Safe & Sound

A young woman working for Team Rocket meets a tragic hero working for Team Aqua. Unsure of her past, this meeting holds the answers she's been searching for. Inspired by Safe & Sound by Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars

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1. Safe & Sound

I remember tears streaming down your face

When I said, "I'll never let you go."

When all our shadows almost killed your light

* * *

It wasn't very often Colbie Morrow faltered capturing a wild animal.  It was how she scaled the corporate ladder of Team Rocket, one of the most notorious organized gangs in the country she woke up in.

     She wasn't working for them before.  The last she remembered was the pain of a stab wound in her stomach.  The dread, like she anticipated the end.  And the boy with dark brown eyes and golden hair trying to stop the bleeding when she passed out.

* * *

I remember you said, "Don't leave me here alone."

But all that's dead and gone and past tonight

* * *

She thought about him as she let the Rattata escape.  She wondered what her connection to him had been.  He was all she dreamed about before she woke in a bed covered with blankets and a cat the size of a cougar curled up beside her.

     It wasn't hard to tell the cat was a tom, judging by the way his tail flicked back and forth, and how his nose wiggled.  His black ears were flat against his beige head, and the red dot on his forehead glittered in the afternoon sun like a precious gem.

     The tom must have heard her stir, as he opened his eyes, and chirped in annoyance like any other cat.  The cat stretched, yawned, and hopped off the bed she was in to leave the room for a few seconds.  He returned a few seconds later with a person in tow.

     The man following and stroking the tom looked all too familiar.  He had high cheekbones, an almost smug expression on his face, brown eyes, closely-cropped brown hair, and an angular chin.  The only things missing from his face were a scar on his left cheek and the facial hair.  He was dressed in a black suit and a white turtleneck.  On his black jacket, there was a single pocket with a red R embroidered into it.

      She knew then she was facing a son of Cronus, but she didn't expect him to treat her as kindly as he did.

* * *

Just close your eyes

The sun is going down

You'll be all right

No one can hurt you now

Come morning light

You and I'll be safe and sound

* * *

"You have questions, I'll bet," the man said as he stroked his cat.  The tom purred and pushed at the man's hand for more.  His voice had a light sneer of mock politeness, the slightest bounce of an Italian accent, but it wasn't as menacing as his father's but far more comforting.

     She couldn't answer him because she felt so weak.  She couldn't even lift her head without getting dizzy.

      He took her silence for an answer.  "You wonder who I am, and where you are.  Even you have questions about my pet."  He gave her a small smile that almost seemed kind.  "Have you lost your memory, Miss Morrow?  My name is Giovanni, by the way."

      Morrow, she mused in her head.  Wonder why the name sounds familiar.  She continued to watch him, making a small sound like she was trying to speak but didn't know how.

      The man, Giovanni, watched her with curiosity.  Colbie judged by the look in his eyes he wondered where she was from, and who she truly was.  It wasn't unusual - or she thought it wasn't - for people to watch her questioningly.

      She was about to try to say something again when a boy no older than her entered the room.  His red hair was crimson in the sunlight, and his grey eyes were cold and calculating.

      "She's not a member of Team Rocket," the boy snarled.  "She shouldn't be here, Father."

      "She has every right to be here, Silver," Giovanni scolded the boy called Silver.  "Let her recover from her injury in peace."

* * *

Don't you dare look out your window

Darling, everything's on fire

The war outside our door keeps raging on

* * *

Thousands of miles away, the golden haired boy was fighting his own demons.

      He shouldn't have been surprised to see harpies terrorizing the Hoenn region.  It wasn't long after Colbie disappeared he came here searching for her.

      He was shipwrecked here, like Cronus knew he was searching for her.  In the battle against the god of time following Colbie's disappearance, he asked - no, demanded - for her location.  Like any other god, Cronus played dumb.

      Jay Parker watched the coastal city of Mauville burn.  Dragons - definitely not the ones the locals were used to - selected certain people as their prey.  He listened to the horrified screams of mothers as their children were snatched by the smaller snake-like creatures.  He watched the local trainers grieve as their long-time pets were eaten by empousai and other carnivorous beasts pulled from Greek myth.

      He couldn't stand it anymore.  Jay drew his trusty xiphos, a weapon he hadn't used since shipwrecking in Hoenn.  He crept up behind a harpy that was about to bite the head off a rabbit-like animal, and he stabbed the harpy in the back.

      It screamed one of the ugliest sounds he'd heard in the chaos, and the harpy disintegrated into yellow powder.  The bunny's trainer, a girl approximately twelve years old, stopped sobbing to get a look at him.

      "Th-th-th-thank you so much," the girl stuttered, hugging her bunny.  "Y-you saved my Plusle."

      "Don't mention it," Jay replied, wiping the dust off his sword.  "Keep your pet out of trouble."

      "I-"  Before she could answer, he was gone.

      Where he would go, Jay wouldn't know.  Watching a city burn pained him.  He was too much of a hero to let others suffer.  He couldn't find anywhere else to stay, so he walked to the coast nearby.

      The golden aura Jay hardly had to use flickered to life, and his eyes became solid gold discs.  With a war cry that rose over the chaos, the water behind him surged into a wave, and crashed into the flames.

      With the fires out, and the monsters swept away, Jay fell to his knees.  He'd never had to use that much energy before, and it drained him.  He wasn't going to be going too far.

      As he blacked out, he saw someone walking in his direction.

* * *

Hold on to this lullaby

Even when the music's gone

Gone . . .

* * *

Why is it these memories that come back to me?  Why not the others?  Why can't I remember where I came from? she asked herself.

     Things were slowly starting to come back as Colbie found herself on the ferry to the fifth of the Sevii Islands.  She remembered thinking the exact same questions when she first woke.  She didn't ponder about it too long before her head started to hurt.

     She remembered when her head first started throbbing.  The cat watched her with interest, mewed a call over to his master and Silver.  Silver touched her forehead, sending a worried glance in the direction of Giovanni.

     "Something's wrong, Father," he said.

     "I'll be fine," she replied hoarsely.  "It's just my head."

     Silver's grey eyes were no longer cold.  Instead, worry flickered to life in them.  "Father, do something!  Something's coming off her skin."

     Unsure of what Silver meant, she looked down at herself.  A silver mist was radiating from her exposed skin, the smell of fallen rain filling the room.

     "What is it?" she murmured, suddenly hypnotized by the light.

     "Are you okay?" Silver asked.  "You look like you're going to be sick.  Oh!  Your eyes!  What's happening?"

     She couldn't see anything anymore.  She felt blind, helpless, but something was using her to speak.

     Rather, someone was using her to speak.

     Son of the Titan King, she rasped in an old woman's voice, treat this girl with respect.  She will bring your destruction if you do not.

     Giovanni leaned against the door and laughed mirthlessly.  "That's preposterous," he scoffed.  "Morrow is just a girl.  She can't harm me, or my family."

     Colbie Morrow holds Father's fate in her hands, Half-brother.  It is only fitting Team Rocket shall fall into anarchy if the Crooked One goes back to Tartarus, the old woman's voice stated.  If you fail to see the power she holds, would you care for a demonstration?  I can arrange it, you know.

     "No, no.  It will be fine.  I am taking care of her wounds as we speak, Hera," Giovanni replied.

     "Hera?" Silver asked.

     "Leave her.  I will tell her the basics of what she needs to know.  The rest she will find when she finds her friend," Giovanni finished.

     Very well, Head of Team Rocket, the voice replied.  But consider yourself warned.

     And, with that, the voice vanished.

     In Colbie's memory, everything faded to black as she noticed the crimson stain on the crisp white bandages wrapped around her.

* * *

Just close your eyes

The sun is going down

You'll be all right

No one can hurt you now

Come morning light

You and I'll be safe and sound

* * *

Jay awoke to find himself in some sort of barrack.  It shouldn't have surprised him, but finding out where he was came as a shock.

     He asked the nearest person where he was.  The guy shrugged and replied, "Infirmary.  Take a walk.  Archie will explain everything."

     The image of his purple haired friend appeared in Jay's mind.  "Where can I find him?" he questioned a little too eagerly.

     The guy pointed straight ahead.  "You see that?  Head in that direction.  You should come to a huge room.  From there, he shouldn't be hard to spot:  blue bandanna, dark hair, navy blue suit.  Easy."

     Jay followed his directions, departing with a "Thanks".  Whatever answers lay before him in his quest to find Colbie, he was bound to find out.

     So much for huge.  The room was only two storeys tall.  Slightly disappointed, and less than impressed, the room looked like any ordinary conference room.

     "Archie, what the hell happened in Mauville?  First trainers are having their Pokémon taken from them and eaten right then.  This huge fire, I've been hearing, nearly wiped out the entire city and a great flood washed away the charred remains.  There were also Dragon-types and bird-women hybrids terrorizing the place.  Explain it," a nasal voice snarled.  Jay didn't enter the room.  He waited to see what the other person, Archie, had to say in defence.

     A gravelly voice retorted, "How can I explain it, Maxie?  I never saw a single Pokémon like that until that bird-woman turned to dust.  If you start blaming anyone, Maxie, don't blame me."

     Jay cringed.  Gravel Voice was almost too much to listen to.

     Peaking into the room, the unknown guy appeared to be correct.  Sure enough, there was a guy dressed in a navy blue pirate uniform.  He was built like Cronus, and the few facial features Jay could see belonged to the Titan King.

     Jay prayed it wasn't Cronus.  He wouldn't know what to do if it turned out to be his enemy.

     "I doubt your innocence in this matter, wholly, Archie.  I heard from a little Taillow that you were the first on the scene and the last to leave," Nasal Voice, presumably Maxie, scorned.

     "I swear it wasn't me!" Gravel Voice, now known as Archie, exclaimed.

     The other guy, a redhead in red and black, laughed.  "You expect me to believe you?" Maxie sneered.

     "I would expect you to give me the benefit of the doubt!" Archie roared.

     "Chill," Jay hissed entering the room.  "To answer you, those creatures were out of Greek mythology.  The politically correct term for the bird-women are harpies."  He watched them both, cautious as to what they would do.

     "And, you are?" Maxie asked.

     "My name is Jay," Jay answered.  "Someone said I would find answers here."

     The other, Archie, shrugged.  "Betcha that was Bobby, a member of Team Aqua, that told you that," he grumbled.

     "Team Aqua?" Jay asked.

     "One of the dominating gangs in Hoenn," Maxie groaned.  "Archie leads Team Aqua in a hopeless quest to expand the world's oceans."

     "And Maxie leads Team Magma, another gang in Hoenn," Archie sneered.  "Their ideals are just as stupid - expanding the land is dumb."

     "Either way, I was told I could get answers.  I'm looking for someone who obviously isn't in Hoenn," Jay continued.  "Would any of you guys be able to help me?"

     "Someone?  It's just reached Hoenn.  Apparently a girl turned up in Kanto.  The gym leader in Viridian City took her under his wing," Maxie sniffed.

     "And Viridian City gym leader is-?"

     "Leader of Team Rocket, Giovanni Romano.  From what I've been hearing from the admins, she's become a daughter-figure to him," Archie answered.

     "He's been looking for someone who knows more about her than he," Maxie stated, looking at his nails.  "Judging by your expression, you know the girl.  If you know her, then I'll go make a call."  With that, Maxie stalked out of the room.

     Archie looked at him.  "You know her?  The girl that became Giovanni's daughter?"

     "Yeah."

     Archie grinned.  "Great.  We're thinking about having this discussion with Giovanni.  According to a recent e-mail from him, he's thinking about coming to Hoenn, soon."

     "But what does this have to do with her?"

     "The girl's an executive.  A high-ranking executive, but she refuses to wear the actual higher exec uniform.  She sticks with the whole grunt thing.  I'm thinking maybe we should ask him if he wanted to bring her along."

     "You think it'll work?"

     Archie crossed his arms.  "It should work.  Giovanni's been looking for someone, and I think that's you."

* * *

Just close your eyes

* * *

She made sure the newly caught Pokémon had enough food and water to last through initiation.  The new grunts were eager to get through it.

     Colbie was different when she went through initiation.  She was still wrapped in bandages.  When it strained her, her wound would start to bleed.  The way she saw it, Giovanni had to take a different approach.

     She scratched a Growlithe behind the ears as it whimpered.  Colbie tried to refrain from being humane toward the caught Pokémon.  It was a frequent offence after becoming a grunt.  The Pokémon looked so lonely in their cages.  A frequent threat of telling Giovanni by the warehouse guard didn't stop her.

     Colbie ended up in the basement of Celadon City's casino.  She was summoned here by Giovanni, and was now expected to wait.

     The receptionist gave her a small smile as she was offered to take a seat.  Colbie didn't hesitate.  The lady behind the counter was too kind.  Why should she be working for a criminal organization?

     Colbie pulled her cap lower over her eyes, and closed them.  Giovanni fulfilled his promise to the disembodied voice and instructed her of her name and what her purpose was.  After spending the weeks following trying to recover from her injury, the head of Team Rocket offered her a choice: join Team Rocket or begin her own journey in Kanto.

    Despite what normal people said about it, she'd found a sanctuary in the Romano household, and within Team Rocket.  The grunts supported her ideals, and the admins understood where she was coming from.  Apart from trusting Giovanni and Silver, she'd began to appreciate the experience of Ariana, Giovanni's wife.

     Ariana told her she was found by one of the grunts, bleeding in the streets of Viridian.  "No one else noticed you were hurt," she sympathized.  "It was as if you were invisible to them."

     The popular misconception of Team Rocket seemed to be the fact they could heartlessly kill and sell Pokémon.  People assumed because of Team Rocket's cruelty to Pokémon, Team Rocket would easily be just as mean to humans.

     Silver became her friend in more ways than one.  Giovanni had taken a parental role since finding her, and Ariana offered to take her shopping on more than one occasion.

     Colbie heard her name.  Coming out of a state between consciousness and sleep, she stood and stretched, looking at the receptionist with confusion.

     "Giovanni's ready for you, now," the woman behind the desk said.  It surprised Colbie that the receptionist dressed really typical compared to the grunts.  The only detail that didn't astonish Colbie was the red R dangling from a chain around the woman's neck.

     Colbie smiled at her, and bid her a good afternoon.  The woman returned the pleasantries as Colbie entered Giovanni's office.

     She didn't think she was anything special compared to the rest of Team Rocket.  With the usual uniform, she wore a rosary.  She'd assumed someone had given it to her, someone that loved her.  She never examined it too much.  Colbie knew it was important to her.  She didn't dare remove it.

     Giovanni slammed the phone down on the receiver after a curt laugh.  His frustration turned into empathy and kindness as soon as he noticed her.

     "So, how are things?" he said conversationally.

     Colbie shrugged.  "The Pokémon on Five Island seem all right," she answered.  "Some of them were running low on necessities.  A few needed baths.  The usual."

     "I wasn't asking about work, Colbie.  I was asking about you," the boss of Team Rocket clarified.  "What about you?"

     Once again, Colbie's shoulders raised into a shrug.  "Honestly, I don't know, anymore," she answered.  "I have no trouble here.  It's like I want something more than this."

     "Care to explain?"

     "How can I explain it?  The emotions are confusing.  You've given me a good home and all, but I want out.  I want something more."

     Giovanni nodded in understanding.  "There was a time when I wanted more.  I was new to the region from Italy.  I was only ten, and I wanted to leave home.  My parents didn't let me leave.  So, one night, I packed my things, and made way to Pallet Town."  The computer sitting on his desk dinged.  He smiled at her, and rolled away from the phone to the computer.  Giovanni typed and clicked.  He turned back to her.  "Are you willing to expand in your career, Miss Morrow?"

* * *

You'll be all right

* * *

"Yes."

     And with that, Giovanni gave her the rest of the day off to pack.  Apparently, there was a meeting in Hoenn coming up for him, and he wanted her along.

     She started going through everything she'd received.  Along with a spare uniform, Colbie's closet was lined with designer brand clothing Ariana purchased for her.  Colbie found it odd, but she knew a friend elsewhere would be jealous of her clothing.  Packing a few of the outfits she liked, she came across something that evoked a sense of familiarity.

     It was an orange T-shirt with a pegasus underneath an arch that spelled Camp Half-Blood.  Boot-cut jeans were paired with it, and a pendant hung from the hanger.

     The pendant was the worst.  It started a diamond, but turned to a disc before the diamond could finish.  Little isosceles triangles lined the disk.  A tiny tail sat on the lower left side.  Carved in the golden surface was a lightning bolt and her first initial.

     It's a key, Colbie realized.

     "And it's yours," Silver said, looking around the room.  Colbie jumped.  She wasn't aware she said it out loud.

     "Hiya, Silver," Colbie chirped.  "What brings you here?"

     "Father sent me to see if you were getting everything you needed.  Is that sufficient enough for an answer?"

     "I think it has something to do with you."  She waved an object - a personal mobile radio, she remembered - around before tucking it with her Pokéballs.  "Does it?"

     Silver crossed the threshold and hugged Colbie.  She sighed.  It was enough of an answer for her.

     "You're my sister.  You've been my sister since Mars moved out," he managed to get out.  "I don't want to lose you."

     Colbie scrambled to get out of the embrace.  "Silver, you're not going to lose me.  It's only a few days."

     "But Father's been telling Mother that there's a lead in finding out who you really are in Hoenn.  If that's the case, you're leaving.  You're not coming back."

     "Silver-"

     "I've had my number added to your contacts on your whatzitcalled.  When you find out who you are, if you find it, call me.  Mars never calls, and I think I can trust you to call."  Colbie spared a glance.  The way Silver's hard grey eyes shined almost broke her heart.

     She took the Camp Half-Blood outfit and packed it.  "I'll be back, Silver.  Don't worry."

     "Liar."

     She ignored the boy's comment.  She found it familiar in ways it shouldn't be.

     Like she heard it from someone she used to know.

     She zipped the bag shut, and slung it over her shoulder.  "Fine.  I'll see you again?"

     Silver shrugged.  Colbie's eyes were the most intimidating out of the two, and she was starting to scare him.

     "That depends on you, doesn't it?"

     With that, the door was shut.

     Little did Colbie Morrow know, but she left Silver in tears.

* * *

Come morning light

You and I'll be safe and sound

* * *

It took a few days to make it to Hoenn.  In that few days, she spent it toying with the PMR.  Giovanni looked after his own business, but from time to time, he would watch her with concern.

     The layout of the other organization, Team Aqua it was called, was far more complicated than the mazes in the Team Rocket hideout.  She knew she could get lost easily, so she stayed near Giovanni.  At least he had some sense of bearing in this place.

     When they finally reached their destination, Giovanni motioned for her to wait outside a door to, what appeared to be, a normal conference room.  He gave her a reassuring smile, and, when Colbie didn't smile back, Giovanni's grin melted.

     "You're looking for someone," Silver's dad noted.  "See anyone you recognize?"

     She shrugged.  "Honestly, I couldn't tell you."

     Giovanni chuckled.  "It's all right.  There's always hope something might trigger a flashback."  He gave her an awkward hug.  "Stay here.  You can expect me back in an hour."

     And the leader of Team Rocket walked through the door just before it slammed shut.

     Colbie sighed, and leaned against the doorpost.  She wasn't going anywhere.  She didn't want to get lost in this place.

     "Can I get you anything, miss?" a familiar voice asked.  Colbie looked up.

     The boy standing in front of her certainly didn't belong with Team Aqua.  Instead of the bandanna, jeans, and striped T-shirt, he was in a white T-shirt and ripped jeans.  The sunlight coming through the windows glittered off his golden hair, creating a halo.

     "Um, sure," she stuttered, blushing furiously.

     The boy smiled at her.  "You'll be coming with me, then."

     And he grabbed her hand.

     Through the thin fabric of her gloves, she could feel something similar to an electric shock run through her.

     In that instant, she remembered everything.

     "Jay," she murmured, "I remember."

     He looked back.  "You remember?  How much?"

     "Everything."

     The hero let go of her hand, and hugged her.  "Then you're coming home," he croaked.

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