casually. He glanced around and located Silver. "Now, I think you and I need to have a little talk, kid."
Silver never saw the trap coming. He'd seen the guy in the purple t-shirt and gray jacket but hadn't thought much about it. He was just walking out of town when a trip wired noose clinched around his foot and dragged him into the dangerous and forbidden woods.
Terrified of what could happen, Silver cried out. "I won't join Team Rocket no matter what you say!"
"Relax, kid, I'm not Team Rocket." Silver turned around to find Sam leaning calmly against a tree. "Have Team Rocket agents been trying to recruit you?"
Silver sniffed as he stared at him. He recognized the stranger as the guy from Violet City and the one in Ecruteak just minutes ago. "No... But I think they're looking for me."
"They are, trust me. Your mother was quite desperate to find you a couple days ago," he answered. "Just out of curiosity... Do you know who your parents are?"
"My parents?... Why do you want to know?"
"Curiosity. I know who you are, Silver, and I have met both of you parents."
Silver brushed dirt and leaves off him and glanced about the trees fearfully. "I... Don't really remember my mother. But my father was... is... Giovanni."
"I see, so you've had contact with him?"
"Three years ago when he fled Kanto, he said he was number one... And he fled like a coward, defeated by some kid. I will never be that weak. I will be strong; stronger than my father ever was all by myself."
"Hate to break it to you, kid, but you're not much better than the father you hate. If you really want to be strong, you won't get there by being harsh to your Pokemon."
"I am nothing like that bastard and I don't need another person to preach that 'be nice' garbage to me, I've heard enough," Silver interrupted scornfully.
"It's not garbage," Sam stated, his voice had taken on a serious and steely tone. "They are your partners... your family. Pokemon are not slaves to be mistreated and abused for their power."
Silver cowered as the guy stood up and looked down on him scornfully. "The bond between Pokemon and human runs deep. A Pokemon takes blow after blow to protect you. They would die if it meant that you could live... And there are times when a trainer must be prepared to do the same his Pokemon."
Silver continued to cower. The brown eyes of the stranger were dangerously cold. Without another word, he grabbed the rope snared around Silver's ankled and dragged him out of the woods. Once they were outside, the stranger cut the rope around his foot with a deadly-looking dagger.
"Listen, kid, I'm sure I could preach to you till I turned blue, but I can't make you listen, so I won't waste my breath. No matter what, here's my number. If Team Rocket ever goes after you, you call me and I'll take care of it."
"Who are you?"
"I'm the guy who forced your father to flee Kanto."
"That can't be... My father was defeated by Red!"
"He was, but he did not give up after that. He was captured and was supposed to be imprisoned until his execution... But he escaped. He will not get away a second time. Good luck in your quest for strength, kid. You'll need it." He walked away with a wave. Silver got up off the ground and scampered off. He wasn't staying within range of that guy.
As Sam walked through town, he noticed Lyra and Morty talking to each other. Morty was looking at her with concern. Lyra looked like she'd gotten lost on her way. Twigs were stuck in her pigtails again, tear stains ran down her cheeks, and she was covered in dirt again. Sam couldn't help but smile as he chuckled. "That little girl is something else."
He ghosted across town and stood beside her. She was still trying to convince Morty that she was okay as she flailed her arms around frantically. "I'm fine! Really! I can get back to Goldenrod on my own! I just came here to talk to Ethan! So move out of my way and stop blocking me!"
"Who is Ethan? And I'm not stopping you! I just walked by and you ran into me... I don't even know why we're having this conversation!" Morty exclaimed.
Lyra flailed her arms again, almost hitting Sam in the face. "Ethan-"
"Ethan is her friend. I can take care of Lyra, Morty. Go on back to your creepy gym." Morty gave him a grateful look and took his leave.
Lyra gestured at Sam, "See? I don't need you to help me... WAH!" Lyra jumped back and pointed at him with a look of shock plastered on her face. "How? How long have you been there?"
Sam smiled at her reaction. "Not long. What did you want Ethan for?"
Lyra relaxed. "Okay..." She scuffed her shoe in the dirt. "Sorry... It's been a long day and the nice Day Care couple gave me some cake this morning. So I've been..." She looked up at him innocently.
He nodded. "Sugar high... That explains a lot."
"Why are you here, Mr. V?"
"Same reason as you. I needed to find Ethan. Why do you need him?"
"It's stupid. Like really stupid... Like a duck-swimming-in-lava stupid."
"That... Is quite the analogy... But, we've been through this before, Lyra. So what is it this time?"
"Well, I've been kinda feeling homesick recently so I tried calling my dad but he's not very tech-savvy so he doesn't know how to answer his phone. So that didn't work. So then I thought that maybe if talked to Ethan that I'd feel better, but when he answered his phone I didn't really know what to say so I just rambled on and he couldn't get a word in edgewise, so then I was too embarrassed to continue the call so I hung up on him. So now he probably thinks I'm really weird. But I still didn't feel better after that so I thought that I would go and find him so I could apologize for being so rude, and weird... and psycho... I'm not making any sense, am I? You've got that look on your face again," Lyra sighed and her shoulders slumped.
Sam covered up his confusion instantly and offered her his arm. "Let's start by going back to Goldenrod. I think you should save talking to Ethan for a time when you aren't hyper, if that's possible."
Lyra wrapped both hands around his arm and looked up at his face. "What am I going to do then?"
"Come with me. Let's just go back to Goldenrod. I can get you back to New Bark easily and you can talk to your dad instead."
"That's a long trip and we'd have to go through the forest, I don't want to go there again," Lyra stated seriously.
"That isn't necessary. You can fly there," Sam assured her light-heartedly.
"But... Humans can't fly."
"No. No they cannot," Sam chuckled. "But just trust me."
Lyra nodded happily. "Okay... You're so nice."
Sam laughed. "You're probably the first person to ever say that to me."
"Why? I think you're nice."
"Everyone has their own opinion. Let's just leave it at that." Lyra was confused but decided to abruptly change the subject as she followed him back to Goldenrod. They stopped short of the city and followed a white picket fence to an area outside of routes.
Lyra dug her heels into the ground and stopped walking. "Where are we going? This is a forbidden area!"
"It's okay. This area has been cleared," Sam said as he pulled her gently toward him.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, I'm the one who cleared it. Now come on, you said earlier that you trusted me. So... Trust me."
"Okay..." Lyra followed reluctantly as he led her to a flight of stairs. After climbing up them, she saw a whole field teeming with Pokemon. Sam summoned a big green bird Pokemon with eye-symbols on its body. Her Pokedex identified it as an Xatu.
"You can fly back to New Bark Town on this bird."
"Really! Are you sure?" Lyra exclaimed happily.
"Yes, and I will go there with you just to make sure you make it safely."
Lyra hugged the bird Pokemon happily as she spoke to Sam, "I knew you were nice."
AN: Lyra! She's so funny and so sweet.
Big thank you to my Beta- DarkAngelTorchic! And thanks to Soulmaster!
Sorry it took me so long to post this. -_-' I was busy drawing.
Lyra..Lyra..Lyra one of the best people ever. The one thing that got me was the Day Care couple is, if Ethan is the main character, Lyra's Grandparents and not Ethan's.
Ah ok nice to know.
No copy right infringement intended.
After seeing Lyra safely to New Bark Town, Sam had given her his number and a Scyther to protect her. He knew it probably wasn't necessary and he hardly knew the girl... But he just felt very overprotective of her, much like he'd been with Blue. That damn big-brother complex that caused him so much trouble. Regardless to the fact that he had more than enough to deal with himself, he still had a soft big spot in his heart for the hopeless underdog who needed a little help.
Sam was now back in Goldenrod training with Scyther. As he parried and blocked, he considered what to do with Ethan. I could easily stop him. Stonewalls, barriers, I could close the doors of every gym if need be. But it would almost be a shame to stop him from getting stronger... I don't want to keep Ethan from helping Silver see the error of his ways. Silver won't see the truth without Ethan constantly embodying what's been preached. The last thing the world needs is another trainer growing up to become the next Giovanni. So, how does this work to my advantage?
One of Scyther's blades got very close to his face. Sam ducked and shot a strike at the Scyther's side, a somewhat deadly wound. As the blade got close, Sam realized that Scyther wasn't going to stop the attack. Knowing he couldn't turn his blade quite fast enough, he tripped Scyther. The dangerous blade left a thin slice on Scyther's chest, but it wasn't much worse than a bad paper cut.
Scyther looked at Sam with tired, imploring, red eyes. Sam shook his head slowly with a sigh, seeing the proud Pokemon so tired and beat was almost too much. Sam offered the only comfort he had to give. "Soon, Scyther. I promise. We're so close. I just... If Ariana goes back the hideout we'll have it. Just... I need a little more time..."
Scyther nodded and started to get up off the ground, Sam helped him. The old battle-scarred Pokemon sighed, the long breath rattling in his deep chest. "C'mon, old friend. We won't do this anymore. Save your strength, Ditto would be disappointed if you didn't come."
Scyther seemed to smile at that remark. Recovered from the brief moment of weakness, the old Scyther shrugged Sam off and continued walking through the trees. Sam ran his fingers through his hair and sighed wearily.
Ryan had seen what had happened, and she could see the look of total exhaustion and another expression she couldn't place on Sam's face. "Looks like Scyther isn't the only one who's taken one hit too many." She commented softly. He jumped slightly at the sound of her voice. "Are you going to be okay?"
He took a deep breath before he turned around to respond. She noticed that all the emotion that had been there was gone now. He managed a weak smile. "I'll be fine. I'm one of those people who could survive in a desert on nothing but determination for weeks."
Ryan smiled. "I bet you could... You're good at adapting to different situations."
Sam scaled the small cliff between them with ease. Ryan took his hand and leaned against him as they walked back to the main grounds. "What's up? Are there any updates I should know about?" Ryan asked.
Sam sighed. "Not really... I've hit a minor snag- Ethan, our young prodigy."
"Oh boy, what'd he do?"
"Nothing... I thought at first that maybe I could just stonewall him... But I don't want to do that to him now that I've actually gotten chance to meet him. He's a good kid... And he's probably the only one who can really turn Silver's way of thinking. I'd actually feel guilty if I stopped him, but I don't know if I want him involved with the struggle against Team Rocket."
"Oh goodness! You feel guilty? That's a new one. I don't know why you're so worried though. He's been taking them down so far hasn't he?"
"Yeah, and he's doing a good job. But I can't let him chase them away either."
"Well, what do you think would happen if he beat them like Red did? Would Arthur disband Team Rocket?"
"He... Might. It's hard to say- he's harder to predict. But if they were to be defeated by another child, their reputation would be in jeopardy. Arthur may not have a choice but to disband if he wants to make a living." Sam paused and considered all possible outcomes. "If Ethan were to beat Team Rocket... They would have to return to their hideout, even if for a short period of time..."
"Well, then you'd have them, wouldn't you?"
"Not necessarily. They could very well return and then disappear again. We would have to be ready to strike within seconds of them returning to their base."
Ryan nodded slowly and shrugged. "You can do it. It's probably the only way to get Ariana to go back to their hideout."
"We'd have to have all of the Pokemon on in the general area, but hidden so nobody notices. I'd need to follow them closely. It could end up being a very close call. They can't have any time to pack up or who knows what could be lost."
"Do you really have any other option? Either way, you're going to have to face them, and you can't give them any time to run away then either."
"I guess," Sam shrugged. Ryan waited quietly as he continued thinking about it. Finally, he said, "I guess if anything, I should start giving Ethan a push and some cheats so he can get to them faster. Something is going on in Mahogany Town, but he won't get there until after he's beaten Chuck and Jasmine. Perhaps Zeth would do something for me... She's already watching out for him, it wouldn't be anything new."
"Sounds fine, but-" Ryan moved in front of him, blocking his path and tapped a finger on his nose. "She? Just who is this Zeth person?"
"A thief from Azalea. We've met recently," Sam answered her with a look of innocent confusion.
"A woman?" Ryan interrogated further.
"Yes... About our age." Sam shrugged.
"Is she pretty?" Ryan crossed her arms.
"Oh. Well then, do you like her? Or, rather, is she prettier than me?"
Sam smirked and shrugged. "I guess that depends."
"On what?" Ryan asked suspiciously.
Sam put a hand on her waist and pulled her back to his side so they could keep moving before answering. "It depends on if you want the truth? Or do you want me to lie to you?"
"Forget I asked, then." Ryan sighed and glared at him.
"Even better yet." Sam laughed.
"Couldn't just answer that one, harmless question, could you?"
"Harmless? Please, that question is a double-edged sword. Either way, some girl ends up hurt and pissed off. I have Tao to fend off at the moment, I'm not about to curse myself with another."
"Fine. Whatever. You know, this is why our relationship isn't going anywhere."
Sam laughed. "Relationship? What relationship? You and I just have off and on moments based on our own whims."
Ryan smiled and laughed. "True, true... A woman needs a man she can trust and you are way too good at lying and turning a conversation to suit what you want for that."
"Fine by me. It's not like I'm every coming back to Johto once this all said and done. I've come to hate this place almost as much as I hate Kanto."
"That's a pretty strong hate," Ryan commented as she raised her eyebrows.
"You have no idea."
The silence that followed was eventually interrupted by Sam's phone ringing yet again. Sam sighed as he pulled it out of his pocket. "Yes, Matt?"
"Big trouble! We are in big trouble!"
"My favorite tv show is being cancelled! Can you believe-"
Sam hung up his phone and shook his head in disbelief. Seconds later, his phone rang again.
"Let me just start my two-part apology by saying that I was just kidding… Though I was also serious."
"Are you calling for a reason or are you just being a pest?"
"Thief meeting in half an hour. Have fun!"
"What the hell do they want now?"
"Hell if I know. I think Tao is the one doing this. She's probably trying to get close to you."
"You know, I've been wondering how Archer and Tao got together in the first place… How do you think that went down?"
"I don't know, Matt." Sam rolled his eyes and waved goodbye to Ryan. She nodded and left as he trudged slowly back towards Goldenrod.
"Well, I suppose they could possibly make a good couple… No, wait… I would have never pegged her as Archer's type."
"She probably hunted him down and threatened him," Sam commented dryly.
"Hmm… So she's already hunting you… I suppose she'll start threatening you soon, huh."
"She can try. I don't scare easy."
"True… Though, I'd like to see a showdown between you two."
"Well, it probably wouldn't be much of a fight."
"Hey, she's a badass. I mean, her skills are pretty damn good. I've seen you throwing your daggers around, and you are beyond accurate, but Tao fights with a temper that beats all."
"Is that… Doubt I hear in your voice? You think I couldn't beat her in a fight?"
"Yeah… …. …."
"Ouch. You wound me, seriously."
"You'll live... Or you seem to. Anyway, I'll meet up with you by the casino. I want to see what happens."
"Nothing is going to happen, Matt. There won't be a show, at all. I'm sure they finally just realized that Team Rocket is in Mahogany Town and think that I don't know. I'll see ya later." Sam snapped his phone shut.
Half an hour later Sam met up with Matt outside the casino.
"Are you realdy to face Karma?" Matt grinned as he practically sang the words.
Sam smirked. "So you've heard about that. I suppose I can trust Zeth to spread news quickly from now on." He re-arranged the fingerless glove on his left hand so an odd crease would stop inflicting pain on his damaged fingers. The black glove had steel plates slipped in between layers of leather for support and protection.
Matt watched with curiosity. He started talking again when Sam gave him a questioning look. "Yeah, I talked to Zeth… She's pretty. But I can't decide if she's your type or not. She's got the spice and maybe the suger, but she seems like she's maybe lacking in 'everything nice'."
"Or maybe you're wrong and 'sugar, spice, and everything nice' isn't my type either. Maybe I just think Whitney is annoying and Tao is a bitch," Sam replied caustically.
Matt opened his mouth to talk, then stopped, then started to talk again and stopped. "That is a possibility," Matt conceded.
Sam just walked away. Matt followed and they both walked into the thief safe room that also functioned as a meeting place now.
Matt hurried and eventually claimed a shadowed corner to watch. It gave him an opportunity to take in the scene before Sam came. Many thieves came in with their ring-leader friends, but they always stood back. Tao had her group of friends right behind her. Matt stifled a chuckle. "Oh, Sam you are in so much trouble!"
Seconds later, Sam strode through the doors with an air of calm. Without a word he pulled out his chair and lounged in it cooly. Matt watched him flick an amused gaze over at Tao's girls. Tao scowled.
Sam sighed and rested his chin in his hand as he spoke with obvious boredom. "I'm going to guess that this is about Team Rocket in Mahogany Town? Yes?"
Hayle cleared her throat and elbowed Danatalion for mumbling something. "Yes. We've heard that Ariana is there along with some grunts. I guess they're working on something, but no one has any idea what."
Sam shrugged. "Then you know what I know now."
Hayle sighed and tapped her fingernails on the tabletop with obvious frustration. Danatalion spoke for her. "Are we going to do anything about it?"
Barrakus mulled it over before choosing his words carefully. "Some of the thieves are getting restless. They don't want to wait; they want revenge."
Tao slammed her dagger blade into the table angrily. "Damn right we want revenge!" Sam flicked a contemptuous look at her.
Barrakus stepped in before another verbal, and possibly physical, fight broke out. "I just think that maybe we should be going off more than just your word that a plan exists."
Sam shrugged. "Well, I'm sure you've all had time to ponder this, so lets have it. What's your plan?"
Tao grated the dagger blade into the table further as she hissed, "We take them down, today. Right now! We can't just give them a chance to escape!" A bunch of Tao's girls cheered and backed her up. Some even gave Sam threatening looks.
Sam didn't even bother with a sarcastic glance. He answered with a bored expression. "Oh, yes. What was I thinking? Let's just all go over there, right now, and show them who's boss so they can pick up all their little goodies and run along. Who cares about all the leaders who aren't even there: Petrel, aka Patrick; Proton, aka Lance, or even Archer, aka Arthur, who may I just remind you, screwed you over literally and figuratively."
Several of the thieves were shell-shocked and many had to stifle laughter. Tao was either stunned speechless or rendered speechless by the murderous rage building. Sam seemed perfectly oblivious to it. "Nothing to say? C'mon, Tao. Say something else. I dare you."
Her hands clenched into fists and her jaw muscles bulged. One of her lackeys considered taking a step toward him, but Tao blocked her. Tao was glaring at Sam with a glare so murderous it would have killed anyone else on the spot. Sam smiled at her charmingly in response, not at all shaken.
Barrakus stepped in again nervously. "Okay, I don't know enough about fighting tactics to bring my own plan to the table, but does anyone else have something?"
Hayle responded. "Surely we could at least do something to sabotage them?" She turned to Sam. "I mean, couldn't we? At the very least, I don't just want to sit and do nothing. That's all we've done for three years."
Sam put on the pretense that he was just now considering the option. "It's plausible... But if it were to be done, it would have to be very subtle. We can't just sneak in and destroy the machine. They know the Thieves Guild's tactics when it comes to sabotage."
"That is true. The Thieves have been called to sabotage before. Like the Radio Tower project in Lavender Town. If one of their machine just broke, they could assume the Guild is getting involved again and that might drive them into hiding," Barrakus pointed out.
"But if they do compare it to what happened in Lavender Town, then they might assume that they're still cursed," Danatalion argued. "Attribute their bad luck to the ghosts from Pokemon Tower. Surely that would work to our advantage."
"No it wouldn't," Sam interrupted. "If they thought that they were cursed again, they would still stop what they're doing and just give up. Then it's back into hiding."
Danatalion slumped back in his chair. "Arceus... So what? Do we really just keep sitting around?"
Hayle snapped her fingers. "What if we just took money from them in small amounts?"
Sam shook his head. "Archer is way too much of a neat freak for that. Though just to make sure; Tao? Would Archer keep close count of his money?"
Tao gave him a scathing look and aimed her response at Hayle instead, "He would know in seconds."
Hayle sunk into her chair again. Danatalion spoke up this time. "What if we took away some of their workers? Staged some cover-ups for it... If we're really careful, no one would know."
Sam considered it quietly before answering. "We could maybe take two... three at the most. Otherwise we run the risk of it leading to 'the curse' or it pointing back at the Guild."
Barrakus stroked his beard as he thought. "Well, perhaps we could just take out two. They're in Mahogany Town, it wouldn't be unheard of for someone to fall in the Lake of Rage and drown. Can we agree on that compromise, Sam?"
Matt watched Sam's expression carefully, but Sam had a masterful poker-face and he betrayed nothing. He just shrugged. "It's fine with me as long as it follows two small conditions."
Danatalion nodded. "I'll take that."
Hayle gave him a suspicious look. "What are your terms?"
Tao slammed her fist on the table. "I don't care what his terms are, I just want action!"
Barrakus nodded at Sam to continue.
"One- you aren't allowed to fail. If you do, and Team Rocket runs, I will kill you myself." He paused and watched for any signs argument before continuing, "And two- Tao is not allowed to go."
That brought a huge outburst from Tao and her supporters. Tao dug her dagger out of the table and threw it at Sam with furious energy.
Sam didn't flinch. He caught the blade deftly in one hand and stared at her like she was a misbehaving child. "And that is exactly why you won't go. You're impulsive, childish, and throw temper tantrums when things don't go your way. You're a liability. If you want to go out with the adults, I suggest you prove that you can act like one." Sam's tone was calm.
No body spoke for awhile. Finally, Hayle gave in. "No failures and you're right, Tao shouldn't come."
Danatalion nodded his consent, nervously waiting for a dagger to come flying at him.
Barrakus gave a wary glance at Tao, but nodded to Sam. "Then it's final. This meeting is over." With that hurried statement, Barrakus fled before Tao could try to do anything to him. Hayle and Danatalion tried not to run from the room to preserve their dignity. Matt stuck around to see what would happen. Sam simply got up and walked away instead of pursuing a game of glares with Tao. As he sauntered out, Matt hurried to his side.
Tao was left in the room seething.
One of her lackeys, a powerful blonde woman, commented dryly, "It's a good thing for him that I'd find it a shame to hurt that pretty face of his."
Some of the others sniggered. Tao calmed slightly and smiled. "He's got guts to stand up to me... I'll give him that."
AN:I do really like this chapter. And Tao is still such a teenage girl, but you can't help but like her just a little. She's so funny to me. She's an outlet of humor in the story... Annoying and yet, drolly entertaining.
A big thank you to my Beta- DarkAngelTorchic! And also Soulmaster!
Zeth goes to Fearless Neko.
Your right Tao is one of the best characters in this. I have to say you are doing really well with the typos part I haven't seen any in the past couple of chapters.
I've finally caught up with this! Yay. So far I've really been enjoying it. Sam's grown on me a lot since I first started reading the first arc.
I think my only (albeit minor) qualm with your story (and the Kanto arc of GSTA) is that we don't really know much about the guild's origins and/or how it came to be, or why.
Unless I've missed it in an earlier chapter? Either way, good work. :)
You get more of that in GSTA: Hoenn. I'm using that as sort of an apology for being so mean to Sam (lol) and to make it so you understand Sam and the Guild itself better.
Thanks for reviewing ^^