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Japanese names are used in this fanfic, so here's a handy little list, even though I also tried to make sure everything was clear in the text:
Rocket Gang = Team Rocket
Bashou = Hun
Buson = Atilla
Toui Rondo = Tory Lund
Airmd = Skarmory
Betobeton = Muk
Junsa = Jenny
Glacia = Glaceon
Bashou stepped out to get something, leaving Buson alone in the hotel room he had already grown to hate with an unbridled passion during his very brief stay in it. The wooden floors creaked, the bed also creaked, the lone armchair was congested with fleas it spat up any time it was disturbed, the closet reeked so much of mold that he kept folded clothes in the suitcases and simply hung worn ones on the headboard to avoid using the wretched closet, and he could have sworn he heard footfalls, much lighter than his, just before he entered the room. When he last brought it up, Bashou simply told him that while it was good to always stay on guard, the room was making him hyper-aware, so stop worrying so much. The room is safe, he said. It's got an electronic lock, he said.
The lock seemed to be the only new thing in the hotel, aside from the fresh paint on the sign. It was as if someone had considered renovating the place, started on the sign and locks, realized it was a tremendously hopeless endeavor, and promptly gave up.
He wasn't even sure if all the rooms had this kind of lock or if they gave up halfway through installing them too. It was Bashou who spoke with the woman at the front desk, while Buson lugged around their suitcases and things. The most he had managed to get out of his partner was that it was the closest place to their target site that wasn't close enough to rouse suspicion and had nothing in the way of security, much less surveillance cameras.
("Doesn't that just mean every other crook in the area will be here too?" "Are you scared of petty thieves, Buson?" "No-" "Then, you have nothing to worry about. If someone has the poor judgement to target our room, they'll sooner run in fear of the sight of you than try to steal anything.")
While he lay on the bed, hands clasped behind his head, glaring at the ceiling and thinking about the paranoia-inducing room, he heard small, light footsteps on the creaking floor. Pinpointing their location as being somewhere to his left, where the old closet was, he immediately got up and checked the red-white balls clipped to his belt. Airmd would probably cause too much damage with its steel wings and as decrepit the place and non-existent as the security was, the sound of an aerial Pokemon attacks would surely attract attention.
Betobeton was the best choice. It was quiet and good at restraining things with sludge.
Quietly releasing it and leading it ahead of him, he approached the door of the closet, before quickly opening it with a grin.
A pair of wide, terrified ice-blue eyes stared up at him from under a spiky shock of white hair with a blue sheen. Electricity sparked on either side of the pale-skinned boy, from a Plusle and Minun on the defensive.
Buson's face fell. It was some brat! So much for the electronic lock...
"Betobeton, Sludge Bomb on both the rats," he began unenthusiastically, before the already terrified boy gathered up the two Pokemon into his arms. "Stop! Don't hurt them!"
Was his voice cracking? The boy was on the verge of tears and this just made Buson see him as even less of an adversary and more of a horribly misplaced nuisance. Betobeton was just about to send the sludge flying when Buson waved it down.
"Geez, I really don't have time to deal with this, kid. You're way too young to be getting involved in this don't attack, Betobeton, just hold the rats down and make sure they don't cause any trouble."
Their cheeks sparked, but the much larger, slimier Pokemon cornered them and Buson grabbed the boy by the back of his shirt, shaking off the Pokemon and bringing him out of the close to dangle him in the air.
Now that he was capable of getting a good look at him, it was kind of disturbing to see how much this fearful little boy resembled his partner. Not in personality, but in looks: pale skin, spiky silver hair with the same strange cut and even the ear-like tufts, and ice-blue eyes (on this kid, the icy quality's quickly thawing with tears).
The expression he wore was different enough to keep it from being too uncanny, until he looked back to see Buson's Betobeton trapping his Pokemon. "Let them go, you bully!"
It was as childish as the insult and nowhere nearly as refined as Bashou's glare, but the boy had the start of a commanding look, with the same steadfast determination... then again, maybe not, as even the half-glare wavers, before quickly disappearing when he shuts his eyes and lets out a whimper. It must have been the physical resemblance that had him thinking that way.
So, there were three possibilities:
1. The Professor has been experimenting on Bashou and now, the man ages and deages with no memory of it happening.
2. Bashou secretly had a child he never told Buson about.
3. This was all one big coincidence.
The first, while an entertaining thought, was not too likely. So, he was left with possibilities two and three. The second, he didn't like at all, but couldn't help considering.
'A kid with a hairstyle this weird has got to be Bashou's,' he silently concluded in annoyance, before dropping the boy on the edge of his bed.
The boy made another pitiful sound as he fell, before sitting up, surprised he had not wound up on the floor.
"How did you get in here?"
The boy bit his lip.
"Answer the question, kid, or your Pokemon will go the way of the Aerodactyl."
"... they'll go into hibernation until somebody revives them?" the boy asked as he looked up at the imposing figure a bit hopefully.
Buson made a face. "No, kid, they'll be dead. Gone. Never coming back. Don't be cute with me."
"R-right!" The boy didn't look like he had any idea what was so "cute" about what he just said, but he knew he didn't want to get on the man's bad side. "Plusle and Minun made the lock open with some electricity..."
... the electronic lock was short-circuited and his room was broken into by some kid and his Plusle and Minun. Buson could not believe his luck.
"It wasn't their fault! They were just doin what I told them to do, so...!" the boy said defensively.
"Got a name, kid?"
"Toui. Toui Rondo."
Well, that was a very prompt reply. There was nothing to suggest that the boy was lying, but giving him a family name too? Did this boy not know who he was dealing with?
He wasn't wearing his jacket, just the blue undershirt, so he grabbed the jacket off the headboard. "Hey, Toui. Do you know what this is?"
He smirked as he held up the jacket, flashing the red R emblazoned on it just for the reaction. It didn't matter what the boy said, just the look in his eye when he saw it would be enough for him to judge the boy by. He fully expected a change in expression if the boy had any idea who they were (and he must have had some knowledge of who they were to want to sneak into their room, unless he were only looking for a place to stay), but he wasn't prepared for the bright gleam in his eyes and the fearful expression to give way to a joyful grin, as though the sight were not only familiar, but welcome. "Big brother!"
"What?" was all Buson could manage to say in response.
Just then, the door opened.
"Buson, the lock is" Bashou began in a slightly annoyed manner, cutting himself off when he saw two heads turning to stare his way, Toui on the bed with Buson looming over him with the jacket held up in front of the boy. "... broken."
He finished his sentence with only a mildly surprised lift of his brow, a subtle expression that was as versatile as it was subtle, used in situations ranging from "noticing a small tear in his uniform" to "silently judging some idiot trying to threaten him with a knife, under the impression that Bashou is helpless without his Pokemon." As such, Buson knew that the crypitc expression was not a good indicator of the severity of the situation, dropping the jacket and straightening. "Bashou, this kid broke it and-" his tirade about the intruder was cut short by Toui's cheerful "big brother!" as he got off the bed and ran to greet Bashou.
Bashou shut the door and coolly regarded the boy tying his arms around his legs and burying his face in his clothes.
Buson watched from the other side of the small room, feeling as if the room had suddenly become twice as cramped and stuffy as it was before...
"Who came with you." The "question" was hardly asked as such, sounding more like a direct command to begin explaining and a warning not to withhold any information all at once.
The boy reluctantly let go, but answered without hesitation, lifting his head to look up at Bashou.
"No one, except for Plusle and Minun." Toui pointed behind him at the closet, Bashou briefly glancing in their direction.
"Did you come here all the way from LaRousse."
Bashou continued with the interrogation, sharpened gaze never softening. Buson observed without daring to interrupt, although he felt sorry for the child scrutinized under such a harsh gaze. "... does Father know you're here?"
The question surprised Buson, partly because he had never heard Bashou mention a family (then again, there was his brother, standing before him), but mostly because while Bashou's piercing glare did not change, the quality of his voice did in a very unusual way; it was a subtle change, perhaps only recognizable to someone who knew Bashou as well as Buson did. He wondered if the boy noticed that Bashou spoke to him more gently than to anyone else.
Toui shook his head. "No."
"Were you followed."
"Do you have any idea how dangerous this is? You might think you're alone when you're not, those two are hardly protection enough to travel two regions with, and Father will want to know where you've gone," he had abandoned the interrogatory tone in favour of a lecturing one, hands on his hips and looking unimpressed.
This helped lighten the atmosphere somewhat... Buson could still hear the two mice scuffling in the closet with his Betobeton, sparks of electricity crackling now and then, in the silence between their words.
"He won't, I told him I wanted to start my journey!" Toui protested, before looking saddened. "He was happy to see me go."
Bashou paused for a moment, before looking Buson's way. "Buson, would you return that Betobeton? The noise is getting on my nerves."
"Alright, alright!" he hurriedly returned the Pokemon; it was too early to trust in Bashou's mood.
"Go sit down, I'll get you something to drink and then, we'll discuss this."
Bashou took off his boots and walked off to their "kitchenette" to fetch the water. Toui approached the armchair, reached out tentatively, and then jumped back in a fright after the cloud of fleas emerged. Buson watched the boy hurriedly run back to the bed and sit there instead, aborting his hesitant little mission. The scene was so absurdly domestic that it felt too surreal to believe. Bashou's suddenly got a little brother, aforementioned little brother is now attempting to navigate their temporary hideout, and Bashou has yet to explain anything at all to him!
"Hey, uh, Bashou..." Buson started, feeling impatient, left out, and too caught up in the absurdity of the moment to read the atmosphere anymore. "Bashou!"
"I got cookies! Becky helped me bake them," Toui happily announced when his brother returned with a glass of water.
"... hey, Bashou," Buson attempted yet again.
"How long ago did you leave home?" Bashou asked, completely ignoring Buson to the latter's disbelief.
"Um, two months ago... actually, I ate most of the cookies because I got hungry a couple of times, but I saved four of them and they still look okay!"
"Toui, you can't eat two month old cookies. Even a month is stretching it."
"Really?" he frowned. "I ate some just yesterday... and I saved these for you!"
"You should throw them out. I can bring you something better to eat."
Buson's patience was wearing thin, waiting for an answer and watching this ridiculously unbelievable scene in front of him...
The last straw came in the form of Toui turning away from his unimpressed older brother to present Buson with a box of stale, two-month old homemade cookies. "Big Brother Buson, do you want some cookies?"
"I am NOT your big brother and I do NOT want your damn cookies!" Buson snapped, terrifying Toui. "All I want is to get a word in edgewise and maybe an explanation about what's going on here?! Bashou, what the-"
"You can't kick me out! I belong here, the same as yo-"
Although he was still greatly frustrated, his little tirade helped blow off some steam, which allowed the cloud of anger to dissipate somewhat from his mind... reaffirming to him just how tense the situation really was. Maybe losing his temper and shouting at an easily-frightened little boy who happened to be his partner's little brother wasn't the best course of action. Bashou was quiet, but he could hear the warning tone to his voice.
And so, out he went, kicked out of the hotel room he hated.
"I'm sure you'll appreciate the change of scenery," Bashou said calmly as he closed the door behind him.
Buson could hear Toui call out a meek apology as he walked down the hallway presumably to think about what he's done. Well, at least he wasn't stuck inside that ugly room anymore...
Buson had no idea where to go and would have hung around the door eavesdropping without having to put much effort into it, but he did not want to annoy Bashou anymore than he already had, and so he settled for sitting at the start of the stairs at the end of the hallway.
If he looked shady to anyone who happened to be taking the stairs, as a big, hulking figure with a mean expression sitting on the step, the same could be said about the overall nature of the place. If not that, then, he must have looked like some jilted lover who had been kicked out in the heat of a fight.
He stayed there for a long time, ignoring people as they came and went. He stopped expecting to see Bashou every time a door opened behind him, not bothering to look back after the fifth time.
To his surprise, it was Bashou's voice, and he instinctively turned to look back at him before he could think to ignore him in feeble protest of the way he's being treated. It certainly wasn't too late to be surly if Bashou didn't apologize, however. "Done with your little reunion, Bashou?"
"Quite. Now, get up and help carry our things."
Bashou turned briskly on his heel and headed back to the room.
"Hey, now, wait a minute!" Buson got up to follow after him. "That wasn't an explanation!"
"What would you like for me to explain?"
Was he mocking him? He narrowed his gaze and responded next in a
"Let's start with the kid, Toui or whatever. That souns like a pretty good place to start."
"He's my brother. Hasn't he told you that already?"
"You're telling me you had a kid brother all this time that you never told me about?"
"Yes." Without looking back at him, Bashou's answers were delivered in an infuriatingly flippant, matter-of-fact tone.
As annoyed as he was, Buson could still understand why Bashou would keep such a fact secret. Bashou generally kept to himself, and there really was no reason to disclose such personal information, especially if it could be used against him. So, Buson did not ask why he was not told, as he anticipated a wry response along the lines of "you never asked."
"How did he find you?"
"Let's say it's one part instinct and one part chance."
"... of all times to suddenly become a joker, this really isn't the time, Bashou..."
After they were already in the room, he turned to look Buson's way again, glaring sharply, but only for a brief moment. "Do you really think I would give away our location?"
"... well, no, that doesn't really sound like you. But, isn't this bad?"
"Of course, it is. That's why we're leaving."
The boy was asleep on the bed with his arm wrapped over the two polar mice, wrapped under a blanket. The glass of water was on some worn-down thing that served the basic purpose of a small beside table; the glass remained unfinished, sitting beside a similarly half-finished plate of food.
"And the kid?" Buson asked as he lifted the glass, inspecting it.
"A little boy can't track down two highranking Rockets, and pinpoint their exact location in a foreign region all by himself. He must have received a tip, whether directly or indirectly. That's why it isn't safe for the two of us to be here anymore."
"Wait, so you drugged the kid? Are you gonna leave him here by himself?!" He could
"Don't worry, Buson. I sent an anonymous tip of my own. Junsa will be here any minute now, and he'll be back home not long after that," Bashou threw one of the suitcases at Buson, who dropped the glass to catch it. It shattered noisily on the floor, but the boy slept soundly through it, although Minun's ear twitched and Plusle looked briefly annoyed.
"Y-you called the cops...?" Buson managed to say, winded by the force of the tossed suitcase.
"Yes, so get moving."
Once they were in the clear, Buson couldn't help asking Bashou about the boy again. His mood was helped by his partner speaking to him again and no longer being in that filthy, run-down room certainly didn't hurt matters any. Bashou clearly had no intention of broaching the topic again, so the familiar burden of being the one to break the (presently more comfortable) silence between them fell upon Buson, as it often did.
"So, why did the kid take such a long trip?"
"Because he was upset."
It was a short, noncommital reply, but any verbal response from Bashou was a good sign: if he absolutely did not want to discuss the matter, he would have told his partner to drop the subject or simply not have said anything at all. Bashou was selectively deaf when it proved convenient. So, Buson tried his luck at getting more information: "What about?"
"Oh." Buson was at a loss. Of course, Bashou had to have been born of a mother and a father, it wasn't as if the Rocket agent had dropped from the sky, in uniform, fully grown and enigmatic from conception. But still, the idea of Bashou ever having been an ordinary child to an ordinary family was simply not one that crossed Buson's mind.
"He needed to be convinced that it did not mean he loved mother any less, nor was he replacing her. Toui also had to understand that it wasn't because his own love for his father was insufficient. The man needed a different kind of love, that was all. Are you surprised?" Bashou glanced at him out of the corner of his eye.
"You shouldn't deny it. I can tell."
"Right, sorry." He felt embarrassed; that, too, must have shown on his face, as it made Bashou smirk in self-satisfaction, before leaning back against the wall and clasping his hands behind his head.
"If you're curious, my father is a renowned researcher who named a Pokemon."
"Really!?" Buson looked amazed.
"Yes," Bashou continued casually. "And my mother was a Glacia."
Buson's face fell with the realization that his partner was only teasing him. "Quit telling jokes, Bashou it's getting creepy. I can't believe I'm telling you this, but you should go back to being serious."
"Don't worry, I will. Really, Buson, you shouldn't be so quick to believe everything you hear. You're not a child, you know."
Closing Author's Notes: Yes, a lot of stuff was kind of vague, but I just wanted to write something kind of fluffy and silly anyway and didn't want to fret too much over the details. Read and review, mention what you liked, what you didn't, but don't complain about the choice of names, please. I get that enough, so just focus on the story or something. xD;
♥ currently squeeing over Rocketshipping (Kojiro x Musashi), Wishfulshipping (Dent/Cilan x Iris), Kazuya Kujou x Victorique de Blois, Black Jack x Pinoko, and Gin x Sherry.