Whoa, nearly a month has gone past since my last update. That can't be good. Anyway, I'm back and I'd like to thank Censored for betaing this chapter!
Leah subtly glanced behind her. They were still following her.
With a snarl on her face, she sped up her pace. Damn it! She thought she lost them when she took that sharp turn at Marlin Street. She certainly didn’t see them for about ten minutes afterwards, but they must have caught up somehow!
Argh! She did not want them trailing after her like lost puppies; Why couldn’t they just leave her alone? Did Leah ask them to follow her? No! They just started to do it by themselves for whatever stupid reason they had. They didn’t need her and she didn’t want them! The brats could just find a new mentor.
Were they really that set on going on a Pokemon journey?
Leah mentally chided herself for her ignorance that she displayed earlier that morning. Of course, she would get the stubborn ones. Who did she take herself for, some lucky person?
Feeling the burst of anger fading she downgraded her snarl into a scowl and finally loosened the grip on the Pokeball that was still in her pocket. Walking even faster, she wondered what the point was. If they would follow her even when she started to run, then they wouldn’t be put off by a little speed-walk.
“Stupid brats,” she muttered to herself, exhaustion clouding her voice. Her once quick pace became slow and lazy as she slouched and sighed in defeat. There was no getting away from them.
Her eyes turned upwards to the cloudy sky that had hardly a blue patch in sight. It would start raining soon, she just knew it. She had to go home soon if she didn’t want to be caught in the rain.
She pulled the woolen strings on her hood and felt the jacket collar tighten around her neck. Almost deciding to put her hood up, she decided not to unless it actually started to pour or otherwise she would look stupid. Not that there was anyone to see it.
Distinctively hearing the crackle of the gravel underneath her, she sighed again and stopped in the middle of the road. She wasn’t worried that a car might come by since Pallet Town, being the quiet, boring place that it was, hardly had cars for some reason.
Oh, wait. Maybe it was because the town was mostly populated by old people who didn’t like to drive. Or that the town was so small, it was just easier to walk.
With a half-hearted glance to the left of the road, she could see the Turner’s house. Vaguely, she remembered that their daughter used to go to school with her. Well, before the girl left on her Pokemon journey and was never heard from again. Next door to the Turners were Clerks and next door to them were the Damsons. Every single house that Leah could see, she could identify.
Pallet Town was a town where everyone knew each other, even if only vaguely. The only visitors this town got were people who either were there to see Oak or to take one of the small ferries to Cinnabar Island.
She didn’t like Pallet Town, obviously. Unfortunately, she happened to live in such a boring place for most of her life.
Starting to hear the tell-tale signs of voices, Leah broke out of her monologue and she half-turned. She watched as the two small figures in the distance seemed to get bigger and bigger.
Oh, why is she letting them catch up? That was the question she kept asking herself that she couldn’t come up with a reasonable answer to it. Well, maybe it was because she was tired, her feet was sore and she couldn’t remember the last time she had walked so much in her life (not including That Week). She also just wanted to get the brats over with so she could go home and rest.
The only reason she hadn’t gone back home yet was because the two brats would just follow her and nothing was worse than letting people you don’t like know where you live.
“Maybe I should just tell them to go away,” she said to herself. But shock went through her when she realized that that just might work! With rising hope in her heart, she dreamed that maybe they thought they had to follow her, that it was some type of test. If she popped their little assumptions, maybe they’d leave?
Maybe, hopefully, please god yes.
Leah blinked out of her thoughts and there they were in front of her. They looked tired and they were gasping for breath, their skin matted with sweat. They looked cheerful, though. There was a beaming grin on the boy’s face and the girl had a small smile on hers. Leah also noticed that their hands were bound tightly in-between them.
She couldn’t really stop what next came out of her mouth. “Are you two dating?”
Ally blushed a deep red and immediately jumped away from the boy while Ed just crossed his arms, but didn’t seem all that embarrassed.
“Why do you keep running away?” Ed huffed. He obviously didn’t understand the concept of ‘running away’ was to get away from something they didn’t like.
“I’m going home, moron,” Leah said with sarcasm and quite nastily. Technically, the boy didn’t really say anything wrong, but she was still bitter at the battle that took place a while ago. Who wouldn’t be upset at being defeated by a ten-year-old?
Ed wasn’t satisfied with her answer, “But why? You can’t leave us behind!”
She shrugged, “Why not? I don’t want to babysit you guys.”
Ally started, “but… You have too,” her voice was pleading, “Because then we- we can’t…”
“Do you need to go on journeys?” Leah asked. Despite herself, she was a bit curious. “Can’t you just stay at home and battle people there?”
Ed’s grin dimmed, “No,” he said frostily and he obviously wasn’t going to change his answer. Ally’s response was similar to Ed’s as she shook her head back in force several times in a definite refusal.
Leah thought on their replies for a few seconds.
“Well,” she said casually, “sucks to be you then.” Her decision was also not going to be changed. She was going home, damn it! “Go get a new mentor if you really want to go, because I’m not taking you.”
Ally’s expression floated between panic and despair, but Ed stepped forward, his face the example of determination.
“You’re going to take us,” he said.
“And why should I do that?”
“Because if you don’t,” his voice lowered, “We’ll never leave you alone.”
Leah laughed, “What’s that? Some type of threat?”
“Yeah,” Ed nodded and stood his ground; Ally at his side, “We’re not leaving anytime soon. Are you going to walk around all day, ‘cause if you are, we’ll follow you. You go back home, we’ll follow you. You go anywhere, we’ll follow you.”
“We can follow you for as long as we want. You’re not getting rid of us at all.”
Leah started to panic when she felt a bit of her resolve crumbling. She didn’t want to go on a journey at all, but she also just wanted to go home right then and there. When she got home, she imagined that she was going to rest in front of the television, or maybe lie on her bed and sigh dreamily at her shrine.
There was no way she could enjoy those things if she had two brats following and pleading with her and sitting on her doorstep all day long…
“Fine,” Leah snapped. She spun around and walked noisily back down the street. Disappointment ran through her at giving up against a single threat, but she also felt relief that she was finally going home. Hearing the other two following her, she could just see the relived grins on their faces.
“Shut up,” she said to them without looking back, “Don’t say a word; I don’t want to even know you’re following me.”
Hearing Ed sniffle a giggle, she growled at them.
“Is this your house?” Ed asked as he stared at the… unique structure before them.
“Shut up,” Leah shot at him as she stomped up the wooden stairs, not bothering to hold the untouched, cobweb-ridden railing. Ed and Ally exchanged uneasy glances behind her as they looked at the old, beaten house.
It was a Victorian building that stood awkwardly in its lonely patch of land. The whole placed seemed deserted and uncared for. There were no plants in the garden and the grass was wild and uncut. Pale green paint was flaking off the house and they could distinctively see one of the old-fashioned window shutters flapping uncontrollably in the wind. Heavy curtains on the inside of the windows stopped anyone from look in, but also from anyone looking out.
It was like one of those cliché haunted houses you saw in movies. But in real life!
Leah struggled with the door; she got it unlocked, but the door refused to open like it always did. She solved the problem by slamming her body against the door and felt it open against her weight. Leaving it ajar for the two behind her, she lazily threw her jacket in the corner.
That was the first thing Ally saw as she cautiously entered behind Ed.
“Um,” she asked as she noticed the ball-shaped bulge in the pocket of the discarded jacket, “What about your- your… Pokemon?”
Leah scoffed, “It’ll live.”
Ed kicked off his shoes and looked around curiously at the bare walls and floor. He wrinkled his nose at the odd smell, “It doesn’t look lived in.”
Ignoring his comment, Leah entered through a door on her right where a plain, but clean kitchen greeted her. There wasn’t much in that room either. Just some counters, a fridge, a small oven and a white, circular wooden table. Actually, almost everything in the kitchen was wooden.
The first thing Leah did was to drink a cold glass of water from the tap. She gulped it down in relief and refilled the glass for a second time.
“Where’s your parents?” Ed asked as he poked around.
Gulping down the last drop of water, she hissed, “Told you not to talk! And don’t poke around!”
Ally put her backpack on the table and sat down on one of the two chairs, her hands folded on her lap, her back rigid and as stiff as a board.
Ed invited himself to a drink of water once he found the glasses in the cupboard. He offered one to Ally which was politely accepted after a glance at their mentor showed that Leah didn’t care.
In reality, Leah did care that they were helping themselves to her cups, but was too busy dialing one of the only numbers she knew and pressing the phone against her ear.
“Oh pick up already,” Leah muttered.
The clipped voice of her Grandmother answered with the familiar and never-changing message.
“I’m busy and can’t answer the phone. Call back at a better time.”
Leah slammed the phone back into its hook on the counter. “Damn her! She never turns her phone on!”
“Who?” Ed asked, looking up.
“None of your business!”
Shrugging, Ed went back to the red Pokedex that he had been looking at for the past two minutes. Clicking the circular button on the side of the screen, he scrolled through the main screen options until he found a map of the region of Kanto.
“Hey, Ally,” he said after another few minutes of silence, his eyes were glued to the pictures that rolled across the screen when he clicked a certain location of the map, “Where do you want to go?”
“What- what do you mean?”
“Like, you know, on our journey. Places, cities, forests,” He continued with a grin of wonder, the map giving him ideas, “See, I wanna go to Saffron City and explore Sliph Company, the place that makes all the Pokemon stuff. And I wanna see the Pokemon Tower in Lavender Town. It’d be so cool see ghost Pokemon!”
“Yeah, before they rip you apart,” Leah cut in. She had tried her Grandmother’s number another time before giving up, which had left her in a worse mood than usual. Trust her Grandmother to never be available when she needed her.
“Um… I’d like to go to Celadon City, maybe,” Ally said shyly. “All my friends say that they really liked it.”
Ed beamed. “Okay, then we’ll go to Celadon on our journey! We can make a list of all the places we want to visit!”
“What makes you guys so sure that you’re even going on a journey,” Leah asked sharply.
“’Cause you’re taking us,” Ed shot back, “Besides, haven’t you ever wanted to go to places like Celadon and Saffron City?”
Leah snorted. “No.”
“Yeah right. There’s gotta be a place you’ve always wanted to see.”
Despite knowing that he was only bribing her to take them on the journey, Leah seriously considered it. She lied, there were places that she’s always wanted to see, but telling them that would just add more fuel to the fire. The Safari Zone in Fuchsia City had always interested her and so had Cinnabar Island. She’d also always wanted to back to Pewter…
“No,” Leah insisted, shaking her head, “I just want to stay home.”
“Well,” Ed said, mocking her, “Sucks to be you then.”
Leah felt like strangling him.
“Um,” Ally started, “Are we going to- to Viridian City first then?”
Ed put in his opinion. “Yeah! It’ll just be like the games and the cartoon. Viridian first, Pewter second-”
Turning his head to look at Leah, who was leaning against the fridge, he failed to notice the way her eyes glazed over or how pale her skin had turned. Her hands were clenching hard enough the make the skin around it turn white.
Ed grinned triumphantly, mistaking Leah’s word for something else. “Hah! You’re joining in on our planning, that means you’re admitting that we are planning our journey, which means you’re going! You just admitted it yourself, you can’t take it back now.”
But Leah wasn’t listening, instead she was staring at Ally with a black stare, her face expressionless.
“Were not going to Viridian City from Pallet Town. Not now, not ever.”
Leah started to breathe deeply and felt a shiver go down her body as old memories stirred up. She sternly ordered herself, don’t think about it, don’t think about it, don’t think about it…
Not noticing Leah’s behavior, Ed said, “Okay, whatever your name is, where are we going to first then?”
Ed’s words were just a dull murmur in her head, she could hardly hear them over her loud thoughts. Nausea swelled up within her and she placed her hand over her mouth. Fear grabbed her, but she viciously shoved it down as she tried to get a firm grip over her emotions.
Not Viridian City. Not again, not again, never again.
She thought fast and gasped out, “Cinnabar Island!”
The two kids looked up, startled at her sudden words.
“We can take a ferry from the dock and be on the island in four hours,” she continued quickly. Please say yes, please say yes…
Grinning, Ed said. “Cool. I’ve heard that Cinnabar Island’s volcano is still active. Wouldn’t it be cool if it blew up-”
Ally was the only one who noticed that Leah wasn’t looking too good. She looked at her mentor with curiosity and quite a lot of nervousness. Was their mentor sick? Was she going to collapse?
“Be in my room,” Leah grunted as she immediately left the kitchen and entered the living room that had old, dusty furniture, but that was ignored in favor of the staircase that was against the wall. She rushed upstairs and walked all the way down the hall and entered the last door. Entering, she closed the door behind her and flicked on the light. Her eyes squinted against the brightness and nearly tripped over the pile of clothes on the ground.
Collapsing on the bed, she sighed peacefully at the touch of the warm sheets that soft against her tired body. She half-consciously lifted her head up to pull her dark brown hair from her ponytail, which settled beside her. Her erratically cut bangs brushed her face, but she didn’t get rid of them as her arms were suddenly too heavy to lift (which was a fancy way of saying that she was too lazy to move again).
Actually, her whole body was feeling heavy right then and Leah couldn’t tell whether it was from her tiredness or her sudden case of nausea. Not only that, the experience downstairs had left a bad taste in her mouth, one that was bitter and sour.
She always felt like that when memories from That Time came up. It was really annoying, those memories and feelings. Afterwards, they would make her feel depressed and forced her to avoid the outside world like a plague.
And she definitely didn’t want the brats seeing her like that, it’d just bring up awkward and annoying question that they would un-doubtfully bombard her with.
But they weren’t going to see her like that, however. If she could take her mind off the memories, then she’d forget about the aftereffects which then wouldn’t even bother her.
This brought her to the main reason why she was in her room in the first place: her shrine.
Her room was just a bit larger than your average bedroom. It had plain tan walls with little white designs on the bottoms and the floor was wooden just like the rest of the house, though her bed (which was pushed against the wall) was seated comfortably on a soft red mat. There was a dresser in the corner, that contained all her clothes and jackets, and such.
There was also her closet, which was wide open and was directly to the right of her bed, which gave Leah a full view. Not containing clothes, her closet had a different and much more useful purpose. There was a single picture in the space, a large poster that took up much of the closets wall. A single figure was posed dramatically, one of his hands outstretched towards the sky and the other holding a microphone. Dressed in stylish red and black leather with a long white scarf around his neck and a pair of black sunglasses, he looked absolutely dreamy.
Leah sighed happily. If there was one way to get someone’s mind off things, it was a hot guy. And Jason Dare was that and more. He was the lead singer of Phantasy, one of the best bands she had ever heard of. The band played exclusively in Kanto and it was one of Leah’s dreams to go to one of his concerts.
That dream would be realized no matter what happened. She would certainly see to that.
Now, Leah would have loved to gone to sleep at that moment (naps were a hobby of hers) and dream about Jason Dare, but she just couldn’t. Not when she realized that she had left two idiot strangers in her kitchen, without supervision. They’d probably do some thieving if they found anything that was actually worth something… Okay, maybe not the girl, but the boy was definitely the type.
So, why was she upstairs and laying on her bed like some loser? She was feeling much better, so there wasn’t any reason that she should still be up there.
Regretfully taking her thoughts away from Jason Dare, she thought about what she was supposed to do. They weren’t going to Viridian City anymore, they were going to Cinnabar Island, so there was no point in thinking about that anymore. Even if the island was packed because of the summer months and tourism, it was loads better then Viridian could ever be.
Feeling the nausea edge away as she laid there, surrounded by blankets and pillows, she said, “I really should go check on the brats.”
She didn’t move an inch.
Ten minutes later, Leah had finally wandered down to the kitchen again where she found the brats studying their Pokedex. The girl had a small blue notebook in front of her and a pen in hand. Light flowed into the window beside the table, the drapes having been pushed apart.
“Where were you?” Ed asked as she came in.
Leah answered shortly, “Busy.”
“We’re making a list,” Ed pronounced suddenly with a smile at Ally, “of all the places we’re going to go to and what order we’re going in,” He added, “It was all Ally’s idea.”
Leah held herself back from saying that it was obvious. Instead, she said nothing as she leaned over the girl’s shoulder. Ally flinched away from the sudden close proximity, but let Leah read the notebook without arguments.
Raising an eyebrow, Leah was a bit impressed in the work they put into it, but pointed out one of the only flaws in their plans. “How’re you going to get from Saffron to Pewter?”
Ed shrugged, not overly concerned, “We’ll think of something when we get there.”
“Uh-huh,” Leah said doubtfully.
“Oh!” Ed said loudly as he completely turned around to face their mentor, “You’re coming on our journey.”
Yeah, their two week long journey. “What of it?”
Ed’s face showed complete curiosity, “You gotta tell us your name now. I wanna know.”
Leah shrugged. She supposed they’d waited long enough for it, “My name’s Leah.”
“Finally!” he cheered. Ally also looked happy that she could finally put a name to a face.
Ed grinned widely as he patted his backpack, “So, when are we leaving for Cinnabar Island? Maybe an hour? Two hours?”
Okay, now thing were getting out of hand.
Both Ed and Ally protested immediately, though Ally was much more polite about it.
Leah held out a hand and was amused when they silenced themselves. Well, at least she could make them shut up when she wanted.
“’Cause I don’t feel like it,” Leah said firmly. “And,” she said the next part with a frown, “I’m the mentor and what I say goes. Got it?”
Ed nodded with a grumble, his arms crossed and a pout on his face while Ally looked relieved for some odd reason that Leah had no interest prying into.
With a long look out the window, seeing the dark storm clouds in the sky and hearing the pitter-patter of the rain against the ground outside, Leah shuddered. No way was she going outside in that weather and certainly not on a boat on a stormy sea.
That’d be suicide.