Deven’s dad wants him to continue in the family tradition and learn Dragon Rush and become a Pokemon League Battler. Deven has other plans, and tries to do everything he can to avoid his dad’s match and spending time with him.
Family and Tradition
“Come on, you’ve gotta have like a project or something that you’re working on and need help with!” Deven pleaded as he sat at the lunch table. The green and brown noibat folded his wings in irritation beneath his poncho. He was taller than most noibats, being close to evolution and starting to show some signs of his next form. “Like, I will help you with any kind of homework you have.”
“I don’t really have anything.” Arzure replied with a shrug. The black and blue raboot was a little confused by Deven’s desperation. Getting Deven to do his own homework was a trick. Why did he suddenly want to do someone else’s?
“What about you?” Deven turned a brown riolu at the table who was wearing a scarf.
“I’m going out of town for the long weekend.” Zeelo rubbed the back of his head. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen family outside of town so my parents thought it was a good idea to go on a trip. It’s… Going to be a bit confusing… What with the whole being younger than the last time my grandparents saw me thing.” Zeelo looked a bit sheepish. “Mom and dad took it pretty well… But I guess being an egg and then an infant counted for being grounded long enough… But no one else in the family really knows.”
“Your parents really weren’t upset about that?” Arzure looked to Zeelo with confusion.
“I don’t think so. I don’t know.” Zeelo shrugged. “I was sort of asleep inside an egg when it all happened. Maybe they were just happy I was safe?” He paused, wondering briefly if his parents knew anything about the magic of the world. What with the whole egg thing he had no idea what their initial reaction has been. By the time he had hatched they were ready to raise him all over again. Had they just had time to accept things while he was an egg, or did they know more about the town than they led on? “I guess they were a little surprised I hatched as a different color though…” Zeelo had once upon a time been blue with a few brown stripes on his ears. Ever since the incident all the blue portions of his body had turned brown.
“Ugh, can’t you two be helpful at all?” Deven asked. “I really, REALLY need to be busy tonight. And preferably for most of the weekend.”
“Why? What’s going on?” Arzure gave Deven a suspicious look. “Did you do something to get in trouble with your parents?”
“No. Not yet anyway.” Deven huffed and thrashed his tail. “Dad is just being a butt. Like always.”
“I feel some elaboration is in order.” Zeelo spoke up.
“Okay, so basically, dad is really big on me being a fighter and following the family tradition.” Deven gave a sigh. “He keeps harassing me about the fact that I haven’t learned Dragon Rush yet. I guess it’s been the signature move for generations in our family or something? He’s competing in the Pokemon League tournament that starts tonight. He wants me there to see what a real fight looks like, and then to train at the gym after the match is over. I have better things to do than watch my dad go on an ego trip then yell at me for now wanting to do the same.”
“Except, you don’t actually have anything better to do, and so can’t get out of it.” Arzure mused. “I suppose I do have something you can help with, but not sure you’d like it, or that your parents would buy it.”
“Look whatever it is, it’ gotta be better than going to my dad’s match.” Deven pleaded.
“Well…” Arzure grinned cheekily. “The thing about that… I’ve sort of been giving Calex lessons in how to fight with Pokemon League rules.”
“Isn’t Calex like… Stupidly power?” Zeelo asked. “Feel like he could easily take anyone in the league.”
“I mean, he’s got a lot of magic and raw firepower…” Arzure nodded. “But he lacks control and finesse. And since magic wouldn’t be allowed in an official match, he’d basically wear himself down just throwing out the strongest moves he has until he passes out from exhaustion.”
“So, he’s all power and no skill.” Zeelo took a bite of an apple that was part of his lunch. “I guess that makes sense. Not like there’s anyone in the forest with him to teach him anything.”
“Uggghh.” Deven groaned. “You’re doing Pokemon League stuff too? Still… I guess it would be better than going to my dad’s match… Maybe if I told him I was training with a friend he’d let me off the hook.” Deven thought for a moment than shook his head. “No, no way. He’d insist I train with him so that I can learn how to use moves properly. That’s not gonna work.” Then Deven grinned. “Although Calex might be able to help.”
“I can?” A high-pitched voice squeaked, and then a small orange figured flew out of Arzure’s head fur and floated directly in front of Deven. It was a tiny orange espeon. He was younger than the rest there being only six years old, which was normal. The being pocket sized was new.
“I thought I told you that you had to stay hidden if we were doing this!” Arzure whispered as he glanced around to see if anyone had noticed the tiny espeon.
“Have you had him hiding on you all day?” Deven gave Arzure a suspicious look.
“He wanted to know what school was.” Arzure gave a hushed explanation. “But there was no way we were going to be able to get him enrolled properly… So, I came up with the idea of using a shrinking potion to hide him and let him ride along with me for the day so he could see what school was like.”
“I gotta say, I’m not really all that impressed.” Calex did a little twirl in the air as he shifted to a sitting position despite the fact he was still levitating. “I mean… Your history class has like… No idea what they’re talking about. They keep talking about the town founders like they’re heroes or something. But they were just a bunch of greedy jerks who like that… Um… What’s that stuff you use to get other stuff with again.”
“Money.” Arzure spoke Calex by now and so understood what the small espeon was saying.
“Right they were mostly interested in money… And trying to get into the forest. Not that I let them.” He puffed out his chest proudly.
“Wait, you remember the town being founded?” Zeelo gave Calex a quizzical look. “So… Do you remember why you were there?”
“I uh well… Was keeping them out of the forest because…” Calex’s ears sagged. “I don’t remember.” The espeon had some serious memory issues. At first, Arzure had thought it was just a side effect of the time he had accidentally turned himself into an egg. But, there were too many holes from time periods nowhere close to that.
“Look we’re getting off track!” Deven slammed a paw onto the table. “I really, REALLY need to get out of this.” He then looked at the tiny espeon. “Heeeeey… I don’t suppose you could turn my dad into an egg for the weekend.”
“I could do that if you wanted.” Calex beamed.
“Calex no!” Arzure grabbed the tiny espeon and gently held him in his palm. “We’ve been over this you don’t go randomly casting spells on people without permission.”
“But he was-“ Calex started.
“You need permission from the person the spell is being cast on, not someone else who is mad at them.” Arzure then shot a look at Deven. “And you stop trying to teach him bad habits.”
“It’s not that bad, he’d be helpful! And… Ok, maybe not an egg? How about we just send him back to being a Gible for a few days?” Deven looked hopeful. He was met with icy stares. “Fine… I’d look into doing it myself with a potion but there’s no way I’d be able to get away with hat without being grounded for life.” Suddenly he brightened up. “Wait, potions that’s it!”
“No, it really isn’t.” Arzure insisted.
“No! Not the potions itself… That pichu kid! Nelly! He’s a couple grades behind us. That means, I could help him with his homework and tutor him and stuff!” Deven looked proud. “If I’ve been assigned as a tutor to another student pretty sure there’s no way dad can disapprove of that.”
“You know, maybe you should just try talking-“ Arzure started to say, but Deven had already gotten up from the table and run off. “Well, that’s going to end in tears.”
“It will?” Calex sounded confused. “He seemed irritated but not sad…”
“And so will you if you don’t get back to hiding.” Arzure plopped Calex back down atop his head so the espeon could conceal himself in his head fluff. “We will get in so much trouble if you get caught.”
It took Deven a bit of searching to find Nelly. But it seemed he was once again running his secret shop on the outdoor patio.
“Hey.” Nelly waved recognizing Deven as a past customer. “Being babysat again? What kind of potion you looking for?”
“No, no, I don’t need anything.” Deven shook his head. “This visit is about what I can do for you.”
“Um… Okay…” Nelly gave Deven a quizzical look.
“So… You probably have a lot of homework for the weekend, right?” Deven asked. “What if… I helped you out with it! You know as a sort of tutor. We could maybe meet up tonight and I could help you with anything you’re struggling with.”
“Ignoring how extremely patronizing you’re being with that offer…” Nelly’s annoyed tone indicated that wasn’t entirely true. “I finished my homework just a few minutes ago. Was working on it while waiting for clients. My big brother is in a Pokemon League match tonight and mom and dad said I could go watch in person if I got all my homework done before.”
“Is everyone here obsessed with the league?” Deven groaned.
“I mean, having a gym in your hometown is kind of a big deal.” Nelly pointed out. “Why are you so bothered about it?”
“Nothing, just don’t worry about it.” Deven left the courtyard in a huff. It seemed like none of his friends were going to be useful. So, what other options did he have? Maybe, he could do something to get in trouble and get after school detention?
No, that had too many ways to backfire. Aside from the amount of trouble he would get in with his parents, there was no guarantee the detention would be after school today. It could easily wind-up next week, or a morning or lunch detention. He couldn’t lie and just say he was helping another student with their homework. That would be too easy for his dad to follow up on and check. What other options were there?
Other family members perhaps? He had two uncles in town. He was pretty sure his Hydregon uncle didn’t have anything he could help with. And he was unlikely to pretend to need Deven’s help to help Deven get out of this. Well, at least one of the heads would. But the others didn’t get along and at least one of them was going to blab. His appletun uncle was always fun to be around. And if it was Friday night his restaurant was going to be busy. Maybe Deven could help out at the restaurant! Coming to the aid of an overworked family member in desperate need of extra help! There was no way he could get in trouble for helping family.
As soon as school was out, Deven flew as fast as he could towards his uncle’s restaurant. The clock was ticking, and his parents would expect him home any second. He needed a commitment fast if his plan was going to work. He was absolutely certain he could count on his uncle. There was no way he’d let him down.
“Sorry, no can do.” Deven’s uncle replied, letting him down immediately as he was busy working on three different dishes at once on a stove. “I love having you around, but I can’t really have kids working in the restaurant. Those child labor laws exist for a reason. If you want I could teach you a few of the recipes from the menu after I close up Sunday.”
“Sunday is going to be too late.” Deven muttered.
“Is something wrong?” His uncle briefly looked away from his cooking to check on Deven.
“Other than the entire universe plotting against me.” Deven muttered to himself. This had been his last hope. Now what was he supposed to do? Without a good excuse that could be validated there was no way to get out of this without getting into massive trouble.
He had no choice. It was time to head home and deal with a weekend of disappointment.
Deven walked home instead of flying, if only because it was slower and put off seeing his father for slightly longer. When he arrived at his house he braced himself before opening the front door. He expected he’d probably get yelled at for getting home from school so late. It was going to be one of several times he got yelled at this weekend. Once he was mentally ready, he opened the door.
And was met with silence. The living room was empty.
“Dad? Mom?” Deven blinked in confusion.
“Back here.” His mom’s voice sounded from the kitchen. There was no reply from his dad. Was that good or bad? Deven crept towards the kitchen to meet his mother while glancing around the house looking for any signs of his father. But it looked like he wasn’t home.
“Where’s dad?” Deven asked as he entered the kitchen.
“He had to leave early.” Deven’s om explained. She was a Noivern, and the one Deven took after more both in physical resemblance and personality. Though, obviously quite a bit more mature. “He had to get to the gym before registration closed. He was waiting for you to get home from school… But…”
“But I’m home later than I’m supposed to be.” Deven flinched. “I was… Just seeing my uncle. I thought he needed help with the restaurant tonight, but I guess he was fine.”
“Thought or hoped?” His mom asked. She was fully aware of Deven’s reluctance.
“So… How mad is he?” Deven asked.
“He was pretty mad when he left…” His mom turned sat down at the kitchen table to be more even with Deven as they talked. “But I imagine as he’ll calm down a bit after he takes a bit of his anger out on his opponents.”
“I see…” Deven sat down as well and sagged his shoulders.
“Your father loves you, you know that, right?” His mom asked.
“Uh huh…” Deven didn’t sound convincing.
“And he wants what is best for you.” His mother continued.
“Sure…” Deven sounded even more dejected.
“But that doesn’t mean he always knows what’s best for you.” His mom gave a wry smile. The conversation had suddenly swerved in a direction Deven had not expected. “He remembers what he wanted most when he was your age. But it’s easy for him to forget that you’re not him, and that you have your own desires and dreams.”
“So… Does that mean I don’t have to go to the gym tonight?” Deven asked hopefully.
“I won’t force you to.” His mother replied. “That’s your choice. But, I will say I think you should.”
“What? But… You just admitted you know it’s not what I want! Or what’s good for me!” Deven protested.
“I never said you should go there to train like he wants.” His mother grinned. “But, you do need to spend some time with him. The more time you spend avoiding him, the harder it is for him to see how different you are.” His mother gave him a light pat on the head. “You’re getting older. You’re at that age where you’re starting to figure out your own identity. While you have some ideas of what you might want for your future, you probably don’t actually know yet… But, you probably have figured out some things you definitely don’t want.”
“Like being a League Battler.” Deven nodded.
“Right.” His mom nodded. “Your father wants you to carry on a tradition, but you have no interest. But… If you spend all your time avoiding him, how is he supposed to know what you are interested in?”
“But when I am around him he ignores most of what I say and just tells me what I’m supposed to be like!” Deven protested.
“That is true, and a problem that we do need to address.” His mother gave a sad nod. “Your father… Grew up in very different circumstances. The world was less… Open to possibility when he was a kid. And so now as an adult, he may have a bit of a tunnel vision problem when it comes to looking at your possible futures. And that’s not something that’s going to be easy to break him out of.”
“So what? I just do what he wants and hope he someday lets me do what I want?” Deven thrashed his tail against the ground hard enough to make a loud cracking noise.
“I never said that.” His mom gave a warm smile. “I merely said that he won’t learn who you are if you never spend time with him. If you really don’t want to carry on the family tradition, you need to make that clear to him.”
“I have!” Deven insisted.
“Have you?” His mom asked. “Have you ever actually told him other things you’re interested instead? Or talked to him at all about your future or interests? Or have you done everything you can to avoid him and avoid talking to him… Such as coming home late after looking for an excuse to miss his match.”
“Well um…” Deven hesitated. “Even if I did, it’s not like I have any way to guarantee he’ll listen to me.”
“But until you try you have no way to guarantee he won’t listen to you.” His mother smiled.
“So… What do I do if I try and he does refuse to listen?” Deven asked.
“Well… If it comes to that…” His mom leaned forward with a wicked grin. “Then I can just put him in a head lock till he agrees to settle down and talk. You don’t think your ol’ dad is the only one in the family who knows how to fight do you? And he may be strong, but I’m fast.”
“Would… You really do that?” Deven couldn’t help but laugh at the mental image.
“If he insists on being pigheaded, then of course.” His mom never lost her wry smile. “Your dad doesn’t have any good examples of a good model when it comes to being a parent. His own father was even more overbearing than he is.”
“Grandad?” Deven gave his mom a suspicious look. “But he’s always so chill when we visit.”
“Yes, he is now that he’s old. But well, I remember growing up in town and…” His mom gave a sad smile for a moment. “When your dad got in trouble with his dad, the entire neighborhood could hear it. Never seen a garchomp with such a pair of lungs on him.” She straightened up. “Of course, just because his dad made mistakes, doesn’t excuse his. But… I do think he deserves a fair chance. Talk to him sometime. You might be surprised.” She smiled again. “And if he continues to be pigheaded there’s always the headlock option.”
“Moooom.” This time Deven burst out laughing. Considering his dad was a garchomp, he was considerably bigger than his mother. The idea of how slim little mother somehow holding his giant father in place was just too amusing. “Have you ever done anything like that before?”
“Of course, I have.” She grinned. “Why do you think he proposed to me?”
“Wait what?” Deven stared at her questionably.
“It was a long time ago. We were on a date at the carnival. Some guy got drunk and spilled his drink on me. Your father was furious. He was ready to beat the poor man into a pulp.” Deven’s mom sighed wistfully as she remembered the past. “Anyway, I made it quite clear I wasn’t interested in any man who starts pointless fights like that. And after a few minutes, it was getting hard for your farther to breathe, so he agreed to just apologize to the guy who threatening him and then I let him go.”
“Kind of surprised he still wanted to date you after that.” Deven spoke in awe.
“Your father has a lot of respect for strength.” His mother replied smugly. “And when I need to be, I can be very strong. After a few more dates I had him trained how to act like a perfect gentleman.” She closed her eyes for a moment. “But, that’s enough reminiscing about the past. You have a decision you need to make. I have a few chores to get done… But if you decide you want to go to the gym, I’ll happily drive you. If you decide to stay home… Well, we can deal with your father together later when he gets back.” She stood up and ruffled Deven’s head fur again before heading out of the room.
“Heh… Thanks mom.” Deven wondered over to the living room debating what he should do. Was it really possible to talk to his dad? He supposed he had never really tried. Not unless screaming matches counted.
As Deven was in thought, he suddenly became aware the TV was on. It was showing the Pokemon League tournament. So, the first rounds had already started. Anyone who won two matches tonight would go on to compete on Saturday, and then anyone who made it to the semifinals would continue on to the final matches on Sunday. Had his mother left the TV on to this channel on purpose?
It looked like his dad’s first match was already up. He was going up against a raichu. And… Deven recognized his opponent! That was the same raichu that had been hired to babysit him a few weeks back! He was going to get crushed! Aside from the sheer difference in strength from their species alone, electric moves were completely useless.
The fight started, and his dad had the raichu on the ropes pretty quickly. With half of what the raichu could do being completely useless it was clear who was going to win. The only thing the raichu had going for him was his agility, as he quickly ran around the field, jumping to avoid pieces broken up from the garchomp’s earthquake. And then, Deven’s father flew into the air. And Deven knew the match was over. Dragon Rush, the source of their arguments. His father dove down from the sky straight at the raichu intending to crush him in an instant. It seemed as if the raichu had accepted defeat as he didn’t even attempt to move out of the way.
And then suddenly, a bright beam of light fired forth, intercepting Deven’s Father before the attack connected and knocking him to the ground! A Hyper Beam! The raichu needed a moment to catch his breath after using it, but Deven’s father had been completely caught off guard, having expected the raichu to try and dodge he had not expected to take the full blast form some a powerful attack head on. He let out a roar, and stumbled as he tried to rise to his feet. He was furious now and shot the raichu a glare. And then, the raichu tackled him, in what looked like a fairly playful manner as he rolled back and forth on the ground striking at his father. Despite how silly the image looked, the blows seemed to be super effective against his father. The garchomp tried to throw the raichu off of him, but his strength faltered and he collapsed on his back.
And then… The match ended. The raichu had won. Deven’s father had lost. In the first round. Against someone who had a type disadvantage! Deven had always seen his father as an imposing figure, impossible too approach. But in this moment, he saw him as he really was. Just a normal pokemon trying to find their way in the world, like everyone else.
Maybe his mom was right…
“Mom!” Deven shouted. “I need you to drive me to the gym!” he had made up his mind. He was going to try to spend time with his father. Maybe even he’d get him to understand him one day. Who knew, after being humbled in the first round like that maybe he’d be more open to listen to Deven for once. It was doubtful Deven was going to change his mind in one night. But… If he didn’t start trying nothing would ever change.
And if all else failed, there was always the headlock option.