Chapter 15: I’m Home
Fan Fiction inspired by Pokemon, Pokemon Conquest
Rating: Young Adult
Shuichi was the only child of two humble parents in Celadon City. For thirty years, they watched joyously as their son grew up from being a scrawny little boy going through the ranks of the Celadon City Gym, to his entrance into the University of Pokémon Studies as a full-fledged professor. Shuichi went through his entire life never knowing what it was like to have siblings.
And yet it just took a single day, a single encounter, a single moment, to change everything he once knew about his family. My family.
I sat nervously with Shuichi, Amy, and his parents as we ate dinner together at the family table. The table felt a little crowded, since it was normally built for two or three people. We nearly doubled the capacity as adults, no less.
Still, regardless that Shuichi had come over to his parents’ house with two guests tonight, Mrs. Oda still had enough to feed us all and then some. What an incredible lady she is, providing so much like this. And to think that this is my mother, too.
“So dad, are you sure Shuko here is really my sister?” he asked, still in disbelief.
“No doubt about it,” said our father, “she’s the one. And if I recall, she’s your younger sister, right honey?”
Mom nodded and smiled at dad.
“But that doesn’t make sense,” continued Shuichi. “If she’s my younger sister, how come I don’t remember her? You’d think I’d be alive long enough to remember something like that!”
“I hate to say this, but I agree with Shuichi,” I said. “How is that possible?”
“You mean you haven’t asked her about it yet?” said my mother. “Shuko, do you know when your birthday is?”
I recall what my adopting mother told me about my birth records, which I celebrate as my real birthday. When I had told everyone my birthday out loud, Shuichi dropped his eating utensils in shock.
“How can that be?” he asked. “That’s my birthday, too.”
“Isn’t it obvious?” said dad. “For a pokémon professor, you’re pretty slow catching on. She’s your twin sister.”
Dad patted Shuichi’s back as hard as he could, emphasizing the embarrassing moment. I laughed again.
“Please, Shuko, not you too,” he pouted.
“I’m sorry, Shuichi, I can’t help it,” I smiled.
Amy sat quietly eating her meal. It looked like she was somewhat relieved to hear all of this, and yet still felt anxious about something.
“That’s right Shuichi,” said mom as she brought us all some tea. “She’s was born six minutes after you. That makes her your younger twin sister.”
“So Shuko, how have you been holding up all these years?” asked dad, trying to break the ice.
“Well, I was raised at a shrine in the Sinnoh region,” I said, omitting the fact I was from Ransei. “I became a priestess.”
“And what a lovely priestess you are,” said mom warmly.
“Yes, but her hairstyle makes her look like a boy, don’t you think?” commented dad. “Of course, Shuichi was no different, growing up at the all girls gym. It’s as if my son is my daughter and my daughter is my son!”
Our parents laughed heartily and I chuckled a little too. Shuichi looked pale, still feeling uneasy about something.
“But dad, why have you never told me about her?” he asked. “How come I never knew I had a sister, let alone a twin sister? Why did you hide that from me?”
Mom and dad settled down to give us an honest answer.
“It’s been a long time, hasn’t it, dear?” said mom quietly. “I think it’s time they knew.”
Dad crossed his arms and began to speak.
“You see, Shuichi, your mother and I aren’t originally from the Kanto region. When we were younger, we fled from our homeland during its wartime: the land of Ransei.”
I felt a strong pain as I held my hands to my chest. Shuichi must have felt it too, because he did the same thing. Dad continued.
“We both wanted to leave our kingdom to seek a better life, so we saved up our earnings and left as soon as we could. We managed to arrive in the Kanto region, but we were very poor. By the time we were able to find a place to live in Celadon City, your mother was pregnant with the two of you.”
“I was happy that I was going to have twins,” said mom. “But with the small amount of money we had at the time, I knew that we could not be able to support two children. It saddened me to think that I had to make a choice to keep one of my children and give the other one away. As the days of my delivery drew nearer, my heart tore in two having to make such a critical decision. When it came time to give birth to the two of you, I decided to keep my first-born, my son. That was you, Shuichi.”
“We both had trouble looking back at our homeland, but we also felt obligated to leave something behind in Ransei,” said dad. “That’s why we decided to leave you in the care of a dear friend of ours, Father Ikeda, Shuko. Please forgive us for having made that decision.”
“Of course I forgive you,” I said sincerely. “It must’ve been hard to make such a decision, and there was no way around it. But still you decided to make that choice. I can’t blame the events of the past if I didn’t have control over them.”
“But here you are now, Shuko, back with your real family, safe and sound,” said mom. “It must be Arceus’ favor that brought us here.”
“But how,” Amy finally spoke up, as cynical as ever. “How can you just accept all of this, Shuko? They left you in that terrible place, never knowing what would happen to you! And you too, Shuichi! Aren’t you even a little mad that your parents never said anything about their past? Why are you all so calm about this?”
Shuichi placed his hands around Amy’s shoulders as he looked into her eyes.
“Of course I’m mad. I’m angry that they were so ashamed to ever have brought it up in the first place. I’m angry that despite them knowing that I’ve been a pokémon warrior for almost a year, they never spoke about how much it must have hurt seeing me carry on the traditions of a culture they ran away from. I’m angry that Shuko, my own flesh and blood, who’s supposed to understand me the most in this world, suffered all this time while my parents and I lived happily in peace without a care in the world! And yet, I can’t stay mad at them, Amy. Because we are family. We have to look out for each other. Because we can make all sorts of choices, who we see as friends, colleagues, or pokémon partners. But you can’t choose your family. You, of all people, should know that.”
Amy turned away from Shuichi in disgust. Then I remembered what she had told me when I stayed at her house last night, about Mei Jia. Mei Jia was her younger sister who passed away, but she was also adopted. Amy’s family was the only close relative that girl had after her abusive parents were taken away. They weren’t even directly related, but Amy loved Mei Jia like she would a sister. She didn’t have a choice.
Then I remembered another small detail that Amy told me about their relationship. I wanted to lighten the mood anyway, so I spoke up.
“At any rate, Shuichi, isn’t there something you wanted to say to your parents?”
Shuichi released his grip on Amy and looked at me inquisitively.
“You, know, about any misunderstandings they might have about your love-life?”
Shuichi gulped as if something sour was stuck in his throat. Amy glared at him, understanding my hint at changing the subject.
“Oh, that’s right!” said mom as she gently pounded her fist in the palm of her other hand. “We’ve contacted another family from Cerulean City. It turns out they have a sweet daughter who’s still single and she’s only four years younger than you. When’s a good day for you to come by the house for a marriage meeting?”
Shuichi’s face turned red, too embarrassed to say another word.
“Why are you so concerned about me getting married so much?” said Shuichi. “Shuko’s my age too, and she isn’t married yet either!”
“Well that’s different, Shuichi,” said mom. “We didn’t raise her like we raised you.”
“Actually, Shuichi,” I spoke up raising my hand, “I haven’t told you yet, but I was married once. I married another monk at the shrine when I was twenty-four. Of course, we had a divorce about three months later. He was such a jerk.”
It was the truth. Shuichi glared at me, probably thinking I wasn’t helping matters at all. I smiled uneasily.
Then Amy stood up and placed her arm on his shoulder.
“Thank you Mrs. Oda, but Shuichi humbly declines,” she said boldly. “He already has a girlfriend.”
Our parents uttered together in shock.
“Wait, don’t tell me, you’ve been dating your real sister this whole time?” said our dad.
Well, didn’t expect him to go to that angle. Now I was feeling embarrassed.
“Shuichi, I know you just met her, but you can’t continue your relationship with her anymore,” said mom. “I won’t allow my son to marry my daughter!”
Amy, who had clearly lost her patience, burst into a rage.
“I’m Shuichi’s girlfriend!”
Our parents sat silently together in shock. Then dad finally spoke up.
“That can’t be right, Shuichi. She’s your childhood friend.”
“That’s right,” continued mom. “She’s almost as much of a sister to you as Shuko is, if not more so. But who can blame you? Her boobs are bigger than mine now.”
“Mom, I can’t believe you just said that to your own son,” Shuichi said in disgust.
With all of her built-up anger, Amy made a fist and pounded Shuichi’s head as hard as she could, slamming his face into the table!
“Shuichi, you’re such an idiot!”
My parents and I started laughing uncontrollably. It turns out my family carried on without me so well all these years. They’re a little eccentric, but I can tell that Shuichi was well taken care of. And despite their dark past, mom and dad still welcomed me with open arms, even though they never raised me. And as for Amy, she seems to fit in with them all, too. I know those two will work things out. I felt completely at ease with them. So this is what it’s like to have a real family.
But in this moment, I could not forget about my family. My other family. My father, my mother, my brothers and sisters, living or dead, trapped in that terrible country that I had left so long ago.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
As the dinner table calmed down and everyone had finished eating, I had to make a confession.
“Mom, dad, I’m so happy to have finally met you both, and I thank you for your hospitality,” I said sincerely. “But I’m afraid I have to go back.”
Mom and dad gave me a puzzled look, trying to figure out what I meant by that.
“I’m going back to Ransei. I have to see what has become of my home.”
“But why, Shuko?” said mom, concerned for me. “We left that place a long time ago, and so did you. Please stay here with us. You have a home now.”
That’s right. I have a family now. A home to come back to. But I had a home there too. I can’t leave them behind again. Not anymore.
“I’m grateful, mother, really I am. But I have a home in Ransei, too. I must know what has happened to my family there.”
Shuichi got up from his seat as well.
“I’m leaving for Ransei as well. The University and I have unfinished business that needs to be taken care of there. We are leaving in the morning.”
Mom had a terrified look on her face as dad sat quietly with a more serious look.
“No, Shuichi, not you too!” said mom. “I won’t allow both of my children to go there. And after we all got back together for the first time!”
“Let them go, honey,” said dad, with his arms crossed.
“But dear, you know what it’s like over there. Talk some sense into them!”
“Ransei is a beautiful region,” dad said to Shuichi. “I hope you get to take in the scenery while you are there.”
“That’s not what I meant, dear!”
“That’s enough, honey! Shuichi is grown up now, can’t you see? He’s an adult now. He can make decisions on his own.”
“But he’s our son. And Shuko is our daughter!”
Dad comforted mom as she continued to weep.
“They’ll be fine, honey,” he said softly. “We have raised Shuichi well, and Shuko has been able to take care of herself without us. And besides, it’s not like they are going to Ransei by themselves. They have each other now. Isn’t that what family is supposed to do?”
Mom calmed down as dad walked over to Shuichi and hugged him. Shuichi looked surprised, probably because they had rarely hugged each other before.
“Shuichi, just be careful out there,” he said kindly, yet firmly. “And look after your little sister, too.”
“I will, dad,” he replied.
Dad then approached me and gave me a hug.
“Shuko, I haven’t been able to give you this much support your whole life, and I still regret that. But even so, you have grown to be a strong woman, and I am proud of you. Take care of your big brother. He can be an idiot sometimes, but he’s still family.”
“Of course, father,” I said.
Mom gave us all hugs of her own without another word. With that, Shuichi, Amy, and I left our home to prepare ourselves for the next morning. Amy, who seemed to feel much more relieved about all of this, decided that it was best for me to stay at Shuichi’s place for the night as she left us at his apartment. She can be the jealous type, but now she knows that Shuichi loves her more than anything, it seems.
And besides, I am his sister.