What a day.
Kukui was tired, as he usually was after even a normal day teaching at the pokémon school, but Ash was absolutely exhausted. The boy ate three full servings of dinner. Kukui had known that Ash would have the appetite of a young boy, but this was worse than he had expected. Kakui wasn't mad though, he was mostly amused that the kid had still finished eating sooner than he had. He swore, the kid had a black hole for a stomach.
After Kakui had finished eating, he had taken his and Ash's plates into the kitchen and rinsed them off. He would wash them properly later. Kukui couldn't have been in the kitchen for more than a minute or two, but when he returned to the couch he saw that Ash was already beginning to doze off.
"Hey," Kukui shook Ash's shoulder to wake him up. "You shouldn't sleep down here. You're going to wake up sore." Kukui knew that the couch that he had available for Ash to sleep on couldn't be the most comfortable thing in the world, but it was softer than the stiff couch down here.
Ash blinked and slowly sat up. He yawned and rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. "Sorry." Ash said. He sounded half asleep. He would probably be tired in class tomorrow too.
"It's okay." Kukui assured him. His eyes were drawn to the empty Z ring around Ash's wrist. Kukui frowned in thought. He knew that someday soon Ash would get himself another Z crystal, and he would be able to use it without it shattering. That wasn't what Kukui was worried about though. He still hadn't been able to wrap his mind around the fact that Tapu Koko, who rarely even showed himself, had seemed to have taken a liking to Ash, who had only been on the island for a few days.
What confused Kukui even more than that though was what Ash's reaction to Tapu Koko was. The boy had acted like seeing and battling Tapu Koko was an experience that happened every single day.
"Hey, Ash, why were you so calm about meeting Tapu Koko?" Kukui asked, curious. Ash blinked and took a few moments to process what had been said to him.
"I was calm?" Ash frowned. "Really?"
"Well, not exactly." Kukui admitted. "But you seemed much more comfortable around Tapu Koko than people usually are."
"Oh," Ash thought for a moment. "I didn't think that I acted any differently. I mean, I think I acted the same around all the other legendary pokémon that I've met."
"...All the other…" Kukui was stunned into silence for a few moments before he burst into laughter. Of course Ash had met other legendary pokémon. Somehow, Kukui wasn't all that surprised. Whatever Tapu Koko had seen in Ash, other legendary pokémon had to have seen it too.
"You've really seen a lot during your travels, haven't you?" Kukui commented. Ash had an adventurous life, that was for sure. The boy had experienced so many incredible things even though he was still so young. Kukui didn't think that Ash realized just how privileged he was. At the same time though, Ash was far from ungrateful.
Ash was fearless, fierce, determined. He'd had an exciting life, and even though he was going to be living in a more domestic situation, Kukui didn't think it was fair to expect him to give up that excitement. Kukui wanted Ash to be able to make the most of his life. He wanted Ash to experience as much of the world as he possibly could.
Kukui didn't see why Ash couldn't make his adventure in Alola just as enjoyable as his time in other regions. They just needed to set up a few guidelines.
"Ash, can you do me a favor?" Kukui asked. "If you don't want to, that's fine, I won't make you, but I want you to at least think about it." Kukui knew that he wasn't Ash's father. He was just a temporary guardian. He could set up guidelines for Ash, but he didn't have the right to enforce them as rules.
"What's up, Professor?" Ash asked.
"I'm fine with you doing your own thing while you're here." Kukui said. In fact, he encouraged it. He really admired Ash's excitement for everything that he did, and he didn't want to diminish that. "But you need to be careful. There are a lot of pokémon in Alola that look harmless enough, but they could be really dangerous. You can't just go running off so recklessly."
"Okay." Ash nodded. "Is that the favor?"
"No, that's a request from your teacher." Kukui said. "The favor is that at the end of the day, I want to hear about what happened." Kukui wasn't trying to hover over Ash, but he felt like he should at least be aware of what the boy went through from day to day. If there had been any close calls or crazy encounters, Kukui wanted to know about it.
Kukui knew that he wouldn't be able to do much after the fact, but he wanted to know what was going on anyways.
Yeah, I can do that." Ash said with a grin. Kukui internally breathed a sigh of relief. He trusted that Ash could take care of himself, he'd obviously been doing so for quite some time now, but he didn't want a repeat of what had happened earlier. Kukui didn't know why, but it really bothered him that Ash had met Tapu Koko and been given a Z ring by the island guardian himself, and he hadn't breathed a word of it to him. How was he supposed to be a good guardian if he didn't know about any of the things that Ash went through?
"One more thing, and this one is a rule," Kukui thought that it was fair for him to set up a house rule or two, considering he was Ash's guardian and his teacher. "I want you to be home before dark every day." Kukui knew that there would be acceptable exceptions, but they would tackle those when they came to them. "If it's an emergency and you need to be out, I want you to talk to me about it first, alright?"
Ash nodded. "That's fair."
"Good." Kukui was relieved that Ash wasn't fighting him on this. He knew that many children and teenagers had a real issue with people telling them what to do. "Now how about we call it a night?" They'd both had a long day.
"Okay." Ash stood up and stretched. He then bent down and took Pikachu, who had been napping on the floor next to Rockruff, into his arms. Ash went over to the ladder that lead to the loft that was his unofficial room. Before Ash could think about trying to go up the ladder one handed as he held his sleeping pokémon in the other, Kukui stepped forward and took Pikachu from Ash's arms. Kukui didn't want the boy to hurt himself and his pokémon by trying to go up the ladder with just one hand.
Ash climbed up into the loft. He then sat on the ground, leaned forward, and reached down for his Pikachu. Kukui slowly handed the pokémon off, though he was extremely careful to not wake the Pikachu.
"Thanks." Ash said quietly as he held his Pikachu close. "Goodnight, Professor Kukui."
Kukui smiled. "Goodnight, Ash." Kukui turned off the lights and made his way to his bedroom. It was still fairly early, but it had been a long and exciting day. And who knew what kind of adventures they would run into tomorrow?
Kukui wasn't used to so much unpredictability. He could be spontaneous sometimes, but he was both a teacher and a professor. When he wasn't making lesson plans, he was studying pokemon attacks and behaviors and trying to find patterns. It had been a long time since Kukui had had something in his life that could shake things up in ways that he couldn't expect.
Even though Ash had only been living with him for a few days, Kukui could already tell that Ash was unpredictable and extremely spontaneous, which was something that he hadn't even realized he was missing in his life. Just having that boy living with him was an adventure in and of itself.
Kukui hadn't realized just how much he had missed adventures, and he couldn't wait to see what else their future had in store for them.