The reactions to the napping Spewpa went… about as well as could be expected. Kakashi was leery, but he put his trust in Evangeline. Most of the newer Pokemon didn’t particularly mind one way or the other. Kanna became a doting aunt to compliment the proud papa Henri, perhaps as part of her need to apologize for what happened to Cho. Ella and Hiromi weren’t particularly happy, but they still listened to Evangeline, so she could only hope it would get better with time with them. Haruka, of course, was just happy for another playmate, even if this meant he had to share his spots with her. And that left Felix.
The Charmeleon was very obviously sulking, and he growled every time he so much as spotted the new Bug, who Evangeline had dubbed Cerise. He also growled at Evangeline, which she tolerated–she wasn’t going to get on to him for expressing how he felt.
It was when his Ember attack came too close to hitting her, and she saw him glance at her to see what she would do, that she had to draw a line. “Felix, come here,” she ordered when the wild Pokemon ran off. He paused, and so did all of the others who were playing around her sleeping bag and the nearest flower bed. He made like he was going to walk in the opposite direction, and she added with a touch of steel to her tone, “I mean it. Come. Here. Right now.”
Growling, he stomped over to her crossing his arms (a much easier task than when he was a Charmander and his arms were so short). Rather than match him defensive posture to defensive posture, Evangeline put her hands on her hips and gave him a stern look. “You can be upset,” she said. “I understand, and respect that. You can vocalize this upset as much as you want and physically can, and again, I will respect that as long as it doesn’t turn towards bullying one of the others. But you do not get to attack me over it. Are we clear?”
His eyes grew wide in surprise. She didn’t back down. Felix’s surprise turned to anger, and he opened his mouth–the threat visible, the fire lingering in the back of his throat and sliding forward. “Kakashi!” she shouted, and the Frogadier slid up from the others to stand in front of Evangeline defensively.
Felix stared at them, smoke rising from the corners of his mouth. And then he turned around, collapsing into a sit with his tail wrapped around his legs, chin up mulishly in the air.
Evangeline walked around to the side, spotting the tears at the corners of his eyes. “Oh, sweetie,” she murmured, moving to where she could cup his jaw. “I know this is hard, and you are twisted up from losing Cho, not to mention evolving. But I can’t have you around if you are going to hurt me or the others. You evolved so fast, but there is further for you to go. You have to learn to control your impulses now, and I’d be an irresponsible trainer if I didn’t pull you up.” She wiped at his cheek to catch his tears. “You will always be my friend and a part of this team, Felix. No one is ever replaced. We just grow.”
He sniffled, pouting for just a few more moments. And then he reached out to wrap his arms around her waist, tucking his head into her stomach and bawling. Sighing and wishing for just a moment he was still small enough for her to pick up, she wrapped her arms around his shoulders and patted his head. “It’s alright,” she murmured, promising as much as she could. “We’ll figure it out.”
The rest of their day passed much easier, and slowly Evangeline made her way back to Ambrette Town as the sun began to set. She reviewed where everyone was at, and while Cerise was far behind, she thought they had made enough progress today that she could press on in the morning.
When she expressed that to Nurse Joy, she clapped her hands. “Oh, you should spend the morning at the beach, before you press on to Cyllage City,” she suggested with a wide smile. “The weather will be absolutely perfect for a little fun in the surf, and it’s on your way. They even have little tents where you can change in and out of your swim wear.”
“The beach?” she repeated, confused.
Nurse Joy nodded and pointed towards the map. “Muraille Coast actually has two parts,” she explained. “The cliffs which you passed through to get here, and then if you go through the aquarium and down one level, you’ll reach the other half, a beach front road that goes straight into Cyllage.” She folded her hands in front of her politely as she added, “Our aquarium has an impressive collection of oceanic Pokemon too that you might enjoy seeing.”
Evangeline hummed. She still wasn’t sold on one singular type of Pokemon like her parents, who were either Fly or Die in the case of her father and under heavy regulations on his Gym team’s strength since he was the first on the Johto route, or Poison and the resulting tie to Bug-types, who Evangeline had developed a bit of a phobia about, like her mother and grandfather. (She was going to be the family disappointment, she just knew it. Bad thing since she was the end of both family lines.) But the aquarium sounded interesting, and would give her an idea of what was in the local waters. Kalos being such a different region, she doubted it was nothing but Magikarp.
It did make her feel guilty for not writing or calling home. With all her recent battles, she had plenty of coin for postage, and it wasn’t like the Pokemon Centers didn’t offer free wireless calling. She did some quick math. Both of her parents were workaholics–they’d be in their respective Gyms by eight a.m. It was an eight hour time difference, and it was going on evening here. If she called before bed, they’d be just getting up and feeding their Pokemon and themselves. Nodding slightly, she thanked Nurse Joy and set about getting everyone dinner for the night. (Lo and behold, Theo actually ate a smaller meal than normal after finishing off all of the berry pies earlier that day, and went right off to sleep from exhaustion due to training. Maybe she had him handled too.)
By the time it was all done, she’d braided her hair for the night and slipped into her pajamas. No one else was staying in town, so she felt comfortable padding out in her slippers to the computer terminal. Nurse Joy waved at her, but stayed behind the counter in case of an emergency. Evangeline shut the curtain of one of the computer/phone booths and logged in with her trainer ID. The system took a long time trying to set up the connection through to Kanto, but finally she was able to reach the Nurse Joy who was responsible for communication. “Call to Fuschia City Gym, please,” she requested. “For Janine.”
“Of course, and who’s calling?” she asked, hitting a few keys.
“Her daughter, Evangeline.”
“Putting you through now,” the Joy confirmed with a wide smile. “Your mother will be happy to hear from you, I’m sure!”
Evangeline managed a tense smile. She hoped so, anyway.
The line rang for what felt like forever, until finally it answered in her mother’s office. But not to her mother’s expression. Instead, a very harried looking camper picked up, squinting at the computer screen as his eyes still adjusted to the light of the lamp and screen. “Fuschia City Gym. Who is calling the boss at this ungodly hour?” he demanded in Japanese.
“Good morning, Barry-san,” she greeted him in the same language, smiling weakly. Barry had been one of her baby-sitters, the rare times she visited home after the incident.
He immediately straightened up as he got a better look at her. “Evangeline-hime!” he yelped. “I am so sorry!” He rapidly bowed several times in succession to the computer screen.
“It’s alright, I know the time difference is awkward,” she assured him. “I just wanted to check in with Mother. Is she already training?”
His face fell as he looked up. “Oh, I’m sorry again, hime. She went to go visit your honored grandfather in his mountain retreat for some bonding time. She was set to be back in a couple of days to check in with Aya-sensei.”
That lined up with what Evangeline had already known, she just hadn’t expected her mother to be gone in the days leading up to that call. Well, as far as her mother knew, Evangeline was safe and snug in Vaniville and hardly in any danger, of course she’d feel comfortable going on a trip. She smiled rather than show her distress to Barry, who certainly didn’t deserve it. “Alright, thank you for letting me know. I’ll try again in a couple of days, then. Give her my love when you do see her.”
“I will be happy to, hime!” he promised, and the line went dead.
Sighing, Evangeline restarted the connection, this time tracing it to the Johto region. “Violet City Gym, please,” she requested as a new Nurse Joy picked up the line. (And she could only tell the difference because the uniforms were slightly different between Kanto and Johto.) It was an old hat at her to make the same requests, just switching the names, although when she was younger she had gotten it muddled a few times. “For Falkner.”
“Putting you through right now,” Joy said cheerfully, and the call went through.
It took much less time for there to be an answer. “Violet City, Falkner speaking.” The man on the screen was stern of expression and clean shaven, having finally grown into a square jaw and narrow eyes. His navy hair hung slightly in his eyes in a style she was more than familiar with, though the bulk of the length was pulled back to the nape of his neck. He dressed in traditional clothes, only the sky blue of his haori visible, and his teal eyes were the same as Evangeline’s own.
She swallowed thickly and bowed her head slightly to the screen. “Good morning, Father.”
(AN: Blatantly calling out the anime and how they handled the Charmeleon/Charizard situation there…)