Peter was an eevee and the youngest member of their family group.
He’d been found abandoned by Stephen, cowering under a tree branch. The quiet and wise espeon had approached him slowly. He'd then given Peter a comforting nuzzle before picking him up by the scruff of the neck and gently carrying Peter through the forest.
It had taken them half an hour to arrive in a large clearing were the scents of other pokémon were strong. Stephen had placed Peter on the grass in the centre of the clearing and cleared his throat loudly, gaining the attention of the other he other pokémon. Peter was nervous and shy as the rest of Stephen’s family group came forward to investigate him.
The first to reach him was Tony, a proud, loud and boisterous flareon. He brought up a paw to gently rub the top of Peter’s head. He then smiled and accepted him instantly with a fond, “Welcome to our family, kid.”
A moment later Pepper, a sylveon was nuzzling him, her ribbon-like feelers brushing over his head and sending a wave of affection and calm over him. Peter had felt overwhelmed by their attention. He’d pressed back against Stephen’s pink paws, trying to hide even as the rest of the group had continued to welcome him.
Thor was a jolteon and he bent down, his bottom in the air and his wide smile close to Peter’s face as he promised Peter protection and fun for joining their family. Loki, the umbreon had rolled his eyes and shoved the other pokémon to the side before giving Peter a small nod of welcome.
The final three members of the group were Rhodey, a kind and friendly vaporeon who lived in the lake by the clearing. Valkyrie; a standoffish and gruff but protective glaceon, and Bruce, a quiet and patient leafon who could always be counted on for advice.
Peter had been in awe of the group; it was filled with every possible evolution for an eevee and all of them were living in harmony.
They were friendly to him, but the young eevee was still shy around them. He spent much of the first three weeks hiding between Stephen’s paws, but Tony, Bruce and Pepper were always coming to talk to him and trying to get him to come play or explore the clearing with them.
He eventually accepted their offers and quickly lost his remaining uncertainty and worry as each pokémon welcomed him with open arms. Valkyrie and Loki who had seemed the most aloof and unapproachable, were always kind and fond of his youthful enthusiasm.
Peter found himself part of a large family who supported, protected and looked out for him. He loved all of them. He would often spend hours following a different pokémon around, watching as they spent their day doing what they loved. They all had different routines depending on their natural type and Peter was fascinated by each of them.
It was why, a year after living with them, Peter found himself wondering which of the eight types he felt more inclined to become. It was a tremendous decision and Peter found himself nervous and unsure about it. There was no rush to choose, but Peter still wanted to pick. He started questioning each pokémon and asking them why they became what they did while listening thoughtfully to their answers.
It was a lot to take in and he’d found a seat beside Stephen to go over their words. The psychic pokémon was meditating and Peter used the quiet to ponder: Pepper, Rhodey and Bruce all told him that his evolution would come naturally and that he shouldn’t try and force it. Tony had ruffled Peter's fur and winked. Tony told him that he’d work it out in time unless he accidentally tripped over a firestone like Tony did. Peter had rolled his eyes at the older pokémon. He knew Tony was lying. The fire pokémon had gone searching for one, having known since he was a young kit what he was destined to be.
When he'd asked Valkyrie she'd shrugged and explained that she'd never known what to choose and had evolved accidentally, but was happy with the outcome. Thor had excitedly explained his long awaited evolution and the thunderstone he had been given by his father who had kept it for him since the day he was born. But, when Peter had asked about Loki, Thor's kit-brother, Thor had become uncomfortable and refused to say. Peter had gone in search of the umbreon, but Loki had been nowhere around. Peter had then asked Tony, who was the closest to the other pokémon.
Tony had given him an odd smile and remarked, “Loki was always different to his family. He liked the night as well as stealth and darkness; he was always going to be an umbreon. Let’s just leave it at that.”
Knowing better than to push, Peter had nodded and left Tony to the rocks he was melting with his fire. Tony often made strange trinkets that he gifted to the family. Peter had found himself with no one else to question and it was why he ended up besdes Stephen. He hoped the pokémon would come out of his trance soon, so that he could ask the espeon for advice.
Peter had been playing with a few rocks, flicking them between his paws as he sat beside the psychic pokémon. He was startled when Stephen, without moving or opening his eyes murmured with satisfaction, “Ah.”
Turning to the other pokémon, Peter found Stephen staring at the clearing in front of them. The area itself was large and sat deep in the middle of the forest; there were logs, patches of long grass, flowers, the nearby lake and thick trees. They all had a place to live and work but often came together at night to sleep in a pile.
Stephen and Peter were sitting in a small alcove of bushes and trees on the very edge of the clearing. Rhodey was in the lake, his tail flicking absently as he spoke to Pepper who was sitting daintily on the grass and using her feelers to create a wreath of flowers. Bruce was resting in a patch of sun on a log, one-eye open as he watched Valkyrie and Thor practicing their fighting skills in a spar.
Tony was off to the side, frowning thoughtfully as he poked at some of the melted metals he’d just designed. Peter didn’t understand what was so interesting to Stephen, but he followed the espeon’s sight to some nearby bushes and a moment later, Loki stepped into the clearing. He was holding a piece of bark in his mouth that had a mixture of flowers and berries laying on it. Loki seemed to suck in a deep, nervous breath through his nose before he began making his way through the clearing.
He was quick to grab Rhodey and Pepper’s attention, and soon after Valkyrie and Thor stopped fighting and Bruce opened his other eye and lifted his head. They were all concentrated on the umbreon as Loki made his way directly to Tony.
Peter tilted his head curiously before lightly batting a paw against Stephen’s leg. “What is Loki-”
“Shh,” the espeon told him.
Peter was confused by the order but complied, watching as Loki stopped behind Tony.
The umbreon lifted a paw and lightly tapped Tony on the back. It made the flareon jerk with surprise before turning to face Loki. His gesture had been defensive, but when he registered Loki his eyes widened and his stance slackened to one of confusion and disbelief.
Loki didn’t hold Tony's eyes as he lowered his head and dropped the offering in front of the flareon. He then sat back and looked at Tony. The umbreon’s ears were twitching anxiously and he shifted on his paws. Tony looked down at the gift, his paw lifting to lightly touch a bright red flower. The moment he stroked the soft petals, he gave a shy smile. He then shifted just enough to step forward and without touching his gifts, he brought his cheek to Loki’s and lightly rubbed it against his own.
The delight that erupted across Loki’s face was a sight to behold and he rubbed his cheek back against Tony’s enthusiastically, making Tony laugh.
“Oh!” Peter blinked as he suddenly realised what had just happened. He smiled happily, his tail wagging. “They’re courting!”
“They are,” Stephen agreed softly, a smile in his voice. “Loki has finally felt confident enough to ask. I’ve been waiting patiently for him to listen to fate.”
“Fate?” Peter asked curiously.
“Mm,” Stephen hummed. “They are destined for each other; I can sense it.”
Peter nodded slowly, taking Stephen's word for it. The psychic pokémon knew far more about such things than him.
Although, it did make him wonder: “Does that mean you know what I’ll evolve into?”
Stephen smiled and looked down at him. “I do, little one. But no, I will not tell you what it will be. The answer will come in time.”
Peter sighed loudly and laid down flat on the grass, feeling disappointed. Yet, despite his dejection, Peter found himself distracted by the sight of Loki placing a purple flower in Tony’s fur. The two of them were all but glowing with happiness.
“Why don’t you go and congratulate them?” Stephen offered, giving him a light tap with his paw in encouragement.
Peter saw no reason to refuse and he gave Stephen a brief smile before he ran across the clearing to talk to the newly courting pokémon.
He could always decide on his evolution another day.