News of ahsgjmg’s wellbeing, whatever that’s left of it anyway, reaches him in the form of one loudmouthed fool.
‘Mr Green!’ Gold crashes into his office, stepping over the layers of paperwork scattered all over the floor. He doesn’t have time for this, not when the monthly inspections are drawing closer and Lance will literally find any reason he can to get him to take a break.
He can’t be seen as a hindrance now more than ever -- and, yes, he’s talking to the Lance that lives in his mind now: he may not have taken his duties as Gym Leader seriously and often disappears to some remote area without so much as a note or reason, but Green likes the Viridian Gym.
The gym he basically rebuilt from scratch, throwing away the nauseating spinning tiles and whatever whacko nonsense was rolling around Giovanni’s head when he was Gym Leader. Heck, he even made it so difficult to gain entry -- and no, it’s not a petty move because of something dumb Gramps had said. It wasn’t! -- just so he wouldn’t waste time entertaining overly cocky trainers and their seriously in-danger pokemon.
He spoke from experience, having once been an overly cocky trainer who almost got his own pokemon in deep trouble.
But does Gold care about Green’s existing crisis and looming panic of the Dungeon Master swooping in and throwing him back to Pallet, where he would have to pretend he wasn’t bored out of his mind letting Gramps’ pokemon play with his hair and clothes? No. Gold doesn’t care about anything that wasn’t related to pokemon, battling or Silver.
Not that there was anything wrong with Gramps’ pokemon. It was mainly Gramps, who would by default forget his name because he thinks it’s a funny joke and not a traumatic experience Green grew up with. And Gramps, who thinks drinking stale, days-old tea was “not harmful”. And Gramps, who drives both him and Daisy absolutely mad by taking on too much work and forgetting he wasn’t as young and robust.
Deciding to get it over and done with, he simply sighs -- long and miserable -- ‘What?’
Gold doesn’t notice his dishevelled state, taking in his hair and obvious lack of training gear as something he does on the reg -- nobody but Daisy and… ugh knew how to differentiate Green on a good day and Green on a bad day, since his hair just naturally defies all known laws of pseudo-physics and his clothes are purple sweaters of varying shades.
Daisy would probably throttle him for getting so lazy, but travelling around for about a year, realising that your goal to be Champion was as superficial as wanting someone’s love and affection (which he already had, his Gramps was just an asshole about making it obvious) and then finally becoming Kanto’s most notoriously loved Gym Leader was bound to impact his sense of fashion in some form or another.
At least he had a few other outfits he could rely on if need be, unlike hhhh who would just wear the same goddamn clothes because he really just didn’t care.
‘I found him!’ Gold’s eyes looked a lot like the golden coins sitting on Meowth’s head -- speaking of which, he needed to get a Meowth just to rub it in Gramps’ face -- which begs the question: what sort of after-adventure high is this kid on?
‘Silver?’ He exaggerates the shock in his voice, knowing full well the redhead was hiding from Gold in Kris’ childhood home, and gee I wish I could do that right now.
Confusion flitters across the boy’s face, ‘what? No! I know where he is, jerk thinks he’s sneaky hiding in Kris’ house, but he’s done this too many times now so we all know where he is!’ Then, with an even…. sparklier glint in his eyes, he regales Green of how he found, battled and won with a mysterious Mountain Man.
Throughout it all, Green tried his best not to make his paper-shuffling too loud, sending Eevee out to distract Gold. On a good day, he would’ve been completely immersed and chucked away his work to listen, but metaphorical Lance was getting his scaly hands closer towards Green and everyone knows he’s not very fond of scaly-handed people.
6 year old him probably knocked his head too hard to think the cape was cool.
‘Right. So you found a Mountain Man and beat him.’ He feels like he needs to shake this boy so hard some sense of self-preservation suddenly appears. ‘First of all, congratulations. Sit down, I’m not done talking. Second of all, if you weren’t ten and the Champion of Johto and Kanto, and by default-default someone with far greater power than me, the Pokemon Professor’s grandchild and a Gym Leader-- oh also, also you’re eleven. If you weren’t any of that, I’d beat the shit out of you for climbing up the godforsaken mountain that I remember specifically telling you to not climb alone. Don’t give me that look, brat, you know what you’ve done! And then finally! You can’t just battle anyone living up there because of those rumours! If anything happened to you, I won’t be able to look my Eevee in the eyes because you’re probably her second favourite person.’
Green is slowly going insane. ‘I also need help with paperwork.’
Gold groans, acknowledging his mistakes in a series of petulant whines and actually helping Green sort through the disaster that was his awful filing skills to get Lance away from him.
They forget about the conversation after finding Gold’s registration papers, written in the ugliest shade of brown crayon with what possibly the ugliest photo of the boy he’d ever seen.
Green makes that the contact photo. Just because.
Lance wasn’t able to find anything wrong with how he was handling his gym and the roles and responsibilities that came along, grumbling noisily that he should go home anyway with the coming of the New Year.
Green tells him to get a new outfit, and gets pouted at magnificently for the rest of the inspection day.
He goes home anyway, humorously watching as Gramps makes a fool of himself after seeing him bring a hoard of Meowths along with him.
‘Welcome home, Green!’ Daisy shouts, pretending not to laugh.
Green gives a blinding grin as his reply.
Someone is standing at the doors of the gym, thirty minutes before it’s meant to be opened.
This in itself is a weird phenomenon to see, since most trainers procrastinate getting the Earth badge. Green wants to walk away and take an off-day the moment he sees exactly who is standing outside.
Cooling himself down before he can spontaneously combust and make Eggxecutor cry, he contemplates removing the glass barrier between them. Pikachu, as ever, has a mixed reaction upon seeing him, torn between looking elated and growling angrily.
Ida, presumably, powers up the gym, and the doors slide open before he’s prepared to see the other person’s face again.
‘Hi.’ Red says, like he hadn’t crawled up Mt. Silver years ago and left Green a mess of relief, disappointment and utter abandonment.
Like any rational teen, he flushes pink and yells, ‘get out of my gym!’