Home for Jotaro Kujo had a loose definition after years of traveling to other regions, battling different Leagues and training his Pokemon to powerful levels. Home had started as Lilycove City in the Hoenn region, where he got his first Pokemon when he was 11 years old, and had slowly become whatever Pokemon Center he happened to be staying in that night. He called Unova home for a year, and Sinnoh for a few months, but he never really stayed in one place for very long. After seven years of travel, now 18 years old, Jotaro returned to Lilicove as a seasoned veteran battler who had even won a few Champion battles over the years. Hoenn welcomed him back with open arms.
But he quickly grew restless, having already taken on Hoenn’s League in the past. He sat around the house more often than he really wanted to, and his Pokemon could only wander the beaches nearby so many times before they grew bored too.
It was about a month after his return when his grandfather came to visit. Jotaro hadn’t seen him since the year he spent in Unova, where the old man lived. Joseph Joestar had been a powerful trainer in his youth, even spending a few years as the Champion of the Johto region until he retired. Now he spent most of his time wandering the regions, battling for the fun of it and meeting new people. Now it appeared like he needed a break, announcing his intentions to stay in Hoenn for at least six months with his daughter and grandson.
After watching Jotaro’s Pokemon wander the gardens aimlessly one day, Joseph admonished Jotaro for his laziness. “You’re young! Go do something with your life!” he had said, and Jotaro had ignored him, though secretly he knew he really should do something. His Pokemon were just too big to be wandering the house’s small garden. So he finally caved, and asked his grandfather for advice.
“Hm… I may know something,” Joseph said, scratching his chin in thought. His Ninetales was laying on the floor next to him, her head resting on Joseph’s knee where he scratched at her graying fur. “It’s not at all related to battling though, so I don’t know how your Pokemon will take to it.”
“Not battling? What are you talking about?” Jotaro asked.
“A friend of mine was looking for some assistance with his business. I met up with him for a bit before coming back here, and he said he could use a few more human and Pokemon workers, especially now that Contest season is about to start and the League is going on break. People won’t be doing much battling, so they may be needing his services more.”
“What kind of work does he do?”
“He runs a Pokemon day care and rescue center.”
Jotaro stared, blinking once, then twice. “What.”
“See, I told you it was pretty out there! It’s the only thing I can think of right now. But Avdol, the man who runs the place, is a close friend of mine. My Ambipom actually came from an egg left at his place when a trainer abandoned it, so I can vouch for how great the place is. He owns a huge plot of land nearby Mauvile City, so it’s not like you're in the middle of nowhere,” Joseph shrugged. “Wouldn’t hurt to give it a try, right?”
"No offense old man, but most of my Pokemon are big and intimidating, not so much the breeder type. What use could I possibly be at a day care?” Both men turned to the open screen doors, where some of Jotaro’s Pokemon could be seen outside. Tyranitar was sunbathing on a rock, and Machamp was playing with Talonflame, trying to bat the Flying type out of the air with his many arms.
“You’d think that, but you’d be surprised. Machamp does have four arms, he could carry all kinds of big, heavy things. And your Talonflame has the Flame Body ability, right? It’s been proven that that ability helps eggs hatch faster. I’m sure Avdol could find something for your other Pokemon too.”
Jotaro gave a slow nod of understanding. It didn’t sound like the worst idea ever but it also didn’t sound like the best. Jotaro didn’t see himself as the caring type. Sure he cared for his own Pokemon a lot, and they loved and took care of him in return, but day cares and rescue centers were out of his league.
“Give it some time,” Joseph reasoned. “You don't have to decide right now. I just figured I’d get you started.” He got up from the table, leading his Ninetales into the attached kitchen. “Let me know if you decide anything and I’ll give Avdol a call, okay?”
“Sure.” Never a man of many words, that was enough of an answer.
So Jotaro sat and contemplated the idea. On one hand, it would give him and his Pokemon something to do. They’d all been restless this past month, eager to battle, and the work would at least give them something to do. He’d be out of the house but close to home, which was nice after being away for seven years. But on the other hand, he had no experience with the care of young Pokemon. And this place was also a rescue center? Sure, Jotaro’s had to appease wild Pokemon in the past; you don’t get a rowdy Seasel to join your team by smiling at it. But traumatized Pokemon were a different story, and honestly Jotaro didn’t think he was ready for that.
But, as he watched his Pokemon lounge about, maybe the new experience would be worth it. Making up his mind, Jotaro stood and went though the door to the kitchen, where Joseph was sipping some tea as he watched Ninetales happily munch on some Poke Beans. Joseph glanced at him, and a smile came to his face. “You decided?”
Nodding, Jotaro said, “How soon can I start?”
Grandfather and grandson chose to walk to Avdol’s Pokemon sanctuary, stopping for lunch at the Mauville City food court before making their way to Route 117. The small building that housed the entrance to the day care was nestled into the trees, leaving little space to spy on the open fields behind them. Outside the door, a dark skinned man in a red, flowing robe was passing a small Pokemon egg to a happy looking girl. Judging by the Lopunny and Scrafty behind her, Jotaro guessed that the two had produced the egg she was holding. The girl bowed thankfully to the man, and left with happy tears in her eyes, the Lopunny bouncing along next to her trying to hold the egg for itself.
The man waved goodbye to her, then took notice of the two older men. He smiled, his age showing in happy lines on his face. “Joseph!” he called happily, and the two shared a quick hug. “Good to see you again! And you brought Jotaro.” He shook Jotaro’s hand, his grip firm and warm. “It’s been a long time since I saw you. You probably don’t remember, you were barely three at the time, so I’ll just say that it’s good to meet you.”
“Good to meet you too.”
“So, does this mean you’ve considered my offer?”
“We wanted to come see how things were done around here,” said Joseph. “He says he’ll do it, but it wouldn’t hurt just to make sure.”
“Right, right. I agree. Come on in, I’ll give you the tour.”
First he led them into the day care’s entrance, where two teenage girls were behind the counter chatting. They waved to Avdol as the passed, and he explained that they were part-time helpers who took care of reception. Out the back door led to the expansive fields of the day care. Several Pokemon were running around and playing, from all sorts of regions and of varying types.
“This is mostly for the day care Pokemon,” said Avdol. “The Pokemon in the rescue center do use it, but only in designated areas to keep them, and the other Pokemon, safe. Most of them aren’t dangerous, but are uncomfortable being around so many other Pokemon. They’re free to roam around the space as they please. We have berry trees growing on the property they can snack on, and designated feeding times for their main meals.”
Next was a medium sized barn. Avdol opened the door, but warned them not to go inside, just to peek in. “This is where we keep any eggs that need to be hatched here. Most trainers who weren't intentionally looking for eggs don’t take them, so we keep them with us. Some people also ask us to help with breeding, like the regional professors when they’re looking for Pokemon to give to new trainers. Professor Rowan is one of our best customers. While we do have some Pokemon who live here all the time, mostly my own Pokemon, who help incubate the eggs and keep them warm, some expecting mothers prefer to watch over their eggs themselves. As a result, they get pretty protective.”
Just inside the door Jotaro could see a Volcarona sitting on two eggs the size of watermelons, who trilled happily at Avdol so Jotaro could assume it was his own Pokemon, and next to it was a Liepard who eyed them suspiciously as she curled around her own egg. Secretly, Jotaro was glad when Avdol shut the door. He may have raised a Tyranitar but that Liepard looked like she could claw his eyes out at any moment.
They breezed by a storage building for food and supplies, and ended up at a fairly large, two story building. “This doubles as the rescue center and my own house,” Avdol explained. “The bottom floor is where the rescue Pokemon stay, and I have a small medical center there as well. The top floor is where I live, and where my other assistant is staying.”
“You have a second assistant?” Jotaro asked.
Avdol nodded. “He’s been with me for almost two years now, but since he’s from Kalos originally he needed a place to stay when he first started working here. I have a couple of spare rooms, so I let him stay with me.” He led them into the house. The first room was the medical center, with a few tables and tubs for washing. Multiple doors branched off from this room, some with locks and some sliding doors, and a staircase at the way back leading up to the second floor. “Kakyoin!” Avdol called, “Are you here?”
For a moment nothing happened, then a door opened and a red haired boy poked his head out. Violet eyes stared at them with curiosity before he slipped through the door and shut it quietly behind him. He wore a simple long sleeved green shirt and jeans, covered by a light green apron. "Welcome back,” he said, wiping his hands on the apron. “Was she happy to receive the egg?”
“More than happy,” Avdol said with a laugh. “Though her Lopunny seemed even happier.”
“Good,” Kakyoin grinned. “And we have guests! I would have prepared something had I known.”
“Don’t worry about it!” said Joseph, stepping forward to shake the boy’s hand. “The name’s Joseph Joestar! I’m an old friend of Avdol’s.”
Kakyoin nodded. “Yes, he’s mentioned you before! I’ve heard plenty of stories.”
“Good things I hope?”
The grin morphed into a smirk, a mischievous twinkle in his eye. “Depends.”
“You know what, I like you kid.”
“Noriaki. My name is Noriaki Kakyoin.” He turned his attention to Joraro next. “And you?”
“Jotaro Kujo.” Jotaro reached up to adjust his hat more comfortably on his head. “Good to meet you.”
“Jotaro’s shown interest in helping us out around here for a bit,” Avdol explained. “I wanted to show him around. How are the Pokemon doing today?”
Kakyoin gestured to some stools, suggesting they all sit down. “They're doing about the same as yesterday, really. Not much has changed so far. Though, thankfully it’s been pretty quiet.”
“How many Pokemon live here right now?” Joseph asked.
“Seven. We thankfully were able to release one of them back into the wild a few days ago. Some of them are wild Pokemon, and some of them came from trainers who’ve mistreated them. We care for them as long as we have to, then either release them back into the wild, or find them homes with trainers that have passed a background check.”
“What do you do to help them?” asked Jotaro.
“It depends on the situation,” said Avdol. “Some come to us afraid, closed off from their surroundings. Likely they’ve been abused by their trainers or families. When they arrive here, we work with them to get them used to people again, reminding them that they can trust people and Pokemon.”
“But some,” Kakyoin continued, “are more aggressive. They lash out and attack people and Pokemon alike. Many of them aren’t aggressive by nature, they’ve just been through horrible situations. They think that lashing out helps them in some way, either to protect themselves or keep possible threats away. These Pokemon take a lot of effort to help.” He looked down sadly. “And sometimes… it doesn’t work.”
Avdol nodded solemnly. “Sadly sometimes we can’t help every Pokemon. And it’s painful. But we do our best to help whatever Pokemon we can.”
Joseph reached out to pat Avdol’s shoulder. “You do good work here,” he said with a hum. “Jotaro, still think you want to go through with this?”
He nodded. It sounded like hard work, but rewarding work. “I’ll do it.”
“We’re happy to have you,” Kakyoin said.
The sound of a Pokemon’s coo came from behind them. Turning to look, Jotaro saw a tiny Cherubi bouncing down the stairs. A stool scrapped along the floor as Kakyoin rose to meet it. The tiny Pokemon bounced into the red head’s hands and made happy noises. Turning back to the group, Kakyoin held Cherubi out for Jotaro to see. “This little one is Cherubi. His egg was left at the day care a few months ago, and I ended up adopting him. He lives with me upstairs since he isn’t part of my regular team.”
Cherubi trilled, bouncing once in Kakyoin’s hands in greeting.
“What is your regular team?” Joseph inquired.
Avdol stood, smoothing out his robe with his hands. “We should go outside for this. I wish to see your team as well, Jotaro.”
“Good call, his Pokemon are huge,” Joseph laughed.
The group left the rehabilitation center but didn’t wander too far, just into the meadow a bit. The day care Pokemon playing outside paused in what they were doing to watch for a bit, though some turned away, disinterested. Kakyoin whistled through pursed lips as he reached to his belt for a couple of Pokeballs. “Most of my team is around here somewhere. They help out with all kinds of errands.” He threw the two Pokeballs into the air, and they released a Reuniclus and, to Jotaro’s surprise, an Alolan Marowak.
“You’ve been to Alola?” he asked.
“Only once, to visit an old friend. We were visiting the volcano park when a Cubone wandered up to us, injured from a wild Pokemon attack. I healed her up and she decided to stick with me. She evolved just as I was about to fly back home, so she’s the Alolan variant rather than the one we see around here.” Marowak made a low rumbling sound in her throat, something like a purr, and the Reuniclus cried happily as well, reaching out with its gelatinous hands to hug its trainer. And soon, Kakyoin’s other four Pokemon wandered back to the group. A Florges, a Lurantis, an Altaria, and a pink Gastrodon.
Jotaro couldn’t help but notice that this team, while mostly gentle and perfect for helping with this kind of work, could also be a competent battling team. He wondered if Kakyoin had done much battling in the past. That Altaria looked particularly strong.
Reaching for his own six Pokeballs, Jotaro eyed the gathered Pokemon, including the curious day care Pokemon. “You may want to stand back,” he said. Several of them scooted back a few steps. Tossing the six balls, Jotaro let his team free.
Swampert, Tyranitar, Weavile, Machamp, Talonflame, and Luxray emerged, each letting out a cry of relief to be free of their Pokeballs for a bit. Curious about the new place with lots of open space, Talonflame imedietly began doing loops in the sky and Luxray sniffed at the grass.
“Wow!” Kakyoin said, laughing. “When you said big, I didn’t think you meant every member!” He wandered over to Tyranitar, who sniffed at the long curl of his hair. “They’re beautiful though. They’re a battling team, right?”
“Hm… I must admit, finding something for them all to do around here may be tough, but I can see their potential. You especially, Talonflame,” he called to it. “If they feel like it, they could help with some of our eggs. Give Avdol’s Volcarona a break, right?”
“Volcarona loves her job, you would have to pry her away from those eggs. But I agree, Talonflame could help with the eggs. Machamp and Swampert are very strong too, which is helpful. Can your Swampert Mega Evolve, Jotaro?” asked Avdol.
He nodded. “We’ve been able to do it for a year or so. The Mega Stone is embedded in his neck because he kept breaking all of the jewelry containing the stone.”
“And he was okay with that?” Avdol asked.
“He scratched at it a little bit but he isn’t bothered by it now.”
Talonflame landed on Machamp’s shoulder, and the two chatted animatedly with Kakyoin’s Altaria, while Swampert and Gastrodon sniffed at each other once before Gastrodon pressed its face into Swamper’s neck and the two cuddled. Joseph laughed, a lout boisterous sound. “They like each other a lot, don’t they?”
“Could be because they’re both Water-Ground types,” said Kakyoin, head tilted in curiosity as he watched his Pokemon. Cherubi had nestled in his hair, mimicking the confused expression.
“Well,” Avdol said, “how about we get Jotaro settled in today, and we’ll get started with some work tomorrow?” Nodding, they recalled their Pokemon and set out to prepare for the following day.
If there was one thing Jotaro had grown accustomed to over the years, it was waking up in unfamiliar places. From the floor, couches, and occasionally beds of Pokemon Centers, to grassy places, under trees, and once in a cave because he didn’t want to walk to town in a thunderstorm. At least he was in a proper bed this time.
Joseph and Avdol had helped him move some of his stuff into a tiny room upstairs in the rescue center. There was enough room for a bed, a dresser, and a small desk but not much else. Thankfully he was right across the hall from the bathroom, and Kakyoin was next door if he needed anything. It was just a shame none of his Pokemon could move around in here. Well, Weavie maybe, but Jotaro didn’t trust her not to tear the mattress to shreds.
So he had a few cloths in the dresser, and a couple of books on the desk. Beyond that he didn’t bring any personal items, but he was so close to home he didn’t need them. If he needed anything he could walk to Mauville and get it or fly home for a couple hours.
He got up, dressed himself in his usual jeans, t-shirt, jacket, and hat, and eyed the apron sitting on the dresser. Avdol had given it to him yesterday, saying it would protect his clothes, but the shade of green didn't match anything he was wearing. He heaved a sigh and put it on. Bite the bullet, they say.
Down the hall he could smell something cooking, and when he entered Avdol was pouring himself some coffee while Kakyoin cracked eggs into a pan. Both looked up and smiled as he entered. Creepy.
“Good morning, Jotaro,” said Avdol. “Sleep well?”
“How do you like your eggs?” Kakyoin asked. “Scrambled or fried?”
Sitting at the table with Avdol, the older man handed him a cup. “I plan to start you off easy today, just some basic chores around the reserve, though we may need your assistance later this afternoon. I got a call from a friend at the police station in Rustboro about a Blitzle they’ll be delivering to us today.”
“Apparently they found it in a Pokemon hoarding situation. Most of the Pokemon there were okay to release or found other Trainers to adopt them, but this Blitzle has been acting up since they found it.”
Kakyoin set a plate down in front of Jotaro with a fried egg and some sliced berries on it. “Blitzle and Zebstrika are known for being difficult to train, so its aggression is to be expected, but considering where it came from, they'd rather be safe than sorry,” he said.
“How do you think I could help?” Jotaro asked.
“How good is Luxray with other Pokemon?” said Avdol.
Jotaro thought about it. “For the most part he’s pretty calm. He's cautious at first but warms up quickly. But he really hates Graveler; we had one use Self-Destruct on us once and he’s hated them ever since.” Kakyoin chuckled.
“Good, good. Then I'd like for you and Luxray to assist when Blitzle arrives. For now, Kakyoin will show you where you’ll be starting today. Oh, and if Talonflame is willing to sit on some eggs for a bit today, feel free to head over to the barn first.” Avdol finished his coffee, snagged a handful of Oran berries from the bowl, and made his way downstairs.
The two teenagers finished their food in comfortable silence before heading out themselves. Kakyoin’s Lurantis met them at the bottom of the stairs, ready to go out and start the day. Once outside, Jotaro released Talonflame from his Pokeball.
“Would you be okay sitting with some eggs today?” he asked the Fire type. Talonflame’s head twitched in a mock nod, settling on Jotaro’s shoulder. He let Kakyoin and Lurantis lead him back to the barn. The red haired boy pulled the door open quietly and slowly, before slipping inside and motioning for Jotaro to follow. Inside the barn were several stalls, each with a straw layer on the floor and several other material making up the nests. Some stalls remained empty, while some had Pokemon and eggs inside the nests. Avdol’s Volcarona trilled at them as they entered, and to Jotaro’s mild relief the Liepard was still asleep. He also noticed a Llilligant, a Pidgeot, and a Rapidash sitting in different stalls, who eyed him as the two humans passed.
In a back stall, a Salazzle perked her head up when they entered it. “Hi Salazzle,” Kakyoin whispered. “Are you okay with taking a break for a little bit? We have someone new to help you.”
Salazzle fixed her gaze on Jotaro and Talonflame, slithering out of the nest to reveal two eggs. She sniffed at the two of them, and Jotaro offered her a hand. She studied it before allowing him to scratch her under the chin.
“She’s Avdol’s Pokemon,” Kakyoin explained, adjusting the eggs so they were closer together. “She'll sit on eggs for us if she absolutely has to, but she also has a job with Avdol making anti-venom for Poison types. Any chance we get to give her a break, the better, or she gets irritable.”
Talonflame cawed and leapt from Jotaro’s shoulder to settle on the eggs, wiggling a few times to get comfortable. Lurantis came back from fetching more hay, using its long arms to spread it around, coving the bottoms of the eggs where Talonflame’s body couldn’t reach.
“We'll come back and check on him later,” said Kakyoin. He stood, let Salazzle pass them first, then he and Jotaro left the barn.
Through out the rest of the morning, Kakyoin showed him the gardens that needed to be watered, helped him fix a fence with some loose boards, and harvested berries from the trees in the grove. Jotaro even helped feed the day care Pokemon at noon, where a happy Marill hugged his ankle in thanks. It was awfully cute, even though he’d never say it out loud.
He also wouldn’t admit aloud how much fun he was having with Kakyoin. The other boy was very knowledgable but never treated Jotaro like a fool for now knowing how to do these things himself. He was gentle and kind, yet snarky and sarcastic. Jotaro really liked the guy.
It was an hour later, while Jotaro was fishing some leaves out of a pond with Swampert’s help that he heard Avdol calling him. Looking back, he saw the older man standing outside the rescue center, waving for him. Leaving Swampert to enjoy himself in the water, Jotaro jogged over. “Is the Blitzle here?”
“Yes,” said Avdol, leading him into the rescue center and into one of the many side doors. Inside was a carrier that occasionally sparked with electricity. “I’m going to let him out, just to see how he reacts to people. Can you be ready to send Luxray out at any time?”
Jotaro nodded, palming the Pokeball and holding tight.
Avdol nodded back and reached for the latch on the carrier. He pulled the door open, and it only took a second for the Blitzle to come charging out. It scampered into the corner of the room, next to an examination counter, and eyed them with anger in its eyes.
“It’s alright, little one,” Avdol soothed. “You are safe here.” He knelt down slowly to be at Blitzle’s level, but the little Pokemon just glared harder, moving to a defensive stance and sparking up. When Avdol held his palm out to it, nowhere near touching it but inviting, Blitzle cried out and sent a larger spark at him. Avdol recoiled just in time to avoid being hit.
Taking that as his cue, Jotaro tossed the Pokeball in his hand and let Luxray come out. The larger Pokemon shook out his fur and roared. Noticing the other Electric type, he padded closer and sniffed the air. Blitzle watched the larger Pokemon with interest and caution. When Luxray got too close for comfort, Blitzle panicked and sent a spark at Luxray. It was absorbed with little issue and Luxray just shivered, welcoming the electricity. He settled down on the tile floor and bent down, giving Blitzle a lick on the head. The little Pokemon froze.
The humans watched, cautious, as Luxray groomed Blitzle, trying to comfort the little Electric type and occasionally sparking up to share their electricity. Jotaro had never seen Luxray so affectionate before, though granted he didn’t have any other Electric types on his team. Maybe this was just a type thing.
Avdol patted his shoulder. “I’m glad it all worked out,” he said. “Looks like you’ll fit in here just fine.”
Pulling the brim of his hat down, Jotaro allowed a small smile to cross his face.
One thing that Jotaro learned one month into his time at the rescue center and day care was that wild Pokemon sometimes wandered onto the property. For the most part it was bird Pokemon, hanging around in the trees for a bit and then going on their way, but occasionally another type of Pokemon would sneak in, hoping for an easy meal. Kakyoin told him that he didn’t really like shooing them away, but it was necessary. It wasn’t their job to take care of wild Pokemon unless something was seriously wrong.
So when a Trapinch wandered in one morning, covered in dirt and sand from the desert to Mauville City’s north, Jotaro had half a mind to toss it out immediately, and was going to until he noticed something unusual. Firstly, the Trapinch was limping horribly. One of its back legs was hanging limp and dragging through the dirt, and it cried out with every step. The second thing he noticed was a weird color showing through from under the sand. Was it injured even worse than it looked?
So Jotaro knelt down next to it, his Weavile watching over his shoulder, and reached out hoping to brush the dust off. The Trapinch flinched violently, its little body trembling in fear. Jotaro shushed it in a low voice and carefully brushed the back of one finger over the top of the Ground-type’s head. The sand fell off easily, but the odd color remained. Looking closer, he could tell it was a sort of dark blue, almost teal color, and it had a slight shine to it. Brushing off a little more, the blue caught the sunlight and sparkled brightly.
Jotaro gasped in shock. This wasn’t just some Trapinch. It was a Shiny Trapinch! He’d never seen a wild Shiny Pokemon before. Scooping up the little Pokemon, Jotaro held it close and ran back to the rescue center, throwing the door open with his shoulder before shouting, “Kakyoin!”
The man in question had been upstairs, but ran down with a look of panic on his face at Jotaro’s call. “JoJo!” he exclaimed. He’d started calling him that after a few weeks and the nickname had stuck. “What's wrong?”
“I need your help,” Jotaro said, placing Trapinch down on an examination table. When Kakyoin rushed over, he too gasped at the sight of the Ground-type.
“It’s Shiny," he whispered. “Did it just wander over here?”
“Probably crawled all the way from the desert. Its leg’s messed up.”
Trapinch hadn’t stopped shaking, and wailed when Kakyoin tried to touch its leg. The red haired man tried to sooth the scared Pokemon, whispering comforting words to it. “It’s okay, you’re going to be okay. It hurts, I know, but we’re going to make you all better.” While he moved to gather the necessary supplies, Kakyoin’s Cherubi bounced onto the table and rubbed its little face against Trapinch, doing its best to help as well. “Good job Cherubi, keep that up,” Kakyoin called from the sink, filling a bowl with warm water.
Jotaro crouched down, getting on eye level with the Trapinch and rubbing a cloth along its head. He wasn’t good at the Pokemon baby talk, but still managed a soft “No one will hurt you here.” Kakyoin handed him the bowl of water and he started on wiping the sand and grime off of the Shiny's body. Slowly but surely the two men washed the little Pokemon off, letting its blue coat shine even brighter, and Trapinch began to warm up to them a little more. The shaking had stopped and it was starting to make happy clicking noises with its mouth.
Once the dirt was gone, Jotaro held the little Pokemon still as Kakyoin put a bandage on its back leg after spraying some medicine on it. Trapinch was a surprisingly cuddly Pokemon, Jotaro found, as he held it close to his chest. He stroked its back carefully as to not jostle the injury further while Kakyoin prepared some food for it. Trapinch happily cooed and trilled as Jotaro held it.
“Something tells me,” Kakyoin began, a knowing smile on his face, “that Trapinch may decide to stay with you.”
Jotaro hummed. “If it wants to, I won’t stop it.”
“Is it a male or female Trapinch?”
“I don't know.” He looked down at the Ground-type. “Are you a boy?” he asked it. Trapinch shook its head. “A girl then?” A nod. “Well you’re a very pretty girl.”
If possible, Trapinch sparkled even brighter, her teal blue skin shimmering in the light.
It was at this moment that the sanctuary door opened and Avdol came inside. He’d been out for the morning to visit the Day Care at the Battle Resort, checking up on them to see how they were managing. He paused when he saw the two teens hand feeding some greens to a blue Trapinch held securely in Jotaro’s arms. “Have I missed something?” he asked, befuddled.
The two boys shared a look and found themselves laughing. Trapinch made laughter-like noises along side them.
“We’re going to have a visitor today,” Avdol told them that morning.
Jotaro had expected someone from another day care, maybe a member of the police they had worked with in the past. What he didn't expect was the man with the tall white hair and the Escavalier currently standing in the doorway.
“Avdol!” the man cried, a Kalos accent obvious. The two men hugged briefly, Escavalier and Avdol’s Medicham also taking a moment to hug. “It’s been way too long! You need to visit me in Kalos more often!”
“I can’t leave the sanctuary for that long, you know that.”
“You have an assistant, just leave it to them for a few days. In fact it looks like you have two! Who’s the new guy?” The white haired man held his hand out for Jotaro to shake. “Nice to meet you! I’m Jean-Pierre Polnareff.”
“…Jotaro Kujo.” This guy was starting to get annoying.
“So Avdol found another helper, huh? Good. I’d help out myself but I’ve got my own job in Kalos.”
Kakyoin nudged Jotaro’s shoulder with his own. “Polnareff is a personal trainer for those looking to take on the Kalos league. He coaches trainers who want a little extra advice before taking on such a hard challenge.”
“It helps that one of the Elite Four is also a Steel-type master!” Polnareff added. “If they can beat me, they can beat him!”
So a trainer then. At least there’s something Jotaro could relate to. Maybe he’d ask this guy for a battle later. He was almost done with the daily chores anyway.
“And yet someone like me, with next to no battling experience, can still beat you on the first try.”
…Did he really just say that? Jotaro almost couldn’t believe it, but Kakyoin had just implied that he and his team battled, and had successfully beaten a man who, more or less, could be considered a master. He kind of wanted so see Kakyoin battle now. How powerful was his team? Were they brute attackers or were they strategists? He had so many questions.
“You got lucky! That Scald burn at the last minute? Pure chance, I tell you!” Polnareff pointed a finger at Kakyoin, who was trying to hide his smirk behind his hand. “I had your Alolan Marowak by the ropes and your Gastrodon got lucky!”
“He says luck, but it must have been strategy, right Kakyoin?” Avdol asked. He had a big smile on his face. Kakyoin just nodded.
“So you battle?” Jotaro asked.
“You trying to ask for a battle big guy? I’ll take you on if you want, but not in the sanctuary!” Polnareff waved his hands emphatically, glancing at Avdol out of the corner of his eye. “Avdol would kill me if we messed the grounds up or disturbed the Pokemon.”
“So let’s go outside. We can battle along the route.”
Jotaro followed Polnareff outside, Avdol and Kakyoin trailing behind. They found a clear space next to a pond and set up for their battle. Polnareff laid out the rules.
“We’ll go one on one,” he said, ushering his Escavalier forward. “Pick which ever member of your team you like, but we’ll go until one of us can’t battle anymore. No items, no mega evolution, and I’d say no Z-rings, but you don’t seem to have one and neither do I so that’s out.”
“Time limit?” Jotaro asked, fingers dancing over a couple of Pokeballs while he made a decision of who to use.
“I doubt we’ll need one but let’s say 20 minutes.”
“We can ref,” Kakyoin said, Cherubi bouncing excitedly in his hair. “I’m sure you’ll be fine, but it helps to have an extra set of eyes.”
Jotaro nodded, settling on a member of his team and tossing the Pokeball into the air. Talonflame burst out with a trill. It may have been the obvious strategy to go after a Steel type with a Fire type, but Escavalier was also Bug type, which Talonflame’s Flying type was strong against as well. Jotaro was sure Polnareff would have a strategy against this specific Pokemon, but Jotaro was a good battler in his own right, so he was confident they could do it.
Polnareff clicked his tongue, obviously amused by his choice, but didn’t withdraw Escavalier. The two Pokemon shared a nod before settling in a battle stance. “Escavalier, Knock Off.”
The Pokemon lunged for Talonflame, lances at the ready to hit it hard, but Talonflame was much faster, flying higher into the air in a split second. “Use Acrobatics,” Jotaro called up to it, and the bird Pokemon twisted its body, upping its speed stat to make it even faster than before. Escavalier wouldn’t be able to out-speed it. “Brave Bird.”
Might as well go for power right off the bat; even at the expense of some of Talonflame’s health and energy, it had a good chance of throwing off Polnareff’s game and making him do something rash.
“You’re a bold one, aren’t you?” Polnareff said with a chuckle. “Not gonna scare me though. Megahorne!”
Escavalier brought both lances up and used them to block Talonflames’s lunge. Both Pokemon took damage from the attacks, but Talonflame was quicker on the uptake, using it’s wings to whip up a Tailwind before firing off a Flamethrower that could put pure Fire types like Typhlosion to shame. The Steel type managed to dodge most of it, taking only a slight hit before performing a Swords Dance to up its attack.
The back and forth lasted for a couple of minutes, neither Pokemon letting up, fierce attacks mixed with moves to up their stats. Escavalier and Talonflame were getting tired, but they were both professional battlers, so neither would give up until the very end. It wasn’t until Talonflame took a Megahorn hard at the same time Escavalier took a harsh Aerial Ace, that both Pokemon crashed to the ground, shaking and covered in scrapes and bruises.
Kakyoin stepped forward, and knelt down next to the two exhausted Pokemon. “Escavalier, can you battle?” he asked. Escavalier lifted its head, only a bit, and shook it to signal that it couldn’t. “Talonflame, can you battle?” A similar response. “Both Pokemon are unable to battle. This fight is a draw.”
Jotaro jogged forward and knelt next to Talonflame, running a hand over the bird’s back in a comforting gesture. “Good job,” he said. “You fought hard. Let’s get you healed up and then you can rest and eat all the PokeBeans you want.”
Talonflame cooed, pleased with its performance, and allowed Jotaro to pick him up and hold him close. The bird Pokemon nuzzled Jotaro's neck with his beak, then allowed himself to go back into his Pokeball. Talonflame may be exhausted, but Jotaro knew that he was happy to get the chance to battle a strong trainer again. They hadn’t gotten the chance since before Jotaro moved back to Hoenn all those months ago.
“Bravo!” Polnareff called, recalling Escavalier. “It’s not often I get to end battles in a tie! That was very enjoyable!”
“No problem,” Jotaro said, fiddling with his hat. “It’s been a while since we got to battle like that.”
“Ah, they’re probably restless. My little Togedemaru gets antsy when she doesn’t get to battle often, so I get it. I’m supervising the training of a few potential ace trainers for the next month if you ever want to get together to battle again?”
“That’d be nice, actually.”
“Thank you for not destroying Route 117 either,” Avdol said with a gentle laugh. “You two are very fun to watch. You’re both so in your element.”
“And you, Kakyoin! When do I get that rematch?” Polnareff pointed a finger at the red head.
Kakyoin just shrugged. “Probably never. Battling just isn’t for me.”
“Alright, we’ve slacked on our work for long enough.” Avdol clapped his hands to get everyone’s attention. “Thank for stopping by, Polnareff.”
“It was good to see you again! I’ll come by and visit again soon!”
Two months had passed since the little Shiny Trapinch wandered into the sanctuary and was adopted by Jotaro. Once she was cleaned up and fed, she was a little ball of happy energy. Everyone at the sanctuary appreciated her enthusiasm, especially on days where things were particularly hard and draining.
She had gotten into the habit of stealing Jotaro’s pillows and bringing them over to the window when he wasn’t in the room, laying on the plush makeshift bed and lounging in the sun. It was where Jotaro found her when he returned to the room for the evening, as she was trying to haul them back up onto the bed on her own, though her legs weren’t long enough to reach it.
“Traaa-pinch!” she whined.
“I know you want to do it on your own, but you’re still too small to reach the bed without help,” Jotaro scolded gently, picking her and the pillow up. “Once you evolve you’ll have wings to help you get up.”
“Tra-pinch!” Jotaro interpreted this as ‘but I wanna evolve now!’ and shook his head.
Suddenly there was a frantic knocking on his door. When he opened it, Kakyoin was there, looking more than a little frantic. “Where’s Trapinch?” he demanded.
“She’s right here.” Jotaro stepped aside to let Kakyoin peek into the room. Trapinch did a little bounce on the bed, excited to see her other friend.
“Oh, thank goodness,” Kakyoin said with a sigh of relief. “I saw the news and- I’m sorry I just got so nervous and…”
“Woah, hang on. What’s on the news?”
“Look.” Kakyoin showed him his tablet, a headline from Sootopolis’s daily newspaper pulled up. It read: “Local Gang Confirmed for Thefts of Rare Shiny Pokemon All Over Hoenn”.
“I see. No worries, she’s still here.”
“But I am worried. This isn’t the first instance of Shiny theft. A trainer from Mauville had her Shiny Maril stolen just a few weeks ago!”
“Kakyoin,” Jotaro said, putting a hand on his shoulder. “It’s going to be fine. We’ll keep Trapinch close for a few weeks until the police sort this out.”
“You’re right. I’m sorry for freaking out, but…” Kakyoin took a deep breath. “I’m okay now.”
“You want to take her for the night?” Jotaro pointed his thumb over his shoulder at Trapinch, who was starting to nod off. When Kakyoin nodded, Jotaro stepped back into the room and gently picked her up, giving her little blue body a scratch before transferring her into Kakyoin’s arms. The other boy cradled her gently, and smiled when she yawned and her jaw clicked. Kakyoin looked back up at Jotaro and smiled at him too. Jotaro wasn’t sure if the red on his cheeks was from the sun or if he was blushing.
“Goodnight, JoJo,” he said quietly.
It took a long time to fall asleep that night, because even though he looked calm on the outside, worry was eating at his gut inside. Pokemon thieves weren’t as common as they used to be, especially since an incident a number of years ago where a ten year old boy thwarted a gang of thieves hiding out under Kanto’s game corner. The sheer embarrassment of your gang being beaten by a ten year old caused many potential Pokemon thieves to abandon those thoughts. To be so bold to steal Pokemon from trainers, and going so far as to targeting the rare Shiny Pokemon specifically? This was about more than just theft.
The next morning brought even more bad news, with a report form Mossdeep that another Shiny had been stolen. Kakyoin refused to let go of Trapinch all day, carrying her around as he went about the daily chores. Jotaro didn’t mind, he was going to keep her close too. Trapinch didn’t seem to mind, if anything she was loving the extra attention. Life proceeded as normal, but there was always tension in the air. Especially in the next few days, when more and more reports of stolen Pokemon popped up on the news.
It all came to a head one afternoon, when the Furret owned by the part time worker at the front desk burst into the rehab center, squeaking frantically to get their attention. When Jotaro, Avdol, and Kakyoin rushed out to the front desk, they found the front door kicked in, and three men dressed in black hoods staring the poor woman at the desk down. Her Furret wrapped itself around her leg, shaking in fear.
“Word on the street is there’s a Shiny Pokemon here,” one of the men says, glaring at them.
“You have heard wrong,” Avdol said. “Now leave, you are disturbing my sanctuary.”
“Not leaving until we have proof,” the man says.
The tallest man of the group pulled his hood off, revealing a head of blond hair and demonic red eyes. His smirk was one Jotaro was tempted to call “evil”. Everything from his expression to his stance set off warning signs in his head.
“Now, now,” he crooned, “If they don’t want to cooperate, we’ll just have to do this the hard way.” He pulled a ball off his belt and tossed it, releasing a Metagross larger than any Jotaro had ever seen. The massive Pokemon actually damaged the floor boards as it landed. “Give us the Shiny Pokemon. Or else your precious sanctuary will suffer the consequences.”
Finally having enough, Jotaro pushed forward and strode past the three men, bumping into one of their shoulders forcefully. “If you want to battle,” he said, “do it outside like a civilized person.” He didn’t bother to look back and see if the blond man had followed. He knew he would. He could hear the Metagross thumping along behind him. Settling on a grassy spot, he turned to face the man head on.
“You’re either brave for challenging me to a one on one battle, or you’re a fool. Either way, I plan on enjoying this.” The man threw his arms out and bowed. “I, Dio, gladly accept this challenge.”
“JoJo.” Kakyoin placed a hand on his shoulder, a worried expression in his eyes. “Are you sure about this?”
“If kicking his ass in a battle is what it takes to stop them, I’ll do it.” Jotaro said. Then, in a whisper, he asked, “Where’s Trapinch?”
“She’s in my room, with Lurantis. She’s safe.”
“Good.” Now, Jotaro had a battle to win.
The hulk of a man who introduced himself as Dio stood confidently before them, hands on his hips and a confident sparkle in his eye. He was the kind of person Jotaro saw a lot of on his journey as a trainer, the kind that mercilessly beat every trainer before them without hesitation. Jotaro hated his type. He was going to enjoy pounding that Metagross into the dirt.
“What say you, trainer?” Dio said. “One on one? My Metagross against one of your Pokemon. If you win, we’ll leave this place forever, how does that sound?”
“You sound shitty, and I don’t believe you for a second. I’ll beat you no matter what, then the police can have you.” Jotaro glared at Dio’s smug face, before grabbing a familiar Pokeball with confidence and tossing it into the air. With a bright sparkle his Swampert emerged, roaring at the opponent. Swampert had been his first Pokemon, his starter Mudkip that a lot of kids got from the local professor, and thus had been with him the longest. Jotaro barely needed to say a word, his Pokemon understanding what he wanted without needing words. As if to prove it, Swampert only needed to receive a quick nod from his trainer before allowing itself to Mega Evolve.
Upon emerging from the light caused by the evolution, Mega Swampert roared and flexed his muscular arms, prepared for the upcoming fight. If the Metagross seemed intimidated, it didn’t show it. It didn’t show any signs of Mega Evolving itself, which seemed to be a good thing. Jotaro couldn’t see a Mega Bracelet on Dio either. Good, might make this easier.
It wasn’t easy.
In fact this was probably the hardest one on one battle he’d ever taken part in. This Metagross was a tank, and Jotaro had beaten Champion Steven’s Metagross once before so this battle really spoke to this thing’s defensive stat. It took blow after blow without so much as flinching, and could deal out damage in spades. And through the whole thing Dio just kept smirking, like he knew something Jotaro didn’t. Jotaro was seriously considering forgetting the battle and punching Dio in the face himself.
A thought occurred to him the longer their fight went on, that maybe they were just stalling for time. Jotaro hoped that, during the course of this battle, Avdol had called the cops and they were on their way to arrest these guys.
His hopes were nearly dashed when one of the other croons emerged from the sanctuary gate, holding a squirming Trapinch in his arms. Of course this was a trap, of course he’d only made it easier for them to get to Trapinch.
“Don’t worry JoJo!” Kakyoin called, reaching for his own Pokeballs. “I don’t know how he got passed Lurantis but I’ll get her back. You keep this guy busy.” The red head threw two Pokeballs, releasing his Reuniclus and Alolan Marowak. The Marowak charged the man, throwing its fire lit bone club directly at his legs, where it struck the side of one knee with a loud crack. The man howled, dropping Trapinch in shock. She didn’t have far to fall though, as Reuniclus caught her with its psychic energy, bringing her close it it’s squishy body and holding tight, It made its way back to Kakyoin, Marowak close behind with its bone at the ready in case anyone dared try and take her again. As Reuniclus deposited Trapinch in Kakyoin’s waiting arms, an angry Lurantis ran out of the sanctuary gate, headbutting the fallen man as he lay on the ground moaning in pain. The Grass-type appeared scuffed up and a little burnt, as if hit with a Fire-type attack, but otherwise unharmed. The man probably underestimated Kakyoin’s team.
Just as this Metagross had underestimated Swampert’s power. The Steel-type and its trainer had gotten cocky as the fight progressed, but had managed to leave an opening that Swampert had no trouble exploiting. Forgoing any special attacks, the frog-like Pokemon went in with a flurry of rapid fire punches straight to the joint by Metagross’ leg. Swampert knocked it down with an Ice Punch, then fired off a Surf directly into the Steel-type’s face. Metagross groaned, before collapsing in a heavy heap. It didn’t get back up.
Jotaro could’ve taken a moment to breathe, but the expression on Dio’s face was one of pure rage. The blond man reached for another Pokeball, forcing Jotaro to do the same, but before either could send out another Pokemon, the police arrived on the scene. Two Arcanine’s flanked Dio, growling at him while two cops grabbed his arms and cuffed him. A smug Avdol stood behind them, obviously the one who called them in. No doubt he had a few favors to cash in.
Leaving the cops to deal with his opponent, Jotaro and Swampert, now reverted back to his normal form, jogged over to Kakyoin, who was trying to calm Trapinch down. The little Ground type was clicking her jaw and letting out little cries, while Kakyoin cuddled her and attempted to soothe her. Jotaro placed a hand on her head, rubbing little circles on her rough skin.
“You’re okay now Trapinch,” Kakyoin said. “See? Everyone’s okay. No one got hurt.”
“Kakyoin, look,” Jotaro said.
As they were speaking, Trapinch began to glow. They rushed to set her down on the ground, letting the signs of evolution run their course. Little Trapinch began to transform, growing a little bigger with two sets of wings unfurling from her back and a tail extending from her back end. After a few seconds, the light of the evolution broke, and Vibrava emerged. She trilled happily, not at all disoriented by her new form, and began to vibrate her wings, lifting her off the ground. Her new wings were orange, almost the same color of Trapinch’s normal coloring, and she sparkled vibrantly in the sunlight.
“Vibrava!” Kakyoin exclaimed. “Did you evolve because you were worried about us?” He received a nod in response, a sad expression in Vibrava’s eyes. “Honey, you didn’t need to do that for us. I’m so glad you evolved, but you didn’t have to force yourself.” Vibrava nuzzled his face with hers, then flew to Jotaro to do the same.
Jotaro scratched her back, letting her land on his shoulder. “He’s right,” he scolded. “But you look good. Promise you won’t force your next evolution too?”
Vibrava trilled. He’d take that as a yes.
You’d think that between his jobs at the day care and sanctuary, and caring for his own Pokemon, that Jotaro would have no time to do anything else. You’d mostly be right.
Daily Jotaro had chores around the sanctuary, caring for its residents, maintaining the grounds, helping the day care managers with some of their tasks, and whatever else needed doing that day. On days they had incoming rescues, he helped with rehab and care. On free days he trained his team, especially the newly evolved Vibrava, or went into one of the nearby towns to buy supplies, both for himself and Avdol. His downtime was rarely spent alone, Kakyoin and Avdol pulling him into outings, or just the three of them sitting in the living room chatting and telling stories.
Jotaro liked being busy though. He liked having things to do, and he didn’t like just sitting in his room doing nothing.
Yet when his grandfather and mother called one weekend, the conversation ended up on a topic related to a different form of keeping busy, one that never even crossed Jotaro’s mind.
“Those girls who help out at the day care desk are cute, huh? Has either of them caught your eye?” Joseph asked.
“No,” said Jotaro.
“What? Why not? They’re awfully nice, you’d be well off dating either of them.”
“I’m not interested in dating right now, that’s why. And besides, they’re my coworkers, not potential girlfriends.”
“You’re no fun, Jotaro!”
“Oh let it go, Papa,” Jotaro heard his mother say. “If he’s not interested, then don’t push it.” Jotaro’d never been happier to hear his mom’s voice. “Jotaro, honey, are you enjoying your time there?”
“I am,” he said honestly.
“That’s great! Say hi to Mr. Avdol for me!”
Yes, that was the thing Jotaro had never thought much about. Romance had never been an option when he was out exploring the world as a trainer. He never stayed in one spot for very long. And when you had to earn enough money to take care of yourself and six Pokemon, you didn’t have the funds for a significant other either. Dating was never interesting for him.
However, after just over six months at the sanctuary, Jotaro found himself with a weird feeling in his chest. He wasn’t sick, that much was for sure. But it felt like his heart was fluttering in his chest, which was unusual at the least. And it would happen at different times and places, so at first it was difficult to pinpoint why it was happening.
Then he realized it. One day he was out in the day care area raking leaves when his cell phone pinged. The woman at the front desk had texted both him and Kakyoin asking them to come to the front desk to assist with a customer. Huffing a sigh, Jotaro put his phone away and went to the building. No doubt she’d encountered a difficult customer and wanted some help.
Sure enough, there were two people inside, a woman who looked like she wanted to be anywhere other than where she was, and a man who was yelling at the staff woman. Jotaro couldn’t care less what he was upset about. If he needed to escort him out, he would.
Kakyoin arrived shortly after him, patting the staff woman on the shoulder before turning the most intense glare Jotaro had ever seen onto the man. “You’re disturbing our sanctuary, sir, so I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
“Not until I-!”
“No, I’m not even going to let you finish that sentence. You’ll leave. Now. Or I won’t hesitate to force you out.” Kakyoin tossed a Pokeball which let out his Altaria. While it was normally a fairly gentle Pokemon, it was good at sensing the feelings of its trainer, so Altaria mimicked the same glare. Jotaro palmed his own Pokeball, ready to help, but the man took Kakyoin’s warning seriously and left in a huff.
“I hate customers like that,” Kakyoin said. “They think they own the place, and just because we’re providing a service they’re entitled to whatever they want. Good riddance, I hope he never returns.” Kakyoin’s hair flipped dramatically as he turned on his heel and left.
The funny feeling in Jotaro’s heart returned, and it was in that second that he figured it out. Why he was feeling this way.
He had a crush on Kakyoin.
And that fact kind of scared him. He had no idea what to do with a crush. He had experience with people approaching him and saying they liked him, girls mostly but a few men along the way, and all of them had been turned down. At the time it was easy to say that he just didn’t have the time; he was still on his journey, traveling across different regions and growing his bond with his Pokemon didn’t allow much time for extra human interaction. Other trainers came and went just as quickly as he did, and he never stayed in one town long enough to get to know the locals. But he also never minded that fact. Pokemon were easy, people were harder.
Not to mention Jotaro considered his sexuality like a pendulum. One day he thought maybe he identified as one orientation, the next he wasn’t so sure. He knew for sure that he had no gender preference, but sex… the idea of sex was something else entirely. That he wasn’t so sure about. He may have been good at Pokemon battles, and recently he’d learned he had a caring side to him as well, but his own feelings were difficult.
So, after a few days of internal conflict, he did the one thing he never thought he’d do in his life: call his mother for relationship advice.
“Good morning, Jotaro! So good to hear from you!”
“Good morning, Mom. Is the old man around?”
“Nope!” she said. “He met a friend for diner last night and stayed the night at his place. He should be back in an hour or two. Did you need him for something?”
Jotaro took a deep breath. “No. I wanted to ask you something.”
“Go ahead darling.”
“I… I think I might have a crush on someone. And I don’t know what to do.”
Holly was silent on the other end for a moment, but rather than the coo of happiness he was expecting, her voice was very gentle. “I’m glad you called then. It’s a bit scary isn’t it? You’ve never shown much interest in anyone before. This person, do you know them well?”
“Good, good. I’ve always thought that people should get to know each other closely before they start dating. They don’t rush into things too fast that way.”
“I consider them a friend,” he told her.
“Even better. Did you meet this person though work?”
Holly hummed, and Jotaro could picture her smiling on the other side of the phone, twirling the phone cord around her finger. “Will you tell me their name. Jotaro?” When he didn’t answer at first, she added “Don’t feel pressured. If it makes you uncomfortable, you don’t have to tell me.”
“It’s…” He took another deep breath. “It’s my coworker, Kakyoin.”
“Oh, that must be the boy Papa told me about. The one with the red hair? He sounded very nice from what I was told. I’d love to come meet him one day.”
“You don’t care that he’s, well, male?”
“I care that you’re happy, Jotaro. That’s all I’ve ever wanted for you. You deserve it. If he makes you happy, then that’s all I could ask for. Now, what has you so worried?”
It was hard, at first to get the words out. Jotaro had never been good with words, especially not like this. But this was important, and this was his mother, he could do this. “I didn’t notice until a few days ago. But I got a weird feeling in my chest when he was close. I knew I liked him as a person, and as a friend, but I don’t know if I have the courage to ask for more than that.”
“You’re very brave. Don’t force it if you’re not ready. It sounds to me like you’ve only figured this out recently, so take some time to think about it on your own. Let things come naturally, and sort out the feelings that make you happy and the ones that don’t.” She paused. “Jotaro, does being near him make you happy?”
“…Yeah, yeah he makes me happy.”
“Good. I love you, Jotaro. Call me if you need anything else, okay?”
“I will. Bye Mom.”
The call certainly helped. Jotaro didn’t say anything for a few weeks. He took some time to think about what he felt, get his emotions in order, and find the confidence to say something when the time came.
In those weeks he was busy with work, and it was really surprising just how comfortable he’d become at the sanctuary. His Talonflame had helped hatch several litters of eggs, his Machamp had rebuilt a storage shed nearly on its own, and he and Swampert had removed all the invasive weeds from the pond. Vibrava was becoming more confident in her wings with each passing day, and her shiny coat had never sparkled brighter. He was happy here, his Pokemon were happy here. Now all he had to do was confess.
The opportunity finally came one evening, just as the sun was about to go down. They’d had an easy day, and Avdol had told them to take the evening off while he finished closing up. Jotaro and Kakyoin had fed their Pokemon before moving into the kitchen to start preparing dinner. Halfway through chopping up some greens for a stir fry, Kakyoin’s Lurantis wandered in and tugged at Kakyoin’s pants leg.
“Hm? What is it?” Kakyoin asked. Lurantis continued to pull, trying to drag Kakyoin towards his room. He followed the Grass type, and a second later he yelled, “Jotaro? Can you come here?”
Jotaro put the knife down, wiping his hands on a towel before walking down the hall to Kakyoin’s room. He stepped in and stopped dead in the middle of the doorway.
Kakyoin knelt on the floor next to his Gastrodon, who was curled up on the carpet next to a fair sized egg, which was a blue and pale pink color. Gastrodon seemed thrilled, nuzzling the egg with her face and cooing at it. Kakyoin looked up at Jotaro with a look of equal parts horror and excitement. Jotaro couldn’t blame him.
“Umm? What am I supposed to do here?” Kakyoin said, panicked.
“Find out who’s the other parent, for one,” Jotaro told him. “Gotta be one of the Pokemon in the sanctuary.”
“Oh, yeah yeah yeah. Let’s, um, let’s do that.” He stood up and coaxed Gastrodon away from the egg. “Don’t whine at me, sweetie. You got yourself into this mess, now you have to tell us who the other parent is.”
The three of them wandered down the stairs and into the back yard of the building, where the rest of Jotaro and Kakyoin’s Pokemon were finishing their dinners and settling down for a break or playing with each other.
“Okay, Gastrodon, show us who the father is,” Kakyoin said, trying to put a joking tone into his voice but failing because of the shock that his Pokemon was going to be a parent. Gastrodon cooed and slithered across the grass. She called out happily and nestled down in the grass under a tree.
Right next to Jotaro’s Swampert.
“Fuck,” Jotaro said under his breath. It made so much sense. The two of them had hit it off great from their first meeting, both being Water and Ground types, and had been friendly ever since. Of course they’d take it a step farther behind their trainer’s backs and make an egg.
“Oh my God. Is this real?” Kakyoin asked, nudging Jotaro’s shoulder with his own while not taking his eyes away from the two Pokemon. “I’m not dreaming, am I?”
“No, this is real.”
“Oh God, Jotaro, does this mean we’re going to be grandparents?” Kakyoin started laughing halfway through that sentence, but the question still made Jotaro blush. He pulled the brim of his hat down to hide his eyes. Whether or not he meant it as a joke it still made his heart do that stupid little fluttering thing.
From that moment on a subtle shift started between the two of them. Despite his concern at the beginning, Jotaro found that he kind of liked co-parenting an egg. Sure he knew he could be incredibly caring towards his Pokemon, he’d raised all of them from the ground up after all, taking care of an egg was a different case. Most of the time either Gastrodon or Swampert were sitting with it, but sometimes they were elsewhere or were out doing their duties around the sanctuary, so either Jotaro or Kakyoin would carry it around. The egg wasn’t very heavy, thankfully, but it was awkwardly shaped.
At first the sight of Kakyoin walking around with a big egg in a baby carrier was comical, but after a hard glare and a hand off, he was left carrying the egg around himself and… it wasn’t so bad. The carrier was light and comfortable and it at least left his hands free to work. Avdol only laughed at him once too.
The incubation process for the egg took a couple of months, and in that time Jotaro finally drew up the courage to confess. He wasn’t the “practice in the bathroom mirror” type but he did rehearse his lines a little bit. He didn’t want to mess it up. Words were not Jotaro’s specialty but god damn it he was going to try his best. How hard could it be to say “Kakyoin, I really like you”?
The answer is kind of hard.
Finding the time to talk to Kakyoin alone was harder than he originally thought. They didn’t often get time alone; sometimes Avdol would still be in the room, or they’d get done with work for the day and go straight to their rooms to sleep. Most of their conversations leaned towards work topics, not personal ones. It was hard to interrupt conversations like that.
Soon enough though, the day came. Jotaro had been assisting Avdol with a new rescue, a Shelder with a cracked shell and a huge fear of doctors, when Jotaro’s Swampert came through the door and started butting his head against Jotaro’s hip.
“What’s wrong?” he asked. Swampert let out a warble and pulled at Jotaro’s coat with his mouth. A cold chill ran down Jotaro’s spine. “Oh no. The egg.”
“Go, Jotaro,” Avdol said, running a gentle hand over the Shelder’s body. “I’ll handle this here. Your Swampert wants your help bringing his egg into the world.”
Jotaro nodded, and followed Swampert out the door and upstairs to Kakyoin’s room. Inside, both Kakyoin and Gastrodon were on the ground next to the egg, which was shaking and making little cracking noises. Gastrodon kept bumping her nose against it, encouraging it to open. Kakyoin, on the other had, looked absolutely terrified.
“Oh thank god you’re here,” he said, voice shaky. “I have no idea what to do!”
“How about we start by not panicking?” Jotaro sat down next to him, Swampert taking his place next to Gastrodon and rubbing his cheek against hers. “How long has it been like this?”
“Um, I don’t know? We just found it maybe a minute ago and it was already shaking. I think it could hatch at any time, so I asked Swampert to come get you.”
“I could ask Talonflame to speed it up if you want. I don’t know how well that would work, but…”
“No, I’m okay with waiting. Shouldn’t be too long, right?” Kakyoin took a deep breath and put a hand on Jotaro’s knee. The move was bold, but Jotaro’d be lying if he said he didn’t like it. “Thank you for being here.”
“It’s my grandkid too.”
“You-! Jotaro!” Kakyoin let out a loud laugh, throwing his head back. The smile never left his face, even after the laughter subsided. There was a squint to his eyes that made Jotaro’s heart flutter, a feeling he was growing to love. “Jotaro… I like you a lot.”
Jotaro instinctively pulled the brim of his hat down to hide his face as it turned bright red. “Good grief. You stole my line, asshole.”
“I didn’t steal anything, you were just taking too long. Months, Jotaro, months!”
“I know, I know. I wanted it to be perfect, okay?
“Oh you big idiot,” Kakyoin giggled, holding out his arms and pulling Jotaro into a loose but loving hug. “This is more than enough. But thank you, it’s very considerate. Now,” he said as he released him from the hug, “Now, back to our grand baby, yeah?”
“Okay we can actually just drop that now.”
A loud crack stopped their gentle bickering, and drew their eyes towards the egg. A big jagged crack had formed right down the center of the egg, and the shaking had increased. Gastrodon was cooing loudly, excited, and Swampert was beginning to wiggle his whole body, sort of like a Growlithe wagging its tail. Little by little, chips began to fall off the egg, making little holes from which a tiny cry could be heard. Both parents and trainers waited with bated breath, until, with a loud crack, the egg split open.
A tiny little Shellos tumbled out, but instead of the pink coloring that Kakyoin’s Gastrodon had, it was a pretty blue color. Shellos were usually colored differently depending on which area of the oceans they were born in, but in this case it looks like it took its coloring from its other parent. Shellos cooed loudly, looking around for its parents. Swampert instantly started poking it with his nose, making low rumbles in the back of his throat.
“Aww!” Kakyoin said, grinning from ear to ear. “So cute! It’s just like when my Gastodon was little. Are you a boy or a girl, sweetie?” The Shellos bobbed its head twice. “A girl?” Another nod. “Oh, a little girl! Gastrodon, Swampert, I’m so proud of you guys.”
“Me too,” Jotaro said, reaching out to pat Swampert’s head. “Congrats, buddy.” Swampert pressed his head into Jotaro’s head, eager for the praise. With his other hand, Jotaro entwined his fingers with Kakyoin’s, loose but loving. “And congrats to you too, grandpa.”
Turns out that being in a relationship with your best friend is a lot of the same.
They still had jobs to do, they still hung out after their work was over, the only difference was they were a bit more intimate. Both of them liked to sit close to each other, one arm over the other’s shoulder and sides pressed together, and they’d even spent a few nights sharing the same bed, cuddled together in sleep.
The hand holding was a welcome change, and the random gentle touches through out the day. Sometimes their hands brushed, not quite touching, or one would nudge the other’s shoulder. Little moments that brought smile’s to their faces.
Their first kiss was a random occurrence, a stolen moment in the equipment shed when they had a second alone in between jobs. Their noses bumped together and Kakyoin may have accidentally bitten his lip at one point, but it was still perfect because it was theirs.
They weren’t private about their relationship, but weren’t super open about it either. If someone asked them, then they would be honest, but they weren’t going out of their way to brag about it. Avdol, Polnareff, and Jotaro’s family were very accepting, though poor Joseph Joestar was a bit confused at first. “Weren’t we talking about finding you a nice girl?” he asked when visiting one day.
“Good grief old man, I never said I was looking for a girl.”
“Okay, I guess I just assumed and that’s on me.”
They went about their days just the same, until one morning Jotaro wandered out to the kitchen, still drowsy from sleep, to find a batch of Pinap berry muffins sitting on the table with a lit candle sticking out of one. Avdol and Kakyoin, along with Avdol’s Blaziken and Kakyoin’s Cherubi, were all standing around (or on, in Cherubi’s case) the table.
“What is this?” Jotaro asked, wary.
“Did you forget?” Avdol teased gently. “Today marks one year since you started working here. It’s not much, but we wanted to celebrate.”
Oh, had it really been that long? Time just flew by. He hadn’t even noticed. “Thank you, Avdol. This is really nice.”
“It’s been a good year, hasn’t it?” Kakyoin asked, reaching for his hand and giving it a squeeze.
“Yeah,” said Jotaro, squeezing back. “It really has.”
During that year, Jotaro Kujo had found a new definition of home.