Indomitable Father Kabutops
"Whoa, you've been around for more than a century?" Zerobi exclaimed in a surprised manner while looking at Kabutops. Her earlier dreams and curiosities surrounding immortality suddenly awoke, making the living fossil in front of her seem more interesting than earlier. Hardly an hour had passed since they started walking away from the conflict zone with Lucas, but Zerobi had already had her mind blown several times by revelation after revelation supplied by the ancient Pokémon.
"More than several" Kabutops responded, "… Although, as I was frozen in time, I am unaware of any difference…"
"… What was that like?" Zerobi asked, ashamed by her own question's lack of structure, "I mean, like, you must've seen a lot of things."
"I've seen species alter themselves to match the balance of nature. I've seen others fail to do so and become extinct…" Kabutops said quietly and slowly while closing his eyes, "… And now, I watch my kids grow up and ridicule the bunch."
"Of course!" Kabuta suddenly burst out, "You think I'd show respect to some piece of slab who'd only see me as lunch?"
Kabutops chuckled a little, knowing that Kabuta's own mother would fit into that category if not for their family ties. He then became serious again and somewhat depressed over just having imagined such a cruel twist of fate. Unwittingly, his thoughts drifted towards memories of his past, a world of constant fear and murder where only the fittest could survive. Trying to get his mind off his frightening past, he noticed the Gallade's girly voice coming from his side, and against his better judgment decided to listen in to what the others were talking about.
"… So, yeah, I guess I see how that'd be impossible" Pikablu said with a sigh.
"Nothing is impossible!" the Gallade chimed in, "You know about the Skitty and the Wailord, right?"
"… Know about the what, now?" Lucario asked with a confused tone.
"Man, explaining everything to you is getting pretty annoying!" the Gallade burst out before sighing, "One's big, the other's small... But the small one can learn Grass Knot! It'll win every time!"
"… I think I understand less compared to one sentence ago" Lucario replied slowly as Celebi suddenly shuddered for some reason, "Keep going, I'll forget it altogether."
"You should not speak of such things in front of my daughter… Or Celebi" Kabutops told the Gallade with a disappointed stare, "… In what manner did we end up on this subject?"
"Opposable thumbs here gave us the shortest and least interesting origin story I've ever heard" Pikablu explained, for some reason keeping his arms crossed even when walking, "And Anne once told me in detail everything that happened during her time as a Metapod!"
"… Yeah…" Lucario mumbled, suddenly wobbling a little while moving forward at a slower pace than before.
"Haha, yeah!" Kabuta laughed, "My origin story is cooler, and I didn't even have any arms until three years ago!"
"… Sure was…" Lucario replied weakly while stumbling around.
"HEY!" the Gallade shouted at Lucario in an attempt to get his attention, "We're dissing you, here! Are you awake?"
"… No...?" Lucario responded, his eyes halfway closed. His mind was practically going blank from exhaustion.
"I expended much energy in your body to regenerate your cells" Celebi explained while floating up to the level of his eyes, "Normally you should rest after that… But you sprung to life almost instantly…"
"… Aw, whatever. I'm going to sleep" Lucario finally said, suddenly stopping himself and lying down on the ground. The sensation of closing his tired eyes, having something against his back and giving his legs a moment to recuperate felt almost better the good feelings Celebi constantly gave off.
"R-Right here?" Zerobi asked with surprise, "At least pull out the sleeping bag!"
"Screw formalities…" Lucario grumbled and crossed his arms over his chest, "I sleep now."
"… Honestly, it's not the worst idea I've ever heard" Pikablu said while stretching his arms above his head, "We all could use some sleep."
"Kabutops and I were sleeping inside the Pokeballs all this time" Celebi said while noticing that everyone's body was in need of anabolism, "But I understand that you all need rest. I will manage."
"I was asleep for a few centuries not that long ago" Kabutops said in response, "The fact that I even sleep at all nowadays is a waste."
"I don't think sleeping works that way…" Zerobi mumbled, looking at Lucario who had already fallen asleep.
"Now, that's how sleeping works!" Kabuta said with an amazed tone, moving closer to Lucario and poking the side of his face with her remaining scythe. The muscles in his face didn't even twitch.
"… I want to learn. I'll sleep next to him!" Kabuta exclaimed, hardly believing that Lucario had been conscious just a few seconds ago.
"Not a chance" Pikablu said bluntly before yawning, "You move around too much. He doesn't need another scar on his throat."
"You sleep with me tonight" Kabutops said bluntly, "Come on. Jump up on my back."
"… Pops, I'm much too big for that, now…" Kabuta replied with a quiet voice.
"… Indeed you are" Kabutops sighed, wondering at what point the cute little Kabuto he held in his arms just a few years ago had turned into the fully grown Kabutops in front of him now. He had been there at every step of the way, but still the transformation from a helpless little child to a battle-weary adult had escaped him. Nostalgia combined with sadness hit him as he fought off memories of the past once more, and soon his mind became clouded with worry over his son instead.
Everybody lay down on the grassy ground and chatted less and less as they felt that it was time to join Lucario in dreamland. Kabuta fell asleep next to Kabutops, shortly followed by Pikablu who was more exhausted than he had been in years. The Gallade and Celebi also went rather quickly, leaving only Kabutops and Zerobi awake since they were too worried to be able to relax.
In time, they also fell asleep, bracing themselves for whatever nightmares this day would bring.
Even so, it was Celebi that awoke a few hours later, her mind in complete turmoil as she couldn't help but give off a short scream. For a moment she felt as if she was dead, before stronger feelings of despair and agony overtook that sensation. With each passing second, these became replaced with guilt as she could sense everyone around her slowly waking up.
"… A bad dream…?" Pikablu muttered while fighting hard against actually awakening.
"… Bad…?" Celebi repeated with a rapidly beating heart, "Yes… Very bad…"
"Celebi's scream…" Kabutops groaned as he had just gotten away from his own nightmare involving an especially persistent Carracosta, "… Worst wakeup call, ever."
"Wish I could say the same… This one time, I was with this Loudred chick…" the Gallade mumbled incoherently before giving up, "… Haah, too tired. Tell you tomorrow..."
"I… I could never explain…" Celebi whispered softly yet menacingly, "The cries of millions succumbing to me as I was completely unable to d-"
"Aw, come on!" Kabuta wailed while putting her scythe over her face, "Don't tell us it! Now I'm gonna have nightmares!"
"… Forgive me…" Celebi replied with hidden frustration in her voice, feeling like she was at the brink of going insane from a simple dream, "It… It was just so horrible…"
"Just a dream" Pikablu muttered in a tired and not so reassuring way, "Not for real. Sleep."
The rest of them went back to sleep, but Lucario couldn't help but notice that Celebi was still visibly trembling. He first began wondering how they all got to be sleeping in the middle of nowhere. Then, to his disappointment, Lucario noticed that the uplifting feeling he got from being near Celebi had diminished since she woke up.
"Hey, Celebi" he said quietly while lifting his arm a little, "C'mere."
"What?" Celebi asked with a shaky voice.
"I have a cure for your nightmare problem" Lucario mumbled while signaling for her to come closer. She obeyed him and hovered right above him, glad to see that the wound on his throat was healing at a normal pace.
She barely had any time to react as Lucario suddenly stretched out his arm and grabbed her, pulling her towards him and hugging her to his chest. For an instant she thought of sending him flying, but a memory flash from the destruction she caused in her dream made her resist it and halt herself.
As he had predicted, the effects of the lively aura emanating from Celebi became even stronger the nearer she was to him, filling him with pleasurable sensations and happiness. Lucario was thoroughly enjoying himself, already starting to feel a manner of addiction to it.
"L-Let me go!" Celebi stammered, to which Lucario could only snicker.
"This is an ancient technique passed down in my family" Lucario explained while keeping a good grip of her, "It'll protect you from nightmares."
"I-I…" Celebi kept going as she calmed down, "… Really?"
"Yeah" Lucario said confidently, "Just go to sleep, now."
Celebi knew that was more easily said than done, her heightened senses making her feel utterly disgusted being so close to someone else. The Lucario's arms were constricting her by pushing her towards his chest, which was filled with hair and made her back itch, an unfamiliar and unpleasant odor striking her nostrils as the pumping and sloshing within the organic creature under her sounded like having her head pressed again heavy machinery.
Even she did not know why she was beginning to find this to be comforting.
"… What makes you think sleeping like this will protect me from anything…?" Celebi whispered defiantly, still preferring to be sleeping on her own.
"My mother used to do this when I was a kid" Lucario explained with a smile on his face, "Never had a single nightmare, sleeping like that."
"… Mother…" Celebi repeated to herself. While it was true that she had finally found a sister, a mother was something she would never get to experience again.
Thinking back to her first years in life, she remembered just how much she loved her mother. While the memories of her were beginning to fade, the sensations were as strong as ever. The feeling of being cradled in her arms, seeing her smile and being near her… These were all things that would remain in her forever, in a way more alive and in touch with her being than anything surrounding her at the moment.
And before she knew it, she was asleep once more.
- - - - - - - - -
"Oh… Look at all these strong Pokémon… I really shouldn't be here…"
"Don't worry, Astrid! They're probably more scared of you than you are of them!"
"I know, Dratini… They're not here, either…"
"… I don't see nothin', ya! 'Ey, tree trunk, lemme climb ya for a moment!"
"Pipe down! It's starting!"
"Heed my words on this day of days! Before we embark, let me first remind you exactly where in history we stand!"
"Remember! The initial population of this planet was not humans, but Pokémon! Our ancestors were barbaric, to say the least… Devouring each other, building upon the thought that only the strong survive…"
"We evolved past that rather quickly, which was lucky for the humans! They appeared around that time, and would not have survived long in an uncivilized world!"
"Whereas we grew diverse, they remained the same and instead grew smart… Intelligent, even. More technologically advanced. We know not exactly when, but there came a time when we Pokémon began fearing their technological advancements"
"… Hmpf. Of course! The world had never seen anything like it before! Had our ancestors known then what we know now, they would never have allowed this to happen!"
"The humans' first set of inventions? Creations used to capture and enslave Pokémon! But naïve as we were, we did not see this course of action as a threat. Generations of peace had then and has now made us oblivious to injustice."
"Some of us even found joy in being pets or being trained by the humans. We do not blame them. They are not any different from us, and they are not our enemy! However, the silent agreement between Pokémon and human has been broken by their latest assault of our kind!"
"Now, a scenario where every Pokémon falls under captivity is closer than you'd think! Some Pokémon are not meant to be captured! They have roles to fulfill in our world, and cannot spend their days as lapdogs for some teenage human!"
"But do they care? No! Foolish in their hubris and pride, they believe that they can do whatever they want without repercussions! Their idiotic struggle for more power will be the downfall of every living being!"
"We do not want a war! We do not want to enslave mankind! Our only goal is equality, a single ounce of respect from our fellow living creatures upon this planet! Most humans detest these aggressions towards our brethren, but they lack the power to do anything about it!"
"Power that WE now have assembled! The power to usurp those in charge of this pointless conflict! The power to bring change! The power to halt evil!"