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.
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: Dave and Jean Discuss Swearing
It wasn’t exactly a surprise when Dave got a call from the principal’s office about Jean using inappropriate language at school. He’d generally tried to watch his language around the kids while they were small, but you couldn’t exactly just keep that up 24/7 forever, at least not with a few beers in you. He would have hoped she’d have the sense not to break out four-letter words in class, but who was he kidding; Jean had many great qualities but sensitivity to context and appropriate tone was not among them.
The lecture was the usual sort but mercifully brief. Jean looked sheepish and embarrassed the whole time they were there. Back in the car, she put on her seatbelt with her tails curled around herself, ears drooping, and stared at the dashboard.
He raised an eyebrow at her. “So what exactly was it you said?”
She stuck her tongue out, folding her arms. “Marie said her parents told her I was a lab-grown freak so I said to… to eff them.”
He let out a brief snort. Marie, Marie… Pritchett? He’d seen them around a couple times, he was pretty sure. All polite smiles until they were behind closed doors, of course. Pricks.
She looked at him, uncertain. “They all acted like it was really bad. But you say that all the time.”
He opened his mouth. What he wanted to tell her was that society had arbitrary rotating taboos on what words would have grandmas clutching their pearls at any given time, and sometimes you just fucking played along, no matter how asinine, because breaking taboos had social consequences, and sometimes that was well worth it and sometimes it wasn’t.
On the other hand, he had a suspicion that telling Jean that would be a disaster. Free license to offend whomever she felt like, according to her judgment of the situation, when half the population would be looking for any excuse to punish or marginalize her, and he’d so far tried his best not to force her to understand all the thoroughly depressing ways in which the world was out to get her? Again, she had many qualities but sensitivity to context was not among them.
“It’s a grown-up word,” he said instead. “So you can only say it when you’re grown up. I’m allowed, but you can’t until you get older. That’s the rules.”
She blinked, brow furrowing. “So you couldn’t say it either when you were a kid?”
He snorted. “Definitely not. Your grandparents would’ve killed me.”
She considered that. “When can you say it?”
“Uh, when you’re… sixteen.”
“Real sixteen or when it’s like I’m sixteen?”
“Let’s say real sixteen for safety, all right?” He imagined her never swearing ever again until her sixteenth birthday and then immediately releasing the floodgates. Surely she would figure out what was really going on here before that point. Surely. (If not, at least, zero swearing was probably a good idea.)
Jean loosely kicked the underside of the dashboard as she thought about it, still looking dissatisfied.
“Tell you what,” he said. “If you promise not to say grown-up words until you’re older, we can go get ice cream. How does that sound?”
She perked up, ears twitching. “Ooh. Yeah! Can we go to the place with all the candy?”
Instant eager, hopeful grin. Bless her and her easily shifted moods. He smiled back at her. “Yeah. Let’s do that. I’ll get you an extra spoon of candy.”
He started the car. Jean was a little more at ease now, ears perked, tails lashing curiously.
“Is… can I say it if I’m asking you about the word?” she asked after a minute.
“Is ‘shit’ a grown-up word?”
“Yeah, better stay clear of that one for now.”
“What about ‘poop’?”
He snort-laughed. “No, that one’s kind of the opposite.”
“But they mean the same thing, right?”
“Welcome to language. Sometimes you’ve got two words and they mean the same thing but people think one is rude and the other one isn’t.”
Jean nodded sagely. For a little while she was silent, tilting her head as she looked out the windshield, tails idly curling and uncurling. “What should I say if the kids call me names?” she asked at last.
Dave took a long breath. “You know what, anyone who calls you names isn’t worth your time. Just roll your eyes and ignore them. If they’re choosing to be pricks, that’s their problem.”
Jean curled her tails tighter, looking out the side window. “But they’re being mean. It’s not fair if they just get to keep being as mean as they want.”
He exhaled through his nose. Of course it fucking wasn’t. The world was never going to be fair to them. If she talked back they’d just find an excuse to punish her instead of them, because of who she was, and there was basically fuck-all to be done about that.
“Well, Jean,” he said, “one day you’re going to be able to breathe fire and they aren’t, so joke’s on them.”
The corner of her mouth tugged upward, then turned into a little giggle. “Maybe when I can do that I can just torch anyone who’s mean. Like Sarah Hooter with the Rockets! Whoosh!”
She swept her hand for emphasis. He raised his eyebrows. “Sure. Why not.”
For the rest of the ride she eagerly speculated on powers she might have in the future and exactly how she would use them to fight crime as a hero of justice. He didn’t have the heart to tell her she would definitely not have the ability to curse anyone for a thousand years.
Ice cream now, and later he could call and give the school a hard time about the fucking Pritchetts.
Page last modified April 29 2023 at 13:47 UTC