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Fanfiction Ash and Kukui One-Shots

Discussion in 'Literature Library' started by Gazi, Jun 19, 2018.

  1. Gazi

    Gazi Hex Maniac

    (Cover Fossil)
    Level 2
    May 27, 2018
    Ash and Kukui made their way home in complete silence. Ash was likely just lost in his own thoughts. Too busy thinking about the new adventure that he had just begun to make casual small talk. As for Kukui, he too was just thinking as they walked, though he wasn't nearly as excited as Ash was. Kukui's thoughts were far more nervous and desperate.

    What on Earth was he supposed to do with this kid?

    Kukui wasn't used to feeling unsure around children. He loved kids. Even though professionally he was a pokémon professor, he prefered to spend all of his time at the pokémon school. Kukui got a thrill out of discovering something new about pokémon, something that nobody else had known before, but that thrill was so much better when he had the opportunity to share his findings with his class.

    Children were always so energetic and eager about everything. Most children had so much love for their pokémon partners, and so much excitement for discovering new things about the world around them. It was why he insisted that the children be allowed to have their pokémon with them during class. Their energy was so contagious, how could Kukui not enjoy being around children?

    As fond as Kukui was of children, he had never been completely responsible for one. He could teach a class full of them without any problem. He could even watch over the kids for a few days if they went on an extended field trip somewhere, though he usually had another chaperone with him during those times.

    Kukui had never had a child actually come and live with him though. It was a brand new experience, and Kukui didn't know if he was ready for it.

    But what else could he have done? If somebody was interested in going to the pokémon school, then Kukui did anything that he could to make it happen. When Kiawe had first shown interest in going to the pokémon school, it had taken a lot of work to make it happen. At the time, all of the students lived on Melemele island. The easiest solution was for them to find a host family on Melemele for Kiawe to live with while he went to school. The boy hadn't been too keen on this idea.

    Kukui had been the one to suggest that Kiawe make the journey from Akala Island to Melemele Island every day for school. He knew that Kiawe regularly made deliveries to other islands, so it wasn't beyond his capabilities. It took some extra effort on the boy's part, but Kukui knew that Kiawe didn't mind it at all if it meant that he got to go to pokémon school on Melemele and stay with his family Akala Island.

    Ash couldn't do that though. His home was all the way in Kanto. He couldn't exactly commute to Melemele Island every day the way that Kiawe did. For Ash to be able to go to the pokémon school, he had to be in Alola.

    Kukui had immediately volunteered to take Ash in so he could go to school. He couldn't imagine what it would be like for a kid as young as Ash was to be living away from his home and not know anybody. The very least that Kukui could do was to give Ash a place to stay so that the boy would at least know his guardian. Kukui had thought that it would help make Ash more comfortable staying so far away from home.

    Kukui didn't regret his decision, he just didn't know where to go from this point. There were days where Kukui forgot to take care of himself, and now he had volunteered to take on a kid as well? What if he didn't do a good enough job taking care of Ash? What if he went too far and started behaving more like a parent than he had any right to do? How was he supposed to do this?

    "Hey, Professor Kukui?" Ash asked. The pokémon professor turned and looked down towards Ash. The boy was beaming eagerly at him, and Kukui found himself returning the smile. He had always found it hard to not grin when he saw a happy child. "Thanks for letting me stay with you. I'm so excited to go to pokémon school!"

    "I'm glad to hear it." Kukui grinned. His favorite students were always the ones who were the most eager to learn. "I don't think I've met somebody as excited to go to school as you." Even Kiawe, who had been eager to go to the pokémon school, had been more subdued in his excitement.

    "It's a pokémon school." Ash specified. "Who wouldn't be excited to learn about and play with pokémon every day?"

    Kukui laughed. "My sentiments exactly." All of Kukui's students were fond of pokémon, but most of them had a specific type that really excited them. Maybe it was too early to tell, but Kukui thought that it was pretty safe to say that Ash was just excited about pokémon in general, no matter what type they were. "You really like pokémon, don't you?"

    "I love them." Ash pumped his first, his eyes gleaming in excitement. "I want to meet all the pokémon. And someday, I'm going to become the pokémon master."

    "Go big or go home, right?" Kukui raised an amused eyebrow. Ash clearly had big dreams. They were somewhat vague, and Kukui didn't know what Ash thought that he meant when he said 'pokémon master', but he obviously wasn't thinking small.

    "Right." Ash nodded. "I figured out a long time ago that I won't get very far if I just stayed in Kanto, so I've been going to all kinds of different regions. I've met so many amazing people and pokémon. Everywhere I go I find different ways that trainers and pokémon get stronger, and I want to master all of it."

    He was an eager child, that was for sure. "You've been to other regions?" Kukui was a little caught off guard by that. He had heard that Ash's mother rarely ever left her home in Pallet Town, which meant that if Ash had explored other regions, he had done it without her. Ash was still just a child, but he had already been on a number of adventures on his own. Kukui knew that this was a fairly common occurrence in Kanto and the other regions on the mainland, but it was just so different from the way that things were done in Alola.

    On the islands, children could still get a pokémon partner when they turned ten, but it was extremely uncommon for a child to begin their actual journey away from home at their age. Most children stayed close to their family and home for at least a few more years before they went to explore other parts of the world. Kiawe was probably the only one of Kukui's students who was anywhere near the age that a child usually felt comfortable going off on their own, and as far as Kukui had heard, Kiawe had no such plans. The boy was content training on his own while he went to pokémon school and assisted his family on their farm.

    "Yeah, a whole bunch of them." Ash said it as though it was completely normal for a child to explore various different regions. From what Kukui had heard, many people, even adults, didn't venture far from their home region. Ash was definitely going the extra mile. "I've competed in all of the gym challenges and pokémon leagues. I haven't beaten a league yet, but I've gotten so close."

    Kukui frowned. "You know that Alola doesn't have a pokémon league, right?"

    "I know." Ash nodded, and he seemed perfectly content with the knowledge.

    "So why did you want to stay here?" Kukui asked. He would have thought that Ash would want to take on another league.

    "Because Alola is incredible!" Ash said enthusiastically. "There are so many pokémon that I've never seen before. And everybody seems so nice."

    "That's the Alola spirit." Kukui explained with a grin. "Everybody here tries to treat each other like family."

    "That's awesome." Ash looked out towards the ocean where they could see the sun beginning to set in the horizon. The sky and the ocean, which seemed to go on forever, glowed in an orange light from the sun's final rays. It was really a beautiful sight. "This place is amazing." Ash's voice was quieter, and full of awe.

    "Yes," Kukui smiled contently. "It really is." The two of them watched the sun set as they walked. They didn't talk. They just took in the view. A few minutes later, when the sun was just barely peeking over the horizon, they got to Kukui's house.

    Ash turned his eyes away from the ocean to look towards Kukui's beach house. "Whoa, you live right next to the ocean."

    "Yep," Kukui nodded. "It's a little far from the town, but the views just can't be beat." And Kukui liked his solitude. He didn't live so far from the town that he didn't feel like he was a part of it, but he was able to get some peace and quiet. It came in handy when he wanted to work on his personal studies on pokémon.

    Kukui lead the way onto the porch. "Welcome to your temporary home." He opened the door. Rockruff came bounding out the door, barking excitedly. Rockruff ran around Kukui's legs for a few moments before he caught sight of Ash and decided to introduce himself to his new friend.

    Ash laughed and crouched down so he could pet Rockruff. Not that Rockruff was willing to hold still long enough to be pet properly, but Ash didn't seem to mind at all. "He's so friendly."

    "Rockruff likes making new friends." Kukui said. Rockruff actually got excited about everything, but especially when it was somebody else that he could play with. "I hope you don't mind my housemate." Kukui seriously doubted that the excited boy would be all that bothered by the excited pokémon, but he just wanted to be sure.

    "I don't mind." Ash said. He somehow got a grip on Rockruff before he could run circles around him again and was able to pick him up. Rockruff, who really liked to be held, calmed down when he was in Ash's arms. Rockruff licked at Ash's face and barked happily. Ash smiled and ruffled his fur. The two of them really seemed to be getting along well.

    "Why don't you two come play inside?" Kukui suggested. "It's getting dark out, and I don't know about you, but I'm getting hungry."

    "I could eat!" Ash said quickly as he dashed inside. He was excited for food. Kukui remembered how he had been much the same when he had been that age. It seemed that he had always been hungry. Kukui made a mental note to keep a better eye on how much food he had. Ash was still a growing boy, and it wouldn't be very good for him if there wasn't food around when he needed it.

    There was actually a number of things that Kukui would have to be more on top of now that Ash was staying with him. No more losing track of time and staying up all night, because that certainly wouldn't set a very good example for Ash. No more putting off chores until the very last minute. Kukui had a kid that he needed to keep an eye on now. He had to be more responsible.

    It would take some time for him to adjust to having somebody else around. And now that Kukui thought about it, Ash would have to make some adjustments of his own, considering he'd been traveling around, without stable living conditions for awhile now.

    It wasn't anything that the two of them couldn't handle though. It would be a new experience, but as far as Kukui was concerned, another word for' new experience' was 'adventure'. Kukui had never been the kind of person who shied away from adventure, and he knew that Ash wasn't either.
  2. Gazi

    Gazi Hex Maniac

    (Cover Fossil)
    Level 2
    May 27, 2018
    What a day.

    Kukui was tired, as he usually was after even a normal day teaching at the pokémon school, but Ash was absolutely exhausted. The boy ate three full servings of dinner. Kukui had known that Ash would have the appetite of a young boy, but this was worse than he had expected. Kakui wasn't mad though, he was mostly amused that the kid had still finished eating sooner than he had. He swore, the kid had a black hole for a stomach.

    After Kakui had finished eating, he had taken his and Ash's plates into the kitchen and rinsed them off. He would wash them properly later. Kukui couldn't have been in the kitchen for more than a minute or two, but when he returned to the couch he saw that Ash was already beginning to doze off.

    "Hey," Kukui shook Ash's shoulder to wake him up. "You shouldn't sleep down here. You're going to wake up sore." Kukui knew that the couch that he had available for Ash to sleep on couldn't be the most comfortable thing in the world, but it was softer than the stiff couch down here.

    Ash blinked and slowly sat up. He yawned and rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. "Sorry." Ash said. He sounded half asleep. He would probably be tired in class tomorrow too.

    "It's okay." Kukui assured him. His eyes were drawn to the empty Z ring around Ash's wrist. Kukui frowned in thought. He knew that someday soon Ash would get himself another Z crystal, and he would be able to use it without it shattering. That wasn't what Kukui was worried about though. He still hadn't been able to wrap his mind around the fact that Tapu Koko, who rarely even showed himself, had seemed to have taken a liking to Ash, who had only been on the island for a few days.

    What confused Kukui even more than that though was what Ash's reaction to Tapu Koko was. The boy had acted like seeing and battling Tapu Koko was an experience that happened every single day.

    "Hey, Ash, why were you so calm about meeting Tapu Koko?" Kukui asked, curious. Ash blinked and took a few moments to process what had been said to him.

    "I was calm?" Ash frowned. "Really?"

    "Well, not exactly." Kukui admitted. "But you seemed much more comfortable around Tapu Koko than people usually are."

    "Oh," Ash thought for a moment. "I didn't think that I acted any differently. I mean, I think I acted the same around all the other legendary pokémon that I've met."

    "...All the other…" Kukui was stunned into silence for a few moments before he burst into laughter. Of course Ash had met other legendary pokémon. Somehow, Kukui wasn't all that surprised. Whatever Tapu Koko had seen in Ash, other legendary pokémon had to have seen it too.

    "You've really seen a lot during your travels, haven't you?" Kukui commented. Ash had an adventurous life, that was for sure. The boy had experienced so many incredible things even though he was still so young. Kukui didn't think that Ash realized just how privileged he was. At the same time though, Ash was far from ungrateful.

    Ash was fearless, fierce, determined. He'd had an exciting life, and even though he was going to be living in a more domestic situation, Kukui didn't think it was fair to expect him to give up that excitement. Kukui wanted Ash to be able to make the most of his life. He wanted Ash to experience as much of the world as he possibly could.

    Kukui didn't see why Ash couldn't make his adventure in Alola just as enjoyable as his time in other regions. They just needed to set up a few guidelines.

    "Ash, can you do me a favor?" Kukui asked. "If you don't want to, that's fine, I won't make you, but I want you to at least think about it." Kukui knew that he wasn't Ash's father. He was just a temporary guardian. He could set up guidelines for Ash, but he didn't have the right to enforce them as rules.

    "What's up, Professor?" Ash asked.

    "I'm fine with you doing your own thing while you're here." Kukui said. In fact, he encouraged it. He really admired Ash's excitement for everything that he did, and he didn't want to diminish that. "But you need to be careful. There are a lot of pokémon in Alola that look harmless enough, but they could be really dangerous. You can't just go running off so recklessly."

    "Okay." Ash nodded. "Is that the favor?"

    "No, that's a request from your teacher." Kukui said. "The favor is that at the end of the day, I want to hear about what happened." Kukui wasn't trying to hover over Ash, but he felt like he should at least be aware of what the boy went through from day to day. If there had been any close calls or crazy encounters, Kukui wanted to know about it.

    Kukui knew that he wouldn't be able to do much after the fact, but he wanted to know what was going on anyways.

    Yeah, I can do that." Ash said with a grin. Kukui internally breathed a sigh of relief. He trusted that Ash could take care of himself, he'd obviously been doing so for quite some time now, but he didn't want a repeat of what had happened earlier. Kukui didn't know why, but it really bothered him that Ash had met Tapu Koko and been given a Z ring by the island guardian himself, and he hadn't breathed a word of it to him. How was he supposed to be a good guardian if he didn't know about any of the things that Ash went through?

    "One more thing, and this one is a rule," Kukui thought that it was fair for him to set up a house rule or two, considering he was Ash's guardian and his teacher. "I want you to be home before dark every day." Kukui knew that there would be acceptable exceptions, but they would tackle those when they came to them. "If it's an emergency and you need to be out, I want you to talk to me about it first, alright?"

    Ash nodded. "That's fair."

    "Good." Kukui was relieved that Ash wasn't fighting him on this. He knew that many children and teenagers had a real issue with people telling them what to do. "Now how about we call it a night?" They'd both had a long day.

    "Okay." Ash stood up and stretched. He then bent down and took Pikachu, who had been napping on the floor next to Rockruff, into his arms. Ash went over to the ladder that lead to the loft that was his unofficial room. Before Ash could think about trying to go up the ladder one handed as he held his sleeping pokémon in the other, Kukui stepped forward and took Pikachu from Ash's arms. Kukui didn't want the boy to hurt himself and his pokémon by trying to go up the ladder with just one hand.

    Ash climbed up into the loft. He then sat on the ground, leaned forward, and reached down for his Pikachu. Kukui slowly handed the pokémon off, though he was extremely careful to not wake the Pikachu.

    "Thanks." Ash said quietly as he held his Pikachu close. "Goodnight, Professor Kukui."

    Kukui smiled. "Goodnight, Ash." Kukui turned off the lights and made his way to his bedroom. It was still fairly early, but it had been a long and exciting day. And who knew what kind of adventures they would run into tomorrow?

    Kukui wasn't used to so much unpredictability. He could be spontaneous sometimes, but he was both a teacher and a professor. When he wasn't making lesson plans, he was studying Pokémon attacks and behaviors and trying to find patterns. It had been a long time since Kukui had had something in his life that could shake things up in ways that he couldn't expect.

    Even though Ash had only been living with him for a few days, Kukui could already tell that Ash was unpredictable and extremely spontaneous, which was something that he hadn't even realized he was missing in his life. Just having that boy living with him was an adventure in and of itself.

    Kukui hadn't realized just how much he had missed adventures, and he couldn't wait to see what else their future had in store for them.
  3. Gazi

    Gazi Hex Maniac

    (Cover Fossil)
    Level 2
    May 27, 2018
    Kukui enjoyed to wake up early in the morning, when everything in the world was still quiet and calm. He enjoyed those first few hours before school. It was relaxing to just sit out on his deck and watch the sun rise.

    One morning, a few days after Ash had started living with him, Kukui woke up earlier than he normally would. It was one of their days off from school, which was when Kukui would normally sleep in and spend some time at home. He couldn't do that though, because there were some errands that he needed to run.

    Specifically, he needed to stock up on food, because they were completely out.

    Kukui had known that they were running low, and he had actually been planning on going grocery shopping that day. He had planned on going later in the morning, or in the afternoon. They needed food for breakfast though, so Kukui figured it would be best if he went a little earlier.

    And if he was going to go shopping in the morning, he might as well go all out and go to the street markets around town. Everything there was cheap and fresh, and the vendors were always extremely nice. The best time to go to the street markets was first thing in the morning. That was when the streets weren't as crowded and the best goods were out.

    It had been awhile since Kukui had gone to the morning markets. He just hoped that his young ward would enjoy it as much as he did.

    "Hey, Ash," Kukui gently shook the sleeping boy's shoulder. "Wake up. It's time to go."

    "Huh?" Ash barely opened his eyes. He looked at Kukui groggily. "...Go? Where are we going?"

    "We need to pick up some food, remember?" Kukui shook Pikachu awake as well.

    "But...it's so early." Ash muttered as he sat up and shook the sleep from his eyes.

    "That's the point." Kukui said. "Come on. We'll get some malasadas while we're out" That woke Ash up.

    "Okay, okay, I'm coming." Ash yawned and pulled the blanket off. He got to his feet and went to go get dressed. Pikachu also got to its feet and stretched before following behind his trainer.

    Kukui left Ash to get ready for his day. He went back to the ladder and climbed down to the ground floor. Kukui made his way to Rockruff's bed and he shook the little pokémon awake.

    "Hey, Rockruff, do you want to go to the market?" Kukui asked playfully. Just as he expected, Rockruff was wide awake in an instant. Rockruff loved to go anywhere in town, but he especially loved the market. There were so many sights, sounds, smells, and people that excited the little pokémon.

    Rockruff barked eagerly. He jumped on Kukui and began trying to nudge at his neck, like he always did. Kukui laughed and pet Rockruff's fur. "Yeah, I thought so."

    "Someone's excited." Ash commented. Kukui turned to see the boy climbing down the ladder, dressed and ready to go. He even had both of his pokémon with him, Pikachu on his shoulders, and his new Rowlet in his bag.

    "Wow, that was fast." Kukui said. "Feeling any more awake?"

    "A little." Ash said. "I bet I'll be even more awake after I have a malasada though."

    Kukui laughed. "Alright, that sounds fair." Kukui took Rockruff into his arms and stood up. "You ready to go?"

    "Yep." Ash adjusted his backpack, waited for Pikachu to make himself comfortable on his shoulders, and followed Kukui to the door. It was still a little dark outside, and Kukui knew that they were probably leaving a little earlier than was necessary. There wasn't any harm in leaving a little early though. Besides, Kukui figured that with how distracted Ash could get sometimes, and how much boundless energy Rockruff had when he saw something that he deemed exciting, which was most everything, they probably wouldn't get to the market as quickly as Kukui on his own might.

    Not that he minded.

    They did end up getting sidetracked for a few minutes when Ash thought he caught a glimpse of a pokémon that he wasn't familiar with. Kukui hadn't seen anything, and the pokémon had run away before Ash himself could get a good look at it. Rotom Dex wasn't even around that particular morning, as it had opted to stay home and watch Alolan Detective Laki, which Kukui had introduced to it the night before. So Rotom Dex couldn't identify the pokémon.

    Ash tried to explain its appearance to Kukui, but because of how little he had seen of the pokémon, Ash's attempts to describe it could fit about a dozen different species of pokémon. Ash was disappointed that he didn't get to learn about this mystery pokémon, but he cheered up when Kukui pointed out that they might get lucky and see it again.

    Not that either of them would really recognize it if they did see it, but Kukui kept that part to himself.

    After that short detour, it was only a few more minutes worth of walking before they reached the town. Kukui knew that Ash had seen some of the larger stores when he had gone into town on his own the day before, but that wasn't where they were headed that morning. The street markets were in the other direction, still in a busy area of town, but not one that was so crowded with buildings.

    When they reached the streets where the markets and vendors were, Kukui was glad, though not surprised, to see that they weren't there too early. All of the vendors were either in the process of or just finishing up setting up their stalls for the day. Despite the early hour, there were already a number of people walking around, looking at all there was to sell. One who had never been to a morning market may find it strange that there were people up so early, but it was nothing compared to how many people would be on the streets during the later hours of the day.

    True to his word, the first place that Kukui brought them to was a malasada kart, where they made and fried their dough every single day. It wasn't as popular as the malasada bakeries at the town square, but they still knew how to make a good malasada.

    There was a bit of a line, as Ash wasn't the only person who wanted to start the day off with a hot, fresh malasada. It wasn't too bad though, and a few minutes later it was Kukui's turn to order. He paid for five malasadas, one for himself, two for Ash, and two for Pikachu, Rowlet, and Rockruff to share.

    Kukui was glad that he had thought to get two for Ash and their pokémon, because those four devoured their malasadas like there was no tomorrow. Ash probably would have swallowed his malasadas whole if they would fit in his mouth. He ate his food so quickly that Kukui wasn't even done with his first malasada by the time Ash was finishing off his second one. Pikachu, Rockruff, and Rowlet together were only slightly slower in their malasada consumption.

    As they finished up their breakfast, Kukui showed Ash around the market area. The majority of vendors sold fresh berries, fruits, and vegetables. Some of them were brought in from the other islands, but the majority of grown goods were harvested right on Melemele Island.

    Other things that were available were freshly baked bread that was still warm, homemade honey, and all kinds of homegrown herbs. Kukui picked up what food he knew they needed, though he was sure to get more than he usually did. There were some things that he would have to get at the supermarket, such as rice, but Kukui was able to get the majority of what they needed from the street market.

    Kukui knew that Ash did not do well with standing around for long periods of time. He got bored and distracted extremely easily. Kukui did his best to hold Ash's interest by showing him what to look for at these markets and how to tell what was of the best quality. Ash paid close attention to what he was saying, but it was clear that the boy was bored and didn't much want to be there.

    Kukui still had a few other stalls and vendors that he wanted to look at, ones that sold ingredients for pokémon food. He didn't want to bore Ash though, so when Kukui saw a vendor with a few racks of tourist shirts on them, he suggested that Ash go check them out while he finish up the shopping. Ash didn't seem all that excited, but he probably thought that it would be something better to do than stand around waiting for Kukui to finish.

    Kukui didn't just hope that Ash will be entertained for a few minutes, but also that he would find a couple of the shirts that he liked. He hadn't said anything to the kid, but they needed to buy him more clothes. He had brought enough from home to last him a short vacation to Alola, not a prolonged visit.

    Kukui knew that Ash's mother wouldn't hesitate to just send some clothes over for Ash, but Kukui didn't advise it. Sending packages to Alola from the mainland could get really expensive, and it would just be much cheaper and easier if Kukui just found some shirts lying around. None of his old shirts would fit Ash, but the shirts sold by the market vendor probably would, and at a decent price as well.

    Kukui left Ash to look at the shirts and went to get the ingredients that he needed. He made sure to be quick about it, because he could only count on Ash staying in one place for so long. A few minutes later, Kukui finished up and went to join Ash. The boy no longer looked as bored as he had before. In fact, when Kukui found Ash he was excitedly showing a Rowlet themed shirt to his own Rowlet. The grass pokémon just looked confused.

    "That's quite a resemblance you've found." Kukui commented.

    Ash beamed at him. "I found one with Pikachu on it too." Ash quickly put down his Rowlet shirt and rushed over to another rack to grab a white shirt with a simplified picture of a Pikachu on it. "See?"

    "I see." Kukui nodded. "Did you find anything else that interests you?"

    "Oh, yeah," Ash shoved the Pikachu shirt in Kukui's arms and and grabbed another white shirt. "Look! It's the same as your hat." Ash excitedly held out the white shirt and looked down at the rainbow like symbol in the middle. "See? They're matching!"

    "Huh," It really was the same symbol. Kukui hadn't realized that his hat had a matching shirt. "They sure are." Kukui grabbed the shirt from Ash and then went to pick up the Rowlet one. Rainbow, Pikachu, Rowlet, that made three shirts. "Why don't we pick one or two more shirts and we'll head home?"

    Ash looked at the shirts in Kukui's arms and frowned ever so slightly. "Are you sure?"

    "Yes, I'm sure." Kukui assured him. "Trust me, I have the money to buy a handful of shirts. Just let me treat you, okay?"

    Ash's frown was replaced by a grateful smile instantaneously. "Okay." At least Ash was easy to convince. Kukui grabbed two other shirts with different symbols and colors, and then he went to go pay the vendor for them. With all of their purchases in hand, Kukui and Ash made their way back home. Even Pikachu helped them out by carrying a small bag of herbs and spices.

    A few minutes later they got back to Kukui's house. Ash took his new shirts up to his loft, and then went back down to the kitchen to help Kukui put the groceries away. When they were done with that, Kukui took Ash into the laundry room and showed him how to do the laundry properly. Kukui was fine with Ash not helping him with the chores around the house, but he was an eager kid. An eager kid who wanted to be helpful.

    Rotom had told Kukui about how Ash had tried to help do some chores the day before, and things hadn't gone very well. Kukui didn't want to ban Ash from doing chores, he appreciated the help, but it would probably be best for both of them if he taught Ash how to do things properly.

    Ash, of course, was more than happy to learn. He seemed so surprised that the wash could only fit so many clothes in it at a time, and that only a little bit of soap would be enough to get the clothes clean. Once Ash had a better idea on how to use the washer, he had asked if he could try again. Kukui didn't know how many kids asked if they could do the laundry, but he had already known that Ash was one of a kind.

    With the laundry out of the way, Kukui tried to think of what to do next. It was still morning, and they had the whole day left to do with as they pleased. Kukui knew that Ash wouldn't mind getting a bit of training in, he would probably be ecstatic about it, but he hoped that the kid was willing to wait just a little bit longer. There was still some things they had to get from the supermarket, such as protein and grains.

    "You're not too tired to go with me to get a few more things, are you?" Kukui asked. He knew that he could go on his own, or that it could still wait a little longer, but he would prefer that Ash go with him.

    "I'm not too tired." Ash said, without the smallest bit of hesitation. Kukui was glad. He knew that the kid would be able to help him.

    Besides, he had been meaning to show Ash more of the island.
  4. Gazi

    Gazi Hex Maniac

    (Cover Fossil)
    Level 2
    May 27, 2018
    Kukui sighed contently as he looked up at the stars. He and Ash had gotten back about an hour ago from the party to celebrate Ash’s success during the grand trial. Ash had gone inside, maybe to sleep, but probably just to have some time to himself to reflect on the day. A lot had happened. Kukui himself found the need to reflect on what had happened, and he hadn’t even been the one to take the grand trial.

    Kukui had climbed up to the roof of his house. It wasn’t something that he did very often, but then again, he didn’t get the chance to watch a grand trial very often either.

    Kukui’d had students take the grand trials before. For most children that came into his classroom, he was not just their teacher, but their mentor when it came to being good pokémon trainers. There weren’t very many trainers in Alola who were practiced in battling the way he was. Battling was especially uncommon on Melemele Island. Kukui’d had a couple of students who had never even seen a proper pokémon battle before.

    Kukui did his best to educate his students on everything that he could. He wanted them to be the best trainers that they could be. Most of them didn’t take to battling, but he wanted them to at least know the basics.

    Every once and awhile though Kukui would get a student who truly got into battling. It was an amazing feeling, to be the one responsible for introducing a child to something that they really cared about. These students nearly always took on the island trials. Kukui had never watched a student during their actual trial though, not until Ash came by.

    Grand trials were a sacred thing. Other than the challenger, the kahuna, and the referee, nobody else traditionally watched the trial. Kukui considered himself lucky that Kahuna Hala had agreed to let him be the referee. It was a slight stretching of the rules, but technically allowed.

    Ash’s trial...it had been amazing to watch. That boy battled like nobody that Kukui had ever seen before. Ash was so enthusiastic about the battle. He hadn’t seemed the least bit nervous before the trial began. Ash also hadn’t been overly confident and arrogant. He had been as prepared for the grand trial as he could be, and he had done better than Kukui had expected him to.

    Not just when it came to the battle itself. Ash had done his very best to follow grand trial protocols the best that he could. Ash hadn’t been on Melemele Island for very long, and he really wasn’t familiar with a lot of their traditions. Ash may not be a tourist anymore, but he wasn’t a native either. Most anybody else in his position was bound to make at least a few mistakes, even if not on purpose.

    Ash was careful though, and considerate. He had asked Kukui beforehand if there were things that he needed to know for the trial. As excited and eager as Ash was to take the grand trial, he didn’t want to do anything that could be disrespectful. Ash had even asked if it was okay that his classmates joined them to celebrate

    At the celebration, Hala had told Kukui how well Ash had behaved himself when they had been at the Ruins of Conflict before the trial to ask for Tapu Koko’s blessing. Many natives to Alola had a hard time staying still during this part of the trial, and Ash had done extremely well. Kukui was proud of him.

    Kukui regularly felt proud of all of his students. Nothing gave him more joy than to see them grow as people and trainers. It was the most satisfying feeling in the world, to have a hand in helping the children become the great trainers that he knew they all could be.

    Kukui didn’t feel that kind of pride when it came to Ash. He couldn’t claim that he had anything to do with how well Ash had done. That boy’s success was all his own. He had trained by himself, and practiced his Z-Move pose as much as he could. Ash hadn’t needed his assistance, so he hadn’t offered it.

    Ash may still just be a child, and that was something that the boy should keep in mind more often, but he was still the most strong-willed, independent child that Kukui had ever met. He’d had more adventures and experiences in the time since he had become a trainer than most adults did throughout their entire lives. Despite this though, Ash was still eager to learn more.

    “Hey, Professor?” Ash’s voice dragged Kukui out of his musings. Kukui turned to the right to see the boy poking his head out the window of his loft. He must have been standing on the dresser. “What are you doing up here.”

    “Thinking.” Kukui said simply. “You’re free to join me if you want.” Ash smiled and climbed out the window. He crawled along the roof until he was at Kukui’s side and he sat next to him.

    “What are you thinking about?” Ash asked.

    “I’m not even sure.” Kukui admitted with a small laugh. His thoughts were all over the place. “Where are Pikachu and Rowlet?” Ash normally wasn’t far from his pokémon.

    “They’re sleeping.” Ash spread his legs out and leaned back, with his hands behind him to support him. “They worked really hard today.”

    “They’re not the only ones.” Kukui looked at his ward. “You did great today, Ash. You all did.”

    “I was kinda worried that I would do something wrong and Kahuna Hala would refuse to give me a Z-Crystal.” Ash admitted sheepishly.

    Kukui laughed. “You did just fine.” Kukui smiled slightly at the boy. “I’m proud of you.” Kukui had never been afraid to tell his students when he was proud of them. Young students needed encouragement. They needed to know when they were on the right track and that they always had his support.

    Ash’s smile was so bright and happy, that Kukui decided to tell Ash that he was proud of him more often, because that smile was just incredible. And besides that, Ash was an amazing young man, and he deserved to know that.

    “Thanks, Professor.” Ash said happily. Kukui had never seen Ash, who was normally so excited and energetic, be so content and calm. Kukui wondered if he was always like this after he accomplished a big goal of his. Kukui made a mental note to keep an eye out for that during Ash’s next grand trials, because he knew that there was no way that the boy would be satisfied with just the Melemele Island grand trial. He would want to do all of them, and Kukui wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Kukui wasn’t proud of Ash because of what he had accomplished. He was proud of him because he had the desire to accomplish these things. Ash didn’t have to go through the grand trial or follow their traditions. Sure, he did if he wanted to use the Z-Crystals, and Kukui knew how excited Ash was about those, but he also knew that there was more to Ash’s goal than that.

    Ash wanted to be a great pokémon trainer, not just a great battler. Powerful moves were impressive, but Kukui got the feeling that Ash was more attracted to Z-Moves because of what they meant, not because of what they did.

    Ash was a fine young trainer. He may have ambitious goals that Kukui didn’t entirely understand, but he didn’t doubt for one second that Ash could accomplish anything that he set his mind to. Kukui was just glad that he had the opportunity to watch as Ash improved himself, and maybe offer assistance, if the boy would accept it.

    Kukui didn’t know how long Ash would be in Alola for. All he knew was that he intended to enjoy the time that he had with the boy. Even if it meant letting Ash stay up a little later on a school night so that they could just sit on the roof together. Kukui knew that Ash would probably end up falling asleep in class the next day, but he would deal with that when it happened.

    Until then, he would just enjoy this moment while it lasted.
  5. Gazi

    Gazi Hex Maniac

    (Cover Fossil)
    Level 2
    May 27, 2018
    Chapter 5

    During his time as a teacher, Kukui had come to accept that children could be incredibly reckless sometimes. Actually, adults could be pretty careless themselves, it was just a part of being human. With children though, if they got themselves in trouble, they didn’t have as much experience that might help them get out of danger. One part of being a teacher was to help children out of the sticky situations that they couldn’t handle, and to teach them the life skills they might need to help them get out of these situations in the future.

    It could be tempting sometimes to hover behind the children and help hold their hand through any hardship they might come across. It had taken Kukui years to realize that he couldn’t do this. Kids had to learn and grow for themselves. He could be there to offer advice and assistance if they needed it, but he couldn’t solve all of their problems for them, and he really shouldn’t.

    Sometimes, Kukui had to draw the line. He may believe that children should learn and grow for themselves, but there was a difference between letting them figure out how to deal with a misbehaving pokémon, and standing to the side and doing nothing as one of his kids decided that it would be a good idea to jump off a cliff.

    Through the years Kukui had come to realize that every child was reckless in their own ways, but Ash Ketchum was on a whole other level.

    Kukui sighed tiredly and ran a hand through his hair. He swore, this boy was going to be the death of him. Kukui had been slightly anxious all during Ash’s rematch battle with Tapu Koko. Sometimes the Island Guardians forgot what their own strengths were, and they took things too far. Kukui had known that Tapu Lele was much more prone to accidentally hurting those that she just wanted to have some fun with, but Tapu Koko wasn’t exactly the most gentle pokémon either.

    Kukui’s concern had heightened when Tapu Koko had accidentally pushed Pikachu back too far and sent the poor pokémon over the edge of a cliff. If that hadn’t been bad enough, Kukui had thought that his heart had stopped beating in his chest when Ash, his student, his ward, had jumped off the cliff after him.

    Ash could have died, and Kukui hadn’t done anything to stop it. He had run to where Ash had been as fast as he could, so had Kiawe, but a lot of good that had done. The only reason that Ash was alive was because Tapu Koko had caught him before he could get hurt, which Kukui was eternally grateful for. The Island Guardian may be careless, but he wasn’t cruel. Tapu Koko took his job as guardian of Melemele Island very seriously.

    Kukui just wished that he hadn’t been so useless in the situation. And it wasn’t that he had been completely incapable of doing anything. At the time, Kukui had reacted instinctively without thinking things through. Maybe this could work for some situations, but that day, it could have cost Ash his life. Kukui could have lost one of his students, just because he hadn’t thought to remember that he had a bird pokémon that was more than capable of carrying a fully grown male.

    Kukui should have stayed calm. He should have taken his pokéball out of his pocket and called out Braviary. He should have actually done something that would have been useful, but he hadn’t.

    Kukui could just tell himself that this was just a one time occurrence, but he couldn’t afford to believe this. When Kukui had all but yelled at Ash, asking him what on earth he had been thinking, the boy had seemed unfazed. Kukui didn’t know word for word what Ash’s response had been, but he knew all too well what the implications had been.

    If Kukui had understood Ash correctly, this wasn’t the first time that he had risked his own life to save Pikachu’s, and it wouldn’t be the last.

    Kukui had always held nothing but admiration for Ash and the close connection that he had to his pokémon. But when Ash had admitted that he wouldn’t hesitate to die if it meant keeping his pokémon safe, Kukui felt nothing but fear. Ash was just a boy, a child, he shouldn’t have to find himself in a situation that might endanger the lives of him and his pokémon, but he had, and he probably would again.

    Ash was a lucky and resourceful boy, but that could only take him so far. Someday, Ash might find himself in a situation that he couldn’t get out of on his own. If that happened, and Kukui again didn’t do anything to help him, he wouldn’t be able to live with himself.

    He couldn’t let that happen.

    Kukui had spent far too long focusing all of his energy on helping his students be the best trainers that they come be. He had been so focused on their training that he had neglected his own. His trainer instincts weren’t what they used to be. Kukui had known this for awhile now, but when Ash had been in danger and his first instinct hadn’t been to send his own pokémon after him, he knew that enough was enough.

    Kukui couldn’t put it off any longer. He had to get back into his trainer mindset. Maybe he wouldn’t be able to help Ash out with every single situation he came across, but he was going to do his best to make sure that he was able to do what he could.

    Kukui reached into his coat pocket and brought out one of the few pokéballs that he had on him at all times. Kukui was fond of most any pokémon that he met, but he chose very few as his partners. Braviary was the pokémon that he had the strongest bond with, and it was long past time that he worked on strengthening that bond again.

    “Time to get back to work, old friend.” Kukui muttered to his pokéball before he threw it into the air and let out his Braviary. Even though the two of them were close, Kukui didn’t let his Braviary out very often. They had been partners for years, and during that time Kukui had come to recognize that just as Ash’s Pikachu hated being confined to its pokéball, Braviary hated being away from the comfort that his ball provided.

    Some people didn’t understand how Kukui could claim to be so close to a pokémon that he rarely used, but that was just how their relationship was. Kukui didn’t bother trying to explain it to other people, because it didn’t really matter if others understood or not. All that mattered in their relationship was that it worked for them.

    And Kukui still brought his Braviary out of its ball, he just avoided doing so when other people were around. Braviary didn’t like to be around other people or pokémon. Braviary knew how to handle himself when he was around others, but he always prefered it when it was just him and Kukui, and the man respected that.

    “It’s been awhile, hasn’t it.” Kukui smiled and put a hand on his pokémon’s head. Braviary leaned into the touch and made a noise of contentment. “Yeah, it’s good to see you again, buddy.” Kukui had definitely missed working with his Braviary. He had been meaning on reconnecting with his pokémon. The events of that day were just the push that he had needed.

    “I hope you’re ready for some training, old friend.” Kukui said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do.” The both of them needed to be ready to react in a moments notice. Kukui couldn’t let things get out of hand the way that it had that day, not if he could do something to stop it.

    Never again.
  6. Gazi

    Gazi Hex Maniac

    (Cover Fossil)
    Level 2
    May 27, 2018
    Chapter 6.

    Kukui sighed and practically slumped down on the couch. He felt completely drained. He knew that part of the reason was because he had stayed up all night. It was a horrible habit of his that he thought he had reigned in since Ash had started living with him. Kukui knew that he had to be more careful in the future, but at the moment getting a good night's sleep was the last thing on his mind. He was too busy thinking about why he had been up all night.

    He had always had a hard time sleeping when he knew one of his students was struggling with something like this.

    Death was always horrible, devastating, and completely unavoidable. Death was the most inevitable thing about life. It happened to everybody sooner or later, and most everybody had to experience the loss of a loved one. It was an awful experience for anybody to go through, but especially a child.

    During his time as a teacher, Kukui'd had a few students who had to go through such a loss. Whether it be the death of a parent, sibling, grandparent, neighbor, friend. Once two of Kukui's own students had been involved in a horrible accident, one of them had walked away from the incident, the other hadn't been so lucky.

    Those had been some dark days at the school. Morale had been at an all time low, the students had all been scared and depressed, and Kukui hadn't been much better. He'd had to hide it though when he was in front of his students, which had been one of the hardest things he had ever done. He had to save his grieving for when he was home. At school, he needed to be strong. He had needed to be there for his students. Their happiness and well-being was his top priority, even above his own.

    Kukui had helped so many of his students overcome their grief, but he didn't think it was something he would ever get used to. He had always thought that it was the worst part of his job, but somehow this was worse.

    Kukui would never wish the responsibility of pushing aside one's own feelings to help others with their own on anybody. It was a depressing and overwhelming task. And now, it was one that Ash had taken upon himself.

    Some people didn't think that the death of a pokémon was as impactful as that of a person, but that was just naive thinking. Pokémon could be the closest partners that anybody ever had, and they could have close relationships to each other, just like humans did. Most people probably wouldn't even notice the death of a single, stray Stoutland, but Ash did, and so did Litten.

    After all, one doesn't just lost their entire world, their only family, and moved on with life as normal.

    Kukui had expected Ash to be upset about Stoutland's death, and for him to be worried about Litten, but not quite to this extent. He probably should have expected it though. Ash was far too kind-hearted to ever feel comfortable with just sitting around and waiting when he knew that somebody was hurting.

    Ash had waited, at first. The first two days after Litten had died, he had watched Litten from a distance. That was all he had done, all day, watch and wait. It had been hard for Kukui to see Ash so forlorn and upset. The boy clearly wanted to do something to help Litten, but he didn't know what.

    Kukui wanted to offer advice, but he really couldn't. In his experience, everybody dealt with grief in different ways. The only reason that Kukui had been able to help his students was because as their teacher and mentor he had gotten to know them really well. He had never even properly met Litten. He couldn't know what the pokémon's needs were.

    But...Ash might.

    Kukui had kept an eye on Ash during these two days. He had watched Litten from a distance with him. He had let Ash's mind wander during class, because he knew there would be no point in forcing the kid to focus on his studies. When Ash had said that he wanted to take food to Litten, Kukui had suggested a type of berry that he knew was soft, simple but good in taste, and easy on the stomach. He knew it wouldn't heal what was wrong with Litten, but it would be something that it could easily digest.

    When Ash came home looking even more upset than he had before, Kukui knew that something else was wrong. According to Ash, Litten wasn't eating, it wasn't moving, it wasn't doing anything. It just stayed on Stoutland's couch, depressed.

    Kukui had dealt with many students who had reacted the same way when someone close to them had passed away. He knew at least one thing that Litten needed was somebody around to make sure that it was taking care of itself. It may not accept help right away, but it was important that Litten know that somebody was there for it.

    And Kukui knew that that somebody was Ash.

    Kukui hadn't wanted to send his student out for who knows how long to offer moral support to a grieving pokémon. Ash was just a kid, he shouldn't have to do this kind of thing. But when Kukui saw Ash staring out the window at the pouring rain, looking more distant and upset than Kukui had ever seen from him, he knew that maybe it would be for the best. Not just for Litten, but for Ash too.

    "You're really worried about Litten, aren't you?" Kukui had asked, drawing Ash's attention away from the window.

    "Professor…" Ash frowned slightly before he looked out the window. "Yeah," He had admitted in a quiet voice. "Litten hasn't been eating, and...and I don't think it should be alone right now."

    "If you think you should be with Litten, that's where you should be." Kukui had said. Maybe it hadn't been smart to let his student go running off into the storm, but it somehow felt like the right thing to do. "Litten needs you right now."

    Ash's frown softened and he had looked relieved and grateful. "You think I should go?"

    "I do." Kukui had nodded. "But Ash, I need you to remember something for me, okay? This is very important."

    "What is it, Professor?" Ash had asked, confused and slightly wary. Kukui had stepped forward and put a hand on Ash's shoulder.

    "Litten might act like it doesn't want your help," Kukui had warned. "It might try to attack you, or ignore you, but it just needs time. If you want to help Litten, you need to have the patience to wait until it's ready to accept your help."

    Ash had nodded. "Thank you, Professor Kukui." With those words, Ash had gathered his pokémon and went off to be with his new friend. That had been more than a day ago, and Ash hadn't shown any signs of coming back. Kukui knew that he needed to take his own advice and have patience. If Ash thought that Litten's condition was more than he could handle, he would have taken it to a pokémon center, or at the very least brought it here.

    Kukui was just glad that the storm seemed to have passed. He wasn't foolish enough to think that this was a sign that things were better for Litten, it just meant the weather had changed. But it eased his worries slightly to know that at least Ash wasn't out in the rain anymore.

    Now the only thing that he needed to know was that Litten was eating again, and all of his major concerns about this whole situation would be resolved.

    It was always worrying when somebody was so distressed that they couldn't bring themselves to eat anything. Kukui remembered it happening to him one time when he was younger, and it had not been a fun experience. The lack of food seemed to drain what little energy he had,and the physical exhaustion made his emotional issues that much worse.

    Kukui liked to think that Ash had easily been able to convince Litten to eat something, but he knew it wasn't the case. Ash had been gone for a whole day, and he had said that he would be back once he was sure that Litten had eaten something. If Ash wasn't back, that meant that Litten still wasn't in the mood for food, and that was concerning. It just wasn't healthy to go more than a day without eating anything, especially not for a small pokémon like Litten who probably hadn't been eating as much as it should in the first place.

    Kukui was just about ready to go into town to check on Ash and Litten for himself. He hadn't gone yet because Litten didn't know or trust him, but the small pokémon could really make itself sick if it continued to refuse to take care of himself like this. His presence may make Litten uncomfortable, but at that moment Kukui was more concerned about keeping Litten from getting sick than making sure that it felt safe.

    Kukui was on his feet and ready to leave when he heard Rockruff barking in the distance. Kukui paused. Rockruff had gone with Ash, and it was far too loyal to think of leaving him, so if the pokémon was back, that meant that the boy had to be too.

    Well, it was about time.

    Kukui ran out onto the porch and breathed a sigh of relief when he saw Ash walking down the road, holding Litten tightly in his arms. Rockruff was running at Ash's feet, occasionally jumping up at his legs, possibly in an attempt to get to Litten. Somehow, Ash kept himself from tripping as he joined Kukui on the front porch.

    "So I guess that things went well?" Kukui asked. Like he usually did when it came to matters of death, he did his best to keep his own emotions and concerns out of his voice, while also not sounding like an unfeeling robot. It was a hard balance.

    "Yeah," Ash smiled and scratched under Litten's chin, which caused it to sigh contently. "Litten's doing a lot better today. It ate a berry, and we had a battle, and it even let me catch it."

    Kukui raised an eyebrow. "So soon?" Kukui recalled that Ash had previously told him that Litten had no interest in being Ash's pokémon. Litten had been completely content just living with Stoutland and taking care of itself. Kukui had suspected that Litten would change its mind after Stoutland's death, but not quickly.

    "Yep," Ash beamed. "Litten's part of the family now."

    Kukui chuckled and pet the top of Litten's head. "In that case, welcome to the family, Litten."

    Welcome home.
  7. Gazi

    Gazi Hex Maniac

    (Cover Fossil)
    Level 2
    May 27, 2018
    Chapter 7

    Kukui yawned and got to his feet. He grabbed the stack of old notebooks he had been looking over and returned them to his bookcase. He usually tried to keep his things at least somewhat organized, but he was far too tired to follow his system. He just shoved the notebooks where it looked like they would fit. He would put them where they belonged tomorrow...probably.

    Kukui rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and grabbed another set of notebooks. It didn’t matter how tired he was, he still had a lot of work to do. His latest theory on pokémon attacks was long overdue and his peers were starting to bother him about it. And he still had a lesson to teach tomorrow, and he wasn’t at all prepared for it.

    Kukui flipped open one of his notebooks and quickly glanced over what he had written in it. His handwriting wasn’t very good at the best of times, and he must have written these notes when he had been tired or in a rush, because the scrawl was barely legible. He really needed to be more careful about his note taking in the future.

    Kukui sighed and closed the notebook. He would look it over again when he wasn’t so exhausted. At the moment, he was running on no sleep. Because of the whole mess with Litten, he hadn’t gotten any sleep the night before, and now he was paying for it. He was barely functioning, but he couldn’t sleep yet. He needed to come up with a lesson plan for tomorrow, at the very least.

    First though, he needed some tea or coffee, because he was falling asleep on his feet.

    Kukui put the difficult to read notebook back on the bookshelf and took the rest he had grabbed with him to the kitchen. Kukui could barely keep his eyes open as he went, stumbling towards the kitchen. He paused in his steps when he saw the light on ahead of him. He may be tired, but he was fairly certain he had turned the light off before he had gone down to his study.

    “Is someone in there?” Kukui called out tiredly.

    “Professor?” At the sound of Ash’s voice Kukui suddenly felt wide awake. What was that boy still doing awake?

    “Ash?” Kukui entered the kitchen and saw his student sitting at the table, looking even more exhausted than he had been a few hours ago when he had gone to bed. “What are you still doing up?”

    “I couldn’t sleep.” Ash said. He sounded as tired as Kukui felt, so he thought it was safe to guess that this wasn’t just Ash being a stubborn kid who didn’t want to sleep. Kukui eyed Ash for a moment. He was sure that if Ash hadn’t been able to sleep in the first place, he would have been aware of it before. Kukui suspected that it was more likely that Ash had been woken up by something, probably a nightmare, and either couldn’t or didn’t want to go back to sleep.

    Kukui didn’t really know what to do when kids had a nightmare, as he had never had to deal with it before, but he’d had some experience with not being able to sleep for one reason or another. Maybe the same strategy would work for Ash. Kukui put his notebooks down on the table and went to put some milk on the stove. He had considered making some tea, but that took more effort, and Kukui had never been all that fond of tea anyways. If he didn’t like it, he didn’t know how much a kid would.

    “Is there a reason why you couldn’t sleep?” Kukui asked as he got out the honey. “Mind too full?”

    “Yeah.” Ash drew his feet up onto the couch and sat cross-legged on it. The boy fell silent, but over the years Kukui had gotten really good at telling when a kid had something that they wanted to say. He waited.

    Ash was silent for a fair amount of time. By the time Ash seemed to work up the nerve to say what was on his mind, the milk had already heated up. “...Hey, Professor, do you...do you ever worry about what happens after we die?”

    Kukui flinched as he poured the hot milk into some mugs, accidentally splashing some milk on his hand. Kukui hissed and drew his hand back. It was only a mild distraction from his panic at Ash’s question. How was he supposed to answer that? He wasn’t ready for this.

    “Well…” Kukui sighed and put some honey in the mugs, which he then brought to the table. Kukui put a mug in front of Ash, and then sat down next to him. “To be honest, nobody really knows what happens to us when we die.”

    “I know.” Ash said, which may have startled Kukui more than the initial question had. “I mean, do you worry about what happens to our pokémon when we’re gone?”

    “...No, I can’t say that I have.” Kukui stared at Ash in shock. “Why? Is it something that you’re worried about?”

    “Sometimes.” Ash admitted quietly as he took a cautious sip of the hot milk. “Not a lot, but sometimes things happen, and...and I worry.”

    Kukui desperately wanted to ask Ash what kind of things he was talking about, but he didn’t dare. He knew that Ash had gone through a lot while on his journey, more things than anybody, especially a child, should have to go through. Kukui didn’t know what kind of things would make a boy like Ash consider what would happen to those he cared about after he died, and he didn’t think he wanted to know.

    Kukui took a drink of his own milk to hide how uncomfortable he was with this conversation. Ash was just a kid, and yet he was thinking about death in a way that most adults couldn’t, and that scared Kukui more than he could even explain. Still, despite how uncomfortable and nervous this topic made Kukui, Ash was clearly scared, and as his teacher it was Kukui’s responsibility to do what he could to calm his fears.

    “...You know, you don’t have anything to worry about.” Kukui put his mug down when he was sure that he could keep his expression calm and collected. Kids could get terrified if they knew that an adult they looked up to was scared, and Kukui didn’t want to do that to Ash. “If...if something does happen to you, I for one would be more than happy to look after your pokémon the way you looked after Litten, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.” Ash had befriended so many people, even just in Alola, and Kukui knew for a fact that every single one of them would be willing to help his pokémon should something happen.

    Kukui just desperately hoped that it wouldn’t come to that.

    “Yeah, I know.” Ash smiled slightly and drank some more of his warm milk. “I just worry sometimes, you know?”

    “I know.” Kukui nodded in understanding. He knew all too well that fears and concerns couldn’t always just be reasoned away. It was especially hard to be reasonable about a fear if it was fresh from a nightmare, as he suspected was the case. Kukui didn’t know how to calm Ash’s concerns in the long run, he had never even met anybody who worried about this, but he had an idea about how to help Ash sleep. It wasn’t ideal, but it would have to be good enough for the night.

    “Come here.” Kukui scooted closer to Ash and put an arm over the boy’s shoulder to draw him even closer.

    “Professor?” Ash looked at Kukui in confusion. “What are you doing?”

    I know you’ve got a lot on your mind, but you need to get some sleep. You’ve got school in the morning.” With his free hand Kukui grabbed his closest notebook and opened it up. “Reading these journals always puts me to sleep, so I thought it would work for you.”

    “Oh,” Ash nodded and relaxed. Kukui was glad that he didn’t ask any more questions about why he had drawn him close. The truth was, that wasn’t for Ash’s benefit, it was more for Kukui’s. All of this talking about Ash’s death had him paranoid for the safety of his student, and with how exhausted Kukui felt he didn’t think that concern was going to leave him alone that night. At least this way, he had Ash right by his side, so if Kukui woke up in the middle of the night from a nightmare of his own, he wouldn’t have to go all the way upstairs to make sure his ward was okay.

    Kukui yawned and began reading from his notes, glad that these ones were actually legible. “Tackling and the move ‘tackle’: The differences between them, and why they matter.” Kukui couldn’t believe he had actually written this stuff. Yeah, in theory and practice it was really interesting, but in writing, it was already putting him to sleep. “I have studied a lot about the attack patterns of pokémon. One thing that I have noticed is that many pokémon who are unable to use the move ‘tackle’ have been known to use the attack anyways. I set out to figure out why, and my research has yielded some unexpected results-”
  8. Gazi

    Gazi Hex Maniac

    (Cover Fossil)
    Level 2
    May 27, 2018
    Chapter 8

    Two full days with little to no sleep should have allowed Kukui to sleep soundly, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Every single time Ash shifted or adjusted the tiniest bit, Kukui would snap wide awake, completely paranoid. It would take him several minutes to convince himself that Ash was alive and safe, and several more minutes after that for his body to realize this and relax enough to try to go back to sleep.

    This went on for nearly two hours before Kukui’s exhaustion completely took over and he fell into an uneasy sleep, though it didn’t last as long as he had hoped. For the next few hours Kukui would sleep for half an hour or so, be woken up by something, though he couldn’t say what, and fall back asleep for another half an hour. It made the night feel impossibly long, and by the time morning came Kukui felt even more tired than ever before.

    Kukui wanted nothing more then to fall back asleep and slip away from the world. He groaned and put his arm over his eyes to block out the light...his left arm...the arm that should have been over Ash’s shoulder, but had just been hanging limply at his side.

    Kukui jerked awake so suddenly that he accidentally hit his knees on the bottom of the table, but he barely even noticed it. Ash was supposed to be right there at his side, but he wasn’t there, and Kukui couldn’t help but imagine the worst

    “Professor, are you okay?” Kukui felt all of his worry fueled adrenalin drain out of him. He was always concerned about his students, but it had never been this bad before. Kukui was just far too exhausted to deal with this.

    “I’m fine.” Kukui rubbed a hand over his eyes. He really needed to get some sleep, because this paranoia was just getting ridiculous. “What about you? Were you able to get some more sleep last night?”

    “Yeah, I slept good.” Ash smiled, though it didn’t seem as bright as it normally was. Ash looked concerned. “What about you? Did you sleep at all last night?”

    Ash had to have seen that he had been asleep just a few minutes ago, but Kukui knew what he meant. “Not really.” Kukui admitted reluctantly. “But this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. I can handle going a night without much sleep.”

    “Isn’t two nights a little too much?” Ash asked. Kukui took his hand away from his eyes and looked at Ash. The kid was way too observant for his own good.

    “I’m fine, Ash.” Kukui insisted gently. He just needed get some sleep...except he couldn’t sleep now, net yet. It was morning. He was supposed to go to the school and teach the kids. Even if he didn’t have a lesson plan, he still had to do his job. He owed that much to the kids.

    Kukui yawned and looked towards a nearby clock. He raised an eyebrow when he saw the time. It was later then he had expected. “Shouldn’t you be at school?” Kukui himself was almost running late, but not quite. Ash though, he had to be at school earlier than Kukui did. All of the students were expected to be at the school early to clean up their classroom from the day before.

    When the school had first been founded they had tried to do the cleaning at the end of school, but the kids always slacked off because they wanted to go out and enjoy the afternoon sun, and a lot of kids ended up falling asleep during their morning classes, for some reason. Principal Oak had figured that doing the cleaning in the morning would give the kids a chance to wake themselves up for class, and free their afternoons. Kukui had been dubious about how effective it would be to ask kids to come to school early to do chores, but it worked impressively well.

    “I was about to leave.” Ash said, and Kukui noticed that he was all dressed and ready for the day. One look to the kitchen showed dirty dishes from breakfast, as well as an untouched plate of food that Ash must have left for him. Ash was ready to walk out the door, but he seemed hesitant. “You were asleep. I didn’t want to wake you, but I wanted to be sure you were okay.”

    So Ash was worried about how exhausted Kukui was, even though the only reason Kukui was so tired was because of his concern about Ash. He was fully aware of the irony.

    “Alright, give me a few minutes to eat breakfast, and we’ll head off to the school together. How does that sound?” Kukui suggested as he headed to the kitchen to grab what Ash had put out for him.

    Ash smiled, clearly relieved. “Yeah, okay.” As Kukui ate, Ash grabbed the notebooks he had left out the night before and went to go put them away. It was very like Ash to do something helpful, even if it was just something small. Kukui knew that Ash didn’t like to just sit back and do nothing when he felt like somebody needed his help.

    A few minutes later Kukui finished eating his breakfast and found Ash patiently waiting for him, bag already over his shoulder. It was clear that Ash had been ready to go for several minutes now, but he didn’t say anything to make Kukui feel bad about it.

    “We’d better get going before we’re both late.” Kukui said as he picked up his dishes and put them in the sink. He would wash them when he got home. Kukui went to the front door, with Ash as well as his pokémon close behind him. Ash usually left his pokémon, except for Pikachu, in their pokéballs or in his bag during the school day. They were all out now though, even Rowlet.

    Kukui’s first thought was that it was because Ash wanted to give Litten the chance to get used to the rest of the group, and maybe that was part of the reason. When Kukui noticed that Rockruff was sticking to his side, and that Ash was walking right next to him too, even though he usually ran to school, he knew that they were worried about him too.

    Kukui wanted to insist that he was fine, but he enjoyed the company, so he kept quiet. The school was only a few minutes away anyways.

    The walk to the school took longer than it should have, and by the time they got there the bell for classes had already rang. Kukui still felt sluggish, but he made himself speed up when he heard the bell. They were already late, and there was no reason to make it worse. Especially since Kukui didn’t want to risk running into Principal Oak before they got to the classroom. The man wasn’t overly strict, but Kukui really wasn’t in the mood to have another talk about tardiness.

    Fortunately, they were able to get to the classroom without running into any trouble. He could hear the rest of the students talking in there, and normally Kukui would let them finish their conversation. Kukui strongly believed in letting the kids learn lessons and make discoveries for themselves, but he had to draw the line somewhere. Besides, Kukui could hear the concern and confusion in their voices. They were probably worried about what was going on with Ash, as the last time he had been at school he had been extremely distracted, and now he was late. They didn’t have any more reason to worry about Ash, so there was no reason for them not to get started on the lesson.

    ...Except that Kukui still didn’t have a lesson in mind

    It looked like he was winging it today. It wouldn’t be the first time.

    “Alola, class.” Kukui greeted as he entered the classroom. Ash greeted his classmates as well.

    “Alola!” The kids responded cheerfully, like they always did.

    “This morning I thought we would…” Think of something. Think of something. “...practice our Z-move poses.”

    His students all looked at each other, a strange expression on all of their faces. Kukui thought that they must have just been bored or disappointed. After all, this wasn’t the first time that they had talked about Z-moves, it was actually one of their more common lessons. Not only were Z-moves important to know about, but Kukui also knew a lot about them, which made it easier for him to talk about it on the fly.

    “Now, I know some of you may be tired of this topic by now, so why don’t we switch things up a bit?” Kukui smiled. “It’s just as important for the pokémon to be familiar with the poses as it is for the trainer, so why don’t we all help teach your pokémon how to do the poses.” Some pokémon wouldn’t need much help, but for those like Rockruff and Litten who couldn’t pose the way that humans could, they had to find something else for them to do that represented the same thing.

    The kids still looked dubious, but they all nodded and turned to their pokémon. Kiawe and Ash, who already knew how to do their Z-moves, went around to help their classmates. Most of the kids didn’t know how to do the Z-move poses themselves, let alone how to teach it to their pokémon.

    Kukui spent most of the morning helping Lillie. She was so unsure and cautious. Even though Kukui knew that she had to know the ice Z-move pose, she was certain that she didn’t have it right. It took some time to reassure her that she was, in fact, doing the right pose, and that she needed to have confidence in herself if she expected her pokémon to have confidence in her too. After that, he helped Lillie teach Snowy, which was more difficult than it had to be.

    Snowy was still extremely young. She didn’t understand what Z-moves were, or that she could be capable of doing them herself. Snowy was also a Vulpix, which meant that she stood on four legs instead of two, which meant that teaching her how to do the same pose as Lillie was even harder.

    Finally they were able to get through to Snowy. Kukui left Lillie with her Vulpix to continue practicing as he checked up on how everybody else was doing. Lana and Popplio seemed to have the water Z-move pose right, though they weren’t very in synch with each other. They could work on that later though. Sophocles was struggling, but Togedemaru seemed to be doing okay, and because they were focusing on the pokémon for now, that was alright. Mallow and Steenee were doing extremely well. And, of course, Kiawe and Ash were thriving and having a blast.

    Kukui was glad that the kids seemed to be enjoying themselves despite the familiar lesson, but by the time lunch came around he was beginning to regret having such an active lesson. It wasn’t just because he was tired, he knew how to deal with fatigue, but his head was really beginning to hurt. This was a whole new level of exhaustion, and Kukui wanted more than ever to just sit down and fall asleep.

    So while the kids ate the lunch, that was exactly what Kukui planned on doing. He would only be able to get about half an hour of rest in during the lunch break, but it was better than nothing, and hopefully would be enough to get rid of the pounding, heavy feeling in his head.

    Kukui normally spent lunch in the staff room, but that just felt like too much effort. Besides, staying in this room would give him another minute or two of sleep that would have otherwise been spent going from the classroom to the staff room, and then back again after lunch.

    Kukui yawned and just sat down on the ground, his back against the wall. It wasn’t as comfortable as his couch, but he was too tired to even think about complaining. Kukui sighed and closed his eyes. He was vaguely aware of Rockruff curled up next to him, as well as the fact that the students had, for some reason, chosen to sit on the floor on the other side of the room as they ate instead of at their desks. He also subconsciously noticed that the kids were all surprisingly quiet, talking in soft whispers as opposed to the gleeful shouts that they normally used.

    Kukui noticed all of this, but he didn’t really think about how odd it was. He just enjoyed the peace and quiet. It made it much easier to doze off. Kukui didn’t fully fall asleep, but he was able to fall into a half-sleep state, and it felt so nice. It couldn’t last though, and all too soon Kukui felt a hand on his arm.

    “Professor?” Kukui heard the concerned voice as though it was from a distance, but it was enough to give him the motivation to pull himself out of his dozing. Kukui slowly opened his eyes and wasn’t surprised to see Ash crouching in front of him.

    “I’m awake.” Kukui yawned.

    “Professor, I really think you should get some sleep.” Ash said. “The others told me that you only have Z-move lessons when you’re not feeling well.”

    Kukui was taken aback. His students had noticed that? Kukui himself hadn’t even realized the pattern, and yet they had. At least he knew what their cautious glances at the beginning of class had been about.

    “I’m-” Kukui began, but Ash wouldn’t let him finish his thought.

    “Please don’t say you’re fine when we all know you’re not.” Ash said. “Just because you’re a grown-up and a teacher doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to have your off days.”

    Actually, that was exactly what it meant. Adults couldn’t just take a day off whenever they got reckless with their sleeping patterns. Kukui had responsibilities, regardless of how tired he was. He should be shaping his sleeping schedule around his responsibilities, not the other way around.

    “Please, Professor, let someone else teach the lesson today.” Ash pleaded.

    “Like who?” Kukui asked. They couldn’t just call in a substitute on such short notice. Especially not without a lesson plan to leave with them.

    “Uh, well,” Ash floundered a bit, trying to find an answer. “Maybe...Professor, will you get some sleep if I teach the others?”

    “You?” Kukui raised an eyebrow. Where did that even come from? “What would you talk about?”

    “Yeah, I can just tell them about, uh,” Ash looked thoughtful for a moment before his face brightened. “The pokémon league.”

    Kukui eyed Ash for a moment as he considered the idea. “The pokémon league, huh?” It was certainly a subject that Ash would know a lot about, so he would talk as naturally about it as Kukui could talk about Z-moves. It was also a subject that the other students wouldn’t know a lot about, so it would be educational for them. They would probably get a really good discussion going. But could he just leave his students to fend for themselves?

    Kukui grimaced when he felt a sudden sharp pain in his forehead, like something was pushing against it, but from inside his skull. It was not a pleasant feeling, and Kukui wouldn’t be surprised if it only got worse before it got better. Maybe it would be best if he just took Ash up on his offer. Besides, he would still be right there in the classroom in case something happened.

    “Alright,” Kukui agreed quietly. Ash’s grin was full of so much relief, and Kukui wondered if he really looked that bad.

    “Great!” Ash slipped off his backpack and enthusiastically handed it to Kukui. “I don’t know how comfortable my backpack is, but Rowlet seems to like it, so maybe you’ll like it too.”

    Kukui chuckled as he accepted the bag. It was such a child-like thing to do. “Thank you.”

    Ash smiled and went to rejoin his classmates. They spoke quietly with each other for a few moments before they all made their way back to their desks, except for Ash, who went up to the front of the classroom.

    “I’ve been to a lot of different regions.” Ash jumped right in. “And one thing that all of them have in common with each other is they have a pokémon league.” Ash’s tone was just brimming with enthusiasm, and yet he seemed to be talking in a quieter voice than he usually did. He was trying to be considerate of Kukui.

    “Ruff!” Rockruff grabbed Kukui’s sleeve and pulled on it. Normally Rockruff would do something like this when he wanted to play, but Kukui knew that wasn’t his intention this time.

    “Alright, I’m coming.” Kukui chuckled as Rockruff’s determination. He put Ash’s backpack on the ground and laid down to rest his head on it. The backpack wasn’t nearly as comfortable as a pillow, and the ground was nowhere near as good as a couch, but it wasn’t half bad and within just a few seconds he found himself dozing off like he had before.

    As he began to fall asleep, Kukui numbly listened to the sound of Ash’s voice as he talked about the pokémon league. Kukui smiled to himself as Ash talked about how thrilling it was to be in that stadium to battle incredibly powerful trainers. Ash’s enthusiasm was contagious, and it wasn’t long before Kukui began to think about his own experience competing in a pokémon league. He had nearly forgotten how exhilarating battling a strong opponent could be. It was such a shame that Alola didn’t have a league of its own, because these kids were really missing out on a great experience.

    ...An Alolan pokémon league. Now there was an idea worth thinking about.

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