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Transversal, crossing over the backs of legends

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As she babbles of nonsensical things, like father, at his gym, and the big move, and he is detached yet horridly present through her… monologue.  He’s a ghost all attendant, soundlessly crossing the yard behind her at a slow limp. Never mind her “sweet hearts” and “dears” she doesn’t see his limp, or his slowness, so he pays her prattle similar attention she pays him. 

Which is none.

His namesake eyes are wide and wild as he takes in a world he doesn’t recall.  Because how it’d been last night is not how it was this morning.  Reality had taken a sharp turn between Sneasel settling into to snuggle his pesky body heat away and the speed bump that’d woken him up and gave him his first hinting that he wasn’t in… well any forest anymore… much less Mt. Morter’s towering pines.

The view of the road had been more blur than anything useful.  Lowness and green, snatches of sky up high, the whole was pretty but pointless.  He’d hared from one end of the metal box he’d woken up in, to the other.  First he wanted out. Rapping against the metal doors with his fist, but a rattling turn that knocked him on his butt and the growl of a motor fighting over some tricky terrain tipped him off to what he should have realized ages ago. His confinement was attached to a car. That stopped him trying to grab at the handle and get out, since out meant unsafe, and unsafe was stupid..

So for a little he sat and sulked.

Some small loose box that’d popped free of lackluster knots kept poking him.  He shoved it, it slid back.  He kicked it, his foot hurt, another turn got it poking him again.  After a huff and standing and pushing the stupid small “lry box” back and far as he could he flopped to the metal floor, glad it wasn’t cold, curious that it wasn’t warm, and settled his coat under him just in case it got cold.

Because cold metal was the worst.

He must have nodded a little, because when he jolted awake the road felt smoother than before.  It’d been smooth awhile perhaps, because the loose box hadn’t slid up to him like a growlithe pup to get kicked again. So he stood, trying to ignore the pins and needles of laying on too little, too long.  He stood until standing got boring.  A look about let him see all the angles and lines of bound furniture and tables and boxes, and more to make the boredom go away than anything else he go to climbing. At first it was to better look out, but the view was the same.

And after a while that got boring too.

He’d half a mind to try to work at the knots, wiggle some of the bigger bits loose so when the door opened he’d be ready, with things to throw and hide behind. Before he could get beyond thinking of what to do his prison on wheels had stopped.  Once it was still he heard an engine die, a click, then steps crackled across a pebbly earth.  The sound, starting close, came closer, all to end at the door he had wanted to open.  One soft squeak and twist of the handle from the outside, and the world was revealed.

And she’d been there.

 A tall, pretty, brown haired woman in a long, light blue dress Green’d kill for.  Save this dress was too long and it was too pale.  The bloodstains would be a nightmare to get out, they’d have to cut it shorter and pin it up and do all sorts of things to make it fit.  Still it’d look good on Green.  Regardless of how the lady looked, she sounded crazy.  Calling him endearments he’d heard other women call out to other children.

Like this was normal.  Like he was normal to her. 

It was baffling to say the least. And his waiting, for clarification, orders, or even an introduction, inspired nothing.  There was no shock, no realization that he wasn’t supposed to be there.

Clearly this lady just shoved small kids into cars and drove off with them among boxes and bound up furniture. It was her thing.  Like how Mask just shoved kids at giant birds and had them whisked away. Since it sounded nothing like the “family” stuff that Green would go on and on about Silver waited some more, because, why not?

After a long span of clucking at him to “come along”, because he wasn’t coming, she lost benign bemusement.  And though smiling her blue eyes thinned a bit in obvious irritation. 

“If you want to stay in the moving truck, fine, mind the movers.”

She gave up then, walked away muttering nonsense about boys being boys and he’d…

Well she’d suggested, not ordered, so he didn’t have to.  Right?  

While he waffled on if it was right he shrugged on his coat.  Both sleeves were unbuttoned, so it made him look a bit like a haunter mired in morbid ribbon stand since the sleeves, like the coat, were black and sleek. He buttoned up the sleeves, humming the little tune Green’d taught him the first time she’d spotted him buttoning his own coat all wrong.  It was something silly, sing-songed, but that’d made sense, since it was a song.


Poppy little diglet out of the hole,

 Line them up one by one.

 Guild them home, one, two, three,

 twist and slid them till they’re snug as a bug,

 Then let go….

Then you’re free.

He always finished it last button when it was done.  Even when he took the extra steps of minding the shredded cloth wound about his left arm. Maybe it was skipping a few buttons about his bound wrist that did it.

The crackle of feet, assurance of someone approaching, made him look up. Maybe the pretty lady’d come around.  Maybe she’d make some sense now. About where he was, and where he was supposed to go when he got out?  That’d be nice.

When the first, smooth snouted creature bumbled up, blocking the exit, well both ‘mon and boy stared at each other.  Then the beast –because humans didn’t have snouts, or stupid beady eyes, or fin-like ridges rising out of their heads- grunted.  Perhaps its name, perhaps as a threat, still the croaked “Coke” set the boy to shiver, and wince back.

And reach down, first to feel at his pocket, then at his belt.  Where he found another surprise, one not as benign as being somewhere he wasn’t supposed to be on waking.  He went pale, froze, as realization sunk in.

Heart hammering, Silver winced back as the creature clambered in.  Shivering, because the “Choke” was big, bigger than big, with muscles that bulked when it bent to better look at him.  It sniffed and grumbled, then pointed a blunt taloned hand at him.  To that obvious order Silver shuffled aside. He was reached around then, a box plucked from a bound pile of them, and rope that’d bound and the box the monster had wanted were carried off by the creature who was now intent on out.

“Are you coming or are the Machoke movers going to have something else to move?”

And though benign sounding, near sing-songed even... Silver hunched into his coat and tried to quell the familiar anxiety of being a trainer to a dark type who was being confronted by a fighting type. He followed after the Machoke once the creature’s  shadow was beyond his view of outside.

And because he was super focused on the one he’d seen, he didn’t hear, or see, its companion coming around the side of the parked… whatever this was.  

The jolt of that unexpected encounter made him take a rough tumble from the back of the moving truck.  The step had been made for an adult, and were it an incline it’d of been two for him.  As it was he’d tried to hurry and his moment of fear made him land wrong.  His leg slid out from under him, and it hurt.  Was still hurting even after he’d shaken off offered paws and crawled to sitting, and the pain lingered while he fought for standing.  Even after he’d tried walking a bit, it hurt even more.  So much so he’d be tempted to call Sneasel so he could lean on her.  But touching the emptiness that was his belt holster reaffirmed that she wasn’t there. So he raked his eyes around the world about him. The driveway, the house before him, the yard, a frantic look about for darkness, red quills, anything familiar, and it got him nothing.

Because Sneasel wasn’t where she was supposed to be, with him, and the wrongness of it made him fuss with buttons so the milling Machoke wouldn’t’ see his hands shake.  The Machoke, and it’s five other grey skinned friends wearing aprons reading “movers”, once seeing he was up, shuffled about him. Simple minds settling on simple things. Like the big wheeled, silvery, box he’d fallen out of and the many cardboard boxes within it.

“Are you coming, or not, slowpoke?”

Maybe she’d run off, Sneasel loved hide and seek. But there’d been no place to hide in… earlier… and she knew not to hide too long.  Or hide in snowbanks.  Or make snowbanks to hide in.  She’d never broken those rules, any rules, ever, so why wasn’t she with him?

So when the lady called again, miming concern now, Silver shook himself.  He didn’t have his partner, he was hurt, so he dared not to run.  

So he didn’t.

His walk, more of a stagger, up the driveway and it’s white rocks that crackled was interspaced by the woman’s babbling.  About a father he was supposed to care about.  They passed a white picket fence, and it was something Green said homes had, so perhaps this was the crazy ladies home? The woman held the fences gate open for him, then quick stepped past him to open the door to a house as well.  Making it obvious he was to come.  And she didn’t stop once to use keys, or locks, he didn’t even see one lock.

 And that was weird.  All the houses he’d ever broken into had locks, that’d been part of the fun.

“Really Branden you’re in such an odd mood today…  What’s gotten into you?”

He opened his mouth, to say he wasn’t… Branden, or hers, or any of her expected things…  but his mouth clicked shut.  He tried again, and again, and he was unable to say anything.  He stood before her, leaning against a hall wall, just clicking at her because his mouth wasn’t working right.

The helplessness of not being able to talk set a familiar taste to flood his mouth.  It was all bitter and acidic with overtures of bad food.  He’d learned to swallow it down, because bad or not food was food, and he had to eat.  There wasn’t anything else to eat besides bad food sometimes, and bad thoughts that made him feel like he’d eaten bad food, he’s learned to swallow them down too.

He wasn’t good enough to not near cry at the swallowing, but the woman didn’t see.  She nodded, as if he’d said something that made sense, and went back to her assumptions.

She was his Mother.  Or at least she thought so.   She had to be the way she nattered about a “father” and meant it as if it was his.  To her assumption his memory cries false.  First, because he has none, when he thought of family there was nothing in his head.  Never had been.  Second, because Green, who had a family -the best, they’d share, Green’d promised- told him all about fathers and mothers.  And she told him something really useful in case he found someone pretending to be his.  Families were supposed to look like you. 

And this woman, with her blue eyes, and brown hair, and wispy tallness, she looked nothing like him.

So he said nothing. Watched with his typical silence and stepped aside with a weary glance back when the thud of feet drew near.  A rasped “Choke” made him shuffle a bit more, press hard against a wall.  Green’d called it “fighting type anxiety”, because whenever he saw a fighting type he got nervy. And considering his Sneasel’s weakness, doubly so per double typing, he thought he was being reasonable.  He double hounddour dared her to snuggle Will’s Xatu when she really got on about him not liking fighting types, and then it’d be her turn to go pale, and snuggle nothing, so there.  

He sorta wished Will was there even if Will was always sort of mean, or Will’s Xatu, he wasn’t picky. Silver’d trade Will and Xatu for a nice flying type, but only after he got Sneasel, because he wasn’t leaving without her.

 And this woman who was chattering about journeys like they were important, like she expected him to go on one, didn’t get it.  He felt a tiny bit bad, that she didn’t know that he wasn’t going on one, ever, but he didn’t tell her that. 

When she moved, he followed, looking all about, but so far no dark types popped out of shadows to surprise him and ice him in welcome.

They walked until they had left a hall and were both were in a tiled room with wide, open, windows.   Silver wasn’t sure what type of room it was, not familiar with houses, but the metal sink and empty place were something long and rectangular was meant to be but wasn’t seemed important.  This, Mother person, turned from him, focusing on the counter besides her. Said counter was different than the ones that held his Sneasel’s pokeball when he wasn’t on missions.  It was white with wide yellow stripes, no ice anywhere, the only similarities were that it was imbedded in the wall and that was it. The box atop it was marked “kitchen”, and that word seemed familiar, a Green word about home, but he wasn’t sure.

A quick look around showed Sneasel’s ball wasn’t on it, or in the room, so Silver decided this room was a loss and was going to look at all the rooms, then the truck, and then outside.

Another “Choke”, and Silver crunched himself into the wall by the counter, closest to the window.  The creature hugged a tall, white, box to itself.  Near scratching the ceiling with it’s box the beast tromped in.  To the sight of… whatever was being held, the woman who assumed she was a “mother” looked up, smiling brightly.

“Ah, that’s where it went!  Thanks for getting the ‘fridge.  There, please, but plug it in first…”

That… fridge… looked scarily big enough to put a person in.  A small person could be crunched up right in the top door part and…  And Silver shivered, holding his coat tight, trying not to cry.  Crying was bad, made Mask take Sneasel away, so he wouldn’t.

Another Machoke walked about as he tried not to cry. Using the hall to pass from front to deeper in.   Boxes held in the grey creature’s meaty hands.  It strolled by once, twice, three times, then with a huff  poked it’s head in to the room with the fridge being fussed with and whined.  Literally whined a “Ma!” like the littlest of kids Silver’d seen at the park once.  

Seeing everyone in the room was looking at him, the beast shook what it held. The safe, tan, not freezer box, rattled under the abuse.

“Oh, that’s Bran-brans,”  The Mother chirped, turning to him, seeing and not seeing him all at once.  “Show him up to your room sweetie.”

He wasn’t going to cry.  He was going to walk, despite everything hurting, and show this… thing… where Branden’s room was.  Because this crazy lady couldn’t tell him from a Branden, and the creature, seeing him more clearly than the “mother” did, tipped it’s ridged head, and shook the box at him.  Like it were a treat box and he’d get a treat from it if he hurried along.

Curiously the box hummed back, near rattled, and both boy and fighting type looked at it.  Waiting.  When it went quiet, and Sneasel didn’t pop out of it, Silver screwed up his courage and led the hulking beast deeper in.

He didn’t know the house.  Knew “up” likely meant stairs, and he was grateful that when he found the stairs that they had a rail he could lean on and use to hop up with all at once. 

The span up was… well roomy and room filled.  He pulled open doors, leaving the ones that weren’t right, open.  It’s of course the last door he tries that that’s the right one.  Farthest from the biggest room and stairs all at once, it’s not pink shrouded like the first roomed been, not a bathroom like the second, or a closet like the third.  This one has a fluffy blue carpet with a green bed already made pushed against a corner by a small slit of a window.

And there’s nothing else.

No chairs, no… doo-dads that’d Green liked to pocket, no counters even.  You could just put some coils filled coolant under the rug and it’d be just like his cell back home.

But it had a bed, and it wasn’t frilly.

So he just guessed, too tired to care if he was right or not.

“By the beds fine.”

The box was dropped with a thud and the beast, grumbling at all the stupid long side trips they’d taken, stomped out.  Perhaps it was spite, but once it’d left Silver scampered up the bed, scampered because Branden was way bigger then him and his bed showed that, and he got enough height from bed and its wooden headboard to reach the slit window. 

And to spite Mask, and the reeking stale Machoke smell that was somehow worse than Karen’s hounddour, he pulled the window open as far as he could…

And near fell right off his perch for it.  But the room smelled better, so there was that.

So it was worth it.

Jumping back on the bed, Silver flopped on his back, glowering at the ceiling.  There was so little in the house, in all the rooms he’d seen were empty save one thing and flooring.  Beds for the bedrooms, washing brick a brack for the bathrooms, the counter for the kitchen and nothing in the halls.  He was positive Sneasel wasn’t anywhere near here.  This place was too quiet, she was too noisy. The house wasn’t icy at all, which was bad for ice types.  Left alone Sneasel’d of put snow piles and ice slicks everywhere she could, and done so noisily because she loved to cackle while she froze things.

So she obviously wasn’t out of her pokeball.

 Silver groaned, realizing he was going to have to dig through all the boxes to find her pokeball and let her out.  He thumped his legs, whined deep in his throat so that at least wouldn’t be heard. Because there’d been piles of boxes, big and small, and he couldn’t count them all.  There were more boxes than he knew how to count up to, and that was just in the part of the moving truck he could see.  There could be more, scalds more, elsewhere, that he didn’t even know about.

Reaching around, he snagged a pillow and snuggled it close. It wasn’t fair, none of it was, he wanted Sneasel, he wanted Green, he wanted…

Well he never got what he wanted.  So Silver twisted to sitting and looked gloomily at box number one of… more than he could count up to.  A shove got the pillow off of him and out of the way and he squirmed to the edge of the bed.  It was a big one, not as bad as the oversized monstrosity he’d seen in store windows and wondered what they were like.  And nothing like the giant thing he’d lay in after breaking into that store once.

 That bed had been gigantic, and he and Sneasel’d been near lost among the down, and sheets, and comforters, almost getting caught from getting tangled.  They’d made an escape among flying feathers and frozen winds. Taking one of the comforters with them, the soft green thing that got caught in Sneasel’s claws, and been dragged out behind them until Silver’d saw it, stopped, and bundled the lot in Sneasel’s claws before they got to running again.

Inspired by the hue he’d offered it to Green while she’d been in the middle of yelling at them.  They’d been five parking lots away, far and safe, and he’d let her yell a little because he knew he’d been bad.  Bad and stupid, per Green,  but it’d been worth it.  He said so. And then he had given Green the soft fabric that looked like her name and she’d stopped yelling.

 It was hers so she’d never get cold again. And she could yell all she wanted to he knew that being warm wasn’t stupid.  So stealing the fabric had been right. And now she’d never get cold, and wasn’t that worth something?

Green’d bundling him, and herself, and Sneasel, in the fabric because it was that big, and her hiccupping sobs as she’d held him close and called him “so so stupid” while crying and laughing all at once…

It’d been confusing to say the least.

Sort of like this box, it was confusing too. He pulled at the boxes topmost flaps, and finding the lot taped up he pulled harder.  Silver bit at the tape lines, scraped nails along edges, but the tape was on really good.  So, after a glance down the hall showing him there was no Machoke or “mothers” or anything that’d catch him out he unbuttoned his left sleeve and rolled the fabric up.  Once the bandages around his arms were bared he worked at worn knots.  The long shard of translucent glass was revealed with a bit of unwinding; wiggling his arm got the shard of glass fell onto the bed.

He rewound the fabric over the wider part of the glass, making a grip of sorts.  Silver had made this fake knife after his metal one had triggered an alarm at Goldenrod’s train station.  He’d wanted to see Green, who was poking around Kanto for her Mom and Dad so they could go to her home (his home too she’d always chimed in), and all he wanted to do was see her because she’d been gone too long.  The guards who’d given him funny looks before the alarm, and their hostility after the walls of that short humming hallway had started screaming….  They hadn’t understood, so he’d run.  And he’d dropped his knife into the ocean, rocks tied to it for good measure, once the train station was far behind him. 

Because metal knives made metal halls scream Silver swore to never use one ever again.  So he hadn’t.  Picking up glass from broken windows after people in black shirts with R’s on them broke windows and the things beyond them.  Those were always the easiest, cleanest, bits of glass to pick up.  And there were often torn signs, fabric, and banners to take from too.  He’d had rainbow bandages once because of that.

And that’d been neat until they’d dulled due to dirt.

Sure of his grip and that the fabric wasn’t going to slide, Silver reached and slit the box and its’ taped up top.  A tug and the lid popped open, and blue ears sprung up, old tension released with a soft “bing”.  Near giggling, Silver bit his lip.  He wasn't allowed to laugh at things, even stilly things like ears in boxes.  Mask made sure he knew that, and trained him to be better than that, but still the impulse was there.  He smiled, not quite daring to laugh, before getting a grip on an ear and pulling the lot up.

It was round, and blue, and white, and had button on eyes.  It took him a long moment of staring and thinking about all the stupid stuff Green liked to talk about to understand this soft, not pillow, in his hands was a stuffed Azumarel.  The flap of its left ear read “bran brans” and Silver patted it down, turned it, shook it, and when nothing came out he pushed it after the pillow.  Under the fluffy thing were clothes.  Pulling up one shirt found it to be bright and way too big, and clearly this “mother” person was stupid because Silver was not going to be big enough to wear that shirt unless he got older than Green. And Green was really old, life five whole fingers older than him.  He dropped the fabric after the toy, and pulled out more, and more.  At first he’d been neat, piling the lot into a sort of welcome mat for the bed, but sixth shirt in and he didn’t care anymore.  The whole was bright, and sorta looked like stuff the always happy character in Omega Proton man might wear, but even that wasn’t enough to make Branden’s clothes likable.  They were bright, you couldn’t hide in them, and there were these stupid acorn head hats everywhere… 

And mat became pile, became mess, because Silver tried to tipped the box, and knocked everything over  around it instead.  He listened for, and got, that comforting mechanical rattle.  He was near on top of electronics, and that buzz from before had sounded a little like a pokeball.  He’d get to the bottom and find Sneasel and…

And a tap from the door frame got him to look up, looking all the world like a frazzle diglet he was in so deep.

 “You can unpack your games and stuff after you check up on the professor. Your starter got in today and while I know you want to settle in won’t it be wonderful with a new partner to help you out?”

He’d almost got down to the bottom.  Felt wires after he moved some underthings.  Silver was nearly right there and Sneasel had to be there, just had to be.  So he shook his head, eyes wide, because he was scared to try talking.  Least he click instead of speak. 

He doesn’t want to say anything and find out what it’s like to get shunted into the box on top of the ‘fridge, because that sounds like something Mask would do.  And he’d been told time and time again, everything worked for Mask, all was for Mask’s plans.  Even this woman, who didn’t see how things were, and looked down at him like he was everything of her world, she might be with Mask.  She might be part of Mask’s rightness.

And Silver, really did not want to be shoved into that ‘fridge, for anything.

His eyes are pricking, and in that moment all his training fails him, and he sniffled up at her.  Just… wanting so many things that weren’t there just then even though he’s not supposed to want anything…. 

And she, to her credit, sees for the first time since he’d met her.  Crossing the distance from door to bed, she sits beside him and he settles besides her, letting her draw him close.  She held him, getting her arms in the right place to hold him despite the obvious difference between his height, and Branden’s.

She’s warmer than Green, and smells sweet, like the sweetest shampoos and conditioners in the store aisle all mixed together.  And if he cried on her, well she didn’t yell at him for it.

It’s alright Sweetie, I know this is big, a big move and everything, but everything’s going to be fine.”

“M’ OK.” He mutters, and she is smoothing his hair, nonsensical noises in attendance that are meant to be soothing, and with a ruffle small to the topmost of his locks she lets go.

“There’s my brave little man.” And she’s smiling, so wide and bright and he’s waiting for it. The other foot, the misleading line that leads to disaster…

And he’s spent too much time with Green if that’s where his thoughts go.

The smile he tips her way is warmed a bit by the thought of Green, and it passes muster, as she gets up to go.

“Clean up a bit and head on out dear. A walk will sooth your nerves. I’ll let the Professor know you’re going to be late… I’m sure it’ll be fine.”

Funnily enough it’s her assurance that isn’t sure that sounds the most right.

“And when you get back show me your new friend, alright?”

Agreeing will get her out faster, so Silver nods, because he doesn’t want his voice to break, because he’ll really start crying and he isn’t too sure what will make him stop. So he won’t start. That’s all that’s to it.

He watches her leave, waves even, and once she’s gone he gets up, walks to the door, and quietly pulls it closed.  Once alone, he walks to the box and a kick knocks it over and he’s half in it, pulling wires and flat square things out.   and at the bottom, tucked into a corner he finds it.  Not a pokeball, but a phone.

It’s old, the type of phone that Green’d taught him how to flitch and when they had twenty they’d go to the men and women in black shirts with those red R’s on their fronts and sell them.  For money, the most money, and those were good days.  Day’s they’d eat the best meals that weren’t from trash cans and kiosks and sleep in hotels with a pool and try to figure out swimming and stuff.  The second his fingers slide over the thing’s black casing it hummed to life, and he near dropped it in shock.  He lets it hum five times in his hand, then, because it’s going on ring si-seven he clicks it open, and sets the thing to his ear.

And because Green had grilled and grilled that he had to talk into the things, that people wouldn’t just talk at him, he offered a quiet hello.

The hiss of drawn air on the other side is like the noise you make when an injury is realized in a safe place.  The background noise is a thrum of irritating… he isn’t sure what the sound is beyond sketchily rythmatic… and to that he nearly hangs up.

And the voice on the other line as if knowing that, speaks quick and sharp.  It’s one word, that nearly makes Silver click the phone closed anyways.

This adult -whoever he is- knows his name, breathes his name, like the word were a wound.

The voice sounds… funny. Like the guys in the corners who buy the stuff he and Green take. It’s deep, like an adult guy but not raspy like the Mask’s.  So the speaker’s old, but not too old.  That’d didn’t mean safe though.  Hunching around the phone, missing the pillow, Silver stares at nothing as he considers what he knows.

It’s not much.  He doesn’t know who it is, but it’s not the Mask, he weighs both facts in silence and does not hang up.

And the voice, it seems to know that.  It keeps talking into Silver’s silence, voice a bit breathy, as if they were talking after a run.

“I... don’t think you remember me, or know of me yet, do you?” The voice speaks, as if that nonsense was familiar.  They sounded pained, and that funny way of talking was stringer the more they talked. Still, this wasn’t  Mask, and the background noise is dying down.  Silver imagines someone walking away from the ruckus, he can’t even imagine what’s causing it so he can’t imagine what the guy’s walking away from, but the sound is easing off.

“No,” Silver agreed, pulling the phone closer, since the awful noise is quieting it feels safe to do so. He sits on the bed’s edge, legs kicking idly. “Am I supposed too?”

To that the man on the other line barks something too biter to be a laugh. “It’d be preferred but it’s not… expected. Let me guess, you woke up someplace you weren’t meant to be and the first thing you found that was familiar was this phone.”

Which is close enough, Silver hums a note and the voice is familiar enough with him to understand his non-answers because the voice keeps going.

“Do you have Sneasel?”

How did he know about that? Silver opened his mouth, closed it, and waited, letting quiet wear and it wasn’t much of a wait because it seemed there wasn’t something to wear down.

“I know her, I know you… “ The voice assured. “And I went through this…” Silver could hear the grimace. “In a different when and where.” A huff. “I am going through this I suppose. He’ll have Her, Professor Birch, whatever he gives you will be Her. I wish I could offer you more, but right now, I can’t.”

“Alright.” It’s a hope of sorts, and  Silver will take it, questions can wait. For now.

“I…” And there’s a different sort of ruckus, of people approaching, and Silver hops off the bed, darts to bathroom.  The noise isn’t on his side but there’s a bathroom attached to this small room.  He goes in and turns on the faucet to buy a little time in case someone comes in on his side.  Because this is important, this person knew about Sneasel, and if he could stay on the phone long enough what else would Silver learn?   And all that effort’s for nothing, because after a moment where Silver can hear the irritation, though it’s not spoken its’ strong enough to carry over the phone line without noise, the voice growls, “I have to go.”

“Alright.” Green’s manners lessons and a wry truth all at once, he’s multitasking and Green’d be proud. A voice, not the one speaking to him, is hollering “Moon, where are you going?!” and because he lingers in near silence Silver hears it. Soft and rushed, more wish than want, are the alien words “Mi raccomando,” spoken.  Then there’s nothing but a dial tone, and Silver clicks the phone closed and pockets it.

He’ll keep it, the boy decides, after all it is familiar and the person on the other line had given him a hope.

He’ll find Birch.  He’ll find Sneasel before she breaks out and started freezing things, too.  Because Sneasel freezing things and people might be her favorite thing but having to make excuses for her isn’t one of his.  He’ll find her, and then get to Green’s home, and… it’ll be better than any story.  Worlds better than any happily ever after, because it’ll be real, but first he has to get Sneasel, and staying here won’t let him do so.

So he splashes water over his face, smooths back his hair so he won’t look a fright and worry Sneasel, and gets to going.