PARENTAL GUIDANCE

A Phantasy Star IV Fanfiction


"Chaz, I think I'm pregnant."

That was a good way to start the day. He was a nineteen-year old kid with no specific direction in life, and here was his one true love telling him he might be a father.

"What?!" he exclaimed, with as much tact and grace as possible. That is, he fell out of bed and started convulsing.

He took it rather well.

Three years earlier, a shockingly more childish Chaz Ashley had saved the known universe from complete and utter annihilation from an extra-dimensional quasi-deity that had plagued the Algo solar system for thousands of years. For some reason, he never picked up on the fact that this tale could probably get him all sorts of things in life; money, fame, power, women, and so on.

Some could say it was a testament to his obliviousness, but in reality it merely reflected that he didn't really crave any of that. There wasn't much that money could buy in the desert world of Motavia; he'd already inherited quite the home from his mentor. He was never really that good at dealing with crowds, so fame was out. Power he had plenty of, something he secretly took a lot of pleasure in. It was secretly, of course, because he knew that most people wouldn't be comfortable living next-door to a man who could detonate the entire block with one angry thought. And women, well, they never really crossed his mind.

He had Rika, after all. Who could possibly compare to her in his mind?

For one, she was absolutely beautiful. Despite her long, pointed ears (which even then only added a certain goofy cuteness to her), it was as if she was crafted to be the most appealing creature on the planet. And that was probably the case, given that she was created in a laboratory by a lost computer system based on centuries of observational and experimental data in order to 'ensure the future of the Palman race,' or some such thing. No one was really certain what was meant by that, but it was assumed it had something to do with integrating her genetics into the Palman gene pool, and thus, completely explained her attractiveness. To Chaz, at least. He never thought to look into what other people thought of her. He figured it might be vain.

For another, she was amazingly intelligent and yet so strangely innocent. This, too, was another product of her creation; she was only four years old, after all, and had been given quite the education within the confines of Seed's lab. At any rate, it was highly endearing. And, while he'd never admit it, Chaz always did prefer to keep intelligent company, as he was well aware that he sometimes made boneheaded decisions.

Mostly, though, it was her personality. Rika was the friendliest, most outgoing, most honest, and most caring person he had ever met in his life. She had a tendency to be brutally honest, true, but it never carried the same antagonism that some other people he knew would give him. Besides, she'd leapt out of a moving spacecraft just to be with him; he'd be crazy to turn away from that.

However, right now was really not the time for such a discourse. Rika, who had been quite worried before breaking her news to Chaz, was downright close to tears now that he'd spent the last five minutes on the floor staring and gaping in silence and what she perceived to be horror.

Another boneheaded move, he realized. "I...I'm sorry, you surprised me, that's all," he stammered, rushing to pick himself off the floor and hopefully lift his lover's spirits. He clumsily stumbled forth, quickly trying to embrace her without knocking her over due to his complete lack of balance at that moment. He did eventually make it to her, wrapped his arms around her back, and gave her a kiss on the forehead. "You think you're pregnant?"

She was still shaking a little, but her composure was returning now that she could see that she hadn't killed him with the news. "Well, I...well I know I am, really. I was just so nervous about telling you, it's just how I ended up phrasing it..."

Oh, okay, he thought. She KNEW he was going to be a father. He kissed her again, smiled...

...and then it actually sunk in. "Y-y-y-y-you mean we're gonna have a baby? Like...l-l-l-l-like be parents or something?"

Dumbfounded, the numan girl could just stare and mutter "Uh...yeah."

"But, but, I mean, uh, I mean are we even ready for something like that? We're pretty young, you know, and stuff, and...and...and I mean I'm a complete idiot, I won't know a thing that I'm doing, and-"

She clasped her hand to his mouth to shut him up. "Does it really matter at this point? It's happening regardless." Despite her calm, she looked about ready to tear up again.

While muffled, Chaz mulled over this revelation. It was true, no matter what they were going to be parents. They were young, certainly. They definitely weren't planning this. But, then again...was that really so bad? It wasn't like this was going to put a damper on their life, or anything like that. They'd already had more than enough adventure in their lives, and as he had thought earlier, they lived a rather comfortable life. This really wasn't so bad after all, was it?

He pulled her hand off of his mouth, and smiled. "I'm sorry," he began. "I tend to do that when I get excited." He kissed her once more, hoping to re-re-lift her spirits.

She asked her next question like she was facing execution. "Are you happy, Chaz?"

He realized that his reaction thus far had been causing this worry in her, so he answered honestly. "Yes. Yes I am."


"Wow, dad, so you were always such a dork?"

The boy's father gave him a half-hearted glare. "I never was and I never will be a dork, Rui."

Rika giggled. "I dunno, Chaz. I've known you for a long time..."

"Great, my son and my wife, now. It's like Rune all over again." He crossed his arms and 'hmph-ed' in a fashion that can unfortunately only be described as dorky.

Mother and son could not contain themselves anymore, and broke out into full laughter. "Oh, look at that," she managed to get out between laughs, "you put your father in a mood!"

And despite being a target of ridicule for his whole family, Chaz Ashley couldn't help but chuckle a little, at least before his cough kicked in. When it did, the young father couldn't do much else for a full minute. Both Rika and Rui fell silent at this. At first, nobody was really worried about Chaz's symptoms. Everyone has a cough at some point in their life, after all. But here they were, a month after it had began. Chaz insisted it wasn't a big deal, but his wife couldn't let it rest like that. It seemed that even Rui could tell something was wrong, despite his young age.

It had been a mere five years since the day described in their story. However, due to the biology inherited from his mother, Rui looked to be at least ten or twelve years old, an almost ridiculously perfect mirror image of his father at that age, except for the defining numan ear structure. Even his mental capacity had developed just as quickly, if not quicker. And as much as Rika would rather it not be the case, he had picked up his father's fighting techniques with alarming alacrity.

Rika got up from her seat and went over to put her hand on her son's shoulder, smiling lovingly at him. "Rui, sweetie, why don't you go play in your room for a little bit? I need to talk to your father."

With a nod and a grin at his mother, Rui scurried off down the hallway to his bedroom, leaving his parents to their own devices. Rika watched him until he disappeared around a corner before turning to deal with Chaz. He was still recovering from his coughing fit, hunched over on the couch and looking miserable. She approached him and gently stroked his hair. "Lie down, okay?"

He obliged, but still protested, "I'm fine, really..."

"It's been weeks, Chaz. It's starting to worry me." When he had laid down along the couch, she placed her palms on his chest, closed her eyes, and focused her mind. There was a faint glow in the air and a tingle they both could feel as she applied her healing techniques to her husband. Chaz gasped a little, then relaxed. "How does that feel?" she asked.

"Well..." The look she gave him demanded honesty. "...I don't feel much different. My throat doesn't burn as much from the coughing, though." He groaned and sat up, motioning for his wife to join him, which she did without hesitation. "Look, Rika..." He put his arm around her shoulder and pulled her close. "I'm alright. So I've got a bit of a chest cold, big deal. It's gonna take more than that to keep me down, you know that."

"Chaz, like I said, it's been weeks. Between the passing of time and the regular usage of Gires, if it was a chest cold it would be gone by now." She sighed, and nuzzled deeper into the crook of his arm. "Did you see the doctor today while I was out like I told you to?"

He nodded. "Yeah, I saw him. He said he couldn't see anything wrong with me, and that we shouldn't worry so much."

Rika sighed again. It was beginning to be a bit of a habit whenever this subject came up. Still, she didn't say anything. From where she leaned against her husband she could hear his heartbeat, and it was strangely hypnotic to her. Moments passed, and then, a light burning sensation erupted in the back of her mind. Something frightened her, but she had no idea what. It was like a twisted feeling of nostalgia. When she lifted her head, the sensation left. Was she...sensing something? It wouldn't have been the first time. Before Alys had died, both herself and Rune could sense that something had gone wrong, after all.

She truly hoped that this wasn't the case this time. And at any rate, it certainly didn't feel the way it did with Alys. She must've just been imagining it, letting her fears play with her mind a little too much, that's all.

Oblivious to all this, Chaz kissed the top of his wife's head and smiled. "I'm sorry to make you worry so much. And I appreciate you trying to help me." He gave her a light squeeze while he still had her in his embrace. "Let's think about something else, huh? There's a recipe I want to try tonight, and I need your help with it."

That seemed like a good idea to the numan girl. "Alright then, lead the way."

Together, they got up from the couch and made their way into the kitchen. They never spoke of his ailment for the rest of the night.