Here is Chapter Eleven. I hope you enjoy it.
Chapter Eleven: Hospital Romance
Sam and Agatha made their way up the beaten uneven path, occasionally slipping over the rolling pebbles, which seemed to have a mind of they own as they shuffled under their feet. For the whole journey, as the sun gradually set below the horizon, Agatha remained several feet behind him. If it wasn’t for her Sam wouldn’t even be doing this. He’d be going to Boku Town, but it wouldn’t be to apologise to Joven; it would be for his gym battle. But he wanted to impress Agatha, so showing her that he was a nice person and not just some thug was definitely the right thing to do. He didn’t know why he felt this way about her. From the moment he saw her he had fallen under her charm, and he couldn’t break free. He felt as though he’d do anything for her, even if it meant going after Joven.
If Joven hadn’t gone to Boku Town though, Sam would’ve outright refused to Agatha to follow him. It was only because Boku Town happened to be the location of his first Pokémon Gym that Sam was even considering it, despite how he felt about her. Joven needed to learn his lesson, and apologising and saying that he was wrong wasn’t going to do it. He was a complete prick and he deserved everything he got. It just wasn’t right to interfere when someone was trying to catch a Pokémon. In Sam’s opinion, that was almost as bad as stealing the Pokémon right out of its trainer’s lap. The thought of losing Bulbasaur again deeply angered Sam, but he was confident that he had got his message across to Joven loud and clear. He’d think twice before doing something like that to Sam in the future. Of course, Sam wanted nothing more than to never see Joven again in his life.
Despite leaving just minutes after Joven, they never saw him in their sights. Joven was moving slower because of his back, but Sam had his own injuries from their fight that hindered his progress as well. He hadn’t realised it until he got up, but Joven’s sharp kick into his shin really caused some damage. He was limping badly and a large bruise covered most of his lower leg. His right leg felt like it was attached to a heavy ball and chain, and the upwards hill and uneven terrain did nothing to make Sam’s journey to Boku Town any easier. And yet Agatha still hadn’t passed him, something which made Sam begin to worry.
Maybe she hates me, he thought. Maybe she thinks I’m despicable for fighting like that. If that’s the case I’ve got to make it up to her!
At the same time as Sam was desperately trying to impress Agatha, Agent Carson Roberts was with his boss, and together they were discussing which city to target next with the Rift Opener.
“Well, how about Cinnabar Island? It’s an isolated place, so the police force would be spread even thinner if we do it.”
“What do you mean?”
“Look,” Carson began, drawing her attention to the outspread map in front of her. He leaned over the desk and began pointing at various cities on the map. “So far we’ve only used the Rift Opener here and here. If we choose Cinnabar, which is all the way down here, then the police forces of the other cities will be diverted there to try and find some evidence. That spreads their manpower very thinly across Kanto, making it less likely for them to discover us. Fuschia could also do that, but that’s part of our backup plan. We can’t target that yet, just in case things get really out of hand.”
“No, I don’t want Cinnabar,” the boss replied. She sounded almost bored by their discussion, as if they were talking about the weather, not the lives of millions of people. “There’s nothing of value there. I need to get rid of threats.”
“What kind of threats do you have in mind?”
“I’m thinking of Boku Town, more specifically, their world renowned hospital. If there are somehow survivors of Celadon City, then...”
“That’s virtually impossible,” Carson interrupted.
“I know that,” the boss scathingly replied. “But there’s always a chance. If there are any survivors, they would be directed there for treatment. Also, if anyone outside of Lavender witnessed what happened, either Boku Town or Cerulean City would be the most likely places to go to report it. Since the residents of Cerulean City also rely on the Boku Town hospital and emergency resources, they are a prime target. Not to mention that the fire fighters and police currently at Celadon City are also from Boku Town.”
“If you don’t mind me asking, how is that particularly threatening?”
“Because, you imbecile!” she yelled, banging her desk with her fists, and sweeping the map onto the floor. “If people survive our attacks, they could possibly have compromising information. If they are treated, they can then go see the police. If they see the police they can report what they know, and we will then be compromised. You don’t remain a secret organisation for decades by being sloppy, Agent Roberts.”
Most of her agents would have been cringing in fear right now, but Carson merely smiled across the desk at her, showing no signs of anxiety. His calmness always infuriated her and he knew it. “Of course,” Carson replied, a hint of sarcasm evident in his voice. “But then again I don’t know as much about your secret organisation as most, now do I? After all, I’m not exactly a member. I only accepted your offer because of one thing. That one thing wasn’t out of loyalty to you, belief of your cause, or even for the cash. So don’t assume that I know your entire history, because quite frankly, nothing about your organisation interests me in the slightest.”
The boss scowled across the desk at Carson, wanting nothing more than to throttle him. Insulting her organisation was an insult of the most personal kind. He had insulted all the blood, sweat and tears she had put into building it into the underground organisation it was today, and all the sacrifices she had made to get it done. But right now she needed him, so she couldn’t risk losing her temper. Once his usefulness was gone, once the job was over, she could afford to eliminate him. He’d be expendable then.
“Agent Roberts, I have not forgotten your unfamiliarity with our protocols and history. But you have done a good job so far, except for the fiasco in Veilstone City. Our entire cover could’ve been blown because of your recklessness.”
“Uh-huh,” Carson offhandedly replied. “Do you want me to give the order to target Boku Town or not?”
“I want you to do more than that,” the boss said, using all of her self control to remain calm. Agent Robert’s disrespectful and unfazed attitude was making her anger escalate by the second. “I want you to watch over Boku Town from now until the time when the Rift Opener is charged enough to be used.”
“That’s could be over a day, maybe even as long as two. You expect me to just sit there and watch that boring town for that long?”
“Of course I do,” she smugly stated. “That’s what I’m paying you to do. To carry out my orders until the completion of this operation. Maybe by an off chance those kids will show up there. If they do, their trip to the Distortion World will occur sooner than expected.”
“Yes, sir,” Carson said as he got to his feet. He smoothed out his clothes before heading for the door. “I’ll head to Boku Town right away.”
“If you do think you’ve spotted the children, even with our operatives’ downright awful descriptions, make sure you keep them in Boku Town until the Rift Opener is ready. I will kill them in the Distortion World, right in front of their families. That will show them what price they pay for interfering in my...”
“Yeah yeah,” Carson interjected. “No need to ramble. I’ll get right on it.”
“Don’t lose your cool like at Veilstone, Agent Roberts, or else you will be eliminated, no matter how useful you are.”
Carson nodded, completely ignoring the obvious death threat he had just received. Even though he knew she could beat him in a Pokémon battle, and that her Pokémon were deadly to say the least, he knew she would never be able to kill him. Stronger and more powerful people had tried and failed, and he had enough ingenuity and skill to escape from any situation. Not to mention the fact that if he died she would never find out the crucial information he had hidden from her. She thought the kids and the police were her biggest threats. Witnesses from the attacks were the least of her worries. A force much more deadly stood in between her and success. It was a force that he had known about since stealing Team Galactic’s research, a force that he was going to use as insurance.
If the situation called for it, he would reveal the information to her, to ensure his safety. If she didn’t try to kill him, which he severely doubted, he would just hide the information from her for the whole operation. He would have his money, and he would be long gone before she realised what it was. Carson couldn’t help but smile as he made his way out of her office, and he laughed out loud as he left the base. Even though they were working together, there was almost nothing Carson wanted more than to watch this woman fall flat on her face.
Sam and Agatha stood just outside Boku Town, casting their gazes around the town in search of Joven. As they expected, they couldn’t see him amidst the bustling crowds of the city. Even after the sun set, the city was active and alive with both Pokémon and people wandering the town. Agatha was just about to enter when she heard Sam gasp in pain behind her. He was lying on the ground, right leg extended straight out, and he winced in pain as he clutched at it. Sweat poured down his face as his pain escalated, and when Agatha tried to get him to stand up, he crumpled down again.
“Sam, what’s wrong?” Agatha asked concernedly.
“I don’t know,” Sam replied, his voice cracked, his mouth dry from the pain. “It wasn’t this bad before.”
“I didn’t realise you were in this bad a shape. We need to get you to a hospital. I know there’s one here, but I don’t know where.”
Knowing that Sam couldn’t walk, Agatha carefully stood him up and supported his body with her left arm, which Sam’s right was draped over. She walked around town in search of the hospital, trying as hard as she could to support Sam’s body weight. Sam tried to help, but every time he put any pressure on his right leg, pain shot up it, overwhelming him. After several minutes of fruitless effort, she asked some of the townspeople, who pointed her in the right direction.
Even though Sam was in dire trouble, Agatha couldn’t help admiring Boku Town as she made her way to the hospital. It was beautiful. There were no roads, instead there was just grass. Trees and bushes were plentiful, and every house, big and small, had wonderfully extravagant gardens. The aromas of the hundreds of varieties of flowers mixed in the air, giving it a most curious scent. Berries and fruits of all shapes and sizes grew from the trees, and almost every one Agatha passed had at least one Pokémon scurrying across the branches. In the pale glow of the moonlight, the grass seemed to glisten and glow as it fluttered in the warm evening breeze. What were most amazing though were the houses themselves. They were all built completely out of wood, not bricks, and yet they were in perfect condition.
As she rounded the last corner before the hospital, Agatha grew even more astounded. She had been expecting the hospital to stick out like a sore thumb against the brown wooden buildings of town. All hospitals she knew of were sparklingly white and sterile, huge, and crowded. But not this one. Just like the rest of the town, it was made of wood. It stood three stories high, and not a single person was outside it. It was easily the biggest building in town, but Agatha couldn’t help but feel underwhelmed by it.
“Excuse me, is that the hospital?” Agatha asked an old man passing by, shifting her body weight to keep Sam from slipping out of her grip.
“Sure is,” the old man replied. “It ain’t extravagant, but they do brilliant work. There ain’t another hospital like it in the whole world.”
Agatha nodded and thanked the man before walking uncertainly up to the building, unsure of what she would see when she walked inside. She pushed open the door with one hand, using all her might to keep Sam upright with the other. Seeing that Agatha was having trouble, Sam hobbled through the door on his own, slowly making his way over to one of the five beds lining the opposite wall. There were twelve beds in total in the room, spaced out among three of the four walls. The other wall had two locked doors and an elevator.
“Are you alright?” Agatha asked, closing the front door of the hospital behind her and rushing over to Sam’s bed.
“It’s not that bad,” he said, though his grimace of pain gave away his true condition. “I’m sorry you had to drag me around town like that.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Agatha replied, clasping Sam’s right hand tightly around her own. Sam stared down at her hand in amazement, then back at her, all the while his face reddening.
“Um...” he sheepishly began.
“Sorry, sorry,” Agatha hastily replied, yanking her hand away from Sam’s. “I’ll go get you some help. HELLO! IS ANYONE HERE? WE NEED SOME HELP!”
Sam clapped his hands over his ears to block out Agatha’s loud shrill voice, but it had done its job. An old woman came bustling down the steps, a white lab coat trailing behind her. She had black curly hair, and even though she looked like a cranky old woman, she seemed to make the atmosphere of the room warmer and friendlier just by being there. There was a nametag pinned to her coat, which read, “GANGO”.
“What’s the matter? You said you needed help,” Nurse Gango asked in a croaky voice. Her voice made her sound like she was angry, when in fact Agatha knew she was concerned. It was a strange fit for a nurse.
“Yes, Sam, he got into a fight with another kid. He seemed to be fairly fine for a little while, just cuts and bruises, nothing serious. But when we arrived in town the pain in his leg got a lot worse, and now he can barely stand up,” Agatha explained, occasionally glancing worriedly at Sam’s bed.
Nurse Gango nodded to show she understood, and then bustled over to one of the doors next to the elevator. She rummaged around in there for a few seconds before coming out, pushing a service cart ahead of her. The cart was full to the brim with various medical equipment. Agatha followed her over to Sam’s bed, and every time she picked up a piece of equipment, Agatha would ask what it was and its function.
“You need to get out of the way, young lady,” she said briskly. “I can’t possibly perform my job with you constantly hanging over my shoulders. Now sit down over there,” she said, indicating a couple uncomfortable wooden chairs on either side of the front door with a long bony finger. Agatha knew it had been a request, not an order, but she didn’t consider disobeying even for a split second.
She made her way over to the chairs and sat down, watching Nurse Gango examine Sam’s leg. She used almost every piece of equipment in the cart during her examination, and Agatha couldn’t even begin to fathom the function of most of them. Gango poked and prodded him in every imaginable place, and they seemed to drag on forever. Occasionally, upon reading some data gathered by the equipment, her brow would furrow, further pronouncing her wrinkles. Agatha watched anxiously the whole time, her legs crossed tightly, and her hands clenched so tightly that her knuckles were white. Finally, after over an hour of Nurse Gango bustling around the hospital, she finished.
“How is he?” Agatha asked as Nurse Gango approached her. “Is he going to be alright?” Back in his bed, Sam leaned up into a sitting position so he could hear what she had to say.
“He’s going to be fine. All of his injuries but the one in his right leg are superficial and nothing to worry about. The reason why his leg hurts so much is because he’s fractured his tibia. It’s a tibia diaphyseal, A grade, linear stable fracture. That means it’s a minor fracture that should heal fully without any complications,” she added at Agatha’s bemused expression.
“So that’s good, isn’t it?” Sam asked from his bed. Agatha had seen him breathe a sigh of relief when she said that he would be fine, but he still sounded concerned.
“It is. The fracture isn’t serious at all. You should be able to walk in two or three days, albeit a bit lame, and in a week you should be back to normal. If it had been more serious, you might never have been able to walk properly again. Judging by what this young lady said before, it sounds like after the initial blow it wasn’t fractured, but the stress you put on it while travelling here caused the tibia to fracture.”
“Isn’t that great, Sam?” Agatha said, beaming across the room at him. She couldn’t believe how much of a relief it was to hear that Sam wasn’t more seriously injured. Without even knowing it, she had grown very concerned with Sam and his wellbeing. She couldn’t explain her feelings, but when Sam’s condition was uncertain, she had felt sick to her stomach, but upon hearing the good news, relief had washed over her. Her heart felt like it had stopped beating while she watched Nurse Gango examine Sam from head to foot, but now it felt stronger than ever.
“Is there anything you can do for the pain, though?” Sam asked, wincing and grimacing in pain as he lay back down.
“Yes, there is,” Nurse Gango replied. She rushed upstairs, and about two minutes later came back down with two bottles in her hand. One was completely clear, showing a murky green liquid inside, while the other one had a label imprinted with a cow’s face, and was full with what looked like milk. Nurse Gango picked up a spoon and poured some of the milk onto it and gave it to Sam, urging him to drink it.
“This is the world famous Moo Moo Milk,” she said. “It’s far more nutritious than your average milk, and will greatly help your recovery.” Sam graciously took the spoon, and put it in his mouth. The effect was instantaneous. Even as it was travelling down his throat he could already feel his pain alleviating. After a few seconds the pain was just a numb tingling sensation.
“Now drink this,” Nurse Gango said, handing Sam the much less appetising spoon filled with the murky green liquid.
“What’s this?” he asked. He pulled a wretched face at the liquid, and wrinkled his nose in disgust as he smelt it. It smelt like a mix between rotten eggs and dirty diapers.
“It’s something that will help you sleep. The best thing for you right now is sleep.”
“But I’m not tired. I’ll stay in bed. I promise,” Sam desperately pleaded, putting his hands together as if in prayer.
“I’m not having any of that nonsense,” she briskly replied. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my thirty-six years of nursing it’s that you can never trust your patients to do as you ask. I have had countless patients disobey my orders when I’m not around. No matter how qualified you are, and how often they come to a hospital for your assistance, they can never follow a simple order of bed rest. Heaven forbid a trained nurse might actually know the best way to treat someone.” She waved her arms in the air wildly as she ranted about past patients, her voice growing louder and louder. She had a stern look on her face, and Sam couldn’t help but feel that she would do something horrible if he didn’t do as he was told.
“Fine, I’ll take it,” Sam said. She watched him suspiciously, a prominent frown on her face. After he drank the liquid, which tasted far worse than the milk, and which caused him to cough and splutter as he swallowed, he laid his head against the fluffy white pillow. His eyelids slowly drooped, until they finally closed, and less than a minute later he was fast asleep.
“There, that’s better,” Nurse Gango said approvingly. She leaned over his chest, gazing intently at his chest, rising and falling as he breathed in and out. “It looks like he really is asleep.”
“Is there any reason he wouldn’t be?” Agatha asked uncertainly.
“You’d be surprised how many people would fake following my orders,” Nurse Gango said. Every time she spoke, she sounded more and more paranoid, but Agatha was sure it was all justified. She knew that she couldn’t stand being cooped up in a hospital bed for days at a time, and if she could, she would do almost anything for some fresh air. “Well, time to put these away,” Nurse Gango said to herself. She picked up the two bottles and was just about to enter the elevator when she felt something tugging at her arm.
“Wait, can I ask you something?” Agatha asked.
“Well, you just did, but I will certainly let you ask something else, young lady,” she replied, smiling at her own joke.
“Is that cow on the bottle supposed to be a Pokémon?” Agatha asked, pointing to the label on the bottle of Moo Moo Milk. “You said it’s much more nutritious than normal milk, so I was just wondering.”
“Yes, it is a Pokémon. The only one I own as a matter of fact. It’s called Miltank. I can show it to you if you want.”
“Really?” Agatha eagerly asked. “That would be great.”
After she put away the medicine, Nurse Gango led Agatha to the second door on the first floor. She pulled it open, and Agatha was surprised to see that it led outside. A porch had been built around the back and side wall of the hospital, and dull glowing lights hung at regular intervals. Nurse Gango led Agatha across the porch, her high heels clicking off the wooden floorboards of the porch. As they came around the back of the house, Agatha saw another, much smaller building.
It was a stable. There was only room enough inside for a few animals, and as she walked closer to the stable, she saw that in fact there was only one stall, which was currently occupied. Curled up inside the solitary stall was the Pokémon depicted on the bottle of Moo Moo Milk. It was asleep, and as it snoozed it made deep grumbling snores, sounding not unlike a car engine. Agatha leaned over the railings of the stable at various angles to get a good look at the Pokémon inside. It was pink all over, except for its underbelly which was cream, and the top of its head, which was black. Attached to its large belly were four pink udders, which quivered slightly as Miltank dreamt. Occasionally as it rolled over, one of its stubby legs would kick out, and its long tail which ended in a black ball swung from side to side.
“So this is Miltank?” Agatha asked Nurse Gango quietly. “I’ve never seen or heard of it before.”
“It’s not very common in these parts at all, but when I came to work at this hospital, I bought Miltank along. It loves it here. It gets to roam in the grassy plains out back all day, and it even enjoys the milking sessions. Moo Moo Milk is one of our most potent medicines. It boosts and speeds up recovery, and can be used to treat most minor illnesses such as the common cold.”
Agatha backed away from the Miltank and cast her gaze beyond the stable. Grassy hills and plains seemed to spread on and on for miles and miles. She couldn’t help but imagine how much fun Miltank had grazing in the fields and frolicking in the grass. She had to admit that Boku Town and its hospital were a perfect fit for it. She then slowly made her way into the stable, and examined the machines for milking Miltank. Once she was done, she came back out, and found Nurse Gango sitting down on the porch steps.
“You don’t mind if I draw Miltank, do you?” Agatha asked.
“It’s just something I like to do when I see Pokémon, especially when they’re ones I’ve never seen before. I don’t really train and battle Pokémon, I sketch them.”
“Sounds like you’d make a good Pokémon artist,” Nurse Gango replied. She sounded quite fascinated by what Agatha just said. “I hear that job pays good bucks. Anyway, be my guest.”
Agatha smiled graciously at Gango before pulling her sketchpad out of her backpack. She hadn’t sketched a new Pokémon in a while now, and it felt good to get back to doing something she loved. Normally, Gastly and Nidoran would’ve been the latest entries in her sketchbook, but so much had happened since she had met Gastly, and it had been too dark when she met Nidoran. But with the porch lights casting a warm glow around the area, she could sketch Miltank perfectly. During the sketch, Agatha moved around and around Miltank, adding in tiny details at the best angles. She was so determined and focussed on her sketch that she only faintly registered Gango re-entering the hospital. Agatha tried to convince herself that she was sketching just for the sake of seeing a brand new Pokémon, but deep down she knew that it wasn’t the case. The only reason she was sketching Miltank was so that she didn’t have to dwell on her feelings towards Sam. They were so intense and overwhelming that she didn’t want to think about them, and she was afraid of what they truly meant.
Finally, after she was sure there was nothing more to work on, Agatha pulled herself away from Miltank, examining her sketch closely under the porch lights. Just like the real thing, Agatha had drawn Miltank sleeping, which didn’t leave much excitement in the drawing, but it was an accurate rendition nonetheless. Feeling thoroughly satisfied with her night’s work, Agatha went back inside the hospital. She closed the door behind her, but as soon as she turned around and saw Sam, all the feelings she had been trying to block out flooded back. Feeling confused and uncertain, Agatha made her way over to Sam’s bed.
“Why didn’t you tell me your leg was so bad?” she whispered. “What made you continue moving even though you were in such pain?” Agatha was begging for an answer she knew wouldn’t come. Sam couldn’t hear her and she knew it. She pondered the questions over and over in her mind. Even though his leg hadn’t initially been fractured, Agatha knew it had hurt all the way to Boku Town. She had walked behind him the whole time, she had seen and heard his discomfort and pain, seen his awkward stride up the path, and yet Sam didn’t say anything or stop. Why? He must have had a good reason, but she just couldn’t think what it could be.
What Sam did had been foolhardy and reckless, but Agatha didn’t see those qualities in him. For some inexplicable reason, she had complete faith in the boy sleeping before her. Even though she first saw him beating Joven to a bloody pulp, she thought of him as a good person. Something about him captivated her, but she couldn’t put her finger on it. That was when it hit her. She knew nothing about Sam. She had all these feelings towards him, she trusted and had faith in him, and all she knew about him was his name. That wasn’t right, was it? That wasn’t how love was meant to be. Weren’t you supposed to know the person before you felt this strongly about them?
But was it really love she felt? Or was it just some silly schoolyard crush? Something that you thought meant so much, but really meant next to nothing. Agatha’s heard was spinning at all the crazy thoughts in her head. She had feelings for Sam, of that she was certain, yet he clearly didn’t have any for her. He hadn’t shown any indication of that. Or had he? Maybe that was why he had gone on for so long with such a sore leg. Maybe he had been trying to impress her, to show her that he was all tough and macho. If that was the truth, then Sam was foolish. She would never want him to do that for her.
All her uncertainty was threatening to overwhelm Agatha. There was so much she didn’t know, so much she needed to know, before she could act on her feelings. She’d ask Sam tomorrow morning how he felt. One way or another she would get an answer to the questions burning her up inside. For now though, she needed rest. It had been a long day, and only now as she sat on the comfortable fluffy warm bed beside Sam’s did she realise how tired she really was. She pulled the covers over her, and as soon as her head hit the pillow she fell asleep.
When Agatha woke up the next morning, she looked over at Sam, and wasn’t surprised to see that he was already awake. She always slept in late, and she had been so exhausted last night that she had probably slept for a couple hours more than usual.
“Hey, how are you?” she asked groggily. She rubbed her eyes to adjust to the bright sunlit room, and slowly clambered out of bed.
“I’m fine,” Sam replied. “The pain’s a lot better today. Nurse Gango has already been doing some stretches with me to check how the leg’s going, and she thinks I’ll be able to walk tomorrow as long as I don’t aggravate the leg today. I’m so glad it’s only a minor injury. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to continue my journey, or battle the gym.” Sam’s expression had changed while he spoke, from gratitude and hope, to one that was glum and sad.
“Wait a minute. You challenge gyms?” Agatha exclaimed.
“Yeah. That’s what Pokémon trainers do, isn’t it? I thought you knew that.”
“No, I didn’t,” Agatha mumbled.
“Is that a problem?” Sam asked uncertainly. He didn’t understand what was wrong with Agatha. She almost seemed angry at him just because he wanted to challenge gyms.
Agatha pondered her response for a few moments before deciding what to do. She told Sam everything - well almost. She didn’t mention anything about what happened in Lavender Town or with the men she had seen, and she didn’t say anything about her crush on him. But she told him all about her philosophies and beliefs about how wrong Pokémon battling was, and how she usually despised Pokémon trainers for doing that to their Pokémon. No matter how many times Sam tried to convince her that Pokémon enjoyed it too, she stubbornly refused to listen.
She didn’t say much as Sam continued to persuade her, instead focussing all her thoughts on what to say next. She had been so confident in what to say the night before, but at the realisation of Sam being a trainer hoping to enter the Pokémon League, she was more uncertain than ever. What frustrated her most though was her stupidity. How could she not have seen that a young boy travelling with Pokémon was almost certainly a beginning Pokémon Trainer?
After much dodging of the subject by Agatha, met with just as many pushes by Sam, the conversation finally ended. For a few minutes they sat in silence, neither daring to look at the other. Eventually Sam decided that he would tell Agatha a little more about himself. He wanted her to like him. That wasn’t going to happen if she didn’t know anything about him. He told her all about his Mum and the pressure she put him under, and how both his father and grandfather had been Pokémon Trainers before him. Even though Agatha was deeply interested in what Sam had to say, she didn’t show it. Sam knew now that he’d never be able to get into a relationship with Agatha. They had met in the worst of circumstances, and now she hated the very thing he loved most. If she didn’t like him before, she was guaranteed to hate him now.
“Anyway,” Sam began awkwardly, trying to find a way to change the subject. “I just want to thank you for what you did yesterday. I didn’t think you liked me at all, especially with how we first met, but what you did was great.”
“It was nothing,” Agatha said, shrugging her shoulders in modesty. “I would have done it for anybody, regardless of the situation. I wasn’t just going to leave you like that.” Agatha was about to turn away, but she knew that now was the perfect time to find out what she wanted to know. She knew that if she didn’t do it now, it would haunt her all day. “Sam, can I ask you something?” she asked, swinging around determinedly, her fists clenched tightly behind her back.
“Why didn’t you tell me about your leg yesterday? It must have been painful even before it fractured like that, but you didn’t do or say anything. You just kept on walking. Why?”
At first Sam didn’t respond. He just stared down the bed at his toes, which were poking out from under the covers. Finally he spoke, deciding that if there was any chance to salvage some sort of relationship with Agatha, he’d have to tell the truth.
“Well, this is kind of embarrassing, actually stupid more than anything,” he began nervously. He stared sheepishly down at his doona, and grabbed it nervously. “I’m not quite sure how to, you know, say it. I guess it was, you know, because...”
Just as Sam was about to finish, the front door of the hospital flung open, and standing in the threshold of the door was Joven; if you could call it standing. He buckled to his knees, and he almost had to drag himself into the room. His egg was placed precariously in one hand, while he crawled along the floor with his other. He was in so much pain that he was crying, and he could barely speak. Every time he moved, he reached towards the middle of his back, the exact same spot he had hurt yesterday.
“Please, please, I NEED HELP!” he screamed, his face bright red, his knuckles a contrasting white. Agatha instantly rushed over to him, but he pushed her back. “Not you!” he hissed scathingly.
The elevator suddenly pinged and Nurse Gango rushed out. Upon seeing Joven, she rushed over to him, unceremoniously shoving Agatha aside.
“Out of my way, young lady!” she snapped. “I need to get to the patient.”
She helped Joven up, and then slowly guided him over to a bed two spots away from Sam’s. Nurse Gango gently and cautiously managed to get Joven into a lying position in the bed, being extra careful to not cause any sudden movements. The whole time she had been in the room with Joven, Nurse Gango had noticed him clutching his back in pain. Back injuries could be very serious, so she had to be extremely careful.
Agatha made her way over to Joven’s bed, feeling heavy with guilt. What with her feelings towards Sam, and her concern to make sure he was alright, she had completely forgotten about Joven. He had looked to have been in worse pain than Sam yesterday, and yet she hadn’t thought about him even once since. Agatha felt horrible, as though she was the one causing Joven’s pain. How could she have forgotten about him? Agatha’s guilt was immense, and now she felt just as concerned for Joven as she had for Sam just last night. Sam obviously didn’t feel the same way though. He had his back turned to Joven, and was diligently pretending to be asleep.
“Do you know what’s wrong with him?”
“Unfortunately, dear, I don’t know what’s wrong with him. Not yet, anyway. There’s obviously something wrong with his back, but I’m going to have to take a closer look to find out.” Nurse Gango then promptly made her way behind the bed and pushed it towards the elevator.
“The high powered scanning equipment is on the second floor, and if I want to see deeply into this kid’s back, I’m going to have to use them,” she explained to Agatha as she waited for the elevator to descend once more. When the elevator finally made it, and the doors opened, Nurse Gango wheeled the bed around and backed into the elevator. She pressed a button inside, and disappeared behind its doors within seconds.
Agatha listened to the soft hum of the elevator as it reached the second floor, and then heard the ping as the doors opened. Feeling just as dreadful as when Nurse Gango had been examining Sam, Agatha took a seat beside his bed, and buried her head in her hands. For the next couple of hours, she did nothing but wait, praying any second to hear the hum of the elevator as it descended back down. Starting to grow restless, Agatha stood up and walked around the room, opening every drawer and cupboard she came upon. All of them were filled with medicine, bandages, complex medical equipment, or textbooks detailing rare and unusual diseases or injuries.
As she looked at a box of ointment used to help heal burns, the fire symbol on the box caught her attention. It was only then that Agatha remembered why she had even come to Boku Town in the first place. She looked at her watch, and was startled to see that it was almost dusk. Over a day had passed since she had heard the men discussing their plans to kidnap the head scientist of Silph in Saffron City. Like most people in Kanto, Agatha was well aware of the prestigious and brilliant minds employed there. If these men needed someone to help them operate their deadly machine, then there’d be no better place than Silph in which to find one.
Now Agatha had less than two weeks to try and stop them. She had wasted a lot of time in Boku Town already, and knew that she had to do something soon. But now that she had met Sam, she didn’t want to leave him. She now had to make a terrible decision. Did she follow her heart and stay with Sam, or did she leave him and try and stop these guys on her own? Her mind was telling her there was only one choice she could make, but her heart was telling her a completely different story. But Agatha didn’t let her feelings cloud her logic and what she knew was the right thing to do. She would have to leave for Saffron City without Sam, for it would be too dangerous to bring him along, and she would have to do it tomorrow at the latest. If she didn’t, the men would get their machine running at full capacity, and they would target her along with the other kids who had tried to stop them.
“Excuse me, children, but do you know this boy?”
Agatha jumped a foot in the air as Nurse Gango addressed her. She turned around, flustered, and was surprised to see both Nurse Gango and Joven back in the room. She had been so caught up in her own thoughts that she hadn’t heard the elevator. Joven looked asleep, or sedated in the bed beside Nurse Gango, whose eyes were darting from Sam to Agatha and back again. While her eyes were bright and active, Nurse Gango’s face was grim and sombre, and the way she spoke made her sound like she was speaking at a funeral. Sam still had his back turned to her and Joven, and refused to respond, so Agatha stepped forward.
“Um, I don’t know him personally, but I think Sam does. All I know is that his name is Joven, and he was the other kid in the fight with Sam. I think they’re friends, but they were fighting pretty fiercely.”
“Well, I’ll tell you both what I know,” Nurse Gango replied, casting a penetrating gaze into the square of Sam’s back. Clearly she wasn’t fooled by his act of being asleep. “Joven has a herniated disc in his lumbar vertebrae, and it is causing symptoms very similar to those of sciatica.”
Yet again Agatha hadn’t understood a word Nurse Gango had just said. “What does that mean?” Nurse Gango sighed before explaining it, as though any random person in the street should know what she said meant.
“The spinal cord consists of three sets of discs. The cervical vertebrae at the top contains seven discs, the thoracic vertebrae in the middle contains twelve discs, and the lumbar vertebrae at the bottom contains five discs. One of the spinal discs in Joven’s lumbar vertebrae, or in laymen’s term, his lower back, has been injured in this fight. Spinal discs have a tough fibrous outer layer and a more jelly like interior. In one of Joven’s discs, this jelly like interior, the nucleus pulposus, has broken through the fibrous layer, the annulus fibrosus, and is pressing against his sciatic nerve. This is causing severe pain in his lower back, buttock region, and in one of his legs as well. This makes it very hard for him to walk, or to even stand.”
“O-Okay,” Agatha said. It was much more information than she needed, but she believed she understood the problem, at least moderately. “What’s the treatment for this...sciatica?”
“Well, it varies on causes, but since this is due to a herniated disc, the best treatment is simply bed rest. The pain can be great with a herniated disc, but I will be able to dull that both with Moo Moo Milk and a few other drugs, but his movement will still be limited for a while. Judging by the damage shown in the scans, it will take at least a week to fully heal. He won’t be able to move at his full capacity for another two weeks, but he should be able to walk in a week. There are cases when rehabilitation is much shorter, and some patients have even been up and about and running in a week. Since Joven is young, it will probably speed up the healing a bit, but I won’t know for sure how long it will take to fully heal until I observe his progress over the coming days. I have him sedated currently, but he should be awake in a couple of hours.”
“Thanks, Nurse Gango,” Agatha said graciously. “You don’t know how much it means to hear that these two will be alright.”
“It’s my pleasure, darling,” she replied, beaming across at Agatha. “But you!” she said sternly, pointing directly at Sam, whose back was still turned. “You should know better than to settle disputes with fists, especially on someone as young as Joven. Don’t do it again!” Gango then walked back towards the elevator, muttering under her breath about how foolish children were these days, and then went up to the second floor.
About an hour later she came back down, wheeling with her a tray full of food, stating that every growing child needs to have their dinner. Agatha graciously accepted her share, and even Sam finally sat up when Nurse Gango asked him if he was hungry. After they all finished their dinner, Nurse Gango went back upstairs to wash all the dishes.
Not long after she left, Joven finally came to. At first he looked down at the bed bemusedly, trying to remember how he got there. He tried to sit up, but immediately felt pain shooting up his back and down his leg, so he lay back down. He turned his head to his right, then his left, looking thoroughly displeased at the fact that he was bedridden and still in pain. When he saw Sam and Agatha to his left, he grew even more unhappy.
“How are you doing?” Sam asked cheerfully, mockingly waving across the room at Joven. “What’s the matter? Did I hurt you too bad?”
“Sam, shut up,” Agatha hissed.
“I can handle it,” Joven replied defiantly. “What are you in here for?”
“Just a fractured leg. Should be up and about and challenging the gym tomorrow,” Sam said coolly.
“You’re lucky I didn’t hurt you more than that.”
“Stop bickering you two,” Agatha said, knowing full well that they weren’t going to listen. Sure enough...
“Look who’s talking, Joven. You’re the one that can’t sit up, stand, or walk. According to Nurse Gango you could be in here for over a week.”
“I don’t see you running any marathons.” Joven didn’t know whether Sam was telling him the truth about his injury, or whether he was just jibing him.
“Hah! Why don’t you run home to your Mummy? Oh yeah, that’s right, she ditched you. You don’t have one.”
“Sam, how could you say something like that? That’s a horrible thing to say,” Agatha scolded. She glared furiously at Sam, who met her angry expression with a nonchalant shrug of his shoulders. “Joven, he didn’t mean it. Really, he didn’t,” she said as she turned back around.
But Joven was already out of his bed, gingerly gathering up all his things and making his way to the door. He didn’t look to be in as much pain as before, but his movement was still awkward to say the least. His right leg was numb, and he had to almost drag it behind him as he hobbled over to the door, and he still couldn’t stand up straight.
“Joven, no, please don’t go,” Agatha begged imploringly. “Sam really didn’t mean what he said. Besides, you have to rest to get better.”
“Then I’ll rest outside. Just leave me alone!” he yelled as Agatha made an attempt to walk over to him. Without another word, Joven left the hospital, slamming the front door behind him.
“Oh, I hope you’re happy with yourself, Sam!” Agatha yelled.
“Let’s see,” Sam began sarcastically. “Joven’s gone, but we’re both still here. Yeah, I think it all turned out pretty well.”
For the next couple of minutes, the two argued, Sam refusing to apologise for what he said. Their voices grew steadily louder, eventually grabbing the attention of Nurse Gango, who had just fallen asleep in her bed on the third floor. She sprinted downstairs, putting her frilly pink dressing gown on as she went. When she entered the room and saw Joven’s empty bed, she almost fainted in shock. But she quickly regained her composure.
“Where’s my patient!? Where’s Joven!?” she yelled. She towered over Sam and Agatha, and despite her diminutive appearance of a frail old woman, she terrified them. Sam was just thankful that she wasn’t brandishing a hard object; otherwise he’d be ducking for cover.
“He left because of something Sam said. It was so vile I don’t think I can repeat it,” Agatha hurriedly replied.
“This can not be happening,” Gango muttered under her breath. “Never have I let a patient out of my care when they’ve needed it. Never! I can’t leave him out there all night, but I can’t leave the hospital either. Oh, what is a woman supposed to do?”
“Excuse me,” Agatha said timidly.
“What?” Nurse Gango snapped.
“I’ll go looking for him. It makes sense. Sam can’t do it on his injured leg, and you can’t leave because of your duty to the hospital. Besides, I want to get away from him,” Agatha said, jabbing her finger forcefully in Sam’s direction.
Nurse Gango nodded in agreement, and Agatha bolted out the door in pursuit of Joven. It was now the dead of night and the moon was hidden behind a cloudy sky, making the search for Joven that much harder. Even as she ran up and down Boku Town searching for Joven, Agatha couldn’t stop thinking about what Sam had said. She hadn’t known that Joven’s mother had left him, but judging by his reaction, it was definitely true. For Sam to use something like that as an insult was incredibly tactless and rude. Yet she still kept on telling herself that he surely didn’t mean it. She still had an inexplicable faith in Sam, despite all the real world evidence completely contradicting what she thought.
Knowing that she would need at least some form of aid in her search, Agatha released Gastly from his Pokéball. The gas surrounding his body slightly illuminated the imminent vicinity, but it didn’t help that much. She told Gastly to float high into the air and search from above for a young boy. Together, they scoured the town from top to bottom, inspecting every nook and cranny, but they found nothing. As she disappointedly made her way back to the hospital, Agatha grew really concerned. Joven couldn’t even walk probably, and would soon be in excruciating pain when the drugs he had been given wore off. The last thing he needed to be doing was walking around an unfamiliar town all alone in the middle of the night.
Just as Agatha was making her way up to the front door of the hospital, she noticed a path leading off to the right, and eventually out of Boku Town entirely. She thought to herself that Joven could have very well gone down that path instead. It made sense that he would want to get as far away from Sam as possible, which would mean leaving town altogether. She called Gastly down from the sky so she had more light, and quickly made her way down the path. Just like the rest of Boku Town, there was just grass as far as the eye could see. Eventually she saw a few flower beds on either side, but there was still no sign of Joven.
At the very end of the path, right at the edge of Boku Town’s border, Agatha saw a large statue. It depicted a creature that looked like a hedgehog. Its back was covered in grass, and there were flowers on each side of its face. At the base of the statue, Agatha could just make out a small amount of writing, so she knelt down closer to read. Even with Gastly’s extra light, a lot of the words were too faded to read.