“So, this is my favourite of the ones I’ve caught so far, it’s a Sandshrew. It’s not very strong, but none of my friends have one yet.”
Rumple peered at the screen of Henry’s phone. The creature was a buff yellow rodent, rather like one of the other Pokemon Henry had shown him in the past half hour.
“It looks good.”
Henry nodded enthusiastically and tapped at the screen.
“See as you walk around Pokemon appear. Look there’s a Jigglypuff in here. Watch, this is how you catch them, that’s a Pokeball.”
Rumple watched Henry catch the imaginary monster with a little red and white ball, he didn’t totally understand his grandson’s obsession with this game, but he was glad the he was sharing it with him.
“Got it! We could download the game to your phone and catch Pokemon together, if you’d like.”
Rumple smiled and handed his phone over to Henry. As the lad worked the technological magic that summoned the game, Rumple rubbed his eyes, there was a dull ache in his head, which was probably caused by trying to understand all the information Henry had deluged him with in the past half hour. That didn’t explain the dry tickle in his throat, Rumple made a note to have Dove look at the air conditioning in the shop, it must be on the blink.
“Okay so you’re set up now with you Bulbasaur, you want to go for a walk now?”
Henry looked so hopeful that Rumple almost agreed, but his building headache sent a stab of pain across his temples.
“How about I meet you after school tomorrow? We can catch Pokemons for a while then I’ll treat you to dinner at Granny’s.”
“That sounds great. I’ll see you tomorrow!”
Henry bounced out of the shop, almost colliding with Belle at the door.
“Hey Belle! Bye Belle!”
Belle gave the departing Henry a cheery wave, but her face fell into a frown of concern as she turned to look at her husband. Rumple looked pained.
“Are you alright?”
“Hum? Oh I’m fine, sweetheart.”
Belle crossed the shop to him and gave him a stern look, Rumple resisted for all of two seconds before he sagged; “I have a slight headache, nothing serious.”
“Have you overdone the magic today?”
Rumple frowned as he tried to recall what he’d done today; “Just a little potion, but one I’ve not made in this land before. The price must be different here.”
Belle pressed a cool hand to his forehead making him sigh in relief; he hadn’t realized he was that warm; “You’ve got a bit of a temperature. Come on I’ll drive us home.”
That Rumple didn’t put up any resistance to her driving his beloved car worried Belle more than she let on.
By the time they’d reached the pink house Rumple was snuffling, before the kettle had even boiled for tea that progressed into coughing and sneezing.
As Belle handed him the teacup Rumple slumped sideways on the couch in a faint. The spilled tea and broken china was forgotten as Belle’s practicality over-ruled her panic. A rapid phone call to Emma brought the Saviour and Regina to the door in moments. Between the three women they got the shivering semi-conscious Rumple arranged more comfortable on the couch and covered with a thick throw blanket. Regina worked a little magic and announced that Rumple had the flu. Emma raised a sceptical eyebrow; Rumple was sneezing tiny golden stars, and sweating a frankly alarming shade of pink.
“This doesn’t look like flu.”
Regina wrinkled her nose at the purple cloud Rumple coughed out; “Magical flu. It happens sometimes, it’s not contagious, but he’s going to be out of it for a day, or two.”
Belle relaxed a little, she knew of at least two books in the house that described magical flu, but since she had Regina here she asked; “Anything I need to know to take care of him?”
Regina shook her head, “Treat it like normal flu, fluids and rest. Call us if his temperature gets too high.”
With that Belle was left alone with her sick husband. She rolled her shoulders and got ready for a long evening. She wasn’t the only one who was going to have a restless night.
Hansel and Gretel were walking around the park hitting the Pokestops before dinner, and trying to track down a Ditto. Gretel’s head was bent over her phone when her brother suddenly said; “Pokestop.”
She didn’t look up, “I know give me a minute, my bags full I need to ditch some berries.”
Hansel caught her chin in his hand and pushed her head up, Gretel let out an annoyed sound before she saw what her brother was talking about; an actual Pokestop stood twenty feet in front of them. The siblings blinked at each other and shrugged.
In the game the park had three Pokestops and now they were looking for them they saw that all three were here in the real world.
“What should we do?”
Gretel shrugged, “Go on, give it a spin.”
Hansel frowned; “You give it a spin!”
She sighed and stepped up to the Pokestop. It felt solid enough under her hand and a good shove got it spinning. She stepped back sharply and watched with Hansel as it revolved and spat out three Pokeballs. Hansel nudged her; “Pick them up, they’re yours.”
As her brother was eagerly spinning the Stop for himself Gretel glanced around the park.
The park was swarming with Rattatas and Pidgeys, actual real Pokemon stood waiting to be caught. Hansel’s eyes widen to a comical level.
After a frantic phone call from Henry the heroes had gathered in Granny’s and were trying to work out how best to deal with the bizarre Pokemon invasion. Granny kept shooting glares at the Oddish sat on the end of the counter.
“Y’know it’s odd, I was explaining the game to Grandpa this afternoon…”
Regina raised an eyebrow at Henry; “That might explain this. Rumple has magical flu, it can manifest in strange ways.”
Charming nodded along; “Okay, so we just wait until Rumple is feeling better and this will all go away?”
Emma waved a hand at him as she finished her call to Belle; “Okay thanks Belle, let us know if anything changes,” – she blew out a frustrated breath and slid her phone into her pocket, - “Right Belle has hit the books and apparently a flu based manifestation this big must be resolved before Gold can get better.”
Regina groaned; “Well, that would be simple if we knew what the conditions were. What are we supposed to do with pocket monsters?”
Hansel’s face lit up with a grin; “That’s easy then!”
His face fell as everyone turned to look at him. Regina fixed him with a disbelieving sneer; “And since when are you an expert in magical maladies?”
He shuffled on his heels, as if trying to decide whether or not to run; “Erm, well I’m not, but this is Pokemon, isn’t it? So, we’ve gotta catch ‘em all, that’s what you do in the game.”
Henry was nodding enthusiastically; “He’s right, we need to catch them all, then Grandpa will be okay.”
Granny huffed; “And how are we supposed to catch them, they snarl and snap if you try to pick them up!”
The Oddish had already avoided Granny’s attempt to shoo it off the counter, much to her irritation. Gretel pulled one of her Pokeballs out of her pocket; “You don’t catch by hand, you have to do this…”
She threw the Pokeball in the air and hit the Oddish perfectly; the ball rebounded and split open drawing the creature inside. As the ball closed and dropped to the floor every kid in the diner began a count.
“One,” – the ball wriggled but remained closed, - “Two,” – another wriggle, - “Three,” – the kids waited with baited breath as the ball gave a final wiggle before falling still and emitting a pulse of light.
“Nice catch Gretel!”
“Yeah, good one.”
Everyone watched at the Pokeball shrank and pinged out of existence, Gretel sighed; “Guess we don’t get to keep them.”
Charming clapped his hands together; “Right, now we know what we’ve got to do, we need to get organized.”
Within twenty minutes the trainers had explained the basics to those who’d never played before, and soon teams were heading out to the Pokestops to stock up on balls. Much to the surprise of the non-players there were plenty of adults who had gotten hooked on the game.
Emma teamed up with Henry, who was grinning like crazy; “Why so cheerful, kid?”
“Well, it’s not as if this is as dangerous as most of the stuff we face.”
She hummed an agreement, this would have been a hell of a lot worse if Henry had been telling Gold about Avengers or something before he got sick.
The Pidgeys and Rattatas in the park were dealt with quickly by Hansel and Leroy. Gretel called her brother in a panic from the graveyard.
“We’ve got a flock of Zubats and Ghastlys here. Who do we know that is a great pitcher?”
The flying Pokemon could be tricky to catch in game, and apparently Rumple had picked up enough from Henry to know that. Leroy grinned, “We’ll send Bashful over, his got a wicked right arm, sister, and he loves Ghastlys.”
Leroy and Hansel left the park and headed down to the docks where Emma and Henry were trying to deal with a shoal of Magikarps and Poliwags.
Regina was getting frustrated with Drowzees and a high level Snorlax. Her situation wasn’t helped by the fact she was teamed with Sleepy who kept dropping off, she wondered if Henry had thought it was funny sending them to deal with these particular Pokemon.
“Oh, wake up! We need more balls!”
Charming and Red were tackling the Bellsprouts and Eevees along Main Street.
“Y’know the little furry one looks familiar.”
Red nodded and tossed Charming another Pokeball, “Eevee is a popular one, you’ve probably seen it in the cartoons.”
Charming lobbed a ball at a Bellsprout, “Maybe, but I feel like I’ve see in for real somewhere before.”
Red just shrugged at him; “Don’t worry about it. On your left!”
It wasn’t another Pokemon, but Henry and Emma running along the street. Emma slowed down enough to call out; “Belle just called Henry, we need to get to Gold’s house ASAP.”
Charming called after her as she jogged by; “And you didn’t use magic, because?”
Emma turned and ran backwards for a few steps; “Henry started running before I could. Docks are clear. We’ll call if we need back up.”
On the lawn of the pink house, Belle couldn’t resist snapping one more photo. Rumple had become more lucid over the past hour and his temperature had gone down, but he was still giggly and more than a bit silly. When Granny dropped some Pokeballs off on her way clear the edge of the woods of Ekans, Rumple had slipped out the back door, worrying her sick until he called for her from the back garden. She’d found him sat cross legged on the grass nose to nose with something that looked like a bright yellow pangolin.
“It’s a Sandshrew, you’re a very good little sandshrew aren’t you? Yes you are, a good Sandshrew.”
She’d giggled at his sing-song voice and the cute way he bopped the creature on the nose, but became very cross when he vanished the Pokeballs he spotted in her hands.
“Rumple! We needed those to catch it!”
He gave her a sorrowful look and sneezed another cloud of golden stars, before wiping his nose on his shirt sleeve; “But, Belle, this is Henry’s favourite. He has to catch it. Please?”
He sounded like a little child, and she couldn’t refuse him; “Okay, I’ll call Henry.”
When she heard Henry’s shout from the side of the house she slid her phone into her pocket, not wanting to give anyone else the idea of taking pictures of the Dark One in the strange state. Henry skidded to a halt, closely followed by Emma who looked stunned at the sight of Rumple.
“Wow, he is out of it.”
Belle gave her a quick nod, and smiled at Henry, “He wants you to catch this one, says it’s your favourite.”
Henry bounced a Pokeball in his palm, “Okay, I got this. Grandpa?”
Rumple tilted his head back and over balanced, he ended up flat on his back grinning at Henry, “Henry, why are you upside down?”
“I’m not you are,” – He pulled Rumple carefully to his feet, - “Want to help me catch the sandshrew?”
Rumple nodded like a bobble head toy, “Nope you do it, its for you.”
Belle caught Rumple’s hand and gently tugged him out of the way. Henry took aim and threw the Pokeball, which the sandshrew promptly headbutted away.
“Oh no, no, no, Bad sandshrew,” - Rumple took a step forward wagging his finger at the Pokemon, - “You are Henry’s favourite. Play nice.”
“It’s okay Grandpa, all the best Pokemon are tricky to catch.”
“Oh, alright then.”
Rumple settled down again and Henry took a second shot. This time the ball bounce correctly and opened catching the sandshrew.
Rumple gave a twittering giggle, spoiled only by another sneeze, and clapped his hands together, “Well done Henry!”
He sagged and leaned against Belle, “I’m sleepy, can I go to bed now, Belle?”
Belle rubbed his back, “Of course, why don’t you head upstairs, I’ll be right up, okay?”
He gave her a dopey smile, “Okay. Night-night Henry.”
Emma watched him go in disbelief; “Oh man, I should have took pictures.”
Belle gave her a stern look; “He’s ill, he can’t help in and it’s rude and unpleasant to mock, especially when any magical user in town could catch this sort of flu.”
Emma look apologetic, “Sorry Belle,” – Her phone beeped with a text, - “Come on kid, the Zubats are being a pain.”
With a quick wave Emma headed off around the house, before he followed her Henry paused by Belle’s side; “You did get a photo of him and the sandshrew didn’t you?”
Belle winked at him just as his mom shouted for him to hurry up. Henry grinned, “Cool. See you later Belle.”
Being able to laugh with her and his grandson about his Pokemon encounter was one thing, but Belle wasn’t going to let anyone else in town see those pictures.
“Belle! Where are you Belle?”
“I’m coming, Rumple.”
The Great Pokemon Go Adventure made it into the Storybook. The pictures were copied many times as everyone wanted a memento of them catching the colourful pocket monsters. Belle was the only person in town who had take photos of the event, and only a few people ever saw the images of Rumple giggling with a sandshrew.