This is a work of fanfiction by Butterfree/Dragonfree/antialiasis and is not to be reposted without permission. This story is in no way official or endorsed by Nintendo, GAME FREAK, Creatures Inc., or The Pokémon Company.

Morphic

For more information on this story and a full list of chapters and extras, click here. Please note that Morphic is rated R (M if you prefer Fiction Ratings) for strong language, violence and other sensitive subject matter.

Chapter 10

“David Ambrose?”

“Yes?”

“We got him.”

-------

Dave hesitated before pulling the key from the ignition. Without ever taking his hand off it – that would make it too deliberate – he took a deep breath and leaned back against the car seat. He exhaled, slowly, controlledly. He felt the built-up tension of the past couple of weeks relaxing its grip on his body; muscles he didn’t know he had unclenched one by one.

It was over.

He allowed himself to close his eyes and savor another gulp of air, finally mostly devoid of that smothering paranoia. Part of Dave’s mind of course imagined a crazy-looking man in a prison uniform bursting out of the door in front of him, pulling a gun out of nowhere and pointing it at the windshield with a wicked grin – but at least now the possibility was remote enough to safely ignore.

“Christ,” he muttered, took one last moment to sit there and enjoy the relief, and then pulled the key out. He opened the door, climbed out of the car, slammed it back shut. No murderers. Nothing to fear. Not anymore.

The moment he stepped through the door of the police station, two officers that had been talking near a desk across the room turned their heads towards him and one of them stood up. The policeman hastened towards him and grabbed his hand in an almost painful handshake. “Mr. Ambrose,” he said, a fast but firm voice. “I’m Officer Russell. Thank you for coming. How much did they tell you on the phone?”

“That you got the psycho that nearly shot me.”

“We did, we did,” replied the policeman while nodding overenthusiastically. “Or I suppose you could say he got himself. A man came by the station yesterday, Jacob Daniels – do you know him?”

“Can’t say it rings any bells.”

“Well, he knows you. Brother of the priest of the Church of Holy Truth – it’s a fundamentalist sect, don’t know if you’ve heard of it. They’ve been quite outspoken about the, ah… Pokémorph issue.”

The man winced when he mentioned it, a gesture that, in Dave’s experience, was mostly common to those who had been horrified and disgusted when they had first heard about the morphs and merely tried their best to forget where they came from now that they were lovable little kids. “Fundies,” he responded, channelling his brief annoyance into a more productive path. “Figures.”

“Well, anyway, he said he wanted to confess to the murder of Brian Edwards. Recited all sorts of details only the killer could know, even brought the weapon with him to let us match the rifling marks. Registered to him, bought a few years ago for home protection. Seemed pretty proud of it, but even if he recants the confession, we have more than enough evidence to make a quick, straightforward case. It’s pretty solid.”

Dave looked blankly at the other man. “So wait, the guy chooses to turn himself in now, after we’ve been hiding from the bogeyman for weeks?”

Officer Russell shrugged. “He said God told him to do it, and now to confess his crime.”

“Well, that’s... annoying.” Annoying. It wasn’t even just annoying. It was fucking criminal. If he was going to turn himself in in the first place, why couldn’t the fucker have done it immediately afterwards and saved everyone the trouble?

“Anyway,” the policeman went on, “just to put a lid on it, we wanted to do a Gardevoir test as well, so that’s why we called you. It’ll only take a minute.”

“Right.”

“Follow me, then.”

The officer led him down a corridor to the right. “Are you familiar with how the test works?”

“Vaguely.”

“Just look him in the eye, ask him whether he did it and whether anybody knew about his intentions or was working with him, and the creature handles the rest.”

They went through a reinforced metal door into a bleak interrogation room. At the table in the middle sat a tall, dark-haired man with striking, handsome features and an element of relaxed confidence in his posture even despite having his hands cuffed behind his back. Two guards stood behind him, while another officer stood at the side of the table beside the graceful Psychic Pokémon that was watching the prisoner steadily with unblinking red eyes. Jacob Daniels was looking musingly back at the Pokémon, but turned his piercing blue eyes towards Dave as they walked in. A grin spread through his face.

“Amelia is picking up malice, possibly murderous intent, sir,” said the policeman with the Gardevoir, which was still staring fixedly at the prisoner. Jacob Daniels appeared completely unfazed by the declaration and simply continued to flash that creepy toothpasty grin.

Dave regarded the man in silence for a second. The knowledge that he was standing in front of someone who had attempted to murder him struck him uncomfortably. He cleared his throat.

“So you’re the creep who tried to kill me.”

Jacob smiled at him, arrogance beaming from his face. “I was an instrument of the Lord. Your fate has been decided. I was merely chosen to do the dirty work.”

“Some mighty fine instrument, aren’t you, killing the wrong guy?”

“Please stick to questioning about the matter at hand, Mr. Ambrose,” said Officer Russell. Jacob Daniels laughed softly.

“There are no coincidences, Mr. Ambrose. God’s ways are many and mysterious. We cannot make the mistake of doubting them when our interpretations are faulty.”

“What the fuck is that supposed to even mean?” Dave waited a second for a possible answer; Jacob did not so much as change his expression. “Were you working alone?”

“I answer to no one but the Lord.”

“Did anybody else know about your little plot?”

The man looked into his eyes, leaning a little back. “Why would I tell someone who might have interfered before the cause could be carried out? No. I am not an idiot, Mr. Ambrose.”

“And that’s why you’re in jail right now and I’m still alive.”

Jacob Daniels flashed him a grin, unfazed. There was something deeply disturbing about his complete lack of anger at his failure. Dave looked at the guard with the Gardevoir.

“She feels no indication that he is lying or concealing any facts, sir.”

Officer Russell shrugged and stepped back from the wall he had been leaning against. “That will be all for now, then. Let me show you out.”

Dave took one last look at his would-be murderer and his unsettling grin before following the officer out of the room and back into the cold corridor. It took a moment for the discomfort of Jacob Daniels’ presence to wear off.

“Why’d you need me to ask him that stuff, anyway?”

“It gives a better emotional reading,” the policeman explained. “We questioned him too, of course, but it’s easier for Gardevoir to sense them fully when an outside stimulus is forcing the emotions associated with the relevant memories more to the forefront of the mind.”

“Right,” Dave replied, trying to keep most of the scepticism from his voice. “How reliable is this?”

“It’s pretty good, as far as all the evidence suggests. Good liars can keep it off their faces, but you can’t hide it from a Gardevoir. There are those cases where they honestly believe what they’re saying, but for a man who gave himself up and confessed voluntarily and without coercion, well…” He shrugged. “It’s pretty foolproof here.”

“So we’re safe, right? We can stop hiding and being guarded?”

The policeman nodded. “Looks like it.”

“Have you talked to the others yet?”

“We called them just after we called you. They all sounded very relieved.”

They were at the door now, and the policeman stopped and extended his hand. “Thanks for coming in. Then we will need to hear from you as a witness once it gets to court; we’ll call you about that.”

Dave shook his hand and walked outside into the sun. They were free. Now Jean would come home and everything would be back to normal at last.

-------

Gabriel didn’t feel as much better as he had thought he would. He was glad nobody else would get hurt, in an oddly detached sort of way, but somehow knowing of his father’s killer behind bars did nothing for his sense of justice, and the same dull bitterness still throbbed within him, more intensely than before if anything. It was frustrating to know he ought to be content while painfully aware that he wasn’t in the least.

“Well, what would make you content?” Jack asked him sometime. “Isn’t this just something only time can heal?”

“It’s not that,” said Gabriel, shaking his head, and it wasn’t: it was not just grief. It was a sort of restless hunger for something, only he could not know what the something was – his best guess had been the incarceration of the murderer, but when that brought him no satisfaction, he was lost as to what could.

But he did not explain that to Jack, figuring it would only make him more worried about him. Gabriel didn’t like worrying other people.

-------

Will sat on his bed, licking absent-mindedly at his fingertips. Jean was gone. The mattress she’d slept on was still on the floor below him, the red blanket crumpled and the pillow resting half on the floor, half on the edge of the mattress. It felt so long since he’d been completely alone. He wasn’t really sure what to do with himself. What had he done with himself before she’d pretty much moved in with them, anyway?

He looked around the room for ideas and then under the bed. His ball of yarn was still lying there. It was just too tempting.

He stood up and locked the door out of habit, even though he knew his siblings weren’t there: they’d fled the premises when Jean came over and had been staying with his friends. He took the ball out from under the bed and put it on the floor in front of him before sitting down and just staring at it.

It had been a while. Maybe he had grown out of it after all. He considered the possibility dully and could not bring himself to be happy about it.

The gold charm on his forehead itched and he reached up to scratch around it, but the more he scratched, the more it itched. He grabbed it in irritation, wishing he could just pull it off once and for all, and just like that, it came off, leaving only a cold tingle on the skin below it.

Will stared at the gold in his hand in disbelief. His first thought was that somehow he was evolving, turning into a Persian morph, but something made him instinctively know that that was not it.

Pay Day, he realized absurdly, blinking at the coin.

The tingle in his forehead was turning into a hot, painful throb. He winced and touched the spot where his charm had been with his fingers; at first it was just hard and rough and bulging out disturbingly, but within a few seconds there was metal regrowing where the old charm had been, and a few seconds after that, it had been completely replaced, with only a faint throb of pain and the flat piece of gold in his hand to remind him that it had ever happened.

He blinked again at the coin. A surreal idea popped up in his head: maybe he could buy candy for it?

He thought about it for a second – no, there were Pokémon abuse laws in place to prevent the sale of Meowth charms – but then decided he kind of wanted to keep it, anyway. He put the gold piece carefully in his pocket.

Shouldn’t he tell his parents? They always wanted to know when they exhibited new Pokémon traits. He looked up at the door and then back down to the white ball of yarn in front of him.

Aw, heck. He could tell them later.

-------

A few days later, Gabriel gave up and did try to explain it, when he was in a particularly wretched mood and somewhere in the back of his consciousness kind of wanted Jack to worry about him after all.

“I feel like there’s... there’s lava bubbling up inside me and it’s about to try to burst out,” he said, but it sounded ridiculous, like some sort of a miserable pun on his condition. He clenched his fists around the plastic-coated sheets he was sitting on – his bed had been moved from their house into Jack’s room when it had been decided he would stay with them – and shook his head before trying again. “Every day just makes me feel angrier. I don’t even know who or what I’m angry at anymore. I thought it was the killer, but it’s not.”

Jack sat curled up opposite him on his own bed, listening, resting his head on his knees while his hands fiddled with his finger-webbing. He said nothing. Jack knew when Gabriel expected an answer and when he just wanted to vent to somebody he could trust. It was one of the reasons they had always bonded well.

“Maybe it’s Dave,” Gabriel went on, thinking aloud. “I still sometimes look at him and hate him for being alive, still strutting around and pretending everything revolves around him. Maybe I’m just angry at my dad for still being dead. Or all this stupid slime. Why didn’t they abort me as a fetus again?” He paused. “Oh, right, the Stop Abortion Movement. Maybe I’m just angry at them.” He looked up at Jack as if he could confirm or deny it.

“Do you think it could be some sort of a lust for revenge?” Jack asked after a moment’s pause.

“Well, no,” Gabriel replied in irritation. “I already told you. I didn’t feel a thing when they caught the guy. I don’t care about the killer. It has to be...”

“Well,” Jack interrupted him, “maybe it’s just not satisfying to you to just hear on the phone that they caught him. Maybe you wanted to... be involved with catching him yourself.”

Gabriel stopped to think about it. He hadn’t really considered it. “Why would that matter?” he replied stubbornly. “The end result is the same. He’s in prison.”

Jack hesitated. Then, “Really?”

It was a probing sort of ‘Really’, fishing for something in particular. Gabriel frowned at him. “What do you mean?”

Jack bit his lip, his gaze flicking nervously to the locked door. “Would you have wanted to... attack him? Fight him?”

Gabriel looked at him for a moment. “Maybe, I guess?” he said quizzically, and Jack looked away, his blue face turning a shade towards purple. “What’re you thinking?”

“Don’t you ever get... violent impulses?” he asked, jerking his head back towards Gabriel. “Wanting to punch random people? Attack them, hurt them...?”

“Kill them?” Gabriel suggested.

“Maybe.” He flicked his gaze towards the door again. “I mean, I didn’t get much of it when I was little, but I think it could be a hormonal thing that’s just setting in now. These days, when people get on my nerves, I really want to attack them to show I’m better. Sometimes I want to fight random people I see just because I wonder if I could beat them.”

Gabriel paused. “So you think it’s because of the Pokémon genes?”

“It’s the only reason I can think of,” Jack replied with a nervous shrug. “For the impulse to be this strong, I mean. I’ve been wanting to ask all the others, but if it’s just me, I don’t really want to draw attention to it.”

Gabriel nodded. The last thing they needed was convincing more people that they were dangerous subhumans that needed to be restrained somewhere far away from normal people.

A few seconds passed in silence. Then Jack asked quietly, “So have you felt anything like that?”

Gabriel thought about it and then shook his head. “Not really.”

Jack looked away, his gaze distant, and Gabriel wished he could have told him they were the same. But he really had felt nothing of the sort – nothing he wouldn’t think would be ordinary for a frustrated teenage human orphan, at the very least.

Did he want to personally hurt or kill his father’s murderer? The thought of it was somewhat satisfying, maybe even more so than it ought to be for a normal person if he considered it – but he could tell that still wasn’t quite it.

“I think I can use Spark,” said Jack suddenly.

“Really?” Gabriel looked back at him.

“Yeah. I think we’re all developing some more Pokémon powers. I heard Peter used a Quick Attack the other day, and Will did a Pay Day just a couple of days ago, and Lucy is starting to gain control of that primitive Shadow Ball she could do. And now I can use Spark. It’s kind of neat, but still not very strong. Want to see?”

Gabriel nodded.

Jack reached for the switch to turn the lights off. He closed his eyes to concentrate, and the small lights at the ends of his antennae brightened visibly; he moved his right hand slowly upwards until it was right between the antennae, and then a bright yellow spark of electricity jumped from between the bulbs and his hand. He jumped, jerking his hand back down as he opened his eyes and began to shake his arm.

“It feels kinda numb afterwards,” he explained, “but it’s cool to know I can do it, right?” He looked brightly at Gabriel, who smiled.

“Yeah, it’s pretty cool,” he said, not sounding as enthusiastic as he would have liked.

Jack’s smile faded. “What about you? Have you been discovering any cool new powers?”

Gabriel shook his head with a skewed smile. “I guess I just don’t get any cool powers.”

The other boy looked at him with regret. That worry and concern was creeping into his eyes again. “You might just discover them later,” he suggested. “Maybe yours just need a bit more time.”

If there was any time when Jack irritated Gabriel, it was when he was trying too hard to suggest a positive way of looking at being a half-Slugma. But his mood was beginning to get better and he didn’t want to subject his friend to some sort of irritated remark on top of the confusion he must be feeling about his Pokémonlike fighting impulses, so he just shrugged. “So what now? Let out some steam by playing violent video games?”

Jack grinned, and seeing his friend smile made Gabriel somehow feel better, enough so to make him completely forget to mention the weird glint in Jack’s eyes while they played and the way it intensified when his opponents exploded into splatters of gore.

Page last modified July 14 2017 at 16:44 GMT