Chou is not meant as a Japanese word, it's to rhyme with 'chu'. ^_-.

by Leto
Part 11

Lime City was not the nicest city I have ever been in. Not that I had been to any apart from Pallet and Cerulean. The whole place looked as if it were in dire need of renovations. Moss grew over all the stonework, houses had roofs crumbling with rust, and the whole town smelled rather like millipedes.

The Pokemon Center was deserted. A pair of Chanseys met us and took our Pokemon to the back room. No sign of a Nurse Joy, or anyone else.

"This isn't the most lively place I have ever visited," commented Kerra drily.

"A bit of a dump," I agreed.

"Hey hey," said Terri, "this place is not without its charms!"

"Where are the charms?"

"Uh... oh, forget it."

We sat and waited for a few minutes. I stared vacantly out the window. Maybe Terri was right. Moss overgrowing everything did have a charm. In a decrepit sort of way. But the city kind of lived up to its name. I wanted to see more. I wasn't used to new places.

"I'm just gonna go for a walk," I said, "I'll meet you back here in maybe half an hour."

"Rora, we've been walking all day," groaned Terri.

"AUrora," I corrected, "and I'm aware of that."

I just wanted to get off on my own for a few minutes. So I did.


When alone, I began to think. It was always the way... I am not sure that it was a good idea in this case, because I began to think of the implications of what I had done.

Up until now, this adventure had sort of been surreal, not really sinking in that I was running away from my home, my only family, my roots, and without leaving any notice behind. And for what? To pursue an outrageous dream I barely cared about. The more I fought, the more I liked it, but being a Pokemon Master wasn't my dream in life.

It had been more than a week. The thought made me feel sick, but I had to call home. So again, I did, finding a pay videophone some way from the Pokemon Center.

I nervously pushed coins into the slot. The videophones were different in Lime City, green instead of white. I idly noticed 'Lime' etched into the corner of the phone box, as I heard the phone ring. The glass casing was badly scratched. Like many other things in the city, it was in need of repair. The phone stopped ringing. I snapped back.

My father's familiar voice, sounding a little strained, sounded. "Chou residence, how may I help you."

We didn't have a video function. We? It wasn't we any more, it was just him. I left...

"Dad," I managed to get out, "it's me."

Any reactions I had previously imagined left me then, and I just wondered what he would say.

His response was the last thing I would have predicted.

"Rora," he said, shortly, but with recognition. I couldn't read the tone in his voice.

Then he hung up.


It was becoming dark, and I didn't care. My father had hung up on me. Yes, I had walked out on him, but... I didn't expect that of him. Was I being selfish, or was he, or were we both?

Sometimes I begin to think that we are quite alike.

But what he said... my name, my mother's name for me, was that a good sign? Does he care? Why did he hang up? Why didn't he ask where I was? How I was? Why I'd run away? Didn't he care? Didn't he care?

I felt alone then, away from my friends and Pokemon, more alone than at the beginning, because this time I felt I had no way to turn back.

I didn't turn back. I kept walking, although my legs were protesting. The autumn night was cold, the sky was dark, my legs numbing, I didn't care. I walked.

I don't care, I kept saying. I couldn't seem to lose that phrase. I don't care. I don't care. I don't care.

"You don't care about what?"

Someone was talking, they had interrupted, but I didn't acknowledge, I kept walking. I walked into them.

"Hey," said the voice, "you might not care, but I'm sure someone does."

I snapped out of my daze.

"It is not necessary to overreact like that," he continued in a low voice. Expressionless, really.

I stared up at him.

Quite a way up.

He was tall but fairly young, probably in his late teens. His face was smooth, but his eyes - a dark coffee brown - sharp. I didn't suppose he was mean or anything, but his expression was cold and his eyes had a lot in them that I couldn't read. He had messy blonde hair. He was gorgeous. I stood and gawked at him like an idiot.

"I do not know you," he said. "Are you a Pokemon trainer?"

I nodded blankly.

"That is unusual. Very few trainers come this way. Did you come to challenge me?"

", I heard there was a gym leader here."

"That is me, yes."

"Oh! I didn't know. So you're... umm... I don't know the gym leader's name."

His eyebrows twitched. "Taylor. Most call me Tay."

"Ahahh, nice to meet you. I'm Aurora."

"Okay. What were you talking about a minute ago?"

"Oh, that? That was nothing! Just a little inconvenience." Push the thought from your mind, Aurora, I coached myself, scolded myself. Dad's pretty well said you can go and he won't care... so, make the most of it.

"I do not believe you. But, please do challenge me. If you do, tomorrow and tomorrow only."

He left as suddenly as he had appeared. I stared after him for a while, thinking in turn that he was both cute and weird. So serious...

But he had, if unwittingly, snapped me out of my shock. Even if it wouldn't be that easy to forget... my father... what did -

"Hey, ditz! Whaddya doing standing out here alone in the cold, looking like an idiot?"

I literally jumped, and whirled around.

"Kerra! You scared me!"

"I can SEE that. Stop wasting my time and come back to the Pokemon Center."

He had come to find me...

I nodded weakly and let him lead me away.

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