It’s with a heavy sigh that Glacia looks at the sheet of paper in her hands. It’s a meeting agenda, for what she -- along with the rest of the Hoenn Elite Four, and the Champion, Steven -- will be discussing with their coming visitor.
The visitor is named Cynthia Aisaka, also known as the Champion of the Sinnoh region. She’s supposed to be arriving in two days, and despite what her superior may claim, Glacia Blanche knows they’re not even close to being ready.
She exchanges nervous glances with three of her coworkers. Sidney Damien, the weakest of the Hoenn Elite Four, has an eyebrow raised, his usual smirk nowhere to be seen; the youngest of the group, Phoebe Uhane, is staring at the meeting agenda with a sigh; the oldest and strongest of the Elites, Drake, is groaning with his head in his hand.
Glacia sees that none of them intend on saying anything, so she takes it upon herself to address the Donphan in the room, so to speak.
“Steven,” she mutters cautiously. “Don’t you think perhaps we ought to organise your office before Cynthia arrives?”
Steven stares at her for a second, then gives a surveying glance around his office. Glacia follows his eyes and barely resists the urge to cringe. The two look around at the final League chamber before the Hall of Fame, and Glacia is grateful that she has received no challengers recently. Steven’s desk in the middle is cluttered with unfinished paperwork and loose sheets of paper, and underneath it are several boxes overflowing with rubbish and bits of plastic and Rayquaza knows what else. Littered around the room are several piles of things -- oh, for Rayquaza’s sake, he’s the Champion of Hoenn and he still keeps things in piles?! He can get a chest of drawers for under a thousand PokéDollars at the Department Store in Lilycove, and being the son of the owner of Devon Corporation, it’s hardly as though money will be an issue for him any time in the future.
He looks around at the piles of random objects, most of which should have been thrown away long ago and very few of which have any business being in an office in the first place, that litter the room in a way that makes it difficult to even walk around.
“It is organised.”
Four pairs of eyes widen as their owners collectively groan and Steven stares at them all. “What? It is organised!”
It’s Phoebe, this time, who is first to speak up. “Uh, Steven?”
“It’s really not,” says Sidney, not as kindly as intended.
“But it clearly is!” Steven protests, trying with little success to sound like he genuinely does not know what’s so messy about the Tepig sty he calls an office. “I have a system!”
Glacia chuckles fondly. “My, Steven, you’re starting to sound like my two children.”
“And you’re starting to sound like my mother, Glacia.”
“That should not be meant as a compliment, Steven, my sons are six and nine. Every time I ask them to clean their rooms, they insist that no such thing is necessary. Sometimes I let them get away with it because they’re my children. But you are not my child, you are the Champion of Hoenn.”
“I’m aware.” He says it stiffly, as though he’s trying to prove that they can’t change his mind. “If you’re so concerned about the state of my office, then perhaps you should help clean.”
Drake nods. “This is going to be a group effort.”
Phoebe’s eyes light up. “I have an idea.”
“Of course it sparks joy!” Steven is indignant, holding the green rock close to his chest as though Phoebe is going to forcefully take it off him. “It’s a peridot sample!”
With a sigh, Phoebe tosses it back to Glacia. Glacia places the item on the keep pile, which is now roughly the size of a Metagross. She glances over at the throw away pile, which consists entirely of two paper clips and a broken pen.
“Okay,” mutters Sidney. “I reckon we can save a lot of time by just assuming all his cool rocks spark joy.”
Steven seems satisfied with this arrangement, and so Drake starts picking up rocks and putting them in the keep pile. Phoebe looks around, probably looking for something to add to the throw away pile, and finally she picks something up. “Okay, Steven, does this broken fidget spinner spark joy?”
Steven considers this. “Yes,” he says finally. “The broken fidget spinner sparks joy.”
Sidney groans. “Boss, you’ve gotta be kidding me!”
Phoebe sighs as she tosses it onto the keep pile. “Okay, maybe this plan isn’t as good as I thought it would be. Anyone got any other ideas?”
Glacia hesitates before putting forth her idea. “I think perhaps it would be beneficial to do this without Steven in the way.”
“I can hear you, you know,” protests Steven.
“I don’t think he’s leaving,” says Sidney.
“I can still hear you!”
“My Drifblim knows Sing,” suggests Phoebe.
“I can still hear you and you’re not using your Pokémon to put me to sleep!”
He awakes several hours later in a daze.
“You did not need to use your Drifblim to put me to sleep,” he mumbles in an annoyed tone.
Phoebe shrugs offhandedly. “Eh, if it’s stupid and it works, it ain’t stupid. Besides, look at how much we’ve done without you in the way!”
He looks around at his office. It’s wrong, it’s all wrong. His system of putting things in various piles has been dismantled without his consent in favour of putting things in chest of drawers. How could they do something like this?!
...Still, he can’t deny that it sort of looks better.
He opens the top drawer and scans its contents to ensure they haven’t thrown away any of his most prized possessions. He raises an eyebrow. It looks … Well, it looks like they’ve at least made somewhat of an effort to keep his old system in place. The contents of the top drawer are the same as the things that were in the pile in the northeast corner of the room.
He checks the other drawers. The pile that belongs slightly east to the centre of the room is neatly arranged into one drawer. The pile of items that belong in the left corner at the back of the room -- for reasons he can’t explain, he just knows that that’s where those particular items are supposed to be -- are, likewise, in one drawer.
“You …” He’s confused. “Did you figure out my system?”
It’s Glacia who speaks up. “Somehow, I did.”
“But … I thought you thought I was just using it as an excuse not to clean?!”
“Yes, I did think that.” She chuckles fondly. “But then Phoebe explained to me that the way you … organise your work space is very important to you, even if it does not make sense to other people. And, well, I suppose I felt sorry for you.”
“Of course,” continues Phoebe. “We couldn’t actually figure out what your old system was organised based on, so we just sort of looked at some blurry photos from before we started cleaning and tried to work off what we remembered.”
He sighs as he continues to rummage through the drawers. “That explains why you mistakenly put my triangular cut peridot sample in the same section as the rest of my rock collection.”
Sidney blinks. “Well, it’s part of your rock collection, isn’t it?”
“That does not matter, it belongs in the pile --” He pauses, realising that no such pile exists now. “It belongs in the second drawer from the bottom. Oh, and my hexagonal facet amethyst sample should be in there too. Wait, where’s my teardrop-shaped lapis lazuli specimen?”
“Should be with the rest of your rock collection,” says Drake.
Steven groans. “All of you, give me some space. I need some quiet so I can correct your organisational mistakes.”
With a sigh, Phoebe walks out of the room, soon followed by the rest of the Elite Four. Steven continues to search through the drawers, sighing dramatically as he fishes out a ruby that is somehow inexplicably different from the several other rubies that belong in this drawer when this specific one does not.
“Honestly,” he mumbles to himself. “They are so incompetent.”
Golden hair bounces as its owner walks across the length of the room. “This is really neat.”
Phoebe gives a strained smile. “We know.”
“Yeah, neater than I expected for Steven.”
“Oh yes,” explains Steven. “I organised it yesterday.” As Sidney nudges him in the ribs, he adds, “The Elite Four helped.”
“I prefer stuff to be messy, to be honest,” mutters Cynthia. “You shouldn’t have bothered.”
The five of them barely suppress a groan.
“I ought to get the meeting agenda,” says Steven. He marches over to the drawers and opens the correct one. As he takes out the sheet of paper, he sees something that makes him gasp in shock.
“Glacia!” His voice is full of fury. “Why did you put this sheet of blank paper in here?!”
“That’s where all the other blank paper was?”
“I know, but this one specific sheet belongs in the third drawer from the bottom! Now I have to organise it all again!” He groans. “Honestly, don’t you know anything about my system?”
“Steven,” says Phoebe. “I don’t think you know anything about your system.”
Cynthia laughs, and the Elite Four laugh with her. After a moment, Steven joins them, laughing at his own foolishness and oddities.
They almost forget that they have a meeting to discuss.