Note: This ended up being pretty long, so I split it up into 2 parts.
I'd like to thank MidnightFox for beta reading this for me, and as always he was a great help in making this a finished product : ). I hope you enjoy the story!
God, why is it so hot out here...
William was walking at a brisk pace towards the outskirts of his city, cursing the heat of the afternoon sun as he wiped the sweat off of his forehead. He was wearing a plain white T-shirt and jeans, and had on a pair of work gloves. Glancing at his watch, he picked up his pace into a light jog, berating himself for sleeping in. He was making his way to his worksite, which was quite a ways away from his house.
The city William found himself living in was surrounded by a dense forest, full of pokémon who have made it their home. Unfortunately, it was William's job to help clear out the foliage and trees of certain areas in order for the city to expand. He didn't enjoy his work-- destroying the places where pokémon live-- but it was currently his only job opportunity, and he needed the money.
Ever since he was a kid, he always longed to be a pokémon trainer, having battles and traveling all over the land. However, pokémon training wasn't very popular in this city, and it was seldom that any trainers passed through at all, let alone started off there. There wasn't even a pokémon store, and William vaguely remembers there only being a small pokémon center on the outskirts, though it was always empty. Still, even though he was nineteen already, he held onto his dream, hoping that one day he could afford to leave this city and become a pokémon trainer, even if his chances were slim to none.
After jogging for about 10 minutes, he finally made it out of the city and into the forest surrounding it. As he slowed down to catch his breath, he spared another look at his watch. Ah crap, 5 minutes left. In a full sprint, he took off towards the area to be cleared out, knowing that he could make it in time if he didn't slow down. However, just as he started running, something out of the corner of his eye caught his attention. He stopped and stared at a nearby bush, where he could have sworn he saw a pair or red eyes staring at him. He looked around feeling slightly uncomfortable, then with a shrug, he continued running, already angry at himself for wasting time.
"Hey, has William arrived yet...? We need someone to clear out the trees in the south to make room for the heavy equipment!" shouted a large, round man as he got off of an expensive looking motorcycle. He was completely bald, dressed in a suit, and walked with an air of superiority as he pulled out a cigar, lighting it while walking towards one of the workers. "Well...?" he stated, impatiently waiting for a response.
"W...well sir, nobody has seen him yet. He must be running a little late again...Wait, there he is right now!" he claimed, pointing towards the line of trees behind the man. He slowly turned his head, taking a long drag from his cigar as he caught sight of William running over to him.
William gave the man in the suit a friendly wave as he approached, breathing heavily. The man ignored his gesture and gave him a scowl, tapping on his watch. Confused, William looked down at his own watch, seeing that he had made it on time.
"Good afternoon sir, I made it on time today." He said, smiling despite the unfriendly look he was receiving in return.
"Barely..." was his only response before he turned away from him, pointing at a group of trees. "We need you to cut those down by hand to make a path for the bulldozer and trucks to come in from the main road. Oh, and sorry, all of our chainsaws are in use right now. Gonna have to make due with an axe. Once you cut them down, we will have a team come in to move them, so you just worry about the cutting."
William looked in the direction indicated, bringing a hand up to his head with a long sigh. There were at least thirty, maybe even forty large trees that were separating the site from the road! In his mind, he was thinking Are you serious... but he knew better than to say it out loud. The large man turned and slowly strolled away. After a few steps, he turned his head back, shouting, "And try to finish it by today, will ya!" With that, he continued on his way, finding someone else to yell at.
As William cursed his luck, his friend Isaac came running over, a large axe in his hand. "Hey, overheard what your job for today is. Sucks to be you eh?" he teased, handing the axe over. "Better get to work if ya wanna finish in time!" Isaac ran back to do whatever task he had for the day, leaving William standing there, axe in hand and already feeling tired. He turned to the trees he was ordered to get rid of, assessing his assigned area. Well, guess I better get to work... With another long sigh, he trudged over to the closest tree and began hacking away.
It had only been about 2 hours, and William was already half-way done. He looked around, inspecting the fallen trees that were scattered all around him. Hard to believe I did all this with just an axe!
Just then, he heard a loud explosion behind him, followed by screaming! He quickly turned around, seeing the blazing mess that was once his boss's motorcycle. Surrounding the mess were his fellow workers, who were all running in random directions. William tossed his axe aside and ran into the commotion, wondering what the hell was going on.
"My motorcycle!!! You bastard pokémon!" his boss shouted, staring at the wreckage.
William looked around frantically, trying to make sense of the situation. He tried to ask some of his fellow workers, but he couldn't get any answers through all the yelling.
"Why is it attacking us!?!?!"
"Where did that filthy pokémon get to?"
"My arm, it's burned! Help me!"
Suddenly, a large stream of fire burst through the surrounding bushes, heading straight for Isaac! Frozen with terror, he merely stood there, gaping at the torrent of flames fast approaching him. William dashed towards him, knocking him down just as the fire rushed over them. After a moment, William got up, helping Isaac get to his feet as well.
"What is going on here?!?" William asked, looking around but still not seeing the source of all this chaos.
"It's a pokémon, man! A really pissed off pokémon! I think we were tearing down its home or something, and it's trying to get us all out." He replied, shakily looking around. "Well, I'm doing what it wants and getting the hell outa' here!" Isaac gave him a pat on the shoulder, and then sprinted back towards the city.
William looked around once more, trying to decide what he should do. At that moment, a white blur leapt at him, knocking him down as it landed a ways away. Dazed, he stood back up and wiped his eyes. Once he looked up, he finally saw what was attacking them. It's a Ninetales! We must be near its den or something!
"Don't just stand there like idiots! Kill that vermin!" shouted the bald man, pointing at the snarling Ninetales. The workers that remained in the area surrounded the pokémon, armed with axes, shovels, and even a few chainsaws. The Ninetales quivered as it looked around, realizing that it was trapped. However, it was determined to fight its way out. As everyone charged it at once, the Ninetales leapt up and over them, glaring at the man in the suit.
"Come on you little bitch...come get me!" he taunted, reaching a hand into his back pocket. The Ninetales furiously leapt up at him, intent on biting his smirking face off. Just as it was about to snap down on him, he leaned back and thrust his hand up into the Ninetales' body. With a loud yelp, the pokémon tumbled onto the ground. The man gave a grim laugh as he held up a pocket knife covered in blood. Whimpering, the Ninetales scrambled to its feet and dashed back towards the safety of the forest, passing by a speechless William.
"Hey you!" the man said while pointing at William. "Follow that animal and finish it off, so it won't interfere with us again!" He grabbed an axe and tossed it to William's side. The blade split open the ground with a thunk, landing with its handle sticking up. William didn't want to hurt the pokémon, and just stood there looking around.
"Hurry up and get it! Or you're fired!" the man yelled, getting annoyed.
William hesitantly plucked the axe from the earth as he looked back to where the Ninetales ran, seeing that it left a trail of blood behind. Poor thing...it was just trying to protect its home... he thought as he followed the blood into the forest. William had always loved pokémon, and hated seeing one injured in such a way.Resting the axe on his shoulder, he continued following the trail into the forest.
As he walked, he frantically tried to decide how he would handle the situation. What do I do when I find it...? What if the poor thing is already dead? Or...or what if I have to finish it off to end its suffering? GRAH! There just aren't any ways for this to end well are there...?
Before he could continue his thoughts, he noticed that the trail led right into a large bush. Leaning forward, he slowly peered through the shrub, trying to be as quiet as possible. Beyond the bush was a sizable clearing; a single tree providing shade over the otherwise unmarked land. The afternoon sun brightly illuminated the area as birds filled the air with their songs. William gazed at the beautiful scenery for only a moment before he caught sight of the small, dark red marks forming a trail along the grass, leading towards the secluded tree. Near the base of the tree was a lone white figure.
"There it is..."
He moved through the shrub and slowly made his way towards the tree, not wanting to startle the injured pokémon. As he got closer, he began to hear a muffled whimpering. The Ninetales was lying down and licking its terrible wound, tears welling up in its eyes. Before long it ceased its licking and merely rested its head while staring up into the branches above. It was obvious that it understood the seriousness of the injury, and had decided to accept its dire fate.
The scene nearly put William in tears.
Deciding to get closer, he silently crept towards the tree. Taking deep, steady breaths, he gently put one foot in front of the other, before...
The soft noise was like a gunshot through the still air.
Before William could even look down to see the broken twig beneath his boot, the Ninetales' head snapped up and emitted a constant--but weak--growl. Its ruby eyes were fixed upon him, wondering who dared to intrude upon its dying site.
"Hey there...I'm not gonna hurt ya..." William urged, holding his free hand up while tightening his grip on the axe with his other. He didn't want to use it, but he would defend himself if he had to.
The pokémon began growling louder as it noticed the axe, glancing back and forth between it and him. However, after a moment, it ceased its growling and looked down, knowing that it lacked the energy necessary to fight back.
The poor thing...I don't think that it will last much longer out here. As he stepped closer, it simply rested its head on the ground, still holding his gaze.
Standing over it, he wondered what he should do. The light that seeped through the branches above gleamed off of the axe while he knelt beside the Ninetales. It closed its eyes, hoping that he would finish the job quickly. However, upon hearing a thud, it opened its eyes and saw the human staring at the gash on its side; the axe lying on the ground nearby.
"That looks awful...you've lost a lot of blood." said William, inspecting the wound.
Wanting to be left alone, the Ninetales tried to let out an intimidating growl, but all that managed to come out was a soft whine. Realizing that it was pointless to resist, it gave up on trying to do anything and just laid there, allowing the human to do whatever he wanted.
William ran his hand over the Ninetales' side, causing it to wince and whine. "We have to stop the bleeding quickly." he said as he took off his shirt and ripped a few strips off. He carefully wrapped the makeshift bandage around the pokémon a few times. By the time he finished, the Ninetales had fainted, and its breathing was shallow.
"You need proper treatment, and fast."
After sliding his gloves off, he gently moved the unconscious Ninetales around, trying to figure out the best way that he could carry it to town. He decided that it would be easiest to carry it over his back, but he didn't think he could keep that up for the whole trip back. Knowing that time was critical, he just figured he could cradle it in his arms and over his shoulder. As he maneuvered the pokémon in order to carry it properly, he happened to notice that it was a female, shifting her body around in his arms in an effort to find a comfortable position.
"Don't worry girl, you're gonna be fine...I hope." he muttered as he hefted her up, allowing her head and front paws to rest on his shoulder. Once he was sure that he had her steady, William took off back the way he came as fast as he thought possible while keeping the Ninetales stable. Since he didn't really know the forest very well, he merely followed the same blood trail that led him there in the first place.
After a few minutes, he began seeing fragments of his worksite through the trees and foliage. Best if I don't go in there... he thought as he made his way around the site and onto the road leading to town. Just imagining what his boss would say upon seeing him carrying the bandaged Ninetales sent a shiver down his spine. He would probably fire him and kill her, though he was unsure in what order.
Once he was free of the forest and on the road, the city was practically right in front of him. Now, where was that PokémonCenter?!?! I know I saw one somewhere around here at least once! He randomly ran around the city outskirts, hoping to come across it.
Since most people in this city saw pokémon as wild animals and nothing more, he was getting glares from just about everybody that he ran past. Every time he asked somebody for directions to the Pokémon Center, the only response he got was a "tch" or "uhhhh", but mostly he was just completely ignored. Shocked by the replies he was getting, he angrily stormed off, deciding to ignore the people to try and find the center himself.
"What does that guy think he's doing?"
"Why is he bringing one of those into town?"
"Doesn't he know that people live here?"
Several more people gave similar remarks as he sped by, but he kept on going, despite how much he wanted to give them all a piece of his mind.
Finally, after about 10 minutes of randomly wandering around he found the Pokémon Center. However, disappointment enveloped him as he approached the building. It was dark inside, and the automatic doors refused to budge.
"I'm afraid it closed down not too long ago."
William whipped around to face the person talking to him. It was an elderly man, and unlike everyone else that he ran into, he wasn't scowling, and had a friendly demeanor.
"Nurse Joy decided that her services would be better suited elsewhere, since hardly anyone ever needed her here. I think it would be best for you to get a first aid kit and try your best to heal that pokémon yourself. But you should hurry; your friend seems to be in bad shape."
Grateful for old mans advice, William smiled and gave a firm nod. "Thank you very much, you're very kind." With that, he turned and ran towards his apartment, remembering that there was a first aid kit underneath his bed. Along the way he noticed that the Ninetales' breathing seemed to be becoming more labored. He looked to where her wound was wrapped, and saw that the shirt was being bled through and his chest was smeared with red.
She needs more than a thin piece of material covering that injury...She won't last very much longer if it keeps bleeding like that.
He arrived near the entrance to his apartment complex, but skidded to a halt before making his presence known, hiding behind a corner. Posted right next to the gates was a large 'No Pokémon!' sign, along with a security guard. There's no time for this!!! Looking around, he spotted a little girl skipping down the sidewalk.
"Hey, can you do me a favor?" he asked as she passed by.
"Who are you? Why do you have a poké-" "SSSSHHHHH" she replied, before getting cut off by William.
"Look, I'll give you ten dollars if you tell that guard over there that someone needs help in 304" he said, reaching into his back pocket as he strained to hold the Ninetales with one hand. He pulled out his wallet and brought it to his face, pulling out a ten dollar bill with his mouth. After sliding the wallet back into his pocket, he grabbed the dollar from his mouth and held it in front of the little girl. "Well, what do you say...?"
"Hmmm, I want your shoes too." she answered, giving a devious smile.
"What!?! Seriously...? Siiiigh...Fine whatever, take them, just please hurry." William replied, kicking off his shoes.
The little girl giggled as she picked up his shoes and plucked the dollar from his hand. Without another word, she ran up to the security guard. "Excuse me, Mr. Guard? Somebody needs help in 304 right away! Please hurry!" The guard dramatically tossed his coffee aside and dashed towards apartment 304, which was in the opposite direction of William's apartment.
Without wasting a moment, William bolted from around the corner and into the complex, cursing the little girl every time he stepped on a rock.
He arrived at his door, and once again held up the Ninetales with one hand as he reached for his key. Once the door was open, he walked in and kicked the door closed, then ran over to his bed.
It was a cozy little apartment; basically one large room with a connecting kitchen area on one side, and a bathroom on the other, along with a small closet. In the main room was a work desk with a computer on it, a square table complete with four chairs, and in the corner was his bed and nightstand. Despite the small size of his abode, it was very well kept.
Gently leaning over the bed, he set her down, noticing that her breathing was so shallow at this point that it barely looked like she was breathing at all.
His arms and legs were sore from carrying her all the way there, but he ignored the dull pain, knowing that every second mattered at that point. He knelt down and reached under his bed for the first aid kit that he knew was there, before setting it down beside the pokémon and opening it, looking at what he had to work with. There was gauze, tape, a hooked needle with thread, and a bottle of alcohol. William knew that she needed stitches, but he had no clue how to properly do it himself. Desperate, he ran to his computer and pushed the power button. As it booted up, he ran to the kitchen and grabbed some rubber gloves and towels, tossing them onto the bed. Then he grabbed an electric razor and removed the bloodied cloth from her gash, shaving the small patch of fur surrounding her injury.
Now that the computer was ready, he quickly searched online for how to give stitches. Upon finding a legitimate medical website, he carefully read the instructions, then got up and went back to the Ninetales.
After donning the rubber gloves, he rubbed his hands together with alcohol. Then, he gently dabbed her wound with a towel, seeing that it was still open and bleeding. Once he put the towels around her, he sprinkled the wound with alcohol. He grabbed the needle and prepared himself, mentally reviewing how the website said he should do this. The earlier I finish, the better her chances will be... Without wasting another second, he stuck the needle through her flesh and began the 'operation.'
After about thirty minutes, he stood up straight and observed the aftermath of his impromptu surgery. He managed to stitch her up correctly and bandage her wound with gauze, and he was happy to see that the bleeding finally stopped. He was careful to not leave the wound contaminated, so she shouldn't get an infection. His primary concern now was if she had lost too much blood or not. The only thing he could do was wait and see. She was still passed out, though she did look a bit more relaxed than she did earlier.
"I've done all I can do..." he said as he removed his bloody gloves and tossed them on the nightstand. He grabbed his pillow and slid it underneath her head. "Guess I might as well go and try to keep my job. I'm sure that I can make up a good enough story to explain what took me so long by the time I get there." Taking one last look at the Ninetales, he slipped on a new pair of shoes and walked out the door, setting off back towards his worksite.
As soon as he set foot in the area, the bald man came rushing over to him.
"Where have you been! What happened to that crazed animal?" he shouted, crossing his arms as he inspected William. He immediately took notice of the fact that his shirt and axe were missing, and eyed the smeared blood on his chest. "Did you take care of it...?"
"Yeah, I did. Here's what happened. I tracked it deep into the forest. Finally, I found it lying underneath a tree. But, as I approached, it and three other wild pokémon leapt up at me!" He dramatically waved around his arms as he continued. "It was a fierce battle, but finally I emerged as the victor! However, the fighting led me astray, and I found myself lost in the forest. As I wandered around aimlessly, my arms tired and I ditched the axe, along with my gloves and shirt. Finally, a few minutes ago I stumbled across the road leading to town, so I simply followed it until I arrived here." During his storytelling, a small group of workers gathered near him.
The large man cautiously eyed him throughout his story. "That's quite a tale..." he said, scratching his chin. "Well, as long as that pesky pokémon is wasted, we can continue the work here." He turned to face the others. "You heard me, get back to work!" The small group disbanded and went back to what they were doing. The man turned back to William with a demanding look on his face. "Well...? Grab an axe and finish what ya started!"
"What...? I don't get the day off after my exhausting adventure...?"
"Not if you wanna keep your job, now get back to work." Without another word, the bald man turned around and walked away.
"You gotta be kidding me...I'm freakin' exhausted here."
Knowing that it was useless to argue with his boss, he stalked over to the equipment, grabbed an axe, and finished cutting the remainder of his assigned trees, trying his best to ignore the aching in his arms.
Two excruciating hours later, he was finally finished with the rest of his work. He treaded over to his boss, wiping the sweat from his brow.
"I'm finally finished sir." breathed William, his fatigue showing through his voice.
"Good to hear." was the man's only response. He turned to a group of workers that seemed to be on a break. "Hey! It's time to clear out those logs!" The team hastily ran over to where William had cut down the trees, beginning their arduous task of removing all the fallen trunks. The boss turned back to William. "Well, you're done. We won't need you again until Saturday, now get outa here."
Today was Tuesday, so that meant that he had four days (including today) to rest and recuperate.
"Thank you sir, see ya Saturday then." Happy to get a small vacation, William turned back to the city and began his walk home. He was curious about the Ninetales' condition and wanted to hurry, but his body was drained of energy, forcing him to trudge onward at a slow pace.
By the time he finally made it home the sun was already setting, the sky turning dark orange as the shining orb fell beneath the horizon. William entered his apartment and turned on the light, scanning the area to find the Ninetales in the same position as when he left. He went over to her, checking her wound and breathing. Her stitches were fine, and her breathing seemed to have improved slightly. In fact, if he didn't know any better he would say it looked like she was merely sleeping.
"Well, good to see a little improvement..." he muttered as he slid off his shoes.
Yawning, he went over to the kitchen for a bite to eat. His stomach was growling like an earthquake, since he hadn't gotten a chance to eat since breakfast. After devouring a quickly-made sandwich, he opened his closet door and pulled out a spare blanket, tossing it on the ground beside the bed. After turning off the lights, he tumbled to the ground and wrapped himself up in the blankets, quickly falling asleep after his debilitating day.
The Ninetales slowly shifted around on the bed, her senses gradually awakening to her surroundings. As she opened her eyes, she was greeted by a dark, empty room. She felt a dull aching throughout her entire body, and felt dazed as she peered around the motionless chamber.
She appeared to be alone; however, her nose told her that she wasn't.
She moved to stand up, but as she rolled off of her side, a sharp pain shot up through her right flank. Cringing, she fell back to her original position, craning her head to see the source of her anguish. Upon seeing the bandages, she stared at them with a confused look. Like most of the pokémon in the forest, she didn't know much at all about humans, let alone their medical procedures.
The last thing I remember is...those humans demolishing my den... she thought, sorting out her memories in order to make sense of her situation. Then, when I tried to make them leave, I was seriously injured by that large one... I ran away, and stopped when my body wouldn't allow me to continue...I thought I was gonna die. Then...then that one human found me and stood above me...and then...-- her mind went blank, unable to remember anything else. That human must have taken me here! What did he do to my wound? Why didn't he finish me?
Her eyes went wide as a horrifying thought crossed her mind.
Maybe he plans on eating me and is saving me for later...? No...I don't think humans eat pokémon...at least not my species...
The idea of becoming a meal was sickening, and she immediately tried to think of something else.
Just then, a horrifying sound-- which sounded to her like a snarling growl-- resonated throughout the room, reminding her that she was not alone. She rapidly whipped her head around, trying to find the source of the noise. Every time that it seemed to be over, it started up again a few seconds later.
After a few moments, the Ninetales realized that she was higher up than the ground around her, and must be on an elevated platform. She slowly maneuvered to the side of the bed that wasn't against the wall, careful not to strain her right side. To her surprise, the very same human from before was lying on the floor! Not only that, but he was also the source of the staggering growl! Though, he had his eyes closed and didn't move an inch, aside from the rise and fall of his heaving chest.
Huh...he seems to be sleeping. I guess humans make that monstrous noise while they are asleep. she thought, amazed that he himself could sleep through that disturbing uproar. In any case, I need to get out of here before he wakes up. That is, if I can figure out where "here" is...
Slowly adjusting herself to slide off of the bed, she shifted all of her tails to the side opposite of William, not wanting them to rouse him from his slumber. Gently, she leaned forward and placed a paw on the floor. However, as soon as she tried putting her weight on the shaky limb, she tumbled down to the soft carpet.
I feel too weak to do anything...even move...
She looked over to the human next to her. Her tails were splayed all over his body, but thankfully he still seemed to be sleeping. Breathing out a sigh of relief, she raised her tails off of him and tried to stand once more, spreading her weight out evenly on her trembling legs. Not knowing how to get out, she started limping around randomly, eventually making her way into the kitchen. The only way out that she could see was the window above the sink, though she doubted that she could make it up there in her current state. She decided to turn back and find another way out.
Just then, she felt one of her tails brush against something on the counter above her. Since her nine tails often bumped into things while she walked, she ignored it and continued.
She jolted at the loud, sudden noise, and made an effort to run away. However, her frail limbs failed her once again, and she crumpled down to the ground. Behind her on the marble floor was what used to be a drinking glass; now just a pile of shattered remains.
A flood of light illuminated the room, and her eyes were forced to close, protesting the sudden change. She slowly opened her eyelids, and saw two legs standing at the entrance to the kitchen. Alarmed, she jerked her eyes open.
There stood the human, staring right at her as he brought his hand down from the switch on the wall.
After being jolted from his sleep by a loud noise from the kitchen, the first thing William noticed was that his bed was empty. Worried, he dashed into the kitchen and turned on the light, seeing the poor Ninetales splayed out on the ground, next to the shattered remains of his favorite glass.
"Are you okay? You shouldn't be moving so soon." he said, rushing to her side. As he reached her, she cringed and tried to crawl away.
"I'm not gonna hurt you, I'm only trying to help you recover."
She stopped moving and looked at him with a quizzical expression.
"Yeah, I stopped your cut from bleeding," he said while pointing at the stitches. "...but you lost a lot of blood already. You should be resting right now." He moved a little closer and knelt beside her. She still seemed to be on edge, and he didn't think that she trusted him yet. Why should she? I'm probably the first human she has ever been in contact with, not to mention the fact that she has no idea where she is.
"Listen, after you were injured and ran away, my boss-- the guy that hurt you-- told me to go find you and kill you. I couldn't tell him no, so I went after you. After I found you, you passed out from blood loss. I took you back to my home-- here-- and fixed you up as best I could. Right now, you need rest while your body works to replenish the blood you lost. Frankly, I'm surprised that you are even able to move right now."
The Ninetales held his gaze throughout his explanation, wondering if she should trust him or not. If what he said was true, it would explain how she felt right now, along with her location.
"Oh, and you shouldn't be moving around for a little while. I've done all I can for the cut, and if it starts bleeding through the stitches, you're gonna be in trouble. I can't force you to do anything, and if you really wanna leave, I'll show you the way out. But the only way for you to get back to normal is to rest."
The Ninetales gently stood up as he finished, looking at the floor as she sorted through her thoughts. After a moment, she looked up at him once again. Then, she walked past him and out of the kitchen.
Frowning, he figured that was her way of saying that she wanted to leave. He stood up and hurried back into the main room in order to catch up and open the door for her.
However, before either of them made it to the door, the Ninetales collapsed once again.
Worried, William rushed to her side to see what was wrong. Her eyes were closed, and she appeared to have fainted again. He checked the stitches, just to be sure, and gave a sigh of relief when he saw that they were fine.
"Told ya that you needed rest, dummy..." he muttered, smiling as he lightly ran his fingers through the soft fur of her cheek.
Then, he gently scooped her up into his arms and carried her back to his bed. He laid her down on her side without the wound, so no unnecessary pressure was put on the stitches. Again, he set her head on his pillow, trying to make her as comfortable as possible.
Don't worry, you'll be able to go back to the forest in no time. Just make sure that you feel better before rushing out of here... he thought as he idly ruffled the large, fluffy patch of fur that adorned her head. Not wanting to further disturb her, William walked into the kitchen and looked out the window, noticing that it was still completely dark out. He glanced at the clock on his microwave, seeing that it was only about 3:00 a.m.
With a yawn, he turned off the kitchen light and went back to his place on the floor, where he quickly dozed off once again.
Ears perked up, the Ninetales gradually opened her eyes to a bright light. The sun was shining through the bedside window, brilliantly illuminating the room around her.
As her eyes adjusted to the light, she stretched out her legs and craned her neck, opening her maw with a great yawn. Then, she looked around, noting the emptiness of the room; along with a bowl of clear, glistening liquid on the nightstand near her head. Rolling to her feet, she stood up-- feeling only a little bit stronger than last night-- and loomed over the bowl, giving it an experimental sniff.
She hadn't realized how thirsty she was until she started lapping at the clear nectar, gulping it down as fast as she could. She realized that it had been just about an entire day since she last had anything to drink; or eat for that matter.
As if on queue, a delightful scent began filling the air, snaking its way into the Ninetales' nostrils as she finished off the water. Accompanying the aroma was a sizzling sound coming from the kitchen.
Taking the hint from her roaring stomach, she slid off of the bed and stood up, ignoring the trembling feeling in her legs as she made her way towards the source of the sounds and smells. As she peered through the entryway, she saw William standing over a part of the counter that looked different than the rest, poking at various things with a weird, flat-ended-headed stick. Though she was still wary of the human, she found herself strolling on in, wanting more of the delicious scent.
The tails waving through the air caught William's attention, and he turned his head to acknowledge the curious pokémon.
"Hey there, did ya sleep well?" he asked as he returned to his work. The Ninetales continued to slowly move closer, trying to see what was on the stove in front of him. "I'll take that as a yes...anyway, I figured that you would be hungry. I'm not exactly sure what pokémon like to eat, so I just made some bacon and eggs for the both of us. If you don't like them, I'll dig around for something else." he continued, putting about half of the food on a plate once it was finished cooking. After a moment, William grabbed the plate and set it down on the floor in front of the Ninetales, giving her a friendly smile as she looked up at him curiously.
"Go on, try it. You're gonna like 'em."
Without any second thoughts, her hunger took over and she snatched a piece of bacon off of the plate.
It's delicious! she thought, wondering how something could taste so good.
It would have taken an army to keep her from the plate at that point, and she eagerly took another bite, this time trying the eggs. She liked them too, though not as much as the bacon.
While she continued eating her breakfast, William went into the other room to get her empty bowl. As he came back into the kitchen, he was surprised to see that she was already finished and licking the plate clean. He gave her a grin as he took the plate from her, put the rest of the food on it, and set it back down, along with a refilled bowl of water.
Oh well, I guess I can go without breakfast today.
Without questioning his actions, the Ninetales resumed her eating, but at a slower pace than with the first plate. Once she finished that food, she gently lapped at the water to wash the food down, feeling full and content with the meal.
William took the plate once again and set it in the kitchen sink, running water over it. The Ninetales finished drinking and looked up at him, curious about why he fed her and treated her so nicely. While he finished cleaning the dish, he noticed that she was staring at him.
"I assume you enjoyed the food?" he asked, giving her a friendly smile.
Despite herself, she gave a happy yip of approval. She could not deny how much she enjoyed her meal, and deep down she hoped that she would be able to taste the strange food again.
"Well that's good, I'm glad I could be of service." He walked over to pet her head. She was cautious at first, but was entranced by the feeling of his hand rubbing against her soft fur. She especially liked how it felt when his hand reached behind her ears, to which she closed her eyes and smiled.
After a moment he ceased his rubbing and walked out of the kitchen, motioning for her to follow. He led her back to his bed, and asked her to jump up. She complied, and sat down while giving him a curious stare.
"Can you lie back for a moment? I'd like to check your injury." asked William in a gentle voice. "Oh, lemme take off your bandages first. And I'll change them while I'm at it."
She didn't really understand what he was going to do, but figured that if he wanted to hurt her, then he would have by now. She sat patiently while he unwrapped the gauze from around her body, and rolled to her side once he finished. She also gave the stitches an inspection herself, not aware of exactly what they were.
"Well, looks like they are holding up fine."
Still, she looked back at him, and then the stitches again, wanting to know exactly what was happening.
"Heh, well what I did was I used a needle and thread-- a small string-- to close the cut. Basically, the thread is holding your cut closed so it can heal properly."
She didn't like the idea of having a 'string' inside of her, and was becoming uneasy.
"Don't worry girl, I can remove them in a few days once your cut heals. You're actually healing pretty quickly, I didn't know that pokémon could recuperate that fast."
As he explained, he grabbed the extra gauze from the first aid kit and started wrapping the fresh bandages around her. "And," he continued, "once I remove the stitches, you are free to go back to your home."
The Ninetales looked at the ground at his statement, feeling disheartened.
Oh crap, I forgot that we must have destroyed her home...or at least the area it was in.
"Um...or I can help you find a new home if you like." he stated, trying to cheer her up as he finished up her bandaging. She looked up at him, wondering exactly how he could help her. He wasn't even really sure himself, and tried to think of something to say in order to change the subject.
"Well, I have to go grocery shopping. That breakfast was the last of my food." he said as he stood up from the bed and stretched. Well, it was true at least; he did need to get some food, unless he wanted to go the entire day without eating.
The Ninetales looked away from him shyly, realizing that he must have given her the remainder of his food stock earlier. Wanting to at least show him some gratitude, she got up and stood on the bed next to him, giving him a sweet lick on his cheek. Slightly laughing, he bent down and gave her a hug while stroking the fur on her back. She unconsciously nuzzled against him, before he released her with a kiss to her forehead.
"Well, I better get going. I should be back soon, so just relax and rest until I get back, okay?" he told her as he made his way towards the door and opened it.
The Ninetales gave a slight nod, but her mind still meandered on the kiss he gave her. She was slightly blushing as he gave a slight wave and closed the door behind him, leaving her alone in the room. She didn't know how humans usually showed their love for each other, but she did know that a kiss was usually a sign of affection.
The quietness of the room gave her a chance to think as she got comfortable and plopped down on the bed, her nine tails splayed all over the place.
He definitely is a strange human...First he saves my life while the rest of his kind want me dead. Then, he gives me all of his food. And now, he hugs me and treats me with a kindness that most would never give to a stranger...Back in the forest, no other pokémon would have given me a second glance if they saw me injured, let alone treat my wound. And nobody I have ever met shares food with another, unless they are mated... and here comes this human out of nowhere, treating me better than anyone else ever has. Her thoughts were overwhelming her, and she was not sure how to handle the situation. It just didn't make sense to her after her years of living in the wild.
This is exactly how I imagined I'd be treated by-- her eyes went wide at her own thoughts-- ...by a mate...
The very idea hit her like a ton of bricks. She doubted that he actually cared for her on that level, but she couldn't ignore how close he was to her image of an ideal mate. She never had a mate before and lived alone her entire life, fending for herself. However, she always tried to imagine how a perfect mate would be like. He would be caring, selfless, he would hold her dear, and he would do everything in his power to keep her safe; and William was fitting in perfectly with that description, except for the fact that he was a human of course.
With these thoughts floating around her head, she slowly drifted off to sleep...
As she slept, her dreams seemed to be replicating her thoughts; she found herself happily running throughout the forest, accompanied by a fellow Ninetales whose personality strangely resembled William's. Before long, they settled down underneath the shade of a tree and cuddled into one another, just happy to be together.
With a smile on her face, she continued to sleep. At the moment, she was unaware and uncaring about the real world and her life in it; the only thing she had on her mind was the happiness she felt within her dream world.
Suddenly, a noise from inside her dream caused her and her dream-mate to look up into the nearby foliage. A large human-- the very same one that had stabbed her-- came running towards them. Her mate stood up and shot a Flamethrower directly at him, but the flames just passed right through him, leaving him unharmed as he came upon the two. Nothing her mate did would stop him; his bites, clawing, tail pummeling, everything went right through him as if he were a ghost. She tried to get up and help him, but her body was unable to move even an inch. The man gave her a wicked smile, completely ignoring the other Ninetales, and stabbed down at her with the same knife as before! Pain shot up through her body as the knife made contact, and tears began to blur her vision as she saw the man simply walking away, leaving her there to writhe in pain. Her dream-mate nuzzled against the side of her face, whimpering. When she didn't move, he began rubbing harder, as if trying to snap her out of it. But, she lacked the strength to respond and slowly closed her eyes as darkness enveloped her vision.
Back in the real world, William continued to gently rub her cheek in an effort to rouse the Ninetales from her slumber. He got home about three hours ago, and he decided to let her keep resting as he took the time to look up more information on pokémon, since he and everyone else in this city was clueless on the subject. However, a few moments ago the Ninetales started to toss in her sleep with a pained expression, obviously having a bad dream.
"Hey, wake up." he whispered as he continued stroking her soft fur.
Eventually, the Ninetales' eyes slowly parted. Her ruby red orbs focused on William, who was smiling down at her while resting his hand on her head.
"Hey there, it looked like you were having a bad dream, so I decided to wake you up." he said in a gentle voice. Happy to see him-- and happy to be out of that dream-- she sat up and gave his cheek a lick, then sat down in front of him and returned his smile.
"Heh, I'm happy to see you too. How is your cut doing?"
As a response, she stood up and leapt onto the ground, landing effortlessly before running around the room. Although she didn't feel 100% better, she was happy to see that her body could once again move about freely, and didn't feel nearly as weak as before.
"Wow, I guess you're doing fine then! It amazes me how fast pokémon can heal..." said William as the Ninetales finished her little exercise, bounding up to him. "...at this rate, I think that I can remove your stitches in a couple days." Upon hearing that, she gave a joyous yip, running in circles around William. He could only laugh at the spectacle, before she started to poke at him with her tails while running about him.
As she continued circling around him while assaulting him with her tails, he smiled and got ready to grab the playful fox. However, just as he lunged for her, she side stepped from her path, giggling as he fell forward onto the ground. With a slight "ouch," he got back to his feet and gave her a playful glare. Without warning, he leapt at her once again, this time keeping his balance after she dodged his 'attack.'
They continued to play around for about an hour, before settling down to just talk; even though she couldn't really respond. He told her about himself, the city, and how he ended up with the job that got him in yesterday's situation. Then, she was able to answer his 'yes or no' questions by nodding when he asked her about her life in the forest.
The day flew by as they learned more about each other, and they were both happy to get a better understanding of one another. However, eventually they were interrupted by a loud growl from William's stomach, to which they both looked at before giving a light chuckle.
"Oh yeah, I still haven't really eaten anything today." he claimed as he stood up and rubbed his stomach. Wow, it's already getting dark! Guess we lost track of time... he thought, seeing that the sky was already turning a deep purple, and that a few bright stars were already peering through the clouds above.
"What do ya say to some dinner? I bet you're pretty hungry too."
With a nod, she happily followed William into the kitchen, where he dug into his newly-stocked fridge for several different things.
Once he finished preparing their meals-- a beef and vegetable stir-fry (he read that pokémon could eat almost anything that humans could, and pokémon-specific food was not really a necessity)-- they ate together at the table in the main room. He set up a few chairs together on one side so that she could sit on them comfortably while leaning forward to eat. Though she didn't enjoy the vegetables nearly as much as the meat, she finished everything on her plate, grateful for the food.
After they enjoyed the meal, they decided to get ready for bed. With all of the time she already spent resting, the Ninetales didn't really feel too sleepy, but she knew that William must be tired and didn't complain. She jumped onto the bed, and turned around to see him preparing the floor for himself. Getting his attention with a small whimper, she moved to the foot of the bed and used one of her tails to lift open the covers for him. Seeing this, he dropped the spare blanket back onto the floor and gave the Ninetales a thankful smile, petting her head as he slipped underneath the covers. Then, he clicked off the lamp on the nightstand and fell asleep, accompanied by his new friend.