When Tim wakes up, it’s to the sound of his alarm ringing shrilly in his ear. Usually he finds himself waking up slightly before it, alert and ready to go, but this morning everything seems a bit slow and confusing. He groans and reaches to turn it off. The light filtering through his blinds is unusually harsh this morning and he raises an arm groggily to cover his eyes. He sits still for a few seconds taking stock- his body aches and there is a slight pulsing in his head making everything seem far too loud and bright.
It’s just a morning headache. Probably.
Nevertheless, Tim can’t afford to stay in bed much longer. His detective training at the academy starts punctually at nine am every work day, and after a month and a half there he’s finally beginning to get a grip on the various laws and procedures he’s meant to know inside out if he wants to make it as a detective. Despite being Harry’s son, it turns out that being a detective actually does require training, and both Harry and Hideo were insistent that he needed to be taught the proper procedures before being let loose in the field. Tim’s pretty sure he can handle himself well, considering that he solved Harry’s death within days of arriving in Ryme City. However if he wants to join his dad as a proper detective he needs to pass his official courses at the academy. He certainly can’t afford to be late- Detective Hideo is a fair and patient boss but he’s a stickler for the rules. Although Hideo spends most of his time working at the Ryme City police department, only occasionally dropping in to check on how the recruits are doing, today he is actually scheduled to take a class with them. It’s something that Tim has been excited about for a while, but this morning he can’t really imagine anything more unwelcome than heading out to actually have to do work.
Reluctantly he forces himself out of bed, pausing and grabbing the headboard as he stands up, a wave of vertigo passing over him. He sighs, massaging his temples with his hands. He’s fine. It’s fine. He just needs to get himself ready for the day and he’ll be feeling like himself in no time.
However, as he showers he finds himself feeling even worse if that’s possible. The pulsing in his head has grown stronger, and his entire body feels heavy, with an unrelenting fogginess clouding everything he does. Maybe breakfast will make it go away, he thinks optimistically.
He quickly dresses and makes his way to the kitchen where Harry is already standing by the counter, nursing possibly his second coffee of the morning. His dad often works at home, finding it easier to think through cases there than the office, but he's pretty sure that his dad mentioned that he'd be going to the office today. It’s still strange to Tim even now, to be here helping his dad on cases when only a little under two months ago they’d been estranged from each other for a decade. They’ve been relearning how to operate around each other. Last time they’d properly interacted Tim had only been a kid and his dad had been a married man with a family. Harry had struggled between wanting to still look after his son and yet hesitant to do anything that would upset him, while Tim had to get used to seeing his dad live a completely different life from what he remembered. They seemed to be doing okay however. They got on surprisingly well, considering the years apart, and Tim enjoyed helping his dad on cases when he could. It felt like he was finally getting some version of a family back, and he found himself feeling more and more content most days.
This morning clearly didn't seem to be going as well as others as such, but Tim's convinced that if he just ignores it everything will work out okay. He’s definitely not sick.
"Hi Dad," he greets as he walks into the kitchen.
He intends for it to come out as a cheerful greeting, however his voice is hoarse and scratchy sounding, and he coughs to try to cover it.
Fortunately however, Harry doesn’t seem to be particularly observant in the mornings (at least not before his third cup of coffee) and spins round with a soft smile on his face, the same reaction he has to seeing Tim finally in his kitchen after so long apart every morning.
"Hey kid," he replies, picking up his coffee cup and sitting down at the table opposite where Tim has sat.
He begins flicking through a newspaper absentmindedly, presumably looking for any unusual headlines that might be relevant to any cases he’s working on.
"You excited for your class with Hideo today?"
Tim’s impressed his dad remembered that detail, certain he had only mentioned it once in passing. It brightens him a bit knowing that his dad cares so much about his schedule. He reaches for the cereal feeling slightly more positive.
“Yeah, it should be interesting. I’m only hoping it’s nothing dangerous or crazy. Hideo can sometimes be a bit...intense.”
His dad nods knowingly at him as he bites into his toast. Pikachu appears on the chair beside him and paws at Harry softly until he gets given a bit too. Harry scratches his partner’s head fondly as he talks.
“He’s always been like that. Back when I first moved here he was always pulling the wildest shit on cases. He mellowed out a bit when he got promoted however. Probably due to the responsibility and all that. I think he likes letting it out on the trainees these days- probably more fun in his opinion.” Harry smirks as he says that last bit.
Tim nods along. He’s always interested in hearing about his dad’s early days in Ryme City. However, the fogginess is back and he finds himself staring morosely at the bowl of cereal he increasingly is regretting having poured for himself. He doesn’t feel hungry at all, if anything the thought of food is making him feel worse. He places his spoon back down.
His dad is looking at him with the beginnings of concern, a frown on his face.
He shakes his head, pushing his chair out from the table. He places his bowl in the sink and turns to make himself a cup of coffee, hoping that will prevent his dad from noticing anything’s wrong. He’s still feeling achy and weak and chances are his dad will be able to tell that just from his facial expression or something. The cons of having a world-class detective as a father.
Sure enough, he can feel Harry’s contemplative look on him, even though he has his back facing him.
“You sure you’re alright?” He asks, “Did you stay up late last night?”
Tim feels relief at the excuse. “Yes that’s it- I was up late doing some reading for today, you know how it is- I regret it a bit now, but I’m fine really.”
He turns back around, and sips on his coffee, giving his dad what he hopes is a convincing smile.
Harry studies him for a moment.
“Pika pika!” Pikachu interrupts, climbing onto Harry’s shoulder. Harry smiles at him, the moment broken.
“Pikachu thinks you should try and avoid that again, based off how awful you look.”
Tim splutters on his coffee.
“His words not mine,” his dad clarifies grinning slyly at him.
“Yeah right,” Tim mutters good heartedly as he puts down his cup and grabs his coat from the hook. He really can’t be late, no matter how awful he might look or feel.
His dad gives him one last look of scrutiny, but evidently decides to let it go, waving him off.
“Have a good day kid- if you’re feeling up to it tonight we can look through some old cases if you want. I’m going to bring some home from the office- thought it might be good for your training.”
“Sounds great Dad,” Tim replies, feeling touched again, “I’ll see you later!”
He dashes out the door and starts heading towards the academy. Today will be fine.
Despite Tim’s desire to ignore whatever this not-illness is, by the time he’s made it to the academy, things have progressed even further. He’s feeling cold and shivery and every step on the way there had seemed to take an unparalleled amount of effort.
Due to this he's arrived barely on time, leaving him no time to recuperate. Although his dad seems to have no problem with being late to most things, Tim likes to think he's generally more organised. He’s pretty certain he inherited his punctuality from his mum. He quickly shrugs off his coat and goes to join the small group of detectives in training sitting in one of their teaching rooms.
There’s not that many of them- generally those who get on the programme are handpicked to be specifically groomed to become the city’s finest detectives. Tim was initially suspicious that he only got a place on it due to some form of nepotism- why would they refuse the son of the renowned Detective Goodman? After a throwaway remark during a conversation with Harry one evening however, where he admitted to feeling guilty over this, he had found himself being pulled aside by Hideo the next day. The senior detective had explained that Tim was not given a place because of his father- on the contrary, he argued that Tim had proven himself in his own regard, managing to investigate Harry’s disappearance, and stop Howard Clifford essentially by himself (with maybe a little help from his father-fusioned-with-pikachu and a chaotic investigative reporter but still). Since then Tim had felt much better about his place at the academy, taking the effort to get to know the others and firmly carve out a place for himself there.
Normally as such he enjoys talking to his peers but today he finds himself lacking the energy to even do that. He sits down heavily on one of the chairs and just tries to distract himself from how miserable he feels.
He doesn’t have long to prepare himself, because Hideo walks in at that moment, Snubbull trailing behind him. He greets the group of trainees, and nods specifically at Tim. He’s been able to talk with Hideo a couple of times since the whole Clifford and Mewtwo incident. His dad has had him over a few times to discuss cases and just for a casual coffee. They seem to be pretty good friends. Hideo had certainly seemed to be genuinely upset when Tim had come to see him about Harry’s apparent death, and was hugely relieved and happy to see that Harry was actually fine afterwards. From what Harry’s mentioned, he was one of the first people that his dad became actually close with when he moved here. Tim enjoys his company and respects him- Hideo seems good at his job and generally a dependable guy. He also gets the impression that he and his dad have some pretty wild stories about cases they’ve worked on together, but he hasn’t had a chance to hear them yet.
Hideo begins talking about the training for the day. Apparently they’re going to be learning about working with different types of pokémon. Normally Tim would jump at this opportunity but at the moment he feels too clammy and lightheaded. The rest of his classmates are scribbling notes, and he reaches for his notepad from his rucksack. It’s like there are weights attached to his whole body. Just the effort of moving his arms makes him feel instantly weaker. He lifts his water bottle to reach for his notebook underneath it, but the flask slips from his shakey grip and hits the floor with a soft clang. A few people in the room turn around to look at the source of the sound and even Hideo pauses for a moment, glancing at Tim. Tim awkwardly shrugs them all off with an attempt at a smile, which he’s not certain works- he thinks it comes out more like a grimace- and rights the bottle before grabbing the notepad and opening it in front of him.
He tries to write down what Hideo is currently saying, but although he can hear the words his brain seems unable to actually process what they mean. He’s not even certain he could write something down with how weak he’s feeling. Instead he finds himself staring mindlessly into the white paper, letting his vision blur. It’s an effort just to not let himself fall asleep and have a quick nap.
He’s not sure how long this continues but at some point he becomes aware that everyone is getting up. He looks around in confusion, pushing himself up quickly in order to keep up. Not for the first time that morning the walls of the room seem to move with him and everything goes a bit blurry. He holds himself up until it clears a little. He’s aware that he’s now shaking a little, and a cold sweat seems to have appeared. He feels almost faint.
“Okay, we’re just going to split up into pairs. Turn to the person closest to you,” Hideo instructs, walking in amongst the students now.
Everyone in the room seems to know what they’re doing, and there is an excited energy. In contrast, everything for Tim feels shaky, and tainted by a thick fog. He turns to the boy nearest and gives him what he hopes is a reassuring smile. Hopefully he knows what they’re supposed to be doing.
“So in a moment I’m going to bring in some pretty powerful fire type pokémon that are here today. You can all have a go at trying to work with them- one pokémon to each pair- and try not to do anything that might provoke them. The last thing we need is an angry Infernape potentially setting fire to anything in this room. Trust me, it’s not a pleasant experience.” Hideo continues to direct, giving them all a stern look.
Oh shit. Tim probably should’ve been paying attention to the part where it was mentioned that they’d actually be working with real pokémon today. He can feel his heart beating too fast in his chest. The room is properly spinning now. He doesn’t think he’s in any fit state to be attempting to cooperate with Igglybuff at the moment, nevermind some extremely powerful pokémon.
The boy he’s meant to be partnered with for this exercise frowns at him anxiously.
“Are you alright?” He asks, genuine worry in his voice, “You look pretty pale.”
Tim opens his mouth to reassure him that he’s fine, but no words come out. A sudden rush of cold comes over him, and his upper body starts to go numb. He makes a move to grab onto something but his hand merely twitches uselessly. His head feels fuzzy, and the next thing he knows his vision has blacked out. He feels, rather than sees his knees buckle and hears a few gasps from the people around him.
He must only be out for a few moments, but when he manages to flicker open his eyes he’s leaning on his right hand-side arm which is tucked into his body, knees folded with his lower legs at right angles to his body. He must’ve fallen over that way. His eyes feel heavy but he manages to lift his gaze only to find Hideo right in front of him, kneeling on the ground. His eyes are wide and his hands are supporting Tim from fully collapsing onto the floor.
“Tim!” He asks, his voice steady yet obviously concerned, “Are you alright?”
Tim frowns, and shakily tries to push himself up, only to have Hideo push him gently back down.
“I’m fine,” he manages to get out, “I don’t- I don’t know what happened.”
Hideo frowns at him, scrutinising Tim.
“You’re obviously sick, Tim. I thought you looked unwell when I saw you at the start of the class.”
Tim grimaces, unhappy with this assessment. He’s not sick, he’s just...a little under the weather. He wants to let Hideo know this but the man is already up instructing the rest of the room to clear out, probably experienced in dealing with any kind of crisis.
This is all highly embarrassing and unnecessary Tim thinks as he watches his classmates leave. He pushes himself up, refusing to spend another moment lying on the floor like an invalid. His head is still spinning but he doesn’t feel like he’s going to black out again. He probably shouldn’t have skipped breakfast.
Once Hideo is content that everyone has left and they all have other things to be doing, he sets about helping Tim up. He guides him into a seat and provides him with some water and juice. Tim feels like a child on their nap break. He wants to tell Hideo this, but the man doesn’t seem like someone to mess with, especially when he’s in work-emergency mode like right now.
It’s quiet for a moment while Tim sips on his orange drink and stares back at Snubbell, who’s glaring at him with his usual level of mistrust. At least someone today is treating him like normal.
Hideo has been doing something on his phone but he looks up now and glances over at Tim making sure he’s still okay and definitely still conscious (he finds that a bit insulting- he’s not going to pass out again while sitting down). It makes Tim feel even more like a child and he squirms uncomfortably under his gaze, trying to seem as fine as possible.
“I’ve ordered you a car back to yours and Harry’s apartment,” Hideo explains, “I would drive you back myself if I could but unfortunately I really can’t get out of finishing the day of teaching the rest of your class.
“No- I’m fine! I can stay with the class,” Tim protests, abruptly moving forward and setting down his cup in a panic, “I’m feeling better, honestly, the juice really helped, thank you!”
He’s not even lying that much- he is definitely feeling better than he was right before the incident. Maybe still shivery and cold and yes quite weak and achy but still. He doesn’t feel like he’s going to collapse again.
Hideo sighs. “Tim, I can’t let you stay when you’re clearly unwell. Listen, I’ll let Harry know what’s happened, he can come meet you here if you’d prefer-”
“No, no! Don’t bother him,” Tim interrupts. He can’t let Hideo disrupts his dad’s day with this. Not only does he not want to be a nuisance, but he can only imagine that his dad will feel obligated to stay at home and look after him, when he really doesn’t need all the attention. “It’s fine honestly. I’ll take the cab back to the apartment.”
Hideo relents, looking relieved that Tim isn’t arguing with him on that front anymore.
They end up waiting in silence until the cab arrives. Hideo, as supportive and helpful as he is, seems uncertain what else to say to Tim. Perhaps he’s worried that anything else they talk about might inadvertently change his mind, Tim thinks. That’s not going to happen however- if he has to get into the cab to avoid Hideo telling Harry about this whole fiasco then he’s fine with that. The last thing he needs is someone else worrying over him.
Eventually Hideo informs him that the car is outside, and he helps Tim up. He’s still shaky on his feet and his body feels a little like a bus has run over it and maybe also reversed back over him too, but he holds himself up as much as possible, shrugging off Hideo’s offer of support to the car.
As Tim folds himself into the car, Hideo waits until he’s fully settled in before patting him reassuringly on the shoulder.
“Take care of yourself Tim- I don’t want to see you back until you’re one hundred percent better.”
Tim nods at him in thanks.
“Oh- and tell your dad that he can take off as many days from the office as he needs too. He can work at home. I’d feel better knowing someone is keeping an eye on you.”
He shuts the door before he can see Tim’s grimace in reaction, and waves them off. He doesn’t need anyone to look after him. He’s not a kid. He’s been looking after himself for years anyway. His grandmother tried her best but as essentially a single parent she was always busy, and Tim learnt early that it was easier if he could take care of things himself if possible.
”Where to?” Asks the driver, interrupting his train of thoughts down memory lane.
He might’ve told Hideo he’s going back to the apartment, but Tim’s a detective in training. He knows how to lie. He doesn’t need to go back to the apartment when he’s perfectly capable of continuing his work day.
“CMN television headquarters.”
The car pulls up outside the tall building and Tim hops out, thanking the driver. As the car drives away he looks up at the tall skyscraper that not-so-long ago he was hanging on the edge of a broken window from.
Since then he’s come here reasonably often to hang out with Lucy and Psyduck, often during his lunch hour from the police academy. They’re not dates, despite the significant looks that Harry gives him every time he mentions that he’s off on his break to meet with Lucy. They’re really good friends, and he’s not going to ruin that.
Besides, Lucy is doing remarkably well for herself, and tends to have her schedule filled outside of their lunches. Ever since she reported on the Clifford Industries story, Roger Clifford has had her promoted to one of their more senior journalist positions- an amazing achievement especially because of how young she is. Now Lucy is not only reporting on the news, but also in charge of writing her own articles, as well as commissioning or editing other people’s. She’s busy all the time. It means a lot to him that she takes the time out to be with him. She definitely deserves it and he loves hearing about how everything is going in her work.
As such however he does feel a bit guilty for barging in on her like this, but it’s technically nearly midday anyway and despite not having pre-organised anything, he’s sure that she’ll have a little bit of time to let him borrow a portion of her office to get some work done (it is considerably bigger than her broom cupboard office that they had both squeezed into before).
He waves at the receptionist at the front desk, who at this point recognises him pretty well and lets him through the security barriers and into the lifts. He’s feeling warm and uncomfortable, finding himself nervously tapping his foot just for something to distract him.
The lift door opens and he moves through the hallway towards her office on autopilot. It’s a good thing he’s been here so often, because he’s not sure he’d be able to manage it otherwise with his head so foggy.
Eventually he reaches her shiny office door, with its own name plate on the outside, and gives it a soft knock.
“Come in!” He hears her call, and he pushes it open to step into the room.
The office is as fancy as you would imagine for CMN. Full length windows surround one half, allowing massive amounts of light to shine in. Lucy has added her own touch through plants as well as some pictures hanging up on the walls, and books on the shelves. She surprisingly has quite a few classical romances, revealing her passion for authors such as the Brӧnte sisters. Tim had teased her relentlessly when he found out, but he thinks it’s quite endearing. In the middle of the room there is placed an oak desk, at which Lucy is currently sat. She’s typing intensely, probably working on a new article. Pysduck is dozing in a little pokémon sized bed at the other side of the desk, snoring softly.
She looks up from whatever she’s writing on her computer, and upon seeing him breaks into a warm smile, pleasantly surprised.
“Tim!” She greets, tucking a strand of her behind her ear and smoothing out her shirt upon realising it’s him, “I didn’t think you were coming over today?”
“I wasn’t,” He explains, walking towards her desk, “But I uhh, ended up with some extra time on my hands and thought I’d come here to spend some time with you, and maybe get some work done if that’s okay?” It’s technically not a lie- he just hasn’t explained why he ended up with the extra free time.
She presses enter on her keyboard with a note of finality, closing her laptop and pushing back her chair to stand up.
“No, of course, that’s fine!”
She packs up her notebooks and pens, pushing everything else away to make space, and then moves round to greet him properly.
Her eyes narrow as soon as she finally sees his face. Tim should probably lower the amount of people in his life who work in investigative roles. Or at least maybe make some new friends who aren’t so good at reading people. At the moment, hanging around mainly detectives and journalists means it’s apparently impossible to hide anything.
“You look like crap,” She points out, blunt as ever.
Tim screws up his face in annoyance, crossing his arms indignantly. “Thanks a lot.”
She shrugs matter of factly. “Just telling you the truth.”
She walks over to him, ignoring his protests as she reaches up to feel his forehead, refusing to let him pull away, despite his best efforts.
“Tim, you’re burning up.” She frowns, voice now troubled instead of just mildly disapproving.
“I’m fine,” He shrugs her off, stepping around her instead of responding and placing his bag down at the desk.
Lucy watches him dubiously as he sits down.
“Really?” She asks sarcastically, crossing her arms, striking quite an imposing figure in her blazer and heels (which Tim has seen firsthand that yes, she is capable of breaking into places to follow a lead wearing them, thank you for asking). “And I suppose you’re so fine that the reason you’re here instead of work isn’t because they took one look at you and told you to go back to bed?”
She’s far too smart. He’s going to have to get rid of her first if he’s cutting out perceptive people from his life.
“Yes exactly!” He responds, knowing that this equally saitrical response will annoy her more than anything else he could reply with.
Sure enough she glares at him. He pointedly ignores her, instead setting up his laptop and pulling out his papers. He doesn’t need her approval, he just needs her to let him work here so he can actually get something productive done instead of arguing with people about whether or not he should be in bed.
She purses her lips unhappily, clearly wanting to say more but thinking better of it. Once she’s made her point she hates arguing technicalities- she knows she’s right so why waste time debating about it? She’s told him before that action makes more sense than pointless discussion.
“I’m going to make a phone call,” she tells him acerbically. She pivots round and out the door in one sharp motion, entire body radiating the depths of her displeasure with him.
Pysuck squints one eye open from where he’s been sleeping throughout the conversation- or at least pretending to be asleep- to glare at Tim a little accusingly. He glares back. It’s not his fault that Lucy overreacted.
Okay, so maybe that actually wasn’t the best way to go about doing things. He probably should have handled it better but despite them being very close, Lucy and Tim always know how to bring out each other's worst sides too. It doesn’t help that Tim isn’t at the top of his game today. However, it seems like he will be able to stay here, even though she’s obviously unhappy with the situation. He respects that she’s just worried about him but he really just wants to get through some of his tasks for the day.
He continues setting up his laptop, flicking through his notes to try and figure out what it is he actually needs to get done. Last time in class they’d been studying the laws surrounding the use of pokeballs in Ryme City, and he can’t remember if he actually finished going through it all.
Just as he’s finding himself getting immersed searching through his notes, the door slams open. He violently jumps, startled. Usually he loves and admires Lucy’s refusal to shrink her existence nor self for anyone else, but at the moment with his head pounding he wishes she’d maybe quiet her general entrances just a little.
She slides into the seat on the opposite side of her desk and sighs at him.
“Good phone call?” Tim asks as he, a little deliriously, scrolls through his detective module handbook, looking for the specific notes he needs. He knows it’s around here somewhere, maybe if he checks in this file...
Lucy clears her throat. “It was pretty successful, yeah.”
She pauses, clearly waiting for a response, but Tim is focused fully on the screen, glazed eyes never straying from his fever ridden search for his work.
“I was on the phone to your dad.”
Tim fingers slip from the keyboard mid typing.
Lucy frowns, eyes narrowing at Tim.
“You didn’t think I was going to let you stay here and work yourself to death? Which you seem to have already made a great start on.” She says, gesturing to his loose notes which are now spilled all over the desk.
“I’m not- it’s not like that- I told you, I’m fine!” Tim sputters out for what feels like the hundredth time today.
She rolls her eyes at him.
“Sure. You’re dad’s on his way since apparently he’s the only one you might actually listen to. I told him that you’re here.”
He scowls, aggravated at her good intentioned, but nevertheless still a betrayal of his current whereabouts.
He pushes his chair out from the desk, shoving his laptop and things back into his bag. She frowns at him, confused.
“What are you…” She trails off as he zips up his rucksack and swings it onto his back, his fingers trembling only a little which personally he’s quite proud of.
He turns towards the door. Lucy quickly stands up, alarm on her face.
He sighs and looks at her.
“I’m just going out okay? If I’m still allowed to do that? Or are you going to make me stay here?”
Psyduck lets out a little whimper at the sudden commotion.
She looks suddenly upset, grabbing his hand in an effort to stop him from leaving.
“I’m sorry Tim but it’s clearly for your own good! I can’t let you ignore the fact that you’re obviously ill.” She pauses, uncertain of herself, “You’re...you’re too important to me for that.”
He pauses, her words sinking in. He has a flash of contentment at the admittance from Lucy that she cares about him. In the past month and a half he’s come to care for her a lot too. She’s been one of the most welcoming things about Ryme City for him, taking their friendship seriously ever since their first successful adventure, despite him making an absolute embarrassment of himself.
However, just as quickly he’s singularly overwhelmed with the fact that she has phoned his dad to come and get him. He won’t admit it but the fever is making it hard to think about things other than in a tunnel visioned fashion. He can’t focus on anything else other than the fact that she has decided that she knows what’s best for him. He doesn’t need her concern, and he doesn’t need his dad to come and get him. He’s perfectly capable of looking after himself.
He knows one of his worst habits is pushing people away and inevitably hating them for leaving. His whole life has been defined by the moment he decided not to get on that train, essentially pushing his dad away and resenting him since. He regrets it now. They might be currently reforming their relationship, but that can't ever make up for the fact that they were estranged for almost half of Tim's life. So many years wasted. However, unfortunately it takes a lot to break a lifetime of our worst problematic habits. He’s certainly not going to manage it right now, when he can barely think straight.
“I just need some air,” he mutters, before walking out the door.
He’s not really sure where he’s going to be honest. He just knows that he’s feeling far too hot and needs to get away from the busy city centre. He’s still feeling angry at Lucy, but the further he walks the more it fades away. He knows she didn’t mean for anything she did to upset Tim in any way. It was just her trying to look after him. However, Tim knows he can look after himself perfectly fine. He’s been doing it long enough. It’s not necessary for everyone to feel like they have to coddle him.
Ever since his mum died and his dad left, he’s been doing a great job of looking after himself. He got through school, got a good job by himself (no matter how boring his dad insists working in insurance sounds), and moved out from his grandma’s place (she wanted to go travelling and she deserved it after having to look after Tim all by herself). He never in ten years had to phone his dad to ask for help to do any of those things. He is fine by himself.
Eventually he’s feeling in control of his thoughts enough to focus on where he actually is.
He looks around only to see that he’s actually left the centre of the city completely. Instead he’s at the city edge right by the water. Looking beside him he can see the walkway leading up to the city pier. The waves are gently lapping against the pillars. It’s lovely and quiet. Most people must still be in work. The grass beside the pier is lush and green, and there are benches dotted along the wooden walkway over the water. He can see the occasional Magikarp underneath the surface of the water, as well as a couple of boats sailing around.
He grinds to a halt, breathing in heavily. It can’t be a random occurrence that he ended up here. He must’ve absent-mindedly followed the directions. He looked them up when he first moved in with his dad. He had wanted to know if they were near the sea and was surprised to find out that they actually were. However he’s never been able to work up to actually visiting.
Tim had grown up in a small city, but that doesn’t mean that he, Harry and his mum hadn’t gone travelling to other places. One of his mum’s favourite areas to holiday at was Nimbasa City in the Unova region. It’s pretty well known as a leisure city, full of various entertainment venues, such as its giant ferris wheel or musical theatre. Everytime his mum and dad could get time off work, they’d go visit for the weekend. They’d been doing it before he was even born, and continued the tradition while he was a kid.
Tim’s mum and dad had loved being able to do things that weren’t available in their own town. They would delight in showing Tim the parks and museums. Tim remembers enjoying seeing the stadium and gym. However, Tim as a kid had always been more fascinated by the nearby city of Castelia. It was massive, full of busy people and skyscrapers, not unlike Ryme City. However, it also had five piers where different ferries would dock, all going to different destinations. Every time they went on holiday in Nimbasa he would beg his parents to let him go visit the piers, and look at the sea and the boats and all the different types of pokémon. He’d never seen a Kyogre or Mantine before. Nothing was more exciting to him. His mum had always indulged him, the day ending up with them spending hours just sitting or walking around the pier, trying to spot as many boats or different water types as they could. If he was lucky she would buy him an ice-cream and tell him stories about all the pokémon that lived there.
Tim blinks quickly as he feels his eyes getting moist. He doesn’t think ruminate over those memories often, but he’s feeling pretty vulnerable already and somehow ended up here without even thinking about it. He reckons it’s pretty understandable that he’s feeling emotionally nostalgic.
His phone vibrates rather intensely in his pocket, and he takes it out to see that he has a series of missed calls and messages from Lucy and his dad, and even Hideo. He ignores them, turning off his phone and slipping it back into his jacket.
He walks over to one of the benches and takes a seat, wiping his eyes with his coat sleeve as he does so. He doesn’t really have anywhere else left to go at this point, and to be honest he’d rather stay here with his memories than face anyone else right now.
“Care to explain why you’ve essentially done a runner around the city, kid?” He hears from behind him, after a blurry stretch of time that could’ve been anywhere between half an hour and five, just staring into the water and thinking about the past.
He looks round to see his dad standing beside the bench, concern in his eyes, with Pikachu on his shoulders and phone in his hand.
Tim’s not really sure what to say in response. He supposes he really shouldn’t be surprised that his father- a pretty successful detective- managed to track him down. Nevertheless he wasn’t expecting to be found so soon, if at all.
He should’ve predicted this to be honest. His dad probably started searching for him as soon as he found out that Tim was ‘missing.’ Tim’s come to learn over the past few weeks that Harry is driven and singularly focused when working on a lead. He never would’ve been able to just sit around, especially when it’s Tim that everyone is looking for.
Harry nods to himself, seemingly have expected the lack of response, and drops himself down onto the bench next to Tim. Pikachu quickly climbs down from his shoulders and scrambles over into Tim’s lap, rubbing his soft fur on Tim’s chest, clearly asking to be pet and making what can only be described as little anxious chirps.
Harry glances down at his partner, before looking back up at Tim’s face and studying him consideringly. There’s obvious worry in the lines of his body and he clearly wants to make sure that Tim’s okay, but he stays quiet. The soft lapping of the waves against the pier is the only sound against Pikachu’s quiet purring as Tim scratches the pokémon's head.
Eventually Tim breaks the silence.
“How did you know I was here?”
Harry considers him appraisingly.
“Well it wasn’t really an easy time finding you,” he admits, the relief of actually being beside Tim seeming to hit him. “It was a bit of a surprise when Hideo texted to let me know that I could have the next couple of days off to look after you. I sent him a rather confused message back only to find out that you collapsed during his class?”
Tim sighs in annoyance through clenched teeth. “He wasn’t supposed to tell you that. And I didn’t really collapse...it was more like very briefly unintentionally falling.”
Harry eyes him with a look of disbelief. “Sounds more like collapsing to me.” He shakes his head. “I knew there was something off with you this morning, but I had hoped that you really were just tired.”
He pauses, looking regretful at having missed Tim’s illness earlier. However he continues with his explanation.
“Anyway after a slightly panicked phone-call with Hideo it became very obvious to the both of us that you had not come back to the apartment like you said to him you would- by the way Hideo is a bit put out with you for that, I’m sure he’ll forgive you eventually but an apology would probably be a good idea... but anyway I essentially spent the next twenty minutes trying to rather unsuccessfully figure out where you would go. Fortunately however it was then that I received a pretty agitated phone call from Lucy.”
“Yeah I did hear about that bit.”
Harry turns to him, face suddenly set in indignance and exasperation.
“Yes I know! You’d think that having both Hideo and Lucy concerned and worried, you would have realised that you should probably go home instead of trying to ignore your health or whatever this persistent stubbornness is, but apparently not. Instead I arrive at Lucy's office only to be informed that you have decided to go wandering about in the city.”
Tim raises his eyebrows pointedly at Harry- they both know that often his dad is the one ignoring sleep or rest when working on a case, preferring instead to guzzle down immense amounts of coffee and push through until done.
Harry stares back, unintimidated, “You know it’s not the same kid- god forbid you passed out somewhere with nobody around to help. Besides, you’re supposed to be the sensible one- or at least that’s what your mum always used to say.”
Tim has the sense to look a little chagrined at that. He stares down at his hands guiltily, avoiding Harry’s eyes.
“I don’t remember it being this difficult to look after you when you were younger,” Harry says more softly.
There’s more silence for a moment as Tim considers this.
“I’m used to looking after myself,” he mutters quietly, almost hoping his dad won’t hear.
Harry does however. He gives a heavy sigh and all the energy seems to go out of him. He leans forward, running his hands over his face, suddenly looking much older.
“You shouldn’t need to, Tim.” He pauses, thinking through what to say next. “I’m sorry that I ever made you think that you had to. When your mum died...well we’ve already discussed this, but I wasn’t in a good place. That doesn’t excuse me keeping you out and I’m so sorry, but I want you to understand that I never stopped caring about you or wanting to look after you.”
Tim shakes his head in response. “I made the decision not to take the train to come live with you. That was my fault. Yeah, at the time I did think that you didn’t care but it doesn’t change the fact that I made the wrong choice. So really it’s my fault, isn’t it?” He doesn’t mean for the last bit to come out as a question, but he can’t stop his emotions from slipping out into his voice.
Harry looks at him incredulously.
“You don’t really blame yourself for that, Tim?”
The quiet that follows speaks for itself.
“You were only young- how were you supposed to know any better? Of course you decided not to come. You couldn’t have understood that I wasn’t pushing you away but instead dealing with my own grief.” Harry shakes his head adamantly. “That wasn’t your fault. Of course I was disappointed that you didn’t come to live with me, but I never blamed you for that. I should never have left you alone so soon after...after your mum died.”
Tim let’s what Harry’s said fully sink in. He’s not sure if he’s fully convinced yet but it helps him feel a little better knowing his dad didn’t hold it against him (of course Tim had hypothetically known he didn’t, but hearing it out loud helped his doubts).
“You never finished explaining how you actually found me,” Tim says suddenly, deciding to change the topic, and making Harry’s face twist into surprise.
“I guess not,” He says in a low breathy laugh, “To be honest I really wasn’t sure where you’d go at first.” He rubs his hands against his thighs nervously, “But then I started remembering that when you were sick before, you’d always want to be with your mum. That ended up reminding me of this place. And how you’d probably connect it with her too.”
Tim swallows against the swell of long-term underlying sadness.
“When I first moved here,” Harry continues, “I didn’t do anything for a long time other than work. I didn’t make an effort to talk to anyone, I barely left the flat for anything recreational. I was so wrapped up in my own grief that I basically shut myself off from anything else. But one day I was walking to work and I got lost- the city was still new to me- and I ended up here. It reminded me so much of our visits to Unova, and how you just wanted to spend all your time at the port, and how she would spend hours and hours there looking at the boats and the different pokémon just to make you happy. I ended up sitting here for practically the whole day.”
He rubs the back of his neck sheepishly, “It kind of reminded me that she wouldn’t have wanted me to be living like that. The next day I called in sick from work and spent it decorating and setting up your room. Then I went and picked up this lil guy.”
He nudges Pikachu lightly with his elbow, who looks up at him from Tim’s lap, eyes curious.
“He was originally going to be a gift for you, y’know?”
Tim’s eyes widen in surprise.
“I wanted to try and set up a new life here that she would have wanted for the both of us. And obviously that didn’t work out, but we’ve been given a second chance to do that now, and I don’t want to waste that.” Harry strokes Pikachu on the head and smiles fondly at Tim, similar to how he does every morning when he sees the proof that his son is finally here with him. “Grown up or not Tim, you’re still my son, and I am still going to try and look after you when I can- and in the same way you don’t have to feel like you have to do everything by yourself. You’ve got people here who care about you. I think your mum would want you to embrace that.”
Tim wipes at his eyes softly, eyes wet with tears. His dad looks at him, eyes suspiciously misty too.
“Come on, Tim- let’s go home,” he says, breaking the emotive tone, “I’m getting too old to be sitting outside in the cold for this long.” He stretches out his back and arms theatrically with a groan, “I need a coffee.”
As if on cue, Pikachu gives a little contented trill and yawn, perhaps sensing the turn in the conversation.
Tim nods at his dad. He’s right. It’s time to go back to the apartment instead of doing his best to avoid the inevitable, and accept the help that his dad is offering him.
He makes a move to get up. Suddenly the edges of his vision is going black again, and the buzzing sound in the back of his head is back. For the second time today (arguably too many he thinks rather clearly), Tim feels a wave of vertigo hit him and his body beginning to sag.
However just as quickly his dad is up and by his side, hands solidly gripping onto Tim and holding him up from beneath his shoulders.
“Ah- I’ve got you,” he reassures Tim, gently but firmly setting him back down onto the bench and immediately pushing his head between his knees. Harry’s in detective mode, ready to deal with any emergency.
“Just breathe for a moment,” He instructs, hand rubbing Tim’s back steadily.
Tim takes a couple deep breathes, eyes squeezed shut while he waits for the world to slowly stop spinning.
“I feel like shit,” he finally admits into his knees, opening his eyes and staring down at the hard concrete.
Harry laughs loudly, startled at Tim’s admission, yet his hand never breaking rhythm as he continues to rub comforting circles into Tim’s back.
“I’m not surprised kid,” He states, smile slipping off his face a little as his hand reaches up to feel the side of Tim’s face and then his forehead. “Lucy did say you were running what felt like a pretty high fever.”
Tim closes his eyes against the coolness of Harry’s touch, too aware of the pounding going on in his head.
“Probably,” he murmurs. He feels like all traces of the adrenaline from his dramatic escape have left him and now he can barely focus on staying awake.
Harry makes another concerned noise at this and focuses on helping Tim sit up.
He keeps talking to Tim as he does so. “I was in a bit of a rush when I came looking for you so I didn’t really have a chance to grab anything particularly helpful, but I’ve called us a taxi- which I will be forcing you into this time. It’ll take us back to the apartment and then you can go to bed, and stay there for a very long time. I’ve told Pikachu he’s allowed to sit on top of you as long as is needed and he’s getting pretty heavy after all of those Poke Puff treats you’ve been feeding him.”
Tim huffs in amused annoyance as he leans his body against Harry’s who’s now helping to guide him away from the bench and towards the serendipitously timed arrival of the waiting car. “That’s definitely you, not me.”
His dad tutts jokingly disapprovingly, “That fever must be getting to you because you seem very confused.”
Eventually both he and his dad are in the car, pikachu moving to sit on Tim’s lap like he was on the bench. Tim closes his eyes and considers drifting off, but is interrupted by his dad’s phone beeping.
He looks over to see his dad squinting at the screen through his glasses, looking vaguely amused.
He catches Tim’s gaze and explains, “It’s from Lucy- I’ve let her know that I’ve found you and that you’re alright. She says she’s glad I’ve located you but also that you owe her a pretty impressive apology once you’re feeling better. She specifically suggests maybe an expensive lunch or something along those lines.”
Tim sighs, regretting earlier intensely. Lucy is not going to let this go for a while (he can’t really blame her). Still, the suggestion of an expensive lunch at least implies that she wants to see him again, which is a good start.
Harry laughs, patting Tim on the knee. “Don’t worry- I’m sure you two will work it out. Your mum and I used to argue all the time over stupid things and we turned out okay.”
Tim smiles in lieu of a reply, not even bothering to correct his dad on his presumptions about the nature of his relationship with Lucy. He lets his eyes shut and falls asleep to the feeling of gently stroking Pikachu’s fur.
Eventually they get back to the apartment. Harry helps Tim up the stairs, and guides him to his room- almost a perfect reversal of Tim helping his dad back after Mewtwo turned him back into a human. Except this time it’s a little less awkward. Their relationship now actually might resemble a more normal bond between father and son, than the almost strangers that they were a month and a half ago.
Tim expects his dad to help him down onto the sofa, but instead they bypass that completely and head towards his bedroom. Harry gives him a significant look, knowing exactly what Tim is thinking.
“Bed for you.” He explains simply.
The bedroom has changed significantly since he first arrived here to deal with Harry’s alleged death. The bed frame has been replaced with something a little more mature and a lot of the posters have been taken down. Tim and his dad spent one weekend shopping and building furniture soon after he decided to stay. Tim had also gone back home to pick up some of his own stuff. Now it looks definitely more suitable for a twenty one year old, but he still has a few of his old pokémon trainer trophies on the shelf. He also now has some photos of him and his dad and mum beside them, something that he’d taken down in his old room, and had hidden in the wardrobe for years.
It’s becoming somewhere that feels like home.
Harry helps Tim into a sitting position on the bed. Once he’s certain that Tim’s okay he sets about looking for something more appropriate for him to change into. Pikachu hops off of Harry’s back and curls up on Tim’s pillow.
“I haven’t really been alright with getting sick since mum…since she died,” Tim admits, as his dad sifts through his drawers, “Or anything really to do with hospitals and stuff.” He’s been thinking about it since they talked about her earlier.
His dad pauses, back hunching over a little in response.
“I figured it might also be something like that.” He replies, busying himself in the quest for suitable pyjamas in lieu of saying anything else for a moment.
He eventually turns around with a triumphant sound, holding out some shorts and a t-shirt clearly intended to prevent Tim from heating up any further.
He politely waits, staring into the distance, for Tim to quickly change out of his day clothes and into the night time outfit. Once he’s done however, Harry comes to sit by the side of Tim, similar to how they were placed on the bench at the pier.
“I know I’m maybe not the best person to be giving advice about dealing with this kind of thing…” He starts off, a little rueful, both of them very aware of his own less than ideal coping mechanisms, “But I did have to work through my own share of issues afterwards. You were so young when she got ill- I’m not surprised that it’s had a lasting effect on you.” He worries his lip nervously, clearly not wanting to say anything that might put out Tim. “It might help if you talk to someone about it- it doesn’t have to be me. There are resources at the police department even, y’know people that are trained to help you with this kind of thing. I can put you in contact with someone like that if you want.”
Tim considers this. He’s never thought about actually looking for professional help when it comes to this sort of thing. Back at the time, his grandma had tried getting him to talk to the counsellors at school, but Tim hadn’t been interested. He supposes it was normal procedure after having your family life basically go to shit but he’d found them more patronising than anything else. However, now he’s an adult with the ability to listen to who he wants to. And if today has shown him anything, it’s that he might have a few unresolved issues to work through.
“Thanks Dad,” he responds, not giving a definite response, but at least not saying no. Harry smiles in response, pleased with even this.
His dad jumps off the bed and looks sternly at Tim.
“Alright so, you stay here. I’m going to grab the thermometer and also warm you up some soup.”
Tom makes a face at this, firstly at the coddling (accepting help is a process), and also at the thought of food. Hunger is the last thing on his mind. All he really wants to do is sleep to ignore the building burning pressure behind his eyes.
His dad frowns disapprovingly. “You didn’t eat anything this morning, and I highly doubt you managed to fit lunch into all the drama from today. I’m pretty sure that making sure to eat something is one of the rules of sickness, if not life in general.”
Harry bustles off to get that ready, leaving Tim in the bed with Pikachu. He crawls under the blanket and lifts Pikachu into his arms. The pokémon makes a tiny pika and stares up at Tim.
“I guess this is what having a family is like huh lil guy?” He asks him. Pikachu smiles at him in affirmation, seemingly pleased at Tim’s observation. He can’t argue with the fact that he’s feeling inarguably loved, with his dad here to look after him. Maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world.
He’s interrupted by a glass of water appearing in his line of view.
“Drink,” his dad instructs, as he places a hot bowl of soup on the bedside table, steam curling up.
Tim makes another face, but obliges, downing most of the water in one go. He is actually thirsty, not that he’d realised it before. His dad takes the glass, and places it on the counter.
Harry reaches into his jacket and pulls out a small glass thermometer. He frowns at the instructions, “Okay, so I do actually own one of these- not sure if I’ve ever actually had to use if before but it can’t be that difficult.”
He flips it upside down and then back again as if that will reveal the instructions.
Tim shakes his head in amusement. “I’m pretty sure you just shake it and then-” he mimes placing it in his mouth.
His dad smiles at him, “See, I knew there was a reason I’ve been letting you stay here.” Tim rolls his eyes at that.
There is a comfortable silence as they both wait for thermometer to beep, Tim feeling a bit silly being unable to talk while it’s in his mouth. This all seems a bit excessive for a simple illness.
After roughly three minutes, his dad takes the thermometer from Tim and squints at it under the light. Pikachu has returned to his favourite spot on his dad’s shoulder and glances down curiously too.
“39.3°C” He reports quirking an eyebrow at the reading and whistling. “That’s pretty high. So not necessarily dying per se, but you’re probably feeling pretty rough, and definitely shouldn’t be wandering around the city.” He smirks at Tim.
Tim groans and covers his face with his blanket. He’s feeling even more cold and shivery, now that it’s been firmly confirmed that he’s undeniably sick. He would like nothing more than to curl up and go to sleep.
Unfortunately his dad seems to have other ideas, pulling down the blanket and passing over the bowl of soup and spoon.
“You gotta eat first.” He instructs, clearly not going to take no for an answer on this front.
Tim sighs and methodically attempts to make his way through as much soup as he can. It’s tasteless, and if anything the effort to get it in his mouth and swallow only makes him feel more tired. He’s never been less excited to eat in his life.
His dad is cooing at Pikachu in the meantime, playing with him while Tim tries to eat. Sometimes in the past Tim has looked at scenes like this and was only reminded that his dad has managed to build a life without him in the city. It made him wonder about whether he really belonged here. However, with his dad’s obvious care and concern for him today, he feels less like an intruder and more like a trusted insider, watching something that he’s now a part of.
As if to demonstrate this, after about four spoonfuls of soup, when Tim really decides that he cannot stomach anymore and drops the spoon against the bowl, Pikachu seems to sense that he’s done and pads over to climb onto his shoulders instead.
His dad smiles contentedly at them both, his two favourites together.
“You done then?” He asked. Tim nods in response, too gone to bother verbally replying.
His dad lifts the plate up from his lap and heads back out to the kitchen.
“You can finish it when you feel up to it later,” He calls out as Tim hears him opening the fridge.
Tim nods even though he’s pretty certain his dad can’t see it. He falls back against the bed, head hitting the pillow. Pikachu is sitting between his head and shoulders purring as Tim’s eyes fall shut.
He hears his dad come back into the room and give a huff of amusement. He feels the blanket being thrown up over him and the click of the light as it’s turned off.
“I’ve left you ibuprofen on the side table, as well as some water.” A hand reaches out and squeezes his shoulder, “I’ll be in the study getting some work done. Let me know if you need anything.”
Tim makes a general noise of affirmation.
“Seriously, just come get me. Doesn’t matter what, kid.”
Tim doesn’t hear his door closing before he’s finally asleep, Pikachu curled up beside him.
He slowly drifts half awake into a dreamy state of consciousness what must be many hours later. Pikachu is still a comforting weight at his side, gentle snoring providing a steady and soothing backdrop of sound.
It must be night- his room is dark. The only light softly shining on the end of his bed is coming from the main hallway through his slightly ajar door.
His dad must’ve popped in and checked on him at some point earlier, leaving the door slightly open. Tim can hear him now in the kitchen, humming along to some eighties rock song as he goes about probably making a cup of coffee.
It sounds and feels right. A comforting noise of family life. He’s still sick, he can tell from the way his body is heavy and his muscles are aching, but for the moment he feels oddly calm and content. It’s like he’s meant to be here.
He feels at home.
At ease, warm and cared for, Tim lets himself drift back off into sleep. His dad will be there when he wakes up, and he knows that everything will be fine.
✧･ﾟ: *✧･ﾟ:* *:･ﾟ✧*:･ﾟ✧