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Fated Boy

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Green cannot believe his eyes. He knows these clothes. He hasn’t worn these clothes since the beginning of his journey, before he outgrew them. His eyes - in contrast to the original, rich amber shade he had flaunted and frankly enjoyed - were green. His eyes are - were amber. He has to stumble back from the reflection, half-panicking as he realizes something even worse.

His pokeballs are gone. His team, the partners of his journey - gone. It prompts a panicked, hurried search for everything, and the deeper he searches, the more he realizes - this has to be a cruel prank.

It isn’t until he opens the front door and is assailed by the unforgettable scents of a freshly blooming spring that he realizes that this is too elaborate for his grandfather. He didn’t care enough to pull something like this.

Halfway through his panic, someone bumps into him, giving a feminine sounding noise of surprise.

“Green?” The woman’s voice is surprised, and he turns around to face - Daisy. He stares at her as she continues, seemingly oblivious of his internal panic. “You’re up way earlier than you need to be - you won’t be getting your Pokemon for another two hours, silly boy.” Despite whatever oddities are in this world, he won’t deny that seeing her smile and her obvious warmth is still reassuring.

Hope crosses her face, and she makes to inquire about something. “Are you planning to maybe… Talk to Fire?” His expression does not change from the blank stare, and her smile falls. “You two used to be such good friends… He asked if you were up last night, but you didn’t answer him at all.” His smile fades immediately.

Red? Red never spoke to him. And who the hell called themselves Fire? He continues to stare at her, hopes that she’ll start making some sense. But she doesn’t, and Green gives her a look. That alone makes her smile fade, and she steps back.

“Fire misses you.” She tried again. “At least… please don’t blow him off if he tries to talk to you?” She’s obviously trying, so Green manages an awkward shrug, though his expression doesn’t change much, if at all.

He looks away, and Daisy takes that as her answer, a small frown crossing her lips as she observed him, before deciding against it and shaking her head. “You should pack, since you’re up so early.” She says instead, and Green makes a vague noise of agreement, before retreating back into the house to take stock of his situation.

It’s only after he closes the door behind himself that he lets everything sink in.

And then he curses, so filthy and rough that had anyone heard him, he would have been drinking soap for a week.

He’d ended up in the Arceus-damned past, and whoever sent him hadn’t even gotten that right.

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Fire was not anything like Green expected. He’d headed over after packing, remembering through experience what he’d needed most and what he’d found useless, only to see brown hair under his cap rather than the expected black. He’d had to stop in place and stare briefly before snapping out of it.

Get a grip Green, he tells himself sternly, shaking his head. He could be annoyed with Red later - Fire was a different kind of person, as far as he could tell. He steps up, and Fire’s gaze snaps to him.

“Green!” His smile is bright, and Green is taken aback - he was smiling? He’d never seen Red smile, let alone talk. “Hey, are you okay?” He asks, smile fading. Green can only imagine what his expression is like, so he slaps on a slightly haughty expression with only the faintest of delays. Fire’s smile dims more, and Green crosses his arms, feeling vulnerable.

“I’m fine,” He insists, and something about that seems to amuse Fire, if the way his smile reappears is any indication.

“You’re always fine,” the boy laughs at him, shaking his head. “C’mon Green, we’re getting our starters today! You gotta be more than just fine.” Green rolls his eyes at Fire, who grins even wider. He feels a little like a stranger - what was his life with this chatty boy? Were they really friends? Green instead shakes his head, sighing.

“I’ll be better later,” He sniffs, nose in the air. Fire seems to get some amusement out of that, and his eyes crinkle in a smile.

“You’re in a good mood.” The boy seems to want to continue, but Green sees the most hated man in his life walk in, and his smile drops off of his face like hot butter. Fire looks between them and swallows, instead stepping aside wisely.

Green doesn’t say a word, instead crossing his arms uncomfortably. Even universes apart, the stoic, distant figure has nothing to offer him but a blank gaze and a coldness to his expression that is all too familiar. He looks down and away.

“Good, you’re both here.“ He spares no friendliness towards either of them, and isn’t that a surprise? Red had always been his favorite. “You two will be picking your starters. Fire, why don’t you pick first?” He makes the question seem like a command, and Green doesn’t have to look up to see the way Fire shifts uncomfortably.

A very different beast than Red indeed. Red had never shown his feelings openly, instead choosing to accept the favoritism as yet another tool in his arsenal. Eventually, Fire shuffles forward, plucks Charmander from the lineup. Green knows what’s expected of him then. To pick Squirtle. To pick Fire’s weakness, in more ways than one.

He’d taken Eevee last time because he had known his grandfather would only give the rare, precious Pokemon to his beloved Red. So he’d taken it in a bid to strike out. To prove he was worth it. That he could be loved too.

This time, he has nothing to prove. Nothing he ever does will change his mind. He ignores the look on their faces, carefully takes the cradled Pokeball of Bulbasaur in his hands. He nods to Fire, the boy’s expression lost.

“See you on the road.” He looks at his grandfather, the stiff, distant figure. “Thanks for the Pokemon. I won’t need a Pokedex.” He’d memorized every entry, every move that all the Pokemon in Kanto had ever had, even the ones that had invaded and weren’t native.

He wouldn’t give his grandfather the satisfaction. He’s out the door before anyone can say a word to him. He moves quickly - feet practically flying over pavement as he scrambles up the stairs, grabs his backpack, and hustles out the door, only stopping to kiss Daisy’s cheek.

He had a Pokemon. He had his ID issued.

There wasn’t anything left in this town to hold him.

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Bulbasaur was a complete sweetie. Green comes to this conclusion no more than ten minutes on the road, watching the Pokemon excitedly explore around him with such obvious happiness Green was reluctant to call him back to make sure his new partner would obey orders, though every time his partner scurried to him, he made sure to offer a pat to the head or to his bulb with a few words of praise. He looks down and considers his options as the Bulbasaur affectionately returns to rub his head against a leg. He has to smile down at the blind, open trust given to him, though his smile fades the tiniest bit as he contemplates his past - future? He wasn’t sure what he could call it. He distracts himself with another gentle pat to the little Pokemon’s flank, receiving a happy ‘bulba’ for his efforts. Once upon a time, Green would have been in Viridian by now, two Pokemon stronger and his ego firmly in place.

Green instead decides to take a break, resting his back against the nearest tree as he carefully reaches out, snaps his fingers to make the Bulbasaur scurry closer. It climbs onto his lap, and Green allows it, patting the bulb gently to encourage his obvious affection. His Bulbasaur settles onto his lap happily, and gives him a happy squeak. He smiles down softly at the grass-type, plants a kiss on the top of his head, gently enough that it doesn’t startle his new starter. Instead, he gets another happy squeak, the Pokemon butting his head against his chest affectionately.

“You’re cute,” He says, gets a squeak for his troubles. Bulbasaur sits on his lap, tiny little back legs splaying out so adorably that Green cannot stop himself and gently scoops the Pokemon closer. Bulbasaur is more than happy to splay himself out upon Green’s chest, the boy leaning back far enough so that he doesn’t have to keep his hands where they are and lift the tiny little Pokemon (small or not, Bulbasaur was kind of heavy.)

He sighs, rubs the rubbery ear until his partner coos happily, drifting off in his arms. For a second, he thinks about waking the poor thing up, walking to Viridian. He dismisses it, and instead leans further back, plants a gentle kiss to the top of a head in soft praise.

“Go ahead and take a nap,” He says softly. “We’re going to take our time, getting to the top.” This time, he thinks but does not say, watching as his partner is comforted by the words, yawns slightly before drifting off in his arms. He watches intently until his partner is fully asleep, and only then does he too, fall into a restless slumber.

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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.