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Daisy's Great Idea

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‘I swear, I will only be gone for two hours.’

Daisy stares at her little brother, and can see he's not convinced. He’s doing what he thinks is his most winning smile - the one he used to practice in the mirror as a kid - and that means he’s nervous. She isn’t sure if Red is too, but she never knows what's going through his head.

‘Just. Isn’t M around to babysit?' Blue asks, rubbing a hand through his hair, ‘This is more her scene.’

Daisy rolls her eyes, bouncing her daughter in her arms.

‘Masami has been helping me practice! She wants to see me up there. Besides, she always babysits,’ she says. She’s sure that Blue just thinks Red’s mother is some kind of Ultra-Mom with no interests outside of babying people. From his perspective, that probably seems true, but only because he requires so much babying.

‘What if I want to see your lecture?’ he says. Daisy raises her eyebrows.

You want to sit through a lecture about massage and aromatherapy?’

‘Yes?’

‘Liar,’ she says cheerfully, ‘C’mon, you and Red will do fine. Here, take her.’

She extracts Nina’s hand from her shirt and passes her over to her uncle. Blue takes her as though handling a particularly irritable Voltorb, one liable to explode at the slightest encouragement. Red just stares at her, as though he were wondering if she was going to do anything interesting soon. Neither of them are exactly glowing with paternal enthusiasm.

‘You used to deal with kids all the time at the gym,’ she points out. Blue huffs.

‘Yeah, ten year olds, Daise. Babies are kind of a different deal,’ he says, shooing Nina’s hands away from the buttons of his shirt, looking down at her, ‘Hey kiddo.  Careful, this is Kalosian silk. Can’t exactly fly over there to replace it on a whim.’

Nina blows a raspberry. Red, apparently having concluded human babies weren’t of the least interest to him, wanders off. Probably to go check the kitchen for snacks or something.

‘Besides,’ she says, as soon as Red was out of earshot, trying her best to sound innocent, ‘It might be good practice for you both.’

Blue scowls at her, face colouring.

‘We already have those two,’ Blue says, jabbing his chin to where Sylveon and Pikachu were somehow managing to take up the entire couch, ‘You seriously think we have time for another baby?’

‘Masami will be disappointed,’ Daisy comments, trying and failing to hide her amusement. Masami doesn’t actually care about grandkids, but it was extremely fun to mess with her little brother about it. Nina stops trying to pull the buttons off her uncle’s shirt and instead settles for shoving his necklace in her mouth.

‘You’re literally the worst,’ he replies, starting a battle with a baby that Daisy knows from experience he’ll lose, ‘I hope you crash and burn in your lecture.’

‘And I hope Nina doesn’t throw up on your favourite shirt,’ she replies as sweetly as possible. At his expression, she laughs and ruffles his hair. Sometimes, he really does look like the same bratty kid that tried to insist Red wasn’t allowed to borrow a map from her, even with how much he’s grown over the years.

‘But seriously, don’t worry,’ she says, just as Red wanders back in, having helped himself to a bagel. She leans down to press a quick kiss to Nina's forhead, scoops up her handbag, and quickly rifles through it to check her USB drive and notes are in there. Her phone buzzes in her jacket pocket - her cab has arrived outside. No time, Blue will just have to deal.

‘Bye, you’ll do great!’ she calls, as she rushes out the door.

‘Yeah! So will you! Terrible sister! You’ll be fantastic!’ Blue calls after her, as Nina starts clambering up to tug on his hair.

#

The lecture is a smash-hit. Over nibbles and complimentary glasses of wine at Pewter University, so many people come up to her to tell her how fascinating it was that Daisy is pink in the face and grinning ear to ear before she even manages to have her first canapé. Grandpa is off in Hoenn, but he texts her to let her know he’ll make time to watch the recording later (possibly due to Masami’s badgering).

She chats with everyone, from the psychologists interested in how her work could be applied in therapy, to the Pokémon behaviourists who want to know about type variations, to the botanists interested in the type of flowers she uses. In fact, she chats so long that she almost completely forgets she promised to only be away a couple hours.

Trying her best not to curse, she bids goodbye to the very nice woman (who doesn’t seem to notice her wedding ring) trying to talk her into visiting her garden in Ecruteak, and rushes outside. On a Friday night, cabs are not exactly easy to get hold of, but she eventually she manages to flag one down. Before long, a trainer and their Pidgeot drop down before her, gesturing for her to climb on.

Logically, she knows her baby brother is an adult man who has basically run a town (mostly) successful, raised several Pokémon, and now manages an advanced battling facility, mostly in his third language, at that. And Red is, for all his eccentricities, smart, capable, and gentle enough with Pokémon that some of that must transfer over to children. They haven't burned down the house and Nina will, at the least, be in one piece in a clean nappy.

Mostly, she doesn’t want to deal with Blue’s being in a huff with her for a week for leaving them longer than she promised.

She tips the rider, legs still shaking (why was flying the only transport between cities in Kanto?), and re-enters her home.

‘Hello? I’m sorry I’m late,’ she says. The house is very quiet. The lights are on in the kitchen, and the living room. A delighted laugh rings out from the kitchen, and she smiles, the anxiety leaving her body immediately. Sounds like Nina is having a good time.

She pokes her head into the kitchen.

Alakazam is balancing Nina in the crook of his arm, unperturbed by the tiny hands pulling on his whiskers, and levitating a bottle of milk in the air above him. Next to him, Red’s Charizard breathed on the bottle, gently warming it. They both glance over her as she peeks in, looking for all the world as though they were surprised to be interrupted.

‘Oh. Er,’ she says, too bemused for a second to even respond, 'Well. Looks like you two have everything under control.’

She slides the door closed and stands up straight, not sure whether to be annoyed or…no, well, she wasn’t sure why she expected a pair of trainers to do anything other than delegate to their Pokémon.

Plus, in all honesty, Alakazam was probably a better babysitter than most humans.

She slides open the door to living room, and is greeted by Red glancing up at her from the couch. Somehow, he looks perfectly comfortable even with Blue, Sylveon and Pikachu sleeping on him. He meets her eyes very briefly, and then lifts up the magazine he was reading, waving it. It was the article she wrote for Meditation & Mindfulness – she can see the cheesy photo they insisted taking of her surrounded by flowers and crystals. For a second, she isn't sure what he wants, but then he taps her picture.

‘Oh, uh,’ she says in a hushed voice, a bit startled to have Red talk to her directly, ‘Do you want to hear about my lecture?’

He nods, touching the lip of his cap.

‘Oh, well, of course that’s fine,’ she says, sitting down on a chair opposite with a smile. Blue snorts in his sleep, and Daisy drops her voice lower so as not to disturb either him or the Pokémon.

‘I can just run through the whole thing again, if you like?’