Just A Little Comfort
This ficlet (actually, most of them that I write) was originally posted in the_sketchbook community on LiveJournal, I'm just showing them here for varied opinions. ^_^ I also write on Fanfiction.net under the name Lily Peters, so reviews there would be greatly appreciated. Thanks to Blackjack for her previous comments.
Title: Just A Little Comfort
Author: Roxy Parkington
Summary: Trapped in a fortress of crystal with only little Molly Hale for comfort, Delia Ketchum remembers and reflects on times gone by... Contains one-sided Haleshipping and Spencer/Crystal Hale shipping.
I knew Spencer when we were kids, of course, but he was the last person I would expect to have children, two of them at that. During our early twenties we fell in love, but we both knew that it wouldn’t work out between us, what with his research trips and everything. He left his job at Professor Oak’s and moved to Greenfield where he bought a mansion, then married Crystal, whose family was very wealthy and owned one of the largest mansions in the town. Standing in their front hall the day of their wedding, I knew they would be happy together. They didn’t show it physically, but there was an invisible energy between them that showed they loved each other beyond measure.
Two years later, if I remember right, ambitious little Joseph Hale entered their lives and ultimately changed them. "We have a budding trainer in the house!" Spencer exclaimed when I picked up the phone that day. Spencer and Crystal had come to visit me when she was pregnant, but it was still a wonderful feeling when I held him in their opulent living room for the first time. His hair was raven black, as dark as the night that fell over the world. He was very serious for a little baby, but I remember his eyes...he had his mother’s eyes.
I was over at their mansion every other weekend when Crystal and Spencer were working, and even then little Joey was ambitious. Several times he tried to climb the main marble stairs, and he all but fell were I not there to catch him. "Let him climb," Spencer told me in the evenings when the four of us sat by the fire, Joey on his daddy’s knee. "He needs to be a strong little boy if he wants to be a trainer someday."
"I suppose you’re right, Spencer, I let William go on his journey and he’s my husband. At least I have Ash for several more years." An image of my infant son sprang to my mind; he was with his father back home at the moment because William told me he wanted his kid to be introduced to Pokemon at an early age.
"And I have Joey and my loving wife," he added, smiling toward Crystal.
"Stop it, Spencer, not in front of company! You’ll make me blush!"
"Go on, I have to go anyway," I replied, slipping on my light sweater and starting for the study door. "See you soon, Joey, Aunt Delia will be back soon!" As Spencer showed Joey how to wave goodbye, I slowly shut the door and went outside to my waiting car. It was going to be a long drive home to Kanto.
We would’ve been great together, Spencer, I thought. We really would have...
After that night, my visits to Greenfield were few and far between, little Ash taking up most of my time. I loved him dearly, but I had a strong desire to see our family friends again. One gray spring morning, Will died in a car accident when he was coming home from his journey to see Ash and I, but unlike most spouses, I recovered quickly to shield the pain. Ash grew up with only memories of me as his parent, and I preferred it that way.
Out of the blue after four years apart, Spencer called. "Delia, you have to come to Greenfield when you get a chance!" he exclaimed when I picked up the receiver. "Crystal just gave birth to our newest member of the family!"
"Girl or boy?" I asked happily.
"Girl; Crystal and I named her Molly Michelle Hale. You should see Joseph, he’s grown up so much, and he’s so excited about having a sister. He adores her more than I thought he would for a four-year-old."
"Let me get Ash ready and I’ll see you tonight. Oh Spencer, that’s wonderful!"
And so it was that Ash and I spent several days in Greenfield, Ash getting to know his new friends. He wasn’t very keen on letting Molly in on their pretend games, but Joey stood firm. "She’s my sissy, I love her,"he would say as he extended a hand for little Molly to take. "Let’s pretend to be Pokemon trainers, come on, Molly!"
Not knowing how to speak yet, Molly would squeal as Joey lifted her into his arms and jumped across the stones, their innocent laughter music to the ears of the parents sitting on the garden bench. “They’re so happy, all three of them,” I remarked after sipping my lemonade.
"They are," Crystal replied softly, "and I hope it stays that way."
"All right, everyone, this calls for a group picture!" Professor Oak announced. Three years later we were all on the back lawn of Professor Oak’s house in celebration of the Hales coming back to Pallet Town for a visit. Molly was three by now and had just begun to walk, racing the two seven-year-old boys up and down the lawn in a fancy red dress.
"Don’t Molly, you’ll get grass stains on it,” Crystal said gently. “Besides, we need to take a picture now, you can go with Papa.”
"Awww, do we have to stop racing, Mom?” Joey whined. “I was beating both Ash and Molly!”
“We’re going to take the picture because Professor Oak said so,” Crystal replied firmly. “Now come on, Professor Oak might let you take the picture since you’ve played so well today.” Crystal returned to the group, followed by the two boys.
“Can I take the picture?” Joey asked Professor Oak. “I want to use the camera!”
“Sure, Joey, just so long as you know how to use it. The shutter’s right there on the top right, see?” the professor replied, pointing to the gray button. “Now step back a little bit…” Professor Oak returned to the rest of us just as Spencer lifted Molly into his arms.
“I see you, Joey!” Molly smiled from her place in Spencer’s arms.
“Get ready, you guys!” Joey called. “Everybody say ‘victory’!”
“Victory!” we all chorused, but Ash’s was the loudest of all as he flashed a pose he had developed while playing games with invisible Pokemon. If only the world was like this every day…
I pull myself from my memories, remembering where I am. Five-year-old Molly is sleeping on my lap right now, and Joey is nowhere to be found. Did the Pokemon that bring me to this crystal prison take Joey away too? Molly and her brother shared a bond beyond any words that I could say, and she must be pretty lonely to have her best friend gone. I look around the room, and my gaze falls on the storybook; I remember it from the days when Joey was a baby. Picking it up, I flip through the illustrations until I find a picture that looks exactly like the strange Pokemon I encountered at lunch. I can’t help it, I gasp. Next to me, Molly is stirring, and I wonder if Spencer read it to her and Joey when they were older.
“Molly,” I begin hesitantly, “have you...seen this?” She nods, if that is at all possible to do while lying on my lap.
“Mm-hm, that’s the book Papa always used to look at with me,” she says softly. I pause, wondering if she remembers the brother who meant so much to her so long ago, but all that escapes my lips is a simple “Oh.” I could say so much more, but she’s too young to comprehend all of this.
“Mama, I’m really glad you’re here,” she whispers softly as the tears prick my eyelids, but I look away, trying to distract myself. There on the crystallized nightstand is a family portrait and the “victory” photo Joey took so long ago.
“You’re by yourself a lot, aren’t you, Molly?” I venture again, my gaze lingering on the happy photos of a time gone by.
“Yeah,” she replies softly.
“Have you been lonely?” I press on; does she remember those days when they all had their innocence?
“Maybe a little…” she whispers, her small hand curling on a part of my purple skirt. If only everything would be normal again. Perhaps if I had married Spencer none of this would’ve happened… No. If I had married him there would’ve been no Joey, no Molly, no bond between them. And yet…I think on what could have been.
“But I don’t feel that way anymore,” Molly reassures me, probably herself above all else. “I have a mama and a papa now.” This time I cannot fight the lump in my throat as she drifts away into sleep. She doesn’t remember him, but I must think on that later. Molly needs a little comfort right now, and that’s all I can provide. I rub her back before turning the page to a tropical beach full of hibiscus flowers. Now that I think about it, I wouldn’t want to change the way our lives have unfolded for the world.
"I’m glad I’m here too, Molly, I am too.”