Severance [one-shot, Eldershipping if you so desire]

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    Default Severance [one-shot, Eldershipping if you so desire]

    Yo. I don't usually write Pokemon fanfics, but I was feeling all art-ed out and had to get some prose out of my system. Also, freaking Professor Oak won't get out of my head.

    ...er.

    Anyway. D:


    Severance

    So I got tired of Ash's mom being all helpless and stuff, so I wrote a fic about her taking some sort of initiative. I may not have been successful. This mostly started out as a lot of blahblah, but it managed to reach to 13 pages in Word. So it might be a little tl;dr for some of you. Anywho. Eldershipping if you want it to be.

    -----

    Tup tup tup tup.

    Skrrrk.

    Thud.


    “Ngh…”

    Rolling onto her back and clutching her shoulder as pain surged down her left side, Delia Ketchum gave a strangled sob of pain. Blood seeped between her fingers as she desperately tried to staunch the flow, but since it was already bleeding profusely, it was more to reassure herself that she was doing something to keep herself from dying. Her eyes shut tight from the pain, she began dragging herself through the thick grass, clutching a gun in one hand and pressing her other hand against her shoulder. She tried not to think about how she could die just meters within reach of help and instead focused—or attempted to, anyway—on how she would live if she could just get herself there.

    She didn’t even notice when she disturbed a poor Oddish as she crawled by, nor did she notice when it started walking alongside her, an inquisitive look on its face. It wasn’t until it spoke to her that she realized it was there. “Hello, Oddish,” she said, her voice slightly strangled from the effort of keeping herself moving. “Oddish, could you—could you please get help for m-me?”

    Oddish!” it said as it quickly ran off into the grass. Delia forced herself to continue on after it—if the Oddish didn’t come back with help in time, maybe she could get there under her own steam.

    After what seemed like an eternity of crawling through endless grass and dirt, she heard the faint cries of an Oddish and Bulbasaur coming closer, followed by the voice of a human. “Oddish oddish odd!” she heard, and suddenly the Oddish came skidding to a halt next to her. A Bulbasaur followed closely, and before she knew it, a shadow was cast over her as a man scrambled down onto his knees beside her.

    “Delia? Delia!

    Her strength seemed to leave her upon her rescuers’ arrivals, and she could barely keep herself awake long enough to make out the worried face of Professor Oak hovering over her. “N-no hospital…” she managed to whisper before her consciousness drifted away.

    -----

    Delia slowly awoke to the sounds of a heart monitor beeping softly away in the background and, if she wasn’t mistaken, the sound of a coffee mug being set down on a table. It took her a while to remember her situation since she felt rather comfortable lying there—wherever there was—and once it all came back to her, she began to panic that she’d been taken to Pallet General Hospital. The sounds of the heart monitor began to pick up in frequency as she forced her eyes open and tried to free herself from the sheets that were trapping her to the bed.

    “Delia, calm down! Please try to calm down!”

    At the sound of Professor Oak’s voice, she squinted in an attempt to get her eyes to focus in the dim light as she attempted to extract herself from the sheets she’d been bundled in. “Delia, stop!” he shouted, and she was so surprised by the volume of his voice that she froze completely. “Sorry,” Professor Oak said apologetically at the sight of her bewildered face.

    “Where am I?” she asked softly, casting her eyes around her as she slowly became aware of a dull throbbing pain in her shoulder and knee.

    “In my room,” said Professor Oak, drawing a chair to her bedside and taking a seat, Mimey anxiously pressing up against the bed as he did so. When worry briefly flashed across her face, Oak gave her a gentle smile. “Don’t worry. Nobody will come up here—I sent Tracey away to Mahogany Town on an errand yesterday, remember?”

    Relief spread across her face and she visibly relaxed, which seemed to please Professor Oak quite a bit. However, her relaxation was cut short when she became fully aware of the throbbing pains shooting through her body, which in turn caused the pleased look to fade away from the professor’s face. “Unfortunately,” he said, frowning, “there are still pellets lodged in your shoulder and leg. You were bleeding so much that you wouldn’t have lasted if I tried to remove them. Not to be negative or anything, but I’m surprised that you’re still alive.” He stopped a moment to regard her with a look of sympathy, as though to soften his words. “So, how do you feel? Judging by your face, it looks like you’re regaining feeling in your body.”

    “My shoulder and knee are killing me,” Delia groaned, rocking back and forth as she clutched to the sheets close to her chest.

    “That’s no surprise. I thought it wiser not to try and extract all the shotgun pellets still in your body,” said Professor Oak, stroking his chin. “I’m afraid I’m not well-versed in human physiology, but I’ve had Pokemon come in with similar injuries, so I think you should be fine for now. Your knee, however…” He trailed off in a manner that was not at all encouraging to Delia.

    “My knee…?”

    “It seems that whoever shot you had bad enough aim that you can keep your leg below your knee. How well you can use that knee remains to be seen, though I’m sure you’ll recover nicely. If we get you to a hospital...”

    “I can’t do that, Professor,” said Delia, giving him an imploring look, silently begging him not to send her there.

    He was silent for a moment—clearly disapproving of her decision—before nodding. “If you promise to explain to me what happened, I’ll drop it for now and ask you again after lunch.”

    “I—thank you, Professor Oak. You don’t know how much I appreciate this. I don’t know how to make it up to you,” she said, giving him the most sincere smile she could amid the stabs of pain.

    “You can start by telling me what you were thinking going after Team Rocket like that. Why didn’t you wait to call Officer Jenny?” said Professor Oak, crossing his arms and leaning back in his chair a bit, not unlike a disappointed father. Guilt began to fill Delia’s stomach as the professor’s eyes bored into hers.

    “I…I wasn’t thinking. I—I felt like I had to. Needed to, even,” Delia murmured, tearing her eyes away. “What those grunts said…I had to…I had to try to…” At that point, she was too overwhelmed to speak and fell silent.

    “Did you find Giovanni?”

    “I found him.”

    “I see. Did you…?”

    “I tried, but my aim isn’t what it used to be. He got away.” Tears began welling up in Delia’s eyes, and she clutched at her sheets. “I can’t—I can’t believe what I did. I almost killed him…I almost killed a human being…”

    “Delia…”

    She started sobbing, covering her face with her hands. She tried to kill him, she really did. In all her misguided years as a Team Rocket agent, she’d never killed anybody. It was true that she’d been trained in using firearms just like every other Rocket agent, but she’d never had any occasion to point a gun at anybody. She didn’t do much of anything with Team Rocket, or rather, she didn’t do anything she wasn’t already doing; her job had been to gather intel and research grass-type Pokemon—which she was already doing when she was studying under Professor Oak—not to steal Pokemon or hurt people. In fact, she’d been rather good at her job; good enough that Giovanni looked her way, decided that he liked what he saw, and proceeded to—

    “Professor, I—I shot someone,” she sobbed into her hands. “Even if it was that bastard—even if it’s Ash’s father that I was shooting, to think that I—”

    “Hush now, Delia,” Professor Oak said consolingly, getting up from his seat and holding her in his arms on the edge of the bed. “We’ll talk more later. Just rest now, okay?”

    He held her tightly as she wept, her body quaking violently as she cried out the entirety of her sorrows—she didn’t even notice when he reached over to shut the medical monitor off. She wanted to hate Giovanni for what he did to her—for what he might try to do to their son, for all the Pokemon he was hurting, for all the lives he was ruining—she couldn’t. It wasn’t in her nature to hate, and it wasn’t in her nature to wish suffering on others. It was why she left Team Rocket in the first place: it was an organization so full of hatred and suffering and sheer greed that she couldn’t even fathom what she saw in them in the first place. She’d joined up after a friend had extolled the virtues of Team Rocket so ardently, and it had taken her an embarrassingly long time to realize that there were no virtues in Team Rocket—only cunning leaders and the poor saps that those leaders were able to brainwash into believing that Team Rocket was the world’s salvation.

    To protect the world from devastation…my ass.

    Another wave of sobs came as she recalled the utter betrayal that she’d felt once she’d realized what Team Rocket truly was. It had been utterly crushing, both because she’d had such bright hopes for the organization, and because she’d allowed herself to be duped so easily. When she finally left Team Rocket and changed her surname—shortly after Giovanni had his way with her and she found out she was carrying his child—she had come clean to Professor Oak. Delia had fully expected for him to throw her out in disgust, and she’d even prepared for it by packing all her belongings from his lab beforehand. The professor, however, proved to her that day that he had an unusually large capacity for compassion and not only forgave her for her dealings with Team Rocket, but also offered to help her settle into Pallet Town with her new identity and pregnancy. At first she thought he was foolish for doing so, but she’d been so glad to have some support after all the things that went wrong in her life…

    -----

    Professor Oak laid Delia down once her body relaxed and her breathing became more regular. With a frown, he slowly pulled the sheets away to take a look at the bandages he’d wrapped around her shoulder and knee. Making a mental note to change them once she woke up, he gently pulled the electrode leads out of her shirt and covered her with the sheets again. “I’m going down to check on the Pokemon, Mimey. Please watch her for a while,” he told Mimey as he quietly slipped out the room, slowly going over the night’s events in his mind. He’d been scared half to death that Delia went and got herself killed when she ran after Team Rocket like that, and his heart had been ready to leap out through his throat when Oddish and Bulbasaur had led him to her bloodied form in the field. Whatever it was that came over that girl when Team Rocket showed up…

    He stopped that train of thought for a moment, standing absently in front of the door leading outside. When those Team Rocket grunts had come trying to steal some of the Tauros from his ranch, they hadn’t done a very good job of it. Now that he thought back on it, their bumbling antics seemed like a pretense to cover up for something else or perhaps to stall for time. In fact, it wasn’t until after Delia showed up that they had gotten their act together and said a few choice words to make the normally cheery and good-natured woman to fly into an alarming rage.

    “The boss knows about the brat, and you’ll both be getting your severance packages soon.”

    With that, they disappeared in a theatrical explosion of gray smoke, leaving behind an increasingly furious Delia Ketchum and a thoroughly bewildered Samuel Oak. To be brutally honest with himself, he had really expected her to look more fearful than enraged, perhaps bursting into tears and dropping to her knees or fainting, but not livid and definitely not screaming into the sky. Of course, all that he’d expected seemed to come true in one way or another—tears were streaming down her face as she howled into the air like a wounded Charizard and she’d finally dropped to her knees and slowly dug her nails into the dirt. It was quite clear where Ash’s recklessness and stubbornness came from, and the professor felt slightly humbled that, even with his exceptional observational skills, he did not quite realize it until now. Delia had been a bit headstrong—very bright, but often impulsive—when she was younger, but over the years he had convinced himself it was simply an effect of youthful vigor.

    As Oak finished examining a Hitmonlee recovering from a broken ankle, he called Bulbasaur over and knelt down to talk to it. “Did you and some of the other Pokemon fix the grass to make it look like Mrs. Ketchum never came through?” he asked, smiling when Bulbasaur gave him a nod of confirmation. “Good job, Bulbasaur. What would I ever do without you?” He gave Bulbasaur a poffin from his pocket and stood up. “Come on, let’s go find Noctowl.”

    They found Noctowl lounging in a large tree near the outermost boundaries of the corral. “Good morning, Noctowl!” Oak called, smiling up at it. It stretched, yawning loudly, and eagerly hopped down from its perch on the tree limb. “Can you do something for me, Noctowl?” asked Oak. When Noctowl nodded, he pointed up to the sky and made a wide, sweeping gesture. “Can you please fly out above Pallet Town and check to see if you notice any suspicious activity? Perhaps Pokemon fleeing from somewhere or people you don’t know hanging around in places they shouldn’t?”

    With a nod of assent, Noctowl launched itself into the air and began circling up into the sky. “Have Bulbasaur come find me when you get back, okay?” Oak called as he shielded his eyes against the bright sunlight, smiling when he received a faint cry in reply. Satisfied, he began walking back toward the laboratory, Bulbasaur following closely behind.

    “Can you get Bayleef to help you have the other Pokemon watch out for anything strange? And maybe if you see Swellow, have it search with Noctowl?” he asked, turning to face Bulbasaur once he reached the entrance to the lab.

    Bulba!

    “Thank you, Bulbasaur. I really appreciate it, old friend,” he said with a smile, bending down to give Bulbasaur a quick pat on its head before turning to go back inside.

    He made his way back to his room after making a quick stop in his kitchen to warm up some leftovers for Delia to eat. To his dismay, when he squeezed through the door of his room laden with a bowl of soup and a glass of Sitrus berry juice, he found her lying on her side, clutching the sheets and whimpering softly. “Is it hurting?” Professor Oak asked worriedly as he knelt down by the bedside. “Do you think you’ll be fine with ibuprofen? I don’t want to inject you with the analgesic I use on Pokemon unless I absolutely have to.”

    “I’ll be fine. Thank you,” said Delia, sighing in relief as Oak handed her the glass of juice and two white tablets from a small container on the bedside table.

    “Ash and his friends will be arriving tomorrow,” said Oak quietly after Delia washed the tablets down with the juice.

    “I’m worried for him, Professor,” Delia said, her eyes beginning to well up. “What if—what if he—?”

    “I had Ash’s Noctowl scout the area from the sky, and Bulbasaur should come get me if Noctowl finds anything. For now, try to relax and have some lunch,” Oak said, taking the glass from her. “Can you hold the bowl, or does it hurt too much?” At first, she seemed able to hold the bowl, but after almost spilling the scalding contents all over Oak’s legs, they slid the table over so she could eat with her good arm.

    “Wow, this is delicious,” Delia said in surprise after taking her first sip. “Did you make this?”

    The professor smiled and nodded. “I did, actually. For some reason, people tend to assume that I live off of canned ravioli and frozen waffles. And you cook so much for me that I never get the chance to return the favor,” he said with a laugh. “I enjoy cooking. It’s as much art as it is science.”

    In an attempt to keep her spirits up after her ordeal the previous night, Oak told her humorous stories about unfortunate times that Ash’s Muk tried to play with him. He hoped that having something in her stomach and maybe laughing a bit would get her thinking clearly again so that she’d decide to go to the hospital and have her wounds looked at. He did understand her apprehension at going to the hospital—they would be hard-pressed to find a suitable excuse for having shotgun wounds and it would be no surprise if Team Rocket was waiting to take her as soon as she arrived there. It didn’t stop him from worrying, though; it was true that he has treated comparable injuries on Pokemon, but because humans did not have the same regenerative traits that Pokemon did, he wasn’t sure if he did a good enough job cleaning her wounds up.

    “Now, then,” Oak said once she finished eating, “if you don’t mind, I would like to check on your wounds. You may want to look away for this.”

    Apprehensively, Delia allowed Oak to pull the covers aside to expose her bandaged leg and shoulder. As he peeled the medical tape away from her knee, she gave a rather large jerk and breathed in sharply. “Go ahead and lie down. You might be more comfortable that way,” Oak said, stepping away as Mimey fretted about behind him. Once Delia lay back on the bed, he continued with what he was doing, stopping every so often when she twitched in pain.

    “It doesn’t look too bad. We’ll just have to make sure it doesn’t get infected,” he said brightly as he cleaned blood away from the skin surrounding the wounds. It could have been much, much worse, considering that it was a shotgun—or indeed, a gun at all—pointed at her, but she did seem to be recovering quite nicely. “Mimey, please hand me the gauze.” In no time at all, Oak had her knee cleaned up and moved on to her shoulder, which wasn’t quite as torn up as the knee. As he worked, he noticed that her face was screwed up tightly in pain and that she’d taken a hold of the edge of his lab coat for lack of other things to hold on to.

    “Your shoulder is looking as well as a gunshot wound could look,” said Oak, smiling down at her as he finished wrapping her shoulder with tape, and she promptly released his coat. “Thank you, Mimey,” he added, turning to Mimey and taking all the bloodied gauze and tape that it had gathered up.

    “Say, Professor Oak,” Delia said as he threw all the trash into a waste bin, “what..am I wearing?”

    “Ah, that would be one of my pajama tops,” said Oak as he sat down in the chair beside the bed. “Unfortunately, your clothes weren’t quite sanitary by the time Mimey and I got you up here, so I removed them and thought you’d be comfortable in some pajamas. And I thought it would be too difficult to change the dressings on your knee if you were wearing the pants…” He stopped for a moment when he realized what he said, and quickly gave her an apologetic look. “Er, please don’t misunderstand, Delia,” he said nervously. “Under normal circumstances—quite inappropriate—that is to say, you were bleeding quite a bit and I couldn’t work with your clothes there—absolutely nothing else went—“

    “Professor Oak, it’s okay,” Delia said with a small laugh. “I understand completely, and I’m grateful for what you did.”

    Oak smiled and felt slightly relieved that she wasn’t bothered by her lack of pants. He was worried that she might have been embarrassed that he saw her sans clothes, but Delia clearly wasn’t so superficial that she’d get worked up over something like that after nearly getting killed. “Look, you should get some sleep,” said Oak after a brief silence. “Or you should eat more. Which do you prefer?”

    “I think a nap sounds good. Thank you, Professor Oak,” Delia said as she settled herself under the covers and closed her eyes. “And you know, the ibuprofen may be kicking in…it’s not hurting as much.” He smiled when she seemed to drift off to sleep, until she suddenly wrenched her eyes open. “Where…where did you put my gun? Did I have it?”

    “Did you have it? You wouldn’t let go of it. It’s over there,” Oak said with a frown. He gestured toward the small table by the windowsill. “Why do you ask?”

    “I couldn’t remember if I dropped it or not. I just wanted to make sure,” she said, closing her eyes again as the corner of her mouth twitched.

    He watched her sleep for some ten or so minutes and rather felt that he needed to take a nap as well—he’d been up most of the night trying to keep her from bleeding to death. However, just as he settled into his seat and leaned his head onto the back of the chair, he heard a fluttering sound and found Swellow perched on the windowsill. “Why hello, Swellow,” Oak said as he made his way to the window. “Did you and Noctowl find anything?”

    Swellow shook its head, but gestured toward the sky with a wing to indicate its willingness to keep searching, as Noctowl gave a loud cry from the air behind it. “I see. Please take care when you’re flying, Swellow,” Oak said, stroking its neck gently. “You and Noctowl, okay? Try to avoid danger…I don’t want any of you to get hurt too.”

    After giving a nod of assent, Swellow leapt off the windowsill and soared back into the sky, Noctowl following closely after it. Oak watched them a moment, hoping that they wouldn’t look too conspicuous flying about over town, before he sighed and returned to the chair beside the bed. “Mimey, would you like to take a nap too? We can take turns, if you like,” said Oak, glancing at him. When Mimey shook its head, he leaned back into the chair and closed his eyes. “Please wake me if something comes up,” Oak murmured before drifting off to sleep.

    -----

    Delia slowly awoke to the muffled sounds of a shower running in the bathroom. Outside the window, the sky was lit with the ethereal glow of the pre-daybreak twilight. In the seat Professor Oak had occupied earlier, Mimey sat fast asleep, quietly snoring away. The throbbing in her side and knee had returned and her entire body felt rather stiff, which wasn’t quite that surprising if she slept through the night and into the early morning. Her stomach felt rather empty as well, but Mimey was sleeping so soundly that she hated to wake him. As silently as she could, she reached for the half-finished glass of Sitrus berry juice on the bedside table, but only managed to reach far enough to nudge the glass, which was enough to cause Mimey to wake with a start.

    Mime mime mime!” he said, leaping off the chair as though caught doing something bad. He caught sight of her trying to reach for the cup and quickly handed it to her as it rubbed sleep from its eyes.

    “Thank you, Mimey. Sorry to wake you,” Delia said apologetically before finishing off the rest of the juice and handing the glass back to Mimey.

    She pulled off the covers and slowly sat up, swinging her legs over the edge of the bed grimacing as her side and leg painfully protested. “It’s okay, Mimey,” she said as Mimey fretted. “I just need to move my body a bit.” Her wounded leg wasn’t quite cooperating—it hurt to keep it bent so she ended up laying it up on the edge of the bed, but it felt good to get her ankles and good knee loosened up after lying down for what was at least twenty-four hours. Her hips and back gave rather ghastly cracks as she arched her back as far as it would let her.

    “Ah, how are you feeling, Delia?” came Professor Oak’s voice as she finished wiggling her fingers and clenching and unclenching her fists. He emerged from the bathroom clean-shaven and wearing his customary red shirt and khakis, though his lab coat was conspicuously absent.

    “Better, thank you,” she replied, smiling.

    “You need to eat something,” said Oak as he pulled a fresh lab coat from his closet. Delia stifled a laugh when she saw what must have been a dozen white coats perfectly lined up inside—for some reason it seemed almost comical to her. “I fell asleep myself, I must say, so I didn’t wake you to eat dinner like I should have. Do you feel ready to go downstairs so we can have some breakfast?”

    “Sure,” Delia said, slowly lowering her wounded leg and gingerly putting her weight on it. A strangled sob of pain escaped her throat as she tried to stand up, and she swayed so badly on her feet that Mimey and Oak were immediately at her side to keep her from collapsing into a heap.

    “First, you should probably put some pants on,” said Oak, laughing. He took the matching pants of the pajamas from the hook behind his door and, after a series of increasingly unbalanced and awkward hops, they managed to relatively painlessly get her legs through the pant legs. After pulling the drawstring tight and rolling the waistband a few times, Oak stepped back to examine her. “Looks good, considering that I’m—well, wider than you are. How does it feel?”

    “It’s lovely, Professor. I think I’ll be fine.” She gave the pants a light pull to see if they’d fall down, and smiled when they did not fall. “See? Let’s go.”

    “Let’s take the stairs slowly, okay?” Oak said as he led her towards the door. She leaned heavily on him every time she took a step with her injured leg, all but holding her breath as she did so. The stairs were hell to go down, so much so that she nearly had to go down them backwards in order to keep from jamming her leg on each step. When she finally reached the bottom, she looked back at them with a frown and wondered how in the world Oak and Mimey had gotten her up the stairs in the first place.

    “Now then,” said Oak once she was finally situated at the kitchen table, “what would you like for breakfast?”

    “Anything will do, Professor. I’m not picky.”

    Delia watched Oak work, impressed with how he well he seemed to work in the kitchen. She hated to admit it, but she’d never seen Oak cook like this before—it was true that she cooked so often for him that at most she’d see him boil some water or maybe make a pot of coffee. Mimey fell right in step with him, and the two seemed to do so well together that Delia had to hide her grin behind a hand.

    “There you are,” said Oak, sliding a plate of pristine pancakes and sausages in front of her before moving to the refrigerator and pulling the door open. “There’s plenty, so don’t be afraid to eat up. Now…for some Sitrus juice…”

    Delia stared blankly at the huge pile of pancakes he’d given her. “Er, Professor? There’s no way I could eat all of this.”

    He placed a tall glass of Sitrus juice next to the pancakes before taking a seat at the table across from her with a plate of pancakes only half what she had. Mimey sat to her right with even less pancakes than Oak, though he did have a pile of Pokemon food heaped on top. “Try to eat as much as you can. You spent most of the day sleeping, and you lost a lot of blood, you know,” Oak said, chuckling. “Pancakes keep well in the freezer, so it’ll be fine if you can’t eat it all. I’ll save it for another day.”

    “Well…okay…”

    In the end, she had only been able to eat about half what he’d given her—half the pancakes and half the sausages—but Oak didn’t seem to mind and simply wrapped the rest in plastic wrap before throwing them into the freezer. After he and Mimey cleaned up, he took what looked like vitamins from a cupboard and handed her a tablet. “Here, take this,” he said, sitting back down at the table. “It’s an iron supplement. You’ll need it.”

    “Do you think we could sit outside, Professor?” Delia asked once she’d swallowed the tablet. “It looks lovely out there.” Sunlight was streaming through the windows and the sky was a wondrous shade of blue.

    “Won’t it be safer for you to stay inside in case Team Rocket shows up again?” asked Oak, frowning. Delia shrugged, then immediately regretted it when pain shot through her shoulder.

    “If they want me, it’ll be dangerous whether I’m inside or not. Besides, I’d hate for them to tear your lab apart looking for me.”

    Oak gave her a mildly disapproving look. “Your safety is more important than my lab. You should know that.”

    “Still, it doesn’t matter either way. And outside, there are plenty of Pokemon around that can protect me.”

    “I suppose so. Let’s go, then.”

    It really was a lovely day outside—there was nary a cloud in the sky and there was a very light breeze blowing just along the hillside. They sat on a large slab of rock protruding from the ground and watched from afar as the grass Pokemon played in the field. For a while, they talked about nothing in particular—Pokemon food, the professor’s research, and even poffin-making—both taking care to skirt around the sensitive subject of Ash and Team Rocket. After a while, some of Ash’s Pokemon came to play with them and so they talked with and about them. Cyndaquil had snuggled right up to Delia’s stomach, and the look it gave her when it did so made it quite clear that it could tell something was wrong and if she could please cheer up a little bit. She stroked its back absently, rather enjoying Cyndaquil’s warmth as Totodile danced about for them.

    Delia could tell that Oak was trying to keep her spirits up again. The professor was not a hard man to read; rather, it was quite easy to tell what he was feeling—every little expression on his face betrayed what was inside—and Delia supposed it was because of that quality that both Pokemon and people alike loved him so. And so, even when he smiled, she could tell he was very tense—worried, perhaps, that Team Rocket would attack at any minute. Of course, that didn’t stop him from writing impromptu poems about the Jumpluff drifting by on the breeze or the Marill playing in the pond.

    They were interrupted in the middle of a discussion about gardening when they caught sight of Swellow and Noctowl flying toward them, frantically calling out to them as the deep rumbles of explosions from the forest area reached their ears. Bulbasaur and Bayleef followed shortly after on the ground, vines flailing wildly in the air in an attempt to get their attention. Assortments of flying Pokemon fluttered from the treetops as bright orange light flickered between the trees, and they watched in horror as a Nidoking was thrown out of the trees, smoldering as it skidded to a halt at the foot of the hill.

    “Mr. Mime, call Officer Jenny now, just like I showed you,” Oak said to Mimey, who immediately dashed off for the lab. “Delia, we need to—“

    Oak was cut short when a pair of Tyranitar tore out of the trees, giving monstrous roars while a man in an orange suit followed, flanked by the two Rocket agents that Delia recognized as the ones that once tried to steal all the Pokemon that Oak was storing for trainers. The man in orange looked straight up at them, and before Delia could even get to her feet, a Hyper Beam blasted the ground right out from beneath them. For a long, terrifying moment, Delia’s world was filled with dust, the screams of Pokemon, and horrifying weightlessness as she was thrown into the air by the force of the blast. She shrieked in agony when she hit the ground again on her bad shoulder—several feet below where they initially were sitting. It was unbearable—her mind began to shut down as her entire left side surged with pain, and she was barely aware that she was screaming…

    The sounds of Pokemon fighting amongst each other brought her back to her senses, and once she managed to force her eyes open, she found Bulbasaur and a mass of other Pokemon valiantly fighting off the pair of Tyranitar and what looked to be the two Rocket agents’ Granbull and Mightyena. She watched in terror as Bulbasaur went sailing over her head from a blinding Hyper Beam attack, while the Granbull attacked Totodile with Thunder Fang. Regardless, it seemed that the intruders were slowly getting overpowered by the sheer number of Pokemon closing in on them, until a deafening crack shot through the air. All movement stopped completely, and even the flying Pokemon seemed to hover motionlessly in the air.

    “You will all stop this nonsense,” the man said, a revolver pointed straight up into the sky. He slowly brought it down to point directly at Delia, a smirk on his face. “You will all stop, or I shoot her here and now.”

    “Giovanni,” she spat. The man looked down at her in amusement as she staggered to her feet, his two agents sniggering to themselves behind him. She could feel the blood spreading from her leg and shoulder, and she tried her hardest to fight off the nausea creeping up from her stomach. Inwardly, as she struggled to stay upright, she cursed at herself for being so stupid as to forget the gun in the professor’s room.

    “What do you want with her?” came Oak’s voice, raspy and almost strangled, as Delia saw him slowly get to his feet, blood trickling from his hairline.

    “I came here to have the pleasure of killing her myself,” Giovanni said casually, as though he were simply there for a routine appointment. “I was going to let Butch and Cassidy here take care of her and the brat, but after her little escapade the other night, I want to be here to see her die.”

    What have you done with Ash?!” Delia shrieked, straightening up but grimacing as pain shot through her side. Giovanni laughed a terrible laugh—it was so calm, so intolerably nonchalant, that it cut deeper into her than if he had cackled like a madman.

    “The boy is still alive, don’t you worry, Delia,” said Giovanni, who seemed to relish the anguish Delia was in. “He will, however, join you shortly after you die by my hand.”

    “What has Ash done to you? Why bring him into this?!” Delia demanded, her voice cracking from the sheer volume she was screaming at.

    At that, the smirk disappeared from Giovanni’s face, his composure broken. He angrily stomped toward her, gun-hand quivering and teeth his teeth bared. “What did he do to me? What did he do to me?” he snarled, thrusting the barrel of the gun at her. He stopped, glowering when Oak stepped into his path.

    “You’ll get to her over my dead body,” Oak said, giving Giovanni a defiant glare.

    “Poor choice of words there, my dear professor, because I’d be happy to do so over your dead body,” said Giovanni, narrowing his eyes and prodding Oak with the barrel of the gun. The professor stood steadfast, his expression unchanging. “There’s no reason to risk your life for someone like her, Oak. Useless is all she is, and you’d be a fool to think otherwise.”

    “I must be a fool, then,” Oak said simply.

    “Unless, of course,” Giovanni said silkily, the smirk returning to his face, “you’re screwing her. But I’d still call you a fool for doing even that.”

    Oak bristled in indignation, clenching his fists as Butch and Cassidy cackled with laughter. “How dare you…How dare you speak of her like that?” he growled. Delia was shocked to hear the professor’s voice so angry—she was so accustomed to his pleasant personality that she had never even imagined him in this state.

    “Hit a soft spot, have I, old man?” Giovanni said, his voice nearly a whisper. “Are you screwing the little slut?”

    Delia yelled in alarm as Oak twisted his body past the gun and dove at Giovanni’s head in a feat of speed and agility shocking for a man his age. Oak had managed to wrap his fingers around Giovanni’s neck and trap his gun arm with his free hand, but was battered in the face by Butch before he could really dig his fingers into Giovanni’s flesh. Oak clung doggedly on as Butch pounded wildly at him, until Giovanni managed to wriggle his arm free and slap Oak in the face with the butt of the gun. He toppled to the ground, groaning, as Giovanni staggered back and gasped for air.

    “Professor Oak!” Delia cried, limping over and kneeling beside him. His face was bleeding from where Giovanni hit him, and he was groaning from the pain of the blows that Butch had landed.

    “You son of a bitch,” Giovanni gasped, a hand on his neck as he swatted away Cassidy’s attempt to assist him. “Since you’re so emotionally invested in this woman and her brat—“

    “He’s—your son—too—“

    “And do you know, Oak,” said Giovanni, sneering down at him and Delia, “that my son has cost Team Rocket thousands upon thousands dollars worth of destroyed machinery? Him, his friends, and that Pikachu that those bumbling fools still cannot capture…!” Giovanni rubbed his temples with a free hand. “And the state of the Marauder when he returned from pursuing that useless Celebi…”

    Delia jumped in alarm when Oak suddenly forced himself up into a sitting position. “Your son is more of a man than you’ll ever be,” Oak snarled, spitting a mixture of blood and saliva at Giovanni’s feet. Giovanni’s face flushed with rage.

    “I’ll make you regret your impudence, Oak,” Giovanni growled. “So, has the famed Professor Oak ever been on the receiving end of a point-blank Hyper Beam attack?” He turned to one of the Tyranitar and jerked his head at Oak, a smirk emerging on his face. “Kill him, Tyranitar.”

    “Delia, move. Move!

    Wide-eyed, Delia watched as the orange light began growing in the Tyranitar’s mouth. She felt as though everything was moving in slow motion, and she felt aware of everything happening around her—the Tyranitar charging its Hyper Beam, the smile slowly spreading across Giovanni’s face, Professor Oak’s face as he desperately tried to push her away—

    Dirt, dust, and rubble flew everywhere as the Tyranitar loosed its Hyper Beam attack—it was difficult to make anything out in the chaos that followed. Oak was thrown back into the hillside, the wind completely knocked out of him as his ears rang from the deafening explosion. For a moment all he could think about was his inability to breathe and the pain spreading through his back and head. He gasped frantically for air as the dust began clearing, his mind still attempting to process what had happened, and he instinctively tried to remove the debris that was threatening to crush his chest. But when his hands came into contact with soft flesh and cotton, Oak immediately snapped out of his daze and found Delia—smoldering and limp—lying on top of him, her back raw and oozing blood from where the Hyper Beam had hit. He realized, his horror slowly growing, that she had managed to throw herself in front of him—to save him—

    He struggled to sit up—to fight—to tear that smirk off of Giovanni’s face—but his body would not obey and instead he lay there, his breathing shallow as Giovanni drew closer, gun pointed right at his face. Oak’s limbs failed him and steeled himself for the gunshot that was sure to come, before Giovanni was engulfed in a pillar of yellow electricity and he let out a blood-curdling scream. At first, Oak couldn’t quite understand what happened, until ice and bubbles from the sky began pelting the bewildered Tyranitar. A Sonic Boom attack followed and knocked Butch and Cassidy to the ground, and a spray of Bullet Seeds tore into the Granbull and Mightyena. As Oak desperately tried to force himself to sit up, the rain of seeds and sonic booms continued as the two Rocket agents tried to fruitlessly crawl away with their Pokemon.

    Oak managed to lift his head in time to see Ash sail through the air at Giovanni from the top of the hill, landing squarely on Giovanni’s chest and slamming him to the ground before proceeding to mercilessly pummel the man’s face with his fists.

    “LEAVE…MY MOM…AND PROFESSOR OAK…ALONE!”

    As Giovanni vainly struggled underneath Ash’s weight, both the Tyranitar roared and were about to fire off Hyper Beam attacks when they were bowled over by a Mamoswine and a Water Gun attack. The Hyper Beams shot into the sky as Mamoswine quickly turned and sent an Ice Shard directly at them whilst they strained to recover from the Hyper Beam attacks. When they staggered forward, a blinding light filled the area and with a collective roar from all the Pokemon present, a massive Solar Beam hit them straight on and sent them crashing into the trees. One lay motionless in the wreckage of a tree, and the other gave a low, agonized groan before going limp.

    Oak was vaguely aware of Brock attempting to tear Ash away from Giovanni, who looked to be unconscious or perhaps dead. “Ash, stop! Stop! You’ll kill him!” Brock managed to say as he dragged a struggling Ash off Giovanni.

    “Let me go! LET GO!”

    “Stop! Your mom and Professor Oak are more important right now!”

    He felt someone pulling Delia’s limp form off his body and found himself blearily looking up at Ash’s friend. Ash’s voice could be heard behind her, frantically trying to wake his mother. “Professor Oak…?” said Ash’s friend as she gave his shoulder a gentle shake. “Can you hear me, Professor?”

    “Wh-who are…you?”

    “It’s Dawn, Professor. Hang on, help is coming…” He could feel the girl holding on to his hand, her fingers trembling as she fidgeted in place. “How’s she looking, Brock?” Oak heard her say.

    “Still breathing, but she’s in pretty bad shape…”

    “Mom…Mom, please hang on…

    “Hey, twerps. What should we do with these two?” Oak blinked at the sound of an unfamiliar voice. It seemed to be coming from behind Dawn, and he didn’t have the strength to move his head.

    “Tie them up until Tracey gets back with Officer Jenny.”

    “Carnivine, tie Hootch up with Vine Whip.”

    “Seviper, use Wrap. Yanmega, watch their Pokemon and make sure they stay down.”

    “What—whaddabout da boss?”

    “What about him, Meowth?”

    “I mean…he tried ta off us yesterday. What’ll we do now?”

    “We’ll work something out.”

    As Oak’s vision began dimming and his ragged breath began slowing, he felt Dawn anxiously clinging to his hand. “Stay with me, Professor Oak, stay with me…” He hazily saw a Piplup from the corner of his eye as it tapped his shoulder with its flippers, before his body finally gave out and he felt himself slip into darkness.

    -----

    Beep.

    Beep.

    Beep.


    “…?”

    Beep.

    Beep.

    Beep.


    There were sounds—indistinct murmurings of people nearby, the soft footsteps, the silence—and the piercing beep-beep-beeping. It seemed to call her, to wake her, but everything was heavy…nothing would move…

    Delia slowly opened an eye, and for the briefest of moments she saw the blurred shadows of people sitting in her view, until her eyelid fell shut again and her eyes threatened to roll up into the back of her head. It took all she had to focus and keep conscious, and once more she tried to open her eyes. Once again her eyelids were too heavy to keep open, and again she had to force herself to stay awake. Again and again she tried, and after one great effort, she opened her eyes and fought to keep them that way.

    She found herself lying on her side and facing a small, tattered couch. Ash was curled up one end, hatless and fast asleep, and Professor Oak on the other end, rather unsightly bruises covering his face and his mouth hanging open as he slept. Relief swept over her at the sight of both of them—she was overjoyed to see both of them alive, even if Oak looked a little beaten up. Delia watched them for some time—she wasn’t sure how long, as there were no clocks in her view—as she slowly regained feeling in her body. Her back rippled with pain every time she moved, as did her previously wounded shoulder and leg. She felt herself growing rather anxious, as she had to keep very still to avoid putting herself in a world of pain, and there was nobody else in the room to talk to. She felt very aware of the oximeter attached to her finger, the intravenous tubing snaking away from her arm, and the electrodes attached to her skin—she felt like they were restraining her—they threatened to smother her—

    But after what seemed like an eternity, Oak twitched and gave a grunt before waking up with a start, and Delia was able to relax again. He looked confused for a moment, before his eyes wandered back down to her. “You’re awake!” he said with a smile as he slowly got up from the couch, grimacing as he straightened up and limped to a chair beside the bed. “The doctors were afraid that we’d…that we’d lost you. I’m happy to see you awake. You were asleep for a quite a—quite a long time.”

    “I’m glad you’re okay, too, Professor Oak.” She paused a moment, smiling up at him. She really was glad, because if he had died—if Professor Oak had died…She couldn’t even complete the thought. Her throat seized up on her at the very idea and a strangled sob had escaped her mouth before she could force herself to relax. “What…what happened to…” Delia started hesitantly once she could speak again.

    “Officer Jenny took him into custody. And Ash,” Oak added with a small smile, “nearly killed him. I suppose you could say that Giovanni’s face no longer looked like himself once Ash finished with him.”

    “Does Ash know?”

    “I thought it would be better for him to hear it from you.”

    Delia hesitated, briefly looking away from the professor. “Do you think—do you think I should tell him?”

    Oak was silent for a moment, which wasn’t all that encouraging, until a gentle smile emerged on his face. “Honesty and truth only serve to strengthen bonds. It’s that way with Pokemon, and it’s the same with people. Ash loves you; I’m sure he’ll grow to understand, even if he doesn’t at first.”

    It was with these words that Delia knew that everything would be all right. Perhaps not right now, and perhaps not tomorrow…

    But it would all work out eventually.

    “Professor Oak—I—for everything—thank y—“

    “Shh. No need to thank me.”

    And he smiled.

    -----




    So. Um...that's it. I didn't really plan this out too well and there are definitely some holes that I didn't bother to fill for fear of trying to include too much in a one-shot, buuuut I figured it'd be fine as it is [for now, because I see some stylistic edits that I could do]. Anywho, I missed almost all of the anime from after the Orange Islands to the middle of DP, so I completely forgot about Sceptile, who would've laid the beatdown on the Tyranitar, I'm sure.

    Now that all this prose is out of my system, off to draw more comics! : D;;
    Last edited by Integration; 4th June 2010 at 03:59 PM.

  2. #2
    May Still Have Hope TeamGalacticMercury's Avatar
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    Default Re: Severance [one-shot]

    Nice job! I like it!

  3. #3
    Slammin' Flower Child Integration's Avatar
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    Default Re: Severance [one-shot, Eldershipping if you so desire]

    Why thankya. : D

  4. #4
    May Still Have Hope TeamGalacticMercury's Avatar
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    Default Re: Severance [one-shot, Eldershipping if you so desire]

    You should really write more often!

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    Slammin' Flower Child Integration's Avatar
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    Default Re: Severance [one-shot, Eldershipping if you so desire]

    I used to write a lot, but I mostly do comics now. But the writing usually comes in cycles...maybe if I get slapped in the face by a story idea, I'll write something. XD

  6. #6
    Jiggly Lover Blondie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Severance [one-shot, Eldershipping if you so desire]

    Yup u really should write more! Great one shot!

  7. #7
    Slammin' Flower Child Integration's Avatar
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    Default Re: Severance [one-shot, Eldershipping if you so desire]

    Thanks! <3 I'll try to write more, since people seem to like it. I used to get discouraged because it seemed like nobody was reading my stuff on fanfiction.net, so I mostly draw nowadays. Anywho, if enough people care to have some sort of followup to this fanfic, I could probably continue since I just left it like that. Haha.

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