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TEEN: ¡Patito!

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Sometimes a family is a mom, a dad, a baba, and their Quaxly son.

Written for the Duckgarden event on the Bulbagarden forums

CW//Vomiting, hospitalization, child abandonment and references to childhood trauma, mentions of dysfunctional family and mental illness, mentions of crime and injury, some profanity, discussions of fertility, pregnancy, and fertility issues

He woke up in a little blue blanket in a little brown basket with a little white note. It was so early that he couldn’t see the sun, but the pitch black sky was starting to gain some color. It was so dark and scary. He wanted Mamá to be with him.

(“Be strong, my boy. I can’t take care of you any longer. I can’t have you call me Mamá anymore.”)

Those were the last things Mamá—no, she wasn’t Mamá anymore—Those were the last things she ever said to him. He remembered cold, pain, fear… He didn’t want to try to remember those things anymore. Those things were scary. Cold. The big, scary boat. The big, scary building. The big, scary new place he was in. Big Pokémon speaking words he couldn’t understand. Big things he had never seen before. Everything was too big. Too scary.

But every little Quaxly needed a Mamá or a Papá, at the very least. That’s what no-Mamá always said. Every little Quaxly needed someone to love them and care for them and protect them and feed them.

He huddled deeper into the blankets to hide from the morning cold. Why had he been left here? He didn’t need winds that howled at him like ghosts, that reached chilly hands under the blanket to bite him, that bit into his bill and feathers. He needed warm cuddles from loving wings. He needed headpats and reassurance that everything would be okay and that he was loved.

Growlowlowl.

He needed food.

Someone opened the door, and light flooded out into the dark dawn. Two very tall Pokémon stood in front of him: one had long, purple feathers on their head and blue ones on their body; the other had short, green feathers on their head and white and green ones on their body. The green-feathered one also seemed to have a white hat.

Wait just a minute! These weren’t Pokémon! These were humans! Like the ones who would give no-Mamá food. Like the ones on the big boat. Like the ones who had hurt no-Mamá…

The two humans looked at each other, then they looked back at him. They were smiling such kind smiles, and the purple-feathered human hugged the green-feathered human so kindly. These humans weren’t bad humans. Maybe they were even his new parents! The ones no-Mamá had told him about before saying goodbye.

“Manafí has answered our prayers,” the green-feathered human said.

Manafí? Who was that? It didn’t matter. He had parents now!

(“Papá!”)

“Uh… Um… I'm... I'm Babá.” The green-feathered human pointed to the purple-feathered one. “Uh... She's Mamá, Steven is Papá, and I'm Babá. Well, there’s also two brothers…”

("Who’s Ste-ven? Where’s Ste-ven? What's Babá? What’s bru-thor?") Mamá was the one who fed a baby Quaxly and cuddled a baby Quaxly and taught a baby Quaxly. Papá was the one who protected a baby Quaxly and found food for a baby Quaxly and trained a baby Quaxly. But what did a Babá do? No-Mamá had never told him about what a Babá was. And there were only two humans! Where was Steven?

"Um... well…” The green-feathered human smiled again. “A Babá is like a Mamá and a Papá, but a little bit of both. When Mamá and Babá are at work, Babá will be here to take care of you. Papá is away a lot, and sometimes Mamá and I are, too. But at least one of us will be there for you. Always. Does that make sense?"

Hm… maybe humans had three parents: A Mamá, a Papá, and a Babá.

(“Mamá… Babá…”) He looked back and forth and pointed back and forth between two of his three new parents. (“Mamá… Babá… Mamá. Babá. Mamá! Babá!”)

“Exactly!” Babá said. “And brother… ‘Brother’ es ‘hermano’. ‘Sister’ es ‘hermana’, y ‘sibling’ es ‘hermane’. I’ll teach you words en paldeano y chrysosiano y galarano, and Winona will teach you words en hinodeno y balgueno.”

Wow! Lots of new languages he had never heard of! And Babá and Mamá were going to teach him all of them! Hermanos, too… Did he ever have hermanos before now?

“And as for your name…” Babá thought long and hard. “How about Ferdinand?”

“Ferdinand?” Mamá asked. “That’s a big name for a little guy.”

“It means ‘brave traveller’. He’s a very brave little guy for travelling so far… wherever he came from. I’ll have to ask Juan or Professor Birch; either of them will probably have more information.”

A name? He—no, Ferdinand, what a nice name—had a name! And a big name, too! A big name that meant “brave traveller”... whatever that meant. He could learn!

(“Mamá! Babá!”)

Ferdinand jumped up, and Babá caught him. Babá hugged him, and then Mamá hugged them both.

Tears started welling up in Ferdinand’s eyes. He had a Mamá and a Babá. He had two someones to love him and care for him.

But there was a third. Babá had said so…

(“Where’s Papá?”)

-

Barely a few days had passed, and Feridinand’s new den was already under attack.

Ferdinand quacked angrily at the blue-haired human who came into the den. Who was this human? What was he doing here?! This human had to be an intruder, and intruders could destroy the den or—even worse—Mamá and Babá! Sure, all Ferdinand had to protect them from the human was a stick in his mouth and two moves, but he was ready to defend his new parents with everything he had.

“Hello, Steven,” Babá said cheerfully. “Wonderful that you could make it.”

“Wallace? Winona?” The human—Steven? Babá knew him? Why was Babá being so friendly? This “Steven” was an intruder!—stared down at Ferdinand, body shaking and eyes wide with fear. Good! The intruder was scared! Maybe he would go away!

Ferdinand thought of how no-Mamá had defended him from intruders, but now it was his turn to protect Mamá and Babá.

“Ferdinand,” Mamá replied cheerfully. “He’s our son. And yes, ‘our’ includes you too, Steven.”

Ferdinand turned his head back over to Babá and Mamá. They both knew this human? They were… friends with this human?!

Babá knelt down so he could explain: “Ferdinand, este es Steven, tu Papá.”

Ohhhhhh! This was Papá! Papá was back from finding food!… Where was the food?

“Paldean, huh?” Papá looked down at Ferdinand, smiling. “Huh, you should have told me you were going to Paldea so I could look at the Tera—” His eyes widened, and his smile disappeared as his head snapped back up to Mamá and Babá. “Papá?!?!”

“You’re Papá,” Babá calmly explained to Steven, “Winona is Mamá, and I’m Babá.” He said that so wisely. Babá was very wise.

Papá put a hand on his chin, thinking for a few moments. He still looked confused.

“‘Ba… Baba’?” Papá said. “Doesn’t that mean ‘saliva’?”

“Accent on the second ‘a’,” Babá explained, “like how ‘papa’ means ‘potato’ and ‘mama’ means—”

“Wallace!” Papá gasped. “Not in front of the kid!”

Babá smiled. “See? You’re making a good Papá already.”

Ferdinand looked up at Papá and dropped his stick. This was Papá! This was Papá!

(“Papá!!”)

Ferdinand jumped up to Papá, who managed to catch him in his arms. Ferdinand pointed to his other parents and quacked, (“Mamá! Babá!”)

“Awww,” Babá cooed, “he likes you.”

“He does?” Papá asked.

“He does,” Mamá replied. “Don’t worry. I speak bird. Maybe not bird Paldean yet, but I’m getting there.”

“Thank goodness,” Papá chuckled. “Though… I’ve never seen this species of Pokémon before.”

“Juan said he’s a Pokémon called Quaxly,” Babá said. “Apparently, they’re a starter Pokémon species in his father’s home region.” He gently ran a hand through Ferdinand’s hair. “We… found him on our doorstep with a note from his parental guardian… former parental guardian now, I suppose.”

Ferdinand quacked happily. He liked it when Babá brushed or combed his hair. Babá was good at making Ferdinand’s hair pretty.

Papá began pacing back and forth across the hallway. Ferdinand felt like he was flying! These humans were so much fun!

“I just don’t understand,” Papá mumbled. “I just don’t understand. What is a Pokémon from a region in Europa doing all the way across the ocean—or even several oceans—in Hinode?”

“Flying?” Mamá suggested. That was very wrong; Ferdinand came to this place on a big, scary boat with big, scary boxes. It was dark and scary and scary and dark and—

“Ferdinand, is everything okay?” Papá asked. “Are you cold?”

Papá took his red neck thingy and wrapped it around Ferdinand. It was very soft and silky.

This neat home wasn’t like the boat. It was bright and friendly, and the humans in it weren't big and scary. They were kind and loving.

“He looks scared,” Babá said, brows furrowed. “Ferdinand,” he whispered softly as he stroked Ferdinand’s hair again, “¿Estás bien?”

Ferdinand looked up at Babá, then he nodded.

(“Babá!”) Babá and Mamá and Papá would make sure Ferdinand was okay. Ferdiand was sure of that!

“Well what do we do now,” Papá asked, “bring him to the Pokémon Protection Agency Office in Slateport City?”

“We keep him,” Mamá stated.

“Of course, we—“ Papá froze, staring at Babá and Mamá. “Keep him?!”

“What?” Mamá asked. “Do people release Pokémon by putting them in little baskets on doorsteps? No. They release them in their natural habitats. So why isn’t Ferdinand even in his home region?”

“Steven,” Babá said, “whoever left this child on our doorstep either can’t take care of him or doesn’t deserve to.”

“And also,” Mamá said, frowning a sad frown, “it’s been over a year since Wallace and I first started trying to conceive a child, and well… I’m… starting to think that either one or both of us are able to bear children.”

Mamá looked very, very sad, and so did Babá; he was leaning against the wall and staring at the ground. Whatever Mamá was talking about, it was probably serious. Mamá used a lot of big words like “economy” and “complications” and “traumatic”. Babá did more often, but when Mamá used them, it meant serious business.

(“Mamá…”)

Mamá smiled at Ferdinand, but she didn’t say anything.

Ferdinand looked up at Papá. His expression was hard to read, but he was probably thinking about what the other two had said.

“Well then,” Papá finally said, “do Pokémon kids have to be registered with the local government?”

-

“Tell me a bit about your marriage.”

A human with long, brown head feathers and neat, blue body feathers was talking to Ferdinand’s parents and older brother: Hermano Azulito. There was another brother—Hermano Wally—but he was busy training to be a “Champion”. Hermano Azulito wasn’t always at the den either, it seemed; he lived in a nest called “Kanto”.

Ferdinand was learning all kinds of words in all kinds of languages. There were these magical, colorful sticks called “crayons” in galarano , “kureyon” in hinodeno , “kragiónia” in chrysosiano , “keuleyong” in balgueno , and “crayones” in paldeano. All of the words sounded similar, but they were all spelled in different ways with different letters. The humans in this new place—Hoenn? Hinode? Sootopolis City? There were lots of names—they seemed to mostly speak either galarano, chrysosiano, or hinodeno.

The grown-up humans were talking about boring words. What was a beeyoose? What language was it? Why were there so many colors of it: drug, fizzycal, men-tall? What was a disorder, and why did Babá have so many of them? It didn’t sound like a fun thing like crayons. It sounded boring. You couldn’t even draw with it, it seemed.

So Ferdinand stuck to drawing with crayons and let the grown-ups talk about their boring words.

There were lots of amazing things in this den: a cold box with more food than Ferdinand ever thought was possible, soft, cozy things called “pillows” in galarano, and a pond big enough for lots and lots of Pokémon! Babá said the Pokémon were Ferdinand’s extended family: primos and primas, tíos and tías!

“Ferdinand?” Mamá called. “Would you please come to the dining table?”

Ferdinand looked up. Everyone was looking at him, and he walked over to them with the hope that they would decide to do fun things.

“It’s the duck of the hour!” Hermano Azulito cheered from the table as Ferdinand walked in. He seemed very upbeat and friendly—and strong and smart, too!

(“Azulito!!!”)

“Yeah! I like ducks, too!!!”

“He said your name, Blue,” Mamá chuckled.

Hermano Azulito looked at Mamá, then back at Ferdinand. “I like my name, too!!!”

Mamá stood up so she could pick up Ferdinand and sit him in the high chair.

“Ferdinand, this is Mrs. Fujimoto,” Mamá explained. “She’s here to help us adopt you so you can be a part of our family.”

Ferdinand looked up at the brown-feathered lady, who held out a wing toward him. Was she… going to pick him up? Why was she leaving her hand out in front of Ferdinand like that? Was she going to attack him?

“Ferdinand,” Papá said calmly, “she wants to shake your hand—wing. She wants to shake your wing. As a greeting.”

Steven took Fuji’s wing in his and moved it up and down. “Like this!” He let go of her wing. “Now you try. And remember, when shaking hands or wings, you use your right hand.”

After a second of hesitation, Ferdinand held out his wing and shook Fuji’s. Well this was a fun greeting! And Fuji was smiling, too!

“Ferdinand,” she said, “can you tell us about your life before meeting this family?”

Ferdinand’s smile fell. Cold. Dark. Scary. Mean, angry people. Hunger. Fear. Bad, bad—

“Ferdinand? Is everything okay? You’re shaking.”

Fuji didn’t look angry; she looked sad.

(“Cold. Scary. Big boxes.”)

“Did your parents before these two bring you to Hoenn?”

(“Hoenn? What’s a Hoenn?”)

“It’s a region, like how Paldea is. It’s very, very far from Paldea, though.”

(“Babá said that Ferdinand means ‘brave traveller’. I travelled far with no-Mamá.”)

“Is no-Mamá your mother before you met Wallace and Winona?”

Ferdinand nodded.

“Did you have a Papá, too?”

Ferdinand shook his head. (“No-Mamá told me that every Quaxly has a Mamá and a Papá, but she never told me why I didn’t have a Papá.”) Ferdinand smiled. (“But now I have a Mamá and a Papá and a Babá!”)

“A Babá?”

“That would be me,” Babá said as he raised his hand.

“Then who’s Papá?” Fuji asked.

Papá raised his hand. Fuji raised an eyebrow.

“Three parents?”

“I have five,” Hermano Azulito bragged.

Ferdinand gasped. Humans could have five parents?!

“I see…” Fuji mumbled, a bit… confused? She was a human too! Didn’t she know that humans had three or five parents?

“Wallace, Winona, Steven,” Fuji said, “have you ever considered adopting a human child?”

“What’s wrong with adopting a Quaxly?” Mamá asked.

“Nothing’s wrong with it, but have you ever considered options besides conception prior to meeting Ferdinand?”

“Picking up ducks that appear on the doorstep,” Babá said, like he was telling a funny story. But then his smile fell. “More seriously, we… we have considered it, but pride always got in the way. But now that Ferdinand is here, I don’t think I could live without him. I think he’s a miracle. Manafí is a deity of the sea, are they not? And Ferdinand is a Water type. I think this is fate.”

His eyes widened.

“We need to take him to the doctor to get him checked out, don’t we?” Babá asked. “What if he’s sick? We need to take him now!”

“Don’t worry, Winona,” Papá said, “we’ll make an appointment.”

“We need to get him clothes and toys!” Mamá gasped. “And duck friends, too! Ducks are very social birds!”

Fuji watched the three, and Ferdinand watched Fuji. She started to smile.

“Well,” Fuji said, “this might not be the… most conventional family structure, but there’s a lot of love in it, and that’s all that matters when raising a child. I think you’re the best parents a child—human or child—could ask for.”

-

After days of “paperwork” and “checkups”, Ferdinand was now the luckiest Quaxly alive!

That’s right—he had a name now, and he had not one, but three parents: Mamá, who could speak to birds; Babá, who could speak to fish; and Papá, who could speak to rocks. Papá was constantly travelling far away in other regions, but Mamá and Babá promised he would come back with presents. And Papá always did. He always came back with a pebble or two for Ferdinand. Pebbles were round and smooth and pretty.

Oh yeah, and Ferdinand also had a hat: a dark blue sailor hat from Babá. Mamá had a hat, Babá had a hat, and now Ferdinand had a hat just like them.

There were Pokémon, too! Tía Vivi the Milotic was calm and gentle. Tía Rori the Altaria was cheerful and peppy. Both of them gave good hugs. And good advice.

(“Focus your Water Gun a bit higher. You’ll be able to hit with the trajectory… there you go!”)

(“Flap your wings just a bit more. You’re getting there… you’re getting there… You’re flying! You’re flying!”)

But those two were away with Mamá and Babá a lot for work, so Ferdinand would play with the other members of the family: Tío Macmac the Tentacruel, who was scary looking but smart; Tío Donny the Ludicolo, who was super fun; Tío Khonsu the Honchkrow, who was always ready to play fun games like Cops and Robbers and Blackjack; and Tía Rori’s children Primo Hwanung and Prima Ama, two Swablu who were Ferdinand’s age and who he could play with.

But sometimes, or at least in the first few months, Mamá and Babá would take him along to work. Work was a thing humans did to make “money” (“dinero” in paldeano , “okane” in hinodeno , “chrímata” in chrysosiano , and “don” in balgueno), which they used to get food. Mamá was a “Gym Leader”, and Babá taught Hermano Wally how to be a “Champion”.

-

Ferdinand looked up at Babá and the human with the small, funny looking, pink hair he was talking to.

“Who’s this little guy?” the human with the small, funny looking hair asked.

“This is my son Ferdinand,” Babá explained.

The human with the small, funny hair looked down at Ferdinand. There was… confusion? Sadness? Something in his eyes.

“You still sure you’re doing okay?”

“Oh Sidney, we’ve been wonderful. Ferdinand is the greatest blessing the heavens could have given us.”

“What does granny think of him?”

“Yiayia doesn’t really understand, and some of the others think I’ve gone mad.”

“What about Winona’s family?”

“Barely in contact with them save Anabel and Bugsy. I, uh, don’t want to imagine what Theresa would think of Winona and me.”

Sidney nodded. “Well, your bird son sure beats all the crazy bitches in your family.”

“Sidney!” Babá gasped. “Don’t curse in front of my child!”

Sidney shrugged. “He’s gonna have to learn ‘em sooner or later. It's a cruel world out there. Better to teach him than have some rando do it with a slap on the face.”

“Sidney, I would much prefer that my son not know about how cruel the world is. I deal with enough cynics in my life.”

“How many?”

“How many Sidneys are in the room?”

“Well, let’s see…”

Babá sighed and scooped Ferdinand up in his arms.

“Fine. Fine. I won’t curse in front of your kids.” Sidney smiled. “Is he gonna battle like his mom… aunt… sister… What's Victoria to him?“

“She’s a ‘maternal figure but not necessarily the maternal figure or mother’, like what Glacia is to me.” Babá patted Ferdinand’s head. Ferdinand smiled and nuzzled against Babá. “And as for battling… Well, if it’s what Ferdinand wants to do, then I won’t stop him. If not, I won’t force him. My Spheal Duncan doesn’t really like battling, so he doesn’t.”

Tío Duncan was awesome! He was fun to swim with, and he helped Babá when he was sad.

“Well,” Sidney looked at Ferdinand, “what do you want to do, Ferdinand?”

“Quack quack quack quack!”

Sidney looked up at Babá. “What does that mean?”

Babá sighed. “‘I want to be funny like the funny human with the funny looking hair.’ His words, not mine.”

Sidney gave Ferdinand a thumbs up, and Ferdinand gave one back.

-

Ferdinand was sitting at a table with all of Winona’s friends. It was Take Your Kid to Work Day with Mamá, and Ferdinand got to meet all of her work friends—including Abuelo Juan! Abuelo Juan was super smart and super kind and super awesome. The best Abuelo ever!

“The Rustboro Gym renovations are going well…”

“...What do you mean my Gym can’t have a wave pool?...”

“Can Tate and I have the week off so we can go to Alola with our parents?...”

Ferdinand sat still and quietly for the whole meeting. His wings were clasped together on the table as he sat in a kiddie chair from the food court on the first floor of the building. He didn’t want to interrupt Mamá’s work. Besides, it made him feel like a big businessmon. He didn’t understand everything the other humans were saying, though. Probably big important business stuff. He nodded when other people nodded like a true businessmon.

Finally, the meeting ended. Everyone left. Well, everyone but Abuelo Juan and Mamá.

“Ferdinand is a very polite Quaxly,” Abuelo said. “You, Wallace, and Steven have raised him well.”

Mamá picked Ferdinand up. “He’s our little miracle. He’s brought so much joy to our life. He’s brought so much joy to our… familia. Is that how you say ‘family’?”

Abuelo Juan nodded. “My my, you learn quickly.”

“I want to learn. For Ferdinand.”

Abuelo Juan’s smile fell. “Cockburn has… not been saying the kindest things about you and Ferdinand.”

“Is it because of the ‘vigilante Meowthshit’ or our son? If it’s because of our son, I might have to finally snap at him.”

Ferdinand quacked angrily at Mamá. (“You said a no-no Sidney word!”)

At that, Mamá laughed. “Oh, Ferdinand.” She looked back up at Abuelo Juan. “It’s one thing to insult me, but he’s crossing a line by dragging an innocent child into this.” She kissed the top of Ferdinand’s head. The smile was back on her face. That made Ferdinand happy. When Mamá was happy, he was happy. “I don’t care what Cockburn or Wallace’s family or anyone says. Pokémon are kin. Pokémon are family. And if and when Wallace and I conceive a child… they’re not replacing Ferdinand, and Ferdinand won’t outshine them. They’ll both be just as much family as anyone else.”

Abuelo Juan smiled. “'Water is just as strong as blood'.”

“I remember Wallace telling me that long ago… Everyday, I begin to think that’s more and more true.”

-

“Shh… it’s okay, darling. Just get it all up. Get it all up…”

Mamá and Babá were in the bath-nest. From where he stood in the sleeping-nest—right in front of the bath-nest door—Ferdinand could hear Babá whispering to Mamá. It had been a while, and Mamá hadn’t seemed well all week. Was she okay?

(“Come on, Ferdinand.”)

Ferdinand looked up. Tía Vivi was looking down at him. She was so tall, so brave, so regal.

(“Is Mamá okay?”) Five months had passed without any problems, at least according to Tía Rori. But then came the next two months, when Mamá and Babá began staying out later and later; sometimes, they even needed to spend the night at the hospital. That was always scary. Was that why Mamá was ill?

(“She’ll be okay,’) Tía Vivi whispered. (“Now come on. Let’s give Wallace and Winona some privacy.”)

As Tía Vivi and Ferdinand began to leave the sleeping-nest, the door to the bath-nest opened. Mamá was leaning against Babá, her eyes glazed and her usual smile now a tired frown.

“It’s okay, darling,” Babá whispered to her. “You must feel so much better now.”

“I don’t.” Mamá whispered. “I feel awful.”

Babá helped Mamá lay down on the bed.

“It’s okay,” he whispered as he tucked her in under the covers. “I’ll call in from work tomorrow so I can take care of you.” He kissed her forehead. “I’ll be right back with some water and tea.”

“‘Might need a bucket, too.” Mamá’s voice was starting to slur.

“Of course, darling.”

“Can you also get Aurora?”

“Of course, darling.”

As Babá closed the door to the sleeping-nest, his smile fell. Tía Vivi rested her head against his.

“I’m worried about her, Victoria,” Babá confessed. “She said she’s been feeling unwell for a week now, and she’s just been feeling worse and worse.”

Ferdinand pulled at Babá’s pant leg. He didn’t like it when Babá was sad, especially when he was very, very sad. Sometimes he got so sad that he would scream and cry in the middle of the night. It was very scary.

Babá smiled at Ferdinand and picked him up. “It’s okay, leventi mou. Don’t be worried just because I’m worried. Sometimes I get worried over trivial things.”

Ferdinand cocked his head. (“Trivial?”) What language was that?

“Small, unimportant things,” Babá replied. “Originates from Latin. Basically the same in galarano and paldeano . “Kudaranai” in hinodeno. “Asímantos” in chrysosiano . Um… I’ll have to ask Winona what it is in balgueno .”

(“Trivial… Kudaranai… Asímantos… Trivial… Kudaranai… Asímantos…”) Ferdinand smiled. He always liked it when Babá explained words and languages.

“It’s… nothing you should worry about. I’ll be okay. I’m certain that Winona will be okay, too.”

-

A week passed. There wasn't a routine anymore. Before, Babá and Mamá would go to work for a while—or sometimes what felt like forever. But they would always come back with Hermano Wally. Ferdinand and the others would be there to greet them. Hermano Wally would play tavli with Ferdinand. Babá and Mamá would have dinner with the rest of the family, maybe read Ferdinand a story, maybe draw with him, and tuck him into bed and kiss him goodnight.

But now things were different. When Mamá wasn’t at work, she was in her sleeping-nest. When Babá wasn’t at work, he was taking care of Mamá, along with Hermano Wally. Ferdinand wasn’t allowed to go into the sleeping-nest. When Babá was downstairs—making tea in the eating-nest or talking to Tía Vivi—he was too busy to talk to or even notice Ferdinand. Not even Hermano Wally would play with him.

Even then, Babá and Mamá had to go to work. Sure, sometimes Babá would take Mamá home because she was sick, but still. What was so special about work? Couldn’t they focus on making Mamá better or focus on Ferdinand and how worried he was?

At one point, Babá fell on the floor of the eating-nest and started sobbing. Not even Ferdinand’s hugging could help. Tío Duncan had to take care of Babá: talk to him by clapping, give him special small foods, and call Abuelo Juan to help.

But at least Babá noticed Ferdinand again. At least Babá hugged Ferdinand again. They were on the sofa, the three of them. Abuelo Juan hugged Babá, and Babá hugged Ferdinand. Babá even had a blanket on and had it wrapped around Ferdinand. It was like wrapping wings around him.

“I’m scared, Juan,” Babá sobbed. “I don’t want anything to happen to her. I just want her to be okay.”

“Shhhh… I know, my child. Winona is going to be okay. Everything is going to be okay.”

Everything is going to be okay. When were things supposed to start being okay?

“To astéri lámpei sto paidí

“fos kai kýmata thanátou

“ákouge to paidí Tziráchi

“ákouge i efchí Tziráchi”


Abuelo Juan was singing a song. Ferdinand didn’t understand all of it, but it sounded like a sad song, and he did recognize “Tziráchi”. Babá said they were a magical friend who could grant wishes and help the sick. Babá believed in magical friends, and Mamá believed in nature friends.

Ferdinand hugged Babá tighter as Babá's sobs slowly dwindled into shaky, deep breaths.

(“Babá? Can Tziráchi really grant wishes?”)

There was silence. What did that silence mean? Did Tziráchi not grant wishes? Did Babá not have an answer? Babá always had answers! Why didn’t Babá have an answer?

“Sometimes,” Abuelo Juan replied. “Tziráchi does not have all of the answers. Tziráchi does not have all of the powers of the universe. Nobody does. But… with a prayer here and a bit of help on our part there, with a miracle there and a bit of love there… they will always find a way to make things right.” Abuelo Juan patted Babá’s hand before he ran a hand through Ferdinand’s hair. “ Un patito como tú y tus tres padres vos merecéis la paz.”

(“¿La paz?”)

“Es… una cosa hermosa.”


That was a stupid answer! There were lots of beautiful things! What made la paz special?

Babá's breathing was soft, gently brushing on Ferdinand’s hair. He was asleep. If Tziráchi was a star, maybe they could grant wishes through dreams.

(“Tziráchi, I wish for Babá and Mamá and Papá and Abuelo and everyone in nuestra familia to be happy.”)

-

It was almost three in the morning, but Mamá and Babá hadn’t come back from work yet.

Hermano Wally was back. He seemed worried, but when Ferdinand asked what was wrong, he would just say “I don’t know.”

Despite the worrying, Hermano Wally went to sleep at their usual bedtime. Under normal circumstances, Tía Vivi and Tía Rori wouldn’t like Ferdinand staying up past his bedtime, but they weren’t home to tell him to go to bed, and Tío Khonsu was more than happy to stay up with Ferdinand all night.

Ferdinand loved Tío Khonsu, but he wanted Mamá and Babá. He wanted Mamá and Babá to come back home from work. He wanted Mamá and Babá to be okay. He wanted Mamá and Babá to be happy.

Wait! Maybe they were happy! Maybe Tziráchi had come to Mamá and Babá to grant Ferdinand’s wish. Maybe that’s why they were so late. Grown ups talking always took a long time for some reason, even though they talked about boring things. Was Tziráchi a grown up? They were apparently thousands of years old. That was a long time. Tziráchi was older than Abuelo Juan!

-

Ferdinand woke up as the sun was rising. He was resting in Tío Khonsu’s smooth plumage, and someone was opening the door.

(“Mamá? Babá?”)

It was Papá! Ferdinand jumped up and ran over to him. Ferdinand never got to see Papá; he was always away in caves or somewhere for work. It was so exciting to see him again!

But where were Mamá and Babá?

Papá was fidgeting with his keys as he walked through the main hall. He was frowning, but when he saw Ferdinand, he smiled a small smile.

“Hello there, Ferdinand. You’re up late.”

(“Papá! You’re home!”)

Ferdinand hugged Papá's leg. Papá picked him up and booped him on the beak with a finger.

“Have you been a good boy while I was away?”

(“Sure have!”)

Papá chuckled and reached a hand into his jacket pocket.

“Well, I’m just going to hope that you have been a good boy, just this once. Because I got you a present.” He pulled out a pebble. It was bluish-gray and round and shiny.

(“Pebble!”)

Ferdinand took the pebble with delight. Another pebble for his pebble pile! Papá was so nice; he always came back with pretty little pebbles.

“Khonsu, would you come with me to the kitchen?” Papá said as he put Ferdinand down on the floor.

Tío Khonsu nodded. Ferdinand cocked his head.

(“Can I come too?”) Ferdinand asked.

Steven and Tío Khonsu walked into the eating-nest. Ferdinand followed them, but then Steven stopped and looked down at him.

“Ferdinand, Khonsu and I are having an important adult conversation,” Papá sighed. “And you should be asleep, young man,” Papá teased. “Where do you usually sleep?”

Ferdinand pointed a wing towards a glass door in the sofa-nest that led to the patio outside.

The patio was surrounded by white, rocky walls that enclosed a small field of grass and a deep pool of night blue water twinkling with the reflections of stars.

Ferdinand guided Papá over to a hole-cave in the rocks, a hole-cave big enough to hold a small, Quaxly-sized bed and a pile of pebbles. Ferdinand ran over to place his new pebble on the pile.

He looked up at Papá. (“Where are Mamá and Babá?”)

“Yeah, it’s a nice collection,” Steven said.

Ferdinand puffed up his cheeks. Papá wasn’t listening!

(“Mamá! Babá! I want Mamá and Babá!”)

“Do you… Do you want to know where Wallace and Winona are?” Steven knelt down to Ferdinand. “New idea: say Mamá.”

(“Mamá.”)

“Now say Babá.”

(“Babá.”)

“Now say Mamá, then Babá. Do that a few times.”

(“Mamá. Babá. Mamá. Babá. Mamá. Babá.”) When was Papá going to say where Mamá and Babá were?

“Cool. I think I know how to say “Mamá” and “Babá" in duck now. Great. Cool.” Papá smiled. “I’m getting smart.”

Ferdinand stamped his feet. (“Where are Mamá and Babá?!”)

Papá… frowned? What was wrong?

“Ferdinand,” Papá sighed, “Winona and Wallace… are going to be away for some time.”

Ferdinand cocked his head. His anger was starting to calm down. Sometime? How long was sometime? And why?

“Winona is sick, and she had to be taken to the hospital.”

Sick? The hospital?!?! The hospital was only for very sick or very hurt people!

Ferdinand ran in circles, quacking nervously.

“Please, please don’t worry, kid. She’s doing much better. The people and Pokémon at the hospital are taking good care of her, and she’s…”

Ferdinand looked up. Papá smiled a bright smile, though a few tears started rolling down his face. “…she’s going to be just fine.” Why was he smiling?! Mamá was sick! “But you’ve gotta get some sleep. It’s way past your bedtime.”

Ferdinand squirmed and shouted as Papá picked him up again. (“I wanna see Mamá! I wanna see Mamá!”) Tears stung his eyes. Would Mamá be okay? Where was Babá?

Cold. Hunger. Fear. Fear. Fear. Fear. No. He thought he was safe. He thought he was safe with Mamá and Papá and Babá. But now he was losing Mamá again. He was losing Mamá again. He was losing Mamá and Babá and maybe Papá too.

Papá patted Ferdinand’s head, smiling—smiling?!?!

“Ferdinand, I know you're scared, but it’s going to be okay!”

(“Mamá! Babá! Mamá! Babá!”)

“Shit shit shit…” Papá whispered. “Ferdinand! Ferdinand! Calm down! They’re going to be okay!”

Mamá wasn’t okay. Babá wasn’t okay. Nothing was okay. Nothing was okay. Nothing was okay.

But then Papá’s arms were around him. Papá’s strong and rough hands were holding him. Papá was rocking him back and forth. It made Ferdinand miss Babá and Mamá’s singing, but it made him feel… safe again. Ferdinand was safe with Papá. Ferdinand was safe. Ferdinand was sleepy.

(“M-Mamá… Babá…”)

-

Ferdinand woke up on the sofa in the living room. A soft, dark blue blanket was wrapped around him. There was talking coming from the eating-nest.

“How many months?” That was Hermano Wally.

“Three months.” And that was Papá. But… where were Mamá and Babá?

As Ferdinand stirred awake, he heard footsteps.

“Ferdinand, are you awake?” Papá called.

Yawning, Ferdinand looked up and over the sofa. Papá was standing in the doorway to the kitchen, holding a pan with… pancakes! Ferdinand loved pancakes, especially with Wacan Berry jam.

“Good morning.” Papá beamed a smile. “Wallace called today, and they said that we could visit them and Winona. How’s about we do that after breakfast?”

-

The hospital was very bright and clean. Ferdinand's feet made fun plat plat plat sounds on the tile floor, Papá's shoes made fun click click click sounds, and Hermano Wally’s shoes made fun clop clop clop sounds. Everyone in the hospital seemed very professional and busy.

Eventually, they stopped in front of a pretty woman with swirly, pink hair and a white dress. A Blissey stood by her side.

“Mr. Stone!” the woman greeted. “It’s wonderful to see you!”

The Blissey bowed to Papá and Hermano Wally, which was when she noticed Ferdinand. She chirped happily: (“Hello there! My name is Tsubaki! What about you?”)

The woman looked down at Ferdinand too. “Oh, and who’s your dapper little friend?”

“Ferdinand,” Papá replied. “He’s… uh… my son. Wallace and Winona’s, too.”

The woman and Tsubaki looked at each other with cheerful smiles.

“Does he know yet?” the woman asked Papá.

(“Know what?”) Ferdinand asked.

Papá shook his head. “How’s Winona doing?”

“Much better. She’s going to be taking an antihistamine to relieve the nausea. It seems to be working well alongside ginger.”

(“Where’s Mamá?! I want to see Mamá!”)

Tsubaki took Ferdinand’s hand and said, (“Come on. Let’s go see your other two parents.”)

-

Mamá was sitting up in bed. Babá was sitting in a chair by her bedside and leaning against her. His eyes were closed; he seemed to be asleep. Well, he was until Mamá saw Papá and Ferdinand, when she gently tapped him awake. Tía Rori and Tía Vivi were there too, on either side of the bed, and even Hermano Azulito had come! He was standing in the corner with his fun game-box. Sometimes Hermano Azulito let Ferdinand play games on it.

“Please tell me that you got sleep,” Papá sighed.

“How could I possibly sleep last night, Steven?!” Babá gasped with dramatic and flailing gestures of his hand. “Between conflicting feelings of shock, fear, joy, worry and everything else the heart can feel, how was I supposed to be tired enough to fall asleep?!”

"But you always say that sleep is important to stay beautiful," Hermano Wally said.

“Are you tired enough now?” Papá sighed.

“...Yes, but now that you’re here, I probably shouldn’t be sleeping.” Babá looked at Ferdinand and smiled. “Besides, we have to tell Ferdinand the big news.”

(“Big news?”)

Mamá sat up straighter and held out her hands so Tsubaki could hand Ferdinand over to her. Mamá placed him in front of her.

“Ferdinand,” Mamá said, “you’re going to be a big brother.”

Ferdinand cocked his head. At that, Mamá placed her hands on her stomach.

“There’s a little baby growing inside of me. Growing a baby is making me very tired, but with medicine and help from the doctors, I’ve been getting better.”

(“You're going to lay eggs?”)

Mamá laughed and picked up Ferdinand so she could hug him. “No. Humans don’t lay eggs. It’s going to be a few months before your younger sibling is born.”

(“Humans don’t lay eggs? Lie.”)

That got a laugh out of everyone. Well, everyone except Papá.

“What did he say?” he asked.

“Ferdinand doesn’t understand that humans give live birth,” Babá chuckled.

“Good,” Hermano Azulito teased.

Ferdinand looked up at Papá. (“Papá! I’m gonna be a big brother!”)

Wow! Wow! A younger sibling! Ferdinand was going to have a younger sibling! He hugged Winona’s stomach and looked around the room. He was so lucky to have such a wonderful family, a wonderful family who loved him. And now he was going to have a younger sibling. He was so happy! This was the best family ever!

“Quack quack.” (“Hello, little sibling. I can’t wait to see you!”)

Languages:

paldeano - español/Spanish
chrysosiano - griego/Greek
galarano - inglés/English
hinodeno - japonés/Japanese
balgueno - coreano/Korean

These are the terms for languages in Paldean/Spanish, for the Galarian/English words:

paldeano - Paldean
chrysosiano - Chrysosian
galarano - Galarian
hinodeno - Hinodego
balgueno - Balgeunese

Translations (Spanish):

“Ferdinand, este es Steven, tu Papá.” - "Ferdinand, this is Steven, your dad."

“¿Estás bien?” - "Are you okay?"

primos and primas, tíos and tías! - primos and primas are cousins, tíos are uncles, and tías are aunts

Abuelo - Grandpa

Un patito como tú y tus tres padres vos merecéis la paz - A duckling like you and your three parents deserve peace.

“Es… una cosa hermosa.” - "It's... a beautiful thing."

nuestra familia - our family

Translations (Greek):

Tavli - a Greek version of the game backgammon

leventi mou - my brave man

Song of Tziráchi (Greek):
“To astéri lámpei sto paidí

“fos kai kýmata thanátou

“ákouge to paidí Tziráchi

“ákouge i efchí Tziráchi”

"The star shines on the child

"Light and waves of death

"Listen to the child's wish, Jirachi

"Hear the child's wish, Jirachi"

Other:

Babá - A term of endearment for a nonbinary parent. It was the term that vibed with me the most, and from my research, there isn't a word in Spanish that overlaps (baba, saliva, is pronounced BA-ba, while Babá is pronounced ba-BA. Do note that Babá is also a term of endearment for one's father in Greek, but something something Sootopolitans came to Hoenn before Turkish influence, something something Babá as a term of endearment for father comes from Turkish.
 
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Alrighty, here's some approximation of a review!

First and most importantly, Ferdinand is precious and must be protected at all costs. I really enjoyed his childlike perspective on everything, being aware of what's going on in simple terms, but not really understanding the way an adult would. It feels a very effective way to write a character like him. Especially so when you start getting into the scenes of Winona being unwell, and the rest of the family sparing more time to look after her - I really felt Ferdinand's sense of fear and helplessness, and his feeling that something is very wrong but lack of understanding of what was actually going on. Having it turn out that Winona was pregnant was a good twist, because the signs should have been obvious from almost any other character's point of view, and it's also nice to let the story end on a happy note, despite feeling like it was building up to something bad happening. (I'm assuming this is a oneshot - if not, consider me excited to see what's next.)

On a more minor I like the way you mix in bits of different languages, it gives a nice hint of a wider world. Though I'll confess I don't actually know what the title means.

In terms of issues, I really don't have a lot to comment on. I think there was one instance, about halfway in, when you wrote 'Papá' instead of 'Babá', and near the end, you refer to the other Pokemon as 'Mamá Rori and Mamá Vivi', rather than using 'Tía' (which I assume means 'auntie' or something, but I may be wrong, I'm not much of a linguist). In terms of anything that's not just a simple fix, though, I really didn't find anything, I just enjoyed the story a lot and didn't really have any problems with it.

Well, it's late and I'm operating on somewhat scattered thoughts and limited brain capacity right now, so this will have to do. Hope this approximation of a review is of some use or interest, or just brightens your day a little bit. And thanks for challenging me to review something, this was a great read I might not have had otherwise!
 
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Alrighty, here's some approximation of a review!
Hello there! Glad I could inspire a thing :p
First and most importantly, Ferdinand is precious and must be protected at all costs. I really enjoyed his childlike perspective on everything, being aware of what's going on in simple terms, but not really understanding the way an adult would. It feels a very effective way to write a character like him.
Love Ferdinand. Is good duck.
Especially so when you start getting into the scenes of Winona being unwell, and the rest of the family sparing more time to look after her - I really felt Ferdinand's sense of fear and helplessness, and his feeling that something is very wrong but lack of understanding of what was actually going on.
"Adults going through whump but told from a child's POV" is one of my favorite tropes. I'll try to find exactly what my reasoning is because I promise I wrote it down somewhere.
Having it turn out that Winona was pregnant was a good twist, because the signs should have been obvious from almost any other character's point of view, and it's also nice to let the story end on a happy note, despite feeling like it was building up to something bad happening. (I'm assuming this is a oneshot - if not, consider me excited to see what's next.)
It's a oneshot in a shared universes of other oneshots/longfics.

I always make it a point for things to turn out okay in the end, or at least sort of okay. Especially for a fic like this that started out as an April Fool's shitpost story.
On a more minor I like the way you mix in bits of different languages, it gives a nice hint of a wider world. Though I'll confess I don't actually know what the title means.
Thanks! ^^ And for the title, "patito" means "duckling" (pato, "duck", and "-ito", a diminutive ending.)
In terms of issues, I really don't have a lot to comment on. I think there was one instance, about halfway in, when you wrote 'Papá' instead of 'Babá', and near the end, you refer to the other Pokemon as 'Mamá Rori and Mamá Vivi', rather than using 'Tía'
Oh shoot where? (I noticed some other typos a while back, and I wanted to fix those anyway. And I'm always like "yes please tell me if and where there are any typos".)
(which I assume means 'auntie' or something, but I may be wrong, I'm not much of a linguist).
Yee. It's Spanish for "aunt". In the original drafts, I had them also be called "Mamá" as Ferdinand's Pokémon parents. There are some things only a Pokémon can teach their Pokémon kid.
In terms of anything that's not just a simple fix, though, I really didn't find anything, I just enjoyed the story a lot and didn't really have any problems with it.
:)
Well, it's late and I'm operating on somewhat scattered thoughts and limited brain capacity right now, so this will have to do. Hope this approximation of a review is of some use or interest, or just brightens your day a little bit. And thanks for challenging me to review something, this was a great read I might not have had otherwise!
Glad you took the challenge! Have a restful night! ^_^
 
I love this little duck kid :) He's a good little guy, I really do think he's a neat friend. Those parents of his are taking good care of him. I think you did a very good job writing this. Interesting that it's from the perspective of the duck kid, I think that's cute. I'm a big fan of his. He's really a cute little thing. I'm glad he's found a good home and a loving family. I wonder if maybe one day he'll take over the gym for his parents, or maybe even be the Champion like his father. I'm sure he'll be a good big brother to his new baby sibling. I love the way you write his character. Good job, Torchic W. Pip!
 
Review
Alright, so Ferdinand is cute. I like the way his logic is constructed - you can tell he is very young via his thought processes, and it is done very clearly too. It is interesting how he cannot determine the difference between hair and feathers early on – but later he can (while learning how to use water gun). I noticed that there was a mention of good and bad humans early on, which indicates he does have some understanding of right and wrong. I think this puts Ferdinand in an interesting stand point, as he is young, and is a little confused by certain concepts, and overwhelmed by others - as noted later on by the mention of having three parents - but is able to determine his own morals, at least to some degree.

Grammatically, the piece read fine, although I did notice a typo of Ferdinand in one line in particular. These things do happen though.

"Barely a few days had passed, and Feridinand’s new den was already under attack."

I am also unsure if this was meant to be in brackets or not, because it comes across more as an outloud statement.

Sick? The hospital?!?! The hospital was only for very sick or very hurt people!

The pacing seems consistent throughout, with the time jumps being welded into the text rather than outright depicted by a divider. It seems to work in this story, as the focus is on a specific event and not multiple events going on.

I think you do a good job at depicting the discovery of the human’s names. It almost came across as the first time you’d hear your parents call each other by their first names rather than as “Mum” and “Dad” to one another. It makes the perspective of Ferdinand feel more natural. The contrast between the beginning and ending is pretty large. The mood is a completely different shift, and I think that shows a lot about how Ferdinand has changed throughout this short piece.

The relationship between the parent and child is interesting. It’s well constructed and it clear that Ferdinand has a strong bond with them. I am surprised we don’t see any temper tantrums, or over-questioning of why something is the way it is from Ferdinand, especially at a young age – having younger siblings myself, I remember having to deal with the constant ‘why’ and even a few other scenarios. It’d be nice to also see one of those ‘child-logic’ situations be brought up – ie: something that would make sense to Ferdinand, but would be a challenge for the parents to solve – I think the closest you get to this is with the talk and thoughts surrounding Tziráchi. As I have already mentioned, I think you handle the whole parents and their first names thing very well. It is also good to see the parents acting in such a way to comfort a young child.
 
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