[Vol. I] 28. Relative
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Two weeks later and the people of Saffron City were trying to return to their normal lives after their city was attacked. The destruction caused by Team Rocket had taken out a few streets near the centre of town, but thankfully that was it. When everything started crashing down, Sabrina had her psychic Pokemon contain the falling skyscrapers within a certain area, preserving the surroundings.

She was now being heralded as the hero who saved Saffron, although Sabrina herself believed she didn’t do that much. She simply fought off some weak Team Rocket members,  escorted some people out of a building and had her Pokemon contain some falling buildings. But besides that, there was something that annoyed her. She’d missed Giovanni. Silph Company’s building is, or was, quite large. It was completely believable that she didn’t encounter Team Rocket’s boss in there. And of all the people combating Team Rocket, she was the only one that stood a chance against Giovanni. It irritated her that the one person with strong Pokemon wasn’t there to deal with the strongest enemy.

With a sigh Sabrina walked out of the cake shop, half a dozen chocolate muffins in the simple plastic bag in her hand. Just before she left for the hospital, she looked into the large display window for the shop, her image reflected back at her. Sabrina quickly messed with her fringe, partially because it was unkempt but also because she was nervous.

On the outskirts of Saffron, maybe around 10 minutes from the cake shop, was the hospital. Sabrina walked right in. She’d been in here every day for the two weeks, so the receptionist took one look at the Gym Leader and let her through.

Up one flight of stairs, in the left wing of the hospital, she stopped outside a door. On the right side of the door was a nameplate that read, ‘JOE BRINE’. Letting out another sigh, Sabrina knocked on the door a few times.

“Come in.” Joe’s muffled voice came from inside.

Sabrina did just that, entering the hospital room her new friend currently rested in. “Hey Joe, how’re you doing today?”

The room was as one would expect from a hospital. Bland colours, barely any furniture, a window on one wall. There was a small table attached to the bed by a metal arm but it was currently pushed out of the way. By that table was a chair for visitors, and the next thing along the wall was a wheelchair. Absol was lying at the end of Joe’s hospital bed, and Joe was sitting up in said bed. Just behind the Disaster Pokemon, resting near the window, was a black walking stick.

He glanced over at Sabrina as she entered, putting a book down onto his lap. “I’m fine, thanks. And you?”

The psychic-type Gym Leader didn’t really think being in hospital was classed as ‘fine’, but she let it go as she got closer and placed the bag of muffins on the small table by Joe’s bed. “Something to snack on later.”

“Thanks, you didn’t have to.”

“It’s only a small thing. So, are you ready?”

The moment she said that, Absol, who at first appeared to be sleeping, rose to its feet and grabbed the walking stick with its mouth. It walked to the edge of bed and tilted its head to better allow its Trainer to grab the stick as Sabrina brought the wheelchair closer.

Because he knew this was coming, Joe was already dressed in a simple shirt and trousers from a nearby shop, and it was quite the chore to get his hands on these clothing items. Absol went to the shop with Kirlia and Fomantis on its back, and the little grass-type held onto Joe’s wallet. Along the way Fomantis started messing with the wallet, dropping money everywhere. Kirlia used its psychic powers to scoop all the money up and told Fomantis off, then they got to the shop after multiple wrong turns and the cashiers were quite shocked to see a trio of Pokemon walk into the building. Kirlia used Telepathy to explain the situation to the older woman at the shop, but was nervous. Feeling the unease of the person it was trying to talk to made it stutter. Eventually though, the trio came back with some clothes.

With great care, Joe moved his left leg out of bed, flinching from the pain as his knee bent and his foot touched the floor. He leaned heavily on the walking stick as he got up and positioned himself to sit in his wheelchair. Once seated, he rested his walking stick between his legs and Sabrina started pushing him through the hospital as Absol walked beside her.

After Joe went unconscious two weeks ago, Kirlia called out using Telepathy and it turned out the nearest person was Sabrina. She came running and the moment she saw Joe knocked out, she picked him up and escorted him out of the area.

Thanks to Looker, an ambulance was on the scene fast and Joe was tended to. They quickly discovered his left leg was a shape it shouldn’t be and, after a few weeks of operations, it was determined his leg was so severely damaged surgeons couldn’t fix it entirely. They were able to do some things like alter most of his leg muscles so they could repair themselves over time. A lot of his veins had to be reworked and he’d lost some nerves. 

However, there was a key component that surgeons couldn’t repair. The bones. They were shattered into hundreds, maybe even thousands of pieces. Putting all the pieces together was impossible, but even if it was doable it would be the world’s most difficult jigsaw puzzle. They determined the bones were incapable of healing on their own too, they were far too damaged.

Joe had two choices. The first was to have a pair of metal poles put into his leg to replace the bones. The poles were linked by a joint at the knee, allowing Joe to bend it and whatnot. His second option was to just have his limb removed and replaced by a robotic leg. Clearly Joe picked the former. For now he wanted to try rehabilitation.

On the way to the rehabilitation gym, which was a separate building across from the hospital, the pair bickered about this and that. A large courtyard, one bigger than the hospital itself, was situated in between the hospital and the rehab building. There were a cluster of small trees in the center, surrounded by well kept lawns of bright green grass. On either side were stone paths that people like Joe traversed, making it easy to get from one building to the other. Benches lined the path too, so if anyone in the hospital wanted to rest but didn’t want to stay indoors, they could come out here.

“Gran’s gonna go mad when she finds out I’m already like her.” He joked, referring to the walking stick in his hands.

“I can already see her insulting you for being reckless.” Sabrina commented, before stopping in the middle of the courtyard. While it was meant as a joke, she really did have a vision of Joe’s grandmother lashing out of her grandson for the decision he made. But that was exactly what made her stop. She’d recognise that old woman anywhere. “Wait, you’re gran is Agatha?!”

Being an official employee of the league, Sabrina knew everyone she worked with, even if she only met them briefly. Agatha of the Elite Four, the oldest member and a master at commanding ghost-type Pokemon. Despite not interacting with her much, Agatha still left quite the impression on Sabrina.

Looking over his shoulder, Joe replied. “Adoptive, yeah. Agatha had no kids of her own and she saw me in a tight spot so she took me in. She can have quite an attitude, but she’s nice.” He paused for a second before carrying on. “I wonder how Gengar is doing.”

“But what about your parents? Why did Agatha have to step in?”

Joe didn’t reply for a bit, thinking about it as best he could after facing forward again. “...I don’t know.”

“What do you mean you don’t-” But before Sabrina could finish, she had another vision. One where she’s talking directly to Agatha about Joe’s parents. “If you don’t know, you don’t know. I won’t push you on it.”

“At some point you have to move on, that’s what Agatha taught me. After years of thinking about my parents, I became an adult and needed to start living, so I pushed it to the back of my mind. Having answers would be nice, but I’ve done fine without knowing.”

The new vision already clued Sabrina in to what she should do, but at the same time she had doubts about searching for answers when it had nothing to do with her. Joe seemed fine with not knowing, so maybe she should leave it alone and go against her vision.

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