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In hindsight, it really shouldn’t have come as such a surprise. And yet, here they were anyway. 

 

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Milo and Nessa agreed amongst themselves that they could be forgiven for missing this. Virtually nothing about the situation seemed to be incriminating at the time. 

The two alphas had just happened to be hanging out with Raihan down in Motostoke for the day. It was the middle of the season. Most trainers who were still in the competition had made their way past Kabu’s gym, but had not quite made it up anywhere near Raihan’s. As such the three alphas had some time in the middle of the season to hang out. 

The day had seemed fine, but as they left the small diner it seemed there was a bit of a commotion nearby, and also a bit widespread all over the city. Confused as to what was going on, Nessa staked out a young beta who seemed to be helping out an omega friend of hers. “I’m so sorry to bother, but do you know what’s going on?”

The beta nodded a bit as she adjusted the arm her friend had around her shoulder. “Yea, a big supplier of suppressors sent out a bad shipment. They recently sent out for a recall, because the bad batch is kicking a lot of people into early heat.” The beta looked anxious to be getting her friend home so Nessa thanked her and sent her off on her way. 

Milo frowned a bit as he looked after them and how many people in the city were trying to find the quickest way home. “What a disaster! How did they even mess up that bad?”

Nessa shakes her head in exasperation. “These things just happen sometimes..” She trails off as she notices Raihan behind them, subtly trying to take off on his Flygon. She raises an eyebrow at him as she calls out, “Raihan!” 

His head snaps up at her questioningly and she resists the urge to glower. “Why are you suddenly leaving?? And without even saying goodbye?” 

His eyes averted to the side for a bit before he huffed and gave her a challenging smirk as he climbed on the back of his Flygon. “Too many omega scents around. I think I can handle myself pretty well, but even this is a bit much for me.” He says in explanation.

As if supporting his point, Nessa can feel herself get a bit light headed as a group of flushed omegas run right past her, their sweet scents lingering a bit in the wind. Next to her, it seems Milo isn’t faring much better, flushed red as an Applin as he is. 

They both consider Raihan’s words for all of two seconds before nodding quickly. Nessa turns to Raihan again to wave him off. “Text me when you get to your flat. We’ll hang out some other time, yea?” She’s barely finished her question before Raihan takes off, leaving them. Huh. The scents must really be bothering him if he had to get out that fast. Before she can stop it, the thought comes unbidden to her that he must be close to his rut. She wrinkles her nose at the thought and quickly parts way with Milo before any of the scents around her can get to her head. 

 

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For Melony and Gordie, there was a particular afternoon that now had some new light shed on it. 

They had been having a relaxing brunch with Melony, Aliie, her lovely  beta wife and all of their kids. The air between Melony and Gordie at a relative standstill instead of usual tenseness that accompanied it. Gordie and his younger siblings were engaged in heated discussions about the latest gym battles that happened earlier. After all it wasn’t everyday that trainers made it up to Hammerlocke gym, much less past it. This year's contestants were an interesting bunch for sure too. 

A nice, lovely afternoon-

Knock, knock, knock. Knock

-broken by the sound of nervous, if somewhat frantic knocks at the door. The family sitting at the table shot each other questioning and confused looks because nobody had mentioned inviting somebody over for any reason. After a few hushed gestures, Gabe, the second eldest male, went to go answer the door. 

Thinking it would be nothing he family turned to go back to dinner but were surprised when Gabe returned to the table rather quickly. 

And he wasn’t alone. 

Flanked behind him were two young trainers, decked out in the Hammerlocke gym uniform. 

“Um..Mum...Some people are here to see you..” Gabe said nervously. He glanced between the table and the jittery trainers. 

Melony couldn’t help, but raise a brow, internally of course. While she couldn’t help but be confused by the sudden appearance of the young trainers, their current state of apprehensiveness started to bring out some natural parenting instincts in her. Even though she was an alpha, her and Allie had split parenting duties as equally as they could back when all their pups were still rather young. 

(Also their nervous states were more than likely to eventually start spreading around and she’d rather take the brunt of that than have her family deal with it and ruin the relatively nice atmosphere.) 

She ushered them into another room and closed the door behind her before sitting in a loveseat, urging them to do the same. Young Sebastian and Aria if she could remember correctly. 

Sebastian looked hesitantly at the dating, before somewhat reluctantly taking a seat. Aria on the other hand had chosen to remain standing. Taking a couple nervous paces every now and then. Sebastian, bless him, even while sitting was only faring slightly better. While he seemed to be a picture of calmness, his jittering leg gave him away.

Goodness what could be up with them?

“How can I help you today loves?” She started off gently. Not gentle enough by how they both started slightly and exchanged nervous glances between each other. 

It must have been a solid minute of subtle exchanges before Sebastian turned to her and took a deep breath. “M..Miss Melony. You've dealt with family stuff before right?” 

Huh.

A bit of an odd and rhetorical question. One glance back out in the kitchen would be enough to supplement that answer. But she played along nonetheless and nodded amiably. “Yes, many years of family stuff.” She teased lightly, hoping to somewhat alleviate the nervous tension blanketing the room to evidently no avail. 

“Um. What did you…” Sebastian flusters and Aria finally stops pacing to turn and look Melony dead in the eye. 

“How did you take care of your wife while she was pregnant?!” She half yells before she remembers herself. The young girl flushes before resuming pacing. Thankfully the walls of this house were quite thick so Melony doubts anybody outside heard that. She still can’t help, but being taken aback by the question. 

She sits back carefully and scrutinizes the two in front of her carefully. Both of the young trainers in front of her were alphas. Very young alphas. 

She bit her lip as she considered the possible situation- because she was sure if she asked they would remain pretty tight lipped about it. While you could look many things up online, getting advice and information from a real world source always felt better in the end. So she couldn’t fault them for coming to her. Especially as a pair. It was likely that one of them had just come along as moral support for the other. On the other hand it tugged something inside her knowing the one of the trainers in front of her was going to be a parent soon. 

They were so young. 

Despite that she couldn’t help, but appreciate how they were already ready to take responsibility for what they sow. So many would have turned tail and ran, especially at their age. 

“Well…” She started as she tapped her chin in thought. She had to think a bit, because it had been quite some time since Allie’s last pregnancy. And while she was sure if they were to have another child she’d dropped right back into the caring alpha mindset easily, as she was not currently in it right now, she had to take a bit of time to think. 

She listed off to them a lot of the duties, responsibilities and things of the sort she had to do while Allie was pregnant. They were taking notes very avidly, as if their very life depended on it. It was good to see young people so ready to take on responsibility. 

“Of course at the end of the day, Allie is a beta. If the one pregnant is an omega they will likely be a bit fussier than this.” She tacked on, because you could never be too sure. And sure enough, Sebastian’s vigorous writing faltered for a bit before he diligently continued. 

He stopped for a bit and seemed to struggle to find his next words. “And...And what if you’re not that person’s Alpha?” His voice almost seemed to give out towards the end of his question. 

Melony jumped a bit at that. She couldn’t help the frown that began to tug at the corner of her lips. 

Aria must have realized how that sounded because she suddenly stopped and turned with her arms held out placatingly. “It’s not what you think!” Melony’s posture remained a bit stiff. Aria deflated a little at that. “Please, it’s...it’s really not.” 

She let some of the tension go out of her shoulders at the weak plea. These were Raihan’s kids. And if they were Raihan’s kids they had to be good kids. They could probably get busy at the gym and were probably afraid of leaving their pregnant other alone all the time. And while it was nearing the end of the current gym season, she couldn’t fault them for thinking about the possibility. 

She smiled at them again, soft and kind as she could as a sort of apology. “I haven’t had much personal experience with that, but I will say you should probably just know when to back off.” She brushed a lock of her hair behind her shoulder. “I’m sure that it won’t be a problem most of the time if they know you're not a threat, but sometimes only their mate can really calm them down. Don’t take too much offense if you’re ever given the boot, yea?” She asked with a gentle smile.

Aria nodded shyly. “Yea….Yea okay. Thank you Miss Melony.” 

She waved it off. “Please it’s really no problem. I won’t pry to much, but I can only wish you both the best of luck,” she said softly, and finally, finally, the tension seemed to drain out of them. So they were worried that she was gonna ask around. A bit strange, but not the strangest thing in the world. She could let it go. “Would you loves like anything to drink or eat before you go?” That’s if her own family hadn’t devoured everything already, but it was always polite to ask.

Sebastian shot off the couch, ramrod straight as anything and shook his head. “No thank you. We should really be on our way.” And with that Melony escorted them out, as they didn’t seem very inclined to stay. Probably very worried about whoever they were asking about. For a second she couldn’t help but think why wouldn’t they go to Raihan. But the thought quickly left because while the young alpha exuded a certain persona, he was far from being a parent to anybody besides his Pokémon.

Joining her family back at the table, Allie gave her a worried glance over a glass of iced tea. Melonly shook her head and signaled to her they could chat about it later. Allie relaxed, realizing it must have been nothing too serious and they returned to their meals.

Most of Gordie’s younger siblings had finished and scampered off to play games, but Gordie was still at the table frowning at his phone. 

Allie spoke up first. “Something wrong my dearest?” Her voice showed concern, but with no force behind it if he didn’t want to talk. 

The alpha looked up from his phone briefly and bit his lip. He shot off a quick reply to whomever he was texting before picking his phone back. “Ah it’s…” Both Melony and Allie stayed silent, knowing that sometimes he needed just a bit of time to get his racing thoughts together. 

“Raihan just replied back to me.”

Allie raised an eyebrow, evidently not seeing a problem, but Melony started a bit. “Were you texting him earlier?”

Gordie nodded immediately. “We were texting back and forth after his last match for the day ended and then he just stopped!” He exclaimed with an upwards movement of his arms. “He just got back to me. And to tell me sorry for the late reply, he just passed out!”

Now that got Allie to start a bit. “Is he alright?”

Gordie sighed. “He said it was just because he went a bit overboard with his training lately and didn’t get much of a break between that and the matches. So no food and he just was barely holding it together by the end of the matches.”

Allie clicked her tongue a bit at that. “Invite him over for dinner again one of these days. The dears love him anyway!”

Melony nodded in agreement. “He hides it under his baggy clothes, but he’s much too skinny anyway!”

Gordie rolled his eyes, but re opened up his messenger to shoot off to Raihan about coming over regardless. “I just hope he takes it easy. He needs to be in shape if he wants to take Leon’s title this year!”

 

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For Sonia, the end of the championships had made so much more bloody sense than they did at the time. 

She was nervous for Leon. 

She was able to catch a few of some of the challenger battles on the telly between her research when she could. And Arceus the kids this year were packing a punch. Especially Hop and Gloria. 

Bede and Marnie were pretty good too, but she had a feeling they wouldn’t be making it to the finals. 

(She was proven right about Bede when the Chairman had taken away his endorsement right in front of her.) 

Victor was a good battler as well, but she could tell his heart wasn’t in it and was wholly unsurprised when he dropped the challenge not too soon after getting past Opal. 

His sister by contrast has been absolutely decimating the finals competition. Her match with Marnie was intense, but in the end she had prevailed. That’s to speak nothing of how she utterly trumped over Hop and Bede, much to everyone’s surprise. 

She was astounded the kid Leon had endorsed had made it so far. Sonia could feel that history was happening all over again in Galar when she managed to make it past not only Nessa, but Raihan. 

When Duraludon fell behind him, the whole stadium was silent for a solid 10 seconds before ravenous cheers broke out. It was unprecedented, for the region who had become so used to being revved up for what new stops and twists Raihan and Leon would pull out against each other. 

Then the disaster with Rose had happened and Sonia was glad to let her brain fizz out a little at the thought of that because Arceus what a disaster. 

Now she could barely hold back from falling in the childish habit of biting her nails as Leon battled against Gloria. Nessa next to her, seemed to be as equally drawn in. All of their fellow gym leaders were. Except for Raihan who was conspicuously missing. 

(She suspected he was probably watching the battle from the tunnel, where he could be closest to Leon. Despite being rivals, the two alphas had remained the best of friends through thick and thin.)

Sonia blinked and the next thing the beta knew, Leon’s Charizard was falling behind him.

She blinked again.

What.

She blinked.

The world seemed to have come to a standstill. 

Right up until Leon threw his cap off in the air, and suddenly there was deafening noise for Galar’s newest champion. 

Sonia still couldn’t help but worry. Because someone like Leon, she didn’t think he would take the grace of losing very well. But as the monitor showed a close up of his face and the new Champion rode on his shoulders just before they got swarmed with interviewers, she couldn’t think of time she had ever seen him happier.

And it was oh so very confusing. 

 

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They should have seen it coming. They really should have.

And yet, nothing could prepare anybody for the headline of an article coming out a month post the end of the season, that was rapidly becoming all of the latest talk. 

 

 The Crowned Dragon of Hammerlocke, An Omega Hiding Right Before Our Eyes