In retrospect, Watanuki knew that taking this job had been the worst mistake of his entire life, and that was in fact saying something. At the time, however, there had not been all that much in the way of choice; the current Master hadn't seemed to think there was even the remotest possibility of his refusing, and had more or less hired him on-the-spot, without even anything so mundane as a contract, or agreed working hours, or anything. Also there was the small matter of his not being able to eat if he didn't get a job in the next couple of days, but oddly enough Watanuki found that considerably less terrifying than the idea of not living up to Yuuko's expectations.
Still, the worst mistake of his life. Worst. VERY WORST; up there, in fact, with not letting that old man take a little bit of advantage of him in order to get his qualifications to be an actual pokémon trainer pushed through. Sure, it would have been rather hard on his dignity, but it's not like he has any dignity now anyway, so Watanuki can't see how he would be anything other than better off. He certainly wouldn't be trying to make a grumpy ninetails - who he is pretty sure won't bite him, but may try to singe him a little bit, because, like he said, no dignity - eat something vaguely good for him.
"Yes, I know it's not oden," says Watanuki, brandishing the plate of miltank-and-berry stew, which he has painstakingly made with the right combination of flavours and nutrients to keep all of Yuuko's pokémon at least mostly happy, and also very healthy, which given the level a region-Master operates at, isvery important, "but if you eat oden every night you'll get sick and also probably your coat will fall out, or something equally odious, given my luck. So eat, would you?" The ninetails - Watanuki hasn't been able to remember everyone's name yet, which he thinks has less to do with the fact that there are so very many pokémon he has to look after, and more to do with the way in which none of Yuuko's names make the slightest bit of sense - glares and Watanuki some more, and does in fact singe his socks, but he does start eating, probably because of the threat to his vanity rather than anything else, but still. Watanuki goes through a lot of socks, these days. A lot of clothes in general, really. Some days he thinks the only reason he gets paid at all is so he can keep buying clothes.
"Yes, yes, leave your dad alone I've got some for you too," he grumbles, scooping up the still-small vulpix that's trying to get into the ninetail's bowl. He's still a little young for the adult meals, really, so Watanuki gives him a bowl of mashed berries mixed with a little raw stantler.
"Thank-you," yips the vulpix, before digging in.
Right. He's pretty sure that's the last of them in here, now just for -
- the real troublemakers.
"I'M COMING," he says, but it's too late; Mokona is already bouncing on his head. "HEY. HEY!" Mokona, possibly the world's most energetic spoink, was the first of Yuuko's pokémon whose name he'd learned. It was almost impossible not to know it.
"Watanuki we're hungry! We're starving! The booze ran out!"
"WHAT. HOW CAN YOU. HOW CAN YOU EVEN THINK OF DRINKING SO MUCH. YUUKO-SAN!"
Yes. Worst mistake of his life. Even if Yuuko was the first person to take his whole freaky ability to understand what pokémon are saying thing as normal. Worst mistake ever.