Moon was more than a bit confused about how Guzma felt about her. Initially they’d started out as what could be considered enemies. She, a little eleven-year-old girl, had stood up against the young man and defeated him and his entire gang. It had been simultaneously humiliating and infuriating experience for him.
However, after besting the Elite Four and Kukui, Moon had realized she’d met his parents. Upon visiting his house she learned he’d spoken to his mother about her, even asking that she give Moon a TM of his favorite move. On the way out of his room she ran into Guzma himself and was promptly asked to meet for a battle. Guzma took his inevitable defeat slightly better and gifted her his lucky charm while swearing to stay the same. The thing was, just this gesture alone proved that he was lying, showed he had kind side, and Moon would treasure what he’d given her forever.
Being Alola’s Champion made it obvious Moon was a strong trainer. She continued to keep her team fighting fit to protect her title and was a forced to be reckoned with at the Battle Tree. The option for team battles allowed her to fight alongside friends and acquaintances, which was when she decided to see just what Guzma would think of being on the same side for a change.
Moon was shocked when Guzma was actually excited. He’d never voice it out loud, but he greatly admired her strength and was certain that the two of them would be able to beat down anyone unlucky enough set up to face them.
Indeed this was the case, Guzma gloating that they could have defeated their opponents with their eyes closed, a giant grin on his face. Moon smiled back and held up her hand, thrilled with Guzma actually high-fived her… A little too hard, making her wince and rub her wrist. The pain was soon negated from seeing him so chipper for once.
“Can we battle together again sometime?” Moon asked hopefully.
“Heck yeah!” Guzma whooped enthusiastically; he’d genuinely had fun.
“Your training with Hala is really paying off!”
Guzma shrugged dismissively. “I guess… Well, see ya around!” He gave her a small wave before sticking his hands in his pockets and walking off, slouching as usual.
“Oh…” Moon hadn’t expected him to leave so soon. She wouldn’t allow herself to feel sad, reminding herself she could just invite him again; then she could try and keep him around longer. Ever since she learned about his home life she’d been hoping to get to know Guzma a little better and perhaps even be able to consider him a friend.
Anytime Moon asked him Guzma never turned her down, showing up to battle at her side promptly. Indeed he did begin to stay longer after to chat and even started to seem more amiable, at one point letting Moon brush the sand out of his hair when an opponent’s Pokemon whipped up a fierce sandstorm. Moon had somehow managed to only get her shirt bit dirty, but he’d wound up with sand even in his ears.
He was so tall, and she so little, that Guzma had squat down like he did in battle for Moon to be able to reach his head. He stayed still while she hummed happily to herself and cared for Guzma just like she would have one of her Pokemon. His hair reminded her of a Lycanroc’s fur, but she decided to keep this to herself. She wondered what he’d look like without so much product in it and as its natural color.
What Moon didn’t realize as she carefully combed out the snarls and tangles while dealing with the sand is how much this showed Guzma was comfortable around her. His dad’s favorite form of abuse had been to grip him by the hair and shout in face whenever he was displeased with him until Guzma was too tall to do so. He’d done it long enough for the habit to stick, Guzma doing it himself these days. Normally if anyone even looked like they were going to touch his head they’d wind up with a nearly broken hand.
“I think I got it all!” Moon announced as she stepped back to look him over, leaving his hair considerably more tidier than usual.
“Thanks.” Guzma stood back up. “You been askin’ me here a lot… No one else good enough? What about that Hau?”
“I hang out with Hau all the time when he‘s around! It’s just…” Moon wasn’t sure how Guzma would take her answer. “I’m not sure how else to spend time with you.”
There was a long pause as Moon looked up at Guzma, he avoiding eye contact with her. He was completely taken aback with no clue how to respond. This kid actually wanted him around?
“Do you want to go get something to eat?” Moon asked. “My treat!”
Guzma shook his head. This was already too awkward. “Nah…”
“Then… Then… Do you want to come by my house sometime? My mom’s cooking is really good! Guzma!” She wrapped both her arms around his and held tight when she saw him turning to leave. “Please!”
“Let go!” Annoyed, Guzma swiftly swung his arm upwards, Moon dangling from it in the air.
“You’re really strong!” Moon praised with a smile, giggling.
“Yer makin’ me mad!” Guzma wasn’t playing around, his temper flaring. “I swear I’ll-” Guzma shook his arm, not expecting Moon to so quickly lose her grip and be flung to the stone floor in front of them.
Moon landed roughly, skinning her knees from the impact. She winced as she turned over to sit and look at them, a small trickle of blood flowing from the right. “O-ow…”
“I-I…” Guzma could feel the piercing stares of hatred from the staff and other trainers who there on his back. He instinctively grabbed fist-fulls of his hair, his mind screaming out his all too frequent catchphrase when he screwed up.
Moon forced a smile. “It’s OK! It isn’t bad!” She quickly got to her feet upon seeing Guzma look so upset. “See! I-”
Guzma turned and fled. She was lying; she was hurt. He’d threatened so many time to beat her down when they’d initially met but he’d never actually done anything like that to a girl before, only occasionally yelling at the female Grunts while the males would sometimes get his fists if they screwed up badly enough. All he wanted to do now was best Moon in a Pokemon battle one day; not leave her bloodied.
He should have stayed; should have helped her up. Guzma just couldn’t fight that impulse to run when things got bad. He was bettering himself under Hala’s mentorship, becoming a respected trainer, and Moon considered him her main battling partner… He didn’t want to throw that way.
Guzma stopped when he was a good distance away and looked back. He was alone now. It wasn’t too late to return with his tail between his legs. He thought it over and decided it would be best to try and fix this when there weren’t other people around Moon.
…What in the world was he doing? He’d found out Moon lived rather close to his parents’ house and Guzma had been walking down the road past it for a few days now, thinking about knocking on the door.
Ever since he disbanded Team Skull Guzma hadn’t been able to be around any of the kids he recognized as being his former Grunts and not even Plumeria. She hadn’t taken the news well, sad she’d lose all the new little brothers and sisters she suddenly had, and he couldn’t take seeing her sad face again. She was a tough girl; that’s why he’d made her an Administrator, but she’d looked about to cry upon wondering what she’d do now.
Last he heard she was really taking being a trainer seriously, finally getting a Z-Ring, and he hoped that she was doing well.
Lost in his thoughts Guzma walked right past Moon’s house and kept going. Oh well. Maybe another day.
“Meowth? What is it?” Moon’s mother noticed her pet on the windowsill, focused on something outside.
“Mrrra!” Meowth had noticed Guzma developed a routine of what time he’d come around and liked to watch him, looking up at his owner when she leaned over him to see what had caught his attention.
Once again Guzma was going to just pass by. The more he thought about it, the more it seemed dumb to apologize now when he never had before and want to hang out with a little kid, even if she was a hotshot with Pokemon and really wasn’t all that bad for someone her age. This would be the last time; from now on-
Guzma jumped when he turned to see Sun’s mother hurrying down the steps, a big smile on her face. Before he could even think about running off she was beside him and looping her arms around one of his.
“You must be Guzma!” she realized at once from the description her daughter had given her. “Moon has told me so much about you! She’ll be so glad to see you’ve dropped by to visit!”
“That ain’t it!” Guzma insisted. “I- Hey!”
This lady was stronger than she looked as she tugged him back to the house with her, ignoring his protests. If he wanted to he could’ve broken free of her grip, but what had happened with Moon quickly ebbed any thoughts of that and he simply allowed her to take him inside.
“Moon!” her mother called. “Guzma came to see you!”
Moon came bounding out of her room, eyes lighting up to see him. Guzma immediately noticed the Band-Aids on her knees, quickly making him feel wrought with guilt.
“You… OK?” Guzma asked.
“Mmm-hmm! Honest!” Moon held up her hand and started listing various injuries she’d gotten while tapping her fingers. “I got a lot of cuts, scrapes, a Spinarak bit me, a Sandalit set my bag on fire, a Gengar licked me and I couldn‘t move until Acerola got me a Paralyze Heal, and Nanu’s Persian almost crushed me when it sat me during my Trials! This isn’t bad!”
Guzma smirked. “Tougher than you look, eh?” he asked while Moon’s mother tried her hardest not to imagine any of those things happening to her daughter; maybe it was best if she relaxed inside the house for awhile.
Moon grinned back. “Guzma, are you any good at video games? I’m stuck on a final boss right now.”
“I’m a‘ight,” Guzma answered as he followed Moon to her room, her mother smiling as she watched them. “Oh, this game,” he said, recognizing a popular RPG even from the pause screen. “Surprised ya got this one; I figured you’d play those stupid datin’ games.” He remembered seeing a group of female Grunts giggling over one at Shady House.
“Nope! Not me!” While Guzma was distracted Moon very swiftly kicked the case for Pretty Princess Priscilla 4: Protect the Princes in Peril! under her bed without him noticing.
The two sat down on the floor together side by side, Guzma completely dwarfing Moon. He unpaused the game and took a shot at it himself, stunned by how much damage the party Moon had was taking. After being completely annihilated by the boss within minutes he took a moment to fully check out the equipment, stats, and levels of all of Moon’s characters.
“How’n the heck did ya make it this far?! Did ya grind at all?! Did ya do any side quests?!” Guzma was baffled.
“I really wanted to see how it was going to end so I kind of skipped that stuff…” Moon admitted sheepishly, tapping her two pointer fingers together.
“Ya can’t win like this. There’s like twenty more hours of gettin’ some special weapons and gettin’ yer levels higher!”
Moon groaned, leaning against Guzma. “I’ve played over eighty hours already…”
Guzma stiffened a little at the contact but stayed put.
“I tried to get one of those weapons and I kept dying,” Moon continued. “Can you get them for me?”
Guzma sighed, but starting playing the game himself, occasionally asking Moon questions to figure out exactly how far behind she was. Time flew by, Guzma accomplishing a lot with the small girl cheering him on, neither of them noticing it had gotten dark until Moon’s mother checked in on them.
“Guess I’d better get goin’,” Guzma stretched and got to his feet.
“Where are you staying now?” Moon asked.
“I’m crashin’ at Hala’s place,” Guzma yawned.
“Come back tomorrow, OK?”
Around the same time Guzma was back to assist Moon again, getting a kick out of just how into she got into the game’s story and combat. He even got used to her grabbing him during some close calls when a lot of progress could easily be lost.
Moon’s mother was happy to see how the two got along unexpectedly well, being so kind as to bring them easy to eat snacks so they could keep playing.
Eventually the day came when at last Guzma was ready to face the final boss, yelling at Moon when she accidentally bumped the controller out of his hands in excitement, making him mess up a quick time event.
He quickly recovered and managed to deal the finishing blow, complete silence in the room as Moon watched intensely to see what the fate would be of the characters she’d become so fond of.
“That’s… So sad!” She had tears in her eyes to see one perish. “I wanted them all to be happy forever now!”
“Don’t always work like that…” Guzma replied, unaffected before setting the controller down. “Alright, I beat it for ya.”
“I’ve got a lot of other games! Lets play a different one when you come back!”
Guzma hadn’t planned to; he thought this was it, and yet he found himself agreeing. He almost expected Moon to even say she didn’t want him over now that she got what she wanted out of him. Having someone simply want his company was quite the new experience.
The next day Moon’s mother heard an even louder ruckus than ever before coming from Moon’s room. Guzma had quite the powerful voice that carried well, but this was extreme even for him.
“No! No! You’re cheating!” Moon shouted accusingly.
Guzma was laughing. “You just suck! I told ya I’d beat ya someday! …Just didn‘t expect it to be at video games.”
“It’s bad luck! Rematch!”
“I beat ya like ten times already!”
“Hahaha! Look at ya pouting!”
Moon’s mother opened the room to see Guzma had her daughter in a gentle headlock, giving her a noogie through the thin fabric of her hat, stopping at once and letting her go once he noticed her.
“Sounds like you two could use a break from the games,” Moon’s mother commented kindly as her daughter re-adjusted her hat. “Guzma, you should have dinner with a us for change.”
“…Thank you… Ma’am…” Guzma replied stiffly. Despite coming to hang out with Moon he really hadn’t said much besides casual greetings to her mother. She seemed nice enough, though.
Guzma sat at the table, feeling very much out of place as dinner was served. He couldn’t help but notice some rather special looking china cups and plates had been set out, all with different cat Pokemon on them and silverware with cat ears at the end to match.
Moon had Skitty and Delcatty designs, her mother, unsurprisingly, had Meowth and Persian, while Guzma was given Purrloin and Liepard.
While Guzma was looking his over he failed to notice Moon look at her mother in surprise and the small nod she got in response.
“...Y’know, I’m surprised ya didn’t pick Litten as yer starter,” Guzma couldn’t help mentioning to Moon.
Moon giggled. “I was going to! But then Rowlet was so cute I had to choose him! I’m glad I did… Incineroar is kind of scary… I’ve never seen you use any of the starters that Hala gives out. Who did you pick?”
“None of ‘em! ‘s Always been me and Golisopod!”
The two of them meeting was a day Guzma remembered vividly as he shared his tale. Although he’d always been a fan of bug Pokemon, Guzma had never intended on one being his first. He was nearing the age where he could start his Island Challenge and couldn’t wait. The problem was choosing his starter… He’d thought about it over and over but none of the three seemed right for him.
One afternoon on his way home from school Guzma had heard a commotion. He saw a small group of boys and girls standing together, looking at something on the ground. When he went to investigate Guzma went from calm to spitting mad to see they’d managed to corner a poor Wimpod who was trying desperately to find a way to escape and dart into a hole.
The boys were throwing rocks or poking at him with sticks while the girls shrieked, saying he was gross, and one even insisting that they kill him.
Kicking, punching, shoving… In a flash Guzma was after the boys, getting them to stop, the girls running after they saw him beating up their friends. The Wimpod had already been too injured to run away at this point, trembling violently with tears in his eyes as Guzma approached.
Speaking quietly and gently was something Guzma wasn’t too good at even then. It took that and a few soft pets to an uninjured area to convince the Wimpod Guzma meant no harm, relaxing as the young boy picked him up and ran him to a Pokemon Center.
Guzma stayed close by the whole time the Wimpod was being treated, thrilled when it had been restored to full health and OK’d to be released back into the wild. There was just one problem… He didn’t want leave Guzma.
After the Wimpod continued to just stand there in front of him Guzma tried to simply walk away.
Skitter skitter skitter.
He heard the Wimpod following behind him so he picked up his pace.
So did the Wimpod, bumping into Guzma’s heel when he abruptly stopped. He turned and looked down to see the Wimpod gazing up at him, eyes filled with adoration. Guzma felt his heart melt. He didn’t care what anyone else thought; this Wimpod was the best Pokemon he’d ever seen and they were sticking together.
It cost him the rest of his lunch money for the week, and it was more than necessary, but Guzma went all out and bought an Ultra Ball for his new companion upon returning to the Pokemon Center. The Pokemon instantly allowed himself to be captured, the ball not even shaking once. Guzma was in disbelief when he picked up the Pokeball. This Wimpod saw something special in him to deem him worthy of being his trainer and he wasn’t going to let him down.
Moon and her mother couldn’t help smiling at Guzma. Moon had known for a fair amount of time that Guzma wasn’t all bad and now her mother was understanding why her daughter was so fond of him.
“It must have been tough to train him, though,” Moon replied. “Wimpod run away from battle pretty fast once they‘re hit.”
Guzma nodded. “True that. Had ta keep given ‘em pep-talks or let ’em watch me battle with a different Pokemon once I caught more. I was so excited when he evolved! Couldn’t believe how big he got! Did ya ever catch one? Ya should train it!”
“I did! It was really hard to catch!”
“Did ya sneak up on it?”
“I outran it with Tauros!”
“Ya probably scared it half to death…” Guzma felt terrible imagining how the tiny Pokemon must have felt seeing a huge raging bull charging after it.
Guzma really had a soft spot for his Pokemon. As they all ate Guzma and Moon swapped stories of their adventures, Moon’s mother fascinated by everything they’d experienced.
Guzma made sure to compliment Moon’s mother on her cooking; it really was the best meal he’d had in quite some time. Despite having so many members of Team Skull not a single one of them was very skilled in cooking, which caused some interesting results if they tried to use anything more complex than a microwave (although even then one of the Grunts managed to start one on fire when he didn‘t add water to his ramen). “These’re some fancy plates too.”
“We haven’t taken them out in awhile…” Moon’s mother smiled sadly. “They’re part of a limited edition set of four that were very hard to get, but Moon’s father managed to find them. He thought they would be perfect for our family, since we always planned on having two children, but then he got sick…” She shook her head. “With you spending so much time here I thought it was about time they get used again. Moon told me you have a Liepard you use sometimes so I thought it suited you.”
Guzma had no idea how to respond. So that’s why he never saw Moon’s father around; he always assumed that he was away for work or was a Pokemon trainer himself, never that he’d passed away. He wondered how old Moon was when it happened and if she even remembered much of him. Not sure the proper way to ask, Guzma held his tongue.
“You’re welcome here any time, Guzma,” Moon’s mother said. “Moon won’t admit it but she’s been lonely with Lillie gone, Hau away training, and her other friends have seemed busy lately too.”
“Mom!” Moon turned a little red in embarrassment. There were plenty of kids around who liked her and that she could hang out with; just not a lot who’d been a big part of her adventures during her trials and could relate to what she‘d gone through.
Guzma didn’t have much to do when Hala wasn’t helping him train. He kept it to himself, but he was having a great time whenever he visited. Despite the age difference he supposed that Moon could be considered a friend and it was nice to kick back in a relaxing home with kind mother and no yelling or violence…
Christmas was coming up. Guzma had indeed accepted the invitation he was given by Moon’s mother and shown up nearly every day to their house, even if it was just for lunch or dinner, but he didn’t realize he was considered to be a part of the family until he was asked what his plans were for the holidays.
Guzma had tried to reconcile with his parents, but it hadn’t gone well. He got along fine with his mother; the problem was she had her head in the clouds and didn’t want to believe he’d been up to anything bad. She also didn’t want to discuss how out of hand his father’s anger could get, despite being witness to the physical altercation that had caused Guzman to run away.
In fact, Guzma very nearly got into another fight with his dad after being criticized.
“So you couldn’t cut it out in the real world by yourself and came running back here? How did I raise such a failure?”
Guzma wasn’t the little boy who had to just take it anymore. His fist was raised, and his father flinched, remembering what happened last time, but instead Guzma left. This time, he had no plans of returning.
With spending it with his parents out of the question, Guzma was instantly invited to spend Christmas at Moon’s house, her mother even knitting him a sweater that he wore when the three of them had a picture taken that would be used on the Christmas cards they’d send to their friends and family.
“Guzma, have you been behaving since you disbanded Team Skull?” Moon asked while they were sitting at the table together drinking Tapu Cocoa with a bit of peppermint added. Nowadays her mother made sure to keep a large stock of it in the cupboards.
“Fer the most part,” Guzma answered before he took a sip of his drink. With the antics of Team Skull in the past he was just considered rude, obnoxious, loud, and intimidating; not a criminal that was doing anything illegal.
“Then maybe you’ll be OK… You did have all the stolen Pokemon returned…” Moon seemed to be thinking out loud to herself.
“What’re ya talkin’ about?”
“Maybe Santa won’t leave any coal in your stocking.”
“Right, kid,” Guzma snorted, thinking Moon was joking with him.
“You’re not worried?”
It was then Guzma noticed the genuine concern in her expression. “Don’t tell me ya…” He paused when Moon’s mother frantically waved her arms from behind Moon to get his attention, then nodding with a pleading look in her eyes. He couldn’t believe it; she actually still believed in Santa. “…Nah, it’ll be fine.”
Come Christmas morning Guzma was visibly nervous. He wasn’t good at gift giving, but had tried very hard. Upon opening the gifts Moon and her mother got him he felt like he‘d really dropped the ball, loving the ten Net Balls Moon got him and the brand new jacket with a Beedrill on it her mother gave him since he wasn’t fond of the emblem on his current one, crossing it out with a large red x. Guzma planned to dump it in the trash immediately and wear his new one wherever he went.
For Moon Guzma was worried his gift was too silly and cheesy. There was no doubt between the two of them they’d always be partners at the Battle Tree, but Guzma did get a little perturbed whenever he saw someone else try to ask her to battle with them. He knew the answer would always be “no”, but he decided it might be nice to have something matching to show it would stay the two of them.
Guzma had long abandoned his Team Skull chain. He missed wearing a necklace, deciding to replace it, which was when inspiration struck. He got a gold chain on it with a gold “G” for him and another with an “M” for Moon while he was at it.
Although it was a bit gaudy and big on her, Moon seemed to like it just fine, promising to wear it.
Moon’s mother had been a little tricky, so Guzma was relieved when Moon suggested they buy her an expensive gift together. She seemed to know just what to get, indeed the charm bracelet being the perfect choice.
With gift exchanges out of the way Guzma felt himself relaxing. That hadn’t been so bad, and now he could enjoy the rest of the day with such a huge worry off of his mind.
A few weeks later it was a typical day like any other. Guzma got scolded by Hala for being lazy and sleeping in too late, did a few chores to make up for it, and went on his way to Moon’s house for lunch.
There on the door was a note in very neat handwriting that was signed by Moon‘s mother:
Had to step for a little while and Moon isn't home. Please come in and make yourself comfortable; I have some food made for you to heat up in the microwave. Be back soon!
Guzma let himself in, giving Meowth a pat on the head before making his way to the kitchen. His mug and some silverware were waiting for him at the table, and his personal plate was right there when he opened the fridge with a meal for him. He put it in the microwave and leaned against the counter while he waited.
It felt strange to be eating here all alone in silence. Moon was always a little chatterbox with an endless stream of various subjects to talk about or questions she wanted to ask him. He chuckled to himself about how the thought of Moon used to make him slam his fists into the chair arms at Shady House, but now had a calming affect on him. Funny how things worked out like that.
All he was going to do next was wash his dishes and maybe go home since no one had returned yet. A simple, mundane, everyday task he thought nothing of. He stood up from the table, grabbing his plate, mug, and eating utensils.
He was at the sink when Guzma felt the plate slip from his hands. It was like the world was moving in slow motion and yet he still wasn’t quick enough to grab it before it hit the floor and shattered into what looked like hundreds of pieces. It was impossible to tell it once had images of Purrloin and Liepard on it. It was just a mess of shards now.
For a moment all Guzma could do was stare in disbelief until the reality of what had happened set in. His stomach dropped, his heart sped up, and the urge to punch something flowed down into his balled fists.
He shut his eyes and gripped his hair instead, tugging at it until the pain was too much. This time he’d really messed up. There was no fixing this. From what Moon’s mother had said there was no way he could even go out and easily find a replacement. Chances were slim that someone in Alola owned the same plate he could purchase and it would be impossible to get a new one anyway before Moon’s mother returned home.
Guzma felt his old habit of wanting to run away overtake him. He was shaking and breaking out into a sweat as he imagined what would happen. There was no way Moon’s mother wouldn’t be devastated. He could just picture the woman who’d been so kind to him, and whom he felt like was his own mother, looking at him with disgust and telling him to never show his face here again.
“GUZMA! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!”
He hadn’t bellowed those words in ages. They slipped from his lips involuntarily. He would hurry and clean up the plate, then get as far away from here as he could and never come back. That way he’d never have to see Moon’s mother sad, hear her chastise him in anger over the horrible thing he’d done.
“Guzma?! I heard you shout!” With a bag in her hand Moon’s mother had rushed into her home, hearing Guzma clear as day as she’d been approaching the door. “What happened?” she asked when he looked at her with such despair in his eyes.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry…” Guzma repeated those words over and over again as he cowered on his knees, seeing his dad standing in front of him instead. “It was an accident!”
Alarmed, Moon’s mother set the bag on the table and slowly approached Guzma. She’d never seen him like this before, so rattled and vulnerable looking. Normally he was also so cocky and confident; now he almost seemed like a young boy.
She soon noticed the porcelain on the floor when she heard a small crunch under her foot, lifting her shoe to see she’d stepped on one of the scattered shards. “Did something break?”
Guzma’s eyes went wide as he stared at her, horrified. He was back out of his old memories now, realizing he was about to make a painful new one. It took a moment to find his voice, but at last he said it: “I-I busted my plate.”
“You didn’t cut yourself, did you?” Moon’s mother asked, concerned.
Guzma shook his head, studying her expression carefully. Where was that look of disappointment? Why wasn’t she furious and berating him for being so stupid and clumsy? It was a precious gift her late husband gave her that was now gone forever. “I’m sorry,” he said again, unable to think of anything else. It had never worked with his dad, and yet he still had to try.
“It’s alright. Is this what you’re so upset over?” Moon’s mother crouched down.
“Yer husband gave you that and I… Do you hate me now? I’ll stay away if you…”
Guzma twitched when Moon’s mother suddenly embraced him. She held him to her tightly, gently stroking his hair. After a moment he couldn’t stop from hugging her back; it still felt strange for someone to make physical contact with him in ways like this instead of striking him with their fists or objects. He couldn’t even recall the last time someone embraced him.
“You’re a part of this family now and it will take a lot more than a broken plate to change that,” Moon’s mother soothingly assured. “I’m so sorry that you thought otherwise.”
“But what if I can’s find you another one? Then…”
“Then you don’t. There’s only one Guzma and he’s much more important.” She continued to calm him down for as long as he needed, letting go only when he did. She saw he still looked rattled from what had happened, so she decided to try and lighten the mood. “This is far easier to clean up than what Moon did when she was four.” She chuckled. “I got her a toy Seel and she decided she want to make it use “Whirlpool”. She placed it in the toilet, flushed, and couldn’t catch it before it went down the drain. The bathroom floor was flooded and going out into the hall before I finally noticed! When children suddenly go quiet they’re always up to something!”
Guzma laughed; that sounded like something Moon would do and he couldn’t wait to tease her about it later. Although… “Can we not tell her about this?”
“It’s our secret.”
“Where is Moon, anyway?”
“Oh, off on some business as Champion. She was called away all of a sudden and I noticed too late I was out of Meowth’s favorite treats. He scratches things he knows not supposed to out of retaliation if I don’t give him one. That’s where I was.” She stood up with Guzma. “I’ll get a broom and dust pan.”
“I should clean it up.”
“I think you should sit down; you‘re shaking like a leaf. I’ll take care of this and we can have our own visit. We’ve never gotten the chance to speak one-on-one.”
It wound up being the heart-to-heart Guzma had needed. Moon’s mother was open and honest about hiding how nervous she was about letting him around him her daughter and even apologized for that. Now, she was grateful to have him around and regarded him as that second child she’d always wanted.
Moon never returned home that day, but it was for the best. Guzma went back to Hala’s place early, the Kahuna noticing that Guzma seemed different and leaving him alone.
A week later Guzma knew right away something was up as Moon opened the door to greet him before he even had his foot on the first step. Her usual cheerful smile was even bigger than usual as she held the door open and beckoned him inside.
Before he could ask what she was so dang excited about Guzma found himself in a room full of his former Grunts along with Plumeria, Kukui, Hala, and Hau there. Upon looking harder he even spotted Nanu by himself in the back of the room, petting the household Meowth rather than paying any attention. On the table sat a large cake and hung on the ceiling was a banner that read “CONGRATULATIONS!”
“The heck’s all this about?!” Guzma exclaimed.
Moon could hardly contain herself, unable to keep still as she held a small box in her hands. “Remember when I was gone for a little while and Mom didn’t tell you exactly where I was?”
Moon handed him the box. “Open it!”
Guzma looked at her a moment, then at the others who had their eyes fixed on him, before lifting the top off. Inside was a Z-Ring. “What’s this for?”
“You’re the new Bug Trial Captain!”
“What?!” This had to be a joke; a bad one.
“You’re the best, Guzma!” a former Grunt cheered, the others joining in with similar statements.
“I ain’t never completed the Trials and I’m too old!”
“You were on board with breaking traditions, yeah?” Kukui asked. “Besides, it’s hard to say “no” to Moon!”
Moon nodded, Guzma looking at her with gratitude. “You deserve it!” Plus, she’d heard about what Guzma had done to the previous Bug Trial captain in a fit of rage over wanting the position. He had only recently gotten out of the hospital and no one else seemed too eager to take his spot. “You’ll make future trail goers really work hard to get that Z-Crystal!”
“Heck yeah I will! I’ll have ‘em-”
“No,” Plumeria interrupted sternly.
“Ya didn’t even-”
“I know exactly what you’re thinking. No.”
Yeah, she knew him far too well. Having kids in situations where they could wind up severely injured or worse probably wasn’t he best idea. He’d have to sit down and really think hard about his trial challenge.
“I’m getting too old and tired of being a Kahuna,” Nanu finally commented. “If you do well maybe you’ll get chosen to take my spot and I can finally live in peace.” As for his Dark Z-Crystal, he could just have it sitting outside with a sign that said Take one and have the Meowths guard it.
A chance at even being a Kahuna…? This was way too much. Guzma felt a bit dizzy as his party kicked off, everyone continuing to offer kind words of support and assuring him he deserved it.
Plumeria suddenly approached him, standing quietly with her arms crossed as the two tried to figure out what to say to one another.
“…That’s a lame looking hat,” Guzma remarked at Plumeria’s new fashion choice.
“You’ve always looked ridiculous in those glasses,” she shot back, the two then laughing, Plumeria even smiling slightly. “I missed you, you big dope.” She playfully punched his arm.
“Yeah? Let’s hang later.”
A little bit concerned over how interested Nanu seemed in her mother, Moon took awhile to notice Guzma had vanished. She couldn’t find him anywhere in the house which was when she noticed Meowth looking out the window, always a step ahead.
Sure enough, Guzma was out sitting on the porch, needing to take a breather. It had been awhile since he’d been in a house full of people with all the attention on him.
“With me bein’ a Captain and all I might be around as much…” Guzma said as Moon sat beside him.
“…Yeah…” Moon acknowledged sadly. “But you’re going to do a really good job and I’ll come by and see you. Where do you think you’ll have your trial?”
“Po Town’s still abandoned. A few of the Grunts even want to help out and Plumeria was talkin’ about bein’ roommates again.” He noticed that, even though this was all her doing, Moon seemed close to crying. “Hey, I’ll come back here too. ‘sides…” He struggled to get the words out. “…I can’t let my ma and little sis worry about me.”
A smile lit up Moon’s face as she suddenly hugged Guzma. With no one else around he didn’t hesitate to hug her back either, the tiny girl practically disappearing in his arms. Moments later, there was a suddenly flash, startling the two of them.
Hovering front of them was Rotom, who appeared to have taken a picture.
“The heck did ya do that for?!” Guzma snarled. “Delete that right away!”
Rotom buzzed. “I thought I should commemorate the occazzzzzion. The Commentzzz are already pouring in!”
“C-comments?” Guzma leaped to his feet at once, grabbing the Pokedex. “DID YOU UPLOAD IT SOMEWHERE?!” he roared into it.
Sure enough, there on the screen was Moon’s Trainerspace page, Guzma’s face going as white as his hair when he saw that she had, oh, only a few thousand friends on it. There directly at the top of her page was the photo Rotom had just taken of the two of them.
Guzma was ready to show Rotom just what he did to machines that ticked him off, but was shocked when the comments had nothing but positive things to say. Instead of ridiculing or making fun of him, people were pleasantly surprised at seeing this new side of Guzma. He spotted ones from people he knew.
Oh, are you having Mr. Guzma’s party? Lillie wrote. Please tell him I’m sorry I couldn’t be there, but I’m happy for him!
You two are just darling! from Professor Wicke.
My heart’s melting, yo! Never knew Guzma could smile like that! from a former Grunt.
(♥ω♥ ) ~♪ from Red, who was a man of no words even in text.
Guzma looks fun to hug! from Acerola.
He couldn’t find a single negative comment no matter how much scrolled. Guzma let go of Rotom so suddenly that the Pokedex nearly fell to the ground, instead recovering and zooming behind Moon’s back to hide.
“Guzma…?” Moon noticed his pensive expression. Was he still mad, or…?
He gave her the kindest, gentlest, most sincere smile that Moon had ever seen.
“I wasn’t ready; I’m sure he could take a better photo of us,” Guzma replied as he retook his place next to her.
Moon nodded in agreement. It had taken some time, but she liked the man that Guzma was becoming. She was certain that one day he would indeed find favor with guardian deities and become one of the best Kahunas Alola would ever see.