"The boardroom is in use today by the Counter Guardians – please stay out of their way guys. Also Tash is running Fire Marshall training at three in training room five-"
Watching Miss Hari-Hat speak was like listening to those funny people with white collars talk about this God person, Combee thought. You knew they were saying something important and grown up... but because she was a baby she didn't understand any of it. That did not mean that did not have opinions on it regardless. For instance, she'd always thought that this God person sounded a little weird (and that was her talking!), but apparently he had a nice fluffy beard like Santa Claus, so he must be an okay person.
Miss Hari-Hat did not have a beard (that would be silly!) but when she talked, everyone listened. Combee knew it because she went to the meetings with Daddy every morning and watched everyone sit up straight when Miss Hari-Hat entered the room. It was like she had invisible strings attached to their backs like those puppets that Mister Davey liked to watch on TV, and she pulled them straight every time she walked through the door. One day, Combee was going to find those strings and make everyone jump up and down in their seats. That would be even funnier than the time she made a paper tornado out of the documents on Daddy's desk!
Seated around the table, she found the people who were really special to her. Miss Hari-Hat obviously, with her pretty brightly coloured clothes and her beautiful smile. Auntie Miri was yawning. Daddy said she had been on a 'night ship' or something like that, where she got to stay up past bed time and watch TVs. Combee thought that sounded like a great idea, though she wondered why it was called a ship. She hoped that Auntie Miri would let Tailsy out to play soon. She missed her big sister-like friend.
Auntie Tashy was sitting next to Daddy, chewing on a pen and pausing occasionally to take notes. Combee liked Auntie Tashy. She was tough and always knew what to do if there was a problem. Plus she was pretty when she set herself on fire like a big Moltres. Something small, white and furry put its paws on the table and peered over the surface with huge violet eyes. Mister Kitty was in Auntie Tashy's lap. Combee giggled. Only special people got to sit there, and she was one of them.
And then there was Daddy, in who's lap she currently sat. Tilting her head upwards, she saw him, with his head resting on one of his hands, gazing off in a vacant way. That usually meant that he was pretending to listen. Daddy was a very good pretender, Combee thought. He liked to pretend that he was fine a lot of the time, when he wasn't really. It made her worry. Today though, he seemed really fine. He had had a lot of fun playing that funny video game that he enjoyed with Auntie Tashy, with the rocks and the big trees and green monsters that made things go boom. That always made him smile.
Combee took a deep breath. She smelt Daddy first, as she was sitting in his arms. She wriggled her nose at the smell of mint and soap. It made her feel safe. Taking another deep sniff, she honed in on the next smell. Bergamot (Auntie Tashy) and apple (Mister Kitty), followed by a mishmash of a lot of people – strawberries, grass, oranges, violets, tea, spices. She couldn't smell Auntie Miri because she was too far away, but she knew she smelt of pine, like the huge Christmas trees that she liked to bounce on.
"Last item on today's agenda," Miss Hari-Hat (who smelt of juicy papayas) was saying in a loud voice. "Today is Bring Your Pokemon To Work Day! So feel free to let your teams out to stretch their legs!"
There were a few raised eyebrows. Apparently this event was spontaneous.
"Sweet!" Michael broke the silence, and Combee grinned. More friends to play with sounded like a great idea to her.
"Half of us do that anyway," Alice pointed out, gesturing to herself and Robert, who had Litwicks on their shoulders.
"Yes, but this time its official," Harriet stated grandly. "Which makes it an even better idea than before!"
As she spoke, she plucked a Poke Ball from her waist and threw it in the air. Mudkip appeared in a flash, chasing its tail around the table. Michael and Tash, being leaders and wanting to set a good example, released their own Pokemon onto the table, and Combee leaped into the chaos giggling with glee. More enthusiastic flashes of light burst into the room, and Combee found herself quickly being squished into a corner by the mass of bodies.
"Okay who's bright idea was it to release their Tropius in such a small space?" Harriet's voice appeared from the middle of the room.
"Sorry, that's mine," Alice called.
"No she's not. She's mine," Adrian objected. "That one throwing bananas at Michael's Infernape is yours!"
"Oh yeah, sorry..."
"Ow!" Ben whimpered. "That's an Aggron on my foot!"
"Oh he's mine!" Kyle yelled. "Sorry! Aggron, stop breaking Ben! That's Shirley's job!"
There were two loud roars, and a pair of Gyarados in the corner began snapping at each other furiously.
"So this is one of your better ideas, Harriet?" Michael asked dryly.
"I'm the leader!" Harriet protested, from where she was squished against the table. "All my ideas are better!"
From high in the air, Combee giggled to herself. Today was going to be an excellent day.
"Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!"
Michael looked up from his paperwork just in time to be tackled by his excited youngster.
"Sorry, the door was open," Tash quipped, stepping over the threshold and kicking a stack of paperwork over before it could bite at her ankles.
"Daddy!" Combee bounced in his lap in excitement. "We have amazing news! Auntie Tashy was on bulby-pedia and she found that there are more attacks that I can learn! But she says I have to be tooted them! Will you tooter me the moves? Please Daddy? Please?"
All six eyes became impossibly wide, as she gazed up at her father. Behind his glasses, Michael took a moment to digest all of the information before replying with a grin.
"Well if it's on the internet, it must be true!" He patted her on the head. "What moves would you like to learn, baby?"
"YAY!" Combee nuzzled at his neck excitedly. "Thank you Daddy! I want to learn a new flying attack! So Auntie Tashy said I should learn Air Cutter!" She nodded decisively. "There was attacks like Mud-Slap and Snore, but that's silly, because anyone can do those if you're in a muddy puddle or very sleepy!"
"Why don't you let your Daddy pick an attack too," Tash suggested gently. "Since he is the one who will be tutoring you. Then you can go to the training rooms and get started?"
There was a fluttering of papers accompanied by a "ZOOOOM!" as Combee sped from the room at top speed to claim a training room. The closer she got, the more noise she could make out. The sounds of explosions and high energy attacks being blasted around. It sounded like her kind of party! But still, she had to wait for her Daddy, so she slowed down and came to a stop outside the door.
"I'm a bee. I drink tea. Won't you bounce around with me...?" She paused in her excited bouncing as a short figure in a blue waistcoat came trotting down the hallway. "Ooo! Miss Emmy!"
And she plunged down Emily's waistcoat and snuggled her chest. "Ooo! You're growing pillows on you like a marshmallow!" she giggled.
Blushing red (and reminding herself to go bra shopping again soon) Emily plucked the excitable Pokemon out. "Hey Combee baby. What are you doing here?"
"Waiting for Daddy and Auntie Tashy to stop being Slowpokes," Combee explained. "Daddy is going to teach me a new trick!" she frowned, as from the recesses of her scatterbrained mind, she remembered something. "Ooo! Auntie Tashy was looking for you! I remember! She was on bulby-pedia and said she had something for you, and then we started looking up me and what moves I can be tooted, and then we went to go find Daddy!" She smiled, pleased with herself for remembering.
It took Emily all of a second to translate from Combee-speak, by which point, Tash had flashstepped around the corner, panting.
"Damn, she moves fast!" she said.
"Auntie Tashy!" Combee leaped out of Emily's arms and began snuggling her relative. "Miss Emmy is there, and you has something to give her!"
"Yes I do," Tash nodded, picking Combee up and holding her at eye level. "But do you remember what I said about it, Combee?"
"Umm..." Combee thought for a moment, before all three of her faces grinned again. "Yes! You said it was a very important and very fwagile thing and I have to be calm around it."
"Very good," Tash nodded, before handing her back to an exhausted looking Michael.
"Daddy!" Combee only just seemed to have noticed he was there. "Let's go train! Let's go train!"
"In a minute..." Michael gasped. "Just give me a sec, to catch my breath..."
Confused, Combee tilted her head. "Catch it? D'you need a net?" Her attention was caught as Tash pulled something small and round out of her bag. Combee's eyes went wide. "Ooo! An egg!"
Sure enough, it was an egg, about the size of an ostrich egg, and covered in jagged patterns of yellow and black. Combee sniffed it, and smiled.
"Its pretty! Who's egg is it?" she asked.
"Shimeti's," Tash said. "She had it two nights ago. Emily's going to raise it."
Carefully she passed it over to Emily, who cuddled it safely to her chest. "Are you sure Shimeti doesn't mind?"
Tash nodded. "We talked about it. She wants it to have a good trainer, and you're one of the few people she actually likes."
"Silly Auntie Tashy," Combee admonished. "Everyone likes Miss Emmy! And everyone likes you Auntie Tashy! And everyone likes Daddy! Everyone likes everyone in here!" she giggled.
Tash gave a dry smile. "Hmm... I wish that were true Combee." There was a groan from behind her, and she turned to see Michael getting back to his feet. "Back with us then?"
"Huh? Did Daddy go somewhere?" Combee asked curiously. Everyone facepalmed.
"Never mind, sweetheart," Michael said, already exhausted from running after his wayward child. "Let's go train."
"Okay Combee, one more time. Ominous Wind!"
Combee took a deep breath, her face screwed up in concentration.
"Wooo!" she said as dramatically as she could. "Fear my scariness! ...heehee! I'm sorry Daddy! I can't do it! It's so silly!"
She barrel rolled a few times, as Michael planted his face in the palm of his hand again. A red imprint was beginning to show on his forehead.
"Maybe this wasn't the best attack I could have picked for you..."
"Face it Michael," called Emily, from the next ring over. "Combee can't do scary."
She was interrupted by a bang as Yumi, her Masquerain, went flying into the ring wall once more. Wincing, Emily jogged to her stricken bug Pokemon's aid, her movement hampered by the small rucksack being worn over her chest to contain the egg.
"And Yumi can't seem to do Water Pulse," Michael threw back. "So we're both about as successful as the other." He sighed heavily. "At least there were no problems with Air Cutter."
Catching the end of the conversation, Combee flapped her wings, sending sharp blue slivers of energy bursting from her tiny wings, shredding a wall panel in the ring to tiny pieces of chipboard.
"...wow, cheap construction," quipped a new voice.
"Nice to see you too Alice," Michael deadpanned. "And it's not cheap, Combee is just badass."
"Cheep cheep!" Combee giggled, thinking the word to be referencing the bird call. "Cheep cheep!"
The Society's self proclaimed Pet Search Engine, folded her arms across her chest and tilted her head. "Oh yeah... that's totally terrifying." she deadpanned. Michael flushed.
Bored with the grown up humour (which was going over her head) Combee buzzed back to her starting point in the ring. The Pokemon training room (which oddly had never been discovered until today) was a vast space, with nine individual training rings lined neatly in rows of three down it. There was a space at one end by the door, where punch bags, dummies, bars, bouncy balls and other training aids were kept, and bowls and bottles of water ready and waiting to refresh Pokemon and human alike.
Combee was pleased to see Alice and Robert taking the middle ring, diagonally across from Michael and Combee's corner ring. Emily and Yumi were on the left directly opposite the door, and Tash was just vacating the ring behind them, with a pair of binoculars strung around her neck, and Thoth trotting serenely behind her. They made a beeline for the water station.
"One more time Combee," Michael sighed. "Ominious Wind!"
Drawing another deep breath, Combee began to spin rapidly, an unsubtle and unscary 'woooooooo!' coming from her mouth. It did not last long, bursting into a hail of giggles as she lost control and rolled like a wheel into the ring barrier once more.
Shoulders slumping, Michael sat down at the edge of the ring, and rubbed the dent his glasses were leaving in the bridge of his nose.
"Having problems?" a new voice asked above his head. Michael looked up to see an amused looking Jared looming over him.
"Problems of a concentration nature... Combee just isn't scary – she finds herself too funny to be frightening."
"Ewww!" Combee declared, having got over her dizzy spell and straightened up into a low hover. "What smells?"
"That would be me," came a highly affronted voice, and Combee found her nose inches from Jared's humourless looking Muk.
"Oh... sorry," Combee sheepishly put on her most winning smile.
"Its okay Combee," Muk replied dryly. "We all know you can't help it."
And he oozed into Tash's recently vacated ring, with Jared right behind him, both ducking as the ring behind them exploded into a blazing aura of energy, and a frazzled looking Gareth began shouting apologies. Apparently he had just broken his third TM of the day.
"There has to be some way to make this attack work," Michael was wracking his brains. "It must be possible – the internet says it is!"
"Have you tried putting her in front of someone who's afraid of bees?" Alice asked.
"No, because Tashy's afraid of bees and she adores Combee," Michael explained.
"Course I adore Combee!" the Society leader announced, approaching the ring, and sweeping Combee into a giant cuddle. "She's so adorable!"
"Yay! I'm adorable!" the bumblebee Pokemon giggled.
"That's the problem," Michael deadpanned. "In this situation at least."
"You're adorable, Daddy!" Combee chirruped, as the humans snorted with laughter. Michael went pink again, and scowled (clearly the Darkness was enjoying himself a little too much at his host's expense).
There was a bang as a ring of water blasted its way through the barrier surrounding the next ring. Soaking wet, Emily and Yumi both began performing a victory dance, which Combee was only too happy to join in with, bouncing off the walls and floor like a beach ball.
"Tada! Yumi learned Water Pulse!" Emily cheered, dripping steadily onto the floor. A few people applauded.
"Better dry that egg off," Michael advised, throwing her a towel from the side of his ring, lifting an eyebrow as Tash deposited her belongings next to their ring. "Why did you bring binoculars?"
"I need them to find Thoth when he's doing Aerial Ace," Tash explained. "It saves me having to put my glasses on."
"Oooooh! Daddy!" Combee had pressed two of her eyes against the small end of the binoculars. "Yumi put weight on!"
"No baby, that's just the binoculars making things look big," Michael explained in a patient voice.
But Combee was having far too much fun now as she nosed the binoculars around the room.
"Ooooh! Auntie Tashy! You're MASSIVE!" she giggled.
"Let me see?" Alice bent down to have a peek and burst out laughing.
"Maybe its a sign you should cut back on the brownies?" Louise suggested, as she approached with her Litwick on her shoulder. Robert's Chingling bounced excitedly, and the two went off to play together.
Rolling her eyes, Tash reclaimed her binoculars, turned them around the wrong way, and peered through the large ends of the scopes.
"Oh look Louise – you got shorter," she grinned, ducking the hand on a collision course with her skull. "Hey! No beating the leader!"
"Now now children, play nicely," came a decidedly northern accent, from the other side of the ring. Dave had squirreled himself in the far corner and appeared to be attempting to teach Zena the Zoroark how to use Shadow Claw.
"Whaaaat?" Alice's face was a picture of total innocence, and Louise hid the binoculars behind her back, leaving Tash to rub at her abused skull. Combee couldn't help but notice a vacant look on Robert's face, and it made her curious.
"I wonder if Mister Robbie isn't sleeping properly..." she thought to herself. "Maybe that's why he looks all dreamy. He needs someone to tuck him into bed at night like Daddy does with me... ooooh! Maybe Miss Ali can do it! He likes Miss Ali! I'll bet he'd let her tuck him into bed!"
Pleased with her deduction, she made a mental note to tell Daddy about her thoughts later.
There was another bang, and Gareth's ring filled with smoke. From within, everyone could hear the Society's inventor sighing heavily and deciding to call it a day. His Vaporeon emerged from the smoke cloud, with an unamused expression.
"Okay Combee. Just one more time," Michael said slowly. "Then we'll call it a day too."
"No progress then?" Tash asked sadly, leaning over the edge of the ring to watch.
"Nothing," Michael sighed. "I remember it being hard to teach her Swift, but this is just... on another level."
"You sure Bulbapedia wasn't lying to you Michael?" Emily suggested, toweling the last of the water off her hair and recalling Yumi.
"It was on the internet! It must be true!" Michael proclaimed firmly.
"Isn't that what you said about that 'sue' in Bioshock?" a new voice asked in an amused manner. "Y'know, the one who turned out to be canon-"
"Shut up Adrian..." Michael grumbled.
"Oh look Alice!" Louise said loudly, holding up the binoculars the wrong way around to her eyes. "It's a big pompous gorilla! There in the distance!"
She handed the binoculars to Alice, who laughed.
"Oh yeah. Actually that's a very nice way of looking at Adrian!"
"Very far away?"
"Daddy!" a voice chirruped over everyone's conversations. "I found what I need for my scary attack!"
Dreading what he might find, Michael turned to face the voice... and screamed like a girl.
"See?!" Combee giggled, peering through the six badly cut eyeholes. "Its a sheet! And it works!"
Everyone chortled into their hands as Michael straightened his glasses and tried to affect a look of dignity. He plucked the bedsheet off Combee's head (wondering in passing where she had got it from) and pointed at the middle of the ring. "Ominous Wind!"
Combee took a deep breath and flapped her wings hard, wind whistling around everyone's ears. A cloud of purple smoke began to gather before her and swirl around in the tornado, which gathered in energy before thundering out over the ring with a deafening roar.
"Yay!" Combee squealed as the cloud dispersed. "I did it!"
There was a round of applause from the ring, and Combee gave a bow in midair.
"I did it! I did it! I did i – Daddy?" Combee peered down at the dazed lump. "Why are you on the floor?"
"I think you may have got him with your scary attack Combee."
There were a few things that Combee understood completely in life - and one of those things was secrets. She knew about secrets. She had a few of her own, like her secret honey and Watmel recipe that she was going to try out when Miss Rhi-Rhi left her kitchen unlocked. And she kept a few for other people, like Auntie Tashy's passcode to the safe in her office, which Combee had found out by complete accident when she had barged into the room without knocking (Daddy had told her off about that a lot of times, though she hadn't understood why - it wasn't like she hadn't seen Auntie Tashy's bare bottom before).
Her biggest and latest secret was about the Dumbleydore man in the Twilight fandom, and she had promised to Daddy on her very secret recipe that she would not tell anyone. Daddy had said it would be dangerous if anyone else knew about it, and she must never let anyone know about him ever. In exchange, she was allowed to go with Daddy when he visited the Dumbleydore man in the hospital. He had been there for weeks now, and had not stirred once. Combee was very worried. She had given him many of her kisses, but he did not seem to be getting any better. She was sure that one of Daddy's kisses, which were far more magical than hers and could heal all her owies in an instant, would make the Dumbleydore man right as rain in a matter of moments. But Daddy had ignored all her suggestions to do so, much to Combee's bemusement.
She had not initially understood why Daddy wanted it to stay a secret. But now she was starting to have an inkling.
Combee was not very technologically able or literate, so the finer points about (a) slipped her by. All she knew was that she was a Soup person, who for some reason, was not kept in the basement. She popped up at random moments and giggled in a strange fashion in a voice that echoed through the halls of the Library. Despite (a)'s mental age being only a bit older than hers, Combee herself found her a little worrying. She looked like a very skinny Abomasnow in that outfit, and Combee did not like Abomasnows. They had bad tempers and made her very cold. And everyone knew that cold was bad for bumblebees.
"Please tell me Combee?" @ begged, her hands clasped in a prayer as she gazed beseechingly at the Pokemon, perfectly three dimensional and hard-light thanks to a nearby holographic projector. On a normal human being, this look of desperation and purity of intention would have had anyone eating out of the palm of the Sue's hand...fortunately for the Society however, Combee was not normal.
"I'm sorry Miss At, but I can't tell you anything," Combee said honestly, chomping her way through another stalk. The Watmel berry dropped neatly into the basket. Alone of everyone else in the world, Combee did not give @ a nickname. She was far too uneasy about her to offer endearments.
"Please?" @ asked again, and Combee wished that she would leave her alone. This was a delicate operation she was attempting, and @'s presence was distracting her. Baring her teeth, she chomped hard through the next stalk, her Bug Bite attack making quick work of it. Another berry plopped into the basket.
"What if I gave you your own Watmel tree if you told me?" @ tried. Combee's mind went blank with excitement at the thought of that much sweetness. But fortunately for the Society, a tiny worm of common sense caused this excitement to abruptly peeter out as she remembered her own limitations.
"That wouldn't work Miss At. How would I water it? I don't have any hands." She shook her head with a smile. "Silly."
Another berry. Her basket was getting quite full.
"I'm not silly!" the Sue objected. "I'm just... lonely."
"Lonely?" Combee paused in selecting another Watmel. She could still carry a few more...
"I have friends in the Twilight fandom," @ explained. "And I can't speak to them because of the precautions that the Librarian put up around it."
"Yeah, they're to stop anyone seeing..." Combee shut up, realising that she was treading dangerous water (which was bad, because bumblebees couldn't swim). As a Pokemon she relied on her sixth sense, and right now she had the horrible feeling that she had when she was up against another Pokemon using Double Team - the feeling that she was about to be tricked.
"Seeing what?" @ urged.
"Nothing!" Combee whined, picking another berry in her mouth. Her teeth punctured the skin and the sweet juices ran onto her tongue. "I'm not telling you anything! Stop being mean! You is a bully, trying to trick me into saying-"
A key rattled in the lock, and both Combee and @ went still.
"Uh oh!" Combee gulped. She would not have time to carry that heavy basket up the way she came in, so she picked up another berry in her second mouth, and the basket in her third. As the lock turned and slid backwards, Combee swung the basket and flung it straight into @'s startled arms. She zoomed off up the ventilation shaft with her two prizes before the Sue could call after her.
"@!" she could hear Alice's surprised and alarmed voice as she made her escape. "What are you doing with that basket?!"
"Its not mine!" @ wailed desperately. "I'm just holding it for-"
She never got any further, as an enraged voice interrupted her spluttered explanations.
"MY TREE!" Castform, usually docile and smiley in nature, now sounded apocalyptically pissed off. "YOU STOLE ALL THE FRUIT!"
"No! Wait! OW!"
There was a flash like the first spark on a campfire, followed by a crash and a smell of burning wicker. Pleased with her daring adventure, Combee buzzed off in the direction of her Daddy's room to eat her prizes in peace.
"Ooo! Daddy!" Combee squealed in excitement, her six eyes wide. "What's that?!"
Michael looked skyward, causing Combee to tumble off his head with a giggle. "That looks like Adrian's Wailord to me."
"Oooh yes! So it is!" Combee giggled. "But why is Naughty sharing a tank with Fish Finger?"
Michael sighed. "Probably because he's too big to fit anywhere else."
Naughty – proper name Nautilus – sailed serenely through the water above their heads. It really was a testament to how big the Library's aquarium was, for the four hundred kilo whale Pokemon and the pet Liopleurodon had yet to cross paths (it was possible that Fish Finger had smelt how big her new roommate was and was wisely keeping a wide berth).
"Don't worry baby," Michael patted his charge on the head. "Its only Bring Your Pokemon to Work Day today, so I'm sure Adrian will recall Nautilus this evening and give Fish Finger her room back."
"Good!" Combee smiled. "I like Fish Finger. She smiles at me."
Banishing the terrifying thought of Fish Finger and her rows of interlocking teeth smiling at his infant Pokemon, Michael cuddled Combee to his chest and hurried off down the corridor.
"Miiiiichael!" a voice called, and he turned to see Emily racing towards him. She was pink cheeked, and had clearly been running for a while. The rucksack and egg were still hanging off her chest.
"Hello Emily," Michael said. "Are you trying to work up steps for your egg?"
Sighing in only a manner that a disgruntled teen could manage, Emily rolled her eyes. "No! I'm looking for Mimi. Have you seen her?"
"Which one is Mimi again?" Michael asked, scratching his head.
"Oooh!" Combee bounced excitedly in Michael's arms. "I see Mimi! I see Mimi!"
Michael turned back towards the tank...and blanched dramatically.
"Oh dear God!"
He hastily covered Combee's eyes.
"Heeeeeey!" Combee squirmed, trying to look over them.
"Huh..." a new voice appeared, causing Michael to jump. "I always wondered if Hot Skitty on Wailord Action was actually anatomically possible."
"Well there's your answer Tash," Gareth said musingly.
"ADRIAN!" Emily exploded as the Librarian himself arrived on the scene, turning as pale as his fur as he took in the actions in the tank above them. "WHAT IS YOUR WAILORD DOING TO MY SKITTY?!"
Adrian spluttered before answering. "I think what you should be asking is what is your Skitty doing to my Wailord – seems to me that the cat is dominant in there!"
"Daddyyyy!" Combee wailed. "Lemme seeee!"
She peeked over the top of Michael's hands, long enough to see a slowly building crowd of Society agents (Miss Hari-Hat had pulled out her phone and was taking pictures) peering up at Fish Finger's tank, where a flash of pink was just visible behind the huge hulking whale.
"Adrian, if this results in an egg, you had better take responsibility for our child!"
"Why do I have to take responsibility?! Your Skitty is the horny one!"
Michael covered Combee's eyes again and sprinted away.
"Daddy! What was everyone looking at?!" Combee demanded, bopping her father on the head as soon as he released her. Michael rubbed his head and looked pained.
"I'll tell you when you're older baby..."
The Library was rarely quiet. Combee knew this. Even when the agents slept, a whole new host of interesting noises came out. Snoring, sleep talking, happy giggles from couples having kissy time.
Now, as people fought over plates and banged cutlery together as they shovelled food into their mouths, silence was a million miles away. And Combee liked it this way – people having fun made her day much better. Even Miss Rhi-Rhi's Pokemon, who were helping keep the kitchen clean, were having fun drying the dishes and storing (or eating) the leftovers.
Unfortunately it was difficult to have fun when two of your friends were growling at each other, static sparks bursting randomly off their fur. Combee was a little anxious – electricity was no good for flying creatures, and she was very close to being a crispy fried bee. They did this a lot, but tonight seemed a little more ferocious than usual.
"Thothy," she nudged the tall Xatu in the side. "We should tell Auntie Tashy and Mister Davey!"
Thoth, who had been standing sentry with only his right eye open, blinked both of them owlishly at her. "Not necessary Combee," he told her, in his high born accent. "Its their Rivalry ability. It will die down in a little while."
Another rush of electricity rippled over blue fur.
"She does have a point," Infernape said anxiously, backing away into Michael's chair leg. "They look way more irritated than usual."
"Shimeti's a bit on edge," Yumi said wisely. "Hormones and all that."
"Five poffins on Asuka!" Flare (Adrian's Ninetails) said.
"And just where will you get those? The poffin fairy?" Typhlosion asked dryly, stealing bits of food off Tash's plate when she wasn't looking. Combee's eyes went wide.
"There's a poffin fairy!" she squealed, bouncing up and down. "Yay! Can we go find it! Can we?! Can we?!"
She squealed in alarm as a bolt of lightning lashed out not far from her bowl. Rolling out of her nosedive, she straightened, and faced the two flash Pokemon with a scowl. There were more important things than the mystical poffin fairy right now...
"Suki! Shimi!" she put her best grown up face on (which unbeknownst to her caused her to inflate like an enraged Jigglypuff) and flew between the feuding parties. "Daddy says you shouldn't start fights with your friends!"
"...really?" Infernape asked. "That sounds... way too passive for Michael."
"Inferny, don't interrupt me when I'm being sophistimicated!" Combee pouted, her butchering of the English language causing a few people to snicker. Asuka and Shimeti's coats dulled slightly, but they retained their crouched positions.
"You almost frazzled us!" Combee continued, trying to regain her firm tone. "And I don't wanna be a crispy bee! And Thothy doesn't wanna be a crispy duck!"
Thoth squawked indignantly. "I beg your pardon?!"
"So you be nice, and you say sorry, and then you come help me find the poffin fairy!" Combee declared, looking giddy once more at the thought of all those delicious baked goods.
Asuka and Shimeti's stances did not budge an inch, both of them staring at each other, daring their respective rival to make the first move. Combee inflated further.
"DON'T MAKE ME MAKE YOU HUG!" she bellowed, in one of her rare fits of irritation. In fact they were so rare that they attracted the attention of everyone in the room, human and Pokemon alike. Asuka and Shimeti cowered against the floor.
"Sorry!" they both squeaked fearfully, and Combee immediately shrank back to her usual beachball size, her most endearing smile on her face.
"Much better! Now come on! Let's go find the poffin fairy and get tasty treats!"
And she bounced out of the room, humming to herself. Over the table with the humans, Michael silently thanked every deity in existence for Everstones.
The humming was cut short by a glow of light from down the corridor. For a horrifying moment, Michael worried that he had just jinxed himself.
"Oooh shiny!" Came Combee's predictable response. "Miss Emmy! Its shiny!"
The glow rose to a blinding sight that caught the attention of every living creature in the kitchen. Knives clattered forgotten against plates, as everyone willed the walls to vanish so that they could see what was happening as the glow died down.
There was a long silence through the whole Library... and then from somewhere in the corridor, Emily's voice squealed a fangirlish manner.
Dave poked his head out of the kitchen, and smiled. "Why yes. Yes she is."
The Shinx was a girl, and Emily named her Sanura. She was black and gold from her fuzzy round ears to the tips of her very ticklish paws, with not a hint of blue anywhere.
"Is shininess genetic in Pokemon?" Emily wondered aloud, as she tickled the newest member of her party under the chin. The flash Pokemon mewled and rubbed her head against her hand.
"No idea," Harriet shrugged. "Though I'm sure if you asked Alice nicely she could compile a nice encyclopaedia of research on the genetics and breeding of Pokemon – I mean you've seen her mountains of genetic research on cats, right?"
Emily frowned at the thought of that much reading. "Ehh... maybe not. Too much effort." She pulled a face. "And besides, I learned more about breeding today from all that H.S.O.W.A earlier than I ever wanted to know in my life."
"Daddy!" Combee headbutted her father in the elbow. "What's hache ess oow double yew ay mean?"
Michael rubbed his forehead. "I'll tell you another day sweetie..."
"Okay," Combee smiled, causing her trainer to sigh in relief. Fortunately Combee had such a short attention span – otherwise she'd probably still be trying to organise an expedition to catch the poffin fairy...
"Daddy?" Combee frowned, with the look of somebody who had just remembered a question that had been plaguing them all day.
"...where do babies come from?"
Michael turned a funny shade of pink at that, but he quickly realised he had an easy escape route. "From eggs, baby. You know that."
"I know that," Combee nodded, blinking up at him innocently. "But where do the eggs come from? How do they get made?"
The colour deepened to a brilliant shade of crimson. "Uhh..."
"Oh I always knew this day would come," the Darkness was practically giggling. "Sorry host, but you're on your own this time!"
"Fuck you very much for your support..."
Those inquisitive eyes probed him even more, raising a tide of emotions in Michael. Embarrassment, exasperation and – despite all of these – a great deal of paternal affection for his adorable little baby.
"Well Combee..." Michael took a deep breath, and decided he might as well go with the traditional broad strokes. "When a man and a woman – or a male and female Pokemon – love each other very much..."