I do not own Pokémon. Credit goes to Satoshi Tajiri and Game Freak.
Also, credit goes to Laurleen aka Emi-Xstitch on DeviantArt for co-writing the first four chapters and then RubyDaSquirlz on DeviantArt for the successor chapters starting at chapter 5.
Red, Leaf, Gary and Mewtwo made their way to the living room and gathered around the coffee table. While Pikachu sat next to his trainer, the kids sent out Squirtle, Charmander and Bulbasaur. The Genetic Pokémon sat down and scanned his surroundings. He eyed Mr. and Mrs. Chandler as they sat at both ends of the oblong coffee table.
"So," Mrs. Chandler asked, "how was your journey?"
Leaf brought her hands together.
"Well," Leaf answered, "my friends and I challenged the Vermilion Gym earlier today."
While Pikachu hopped onto the coffee table, Red took a moment to count with his fingers.
"Six days total," Red muttered to himself.
Mewtwo nodded in agreement.
"Man, that's how long our journey lasted?" Gary remarked.
Mrs. Chandler couldn't help but laugh.
"That must be quite an experience," she agreed, "I'll tell you what!"
Leaf lifted her Squirtle into her hands and perched him onto her lap. Bulbasaur eyed Gary and scratched on his leg.
"What?" Gary blurted, "you want my lap?"
"Saur!" Bulbasaur nodded.
Red smiled and glanced at the fire lizard.
"Wanna come up?"
Red lifted Charmander into his lap while Gary allowed his Bulbasaur to climb onto his lap.
"So those are your starter Pokémon?" Mr. Chandler asked.
"Yeah," Red nodded.
Charmander cheered while Red held out the used cloth.
"Thank you," Mr. Chandler said.
Mr. Chandler took the cloth from the boy's hand and walked into the kitchen.
"So," Mrs. Chandler asked, "how did you meet these young lads?"
"I…moved to Pallet Town three months ago," Leaf answered.
"And my gramps gave her the tutoring that granted her her trainer's license," Gary added.
"Ah, Pallet Town," Mrs. Chandler mused, "what's it like?"
Leaf sighed and tilted her head sideways.
"I guess it's pretty…tranquil," Leaf said.
"And I only met her on the day we started our journey," Red chuckled with a shrug.
"I can't say anything special about Pallet," Gary remarked, "but that's just me."
Leaf ran her hand along her Squirtle's head while she leaned closer to Mewtwo. While the tiny turtle nuzzled her palm, the psychic Legendary nuzzled her cheek. Soon enough, Mr. Chandler returned to the living room.
"Well," Mrs. Chandler asked, "we're about to make some chicken tikka masala soon. Are you kids hungry?"
Mewtwo perked his head up while Red and Gary exchanged glances, unable to contain the excitement.
"Of course!" Gary grinned, gesturing to Mewtwo, "I hope you don't mind if we let Helios join us for dinner."
"Come to think of it," Mr. Chandler commented, "how did you meet him?"
Red shifted glances between the Chandler couple before locking eyes onto Leaf.
"Uhh," Red reminded, "you met him first, right?"
Leaf nodded sheepishly, though she hesitated in a moment of silence. She couldn't just straight up tell the Chandlers he was a powerful Pokémon. She knew how their daughter died and the last thing she wanted was for Team Rocket to go after them.
"Yeah," she improvised, "I got lost in Viridian Forest when I stumbled upon him."
Leaf rubbed her cheek with her index finger in a circular motion.
"But I guess he tends to keep to himself," she added, "is there a place where he can eat in private?"
While Red scanned his surroundings, Mr. and Mrs. Chandler exchanged glances.
"He's welcome to dine here in the living room," the husband offered.
Mewtwo sighed and bowed his head gratefully.
"Thank you, sir," Mewtwo said.
"You're welcome," Mr. Chandler smiled.
Leaf stood up before settling her Squirtle onto the floor cushion.
"Squirt?" the tiny turtle blinked and tilted his head.
Red and Gary also stood to their full heights.
"Is it ok if we help out making dinner?" Red clamored.
"I don't see why not. Thanks, boys."
Leaf, Red and Gary followed Mr. and Mrs. Chandler into the kitchen. The married couple took a few minutes to gather the utensils and ingredients onto the counter. Mr. Chandler mixed the marinade in a bowl while Gary cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. The professor's grandson slid the pieces of chicken into the bowl, allowing the man to stir until the chicken was coated. While they set the bowl aside, Red took a large skillet onto the stove.
After several minutes passed, Mrs. Chandler poured cooking oil into the skillet and waited for the liquid to heat up. While her husband prepared the rice cooker, she poured a batch of chicken at a time, frying them for a few minutes. After frying all the chicken and setting it aside, the woman opted out of onions when she melted the butter, setting off to sauté the ginger and garlic for a minute. Leaf then pitched in to add the garam masala, cumin, turmeric and coriander.
Mrs. Chandler continued to stir the sauce when Leaf added the tomato puree, chili powder and salt. The woman allowed the sauce to simmer for around fifteen minutes. From there, Mr. Chandler offered the cream and sugar, allowing his wife to blend it into the sauce. Once the husband took over the skillet, Red poured all the chicken. After ten minutes, the tikka masala was ready. Red and Gary took turns serving themselves before Leaf scooped rice and the tikka masala onto both plates. She carried both servings into the living room and sat down next to Mewtwo at the coffee table.
"Here you go," Leaf chirped.
Mewtwo tilted his head sideways.
"So this is tikka masala?"
Leaf nodded just as Red stepped into the living room. Mewtwo noticed as Squirtle, Charmander, Bulbasaur and Pikachu stared at the food on the plates. She patted her tiny turtle on the head when she noticed drool from the corner of his mouth. She stood up and glanced at the archway leading to the kitchen.
"Would you like anything to drink?" Leaf asked.
"I've seen berry juice bottles in the cupboard," Mewtwo told her, "I'm curious about that."
"Should I sort out their food?" Red called out.
Leaf clasped her hands behind her back and turned around, tilted her head sideways.
"Maybe we can ask Mr. and Mrs. Chandler where we can feed our Pokémon," Leaf suggested, "I'll keep Helios company."
Red nodded before leading Leaf into the kitchen. Mr. Chandler nodded at the girl as he placed the skillet onto the kitchen table. She headed for the fridge and pulled out a bottle of Moomoo Milk and Red pulled a bottle of berry juice out of a cupboard.
"Sir?" Red asked, "where can we feed our Pokémon?"
Mr. Chandler grinned as he folded his arms.
"Well, we have a backyard your Pokémon can use," he offered.
"Thank you, sir!" Red smiled.
Just as Squirtle, Bulbasaur, Charmander and Pikachu waddled into the kitchen, Leaf, Red and Gary led them to the backyard, where they set down food bowls and filled them with various foods such as nutritious pellets, seeds and a specialty salad for Squirtle. Red ruffled Pikachu's head before the electric mouse started digging in.
When the kids returned to the kitchen, Red and Gary sat down at the kitchen table. Leaf poured Moomoo milk into her glass and picked up the bottle of berry juice, carrying both drinks into the living room. Sitting down next to Mewtwo, she handed him the bottle of berry juice. Mewtwo removed the lid and sniffed at the contents inside. He took a sip of the berry juice while Leaf took a bite out of the tikka masala.
"Really nice," Mewtwo said, "next time we visit a Mart, I would like to buy some of these."
"Sure thing," Leaf nodded.
Mewtwo then focused his eyes on his serving and took a bite. He picked up the hint of spiciness and closed his eyes softly.
"This is exquisite," Mewtwo told her.
Leaf smiled and took a sip of her Moomoo Milk. As they ate quietly, they could hear distant banter from the kitchen. He perked up and looked over, having been thinking about checking on the Pokémon. For now, he focused on the kitchen. They overheard Red and Gary explaining their growing up in Pallet Town as next door neighbors.
"May I ask for your best memories of…where you grew up?"
Leaf paused and tilted her head towards Mewtwo.
"Well," Leaf admitted, "it's not much, but I'm sure there are some tidbits in there."
Leaf continued to eat as Mewtwo slowly closed his eyes. He focused and saw through her perspective, seeing her with Beth watching the TV show she pointed out to him, spending a day with her parents in a vaguely familiar city during a festival of some sort…bombarding him with all sorts of smells…before seeing the soft-shelled Squirtle in her arms as she attempted to feed it some mushed up berries.
He snapped out of his thoughts and kept his gaze at the girl as he went back to eating.
"I'm glad you gained one your closest companions from your good heart," Mewtwo commented, "he clearly continues to trust you."
"Thanks," Leaf blurted.
After dinner, the boys helped the Chandlers put away the dishes. Mewtwo remained in the living room while Leaf carried their dishes over to the kitchen.
"Mrs. Chandler?" Leaf called over, "Helios likes the tikka masala."
"Thank you," Mrs. Chandler nodded.
Red strode over to the back door and stepped out into the backyard.
"Everybody enjoy their food?"
Pikachu happily waved his paw at his trainer as the boy picked up the food bowls. The electric mouse, Charmander, Poliwag, Paras and Spearow gathered around Red while Gary stepped outside.
"You guys tired?" Red asked.
"Pika," Pikachu nodded sloppily.
Red ruffled the fur on Pikachu's head before he recalled his Poliwag, Spearow and Paras. Gary recalled his Abra, Magikarp, Beedrill and Raticate while Leaf stepped out into the backyard. She recalled her Sandslash, Nidoran, Weepinbell and Pidgeotto while Squirtle and Magnemite gathered around her. The three trainers stepped back into the kitchen while carrying their starters, even as the electric mouse perched on Red's shoulder.
"So," Red asked, "where do we sleep?"
"I call dibs on the couch!" Gary interjected.
Mr. Chandler couldn't help but guffaw.
"I have a much better idea for you boys," he replied.
Pikachu yawned as Red and Mewtwo exchanged glances.
"Oh?" Red paused.
Mr. Chandler opened the living room couch to reveal a built-in bed. Red and Gary couldn't help but stare in awe.
"Sweet!" Gary cheered, raising his fist into the air.
"Bulba!" the Bulbasaur chirped.
Pikachu already picked out a spare pillow and curled up on it. Leaf tilted her head towards Mrs. Chandler as Magnemite circled around her midair.
"Ma'am," Leaf asked, "is there a room Helios and I could use?"
Mrs. Chandler hesitated and pursed her lips.
"I suppose you could borrow Beth's room for the night," she offered.
"Could you show us the way?" Leaf requested, her eyes glued to the floor.
Mrs. Chandler led Leaf and Mewtwo out of the living room, up the stairs and into a peculiar bedroom. When she stepped inside, the girl took note of the furniture and items decorating the room. She locked eyes onto the ornate urn sitting atop a wall shelf. Mewtwo studied the urn silently, bowing his head respectfully and trying to ignore his memory of Leaf's reaction to finding her.
"This was…Beth's new room?"
Mrs. Chandler smiled sadly. Mewtwo scanned the room, comparing it to the memory of the girls watching the show. He nodded gently, waiting to take the bag off once the door was shut.
"Even if she's gone," Mrs. Chandler added, "I can't bear to part with the possessions she had."
Squirtle scampered across the room and jumped onto the bed. Leaf noticed as Magnemite floated by her shoulder.
"What about this Magnemite?" Leaf asked, "should I return it to you?"
Mrs. Chandler shook her head.
"Magnemite's the only Pokémon who managed to escape Team Rocket," Mrs. Chandler said, "so there's a chance they have the rest of her Pokémon in their clutches as of now. Granted, her reserve Pokémon are also safe, but still."
Mewtwo placed a finger on his chin.
"You think Magnemite can tell which Pokémon belonged to Beth?" Leaf clamored, "will that be enough to save them?"
"I wouldn't be surprised if it could, but who knows where they are," Mrs. Chandler replied, "I couldn't say if it's enough."
Leaf set down her messenger bag, and then Magnemite leaned in and nuzzled her cheek.
"Well," Mrs. Chandler said teary-eyed, "I suppose I'll see you in the morning."
"Good night," Leaf nodded.
Mrs. Chandler turned for the door, and Mewtwo set down his backpack. Shortly after the woman closed the door, the psychic Legendary shrugged off his cloak.
"I'm surprised at how well this is working."
Leaf nodded as she tilted her head towards the door leading to the bathroom. She reached into her messenger bag and pulled out her pajamas.
"I'll be right back."
Leaf darted into the bathroom while Mewtwo settled into the far side of the bed. From there, the girl showered herself within a few minutes and then spent the next fifteen minutes relaxing in the tub.
As Mewtwo continued to read, he listened to the water and tried to relax, making a brief glance the Squirtle and the Magnemite and spying the latter carefully huddled up against the urn. The sense of grief it had been receiving all day was bugging a familiar nerve inside his brain, and now he was alone he took the time to try and remember why he knew it, staring at the line between the wall and ceiling as he let his mind wander.
Losing Beth was sad in of itself, but the thought of the rest of her Pokémon in Team Rocket's possession sent a chill down his spine. He'd wait for the morning to make a plan with the others. He imagined the Magnemite to be of great help. For now, he tried to focus on the source of his knowing of the emotion.
Mewtwo snapped out of his thoughts when he saw Leaf emerging from the bathroom in her pajamas and carrying her clothes in her arms.
"Would you like to sleep now or are you planning on staying up a while?" Mewtwo asked, "I understand harsh emotions are rather draining."
Leaf didn't say anything as she set aside her clothes and climbed onto the bed, sliding her legs under the covers. She pulled out her copy of The Squirtle Squad and flipped to the page she bookmarked. While she leaned closer to Mewtwo, Squirtle waddled across the bed and settled into her lap. He took that as an answer and couldn't help but smile to himself, enjoying that they shared this activity together. He let his tail fall gently behind her as though allowing her access to his bubble and went back to reading silently. With a flick of his hand, he switched the lights off and switched on the lava lamp on the nightstand. Noticing as she rested back more comfortably against the headrest, he could already feel his energy returning in the calm and comfort of his friends again.
It wasn't long enough before Leaf started dozing off.
Feel free to drop a review, because Mewtwo and Leaf could use some emotional support!
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