"Gwen...I'm sure Guzma's going to be alright-"
"Mom, I'm worried about him! He had said that his training trip with Hala wouldn't take that long, that he would be back." I tried to wipe the tears away from my eyes, but they kept on coming down, as if they had no erase button. "He could've been hurt during the trip, or worse!"
"Hala's making sure that nothing happens to him." Ronnie rested a hand on my shoulder. "You know that. The kahuna has known Guzma ever since he was a kid, and took him in until Guzma was older. You trust Hala enough to know that."
"I know, Mom, and you're right. But...but I just hope nothing bad happens...that he comes back, safe and sound, same with Hala."
Ronnie's eyes fell down to the Dawn Stone I held in my hands, and exhaled. She pulled me into a hug, and I immediately accepted it.
"...Is that what love feels like, Mom?"
"Yes, it does, sweetie." Ronnie kissed the top of my head, ruffling my hazel brown hair.
We looked up when the humming of the TV was cut off, showing BREAKING NEWS in bright letters across the screen.
We leaned in from where we were sitting on the couch, wondering what in the world just happened. A reporter was on TV, announcing the said story that caused that interruption.
We have just been informed about the re-emergence of an infamous team that was around a year ago, before it disbanded. Team Skull has been causing disruption in the cities of Alola ever since Guzma returned last week. If you know this man, please contact us at this number below. He was last seen with his grunts at Malie Garden.
We can't have them raiding our streets like they did before, and meddle with the Aether Foundation.
My olive green eyes widened when I saw Guzma's picture on the screen. He had on that usual simper of his. He was back in his outfit the first time Team Skull was around.
My expression immediately lifted. "Oh my gosh...I can't believe it. He's...back. But why didn't I know this before?"
I got up from the couch quickly, startling Ronnie. "Gwen, what are you doing-"
"I'm going to go see Guzma. And...I'm thinking of joining Team Skull."
"Oh, that's nice, honey-" Ronnie went to say, but she had ran over my words in my head once more. Now she was quite baffled. "Wait, what?"
CHAPTER 1 | Gwen
"Wait. Did I hear you right, Gwen?"
I turned to face Ronnie, and sheepishly smiled, realizing that I had let that slip out. "Yeah, you did. Sorry. I should've told you right away that I was thinking of joining Team Skull. ...I know that they're often seen as not being good, and infamous...but they're just people trying to survive in this world after they decided to run away from home. I think it would be best to join Team Skull to show that I care about them, and to give them a good name in Alola."
"Oh." Ronnie exhaled. "Well, that makes a lot more sense. I wish you luck in doing that, Gwen. You know I still kind of have my doubts about his gang, though, even though I knew how much Guzma loves you."
My face heated up at that. "Yeah, true."
Ronnie giggled at my reaction. "Who knows? You two might get married in the future, and I'll be a proud-"
"Uh, that's enough, Mom. I have to get going." I hugged her, and headed out the door, my face doused in red. She had stopped her teasing while Guzma was gone, but now that I found out he was back, it's started up again.
...Good ol' Ronnie.
I summoned Charizard on my Ride Pager, and told it to take me to Malie City. The morning air breezed along my face once the dragon Pokémon flew into the sky, flapping its wings.
I had felt so happy about Guzma being back. I wondered if that meant that Plumeria was back as well. Hopefully she was.
But aside from that, Lillie had been back for a couple months now, and her mother had healed completely from the neurotoxins Nihilego put on her. I was relieved about it when Lillie informed me over the phone. Hau was happy to see her return, and so was Gladion. He had managed to fix the mess the Aether Foundation made a year ago, with help from Wicke.
My thoughts were interrupted when Charizard landed near the Pokémon Center, and I petted its muzzle in gratitude. It flew away afterwards, and I immediately headed for Malie Garden.
I had expected Guzma to be there, but he wasn't. The grunts were there, conversing with each other. Plumeria was there as well, and she smiled upon seeing me.
Once I locked eyes with her, I immediately ran over, giving her a hug. "Hey, Plumeria! How've you been?"
"I've been great. I didn't expect Guzma to reform Team Skull, after all that happened last year."
"Yeah. Once I heard that on the news, I immediately came over. I really missed him."
"All of us did. Speaking of him..." her smile became a bit wider, and she looked over my shoulder. "There he is now."
My eyes widened at this, and I turned to see Guzma making his way towards the garden. His eyes had copied mine when he saw me.
I smiled. "Hey, Guz- whoa!"
He had pulled me into a hug, twirling me around before setting me down.
"I can't believe it! It's been so long since we've seen each other. How've you been?"
"Great. I missed you so much, bug boy."
"I missed you too, fire girl." he simpered. "I apologize for not letting you know that I was back last week. Hala and I visited Unova, and I had nothing to send to you, so that's why."
"Oh." I hadn't expected that, but it sounded fun that he got to see Unova during his training with Hala. "I understand. I have some good news, though."
"What?" the white-haired boyfriend of mine cocked an eyebrow.
I grinned widely. "I'm going to join Team Skull, to help you guys out!"
"That's amazing!" Guzma locked lips with me, completely throwing me off. He pulled away afterwards, looking up at Plumeria and the grunts. "Hey, guys! Gwen's going to join our team!"
They all let out shouts of happiness, and Plumeria merely grinned at this.
"I had a feeling that you would join us sooner or later, Gwen." she rested her hands on her hips. "We may seem like we're ruffians like we were last year, when you were rocky with us, but we're not anymore. We've turned over a new leaf...but the people of Alola don't seem to notice that."
"Yeah." one of the female grunts spoke up, tucking a strand of her pink hair behind her ear. "They know us for stealing Pokemon and selling them for a profit. But they didn't understand that we had to do that just so survive by ourselves, after stupidly running away from our families. We unfortunately have to pretend that we're still like that."
I exhaled. That's awful that they had to pretend that they were the same ol' people, even though they've changed quite a bit. I turned to Guzma. "So...what title do you want me to have?"
Guzma shrugged. "It's up to you, babe."
I mused about it in my head. Plumeria was already the admin of Team Skull, and was like a big sister to them. It would feel awkward to be titled the Mom of Team Skull. I would still be another admin, though, that would help keep the gang together...so - I got it.
"What about Team Skull Aunt?" I raised an eyebrow, crossing my arms.
"That sounds perfect." Guzma grinned. "Both you and Plumeria will be sisters to the grunts, so that makes a lot of sense."
I nodded, and it felt great to be like family to these grunts. They deserved it, and also because I can relate to them when it comes to leaving families that weren't nice to you in the least. I looked at them, then at my outfit. It felt a bit awkward being in my regular outfit, while they were dressed up to support their team. I had a feeling that the clothes I might need might be at the Shady House.
"Um, is Po Town still your headquarters?"
Guzma nodded. "Yeah, it is. If you need to, we can take you there."
"Sure, why not?"
o o o o o o o
It had taken us almost thirty minutes to get there. The rain was pouring as usual when we got inside, and everything looked the same as it did the first time I was here.
We went into the mansion, and Plumeria let me know where the dressing room was. It used to be one of the grunts' rooms, but they had left once Team Skull disbanded last year, and haven't been back since. She let me use the makeup she had in her room in case I needed it, and I thanked her before getting to work.
It didn't take me that long to get ready, since I had found some clothes that would work well. It was a sleeveless black turtleneck, arms warmers of the same hue, and white capris. A white beanie, dark socks and white sneakers finished off the look.
For the rest, I had cut my hair so that it was now shoulder-length, and dyed black at the tips. I put on the black eyeshadow on my eyes. Plumeria had to help me with the Team Skull tattoo, which she helped paint on my left shoulder. I had chosen an orange color for it.
I stepped out of the room, and into the main entrance. Guzma and the others were waiting there, and looked up when they heard me and Plumeria enter the room.
"So, how do I look?" I questioned them, to see what they thought.
The grunts approved of the new look, and Plumeria did, too.
However, Guzma was speechless. His face was nearly doused in red, and his lips were parted.
Plumeria had to snap his fingers in front of his face to get his attention. It seemed that he really liked my new outfit by the silly look on his face. The magenta-haired admin had rolled her eyes knowingly, but had a smile of the same manner on her face. We both laughed in response to Guzma's reaction.
"So...what do we do now?"