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.

Extra: Morphic Bingo

The Biggest Headline

‘THEY’RE ALIVE’: DESTRUCTION OF HYBRID FETUSES RULED ILLEGAL

Dave shouldn’t have even picked up the newspaper. On the front page, beneath the headline, his own face stared towards the off-screen judge in silent, disbelieving outrage. Brian looked like he was about to burst into fucking tears. Of course he did.

He tossed the paper aside and sat down at the kitchen table, cracking open a beer. He sipped it while staring out the window, knuckles white on the edge of the table.

“It’s eight in the goddamn morning, Dave.”

He looked up. Jane was not looking at him, preparing her elaborately healthy breakfast with stiff, angry motions.

“Well, apparently soon it’ll be six in the goddamn morning, if we’re lucky and the thing acts like a normal baby. Enjoy it while it lasts.”

Her bowl clattered on the counter. “I swear to God, if you’re going to sit there drinking it off while I keep this thing you created alive—”

“I’m—” Fuck. He squeezed his eyes shut, massaged his eyelids. “Look, we’ll figure it out. I don’t fucking like this any more than you do.”

She stood there, rigid, lips pressed together. “Dave. I want you to swear to me that you won’t dump this all on me. Or you can do it alone.”

He took a deep breath through his nose. What was ‘this’ even going to be? Changing diapers? Putting out literal fucking fires?

He didn’t want any of it, but he was about one goddamn fight away from being stuck with all of it.

“Yeah, of course,” he said, without looking at her, and hoped to every nonexistent god that it’d be enough.

Studies Done on the Morphs

Dave peered at the X-rays of Mia’s arms. There it was – the unmistakable bright metal edge along her ulna, brighter towards the elbow. Fuck yes.

“You know what this means?” he said, grinning at her. “Your scythes are growing.”

Mia wasn’t often anything that could be described as excited, but she did seem kind of excited about getting scythes. Or at least interested. Looking intensely focused, eyes open and unblinking, full attention devoted to learning more. She reached up for the X-ray and he handed it to her.

“Metal’s dense and absorbs the radiation, so it shows up brighter in the picture than the bone, which is brighter than the soft tissue. Grant can probably tell you more if you want.” In his chair, Grant raised a skeptical eyebrow. He’d agreed to do the imaging, never complained per se, but he’d always seemed kind of creeped out by Mia. Not like Dave couldn’t get why, but still. Fuck Grant.

Mia was examining the X-ray closely, looking between it and her arm as she rotated it slowly. “Those two bones cross over each other when you twist it,” he said. “That’s how your arm works.”

She nodded without looking up. “What next?”

“For the study? Well, we’ll be continuing to image your arm regularly, and comparing the X-rays to the scythe growth in actual Scyther, and the timeline of how it plays out. If the genes we put in you work like we think, we should see them growing out through your skin eventually. Probably a pretty straight edge in your case.”

“Why?”

“Well, Scyther are pretty weird, but they’re fundamentally tetrapods. Common ancestor. You know the green bit on the scythe? That’s basically just a weird forearm. The scythe grows out of their ulna, too, same way as yours. Only because they’ve been evolving into this specialized niche for millions of years, over time the other bone, the radius, just fused with the ulna.” He pointed it out on the X-ray. “Whole hand shrank and disappeared. And the fused bone grew into that narrow curved shape because it makes for a stronger blade. Sometimes you get mutant Scyther hatching with little hands at the end of the scythe, the way sometimes you get people with tails, because all the genes for that are technically still there.”

Mia seemed fascinated, by which he meant she cocked her head, looking intently at the hand bones on the X-ray.

“What if you’re wrong about the genes?”

“Then you get something like Peter’s wings. The hypothesis was he’d grow full-fledged extra limbs, but obviously that didn’t work out. We’ve been studying him too, how and why they grew that way. Made some progress understanding what we were missing, too. Published a paper on it last year.”

“Are there going to be papers on me?”

“There are already papers about you. The growth of the exoskeleton on your legs was one, back when you were tiny. Fascinating stuff.”

Mia frowned, looking down at her feet below the hospital gown. “It’s stupid that all this science is only happening with us, because you weren’t allowed to abort us.”

“Yeah, well.” Dave winced. “People aren’t exactly going to create more of you just for research purposes.”

“Why not?”

Talking to Mia was still reliably an adventure. “Well, I mean, some of you already have a pretty hard time just living your lives. Look at Gabriel, or Katherine. And all things considered they’re lucky. I mean, you saw what happened with Peter’s wings. Imagine that’s not little extra limbs he doesn’t need anyway, it’s his actual hands. Hell, you could’ve turned out not to have any fucking hands. Good luck going through life with just scythe-arms. Deliberately creating a kid with significant odds of just constantly suffering, for research? Not great, by the standards of most people and ethics committees.”

Mia contemplated that. For all he knew she did think scythe-arms with no hands sounded great.

“What if you created them to not have any higher brain functions? Then it’s just like regular animal experimentation.”

Jesus, Mia. “Well, one, what the fuck, two, it’s not that easy, and three, at that point why are you using humans to begin with.”

Over in his chair, Grant was staring at them. Yeah, okay, maybe this was more than he’d signed on for. “Hey, uh, you want some hotdogs? We can stop by the stand on the way home.”

“That would be nice,” Mia said.

Dave threw Grant an utterly unapologetic goodbye salute as they left.

Morphic-Verse Media

Jean leaned over Dave’s shoulder from behind the sofa, draping her arms over him. “Dad? Can I watch Pokémon Colosseum? My classmates say it’s so cool!”

He glanced up from his laptop at the muted TV. It was still on the news channel from earlier, discussing some inane political scandal invented for clicks. “I guess. What channel is it on?”

“OBS! It’s starting now.”

Sure, why not. He picked up the remote and switched over.

“It’s still on mute!” Jean complained, climbing over the back of the sofa and trying to grab the remote off him.

“Yeah, because it’s still on the fucking commercials. I’ll turn it on when the show starts.”

Jean pouted, glancing longingly at the remote as he held it out of her reach, but was quickly distracted by the screen and whatever action movie it was advertising. Some CG legendary Pokémon (Rayquaza?) fired a Hyper Beam into a building, shattering windows, sending it collapsing in an artfully-rendered physics simulation, before it cut to a flying superhero shooting lightning from his hands as his cape fluttered behind him.

“I wanna see that movie! It looks cool.”

Dave sighed. “Are you sure this isn’t literally the exact same movie as the one we saw, what, a month ago?”

She crossed her arms. “That one was about Auric Arrow. And it was two months ago. We haven’t gone to the movies in ages.”

“What’s the difference?”

Jean made a frustrated noise of discontent, butting his shoulder with her head. “Auric Arrow is a Lucario who was experimented on to make him super smart! You weren’t watching!”

Dave smirked. “What, and this one isn’t?”

“No, it was a human!” He grinned at her frustration, and she scowled as she caught on. “Daaaaad, stop pretending you don’t know! That’s mean!” He got a faceful of fluffy tails as she turned her back on him.

“Fine, we can go see your stupid superhero movie. Later. Not now.” At least it’d be a good excuse to turn his brain off and eat some popcorn.

Of course we’re not seeing it now, I want to watch Colosseum,” she mumbled, without turning around.

Dave glanced back up at the TV. The commercial was fading to black at last. He pointed the remote and unmuted it. The rating badge in the corner said 14-LV. Was that stretching it? Eh, well, if her classmates could handle it, whatever. “Hey, show’s starting.”

Jean reluctantly turned back to the TV. The recap showed an edgy young hero in a blue duster triumphantly speeding away from an exploding building on a hovercycle, an Espeon and Umbreon sitting in the sidecar beside him. Jean was already mesmerized.

By the time of the first commercial break, the protagonist was making his way around an impressively seedy desert town with his inevitable love interest and their predictable sexual tension. Jean was so engrossed by the gritty aesthetic and occasional ‘shit’ and slightly bloodier fights than in her usual fare that he entertained the thought she’d entirely forgotten about earlier already, but once the commercials started again she glared at him and edged further away on the sofa.

Dave took a deep breath as he muted the TV. “Hey. Sweetie.”

She looked warily back at him.

“We’ll go see your movie. Maybe next weekend.”

“It’s not stupid,” she said firmly.

It really was, though. “Look, just because a grown-up thinks a movie is stupid doesn’t mean you have to think so. I’m sure you think half the shit I watch is pretty dumb.”

Jean nodded reproachfully. “Like when you watch old guys talk about politics for ages. That’s dumb.”

“See? You’re a kid, you’re allowed to want to just watch some fucking superheroes blow shit up.” He hadn’t been allowed to read superhero comics when he was little – his parents had disapproved of anything where humans had supernatural powers because something something witchcraft playing God – but he’d sure fucking wanted to.

“But you have to come with me to the movies.”

He sighed. “Yeah, I’ll come with you.”

Jean nodded, grinning. “If you want to go see a movie with old guys talking about politics I’ll come with you too! So long as I get popcorn.”

Dave chuckled. “Sounds like a plan.”

The show was starting again. He unmuted the TV, and Jean moved back closer to him on the sofa, laying her head on his shoulder, and he ruffled her hair absent-mindedly.

The show got pretty dark towards the end. A Pokémon went berserk and skewered another, and Jean jumped, clutching his arm. He considered turning it off, but she was still watching, wide-eyed, and by this point he kind of wanted to know where they were going with it. She’d just say if she didn’t want to watch anymore, right? It had to be fine.

-------

He woke up to hands shaking him. Sleepily, he squinted into the darkness to find Jean standing by his bed in her pajamas, clutching her Teddiursa plush. Dave glanced at the alarm clock on the bedside table; it was 2:43 AM.

“What?” he mumbled.

“I had a bad dream,” she sniffled.

Oh. Shit. “Because of the show?” She nodded guiltily. He rubbed at his face. Fuck. How was he supposed to know? Apparently her classmates had been fine. Why was being a parent so difficult?

“Look, it’s okay. They can’t do any of that in real life.”

“Can I sleep in your bed?”

She hadn’t asked that in ages. At what age were they supposed to stop that? Not about to fucking tell her to wait while he Googled it. “Sure, Jean, just get on the other side.”

He closed his eyes and massaged his eyelids while she climbed over him and got under the covers.

“Does this mean I can’t watch the show anymore?” she said in a small voice.

He made a tired noise. “I mean. Do you want to?” He waited a second while she didn’t answer. “And then I mean, do you want to because you want to, not because your fucking classmates think you should.”

“I don’t know,” she said, sniffling again.

“Look, if it’s giving you nightmares now, maybe you can just watch it a few years from now, if you’re still interested.” Who knew if she would be. Jean’s interests shifted so fast he couldn’t keep up.

There was a pause. “But they’re watching it.”

“Yeah, well, they’re not you. If they give you shit, just tell them your dad said it’s a really fucking stupid show.”

She sniffled again. “Okay. Thanks, Dad.”

He heard the comforter rustling again as she turned around. Did that go okay? No real way to tell. Definitely not at three in the fucking morning.

“Good night,” he mumbled.

“Good night, Dad.” Well, she sounded a bit better.

With a sigh, Dave buried his face back in his pillow and tried to sleep.

Page last modified October 7 2021 at 21:42 GMT