October 30th, 2018
1 Victory Road, Snorunt Valley, Sinnoh 12000.
A small groan left Ash as Paul placed him down on the recliner in the sitting room, “Are you alright? Are you comfortable?” He knelt and adjusted Ash, trying to relieve the pressure on his incision site.
Ash however, had his attention on his parents who stood awkwardly in the hallway, Sebastian holding Cesaire’s carrier, the baby sleeping soundly in it. “I’m fine, still a bit sore. Can you bring him over here for me, so mom and dad can head to their rooms? It’s late.”
Paul raised his face to look Ash in the eyes, a silent, but concerning look in his eye left Ash confused. “Um..” He didn’t move as he looked back over at where Delia and Sebastian stood. “Uh..”
“Here honey,” Delia just smiled as she walked forwards carefully with the carrier and set it down on the couch next to Ash and got Cesaire out. “Me and your dad will be upstairs if you need us.” She pressed a gentle kiss to her grandson’s forehead and got him comfy in Ash’s arms.
Ash nodded as he gently hugged his baby to his chest, watching as she rubbed Paul’s shoulder softly before she left the room. He turned to Paul, who was standing again, silently staring at the boy. “You’re afraid... aren’t you?”
Paul didn’t answer for a few seconds before he blinked and looked at Ash, “I’m sorry?”
“You don’t want to hold him... this whole time, I’ve never seen you hold him.” Ash could only whisper as he pressed Cesaire closer. “Oh Mew, you’re second guessing aren’t you?”, tears pricked the corners of his eyes as he looked at his son.
“What? No.” Paul sat down, “I’m not second guessing anything.” He sighed as he gently reached out and rubbed a cheek. “Between your parents, you, Reggie and everyone else, I wasn’t able to really hold him. And to be honest... I’m terrified.. he’s so small.. I don’t want to hurt him.”
Ash blinked up at Paul, looking at him. “Paul, you can’t hurt him. Here, hold him.” He held out his arms as Paul backed away, shaking his head. Ash frowned and got up, wincing as he stood, “Think fast!” And he placed the baby in Paul’s arms.
“Ash...” Paul looked at him with pleading eyes as he adjusted the baby in his arms.
“You can’t break him, you may be freakishly tall and strong, that is your baby and he doesn’t care, he’s not crying is he? You’re okay.”
A coo broke through the silence that followed as Paul sat himself down on the couch next to Ash. He looked down at the tiny child squinting up at him, “Cesaire.... hello...” Another coo answered him and the corners of his mouth tilted up as he stared up at Paul.
“Arceus, Ash, he’s smiling.” Paul blinked away tears he didn’t even notice were there as he looked up at Ash.
“I told you.” Ash smiled at the both of them as Paul leaned down and kissed Cesaire gently, and got a squeak in response.
Paul chuckled as he hugged Cesaire to his chest, one single tear running down his face. “I don’t think I will ever be able to say this to you enough. Thank you, for giving me another chance. For giving me him.. I love him.”
“Are you sure you couldn’t stay another day? Another week?” Ash pleaded with his parents as Paul helped them pack their things into the van.
“Honey, we’ve been here a month already. I still have the diner to run back home. Any longer and I might as well sell.” Delia shrugged as she pulled away from his hug.
“Then sell! Look, dad doesn’t wanna go!” He pointed to where Sebastian was playing with his grandson. “You two can live here with us and help raise Cesaire!” He held his hands together as he stuck out his lip.
Delia looked at him for a moment before she pulled Ash into a firm hug, “You have nothing to worry about sweetheart. You’ll be a great parent. You don’t need me here, you and Paul already have the perfect baby.”
She pressed a kiss to Ash’s cheek as Paul closed the doors to his van. “Ready?”
“No!” Ash replied as Sebastian carried over the baby and placed him in Ash’s arms. “Dad you can hold him as long as you want if you stay..” Ash tempted, holding his baby out like gold. “You and Mom can pick a room you really like, we can battle in the field in our spare time! I’ll even let you teach my baby his first words.” He smiled at his dad, who started laughing.
“Yes, Paul, we’re ready.” Ash pouted as his father hugged him gently before he led Delia to the van and held open the door for her. Ash watched from the doorway as he got seated and Paul headed over to deliver a quick kiss to his husband and baby. “Stop stealing my parents!!! Kidnapper!!”
Paul chuckled as he pecked Cesaire’s cheek again, “I’ll see you in an hour. Love you.”
“Bring my parents back!” Ash yelled as Paul climbed into the old van and drove off. A tiny fist latched onto his shirt, Ash closed the door and headed inside. “Sorry for yelling sweetie. Looks like it’s just me, you and Pikachu huh?”
“Torterra!” The large Pokémon called out from the sunroom that led to the yard, where all of Paul and Ash’s Pokémon roamed. He looked pointedly at Ash as Pikachu ran over and hopped on his trainer’s shoulder.
“Yes Torterra, you too, but you know the baby is still too young for you to meet him.”
“Tor.” The giant hung his head, in the months leading up to Ash learning he was pregnant, Paul’s loyal starter had smelled it all over him and had followed Ash’s steps outside with wariness- worried by his clumsiness.
The Pokémon had even taken it upon himself to step in between him and Paul when he felt that Ash and Paul were play-fighting too hard, often growling angrily at his own trainer, not understanding that the two weren’t serious.
At the time it had made Ash feel weird, but in hindsight, he felt thankful that he had been watching over him carefully. And now that Torterra’s pride and joy had been brought home, he was desperate to meet him.
Cesaire yawned up at him as he stretched and curled closer, eyes closed once more. Ash stood in the hallway for a long moment before he kicked off his shoes and stepped into the sunroom. ”Come here. You deserve this.” He sat down on a lounger close to Torterra, who carefully lumbered over.
Ash uncovered Cesaire’s face for Torterra and adjusted him so the Pokémon could see him better. A low rumble came from the belly of the Pokémon as his beak was gently nuzzled against a tiny foot. A coo was Torterra’s response and the giant laid himself down and rested his head against Ash’s knee.
“Once he’s older, you’ll be able to play with him, I promise.” Ash placed one of Cesaire’s hands on Torterra’s head for him. “I promise. He’ll love you.”
“Torterra.” It was a quiet and content response, the Pokémon’s eyes closed in a bliss as the baby’s hand closed over his beak in reflex.
Another happy coo could be heard, said baby happily kicking his legs.
The candles were dim in the room, the sound of Paul snoring was loud, but it wasn’t what had woken him up. Ash gently turned over from the position he’d been happily trapped in by his husband’s arms. Well, he would have been happier if Paul actually let him be the big spoon again. The second they’d found out from Joy, who Brock had been studying under, that he was pregnant, Ash’s title of big spoon had been stolen from him. Not that he could say no to Paul, who he’d woken up to trying to have a conversation with the baby bump. The tummy kisses were a plus, but ever since Ash and Cesaire had come home from the hospital, Paul had been wary of letting Ash be the “jetpack” again. His stitches of course.
Ash laid in bed for a second and thought about why exactly he’d been woken, he didn’t have to pee, Paul had sworn off of “funny business” since their last time ended with being checked into the hospital because apparently that can help kickstart labor? Ash didn’t know. Even Pikachu, who was draped around Paul’s neck, was asleep. He wasn’t hungry either.
A few more minutes of Ash sleepily staring at the high ceilings passed and he heard it, the tiny coo that came from the corner of the room. He carefully got out of bed, it had been three weeks, but Ash did have to admit, he was still a bit sore. He shuffled over to the large Cheri wood crib Paul and Reggie had made for the baby to find Cesaire squinting up at him.
“Hey there honey..” Ash cooed quietly as he moved to pick him up, already getting a whiff of the boy. “Oh, oh.. okay let’s go.” He continued to carry him out of the room to ensuite to change him.
Cesaire cooed a little louder as Ash laid him down on the pad on the counter. “Are you happy little one?” Ash tickled his feet as he lifted them up. “Well if you aren’t, I wouldn’t know. You never cry, why not? I could have changed you sooner.” Ash cleaned up and carried Cesaire back into the room, kissing him softly on the cheek.
Long lashes batted eyes as they closed, a tiny yawn and fist stretched until Cesaire went completely limp in his arms. The boy stared up at Ash expectantly as he carried him downstairs to the kitchen and started to make him a bottle.
Ash held Ces against him with one arm as the other fumbled with the top of the bottle until warm hands pulled the bottle from him. “Good morning.” Ash shivered at Paul’s half asleep voice as the man turned on the bottle warmer. He was kissed after Paul opened the freezer and pulled out a bag of frozen milk, and then Cesaire’s pink cheek got a peck too. “You two are up early.”
Ash hummed along with Cesaire’s response of a happy coo. “What time is..? I don’t even wanna look at the clock.” The whine in Ash’s voice was apparent as Paul finished scooping the frozen milk into the bottle and promptly popped it into the warmer.
“Relax, it’s only three. And you know he always sleeps in like you do.” Paul cracked a smile as he put the bag of frozen milk back into the freezer.
Ash nodded as he watched the small bottle bob around in the warmer. “True. You know, I didn’t even know he was awake until I heard him coo.” Ash motioned to the baby that Paul was now taking from him. “I don’t think it’s natural. All babies cry. I would have fallen back asleep if he hadn’t cooed.”
He watched as Paul bounced gently, hands tickling his son’s tummy as he grinned down at him. “He’s been to how many well-baby checkups? They’ve all said it’s fine. Be glad he’s not crying all the time, he’s just happy. Aren’t you Ces? You’re happy because we love you so much and take such good care of you. And you get all the kisses and cuddles, yes you do!” And while giggles filled the room from Cesaire, Ash felt himself getting baby fever all over again as Paul played.
“Stop it you two are so cute.” And then he stopped, “Wait... what’d you call him?”
Paul looked over at him, “I love you but Cesaire is a mouthful. Especially with the way you say it. I’m just calling him Ces.”
Ces. The nickname sounded so good. Short, simple. “I like Ces. But hey, you’re the one who chose the name. I just... changed it up a bit.” He couldn’t help but blush as the bottle warmer turned off, he took the bottle out and shook the warm water off of it and tested it before he handed Paul the bottle.
“It’s settled. How about that Ces?” He didn’t give the baby a chance to answer him as he held the bottle to his mouth. Ces’ hand reached up and small fingers wrapped around Paul’s thumb as he happily ate.
Not even ten minutes later, Ash had burped a now very sleepy baby and was just about to place him back down in his crib when Paul opened up the blanket. “Bring him over here, I want to try sleeping with him.” Ash adjusted Ces against his chest as he climbed into bed and was pulled into Paul’s arms before a blanket was stretched over him and Ces.
Ash only nodded as he yawned and gently rubbed his son’s back. Ces was already asleep, hands balled up in Ash’s tank. He pressed a gentle kiss to his head. “Goodnight baby.”
“Goodnight.” And a hard, sleepy kiss and two strong arms were his response from Paul.
Ash stared up at the high ceiling, the sensation of Ces’ tiny, but strong heart beating against his own was calming, and for a moment he listened closely to Paul’s deep breathing, and compared it to how Cesaire had seemed to mimic it completely.
He reached out and searched for Pikachu, and a paw held onto his hand as he finally closed his eyes.