Leap of Faith

Author: Whiscash
Disclaimer: I don’t own Pokémon or have any affiliation with anyone who does.
Rating: G.
Pairing: Gypsyshipping [Quilava/Kirlia].
Warnings: None, unless you’re somehow offended by Pokémon/Pokémon stuff.
Notes: Written for Igottapoo for the Shippers Secret Santa exchange. Merry (belated) Christmas, hope you like it! ^^ Also, anyone remember Stella, the CotD from the It’s Mr Mime Time episode way back in Kanto? Well, I used her shamelessly in this. Because I’m no good at creating OCs...and she’s pretty. XD;;



***





“You should.”

Quilava didn’t understand the world should. But then, he didn’t really understand humans at all. Humans were unpredictable, they were always changing their minds, never sure what they wanted. Pokémon were constant. They did whatever they did for an obvious reason; if that was what humans did, they did it for reasons Quilava would never understand.

Ever since he’d hatched from his egg in someplace warm and artificial and far from the wild, Quilava had been brought up to be a starter Pokémon. He’d be given to some kid who, he’d been told, “would be your very best friend!”

Maybe he should have been, but it hadn’t worked out like that. He’d been trained, definitely. But there hadn’t been much semblance of friendship. It had felt more like a business arrangement; he did what was expected of him, his trainer was happy. Until, one day, suddenly he wasn’t. It hadn’t been enough.

He was content in the wild; other Pokémon didn’t interfere with him, he could fend himself. He had no desire to be involved with humans ever again. But he was somewhat mystified by this blue-haired girl and her Mr Mime, apparently determined to convince him that he should be her Pokémon.

Quilava had been approached by trainers before, since he’d been left (“Abandoned is too harsh a word” his trainer had said, just before he’d walked off. “This is is where you should be, in the wild.”), many times, but they’d always ambushed him, come out of nowhere with their Pokémon, yelling commands and trying to catch him in a barrage of Pokéballs. This girl had been trying to reason with him, and her Mr Mime had made no attempt to attack. In fact, when he’d tried to stare the other Pokémon down, he had looked terrified.

“You don’t usually see Quilavas in the wild,” she was saying. “So you must be a trainer’s Pokémon, right?”

Quilava grunted. It seemed to tell her all she needed to know.

“Someone left you out here. That’s pretty rough.”

“Mime.” Mr Mime agreed, stopping short when Quilava glared at him.

“Okay, you don’t trust me right now.” she continued, unperturbed. “I get it. How can you, really? You don’t know anything about me-“ Suddenly, she dropped to her knees, reaching out as if to grab Quilava’s paw (but, sensibly, thinking better of it) and shake it. “Hi there! My name’s Stella. This is Mr Mime,” Her Pokémon smiled nervously. “and I’m not a trainer. Well, not in the sense you probably understand.” Seeing Quilava’s alarmed expression, she stood up smartly. “We run a Pokémon circus – and we need you to be a part of it!”

Quilava blinked. Whatever he’d been expecting, this wasn’t it.

“Voluntarily, though.” Stella amended. “It won’t work if you won’t cooperate. Which is why I’m not trying to catch you in a Pokéball. You must get a lot of that already.”

There was a long silence, during which Quilava was torn between going with her – just out of curiosity; he was sure he could take Mr Mime if it came to a battle – and running while he could.

“Okay, then.” she said eventually. “It looks like you’ve made your decision. It’s a shame, because…But I’m not going to force you. We don’t work like that.” She gave Quilava a parting wave, and reluctantly, Mr Mime did the same. “So, I guess this is goodbye!”

And with that, they turned and walked off.

Quilava stood for a while, watching her go. And then, suddenly, before he knew what was happening, he was running after her, Mr Mime staring at him quizzically.

Stella smiled down at him, a satisfactory gleam in her eye.

“I thought you might come back.”



***



“No, no – it’s left, right, then left. Okay, wait, stop it there-”

The music clicked off and Kirlia skidded to a halt, only just avoiding falling and landing on the hapless Mime Jrs either side of her. They leapt out of the way in a move that was almost more skilled than any they’d executed in the hours they’d been attempting to master a complicated dance routine.

It was pretty much impossible, Kirlia and everyone else was fully aware, to choreograph a routine that would both impress audiences and be easy to learn for two Pokémon very obviously not built for dancing. The trainer had been rapidly losing her patience and yelled at them a couple of times, prompting the smaller one to burst into tears and rehearsal have to be postponed while Kirlia did her best to soothe her and everyone else protected their eardrums.

Kirlia sank to the floor, exhausted, and closed her eyes while the trainer was preoccupied on her phone.

“Hello? No – it’s not really working out. Yes…I know…They’re not really dancers, though…I know…People won’t pay to see that…you’ve what? Really? Are you sure? Well, I hope so, because – okay, we’ll work something out. Yes, I’ll tell them.” She hung up, then told them, “Stella says you guys can take five.”

The two Mime Jrs looked happier than they had all day, and hugged each other, while Kirlia let out a long sigh of relief.

“So hopefully, you two can go back to what you were doing before – and, Kirlia?”

She looked up obediently.

“Apparently, we have a new partner for you.”


***


“So this is where we’ll be working!”

Quilava, who had followed Stella all the way from the forest, looked around doubtfully. This “Pokémon circus”, as she called it, didn’t look like much. It looked like a huge tent in an open space surrounded by trailers with people and Pokémon rushing around and shouting.

He looked at her.

“Don’t look at me like that.” she said sharply. “This is a very complex operation, you know! We have all kinds of acts. One of which I hope you’ll be taking part in!”

Quilava wasn’t sure about this now. He’d followed her, he admitted to himself, mostly out of curiosity. But this was sounding a lot like hard work. He wasn’t interested in the prospect of doing any more hard work to please humans, especially when they might at any moment decide that his work wasn’t hard enough.

“It’s not hard.” she reassured him, unconvincingly. “All you have to do is – well. Let’s go meet your partner first.”

Quilava’s ears pricked up at that. Nobody had said anything about a partner. He recognized the word from his training days. Generally, he’d hear it used to describe the Pokémon he’d fight alongside in two-on-two battles. He wasn’t doing any of that again.

But he padded after Stella anyway, all the way up to an area at the back of the trailers, fenced off and containing a girl with shoulder-length brown hair and a frustrated expression, two anxious-looking Mime Jrs and a Kirlia slumped on the floor, sat hugging her knees, looking lost in thought.

The girl almost collapsed with relief. “Oh, Stella, you’re back! Thank God…” She looked around, then whispered not-so-discreetly, “I don’t think it’s working out…”

“Don’t worry, it will.” she said confidently, then bent to pat the Mime Jrs on the head. “Hi, you guys, how’re you doing? You’ve been dancing with Kirlia?”

“Mime.” the bigger one replied miserably.

“Well, don’t worry. We won’t need you to do that any more. You can go and practice your juggling.” She smiled at them, then nodded at the other girl. “Sarah, you go and help them.”

“But I…Kirlia…”

“Will be fine with me.” she finished, authoratively. “Oh, and this, by the way, is Quilava.”

She looked at him, doubtfully. “This is your big plan? To save the act?”

“He’ll be perfect.” She said it with such conviction that no one felt able to argue, and Sarah promptly scurried out, the Mime Jrs in tow.

Finally, the Kirlia raised her head, looking up at Quilava questioningly with huge red eyes.

“Hey, Kirlia,” Stella beamed, gesturing for her to come closer. “Come here, meet Quilava. He’s going to single-handedly save our act!” she added, dramatically.

Quilava doubted thissomehow. Kirlia must have shared his concerns, because she made a questioning noise.

“And Quilava, this is Kirlia. She’s been with us…how long? A few months now. She’s a beautiful dancer.” Kirlia blushed a little at this. “But her act lacks a certain something.” Stella admitted.

Kirlia nodded at Quilava, uncertainly. Since he was on all fours, she stood above him.

“Kirlia,” she said, with a nervous smile.

Quilava inclined his head in response. “Quil,” he replied.

This exchange seemed to satisfy Stella. “Right! Let’s get to work.”



***


Some time later, Kirlia was exhausted. She’d leapt, she’d twirled, she’d whirled leaves around her and hurled waves of psychic energy. But she felt elated.

Stella was a hard taskmaster; she always had been. She’d cracked her whip and yelled “No, no! Faster! Put more energy into it! But careful! You don’t want to burn her!”

Kirlia was used to this by now. But she wondered what kind of effect it was having on the new Pokémon – Quilava. He’d done his job just fine as far as she could tell, but he’d been quiet. Kirlia wanted to ask him if he was here for good, where he’d come from, why he was here now. But she felt too shy, and if she was honest, scared. He could look quite fierce.

Quilava grunted, expelling some leftover steam. Kirlia was impressed by the extremity of his power – she’d guessed he’d been a trainer’s Pokémon at some point. She wanted to ask him what that was like.

“Great work, guys!” Kirlia jumped – she’d almost forgotten Stella was still there. But she was smiling broadly, clearly satisfied with their performance. “I just hope we can keep that up in front of an audience! Quilava,” she added, noticing the other Pokémon’s disinterested expression, “you were amazing. Thank you so much. You’ve saved us. Hasn’t he?” She caught Kirlia’s eye.

Kirlia nodded enthusiastically, looking back at Quilava. He gazed at her, expressionless, but she was sure she could detect a glimmer of satisfaction.

He grunted again. But it sounded slightly more pleased this time.


***


“Let’s give it up for Machoke!”

The crowd roared in appreciation, as the Pokémon bowed and made to exit the ring.

“And now,” Stella continued, glancing over her shoulder to make sure the next two performers were standing where Machoke had just left, waiting to make their entrance, “please welcome our next act – a very special one, I should add. In fact,” She paused for dramatic effect. “Everyone here tonight is going to be one of the very first people to see this performed!”

The audience made an “Ooooh” noise.

Kirlia stole a sideways glance at Quilava. He stared straight ahead, refusing to give anything away.

“It’s Quilava and Kirlia!”

On cue, Kirlia came forward into the spotlight. She could feel the audience’s eyes on her, even as she went into the first part of her routine, twirling round and round.

A few seconds later, Quilava bounded out, radiating a fierce energy. As Kirlia continued spinning, he arched his back, and sprouted two magnificent, burning flames; one on his back and one on the crest of his head. In one swift movement, he sent three huge rings of fire hurtling towards her.

Kirlia ran and took a flying leap into the air, right through the blazing circles, the flames barely skimming the horns on the top of her head. She landed on her feet, effortlessly spinning on one leg. Then, before the flames could crash to the ground, a blue aura surrounded them. Still twirling, Kirlia extended one arm and guided them with it slowly, so that they grouped into one huge fireball.

Quilava stood unmoving, watching her intently. Kirlia’s spinning slowed, and with one deft flick of her arm, she sent the fireball soaring up into the air where it looked like it was about to collide with the top of the tent. The audience gasped. Some cowered in their seats.

Quilava opened his mouth and released a stream of fire, directly aimed at the fireball. As the two collided in an explosion of energy, they burst into several smaller flames, floating slowly down.

Kirlia stopped completely, closed her eyes a few moments, and surrounded herself with multicoloured mystical leaves. She drew back, took another leap into the air and spiralled around the burning embers, narrowly missing them, while the leaves circled around her, eventually colliding with the embers, burning up and floating slowly back down to the floor. The effect was stunning.

Kirlia landed gracefully, and the two Pokémon just stood there a few moments, looking up at the falling leaves.

With a start, they remembered the audience, and needed to do something for the grand finale. Spontaneously, Quilava opened his mouth and released a star-shaped burst of fire.

The audience gasped, including Stella, who had no idea what was going on. They hadn’t planned this! It was only the first night, anything could go wrong!

But in that moment, Quilava’s eyes were locked on Kirlia’s, and she suddenly knew that it would be okay, that he trusted her enough to do this. And so, facing the fire directly, she went into a cartwheel, surrounding herself with a blue aura that sent the fire hurtling off in all directions and let her sail through, unharmed.

She landed upright, turned to face the audience, and bowed. Quilava bounded up to join her and lowered his head too.

The audience broke out into thunderous applause, cheering and stomping their feet.

Kirlia’s eyes were shining in the glow of the audience’s attention. Quilava was struck by how happy it seemed to make her. He couldn’t ever recall feeling that himself, not once, even after his trainer had praised him for taking down a gym leader single-handed.

He realised he’d been staring at her, probably when he should have been facing the audience. But she was smiling, and he found himself smiling back. They could sense their mutual happiness and satisfaction.

“Everyone, give it up for Kirlia and Quilava! Thank you!” Stella was in the spotlight again, motioning for the next Pokémon to come through. “And now, please give a big welcome to our next performers…”

The two Mime Jrs came forward eagerly, as Quilava and Kirlia both retired to the back. They stood there in silence a few seconds, both seemingly watching the Mime Jrs’ complicated juggling act.

Kirlia was glowing, fed by the audience’s happiness. She couldn’t believe how well it had gone, especially the last minute improvisation.

Risking a sideways glance, she wondered if it would compel Quilava to stay. He stared straight ahead, either deep in his own thoughts or absorbed in the Mime Jrs’ act.

“Kirlia?” Well, she had to ask eventually.

But Quilava couldn’t seem to hear her over the roar of the crowd, and shook his head. Kirlia glanced back at Stella, whose attention was completely on the Mime Jrs. She gave a meaningful flick of her head, then disappeared through the tent’s back exit, where after a few moments, Quilava scrambled after her.

“Quil,” he prompted her when they were outside in the quiet, as she sat down and leaned back against one of the trailers. He lay down too, so they were at the same level.

“Kirlia…Lia.” she said again, flushing slightly, wondering if asking him had been a mistake.

Quilava blinked, slightly surprised. He hadn’t been thinking beyond tonight, although he felt a strange sense of pride that he’d never felt before, even in the countless battles he’d won. But maybe…

Maybe Kirlia wanted him to stay.

She watched expectantly, as his blank expression slowly turned up into a smile. Then he moved, just barely, to nuzzle his head against her shoulder. Before she could take this in, he’d moved away again. But she knew he’d been there.

They sat like that for a few moments, until the silence was suddenly broken as Stella’s voice rang out from the tent: “Where are they? It’s the big finale!”

Kirlia jumped to her feet apologetically, and dashed back in, leaving Quilava to reflect on what had just happened for a split second before he followed her.

Maybe, just maybe, he would stay.




***




Reviews are always much appreciated! =] I’d especially love it if someone would let me know if the Pokémon speech thing worked okay? I didn’t want to directly translate it, because it seemed cheesy, but I hope I did okay in implying what they were saying anyway? Any concrit would be very gratefully received. *bites lip* Anyway. Thanks so much for reading!