AGNPH Stories

Luca - 1st Edition by Felix


Story Notes:

This is the first posted edition of my story Luca.
Luca is a special riolu who is given to the trainer Felix. Meant for each other, the two endeavor to make the best of their lives together. However, what is life without trials to make bonds grow stronger?

A New Life, An Old Time

As I exited the time portal nausea hit me like a ton of bricks. Even though Lekan and the female Lucario walking made it through unphased; I had to fall to my knees and cover my mouth to keep from vomiting, Even though I hadn’t had anything to eat in a day… I had always had a rather weak resistance to motion sickness and that’s what this felt like. Thankfully, it passed quickly and I rose to my feet to follow the Lucario, though I still couldn’t believe anybody could do that so often… or would want to.

“Sorry…” I apologized, more to Lekan than Aria.

“It’s ok Felix. I understand how you feel.” Lekan offered kindly before the two started moving. I followed as I was supposed to, but I couldn’t help but marvel at the village as we walked. There were Lucario EVERYWHERE, and Riolu playing in the streets with human kids. It was absolutely amazing, and after having grown so attached to the species through Luca, it was almost like a dream come true…

As we walked many people, Lucario and human alike gave us curious looks. It didn’t take long before the onlookers realized Ky was dead, and I noticed one Lucario female put a paw to her mouth in shock and dismay. Whispers started to circulate and even the kids stopped to look at us. Though the children didn’t seem to understand what was wrong most still stayed to the side of the road to watch. However, one little Riolu came up and tugged at my pant leg. I stopped at the tug and turned to find a small riolu who asked me something, but I couldn’t understand. Thankfully a human girl who couldn’t have been more than 5 came up to translate.

“She asked ‘Are you Miss Luca’s partner?’.” The girl said and the pup blinked at the girl curiously before realizing I couldn’t understand the Lucario tongue.

“Yes, I am. Did you meet her when she came to visit?” I replied and knelt down to eye level with her. The pup enthusiastically replied with a wide smile on her face, but once again I had to rely on the girl for translation.

“She says, ‘Yeah! Miss Luca was really nice even though she was sad. We told her we knew you cared about her.’.” The girl said.

I could hardly believe what I was hearing. This Riolu had helped send Luca back to me? If so then I truly owed her a great debt…

“You did? Well then I should thank you both for taking such good care of her.” I answered with a happy smile and reached out to lay a hand on the pup’s head, petting her gently as I had once Luca when she was that small.

“You’re welcome!” The girl happily translated one last time as the Riolu girl spoke again. Both kids had the biggest grins on their faces, and I smiled at the girl and thanked her for her help as well before they ran off. Lekan and Aria had stopped to wait for me. Lekan wore a smile at my kindness, but said nothing as I stood and rejoined them.

After my encounter with the youngster, we continued on towards some kind of temple. I became fascinated with the ornately carved obelisks lining the road leading to the entrance. I knew before I left I wanted to have a closer look; hopefully to learn something more about this culture.

Sadly, I knew I wasn’t here for recreation… Lekan and Ky had done something seriously wrong, and though I didn’t understand the laws of this place I found I was becoming rather scared to be a part of this.

The temple was rather poorly lit on the inside but my eyes quickly adjusted. We entered a beautifully painted entryway that split into hallways. I didn’t know it but we continued straight on the path that Luca had walked before, eventually coming to a large room with a chair elevated by a short platform. Several Lucario and humans, presumably partners since they were more or less in pairs, stood in an arc from either side of the platform. All wore very solemn looks on their faces. Arai took a stance beside me while Lekan lay Ky’s body down on a stretcher that someone had lain out in anticipation of our arrival.

“Felix, I suppose I should welcome you back to the world of the living.” An old looking Lucario said as I was looking around. I noticed he was one of the few without a human counterpart standing beside him. He also seemed to be the leader since he was sitting in the lone chair.

“And Lekan… I think I can safely say we all knew what you were thinking, but we do not approve of your actions.” The seemingly elder Lucario said in a stern voice to my father in law.

“I understand Master Brennus. I offer no excuse.” Lekan answered and knelt to bow his head before the assembly.

“There is no excuse, and sadly there must be retribution…” The elder continued after Lekan’s admission.

“Loosing his partner and all he entailed isn’t enough Brennus?” One of the humans asked, and the Lucario in front of the human seemed to agree. She too looked to the elder Lucario, who I had now figured out was named Brennus.

“No, of course it isn’t!” Another Lucario barked back.

“And what else do you suggest!? Death!?” The female Lucario paired with the human retorted.

“Come now you two, let’s not start this again. The matter has already been decided.” Brennus said to calm the quarrel, and the two quieted along with everyone else as they focused their gazes back to Lekan and I. “Lekan… We know you did not intend for Ky to take such a role in your efforts, for this we will go easy on you. However you have violated our laws and our trust. You will no longer be allowed to leave this time and you have forfeited any position you once held. Ruki will still be allowed to perform her duties but we will no longer call upon you. However… both you, and your partner’s positions must be filled. Therefore…” Brennus spoke with authority and paused as he looked over at me. “Felix, you and Luca will take their place.” He finished.

“Master no, They have a family! You can’t tear them from history like this!” Lekan protested suddenly.

“Be still Lekan! They will be given time to prepare, but the decision is made.” Brennus answered firmly but without being roused. “Do you understand Felix?” The elder finished as he once again shifted his gaze to me.

“I do, Master Brennus.” I answered as I tried to keep calm. Though I didn’t know what the position entirely entailed it honestly didn’t sound so bad...

“Good. Now, would you be so kind, Felix, as to help Lekan take care of Ky?” Brennus finished.

“Of course.” I answered simply and waited for Lekan before I followed. Lekan, still appeared frustrated but did nothing to go against his peers. Instead he clenched his paws and let out a growling sigh as he relaxed. He then turned towards me with an apologetic look in his eyes before moving to Ky’s stretcher. I followed quickly, taking the opposite end at Ky’s feet. Aria remained with the council as Lekan and I left; Lekan leading the way.

“I’m sorry Felix… I never intended this.” Lekan said softly as we walked out of the temple and down the path between the rows of pillars.

“Lekan, I understand. Please, don’t worry. I’m not upset and I doubt Luca will be either.” I answered calmly and caringly.

“No, you don’t understand… ” He continued solmnly, obviously feeling horrible about “his” punishment.

“Now’s not the time though... Where are we heading?” I asked calmly as we walked, trying not to let the man who gave me his very life be forgotten.

“We have a graveyard much like in your time…” Lekan replied forlorn and turned to the left at an intersection, the graveyard not too far ahead. It was a modest plot with more occupants than I thought such a village would have.

“Lekan I can’t tell you how sorry I am… I didn’t mean for you… or Ky to do this.” I said as we reached the edge of the graveyard, as I was suddenly hit with grief for Ky.

“I know you didn’t, and there’s no reason to be sorry. Ky and I knew what we were doing. Or… at least I thought I did. I didn’t think they’d pull you from your time.” He replied and led me to a site where we could bury Ky.

“Shouldn’t we… contact his family? Wouldn’t they want to see him one last time?” I asked as Lekan and I set the stretcher down beside the site where we would dig his grave.

“Ky was a strange case.” Lekan began solemnly as he turned to look over his partner once again. “He has no family left... He was an orphan in his own time and was brought here and introduced to me when I was just a pup. The council has an uncanny ability to know who is destined to be with who. Ky was young when he was orphaned, and wouldn’t have lived very long on his own. So the council brought him here, knowing he was destined to be my partner.” Lekan explained and met my gaze as he paused. “Just about the opposite of you and Luca I suppose. So in short… I was the only family he had.” He finished and knelt to try and plan how to dig.

As I knelt down next to him, the Lucario turned his hand over and started outlining a long rectangle by dragging a softly glowing wrist spike through the grass. I got the idea and started trying to pry up the sod in an attempt to help. I had the right idea apparently since Lekan continued and started doing the same, but using his spikes to do the job. Once we had the sod up Lekan silently told me to stand back with a paw placed gently on my chest. I took the hint and stepped back.

Like a true canine, Lekan bent over and started digging with his front paws, but at such an impressive rate I could only guess he was actually using the move dig. In just a few short minutes there was a perfect grave in front of us, straight sides and about 5 or 6 feet deep. As he threw the last pawful of dirt out of the hole he stood up, his ear tips coming just barely to the top of the hole. I offered a hand to him but he refused and looked over at the side where Ky lay close by. I got the message and moved to scoop up the human in my arms. Carefully and a bit awkwardly I brought him over to the edge of the grave, and handed him to Lekan. Lekan struggled a little as well but managed to lay his partner gently on the bottom of the hole. I watched as the Lucario took his time, placing Ky’s feet together and folding his arms in a such a way that the backs of his hands were together over his chest. I could only guess the gesture had some significance to this culture. Finally, Lekan positioned Ky’s head gingerly and looked at his face one last time.

“I’ll miss you, old friend… I can’t thank you enough for sparing me. I love you dearly Ky. Rest in peace, my partner.” He said softly, caressing Ky’s face gently then rising to his feet and looking up to me. I offered my hand once again and pulled him up out of the hole with a heave. At a casual speed the two of us started grabbing handfuls of dirt and spreading it evenly over Ky’s form.

“Thank you Ky… For Luca, for my life… for everything.” I said as my last respects before we covered his face, then sadly kept filling in the hole. Soon enough we had the grave filled and mounded the extra dirt on top. The last thing to do was to mark the grave. Lekan had it covered as he stepped up to a nearby tree and looked up at a dead branch high above. With an aura sphere Lekan severed the branch and leapt to catch it before it shattered on the ground. He landed gracefully but set the unwieldy limb down a little roughly. The wood still broke with the force but didn’t scatter over the nearby graves. Lekan picked a large and long straight piece to use as a marker, and with a metal claw attack carved one end into a rather impressively sharp point. He then took the piece of wood and thrust it into the ground at the top of Ky’s grave. Patiently Lekan used a glowing wrist spike to carve a symbol into the log.

“His name?” I asked softly as I stood by, watching Lekan work. Though when he finished the symbol he shook his head and stood.

“No. It means friend.” He replied as he turned towards me sadly but with resolution. “Thank you for helping me. You didn’t have to.” He continued, seeming to have begun accepting everything as it was.

“It’s no trouble Lekan. Thank you for letting me assist you, and for everything else you’ve given me.” I said as I extended a hand to the Lucario.

“Come. There’s someone else you should meet before you leave.” He said with a bit of a cheerful tone in his voice as he shook my hand firmly.

“Sh-shouldn’t I go back to my time?” I asked, wondering why he didn’t want to send me back as soon as possible to keep the others from worrying.

“We’ll get you back soon enough.” He answered and walked past me to start towards the town again. Of course he had his own reasons for the detour, his mate deserved to know he was still among the living. “I know it’s not much, but this is my home.” Lekan said as we moved to enter one of the many huts in the village. He politely held the cloth door to the side and gestured for me to enter first. I accepted the offer and ducked under to enter the ancient home.

It was rather quaint inside, and though it wasn’t quite to my liking, it was decorated like the old medieval movies shown in my time. Most of the furniture was wooden, carved by hand, I assumed. The apparent craftsmanship helped encourage one to believe it wouldn’t fall apart though. There also appeared to be a bed in the main living space, with straw as a mattress and a sheet the looked meticulously hand woven. For all I knew though it could have been a couch… The walls were relatively undecorated, but it fit the small home quite well, making the area seem larger than it was.

Not long after I stepped through the door I noticed movement to my right. Looking to see what it was I watched as a female Lucario moved through another cloth door. I was amazed by what I saw, though I suppose I really shouldn’t have been. This Lucario was virtually a spitting image of my Luca! The only differences were that she looked a few years older, and wore a rather interesting necklace.

As she lifted her gaze to rest on me though, it became obvious she was expecting someone entirely different. She blinked with a confused look before noticing Lekan enter behind me.

“Lekan…!?” The female said breathlessly before she bolted to hug him. I quickly moved out of the way of the blue blur, but I had to smile at how they looked together as they embraced. I silently wondered if Luca and I looked the same as I watched. “I thought I’d lost you! What happened!?” She continued after kissing him firmly on the muzzle, completely oblivious to my presence for the moment.

“Ky spared me.” Was all he replied in a calm tone as he embraced his mate, and returned her loving kiss.

“Oh hun… I’m so sorry.” She continued as her eyes softened in remorse, but soon hugged him tighter while nuzzling to his chest for a moment; as if to make sure he was indeed real.

“It’s ok. It’s what he intended from the start, and we have him to thank for bringing Felix back.” Lekan replied calmly, hiding the hurt I assumed must be striking his heart, but sharing in the relief that they still had each other. As he finished speaking though he laid a paw on his mate’s shoulder to turn her and introduce her to me. With Lekan’s suggestion the female turned with one last sigh of relief to look in my direction.

“Hello.” I said as she seemed to appraise me for a split second, then gave a slight, seemingly unimpressed smirk as she folded her arms across her chest.

“So you’re Felix hmm? The one who’s already fathered a son with my little girl?” She said accusingly.

“W-well… I…” I stuttered as I blushed deeply at the remark, not knowing how to reply... or if she was joking since she seemed wholly serious. However, Lekan came to my aid and nudged her in the back as he gave her a scolding smile of his own, subtly telling her to go easy on me.

“Oh you’re no fun.” She said to him as she gave him a playful sneer then turned back to me. “You're easier to mess with than I expected.” She said as she smiled up at me, took a step closer and unfolded her arms. “I'm Ruki, Luca's mother.” She added and offered a paw to me for a handshake.

"Never would have guessed..." I muttered softly with a smiling sigh as I calmed down and took her paw, but as I did she yanked me to closer and hugged me tightly. I looked to Lekan a little nervously as I was embraced. Though he only smiled back, so I put my arms around my mother in law and hugged her back.

“Mmmm… I see why Luca loves you.” She moaned teasingly, referring to the caring and affectionate side I was currently showing.

“E-excuse me…?” I said with my shy voice returning as I moved my shoulders to pull her from me a little; only to notice then she was half nuzzling to my chest, which brought my light blush back as well.

“Oh relax hun. You’re family, so you better get used to me.” She teased again and released me to take a step back to Lekan’s side where he put an arm about her waist.

“I suppose I will.” I said as I shook my head and smiled once again. She simply giggled lightly then seemed to calm down and take on a more serious tone. Though she was still very friendly as she spoke; “So what did the council decide?” She asked, first looking at me then to Lekan, directing the question at both of us.

“He and Luca are to take mine and Ky’s place…” Lekan explained simply though that was really all that needed said. Ruki’s expression was one of disbelief as she looked to me to see if it was true, of course she knew what something like that truly meant, even though I didn’t.

“There’s no alternative…? They won’t let them live their own lives?” She asked Lekan after a nod from me confirmed the judgment.

“No. They said he would draw attention if he were allowed to stay. Our kind would be hunted if his revival were revealed.” Lekan explained sadly to his mate.

“It’s alright Lekan. I don’t mind. As long as I have my family and friends...” I said but trailed off as that the two lucario’s expressions turned to remorse.

“Felix… hun. You and Luca would have to live here. The others… except for maybe Leo, have to stay in your time.” Ruki took the chance to explain, rather than make it any harder on Lekan. Even before she finished I came to that same realization from their reaction... that I’d have to literally give up everything to be with Luca. My parents, my sister, Umbreon, Tarzan, Lisa, the pups, even… Lady.

“I’d never be allowed to go back… would I…?” I asked as the full brunt of the blow hit me. Ruki remained where she was, but looked up at me sadly, as if she felt my pain herself.

“It’s doubtful… I’m sorry.” She softly replied.

“So be it then…” I answered after a deep breath and a sad sigh. It hurt, but I had to. I wouldn’t let them take Luca from me, or me from her… not even if it meant I’d never seeing Lady or anyone else I knew ever again…

“I’m truly sorry Felix. I never meant for this to happen…” Lekan said solemnly as he met my gaze. This had been what he was trying to tell me earlier.

“Don’t apologize Lekan. It’s not your fault. This is just how things have to be. I’m just happy to be alive again and to have Luca back.” I replied and gave him a small smile for reassurance. I didn’t know what I was going to tell my family when I was sent home… nor did I know how I would break the news to Lady. Still… Being alive to have a family of my own, to be with Luca till we grow old… That at the very least, was comforting to think of.

After the talk about my fate, and a few random questions about Leo from Ruki… the two lucario agreed it was time for me to briefly return home. In order to do so, however, we had to return to the temple to open a portal. After seeing her mate alive and well, Ruki didn’t want to leave Lekan’s side so soon. So she eventually decided to accompany us on our walk.

As we neared the temple I once again found myself in awe of the ornate decor. I wanted to study the symbols and drawings, to know what they said and showed, but I knew now wasn’t the time. Plus… it wasn’t like I wouldn’t have plenty of time to study them later… As before, we headed straight down the central corridor to the room where I had met the council, though this time there was only one occupant. The elder Lucario, I’d heard referred to as Master Brennus.

“Are you ready to return, Felix?” The Lucario asked with a casual tone, not looking up from his meditation as he sat on the small rise on the far side of the room.

“Yes but… I have a few questions.” I answered, after stopping with Lekan and Ruki. As I spoke Brennus lifted his head and opened his eyes to look at me before standing up to descend from his platform. His attitude seemed relaxed and trusting as he approached the three of us, looking to Lekan for a moment before standing in front of me and meeting my gaze with a patient look. “Would I really have to abandon all those I know in my time?” I asked, sensing he was waiting for my question.

“Sadly, yes. If you were to remain in your time your resurrection would draw too much attention. You, Luca and everyone you cared about would be in constant danger of those seeking to learn how you were brought back. Furthermore, if it were ever discovered that Lucario were capable of such power… our race would be hunted.” He answered in a solemn tone, but with a steady composed gaze.

“I see…” I simply replied, wondering now if my parents would even be allowed to know I was still alive, and if I’d be able to say goodbye to anyone…

“They will have to live out their own lives. Things must continue as if you had not been revived. They have their own destinies to fulfill.” He answered calmly, as if it were nothing, which was beginning to frustrate me. He simply expected me to forget about everyone!? How could he be so calm about asking this of me!? I had to see if there were some other way, maybe Luca and I could assume new identities or something, but before I could ask, Brennus cut me off. “However…” He said as he tilted his head, as if thinking hard on something. Though it was quite obvious he already knew what he was going to say, and found it rather amusing. “Once you and Luca learn how to manipulate time… Who’s to say you can’t “travel” when you’re not needed?” He finished and gave me a sly smirk as he looked at me through the corners of his eyes.

“W-what do you mean…?” I stuttered, confused as to what exactly he was saying. It sounded like I could go back to my time whenever I wanted, though I knew that couldn’t be the case.

“Once you and Luca have been trained in our ways you will be allowed to travel through time. There are rules… but I see no reason why you cannot visit your family and companions from time to time.” He answered, focusing his attention on me after his façade, and speaking now in a much more cheerful tone. I had forgotten they were there, but both Lekan and Ruki were relieved and smiling at Brennus’ lenience.

“You’re being serious, right…? I know those visits wouldn’t be allowed to be for very long but your… this society, allows such a thing? What about altering future events?” I questioned in disbelief, thinking he was only trying to make me feel better for the moment.

“I am serious, it is allowed in special cases. And… altering futures is a part of what we do. Relax Felix! You have my word on this. We have always intended to invite you and Luca to live here, when you were ready, but with how your lives unfolded… it became an inevitable result. I’m sorry this had to happen when you both were still so young, but the council has agreed to certain… leeway’s, I believe is the right word; to make it easier on you and your mate. And trust me… it wasn’t easy convincing a select few of the lucario to agree. I wouldn’t joke if it weren’t true.” Brennus answered kindly and confidently, laughing a little at the end. He was smiling back at me, seeming proud of himself for having swayed the more rigid council members.

“Thank you…” Was all I could reply, as the weight of the world was lifted from my shoulders. With a soft sigh I smiled back at the graying lucario before me.

“There is one catch though…” He said suddenly after seeing my relief, but I was beginning to suspect all Lucario, not just Luca and Ruki, had a playful side to them. “They said I had to be your teacher.” He finished in a grumbling tone that suggested it would be an irritation to have Luca and I as his pupils.

“Well for what it’s worth. I’m sure you’ll be a great instructor.” I answered with small grin. Brennus chuckled at my remark and was content to let things drop there for now; though I suspected he would have kept messing with me if it were different circumstances.

“Are you ready to return to your home and family for now?” He then asked, calmly and in all seriousness.

“Of course I am.” I replied. With that Brennus extended a paw behind him and, without effort, opened one of the portals I was becoming accustomed to seeing. However, I had to wonder how he could do such a thing without assistance.

“Lekan, Ruki, you may go with him if you wish, but Aria and Osa will accompany you to provide a way back.” The graying Lucario said calmly, as a hidden human and lucario stepped out of a shadowed corner of the room at the mention of their names. The human was quite young, and a bit short, being only about 5 feet tall. However, it was clear by the way she walked, this human was wise beyond her apparent years as well as mentally mature for her age. Although… there was something in her eyes that belied the confidence she seemed to hold at the moment. Aria, however, was still as confident and proud as the first time I met her, but she did seem much less irritated by Lekan and I. “Aria and Osa will bring you, Luca, and if you wish, Leo, back in three days. Unfortunately that’s all the time I can give but I’m sure you will use it wisely.” Brennus finished as he stepped aside to allow me access to the portal.

“Thank you Master Brennus. I’ll see you again soon.” I replied, remembering how Lekan had addressed the Lucario at the ‘trial’ and now paying him the same respect.

“It’s no trouble.” Brennus replied cheerfully, and with that, the five of us entered the portal one by one.

Unfortunately, one trip through time isn’t enough to acclimate someone to its rigors… So once again I fell to my hands and knees on the forest floor as I tried not to get sick. With a long groan I managed to stand on somewhat weak legs to wait for the others. Soon after, Lekan appeared, followed by Ruki, Aria, and Osa. It was only then, after the portal cracked closed and we were out of Brennus’ presence, that everyone relaxed and became more themselves. Aria looked up at Lekan then averted her gaze somewhat shamefully, yet still with a proud attitude that seemed to be preventing her from apologizing. I could only assume she realized now what she said in the heat of her chase and ‘arrest’ and regretted it. Ruki however seemed to be enjoying the scenery and took a deep breath as she looked into town through the thin strip of forest hiding us from the public eye. I still didn’t understand the physics of time travel, but somehow Brennus had landed us right outside the town where we had left.

“You’re a strong person Felix…” I suddenly heard a soft, nervous, yet serene voice say as I gave a small sigh to clear my head and calm my stomach. Of course it was Osa, but I hadn’t expected to find her to be a nervous and soft spoken person, especially with who her lucario partner was… “I wouldn’t be able to do what you have to.” She continued, once she had my attention.

“No I’m not. It just has to be this way is all.” I replied as I looked back and gave her a small smile of appreciation for the compliment.

“Mhmm… I hope everything works out for you though, and I’m sorry if Aria was… a little overzealous in bringing you to our time.” She said with a nod of agreement at my words, and as she finished she looked towards her partner. Aria, upon hearing her name and Osa’s apology looked back at me with a bit of a glare; as if saying she wasn’t sorry in the least for doing her job. Though there was an almost imperceptible look in her eye that said she was regretful for being so harsh in doing it.

“There’s no need to apologize. I understand.” I answered quickly, so I didn’t end up decked by the proud lucario despite what I had seen.

“Just go to your family. We will find you when your time’s up. Even if you run…” Aria growled back, but I paid it no mind and thanked both Aria and Osa before heading out towards the pokemon center with Lekan and Ruki in tow.

Along the way it was rather hard to keep Ruki walking… Apparently she had never been to another time, let alone a modern town, and she was in absolute awe over the buildings, their construction, the manicured lawns, the signs, the people, the stores… And yet again I saw where Luca got some of her personality; as a Riolu, Luca had been just as curious, but such things had become commonplace for her long ago. Despite Ruki’s questioning and window shopping, and not always at actual shops…, we soon came to the pokemon center doors, where a familiar car was parked out front of the building, my family’s only motored vehicle, a dark green, midsized SUV. It was empty, which I took to mean my mother and father were already inside wondering just where their “dead” son had gotten up and walked off to.

At the thought of their confusion I smiled, but had to take a deep breath to calm my nerves, knowing my mother would most likely be hysterical when she saw me. Which… she was. For when I opened the door I found myself wrapped in my mother’s arms as she sobbed tears of joy. She had been talking to Luca and Lady as the two tried to explain what had happened, while Leo translated as fast and accurately as he could.

When I opened the door however, My presence caught Luca’s attention and got her to look in my direction, which in turn let everyone else know I was there. Even my sister and Latias were there and quickly came running over after mom, with dad and everyone else as well. Simply happy to see everyone again after a while of traveling; I smiled wider as I wrapped my arms around my mother. Of course mom eventually let me go to let dad, Ashley, Luca, Leo, Lady, Jem, Lisa, and Latias… give me their own hugs and express their concern.

While it was nice to see everyone cared so much about me, Leo’s delight in seeing me alive again was more of a pleasure to me than anyone else, save maybe Luca when I first awoke. My “teenage” Lucario son was the second to welcome me. He squeezed me tightly and nuzzled his head to me as his tail wagged uncontrollably, something I rarely saw from him. As with everyone else, though this time entirely unable to resist, I put my arms about him and gave him a tight Ursaring hug, sighing happily at just being able to hold my boy. After Leo and I had had our moment, Latias purred as she floated next to us. She wanted her turn but I also got the feeling she was jealous Leo wasn’t hugging her. I simply smiled as I pet her softly before bringing her into our hug. As Leo and I each put an arm around her she giggled happily and nuzzled us both with a gleeful chirp.

Ruki and Lekan both stood back and watched patiently, but the grandmother lucario soon focused on Leo and smiled in what I could only assume was pride. Needless to say it was a touching reunion, and after all the sentiments my parents insisted we head home with them. I didn’t know quite how I was going to break it to everyone that Luca and I couldn’t stay, but I figured I had some time. So a trip home wasn’t out of the question.

As we got ready to leave, my family finally took their focus off me and realized there were two other lucario accompanying me. Luca had noticed her parents as well and while letting me get smothered she had gone over to hug her father. Now that everyone was looking though, I felt I should introduce them.

“These are Luca’s parents, Lekan, and Ruki.” I said simply, mainly to my own mom and dad.

“Nice to meet you. You have a very fine daughter.” My mom commented cheerfully, getting Luca to blush softly, and Ruki to grin.

“It’s nice to finally meet you as well.” Lekan replied courteously, and bowed his head softly in tandem with Ruki.

“You’re welcome to come home with us if you need a place to stay.” Dad offered next, though I was starting to wonder how we would all squish into the car… let alone for an hour’s drive.

“Thank you, we would appreciate that.” Ruki answered this time, and as we all started talking amongst ourselves all but Lekan headed out to the SUV and pilled in. I saw the lucario move towards the resident nurse joy and exchange words. Joy nodded and answered back when he finished speaking, and with that Lekan left her. I simply figured he was asking her to keep quiet about my being alive again, though she seemed oddly compliant.

When we got to the car Mom and dad got up front as the rest of us tried to stuff into the back. Meanwhile, Latias stopped Leo before he got to the car and offered to let him ride her. Our son looked to Luca and I just as we realized he’d stopped following.

“Go ahead.” Luca said with a smile, to which Leo thanked us quickly and hopped on Latias’ back. Lisa, Lady and Jem were herded into the small open space behind the third row of seats where they laid down together, though Lisa seemed a little uncomfortable at being in such close proximity to the others. Ashley showed Lekan and Ruki how to climb into the third seat in order to give Luca and I the second seat alone and before we knew it we were heading off down the road.

Thankfully mom didn’t pry me for too much information on the way back, or I would have ended up getting a rather painful headache from carsickness. However, being unaccustomed to riding in a vehicle, Ruki and Lekan seemed to be rather nauseous after ten minutes of riding. I opened the window to give them a little fresh air but also asked dad to stop for a while at about the halfway mark.

Thanks to the stop everyone made it home without getting sick, and though Ruki seemed the worst of everyone when we finally made it home. However she quickly recovered once her paws were back on the ground.

It was a madhouse of people as we piled into the house that had originally sheltered only four humans. With the addition of Whiskers and Lady as Ashley’s and my first pokemon our home was still quite cozy. But now… with my family, Luca’s family, Ashley’s and my entire pokemon teams, and Lady’s pups… it was hard to move around without stepping on someone.

Kail met us at the door, having stayed home to make sure no one got in trouble. He was stunned when he saw more lucario than Luca and Leo come out of the car, but the biggest shock was seeing me walking around. With his caretaker burden lifted he came over to me to both make sure I was real and to express his relief when he was convinced I wasn’t a ghost.

Of course the eevee sisters were overjoyed to see their mother and brother again, though they tackled Jem first as Umbreon, shyly but lovingly greeted his mate with licks and nuzzles. Adi seemed a little hesitant to follow the girls into the melee with everyone milling about. He was turning out to be as sensible as Jem and didn’t want to get trampled, but after all the hello’s and welcome back’s were said and done, he and the siblings went off to play, with the sisters gleefully leading the way while harmlessly tormenting the boys.

Elli seemed to still be avoiding everyone, feeling a little distant from all of us after everything that had happened, but she did show herself for a short while before following the pups to watch them while everyone conversed.

Latias landed with Leo shortly after we had all settled in the living room. We all assumed the two of them would take their time anyway, so it was no big deal when they too joined the extended family in the middle of Luca and my recount of recent events; Albeit in a little less detail, lest we scare the hell out of my mother...

Ashley and my parents listened intently as Luca and I took turns explaining. When it came to the part where I gave my life to save Luca, she took over, explaining her strange surge of energy, and the final fight with Darkrai. She did mention however, that she somehow felt different after the incident and even now, though she knew not why, or how to even explain it. I caught a small glance she aimed at me, as if the feeling had something more to do with me than she was letting on, but I let her drop the subject so she could continue. Ruki and Lekan seemed to know what their daughter was talking about, and though they remained silent they shared a brief solemn glance.

As it turns out, when Luca had called my family to report my passing, Dad had been working on the car, changing the oil, etc. He had come in to say hi on the phone where he found mother distraught at the news. After hanging up the phone with Luca and Leo he had hurried to finish and get the car running, which was apparently why Lekan was in no big hurry to return me to my time, he had known of my parents delay…

Eventually our tale ended, happily, with both of us alive, but also tragically as we mentioned that the man who had brought Luca to us all those years ago had given his own life to spare Lekan and save me. Mother didn’t understand the revival process, but none the less was thankful that she had her son back, and that I still had the woman I loved.

Finally, I had to tell my family that Luca and I had to leave them. So I gathered what courage I could by looking over to Luca, with the comfort of knowing I would have her by my side no matter what happened…

“What!? You just came back and you’re leaving?! Where are you going?” Mom expectedly freaked after I told her we had to leave with Ruki and Lekan in three days. Luca looked at me confused, but she soon pieced together what was going on. And with a look towards her mother and father, she knew there was nothing else we could do.

“Oh come on mom… You’ve always asked me when I was going to “stop living in the attic.” This is it. It’s just… a little further away than I would have liked.” I replied, jokingly at first but knowing it wasn’t the ideal future I had imagined as a kid, where I built a house in the backyard.

“Yeah but I never meant it!” Mom retorted quickly, thankfully trying to ease the burden just a little on me and my mate. She more or less understood I was still trying to settle down and raise a family of my own, which in itself filled her with immense pride. But she had always wanted me to move somewhere close by, so she could visit and be a part of that family.

“Where will you go? You make it sound as though you’re moving to another country.” Dad asked, not seeming worried or upset in the least about the news, but at least showing he cared what became of me and the ones I loved.

“Well… It’s complicated…” I began, but was interrupted as Lekan took the chance to explain.

“He and Luca will be coming back to live with us. The community we’re part of would very much like to have Felix and Luca join us. I can assure you, we will not let any harm come to them, but I’m afraid that’s all we can say.” Lekan answered for me, calmly and certainly.

“Where are you going? Will we still get to see you two and Leo?” Mom asked next after a moment.

“I’m not sure what Leo wants mom, so I can’t say.” I replied and looked over at my son, who by now was greatly confused, but remained still and silent. However, I did notice he seemed to be clinging ever so slightly closer to Latias, who was acting as his pillow, as if he thought he had to leave.

“All I can say is once they have learned our ways they will be allowed their own lives. Though it would be… difficult, to visit. They will be able to.” Lekan answered again trying to pick his words carefully.

“Still… where are you going, and why does it have to be so far away?” Mom persisted, having not gotten a straight answer, which was something that always bothered her when it happened. Lekan simply sighed softly and looked at me before taking another breath and turning back to my parents.

“We live in another time. It’s difficult to explain how we travel, but I assure you it is possible. The reasons we require your son and my daughter to come with us are for their, and your safety… With everything that’s happened it is no longer safe for them to continue in your time. People will ask too many questions of you and perhaps another group such as Darkrai could come after them.” Lekan relented, showing great trust in my family, which, while I was thankful for, I was not entirely sure was a good idea.

“I promise we’ll visit every chance we get, ok?” I took the chance to add and took Luca’s paw in my hand gently. I hoped she understood as well, which I gathered she did when her paw flexed to grip me in return. Despite the obvious skepticism in their eyes my mother and father seemed to believe Lekan’s explanation. After all… was a secret society of time traveling lucario so unbelievable when your son brought his mate back from the dead and was himself revived?

“Alright… So long as you keep that promise.” My mom replied simply with a caring look at me and my mate. Dad simply muttered his agreement, though in his eyes he seemed proud to see I had seemed to grow into a real father and husband.

“What about Lady, dad…? What about everyone else? We’re just going to leave?” Leo finally spoke up in a sad and frantic tone.

“I know it’s hard Leo… but we have to.” I answered, though by we I meant Luca and I, though Leo didn’t interpret it as such. I did however look over at Lady, who had curled up with Umbreon on the opposite side of the living room. She had her head down but her eyes were locked on me with a sad look. I knew she understood that with our lives now rooted in different times, we couldn’t remain together, but that didn’t make it any easier.

“I don’t want to leave! Why do we have to?! It’s not fair! No one knows what happened!” Leo answered back, showing a side of him I rarely saw. Usually he was nothing but respectful and compliant with anything I or his mother did or asked, which was why we trusted him so much to take care of himself and make the right decisions. We knew he would, however, he sometimes did disagree with us, and though it made me proud he was his own person it was one of those things that made being a parent rather difficult...

“Then you don’t have to. You can stay with here if you want to.” I said calmly, since after what I’d heard of his nightmare I was more or less sure he and Latias were more than just childhood friends.

“W-what…?” Leo answered in shock. I couldn’t tell right then how he was taking my offer though. Whether he thought we were simply abandoning him or whether he understood I only meant to let him be with the one he cared about.

“Felix…? We can’t leave him here.” Luca whispered softly to me as she squeezed my hand anxiously, obviously not wanting to leave her only pup behind.

“I don’t want to leave him either hun. But he’s not being forced to come back with us. Plus, I don’t know if he wants to leave Latias.” I answered, turning to her and speaking softer as I held her paw tightly to try and comfort her. My lowered voice did little good to hide my words however since everyone in the room could still hear us over the silence that had flooded the room. Leo started to blush deeply at my mention of Latias, but his eyes also began to tear up. He was incredibly shy about relationships, even with his closest family, which was something he got from me I suppose, but the realization that he now had to choose between his parents or his lover was tearing him apart.

“But…” Luca tried to reply as she looked over at Leo sadly. She still didn’t want to leave him, and neither did I, but somewhere deep down she agreed it should be his choice. He had a life here as well, and the consequences of our actions wasn’t a good enough reason to uproot his heart as well.

“You know he can visit any time he’d like. We would never keep a mother away from her pup.” Lekan offered to his daughter, easing her enough to stop squeezing my hand, but she still seemed sad. Unfortunately the sentiment did very little for Leo as well.

“It’s up to you Leo. You can come with us or stay and we’ll visit as often as we can.” I continued after a brief pause to rub Luca’s paw gently, and despite not wanting to leave our child, my mate tried to be strong, wanting our son to be happy. She and I simply watched Leo, who was still a little shocked, but now more torn in thought. Obviously, he didn’t want to leave us any more than he wanted to leave Latias, and we were forcing the choice on him.

“But… I…” Leo stuttered after a moment, thinking he had to decide on the spot, but thankfully mom saved him from panic.

“When do you have to leave again?” She asked with fake curiosity as a relief to Leo, since she remembered the time frame we had told everyone earlier.

“Three days, then an escort comes to take all of us with them.” I answered, to which mom nodded softly.

“Good. Then you can mow the grass tomorrow.” Dad replied in a ‘matter of fact’ tone, which most people would have a hard time telling if it was a joke or not.

“Real funny…” I grumbled back with a smirk.

“Mow grass?” Ruki couldn’t resist asking, curious as to what it meant.

Ruki’s question started the meaningless explanations, stories, and gossip that occupied the living room for the next few hours. Leo however, only stayed halfway into the mowing explination before he not so subtly hurried upstairs. He tried to wipe his eyes as he went, but in the end he started to break down. As her loving friend got up Latias churred worriedly and raised her head to watch him. As he turned the corner to the stairs though, she saw a tear on his nose and got up to follow. The red and white dragoness slowly flew over to peak around the corner before following her love to see what was wrong. Luca was about to go upstairs when Leo did, but when she saw Latias get up as well she remained by me for a while longer. However, since I still had to translate for her for the time being she mainly only chimed in to explain things to her parents, or simply to add a detail or two, but even then she stayed uncharacteristically quiet.

“I’m going to go check on Leo.” She whispered to me after a while, getting me to look at her as she rose from the couch.

“Ok.” I answered simply, but tugged at her paw slightly as I leaned forward, asking for a kiss. My mate blushed softly due to the audience we had, but didn’t refuse. Instead she smiled lightly and leaned in, giving me a gentle kiss on the lips before slowly releasing my hand and moving to head up the stairs. I watched her go looking at her tone form and sleek, well taken care of fur, and couldn’t help but think once again of how beautiful she was, and how lucky I was to be with her once again.

“Leo…?” I said quietly as I reached the top of the stairs and slowly turned the corner. Down the short hallway I could see my son laying on the futon bed with Latias laying on the floor next to the bed, her head near Leo’s. She gave what would sound like small whimpers and churrs to any human, however, I could hear she was trying to tell Leo everything was ok. That he should go with Felix and me, and visit when he could. Despite having not spent much time around the dragon, I already knew she was very selfless, though she took separations, and the absence of the ones she cared for, very hard.

As I said Leo’s name Latias turned her head to look sadly up at me, worried about her dear friend, who, as I got closer, I realized was crying. He was trying to muffle the noise so as not to seem weak in front of me and Latias but it was a futile and unnecessary endeavor. Since he refused to unbury his head from the pillow though, I sat at the head of the bed and laid a paw gently between his head ornaments. His ears perked at the touch, but they quickly flattened against his head again, as he hugged the pillow tighter and sniffled.

“Honey… It’s ok. You don’t have to decide now, we’ll still be here for a few days.” I said, trying to sound soothing, and trying very hard not to impose my desire for him to come with Felix and I. Latias remained where she was but let me speak to my boy for the moment, while she hoped he would listen more to me.

“But… I don’t know what to do.” Leo said as he lifted his head from the pillow and moved to sit up. Once again he tried not to let me see him cry as he fought the urge to show emotion, something being raised half human had seemed to ingrain in him. He wiped his eyes and sniffled a few more times after he spoke before he looked towards me. His beautiful blue eyes were bloodshot from crying, and his breath came in stifled gasps. He had sat up near the middle of the bed so as to be out of my reach but I quickly fixed that problem by sliding closer, and caringly put an arm about his shoulders.

“You know you can visit, and we’ll come back when we can… And you have Latias here.” I answered him, seeing his predicament. My pup leaned gently into my shoulder with very little encouragement, and I gently began to rub his shoulder as he put his arms around to hug me. Latias had continued to watch from the floor, but lifted her head higher. However, now that I only seemed to be comforting him she decided to join in, and floated up to lay on her belly next to my son with her head craned to his level.

“I don’t want… you and dad to leave… but I… I…” Leo gasped sadly smearing a few fresh tears into my shoulder fur at first, but opening his eyes to look over at Latias with a heartbroken look as he finished. Noticing the look he gave Latias I looked to the dragoness. She still had her own mournful look in her bright yellow eyes, and it was then that I started to piece things together. I realized why Felix seemed to already know Leo would want to stay here... Latias and my son… were lovers.

“You don’t want to leave Latias?” I asked tenderly, pulling him a little tighter to me, though not making it seem like I was pulling him from his girl.

“N-no… I don’t… I… I love her mom…” He answered and shrunk shyly. The insides of his ears flushed red as he became embarrassed at what he’d said, and Latias flashed an embarrassed and worried look of her own. The down on her cheeks turned a soft rose in color, but she quickly looked back to Leo and scooted back a little bit in an attempt to try and hide how far they had gone with each other.

“I see. Then why don’t you stay here hun? We’ll learn quick and visit as much as we can, and like grandpa Lekan said. We’ll always be watching over you.” I answered as I moved my rubbing paw from his shoulder to his upper arm.

“But…!” Leo retorted as he sat up, out of my embrace, to look at me with a scared expression. Though my hand slid from his shoulder, I caught his right paw in both of mine, getting him to freeze and allowing me to continue. He was obviously afraid his dad and I would just leave and forget about him, never to be seen again.

“Honey, it’s ok. I think your dad already knows about Latias, and I understand. We’ll always be with you if you need us. All you have to do is reach out to us.” I finished before he could argue his point, and met his eyes with a soft gaze.

“B-but I can’t do the things you and dad can… How can I… reach you?” He asked as he calmed visibly with my words, but still seemed worried we wouldn’t return.

“You don’t need to be like us sweetie. You’re always in our hearts and minds. No matter where we are, we’ll know you need us and we’ll come running.” I answered and gave him a loving smile as I squeezed his hand. This time on his own effort he slid closer and gently put his arms around me. I returned his embrace and held him tight as he shifted and nuzzled his face just below my neck.

“I love you mom…” I heard him whimper softly, as he broke down once again.

“I love you too honey.” I replied as my eyes became a little misty, and a warm smile crossed my muzzle. I rubbed my son’s back firmly as we sat there for a long moment before Latias shifted, obviously feeling a little left out again. “And Latias…? You better look after my boy.” I offered to her, giving a mockingly intense look to the dragoness. She wasn’t fooled though and perked at my words, giving a small chirp and a nod of her head as she floated closer to join us. Upon hearing my threat though, Leo couldn’t stifle a chuckle. He uncontrollably grinned before nuzzling me once more and letting go slowly to wipe his eyes.

“Everything alright up here?” We suddenly heard Felix’s voice ask from the hallway, and as always he was calm and caring. Felix never once tried to raise Leo as I’d heard humans do with boys, telling them not to cry. Leo though, had inadvertently always wanted to appear strong in front of others, and especially in his father’s eyes. So as Felix entered, Leo rubbed at the wet fur around his eyes a little harder and tried to calm himself further to quell the soft sniffles that still crept up on him every now and again.

“Just trying to tell Leo we’ll always be with him.” I answered my mate as he walked closer and sat down on Leo’s other side. Latias had abandoned her seat as Felix approached and moved around in front of Leo to hover effortlessly.

“You ok?” He asked Leo to which Leo took a deep breath and nodded as he exhaled. “I’m sorry it has to be this way.” Felix offered as I had, putting a strong hand on Leo’s back to rub him gently, but after our talk Leo reacted much differently.

“It’s ok, dad…” Was all my pup said as he looked up at Felix, though his eyes still showed regret.

“Don’t worry, we’ll come back soon. I promise.” Felix finished, knowing there was no point in upsetting Leo again, and that whatever I had said, managed to calm and cheer him significantly. “Till then though… you’ll have to keep Lady and grandma in line.” Felix continued after getting another small nod from Leo, and grinned as he kept Leo’s gaze. My son couldn’t help but snicker, and not one to be left out for long, Latias floated around to my right to settle in and be part of the group. “And be good to Latias too.” Felix added as he saw the dragoness move, which only succeeded in getting Leo to blush profusely as his eyes widened briefly. Felix never faltered or hinted at any disapproval though, and without hesitation he put his hand behind Leo’s head to pull him closer. Felix kissed Leo’s forehead softly before pulling him into a hug. “I’ll miss you.” My mate said in his low caring voice, trying not to show how much all of this was hurting him, but somehow I felt a sharp pain come from Felix’s heart. He was sad, just as heartbroken as I was that we were going to leave our only pup behind. We both were managing to hide it enough from Leo though, so as not to guilt him into coming with us for our sakes. Leo was, after all, nearly fully grown, even a little more mature mentally than when human children are allowed to set off and travel alone, though his age wouldn’t suggest such a thing due to my species rapid growth rate. It rarely crossed my mind but it was sometimes strange to think I was only a little over twice Leo’s age at that moment…

“I’ll miss you too dad…” Leo responded in kind and hugged his father as he had me. This time though, he seemed relieved and happy to know his parents still loved him and weren’t simply abandoning him.

After my small contribution in comforting Leo, I looked up at Luca to see Latias shifting impatiently behind her. The dragoness always hated being left out of anything, or being on the sidelines so to speak. But this was different, she seemed almost nervous in her attention and her cheeks were flushed slightly. My suspicions of Leo and her relationship being more than just friends was pretty much confirmed with Leo’s deep blush at my hint, and Latias confirmed it all the more. The only problem I had was the other conversation I wanted to start with my son and his love. The age old pidgey and combee talk… I just didn’t know how to start…

At the time, I didn’t know how much of my wave guiding abilities I had retained after Luca and I had separated and come back. Only I could understand her at the moment so I knew we still had a ways to go before we were… entirely healed, but at least I had her back, and all the time in the universe to bring us closer. In any case, I remembered how we had once figured out how to speak only to one another using wave speech. With some focus I could communicate only with my mate, and she with me. So I decided to try it once again and ask her if we should start the sensitive topic I’d thought of.

‘Luca…? Can you hear me?’ I tried to send with my thoughts as I focused and tried to feel Luca’s presence. It must have worked because her gaze met mine as she blinked in confusion.

‘I can. I’m surprised you remembered that trick.’ She replied with a smile, though trying not to seem preoccupied at the same time, which would alert the kids to our conversation.

‘I was wondering if we should talk to these two about… sex… a bit more. While we have them here and before we leave…’ I questioned with a bit of embarrassment, having never truly been comfortable discussing the topic. Luca blushed slightly under her blue fur, again at the topic, and from having been raised by me, which meant she was more or less just as shy about it.

‘S-sure, I guess. But what about? You’ve already talked to Leo, and I know Ashley talked to Latias.’ She replied a bit hesitantly, with an embarrassed stutter evident even in telepathy.

‘I know but I still think we should make sure they’re doing it for the right reasons.’ I answered back, which got Luca to give a small nod back, agreeing with my intentions.

“Hey Leo?” I began, trying to sound confident and fatherly despite my own discomfort. At the mention of his name he slowly released me to sit up. He took a deep breath as he straightened and banished the rest of his uncertainty in our departing in the next few days.

“Yeah dad?” He answered after rubbing his eyes one last time, though he had not shed a tear since I had come up.

“Before we go I think the four of us need to talk about something.” I continued with a slight amount of nervousness creeping into my voice as I looked up at Latias, who was now looking straight at me; due to her inclusion in the number of conversationalists. “Have you two mated?” I asked, admittedly a little bluntly.

Latias squeaked shyly as the down on her cheeks quickly flushed a deeper pink, meanwhile Leo’s eyes widened in shock as he gaped at me, utterly speechless. He quickly looked over at his mother in embarrassment, though as he met her gaze his ears lay back in shame.

“It’s ok honey. We won’t be mad if the answer’s yes.” Luca offered soothingly, with a shy smile as she rubbed his back softly.

“Y-yes... We… did.” Leo answered after a tense moment and a hard swallow. His gaze shifted to his paws, which he was now fiddling with in his lap out of embarrassment. Latias didn’t know what to do at the moment, her blush had deepened with Leo’s honesty. She began slowly floating backwards from beside Luca, unconsciously trying to escape the conversation and our attentions.

“It’s ok Latias. Come here.” I offered to the dragoness, who blinked and locked eyes with me for a brief millisecond before shyly looking down. She did as she was told though, and came around to hover a few feet in front of Leo and facing me, though still not looking up at anyone.

“We just want to make sure you two know what you’re doing.” Luca said next, but Leo still seemed mortified, and I couldn’t blame him… If I were in his position I’d have felt the same way.

“It’s ok Leo, really. I know Latias is special to you, and I’m pretty sure she feels the same about you.” I began again, trying to get my son and his partner to relax with a caring look to both of them in turn. “We just don’t want you two hurting each other’s feelings by only wanting sex.” I continued, and paused for a bit, waiting to see if they would respond or ask a question, but when neither did, I continued again. “I know you both know it’s a special thing two close friends share…”

“And we trust you both. Just be careful ok?” Luca chimed in, finishing my thought for me as she realized I was starting to have trouble choosing my words. “Leo? You know when a girl can get pregnant. If you two aren’t ready to be parents, then it’s up to you both to know when to avoid mating.” She finished, focusing a little more on Leo since she knew how it was for a female during those times… As she let Leo think though he seemed to want to ask something, but a swift look to Latias seemed to embarrass him more and make him hesitate.

“You ok?” I asked him calmly, trying to give him the chance to speak up and the confidence to as well as I laid a hand on his shoulder.

“I-it’s just… C-can I get her pregnant…? She’s… not like me.” He asked sadly and hesitantly, looking up at me with a face that seemed to indicate he wasn’t afraid of that outcome but rather wanted to know if it were possible. To be honest… I didn’t know. Latias was a rarely known species, so very little was known about her in general, let alone the mating habits and groups of the Latians.

“That’s… a good question.” Was all I could think to answer, now with my curiosity getting the better of me and wondering about the subject. Luca however was a little more delicate in her response.

“Well if you two decide you mean that much to each other; I’m sure you’ll find out when the time is right sweetie.” She said calmly and as a matter of fact. Latias seemed to have a knot in her throat as she listened, unable to believe Leo was talking as he was… and asking those questions. She had thought this was their secret, and to see it exposed so completely was embarrassing the heck out of her.

“But if you two need anything, don’t be afraid to ask us, or Ashley. Ok?” I finished after Luca, making sure they both knew they had people to go to for any problem, and trying to let the subject fade away slowly so the two kids could relax.

“Ok…” Leo managed to say softly, and Latias let out a soft “Laa.”, which from Luca’s small smile I gathered to mean “ok” as well.

Luca was once again the first to offer a little bit of physical comfort to the dragoness as she reached out to run her right paw over Latias’ head and neck, while still keeping a paw on Leo’s back. Latias seemed to relax with the touch as she leaned slightly into it, but Leo still seemed tense, even as I squeezed his shoulder lightly to try and give him a little confidence.

“I’m proud of you son.” Was all I could think to say but it got him to smile. However, with their connection out in the open, Latias’ rather open attitude, and her embarrassment fading, she floated closer to Leo and gave him a soft hug as she nuzzled her face gently next to his. Leo’s shy nature still had him blushing, but he found great relief and comfort in putting his arms around the one he loved to tightly hug her back without a care as to who saw. Latias smiled and churred happily as Leo returned her affections, but she didn’t stop there. Figuring we already knew about them, Latias craned her head and softly pressed her lips to Leo’s. The young Lucario’s blush burned deeper, but he didn’t refuse, and instead, passionately kissed the dragoness back for a brief moment before she knew she’d taken it far enough and backed off. Letting my son be slightly more comfortable in front of us. She floated up slowly until Leo removed his arms, but she kept hers around him as she moved around behind him to land on the bed. She hugged him to her tightly as she nuzzled her head next to his from his shoulder. Leo simply smiled and chuckled softly as he reached a paw up to cradle her.

“I’m really gonna miss you guys...” I murmured as I watched them wistfully. At my mutterings though, they paused and looked towards me. “Leo, I need you to take care of Lady for me. Everything I said before still counts. Ok?” I said as I got up and watched the two of them, still seeing them as the tiny, newly hatched dragoness from the cruise, and my little newborn riolu son, even though they were both nearly fully grown. Of course I wasn’t talking about anything I said during our talks a few moments before, but as Leo watched me stand he seemed to know I was referring to my dying wishes from the day before.

“Mhmm. I will dad.” He replied, just as Luca gave a soft giggle and got up to stand beside me.

“I’m trusting you Latias. Take care of my pup. If you don’t, I WILL find you.” Luca teased the two a bit, giving the dragoness another mock threatening glare. I just laughed and put my arm around her shoulders to pull and force her to stand in front of me where I could put both my arms around her. Latias chirped happily in agreement, not the least bit scared of Luca’s threat, and now greatly relieved of her embarrassment from before.

With everything taken care of between Leo and Latias, Luca and I returned to the living room. The pups were back from whatever they had been doing outside and Ruki was now having a grand time playing with them. The lucario was crawling around on all fours with her tail wagging happily as she swiped under the chairs, and pounced around the corners of the furniture like she was one of them, despite the fact she was more than twice their size and who knew how many times older… I only shook my head at the display as I stood in the doorway for a moment, before reclaiming my seat on the couch with Luca deciding to sit with her father, the more mature of the adult lucario it seemed…

With every swipe or pounce Ruki made, she was greeted by a yelp, yip, or growl from one of the eevee sisters, since the boys were apparently the one’s who had enlisted help and were at Ruki’s sides for protection. Luca just stared, not entirely sure if she should join in, or if she should be mortified it was her mother who was acting like this in front of everyone… Lekan just seemed to be chuckling and shaking his head as he watched his mate enjoy herself, though I noticed he seemed to have an almost mischievous look as Ruki swayed her hips and wagged her tail before him.

Meanwhile the rest of my family seemed to be enjoying the show as well, since both my parents and Ashley were laughing, especially when one of the sisters managed to surprise Ruki by climbing over the chair to pounce her, landed on her head, and quickly latched onto one of her ears with a growl before Ruki yelped and reached up to wrestle the pup off.

Leo and Latias weren’t far behind us, and when Latias saw Ruki being “attacked” by a little eevee, she couldn’t help but join in. However, it was getting to be too crazy of a fight to be held inside and mom quickly broke it up just as the sisters enlisted Latias to their side and started cheering her on to combat Ruki.

It was certainly nice to be home again… but even as we all talked and shared stories I noticed a few sad looks amongst the occupants. Lady was trying not to let me see she was upset about my having to leave. Kail seemed to have something on his mind he wanted to say, and Elli was still on the outskirts of the group, keeping to herself. I hadn’t seen Tarzan or the other cats since we got home, but my guess was they had elected to go outside and lounge in the waning evening sun rather than deal with the zoo in the living room. As I looked over my friends and family in the room, I partially zoned out from the conversation. That is until mom mentioned she wanted to open up a pokemon daycare. I looked at dad with a smirk, thinking he’d never agree to such a thing, but even he seemed to be supportive of the idea. Of course I hadn’t thought of it as such, but the house was already a veritable pokemon sanctuary. So what would be the difference if she turned it into a small business and took on a few more occupants?

“You really think you can do it?” I had to ask with intrigue, since mom seemed far too serious to be joking.

“Why not? Course… you won’t be here to clean up I suppose…” Mom replied, scrunching up her face in thought as if my leaving were really a big problem.

“Well we do have three acres out back. Would you really want to? You have the help for a few days yet…” I continued, thinking it was a great idea. About the only pokemon habitat we didn’t have was a water region. We had a small wooded area out back though, and a large backyard as well. So it wasn’t a stretch to imagine pokemon being rather happy here.

“Sure! I mean... since you offered.” My mother answered, once again trying to make it sound like I had a choice. Although I knew I really didn’t… “Dad already picked up the fence posts, and I’m sure the brush won’t hurt too much.” She continued gleefully, since she now had much less work to do herself... We continued talking about her plans, which didn’t seem too extravagant, but it would take a fair amount of work on all our parts to get the work done before Luca and I left. Inevitably it started to get late; and if we were to start work tommarow on the daycare, we had to find a place for all of our guests to sleep.

Kail had taken to sleeping in Ashley’s room, where apparently Elli had settled in as well. Ashley had really been trying to get Elli to “warm up” to her, figuratively, and in some cases literally, but the Glaceon still seemed reserved. With Leo home once again, Latias would settle for no less than curling up with him, so the two of them took the couch in the living room. Lekan and Ruki had intended to find a place to rest outside, but Luca and I insisted they sleep in our bed. One little secret I had about my futon bed however, was that I had built and hidden underneath, another bed on wheels, which Luca and I pulled out, unfolded and claimed. We were soon joined by Lady, and of course Umbreon. My Ninetails wanted to show her love for Luca and I, as well as share what little time she had with us before we left. The pups made one big pile on the canine family’s bed in my parent’s room, though it was obvious they were enjoying having all the space to themselves. Finally, the cats had come inside and claimed their usual spots. Whiskers on the foot of Ashley’s bed, Fuzztoes curled up at mom’s feet, and avoiding dad’s… and Tarzan sprawling in the hallway where he was sure to get stepped on if anyone came through without looking…

For the first time in months I was able to hug Luca tightly to me as we drifted off to sleep together. The old feeling of her soft fur against my bare chest nearly made me cry as we settled in, and as she gave me a rather passionate kiss goodnight I couldn’t help but smile as my eyes grew wet.

“I love you so much hun…” I managed to say softly in her ear, which got her to smile as I gazed into her ruby eyes.

“I love you too.” She replied before nuzzling to my chest and closing her eyes. With a soft contented sigh I joined her, shutting my eyes and holding her close as we both fell asleep.

The next day was a normal day with the family. Dad had the morning to do house work before going to his actual job. Mom had the day to do as she pleased and everyone else took up housework or lounged. Most of us were assigned to help convert our backyard into a pokemon habitat though. So while it was still early, dad and I tried to decipher a building plan of a small house for multiple pokemon. Luca organized Leo, Latias, Elli, Lisa and her parents into a… Well for lack of a better word, demolition team. They set about modifying the overgrown wooded part of our property into pokemon habitats. Elli froze the brush, though was careful not to freeze any grass pokemon, ensuring it did not regrow. Latias had the task of telekinetically removing the frozen plants to a pile to be burned. A few trees were cut down as well, but only after Latias checked to make sure no avian pokemon were living in them. Only then did Leo and Lisa tend to the task of safely felling the tree. Any inhabitants of the backyard that were disturbed by the changes were assured by Lekan and Ruki that, ‘They need not be afraid and could stay if they wished.’

Meanwhile, when the brush pile had grown a sizable amount Lady lit it up and tended it with Umbreon to ensure it was kept under control. I did notice, however, that she wasn’t her normal self. My ever playful and cheerful fox only lay near the brush pile staring at the flames, and occasionally looking over to make sure the pups weren’t getting into too much trouble. She also was a bit harsh if they were getting into something they shouldn’t. Such as climbing the few trees closer to the house. Jem took the scolding the hardest being more attached to his mother, but even the girls lowered their ears and tails at their mother’s barks. When I realized her mood wasn’t just a passing morning grumpiness; I resolved to get her alone later so we could talk.

By the time dad had to leave, we had poured a cement base for the building, and he left me to nail together the walls. Since my time was limited we had decided to put together several pieces so he and a few other people could finish assembling the building later once the cement had thoroughly dried. Luca and the others had managed to spruce up our entire property, and they even made a natural pond out of a creek none of us knew ran through the woods. Using Luca’s old idea for planting flowers, the three lucario capable of using aura sphere blasted a rather impressive hole in the ground. Once their hole was dug they needed to keep the water from soaking into the dirt, to which Leo had a solution and asked Lady to help them. Trying to seem like nothing was bothering her, Lady agreed, and put Jem in charge of tending the fire until she returned, which he was happy to do.

Lady’s task was to melt dirt and rock into a sealed surface, something Leo figured could be done by extreme heat. However… in her current state, Lady overdid it a bit. She took out her frustration through her torrents of fire as she quickly turned the kidney shaped pit into a white hot crater. All of the lucario flinched at the shear heat and stepped back, thinking it was necessary and not realizing Lady had been overzealous. Being a fire type, the heat rising from the molten sides didn’t phase the Ninetails one bit, even as she stepped in to inspect her work and ensure no pebble was left solid. She panted a little as she walked through the hot air, but otherwise gave no outer show of discomfort in the blistering heat. By firing a flamethrower here and there to patch a place that was cooling too fast, or had split apart, she perfected the pond basin. She didn’t notice though, that she was leaving footprints in the cooling slag. However, mom was pleasantly surprised at the prints and happily left them there, feeling it added some character to the pond, and gave her another happily little secret. As Lady exited the pit to head back to the brush pile she acknowledged the “thank you’s” everyone gave her, but she remained distant.

Even as the sun set nobody stopped working, and I swear we had the property fence up in record time. After assembling the building walls, I set about digging holes and placing fence posts, but as everyone else finished their tasks they joined me. In no time at all, I merely had to put the posts in holes. Leo, Luca, Ruki, Lekan, and Latias had started a digging competition. With every trick in their arsenal, they had holes dug every ten feet around the entire property before I had 10 of the 100 some posts sturdily in the ground. Luckily for me the hole diggers came back to help, and made a contest of that too… Which, of course, I couldn’t keep up with either. By the time I grabbed a post on each shoulder to head back to the hole I intended to put it in, there was already a post in that, and the next 5 holes. It was at that point I laughed and decided to start from the end to work my way back towards the dueling family members. In the end we only had a small amount of left over dirt from the pond crater, having used most of it to fill in around the posts where needed. So the rest of the topsoil went into extending the gardens around the house. It was almost too dark to work as we finished moving the dirt, so we headed inside and began a hot water debate over who would get the shower first. Needless to say we attempted to conserve the hot water, mainly by showering more or less in pairs.

Ashley got first dibs, followed by mom, then Luca and I, Ruki and Lekan, and finally Leo and Latias. Lady insisted she enjoyed the smell of fire on her and opted out of joining Luca and I. Meanwhile, both Lisa and Elli said they hadn’t gotten dirty enough for us to bother adding them to the chaos. Of all the replies and arguments, Lady’s worried me the most; she never turned down a nice hot shower.

As Luca and I relaxed on our bed after the hard day of work, my mate sadly asked if I had noticed Lady was upset. Of course I had, so once Luca’s fur had dried sufficiently we headed downstairs to try and talk with her and cheer her up.

Usually Lady hated being away from everyone, despite the fact that Umbreon was almost always at her side. After checking three rooms still not finding a single tail, we finally found her curled up with Umbreon on their bed in my parent’s room.

“Lady?” I questioned as I stepped through the doorway, with Luca coming up behind me. At the mention of her name, Lady looked up at me for a moment, but quickly averted her gaze. She seemed upset, but it seemed aimed more at herself than me. I could only guess she hated how she felt just as much as actually being left behind. “I’m really sorry girl. I want you to come but your family needs you.” I offered as I came closer and sat on my legs near her head. With a small whine she craned her neck the short distance and laid it in my lap to lick at my hand. “I know…” I responded, and cradled her head in my hands as I pet her with long loving strokes down her neck.

Luca wasn’t far behind as I entered, and she came around to sit near Lady’s haunches. When Luca was settled, Lady raised her fan of tails to curl around her surrogate daughter enticing her to lay her head on the fox’s side; while Umbreon shifted to allow Luca in. After a small whine Lady began to speak softly to Luca as she cuddled into the warm flank under her and responded in kind. From my mate’s replies I could gather Lady was telling her she loved us and wished could go with us.

As I watched my girls I couldn’t help but smile and think back to that fateful day when we found Luca buried in Lady’s fluffy tails. Knowing Luca would miss our fox just as much as I would, and before my girls could break their embrace, I shifted to join them. Lady raised her head as I lay down behind her and put my arms around her neck. “I don’t know where I’d be without you…” I whispered to my oldest and dearest friend as I clung to her and looked down at the sweet face of my Lucario mate. Luca just giggled softly and smiled back at me as Lady gave a murr, and rubbed her head against my cheek, nearly crying.

The four of us must have stayed as we were for nearly ten minutes, simply enjoying having each other there one last time, but before too long we were attacked by three wet balls of fluff. The sisters and Adi had just gotten a bath, which my mom had done in the sink. However, only Jem had the ability to dry himself quickly by raising his body temperature…

The partially dry eevee ran into the room intending to pounce Lady and Umbreon, and seeing Luca and I there failed to hinder them. The one being chased at the moment, Adi, leapt, and landed between Luca and Umbreon. His first pursuer, Psia, over shot her target and landed on Lady where she rolled towards me, and wound up stuck on her back between us. Lastly, Zina was caught in mid pounce by Lady’s tails as she leapt towards Luca. Despite Zina’s growls and best efforts to fight off the writhing tails she was soon swallowed by the mass of fur. Jem casually strolled into the room a moment later and blinked when he saw Luca and I. He obviously wondered why we were there, but he didn’t stop walking. Instead he went around behind me to poke at Psia, after putting his front paws on my side for support. Lady still had tears in her eyes, though she couldn’t help but laugh at her beautiful family. She and I both knew if we were to be separated for any extended length of time, this was the only reason that would suffice.

Luca and I played with the pups for a while after the ambush. Lady was in much better spirits since Luca and I had come in and she happily joined us in tiring out her kits. By the time we were done they were completely dry, mostly from being wrestled with under a towel, and a bit because of how long we stayed. Eventually the four pups tired and curled up with their parents. Adi didn’t hesitate to leave his adopted brother and sisters to nestle up to his own mother. Meanwhile, the sisters snuggled in against Umbreon’s belly, where he smiled and lay around them. Jem laid his head on Umbreon’s neck while Lady laid her head on her son’s side, ending up muzzle to muzzle with Umbreon. It looked like a knot of fur, tails, and bodies but they all seemed quite comfortable. As Luca and I left we each gave Lady a loving kiss on the bridge of her nose, and were given a few slow loving licks in return. With a murr of happiness, Lady laid down and snuggled her family close, draping her large fan of tails over them as they quickly fell asleep.

After that Luca and I returned upstairs, letting mom and dad finish their late night TV watching. Leo and Latias were lying on the living room floor watching the TV as well, while they waited to claim their bed. When Luca and I entered my room, however, we found Ruki and Lekan meditating in the middle of the open floor space. Not wanting to disturb them, we tried to be silent. But upon our entrance they both opened their eyes to look towards us.

“Come here you two.” Lekan said calmly and firmly, sounding much like my own father in his tone.

“There’s something we need to show you.” Ruki continued for him, remaining as serious as her mate. Luca and I both reacted the same way to the sudden change in attitude from the elder Lucario. My mate moved a bit closer to me, fearing something bad was going to be reported to us. I softly put an arm around her waist to make sure she knew I wasn’t going to leave her.

“Is something wrong?” Luca asked, as we obeyed the order given to us, and came into the room.

“Nothing’s wrong, but there’s something you both need to know. Have a seat.” Lekan answered and gestured for me to sit next to him while facing Ruki.

“Over here, Luca.” Ruki added and beckoned Luca to sit next to her, but facing Lekan and I.

“Luca… I’ve noticed your aura has changed since you visited us in the past. Are you feeling alright?” Ruki began, looking towards her daughter with a serious but calm expression.

“I-I feel fine but… I do feel different somehow. Why… Is it bad?” She answered with a blink and a growing look of concern. She had to wonder just how her mother had noticed, and what it really meant.

“No no, nothing like that. Actually, it’s because of what Felix did when you confronted Darkrai.” Lekan answered his daughter. At his words though Luca looked to me with fear in her eyes, wondering what I had done.

“What did I do?” I asked with worry evident in my own voice now after meeting Luca’s gaze then looking back to Lekan.

“You began something very wonderful. What you did was partially imprint your own aura on Luca’s. That you were able to do this, shows you both still have an unbreakable bond and a loving connection. Despite having not recovered all your previous abilities you two are actually closer than you have ever been.” Ruki began explaining, though now in a tone that seemed much warmer. I felt my heart swell as she reassured us. It was an enormous relief to know the one I cared for really did still love me as much as ever.

“If you two were not sure on some deep level that you were meant for each other, this would not have happened, and Felix… You probably would not have been able to save Luca as you had. Ky and I had a great deal more practice in manipulating our own life energies and the aura’s of others, but with your inexperience. For you to have revived Luca she had to accept your gift of spirit and allow you to proceed. Most of the energy you provided for her was channeled into reigniting her own life, but a small amount was left over, which Luca subconsciously held on to and intertwined the two energies. That is why her aura now bears a small imprint of your own. However, your body gave out because Luca did not have the energy to reciprocate. So instead, you took her place in death.” Lekan explained further and paused to let what he had said sink in a little.

“Then… why couldn’t I revive Felix…?” Luca asked hesitantly and sadly at her father’s pause.

“That’s a good question. Even Master Brennus is uncertain in that regard. In all of our tribe’s experiences you should have succeeded in your attempt as well. The only explanation anyone could think of was that somehow Felix had locked his aura shut to you. Even though he appeared to be gone, he refused your attempt at self sacrifice in his own desire for you to carry on.” Lekan answered and paused briefly once again, but quickly continued. “However, we didn’t ask you to join us just for an explination... If you two are willing, Ruki and I can guide you in finishing what Felix inadvertently began.” Lekan finished with his calm tone, looking from Luca to me after having explained himself.

“You need not worry. What we’re asking is completely safe for both of you. In fact, it’s a ritual in our clan. Though a human and his charge can become mates, it is far more common for a Lucario to take a mate of their own species. Long before our clan or even humans existed as they are, Lucario discovered a way to bond themselves to their mates. With their innate mastery of aura, two Lucario could partially meld their life’s energies. That is where the true mate ritual found its beginnings, though we now know it provides many more benefits to the pair. But that’s a lesson for another time.” Ruki continued as an explanation for Lekan’s offer. Seeing his stern look though, still had Luca and I worried, we didn’t realize this ritual they were explaining was a highly sacred thing among Lucario, which is why he seemed so tense and proper.

As Ruki expected, her words did calm us, but the decision was still in the air, and Luca remained unsure. Even with all that had happened between us I still knew she was the one I wanted to spend my life with. But her experiences had left her almost broken. I hoped what she needed was for me to show her she could still trust me… and that my love for her was indeed still there.

Luckily, I believed I had just the thing to show her how much she still meant to me. I looked around quickly to find where I had left my travel pack. Once I spotted it I looked to Luca and gave her a small smile. “One sec…” I said softly as I got up and went to the bag to rummage through it. It didn’t take me long to find the two things I wanted. Luca’s necklace that Leo and I had gotten her for her birthday, and her old custom pokeball. Leo and I had kept it as a reminder despite having released Luca from its hold when we destroyed the facility. Taking the ball pendant from the chain it was on, I reclasped it to the end of the necklace and hid it in my folded hands as I returned to my spot in front of Luca. She looked confused, as did Ruki and Lekan, thinking this meant I was rejecting their offer to teach us the ceremony, but I at least knew what I was doing. Or so I hoped at least…

“Luca…? If you’re still unsure about going through with this, I don’t mind waiting. Just… let me say something before you decide?” I began slowly, trying not to sound too emotional or desperate, lest I hurt my mate.

“Ok…?” She answered hesitantly after a brief glance at my hands, wondering what I had in them, but half fearing it wasn’t something good.

“Luca, you mean more to me than anyone I’ve ever met... I hope you know I have no regrets about giving my life for you back in those woods, and I would do it again in a heartbeat if anything else ever happened to you. I love you so much, I can’t think of words good enough to tell you how I feel… so… I hope that just maybe this will show you. I know it’s not the ring humans usually give but… please let me be there for you, and stay with you forever? Please… marry me?” I continued once she allowed, and as I finished I unfolded my hands to reveal the pristine necklace, sparkling like the day I first bought it for her. I could see and hear Luca’s breathing shallow as I spoke, and when I opened my hands, her breath caught for a moment.

She knew about human bonding customs, and my comment about the ring helped tell her what I was trying to do. As she looked up to meet my eyes I could see tears had welled up in her own deep red beauties. She shut her eyes as she let out a sob and threw her arms around my neck, clinging to me tightly. I didn’t know what to think when she didn’t give an answer, but when she continued to hug me and simply cried against my shoulder, I knew I already had my answer. After that brief instant I gently put my arms around her as well, still holding the necklace in my right hand as I rubbed her back with my left.

“I love you too Felix… I’m sorry I ever doubted you…” She cried and forced herself to push away far enough to look me in the eyes again as she spoke. “Of course I’ll be your wife.” She continued and giggled through her happy crying. Of course I could only smile as she gave me a verbal reply, but I found it in me to bring the necklace up to her neck to carefully place it on her. After I had latched the clasp, I kept a hand on the back of her head to gently pull her the last short distance to meet me in a kiss. The moment my lips touched hers her eyes shut and she eagerly returned the affection, her tongue slipping sensuously between my own parted lips for a brief but passionate French kiss.

Knowing Luca’s parents were still beside us, and most definitely still watching… I didn’t linger too long. Instead, after that first short kiss I pulled slowly away from her and gazed into her eyes for another moment.

“Are you ready to try it, love?” I asked quietly as I cradled her head in my hands.

“Mhmm…” Was the only response she could muster, as her watery eyes still loosed a joyful tear now and then.

After we had our moment Luca took my hands in her paws and wiggled backwards to sit next to her mother as she had been before. I could see Ruki was smiling, obviously glad we had sorted out everything between us, but that didn’t stop Lekan and her from continuing with their lesson.

“We’re ready.” Luca commented to her father after she had gotten comfortable; sitting with her legs crossed as her parents were, which I soon followed as well.

“Alright. Ruki and I will guide you two this first time. If at any time you find you’re having difficulties, we can help, or you can watch to see how we proceed.” Lekan began as he tried to relax himself. “To begin, shut your eyes and clear your mind of everything but your mate in front of you… Since you both know of wave sight, let it fill your mind, see only with your ability. Can you two see anything other than your partner and us? Anything at all?” He continued, following suit and doing as he instructed, something I only knew because as I entered wave sight I could see his general form and his eyes shut.

“Just the room.” Luca answered for both of us, though she could not see from my own mind.

“Try to further narrow your vision. Feel only the aura of us four.” Ruki chimed in with the same calming tone as Lekan. Surprisingly, and with minimal effort, everything in the world faded from sight, leaving only the blazing energies of three other figures in my vision.

“Now… you must focus solely on your mate as we continue. If you need assistance we will sense it and offer… Blank even mine and Ruki’s aura from your minds. Gaze into the very life of your partner as they are before you.” I heard Lekan’s voice command, and did as I was told. I didn’t know if Luca was able to do the same, but I could almost feel the warmth of her spirit as I stared at her form shrouded in flickering teal licks of what looked like flames.

“Good… Now reach out and take each other’s paw’s in your own.” Ruki continued through her seemingly rehearsed teachings, and I saw Luca’s arms extend in an offer as I did the same. I watched as my own hands, covered in a dark cobalt blue energy, gently held my lucario mate’s, and as her pads touched my palms I felt her presence even more clearly. Where our forms met, I could see our aura intertwining, though not in the sense I assumed we were trying to achieve. It was more like our energies were simply occupying the same space, and flowing around one another.

“Now feel the warmth of your true mate’s spirit on your own, reach for that warmth. Pull your loved one’s spirit closer to your own.” Lekan once again spoke, urging us slowly forward in the ritual.

Once again we did as we were told, though each of us found our own method from interpretation. I focused on where I held Luca’s soft, warm paws in my hands, enjoying the sensation of her spirit around mine. When I found I could feel a soft pull at my own… life, I suppose would be the only way to describe, I tried to relax. However, a primal instinct wanted to stop the pull, fearing for its safety.

As I remained seated and holding Luca’s paws I let out a gentle breath. I tried to continue another way. I tried to feel more of my true love, her arms, shoulders, and body… Soon enough, I could feel what I can only describe as her very soul within her frame! In that instant, everything changed. All my inhibition was gone, the instinct from before dissolved; and in a flash, Luca’s own light teal aura shot up my arms to engulf my entire form. The feeling of her loving heart accompanied the visual, and as I relented to the pull from before, my own cobalt blue aura flooded up Luca’s arms in a similar fashion.
At the sudden feeling we both gasped, and began to pant softly. We weren’t exhausted, rather, overwhelmed with the love and joy we felt together.

Somewhere amidst our euphoria we could hear the physical, distant voices of Lekan and Ruki enjoying what must have been the same feeling. It was truly as an incredible an experience as they had hinted at while explaining.

Even though we managed to achieve what we were instructed to do, it was a long while before Lekan or Ruki’s voices guided us further. However, it was a greatly appreciated reprieve as my mate and I reveled in the warming comfort of having the other held so close in spirit.

“Good… Feel the truth in your chosen’s heart… Know that you are meant for each other. Pour your very life into expressing your true feelings, focus your aura… and let it burn. Let your power of will mark you as each other’s forever more.” Lekan’s calm voice directed, but this time it was a great deal more relaxed, and loving.

For a final time we obeyed his words, taking a breath in unison as preparation before trying to bring forth all of our life’s energies. In wave sight, one could see Luca’s and my aura triple in intensity in an instant, and quadruple again the next! As we immaterially held each other tight I felt so much more from my lovely Lucario than words could ever say. I felt the pain she felt from before, though it was quickly being washed away as she felt everything I’d ever felt and thought of her. For a brief moment we could even feel our hearts beating in unison as we gave everything we had.

The split second of utter unity was, sadly, not meant to last. As we gave our hearts to one another in that spiritual trance, our strength began to fall away. Our aura began to dim as we gasped for the breaths we had unwittingly forgotten to take. All our concentration was slowly forgotten, as we returned to the real world. Even as we did, I could feel something was different. Soon our aura had waned back to their normal states, and gradually returned to their original owners. However, interwoven with Luca’s teal licks of energy were pieces of my own cobalt flames. Likewise, my own aura was lightened by the now ever present tines of Luca’s teal. When I opened my eyes to once again look at my mate’s material form, I noticed she had tears lightly running down her cheeks. Both of us were panting heavily but still holding each other’s hands. Before I could even think to offer an embrace, Luca used what little strength she had left to lunge at me. It was almost as if she had known I wanted to pull her close.

She knocked me on my back and clung to me tightly, crying in shear happiness. Of course, I too had tears in my eyes from actually feeling and knowing how much I meant to my love and I couldn’t resist returning her affections by squeezing her in my arms and nuzzling my head against hers.

Ruki and Lekan had since caught their breath from their own experience and simply watched the two of us enjoying the afterglow of our first time. They understood exactly what it was like, and couldn’t blame us in the least for being so overwhelmed.

After our “True Mating,” as Ruki referred to it, we finally got to go to bed. Although, about thirty seconds after we had finished the ritual Leo cautiously came up to see if we were alright. He had felt our spike in energies quite clearly and worried something was wrong. Both of us simply smiled as we were still trying to catch the last of our breath and told him everything was perfectly fine. In both Luca and my opinions, nothing could possibly have ruined that night after such wonderful experience.

The next day was much like the last. Everyone got up and after breakfast went to work trying to finish a few things for mom’s ambition. However, a few odd things continued to strike me as we worked. For one, I discovered I could once again understand all pokemon, and Luca could be understood by all humans. Second, a few times when I would blink I could swear Luca was standing right next to me, just smiling, or even helping me with my work. But when I looked towards the spot, there was nothing. Next, there was the fact that I could always sense where Luca was and how she was feeling. No matter how far into the woods she trekked. With that sense, also came an almost future sight of what she was thinking. When I asked Ruki about it all later she giggled at first and told me I’d get used to it.

Thankfully she offered a little more of an explanation as she helped me stack beams that would become roof supports. She said that the link between us was a very strong one now, and that even thoughts could easily be shared. In the end she simply said we would get used to and control it. For now, I’d simply have to live with it, though the link never once seemed to have a negative effect, and if anything made me happier as I worked.

By the end of the day, dad and I had built the roof tresses and moved all the remaining building materials for the shelter around the still drying concrete pad. The others had set about cleaning up the habitats and putting on some finishing touches, such as a few natural obstacles for training purposes or more natural shelters. Lucky for us, there was a park bordering our property, so we didn’t have to provide much in the way of trainer commodities. There were already practice fields and equipment for trainers to use, but now the pokemon had a place to relax; even if they weren’t checked in with my mother’s business. The one difficulty we had was creating a waste area for all the pokemon. Such a thing needed special clearance and shielding from local water supplies, so in the end my parents decided they would get a contractor to do it properly.

When the sun began to disappear behind the trees everyone headed inside for another chaotic nightly routine. Luca and I went upstairs after our shower to attend to some final financial business of mine. We gathered and counted all the savings I had gathered from traveling, and once we found it all it came to a grand total of 350,000 poke dollars. 300 thousand dollars of my savings we took down to give my parents to help them pay for the expenses of the changes. Mom choked on her drink when we told her how much we were giving them, and through her coughs tried to protest. I wouldn’t take no for an answer though. I wouldn’t be needing the money where I was going, so I figured 50 thousand for whenever I could use it was more than enough. Plus, if I needed more at any point, I knew I could find a way to earn it. In the end they accepted, once I explained my reasoning, and thanked us profusely since it would pay for nearly all the supplies and ¾’s of the contractor’s charges.

Everyone slept where they had the last night except for Leo, and by association Latias. Leo came upstairs and shyly approached us to ask if he and Latias could sleep with us for our last night home. Luca and I didn’t disappoint the pair, and despite being a little cramped it was quite a warm and cozy night on the small bed. As we settled in Luca lay against me with her back to my chest while Leo cuddled in close against his mother. My mate hugged her dearest pup close as Latias nestled in behind Leo. The dragoness craned her neck around to rest her head above Leo and Luca’s, while she also draped a wing over us. Once again I smiled at the family Luca and I had made, and peacefully fell asleep with a content grin, as did the other three occupants of our bed.

The next morning was Luca and my last day among those around us, but if you didn’t already know it, you wouldn’t have been able to tell. Luca and I were as happy as ever, Lady had recovered her normal demeanor, my human family didn’t show any hint of remorse or despair, and everyone else seemed in good spirits.

Everyone except Elli that is… As I watched the Glaceon disappear into the wooded area of the habitats that day I decided to have a talk with her. Luca didn’t accompany me when I told her I’d be back in a bit, rather she just smiled and continued talking with her father. Meanwhile, I found Elli digging out a new borrow in a massive hill of solid ice.

“Won’t you be cold in that?” I asked as I approached, though I spoke from a far enough distance not to be frozen in my tracks by a startled eeveelution.

“No… I’m an ice type…” She replied, forgetting I could understand her now and saying it in an annoyed tone like she was addressing an irritating idiot.

“I know you’re an ice type, but you are still warm blooded I think.” I answered a bit teasingly and watched as she stopped digging momentarily in embarrassment. “I don’t think I really got to know you. Your name’s Elli?” I continued as I came up and sat on the ground, which was quite cold due to the nearby ice formation, but still not soggy or snow covered.

“Yeah… and I’m trying not to be a burden but… Adi likes your Ninetails’ kits as playmates.” She answered in an almost apologetic tone, yet was still cold and distant.

“You’re not a burden. I’m sure Lady appreciates you taking such good care of her own pups.” I answered, once again trying to comfort her, but she wouldn’t allow me to succeed.

“I should just leave him with her… He rarely comes to me anyway.” She continued sadly and stopped digging out ice chips as her thoughts wandered.

“I disagree… I think he loves you very much, and you him. Why don’t you want to be here? What’s really bothering you?” I offered sincerely.

“It… It’s none of your concern… You’re happy with Luca now, that’s all that matters…” She snapped as she shot me a cold stare, but quickly lowered her sad eyes to the ground then back to her hole.

“Would talking to Luca before we go make you feel any better?” I asked, still pushing, hoping she would say something to… well, break the ice.

“No! I-I mean… no. I’ve made her suffer enough…” She answered, though changed her tone when she realized just how scared her voice came out.

“Elli, whatever happened at that lab is done and gone. I assure you Luca has no grudge against you.” I tried to reassure the Glaceon as best I could, but I could see it was starting to upset her.

“Don’t you know what I did!? And how can you be telling me it’s alright!? She left you because of me! Because I convinced her you wouldn’t come! My trainer didn’t come to rescue me! How was I to know you would!?” She barked after gritting her teeth, and accidentally revealed what was really bothering her. When she realized what she’d said she growled and turned away. She quickly stuck her head back in her hole to hide her welling tears and continue scratching away at the ice. From the sound I could tell she was digging her claws in deep from frustration.

“So that’s why you won’t talk to anyone? You don’t want to be abandoned again?” I asked, but got no reply as she pretended not to hear me over the scratching of her claws. Her tears however, were well hidden as they fell from her cheeks and nose. They simply blended with the ice shavings as she dug.

“You know Elli. My sister would really like it if you would become a partner of hers. And I assure you, she…” I began, trying to convince Elli to give things a chance when she suddenly yelped in pain. I was already watching her but when she cried in pain I leaned over to see what was wrong. She had stopped digging because of the pain but that didn’t stop her from fighting me. As I reached to try and coax her out of the 1.5 foot deep hole she backed out and snapped at my hand threateningly. It was then I saw the tears in her eyes, and her now bleeding paw… “Please Elli, you’re hurt, let me help.” I urged sadly, hating to see any creature in pain, but more because this was partially my fault.

“No! Stay away! I don’t need you and I don’t need your sister! All I want is a safe place and a good trainer for Adi! That’s the only reason I’m staying! That’s the only reason I followed you!” She barked at me, taking an unsteady step back and still snarling at me with her tears streaming. I never once acted like I was scared, except for pulling my hand back when she snapped. I knew full well she wasn’t in any condition to fight with her paw, and I knew she really didn’t want to either.

“You can stay here as long as you like Elli. You can even live here with Adi if you choose, but you must see we’re not bad people…” I said in another attempt to calm her.

“I don’t care! If something happens to me you’ll just forget about me!” She interrupted with another snarl but I continued despite her insistence.

“… and my sister would never abandon you if you let her be your partner. If you were trapped in a lab ever again, Ashley would fight tooth and nail to rescue you, just as I did for Luca.” I finished, making sure to meet her gaze calmly. Her aggression seemed to wane a little, as if she believed what I said, but she still seemed skeptical.

“I-It doesn’t matter anyway…! I don’t care! I can take care of myself and my son.” She answered back with a halfhearted growl, so I took my chances and reached to try and pick her up. As a reflex to my gesture she lashed out again, biting my arm as it came into her range. I felt frigid needles of cold radiate through my skin from her fangs as they sank into my arm, but even then I only winced rather than withdraw.

I stayed still and let her realize I had done it on purpose. When she did, her jaws loosened, and her growling stopped. After a second or two she completely let go and simply stared at the wound. There were two small holes on each side where her canines had punctured my skin, but the other teeth had only left small red dents. Although, the fury of an ice type did have effects as well… I couldn’t feel any pain from the bite because the whole region was numb from the injection of cold. I figured I was lucky she hadn’t truly meant for the attack to happen or I might very well have lost half my arm to frostbite…

Once she let me go I leaned forward the rest of the way and put my hands under her shoulders to lift her and pull her closer. My arm was slowly warming back up and I could feel my own blood starting to drip from the wounds, but they were small, shallow holes and would clot fast. Her paw however, was still dripping blood as she held it off the ground from the pain pressure caused it.

“W-what are… why would you…?” She questioned softly, though now letting me look at her paw.

“You’re hurt, and to prove a point. I don’t care whose pokemon you were before, you’re in mine and my family’s care now and that’s all that matters.” I said without looking up from her paw as I gently held it in my hand and felt for her injuries. Her claws were worn down so far they were bleeding as well, but she had also cut her center pad on a shard of ice.

“But I… I just… and before…” She tried to retort, giving a soft tug at her paw, both not wanting me to have to tend to her and because my touching her wound stung. I had my other arm over her back though and had placed her over my right leg as I held her paw; so she wasn’t going to get away.

“Like I said, it’s in the past. So it doesn’t matter anymore. You don’t have to be alone Elli. Everyone here is nice to you not because they’re hiding something, it’s because they are genuinely nice people. Heck, no one even knows what happened at the lab besides me and Luca. So if you would? Give my sister a chance? She may be annoying, but she’s tolerable.” I answered again, trying to add a little humor to the situation as I saw I was starting to get somewhere. However, I could tell her foot needed bandaged or something because she really was hurt, but for now I simply held her paw firmly to try slowing the trickle of blood.

“O-ok…” She stuttered sadly, obviously considering my request after seeing what I had done to get through to her.

“Now come on, your den can wait. For now we have to fix this paw of yours.” I replied calmly and cheerfully as I let her paw go, seeing the trickle had indeed slowed slightly. I carefully put my right arm around her behind to pick her up since she wasn’t all that big or heavy. She didn’t quite know what to do, but thankfully she didn’t struggle and let me do as I pleased. I guided her front paws to rest on my left shoulder and while holding her other half in my arms, I could easily walk back towards the house.

At one point she tried to tell me she could walk but I insisted on carrying her and she didn’t protest again. Instead she simply stayed in my arms and seemed to think on many things. Her sad, and slightly embarrassed expression told me she didn’t quite know why I was being so nice and helping her but I didn’t care. I’d done this many times for Luca and Lady alike. Even so, I would carry an injured pokemon to help no matter if I had spent my life with them or just happened upon them on a path.

When I entered the house Luca worriedly met me at the door and looked at the blood on my arm and Elli’s blood stained paw. Immediately she tried to help, as did my mother, who also saw us pass and followed me inside. I insisted we were fine and that I could handle it, but Luca wouldn’t leave even when my mom did. My Lucario mate followed me to the bathroom where I set Elli in the bathtub and set the water to a cool temperature. Elli was still silent, but this time for a different reason, and it was apparent in her eyes. She no longer had a cold, vacant look when she looked at Luca and I, or anyone else. It was more of a scared look, as if she wanted to believe she could trust us now, but wasn’t sure.

After setting Elli in the tub and asking Elli to hold her paw under the flow I went to the small closet just outside the bathroom. Luca was already there, trying to figure out what bottles and bandages I would want. She still wasn’t too knowledgeable in modern medicine, even the basics… so I helped her out. She did have the gauze and ace bandage right, so I reached for a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and some Plumosporin antiseptic. Luca looked at me with an apologetic look, but I only smiled back.

I set about giving Elli a little bit of a bath in addition to treating her wound. Meanwhile, Luca tried to figure out what had happened as she tended to my arm. She didn’t ask me though. Instead, she caringly asked Elli if she was ok and what happened to her paw. Elli didn’t know quite how to reply, not wanting to make Luca mad, but at the same time still feeling like she deserved the Lucario’s scorn for all she had done. Yet, there seemed to be another part of her that wanted to beg for forgiveness.

“I-I cut myself digging…” She began with a hollow tone. It was a sufficient explination even though it was simple and Luca was willing to leave it at that, but the Glaceon found some courage after an awkward silence. “I-I’m sorry Luca… For everything…” Elli managed to say softly after I had poured cupfuls of the cool water over her fur and let the tub drain. She was still bleeding a little, but it would stop soon enough once the wound was dressed.

“For what?” Luca asked innocently as she managed to finish wrapping my own wound. Elli turned to look at her confused, wondering how she didn’t know what they were talking about.

“This will sting a bit. Try and hold still.” I warned before dribbling the hydrogen peroxide over Elli’s paw, getting her cut and her worn claws in one shot, though it would take a few more pours to completely clean them. Elli whined softly at the bubbling pain, but it wasn’t the worst thing in the world.

“For… everything I said at the Darkrai place. And… for biting Felix…” Elli managed to say between my second and third pours, making an effort to reconcile her feelings with Luca.

“It’s ok… I understand what you were going through.” Luca replied, though she didn’t look at Elli due to the painful memories talking about the lab brought up. Elli watched as Luca replied and the Glaceon’s ears laid back. Luca’s expression wasn’t comforting to her and only served to reinforce that Luca hated her. In an effort to help, I moved my elbow slightly towards Luca as she inspected her wrapping of my arm. The hint worked as it got Luca to look up at me enough to see me move my eyes suggestively towards Elli. Seeing what her unconscious actions had done Luca tried to reassure her a little more.

“I’m sorry Elli! I didn’t mean that to sound fake. I really do understand… it’s just… hard to think about.” Luca continued.

“There you go. Just don’t use it too much until it’s healed.” I commented as I finished wrapping Elli’s paw just as Luca stopped speaking. Admittedly it wasn’t ideal for a pokemon but it would do I figured.

“Thank you Felix…” Elli said and a bit shyly took her paw from my hand.

“I’ll get a towel to dry you off.” I added with a small smile and went back to the closet.

“You were so nice to me… I’m sorry I came between you and Felix…” Elli continued, hoping Luca knew she was sincere.

“It’s ok Elli. Really. I… kind of needed it actually. It made me realize how dependant I was on him. So… now we’re more equal. Really I guess I should be thanking you, but it’s in the past now.” Luca answered softly so I wouldn’t hear with my “inferior” human ears. Elli was about to protest when her sad expression was met with a sad, yet appreciative gaze. As a final gesture though Elli nosed Luca’s paw to get her to pet her, which Elli leaned into thankfully when Luca took the invitation. As I came back I saw Luca smile and make another pass over the Glaceon’s ear.

After drying Elli off and helping her out of the tub Adi ran in with tears streaming from his eyes. Apparently one of the girls had seen Elli’s bloodied paw and told the eevee kit his mother got her paw chopped off… Needless to say… she was in trouble for doing so.

In a much more loving manner than we’d ever seen from Elli she assured her son she was ok and thanked him for his concern with a lick and a nuzzle. Adi was a little confused, but he liked the attention, and happily returned the affections. A while later he was convinced his mother had all four paws and returned to playing, though with a bit of resentment towards Zina until Lady made her apologize.

Finally, the day drew to a close, but there was no sign of Aria or Osa coming to escort us “home.” Knowing it wouldn’t be long and, according to Lekan, they wouldn’t wait till morning, Luca and I took the chance to pack our things into an old camouflage duffle bag of dad’s. I threw in some clothes, not knowing what would be available in the past, while Luca added some of her favorite snacks, claiming my mom had gone out to get them for us… My mate only smiled at me as we packed. She didn’t seem the least bit sad by our departure, but I couldn’t say I felt the same way. I was leaving the only home I’d ever known, and the only family I had before Luca. I guessed it was just that the new experience was making me anxious. Luca picked up on my feelings though, and tried to at least reassure me with the fact that we would still be together, and starting a life of our own. Her sentiment did help greatly, and if it weren’t for her support, I might not have had the courage to leave that night.

At about 11pm Lekan came up to find Luca and I, saying it was time. How he knew I had no idea, perhaps by wave speech from Aria, but we didn’t protest. I shut off the TV and grabbed our bag before following Lekan. Everyone knew this was coming, but it didn’t make this any easier. Ruki had set about informing my family while Lekan fetched us. The happiness of the day had slowly waned as the sun went down, but we found a warm sending off party when we entered the kitchen. Mom, dad, and Ashley all took their turns giving us hugs and wishing us the best before letting all our pokemon friends and family do the same. Lady, Umbreon, and the kits came to me next while Leo and Latias went to Luca. I pet my oldest friend behind her ear, getting her to smile and murr before I kissed her forehead, while whispering “I love you” in her ear. She gave me a sweet lick in return and replied “I’ll love you forever.” To which I could only smile and hug her again.

Once Lady was satisfied I gave Umbreon a hug, which he tried not to be embarrassed about since he didn’t know what affection he should show towards me. After the older canines I picked up Jem to give him a hug as well as a scratch behind his ears, repeating with the eevee sisters as well. All of them said goodbye and that they’d miss us, which was very sweet to hear from the little creatures. Even if the sisters did run off to play right after their goodbyes… After them I got my turn with Leo, who came in to hug me, though a little shyly with all the people around.

“Take care buddy. We’ll be back.” Was all I could think, and manage, to say as I hugged my son tightly while rubbing his shoulder.

“I love you dad…” He replied calmly, without a hint of sadness, knowing he would see us again.

“I love you too son.” I answered with a small, proud chuckle as I squeezed him a little tighter before we let each other go. Latias gleefully took his place though, hugging me tight and nuzzling her head to my neck with a purr.

“Bye uncle Feli!” She chirped happily, which was a little weird to hear considering she and my son were…

“I’ll see you later Latias, take care of Leo for us.” I answered, and returned her eager hug, as well as giving her a kiss on the cheek. She giggled at the kiss and gave me one in return, so as not to be outdone, before flying around behind Leo as he stood beside my sister. Due to all the commotion Tarzan decided to see what was going on, but Whiskers and Fuzz toes wanted nothing to do with something so hectic. So for the last member of my group I knelt down and pet the large cat as I told him I’d miss him. Oddly enough, even though I could understand pokemon now Tarzan said nothing. He only rubbed into my petting hand and gave a low rumbling purr of happiness. Despite not hearing anything from him I knew he wished us well, and as I stood to leave he sat to watch. Finally, as Tarzan came to me, Elli went to Luca, with Adi now sticking closer to her than he had been as of late. It seemed as though the Glaceon had rightfully become the mother figure in the pup’s eyes. Elli thanked Luca for all she had done, but resisted the urge to apologize once more. Instead she told Luca she was happy for us and hoped everything turned out alright.

The one person I didn’t see was Kail. It saddened me a little that he wouldn’t come to say goodbye but I figured he had his reasons, and I knew we would see him again at some point so I tried not to let it bother me.

With all our hugs kisses and sentiments done and spoken it was time for us to leave. So, resisting the urge to cry, I hefted the duffle bag onto my shoulder with a deeper breath than needed, and moved to open the door for the three Lucario with me. Giving a last smile, wave and goodbye to my loving family the four of us left. I could see the tears welling up in mom’s eyes and I felt them in mine as well as I shut the door behind me.

With a sigh I turned to see not three but four Lucario waiting for me outside. At first I thought it was Aria, but with a closer look I saw this one was male. Apparently Kail had decided to say goodbye after all.

“I can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done for me Felix, and you as well Luca. Please, if you need anything at all, don’t hesitate to ask.” He began, trying to sound as though he weren’t bothered by our leaving.

“We won’t Kail. Thank you.” Luca answered for me as I wiped my eyes before walking up to him.

“We’ll keep you in our minds and hearts no matter where we are. And it’s I who should be thanking you. If it hadn’t been for you I wouldn’t have survived the first time I was mortally wounded.” I said with a grin and a bit of a laugh, though my tears continued to slowly well up. As I reached the Lucario I set down my bag and extended a hand to him. He gave me his paw to shake hands but I pulled him into a hug. Kail blushed and didn’t know quite how to respond, but soon figured to hell with it and put his free arm around me for a brief moment before I let him go to spare him further embarrassment. “If you would, please look after Leo? He and Latias are quite… close. I’d just like if he had someone to go to.” I continued after letting Kail go, to which he nodded with a “Mhmm.” in agreement.

“Thank you Kail. Take care.” Luca added and freely embraced him, causing him to flush deeper than he did with me, but still put his arms around her.

“Thank you… for trusting me back then.” He whispered to her softly when she didn’t let go as quick as I had. She gave him a kind smile before kissing him on the lips briefly as a sincere thank you. Stunned, Kail returned her kiss but stood there frozen for a split second as she released him.

“Goodbye Kail. We’ll see you all again in time.” I said as we turned to leave, waving one last time to Kail before he headed inside.

After just a few steps, I felt Luca take my hand in her paw, and I gently squeezed her back, needing the support as well. I looked over to her as we walked down the road in the dark of near midnight to see her wipe a tear away and look up at me. She was sad but there was a happy loving look in her wide eyes that told me she was grateful to be starting a real life with me. And if I had to guess, I’d say the same look was in my eyes as well.

We shortly reached the tree line down the road from my home, and about an eighth of a mile past that, the joining where coming the opposite direction I had once split from Lekan and Ky. At that fork there were two familiar figures. Osa stood next to the slightly smaller Aria, waiting for us. When we came within 20 feet of them they turned their backs to us and tore open a hole in time. Just as we reached them they stepped to the side to let the four of us enter first, and in the instant it too for us to transverse the dimensional rift… we were home.

As I had come to realize the time of day we left in was the time of day we arrived at on the other side of the portal. So it was a dark night, except for an absolutely gorgeous sky, filled with stars. Since there were no lights there was no light pollution to obstruct the twinkling sparkles in the sky. Thankfully, after having hiked a ways in the dark since leaving my family, my eyes had adjusted to the dark and I could see the lucario village I had visited before. Except now there were only one or two Lucario and humans out on the paths. They paid us only little head, giving a look of curiosity but not scorn as we passed.

Soon enough, Osa and Aria turned to face the rest of us and bid us goodnight before heading off to their own huts. Since Luca and I didn’t have a home of our own yet, Lekan and Ruki put us up for the night, where Luca and I happily slept; snuggled close together on the makeshift bed/couch they had originally made for Luca.

The next morning we awoke to the sun peaking through the loose draping door at about 10:30 am. Ruki and Lekan were already up, with both of them having headed out to do whatever it was that they did, but they left us a note. It looked to be written with charcoal from a fire, and said Brennus would be waiting for us at the temple to help us begin our new lives. So after sharing a loving kiss with my true mate, a bit of waking up, and a bite to eat, the two of us headed out to meet the elder Lucario.

Once again the town was abuzz with activity and life, mainly with the laughter and playing of the younger members of the town. Among them I spotted the girl from my visit, laughing and chasing the same Riolu she was with before towards a path in the woods. I could only smile at them before they disappeared down the path. Luca seemed to spot them too as she walked a little closer to me after that and took my hand in her paw. As we came up on the temple however, we found Brennus wasn’t in his normal place. Instead, the graying Lucario approached us from the entrance as if he had known we would arrive at that very moment.

“Would you like a tour?” He asked us casually as he met us.

“Sure! If you wouldn’t mind that is. Luca had to show me how to get here...” I answered, getting a grin from Brennus and a giggle from Luca.

And so it began… Our new lives.

Chapter End Notes:

Ok guys and gals. There it is. The one I hope I don't disapoint you with. I've had a few comments the ending is sad. v.v So I apologize. I hadn't intended it to be so. I hope you can forgive me. As always I appreciate comments, concerns and reviews. ^^

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