Rudy, is school out yet?

Rudy adjusted the straps of his backpack on his shoulders and dug out the smartphone from his pocket as he felt the vibration of the notification. He read the short message before unlocking the device and making to reply to his friend.

Yes! I'm just walking out! I'm so glad summer's finally here!

Mom told me earlier that grandpa would have a surprise for me later! I'm so jealous of you and Lisko!

Oh, there's grandpa so I'll see you later, Arthur!

His friend Arthur had been stuck in the hospital the last couple of months, but Rudy had made it a point to take him his homework so he would not get behind. About a month ago, Arthur's parents had contacted a professor to arrange to give him a Pokémon. It was so cool to watch him get to choose which one of three that the professor had presented to him.

Rudy gazed at the sky as his pace slowed and his mind raced. He knew he couldn't ever get a pokemon from a professor. His grandpa mentioned that they aren't qualified to do that for just every single trainer. But if you happened to be in a similar position as Arthur, where for whatever reason, you couldn't actively go out and catch your own or have the energy to be able to tame a freshly-caught pokemon from the wild, you could get permission from certain officials that give you a more docile pokemon to handle.

Rudy had always loved pokemon, and it wasn't like pokeballs were expensive or anything, but he was finding it hard to persuade his parents that he could reliably take care of one of his own. His birthday had been a week ago, and he had been hoping to talk them into it before then.

He sighed and set his gaze back on his grandpa waiting at the end of the sidewalk. His pace quick the closer he got as a smile grew on his face and he ran to hug the old man.

"Grandpa! It's good to see you!"

The old man chuckled as they broke apart slowly and smiled widely at him. He ruffled Rudy's hair. "It's good to see you too, Rudy. You're getting so tall."

"Mom said you had a surprise?" Rudy blurted impatiently, starting to bounce on the balls of his feet.

Then he caught himself. "Oh. Sorry. I guess that was rude, huh."

Rudy's grandfather was known outside of their family as Professor Puu. Puu chuckled again. "How would you and your sister like to go on a roadtrip with me this summer?" He asked, pointing with his thumb behind him to a large RV in the parking lot.

Rudy's smile grew and he jumped happily. "Really? For the whole summer?"

Puu nodded. "I'll still have work to do here and there, but I don't see why you kids can't tag along. I'm sure you'll find plenty of things to explore."

Just then, some one else skidded to a stop next to Rudy, and the boy calmed just slightly to judge who it was. It was his younger sister, Taimi, who was a bubbly second grader. Her eyes glanced at the RV widely.

"A trip? Does this mean Vary will be with us?"

"Vary" was short for Varoitus, Puu's old pet absol. Despite being a dark type pokemon, it had always been relatively laidback, for as long as Rudy had known it, even when Taimi would pull on its tail a little too harshly. The only time its temperament really flared was on dark, quiet nights during full moons. Other than that, its laxness could simply be attributed to old age and the fact it's not a battler.

Puu's hand dug into the pocket of his lab coat. "Yes, Varoitus will be with us, Taimi," he said, just as the absol in question poked its head out of the door of the RV. Taimi jumped and ran, cuddling into its soft neck fur tightly, as it held a rather stoic expression. Puu lifted something out of his pocket as he turned back to Rudy. "As for you Rudy, your parents told me you've wanted one for a very long time…"

Rudy held out his hand as Puu motioned to deposit a single pokeball. Puu's hand returned to his side and Rudy's eyes widened with amazement.

"Is… Is it empty?" Rudy spoke slowly, slowly shifting his gaze from the pokeball back up to his grandfather.

Puu looked amused, but he smiled after a moment and shook his head. "No. Your parents already put in that effort for you. As long as you can show the three of us that you can take care of it, you can keep it."

Rudy enlarged the ball so it fit into his hand and jumped around ecstatically at the news. Taimi came over to join her brother, riding on the back of Varoitus contentedly. The siblings had wide, matching smiles.

Later, Rudy and Taimi were curled up on the bed in the back of the RV with Taimi laying drowsily against Varoitus' soft fur. Rudy sat with his legs crossed across from them.

He took a deep breath, rolling the pokeball around in his hand. Inside, was the very first pokemon of his own. He had felt nerves twist and knot in his stomach all throughout dinner with his family. Now, that he actually had a pokeball in his hand, he both wondered desperately what was inside it and if it would like him and not give him too much trouble. It was only a tap of the button away from knowing.

He gulped audibly.

"Open it!" Taimi sat up slightly from where she was. "I wanna see what's inside too!"

Rudy glanced at her for a quick second, and then back at the ball in his hand. Earlier, he had filled up a dish of some new pokemon food he had gotten from his parents, without them alluding to what type of pokemon it was for. The only thing Rudy was clued into from the food was that Varoitus had taken one sniff at it initially and was then utterly uninterested.

He breathed again, glanced at both Taimi and Varoitus for support, and tapped the button. It opened in a pop!

A small, pale furry creature with long ears and a stumpy tail sat on the bed between them. Its ears, tail, and cheeks were accented with blue fur. It shook its head and looked up and around at its surroundings, ears twitching curiously.

Rudy pulled out his phone quietly, trying not to startle it with any sudden movements and pointed the camera at it. As the camera focused and the display cleared, it immediately accessed a different app on his phone, "Pokemon Encyclopedia." It was something his mother had let him download ages ago, with or without his "persuasiveness."

"Minun, an electric pokemon. It cheers on its friends. If its friends are losing, its body lets off more and more sparks."

"Oh, a minun? it's so cute!" Taimi said, sitting up abruptly and launching herself at the small mammal.

The minun perked up and squeaked, jumping up just as Taimi landed on the bed with a huff where it had just previously been. Rudy was unbalanced by the sudden burst of energy and fell backward as well, knocking his head against the back wall. The minun scampered in every direction until it was stopped from leaving the tiny back room of the RV by Varoitus jumping in the way in time. It knocked into its foreleg lightly.

Rubbing his slightly aching head, Rudy collected himself with a sigh and gazed at the new creature. He got up to try and calm it, grabbing a few of the pellets from the dish. "Hey, minun," he said slowly, approaching the creature with caution, as he noticed small sparks of static start to buzz from its cheeks. "It's okay! It's okay!"

The minun eyed him warily, nervously glancing back at the taller carnivore, before back at Rudy. Rudy approached slowly in his socks. "It's okay…" He muttered as he held out one of the pellets of food.

Minun didn't seem convinced by the gesture. "It's food."

Taimi righted herself on the bed and peered over, slightly more subdued than before, but Rudy turned back to her and pressed a finger to his lips just in case. She nodded at him.

Rudy turned back to minun and kneeled, slowly placing a piece of kibble on the floor between it and him, and then backed away. Minun eyed him, its ear twitching. Rudy nudged the pellet closer to it with his toe and then backed away again.

The minun looked back down at the kibble, ears and nose twitching. It finally crawled its way to the food slowly, nose sniffing at it, and then grabbed it up into its forepaws and began nibbling hungrily.

A smile broke on Rudy's face.

When the kibble was all gone, minun was looking at the boy expectantly. Rudy crouched and slid another piece of kibble lightly over to the rodent. It crawled softly on all-fours, meeting his hand halfway. It began nibbling greedily.

Minun ate another piece, and then another, and then while it was nibbling through the fifth, Rudy found the courage to rub the back of his hand against its cheek. He yelped in surprise, alerting everyone present, as he fell backwards on his butt. "Rudy, what happened?" Taimi gasped, leaning over the side of the bed.

The back of his right hand was still tingling from the sensation of the static. Rudy glanced back at minun, watching its cheeks buzz again. He breathed lightly. "Right, an electric type…" He mused, before breaking out into a laugh, his sister falling into giggles with him.

He crawled back up, placing another piece of food down for minun, letting it accept the offering, and then reached his hand toward the spot between its ears. His hand was gentle and warm and he petted the soft fur. Minun purred with delight.

Taimi jumped down from the bed, as Varoitus relaxed itself as well. She nudged her brother's shoulder. "Rudy, can I pet minun?" She pleaded him.

Rudy studied her with an audible hum. When she pretended to pout, he laughed and then turned to minun and carefully approached it on his hands and knees. Minun watched him curiously. After a moment, Rudy had managed to scoop it up into his arms successfully and he turned back to his sister. "Okay… but I think you owe minun an apology…"

The boy was turned completely to his sister, but he kept minun tucked in his shirt securely. Taimi nodded, much calmer towards minun than before. She stepped forward and reached out her hand carefully. "I'm sorry, minun… I didn't mean to startle you…" she said quietly, almost tearfully.

Minun still seemed unsure.

Taimi's hand was positioned similarly to how Rudy himself initially tried to pet it. He noticed and with a slight edge, grabbed her hand and gently guided his sister's hand to the top of minun's head. Her hand pressed flat, rubbing smooth strokes against its fur.

Minun started purring again and Taimi broke out into a fit of giggles again.

Rudy, Taimi, Varoitus, and minun were all situated on the bed again, similarly as before with minun in the middle of all of them, finishing off the last of the kibble in the dish.

Taimi fidgeted and looked Rudy. "What are you going to call it?" She asked innocently enough.

Rudy looked up at her. With all the excitement so far, that part had completely slipped his mind. "Well…" He hummed, putting a hand to his chin and sticking out his tongue thoughtfully.

Taimi jumped up. "Can I help name it, if you can't think of anything?" She begged, pulling on the sleeve of his shirt.

Rudy glanced at the small rodent. "Well… how about Sähkö, then?"

"Sähkö?" Taimi repeated, falling gently back on her knees.

Rudy grinned. "I think it's fitting!" He crawled to minun and grabbed it up in his arms. It gave a little alarmed squeak. "Right? Sähkö?"

He looked down at minun expectantly for a response. When minun gave none, he tried again, with more enunciation, "Right? Säh-kö?"

Minun ears twitched in Rudy's direction. Rudy hummed thoughtfully and set minun down on the other side of the bed and then crawled back to where Taimi was. Minun watched him curiously.

"Sähkö?" He tried again, gesturing with his arms, hoping that he would get the point across to minun this time. The mammal tilted its head. "Sähkö?"

"Sähkö, come here," Taimi added in, gesturing as well.

Rudy hoped all of the flailing wasn't going to confuse minun even more. With its ears pointed in their direction, minun started to pace back towards them. It stopped at Rudy's leg, placed its forepaws on his knee, and reared itself up, its ears erect.

"Sähkö," he tried again, hopefully, a small grin forming on his face.

Sähkö nodded. Rudy broke out into laughter as he picked Sähkö up in his arms and fell backwards on the bed. His giggles were broken up with continuous chants of his new pets' name.

Next Chapter: Arthur's Challenge