It’s a regional holiday in Kanto, a date more beloved for its festivals more than the historical event it memorializes. Like every other year, Green gives his trainers the day off from the gym and, for himself, takes the morning to sleep in.
He’s awakened by a combination of Eevee’s whuffly snores close to his ear and the strong noon light streaming through the pale curtains. Once the late hour percolates through the sleep fogging his brain, he jolts upright with a yelp, nearly launching Eevee out of bed. Then he remembers the date, says “Oh” with a gasp of relief, and flops back to bounce on the mattress. Eevee bounds up the bed to scold him loudly for his rudeness, and he ruffles her mane in apology until she forgives him with a rough lick on the tip of his nose.
“You didn’t wake me up early,” he says between make-up kisses to the top of her head. “Did Red give you breakfast?”
She purrs and bumps her forehead against his chin.
“That was nice of him,” Green agrees, gathering her in his arms and slipping out of bed. He takes a second to find his slippers with his feet, glancing around Eevee’s swishing tail to locate them, before he walks out of the bedroom with a yawn.
Red isn’t anywhere in the small apartment. “Huh,” he says, bemused. “He knows it’s a holiday, right?” Eevee blinks up at him, still purring.
Green could leave Red alone to do whatever it is he’s decided was important enough to do on Green’s rare day off—but after Red came down from the mountain seven years ago, he decided he would never wait for Red again. So Green gets dressed, eats a little something, and heads out.
Green looks in a few places before he wanders into the pokémon center. “Have you seen Red?” he asks, leaning casually against the counter.
“Oh, sure,” she says. “I think he’s working with Dr. Aran today.”
Green raises an eyebrow. “Is everything all right?”
“Of course!” the nurse giggles, flapping a hand at him. “We love Red around here, he’s such a help. Go right ahead to the back, you can’t miss ‘em.”
Green thanks her and walks into the staff-only area, feeling a little out of place, and soon catches sight of Red’s bright jacket amidst the mostly-white scenery.
“Oh, Green!” Dr. Aran says, looking up from the tablet he and Red are poring over. “Everything okay at the gym?” Red turns too, his eyes brightening when he sees Green before sliding into a look of concern.
“Everything’s fine,” Green says. “You forgot what day it was, huh Red?”
“I thought it was weird that you were here on a holiday,” Dr. Aran agrees, and Green laughs when he sees the startled look on Red’s face.
“Red comes in every Monday to help out,” the veterinarian explains. “He’s great with pokémon, especially our rescues.” They glance at Red. “I’m sure the vet techs and I can handle the next case. You should show Green around!”
Green says his goodbyes and hurries after Red, already heading further down the hall. He starts to hear the sound of yelps and barks as they walk into a large room full of cages.
“Hello, Red,” Green hears. “Oh! You brought your husband with you this time! It’s so nice to have more hands.”
The tech introduces themself as Iona and shows Red and Green around. “Some pokémon, especially owner surrenders, really like being in poké balls,” they say. “But a lot of rescues won’t go in them, and they don’t like people much. If we want to find them new trainers, it’s important to get them used to people again. That’s when we use volunteers like Red,” Iona says, beaming. “He’s great at making pokémon feel comfortable.”
“I bet he is,” Green says with a grin. Red tugs his cap low over his eyes but it can’t hide his small, pleased smile.
Iona gives Green a temporary nametag and leaves them to work. Red wanders around, glancing at the different cages until he pauses and kneels down by one. There’s a vulpix huddled in the back of the cage. Her ears are back and her tail is curled around herself.
“Hey girl,” Green says softly. The vulpix gives him a quick glance before her eyes dart away again.
Red’s eyes soften as he looks at her and he settles into a cross-legged seat. He seems content to sit next to the cage without saying anything. Vulpixes can see eye contact as aggressive so Green mirrors his pose, their knees bumping together, before pulling out his pokégear.
“Sometimes Ida’s porygon2 gets anxious during thunderstorms and stuff,” he explains. “She found this radio station that helps it calm down. I thought it might help.”
Red cocks his head, considering, before he leans over to check that the volume is low. “Good point,” Green agrees before he hits play.
The station is playing a soothing contemporary piano piece. Vulpix’s ears perk up a little. Green leaves it on while he scrolls through his emails, thoughtlessly tapping his fingers against Red’s knee.
After fifteen minutes or so the vulpix has put her head down and her tail is more relaxed. Red nods, pleased, before he stands and reaches a hand down to help Green up.
“Come on, I’m not that old. We’re practically the same age!” Green says, but takes his hand anyway.
They wander from cage to cage, playing with the pokémon that are already familiar with people, talking softly to others, and sometimes doing nothing more than sitting quietly.
“How are you doing?” Iona says, checking back on them after an hour.
“There are so many,” Green says. “And so many of them look so unhappy here.”
“It’s stressful for them to be surrounded by unfamiliar pokémon,” Iona says with a frown. “We try to find as many foster homes as we can, but if there’s no space for them we have to keep them here.”
Red glances at Green then. Green catches his eye and cocks his head. Red nods, an eager and almost pleading light in his eye.
“You could have just asked,” Green says. “Hey, Iona? What goes into fostering a pokémon?”
Iona perks up at once and walks them through the process. By the end of it, Green has signed them up as new fosters, and Green is crafting plans to talk to his gym trainers and ask if the gym itself would be willing to foster more.
“Not how I expected to spend my holiday, but it was a nice change of pace,” he says as they leave the pokémon center. “Wanna go get something to eat?”
Red shakes his head.
Green glances at him, and then smirks. “Oh, I get it. You’ve been spoiled by my world-class cooking, huh? Chef Green’s famous Kalosian cuisine?”
Red huffs out a silent laugh and nudges him with his shoulder. Green’s grin widens and he nudges him back.
“I’m kind of excited about fostering,” Green says, putting his hands behind his head. “It’s like a different side of pokémon training, you know? I think it’ll help me sharpen my skills in a lot of other areas, too.”
Red’s lips purse and he puts a hand to his chin.
“You never thought of it that way?” Green says. Red shakes his head. “That’s just like you,” he says with a laugh. “Whenever you see someone in trouble, you always jump in and help without thinking twice about it.”
Red’s eyes flick to his, checking for teasing and finding a warm, fond expression on Green’s face instead. Red blinks, startled by the unexpected compliment, and turns away shyly.
The silence between them is peaceful as they walk down the sun-warmed Viridian City streets. “Wanna go to the festival later?” Green asks after a few minutes. “I think Lyra and Ethan are coming too.”
Red nods, still not looking at him.
“It’s a date,” Green says just to embarrass him even more, and slings an arm around him. Red hunches his shoulders a little in response, but when Green looks over he’s smiling.