Four Times the Charm
Satoshi = Ash Ketchum
Hanako = Delia Ketchum
Summary: 26 years passed since Ash/Satoshi began his pokemon journey. Now with his fourth child soon to be born, Pikachu observes his trainer's relations with his three children. Warning: implied shipping.
Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon in any shape or form. I also do not own the cover picture used for this fanfic. However, the children are OC characters of my creation and the plot idea belongs to me.
The room was covered with pale tiles, arranged to resemble geometric shapes. Vanilla white walls surrounded them with only a thick glass window to view the outside world. Wooden tables sat at each corner of the room with stacks of magazines piled on top. Covers announcing the newest fashion and of famous celebrities' lifestyles came to life in bright vibrant colors. A holographic TV was displayed near the front of the room where the receptionist's desk was. The weather was on with Kanto's map in view. Numbers appeared over parts of Kanto, but all of them were orange in color.
There were a few visitors that day at the Cerulean City hospital. All of them had their own agenda. Some came by to visit and showed their paper wristbands to be allowed in. Others had to wait and were forced to stay in the lobby room. The few who walked in and out of the automatic doors were workers in their uniforms. A police man sat behind a podium near the entrance with a bored expression. He could occasionally be asked by a visitor to show the way to a place, but otherwise, he only had the TV and sometimes the workers to entertain him.
Pikachu's thunderbolt shaped tail curled around his small body as he tried to get some sleep. It was a hot July where both Pokémon and trainer were sweating even with the AC on. The news broadcasting on the television said it was thirty-five degrees Celsius outside. Hot enough to cook something on a sidewalk.
Even though the electric pokemon had gone through worse days in terms of weather, Pikachu still felt faint. He was no longer the young pokemon like he once was. Pikachu has been spoiled since he settled in with his trainer as he got older. The pokemon didn't have water since they left the house a few hours ago. Despite having already drank water before the trip, Pikachu's mouth still felt dry. His red cheeks glowed from the unbearable weather.
Pikachu's trainer had his head resting against the white hospital wall and had his cell phone close to his ear. He pushed the sweat away with one hand against his forehead. The man grew out of the hard to tame hairstyle he sported as a child and now had a shorter buzz cut. The man absent-mindedly pet his Pokémon behind the ears as the caller's voice boomed into his ear.
"You sure you can handle those three, Satoshi?" She asked him.
Pikachu and his trainer flinched at the older woman's voice. Her voice was loud and came out of the end as a mix of impatience and concern. His trainer didn't seem to notice nor care that the policeman and the other people in the lobby were looking at them for being too loud. The cell phone wasn't on speaker. It didn't have to be. Hanako could be loud on her own when she wanted to be. His mother had recently acquired hearing aids because of age, but the elderly woman refused to use them because she found them to be bothersome. Half of the conversations she had with her son and his family was her going 'Huh?' and 'Can you repeat that, dear'?
As his trainer hung up the call, Pikachu looked at the lobby room to see if anything has changed. The visitors from Saffron City have already left. A new person took over at the reception desk and the policeman was still on his shift. That policeman in particular was tall and thin. He looked young, maybe in his late twenties. The policeman would stutter when addressed by the nurses. Pikachu was unsure if the policeman turned red from the nurses or if it was from the weather.
"Mamoru, don't touch the fan." Satoshi said without looking at his son, who had his arm extended close to the fan's blades.
The electric Pokémon almost sighed at the mention of his first child. Pikachu didn't have to turn his head to see that the ten-year old child was pouting. The last time Mamoru touched a fan resulted in a broken one that nearly sliced a portion of Satoshi's hair. It took him weeks to regrow that part of his hair. From a certain angle, it looked like he acquired an early bald spot. There were occasional giggles from his children when he turned his head away.
The black-haired child shared the same messy hair Satoshi once had. It pointed in all directions and couldn't be tame even when attacked with a wet comb. It gave his mother stress in the mornings and she soon learned to not bother. Mamoru had the same dark-colored eyes his father had and they would grow wide when he spotted a Caterpie or a Sandshrew nearby their home.
"It's hot!" Mamoru complained. Starly chirped tiredly to her owner.
"I know it is," Satoshi said. He turned his head to inspect his son and asked, "Did you go into the forest today?"
The man forgot to see what his children were wearing when they rushed to the hospital that day. Mamoru wore a red short-sleeved shirt and a pair of shorts. He sat on one of the chairs in the lobby room hugging a Starly. The plump little bird Pokémon was a brown-gray color and its face looked like it was wearing a white mask. Grass stains and scabs appeared on Mamoru's skinny knees. There was a poor attempt of hiding his newest cut by putting a bandage on his left elbow. His skin turned to a pinkish color from being under the sun for so long. Unlike his father, Mamoru had fairer skin and freckles.
Bloody knees and scratches were not foreign to Mamoru. Rain or shine, he was always the first one to head out of the house and the last to go home. His grades were average on a good day and the only subject where he excelled at was if it was Pokémon related. He came home with phone calls from the teachers for not completing his school work on time and would get occasionally come home with more scratches than usual.
"Maybe," Mamoru mumbled while rubbing a scar on his right arm.
He was playing with the other kids near route 24, where the golden bridge was. Further beyond route 24 was the sea cottage, a popular place with teens. Mamoru and the other kids usually avoided the place for that reason. A few girls from his class mentioned that it was a romantic place, but that sort of trivial data never meant much to him. Near the bridge were neatly trimmed bushes done by the gardener who lived nearby. There were sometimes pokemon hiding in the grass and they were mildly weak. A brave child would sometimes be bold enough to play with the pokemon and come off scratch free. They were in the middle of playing hide and seek when his father showed up and dragged him to the hospital with his siblings.
"Why can't I go on my pokemon journey already?" The boy demanded. "I'm ten years old! I have a pokemon!" Starly cried with a nod.
Pikachu groaned. As a treat, Satoshi treated his son on his tenth birthday by offering to help him catch his first Pokémon. The impatient kid ran off when Satoshi turned his back and somehow got pursued by a flock of Starly and Staravia. Pikachu had no choice but to shock the flock to avoid having his trainer's son become bird food. They had to pay for the damage done by the Pokémon and it took them awhile to make sure none of the Pokémon would attempt to chase Mamoru again.
"How can you take care of Pokémon if you can't even take care of your grades?"
A scrawny child came in to join the conversation. He was a year younger than Mamoru, but had neater orange hair and wore a scowl on his face. Compared to Mamoru, he was maybe a few centimeters taller and had darker skin, similar to Satoshi's. He wore a green tank top and a pair of jeans.
"What? I even have to help him with his homework…" Hikaru mumbled when he saw his father's disapproval look and went over to pet Pikachu on the head, "Did you drink enough water today, Pikachu?"
Pikachu shook his head and panted. Mamoru's Starly cried and agreed with Pikachu. Hikaru took out a bottled water and a water bowl out of his backpack along with a zip locked bag of chopped up berries. He poured water into the small blue water bowl and placed it on the floor. He took a few berries for himself and popped them in his mouth, but left the rest for the Pokémon.
Once Hikaru was sure that the two Pokémon were well hydrated and fed, he sat at the coffee table near the living room. He said to his brother, "By the way, you got all of those math problems wrong."
There was boredom in his voice as Hikaru handed the sheets of paper to Mamoru. Mamoru shoved the paper at his brother earlier, expecting him to do the work for him. The eldest son instead got his assignment handed back with corrections. Pikachu noted that there were fold marks and pencil lines all over the paper. The paper had Mamoru's messy writing for notes with Hikaru's neat writing next to them.
"Can't you do my homework for me this time?" Mamoru rubbed his hair.
"Why should I do your homework when I have my own?" Hikaru stuck out his tongue.
"Because you're good at school!" He stuck his tongue out as well.
"School isn't even a subject, dummy."
Mamoru moaned, "I'll never use math when I'm traveling with my Pokémon!"
Satoshi made his children bring their homework with them because he was unsure how long they would stay at the hospital. Not that he was expecting them to actually work on their assignments since it was the summer. Pikachu pulled his ears down to drown out the two boys arguing to each other. Unfortunately for the mouse Pokémon, Pikachu was often caught in the middle of their fights and was sometimes brought into the subject for irrelevant reasons.
"You won't be traveling any time soon," Satoshi reminded his eldest son. "Not after that test score you brought home last month. Your mother wants to see you do well in school before you leave."
Satoshi's lips formed into a tight smile. Pikachu was aware that his trainer sympathized with Mamoru and possibly favored his eldest son because of how similar they were in personality. Satoshi understood the pain of being cooped up in a classroom to learn seemingly useless skills. He personally didn't agree with the idea himself and would have preferred seeing his son wandering out in the world and discovering it for himself. However, even he couldn't find a defense after seeing Mamoru's scores. Mamoru only had a year left before middle school.
It was becoming more common for parents to have their children start their Pokémon journeys at the age of twelve because of the education system. Due to increasing accidents among trainers in recent years, trainer license requirements have become stricter. Survival classes are no longer optional and learning the basics in pokemon battling is mandatory before acquiring a license. The father sometimes wondered how things would have turned out if Mamoru was to simply start his journey at ten years old.
"That's not fair!" Mamoru was clearly not happy with the arrangement.
"I can't go either," his brother pointed out.
"That's different," he said. "You're younger than me."
"What are you planning to do anyway?" Hikaru asked, "Be a Pokémon master like everyone else?"
The younger brother snorted at the thought of the rowdy brother getting to the top of the Pokémon league. Mamoru showed interest in battling before but his knowledge of battling was rather poor despite being the child of two experienced trainers. Hikaru had seen Mamoru battle before. Their father was excited to introduce his eldest son how to battle the moment he caught his first pokemon. However, Satoshi soon learned that Mamoru's battling style was more about attack than thinking before hand. His battling style was unpredictable and was mediocre at best.
Mamoru once accidentally broke a flower pot while training his Starly. Their mother wasn't too pleased about that. The kid spent the rest of his day avoiding the obvious presence of his mother's rage. Their father was thankful that they didn't live in Pallet Town. If they did, Mamoru might have chosen a Charmander as his starter and accidentally burn a house.
"I...don't know." Mamoru admitted, not bothering to comment on Hikaru's snarky comment. "What about you?"
"I don't know either," the redhead said. "How am I supposed to know? I'm only nine!"
"Hikaru, where's is it?" A redheaded girl with pigtails pulled on the boy's shirt. She wore a blue tank top and shorts and was wondering around the room looking for something. The five-year old shared the same brown eyes her father and brothers had.
"What are you looking for?" Satoshi got up from his chair.
"Ruka," she looked under a chair. "I can't find her." His daughter wore a frantic look in search for the stuffed Teddiursa toy that was nowhere to be seen.
"I'll help you look for her," Hikaru joined her. "Did you bring her with you when we had lunch?"
The girl shook her head and looked underneath the table that had magazines and books. He tried to recall when was the last time he saw his sister with the toy. She had her Teddiursa sitting with them when they were at the hospital's cafeteria. Subaru had to go use the restroom ten minutes ago and still had the toy with her until a few minutes ago.
Teddiursa was a birthday gift Subaru received as an infant from family friend. The bear was worn from age and had its left arm sewn from an accident involving Ekans and Sandshrew. Teddiursa has gone through mud, rain, snow, the list goes on. Hikaru thought Teddiursa looked like something from a horror movie. His sister thought the bear was an angel. Wherever the girl went, Teddiursa was not too far behind.
The redhead boy examined the hospital's lobby room for the umpteenth time that day. He was almost excited at the idea of being at the hospital. Too bad nothing exciting happens in the waiting room and they weren't allowed in the patients' rooms. His father pulled him by the back collar when he wouldn't stop asking questions to the policeman at the front. This put him back to his original dull activity of playing connect the dots on the ceiling.
Despite the boredom, it was still better than staying at home and going through the same route he went to every day with Mamoru and Subaru. Hikaru didn't like being with the other kids. The other children always gave him odd looks and asked annoying unnecessary questions like 'Are you really related to Mamoru'? As if having orange hair was an odd occurrence! Hikaru would then tell them to mind their own business, except they wouldn't take his word for it and stack the questions. Mamoru would later ask him why did he get mad so easily with the younger brother mumbling unkind things underneath his breath.
Teddiursa wasn't visible in the room. Was the bear in one of their backpacks? Their father didn't know how long they would stay at the hospital, so they all packed enough clothes for one to two days. The hospital food was pitiful, but it was enough to satisfy hunger to continue waiting in the lobby room.
"Why did you bring Teddiursa with you?" Mamoru asked. His sister was never without the stuffed animal.
"I didn't want to leave Ruka alone at home," she said.
Mamoru sighed and said, "Did you check your backpack?" He pointed at the small blue backpack she brought with her.
"Sir?" A nurse appeared in the lobby room.
"Yes?" Before she opened her mouth, he noticed her expression and realized. "Now?" His jaws dropped, "But it's only been a few hours!"
"Do you need me to show you where the room is?" It was clear that the nurse was used to that sort of reaction from parents. "It always takes less time when the mother had children before," she said while looking at the three children.
"I know where the room is." He said thickly, "Can I call my sister-in-law first?" Satoshi asked. "I need someone to watch the kids."
Satoshi found himself stumbling over his words while attempting to hold a proper conversation with the nurse. His vision went blurry for the next minute or so while the woman tried to calm him down with pointless words. After three children, he still had a bad habit of fumbling over his words under stress.
The nurse nodded and said, "Your wife is just started her active labor. It will take some time before the baby arrives."
"Hello?" The father already dialed the number he needed, "The baby's here." He paused, "Yes, she's been here for a couple of hours."
"Pika?" Pikachu had his paw on his trainer's leg and looked at him with worry.
"Can you come and watch the kids for me?" He ran his hand through his hair. "Front lobby? Okay. I'll see you then. Bye."
He promptly hung up the phone. From the call, it sounded like his sister-in-law was in a loud place. Probably the mall. Her marriage hasn't stopped her from putting clothes as top priority. With a little girl, that only gave her more excuses to go shopping for clothes ('She's getting taller every year! I can't let her go on with clothes like that!'). Not that she was a bad mother, it was just that she was forgetful at times, a trait that his wife luckily didn't share.
Mamoru, who looked bored before, was now eying his father with curiosity. His huge brown eyes made it plain that he had a lot to say. He looked like he was in conflict whether or not to express those thoughts. Starly chirped and sang a short tune resembling one of those weird songs Mamoru always listened to. The ten-year old boy most likely had dozens of questions to ask. Questions Satoshi wouldn't be sure on how to answer.
Hikaru's scowl wasn't as prominent now and was instead looking at the cell phone with an unreadable expression. He was in the middle of digging his backpack in search of something. Bags of dried fruit and candy spilled out of the green backpack with expiration dates stamped on them. The boy shared a similar wide eyed look Mamoru had, but had no pokemon to hug like his brother did and instead chose to cross his arms across his chest.
It was Satoshi's daughter who interrupted the sudden silence and said, "Is mom coming home soon?"
"Very soon," the father sighed.
"Is Auntie coming?" Hikaru asked. Satoshi wondered if he was asking the obvious question as a way to distract him from his jumbled thoughts. It was always hard to tell what was going through his second son's head.
"She'll be here soon." He said. "Did you find Ruka?"
Subaru nodded, "Yeah! She's right here!" She opened her backpack and showed it to her father.
"See? I told you!" Mamoru grinned.
"All that search for nothing," Hikaru sighed and leaned his head against the wall.
Satoshi gave his children a weak smile. It was odd. This wasn't the first time his wife was pregnant, yet he was nervous. There were no complications during the pregnancy, yet he was still fidgeting like a new bumbling father. He looked outside the window to see a garden of flowers under the golden sun. His sister-in-law lived close to the hospital and could walk there within ten to fifteen minutes. It shouldn't take too long for her to arrive there by car.
Cerulean City was a nice place to live. They could have stayed in Pallet Town, but they chose Cerulean City because of his wife's job. It was a different experience living in a big city instead of the small town he grew up in. The neighborhoods were bigger and people are always moving in and out of the city at different paces. It was impossible to know all the inhabitants of the city and they had more options in stores and schools.
There was a river north of the city abundant with plant life and pokemon that was popular with young children and trainers. A good place for family picnics as Satoshi can confirm after going there many times. The area had a cave, but most city citizens avoid it due to the rumors and accidents revolving around it.
"The baby will be here and I'm ten." Mamoru said.
"Oh, you can finally do math." Hikaru commented sarcastically.
"Shut up!" The shorter boy immaturely stuck out his tongue.
"Kids!" Their father briefly shifted his eyes to glare at his sons. The nurse looked like she was trying not to laugh.
"Sorry…" Both of them mumbled.
Pikachu left his trainer to go over to Mamoru for comfort and allowed the kid to hug him. Mamoru gave the electric pokemon a very tight embrace, nearly squeezing the air out of him. The pokemon protested at his with sparks flying dangerously out of his cheeks. The eldest child quickly picked up the message and lessened his hold. Sparks disappeared and Pikachu silently nudged Mamoru with his head as a thank you. Pikachu stayed with Mamoru for a few minutes before looking at Satoshi's other children.
Hikaru tugged on a long part of his bangs and sighed. Pikachu gave Mamoru a quick nod and Mamoru released him from his big hug. Hikaru stared at Pikachu when the mouse pokemon approached him. He always looked cautious when Pikachu was in his presence. It was like he could sense that age was catching up to the pokemon and that gentleness was required. The redhead boy gave Pikachu a gentle pat on the back and a small smile.
"Well, I'll be ten." Mamoru started again, "If I can't be a trainer this year, can I become one next year?"
"Ask your mother," Satoshi said tiredly.
"But she's having the baby right now. If I ask her later, she'll tell me to ask you." Mamoru lamented, "And that means no!"
"Why do you want to be a Pokémon trainer?" The redhead boy asked, "To ditch school?"
"No!" He protested before pausing. "Um...yes, but that's because I don't know what I want to do yet!"
The grown man wanted shake his head, but realized that he was no better. He didn't like school either when he was Mamoru's age. Once his eldest son turned ten, reports from the teachers increased because Mamoru would occasionally miss classes. The boy would be found trying to leave the city with a friend of his in trying to start his pokemon journey. Each episode ended with Mamoru personally taking him back to school and apologizing to the teacher. Those apologies became meaningless with each failed attempt.
"We will talk about you becoming a Pokémon trainer when your grades go up," Satoshi told him "You can't be a trainer if you don't know your basics."
"What kind of trainer doesn't know what their goal is?" Hikaru scoffed.
"As if all ten-year olds can figure out their dream," Mamoru mumbled. "I just want to see the world."
"You don't have to know what you want to do when you start your journey," Satoshi told them. He saw his Mamoru's confused look and said, "Not everyone knows what they want to do when they're ten."
"Did you know what you wanted to do, dad?" His daughter asked him.
"I sure did!" Satoshi chuckled. "I wanted to be the very best Pokémon trainer!"
Pikachu chirped happily at the memory. He remembered the days he spent with Satoshi when they were young. The electric type remembered all the badges they won and how clueless his trainer was when they first started their journey. As a ten year old, Satoshi was ruthless and determined as shown when he went as far as crossdressing to get into a gym. The mouse chuckled at his trainer's odd luck of crossdressing in nearly every region they went to. They met so many people and pokemon along the way, but their goodbyes came as quickly as their hellos.
"Not all my friends did though." the man said. "One didn't know what her goal was. Another wanted to travel the world, but didn't like Pokémon."
"Didn't like Pokémon?" Subaru said with surprise as she hugged Pikachu. "But Pokémon are great like Pikachu!"
"Pika, chu." Pikachu blushed at the little girl's compliment.
"A journey can change lots of things," Satoshi said with a smile. "Those friends met tons of people and became wonderful trainers."
"Really?" Even Hikaru looked interested at his father's story.
"Really." Satoshi said. "They grew up to be wonderful trainers and so will all of you."
It was an odd sight seeing a grown man pressing his face against the glass window the next day. He didn't seem to notice that nurses and other parents were giving him odd stares for his actions. It has been hours since Satoshi's wife gave birth to their fourth child. By the time Satoshi arrived to her room, she hardly spoke and wore a determined look on her face.
The nurse led Satoshi to the room where his wife and child were. The children had to stay outside with their aunt, who arrived in a nick of time with shopping bags in her arms. She rambled on, something about being called during a shopping trip and how bad the traffic was. Satoshi normally didn't look forward to meeting their aunt, usually because it meant his other sister-in-laws would be with her. However, her appearance that day was a blessing. Yes, his wife's other sisters were there too, but for once, they weren't bickering and they gave Satoshi a peace of mind.
His new child was like Mamoru. The baby came in a few hours compared to Hikaru and Subaru, who both took nearly a day to arrive. His wife was calmer this time and didn't threaten to hit him with a bike like she did when they had Mamoru. Satoshi shivered at the memory. He loved his wife, but her fiery temper was nothing to reckon with.
"What do you think of our new family member, Pikachu?" Satoshi asked his Pokemon for the umpteenth time today. His children were in the cafeteria with their aunts.
"Pichu, pika!" His pokemon chirped happily.
Pikachu looked at the same direction as his trainer. The baby had a small patch of black hair at the top of the head. Her eyes were closed, so it was difficult to see whose eyes she inherited. She was an enigma. Was she going to be like the troublemaker Mamoru? Who was uncertain of his future and wasn't the most ambitious? Or was she going to be like Hikaru, who had the brains and cared about his sister? Could she be like Subaru, a curious girl who was forgetful at times?
Pikachu yawned. Maybe it was too early to think about such details like that. They had all the time they needed to see what kind of person the baby was going to grow up to be. Regardless of her personality, Pikachu would love baby Mitsuru anyway like he had for the other children.
Mamoru means "to protect/defend". Hikaru means "light, radiance". Subaru is named after the star clusters "Pleiades or the Seven Sisters". Mitsuru can be written with the kanji "sincerity". Hikaru, Subaru, and Mitsuru are unisex names in Japanese.
Author Notes: I had the hardest time debating on whether to go with English or Japanese names, but decided on Japanese names because I already designed certain characters with Japanese names in mind. Also, I don't want to convert all those characters' names to western names. I might do future one-shots in the future revolving around Satoshi's kids, so be sure to check them out!