Characters: Green, Red
Summary: Green is sure that Red will always be a stepping stone for him, always second-best.
Green is nine years old when he decides that Red will be his stepping stone. Green is the future Champion, after all, and will need a sparring partner. He and Red have always played with plastic cars and plastic Rhyhorns — the Rhyhorns almost always end up destroying the cars — in the alley between their houses, but during the year Green waits for his tenth birthday, the games begin to bore him.
He reads every piece of Pokémon research he can get his hands on, floundering hopelessly through papers from Gramps’ graduate students until one day Gramps takes pity on him and buys him a color encyclopedia.
Green hasn’t ever felt longing before. Pidgeot has always amazed with its seven-foot wingspan. — That’s what the encyclopedia says. Now the sky looks a little bit more beautiful each day, and Blue grows bored sitting inside or playing in familiar, boring Pallet Town. He makes it his goal to someday own a Pidgeot of his own.
One day he shakes all of the cars and Rhyhorns out of Red’s backpack and stomps them to pieces. Red should be setting his sights on a real Rhyhorn.
More and more Green pictures himself — alone in the way only the peerless are — exploring distant places full of exotic Pokémon. Red is going to have to learn how to be second-best.
Green is eleven when he discovers that it is he who is the stepping stone, and that he was all along. There is one real Champion, and one only. At the time, he is absolutely determined not to cry — he is eleven, after all. But while Gramps is shaking Red’s hand, Green looks up at Indigo Plateau’s high, vaulted ceilings and feels very small and alone.
— That’s just what happens the day Red becomes League Champion. Over the next few months, the pieces of the picture come together. Green is interviewed for a documentary, but most of the footage doesn’t make the final cut. Now for the first time, the stranger-than-fiction story of the fall of Kanto’s most powerful crime syndicate at the hands of a boy younger than anyone could have imagined.
(Red is not interviewed at all, much to the producers’ chagrin. Green hears that he has gone off to live on some desolate peak where no photographer dares to tread.)
Green is thirteen, and surrounded by paper streamers and a crowd of nebulously celebratory onlookers. He may not have succeeded in becoming the youngest Champion Kanto has ever seen, but as of today he is its youngest Gym Leader.
A beautiful day. The sky is clear and looks somehow chilly, but a warm breeze is stirring in the trees. Lance clasps his hands behind his back and gives an appreciative nod.
“Thank you, by the way, for helping us put this to rest. It didn’t sit right with me — keeping the Viridian Gym closed indefinitely.” This time Green is the one whose hand is shaken.
A man in the crowd rushes up to him and offers his congratulations, and then he asks if Green has any stories to tell about the hero of Kanto.
“We’re fifteen years old, you know. You don’t actually have to pretend to be some old hermit forever. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but you’re kind of a big deal. You could have all the girls you want. Er . . . or boys. Or Lopunnies.”
That at least gets a smile, if a very small one. Red scratches the top of his Espeon’s head and gives it one of the poffins Green brought.
“Betcha could get a book deal within ten minutes of coming back home. Last year I had my first challenger from Johto. Had a couple more since then, now that the train’s up and running. They talk about you there, too.”
“Meowth got your tongue? Don’t tell me you haven’t talked to anyone at all in four years. Arceus on an icicle, Red. You’re getting weird. Weirder. Still,” — Green pauses to massage more of the full heal onto Arcanine’s frost bite — “I’ll admit you kicked my ass even worse than usual.”
Red simply nods. Green holds out a box of pastries, which Red waves away. The wind picks up, blowing a wave of ice crystals with it. It’s gorgeous, and so cold Green’s bones feel like they’ve been filled with ice. Snow is sticking in the strands of Red’s hair.
“Aren’t you cold?”
Mt. Silver is, Green thinks, an entirely lovely place, and also entirely lonely. He thinks that perhaps he will mention that to the kids he teaches at the gym. They’ll like that; stories about heroes and mountains are something everyone is hungry for.
And Green will always be second-best, and Red is his stepping stone.
Theoretically this takes place in the same universe as this, which at least explains Red's odd behavior.
I think that really, Green has by far the better life of the two. .__.;