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A Road Paved of Silver, Not of Gold

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One of Silver’s earliest memories is of him and his father spending time in Giovanni’s office. He was sitting on one of the couches in his office, coloring random Pokemon (a Nidoking, just like the one his father has) out of his new coloring book (that a nice redheaded woman had given him) while his father was doing something with the papers on his desk. Once and a while a man or woman in a black uniform would come in and report something to his father, or his father would scold a group of those people.

Silver’s not sure why this is his earliest memory of his father, but now that he thought about it, maybe it had something to do with how the grunts seemed to cower in fear when his father started to calmly tell them what they did wrong on the missions and how they better do better next time if they valued their job, and without raising his voice like most men in his position would. The fact that he’s able to exude that coolness on a regular basis was pretty cool to him when he was younger.

(Sometimes he’s not sure if he’s happy that he got over that admiration for his father, or if he’s confused about why he feels like that’s a lie.)

Silver remembered that his mother had gotten into a car accident and was rushed to the hospital. The doctors had tried saving her, but in the end they couldn’t. Silver remembered crying that night with his father, who was oddly calm about the whole situation throughout the night.

Eventually, Silver must have cried himself to sleep because he woke up in his room with his stuffed Nidoking toy tucked under his arm. He didn’t know why he woke up in the middle of the night (perhaps for water?) but he was surprised to see that he was in his father’s room. Turning to the side, he saw his father standing outside on the balcony talking to a man with teal colored hair. Silver tried to be quiet, wondering what they were talking about.

“I want them found.” Giovanni said, causing Silver to shiver at the sheer amount of anger present in his father’s hushed voice. “And I want them dead. Are we clear?”

“Yes sir!” the teal haired man said. He was about to turn back to Giovanni’s room when the man stopped him.

“Make sure that Ariana understands Silver needs to be protected, Archer. I don’t want these people to lay a hand on him.”

“Yes sir. We won’t allow your heir to be harmed.” he said, bowing slightly before leaving the balcony area and Giovanni’s room. Silver had made it seem like he was still sleeping when the teal haired man (Archer, he reminded himself) left the room. He continued to pretend to sleep when Giovanni came back into the room and stared down at Silver’s “sleeping” form. He almost flinched when Giovanni started running his fingers through Silver’s hair.

“I promise I’ll protect you, Silver.” Giovanni whispered before stopping and leaving the room, probably to go to his office and do late night work. When he did, Silver opened his eyes again and snuggled deeper into his father’s bed.

(A couple of weeks later, there was a report in the news about a man being shot. The police hadn’t found the shooter and it was getting more difficult to find out who it was. Silver remembered his father being incredibly pleased, however, at the broadcast. Archer was also present, and Silver tried not to notice the little bit of dark red on his black uniform.)

When Silver was seven years old, red hair longer and grey eyes sharper than before, Archer thought it was best to step up his schooling. He began teaching him more about how to run a business rather than Kanto history. He had a feeling that Archer was setting him up for something else, but he never knew what.

(Now, of course, he knows better. Running Team Rocket sounded a lot like those lessons.)

Archer was an interesting teacher, and man, to say the least. He’s been present in Silver’s life for a while now, ever since his mother’s death, and has always confused Silver with the way he acts. Archer is incredibly loyal to Giovanni, something that none of the other grunts or Ariana ever really showed. Silver knew they were loyal, but there was something different about Archer’s loyalty compared to theirs. Silver had a feeling that if Giovanni asked Archer to jump off a building, the teal haired man would without hesitation.

Archer was an odd person, especially around Silver, who he treated far differently than he did Giovanni. Silver didn’t understand it and never particularly tried at that age. If Silver asked for something, Archer would do it. He called Silver the ‘precious Team Rocket heir’ and commented on a daily basis how he was going to be someone important in the future. It seemed like he was trying to set up his future, under his father’s command no doubt, any chance he got.

“But does Team Rocket matter that much?” Silver asked one day, bored out of his seven year old mind. That made Archer stop talking before he regarded Silver for a couple of minutes. It was uncomfortably silent during that time, which caused Silver to swirm in his seat.

Finally, after what felt like forever, Archer had answered, “Of course it does Silver. Your father is building an empire, one that you’re going to take over some day.” He was smiling again, an unnerving smile that Silver didn’t like. “These lessons are preparing you for that role. After all, you’re Giovanni’s only heir. Everything is ultimately for your benefit. Now, let’s get back to the lesson at hand, shall we?”

Silver tried to suppress the sudden shiver that he felt after Archer seemed to nonchalantly announce that.

Between Giovanni’s two admins, Silver had always remembered that he liked Ariana the most. She reminded him of his mother with her long red hair and teasing attitude. She also didn’t lecture him on how to run businesses, which was already bonus points for a seven year old Silver. He remembered too how, after his mother had died, that she took care of him. His father had gotten busier and busier afterwards, which left the responsibility to take care of him on either one of the grunts or Ariana. Ariana was always chosen since she knew what she was doing, unlike those grunts who could barely stand children enough as it was.

Ariana had comforted him at night when he remembered that his mother wasn’t around anymore, or when he got hurt from exploring the grounds of Giovanni’s estate. She cooked lunch and dinner for him, and usually tucked him into bed if his father didn’t come back home in time.

“So how was your lessons today, baby boy?” Ariana asked, serving tonight’s dinner. It was Silver’s favorite, spaghetti and meatballs.

“Boring as always.” Silver pouted, and started eating his dinner when Ariana sat down at the table with him. “Archer’s mean. He keeps telling me all these things but he doesn’t let me do anything I want.”

“Archer always was a stick in the mud.” Ariana said, smirking at her comment before starting to eat as well.

“Yeah he is!” Silver exclaimed, holding his fork above his head. “He needs to learn how to have more fun!”

“Well maybe next time you and I can knock some sense into him.” she grinned, almost ecstatic at the idea of messing with Archer. She’s known him for quite some time now, ever since their recruitment, and loved getting him to act less serious. Usually through a well-timed Sleeping Powder on him before drawing on his face, laughing the next time he woke up and saw her handiwork.

“Yeah we should!” Silver was already planning something in his mind. He wondered if it was possible for a Pokemon to turn water into ice, and spread that ice along one of the main hallways.

By the time the duo were done eating, Silver was allowed some time to watch cartoons before being shoved off to bed by Ariana. He got dressed in his pajamas (which had little Voltorbs on them, a gift from a violet haired grunt he usually saw) and brushed his teeth. By the time he was done, he hoped that his father had come home. He felt a little disappointed when he was greeted by Ariana standing by his bed with the covers pulled back. He grabbed his Nidoking toy and went to bed, being tucked in by Ariana. She kissed him on the forehead and wished him a goodnight before turning the light off and closing the door.

Silver sighed after she left and snuggled closer to his Nidoking toy and into the bed. Hopefully his father would be here tomorrow night.

(For some reason though, Silver had doubted that.)

He didn’t know if Ariana or Archer had said something, but today he was going to see his father in action at his other (legal) job. While they lived a little outside Viridian City, Silver was still amazed by how the city looked. It was small, but still lively like most cities in Kanto. It was home to the Viridian Gym, which is father ran and made into a model of excellence for the rest of the Kanto gyms.

“Hope you have fun today, kid!” a violet haired grunt said as they pulled up to the Viridian Gym. “Your old man will probably show off more now that you’re here.” Silver nodded, not sure how to respond to that. He did, however, feel happy about seeing his father today. He hadn’t seen him in a while, due to the massive amounts of paperwork he saw last time he visited his father’s office, and the growing expansion of Team Rocket.

(“We just bought a building in Celadon City. It’s gonna be for gambling!” the violet haired man announced one day, watching Silver while Ariana was out and, unfortunately, with Archer. “Then underneath is supposed to be the new base. The boss is pretty smart, hiding it like that.”

“What’s gambling?” Silver asked, looking between the grunt and Archer.

“Not something you’ll ever partake in, Silver.” Archer answered, narrowing his eyes at the grunt.)

The car door was opened by another grunt, one with green hair this time, and Silver jumped out of the car. He ran towards the doors of the gym and stepped inside, looking around his father’s gym.

“It’s good to see you, son.” a voice said from his right, and Silver saw his father standing there with a smile on his face. Silver ran over to him and hugged his waist, he hadn’t seen him so long!

“Now then, shall I show you why I’m number one in the world?” And Silver nodded, following after his father’s imposing form. Some of the ace trainers and black belts present were surprised to see their boss with such a cute kid following after him.

They stopped questioning it, however, when it seemed like Giovanni was beating his opponents faster than usual. His Pokemon also seemed to be showing off their power too, especially Nidoking. And Silver cheered every time his father defeated a Pokemon with ease.

Maybe he really is number one in the world!” Silver thought, amazed by his father’s power and wondering if he’d ever be that strong some day.

When Silver was nine, everything started to change. Team Rocket had expanded as far out as the Sevii Islands, and Archer and Ariana were sent there to run it. While it meant that Silver wouldn’t see Ariana anymore, it also meant that he wouldn’t have to deal with any of Archer’s lessons. There was a rumor, however, that a boy with black hair and red eyes was ruining his father’s operations. He didn’t get what the big deal was, his father could probably stop the boy easily. He’s supposedly eleven years old, how hard could it be to take him down?

It answer came a couple of months later, when the violet haired man (Petrel, he reminded himself) came and told Silver to come with him. Silver followed him, nervous as to why they were leaving his father’s estate and heading into Viridian City. They stopped at the gym, and were about to enter when another person left the building instead. Silver noticed that Petrel stopped dead in his tracks, and seemed thankful that he wasn’t wearing his black uniform. Silver peaked past Petrel’s back to see who it was, and held his breath when he saw who.

Standing in front of them was the same boy that Silver had heard rumors about. He was taller than Silver, and his black hair and hat was partially covering his red eyes. A Pikachu was riding his shoulder, tilting its head at the duo. Silver noticed that the older boy was staring at him and regarded him for a couple of seconds before walking past the duo and towards Route 22.

Silver let go of the breath he was holding and ran towards the door of the gym, vaguely hearing Petrel yell at him to wait up. Inside the gym was dark, darker than the last time he was here and the trainers working in the gym weren’t present. He ran towards the area his father waited for challengers and stopped when he saw how his father looked.

He looked… defeated? Lost in thought? A combination of both, maybe? Silver wasn’t sure but it wasn’t the confident and imposing man that Silver knew his father to be.

“F-Father?” Silver asked, unsure about how to handle the sudden change in his father’s stance. His father looked up at him, and then at Petrel who had caught up. He signaled Petrel to leave the building and grabbed Silver’s hand as he lead him to the back room. Silver waited patiently as the man grabbed his trench coat and hat, nodding his head for Silver to follow. He was feeling anxious, unsure about what his father was planning to do now. He had lost, lost to an eleven year old boy. Someone who was only two years Silver’s senior.

They reached Route 22, the same route that Silver remembered seeing the red eyed boy go to, and stopped near the entrance of the Pokemon League Reception Gate.

“What happened back there?” Silver asked, finally getting frustrated by his father’s silent treatment. “You told me… you were the number one in the world! Are you gonna quit? What are you going to do now?” Giovanni turned around, staring at his son for a couple of minutes, unsure about how to answer Silver’s question.

“One must acknowledge one's defeat before he can move on... I will go solo...for now... So that one day I will form a stronger organization!” Giovanni answered, still staring at Silver.

“What aspect of you was number one? Gathering so many only to be defeated by a mere child!” Silver yelled, losing his temper. Who cares about Team Rocket at a time like this!

“Putting together the potential of many is how you produce a huge power... That's what an organization is... That's the strength of an organization!” Giovanni yelled back, his fist clenching to his side. “I make the best use of my subordinates' potential...! But you shall witness one day the revival of me and my Team Rocket!”

Silver, deciding that he was done with what his father’s spouting out to him, ran over to the man and grabbed his trench coat, fist clenched and shaking in the material.

“I don't understand you! You don't make any sense, dad!” Silver screamed, letting go of his father’s coat. He was panting a little, not entirely used to arguing with his father (never his father) or anyone for this long. He didn’t realize that he had closed his eyes, and when he opened them he saw his father staring at him with a sad smile before turning towards the gate entrance.

“One day, you will understand.” Giovanni said one last time before walking away, heading into the building, leaving Silver there by himself. His fist were shaking again, and he grounded his teeth together. He ran towards the gate door, stopping before actually entering the building.

“I don't want to understand you! I will never become someone like you.” Silver yelled to the top of his lungs, half hoping his father heard him and half wanting to get this out. “A coward when you're alone and acting like a tyrant when you're in front of other cowards! I will become strong! I will become a stronger man all by myself! All by myself!

When his declaration ended, Silver was panting again. Tears were forming in his eyes, and Silver wasn’t entirely sure why. When he turned back towards Route 22 and deciding to head back to Viridian City, he was shocked to see another boy with black hair, but this time wearing a hat with a yellow stripe down the middle and grey eyes, like his own but darker and not as silver (Ha.) as his own, and a strange green Pokemon floating behind him. The boy was staring at him with a mixture of… pity? Understanding? What could this kid possibly understand about him? He’s never seen this punk until now.

“…What are you staring at?” Silver didn’t bother waiting for the boy’s reply, or care that there was another kid (a girl this time, with light brown hair and weirdly shaped pigtails), and pushed him out of his way and made a mad dash for Viridian City and his father’s- no that place.

When he arrived, he practically crashed through the door and didn’t bother to lock it when he ran upstairs to his room. After a couple of minutes of taking his anger out on some of the stuff in there (his desk, his bookshelf, and a couple of old toys - particularly that Nidoking toy), he collapsed onto the floor and just let himself begin to cry away all the frustration (and hurt?) from today’s events.

Silver remembered looking into a mirror and realizing that he didn’t really look much like his father. His hair was long and red, with grey eyes that don’t hold the same fire as his father’s smoldering black ones. He tried asking his mother about it one night, but the brunette woman just patted Silver on the head and told him that he worried too much. He pouted at that and rushed back to the bathroom.

An hour later, when Giovanni returned home to his wife and son, he was quite surprised to see his wife trying to keep the black hair dye in the bathroom away from their son. When they noticed him, Silver immediately latched onto the man’s slacks and asked him why he didn’t look like his father.

Giovanni just smiled (but why did it look a little sad?) at Silver and bent down to his level and said, “Perhaps that’s a good thing.” After that, he got up and walked over to his wife and kissed her briefly before heading to his office for the rest of the night.

Silver wasn’t quite sure what the man had meant by those words.

(It was when Silver was nine, and a week after his father leaving, that he finally understood what the man was talking about.)

The year Silver turned ten, he thought about becoming a Pokemon trainer in the Kanto region. He wasn’t quite sure about how to feel about collecting badges and, eventually, going back to Viridian to challenge that man’s gym with a new leader in charge. He hadn’t been to Viridian City for a while now, instead living with his grandparents from his mother’s side in Pallet Town.

“Just know Silver, if you ever want to become a trainer, the Professor Oak is in this town.” his grandma reminded him, always smiling at the boy whenever she saw him. Perhaps it was to make up for how Silver didn’t see them much after his mother’s funeral.

“I’ll remember that.” Silver answered, going back upstairs to his room. He thought he heard his grandma sigh, and if she did then Silver decided to pretend he didn’t hear it.

He walked over to his bed and decided to take a nap for a while, feeling oddly drained then. He also ignored the Nidoking toy on his desk, the one thing from his past with Team Rocket that he’ll allow near him.

Silver eventually decided to leave to Johto, a new region that his grandpa had told him about. During the last year, Team Rocket hadn’t risen again, the boy that stopped them seemed to have disappeared, Viridian City and Fuchsia City had new gym leaders, and apparently some activity in the Hoenn region had died down as well, and many scientist in Hoenn were baffled over the sudden changes in the sea level and volcanic activity in the region. It was a pretty eventful year, but not productive in Silver’s opinion. He never decided to go see Professor Oak about becoming a trainer, and instead spent most of the year trying to understand everything.

The only thing Silver realized this year was that he loathed Father’s Day with a passion, something he realized last year as well.

“Johto will be a good experience for you,” his grandma said, sipping tea with Silver and a young lady with long brown hair. “Getting away from Kanto might just be what you need.”

Silver nodded, drinking his tea, which seemed good enough for the older woman. She went back to conversing with the young lady about some of the gossip in Pallet Town. Silver, deciding that he didn’t really care about what was happening in the town he called home for two years, excused himself from the table in search of his grandpa. The older man was going to help Silver leave to Johto if he decided to go.

Silver had found the man in the garden, enjoying the fresh air with his Poliwag. The man noticed Silver and waved him over, which Silver did.

“You’ve decided to go to Johto.” the man said, not asked. Silver nodded, not bothering to work his way around asking the man for help.

“I do appreciate everything you’ve done for me.” Silver said, remembering the lessons that Archer would give him in manners, which sometimes Ariana attended.

“You’re family. It wouldn’t be right to leave my daughter’s son alone.” the older man said, a hint of sadness in his voice. “You look a little like her, at least with the face. I’ll never be sure where you got the hair color, but your eyes are definitely like your father’s.”

Silver, not knowing how to respond, just nodded and patiently sat there as the older man instructed Poliwag to go retrieve some things for him, which turned out to be some money and a backpack.

“Here, this is for you.” he said, giving Silver the backpack. “And this money should be good enough for a ferry ride from Vermilion City to Olivine City in the Johto region.” He placed the money back in the wallet, and handed that to Silver as well. “If you ever need anything, don’t hesitate to call.”

“I will.” Silver said, nodding to the man and walking back into the house. He walked upstairs and grabbed some spare clothes, his toothbrush and toothpaste, and some other things he might need before closing the door to his sparsely decorated room. He noticed the Nidoking toy on his desk, and stared at it for a couple of minutes before closing the door fully.

When he walked down to the living room, the lady from before was leaving and his grandma had told her to congratulate her brother for the new job he got. When she did leave, his grandma noticed him and seemed to have a sad smile on his face. She opened her arms for a hug when Silver was fully down the stairs, which Silver gave back reluctantly.

“The last time I saw someone leaving for their journey,” she said, obviously trying not to cry. “it was your mother. She looked so proud, with her Squirtle following after her as she left the house with the last of her things. She came back with seven badges and rants about her obnoxious rival. Next thing I knew, she and that rival got married! It’s amazing how things work out like that, isn’t it?” Silver nodded, finally being let out of the hug and walked to the door. He looked back at her and saw that his grandpa had entered the room as well. They both looked proud and nostalgic, something Silver wasn’t sure how to feel about. It seemed like as of late, he didn’t know how to feel about a lot of stuff involving his grandparents.

He nodded towards them and opened the door to their house, and his future.

The trip to Vermilion City was annoying, to say the least. It took a month for Silver to finally arrive there, and he was annoyed beyond belief. The trainers in this region were so stupid, always assuming that just because someone is carrying around a backpack means that they’re a trainer.

But he finally arrived to Vermilion City, most surprised and slightly pleased that Vermilion City was kind of like Viridian City. It was busy, and larger than Viridian, but Silver was still content with the city. He decided to head straight for the harbor, hoping to find a place to buy his ticket for the ferry to Olivine City. He was thankful when he did, thanks to an older man with a mustache and a young girl in a pink skirt with long hair trying to find the ticket booths as well. The girl tried talking to him a couple of times before giving up when Silver didn’t respond. She told him that they were heading back to a region called Sinnoh on the S.S. Anne. The older man, realizing that Silver was starting to get annoyed with the girl, pointed him in the direction of the ferry he wanted.

“That booth sells tickets for the S.S. Aqua.”

“Thank you, sir.” Silver said before walking towards the booth and purchasing his ticket. He had enough, thankfully, and boarded the boat not too long after with a couple of other trainers and people.

Johto was an interesting experience for Silver, now that he thought about it. The minute he landed in Olivine City, he didn’t know where to go first. He found out from a couple of people in the city that New Bark Town seemed like a good place to start his Pokemon journey. It took him a while to get there, but when he did Silver didn’t know what to do. He waited outside the lab, wondering what the best course of action was, and couldn’t help it when his eyes widened at seeing an oddly familiar boy talking to the professor in charge of the lab. He walked over to a machine and stared at the three Pokeballs there. He could hear the professor telling him which Pokemon were inside the balls, and eventually the kid picked the fire starter. The little Pokemon was released from it’s Pokeball, and the kid was handed some instructions for something the professor wanted him to do for him. The kid nodded and signaled the Pokemon to follow him.

Outside, Silver saw him heading towards the entrance to New Bark Town and head off to the route lying beyond the town. Silver bit his lip and tried opening the window from the outside, deciding that he would just grab the Pokemon rather than wait. When he finally opened it, the professor wasn’t present, and his aids were in some other room. He went over to the machine where the Pokemon were, and grabbed the Pokeball he remembered the professor saying housed the water starter for this region. He released the Pokemon from the Pokeball, just to be sure, and was greeted by a crocodile looking Pokemon with a pretty large jaw.

“Toto?” the Pokemon said, cocking its head to the side as it observed Silver. Its stare was a little unnerving, but Silver ignored it in favor of trying to appear tough to the new Pokemon.

“My name is Silver.” he said, looking at the Pokemon. “I’m your new trainer.” he added, for good measure in case the Pokemon didn’t understand.

Thankfully it did, and started jumping up and down a couple of times before clapping. Silver took that as a good sign of the blue Pokemon accepting him as its new trainer. He was about to put the Pokemon back into the Pokeball when he heard a gasp behind him. He turned around and was met with the professor, looking incredibly confused.

“W-What? What’s going on?!” he yelled, alerting some of his aids. Silver growled under his breath and returned the Pokemon back to its Pokeball before running towards the window and out the lab. He vaguely heard the man call him a thief and to return the Totodile he took. Silver ignored him in favor of running as far away from the lab as he possibly could and towards the route.

Just outside of Cherrygrove City, Silver stopped to catch his breath. He was pretty happy about the Pokemon he had chosen, which had knocked out a number of wild Pokemon with ease. He was about to walk into the city when he spotted the boy from before rushing towards him, looking worried and anxious about something. The boy stopped in front of Silver, starting at him with confusion before noticing the Totodile standing beside him.

“You got a Pokemon at the Lab. What a waste. That's a Pokemon that's too good for a wimp like you.” Silver taunted, suddenly feeling like testing just how good Totodile is against another trainer’s Pokemon. The boy seemed confused, cocking his head to the side. “Don't you get what I'm saying? Well, I too have a good Pokemon. I'll show you what I mean!” He sent Totodile out in front of him, and the boy finally understood what he was talking about. He sent his fire starter and looked ready to start dishing out commands to the Pokemon.

There’s no way I’ll lose. Water has the advantage over fire.” Silver thought, smirking at his opponent.

During the battle, it seemed like Silver had the advantage. The fire starter (Cyndaquil, Silver heard the boy say), was having a tough time against his Totodile. Suddenly, the battle seemed to shift in the kid’s favor, which caught Silver off guard. Somehow the kid had won.

“…Humph! Are you happy you won?” Silver snarled, returning Totodile to its Pokeball. “…Do you want to know who I am? I'm going to be the world's greatest Pokeémon Trainer.” He would be. He had to beat him, he had to prove that he was number one, and not that man. He shoved past the black haired boy and checked his wallet, wondering if he should buy anything from the Pokemart before he noticed his Trainer Card (which he got from his grandpa) was missing. Looking back he saw the kid still standing there, obviously looking down at something in his hands. As Silver approached him, he heard him mutter his name before Silver made a grab for the card.

“Give it back! That's my Trainer Card! Oh no! You saw my name…” Silver said, running off towards the Pokemon Center (giving the kid another shove for good measure) and had Totodile healed up before leaving Cherrygrove City, carefully avoiding the police stationed there in search of a Pokemon thief.

The rest of Johto was an odd blur after that. He kept running into that kid with the Cyndaquil and black and gold hat, and said kid kept beating him every time Silver challenged him to a battle. He blamed his Pokemon for his misfortune, because how was he going to be the number one trainer in the world if his Pokemon kept failing him? During his fits of rage, it seemed like Zubat got the brunt of Silver’s anger the most. Not that he cared, not in the slightest bit. Maybe if the stupid Pokemon tried better, Silver wouldn’t get so angry at it. Totodile turned out become his best Pokemon, now a Croconaw and much stronger than before.

He also kept running into something Silver’s been trying to run away from for a while.

“Well, if it isn’t the ‘precious heir.’” he heard a voice say from behind him. He was heading to the Ilex Forest when he ran into a familiar voice, and face as well. Turning around, he saw Proton standing there, not looking much different than the last time he saw him, except with a different uniform and a more sadistic look in his eyes. The man was still wearing black, but Silver didn’t like the sadistic look in his eyes.

Proton usually has a bored look in his eyes. Where did this sadistic look come from?” Silver thought, backing away from Proton a little. He had heard that Team Rocket was in the area, that annoying kid claimed that he was going to beat them (which Silver laughed at, there was no way Team Rocket would lose to an eleven year old child again), but didn’t expect to run into anyone.

“Why so surprised? You know that Team Rocket has connections everywhere. Johto is no different.” Proton said, smirking at Silver’s attempt to retreat. “You should come with me. I’m sure Archer will be pleased to see that our operation here in Azalea Town wasn’t a complete waste of time.

“After all, I found our wayward heir.”

“I’m not your heir.” Silver said, finally finding his voice and glaring at the green haired man. “I’ll never be the heir to a bunch of cowards!”

That caused Proton to laugh, which caused Silver to feel insulted for a second. “Says the child who has been running away from his people! Boss Giovanni left you a throne to sit on, and it’s time to take your place there.”

“Never!” Silver yelled, running off into the Ilex Forest and away from Proton, and away from his annoying past.

(“…Tell me something. Is it true that Team Rocket has returned?” A nod from the kid confirmed his suspicions, he thought he saw one of those incompetent grunts near that old well.

“I’m going to beat them.” the kid said, a fire in his eyes that Silver hadn’t seen in a long time. Not since his father defeated those challengers with ease all those years ago.

“What? You beat them? Hah! Quit lying. Are you serious? Then let's see how good you are.” Silver had sent out his Pokemon, all of which were defeated by the kid, who seemed even more determined to prove to Silver that he could defeat Team Rocket.

When the battle ended, he stood there staring at his Pokemon. Hoping that the Pokemon inside knew how angry he was with them. “… Humph! Useless Pokemon! Listen, you. You only won because my Pokemon were weak.

“I hate the weak. Pokemon, Trainers. It doesn't matter who or what. I hate to see them hanging around. That goes for Team Rocket, too.” Silver declared, glaring at the kid with all his might. “They think they are big and tough as long as they are in a group. But get them alone, and they're weak. I hate them all. You stay out of my way. You won't be an exception if you get in my way.” And then Silver pushed past him, heading back to the Pokemon Center.)

Earning badges was starting to get difficult. Zubat was still useless, but Silver didn’t know why he didn’t have the heart to get rid of the annoying bat, and he picked up a new addition to the team. Magnemite was pretty useful compared to Zubat, but not as good as Gastly or Croconaw. The next time he ran into that annoying kid (Ethan, his mind reminded him, ‘cause the kid finally introduced himself not too long ago), Zubat and Magnemite were defeated by his Pokemon pretty easily, and only Gastly and Croconaw held up a good fight. It was a little embarrassing to say the least, that his newest addition lost that easily. The only good that came out of the battle was that Ethan had fallen through the floor somehow.

“Humph! What are you doing falling into a hole? Some genius you are! Serves you right!” Silver taunted, leaving the tower and trying to repress any feelings of worry that he held. Who cares about that obnoxious kid? He can handle himself.

The next time he ran into Team Rocket, it was at their new HQ in Mahogany Town. The grunts tried to pass the base as “Just a Souvenir Shop” and Silver felt deeply proud that he didn’t want to run these guys. “What a bunch of idiots.” Silver muttered under his breath, seeing two of the grunts already knocked out at the register and the entrance to their base open.

He wasn’t sure what he was expecting when he entered the base. It seemed like a standard Team Rocket base, and not very impressive either. The traps were easy to get through, thanks to his knowledge of how Team Rocket sets up their traps (something he was thankful of Archer for teaching him) and the fact that, if he did pass by them, the Persian statues didn’t seem to detect him as an intruder. He didn’t know why that was the case, which caused Silver to feel anger again.

“I never thought I’d see you again, baby boy.” He turned around, started by another familiar voice. Standing behind him was a woman very near and dear to him, or used to be. He glared at her new white uniform, which had the Rocket R over her heart. Her hair hadn’t changed much since the last time he saw Ariana, it was still red and long, but it seemed cut shorter than before. She was giving him a sad smile, probably noticing the glare he was giving the Rocket emblem.

“You know very good and well that I could never abandon this.” she said, meeting his eyes. “Your father was a great man! We’re going to find him Silver, and bring him back.

“We just need your help. That brat is ruining everything, just like three years ago! The world will soon appreciate Team Rocket’s strength. Come back with us to Goldenrod City, we’re going to try broadcasting to our Boss and let him know that Team Rocket hasn’t died yet!”

Silver was about to reply to that, when they both heard a crash come from the stairs. They got into an attack stance and prepared to attack whoever the person was.

“Aw man that hurt!” the man said, and Silver’s eyes widened when he saw that familiar purple colored hair. “Didn’t see that one step…”

“Petrel! What’s going on?!” Ariana yelled, looking furious at him. “Why was that brat able to disable the generator locks?”

“Oh um… Ariana! There’s the good time gal! Yeah about that, you see…” Petrel started, but stopped when he saw Silver standing there with them, looking annoyed with him as well. “Whoa kiddo! What are you doing here?” Petrel was practically grinning from ear to ear at seeing the kid, and Silver thought that maybe he could understand why. The last time Petrel saw Silver, it was before his father had left and Silver decided to disappear along with him. But the grin also seemed… different than before.

“Don’t change the subject Petrel! I’m just as happy to see Silver as you are, but why did that brat disable the generator?!” She had a feral look in her eyes, something that Silver had never seen before, even when she was yelling at the grunts for their incompetence back when Silver was a kid. He decided to ignore them and leave, silently laughing at the situation that Petrel found himself in.

(He was a little curious about when Petrel seemed like he was forcing a smile and Ariana stopped teasing and having fun.)

If there’s something Silver realized is that he didn’t like that Dragon master Lance. The guy was annoying and too heroic for Silver’s taste and seemed determined to show Silver that he was wrong about his treatment towards his Pokemon, especially Zubat (who was now a Golbat).

“Will you just leave me alone?” Silver yelled, glaring at the cape wearing man with all his might.

“I will not.” Lance said, standing in front of the him. He seemed like he was regarding Silver for a second, which was annoying him greatly. He didn’t like being studied by someone, especially by this guy. “You really should treat Golbat better. Maybe it’ll become a Crobat someday!” He looked rather hopeful, that Silver would understand that being nice to Golbat could mean more powerful Pokemon for him. Silver, instead, snorted and turned away to watch his Pokemon train by themselves. His newest Pokemon, Sneasel, had been a great choice to pick up. The Pokemon was quick and deadly if you asked Silver, which he liked greatly. It also seemed oddly attached to Silver after the first couple of days. Silver didn’t understand why, but if it made the Pokemon work harder than Silver would accept its weird affection.

“Whatever you say, Sir Lancelot.” Silver replied dryly, not turning to face the man anymore. “Don’t you have some princess to save?”

“I’m afraid that the princess I saved last time isn’t anywhere near here.” Lance answered, sounding rather serious. “But I’m sure her Maril can protect her for the time being.”

“What are you even- nevermind. You’re just being an idiot again.” Silver said, not wanting to deal with this man’s stupidity any longer. He returned his Pokemon, keeping Golbat out. It seemed a little scared of him, but Silver decided to ignore it. He grabbed onto the Pokemon’s legs and order it to fly to Goldenrod City. Lance tried stopping Silver, but Golbat took off too quickly for Silver to hear what the man wanted.

While flying through the air, Silver heard his Pokegear (something he bought with his own money) go off. Silver answered it despite not knowing who it was, there was only one person who knew his number, and that was Ethan after pestering him long enough for his Pokegear number.


“Now as I was saying, see what I meant when I said Golbat is scared of you? A Pokemon shouldn’t be-”

“What the- Why do you have my number, moron?!” Silver yelled into the Pokegear, almost causing Golbat to lose its concentration.

“Your friend Ethan gave it to me when I expressed concern over your well-being and your Pokemon’s well-being. Such a nice kid, I do hope I get to battle him at Indigo Plateau-”

“Well lose this number, because I’m not about to be constantly called by you!” He hung up the Pokegear and ignored all the times the annoying piece of technology rang in his pocket.

What an obnoxious man!

Goldenrod City was an interesting experience, too. Silver didn’t really like the atmosphere it carried. It wasn’t like Viridian City, it was louder and busier and a lot bigger. The last time he was here he got lost after defeating the leader of the Goldenrod Gym, a girl with pink hair who didn’t match the description of the gym leader he was given before. He hoped that if he even ran into that Norman guy that he would be a bigger challenge than the new gym leader.

But here Silver was, moping around the streets of the city after being defeated for the fourth time by that Ethan kid in the tunnels underneath the city. Team Rocket was around, and apparently the kid wanted to try stopping them once and for all.

“…I don't understand. Is what that Lance guy said true? That I don't treat Pokemon properly? Love… Trust… Are they really what I lack?” Silver said, thinking out loud, something he realized that he’s been doing lately. “Are they keeping me from winning? I… I just don't understand. But it's not going to end here. Not now. Not because of this. I won't give up my dream of becoming the world's best Pokemon Trainer!”

Deciding on continuing his goal, he walked towards the Radio Tower, seeing the Rocket Guards previously there gone. He had a feeling that Ethan was causing trouble for those Rocket guys, something that Silver felt incredibly proud of him for doing.

Wait, proud? Silver blinked a couple of times, shaking the thought out of his head before deciding to head off to the park nearby.

“This is the Radio Tower. This is the Radio Tower.” Silver stopped, looking at the radio nearby at an ice cream stand. The people surrounding it seemed worried, and Silver could understand why. It was Team Rocket!

“We are pleased to declare Team Rocket’s revival. …Giovanni? …Can you hear us? We have finally made it!” The voice was starting to sound desperate, and oddly familiar to Silver.

“Archer?” Silver muttered, wondering if it was that teal haired man or not. Before he could figure it out, the radio broadcast ended.

There was an eerie silence in the area, the people looking at each other with some fright and other trainers swallowing their ice cream nervously.

Silver just snorted again before taking off, whatever was going on Ethan could handle himself. That kid knows what he’s doing, and Archer was hoping that he learns that history repeats itself. Eleven year old boys would be scary when they wanted to be, along with powerful. And that’s just what Ethan is.

“It seems like you guys can’t get enough of running into me.” Silver said, glaring at the teal haired man in front of him. The man accepted the statement and bowed, just like he used to.

Archer hadn’t changed much, appearance wise, in Silver’s opinion. His uniform, like Ariana’s, was white and the red R was over his heart, something that Silver couldn’t even question. Archer was always incredibly loyal, something that disturbed Silver once and a while.

“Apologies, our heir.” Archer said, bringing himself back up from his bow. “I wasn’t aware that you had ran into the others before me.” Silver couldn’t tell if the man was lying or not, after all, the others seemed surprised to see him when they did.

“What do you want, Archer?” Silver asked, not wanting to play any games right now. He was tired, and confused, from today’s events. He had gone to Ecruteak City and lost to those Kimono Girls, only to run into that Ethan kid again. “How embarrassing…

“I only wish to apologize.” Archer said, trying to meet Silver’s eyes. Silver was being difficult, however, and didn’t want to see Archer right now. “I wanted to bring the boss back, and you along with him. I wanted to secure Team Rocket’s future… but oh the irony. To be defeated by a mere child again…” He gently caressed the R over his heart, looking at it lovingly, which caused a small amount of disgust to course through Silver.

“To regain our former glory… to have our beloved leader and son back… that’s all I wanted.” He was looking up again, smiling at Silver. “I apologize for not being able to do that for you.”

“You never were a good listener.” Silver said, glaring at Archer. “I told you before, who cares about Team Rocket?! Shouldn’t that have been a good enough idea that I didn’t want any of that? That when your ‘beloved leader’ left that you should’ve ended it there?!”

“I was only doing what was best for Team Rocket, and you.” Archer said, turning around and ready to leave Silver. “I wish you would understand that.”

When the man left, Silver didn’t bother giving him a reply. He had already given a reply to a statement similar to that three years ago. He didn’t need to give it again.

Victory Road was boring. Incredibly disappointing as well. None of the trainers were a good enough challenge, and Silver had cleared all of them out before reaching the end. He decided to look around for any stronger trainers, instead finding none and a bunch of annoying wild Pokemon. When he reached the end again, he saw Ethan walking towards it again, looking around and seeming confused.

“Hold it.” Silver said, catching Ethan attention (and scaring him in a process, which Silver found pretty funny), before continuing. “…Are you going to challenge the Pokemon League?” Ethan nodded, seeming excited about something. Perhaps seeing Silver? Or finally making it to the end of his Pokemon journey? He had a feeling it was the latter, though.

“Victory Road is at its end, for sure. But did you notice…? You didn't see any real Trainers on the way, did you?” Silver asked, already knowing the answer. When Ethan nodded, confirming his question, Silver continued, “Man, they were all spineless! Well, the fact that you have come this far means you're not one of them. But! Your journey ends here! Because… right here, right now… I will crush you!”

The two sent out their Pokemon, Ethan sending out his Togekiss while Silver sent out his Sneasel. The battle was long, and exciting, and Silver couldn’t help but feel like maybe Ethan was just the strong trainer he was looking for in this dumb, almost never-ending, cave.

The battle had ended, as usual, with Ethan winning. His Typhlosion against his Feraligatr, just like the beginning of their Johto journey, only with stronger Pokemon, more determination of Ethan’s part, and maybe a little less arrogance on Silver’s part.

“…I couldn't win… I gave it everything I had…” Silver said, looking down at his fallen Feraligatr. It had given everything it could, something that Silver admired about it for a second. “What you possess and what I lack, I'm beginning to understand what that Dragon tamer said to me…”

Ethan looked like he was about to answer, when Silver held up his hand, signaling Ethan to stop. He grabbed Feraligatr’s Pokeball and returned it. He stepped out of the way of the ending, allowing Ethan to pass through. Ethan slowly walked towards the ending, looking at Silver for a couple of minutes. All was silent until Silver decided to break the silence, his voice barely above a whisper.

“I haven't given up on becoming the greatest Trainer… I'm going to find out why I can't win and become stronger… When I do, I will challenge you.” Silver declared, not meeting Ethan’s gaze, but he had a feeling the younger boy’s eyes widened a little. “I'll beat you down with all my power. …Humph! You keep at it until then.”

Not bothering to wait for Ethan’s reply, he ran back towards the entrance of Victory Road.

He called his grandparents afterwards, telling them that he would be returning to Kanto. His grandma seemed excited to hear from him, and his grandpa had a proud look in his eyes when Silver showed the couple his Johto badges. Upon returning to Pallet Town, his grandma seemed to have a bunch of questions to ask him, all regarding the ‘obnoxious kid’ that he had told her about over the Pokemon Center phones.

“Why do you want to know about Ethan?” he asked her, a little weary about her sudden interest.

“No reason,” she answered, smiling at him. There was some mischief in her old eyes, something that Silver hadn’t seen before from her.

“Well he’s… something.” Silver answered, not sure what to say. “He’s annoying, way too cheerful, and kind of optimistic.” He started thinking now, about what Ethan could possibly be doing. “But he’s… he’s the strongest trainer I’ve ever fought against.” Silver admitted, thinking back to all their battles against each other. Ethan had gained some amount of Silver’s respect over the months of traveling and running into each other. There was a sharp feeling in his chest when he realized that now that Ethan had defeated the Johto League, and possibly the Elite Four by now, Silver would probably never see him again.

Silver didn’t like that thought. And he didn’t know why he didn’t like it either.

“He sounds like a wonderful boy.” his grandma mused, unaware of her grandson’s problem. “I do hope you bring him around some day. We’d love to meet him.”

“I can try.” Silver said, throat feeling tight all of the sudden.

“Maybe he’ll come to Kanto.” his grandpa said, joining the duo.

“Oh yes, the Pokemon League is for both Kanto and Johto. Maybe he’ll come and try to challenge the league here.” his grandma agreed, seeing how it made sense. “Silver dear, you should try as well.”


“The gym leaders here are much stronger than the ones in Johto.” his grandpa answered. “I’m sure you’d like to give it a chance.”

Silver thought about it for a moment, and decided to wait until tomorrow morning to give his grandparents his answer. After all, he just got back from Johto. Exploring Kanto seemed like too much at the moment.

The next morning, after spending the last six months in Johto, decided that maybe Kanto would be a good idea after all. He wasn’t too thrilled, however, by the idea of having to see the new leader of the Viridian Gym. Or seeing Viridian City again.

“Good luck Silver dear!” he heard his grandma say as he left towards Route 1. “I hope you run into that Ethan boy again!” He blushed at that (why though?) and acted like he didn’t hear his grandma’s comment.

He had beaten Pewter City with ease, and couldn’t help but feel like the two gym leaders seemed just like what he remembered his father telling him after the gym leader conferences were finished. His father had always said that the Pewter Gym Leader, Brock, was a calm guy, which he was during their battle. The guy also seemed to have an odd appreciation for rocks and fossils, which confused Silver a little. Although, his revived fossil Pokemon were pretty tough.

According to his map, Cerulean City was his next destination. He would have to get through Mt. Moon before getting there, something that Silver dreaded a little. Some of the trainers nearby said that Mt. Moon was a pretty confusing place, but Silver then shook it off and realized that we above average for pokemon training. It would probably get through Mt. Moon with ease as well.

He reached the entrance of Mt. Moon, after defeating some of the trainers along the way, and stopped when he saw a very familiar black and gold hat, along with a red jacket.

So Ethan is in Kanto…” Silver thought, a little excited about seeing his rival again.

“Hey, Ethan!” Silver yelled, smirking when he saw Ethan jump again. The guy had a knack for getting scared when Silver showed up unexpectedly. “You're here in Kanto, too? Some of the Trainers here are tough, which makes it easy to train my Pokemon!” Silver said, and he wasn’t lying. The trainers here gave his Pokemon some good experience, but then his eyes hardened when he remembered what he wanted from Ethan. “Ethan! I know you are strong… But… I can't help but challenge you!”

And so their sixth battle began and ended. Silver wasn’t honestly surprised anymore (something that surprised himself) that Ethan won. He was probably the Champion of the Johto region, or else we wouldn’t be here. Silver had more of a reason, since he was born here.

“Humph! I guess it can't be helped…” Silver muttered under his breath. “My training's still not good enough…? My Pokemon are so weak, it makes me frustrated…” Silver thought out loud, not caring if Ethan was there. “But I can feel that they are getting better after each battle…” There was silence again between the two boys, the only sound being the fluttering wings of Zubat nearby. “Tch! They're still too weak! I need to give them more training…” Ethan looked like he was about to say something when Silver suddenly remembered a message he had received from Lance not all that long ago. It was the only one Silver ever bothered to look at, since Sir Lancelot still annoyed him to death.

“I know! I should take them to Dragon's Den! See ya, Ethan!” he exclaimed, leaving Mt. Moon and Ethan behind, and not knowing why he bothered to say goodbye to Ethan when he usually doesn’t.

He sent out Golbat and zoomed across the region and to Blackthorn City, the home of the Dragon’s Den.

It took a little while, and a lot of effort, but Silver’s Pokemon were starting to show improvement. They were a lot higher leveled than they were back at Mt. Moon, and seemed to like Silver even more than before, especially Sneasel.

Miraculously (at least in Lance’s opinion), Golbat had evolved into Crobat. Silver thought that it was good enough improvement for the Dragon’s Den Master to see him, but the man continued to shoo him away. It was starting to get frustrating, to say the least.

He had tried again today, grumbling under his breath when the man shooed him away again. Outside the building, he walked back towards where the trainers were on the cliffs, and was surprised to see Ethan standing there, who looked just as surprised to see him before smiling.

“…What? Are you here to make fun of my training? Humph! I took my time coming all the way here, but the Master won't tell me anything, and he's making a big deal out of it… So I decided to train my Pokemon here instead.” Silver said, narrowing his eyes at Ethan, who looked confused by Silver’s accusation. Ethan was going to say something, when suddenly there were the sound of two footsteps behind him.

“Hi, Ethan!” he heard Lance say, sounding far too excited to see the younger boy, which annoyed the red head. Why was that man here now of all times? “And…you. We met at the Team Rocket hideout.” “And many times after that.” Silver thought, annoyed with how Lance seemed to act like he didn’t know he was here. The message he had gotten said that Lance was willing to challenge him again, something the man was avoiding for a while now.

“You! Where have you been all this time?” Silver said, pointing at Lance while glaring at him. “Prepare to lose to me this time. I challenge you!”

“Calm down. I was in a bit of a hurry then. Sorry for that.” Silver knew the man was lying, he had that smile on his face that said otherwise. “But…I always welcome challengers! Hey! How about a Double Battle?” Lance suggested, still smiling.

“Humph! You can't beat me one-on-one, can you?” Silver taunted, crossing his arms over his chest.

“Come on. A Double Battle is really not bad.” Lance said, scratching the back of his neck. “Ethan, you'll be on my side!” He announced, practically sparkling at the idea of being on a team with the younger boy. Silver glared at him, not wanting Ethan to be partnered up with Lance.

“Well then, you over there! Will you team up with me?” the woman next to Lance asked, her arms crossed over her chest as well.

“You must be kidding! That embarrassing one in the weird costume for me? No way I can battle with her!” Silver said, not caring that the woman was spluttering, trying not to appear completely insulted by Silver’s rude comment. “Ethan! Come to my side! We'll beat Lance together!” He grabbed Ethan’s hand and brought him over to his side of the building, ignoring Lance’s whine and the weirdly dressed woman’s (Clair, he heard Lance say for a second) declaration of revenge.

The battle style was kind of different, not something Silver was used to. He had heard that Double Battles were all the rage in Hoenn, and some other region, but never really saw the appeal. But now… actually participating in one was pretty…


Crobat was also amazing, incredibly fast and pretty powerful, something Silver never thought that he’d associate with the same Pokemon that used to always lose easily. Ethan was also doing incredibly well as well, not surprising though, since he had beaten both Lance and Clair before. The battle didn’t last too long either, and they got the attention of a couple of trainers in the Dragon’s Den as well.

“Oh, I see…” he heard Clair say, after the Dragon duo lost.

“Did you see that, Clair?” Lance said, a small amount of pride in his voice.

“I must excuse myself.” Clair said, a couple of moments later, after returning her fallen Pokemon to its Pokeball. “...Ethan, it was a fun battle. That goes for you, too, wise guy.” she said, smiling at Ethan and then narrowing her eyes at Silver. Not that he cared, she wasn’t that scary of a person. She walked away a couple of seconds later, heading to the old man’s chambers.

Now all that was left was Lance, Ethan, and Silver, and Lance decided that it was best to congratulate the boys now that Clair wasn’t present. “Just as I expected. You two make quite a team…” Lance said, smiling at the pair. “Going solo is certainly one way to aim for the top… But that's not all there is to Pokemon battle. Although I don't feel it's necessary to remind you guys. See you, Ethan, another time!” He also winked at Silver, causing the redhead to glare at the older man for that one. So he did remember him! The jerk…

Suddenly, Silver felt like something was off. He had originally wanted to challenge Ethan, and now their Pokemon were likely too exhausted to continue any further battling. “Ethan… It wasn't supposed to go this way…” he muttered, catching Ethan’s attention. “Anyway, I am not giving up beating you! I'll train my Pokémon and…my own heart, too. I'll come back as the toughest challenge for you!” And with that declaration, Silver decided that it was best to finally leave the Dragon’s Den and continue his journey through Kanto.

After the Dragon’s Den and his encounter with Ethan, he challenged the Cerulean Gym, and realized that he had beaten the Cerulean City Gym with ease as well. Misty was exactly like his father described. She was pretty quick tempered, but also nice to him. The minute he defeated her, however, she kicked him out and claimed that she had a date to get ready for, which Silver didn’t understand either.

“These Kanto people are a lot weirder than the ones in Johto…” Silver said under his breath, hoping none of the native Cerulean City people would hear him, and also ignored the fact that his statement applied to him as well, being born in Kanto himself.

The other gyms were just as easy, but he would admit that he struggled against that gym leader in Saffron City. He also avoided Silph Co., remembering some time he spent there and didn’t want to get arrested for having some connection to Team Rocket. He heard on the news that the four executives were still at large, something that annoyed Silver greatly.

And now here he was, standing in Viridian City, ready to challenge the new gym leader of the Viridian Gym. He never wanted to step foot in the city again, unless it was necessary, and he didn’t want to see that gym again. It was most likely changed from its original design, something that he didn’t want to see. He also didn’t want to see that man’s estate, probably uncared for and dusty, or owned by a new family.

(That thought, for some reason, stung.)

He took a breath and entered the Viridian Gym, surprised to see that it wasn’t much different from its old design. Those annoying tiles were still present, but instead of a variety of trainers, they were all ace trainers, and looked tough and ready to take Silver on. He felt a thrill of excitement at that. He was going to challenge his father’s old gym, something he once dreamed of as a child, and probably still did despite the anxiety he felt before.

He got through the ace trainers relatively easy, and was happy to see that the tile puzzle wasn’t the exact same as it was when he was kid. When he reached the gym leader, he was surprised to see that it was a teenager, two years his senior.

Just like the kid that defeated his father.

“Yo!” the teen greeted him, giving him a confident smirk. “I wasn’t expecting a different trainer than the one I saw on Cinnabar Island, but whatever. A challenge is a challenge!” he proclaimed proudly. “You probably conquered all those gyms in Johto too, right? Dang they must be weak over there!

“But whatever, my name’s Green. And I'll know if you are good or not by battling you right now.” he said, throwing out his first Pokemon. Silver threw out his, and the Pokemon began their battle.

It was a long battle, the longest Silver had faced yet. This Green guy, for all his arrogance, was incredibly tough. It made Silver a bit jealous in all honesty, he wanted to be that strong as well. And he could tell that his Pokemon were loyal to him, as well as treated fairly.

At least that means I’m on the right track…” Silver thought, trying to stay concentrated on the battle.

It was after Silver took down Green’s Pidgeot, thanks to Feraligatr, that he was able to finally win. There was a tense silence after Pidgeot had fallen, both trainers panting from the intensity of their battle and Feraligatr panting from exhaustion as well. Finally the silence was broken by Green’s laughter.

“Hahaha! Oh man I can’t believe that just happened!” Green admitted, still laughing at the situation. “I never thought I’d lose today… Hehe… good job kid, here.” He pulled out something from his jacket pocket and flicked it over to Silver. “Take that Earth Badge, you deserve it. But oh man… I can’t believe I lost.” He was shaking his head, clearly he didn’t see this coming, but no matter, Silver still won.

“Thank you…” he said, looking down at the badge he remembered his father carrying around with pride, and now it was in his hands.

“Wait ‘till I tell Red ‘bout this… he’ll get a good laugh if I can get a response out of him…” Silver heard Green mutter before the Gym Leader turned around and headed into the back room of the gym. Silver remembered there was a PC back there, so he was probably healing up his Pokemon.

Silver, deciding he didn’t need to waste any more time here, left the building and released a breath he didn’t know he was holding when he walked out.

Silver, deciding that if he could conquer one obstacle involving his past, than he could conquer another one. He went to the estate and saw that it looked relatively the same as it did when he left. The inside was dusty and clearly the furniture hadn’t been used in years, meaning no one bothered to move back inside.

He stopped at his childhood room, observed how it still had the same purple wallpaper and furniture. The desk was still flipped over, along with the bookcase being on the floor. Closing the door, Silver decided that it didn’t need to be cleaned up, not knowing if should as well, and felt it be best to go to one last room.

He stopped at his father’s bedroom, took a deep breath before opening the door and looking inside. It still looked just the same as it did when Silver left to visit his father at that gym, only to have his world shatter around him. He walked inside the room, and looked around. As a kid, he never really got the chance to explore it as much as he did. Now, twelve years old and practically independent, Silver explored the room. His eyes stopped at an old picture frame, featuring his dearly departed mother when she was younger, along with his father, and a baby him in his father’s arms seeming confused by whatever was in front of him.

Silver left the room, feeling like his presence there was no longer necessary, and decided to erase the image of a happy new family out of his mind.

Victory Road was still incredibly easy, much to Silver’s annoyance. You’d think it would be different after the last couple of months, but it wasn’t. The trainers were still weak compared to him, and he still hated it.

He was pleasantly surprised, however, when he saw Ethan waiting for him at the end of Victory Road. It’s almost as if the younger boy was expecting him to show up.

“Hold it. You're going to take the Pokemon League challenge now?” Silver asked, already knowing the answer. He felt a strange sense of deja vu, but ignored it. “You'll have to give up on that. My well-trained-beyond-recognition Pokemon are going to pound you. Right now, right here! I challenge you!” Silver declared, pulling out a Pokeball and getting into a battle stance. Ethan did the same, grinning at the redheaded boy.

The battle went on longer than usual, and was longer than Silver’s battle against that Green guy. Ethan and him had both gotten a lot better compared to their last encounter, and their last time battling at the end of Victory Road. Crobat was giving Ethan some trouble, something that Silver felt incredibly proud of, and so did his other Pokemon. It call came down to, in the end, Feraligatr and Ethan’s Typhlosion.

Feraligatr fell. Typhlosion won, which meant that Ethan had won their seventh battle against each other.

“… OK. I lost…” Silver admitted, giving a small smile. He knew this was going to happen. “…Oh, no… I still can't win after all that training… I…I have to believe more in my Pokemon…” Silver said, returning Feraligatr to its Pokemon. Ethan was staring wide-eyed at Silver, and Silver had a feeling he knew why. It wasn’t everyday that Silver started talking about friendship with Pokemon.

“…No big deal. Sorry to have got in the way. Don't forget to rest your Pokémon before you challenge the Champion!” Silver yelled, running off in the direction of the entrance to Victory Road.

“Thanks, Silver!” He heard Ethan yell back, which made Silver’s heart flutter for a couple of seconds.

He didn’t understand why, but he definitely like that feeling.

Things didn’t really change much after that. Ethan became the Champion of both Johto and Kanto, and Silver felt happy for him.

Silver tried returning Feraligatr to Professor Elm, but the man insisted that Silver keep it.

“It’s grown so attached to you! I couldn’t bear the thought of separating such a good team!” Professor Elm said, smiling at the boy. Silver, for some reason, started crying, thankful that he was allowed to keep his closest partner, and friend.

Lance had visited him while Silver trained some more at the Dragon’s Den, happy to see the young man working hard and trying to befriend his Pokemon, especially Crobat, who suffered quite a bit of abuse from him when it was a Zubat. The man still annoyed Silver to no end, but he did enjoy some of the praise he received when he almost defeated the Dragon Master.

One day, he decided to visit his grandparents in Pallet Town. He stopped outside of their house when he noticed the strange flowers in the garden.

“Those are Gracidea flowers.” a voice said, answering his unasked question. Silver spun around and was surprised to see the young woman from that tea day with his grandma standing behind him. “According to Sinnoh tradition, you make them into bouquets to convey gratitude to someone. My grandfather got them from a friend in Sinnoh when he visited, and he decided to give some to your grandparents.”

“I see.” Silver said, still looking at the flowers. They were rather pretty, and the meaning behind them was nice as well. “... Does your grandfather have any more?” Silver asked, suddenly getting an idea.

“Oh of course! Do you want to give them to someone?” she asked. Silver nodded, and she signaled him to follow her. He arrived at a house, and they went into the backyard, where the garden was located, along with an old tire swing.

“That tire wing is from when my little brother and his friend used to play together.” she said, giving a nostalgic sigh. “Now they’re both skidding around each other and powerful Pokemon trainers. I swear those two…” she muttered under her breath, dropping down to the ground and picking some of the Gracidea flowers there. She picked just enough to create a bouquet. She placed them into a basket and handed it to Silver, who took it gratefully.

“Thank you…” he said, blushing a little. She hardly knew him and she was willing to do this favor for him.

“No problem! Now,” she said, placing a hand on Silver’s shoulder and looking him in the eyes. “good luck! I hope your special person enjoys them.” She then walked away, giggling at Silver’s choking noises over ‘special people.’

After she left, Silver calmed himself down and blushed down at the basket in his hand. He sighed and brought out Crobat, instructing him to fly to New Bark Town.

When Ethan returned home from Saffron City, he wasn’t expecting a basket of flowers on his porch. The flowers were absolutely beautiful! So full of life… and they smelled good, too! Picking up the basket, he noticed the note taped to the handle of the basket and took it off, careful not to rip it. His eyes widened when he saw the familiar handwriting, it looked just like the handwriting from when he first started his journey… on the back of that trainer card that started a new rivalry and friendship…

Dear Ethan,

I’m… not used to writing notes like this, so be patient with me. I just… wanted to thank you. For everything that you’ve done for me. I know you’re probably wonder exactly what you’ve done, but you’ve influenced me in more ways than one. Your kindness towards your Pokemon, and your strength from believing in them showed me that, if I was going to become the number one trainer in the world, I needed to be on that same level as you.

I’ll probably never get to your level, since I’m kind of now starting to understand that love and friendship are important with raising Pokemon, but I think I’m starting to understand. Crobat is warming up to me, and that Elm guy said I could keep Feraligatr because it’s attached to me! That means I’m understanding friendship and love, right?

So anyway, thank you, for everything. I hope you like these flowers, because a friend of my grandma said it has a deep meaning to them aside from looking pretty.

‘Till we battle again!