Damian stayed tense, and Kess let out a snarling growl as Aggron took a defensive stance. Damian felt the sneer on his face deepen as Steven looked confused, and figured that he had already dug a hole, might as well lay in it.
When Steven turned to look at him with caution in his eyes, he felt a chuckle rise in his throat. Kess only moved closer to he trainer, remembering the champion from Meteor Falls with her eyes narrowed. Damian brought his hands up and let the chuckle roll from his lips as he stared down Steven with anger in his eyes. This man had helped bring down Magma, and that put him terribly high on Damian’s shit list.
"You’d think it would be easier for a former champion to remember a member from the organization he helped destroy."
Steven’s expression grew from confusion to disbelief as he slowly began to connect the dots, having a hard time imagining that he’d run into a former Magma grunt here. In Kanto. Working for Team Rocket.
"You’e fromTeam Magma," he finally stated, drawing that conclusion for all his Pokemon. And, as if on cue, the entire party shifted gears from joy to alarm, ready to defend. Bracing themselves, they flanked on either side of Steven as he continued to speak.
"But what’s a Team Magma grunt doing way out here?" He asked, no longer a trace of humor left on his face. "In Team Rocket?"
Agh. OTP questions… xD
Jasmine seemed to dare straightening her back a little more when she heard Steven’s laugh. It’s soft nature almost caught her by surprise. When he offered his hand she tried her best to move the books so that they balanced on her left arm, so that she could greet him properly with a shake.
"I-I’m Jasmine. I’ve been here for about a year." she said before withdrawing her hand and continue focusing on not dropping her borrowed literature. With a hundred things she wished to ask Steven, not even one of them seemed wise or fitting for the situation. Instead she dropped them and focused on what she had to work with in front of her. "Are you… on your way somewhere? It’d be an honor to accompany you. It’s not every day you get to meet a fellow steel-type specialist, as you mentioned. I don’t want to be a burden though."
"Wow, really. How exactly does a Gym Leader end up working for Team Rocket? If you mind my asking, of course." Interestingly enough, Steven knew that she wasn’t the first person he had run into here who had come from a similar background. Through the halls, he’d already seen several notable Gym Leaders that he had heard or read about in his time, but what was going on? Why were they getting involved with Team Rocket? There had to be something suspicious going on.
"Oh, you’re not burdening me at all, really. In fact, I’m not even going anywhere in specific. I’ve only been here for about a week or two and I’m just trying to familiarize myself with the area. So I do a lot of wandering around in my spare time; I just like to explore," he said, smiling. It seemed as though roaming the Rocket halls was as close to exploration as he was gonna get around here.
"Do you need any help with those books?" He realized he may as well help if he wasn’t up to anything too important now, anyway. It’s not like he had anything better to do.
Even though she was absolutely sure that the answer would be something of the sort, there was still a sting — or perhaps even a blow — of sudden nervousness and excitement when he proved her theory to be true. She’d raised her own Metagross when she had the chance, solely because this man had raised such a good word about the species, and thus he’d become a true inspiration for her. Of course, she wouldn’t be able to tell him that, but with a timid smile she decided to try and make him see. Perhaps he’d catch the drift.
"N-no, not necessarily…" she mustered to say, forcing herself to speak a little louder than usual, just to make sure she wouldn’t have to awkwardly repeat herself. She’d been trying to make that a habit for quite some time, and she was finally starting to remember it more and more. "My name is Jasmine. I’m the former gym leader of Olivine City in Johto, and specialize in steel-type pokémon… I thought it was nice to see a familiar face around here. N-not that I would ever wish for someone to turn up here, I-I hope you understand…"
And there it was again, the sand-haired woman shutting her lips together, because her nervous nature was getting ahead of her. She didn’t want to say the wrong things, but she surely didn’t want to seem like a fool, either. She was standing in front of a true steel-type master. She wanted to be professional. She wanted to remember and embrace that part of herself. The one who maintained a sort of pride at times like this.
"I’ve admired you for quite some time. And that’s why I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help disturbing you when I realized who you were."
Steven couldn’t help but light up; he was unbelievably flattered, completely taken by surprise. He had no idea that he’d run into a fellow Steel-type specialist, let alone a former Gym Leader; what was she doing here, anyway? Brushing the question aside, he thought back to what she said and smiled again, suppressing the bashfulness inside him. It had been so long since he’d gotten this kind of attention from anyone, he couldn’t help but feel all giddy inside.
"Oh my, don’t be sorry! It’s so nice to meet another Steel-type specialist here, of all places, too. Haha." Laughing softly, Steven brought forth his hand out, excited to make his first acquaintance here. "Well, you know my name already. But to whom do I owe the pleasure of meeting?"
Damian froze in the doorway, having taken the time to actually look at whom he was speaking to for the first time. Kess had stopped as well, a low growl in her throat as she backed up to Damian’s side protectively. If there had been one person he had certainly not expected to see here—
—It was certainly the one man who would possibly recognize him for who he actually was. Aside from his Magma brothers that is.
Kess certainly remembered this man. And judging by the way Zion’s pokeball was rustling on his belt, she did as well. Damian did his best to school his expression before it turned into a sneer, but couldn’t stop his biting remark. He might not have been able to feel much, but as far as hatred and contempt went? He was pretty good at that.
"Well, I certainly didn’t expect to see you here. How it seems the mighty have fallen."
Steven was having a jolly old time here, but it wasn’t until he heard that comment that he was suddenly jerked out of his merriment. “Excuse me?”
He was confused. Did this man know him? From the corner of his eyes, Steven could tell that his Pokemon were just as taken aback, staring at the man with curious expressions. Seconds gave out and something must have clicked in Aggron’s memory because all of a sudden, the Pokemon rose from it’s sprawled out position and braced itself into defensive mode.
"Huh? What’s going on?" He murmured to Aggron, rubbing the Steel-type’s scales in an attempt to ease the Pokemon. Who was this man?
Redirecting his attention back to the intruder, Steven looked to him with that same look of confusion but now with an added precaution. “Who are you?”
Morgan should’ve been used to the fact that sleeping in was ever-so impossible with a room full of puppies by now. She was fully aware that they were nothing like Levi and his indifference to everything, and that they constantly wanted some form of attention and on top of that had tendencies of either getting whiny or grumpy if they didn’t get it. Though that more or less depended on which dog was being a little shit at the given time.
Jacques was the grumpy type; if he didn’t get what he wanted, he would turn away and growl every time his trainer tried approaching him. He’d come around after a while, of course, but in reality grumpiness was just like him.
Cenobia had an affinity for headbutting things, much like the creature he was named for, and if he was desperate enough, he’d outright charge at Morgan and knock the wind out of her. And if she didn’t get up fast enough, rinse and repeat.
Wander was intelligent, and knew just how to get what he wanted, when he wanted. No matter what he had to climb on top of, what height he had to leap from, the Riolu would do it all. All while knocking things over for his trainer to clean up after.
Then, there was Vigilance. Damn, could that Poochyena ever howl ! He was loud, persistent, and he definitely was not above invading Morgan’s personal space.
This particular afternoon while she was attempting to recover what sleep she’d lost the previous night, Vigilance kicked up hell on earth. He jumped up on her bed whining in that pathetic little way he used to gain sympathy, and tugged on her shirt until he managed to drag her off the bed.
All for what ? A walk. A fucking walk.
Now the walking dead and her energetic hound companion were on their way outside, strolling through the halls and down the stairs.
Vigilance scampered about, barking enthusiastically at his trainer’s feet while she moved at a much slower pace and grumbled under her breath about how tired she was.
At least, until Vigilance overheard some strange cries ahead of them, and decided now would be a good time to make a break for it and see what was going on.
Upon noticing the absence of barking, Morgan glanced up tiredly and swore. The dog was at it again, and what could she do but sprint after him as fast as her legs would allow her to go.
Of course, she really should have been watching where she was going instead of taking off like a pissed off Tauros, as the next thing she knew was that she’d done fucked up and bumped into somebody.
"Son of a— Okay no, sorry bro, that was my own damn fault.”
Clueless as to what was about to happen, Steven clutched onto Archen for dear life as the Poochyena raced passed him, his leash nearly getting caught on Steven’s legs and almost tripping him over. It was only until after the pup had vanished down the hall that he was finally able to ease up, but the events that just occurred had in no way prepared him for Morgan’s entrance.
Not even knowing what hit him, Steven apologize on instinct, a quick, “Oh, sorry about that,” just barely making its way out of his mouth before Archen erupted into a crying fit. To which he responded by rocking the hatchling in his arms and gently trying to hush it down. By this point, it hardly mattered to him that someone had bumped into him. What he was more concerned with was whether or not they would be of help.
"Excuse me," he said, returning his attention back towards the female he’d run into. "Would you happen to know where I could find any food around here? A vending machine, a lounge, anything?” Trying his best not to sound desperate, it was whenever Archen would start up again that one could visibly see the urgency in his eyes. It was hard to contain it all: he was desperate, frazzled, and a little embarrassed, to say the least.
He found himself wandering the halls early in the evening, having just gotten back from town to gather some foodstuffs and some locks for the drawers in his room. He had been told that he would be getting a roommate for his bunk, which didn’t surprise him too badly, it had seemed a tad spacious for a simple grunt. Well someone had finally noticed and now he was going to have a bunkmate, and would take no chances with someone finding Malakai’s pokeball. Kess let out a small whine next to him, bumping against his leg, the Mightyena giving him a look that told her she was bored.
Damian supposed he had been a tad lax with his training, he had been preoccupied with Ruby coming to the base and keeping Sapphire in line. It was all terribly fun, but it was time consuming. He gave a nod and they headed towards the training room, Kess trotting along besides him with much more bounce in her step.
Kess bounded into the room ahead of him, and as he walked in he saw another person had beat him to the training floor. As they turned to look at him he gave a small nod of his head, putting on his most convincing fake smiles and spoke loud enough for his voice to carry.
"I’m sorry for my Mightyena here, Kess gets rather excited when we plan on training. I’m sorry for disturbing you, I hope we didn’t interrupt anything to badly."
It had been a long day. Or so it seemed. First week in Team Rocket and Steven was back to a busy routine. Studying fossil sediments, trying to dig up research on Mega Evolutionary Pokemon… in a way, he was actually having fun. He was studying the things he loved, getting paid to do it, and at a low living expense to boot. Of course, the uniform over his back served as the scarlet letter reminder of his allegiance to this crime syndicate, but so long as he remained able to study Mega Evolution for free, that R wasn’t going anywhere.
There was, of course, one drawback to all of this. Several, actually - if we want to be real here. But the most relevant drawback right now was the lack of attention he was able to provide for his Pokemon. He wasn’t out and about on an open field anymore; he was constantly working in a contained environment. And let’s face it, Pokemon like Metagross and Aggron were just too big to simply roam outside of their Pokeballs. It was for that very reason that Steven was in the training room this evening.
"Come on out everyone!!" And just like that, Steven tossed out all six of his Pokeballs into the air and out came his entire team: Metagross, Aggron, Archen, Cradily, Armaldo, and Klinklang. One by one, each of the Pokemon were summoned, their faces lighting up at the happy sight of one another. Steven had no intention of actually training; he just wanted them all to have room to play with one another. And it was for that reason that they all ran in to him for a group hug.
Nearly suffocating from the all merriment (and all their weight), it was at that moment that Richard finally walked in. Steven had hardly even noticed his entrance, having way too much fun from underneath the moshpit his Pokemon had buried him in. In fact, it wasn’t until he actually spoke up that any of them even realized he was there.
"Oh, don’t worry," he said excitedly, poking his head out from underneath. "It’s nothing! My Pokemon just haven’t had a chance to come out of their PokeBalls all week. We can just move over to the other side of the room if you wanted to actually train. We’re not doing anything, really."