Don't Give Me Diamonds

Diamond 030: Give me Appreciation

No one tried to stop them, though they received odd glances. Delia and Aayla, the latter covered by a big lab coat, too large for her size and a white cloth tugged into it like a hood, made their way out of the laboratory. Aayla was very quiet; the source of her calm being Delia's way of interacting with her, as if nothing was too different in her, as if the situation was the only real issue to deal with and not Aayla's current state. It made her remember who she was and keep a grasp on reality beyond her wild aggressive instincts.

Albeit Delia didn't approve of many of the things Team Rocket was doing lately, she simply could not bring herself to betray them, especially not when they were on the road to improvement with the new purpose of New Island being the study of the legendary Mew through archeology. But many changes still needed to be made for Team Rocket to be acceptable.

Even as she mused over such thoughts, Delia knew her resolve would crumble and she would stay, albeit she firmly opposed Team Rocket's crimes. It would most likely come to Giovanni making her leave if he got tired of her trying to convince him to change Team Rocket, as she intended to do. That was what the future appeared to hold, unless by some twist of fate, destiny dealt in a new card that changed everything and made her reevaluate her position.

Outside, Delia rushed to one of the boats, it would be far too reckless to go for the helicopter, as she had never attempted to pilot any sort of flying vehicle before. However, there was little to crash into out at sea, where sinking was harder than falling. She could manage with one of the little boats and she remembered the general direction of how to get to Cinnabar Island from New Island despite the darkness.

"You don't get sea sick, right?" Delia started up the boat before Aayla could reply; sea sick or not, they had to leave immediately. Besides, the truth was that Delia couldn't picture Aayla getting any kind of motion sickness and was just filling in the silence before it became too eerie.

The little boat sped away from New Island, as someone, Delia didn't have time to see who, was alerted by the noise and loudly called out "stop!" but of course, she didn't stop. She still carried her small glossy black cell phone with the red R, but the device was turned off so that Giovanni wouldn't flood it with calls asking for details about her recent revelation of the impending attack on New Island, her whereabouts and her intentions.

"Lights... lights..." Delia found the switch and the lights of the little white and red motorboat came on, "there, now how do I move faster?" She was mostly guessing at the controls and didn't want to mess up and become stranded, or worse yet, be caught by someone from Team Rocket who would take them back to New Island, preventing her from solving things once and for all in her own way.

Aayla stood from her previous position sitting in the back of the boat and turned a switch on the control panel of the tiny, but high-tech water vessel. The engine roared with more power, carrying them forward much faster than before. Aayla didn't say a word, but Delia knew she wasn't all gone and when people treated her as they normally would have, her old self would surface.

"You know how to drive a boat? If so, by all means be my guest and take us to Cinnabar Island as quickly as possible!" Delia left Aayla to drive; she did very well even in her current condition and was in control of the small vessel, despite the sea having become considerably less gentle than it had been that evening.

The boat rocked back and forth, the engine fighting against the waves, trying its best to move forward and not be overturned. Aayla growled like a wild beast sensing a storm and seconds later, the dark night sky was pierced by the ferocious crash of lightning. The electricity from the sky lit up the area all around them, revealing a larger ship up ahead. The ship had no lights, making good use of the cover of the night.

"Oh no," Delia knew right away that ship was trouble. Regular ships did not follow that route and it felt very unlikely that a cargo or passenger ship would coincidentally get lost and go that much off course precisely at the time when an attack against New Island was expected and with all its lights off no less. It had to be the enemy ship, it was the only explanation. "We're late; they came earlier than I thought. Han must be on that ship, but maybe we can still negotiate peace, tell them Team Rocket will be different... Ah!"

Aayla suddenly picked up Delia wrapping one arm around her waist and throwing her over her shoulder. Aayla jumped off the little boat before a big wave combined with the force of the much larger approaching ship caused the small vessel to overturn. The two women surfaced and Aayla let Delia go, allowing her to instead hold on to her back. Aayla jumped on the hull of the larger ship and climbed up with her claws, with Delia on her back, until they reached the dark deck of the ship. The scratches were superficial and not deep enough to perforate the hull.

Their presence had not gone unnoticed by the crew of the ship that had once been commanded by Captain Adoy and currently followed Han's orders. They were immediately surrounded. Han was indeed there, as the leader of the movement that hoped to take down Team Rocket, he appeared before the two uninvited invaders looking defiant and victorious. "Have you come to surrender yourselves?"

"We came to talk," Delia felt the first few drops of water fall from the heavens as the gray clouds shifted unseen in the endless blackness of the skies. It was as if the world itself feared a terrible outcome was inevitable and had already begun to mourn. "Reconsider what you intend to do, let's not fight. Mistakes were made on both sides and if this goes on there will be a lot of unnecessary sacrifices!"

Han would not listen to reason at this point and it was questionable if he was ever truly willing to listen even when he humored Luke by meeting Delia. All Han wanted now was to annihilate Team Rocket. "Take them prisoner, though I don't think they will be useful as hostages. I have come to understand that Team Rocket would take down one of their own without a second thought."

"This is hopeless..." harsh rain began to pour as Delia felt herself sink back into the despair she had been fighting.

Aayla growled at one of the men that tried to take her prisoner and the man backed away; frightened by her appearance. The look in his face angered Aayla who wildly grabbed his throat, sinking her claws into it and shaking him strongly.

"Aayla, no!" Delia wasn't sure if she should be trying to stop Aayla or those around them. Deciding that she could not deal with everything herself, she let out her pokemon; it was all she could do. She hoped for a miracle like in the past, but this time, there would be none. "Cloyster, Kingler," the heavy rain mixed with her tears, "attack," her voice was barely audible at first, then finally loud and agonized, "blizzard!" The two pokemon made use of the weather, taking advantage of their type. The enemies let out their pokemon as well, but Delia didn't stay long enough to battle beyond a distraction, "Aayla, we're leaving!"

It was hopeless; Aayla was consumed by rage, wildly fighting anyone who approached her, pokemon and human alike. Delia knew she had been foolish to take Aayla along, but she couldn't leave her at the laboratory like a caged beast.

"Aayla!" Delia's pokemon would not be able to battle for much longer being so outnumbered, "I'm sorry, I have to go but I won't abandon you, I'll come back for you. Kingler, Cloyster, follow me!" Delia jumped overboard, followed by her pokemon, who helped her stay afloat in the angry ocean. "Underwater and under the ship, to the other side," Delia took a deep breath and held on to her pokemon. She closed her eyes tightly and focused on holding on to them, until they surfaced on the other side of the ship after what felt like an eternity.

Han ordered his troops to chase Delia, some reluctantly sending their pokemon out to sea despite the raging storm that became stronger by the second. However, they lost track of her when she went underwater. The crew on deck focused on trying to restrain Aayla, who went even madder with rage when anyone attacked her.

With the chaos and thus the crew, focused mostly on the right side of the ship, the left was relatively unprotected. "Cloyster aurora beam, Kingler vice-grip, we're going to sink this ship!" Storm or not, it was better than having them fight a losing battle with Team Rocket, it was for their own good, to stop the fighting, Delia was desperate.

Cloyster shot out his beam towards the hull of the ship and Kingler hit the weakened area hard with his strong claws, the action was continuously repeated until the hull was penetrated and water began to flow inside the ship below deck. This was dangerous, but as things stood, what awaited the crew of the ship in New Island was even more dangerous; Delia had to keep reminding herself of that. Besides, she couldn't leave New Island and those on it exposed to an attack.

"There she is!" One of the enemies called from the deck, right above Delia. The tremor caused by Cloyster and Kingler's attacks did not go unnoticed and they were soon discovered. Unexpectedly a new attack shook the large sinking ship; a strong beam hit it from the front.

In the bright light created by the shining streams of energy and electricity, Delia could clearly see three black ships with red Rs painted on the side approaching to meet the sinking enemy vessel. The ships were slightly smaller then the enemy ship, which served as an additional advantage in speed, though they were still relatively large. The Team Rocket ships were also better armed, with canons powered by pokemon encased in machines that amplified their power for long range attacks, as well as regular weaponry.

"They're here..." Delia had thought Giovanni would prepare New Island to defend against the approaching invasion, but she should have known he would meet the attack head on. "Cloyster, Kingler, let's go towards those ships."

xoxox xox xoxox

"There's someone coming, a person swimming with two pokemon," Petrel, who was in charge of watching the look-out cameras on Team Rocket's leader ship, announced. He had caught sight of two pokemon and a human battling against the rain, wind and waves to get close to the ships.

"What should we do?" Archer asked Giovanni, who was in the control cabin of the ship heading the assault. "Should we attack them?" He held his hands over the controls, ready to target the suspected enemies. Archer was assigned to captain the leader ship, taking orders directly from Giovanni. The other two ships, directed by Proton and Ariana respectively, were to follow the leader ship's strategy.

"No, it's not likely for one of them to approach alone, confirm this person's identity first." Delia was missing, when she was upset she could do crazy things and he knew she was very upset. Giovanni wouldn't put it past her to try to negotiate with the enemy one last time and end up having to make an emergency get away.

"Boss, identity confirmed," Petrel announced, "the person approaching is Delia, with a Cloyster and Kingler."

"Just as I thought, get her on board," Giovanni ordered, not sure if he should be angry at her recklessness or glad that she was alive.

"That's not all," Petrel noticed something unexpected on the monitors; "the enemy ship is sinking! But I don't think it was us."

Archer glanced at the monitor Petrel was pointing out, in a wall filled with many monitors next to the vessel's direction and weaponry controls, behind a large glass window. "The way its tilting is odd, it's as if it has an opening on the lower part of the hull on the left side. I know we didn't hit it in that area, all our attacks have hit the front and deck."

"Delia, it must have been her," Giovanni could think of no other explanation and for a moment his surprise was evident, soon fading into a look of victory. "This battle is as good as won, with their ship sinking, the enemy will try to slip away even in the storm. Don't let them escape this time, capture every last one of them and keep a close watch on their leader."

xoxox xox xoxox

"Cloyster, Kingler, thank you, you can rest now," Delia returned her pokemon to their pokeballs and tried to catch her breath as she was led inside the Rocket leader ship's deck and saw Giovanni. "Their ship is sinking, Aayla is there, she was helping me, we have to get her out, we have to..."

"It's alright," he hugged her tightly, taking her by surprise.

"Giovanni, the ship, the battle," Delia cried, but held on to him, "I'm getting you all wet..."

"It's alright, we won; this battle will end now. You sunk their ship and Team Rocket won." Giovanni led her away from the chaos of the battle to the relative calm of a private cabin below deck. This was the potential he saw in her, he remembered beyond all doubts why it was worth it to be patient with her all that time. She was resourceful and loyal, too emotional sometimes, but none the less he could count on her. "That was... amazing. I don't know how you found out about the attack, the traitors, everything, but it was a big help."

It was a victory for Team Rocket, for the heroes, Delia would like to think, but in truth the present and future were full of uncertainties. Despite it all, a part of her wanted to be proud of the victory and happy to be acknowledged, to be seen as someone amazing and to be appreciated. "You're not disappointed anymore?"

"I should have trusted you more, in the end you were able to do more than I thought any one person could accomplish," Giovanni admitted. "Rest here, I need to keep an eye on things above deck."

"Giovanni, don't forget Aayla, it would be my fault for asking her to go with me if anything happened to her. I promised to go back for her, so please make sure she's safe." Delia insisted, it was for this reason that she had left Luke and Leah in New Island, she didn't want to involve them. Aayla had no relation to Han and she had always been so strong that Delia thought she would be alright. "She looks different, but she's still Aayla, don't show fear or anger, she gets upset when people do."

Giovanni nodded, deciding that the request was easy enough to fulfill, despite the unusual condition. "Alright, I'll tell them to send Aayla to this ship, now dry yourself and get some rest, I'll see you soon." He kissed her quickly and left, he wasn't wrong to think she could go far, he wasn't wrong to expect great potential from the woman who had surprised him so many times.

Delia was turning into who Giovanni pictured her becoming; he thought that victory was proof of it. With the approaching changes to restructure Team Rocket, he needed her to be ready to play a bigger role. When they first landed in New Island earlier that night, he was starting to doubt she would ever be prepared, but perhaps if he believed in her, she would prove to be ready after all.

To be Continued

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Don't Give Me Diamonds

Diamond 031: Give me Optimism

The storm had begun to subside and the waves in the ocean became gentler, but the sea refused to be completely still, as if conveying the restlessness of those who inhabited New Island. Captain Adoy's ship had sunk to the bottom of the sea, but the captain did not go down with his ship. He was effortlessly taken prisoner when members of Team Rocket boarded the sinking ship to make sure not a single enemy slipped away in the cover of the storm.

It would be very unlikely that they would survive the storm out at sea without a vessel, though with the help of strong water pokemon it was not completely impossible and that was a chance to escape Giovanni would not give them. It was that decision, which did not concern their safety at all, which in the end saved Captain Adoy from drowning. The captain, who did not like confrontations, had his ship taken by force and was being held prisoner aboard the vessel, Han had been desperate.

Captain Adoy knew too much, so he, along with Han's crew, would suffer a similar fate as those in the Tempest Gang in the past, given up to the police for them to employ their resources in keeping them in jail. With his growing political influence, Giovanni could make sure that they, and those who were previously imprisoned from Tempest before, did not get out for many years. It was a simple, effective and not too messy way to get rid of the problematic group, at the same time giving the authorities someone to blame.

The New Island research facilities were not constructed to hold prisoners, with only a few cages available large enough to contain humans. They were made to keep human sized pokemon, albeit those were rare in the laboratory, since the smaller ones were easier to experiment on. However, one of the three Team Rocket ships that had been in the assault was equipped with cages below deck to transport human sized pokemon or larger. Cages were harder to break out of than pokeballs and made it possible to monitor the pokemon constantly. It was in that ship that the prisoners were kept temporarily, in the shores of New Island.

It was still night, but it would not be long before the sun rose in the horizon, signaling the beginning of a new day that was already off to a bad start. Delia had left the ship she was on when they reached New Island and gone to the laboratory to see how her friends were doing. It was hard to tell if Binks was better or worse, he was sleeping when Delia found him, curled up in what had been Aayla's room, hugging a bloody ragged pillow with stains that matched the shades of red and maroon on the walls of the once immaculate white room. Rattata sat at the foot of the bed looking up, waiting patiently and worried for her trainer to wake up.

Shaking her head solemnly, Delia headed back to the door but stopped. She had decided that things had to change and they would. "Binks, wake up!"

He woke up startled at the sudden voice, jerking up suddenly and looking around the room in a panicked daze. "Where am I?" His hair was as messy as before and his clothes were just as dirty, his eyes were far more bloodshot, but also more focused despite the heavy scent of alcohol in his breath.

Delia wished he was only drunk and not insane; it was hard to perceive the smell of liquor above the scent of fresh blood before. Maybe he had been in shock and his mental capabilities gave out temporarily, she certainly hoped it was only temporary. "Binks, are you sane?" It was not a gentle approach, it was indeed a terrible one, but Delia was simply too tired to sugar coat her question.

"I sure hope so," Binks rubbed his temples, feeling his head pounding harshly. "I have a hangover," he admitted, "I'm sorry, did I say something strange? I can't seem to remember anything." He examined his surroundings and asked again even more perplexed than before, with added fear when he woke up enough to realize the bloody walls were not leftover illusions from a nightmare, "where am I?"

"You're in the New Island laboratory," Delia's voice and expression reflected her lack of sleep and exhaustion from pushing herself so much that night. "I'm not sure where to start, but things are going to change, the purpose of this laboratory and many other things," she was simply too tired to think about the specifics at the time. "Why don't you start by getting out of this awful room and cleaning yourself up?"

Binks nodded, examining his own filthy appearance. "Yes, you're right, I badly need a shower." Rattata hopped on the bed wagging her tail, glad to see her trainer was awake and seemingly in a better state than when he fell asleep. "What a bad trainer I am, I'll get you cleaned up too Rattata, I don't want you to get sick." Then he seemed to remember something all of a sudden when the daze of the hangover finally allowed his memories to resurface, which filled his face with alarm, "where's Aayla, she turned into a..." he dared not say monster.

"She's alive," Delia assured, at least that's what she was told, of course, it would be too much to say she was okay. "She's still human despite her appearance and I trust you will do anything you can to get her back to normal."

"Yes, of course," Binks was aware that Delia must have realized his call when she was at Cinnabar Island was a lie. Aayla couldn't speak, not because of having her tonsils removed, but because she had lost the ability due to the mutations and could only growl. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have lied, I was in denial," he was clearly repentant.

"Look to the future, all we want in the end is to rebuild our world and hope has not failed me yet," not completely at least, or maybe hope had died long ago and Delia was only holding on to its ghost in a deeper denial than that which plagued Binks. "Be strong for Aayla," those were Delia's parting words to Binks before she went to see Luke and Leah.

xoxox xox xoxox

The situation reminded Delia of the past, only gloomier. There was a time when Team Rocket had no place to go, they were homeless with their biggest asset being their abundant courage and unbreakable determination, it was the only thing they had to their names back then. Delia remembered the time right before the Viridian Gym was freed from the Tempest Gang to become the new home of Team Rocket. The team had changed infinitely, but there was still hope, as they say, when you hit rock bottom all that is left to do is climb up, they had done so before so why not accomplish it again? Team Rocket would stay on top, never again to fall so low; Delia wanted to make that happen.

She was on the first floor of the laboratory, about to head towards the basement where the cells containing Luke and Leah were, when she saw Giovanni coming in after checking on the prisoners on the ship. He only glanced at her, but that was enough, she hurried to him concerned with how stressed and tired he looked. "Are you okay?"

"Yes, everything has finally settled down," they were both clearly exhausted as he led her out of the laboratory and towards the leader ship where they could rest.

"Where's Aayla?" Delia immediately inquired, "you said she was with the team." Delia had asked about her friend as soon as she saw Giovanni again when they arrived back at New Island and he had told her that Aayla was alright, that she was with the other members of Team Rocket.

Giovanni wasn't fully aware of how much Aayla's appearance had changed, he assumed she might have a few scars maybe, but never guessed she had been mutated that much. He assumed that Aayla had to be somewhere in the sea of black uniforms with red Rs, he never got to see the video Binks took, but if Aayla had accompanied Delia in her reckless mission, then she had to be well enough. None the less, Aayla's whereabouts were a mystery; it was another thing that had to be dealt with later. "I don't know," Giovanni finally admitted.

Disappointment and frustration quickly returned to Delia full force, "you said she was with the team, were you just guessing? You really don't understand; I knew it was a lie, but I wanted so badly to believe you!"

"Delia," he interrupted raising his voice above her upset accusations, then paused as they went onboard the ship anchored at shore and down to the cabin below deck, "I have a lot on my mind right now," he finished in a softer tone, weary rather than annoyed.

Delia nodded, filled with guilt; it was her foolish choice that could have cost Aayla her life for all she knew, but she couldn't throw her anxiety at Giovanni, he had never looked this stressed and tired for as long as she had known him. Everyone was at breaking point if not beyond it, perhaps even the seemingly invincible leader. "I'm sorry, just forget about what I said," the words tasted bitter, she couldn't believe what she was saying. "Right now all that matters is that the crisis has passed and soon everything will be running smoothly again."

"There's a lot to be done," just going over the long list of plans he wasn't sure how he would accomplish threatened to give Giovanni a headache.

"Yes there is, and it will be done, I'm sure it can be accomplished," they were in their cabin at the leader ship, safely behind locked doors, away from the tension of the aftermath of the chaos, "there will be no more traitors in Team Rocket."

No more traitors, if only everyone was that loyal. Outside, the sun shone in the early morning, but instead of waking up as the people of Kanto must have been doing in their homes; Giovanni and Delia were finally going to sleep after being awake for nearly twenty-four hours.

The cabin was slightly more elegant than the rest of the ship, but it was still simple with plain floors, lacking the plush carpets of a truly luxurious cabin. There were no glass chandeliers, fancy entertainment systems or expensive furniture, but there was a soft comfortable bed, with fluffy pillows clothed in the same dark red of the sheets. It was not a color Delia felt like looking at, but it didn't matter, she was thankful she could finally rest.

Delia's slumber was fueled by exhaustion alone, as her thoughts refused to be silent, the grim possibilities of Aayla's fate were still in her mind along with similar pessimism related to Luke, Leah, Binks and Team Rocket in general. She kept subconsciously pushing those thoughts away as they haunted her nightmares.

xoxox xox xoxox

It was mid day when Giovanni woke up; he had a lot of work to do, a lot of trust to test and even more to take away. He would not leave any openings for betrayal; somehow, he would accomplish it, even if it felt as if it was impossible. Perhaps Delia's optimism was what kept everything together after all, along with her uncanny ability to do what needed to be done in the most critical moment.

Delia woke up soon after Giovanni. Her slumber was not restful at all and the images of nightmares were still fresh in her mind. She still felt tired, but she didn't want to go to sleep, even if it seemed impossible, her dreams really were worse than reality. She was clinging to Giovanni so strongly in her unconscious state that he could not get up without waking her.

"You can rest a little more," he finally escaped her tight embrace, which was so much more welcoming than the situation that awaited him, but he knew he had to face, the sooner the better.

"No, I'll get up too, I'm not that tired," her rapid heartbeats and quick words were not due to being energetic, but to the unconscious rush of adrenaline from nightmare induced fear. "There has to be something I can do, I'll help out with anything, I want you to count on me." It was true that they disagreed on many things before, but they were making progress and it all started with Mew. Delia just had to keep finding ways to make the right things appear as the most beneficial path to Giovanni.

Her apparent burst of energy was another of Delia's surprises, "you're energetic for someone who hasn't had any caffeine in over twenty-four hours." Giovanni could use some coffee, the last time he had any was in Cinnabar Island before the volcano attack. He had been a little distracted when the explosion suddenly came, he was thinking, analyzing, while at the same time listening to Delia, wondering how ready she was to play a bigger role in Team Rocket.

His thoughts from that morning were set aside after the crisis began and now was certainly not the time to think of such things. But even he had to admit that this time he would need someone to help him more directly, someone he could rely on, someone that reminded him that nothing was truly impossible, someone he could trust completely.

Delia wondered why Giovanni looked so lost in thought all of a sudden, so analytical and plotting, yet at the same time so human. "Giovanni, did you hear a single word of what I said? Are you sure you don't want to get some more sleep? You never get a lot, but maybe you should this time. I can go take a look around and bring you the full report; I don't want you getting sick from exhaustion." She made herself smile, for a moment forgetting all that she had lost, all that she thought she lost, all that was uncertain, all that was left behind and all that was destroyed. Instead she focused only on what she was thankful to still have. For a moment despite it all, she looked radiant, too good to be true.

Now was really not the time, but for once, he didn't care. He retrieved a small black box from his pocket, he wasn't sure if the time was right back at Cinnabar Island before the attack, the atmosphere had been, but that was not the part that truly mattered. Beyond the walls of the cabin, uncertainty awaited, all the more reason to have at least one certain thing in life, he placed the little box in her hands.

Delia looked at the box curiously. Was it a jewel he meant to give her and forgot about after the volcano was attacked? She knew to expect something fancy and expensive, rare and valuable, she was right, but the contents of the box still surprised her. It was a ring, a beautiful platinum ring with a big diamond on its center.

"Marry me..."

Delia could hear her own heart pounding as time stood still and for a fleeting blissful moment all the bad memories went away, all the negative events were erased and she felt as if they were the only two people in a perfect world. She was about to answer, she was about to accept, but before she could speak, the ship rocked violently.

The noise that came with the sudden movement was loud enough to go through the thick walls of the cabin. Delia gripped the box, closing it in her hand as she struggled to stay on her feet. Before she could even think, she was running out of the cabin after Giovanni, rushing out to see what was happening. Everything descended into chaos from there, it was a massacre.

One of the ships was on fire, sinking slowly into the relatively shallow waters of New Island's coast, the flames near the bottom turned to smoke as they reached the water, but the top of the deck was still ablaze, it was impossible to get in. The explosions had come out of no where and all Team Rocket could do was try to put the fire out. It couldn't have been Han or his allies; they were imprisoned on that very ship.

A chain reaction with the machinery, cannons and fuel supply had been started on the ship carrying the prisoners where Leah, who looked less sane than Binks, was standing at the bow of the ship, motionless with a wicked expression. She was quiet, sweet and polite, but she carried a lot of pressure she did not let out until she finally snapped, she could no longer run away from her problems or keep them bottled up.

Leah had learned a lot from Aayla when they were still friends, becoming a skilled thief with her ability to remain unnoticed. She knew how to pick locks, not that the lock of her cell was particularly hard to pick, since no one would expect pokemon to even try. Leah's suffering began when Han supposedly died, and it only became worse when she found out he was alive. She cursed the man who stained Han's memory and killed him along with all his followers.

To be Continued

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Don't Give Me Diamonds

Diamond 032: Give Me Freedom

It was daytime, but the room was dark and depressing, all the windows were closed. It didn't matter, the day was dark outside anyway, with heavy rain and gray skies. There was no harsh wind, the world wasn't angry, it was sad. That was all Delia felt; she had no room left for more. She was back at the Viridian Gym, the place she might have once called home, but the word didn't fit it anymore.

Giovanni was busy, his proposal, which she didn't get a chance to answer, had been forgotten for the time being. After Leah's sudden attack everything dissolved into chaos and many lives were lost. The aftermath was finally settling in.

Delia stood from her bed and dug out an envelope from a drawer filled with copies of her favorite pictures. She kept meaning to make an album and never got around to it, she probably never would. The plain white envelope contained pictures of happier times; the first she took out was a picture of Giovanni and herself on the day of the victory party when Madame Boss had visited. She had given Giovanni her resources that time, only because she knew he didn't really need them at that point, then she went away.

The next day a box had been delivered to the gym in the mail, it had no sender address, but it got safely through security and was given to Giovanni. The box contained a glass ornament with a small yellow sticky note that read 'to brat boy from mommy', Delia wondered where it was; Giovanni probably got rid of it. Madame must have sent it to annoy him. The ornament was a glass orb with a strange color changing glow inside it, mounted on a polished but aged metal base. The inscription on the base read 'anima: verus mysterium' which translated to 'soul: true mystery.'

That was a different time filled with wonderful hopes and dreams nothing like Delia's current worries and nightmares. Giovanni was stressed, arranging a cover up and making up for the lost resources, while getting rid of incriminating evidence. All of that affected Delia greatly.

She turned the TV on and changed the channels to display the morning news, where they were talking about the weather. She left the TV on and continued thinking about the disaster, unable to push it out of her mind. The ship carrying the prisoners had been destroyed, the bodies drowned or charred depending on what level of the deck they were kept in. Han and his followers were bad people, Delia had concluded, but they didn't deserve that, they didn't deserve to helplessly die a painful death. Leah died along with them, despite it all, she was still a dear friend to Delia and she would never return.

For all Delia knew, Aayla could be dead as well, drowned probably. She was strong, inhumanly so, but Delia had grown tired of hoping for a miracle, her hope was dead and she no longer held on to its ghost. The deaths of Leah, Han, his allies and captain Adoy were confirmed. Aayla's mutated body had not been found, but that was not enough to make Delia believe she survived. Luke spent the entire ordeal in his cell, curled up into a ball in a corner. He didn't look up at the chaos, noise and alarm, he remained motionless, he was breathing, but inside, he was lifeless.

The weather woman finished her report and the image on the TV changed to the main anchorman of the morning news. He was giving an update about a supposed terrible accident. Delia watched the TV as the man reported, "it has been confirmed that the S.S. Lapras, a cargo ship captained by Windu Adoy, sunk two days ago. The vessel, that normally followed a trade route between Fuchsia City and Cinnabar Island, sunk several miles south of its normal route. It is unknown why the ship was in that location, but a terrorist take over by the same organization that attacked the volcano known as Princess at Cinnabar Island is suspected. It has been determined that the S.S. Lapras sunk due to the harsh storm that assaulted the area on the night when the ship went missing two days ago. The coast guard is making an effort to further investigate and recover the bodies of the crew. Tune in to our evening news for a further update on the situation."

The anchorman made a small pause then continued on with the next report, "in other news, a series of petty robberies have been reported in a small stores and households all over at Cinnabar Island. Peculiarly, only food was stolen, though there has been some minor property damage. Ameda is at Cinnabar Island to bring us more information."

The image changed from the anchorman in the gray suit and blue tie sitting behind an immaculate white desk, to a field reporter. The reporter was a woman in a maroon suit, who shared the same shade of light brown hair and green eyes as the anchorman. She was his younger sister, who was rumored to have been hired by the news channel simply because of her brother's position.

She smiled at the camera, a little too cheerfully to fit the topic of her report. The background showed the main street of Cinnabar Island with stores lining it. Several people stood next to the reporter, waiting to express their worries and lack of trust in the Cinnabar Island police. "Thank you Jango, I am here with-" Delia turned off the TV cutting Ameda off at mid sentence.

The cover up seemed to be going alright. Regardless of how strange it was for a ship belonging to an experienced sailor to sink, it could be attributed to a lack of sailing knowledge on the part of the terrorists. The police wouldn't dig too deeply into that logic and Delia knew it. They wouldn't try to make sense of the state of the sunken ship, if they even bothered to further study how the hull could have been perforated and the deck damaged. Even if the signs of a battle were obvious, it could all be attributed to the situation of the hijacked ship.

The fact that some of the bodies were burned when they were dumped at the site where the S.S. Lapras sank would not be questioned either, it was just an unnecessary complication to add to the restlessness of the already stressed population of Cinnabar Island. It would only make their anxiety spread to Kanto and that was bad publicity. The authorities would come up with an explanation saying there was a fire on deck or something like that. New Island wasn't mentioned at all and Delia didn't expect it to be. That was the real Team Rocket and to them what had happened was only a set back. It was a catastrophe of resources and a strain of influences, but not a true loss as deep as it was for some.

Delia didn't know what kind of fate would befall Luke, he was probably still being held prisoner somewhere. Unless it was decided that due to his proximity to the massacre and his connection with the deceased, he knew too much and the risk of having him talk was too great. Perhaps he was already dead. Yet all Delia could do was try to help Giovanni keep things running smoothly to prevent another betrayal that would lead to tragedy. She had lost too much already and didn't want to lose him too.

"What have I become?" Delia looked in the mirror, she was exhausted despite having slept; her slumber was as restless as ever. Her eyes were red from crying in her sleep and she felt lost in the middle of everything. What could she do? Continue trying to persuade Giovanni to be good while he continued to turn her into someone she disapproved of? He had changed, but no where near as much as she had and she could no longer deny it.

That was how the days passed; Delia was quiet, but effective in her job. She was playing her part, gathering information, reporting suspicious activities and supervising that everything at the Viridian Gym headquarters ran smoothly when Giovanni was busy. She also trained his pokemon so that he may step into the role of gym leader effortlessly whenever he needed to keep up appearances.

Delia felt sick with herself and the situation around her, but she didn't protest. If Giovanni noticed her discomfort at all, he was too occupied to say anything. He had no complaints at least; she was doing her job well. Perhaps he was pleased with her performance, but to her it was only that, a forced act.

It was on one of those mornings after Giovanni had gone off to work, that Delia stayed behind a little longer, fighting with her morning sickness. It was a product of stress, she was sure. She always managed to hide it from him; she didn't want to bother Giovanni when he was so busy. She wanted to be as strong as he expected her to be.

Delia dug through the medicine cabinet in the bathroom, searching for some over-the-counter remedy and came across a little box. It was a pregnancy test she kept on hand just in case. She had never suffered any false alarms before, it's not like she was careless. Except for maybe their Cinnabar Island holiday when she was unprepared. She tossed it back in the bottom of the cabinet and grabbed a bottle of pills she knew were at least good against the flu. She read the label on the back wondering if they would be of any help against her symptoms. She stopped reading, as if something clicked in the back of her mind and counted the days in her head. She set the bottle aside and picked up the box with the pregnancy test again; it couldn't be, not now.

xoxox xox xoxox

Five more days passed and Delia had confirmed her suspicions. The atmosphere at the Viridian Gym was not as tense as in the past week, but still a little heavy. People were getting used to being evaluated more harshly and watched more closely. Soon Team Rocket's new structure would be completely stabilized, then it would be time to leave.

Delia had asked Giovanni about the possibility of Team Rocket ever changing. He told her it would only change to become stronger and she knew what that meant, "I truly wish you the best," was all she could offer as a reply. She didn't argue, she didn't insist, she was facing reality. No more justifying Team Rocket, no more clinging to impossible wishes, it was over.

Delia left after deciding that she couldn't take Team Rocket's criminal ways anymore and she would not even attempt to raise a child in that environment. She took very few things with her. She left her pokemon to Giovanni, he was the gym leader and she had no reason to battle anymore. She took some pictures, precious memories and she took her jewelry box. She didn't take the jewels because of their monetary value, but because of the significance of each diamond and gem within the golden box. Whenever she looked at them she would remember the happy occasion in which she received them. The memory accompanying what would have been her engagement ring was bittersweet, it was a time full of sorrow, but at least he asked, even if it was seemingly forgotten soon after.

She waited until things were stable at Team Rocket, making sure to keep her pregnancy a secret. She couldn't leave until she knew everything would be alright. Or at least, if not alright, things would be how Giovanni intended them to be. Then one night she wrote a letter with a sincere apology for leaving. She assured him she had a good reason to leave, one that she wished he would understand one day, but she didn't elaborate on her reason for leaving. She wrote that she still loved him and wished him the best. In her mind the best would be for him to change the path he chouse to walk and if that did not happen, she at least wished that he would be safe and happy regardless of what he decided to do.

xoxox xox xoxox

Without a real plan, Delia went back to the only place she could think of going: Pallet Town. The following morning Professor Oak found her when he went to check the mail. She was sitting in front of his house having dozed off after a full night of walking to get from Viridian City to Pallet Town. "Delia!"

She woke up at the worried voice, sad that she must have disappointed the professor. "Professor Oak, can I...? Is it okay if...? Can I stay here for a while?" Delia finally pushed the question out in a shaky voice.

"Of course, let's go inside," Professor Oak immediately agreed with gentle concern, "we can have some breakfast and you can tell me what happened."

It was the start of a whole new era in Delia's life. She stayed at Professor Oak's house for some time, until she was able to establish the Pallet House, the only restaurant in Pallet Town. She had decided not to be a pokemon researcher or trainer anymore. She still loved pokemon, but she needed a break from anything that reminded her of the past and cooking had always helped her relax.

Delia was certain that Giovanni must have known where to find her. He had been to Pallet Town before and he knew Professor Oak was like a father to her. It was easy to guess where she would go. He made no effort to find her. Maybe he never forgave her for leaving, maybe he felt betrayed by the only one he thought he could trust, maybe he thought it would be too troublesome to try to keep her around, maybe his trust had been irreparably broken, maybe he just stopped caring, maybe they were better off apart. Delia honestly had no idea what Giovanni could have thought and felt when he read her letter, but in the end he let her go.

xoxox xox xoxox

Even before she gave birth, Delia would refer to her baby as Ash. She wasn't sure where the name came from; perhaps it was because the baby would be born from the ashes of her past life. Or maybe it was because of her wish to be reborn from the ashes and rise above adversity, like in one of the legends about Moltres. She had a feeling it would be a boy, though if it had been a girl, she would have named her Ashley.

Months passed and Delia's little boy was finally born, he came a bit early, at 10:10am on May 22, but he was healthy. When she first saw him after birth, she thought about giving him a more cheerful name than Ash, but she had already grown used to calling him Ash. If anyone asked her where the name came from, Delia simply said she liked the name and thought it sounded cool. She never gave anyone any further explanations and everyone knew not to ask too many questions.

xoxox xox xoxox

Time went on and Delia got used to her new way of life with Ash. It wasn't easy, but she managed to get through life one day at a time and her son always made her smile. When Ash was four years old, Delia received a mysterious letter, which had been sent to Professor Oak. She was at his house when he told her about the letter after taking Ash to play with Gary.

"I didn't know what to think of it at first," Professor Oak admitted. "That envelope with your name on it came inside another envelope addressed to me. Well, it only said Professor Oak, Pallet Town, Kanto. But when it comes to Pallet Town, not much else other than the name of the town and the recipient are needed for the letter to get to the right place," it was a benefit of living in a small town where everyone knew everyone, including the mailman. "There was also a note," Professor Oak showed Delia the note, clearly puzzled by it, wondering if she would be able to make sense of the peculiar correspondence.

Delia held the sealed envelope with her name on one hand and the note for Professor Oak in the other, reading curiously. "Hi, Oak dude, could you like please give this to Delia? I'm like not sure if she's like in Pallet, but I like thought you would like know how to find her, you know? Thanks, man! -Luke." Her eyes went wide in surprise; leave it to Luke to write the same way he spoke. "It's from Luke; it has to be real, who else would write like this?"

"I guess this means you know him?" Professor Oak only knew Binks and Giovanni from Team Rocket, but the team was far from his mind at the time. If Team Rocket wanted anything with Delia, they would have stormed into Pallet Town a long time ago, she wasn't really hiding.

Delia hastily tore the envelope open to see what Luke had written to her. "Luke is a friend from... a long time ago."

Professor Oak didn't inquire about it anymore. He didn't ask about anything beyond what Delia was willing to tell, but he knew the words 'a long time ago' meant Team Rocket. When she first arrived, she would get defensive if he did as much as mention Giovanni's name in a disapproving tone and would go over all his redeeming qualities in response. Though they went they're separate ways, Delia didn't want anyone to criticize Giovanni. Thus Professor Oak concluded that maybe it was best not to bring up the subject unless absolutely necessary. Either way, Delia had done well in handling things despite all that she had gone through, most of which would forever remain unknown to Professor Oak.

Delia silently read the letter and she couldn't help it but to smile at Luke's style of writing. "Hey Delia, I like hope you're well dudette. It's been like forever, but I hope you like get this letter, you know? I guess that if you're like reading this, you like got it. I'm okay, I like apologized to," there was a smudge of messily erased pencil, the outline of the letter G still somewhat visible, "you-know-who, and he like later let me go on missions. The missions are like really hard, but I'm okay, you know? I want to like be like before, you know? Like trusted, you know? Between missions I'm like training this totally awesome Beedrill that I'm like going to give you-you-who as a present. Sorry I can't like visit, you-know-who might get like angry if I do, you know?' There was a big smear following that sentence, as if Luke had started writing something more, changed his mind and erased it all. He ended the letter with, "I like hope you're okay, good luck dudette," and signed his name.

Luke was kept prisoner and later sent on dangerous, possibly suicidal, missions, but he was alive. That was the only letter Delia ever got from her past, and she could not reply to it. Luke had left her no address to reply to, but she was still thankful she had received his letter.

Ever since that fateful night when Delia and Giovanni met in the Cerulean City Pokemon Center, many things happened and many things changed. Delia knew she would never be completely free of her past, but she knew she would treasure it. Perhaps true freedom was not in the ability to forget, but in choosing to remember.

To be Continued

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Don't Give Me Diamonds

Diamond 033: Give me Mystery

It was October thirty-one and Saffron City was filled with lights, Jack-o-lanterns, pumpkins and various Halloween decorations. Ghastly, Haunter and Gengar predominated as the pokemon featured in the decorations. The sun had set less than an hour ago and the streets were already flooded with people in costumes. Parents took their small children out to collect candy and older kids went together in groups.

Delia wasn't sure how she got herself into that situation, but Gary's mother could be very insistent when she wanted to be. Gary's parents had been invited to a Halloween costume party at a friend's house in Saffron City. They insisted that Delia went as well and took Ash along so that he and Gary may go trick-o-treating together. That was how Delia ended up volunteering to take the boys out to collect candy so that Mr. and Mrs. Oak could stay at the party.

She took in the sweet scent of the cheerful night, made sure her tail was where it should be, adjusted her ears and confirmed that the red jewel on her forehead was still there. Then she took the hands of the two five year old boys to lead them across the street and towards the near by park. Delia had heard there was some kind of city sponsored Halloween event there. "It looks like most of the trick-o-treating is going on at the other side of the park."

"I'll get the most candy!" Gary confidently declared. He was dressed as a Squirtle, matching his parents' costumes. His mother was a Warturtle and his father a Blastoise.

"No, I'll get the most candy!" Ash, who was dressed as a Charmander, immediately responded to the challenge. Ash and Gary had been rivals for as long as they could remember.

The two boys pouted at each other as invisible sparks of determination flew. They looked forward, towards the other side of the park where the lights were the brightest, laughter echoed and music was heard. They tried to shove each other aside, shoulder with shoulder as they glared. Then they started marching more hastily with each step, until they started running.

"Wait up you two!" Delia ran after the boys, she should have known they would run off the second she let them go. She dashed after them, her long curly tail wagging as she ran. Unlike the boys' full costumes, Delia's costume was a relatively simple accessory costume with a cream colored knee length fuzzy dress complete with a tail sewn in place. She had paw shaped boots, a bell collar, a pair of Persian ears, a red ruby on her forehead and feline makeup with a painted nose and whiskers. Her brown hair had grown longer, flowing down her back and framing her face, covering her human ears.

Before they reached the other side of the park, Ash and Gary spotted an older lady sitting by herself in a lonely bench next to a lamppost. She had a closed book on her lap, using it as a solid surface to write a letter with red ink on a floral stationary. The woman didn't appear to be carrying candy, but the boys had nothing to lose by asking her for some. Maybe they could get ahead in the race if it turned out she had some candy hidden somewhere. "Trick or treat!" Ash and Gary called out in unison, holding out their smiley faced pokeball shaped baskets towards the lady on the bench.

As Delia caught up to the boys, she took a quick glance at the letter in red ink. She saw the words 'Miyamoto' and 'Mew' within the context of the letter, but despite her curiosity, she made herself look away. It was rude to read someone's private letter and she didn't want to set a bad example.

The older woman reached into her purse and took out a couple of chocolate bars. She gave one to each of the boys, who smiled and chorused, "thank you!" The night was only starting and they had already obtained one of the better treats on their first attempt.

"Here's one for you young lady," the woman handed Delia a chocolate bar, grinning widely, "I know someone who would really like your costume." The scene brought memories to the woman's mind, though she had not been in costume herself when she put her three year old brat boy in a Charmander costume. It was done mostly for her own amusement many years ago.

Delia froze as she accepted the chocolate. Giovanni had once told her he was born in Saffron City, Madame Boss previously conducted her business in the eastern side of Kanto with a base in Saffron City. Delia didn't think of that when she agreed to attend the party but all the pieces were falling into place. The older lady in front of her happened to look a lot like Madame Boss, Delia finally noticed. She never expected to run into her. Having seen Madame only once before for a few minutes, Delia didn't recognize her immediately. "Thank you," Delia managed to say, pushing out the words to sound as natural as possible, "have a happy Halloween!" Then she rushed away with the two boys who were eager to get to the Halloween party on the other side of the park.

Relatively far from Madame Boss, Delia stood in line with Ash and Gary so the boys could receive their share of candy from the Saffron City mayor. She finally dared to look back across the park and saw the faint silhouette of the enigmatic Madame Boss. It looked like Madame had gone back to her writing.

Delia evened her breaths and willed the rhythm of her heart to settle down. Even if Madame knew who Delia was, she was not going to call Giovanni and he would not go to Saffron looking for her even if Madame called him. A small part of Delia couldn't help it but to wonder if he would like the costume, but she told that part to be quiet and kicked it to the back of her mind.

"Mom, how come you're squishing the chocolate that lady gave you?" Ash brought his mother's attention back to reality with his curious and concerned question. It was a terrible waste of perfectly good chocolate.

"Oops, I was distracted," she examined the chocolate she had squeezed in her hand, at least the wrapping didn't break, "it's still good, here, you can have it," she added the chocolate to Ash's smiling pokeball basket, which clearly made the little boy very happy. Ash gave Gary a victorious look and Gary pouted, but remained determined to win in the end. There was no way Ash would beat him, even with his mother's help. A Squirtle should be able to beat a Charmander in a pokemon battle, so the same should apply to Halloween.

The encounter with Madame Boss on that Halloween night in Saffron City, reminded Delia of the air of mystery the older woman carried. Then the thought of mystery along with the mystifying atmosphere of Halloween and all the legends that the holiday carried, reminded her of a vivid dream she had years ago. Delia wondered if it was more of an out of body experience than an illusion. Even if apparently no more than a few minutes truly passed during the experience, it felt like hours went by. She had disregarded it as her imagination becoming over active due to too much wine and Giovanni didn't remember the events at all.

It happened soon after the first time Delia met Madame Boss at Team Rocket's victory party after things settled down at the Viridian Gym. Back then, Delia and Giovanni were still happily together. Madame had sent her son an unusual gift; it was a glass orb with an odd glowing color changing light within it. It was mounted on a polished but aged metal base and the inscription on the base read 'anima: verus mysterium' which was an ancient language for 'soul: true mystery.'

It was a very old relic that could open the door for the image of a person's soul to visit a world of mystery, but the door would not open for anyone and the image may vary in time. The second Delia read the inscription there had been a bright light and when the glow faded, everything had changed.

xoxox xox xoxox

The surrounding area was full of grass, flowers, plants and trees. It didn't have enough trees to call it a forest, but a forest could be seen in the distance, along with mountains, lakes, rivers and very diverse sceneries. There was a little hut near by with a path full of puddles leading to it. It appeared to had rained recently, though it had already stopped and the sun was shining. The hut was made of wood, branches and twigs tied together with vines, giving it a simple rustic yet cute look. It was akin to a picture in a children's story book.

Delia and Giovanni were very confused, a mere few seconds ago they were in their room at the Viridian Gym. "What is that?" Giovanni pointed at the pokemon in surprise. She was pink with big light blue eyes. He had never seen a creature like that before; he wanted to catch that pokemon.

"Charmander?" Delia curiously looked at the Charmander standing before her, "Giovanni?"

His jaw dropped and his eyes went wide in surprise. "Delia? You're a, a... what are you?"

"You're a Charmander!" Delia exclaimed, then added, "I mean for real this time!" She examined her pink paws and touched her little triangular ears. "I'm not sure what I am," she looked at her reflection in a puddle of water on the path. The image reminded her of one of Professor Oak's sketches from his theories about Mew. "I'm a Mew!"

"The legendary?!" Giovanni didn't know what in the world was going on, but it couldn't be so bad if the legendary Mew was involved. He had never seen a pokemon like that before.

"Daddy, mommy, what's going on?" The little voice belonged to Meowth, who appeared to be puzzled as well. Both of the humans turned pokemon looked at the little Meowth. Despite their changed appearances, he recognized them, probably by scent or instinct. "How come you turned into pokemon? Did you get tired of being humans? I think it's really cool," the small Meowth smiled, he was not alarmed by the situation as the other two were.

"We're pokemon and we're in an unknown place," it all began to sink in for Delia, this had to be related to that light from the glass orb. "Anima: verus mysterium, must be some kind of magic words to turn us into pokemon and teleport us away!"

"I knew you had a big imagination, but that's going too far. Clearly this is some kind of prank from my annoying mother," though he could not explain how she would accomplish such an elaborate trick. "That's not the point," Giovanni paused, his expression was in deep thought, then finally he asked the question that puzzled him so much, "why are you legendary and I'm just a Charmander?"

"Um..." Delia shrugged, she didn't have a real answer so she took a guess, "maybe it's because I call you Charmander all the time?" She thought about the magic words and what they meant. She wasn't too fluent in translating, but she had learned the basics from Professor Oak and those were pretty common words. "Soul: true mystery, maybe Charmander is the pokemon of your soul. I think it fits all things considered. You're stubborn and have a fiery temper, but you can be cunning and strong."

"And you're a legend?" Giovanni didn't remember ever calling Delia Mew. Maybe she was just a rare kind of person; he knew she was unique.

"Maybe?" Delia gave up on overanalyzing things, perhaps pokemon were carefree by nature and it was getting to her.

"I can't take care of things around Team Rocket like this. I can't believe I'm a Charmander, not even a Charmeleon, but a Charmander. I should have been a Charizard or another Mew or something," Giovanni pouted, though his worries seemed to mysteriously fade little by little. "This place is doing something to us, or being in this form is affecting us," he noticed.

"I thought so too, I guess we're adapting to the nature of pokemon. You shouldn't complain about being a Charmander, you look really cute like this. Besides, you don't like pink and if you were a Mew, you would probably be pink," Delia pointed out as she embraced her carefree nature. Professor Oak only had some black and white sketches of what Mew possibly looked like based on ancient stone carvings. He might be surprised if he found out the legendary was pink.

"Alright you have a point, but we still need to do something," Giovanni had no clue of where to start. Everything was strange, but he knew they had to do something fast or they might start thinking too much like pokemon.

"I know what we could do!" Meowth suddenly exclaimed cheerfully and got their hopes up for a fleeting moment, "let's play!"

Giovanni couldn't believe that for a second he actually expected Meowth to miraculously come up with a solution to their odd dilemma. "I really don't think playing will turn us back into humans." He looked at Delia, the legendary Mew, and got an idea. "Delia you're a Mew, use your legendary power to change me back!"

"I'll try," Delia was puzzled as to how her legendary power, if she had any, could possibly be used. "Turn human!" She pointed at Giovanni, picturing his human image in her head. She willed him to change back with her mind, but nothing happened. "I think my move-set is empty."

"I can use the fury swipes!" Little Meowth chirped contently.

"That's very good sweetie," Delia petted Meowth on the head encouragingly, while Giovanni wondered if they would ever be human again.

"Maybe if you train you'll unlock whatever legendary power you have," Giovanni theorized, then the question surfaced of what he could do. He looked away at the empty space down the path, took a deep breath and blew, but nothing except air came out of his mouth. "I can't breathe fire?" He tried again to no avail then looked over his shoulder at the flame burning on his tail. If he hit something with it, that should work as an attack. But he wasn't used to having a tail so he wasn't sure how to make it work. He reached for his tail moving a little to grab it until he was spinning in oddly amusing motions that culminated when he grabbed his tail. He paused from his task of examining the flame curiously as the terrible realization hit him, "did I just chase my tail?"

Delia was rolling with laughter, though Meowth found the act

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