You were quiet as you made your way out of your room into the darkened corridor outside, your [fave pokemon] [Name] poking its head around the door behind you. This wasn't the first night you had been woken in the middle of the night by the light down the corridor from the kitchen, and the smell of strong coffee. The two of you crept down the corridor to the source of the light in order to peek into the room, and you were met with the same sight as every other time. There was your father, hunched over the table with his head buried in his hands, every other inhale coming out as a loud sniff.
"Daddy?" You asked him softly, approaching quietly to pause beside him.
"_-_____." He realised, sitting up properly, and you caught a glimpse of tears as he wiped them away with the sleeve of his night shirt. His grey eyes were wet and puffy from crying, but he tried for a small smile anyway and didn't quite succeed. "I'm sorry, [nickname], I didn't mean to wake you up again." He wrapped an arm around your small form and pulled you close, pressing his lips to your forehead.
"You were missing mummy again?" You asked him, and you felt him tense. You had been two when your mother had died ten years before, and held no memory of her, but you knew she had been an amazing person from what your father had told you. He did all he could to give you a happy childhood, remained all smiles around his coworkers and the trainers who came to him for their pokemon. But when he was alone, when he believed you were asleep, he allowed himself to become lost in his memories and his still raw grief. You hated to see him like this, but there never seemed to be anything you could do.
"Yeah." He told you softly after a moment of hesitation, gently rubbing your back. "She was ... an amazing woman." He let out a small sigh, hugging you tightly. "Come on. I'll get you a [fave drink] and we'll get you off to bed."
You frowned as you sat in the seat beside his, but he didn't notice as he instead bustled around the kitchen to get your drink for you. You were twelve. Two years older than most of the trainers coming in to get their pokemon and begin their journey around Kalos. But while your father had given you [Name] for your tenth birthday, and you had had hopes that you might be allowed to travel with the other trainers when they arrived that year, he hadn't allowed you to leave with them when they had come. In fact, so scared was he of losing you, he had hardly even allowed you to leave the lab without him while you had been growing up. It was the only place in which you believed your father's depression had had any impact on your growing up.
For a while you were sitting with your father, while your eyes slowly got heavier and heavier in your exhaustion. You let out a small yawn, and saw his smile through your blurred vision as he carefully scooped you up in his arms, and you snuggled up to him automatically as he took you out of the kitchen, turning the light off behind him and drenching the two of you in darkness, at which point he paused for a moment to allow his eyes to adjust to the sudden darkness before continuing down the corridor, [Name] following behind so that they wouldn't trip him up.
"Can I stay with you tonight daddy?" You asked him sleepily, worried about leaving him on his own. He tended to be very fragile after an episode like this. He paused briefly, before you sensed him smile a little in the gloom.
"Of course." He told you softly. "You always can, you know that."
You snuggled up in your father's arms as you were laid down in his bed, and felt him curl up beside you, holding you tightly against his chest. Comforted by his presence, and that of [Name] as the [fave pokemon] lay down in your arms, you soon felt yourself drifting to sleep.
It was only you and [Name] when you woke up, you realised quickly, sitting up to look around the bedroom for your absent father. There was a plate of [breakfast] nearby, still warm, as well as a bowl of food for [Name], so he had clearly been there recently. You quickly ate, before going to your room to dress, and you and [Name] headed downstairs to your father's lab. You paused when you came in through the elevator, one of his assistants waving at you as you realised that he wasn't alone. There were five children with him, most likely this year's trainers, and you paused in the doorway as you watched them. Watched your father stood talking to them, all smiles, as if he hadn't been clasped in the arms of a breakdown only the night before.
"Oh, is this another trainer?" One of the boys asked him suddenly, catching sight of you stood in the doorway, and the eyes of everyone in the room turned to you. "That's strange, I thought there were only five of us? I've not seen him before."
"Oh, no, Calem, this is my son, _____." The professor replied. [Name] hid behind you, uncomfortable with the attention, as you stood shyly in the doorway.
"Aww, that's a cute [fave pokemon] you have there." Cooed one of the girls, approaching a little to see them, and [Name] hid a little further behind you. "You must be a really good trainer to have caught one." You flinched slightly, and your father noticed your discomfort.
"You've all been doing really well with your pokedexes." He told them, successfully drawing their attention away from you. "I wish all of you the very best in your journeys." Clearly dismissed, the five young trainers said their goodbyes to the professor and drifted out past you, eyeing you curiously as they made their way to the elevator. You watched them leave, and then turned back to find yourself under your father's gaze. "Did you sleep well, [nickname]?" He asked you softly as you approached him. "I really am sorry for last night."
"I slept fine." You replied, wrapping your arms around his middle in a hug, and he held you against him, gently rubbing circles on your back. "Those were this year's new trainers?"
"They were." You could detect a sense of resignation in your father's voice and you raised your head to look at him, confused. "You and [Name] really want to go out with them this year, don't you." It sounded as if he were speaking to himself more than to you, but you offered him an answer anyway.
"I understand that you need us here." You assured him softly, and he gave you a small sigh before pulling away from you. You watched him as he stepped behind his desk, opening his drawer and retrieving a pokedex.
"This was your mother's. From when we journeyed together as new trainers." He told you, and your breath caught, as he let out a small breathy laugh. "I was never much of a battler, even back then. I wouldn't have gotten anywhere if I didn't have her around." He smiled fondly at the memories. "I've been holding it for you, for when you were old enough to have your own adventure around Kalos. She wanted you to have it." He sat on the edge of his desk, gazing at the device in his hands. "You've been ready for your own journey for years now. I didn't realise it, because I wasn't. I don't want to lose you too, [nickname]."
"You won't lose me." You promised him, taking a step closer and heaving yourself up onto his desk beside him. "I'll always come back."
"I know." Sycamore's voice was small as he said it, and with a final sigh he slipped the device into your hands. "But I've been so afraid that I've kept you from living your life. And that's the last thing your mother would have wanted." He pushed himself off of the table and beamed at you, a genuine smile gracing his face. "I want you and [Name] to go out there and have fun." He told you. "You don't need to worry about me anymore - you've been doing that all your life, now it's time to make yourself the priority. I'll be fine here on my own." He ran his fingers gently through your hair before hugging you tightly one more time. "I've already packed you a bag. You and [Name] will have everything in there, and if you ever need anything, you have your holocaster and you know how to get in touch with me or even Lysandre if you need him, so-"
"I'll be fine, daddy." You cut him off firmly, sensing him about to go into a worried tirade. "And I'll come visit you all the time. You don't have to worry about me."
"I always will." He replied with a fond smile. "I'll walk you to the edge of the city. You'll have to go back a few towns if you want to go through all the gyms, and ... well, you have your town map in your bag."
Your father held your bag for you as the two of you left the lab, [Name] secured in their pokeball on your belt, and headed to one of the many entrances to Luminose City. Despite for how long you had wanted to go out on this adventure, you found that you were a little reluctant to be leaving your father behind. It wasn't forever, by any stretch of the imagination, but there was still a part of you that felt guilty. You took his hand as you walked, and he squeezed yours back gently. You were nervous and excited all at once, but the most important thing to you was that you knew that he would be all right when you were gone.
"I'll miss you, [nickname]." He told you at the gate when the time for goodbyes had come, handing you your bag and watching you as you slung it over your shoulder. You noticed there were tears in his eyes as he spoke, his smile, while genuine, wavered, and his voice cracked a little. "I wish you and [Name] all the luck in the world." He knelt down in front of you so that the two of you were level and pulled him into his arms in a proper hug, squeezing you tightly. You buried your face in his neck as you hugged him back, heart beating fast in your chest with the prospect of leaving home on your own for the first time. "I love you, _____."
"I love you too, daddy." You mumbled into him, hugging him as tightly as you could and not wanting to let go. Eventually, however, you knew that you had to, and you carefully pulled away, allowing him to release you.
You swallowed nervously as you looked to the gate, before taking your first steps out of the city. You felt your father's eyes on you as he watched you leaving, and you frequently glanced back, to see him giving you an encouraging smile every time. This was your chance now, your opportunity to go out and see the world. For the first time, you and [Name] had all of Kalos at your fingertips, just begging to be explored.
You took a deep breath as you carried on walking, leaving your father behind you. The whole world was ahead.