It’s taken him a little longer than his original time, and by the time he’s reached Viridian City, Fire’s reputation has preceded him already. Green remembers it vaguely, the time in which Red had actually been dealing with Team Rocket. But he had been to busy showing off, making people actively feel miserable about not being him in a bid to strike out - to feel important and loved by someone.
Instead, he’s petting his Bulbasaur’s head gently and watching the Viridian Pokemon Center’s news cycle again as he stares at it. Below his fingers, Bulbasaur purrs, the saurian giving him a distressed squeak when he dared to stop, to which Green chuckles at him for.
“Don’t whine you - you got plenty of petting silly boy.“ The Bulbasaur squeaks from his lap, clearly in disagreement, and he affectionately scratches under his chin just to placate him. “You’re so spoiled,” Green chuckles at his enthusiasm, kissing the top of his head. Bulbasaur squeaks excitedly at him, and he chuckles again, gaze softening.
“Hey.” He looks up with a frown, sees a stranger staring at him with poorly concealed disgust. Something about him nags at Green, and Bulbasaur shrinks back against the boy, the boy protectively holding his partner. “Go be disgusting somewhere else,” The boy says, with the haughty superiority of arrogant disgust, and Green feels a spark of anger.
“Excuse me?“ The stranger annoys Green, and it’s not just because of his attitude. He can see it in his face, he can tell why this guy annoys him so much. The guy reminds Green ofhimself, back when he’d been nothing but an egotistical monster looking for approval. Green stands up, expression clouding with irritation.
“You heard me,“ He sneers. “Wanna-be champion with your mushy special-snowflake attitude, walking around like people want to see you acting so lovey-dovey with your perfect starter.” Green’s expression shifts to anger.
“What? Just because you weren’t good enough to get a regional starter, I have to mistreat my partner?” He knows he’s struck home when the boy’s face flushes an ugly red. A brief flash of satisfaction hits him, and he has to pause mentally when he realizes how he’s acting.
He’d promised himself he wouldn’t be that person anymore.
“Take that back you entitled prick. Not everyone gets a free ride and a stupid pet.” The others gasp at the harsh language, but Green gives a bark of laughter, previous objections disappearing at the boy’s words. He'd live with the insults to him, but this kid damn well wasn't allowed to speak ill of his Starter. Hell. No.
Entitled. At least the guy could be funny.
“Is that supposed to hurt me? Oh no, you called me and my partner a mean name,” Green mocks, vindictiveness curling in his veins as Bulbasaur squeaks, clambers from his chair down to sit by his feet, offering support with a curling vine around his thigh. “Maybe you should stop expecting the world to hand you everything on a silver platter, stop pretending that it’s anyone’s fault butyours that you couldn’t get a starter. You’re the one who failed to pass the test. Not me. You’re the one who failed to do what the requirements demanded. So quit acting like it’s someone else’s fault, man up, and act like a decent human being for once in your sorry life.” The boy is leaning over - practically backwards at Green’s snarling irritation. “Cry all you want about it - but don’t expect me to care because you want what I spent over a year trying to earn.” He’s breathing hard, and he has to take a step back, realize that he’d actually made the kid look close to tears.
Green wants to feel sorry, but all he feels is a sense of… relief? Green takes a step back, picks up his Bulbasaur, who squeaks in worry at the look on his face. He manages a weak smile for the poor thing, and reassures him with a tap of his nose against the Bulbasaur’s own.
“I’m okay,” He reassures the Pokemon, who squeaks at him gently. He doesn’t look back when he leaves, letting the bitterness of his situation fade at last. He'd just seen what he had been, and he didn't like it.
He’s not that kid anymore. He’s not going to run around and hurt people without cause.