IMPORTANT AUTHOR'S NOTE: This fic has a bunch of adult stuff in it, so only read on if you're comfortable with that. You've been warned.

When I finished my final year of high school, I expected a job to just naturally fall into my spotless hands. I wouldn't call myself entitled or cocky, just massively misinformed about the world. I had spent my entire school career being showered with nothing but praise by irresponsible teachers. They told me that I would have no problems getting a good job, and to my young, impressionable mind, this meant that I should just kick back and relax until my school days ended abruptly. How was I supposed to know that it would be much more difficult to find work when I was only… like, thirteen? Hell, I was still stuck in that blissful mindset right up until my eighteenth. I thought the offers would flood in after my graduation.

The freedom was incredible for the first few months, and I could spend entire weeks at a time binging old anime and corny TV shows while slowly turning nocturnal. Nothing brought me more satisfaction than listening to my neighbours leaving for work in the hellish, early hours of the morning, while I could lie back and load up another season of Hoenn's Most Wanted. However, this novelty soon wore off and I found myself wanting something that I had never really thought about before. Normalcy. I felt like a weird drifter, aimlessly wandering through life while simultaneously staying in the same place. All of my friends had learned to drive, gotten not-so-glamorous jobs and formed new relationships while I buried myself at home. Soon enough, everybody stopped trying to contact me after I ignored all of their messages.

Sure, you could call me lazy. I'm not going so far as to say I'd blame the school system, but I always had trouble interacting with other people my age. That was the single weakness I was told to work on by the career advisors. Social skills were the ultimate bane of my teenage life. Somehow, I found it much easier to limit my horizons and stay within Lilycove's local area instead of diving into adventures and situations I wasn't comfortable with. Why should I get a young trainer's licence and travel the world when sitting on my computer was much easier? Despite this denial, the advisors had always noticed my immense interest in Pokémon studies.

Here in the wonderful, tropical region of Hoenn, there's a great focus on competitive battling. If you were to ask any child who had been raised in Hoenn what they wanted to be when they were older, whether they lived in Verdanturf or Rustboro, the answer would almost always be a professional Pokémon trainer. Keep in mind, this wasn't just someone who owned a couple of Pokémon for companionship and battled casually with their close friends, but an expert who travelled to each city and took on the arduous Gym circuit. I'm honestly not sure why there's such an idolisation of battling here, but to be a famous trainer, you need to have a massive competitive spirit that burns brighter than all the rest. For me, it just didn't exist.

I had always been slightly different in that regard. My fervent interest could be found in the Pokémon themselves rather than how well they could unleash a Fire Blast or how quickly they could reduce an opponent to a whimpering mess. From my point of view, people here tend to forget that they're living, breathing creatures with ambitions and personalities. They're all astoundingly different with their own fascinating quirks and habits, so I did all that I could to devote myself to learning about them. Pokémon biology and psychology were the two reasons that I endured school for so long, letting the more boring stuff like economics and mathematics fall to the wayside. Outside of the Pokémon-related classes, I was average.

So, why the hell was it so hard to get a job? For someone who wanted to work alongside Pokémon instead of selfishly using them for their own monetary gain, my options were severely limited from the start. I could work in a Center, but then I would have to go to medical school for six years and know how to treat a Charizard's exhausted flame gland without damaging its delicate throat. Performing well under such stress wasn't viable at all. Instead, I could work for Devon, developing innovative technologies which were destroying the large barrier between people and Pokémon, but then I'd have to be an engineering genius. These jobs were far too important for someone like me. Someone who just loved Pokémon.

Here I was, wanting some miracle job that involved getting to spend time with these creatures and not too much interaction with my own species. The famous daycare in Mauville was on the other side of the region, and my opportunities in Lilycove were dwindling by the minute. I wasn't prepared to don a flashy tuxedo and perform alongside a beautiful Gardevoir in a sequined dress, but it was getting to that point. Contests had always creeped me out to no end. The evocative costumes the Pokémon would wear seemed to capture my attention the most.

These complicated thoughts swirled feverishly around my head while I let the warm water cascade over my naked body. I somewhat wished that the troubling doubts of my grim future would be washed away and sent down the clogged drain. Showers had always been some sort of strange respite from all of the lounging around I did, where I would feel invigorated and ready to finally face the scary world. It was probably because I was getting something done, even if that was just simply getting clean. Everyone needed to shower. Even Steven Stone. Usually, once I stepped out into the cold bathroom, this motivated feeling would fade away. Maybe I should never emerge from the water and somehow get a job while my cock was out.

At some point in the last week that I could barely remember, I realised that I was miserable and enough was enough. Conquering my fear of social interaction, I posted a small flyer in the local PokéMart and Center. Essentially, it was a desperate plea for any new breeders or trainers who needed help with their Pokémon to give me a call. I listed my few achievements and qualifications, hoping that my stellar grades in biology and psychology would suffice. Apparently, that was as far as my renewed drive went, and now I was just waiting for my phone to buzz with a job offer. The chances of that happening were slim, but I could dream.

As if on cue, I was suddenly blasted with an embarrassing, upbeat ringtone that pierced over the sound of rushing water. It was safe to have such a gaudy ringtone just because I was the only one who would ever hear it. Months had passed without a single call reaching my cell. The music was a good enough excuse to leave the heavenly warmth and face the biting cold. Wrapping a long, blue towel around my waist with little concern to what it actually covered, I checked the cracked screen hopefully. My heart skipped as it wasn't just a random alarm.

Was an unknown phone number truly flashing away on my screen? The beautiflies fluttered around inside my stomach in a nervous frenzy, which wasn't uncommon when I had to speak to a total stranger over the phone, but there was just a tinge of excitement that made me want to answer without hesitation. With a shaking hand, I brushed strands of sopping, brown hair away from my eyes and looked at myself in the mirror. Anticipating what kind of voice I would hear through the other end, I cleared my inexperienced throat and fell into silence.

"Hello, is this Alex Campbell?" a calm, male voice announced. There was something oddly professional about the way he spoke, like the head of a company. Such unbridled confidence indicated that he had experience speaking with clients through a phone. "I noticed your flyer in the PokéMart and I wanted to ask you a couple questions. Would that be alright with you?"

"Uh, yeah, sure…" I replied slowly, my voice wavering with anxious tension as I chose to lean unceremoniously on the edge of the sink. I barely registered the towel slipping away. It'd only be a problem if he suddenly wanted to video call. "What do you want to know?"

"Well, my name is Thomas Brooks. I'm a private breeder located not too far out of Lilycove, and I've been looking for some fresh staff this year," he mused, completely oblivious to the shock and disbelief soaring from somewhere deep inside of me. "This flyer says that you got top results in both PokéBio and PokéPsych. Does that unbelievable fact happen to be true?"

"Yeah, top only in the Hoenn region, that is…" I stumbled, surprised at my own remarkable accomplishments when they were said from someone else's lips. Strange. I used to be smart. "The courses aren't taken very often, so it's not as impressive as it sounds. Only about twenty people from Lily High sat each exam by the end of the year. They're famously easy as well."

"Don't give me any of that, kid!" he scoffed, his tone suddenly changing to be more casual. The unexpected shift made me shiver and straighten my back like a young, scared schoolboy. "You should be proud of what you achieved. It made me interested in what else you can do."

Was this really happening? This random man noticed the small, boring flyer that I had made with the dregs of ink left in my old printer, and thought I was worthy enough for a quick call. From the way he spoke, it sounded like he managed an actual business. That was exceedingly rare in the breeding community, as most new trainers or families would either catch a local Pokémon or take unwanted eggs from the region's daycare. Most popular breeders were extortionate in their high prices, and only those serious about competitive battling could afford to get a tournament-viable Pokémon bred. How did he find any customers out here?

"What I can do?" I asked, wanting clarification. This is where the phone conversation would inevitably end, with me admitting that I had no proper experience in a working environment. Nobody would hire an employee just because of their high school exam results. Nobody sane.

"Let's see here…" he began, a certain drawl to his voice that made my heart slide up and sit like a stone in my throat. "Can you tell me the… breeding behaviour of male Swellow?"

"Honestly, I'm not too confident in my knowledge of flying types, but I know that Swellow are especially prideful of their plumage," I recalled, wracking my underworked memory while barely missing a beat. If I could rely on one thing, it was remembering behaviours. "They'll often compete against other males through performances and tests of skill, and the sole female will often breed with the healthiest one that has the most vivid chest patterns."

There was a question that was similar to the one he had asked in the final exam paper for Pokémon psychology, but it featured Unfezant rather than Swellow. The breeding rituals of most avian species are the same, where extravagant displays of their stature and plumage replace the violent fights for dominance found in more mammalian species like Mightyena. Also, it helped that Swellow were native to Hoenn and thus a common example used in lessons, but I still wasn't expecting such an involved question. Mating habits were actually an area of great interest to me, although I could never exactly explain why. They were such an integral aspect of Pokémon interaction that most people never seemed to even acknowledge. Probably because a regular person didn't want to watch footage of natural breeding sessions. I was pleased to receive such a question, since it meant that we shared some common ground.

"Damn," he responded, after I heard a shrill sound that must have been an impressed whistle pierce its way through the phone's speaker. I couldn't help but smile widely at such a sound. "That's totally correct and there's no chance you would have had enough time to Google it."

"As you can probably tell, I spent more time with books than people," I laughed nervously, bare shoulders relaxing slightly now that I had answered his question correctly. My heart was still racing, but it would have been worse if he had posed a scenario that I didn't understand.

"That's nothing to be ashamed of," he noted, voice growing fainter as he cleared his throat. Such a busy job must require a lot of talking. "Now, I'm not going to hire you based on that piece of knowledge, but I'm willing to meet up for a short interview. When's good for you?"

I didn't want to admit to the professional businessman that my crazy plans for today involved re-reading some old manga and eating expired cereal straight from the box in my underwear. Honesty was important to employers, but the more that I thought about it, there was no way to put a positive spin on laziness like that. Maybe I could try to pretend it was healthy cereal? Just picturing the sugar-filled, multicoloured ensemble of 'food' that was waiting for me in the kitchen put a stop to that dumb question. I wondered how the stuff hadn't killed me yet.

"I didn't make any plans for today, so whenever you want to discuss things is okay with me," I replied, settling on that vague explanation. Sometimes, it was better than telling the truth.

The rest of the phone conversation consisted mostly of boring location details, which became hard to give my full attention due to what felt like Mount Chimney itself erupting inside me. Even though I should have been shivering under the cool morning breeze coming from the window, my excitement was rising so much that I had dried from the shower in record time. Maybe everyone should just sit around and wait for random breeders with boatloads of cash to give them a call. There was one thing that I knew for sure – I was definitely going to buy a lottery ticket on my way to his breeding ranch. Arceus was certainly favouring me right now.

"Alex, I'm expecting great things from you!" he proclaimed loudly, and I could practically see the eager grin spreading across his non-existent face. High expectations were dangerous. "You'll probably be meeting the other staff, so try and make an effort to look presentable!"

After that exclamation, my phone went dead silent, leaving me with nothing but the sudden realisation that I could have a new, fulfilling career by the end of the day. It had taken months of depressed inaction for me to seek this productive path. Goodbye were the pitiful days of avoiding social media because everyone seemed to be doing more interesting things than me. Hello to the rough days of having to wake up at a reasonable time or else I'd be totally fired. Ah… the ebbs and flows of adult life. Still not nearly as thrilling as Hoenn's Most Wanted.

Once I finished making myself look as professional as possible, which was really just putting on my nicest pair of jeans rather than sweatpants, I embarked on the expedition to the ranch. Thankfully, it was only about a thirty-minute walk from the outskirts of Lilycove, which was still the longest I had stayed outside in weeks. If the trek was any further, then my lack of a driver's licence and a vehicle would be a glaring problem. For now, this exercise just stayed as a mild, sweat-inducing inconvenience. There was no way I was going to beg my big brother to drive me into a breeding ranch every single day. He was too preoccupied at work.

The deadly sun was blazing in the sky when I arrived at what must have been the famous ranch. It was hidden away in a remote area of Route 121 that I had never seen before, despite spending most of my childhood exploring all of its nooks and crannies. The distinct, heavy smell of sea salt was still present here, even though I had passed by the open ocean long ago. The bitter scent was something that I had grown accustomed to, since I had only left Lilycove a handful of times, where the smell was far less prevalent. Thankfully, it was very nostalgic and helped to calm my agitated nerves. Even though I was thrilled about meeting Thomas, I couldn't help but slip back into my old habits of wanting to turn right back and return home. The further I walked, the worse the sickly sensation became. Maybe this was an awful idea. My hesitation was so powerful that I barely spotted a rare Aipom snoozing away overhead. Once the reception building finally emerged from the birch trees, I thought about running.

No, Alex! Stop being a fucking idiot. Walk yourself through that door and get this damn job.

Luckily, my unsteady legs complied after getting berated by my mind. The building itself was surprisingly tiny, and couldn't have been much more than a couple of rooms. I noticed that a handmade, wooden signpost was hammered into the patchy ground outside of the entrance. Neon-green paint had been splashed across the splintered board in the vague shape of words that read 'Brooks' Breeding Service'. That quelled my anxieties of entering the wrong place. Tall, white fences sprawled across the perimeter of the ranch to ensure that none of its rowdy residents wandered outside. Although, I was certain that a few would still be able to climb it. The entire area was also blanketed in thorny bushes and thick moss. Placing a ranch in the middle of a verdant forest made it look beautiful, but I wasn't sure of the business benefits. My good shoes were already caked in new dirt, fallen leaves and sharp twigs. Unfamiliar customers had a good chance of getting lost in the woods and ending up in the Safari Zone.

After taking a deep breath and finally pushing open the plywood door, I was greeted with a sparsely-furnished welcome room that reminded me of a cheap office building. A desktop computer that was several generations old sat on a pristine counter, and that was about the only piece of recent technology in here. A huddle of padded chairs and a low table sat in the very middle of the room, clearly an area where the clients would rest. Various magazines were splayed out across the table, all with bold headlines and short, prompting paragraphs. An engineering pamphlet was speculating about Devon's new, mysterious invention that was about to change the world, but I knew better than to take the words of some writer seriously. Overall, the room was very drab. A potted plant that looked like it was barely clinging to life at least threw some colour into the mix, even if the tips of its leaves were brown and crisped. Whatever employee was supposed to be watering the greenery clearly wasn't doing their job.

More interestingly, was the slender, youthful man wearing an expensive, black business suit. He should have been working in a consulting firm rather than a breeder's. Despite his age, he was lounging coolly on a swivel chair liked he owned the whole place, his polished dress shoes propped up on the counter next to the computer. His oily, black hair was slicked back, and he had a Bluetooth headset clipped onto his ear. He soon noticed me cowering in front of the entryway like a frightened toddler and his face immediately illuminated with acceptance.

"Afternoon," he smirked, and it didn't take long for me to recognise the voice. I had expected Thomas to be wearing dirty dungarees and hiking boots, welcoming me with a dented shovel propped over his muscular shoulders. In actuality, he looked remarkably young for owning such a prosperous business and couldn't have been much older than me. The only subtle hint towards his age were the bags and dark circles under his green eyes. That and the dress sense.

"Uh, hi there… Thomas," I replied, shy as a virgin schoolgirl confessing her affection for a much more experienced, older boy. Like always, I avoided direct eye contact and instead focused on the stained, dark-blue carpet. All that vigour from earlier hadn't lasted very long.

"No need to stand there in the doorway like a skittish Skitty, come on, let's walk and talk."

With that short exchange, I reluctantly followed him outside the backdoor of the reception building and into the vast, rolling fields. Instantly, my bony jaw slackened in wonderment as the smooth, grassy hillocks were littered with various Pokémon. Easily the most that I had ever witnessed in a single place before! A plump Volbeat buzzed welcomingly around our heads as Thomas ushered me through a wooden archway, and a fuzzy Lillipup stopped play-fighting with a Growlithe to bark in our direction. Just scanning my immediate surroundings yielded new species that I had never seen in the flesh, only ever in musty, tattered textbooks. I watched an infant Espurr struggle to levitate a juicy, purple berry up to its frowning mouth. Awkwardly, a tiny Bounsweet stared at the grey feline with an expression of absolute terror. Even with the grass type's mortification, it exuded a delicious smell into the nearby air that reminded me of fresh watermelons. The entire ranch was alive with sights, scents and sounds.

Most interestingly, I noticed a large Mudsdale slowly meander around the field closest to us. His clodded hooves seemed the shake the very ground we were standing on, and he wore the heavy-lidded, stoic expression that they were so infamous for. The exotic, Alolan species was one of my favourites, mostly because the tropical region had existed under the radar until fairly recently. It was my first opportunity to see one that wasn't statically printed on a page, and I couldn't help but stop in my tracks and watch the earthy, equine Pokémon graze calmly. For whatever reason, I had to force my gaze not to wander in-between his strong, back legs.

"Now, there's an expression that tells me lots about you," Thomas grinned as he turned back. I had completely forgotten about tailing behind him, too wrapped up in watching every little interaction between the ranch residents. "Your fascination with Pokémon goes beyond deep knowledge, doesn't it? You look at them all in the exact same way that my workers and I do."

"My mum never allowed me to get a trainer's license, so I've never really had the chance to spend a lot of time with Pokémon like these," I admitted, kneeling down to rub at the belly of the ecstatic Lillipup that had since barrelled over to us both. He seemed comfortable with me.

"Really?" he questioned incredulously, skilfully kicking a stray stone from the dirt pathway. "I thought you would've had a Zigzagoon or an Oddish at home. They count as safe pets."

"Family just didn't really see the point," I muttered, trying not to think about all the lonely years I had spent longing to have a simple, companion Pokémon. All of my birthday wishes had been spent on that, and it never came true. That was when I stopped believing in magic.

Catching up with Thomas after falling far behind, I realised that we were walking towards a new building which looked a lot different from the reception area. This time, it looked like a strange cross between a farmyard barn and a massive shed. Made entirely from wood, it was painted a dull, blueish colour that was beginning to fade from age and exposure to harsh rain. However, on the front, there was a much more vivid design. Above the wide doorframe, there was a classic representation of a Pokémon egg. The cream-coloured oval with green spots had been recently painted on the shed, judging by its clarity. We came to a slow stop outside.

"As you can probably tell, this is where we store and incubate all the eggs after they've been laid by the females," he explained, sliding a hand into one of the shallow pockets of his suit. "Want to take a look inside? I'm sure Hannah's still on her break with the others, but I have a spare set of keys. She won't mind as long as we don't touch anything or leave the door open."

Without even waiting for me to give a reply, he jammed a silver key into the rustic lock and twisted with enough force that the entire door wobbled. It creaked open slowly, revealing a long row of strange, capsule-like machines mounted on pedestals against the furthest wall. They looked extremely futuristic, almost like alien machines, and it must have cost a fortune to buy this many of them. There looked to be at least twenty-five, all containing a myriad of large eggs swaddled in blankets. Condensation frosted the glass, meaning that each capsule had to maintain a specific temperature for incubation. Some of the eggs were speckled, while others had much more intricate designs and colours. I didn't want to get any closer due to the risk of disturbing something important, but even watching them from afar filled me with glee. Just a couple feet away from me were developing baby Pokémon. The eggs were so delicate, yet they were capable of producing such intricate life. I wondered how many lives were here.

"Take a guess at what species that egg belongs to," Thomas smirked, while pointing at the capsule on the far right. "Not saying that this is part of your interview or anything, but if you can get this one right then I'll be impressed. Eggs are usually overlooked by normal people."

While it was difficult to see through the foggy, frosted glass, I noticed that the shell was a very faint, baby-blue colour. It was common knowledge that eggs often left clues as to the precious contents inside, but this one didn't have many features. Squinting my eyes, I could discern something else hidden amidst the blue. What looked to be white splotches covered the sides of the egg, barely noticeable alongside the pastel colours. What Pokémon vaguely bared a resemblance? The splotches were pretty similar to white smoke, puffy and bulbous. Although, it couldn't be Torkoal, because the blue wouldn't make sense. After a minute, I gasped as an epiphany struck me. That wasn't a depiction of smoke. They were fluffy clouds.

"It must be a Swablu egg, right?" I asked, confident in my eventual answer. "Light blue with clouds on the sides. Did you pick that one because I said that flying types aren't my forte?"

"You really are something else, kid!" he laughed while heartily patting me on the shoulder. The man was much stronger than he looked, as each new slap was like a forceful dropkick. "If I asked the same question to anyone else your age, I doubt they'd be able to give me the proper answer. They're more concerned with what comes out of the egg than the egg itself!"

As we left the expensive incubation shed, we walked a little further through the ranch while making some more small talk. The way Thomas carried himself, wildly making gestures and confidently putting his hands all over me was completely different from the way that I acted. We were total opposites, with him being overzealous while I was unsure. With the suit, he adopted the demeanour of a salesman with decades of experience. If anything, it explained how he could effortlessly talk with strangers and run a breeding business at such a young age. He had either been born with the ability to be charismatic, or had brutally trained for the skill.

We had passed countless different Pokémon at this point, and I was left stunned at the variety of different species he was able to keep and breed. Sensing my speechlessness, he explained that some of his clients often requested a very specific Pokémon that they couldn't obtain by themselves, and then he needed to travel across different regions and catch what they wanted. Once he returned to the ranch, he would introduce that new Pokémon and breed it with a suitable partner to produce the egg. The ranch never exports an egg before it hatches first, as the employees monitor the offspring to ensure there are no issues. These egg escapades only happen a few times every year, but the amount of money received makes it worth the hassle. Generally, the breeding service generates the most profits by selling surplus eggs that the ranch naturally produces just by having so many different species. Most Pokémon reproduce at insanely high rates, so they would always be swimming in new eggs, no matter the season. After listening, I decided that it was an efficient way to run a business, despite its initial costs.

We had also travelled through distinct biomes within the fielded vicinity, that he said were made artificially where it was possible, so that the more exotic Pokémon could feel at home. Route 121's bountiful forests filled with towering trees and temperate plant life were most enjoyed by the nocturnal species or those who preferred shade. I could see a sprawling lake to the north of the ranch, containing the water types and others which couldn't function on land. There was even a massive, sandy trench that was heated by generators, for any Pokémon that were found in the desert. I was astonished by the sheer variety of the terrain and the lengths that Thomas went through to create these habitats. He really cared about what his residents actually desired, not just the profits that they made him in the end. It was definitely inspiring.

"How much did it cost to build all of this?" I asked. There was no way that someone could construct a ranch on this scale without having a ton of money beforehand. Most owners of daycares and ranchers were older couples, reaching retirement, because they had collected a massive amount of funds by working hard for decades. Thomas had to be in his mid-twenties.

"There's no way I'm telling you the figures outright, but let's just say that I come from a rich background and that family covered most of it until I actually started making all the money," he said professionally, brushing some dirt off the front of his suit jacket with a handkerchief. "In the end, I was lucky to have support, but that doesn't mean I didn't have to work for this."

He was clad in a preppy suit and smelled of expensive cologne, but I had noticed the way that he clutched his back and strained whenever he had to bend down. His hands were rough and callused despite looking like he'd never touched a shovel. Deep scars ran across his knuckles. Clearly, he had spent years digging ditches and replanting trees. Even though I barely knew him, and we had only talked for a couple hours, I was starting to respect and idolise the man. We came from different backgrounds, but our love for Pokémon made me feel like we had an inherent connection. He was devoted enough to build this paradise for them to breed safely.

Finally, we came to what looked like our last stop on the tour of the ranch. On the northern side of the land, nearest the lake and nestled between some trees, was an old-fashioned lodge. It was easily the largest building on the entire property, although it was still keeping with the wooden aesthetic of the other structures, but was far more imposing than all of the other ones. Funnily enough, it reminded me of a mediocre hotel or a place where young kids would stay during a summer getaway. Even with its simple exterior, I could see plenty of modern art and new furniture through the large windows, though most of them were covered by red curtains. I wasn't really sure what the purpose of the lodge was, as I believed that the entrance building would serve as a break room for the workers. Sensing my confusion, Thomas chuckled softly.

"The wonderful people that work on this ranch spend all day slaving under the sun, tending to the Pokémon and making sure things don't fall apart," he began, spreading both of his arms wide to highlight the size of his massive lodge. "I feel terrible that I'm never out there with them as much as I used to be, so this where they come to unwind and take some time off!"

How many people did he even employ? The lodge certainly looked like it could house at least ten workers, but I hadn't even seen a single other human being working in the ranch's fields. Thomas said earlier that someone was on their break, but that had been almost a full hour ago and there was still no activity anywhere. Maybe they were all just very skilled at hiding away. I would just spend all of my time playing with all of the adorable ranch Pokémon and trying not to interact with other people, so I couldn't exactly blame them for avoiding us like that.

"So Alex, this is going to be your final test!" Thomas revealed, gripping onto the banister of the lodge's staircase and gesturing to the wooden door. "It's all fine and good that I've taken a liking to you, but now you need to win over my treasured employees. If they all give me the go-ahead, then you're welcome to start working at the ranch. I've saved the hardest for last!"

That was when I started to panic. Through some practice, I could endure having one-on-one conversations with people, but having to meet groups of strangers all at once left me feeling extremely overwhelmed. If they were anything like Thomas, then there wouldn't be much of a problem of finding things to speak about, but as always, it was still really nerve-wracking. The realisation that this was my dream job made accepting this social ordeal slightly easier. The suave businessmen gave me another pat on the shoulder for re-assurance and began to stride back down the long pathway. He passed the Lillipup that followed us all the way here.

"I've got some business to attend to, but I trust the rest of the gang to show you the ropes of what this ranch is all about," he clarified following my nervous silence, giving me a final, unconcerned wave. I could do nothing else but stare at the back of his suit. "They don't bite."

After he was little more than a black speck in the distance, I strode up to the lodge's door in a strange spark of motivated bravery. In hard times like this, I had learned to shut my brain off. Thomas had probably informed them about my existence, so there was no point in knocking unless I wanted to make things even more uncomfortable. As I turned the brass doorknob, I tried to prepare myself for what came next. All I had to do was make a good first impression on whatever group of people were inside here. The cramped, thin hallway I was faced with travelled straight forwards to another tall door that was mostly closed, barely hanging ajar. Just in front of me, there were three sets of shoes. A large, muddied pair of hiking boots, comfortable sandals with a feminine shape and flashy, pink trainers that had been sharpied. Were there only three people in this entire lodge? The whole workforce was only just a trio?

It didn't take long for me to hear a strange, faint noise behind the open door. It sounded like someone getting repeatedly slapped over and over again. It made me wonder if two of the staff members had gotten into some kind of fight. That would not be a good way to introduce myself if I had to break two angry people apart. My courageous steps began to falter as the familiar feeling of wanting to get the hell out of this place washed over me in a flash. Honestly, I was just tired of reassuring myself that there was nothing to freak out about here. Ignoring the accurate sense of dread, I simply walked forwards and gently pushed on the door with a hesitant finger, letting it swing open mostly by itself, intent on interrupting the issue.

Instead, I witnessed a muscular Gallade sitting on a couch with a woman grinding away on his white lap. The psychic Pokémon's eyes were tightly closed in satisfaction as a muffled groan escaped past his teeth. The girl was completely naked, her perky breasts bouncing as she raised herself up and down on the Gallade's stiff member. I didn't need to watch the scene unfold any further to understand what was happening. The smell of bodily sweat, the girl's high-pitched squeals and the wet, slapping sounds were more than enough indication. And yet, I kept focusing on the depravity in front of me. My eyes held for a little too long.

"Shit, s-sorry! I didn't mean to-" I blurted out, when my rational mind finally processed that what they were doing wasn't normal. I was still too stunned to tear my eyes away from the Gallade's lengthy shaft rubbing against the girl's shaved lips. She was having sex with him. She was passionately fucking a Pokémon at a place where they were meant to be protected. There was no other way around the sight, as much as I wanted to find another explanation.

So much for making a good impression on these people. Now I was a witness to a crime.

5 Sugary Tips to Enhance Your Reading Experience:

1. Be aware that this is a mature fanfiction, that will cover a wide variety of fetish material. It's likely that not everything will be your cup of tea, but it's my goal to include a lot of scenarios and pairings that a variety of people will enjoy. Just keep that in mind, alright?

2. Check out my profile for a summary of important information and status updates related to the next chapter of this story. I'm making an effort to update it every week with my progress. I also have a side story! Give that a look if you're craving some more Lilycove goodness.

3. Feel free to follow me on Twitter at – sugarsteponme – for my own thoughts and plans related to what I'm writing. You might get to see sneak peeks or behind-the-scenes stuff!

4. You can always request for a Pokémon to potentially be featured in future, smutty scenes! The easiest way to get me to see these requests is by leaving them in a review, but if you'd rather DM on this site or even through Twitter, that's also totally fine. While I do record every request, there's no guarantee that your specific one will make it into a chapter. Just to be clear, I do not consider suggestions for new original characters or directions for the story.

5. Lastly, you're awesome for reading this far. To everyone who has supported this fic over the years, and to everyone who is discovering it now, thank you from the bottom of my heart!