This is my first story and it will be quite long by the time it is finished. Sorry folks, but there will be no smut. Hope you enjoy!
Author's Chapter Notes:
Will has a big choice to make, what will he do?
Chapter 4 - What Mattered Most
It was all so odd. I had just finished listening to Keelia tell her story, and now we were both crying. I could not help it, I had never heard something so sad in my whole life. Things had taken a turn for her, and she was really good at hiding it. My anger burned for whoever this man in grey was, but more importantly I was worried about Vui and Keelia.
“Oh…Key, why didn’t you tell me sooner? You must have been hurting and wanting to get help for your mother…Why didn’t you tell me?” I said after a few minutes of silence, my voice cracking on the word “mother.” Arceus, I sounded like such a wimp.
“It’s just-I just thought that you wouldn’t want to be bothered with my problems. You helped me in my time of need and I didn’t want to burden you.” Keelia replied in an almost guilty tone. “Especially not with how you said you felt earlier today. You seemed like you had enough of your own problems to deal with.”
“Tell me then Key, what are you planning on doing? Are you going to follow through with your original plan?” I asked, realizing that she had been harboring this pain for the whole day I spent with her. She whimpered pitifully in reply.
“I don’t know! I-I feel so safe and happy with you, but my mom is somewhere out there! I need to help her, but I don’t know where I am exactly, and I don’t want to leave you.” Keelia whined. She squirmed around in my arms so that she was now looking me in the eyes. I didn’t quite know how to respond to this, so I just wiped the matted fur beneath her eyes gently with my thumb.
It was right then, as I was looking at this heartbroken creature, that something became clear. It was something that I had known for a while, but chose not to acknowledge. I did not want tomorrow to come with its work and its school and its stress. I could not bear to fall back into the rut of the routine. It dawned on me anew that there was something wrong with living for tomorrow, with living for the next day off. Call me selfish, but I wanted to make a difference, and this was a golden opportunity.
The heart of the problem was that I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing. Some part of me knew that I just had to stick through this part, and that afterwards, life would get better. I would have the job, the house, the car, and everything else I could need. This picture always seemed to be a vague image of my future…just something I planned to do, but could never see myself doing. It was only when I was given this opportunity to just leave it all and help Keelia that I saw who I really was. I did not care if it left me with no income and an incomplete history of higher education. I just knew that if I kept on with what I was doing without Keelia, I might have lost my mind.
Suddenly, this crazy yet perfect idea popped into my mind. All at once it was a brilliant, foolish, dumb, and stupid one. A way to help my new best friend, and to discover what mattered most in my life. I did not care if it took years, I was going to help Key find her mother. A smile grew on my face the more I thought about it. Key must have noticed because she was looking at me with an expression that grew more puzzled by each passing moment.
“Key, I want to help you. I will go wherever you go until we find your mother. We will be in this together, you and me. I promise!” It felt so surreal to say this. It was like some part of me was just waiting for this day to gain its freedom. Key grinned and squirmed out of my grip, springing onto my lap, tail wagging wildly.
“Oh! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, Will!” She shouted joyfully. Before I could resist, she was bombarding my cheeks with affectionate licks. I felt very odd and tickly, and I burst out laughing.
“Whoa! Key! Chill out you crazy little Eevee!” I declared, between the licks and the laughs. Eventually, when she and I had settled down a bit, I picked her up and jokingly used her white collar fur to wipe the drool off of my face. “Hey! What did you do that for?” she cried out in surprise.
“I know you were happy, but that was gross!” I jested with a mock disgusted look. She seemed to catch my humor because she replied by just nuzzling up against my chest. “So, before you ask, I am going to leave behind all of the ‘human things’ I was telling you about. You have shown me that I really don’t want to stick around with this life. I am more than content in helping you, even if it means that I am losing so many things that this society seems to value.” I did not even know why I was saying this, and the surreal feeling just would not go away. I felt like such a rebel, what with abandoning everything that a college student like me was expected to do. For some reason though, it felt so right at the same time.
“So when are we going to leave? Where are we going to go? How fast can you get re-” She started to bombard me with questions.
“Whoa there, slow down. We will figure it out tomorrow. I think if I line things up right, we can even be out of here by tomorrow evening!” I triumphantly stated. “For now, I think it is time we both got some shut-eye.”
“Okay! That sounds great!” Key yipped as I stood up and headed to the bedroom with her cradled in my arms. I let Key down before I undressed and settled in for bed. Instead of sleeping at the foot of the bed, Key opted to curl up right next to me with her face buried in my neck. She was just so adorable sometimes.
So I laid there, trying to catch some sleep. Minutes went by, and still I felt no less sleepy. Not wanting to disturb Key who was already fast asleep, I refrained from tossing and turning. Often times when I would have something very important on my mind, I would not be able to sleep and then end up staring at the ceiling for hours. It was almost as if I expected that spot of ceiling to suddenly spell out answers and quell my stress. I know I had seemed strong and sure of myself about leaving it all behind to help Key, but I just did not know what was going to happen to me. What was my employer going to say? Would I be able to make ends meet out there? What would my dad think? My dad had been really encouraging me to get out there and get a degree. He wanted the best for me, and that was to do better than he had. He never finished college, and times were tough when we were growing up. He and my mother had opted to travel the world and train their pokemon companions. He was a great man though, and he worked hard to raise me. What would he think about me just up and leaving this? I mean, I was an adult. I could make my own decisions. I would definitely have to call him, but my mind was set on what I was going to do with Key. I just hoped that he would understand.
Even more minutes went by, and I was still no closer to falling asleep than before. I could now feel Keelia’s warm breath on my neck. How did she fall asleep so fast? Suddenly though, the breaths on my neck became frantic, and Key began whine softly in her sleep. Her legs started to twitch and kick as well. I quickly realized that she was experiencing a bad dream, so I gently shook her awake. Knowing what had happened to her recently, the stress would be overwhelming, and a nightmare wouldn’t help. Key awoke with a start, and she whined loudly as she swiveled her head from side to side. Her eyes were tearing up and she was whispering something unintelligible.
“Bad dream, Key?” I quietly asked. She seemed to return to her senses at the sound of my voice. She looked over at me and slowly nodded, some of the tears in her eyes spilling out onto her face.
“Yeah, really bad dream,” she replied. “How do we know that we will find her…how do we know we will find my mom?” she continued. I did not have an honest answer that I could give to that. I knew that the chance of finding her was very unlikely, but I was going to try even if it bankrupted me.
“Don’t worry, we will find her one way or another,” I stated plainly, trying to hide the doubts that were swirling around in my mind. I just wished that I could have a surefire way to find Vui, but for now we had to start somewhere.
“Thank you Will, and for what it is worth, I’m just glad that we have each other,” she sighed.
“Heh, that is so cheesy, but it means a lot to me,” I commented with a tired half-smile. “Let’s try to get some sleep, okay? We have a big day ahead of us tomorrow.”
“Okay,” she said simply as she buried her head again into my neck. Again, she fell asleep first, her exhales becoming slower and coming at even intervals. The ceiling was not offering any answers; I sighed deeply. It took forever, but I finally slipped into clutches of slumber.
The sun was rising beautifully over Goldenrod City as I rode along the road to town. Keelia and I had gotten an early start that morning so that I could get a few things in line before we set out. I rode my bike to my workplace many hours before I was scheduled to come, which was after that day’s classes. I was going to leave today, and I only hoped that I could do so on good terms. The manager was a good woman, but I hoped my story would be enough. Keelia was again riding in my jacket, but this time she was riding with her head and front paws sticking out of the top of the zipper.
Cool wind buffeted our faces as I rolled into the parking lot of the grocery store. It felt different this particular time though. I did not have that typical bummed-out feeling that I usually would have when arriving at work. I was never excited for it because I never really had a reason to be. In the place of that bummed-out feeling, I was instead feeling very nervous. I would have left a notice if I would have known earlier, but of course that was not the case. I really hope she understood.
When I came to a halt at the bike rack, Key hopped down out of my jacket. Once I had secured my bike, albeit with sweaty hands, I stepped into the store with Keelia trotting next to me. My place of work, the produce section, was looking as fresh and appealing as ever. Conveniently enough, a few feet away stood my manager, Mrs. Wike. Her back was to me as she stocked a display with potatoes. She was not at all an intimidating woman. She was only about 5’5”, but her temper was intimidating. Most of the time, that side of her never came out. In all, she was a very understanding, kind, and capable leader. I glanced a Key quickly as to say, “Now or never,” and walked up to Mrs. Wike.
“Good morning Mrs. Wike, how are you doing?” I said in the most casual voice that I could muster. She quickly turned around and gazed at me for a moment with a confused expression.
“Well, good morning to you too Will, I’m doing well,” she said in a hesitant tone that matched her body language. There was an awkward moment of me rocking back and forth from my heels to my toes. I stole a look down to see Keelia glancing back and forth from me to Mrs. Wike. My manager happened to see the movement at my feet, because her countenance changed as she looked down there.
“Oh, who is that you have there? Is that a little Eevee I see?” Mrs. Wike asked with a grin, beaming down at Key. Keelia did not seem to appreciate her enthusiasm very much, and opted to take refuge behind my legs. Her bushy tail was still in plain view however. “Ha! She sure is a shy little thing,” the manager said, crouching down and looking up to me. “I’ve never known you to keep a ‘mon around Will. What is its name?”
“Her name is Keelia, and she is a very special friend of mine,” I said warmly with a reassuring smile aimed toward the canine at my feet. “And I know it is going to sound weird, but she is the reason why I am here today. You see, I’m leaving Goldenrod today” I stated, the nervousness from before now back in full force. Mrs. Wike’s confusion from earlier was again written on her features as she stood back up.
“I’m sorry, you’re leaving?” she stated in disbelief. I slowly nodded in reply. “Leaving? But why, and why does it have to do with this Eevee?” She sounded as concerned and confused as I thought she would angry. Mrs. Wike knew about my special ability to talk with pokemon, but it still didn’t diminish how awkward, rude, and just plain odd talking about this was.
“Please understand, I do not want to be rude or disrespectful in this, but I feel the need to help this little one.” I gestured down at Key. “I understand if you want to kill me for suddenly showing up and saying ‘I’m leaving’, or if you never want to see me again. All I really know right now is that I have to go, and it very well may be permanent” I finally sputtered out. My manager crossed her arms, which was a sign that she was getting fed up or impatient, and replied.
“What makes you think that it is okay to just up and leave like this? You are a good kid Will, I know that, so I know you must have your reasons. Tell me what is going on.” Her reply came nothing like the slap in the face that I had expected. Gathering my racing thoughts, I told her what was happening with me.
“A couple nights ago, I found Keelia freezing and slowly dying of a fever in a gutter. She was at first defensive and hostile toward me, but soon became friendly. I had her healed and took her home, where she warmed up to me quickly. I didn’t know that she was harboring such a painful past until she told me last night. I had never heard anything more depressing in my life. Her mother was taken from her by some man, and Keelia was beaten and left to fend for herself. I managed to find her, but I don’t want to think about what would have happened if I hadn’t.” I said in a serious tone. To my surprise, Mrs. Wike seemed to be taking it well, she was only gaping a little bit. “I have realized that I don’t enjoy what I do here and now with my life. I would want nothing more in my life right now than to help Keelia find her mother, or go flat broke in the process.” I almost could not believe that I was saying the words that I was saying, and especially to my boss! “I don’t know how to say it any other way, Mrs. Wike…Mrs. Wike?” I asked, not expecting at all what I was seeing. Mrs. Wike had closed the gap between her and me, and had put one of her hands on my shoulder. Confused (but mainly terrified), I looked down at her without anything to say.
“Let me tell you something Will, and please take it to heart,” she said in a very serious, somber tone. I could not read any anger in her voice, so I was quite confused about where this was going. She began to open up to me. “When I was a few years younger than you are now, I shared a very similar experience to what has happened to you. You see, I found an Eevee just like you did, abandoned in the woods behind my parents’ house. I took him in with the approval of my parents, and we became good friends. I would wait restlessly during the schooldays until the time I could go back home and play with my Eevee friend, who I had named Yanni. We also had a household Chikorita at the time, named Chika, who would always terrorize the timid creature. Frequently, their little skirmishes led to Yanni fleeing the house and hiding out in the woods for a while, hours in some instances. On one normal day, Chika was up to her antics and scared poor Yanni away. This time however, Yanni was gone longer than usual. He didn’t come back by the time the sun had set. He wasn’t anywhere to be found come the next morning. We posted signs, and considered where he could have gone. He was already captured once, so there was no way he was taken by a random trainer. After three days, there were no leads. I was heartbroken. As it would turn out and as far as we knew, Yanni was gone forever.” She paused as if to catch her breath and collect her thoughts. Her eyes where a little misty. “When I found Yanni, He was barely even a hatchling. He hardly even knew his parents, who never seemed to show up. He never knew the love of a father or mother.” She spoke all of these things with jaded eyes and even speech, like she was dwelling in the past. After a few moments, she shook her head as she seemed to come back to the present. I spoke up, breaking the sad silence.
“Wow Mrs. Wike, I didn’t know that happened to you, I’m sorry. Thank you for sharing though,” I said in a polite voice, even though I still did not understand where she was going with this story that she had told. I realized however, that I was out of hot water when she resumed.
“I understand how both of you feel,” she said looking at me and at Key, who had come out from behind my legs. “A big difference in our situations is that you can go, Will. You have the whole world before you, and you ultimately will choose your own path. So if you have come here for my approval on your…journey, I would have to allow you to go.” I heard her say this, but my brain only sort of registered it. I felt this huge nervous burden lift from my shoulders.
“So, you all will be fine here? You’re really okay with this?” I asked, already knowing the answer.
“Yeah, we’ll make do here. You’ll definitely be missed! I wish that you didn’t have to go like this, we are losing a great worker” Mrs. Wike said with a chuckle.
“Well thank you very much. I’m flattered, really,” I laughed, rubbing the back of my head. Out of nowhere, Keelia spoke up from behind me.
“Will, I want to tell Mrs. Wike something, could you translate?” she said, which to Mrs. Wike probably sounded like a jumble of yips and barks.
“Sure, I can do that!” I replied.
“Do what? What is she saying there Will?” my manager asked with a curious tone.
“Keelia would like to tell you something, I’ll translate for her.”
“Well that’s something! It’s not every day you have a conversation with a Pokémon! Let’s hear what she has to say, Will.” Mrs. Wike crouched down again and looked Keelia in the eyes.
“Don’t worry Mrs. Wike, Will and I will find my mother. We’ll find her to honor the memory of Yanni! We’ll do it for him!” I translated as Key spoke confidently and excitedly. She stood there after I had finished translating and beamed at Mrs. Wike. She was just so amazing sometimes. Mrs. Wike sat there speechless for a little while at the little creature’s encouraging words. She then reached out and rubbed Key between her long ears, which Key allowed her to do.
“Thank you Keelia, that means a lot to me,” she spoke softly to the Eevee. The moment was cut short as a customer approached Mrs. Wike with a question regarding produce. She spoke to us quickly before she addressed the customer “Good luck on your journey, both of you! Hope to hear good news from you soon!” She said hurriedly as she turned to help the customer. With a grin aimed down at Keelia, I turned around and walked out of the store. We saddled up on my bike and departed, feeling much better than when we arrived.
On the way back from the grocery store, we made a couple more additional quick stops. The first place that we went was the registrar’s office on the campus of Goldenrod University. It was still early enough in the semester for me to drop out of my classes (one of which was meeting at the time) and still be refunded the money that I paid for them. Without hesitation, I withdrew from all of them despite the odd looks I was getting from the employees. After all, it wasn’t every day that a student with a clean record came and just dropped out of all their classes. I do not blame them, but I never regretted it. This intense feeling of freedom came over me as I walked back out to my bike with tuition check in hand. I had no responsibilities to really speak of; I had essentially quit my job and dropped out of my classes. I thought about how I was, by all standards, a delinquent, but I was not going to let that define me or bring me down in any way.
Another short bike ride later and we were at the bank. I deposited some of the tuition refund check and cashed the rest for the imminent journey. With that done, Keelia and I headed back to the apartment complex. I became more and more nervous about having to tell my dad that I was resolutely leaving this season in my life. There really was no turning back, not that I would have if I could. I had to help Keelia, I just had to. Something more than just a desire to get away from the life I was living influenced my decision. Again I was subject to this feeling that I did not understand, but I did know that I should trust it. I have said it before, but I’ll say it again. I am weird.
When we arrived at the apartment complex, I took a route that I normally would not take once I entered the gates. Instead of heading to my block, I went over to the landlord’s office to let him know what was happening. I had forgotten when exactly my lease would expire, but he reminded me that it was going out in three weeks. That was convenient, I would not have to pay for an apartment I was not using. With that in line, we headed over to my apartment, much to Key’s delight. She was practically bouncing off the walls as I sorted through my clothes, camping gear, food, and other supplies in preparation for departing. I had a field day telling a few stories to Key about past camping experiences and explaining what each piece of camping equipment was for. It took a good while to throw everything together, but by the early afternoon I had finished packing. Keelia stood atop my fully loaded backpack with tail wagging and eyes shining.
“When are we leaving, Will?” She asked several variations of this question as I paced back and forth, making sure I had everything in order. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that I was indeed ready.
“Soon Key,” I muttered with a weak smile. “I still have to call my dad and tell him everything. I can’t help but to feel nervous about it.”
“It’ll be okay, just tell him how cute I am!” Key joked. It was enough to lighten up my mood, as I pulled out my cellphone and dialed my dad. There was only one ring before he answered.
“Hello, Will!” came his voice over the phone.
“Hey dad,” I said in a less than enthusiastic tone.
“What’s up? How was your first week of winter classes down there?”
“Well that’s great, how is work?”
“Hey, what’s wrong Will? You sound out of it,” he said with concern. He knew me well, and could tell that something was stressing me even over the phone.
“I really need to tell you something dad, and I want you to understand that I am sorry if it bothers you,” I practically whispered.
“Tell me anything, son. What is going on?” he said in a more concerned voice than before. I sighed.
“I’m leaving college, and I’m leaving everything else I am doing here in Goldenrod. I have found something…much more worth my time and effort,” I stated with nervous finality.
“Leaving Goldenrod? Why? What is worth more to you?” he said loudly, surprise evident in his digitized voice. I went on to tell him how I meet Keelia, what happened to her, and my reasons for not wanting to stay. After I had finished, there was a long silence on the line.
“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree I suppose, right?” he said with a laugh. I did not expect this sort of reaction, and I was delighted that he took such a light stance on it.
“Heh, yeah I guess it’s true what they say. To your credit, your reason for leaving was actually somewhat normal! Going to take on the league and train your Pokémon friends hard, that was the dream, right?” I said lightheartedly, reflecting the good vibes I was getting back at him.
“Yeah, you know it, son. It is okay, some part of me kind of expected that you would make this phone call sooner or later. Heh, adventure is in your blood after all.”
“So my lease here expires in a couple of weeks, and I’m leaving today so I-”
“Don’t worry about it Will,” he interrupted, “I’ll bring the ol’ rustbucket down there to your apartment and get your stuff out and bring it back up here to Olivine.”
“Thanks dad, that really means a lot to me. I wish I could help but I really ne-”
“It is no problem,” he interrupted again, “I’ll take care of it,” he said in that dismissive father sort of way. “I know how you two must feel, and I understand.”
“Thank you dad, I really can’t begin to thank you enough fo-” I was interrupted again, but this time by Keelia, who said “Thank you!”
“Was that this Keelia I’ve heard so much about? What did she say?” my father laughed.
“She said ‘Thank you’ as well”
“Well, it is no problem!” There was a pause, which was punctuated by a long sigh from my father. “I want you to promise me something though, Will,” he spoke in a much more serious manner. I figured that there had to be some sort of kicker. “These kind of people that would do such a thing to a family of wild Pokémon…they are not the kind of people you want to cross. I don’t know who it is or what they are doing, but it is best to leave them to the authorities. Please promise me that Will.” It was then my turn to be surprised by the sudden change of conversation, but I obliged. Although I should probably note that I was still harboring that intense hatred for whoever that man in grey was.
“Yes sir, I promise,” I said seriously.
“Thank you Will,” he sighed. “Well then, what are you waiting for? Get out there with your new friend and start your search for Vui! I’ll do anything I can from up here! Best of Luck!”
“Thanks, I’m really, really happy that you are okay with this.”
“Mhm, it is no problem, just be safe for me! Bye then, love you!”
“Love you too, bye!” I had hardly gotten a breath out after hanging up when Key started off toward the door. I strapped on my backpack, did a quick pocket check, and then stepped out of the door with Keelia treading beside me. We walked out into the cool afternoon sun and headed toward the woods with the city and the apartments behind us. I did not look back. I did not want to.
Chapter End Notes:
So begins a new chapter in the lives of Will and Keelia. Anyway, there you go, please review and rate and let me know what I can do better! Thanks!
Oh! Thanks Spicktin for the edits!