Mount Silver||Upper Floors||Morning (126)
As they made the quick preparations to leave, it didn't slip by Red that everyone was completely silent. Even the rambunctious little bat kept himself quiet, apparently already aware of the gravity of their trek. Red generally loved the silence over noise, especially in his home, but now, he wasn't completely sure. It wasn't like the others to be... well, so like himself. However, he certainly wasn't up for changing that. While it was a little unnerving, he needed to focus on the climb. Weather permitting, they'd get to the top today.
And there... there, he'd have to give Blue his answer.
Once ready, he led the way outside, his small feet sinking through the fluffy snow. Not terribly deep, but it would hinder them at the higher altitudes. Still, it wouldn't be impossible. With the sky a grey blanket over the world and the snow consuming the ground, it was a task to remember that there was something else out there other than his monochromatic sanctuary. Such isolation would help him with the task at hand. As much as he wanted to sit and soak in his beautiful home, there was still his responsibility on the peak.
One step in front of the other. That's all that mattered at this point.
Mount Silver||Peak||Late Afternoon
As expected, the trip had taken them the majority of the day. Red, focused on making as good time as he could while the weather was generously stagnant, didn't speak a single word. But hours later, after they passed the last marker for the trail, they came upon the old familiar archway that led into his den. The door he'd fashioned and erected himself was still in place, the door still shut. At least nothing had marched its way back in. A good sign.
As he reached for the handle, it occurred to him that, of all the places in this mountain, whoever cleaned it free of Infected would likely have hunkered down here, where there were already supplies and fortifications against the weather. His hand paused as it hovered over the door handle, unsure whether it needed to go to the pistol at his hip. Should he draw his weapon? Surely there was nothing to lose and everything to gain if he did. Still, why was he hesitating?Get a hold of yourself, Red, it's a fucking door.
Shaking his head free of the conflicts, he simply opened the door and stepped inside. There was a snaking tunnel of about fifty feet, with many twists and turns, before the tunnel would open into a decent sized cavern. That was where he'd finally have to decide-- a thought that caused his heart to race, as he still hadn't settled on a choice despite hours to think. Out of habit, he stomped out the snow from his boots and moved forward a few steps before stopping completely, eyes wide with alarm. There, in the middle of the tunnel, was an open can of beans, its contents long gone and its edges scorched by what he could only guess was fire.
He held up a finger to Blue behind him, then bent and picked it up to examine the can more closely. Sure, it was the same brand he stockpiled, but he was never one to leave trash so close to the entrance. With a look to Blue, he pressed a finger to his own lips, signaling silence, and placed the can to the side. A swift motion brought his rifle to his hands, and with it, his body instinctively postured itself for stealth. There was
an intruder here, after all.
Rage swelled in his soul. Who would dare taint his sanctuary, this solemn monument to his family and friends? Eating his food, littering his home-- the fury grew as he continued down the tunnel and more and more trash littered the ground. He was careful to not disturb any of it, as much as he wanted to. The bastard that had squatted in his home would definitely hear their approach. Still, Red continued on, his mind set on blasting the unknown intruder to hell, and he paused as the cavern's entrance finally came into view, its archway lit by dim firelight. Someone was definitely in there. With a glance back to Blue, Red rounded the corner, raised his rifle and.... froze.
There wasn't much change in his living area, other than all of the blankets everyone shared being compiled into one large, fluffy pallet. The fire was safely contained in the fire pit at the center of the room, illuminating the various trinkets and knickknacks Red and his family had come to love. A map of Kanto was in bad shape, but still somehow hanging from one of the walls. The old tent he'd used for travel and what marked his own personal room was still pitched, its door unzipped and open. And there, laying on the pallet, was a small yellow figure Red had thought long, long gone.
The rifle lowered and Red felt the color drain from his face. Tears welled up in his eyes as he stared, unbelieving, at the sleeping form of his best friend, safe in their home's warm glow. "...Pika...?"
Immediately, those ears perked and twitched, his tail raised a bit and he turned. It was him. By some miracle Red wasn't altogether sure was reality, it was Pika. Out of the hordes of Pikachu he'd seen over the years, he knew, even against the fire's light, this was him. Everything suddenly clicked into place. The bone pit, the empty tunnels.
It hadn't been an intruder. It hadn't been Lance or even Blaine. It was Pika. He'd come home... and protected it.
Red suddenly found himself on his knees, vision blurred by tears and the rifle now on the floor and out of his limp grip. There was only a small moment where he wondered whether or not Pika even wanted to see him-- after all, the last time they'd been together, Red had slaughtered his teammates and brothers. But that fear was immediately dispelled as Pika propelled himself forward, already weeping himself, and tackled Red."You're home!"
Pika cried, his voice muffled by Red's body. "You're actually here-- I knew you'd come back. I knew you'd come back!"