The Taxi landed, Leon waking Vivienne and Hop. They stepped out of the cab, Vivienne looking around. She had never been to Postwick before. It was cute with farmland surrounding the town, people had beautiful gardens with flowers blooming in bright colors. It was quiet and peaceful there, contrasting with the two boys’ energetic spirits. Her thoughts were interrupted by a loud banging. She looked over her shoulder seeing a Wooloo ramming its head into a fence across the way.
“What’s that Wooloo doing?” Vivienne nudged Leon in the arm.
Hop turned and shrugged, shoving his hands into his pockets.
“That Wooloo does that a lot.” Hop walked into their yard, heading towards the house.
“Shouldn’t we help it get through the gate?” Vivienne was confused as to why no one was doing anything to help the little pokemon.
“Um, no one is supposed to go through that gate. It leads into the Slumbering Weald.” Leon answered, watching the Wooloo carefully. “It will be okay. The little guy is safer on this side.”
“Slumbering Weald…?” She had only heard stories about that place, but she never knew where it was. “Okay, if you say so… but if it's still there after dinner, I’m checking on it.”
“We can do that.” Leon took her hand, pulling her along. He hesitated at the door, turning to her. He seemed more nervous than she was. “Um...I’m going to apologize ahead of time… my family asks a lot of questions…”
Vivenne tilted her head, smiling softly at him. She leaned down and kissed his cheek.
“I think I can manage questions. I’m a six foot three inches tall, heavily tattooed girl. I think I got this; only if you hold my hand, that is.”
“I mean, I planned on doing that anyway.” Leon held the door open for her, walking in behind her, shutting the door.
As soon as Vivienne stepped into the house, the smell of curry was in the air. Her mouth watered from the delicious scent. She could hear Hop running his mouth excitedly in the kitchen. Leon led her to the kitchen. Her hand tightened around his hand. Now she was starting to get nervous. They stepped into the kitchen, Hop had finally stopped talking and was scrolling through his phone. Standing by the stove was a pretty, stocky woman stirring a pot. When she turned, she had the same amber eyes and purple hair as her boys. She saw Leon and smiled brightly, walking over to him, embracing him in a huge hug. Leon’s smile was wide and beaming as he embraced his mom back. She was a few inches shorter than him.
“Leon! Hello, sweetheart. Let me look at you.” Emily grabbed his face gently, eyeing him carefully. “You’ve gotten skinnier. Have you been eating? You need to remember to eat during your busy schedule. Do I need to remind the Chairman that you are a human and need to eat because I will.”
“Hello, mum. I’m fine, don’t really.” He leaned forward and kissed his mom on the forehead. “You’re kind of squishing my face.”
“Oops! I’m sorry, sweetheart.” Emily let go, smiling brightly at her eldest son.
Vivienne noticed he didn’t really answer his mom’s question about him eating. That worried her a bit. Leon never really discussed work when they were together, even if she asked him. He would just say it was okay or great and change the topic.
“Mum, this is Vivienne.”
Vivenne waved bashfully as his mom turned to her. The surprised look in his mom’s eyes made Vivienne panic more.
She already hates me… She already hates me…
“You’re even prettier in person! Oh, it’s so nice to meet you, dearie. You can call me Emily or mum.”
A wide smile grew on her face as she hugged Vivienne just as tight. Vivienne froze, not expecting a hug. She wasn’t expecting her to like her at all, but she wasn’t complaining at all. Her hug felt warm, welcoming, and felt like magic. It almost reminded Vivienne of her mom’s hugs. Vivienne smiled and hugged her back before they pulled away.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you too, ma’am.”
“My, my… you are a tall one.” Both Leon and Vivienne turned to the new voice, seeing a shorter, elderly woman walking into the kitchen.
“Y-yes, ma’am… I get that a lot…” Vivienne laughed nervously, rubbing the back of her neck.
“I’m sure.” The woman responded, coldly.
Okay, it’s definitely not mom I need to worry about… it’s grandma…
“Hi, Grandma.” Leon stepped up to her, kissing her cheek, a warm smile crept onto the woman’s face. “This is Vivienne.”
“Hello, sweetheart.” She gave Vivienne a second glance before walking past them towards Hop. She leaned down and kissed his cheek, ruffling his hair. “How’s my Hop?”
Hop smiled brightly, hugging his grandmother around her waist.
“Hi, Grandma. Where’s Grandad?”
“Grandad went out of town this week to visit a friend.” His grandmother stroked the boy’s hair, smiling lovingly.
Vivienne leaned into Leon, every fiber of her being screaming at her to run away now.
“I don’t think your grandmother likes me…” She whispered, gripping onto his hand.
“Don’t take it personally. It’s not you, I promise.” Leon whispered back, kissing her temple, the tension releasing from her muscles.
“Vivienne, make yourself at home, alright?” Emily assured her as she put food on the table.
“Thank you, ma’am.”
She hesitated as she started shrugging her jacket off, remembering the short sleeve jersey she had on underneath.
Well, if grandma is going to hate already, she might as well get the whole package.
Vivienne shrugged her jacket off and placed it neatly behind her chair, sitting down, Leon sat beside her, grabbing her hand under the table. She could feel eyes on her, squeezing his hand tighter. It took everything she had not to run out the front door and go home, but Leon’s hand in hers was keeping her grounded. Hop noticed her right arm, gawking at the pokemon he had never seen before.
“I’ve never seen that pokemon before…”
It took Vivienne a moment to realize what Hop was talking about, glancing down at her Rayquaza tattoo.
“It’s the legendary pokemon Rayquaza. It’s one of the legendaries in the Hoenn region.” Vivienne smiled at how bright his face lit up. “There’s a lot of cool lore behind it, but I think I’d do that after dinner.”
Hop was about to go back on his phone, then stopped, pouting for a second. He put the phone back in his pocket, folding his arms across his chest.
“Have you been to the Hoenn region Vivienne?” Emily set the last bowl down on the table, taking her seat at the table.
“Yes, ma’am. I actually lived there for five years. I just came back about two months ago.”
“Oh I bet that it’s beautiful there. Do you have family there?”
“It’s very beautiful.” Okay, if Emily asks the questions, I’m good. If grandma starts asking questions… I may cry… “My mom was actually from Hoenn, so I have my cousin and grandmother. My dad lives there now.”
“Just your dad?”
“Oh, well, um… My mum passed away a few years ago, so we kind of moved there for reasons.”
“Oh, sweetheart, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean-”
“Oh no no no, you’re fine. It’s really no problem.” Vivienne was doing better than she thought she would so far. “I’m just glad I’m home and with my brother again.”
“Well, that’s good to hear.” Emily smiled reassuringly at her.
Everyone fell silent as they began eating. The curry was the best curry she had had in a long time. It almost tasted the way her mum used to make it.
“This is really good curry, Ms. Emily.” Vivienne saw the woman’s face light up.
“Oh thank you, sweetheart. Please help yourself to more. There’s plenty here.”
“So what did you do while in Hoenn, Veronica?” The grandmother glanced over at her, studying her carefully.
“It’s Vivienne...wh-what did I do…?” Vivienne’s voice cracked, the nerves coming back.
Leon and Emily exchanged looks as they glanced over at grandmother.
“Yes… Vivienne… my apologies. I mean as in a job, if you even had one.”
Leon’s gotta be smoking something if he doesn’t think this woman wants my head under a guillotine...
“Well, I uh… I had quite a few jobs.” That you probably wouldn’t approve of, but we’re not going to go there. “I was an intern for my father, then I worked at a museum in Sootopolis, uh- I was a bartender for a few months, and I danced.”
“Oh, like professional dancing?”
“Not necessarily professional...I taught dance.” Vivienne felt her face becoming hot.
That wasn’t really lying… I taught dance for like three months...ish… Dance moms… too many… damn… dance moms…
“And what are you doing now?” Grandmother continued, sipping her water.
She’s trying to find something to use against me…
“You don’t need to drill her with so many questions.” Leon furrowed his eyebrows, rubbing the back of his head.
“It’s fine, Leon.” Vivienne was thankful for him speaking up, but she was slowly gaining confidence. “I’m a tour guide at Hammerlocke Castle.”
“Pah. That’s impossible.” The grandmother scoffed, a smug grin lined her lips. “Only the most intelligent historians are given that position. It’s nearly impossible for anyone to get hired.”
“Well, my family happens to know that castle inside and out, and my brother happens to be the Gym Leader there, so yeah, I wouldn’t lie about that.”
“Your Raihan’s sister?” Emily cleared her throat, attempting to change the topic. “So you’re Draken’s daughter.”
“Yup, that’s my dad. The Guardian of the Vault, prior to my brother.” Vivienne slowly turned to stared down grandmother. Her face was red, the smug grin from a moment ago gone. It took Vivienne everything she had not to smirk. If she was her brother, she would have just to be an asshole.
“Vivienne’s really passionate about dragon pokemon and history. She’s brilliant.”
Vivienne’s ears were hot from Leon’s compliment. She smiled lovingly at him, pushing him gently. Emily watched the two interact and noticed the way they looked at each other. She hadn’t seen her son this happy over someone in so long. He seemed genuinely happy again, not putting on a show for the whole world.
“I’m not thaaat brilliant… maybe a bit.” Vivienne’s laugh was musical as she laughed at her lack of modesty. “I think Leon is pretty brilliant himself…”
“You both are something, I can tell you that much.” Emily chuckled softly, shaking her head, seeing how flustered her son was. “He’s had his moments, however.”
“Oh? Please do share.” She mischievously grinned, hearing Leon groan.
“Mum, spare me, please.” He covered his face with his hands.
“Hm, which one should I start with: Getting called to the Pokemon Center because Leon fell out of a tree and broke his arm trying to catch a pokemon or Leon and Hop getting chased by a herd of Wooloo?”
“I would love to hear both.” Vivienne giggled, hugging Leon’s arm, pressing her lips gently on his forehead.
The dinner continued smoother than the start with lots of laughs and Leon being flustered. When they all finished, Hop stayed a little longer before finally heading out to do some last minute training. Vivienne kept insisting that she help clean but Emily wouldn’t allow it. She was just as headstrong as her kids. Soon it was time for Leon and Vivienne to head out. Leon gave his mom a huge hug, not letting her go. He kissed the top of her head, smiling warmly down at her.
“I’ll come down again soon when I can, okay, mum?”
“I would like that a lot.” Emily mumbled, holding him tighter.
“I love you.” Leon told her softly, kissing the top of her head again, pulling away.
“I love you too, sweetheart.” She kissed his cheek quickly, turning to Vivienne, giving her another hug. “It was so nice to meet you, Vivienne. You’re welcome to come over whenever you’d like, alright?”
“It was a pleasure, Ms. Emily. Thank you for inviting me. Everything was delicious.” Vivienne hugged her back then pulled away.
“I’ll let you know when I get home, mum.”
They began to walk out the door but were stopped by the sound of grandmother’s voice.
“Leon, I would like to speak to Vivienne for a minute alone before you all go.”
Vivienne felt her heart stop. She didn’t want to be left alone with this woman for a second. Leon glanced between the two before slowly nodding.
“I’ll wait by the gate for you.”
When he walked away, the grandmother stood there with her hands folded across her chest. Her lips were in a straight line, but her eyes were soft and filled with concern.
“You seem to make my grandson happy, young lady.” She admitted, keeping her eyes on Vivienne’s.
“I hope so, ma’am, because he makes me happy as well.”
The elderly woman nodded; her expression never changing.
“Too many girls have hurt my grandson, and I just want the best for him. You can understand why I’m so cold when he brings girls home.”
“Y-yes, ma’am… I can understand, but I can assure you that I care a lot about Leon, and I would never want to hurt him. Never in a million years.”
Grandmother nodded again before grabbing the doorknob.
“Good night, Vivienne.”
“Good night, ma’am…”
The door gently closed on Vivienne. She released the breath she was holding in and headed towards the gate where Leon was there waiting. Leon instantly enveloped her in his arms, hugging her tightly. Vivienne sighed heavily in relief and melted in his embrace, holding him close. She nuzzled her face into his neck. Leon chuckled softly, rubbing her back as he kissed her cheek.
“I guess my grandmother didn’t scare you away?” Vivienne shook her head. “Well that’s good to hear. I’m sorry about that.”
“It would take a lot to scare me away from you.” She pulled back enough to look into his eyes. “I’m going to need a list of every girl who hurt you, so I can physically kick their asses.”
Leon laughed nervously, running a hand through his hair.
“I really wish she hadn’t brought that up…”
“Hey, it’s okay…” She kissed his, brushing her thumbs against his cheeks. “We don’t have to talk about it right now… but you can talk to me about anything that’s bothering you, okay…? I just want to make sure you’re alright and taking care of yourself…”
“I-” Leon wasn’t sure how to respond. He ended up burying his face into her neck, hugging her tightly. Vivienne stroked his hair, kissing his temple. “Thank you…”
“You’re welcome, baby.”
There was a crash.
Both looked in the distance and saw the gate to the Slumbering Weald slamming against the wall. Vivienne ran over to the gate, trying to see if she saw the Wooloo. It was nowhere in sight. She started walking past the gate. A hand grabbed her arm, gently pulling her back.
“What are you doing? You can’t go in there.”
She could tell this place made Leon nervous. All the stories were after all just stories to scare children from entering; at least she thought. Vivienne huffed, putting her hands on her hips, exposing her belt with all her Poke Balls.
“I’m going in after that Wooloo.” Vivienne was nonchalant with her response. “Or have you forgotten who I am?”
“I mean, no… I haven’t, but-” Leon rubbed his neck, glancing behind her.
“If I’m not back in ten minutes, you come and get me. Sound fair?”
“I don’t like it, but I can do that.”
Vivienne rolled her eyes playfully, quickly pecking his lips before running down the path.
“Be back in a tick!” She shouted over her shoulder, disappearing into the weald.
There was an eerie veil of fog on the ground. The sounds of nightlife echoed throughout the foliage and trees. Time almost seemed to cease to exist here. It had been a while since anyone walked along the paths. They were overgrown with grass and barely visible to the eye if people weren’t careful. The pokemon in the weald didn’t seem to mind Vivienne walking and calling out for the lost Wooloo. They just watched her. Everything seemed to be watching her, but she didn’t care. She just wanted to make sure the little Wooloo was alright and safe.
“Wooloo. Come here, Wooloo. Woooooolooooo. Ugh… where did ya go, wee man? You have such tiny legs…where on Earth could you have gotten to?”
The fog became heavier the further she walked into the weald. There were less pokemon now. She began having trouble seeing in front of her. She froze. Everything was silent. No pokemon chirping or croaking, just silence. Spinning around and stepping backwards, the fog had completely surrounded her. She tried turning to see where she had come from but couldn’t find the path anymore. Her heart was beginning to race. She couldn’t be lost. It was a straight path.
“Wooloo! Wooloo! Leon! Ugh, he can’t hear me from here, dumbass… I’ll just call him and-” She pulled her phone out. There was no service. “Well, fuck…”
Two eerie, melodious howls echoed through the fog, Vivienne jumping in fright. She couldn’t see anything through the fog, circling slowly. She stopped, hearing snarling behind her. She slowly turned, seeing piercing yellow eyes locked on her. Two massive wolf pokemon emerging gradually from the fog. Both pokemon had battle scars lining their bodies, a piece missing from their one ear. The fur on one's neck resembled a shield. It was bulkier than its partner and had bared its sharp canines. Its dark blue and magenta fur stuck up behind it. The second was shorter and stood there elegantly, watching Vivienne carefully. Its orange tail flicked behind it once. Its fur was a beautiful blue with orange braids. Vivienne had never seen such beautiful pokemon before. The larger one began to circle her as a predator would to prey. Vivienne was panicking inside, her heart threatening to race out of her chest. She just came in here to find a Wooloo, and now she was going to be a wolf pokemon’s snack.
“I-I don’t want to hurt you… I just want to find a Wooloo that got lost in the woods… I mean no harm…”
It didn’t stop. The smaller howled again, the fog becoming deeper. A lightheaded feeling washed over her suddenly as the larger wolf came to a stop in front of her. It seemed like it was protecting the other, crouched down, appearing to pounce. One of the PokeBalls on Vivienne’s hip began shaking, her family crest on her wrist began to glow. The Pokemon released itself and coiled around Vivienne protectively, towering over the Wolf Pokemon. It roared loudly, it’s piercing yellow eyes glaring at the two. The deep fog that had surrounded them had vanished with the release of Rayquaza. The two pokemon saw her wrist glowing and relaxed for some reason. The larger one snarled once more before slowly standing on all fours, backing away. The two turned their backs, peering over their shoulders once more at Vivienne before vanishing. Vivienne collapsed, Rayquaza’s serpentine body coiled around her, the only thing keeping her from hitting the ground.
“Vivienne!” She faintly heard someone calling out her name as she started coming to again.
“L-Leon…?” Her eyes fluttered open as she saw Leon running up the path with a small sheep-like pokemon following behind him.
“Vivienne, are you- holy fuck.” His eyes widened at the sight of Rayquaza, the pokemon laying it’s head down beside Vivienne, huffing.
It took Vivienne a moment to realize what he was gawking at until she was stroking Rayquaza’s head. She grabbed its pokeball frantically and returned it, sitting there on the ground.
“Wh-what?” She stammered, stumbling to her feet, brushing herself off.
“Was that Rayquaza?” Leon pointed at where the pokemon had been moments before.
“Rayquaza? Psh. What? Pssssh… Why would Rayquaza be in Galar? Psh, you are… silly.”
“Okay, I may have the occasional blond moment, but I sure as hell just saw a giant green dragon pokemon that happens to be on your arm, right fucking now.” He grabbed at his hair, confusion and shock written on his face.
“Okay okay, if I saaaay that Rayquaza happens to be one of my pokemon and you did in fact see it, will you calm down?” Vivienne kept her voice as calm and soothing as possible, putting her hands up.
“I guess??” His voice got higher.
“I may… have Rayquaza on my team….” Vivienne admitted, her hands covering her face.
“Well that’s-um- why? How?”
“That… is a story for another night.” She dropped her hands, looking around for the other pokemon. “Where did the other pokemon go?”
“What other pokemon? I found you passed out with Rayquaza wrapped around you.”
“What?” Vivienne furrowed her brows, glancing over at him.
“You didn’t come back, so I came to find you and found the Wooloo hidden in the trees. I heard a roar and came running and found you unconscious.”
“But there were-” She paused when she saw an old stone bridge she hadn’t seen before the fog was lifted. “That wasn’t there before…” Vivienne crept towards it, crossing it.
“Okay, I guess we’re going over the bridge now…” Leon sighed, shrugging. “Come on, Wooloo. You’re the one who got us into this mess.”
“ Baaaah. ” Wooloo hopped along after Leon.