Chapter One: Awkward
I moaned. Painfully slowly, I rolled out of bed, scrunching my eyes closed. I rubbed my wrists, trying to dull the numb sensation in themonce again, agonizingly slowly. Something brushed against my leg, and the hair on my body stood on endPika.
Chu! He cried, staring up at me with large brown eyes.
I forced a smile. It had been two months since the fight against the Elite Four on Cerise Island, and yet my wrists and ankles still felt uncomfortably numb from Loreleis ice handcuffs.
Im okay, Pika. I bent down and scratched his head, and he responded by leaning into my hand. See? Nothing to worry about.
Pika regarded me, obviously seeing through my lie. He followed me around despite telling him not to worry, staying close to my legs.
I changed and ate breakfast, and then made my way to Professor Oaks lab. Ever since Id returned, Id tried to make up for the two years when Id made no advances in the Pokedex, and the old researcher obviously enjoyed my newfound eagerness.
To my surprise, Green wasnt inside the lab like he normally waswell, hed been gone for quite a while, so it was to be expected. The professor was typing away on his computer, but he turned when I came in.
Hello, Red. He suddenly frowned, a crease forming between his eyebrows. Are you feeling all right? You look ill.
I nodded and forced another smile. Id also been trying to hide that my hands and feet were still quite numb, despite all of the things Id tried to make it go away.
No, Im fine, Professor.
Professor Oak made a thoughtful noise. I knew he thought I was lying, but he didnt push the matter.
Well, Red, its just good to have you back. He smiled, but turned back to his computer.
Just as I was going to ask if he needed help with anything, the door to the lab opened behind me. I turned to see that familiar large straw hat and its owner, Yellow. His honey blonde hair was as unruly as ever (like Im one to talk) and strands hung in his yellow-green eyes. A cast was covering his lower right arm, a broken limb that hed received during his battle with Lance. He obviously hadnt expected to see me at the lab.
Hey, Yellow. I said casually. Yellow nodded, his cheeks turning the slightest shade of pink.
Hi Red. He mumbled, smiling weakly.
Green had been rightthe kid was awkward. He never seemed to talk much (although Blue swore he talked non-stop at times) andoddly enoughhe blushed easily.
Yellows green eyes flicked off of me and focused on the professor, who had turned at our greetings.
I need to talk to you about something.
He glanced warily in my direction; another thing about him was that he was an unbelievably shy person. His small smile was gone in a flash.
Ill see you later, professor. I said, walking out of the lab, taking the opportunity to grab some fresh air so Yellow could talk to Professor Oak alone. Bye.
The professor waved goodbye, and Yellow flushed a deep scarlet when I patted his head. If only hed take off that hat of his so I could tousle his hair
.I mean, not that I wanted to, but his hair just looked like it needed to be ruffled every once in a while.
I shook my head, pushing that thought out of my mind.
Subconsciously, Id wandered into the Viridian Forest. I looked around me, remembering that Pika grew up here. My thoughts soon wandered to the little girl Id saved from that Dratini. I wondered how she was; whenIF I became the Gym Leader of Viridian City, Id have to look her up.
When I finally went home for the night, I immediately filled a tub with scalding hot water and dunked my feet in. Id heard somewhere that hot water was supposed to help cure numbness, but nothing had happened with my ankles yet, and Id been repeating the treatment every day for the past two months.
The phone rang, and I had to stretch to reach it. I finally managed to snag it, putting the receiver on my shoulder as I rubbed my feet.
I sighed. Leave it to Blue to call me in the middle of something.
Howre those ankles of yours? She asked innocently. I sat up straight.
How the heck do you
So theyre still giving you some trouble, huh?
Something in the corner of my eye caught my attention. I turned to see what it was, only to be greeted with the sight of the smiling brunette, waving at me through the window.
See you finally noticed us. Blue grinned, and it reminded me of that cat in the story book about the girl and the rabbit that was always late
.what was it called again?
Oh, right. The Cheshire Cat.
It took another glance to see what shed meant by us. Blue had her hand wrapped around the left arm of the blonde-haired boy Id seen earlier today. Yellow seemed to be trying his best to look everywhere but at me or through the window.
Well, why dont you just come on inside, since youre already here. I said sarcastically. Unfortunately, she took me seriously, so she hung up and yanked Yellow to the front door, and the motion made his hat tilt on his head.
I reluctantly took my feet out of the warm water and walked to the door. The second I opened it, Blue burst inside, dragging the poor little boy behind her. (Well, I shouldnt call him little, but Yellows two years younger than me, Green and Blue, and hes really short for his age. Does he ever eat, like, normal meals? I mean, thats how I got tall.)
Yellow finally managed to free his arm from Blues grasp, and he immediately readjusted his hat. I thought I saw a small tuft of hair that he pushed back up into it, but I blinked and it wasnt there.
Mustve been my imagination.
Blue started chattering about something, but my eyes followed Yellow as he noticed the wash basin Id been using and wandered over to it. He made a thoughtful noise that stopped Blue midsentence.
Sea salt. He mumbled.
He looked up, a small smirk on his face, like he knew something we didnt.
Which, he obviously did.
Sea salt. Yellow repeated, looking at me. Thatll help your ankles.
Really? It works? Blue asked. Ive heard about that trick, but Ive never actually tried it.
Yup. My uncle has stiff ankles, too, and he does the same thing all the time. He gestured to the tub. But he puts sea salt in the water, and it works wonders. Yellow smiled, turning to look at me. I can lend you some.
Almost immediately I accepted his offeranything to stop the uncomfortable numbness. He smiled again, but it faded as he studied me, muck like Professor Oak had done.
Well, wed better go. Blue said, tugging Yellow behind her.
Ill have that sea salt to you soon, I promise! Yellow called, making me smilethe first genuine smile of the day.