WARNING! This fanfic contains explicit sex of an erotic homosexual nature (Puzzleshipping), with biological aspects (pokemon birth). Consider yourself warned!

Disclaimer: For the sake of this fanfic I will not be abiding by the usual regulation of Pokémon reproduction; i.e they will not be laying eggs. I understand why they did this because it is a kids show, but I am a zoologist and I'm sorry but my pokémon are going to go through mammalian birth. Deal with it. Also, in the pokémon Adventures manga English version Green is a girl and Blue is a boy, but in the Japanese version Green is a boy and Blue is the girl. For this fanfic, I will be sticking to the genders of the Japanese version.

Heat

Epilogue

By Pixiedust291

.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.

Yugi groaned as he continued to walk up the steep path up the mountain. The climb usually would have been no problem for him, but when you are carrying not only your own weight but also that of a pregnant pokémon it was a little more challenging. Yugi looked down at Espeon, who was currently encircled in his arms. Her stomach had nearly tripled in size over the last two months. To Yugi it looked as if she were about ready to pop. It had only been in the last two weeks that Espeon had begun having trouble walking, so Yugi had started carrying her everywhere. He gulped as he continued to stare at her belly. He could not imagine what is must feel like to have something growing inside you. Multiple times in the last few weeks Yugi had been able to press a hand against her belly and feel movement. It amazed him and thrilled him immensely. He smiled. He felt nervous, excited, and scared all at once. He wanted so badly to see the pups but at the same time he worried for Espeon's safety. Humans still died from child birth every so often so he knew the possibility for Espeon was still there. He shook his head. No, he couldn't think like that. Espeon was counting on him to be strong. He if showed fear then she would become scared too. Espeon growled. Yugi jolted and then looked away "Sorry." Espeon had become so touchy lately. If he stared at her stomach for too long she seemed to think he was thinking something about her weight and would growl at him.

Yugi turned his attention to Yami, who was about a yard in front of him and looking around the forest and then down at his pokegear. During the whole of Espeon's pregnancy Yami had been nothing but supportive and caring. His seemingly limitless abilities never ceased to amaze Yugi. The man could cook, was a great and caring trainer, knew vast amounts of knowledge on pokemon care, and he was more then satisfactory in bed. He was affectionate, good looking, and talented. Yugi blushed. How in the hell had he gotten so lucky? Yami had even made all the special food that he said Espeon required for healthy pups. Every morning he had given Espeon a special vitamin berry purée. Then in the evening he would give her strips of cured meat for protein. At night he would instruct Yugi to brush out her fur and then rub her stomach with a special lotion while he made up a special stew that was safe for both them and the pokemon to eat. Espeon had adored the extra attention and had grown rather fond of Yami, much to Yugi's joy.

Yugi only wished he could say that he and Yami's Umbeon had grown closer. The pokemon didn't hate him, but he wasn't exactly thrilled with him either. Umbreon no longer glared or growled at him, and Yugi could even reach out a hand a pet him, but that was about it. The moment he would try to pick Umbreon up or do anything besides petting the pokemon's ears would fold back and flat against his head in warning. Yugi supposed it was an improvement. He just wished he could understand why Umbreon was so distant to everyone but Yami and Espeon.

It was strange. Yugi had always assumed that male pokemon would have no interest in the female they mated with after copulation. But, if anything, it seemed Umbreon was even more protective of Espeon. He would follow her around, groom her, and Yugi had even woken up late at night sometimes to find him watching over her. It soothed and touched him that Umbreon seemed to care for Espeon, that their mating had not just been some act of nature and nothing more. Whether this would continue after the pups were born Yugi did not know.

He wished he knew where they were going. They had been hiking for nearly tow whole days. Yami had insisted that they had to leave, saying something about Espeon's due date approaching. But he had never said where it was exactly that they were going. Looking around the thick forest and behind him at the high mountain range Yugi wondered if Yami was taking them to a cave or something. But that didn't make any sense. Why would Yami drag Espeon and him all the way up here when he knew the pokemon center would be more then capable to delivering Espeon's pups?

Yami stopped, clicked a button of his pokegear and then looked to Umbreon at his feet. He then turned and looked at Yugi "We're so high up the mountains are interfering with my navigational g.p.s." he pocketed the machine and gestured to Umbreon "Umbreon will take us the rest of the way." Without a word the sleek black pokemon sniffed the air and then began walking. Yami walked over to Yugi and lifted Espeon gently out of his arms "I'll take her for a while so you can rest." Yugi wanted to protest, but the weariness and strain in his arms kept him from saying anything.

"Thank you." Yugi smiled as he and Yami began walking again. "Um, Yami. Are we lost?"

Yami shook his head "No. Why would you think that?"

"Because of what you just said."

"The place I'm taking us is high in these mountains for a reason. It's peaceful, serine, and perfect. Not to mention at this time of year all the flowers should have bloomed." He grinned "I'm sure Espeon will enjoy the lilac gardens and berry orchard."

Yugi blinked "Are we going to a greenhouse? Or a farm?"

Yami raised a brown in his direction "It's more like a ranch if you want to compare it to anything." Yugi's brows furrowed in confusion. "Don't worry. We're almost there." Yugi desperately wanted to ask more questions but decided it was a mute point. They were already in the mountains and if they were able to get to the place then what was the use of berating Yami with questions?

They had just reached the top of a rather step hill when Yugi look out and almost gasped. In the distance he could see a large white house with what looked to be wide open pastures with white picket fences. A large tree orchard was just off to the side and he could see people in the trees picking berries while Butterfree and Ledyba flew around pollinating the flowers. Yugi opened his mouth to ask what that place was when he heard a loud but distant roar. Yugi looked up to see a Charizard fly high above them. The large pokemon flapped its powerful wings and looked every bit like the majestic beast that is was. Yugi mouth fell open as he gasped. He turner to Yami with bright shimmering eyes. Before he could say anything Yami winked and said "You haven't seen anything yet. Come on." Without a word Yugi obediently followed Yami down the hill and toward the magical looking place.

Untamed forest soon gave way to a dirt path. Occasionally someone on a bike would ride past them, and every time the person would look at them and their face would brake out in a huge grin. The last one had been a young blonde girl with long pigtails wearing a straw hat. The girl had seemed to recognize Yami, and he her. Yugi began to get the feeling Yami knew this place they were going rather intimately. They were only about half a mile away from the front gate when something started running from the ranch toward them. From what Yugi could make out it looked like a yellow ball and as it got closer, at an alarming speed, Yugi realize exactly what kind of pokemon it was. Before it reached them Yami turned to Yugi and carefully handed Espeon back.

The running pokemon's face broke out in a happy grin as it darted up to Yami and then leaped into his arms "Piiiiikaaaaa!" it cheered. Yami caught the Pikachu with ease, the smile on his face spreading from ear to ear.

"Pikachu hello! It's been a while hasn't it?" the Pikachu responded and waved its arms, apparently agreeing with him. Yugi watched the open display of affection and reunion with wide eyes. Pikachu were so rare he had never seen one up close before, but yet Yami seemed to not be surprised at all. The Pikachu then seemed to take notice of Espeon. It leaned over as much as it could and sniffed Espeon. Its yellow ears perked and then it turned to Umbreon.

"Pika Pikachu?"

Umbreon seemed to understand it as he nodded his head. Pikachu then cheered again as it jumped down and motioned for them to follow. "Do you know this Pikachu?" Yugi asked.

"Pikachu is kind of the mascot for this place. Whenever a visitor comes he's the first to meet them."

As they reached the gate Yugi then noticed the large sign at the front that read 'Colors Ranch' in big letters and in slightly smaller italic font read 'Poekmon rehabilitation, breeding, and research. Providing exceptional care sense 1996.' Yugi's mouth fell opened and he stopped dead in his tracks. Colors Ranch! This was the highly esteemed breeding center that all the professors of pokemon got their starter pokemon from. This was the place that all newly graduated pokémon breeders from universities tried to work for. Its reputation was legendary. Only the best of the best worked and were allowed to bring their pokemon here. It was rumored that the ranch's staff consisted of only esteemed poekmon breeders and league winners. Yugi gulped. It was kind of like the daycare system, but only a million times better. The rate per night alone was something to give one a heart attack. He looked to Yami. Had Yami actually managed to get them to stay here? Was this where Espeon was to have her babies? Yugi looked around. The place was breathtakingly beautiful. And Yugi knew that he would not have to worry about Espeon one bit because she would have the top care available. But how were they able to afford this? Yugi knew he couldn't, but he didn't know about Yami.

"Yami." Yugi whispered "Is... this were Espeon will give birth? Or are we maybe just stopping in for a check up?"

Yami's brows furrowed "We'll be staying here until she gives birth of course. I want her to have the top care and I want her to be around people I trust."

Yugi gulped "But the pokemon center would have been just fine."

Yami shook his head, his voice dropping down to a low whisper. "Though I do trust Nurse Joy to care for Espeon I do not feel safe about her staff."

Yugi pursed his lips "You think the Chansey would do something to her."

Yami chuckled "No, not the Chansey, but the volunteers that work there, yes." He sighed "My Umbreon is shiny, Yugi. It's possible, though unlikely, that some of Espeon's pups will be too. Shiny pokemon are highly prized and sought after." His face went grim "Some of the stuff they do to them is unthinkable." He smiled "I brought Espeon here because I know nothing will happen to her or her pups. Not to mention that here is where I planned to give the pups anyway. They'll find good trainers for them, I promise."

Yugi's throat closed at the thought of giving the pups away. He and Yami had of course talked about it, and they had both agreed that when the pups came of age and were weaned they should be given over to trainers that would take good care of them. He knew it was the best thing for them, to start out their lives with a younger boy or girl. Yugi himself had been given his Eevee when he was only four or five. Yet still, the thought of all the pups leaving saddened him. Looking down at Espeon he hoped that maybe he could at least keep one.

"Hey Yami!" Yugi turned to see a boy with short black hair and wearing a red cap and blazer walking toward them. The Pikachu for earlier was at his feet. "How's it going? I haven't seen you here in ages." He placed a hand on Yami's shoulder "It's good to see you."

"It has been a long time." Yami agreed with a nod.

"We have some nice newborn pokemon! Stay for a while."

Yami laughed "I plan to do just that actually."

Yugi eyed the friendly intimate gesture with barely contained worry. Yami knew this man? How well did he know him? Did they use to be lovers? The stranger then noticed Yugi "And I see you brought a friend."

"Boyfriend." Yami corrected much to Yugi's relief. "Yugi, this is Red. The manager of Colors Ranch."

Red? Yugi tried to restrain himself as he nodded in getting. He would have held out his hand but he didn't want to risk dropping Espeon. "Hello. I'm Yugi, nice to meet you." He looked down "Is that your Pikachu?"

Red grinned "Yup." He turned and waved with his hand "Come on, I'll give you two the tour. Some things have changed sense you were last here Yami." Yugi turned to look at Yami, silently asking him what Red meant. But Yami waved a hand, indicating not now. Red gestured with both of his hands to the whole of the ranch in front of them "Welcome to Colors Ranch." He pointed toward the orchard "We have our very own orchard with every kind of berry you can imagine." He then pointed to the main white two level house in front of them "This is where we all sleep and live. I'll set up a room for you guys later." The man spun on his foot and pointed to the pastures "We have wide open fields and if you go beyond that is the forest. There is a hiking trail that will lead you to a crystal clear lake, just in case you have any water pokemon." He pointed over to his left to a yellow colored building "That is the health center." He then gestured to the green building next to the orchard "That's the rehabilitation center. And the gray building next to that is the research laboratory."

"Red I just got back and you wouldn't believe who I saw on the- Yami!" The blond girl from earlier walked out of the white house and practically beamed when she saw Yami. She ran up to him, a Pikachu with a pink flower in its right ear rested on her shoulder. "I knew it was you, that hair is unmistakable." She grinned and hugged him "It's so wonderful to see you again."

Yami returned her embrace then turned to Yugi "Yugi, this is Yellow. Red's wife and main healer and manager of the birthing center."

Yugi looked around, not remembering Red pointing out the birthing center. Yellow giggled "It's behind the house in the middle of the garden." The girl immediately noticed Espeon. "And I see you have brought me a new patient." She smiled warmly, like a mother would at a child. She raised her hand and softly scratched Espeon's head. "How far is she along?"

"About a month and three weeks." Yami answered.

Yellow's eyes went wide and she turned on him "And I gather sense you brought him here that those pups are Umbreon's." it was more a statement then a question. Yami nodded, and then received a smack to his arm from Yellow "You know the gestation for the eeveelutions is about sixty days. Don't you think you're cutting it a little close?" Yellow shook her head. "I'll make a nesting box for her immediately." She lifted Espeon out of Yugi arms and smiled at him. The sheer cuteness of her caught Yugi a little off guard. "I'll get her settled in. You can come see her once Red has introduced you to everyone and got you settled in."

Everyone? Yugi could barley breath. Just how many famous icons were here? And how the hell did Yami know all of them. Not to mention how they were going to pay for all this. Yugi grabbed the sleeve of Yami's jacket "Um... Yami, how are we affording this?" his voice was the softest whisper.

"Afford? We aren't getting charged for this." Yami answered, not to softly.

"Afford?" Red raised a brow at them "Goodness no, we wont charge you for this. Hell Yami's an old friend. One of the few people we would actually enjoy seeing more often." His Pikachu jumped into his shoulder "In fact, I'd be insulted if Yami brought Umbreon's pups to anyone else."

"This place has always meant a great deal to myself and Umbreon. I would never consider any other establishment." Yami added kindly, making Red grin.

Red then turned to Yugi "Hey, I got an idea. Wanna see some babies?"

Yugi's face brightened "Would I!" Red turned and began walking toward the house. They followed Red up the steps of the wrap around wooden porch and then into the house. Yugi inwardly marveled at the sheer size of the place, its high ceilings, and winding staircase.

"Come on through here." Red waved a hand "They're in this pen for right now because Pikachu was playing with them a little while ago." He led them down a hall and into a solarium. The moment the door opened Pikachu jumped down with a high pitched cry as about five small yellow bodies rushed at the three men. "Wow!" Red yelled as he quickly shut the door. Yugi's jaw dropped open as five set of big round eyes stared up at him.

Yugi squeed "Oh my god Pichu!" Yugi fell to his knees and the Pichu just went nuts. The crawled on him, hugged him. Yugi was in heaven. He had always had a soft spot for any and all cute pokemon.

Yami watched him with a knowing grin. He turned to look at Red "Yours I take it?"

Red smirked and shrugged "All of the Pichu born on this ranch are from my and Yellow's Pikachu's." He gave Yami a serious look, his voice a low monotone that was nearly drowned out by the Pichu's squealing. "You know about the bond between pokemon and trainer and what that means when the pokemon mates. I told you of it long ago when I saw Umbreon had bonded with you." He glanced at Yugi "You can never leave."

Yami glanced at Yugi as well as the boy followed the Pichu and Pikachu to the numerous toys in the room and began to play with them. Umbreon brushed against Yami's leg before sitting and watching the others play absently. "I know that."

"Are you happy?"

Yami turned back to look at Red, his smile genuine as he nodded "Yes."

"Good." Red sighed "It's always better when the people are compatible along with the pokemon."

"Oh my goodness. They're so fluffy and round!" Yugi exclaimed as he lifted one of the Pichu's and cradled it in his arm. "They're like stuffed animals!" the Pichu licked his cheek "Ha ha! So cute! Hey, that tickles." Seeing Yugi so happy and looking pretty adorable himself holding the cute baby pokemon, just warmed Yami's heart.

"I'll go get your room ready. You've been walking for most of the last few days, haven't you?"

"Yes. Thanks Red." Yami said absently as the other man left. He leaned against the door and simply watched Yugi. Truthfully, he couldn't have asked for a better mate. Yugi was sweet, lovable, loyal and true, and his smaller stature and form appealed to Yami's more dominant side in all the right ways. Nearly every day he was so thankful for how lucky he was. Yugi stood up and moved away from the Pichu's back to Yami.

"That was so much fun." He laughed then looked around "Where is Red?"

"Getting our room ready." Yugi blinked and seemed to stared at him for a moment. Then his cheeks turned pink as his gaze went downward, showing his embarrassment. "What is it Yugi."

"I was just remembering how you openly called me your boyfriend." Yugi smiled shyly "It made me happy, and it's nice to be around people who don't seem to care that we are."

Yami caught Yugi's chin with his fingers and brought his gaze upward "You are much more to me then just my boyfriend." Yugi's blush grew even darker as Yami leaned down and pressed their lips together. Yugi returned the kiss, closing his eyes and enjoying the sheer bliss and calm that always came when they kissed.

When they pulled apart Yugi shook his head in disbelief "I just can not believe you got us a room here. And for free."

"Well it's not completely free."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, Red will probably have us helping out the other workers. That's why I suggest you and I have dinner with everyone and then we can retire easily. After all, we'll be waking up around five in the morning to get started."

Yugi's face brightened at the chance to work on the ranch but then his face went completely white "Five in the morning? Is the sun even up at the time!"

Yami laughed "We start work at five. We get up at four."

"What!" Yugi whined. Four in the morning. That meant no heavy petting or teasing finger play tonight. Damn it!

.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.

Yugi awoke to sunlight shinning through the open window of their room. The curtains swayed in the breeze as the morning sun was just beginning to peak over the mountains. The sky outside was a navy blue mixed with a summer orange. He groaned as he felt the bed dip and lips press against his forehead "Wake up, little one." Yugi nodded. He slowly and groggily leaned up and got to his feet. Yami handed him some clothes and then turned toward the door "I'm going to head out. You may not see me for the rest of the day because Red might give you other tasks to do, but I will see you at dinner." He kissed Yugi's forehead again "Have fun."

"It's too early." Yugi grumbled as he began to strip out of his pajamas. He heard the door click and immediately a sense of loneliness began to gnaw at him. It amazed him how in only such a short time he had become so accustomed to Yami's presence. He wiped away the sleep from his eyes and dressed as fast as he could in the short black sleeve shirt and shorts. It was the uniform of the ranch. There were different versions, Yugi had seen some of the men wearing long sleeves rather then short sleeves or pants rather then shorts. The women had shorts, pants, or skirts; but what seemed to be the same with all the uniforms was a stripe down one side of the shirt that corresponded to the color that was that person's name. Red had a dark red stripe, Green had dark green, etc. Yugi's mind boggled with the names of all the people he had met yesterday. It astounded him that so many people could be named after colors.

His uniform, he noted, had a dark purple stripe. He dawned the uniform, tied his shoes, and then headed down the stairs to the kitchen. "Good morning!" he greeted. Blue was leaning against the counter sipping a mug of steaming black coffee.

"Hey, kid." She said rather groggily.

"Is that coffee? Oh, can I please have some?" Yugi almost begged. Blue nodded. Yugi noted the slight tussled appearance of her brown hair and wondered if she had forgotten to comb it. He walked over to the coffee pot, grabbed one of the hanging mugs, and filled it.

"Cream is in the fridge and any of the other stuff is in the cupboard." Blue added absently.

Yugi opened the cupboard and was delighted to see white chocolate syrup. Grabbing it he then opened the fridge and extracted the vanilla creamer. After pouring about a cup of creamer into the coffee and then a tablespoon of the syrup he stirred it and brought it to his lips. The aroma and taste of it was pure sweet heaven.

"Hey Yugi, good morning." Red greeted as he entered the kitchen. "You remember Green?" Yugi nodded. "You'll be following him today as he takes the pokemon to the lake for a refreshing swim." Green? If Yugi remembered correctly Green had been the brunette with the rather cold demeanor. "And some of your own pokemon are already outside waiting for you. Green has already started cleaning up the at the birthing center. Why don't you go join him."

It was one of the rules at Color Ranch, pokemon were aloud to roam freely and were not supposed to be confined to their pokeballs. Yesterday, Yugi and Yami had enjoyed throwing their balls into the air and watching as they opened in flashes of white. Yugi wondered which of his pokemon were outside waiting for him. He had a guess, considering most of them were not early risers. He drank the rest of his coffee and headed toward the door "I'm off!" he called behind him.

"Take care of yourself." was Red and Blue's response.

The moment Yugi opened the door a flying pink ball leaping into his arms. Yugi laughed "Skitty, stop licking me." The pink cat pokémon mewed happily as it jumped back down to the ground, winding around Yugi's feet. At the bottom of the porch, yawning and stretching its limbs was his Squirtle. It was just as he figured. Out of the four of his pokemon it was usually his Espeon, Squirtle, and Skitty that followed him around loyally. His Vulpix, on the other had, had a more stubborn attitude and tended to act like a princess. Yugi didn't mind. Besides, visiting a lake was probably not the top thing on a fire pokemon's list to do. "Hey guys, ready to visit the lake?" His pokemon cheered, their faces alight with joy. "Alright, but first lets go find and help Green."

He made his way around the house to the absolutely splendid garden. He greeted Gold and Crystal as he walked by them. Those two were already up and weeding as well as tending to the rest of the garden. For Yugi, it was kind of nice to start off the morning at the breeding center. He would check up on Espeon before he left and after he came back. He opened the door, the small bell chimed to announce his presence. Yellow turned from where she had been sorting papers in a file cabinet and smiled at him "Green is in the back. Don't take his attitude too seriously. He just doesn't have any communication skills." Yugi nodded as he walked behind the desk and down the hall. He opened the door to the 'expecting: small' room.

It was a large room with lots of pictures of baby pokémon. On the ground were what Yugi had been told were nesting boxes. They were wooden boxes about four feet by four feet, with high sides, and filled with comfortable pillows, strips of cloth, or anything that the pokémon would find comfortable. Each box was spaced approximately six feet from any of the other boxes to ensure privacy. Because of this, there were only so many boxes per room; but it didn't really matter because the breeding center was enormous and had multiple 'expecting' rooms.

His amethyst eyes immediately found Espeon. He smiled and walked over to her. Currently she was fast asleep in her box surrounded by a pink and blue cotton blanket that, to Yugi's nose, smelled of sweat pea. The door opened, brining Yugi's attention away. Green entered, holding a laundry basket filled with sheets. "Oh, so here you are."

Yugi stood "Good morning. I guess I'm to help you today." Green shrugged. Yugi silently nibbled his lower lip. The day hadn't ever stared and they already could not hold a conversation. "Um... can I do anything to help?" Yugi gulped. Green didn't seem like a bad person to him, but he was very unapproachable.

Green gave him a sideways glance "You can help me weigh all the pups in box six. She delivered yesterday night."

Box six? Yugi turned and began looking at all the numbers on the front of the boxes. He wondered what sort of pokemon was in box six. He went down the line until he found box six. Two big round eyes looked up at him expectantly. Snuggled tightly against the Pachirisu's belly were two small blue furred pups. "Oh my!" Yugi leaned down, smiling warmly "Your babies are beautiful." The Pachirisu grinned as hee tail began wagging. With little trouble Yugi leaned down and gently picked up the first pup "Ok, what do I do now?"

Green pointed with his hand to a scale on the counter across the room. "Measure their weight in grams, write it in that chart, then put the pup back."

"Ok." Yugi turned and walked to the scale. He began to set the baby down on the weighing tin when the baby began wiggling and screeching. Yugi immediately lifted the pup back to his chest, the squealing stopped.

"The metal is cold. Baby pokemon lose body heat very quickly. You will have to put a covering down." Green rummaged in the waist basket before extracting a small towel "Here." He offered the towel to Yugi. Yugi accepted it and placed in over the weighing tray, making sure to then zero the machine so the towel's weight would not be mistaken for the pup's. He then set the pup down. The electronic numbers flashed briefly before reading a little less than one hundred grams. Yugi write down the number and repeated the process with the other pup. When he was done he turned to find Espeon awake and out of her box while Green changed her blankets. On one of them Yugi noticed a bit of red spotting.

"Is she alright?"

"Yeah, the medium size to large size pokemon tend to bleed a small amount just before they give birth." When everything was done he moved away. Espeon went back into the box and began scratching at the blankets.

"She's digging?"

"When the delivery is near they also tend to exhibit this sort of nesting behavior. I'd say she's due in four to five days."

Yugi smiled and nodded. He walked over and leaned down to stroke his hand along Espeon's back. "Good girl Espeon. I'm sure you'll be fine and you will deliver nice healthy babies."

From behind him Yugi heard Green scoff "Don't give her more pressure then she already has." Yugi felt as if he had just been slapped. "Come on. We have to do the hike before it gets to hot." Yugi rose and followed Green out the door. They exited the breeding center; Yugi's pokemon awaited him just outside the door. They followed Yugi as he continued to follow Green back around the house and to the pokemon rehabilitation building. They went around back where Green unlocked a set of doors and swung them wide. "Hey guy's lets go for a walk."

Several species of pokemon filed out of the doors. Yugi frantically tried to name them all. There was a Vaporeon, a few Deerling, a Zorua, Paras, Venonat, Marill, and a Persian. "Wow. I didn't know there were so many different kinds of pokemon here. Even some from the Sinnoh region."

Green ignored him and waved a hand high over his head "Come on everyone." To Yugi's amazement all the pokemon turned and obeyed him without question. Yugi figured it was probably because he was a league champion. He turned to his own pokemon. He wondered what kind of pokemon Green had.

The walked across the ranch to the path that would lead them up the mountain. It was a steep climb, and many times Yugi had to assist the Deerling over a particularly large branch or rock. After about an hour they came upon a rope bridge over a large waterfall. The spray frothed and bubbled in the air. Droplets sprayed Yugi's face. He eyed the bridge with barely contained terror. "Um... Is it really safe to walk the pokemon across here?"

"They do it all the time." Green answered as he continued to walk on, the pokemon following his lead. None of them seemed particularly worried when the bridge creaked and began to wobble a little. Yugi tried to gulp down the lump in his throat. He took a step forward and the board beneath his feet gave a rather loud groan. Yugi yelped and clutched the rope with a death grip.

"What are you doing?"

Yugi looked toward Green with tear filled eyes "I... I can't. I'm scared."

The man's face was a mask of annoyance "Even the Deerling are doing it!" he rolled his eyes and stomped forward, the force of his feet causing the bridge to shake even more, which only increased Yugi's terror. Green grabbed Yugi roughly by the arm and brought him to his feet, their faces mere inches from one another. "We'll be blocking the way for others if we just sit here. Now let's go." His tone said that there was no need for discussion. Yugi gulped and nodded. He kept his eyes focused on Green's back as they walked across the bridge.

About thirty minutes after the bridge they finally reached the lake. The whole view was utterly picturesque. The grass on the banks was a soft green. The sky above them was now a light blue with very few clouds. The lake itself looked pure and completely refreshing. "Alright everyone, go have fun!" Green called out. The pokemon went wild; many of them took off in a mad dash toward the water. They leaped into the air and dived beneath the surface.

Yugi could not help but laugh, the pokemon just looked so happy. He took a seat in the grass and stretched his arms, hearing his left shoulder pop. "When Red told me there was a lake I never pictured this. It's so big. It's almost like a beach."

Green took a seat on the ground a few feet from him and removed his pack "I like to get here early because then we have the whole place to ourselves." He extracted a small bag and tossed it to Yugi "Here, breakfast."

Surprised and touched by the thoughtful gesture Yugi opened the bag and smiled when he saw the rice balls within. Taking one he brought it to his mouth and munched hungrily. They sat in silence, just eating and watching the pokemon play and enjoy themselves. "They look really happy." Yugi said.

"Living with nature is one of the best ways for pokemon to live. Wild pokemon, or even pokemon that have trainers that travel, still get to experience the wilderness and the many places this world has to offer. It's cruel to keep a pokemon as nothing more then a pet. To confine them in big, congested, hot and humid cities. Their lives are already in the hands of humans' selfishness. So at least during the duration that they are here, I want to let them experience the kind of happiness that there can be between pokemon and humans." He shook his head "I'm sure Red forgot to mention what we do at the rehabilitation clinic."

Yugi nodded "I assumed you helped bring injured pokemon back to full heath. Like, the health center fixed them and then you guys finished the job."

Green smirked "I guess you can say that. But for the most part we take care of pokemon that were severally abused." He took a bite of his rice ball and continued after he swallowed "We have had pokemon brought to us with unspeakable injuries. The trainers, or owners, excuses never warrant the harm the pokemon has suffered. These pokemon, after suffering so much neglect or harm often are afraid or aggressive against humans. The aggressive ones can not be released back into the wind for fear that they might hurt someone. So we care for them. Sometimes all the pokemon needs is just a little kindness to come around, other times it is months upon months of work." He turned to look at Yugi "We are happy to say that all of our pokemon have been able to come around and eventually either go back to the wild or be relocated with a new trainer. Though, there was Yami's Umbreon. He was the only one we were really worried about."

Yugi tilted his head to the side "Yami's Umbreon?"

"Oh, Yami didn't tell you that it was here where he got Umbreon?"

Yugi shook his head "No, but please go on. I would like to hear the story." He took another bite of rice ball "These are really good by the way." He said with his mouth full.

Green raised a brow but seemed amused by his eagerness "It's not exactly a happy story, for the most part." When Yugi continued to stare he gave in. "Yami came to work for us shortly after he defeated all the Johto gyms. Naturally, sense he was not a league champion we were going to persuade him to come back when he had more knowledge, experience, and a reputation. That was when he surprised us with a note from Professor Elm and his degree of mastery from the Pokemon Breeders University. The note said that Professor Elm himself highly recommended him, and I quote 'Red, you would have to be a complete noob to not offer this kid a job right now'." Green chuckled. "Yami made quite an impression I'll tell you that. To be only fifteen and already have so much under your belt was quite impressive. So we accepted him as a paid intern. He was very likeable, and quickly fell in with the ranch's routine. He worked for us for about two years." Green's eyes narrowed slightly "But, I don't think he was truly happy."

He shrugged "One day late at night we get an emergency call from Officer Jenny. They had just discovered a pokemon underground fighting rink in a city not to far from here and some of the pokemon that had been left behind were in horrible shape. They brought them to us by helicopter." He sighed "There were three of them. A Growlithe, an Espeon, and Umbreon. The Growlithe had two broken legs and a crushed lung. He didn't make it through the night. The Espeon was female." He gave Yugi a look "I do not think I have to explain what is done to female pokemon in a fight rink." Yugi shook his head, he knew. Green continued "Umbreon had several open and bleeding burn wounds to his face. The kind a creature would get if its face were held up against the back pipe of an oven, if you catch my drift. Umbreon had lost a lot of blood, yet when all of them arrived it was the only one that was conscious. It growled at us, bit us, and was one of the most aggressive poekmon we had seen. But it never attacked, until we began to work on the Espeon. He went ballistic and attacked us outright with every dark attack he knew. We were forced to battle with him with out own pokemon. After Red's Venusaur managed to subdue him with vine whip, we had to give him a tranquilizer."

"While Red and I mainly focused on taking care of Umbreon, Yallow was concentrating on Espeon. She was severely malnourished and was practically skin and bones, except for the protrusion of her belly." At Yugi's gasp Green nodded "She was pregnant. We tried our best to wake her back up, but she had suffered to much trauma and was in a coma. Obviously those bastards gave her an overdose of the drug that makes female pokemon that are not in heat more compliant." His voice was just above a whisper. "Yellow told us that the Espeon would never come out of the coma, but that we should still hope. She proposed that we extract the pup so that the pregnancy was no longer the body's main concern and that hopefully with time she could bring the Espeon back to health. More then that if the pup was to remain inside a mother that was no longer able to provide nutrients to even herself, the pup would eventually die. We performed a cesarean that night. The pup was a shiny Eevee. It was then we realized that the Umbreon must have been the pups sire. We tried to get the pup to breath, but..." his voice trailed off.

"The mother died soon after that. Umbreon found out, of course, and was never the same. I've never seen a pokemon so defeated and lifeless. He ate and slept, but any time humans or other pokemon would go near him he would attack them mercilessly. We tried to rehabilitate him but every time we got him in a closed room he would go berserk." He smirked "Then Yami, who had up until this time been a rather quiet and reserved guy, asked if he could try taking care of Umbreon. Against my warnings, and Yellow's better judgment, Red allowed him to be the sole caretaker of Umbron. It took months for Yami to be even able to get within a yard of Umbreon without him attacking him. The man was relentless. No matter what Umbron did he never got angry, nor did he ever push Umbron too far. At first it was him coming to see Umbron every day. Yami wound sit near him and inevitable stay there the rest of the day either napping or reading a book. Then that progressed to being able to give Umbron his daily meal, which Yami refused to give him unless he ate it out of his hand. Food can be a very powerful incentive. Then it came. We refer to it as the Day of Connection. Yami led Umbreon into one of the solitary room and locked them both inside. Naturally like all the other times, Umbreon went nuts."

"But even we saw from the beginning that it was different. When Umbreon attacked he hit the wall right next to Yami's head, but did not attack him directly. Yami just shook his head, saying no. Again Umbreon attacked, this time closer. With a completely calm face Yami only said 'I am not letting you out.'. That was when Umbreon dashed forward and talked Yami against the wall. Umbreon screamed and snarled like some kind of demon. He scratched at Yami, bit him, and tore at him. At that point we were all sure Yami had lost his mind and we were trying to find a way to get in there but Yami had somehow overrided the key code. With every injury his body received Yami did nothing. Then Umbreon roared and clamped its jaws around his throat. Everything stopped. Umbreon just stood there on Yami's chest, growling while he had a tight grip on his throat, but not tarring it out." Green combed his hand through his brown hair "I'll never forget what Yami did. He slowly raised his right hand and began to pet down Umbreon's back. He choked out 'I'm sorry about your mate and pup. I cannot imagine what agony and despair you must be feeling. If you wish to kill me, and avenge them, I will understand.' Umbreon then stopped growling. With wide eyes the pokemon released Yami and then moved away. Yami had leaned up to stair at him. Umbreon then took several more steps back before the rings on its body had begun to glow."

Grenn laughed "With one attack he blew up the entire room. When we had managed to dig through all the rubble and find them, they were both unconscious with Yami hugging Umbreon protectively. It took weeks for Yami's broken leg to heal and for all the burses to clear up. But when he was able to walk again, Umbreon was always at his side."

Yugi felt as if he couldn't breathe. Dear god, with all that had happened to them it was no wonder Umbreon and Yami were so close. All of the sudden Yugi understood why Umbreon was do distant, why he- Yugi gasped... why he cared for Espeon so deeply. "My Espeon. She-"

"She is forever mated to Yami's Umbreon. They are mates, and because of that so are you and Yami."

Yugi turned to look at him "What? I mean- I know their mates but. What does that have to do with Yami and me?" Yugi blushed "We're not mates. We're just dating."

Green raised a brow at him "Seems like Yami hasn't told you more then just his past."

.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.

Yugi was cringing as he rubbed the back of his neck. The hike back down the mountain had taken less time then it had going up the mountain, but he had slipped on a mossy rock and tumbled down the hillside. Luckily he had been able to grab a branch and stop himself for further injury. At the moment all he had were a few cuts and some sore muscles. He stretched, and turned behind him to smile at his pokemon. Green had told him that he could do the rest of the work on his own. So Yugi was slowly wandering back to the main house in order to procure some much needed nourishment. He walked up the step and was about open the door when he heard the sound of someone humming. Curious, he moved away from the door and to the far side of the wrap around porch. He peeked around the corner and saw Yami and Red brushing down an Arcanine and Rapidash, respectively. Both men were humming some sort of tune. Then as Yami turned to grab a thicker brush he began to sing.

It's a whole new world we live in

Everybody wants to be a Master
Everybody wants to show their skill
Everybody wants to get there faster
Make their way to the top of the hill

After finishing that line he tossed a silver comb to Red, who caught it backhanded and picked up where Yami left off.

Each time, you try
Gonna get just a little bit better
Each day, we climb
One more step, up the ladder

They high-fived, laughed, and then sang together as they moved to switch pokémon.

It's a whole new world we live in
It's a whole new way to see
It's a whole new place, with a brand new attitude
But you've still gotta catch 'em all
And be the best that you can be

It's a whole new world we live in

But you've still gotta catch 'em all
And be the best that you can be

Johoto!

They both laughed and grinned. Yugi was overcome with the realization with just come close Yami was to everyone on the ranch. Every last person was a very old friend. Yami looked so happy. Yugi wondered why he had ever left. Green had never explained that part. "Oh man Yami, I sure have missed you." Red grinned as he slapped him on the back. "All of us are going out for a drink tonight, do you wanna come with?"

Yami shook his head "If all of you are going out who is going to watch over the pokémon?"

Red shrugged "Suit yourself. I was going to have Green stay behind, sense he's such a sour puss anyway. But if you're volunteering to stay behind and keep an eye on the place then I'm fine with that. Besides, that means I can drag Green along maybe Blue and I can get him drunk." He laughed.

Yami rolled his eyes "For being rivals you two sure do act more like friends."

"Yeah, friends that are constantly competing with one another. You remember the way we were when I was dating Yellow and he was dating Blue. Until we mated it was nothing but constant battling to show that one girl was cuter then the other."

"Oh, I remember. I also remember how appreciative the girls were at being thought of as prizes to be shown off."

Red hissed and rubbed his cheek "Oh yeah, I remember that slap. It still bothers me whenever it rains."

Yami chuckled. He kneeled down on his legs and grabbed one of Rapidash's hooves. He picked up a metal looking pick and began to scrape out the dirt.

"I see that you succeeded in becoming a pokémon ranger." Red said conversationally "I happy for you. It seems though that in your absences from this place you found more then just another carrier path." Red looked over his shoulder, but could not see Yami's expression. "Do you plan to stay here or are you going to leave again?"

Yami finished with the hoof and moved around Rapidash's other side to grab the right front hoof "You offering me a job, Red?"

"Absolutely."

Yami sighed. "I don't know. I have a lot on my mind. I can not just think for myself any more."

"Oh, yes. You have a mate now to consider." Red chuckled "He would stay here too, of course."

"I thought you said only champions worked here. He has all the Kanto badges, is your mate, and from what I've seen has a great love of pokémon. He has potential." Yugi gulped. Yami shook his head and his shoulders slumped. He moved to get a tighter grasp on Rapidash's hoof and caught sight of Yugi out of the corner of his eye. Yugi quickly darted back behind the corner and made his way into the house.

He didn't know why, but his heart was racing. He couldn't explain his sudden reaction to hide from Yami. It was not as if he was doing anything wrong. Though he had been eavesdropping, and it was quite possible what he heard he was not supposed to hear. He went to the fridge and poured himself a glass of milk. That topic about mates had come up again. Green had referred to Yami and him as being mates and just moments ago Red had done that same. Yugi didn't mind in the least being thought of or called Yami's mate, but he felt as if it were more then just a simple name or position. The people here spoke the word as if it was to be respected, like a blessing. Yugi brought the glass of milk to his lips and drank down the whole cup.

"Oh there you are." Yugi would have thought the words had come from Yami, but the voice was different. He turned to see Silver come through the back door "Yami wanted me to tell you that you and he will be watching over the place while we are out tonight."

"Oh," Yugi nodded, pretending not to know anything "I hope you guys have a good time."

Silver tossed a lock of his red hair behind his right shoulder "We'll be leaving around sundown." Yugi nodded again and then watched as Silver turned and left through the screen door. He looked down at his empty cup. Why had Yami not just come in and told him himself? Well that was obvious. He was not happy with Yugi for listening in and spying on him.

.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.

It was nice to have flying pokémon, Yugi mused as he watched Green helped Blue, Yellow, and Red onto the back of his Charizard. Gold and silver were on their bikes, talking while they waited for everyone else to be ready. Crystal was using her Xatu to fly along with Charizard. "Now Yugi, I'm putting you in charge of weighting all the pups in the larger pokémon expecting room. And remember that for tonight you will have to sleep in the breeding center. There is a lounge room in the back with a couch and TV." Yellow instructed. "Oh, and don't forget to check on the pichus before you go to sleep." Yugi continued to nod.

"He'll do fine Yellow." Red tried to reassure her. He turned to look and Yami, giving him a wink. With a whoosh from its powerful orange wings Charizard took to the air. Crystal followed soon after them. Gold and Silver looked to the sky with pained expressions.

"We really need to get some flying pokémon." He said to Silver before they pushed off with their bikes. The air was thick with an uncomfortable silence as Yugi and Yami stood their watching them fade into the distance. Neither one of them wanting to say anything and not being able to bring themselves to look at the other.

Meanwhile, up in the air, Yellow sighed. She turned to look over her shoulder at Red who sat behind her "Are you sure you know what you're doing? Do you really think it is a good idea to just leave the two of them? What if something happens?"

Red patted the small of her back "It will be fine."

Once Charizard's figure faded from sight Yugi turned and began walking toward the breeding center "I'll... um... start weighting those pups." He said as he walked away. He half expected Yami to stop him, but he didn't. Shit. Now he definitely knew that Yami was angry. He walked through the garden and up the steps to the door, opening it and enjoying the little chime that announced his arrival. On the front desk a purloin lifted its head and mewed at him. Yugi smiled in greeting and scratched its ears as he walked by. He continued down the hall until he was at one of the doors that read 'expecting: large'. He opened the door and found himself in a stable area with Sawsbuck, Rapidash, and Girafarig in pens. As Yugi looked down the line he saw each Rapidash had one Ponyta in the pen with them. The Sawsbuck with their fur coats reflecting the spring season were tending to the pink and green Deerling at their hooves. The lone Girafarig had two smaller versions of itself in its box. After some exploring, Yugi found the large metal scale off to the side with a bridle and leash handing up on the wall next to it.

After leading every baby to the scale and taking their weight Yugi wiped the sweat from his brow and looked up at the clock. To his dismay it was already ten. He left the room and walked down the hall to the room Espeon was in. He would check on her, then check on the Pichus, then come back here and hopfully be able to find something to eat for dinner. If he was really lucky he wouldn't bump into Yami at all. He knew he had to talk to Yami eventually, but for right now he just wanted to keep himself busy to keep his mind off it. He approached the door and opened it wide "Hey Espeon. How are you doing tonight?"

.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.

Yami rested his head in his hand as he stared up at the starry night sky. Perched beside him on the fence he was leaning against was his Murkrow and at his feet was his Luxray. He absently scratched the fur between Luxray's ears as he tried to figure out how to talk to Yugi. His mate was probably freaking out at this exact moment, thinking that he was going to leave him or something along those lines. He didn't know how much of the conversation Yugi had heard, and if he had heard the part about mating- Yami groaned. He didn't even know how he was going to go about explaining that. More over he didn't even know if Yugi would accept it. The boy currently thought they were just lovers. How would he react when Yami told him the truth that they were forever bonded together?

"Yami!" Yugi's frantic and high pitched scream nearly jolted Yami out of his skin. He turned to see Yugi running toward him, his arms waving frantically; Umbreon hot on his heels. "It's coming out!" Yugi practically shrieked. He collided with Yami's chest, fists balled in his shirt, and tried to tug him toward the house. "Now now now! She's having her babies now!"

Yami and Yugi made a mad sprint back to the breeding center. Both of them practically bolted and tumbled through the doorway and down the hall. They stumbled into the room, Yami going straight for Espeon's box. Her breaths came in heavy pants as she lay on her side. Her ears were folded back in a mask of pain. Blood and clear fluid smeared the small blanket under her posterior. "I don't get it." Yugi shook his head "Green said it would be a few days still."

"Well nature is always unpredictable."

"What do we do? Red and the others are not back yet..."

"We're going to have to do it ourselves." Yami answered as he rolled up the long sleeves of his shirt. "Get a weight scale, clean towels, baby wipes, scissors and thread, a tub with warm water, and a sticky note."

"R-right!" Yugi practically ran out of the room and returned within minutes with all items in hand. He set them down on the floor next to them. "What next?" Yami didn't answer and continued to just stare at Espeon. Espeon whimpered and tossed to her other side. Her legs spread and her tail came to move to the other side of her body. Her struggles and wines only increased as the first pup began to show its head. "Oh, dear god! It's already coming out! She looks so uncomfortable." He turned to Yami "Shouldn't you help her? Should we pull it out?"

"Be quiet." Yugi flinched at his tone. "Humans only need to watch just in case something happens. Don't make so much noise right in the middle of her delivery." He turned to gaze at Yugi "In the wild a mother pokemon delivers and then takes care of her young all on her own. Unless there is a problem, she does not need our help to birth them. But if you want to do something, why don't you call Yellow and tell her Espeon is delivering." He reached behind him and took out his pokegear before handing it to Yugi. Yugi flipped open the phone and went down the call registry until he found Yellow. Pushing the dial button he then brought the phone to his ear to wait for the ring, however when it did ring a resonating ringtone of 'Gotta catch 'em all' sounded from behind him. They turned to find Yellow's cell phone on the counter behind them.

Yugi face palmed "What is the use of having a phone if you don't bring it with you!"

"It's coming." Yugi turned back around just in time to see Espeon arch her back and mewl loudly. A small circular shaped sack with an umbilical cord attached fell to the blanket. With wide eyes Yugi could not help but stare at it, to him it didn't look so much like a baby pokemon as it did an alien. "Watch carefully." After taking two steadying breath Espeon lifted herself up and turned toward the sack. She leaned her head down and gently with her teeth pierced the membrane. She pulled it away, revealing the very small body if an Eevee. She began to lick the Eevee repeatedly. "After the mother breaks through the amniotic membrane and gets the pup out she will bite off the umbilical cord and then licks the pup to stimulate breathing." Almost of cue a soft, watery sounding squeal sounded from the pup. Its little head jerked suddenly and its feet began twitching. "Nobody taught her how to do it... but right now Espeon is trying to be a mother through her own instincts. If humans get to involved it could have irreparable damages. Sometimes the simple smell of a human on a newborn pup will cause the mother to neglect or reject it. That is why it is best to let them do what nature already has instilled in them to do. You're crying, Yugi."

Yugi blinked and brought a hand to his cheeks, feeling the trails of tears "What?" he shook his head "I didn't realize." He looked down at the mewing pup "I just can't believe it." The pup managed to turn itself onto its stomach and began wiggling toward Espeon's stomach, where upon reaching it, latched onto a nipple. "How can he do that?" Yugi whispered as he looked at the pup "I don't see his eyes open."

"They are blind and deaf for the first week of life."

"Yet he still knew and sought out his mother's milk. He's so small, yet so determined." Yugi shook his head in wonder. He smiled and wiped the tears from his eyes "Hello, little one."

"After the second pup it will be less time between contractions. When Espeon is having trouble, we will assist her." Espeon jerked her head away from the pup at her belly as she flopped back onto the blankets, mewling again. Yami reached in and scooped up the Eevee, taking it away before lowering the hand that was holding the Eevee into the warm water. It astonished Yugi when he saw that the pup was no bigger then Yami's palm. "It is better to take the pups away during each delivery so that the mother, in her state of pain, does not accidentally roll over and squish them." He softly pored the water over the Eevee's wet fur, watching as the baby tossed its head in confusion and dislike. He chuckled softly and after the bath grabbed one of the towels to hand the pup to Yugi "Here, dry that one off and then we'll determine the sex and weight." He rose to his feet "I'm doing to go get a small bed to pup the pups in.

Yugi nodded and hardly even noticed Yami leave the room. He just continued to look down at the small little life in his hands. He brushed down the Eevee's body with gentle slow strokes. He could not believe that something so tiny and helpless would soon one day grow up into a powerful pokémon. For something so small to be so strong. When the pup was dry you placed it on the scale. That was just about the time Yami walked back in with a small bed lined in what looked to be Mareep wool.

"How much does the pup weight?" he asked as he sat back down.

"Two hundred grams." Yugi. Yami took the pup, used the scissors and thread to tie off and cut the umbilical cord, and then turned the pup over.

"It's a boy." He was smiling as he placed the little one in the wool bed "Here, this will keep you warm." An alarming sound caused Yugi to tern, finding that Espeon had vomited.

"Is something wrong?"

"No, she just threw up the amniotic membrane and placenta. It isn't good for here to eat it-" he handed Yugi a roll of paper towels "so get it away from her."

"Wow. You really do know everything Yami." Yugi chuckled as he did as instructed "But then I'm not surprised."

One pup turned to two, which then turned to three. With every new life Espeon brought into this world Yugi's joy grew. He was so happy for Espeon, for them. "It's true. The other one came out fast after the second one. I wonder how many there are?"

"Yellow told me she counted five when we brought her in."

"Two more? You're doing great Espeon- Ah! The next one is out." Espeon lifted her head and made an attempt to bite the membrane, but then her head fell to the bed. Her mouth hung open and her tongue lulled out as she panted in exhaustion. "Espeon?" Yugi looked frantically back and forth between Espeon and the still encased pup.

Yami silently swore under his breath "She has no energy. We have to do it for here." He picked up the sack and broke it with his thumb and forefinger. He began striping and pulling at the sticky film. Espeon whimpered, the last of her pups coming out. Yami swore again. "Take that one a do as I did." Yugi grasped the sack, which seemed smaller to him then the others, and began to pull on the membrane. He used his thumbnail to push through, liquid spilling over his hands. Yugi peeled the stuff off and risked a momentary glance at the pup in Yami's arms when he heard the little thing whine. Yet another healthy pup. Yugi looked down at the one in his hands, removing the last smears of gunk from around its face. The pup made no sound or movement.

Concerned Yugi rolled the pup over in his hand, checking for any forgotten smudges. Nothing. He moved the inside of his wrist until it was in front of the pups nose. He felt no breath ghost over his skin. Full brown panic enveloped Yugi. "Yami, this one isn't breathing!" Yami turned and quickly handed Yugi a warm towel.

"Put the pup in this. Good, continue to wipe down its back and head while you massage its belly." Fear kept him focused on the crisis at hand. He dared not ask Yami to simply do it for him because he was already busy with another pup the time wasted with transfer might be the crucial second that could have saved the pups life. "You have to rub faster, but don't do it to hard. You saw how Espeon did it, your doing this in her place. Gently but firmly." His voice was level, but Yugi could hear the slight panic behind it. Yugi rubbed, but still the pup showed no signed of life. "Are you rubbing on both sides? They can't breath unless the fluid in their noses is released. If it doesn't come out you'll have to put him on your bare palm, tilt his head down, and shake him gently." Yugi did exactly that, nothing. "Fuck!" Yami swore as he rose to his feet. He went to the counter behind them and began searching through all the drawers. "There has to be a syringe here somewhere."

Yugi gulped down the lump in his throat. "Please...make a sound... anything-" It was happening all over again. Yugi looked to his side. In the far corner Umbreon sat watching them. He had been silently sitting there throughout the entire birth. Only now he watched the pup in Yugi's hands, his ears folded back. Why? Why did all the other pups not have a single problem? Why did it have to be this pup? Yugi looked back down at the Eevee in his hands. He rubbed more vigorously. No, he was not going to let something so innocent die. It had not done anything to deserve death, so as far as Yugi was concerned death could not have it.

"I can not find a syringe."

"Fuck the syringe." Yugi brought the pup up to his face and covered its mouth with his. Using only the lightest breaths he could he breathed into the baby's nose and mouth. If CPR worked on humans then he was going to try it on pokémon. After three breaths he went to inhale and something splashed into his mouth. Surprised Yugi's head jerked back and he swallowed out of reflex, which he immediately regretted. A bitter and salty taste filled his mouth. He coughed but forced himself to forget his own disgust and go back to the matter at hand. He rubbed "Come on baby. You are not going to die on me. Come on." On the upward stoke Yugi swore he felt a twitch. Stopping, he opened the towel so that he could see the Eevee's whole body. At first there was nothing, and then the ever slightest twitch of a right paw. A rather loud shrill squeak came from the pups open mouth. Yugi's withheld breath escaped him in a grateful sigh. The tear that had been in his eyes earlier fell down his cheeks "Hello sweetie." He turned to beam at Yami "Number five has arrived successfully."

Yami cupped Yugi's hands and leaned in, placing a kiss on his cheek "Wonderful." He leaned back and his gaze trapped Yugi's. They stared into each others eyes, each knowing what the other was feeling. Yami picked up the pup and after weighting and cutting the cord announced that it was a girl. He smiled, and then frowned as he traced his fingers along the pups spine.

"Oh god, please tell me something is not wrong!"

Yami shook his head "No, she's fine. I was just noticing her coloring." Yugi leaned over to get a better look at the pup in the light. To him the baby just seemed like a lighter color then its littermates. Certainly it was nothing to worry about? "Hand me a wet towel." Yugi did, and proceeded to watch Yami give the pup a bath. With every splash of the warm water the Eevee's fur grew lighter and lighter until what was a light brown was now a starlit silver. Yami held up the pup between them "She is shiny."

After all the bedding and Espeon had been cleaned up they had put her back in the box and placed the pups with her. All of them, even the shiny runt, had wiggled over to her exposed stomach. While they suckled Espeon licked their backs. Yugi leaned against the countertop and smiled "You've already transformed into a mother Espeon." Umbreon finally rose from his spot in the corner and came near the box, his movements slow and hesitant. He approached the box and sniffed. His eyes stayed trained on Espeon while she continued to groom her young. When she finally did notice him she flicker her right ear and went back to cleaning. Umbreon's stiff demeanor changed and he stepped inside the box, moved behind Espeon and settled down beside her. His purr was so loud Yugi guessed it was vibrating the box.

Yugi decided to leave them be. He exited the room and made his way to the back room to get some much needed sleep, only to find Yami already passed out on the couch with his head lulled to one side. Yugi smirked as he shook his head. He grabbed one of the quilts form the cupboard and sat beside Yami on the couch, draping the quilt over them both. He laid his head on Yami's chest "Night Grandpa."

.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.

Yugi was having such a lovely dream. Umbreon, Espeon and all her babies were there, and so was Yami. They were all having a great time introducing the babies to water for the first time. Then the vision flipped to when the babies were older. He saw trainer after trainer come and take one of the babies away until only the shiny one remained. No one came to take her. She stared up at Yugi, her silver coat as beautiful as moonlight, but no one wanted her.

"Oh no! The mother's squished all her pups!"

Yugi and Yami snapped away and turned to face the voice that had yelled, both of them screamed "Whaaaaaaaaaaat!" only to see Red at the door grinned, holding a sign that read 'just kidding.' Yugi was so relieved, and unbearably nauseated from being woken up from a sound sleep, that he just groaned and rested his head on the back of the couch.

Yami, on the other hand, yelled "What the hell is wrong with you!" He tossed off the covers and jumped over the couch. Red's eyes widened and he turned to run down the hallway, Yami hot on his heels "Get back here!" Yugi had no idea where he got the energy from.

"I'm glad to see she and the pups are alright." Yugi turned his head and opened one eye to look at Yellow "I just checked on them. I was happy to see that Umbreon was also taking responsibility for them. Occasionally I see a mated pokémon pair where the male doesn't show any interest in the young. It always makes me sad. It's what they are normally supposed to do, I know, but mated pokémon are different from that as you well know."

"I really didn't know what we were going to do for a moment. Not to mention you forgetting your phone here."

Yellow nodded "You have no idea how much I wanted to be there, but Red insisted that you two should be the only ones there. Yami had assisted in births before, so we knew he could be counted on if things went bad. I trust nothing bad happened?"

"Well, number five had some problems breathing at first because of some fluid in her lungs." Yugi shrugged "But she's fine now. I sucked it out with my mouth... accidentally."

"Did you swallow it?"

Yugi nodded. Yellow brought a hand to her mouth to keep from laughing "What? Was it hazardous or something?"

She shook her head "No, you're fine. It's just that the amniotic fluid consists of nutrients and waste, too. I'm guessing it was rather salty."

Yugi's face paled "Ew!"

Yellow giggled "Don't worry. It can be our little secret." She sat down next to Yugi "I've decided from here on I'm going to make you my assistant." Yugi blinked "You two won't be able to leave for quite a while so I might as well put you to good use. I could use someone I can trust to help me with the babies and the other deliveries. Don't worry, I'll teach you everything you need to know."

.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.

It had been nearly six weeks now and the pups now physically looked like adult Eevees. Every week Yugi had watched as they slowly took their first steps into the world. It had started the moment they had gained their sight and hearing. Yugi watched over the Eevees playing in the yard from where he sat outside on the patio. The Pichus, that had been about five weeks old when Yugi arrived, were now fully grown and some of them had even evolved. They played with the Eevees happily, jumping and rolling in the grass. Yugi chuckled at their antics.

Sense the birth Yami and he had not really spent much time alone together. They were always busy helping around the ranch or taking care of the pups. When they did talk it was always work or baby related. Yugi sighed. He had hoped that after the pups were born he would have been able to talk to Yami. But it seamed with every passing day it grew harder and harder to even look at him. They didn't even see each other at night anymore. Yugi always retired early and when Yami did come to their room it was late at night. Then he would wake up and leave before Yugi even got up. It was insulting and it hurt his heart. Why had they become so distant? Why had everything seriously come to a point where both of them felt like this? He set down the soda he had been drinking on the table. This was ridiculous! The whole thing was a simple misunderstanding. But everyone knew that miscommunications always lead to fallout. Yugi grip on his soda tightened. Fallout? No, he didn't want that. These last few weeks not being near Yami, not being able to hear his voice whispering good morning to him, not being held in his arms as he went to sleep had been sheer agony. Not being loved was the worst kind of hell.

He felt a weight settle on his feet. Looking down he saw Umbreon laying on his bare feet and staring up at him. His openly affectionate behavior surprised Yugi. "Hey Umbreon." Yugi greeted, reaching down a hand to scratch behind Umbreon's ears. "Where is your trainer?" Umbreon yawned. Yugi looked back to the wrestling and play fighting Eevees, Pichus, and Pikachus. His eyes immediately focused on the shiny Eevee, her sleek coat absolutely breathtaking in the sunlight. He needed to talk to Yami about her too. He had said that if they wanted they could keep one of the babies. Yugi had already decided on keeping the shiny one. Eevees themselves were rare. A shiny one would be too tempting for all the wrong kind of people. He knew from talking with Gold that Yami had already made arrangements for most of the pups to go to trainers around the area. He had hoped that Yami had not already promised the shiny Eevee to someone.

Blue stretched and popped her neck as she came out of the house and down the stairs. "Blue." Yugi said, stooping her "Do you know where Yami is?"

"He's in the kitchen." She gestured with a wave of her hand "I just saw him in there cutting fruit."

Yugi rose to his feet and without another word to the girl went into the house, the screen door slamming behind him. He walked down the hall to the kitchen. Sure enough Yami was there wearing a white apron and cutting a cantaloupe. Before Yami even raised his head to see who was in the doorway Yugi blurted "We are keeping the shiny one!"

Yami's head rose and he looked at Yugi with wide eyes. He stopped in mid slice, his brown furrowing "What?" realization dawned on him "Oh, you mean the Eevee." He turned back to cutting. "I knew the moment she was born that she would be staying with us. Do not worry; I never intended to find a home for her." Yugi was relieved to here that, but Yami's lack of emotion toward him only sparked his anger.

"Is that it?"

"Did you have something else to say?" he never once looked up.

Yugi gritted his teeth. "We haven't been with each other in over six weeks and you have the balls to ask me that?"

Yami set the knife down, turning his full attention to Yugi. His gaze was anything but the cherished, loving, crimson depths that Yugi remembered. "You have been avoiding me ever sense the pups were born."

"I would have talked to you at night but you were never there! I would wait up for you and you would never come!"

"I had to watch all the sick pokémon nearly every night just in case something happened." He gestured around him to the kitchen "This place is great but it takes a lot of time and energy. Working here limits my free time, which I had nothing but that when I traveled with you."

"Oh, so we finally are going to talk about it. Well, good." Yugi crossed his arms.

"Talk about what?" Yami asked curtly.

"How Red offered you a job here. I know you used to work here in the past and with your considerable experience I can not blame them for wanting you to be part of their staff but-"

"We don't need to talk about that."

Yugi fumed "Yes. We. Do. Unless you want to just throw away our entire relationship." Yugi's expression may have been angry, but in his mind he was panicking. Why had he said that? He didn't want their relationship to dissolve right here! Never say something in an argument when the outcome will be the thing you absolutely do not want.

Yami's eyes narrowed. He undid the tie of his apron and then slammed the garment on the counter. He stomped toward Yugi, who backed up against the wall out of fear of what Yami would do. Yami then grabbed his waist and hoisted Yugi over his shoulder. "W-What are you doing!" Yugi struggled "Put me down! We are not done talking!" A sharp slap collided with his bottom. Yugi gasped "Did... did you just spank me? You actually spanked me!" Yugi was so caught up in his fit that he neglected to notice where they were going until Yami opened the door to their room and tossed Yugi on the bed. Yugi lifted his head and saw Yami's hand go for the doorknob. "Don't!" Yugi screamed. The sheer volume of his shout alarmed Yami and he froze. "Don't." Yugi said more softly, tears coming to his eyes.

Yami blinked, then scowled "You think even if I wanted to I would leave you." His fingers turned the lock on the door. The soft click seemed to echo in the small room. In two steps he was in front of Yugi and pushing him down onto the bed, leaning over him. "You're my mate! Even if I hated your guts we are forever tied together now. Our pokémon and us will have no other lover." Yugi's mouth fell opened. Yami growled as he striped off his shirt and threw it behind him "We're basically married. Remember when I told you that trainers that have a very strong relationship with their pokémon often begin to find that they can understand their pokémon's emotions? Well if two trainers come together and their pokémon mate, then it becomes permanent for both trainers and pokémon."

"You- you knew this? You knew this before they even mated and yet you let it happen!"

"I had no problem with them mating and binding to one another!" he voice dropped down to a harsh whisper "One look at you and I knew I would easily fall in love with you." His eyes never left Yugi's. "You were everything I wanted, and everything I needed. Yes, I let them mate and I bound us together before you really even got a chance to know me. My hope was that in the time it would take for gestation, I could manage to make you love me. So that when I did tell you, you wouldn't mind being with me forever."

Yugi took a steadying breath "And this bond is what everyone meant when they kept referring to us as mates?" Yami nodded "And no matter what you can not leave me?" again Yami nodded. Yugi tilted his head "Why didn't you tell me sooner?"

"I was afraid that it would frighten you away. That you might think that was too much of a commitment for someone you just met that day."

"And what if I had? What would you have done?"

Yami smiled sadly "I hoped for the best and prayed that wouldn't happen."

There was a moment of silence before Yugi said "I can see your reason. It probably would have scared me if you had told me this right after we first had sex. But," he licked his lips "that isn't the case anymore. I never want to leave you. I don't know why, but I feel like I am supposed to be with you."

Yami's anger and worry melted away like ice in the heat of the sun. The warmth and caring came back onto his eyes "So, you're not angry with me?"

"Oh, I am angry. You technically have been lying to me all these months." Yugi pouted "Though considering the outcome of the lie is rather a mute point because I love you anyway. I guess I can't be that pissed off." He thought for a moment and then an evil grin spread across his face "I know how you can make it up to me."

Yami raised a brow "Alright, how?" he asked skeptically.

Yugi wrapped his arms and legs around Yami's midsection and using all his strength switched their position "Let me lead this time."

.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.

Yugi began to tease his left nipple with his fingers. It felt far better than he had ever imagined, being the one leading. Yami groaned as he bit his lower lip hard. "Is something wrong Yami?" Yugi purred as gave the nipple a tweak, making Yami buck upward in alarm. He leaned down to hiss him. Yami's lips parted, and his tongue slipped past them, touching Yugi's. It was so delicious, the taste of his mouth and the feeling of having Yami trapped beneath him. Will all his strength he pulled Yami tight against him.

He could feel the urgency in him. He was frantic in his reciprocation of the kisses and little bites to his jaw. Yugi wanted nothing more then to feed his desire. He pulled away for a moment, and Yami felt droplets landing on his bare chest. Yugi's warm mouth followed, his tongue leaving a cool, wet trail behind it. He used his finger smear some of the potion he had extracted from his pack onto each of Yami's nipples. He then brought the finger to Yami's lips a grinned when Yami sucked them into his mouth. Luckily that had already found out that potions were not toxic to human, if anything they were more like a vitamin boost. Yami moaned as his tongue swiped over Yugi's skin, savoring the sweetness there as he licked it clean.

It was one of the most arousing things he's ever experienced. There was something unbelievably erotic about the way it felt to have his fingers sucked deep into Yami's mouth as Yugi teased his nipples, one after the other, licking and nipping them with his teeth until they were hard points. Yugi pulled his fingers free and kissed Yami, hard. His tongue pushed into his mouth and Yami gave into it. Their bodies pressed and rocked against one another. Yugi's erection evident against Yami's stomach.

Yami's right hand slid down Yugi's back and lifted his hips, bringing their erection flush to grind against one another. His other can went to roughly grope and fondle Yugi's ass. Yugi's lips moved to his neck, his collarbone, then down his chest. Yami growled, but retrained himself and continued to be helpless beneath him. Yugi dipped his tongue into Yami's navel. He reached for the waistband of his pants. Yami arched his back, bringing his hips off the bed to give Yugi better access.

Yami anticipated potion on his sex, and Yugi sucking him clean. The thought made him ache. He hated not being in charge, but he loved being slowly tortured by Yugi more. He couldn't wait for Yugi to free his erection from his underwear. His hands squeezed and pulled at the underwear, making it tug against his penis. Yugi kissed his way down his chest. In one swift motion the underwear was ripped off. His teeth nipped at Yami's stomach. Yugi moved his hand to grip Yami with both hands, kneading a pulling as Yami was doing to him. His lips and teeth moved lower, and Yami groaned when he felt his breath against the tip of his sex. He felt a hint of moisture as Yugi swirled his tongue over the tip before taking it into his mouth. Yugi moaned, too. He became more frantic. Obviously the long abstinence from sex had not being appreciated by either of them.

"Oh god." Yami gasped. "Yugi, this isn't-"

"I don't care. Cum."

Yugi's warm, wet mouth closed over him once more. Sucking hard he brought Yami to the back of his throat a moaned, the vibrations sending Yami into ecstasy. It was all he needed. Yami grabbed Yugi's head and pushed him all the way down on his shaft as he came. The sudden intensity of his orgasm made him cry out. The sheer explosion of it had nearly made him want to faint- not because such an intense orgasm, but more because it was completely liberating. All the stress he had accumulated these last few weeks just flew out the window. He made a move to lean up and noticed a strange cold feeling on his leg. Rising into a sitting position Yami looked down at Yugi, who was blushing as red as a cheery. All down Yami's right leg were the splatters and smears of Yugi's release. Yami smirked "You came on my leg." Yugi could only nod as he tried to hide his face. Yami laughed and brought Yugi in for a hug "Its ok, I don't mind."

"No it's not." Yugi pouted "I wanted to come inside you, but the urge was just too strong I couldn't control it."

"It's just because it has been awhile." He kissed Yugi's forehead "Next time, I'll let you cum inside me."

.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.

Yugi tried not to feel to sad as he waved goodbye to the train that had taken the last Eevee. It had only been just a little while ago that they had been so small and helpless. Now they were off to start their own journeys. It was a happy and yet sad time all at once. "Goodbye Purple-san."

Yugi cringed at the name. He understood why people thought his name was Purple, for the color on his uniform was purple and all the other workers had color names- but still! He even introduced himself as Yugi and yet the people still called him Purple. Yugi rolled his eyes as he made his way back to the house. Yami had the color magenta on his shirt and yet nobody called him Magenta. But then again maybe that was because the color magenta kind of looked like red, and the people know there was already a Red working here. Yugi sighed. Color Ranch certainly had its way of growing on a person. Yugi was happy that he and Yami had decided not to leave, but then that had also managed to work out a deal with Red. They had wanted to stay and work at Color Ranch, but they hadn't exactly wanted to give up their traveling adventure together either. Thus, Red had created the department he lovingly called the Poké Squad.

It was really rather a splendid idea that allowed more revenue to come into the ranch. Yami and Yugi essential became pokémon experts for hire. They would make home birthing or medical visits, assist in any odd end pokémon related mysteries or investigations, capture delinquent pokémon, anything really.

"Yugi!" Yami called from the porch. At his feet Espeon and Umbreon sat next to one another. In his arms the shiny Eevee, which they had named Twinkle do to her affinity for the children's song 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star', mewed and waged her tail in greeting. "I just got a call. We're off to Kanto in the morning."

It was wonderful. They both got what they wanted. Yami got to work and stay at the place that had literally become like a home to him, and Yugi got so stay with Yami but yet see and be with him almost every day. He walked up the steps to the porch and reached out a hand to pat Twinkle's head "How is our baby doing?" She mewled and licked his finger. Yugi laughed and then looked back to Yami "So why are we off to Kanto?"

"Professor Oak said there was a man named Bill that went missing a while ago. He wants us to go look for him."

.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.

The End

A/N: I... am... dead. Word count says 15,532. I don't know how many pages this thing is if someone were to print it out on FF, but on my office word it's 23 pages 10pt font. *groaned and fall over on floor* This epilogue took me over two week to finish. So much to be written and so little time. This epilogue actually beat out my other one-shot story, 'Haven't met you yet', in length. So now, currently, this is the longest chapter I have in my library. Hope you guys all enjoyed it! I'm not sure if all do additional one-shot chapters for this story or not. I could, as I have done that with all my other one-shots, but I don't know if this fic has the fan base as the other had had. *shrugs* We'll see, right now I'm going to concentrate on my other series fics and get more chapters done for them. Again, hoped you all enjoyed the read!

Any typical errors will be corrected shortly.