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Ask to Join Lavender Town Syndrome

Discussion in 'Pokémon Role Play' started by Aura, Oct 31, 2017.

  1. (OOC: @Psycho Monkey and I came up with this idea ages ago, so it's about time we got thing's moving, and what better night to start it? If you're interested in joining us on this trip down to hell, please indicate your interest in the discussion thread. Also, super important: We're going to be talking about suicide. A lot. Use your own judgment to whether you think you want to talk about this kind of stuff. Also, don't feel like you need to match me on length here - I just got really carried away with this.)

    The silver haired man threw the paper’s he’d been furiously scanning down on the floor in anguish, and slowly sunk to his knees, cradling is head in his hands. His vision blurred as he felt tears spring up around the corners of his eyes as he gazed at the scattered papers, not really seeing reality, but instead focusing upon the memory of a young adolescent girl, sitting on the couch in his office, her impossibly thin arms wrapped around an Azumarill. It had been the first time he’d seen her smile since she’d come in for treatment. He shook his head, unkempt long hair flying around him, and sat himself back up straight again. His blue eyes focused upon the ceiling of his Goldenrod office, and he forced himself to take a deep breath as he ran himself through a quick mindfulness exercise.

    He focused his consciousness upon his body, slowly going through each limb and noticing how they felt – the tension is his muscles, his hands in tight fists, his fingernails digging into his palms, and most importantly, the suffocating feeling within his throat. The man worked through himself, forcing each muscle to slowly relax, opened up his airways, and slowed down his breathing. He could feel some vague sense of calm coming back to him, and he turned his attention back to the papers.

    Vincent picked up the closest, a letter he’d received from Alison’s doctor early on in treatment, listing the changes in her weight over time, her BMI, along with a note that she and her family had claimed that she was eating at every meal. Her doctor had suspected there was a psychological aspect to her sudden weight loss, as from the tests she had performed, she had found no disease which would cause this drop, but had noted her knuckles were oddly calloused. Her hunch had been correct, of course. After a few sessions of therapy, Alison had finally admitted to him that she’d been forcing herself to throw up after every meal.

    As they’d grown to trust each other more, the secret’s they’d shared had increased. She’d told him about her boyfriend, how he and their friends would often mock people they saw for being overweight, and how she’d laugh and join in. She’d recounted how they’d met, and how strong her feelings were for him, and the kindness he showed her when nobody else was around. She’d told him her favourite celebrities and musicians, explained to him what she admired about all of them, and how she wanted to look like them. She’d explained about how ambitious her parents were, how they tried to impress upon her the importance of never backing down, and never failing at anything you attempted, and how if she wanted to be successful, she needed to be perfect. She’d told him about the frustration she felt whenever she got anything less than 90% on her schoolwork, about how she didn’t feel she was preforming well enough to get into the university her parents had been pushing her to pursue. She’d explained about how she enjoyed maths the most in school and was thinking of looking into pursuing it as a career, because it was simple, and black and white. You were either right, or wrong, and she loved the certainty.

    A morbid thought struck Vincent as he reflected upon who Alison had been: given how good she was at calculating things in her head, he’d wondered if she’d spent the last moments of her life calculating the speed in which she was falling before she hit the ground.

    He slapped his hand across his face, his temper flaring again at the thought. He paused again, feeling as if his emotions were walking on the knife’s edge between numbness and despair, before deciding to reach for the Premier Ball in his briefcase. In a flash, a small stoic green bird appeared, white patterned wings wrapped around her body. Her usual serene eyes seemed touched with melancholy today – no doubt, she already knew what had happened.

    “… Did you see this, Tokyo?” He asked the Xatu.

    The mystic Pokemon stared back, unblinking for a long moment, before shaking her head slowly. “The future is like gazing into a lake with untold depths. So much is happening, but all of the movement from the fish within have stirred the dirt, making it impossible to detect. I can only discern but the tiniest of glimpses.”

    They sat in Vincent’s dark office for a few long moments, before he nodded to his Pokemon, and picked up the next paper. It was from his first session with Alison, the initial assessment. He eyed the notes he’d made, detailing the tiniest details in her body language (no eye contact, played with hair constantly, rubbed her hands raw), to her appearance (extremely well put together, immaculate make up and hair), to the tone of her voice (quiet, uncertain). Most importantly, there was a little note labelled “suicide risk”. He could remember asking her about this quite distinctly – in response to his direct question, she’d held her head and defiantly said no. It was the most certain she’d sounded the entire session. Usually, people didn’t tend to lie when asked about these things, so he’d written down that there appeared to be no risk. Had he not monitored this accurately enough over their sessions? Not paid enough attention to her? Had he missed some clue, some hint she’d been giving him through the words she spoke and the way she held herself that she desperately wanted someone to talk to about it? What if he had missed it? What if he could have saved her?

    The door slammed open, jolting him out of the downward spiral he’d just started falling into. “Oh Vince…” The older, plump woman said softly as she walked up to him. Gentle hands touched his arm, pulled him off the floor, and sat him down on the couch he reserved for his client’s.

    Cherry sat down next to him, flicking out a Great Ball. In a flash, her Kirlia, George appeared. Upon seeing Vincent, the emotion Pokemon’s eyes widened and he pulled on Cherry’s sleeve, pointing towards him. She smiled knowingly and patted the much younger Pokemon’s head.

    “I know dear, I know. Could you do me a favour and go fetch some tea? Camomile for me please, and, Vince?” She asked the slumped figure next to her. After a moment of silence, she asked told the Kirlia to make two, and the psychic Pokemon danced away, eager to be free of the crushing atmosphere.

    The two adults sat there, the silence filling the room. Vincent glanced at his supervisor, sitting straight up, hands clasped in her lap but held with no tension. She was patient, and willing to wait with him until he wanted to talk without forcing the conversation onto him. He’d always liked that about her.

    It took until George was using psychic to carry the tea into the room and set the cups upon the coffee table some minutes later before Vincent finally spoke, “I let her die.”

    Cherry watched him carefully as she asked, “Do you really think that? You didn’t know.”

    “But I should have known. I was her psychologist.”

    “Do you remember the report you gave me on her a few weeks ago? We wanted to be careful with her, given the high mortality rate among anorexia patients.”

    “I know, she was making improvements in her weight. She was responding well to treating her perfectionism and anxiety. She did not seem suicidal.” He mumbled slowly. “But what if that improvement was due to her having made peace with the decision to die?”

    “Those improvements were steady though, not sudden.”

    “Yes but-“

    Cherry cut him off, shaking her curly brown hair. “Vincent, you’re young. I know this is the first time this has happened to you but… losing your client’s is a risk you run in this line of work. Sometimes, you try your hardest, but they still make that decision anyway. Losing them is such an indescribable feeling, and I’ll never forget any of the people I’ve lost but, know this. It wasn’t your fault, you tried your hardest to help her.” She paused for a moment, seeming to mull over whether she should try and push that point further, before continuing, “Look, her parents have rung up and said they want to talk to you – ah don’t worry, they don’t blame you for this. They just want some closure to assist with their grief. We’ve booked an appointment for you to meet with them tomorrow morning, and after you do that, I want you to take leave.”

    Vincent’s head snapped up at that, and he readied himself to protest, but Cherry was ready for him. “You’re in no state to help anybody right now. You need to take care of yourself first Vincent, otherwise you won’t be able to help anybody. Just like if you’re on a plane and the oxygen masks come down, they tell you to put it on yoursel-“

    He held up his hand to get her to stop, already very familiar with that story. He understood where she was coming from all too well, but he was loath to leave his job, and leave his client’s when they needed him. “What should I do about my other appointments?”

    “I’ll sort them out – either we’ll reschedule or if it’s more urgent, we’ll divide them among the staff here. Seriously Vincent, don’t worry. Take some time off, you really need it. I’ve heard that Celadon is really nice this time of year to visit – perhaps consider that? You can get there pretty easily on the Magnet Train.” She smiled at him gently through her wrinkled face.

    He’d visited Celadon before for a conference, and his mind wandered to the woman he’d befriended when he was there – Megan Adelaide. He hadn’t seen her since, but they’d kept in contact, sharing papers and discussing new theories. Talking to her was always pleasant, and every time he got a new email from her, he felt his heart leap a little in his chest. Maybe he could use her company.

    “I might go to Lavender Town. I know someone there.” He said slowly, getting up off the couch, which seemed to lighten his supervisor’s mood.

    “Perfect – go enjoy your time off. And Vince? Promise me you won’t be too hard on yourself? Take it easy and try not to think about work too much.” She said as he started packing up his belongings to leave.

    “Of course, don’t worry Cherry. I won’t get in any trouble.”

    ***

    Three days later, Vincent knocked on the door of a cute townhouse near the centre of Lavender Town, after having double checked that he’d gotten Megan’s address correct. While waiting for her to answer the door, he checked his appearance out in the reflection of the window, trying to make sure his hair was sitting nicely. Instead he was greeted with the face of a man who hadn’t slept or bothered to shave in three days. At least his favourite dark blue jacket with patched elbows looked nice, and suited the cool winter.

    The door opened, and there she was. Megan didn’t really look like she’d changed since he’d last seen her. She still had those kind, inviting green eyes, the cute splattering of freckles across her high cheekbones and small nose, her shiny straight red hair, and most importantly, that welcoming smile that caused her whole face to light up, and soothed the numbness Vincent had been feeling ever since… He didn’t want to think about it right now. Megan was a stunning, intelligent woman, and judging by the two rings on her slender fingers, she was still happily married. He really needed to get over her, but it was not easy.

    “Oh my god Vincent it’s so good to see you!” She exclaimed, throwing herself towards him and embracing him quickly, before almost dragging him into her house. “It’s been too long, how are you?”

    The silver haired man glanced away from her guilty for the lie he was about to tell – she was in too good a mood to ruin it, “Ah I’ve been okay. Just working.”

    “Are you sure you’ve been okay? You look tired.” She raised an eyebrow towards him, as she lead him into her dining room.

    “I’m fine – Just took some late nights to get everything sorted before taking time off.” Another lie. He felt his insides twist with guilt. Maybe this was a bad idea, but her smile was infectious. As they continued talking, he started to notice on how she too had dark circles under her eyes, hastily covered up with makeup. Her normally well maintained nails were chipped, and all around her house were signs of things having been hastily shoved away. He couldn’t help but wonder a little, if something was bothering her? Her kids were getting older and maybe were wearing her thin a little, but still….

    “Hey Vince,” He heard her saying, “Is it okay if I’ve just got takeaway for us? I’m sorry I can’t really have made you something myself, but I just don’t have the time right now.”

    Takeout didn’t bother him at all – he practically lived off the stuff. “No it’s fine, really. But, Megan, what’s going on? You look as tired as I do.”

    The red haired woman sighed, dropping her shoulders in defeat, as if she too had been trying to put on a façade. “It’s just work. We’ve been getting so many people coming into the crisis centre recently with the whole Lavender Town Syndrome, you know?”

    Vincent blinked in confusion, “Wait, what?”

    “Ah sorry,” she apologized, “The people around here have been calling it that, and I guess the name has stuck. You saw that newspaper article I set you about the sudden spike in suicide rates we’ve had recently? Well it seems to be the worst here. We’ve got people coming in every day, either people worried about killing themselves, worried about others, or just out of general concern.”

    He nodded slowly – he had read that article and had been well aware of the seemingly out of nowhere increase in deaths around Kanto. It was certainly a massive concern at the moment, one which nobody seemed to be able to explain, and naturally, people were scared.

    “Why do you think its happening?” He asked, unable to stop himself from approaching the morbid subject.

    Megan paused, thoughtful, before shrugging, seeming to want to keep the conversation casual. “Suicides have always been on the increase these days, likely due to the pressures of modern life, copycats, and better monitoring of the population so less people are reported as missing instead of dead, but this sudden spike just came out of nowhere. There haven’t been any horrific events lately to cause it, nor is it near Valentine’s day, so I just don’t know. A lot of the more superstitious locals have been calling it a curse though.”

    She fell silent for a moment, her eyes growing sorrowful. “You know, it got one of my friends recently.” She whispered, staring at the floor. “We weren’t amazingly close but it still, I just… I don’t know what to feel… I never thought he would have… he seemed so content with life and I just-“ Megan stopped speaking as Vincent wrapped his arms around her and pulled her tight, trying to put every shred of affection he could into the gesture.

    “I’m sorry Megan.” He murmured. What else could you say? All he knew to do right now was ensure she knew he was here if she needed it. He felt her shift her body, as if she wanted to say something, but they both froze when her mobile rang.

    “Oh, hang on!” She exclaimed, gently pushing him off and fishing it out of her pocket. “Hi Lachlen… I’m a little busy right now, I told you… Wait, how many? … Okay, I’ll head over right away.”

    Megan turned back to him with a sad smile, gesturing helplessly. “Work. A group of teenager’s showed up recently and we don’t have the staff free to cover them all. I’m so sorry Vince, I really have to go… We should definitely book in dinner another time okay?” She moved around the room quickly, gathering up her things.

    He couldn’t help but admire her dedication. What was he doing, taking time off because Alison died, when Megan was here working her hardest to take care of everyone despite having lost a friend? He wanted to help her, to try and make sure that she at least had the time to sleep, to mourn. Vincent stood up and started grabbing his things too, apologizing to Cherry in his head. She was going to be so mad at him.

    “Hey, I’ll come and help out as well. I am a registered psychologist.”

    Megan tried to brush him off, protesting that he was here to relax, not to work, and that she could handle it fine, but Vincent was adamant. He’d come here to see her after all, and helping her now would ensure that they could spend more time together later, as friends. Just friends. Finally, she accepted, under the condition that he’d only do initial assessments, and rushed out the door, heading straight for the Lavender Town Community Mental Health Centre.
     
  2. Weather? Chilled. Surroundings? Lively. State of mind? ...Not so good.

    Harrison sat atop of the Celadon City Department Store, wind sweeping its way gently across the boy's face as he continued to gaze outwards, intaking the outstretched horizontal view of Kanto - the same view he had been staring at for half an hour. The 19 year old was rested on a small circular glass table, itself and the several others just like it created to host visitors who wished to peacefully enjoy the out doors while relaxing on the highest point in the city - on top of the most successful building. It had been quite a while since he had taken time to visit the simple yet breathtaking view of the green filled town.

    Once Harrison's older brother had taken over ownership of the Department Store, they had made it appoint to come and sit in that very spot every once and while and catch up - due to Harri taking residence in Cerulean last year. As much as it sounded like a cheesy task their mother would make imperative to do - the two brothers willing agreed to the rendezvous and genuinely enjoyed it. Taking a single look outwards allowed the eye to see not only the hustle and bustle of the city and endless trainers challenging running into the Pokemon Gym left and right, but also the seemingly never ending landscape of the region.

    Last time he had made an appearance at the spot was around three months ago. Simon had sat across from him; the two reminiscing over old childhood memories, as they always did, and laughing until tears finally streamed from their eyes. However, this time the body replacing Simon as it sat opposite of Harrison was none other than his Wartortle. Harrison had adopted the turtle Pokemon into his team as a Squirtle shortly after arriving in Kanto from an old man who was adamantly searching for an active caretaker for the Pokemon. The elderly man had entrusted the Pokemon to the young traveler due to growing progressively old and unable to properly care for the water-type himself. So, the blonde happily accepted and had taken in the Squirtle, and has never separated from him since. He now stood as a proud and radiant Wartortle, accomplishing much alongside its owner. Yet, the regularly bold and brash turtle sat quietly in his chair - not making anymore noise than Harrison was. Just simply sat and looked to the land below them, an emptiness welled up in his large tawny eyes.

    As one could assume, the mood was brought down. Even Harrison himself was most often seen in bright spirits, enjoying every slice of life that he possibly could. The Contest Coordinator lived by a motto: "You look your best when living your best life". More times than not, that saying, quoted by himself, was enough to bring him out of any slumps he may be feeling - and if that didn't work, then he would only recite more positive quotes - but after what he had witnessed merely three hours ago... there were no words that could possibly lift his mind from the gloom that lingered over pretty much the entire region. Just in those past couple of hours, that seemed like only minutes, Harri had grieved with his brother over three dead bodies that had plummeted from atop of the Kanto Radio Tower within Lavender Town. Harrison had not known the individuals personally - only meeting two of the three himself whiles ago. He only recognized them due to being close business friends with Simon. Simon and Harrison had hailed from the Hoenn region, but when Simon had reached adulthood, he set out to pursue his career in Kanto, and those three individuals (all native to Lavender) had helped him get a jump start.

    Harrison had later taken small journeys himself throughout Hoenn and Johto, but later decided to settle in Kanto for the meantime after falling in love with it, and being near his older sibling. Simon was a very intelligent and curious mind, so whenever the suicide rates had shot up out of the blue, his conspiracy swayed personality caused him to become bent to figure out as much as he could despite not receiving any education in the psychology field. Harrison had chosen to help out due to his own fear of the subject, as well as strike at the opportunity for family bonding.

    The two had always been partners in crime - whether it be helping each other sneak out during childhood, or investigating mass suicides in a newfound home...granted this was their first time engaging in the latter. They had recently agreed to meet up within Lavender to figure out just what the hell was going on with these deaths, and what was causing it. So when the brothers had found that their main sources of even the slightest intel had fallen victim to the same exact phenomenon that they were trying to get an idea of, they were distraught.

    Within a single ring of Harrison's mobile, he picked up. He had been waiting for Simon to call and give an update for an excruciating sixty minutes. His older sibling had went off to speak with the police shortly after they had investigated the scene and evacuate the morbidly damaged bodies. Simon was distraught over the incident, that was for sure. But now his curiosity had sparked into a passionate anger. Whatever was happening had now affected his friends, and he demanded answers. Regardless of his emotional state, the police only offered the generic information about Lavender Syndrome that they had already released to the public, and that only sparked an argument.

    All of it became a bit too much to the shaken up Harrison, who had arrived merely minutes after the incident, so he took his leave into the neighboring city of Celadon to calm himself down. Before heading out to the police's station, Simon had agreed to contact him after he had calmed down himself and received information.

    "So...whats the deal? How are you holding up?" Harrison answered, bypassing the normal formalities of a phone call.

    "At this point, theyre just giving us hogwash." Simon responded, sounding much more irritated than saddened. "LTS, decline in mental issues, nothing wrong in particular with this specific case...a bunch of bull. All of it. Look, Harri, I appreciate you coming all down, but its best you go home."

    "How come?" He asked...although he was already pondering the idea himself, and it honestly wouldn't take much convincing to get him to leave.

    "To be honest with you, this is just too much for a kid like you. You shouldn't have to experience any of this. There's other things that you should be worried about."

    "I-I mean...yeah, I understand. I'll guess just head back, but keep in mind I'm only a couple of cities away if you need me-"

    "No, Harrison," Simon interrupted, "I mean go home. Back to Hoenn."

    "...What? I can't just up and leave." Harrison protested through the phone. Wartortle's ears perked up, and the turtle Pokemon glanced a concerned look towards his Trainer.

    "I didn't understand it all at first, but something is definitely going on here - the entire region. Mom and dad have already been worried sick...you know that. I don't want to have to worry about any of this happening to you." Simon admitted, anxiousness rising within his voice as he rambled on.

    "You're...You're insane." Harrison stuttered back. "I'm not going to just leave you here - especially with Laura and Noah. I understand you're upset, and I'm so sorry about what happened, but you're insane to even say such a thing."

    "Harrison, pleas-"

    Yet when Simon went on to respond, he was cut short with the shutting off of Harrison's mobile. The brown eyed teen was beginning to become flustered at his brother talking to him as if he were a child. Sure, this was a stressful situation and he was highly troubled at the site he had recently witnessed, but there was absolutely no need for him to go running back home. Even the suggestion sounded idiotic within his mind. He stood from his chair and headed for the escalators of the Department Store, his water type companion following along and leaping upon his shoulder, hanging from a two-arm grip. It softly called its own name while patting Harrison in a gentle manner, attempting to calm him down.

    Harri thanked the Wartortle, and reassured it that everything would be fine. They were going home, but back to Cerulean City. He was grown and mature enough to handle this. However, he was slightly worried about the situation, but if it was surely what the press had reported, than it wasn't like Harrison was subject or at risk to Lavender Town Syndrome. He rarely ever stepped foot in the city. There were scary amounts of self-offings within Cerulean as well, but compared to Lavender they were small numbers. There wasn't anything he could personally do about it, though. All he had to do was make it through Lavender one more time in order to get one. One trip. Nothing else could go wrong...he hoped.
     

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